Friday, January 31, 2014


I had to do some homework for this afternoon’s committee meeting on aging. We are trying to develop guidelines for nursing homes and senior centers and we were asked to review “Inclusive Services for LGBT Older Adults A Practical Guide To Creating Welcoming Agencies.”

The major deficiency that I noticed is that they seem only to focus on transsexuals and not cover anything on crossdressers. They talk about hormones and documentation but they never mention anything about someone who maybe only dresses occasionally and under Connecticut law they are also protected. Also their definition for transgender wrong,
The term “transgender” is used to describe the experience and feeling of a persistent disconnect between one’s “sex at birth” (sometimes called “sex assigned at birth”) and one’s gender identity and expression. [My emphasis] For example, people born with male anatomy who have female gender identities may choose to express themselves as female through personal style (clothes and accessories), by changing their name (from Jack to Jane, for example), and by asking people to refer to them by their preferred gender pronouns (i.e., “she/her” rather than “he/him”).
Not all people who identify as transgender feel that they are the wrong gender. I can’t help but wonder if they even had a trans-person read the publication.

Gov. Christie Vetoes Birth Certificate Bill

The New Jersey Senate and House passed a bill that would allow us to change the gender on our birth certificates without having surgery but the governor vetoed the bill.
Trans Woes
Huffington Gay Voices
By Margaret Klaw
Posted: 01/29/2014

As though it weren't tough enough being trans, this month New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill -- passed by big margins in both houses of the state legislature -- that would have allowed transgender people to get new birth certificates without requiring them to undergo sex reassignment surgery. But for Christie's veto, new certificates could have been issued based on a health care provider's confirmation that the person had undergone "clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition, based on contemporary medical standards, or that the person has an intersex condition." This is in keeping with current protocols in transgender health care: Many -- actually, most -- trans people choose not to have surgical procedures for a whole host of reasons, medical as well as financial, none of which should be Gov. Christie's (or anyone else's) business.
As the author points out there are medical reasons that someone might not be able to have any surgery unless it is life threating such as diabetes. Even with medical insurance there is still a large out-of-pocket payment that must be met and many of the surgeons do not take insurance which drives up the cost.

The MSNBC said that the governor vetoed the bill because…
“Unlike many other states, New Jersey already has an administrative process in place to streamline applications to amend birth certificates for gender purposes without court order,” Christie said in a veto statement. “Under the proposal before me, however, the sponsors seek to alter the amended birth certificate application process without maintaining appropriate safeguards. Consequently, further consideration is necessary to determine whether to make such significant changes to State law concerning the issuance of vital records.”
I do not what he means by “without maintaining appropriate safeguards” since they use the same process that you can change your gender on Social Security or your passport and the other states that allow you to change the gender on your birth certificate without surgery.

Oregon, California and Washington DC already allows birth certificates to be amended without having surgery.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

News Flash... Breaking News! Maine Court Rules In Our Favor!

In a landmark case Maine Supreme Court rules that trans-students must be fully integrated in to the schools including using the bathroom of their gender identity.
Breakthrough Ruling in Favor of Transgender Student
January 30, 2014

Transgender Students Must Have Full Access to School Facilities, Says Maine High Court

Today, Maine’s highest court ruled that denying a transgender girl the use of the girls’ restroom at her school violated her rights under Maine’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination against transgender people. The decision in GLAD’s lawsuit Doe v. Clenchy marks the first time a state court has ruled that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathrooms that match who they are.

The ruling stated in part, “[The school] agreed with Susan’s family and counselors that, for this purpose (as for virtually all others), Susan is a girl.  Based upon its determination that Susan is a girl, and in keeping with the information provided to the school by Susan’s family, her therapists, and experts in the field of transgender children, the school determined that Susan should use the girls’ bathroom.”
This will have far reach impact on Connecticut because our law is very similar to Maine'

Update 7:41PM

The Bangor Daily News has what Justice Silver wrote about the decision,
“Our opinion must not be read to require schools to permit students casual access to any bathroom of their choice,” Justice Warren Silver wrote for the majority. “Decisions about how to address students’ legitimate gender identity issues are not to be taken lightly. Where, as here, it has been clearly established that a student’s psychological well-being and educational success depend upon being permitted to use the communal bathroom consistent with her gender identity, denying access to the appropriate bathroom constitutes sexual orientation discrimination in violation of the MHRC.”
I think that what the justice wrote “Decisions about how to address students’ legitimate gender identity issues are not to be taken lightly." debunks the arguement that the conservations have been using, that boys will use the law to take sneak peek in the girl's bathroom.

This And That In The News

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

First up is a letter in The Baltimore Sun by Caroline Temmermand…
Transgender people want to be treated fairly and equally [Letter]

Hurray for speaking out on behalf of proposed law that sets the expectations that people be treated equally ("Time for 'Chrissy's Law,'" Jan. 20).

I take exception to your title for this important law, however. It is officially called "The Fairness to All Marylanders Act of 2014."

My exception isn't caused by any lack of concern for how Chrissy Polis, a transgender woman, was treated. It was appalling. In fact, so appalling that I was the primary organizer for the rally at McDonald's that was attended by hundreds and covered by national and local media. My concern is that your headline failed to recognize important issues at play.
The writer rightly points out that the law would cover everyone not just transgender people. It would cover straight, LGBT, and cisgendered people as well as trans-people. The law protects the feminine looking man or the masculine looking woman, anyone who does not look like a “typical” woman or man.

The other article that caught my attention was also from Maryland…
Maryland transgender rights bill introduced
Washington Blade
By Michael K. Lavers
January 14, 2014

State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders.

State Sens. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County), the chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee who is running for attorney general, and Robert Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) are among the 25 senators who have co-sponsored the measure. State Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) plans to bring forth the bill in the House of Delegates where it passed in 2011.
This is like the third or fourth time that the bill have been introduced, other times the public accommodation part of the bill was stripped from it that resulted in the bill being dropped and last year the bill died in committee. Also the previous bill ran into trouble because they were pushed aside in favor of marriage equality.

Then still sticking to the Maryland theme…
Trans candidate Beyer to challenge gay incumbent Madaleno
Washington Blade
By Michael K. Lavers
January 30, 2014

Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director Dana Beyer on Thursday announced she will challenge incumbent state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) in the 2014 Democratic primary.

“We are ready for progress,” said Beyer in a statement that announced her candidacy. “For too long, hardworking Marylanders have waited for economic fairness and equal opportunity. We have asked our elected officials to help bring better jobs to our neighborhoods, build stronger schools for our children, fix our roads and infrastructure and make quality health care an affordable reality.”

“We are ready to move forward, and that’s why I’m declaring my candidacy for the Maryland Senate,” continued Beyer.

Beyer, 61, announced her campaign slightly more than a week after Madaleno introduced a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders.
This is very interesting since he is the legislator who introduced the above bill, it seems like biting the hand that feeds you. The article goes on to say,
Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, which endorsed Madaleno’s re-election campaign late last year, told the Blade the Montgomery County Democrat’s “strong record of accomplishments go beyond the LGBT communities.”
However, that record of accomplishments came at our expense; we got shoved aside for marriage equality and taken out of the anti-discrimination bill.

So Maryland is going to be an interesting state to watch this year; will the bill get stalled as retribution for Dr. Byer candidacy?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Separation Of Church And State

Did an Indiana law go too far?

The legislature passed a bill which makes it a crime for a religious official to marry a same-sex couple. The law sates,
IC 31-11-11-7
Solemnization of marriage between persons prohibited from marrying
Sec. 7. A person who knowingly solemnizes a marriage of individuals who are prohibited from marrying by IC 31-11-1 commits a Class B misdemeanor.
What is different is that in all the other states religious officials can marry a same-sex couple but that marriage will not be recognized in states that ban marriage equality. In other words, there would be no civil marriage. This Indiana law bans even that, in effect is telling priest, minister, rabbis who they can or cannot married even if their religion allow same-sex marriage. The new law flies smack in the face of the First Amendment!

