Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Six Episode #416

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode #416

1. What type of cookie do you most enjoy dipping in ice-cold milk: chocolate chip, Oreo or peanut-butter?
I’m not a big fan of dipping cookies into milk.

2. When is the last time you had one of those cookies with milk?
I can’t remember it was so long ago.

3. Who you are/were you closer to: your mother or your father?
My mother.

4. How do you take your coffee: cold or hot, sugar, cream, both or neither?
Black, I use to take it with cream and sugar; however, I can’t have sugar anymore and coffee with just cream does doesn’t sound appetizing.

5. What word do you most wish people would stop using?
Hate words and words that put someone else down.

6. How often do you floss your teeth?
Once a day.

Saturday 9: Stuck in the Middle With You

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Stuck in the Middle With You

1. In romance, have you ever been stuck in the middle with someone?
Not since high school.

2. Which current commercial is the currently most annoying to you on TV or radio?
All of them. There’re not many good commercials, they are few and far between
3. What do you think is the most difficult task when it comes to Spring cleaning?
The cleaning.

4. What area is your expertise in?
Electronics and community organizing.

5. Have you ever bumped into a former lover and found out they were now gay or straight depending on your relationship with them?
No, it’s the other way around.

6. When was the last time that you got stabbed in the back?
A long time ago.

7. 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?
I try not to get money back, I rather owe them rather than giving the government a interest free loan.

8. Do you remember the most naughty night of your life? (And do tell a bit, if comfortable)
Yes, enough said.

9. How would you handle yourself if you were regularly in the press and tabloids?
Easily. Let’s see, I have been interviewed twice each by the television news, on the radio and in the print media, plus once the print media did an article on a lecture that I gave up at UConn in Storrs.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Christine Jorgenson

While I'm waiting for Janet's Friday Fill-ins to be posted, I give you one of the true pioneers in trans-history, Christine Jorgenson. I found the video on TransGriot blog...

For those of you who were not alive in the 50s and 60s; “EX-GI BECOMES BLONDE BEAUTY: OPERATIONS TRANSFORM BRONX YOUTH” was the headlines in the New York Daily News on December 1, 1952, when the plane she was on landed Idlewild airport after her surgery in Copenhagen she was greeted by a sea of reporters.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Story Part 113 – For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan

Monday night I did an outreach at a community college, one of the people who was there with me asked the class, “How many know someone who is transgender?” and about a quarter of the class said they did know a trans-person. Back when I first started doing outreach at colleges about ten or twelve years ago, no one raised their hands. Whether that was because they were too embarrassed to raise their hands or they knew no one who was trans, it still is a dramatic change.

Back when I was their age, the stigma was so strong that I hid until I was in my fifties, back then gays, lesbians and trans-people were ostracized from society. Now I know children who have transitioned in kindergarten. There is a television show called “What Would You Do? And last week they had a teenager come out as trans to the “mother” in a restaurant and she called him names to see what other people in the restaurant would do, and they all spoke up for the teenager. Ten years ago you would never have seen that response.

But still it is not all a bed of roses. I hear trans-people my age say that the kids have it so easy, that back in my day… But they have it wrong, kids now-a-days have it different, when kids transition they face a whole new set of discrimination and face bullying in school. There are now laws to protect them, but many school systems do not enforce them and look the other way when it comes to bullying.

However, there is improvement and hopefully each generation will find more acceptances and less hate.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
And here is another great video discussion that you would have never seen ten years ago…

It is amazing that we are having these types of discussions now. When I was a teenager, I use to sneak a peek at dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference books to see what they said about transgender or transsexuals and most of the time the definition was “a perversion” and I knew that didn’t describe me. I felt so isolated and alone.

It wasn’t until I heard the song “Lola”, Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls.
It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world,
that I realized that I was all alone, if there was song about the way I felt, there must be others like me out there. Now, with television, the internet and support groups for trans-children parents can find out about kids like me and get needs support…
For the times they are a-changin'. Hopefully for the better.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Family Values

An organization that says they are for “family values” had to release internal emails because of a court case. I don’t know about you, but this is not one of my family values.
Anti-Gay Marriage Group Recommends Creating Tension Between Gays and Blacks
New York Times
By Nicholas Confessore
March 27, 2012

An internal memo from one of the country’s leading anti-gay marriage organizations outlines a plan to defeat same-sex marriage and create division among Democrats by creating tension between gays and blacks over the issue.

The memo was contained in a trove of documents unsealed by a federal judge on Monday in a case in Maine, where the group, the National Organization for Marriage, spearheaded a successful ballot initiative in 2009 to outlaw gay marriage and has sued to overturn state ethics laws that would require the group to reveal the donors who financed that effort.

“The strategic goal of the project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies,” reads a portion of the memo, describing an initiative called the “Not a Civil Right Project.”
Meanwhile, in another article on family values…
Transgender Parent: When Mom Becomes Dad, Children Struggle
ABC News
March 27, 2012

"I came home from a trip with to my Dad's house and mom sat me down on the couch and told me she was going to transition," she said. "It's hard to face the fact that someone who is close to you changes at all -- especially a change that big."
Just last week, New York City's Mel Wymore, a transgender man who is running for city council, discussed the difficulty his two children had during his transition from female to male in 2009.

"We have had very deep conversations and some negotiations around what makes them comfortable," he told the New York Times, adding the children are still allowed to call him, "Mom."
"It usually gets easier after a while and, despite the changes, your parent will always be the same person," said Sabine [daughter of a FtM]. "Only, maybe a bit happier."
It is never easy when there are children involved, whatever their ages. For some it is like a loss of the parent, while others are like Sabine, they see the person inside and not the shell. They all need time to grieve and adjust because they also have to transition. For support of children of LGBT parent visit the COLAGE web-site.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yesterday’s Supreme Court Non-Decision

Yesterday the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of a lower court ruling overturning a Wisconsin law banning treatment to inmates that diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder and the refusal has created quite a stir among conservatives. An article in the Christian Science Monitor by Warren Richey, who writes,
The US Supreme Court declined Monday to take up a case examining whether transgender prison inmates enjoy a constitutional right to government-funded sex change operations and hormone therapy.

The action leaves undisturbed a federal appeals court decision siding with transgender inmates in Wisconsin.

Concerned about the use of state funding for ongoing hormone treatments that help certain male inmates look more female, lawmakers in Wisconsin passed the Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act. The law barred the use of any state funds for hormone treatments and/or sexual reassignment surgery.

Three Wisconsin inmates filed a class-action lawsuit. After a trial a federal judge struck down the 2006 law as a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. A panel of the Chicago-based Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

The appeals court noted that the Eighth Amendment requires state governments to provide medically-necessary treatment to inmates in their prison populations.
I think that the key to the case is in the last paragraph, “medically-necessary treatment”, because the AMA, APA, WPATH, Endocrine Society and the IRS all say that hormones, surgery and therapy are all medically-necessary for people who have been diagnosed gender identity disorder (GID). The courts said that it should be a doctor and not a politician who decide the proper medical treatment for inmate. The article goes on to say,
The appeals court did not rule that prison officials are required to provide hormone therapy or sex change operations, only that such treatments must be available to inmates if the prison’s own medical personnel determine they are medically necessary.

