Friday, February 28, 2014

Another Day, Another Meeting

This meeting is on developing guidelines for LGBT elder care in nursing homes, at senior center, and for home care. As a senior and as a trans-person I have a vested interest in creating an information source here in Connecticut for these agencies. I want to make sure that the trans-community has a voice at the table.

I am also meeting many new people and getting reacquainted with some old friends that I’ve worked with in the work to pass the CT non-discrimination act.

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are!

That is paraphrasing what Harvey Milk said,
Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.
I don’t believe that coming out is for everyone, I think that you have to first make sure that you are safe and also it is your personal choice to make, you shouldn’t be judged if you decide to come out or not. However, I believe that come out does make a difference, I think the trans-students that spoke up made a difference in defeating the effort to have a recall of AB 1266 School Success and Opportunity Act.

Those who were brave enough to tell their stories to the reporters helped educate the public about gender dysphoria. I strongly believe that when you know someone it is a lot harder to hate them than a stranger. By being “out” as Harvey Milk said you “break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions.”

I have seen it… I was at the “Town Hall Meetings” by Love Makes a Family after the passage of the marriage equality law they were going around the state to raise support for the gender identity and expression anti-discrimination bill. I told my store after others have spoken about the need to support the bill, after the meeting broke up a lesbian couple came up to me and said that I moved them to continue their support of LMF (Photo is from that meeting).

I think an email from a student of the class that I taught yesterday says it all, "I just wanted to personally thank you for your presentation in our class at UConn yesterday! It was eye-opening and I appreciate you sharing your story."

My hat comes off to the trans-students who stood up when it counted, thank you.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Right Now I’m Teaching A Class

This is the third year that I am a guest lecturer for a graduate class on multicultural education (The class is a 2 1/2 hour class). I love teaching and giving workshops and since the topic is trans-cultural I can bring a personal touch that non-trans-people cannot do. I add my personal story and experiences to the workshop and when I read my workshop evaluations the attendees also think firsthand knowledge is valuable.

This spring besides this class I am also giving three workshops, two at professionals conferences and one at a LGBT youth conference.

All The New England States But One

Have protection for trans-people and the hold out state is New Hampshire, the “Live Free or Die” state unless you’re trans. However, maybe a small crack that is opening up.
Taking a stand for transgender rights in Portsmouth
Splaine: Council should adopt resolution to prohibit discrimination
Sea Coast Online
By Charles McMahon
February 27, 2014

If Portsmouth is indeed the "City of the Open Door," then it should embrace adopting a nondiscrimination policy for transgender individuals, said Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine.

"I want to make sure the 'City of the Open Door' has a welcome mat for all residents and visitors," Splaine said. "There's nothing more important than the way we treat one another."

Splaine, along with other advocates for transgender nondiscrimination, made the assertion Wednesday in front of the Seacoast Media Group editorial board.
In 2009 the non-discrimination bill suffered a crushing defeat that the community is still reeling from; in the Senate no one voted in favor of the bill (24-0), not even its sponsors.

The press grabbed hold of the moniker the “Bathroom Bill” and ran with it. The opposition used fear mongering to the hilt, everyone who talked about the bill used it instead of the bill’s title “Prohibiting Gender Identity Discrimination.” The defeat was so through that no one has tried to introduce another bill. So it should be interesting if this ordinance gains traction.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

You Never Know

I do a lot of outreach at colleges and I am always surprised that you never know who your allies are.

Earlier in the week I was on a LGBT panel for a class in physiology and there was a woman there who by her dress indicated that she was Muslim. Toward the end of class she finally raised her hand and made a statement, she said that she doesn’t understand why people hate people who are different, why can’t people just accept us as we are?

The subject came up last night when I was talking to some friends after dinner, one friend said that her whole family disowned her when she came out except two members and they both were Iraqi war veterans.

When I came out to my relatives the person that I thought would never support me because of her religious beliefs was my first relative to invite me to come to Thanksgiving as Diana.

When we were trying to pass the anti-discrimination law her in Connecticut, some of our strongest supporter was a coalition of churches.

I think the biggest stressor in coming out is that uncertainty, you never know who your allies will be.

Religious Freedom Bills

There have been a number of states, such as Arizona that have bills before their legislatures or the governor to allow people to discriminate against LGBT if they claim it is against their religion.

I have two questions for all of the lawyers out there…

The First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

My first question is does the First Amendment apply to states also?

My next question is by exempting certain religions from having to obey the law doesn’t that go against “…make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” in that by giving preferential rights to certain religions to exempt them from laws a violation of the First Amendment.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Doctors & Insurance

One of the many things that trans-people worry about is going to the doctors and finding a doctor who is okay trans-patients. In Scientific American they have a blog about this,
For Transgender People, a Good Doctor Is Hard to Find
By Allison Bond
February 20, 2014
The discomfort among physicians and other clinicians when it comes to caring for transgender patients stems in large part from a lack of knowledge, said Safer [a faculty member and physician at Boston University School of Medicine], although some clinicians’ personal prejudices may also influence their willingness to provide care.

“The physicians with whom I come in contact act biased when they know nothing” about caring for transgender people, “but when they are informed they become more open-minded,” Safer said. “That leads me to believe the fundamental issue is a lack of knowledge, rather than a social bias that we wouldn’t be able to overcome.” He recently co-authored an editorial in the journal Current Opinions in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Obesity that called for more awareness and greater access for transgender people to healthcare, primary care physicians and specialists.

The lack of knowledge stems from the fact that the basics of transgender care are not taught in most medical schools. To change that, three years ago Safer implemented a one-hour lecture within the month-long endocrinology course for second-year medical students at Boston University School of Medicine. The goal of his lecture is to establish from an early stage of training that transgender care is just as much a part of conventional medicine as the treatment of any other group of people.
At a local college I attend a LGBT seminar for 2nd year medical students; it is only about 3 hours long. They get a lecture from a doctor on how to make their practice LGBT friendly, we have a Q&A session for another hour and then we break up into small groups where the Q&A session continues until they run out of questions.