The AmericaBlog says,
A successful effort by the Indiana Republican party, which controls the state House and Senate, to legislate the permitted, and banned, practices of Jews, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and other mainstream faiths would appear to fly smack in the face of ongoing religious right efforts to brand the civil rights of gays as a threat to religion.  In fact, it is anti-gay bigots who are now threatening to throw mainstream clergy in jail for simply practicing their faith.
How many times have we heard the Republicans claim that the anti-discrimination laws prohibit freedom of religion and now the Republicans have passed a law that does just that; tell religious official who they can marry!

I Know I Shouldn’t Do It…

But I am always amazed at the ignorance and the bigotry of people's comments to articles on trans-people, especially article on suicides.

There is an article in the LA Times on teenage suicides to trans-people and the of the comments are just horrible,
I don't suppose there is a possibility that 'transgenedered' and "gender non-conforming" people might be mentally unstable to begin with?

Perhaps the fact you are born with a penis really does make you a boy and if you are  born with a vagina makes you a girl.

This is what people have historically always believed and maybe it is true?

is it even remotely possible?
And another comment that said,
Is anyone surprised to learn that oeople [sic] who define themselves by their self-hatred and who devote their lives to poisoning and mutilating their own healthy bodies have a high rate of suicide attempts?
It is the lack of basic biology that gets to me; these people are living in the 1950s! They remember one thing from their biology class… boy, XY and girls, XX. There is so much more to gender than just chromosomes. The other group that gets my goat is the Bible thumpers; God said…  we have learned so much more in the two thousand years since the Bible was written.

In an article in the Wisconsin State Journal about the suicide of a trans-girl the comments show their ignorance and lack of thought.
40-50 suicides on average in Dane County. The only suicides that seem to be reported are stories like this or in the case of a murder - suicide. Hey Lead Jammer- show me the science. Science is not exact. Sociological inept parenting. A person's morals are more or less conditioned during the ages of 3-5 even if reasoning is not understood. A parent can get their kids at young ages to believe "anything." So odds are high for a suicide to occur weekly in Madison. Will they be reported in length or on the front page? NO.
The commenter just doesn’t understand that suicides are preventable, what makes this suicide important is that it was bigotry that brought the teen to take her own life. Bigotry and ignorance like the commenter.

What do we do about people like these who leave comments; do we take them on and start a flame war? Do we ignore them? Do we try to educate them?

One thing is certain; you are not going to change these people minds. They don’t care about facts; they see science like the person in the comment above, as a bunch of mumbo jumbo, voodoo magic. Getting into flame wars are not the answer either. All that does is inflame everyone and other people see us a a bunch of angry people. I see many people who posts link to medical sites where they explain research findings, I think that is a better approach or just leaving positive comments.

A person taught me when I was first coming out and speaking up, that you don’t want to talk to those who will never change their minds, it is a waste of time. You want instead to talk to the movable center because they are the one who will listen; they are the one that you can persuade. You also want to thank your supporters.

Martin Luther King said,
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
Let us work to make the heartless shut up.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

We Sometimes Forget

That the rights that we have here in the United States are not shared around the world. In Kuwait the police are rounding up trans-people,
Kuwait Launches Crackdown on Trans Women for 'Imitating a Woman'
Huffington Post UK
By Dan Littauer
Posted: 27/01/2014

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait -- A transgender woman was arrested in a women's hair-saloon, after one of the clients became suspicious of her gender on Wednesday.

Her arrest comes after a weeklong crackdown on transgender women in the gulf kingdom, which saw six other women arrested for "imitating the opposite sex".

According to Al-Watan daily paper, the unnamed transgender woman had frequented the establishment at the Hawally district of Kuwait City, but when a fellow female client grew "suspicious" she immediately reported her to the police.

Police officers Ammar Al-Muhanna and Hamad Al-Kandari were dispatched to the hair-saloon and accompanied by its owner and arrested the transgender woman.
In 2007, the Kuwaiti parliament passed a bill proposed by Islamic MPs that amended article 198 of penal code so that anyone 'imitating the appearance of a member of the opposite sex' could be jailed for up to a year or fined up to $3,500.

This law is causing substantial persecution and misery to transgender people in Kuwait which was slammed in a Human Rights Watch report, published in 2012, criticizing arrests, torture and abuse of transgender people in the country.
Meanwhile next door in Iraq the government is providing GCS for trans-people but they are forcing gays to have GCS to make them straight or face the hangman.

Yesterday a mob stormed a LGBT office in Ivory Coast country of Senegal in the city of Dakar.
Ivory Coast: Mob Attacks Gay Rights Group Office
ABC News
January 28, 2014 (AP)

A mob has ransacked the headquarters of Ivory Coast's most prominent gay rights organization, underscoring the dangers confronting such groups even in the few African countries where homosexual acts are not crimes.

The violence followed days of anti-gay protests in Ivory Coast, which is sometimes considered a safe haven for homosexuals fleeing persecution elsewhere across the continent. It contributed to a growing sense that activists championing gay rights are under siege in Africa, where countries are working to strengthen existing laws that criminalize homosexuality. A new law in Nigeria bans all gay associations, and lawmakers in Uganda may well override their president's opposition and approve a bill imposing life prison terms for consenting same-sex partners who engage in repeated sexual acts.
We are becoming the new bogyman. We are becoming the scapegoat to blame the world economic troubles on. If you look though out history whenever the economy is in turmoil, society has looked for someone to blame and it is usually a minority; during the depression of the 1930s in Germany and other countries it was the Jews and the gypsies and gays and other minorities, the “undesirables.”

Now we see it happening again in Africa, the Middle East and in Russia as Putin consolidates his power. In Greece in the economic unrest trans-people are being rounding up and arrested, we are detained for several hours then when we are release we are warned that if we did not “return to normal” then we would be arrested for public indecency. We see it in the frustration of the conservative religions, they are losing the battle here in the U.S. and Europe so they are turning to the impoverish countries in Africa to spread their hate in countries like Nigeria and Uganda.


For many trans-people dating is all but impossible, there is a dearth of people who want to date trans-people especially is you cannot integrate into society. If you do not pass the number of people who are interested in dating a trans-person is slim. Many who do date trans-people do it because of their sexual fantasies and for most of us we do not want to be someone fetish.

No only that but if a trans-woman dates a lesbian other lesbians criticize them that they are not really gay and if a trans-man dates a gay man his gayness is question. On Huffington Post Live they talk about the problems dating…

Monday, January 27, 2014


There is a discussion on a forum about someone who detransitioned; one person who was involved with “her” when she transitioned felt betrayed because he didn’t tell her that he was going back to his birth gender.

I have known one person who detransitioned and I understand the pressure that “she” was going through. “She” was still married to her wife and they were under tremendous financial pressure so they decided to move back to her folks in the Bible belt. He detransitioned so that they could live with her folks.

They both had opened their hearts to the community taking in all the strays under their wings, helping them along in their quest to find themselves. They were the first people that I felt comfortable to talk to about how I was in turmoil.

The talk started immediately in the trans-community when the word spread about his detransition; that “he” wasn’t really trans, he is giving the community a bad name, and so on. But I always said that you can never know what he was going through, the pressure that they faced, and the decisions they had to make. There are many reasons why a person might detransition and only one of them is not being trans. There is family pressure, religious pressure, economic pressure, social pressure and the list is endless.

The person on the forum who was hurt because she was told in person should remember that the other person probably felt a lot of guilt over detransitioning, probably just as much or if not more then he felt as when he transitioned.

I see the person that I know every once in awhile, after his wife died he moved back east and is active in the LGBT community, he does volunteer work at a LGBT health clinic.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Amazing Trans* Research!