“Surely, had the Wisconsin legislature passed a law that [Department of Corrections] inmates with cancer must be treated only with therapy and pain killers, this court would have no trouble concluding that the law was unconstitutional,” the Seventh Circuit said. “Refusing to provide effective treatment for a serious medical condition serves no valid penological purpose and amounts to torture,” the appeals court said.
In other words, let the doctors decide.

I think that this ruling can have farther ramifications, can Medicare, Medicaid or here in Connecticut the Charter Oak Health Plan, still exclude coverage for people who have been diagnosed with GID?

Monday, March 26, 2012

News Flash... U.S. Supreme Court

Court Rejects Wisconsin Bid to Ban Transgender Inmate Treatments
By Bob Drummond on March 26, 2012
Bloomberg BusinessWeek

How Many Times Have I Heard This…

But the problem is we did same-sex marriage and for some unfathomable reason people seem to think we can’t do both of these bills in the same session. As a number of members said to me, we can’t do two gay bills in one session.
--Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County)
In Maryland, the legislature has a gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill that is in committee and today is the last day that a bill can be submitted to the legislature.
Déjà Vu all over again
The Daily Kos
By rserven
March 24, 2012

SB 212, Maryland's Gender Identity NonDiscrimination Act is stalled in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Monday is the deadline for approval of all bills which need consideration by both houses of the legislature…and there are no plans for a vote.

For the sixth year in a row the measure will die a slow, miserable death.

The bill was aimed at banning discrimination against transpeople in employment, housing and public accommodations.
When we were trying to pass our gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill we heard the same thing each year, that the marriage bill had priority over our bill. When the CT Supreme Court ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was illegal we were told by the marriage equality organization that next year (2009) was going to be our year to pass our gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill. In 2009 when we filed our bill, we learned that there was a bill to codify the Supreme Court ruling, our bill got pushed to the back burning and for the first time since we introduced the bill in 2007, our bill never made it out of committee. With the passing of the marriage law, the marriage equality organization closed their doors because their donations dried up.

We see this happening all around the country; we are told, "don’t worry once we pass marriage equality we will come back for you" and in the majority of the states they haven’t. We also saw this on the national level when gender identity was pulled from ENDA (Employee Non-Discrimination Act) in 2007.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This And That In The News

"This And That In The News" is about articles in the news that have caught my eye and I want to comment about. These are the articles that caught my attention today.

First the bad… the really bad…
German courts rule that an eleven year old German transgender girl can legally be institutionalized.
March 24, 2012

The case of an eleven year old child who goes by the alias Alex Kaminsky has once again stirred debate as to Germany’s stance towards gender neutrality, sex and clinical devices of purity, especially in light of its torrid history with respect to forced sterilization and aspirations towards racial purity.

At the heart of the matter can a young girl and her mother decide what is best for her daughter who biologically was not born a girl but wishes to pursue a female gender or are they obligated to subscribe to the courts view which at present allows open the possibility of the child being institutionalized whom according to human rights group now fear the child will be exposed to a type of redressing with the expressed intent of correcting what is implicitly perceived to be mental deficiencies of a the child.

The commotion came about as Berlin’s Kammergericht this past Thursday re affirmed a lower court’s decision allowing the state to institutionalize an eleven year old. At the time of the ruling, the child’s mother who had sought therapy for her child but to date has been inexplicably denied reiterated that she will now take her case to the constitutional court in an effort to allow her eleven year old to remain living as a female despite being born a male, something the mother supports.
This is horrible! It is out of the dark ages. To be taken fron all those who love you and to be put into an institution and be brainwashed, Reparative therapy does not work and it creates additional psychiatric problems.

Next the bad…
Miss Universe Canada disqualifies transsexual contestant Jenna Talackova for being born a boy
Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph
March 25, 2012

A BEAUTY pageant has booted a 23-year-old contestant out the competition after discovering the buxom blonde was born a boy.

Miss Universe Canada - which is owned by Donald Trump - threw out Jenna Talackova when they found out she had undergone surgery to become a woman.

The transgendered contestant had already successfully reached the finals in the Miss Vancouver pageant before she was banned from continuing in the competition.

Although the pageant organizers described Talackova as a "real girl" they disqualified her arguing that the rules state that each contestant must be a "naturally born female."

Talackova began hormone therapy at 14 and underwent sexual reassignment surgery at 19.

She was listed on the official Miss Universe Canada website as a contestant until it was discovered that she was transgender. The organization removed her profile.
Beauty is beauty, it shouldn’t matter the nature of your birth.

Lastly, hope…
Study Finds Increasing Support for Transgender Rights in the U.S.
Huffington Post: Gay Voices
Grey Voakers
Posted: 03/21/2012

Until recently, the struggles that transgender individuals face in both public and private institutions have been discussed primarily in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, but not by the wider public. Thankfully, a November study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) has found that the majority of Americans support strong rights and legal protections for transgender individuals. This positive change in public opinion proves that civil rights movements have finally caught on with the general public. Whatever the case, it appears that the attitude of the majority of American toward transgender individuals is changing for the better.
In addition to showing broad support for trans rights, the PRRI study also found that an overwhelming majority of Americans polled felt that they had a solid understanding of transgender rights. The study also discovered that approximately 75 percent of Americans polled had a solid understanding of what the term "transgender" means. About 11 percent of those polled reported that they had a close friend or family member who identifies as transgender. As more individuals come to know transgender people, support for trans rights should increase. Thanks to the hard work of trans activists and allies, and increasing inclusion in mainstream media, Americans feel more comfortable discussing trans individuals. These adults seem to be concerned about the rights of others and understand that such rights form the foundation of the Constitution. If nothing else, the PRRI study has encouraged discussion of the struggles of trans individuals and will foster further debate of how to best protect and include the trans community in American society.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Six #415

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #415

1. What caused the oldest scar you have on your body?
A scar over my left eye in the shape of a curtain rod. My brother and I were sword fighting with curtain rods when he lunged and got me above my eye, to say the least, my mother was not happy.

2. When getting dressed, what order do you put on your socks and shoes: sock-sock-shoe-shoe, or sock-shoe-sock-shoe?
You’re right, these are just random questions. I put sock and shoe, sock and shoe. Unless it is pantyhose, then there is no choice.

3. What would be the three qualities you think you’d offer to your significant other?
Honest, trustworthy and loving.

4. How long did it take you to find what you consider to be your “calling” in life, or are you still trying to find it?
My first calling was in high school science class, I went into electrical engineering and then in my 50s I found my second calling, social work.

