Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Story Part 154 – Your Slip Is Showing

Before I transitioned I lived in two worlds and some of the time those worlds came close to crashing together and that made my life interesting.

One of the most memorable was when I almost introduced myself to the Vice President of Engineering where I worked as Diana. To set the stage…

It was back in 2006 when I was Diana all but for 40 hours a week. Except for work I was living my life as Diana. So if it was a social setting I was Diana, in other words if I was at a restaurant or a bar, I was Diana. So…

One day I was summoned along with the project engineer to go to our corporate headquarters in Pittsburg (I was the supervisor of testing of testing). We were to go to a vendor meeting the next day, but that night we were to meet the VP and his wife for dinner. On the way to the restaurant we got a call from him saying that he was a meeting and it was running over and for us to wait for him in the bar. So we waited for almost an hour and I had a couple of rum and cokes. When they showed up I was nice and mellow, when I went to shake his wife’s hand I started to say “Hi, I’m Diana.” When I realized what I was about to say and I coughed. What came out was “Hi I’m Di… cough”

The second most memorable collision was on the same business trip. When we had to go down to corporate we always tried to get a seat on the corporate jet first instead of a commercial flight. The seating on the jet was based on RHIP (Rank Has It Privilege), the big wigs got the first pick of seats and the peons got what was left. But that day there were two seats left so we got to fly (You haven’t lived until you fly on a corporate jet that is the way to travel! You can read about it here.). On the way back it was snowing at Bradley, when one of the VP made a comment about 5 inches of snow there I said something like “shit.” One of the VPs asked what was wrong and I could say that I was going out to the Polo Club to watch a drag show so I made up a little white lie.

Also at work one time I was making copies and I heard Diana can you make these copies for me (This was the first day back from a week at Fantasia Fair where I was Diana for the entire time). I was just starting to reply when I heard someone say yes. I looked behind me and Diane the executive assistant to the general manager was there waiting to use the copier.

Which brings me to the time at Fantasia Fair when I was having dinner with some friends at Nappi’s and as we were eating I heard from the table nearby, “It looks like the winds will be favorable for flying.” I looked around and there was a table of friends that I knew from town that I used to hang glide with. And in order to leave the restaurant we had to walk right past them. Yikes! It turned out that the same week of Fantasia Fair there is also a hang glider meet in North Truro. Later when I came out to them I mentioned also most bumping into them at Nappi’s and they hadn’t even noticed us. As usual my fears were for nothing.

And you wonder why I was getting panic attacks before I transitioned; living a double life is very stressful.

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Rest Of The Story

Many of you by now have probably heard about or saw Katie Couric’s show yesterday and transgender children. In case you missed it here is a link to the video.

The other segments that were on the show yesterday you can find here.

It was mentioned in the interview about the complaint that was filed on her behalf by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), this is from their press release.
TLDEF today announced that it has filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who has been barred from using the girls' bathrooms at her elementary school. For the past year, Coy Mathis, a first-grader at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, CO, has used the girls' bathrooms. In mid-December 2012, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 informed her parents that Coy would be prevented from using the girls' bathrooms after winter break. The District ordered Coy to use the boys' bathroom, a staff bathroom, or the nurse's bathroom.
"By forcing Coy to use a different bathroom than all the other girls, Coy's school is targeting her for stigma, bullying and harassment," said Michael Silverman, TLDEF's executive director, and one of Coy's lawyers. "Through the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, Coloradans have made it clear that they want all Colorado children to have a fair and equal chance in school," he added. "Coy's school has the opportunity to turn this around and teach Coy's classmates a valuable lesson about friendship, respect and basic fairness."
Many of the news articles mention the court case up Maine where a similar case was tried and the judge found in favor of the school system. The Denver Post wrote,
In November, a Maine state court ruled that a school district did not violate a transgender student's rights under the Maine Human Rights Act when it prohibited her from using the girls' restroom.
But what the articles don’t say is that Maine’s Commission on Human Rights ruled in favor of the parents and also that the judge in his ruling said that the “law casts a broad stroke where one more delicate and refined is needed.” And he refused to follow the intention of the legislature and he interpreted the law narrowly.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You Can Be Anything You Want To Be

I saw this on Helen Boyd's blog en|Gender and I thought it was worth sharing.

I met Ms. Robinson when I was an intern at the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) in 2009 when she came here to testify in favor of the CT gender inclusive Anti-Discrimination bill on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). As the intern I was charged with helping her while she was in CT and making sure she got to the hearing on time.

Her lecture at a TED conference is excellent…
You Can Be Anything You Want To Be: Allyson Robinson at TEDxTeachersCollege

Monday, February 25, 2013

Will This Year Be New York’s Year?

The northeast is slowly becoming a solid block of states that protect gender identity and expression, so far the only northeast states that do not have protection for us are Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and New York. In New York they have been trying to pass protection for ever since we got dumped off of the anti-discrimination bill in 2003 and the closest that they came to passing a law for us was in 2011. But we got pushed aside so that the legislature could pass a marriage equality bill.

Well this year there is progress being made to pass the gender identity and expression anti-discrimination bill. The bill has always passed in the Assembly but stalled in the Senate which the conservatives control. In the Wall Street Journal there was an AP article about the bill. In it they wrote…
"Naturally, we're opposed to it," said state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long. "They should be protected, as we all are. We are for equal rights for all human beings. There is no need to create special classifications for individuals."
That is one of the same old arguments about “special rights” but if you read the bills (A.4226/Gottfried) (S.195/Squadron) nowhere in it does it say anything about giving rights. All the bills say is that you will not discrimination it doesn't establish any quotas and it doesn't require any special treatment for gender non-conforming individuals. As a matter of fact the bills say nothing about anything trans and in other states and cities the law have been used to protect straight people who do not conform to the gender normal; women or men  who’s manors or look that are not “feminine”/”masculine” enough.

