Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jumping Into Politics – Part 2

With all the claims that are being made in political ads this year, lets look at some facts. (Part 1 is here)

We all heard the people who say that healthcare will add trillions of dollars to the deficit. Well lets look at what Reuters had to say about healthcare,
Healthcare bill to cut deficit: CBO

By John Whitesides and Donna Smith
March 18, 2010

(Reuters) - Congressional budget analysts said on Thursday a broad healthcare overhaul would cut the U.S. deficit over 10 years and sharply expand insurance coverage, boosting the momentum for final passage in the House of Representatives.
Some how that doesn’t sound like it is increasing the deficit. Others say, look at the premium increases that the insurance company are demanding, Blue Cross is increasing their premiums by 47%! This is my prediction, next year the you’ll see the insurance companies rake in record profits, they are using healthcare reforms as an excuse to raise premiums and also to create opposition to the reforms. When the city of San Francisco added gender reassignment surgery to their health insurance policy, the insurance raised the premiums by $1.70 a month and they made millions from the increase. The actual cost was only $0.85, raising to the maximum that they can get away with that is what insurance companies do.

Social Security: we all hear tales that the Social Security is going broke by 2019, but the facts tell a different story. Lets take a look at what the Social Security Agency has to say,
In the annual Trustees Report, projections are made under three alternative sets of economic and demographic assumptions. Under one of these sets (labeled "Low Cost") the trust funds remain solvent for the next 75 years. Under the other two sets (the "Intermediate" and "High Cost"), the trust funds become depleted within the next 30 years. The intermediate assumptions reflect the Trustees' best estimate of future experience.
Hmm, that doesn’t sound like the doomsdays predictions that we are hearing. What about how the money is invested, we hear that the funds are being used to pay off the national debit. Once again here what the Social Security Agency has to say,
By law, income to the trust funds must be invested, on a daily basis, in securities guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the Federal government. All securities held by the trust funds are "special issues" of the United States Treasury. Such securities are available only to the trust funds.
I don’t know about you, but I own saving bonds and I have faith in them.

I am in favor of removing maximum wage contribution cap of $106,800, I think everyone should pay 6%. Why should someone who is making $30,000 pay 6%, while someone making a million dollars pay only 0.06%?

If we privatize Social Security, whom will it help? Wall Street. Whom will it hurt? The people. Can you imagine it Social Security was privatize when the market collapsed in 2008. The government would have to have bailed out the Social Security fund, it would have been worst than the bank bailouts because everyone in the U.S. retirement saving would have disappeared over night.

The Republicans try to put fear in to the votes, but if you look at the facts. They created this mess with all of their spending and deregulations and they think that more of the same will get us out of this mess.

Think before you vote!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Six – Episode 342

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 342

1. Barack Obama ran on a theme of change. Overall, how much in Washington do you think has actually changed?
I think that despite the Republican opposition, he has made great gains. He passed health care reform, he was able to reduce the deficit from Bush’s 1.41 trillion dollars to 1.29 trillion dollars with a projected 2011 deficit 1.07 trillion dollars. He passed the Hate crime bill and he hired a number of trans-persons to high level government positions.

2. Is the country better off when one party has the White House and the other has a majority in Congress, or are we generally better off when one party has a majority in both at the same time?
Well it depends on which party. I believe we are better off with the Democrats in power, I believe in a balance of countervailing powers. That you need a certain amount of regulations, while the Republicans want to do away with regulatory agencies. In addition, Republicans do not support Human Rights.

3. What’s the biggest fear you have related to health care?
That the Republicans will do away with it.

4. Should the government be able to operate in the red, or should Congress be forced to balance its budget every year?
Yes, I believe you spend in a depression and you cut back spending during an inflation

5. Are you more likely or less likely to re-elect incumbents this time around?

6. Are you more likely or less likely to vote for the opposite party you voted for in 2008?
No! I predict that if the Republicans gain control of Congress, they will try to impeach President Obama, try to repeal the 14th Amendment and privatize Social Security.

Do You Believe This? Let The Kids Have Their Day!

Some towns are moving Halloween to Saturday…
When to hold Halloween?
Amanda Terrebonne

In Today's Living, there's controversy over when kids will be hitting the street this year.

Since Halloween falls on Sunday, church day, a lot of towns are moving Halloween to Saturday - including Benton and Bryant.
And it's not just here in Arkansas.

Some towns in Louisiana are doing the same thing, and not just because of church.
Livingston Parish, for instance, has an ordinance on its books that makes it a crime to trick or treat on Halloween when it falls on a Sunday.

The parish council voted this week to move it to Saturday but Marjorie Essmann with the ACLU, says it's a violation of people's rights either way.

Especially considering the penalty for violating this ordinance can be up to $500 and 30 days in jail.
What about Jews and Muslims? Their holy day is Saturday, so it is OK to move Halloween from the Christian day of worship to another religion day of worship.

But there is something more important then religion is some towns…
Jacksonville councilman retreats on moving Halloween to Saturday
By Tia Mitchell
October 26, 2010

Jacksonville City Councilman Don Redman said he was only attempting to respond to constituents’ concerns when he filed a bill last week that, if approved, would have urged Duval County residents to celebrate Halloween on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Instead, he asked council President Jack Webb to allow him to withdraw that request, citing the conflict with Saturday’s Georgia-Florida football game among his reasons.

The vote in Tuesday’s council meeting to withdraw was unanimous.
Well at least we know where they have their priorities.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Saturday 9: Elected

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Elected

1. Many of my friends have commented they cannot discuss politics with co-workers, family, friends and others without conflict rearing its ugly head. Do you feel you can talk with your family and friends about this particularly divisive election?
Some members of my family agree with my views and some do not, while most of my friends agree with my views

2. Do you know who you're voting for in next week's election? How did you decide?
Yes, I’m not going to vote for the party that went from a 800 million dollar surplus to a 1.4 trillion deficit and drove us in to a depression. The party that believes that millionaires should get tax breaks.

3. What do you think is the most important issue in next Tuesday's election?
The economy.

4. Can you go a day without laughing?

I do now.

5. Do you think that you can chose who you want to love?

Nope, its chemistry and we don’t chose what gender to love either.

6. Have you ever been on stage? For what?
Yes, and on television and on the radio. For Human Rights and Equality.

7. Would you ever live in a different country? If yes, where?
Nope, I like the U.S.

8. Any plans for Halloween?
Yes, hibernate.

9. The last costume that you wore, what was it and why did you choose it?
I was a hippie girl with a flower in her hair. Because I had a tie dyed skirt and peasant blouse.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friday Fill-ins #197

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #197


1. While the cat's away _I can get to sit in my own chair_.

2. _When the kids finished carving the pumpkin, I said that it looked_ fabuloso!

3. Children _love Halloween because dress up in scary costumes and get lots of candy_.

4. _I want to kick off my shoes_ when I get home from work or shopping or what have you.

5. This may seem odd, but _I like college and will miss it next year_

6. _Taking a break to decompress_ and that seems like a fine idea to me!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _driving up to the cottage in New Hampshire_, tomorrow my plans include _vegetating out on the deck_ and Sunday, I want have to _drive home_!

My Story Part 50 – Politics

Since the elections are next week, I thought about how I got interested in politics might be a good topic this week. It all started when in 2005; I went to a fundraiser for Gender PAC. I had already been somewhat involved with the Connecticut TransAdvocoacy Coalition (CTAC) and a friend invited me to go to a fundraiser down in Stamford. At the fundraisers there was the Stamford mayor, the first selectman from a neighboring town, the co-chairs of the Judicial Committee and a couple of VP’s from IBM. I originally went to it because it gave me another chance to crossdress and donate to a good cause, but later I felt that being a visible trans-women helped others to be comfortable around trans-people. Then in 2006, I was invited to a meeting in Hartford with the Anti-Discrimination Coalition (ADC), an informal coalition of non-profits from around the state. The coalition included organizations like CTAC, Gender PAC, labor unions, CT Women Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) and the CT chapters of the ACLU, NOW, and the ADL (Anti Defamation League). We met at a lobbyist office in Harford to discuss strategy for passing the gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill. In the spring, the coalition sponsored lobby training at the legislative office building (LOB) that I attended.