There is an article in the Huffington Post by an Assistant Professor of Sociology at The College at Brockport, Tristan Bridges about the research that has been done over the last fifty years in to the study of gender thanks to us.
What Research About Transgender People Can Teach Us About Gender and Inequality
Posted: 01/24/2014

Most people think of gender as some kind of inalienable property of individuals -- as something we either are or have. Decades of scholarship on gender have uncovered a perspective at odds with the conventional wisdom. The thing about conventional wisdom, though, is that it's difficult to challenge even when we can prove it wrong. It's much more accurate to talk about gender as something we "do" than as something we simply "are" or "have." While this might initially seem like splitting hairs, people's lives, legislation, and more hang in the balance. Sociologists Laurel Westbrook and Kristen Schilt just published a new study on how the media manage moments of conflict over who "counts" as a woman or a man, and they've uncovered new reasons why we ought to care more about this distinction than you might have thought. Their study of how media navigate transgender individuals tells us more than why transgender people challenge conventional wisdom on gender. They continue a tradition in the sociology of gender of relying of the experiences of transgender people to provide new insights into what gender is and how taken for granted gender inequality has become.
When I teach cultural awareness one of my slides is about how we are unique in seeing gender inequality. For trans-women we see the loss of male privilege, it is like that we have had lobotomy and don’t know anything anymore. In business meeting our suggestions no long have merit, but if a man makes the same suggestion everyone all of sudden the same idea gets discussed. The opposite is true for the trans-men, all of sudden they became expert in everything.

What the sociologist Harold Garfinkel found out was that we all role play,
Agnes was studied by surgeons, endocrinologists, psychologists, all matter of medical professionals, and -- as fate would have it -- a sociologist named Harold Garfinkel. Garfinkel wasn't a sociologist of gender; indeed, the sociology of gender didn't even really exist at that point. And it may very well be Agnes that we should thank for its production. While the medical professionals meeting with Agnes (among others) were all concerned with helping her, they were also all casually in agreement that it was Agnes who was the one with the problem. Garfinkel's great insight was to recognize that while her desire for surgery may be statistically rare, there was nothing at all "problematic" about her gender. In fact, Garfinkel found that Agnes knew quite a bit more about her gender than most. Rather than teaching Agnes how to better "fit in" or "pass" as a woman, Garfinkel became increasingly interested in what he could learn from Agnes about gender.
...But it was Agnes' intricate insights into her daily performances of gender that allowed Garfinkel to realize that gender is a performance for everyone. It wasn't just Agnes who was passing; we're all passing as men and women. Agnes was just better able to talk about it than most. It becomes so much a part of who we think we are that most of us don't even recognize the daily work we do to pass as men and women (shaving, make-up, clothes, hair cuts, styles of walking, talking, sitting, how to interact conversationally, carrying wallets or a purse, and more). It's exhausting once you list it all out, and we're constantly at work.
How many times have we heard other trans-women say that they had to learn how to be a man? We learn at an early age how to blend in to our birth gender that seems foreign to us. I used to pretend to love cars and engines; I could talk the gearhead talk like a gearhead.

Garfinkel goes on to write about “gender panic” about what happens when a society focuses on body parts. How there is gender panic when a male invades a women space and how there is less gender panic when a woman enters men space. He writes that this is about the belief men at capable of violence and the belief that women are uniquely vulnerable and he goes on to say that,
…Indeed, Schilt and Westbrook address violence against transgender women in their previous research as did Cox in her interview with Couric [about society focus on body parts]. And our collective failure to recognize violence against transgender women is a testament to the power of conventional wisdom about gender. While transgender people have a unique capacity to help us understand gender as more flexible than we often imagine, Westbrook and Schilt's research illustrates the ways that the challenges brought about by transgender individuals are often dealt with in ways that have the effect of shoring up our faith in gender as innate and gender inequality is inevitable.
Conservatives focus on body parts thereby furthering society oppression of not only trans-people but also women. They should be focusing on the brain and not what is between your legs.


I went up for the day to First Event with two friends; the last couple of years have been a disappointment for me. It is not the conference, but me; I have progressed beyond the conference. The conference is very good for those who crossdress or have just started their transition. The conference has a number of “how to” workshops, how to apply make-up or how to prepare to come out and they have a number of doctors who attend the conference hawking their services and I am pass that stage.

I attended one workshop and that was called “SRS and Proper Treatment for Prison Inmates: The cases of Michelle Kosilek and Chelsea Manning” and I thought that it might cover how to make prisons safe for trans-people because the write-up about the workshop said, “Come and learn about (and debate) the case and what it means to trans people in and out of prison.” But there was nothing about “best practices” and the workshop was really over in about 10 minutes after she talked about their cases.

What I did do there was network; I learned a number of things about coming legislation on the local and nation levels. Our future looks rosy in some areas and dreary in others. One of the things that I learned was now that we have insurance coverage the doctors are not “in-network” doctors and will not take insurance. So what is happening is the insurance company approves X amount of dollars for the surgery but the doctor wants Y amount of dollars and you have to pay the difference which can be many thousands of dollars.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Six #511

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #511

1. D is for DALLY: What activity causes you to waste the most time in your day?
Just about everything, when you are retired there is no sense of urgency.

2. D is for DANCE: Do you enjoy dancing in public, and how often do you do so?
May two or three time a year; I attend a Women’s Tea Dance.

3. D is for DECAF: Do you get a genuine buzz from coffee and if so, how many cups per day is your limit?
All I drink is decaf, I have a heart condition and the doctors have said caffeine is a no, no.

4. D is for DISK: What was the size, in inches, of the floppy disk most commonly in use when you got your first computer: 8”, 5.25”, or 3.5” or were floppies already out of use?
5.25, but actually my first computer used a cassette record. The floppy disk hadn’t been inverted yet.

5. D is for DORMITORY: How much appeal did you or would you have seen in living in a dormitory in college?
???? I think you mean did I like dorm living, if that is what you meant then dorm living was my down fall. Way too much partying!

6. D is for DRIVE-THROUGH: What’s the last restaurant you purchased food from via its drive-through?
A decaf coffee from Dunkin Donuts.

I'm Heading Out Today...

So I will not be able to post your comments and reply to them until I get home tonight.Also I'll play Saturday 6 latter today.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Saturday 9: I Will Always Love You

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: I Will Always Love You

1) The Bodyguard is the best-selling movie soundtrack ever and this is the song most often associated with Whitney Houston. Is it on your iPod/mp3 player?
Nope, I’m proud to say that I don’t have any Whitney Houston songs.

 2) In the movie, Rachel (Whitney) sings "I Will Always Love You" after she realizes she can never see Frank (Kevin Costner) again. What song reminds you of a past love?

3) Despite the movie's and the song's overwhelming popularity, Whitney Houston was awarded a Razzie Award as the worst actress of 1992. What's the most recent criticism you received?
Oh goodness, I get so much criticism about my blog that I don’t even know where to begin.

4) On the bright side, share the last compliment you received.
Yesterday, one of my former classmates who asked me advice about one of her clients.

5) In the 1980s, when Whitney first burst onto the scene, a trendy woman wore big hair, big bows and big shoulder pads. Can you think of anything you wore that was fashionable at the time, but looking back, makes you cringe? (An embarrassing photo to accompany your answer would be nice!)
Back when a friend got married in the 70s we all wore yellow polyester leisure suits with platform shoes. We looked like canaries.
6) When this song was popular, cell phones were uncommon and Facebook was unheard of. Which has had a bigger impact on your life -- smart phones or social networking?
Since I don’t have a smart phone, I’ll have to go with social networking.

7) Whitney's marriage to Bobby Brown left many people shaking their heads. Whitney and Bobby's daughter recently married the young man who was raised as her brother. Have you ever been in a relationship your friends/family didn't approve of?
No, since I haven’t been in that many relationships.

8) Whitney Houston's grave marker reads, "I Will Always Love You," so obviously her family is very proud of the success of this recording. How would you like to be remembered?
That I left the world a better place than I came into.

9) Whitney was born in Newark, the largest city in New Jersey. It's a major air, rail and shipping hub, and it's in the Eastern Time zone. Have you ever been to Newark ... or any town in New Jersey?
Yes, on Interstate 95; one time my GPS took me through the worst part of Patterson at night and the bridge that it told me to cross was closed (No, governor Christie was not the governor then). It kept on having me drive around in circles and was scary driving past abandoned or burnt out buildings in the dark.

