Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ten Reasons Why I Will Not Vote Republican

Ten Reasons Why I Will Not Vote Republican

  1. I will not vote for a party that wants to marginalize and demonize me
  2. I will not vote for a party that wants to take away a woman’s right to chose
  3. I will not vote for a party that does not believe in diversity
  4. I will not vote for a party that tries to prevent people from voting
  5. I will not vote for a party that does want to help those who are less fortunate
  6. I will not vote for a party that wants to impose their religious beliefs on me
  7. I will not vote for a party that does not tax people on their ability to pay
  8. I will not vote for a party that wants to do away with the EPA, OSHA, FDA, SEC and other regulatory agencies, and to close FEMA
  9. I will not vote for a party that does not believe in global warming
  10. I will not vote for a party that does not encourage alternative energy sources

As you can tell I am a strong believer in Human Rights and providing a safety net for those who are less fortunate. Over and over, the Republicans politicians have labeled trans-people and lesbians and gays as pedophiles, perverts and have tried to deny us equal rights.

The Republicans want to do away with a woman’s choice to control their bodies. They want to ban all forms of birth control and ban all abortions including when their health is at stake and rape. They believe that life begins at conception, but that is their personal religious beliefs which they want to impose on everyone else.

They have attempted to marginalize minorities in the laws that they have passed. They have passed laws that require people to carry proof of citizenship which they use to discriminate against Latinos and other foreign born Americans. Just by watching their party convention it was very obvious that their party is a party for white people.

When a person was wearing a tee shirt at a rally that said, “Let’s put a white man back in the Whitehouse” and another person at another rally wore a tee shirt “Send him back to Kenya” Romney never spoke out against them. By being silent he spoke in favor of racism, and both of them could plainly be seen from the podium.

The Republicans have been systematically passing laws to deny people their right to vote by claiming voter fraud, but in numerous courts cases they have been unable to support those claims and they have actually boasted that the purpose of the laws are to block minority votes.

The Republicans have cut funding for Head Start, WIC (Women, Infants and Children), SNAP, TANF and for Ryan White Act and for low income health care programs. This comes at a time when more people are in need of help. They have passed legislation that would privatize Social Security (Which would create a huge windfall for Wall Street) and replace Medicare with a voucher system (They have since said that they will leave Medicare alone for people who are retired or nearing retirement, thereby separating the senior vote from everyone else.) which would create a bonanza for the insurance companies.

About FEMA Romney said, “Absolutely, every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.

They have tried to pass a flat tax and cut deduction for mortgages while at the same time remove taxes from capital gains, dividends and estate tax.

Paul Ryan and other Republicans politicians have stated that their goal is to do away with all regulatory agencies and let business regulate themselves.

Their Party Platform says…”We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage…” and that they believe in the teaching of religion in schools, imposing their religious beliefs on others who are not Christian. This goes against the Constitution which the Supreme Court has ruled numerous times by both conservative and liberal justices, three guesses what religion would be taught? In Kansas they passed a law banning to ban Islamic Shariah law.

The Republican answer to the energy crisis is to “Drill Baby Drill,” they said they would increase drilling in the United States and cut funding to solar and wind power. They also said that they would cut funding for alternative energy sources and repeal minimum mpg standards for automobiles and that they would cut funding to alternative transportation systems.

The Republican controlled House has introduced laws to gut the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. They have tried to gut OSHA by reducing their budget until the agency cannot function. Romney has promised to repeal the Dodd – Frank law and once again let Wall Street run untether.

What Is At Stake
Control of the Supreme Court
Constitution amendment on abortion
Decimation of the FEMA, EPA, OSHA, FDA, SEC and other regulatory agencies
Destruction of the safety net for those who are less fortunate.

Clean Water Act still essential

The Republican Fight for Dirtier Air

OSHA Budget Cut Plan Spotlights Regulatory Debate

Romney Vowing Dodd-Frank Repeal Hits JPMorgan Risky Trades

Food safety advocates decry FDA cuts
This Is Rape – Republican Attack on Women

This Is Rape – Republican Attack on Women

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy – Made It Through With No Damage.

I only lost power for about 15hrs. The storm wasn't bad until right after I talked to my brother around 2PM and then the wind started to pick-up. Around 7 the wind was howling and lights stated to flicker, then went off a little while later and the power came back on around 10:30 this morning. I went out breakfast with the other refugees at a local dinner (it was packed) and when I got back, the lights were on.

The trains are not going anywhere; this is the main Amtrak line that goes through my town.

Most of the damage from the hurricane was from coastal flood, the wind was blowing right down Long Island Sound and the water was piling up at the western end. They had an eleven foot storm surge on top of a full moon high tide. Here are some photos from the Hartford Courant.

Milford damage
( John Woike, Hartford Courant / October 30, 2012 )

A couple that I know who use to live in Milford on Long Island Sound just finished rebuilding after Hurricane Irene. They sold it two weeks ago and I feel sorry for the people who bought it (This is not their former house, but it is in the same area as theirs).

Dock & Dine in Old Saybrook on the Connecticut River, just opened a couple of weeks ago after the hurricane Irene and now it gets flooded out again.
Dock & Dine in Old Saybrook
( Jim Shea / October 30, 2012 )

Over 600,000 people were without power at the height of the storm but it was way less than last year’s blizzard that happened exactly one year ago. Then over a million people were without power and I was one of them. I lost power for three days while many others lost power over 10 days.

Update 3:30PM:
They just had on the news that hurricane Sandy surpassed the hurricane of 1938 in the height of the storm surge by a foot. Making it the worst hurricane in the history of  Connecticut. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

We Are All Different

When I give a talk on why diversity is important, I sometimes talk about IBM. I do not know how many of you remember back when you could tell an IBM salesman just by the way he looked. First thing you notice is the clothes the man was wearing, if it was a blue suit that was one indication. If he was wearing a thin blue tie with a white shirt that was the next give away and lastly if he had a flat top haircut then he was an IBM salesman. Everyone who worked for IBM back in the 60s and 70s looked that way; it was part of the corporate dress code.

Back in the late 60s an engineer who was working on a “super computer” project for IBM had this great idea. Up until then computers did one calculation after another, a+b=c and then a+d=e and then b+f=g and so forth. This engineer’s idea was each of the calculations involved different variables so why can’t we do them all at the same time. That idea is the basis of the modern computers.

One day this young engineer went to his boss and told him that he was going to become a woman, she was fired. She moved out west and went to work at Memorex Corporation, at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and at the Defense Advanced Research Project's Agency (DARPA). Later she wrote “Introduction to VLSI Systems”, which she co-authored with a professor from Caltech. The book went on to become a standard textbook for all computer engineering students, I read her book and I had no idea of her history. She eventually retired as the Associate Dean of Engineering and professor emerita at the University of Michigan. All of this happened because IBM fired her for wanting to transition. (You can read her story here and here.)

IBM also lost out in the PC revolution because of their lake of diversity and the company almost went out of business as a result. Back in the late 70s two hippies came up with an idea for a computer, the big corporation like IBM dismissed their idea as a toy. They were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. IBM was mainframes, large central computers using dumb terminals. It wasn’t until the major corporations were on the brink of financial disaster that they embraced the PC. It is one of the reasons that we have a divide between Mac based systems and Windows based systems, Apples were being used by artists, innovators and creative people while the PC were being used in businesses.

