Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Bought A New Toy...

... for my birthday. A new camera and here is the first picture from it.
I go walking in this park in New Britain, 3 or 4 times a week

Social Work

What do you think we do? Well you are wrong, we do a whole lot more. Most people only think of social workers as therapists and DCF workers, but we do a lot more than that. My specialty is community organizing; some other specialties where I went to school are policy planners and administrators and other universities have other concentrations to choose from.

However, we have one thing in common…
We Should All Hug a Social Worker
Huffington Post
By Dominic Carter
Posted: 09/19/2012

As the keynote speaker for the conference, I had invited some of the attending social workers and law enforcement officials on stage, and asked a simple question: why do you do, what you do for others?

When it was Kimberly's turn to take to the podium, her voice started to tremble, and she almost broke down in tears. However it was the emotion of joy as she described it as an honor for her to spend a portion of her own salary on "her children."
Social Workers are the fabric of our society, and I for one don't think we should take them for granted.
Later in a one-on-one conversation with a social worker, I asked her what's the best thing that ever happened to her on the job, and the worst. The best, with her face bright with pride and a million dollar smile, was being able to go to the high school graduations of some of the kids that she has helped. But the smile quickly went away, and then she lost eye contact with me as she looked to the floor, and said the worst is when you lose children. I was hoping her response wasn't what I thought, but then she said yes, she had seen several children on her caseload murdered.

It was a remarkably humbling experience that day in that large auditorium, and I really feel we should all hug a social worker today, and say thank you. If not a social worker, how about a teacher, or a police officer?
I think that we all became social workers because we care for others, we want to make someone else life easier.

I think a comment from kaw0606 summed it up best…
I'm a social worker, and I am proud of my profession. I am lucky because my values are my work. Not many people can say that. I left teaching because I learned that teachers, unfortunately, have to conform to expectations that are often contradictory to their values. I knew I needed to be in a profession that expected from me what I expect from my self and my fellow human beings: to act in a manner that conveys dignity and worth to ALL people. In my profession, I am expected to recognize injustice and work against it. I am expected to have empathy for people whose circumstances lead others to judge. My profession does not allow me to judge; my profession demands that I look beyond what others see to the real person in his/her environment and work with that person toward hope and solutions. Thank you for writing this article, for acknowledging what social workers already know...we are heart and soul and we believe that PEOPLE MATTER!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Six #442

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #442

1. D is for DAY: Which day of the week would you most like to have two of every week?
Well since I am retired every day of the week is the same, none.

2. D is for DRAMA: What’s your all-time favorite television drama?
Star Trek

3. D is for DOG: What breed of dog that you’ve never owned would you most like to?
Since I never owned a dog and I not interesting in owning a dog, I’ll pass. It is not that I don’t like dogs, it just that I do not want to make a long term commitment. It really limits traveling, you always have to either take the dog with you, palm the dog off on a friend or put the dog in a kennel.

4. D is for DRINK: What single drink do you drink most often?
Water. Being diabetic and hating artificial sweeteners, soda is. I drink only one or two cups of coffee a day, the same for tea, but I have 3 or 4 glasses of water a day.
5. D is for DESSERT: What is your single favorite dessert?
One again, being diabetic I can only drooled at all the deserts. But I use to love Strawberry Tiramisu.

6. D is for DIME: What is the last thing you remember being able to buy for a 10¢ or less?
A pay phone. (For those of you who are not familiar with pay phones, the telephone (singular) company use to have phone all around in public places for people to use.)

Saturday 9: Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out

Crazy Sam’s  Saturday 9: Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out

1. When did you last feel down and out?
I've been down so long that it looks like up to me.

2. What do you do to feel sexy?
Once in a blue moon

3. Do you think people think you are normal?
Yeah right! I had people laughing so hard at me that they fell over.

4. What have you always wanted to do?
Three guesses… well you’re wrong. I always wanted to sail the coast of Maine in a windjammer

5. What do you appreciate the most about your life at this time?
That I made it this far

6. If you could be somewhere else, where would you be and why?
I like it right here… well except for when I’m up at the lake cottage in New Hampshire then I like it there.

7.  Have you ever made a fool of yourself? If yes, spill.
This is another “Yeah right” answer.

8. How often do you feel guilty?
Every day. I was just saying to a class of 2nd year med students at UConn that I feel guilty that I had it so easy.

I just realized that  I didn't answer question #9
9. Give us an example of what you’ve done when feeling low self-esteem.
I call up some friend and go out to dinner.

With Bud Wiser ending Saturday 9, I like to invite everyone over to Saturday Six so you can continue with your meme fix for the weekend.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. The tale is told of _dark and stormy nights with the wind moaning its sad song_.
2. _The movie “Under the Tuscany Sun”_ is something that always makes me think of my ancestors.
3. To ensure _a smooth blend, stir for 5 minutes_.
4. _Your love_ is a fine thing.
5. It's never too late to _start saving for your retirement_.
6. _My mother use to make notes_ on the back of an old receipt.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _watching the rain come down_, tomorrow my plans include _going to the Pipes in the Valley Celtic Music Festival in Hartford (Sad news, the coffee shop that I always went to burned down.)_ and Sunday, I want to _I don’t know, but I find something to do_!


On Friday & Saturday I take a break from writing about trans-issues or politics and relax, kicking off my shoes and have some fun with memes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Story Part 136 – What A Long Strange Trip Its Been

Some times when I look back at my life I think “Man What A Trip!” There have been some really great moments and some not so great moments. When I saw this video I had a flash back to a keg party giving by a local biker club at Tame Mountain (I think that is the name of the place that use to be on Norton Rd in town). Every year they would have keg party and I use to attend with some of my high school friends.

Here I was the typical nerd, I was going to college for my electrical engineering degree and I was hanging out with biker dudes. Many of them I had known in high school and the nickname that they gave me was “Einstein” and they were nicest people.

This was the late sixties and the early seventies so you have to realize that it was the era of the hippie and of drugs and rock ‘n roll. It was a different time, and I was part of that sub-culture. In college I barely made it to graduation. When my homework was done, I went up to a dorm room on the next floor where we all hung out doing the drug du jour and it could have been anything from uppers to downers to psychedelics. You could smell the room down the hall with the pot smoke drifting out from under the door. Inside there was music playing, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, The Doors, Iron Butterfly, The Grateful Dead or if everyone was in a mellower mood, The Eagles or CSNY. When you opened the door the room was lit with black light and black light posters lined the walls.

The drug culture was so prevalent that the university actually had a place where you could drop of samples of drugs and come back in a couple of days to find out what was in it. On the bulletin board you would see something like… sample xyzzy = bad acid or sample 1234 = arsenic!

When I graduated all that ended except for the pot, work ended all the other drugs because the next morning came at 6:30 not at 10 o’clock for my first class. But the music and the black light lit rooms didn’t end until many years later (I still have my black light bulbs, but alas all the posters were thrown out and now they would probably worth money).

