Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Little Victories, But We Will Take Any That We Can Get

Not that for these people the victories were little, but for us every step forward is progress.

In Alaska, you can now change your gender on your driver’s license which is an important step forward for us. I remember before I transitioned I had to show my driver license to a bouncer at the door. When he looked at my picture and name, a big grin came on his face as he handed my license back.
Transgendered Alaskan to Be Able to Change Gender on Drivers Licenses
The Edge on the Web
by Jason St. Amand
Monday Jul 30, 2012

The lieutenant governor of Alaska has filed a new regulation that would make it easier for transgender citizens to change their gender on their driver’s licenses to the sex they desire without undergoing surgery. The American Civil Liberties Union, which was instrumental in alerting the Alaskan government to the need for such a change, issued a statement revealing Juneau’s regulation.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, a Republican, filed the measure last week, which will go into effect on August 11. The regulation comes after the ACLU and the ACLU of Alaska challenged a requirement that forced transgender drivers to prove they had undergone surgery as a violation of an individual’s right to privacy.
"The previous requirement had nothing to do with accepted medical standards and demonstrated a callous lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender," said John Knight, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "The government should not be in the business of dictating anyone’s medical care, especially when it comes to requiring surgery that may not be available, desired, or medically necessary."
In another victory was in Illinois where you can now change your gender on your birth certificate without surgery…
Agreement on Illinois birth certificate change for trans peopleChicago Pride
Mon. July 30, 2012

Chicago, IL — A proposed court-supervised agreement filed July 30 will help ensure that transgender individuals can receive new birth certificates that reflect their correct gender from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
"This agreement reflects a basic understanding that the government should not be in the business of telling transgender Illinoisans what kind of surgery they need to undergo," said John Knight, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. "It creates a new opportunity to obtain an accurate birth certificate for many people — including a number of persons who have been denied new birth certificates over the years who have not undergone genital surgery, because they have no medical need for it, are concerned about its risks, or cannot afford it."

This is BIG step in the right direction, as the article points out there are many trans-people who cannot afford surgery or for some medical reason having surgery would put their life in danger or just simply because they feel that they don’t need surgery. After all, what is a birth certificate for? It is for identification and when you need to present it for identification they are not going to check to see what is between your legs, they are going to go by the way you presenting yourself as male or female.
The last article is about a personal victory and a victory for the community…
Trans Athlete Breaking Barriers
by Cathryn Wellner
July 27, 2012

On June 21st trans athlete Keelin Godsey came within one meter of making Olympic history. The 28-year-old had already managed 69 meters in the hammer throw. He needed to toss the hammer 71.5 meters in the final qualifying trials. He did succeed in tossing a personal best, 70.49, but was just shy of making the cut for the US Olympic Team in the women’s hammer throw.

Had Godsey made the team, he would have been the first openly trans athlete to compete in any Olympics event. In the video interview below, Ann Schatz talks with him about the challenges of his journey.
Congratulation! It is a major step forward for both Keelin Godsey and the Olympics.

Monday, July 30, 2012


You hear a lot now a days that there should be religious exemptions from certain laws. In Connecticut there is a religious exemption from the anti-discrimination statutes; religious institutions are exempt from the anti-discrimination laws. For example a church can refuse to have women priests and not violate anti-discrimination the statues. However, they are exempt only for places of worship and places that are exclusively for their parishioner, a hospital is not exempt because it serves the public and it also receives public funding.

When we were trying to pass the gender inclusive anti-discrimination law here in Connecticut there was pressure to exempt the law for anyone based on religious beliefs, stop for a minute and think what that would mean. It would mean that a person or business could refuse to serve a trans-person or a gay or lesbian couple. It would mean that if trans-person were in an accident and rushed to an emergency room that a doctor could legally refuse to treat the person. It would mean that a town clerk could refuse to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

Under Connecticut law this is allowed (As it should be)…
Mississippi Church Refuses to Marry Black Couple
ABC News
Jul 28, 2012
They had booked their wedding far in advance. The invitations had been sent, the programs printed. But one day before Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson were to be married at the Mississippi church they frequented, they said a pastor told them they would have to find another venue -- because they were black.

There has never been a black wedding at the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Miss., since its founding in 1883. According to Pastor Stan Weatherford, some church members objected so strongly to breaking that precedent, they threatened to oust him from his pastorship.
Because it is a church they would be allowed to discriminate against a person’s race. However, this also would be allowed because of the religious exemption…
Whites-only Christian gathering riles some Alabama neighbors
By Kari Huus
July 5, 2012

three-day whites-only religious conference — which will conclude with a flaming cross — in Lamar County, Alabama, has some residents upset at the racist implications while the minister complains that his freedom of speech is being violated.

Yes, we believe that the Europeans and their descendants are the chosen people of God," according to the website for Christian Identity Ministries, which is holding the event with Church of God’s Chosen. "We believe this, not because we think that the white race is superior, but because there is overwhelming proof in support of this belief. We do not back down from this belief, because we are certain."
The church is a white supremacist church and under the religious exemption they are also allowed to discriminate, but consider what would have happened if the amendment to allow individual religious exemptions passed. One of their parishioners could legally discriminate against non-whites; they could refuse to serve blacks in restaurants all they would have to do is claim a religious exemption (It would still be against federal law, but Republicans in Congress have also proposed exemptions based on religious beliefs.). If the amendment passed, a person could refuse to serve a Jew or Muslim. That would have been unintended consequences of the effort to block LGBT civil rights; it would have opened up a floor of religious exemptions just to stop LGBT people for their civil rights.

Update 9:00am
On my Facebook page a friend pointed something out me that I want to make clear...

So does that mean it is "Christian" to be a bigot? A racist? A homophobe?

No, this does not mean that it is "Christian" to be a bigot, it means that a bigot can be Christian or any other religion or even a atheist.

What I am trying to say is that we have to be very careful when we grant exemptions for religious beliefs because there are many other religions that have various beliefs. When most of us think of religion we are thinking of the mainstream religions, but there are many other religions that have a wide variety of beliefs and when we exempt one religion we exempt all religions.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Writing A Speech…

I have been occupied latterly trying to write a speech for a workshop at the Legislative Office Building that is sponsored by the Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and The Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

It is challenging writing the speech because it will be a mixed audience, professional educators and counselors, and students ages 16 – 25. Of course I’m speaking about discrimination and bullying against trans-students. It is also challenging because it is only the second speech that I will have giving and the other speech to a group of law student and that speech was on how laws affect social justice and I just about winged it from the cuff. While this speech is more or less going to be written and I want to practice it so I wouldn’t have to read it. While I am writing it, I’m also video recording it to see how it flows.