America was founded on diversity; genetic diversity. For the first time in history people were marrying someone who was not from within 10 miles of their home town. My father’s parents were born in Italy and they were from neighboring towns, but my mother was part Swiss, Germany and English (There is a family legend that we are related to Benedict Arnold). The marriage of couples who originally came from opposite sides of the world created a diverse gene pool that I believe is one of the things that made this country so great.

Another benefit from people from all over the world coming to settle here is that we have a blending of cultures. When I was in grad school over the holidays many of the student government organizations shared their celebration of their holidays. I attended Hanukah, Three Kings and Kwanza holiday celebrations. I loved to hear the story behind their holidays and to see how they celebrated the holidays and it helped me understand their cultures.

So why is diversity important? I believe it is because we all have a different way of looking at a problem. We all approach problems differently, an Asian might look at a problem one way and a European might look at the problem another way. A gay man might see something that a straight man might not see and vise-a-versa, the straight man might see something that a gay man overlooked just because we look at the world through different colored glasses.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

They expect widespread power outages from hurricane Sandy early tomorrow morning through late Tuesday,  in all likelihood I will not have power tomorrow.

So I'll see you all on the other side of the storm.

Update Monday, 11:00AM

So far so good. No hurricane force winds yet, they say it should start in the afternoon.

Some links you might be interested in...
National Data Buoy Center

River Forecast Center
Middle Atlantic

Also if you are a CL&P customer... 

Update: 1:35PM

The lights are beginning  to flicker and dim... not good for the refrigerator or other motors

Also Facebook is hopping with update of the hurricane.

Another link you might want to check out...
Google Crisis Map

Finally Some Sanity (Part 2)…

Earlier this month I wrote about how Ontario, Canada removed the requirement to have surgery to change your birth certificate, well now a state here in the U.S. just did the same,
Ill. court OKs end to genital surgery requirement for birth certificate changes
Chicago Phoenix
by Tony Merevick
October 24, 2012

A Cook County judge approved a new decree Tuesday that would allow transgender Illinoisans to obtain birth certificates with their correct gender from the Illinois Department of Public Health without having to undergo genital reconstruction surgery.

The policy change comes as the result of a settlement reached in July in a class-action legal challenge involving three transgender individuals who filed suit in May 2010 after they were denied corrected birth certificates from the IDPH because they did not undergo genital surgery.
“It is critical that our clients and others are able to get birth certificates that accurately reflect who they are without being required to undergo costly surgery that they may not want or need,” he said. “The State never should have involved itself in these private decisions about medical care.”
This is a step forward for many transgender people who cannot afford the genital reconstruction therapy or do not feel the need to undergo such a procedure. However, the other procedures that may fit the state’s criteria may be just as invasive to some, including double mastectomy, hysterectomy, orchiectomy, or facial feminization surgeries.
This also brings Illinois birth certificate policy in-line with the state Department policy on passports.  As I wrote before, some people argue that a birth certificate is legal record and should not be changed, but many legal documents are changed including your name on the birth certificate. In all 50 states you can change your name on it. Some argue that it should indicate what you have between your legs, my answer to that is why? Has anyone ever check to see what you have between your legs or for that matter has anyone ever asked to see your birth certificate? Probably the only time any has requested your birth certificate was when you applied for a job and even then they never checked what you have between your legs, they just wanted to check if you are a U.S. citizen. Wouldn’t it be better for the gender on your birth certificate reflect the way you live?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Six #446

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #446

1. H is for HABIT: Which habit would you most like to break?
Not picking up after myself

2. H is for HAIR: How long have you maintained your current hairstyle?
For a couple of years

3. H is for HAND: Are you right-handed or left-handed?
I’m sinister

4. H is for HEAT: During winter, to what temperature do you normally set your thermostat?
65 during the day and 55 at night.

5. H is for HIGHWAY: When the speed limit is 55, how fast do you generally drive?

6. H is for HYPOCHONDRIA: Which illness do you most fear?
Kidney failure.

Hurricane Sandy

What are you doing to prepare for the hurricane Sandy?

Those of us who live along the east coast from Virgina to Massachusetts are in the cone of possibility for Hurricane Sandy which is expected to make landfall on Monday some where in New Jersey. So what are you doing to prepare?

I dusted off my camp stove and lantern, checked my battery supply, charge up my Kindle, mp3 player, phone and laptop (I watch DVDs on it and surfed the web on a dial-up modem (I don't have that account any more so I might be off the web for a couple of days)). I going to be one of the thousands of shoppers at the grocery store to stock up on can food and food that is easily to prepare. I have city water so I don't have to worry about a well.

Last year we got hit by hurricane Irene in September and a blizzard in late October and I lost power for 3 days for each storm (some towns lost power for over 7 days). However, unlike last year I now have to watch my carbs. Last year it was canned chili, canned ravioli, spaghetti and other high carb. foods, now it is going to take a little more thought in what to buy

Saturday 9: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Somewhere Over the Rainbow
1) Do you ever fantasize about flying, beyond the rainbow or anywhere else?
Do you mean flying like a bird? Flying in a plane?
Here is a little known fact about me, I use to fly but I stopped when I crashed and I decided it was no fun. I crashed my hang glider as I was trying to land and I can tell you first hand that the saying “any good landing is one you can walk away from” is not true because the next day you feel like someone beat you with a two by four.

2) Do you think you have seen The Wizard of Oz more than 10 times?
Maybe, I never really counted

3) Which Wizard of Oz character would you most like to dress as for Halloween?
The “Good Witch” she got to wear nice gowns

4) What will Trick or Treaters get when they come to your front door?
A cold stare.

5) Did you ever TP a neighbor's house or indulge in other acts of Halloween vandalism as a kid? (Don't worry, that statute of limitations is up.)
Yes, the old flaming bag of s**t on the porch. But no one ever fell for it.

6) Who annoys you more -- people who never respond to your texts/emails, or those who never look up because they're always checking their texts/emails?
Those who never respond to emails. If they are always checking there emails around me then they are probably not a friend.

7) Who was the last person you hugged?
A close friend on my birthday

8) What two colors do you like to wear together?
I really don’t have any favorite colors, it depends on the seasons and right now it is fall colors; brown, rust and tans.

9) Did your alarm clock wake you up this fine Saturday morning?
I haven’t set my alarm clock since June 30, 2007, the day I retired.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Frill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins
Every Friday and Saturady I take time off from writing my blog to have some fun with memes…
1. Oh, that _is nothing you should have been here for hurricane Irene in September which was followed by the October blizzard_.
2. It's a sure sign of _a hurricane_ when _the weather takes on a tropical feel_.
3. Are we having _another Halloween storm_ again??!.
4. My heart _starts beating fast with every weather report_.
5. Do you believe in _being prepared_? I _go shopping at the last minute_!
6. I'm a _trooper after last year’s storms where I lost power for over 3 days for both storms_.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _reading a new book_, tomorrow my plans include _walking_ and Sunday, I want to _visit a friend_!

For those of you who do not live in Southern New England, New York or New Jersey, the weather forecast is that we should get hit by hurricane Sandy on Monday. Sandy is a strange hurricane in that it is expected to run into cold air and part of the precipitation is expected to be snow. Kind of like a super Nor’easter.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Story Part 140 – Hi, My Name Is Diana

Saying your name is no big thing to most people, but for a trans-person I bet they can recall the first time they said their name to someone else. For me it was at the first support group meeting that I went to back in September 1999.