5. What old movie would you like to see someone attempt to update for a modern audience?

6. Do you honestly believe that a man and woman can be “just friends” without it becoming sexual?

Saturday 9: Come Dancing

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Come Dancing

1. When was the last time that you went out dancing?
I can’t even remember that far back.

2. Have you ever had an argument with a teacher?
Nope, I had no problems with them giving me A’s

3. Do you have a tough time remembering people’s names?
I am horrible with faces and names.

4. Would you rather change your past or know your future?
Neither, I am happy right where I am right now.

5. What’s one thing you feel you must do in your life before it ends?
I did it already

6. How many credit cards do you have right now that have a zero balance?
All of them

7. What is the most expensive thing you purchased this year?
In the last 12 months? It was a computer projector to do workshop presentations

8 . If you're married, this probably doesn't apply to you, but: Are you mindful about getting tested for STDs/HIV at least semi-regularly? Why/why not? Married people: Were you mindful about this type of thing when you were single? Why/why not?
Nope, I’ve never been tested. But on the other hand I never did anything that exposed me to the risks.

But it is funny you should ask, on Wednesday night I went to a dinner and a presentation "Communicating a Clear Path Forward: Understanding the Challenges of Health Literacy. What It Means To Be A Transgendered Person: An Insight For Health Care Providers", that was given by a drug company. It was held at an Italian restaurant in Middletown and they fed us antipasto, pasta, salad, chicken parmigiana, veal Florentine and eggplant parmigiana. They also had an endless supply of red and white wines for of the tables.

9. If you could ask the president of the United States one question, what would it be?
Hey, mister president, how about a little protection so we won’t be fired or thrown out of our houses or refused service in a restaurants just because of who we are.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Spring _ is four weeks early _.
2. _Allergy season is coming on_ strong _ this year_.
3. I forgot _to get milk at the grocery store yesterday_!
4. _Now that it is warm outside, I’m cooking on the grill and it_ is delicious!
5. Heads, shoulders, knees and _feet are allowed in soccer_.
6. _Walking_ is my favorite form of exercise when it's warm enough out not to wear a coat!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _reading or watching a movie on Hulu_, tomorrow my plans include _going to the coffeeshop to listen to some folk music_ and Sunday, I want to _read_!

The 1%

How would you like a 225% raise last year?

So what would you have to do to get that increase, well for one thing lay off 3,000 employees in 2010 and 1,425 employees in 2011. There was an article in the Hartford Courant on Tuesday about Stanley Black & Decker executive compensation.
Stanley Black & Decker Paid Chairman $64.4 Million in 2011
Says It Made Minor Changes in Response to Shareholders' Disapproval of Pay Package Last Year
Hartford Courant
March 20, 2012

Even after Stanley Black & Decker shareholders rejected the tool and security company's executive pay plan last spring, the company paid Nolan D. Archibald, its chairman and the former CEO of Black & Decker, a total of $64.4 million in 2011.

John F. Lundgren, CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, who led The Stanley Works in its 2010 acquisition of Black & Decker, received total compensation of $19.8 million last year.

The vote by shareholders at the 2011 annual meeting, which was not binding, made Stanley Black & Decker one of about 40 companies whose shareholders voted down executive pay given in 2010. The reason: compensation related to the merger, which will include a $45 million payout for Archibald in 2013.

That $45 million is a reward for Archibald's helping the company realize "cost synergies" — including reducing employees by 3,000 in 2010 and by 1,425 in 2011 because of the merger.
Most of the increase was due to stock options increasing stock prices. One of the questions that I have is how much of the stock price increase was due to the increase of the overall economy and how much was due to his leadership? The article goes on to say that the employee base continues to grow, but unfortunately, most of that growth is overseas.

I am a stock holder of Stanley Black & Decker and I voted against the compensation policy last year and I will vote against again this year. They ignored the stock holders last year. only making trivial changes to their compensation package and they will probably ignore this year’s vote.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Story Part 112 – What Would You Give Up?

Would you give up your family?
Would you give up your friends?
Would you give up your job?
Would you give up everything in your life that means anything to you?

Can you imagine getting to that point in your life where you are willing to do all that? How would you feel?

I felt that I couldn’t go on leading a double life that I had to be true to myself. The stress built up so much that it landed me in the emergency room with a heart condition due to the anxiety.

Last night I went to a dinner and a presentation on trans-health care and as the presenter was speaking, it made me think about what I was willing to do to survive. Before I transitioned and before I came out, at night I cried myself to sleep thinking about what it would be like to be cut off from my brother and his family. It was like avalanche building, I was preparing myself for the possibility, of being disowned and not having the love of a family. I went through this agony each time that I had to tell a family member. Each time I had to tell a cousin, each time I had to tell a friend. The shear agony of not knowing if they would get up and hug me or tell me to get out of their house. When I told my friends, when I told my boss… that unknowing, fearing the worst. I wrote this in my diary, “I feel that I have let everyone down with they all knowing about my transsexualism… It is slowly sinking in and it is starting to make me blue.” There is so much stigma and guilt attached to being trans that when I did tell them, it felt like the end of the world. People tell me that I’m brave, but it wasn’t bravery, it was desperation, the last choice.

What would you do?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Couple Of Thoughts About The News – Bathrooms and Dorms

The first is about gender neutral bathrooms, when I was graduate student, a group of students came up to me and said that they want the school to designated certain bathrooms as gender neutral. They were so excited about it, that I hatred to burst their bubble, I felt that it was a form of segregation. Well the University of Southern California student government is proposing gender neutral bathrooms…
Gender-neutral bathroom, Leavey resolutions pass
Daily Trojan
By Daniel Rothberg
March 20, 2012

Undergraduate Student Government senators unanimously approved two resolutions advocating for the renovation of Leavey Library and the installation of a gender-neutral bathroom in the Student Union on Tuesday.
“[Vice President for Student Affairs Michael] Jackson went to the Board of Trustees with the resolution and they gave him the green light to move forward to talk to USC Housing to implement the pilot program for next year,” said Josh DeMilta, USG director of Diversity Affairs.
What I told my classmates was that I would be in favor of a gender neutral bathroom if it did not limit access to all bathrooms to trans-people. That we were not forced to only use gender neutral bathrooms; that some trans-people might feel safer or might want to use a gender neutral bathroom while they transitioned and having a gender neutral bathroom for them was all right.

The other story is about a trans-man at Miami University in Ohio who wants to be a room advisor (RA) in a male dorm.
Transgender Student Fights University Over Housing
Complaint Filed Against Miami U.
March 19, 2012

"Although it doesn't match with what I've been told based on my birth certificate and that, it's my identity, it's what I feel and I can't fight it," said Kass.