But there is another problem that we are facing that is just starting to surface now that we have insurance; finding doctors who take insurance. In Huffington Gay Voices there was an article about this back in September, “Transgender Health Insurance (Part 2): Why Coverage Is Only the Beginning” and the problem is money.
When we finally connected, my surgeon diplomatically assured me that I wasn't to blame for her decision: Each of her five insurance cases a year was equally taxing on her reception staff, and, more to the point, the insurance company wouldn't pay her more than one fifth of her asking price. I nodded silently, unsurprised that the choice boiled down to money.

"I'll still help patients fill out reimbursement paperwork; a lot of other doctors won't even do that," she responded apologetically.

I was momentarily appeased, until I considered that my insurance company only accepts pre-approval. This Catch-22 rendered her compromise useless for those insured by plans unwilling to reimburse. Moreover, reimbursements have proved inadequate for the large number of patients who only receive back a fraction of the thousands they paid upfront.

In sum: There are still surgeons who accept insurance for transitional surgeries, but even among those, the ones who take insurance upfront face business pressure to no longer do so. It's less risky and arduous to accept payment first and have the patient be the only one waiting on whether or not their coverage will be approved.
So the insurance companies say they will cover surgery but because of what they pay many of us cannot still afford to pay the out-of-pocket expenses.

Rumor has it that Medicare and Medicaid will cover transgender health care in the near future (last December the Appeals Board recommended coverage), but it is my guess that we will still face the fact that we will have high out-of-pocket expenses and it will probably be more than private covers.

Never Say Die

You probably by now heard that the conservatives did not gather enough verified signatures to get the repeal of California’s AB1266, The School Success and Opportunity Act that integrates trans-students in to schools and you doubtlessly thought “That’s over.” Wrong! Like a bad penny they never go away…
Petition drive to put transgender law to California voters comes up short
Backers vow to keep going, review rejected signatures
By Cheryl Wetzstein
The Washington Times
Monday, February 24, 2014

A California referendum on a proposed transgender student law failed Monday when insufficient valid signatures were turned in to the state.

The California secretary of state’s office posted the final tally on its website Monday evening showing the petition drive lacked 17,276 valid signatures to put the referendum on the November ballot.
Privacy for All Students and referendum proponent Gina Gleason have “people lined up” to go to county offices Tuesday morning to review the rejected signatures, Karen England, co-chairwoman of the group, said Monday night.
Yup, they are still going to fight it. They are going to cost the impoverish state to spend millions more on a recount and legal fees.

They want to defend their right to be bigots to the last penny in the state coffers.

Any Trick In The Book...

The Republicans when they are desperate will come out clawing and use any dirty trick in the book…
Mullins Unleashes “Sexual Predator” Charge
New Haven Independent
By Paul Bass
Feb 24, 2014

In the final paces before Tuesday’s special election for state senator, the Republican candidate tied his Democratic opponent to a supporter’s 2010 tax-reform bill and accused his opponent of seeking to “let sexual predators into the women’s room.”

Republican Steven Mullins made those charges against Democrat Gary Holder-Winfield in a flurry of direct-mail pieces, robocalls and TV spots. The two face each other in a special election Tuesday for the 10th District state Senate seat vacated last month by New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.

Even in the annals of last-minute mud-slinging, the charges stood out as explosive. Read further in the story for some fact-checking.
The charge of “let sexual predators into the women’s room” is based on the fact that Rep. Holder-Winfield was a sponsor and voted for the anti-discrimination bill which the Republicans labeled in a desperate attempt to kill the bill “the bathroom bill.” The newspaper goes on to say,
Holder-Winfield led the fight for the bill’s passing in the House of Representatives. “I hope this legislation will help those who have suffered discrimination and give them the chance to live free from fear and intimidation,” he said at the time…

Mullins was asked Sunday how Holder-Winfield’s bill led to risks of rape.

“You or I can put on a skirt and a blouse and a wig and go into the girls’ room and get their kicks” at a place like Planet Fitness under this bill, he replied.

Holder-Winfield responded that rape—which can be carried out by members of either sex against members of either sex is already illegal. “If a woman rapes a woman, it’s illegal,” he noted. (Holder-Winfield was sexually abused as a child.)

Holder-Winfield stood by his bill. “We should not discriminate against people because of their gender,” he said. “A transgender female is a female.”
The Republican candidate should know that in the two and a half years that the law has been in effect there have been no cases of people doing what he claims.

The Republican accused Rep. Holder-Winfield of supporting a property tax increase, but the thing there is no bill before the legislature and there never was a bill that was ever voted on that raised the property tax.

All of these accusations came out just days before the special elections today; he threw them out and hoped that some of it would stick.

Monday, February 24, 2014

We Are All Becoming Senior Citizens,

It might be in a few years or ten years or in many decades, but one day you will be a senior citizen if you are lucky. There isn’t much research on elder care trans-people; in an article in the Al Jazeera America,
For aging transgender population, retirement can be bittersweet refuge
By Ryan Schuessler
February 20, 2014

While it could mean the end of pretending, the golden years can also come with health care issues, intense isolation

As more and more transgender individuals get older, the unique challenges they face are becoming apparent. Shortfalls in health care could mean the difference between life and death for some. Discrimination in retirement communities or assisted-living facilities could tarnish the golden years, and a later-in-life transition could leave some ostracized from the families they’ve loved their whole lives.

For a transgender baby boomer such as Alice, retirement could offer a relief from the workplace discrimination and the double life many have begrudgingly become used to in order to put food on the table. Alice will finally be able to be Alice all the time. It’s the beginning of a new chapter, but a happy ending is still uncertain.