In June of 2006, I went to a three-day workshop on Trans-Rights in Albany NY that was sponsored by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NTCE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (The Task Force). It was by invitation only and it was for activists from nine states that had a chance to pass a gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill. Later that month, the Task Force held a Town Hall meeting in Hartford to energize the community to help pass a gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill here in CT. They said that that the community needed to get involved in local politics, we had to put a face on the trans-community, “be there and be out”. At the town hall meeting a community organizer for the Ned Lamont campaign was there, so I volunteered to help out on his campaign. I worked the phone banks for six months and I learned from that I’m not cut out for phone banking.

In 2007, I testified before the Judiciary Committee on the bill, it was an amazing empowering feeling, it was both scary and a feeling of accomplishment. That motivated me into going to down to Washington DC to lobby for the Hate Crime bill and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). In the fall, I went over to
Long Island to a three-day conference given by the Task Force called the “New York Power Summit” you can read about it here and here and here is a video form the conference.

Then in 2008, I testified again before the Judiciary Committee and for the second time I headed down to Washington DC to lobby for the bills. I also attended lobby training in Hartford by a state lobbyist. That year I also became a matriculation student at UConn School of Social Work with a concentration in Community Organizing. I chose CO because I felt that was the best way to help the community, we needed people who could one, go out and speak for the community and second, to empower the community to speak for itself. In 2009, I did my internship at an organization where I lobby for the gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill.

So why did I get active in politics? It is because I want to help to give voice to the trans-community, to help a marginalized community to empower themselves to fight for their rights. It took the Woman’s Suffrage movement over 40 years to get the vote and we will get our Rights one day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Flip Side Of The Coin

Yesterday, I wrote about the great experience I had at the Women’s Day Event at a local campus, the bad news came the next day. I was interviewed by a reporter from the campus newspaper, well he blew it. He got all the pronouns wrong. I email the college LGBT center about the article, they contacted the newspaper and the paper corrected the pronouns.

There are guide books for reporters who are writing about trans-people, the style books address the use of pronouns. The AP 2006 Style Book says…
Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.

If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.
The New York Times 2005 style book says trans-persons pronouns should…
is an overall term for people whose current identity differs from their sex at birth, whether or not they have changed their biological characteristics. Cite a person's transgender status only when it is pertinent and its pertinence is clear to the reader. Unless a former name is newsworthy or pertinent, use the name and pronouns (he, his, she, her, hers) preferred by the transgender person. If no preference is known, use the pronouns consistent with the way the subject lives publicly.
These guidelines and other LGBT guidelines can be found on the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) web-site.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Something Amazing Happened

Yesterday, I was at a local university for their Women’s Day celebration and I was at the Connecticut Trans Advocacy Coalition’s table, when this man pushing a woman in a wheelchair stopped at the table. The woman could only communicate through sign language, which the man interpreted. She asked me what our organization was about and I told her, I told her we advocate on behalf of the transgender community. She questioned what I meant and I told her the meaning of transgender and transsexual and that we were trying to pass an anti-discrimination bill. She asked why. I told her about the discrimination that the trans-community faces. She signed, “That’s horrible! Everyone should be treated equally.” We talked some more and then she asked if she could hug me. I got down on my knees and we hugged, what she couldn’t see was the tears running down my face. When we parted she signed, “Thank you.” and waved goodbye. I sat there for a couple of minutes drying my watery eyes, as I am doing now writing this.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Manic Monday #224

Lisa’s Manic Monday #224

If you could go back in time what would your current day self tell your 18-year-old self?
I would say, “It gets better, hang in there and following your heart.

Name one thing you could do to improve any important relationship in your life.
Have one, that would be a great improvement.

If you were guaranteed honest responses to any three questions, whom would you question, and what would you ask?
So who every you ask would have to tell the truth? I would ask Linda McMahon how she would balance the budget, would she do away with Social Security and do away with the minimum wage. Can you imagine a politician having to tell the truth!

Another Crazy Week!

This is going to be another crazy week, this afternoon I’m going over to CCSU to table at the Women’s Center for their Women’s Day Event. Tomorrow night there is a reception at Aetna and Wednesday morning I’m heading down to New London for a panel discussion called “Breaking Down Barriers to Employment” given by DMAS and then rushing up to West Hartford for a panel discussion at 12:45, that is followed by my class. Then Wednesday night it is the COS meeting. If that wasn’t enough, I have a meeting Thursday night. This is all on top of my 20 hour a week internship.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jumping Into Politics

With all the claims that are being made in political ads this year, lets look at some facts. First lets take a look back to 2008 when the stock market collapsed.

Bush seeks support for bailout; Paulson gives in on executive pay
New York Times
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David M. Herszenhorn
Published: Thursday, September 25, 2008

WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush appealed to the United States on Wednesday night to support a $700 billion plan to avert a financial meltdown on Wall Street, and he invited both major presidential candidates to join him and Congressional leaders at the White House on Thursday to forge a bipartisan compromise.

Warning that "a long and painful recession" could occur if Congress does not act quickly, Bush said the consequences could play out in "a distressing scenario," including potential bank failures, job losses and inability for ordinary Americans to borrow money to buy cars or send their children to college.
Gee, so it wasn’t President Obama who bailed out the banks and Wall Street but President Bush. How quickly we forget or maybe it just that the Republicans want us to forget.

Next, let’s look at the budget deficit. President Obama inherited a 2009 budget deficit of 1.41 trillion dollars from President Bush and President Obama first budget (2010) reduced the deficit to 1.29 trillion dollars and the projected 2011 reduces the budget to around 1.07 trillion dollars and the projected 2012 budget reduces it even more to $600 billion dollars.
Fiscal 2010 deficit thins to $1.29 trillion
By Donna Smith
Sat Oct 16, 2010

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The budget deficit for fiscal 2010 narrowed to $1.294 trillion from last year's record $1.416 trillion as tax collections started to recover and bailout spending fell sharply.
The Congressional Budget Office in August forecast a deficit of $1.07 trillion for fiscal 2011, which started October 1. An Obama administration budget commission is scheduled to make recommendations for deeper cuts when it convenes in December.
That means that in two years President Obama will have cut the budget by over 300 billion dollars.

My question for the Tea Party is where was your indignation when President Bush went from a $200 billion surplus to a record $1.4 trillion deficit, the largest in US history?

Lastly, let’s take a look at President Obama’s stimulus program…
Stimulus added millions of jobs in Q2
By Andy Sullivan
Tue Aug 24, 2010

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The massive U.S. stimulus package put millions of people to work and boosted national output by hundreds of billions of dollars in the second quarter, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.

CBO's latest estimate indicates that the stimulus effort, which remains a political hot potato ahead of the November congressional elections, may have prevented the sluggish U.S. economy from contracting between April and June.

CBO said President Barack Obama's stimulus boosted real GDP in the quarter by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent, adding at least $200 billion in economic activity.
So it sounds like the stimulus program is working. Just take a look at the stimulus funds that saved teaching jobs. Take a look at what is happen to Jacksonville school system and all over the country…
Stimulus Runs Out; Schools Look Ahead
Duval County Schools Received $103M Last Year, Expects $25.8M This Year
Thursday, October 21, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Last year, as educators across the country were talking about laying off teachers and eliminating programs, the Barack Obama administration and Congress came up with $10 billion in stimulus funding to help school districts avoid the cuts.

Duval County received $103 million in extra federal funds, money that school officials said was mostly used to save 777 jobs. Neighboring counties also received funds and avoided layoffs.

But that one-time money is disappearing fast, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was not hopeful about getting approval for that much education stimulus funding again.
Why do they not think they are going to get the funding next year? Because the Republican’s oppose the stimulus.

