Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I’m On My Way Home

I’m heading off into the sunset…
I have been up at the cottage for the last four day and now I am heading home. I leave you with this family portrait…
The little one was off on another part of the lake while mom and dad went fishing. There were two baby loons but one disappeared, according to the lake association website, “a bald eagle and osprey were viewed circling the lake” around the time of the chicks disappearance. Last year's loon census found a total of 492 adults, 17 immature loons and 73 chicks in New Hampshire.

Then we have this very, very big bird on the lake...
It lives down the other end of the lake in a cove and you can hear its mighty roar all the way up this end.

The New ENDA Coalition

There is a new coalition with a two million dollar war chest to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Advocates launch campaign to bar workplace discrimination against gays
Washington Post
By Juliet Eilperin
July 30, 2013

A coalition of civil rights groups is launching a $2 million campaign aimed at mobilizing support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has languished on Capitol Hill for nearly two decades.

The coalition, called Americans for Workplace Opportunity, is targeting 13 senators in 11 states in hopes of replicating the strategy gay marriage advocates have used to push successful state ballot initiatives.

The effort includes gay rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and the GOP-leaning American Unity Fund, as well as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Service Employees International Union.
The coalition is headed by Matthew McTighe who lead Maine’s marriage equality campaign and that is what worries me, that once again we will be tossed aside in order to get the bill passed. The coalition is heavily weighted with gay and lesbian marriage equality organization with only the National Center for Transgender Equality representing the trans-community.

I think the conservative opposition said it best,
Within the gay movement, Lafferty [Traditional Values Coalition President] argued, transgender people “are kind of like the crazy aunt at Thanksgiving. They put up with the crazy aunt at Thanksgiving, but they don’t want to be seen with her in public.”
Will we find a new set of tire tracks when ENDA comes up for a vote?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One Lovely Blog Award

How this "One Lovely Blog Award" works:
  1. Add the “One Lovely Blog Award” image to your post
  2. Share seven things about you
  3. Pass the award on to seven nominees
  4. Thank the person who nominated you and add a short blurb about them.
  5. Inform the nominees by posting on their blogs
I received this award from Kwizgiver, she writes the blog “what if this is as good as it gets?” and is a high school social studies teacher in a town which is probably the northern most town in New England. We have been blog friend since I started my blog in 2006 and we started playing the same memes. She is an avid reader and enjoys knitting.

Seven Things About Me;
  1. I am a romantic, I love happy endings.
  2. I love photograph and when I have my camera in hand time stands still.
  3. I am dyslexic, all my life I have been struggle trying to keep the letters from dancing around.
  4. I am a Type 2 diabetic but I am able to control my blood glucose with a proper diet.
  5. I would love to travel the U.S. but I doubt I will get to do it and I would like to travel the Maine coast in a windjammer.
  6. I went back to college when I was 58 and got my master's in Social Work
  7. I would like to teach. I am going to be a guest lecturer for a class in the fall and I am looking forward to teaching it again this year.
I am going to cheat and nominate the other blogs on Saturday.

Are We Blessed?

To continue today’s theme on religious, there was an opinion yesterday in the Bangor Daily News
Rev. Marvin M. Ellison asking are trans-people blessed.
Thank God for transgender persons and their families, who exemplify the amazing beauty of the divine creation in all its complexity and rich diversity.

It is a blessing to share community with our transgender sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and fathers and mothers and to work alongside them to assure that each and every person, including each and every transgender person, has what they need and deserve: respect and a secure sense of personal dignity and worth, a fair share of resources, a life without fear, and the freedom to live in the world as one’s authentic self.
One thing that we often forget, not all religions have the same beliefs; we tend to lump all Christians together, all Jews together, and all Muslims together. However, in reality all the religions of the world have different sects within each religion with their own unique set of beliefs. Some sects are more tolerant, the Episcopal are more tolerant than Baptist, the Reform Jews are more tolerant than Orthodox Jews ad so on with the other religions.

The news media tends to blow religions out of proportion. When I read a the Hartford Courant when the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA the article interviewed LGBT activists and they interviewed an ultra-conservative religious organization; however, nothing was written from more moderate religious organizations. The article creates the us against them attitude, it created the impression that all religions are against LGBT rights.

The author in the opinion in the Bangor Daily News goes on to write,
As a Christian ethicist, I have often reminded seminarians and myself that it is wise, in the midst of social change, to slow down and avoid “premature clarity,” or what might be called rush to judgment. Before giving any kind of ethical evaluation, we ought to take the time to understand as fully as possible the reality before us, in this instance transgenderism. The best way to gain understanding is to listen to and learn from transgender persons.
Extending a respectful, hospitable welcome to transgender people and their families is fully in keeping with Jesus’ mandate to love thy neighbor. Standing within the prophetic tradition of his community, Jesus called for a new moral order constructed on the basis of biblical justice or the principle of right relatedness.
We hear “nature doesn’t make mistakes” from many conservative religious leaders and I agree because I am not a mistake. I believe that there was a purpose that there are gays, lesbians, bi and trans-people and it is what Rev. Ellison said, “keeping with Jesus’ mandate to love thy neighbor.” If we are all the same there it would be very easy to “love thy neighbor” but with diversity there is discrimination and it takes work to “love thy neighbor.” It takes work to love the black kid with a hoody walking through your neighborhood. It takes work to love a person in a wheelchair and it takes work to love a trans-person.

Is It A New Leaf?

Is it a new leaf or is it the same ol’ bull?

I am not anti-religion, I just don’t believe anyone has a right to tell me who I am or who I can marry. And now two religious leaders have softened their stance against LGBT people, the Pope softened the churches stance on gay priests and Pat Robinson said that being transgender is not a sin.

Time had this to say about the pope’s statement,
Pope Francis Says He Does Not Judge Gay Priests
His comments were short, subtle, but unmistakably direct: “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized.
By Elizabeth Dias
July 29, 2013

Today the Pope stated that he does not judge gays—a statement that will send shockwaves through the church. His comments were short, subtle, but unmistakably direct. “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized,” he told reporters on his return flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome. “The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”

The Pope also criticized journalists for reporting on allegations of homosexuality within the Vatican, saying those matters concerned questions of sin, not crimes, like the sexual abuse of children. He said when someone sins and confesses, God both forgives and forgets. “We don’t have the right to not forget,” he said.
But when you tell someone not of your faith who they can marry and who they can’t you are marginalizing them. I have no problem with you telling people of your faith who they can marry, but I have a very big problem when your priest lobby against marriage equality.