Last week I introduced myself again, this time it was at a conference, New England Conference on Multicultural Education and the keynote speaker was Lee Mun Wah. He gave an excellent seminar on cultural diversity and one of the exercises that he had us do was to meet someone new. He told the audience to go and find someone that you would like to meet and we all stood looking around. Most of the other attendees had come with someone, but a few like me came alone to the conference.

So I was standing there when this black woman came up to me and said that she would she would like to partner up for the exercise. She asked if I was trans and I said yes and we talked a little about our background, she was surprised that we both know the conference organizer. I told her I was on the Safe Schools Coalition with him and that I had my MSW and she told me that she was the Diversity and Cultural Competency Director at a nearby school.

As part of the exercise we had to answers four or five questions. I only remember a couple of the questions, one was what have you giving up and another was what is your story. Since I had the shorter hair, I had to listen to her answers of the questions and then I gave my answers to the questions. She said that she had given up her accent to blend in with us Yankees and I said that I had to give up my past. When the exercise was over we exchanged business cards and promised to keep in touch.

I came away from the exercise with two things that we are all alike for probably 99.9% but it is that 0.1% that makes us unique. The other thing that I learned was to take the time to know the person next to you. As trans-people when we walk into a room people are judging us. They form that judgment within the first 10 seconds and they are not only are judging you but they are judging the whole trans-community.

Earlier Thursday I was up at the University of Connecticut giving a talk on the “Politics of Gender’ and for the class I wore a beige turtleneck sweater, jeans and denim jacket. I was going for an image that college could identify as a “teacher”. I wanted to make a good first impression, I wanted to be able to connect with the students (from the follow-up email from the professor, I achieved my goal, “Thank you again for your presentation today.  I know my student's soaked it up.”). Then I went to change for the conference, I wanted a more business causal look, I wanted to look more professional.

When I say, “Hi, My Name Is Diana” I want to make a good impression, we may not like being judged or being a role model for the transgender community, but we are and we do not have any choice in the matter. I believe last Thursday it did.

My Story is a weekly series of blog posts about my transition and observation of life as a trans-person.

Happy Birthday!

Those who are familiar with the Stonewall Uprising will recognize Miss Major’s name. She took part in the uprising along with Sylvia Rivera and other trans-women and trans-men, along with a few gay men and lesbian women.

She is still active today fighting for our rights.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This And That In The News – Trans Issues Around The World

"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 this week.

First stop is over the pond to Ireland…
No timetable for legislation on gender recognition
The Irish Times
By Orla Tinsley
Monday, October 22, 2012

LGBTI RIGHTS: THE GOVERNMENT has no committed time frame to provide legislation for legal recognition of transgender people, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said yesterday.

Speaking at the closing of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (ILGA) European conference in Dublin yesterday, he said the Government was committed to developing legislation for gender recognition but that no time frame for this could be given.

“There is no committed time frame. It’s not a case of putting it off, but I’m not putting a timetable on it.”

Regarding same-sex marriage, Mr Gilmore said he was not disappointed the Taoiseach did not support his views on the topic and that from a Government perspective the issue would be dealt with in the upcoming constitutional convention.

Mr Gilmore is the highest ranking official to give a closing speech in the ILGA conference’s 16-year history. In his speech he praised lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people for their “unique insight” into the importance of human rights.
Sigh… it seems that we are always told, don’t worry we will take care of you and we end up waiting years while LGBT people lose their job or are thrown out of their apartments or discriminated against.

Update 3:20PM: This just in... Ireland’s first ever trans-rights rally took place on Saturday.
Hundreds gather for first trans rights rally
The Daily Shift
Posted by jennyholmes
October 24, 2012

Several hundred people attended the first public trans rally, The Rally for Recognition, which took place outside Dáil Éireann last Saturday.

Activists gathered to mark International Day of Struggle for the Depathologisation of  Trans-Identities, the campaign which demands to have trans recognised as an identity and not as a mental disorder.
Several speakers called for the removal of the categories of gender dysphoria and gender identity disorders from the medical diagnosis manuals of the World Health Organisation, as well as calling for the provision for trans specific health care.
In the land down-under…
Intersex and trans communities hail Tas Anti-Discrimination bill
Gay News Network
By Serkan Ozturk
October 22, 2012

Intersex and other sex and gender diverse people are celebrating the release of the Tasmanian Government’s proposed amendments to the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act which will provide stronger protection for the transgender community and for the first time anywhere in Australia include specific protections for intersex people.

The move by the Tasmanian Government to provide explicit protection of the LGBTI community is seen as significant with Attorney-General Nicola Roxon currently working on new draft federal anti-discrimination laws.
“By using the broad and inclusive term ‘transgender’ and by creating the new grounds for discrimination, ‘gender identity’, the government is signalling to transgender people that it considers discrimination against us to be as serious as other forms of bias,” Delaney said.

“Transgender and intersex people are very vulnerable to discrimination and I’m proud Tasmania is leading the world in protecting us from discrimination.”
It seems like Australia is making strides in the right direction. You may remember that in Australia you can get a passport with your gender listed as "X" if you are intersex or if you are trans you can change your gender with a letter from your doctor.

Well it was nice while it lasted…
'Transgender airline' leaves passengers stranded
AOL News
By Roshina Jowaheer
Oct 22, 2012

Just months after Thailand's first transsexual air crew took to the skies with PC Air, the airline has suspended services over financial troubles and has left passengers stranded in South Korea.

Thai Deputy Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt told AFP: 'The airline informed the Department of Civil Aviation on Friday that they cannot operate their charter flights due to business problems. So it will suspend its services.'
You may remember the headline about six months ago when there was a big hoopla over the fact that the airline had hired four transgender crew memebers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Playing Games with Human Rights

Now we have it, now we don’t. That is the game they are playing in East Aurora Illinois with our rights. Earlier last week the East Aurora School Board passed a gender identity school policy and late last week they repealed it because of pressure from the far right.
East Aurora OKs transgender policy
Beacon News
By Stephanie Lulay
October 15, 2012

AURORA — The East Aurora school board voted to unanimously approve a policy that affects transgendered students Monday night.

The policy set forth several guidelines for school administrators to use when addressing the needs and rights of transgender and gender nonconforming students.

The policy also addresses how state laws should be implemented.

The new policy specifically states that transgendered and gender nonconforming students have the right use the restroom that corresponds to their gender-related identity that is consistently asserted at school. The student has the right to be addressed by the name they want to be called, too.

“A court-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student needs not change his or her official records,” the policy states.

But not so fast…
East Aurora High School Board of Education Adopts Radical Policy on Gender Confusion
Illinois Family Institute
By Laurie Higgins

An outrageous and ignorant decision by the East Aurora High School Board of Education points to the increasingly compelling need for parents to pull their kids out of public schools if possible.
So what did the school board do? They caved in to a vocal minority…
East Aurora school officials debate transgender policy
Chicago Tribune
By Kate Thayer
October 20, 2012

East Aurora School District officials on Friday night rescinded a policy they put in place just days earlier that would have given transgender students certain personal rights in school.