The Wall Street Journal article goes on to state,
"If we get a vote, the chances are very good," said Sen. Daniel Squadron, a Democrat representing parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan who is sponsoring the Senate bill. "People are shocked you can lose your job, or your home or be denied a place in a restaurant because of sexual identity. No one thinks that's what New York should look like."

The measure also has the critical support of the Independent Democratic Conference, five breakaway members who share majority control of the Senate with Republicans. Republicans haven't yet discussed the measure, but aren't dismissing it in this new era in which more Democratic-leaning bills get to the Senate floor even with GOP opposition.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who pushed gay marriage into law, didn't respond to requests for comment.
The question now is will the bill come to a vote in the Senate and will the governor help push the bill like he did the marriage bill.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


When I was laid-off I chose to take early retirement for two reasons. The first reason was my age, I knew that I could never get a comparable job because of my age and also because I was a supervisor. I knew my engineering skills were rusty and someone fresh out of college had an edge over me. The second reason was I knew that as a trans-woman my chances of a job were slim to none. In the support groups I had heard many tales of highly skilled trans-people not being able to get a job. One person had a post-PhD and couldn’t get a job. I also know that “passing” does have it privilege, that the better that you are not identified as trans the better your odds of getting a job.

I read the national surveys that said that unemployment in the trans-community was higher than four or five times the national average.

There was an article on CNN on Friday that was about unemployment in the community and it had no surprises.
Transgender job seekers face uphill battle
CNN Money
By Blake Ellis
February 22, 2013

Rebecca Juro, 50, has been unemployed for the last four years and she can't help but think it's because she's transgender.

She has applied for almost 100 jobs and has gone on close to 20 interviews, but there have been no offers. No one says they aren't hiring her because she's transgender. But some employers tell her the job has been filled even though she continues to see postings for it online. Others have "laughed in my face."
Jennifer Chavez, 55, has 40 years of experience in the auto industry but said she was terminated from her job as a mechanic just two months after telling her boss she planned to transition from male to female. Upon finding out about her transition, she said co-workers stopped talking to her and her boss even told her an applicant had turned down a job because of her. Soon, word about her transition spread.
In another story on CNN Money they report on six other trans-woman problems in getting a job…
I was working at a spa while I finished transitioning, and my boss insisted I couldn't present myself as female at work -- and even bought me men's polo shirts to wear as soon as I bought women's shirts.

It created such a hostile work environment that I left in mid-December and I've been looking for work since.

I've applied for 213 jobs. A coffee equipment company offered me a job a couple days ago and I just needed to meet with the technician to get trained. But after I discussed the name change with the employer on the phone, I got a call saying 'we changed our mind,' and they gave me some excuse. 
Unfortunately, I have heard many stories like Rebecca, Jennifer and Diana’s stories. As a result I know of a number of trans-people who live together because that is all they can afford or they live with relatives or they live in homeless shelters.

The first article goes on to say,
But a federal law protecting transgender workers remains crucial to getting to the root of the unemployment problem, advocacy groups say. And there's growing optimism it could happen, with state anti-discrimination laws that specifically protect transgender employees now covering 45% of the population -- up from 5% about 10 years ago.

Even so, it's often hard to prove a discrimination case.
That is so true. Businesses have learned how to dance around discrimination law suits. They will not say they are not hiring you because of your age, but you are “over qualified.” If you are a woman they know not to mention sex as the reason that you didn’t get the promotion. The same is true for trans-jobseekers, they will say the position has been filled like they did with Rebecca.

However, I still think the Connecticut’s anti-discrimination laws help. It keep the honest companies honest and it makes other companies think twice before they discriminate.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Six #463

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #463

1. Y is for YACHT: What’s the biggest boat, ship or vessel you’ve set foot on?
I think it was the ferry from New London to Orient Point.

2. Y is for YAM: What kind of potato do you prefer most: the traditional white potato or the sweet potato?
White potatoes, but now I have to cut way back on potatoes because they have too many carbohydrates. Did you know that different types of potatoes have different amounts of carbs and that the way you cook them change how fast the carbs are absorbed? The longer you cook them the faster the carbs are converted into sugar.

3. Y is for YAWN: You see someone yawn: how likely are you to yawn within a minute after that?
Most likely, even if a dog yawns I yawn. It is very contagious.

4. Y is for YELLOW: Look around you: what’s the first yellow thing you see?
A pillow.

5. Y is for YOGURT: Which flavor of yogurt is your favorite?
Activia, I like their light Blueberry yogurt and it only has 10 carbs.

6. Y is for YOLK: If you were to eat eggs for breakfast, how would you prefer them cooked?
In an omelet with peppers, onions, cheese and ham along with sides of sausage and hash browns (but only 1.5 oz. of hash browns)

Saturday 9: Call Me Maybe

1) Do you owe anyone a phone call?
Nope, I’m all caught up.

2) Do you still have a landline phone?
Yes, but I also use Google Voice which I love. With Google Voice one phone number rings both my cell phone and my home phone, and when I’m up at the cottage it will also ring that number.

3) When was the last time you looked up a number in the phone book?
I can’t remember… years ago.

4) Do you receive more calls or texts?
I make send no texts messages nor receive any texts messages.

5) Carly Rae made the Final 3 on Canadian Idol. Can you name another cultural import from Canada?
Gordon Lightfoot. I was just listen to him on Pandora

6) Sam grew sick of this song by hearing it too often on the radio. Where do you listen to the radio most often? Car? Work? Somewhere else?
At home I listen to podcasts or iHeart or Pandora and in my car I listen Sirus XM

7) Mother Winters can work wonders with an iron and a can of spray starch. Every blouse and shirt she presses looks good as new. Is there a domestic chore you excel at?
Cooking, I love to eat.