Pat Robinson said that he doesn’t condemn trans-people, but he “doesn’t understand that,”
Pat Robertson Says Being Transgender Is Not a Sin
The televangelist issued an unexpected response to a viewer's question about recognizing transgender coworkers as the gender with which they identify.
BY Sunnivie Brydum
July 29 2013

On Sunday's episode of the Christian Broadcasting Network's question and answer forum, "Bring It Online" with televangelist Pat Robertson, the right-wing pundit had some surprising things to say about transgender people.
"But I think there are men who are in a woman's body," the 83-year-old former Baptist minister continues. "It's very rare, but it's true. Or women that are in men's bodies. And they want a sex change. And that is a very permanent thing, believe me, when you have certain body parts amputated, and you have shot up with various kinds of hormones, it's a radical procedure. I don't think there's any sin associated with that — I don't condemn somebody for doing that."
He goes on to say to the person who asked the question, “It's not for you to decide, or to judge,"

Monday, July 29, 2013

One More Time: US DOJ Agreement

I wrote about the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education agreement with the California's Arcadia School District twice before but not about higher education. The blog Inside Higher Education had this to say about the agreement,
Equal Access at All Levels
July 29, 2013
Allie Grasgreen

Last week's settlement between the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights and a California school district may have been issued at the K-12 level, but the newly clear message that federal laws prohibit discrimination based on gender identity applies to colleges too, experts say.
The settlement is also a first in that it deals with access to educational programs, facilities and activities -- which is really what Title IX is all about -- whereas the 2010 letter [the "Dear Colleague" letter] related more to school climate, harassment and bullying. The issue is not hypothetical; colleges report that they are enrolling more transgender students who are requesting various services and policies -- anti-bias rules, access to bathrooms, ability to join athletic teams -- and at some institutions, they haven't been satisfied with the response.
The author goes on to say what I said, while this in not a policy like the EEOC policy on employment discrimination it does show is that the Departments of Justice and Education believe that the laws do cover gender identity and expression and that the laws also cover sex-segregated facilities.
"It actually is groundbreaking," Erin Buzevis, the law professor at Western New England School of Law who runs the Title IX Blog, said in an e-mail. "By taking one such case, OCR signals its willingness to take similar cases in the future, and there's no reason to think those cases wouldn't also include college students."
The actual agreement between the U.S. DOJ & Ed also requires the Arcadia School District to provide training
Finally, OCR required the school district to hire a consultant with expertise in child development and transitioning youth to help address these issues and make sure the changes are thorough and lasting. Colleges might want to do something similar, Orr said.
Just remember that the Departments of Justice and Education agreement with the Arcadia School District is not a court order but an agreement between two parties and a court could have a different ruling or the next President could put an entirely different Attorney General and Commissioner with their own interpretation of the law. 

Thrown Under The Bus Again.

First the good news about marriage equality in Australia…
New South Wales gay marriage report pushing reform in other states
A report by a New South Wales state parliamentary committee that found that Australian states can make laws in regard to same-sex marriage may lead to same-sex couples being able to wed in South Australia and in the nation’s capital of Canberra
Gay Star News
29 July 2013
By Andrew Potts

South Australia may vote again on same-sex marriage, but this time it is likely Opposition MPs will be given a conscience vote on the issue – meaning the bill may pass.

Last week South Australian Opposition leader Steven Marshall told The Australian newspaper that he would allow his MPs a conscience vote on the issue if a New South Wales (NSW) state parliamentary inquiry found that states could legislate for same-sex marriage – and on Friday the committee did just that.
Now for the bad news…
NSW marriage equality bill excludes trans and intersex
Gay News Network
Author Cec Busby
29 July 2013

A NSW parliamentary report released on Friday saying state-based marriage law was not unconstitutional was cause for celebration amongst the LGBTI community, but when news surfaced that a new marriage equality bill would exclude trans and intersex, LGBTI activist groups were alarmed.
That is OK, just another set of tire track over our bodies.

The article goes on to state…
Community Action Against Homophobia immediately sent out a release condemning the marginalisation of trans and intersex people in the proposed bill.

CAAH Co-Convenor Cat Rose said “The exemption of trans and intersex people's rights shows they haven't shifted nearly far enough. Our campaign has been for full equality for everyone, we don't settle for concessions and we won't stand for this transphobia and the invisibilising of intersex people."
Um… did CAAH call for the bill to be voted down or pulled? Ah… no, but don’t worry we’ll come back for you.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary H. 1589/S. 643

Three weeks ago Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on H. 1589/S. 643, the Equal Access Bill, a bill to add public accommodation to the gender identity and expression anti-discrimination statute. When the law was passed a couple of years ago public accommodation was dropped from the bill at the last minute, this law will add public accommodation to the law.
Legislature to reconsider bill protecting transgender access to public accommodations
Posted by Jeremy C. Fox
July 8, 2013

Levi [Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD] said access to housing is often an issue for transgender people, and finding a safe place to stay is especially important because LGBT young people are disproportionately likely to become homeless.

That’s one reason Levi and other transgender advocates hope this will be the year the state Legislature will pass a bill that would protect the access of transgender people to public accommodations, including “hospitals, public transportation, nursing homes, supermarkets, retail establishments, and all other places open to the public.”
Of course the opposition were posturizing that it was the “bathroom bill” all over again,
Opponents of the bill say it would improperly give men access to women’s private spaces.

“We believe in the safety, the privacy, and the modesty of all citizens, and we believe this legislation would violate that,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Woburn-based Massachusetts Family Institute.
They always preach doom and gloom of rapists and perverts using the bill as an excuse to use the women’s bathroom. The first gender inclusive anti-discrimination law was passed in 1975 in Minneapolis and since then there has been no cases of anyone using the law to commit a crime.

Boston mayor said,
In a letter to the chairs of the Judiciary Committee, Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he signed a similar ordinance guaranteeing access within the City of Boston in 2002 and asking them to support the current bill.
Here is Jennifer Levi’s testimony…

UN Fights For LGBT Equality

This week Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) started a campaign for LGBT equality, Rights List News reported…
At a press conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was joined by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Constitutional Court to announce the year-long project. A statement of support was read out on behalf of renowned South African singer and UNICEF and Roll Back Malaria Goodwill Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world in which everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights – no exceptions, no-one left behind,” said High Commissioner Pillay. “Yet it’s still a hollow promise for many millions of LGBT people forced to confront hatred, intolerance, violence and discrimination on a daily basis.”
The Free & Equal campaign hopes to begin legal reforms and public education to counter homophobia and transphobia.
The United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011 voted on a resolution convened a panel to study discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The vote cumulated years of progress in Human Rights for LGBT community. Back in 2008 a Dutch/French-initiated, European Union-backed statement presented to the United Nations General Assembly and 66 nations voted in favor of the statement (it is now up to 85 nations). Unfortunately, the United States was not one of the signers because of President Bush. However, President Obama did sign the statement.
UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity
Presented to the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2008.

We have the honour to make this statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity on behalf of Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Sao Tome et Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.

We reaffirm the principle of universality of human rights, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights whose 60th anniversary is celebrated this year, Article 1 of which proclaims that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights";
We reaffirm that everyone is entitled to the enjoyment of human rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, as set out in Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 2 of the International Covenants on Civil and Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as in article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
1. We reaffirm the principle of non-discrimination which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity;
2. We are deeply concerned by violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
3. We are also disturbed that violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatisation and prejudice are directed against persons in all countries in the world because of sexual orientation or gender identity, and that these practices undermine the integrity and dignity of those subjected to these abuses;
4. We condemn the human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity wherever they occur, in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest or detention and deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health;
5. We recall the statement in 2006 before the Human Rights Council by fifty four countries requesting the President of the Council to provide an opportunity, at an appropriate future session of the Council, for discussing these violations;
6. We commend the attention paid to these issues by special procedures of the Human Rights Council and treaty bodies and encourage them to continue to integrate consideration of human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity within their relevant mandates;
7. We welcome the adoption of Resolution AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08) on "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity" by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States during its 38th session in 3 June 2008;
8. We call upon all States and relevant international human rights mechanisms to commit to promote and protect human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity;
9. We urge States to take all the necessary measures, in particular legislative or administrative, to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention.
10. We urge States to ensure that human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity are investigated and perpetrators held accountable and brought to justice;
11. We urge States to ensure adequate protection of human rights defenders, and remove obstacles which prevent them from carrying out their work on issues of human rights and sexual orientation and gender identity.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Six #485

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #485

1. What’s the most exotic animal you’ve actually been able to touch in person?
A 5’ Boa constrictor that someone had in the dorm when I was an undergrad.