How Many Times Have We Heard…

We’ll be back for you right after…

This is most prominent in New York, when we were dropped for the non-discrimination bill in 2002 we heard the promise then, we will help pass the gender inclusive non-discrimination law, GENDA. Well we are still waiting. Then in April of 2008, the Empire Pride Agenda scheduled a big rally for GENDA legislation, however, a few days before the rally Governor Paterson said that he supported marriage equality…BAM, over night the rally focus became marriage equality and we had tire tracks over us again.

Autostraddle has an article by Casey Quinlan about the failed promise,
New York Can Pass Same-Sex Marriage But Not Trans* Protections: How GENDA Died

A few months ago, a bill supporting the rights of transgender and other gender nonconforming people failed to come up for a vote in the New York State Senate. It died quietly years after Republicans and Democrats came together to vote in support of same sex marriage. Like most failed legislative efforts, there usually isn’t one clear-cut reason for its downfall. A myriad of forces were working against the bill: a coterie of Democrats aligned with Republicans, a lack of unity in the advocacy community and a wider political problem in how elected leaders perceive Americans’ opinions of transgender people.

Let’s start with the obvious: The bill wasn’t prioritized as same sex marriage efforts were, which is not a story only familiar to New York, but the whole country. Same sex marriage has been the central focus of major LGBT rights organizations for years, to the consternation of many LGBT rights activists, who believe issues that impact impoverished people, and/or people of color, have been neglected. After DOMA, one would think this would be the best time for activists to shine a light on other issues, such as hate crimes against LGBT people.

But that hasn’t proven to be the case, at least in New York.
The article goes on to say that the organizations spent over $1 million to lobby for marriage equality but only $250,000 on GENDA. It points out that the Empire State Pride Agenda ad campaign doesn’t use the word “transgender” or show any trans-people in the ads, it says that,
A video that is basically the same as the radio advertisement showed on local television stations as well, showing a map of the United States, and captions, but never mentioned the word “transgender” or showed any photos of actual transgender people or gender nonconforming people. Contrast that advertisement with an ESPA advertisement run in 2009 campaigning for same sex marriage rights, named “Barb & Don,” in which an older couple talks about their daughter’s wife and children. It is a heartbreaking ad because you see the people ESPA is fighting for. Photo after photo is shown of Amy and her wife and daughter. Both television ads lasted 30 seconds.
There doesn’t seem to be the same drive from some of the organizations that worked for marriage equality. The article also cites the lack of trans-leadership,
Sallans [a trans-man who speaks as an activist on transgender issues] said that one of the most significant issues preventing the kind of engagement that is necessary for legislative victories from happening is the lack of transgender people in those organizations’ leadership.
The legislature and the governor does not seem to be behind the bill but the public is,
A poll of 600 New York voters by Global Strategy Group found that 78 percent supported its passage. Seventy-nine percent of New York City residents, 82 percent of downstate suburban voters and 74 percent of Upstate New York voters supported it. Even 67 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Independents polled supported the bill.

I Thought The Same Thing…

That there are other issues more important than marriage equality.
7 LGBT Issues That Matter More Than Marriage
Think marriage equality is the only thing that LGBT people care about?
Buzz Feed
October 11, 2013

From the death of DOMA to Macklemore’s “Same Love,” it’s been an exciting few months for the mainstream LGBT movement.

But what you might not know is that LGBT rights are about more than marriage. LGBT justice should be about empowering all queer people everywhere, which probably won’t happen just because people can legally marry people of the same gender.

There are some queer activists who envision a movement for justice that goes beyond marriage. Some folks think we should get rid of marriage altogether, while others think that mainstream LGBT organizations should shift their focus to other issues.
The author goes on to list them,
  1. Queer and Trans* Youth Homelessness
  2. Violence Against Queer and Trans* People
  3. Racial Justice
  4. Immigrant Justice
  5. Health
  6. Economic Justice
  7. Trans* Justice
It is Gay Inc. who has made marriage the number one priority. Gays and lesbians and trans-people who do not pass, they are the ones that are marginalized, they are the homeless, they are the one who are victims of violence, they are the ones who need protection.

If you can integrate into society and pass for a straight person you are more likely to have a good paying job, however, if you are butch lesbian you have a much hard time finding a good paying job.

So the next time when you hear of a state like Oklahoma that a federal court has overturned marriage discrimination laws ask yourself what is more important to be married or to have a job? What is more important to be married or to have a roof over your head? What is more important to be married or to be able to sit down in a restaurant? Because Oklahoma does not have any legal protect for LGBT people, not in employment, not in housing and not in public accommodation, but you will be able to get married there.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Most news media have condemned the article on Dr. V pointing out that her being transgender should not have been discussed in the article and some have also condemned the apology as rationalization for their ignorance. That the apology also furthers the belief that trans-people are deceitful. Fallon Fox in a Time editorial said,
Time and time again I’ve been flabbergasted at the lack of understanding in media in regards to why trans people may omit or even lie in some situations about their past.  As if the reasoning for protecting oneself in a country where violence and discrimination of trans people isn’t obvious. I’ve sat and pondered why some in media can be so cruel to us.
Some news outlets have attacked the backlash against the story. Rod Dreher said in the American Conservative that,
I want journalists to be more broadly educated about the people and the subjects they cover. I do not want journalists to be dictated to by activists or activist groups of the left or right who believe they have the right to set the bounds for what is acceptable coverage of their constituencies. These organizations and activists have the right to voice their own opinions, of course, but I wish they would take the Stanley Crouch approach, versus the Spike Lee approach. In the 1980s, Spike Lee gave an interview in which he said that black people need to become more powerful in Hollywood to “control” their image. Crouch, a professional critic who is also black, spoke out against this, saying that the more defensible goal is to expand the portrayals of blacks in film rather than to control them. Intimidating a newspaper or magazine into refusing to run a story you dislike displays a certain strength, no doubt, but more fundamentally it betrays weakness.
What Mr. Dreher does seem to understand is that what the “activists or activist groups” including news professionals are saying is that her being transgender did not bear on the validity of her credentials. It is not about “’control’ their image” it is about reporting fact relevant to a story. It is like reporting on a robbery, the color of their skin is not important, it would be important if the article was about the percentage of crimes by race or if the police was still looking for the person and it was included in the police description. If the story was “two men dressed as security guards robbed in front of a bank” it is irrelevant the color of their skin, the same thing about her being transgender it was not part of the story about fraudulent credentials.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Something We Know All Too Well…

Did you know that we experienced discrimination in healthcare? Well a New Zealand study just found that out,
Realities for trans students in NZ revealed
Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 22nd January 2014

A world-first study has found transgender students in New Zealand experience compromised mental health and personal safety, and have difficulty accessing health care.
Surprise, surprise! I bet you would have never guested.
"Both transgender students and those unsure about their gender, experienced compromised mental health and personal safety and they described more difficulty accessing health care," she says.

Transgender students were less likely to report believing that a parent cared about them and that school was okay, but were more likely to report having significant depressive symptoms.

Nearly 20 per cent had attempted suicide in the previous 12 months and nearly half of the transgender students had been hit or physically harmed by another person on purpose. 
I suppose that I shouldn’t sarcastic, for some people they need hard facts. I know when we were trying to pass the anti-discrimination legislation many of the legislators asked us how do know that discrimination exists. For them they needed something to put their finger on and say see!

I Don’t Usual Talk About This Topic…

But two things happened this week, my brother was talking about a book he is reading by a physicist who tries to prove that there is life after death and the other thing was watching Bill Moyers talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson on Science, Religion and the Universe.

The first didn’t interest me because I have my own beliefs about life after death. But deGrasse Tyson interview interested me and prompted this post.

The first part of the show is an excellent discussion of dark matter and multiple universes,
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:   …And if we have another universe adjacent to ours, it could be that these sites [Dark Matter] where we see extra gravity is ordinary gravity in a parallel universe. And here we are, looking at it mysteriously like, "What is this?" It's like the blind man touching the elephant. "I don't know what this whole thing is, but here I can describe this part of it. And it's kind of textured, and it's, no, no, no, no, no, this got, it's smooth and hard." And, you know, you can't see the whole elephant. Maybe the elephant is ordinary gravity in another universe and we're feeling it and we're making stuff up just to account for it.

