Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Story Part 71 – I Don’t Understand Hate

All my life nobody ever hated me. That all changed when I came out.

I read articles from these so called Christians (I say so called Christians because when I was growing up, I was taught that Christ was a about love, not hate) telling me that I am damn and going to hell, telling me that I’m a sinner, telling me that I am better off dead. Why? Because I do not want to live my life any longer a lie.

I sat yesterday with some friends from ctEqualty and CWEALF at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in hearing room 2C waiting for our bill HB6599 to be voted on. I was sitting there taking in all the sights and sounds going on around me and there was a mother and two children sitting behind us. I heard her mumbling “this is discussing”, “why are there people like them here”, “why are they even hearing a law like this?” She then got up and left. I don’t know if she was talking like that about me and the bill, but I got the impression that she was saying that about us. She has the right to be there just like I have and she has the right to say what she did. However, what I do not understand is why she hates people that she does not even know.

I am reminded of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song in the play South Pacific, “You Have to be Carefully Taught”…
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

Who taught mother to hate and to pass that hate on to her children?

If you look at some of the amendments that have been proposed you can see the hate in them…
Gender ID Bill Waits in Committee, Kissel Plans Amendments

CT News Junkie
By Hugh McQuaid
Mar 30, 2011

But Kissel came to the meeting with some amendments he planned to propose that may make the proposal more palatable to his colleagues.

The amendments came from concerns raised during a public hearing on March 21, he said. Kissel’s first amendment would ratchet up penalties for individuals who posed as transgender for criminal reasons.
Kissel’s other amendment also addressed a concern raised by Wolfgang at the hearing, mainly the effect having a transgender teacher could have on young school children. Under the amendment municipal boards of education would be given the option to temporarily reassign transgender teachers as they undergo transition.
What a great lesson to teach the children, that we take people who are different and hide them away. Instead of the lesson that we welcome diversity, that we can learn from people who are different from ourselves.

Here is a video from Channel 8, WTNH yesterday…

Transgender protection bill postponed:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Long Day

The Judiciary Committee is voting on our bill today at in room 2C of the Legislative Office Building (LOB) and then in the evening I’m going to be on a cable access television program down in the New London area. So it is going to be a nine to nine day.

I’m going to watch the debate and vote on the bill this morning and I’ll report on the bill tomorrow. I have never been to a committee vote, so this should be interesting. I wanted to see who votes for our bill and if they try to tack on any amendments.

Update: 4:25
The Judiciary Committee, delayed the vote until next week.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Michigan Law Strips Voter Of Their Rights

The Michigan Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act that Gov. Snyder signed into law which can strip local voters of their right to vote for elected officials and budgets.
Emergency managers bill sweeps toward final approval
Union rights advocates call for mass protest
Michigan Messenger
By Eartha Jane Melzer

According to the law, which has already been approved in the House, the governor will be able to declare “financial emergency” in towns or school districts and appoint someone to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, and eliminate services.

Under the law whole cities or school districts could be eliminated without any public participation or oversight, and amendments designed to provide minimal safeguards and public involvement were voted down.
Yup, you read right, the governor can strip all the rights of the voters and appoint anyone he wants to appoint and the people will have no say what so ever.
“It takes every decision in a city or school district and puts it in the hands of the manager, from when the streets get plowed to who plows them and how much they are paid,” said Michigan State AFL-CIO president Mark Gaffney. “In schools, the manager would decide academics or if you have athletics.”
Talk about dictatorial powers. Is this the new Republican order. An article in the Huffington Post said,
"This isn't just about collective bargaining," said Lance Enderle, a Democrat who lost a bid to get elected to Congress last year and a leader of Tuesday's state Capitol protest. "This is about democracy."
This law has broad sweeping powers, it give the governor dictatorial powers, he is the emperor and a mayor better not cross him because if you stand in his way he can throw you out office and appoint one of his cronies to take your place. An article in Color Lines by Rinku Sen, he wrote,
The editors of Central Michigan Life note that financial emergency is broadly defined: “There is nothing stopping Snyder from declaring financial emergencies in municipalities whose officials he has a problem with, appointing his friends from corporate circles as the emergency managers who would then run the municipality in the way most profitable to themselves.”
Where else in history did we see these dictatorial powers?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Party Time! The COS Banquet

Last Saturday night was the annual Connecticut Outreach Society’s Banquet. Each year COS has their annual banquet and this year was their no exception. I remember the awe and wonder when I attended my first banquet, but now the glitz has worn off. I had a good time, but after dinner all I wanted to do is sleep. I don’t know if it was because of the steak, since I rarely have steak anymore and it made me sleepy or I am not just use to staying up late. Maybe it was because I attend a number of banquets each year and this becomes just another banquet. Or that the music was too loud to talk. Or that I’m just a morning person. What every the reason, I left at 10:30 when the music got loud and it was still going strong when I left.

However, for many of the COS members, this was the event of the year. They get to dress up in their finest clothes and go out for a night out on the town. It is their chance to be themselves just for the night in a relatively safe space. I say relatively safe space because in the past we had so incidents and last night we shared the hotel with a couple of religious groups, which made it interesting. Nothing happened just some humorous wide eyed expressions.

Ethan St. Pierre gave a great speech about the "Community" on how we are all interconnected to one another by a common bond. How that bond unites us and is shown by all of use being there at the banquet and the friendships that have resulted.

Anyway, to sum up the banquet, I think that what a spouse wrote on Facebook about you can tell that everyone had a good time sums it up best,
“……..on piles of shoes near the dance floor”
”that’s how you can tell it’s a great party”

Photo by my friend Stana

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Texas Voter ID Bill

I do not know how many of you have heard about a proposed law in Texas that would require all voters to have a voter ID card. Many states require a form of identification in order to vote; however, only a few states require a specific voter ID cards. In Connecticut, the following forms of ID is acceptable,
Acceptable forms of identification to fulfill this federal HAVA requirement are a current and valid photo ID that shows the elector’s name and address, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
From the city of Norwalk voter web page
In Texas, the new law would require a valid form of state or federally issued photo identification. Notice the difference, Connecticut does not require a valid government issued photo ID. For many people this creates an undue hardship, especially for marginalized communities.

Many who are in favor of the bill argue that it is necessary to prevent voter fraud. However, they do not have any statistical data to back up their claims. In an article in Salon, by Andrew Burmon who wrote,
But according to Lori Minnite, a professor of political science at Barnard College, who has spent the last eight years studying the role of fraud in U.S. elections, the Republican crusade against voter fraud is a strategic ruse. Rather than protecting the election process from voter fraud -- a problem that barely exists -- Minnite says the true aim of Republican efforts appears to be voter suppression across the partisan divide. According to Minnite, investigating voter fraud has become a Republican cottage industry over the last 20 years because it justifies questioning the eligibility of thousands of would-be voters -- often targeting poor and minority citizens in urban areas that lean Democratic. Playing the role of vigilant watchdog gives GOP bureaucrats a pretext for obstructing the path of marginalized and first-time voters headed for the polls.
The statistics bear me out. From 2002 to 2005 only one person was found guilty of registration fraud. Twenty people were found guilty of voting while ineligible and five people were found guilty of voting more than once. That’s 26 criminal voters -- voters who vote twice, impersonate other people, vote without being a resident -- the voters that Republicans warn about. Meanwhile thousands of people are getting turned away at the polls.
Also keep in mind that all of the voter fraud allegations against ACRON made by the Republicans were proven false. Here on Connecticut in the 2008 elections, the Republicans made claims that that ACRON submitted, this is from an article by Brian Lockhart of the CT Post,
Following a two-year probe, state investigators have cleared the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now of charges of voter fraud brought by Republican registrars in Bridgeport and Stamford.