2. Was it dead or alive at the time you touched it?
Alive and hungry.

3. What’s the most exotic animal you’ve gotten closest to without touching?
It was probably was in a zoo

4. What’s the most exotic animal you tend to enjoy watching most at a zoo?
Wow, that was so long ago that I don’t remember.

5. What’s the most exotic animal you’ve seen in the wild in your neighborhood?

A Copperhead coiled up on my back step in the sun.

6. If you could hold any exotic animal (or have a one-on-one encounter if it’s too big to hold) and you knew there was no danger of being injured, which animal would you choose and why?
I’m not really into exotic animals and I don’t even like that you can own an exotic animal. There are so many invasive animals and plants in this country that are not only deadly but forcing out the native species. About 20 years ago we actually have piranha start taking over a local pond and the DEP had to come in a poison the whole pond.

Saturday 9: So Much to Say

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: So Much to Say

Thanks to Kelly for recommending The Dave Matthews Band. (Hear it here.)

1) The lyrics refer to a baby's "one year of crying." When was the last time you cried ... felt weepy ... or at least teared up?
It probably the last emotional movie that I watched.

2) Let's lighten it up a little. When was the last time you laughed really hard?
It was when I watched this…

3) Do you have "so much to say" that hasn't been said yet? Tell us if you owe someone a phone call, note, email or text.
No, I’m up to date with my calls and phone calls. I almost answer emails immediately, phone call might take a little longer.

4) Earlier this summer, Dave took a bike ride before a show and his tire blew out. He didn't have a cell phone with him and was afraid of missing that night's performance. Fortunately two fans -- driving to see Dave Matthews Band in concert -- recognized him by the side of the road and gave him a ride to the show. Share a recent act of kindness you either did, or received.
The last kindness that I received was the same as Dave’s except the flat tire was on my car. I was changing my tire on the side of the road and no one stopped. I had the car jacked up and all the nuts removed but I couldn’t get the tire off the axle. I pulled and pulled and kicked but nothing would loosen up the tire. Finally a car pulled up and a young black man in a hoody and asked if I needed help. He just removed the tire from the axle like it weight a pound. He took out the spare and put in on, put away the flat tire and lowered the car and stored the jack. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

5) Before he hit it big, Dave Matthews was a bartender. What job did you have right before the one you have now?
Hmmm… I’m retired, my last job was a supervisor of an electronic test department.

6) The Dave Matthews Band recorded an album live at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, in the mountains near Denver. Is there a trip to the mountains in your future?
Yes, tomorrow to New Hampshire

7) Do you suffer from hay fever or allergies?

8) What's in your pocket right now?
Nothing, I have no pockets

9) American Express promotes "Small Business Saturday," and encourages us to shop at local, independent retailers. Is there a shop, boutique or restaurant in your town that you're particularly fond of?
Yes, the Blue Lobster. I usually go to dinner there once or twice a month.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pushback On DOJ Agreement

The conservative world is in a tizzy over the Department of Justice and the Arcadia, CA School District agreement. Our favorite “fair and balanced” news media outlet Fox News said this about the agreement…
DOJ ripped for making transgender restroom use new front in civil rights battle
By Michael Roppolo
Published July 26, 2013

The U.S. Department of Justice's latest cause - fighting for a transgendered California ninth-grader's right to use the boy's room at school - has conservative groups wondering just how far Washington will go in the name of civil rights.
Randy Thomasson, president of, said Attorney General Eric Holder is off-base in pushing the case as a matter of civil rights.

“Eric Holder needs to reread the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and find out that civil rights are based on an unchangeable, immutable characteristic,” Thomasson said. “You cannot change your genes or your gender. You have chromosomes and they are either XX or XY. This is a girl who has been environmentally warped to believe she is a boy, and, instead of coddling this confused child, her parents should have gotten her into counseling with an expert on gender confusion.”
There we go again; that chromosomes are only XX or XY and totally ignoring intersex conditions, just a simplistic 1950 view of sex. We'll just use a little reparative therapy and everything will by okay again. Hey maybe just a few jolts of electroconvulsive therapy and it will straighten them right out.

Then the article goes on to say,
But several conservative groups said the federal agency has no business getting involved in the issue as a civil rights matter, and in doing so, trampled on the rights of other students.
Um… where to even begin with that logic. Have they even heard of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? They is a whole series of federal court case going all the way back to the 1989 Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins Supreme Court case that ruled that sex discrimination can also be the way a person looks or dresses. That case was followed by numerous other court cases that ruled that gender identity and express are covered Titles IV and IX.

Using their logic about trampling the rights of other students you could say the same thing about segregation; there are people who feel their civil right trampled on being forced to integrate or be in the same class as non-Christians.

P.S. 7/28/13
“Eric Holder needs to reread the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and find out that civil rights are based on an unchangeable, immutable characteristic,” Thomasson said. “You cannot change your genes or your gender.
Some more thoughts about "unchangeable, immutable characteristic;" the best legal challenge to this logic that I have heard was from a judged who ruled (I believe from a court case in Georgia) sex discrimination covers transgender people because it is still "sex." The judges used the analogy that if a person changed their religion it is still religious discrimination and it is still sex discrimination if a person their sex.

United States Reaches Agreement with Arcadia, California, School District to Resolve Sex Discrimination Allegations

There are a number of Facebook and blog postings declaring to the effect that the agreement (see my blog post yesterday morning) was “Hugh win for trans-students” or “All schools must allow students to use the bathrooms of their gender identity” well that is not quite true. It was a great victory but the agreement only covers the Arcadia, California, School District. This was not a ruling like the EEOC last year on employment nor was it a court case so it doesn’t have broad coverage; it just covers the Arcadia, CA School District. It does not affect all federally funded schools nationwide.

However, what it does show is that the Department of Justice believes that the laws do cover gender identity and expression and that the laws also cover sex-segregated facilities. There have been a number of schools in Connecticut that refuse to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity and require them to use a staff bathroom or a gender neutral bathroom. The CT law is vague about sex-segregated facilities; the CHRO takes the position that sex-segregated facilities are covered under the law but some school districts point out that there has never been any court ruling to back-up their opinion. This agreement between the DOJ and the Arcadia, CA School District will make those CT school district rethink their policy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I’m Off To Attend A Workshop…

There is a workshop that I’m going to now that is being facilitated by a friend; the workshop is “What Can You Do to Fight Intolerance?” at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford.
Racism, xenophobia and intolerance are prevalent problems.  Prejudice and discrimination are reflected throughout United States history from European-American exploitation of Native Americans and enslavement of people of African descent; job discrimination against the Irish; World War II internment of Japanese Americans; state-sponsored racial segregation of Mexican Americans; Jim Crow laws, and the War on Drugs that results in mass incarceration of African Americans.
To encourage conversation and solution-building, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center presents What Can You Do to Fight Intolerance?, a free workshop on July 25 from 5-7 p.m., facilitated by Dr. William A. Howe, CT Department of Education. Reservations are encouraged: 860-522-9258, ext. 317 or Info @

I've never been to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center but I have driven by the house and I believe the center is right behind the house and next to the Mark Twain house.