The Republicans have been fighting to keep the tax cuts for the rich,
Rich-poor difference is ominous reality
The Eastern Echo
By Clement Daly |
October 20, 2010

Census data released last month gives a glimpse of the extreme social polarization that exists in the United States. According to the Associated Press, the income gap between the rich and the poor “grew last year to its widest amount on record.” Moreover, the U.S was found to have the greatest income disparity of the world’s advanced capitalist nations.

Median income in the U.S dropped for its second consecutive year and was down 4 percent since its peak in December 2007. The 2009 American Community Survey showed a median income decrease of nearly 3 percent – from $51,726 to $50,221 – between 2008 and 2009. In Michigan alone, median income decreased by more than 6 percent over the same period.

The Census Bureau reported “thirty-one states saw increases in both the number and percentage of people in poverty between 2008 and 2009.” Furthermore, no state saw a “significant decline in either the number in poverty or the poverty rate.” According to the AP, 44 million Americans live below the official poverty line, having received only 3.4 percent of all the income generated in 2009.

However, the impoverishment of the majority of the population is only half the equation. The AP also reported that nearly 50 percent of all income generated in 2009 went to the top 20 percent of the population – those making more than $100,000 a year.
Just take a look at what is happening on Wall Street,
Wall Street bonuses to rise this year: report
By Jonathan Spicer
Aug 12, 2010

(Reuters) - Wall Street bonuses likely will rise this year, despite the regulatory cloud hanging over compensation, as the financial sector recovers from recession faster than the broader U.S. economy, according to a published report.
Newsweek reported that “In congressional testimony last week, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) director Doug Elmendorf warned that extending the Bush tax cuts would ultimately take more money out of the economy than it would inject into it, because increased deficits will eventually slow growth.” There are reports that keeping the Bush era tax cuts will add $36 billion to the deficit each year. The Republicans say that the tax cut will stimulate the economy, it that was true then we should never have gone into this depression because the Bush tax cut should have kept us out of the depression if it was true.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

An Outreach This Afternoon

This afternoon I will be going to a church to talk about discrimination. All you hear in the news are about churches that damn LGBT people, but there are many churches that are affirming. They believe in inclusion, not exclusion. They don’t make the news, only the churches that preach hate are being interviewed on the news channel. An affirming church isn’t controversial and the news stations thrive on controversy so there voices do not get heard. All around the state there are many supportive churches, some hold support groups in their parish house, and some have trans-people on their parish councils, while others open their doors to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender expression.

I know many LGBT people who were thrown out of their churches and became suicidal, only to turn to open and affirming churches and find their way again.

The Manchester pastor asked me to come and talk about the effects of discrimination, and about trying to pass the anti-discrimination legislation. I have met the pastor before when I was at my first year internship and he was helping to pass the legislation. Now today he wants me to talk to a group of kids about my experiences.

I am not a religious person, but I understand and respect the need of religion. I believe in God. I believe in a loving and caring God. Not a hateful and vengeful God.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Saturday 9: I'm So Proud

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: I'm So Proud

1. What are you proud of?

2. What is the best thing you’ve ever won as a prize? How did you win it?

I can’t tell you in mixed company. I won a raffle.

3. Tell us about something you've done that in retrospect was a waste of time.
I don't know. I think any thing that I did that was a waste of time, I learned sometihng so it was a waste of time. I learned that I didn't want to do that again.

4. How old were you when life changed the most for you? How did it change?
58. Three guesses and the first two don’t count

5. Tell us about a place you that you've been that you considered to be very tranquil.
Our cottage in the spring and fall.

6. Who is your favorite news anchor/reporter? Why?

Katie Couric. Habit, I watched it ever since the 50’s

7. If you were to have the opportunity to name a new town or city, what would you call it? Why?
Newtown… Oh, that one is already taken. I’ll call it my last name and add a “ville” to the end of the my name.

8. What is something about which you've always wondered but have not yet found a good answer?
What is gravity?

9. When you can't go to sleep, what is your personal remedy to help yourself drift into Lullabyland?
Okay, don’t laugh. I went to a hypnotist to lose weight and that didn’t work, but she gave me a CD and it sure does put me to sleep… “You are growing sleepy, sleepy. Your eyes are getting heavy…” ZZZZZ If that doesn’t work, I use chemicals means, Advil PM.

In Case You Missed It...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday Fill-ins #196

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #196


1. One of my strongest beliefs is _that the sun will rise tomorrow_.

2. _Now a days pumpkins are so_ huge!

3. The sky is cloudy with a threat of rain and wind and cold, so _I should have looked to the sky before I went walking_.

4. _A warm fire
_ is comforting to me.

5. I always thought I'd be _a fireman when I was little_

6. _The rain stopped_ and then I went outside to look at the full moon.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _relaxing_, tomorrow my plans include _talking about discrimination at a church in Manchester_ and Sunday, I want to _go walking_!

My Story Part 49 – Coming Out Stories

This week is Fantasia Fair week up in Provincetown MA and the weekend that it starts is the last weekend of Women’s Week. Since this in National Coming Out month, this story is about the fair and coming out.

We were staying at a Bed and Breakfast on P’town and there were about eight lesbians staying there also. The two groups didn’t mix that much on Saturday, except for small talk over breakfast, but Sunday night was different. The B&B put out wine and cheese at 5 o’clock each evening; I think there were three of us trans-women sitting around in the living room drinking and munching on cheese and crackers, when the eight women sat down and joined us. I mentioned that I had come out to my brother that spring and I told my store and then one of the women told her story about coming out. The next thing that I knew was there were several empty bottles of wine on the table, we all had told our stories of coming out and we had built a bridge between our two cultures. We left to go to an opening night wine & cheese party for Fantasia Fair and they were heading out to see comedy shows in town.

Later that night, we were coming back from the wine & cheese party and lo and behold who do we bump into, the women from the B&B. They also were heading back to the B&B and they were going into the hot tube outside and it was already ten-thirty. Well somehow the bottles of Port and Sherry that the B&B kept on the table vanished and ended up outside by the hot tube. And somehow, I ended up in the hot tube with them. The next thing that I knew was a banging on the gate outside the hot tube and someone on the other side said… “It’s the police and we really have to talk to you!” It was one o’clock in the morning, the sherry and port was all gone, and we decided it was a very good time to say goodnight.

The next morning we were all very quite at breakfast. The B&B owners sat down with us and said, we heard that there was a little visit from the police last night…

The women were leaving that morning, heading back to Ohio and after they left, the owners said, Lesbian! They always seem to attract a visit by the police; you ladies are always so quiet and demur. I just zipper my mouth and didn’t say a word.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Something That I Never Knew

I always knew that during the Holocaust, the Germans rounded up not only the Jew, but also gypsies, homosexuals (that is where the pink triangle came from) and the mental disabled. What I didn’t know was that when the allies liberated the concentration camps, they didn’t free the gays, lesbians and transgender people.

I came across this article…
Paragraph 175: The Holocaust and Homosexuals
By Patrick Yaeger
May 9, 2005

Germany’s Third Reich considered homosexuals common criminals; many were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Once there, they were forced to wear a pink triangle as a brand of their supposedly ‘special’ perversion. Given the fear many gay people lived under back then, it is little wonder how little of their experiences in the death camps is known. However, it is thought that their death rate was higher than any other group.
The were arrested under the criminal code’s “Paragraph 175” and when the allies freed the Jews, that still held the homosexuals because they view them as criminals serving a sentence.
Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code was all the authorities needed to detain homosexuals, throw them in prison, send them to concentration camps, conduct medical experiments on them and even kill them. [excerpted from the Houston Voice]
So when the allies marched in they kept them in the concentrations camps.
When the concentration camps were liberated at the end of World War II, Keel (museum director) said, there was no liberation for homosexuals. Paragraph 175 remained in force.