So if I seem preoccupied it is because of this and other issues.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Six Episode #433

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode #433

1. What do you like most about your blog?
The variety of the people who visit it and they come from all over the world.

2. What do you like least about your blog?
The number of people who visit it is only about a 100 people a day.

3. What do you think is the most intimidating part about writing a blog?
Coming up with the title of the post, it can make or break a post.

4. How long does it take you to compose a typical post?
Anywhere from about a half hour and two hours if I have to research a post.

5. How often do you experience writer’s block on your blog?
Maybe once a month and then I use a news article that I comment very little on., so it is 2 or 3 paragraphs from the news article and one paragraph that I write about the news story. It is also why I like memes on the weekends, they do not take long to do and usually readership is down on weekends anyway.

6. What’s the easiest improvement that you want to make on your blog?
Changing the template, but I haven’t done that in a while.

Saturday 9: Moves Like Jagger

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Moves Like Jagger

1. Who makes the best moves in your life?
Hun? Moves like dancing? Or moves as in trying to pick-up someone at a bar?

2. Tell us about a time where you had to be selfish with your time, and felt guilty about it (whether it was time taken from your children or a significant other.
When my aunt was in the nursing home, at first I was visiting her 3 or 4 times a week are work but it was hard on me seeing her there, she had dementia and couldn’t remember what happened one day to the next. I cut back to one or two visits a week.

3. Do you feel that you can create more sex appeal or that it's just a given?
I think some have it and some don’t

4. Do your religious beliefs really influence your behavior?
Kind of, I believe in God and I believe in treating people as you want them to treat you and also I trying to leave the world a little better then when I came into this world.

5. Do you feel there are some things in a significant other that you can't change because of their sex?
Well… they can always change their sex.

6. Do you see a younger less secure person when you gaze in the mirror?
I see an overweight aging woman with a lot of baggage

7. If you have ever been pregnant, or have been with a woman who was, how did effect your sex life?
Nope, never had and never will

8. What would you like to work on to become a better person?
My weight and exercise

9. When did you think that you understood the sacrifices that people in the military make on behalf of their country?
When my neighbor’s son came home in a box in 1968.

Friday, July 27, 2012

How Far Have We Come?

Back in the 1800s missionaries went out west to “civilize” the Native America to teach them our ways and to force on them the ways of the white man. Almost two centuries later they are still forcing Native America to forget their heritage and take up the ways of the white man.
Menominee Seventh Grader Suspended for Saying "I Love You" in her Native Language
Native News Network
Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges
February 3, 2012

SHAWANO, WISCONSIN - What's love got to do with it? Not much, especially if you say the words "I love you" in the Menominee language in front of a certain Wisconsin teacher.

Seventh grader Miranda Washinawatok, Menominee, found this out.

Miranda speaks two languages: Menominee and English. She also plays on her basketball team. However, two Thursdays ago she was suspended for one basketball game because she spoke Menominee to a fellow classmate during class.

Miranda attends Sacred Heart Catholic Academy in Shawano, Wisconsin. The school body is over 60 percent American Indian. The school is approximately six miles from the south border of the Menominee Indian Tribe Reservation.
The principal told Washinawatok that the assistant coach told him she was told by two teachers to bench Miranda for attitude problems.

The alleged 'attitude problem' turned out to be that Miranda said the Menominee word

    that means

and said


in Menominee that means "I love you."

Miranda and a fellow classmate were talking to each other when Miranda told her how to say "Hello" and "I love you" in Menominee.
Unfortunately, I doubt much can be done because it is a private religious school. Unless they are receiving public funding they can discriminate all they want. But this incident is something out of the 1800s when missionaries took the Native American children from their families and forced them to lean the ways of the white man, it was despicable then and now it is even unconscionable that it is still happening. They should be teaching Menominee and celebrating their heritage instead of punishing the children.

The school did send out an apology letter...
Washinawatok has had a total of three meetings with school officials and was promised Miranda would receive a public apology, as would the Menominee Tribe, and the apologies would be publically placed.

"On Wednesday, a letter was sent to parents and guardians. A real generic letter of apology, that really did not go into specifics as to why there was this apology,"
The letter is nice, but one, it should never have happened in the first place and second, it took three meeting with school officials before the letter was sent out.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Story Part 128 – Staycation

Yesterday I met a friend down in New London and we went to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum to see an exhibit on the battles of Stonington and New London during the war of 1812. It was the first time I went to that museum, although it is a small museum they had a number of works by artists like I like from the Hudson River School and impressionist painters. They have such Hudson River School painters as Cole and Church and impressionist painter Edward Potthast. But the main reason why went was to see the War of 1812 exhibit.
The Rockets' Red Glare: The War of 1812 in Connecticut focuses on important local events including Commodore Stephen Decatur's naval squadron taking refuge in the Thames River to avoid the British, the bombardment of Stonington, the raid on Essex, and the effects of the British blockade on New London and the region. The 16-star American flag that flew over the defenders of Stonington will be a stand-out component of the exhibition.
The museum also had an exhibit of costumes and set designs from five Broadway shows The Producers, FELA!, Hairspray, Young Frankenstein, and Memphis. I was never really a fan of Hair Spray because of the way the play and the movie portrayed trans-people; however, it was interesting to see all the planning that went in to the designing of the stage and the costumes. One thing that was interesting was the colors of the set and costumes were based on the color scheme of NECCO candy wafers.

After we left there we went over to Noank to have lunch at Abbotts that is located on one of the bays on Fisher’s Island Sound. It is a touristy restaurant that is known for its lobsters and I had lobster salad roll. If you are wondering what the difference between a lobster roll and a lobster salad roll, it is the lobster roll is with butter while the lobster salad roll is with celery and mayonnaise. I also had Rhode Island clam chowder because they didn’t have any New England clam chowder :(  Just because they are only a couple of miles away from Rhode Island, they are also part of New England you would think they would have New England clam chowder. The restaurant also has a dock for boats to tie up and get take-out and is surrounded by sail and power boat moorings in the harbor.