Update 8:30
It was a great workshop, great interaction with other attendees and I came away with somethings that I can use in my workshops. One of the things that I can use when I teach culture competence is a good icebreaker; "What are you proud of your culture?" and "What do you wish they wouldn't say about your culture?" we had two minutes to give your answer the person next to you and then they had two minutes to tell you their answer.

Know Your Rights

I received two emails this morning that I want to share with you this morning, the first was from Lambda Legal and the second one was about the U.S. Department of Justice recent agreement.

Lambda Legal sent out their newsletter and they had about their transgender rights project (of course the newsletter was mostly about DOMA) with a link to their “Know Your Rights” webpage. I strongly suggest the you bookmark the page, it has information about identity documents, workplace rights, your healthcare rights, marriage laws for us, information about trans-youth and seniors and also about bathroom rights.

The second email came from the CT Safe School Coalition that I am a member of for the CT TransAdvocacy Coalition and this one was about a DOJ agreement that they reached with a school system out in California about discrimination against a trans-student. The press release states,
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
United States Reaches Agreement with Arcadia, California, School District to Resolve Sex Discrimination Allegations

The United States entered into a settlement agreement with the Arcadia Unified School District in Arcadia, Calif., to resolve an investigation into allegations of discrimination against a transgender student based on the student’s sex.  Under the agreement, approved by the district’s school board unanimously last night, the school district will take a number of steps to ensure that the student, whose gender identity is male and who has consistently and uniformly presented as a boy at school and in all other aspects of his life for several years, will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district.

The agreement, joined by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which participated in the investigation, resolves a complaint filed in October 2011.  The complaint alleged that the district had prohibited the student from accessing facilities consistent with his male gender identity, including restrooms and locker rooms at school, as well as sex-specific overnight accommodations at a school-sponsored trip, because he is transgender.  The United States investigated this complaint under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Both Title IX and Title IV prohibit discrimination against students based on sex.

Under the settlement agreement, the district will:
  •           work with a consultant to support and assist the district in creating a safe, nondiscriminatory learning environment for students who are transgender or do not conform to gender stereotypes;
  •           amend its policies and procedures to reflect that gender-based discrimination, including discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, transgender status, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, is a form of discrimination based on sex; and
  •           train administrators and faculty on preventing gender-based discrimination and creating a nondiscriminatory school environment for transgender students.
Additionally, the district will take a number of steps to treat the student like all other male students in the education programs and activities offered by the district.  The district-wide provisions of the agreement will be in place until the end of the 2015-2016 school year.  The student-specific provisions of the agreement will be in place as long as the student is enrolled in the district.

“All students, including transgender students, have the right to attend school free from discrimination based on their sex,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “We commend the district for taking affirmative steps to ensure that this student and his peers can continue to learn and thrive in a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.”

“Our commitment to civil rights enforcement runs deep and nowhere is that commitment more meaningful than in our schools,” said André Birotte, Jr., United States Attorney for the Central District of California. “This agreement helps ensure continued advancement towards equal rights under the law for all students.”

In recent years, the Justice Department and the Department of Education resolved a number of cases involving gender-based harassment in public schools.  In 2012, the departments entered into a consent decree addressing harassment against students who do not conform to gender stereotypes in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minn.  In 2011, the departments entered into an agreement with the Tehachapi Unified School District, Calif., to resolve a similar complaint of harassment against a gay student who did not conform to gender stereotypes.

 Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 each prohibit harassment based on sex.  The enforcement of Title IV and Title IX are top priorities of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at .

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Do You Think They Did It Out Of Kindness?

Today Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado reversed it decision not to cover chest surgery for a trans-man.
In abrupt reversal, Anthem covers transgender care
Health Policy Solutions
By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
Posted on 24 July 2013

One of Colorado’s largest health insurance companies has reversed itself and is now covering care for transgender patients.

Kelly Costello, 32, of Denver, received stunning news last week. One day after getting a formal notice that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado would not cover chest reconstruction surgery, the company abruptly overturned its decision.

Costello received a written notice that Anthem has reversed its decision and now will cover “some or all of the services.” Costello had paid about $8,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for the surgery he underwent in April.
Do you really think that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado out of the kindness of their heart reversed their decision not to cover surgery for trans-people in Colorado?

No, read on,
In March, Colorado’s Division of Insurance issued a bulletin barring health insurance companies from discriminating against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
They realized that they had a losing case and were ripe for a law suit.

Hey Insurance Commissioner Leonardi, Connecticut has the same law as Colorado, where is our bulletin?

I Remember…

...When I was little I use to with Legos, Erector sets with the neighborhood kids and as I got older some of my neighborhood kids played Little League but I was never into sports. The rest of the neighborhood kids played in the woods and built tree forts and fought imaginary battles. At night we use to play hide and seek or chase fireflies. We didn’t have many structured games we used our imagination and came up with created ways to entertain ourselves and explore our environment. So when I found this on a friends Facebook page I read the article…
Your Brain on Childhood: The Unexpected Side Effects of Classrooms, Ballparks, Family Rooms, and the Minivan
Prometheus Books
By Gabrielle Principe
For more than 99 percent of human existence childhood was spent in a natural environment. Children spent their days roaming in packs and playing on their own in the out-of-doors. They improvised their play, invented games, and made up their own rules. Education was informal and new skills were learned through interacting with peers and encountering the natural world.

Today, infants find themselves strapped into bouncy seats and plunked in front of the TV set; preschoolers are given talking doll houses and battery-powered frogs that teach them their ABCs; and older children sit in front of computers with iPods in their ears texting friends.

Although such artificial environments have made life easier and more secure for children, scientists are finding that this new lifestyle is having unwanted side effects on children’s brains. In Your Brain on Childhood, developmental psychologist Gabrielle Principe reviews the consequences of raising children in today’s highly unnatural environments and suggests ways in which parents can learn to naturalize childhood again, so that a child’s environment gels with how the brain was designed to grow.
I was watching my grandnieces and grandnephews play with Logos one Christmas building the toy pictured on the box (I believe it was an action figure from Star Wars) and when they went on to another toy, I started to build something with the Legos and I got chided for not building the picture on the box. They were using their imagination but only within the confines outlined on the box, they were zoom around the room fighting imaginary space battles with it; but if you wanted to build a tank with the Legos, they didn’t like that.

The book review goes on to say,
The startling implication is that today’s structured, controlled, and fabricated surroundings are exactly wrong for developing brains. Instead of emphasizing technology and organized activities, parents and teachers could better help children learn by encouraging exploration, experimentation, and exposure to the real world…
Now it seems like that Little League goes for the whole summer and there is no time for family activities, it seems like the summer about going from one camp to another summer camp. From band camp to cheerleader camp to soccer camp. When my brother and I were little we use to travel all over the eastern U.S. by car exploring the countryside. We explored the caves of New York State, the civil war battle fields and visited just about every national park this side of the Mississippi and we didn’t have a built-in TV to watch or an electronic game to play. Instead we looked for Burma Shave signs or Mail Pouch tobacco barns or find a particular state license plates (My brother always won because he was usually sitting on the driver side of the car).