The Miami University student is fighting school officials for not allowing him to serve as a resident assistant in an all-male residence hall. Instead, he was offered a position in a suite living with female students.
"The university does offer gender-neutral housing for those students who feel more comfortable living with students of a different biological gender," said spokeswoman Claire Wagner.
My take on this is that they should give him the RA job. Way back when I was an undergrad, we had separate shower stalls in the bathroom and I imagine that 40 years later that most dorm bathrooms still have separate stills. Even through it is a male dorm, there probably a number of women who stay there overnight. Also, as one of the perks that the RA had in the dorm was they had a single dorm room. That is my only reservation, is that of roommates, a roommates get to see each other when they are naked. I have the same reservations with gender-neutral housing that I have with gender neutral bathrooms, it is a form of segregation if a trans-person must use gender-neutral housing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Will The Courts Do What Congress Won’t?

More courts are finding that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII also covers gender identity. The Federal court also have ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause prohibits discrimination of government employees against discrimination based on gender identity. In the Verdict,
Sex Discrimination Claims Under Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause: The Eleventh Circuit Bridges the Gap
David S. Kemp
March 19, 2012

In December 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled in Glenn v. Brumby that the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution protects transgender government employees from discrimination on the basis of their transgender identity. Courts have long recognized that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination against individuals because of their gender, but only recently have courts begun to acknowledge that the term “gender” encompasses transgender identity.

Most gender discrimination cases in the workplace arise under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) because Title VII is enforceable against a vast majority of employers. In contrast, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause protects only against discrimination by governments.
Much of the case law goes back to a 1989 Supreme Court decision in the Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins case, the court found that sex discrimination also covered sex stereotyping. The plaintiff said that she was denied a partnership because she did not look womanly enough and that this was sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was under that Supreme Court ruling that the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities commission ruled that Connecticut anti-discrimination statutes sex discrimination also covered gender identity.

The article goes on to say what you need to prove your case under Title VII,
To prove a case alleging sex discrimination in violation of Title VII, a plaintiff must show that despite being qualified, he or she suffered an adverse employment action (e.g., being demoted or fired, or being passed over for promotion or hiring) when other similarly situated employees did not, and that the difference in treatment was attributable to sex or to sex-stereotyping. Once the plaintiff has made that showing, then—unless the defendant can show a non-pretextual, legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the employment decision—the plaintiff will prevail.
And that leads me to the Connecticut anti-discrimination statute, in Public Act No. 11-55 paragraph 21,
(21) "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.
The part that I emphasized has cause some angst in the transgender community, but what that section does is to provide some guidelines as to what constitutes what the Verdict article said, “and that the difference in treatment was attributable to sex or to sex-stereotyping.” You have to prove that you are a member of that protected class and that you were discriminated against because you are a member of that class.

In Connecticut, we now have that protection written in to law, but on the federal level we are still at the mercy of a judge sitting on a court bench. That is why we need to pass a gender inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) so that our protection is not based on the whim of a judge.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Few Ruin It For The Many

I am going to moderated comments because of some Anonymous commenters who use derogatory language. They use words that are hurtful to some people and I will not allow that type of language on my blog. I will continue to allow comments that are respectful of others, they can disagree with what I write and I will publish their comments, as long as they are respectful of others.

Like other oppressed communities there are some who feel that they are better than others in the community. They have a need to separate themselves from others in the community… “I am not like those people.” And unfortunately, the transgender community is not immune to that trait. There are some who put themselves on a pedestal, many of them can go out into society and pass, they can afford the hundreds of hours of electrolysis, they can afford surgery, and they put down all those who cannot. We in the transgender community share common traits, we all face discrimination, we all face the possibility of losing our jobs, we all face becoming victims of violence and we all cross the gender barrier.

Back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the gay and lesbian communities when through the same phase, it was the era of assimilation, their message was to encourage gay people to "act normal" and fit in to society,
“That we are just like you." The masculine lesbian woman or the feminine gay man were not welcome. The trans-community is going through that phase now, where the elitists do not want to include any one to the party that does not fit their imagine of a “transsexual”

As I said, I will allow all comments that are respectful and do not use derogatory words for crossdressers or use name calling.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Yesterday’s Workshop

I had a good turn-out for my presentation, I had about 20 -25 people attend it. They put me in a 400 seat auditorium and when I walked in to the room, I thought OMG, I hope they don’t expect me to fill it! The screen was huge, about 40’ across and they had a neat computer system to run the room. After my workshop, I had a number of people come up to me and said that the presentation was an eye opener. They said that it was a story that needed to be told. One person who came up to me after the workshop was a trans-man from the US Dept. of Labor, Office of Disability Employment. He gave a workshop on Friday, that I wish I knew about because I would have loved to attend it because the workshop that I wanted to attend was cancelled. His workshop was,
Queering Politics: LGBT Leaders Share Their Stories
Often people think that direct action is the only way to make a difference. Yet, policy makers impact the lives of thousands of people through the decisions they make every day. Join this panel of local, state and federal LGBT Policy makers as they share their experiences and stories as out elected or appointed officials. There will be lots of time for questions and answers and ideas about ways that you might make a difference in the political arena.
After my workshop, I collected the evaluations and I went through them, they all were “Excellent” or “Very Good” except one. That person gave me a “Poor” with the comment “Didn’t have any discussion! Only had a Q & A session after the presentation.”… Um what part of “Presentation” didn’t you understand? If you wanted a discussion, you should have gone to a workshop that said it was a discussion.

Next year, I think I might do a workshop on being an ally.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday 9: Forget You

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Forget You

1. Have you ever felt that you needed to just forget an ex-lover?
Some, while other no.

2. Spring picnics and cookouts are here! What would you want to have on your plate as you head back to the table?
A cup of New England claim chowder, steamers (long neck clams for all of you not from New England), a boiled lobster, corn on the cob and a cold Samuel Adams (a local beer)

3. It's St. Patrick's Day, March 17th! Do you celebrate? Drink Green Beer? Go out?
Nope. Yuck, green beer!

4. Did you remember to wear green today?
I’m wearing a red blouse.

5. What phrase or saying do you over use?
Um… I don’t um… know if I… um use ant um… phrases over um… again.

6. If you could (or could have) change(d) something about your relationship with your parents, what would it be?
I would have liked to tell them about myself… see Thursday’s My Story.

7. If the NCAA Men's or Women's Final Four basketball tournament was played in your hometown arena or within easy driving distance from where you live, would you try to attend one of the games?
It is within easy driving distance, about a half hour (I will be on campus of the 2010 women’s championship team today). But I don’t attend sports games. I’m not a sports fan.

8. No matter what's going on in your life, what always makes you smile?
Babies, no one can resist a smile of a baby.

9. We've asked this before: What else is on your mind? Go ahead and rant.

Back To The Conference

Even through both workshops that I wanted to attend were canceled, I still had a good time seeing everyone that I haven’t seen since the last conference. I have made so many friends there at the conference over the years, that the conference has become a social event as well as an educational event.

