Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saturday Six #503

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #503

1. Which is your favorite rock band?
The Grateful Dead; yes I was a “deadhead”

2. Which rock other than the one that is your real birthstone do you wish was your birthstone?
Jade, I like the color green.

3. How many pieces of jewelry do you own with your actual birthstone in it?
None unless cubic zirconia is a birthstone. My month actually has two birthstones, Tourmaline and Opal.

4. Which sketch, if any, do you most remember from ABC’s Saturday morning “Schoolhouse Rock” series?
Hun? I never heard of them. Back when I was a kid we had Lassie and Roy Rogers.

5. Do you own a rocking chair?
Well kind of, my recliner rocks.

6. Someone who can be strong in the face of adversity is often described as a “rock.” Who in your life is that rock for you?
My brother, I don't know what I would do if he was no longer around.

Saturday 9: Back to Black

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Back to Black

1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday, November 29, was "Black Friday," when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains?
Nope. The closest I was to shopping was getting stuck in traffic on the New York Thruway where everyone was getting off to go to a mall; it backed traffic up for 10 miles! Grrr!

2) Legend has it that Black Friday began as a neighborhood phenomenon among storeowners in Philadelphia back in the early 1960s. What else comes to mind when you think of Philly?
Philly Steak sandwich.

3) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include pigging out or watching a game?
Nope, I read while everyone was huddled around the TV on Thursday.

4) At Thanksgiving dinners, Crazy Sam's homemade gravy is always a hit. (Probably because she's so generous with the cognac, which gives the gravy a nutty taste.) Do you have a signature dish?
Corn Soufflé, but I didn’t make it this year.

5) Among the biggest the Black Friday advertisers are Target, Kohl's, Macy's and Best Buy. If you could have a $100 gift card to any one of those stores, which would you choose?
Well Macy’s doesn’t have anything in my size, I don’t like Target as much as Kohl’s but I looking to buy a tablet so I have to go with Best Buy.

6) You're in a public restroom that offers both paper towels and a hot air hand dryer. Which one do you choose?
Towels, the hot air dryer doesn’t dry my hands completely and with a towel you can grab one and step aside, while the dryer only one person at a time can dry their hands.

7) While Back to Black is the best-selling Amy Winehouse CD, her first was called Frank, named for her hero, Frank Sinatra. Tell us about someone you inspires you.
Nikola Tesla

8) Do you consider yourself a pessimist or an optimist?
It depends, sometimes I’m a pessimist, and sometimes I am an optimist. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

9) Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone (a verbal conversation -- not an exchange of texts)?
A friend about meeting for lunch.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Friendly Voice

The holidays are always a stressful time when sometimes just someone to talk to is all that is needed to get you through the seasons. Two trans women, a trans man, and a spouse of a trans woman are willing to listen to you over the holidays. They are not therapists but just caring persons to talk to and listen.
Trans? Holidays got you down? WE WILL CALL YOU ON THE PHONE.
Hello there.  For the third year in a row, we are doing THE DECEMBER PROJECT.  The plan is simple.  If you are trans– or if you love some one who is trans– and you need a friendly voice, email us and we will call you on the phone.
We cannot undo all the hurt in the world.  But what we can do is CALL YOU ON THE PHONE and remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You don’t have to be in crisis to take advantage of this project.  All you have to do is want a friendly voice.

The project is run by four people– Jennifer Finney Boylan, national co-chair of GLAAD; Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality;  Dylan Scholinski, director of Sent(a)mental Studios, and Helen Boyd, Professor at Lawrence University.  We are two trans women, a trans man, and a spouse of a trans woman.  Between the four of us, we have heard many different kinds of trans narratives.  If we can help you, we would be glad to do so.
They have just three ground rules…
1) First, no one in the December Project gets a dime out of it.
2) If you are in serious crisis, please bypass us and go directly to the national suicide prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255  WE ARE NOT TRAINED AS THERAPISTS or as counsellors for individuals in crisis.  If you need something more serious than a “friendly voice,’ please call the lifeline.
3) For the moment we are content with this project consisting of the four of us…
For more information or contact information visit Jenny Boylan’s blog “There from Here

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am away today with my brother's family, but for many people Thanksgiving is an especially lonely time, they might not have seen their family since they came out to them. Their families and children have disowned them and for them Thanksgiving is a time when they feel their loss the greatest. Thanksgiving is a time where we reflect on all that we have been thankful for over the year but for those of us it could also be a time a great stress while we see others around us celebrating during the holiday seasons. So let us open our hearts and doors to them and invite them to the table.

On the lighter side... what would Thanksgiving be without "Alice's Restaurant"

One of my favorite sitcom skits was from WKRP in Cincinnati, "Turkey Drop"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Hanukkah

I wish you a holiday season bright with joy and rich memories.
Happy Hanukkah

Lack Of Knowledge Or Biased?

In Colorado a school board member said that a transgender should be castrated before being allowed in the bathroom of their gender identity.
Transgender Comments Spark Controversy in School District
KREX News Room
by Amanda Brandeis
Nov 21, 2013

DELTA, Colo. Residents of Delta County have expressed concern over recent statements made in public by Delta County School Board member, Katherine Svenson. At the October meeting she commented on rights of transgender students.
Svenson passed out an issue of the Education Reporter during the October meeting, and said:

"I would like to pass out something that shows people what is going on in the rest of the country. Massachusetts and California have passed laws relating to calling a student, irrespective of his biological gender, letting him perform as the gender he thinks he is, or she is.
I just want to emphasize, not in this district. Not until the plumbing's changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here."

She stands firmly by her statements.

"I don't have a problem if some boys think they are girls, I'm just saying as long as they can impregnate a woman, they're not going to go in girls locker-room," said Svenson. She says she brought the issue up in order for other board members to be aware of the issues that could be coming to Colorado very soon.
Well first off, there is a standard of care which prevents that and second trans-children are usually given puberty blockers which prevents them from becoming fertile. When they become old enough then they are given cross gender hormones. So if her main concern is getting a girl pregnant her worries are groundless. But my guess it not that but a bias against trans-people.

Her comments came about because the school system issued new guidelines for trans-students that said they can use the bathroom of their gender identity.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Flawed Study?

I was just reading an article about a study in Japan on brain function of transsexuals and I noticed something about the research (besides using “gender identity disorder” instead of “gender dysphoria”).  What I noticed was this,
In the behavioral studies, 41 transsexual participants watched silent clips of films, some erotic in nature, others neutral, then rated the degree to which they identified with the male or female character. In both contexts, transsexual subjects gave significantly higher scores to the person of their desired gender than did 38 members of the reference group. Even during neutral films, the strength of this gender preference (desired versus non-desired) was much greater for transsexuals. The results pinpoint the pervasiveness of transsexuals' identification with their desired sex--in erotic situations, but also in neutral circumstances of daily life. This is considered a psychological trait that is a marker for gender identity disorder, said Prof. Jen-Chen Hsieh of National Yang-Ming University's Institute of Brian Science.
Practically about this “In the behavioral studies, 41 transsexual participants watched silent clips of films, some erotic in nature, others neutral, then rated the degree to which they identified with the male or female character.” What jumped out at me was the fact that they based their data on responses to erotic films. What the article does not say was if they considered lesbians.

If a trans-woman was attracted to women did the researches discount that attraction because it wasn’t “typical” women behavior?