The review goes on to say,
…Recess, now often dismissed as a waste of time, should be considered an essential part of children’s cognitive and social development; lessons should be individualized as much as possible; and the current focus on homework and letter grades should be de-emphasized and eventually eliminated altogether.
Now it is “teach the test” we don’t want individual thinking, heaven help the child that asks “why?” What are the first classes that are dropped from the curriculum? Art and music, we don’t need those they are not on the standardized tests.

When I got summoned to jury duty they had signs all over the building about turning off your cell phones and while the judge was giving his speech to us a twenty-something was texting away. The judge looked at the sheriff who want over and took away the man’s cell phone. The guy argued with the judge that he needed to keep in touch with work and the guy looked like he was going through drug withdraws for the rest of the day. I know that I am attached to emails, I feel lost if I haven’t checked my emails at least a couple of times a day.

I’m glad that I am in my sixties because I sure hate to see the results of this grand experiment.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Student Writing Contest Winner

Each week during the summer the New York Times has a writing contest where students write about an article that they read that week in the Times,
Summer Reading Contest Winner | Transgender Rights
Each Monday through Sept. 2, we’ll be announcing the winner and runners-up for a different week of our Summer Reading Contest.
New York Times: Education
July 22, 2013

The Winner:

We unanimously chose Lily’s response to “Rights Unit Finds Bias Against Transgender Student” as our contest winner.

Not only is Lily’s post well written and emotionally potent, she deserves commendation for her courage in sharing her story of surviving high school as a transgender teen. Lily celebrates Coy’s victory, comes to terms with her own defeat, and finds consolation in the power of her advocacy. And part of what makes her writing so rich with complexity is her confident and correct use of demeanor, defy and precedent, among other apt words:
    A large smile came to Coy Mathis’s face upon hearing she won; a larger one came to my face upon reading of it. I have identified as female for the past two years, though like Coy my birth certificate states that I am male: simply put, I am transgender.

    I am on my way to college in the fall, but it is with a slight sense of regret over leaving high school without winning my own fight for equality. Like Coy, I had already been living as a female for quite some time. There was little in my demeanor or comportment that suggested anything deviant, but the official administrative decision my school made was to force me to use the gender-neutral staff restroom.

    I didn’t have the support Coy had to fight this decision. I had to settle with defying this order throughout my final two years of high school, though not without a certain degree of shame; I had to settle with thinking of myself as “almost female enough to use the female restrooms.” There was a lot of pride-swallowing over the last few years.

    “Perhaps society isn’t ready yet,” I thought, but this ruling has proven me wrong. It has upheld and even expanded the rights of transgender children and affirmed the existence of hundreds of thousands of children in the same position as Coy and me. This small case in Colorado may seem relatively insignificant in our republic, where states can determine many of their own laws, but it is a massive first step in establishing a precedent for transgender children in our education system.

    My opportunity to benefit from this growing change may have passed, but I still have the power of advocacy, the power to influence my school and others like it to change their policies for the better. Coy Mathis will be able to attend school and live according to the gender she identifies as — I would like to help other children like her to do the same.
The week before Times asked to students the question “What Interested You Most in The Times This Week?” and they received over 450 responses last week. Out of the all the responses not only was a trans-girl was picked number one; her comment was from the heart and personal and it beat out about comments about the 19 firefighters that died in Arizona, the revolt Egypt and other top stories that week.

Forging Our Own

Back in June OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network asked its executive director, Allyson Robinson, to resign under controversial circumstances. We don’t know the who story but it seems like OutServe/SLDN might be having financial problems, my guess is that once DADT was repealed all the donations from gays and lesbians dried up. We have seen that so many time, the organizations promise we will come back for you but their members say with their pocketbooks, screw you, we got ours and walk away.

Well now a group of trans-sevicemembers and their allies has started their own organization, Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All, or SPΛRT*A.
Transgender Group Leaves OutServe-SLDN, Joins Startup Group SPART*A
The transgender group of OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network announced Monday that it is cutting ties with the embattled organization, partnering with a new splinter group formed in the wake of a public controversy.
By Sunnivie Brydum
July 22 2013

A group of transgender veterans and members currently serving in the armed forces announced today that they are leaving the embattled LGBT military advocacy group OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to join a new startup group focused more explicitly on securing open military service for transgender individuals.

A press release today announced the formation of Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All, or SPΛRT*A, a "group of LGBT people and allies who are currently serving or have served in the military, and our families," that is "especially committed to our Trans members… and to gaining full equality for them in the U.S. Armed Forces. SPART*A's Facebook page is currently active, while a website for the fledgling group is still under construction.
The article also goes on to say that the Military Transgender Group has divorced itself OutServe-SLDN and said that, a statement issued Monday. "This process has been painful, and strained personal and professional relationships that had previously been strong… The ultimate question we had to answer was where we need to be in order to most effectively move the issue of open service for transgender people forward. Unfortunately, it was the considered opinion of our members that OutServe-SLDN will not be able to represent our interests effectively for the foreseeable future."
So will OutServe-SLDN no longer be working to end discrimination in the military against trans-sevicemembers? SPART*A will need time to organize and get up to speed, stay tune for further updates.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Tax Man Cometh

One type of music that I like is original folk music and I just came across an article about a trans-women folk musician who the Minnesota Department of Revenue says owes back taxes.
Thousands in back taxes ride on one question: Is Venus de Mars a professional or amateur artist?
Minnesota Public Radio
By Marianne Combs
July 19, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Venus de Mars has been a longtime fixture in the Twin Cities music scene, producing seven original albums over the past two decades. Known for provocative stage shows that involve lots of black leather and reverb, the transgender rock musician tours regularly around the country, singing songs inspired by her experience living between genders.

De Mars does not have a day job. She makes about $20,000 a year entirely on her music, painting and other artistic endeavors and considers herself a professional artist.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue, however, disagrees. Its ruling earlier this year defining de Mars as a hobbyist who cannot claim tax deductions for her artistic work could set a precedent that advocates for artists say would put artists' careers in jeopardy.
Now get this…
It listed several reasons, chief among them that de Mars took too much pleasure from her work, and didn't work hard enough to make a profit. As a result, state officials say she owes thousands of dollars in back taxes.
Isn’t that stupid? How do they define “work hard enough”? How many small independent businesses make a profit for the first three years? Is she supposed to hate her work in order to have tax deductions?

Do you know how many struggling artists out would fall under the same criteria and have to pay taxes as they try to get known? I bet all most every independent artist could not take the deductions; could you imagine if Picasso, Dali, Monet and Degas were still alive the Minnesota Department of Revenue would send them a tax bill, sorry you are not real artist, you’re just doing it as a hobby.

Baby Watch

How many of you are watching the news? Do you know that Kate went into labor?

The world waits for the big news, a boy or a girl?

What will happen if the baby is neither, what would happen if the baby is intersex? Would they rush the baby into surgery to "correct" the problem? Would they wait for the child to decided their true gender?

The world is so hung up on gender, why don't they focus the person and not what they are.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Following The Links (Part 2)

Many times when I read something on the internet I research related topics that is what brought me to this web-page, this time on a forum where “Orange is the new Black” episode 3 was being discussed. In that episode Sophia Burset hormones are stopped by the prison staff and someone mentioned that stopping hormones wouldn’t kill you. I mentioned that you could lose bone density but before I wrote that I researched it on Pub Med database and found some interesting studies…
Body composition, volumetric and areal bone parameters in male-to-female transsexual persons.

