Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Scarlet Letter

Do you remember the book “The Scarlet Letter”? Where Hester Prynne had a daughter out of wedlock and the daughter carries the sin and guilt of the mother. This amendment that a Republican has introduced for the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill, HB6599 is our Scarlet Letter.
"Sec. 501. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) Any person holding a motor vehicle operator's license whose gender-related identity is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth shall notify the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles of such identity and the commissioner shall indicate such identity in the electronic record maintained by the commissioner pertaining to such person's operator's license. "
This amendment is hateful! It is punitive. It serves no purpose other than to cast stigma and to humiliate transgender people. It is meant to marginalize and oppress the trans-community. This label on our driver license will always stick with us where ever we go. Whenever we go for a job interview and they do a background check it will be there. Whenever we apply for a loan, it will be there. Whenever we rent an apartment, it will be there. This will be a Scarlet “T” branded on our foreheads.

I am going to write something that I have never written before and I have avoided using it as a comparison because of the horrors that are associated with it, it is beyond comparison. However, this amendment comes so close to how the Holocaust began when the Gays and Transgender people were forced to wear Pint Triangles. What is next Senator Witkos, what is next?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

My brother and I went up to the cottage and we opened up the cottage for the summer. It is always an adventure when we open it up; you never know what went wrong over the winter. Here is a brief synopsis of the weekend...

No hot water... hot water tank busted over the winter
Dishwasher sprung a leak... parts back ordered
We were planning on replacing backdoor this weekend... the door had to be special ordered
Gave a pint of blood to the black flies (the season is all most over ) and mosquitoes

However, we did put in the dock
My brother did a lot of painting
I dusted, cleaned and washed the sliding glass doors
Changed the looks on the doors
And I cooked a couple of good meals for us, Shrimp Creole and Shish Kabobs
I went in the lake, surprisingly the water was warm (it was 70deg and the air was 90deg)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. This week I _found to be very stressful waiting for the vote_.

2. _I have to bring back to the grocery store the empty bottle_ returns.

3. It's all about _fairness_.

4. _The holiday weekend calls for fun_ in the sun.

5. I demand _equality_.

6. _The tortured_ path, it's filled with _frustration_.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I looking forward to hopefully will be _sitting in the Senate visitor gallery listening to the debate on our bill and watching it get passed_, tomorrow my plans include _driving up to the cottage_ and Sunday, I want to _de-stress from all this madness_!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why Are We Hung Up On Gender?

Radio talk-show lines across Canada are sizzling with angry denunciations of Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, parents of two boys, Jazz (5) and Kio (2), plus baby Storm.
The Globe and Mail
Why all the fuss over the gender of Storm? Why are all the comments on articles about Storm so negative? You would think that our society is hung up on the gender binary, but gender is not a binary, we like to make it a binary; however, nature very rarely does anything in black and white terms.

Why do we feel uncomfortable when we do not know a person’s gender?
Toronto parents hide child’s gender in bid for neutral treatment
National Post
By Tom Blackwell
May 25, 2011

It is nothing if not an unorthodox approach to child rearing: A Toronto couple says it is trying to raise a genderless child, refusing to reveal baby Storm’s sex to encourage a more neutral approach to the infant.
In fact, there is little hard, scientific data on exactly what does make people feel and act like a boy or a girl, but some evidence points to gender identity being hard-wired, says Michele Angello, a U.S. psychologist.

Dr. Angello specializes in helping “gender-variant” people — those born with the body of one sex but convinced they are the other. Many go on to have sex-change operations.

The way people act toward them certainly affects how they feel about themselves; whether it actually molds their identity to start with is another question, she said.

“People come into my office saying ‘I knew from an early age I identified as a female, even though I was born with a male body, but it was made clear to me that was unacceptable,’ ” said Dr. Angello, based in Wayne, PA.
One of the most controversial explorations into the issue involved David Reimer, an identical twin from Winnipeg whose penis was accidentally removed during a botched circumcision as a baby. John Money, a controversial U.S. psychologist, oversaw his case and saw his genitals partially converted to female ones, female hormones administered and Mr. Reimer raised as a girl. Dr. Money argued that sexual identity was fluid until a certain age, and pointed to the Canadian’s case as evidence of it. Mr. Reimer, who was raised as Brenda for years, revealed later, however, that he never felt like a girl. He committed suicide in 2004.

If creating sexual identity is not a simple matter of surgery and pharmaceuticals, what are the key factors then? The case of transsexual people who feel trapped in the wrong body would suggest a strong biological component, but that could be a faulty assumption, said Dr. Edgardo Menvielle, a psychiatrist who treats gender variant people at Children’s National Medical Centre in Washington, D.C..
Gender is not visible; gender is hidden inside of us. There are no tests to say if you identify as a boy or girl, we self-identify, we say who we are. Sex is between your legs, gender is in your head. I like to use the analogy of a row of telephone poles, when you look down the row of them you only see the first telephone pole, but if you stand off to one side you can see that there are more than one telephone pole. The same is true for sex and gender, when both are in-line we only see one pole. However, for those of us who are transgender we see that there are really two poles, sex and gender.

The story about David Reimer that was mentioned in the National Post is a case in point. David was surgically altered to make his gender and sex out of line. When David looked between his legs he didn’t believe what he saw, his brain said it was wrong. All the visible clues said female, but his brain screamed male.

In a 2005 New York Times an article, Declaring With Clarity, When Gender Is Ambiguous, the writer Claudia Dreifus tells of an interview with Dr. William G. Reiner, a professor and researcher at the University of Oklahoma and Johns Hopkins about babies born with an intersex condition. In the interview Dr. Reiner said,
…Until the 1950's, when an intersex child was born, they were let be. But starting in the 1950's, the general approach was to make the child into one sex or another. If it was a partially masculinized female, there was a surgical attempt to turn her into a "normal" female. Structures were created so that she could have intercourse later.

If the child was a genetic male, the question was, Will the adult penis be large enough for sexual intercourse? The vast majority of the children with severe inadequacy of the penis were converted to "female" surgically and then raised as girls.

Q. So the prescription for the intersex boys was castrate them and put them into a dress?

A. The problem was, In a large number of children, as with my first intersex patient, it never took. Gender has far more to do with other important structures than external genitals.

Q. How do you know what constitutes gender identity?

A. As part of a research study, I've personally seen and assessed 400 children with major anomalies of the genitals. Of those, approximately 100 might be called "intersex." Our findings have been many and complex. The most important is that about 60 percent of the genetic male children raised as female have retransitioned into males.

We also found that of this group there were some genetically male children, who despite genital anomalies were raised as males, and they continued to declare themselves as male.
Gender is not what is between your legs, gender is in your brain! A transgender person is born. It is not a “lifestyle”, it is not a “choice”.

There are those who call us perverts, there are those who call us sexual predators and they have spew their hate for us. It is just as Rep. Fawcett said on the House floor when she voted for the anti-discrimination bill HB6599, that there are organization opposed to the bill that "who have slandered the intent of the proposal before us" and "stirred up fear” against the bill and that they have "not stood up for the same God or the same faith that I hold so dear".

We expect that the Senate will vote on the bill today or tomorrow. They submitted all the amendments that they tried to pass in the House, plus the amendments that they tried to add in the Judiciary Committee. Please help us and call or email your senator, you can find their contact information here, tell them to vote for HB6599 as passed by the House.