Monday, November 25, 2013

I Know Garbage When I Read It

There is a book coming out by Sheila Jeffreys that tries to rips apart gender dysphoria. The book is by a radical feminist that follows along in the line of Janice Raymond's The Transsexual Empire. According to the press release,
This provocative and controversial book explores the consequences of these changes and offers a feminist perspective on the ideology and practice of transgenderism, which the author sees as harmful. It explores the effects of transgenderism on the lesbian and gay community, the partners of transgenders, children who are identified as transgender and transgenders themselves and argues these are negative. In doing so the book contends that the phenomenon is based upon sex stereotyping, referred to as 'gender' – a conservative ideology that forms the foundation for women's subordination. Gender Hurts argues for the abolition of ‘gender’, which would remove the rationale for transgenderism.
Just that one paragraph shows her ignorance on transgenderism, it is the exact opposite of sex stereotyping, it is about gender freedom. It is about breaking the mold.

Dallas Denny writes in a letter to the publishers,
Raymond’s book, which was published in 1979, was a vicious political attack on male-to-female transsexualism, the doctors who treated them, and transsexuals themselves. Its premise was ridiculous premise, its language pejorative language, and it was completely lacking in empirical evidence. Make no mistake: Raymond disguised her hatred of us in a thin veneer of scholarship. Nonetheless, Empire was well-received. Today, more than 30 years after its release, it remains in print and continues to fuel hate toward transsexuals, especially in lesbian separatist communities.
Now another radical separatist lesbian feminist with a grudge against transgendered people (please re-read the first paragraphs) has a book in production. Sheila Jeffreys and Lorene Gottschalk’s Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism is scheduled for publication in 2013 by Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Publishers.

Since Jeffreys has a history of harsh criticism (some say hate speech) about transsexual people and those who work with them, since she is clearly nursing a grudge because of perceived attacks upon her by transgendered and transsexual activists, since Gottschalk is Jeffrey’s former graduate student, since transgender issues have been only peripheral in Jeffreys’ past work, I am gravely concerned her book will reprise the more hateful elements of Raymond’s Empire. I expect deliberate pronoun misidentification and disingenuous interpretations of us, the data about us, the medical professionals who treat us, and the motivation, identities, and history of a community that for decades has been struggling for acceptance.
I have found that these radical feminists are few, as far as I know I have never encountered one. I have found that it is the older generation that has a hard time accepting trans-people, but the younger generation is far more accepting and understanding of transgenderism, they get it.

It is books like "The Transsexual Empire" and "Gender Hurts" that stir the hatred against trans-people.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Teaching The Children

A couple of Sunday’s ago I wrote about the bullying in the Dolphin’s locker room and I asked the question, “What does it teach the children?” I now have the answer…
Racist Graffiti Prompts Cancellation
A high school football game has been canceled in a suburban town northwest of Boston after racist graffiti was painted on the side of a player's house.
ESPN Boston
By Scott Barboza
November 19, 2013

Lunenburg High School's remaining football games across all levels were canceled Monday after racist graffiti was painted on the home of one of its players and amid allegations of a prior incident in a game against Worcester South High School.
Lunenburg's freshman team had been scheduled to play Friday before the foundation of the home of freshman player Isaac Phillips was spray-painted with a racial epithet. "Knights don't need n------," the graffiti said. Lunenburg's mascot is the Knights.
Phillips has also been the subject of bullying incidents while on the team, including having his cleats removed from his locker, filled with water and thrown in the trash, his family says, according to reports. The tires of a bicycle he used as transportation home from practice were slashed, he said.
When the high school players see their idols harassing and bullying other player, they will copy that behavior. When professional athletes are treated like prima donnas and can get away with anything, the student athletes will mimic that behavior.

Somewhere or other we lost sportsmanship and replaced it with “win at any cost.”

People tell me that sports builds character. Yes, but what character?

People tell me that sports builds team work. Yes, but what happens to those who do not fit the mold?

It is time to step back and ask, what is the purpose of school sports? Is it to make millionaires? Is it to get college scholarships? Is it to learn to cheat to get ahead?

Update 11/25/13:
Schools Chief Among 4 Indicted In Steubenville Rape Case
by Mark Memmott
November 25, 2013

Four adults, including the superintendent of the city's schools, have been indicted by a grand jury on charges related to the aftermath and alleged attempted coverup of a teenage girl's 2012 rape by members of the high school football team in Steubenville, Ohio.
Now, , Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey has been "charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and falsification." Also charged: elementary school principal Lynett Gorman, for alleged failure to report child abuse; wrestling coach Seth Fluharty, for alleged failure to report child abuse; and volunteer football coach Matthew Belardine, "who faces charges allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, falsification, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor."
Update 12/6/13:
The mother of the house that was spray painted in Lunenburg is now a "person of interest" in the case.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday Six #502

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #502

1. How big was the “dream home” you wanted when you were a kid?
It was big and it was an underground house that was shaped like a U. The top of the U faced south and was a glass wall. In the center of the U was an atrium with a pool and on one side of the U was a kitchen and breakfast nook looking out the window, there was also a formal dining room. At the base of the U was a living room with a fireplace. The other side of the U was a theater and an exercise room. Upstairs there were two bedrooms on each side of the U and at the base was the master bedroom.
I even designed it on a CAD program.

2. How close is your current residence to your dream home?
Not even close, it a modern passive solar cape. The only thing in common is the atrium.

3. What career would have been your “dream job” when you were a kid?
I always wanted to be an electrical engineer and I was until I retired.

4. Considering your current occupation, what is the biggest carryover from your childhood dream job?
Well I retired from engineering and then went into social work to keep me busy in retirement.

5. What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your true “dream job” today?
My knowledge is antiquated.

6. What color was your “dream car” when you were a kid?
Since my favorite colors is green, it was green.

Saturday 9: Sugar Shack

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Sugar Shack

This song was popular 50 years ago today. Hear it here.

1) In this song, our hero orders espresso. What's your standard coffee order?
Large, decaf, black coffee. It is amazing the variety I get when I pick-up my order; in the past I have gotten, pumpkin or cream & sugar or flavored coffee and worst of all caffeinated coffee because of a medical problem I can’t have caffeine. My order also got into morphed into various breakfast orders. I just don’t understand how “large, decaf, black coffee” became sausage egg and cheese, and hash brown with a regular coffee. It wasn’t like there was anyone going through the drive thru that they mixed up the order, I was the only one. Of course the fact that the staff was all standing around talking might had something to do with it.

2) Originally the phrase "sugar shack" meant a small cabin where sap from maple trees was boiled into syrup. So for breakfast today, would you rather pour syrup on pancakes, french toast or waffles?
NO MAPLE SYRUP! And no on pancakes, french toast or waffles, way too many carbs. No more than 40g of carbs per meal.

3) The name of the group that recorded this song is The Fireballs. "Fireballs" is also the brand name of a red hot jawbreaker. Do you like cinnamon?
Yes, I like cinnamon on toast (only 19g carbs) or on oatmeal (30g of carbs).

4) In 1963, when this song was a hit, newscaster Walter Cronkite was one of the most trusted and influential men in the country. Do you have a favorite TV newsperson?
Not really, but I usually watch CBS news.

5) The Rambler was named 1963 Car of the Year by Motor Trend, and their most popular model was a 9-passenger station wagon. What's the car of your dreams?
A Tesla Model S, a friend has one and it is beautiful when it is not burning.