I went cold turkey on the pot in 1999 when I thought I had a heart attack. There was now withdraw symptoms, one day I was smoking pot, the next day I wasn’t. What was hard was the social withdraw, I missed the comradely of the ritual of passing the joint around the room.

One thing you have to realize is the late sixties and the early seventies was a time of change. There was an unpopular war going on, but what is different between then and now was the draft. It was not a volunteer war, but you had a very good chance of the “next stop is Vietnam…”

yeah, c’mon on all you big strong men
Uncle Sam needs your help again
he’s got himself in a terrible jam
way down yonder in Vietnam
so put down your books and pick up a gun
we’re gonna have a whole lot of fun

and it’s 1, 2, 3, what’re we fighting for?
don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn
next stop is vietnam
and it’s 5, 6, 7, open up the pearly gates
well there ain’t no time to wonder why
whoopee! we’re all gonna die

well c’mon generals, let’s move fast
your big chance has come at last
gotta go out and get those Reds
the only good Commie is one who’s dead
and you know that peace can only be won
when we’ve blown ‘em all to kingdom come
(Country Joe and the Fish, Fish Cheer)

I was “1A” twice, the first time when I graduated from high school and again when I graduated from the two year tech college. When they had the first draft lottery in December 1969 my number was 342 (A friend’s number was 1 and he said, “The only thing I ever won in my life is a free trip to Vietnam!”).

It was also a time of the miniskirts and the burning of the bra, but most importantly it was the era of the birth control pill which leads to the sexual revolution.

Was there a link between drugs and sexual revolution and my crossdressing, I think that it wasn’t true for the drugs. I did crossdress once while tripping as an experiment, but I don’t think I did drugs to hide from reality. I think it was more about the era, of wanting to belong. However, the sexual revolution might be linked; I always wished that I could wear a miniskirt or a long flowing dress with a flower in my hair.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yesterday And Tomorrow

Every year I am invited to take part in a panel on LGBT medical issues at a local med school for 2nd year students and this is about my tenth time being on the panel. This year’s panel consisted of two trans-women, two lesbian women, a gay man and an ally. One of the lesbian was the director of the Rainbow Center at UConn.

Before the panel a doctor talks about how to make a doctor’s office a safe space and how to take a health history being gender and sexual orientation neutral. I have always found his lecture very informative even for a lay person. Some of my doctors based on the lecture I would a “D” and some an “A+.” One of my doctors never questioned me about a me sexual history, I’ll give him a “D.” Another doctor when I was going down my lists of meds and when I got to estradiol, he stopped and looked at me and asked why I was taking estradiol (This was before my transition). I told him I was transsexual; he put aside his tablet (I thought here it comes where he says he doesn’t want me as a patient) and said that I was his first transsexual patient, do you mind us talking about it? We talked for about ten minutes and then he did his freckle check. I’ll give him an “A+” he did everything that the lecture covered.

He let me know that this was off-the-record by putting aside his tablet. He didn’t take notes while we talked and he kept eye contact.

The lecture went on to cover what are some of the things that doctor can do to show that it is a safe space to talk and how it is just as important to train the office staff about creating a safe space (such as posters or magazines).

After the panel discussion we broke up into smaller study groups, even though they could ask questions of the panel the smaller groups allow more detailed questioning. They tend to not to want to ask questions in the lecture hall but when they are in their study groups open up with their friends.

This year I developed a number of major health problems and I was poke, prodded, x-rayed and MRIed in every possible way and I never had a problem with doctors, medical technicians or staff at the hospital. For most of the test when I showed up that was when they found out that I am trans, while at other places I am a regular patient.

In the past I dreaded going to the doctors because I was afraid that my “dirty little secret” (that I crossdressed) would be found out. I use to shave my body right after my annual physical in September and let my body hair grow back in the spring. One time I had the flu or a bad cold and I was running a fever over 100 and I didn’t go to the doctor’s because I was afraid that I would be scorned. But as usual my fears have been groundless at least for me. However, for other trans-people their fears have not been groundless.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This Is Where I Start Getting Nervous.

The Supreme Court has a number of case that affect the LGBT community coming up before it. Will they hear the cases or let the lower courts rulings stand? I always worry when a case goes before the Supreme Court because it is really just a crap shoot.
Historic Supreme Court Session Opens Monday
The Rainbow Times
By: Lisa Keen/Keen News Service
Sep 25, 2012

Perhaps the most historic U.S. Supreme Court session ever for the LGBT community gets underway officially October 1, with a record nine gay-related cases seeking review, all involving same-sex marriage.

Two of the nine cases include high-profile landmark decisions in federal appeals courts –one declaring the California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the other holding the core section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. Whether the court refuses to hear the appeals or takes them, the result will set up another landmark in the LGBT civil rights struggle.

Seven of the nine cases revolve around challenges to DOMA, one concerns Proposition 8, and the ninth is an attempt by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to circumvent campaign reporting laws when it spends money to push anti-gay initiatives.
Now I start biting my nails and pacing back and forth. Relax Diana, relax... take three deep breaths and let them out slowly.

Sometimes They Do The Right Thing…

In the past I have written many times about school systems that refuse to acknowledge trans-students. The most recent blog was Sunday when I wrote about a school in Maine that is being sued for discrimination; however, right next door is a school system that is doing the right thing…
Nashua School District applauded for accommodating transgender third-grader
The Telegraph
September 23, 2012

After facing complaints that a transgender student was being discriminated against, the Nashua School District has agreed to let the student enroll at a new elementary school and be addressed as a female by school staff.

Janson Wu, a staff attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, praised the Nashua School District for its efforts to accommodate the needs of the transgender third-grader.
“The issues that public schools must often address mirror the broader issues in our society,” Superintendent Mark Conrad said in an email to The Telegraph, “and to the extent these issues reflect differing or even divisive opinions in the general community, we must find ways to address those issues to balance competing viewpoints while assuring we are protecting the rights of all children and ensuring their success.”
They did the right thing and avoided a long drawn out legal fight. In many other schools around the country it took a court order or intervention by federal authorities to get a school district to do the right thing. What is even more amazing was that there is not an explicit law in New Hampshire that covers gender identity or expression. The article went on to say…
New Hampshire is the only state in New England that doesn’t have explicit laws that protect transgender individuals, Wu said.

“That is certainly something we would like to see fixed,” he said.

State and federal laws protect a student’s access to a safe and appropriate education, Wu said, which protects students – including transgender and gender-variant youths – across the board.
It would be nice if New Hampshire passed an anti-discrimination law  that included gender identity and expression. The law time a bill was introduced in NH, the sponsors of the bill didn’t even vote for their own bill. The Republicans jumped all over the bill calling it the “Bathroom Bill” which the press picked up and called it that also in all of their article about the bill.

# # # # #

This afternoon I will be doing an "outreach" at UConn School of Medicine for 2nd year medical students.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Get So Frustrated…

I read all these blog posts, Facebook posts and news article saying how great that discrimination against LGBT military service members has ended. Which is wrong, it is only the LGB who serve openly in the military, trans-people still can get shown the door.