Cries of "shame" and "coward" were shouted after the 4-0 vote at a special meeting of the District 131 school board. More than 100 people packed the district's meeting room, lined the hallway and stood outside, listening on speakers. Several carried banners, and about 20 addressed the board.
So now what? Well I think that if there is a discrimination case or gender based harassment case that the school system just opened themselves to lawsuits, especially if the harassment increases after the repeal. The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights issued a communication that warned school systems that bias against gender identity and expression is prohibited under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. So the East Aurora School Board is skating on thin ice.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I was single when I transitioned, while other trans-people were in a relationship. Maybe they were married with kids, maybe they were just going together but either way it is a lot harder when they transition because not only do they transition but their love ones also transition. If they stay together then their partners must cross a bridge from a heterosexual relationship to being identified as a same-sex couple or in some cases possibly as a straight couple.

I know a couple whose spouse came to a support group meeting pleading “I want my husband back!” I wish that we could have said that everything would by OK, but we couldn’t. Most couples do break-up. Some stay together, some remain friends, some never what to see them again and some even prohibit the trans-person from seeing their children (although the courts are respecting parental rights equally).

However, I do know some couples that after the initial break-up they are back together again and living as a lesbian couple. If they do stay together or come back together the spouse that did not transition now has to identify as a lesbian. I know someone who tells the story about how she had to adjust to the new reality, she said that she use to sleep on her husband’s shoulder when they rode the train and no one paid them any attention, but now they get starred at. Another couple who were lesbian when one of them transitioned had to adjust to being identified as a straight, that they were no longer welcomed by some in the lesbian community.

In there is an article about a lesbian couple where one of them transitioned,
Lesbians No Longer: A Transgender Trip into Heteronormality
By Lilly O'Donnell
October 21, 2012

Suddenly, at age 25, when Sadie thought she had a pretty good idea of who she was and had become comfortable identifying as a lesbian, she has found herself in a committed, heterosexual relationship with a man. And not just with any man, but one who wants to distance himself from any queer identity he once had, taking Sadie with him. She and Marco are in limbo between their two identities—not quite your average straight couple, but no longer a lesbian couple, either.
When Erica first brought up her confusion and the possibility of transitioning, she and Sadie had only been dating for a few months, but they had known each other for three years. Sadie said that, knowing Erica, she wasn’t that surprised by the news—she knew that Erica had felt conflicted for a long time, and had been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder as a child. 
“It was nice to hear that people had made it to the other side of what seemed at the time to be this impossible and endless journey.”

Over time, as Marco settled into being a man, Sadie settled into the idea of their semi-straight relationship.

“I can spend time with newer friends and talk about my ‘boyfriend’ without feeling like I’m telling some giant lie,” she said. 

They both want kids, and imagine their perfect suburban future. They wonder out loud who they’ll tell and who they won’t, whether they’ll pretend to be a normal, nuclear family. Sadie feels that they’ll have to be open about it if they’re going to tell their kids, because she doesn’t want to tell her children to keep their father’s past a secret. It’s not something to be ashamed of.

“I never thought I’d have to explain to my kids that their dad was born a woman.” But they plan to be very open with their kids, and explain Marco’s past to them as clearly as they can.

“He wants to be in a heterosexual relationship, but I feel like presenting it that way is inauthentic. We’re not. We’re just not.”
When a person transitions everyone around them also transition, some can cross that bridge but others cannot.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Being A Woman ≠ Women’s Rights

Yes Linda you are a woman but that does not automatically mean that you are for women’s rights.

She said that she would vote reluctantly for the Blunt Amendment which would allow employers to not cover contraceptives, saying it is a matter religious belief. However, businesses must obey the law they cannot discrimination, they cannot pick and choose what laws they will follow. Strike one.

She said that she is pro-choice but at the same time she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, sorry Linda, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t hide behind states’ rights, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is a Constitutional issue and not subject to state laws. Strike two.

She said that she would not require religious affiliated hospitals to give the morning after pill to rape victims. Again the courts ruled that separation of church and state does not apply, both state and federal courts including the Supreme Court have ruled that religious institutions are not exempt from the law. They cannot hide behind separation of church and state because one a religious affiliated hospital accept government funding, they must obey all laws including the non-discrimination laws. Strike three

Lastly, will she cut funding to WIC, Head Start, TANF or SNAP programs that help women and children?

We do not know because she will not release the details of where she will cut the budget. In addition, she has the backing of a state anti-abortion group. So I do not know how she can say that she is in favor of women’s rights.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Six #445

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #445

1. G is for GAME: Which game were you best at playing when you were a child?
Wow, you are asking me to remember back some 55 years… I would say Hide & Seek

2. G is for GHOST: Do you believe that ghosts exist, whether you’ve seen one or not?

3. G is for GLOBE: What country anywhere around the globe would you most like to visit?
Msalakka said Iceland and I have to go along with that, there are some great photo opportunities. My other choice would be a Scandinavian country, I would like to see the Northern Lights.

4. G is for GRILL: What’s your favorite food to have grilled outdoors?
Pork tender loin, second place goes to shish-kabob.

5. G is for GRITS: Have you ever eaten grits, and if so, do you like them?
Yes, it was like Cream of Wheat, only why would someone want gravy first thing in the morning. A couple of years ago I went down to Asheville and the motel where I was staying had biscuits, sausages gray, grits and fried eggs. Woo Eeee, talk about cholesterol!

6. G is for GUM: Which brand is your favorite chewing or bubble gum?
I don’t chew gum.

Saturday 9: The End of the Innocence

1) "The End of the Innocence" is one of Crazy Sam's favorite songs. Do you like it? Loathe it? Or is it before your time?
Yes, I like it and I’m a big fan of Don Henley from way back when he was in the Eagles.

2) Obviously Don Henley was a smoker back in the 1980s. Do you smoke? Are you a former smoker? Or did you never start?
Nope… well not the legal stuff.

3) Childhood is generally considered an innocent time. In what town did you spend yours?
The town that I am currently living, I lived here since I was 7.

4) Do you abide by "innocent until proven guilty?" Or did you come to your own, pre-trial conclusions about famous defendants like Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson?
Yes and I didn’t follow Casey Anthony or OJ Simpson trials.

5) Is there an old TV show whose cast you'd like to see reunite?
“All in the Family”

6) Do you know how to ride a horse?
Nope, even though we have a horse ranch not far from where I live and they leave their little deposits in the street in front of my house.

7) You're ordering ice cream. Cup or cone?
Cone. Lately, I been having these little ice cream cones that I found in the grocery store that has only 19 carbs.

8) Do you believe a gentleman should help a lady with her coat?

9) Which search engine do you use most often?
Google, I don’t like Bing because it is Microsoft.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins 
1. I hope I can get _there from here__.
2. What to do when _every day blends together_.
3. Boy I sure did enjoy _the conference yesterday_.
4. Remind me to call _my brother this Sunday_.
5. What does the _recipe call for_?
6. It makes me _sad to see what happened_.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _watching a movie on Netflixs_, tomorrow my plans include _finding a replacement for the coffee shop that burned down, I miss going there and chilling out_ and Sunday, I want to _find something to do_!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Story Part 139 – Pride!