M-->F transsexual persons have less lean mass and muscle strength, and higher fat mass. In addition, they present lower trabecular vBMD and aBMD at the lumbar spine, total hip and distal radius, and smaller cortical bone size as compared to matched controls. Both the lower level of sports-related physical activity as well testosterone deprivation could contribute to these findings. These results indicate that bone health should be a parameter of interest in the long-term follow-up care for M-->F transsexual persons.
And another study,
Prevalence of low bone mass in relation to estrogen treatment and body composition in male-to-female transsexual persons.

Bone health is a parameter of interest in the daily follow-up of male-to-female (M --> F) transsexual persons both before and after sex reassignment surgery (SRS) due to an intensely changing hormonal milieu. We have studied body composition, areal, geometric, and volumetric bone parameters, using DXA and peripheral quantitative computed tomography at different sites in 50 M --> F transsexual persons, at least 3 yr after the start of the hormonal treatment and 1 yr after SRS. In this cross-sectional study, hormone levels and markers of bone metabolism were assessed using immunoassays. Prevalence of low bone mass as defined by a Z-score < or = -2.0 according to DXA criteria was 26% at lumbar spine and 2% at the total hip. We found no major differences in hormonal parameters between participants with a Z-score < or = or > -2.0. Markers of bone turnover were comparable between subjects with or without low bone mass, indicating a stable bone turnover at the time of investigation. No significant differences in bone size or density were observed between patients on transdermal vs. oral estrogens. Low bone mass is not uncommon in M --> F transsexual persons. Smaller bone size, and a strikingly lower muscle mass compared with men appear to underlie these findings.
It seems that one of the things that we have to be aware of when we are on cross gender hormones is our bone density. I had a bone density scan this spring after 9 years on hormones, my bone density was normal.

And I also came across this interesting webpage at University of California, San Francisco, Center of Excellence for Transgender Health website where the recommend healthcare for trans-patients (Primary Care Protocol for Transgender Patient Care). Well worth reading.

Following The Links (Part 1)

Many times when I read something on the internet I research related topics that is what brought me to this web-page. On WPATH elist there is a discussion on “Transgender Care Certification Program.” I googled the subject and what I found is that there are no standards in the care of trans-patients. Some of the certificate programs are 8 hours while others are 24 hours and one even offers a six day training program.

In other medical flied there are defined training requirements that professional need to have before they are certified by a professional organization. What do you think? Should professional associations like the AMA, APA, NASW and the Endocrine Society have requirements for their members to get a certificate in Trans-Healthcare?

Also there are a number of companies that offer to teach Cultural Competence who are not giving be trans-people. I think that is like a white person teaching black culture, there are many qualified trans-people who are capable of teaching trans-culture. Do you think trans-culture should be taught by a trans-person? 

Terrible News Out Of Greece

The Greek police have declared war on trans-people in Greece!
Greece is Waging a Horrifying War on Transgender Women
by Steve Williams
July 9, 2013

Members of the European Parliament last week condemned what appears to be a systematic attack on trans citizens by Greece’s authorities.

Members of the European Parliament have issued strong statements against Greek police who, based on witness testimony and strong evidence, have been carrying out systematic arrests against trans women and detaining them without cause.

The first reported instance of this reportedly dates to August of 2012 when, without justification, police in Athens arrested and detained 25 transgender women in just one night. Those women were forced to submit to HIV tests under a new provision that allows forced HIV screenings as a matter of public health — more on that later. Those women were later released without charge.
Furthermore, on the night of June 4, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT rights reports that lawyer Electra Koutra, acting to defend the women, was also arrested when she attended the police station where the women were being held. The reason for her arrest has not been given.
The Greek Transgender Support Association contends that this might be a wider problem dating back to at least late May, when trans women had been arrested under the pretext, but no evidence, of them being sex workers, detained for up to four hours without charge and often forced to endure what the GTSA describes as humiliation from the authorities.

Furthermore, the GTSA contends that when those women did attempt a formal complaint, they were threatened legal action. Another report alleges that while in custody, a number of women were told by the police that if they did not “return to normal,” legal proceedings would be initiated on grounds of indecent behavior in public — despite no evidence any of the women had engaged in such.
While the persecution of trans-people was going on in Greece the European Union's Council of Ministers passed a LGBT human rights guidelines; according to EuropeanVoice,
On 24 June, the European Union's Council of Ministers adopted a ground-breaking foreign-policy document entitled “Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) persons”. These guidelines, drawn up by the European External Action Service (EEAS) are a comprehensive, legally binding document that instructs European Union institutions and member states on how to help progress the rights for LGBTI people when dealing with third countries and in international forums. These guidelines replace the non-binding ‘toolkit' adopted in 2010, they include references to the human rights of inter-sex people, and enhance the scope. They call for actions to combat discriminatory laws and policies; combat LGBTI-phobic violence; and promote equality and non-discrimination. In short, the EU now has a state-of-the-art framework for the promotion of greater recognition of LGBTI human rights internationally. This is an extraordinarily fast-paced development and deserves to be praised.
But as the article points out, not internally, the guidelines are only international.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday Six #484

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #484

1. What is your favorite song and why?
Lola by the Kinks… three guesses.

2. What is your favorite band and why?
The Grateful Dead, I was a “Dead Head” it was more than music there was a who culture that was part of the Dead.

3. What is your favorite place to vacation and why?
I don’t have one particular spot other than the cottage. I like the Maine’s coast, Cape Cod and I would like to go out West again.

4. What is your favorite local restaurant and why?
The Blue Lobster… well because they have lobster need I say more?

5. Who is your favorite living relative and why?
My brother and I think reason is obvious

6. What is your favorite pet (current or past) and why?
My brother had labradors, I never had any pets

Saturday 9: Endless Summer

Crazy Sam’s  Saturday 9: Endless Summer

Thanks to Kwizgiver for recommending The Beach Boys

1) The best-selling Beach Boys album of all time is this two disc greatest hits compilation. Do you have favorite Beach Boys song?

Back in high school I hung around with “gear heads”, but they weren’t 409s but 427s. I don’t remember how many times I help carry a short block out of a basement.

2) The original members of the group were the Wilson brothers, their cousin Mike and a friend from the neighborhood. Have you ever worked with a family member?
Yes and for the sake of family unity I’m not saying anything more.

3) Originally released in the mid-1970s, Endless Summer was one of the first fast-selling albums sold on TV. Have you ever picked up the phone and purchased anything directly from TV?
But I meet the “But wait there’s more!” guy once. I was talking to friend when he join the conversation, he was a friend of my friend, and when he was talking I couldn’t place the voice. He saw me looking at him funny and he smiled and said “But wait there’s more!” Of course I recognized the voice right away.

4) The Beach Boys are very popular in Australia. Have you ever been Down Under?
Nope, but I would like to visit there and New Zealand.

5) Actor John Stamos played bongos on the Beach Boys' hit, "Kokomo." In his younger days, Stamos was Blackie on the daytime drama, General Hospital. Have you ever followed a soap opera?
Never got into them, I like shows that end in an hour.

6) Many Beach Boys songs revolve around the surf. How are you on a surf board?
Horrible! I tried surfing once on Martha's Vineyard, it was a disaster. I didn’t like having to get sand out of ever opening in my body.

7) Would you prefer summer to be endless? Or do you enjoy the changing seasons?
Well it depends, if it was like this week where it was 90 and 90, no. However, I wouldn’t mind if we had three seasons spring, summer and fall.