"The evidence does not provide a sufficient basis to determine that Connecticut ACORN had an institutional or systematic role in designing and implementing a scheme or strategy to fraudulently register or enroll electors ... prior to the November 2, 2008 election," read the recent report from the Elections Enforcement Commission.
Not only did they find no illegal activity but the commission also said that,
"The Commission finds ACORN ... maintained a system designed to prevent or diminish inaccuracies or inefficiencies in the voter registration drive," read the report. "Unfortunately these attempts to flag problem cards were rendered useless upon processing when the top portion ... was separated and discarded from the voter registration card below, which was retained for record keeping."
So why are the Republicans pushing the requirement of government issued photo ID? Because for many marginalized citizens getting a government issued photo ID is nearly impossible. Many are low income citizens who have no permanent address or do not have access to their birth certificate nor passport. In many states in order for you to get a copy of your birth certificate you must request it in person and if you are living in another state that means you must travel to your birth state to get a copy of your certificate, for many that is an impossible burden. An opinion piece in Politico writing by Tova Andrea Wang who wrote…
Yet law enforcement statistics, reports from elections officials and widespread research have proved that voter fraud at the polling place is virtually non-existent. The motivation for ginning up this bogeyman is often to intimidate certain groups of voters and, ultimately, make it harder for minority or disadvantaged groups to exercise their right to vote. It is no accident that these operations have repeatedly focused on minority communities.
The Illinois GOP Senate candidate Mark Kirk was caught on a recording talking about a massive poll watcher operation in minority communities. In Massachusetts, tea partiers are also mobilizing. The president of the Greater Boston Tea Party said she was concerned about “Asian-American voters using utility bills to prove their addresses.”

Wisconsin has been a similar hub of activity. In September the organization “One Wisconsin Now” obtained audio recordings of tea party leaders planning to work with the GOP to challenge voters on Election Day -- largely in minority and student communities.

Why do the Republicans what tougher voter ID laws?
GOP Pushes for Photo ID Across the Nation
CBS St. Louie
AP Wire Story

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Empowered by last year’s elections, Republican leaders in about half the states are pushing to require voters to show photo ID at the polls despite little evidence of fraud and already-substantial punishments for those who vote illegally.

Democrats claim the moves will disenfranchise poor and minority voters - many of whom traditionally vote for their candidates. The measures will also increase spending and oversight in some states even as Republicans are focused on cutting budgets and decreasing regulations.
“I can’t figure out who it would disenfranchise,” Hargett [Tennessee Secretary of State] said. “The only people I can think it disenfranchises is those people who might be voting illegally.”
Elections officials in North Carolina said most of the voting fraud allegations they investigate turn out to be unfounded. Over the past five years, the state has referred about 350 cases to district attorneys for investigation, mostly in cases of felons who cast a ballot without first getting their voting rights restored. There are more than six million registered voters in the state. States already have ways to check the identity of voters when they register and when they go to cast a ballot. North Carolina’s current law requires residents to provide documents proving their name and address in order to register to vote. Those who register improperly can be charged with a felony.
The Republicans are trying to disenfranchise as many liberal voters as they can, they are attacking the right to vote in low-income, minority and student voters, traditionally Democratic voter. They are trying to destroy unions that have also typically backed Democratic candidates.

How does this affect the trans-community? When I voted in the 2010 elections and I gave my driver license to the checker at the door, he stopped me and asked if this was me. I said yes, he stared at me for several seconds with a sour look on his face and then handed me back my driver license. For me, I have an “F” on my driver’s license; however, in many states you cannot get the gender marker changed on your license until you have surgery and for many trans-people that is not an option because of the cost of tens of thousands of dollars. In Texas, the Dallas Voice in an article said
Lisa Scheps, former executive director of TENT [ Transgender Education Network of Texas], said the law would have a tremendous effect on transgender people.

“So many times transgender people are cross-identified,” Scheps said.

If the photo on a government-issued identification doesn’t match someone’s presentation, the ID will be questioned and the person may be denied the right to vote, she said. While the transgender community wasn’t the main target of this legislation, she said many in the community will be affected.

“It’s a bad bill,” she said. “One more way to disenfranchise many groups of people.”

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Six – Episode 363

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 363

1. Some people believe in making grand plans for their own future. Some have a 10-year plan, others have a 5-year plan, and some have only a 1 or 2-year plan. What kind of plan do you have, if any?
I have a lose 2 or 3 year plan. I would like to teach a course at the university that I am graduating from in May and also I would like to travel more around the country.

2. Are your closest friends more likely to within your gender or the opposite?
They are mostly the same gender as me.

3. What is the last printed periodical — newspaper or magazine — that you read on paper?
The Hartford Courant that I have read faithfully since the early seventies

4. Of the last ten times you communicated with your phone, which of the following types of communication did you use the most: phone call, text message, tweet or Facebook posting?
I use my phone for phone calls. I cannot afford to have one of those fancy phones that cost a $100 a month. My phone cost $20 a month.

5. You decide to make Jell-O for dessert: which flavor is your favorite?
Cherry with fruit.

6. If you could arrange a private showing of any classic film at a big theater to experience it the way theater-goers did when it was actually on the big screen, which film would you choose?
Funny you should ask. Last Saturday I went to see Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (the 210 minute cut) with the Alloy Orchestra.

Saturday 9: A Long December

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: A Long December

1. Looking back at it now, how were your holidays and your time on New Year's Eve?
I was lucky on Christmas, I managed to beat the snowstorm. The was a 36” snowstorm on Sunday at my niece’s house where we were all staying. New Year’s Eve I stayed home.

2. Do you have any unusual collections?
Slide rulers

3. If you could train a machine to do one thing for you whenever you wanted, what would you have it do?
Clean the house, including the windows

4. What is one thing that makes you cry?
A good movie.

5. What do you love to do on the weekend?
Well now I’m doing homework, but once I finish school, the weekend will be just like every other day of the week.

6. Do you and your family get along?

7. Have you ever gotten kicked out somewhere? If yes, do tell.
No, I have been lucky.

8. Who do you normally turn to when you need to complain about something?
My brother, he is a good listener.

9. What is the last thing you ordered on-line?

Flower seeds for the cottage. I bought 1/4 lb of Northeast Wildflower mix

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Why does it _always seem like I never get anything finished_.

2. _All I want_ is equal _chance at a job_.

3. My favorite breakfast includes _bacon and eggs_.

4. _The Social Movements Reader: Cases and Concepts_ was the last book I read _for class_.

5. I am SO glad _there is only five more weeks until I graduate, not that I’m counting or anything_.

6. _A piece of cake with milk_ would make me feel better right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm not looking forward to _doing homework_, tomorrow my plans include _going to my support group’s banquet_ and Sunday, I want have to _doing more homework_!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Story Part 70 – My Testimony For HB6599: An Act Concerning Discrimination

Last Monday, I testified before the Judiciary Committee in favor of the gender inclusive anti-discrimination legislation. Here is my testimony…
Honorable chairs, senators and representatives, my name is Diana ________ and I live in _______. I would like to urge you to vote in favor of HB6599: An Act Concerning Discrimination.