BILL MOYERS: You think there could be another universe?

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: I don't see why not. Because back when we thought Earth was alone in the universe, we knew that there were other planets, that the Earth is just a planet, one of many. "Well, the sun is surely special." No, the sun is one of a hundred billion other suns. So, the galaxy, the Milky Way. No, the galaxy is one of hundred billion galaxies. How about the universe?

We have philosophical precedent to suggest that why should nature make anything in ones? Okay?
Everything else we ever thought was unique or special, well, we found more of them. So philosophically, it's not unsettling to imagine more than one universe.

We also have good theoretical grounds for suggesting the existence of a multiverse. Where our universe is just one of some countless number of other universes coming in and out of existence, with slightly different laws of physics within them. That makes it a little dangerous. Because we are held together, involved in a universe where we work. Where we work physically. If you want to visit another universe, I would, like, you know, send something else ahead of you.
It is like deGrasse Tyson said, we are a blind man trying to make sense of something that we can’t see. We can possible see the effects of the other universes but we cannot see them. He goes on to talk about how we describe things to other people,
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Yeah, so there you're stuck with the analogy of the biggest explosion you know, using that to describe something that's even bigger. Which is hard to do, right? I mean, not to get morbid on you, but I was four blocks from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. I live downtown. And I was trying to describe to others the sound of the collapse of 107-story building. And it is not like anything else. So I can say, "Well, imagine two trains colliding." But how many of us even have heard or seen that? Whatever that is, it's more than that. So you're stuck. If the biggest explosion we've made on Earth is the hydrogen bomb, and then you say it's a cosmic hydrogen bomb, it is, I think saying it's a cosmic hydrogen bomb cheapens the event. Yeah, it's way bigger than--
Then deGrasse Tyson begins to talk about the Bible…
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Well, so let me say that differently. All efforts that have been invested by brilliant people of the past have failed at that exercise. They just fail. And so I don't, the track record is so poor that going forward, I have essentially zero confidence, near zero confidence, that there will be fruitful things to emerge from the effort to reconcile them. So, for example, if you knew nothing about science, and you read, say, the Bible, the Old Testament, which in Genesis, is an account of nature, that's what that is, and I said to you, give me your description of the natural world based only on this, you would say the world was created in six days, and that stars are just little points of light much lesser than the sun. And that in fact, they can fall out of the sky, right, because that's what happens during the Revelation.

You know, one of the signs that the second coming, is that the stars will fall out of the sky and land on Earth. To even write that means you don't know what those things are. You have no concept of what the actual universe is. So everybody who tried to make proclamations about the physical universe based on Bible passages got the wrong answer.

So what happened was, when science discovers things, and you want to stay religious, or you want to continue to believe that the Bible is unerring, what you would do is you would say, "Well, let me go back to the Bible and reinterpret it." Then you'd say things like, "Oh, well they didn't really mean that literally. They meant that figuratively."

So, this whole sort of reinterpretation of the, how figurative the poetic passages of the Bible are came after science showed that this is not how things unfolded. And so the educated religious people are perfectly fine with that. It's the fundamentalists who want to say that the Bible is the literally, literal truth of God, that and want to see the Bible as a science textbook, who are knocking on the science doors of the schools, trying to put that content in the science room. Enlightened religious people are not behaving that way. So saying that science is cool, we're good with that, and use the Bible for, to get your spiritual enlightenment and your emotional fulfillment.
And that is how I look at the Bible, like trying to explain an elephant to a blind man. How do you explain a billion years to someone who may only count to a hundred? When your world is maybe to the next village over, a flood that encompasses your valley looks like your whole world. Not to eat pork or shellfish made sense because they had no idea that these little things like plankton or bacteria or viruses or parasites even existed. They couldn’t fit their minds around such an idea, they were the blind man.

I have a problem with people of who take a literally view of the Bible and other documents from the past. Our knowledge and science has greatly changed. Do you even think that when they wrote the Second Amendment to our Constitution that they could even dream of a gun that fired several hundred rounds a minute? To them a gun fired maybe one round a minute if the person was really fast loading the musket.
In two thousand years, we know how to prevent and treat trichinosis, we can treat leprosy, we know that slavery is wrong and we know that our sexual orientation and gender identity is not a choice but a part of our being. We understand the diversity of nature.

And for the record, yes I do believe in God, I just don’t believe in any one religion. I believe it is more important how you live your life and how you treat others.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Candy Darling

Last night I watched the movie Beautiful Darling on Netflix; how many of you know who know about Candy Darling?

If I give you a clue, will that help?

Lu Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”  “…Candy came from out on the island,”

She was an actress who stared in a number of Andy Warhol movies and hung out at Max’s Kansas City and Studio 54 restaurants. She crashed at friends apartments and lived off of handouts.

I think she was a woman ahead of her times; you have to remember this was during the era of the Stonewall revolution where it was still illegal for a man to be out in public wearing women’s clothes, and it was almost impossible for a trans-woman to have a job. It was the era of sex, drugs and rock & roll and Candy was at ground zero.

In the New York Times review of the movie, they said,
The movie’s matter-of-fact truth teller, the writer Fran Lebowitz, who spent time in the Warhol orbit, remembers the grim era when being a female impersonator on the streets of New York was against the law.

In the days when Slattery was growing up, Ms. Lebowitz recalls, wallowing in movie-magazine images of untouchable gods and goddesses was an irresistible escape from the rejection and scorn of straight society. Even after becoming a downtown celebutante, Candy Darling, who took female hormones, resisted having the surgery to complete gender reassignment. “I’m not a genuine woman,” she said. “But I’m not interested in genuineness. I’m interested in being the product of a woman.”

Candy Darling, who naïvely regarded Warhol as her Louis B. Mayer and protector, was bitterly disappointed when he lost interest in his triumvirate of cross-dressing “superstars,” which also included Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis.
The courage it took to be Candy Darling is illustrated by the following late diary entry read by Ms. Sevigny:

“I will not cease to be myself for foolish people. For foolish people make harsh judgments on me. You must always be yourself, no matter what the price. It is the highest form of morality.”
Besides the Andy Warhol movies she also was in a play with Robert De Niro and in a Tennessee Williams' play called Small Craft Warnings. She was also in the movies Klute with Jane Fonda and Lady Liberty with Sophia Loren.

Too Late.

Yesterday I wrote about the outing of a trans-person by Grantland that may have resulted in her suicide, the Grantland Editor has now apologized
We started hearing that question on Friday afternoon, West Coast time, right as everyone was leaving our Los Angeles office to start the weekend. We kept hearing that question on Friday night, and all day Saturday, and Sunday, too. We heard it repeatedly on Twitter and Facebook. We sifted through dozens of outraged emails from our readers. We read critiques on various blogs and message boards, an onslaught that kept coming and coming. I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized that we definitely screwed up, but it happened sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. On Sunday, ESPN apologized on our behalf. I am apologizing on our behalf right now. My condolences to Dr. V’s friends and family for any pain our mistakes may have caused.
She is dead and no amount of apologizing will bring her back.

There is a responsibility to be culturally aware of the environment that you are writing about. Whether it is the black culture or Latino culture or the trans-culture you should know how what you write will affect not only who you are writing about but also how it will affect others in that community. Will they not even consider what you are writing about an issue? Or will what you write be considered an insult to the community? Some religions consider it an insult to write about their god in anything but positive light. The article goes on to say that,
The fourth issue, and this almost goes without saying: Not only did we feel terrible about what happened to Dr. V, we could never really know why it happened. Nor was there any way to find out.
Yes there was a way, ask. Pick up the phone and call a transgender organization or call GLAAD; you are a reporter and it is your job to ask questions. Which they realized in hindsight,
…Whether you believe we were right or wrong, let’s at least agree that we made an indefensible mistake not to solicit input from ANYONE in the trans community. But even now, it’s hard for me to accept that Dr. V’s transgender status wasn’t part of this story…
They go on to say that it was part of the story,
…Caleb couldn’t find out anything about her pre-2001 background for a very specific reason. Let’s say we omitted that reason or wrote around it, then that reason emerged after we posted the piece. What then?
What then was to ask yourself was the reason justified? Did she really have the degrees only in her male name, if that was the case it would not been news worthy because she had the degrees that she claimed to have had. If she didn’t have the degrees than that would have been the salient fact, not that she was trans.
To my infinite regret, we never asked anyone knowledgeable enough about transgender issues to help us either (a) improve the piece, or (b) realize that we shouldn’t run it. That’s our mistake — and really, my mistake, since it’s my site. So I want to apologize. I failed.