“At the liberation in 1945, the homosexuals remained in prison to serve out their terms,” Keel said. “They weren’t given any reparations for what they had been through.”

Manic Monday # 223

Lisa’s Manic Monday # 223 (A couple of days late)

What work of art best describes your personality?

Cubic art, I’m all cut up and dissected.

What was the high point of last month?
If you mean September, then the high point was Labor Day, because it was my last day of freedom before classes began.

What do you think is the single best decision you've made in your life so far?

Oh, that’s easy. Transitioning. Even though life is harder, it beats hiding in the shadows.

Another Busy Day Yesterday…

I didn’t get a chance to write an entry in my blog because of a homework assignment that I had to finish. Then it was off to the dentist, followed by my internship. After that came a 3 o’clock meeting and then I rushed to a business expo to staff a table there until 9 o’clock.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Other Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Most of you probably have heard of the military Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy that was recently struck down by a federal court, well there is another “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, an unofficial policy.

I found this opinion piece from an Oregon newspaper the Register – Guard...
GUEST VIEWPOINT: Teachers face a ‘don’t tell’ rule in class

By Jerry Rosiek
Wednesday, Oct 13, 2010

National news media outlets have been covering what appears to be an epidemic of harassment of and suicides by lesbian, gay or transgender youth. Although I do not believe this pattern is new, the phenomenon is real and the attention it is receiving constitutes a call to action to educators everywhere.
Recently, as if to underscore this point, a student-teacher working in a Portland-area elementary school was asked by one of his students whether he’d get married someday. He responded that he couldn’t, because he would marry another man and same-sex marriage is illegal in the state of Oregon. A parent complained, and the school immediately removed the student-teacher from the school. His conversation, according to district officials, was “inappropriate.”

The way this story played out is all too familiar. We lament the effects of homophobic assault, isolation and despair on children when we hear about harassment and suicides. However, in most schools, we force LGBTQ teachers into silence about themselves and their families, implicitly endorsing the harassment and isolation. It is time for this to stop. It is cowardly, morally inexcusable and just plain dumb.

Why does the practice continue? Because administrators feel pressure from parents ensconced in homophobic attitudes. These parents feel entitled to purge schools of any acknowledgement of a reality we all recognize — that lesbian, gay and transgender people are a part of our communities.
By silencing teachers it hurts the students on many levels. First, for children who are LGBT it teaches them that they have to hide which creates low self-esteem and leads to suicidal tendencies. Second, it creates an atmosphere where bullying and harassment is tolerated which, once again, creates low self-esteem and leads to suicidal tendencies. Lastly, it teaches the children that bigotry and discrimination is permissible.

When we go to testify before the Judicial Committee each year to try to pass a gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill, one of the questions that usually is asked is “What will the children think if their teacher is transgender?” We cannot get transgender teachers to answers that questions because their school system tolerates their teaching as long as they don’t make waves. If they did testify, they would probably be out of a job the next day.

What we need is a culture change and the only way to do it is though all of us working together. We need our allies to speak up; the LGBT community cannot do it by ourselves. We need parents, teachers, students, public officials all to demand a change.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Balance The Budget?

I hear so much talk about balancing the federal budget, so I looked up some facts.
The estimated 2010 Federal deficit = $1.171 trillion (1)
Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 (2)
Divide the deficit by the average salary = 9,516,534 employee will have to be laid-off.
There are 2,748,978 civilian federal employees in the United States as of January 2009 (3)
As of December 31, 2009 1,421,668 people are on active duty (4)
Total = 4,140,646
So that leaves still another 5.375,888 people to be laid-off.

So I have a question for the Tea Partier, how the hell are you going to balance the budget without raising taxes? You can close down the Federal government, do away with the military and the budget still would not be balanced. You would have to lay off another 5 million civilian contractors.

Say you only want to cut the size of the government in half. That means you have to laid off even more civilian contractors, a total of about 12 or 14 million people because civilian makes about a half of what federal employees make (2).

What would you get? Chaos. Anarchy.

(1)2010 United States federal budget
(2)Federal workers earning double their private counterparts
(3)Number of Federal Employees
(4)United States Armed Forces

Saturday Six – Episode 340

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 340

1. If you had to choose between being married to someone you no longer loved with no chance for divorce or separation, or being single forever, which would you choose?
Never having been married, I think I can’t really answer that question. However, what does come to mind is the song by Meat Loaf, "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"

“…That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!

So now I'm praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive…”

2. If you had to give up either the use of your arms or legs, which would you choose and why?
Ooo… a little ghoulish. I would op-out of leg use because you can always have an artificial leg, but the quality of artificial arms are not up to par with the legs.

3. Which annoys you more: poor grammar or poor spelling?
This is kind of my pet peeve. Grammar police. All my life I have been struggling with dyslexia, with words popping up in the wrong place and leaving out words. It is a medical disease, it is a disability.
When I write papers for school, it will take me 3 to 4 days of proofreading to find most of the errors and I do find most them, but it is a long drawn out process. When I write for my blog, that is not the case, I usually write it in one or two sittings.

Here is a quiz to see if you are dyslexic, on 11 of the 20 questions I answered yes.

4. Which would you enjoy more in an arcade: a video game or a pinball machine?
Pinball, I get very frustrated with video game (see above) that need quick reaction times. I like strategy games.

5. You have the chance to spend time with a close friend: would you prefer to spend time one-on-one over a homemade meal or in a nice, quiet restaurant?
It depends on how close a friend they are to me.

6. For one month, you can only communicate with those around you electronically: would you choose email or texting, and why?
Emailing, texting is too hard and they use all those abbreviations… c u

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Public Attitudes

Today I was at the NBC Health and Wellness Festival that a local TV station puts on. There were probably close to a thousand people attended. I was at the table all alone all day for the organization where I am internong and it was an interesting study in public attitudes towards LGBT people. Hundreds and hundreds of people stopped by the booth and almost all of them had no idea what was the organization that I was representing.

The first dozen or so people I told them that it was a LGBT youth and family service organization, I got a blank stare and people asked me what was “LGBT?” Lesson number one most people had no idea what it stood for even though we use it all the time. Therefore, I started to say, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth and family service organization.” That was when I learned lesson number two; most people had a positive reaction. When I went on to said that we worked to find foster homes with the DCF for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth (Lesson 1B, over half of the people had no idea what DCF stood for) and that we had a mentoring program, I then went into detail what we did and most people thought it was wonderful.

I got comments like…
“Oh that is wonderful that there are organizations like yours!”
“You’re awesome! A lifesaver!”
A mother and daughter stop by the table… Daughter, “They were at our school.” Mother, “We need an organization like yours, especially after what has been happening recently.”
A man said, “I’m straight, but you have a fantastic organization, how can I help?” he didn’t want to sign up for the email list, but he took the contact information.

And these comments were from straight people who never heard of us before.

However, not all the comments were positive, a few were negative…
After I said, “We are a lesbian, ga….” A man said, “Like you?” and backs away frowning.
Or I get a stare and a shake of the head and they walk off.

That bring me to Observation number 1, most people who had a reaction were male. Women, either hide their reaction better and were more polite or they didn’t have a reaction. You also have to consider that they were probably meeting the first trans-person that they ever met.

The only downside was when I went over to the food court for lunch. The women at the counter started to giggle and they must have called out the cook from the back because the four of them stared at me giggle and saying something in Spanish.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Saturday 9: Spooky

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Spooky

1. Does anything about Halloween “spook” you?
Naw. Halloween is not scary for me, I just worry about getting my car egged are waxed.

2. What is the favorite costume you have ever worn for Halloween?
A scuba diver outfit, that is how I got my nick name at college, Snork. I had a snorkel as part of the costume and by the end of the night; we were using it to shoot shots of beer and as a bong. The next time I took scuba class, it was so yucky that I had to buy a new snorkel, it tasted of stale beer and of pot.