6) The Zip Code was first introduced in 1963. How many different Zip Codes have you had throughout your life?
One. Not counting the years I was away at college.

7) What was the first thing you thought about when you woke up this morning?
Check my blood glucose (86 this morning).

8) Are you a good pool player?
No, but I do like to play once in awhile.

9) Do you actually make a wish when you blow out your birthday candles?

Friday, November 22, 2013

And You Thought That This Didn’t Happen Anymore

You thought that in family courts it didn’t matter anymore if you were trans*, that the courts now a days judge child custody on merits not on if you are transgender. Well guest again,
Court takes couple’s children because father is transgender
Union Leader
By Byrgen Finkelman
November 18, 2013

Daniel and Cindy are young parents whose world has been turned upside down because Daniel is transgender. He transitioned over a decade ago when he was 19, and few people know that he is transgender.

When Daniel and Cindy decided to have children, they told Cindy’s parents that Daniel is transgender because they were conceiving in vitro with donated sperm.
Her parents made derogatory comments about Daniel in front of the children against the wishes of the Daniel and Cindy. As the negative comments continued Daniel and Cindy cutoff the grandparents visitations and the grandparents retaliated and took them to court.
Child Protective Services have never been called; there have been no police reports of abuse; neither parent has a criminal record.

Last week, a court removed the twins from their home and gave custody to the grandparents.

The reason?

Their father is transgender.
This is why New York State needs a gender identity and expression anti-discrimination law, to prevent judges from discriminating on the bench. We should have our court cases decided on the evidence and not on bias of who we are.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Have You Taken “The Cure?”

In New Jersey they have banded Ex-Gay Therapy or Reparative Therapy or Conversion Therapy for minors; well there are parents who are challenging the law in court. In the case the parents claim that the law violates their right to free speech and freedom of religion.

In an article on Care2 by Steve Williams who says that the case is no really about sexual orientation but is about gender identity,
When Ex-Gay Therapy is Actually Ex-Trans Therapy, and the Problems It Causes

You may have heard that a family is suing New Jersey to put their child through ex-gay therapy. What you might not have realized from the media reports on this story is that the child in question has gender identity issues and may in fact be trans.
Media reports have settled on the ex-gay therapy angle, and even within the LGBT news sphere there has been very little recognition of the fact of the child in question’s gender identity issues, even though the suit makes it quite clear that Doe wanted to transition genders and even mentioned gender identity disorder (now termed gender dysphoria under DSM-5).

Here we have an example of just how damaging sexual orientation change efforts can be to the entire LGBT community: if Doe is in fact a trans girl who is attracted to men, she is then a heterosexual female. As such, Doe is being subjected to sexual orientation change efforts in order to effectively suppress gender identity — something that will be completely useless and could be terribly damaging.
Whether it is for gender identity or sexual orientation I think is a minor point, I think the main point is that it does not work. And in fact it can cause more harm by creating stress and depression, while family support can create a positive outcome (i.e. reduced depression and suicidal thoughts). In the American Medical Association’s journal for pediatrics “Management of the Transgender Adolescent” said,
Given these difficulties, it is not surprising that many transgender youth face significant mental health issues including depression, suicidality, anxiety, body image issues, substance abuse, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Families play a key role in the lives of transgender youth. Supportive families protect and buffer youth from negative outcomes and promote positive health and well-being; rejecting and abusive families negatively affect youth and contribute to poor health and mental health outcomes. Family members go through their own process of adjusting to a child's transgender identity and typically experience the following stages: denial/shock, anger/fear, grief, self-discovery, acceptance, and pride/advocacy.
A family that is trying to force you into your birth gender is not a supportive family.

There are numerous studies that show that when intersex babies are assigned a gender at birth that is not their true gender they know it. In one study by Dr. Reiner found that the majority of intersex babies who were assigned “female” at birth and had “nominalizing” surgery knew their true gender.
"The most important sex organ is the brain," said Reiner, a psychiatrist and associate professor in the Department of Urology, Oklahoma University Health Science Center. "We have to let these children tell us their gender at the appropriate time."
In another case when one of male twins had an accident during circumcision, the doctors said don’t worry and give him “nominalizing” surgery to make him a girl, he knew his true gender (As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as A Girl).

Conversion Therapy does not work, all it does is create stress and depression and increases suicidal tendencies.

I Never Thought That I Would See…

A letter from the White House about the Transgender Day of Remembrance,
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Posted by Gautam Raghavan on November 20, 2012 at 03:52 PM EST

Earlier today, a group of transgender community advocates met with White House staff to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure dignity, equality, and justice for all people.

Throughout America and around the world, many transgender people face bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence.  Far too often, we hear shocking and tragic stories about transgender people who have been assaulted and even killed because of their gender identity or expression.  The Obama Administration is committed to preventing violence against all people, including all members of the LGBT community, and this meeting was an important opportunity to explore ways to make our communities and neighborhoods safer.

At the meeting, community leaders highlighted a range of issues and concerns of importance to transgender people.  In the months and years ahead, we look forward to working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all transgender people.

As we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and reflect upon the lives that have been lost to violence and injustice, let us all recommit ourselves to ensuring dignity, equality, and justice for all people.

Gautam Raghavan is an Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement.
But that was not all; the State Department released this,
Transgender Day of Remembrance

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 20, 2013

The State Department joins people around the world in marking Transgender Day of Remembrance, honoring the memory of lives lost to violence provoked by fear and hatred of transgender and gender non-conforming people.

We have made tremendous progress in advancing the rights of LGBT persons. But when people continue to be harassed, arrested and even killed simply because of who they are and who they love, we know that we still have hard work before us.

The sad truth is that in too many places, including the United States, transgender persons continue to face violence and discrimination on a daily basis.

In too many cases, crimes against LGBT persons, including murder, are not thoroughly investigated or prosecuted. Transgender persons are frequently denied medical care and public services. They still suffer discrimination in employment, education, and housing.

Each of these episodes threatens our common humanity. Together, we pay a price when rights are trampled. And, together, we win when rights are protected.

That is why we are engaging diplomatically to address the specific challenges faced by transgender persons. And that’s why we will continue to urge other governments to protect all of their citizens regardless of their gender identity. Through the Global Equality Fund, we are increasing support to civil society organizations to combat bias-motivated violence targeting transgender persons.

The rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons are not special or separate or different. They are basic human rights. And human rights are universal, not negotiable.

On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we renew our commitment to ensuring that all persons are able to live safely, freely and with dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Never in my wildest dreams would have thought that one day that the President of the United States would meet with the transgender community. People might criticized the president about the Affordable Care Act or other issues, but I believe he has done more for the LGBT community than any other president.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It Never Ends…

I do not think that Islan Nettles will ever find justice.
Charges Dropped Against Man Accused of Beating Transgender Woman to Death
DNAinfo New York
By Jeff Mays
November 19, 2013

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — Charges were dropped Tuesday against a Harlem man accused of beating transgender woman Islan Nettles to death because of conflicting accounts about who actually attacked her, prosecutors said.

But the Manhattan District Attorney's office said it will continue to investigate homicide charges in the case.
After Wilson was arrested in the case, his mother brought another man to police who confessed to the crime, but claimed not to remember much because he was intoxicated. Police initially believed the confession of the second man to be false.

Prosecutors said they are certain only one person assaulted Nettles. However, some witnesses identified Wilson as the person who beat Nettles, but others say the man who confessed was responsible for the beating. That second man has not been identified.