“What it comes down to in terms of older trans people, our biggest problem is finding health care,” she said. “That’s one of the crosses we have to bear.”

She’s had a host of health issues over the past year, but knows of only two physicians in her area who see patients for trans-specific health concerns and offer an open and accepting practice. In the past, she and other people she knows have been turned away from clinics or met with hostility from doctors who refused service based on religious views or other grounds.
I transitioned the day that I retired and retirement has been great. I have had a number of health problems since I retired and I haven’t had any problems with healthcare, but then I am living in a very blue state.

When I transitioned my aunt was in a nursing home so I had to tell the director of the home, she told the staff and I didn’t have any problems at the nursing home. A few years ago I have a major health crisis and I had to have all sorts of test and I never had a problem.

But many trans-people worry about the future,
At 72, LaTrobe is still able to live on her own on a fixed income. Long-term care and assisted living aren’t things she’s thought about yet. But for those people who are entering a retirement community, the move can be a regressive step.

Even though today’s world is more accepting of transgender individuals, largely driven by younger generations, it doesn’t mean the older generation is any more accepting, said Joe Ippolito, a Minnesota-based psychologist and transgender activist. That can spell trouble for transgender men and women as they age and enter end-of-life care.

“I’m starting to hear about this issue when (transgender people) are going back to the gender they were born in for the fear of being outed in these facilities or not (being given) appropriate care in nursing homes or assisted living facilities,” he said.
I have taken the first steps; I have started to attend the town senior center, ever Friday the photo club meets and there I am just "Diana." I don't doubt that they see me as trans, but I don't go around waving the trans-flag. I go there to photography club and they don't care that I'm trans or not, we just want to look and talk photography.

Right now I live in my own home but I know some day that will not be the case, I might need home care at some time or maybe I will have to go to an assisted care facility and I wonder if they will be open and affirming.

Lambda Legal, LGBT Aging Center, and SAGE have information on elder care for trans-people

A Busy Day Saturday & Yesterday

Saturday I met a friend and we walking around Gillette Castle; it was the first time she saw the castle and I think she loved the castle on the bluff overlooking the Connecticut River. We walked along the road for a ways and then walked on some of the snow covered trails. We walked along the trail to the left of the bridge along the old railroad bed.

Then in the evening I went to the coronation of the new Emperor and Empresses of the Imperial Sovereign Court of All of Connecticut. If you are not familiar with the court organization, they are a group that raises money for other non-profits. According to the Connecticut’s chapter,
The Imperial Court System was founded in San Francisco in 1965 by José Sarria, also known as Absolute Empress I, The Widow Norton. Sarria, now affectionately known as "Mama" or "Mama José" among Imperial Court members, devised the name "Widow Norton" as a reference Joshua Norton, a much-celebrated citizen of 19th Century San Francisco who had declared himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico in 1859.

Sarria soon became the nexus of a fundraising group with volunteer members bearing titles of nobility bestowed by yearly elected leaders. Around 1971, this structure was replicated in Vancouver , Canada . In the United States , the first court outside of San Francisco was Portland , Oregon , followed closely by Los Angeles . Other Imperial Courts were founded thereafter. These empires operated and formed policies more-or-less independently until an Imperial Court Council lead by Sarria was formed to prevent participation by groups that were not involved strictly and solely involved with charitable fundraising.
And last night they installed the new emperor of Connecticut and when I left at eleven it was still going strong.

Yesterday I went to a “living discussion on escalating and ongoing discrimination against the LGBT community worldwide” by our senator from Connecticut who is on the Foreign Relations Committee that was hosted by a state senator at her house. There were probably 20 -25 people there who were mostly gay or lesbians and one trans-person… me. It was a very good talk and informative.

I was going to go to the flower show afterward but it got out a little later than expected and I was tired from the night before.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Did Michele Obama Go Too Far?

A number of years ago there was a bar in Hartford that had a black face comedian “Shirley Q. Liquor “ who did a skit as a poor black Southern woman with 19 children, a welfare boozer who speaks in Ebonics and he didn’t understand why there were protesters outside. He said,
Knipp says influences on his character come from African American women he knew while growing up in the South, such as his family's housekeeper, who had 16 kids. He has denied accusations over the years that the skit is racist and misogynist, saying the stereotypes will push discussion among blacks, whites, gay and straight people, and that blackface drag ``can actually help heal racism.''
People of power usually do not understand why what they do is seen by oppressed classes as being insulting and offensive to them. We often hear the justification we didn’t mean anything we were only having fun. But they don’t realize that there fun was at the expense of others.

It is like what I wrote last week about using the word “Tranny” people don’t realize that for some people they find the word offensive because it used to put down trans-people.

I am sure that First Lady Michelle Obama never thought what she was doing was offensive but to many trans-people it was, including me.

In case you missed it, here is the video (I debated whether I should post the video, but I felt that you should see what upset so many of us).

I am not a big fan of comedy, there are many type of comedy that gets their laughs at the expense of others like Character comedy, Insult Comedy, and Mockumentary, and these all are disrespectful other people. The only type of comedy that I like is Observational comedy or Situational comedy like comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Cosby mainly used and I hated comedians like Don Rickles whose joke were always barbs aimed at other people.

I just want to be clear, I am not offended by drag performers or show, but by the fact that comedians use us to get their laughs.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday Six #515

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #515

1. H is for HABITAT: How close is your current home to your “dream” home?
Close, it is passive solar which is something that I wanted in my dream home but I wish that I was on more land and also that I had a larger kitchen.

2. H is for HACKER: How concerned are you about the threat of someone hacking into your personal accounts?
I’m a victim of the Target hack

3. H is for HELICOPTER: Have you ever ridden in a helicopter? If not, would you if you had the chance?
Yes, when I was little I went on a ride around the local fair. I use to make helicopters back in my college days.