When we left there we went over to the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus to take some photos of lighthouse (Click on the photos for a larger version). It turns out that from the campus you can see three lighthouses and one of them is on the campus, the Avery Point Lighthouse. I was a little disappointed in the photo of the other lighthouses, but I expected it because I was shooting into the sun. I should probably go back and shoot them in morning light some day because the photos have a bluish tint from the telephoto lens and shooting into the sun.

New London Ledge Lighthouse with the Orient Point ferry coming in to New London harbor.
f6.3 1/2500 sec 300mm

New London Harbor Lighthouse
f8 1/1600 sec 500mm

Avery Point Lighthouse
f13 1/640 sec 48mm

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Voter ID Laws Is A Fraud On The Voters

The real driving force behind the push for the Voter ID laws was made known when Republican Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania's House Majority Leader, boasted that the state's new voter-ID law, "is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is investigating if the Pennsylvania’s voter ID law discriminates against minorities and the law is being challenged in court,
Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Goes to Court
The Nation
Ari Berman
July 24, 2012

Tomorrow the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania will hear a challenge to the state’s new voter ID law from the ACLU and other voting rights groups. The lead plaintiff is Viviette Applewhite, a 93-year-old great-great grandmother who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. Applewhite worked as a hotel housekeeper and never had a driver’s license. Four years ago, her purse was stolen and she lost her Social Security card. Because she was adopted and married twice, she cannot obtain the documents needed to comply with the state’s voter ID law. After voting in every election for the past fifty years, she will lose the right to vote this November.
The second turning point came a few weeks later, when the Pennsylvania Transportation Department found that 9.2 percent of registered voters, 758,000 Pennsylvanians, don’t have the state-issued IDs required to vote under the law. The number of voters without ID was larger than the margin of Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain in Pennsylvania in 2008. That bombshell contradicted Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele’s oft-repeated claim that 99 percent of eligible voters possessed the requisite IDs. The Department of Transportation didn’t release the exact demographic breakdowns of who did not have IDs, but it did find that 18 percent of voters in Philadelphia, a heavily Democratic city that is 44 percent African-American, did not have valid state-issued IDs.
Additionally, the Huffington Post reports that,
Defendants in a case against one of the nation's strictest voter ID laws in Pennsylvania made a major concession to plaintiffs this week, just days ahead of the start of the trial over the measure.

In a stipulation agreement signed earlier this month, state officials conceded that they had no evidence of prior in-person voter fraud, or even any reason to believe that such crimes would occur with more frequency if a voter ID law wasn't in effect.

"There have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states,” the statement reads.
In other words this whole “Voter Fraud” thing is a fraud made up by the Republicans to rig the elections.

And Pennsylvania is not alone in running in to problems with their voter ID law, the Department of Justice has opposed the voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas. While in Wisconsin the Huffington Post reported,
A Wisconsin judge blocked implementation of the state's voter identification law Tuesday, the second time a judge has blocked the controversial law.
Dane County Judge David Flanagan made a temporary injunction he issued in March permanent, citing concerns over the ability of state residents to obtain the necessary photo IDs in order to vote, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In March, another Dane County judge had issued an injunction blocking the law's implementation. Voter ID supporters would now need to have both injunctions lifted.
While in Kansas the Lawrence Journal-World reported that
Topeka — Managers of some Kansas nursing homes say they are concerned that their residents might not have the paperwork required to vote under the state's new voter identification law
Secretary of State Kris Kobach says Monday that he's office is instructing county election officers to help nursing homes comply with the law. Kobach says the Peabody home was not given special treatment.
What about the people who don’t live in nursing homes and are working two jobs to make ends meet, who is helping them get the proper ID.

In Connecticut we do not have to present a photo ID and there has not been a case of voter fraud. This is another case of the Republicans dirty tricks in trying to block the votes from legitimate voters; they have created a boogeyman to pass laws that will block voters who are likely to vote Democratic. They are once again trying to fix the election process in their favor.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


With today’s economy the number of homeless continues to raise and for one group the rise is way out of proportion and that is for the trans-youth. The 2011 – 2012 survey LGBT Homeless Youth Provider Survey found that…
Nearly all of the agencies responding to the survey (94%) reported working with homeless and runaway youth who identify as LGBT in the past year. The number serving LGBT youth has grown over the past ten years, particularly those serving transgender youth.
  • Ten years ago, 82% of respondents said that they worked with LGB youth, whereas in the past year, nearly all respondents (94%) said that they worked with LGB youth clients.
  • While less than half of respondents said that they served transgender clients ten years ago, more than three-quarters of respondents indicate that they worked with transgender youth in the past year. LGBT youth comprise approximately 40% of the clientele served by agencies represented in the sample:
  • Among both homeless and non-homeless clients, 30% identified as gay or lesbian and 9% identified as bisexual
  • 1% of homeless and non-homeless clients were identified as “other gender” but at least another percent of the total clientele were transgender youth who were identified on the survey as either male or female
  • Nearly all agencies (91%) reported using intake forms to track the demographic information of their clients, including information on sexual orientation and gender identity; around 30% of agencies use staff estimates to approximate the number of LGBT youth. Given that youth may not be willing to self-identify as being LGBT when initially presenting for services, these data may underestimate the proportion of LGBT youth served by homeless youth providers.
On average, 30% of clients utilizing housing programs identify as LGBT (26% as LGB and 4% as
  • Host Home Programs – 42% of clients identified as LGBT (LGB = 37%; transgender = 5%)
  • Permanent Housing Programs - 39% of clients identified as LGBT (LGB = 36%; transgender = 3%)
  • Transitional Living Programs - 22% of clients identified as LGBT (LGB = 19%; transgender = 3%)
  • Independent Living Programs – 22% of clients identified as LGBT (LGB = 19%; transgender = 3%)
  • Emergency Shelters – 21% of clients identified as LGBT (LGB = 17%; transgender = 4%)
Many of the transgender homeless are forced into shelters of their birth gender and not of the gender that they identify, this causes many trans-youth not to seek shelter and to live off the street.