That inconsistency among witnesses has prevented the District Attorney's office from bringing the case before a grand jury. The office has pleaded with the public for any additional witnesses to come forward and sources say the only thing likely to move the case forward are new witnesses.
I don’t think that unless they find physical evidence will they ever prove beyond a reasonable doubt who killed.

Never Forget

Today we remember those of us who were murdered for who they were; those who were murdered not for money or passion but for those who were murdered because of hate. Because they they lived their lives as who they were.

Every November 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance where we memorize the trans-people who were murdered in the last 12 months. I first attended a TDOR in 2002 and about five years later I was organizing the day’s event and this will be the first year that I will not be organizing the memorial. It takes a lot out of you going through the planning each, the list of names seems to never end and it has become too much for many of us.

One year at the TDOR I read the name of one of the victims and in my diary I wrote,
I went up to read one of the names and I had a hard time doing it, my eyes were all tears; it was very emotional.  As I sat back down in my seat the woman next to me touch my hand and just nodded slightly, and her gesture brought on more tears. I never knew any of those that were murder, but my heart goes out to them for we had one thing in common that we are all transgendered. It is hard to believe that they were murdered only because they were trying to be themselves; that some people hate us enough to kill us for just trying to live our lives.

Hartford: Transgender Day of Remembrance
Parish House, Church of the Good Shepherd (3rd floor ballroom)
7:00pm Wednesday November 20, 2013  at the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford, 155 Wyllys Street, Hartford CT
Guest speakers include Senator Beth Bye; Linda Estabrook, Executive Director of the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective; Josh Pawelek, Parish Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society: East; Ace Ricker, Student and President of the Unity Club at Housatonic Community College; and Tony Ferraiolo, Youth Advocate and Co-founder of the Jim Collins Foundation with a special guest.

All are welcome to show your respect to the community, you do not have to be transgender to attend.

Ashley Sinclair
Cause of death: beaten and shot in the head.
Location:  Orlando, Florida, USA
Date of death: April 11th, 2013
Kelly Young
Cause of death: Gunshot
Location:  Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Date of death: April 3rd, 2013
Domonique Newburn (age:31)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds.
Location:  Fontana, California, USA
Date of death: August 20th, 2013
Islan Nettles (age:21)
Cause of death: blunt force trauma
Location:  Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Date of death: August 17th, 2013
Cemia “CeCe” Dove (age:23)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds, tied with a rope to a block of concrete and thrown in pond.
Location:  Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Date of death: March 27th, 2013
Eyricka Morgan  (age:26)
Cause of death: stabbing
Location:  New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Date of death: September 24th, 2013
Evon Young (age:22)
Cause of death: tied up, beaten with fists and other objects, choked with a chain, had a bag taped over his head, shot, set on fire, and discarded into a dumpster.
Location of death: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Date of death: January 1st, 2013
Artegus Konyale Madden (age:37)
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to the neck
Location: Savannah, Texas, USA
Date of death: September 1st, 2013
Unknown woman
Cause of death: Found floating in a gully
Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Date of death: July 07th, 2013
Diamond Williams (age:31)
Cause of death: dismembered, and body parts thrown in a field.
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of death: July 14th, 2013
Terry Golston
Cause of death: Gunshot
Location: Shreveport,Louisiana, USA
Date of death: September 6, 2013
Jock Maurice McKinney (aka Valarie)
Cause of death: a single gunshot wound to the lower body.
Location: Shreveport,Louisiana, USA
Date of death: July 12th, 2013
Fatima Woods (age:53)
Cause of death: stabbed twice in the torso
Location: Rochester, New York, USA
Date of death: May 30th, 2013
Melony Smith (age:28)
Cause of death: beaten to death
Location: Baldwin Park, California, USA
Date of death: September 9th, 2013
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: unknown, body dumped in trash can.
Location of death: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Date of death: November 8th, 2013
Amari White (age:22)
Cause of death: multiple gunshot wounds
Location of death: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Date of death: November 9th, 2013
Natália Sotero (age:20)
Cause of death: gunshots
Location of death: Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Date of death: July 17th, 2013
Rafael da Silva Tavares (age:21)
Cause of death:  six gunshots
Location of death: Baixada Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date of death: July 19th, 2013
Valeria (age:30)
Cause of death:  Beaten to death with sticks
Location of death: Conceição do Lago-Açu, Maranhão, Brazil
Date of death: August 1st, 2013
Unknown woman
Cause of death: Stoning, skull crushed.
Location of death: Téofilo Otoni, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Date of death: August 11th, 2013
Joales dos Santos (age:22)
Cause of death: gunshot at close range to left breast.
Location of death: Parnaíba, Piauí, Brazil
Date of death: August 18, 2013
Wagner Paula Rodrigues (age:42)
Cause of death: Stoning
Location of death: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: August 24th, 2013
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: Severe head injuries, body thrown under a truck
Location: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: August 28, 2013
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to the head
Location: Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death: June 25th, 2013
Otávio Nascimento Valadares (age: 20)
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to the head
Location: Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death: June 12th, 2013
Unidentified child (age: 13)
Cause of death: hanging
Location: Macaíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Date of death: June 8th, 2013
Ronald Feitosa Souza (age:26)
Cause of death: beaten to death, severe head injuries
Location: Colniza, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death: May 23rd, 2013
Fábio da Conceição Machado (age: 26)
Cause of death: stoning.
Location: Mumbuca, Mateiros, Tocantins, Brazil
Date of death: May 15th, 2013
Jorge Luciano Soares De Oliveira (age: 38)
Cause of death: blow to the head.
Location: Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Date of death: May 12th, 2013
unidentified woman
Cause of death: bullet to head and leg
Location: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: May 11th, 2013
Rosa Fernando Domingues (age:36)
Cause of death: stabbed to death. Knive wounds to left eye, neck, and shoulder.
Location: São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.
Date of death: May 11th, 2013
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: multiple gunshot wounds
Location: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: February 24th, 2013
unidentified woman
Cause of death: seven stab wounds
Location: Gravataí, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Date of death: February 24th, 2013
Cause of death: gunshot
Location: Altos, Piauí, Brazil
Date of death: February 9th, 2013
Mônica Lewinski (age:38)
Cause of death: gunshot wound to the head
Location: Curitiba, Paraná , Brazil
Date of death: February 8th, 2013
unknown woman
Cause of death: stoned, stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle.
Location: Jaboatão Guararapes, Pernambuco, Brazil
Date of death: January 24th, 2013
Nicole Galisteu (age:20)
Cause of death: Gunshot
Location: Santa Cândida, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Date of death: January 8th, 2013
Stephanie (age:33)
Cause of death: Beaten and strangled to death.
Location:  Embu das Artes, São Paulo, Brazil
Date of death: March 3rd, 2013
Dalvalei José Alves Pereira (age:37)
Cause of death: beheaded and burned with trans partner in their home.
Location:  Novo Gama, Goiás, Brazil
Date of death:  December 24th, 2012
Cause of death: beheaded and burned with partner in their home
Location:  Novo Gama, Goiás, Brazil
Date of death: December 24th, 2012
Fernanda Queiroz
Cause of death: beaten to death, (multiple blows to the head), body burned.
Location:  Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death: November 21st, 2012
Angel Francisco Martinez Gonzalez
Cause of death: beaten and shot in the head.
Location:  Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Date of death: April 11th, 2013
Palmira Garcia (age:37)
Cause of death: partially scalped, signs of torture, laceration to face.
Location:  Las Marvales, Venezuela
Date of death: Feburary 5th, 2013
Cause of death: strangulation
Location:  Istanbul, Turkey
Date of death: July 29th, 2013
Naomi Estrada (age:19)
Cause of death: two gunshots to the head and chest
Location:  Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Date of death: Feburary 1st, 2013
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds, beheaded.
Location:  Zimatlán de Alvarez, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Date of death: January 28th, 2013
“Tiffany” Wesley Holder (age 19)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds.
Location:  Georgetown, Guyana
Date of death: January 11th, 2013
Adán Amilcar Iglesias (age 20)
Cause of death: four gunshot wounds to the head
Location: El Carmen, Honduras
Date of death: March 4, 2013
Daniel Mendoza Ricardo Macias (age:23)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds.
Location:  Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico
Date of death: January 9th, 2013
Dwayne Jones  (age 16)
Cause of death: beaten, stabbed, shot & run over by a car.
Location: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Date of death: July 22nd, 2013
Renato Espinosa Reyes (age:23)
Cause of death: multiple gunshot wounds
Location:  Toluca, Mexico
Date of death: December 5, 2012
Yeison Ramirez Acosta (age:22)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds to the face, chest, and abdomen
Location:  Avenida Lequerica Velez Magangue, Bolivar, Colombia
Date of death: December 2012
MyleneMylene (age:42)
Cause of death: blugeoned to death with a hammer
Location of death: Limoges, France
Date of death: July 24th, 2013
Dora Oezer (age:24)
Cause of death: stabbed to death
Location: Kuşadası, Turkey
Date of death: July 9th, 2013
Unknown woman
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to head and chest.
Location: Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil
Date of death: October 25th, 2013
Natascha (age:27)
Cause of death: Gun shot wound
Location:  Várzea Grande, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death: October 10th, 2013
Brunete Nascimento Chagas (age:22)
Cause of death:head trauma, beaten to death with sticks
Location: Marituba, Pará, Brazil
Date of death: October 06th, 2013
Unknown woman
Cause of death: Gunshot wound
Location: Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Date of death: October 23rd, 2013
Unknown woman
Cause of death: strangled, body dumped in a pasture
Location: Sertanópolis, Paraná, Brazil
Date of death: October 14th, 2013
Unknown woman
Cause of death: stabbed in the neck
Location: Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Date of death: October 18th, 2013
Hilary Molina Mendiola
Cause of death: thrown naked from a bridge
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Date of death: September 22nd, 2013
S. Athiswaran (age:31)
Cause of death: Multiple stab wounds, hands and legs were tied with a string, face was also covered with plastic
Location:  Bagan Ajam, Penang, Malaysia
Date of death: October 13, 2013
Gunce Hatun
Cause of death: stabbed in the chest
Location: Beylikdüzü, Istanbul,Turkey
Date of death: December 12, 2012
Unidentified woman
Cause of death:  4 gunshot wounds
Location: Santa Rita, Paraíba, Brazil
Date of death: September 24th, 2013
Dicky Othman
Cause of death: hands and legs bound, and her mouth stuffed with a piece of cloth
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date of death: December 4th, 2012
unknown woman (age:18)
Cause of death: gunshot
Location:  Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil
Date of death: September 11th, 2013
“Maiara” Castro Da Silva (age:23)
Cause of death: unknown, body dumped, in advanced state of decomposition
Location:  Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil
Date of death: September 9th, 2013
Unidentified woman (age:21)
Cause of death: stoned, shot, and beaten to death.
Location of death: Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil
Date of death: September 5th, 2013
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: multiple gunshot wounds
Location of death: Nova Serrana, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: September 10th, 2013
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: gunshot
Location of death: Maringá, Paraná, Brazil
Date of death: September 6th, 2013
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: stabbed, found dumped in a stream in an advanced state of decompisition
Location of death: Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil
Date of death: September 9th, 2013