4. H is for HELL: Do you believe that Hell is a real place, and if so, how do you picture it?
I once saw a TV show that I think was titled Heaven and Hell. This motorcyclist crash and went sliding down to a slide in to a room with an elderly couple who listened to Lawrence Welk and talked about their grandchildren. It was their heaven and the motorcyclist hell. But I don’t know if it real or not but I’m behaving on the assumption that it is.

5. H is for HITCHCOCK: What’s your favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie?
North by Northwest

6. H is for HOLIDAY: Which holiday do you wish people would take more seriously and why?
I don’t know, holidays are for fun and to be with family and friends and I don’t count Christmas or Easter as holidays.

Saturday 9: Susan

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Susan

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here (Boy Sam, you dug down in the bottom of the bin to pull that golden oldie out.).

1) In this song, our hero tells Susan that "no other girl could ever take the place of you." Crazy Sam feels that no other earmuffs could ever take the place of the ones she left in restaurant coat room last month. Tell us about something you recently broke, lost or misplaced.
I broke the antenna on my car. I opened the garage door but I didn’t raise it high enough, my car antenna got caught on the bottom of the door and broke off.

2) When this song was first released back in 1968, the name Susan was very popular. According the Social Security Administration, it was one of the top 10 baby girl names of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Today it's not even in the top 100. Do you know anyone named Susan (or Suzanne)?
Yes, a number of Susans, after all I am of that generation.

3) The Buckinghams were Chicago's attempt to get in on The British Invasion begun by the Beatles. (Hence the silly suits.) But they took their name from Chicago's famous Buckingham Fountain. If Crazy Sam visited your neighborhood, what local site would you recommend she check out?
Mt. Trashmore, it is a quite impressive 150 foot high mound of trash. I think they should make it into a ski area (We are just your typical suburban town).

4) Chicago is known for deep dish pizza. Describe your dream pizza. (Calories, carbs and gluten need not be a factor because it's dream pizza!)
I am just a basic pizza kind of gal, sausage, peppers, onions, and cheese.

5) The Buckinghams got their big break by winning a local "battle of the bands." Do you often go to concerts or bars to listen to live music?
I used to go to listen to folk music, but the place burned down. It was a coffee shop where you could sit in overstuffed chairs drinking coffee and listening to original folk music. I tried going to bars but people just talked over the band and you couldn't appreciate the music and I tried going to churches that had open mic or folk bands but they had metal folding chairs which is hard on the butt and back.

6) The best-selling book in 1968 (the year "Susan" was released) was Airport by Arthur Hailey. It was set during a snowstorm at Lincoln International, a fictional airport based on Chicago's O'Hare. What's the most recent airport you flew to? Why were you there?
Bradley Field and I was there because I wanted to get home from a business trip and that was where my car was parked.

7) Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Sox ... Chicago is a big sports town. What's your favorite pro team?
Team Oracle… Who? What sport was that? Any guesses?

8) Thinking of sports, did you watch the Olympics? If yes, which events?
Nope, no interest, it just doesn’t appeal to me.

9) Do you consider yourself an idealist or a pragmatist?
It depends on my mood; if I feel down in the dumps then I am a pragmatist but if I feel bubbly and full of hope then I’m an idealist. But lately I have been a pragmatist.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Do You Use The “T” Word?

There is a debate in the trans-community over the use of the word “Tranny,” some see it as a slur while others have no problem when it is used within the trans-community but they do not think it should be used by someone outside of the community and some see it as a word with no negative connotations. One of the problems is that the word is sometimes used people it as a pejorative slang term.

Many time people use the simply because other people are using it and do not know the problem that the trans-community has with it use; such as when Actress Gabourey Sidibe used it on The Arsenio Hall Show.
Gabourey Sidibe: There was a bar that we would frequent and every time we'd go, when we were leaving every single time there was always like a gang of cops arresting trannies.

Audience: [Laughter]

Sidibe: Specifically trannies.

Arsenio Hall: Yeah…

Sidibe: And I don't know what goes on with trannies but that tranny on tranny crime needs to stop!

Arsenio Hall and audience: [Laughter]

Sidibe [chuckling]: It is tearing our nation apart!
She later apologized saying she didn’t realize that it was a pejorative (I have another problem with the audience; I don’t think violence by anyone is a laughing matter.)

In an op-ed article in the Advocate by Parker Marie Molloy writes about the use of tranny by the gay and lesbian community,
Last year I wrote a piece on The Huffington Post titled “Gay Dudes, Can You Just Not?” that generated digital eye rolls, nasty comments, and even threats from readers. It was critical of use of the word “tranny” by gay and bisexual men. The central idea was that the word, which I’ll now simply refer to as “the t slur,” is, in fact, a slur. It’s a term tied to a history of violence, oppression, anger, and hate. It’s a term I’ve been called by those who wish to harm me. And frankly, it’s a term many trans women, like slain New Yorker Islan Nettles, hear immediately prior to falling victim to physical violence.

I dared to inform those who use the word, who think they have a “pass” on account of themselves being part of the “LGBT community,” that it’s not their word to use, and it’s not their slur to “reclaim.”
The way I see the use of the word Tranny is like the use of the “N” word by the black community, it is theirs to use or not to use and non-black people have no rights to use it ever.

Ms. Molloy goes on to write that RuPaul said he has never seen the word used in a derogatory way, Ms. Molloy replies,
Is that so? So when I sat in the only open seat on a crowded train in the months after coming out as transgender, when the woman next to me said into her phone, “Some fucking tr*nny just sat next to me” and decided to stand rather than remain next to me — that wasn’t her being derogatory? When a group of college kids called me a “tr*nny faggot” as I waited for a bus, triggering a panic attack that left me home sick from work for two days — that wasn’t them being derogatory? If only I knew that they meant it in a loving, happy way, oh, how things could have been different!