When you look at the coming out process you see that you go thorough stages similar to what gays go through. Arlene Lev in her book Transgender Emergence list nine stages and other list up to 14 stages.
  1. A feeling of difference
  2. Learning that one is not alone
  3. Self-identifying – I am trans
  4. Self-acceptance – I am OK
  5. Reaching Out – contacting a therapist or support group or other trans-people (internet or in person)
  6. Coming Out of the Closet – telling others
  7. Learning about alternatives
  8. Integration
  9. Pride
For me that feeling of difference happened at a very early age, I was probably 6 or 7 and it was a feeling that I can’t put into words. I just felt that I should have been a girl. The first time that I learned that I wasn’t alone was when I was washing the family car and Lola was played on the radio, “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls. It's a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola”…OMG! Oh sure there was Rene Richards, and Christine Jorgensen but I didn’t identify with them, they were just people in the news, but for some reason, Lola struck a chord with me. Maybe it put it in plain language, boys will be girls.

The stages are not linear, you don’t move from one stage to the next, but hop around and some stage you don’t even go through. I know that I reached out and came out of the closet pretty quickly, it happened when I thought I was having a heart attack. I realized that life was too short and I attended a support group meeting shortly after that. At the support group meetings I developed self-identification, I recognized that I am a trans-woman. I told my brother maybe a year later when I realized that it went a lot deeper than the clothes.

Integration came from living as Diana fulltime except for 40 hours at work, I developed an identity and with that identity as a trans-woman came self-acceptance. Pride developed with my work for equality… I May Be Transgender. But I Am Somebody, paraphrasing Jesse Jackson.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Medically Necessary Treatment" Part 2

I came across this article that had a good argument for providing medically necessary treatment to inmates…
Transgender Exceptionalism Should Not Cloud Legal Analysis
by Jennifer Levo
October 16, 2012

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently announced that it will appeal a decision in which Judge Mark Wolf of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts ordered the Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide gender reassignment surgery (GRS) for a transgender woman currently serving a life sentence.
Media coverage and popular criticism has centered around three central themes. The first theme has been that GRS is inessential medical care. The second theme is that, as a convicted murderer, Michelle Kosilek should not receive medical care that those outside prison walls may not be able to afford. The third theme has been articulated less clearly, but is no less evident, and it is that no matter what anyone thinks about medical care or prison justice, there is no way to rationally understand how a transgender person in prison can be entitled to this care. I call this third theme "transgender exceptionalism."
One troubling feature of the criticism leveled at the Kosilek ruling is that nearly no one challenging it has read it. If they had, they would understand that, as to the first two themes about the medical nature of the treatment and the question of whether an incarcerated inmate must be provided such treatment, there is nothing new jurisprudentially in Wolf's opinion. Much of his decision reiterates what he found as legal and factual matters in a preliminary decision issued in the case over a decade ago — matters well-grounded in incontrovertible legal analysis.

In his decision, Wolf held what every court to have addressed the issue has held: GID is a serious and legitimate medical condition recognized by medical professional organizations and identified in all major medical texts. Wolf also found that there is an established course of treatment (known as the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care, named for the endocrinologist who pioneered them) that includes hormones and GRS in appropriate circumstances and that the denial of treatment for a patient with severe GID leads to serious self-harm, mutilation and likely suicide. As the record in the case shows, Kosilek did mutilate her own genitals and twice attempted suicide.
I wish that the case didn’t involve Kosilek who is a convicted killer, I don’t like to give her the surgery paid for by us, but where do we draw the line. Is it okay to give a murder treatment for diabetes but not cancer? Or is it all right to give treatment for bank robbers but not rapist?

We cannot limit what treatment that will be provided or to whom that treatment will be provided to. Any line that we draw will be arbitrary, we must provide the same treatment to all inmates equally and we must provide the best treatment that can be provided to all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Who Is In Favor Of Bullying?

Well it turns out one organization is because anti-bullying laws “promotes the homosexual agenda”…
Christian Group Finds Gay Agenda in an Anti-Bullying Day
NY Times
Published: October 14, 2012

On Mix It Up at Lunch Day, schoolchildren around the country are encouraged to hang out with someone they normally might not speak to.

The program, started 11 years ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center and now in more than 2,500 schools, was intended as a way to break up cliques and prevent bullying.

But this year, the American Family Association, a conservative evangelical group, has called the project “a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools” and is urging parents to keep their children home from school on Oct. 30, the day most of the schools plan to participate this year.
It is sad that anyone sees trying to stop bullying as an agenda to promote homosexuality because that means that they see bullying as a way to prevent homosexuality. The article goes on to say that…
Although the suggested activities for Mix It Up at Lunch Day do not expressly address gay and lesbian students, the law center itself promotes equal treatment for gays and lesbians and that philosophy then informs the school program, he said.

“Anti-bullying legislation is exactly the same,” Mr. Fischer [director of issue analysis for the AFA] said. “It’s just another thinly veiled attempt to promote the homosexual agenda. No one is in favor of anyone getting bullied for any reason, but these anti-bullying policies become a mechanism for punishing Christian students who believe that homosexual behavior is not something that should be normalized.”
But stating your religious beliefs is not bullying. You can say that you feel the being LGBT is a sin and that they are going to hell, but repeating it over and over to a person is bullying. Somehow, they have twist religious freedom to mean freedom to harass an other person religious beliefs.

In addition, bullying not just limited to LGBT students, bullies attack students who are different, special needs students, overweight students, students who are too tall or too short, shy students and the list goes on and on. Bullying also affects the bystander, other students feel guilty for not helping the victim and they also become intimidated by the bully when they see that no one will help them if they are bullied.

Monday, October 15, 2012

This And That In The News – Going To The Birds

"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.

Okay, my first story is about birds or more to the point about transgender birds…
Transgendered bellbird found in New Zealand
By Duncan Geere
14 October 12

Biologists at the Zealandia eco-sanctuary in New Zealand have spotted a bellbird that exhibits features and behaviour of both male and female members of the species.

The bird hatched in early 2011, and DNA testing then showed it as female, but since then its development has been rather different to normal female korimakos.

Normally, female bellbirds have a white feather pattern but the chick bean to show signs of the dark plumage normally seen on male birds. It also began to behave in a masculine way, not flitting between flowers like a female bellbird but instead moving with purpose, ready to defend its territory.

The bird's calls are unusual too. It makes both male calls and the distinctive "chup chup" normally heard from females, but the latter are louder and more frequent that is normal.
The article goes on to say that this is now the first trans-bird that was found and that there are also gay birds. I guess this article kind of disproves that being gay or trans in not natural.

The next story still comes to us from south of the equator from South Africa and show that there is justice for us,
Transsexual triumphs over abusive neighbour
iOL News
October 13, 2012

Roodepoort - A Roodepoort Equality Court ruling, condemning a local woman's harassment of her transsexual neighbour, has been hailed as a victory for the victims of hate speech.

“People have been allowed to say what they wanted to vulnerable groups of our society for far too long without suffering the consequences,” lawyer Michal Johnson of Eversheds in Johannesburg said on Friday.

“The ruling sent out a clear message that the act afforded protection to victims of hate speech and that the courts would enforce their constitutional rights.”
The magistrate ruled that Van Staden's conduct amounted to hate speech and unfair discrimination in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2000.

He ordered Van Staden to pay her former neighbour R27 300 for his relocation expenses, psychological counselling and the humiliation, pain and suffering she had caused him.
The neighbor would call friends over to watch the trans-woman and she ever went so far as to talk about kidnapping her. Note also the news article continued the harassment by referring to her with male pronouns.