More importantly, I realized over the weekend that I didn’t know nearly enough about the transgender community – and neither does my staff. I read Caleb’s piece a certain way because of my own experiences in life. That’s not an acceptable excuse; it’s just what happened. And it’s what happened to Caleb, and everyone on my staff, and everyone who read/praised/shared that piece during that 56-hour stretch from Wednesday to Friday.

Monday, January 20, 2014

At Times I Hate The News Media…

I don’t know if you have been following how the news media has been reporting the law out in California that integrated the schools for trans-students?

They have been reporting the press releases from the far right conservatives without checking the facts. I don’t know why they are doing it, it might because they cut their reporting staff, it might be because they are lazy, it might be because they want controversy to drive up their readership or it might be because of bias; take your pick.

Do they misgender us because lack of knowledge or do they do it out malice? When I was being interviewed when we were at the committee hearing on CT anti-discrimination bill, the woman I was with tried to tell the reporter about the use of pronouns but he didn’t want to hear about it because he said it would bias the article. Once she was able to tell him that she just wanted to tell him to check the AP Stylebook he backed off and listened to what she was asking. In the video he did use the correct pronouns (He did say that, I “was born a man but prefers to live as a woman” but that could be argued that it was relevant to the interview.).

But I can have disastrous results when the news media is biased. In Colorado the news media hounded the trans-student to bring her close to suicide. And it may have driven a trans-woman to suicide,
Transgender People Are Paying The Price For The Media’s Willful Ignorance

The failure to effectively and respectfully cover stories about transgender people has consequences. “A state of emergency.”
By Saeed Jones
January 19, 2014

For those who care about the way transgender people are covered in the media — to say nothing of transgender people themselves who bear the brunt of the blow — it has been a difficult few weeks. “A chill ran down my spine” is how Caleb Hannan, a Grantland contributor, describes the moment he realized that the subject of his story was a transwoman. In the article, Hannan doesn’t get a “chill” later when the woman, an inventor and entrepreneur, begs him not to out her, stating “you’re about to commit a hate crime.”

After describing how the subject of his story swallowed pills, put a bag over her head and died on her kitchen floor — a suicide some have suggested came as a result of Hannan’s own reporting, though she did not leave a note so we will likely never know for sure — the writer’s next sentence is about himself: “Writing a eulogy for a person who by all accounts despised you is an odd experience.”

To review, a person was outed as transgender against her will, then referred to as “he” for the rest of the article, pushed to the breaking point and somehow not only a writer but at least one editor decided this was a story that should be published. This is no eulogy.
In another article, this time in Jezebel, Tracy Moore writes that,
Issue two is the reporting on the trans status of the subject. This is much clearer: Don't out someone who doesn't want to be out. The end. Everyone has a right to privacy when it comes to their gender identity or sexual orientation, and beyond this, the trans status is not relevant. Hannan should have treated those pieces of information as distinctly different: It is one thing to not wish to disclose gender identity information or sexual orientation, it is another to lie about your education and work experience. Instead, he mixes in that discovery alongside the others, as if they are all the same kind of cover-up, as if part of the scam involving fudged credentials is the hucksterism of transitioning. It is unclear from the story how he addressed the discovery of Vanderbilt's trans status with her privately, how Vanderbilt responded, or what (if anything) was discussed in terms of whether it would be published or not. This is the question I've put to him (which has not been answered as of this piece's runtime).

Issue three: It appears from the story's tone that there was zero ethical concern whatsoever concerning the trans status. This is the sort of stuff that comes up, by the way, in 101 ethics classes: Say you're called to cover the story of a hero who saved a drowning man from an icy river, and in the course of reporting you determine the hero is also gay, and would prefer to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. Do you report on it? The answer, of course, is no, you don't report that detail, because the hero being gay is irrelevant to the story. But real-life scenarios are not so simple.
The reporting on the inconsistencies of her educational background is legitimate, but her trans-history is not. It is like Ms. Moore said about the hero saving the drowning man, the fact that he was gay was not material to the story, that fact that Ms. V was trans was not relevant to the story.

It appears that the original article has been rewritten, but the damage has been done!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The California Law…

As many of you know, a new law went into effect on January first in California integrating trans-students in schools and that there is opposition to the coming from the right. Most of the time when you hear “Fox News” you think of the ultra-conservative national network, but surprisingly some of the local outlet try to be balanced like the local affiliate here in Hartford.

The local Fox affiliate in Los Angeles did a report on the new law that I think was pretty good. The video covers both sides of the debate; they interview someone from the Transgender Law Center and also someone from the right. The reporter pointed out that LA has had the policy for ten years,
Typically, other students don't even realize it. The idea is to prevent bullying, to prevent someone from being singled out as different.  The folks at LAUSD say they've been doing this for 10 years without any real problems.  Still, a group of conservative groups in California are banding together calling themselves '' Privacy for all Students'', gathering signatures to force a ballot initiative to allow voters a chance to repeal what's technically known as the School Success and Opportunity Act. They say it will lead to awkward and unwanted violations of privacy, girls looking at boys, and vice versa, but supporters say that just doesn't happen.
I tried embedding the video but the code doesn’t seem to work I was able to get the code to work, so if you watch the video just make sure that you have taken your blood pressure and heart medication before you read the comments.
Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Six #510

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #510

1. C is for CABLE: Do you pay for cable or satellite television or have you “cut the cord”?
I still have cable because I have the high speed internet through them.

2. C is for CACOEPY: Which common mispronunciation do you find most annoying?
Since I’m usually the one who is mispronouncing the words, I do not find it annoying. If you stop and think about it, the person might have a medical problem that causes the words to be mispronounced such as dyslexia. So the next time you hear someone mispronounce words or write the wrong word or leave words out in a sentence instead of getting annoyed wonder if maybe a symptom of a medical problem.

3. C is for CANDLE: At which age do you think it’s appropriate to stop placing a candle for every year on someone’s birthday cake?
When they start setting off the smoke detectors.

4. C is for CENT: Do you think pennies should still be minted or should we just give up on the single cents?
We should keep minting pennies, otherwise it will be a windfall for stores because they would probably round up all the time. If something cost $7.51 the stores would probably charge $7.55.

5. C is for CHAIR: Describe your favorite chair in your home?
My recliner, the only problem it is too big for me. My father bought it for a house warming gift and he got a tall instead of a regular size recliner.

6. C is for CORN: What’s your favorite way to eat corn?
I like corn on the cob and in rows not around the ear. However, I can’t eat any anymore because it has way too much sugar and it send my blood glucose out of sight.

Saturday 9: Best Song Ever

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Best Song Ever

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here. (This is their official video and it begins with a skit; music starts at 2:25.)

1) Dancing all night to the best song ever would be good for the cardiovascular system. When is the last time you exercised?
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, I went walking.

2) The girl in this song is the daughter of a dentist. "Dentophobia" is fear of dentists. How do you feel about going to the dentist?
It is one of those thinks that you have to do in life.

3) One Direction performed this on Good Morning, America. Do you watch morning TV? If so, which show?
I watch CBS This Morning show on weekdays and the Today show on weekends.

4) Listening to upbeat pop songs like this one makes Sam feel young. When is the last time you participated in an activity commonly connected to children (like swinging on a swing, drinking chocolate milk, playing a board game, etc.)?
I don’t know if I have in a very long time.