8) Do your summer 2013 plans include a trip to a waterpark?
Nope, I rather hang out at the lake.

9) Describe your swimsuit.
I can do better than describe it…

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Day Trip To The Hill-Stead

Yesterday we were planning on going to the New Britain Museum of American Art but all the library passes were out so I picked up a pass to the Hill-Stead Museum. I had never been there before but it was on my list museums to visit.

When we got there the woman in the gift shop asked if we wanted to go on the tour? I was really wasn’t interesting a guided tour but the friend I was with said yes. Well it turned out that was the right answer because the Hill-Stead isn’t like an ordinary museum, they only have tours. It was the retirement home of the Pope family and it used to be a working farm back in the 1901 when it was built; her father was the president of Cleveland Malleable Iron Company and it was his daughter that created the Hill-Stead Trust when she died. She was a woman ahead of her time.

They were from Ohio and they sent their daughter back east to go to a finishing school for girls, Miss Poter's, that is also located in Farmington just down the road from the Hill-Stead. Theodate Pope (born Effie Pope in 1867, she changed her name in 1886) went on to become an influential architect, she designed many local building in Connecticut and New York and she was the fourth registered woman architect in the nation and she became a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1918 (You can read more about at the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, on the Hill-Stead website and an excellent website “Theodate Pope Riddle Her Life and Architecture")

Theodate Pope Riddle from Joe Colombatto on Vimeo.

About the Hill-Stead Museum:

Alfred Atmore Pope collected "avant-garde" works that would inspire him, such as French Impressionism with works of Edgar Degas and Claude Monet and he also liked the works of James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt and Edouard Manet. As part of Theodate Pope will Hill-Stead is preserved with all the original art and furnishing, they will never leave the estate. As one of the other women said in the tour that this was the only place where she has seen a Monet as it was meant to be viewed, in a living room over a fireplace.

Later the as we were touring the house’s library the same woman pointed to a book and said, "Is that 'Godey’s Lady Book'?” and the tour guide said yes pointing to a row of books and said that they are only opened for members to view once in awhile.

After the tour we walked in the near 100o heat for a little bit in the sunken garden next to the house and the horse barn, then we hurried back to the air conditioned car.
The afternoon was well spent touring the house.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Good News, Atlanta GA Passes Non-Discrimination Law

The city council on Monday passed a law to ban discrimination based on gender identity…
Atlanta City Council adds 'gender identity' to all city laws that include anti-bias policy
by Dyana Bagby  
July 16, 2013

The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved Monday legislation to ensure “gender identity” is included in all of the sections of the city's codes dealing with its non-discrimination policy.

In 2000, the city of Atlanta approved a nondiscrimination ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, domestic relationship status, parental status, familial status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, racial profiling, age or disability.
The article goes on to list other cities in Georgia that have non-discrimination policies, but unfortunately the article doesn’t say if they also include gender identity and expression.

Now I can visit Martin Luther King birthplace and not have to worry about being thrown out of a restaurant in the city.

You've Got to Be Carefully Taught

You've got to be taught to hate and fear,
You've got to be taught from year to year,
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
South Pacific “You've Got to Be Carefully Taught” Rodgers and Hammerstein

Do you remember this commercial?

The commercial cause so many racist comments that they had to close down the comments

Now look at what kids think about the commercial…

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Here Is A Novel Idea.

A trans-women playing a trans-woman. I think the only other time it was done was in the TV show “Dirty Sexy Money” with Candis Cayne playing a high end call girl and she was only a minor character on the show. Now on Orange Is the New Black, Netflix’s original series that debuted on July 11, a trans-women is playing a major character in the show. There is an article in The Daily Beast about the show...
For the first time in TV history, a transgender character is at the forefront of a show and being portrayed by a black transgender woman. (Transgender is an umbrella term that also includes transsexuals.) Laverne Cox plays Sophia Burset, a former firefighter sent to prison for using credit cards stolen from the wreckage of fires she helped put out. In prison, she acts as a hairdresser, friend, and political conscience for the other prisoners, while also trying to ensure access to her female hormones and repairing her relationship with her wife and son…
I can understand why it is a hit, there are plenty of boobs and lesbian sex. I only watched the first episode but I have a question, is Sophia Burset post-op in the show? I ask that because she is in a women’s prison and if she isn’t then in real life they would have put her in a men’s prison. On of the fears that trans-people have is going to jail and being placed in with their birth gender even through they transitioned.

I will update the post once I see episode two tonight.
Episode 3, leaves no doubt that she belongs in a women's jail.

Dead Voters Don’t Vote.

With the recent Supreme Court decision overturning the Voter Rights Act there is a lot of talk about voter fraud, but that all there is talk, no facts.

Fox News was hyping voter fraud saying that 900 dead voters voted in South Caroline’s elections, now that the dust has settled down the truth comes out,
Another Fox Voter Fraud Story Dies
Media Matters
By Matt Gertz
July 8, 2013

Seventeen months after Fox News became briefly fixated on Republican claims that hundreds of dead voters had cast ballots in South Carolina, those allegations have been completely debunked by an investigation by law enforcement that found no evidence of voter fraud.
The South Carolina "dead voter" claim sprang from testimony from Kevin Schwedo, the director of the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, who said on January 11, 2012, that more than 950 residents were recorded as having cast a vote after their reported death date. Schwedo made clear that this could have been the result of data errors or voters dying after casting an absentee ballot, but the state's Republicans, led by Attorney General Alan Wilson, seized on the report as evidence of widespread voter fraud.
WOW! 950 DEAD VOTERS* VOTED! But wait what is that little asterisk? Oh, it may have been a data base error. But somehow that little asterisk got lost in all the hype Republicans and the right wing media made over 950 dead voters voting.
Indeed, on July 3 the public release of an investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) provided the answer we anticipated: No voter fraud was found, no charges filed.  As of noon E.T. on July 8, Fox had not reported on those findings.

According to the report, released due to a public records search by the Columbia Free Times' Corey Hutchins, SLED reviewed the findings of the State Election Commission, which had looked into the 207 votes that had been called into question that occurred during the 2010 general election. Nearly half were the result of "name recognition errors," where, for instance, when a father who was deceased but whose name still appeared on the list would be marked as having voted when his son of the same name had actually cast the ballot. The balance was due to other types of clerical errors and individuals casting absentee ballots before their deaths.
If the report got mentioned at all in the news media it was delegated to the back page, so what does the public think? Maybe think that we need new laws to prevent voter fraud, we need the “Voter ID” act that will disenfranchise the marginalized voter so when the Republicans push the new bills everyone is shouting about stopping “voter fraud”.

Look at Pennsylvania, the Republicans did the same thing there, shouted “voter fraud” and after the bill passed the truth came… there was no voter fraud and the Republicans actually bragged how they disenfranchised Democratic voters. In Connecticut and California the Republicans shouted fraud about ACORN, do you remember that? It was all over the national and local news about all the voter fraud ACORN was doing. Once the reports came out, the Attorney General of California and the Secretary of State of Connecticut found no voter fraud with ACORN that they followed the law. But the damage was done and the Republicans got their way and ACORN closed. And the Republicans got their way in the other states with "Voter ID" laws, they know that the voters who will have the hardest time getting their voting IDs are the minorities and the poor, the people who would have most likely voted Democratic.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Got A Flat?