 I went to the websites for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Palm Center, and Servicemembers United and you know what? I didn’t find on any of their websites anything about transgender. Maybe it is on their websites, but I couldn’t find anything about still fighting for trans-rights.

I don’t know how many times I have heard, don’t worry we will come back for you. But they never have.

To Paraphrase Kermit… It Is Not Easy Being Trans

Around the country and around the world trans-people are being murdered. Sadly there have a number of murders this past month both here in the U.S. and abroad.
Philadelphia police seek information on transgender woman's killing
Philadelphia Inquirer
By Allison Steele
September 12, 2012

Philadelphia police are searching for information on the death of a 27-year-old transgender woman found shot in the head in the Northeast last week.

The victim, known to friends as Kyra Kruz, was well-known in the city's gay community, said Gloria Casarez, director of the city's Office of LGBT Affairs.

"She was a visible, friendly presence," Casarez said. "This has been surprising and upsetting to all of us."
Down in Central America seventeen trans-women were murdered this year…
Trans-woman activist gets last-minute reprieve
The Copenhagen Post
By Ray Weaver
September 19, 2012

Authorities reopen asylum case after appeal from support group
Fernanda Milán said that she fears she will be killed in Guatemala (Photo by J. Jackie Baier)

Fernanda Milán said that an eleventh-hour decision by Flygtningenævnet, the government’s refugee board, to revisit her application for asylum may have saved her life.

“The thing I was most afraid of was that I would be killed if I was sent back to Guatemala,” Milán told Politiken newspaper. “I was fearful that I would be attacked and tortured.”

Seventeen transsexuals were killed in Guatemala in the first five months of this year, according to human rights organisations.
It criminal that many of these murders went uninvestigated by the police, but even worst is that because of her work for transgender rights in Guatemala a police officer held a gun to her head and told her to stop trying to get human rights for trans-people.

But her story doesn’t end there; when she fled Guatemala to Denmark…
While waiting for her case to be heard, Milán was raped in Sandholm Asylum Centre, a facility operated by the Danish Red Cross. After the attack at Sandholm, Milan fled the centre and was trafficked into prostitution for two years. Police discovered her during a raid on a brothel in Jutland.

More than 200 people attended a rally last month protesting the decision to deport Milán after her initial application for asylum was rejected.
We are easy targets for brutality and bigotry because of our marginalization; people feel that they can get away with it because they think no one will stand up with us. But more and more they are finding out that is no longer true as the 200 people at the rally showed.

Back here in the US. just last week a trans-woman was attack in Greenwich Village in New York City at a McDonald’s,
Man defending his transgender girlfriend slashed by 350-pound man at Greenwich Village McDonald’s
A McDonald’s in Greenwich Village, notorious for previous acts of violence, was the scene of yet another attack when A 350-pound man used gay slurs to berate a 24-year-old then used a razor to slash the victim across the face and neck.
By Rocco Parascandola, Pearl Gabel And Stephen Rex Brown
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012,

A 350-pound brute hurled slurs at a gay man and his transgender girlfriend and then whipped out a razor and slashed one of them at a crime-plagued McDonald’s in Greenwich Village, police said.

Jamar McLeod, 24, said he and his girlfriend, Jalisa “JoJo” Griffen had just picked up her hormone medicine Wednesday night and were headed back to their apartment in Bushwick when they ducked into the fast food joint on W. Third St. to use the bathroom.

McLeod, who is 5-foot-6 and 170 pounds, was holding hands with Griffen, who was wearing a tight-fitting pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt. The suspect, who was waiting for his cheeseburger around 7 p.m., apparently overheard them talking about gay bashing.
And you don’t even want to read the comments to this article, they are so vitriol.

It is time to end the hate...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This And That In The News – Trans Issues

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

First off this week is an article from Maine about the student who was discriminated in school…
Maine judge hears arguments in transgender case
September 20, 2012

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A Maine judge will decide whether a lawsuit filed by an Orono family over the school district's treatment of their transgender child's will go forward.

The family and the Maine Human Rights Commission sued the district in November 2009. They are seeking damages, claiming the mother and identical twin boys were forced to move to Portland to find a more supportive school environment. The father remained in Orono.
The lawyers for the case are from GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) and in a press statement that they released said…
Every transgender girl has the right to be treated like other girls.

GLAD Senior Attorney Ben Klein was in Bangor, Maine, yesterday, with Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi, arguing just that point on behalf of our client Susan.* 

Susan is a transgender girl whose elementary education was disrupted when her public school did an "about face" by excluding her from the girls' bathroom.

Maine has a statewide law prohibiting discrimination against people based on gender identity and expression in all areas, including public education and public accommodations, plain and simple.

Susan's school initially did the right thing and treated her just like any other girl. But after a male student repeatedly harassed her, the school not only excluded Susan from the girls' bathroom - treating her differently than all other girls - it forced her to use a completely separate facility - treating her differently than all other students.

That's not right. GLAD is committed to fighting until Susan - and all other transgender students - are treated fairly and with respect.
One of the lawyers on the case is Jennifer Levi and she was one of the key players in passing the Connecticut gender inclusive anti-discrimination law.

The next story is about a town hall meeting in Michigan where a trans-woman speaks at a forum about the bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the state’s anti-discrimination law.
Watch transgender speaker push for LGBT protections in state civil rights law
Michigan Live
By Matt Vande Bunte
September 19, 2012

Bacon [a trans-woman who tried to become a foster parent but was turned down because she is trans] was among a handful of speakers at a Michigan Department of Civil Rights hearing this afternoon at Grand Rapids Community College. With funding from the Tides Foundation, the state agency is holding five hearings across the state. The state’s Civil Rights Commission expects to get a report on the public comments later this year.

In Grand Rapids, all but one speaker voiced support for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

“I’m not a homophobe or a bigot, but I don’t believe that amending the state discrimination policy is the right thing to do,” Kevin Rahe said. “I get the feeling it’s much more part of an agenda to encourage acceptance of homosexual activity and relationships than ending real discrimination.”
Yup, the ol’ gay agenda and I’m not bigot but I think I should be able to fire these people.

What do these two stories have in common?

It is that those who are opposed to say that they are not against us, but they do not want us in the bathroom or at work or in a restaurant or all of the above. Notice how all oppressors say that they don’t understand why we need “special rights” because they are not discriminating against anyone. While at the same time they are firing us (you make the other employees uncomfortable) or throwing us out of a bar (you make our other customer uncomfortable).

The last subject is Don’t Ask Do Tell (DADT), it has been one year since the military allowed gays and lesbians, but notice who is missing…
One Year Later, Military Says Gay Policy Is Working
NY Times
Published: September 19, 2012

WASHINGTON — Every Tuesday and Friday morning in a dining area tucked behind Dunkin’ Donuts in the Pentagon’s main food court, a gay coffee group meets to talk, do a little business and tell a few jokes.

Started quietly by a handful of Air Force officers in 2005, the gathering has grown to as many as 40 people since the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy last September. The crowd is a testament to the openness in the military now that gay, lesbian and bisexual service members no longer have to keep their sexual orientation secret or face discharge — and also to how such gatherings are still needed.