This morning I give my workshop, so wish me luck! I’m always nervous about the turn-out, fearing that no one will show up. I gave this workshop about three years ago and I had the same fears then, it was in the last timeslot of the conference, 2:45 – 4:00. It was cold, windy and snow/sleeting and I thought no one is going to stay for the last workshop in this weather, driving home over icy roads. At 2:30, there were only a couple of people in the classroom; 2:40, a few more wander in… 2:45, the room fills up to capacity and there is “standing room only”! This year, I’m in the 10:30 – 11:45 timeslot… the prime slot of the day. But of course I’m still worrying… what if I get lousy evaluations …what if…

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Welcome _back my friends to the show that never ends. We're so glad you could attend_.
2. _Cherry Garcia_ and _Chunky Monkey_ makes me jump for joy.
3. There's a _surprise in ever package_!
4. _The sound of the waves_ is the thing I love most about _ocean_.
5. Eyes _can be so angry sometimes_.
6. _The review on my workshop_ is what I'm eagerly awaiting.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _reading_, tomorrow my plans include _go back to the conference and give my presentation_ and Sunday, I want to _relax_!

The True Colors Conference

I’m off to the True Colors conference this morning, the conference is the largest LGBT youth conference in the world! Today alone they expect 2000 people to attend the conference and tomorrow another 1000 people, and also tomorrow is my workshop “Transgender Activist History: From World War II to the Presents” at 10:30.

See also, My Story Part 107 – True Colors Conference

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Story Part 111 – Happy Birthday!

Today would have been my mother’s 99th birthday, well not really. We always celebrated it on the 15th, the Ides of March. But it wasn’t until we were cleaning out their house to sell it after my father died that we found her birth certificate and we found out that she was really born on the 16th. The photo is of my mother on her honeymoon, September 1936.

All through life we shared a secret. I do not know for certain, but I believe that she knew about my crossdressing. Many times my stash of clothes vanished without a word and I always wondered what she thought about me. I know that she loved me, but we never talked about it. It was our little secret elephant. I will always wonder what she would say now. Would she be proud of me for all that I have done? Or would she only see my trans-ness? How that questions haunts me, the not knowing.

On the night of her death, I wrote this with tears in my eyes as they are now remembering…

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.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An Island Of Reason, In A Sea Of Insanity

Omaha city council passed a LGBT Anti-Discrimination law last night and now it goes on to the mayor to sign.
Omaha passes LGBT ordinance
By Robyn Wisch
March 13th, 2012

Omaha, NE – The Omaha City Council passed a historic ordinance to expand legal protections to Omaha’s gay and transgender community Tuesday.
The ordinance was introduced by Councilman Ben Gray. It would amend Omaha’s existing anti-discrimination laws to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to a list of protected classes.
With the ordinance’s passage, Omaha joined the majority of large cities. Out of the top 50, 35 already have LGBT protections on the books. Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle released a statement following the vote, saying he applauds the council’s actions. “Omaha is a city that welcomes diversity, embraces fresh ideas,” he said, “and is open for business to everyone.”
But in the Nebraska legislature, there is a bill to limit municipalities from having a more inclusive anti-discrimination laws than the state law. Nebraska’s LB912 reads in part…
A county, municipality, or other political subdivision shall not adopt or enforce a local law, ordinance, resolution, rule, or policy that creates a protected classification unless such classification is contained in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act, the Nebraska Fair Housing Act, or sections 20-126 to 20-143 or 48-1219 to 48-1227. This subsection does not apply to a law, ordinance, resolution, rule, or policy that applies only to the employees of the county, municipality, or other political subdivision. (3) Any local law, ordinance, resolution, rule, or policy adopted before the effective date of this act that violates subsection (2) of this section is null and void.
Will the island of sanity be sweep away by the intolerants of the homophobes and transphobes?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Red Light Cameras

Here in Connecticut they have been debating whether to have red light cameras or not. Those who have been arguing for the cameras say it is for safety reasons and those who are against them say it is only to raise money for the cities. In Jon Lender’s column in the Hartford Courant, Government Watch he tackled the issue this past Sunday. One of the comments he made was if it wasn’t about money why do the cities want to keep the fines instead of turning the money over to the state’s general fund. I think that is a fair question to ask.

As for safety reasons the proponents’ cite many studies showing a reduction in the side impact collisions from people running the red lights. However, what they are not saying is that there is a dramatic increase in rear end collisions which may not be as fatal as a side impact collision; they do cause server back and neck injuries, with pain that might last a life time.

In a Virginia Transportation Research Council report, “The Impact of Red Light Cameras (Photo-Red Enforcement) on Crashes in Virginia” they found that
After cameras were installed, rear-end crashes increased for the entire six-jurisdiction study area. Usually the statistical methods used in this study showed a statistically significant increase in each jurisdiction. After controlling for time and traffic volume at each intersection, rear-end crash rates increased by an average of 27% for the entire study area.
After cameras were installed, total crashes increased. The reason for this increase is that in general—whether cameras are present or not—there are more rear-end crashes than red light running crashes. For the entire study area, there was about 4.4 times more rear-end crashes than red light running crashes. Table ES1 shows that even though red light running crash rates decreased more than rear-end crash rates increased after the cameras were installed, the crash rate for all crashes (red light running, rear-end, etc., combined) increased by about 12% because of the considerably larger number of rear-end crashes.
That is something that the companies that install and operate never mentioned in their lobbying efforts. The report went on to state that the difference on injuries between before and after the cameras were installed was too close to say if there was a net increase or decrease in the total number of injuries.

ABC News reported that,
A study released in January by the Texas Transportation Institute concluded that extending a yellow light by 1.5 seconds would decrease red-light-running by at least 50 percent.
Hmm… so if we do not use the invasive red light cameras and just change the cycle times on the traffic lights we can achieve the same results.

As Jon Lender column goes on to point out that,
Fines and fees in Nassau County totaled $27.8 million in 2011. The private vendor for that Long Island program — Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, which has been lobbying hard for the Connecticut bill — collected $8.3 million that year from the county to run the program. (That total was based on monthly leasing fees of $4,900 per month for each of the 152 cameras that had been installed at the 50 intersections by the end of that year, a county administrator said.)
So at $65 a ticket and a monthly fee of $4,900 that means that the breakeven point is 75 tickets a month. A LA Times article said,
Red-light cameras catch right turns and lots of revenue
Some experts question whether safety is the main concern.
Rich Connell, Times Staff Writer
May 19, 2008

But it is the right-turn infraction -- a frequently misunderstood and less pressing safety concern -- that drives tickets and revenue in the nation's second-biggest city and at least half a dozen others across the county.
The city of Los Angeles issued more than 30,000 photo tickets last year at 32 camera-equipped intersections. About eight in 10 involved right turns, said Los Angeles Police Sgt. Matthew MacWillie, the program's co-coordinator.

Improper right turns had not caused a major accident problem, said Glenn Ogura, a city traffic engineer. But they reflect bad driver habits.
So once again we see it is not about safety but it is about another source of revenue, kind of like a sloppy driver tax.