3. What is your favorite thing about Halloween?
Not much since I don’t celebrate it.

4. What one topic is (or was) the most painful to discuss with your parents? Why?

Me being trans and I never discussed it with my parents. I was afraid.

5. What was the happiest day of your life? Do you think you'll ever top it?
The day I went before the judge to change my name. Yup, when I graduate from college.

6. What animal would you like to be able to communicate with?
Snakes, if Harry Potter can do it, so can I.

7. In what way do you come nearest to perfection (as you define it)?
I don’t know. Maybe with my GPA 3.84, close but no cigar

8. Do you have any recurring nightmares?

9. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be and why?
In the trans-community we ask the question, it you could take a pill and not be trans any more, would you? My answer to that question and this question is, then I wouldn’t be me, I would be someone else.

I'm going to be at the convention center in Hartford all day tomorrow at the NBC Health and Wellness festival at the True Colors table. If you are in the area stop by, help me to relive the boredom.

Fort Worth City Council

There is a comment on YouTube's web-site that says...
"This may be random but when after he finishes his speech you can see two old people in the back who aren't clapping.

I hate those people.?"
...I say, don't hate them, feel sorry for them for they are wasting their life on hate.

Friday Fill-ins #194

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #194


1. My favorite month is _October_ because _it is my birthday month and I love the autumn leaves_.

2. _After the storm,_ a fresh breeze.

3. I love to sniff _a cooling apple pie_.

4. _Potato pancakes_ is what I like to have as a treat for breakfast.

5. The hobby I enjoy most is _photography and the autumn colors make fall a dream for photographers_

6. _Lobster for dinner Sunday_ oh my!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _the ‘ol coffee house_, tomorrow my plans include _going to the Wellness conference to staff my internship's informational table_ and Sunday, I want to _homework and go for a walk_!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Story Part 48 – National Coming Out Week

Think about the hardest think you have ever done, now multiple that by ten and you will not even come close with what it is like coming out to your family. Now imagine doing that every day of your life. That is just a small idea of what it is like being trans. Every day we come out, if you do not pass as a woman or a man then wherever you go out in public people read you as being transgender. It is like the Bob Seger song “Turn the Page” where they sing "Oh, the same old cliches / 'Is that a woman or a man?' "

At the place that I am interning they do an exercise where you write down your hobbies, your favorite TV shows and what you did last night. Then you turn to the person next to you and you have to talk for 5 minutes without talking about any of the items that you had on your list. This gives you an idea of what life is like before you come out. All the things that I did as Diana I could never talk about before I came out. There was a barrier between my male persona and my female persona, a wall that could never be breached. When I came back from a week up at Fantasia Fair in Provincetown, I had to lie at work and say I was up at my brother’s condo. To admit to the truth was to admit that I was gay or something because P’town had a reputation as being a place where all the gays hang out.

Being in the closet creates stress that can manifest in stress related medical problems such as heart attacks, panic attacks, etc. On the other hand, coming out of the closet has it own problems, loss of family and friends, loss of job, loss of housing and being discriminated against. It is kind of like being caught between a rock and a hard place.

For me, the pressure of transitioning built up to the point where it over powered my fear of coming out. I’m a worrier and I worried that I would lose everything, family, friends and my job, but I had to come out. I came out first to my brother, at the time I was crossdressing and I didn’t identify as transsexual. I came out to him because my secret was too hard to bear alone, I needed an ally that I could talk to about the way I felt. I needed to relieve some of that built up pressure.

When I finally did come out to my brother’s family it was as if a dam had busted, I guess I was carried away a little and it was all that I talked about. However, they had to realize that all this pent up pressure of not being able to tell anyone was just pouring out, now finally after 50 years I could talk about how I felt.

Now, the pressure has been relieved, the Genie is out of the bottle. As a result my stress levels have dropped dramatically, people have notice that I am more relaxed. When I came out to my father’s side of the family this spring some of my cousin said they noticed a change in me at my father’s funeral that I seemed more at ease.

If you are thinking about coming out, be safe! Weigh all your options and analyze your need to come out. How will it affect your family situation, do you depend upon your parents for financial support? How does coming out affect your job? Are you willing to cut all ties to your family or friends?

Think before you leap.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leave it to the French…

A trans-woman in France was told that she was not a woman because her breast didn’t measure up.
France tells trans woman her breasts don't measure up

By Jane Fae
June 11, 2010
If your breasts don’t measure up – you just can’t be a “proper” woman. If you thought such archaic attitudes had long since disappeared, think again: in a recent ruling, French authorities declared that before trans woman Delphine Ravisé-Giard could be classed as a woman, she needed to provide written evidence that she had undergone breast enhancement.
The story starts in 2007, when Ms Ravisé-Giard transitioned: she is a long-term and serving member of the French Air forces, as well as national co-ordinator for Trans Aide. She takes hormones but speaking to this morning, she explained that she does not see the question of her gender as being defined by whether or not she has had specific surgery either to augment her breasts or to modify her face.
In an official statement, the justice minister indicated that “gender re-assignment surgery should not be required as a matter of course” when the petitioner is able to prove that they are undergoing other treatments designed to bring about the appearance of a change of gender.

That should have been that – but on returning to court, Delphine suffered a further setback, this time at the hands of the Chief Prosecutor in Nancy. As far as that court is concerned you need breasts to be a woman: and they need to be of a size and permanence that satisfies the French legal establishment to qualify.
It figures, for the French its all a matter of boobs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We Have Come A Long Way

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released their Corporate Equality Index the other day and it shows modest gains in companies scoring a rating of 100. I am not fond of the HRC and their CEI, but it is a yardstick to measure progress.

Some of the high lights

  • 72% of CEI-rated employers provide employment protections on the basis of gender identity or expression, the highest figure to date. Perhaps one of the biggest success stories of any single criterion, growth in gender identity protections has gone from just 5 percent of rated businesses in the CEI 2002 to nearly three-quarters of all rated businesses (criterion 2a).
  • 76% of this year’s rated businesses have written gender transition guidelines and/or cover gender identity as a topic of diversity training, up from 72 percent last year (criterion 2b). A total of 141 employers have transition guidelines, up from 115 last year.
  • 63% include “gender identity or expression” or “gender identity” in their anti-harassment policies. [Compared to 81% that include sexual orientation]
  • 76% of this year’s rated businesses have determined that coverage is available for at least one of five categories of transgender-related treatment (criterion 2c). [Okay, this is where I have a problem with the CEI]
Of the employers that met this criterion:
  • 59 percent provide short-term leave for surgical procedures;
  • 55 percent provide mental health benefits for counseling by a mental health professional (not limited counseling provided by Employee Assistance Programs);
  • 24 percent provide pharmacy benefits for hormone therapy;
  • 20 percent provide health benefits for medical visits and lab procedures related to hormone therapy; and
  • 12 percent provide health benefits for surgical procedures.
The 76% figure sounds impressive for businesses that offers “trans-related treatment” but when you realize that the businesses only have to provide only one of the five criteria. When you look at the breakdown of what the companies provide, most of them pay only for medical leave and mental healthcare, while only ten percent cover surgery.
Businesses balked at surgery because to include surgery in the insurance coverage cost a huge additional fee. When the city of San Francisco added surgery to its healthcare plan the premiums when way up, which discouraged businesses from adopting coverage for their trans-employees. However, it was then learned that the insurance companies were making millions because the insurance companies based their calculations on a trans-person have surgery yearly. San Francisco found that,
When the City and County of San Francisco made its employee insurance plans transgender-inclusive in 2001, it set up an additional per-employee per-month surcharge to offset the expected additional expenditures. By 2006, it had only spent $386,417 of the $5.6 million it had collected from this surcharge. It ended the surcharge completely:
"Despite actuarial fears of over-utilization and a potentially expensive benefit, the Transgender Health Benefit Program has proven to be appropriately accessed and undeniably more affordable than other, often routinely covered, procedures."
— 2006 letter from San Francisco's Human Rights Commission
I have to add one thing in all fairness, the HRC is changing the way that they calculate the CEI, beginning next year the companies must cover all of the five criteria to receive a rating of 100% by 2012.