Local transition smooth after repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Dayton Daily News
By Mary McCarty
Sept. 21, 2012

Mirroring trends across the country, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has reported a smooth transition during the first year since the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the 1993 law that banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

“It has been the first year we would have hoped to have had,” said spokesman Daryl Mayer. “Our policy is based on treating everyone with respect, dignity and complying with Air Force core values.”
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, we are missing. In the Huffington Post, Lila Shapiro writes…
Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and to honor the occasion, President Obama tweeted "All Americans can now serve their country without hiding who they are." However, there are still service members who can be discharged for coming out of the closet. Transgender men and women are not allowed to serve in the military, and some gay-rights advocates are saying that the time has come to change this.

"The gay community has thrown the transgender community under the bus," said Aaron Belkin, the author of "How We Won: Progressive Lessons From the Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'" Belkin allowed that not much is known about the issue apart from the fact that these troops exist, but he called the fight for transgender inclusion in the military the "next big struggle."
Gays and lesbians are slapping one another on the back saying “We won!” and giving high fives as they walk away. Donations are drying up, the same way they did when Connecticut when marriage equality was achieved. The organizations that promised they would come back for us closed their doors and folded.

One time I attended a town hall meeting the Sen. Lieberman had for DADT and in the Q&A I asked a question about trans service members. Afterward when I posted my question and his answer on a national LGBT I got stepped on for “highjacking” their issue again… that you transgender people always come in try to take over. So let me get this straight when they demand their rights it is OK, but if we demand our rights we have to wait our turn. Now they have moved on to the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday 9: Papa Was a Rolling Stone

Crazy Sam's Saturday 9: Papa Was a Rolling Stone

1. What’s the best memory that you have of your dad, while growing up?
When he was looking at my mother when I was taking an anniversary photo of them.

2. How boring do you think your life is?

3. Can you do any accents? If not, do you know someone who is good at it?
Nope. I have a hard enough time talking without an accent.

4. What technology did you at first fear that you now could not live without?
None, technology is what I live for. It is a challenge. Besides, I just bought a new toy… a new camera

5. Do you, or have you ever, thought you have a book in you?
Yes, I think I am a good story teller and a lousy writer.

6. How does the weather effect where you live?
Mark Twain said it best and I live only a couple of towns away.

7. Are you more interested in you favorite artist’s next work, or the TMZ side of it all?
Neither. (Besides I had to look up TMZ to find out what it is)

8. Have you ever felt “battled-scarred” by a relationship or relationships in general? If yes, do tell.
Yes ans no I'm not going to tell.

9. Do you tend to root for the bad guy?

Saturday Six Episode #441

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode #441

1. C is for COLOR: Which color is most represented in your wardrobe?
Black and a close second is brown

2. C is for COMEDY: What’s your all-time favorite television comedy?
All in the Family, runner up is M.A.S.H.

3. C is for CHANNEL: What single TV channel do you tend to watch the most?
It is a toss-up between USA and TNT.

4. C is for CAT: What is your favorite kind of cat?

5. C is for COMMUTE: What’s the longest distance you drive as part of your normal routine?
I think it was 10 miles for one job that I for three years and all the other 28 year at the other company was a whopping 4 miles.

6. C is for CREDIT: How many credit cards do you own?
Two, a Master Card and a Visa.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet Friday Fill-ins

1. I don't know what it's like to _sing_; I only know _I’m tone deaf and can’t carry a tune _.
2. _Going where other refuse to tread_ would be a great title for my life.
3. A couple of weeks from now _it will be my birthday_.
4. _I can do_ any number of things.
5. I drove from _home_ to _the cottage earlier in the week_ and _now I’m driving home_. (This is last night’s sunset at the cottage. Click on photo for a larger image.)

6. _Because of last Sunday boat and all week_ I was happy. (See Staycation)
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _reading_, tomorrow my plans include _going to the coffee shop and listening to some folk music_ and Sunday, I want to _find something to do_!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Story Part 135 – The Quite One

At parties I always was the quite one, just sitting there watching others have fun. Why? Because I had this terrible secret that if anyone found about it I would be shunned, I would be an outcast. The secret was I crossdressed. So I never let anyone see the real me and I never got close to anyone because they might find out.

I think women sensed that I was keeping something back and I never really developed and deep relationships. When I came out to my cousins a couple of years ago I wrote,
However, that was not the only changes that were taking place in my life. I was always the quite one, at parties or family gatherings. Well there was a reason for that.  You see all through my life I was deeply troubled. I knew I was different…
Now that I am out, I am no longer hiding a part of my life and it has made a big difference in the way people see me and how I see people. And people have noticed that difference. After my coming out letter, one of my cousins wrote back to saying,
The last time we saw you was at your father's funeral. It was actually the first time in my memory that we had spent any real time together. I remarked to [my husband] as we were leaving what a warm and charming host you were and how sorry I was that I never knew you well. Now I understand better why. (At the time of my father’s death I was out to my brother and his wife and I was also taking hormones. I was living my life as Diana all the time except for work.)
Before I came out to my brother he saw a change in me, he didn’t know why that change happened until I came out to him. I use to answers the phone on one ring, then he started getting my voice mail and he also noticed that I sounded happier.

I am still a shy person and I still find it hard to develop true relationships and I’m working on coming out of my shell. But I think you can see the difference if you look at all my Staycation blog entries you can see that I am doing things I never did before and doing it with friends. You know for over fifties years of my life my world was just the town I lived. I could count on one hand the number of times I drove in to Hartford and the only place that traveled to was to the cottage or to a relative’s house. I think that was one of the things that my brother noticed that I was traveling and doing things outside of town.

I still struggle with “people skills” if you look at my intern evaluations you will see that both supervisors made comments about improving my people skills. A few of my professors made comments about how they could see my engineering background in my thought process, I was more analytical. I think their comments were true and I believe that in part my lack of people skills was due to keeping my “horrible” secret. I withdrew from people because of the fear of being found out.

This November I will be a guest lecturer for a class on multi-cultural education at UConn in Storrs and one of the topics that I plan on covering in class is how being in the closet affects students. When they are closeted they become isolated from other students in school and the grades suffer. But if they come out, then they are bullied and stigmatized.

Last month I had another health scare and each crisis has brought introspection. The last one was in 1999 when I thought I was having a heart attack and as a result of that self-examination I came out of the closet. Where will this one lead? I do not know, I think towards a healthier lifestyle. I eating better and I am also getting out and walking more, I even thinking about getting a bicycle. There is a whole lot of living that I missed to catch up on.

I am also still working on cracking my shell and it is a hard nut to crack. There is a lifetime of conditioning to overcome.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The 47%

As most of you know by now presidential candidate Mitt Romney told wealthy donors that 47% of the people pay no income tax, which is true, but of those that pay no income tax half of those are living below the poverty level. They are the working poor, some of them are working two jobs and still not making more than $26,400 a year the minimum for a couple with two kids. However, they are still paying taxes; they pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, they pay local property taxes and if they live in a state with a sales tax they pay that.