We need to pass this bill as amended by the House.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Story Part 77 – The House Is Now Voting By Roll! Clang, Clang

The House of Representatives is voting by roll call. Members, please report to the Chamber. The House is now voting by roll. Will all Members please report to the Chamber. The House is voting by roll. Members to the Chamber, please.,
Those are the words that echoed throughout the Capitol last week the culminated a five hour debate on the anti-discrimination bill HB6599 as we all held out breath as the Tally Board started to show the vote count. Speaker Donovan then said,
Have all the members voted? If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked. Clerk, take the tally.
The numbers flashed up on the Tally Board… 77 Yea 62 Nay. We all let out our collective breath and proceeded to hug everyone in sight, I was crying. In 2007, our bill died in the House after passing in the Senate and the House was in my mind the biggest hurdle to jump.

The day started out with my usual check of the House “Go List”, the list of bills that are going to be voted on in the House that day and ours was not on it and I was being to get worried because the 2011 legislative session ends on June 8 and the bill still has to go to the Senate for a vote.

In the afternoon I went to a meeting and when I got there everyone had their Blackberries and iPhones out and they were staring at them. When I asked what was happening, they said that the bill was just called in the House. (I later learned that the governor had intervened to get the House to bring the bill to a vote.) After the meeting we headed over to the Capitol and when I arrived they were just voting on the friendly amendment (You can find out the actual vote count, information about the bill and the amendments here). Then Rep. Rowe, Klarides and Cafero introduced the amendment banning the use by trans-people of sex separated facilities. The debate went on and on for over an hour, the Republicans asking about crazy scenarios that could never happen… what if… Finally the debate ended, the bell rang and the familiar voice called out, “The House of Representatives is voting by roll call. Members, please report to the Chamber…” The votes began to tally on the board and the red and green lights looked evenly matched and I held my breath; the clerked called out the vote and the amendment was defeated! But by only 3 votes!

The next amendment that the Republicans introduced was to define gender identity and expression using the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is a guide published by the American Psychiatric Association which is used when working with patients to better understand their illness, needs, potential treatment and to help get paid by insurance companies.). The debate for the amendment went on for what seemed like forever but it was only for a little less than an hour. One of the things that was apparent during the debate was that the Republicans knew nothing about the DSM, for example it is in the process of being revised and no one knows what the final version will say about gender identity. One draft of the DSM changed the name to Gender Incongruity and that might be scraped for still another version.

Finally, the debate for the bill began with the Republicans reiterating what they had said for the last several hours. What got me was just about all of them said, it was with deep sadness that they will vote against the bill, they do not condone discrimination, but… they just don’t want us to go the bathroom. There were two notable speeches in support of the bill by Democrats; the first was by Rep. Roy, he spoke about his cousin who had just transitioned from male to female. He said that he sent his cousin a Christmas card using her female name and received a thank you from her telling him how she cherished the card. That it was such a small gesture but had gone a long way in showing his support of her transition. The other Democrat who spoke was by Rep. Fawcett, when she first started her speech, she said that she was a member of an evangelical church, a social conservative and she voted against the marriage bill. She said she asked herself “WWJD”, What Would Jesus Do, and she is guided by that when she decides on a bill. I thought here we go; she is going to go on a rant against the bill. But then she said, “Would my God discriminate against any person because of gender identity?” and she said no, that he loves all his children. She then went on to say that there are organization opposed to the bill that "who have slandered the intent of the proposal before us" and "stirred up fear” against the bill and that they have "not stood up for the same God or the same faith that I hold so dear," Then pandemonium broke out on the floor, the Minority Leader, Rep. Cafero stood up and shouted, “Point of Order!” that the representative was attaching the motive of the legislators in voting against the bill. Groups of legislators then scurried around talking to other groups, afterward Rep. Cafero withdrew his “Point of Order” and Rep. Fawcett sat down.

Then the bell rang and the clerk called out, “The House of Representatives is voting by roll call…” The vote was 77 Yea and 62 Nay, not a single Republican voted in favor of the bill and 14 Democrats voted against the bill.

The opposition on their blog wrote,
Last night, the House of Representatives cast the single worst, most anti-family vote in the last six years. They passed the Bathroom Bill, which does more to move Connecticut toward a society incapable of grasping objective truth than any vote since the 2005 civil unions fight…
That wing [those who voted against the bill] of the party will not include Rep. Kim Fawcett (D-Fairfield, Westport), who gave the most disgraceful speech of the evening. Announcing that she is a Christian, she said "it's because my faith is so important to me" that she is voting for the Bathroom Bill, and she blasted FIC Action for having "slandered" the bill," saying we "stirred up fear" and that we have "not stood up for the same God or the same faith that [she] hold[s] so dear."

It fact, it was Fawcett, not FIC Action, who embarrassed the faith, by referencing it for the sole purpose of attacking the motives of those with whom she disagrees. In the most dramatic moment of the evening--one not recorded by the Courant's article--House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero interrupted her tirade and forced her to stop her attack on FIC Action by citing the House rules she was breaking.
Notice that she never mentioned the organization by name. They also complained about the fact that the Catholic Church did not oppose the bill.

We expect that the Senate will vote on the bill today or tomorrow. They submitted all the amendments that they tried to pass in the House, plus the amendments that they tried to add in the Judiciary Committee. Please help us and call or email your senator, you can find their contact information here, tell them to vote for HB6599 as passed by the House.

We need to stop these biased and intolerable amendments and pass this bill.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

LGBT Rights In Texas

If you are like me, you thought Texas was one of the worst places for a trans-person or a gay or lesbian person could live. They tried to ban marriage for trans-people. Texas want to require college to spend equally on LGBT and "family and traditional values." organization on campuses.

So I was surprised when I watched this ABC “What Would You Do” video…

I was disappointed that in New York, less than half spoke up.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It Is Always About The Children

But we have opposite views on what is best for them. The conservatives want them coddle and hiding from life, while most child experts say that by preventing children from learning about transgender people, it creates a stigma, an unnaturalness to being transgender. When the anti-discrimination bill was in committee, the Republicans proposed an amendment that said a teacher couldn’t teach while transitioning. The first problem that I had with the amendment was that the term “transition” has no definition, did they mean that the day that the person transitioned from their birth gender to their true gender or did they mean from the entire time they were undergoing the year of their “Real Life Test”, the proposed amendment was too vague. The major problem that I had with the amendment was what it taught the children, that we had to hideaway “these people”, it would have taught the children that it is okay to discriminate against people who are different.

In an article in the Huffington Post they discuss this issue,
Should We Introduce Children to the Concept of Transgender People?
Joanne Herman
January 9, 2011

Should we introduce children to the concept of transgender people? The answer is yes according to an article published in the December 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed Graduate Journal of Social Science.
Critics will cry that introducing all children to the concept of transgender people will cause children to "become transgender." But the authors found that schooling has little impact on gender identity development in children. In fact, children who develop a transgender identity seem to do so in spite of often unwitting but nevertheless pervasive efforts by schools to enforce gender conformity.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
By having schools introduce the concept of transgender people to all children, the authors assert, transgender children will "feel they are not alone and that their gender identity is as valid as any other." This will, in turn, greatly diminish the damaging consequences currently observed as these children mature.
I heard this argued out on the floor of the House last when the vote came up for on HB6599 An Act Concerning Discrimination, we must protect the children! As Ms. Herman wrote, not to allow a teacher or a student is worst for all the students, it promotes discrimination, it promotes bullying and harassment, lower achievement and worst of all, almost half of transgender students have thought of taking their own life.