However, this does not have happen; many cities and homeless shelter allow residents to live in the shelter of the gender that they identify as. In New York City their policy is…
A few highlights of the policy include:
  •     Trans-people will be placed in shelters according to gender identity and will be able to use appropriate sleeping, restroom and bathing facilities
  •     Trans-people will be able to wear clothes that comply with their gender identities
  •     DHS [Department of Homeless Services] will be providing full training for all shelters, beginning with 6 specifically targeted shelters (to get things moving as quickly as possible)
In Boston they have a similar policy for transgender guest. The policy spells out how transgender individuals will be treated in the shelters from where they will sleep to what showers they will use and except for one shelter, it will be the gender that they identify (The exception is one that has to be handled on a case by case basis.). One section of the policy that I especially like states…
For the purpose of accommodations, the gender identity of the guest should be determined through conversation, rather than through a physical exam.
That is how it should be at all shelters!

What about Connecticut? I know of no policies here in Connecticut that cover trans-people. However, Connecticut law (Public Act No. 11-55) does cover public accommodation and housing… 
It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section: (1) To deny any person within the jurisdiction of this state full and equal accommodations in any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, mental retardation, mental disability or physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness or deafness of the applicant, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons
Homeless shelters are public accommodation; furthermore,
The municipality shall take all necessary steps to insure that occupancy of all housing financed or otherwise assisted pursuant to this chapter be open to all persons regardless of race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, age or physical disability.
So what does this mean? It means that here in Connecticut that in homeless shelters that takes public funds you MUST be housed in the gender that you identify as… it is the law. If you feel that you have been discriminated against in homeless shelters you can file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

DSM - It Is Time For A Change

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is in the process of changing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the DSM is a list of all billable mental disorders. You know that numbers that you see on your medical bills? Well if it is in the DSM that therapist or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) that health care people use to look up the billing numbers, the therapist or doctor gets paid. If it is not then they do not get paid. An example is that I have diagnosed with ICD code 272.0 or high cholesterol, if you look at your bill you will see the code number on it. The therapist uses the DSM to look up the best diagnoses that fit the patient symptoms and bills the insurance company, not everything in the DSM is a mental illness. The DSM contains such things as bed wetting as a mental disorder (307.6). Why? Because you might suffer some form of stress over it and go to a therapist about the stress but it does not make you mental ill and the therapist wants to get paid for threating your anxiety so there has to be a code number for bed wetting (Enuresis).

Therein lies the problem, the standard of care (SOC) requires that before hormones are prescribed to us or before we have surgery we have to see a therapist and if we want the therapist to get paid by the insurance company it has to be listed in the DSM. Therefore, I believe that it should be removed from the DSM all together and placed in the ICD, because there is enormous stigma that is tied to having it in the DSM that is used against us.
Transgender Advocates Seek New Diagnostic Terms
Associated Press
By Lisa Leff
July 21, 2012

Does a woman who strongly believes she was meant to be a man have a mental condition or a medical problem? Is a man who cross-dresses in need of psychological help? What about a boy who pretends to be a girl in make-believe games and chooses only female playmates?

The nation's psychiatric establishment is wrestling with these questions, among others, as it works to overhaul its diagnostic manual for the first time in almost two decades. Advocates have spent years lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to rewrite or even remove the categories typically used to diagnose transgender people, arguing that terms like Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism promote discrimination by broad-brushing a diverse population with the stigma of mental illness.

What does it mean to have GID listed in the DSM? Well a friend in another state is applying for a gun permit and on the form it asks, “Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness?” and she will have to answer yes. Also when we try to pass gender inclusive anti-discrimination laws the opposition uses the DSM against us…

The most symbolic change under consideration so far for the manual's fifth edition, known as the DSM-V for short, is a new name for Gender Identity Disorder, the diagnosis now given to adults, adolescents and children with "a strong and persistent cross-gender identification." In the manual's next incarnation, individuals displaying "a marked incongruence between one's experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender" would be diagnosed instead with "Gender Dysphoria," a term that comes from the Greek word for emotional distress.
It is a step forward, I believe that it still does not go far enough. The Medical Press reports that the APA Task Force has recommended that…
The task force was charged with reviewing the scientific literature regarding gender identity disorder at different stages in a person's life. It examined the research and clinical evidence relating to treatment, and provided an opinion as to whether or not the APA should develop practice recommendations. The literature regarding treatment of gender dysphoria, or discomfort about one's own gender, in individuals with disorders of sex development was also assessed.
In addition, the report recommended that the APA provide statements clarifying its positions on several issues. These include supporting the medical necessity of treatment for GID, defining the ethical issues regarding treatments for minors with GID or other manifestations of gender variance, and supporting the civil rights of persons who are gender variant, transgender, or transsexual.
While this report did not deal with the DSM revision, it does lend support to changing the DSM to make positive changes to the DSM but still didn’t go far enough. I will not be satisfied until GID is recognized for what it truly is, a nature biological diversity. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I like sunsets because no two sunsets are the same (Also sunrises come too early in the morning) and I have been taking photographs of sunsets at the cottage since my parents bought it back in ’81. Here is part of my collection… enjoy


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday 9: I Saw the Light

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: I Saw the Light

1. Has something ever made you "see the light"?
Well when I was working, I use to “see the light” when I was trying to troubleshoot a problem in an electrical circuit. All of a sudden the answer would just appear to me.

2. Do you believe you have any control over your luck?
Nope, it is just dumb luck.

3. What is something you have had difficulty rising above?
The petite squabbles

4. Would you want to be rich?
Sure. I would love just to have tenth of the money that Mitt Romney or Linda McMahon have.

5. Tell us about a current or old song that helps you "face the world."

Actually it is an album, when I’m tense or uptight or have a migraine, I relax to the Eagles Desperado

6. Has any dream of yours come true?

7. What would you change if you became "the king or queen" of your country?
I’ll change the way politics is run, who can donate, protect the environment, and ban automatic weapons.

8. How do you feel about LGBT rights? (If you need to look up LGBT, then you probably need to learn more.)
I’m all in favor of equality (See “About Me” in the upper right).