Another large part of the 47% is seniors who are collecting Social Security which they have already paid into over their working life. Also there are a small number of people who are disabled who are collecting Social Security disability benefits.

According to an article in the Huffington Post,
Romney's 47 percent figure lumped together separate groups that have little relation to one another. Most Americans do pay taxes: The poorest fifth of Americans paid an effective tax rate of 17 percent last year, and the second-poorest fifth paid an effective tax rate of 21 percent, when factoring in payroll taxes, sales taxes and property taxes, among others, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.

It is true that 46 percent of American households did not pay federal income taxes last year, according to the Tax Policy Center. But that number is unusually high, in part because of the recession -- and a majority of that 46 percent still paid payroll taxes. Only 18 percent of American households paid no income taxes and no payroll taxes last year. It is largely low-income seniors and very poor people that legally don't pay federal income taxes or payroll taxes, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Tax Policy Center.
Only 18% are paying no taxes whatsoever and a number of those are earning in the six figures from dividends and capital gains. They avoid paying taxes because dividends and capital gains are taxed at a lower rate and they have enough deductions of offset their income. They are also the ones who are more likely to vote Republican to avoid paying taxes. The Huffington Post article went on to say,
It was also inaccurate for Romney to claim that those who don't pay federal income taxes would vote for President Obama "no matter what." Nearly all states with a high percentage of Americans that don't pay federal income taxes vote Republican in presidential elections, according to the Washington Post.
And that was also pointed out in an article in USA Today
In reality, the number of people who pay income tax dropped largely because of the recession and tax cuts approved during Republican administrations. And Republicans defend many of the $1 trillion in annual tax expenditures -- deductions, credits and loopholes -- that represent another form of entitlements.
USA Today also wrote about how Romney was playing on feeling of his wealthy donors that they are supporting a nation of free loaders,
In surreptitiously taped comments at a May fundraising event, leaked Monday by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, Romney plays to his donors' prejudices to sell a message that the Democratic Party is about dependency and the Republican Party is about free enterprise and limited government.
In a New York Times opinion piece, Annie Lowrey wrote,
Indeed, the recession and its aftermath have left tens of millions of workers out of a job or underemployed, removing more households from payment of federal income taxes. Moreover, the Bush tax cuts – the signature Republican economic policy of the 2000s, which doubled the child tax credit, increased a number of other deductions and exemptions, and lowered marginal tax rates – erased millions of families’ federal income tax liabilities.
People say that the Democrats are using class warfare, but so are the Republicans.

The South Is Different From The Rest Of Us…

Yesterday I wrote about how in Oklahoma a judge refused to grant a name change to a trans-person because of religious grounds. Today I am writing about how in in Alabama or South Carolina they discriminate against HIV/AIDS prisoners. They are the only two states in the U.S. that discriminated against HIV positive inmates. In Alabama they are required to wear white armbands and in South Carolina they are locked up in solitary confinement. According to an opinion piece in the Washington Post,
Alabama and South Carolina insist their policies are justified by the need to provide medical care to HIV-positive prisoners and prevent the transmission of the disease to other inmates. Neither excuse has any evidence to support it. Even if prisoners engage in sexual activity, modern antiretroviral therapy has radically reduced the odds that HIV transmission will occur at all. The vast majority of HIV patients, including those in Alabama’s prisons, will experience complete viral suppression, which reduces the risk that an individual will transmit HIV to nearly zero. Moreover, the policy does nothing to prevent the introduction of HIV through staff sexual misconduct. In a national study, about half the incidents of sexual aggression reported by former inmates were committed by staff members, not fellow prisoners. Alabama does not even test correctional officers for HIV.

Many HIV-positive prisoners in these states will spend more time behind bars than uninfected inmates with similar convictions, because they are not eligible for programs that promote early release and provide re-entry opportunities. HIV-positive prisoners also face barriers to accessing the treatment they need to manage their disease and keep it from progressing — treatment, which we now know, doubles as prevention. And by depriving HIV-positive prisoners of equal treatment, Alabama and South Carolina promote fear, prejudice, and even violence against them.
To deny an inmate proper medical treatment is wrong and inhuman. In some cases they’re there because minor offenses which become life sentences because of lack of proper medical treatment. In addition, it is the responsibility of prison officials to prevent rapes and assaults in prisons and by having these policies the prison officials are basically saying that they are not doing their jobs in preventing violence against prisoners.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sometimes We Forget…

That the rest of the country is not like us here in the northeast. When I went to change my name it was a breeze, just fill out the form and pay $150 (Which can be waved). On the form I answered the question about the reason for my name change as “personal” and they do a criminal background check. You see the judge in a few days, swear that I was not changing my name for criminal reason and that is it. No lawyers, no fuss, no muss.

In some states they publish you name and your new name in the paper because your creditors are supposed to see it and go after you with your new name. But in other states it can be a real nightmare…
Oklahoma judge refuses to let men planning sex-change operations have feminine names
By Nolan Clay
Published: September 16, 2012 

An Oklahoma County judge is refusing to let men planning sex-change operations switch to feminine names.

District Judge Bill Graves has denied name changes in two such cases so far — last year and again in August. The judge ruled both times the requests were made for a fraudulent purpose.
“To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent,” Graves wrote. “It is notable that Genesis 1:27-28 states: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth ...' The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female.”

The judge also wrote about not wanting to be “complicit in legitimizing sex changes through changes of names.”
This is not the first time that the judge has refused to grant a name change to a trans-person and that case is being repealed. This case should have never happened; the judge is basing his ruling on his religious beliefs and not the law. The paper reported that five other Oklahoma County judges who handle name change requests routinely grant them in transgender cases. So this young woman by the luck of the draw got this judge who is now putting her through hell because of his religious beliefs.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Staycation – Connecticut River Cruise

Yesterday I went on a free cruise down the Connecticut River on the River Quest. The trip was sponsored by the Stonewall Speakers as an appreciation for all their speakers (Stonewall Speakers are LGBT and allies who go out to speak in schools).

The cruise started at the landing across from the Goodspeed Opera House (The white building on the left, the building on the right is the Gelston House).

On the piling a Cormorant rests watching the river flow by…

A little ways down the river you can see the railroad bridge where opening scene for the Billy Joel’s River of Dreams video was filmed…

Other scenes were filmed at…
Come on Over Scene: The railroad bridge between Middletown & Portland CT
Cliff Jumping: Seldon Island Chester, CT
House on the River: Essex, CT
Train Bridge: Old Saybrook, CT
Ferry: Glastonbury/ Rocky Hill, CT
River Scenes: Connecticut River from Old Saybrook, CT to Middletown, CT

Farther down the river in Chester you can see the Essex steam train pass (Also in the opening of Billy Joel's River of Dreams) by the town boat launch.

Then we passed my dream sailboat…

I always wanted a sailboat, but alas it is not going to happen.