8) Do you consider yourself competitive?
Nope. Not a bone of competitiveness in my body.

9) Tell us your superhero name -- as determined by the color of your shirt and an item to your right. For example, Crazy Sam now fights crime as The Light Blue Coffee Mug!
The Grey Mouse.
Hey! You’re the one who set the rules. I have on a grey turtleneck and my mouse is to my right.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fill-in

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins
1. Paisley _reminds me of my hippie days_.
2. _I’ll never throw my_ hat _into the political ring_.
3. Where is _SPRING_.
4. _Will the cold weather ever_ end?
5. Sometimes, less is _better_.
6. _I buy the generic brand of mustard instead of the more expensive_ Grey Poupon.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _reading or watching a movie on Netflix_, tomorrow my plans include _watching the freezing rain and rain come down_ and Sunday, I want to _watch it change over to snow… fun, fun. fun_!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Story Part 153 – The New Closet

I am on a forum where everyone knows me as Diana; the forum is for people with a certain medical condition. Last Saturday I posted a comment about when I had broken my toe and how hard it is to drive a standard with a broken left toe. Well a couple of guys on the forum commented about women who can drive a standard, how we are a rare breed (Right now I don’t want to talk about how sexist the comment was.). Also on the forum I mentioned one time that torque is pound-foots not foot-pounds and that got into another discussion about women engineers. Then last Sunday one of the guys posted some pictures of the snow in his backyard and I was going to comment on the center tapped long wire antenna in his backyard. However, I thought that would open up a new discussion on how a woman recognized an amateur radio antenna so I kept my mouth shut.

I don’t want to disclose my transness there because I don’t want to be known there as that trans-person on the forum. Also it is really none of their business to know my personal history. So I’m back in the closet, guarding what I say because it might give me away.

A lot of time when we transition what we are really doing is trading one closet for another. All our lives we hide our transness, first it was to keep people from finding out that we wanted to transition and then we hide the fact that we transitioned. One of the reasons why I transitioned was the stress of living a dual life. Now in a way I’m back to living a dual life, in my public life I am a very out trans-person but I don’t want to be known by that, I want to be know just as Diana.

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Name Game

In each of the fifty states there are different laws for changing your name and gender. Here in Connecticut we are lucky, it is easy to change your driver license and birth certificate. To change your gender on your driver license you only need a letter from your therapist. Changing your name in Probate Court* is a simple process and unlike many other states your name does not have to be published in a newspaper of record. To change your birth certificate you need surgery but your old birth certificate is sealed and a brand new one is issued.

In Washington DC they are changing the rules to make it easier for trans-people.
D.C. Council Introduces Bill Protecting Transgender Identities
Via Shutterstock

The D.C. Council introduced today a bill that would bring city regulations in line with 23 states and the State Department in protecting the identities of individuals who undergo gender transitions.

While David Catania (I-At Large) read the bill into the record, all 13 members of the Council are listed as either introducers or sponsors.

The bill would revise the requirements for transgender people who have their names legally changed and ask for new birth certificates with the proper gender marker. Under current D.C. law, people who have their names changed are required to publish notices in a newspaper at least once a week for three consecutive weeks. For transgender people who change their name, this process can very easily lead to an inadvertent outing, says Andy Bowen, one of several activists who organized the bill.

Instead, the bill would also require a transgender person's original birth certificate to be sealed from public view with the affidavit of a medical professional. This provision would also include transgender people who transition without surgery. "The only way you can gender marker switched is if you get surgery," Bowen says. "If anyone were to see it it would put you at risk for outing." Sexual reassignment surgeries can often run upward of $20,000.
This is a big step forward for our trans brothers and sisters in Washington DC.

*There is a discussion going on here in Connecticut about if you really need to go through Probate Court to legally change your name since Connecticut is a Common Law state. It will be interesting to see have this turns out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Another Meeting

I’m off to another meeting; this one is for the Safe Schools Coalition where I represent CTAC (CT TransAdvocacy Coalition). The coalition is made up of state agencies and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and the agenda for today’s meeting is a discussion of an event that we are scheduling at the Legislative Office Building. Also on the agenda is a discussion of up coming legislation on bullying and harassment.

I attend the meetings to make sure that issues of the trans-community is considered.

Do You Know What ICD Is?

Most people know what the DSM is but have never heard of the ICD; it is what the DSM is to mental health but for medical diseases. Right now the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is at revision 10 and the next revision is in the works and the trans-community should be aware of the proposed changes.

Yesterday some news came out about the changes…
San Francisco Consensus Augurs Well for ICD Revision
Just Plain Sense
By Christine Burns
February 18, 2013

An important meeting of minds took place in San Francisco earlier this month, with encouraging signs for revising trans related classifications in the forthcoming 11th Edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

I [Christine Burns] was there to participate and influence the discussions as an international adviser to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).
The essential points for discussion were:

1. Whether the F64.0 'Transsexualism' category should be renamed and moved to another (non-mental health) section in the ICD-11 and, if so, where (if anywhere at all).
2. Whether the F64.2 'Gender Identity of Childhood' category should be retained and, if so, whether it should be renamed and moved to a another (non-mental health) section in the ICD-11
3. Whether to take a position on deleting F65.1 'Fetishistic Transvestism' or to retain it in a more specific form.
On her blog each of the 3 points of discussion has a detailed report on what the meeting discussed about them and I think that WPATH will have more influence with the ICD than with the DSM. The APA is more of a closed group than the World Health Organisation which publishes the ICD. Changes in the ICD might put pressure on the APA to make additional changes to the DSM.

So far there has been no official word from WPATH on the meeting.