9. Have you ever been disappointed in yourself?
Yes, many times.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Staying active _is very important for good health_.
2. _Doing the dishes,_ well, that would be nice!
3. The very thought _sends shivers up my spine_.
4. _Sunrise at the lake_ is so beautiful.
5. I grew up in _a caring_ and _loving family_.
6. _Lobster Newberg on my birthday_ was my most memorable meal.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _watching a movie_, tomorrow my plans include _driving home_ and Sunday, I want have to _do the laundry_!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Backward

In Lithuania they threw us a bone, but at the same time they stabbed us in the back.…
Lithuania proposes anti-trans law
Lithuania proposed draft law reform could worsen situation for transgender people
Gay Star News
By Dan Littauer
19 July 2012

A draft law in Lithuania could worsen the situation for transgender people.

Under pressure of the UN and Europe the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice has proposed new draft legislation where people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery are to be issued with new identity cards without a lengthy court procedure.

But at the same time legislators want to remove existing provisions for state sponsored gender reassignment, and object to including them in the new legislation as they would legitimize ‘immoral’ surgeries in Lithuania. That change appears to go against the spirit of international demands.
So they throw a bone in being able to change our paperwork, but at the same time pull the medical coverage.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Trans In The Media

Trans characters have usually have been either portrayed as the pyscho-killer or the prostitute,  such as trans-woman Candis Cayne who played a trans-character in Dirty Sexy Money who was cast as a prostitute. However, when it is time to portray a trans-people in a positive light, it seems we are pushed aside and a non-trans-person is cast in the role of a trans-person, in “The Education of Max Bickford” the trans-character, Erica Bettis was portray by Helen Shaver and now in Small Town Security that will premiere on Sunday on the cable channel AMC will have a trans-man, Lt. Croft who I believe is portrayed by a non-trans-man. I say that I don’t think that he is a trans-man because all of the interviews that I can find of “Dennis Croft” are in character and on IMDb the actors and actresses are not listed, that leads me to think that the actor is not a trans-person.

Why is it that shows and movies like “The Education of Max Bickford” and “Transamerica” do not think we are worthy or capable of portraying ourselves? To me it is like casting a white person in the role of a black person, it is simply bigotry and judgmental.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Story Part 127 – Fire Island Or The Day I Almost Die Of Embarrassment

But first, I had great time out on the island and I think I fell in love with Fair Harbor.

On Friday morning I drove down to a friend's place down in New London to leave my car with her and she drove me to the Orient Point ferry terminal. I had a nice trip across the sound over to Long Island on board the New London; the trip took an hour and twenty minutes to cross the sound. On the way we went by the Plum Island (Plum Gut) lighthouse and the Orient Point (Coffee Pot) Lighthouse. (click on image for a full size picture)

It was a very humid day where the ocean and the sky kind of blended together and you couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began. At the ferry slip at Orient Point, there was the car ferry and the high speed ferry that were heading back to New London.

When we docked, I was met by the wife of a couple that I know who live on Long Island and she drove me back to their house.

Saturday we drove out to the ferry to Fair Harbor on Fire Island, we were going to party at the island’s doctor's house. The house is used for a visiting doctor, the island residents invite a doctor to come out for two weeks free in return he is the on call doctor for the town (As I understand it). The couple that I was visiting, the wife sings with a group of people who sing traditional music on Long Island and the doctor’s wife is a member of the group. This is the ferry that we came over to Fair Harbor on… And the ferry slip. What surprised me was the speed that the ferry traveled, my inexperienced guess was 25 knots (compared to the Orient Point/New London ferry which I would guess traveled at 10 knots), we were passing out pleasure boats like they were standing still. I sat on the top deck with my friends and I was sheltered from the wind by the wheelhouse.

On the island there are no cars so the only way to get around is by walking or bicycling. The center of Fair Harbor is a the doctor’s office, the fire station, a general type store and a restaurant, all within about a hundred yards Around the corner is the food store and the walkway to the ocean (that is the ocean in the distance, about a quarter mile) and as you can see, bicycles are the main form a transportation. All the “street” are only four or five feet wide and all along the streets are summer cottages on lots that are around 90’ by 100’, some of them are nicely landscapes will others are hidden away behind hedges.


The streets are crowded with foot and bicycle traffic and if you have to carry something, you can always use a wagon. The doctor's wife met us at the ferry with a wagon and we piled the bags that we were carrying on it. They even had a place by the ferry to store your wagons...
In the afternoon I headed over to the ocean side to cool off in the ocean and the water temperature was just right, I could have stayed in it all day.
I was out in the water up to my waist, out pass where the waves were breaking and when a wave came in it usually rose up to my chest and when a big wave came in I jumped up to let it pass. I was enjoying myself with the group when… I looked up and there was a wave about two feet taller than me and it was starting to break… right on top of ME!

When I stopped being tumbled in the surf, I felt to the top of my head and my wig was gone!!!!! I frantically looked around for it, but I didn’t have my glasses on and I couldn’t see it anywhere. PANIC! Panic, panic… what do I do? How can I go back to the party? How can I go back on the ferry? PANIC!

What seemed like a life time went by (in reality it was only 4 or 5 minutes), this woman came up to me and said, “Is this yours or is it some type of seaweed?” Whew! Thank you, thank you, thank you! She was holding my wig down in the water. I was so embarrassed, I was it total panic mode. I don’t know what I would have done if she didn’t find it or if someone found it.

So the rest of the day was uneventful. We took the 9:30 ferry back to the main island after watching a beautiful sunset.

On Sunday it was another extremely humid day, we drove over to the north shore to Northport and walked along the walkway in the park. The bay was a forest of masts from all the sail boats.

Afterwards, we drove around the north shore and down a number of winding roads, past big estates nestled along the shore to we got to Huntington Harbor Lighthouse.

Today I came home on the 8:00AM ferry to New London, my friend came picked me up and brought me to my car. I was home by 10:30. It was a beautiful weekend and I enjoyed it immensely. As usual all my worrying before hand was for nothing. I survived the temporary lose of my wig and quickly got over it. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. For the first time _I’m taking the New London/Orient Point ferry to Long Island_! (I have taken the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson ferry many times)
2. _This trip is going to be_ is one of my best memories of the summer so far.
3. My recipe for _Cream Cheese Tortilla Roll_ is one of my favorites because _at parties everyone is always asking for the recipe_.
4. _This year I’m going to remember_ for years to come.
5. It starts with a _doctor’s visit_.
6. _Lilac_ is a fragrance I enjoy most in a candle.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _be with my friends on Long Island_, tomorrow my plans include _going with them to a party on Fire Island_ and Sunday, I want to _travel around Long Island and take photographs_!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Story Part 126 – My Life Before And After

Before transition: I hated crowds, I hated to go in to a bar unless I knew someone there. I didn’t like fairs or concerts. I never went to any plays or out to dinner. I never traveled. I never knew anyone outside of my high school friends and the employees where I worked. At night I hide Diana from everyone and was worried about being found out, I lived in fear and that stress I believe caused some of my medical problems that I have now.