We cruise by Gillette Castle perched up on the hill…

It looks like that they are once again fixing the castle.

 An Osprey and her nest on a navigation marker.

On the way back we passed the Becky Thacher one of the other excursion boats on the river.

One of the many sailboats on the river that we passed.

The river traffic was heavy with powerboat, some of them were cigarette boats that flew by us as we slowly cruised along the river. It was a beautiful day; the temperature was in the low seventies and low humidity with a light breeze. A perfect day on the water.

P.S. And now I’m paying for it, I have a mild case of sunburn.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Great Play - Truly Dually

I went to see a great play last night and best of all it was free, it was a very off Broadway play about homelessness. Many of you will not get past here, because you will say, “Oh homelessness, I don’t care about that.” and click the back button. But it should be an important issue for everyone. There are more homeless people here in the U.S. then every before. Here in Connecticut there are over 14,000 homeless.

One of my former classmates posted it on her page and it got my attention because one of my term papers at grad school was on homelessness and also one of the major concerns I have is homelessness in the trans-community. In “Transitioning Our Shelters” it says that,
In our nation’s capital, the Washington Transgender Needs Assessment Study found that one third of transgender people were earning $10,000 or less per year, and 29% of respondents were unemployed. Only one in four respondents reported being satisfied with his or her housing situation. Hostility and insensitivity of housing staff and other residents were reported as the most common barriers to housing. Thirteen percent of respondents reported not feeling safe in their current housing. Fifteen percent reported losing a job due to discrimination in the workplace and only 58% had paid employment.
And from reports that I have heard, the same can be said about Connecticut. I have had many reports trans-people have been turned away for Connecticut shelter or forced to stay at the shelter of their birth gender, both of which are a direct violation of Connecticut non-discrimination law.

OK, back to the play… Truly Dually is a musical about the homeless, it takes place mainly in a park and it covers all the stigma and daily problems that the homeless face. On the Facebook page that one of the sponsors of play said,
Original Book, Music and Lyrics by Michael Ullman and Roslyn Catracchia.

TRULY DUALLY is a transformative musical about the stigma and solutions to chronic homelessness among persons with mental illness and substance abuse.

The musical is a family friendly, entertaining and educational original play that uses wit and humor to portray persons experiencing long term homelessness who strive to maintain their dignity in the most difficult of times.
In the opening scene a boy chases his over to a group of homeless people and his parents chastise him for going by the homeless people. Throughout the play I was able to connect with some of the scenes because of my internship and some of the classes in grad school. In one scene that sang a song about the DSM and the different Axis diagnoses, called "Axis One" The Psychiatrist, Ensemble and you could tell those in the audience who were familiar with Axis.

There was a scene in the play about a trans-person and that brought a flashback of a meeting that I attended while I was interning at True Colors. At that meeting with a state agency, they were looking for housing for a trans-girl who ran away from her parents and was picked up by a pimp who forced her to get addicted to heroin by locking her in a room and shooting her up with heroin. Once she was addicted to it the pimp forced her into prostitution. When she was arrested for prostitution she testified against the pimp, who latter shot her on the courthouse steps. The agency was looking for someplace where they would take her in besides jail, which the agency did want to do because it would force her into a male prison and in more danger.

When the trans-actor came out on stage there was laughter which hurt me deeply and one woman down in front center laughed through the entire scene which made me wonder if that was what she thought of her clients. I imagine that most of the people there at theater were in some way connected homeless, whether through state agencies or non-profits that serve the homeless community and some of those there were probably social works.

As I mentioned earlier, here in Connecticut it is against the law to house trans-people in any other shelter than of the gender that they identify as. In many location around the U.S. they have polices on how to house the trans-homeless, here are some of them…
In “Transitioning Our Shelters” they say this about integrated shelters in San Francisco…
Judith Pomeroy, who for over five years has managed the Marian Residence for Women, one of the services run by the St. Anthony Foundation in San Francisco, explains that their women’s shelter has had a policy of accepting transgender women since before she was manager and they haven’t found assault to be a problem. “We operate on behavior here and don’t assume that one person is more likely to harm others just by looking at them. If anyone hurts another person, we deal with that reality rather than thinking based on a stereotype that someone will hurt another person.”  By focusing on inappropriate behavior that is not allowed from anyone and enforcing those rules if they are violated, shelters balance the needs of everyone involved without discriminating against transgender women.
That is how it should be behavior focused not your gender at birth and also if there is a problem the troublemaker is the one to be ejected, not the trans-person unless the trans-person is the troublemaker.

I hope that Connecticut shelters will develop a trans-inclusive policy before they are sued and forced to do so by the courts or the CHRO.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Six Episode #440

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode #440

1. B is for BUG: Which insect is your favorite?
Praying Mantis, the state insect. My less favorite is the Pantry Moth which has infested my cabinets.

2. B is for BONE: Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how many have you broken?
Yes, two bones. My right wrist when I was a couple of months old and my left foot back in the 80s

3. B is for BOOGIE: On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your own dancing ability?

4. B is for BAKING: What was the last pastry you remember buying?
An apple turnover back in January, before I was diagnosed with diabetes.

5. B is for BORROW: What was the last thing you borrowed from someone else?
B is for book, which was the last thing I borrowed, but later she said I could keep it.

6. B is for BED: What size is your bed?
It is a king size water bed. I have been thinking about replacing it, it is over 20 years old, now I hear they have this newfangled invention call a waveless waterbed (A waterbed never wears springs).

Saturday 9: Life is a Lemon And I Want My Money Back

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Life is a Lemon And I Want My Money Back

1. When was the last time that you asked for your money back?
So long ago that I don’t remember

2. What was the last thing that you did to help someone?
A couple of weeks ago, I helped a friend to move.

3. At what point of your life do you think you started to understand who you are?

About the age of 5.

4. Are there times when you thought you had taken a fall, only to discover more about yourself?
Yeah, 12 years ago.

5. What was the last thing you did where you could not believe in what you were doing?
When I was working and my boss gave me stupid things to do, all you could do was roll your eyes and do it.

6. Do you think that you must struggle to become strong?
Yes, my metamorphosis made me stronger

7. Do you feel that your dreams have meaning or are entirely random?

8. What was the last promise you broke?
I don’t remember, I try not to make promises that I don’t keep.

9. Do you collect anything?
Yeah, debt.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Sunshine _will be in abundance this weekend_.
2. _Goodnight_ was the last thing I overheard someone say.
3. I found a recipe for _Lobster Newburg_ and it really tasted good!
4. I'm looking forward _to this weekend_.
5. Right now _I’m going out to walk my 2 miles today_.
6. _Thinking of this weekend_ makes me smile!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _reading_, tomorrow my plans include _going to a  musical for the homeless_ and Sunday, I am going to take a want to _cruise on the Connecticut River_!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Story Part 134 – My Past Is My Past

Or when your past comes back to bite you in your ass.

When we transition we make a choice, to go stealth or to live our lives as an “Out” trans-person. For me it was an easy decision because you can easily tell that I am trans, not right off but I you are with me for about 10 minutes. But for many of us there are no clues to tell you about our unique past.