I want to talk to you about my family values.

All my life I hid my transsexualism from my family, I was scared and frightened that I would lose them forever if they found out. However, when I transitioned they would have to know.

One day in 2004, I summoned all my courage and told my brother. I was prepared for the worst… but when I told him, hugged me. He said that he didn’t understand, but that he would love me no matter what.

Three years later, just before I transitioned I told my sister-in-law, niece, nephews, and their children. They all accepted me with open arms. I told all my cousins and they have all accepted me. In a reply to my “Coming Out” letter one cousin wrote…
“Thank you for sharing your story with us. I, in turn, shared your letter with my children who, as parents themselves, need to be reminded of the importance of accepting their children as they are. Whatever their differences may be.”
To me that is one of my family values… to love your children.

One cousin who was deeply religious I was worried about coming out to, I was afraid that she would be the one cousin who wouldn’t accept me. My brother and sister-in-law accompanied me when I went to tell her. After I told her, she got up, walked across the room, hugged me and said that I was so brave. She was also the first cousin to invite me as “Diana” to a family function.

Since then I have gone to the weddings of my nephews and to the funeral of my aunt, my family has been there with me.

I am a student at UConn’s School of Social Work and hopefully, I will be graduating this May with my MSW. When I first attended class, I did not know what to expect, would they welcome me or would I be shunned? My worries were for nothing, they welcomed me with open arms and over the years I have made many new friendships. I will miss them, the students, faculty and the staff when I graduate.

A loving and supporting family plays an important part in the support of a trans-person. Since coming out, I have met trans-people whose families threw them out on the street when they told their parents that they were transgender, many of them ended up working the streets. While trans-children from supporting families have fewer problems with their transitions and have fewer suicides. The difference between love and acceptance and that of intolerance can be the deciding factor between life and death.

This bill will not change family values, but what it will do is to give hope to those who are trying to find a job to feed their families. Hope to those who are trying to keep a roof over their family’s heads. Hope that other children may have an easier time when they come out. All we ask is to have an equal chance at a job. This bill will help families by protecting their jobs and by preventing discrimination in housing, credit and public accommodations.

In closing, I would like to read a quote from George Washington that he made in 1790 in Newport, Rhode Island,
"The Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens."
Please pass HB6599: An Act Concerning Discrimination and give bigotry no sanction.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another Day, Another Conference

This time the conference is down in New Haven and it is the AIDS Science Day and is sponsored by Yale’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA). The reason why I’m attending the conference is that we (the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition, the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, the Institute for Community Research and the Community Health Action, Innovation & Networking) received a grant from CIRA to study the transgender population in the greater Hartford area for AIDS and we are presenting our findings at the conference.

We gave our project the catchy title of the Transgender Regional Area Network Survey Project or T.R.A.N.S. Project. For the last couple of years we developed the instrument (the survey), went before the Institute Review Board for approval, did a focus group and did a pilot survey of 15 people. It was a great learning experience for me, especially since when we were developing the survey; I was take Research II in school. I was able to say, “Yes, I done that” for many of the topics that we covered in class. It was a great mix of textbook and hands on learning.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Judiciary Committee’s Hearings On The Gender Inclusive Anti-Discrimination Bill

Yesterday, I spend the day (8:00am – 8:15pm) at the Legislative Office Building (otherwise known as the LOB) waiting to testify in favor of HB6599 An Act Concerning Discrimination. It was a very long day of sitting around. The hearing opened with a statement from Governor Malloy’s General Counsel, Andrew Mc Donald, former co-chair of the Judiciary Committee. The governor’s statement said the he fully supports HB6599 and that he will sign the bill when it is passed.

The way the hearings are run, is that there are a number of other bills that are heard at the same hearing and public officials get to testify first. Then the public gets to speak and the order is determined by a lottery. That was why I was there at 8:00am, to draw a number… 137. UGH! And why I left so late. They then publish the list and I was on page three.

The opposition drew an early number and they were able to speak first, Peter Wolfgang from the Family Institute of Connecticut gave his testimony and he started out by calling the bill “The Bathroom Bill” and when on to talk about how the bill will allow sexual predators in to the bathrooms. This is from their web-site,
What does this mean? It means that a man who is a sexual predator could claim to be "transgendered" and enter a women's public bathroom. [Their emphasis]
When he finished his testimony, he was criticized by several legislators for calling the bill “The Bathroom Bill”. They told him it was demeaning and fear mongering, and one legislator challenged him to tell them when anyone was ever arrested using a gender inclusive anti-discrimination law as an excuse to sexually assault a woman.

A few testimonies later, it was Jennifer Levi’s turn to testify, she was questioned for almost an hour and she rebuffed FIC testimony. She was also asked if she knew if anyone was ever arrested using a gender inclusive anti-discrimination law and she answered that there has never been a case that a sexual predictor used the gender inclusive anti-discrimination as an excuse. She was also asked how the law would affect sex differentiated facilities and she said it would not, that it will still allow sex differentiated facilities based on their gender identity. She then was asked if the bill would change the law for sexual predator and again she answered that it would not, that a person still could arrested.

The questions for Jennifer Levi from legislators opposed to the bill were about bizarre scenarios.
Lawmakers Seek to Understand Gender Identity and Expression, Some Struggle
CT News Junkie
by Hugh McQuaid
Mar 21, 2011

That led to a lot of theoretical questions, most revolving around hypothetical scenarios playing out in bathrooms and changing rooms. That’s where the mustached bride trying on wedding gowns came in. Just what are his or her rights? What are the rights of the shop owner who may wish to kick him or her out?

These are some the questions the committee pondered but Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, the bill’s author, said the measure comes down to a far simpler question: do you or do you not want to discriminate against these people?

Holder-Winfield found himself at odds with Family Institute of Connecticut President Peter Wolfgang, who opposed the measure on the grounds that, among other things, the measure would force public schools to accept transgender teachers.
They also asked the same questions about the man with the mustache and sexual predators to Rachel Goldberg, a lawyer who use to work for Gov. Malloy when he was the mayor of Stamford, she asked why do you asked questions about something that never happens?

There were also questions asked of attorneys Levi and Goldberg about religious freedoms from one legislator.

Another person that spoke against the bill was someone from CT Right to Life and he spoke about the DSM and said that it was a mental illness and that they should not be granted special rights. BIG MISTAKE!!!! Last year Peter Wolfgang used the same argument and they questioned him on what he knew about the DSM and if he favored discriminating against people who are mentally ill. They did the same thing to the head of the CT Right to Life, he said no, that he didn’t favor discriminating against people who are mentally ill… then if he thought that transgender people are mentally ill, why did he feel it was OK to discriminate against trans-people? Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield asked him if he read the whole section on gender identity disorder or just the criteria, he admitted that he didn’t. The legislators raked him over the coals for about a half hour.