After transition: Now I go to plays and out to dinner with friends. I have traveled to events from North Carolina to Maine. I know people from around the nation; I know many of the state’s politicians, I know actors and writers and I sit on many committees such as the Safe Schools Coalition. But damn it, I still hate crowds, I still hate to go in to a bar unless I know someone there. I still don’t like fairs or concerts. However, I am working on overcoming my discomfort. I am going to a folk festival in a couple of weeks (depending on the weather) and I have also been working on other little phobias.

Tomorrow I going over to Long Island to stay with a couple of friends for the weekend and we are going out to a party on Fire Island. For me, this is a big challenge because I will only know my hosts there and the rest will be strangers, so it will crank up my phobia anxiety level and pump out the “fight or flight” adrenaline. It is funny here I changed from one gender to another with no problems, I have no problem standing up in front 200 strangers and talking about discrimination or about myself, but put me in a party setting and I become the shy quite one. I am just horrible in a social setting in either gender.

I guess what I am saying is that when you transition, you only change your gender,  you are still you. You bring along all the baggage that you had before you transition. You may start doing things that you always wanted to do, like going to plays or out to dinner with friends, but your little quirks stay with you.

So tomorrow begins another adventure that I am looking forward to going on. It will be another huddle to cross and another phobia to conquer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


When a person is raped, it shouldn’t matter what their gender is, it shouldn’t matter what the gender of the perpetrator is. But it does in Sweden; it seems that according to the courts that a trans-person cannot be raped.
By Sarah Vrba
July 7, 2012

This week a Swedish judge acquitted a man who attempted to rape a transgender victim. The perpetrator, who attacked a transgender woman outside of her apartment complex, stated that he believed his victim was a woman. After he pulled off her clothes and grabbed her crotch, the attacker discovered male genitalia. The victim and her ex-partner were able to pull the man off of her before police came to arrest him.

The legal system in Sweden offered no extra help to the victim in court proceedings. The reasoning behind the acquittal of the attacker? The perpetrator claimed that he believed his victim was a woman with female genitalia. The court sided with this explanation adding, as quoted by Queerty, “We believe that he wanted to rape… this woman. But as she proved to be a man, his plan [would] never have been possible.”
The court claims that since the attacker believed he was going to rape a woman with female genitalia his intended crime was basically only possible on an imaginary level, never mind that he forcefully removed clothing and grabbed at the victim’s body with every intention of violating her.

The judge concluded that the rape was “invalid” because the victim was anatomically a male. Instead, the rapist was convicted of assault and will pay just over $2,000 in damages to the woman.
This is Sweden! The country that was supposed to be so progressive, the country that brought us the porn flicks of the 70s.

Does that mean that there can be no rape if the person is the same sex as the rapist? Or does it just mean that raping a trans-person is legal?

The article does say that the ruling is being appealed to a higher court and that they expect the ruling to be overturned, let’s hope so.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Set The Wayback Machine Sherman…

Today we are taking a journey back into time; the Wayback Machine is set to March 1965…

We are going to visit the Realist Issue #57 – “Of Transvestites and Other Epicenes” an article by David Lee Pagari. In the article he asks the question, “Does a man have a right to wear women’s clothes?” he then writes about a man (Felicity, who was a member of FPE which later became Tri Ess) who was arrested for walking down the street. He was walking down the street minding his own business when a detective came up and arrested him for “having his face painted, discolored, covered, or concealed, or being otherwise disguised in manner calculated to prevent his being from being identified, appears on the road or public highway, or in a field, lot, or enclosure.”

The law was on the books since 1840 when it was used to stop Dutch landowners from being harassed by farmers during the Anti-Rent Movement of the 1800s. The case became a rally point for transgender people around the nation, some of the organizations that became involved were FPE founded by Virginia Prince through Virginia Prince’s Chevalier Publications (Transvestia) in Los Angeles and Siobhan Fredericks’ Abbe de Choisy Press (Turnabout) that provided legal expenses for the appeal of her conviction. Together, Ms. Prince and Fredericks raise $1200 for her defense fund from their members and with the support of the ACLU they tried to overturn Felicity' conviction. With their appeal turned down by the New York courts they turned to the Supreme Court where their motion was also denied.

However, in a way there was a victory. It brought together the trans-community and set the stage for the transgender movement.

In 2006, Felicity was interviewed Helen Boyd author of “My Husband Betty” and other books for her blog en|Gender. She interviewed Felicity a couple of months before her 100th birthday and asked her five questions. One of them was,
2) What is the biggest change you’ve seen in your lifetime concerning crossdresing?

The biggest change in CDing has been the sloppy clothing being worn by women, which has turned my interest away from CDing, for except in NYC and Washington, where women still dress at least fairly well, except for pants. (If women can wear pants, then why could we not, as men, wear skirts without being ridiculed?)

Some of this post came from a dissertation paper by R. S. Hill “'As a Man I Exist; as a Woman I Live': Heterosexual Transvestism and the Contours of Gender and Sexuality in Postwar America.” part 3 “HAVING IT ALL: TRANSVESTIA’S GENDER COMMUNITY

Monday, July 09, 2012

If You Tell A Lie Big Enough And Keep Repeating It…

…people will eventually come to believe it. That is the case for vote fraud; you see big headlines after every election citing these huge numbers of illegal voters. Here in Connecticut there were large banner headlines about voter fraud that accused the nonprofit organization ACORN of voter fraud. But after the state Attorney General and the Secretary of State conducted their investigation and they found no voter fraud the story was buried inside the paper. An article by Brian Lockhart in the CT Post said,
Following a two-year probe, state investigators have cleared the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now of charges of voter fraud brought by Republican registrars in Bridgeport and Stamford.