The other point that the Republicans do not consider is that schools and boards of ed. can impose reasonable policies to govern the how the schools will accommodate transgender, teachers, staff and students. For example schools systems have policies that require a person to transition over the summer vacation. But the Republicans never mention that, they rather create fear of the “men-in-a-dress” where a teacher will come in one day dresses a woman and the next as a man, which will never happen. According to the Standards of Care (SOC) that the medical profession has imposed on the community, once you transition, there is no going back and forth.

When students, teachers or staff transition, it can be handled in an age appropriate manor, it not the chaotic process that the Republicans portray it as.

Update 5/24
Ops... I was going to embed this video

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stags v. Bridal or Baby Showers

The Showers wins hands down over a stag.

Stags are all about booze and gambling, while showers are socializing – showers win!
Cheap keg beer v. sangrias – showers win!
Loud and boisterous v. laughter and quite talk – showers win!
Cigar smoke filled rooms v. light pleasant atmosphere – showers win!

Granted I have only been to one bridal shower and one baby shower, but I like the showers a whole lot more than stags. I never really got into stags, I’m not a big drinker, I’m not a gambler and I don’t like cigars. While at my nephew’s fiancées shower, I loved the tradition of something new, something old and something barrowed. I found out that the family had a tradition that I never knew of passing along something old from bride to bride. Yesterday, at my other nephew wife’s baby shower I liked the light banter when she was opening the gifts. It was a nice day of family bonding.

Compare that to a stag, where guys see who can chug a beer and crush the can on their forehead the fastest… oh fun!

Some call showers "Hen" parties, but I much rather go to a "Hen" party then a "Co... ah, um...Roster" party.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Six Episode 371

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode 371

1. What do you enjoy most about the summer?
Laying out in the deck by the lake

2. If you could spend a two-week summer vacation anywhere, what location would you choose?
If I’m going on a two week vacation, I wouldn’t want to spend it in one place. I would like to see visit the National Parks out west. Otherwise, I would spend it at the lake.

3. Take the quiz:
What is Your Summer Sense?

Your Summer Sense is Smell

You are a very sensitive person, and you are especially tuned into your sense of smell.
You pick up on subtleties that others seem to miss. You can sense summer coming on before anyone else can.

For you, there's nothing like the smell of a hot grill or freshly mowed grass - preferably at the same time.
And the ultimate summer smell experience has got to be the beach. There's something intoxicating about the smell of the ocean!

4. Where’s the best place near you to take a summer drive?
In the Berkshires, they are only an hour away and I know a lot of the back roads where you can cruise without the traffic.

5. What kind of music would you most likely be listening to if you could take a nice, long relaxing summer drive in a convertible?

When I use to drive up to college in Rochester NY, I use to like to listen on my 8-track the Grateful Dead’s Truckin’ and Pure Prairie League

6. After spending the day out in the summer sun, what’s your favorite hot weather treat?
A chocolate milk shake

Friday, May 20, 2011

Saturday 9: Rain

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Rain

1. It's Spring, grilling begins! If you plan a picnic, do you bow out if it rains?
It depends on the local, if it is at a friend’s house or a park with a pavilion, no. but if there is no shelter yes.

2. Do you prefer food grilled on a charcoal or gas grill?
Gas at home, charcoal at the cottage or at a picnic grounds.

3. We're at the first grilling picnic. What's your meat order?

Chicken, marinade in a spicy pineapple and soy sauce.

4. What side dishes do you want?

Potato salad, beans, macaroni salad and a green salad

5. Now, where do prefer to eat: at the picnic table or inside?
At a table outside.

6. You were asked to bring a dish. What do you bring?
The potato salad

7. Does it bother you to have citronella candles burning if you are eating or cooking outside?
No, as a matter of fact, I like to dine outside surrounded by citronella oil lamps

8. What fellow bloggers do you want to meet at the picnic?
Bud Wiser, Allyson, Sam, Janet and Harriet and their guests

9. Does there need to be a pool at the picnic, your choice?

No, but a lake is nice.

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. I see _a light at the end of the tunnel_.

2. _Next year, we do not want to start from_ scratch.

3. They begin _to get on my nerves_.

4. _I would never have dreamed of this day_ so many years earlier.

5. This I know: _we will prevail_.

6. _I had spaghetti and meatballs _ for dinner.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _resting up_, tomorrow my plans include _doing a panel discussion in the morning at Wesleyan University and in the afternoon attending a baby shower _ and Sunday, I want to _relax and visit friends_!

Yesterday evening was a very emotional night for me as I watched the House of Representative debate on vote on the Anti-Discrimination bill and after over five hours of debate, the bill was passed a little before eleven o’clock with a vote of 77 Yays - 62 Nays

Connecticut House Passes HB6599!!!!!!

After over 5 1/2 hours of debate the House passes the gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill with a vote of 77 – 62.

The bill was not on the House “Go List” this morning but it was called at a little after 5 this afternoon, a series of uncalled amendments were offered and all were defeated. A called amendment was passed; the amendment enhanced the definition of gender identity and expression. The amendment was,
"Gender identity or expression" means a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth, which gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person's core identity or not being asserted for an improper purpose. "
It was very emotional at the end, we were all standing watching the tally board as the votes were cast. I was brought to tears as we realized that we won. The vote on the bathroom amendment was earlier in the evening was close 62 - 67 and we feared that the vote on the bill would go the same way.

But in the end it passed!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Common Sense Approach In IDs For Trans-people

Last week, I wrote about the Real ID Act (Real ID Act Strikes Connecticut) and how the law creates hardship on seniors and low income people, in addition to trans-people. That providing documentation that reflects a trans-person true is a challenge, some require surgery, some require the you are only under medical care, this creates a nightmare of hurdles that we have to navigate around.

I just came across an article in the Harvard Kennedy School Student Journal about how documentation affect trans-people the article Fair and Accurate Identification for Transgender People in the LGBTQ Policy Journal at the Harvard Kennedy School: 2011 Edition, Harper Jean Tobin writes that,
Identification documents such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and passports are a ubiquitous and essential currency of contemporary life. These documents are used in everyday official and commercial transactions to establish a person’s identity, age, citizenship, and residency. We commonly need to present such documents whenever we start a new job, apply for an apartment or a loan, enter a government building, purchase alcohol, board an airplane, apply for public benefits, including everything from a library card to food stamps, and, in many jurisdictions, vote. Most of us seldom give any thought to these documents other than to lament the quality of our photographs; for the vast majority of Americans, the information on such documents is a combination of the essentially impersonal (e.g., date of birth) and the fairly obvious (e.g., eye color).

But imagine that these everyday documents contained information about you that was not only of a private and personal nature but also could easily lead to discrimination and harassment from which you might lack any legal protection or recourse. For transgender people, identification documents and other official records frequently function as something akin to a scarlet letter, with the “F” or “M” designation contradicting the holder’s appearance and social identity and outing him or her as transgender. State and federal policies in the United States today make it impossible for many transgender people to update these documents to reflect their lived gender. These restrictive policies create not only an enormous indignity but a significant barrier to economic and other opportunities and at times even compromise personal safety.
As I wrote in Real ID Act Strikes Connecticut this has created a problem for me because in order to get a Real ID approved ID, I will have to present two forms of IDs of which one has to be a primary ID such as a birth certificate or a passport, right now both of them list me as male.