 “Remembering Our Dead”
From the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Speaking Of Black Sheep…

It is sad when a family gets divided over an issue. Tearing apart the Cheney family are daughters Liz and Mary. Mary is a lesbian who is married to Heather Poe and Liz is a right-wing conservative who doesn’t believe in marriage equality.
How Liz Cheney Became the Black Sheep of the Family
Her public and highly charged dispute with her gay sister Mary Cheney shows just how much times have changed.
The Atlantic
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Nov 18 2013

Every family has its black sheep, the opinionated outlier who is out of sync with the values of the others. Once upon a time that person might have been the gay or lesbian child. Times have changed, though, and today the black sheep is the family member who insists her lesbian sibling should be deprived of rights to which she is legally entitled.

With her self-serving public remarks against gay marriage on Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney has now made herself into the black sheep of the Cheney family. Not even Cheney pere takes so extreme a position against the emotional well-being of a member of his hearth.
After remarks that Liz made on Fox where she said “I love Mary very much, I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree." Heather Poe wrote on Facebook,
I was watching my sister-in-law on Fox News Sunday (yes Liz, in fifteen states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law) and was very disappointed to hear her say "I do believe in the traditional definition of marriage."

Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 - she didn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us.

To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least

I can't help but wonder how Liz would feel if as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other.

I always thought freedom meant freedom for EVERYONE.
Mary shared Heather's post on her Facebook page and added, “Liz — this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree you’re just wrong — and on the wrong side of history.”

What do the elder Cheney’s think? According to Politico, Dick and his wife Lynne support daughter Liz.
 “This is an issue we have dealt with privately for many years, and we are pained to see it become public,” Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, said in a statement. “Since it has, one thing should be clear. Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage.”
But the elder Cheneys praised Liz’s behavior toward Mary, and warned against a distortion of her views.

Liz Cheney “has also always treated her sister and her sister’s family with love and respect, exactly as she should have done,” the parents wrote. “Compassion is called for, even when there is disagreement about such a fundamental matter and Liz’s many kindnesses shouldn’t be used to distort her position.”
At one time the elder Cheney said,
Her father has previously indicated support for gay marriage at the state level.

“I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone,” he said in 2009. “I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish.”
It sadden me to sisters torn apart like this, it is the new Civil War where the war between the north and south torn families apart over slavery. It also saddens me because I think it is politics that separated them, she seemed fine with her sister’s marriage until she decided to run against a moderate Republican incumbent. So Liz had to become a conservative Republican.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Boogieman Cometh

Where there is a bill for gender identity or expression you can bet your last dollar that the right wing conservatives will bring up bathroom and fear. This time it was in Fond du Lac Wisconsin,
'Scare tactic' prompts withdrawal of gender identity proposal
FDL Reporter
Written by Laurie Ritger
Nov. 12, 2013

An addition to Fond du Lac’s housing ordinance intended to protect transgender people apparently raised concerns in the community about sexual predators.

The proposed ordinance amendment has been withdrawn from Wednesday’s City Council agenda by Councilman Dan Manning.

“Based on the response we’ve gotten from the community, (it appears) there is a profound lack of understanding of what the ordinance will do,” he said. “I’m withdrawing it at this time so we can take an opportunity to do outreach with the community.”
They received over a hundred emails and calls against the bill because of “sexual predators” in the bathroom. Now folks this bill is about housing, not public accommodations, but the fear moguls went into overdrive. Meanwhile there is at least one sane person in Fond du Lac, in an opinion piece by Patricia Reese who wrote,
'Scare tactics' put FDL in a bad light
FDL Repoerter

Having taken the time to read the ordinance and state statute involved in the current local debate about transgender discrimination, I am appalled at the scare tactics that some people, most notably an extreme political action group, are using to convince people to oppose the ordinance.