"The evidence does not provide a sufficient basis to determine that Connecticut ACORN had an institutional or systematic role in designing and implementing a scheme or strategy to fraudulently register or enroll electors ... prior to the November 2, 2008 election," read the recent report from the Elections Enforcement Commission.
Not only did they find no illegal activity but the commission also said that,
"The Commission finds ACORN ... maintained a system designed to prevent or diminish inaccuracies or inefficiencies in the voter registration drive," read the report. "Unfortunately these attempts to flag problem cards were rendered useless upon processing when the top portion ... was separated and discarded from the voter registration card below, which was retained for record keeping."
California Attorney General found the same results in their investigation of ACORN, that there was no criminality, but that was after the Republican Congressional hearing that made nation headlines.

The Republicans are doing the same thing with the voter ID laws. The Republicans claim that there is massive voter fraud and are passing laws that make it impossible for some people to get voter ID cards. Many minority people do not have easy access to their birth certificate in most states you have to apply for a copy of your birth certificate in person. For them to take a day off from work would cost them a day’s pay; in addition, they would have to take public transportation to get to the city of their birth. There is also a problem for many transgender people because the gender on their birth certificate does not match their driver license. In an article in Bloomberg said that,
“There were 13 million combined votes cast in all Texas elections in 2008 and 2010,” Trey Martinez Fischer, chairman of the Texas Legislature’s Mexican American Legislative Caucus, which opposed the law, said in an interview. “There has been only one indictment for voter impersonation in that time, so what’s the big public policy issue that requires sacrificing 700,000 voters?”

Since 2002, Texas conducted 308 investigations of voter fraud, filing criminal charges against at least four people, according to a state filing. At least three cases involved alleged voting by noncitizens.
In an article in the Star Tribune, Mike Baker wrote,
When Edward and Mary Weidenbener went to vote in Indiana's primary in May, they didn't realize that state law required them to bring government photo IDs such as a driver's license or passport.

The husband and wife, both approaching 90 years old, had to use a temporary ballot that would be verified later, even though they knew the people working the polling site that day. Unaware that Indiana law obligated them to follow up with the county election board, the Weidenbeners ultimately had their votes rejected — news to them until informed recently by an Associated Press reporter.

Edward Weidenbener, a World War II veteran who had voted for Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential contest, said he was surprised by the rules and the consequences.

"A lot of people don't have a photo ID. They'll be automatically disenfranchised," he said.

As more states put in place strict voter ID rules, an AP review of temporary ballots from Indiana and Georgia, which first adopted the most stringent standards, found that more than 1,200 such votes were tossed during the 2008 general election.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that even the Republican’s own study only found some 400 election fraud prosecutions over a decade across the U.S., which is only 40 election fraud prosecutions a year. Which hardly enough to deny tens of thousands of people the right to vote.

Seventeen states have voter ID laws that require photo IDs and of those nine states have very strict voter ID laws. One of those states, Texas is challenging the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that limits restrictions on voter requirements. The Bloomberg article goes on to say,
The Obama administration’s claim that Texas’s voter identification law will keep blacks and Hispanics away from the polls this November will be tested in a week-long federal trial starting today in Washington.

Texas, one of eight states that passed laws last year requiring photo identification in order to vote, is seeking court approval of the measure, arguing it’s needed to prevent electoral fraud. The Justice Department says Texas’s rules are harsher than any other state and place a “new and substantial burden” on minorities’ ability to cast a ballot.

“Clearly there is a sense that the political stakes are high,” Christopher Elmendorf, a professor of election law at the University of California Davis School of Law, said in an interview. “There’s a belief that in close elections these laws could make a difference.”
And that is the crux of the voter ID laws, denying minority voters the right to vote because they traditionally vote Democratic. Hence the reason of the Republican’s campaign to limit voter rights.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Olympics

In just a short while the London Olympics being and once again the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is trying to define what is a man or woman. They have been trying to define who is a man or woman for well over fifty years, is it chromosomes, is it hormones and now they are trying to do it at the cellular level.
The Olympic Struggle Over Sex
Even as it hopes to clarify the difference between male and female athletes, a new rule from the International Olympic Committee inadvertently stirs the waters.
The Atlantic
By Alice Dreger
Jul 2 2012

One camp, led by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), believes the line imposed between putative male and putative female athletes must be biological. These folks -- let's call them the Anatomists -- fully admit that sex is really complicated. They acknowledge there's no one magical gene, chromosome, hormone, or body part that can do for us the hard work of sharp division into male and female leagues. Says the IOC in its latest declaration on the problem: "Human biology [...] allows for forms of intermediate levels between the conventional categories of male and female, sometimes referred to as intersex."

But the Anatomists still think we should base our sex division in sports on some sort of biological feature, even if it means we have to just pick one. They point out that sports require us to create all sorts of rules that aren't simply natural and self-evident, so why not do it here, too?

And so, the IOC has just decided that, for the London Olympic Games, the rule of sex will be based on something called "functional androgens" (or "functional testosterone"). This means that an athlete who was raised a girl and identifies as a woman will be allowed to play as a woman so long as the IOC does not discover that her body makes and responds to high levels of androgens. Androgens, of which testosterone is one type, naturally occur in both male and female bodies, but higher production usually means more male-typical development.

Notice that the IOC won't just be looking at how much androgens a woman's body makes, but also how much her cells respond. This is because some women are born with testes that make a lot of testosterone, but they lack androgen-sensitive receptors, so the androgens have little-to-no effect on their cells. This condition is called complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Those who have it -- women like Spanish hurdler Maria Patino -- develop essentially as girls and women.
But nature is really not that simple. As the article points out, the IOC didn’t set any levels of how much testosterone is too much, there is no point where you can say that above this level is a man and below this level is a woman. Also the article points out that,
Third, the policy appears to be out of whack with another IOC policy known as "the Stockholm Consensus," designed for dealing with male-to-female transsexual athletes. That policy requires transgender women -- women who were raised as boys -- to medically squash their androgen levels way down, seemingly well below where the policy on "female hyperandrogenism" would likely allow intersex women raised as girls to still play.

And whereas the female hyperandrogenism policy hints that a women with one of the "problem" intersex conditions might be chucked out if her medical records indicate she's benefitted from a lifetime of male-typical functional androgens, the Stockholm Consensus allows transgender women with those same lifetime androgen histories to play, so long as they have endocrinologically obeyed the IOC's rules for their womanhood for the previous couple of years.
Do you remember a few years back the case of Caster Semenya the runner from South African (I wrote about her here and here) who is intersexed. She has  Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) made her take all types of tests before allowing her to run as a woman athlete and even then many other runners protested the decision.