Monday, October 11, 2010


As many of you know, I am a volunteer with Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition (CTAC) and each year we present a conference at UConn Health Center. We are holding a planning meeting on Thursday...

You are invited to our Transgender Lives organizing committee meetings for the 2011 Transgender Lives conference. We have finalized our recurring meetings to be the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. The meetings start at 6 PM and are held at MCC/Hartford located on 155 Wyllys Street, Hartford, CT.

We have been making great progress to date, however there is so much more to do and we definitely could use some helping hands. We fully understand that not everyone can make the meetings though if you would like to be involved at some capacity with organizing the 2011 Transgender Lives Conference, please drop us an email at or text us at (860) 983-8139 and we will be sure to add you to our volunteer list.

Our next meeting will be Thursday, October 14th at 6:00pm at MCC/Hartford, 155 Wyllys Street, Hartford.
We are also calling for workshops...
Call for Workshops for the 2011 Transgender Lives Conference

Our Fifth Annual Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law Conference will be held on April 30, 2011 at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, Ct. In preparation for this conference we are announcing our CALL FOR WORKSHOP PROPOSALS for the conference. You can submit your workshop electronically this year by clicking the link below titled: "Submit Proposal" This will be an online form that explains all relevant details for submission and importantly will allow you to fill out your proposal online.

Additionally, there is a word document version of the form located here and pdf version located here. We encourage you to submit your proposal online, though you can also print the documents, complete the information and mail to us (address on forms).

Submit Proposal.

We also encourage you to forward this Request for Workshop proposals to any colleagues, friends, family or distribution lists you feel would be interested in doing a workshop at the 2011 Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law Conference.

As this conference has dramatically grown over the years, we recognize that many of you have very important topics and experience which fold into our theme of The Intersection of Health and Law. Workshop space is limited and all proposals will be reviewed for applicability and relevance to the Conference theme and audience. If you feel you have a workshop that would benefit the conference then we encourage you to submit your proposal at your earliest convenience, and most definitely before the deadline date of December 11, 2010.

If you have any issues submitting your proposal, or questions, please contact us by email at

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yet Another Sad Death

Gay Teen In Oklahoma Takes His Own Life

Sadly, yet another gay teen has taken his life, this time in Oklahoma. According to the Dallas Voice, 19-year-old Zach Harrington "endured years of struggles due to his sexual orientation in high school" and took his life a week after he attended a "hate-filled recent City Council meeting" in his conservative small town of Norman
.Please speak up to end this tragic epidemic, write about it on your blog. Only if we all speak up will this end.

The Meaning Of Life, The Universe, And Everything

Those of you who have read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy” know that the answer is to “the meaning of life, the universe, and everything” is 42.

So what does that have do with today? Well when the date is written 10/10/10 and if you convert the date to binary number 101010 then the answer in base 10 is 42.

Okay, so what else equal 42? Well at one time, the America's Cup yachts had to meet the specification: ((length at waterline) + (square root of sail area) + (cube root of displacement)) / 1.3579 = 42. Why did they pick the number 42… well they read Adam’s book.

And why did they pick the distance of a marathon as 42 kilometers? It is kind of an odd number in miles it is 26 miles. I could see 25 miles or 40K, but why 42? Did some one have a sense of humor and used 42 from the Hitchhiker Guide?

Saturday Six – Episode 339

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 339

1. You order takeout from a favorite restaurant. You’re at the counter paying for your dinner by credit card and the host hands you the charge slip that includes a blank for a tip. Do you leave one for takeout?
No. However, ever a couple of times I have left a tip. The local Italian restaurant has a pick-up window in the kitchen and when I had a class that got out at 6, I used to call my order in when I left class. One of the cooks used male pronouns and the other cook called me miss and used female pronouns. So when ever he waited on me, I left a tip and I didn’t when the other cook waited on me. After a couple of week he started using the proper pronouns and I started leaving him a tip. Of course now I’m stuck leaving a tip. But my little experiment in social engineering worked.

2. You’re having dinner at a restaurant you’ve never visited before and you receive poor service, a wrong item on your plate and you have an inattentive waiter. Do you leave a tip anyway, or would you leave nothing?
I don’t know, I guess it would be situation that you would have to evaluate on the spot. If I didn’t leave a tip, maybe a talk to her about why I didn’t would be warranted.

3. You’re under the weather and you decide to make a doctor’s appointment: how likely are you to search the web for your symptoms and walk in with your own diagnosis already in hand (or in mind)?
Been there, done that. I had a black spot that looked very suspicious and when I googled it, I found out it could be either melanoma or something benign, but it said, get ye to the doctor. When the dermatologist looked at it, he wanted to do a biopsy immediately and he seemed concerned… not good. Well when the biopsy came back, it was an old bruise that was clotted. Whew!

4. You see a drug ad on television promoting a “miracle cure” for a condition you know you have. How likely are you to contact your doctor and ask about that specific medication?


5. A cell phone company sells you a phone that fails to do something you feel is basic. They advertise a money-back guarantee, but the fine print says there’s a $35 “restocking fee” for returning the phone. How much are you likely to fight that charge because of the phone’s inability to do what you need it to do?
Very, it is not like you just wasn’t happy with the phone, it is not doing something that it should be doing. I would tell them fix it or cancel the contract.

6. You decide to buy a new computer, and there are two computer stores in town: one has low prices and an almost-absent sales floor staff, and the other has higher prices but very friendly, helpful staffers. You decide to get information from the well-informed staff at the more expensive store. If you knew you could save 25% or so by going to the cheaper store, how likely would you be to buy from the more expensive store that gives you better service?
Hmmm… do you live in my town? That is what we have here in town, a big box store and a locally owned and operated store. I went with the local store, they had better service.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Sign Of The Times

This is a sad commentary on the current state of unemployment. We have an opening for a non-paid volunteer position; we had eight highly qualified people apply for the position. Many of them worked for non-profits whose grants or their contract to state agencies were cut. All most all of them have a BA in sociology or psychology with years of experience and that are looking for something to do while they are unemployed.

Then I read this from the Huffington Post
A surprising number of Craigslist job ads are automatically disqualifying the long-term jobless by including the stipulations, "Must be currently employed," "No unemployed candidates will be considered," or "must have been employed within the last 6 months." Other job postings specify that if an applicant is recently unemployed, he or she should include a "good reason" for his or her layoff along with a résumé.
"Some companies think that the best people are already working," he told HuffPost. "Maybe the ones looking for jobs for some reason had a problem, or were let go for a reason, or quit for a reason, but the people companies want are the type that already have a job."
Do you believe these people? There are millions who are unemployed and these people won’t hire them because of the stigma of being unemployed! This is so wrong! Don’t they realize that they are hurting their own company by not hiring some one who is unemployed. There are so many people who have great talent and were laid-off for no reason other than the company that they worked for went to hard times.

Saturday 9: Hush

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Hush

1. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?
A listener.

2. Do you take compliments well?

No, it is so hard for me to take a compliment. Before I transitioned, I almost never got compliments and now when I get them I don’t know how to respond.

3. Are you judgmental?

Nope. I don’t believe it is our place to judge others. As the saying goes, unless you walk a mile in their shoes. We can never know all the facts to make a judgment.

4. Do you think more about the past, present or future?
More towards the future.

5. What do you hate?
People who pull in to the highway doing 40mph. Folks, that is why they call that lane the acceleration lane. So you can match the speed of traffic.

6. Use three words to describe yourself.
Shy, passionate and emotional

7. Do you celebrate Halloween? Explain:

No, Halloween is for the young at heart.

8. If you were mixing up a witches brew, what would be in it?

Grain alcohol, apple cider and dry ice (for effect).

9. If you're in a room with two beds, which one do you sleep on?
The one nearest the window because I like to sleep with an open window (at least as long as the temperature is above 45 outside).