The fact of the matter, Ru, is that words do hurt, and when you continue to use words that are frequently used to dehumanize people like me, that are used as precursors for assault, after you’ve been informed how hurtful these words are, you’re no better than a racist who uses the “n word,” the homophobe who calls gay men “faggots,” or the misogynist who refers to his female coworkers as “bitches.”
She is right, words do hurt. It is one thing for us to use the word but when other people use the word it raises our hackles and puts us on the defensive, the fight or flight response kicks. She finishes the article by writing.
In the meantime, RuPaul, you dehumanize us, and you teach the public that it’s OK to do the same. Once we’re no longer people, once we’re simply t slurs, it’s easy for society to toss us aside, to discriminate against us and beat us, to deny us care and send us to the streets.

I’m a human being, not a tr*nny. Knock it off.

The Butterfly

The image of a butterfly has been tied to the trans-community for a long time. If you stop and think for a moment there is a strong symbolism between us. We both undergo a metamorphism changing into a thing of beauty. We start our live in our birth gender that when we transition we shed our birth gender as a butterfly shed its chrysalis and we emerge to live in our true gender.

Ever since the Connecticut Outreach Society was formed in 1985 the butterfly was the image that they used for their newsletter and website. At many trans-conferences you see people selling butterfly pins, necklaces, and earrings.

Unfortunately, the butterfly as a symbol for the trans-community is fading away. Ironically as we become freer to transition much of our history is going by the wayside.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Welcome To Our World

Oppression is directly proportional with how well you blend into the dominate society. It does not matter if we are talking about race, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation or transgenderism it all relates to if you can integrate into society; what we call going stealth.

When you get “read” as “other” that is when the trouble begins; when a cisgender woman is taken for a trans-woman she learns what it is like to be trans*.
Mistaken For a Trans Woman I Got Initiated Into Sisterhood
Huffington Gay Voices
By Victoria Bond
Posted: 02/17/2014

"Stop looking at my little brother!" a voice demanded. I turned to my left and then right. A small, dark haired boy wearing coke bottle glasses sat beside me. That was the first I had noticed him. I guessed he was "the little brother."

In sagging jeans, a baggy leather jacket and a bulky black cap, this person verbally aggressing on me looked as if their clothes were swallowing him whole. "Yeah, I'm talking to you," he followed up. "You freak!"

His hostility pierced. I tensed. For more subway stops than I knew I had been an object of disgust. Given I am a bisexual woman married to a man I found my sexual identity being visible at all rich. I am pretty sure this man saw a trans woman when he looked at me. Maybe he didn't; maybe he saw something else. There's no way now of being absolutely sure (and in that moment I wasn't anxious for him to identify his trigger). And frankly, it doesn't matter. He identified me as LGBTQ even if I can't draw a direct line between his malice and the specific group in our community.
"I should stab you for that." He cocked his head but otherwise remained still leaning against the double doors. I stood slowly and walked toward the doors at the other end of the car. What sense would it have made to engage in a confrontation verbal or otherwise? Especially since he might have actually had a knife. Thank goodness the train pulled into my stop. A man with salt and pepper hair also exited:

"I don't know what you are, but that guy seems crazy."
She stood out of the crowd; he had marked her as “other” and that is the root of all oppression, to punish people, sometimes with violence who are different from us. She goes on to write,
The irony of it all made me laugh uncontrollably. Uncomfortable, the middle-aged man quickened his stride up the platform. I don't know what you are. The phrase struck deeper than the other stranger's knife threat. Earlier in the evening, strutting down a runway, I was quite literally a model woman. On the subway after midnight, the antagonistic homophobe interpreted me as a sexual threat. The less openly hostile passerby only reiterated the fear my body gave rise to. Beside my big hair, the heavy make-up and my thinness the other factor that scripted me as a target in a public space -- rendered my humanity unrecognizable -- was my brown skin.
For gay men if they blend into society and can pass as a straight man they do not face the pressure that society places on the “other” but if they gay man has feminine mannerism he become that target of hostiles. When Ms. Bond was thought to be trans* she became a target.

The Bad And The Good

The bad…
BREAKING: AZ Senate Passes 'Right to Discriminate' Bill
Filed By John M. Becker | February 19, 2014

This afternoon, on a party-line 17-13 vote, Republicans in the Arizona Senate bucked the national trend and gave final approval to SB 1062, a GOP-led bill that would create a special "right" to discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religion.

Under the bill, which was introduced by Republican State Senator Steve Yarbrough, individuals and businesses would be granted the legal right to refuse services to people or groups if they claimed that doing so would "substantially burden" their freedom of religion.
According to the article the language of the bill is so broad that it will not only allow people to discriminate against LGBT people but any protected class such as non-Christians and blacks.
Now for the good…
South Dakota lawmakers toss out 'mean, nasty, hateful, vindictive' bill
Plan would have protected 'religious beliefs on subject of sexual orientation'
Argus Leader
Written by David Montgomery
February 19, 2014

PIERRE — A South Dakota legislative panel Tuesday rejected a measure that would have protected people’s ability to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

After more than an hour of at times pointed testimony, the Senate Judiciary committee voted 5-2 to kill SB128, which Sen. Mark Kirkeby, R-Rapid City, called “a mean, nasty, hateful, vindictive bill.”

Proposed by Sen. Phil Jensen, R-Rapid City, the bill would have barred lawsuits against people for “expressing their religious beliefs on the subject of sexual orientation,” as long as they did not incite violence, and ordered the attorney general to defend anyone sued for that reason. It also would have given businesses the right to refuse service on the basis of sexual orientation.

Does anyone know what the state count is now? I believe it is two states voting down the bill and no state yet passing the bills.

Update 4:21PM
Breaking: Maine Rejects ‘Religious Freedom’ License To Discriminate Against Gays
New Civil Rights Movement
by David Badash
February 20, 2014

This afternoon, after several hours of debate, the Maine House rejected the religious license to discriminate legislation, following the same move last week by the Maine Senate. The vote was 89-52. For now, the legislation in the state of Maine is dead.