They have distributed hate literature claiming that not being allowed to deny housing and business to transgender people puts the safety of women and children at risk. They go on to spread lies about bathroom use and church membership being covered by this ordinance in their efforts to create a groundswell of fear about extending the current discrimination ordinance to transgender people.

Most people are busy and don’t have the time to do their own research so they simply believe the words of a “Christian” group. That group is using the same tactics that successfully delayed the de-segregation of this country and which is still being used to deny equality to gays.
These so called “Christian” organization feel that it is all right to bear “false witness” and create fear against people. We see it in the effort to repeal AB1266 in California. The Salt and Light Ministry claimed that “a transgender boy [meaning a trans-girl] harassed her and peeked at girls over the stalls.” However, the school district’s Office of Communications said that they never received any complaint about harassment.

I sometimes wonder if the violence we saw against the Hercules High School trans-student last week had something to do with all the hate these so called “Christian” groups are spreading out in California. Did it embolden the students to verbally attack the trans-student?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Black Sheep

Does your family have a ‘black sheep?”

This family had one…
My transgender uncle: A family secret hidden for decades
Clearing her mother's house, Sara Davidmann found a stash of letters, documents and photographs revealing a closely kept family secret. She tells Hannah Booth about her transgender uncle's hidden life in the buttoned-up 1950s
The Guardian
By Hannah Booth   
Friday 15 November 2013

Then they found a chest of drawers in the garage. In the top drawer was a copy of every letter Sara had written to Audrey; in the drawer below, two brown manila envelopes. On one was written, in small, neat script: "Ken. To be destroyed." A stash of letters, documents and photographs, it was the full story of a closely kept family secret – one that Sara knew something of, but not the whole story.
Among the documents was a letter from Hazel to Audrey, dated 10 September 1959. "This letter will no doubt come as a surprise to you," she wrote, "but don't be unduly alarmed.

"Last October, without any previous inkling whatsoever, I learned that K was changing his sex."
How many of us have written that coming out letter? As we drop them off in the mail box we know there is no going back and we can now only hope and pray that our world will not end.

For me I think it has mostly been a positive and I am now closer to some of my family than ever before. The article goes on to say,
Sara and her siblings knew nothing about their uncle being transgender. Very young at the time of Hazel's discovery, she believes they were kept away from Ken and Hazel's home. "I remember him very little. Perhaps being so young we would have found things we shouldn't have."
I wonder what my family will think of me in three or four generations? Will I be the black sheep? Or will it be cool to trans-aunt in the family? I wonder how I’ll be listed on the family tree? Maybe I will have an asterisk after my name with a footnote.

Saturday Six #501

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #501

1. What about your current career would you most regret not doing if you changed careers tomorrow?
Well since I’m retired I will say what I miss most from the job that I retired from; nothing. When I retired we were bought out by a large multinational corporation. Before they bought us out I loved helping out my technicians when they had a problem they couldn’t solve but once we were bought out my administrated assistant we let go. I now had to do all the data entry instead of helping the technicians some bean counter two states away decided her position wasn’t necessary.

2. When it comes to your weight and your mental picture of yourself, do you think it’s easier to see yourself heavier than you actually are or lighter than you actually are?
Lighter, since I am way over weight now.

3. If you had no idea how old you actually were and someone asked your age, would your answer more likely be older or younger than your true age?
I think I answered a question like this before, I feel older. I really need to get out and walk more.

4. What aspect of your personality would most influence your answer to question #3?
Hating to do physical work, I much rather use my mind.

5. If you had to pick one or the other (no “equal mix of both”), do you tend to be more of a visionary or more practical in how you address problems?
Visionary, I can picture how to do something.

6. Do you feel that you are better or worse at solving problems than a person who’d answer question #5 the opposite way you did?
Yes, because you have to understand the problem first and not every problem have you encountered before.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday 9: 1, 2, 3, 4

Crazy Sam's Saturday 9: 1, 2, 3, 4

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) In this song, the singer tells his girl he appreciates how she makes him feel. Who is the most supportive person in your life?
My brother, I don’t know what I would do without him.

2)  Our singer only has to count to 4, which is a cinch. Do you understand the more sophisticated math sciences, like geometry and algebra?
Yes, back in my college day I muddled through calculus, deferential equations, partial differential equation, Laplace's equations, and Fourier analysis.

3) This video features a couple who shared their first kiss behind the high school. Tell us about your first kiss.
Nope. I don’t kiss and tell.

4) Filmed in Chicago, this video features the Art Institute of Chicago, home to works by Monet, Gauguin and Van Gogh. How do you express your creativity? (Draw, paint, write, sing or play music ... )

5) Chicago is home to two of the world's tallest buildings -- the Willis aka Sears Tower and The John Hancock Center (which appears briefly in this video). Both have observation decks that offer panoramic views of the city. Are you afraid of heights?
I wasn’t until I got older. The last time I stood on a high bridge to take pictures I got vertgo.

6) The Plain White T's got their start in Lombard, a suburb of Chicago and home to Yorktown Center -- a huge, two story shopping mall. Do you enjoy going to the mall, or would you rather shop online, or in small, independent stores?
Yes. There are some things that I shop at malls, there are some things that are better bought on-line and with other items I try to support the small independent shop owner.

7) Naturally Yorktown Center has a food court. Would you prefer a pretzel from Auntie Anne's, a cinnamon roll from Cinnabon or a cookie from Mrs. Field's?
Danger Will Roberson! Danger! Being diabetic all three choices are Poison!

8) While we're at the mall … Imagine you're at the customer service counter of a big department store. As you wait for help, you see an older lady pocket a Timex watch. Would you turn her in or look the other way?
Hard choice, I hope that I would speak up and first tell her that I saw that and give her a chance to put it back.

9) Which puzzle would you have more success with: crossword or sudoku?
Neither, I am horrible at crossword puzzles and I don’t even attempt Sudoku.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Revictimizing The Victim

What do I mean when I say revictimizing the victim? It is when the target of bullying and harassment strikes back and is punished.
School investigates possible hate crime after Hercules High brawl
Posted: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013

HERCULES, Calif. —

Police and school officials in Contra Costa County were investigating a possible hate crime Thursday after a transgender student who claimed to have been bullied was involved in a brawl with three girls at Hercules High.

According to school officials, the problems began when the transgender student -- a male teen who identifies as female -- said she was bullied by the two girls in question on Tuesday. After the bullying continued on Wednesday, the transgender student responded by attacking the two girls.

A fight ensued with a third girl joining the fray and attacking the transgender student.
The four students were not attending class Thursday, but they were being interviewed by district officials as the school evaluated possible disciplinary action.
KGO reported that,
School officials say the transgender student initiated the physical contact, but only after she was verbally assaulted.

"After being under stressful situations day after day of being teased and talked about, obviously at some point you're going to explode," said Charles Ramsey with the West Contra Costa School Board.

The transgender student complained to school administrators about being bullied just two days ago and a warning was given to the other students involved.
A school official said about the incident,
...where administrators are hoping that talking about it will lead to heightened awareness and greater tolerance on campus.
That is closing the proverbial barn door after the horses ran out. They should have had diversity training long before it escalated in to violence.