Monday, February 18, 2013

What Were The Things You Wished You Knew?

I found this article on the Huffington Post this morning, “10 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started My Transition” by Annika Penelope, I agree with some of her things but not others.

Her number one thing that she wished she knew, I don’t agree with…
1. Brace yourself for beauty culture.

This is especially true for my fellow femme girls, and there's a reason it's #1 on my list. Before I started presenting as female, I had no idea just how toxic beauty culture is in this country…
I haven’t found that to be true. I never really had any illusions of being glamorous or embed in the beauty culture. A couple time I had a makeover and I thought I looked artificial. Last Saturday I went to a “High Glam” dinner for a coronation, I was dressed in what I consider semi-formal (this picture was from another dinner) and I wore no makeup, not even lipstick. I sat at the table of the agency where I did my internship and my former boss and the staff was also sitting at the table. There were four women and one man at our table besides me, but none of the women wore any makeup and they all wore slacks. I’m not saying that Annika is wrong, but not every trans-women wears make-up or is tied up in the  toxic beauty culture just like every women is not tied up in the culture.

I agree with Annika on her second thing she wished she knew, “Say goodbye to male privilege.” I think when you lose privilege it is very noticeable. You might have not noticed male privilege when you had it but you sure notice it when you lose it. I also agree with her next two thing she knew, “People will surprise you” and “Prepare for (micro)aggressions.” The people who I thought would disown me, stood by me and were my biggest supporters. I think that no one has turned away from me, some might have gotten a little distance but haven’t cut me off.

While (micro)aggression I see a lot of, use of wrong pronouns and little digs. Not enough to call them on it but just enough for them to get a little dig in or you see the giggles that they don’t try to hide.

Her next thing she wished to know is “Go to Therapy” which I don’t agree with, I only went to therapy to get my hormones and I didn’t feel that I need any therapy at all, it was only because of the guidelines required it.

I agree with her other five things she wished she knew before she transitioned.

So what are some of your things that you wished that you knew about transitioning or going out in public crossdressed.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Peeing In Peace

Why can’t they just let us go in peace?
Trans woman student abused and shoved out of toilets at Leeds University
Pink News
by Joseph Patrick McCormick
8 February 2013

According to reports, Alexis, a Microbiology student who was transitioning from male to female, was shouted at and shoved in the chest by two girls, during a night called Fruity.
A Leeds University Students’ Union spokesperson told this paper: “As a Union we support the right of transgender students to use the toilets in which they feel most comfortable. A member of our security team explained the situation to the two females and they said that they understood.”

Alexis, a second year student, did not wish to take any further action but added: “The security staff were excellent, and I really appreciate what they did”.
Every time we have to use a public bathroom we take a change on being assaulted or worst. This woman didn’t cause any trouble she was there just to do what she had to do when she was assaulted. She is not the first trans-person to be attacked in a restroom and she will not be the last. At a support group last Thursday we were discussing how sometimes we get complacent and let our guard down and that is we are most vulnerable.

In England where this happened they have very good anti-discrimination laws but this still happened. Here in New England we also have good laws protecting us, but all it takes is for one person to cause trouble. We might have gone to the same place a hundred times, but all it takes is just once.

On a positive note; Massachusetts Department of Education issues their guideline for gender non-conforming students this past week…
Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools: Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity

You can find Connecticut’s guidelines here…
Guidelines for Schools on Gender Identity and Expression

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday Six #462

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #462

1. X is for XENIAL: Are you more likely to be the person who hosts out-of-town visitors or the person who stays with someone else when you’re the one out of town?
My house is a mess, so I’m more likely to stay at someone else’s place.

2. X is for XEROX: What is the last thing you recall making a copy of?
A flyer for our conference this spring.

3. X is for XIPHOPAGUS: If you could have a twin for the day, who would you play a prank on first?
Well that is hard one to answer because I don’t like pranks and if that person is a twin maybe they will not like pranks either. So probably it would be my evil twin to pull a prank frist.

4. X is for XMAS: Have you ever complained about the use of Xmas as an abbreviation for Christmas?
Nope, never, it doesn’t bother me.

5. X is for XYLITOL: Which artificial sweeter do you prefer if you’re avoiding sugar?
I hate artificial sweeter, they leave a bad after taste… YUCK!

6. X is for XYSTER: How many times have you been operated on?
Never and I hope it stays that way.

Saturday 9: Pour Some Sugar on Me

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Pour Some Sugar on Me

1) Do you have a favorite "hair metal band?"
Do you mean the type that you put in your hair? Oh… you mean a musical band! Nope, I don’t even know a “hair metal band.”

2) Def Leppard got their start in South Yorkshire, England. Have you ever been to the UK?
Nope, but I would like to visit England and Scotland

3) Who would you rather chat with, one-on-one: Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William or Prince Harry?
I rather chat with Harry Potter. I don’t care to talk to any of the “Royals.”

4) Do you use real sugar, or a sugar substitute?
I use no sugar at all and I can’t stand the taste of artificial sweeteners.

5)  Valentine's Day is big for candy sales. Did you indulge in any Valentine-themed, sugary treats this week?
I can’t have any sugar or anything with a lot of carbohydrates.

6) Do you regularly balance your checkbook?
Nope. I just keep enough funds in my checking account and I make sure all my checks and ATM withdraws are correct.

7) What was your last impulse purchase?
I can’t remember, I try to avoid them and only have planned purchases.

8) When Sam was a girl, she had nightmares about snakes under her bed. When did you last have a bad dream?
Last December.