There were a number of church officials that spoke in behalf of the bill, including an Episcopal Bishop, along with government officials, politicians, union leaders, therapist, lawyer and students. I was proud that around a dozen students from the UConn School of Social Work, where I am attending, testified for the bill. ctEquality did an excellent job in lining up speakers!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Busy Day Today…

I’m off to the Legislative Office Building for the hearing on the gender inclusive Anti-Discrimination bill (HB6599 An Act Concerning Discrimination). I have to be at Connecticut Women Education and Legal Fund’s office at 7:45AM to help bring over all the copies of testimonies to the LOB, then I’ll hang around LOB until it is my to turn testify or 5:30 whichever comes first. At 6:00 I have to be up in Storrs for a meeting at UConn.

At least tomorrow I do not have to be in class until 2, so I can rest up and decompress.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Place Saturday Six 362

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six 362

1. Did you remember to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?
No, I don’t. I joked about wearing orange for the day, but in reality, I don’t know why anyone wants to celebrate religious precaution. St Patrick became a saint because he drove out the pagans.

2. Have you ever pinched someone or been pinched for not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day?
Nope, I think I would file charges if someone pinched me.

3. Do you ever wear specific colors to make a stand for certain illnesses or issues, such as wearing pink to support breast cancer victims and research?
Yes, for breast cancer, women’s heart day and Worlds AIDS Day.

4. Have you ever worn any sort of ribbon to commemorate someone who suffered from an illness or condition? If so, what did the last one you remember wearing signify?
Yes, Worlds AIDS Day

5. Do you wear or have you ever worn a colored wristband to raise awareness about an issue or illness? If so, which one(s) do you or have you worn?
Yes, Worlds AIDS Day, Domestic Violence, PRIDE and Transgender Day of Remembrance

6. Take the quiz: What Color Day Are You Having?

You Are Having a Brown Day

Today you are your normal responsible, serious self.
You're getting done what needs to be done. And you're not too worried about how you're feeling.
While you're all business, you are still warm and approachable.
You are busy, but you're not too busy for a little fun down time.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We Need Your Help!

If you live in Connecticut we need your help to pass HB6599 An Act Concerning Discrimination. Please call your legislators and tell them you support adding gender identity and expression to the currant non-discrimination laws. You can find out who your legislator is here and how to contact them. The hearing for the bill is Monday in room 2C of the Legislative Office Building. If your legislator is in the Judiciary Committee especially need you to contact them The best way to contact them is to call them, next is to write them a letter or email them. (The member of the Judiciary Committee can be found here)

Please help us get equality. You can get more information by clicking in ctEquality’s link on the right side of my blog or email me (My email address is on the blogger profile page)

Saturday 9: You Were Meant For Me

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: You Were Meant For Me

1. Have you ever felt that you were “made” for someone or some purpose?
No, I can’t say that I every felt that way.

2. What do you do when you have a problem that you can't do anything about it?
Worry about it until I can’t sleep at night.

3. If marijuana were to be legalized, do you think it should be taxed?
Of course, there is money in that grass

4. What is one thing you should never do on a first date?
Ask her to jump in the sack with you.

5. If someone (at gunpoint) forced you to receive a portrait tattoo of someone, who would it be?
A picture of the gunman so that you can tell the police… he looks just like this.

6. Is tomorrow going to be a good day?
Not really, I have to do homework

7. Anything fabulous happen to you last night?
I went out will some classmates for pizza

8. For a few years in a row, you receive a nice tax refund: do you make an adjustment with your payroll deduction so they’ll take less, or do you leave it that way so that you can continue to receive the big check every spring?
Nope, I would adjust it so that I pay at the end of the year.

9. When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach?
When I was being interviewed for a radio show on WWUH 91.3 that will air on Thursday at 8:30

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. I love to go to _the cottage_ because _it is so peaceful there_.

2. _It is not the quantity_ it’s the quality!

3. The last thing I had to eat was _a slice of Key Lime pie_.

4. _Your co-operation_ is no longer essential.

5. Please take a moment to _read the manual_.

6. _Your instincts_ have brought you this far.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going out to eat with my class_, tomorrow my plans include _going to see the movie Metropolis_ and Sunday, I want have to _do my homework_! (Sunday is homework day)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It Gets Better – A Message from the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice

At the conference on Civil Rights yesterday at Quinnipiac University School of Law, US Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez was the keynote speaker.

This video was posted on a friend's blog...

My Story Part 69 – The Advantages Of School

OK, OK, I written about school before and I’ll probably write about it again. But this time I am writing about some of the advantages of being a student… discounts!!!! OK, are you ready for this? Software… Adobe Photoshop CS5, Adobe sells it for $1,299. At the student Co-op, $179! Microsoft Office retail $279 and the student edition is $129 at the Co-op.

Movies, theater and other events offer a student discounts… all gone in two months. I took advantage of my student ID to go to the Wadsworth Atheneum: Museum of Art many times.

However, what I think I will miss most are the conferences. Yesterday, I went to a Civil Rights conference giving by the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut at Quinnipiac University and it was an excellent learning experience that I will no longer be able to attend once I graduate. Every week at school there was always some type of lecture being held on campus that was open to the students. I will miss them; it was a great way to learn.

As I said, yesterday’s conference was excellent. The keynote was given by the Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez and he emphasized that the Obama administration is strongly behind Civil Rights. That under the Obama presidency the budget for civil rights received the largest increase ever. He also mentioned something I thought was very important, that Civil Rights should not be poll tested.
They also had the father of Matthew Shepard and the Sheriff who investigated the murder. It was very emotional. The governor also spoke at the conference and he reiterated that not only will he sign the gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill, but he will advocate on its behalf.

I met a friend from the CT Dept of Ed, Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance office there, he was giving a workshop on bullying in schools. However, I didn't go to the workshop that he gave, instead I attended a workshop on the Fair Housing Act given be a HUD official. However, we had lunch together, along with the other panelist for his workshop.

You can read about the conference here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Will Be At A Conference All Day Today.

So, I will keep this short.

I will be down at Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden CT for a conference…
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, in partnership with the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, is hosting its first-ever Civil Rights Conference to bring together individuals in our community to embark on a civil rights enforcement initiative. The conference is open to community and law enforcement members interested in civil rights issues.
The conference is from 9 – 5 and the speakers include: The Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas E. Perez, and Ambassador at Large to Monitor Human Trafficking Lou deBaca and some of the topics are: Human Trafficking, Hate Crimes, Disability Rights, Voting Rights, Fair Housing, Fair Credit, Excessive Force and Police Misconduct, and Veterans Rights.

It is one of the nice perks of being a student, being able to attend conferences like this one.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Different Voice Is Starting To Be Heard

The religious conservatives are sometimes the only voice that you hear, but there is voice that is starting to be heard. When you look at the various organizations that support the gender inclusive anti-discrimination legislation, you will find a number of churches on the list… CT Clergy for Full Equality, National Council of Jewish Women (CT), Unitarian Universalist Society: East and many more churches or church organizations support the bill.

There is a change taking place…
Church's transgender pastor grateful for life "beyond my wildest dreams"
By Electa Draper
The Denver Post
Posted: 03/14/2011

Rev. Malcolm Himschoot knows about profound transformation.

Born female, Himschoot chose as a young adult to become male, despite fears he would be lonely, unemployable and cast aside by other Christians.

He made the decision, when 21, that he wouldn't take his own life. To Himschoot, living meant making a leap of faith into gender transition.

He is now the married father of 3-year-old twins and the new pastor of a mainline, albeit liberal, Protestant church in Douglas County.