Then in another incident of bullying here in Connecticut, the school handled it in an entirely different way,
Four Manchester High Students Suspended; Sex Bias Inquiry Launched
The Hartford Courant
By Jesse Leavenworth
November 14, 2013

MANCHESTER — School administrators have suspended four Manchester High School students suspected of creating and posting degrading descriptions of female students, and the superintendent said Thursday that the boys' actions go beyond cyber bullying.

"This is a form of sexual discrimination, or sexual harassment, and we're required under federal statutes to conduct an investigation," interim School Superintendent Richard Kisiel said.

Kisiel was referring to Title IX, which says in part that no person may be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

In an overlapping investigation, Manchester police are looking into the case "to see what the scope of the incident was and whether it would fall into the criminal realm," department spokesman Capt. Christopher Davis said. Davis said charges for cyber bullying could include breach of peace or harassment.
What a difference it makes when the school system is proactive instead of reactive.

Also note how the TV station described the victim, “a male teen who identifies as female” further marginalizing her.

Another Busy Day Today

I am at a social work conference on aging that is sponsored by the Connecticut chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). I’m interested in aging for two reasons, the first is that I am old enough to be on Medicare and the second reason is that I am on a committee to come up with guidelines for LGBT Elder care. I the committee is made up of the State Commission on Aging and a number of NGOs including the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition (CTAC) which I am representing.

The first workshop that I’m attending is,
LGBT Aging 101:
What you need to know about lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender older adults and caregivers

Many mainstream elder care providers have limited knowledge of the psychosocial, cultural, and economic issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults and caregivers. Today’s LGBT elders came of age in an era when explicit discrimination from families, employers, landlords, neighbors, faith communities, and government were accepted as part of the “homosexual experience.” The most successful strategies were to remain invisible and secretive and to distrust those institutions that many heterosexuals assume are in place to help them, such as healthcare facilities, the government, and churches. With up to 75% of LGBT older adults living alone, 80% without a partner/spouse, and 90% without children, most LGBT elders lack informal networks of care and are in greater need of formal service providers. However, given their history, many LGBT older adults are wary of engaging with professionals and would rather go without. This workshop will enable participants to learn how they can utilize innovative approaches to engaging this population, some of whom may be invisible consumers of their services already. These efforts work to ensure that LGBT older adults feel safe to bring their “whole selves” when working with elder care professionals and that these professionals feel competent and confident when working with this underserved population.
And it is given by a woman from LGBT Aging Project in Boston, MA, it should be interesting to see how much they talk about the “T.”

The other workshop is,
The New Face of Senior Centers: Preparing for the New Age and New Trends

Since their early beginnings in the 50’s, as a solution to the isolation and malnutrition faced by community dwelling older adults, to today, Senior Centers have been evolving to support the independence, well-being, and social inclusion of older adults who live in the community. Now, more than ever, this continuing evolution is critical to ensure both the ongoing relevance of Senior Centers and their capacity to deliver services and programs to people where they live.
This workshop will cover some of the ways that Senior Centers have met the challenges, how new models have emerged, and what the future holds for Senior Centers. The panel presentation will include a review of statewide and national trends in the field and best practice programming. Special attention will be focused on social work practice within the environment including information on individual and group practice such as psycho educational groups, support groups, reminiscence and life review therapy, movement and expressive art modalities, and holistic mental health screening programs.
I’m attending this workshop because it is given by one of the committee members.

As the transgender baby boomers population ages we will be using the senior centers and the nursing homes more and more, and the big question is how will we be treated? What ward will they put us in? The ward that matches our birth gender or our gender identity. Some other questions are how well will we integrate in to the non-LGBT community at senior centers and nursing homes, will we be shunned? The goal of the committee is to come up with a guideline of “Best Practices” to help answers these questions for LGBT Elders.

I am thinking about attending a meeting on photography at my local senior center, it meets every Friday and I’m going to give them a call and to see when they meet or how many usually attend the meeting. For one thing it will help me see for myself how some of the questions are answered now. How will the staff handle a trans-woman and how will the clients handle a trans-woman?

Update 6:30PM
The first workshop was very good, it wasn't what I thought it was going to be about, it was more a LGBT 101. However, I learned somethings that I want to incorporate into my workshop.

The other workshop I skipped, I didn't think it would cover anything that I could use and it was a beautiful day out and I decided I would rather be outside than sitting inside so I stayed for lunch and left afterward. I did meet a former classmates and also some other social workers that I knew and said "Hi."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Tyranny Of The Many Against The Few

Or why I am against ballot initiatives.

Exhibit A: California

Do you know how many ballot initiatives there were in California in the 2008 elections? 21!

Do you know the total cost of all those ballot initiatives? $27,826,947! On Proposition 8 the state spent $882,900 and that does not include the cost of the legal challenge that went to the Supreme Court. The lobbying efforts on both sides of the proposition spent a total of 83 million dollars! And most of that came from outside the state.
Transgender law's foes may succeed in ballot drive
SF Gate
By Carla Marinucci
November 11, 2013

A conservative coalition says it has submitted enough signatures to block a state law that would force schools to let transgender students play on sports teams and use restrooms and other facilities that match their gender orientation.

If the state verifies that enough of the signatures are from registered voters, the law will not take effect as scheduled Jan. 1 and will go on the November 2014 ballot. The result could be an election fight reminiscent of Proposition 8, the 2008 constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriage until federal courts overturned it.
It took 144 years for women to get the right to vote! Only 13 states passed a Women’s Suffrage ballot initiative, but some of those took multiply attempts before they passed, in Oregon, it took six attempts before it passed. However, 16 states did not pass the Women’s Suffrage voter initiatives.

It took Congress to pass an amendment and the states’ legislative bodies to vote to make women’s right to vote the law of the land. If Congress didn’t pass the amendment we would have been a hodgepodge of state allowing women to vote.

Back when our founding fathers were writing the Constitution they realized that they needed something to protect the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority and they came up with the Bill of Rights but it was limited. When they wrote Bill of Rights, women and blacks were still property. When a woman married she gave over all the rights that she had to her husband. It took an act of Congress to give blacks their rights and it took another act of Congress for women to get their right to vote.

Do you think blacks would ever have their equal rights is it was left to ballot initiatives, do you think that the southern states would ever have passed equal rights laws for them?

When I wrote about this in 2008 when a ballot question here in Connecticut asked if we wanted to have ballot initiatives here, someone left a comment on my blog. He wrote,
I'm sorry that gays and others have been targeted by intolerant abusers of the initiative process. But don't throw out the baby with the bathwater!
My reply in the next blog was,
That statement reeks of “Male Power” it comes from people who have never experienced what it is like to be discriminated against. It comes from people who have never been told that “Your kind are not welcome here.” as has happened here in Connecticut just recently when a trans-woman was asked to leave a bar because she was upsetting the customers. It comes from people who have never been fired from a job because they are different.
If you want ballot initiatives, then stick to budget items or issues that do not affect people’s human rights, the right to be judged on your work not who you are, the right to live where you want, the right to be treated as an equal and most of all the right to determine who you are.

When I was at the hearings for the gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill there was one person who spoke against the bill and what he said made an impression on me. After he testified against the bill he was getting up, but then sat down and said that when he first came to the hearing he expected it to be confrontational but he was surprised at the questions asked by the legislators were thoughtful. He said that it was a good educational experience for him.