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday Fill-ins #194

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #194


1. My favorite month is _October_ because _I love the fall, the crisp air, the bright colors and it also happens to be the month of my birthday_.

2. _A rustle of leaves and_ a fresh breeze.

3. I love to sniff _lilacs in bloom_.

4. _A bagel and cream cheese_ is what I like to have as a treat for breakfast.

5. The hobby I enjoy most is _photography_

6. _Mid-term is next week_ oh my!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going to the coffee shop_, tomorrow my plans include _celebrating my birthday with a lobster dinner_ and Sunday, I want to _go to a friends house for a dinner party_!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

My Story Part 47 – The Education Of Diana

My background is white middle class, and all of my 50 years; the number of blacks or Latinos that I knew was probably less than a dozen or so. All my friends were middle class and white. All my life I never knew anyone who made their living on the streets. All my life I never knew anyone who had AIDS/HIV. All my life I never knew anyone who had attempted suicide and all my life I never knew anyone who had. All my life I never knew anyone who was fired for because of whom they were.

All that changed ten years ago when I came out.

When I started going to support groups, most the clientele were still all most all white middle class people. It wasn’t until I started volunteering at the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition that I started to meet people of a diverse background. I met a woman who was born in the south and when she came out to her parents, they threw her out and she had to live off the street. When she was arrested and the police found out she was male bodied, they beat her. Over the years, she found her way north and lived in homeless shelters. Eventually she found a minimum wage job and with state assistance, she has her own apartment. Another trans-person was in what the person thought was a monogamous relationship, but the partner didn’t and as a result the trans-person got AIDS. I never knew anyone who was a cutter, let alone knowing what that meant, now I know close to a dozen. I was on a panel discussion for second year med students last week and some one I known for five or six years said that he was a cutter and showed his scars to the students. Every once in a while, a person stops coming to the support group and later I find that they had attempted suicide. We had some one in the support group who was planning to transition and when she told her employer of over twenty years, they laid her off.

Why am I telling you this? It is because everything I just told you was not because they are trans, but because of what society does to some one who is trans. There is a difference, a BIG difference between the two. Being transgender does not cause any of this, what does cause this is society’s pressure to conform that causes all the suffering. These symptoms are all the classic effects of a marginalized community. They are the invisible people. The ones who are all around us, but we just don’t see.

When I started going for my Master’s in Social Work, my field advisor kept asking my about my support network and I didn’t know what she was getting to, but then it dawned on me, she wanted to know who was there for me to talk about the suffering that I would see as a part of my internship. A couple of weeks ago, I needed that support network. I am receiving an education that I never dreamed.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Now Here Is A Surprise, I Would Never Have Guessed…

A researcher from the University of Arizona found that when students are bullied they suffer depression more often. Surprise! I would never have guessed. The article is in journal Developmental Psychology as reported on,
Study links bullying to depression, other adult ailments

Two University of Arizona family studies researchers are co-authors of new study that has found that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, youth who do not conform to societal gender norms can have compromised mental health that is clearly linked to the bullying and harassment they receive in school.
Analyzing data from the Family Acceptance Project young adult survey, Stephen T. Russell and Russell Toomey examined the school-related experiences of 245 LGBT young adults, ages 21 to 25. They found that LGBT young adults who did not socially conform to gender roles as adolescents reported higher levels of anti-LGBT victimization, with significantly higher levels of depression and decreased life satisfaction in young adulthood.
Their research, they said, shows that the negative impact of anti-LGBT school victimization affects both quality of life and the LGBT young adult's capacity to enjoy life. Most crucially, the findings show that anti-LGBT bullying in school largely accounts for this psychological harm.
This comes at no surprise, we see the same thing in all marginalized community. When someone stands out from the crowd, they are persecuted for their differences, whether it is because of their gender identity or presentation, race, gender, weight, height or any other differences.

Their conclusion is no surprise either…
Toomey added: "Clearly, gender-nonconforming and LGBT students need protections in schools that are specific to their sexual orientation and gender identities to interrupt the strong link between bias-victimization and poorer mental health."
As I said before, the only way that we are going to end bullying is if we all speak up. We need to tell schools that it is no longer Okay to look the other way, you must be pro-active in stopping bullying and harassment. I know that I have been talking about this a lot lately, but it seems like we now have a change to bring national attention to the problem of bullying, it only took five tragic deaths.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Saturday Six – Episode 338

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 338

1. Who is your favorite Peanuts character?
Linus van Pelt – he is so fragile and vulnerable

2. Which Peanuts character is your least favorite?
Lucy van Pelt – she’s mean

3. If it were up to you, would Lucy have to let Charlie Brown kick the football?


4. When did you last read a Peanuts comic strip?
When Charles Schulz retired.

5. Which of the television movies based on Peanuts was your favorite as a kid?
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

6. Should the strip ever be drawn by someone else, even if that person agrees to keep the same values its creator held so dear?
No, that was Mr. Schulz’s decision to make and he chose not to do it.

We Are Not Safe Anywhere.

Europe is usually considered to be ahead of the U.S. when it comes to Human Rights for transgender individuals, however, there was an article on the Transgender Europe web-site…
There is no safe space for Transgender People!

In the night of September 30th two delegates from Turkey of the Third European Transgender Council were attacked by a group of five to seven people when leaving a restaurant. The trans activists have been harassed verbally and subject to physical violence.

“There is no safe space for transgender people in Europe. Last night's attack showed once more that transphobia and racism are not only a problem of certain countries in Europe. Transphobia is everywhere”, says TGEU Vice chair Julia Ehrt.
This mirrors what I wrote the other day about bullying and harassment in schools.
Young argues, “Members of some groups live with the knowledge that they must fear random, unprovoked attacks on their persons or property, which have no motive but to damage, humiliate, or destroy the person”
When I go out, sadly, I always have in the back of my mind about my safety. Woman friends tell me that is normal for them, they are always aware of their surroundings. This is a new experience for me; I have always had male white privilege and the lost of that privilege is very noticeable. In addition, it also illustrates the extreme danger that the trans-community faces because not only do we have to face the hazards women face all the time, but also the dangers that bigotry and hatred that is directed towards the trans-community.

I have been lucky, but I do know others of my brother’s and sister’s who have not been as lucky. One was beating up on the job where she worked and when she complained to the police officer, she was arrested for disorderly conduct. The police officer manhandled a trans-man on a routine traffic stop when he saw that the gender on his license didn’t match his appearance.

I know a friend who was beaten by a group of men and when the police came she didn’t place charges because she feared that she would get arrested. Because it was her word against theirs and also because she was pre-op and she feared being thrown into the male prison.

We need to bring a cultural change to recognize that people are different and we should honor those differences and not punish those who are different. Can you imagine the world would be like if we all looked, dressed and behaved the same… boring!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Nation Is Shook Up Over The Suicides If Five Students

I am glad that we are now talking about bullying and harassment in schools, I am sad that it took five deaths in three weeks to get the media attention. This is a national a problem, not just a LGBT issue; we have to look at the causes that are driving our kids to suicide.

There is a new movement to let kids know it will get better, which is a great idea, but we also have to work to go after the causes that drove them to the point to where they are considering ending their lives. We have to look at not just their school environment but also the national culture that drives the micro culture of their schools. In an opinion article in Religion Dispatches, Cody Sanders writes that,
My indignation grew as I shifted my gaze from the individual acts of suicide to the contexts in which these suicides are set. Suicide takes place for numerous reasons. Some seek relief from enduring physical and psychological pain that seems infinitely unrelenting and others after severe bouts of depression. These teens, however, were not seeking relief from some persistent, internal state of depression or physical illness. The pain they faced had an external source — the cruel, unremitting, merciless, pounding of daily humiliation, taunting, harassment and violence.
We must address the relentless pressure that they see ever day, in the news, on the internet, in the movies and on TV shows. Cody goes on to say,
Our response to bullying is a response to violence. Beyond the inflicting of individual pain, violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people has effects far beyond the individual target. This is what Iris Marion Young terms “systematic violence” in her famous “Five Faces of Oppression.” It is a violence of instrumentality — violence with the effect of keeping an entire group subjugated and in a state of oppression.