"I have a life beyond my wildest dreams," the 33-year-old Himschoot said.

Parker United Church of Christ installed Himschoot as its spiritual leader this evening in the Mainstreet Center Auditorium.
More and more churches are becoming affirming. I have friend who is trans-gender and a priest, she is retired now, but still fills in on Sundays for priests on vacation or on sick leave. Even though I do not believe in any one religion, I recognize that many do and it is hearting to see so many churches opening their hearts to my trans-brothers and sisters.

When I was at one of the workshops at the True Colors conference, a father told his story of his struggle to accept his trans-daughter. He said that he was hospitalized for an illness and a priest stopped by his room and the priest said he thought the the father looked troubled and could he help. The father then told the priest of his internal struggle to accept his son as his daughter; the priest told him that he also was transgender. At the time when he was in turmoil over his son's transition, who should come along a priest who is transsexual, the father saw it as a sign . Because of the priest, the father was able to accept his daughter.

An affirming church has also helped my brother accept me. My brother was the treasurer for the church that they attended and the assistant pastor was a lesbian. Because he got to know her as a person, he was able to accept me when I came out.

Isn’t it so much better to preach love than hate.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Republicans Attack Voter Rights - When Will They Come For You?

First, they went after women. They tried to cut funding for women health care, they tried to redefine rape, and tried to make a miscarriage a capital crime.

Next, they went after children. They are trying to cut funding to Headstart programs, one of the most effective pre-school programs.

Next, they went after seniors. The Republicans want to cut Meals On Wheels to millions of low-income and shut-ins seniors.

Next, it was Marriage Equality and States Rights that the Republicans went after. The House Republicans will now present the case for DOMA that the Justice Department recently determined they could not defend a law they deemed unconstitutional

Then they went after the unions.

Now they are attacking the right to vote…
In states, parties clash over voting laws that would affect college students, others
By Peter Wallsten
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 8, 2011; 10:41 AM

New Hampshire's new Republican state House speaker is pretty clear about what he thinks of college kids and how they vote. They're "foolish," Speaker William O'Brien said in a recent speech to a tea party group.

"Voting as a liberal. That's what kids do," he added, his comments taped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube [about 2 minutes in to the video]. Students lack "life experience," and "they just vote their feelings."

New Hampshire House Republicans are pushing for new laws that would prohibit many college students from voting in the state - and effectively keep some from voting at all.
Never mind that there is something call the Constitution and the right to vote. They want the students to vote where their parents vote, ignoring the fact that the students are over the age of 18 and have a right to choose where they want to live.

The article goes on to state that,
Democrats charge that the real goal, as with anti-union measures in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere, is simply to deflate the power of core Democratic voting blocs - in this case young people and minorities. For all the allegations of voter fraud, Democrats and voting rights groups say, there is scant evidence to show that it is a problem.

"It's a war on voting," said Thomas Bates, vice president of Rock the Vote, a youth voter- registration group mounting a campaign to fight the array of state measures. "We'd like to be advocating for a 21st-century voting system, but here we are fighting against.
The disputes are taking on national implications. Several states where newly empowered Republicans are pushing voter legislation, such as New Hampshire, Wisconsin and North Carolina, are expected to be battlegrounds in the 2012 presidential race. Democrats say the voters most likely to be affected are core pieces of President Obama's base.
Blacks account for about one-fifth of the North Carolina electorate but are a larger share - 27 percent - of the approximately 1 million voters who may lack a state-issued ID or whose names do not exactly match the Division of Motor Vehicles database. The analysis found about 556,000 voters with no record of an ID issued by the DMV.
In Wisconsin, a photo-ID bill backed by the state's new GOP majority would not permit voters to use school-issued student cards. The measure would allow for other IDs, such as passports, but opponents say thousands of students who do not have Wisconsin driver's licenses or passports would face unfair hurdles that would keep many of them from voting.
Many different types of these laws have already been struck down by the Supreme Court, but that does stop the Republicans…
States that require voter IDs also must be willing to pay for them, the result of a court ruling that declared part of Georgia's ID law unconstitutional because people lacking IDs would have to pay for cards themselves - creating, in effect, a poll tax. A legislative analysis shows the Wisconsin measure would cost the state $2.7 million a year.
After posting O'Brien's comments about college students on the Internet, state Democratic Party officials accused the GOP of pushing the legislation to rig elections. Voting rights advocates have noted that the courts have affirmed the rights of students to vote where they live.
So much for their claim that they want to cut the budget and do you remember the Republicans waving the Constitution at the opening of Congress? It seems like that they only want to obey the Constitution when it suites them.

You know that students vote...
Their "youthful idealism," he [NH state Rep. Gregory Sorg] added, "is focused on remaking the world, with themselves in charge, of course, rather than with the mundane humdrum of local government."
Imagine that, some voters views are more important that others.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I was at the True Colors conference at the University of Connecticut in Storrs for the last three days and the conference is truly amazing. Many of you have attended conference, but none are like the True Colors conference. What was the largest conference that you attended? 100, 200, 300? Well the True Colors conference had 2500 attendees!
Malloy addresses gay youth conference at UConn
Associated Press
March 11, 2011

About 2,500 people, including 1,900 youth, are gathering at the University of Connecticut for what's being billed as the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth conference in the country.
Can you imagine that many people at one conference? As part of my internship, I helped plan it and I was there Thursday helping in setting up and on Friday and Saturday I ran the vendor area where we has 35 vendor tables.

The conference had over 240 workshops and hundreds of presenters. Most of the workshops are on Friday when most of the 1,900 students attend with their advisors so there is a mixure of workshops for high school and college students, and for professional attendees like school counselors, therapist and social works. You can look at the Conference Workshop Program Guide here.

I was able to sneak away to attend a workshop for professionals on Saturday, “Supporting Caregivers of Gender Variant or Transgender Children”. The workshop was given by a licensed clinical psychologist and was attended by social workers; one of the social workers had a child just come out as trans and was there to learn what to expect when the client transitions. The psychologist also had a couple of parents there who’s child transitioned and when one of the parents was talking about her trans-daughter attending kindergarten and how the school system helped her, she mentioned the town where they live and it was my town! I talked to her after the workshop ended and it turns out that they live only a few blocks from me. It’s a Small World After All.

Saturday Six Episode 361

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode 361

1.Which do you have more of in your home: windows or mirrors?
Windows; my house is passive solar.

2. From where you are sitting right now, what’s closer to you: a mirror or a window?
Five windows (unfortunately the sun is not up yet, thanks to DST).

3. Take the quiz: Are You a Mirror or a Window?

You Are a Window

You are a truly extroverted person. Your life feels empty without lots of people in it.
Being around others makes you feel joyful. Friends and family bring meaning to your life.

And even if you're all alone, you prefer to be people watching out in public.
You are a cheerful and eager participant in the world. You are full of delight and wonder.

4. If you could change the view from your window to something else, what would you choose?
A view of the ocean, but far enough away that I wouldn’t have to worry about thing like what happen in Japan.

5. If you could change the view in your mirror to someone else, who would you wish you looked more like?
Why would I want to do that? I am happen with my own reflection.