9) We're ordering pizza. Do you want deep dish or thin crust?
Thin crust, but since I have to watch my carbs I usually on have one slice.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. Warmth _that is what I feel out in the sun today._.
2. _I love to hear the_ ocean _waves_.
3. Wandering _are my thoughts today_.
4. _When you are retired every day is a_ vacation.
5. What in the _world was the name of a local TV show back in the 60s and early 70s_.
6. _I had enough_ snow. (about 30")
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I I'm looking forward to _read and went to bed early_, tomorrow my plans include _going to a banquet_ and Sunday, I want to _recover from the banquet_!

This And That In The News

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

This week marriage caught my attention…
State Senate OKs gay marriage
Bill faces uncertain fate in House
Chicago Tribune
By Ray Long and Rafael Guerrero
February 15, 2013

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois took a major step toward giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry Thursday, as the Democratic-led Senate handed advocates an early win after a fervent Valentine's Day debate over sex and morals.

Now the high-profile social issue moves to a House divided on whether people of the same sex should be allowed to wed — a question of equality for supporters and a matter of biblical proportions for opponents.
Then at West Point (A couple of months old but I just saw the article)…
West Point Cadet Chapel Hosts First Same-Sex Wedding
ABC News
Dec. 1, 2012

As her Aunt Sue and Aunt Penny became the first same-sex couple to marry at West Point Military Academy's Cadet Chapel, 15-year-old Amanda Fulton thought she should have gone with waterproof mascara as she felt tears run down her cheeks.
"When you're a kid, it's so easy to understand that when two people love each other, they want to be together," she said, reflecting on attending the couple's 1999 commitment ceremony as a toddler and asking who the husband was. "I didn't understand the marriage issue until I was much older. ... Knowing that they couldn't get married, that was awful. It was heart-wrenching."
Fulton was one of the first women to attend West Point more than three decades ago, and she was a key player in the fight to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Last July, President Barack Obama appointed her to West Point's Board of Visitors, making her the first openly gay or lesbian person to serve on it.
Then on the other side of the Atlantic…
French Assembly Passes Gay Marriage, Adoption Bill
ABC News

By JAMEY KEATEN Associated Press
PARIS February 12, 2013 (AP)

France's lower house of parliament approved a sweeping bill on Tuesday to legalize gay marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt children, handing a major legislative victory to President Francois Hollande's Socialists on a divisive social issue.

The measure, approved in the National Assembly in a 329-to-229 vote, puts France on track to join about a dozen mostly European nations that allow gay marriage and comes despite a string of recent demonstrations by opponents of the so-called "marriage for all" bill.

Polls indicate a narrow majority of French support legalizing gay marriage, though that support falls when questions about the adoption and conception of children come into play.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Story Part 152 – Snow Days

As some of you might have heard we had a little snow storm last Friday. I loved snow days especially when work was closed not because I got out of work for a day (though that was also nice) but because I had at least 24 hours when I could be Diana.

Most of the time when I was home I wore a women’s baggy shirt and jeans that would hide my bra because I never knew when a friend would stop by to have a beer and smoke a joint. So I couldn’t really wear a dress or skirt because of that fear, but on snow days I could be myself without worrying. I use to light a fire in the fireplace and curl up in front of it reading, never having to think about the doorbell. It was my special day.

I still like snow days to curl up in front of the fire, put on some music and read but now there is no worrying about someone dropping by and having to change.

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How's Your Health?

Does your insurance cover trans-issues? Does it cover a therapist? Does it cover Gender Conforming Surgery? Does it cover cross-gender hormone therapy? Does it cover complications do to you being transgender? If you had surgery will it cover and if your gender marker had been changed will the insurance cover problems with your birth gender organs? These are question that we think about, but they are just the questions about health care and they don’t even cover what we think about when we go to the doctors office.

When we walk into the doctor’s office we worry about how we will be treated. Will we be thrown out of the office? Will we be hidden in a separate room so as not to “freak-out” the other patients. Will we be laughed at and called “it”? These are all real issues. I know people who have made an appointment with a doctor only to be turned away when they found out that they are trans. I know a friend who was taken to an emergency room after a fall, she heard them talking about her and referring to her as “it” and they sent her home without x-rays telling to take two aspirin. There is a case where “one clinic isolates trans clients from the waiting room-- immediately taking them away from the other patients to an empty room in the back and making them wait all alone.”

In the California Healthline yesterday they had an article “Transgender Patients in Rural Areas Struggle To Access Health Services” in it they said…
Axil Cricchio -- a social science professor at California State University-Monterey Bay and a transgender man -- said that even though most health care services sought by transgender patients are no different from those sought by other patients, transgender individuals still face significant discrimination from health care providers.

Cricchio said, "The stress of visiting a health care provider who is not aware of transgender issues can keep transgender people from seeking any heath care needs for fear of being outed or mistreated at health facilities."
The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 24% of those surveyed 25% report denied treatment in a doctor’s office or a hospital and 24% said that they were harassed or disrespected there.

In addition, doctors who treat trans-patients maybe shunned. Doctors who preform GCS have a difficult time securing hospital privilege at hospitals. That was one of the reasons why Dr. Bowers moved out of Trinidad CO. In the Edge last week they had an article about a trans-clinic in Philadelphia and the doctor there said.
"Most hospitals in the Delaware Valley do not give privileges to surgeons to perform transgender surgery," Leis [Dr. Sherman Leis, founder of The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery,] told EDGE. "There is no clear reason why they do this and my thoughts are that they remain uneducated about transgender issues and, in fact, many are outright discriminatory in their practices even though their by-laws state they do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender."
But all is not bleak, also yesterday it was reported in the Edge that Brown University is covering trans-people medical expenses
The Brown Daily Herald, Brown University’s student newspaper, has announced that the college’s new health insurance plan will cover "14 different sexual reassignment surgery procedures starting in August."

Brown University Director of Insurance and Purchasing Services Jeanne Herbert confirmed the health plan change in an email to the newspaper. "We identified this as an important benefit for students to have access to," Hebert wrote.