The next news story is from Idaho where a town is trying to a non-discrimination ordinance that includes gender identity and expression…
Pocatello Moves To Become Idaho's Second City With Gay Rights Law
by Jessica Robinson
September 11, 2012

Pocatello, Idaho is on track to become the state’s second city to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. The city council there is drafting an ordinance to protect gays and lesbians in matters of housing and employment.
Pocatello is located in southeast Idaho, which is typically conservative and heavily Mormon. But little opposition to the ordinance has emerged.
So what is the first city to ban discrimination against LGBT people?
City OKs anti-discrimination ordinance
Bonner County Daily News
December 23, 2011

Idaho legislation already protects citizens from discrimination against age, disability, race, color, national origin, religion and sex. The ordinance enhances state law by adding sexual orientation and gender expression to those protected classes. A human relations review board of at least three mayor-appointed individuals will review discrimination complaints regarding employment, housing or public accommodation and discard frivolous matters.
The next couple of articles are about students, the first article is about the Toronto school system adopting a gender inclusive policy…
Toronto school board introduces policy for transgender students, staff
The Star
Karissa Donkin Staff Reporter
October 04, 2012

The Toronto District School Board has introduced a new set of guidelines that spell out what kind of accommodation the board must offer to “transgender and gender non-conforming students and staff.”
The guidelines were created as a result of a student’s recent human rights complaint, Toronto District School Board spokesman Ryan Bird said.
As usual the guidelines were created after the fact instead of having them before there were problems.

The next story is about a school refusing to use the proper name of the student…
School won't call transgendered student by male name
Decision based upon Catholic beliefs
Jay Hermacinski
Friday, 12 Oct 2012

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - School administrators at Cathedral High School say they won't recognize a transgender student. Their decision is based upon Catholic beliefs.

Officials at Cathedral High School say last spring a female student and her parents met with administrators. The student had decided to change genders and wanted to be referred to as a male.
But, after consulting with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the school made it clear its teachers and staff would not address the student by a male name.

“We wanted to make sure they would realize we still recognize her as a female, call her by the name she used when she enrolled as a freshman, and treat her throughout the day as a female student,” said Worland.
Okay, my view of this is based on if the school is open to all students or if they receive public funding. If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then I believe to have a legal obligation to recognize the student’s gender. If the answers is no, then it is a private school and not subject to the law. Once a business (and schools run by a church is a business) opens their doors to the public than they have to obey all laws including the anti-discrimination laws or if they are receiving government funding they also must obey all laws.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Finally Some Sanity…

One of the complications that trans-people face is changing their birth certificate. In some states all they do is issue a new certificate and the old certificate is still file, in some states they draw a line through the name and gender and write in the new name and gender. While in a couple they do not allow the certificate to be changed. However, in all states you can only change your birth certificate after you have surgery which is in many cases impossible for many trans-people they might have a medical reason that makes surgery impossible or they may not be able to afford the $30,000  to over a $100,000 for the surgery.

However, now Canada has giving a glimmer of hope to our brothers and sisters there,
Ontario allows transgender people to change birth certificate without surgery
The Globe and Mail
The Canadian Press
Oct. 12, 2012

People who live as the opposite sex in Ontario can now change their gender on their birth certificates without first undergoing sex-change surgery.

New rules that have recently come into effect allow transgender people born in the province to apply to have the document amended by submitting a letter from a practicing physician or a psychologist.
Ontario is the first province in Canada to scrap the requirement.

It stems from a ruling by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario this April in the case of a born-male woman known as XY.

The tribunal found the legislation requiring proof of “transsexual surgery” to alter birth documents to be discriminatory.

In its ruling, the tribunal said the requirement added to the stigma felt by members of the transgender community and reinforced stereotypes surrounding how they experience gender.
Some people argue that a birth certificate is legal record and should not be changed, but many legal documents are changed including your name on the birth certificate. In all 50 states you can change your name on it. Some argue that it should indicate what you have between your legs, my answer to that is why? Has anyone ever check to see what you have between your legs or for that matter has anyone ever asked to see your birth certificate? Probably the only time any has requested your birth certificate was when you applied for a job and even then they never checked what you have between your legs, they just wanted to check if you are a U.S. citizen. Wouldn’t it be better for the gender on your birth certificate reflect the way you live?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Six #444

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #444

1. F is for FACE: Which part of your face would you most like to change if you had the money to do so?
My age spots

2. F is for FAST: What’s the fastest speed you’ve ever traveled in a car?
Around a 110, but that was back in my teenage years.

3. F is for FEAR: What single thing are you most afraid of?
What scared me last week was height, I was on the French King Bridge take pictures and I was really nervous standing on the bridge.

4. F is for FORK: In a Chinese or Japanese restaurant, do you prefer chopsticks or a real fork?
If I was on a diet I would use chopsticks because I wouldn’t be able to eat anything with them.

5. F is for FOWL: What is your favorite piece of chicken?

6. F is for FRUIT: If you could only have one kind of fruit for the rest of your life, which fruit would you choose?

Saturday 9: Ain't No Other Man

Crazy Sam’s  Saturday 9: Ain't No Other Man

1) Do you believe there's only one person (and there ain't no other) for you? Or do you think we can truly love several partners over the course of our lives?
I think that we can love several people over the course of our life; hopefully, one at a time.

2) Do you have this, or any other, Christina song on your iPod/mp3 player?
Nope, I never heard of her.

3) Christina Aguilera won a Grammy for her performance of this song. What do you deserve an award for? And who would you thank in your acceptance speech?
For making it this far in life and I want to thank my doctors

4) Christina Aguilera has her own brand of perfume. Do you have a fragrance or scent you regularly wear?
Naw, I don’t wear perfume because too many people are allergic to perfume.

5) Do you have any allergies?
Nope... well maybe to broccoli

6) There's an older lady who proclaims during a TV commercial, "I will give up beer, bread, wine or soda but I won't give up Life Alert!" No, we're not going to debate her diet. Instead the question is: What are some of the staples that are always on your grocery list?
Chicken, pork, salad fixings and pasta

7) What's your favorite sitcom of all time?
All in the Family and the runner up is M.A.S.H.

8) When it comes to your socks, do you prefer solids, stripes or prints?
White or I wear stockings

9) At what age do you consider a person "middle aged?"  And when do they transition to "old?"
Middle age is from your 30s until you have to go to a nursing home and old age is when you are in a nursing home.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins
1. If _pigs could fly, the world would be a mess place_.
2. When _will we ever hear the end of all the petty bickering_.
3. Why _does it have to be so polarized_.
4. Soon _Thanksgiving will be here_.
5. Wow! _It snowed a foot of snow on top of Mt. Washington last night_.
6. You said _you wouldn’t do that anymore_.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _watching a movie on Netflex_, tomorrow my plans include _doing nothing (I have to find another coffee house to go to, since the one I always went to burned down)_ and Sunday, I want to _visit a friend in the hospital_!

Let Us Not Forget

Every time we go out the door we face uncertainly, but for LGBT people we face an addition risk just because who we are. Today is the 14th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard.
Speak Out: Remembering Matthew Shepard
OUT Front Colorado
By Judy Shepard

October is very hard for me.

It’s not that the early autumn in Wyoming isn’t beautiful. If you haven’t experienced the crisp air as the nights come earlier each day, or the last few cricket chirps of the season that follow the brilliant orange sunsets, you can’t really know the peaceful, quiet contemplation this time of year brings those of us who make our homes here.