6. If you had to choose between changing the view out of your window or your appearance reflected back in your mirror, which ONE would you choose?
Changing the view out the window.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday 9: St. Patrick's Day

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: St. Patrick's Day

1. St. Patrick's Day is March 17th (Thursday). Do you celebrate and wear green? Drink Green Beer? Ignore it?
I like to dress in Orange and go to an Irish. It is a real conversation starter.

2. If a leprechaun told you that you could have any amount of money from his pot of gold but it had to be a specified amount for a specified item, how much would you ask for and what would it be for?
For the amount of my mortgage

3. One of the symbols of St. Patrick's Day is the leprechaun. Name a celebrity that you think would look good as a leprechaun. Name a celebrity that would look ridiculous as a leprechaun. Is there any one celebrity that would make a really scary leprechaun?
Mickey Rooney would make a good leprechaun and Carol Burnett would be the scary leprechaun.

4. For a prize of $1,000,000,000 you are challenged to make yourself a costume for a St. Patricks Day party. The ONLY rules are that you aren't allow to use clothing and it has to be green. Using anything other than clothing, describe your costume to us using ANYTHING else in the house.
The leaves from my ivy plant, I would look like the sister of the Jolly Green Giant.

5. What day of the week is your busiest? Tell us about your schedule.
Hmm… didn’t we answers this question a couple of weeks back?
Monday, a meeting in the morning, a meeting in the afternoon and a meeting in the evening

6. No matter what's going on in your life, what always makes you smile?

Hmm… this one also sounds familiar.
When they draw my lottery numbers

7. Of all the clothes you own, what do you feel most comfortable wearing, and why?
Jeans, tee and sneakers.

8. On what television show—either past or present—would you like to make to make a guest appearance, and what role would you play?
The original Star Trek, I loved their uniforms.

9. What else is on your mind? Go ahead and rant.
Don’t get me started on politics, I’ll never stop

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Oh gross! I thought it was _slice of meat and it was a mushroom_.

2. _In less than two months, graduating with my MSW_ will be off my bucket list!

3. No, _I will not get up that early_.

4. _I put all my_ heart and soul into the conference.

5. And then _I just want to go home and sleep_.

6. I can't forget _the phone number for the conference call tomorrow_.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _sleeping because_, tomorrow my plans include _working at the conference all day_ and Sunday, I want to _recuperate_!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Need To Go On A Diet!!!!

My spare tire is showing…

This was filmed at office of my internship for our conference that starts today. I have to be there bright and early at around 7:00am, that means I have to leave at a little after 6:00am… ugh.

The conference is really amazing, over 2500 people attend it for the two days and we have over 240 workshops. On Friday, most of the people attend about two third of the people come and most of them are students from all over the northeast. For many of the students, for the first time they are in a safe space where they can be themselves without worrying about being harassed and bullied. Along with the students are school counselors, therapist and social workers come for professional workshops. Normally, I would be an attendee, but this year I will be working as part of my internship and I am in charge of the vendor area. We have 36 vendors who have tables this year and it was my job to organize them and assign them tables. I don’t think I will get much rest over the next two days.

My Story Part 68 – Downers

Those of you who have been following my blog have only followed the latter years of my transition, the early years have not always been so positive. One of the things that I had to deal with is harassment. Maybe because when I was first coming out I had that deer in the headlight look, but early in my transition, I was harassed much more then I am now. They were setbacks in my transition and one left a lasting scar.

One of the first times I was harassed was at our support group’s banquet. I was walking through the lobby of the hotel where we were having the banquet in East Windsor. There were a number of big rigs parked in the lot and there were a number of truck drives who stayed over at the hotel. Well I was walking through the lobby to the banquet and this truck driver took a look at me and said, “What the fuck are you!” and started laughing so hard that he fell down. That night at the banquet, I was down all night. In this picture that a friend snapped at the banquet, you can see the sadness in my face.

Another time was when I was going to a uniTy meeting at the hospital where they use to hold their meetings. I took a crowded elevator and when I got off and the doors closed, I could hear everyone on the start to laugh. The laughter faded away as the elevator moved to the next floor.

The worst time was when I wasn’t even dressed, I was in male clothes and with my brother at a mall. However, I was on hormones for a couple of years and my face was starting to take on a more feminine features. As we were walking out of the mall we passed a bunch of teenagers sitting on a bench, one of them got up and approached us. He came within inches of my face and he made a kissing sound with his lips. I didn’t known what he was going to do, rob us, assault us, I was scared and frighten and I felt embarrassed for my brother all at the same time. That he had to witness it. Adrenalin kicked in, producing the fight or flight syndrome which etched it into my subconscious.

Now I am nervous around teenagers, almost to the point of a phobia. Last Friday, as part of a class project, I had to visit a GSA (Gay, Straight Alliance) club at a high school and my anxiety level was skyrocketing at my internship as I thought about going over to the high school. I tried every way to hint that I wanted an escort going into the school without tell them outright that I was scared. We were suppose to meet outside and then go on together, but they went in when they got there, waiting for me inside. So I walked in by myself, past bunches of students standing outside waiting for rides to meet them.

However, I wouldn’t change anything. The harassment made me stronger and it also lead to me becoming an activist. The harassment has all but disappeared, but some of the scares will take time to heal. So if you are with me and we come upon teenagers, if you see me tense up, you know why.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A Little Of This And That In The News - Trans Stuff

First article is about marriage. A trans-couple was denied a marriage license in New York City back in 2009 when the clerk refused to issue the license.
Transgender couple can marry after all, NYC says
They applied in 2009, but the city clerk refused them
March 8, 2011

NEW YORK — A transgender couple refused a marriage license by New York's City Clerk in 2009 will finally be allowed to marry, and the agency promised new training to ensure other transgendered applicants are not turned away.

The transgender woman, who had been born as a male, and her opposite sex partner, who was born female, were denied a license to marry at the Bronx office of the City Clerk in December 2009.

When the pair supplied identification, a worker in the clerk's office asked for birth certificates in addition to the ID.
You also have to remember that New York City has an anti-discrimination ordinance on the books which the clerk totally ignored when he denied them the license.

In other news… In of all places, Nevada is debating adding gender identity and expression to their hate crime statutes.
Bill expands hate crime laws to transgender people
Mar 7, 2011

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Crimes against transgender people would merit stronger penalties if a bill to expand Nevada's hate crimes law passes.
Click here to find out more!

Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, pushed SB180 Monday to add crimes based on "gender identity or expression" to existing hate crime legislation, which includes crimes based on sexual orientation.
But others said the bill treats certain crime victims as more valuable than others. Orrin Johnson with the Washoe County Public Defender's Office said the language of the bill was too vague, and it would be difficult to determine if a crime was based on the broad concept of gender expression.
As I have written in the past, we have many laws that are based on motive. Connecticut has a Hate Crime law that includes gender identity and expression. The federal government also has a Hate Crime law that includes gender identity and expression, so this is nothing new.

Lastly, here in Connecticut the hearing for the anti-bullying bill will be held this Friday.
Legislative Alert

Bullying in Schools Legislation to be Heard Friday, March 11
Please Testify!

Please testify this Friday afternoon, March 11 on a major Connecticut bill to prevent bullying in schools.

S.B. 1138, An Act Concerning the Strengthening of School Bullying Laws, would take important steps to improve school climate in public schools. The bill will be heard in the Education Committee on Friday at 12:30 p.m. -- Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Your voice is needed at this hearing! Instructions on how to testify are below.