Brown will join several other schools and healthcare providers around the country that cover reassignment surgeries. Hebert said the school’s policy change was in line with "Brown’s efforts to support all students."
Also you may remember last month that California and Oregon insurance regulators have told health insurance companies to stop denying coverage for transgender patients because of their gender identity.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Every once in a while I come across a story of just out and out bigotry and this story is one of those stories…
Students, Teacher at Indiana High School Demand ‘Traditional Prom’ Without Gay Kids
Neetzan Zimmerman   
Feb 11, 2013

Students, parents, and at least one teacher at Sullivan High School in Sullivan, Indiana, have come together in support for a "traditional prom" that prohibits gays from attending.

Those who met yesterday at the Sullivan First Christian Church to discuss the possibility of holding a "separate but equal" prom say others agree with their idea but are reluctant to speak up.
Separate is never equal!

This is not new; down in Mississippi at Itawamba Agricultural High School they had a secret prom and hid it from a lesbian student. Back in April 2010 I wrote about the “Meanest Town in America” and posted this from a newspaper
To avoid Constance McMillen bringing a female date to her prom, the teen was sent to a "fake prom" while the rest of her class partied at a secret location at an event organized by parents.
"They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them," McMillen says. "The one that I went to had seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to."
The seven students at the prom were the lesbian couple and special needs students at the school. Constance later was invited to the White House by President Obama to the gay pride celebration there.

My blood pressure soars when I read articles like these I cannot fathom the bigotry that they have in their souls.
"I believe that it was life circumstances and they chose to be that way; God created everyone equal," said special ed teacher Diana Medley. "Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don't agree with them, but I care about them. It's the same thing with my special needs kids, I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason."
So do I believe that “God puts everyone in our lives for a reason." And the reason that I believe that I and other LGBT people are here is to teach tolerance and understanding. That God didn’t put LGBT people here to test them but to test others on how they treat us. A lesson that Diana Medley has not learned.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Everyone seems to think that discrimination is finished in the military with the repeal of DADT and allowing women to server in combat. But it is not, trans-people cannot yet serve their country.
Navy Couple Recounts Tough Decisions
Brynn Tannehill
February 7, 2013

Reserve recruiters dream of people like Morgan Wade walking into their office. She had a sterling service record, was on the fast track to chief petty officer, and qualified in a field where the demand for skilled individuals is high. Top it off with a clear background check and a clean bill of health, and it should be easy, right?

The problem: Morgan Wade is female now, but that is not what was on her original birth certificate. It wasn’t what was in her records when she joined the Navy. Even before she joined the Navy, though, Morgan was already dealing with gender dysphoria. She treated it as something chronic but manageable.
Morgan went through exam after exam to prove she was mentally and physically fit to serve. “It seemed like every time I gave them one piece of paper, they would ask for two more. Eventually, they accepted the doctors at the VA examining me and clearing me.” In the end, all of the doctors, psychologists, surgeons, psychiatrists and therapists declared her fit to serve. The package she submitted was almost 150 pages long and documented her exemplary prior service and current fitness.
This was the reason the Navy gave for not allowing her to reenlist…
“Standards preclude from acceptance those individuals with contagious or infectious disease who would be likely to endanger the health of other personnel; those who are likely to require repeated admissions to sick list, prolonged hospitalization, or invalidating from service; or those who present any condition that would be likely to form a basis of a claim for physical retirement benefits. The standards, therefore, are intended to define a degree of physical fitness in applicants that best meets the Navy’s needs and yet incur an acceptable minimum risk of liability in regard to health hazards, repeated or prolonged medical care or hospitalization, assignment problems, and eventual pension or retirement benefits … To authorize Ms. Wade’s enlistment in the Navy would expose her to increased risk or injury.”
Isn’t that totally ridiculous! The Navy allows a woman to do what she wants to do but will not allow her to do it because she might get hurt.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


There have been a number of musicians who have transitioned; I met two of them, Jennifer Leitham in a taxi that we shared on the way to an event at the National Press Club when we were there in Washington DC to lobby for the Hate Crime and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act bills and I met pianist Sara Davis Buechner at Fantasia Fair in Provincetown MA.

Sara Davis Buechner just wrote article for the New York Times where she writes about the hardships that she faced when she transitioned here the states.
In the United States, once I came out as Sara, I couldn’t get bookings with the top orchestras anymore, nor would any university employ me.

In Canada, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver hired me for a piano professorship in 2003, and in 2008 I earned tenure. After moving, I was able to marry the Japanese woman who’d been my longtime partner at a wedding before 125 family and friends.
In 2003 I hadn’t played as a soloist with an American orchestra in nearly five years. But when I crossed the border to Canada, I found plenty of orchestras and recital presenters who were happy to book me. The success of my performing career in Canada has helped me rebuild a reputation back home. I’ve played twice now with the San Francisco Symphony, and also with the orchestras of Buffalo, Dayton, Seattle and others. I am confident I will once again play with the elite groups in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York, earning the same good reviews that David Buechner once did. A new generation of conductors, composers, chamber players and music executives has come of age, and they don’t ignore my agent’s calls as their older colleagues once did.
When I heard her play at Provincetown she told us how she had to move to Canada in order to find work. I believe she said that she was teaching at the Manhattan School of Music and New York University, but once she transitioned she had to leave them and go to Canada.

It is sad that here in the U.S. such a talented person as her has a hard time to find.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Saturday Six #461

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #461

1. W is for WAKING: What time do you usually get up if you truly consider yourself having “slept in?”
I’m retired so I can get up at any time without worrying if I’m going to be late.

2. W is for WALKING: How much time do you spend walking in a typical day?
When the weather permits I try to walk at least 2 miles three or four times a week. But I don’t walk that much otherwise.