So who determines who gets a ticket or not? Is it some police officer watching the video? Well the answer is it is an employee of the company that maintains the cameras and they have a vested interest in issuing as many citations as they can. And who reviews the citations? It is a court clerk who is not trained as a police officer. This racket kind of reminds me of the speed traps of old, where the cop use to sit with the traffic control button and change the signal to red when he saw an out-of-state car.

Monday, March 12, 2012


No, not that kind of gas, but the type that you burn. I don’t know about you, but each time I fill up my tank, it is like I’m buying “Futures”. Each day the price of the gas keeps going up, the twenty dollars of gas that I put in my tank on Monday is now worth twenty-one dollars on Tuesday. And that is what is driving the price of gas, Future Trading. Futures are a kind of gamble; you say that I will buy one hundred gallons in 90 days at today’s prices. So if the price goes up, you win and conversely if the price goes down, you lose. (Way back in the late 70s, where I worked, I was friends with an administrative assistant who traded in Futures. When she was explaining to me about how the Futures market work, she told me of a story about one of her trades. There was a cold front moving through Florida and she thought that there would be a deep freeze that would kill the oranges trees, so she took out a Futures contract to buy several tons of oranges in 90 day at today’s price. Well the freeze never came and the price dropped and in 90 days her broker called, wanting to know where to deliver several box cars of oranges. Unlike stocks, when you buy commodities, you own them whether it is pork bellies or oil.). So back to oil, right now the Future markets are driving the price up. They are betting that Iran will shut down the Strait of Hormuz and stopping the flow of 1/3 of the world oil supply. An article on Fox Business talks about this, “Dems target Wall Street speculators over rising gas prices” on March 10, 2012,
Investors like hedge funds are big players in the oil markets, bidding on futures contracts and potentially affecting the price of oil. How big of an impact those speculators have, and whether they actually serve a constructive purpose, is a matter of fierce debate.

Bart Chilton, a commissioner on the CFTC, told Fox Business Network that speculation alone adds an average of 56 cents to a gallon of gasoline. He estimated that's an extra $7 every time a driver fills up a Honda Civic.
Of course the Republicans don’t believe it and they are sticking to their mantra, “Drill baby drill”. The article goes on to say,
Investors claim that Wall Street has been made into a scapegoat, and that basic supply-and-demand forces are at work in rising energy prices.

"Trade is not to blame for this," investor and former actor Wayne Rogers told Fox News on Saturday. He added that the Democrats complaining about speculators are the same ones who speak out against the Canada-to-Texas Keystone pipeline, claiming that project would help relieve part of the problem.
Hmm… let’s see. Supply is up and demand is down… wouldn’t that indicate that the price should drop?
Graphs from Obama for President.
Graph from U.S. Energy Information Administration

They also claim that the price is going up because of the President cancelling the current path of the Keystone pipeline. Note I said the “current path” there are other alternative paths for the pipeline that does not take it right through the Ogallala Aquifer one of the world’s largest aquifers (Map, Wikipedia).
There are other alternatives that would go around the aquifer.
Keystone Pipeline Shouldn’t Risk Nebraska Water, Obama Says
Bloomberg Businessweek
By Jim Efstathiou Jr.
November 07, 2011

Obama commented on the $7 billion project that would carry oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast in an interview with an Omaha television station yesterday, as Nebraska’s state legislature opened a special session considering ways to force a rerouting of the pipeline away from the state’s largest aquifer.
The 1,661-mile (2,673-kilometer) Keystone XL would deliver 700,000 barrels a day of crude to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. State leaders haven’t opposed the project’s route except in Nebraska.
The pipeline would cross the Sandhills region of the Ogallala aquifer, which serves 1.5 million people. The area has a shallow water table and porous sand that make it susceptible to water contamination, according to John Gates, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

The state legislature’s session was called by Republican Governor Dave Heineman especially to consider legislation aimed at forcing Calgary-based TransCanada to move Keystone XL. State Senator Annette Dubas introduced a bill that would require state permits for pipelines, giving Nebraskans a voice in the approval process.
So it is not just the President but also the Republican governor of Nebraska where most of the aquifer lies. There are a number of alternate routes proposed, KLIN reports that.
Major Route Alternatives
The analysis of route alternatives considered 14 major route alternatives. Figure ES-8 depicts the alternative routes considered. The analysis of alternatives routes was conducted following the approach to assessments of alternative pipeline routes used by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As a result, the analysis began with a screening process that first established criteria for screening alternatives, then identified potential alternatives that met the criteria, and determined whether or not they would (1) meet the purpose of and need for the proposed Project, and (2) be technically and economically practicable or feasible. For those alternatives meeting the criteria, DOS assessed whether or not the alternative offered an overall environmental advantage over the proposed route.
Map is from The Proposed Alternate Pipeline Routes From The Final Environmental Impact Report
As for the Republican’s claim that the price of is going up because of the rejection of the current route, a blog post on “The Hill”, Bill McKibben wrote,
This is nonsense on many fronts, most of all because the price is oil is fundamentally set on global markets. As the Congressional Research Service pointed out in late January, when there’s trouble in places like the Straits of Hormuz, the price of oil goes up for everyone and Keystone will make no difference, since the oil market is “globally integrated’; it’s not like Exxon offers a home-country discount to American motorists.

But in the case of the Keystone pipeline, it turns out there’s a special twist. At the moment, there’s an oversupply of tarsands crude in the Midwest, which has depressed gas prices there. If the pipeline gets built so that crude can easily be sent overseas, that excess will immediately disappear and gas prices for 15 states across the middle of the country will suddenly rise. Says who? Says the companies trying to build the thing. Transcanada Pipeline’s rationale for investors, and their testimony to Canadian officials, included precisely this point: removing the “oversupply’ and the resulting “price discount” would raise their returns by $2 to $4 billion a year.
So what to do? Do we limit the Futures market? Do we drill more like the Republicans will answer all our needs? Do we have a broad energy based policies that develop alternative energy sources and promote fuel efficient cars? I don’t think limiting the Futures market is the answer, but taxing the billionaires and millionaires is one of the answers and the other is cut demand by developing alternative energy sources.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday 9: Easy

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Easy

1. Have you ever had a romantic breakup that was easy?
No, they were never easy.

2. When was the first time that you felt betrayed?
When I was stood up back in high school. I had a date and she canceled say she had to baby sit, then I saw her at McDonald’s with a football player.

3. Do you feel religious beliefs should have a role in politics?
No, never!

4. Are you doing anything special this weekend?

5. Oreo cookies turned 100 years old this week. How do YOU eat an Oreo?
I’m a switch eater, sometimes I twist them apart and eat the filling first and other times I just eat them whole.

6. If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

7. Describe a time when you should have tried harder.
When I was an undergrad. But then I was a teenager and what does a teenager know.

8. What is your favorite baseball-related movie?
A League of Their Own

9. What is one lesson you have learned in the past year?
I learned a lot of lessons this year, that was why I went back to school.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Tonight On "What Would You Do?"