Now is the time for strong school climate legislation. One in four (25 percent) Connecticut high school students – and 35 percent of the state’s 9th graders – reported having been bullied or harassed on school property in the past year. More than 900,000 U.S. high school students reported being cyberbullied in one year. Elementary and middle school children also experience bullying. Connecticut high school students who report being bullied are more likely to get less sleep, miss school because they feel unsafe, have property stolen at school, carry a weapon to school, experience dating violence, be depressed and attempt suicide.

S.B. 1138 takes comprehensive steps to prevent bullying and ensure every child the right to learn in school without fear of teasing, humiliation or assault. At the Commission on Children's Nov. 2010 forum on bullying in schools, more than 500 people heard Kevin Jennings of the U.S. Department of Education tell us that every school should have a clear policy against bullying behaviors, train all staff who interact with students, ensure that all staff members take immediate action when bullying is observed, and gather data to assess bullying. S.B. 1138 takes all of these steps.

Under S.B. 1138:

  • All school employees, including bus drivers and cafeteria workers, will receive annual training on the prevention of, and response to, student bullying and will be part of the school's active response to bullying; all teacher candidates and beginning teachers will be trained as well
  • All school employees will take immediate action when bullying occurs; parents will be informed; school officials will complete an investigation within 10 days; schools will respond to bullying whether it occurs at school, online (cyberbullying), on a school bus, at a bus stop, or at a school-related activity, as well as to bullying outside these settings if it disrupts a student's education or the orderly operation of a school
  • All schools will establish a safe school environment team to address bullying patterns, review policies and educate the school community
  • Every school district will appoint a safe school environment coordinator to help schools implement a safe school environment plan
  • Schools will continue to be required to implement a written prevention and intervention strategy; they will be encouraged to use student peer training as one tool to prevent bullying
  • The "bullying" definition will be amended to (1) add cyberbullying, (2) clarify what constitutes bullying, and (3) eliminate the "during the school year" phrase in the current definition that reportedly causes some school officials to "wipe the slate clean" and ignore bullying patterns that began before the current school year. [However, the proposed definition does not include "enumerated categories" recommended by the U.S. Department of Education to clarify that bullying includes illegal acts of harassment based on actual or perceived characteristics of students.]
  • A statewide safe school resource network will provide training and resources to schools, and analyze bullying data
  • All school boards will invite parents, students, law enforcement and the public to help review and strengthen the local safe school plan
  • The state will annually celebrate Safe School Awareness Day to promote tolerance and respect for differences among students
  • The State Department of Education will monitor districts' prevention and intervention strategies and progress, and report biennially on the effectiveness of school responses.
You can read S.B. 1138 in its entirety here.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Its Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Did you see the report last week from the Labor Department last week? The jobless rate is the lowest since Bush’s recession.
Initial Jobless Claims Tumble to Lowest Level Since 2008
Claims number falls 20,000 to 368,000
National Journal
By Clifford Marks
Thursday, March 3, 2011

In what may be a hopeful sign for a job market recovery, initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level in three years last week, beating analyst expectations.

The advance figure for initial unemployment claims fell 20,000 to reach 368,000, according to Department of Labor data released Thursday morning. Economists polled by Bloomberg before the release predicted a small rise to 395,000. The less volatile four-week average tumbled to 388,500.
Even Fox News had to report the good news…
Jobless Rate Dips to 8.9 Percent, Lowest in Nearly Two Years
Published March 04, 2011

The unemployment rate has been falling for three months, down from 9.8 percent in November. The jobless rate is now at the lowest point since April 2009.

House Speaker John Boehner called the numbers "welcome news," though he noted that the jobless rate is still "far above where the Obama administration promised it would be" when it pitched the stimulus package to the American people.
Here is my prediction, when the Republicans begin to cut back spending, you will see a rise in unemployment. Why? Because when you build roads or spaceships, that generates income for thousands of workers, who go out and buy goods and services. Those employees go out and buy more goods and services. There is a multiplication factor for every dollar spent by the government. The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center wrote that “Each dollar spent on repair and maintenance construction [on roads] generates $1.20 in additional spending.” That is a 20% return on investment! When the Republicans cut spending on repairing the national highways system like they promised, those jobs will all go away and the jobless rate will climb again. When you give a tax break to a millionaire, they can only buy so many televisions and cars. When you give a person a job they can go out and buy a lot more televisions and cars and refrigerators.

This is called Keynesian economics or “priming the pump” theory,
In Keynes' theory, one person's spendings goes towards anothers earnings, and when that person spends her earnings she is, in effect, supporting anothers earnings. This circle continues on and helps support a normal functioning economy. When the Great Depression hit, people's natural reaction was to hoard their money. Under Keynes' theory this stopped the circular flow of money, keeping the economy at a standstill.
When the Republicans pull the plug on the pump, the economy is going to go back into a slump.

Monday, March 07, 2011


Many of you know that I am interning at a LGBTQI Youth and Family Service Agency and which has been taking me to high schools (More on this in “My Story” on Thursday.) around the state. When I talk to older trans-women I hear a lot of them say something like, “The kids now a days have it so much easier! They pass* so easy at a young age.” True they could have never transitioned in school back twenty or thirty years ago, but the kids now have it just as or even harder transitioning in school. Now they face relentless harassment and bullying from their fellow students, unless they get support from the school administration.

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Reports (NGLTF) issued a press release back in October that said,
Among those who had been bullied, harassed or assaulted while they were in school, half reported having attempted suicide. Most notably, suicide attempt rates rise dramatically when teachers were the reported perpetrators: 59 percent for those harassed or bullied by teachers, 76 percent among those who were physically assaulted by teachers and 69 percent among those who were sexually assaulted by teachers.

Of those who reported that they had to “leave school because the harassment was so bad,” 68 percent said they attempted suicide. Fully 61 percent of respondents who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in school reported significant abuses in educational settings. From elementary through graduate school, the survey showed high levels of harassment and bullying (59 percent), physical assault (23 percent), sexual assault (8 percent), and expulsion from school (5 percent), all on the basis of gender identity or expression.
Last night on NBC Dateline show they discussed bullying and as I said many times before, it is not enough to talk to bullies or their victims but you also have to get the teachers, the administrators, the bystanders and the community involved.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In the full length video, the other students step in to defend the victim against the bullies and the show points out that their parents had talks with their children about bullying.

I found an article where a trans-girl and her mother stood up to police indifference …
Howard family pushes for transgender acceptance
Will Gullucci and his mother want police, schools to be more sensitive
By Janene Holzberg,
The Baltimore Sun
March 5, 2011

When a photo of a guy dressed in women's clothing suddenly flashed on the screen near the end of an intense slide show on teenage drunken driving, Will Gullucci felt humiliated.

Gullucci, a Marriotts Ridge High School senior who had "come out" as a transgender person just two years ago and is leading her life as a girl, listened as her fellow seniors laughed loudly. After all the serious shots of drunken teens and car accidents, the larger-than-life photo seemed gratuitous to Gullucci.

"I said, 'Someone better get that photo off the screen, like now,'" Gullucci recalled. She thought the image was inserted for comic relief.