Trying to determine gender is almost impossible to define, there is no one point where you can say for certainly this person should compete as a man or this person should compete as a woman, it should be handled on a case by case basis.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Saturday Six Episode #430

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode #430

1. What did you do on July 4th?
Attend a party and watched the fireworks show in their backyard (it was licensed – he is a professional pyro-technician)
2. Do you prefer to watch a fireworks show in person or on television?
Ugh… how can you watch fireworks on TV. It would be like watching someone eat a lobster on TV compared eating a lobster. When you watch fireworks on TV you don’t get the “Thump” on your chest when the bomb explodes and you don’t have the smell of the gunpowder.

3. Which Disney character is your favorite?
I have no idea… maybe Scrooge McDuck.

4. You’re driving downtown in traffic and the only parking place you find requires tight parallel parking: do you try it or drive around the block again and hope for the best?
Yes, I hate parallel parking! I was going to an event at Yale and I had to parallel park. After wiggling into a parking space and when I got out of my car there were about a dozen students sitting on the steps and a wall that stood up and gave me a standing ovation, I curtsied.

5. Have you ever had a penpal, and if so, where were they?

6. What city have you visited that you once thought you’d never see in person?
New York City, I never was there without my parents and then we did the tourist thing. But in 2009 I went there with a couple of friends and walked around. I didn’t like the city, it is hard on strangers. Trying to hail a taxi or figure out what subway train to take or even finding a bathroom that was not yucky.

Saturday 9: Whatever Gets You Thru the Night

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Whatever Gets You Thru the Night

1. What helps you get through the night?
Tylenol PM

2. Do you ALWAYS keep an open mind?
I try to, except for the Republican party

3. Who is the wisest person you know?
I know a few

4. Who is the strongest person you know?
Strongest in what way? Physical? I know some people who have been through hell and back, and they still keep on fighting

5. How would we tell by your behavior if you are having a bad day?
I sound very un-lady like.

6. Does your ego sometimes get in your way
I try not to let it. But sometimes it can be used as a positive force, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called it the “Drum Major Instinct” where you want to lead.

7. Do you believe in Zen? If yes, can it be mastered?
Who is Zen? I don’t think I ever met him. Is he into S&M?

8. Do you believe you could teach someone, like your child, to be competitive?
Why do you have to be competitive? Why can’t you teach them to work together to build consensus?

9. Do you believe home is not a place but rather a state of mind?
Home is a place where you feel at easy and fits like an old shoe.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. I am happy _when the temperature and the humidity are below 90_!
2. _Cherries and corn_ are my favorite summertime fruits and vegetables.
3. To help me _you have to accept me_.
4. _Keeping cool_ is the one thing I want to do this summer more than anything!
5. Just the other day I was saying _this summer is going to set records for the heat and drought_.
6. _Rain goes north or south of us_ over and over again.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _being up at the lake_, tomorrow my plans include _going to a cookout in Vermont_ and Sunday, I want to _jump in the lake_!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Fourth of July Party

Yesterday I went to the party that I wrote about yesterday. I always have mixed feelings about the party, there is always that doubt in my mind about some of the attendees acceptance. Some are perfectly comfortable with me, while others I don’t know, some used male pronouns and other called me by my old name. I never know what to think are they doing it on purpose or is it just a slip of the tongue. Some have known me since the early seventies and only see me occasionally, so I can imagine that it might be a slip-up.

Another thing, almost everyone there is married so they talked about their kids and the trips that they went on and I feel left out. They are “We did this…” while for me it is “I did this…” The guys were talking cars and motorcycles and the women were talking about their kids, so I didn’t fit-in in either discussion.

But I do like to go because I see many old friends at the party.

(The photo is from last night's fireworks at their house)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

My Story Part 125 – Happy Fourth Of July!

Many of you will be celebrating by attending picnics or fireworks displays. I’m doing both today, at three o’clock there is a friend’s cookout that I have attended ever since I was a teenager. We use to camp over at his parent’s house each year and we would start off the day with fireworks and end the day with fireworks, in between there was fireworks and a cookout. Not much has changed since then. We meet instead of his parent’s house at his house for a cookout and then at night to shoot off fireworks. He likes fireworks so much that he became a professional and does fireworks shows, once I helped him set up a show for a town’s bi-centennial celebration and I got to sit by him at the control panel when he shot off the fireworks.

There would be able 5 or 6 of us that use to camp-out the night before, I use to ride my bicycle down to his house and we never got to sleep that night from all the expectation of the next day. As we got older, we got bolder and the fireworks got bigger. This was the Vietnam War and several of my friends were in the Guards and one 4th of July morning we set of a purple smoke bomb as the smoke drifted across the local pond as we played Jim Hendricks’s Purple Haze… it kind of was the talk of the town for a couple of days.

Another Fourth of July not too long after that, my friends brought back some artillery simulators from their 2 week training and we shot one off at a friend’s house and a few minutes later a police car pulled and he told us that the neighbors were complaining and to go someplace else to shoot off our fireworks (You have to realize that back then the size of the town was only around 5000 and everyone knew everyone in town. Also there were only 2 or 3 cops on duty at a time). So we headed over to another friend’s house and after a while we shot off another artillery simulator and up drives the same cop, he said that the neighbors are complaining here also, so why don’t we go out in the woods and shoot off our fireworks there. So once again we packed everything up and moved our picnic out in to the woods in a clearing. We were having a good time and my friend said watch this and threw another artillery simulator, but instead of going BOOM! It went pop… And Ah… Well… Um… I guess the statute of limitations has run out… we… um… set the woods on fire. The artillery simulator was a dud and it threw burning embers in a 20 foot diameter circle and I never knew fire could burn so fast; we didn’t ever have time to pack up the coolers. We fire spread almost as fast as we could run. That night at keg party where most of the volunteer fire department attended, the talk was about the fire on the mountain.

Now things are tamer, my friend’s children and their grandchildren are there, the adults sit around with their cool drinks and the kids play in the pool. Once in a while one of my friends will say, “Do you remember…” and they don’t even have to complete the sentence because we all know what they are going to say.