But it’s those cues, these turns of the calendar pages, that remind me of the tragedy that autumn brought us 14 years ago, and start us reflecting on what our family and our society have learned from it.

But here he was in intensive care, the victim of a terrible, senseless attack at the hands of two other young men who had learned it was OK to hate others for being different, to victimize them, to disregard their humanity.
In the painful months that followed Matt’s death, we came to understand a lot of things we never knew before: about hate crimes. We learned about the LGBT community and its long struggle for acceptance and equality. Yet most of all, we learned about the fear so many otherwise good people had in their hearts about their gay neighbors, coworkers and family members.
Let us remember Matt and all the others who have been murder just because they had the courage to be themselves. We can speak-up, but we also need our allies to speak-up and out about the hatred. We need religious leaders to speak-up against other who are using religion to hide their hate and bigotry.

We must not only speak-up over the hatred for the LGBT community but for all hatred. We must speak-out against the arson fire at a mosque in Toledo earlier this month. A society is known for how it protects those who views do not conform to those of the majority.

Stop the hate!

Call For Workshop Proposals

As many of you know the non-profit that I am on the Board of Directors holds a conference each spring and we are now asking for workshop proposals...
Our Seventh Annual Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law Conference will be held on April 27, 2013 at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, Ct.  In preparation for this conference we are announcing our CALL FOR WORKSHOP PROPOSALS for the conference.  You can submit your workshop electronically this year by clicking the link below titled: Submit Your Proposal.  This will be an online form that explains all relevant details for submission and importantly will allow you to fill out your proposal online.  We encourage you to submit your proposal as soon as possible, for our firm deadline for all submissions is November 21, 2013.

Click here to fill out workshop proposal form

 We also encourage you to forward this Request for Workshop proposals to any colleagues, friends, family or distribution lists you feel would be interested in doing a workshop at the 2013 Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law Conference.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Story Part 138 – Chinese Water Torture

You probably all heard of the Chinese water torture where a drop of water just keeps dripping on your forehead. It is not the drop that drives you insane but the endless drops of water and names are like that. It is not the wrong pronoun or calling you a name that gets to you but the use of the wrong pronoun over and over. There is a name for that, it is called microagression. It doesn’t have to be one person who does it but the sum of all of the wrong pronouns.

So we tell ourselves that it doesn’t bother us, but when we face it day in and day out it chips away at us and it becomes like a wound that never heals. So how do we counter that wearing away on our soul?

Back when I was in school for my Masters in Social Work, I did an Independent Study class and I developed a curriculum for a class working with transgender clients. As I was working on the project, my faculty advisor asked me to looking at having a class to teach coping skills and he gave me text book on coping skills. As I was reading it to see what I could use in my lecture I realized that on my own I had developed many of the coping skills that were mentioned in the book.

One of the problems that I had when I was transitioning was standing in-line at a checkout counter. To overcome my anxiety of the trapped feeling that I had standing there, I distracted myself by reading the magazine covers or the newspaper headline on the racks. That was one of the coping skills that the book mentioned.

So what are some of the grounding techniques (No not electrical grounding, but your inner self, to be present in the moment.) that you can use…

Well the first one is like I said distraction, do something to take your mind off of what is causing your anxiety. You can distract yourself like I was doing by reading, count the number of different types of candy & bubble gum in the racks. Count the number of people who are wearing blue or like the one time I was sent to the principal office in high school, count the number of holes in a ceiling tile. One of the recommended techniques is to wear a rubber band on you wrist and snap it to distract yourself.

You can use imagery or visualizing. That guy that is calling you a pervert, imagine him in a dress or that there is a big bird that is shitting on his head. Or imagine yourself in a safe welcoming place, in a field of flowers, sitting out on a beach or other peaceful locations for you. Mine is a waterfall that I have been to, I just imagine myself sitting and looking at the water and listening to the water as it splashes off the rock.

Breathing… square breathing, breathing from the chest, a sigh and other breathing techniques.

There is also something called Progressive Muscle Relaxation where you try to relax one muscle at a time in your body.

For me I use to get the fight or flight syndrome and most of the time for me was flight, I just wanted to run out of there as fast as I could. But over time I have learned that the vast majority of people just don’t care about you and the one or two that do are idiots.

Are there places that I avoid, yes. One place is the hardware store up near where our family cottage is in New Hampshire, the teenagers that work there are a bunch of jerks and I much rather drive 40 miles to the big box store then face those idiots again. No amount of coping skills would get me to go back there again.

There are a number of good websites that have grounding techniques; here are some of them…
And here is a video that I like…

National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day and I am republishing a blog from 2009

Next week is the “National Coming Out Week,” you might expect that I am in favor of it, but I am not. Coming out involves great risks and you should assess the risk before you come out. Know if you have a support network just in case things go bad. Do your parents support LGBT issues or are they opposed to them. Assess the risk if you are coming out in school; know how much support the school administration will give you. These are some of the factors that you should consider before coming out.

In the New York Times article on school bullying entitled, Bullied for Being ‘Gay’ Dr. Jeffrey Fishberger of The Trevor Project writes,
Bullying and being teased for being what others perceive as “different” happens to many children. Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered young people — or those perceived to be L.G.B.T. — have a much higher incidence of harassment at school. In fact, it’s estimated that more than a quarter of L.G.B.T. young people drop out of school because of this very harassment.
It is important that you have a safe environment before coming out. The article goes on to state…
Fortunately, there are organizations that can work with your son’s school to help all the children understand the impact of their language and behavior.

Glsen (the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), for example, works to ensure safe schools for all students through a variety of programs. The Day of Silence, for example, continues to grow each year, and hundreds of thousands of students now come together each year to participate. Another program, the No Name-Calling Week, provides schools with tools and inspiration to foster a dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying and name-calling in their communities.

Another resource that can be of help is The Trevor Project’s workshop program. …to open up discussions with all students about how language and behavior can affect the way an individual feels about him- or herself. A supportive teacher, school counselor or school administrator can assist in implementing these programs in your son’s school.
Here in Connecticut True Colors is a valuable resource for children coming out in school.

Remember, that once you come out, there is no going back. You can't say I was only kidding.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Double Whammy

We often read about the high unemployment rate among trans-people. But it is even higher if you are a minority and trans, you get hit with twice the bigotry. This is born out in an article in the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News article,
Report: Startling levels of discrimination against American Indian and Alaskan Native transgender people
October 8th, 2012

WASHINGTON -- American Indian and Alaskan Native transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people, according to a new analysis released today.

Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at American Indian and Alaskan Native Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey was released on Columbus Day, an intentional effort to highlight the specific circumstances that American Indian and Alaskan Native people experience due to a history of colonialism and genocide that continues today with a federal holiday celebrating the "discovery" of America.
The report found said…
• Discrimination was pervasive for all respondents who took the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, yet the combination of anti-transgender bias and persistent, structural and interpersonal acts of racism was especially devastating for American Indian and Alaska Native transgender people and other people of color.
• American Indian and Alaskan Native transgender and gender non-conforming people often live in extreme poverty with 23% reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year. This compares to a rate of 15% for transgender people of all races. It is about three times the general American Indian and Alaskan Native population rate (8%), and nearly six times the general U.S. population rate (4%).
• American Indian and Alaskan Native transgender and gender non-conforming people were affected by HIV in devastating numbers - 3.24% reported being HIV positive and an additional 8.53% reported that they did not know their status. This compares to rates of 2.64% for transgender respondents of all races, and 0.60% of the general U.S. population.
• Fifty-six percent (56%) of American Indian and Alaskan Native transgender respondents reported having attempted suicide compared to 41% of all study respondents.
The attempted suicide rate for trans-people is high enough, but the rate for American Indian and Alaskan Native boggles the mind. Especially when you realize that the attempted suicide rate for all Americans is around 1.5%.