In the past the Standard of Care required a trans-person to move and sever all ties to their past. The powers that be thought that the stigma of being transgender was too much to overcome so their answer was to start your life all over again in your true gender. But we now know that would cut us off from our support network and from our families. In addition, you lost your job history. Can you imagine how hard it would be to get a job when you are in your 30s or 40s and you do not have a job history? Or get a loan with no credit history.

You also now have to consider the internet, the search engines sees all and knows all. What is out there on the internet will always be there, there is no go back. Your credit report is permanent, you will always have an AKA in your file.

I knew someone who was stealth, married with two adopted children and when her and her husband went to apply for a mortgage the credit report came back AKA John Doe. Her husband never knew about her past and he locked her of their apartment and divorced her (She transitioned during the era where the SOC required you to go stealth and be cutoof from your past.). When I applied to grad school I had to get copies of my college records from almost forty years ago which are on microfilm and the schools would or could not change them.

There was an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about trans-people and the job market…
On the Job Market as a Transgender Candidate
By Rachel McKinnon
August 27, 2012

Most trans people in academe wait for the job security of tenure before undertaking the risky process of a gender transition. The reason is obvious: There's still a tremendous amount of discrimination and harassment toward us.

But what about identifiably trans people who either have managed to finally land a tenure-track job, or are seeking a tenure-track position in a poor job market? Where are their stories, and what are some of the special barriers that they face in hiring?
In academe, trans people, like everyone else, at least have the consolation that our research is reviewed anonymously for publication and, thus, can be evaluated merely on its merit. Our trans status is irrelevant and, more important, is unknown at the evaluation stage—at least in principle. But of course, that's not the case at job interviews. Furthermore, job applicants have less control than ever before over the amount and kind of information available about them via the Web to a search committee.
You might think that trans status won't be evident on a CV or in an application package, but that isn't true. Many job candidates are approaching the job market with publications. I had two before I finished my Ph.D., for example. But they were published pre-transition under my male name. I'm a little lucky that my male name isn't obviously male. If it had been something like "John" or "Dave," there would be a clear disconnect on my CV between my current, legal name (Rachel) and my old name. That would effectively out me as a transgender person. I've since added a third publication to my CV, written under my current name, and one journal has agreed to change the name on one of my previous publications (another journal could not do so).
In the non-academic world we also face the same problems our former employers might not change the name on our employment records. We might be a member of a professional organization and be well known to our colleagues. So what do we do, go stealth or come out? I can’t answer it for you, for me I chose the being out and proud path, but as I said I really didn’t have a choice. In addition, we should not judge anyone on their decision, they might have valid reasons for their choice which we do not know.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What Does $16 Million Buy

I don’t know about you but I have been flooded with ads from Linda McMahon, almost daily I get something in the mail from her. I went to watch a Grateful Dead video and there was an ad for McMahon. Turn on the radio or the television and you get a barrage of her ads. Wherever I look, I see her face looking down at me; it is kind of like “Big Brother” from 1984.

In all the ads she says “I have a plan.” So I went to her website to see what her plan is.

Her first step she said is to cut the tax rate to 15%, do away with capital gains, give greater deductions for education and other tax cuts. She also wants to give tax cuts to businesses and eliminate loopholes. OK this all sounds very good, but… what are you going to do to offset the lost revenue? You say you want to cut the spending by 1% a year, well the numbers just don’t jive. To me it sounds like you are promising a pie in the sky. Tell them what they want to hear, dangling that old carrot of tax cuts.

Then she says she wants to do away with regulations like the ones that were put into place after the market crashed became of all the lies the stock market was built upon. She also wants to repeal the healthcare reforms and this from a person who doesn’t provide healthcare to some of her employees. Which cause those of us with healthcare pay more in premiums (about a $1000 a year) to pay for the uninsured

I have a problem with her energy programs, basically part of it is “drill baby drill!” Did you know that we are exporting natural gas, that we actually have a surplus in natural gas and are sending overseas?

In one of her ads she blamed Rep. Murphy for not passing a budget when in truth it was Rep. Paul Ryan who blocked the passage of any bill to balance the budget and to block the increase of the debit limit. This caused us to be on the brink of defaulting on our debit and caused a drop in the US bond rating.

She says she is going to save Social Security and Medicare, but she will not say how she will do it. We are supposed to trust her; we are supposed to buy a pig in a poke.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


An article in the Advocate writes about how more companies are now covering not only healthcare for trans-employees, but also surgery.
At Google, a Transgender "Gold Standard"

The search engine giant has significantly increased its coverage of transgender health care for its U.S. employees — and other companies are soon expected to follow suit.
November 22, 2011

In a move predicted by one advocate to become the gold standard for LGBT health, Google has significantly increased coverage of transgender health care for its U.S. employees, and other companies are expected to follow suit.

The updated benefits, announced internally by company officials on Friday and effective immediately, cover transitioning procedures and treatment in accordance with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) Standards of Care, and include gender reassignment surgical procedures determined to be medically necessary by a doctor.
“As the WPATH Standards of Care are considered the highest standards of care for transgender individuals, we agreed to cover the full range of procedures under WPATH,” Google spokesman Jordan Newman told The Advocate.

Google also has more than doubled the maximum dollar amount for transgender health care benefits, from $35,000 to $75,000, the minimum amount required for a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks. The benefits are covered by the company’s existing insurance providers and apply to domestic employees, Newman said. Google is considering extending similar benefits to international employees, though it does not currently have a timeline for doing so.
While I am not a fan of the HRC, I do think that their CEI is headed in the right direction. In the past a company could get a 100% rating by just having basic insurance coverage and by offer mental healthcare for trans-employees.  Which has resulted in more companies proving coverage for us. Now 85 companies offer coverage for surgery; however, from reading the guideline for the rating systems it still looks like a company can get a 100% without offering surgery. If they offer surgery coverage they get a checkmark.

I think another motivator for companies offering surgery insurance was the IRS court ruling that medical care for trans-people is tax deductible and therefore companies would be more willing to cover surgery for their transgender employees.

Speaking of court rulings and surgery coverage, I think that the court ruling to provide surgery for the killer who is serving a life sentence was correct. Medical care should be based on medical necessity not on how popular it is with the public. The judge wrote: “Denying adequate medical care because of a fear of controversy or criticism from politicians, the press, and the public serves no legitimate penological purpose,...” He went on to say that “It is precisely the type of conduct the Eight Amendment prohibits.”

I think in all fairness, I should say that Google is a sponsor of the Trans Health and Law conference this year. Also my former employer does not cover any surgery for trans-employees or retired trans-employees.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10 - World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day
10 September 2012

World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September promotes worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. On average, almost 3000 people commit suicide daily. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives.

The sponsoring International Association for Suicide Prevention, the co-sponsor WHO and other partners advocate for the prevention of suicidal behaviour, provision of adequate treatment and follow-up care for people who attempted suicide, as well as responsible reporting of suicides in the media.