Ms. Tobin goes on to write that,
Some form of surgical treatment is deemed medically necessary for many, but not all, transgender people. Surgical procedures are costly, invasive, and often contraindicated by other medical conditions. Data from a national survey of transgender people reveals that while a large majority of transgender people undergo hormone therapy as part of gender transition, only a minority undergo any form of gender reassignment surgery. Genital reconstructive surgeries are especially rare, with fewer than one in five transgender women and fewer than one in twenty transgender men having undergone them (Grant et al. 2010).

Most state and federal agencies today rely on outdated policies that require proof of surgical treatment to update identification and other documents, which means that most transgender people are unable to update key documents to reflect their lived gender. Many have various identity documents with different gender designations. Nationally, the percentage of transgender people who are unable to update identification and official records to reflect their lived gender varies from 41 percent for driver’s licenses and 51 percent for Social Security records to 74 percent for birth certificates. Prior to a change in federal policy in June 2010, 75 percent of transgender people were unable to obtain a passport that reflected their lived gender, and 79 percent were unable to update all their identification and records (National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force forthcoming).
This reiterates what I have been writing, that for many trans-people surgery is not an option fro numerous reasons. For me, my insurance does not cover any expenses related to me being transgender which forces me to pay for all my related medical expenses out of my own pocket.

In the article, Ms. Tobin writes that the federal and state governments are slowly changing their policies to move away from having surgery. Here in Connecticut, since the mid-nineties, the DMV only requires a letter from a doctor stating that you are transsexual. Now other states are following Connecticut lead. The federal government has changed their policy governing passports and now only requires a letter from your physician. In her conclusion Ms. Tobin writes that,
There is simply no serious public policy justification for retaining policies that forbid gender change or condition it upon proof of surgery. Correction of gender designations would do no more to assist identity theft or fraud than updating names, especially when a licensed professional is required to sign off. In fact, identification that fails to reflect an individual’s lived gender actually makes it harder to verify the individual’s identity. Nor is the concern that certain records, such as birth records, are historical in nature and should not be changed persuasive, since such documents are regularly amended to reflect name changes, adoptions, and other events. Restrictive policies on gender documentation change represent a serious government intrusion into the most personal aspects of an individual’s life and create economic barriers and hazards for transgender people in their everyday lives (Tobin 2007).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Billionaire Insurance CEO’s – $79k per hour salaries

The Republicans and the Tea Partiers all are against raising the income tax on millionaires or cutting the tax breaks for big oil. Then in the same breath they want to do away with Medicare and privatize Social Security. This is what I consider immoral. Last year United Health Care received a 19% (was granted to Health Net of Connecticut for its policies sold to employers. Health Net recently completed a merger with United Healthcare) increase in insurance premiums, they said that they needing the increase to cover the cost of the new health care coverage. The numbers are not in for this year, but in 2009 the CEO had a 978.1% raise, that is no typo. Do you wish that you a raise of just one percent of his raise, 9.7%? His total compensation went from $9,474,880 in 2008 to a whopping $101,959,866 in 2009 while our premiums skyrocketed. And the Republicans and the Tea Partiers want to cut his taxes even more; meanwhile they are cutting Head Start, Meals on Wheels for the elderly, the Woman Infant and Child (WIC) program, heating assistance and rent subsidies.

Not only are the CEOs racking in the cash, but also the companies. Do you remember last fall when the insurance companies asked for record rate increase saying that with the passage of the Health Care Reform bill which removed the spending cap and pre-existing conditions they needed the increase. Look at how they did in the first quarter of the year.
Health Insurers Making Record Profits as Many Postpone Care
New York Times
By Reed Abelson
May 13, 2011

The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care.

The UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest commercial insurers, told analysts that so far this year, insured hospital stays actually decreased in some instances. In reporting its earnings last week, Cigna, another insurer, talked about the “low level” of medical use.

Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends. Many defend proposed double-digit increases in the rates they charge, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health, as well as the rising price of care.
Some observers wonder if the insurers are simply raising premiums in advance of the full force of the health care law in 2014. The insurers’ recent prosperity — big insurance companies have reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts expectations by an average of 30 percent — may make it difficult for anyone, politicians and industry executives alike, to argue that the industry has been hurt by the federal health care law. Insurers were able to raise premiums to cover the cost of the law’s early provisions, like insuring adult children up to age 26, and federal and state regulators have largely proved to be accommodating.
Also, I think that it was no coincidence that they made these claims that for higher premiums just before the November elections and they blamed the increases on President Obama Health Care Reform.

The other Republican and the Tea Party sacred cow is Big Oil…
'Big Oil' should pay fair share
Asheville Citizen-Times
By Joseph R. Prochaska
May 11. 2011

Oil prices are at historic highs right now: they are fluctuating between $100 and $120/barrel. The price of oil is high enough for oil companies to continue to explore for oil reserves, drill oil wells, and sell that oil to you or to anyone else for a profit. So high that Exxon made nearly $11 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2011 alone. It is a fine time, globally and in America, to be in the oil business.

It is not just the price of oil that makes things so good for the oil business. Right now, the federal tax code is absolutely loaded with nearly $4 billion in tax subsidies and giveaways to oil companies. In 2009, according to Forbes magazine, Exxon paid $0 in federal income taxes. That’s right: when you last filled up your car, you paid more in federal fuel taxes than Exxon paid in income taxes on $46 billion in profits.
What does the oil and gas industry say about the Democrat effort to do away with the tax breaks?
Senate Democrats target biggest oil companies with proposed tax hikes
Oil & Gas Journal
May 16, 2011
Nick Snow
Washington Editor

US Senate Democrats announced a bill on May 10 that would increase federal taxes for the nation's five biggest oil companies by eliminating several key deductions. They said the measure would close a major loophole at a time when the companies were making massive profits. Oil and gas companies and industry groups immediately condemned the idea as a major mistake.
He said the five companies toward which the bill is aimed—BP PLC, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp., and Royal Dutch Shell PLC—made $36 billion in profits during this year's first quarter. "Yet the US government is giving these companies $4 billion/year in corporate welfare," Reid declared.
Oil and gas companies and industry associations immediately condemned the proposal. American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard called it "a vindictive money grab [that] could put more people out of work across America, damage our nation's energy security, raise energy costs, and ultimately drive up deficits.
So let me get this straight, the oil and gas companies that made $36,000,000 last quarter are complaining that a tax of $500.000 a quarter will result in “damage our nation's energy security, raise energy costs, and ultimately drive up deficits.” Unhun… does that make sense to you?

Monday, May 16, 2011

This And That – The Good And Not So Good

The first news article comes from Canada…
Shimmering with pride
Barrie students doing their part to raise awareness about discrimination
The Barrie Examiner
By Cheryl Browne

In fact, Brandon is holding a social media event Sept. 9 called Born this Way Day, encouraging youth to attend their schools dressed in pink or "outrageous colours" to celebrate their uniqueness, warts and all.

"It's a day for self-acceptance," he said. "The day represents a great cause, where no one deserves to be shunned because of their sexual orientation, their race, or any of their differences or disabilities," he said.