Moonen’s Democratic colleague, Rep. Andrew J. McLean, told the House that the legislation, LD 1428, “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom” actually denies religious freedom.

Rep. Justin Chenette, who at 22 is the youngest openly-gay legislator in America, talked eloquently and vehemently about how the bill would affect him. “Religious freedom is important, but this bill makes me feel like a second-class citizen… Name me an issue in Maine — I still haven’t heard one.”

Chopped Or Fried

That is the choice birds have when they fly into a wind turbine or into the beam of a solar power plant.

The Daily Caller reported that,
The Obama administration has just given wind turbine operators the license to kill birds and eagles for 30 years, a move welcomed by the wind industry but derided by environmentalists and Republicans.

The Interior Department changed a rule that now enables the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to extend the amount of time renewable energy companies can kill migratory birds and eagles in a bid to boost green energy development. Wind operators can now get a permit to kill birds for 30 years, up from five years.
In November, the Obama administration finally prosecuted an energy company for bird deaths at wind farms. A subsidiary of Duke Energy agreed to pay $1 million in fines for the killing of 160 birds at two wind farms in Wyoming.
Meanwhile out in California the birds are being fried, the Daily Mail wrote that,
Environmentalists have hit out at a giant new solar farm in the Mojave Desert as mounting evidence reveals birds flying through the extremely hot 'thermal flux' surrounding the towers are being scorched.

After years of regulatory tangles around the impact on desert wildlife, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System opened on Thursday but environmental groups say the nearly 350,000 gigantic mirrors are generating 1000 degree Fahrenheit temperatures which are killing and singeing birds.

According to compliance documents released by developer BrightSource Energy last year, dozens of birds were found injured at the site during the building stage.
Somehow these don't seem to be very environmentally friendly.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

True But…

There is an article in the Huffington Gay Voices where Tyler Curry tries to make the point that gays and lesbian should support trans-rights.
In the battle for same-sex rights, who was a part of our demographic was decided for us long ago, and we didn't know we could question it. We were LGBT, and our opponents, the moral majority, knocked us out round after round.

But we are no longer the wimpy kids in the corner, vastly outmatched by our foes. Over the last several decades, we've grown to become a worthy opponent and are winning state and federal policy battles. As we continue to progress in the fight for equal rights, it has become apparent that the "T" in LGBT is being neglected as gay men and women continue to take precedence.
That we have been pushed aside in favor of marriage is very true, in many states that won marriage equality the gay lesbian organizations have folded up and popped the champagne cork to celebrate their victories while in the dust left by them.
He goes on to say,
In the beginning of the gay rights movement, the battle against violence, outright discrimination and blatant intolerance was one that gays, bisexuals and transgender men and women were equally invested in.

But now, the concerns of gay men and lesbians have shifted to such things as marriage equality and employment discrimination. Although transgender men and women also share in these inequalities, they are subjected to many more injustices that fail to gain hardly any mainstream support.
I have problems with that, only 21 states and the District of Columbia have anti-discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation and of those only 17 states and the District of Columbia protect gender identity and expression. Public opinion may have changed but the laws have not. What we need is the Civil Rights Act of 2014 that adds the same protection for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does for race and sex.

Also violence is still part of the gay and lesbian communities. If a gay man has feminine mannerism or a woman has masculine characteristic they become that target of hostiles. It is the gays and lesbians, as well as the trans-person who are less likely to experience discrimination.

He writes,
Just last week, actress Gabourey Sidibe repeatedly used the slur "tranny" while on Arsenio Hall's show. Sidibe, an outspoken supporter of gay rights, was stunned to find out that the slur was considered offensive, and she quickly apologized for her error.

But then, something interesting happened. Stories published on several media forums, including the Advocate Magazine online and Instinct Magazine online, posed the question of whether we are being too sensitive about a word that is commonly used in the gay community.
A funny thing happen after the Stonewall Uprising, it became the “Gay Rights Movement” and the part that trans-people played in it got sweep under the rug. When Rep Barney Frank (D-MA) said in August 2008 that,
We’d make even more progress if the transgender community was willing to do the hard political work. And not, frankly, think they can just talk a few leaders into handing this to them.
Our erasure from history took its toll. The fifty years of trans-activism was wiped out because of the “Gay Rights Movement”

Mr. Curry finishes the article by writing,
Now we have the chance to throw our strength behind a group who continues to be marginalized just as we were not too long ago.

Transgender people still suffer from the bullying, discrimination and injustice from which many gays and lesbians have long since moved on. Now, more than ever, it's time for the LGB to start championing the "T."

Dear Abby… Yes!

Dear Abby hit the nail on its head.
Couple New To Florida Aren't Happy With Gay Neighbors
Dear Abby
By Abigail Van Buren
Feb. 19, 2014

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I relocated to Florida a little over a year ago and were quickly welcomed into our new neighbors' social whirl. Two couples in the neighborhood are gay -- one male, one female. While they are nice enough, my husband and I did not include them when it was our turn to host because we do not approve of their lifestyle choices. Since then, we have been excluded from neighborhood gatherings, and someone even suggested that we are bigots!

Abby, we moved here from a conservative community where people were pretty much the same. If people were "different," they apparently kept it to themselves. While I understand the phrase "when in Rome," I don't feel we should have to compromise our values just to win the approval of our neighbors. But really, who is the true bigot here? Would you like to weigh in? -- UNHAPPY IN TAMPA

DEAR UNHAPPY: I sure would. The first thing I'd like to say is that regardless of what you were told in your previous community, a person's sexual orientation isn't a "lifestyle choice." Gay people don't choose to be gay; they are born that way. They can't change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual.

I find it interesting that you are unwilling to reciprocate the hospitality of people who welcomed you and opened their homes to you, and yet you complain because you are receiving similar treatment.