Ever have a flat tire? Ever have a flat tire while crossdressed? Do you know the difference between the two? One is a hassle and the other could get you killed or arrested.
Being Transgender in Kuwait: “My Biggest Fear Is a Flat Tire
Human Rights Watch
July 15, 2013
By Belkis Wille

On a warm evening in late April 2013, I was sitting at a Starbucks in Kuwait City across the table from a thirty-one year old woman. Even though “Reem” had undergone male-to-female surgery almost a decade earlier, legal barriers prevented her complete transition to womanhood.

Reem still wore a bulky suit and tie every day to her office to conceal the fact that she was now a woman. When she would go out as herself, she would have to borrow her sister’s ID; luckily, they have similar features.
While she [a friend of Reem] was driving home one night, Dalia had car trouble and had to pull over. A policeman pulled up and asked for her papers. On official documents, Dalia, like Reem, is a man—in Kuwait, transgendered people have no legal recourse to change the gender on their ID cards.

The policeman arrested Dalia for dressing as a woman. Ultimately, she spent eight days in prison, for the crime of imitating the opposite sex. Upon release, Dalia was ordered to pay a fine and banned from traveling abroad for seven months. “Now,” she told me, “my biggest fear is a flat tire.”
Thirty-nine of the forty transgender women who HRW interviewed for its report said they were arrested, some individuals as many as nine times. In the majority of cases, the criminal court either acquitted the individual or failed to reach a verdict.

Many of these transgender women claimed, however, that police forced them—by threat or physical violence—to sign declarations stating they would “never again imitate the opposite sex” before releasing them from prison.
Here in the U.S., many trans-people also fear having a flat, but it depends mainly where you live. Last year I had a flat tire in Massachusetts and a nice man stopped and changed the tire for me. Once before I transitioned I was going up to First Event in Boston, a transgender conference, when we had a flat tire on the Massachusetts’ Turnpike and I feared that a trucker or someone would stop and help us.

I know of trans-persons who have been pulled over for speeding and have been harassed by the police. In one case once the officer found out she was a crossdresser three other police cars arrived and all of the officers had to get a look at her. In another speeding case the officer wrote on the ticket that she was crossdressed. How many times have you heard of an officer writing down on a speeding ticket how you were dressed?

I know of someone who was crossdressed and their car caught fire one night. “He” was a volunteer fire fighter in that town and she was petrified that they would recognize her (which they didn’t); afterward we all have a good laugh over it, but at the time she was frighten that she would be the laughing stock of the town.

So You Want To Live In Florida

Only in Florida…
George Zimmerman kills a person and is found not guilty
Marissa Alexander shoots a ceiling and gets 20 years in jail
Why did Marissa Alexander get a 20-year sentence despite invoking ‘Stand Your Ground’?
Morgan Whitaker

Alexander, an African-American Florida woman, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 for shooting what she described as warning shots into a wall during a confrontation with her husband. Alexander’s lawyers claimed self-defense in the case, and said her husband had a history of abuse in their relationship. They invoked Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives people the right to use lethal force if they feel their life is threatened. The jury ultimately sided with prosecutors in deciding Alexander’s actions were not in self-defense, WJXT reported.

Her sentencing fell under the guidelines of what’s known in Florida as the “10-20-Life” law, which set certain mandatory minimum sentences for crimes committed with a firearm. The law enacted in 1999 requires that any crime committed with a gun earns the perpetrator a minimum ten year sentence, as the Florida Department of Corrections explains. If the firearm is discharged, the convicted will receive a 20-year minimum sentence, and if shots fired from the gun injure or kill anyone, the minimum sentence is 25-years to life.
The moral to the story is as obvious as black and white.

PBS last year researched racial bias in “Stand Your Ground” laws last year in the states where they have the law…
Is There Racial Bias in “Stand Your Ground” Laws?
July 31, 2012, 12:40 pm ET by Sarah Childress

At least 20 states have laws with provisions that don’t require civilians to flee from an intruder before fighting back, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, eight states, all of them in the south, specifically use the phrasing, “Stand Your Ground.” That includes Florida.
At least 20 states have laws with provisions that don’t require civilians to flee from an intruder before fighting back, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, eight states, all of them in the south, specifically use the phrasing, “Stand Your Ground.” That includes Florida.
Using this analysis, Roman found that a greater number of homicides were found justified in Stand Your Ground states in all racial combinations, a result he believes is because those states yielded more killings overall.

Roman also found that Stand Your Ground laws tend to track the existing racial disparities in homicide convictions across the U.S. — with one significant exception: Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.

In Florida, for example, if a shooter invokes the Stand Your Ground law, police can determine whether to make an arrest when they arrive on the scene. If they do arrest him, the suspect then appears before a judge who determines whether Stand Your Ground applies to the case. If it does, the prosecutor then decides whether to go to court.

The system offers substantial discretion to authorities at every level, which is much more difficult to monitor and evaluate — and much more vulnerable to creeping bias.

That’s why the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced last month that it would investigate concerns about racial bias in the law’s application.
So do you still want to live in Florida or another state with “Stand Your Ground” laws? But on the other hand, if you are white I guess it is OK.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Trans-Women In Homeless Shelters…

Two women complained about trans-women using the homeless shelter…
Transgender clients at women's shelter draw complaints
But officials for Florence House say their policy is to accept people as they present themselves.
Portland Press Hearld
By Joe Lawlor Staff Write
July 15, 2013

PORTLAND - Two women who stay at Florence House, a homeless shelter for women in Portland, have complained that two men who dress as women have also been staying there for the past few months -- using the same common bathrooms, showers and sleeping facilities.

The women say it's unsettling to share a space with people they consider men, although shelter officials say the two people identify as transgender and are therefore allowed to stay.

"I am supposed to be there as a woman with other women," said one of the women, who did not want to be identified for fear of losing her spot at the shelter. She said one of the people in question has stared at her, making her uncomfortable.
OK, so let me get this straight; the trans-women did nothing wrong they just looked at her. They didn’t break any laws or break the shelter rules. They didn’t harass her. They just looked at her funny.

She is uncomfortable so they should be put in a men’s shelter where they can get raped and assaulted. But that is okay because she won’t be uncomfortable anymore.
But the women who complained said they believe that in at least one case, it was a ruse. They believe one of the people in question is a man who occasionally dresses as a woman to get into the shelter, perhaps for voyeuristic reasons. That person did not have any feminine mannerisms and often dresses in a T-shirt and jeans, sporting a 5 o'clock shadow of male facial hair, they said.

"If they're really living as a woman, I think they have every right to be there," said one of the women who complained. "But he wasn't wearing makeup or wearing eyeliner or anything. Just a man wearing a skirt. It was just odd."
So, women, real women wear makeup and never dress in T-shirts and jeans. As for the 5 o’clock shadow… Honey, if you want to give them a couple of thousand dollars for them to have electrolysis or laser treatment, I sure they would be happy to have their beards removed. But since it is unlikely you will give them the money and since they are living in a homeless shelter I doubt very much that they have the money.
One of the women said the shelter is supposed to be a safe haven for women, who in many cases are leaving domestic violence situations.
I can understand her feelings but I think she has to understand that trans-women also can be in an abusive relationship and if they are forced into a men’s shelter then they maybe assaulted there and further victimizing. The article also pointed out that the shelter has individual shower stalls and bathrooms with locks on them.

Residency at shelters should be based on behavior, as long as a person does not break the shelter’s rules they should be allowed to stay there. It shouldn’t be based on feeling uncomfortable.