Pushing forward with his own mandate is Kyle Rehling, 17, who, as a transgendered youth, holds the distinction of being Barrie's first transgender student mayor.
Rehling said there were a string of derogatory comments linked to his page and the hurtful debate raged on. (The debate to reinstate sex reassignment surgery is still being debated in Ontario since it was delisted in 1998).

Sitting outside Innisdale on his lunch period in the sunshine, the tall, lanky boy who would rather be a girl, struggles to express how demoralizing the comments by the other students were.

"I was raised to stand up for myself and defend myself, and I just have to remember these people are not tolerant, they're just ignorant."

When both the police and school staff were notified, the tensions eased, but it makes Rehling wary that there are students who disagree so strongly with his lifestyle choice.
"This is all a learning experience for me," he said shrugging it off. "I'm an advocate — I guess I have to put up with this s---t."
It is great that the student body elected her as student mayor; however, the fact the she is being harassed is not. In addition, it does look like the school and the police are taking steps to curb the harassment. The writer for this article has a lot to learn, she needs to learn to use the proper pronouns and that transgenderism is not lifestyle and it is not a choice. We were born this way and we had no more choice then we had with the choice of the color of our eyes.

The next article is about changing your birth certificate,
Transgender people sue Illinois to change birth certificates
State refuses unless genital surgery is done, lawsuit says
Chicago Tribune
By Rex W. Huppke
May 12, 2011

Lauren Grey is, in all aspects of her life, a woman. Her driver's license reflects that, as do her name, her Social Security information and her appearance.

Still, her Illinois birth certificate says she's a man. She has requested that it be changed and provided a supporting affidavit from the doctor who performed breast augmentation and facial feminization surgeries on her. But, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of her and other transgender people this week by the American Civil Liberties Union, the state has denied her request, saying transgender people in Illinois must have "genital reformation surgery" to have their birth certificates changed.
The class-action lawsuit was filed Tuesday naming Damon Arnold, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, as the defendant. The suit claims that for years the state would change people's gender on their birth certificates even if they had not had any form of genital surgery, but that the policy seemed to change "in or about 2005."
Though she was able to change her name and her sex on her Illinois driver's license and with the Social Security Administration, Grey said her requests to change her birth certificate have been denied. This made it impossible for her to get a passport that identifies her as a female, and has caused problems with her work as a graphic designer.
"Every individual requires individual treatment," Ettner [an Evanston-based clinical and forensic psychologist specializing in gender conditions] said. "A medical requirement that a whole class of people has to adhere to seems so contrary to how medical care should be provided. It's problematic to make a requirement that everybody needs to follow a certain medical trajectory."
For many trans-people surgery is not possible because of a number of reasons, such as health and financial reasons. For many trans-people their health precludes any surgery, they might have a heart condition or maybe diabetes or other medical problems that make any surgery very risky. Also they may not be able to afford the $20,000 to way over $100,000 dollars that surgery cost. Because of discrimination most insurance policies do not cover any medical conditions that is related to being transgender, even though the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPTH) and the IRS all say that surgery is a medical necessary.

The last article is about a bill before the Maine legislature…
Panel rejects new abortion rules
The three bills, and another on transgender restroom use, still face 'passionate' floor debate.
Maine Sunday Telegraph
By Rebekah Metzler
May 15, 2011

Another controversial measure, which would allow schools and businesses to require people to use public rest- rooms that coincide with their biological sex, rather than the gender with which they identify, was also voted down.

In a 7-4 vote, the committee decided to leave the issue to the Maine Human Rights Commission, which deals with it on a case-by-case basis when there are disputes.

So far, only two cases have emerged, one involving a student at a school in Orono and one involving a patron at Denny's Restaurant in Auburn.
Once against the right-wing conservatives are spreading their fear. I recognize that people have concerns over this issue, but since 1975 when the first gender inclusive anti-discrimination law was passed there has never been a case where a trans-person assaulted someone in the restroom in a jurisdiction that has gender inclusive anti-discrimination laws. It is just fear mongering. Here in Connecticut the opposition tried to use the same tactic during the hearing, but when cross-examined the person had to admit that he didn’t know of any cases.

That is why we need your help. The gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill, HB6599 is coming up for a vote this week in the House and the opposition is spreading their hate and fear, we need you to contact your legislators. You can find out more information on the bill here.

If you live in Maine, you also can help by calling your legislators and asking them to against LD 1046: An Act to Amend the Application of the Maine Human Rights Act Regarding Public Accommodations (You can find them here), some information on the bill can be found here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday Six Episode 370

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode 370

1. What is the oldest car you’ve ever driven?
Hmmm… I would have to say my brother’s ’61 MGB, it was around seven years old when I drove it.

2. What’s the oldest car you’ve ever driven that you actually owned yourself?
Well, I bought all my cars new and the car that I am driving now has 91,000 mikes and that I the most mileage on any car that I owned, I bought it in 2007. The longest that I ever owned a car was around eight years.

3. Take the quiz: What Old-Fashioned Car Would You Most Like to Go for a Ride In?

You Are Thankful

You can be depended on. You are unwavering and true to your values.
You are appreciative of everything you have. You remember to be grateful.

You enjoy creating structure and order. You get a kick out of organizing.
You are down-to-earth and sensible. You don't have a pretentious bone in your body.

4. What type of vehicle would you most enjoy touring a city in: a rickshaw, a horse-drawn carriage, a sedan, a convertible or a limousine?
A limousine because I don’t like to drive in a city and I like to have 2000 pounds of steel around me with air bags.

5. What decade (i.e., the 1950s, 1970s, etc.) do you think created the most beautiful cars?
The 1950s, after all they created the 55 Chevy in the fifties.

6. What decade do you think created the least beautiful cars?
The early sixties with all the tail fins, but the late sixties rival the 1950s. In the late ‘60s they created the GTO, SS396 Chevelle, SS350 Camaro, the Mustang and a whole slew of other muscle cars.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Something Think About

I will be down in Stamford most of the day at Transgender Awareness Day and I will be helping out at the ctEquality table. I also want to listen to Dr. Weiss keynote.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

So I will leave you with this video on homeless trans-youth for a photographic exhibit by Josh Lehrer. What got me was the statistics that they mentioned in the opening, that 35% of the homeless teenagers in New York City are trans-people.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Saturday 9: My Best Friend's Wedding

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: My Best Friend's Wedding

1. Have you ever lost a friend after he/she got married?
Yes, but after the divorce he realized that what we were saying about his wife being a gold digger was true.

2. Do you make friends easily?

3. Do you have many close friends?

No, not really. I have few.

4. Tell us about your oldest friend.
I really don’t if we are still friends, I rarely see any of my old high schools any more since I transitioned.

5. Tell us about your newest friend.

They are all from college, I made a number of friends from my classmates, professors and staff at school.

6. Do you hang out with your friends often, or just occasionally when you can find time?
Occasionally, we get together on weekends.

7. What's the furthest you've traveled to visit (or vacation with, etc.) a friend?
Across the state, from one side of Connecticut to the other, from Norwich to Waterbury, and from New Haven to Springfield.

8. What's the biggest or best thing a friend has ever done for you?
Give me a surprise party for my 60th birthday.

9. What's the worst or most hurtful thing that a friend (or an ex-friend) has done to you?
I don’t think they have done anything bad, that is why they are friends.