From where I sit, you may have chosen the wrong place to live because it appears you would be happier in a less integrated neighborhood surrounded by people who think the way you do. But if you interact only with people like yourselves, you will have missed a chance for growth, which is what you have been offered here. Please don't blow it.
What she said was beautiful, the right wing think that they can discriminate against LGBT people, but when other people do not condone their behavior what do the conservatives do? They try to pass laws that legitimize their discriminating behavior as they are doing in Kansas, Tennessee, and Idaho.

As they become the minority they start claiming religious persecution, in an Op-Ed article in the Hartford Courant about the Kansas bill the writer Mary Sanchez wrote,
So religious conservatives now take up the mantle of a minority. That's one of the few honest things about this conversation. Their view of homosexuality will soon be (if it is not already) a minority opinion.

Yet they miss crucial points. No government authority — neither the courts nor the executive branch — is telling people that they can't continue to decry homosexuality. They can quote the Bible to condemn it all they want. Preachers can preach that God has naught but fiery damnation in store for LBGT people. Churches can continue to bar gay couples from marriage and any other sacrament.

But that long-enshrined First Amendment protection of speech and religious freedom isn't good enough for these folks. No. They want the assurance that they can also run a public business, advertise their services to one and all, and still maintain the right to tell a gay person they aren't welcome. And never face the legal ramification of a lawsuit, if such a thing could ever transpire in Kansas.
As she points out, no one is telling them that they have to change their religious beliefs; they just have to treat the public equally. Whether they are black or white, Christian or non-Christian, disabled or not, married or single, straight or gay, cisgender or transgender; they have to treat them equally. They can put signs all over their restaurant stating their religious beliefs, telling LGBT people they are going to hell all they want, but they cannot refuse to serve them.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Discrimination By A Catholic School

When can a religious school discriminate?

The answer is when it is truly private or when it is exempted by law.

If the school does not receive any public funding they can discriminate to their hearts desire. But once they start receiving public finance then they could come under the non-discrimination law unless the law says otherwise.

Question: Are there exceptions to the law?
Answer: Yes. The act contains a limited religious exception. The act’s prohibition of discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression does not apply to religious corporations, entities, associations, educational institutions, or societies regarding (1) employment of people to perform work for them or (2) matters of discipline; faith; internal organization; or ecclesiastical rules, customs, or laws that these entities have established.
So that means in Connecticut religious school are exempted and their employees are not covered by the Connecticut non-discrimination statute.

Which brings me to the gay man who was fired from a Massachusetts Catholic school, can he be legally fired?
Fontbonne Academy in Milton Sued for Anti-Gay Hiring Practices
Boston Spirit
Posted by David Zimmerman 
January 30, 2014

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) today filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) against Fontbonne Academy, a religiously affiliated college preparatory school in Milton, MA, after the school terminated a man they had just hired as Food Services Director upon learning he was gay and married to another man.

Matt Barrett, a longtime food industry professional, was offered the position on July 9, 2013, after three interviews. Mr. Barrett accepted the offer the same day and gave notice at his previous job. After accepting the position, Mr. Barrett filled out the school’s required employment paperwork, including a form that required him to list an emergency contact and state that person’ relationship to him. Mr. Barrett gave a truthful answer and listed his husband, Ed Suplee.

The next day, Mr. Barrett was contacted by email and asked to come in for another meeting on July 12, 2013. At that meeting, he learned that the school would no longer employ him because he was gay and married to a man.
According to Janson Wu of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders that the Massachusetts law does cover employees who have no religious duties such as teaching Sunday school.

Where The Eagles Dare

I went eagle hunting yesterday… with a camera.

I went to Gillette Castle on the Connecticut River, the castle was built by William Gillette who was an actor who was known for playing Sherlock Homes, and it sits high above the Connecticut River on a bluff. It is now a state park.

There were two other people there at the castles that were bird watching and they told me I just missed seeing two eagles. One other then let me look through his telescope and I could just make them out in the distance.

This is a red tail hawk…

Do you know how hard it is to track a bird looking through the 500mm lens? This was taken at 280mm (at 500mm I couldn't track the bird), f11, ISO 280, manual focus (Auto focus kept on hunting and couldn't focus on the bird) and set to "Distance"

I did see some dragons though…

But they had turned to stone.

And they were hanging out here,

From the bluff you can see across the river to the Chester–Hadlyme Ferry dock on the Chester side of the river. The ferry started in 1769 and is one of the oldest continuous operating ferries in the country; the oldest being the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry.

Then about two miles down river you can see an open patch of water where many of the eagles hang out (except when I was there).

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Reply

Did you read his entire speech or are you going off the Huffington Post headline/story? Just like the birthday party hoax that HP played up to the hilt last week, you may want to dig a little deeper and read the man's words before tar and feathering him. Just a suggestion.

You may also want to do some reading and consideration of what the Obama Administration's Justice Department - Civil Rights Division has been doing/not doing since taking office. Even with partisan blinders on, their actions do not meet the letter or moral idea of justice is blind and equal for all.
Yes, I did read other sources; in Politico they report that,
The 42-year-old governor calls the upcoming Supreme Court decision on whether government can force Hobby Lobby craft stores to cover contraception through their health insurance plans just one of the battles being fought over religious liberty.
I happen to believe that Hobby Lobby is very wrong; there have been a number of Supreme Court cases where they have ruled businesses and religious organizations cannot pick and choose what parts of a law they want to follow. In one case the Supreme Court ruled that the Amish had to pay Social Security and another case the court ruled the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) could not withhold a portion of their income tax that goes toward the military. How this court will rule on the Hobby Lobby case is any ones guess.