5) One of the boys, Louis Tomlinson, was an actor before joining the band. How many different professions have you tried? What were they?
Two, electronics and social work.

6) The fans that have made One Direction millionaires are also the target audience for series like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Wimpy Kid. Do you read Young Adult literature?
I never was a young reader, all the books that you had to read in school were boring. Who wants to read Wuthering Heights unless you are forced to read it? It wasn’t until my college roommate turned me on to science fiction that I started reading on my own.
7) If this is the "best song ever," what song do you consider the worst? Tell us which song just sets your teeth on edge.
Any song by George Thorogood, especially this one,

8) One Direction performed at the Royal Variety Show for Queen Elizabeth. If you found yourself presented to Her Majesty, what would you say?
Can I wear your crown and sit in your “chair?”

9) Right now, is your life moving in the right direction or are you feeling a bit aimless?
Some days I feel like a nut some days I don’t. I think for the most part my life has direction but some days it is like I’m tilting windmills.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I Think She Is Very Talkative And Giggly...

Another up for a Colorado trip?

Gathering My Nerve…

I hate breaking my routine; I am a creature of habit. I hate going to a place by myself and it has to do with two factors, the first factor has been my lifelong shyness. At work when they sent me to a meeting alone with all strangers my anxiety level went up. However, I took a deep breath and went to the meeting.

The second factor now is my trans-ness. I have had some bad experiences (like an auto parts store) and that is always in the back of my mind, but I took a deep breath and went inside.

So now I’m taking another deep breath and go to the town senior center to the photo group that meets on Fridays. I’m going to call the center and get some basic information first, like making sure that they are still meeting this afternoon and what do they do at the meeting.

There is actually a third reason… I don’t feel like I’m a senior… there are all old folks there and I’m not old! Just because I’m old enough to collect Social Security doesn’t mean I’m old.

Anyhow I will fill you all in with an update latter this afternoon. Probably as usual my worrying will be over nothing.

Update 3:15PM:

As usual I got worried over nothing. They were a great bunch of people, there were four men there and I think I am a little bit ahead of them in skill level. However, there was one guy who is about equal with me and has a number of great photographs that he showed the group. One little tense moment when they asked where did I use to work and one of the other men said that he used to work there also, it turned out that he left a couple of years before me. From the membership list it looks like there are a couple of women who also are memebers.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Are You Going To Sochi?

If you are LGBT, beware! On Friday the State Department has issues a warning for LGBT people traveling to Sochi for the Olympics,
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) ISSUES: In June 2013, Russia's State Duma passed a law banning the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors. The U.S. government understands that this law applies to both Russian citizens and foreigners in Russia. Russian citizens found guilty of violating the law could face a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,100). Foreign citizens face similar fines, up to 14 days in jail, and deportation. The law makes it a crime to promote LGBT equality in public, but lacks concrete legal definitions for key terms. Russian authorities have indicated a broad interpretation of what constitutes "LGBT propaganda," and provided vague guidance as to which actions will be interpreted by authorities as "LGBT propaganda." LGBT travelers should review the State Department's LGBT Travel Information page.
And while we are speaking of travel alerts, there is an alert for LGBT travelers to Greece,
LGBT RIGHTS: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Greece are protected by anti-discrimination laws, and there are no legal or governmental impediments to the organization of LGBT events. At the same time, non-government organizations report that societal discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is widespread in Greece but focused on gay relationships. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
According to Human Rights Watch…
Greece: Abusive Crackdown on Migrants
Police Sweeps, Invasive Searches, Arbitrary Detention
June 12, 2013

(Athens) – Athens police are conducting abusive stops and searches and have detained tens of thousands of people in a crackdown on irregular migration, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 52-page report, “Unwelcome Guests: Greek Police Abuses of Migrants in Athens,” documents frequent stops of people who appear to be foreigners, unjustified searches of their belongings, insults, and, in some cases, physical abuse. Many are detained for hours in police stations pending verification of their legal status.
Another source reported,
On the 30th of May, a new group of undesirables was identified.  Trans gender people. For the last week, daily raids have been taking place in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.  Under the pretense that of checking that the person is not involved in the sex industry trans people are being rounding up and arrested.  Their details are taken and they are detained for several hours.  On release they are warned that if they did not “return to normal” they would be arrested for public indecency.
So travel aboard at your own risk.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don’t

In a relationship when do we tell a person about our history or do we even tell the other person?

No matter what we do we will be criticized and it could be fatal to us. We have been murder for just sitting a bar; some guy has the hots for us and when he finds out that we are trans he beats the crap out of us or kills us. So what do we do?

There is an article in the Huffington Post Gay Voices by Brynn Tannehill about this dilemma. In the article she says,
Not only are our bodies not our own, neither are the history of your genitals or your genetics. For whatever reason, this seems to only apply to transgender people.

Is there societal acceptance of someone who beats a woman when he finds out she's a quarter Jewish? Are men required to tell if they're circumcised? Women have to announce if they're had a clitoral hood piercing? Is it self-defense if you murder your boyfriend because you found out he's not a gold star gay like you? How about throwing your girlfriend off a balcony when you find out she identified as bisexual before she identified as a lesbian?

From Gwen Araujo, to Brandon Teena, to Angie Zapata, to Cemia Dove, our lack of ownership of our bodies has meant being forcibly stripped, groped, raped, strangled, stabbed burned, and bludgeoned. It means that transgender panic defenses live on in court, and sometimes even win. After Brandon McInerney shot Larry King twice in the back of the head in the middle of a crowded classroom, the jury deadlocked on the case. Some even sympathized with the murderer. "[Brandon] was just solving a problem," one juror said.
As she pointed out in the article, all it takes is one bigot on the jury and the murder walks free.

Questions Are Being Asked

People are asking questions on why the district attorney is pressing charges against the trans-student at Hercules High School in California.
Questions arise over district attorney's decision to charge transgender teen
By Theresa Harrington Contra Costa Times
Posted:   01/10/2014

HERCULES -- A growing public campaign is putting pressure on the Contra Costa County district attorney to drop battery charges against a transgender teen -- charges that were filed after days of taunting and harassment by classmates erupted into a fight at Hercules High School.

A petition on posted Wednesday by the sister of 16-year-old Jewlyes Gutierrez has garnered media and public attention from around the country, said Charles Ramsey, president of the West Contra Costa school board. He questioned why the District Attorney's Office, which has limited resources, is pursuing a matter that he believes had already been resolved.

"People are talking about this," he said. "It doesn't seem to be fair. You're prosecuting a victim here? It seems like this is really a school issue. They took care of it at the school site."

The students involved in the fight were suspended and later apologized to each other, Ramsey said. Since the incident, there has been no further harassment, he added.
The school system has worked with the students to resolve the issue and they are being giving health services center counselors. The questions are why is the district attorney pressing charges and why is he pressing charges only against Ms. Gutierrez? The district attorney has refused to answer citing that the case involves juveniles. According to the article the district attorney has the discretionary authority to drop the charges.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In Case You Haven't Heard…

Governor Christie vetoes a bill to allow trans-people to change their birth certificate without surgery.
Christie vetoes bill allowing new birth certificates for transgender people without surgery
LGBTQ Nation
Staff Reports
Monday, January 13, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey governor Chris Christie on Monday vetoed a bill that would have allowed transgender citizens to obtain a new birth certificate to reflect their gender identity without surgical requirements.

Christie’s veto was absolute, which is means he rejected the law outright and returned the measure to the State Legislature without amendment. A two-thirds vote will now be required to override the governor’s veto in order for the measure to become law — 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the general assembly.

The State’s Senate had passed the measure last month by a vote of 21-11. The lower house approved the measure 43-27 vote in June.
I believe that the Senate needs one more vote to overturn the veto and the House needs four more votes.