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. I know _that I should really get motivated and go grocery shopping_.

2. _I would like to teach someday_ if at all possible.

3. This weather has been great for _spring so far_.

4. _My motivation is_ a problem.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

5. I'm really happy I have the ability to _see the beauty everywhere_.

6. _I heard that they are putting up another big box store in town_, or something to that effect.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _doing nothing_, tomorrow my plans include _going to a conference_ and Sunday, I want to _walk in a 5K fundraiser_!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Story Part 76 – Graduation

Last Saturday, was my graduation.

On Friday, my brother and sister-in-law came down from Maine and stayed in Sturbridge MA. I drove up there to have dinner with them and to leave off my camera with them. However, when I was over half was there I realized that I forgot my camera… Opps! That was purpose of the trip, so I left them the key to my car and they could get my camera out of my car the next day. We had a nice dinner at a chain restaurant and I drove back home.

The next morning I drove up to Storrs where the main University of Connecticut’s campus is located and we all assembled in the basement of the Jorgenson Auditorium and we then marched up to the auditorium. After the ceremony I met up with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew for pictures. And now the pictures…

Commencement speech was given by the Mayor of Hartford, Pedro Segarra who is a School of Social Work alumni

Waiting to get hooded...

Being hooded...

Stopping to take the "Official" graduation photograph...

Afterward, my brother, sister-in-law and me went down to Stonington to have lunch at the Skipper’s Dock restaurant. I had two glasses of wine and it was good night Diana. When I got home, I crashed and I sleep for a couple of hours, lots of emotions drained me.

I said in the other blog postings, that these years have been the best years of my life so far. I have never enjoyed school more and taken part in more school activities; I was involved with student government, student groups and co-chaired committees. I enjoyed the class discussions and interaction with my classmates and I actually was friends with many of the professors and staff.

Okay, so what wasn’t OK? Well I think my age difference; most of my fellow students were in their late twenties and early thirties. I was a different generation, liked different music, watch different television shows and my night out on the town consisted of going to a coffee shop and listening to folk music. I always got a chuckle out of the first day of class when we went around the room and give some facts about ourselves, like where we got our bachelor from, in what field and when. When I said that I graduated with my bachelors in 1974, I inevitably heard someone say, “I wasn’t even born yet.” My professors loved me because I could talk about the history that they were teaching in the first person. One professor said, finally someone beside me that knows what I’m taking about. My classmates were at the beginnings of their careers and I am at the end of mine. My trans-ness was never an issue, everyone accepted me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Cost Of Discrimination

There were two articles in the news this week about the cost of discrimination. The Worchester Telegraph writes about the monetary cost while the Baltimore Sun writes about the medical cost of discrimination. The Worchester Telegraph http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giflooks at the cost in Massachusetts…
High costs of discrimination
Worcester Telegram

By M.V. Lee Badgett and Jody L. Herman
May 11, 2011

Massachusetts’ failure to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression doesn’t just affect the approximately 33,000 transgender residents of our commonwealth — about enough to fill Fenway Park. Discrimination costs Massachusetts at least $3 million a year in higher social service expenditures and millions more in lost income taxes — about enough to pay for one-third of the state’s annual allocation to Quinsigamond Community College.

Consider the story of Diane DeLap, a transgender woman and resident of Massachusetts. Until 2008, when she became a casualty of the Great Recession, Diane had been a highly sought-after employee working in high tech. The Navy veteran took the unexpected time off from work as an opportunity to do something she’d long desired: transition from the gender she’d been born to into the one she’d always known she was. But once she started looking for work again, she was told by a recruiter that she was “unemployable” because her gender did not match the one in her history of employment. As her savings dwindled, Diane finally stripped down her résumé so that it emphasized clerical computer skills. She eventually found temporary office work earning approximately $20,000 a year — a steep cut from what she used to make in the high-tech industry. Her wife, meanwhile, was diagnosed with cancer and the couple began receiving health insurance coverage through MassHealth.
Our study, “The Costs of Employment Discrimination Against Transgender Residents of Massachusetts,” published this week by The Williams Institute, estimates that the state spends $3 million annually on public health insurance coverage for transgender state residents who would otherwise have private health insurance if not for employment discrimination. The state loses millions more when income taxes cannot be collected from people who would otherwise be gainfully employed. Employment discrimination costs the state additional monies when transgender people cannot support themselves and their families, and they turn to the commonwealth for social support services such as housing and fuel assistance programs.
This does not just apply to Massachusetts, in 2008 similar testimony here in Connecticut was giving by an anonymous person at the Judiciary Committee hearing for the gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill. She said that she was earning close six figures when she transitioned and she was fired when she told her boss that she was going to transition. She said that as a result of her being fired and unable to find a job because of discrimination, her children ended up on state assistance, having to go on food stamps, Husky and needed state assisted day care. In addition, she wrote that she had to move back in witfh her mother.

The other article writes about the medical cost of discrimination.
Devastating effects of transgender discrimination
Baltimore Sun
May 09, 2011

The estimated prevalence of HIV infection among male to female transgender Americans is between 14.7 percent and 27.7 percent, vastly higher than the general U.S. population. Routine bigotry drives many transgender persons toward drug use, homelessness and sex work. Doctors and nurses who lack gender sensitivity training unwittingly create emotional barriers that hinder accehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifss to much needed health care.
This is the result of discrimination, without the prospect of jobs there is only state assistance and homeless shelters to turn to.

We need your help to end this discrimination; there is a bill (HB6599: An Act Concerning Discrimination) before the Connecticut legislature that will make it illegal to discriminate against trans-people that will be voted on in the next couple of days. Please call you legislators, there is strong opposition to the bill by the right wing conservatives. We need you to call your legislators and tell them to vote for this bill without any amendments. You can get more information here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why Do The Republicans Hate Us

I do not understand why Republicans hate LGBT people so much that they want to deny us basic human rights. They do not want us to have an education, jobs, a roof over our heads and to be able to go out in public. In other words they want us back deeply in our closets.
Anti-Discrimination Bill Headed to Full Senate
By Associated Press Writer | (AP)
Published: May 09, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) A proposal that would prohibit local governments from creating anti-discrimination laws that are stricter than the state's is headed for a full Senate vote after passing a Senate panel on Monday.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet was approved 6-3 in the Senate State and Local Government Committee. The companion bill passed the House 73-24 last month.

The proposal would void a Nashville ordinance barring companies that discriminate against gays and lesbians from doing business with the city.

Under state law it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.

The Nashville ordinance prohibits companies that discriminate because of sexual orientation or gender identity from receiving city contracts. It does not apply to local governments' hiring policies for their own workers.
Tennessee is also trying to pass…
Senate to vote on measure seeking to prohibit teaching, discussion of homosexuality
By Jane Roberts
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Posted May 9, 2011

In schools and counseling offices across the region, the possibility that Tennessee educators could be banned from discussing homosexuality with K-8 students is bearing down, experts say, like no other state anti-gay legislation has.

"If it becomes taboo or illegal to even talk about homosexuality in the classroom or even in the halls, it creates a situation where a kid who may be gay will not have anyplace to go," said Jonathan Cole, chairman of the Tennessee Equality Project.