At the global level, awareness needs to be raised that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death. Governments need to develop policy frameworks for national suicide prevention strategies. At the local level, policy statements and research outcomes need to be translated into prevention programmes and activities in communities.
This is especially important to the trans-community where according to one recent survey which found “A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population.” The report also found the number one factor in reducing suicides is family acceptance and not only did family support reduce suicides but it also reduced other health risks such as HIV/AIDS.

Suicide Prevention Hot Lines…
The Trevor Project
Toll-free: 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386)
24/7 GLBT Youth Suicide Prevention and Crisis Hotline.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Toll-free 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
 24/7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers.

Veterans Crisis Line | Hotline, Online Chat & Text
Toll-free 1-800-273-8255 Press 1
Text 838255 to Get Help NOW

Must Read...

This opinion piece was on mentioned on Facebook and I thought it was worth sharing...
KEITH C. BURRIS: And now, the choice
Register Citizen
Published: Saturday, September 08, 2012

Now they clean up the confetti, we rub our eyes and massage our temples after six days of inane blather by the TV commentators, and we try to sort through the sea of words (thousands from Joe Biden; thousands more from Bill Clinton) and waves of Republican anger.

What happened these last two weeks?

Is the nation clearer about the choice between presidential candidates and political parties?

Well, it should be.
The media is a real problem.

For the public to inform itself, it must truly dig for information and try to listen -- listen hard and past the media noise.
I think the crux of the problem is that the news media has given up on the job. It has become sound bites; there is no analysis of what the candidates are saying. I remember when the networks would have white papers and analyze the news and have in depth reporting, but now there are no advertisers who want that exposure and there is no money in it for the networks.

The opinion goes on to analyze both parties, it worth a read.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

This And That In The News – Trans Issues

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

The first article is about legal recognition being given to trans-people in Ireland…
Transgender legislation due within weeks
By Kitty Holland
September 8, 2012

LEGISLATION TO provide for the legal recognition of transgender people will be put before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Social Protection in coming weeks, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has said.

Speaking at the opening session of the fourth European Transgender Council meeting in Dublin yesterday, she said enacting such legislation was a priority for her, although she was unable to give assurances on a number of key issues to transgender people.
However, there are some concerns,
Delegates voiced concerns that the legislation may include a compulsory medical examination before transgender people could access legal recognition and that married transgender people would have to divorce their spouses before accessing recognition. This is due to the constitutional protection of marriage.

Asked about the question of “forced divorce”, Ms Burton said the AG report “deals specifically with that issue and of course for the groups it is an issue but the Irish Constitution and its position on marriage is a matter of fact”.
So mixed in with the good is a lot of bad. It sounds like the protection will only be for transsexuals and not for gender identity and expression; therefore there will be no protect for crossdressers. Also the “forced divorce” is wrong, if to people are in love they shouldn’t be forced apart.

We not go half way around the world for my next story, Vietnam is also offer legal recognition for an intersex-person.
The first trans-gender legally recognized in Vietnam
Last update 08/09/2012

 VietNamNet Bridge – A man who has become a woman after a transgender surgery in Thailand has become the first transgender in Vietnam and has been recognized by the authorities as a woman.
But reading down in the article we find out that she is really intersex.
Tram said she was born in HCM City. Her family moved to Binh Phuoc when she was small. Tram was born as an intersex but she was defined at birth as a boy.

“At puberty, my body changed as a woman. My breast kept growing. I was very frightened and did not tell anyone. I tried to hide it by eating a lot to gain weight,” Tram said.
In mid-2008, after the sex organ surgery, she became a real woman. That year, seeing her white skin and pretty face, Thai doctors encouraged her to send her pictures to Tiffany Show, a beauty contest for transgenders in Thailand. Tram won the title “Miss Tiffany Photogenic.”
This shows the injustice that intersex people face not only here in the US but around the world, she should never had to fight to legally change gender and she should never have been forced in to a gender at birth. And you can’t help wonder if she wasn’t so beautiful would the authorities allowed her to change her gender.

Although the next article is not strictly about trans-news it caught my attention because of blood donations…
In Surprise Move, Poland’s Conservative Party to Introduce Civil Unions
The Edge on the Web
By Jason St. Amand
Friday Sep 7, 2012

Although it is not marriage equality, the announcement is seen as a move in the right direction by gay rights advocates, who were pleasantly surprised by the turnaround. The Central European country allows gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military and transgender people can change their legal gender. Additionally, gay men are allowed to donate blood (unlike in the United States). The country’s anti-discrimination laws guarantees equality based on "any reason," which has been argued to cover sexual orientation (again, ahead of the United States).
I know a trans-woman who went to give blood, she went through the uptake and gave the person the clerk her medical history and to the person that she is trans. She was being connected to the IV when the supervisor came out and in a loud voice say, “We do not allow transsexuals like you to give blood.” This I believe was a fragrant violation of HIPPA and in addition, I believe it is wrong to deny a person to give blood because they are gay or transgender. I should be based on their medical history not who they are.

The next article brings us back to the US and football,
Transgender athlete joins football team on field
The Tower Pulse
By Annabel Ames
September 4, 2012

Getting to play on South’s football team is something many boys dream. But this year, a transgender female student will be taking advantage of that opportunity.

Meredith Knop ’13, who prefers to be called “Seth” and referred to as “he,” says he wanted to try out for the team last year, but was too nervous. This year, he said he decided to go for something he wanted to do, and approached varsity coach Tim Brandon and junior varsity coach Brian Shelson about joining. Knop will be playing on the varsity team as a running back.
Go Team Go!

It is nice to see a school do the right thing without a court battle. It is also nice to see a school that knows the law and obeys the law (Michigan does not have a gender inclusive anti-discrimination law at this time; however, a number of cities in the state do have laws to protect trans-people.). In 2010, the US Dept. of Ed, Office of Civil Rights released a “Dear Colleague” letter the said, “Although Title IX does not prohibit discrimination based solely on sexual orientation, Title IX does protect all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, from sex discrimination.” Therefore, the school is required to allow trans-athletes to play on the team of their gender identity.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Saturday Six Episode #439

Patrick’s Place! Saturday Six Episode #439

1. A is for APPLE: What Apple Computer product are you most likely to buy or most pleased that you have purchased?
The Apple product that I am most pleased with purchasing is my Apple II+

2. A is for ANATOMY: What part of your body do you feel is your best feature?
My smile

3. A is for ACADEMICS: What single class gave you the most trouble in school?
Research I in grad school because it was all definitions and I knew all the math. You want the root mean square calculated… I can do that! You want me to write a definition of RMS, well that is an entire different story.

4. A is for ACE: What card game is your favorite?

5. A is for AUTOMOBILE: What car or vehicle are you most likely to buy as your next ride?

The Plug-in Prius, I was thinking about buying my third Prius this fall.

6. A is for ARGUMENT: What is the last thing you remembered arguing about?
Politics with my brother, what we normally argue over. But I must say our discussions have not been that heated as in the past.