She approached the county police officer who'd given the presentation to tell him what she thought of it, Gullucci said, but soon realized she "may as well have been talking to a brick wall."
Her outrage lead her to educate the police department about trans-people.
Hyde's initial call to county police set in motion a series of conversations that eventually led to the department's decision to incorporate transgender issues into training for the entire police force.

And since she has become an active volunteer with the Columbia-Howard County chapter of the national support group for Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Hyde has also been working with the county school system to make sure staff members are prepared to protect transgender students from bullying.
One person can make a difference.

I started by writing about the struggles that trans-students have in school. At one of the GSAs that I have visited a trans-student dropped out of the school and the GSA club was discussing how to change the climate in school so that no one again will have to drop out of school because of bullying and harassment.

*Not being identified as transgender.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Saturday Six – Episode 350

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 350

1. Which condiment do you use most often?

2. Which kitchen seasoning do you use most often?

3. Take the quiz: What Ice Cream Topping Are You?

You Are Whipped Cream

You are unpretentious and down to earth. You aren't about to apologize for who you are.
You are sweet and angelic. You truly care about others, and that shines through in everything you do.

You are a unifying force. You bring people together and often are the social glue in your group.
You are optimistic and trusting. You give others the benefit of the doubt until they prove you wrong.

4. What’s the most exotic dessert you’ve ever sampled?

5. You crave a bowl of vanilla ice cream: what single topping are you most likely to want to add?
Hot Fudge

6. You decide to have a healthy cereal for breakfast: which fruit would you most likely use as a topping for that?
Blueberries. I like blueberries instead of bananas because of the taste and they are high in anti-oxidants, while bananas are high in potassium which is something that I have watch out for.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Saturday 9: Medicate

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Medicate

1. Do you take a lot of medication?

Are you kidding? I rattle when I walk. Between taking hormone pills, hormone blockers, high blood pressure, cholesterol and my heart medication, I sometime find time to eat something besides pills.

2. Name one of your flaws and tell us about it.
I sometimes space out and get lost in thought.

3. Have you ever won first place? If yes, tell us about your victory!
Yes, twice. The first time for a science project, launch a mouse in a rocket and a photograph at a local fair.

4. Who is the last person to make you smile? What was happening?

The kids at my internship, they do the craziest thing.

5. Describe a time when you should have tried harder.
Losing weight

6. What are you best at?


7. If someone was going to make a movie or TV show about your life, who would play you and why?
Candis Cayne, she looks the way I wish I looked.

8. Name 3 things that you think are strange.
Believing in aliening – why would someone want to visit Earth
Believing in ghosts – when you’re dead, you’re dead.
Believing the world is going to end next year

9. What is one lesson you have learned in the past 12 months?
It was something that I did, that I will not do again (no it wasn’t bad, just a breach in etiquette).

Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Bring your favorite _dish to the potluck supper_.

2. _Gratuities_ are included.

3. _The sherry_ is exactly _what the recipe called for_.

4. Well, you see, _everyone decided to bring a desert_.

5. _The meal is getting cold, I hope they get here_ soon!

6. But what if _they forget to bring the wine_.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _doing my homework_, tomorrow my plans include _driving down to New London to do lobby training on the bill_ and Sunday, I want have to _read my homework assignment so the I can catch up on my reading assignments during spring break_!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

My Story Part 67 – School

Way back in the spring of 2007 I attended my first class in 33 years. I was filled with apprehension of the unknown and dread. I had no idea what to expect, exams, term papers, reading assignments. Here I was 59 years old, with a background in engineering attempting to get a Masters in Social Work, what was I thinking. This was down right stupid, at work everyone asked me why was I going back to school and in Social Work of all things. It was totally crazy. On top of all that, I was going as a woman.

So how did the idea of going back to school get planted in my head?

Well it all started when I decided to take early retirement and I started asking friends, what can I do to help the trans-community. I asked a friend who is head of Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition and she said get your masters in social work. I dismissed the idea, I’m not a people person, I’m just not good at handling other people problems. At lobby training in the Legislative Office Building, I asked a couple of friends, one worked at the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective and the other was a therapist, and they both said, get your MSW. No way, me become a social worker no way. Then I asked a couple of friends at Connecticut Women Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) when I was there for a meeting, they said the same thing and while talking to them I told them that I wasn’t cut out to be a therapist. They told me that not all social workers are therapist, that their concentration was in community organizing. Hmmm….

One of the things that I do is get the mail at the Farmington Post Office for the Connecticut Outreach Society and one day there was a flyer in the mail from UConn School of Social Work for their S.T.E.P. program for people thinking about going back to school. Hmm…. I read the flyer, looked at the courses that they were offering and did some research on their web-site. I filed it way in the back of my mind.

In September of 2006 at work, they announced that they would be closing the shop within a year and that they would be offering tuition reimbursement. When I got home that night, I dusted off that flyer from UConn. The next morning I stopped by HR at work (she knew about Diana for almost a year) and I mentioned that I was thinking about going back to school to get my masters in social work, she thought it was a great idea. She also said that the company would pay for the classes while I was working and the classes would qualify for the tuition reimbursement once I was laid-off. So I filled out the paperwork and sent it in.

So in January, I found myself sitting in a classroom for the first time in 33 years in a room filled with strangers, well not quite, there was a woman there that I knew and I sat down next to her. She was a godsend. When the professor walked in she started to write the name of the class as she was looking around the room and she saw me. She wrote the name of the class as, “New Perspectives on Gays, Lesbians and Transgender Individuals”. However, the name on syllabus said New Perspectives on Gays and Lesbians”. She then read off the names of the students and when she called off our name, we had to say what we had our bachelor degree was, when did we graduate and from what school. When the professor got to my name, she called out my male name and I told her that I went by Diana (she always called me as Diana and I handed in all my assignments as Diana). Everyone was answering that they had their degree in sociology or social work and graduated only a couple of years ago, but I answered, that I had a bachelor in electronic technology, it was 33 years ago and I went to RIT. Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb.

Once I was laid-off, I transitioned; I then applied to become a matriculation student and was accepted. The only snag was when I sent in my old transcripts from RIT and Waterbury State Tech, they had my male names on them. One day I got home and the message light on my answering machine was blinking, it was a message from school, they had a problem with my transcripts and could I come in to straighten them out. I walked into their office and they took one look at me and they said, “No problem, everything is OK now”, I gave them a copy of my Probate order anyhow, just in case a problem came up later.

Now four years later, I will be walking across the stage in May. And I know I will be crying, these were the best years in my life so far.

One other thing, after I spent the amount that the company gave me for tuition reimbursement, I was talking to the HR company that was handling the reimbursement. They said that out of the over 60 people eligible for the tuition reimbursement, I was the only one to apply for it. it is sad that no one took advantage of a free education.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

White Privilege

When I debate with people about racial profiling, they usually cite statistics that blacks commit more crimes; therefore, it makes sense for the police to target them. I argue that first, by targeting blacks they are skewing the data to show what they are saying. Second, by racial profiling the real criminal can get away with the crime. Watch this video from ABC show “What Would You Do?” it is about two bike thieves, one black and one white. Guess which thief is reported to the police?

You have to treat everyone equally, whether it is a bike thief or a terrorist. By singling a particular race or ethnicity the real criminal can get away with the crime.

I like the show “What Would You Do?” they have some good shows that show our biases and indifference. Look at this about a Drag Queen being harassed in a restaurant.