If teachers and school counselors can't intervene, who will stop the bullying, he asks.
Researcher have found that, “Research from several sources also revealed that LGB youth are nearly one and a half to seven times more likely than non-LGB youth to have reported attempting suicide.1", but maybe the Republicans just don’t care about what happens to LGBT students.

Then look at what the Republicans are trying to do in Michigan,
Michigan House To Universities: Recruit Distinguished Gays And We’ll Cut Your Budget
Work Room
By Zack Ford
May 6th, 2011 a

Universities vie for the highest caliber faculty in a number of ways, including offering competitive partner benefits. In states like Michigan that do not offer recognition for even same-sex domestic partnerships, public universities there have still found ways to offer benefits to unmarried partners so they do not lose qualified candidates to schools in other states. According to an amendment to next year’s education budget by State Rep. Dave Agema (R), universities will now be punished to the tune of 5% of their funding for offering these benefits:
AGEMA: I had an amendment put into the education budget that takes 5% away from colleges that give same sex/unmarried benefits and places up to $60 million of that into the MPSRS K-12 budget if colleges do not stop skirting the law and the will of the people. Colleges can’t say they are short of money when they skirt the law and give such benefits. The Dems didn’t like this – it passed.
Republicans don’t care about education, they just want to push their agenda against LGBT people no matter what the collateral damage.

Here in Connecticut the Republicans continue their draconian attacks against the LGBT community. One of the amendments that they tried to tack onto the gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill HB6599 was to increase the criminal penalty for a person disguised as the opposite sex, so a bank robber that has a ski mask over their face will receive a lesser sentence from a bank robber dressed as a woman.

Why do they hate us?

1Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2008). Suicide risk and prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Real ID Act Strikes Connecticut

In Connecticut, the Real ID Act is taking affect this October and it will require two different forms of IDs when you apply for a driver license. For most people they are saying what’s the big deal? For the middle class, this is not a big deal; however; for low income people it presents a major barrier.
Connecticut will move on "Real ID" license program this fall
Stamford Advocate
Martin B. Cassidy, Staff Writer
May 7, 2011

STAMFORD -- This fall state drivers will need to go through a new system for renewing and obtaining licenses that will require a variety of identification to obtain a new photo ID to flash as they enter airports, courthouses and other federal buildings.

The program, called CT Select ID, would start Oct. 3, and has been recognized as compliant with the security guidelines of the federal Real ID Act, Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman William Seymour said.
The Act requires two forms of ID, a primary and a secondary IDs. So what IDs are required? This is from the Department of Motor Vehicles
Two (2) forms of the same identification will not be accepted. If any document presented is in a language other than English, it must be translated by an approved translator.
US Birth Certificate (Government Issued)
US Valid Passport or Passport Card
Valid Foreign Passport w/ a valid U.S. Visa and I-94
(See Legal Presence for additional requirements)
Certificate of Naturalization
Certificate of Citizenship
Permanent Resident Card
Valid U//US Territory or Canadian photo driver license
Valid US or Canadian issued photo learner permit
Connecticut non-driver identification
Military ID or dependent card with photo
Connecticut pistol or firearm permit
Military discharge/separation papers (DD-214)
Court Order
(Ex. Inc. name change, adoption, marriage or civil union dissolution)
Marriage license
Pilot’s license
School record/transcript (must be certified)
Social Security Card
CT State Department of Social Services photo public assistance card
CT Department of Corrections original certificate of identification
Baptismal certificate or similar document
State or Federal Employee Identification with signature and photo.
So what is the problem?

Well take a look at the primary ID, the birth certificate, for me I was born in Connecticut so it is a short trip to the city clerk’s office. But for someone born in California for example it becomes a major hurdle to overcome. They will have to travel to California to get your birth certificate because you to have to get it in person and for a low income person this maybe impossible. A passport? How many people have a passport, especially a person who is below the poverty level and in order to get a passport you need your birth certificate.

So what will happen to people who cannot provide the necessary documentation? According to the DMV web-site
Through the program, called SelectCT ID, people verifying will get a gold star on the license or ID card. Those declining will have one stamped "Not for Federal Identification." The difference could be extra screening under a proposed federal program slated to go into effect in 2017 for airports and federal buildings and also use for possible commercial transactions.
That means that you might not be able to get a car loan, open a checking account, buy a house, or vote.

For the trans-population this law also is a nightmare. In many states you cannot change your birth certificate or your diver license and you cannot change your gender marker unless you have surgery. For me my birth certificate still has my old name and gender still on it, but I can only change the name on it. Therefore, there might be mismatches in your documentation that may keep you from receiving a Real ID Act ID.

This is a bad law that will disenfranchise a large portion of American citizens.

Saturday Six Episode 369

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode 369

1. Which brand of soup do you use most often when you’re cooking?

2. Which flavor of soup do you use most often when you’re cooking?
I like a mix and I try not to focus on anyone soup

3. Take the quiz: What Kind of Soup Are You?

You Are Miso Soup

You are worldly and well traveled. You have lived a lot of life, and you know there is a lot more too see!
You are very interested in new experiences, especially new literary and cultural experiences.

You have a refined palate and love many exotic tastes. You get used to "acquired tastes" fairly easily.
For you, soup doesn't have to be a meal. You can appreciate a simple soup any time.

4. How long has it been since you last tried this flavor of soup?
I have never had Miso soup. I don’t even know what type of soup it is without looking it up.

5. Have you ever made your own soup from scratch, and if so, which flavor is your own specialty?
Yes, chicken. I buy rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and when it’s picked clean, I throw it into a pot with some carrots, onions, celery, parsley and a can of chicken broth. I also make Spaetzles to put in the soup

6. What is your favorite thing to eat with soup?
Well it depends, with tomato soup I like either toasted cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother’s Day

The Question
You never asked.
I always wondered.
But, I never asked.
It was our little secret.
The question unasked.
Little things that let me know that you knew.
But never asked.
The little hints here and there.
But the question remained unasked.
Hints just loud enough for my ears.
Oh, I always wondered about the question unasked.
Would our love survived.
If asked.
What would it have been like with the question asked?
What might have been if you asked?
What might have been if I asked?
But now is too late for you or me to ask.


I wrote that poem the day my mother died, I always wondered if she knew about “Diana”. There were little things that hinted that she knew, I use to keep a stash of clothes hidden and it would disappear. One time I burnt a hole in an old blouse when a seed popped in the joint I was smoking and she asked me if I knew anything about it. However, she never said anything or asked me anything, it was the elephant in the room.

I wished that she was alive today to have seen me walk across the stage, what would she have thought? Would she have approved? The questions unasked haunt me today.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Saturday 9 Let’s Roll

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9 Let’s Roll

1. Where were you when you found out the bin Laden was killed? How did you find out?
I found out when I turned on the eleven o’clock news

2. One of your best friends turns out to be saying hurtful and untrue things behind your back. What would you do?
Ask them why. But then a again, if they were a best friend I doubt they would be saying things like that.

3. You instantly become a star. What is it that made you one?
My handsome looks

4. If you could be ANY sex symbol (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Marlene Dietrich, I love her sexy voice.

5. Where is your favorite place to eat out?
Gold Roc dinner, the food is cheap and plentiful

6. Are there any current (that began before 2010) television shows out there that you've watched regularly from the very beginning?
No, but I do like the Mentalist

7. When is it time to just let it ('it' can be whatever you choose) go? How do you know? What do you do?
Losing my best jacket last Saturday, everyone knows that I mad, so there is no point in continuing to vent.