3. W is for WARMONGER: Do you tend to be the hothead who’s ready to fight or the peacemaker?
I try to be the peacemaker, I lost too many battles and now tend to avoid them.

4. W is for WEDDING: What would be your “dream site” to hold a wedding?
I never thought about it that much. I liked where my nephew was married up in Lake George.

5. W is for WRINKLE: When you look in the mirror, do you feel that you look younger than you really are, older than you really are, or about the age you really are?
I look young, thanks to hormones

6. W is for WRITE: How often do you handwrite a letter to a friend or relative?
I can’t remember the last I actually handwritten a letter.

Winter Storm Nemo 2013-02-08

The sun is just starting to peak out for the first time in over a day. The storm started just around sunrise yesterday and ended around 8AM this morning. It left in its wake around 29-30 inches of snow with drifts several feet deep.

I hunkered down for the duration of the storm and curled up in front of the fireplace reading. Around ten o’clock at night I heard on the scanner that the town plow trucks were getting stuck and they were using the town payloader to pull them out. When I woke in the morning it was like a new white world.

This is the view looking out my kitchen slider on to the deck.

This is looking out my atrium; you can see the snow halfway up the bottom windows.

Over on the right you can see the 6’ icicle hanging in front of one of the atrium windows.

The bottom of the dining room window is six feet from the ground and you can see that the drift actually touches the roof. Also there are four steps up to the front door.

This is looking out that window.

When I was walked down to the street to take pictures but I fell and I couldn't get up because the snow was so deep. My neighbor came over to help, but I managed to struggle to my feet. However, my camera was buried in the snow!!!! It was covered in snow, I brushed it off and let it dry before I turned it in and it seems to be OK.

Saturday 9: The Way We Were

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: The Way We Were

1) In honor of Valentine's Day next week, what's the most romantic movie you can think of?
Love Story, it is the classic that all of movie measure against.

2) The Way We Were was a tearjerker. Do you think that most real-life love stories end in heartbreak? Or do you believe in happily ever after?
I like happy ever after.

3) What's your favorite love song?
I don’t have one.

4) In 1993, Barbra Streisand married actor James Brolin, who first became famous as Dr. Steven Kiley on Marcus Welby, MD. Who is your favorite TV doctor?
Maura Isles on Rizzoli & Isles on the TNT network.

5) In 2012, Streisand renewed her contract with Columbia, where's she's been recording since 1963. So she's been with the same label for fifty years! Where have you worked the longest, and how long was that?
28 years and then they closed down the factory.

6) Sam Winters once worked as a hostess in a chic bistro in Worcester, PA. That's why she frequently gets frustrated by bad service in restaurants -- she's certain she could make it run more smoothly. Where do you find yourself getting annoyed most often?
Most of the time it is not the server’s fault, either the restaurant is under staffed or they backed up in the kitchen. But what I hate is when they get the order wrong.

7) Have you ever taken a polygraph test?

8) Crunchy, smooth or organic peanut butter?

9) Describe your favorite sweater.
It is a light brown ribbed cotton turtleneck.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Snow Fall Amounts...

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins
1. In New England _you never know what the weather will bring. They are even forecasting thunder snow for tonight_.
2. _The forecast is for_ LOTS of snow _over 24 inches_.
3. Ahhhh, _it is so quite when it is snowing_.
4. _Reading in front of the fire_ is my favorite thing to do nowadays.
5. Last night, I had a dream about _fighting my way to the mail box through waist deep snow drifts_.
6. _In front of a fire_ which is the perfect way to _watch the snow come down_.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _hunkering down_, tomorrow my plans include _praying that the snow will stop and that we don't lose power_ and Sunday, I want to _venture back outside in to the new world and take pictures_!

The forecast for today... blizzard warnings snow accumulation of 24+ inches with drifting snow and winds over 60mph. Zero visibility.  It started snowing around 8:00AM and it is not suppose to stop until sometime Saturday afternoon. At times it is suppose to snow at a rate of over 3" an hour!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Missed The Bullet

I didn't get picked for a jury. It was close and I was starting to get nervous, it was down to three of us out of 28 prospective jurors when the clerk came out and said they had the jury and we could go home.

My Story Part 151 – The Question Never Asked

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

I was reading an article in the New York Times on the ethics of transitioning but what struck me was a comment about the article…
Fair warning: I haven't read every comment, or even most of them.

Having "been there" - though without the kids - what I can say is that it's not just a tragedy for the person involved. For me, the last push to transition - after 5 years of depression, struggle and frustration that almost killed me (literally) - was when my grandfather died. For everyone else around at the funeral, it was about "He's gone, we'll never see him again, let's remember the good times not the bad". For me, it was "He's gone, he never got to know the real me, so we never really had good times". When a person does not transition - the world, including their family, doesn't get to see the "real person"; they see a shell, a simulacrum that is put forth, no more real than that of any actor. And THAT is the true tragedy.

Does that mean I feel that everyone should transition? Certainly not. But they should talk to their loved ones; some pain is better than never knowing the truth.
What caught my attention and punched me in the gut was…” For everyone else around at the funeral, it was about "He's gone, we'll never see him again, let's remember the good times not the bad". For me, it was "He's gone, he never got to know the real me, so we never really had good times". When a person does not transition - the world, including their family, doesn't get to see the "real person"; they see a shell, a simulacrum that is put forth, no more real than that of any actor. And THAT is the true tragedy.

I do not know if my parents knew or if they knew then they never said anything about my crossdressing. I will never know what they would think of me now and they never got to see the real me. They never got to see me walk across the stage to get my Masters, they never saw me laughing and smiling. My brother and my family say that they would be proud of me but we will never know.