When the people vote on the ballot question will they understand what the law really does or will they get their information from 30 second sound bites about the horrors of boys in the girls’ bathroom. Will the far right fear permeate over to the voters? Will they take the time to learn about AB1266 and what it means to individuals who are transgender? Or will they decide when they walk in to the voting booth on how to vote and the issue that for some could mean life or death?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

“We can do that, we’re private property. We have the right to do that.”

That is what a bar owner down in Atlanta said to a trans-woman when she tried to enter the bar.
US: Atlanta bar openly refuses entry to trans woman ‘because we’re a private property’
Pink News
By Aaron Day
10th November 2013

The _________ Bar & Grill in Atlanta, Georgia, refused entry to Alissah Brooks on account of her gender identity.

Ms Brooks was told by security at the front entrance of the bar: “You can’t come in because you are a man.”

Caught on film, Brooks’ friends, drag performers Mariah Paris Balenciaga and Y’Marie Santiago, confronted the security team and manager who said they would not allow Brooks entrance.

The person holding the camera says: “Our friend was discriminated against by your security… the problem was she is transgender and he (the bouncer) denied her entry.”

The employee at the front entrance then interrupts: “What’s wrong with that?”

He added: “Yeah, we can do that. We have the right to be selective… We can do that, we’re private property. We have the right to do that.”
Do you know why they cannot discriminate even through it is private property?

It is because they are a “public accommodation” that mean they serve the public and they cannot discriminate against protected classes. In Atlanta that included trans-people, the city has an ordinance banning discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

Public accommodation is defined as,
Privately-owned/operated businesses and buildings. Privately-owned businesses and facilities that offer certain goods or services to the public -- including food, lodging, gasoline, and entertainment -- are considered public accommodations for purposes of federal and state anti-discrimination laws. For purposes of disability discrimination, the definition of a "public accommodation" is even more broad, encompassing most businesses that are open to the public (regardless of type).
Since the bar is open to the public they must serve the whole public. Substitute “black” for transgender, the bar wouldn’t be able to discriminate against them because race is a protected class and gender identity is also a protected class.

The bar owner is now claiming that they denied her access because her driver license did not match her gender identity. In a statement the bar owner said to the Huffington Post,
This was not an issue of discrimination or any of the sort the rules are we have the right to entry for any circumstances not only because of their gender, race, or etc. And as you see we check ID's and on the ID it says male yet dressed as a woman and we are not able to prove if that's the person she says she is. The individual is providing false identification so we as a private property have the right to deny entry to anybody again not because of their sexual preference. If you have any sort of contact I would like to speak to them in person. And tell them to stop badgering my business or I will be forced to take legal action. Thank You.
But that is not what was recorded on video, on the video he said,
As seen in the above video [below], when the individual filming the incident explains to an employee of the bar and grill that Brooks is transgender and was denied entry, a man reportedly affiliated with ________ responds, "What's wrong with that?" He then adds, "We can do that -- we have the right to be selective. We can do that. We’re a private property."

In Georgia you cannot change the gender marker on your driver license until you have surgery, which can lead to incidents like this since medically we are required to live on our true gender for one year before we are eligible for surgery and also for many trans-people the cost of surgery is prohibitive or the may have medical reasons that prevent them from having surgery.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm Tired Of The News Media Ripping Us Apart

Out in California many news outlets have published horror stories about us and not checking the facts. There is an article on Poynter about nine ways to do fairness to transgender people. Those of you not familiar with Poynter, it is “an international strategy center and a leader in journalism education”. Lauren Klinger wrote in the article “Nine ways journalists can do justice to transgender people’s stories” that,
Transgender people make news of all kinds, so reporters of all kinds need to know how to write about them – not just journalists whose beats regularly include diversity issues. Recently, government reporters found themselves writing about Pvt. Chelsea Manning, crime reporters in Orlando covered the murder of Ashley Sinclair, and Cosmo got an exclusive shot at punk rocker Laura Jane Grace’s coming out story.
The kinds of stories journalists write, what information they include, and how they ask for that information are all just as important or more important than which words they use…
Here is her list,
1. Stop writing the same story.
2. Pursue the ordinary.
3. Stop asking for before and after photos.
4. When you’re told someone’s name, use it.
5. Stop asking about someone’s medical transition process.
6. Stop using outdated or dehumanizing language.
7. Learn from your mistakes.
8. If you’re unsure about which pronoun to use, ask the person you’re writing about. If you can’t do that, defer to the style guide.
9. Remember that transgender women are women, transgender men are men, and everyone is human.
I think many of us will agree with her list and maybe add some of our own; I would add “Stop using photos of us putting on our make-up.”

I believe that numbers 2 and 7 are two important was to cover a story ab out us, for number 2 in the article she wrote,
When journalists focus too much on the “heavy” issues and get stuck on medical transitions, they miss the opportunity to show that most transgender people live full lives that don’t revolve around these issues.
And in number 7 she wrote,
 By featuring transgender women’s writing and covering issues that impact transgender people, Bernard [CEO of] said, the Autostraddle team has made an effort to learn from its mistakes. For Autostraddle, “being trans-inclusive goes beyond articles about trans issues,” Bernard said. Publishing the work of transgender writers — including stories that go beyond the typical coming-out narrative — is an important part of being inclusive, she said, because transgender people are as diverse as the rest of the population, and their needs and stories are as well.
It is true, we have lives! Many news articles make us shallow, like our whole life revolves around our transition and making us sound one dimensional.

The problem is that the good reporters know this and the bad reporters don’t care and probably won’t even read the article.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I know of a number of trans-people who were in the military, for some they have had positive experiences with the VA but by far the majority that I know did not. I do not know if it was just the VA doing business as usual or if it was because they are transgender. Whatever the reason the VA is saying that they are turning over a new leaf. In 2011 the VA issued a new directive, the National Center for Transgender Equality said this in a press release,
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has issued a Directive to all of its facilities establishing a policy of respectful delivery of healthcare to transgender and intersex veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system or are otherwise eligible for VA care. This Directive is an important first step in securing equal access for transgender veterans, and healthcare access for transgender people generally, by setting an example of how healthcare providers in both the public and private sector should be treating transgender patients.
The new directive does not cover Gender Confirming Surgery, but it does cover hormone and auxiliary treatment including therapy.

This spring the Pentagon said that they will change the name and gender on the discharge paperwork (DD-214).
The Pentagon formally recognized earlier this month that there are transgender veterans — a step that LGBT advocates say is a long way from open transgender service in the military, but also a significant first step in that process.
However, an article on ABC News website today said that many veterans are still struggling to change their paperwork,
The association [the LGBT Bar Association] argues that veterans may be denied access to benefits and services when there are discrepancies between what appears on the DD-214 and on court orders, state identification cards and revised birth certificates.

They say there may also be "embarrassing" encounters in which transgender veterans have to "out" themselves to officials.

"I believe this is a no-brainer," said D'Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the LGBT Bar Association. "I believe the Department of Defense wants to do everything possible for those who have worn the uniform with honor and distinction and have sacrificed for our country."

She said transgender veterans should be able to make a name change on any legal document that requires their name. "It's simple, and there is less paperwork."
So is there a disconnect between the policy and the implementation of the policy or is it they have done a good enough job of spreading the word about the new policy?