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Should Mom Support Teen’s Transgender Surgery Request?
ABC News
March 9, 2012

Thanks to Bono, the issue of gender reassignment surgery has received much press, but — as the backlash proved — publicity doesn’t necessarily equal acceptance. ”What Would You Do?” decided to test how bystanders would react to witnessing a teenage boy tell his mother that he is interested in gender reassignment surgery. Both the boy and the mother were actors hired by “What Would You Do?”
Watch “What Would You Do?” Friday at 9 p.m. EST to see the other dramatic reactions and vote below to tell us how you feel.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

My Story Part 110 – I Have A Dream

Ever since I attended my first support meeting, I asked a simple question… How can I help?” And that question led me down a path that I never dreamed of going down. It led me to get my MSW and now for the first time I see that it might lead to a new career. I have been talking to a group of people that provides training on diversity, one is a lesbian and the other is a gay man (they own the company) and we have been talking with a third person who is a former HR manager. What we want to do is to go into companies and do diversity training and I will be doing the “T” portion of the training. I would be a contract employee or a consultant, which would mean that I’ll have to do a little research to find out how that would work for tax purposes. Would I have to collect sales tax and pay my own Social Security, or whatever?

With the passage of the new gender inclusive anti-discrimination statute and the work that I did helping pass it, along with my MSW, it has puts me in a good position for teaching diversity to companies.

I have always felt that change is brought about by education and this is natural extension to my dream.

They are going to the workshop that I am giving at the True Colors conference, so it will be a kind of audition for me, so wish me luck next week.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Busy Day Today…

I have a Stonewall Speakers engagement this morning at Asnuntuck Community College, in the afternoon a meeting about consultant work and in the evening a meeting with my intern. So I’ll be running around for about 12 hours from one engagement to another.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

How Crazy Is This…

Can you imagine having to sign a promise not to have premarital sex and not to watch porn before you can vote in the primary! In Laurens County Republican Party in South Carolina they are asking you to sign the pledge before joining the party. Welcome to the new Republican party.
SC County GOP: If You’ve Had Pre-Marital Sex, You Can’t Be A Republican
By Jillian Rayfield
March 5, 2012

Before you can join the Laurens County Republican Party in South Carolina and get on the primary ballot, they ask that you pledge that you’ve never ever had pre-marital sex — and that you will never ever look at porn again.

Last Tuesday, the LCGOP unanimously adopted a resolution that would ask all candidates who want to get on the primary ballot to sign a pledge with 28 principles, because the party “does not want to associate with candidates who do not act and speak in a manner that is consistent with the SC Republican Party Platform.”
But then they get even more specific. From the Chronicle:
You must favor, and live up to, abstinence before marriage.

You must be faithful to your spouse. Your spouse cannot be a person of the same gender, and you are not allowed to favor any government action that would allow for civil unions of people of the same sex.

You cannot now, from the moment you sign this pledge, look at pornography.
I know people who vote Republican because they say like the financial policies. That may have been the case in the past, but it sure isn’t today’s Republican party, the new Republican is all about taking use back to the 50s, the era of “Father Knows Best” where the wife was barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen. Where LGBT people are thrown into jail and persecuted. The new Republican party is all about “I got mine, screw you”.

Monday, March 05, 2012

LGBT History

When I was first going out in public as Diana, I saw a flier advertising a talk at the University of Hartford, a woman PhD candidate was going to talk on her thesis “LGBT” in the media. It sounded like it would be interesting so I attended it with some friends. This woman from some college in Pennsylvania talked for about an hour on "LG" and then had a Q&A session afterward. During her whole talk she didn’t mentioned one TV show or movie that had a trans character in it, when we questioned her on it, she said that she didn’t find any shows or movies that had a trans-character or plot. We started to name shows which had a trans-character, like the “The Education of Max Bickford” and she stood there dumbfounded, she had not a clue. If I was her PhD adviser, I would have flunked her.

While I was in grad school, I got an email advertising a library exhibit on “LGBT” history at UConn's main campus and once again I rounded up some friends and we went up to see the show… well surprise, the show was all “LG” and no "T"!

I went down to a Pride Festival in Norwalk in 2009, the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and they had all these posters up around the festival about the Stonewall Uprising and they were all about “Gays” and not one word any of the trans-people who were there. When I talked to the person who made the posters, he was so proud of them and when I asked him about trans-people like Sylvia Rivera, Miss Majors and Marsha P. Johnson, he had a blank expression on his face and he said that he never heard of any of them.

Later that month I received an invitation from the director of the Rainbow Center at UConn asking if I want to do a lecture for her class and I knew right away what I was going to talk about… “T” history. I developed a presentation called “The History of Trans Activism: From World War II to the Present” and I will be given it again at the True Colors conference at 10:45 on March 17

There was also an article about the news media lumping trans-people with “gays”.
Transgender Issues: Some Media Still Confused About the ‘LGBT’ Term
Montreal Gazette
By Jillian Page
March 2, 2012

Another media story today, this one on the CBS site, seems to think that being gay and being a trans person are synonymous. It’s a myth perpetuated by some religious organizations, ie. that if you are a trans woman in a relationship with a man, you are gay. And it seems that some media organizations are still stuck in that mindset.

The CBS article is about a “full service senior centre” in NYC that caters to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people. Except the article says the centre was designed specifically for gay folks. The headline reads: New NYC center caters to gay and lesbian seniors
I don’t know if it is a “myth perpetuated by some religious organizations” or it is just plan ignorance or laziness on the reporters part. However, whatever the reason is some people want to lump lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people all under the umbrella of “gay” and as a result we lose our unique history of the trans-community.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Transitioning In College

When I started grad school, I was still saddled with my male identity. The first day of classes the professors called out my legal male name, when I replied I said that I went by “Diana” and from that point on, they always called me Diana and use female pronouns. It was a non-issue. But then again it was the School of Social Work and I wouldn’t expect anything less. When I matriculated, I had transitioned and legally changed all my records from earlier classes. When I submitted my application to the university, all my old college records were in my male name. I received a voice mail one day from admissions saying that there was discrepancy in my record and could I come in and discuss it with them. When walked through the door, they took one look at me and said, that everything was straighten out.

However, there are many other college students who have transitioned in college with mixed results, but there are success stories. One of them is in the Philippines where a trans-student was elected to the chair of the student government.
Transgender heads Philippine university's student body
By Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network
Sunday, Mar 04, 2012

QUEZON CITY, Philippines - Marking a new milestone, students of the premier University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, elected their first openly transgender chairperson of the university student council (USC).

In elections concluded Thursday night, Heart Diño bested three other candidates, including independent candidate Martin Loon of the UP College of Law and Amancio Melad III of the militant Stand UP coalition.
According to the Philippine Collegian, the official organ of the UP Diliman students, Diño's party clinched 13 out of 34 seats in the USC, including six councillor seats and six college representatives. The Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (Stand UP) won 10 seats while the Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan sa UP (Kaisa) also got 10 seats.
It is hearting to see positive change happening around the world. While I was in grad school, I was also on the student government at school and chair of two organizations.