Young argues, “Members of some groups live with the knowledge that they must fear random, unprovoked attacks on their persons or property, which have no motive but to damage, humiliate, or destroy the person”.* The only thing one must do to become victimized is to be a member of a particular group (e.g. to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender). We must widen our perspective from individual acts of bullying and violence to the instrumental purpose these serve in subjugating LGBT people to particular religious and cultural ideologies in which reality is defined from a strictly heterosexual perspective — and gay and lesbian people become non-persons.
We must challenge those who try to dehumanize LGBT people, affirming churches must speak up and speak up against the hate and bigotry. It must come from them, religious organizations because they can speak as equals when they call to end the hate. When the news media uses far right Christian denominations to speak about LGBT issues, the moderates must speak up and demand equal time to express their views. When you hear someone expressing their family values of hate, intolerance and bigotry they cannot be the only voice out there, you must speak up and declare your family values. When you see educators looking the other way at bullying or harassment, you have to speak up. Not just for your children, but for other children as well.

We need to bring about a cultural revolution and in order to do it, we need everyone’s help. We need the LGBT community to take the lead, but we also need the leaders of all the communities, religious, black, Latino, liberals and also conservatives to take action. We need to say, yes we can have our differences but we are all against violence, intolerance, hate and bigotry.

* Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference. p. 61

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Rock 'n Roll Fridays!

DJ KathyA’s Rock 'n Roll Fridays!

1. 1979 “Shakedown 1979, Cool kids never have the time. On a live wire right up off the street, You and I should meet”.
Where were you in 1979?
Working in a factory in Plantsville called Allied Control

2. BELIEVE “And if they steal your life, your heart is still mine. Your song, you sing, a truth, there’s no other. I want to believe in you dear.”
What song do you love to sing along with?
Lola :-)

3. BULLIT WITH BUTTERFLY WINGS “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage. Someone will say what is lost can never be saved. Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage”.
When was the last time you felt like a rat in a cage?
I feel like that all the time when I go out and I am stuck in a crowd.

4. CHRISTMASTIME “I remember dreaming, Wishing, Hoping, Praying for this day. Now I sit and watch them, the little ones I love”.
What day are you dreaming, wishing, hoping, praying for?
Graduation day May 8, 2011. Not like I'm counting the day or anything, but it only 217 days to go.

5. DISARM “I used to be a little boy, so old in my shoes. And what I choose is my voice. What’s a boy supposed to do?”
What did you bring to SHOW n TELL as a child to school?
Frogs, tadpoles, etc. That is an awful long time ago to remember.

6. THIRTY THREE “Supper’s waiting on the table. Tomorrow’s just an excuse away. So I pull my collar up and face the cold, on my own. The Earth laughs beneath my heavy feet.”
When and where do you generally eat supper?
In the kitchen at 6:00pm. And if you are a telemarketer you better not call then or you will an ear full.

7. TODAY “To cleanse these regrets, my angel wings were bruised and restrained. My belly stings.
When was the last time your belly “stung”?
Usually when I get the munchies at ten o’clock at night and I eat the leftover pizza that I was saving for breakfast.

8. TONIGHT TONIGHT “Time is never time at all, you can never ever leave, without leaving a piece of youth. And our lives are forever changed. We will never be the same. The more you change the less you feel.”
Despite the number, what age do you think you really are?
In the morning, 90
During the day, 50
At night, 60

9. APPELS AND ORANJES “What if the sun refused to shine? What if the clouds refused to rain? What if the wind refused to blow? What if the seas refused to wave? What if the world refused it’s turn?”
Do you believe the 2012 catastrophe will happen? If so, how are you preparing for it?
Nope. It is just like the doomsayers who warned of the coming to an end in 2000.

10. CHERRY “Stay with me, I’ll set you free. ‘Cause I can tell you once were pretty. Rose, so sad you’ve lost your petals. Lost the luster off your tattle tales.”
What celebrity has not aged well?
Mick Jagger, it is hard to believe that he is only five years older than me.

11. CRESTFALLEN “Who am I to you? Along the way, I lost my faith. And as you were, you’ll be again. To mold like clay, to break like dirt. To tear me up in your sympathy.”
What was the last thing you made out of dirt or clay?
Plant flowers, does that count?

12. EYE “Is it any wonder I found peace through you? Turn to the gates of heaven, to myself be damned. Turn away from eye, it’s not enough, just a touch.”
How do you find peace?
I picture myself sitting beside a mountain waterfall and just listening to the sound of the water.

13. MA BELLE “You must hold your truce alone. To make love happen, the moon must send you home. There’s no place that I’d rather be”.
When was the last time you walked in the moonlight?
When I walked to my car last week during the full moon. However, the last time I enjoyed the moonlight when I was up at the cottage last month. The rains had stopped and the clouds cleared out, I sat by the lake and listened to the loons.

Saturday 9: Friends, Again

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Friends, Again

1. Do you make and keep friends easily?

2. Who was your very first friend?
The first friend that I remember making was from the 2nd grade

3. Who has been your friend the longest now?
He was,

4. Tell us about your best friend.
I just don’t have one best friend.

5. Tell us about the friend who gets on your nerves the most, and why.
What, you want me to lose my friends? I don’t want to gossip about them.

6. Tell us about the last time you let a friend down.
I don’t, if I say I’m going to do something, I do it and if someone says they need help, I help them.

7. Tell us about the last wonderful thing a friend did for you!
Gave me a surprise party.

8. What was the last 'friend' thing you did?
I do many of them, but I’m not going to get specific.

9. Have your ever been jealous of a friend's S/O?

It Gets Better

There is a series of videos on YouTube called "It Gets Better" Project which was started by Dan Savage. They are posting videos for kids of celebrities and other LGBT individuals talking about how it will better.
A friend, Peterson Toscano, posted this video for the project. Peterson is a actor who travels around the world presenting original plays, his latest play is "I can see Sarah Palin from my window"

Friday, October 01, 2010

This Is So Sad… Please, Please Stop The Hate.

A fifth student committed suicide in the last three weeks because of bullying. Please stop the hate speech. Please speak up when you hear you hear hate speech; tell them that it is not acceptable. We can only bring about a change is by speaking up. Teacher and administrators, it is not necessary to laws on bullying, there are already laws that says you must provide an environment conducive to learning and that means a safe environment. Be pro-active. Culture changes from the top down.
Raymond Chase Commits Suicide, Fifth Gay Youth To Take Life In Three Weeks

Johnson and Wales student Raymond Chase, 19, took his own life this past Wednesday, according to The Advocate.

Chase, a sophomore reported as openly gay, apparently hanged himself in his dorm room. According to Now Public, the circumstances surrounding his death are not yet known.

Many consider this -- the fifth suicide by a young gay person in the past few weeks -- as a national call to action…

We have to speak up against the hate speech like "50cent" tweet...
If you a man and your over 25 and you don't eat pu**y just kill your self damn it. The world will be a better place. Lol 10:57 PM Sep 29th via ÜberTwitter
Or the Assistant Attorney Gender of Michigan who has a blog that is attacking the Student Government President of the University of Michigan becuase he is gay.
State Official Bullies College Student
By Michelle Garcia

Chris Armstrong, the gay president of the University of Michigan's student government, has found himself the target of cyberbullying by one of the state's top law enforcement officials.
Shirvell has described Armstrong as a "Nazi-like" recruiter for "the cult that is homosexuality." He also claims Armstrong aims "to promote the radical homosexual agenda at the University of Michigan and to use his position to promote that cause." He has also featured a photo of Armstrong with a swastika added to his face, calling him "Satan's representative on the Student Assembly."

In Crisis
If you or someone you know is in crisis and is considering suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.