The governor wrote in part…
This bill revises current standards applicable to the issuance of an amended birth certificate by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. Specifically, the bill requires issuance of an amended birth certificate on receipt of a form completed by the person’s licensed health care provider that indicates that the person has undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition, based on contemporary medical standards, or that the person has an intersex condition. The bill also permits a minor to apply for an amended birth certificate if submitted by a parent or guardian on behalf of the minor. In addition, current law requires the State Registrar to place the original certificate of birth and all papers pertaining to the amended certificate of birth under seal, which is not to be broken except by order of a court. The bill permits the seal to be broken on the request of the person, or upon the request of the parent or guardian, if the person is a minor. Finally, the bill clarifies that the amended certificate shall not be marked as amended.

It Is Going To Be A Busy Spring Season…

Three workshops submitted, three workshops approved!

February – Guest lecturer: Multicultural Education class UConn, West Hartford Campus
March – True Colors Conference: “Policies for gender variant students” UConn Main Campus, Storrs
April – MA Chapter NASW Conference: “A Look at My World: The Culture of the Transgender Community"
May – CT Chapter NASW Conference: “A Look at My World: The Culture of the Transgender Community"

Monday, January 13, 2014

Can A Straight Person Play A Trans-Person?

Last month I wrote a blog post about this topic and asked that question. Jared Leto did an interview on Huffington Post Live where he answered that question by saying,
That being said, you wouldn't want to stick a transgender person with only transgender roles. So it goes both ways.
I wrote that I could see both sides of the argument, however, since I wrote that he won the Golden Globes award for the best supporting character and it is his speech that persuaded me against a straight actor playing a trans-character. What he said in the Huffington Post interview is true; I don’t want a trans-actor/actress playing only trans-parts. However, that is a false argument; substitute a woman or a black person or an Asian person for the trans-person.
That being said, you wouldn't want to stick a “woman” with only “woman” roles. So it goes both ways.
But if the role is about a woman you wouldn’t want a man playing that role, but a woman can play a role for a gender neutral part, the same is true for a trans-person. If the character is about a trans-person than the character should be played by a trans-person, but if the character is gender neutral than there is no reason why it couldn’t be played by a trans-person.

In his acceptance speech according to Varity he said,
In actuality, his speech was quite lovely and entertaining. He talked about waxing his entire body, including his eyebrows, and added, “”I’m just fortunate that it wasn’t a period piece so I didn’t have to do a full Brazilian. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about though…and so do some of you men, I think.” On a more serious note, he added: “To the Rayons of the world, thanks for the inspiration.”
My thoughts about his speech is, is that all the character meant to you is that you had to wax your body? Salon put it this way,
In actuality, his speech was quite lovely and entertaining. He talked about waxing his entire body, including his eyebrows, and added, “”I’m just fortunate that it wasn’t a period piece so I didn’t have to do a full Brazilian. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about though…and so do some of you men, I think.” On a more serious note, he added: “To the Rayons of the world, thanks for the inspiration.”
For those who think I’m reading too much into his speech at the Globes and his “Fresh Air” interview in which he called his character “transgendered” and said the film had no political valence, I’d point to the fact that neither Leto nor his fellow winner Matthew McConaughey mentioned AIDS once in their respective speeches. These two men devoted months of their lives to a project specifically about the AIDS crisis, and then went off on tangents when accepting awards for their work about how goofy and weird it is to make your body like a transgender person’s (Leto’s speech) or about how your wife calls you “king” (McConaughey’s).
Compare that with Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox interview on the Katie Couric Show or to Ms. Cox character in “Orange is the New Black” and that is the difference that a trans-person has over a straight person playing a transgender character.

A Good Discussion on California's law AB1266

The LA Times has a good discussion on the new law in California, the School Success and Opportunity Act.

Transgender students 'just looking for their place in the world'
The fight for gay rights has essentially been won. So why is anyone worried about giving legal protection to transgender minors?

The article by Robin Abcarian refutes the claims made by the anti-law groups, she says...
Schubert, a political operative, helped orchestrate Proposition 8, which briefly outlawed gay marriage in California. Supported by the Pacific Justice Institute and other well-known gay marriage opponents, he is running a new group, Privacy for All Students, which gathered more than 600,000 signatures, mostly from evangelical Christian churches. About 505,000 signatures must be valid for the measure to qualify for the November ballot. Results will be known by early February.

What you often hear from people horrified by the new law is that forcing "normal" students to share a bathroom with a transgender peer amounts to a kind of "reverse-bullying."
School districts in Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have had transgender-friendly policies for years, have not reported problems.

But Gina Gleason, director of faith and public policy at the Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, told me she doesn't live in Los Angeles or San Francisco, and she doesn't know about that. Her church has worked hard to gather signatures to overturn the law.
And that is just the problem, "she doesn't know about that" and they don't care to learn because it might go against their faith. To them the world is black and white and what was write 2000 years ago is fact. God made "man" and "woman" and no amount of scientific evidence is going to change their thinking. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Katie Couric Show

Many of you have heard about Katie Couric’s questions to Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox about their transition and how they deflected the questions. They refused to answer Katie’s question about their transition and if they had surgery and refocused the question to how the media seems to always want to know about our transition and it makes our lives seems one dimensional. On the show she said,
"I do feel like there's preoccupation with [transitioning]," Cox told Couric in the above clip. "I think the preoccupation with transition and with surgery objectifies trans people and then we don't get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people's lives is that so often we're targets of violence. We experience violence disproportionately to the rest of the community... when we focus on transition we don't get to talk about those things."
In response to the show Katie Couric said on her show Friday that,
"Even if some thought my question was off base, I wanted to make sure my question and Carmen's answer stayed in the show as a teachable moment for me, as well as our viewers. I'm really proud we were able to spotlight such an open and honest conversation with Carmen and Laverne Cox, who are both terrific, about the myriad of struggles that this often maligned, marginalized and misunderstood community faces."
Laverne Cox replied on her blog,
I am so deeply moved by the dialogues that are happening around my appearance with Carmen Carrera on “The Katie Show” on Monday… I am so grateful to Katie Couric and her show for the opportunity to highlight these important issues.
My take on the show and the discussion around the show is that both Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox handled the questions with class and professionalism. I also think that the public has a morbid fascination over genitalia and she reflected that fascination in her questions and yes I do believe that those questions cross a boundary being asked by everyone, except for one thing in an exception is in an educational setting where questions like are to be expected.  I believe that Ms. Couric error was not in backing off when the questions when they refused to answer questions transition. Slate said it this way,
Here’s the ideal approach journalists should use when interviewing an LGBTQ person: Acknowledge that person’s sexual or gender identity upfront since it is an important part of their lives, but then only focus on that identity to the extent that the individual seems interested in talking about it. Some people will find their queerness supremely salient and want to discuss it in detail; others, not so much. The important thing is to treat individuals as just that, and to back off—as a decent human being should in any situation—when it’s clear that certain lines of personal questioning are meandering toward undue discomfort or outright disrespect.
One last thought; it always seems that the media has to always say "and she used to be a man..." just to put a dig in about our history.

Saturday Six #509

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #509

1. B is for BANK: How many different banks do you do business with, or do you have all of your money in one single bank?
I have accounts in two different banks and I also a signee on two bank accounts for non-profits.

2. B is for BATH: When was the last time you took a nice, long, relaxing bath without having to be rushed?
Friday, on Friday afternoon I like to relax in my whirlpool tub with a bunch of scented candles and bath salts.

3. B is for BEAR: What’s your favorite kind of bear and why?
I don’t think I have given much thought to my favorite kind of bears. I don’t have any teddy bears so I would it is the black bear that comes around to our cottage and looked into the window.

4. B is for BICKER: Who was the last person you got into a disagreement with, and have you apologized or reconciled the situation?
It was my brother; I was laying tile at the cottage, he had to come over and tell me how to do it which got me mad. Our father taught me how to lay tile and brick when I was building my house. In the end I Googled so YouTube videos that showed how to lay tile like I was doing and he agreed to the way I was doing it was also correct.

5. B is for BOOK: Which book did you spend the most time reading in 2013?
Probably the longest book because I read at a steady pace.

6. B is for BROKEN: What item did you break most recently inside the home?
Well didn’t break it but it broke itself… my furnace broke down when it was 9oF outside.