Here in the U.S. conservative heartland, Kansas, a professor at University of Nebraska at Omaha has transitioned.
Kelly: Protecting rights hits home for transgendered prof
By Michael Kelly
March 4, 2012

Despite her initial fears of becoming "a social outcast," the professor said, UNO faculty members and students accepted her new identity.

"Around here, I don't get many glances," said Meredith, who stands 6-foot-3. "Some might look at me and think 'I hope you play basketball' or something like that. But aside from that, I blend into the woodwork."
There are other trans-professors who have transitioned and have had no problems. One I know is a professor at a college in Maine, another is now retired and was dean of Engineering at a Michigan university.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Place Saturday Six Episode #412

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode #412

1. When you hear that a movie is a likely nominee for an Academy Award, are you any more likely to watch that movie in the theater?
Well first of all, I have no idea which movies were nominee this year. I think one of them was the Artist, but I don’t know if it won or not.

2. When you hear that a movie you haven’t yet seen actually is nominated for an Academy Award, are you more likely to watch that film?
Since I don’t pay attention to the Academy Awards or go to the movie theater, no I am not more likely to see the movie.

3. Of the nominated films this year, how many of them did you watch?

4. Have a look at the former winners for Best Picture prior to this year. Which is the last one you remember watching at home?
Avatar. Actually it was up at our cottage, I brought my computer projector and we watched it on the 92” screen. We also watched “Chicago” the next night.

5. From that same list, which is the last one you remember seeing in a theater?
Doctor Zhivago. As I said, I’m not a big fan of the movies and the movies that I like to watch are science fiction and they usually do not get nominated. I’m surprised that none of the Harry Potter movies were nominated.

6. If you could experience any Best Picture winner in a theater environment, which would you choose?
The Artist. I will probably watch it up at the cottage this summer, since we do not get any over the air TV stations since the bandwidth grab by the wireless companies did away with VHF TV.

Saturday 9: Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow (RIP Davy Jones)

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow (RIP Davy Jones)

1. How much do you worry about your future?
What me worry! I never worry; I’m always cool as a cucumber.

2. Do you believe that anyone could be perfect?
Nobody is perfect, except for me. Everyone else has flaws

3. Regarding your future, what is the best thing you could hope for?
That I am still breathing in twenty years

4. What's the greatest extent you've gone to help a friend in need?
I don’t really keep track of those things. Lately I have been taking a friend to her doctors appointments.

5. What did you do lately that was really brave?
I can’t think of anything.

6. Tell us one thing you wish you hadn't let yourself do.
Had the leftover pizza last night at 11.

7. Who is the wisest person you know?
No, I’m not going to name names. You want o cause a fight or something?

8. What's the most tasteless joke you've ever heard?
The one that Montana's chief federal judge, Richard Cebull passed along about President Obama last week.

9. What does your answering machine / voice mail message say?
My cell voice mail greeting says, “Hi, I am unable to answers the phone right now, but I call you back as soon as I remember to check my messages.” Usually it is four or five days before I remember that I turned off the ringer. One time it was over a month…opps. I didn’t realize that the voice mail was a month old and called her back. She didn’t even remember what she called me about, we had a good laugh over that one.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. When I heard _about your parents, I cried_.
2. _This year’s mild winter_ makes me want _to long for spring_.
3. Get _out of here_!
4. _My heart_ is where _there are warm sunny beaches with palm trees_.
5. Hands _down, that was the best dinner ever_.
6. _I never want_ to put anybody down.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _reading a new book in front of the fire_, tomorrow my plans include _going to the coffeehouse to listen to some folk music_ and Sunday, I want to _go to a family get together_!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

My Story Part 108 – Diversity, Isn’t It Beautiful

Most outsiders think that the trans-community is homogeneous but it is really diverse and we do not follow the gender binary. Even though there are some within the community that try to enforce the gender binary. As late as the 90s, the medical community wanted trans-people to fit in a nice little box either male or female. They required trans-women to be attracted to men and they had to be able to blend into the gender norms. So when a trans-woman went before the “Gatekeepers” [therapists] and when the gatekeeper asked who you were sexually attracted to, you answered “men” and they rewarded you with the blessing of hormones. Eventually the gatekeepers found out that they were lied to and they pronounced that all trans-people are liars. They wanted us to fit into their image of what a woman should be. Overtime some gatekeepers have come
to realize that the trans-community reflects that of the general population that some trans-women like women and some trans-men like men. The medical community is also coming to realize that there are many transsexuals who do not want to or cannot pass as women or men, but by allowing them to transition their quality of life improves. The gatekeepers have begun to realize that gender is a continuum and not a binary. For some in the trans-community however, they have not realized that yet, they still live in the world of the binary.

I first was exposed to the binary and the gender pyramid at a First Event conference, this was before I was able to admit to myself that I was transsexual and still identified as a crossdresser. I was sitting in a chair in the lobby of the hotel and a trans-woman sat down across from me. She asked me if I was a transsexual, I said no, she scrunched up her nose and got up and left. For some trans-women there is a pyramid with the post-op passible trans-woman on top, below them are the pre-ops and below them are the non-ops and down near the bottom are the crossdressers. Even lower down in the muck are the drag queens and kings. It does matter if you can’t afford surgery or if you have a medical problem that prohibits surgery, you are not a true “Transsexual” unless you are willing to give up everything in order to reach that mystical ring. To them you will always be “men in dresses”

There is an article in the Huffington Post that talks about this,
Transgender (Mis)Education
Huffington Post
Ira Gray
Posted: 02/28/2012

Something didn't feel right for me anymore, and I couldn't put my finger on it. According to every resource I turned to -- whether it be Tyra Banks' interviews with trans* people, or reading resources by and for transgender individuals -- I was not binary enough in my gender to be transgender. I didn't know from the time I was born, never felt trapped in my body, and would never describe my identity as a trans* person as a "birth defect" like Chaz Bono describes his.
Fast forward two years, and you'll find me typing this out on a plane to Florida. I just had my chest reconstructed after having been on testosterone for 20 months. Despite taking these medical steps, I would not describe myself as masculine, and my gender goes way beyond the bounds of "man" and reaches genderqueer, femme, and trans* guy.
Trans* folks have nothing to lose and everything to gain by educating the public about our existence and about the true diversity of our narratives. Within the GSM (gender and/or sexuality minority) community, trans* people are the most likely targets for assault. We have the highest unemployment rate, suicide rate, and homelessness rate. What do we have to lose?
For me before I transitioned, I dreamed of grabbing that golden ring, to be able to pass and no one would guess my history. But since then I have come to realize that it is more important to be yourself, I have found comfort in just being myself. Would I like to have surgery? Yes, it would be icing on the cake, but I can’t afford it on a pension.

Gender is a continuum, a spectrum. Let us embrace diversity.