However, I am almost positive that my mother knew. I used to keep a stash of clothes and every once in awhile they would disappear. Also one time I was smoking pot wearing her blouse, a seed popped burning a hole in her blouse (I tried to make it look like the fabric got caught in a zipper and a couple of days later she asked me if I know anything about the burn). So I think she knew about my crossdressing but she never said anything out right about it, it was always the elephant in the room.

When she was dying she said to me, “I’m worried about you.” Which I thought was a strange thing to say because by then I was financially well off, owned my own house with only a small mortgage left on the house and I was a supervisor at work in a stable job that I had for over 25 years.

I never knew if my father knew about me, did my mother ever tell him?

Upon her death I wrote this poem…
~~The Question~~

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

When you are reading this, I’ll be sitting in a courtroom waiting to see if I get picked for a jury.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Arrested While Homeless

Many trans-people rely upon homeless shelters for their survival and many of the shelters do not know the law. Here as in Boston a person may use the bathroom of their gender identity, but we still get arrested…
Transgender woman settles lawsuit with Boston over treatment during 2010 arrest
Officers’ actions under scrutiny
By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff
February 4, 2013

The city of Boston has agreed to pay a transgender woman $20,000 in exchange for dropping her suit against the officers who arrested her on disorderly conduct at a homeless shelter, in a case that highlights the department’s absence of written policies for dealing with transgender people.
After she was arrested for refusing to leave a woman’s bathroom at a homeless shelter…
Her arrest should have never happened. Boston has an inclusive anti-discrimination statute that covers public accommodation for trans-people. The homeless shelter has a policy that covers gender identity and expression but it wasn’t followed. The Globe goes on to write,
The City of Boston has long had an ordinance that says people have the right to use restrooms, showers, and dressing rooms based on their gender identity, a rule that goes beyond state protections of transgender people.
The Boston Public Health Commission’s policy stipulates that transgender women may use the women’s restroom and showers. Martin said staff members are instructed to follow the commission’s protocol.
Not only does the city have a policy for trans-people but also the homeless shelter and neither one of them was followed, as a result a trans-woman was arrested and humiliated by the police for doing what she was legally entitled to do.

Connecticut’s anti-discrimination law (Public Act 11-55) also cover gender identity and expression in public accommodation but I still hear reports trans-women and trans-men being turned away or forced to live in their birth gender from the shelters here in Connecticut. Which is a clear violation of the law; however, most of the trans-people are too intimidated to file a complaint with the CHRO. What will it take for the shelters to obey the law, a law suit? Or worst, a death?

Editorial Cartoon

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

There’s Gold In Them There Hills!

I read an article this morning about a lingerie company that makes lingerie for trans-women and that reminded me of a story of a person I know who runs a store for trans-women. The article, Transgender Lingerie Brand, Chrysalis, Fills An Important Void in the Huffington Post said,
It's an important niche in the market: There are an estimated 700,000 transgender people in the U.S., according to a 2011 study, but few options catering to them in the market. The response to Chrysalis Lingerie across the Web has been widely positive and the brand was featured on the Style Network's documentary, "Born Male, Living Female."
When I read that I immediately thought of the story J told one time at a support group meeting about how he wanted to order large size shoes for J’s store at a trade show. When J asked a vendor there about women’s shoes size 11 - 16, the salesman asked why so large. J told him it was for crossdressers, the salesman said that he wanted nothing to do with them. Then J mentioned that he wanted to buy several hundred shoes… the salesman said, “How many and what sizes?”

J said that is a typical reaction J gets when ordering clothes for us, at first they draw back and until they realize how much money is in clothes for the trans-community. As we come out of the closet manufacturers are starting to see the potential for marketing to us and are make clothes for the trans-community.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Eight Trans Questions

I found these questions on the blog “Crossing T's and Dotting I's” and I wanted to share my answers with you.
  1. AWARENESS: When did you first feel trans? How did it make you feel? Did you embrace or run from it?
    I don’t know at what age I was when I became aware of my feelings (I say “feeling” because it is very hard to put it into words) but I know that I used to say my prayers and end it with asking God to make me a girl.
  2. ADOLESCENT COPING: How did you cope with growing up? What about puberty? How was school, or teenage life?
    I hid and only crossdressed in private.
  3. EARLY LIFE/ UNIVERSITY / COLLEGE: Having grown up – at least physically, how was life? Did you fit in or fall out? Did you stay home, work away or go to University, college or work?
    I grew a beard, did the manly things like backpacking and skeet shooting and did drugs
  4. CAREER: What you do and how you think it has shaped you (for better or worse). Is there something you long to do?
    I crossdressed in private. (2/6/13... Hun? That is what happens when I post to my blog before I wake up. I think one of the reasons that I went into engineering was to lose myself in work. I concentrated on work and I really didn't have a life outside of work. When I retired I did want I wanted to do, help other people and that is why I got my MSW.)
  5. RELATIONSHIPS: Single, married, long term relationship, divorced, happy to be single? How is family life?
    I never developed a deep relationship with girls; I think they realized that I was holding part of me back from them. What is ironic is that during last summer I was going out with a woman as a woman and it was nice while it lasted.
  6. COMING OUT: Have you? Would you? If so, how was it?If not, why not?
    I’m way out there, I’ve been on the TV news, I’ve been on the radio, I’ve been on a cable TV show, I’ve giving interviews for newspapers. But coming out to my brother and family was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
  7. THE WAY FORWARD: What’s next for you? What are your hopes – trans, or otherwise?
    I don’t know, I take life one day at a time.
  8. WORDS OF WISDOM: Anything you’d like to share to a younger you or to other trans people?
    Be safe and you cannot unring a bell
If you want to answers the questions you can do it in the comments or post it on your blog with a link back to the original blog.