8. Pimentos-- in Olives? Useless decorative effect? ...or something you maybe enjoy? ...and is there something you can only stare at and wonder about at the snack bar?

I like pimentos and they are good in a cream cheese roll-ups

9. Why do you think we as a civilization can't seem to get along with one another?
Religion and natural resources.

Now it’s off to bed, for tomorrow is graduation.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. _The Mentalist _ is my favorite TV show (or movie) because _I like Robin Tunney , she is a good counter to Simon Baker _.

2. Go to page 45 of the book you're reading or of the book closest to you; go to the 6th paragraph and make a sentence out of 7 words from it: _The truth will set thee free, thou shalt see _.

3. I am _going to bed early tonight_.

4. _I love_ long walks.

5. Take some time to _enjoy the beauty around you_.

6. _The soup_ needs a bit of _seasoning_.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going to Sturbridge to visit my brother and sister-in-law who came down from Maine for my graduation_, tomorrow my plans include _graduating_ and Sunday, I want to _wonder what’s next for me_!

Do You Believe This…

A cheerleader was raped down in Texas and now she has to pay $45,000 in legal fee. Talk about re-victimizing the victim.
Newsflash: Cheerleader Denied Justice (Again)
Ms Blog
by Caroline Heldman
May 4, 2011

In a Texas case I wrote about on the Ms. Blog in October, Hillaire S. was 16-years-old in October 2008 when she was taken into a dark room at a house party by four high school athletes, one of whom raped her while another held her down. When three students in the hall heard Hillaire’s cries of “stop,” they broke through the locked door as the athletes fled through a window, breaking it in the process. The rapist, Rakheem Bolton, fled into the woods without his clothes, then returned to demand them and threatened to kill everyone at the house.

Three months after the rape, a grand jury chose not to indict Bolton or his accomplice, Christian Rountree. In private interviews I learned that Bolton’s family pastor was on the jury, and that his cousin, Thomas Tyler, is also a powerful member of the city council, under the employ of District Attorney David Sheffield, who presented the case.
But what started all this was…(OK, take your blood pressure medication now)
Cheerleader Required to Cheer for Man Who Assaulted Her
by Caroline Heldman
October 15, 2010

If someone assaulted you, would you want to then cheer for his performance on a basketball court? A 16-year-old Texas high school student sure didn’t.

High school football star Rakheem Bolton and two others were indicted for sexual assault of a child–identified only as H.S.–at a post-game party in 2008. According to H.S.–a fellow student and cheerleader at Silsbee High–Bolton, football player Christian Rountree and another juvenile male forced her into a room, locked the door, held her down and sexually assaulted her. When other party-goers tried to get into the room, two of the men fled through an open window, including Bolton, who left clothing behind. Bolton allegedly threatened to shoot the occupants of the house when the homeowner refused to return his clothes.

In September 2010, Bolton pled guilty to a lesser charge of Class A Assault and was sentenced to one year in prison, a sentence that was suspended by the judge in lieu of two years probation, a $2,500 fine, community service and an anger management course.

Silsbee school officials had two responses to the incident. First, they urged H.S. to keep a low profile, such as avoiding the school cafeteria and not taking part in homecoming activities. With the support of her family, she refused to do so, rejecting the notion that she had anything to be ashamed of. Secondly, school officials kicked her off the cheerleading squad for refusing to cheer for Bolton. No kidding.
So here is this kid who commits a brutal rape, gets no prison time and put back on the basketball team and she refuses to cheer for him and she is kicked off the cheerleader squad. She sues for violating her 1st Amendment rights of free speech and loses, appeals the case and loses once again. She then appeals to the Supreme Court which refuses to hear the case, so then the school system sues them to cover their court costs.

First of all local justice in Texas is not justice, I firmly believe that judges should not be elected. It makes a very bad judicial system where judges will not go against popular opinion. Second, in Texas athletes are raised to the level of gods and have free reign.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Bring About Chance Through Education

Yesterday I was at a local college with three other friends on a panel to talk about ourselves and trans-issues. Why do we do it?

I cannot speak for the others, but I do it to help those who will come after us. I believe that the way to bring about chance is to educate others. Many of the comments that we heard after the classes went something like this, I never met a transgender person before and I found out that many of my preconceived notions were wrong. For many people they have many ideas about trans-people… it’s all about sex, they are just really gay men, they are all drag queens, etc. When we do an “Outreach” we dispel many of those myths. We put a human face on an abstract image. Maybe the next time they hear someone make a derogatory comment about a trans-person, they might speak up and say, you know I met some trans-people in class and they are just like everyone else.

Over the weekend I gave three workshops at two conferences, one at a professional organization, the National Association of Social Workers, Connecticut chapter and the other two at the Trans Health and Law conference. Why? Because I hear all the time at trans support groups, “I can’t find a therapist that will treat a trans-person.” Maybe, the workshops will change that, that more therapists might be willing to have a client who is trans.

Tomorrow, I am attending a breakfast meeting of the LGBT chamber of commerce, the Connecticut Association for Business Opportunities (CABO) where I’m meeting a manager of a resort hotel to talk about how they can set up an EEO policy for trans employees.

I realize that not everyone is “Out” and for many trans-people they have real concerns about being out, they could lose their family, their friends, their job and even their lives. However, you can still help without outing yourself, just speak up when you hear someone making a derogatory comment or joke at our expense. Just say I don’t joke about people who are different or we are all human and deserve respect. You can bring about change just by speaking up and speaking out. The same is true for our allies, speak up and speak out when you hear or see someone making fun of or joking about transgender people. Your voice carries more weight than ours, because you are not speaking about your own interest, but for others.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

North And South, Oh What A Difference

This is a good example of how the North is difference than the South…
Louisiana Republican: Ban Abortion, Sterilize Poor Women and Pay the Wealthy to Procreate
Care2Make A Difference
by: Angela Braun

Louisiana State Rep John Labruzzo (R) has introduced "feticide" legislation to ban all abortion in his state and sentence women and doctors who violate the ban to 15 years hard labor. The law would make no exceptions for cases of danger to the health of the mother, incest or rape, and would essentially be an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade in the state of Louisiana.

In previous attempts to manipulate, penalize and reward women's reproductive choices, Labruzzo has also suggested Louisiana law should pay poor women to be sterilized and well-to-do women to crank out more financially secure kids into the American gene-pool.
Now take a look at what happened here in Connecticut yesterday…
Republicans Offer 75 Amendments To Budget, Including One That Eliminates Planned Parenthood Funding
CT News Junkie
by Christine Stuart
May 2, 2011

Republican Senators filed 75 amendments on the state budget Monday before debate began at around 4 p.m. this afternoon. It’s unclear how many of them they planned to call, but one of those amendments so infuriated Democratic lawmakers that they held a press conference to address it.

The amendment filed by Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, eliminated $1 million in state funding for Planned Parenthood.
House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, said he’s disappointed Republicans are taking fiscal matters and interlacing their “extreme policy agenda” in the middle of a very serious discussion on the budget.
A little bit of a difference between Louisiana and Connecticut. Unfortunately, Sen. Len Suzio would fit right in down in Louisiana.

This is what legislators had to say about Sen. Len Suzio amendment.