Also in the report,
• American Indian and Alaskan Native respondents who attended school expressing a transgender identity or gender non-conformity reported alarming rates of harassment (86%), physical assault (51%), and sexual assault (21%) in K-12; harassment was so severe that it led 19% to leave school. Eleven percent (11%) were also expelled due to bias.
• Respondents who were harassed and abused by teachers in K-12 settings show dramatically worse health and other outcomes compared to those who do not experience such abuse. Peer harassment and abuse also had highly damaging effects.
In another report Injustice At Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey that used the base survey, they found…
• Discrimination was pervasive for all respondents who took the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, yet the combination of anti-transgender bias and persistent, structural and individual racism was especially devastating for Black transgender people and other people of color.
• Black transgender people live in extreme poverty with 34% reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year. This is more than twice the rate for transgender people of all races (15%), four times the general Black population rate (9%), and over eight times the general US population rate (4%).
• Black transgender people are affected by HIV in devastating numbers. Over one-fifth of Black respondents were HIV-positive (20.23%) and an additional 10% reported that they did not know their status. This compares to rates of 2.64% for transgender respondents of all races, 2.4% for the general Black population, and 0.60% of the general US population.• Nearly half (49%) of Black respondents reported having attempted suicide.
• Black transgender people who were out to their families found acceptance at a higher rate than the overall sample of transgender respondents. 
The blacks are not quite as bad as the Alaskan Native Americans but are still bad off. It could be because the Native Americans are already living in poverty and living on tribal land, and that being trans just makes it that must worst.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I’m Surprised!

When I was looking at the news feeds over on the right side of my blog, this headline and the news source caught my attention… “Number of gay, lesbian, transgendered characters on TV at highest level ever” by the Catholic Online. I thought, OK what hatchet job will they give us? But surprise, no not really.
Number of gay, lesbian, transgendered characters on TV at highest level ever
Catholic Online
October 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It is vital for networks to weave complex and diverse story lines of LGBT people in the different programs they air," Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD President Herndon Graddick says.
Of course, many people view this apparently intentional increase in characters who espouse openly homosexual lifestyles, along with the promotion of "alternative" sexual lifestyles now touted as morally acceptable by some in the media culture, as another sign of a growing propaganda effort aimed at nothing less than cultural and social revolution.

However, all Americans can agree on the need to represent the legitimate diversity of the American family as reflected in our National racial and ethnic tapestry. Racial minorities within the U.S. have also becoming more regular on mainstream TV. Compared with last year, African-American representation has grown from 9.9 percent to 12 percent, while Hispanic representation has decreased from 5.6 percent to 4.1 percent.
First off folks, it is not a lifestyle. Lifestyle is wearing tennis shorts, Izod shirts, tennis shoes and driving around in a convertible. Next, being LGBT is part of the legitimate diversity of the American family.

But then what did you expect from the Catholic Church which fought tooth and nail to prevent us from getting equality. Our biggest opposition here in Connecticut to passing the gender inclusive anti-discrimination law was the Catholic Church, while at the same time one of our biggest supporters was the Episcopal Church. One is open and affirming and the other is divisive and vindictive.

Monday, October 08, 2012

"Medically Necessary Treatment"

Where do we draw a line in giving medical treatment to inmates? If they are diabetic, do we give them insulin? If they have cancer, do we give them chemotherapy? If they are diagnosed by doctors  and there is a medically necessary treatment, do we withhold treatment?
Barney Frank Backing Appeal of Ruling Requiring Sex-Reassignment Surgery for Transgender Inmate
Posted by Justin Snow
October 1, 2012

Out gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said today that he agrees with a decision by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) last week to appeal a federal court's September ruling that the state must pay for sex-reassignment surgery for a transgender prison inmate.

The U.S. District Court ruled that Michelle Kosilek, who is serving a life sentence without parole in a prison for males after strangling her wife to death in 1990, is entitled to the surgery under the Eighth Amendment protecting her from cruel and unusual punishment.
Many people have said that their insurance doesn’t cover gender confirming surgery and that she shouldn’t get surgery. I also wish that I could get my surgery paid for by my insurance, but it doesn’t. I also realize that my former employee isn’t covered by the Eighth Amendment and we shouldn’t draw the line that this treatment is OK and that treatment is not. That we should go by what the medical professionals say is medically necessary.

I wish that this case didn’t center around a convicted murderer, but treatment shouldn’t be based on what crime did a person commit.

Instead of complaining about this case, we all should work to get gender confirming surgery covered by all insurance. 

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Let’s Stop The Hate

We must speak out against hate and violence no matter where it is directed. Whether it is against trans-people, against lesbians and gays or whether it is against other religions. Late last month there was an arson fire at a mosque in Toledo,
Arson In Toledo Mosque
Huffington Post
Religion News Service
By David Yonke
Posted: 10/03/2012

TOLEDO, Ohio (RNS) Muslim worshippers are reeling from an arson fire at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, but are grateful for an outpouring of support from the local interfaith community.

"All the support we get is very welcome because if you are going through a tragedy and you have a friend who is holding your hand it means a lot," said S. Zaheer Hasan, a spokesman for the United Muslim Association of Toledo.

Perrysburg Township police ruled that the Sunday evening (Sept. 30) fire was arson. Surveillance footage from the mosque shows a "person of interest" -- a white middle-aged male wearing a camouflage sweatshirt and hat -- at the mosque's entrance shortly before the fire, which was reported about 5 p.m.

Mahjabeen Islam, president of the Islamic Center, said the suspect poured gasoline in the center of the main floor where men worship at the mosque. Women pray on the same main floor, but in an area separated by a low divider.
In a later news stories it was reported that the police arrested a suspect on Tuesday, the Journal Gazette reported that,
A DeKalb County man accused of intentionally setting fire to the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo was arrested Tuesday in Fort Wayne… About 3:30 p.m., Indiana troopers, federal agents and local law enforcement officers found Linn and took him into custody in a parking lot in the 7600 block of Opportunity Drive.
This is not the first mosque arson fire, there was a fire in mosques in Joplin in Missouri on July 4th. Since 2008 the number of attacks on mosques have increased with a number of arson cases right after President Obama took office. According the Southern Poverty Law Center the number of hate groups have increased by almost 70% in the last few years,
Since 2000, the number of hate groups has increased by 69 percent. This surge has been fueled by anger and fear over the nation’s ailing economy, an influx of non-white immigrants, and the diminishing white majority, as symbolized by the election of the nation’s first African-American president.

These factors also are feeding a powerful resurgence of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, which in the 1990s led to a string of domestic terrorist plots, including the Oklahoma City bombing. The number of Patriot groups, including armed militias, grew by 755 percent in the first three years of the Obama administration – from 149 at the end of 2008 to 1,274 in 2011.
Let’s stop the hate!