The article goes on to say that,
Citing a piece of failed legislation in Illinois, Jindal suggests that liberals will eventually try to pass laws designed to pressure churches to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies against their will. He also will blast the New Mexico Supreme Court for ruling last August that a wedding photography business violated the state’s Human Rights Act by refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony.
I would like to point out that every state that has passed anti-discrimination laws or has marriage equality has a clause in the law exempting religious organizations. But once again the courts have ruled rightly so, that if a religious organization owns a business that is open to the public or they are using public funding they cannot discriminate. The 2007 in New Jersey case of Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association which is owned by the Methodist said that when they agreed to tax exempt status they agreed  to allow the public use of the pavilion.

In fact it was the Republican’s that threaded on violating the separation of church and state when in Indiana they passed IC 31-11-11-7 Solemnization of marriage between persons prohibited from marrying, which made it a crime for a religious clergy to marry a same-sex couple in a religious ceremony.

As for the Obama administration’s Justice Department - Civil Rights Division, I fully support their efforts. They have applied what the federal courts have ruled (including many conservative judges that were appointed by the Republicans) that discrimination based on gender identity and expression is a violation of title VI Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Also the courts have ruled that prohibiting marriage equality is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

And thank you for your comment that I am a good writer.

Are We At War?

It threatens the fabric of our communities, the health of our public square, and the endurance of our constitutional governance.

It is a war against the propositions in the Declaration of Independence.

It is a war against the spirit that motivated abolitionism.

It is a war against the faith that motivated the Civil Rights struggle.

It is a war against the soul of countless acts of charity.

It is a war against the conscience that drives social change

It is a war against the heart that binds our neighborhoods together.

It is a war against America’s best self, at America’s best moments.
Do you know what war Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is talking about? Maybe this will help…
It is a war -- a silent war -- against religious liberty.
Do you know of any law that attacks a religious institution? I don’t.

The Huffington Politics wrote,
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) delivered a scathing attack on the Obama administration at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library Thursday night, saying an “onslaught of lawsuits based on anti-discrimination” laws amount to a “silent war on religious liberty.”

“These days we think this diversity of belief is tolerated under our law and Constitution," Jindal said. "But that’s wrong. This diversity of belief is the foundation of our law and Constitution. America does not sustain and create faith. Faith created and sustains America.”
So he seems to consider when the courts find that state laws violate the equal protection that the Fourteenth Amendment guaranties that this is somehow attacking the Constitution. When judges, some of whom were appointed by Republican presidents, have found that when you treat different groups of people from others groups is wrong.

He is against anti-discrimination laws that say that you must treat equally because he wants to discriminate against people and somehow these laws are tearing the country apart by preventing them from practicing their religious. I see nothing in the laws that say they cannot worship and practice their religious.

What I see are laws that say that in a secular world you have to treat everyone equally, that if you open a business that you cannot put out a sign that says “No Blacks” because of your religious beliefs. Just like you cannot put out a sign that says “No Jews” or “No Handicapped People” and claim a religious exemption. The Bible says that, “No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed” But somehow these Republicans think it is all right to discriminate against gays, lesbians, and trans-people.

Time to Thrive Conference

Disclaimer, I am not a fan of the Human Rights Campaign. I believe that they have a long ways to go to become an organization that has my trust. However, that doesn’t mean that some of what they are doing is not good for the LGBT community.

First I would like to congratulate my friend and former boss during my MSW internship, Robin McHaelen executive director of True Colors for receiving the "Upstander" award.

Also at the conference Ellen Page came out; why is it important that we come out? Just listen to Ms. Page…

Forbes had this to say about her coming out,
In a moving speech on Friday, actress Ellen Page revealed to the world that she is gay. The 26-year-old actress told a group gathered for a Human Rights Campaign even that she is tired of hiding and “tired of lying by omission.”

“I suffered for years because I was scared to be out,” Page told the crowd. “I’m standing on the other side of that pain.”
I think this is the most important reason to come out, is to stop the hiding, to stop the lying and to be ourselves.
When some comes out they never know what will happen to them; will they not get picked in the football draft, will the movie parts stop coming? We never know.
So will her announcement affect what kind of roles she gets? We’ll have to wait and see. Page has never been cast as the sex symbol. There’s no reason studios won’t continue to cast her in roles where the character is young and smart with a sharp wit. Hopefully they will continue to cast her in the same roles they would have considered Page for before her announcement.

Page coming out is important because it’s one more actor who is telling the truth. The more prominent people in film, sports and music who are open about their sexuality, the less stigma there will be for young people who are struggling with their sexual identity. And the harder it will get for Hollywood to discriminate against gay actors. If Page or Parsons is the best actor for a role, that actor needs to get cast.
Some people don’t understand why it is a “Big Thing” coming out, why all the press coverage, but they will never understand because they had never stepped up to an edge of a cliff and stepped off.

Just listen to Ms. Page voice and hear it quiver with emotion as she steps off that cliff.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

This Should Have Never Happened!

We learned that this was wrong decades ago and doctors should not play god to satisfy their egos. The doctors took it upon themselves to perform “corrective surgery” on a healthy vibrant baby and created lifelong problems.
South Carolina Couple Files Lawsuit For Gender Reassignment Surgery Performed On Their Adopted Son
Huffington Gay Voice
Posted: 09/12/2013
A South Carolina couple has filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against their home state over a gender reassignment operation performed on their adopted son when he was just a year old.

WYFF 4 reports that the child, who is now 8 years old and identified by the network only as "M.C.," received the surgery after being born with both male and female reproductive organs and identified as intersex. Doctors removed M.C.'s male genitals in April 2006 and he was raised as a girl by his adoptive parents Mark and Pam Crawford, but he now identifies as a boy.

"We don't think that [the doctors who performed the surgery] are evil people," Mark Crawford, who adopted M.C. a few months after the surgery, noted. The Crawfords' lawsuit alleges that the decision to turn M.C. into a girl never went before a judge, nor did the doctors involved ever go before an ethical consultation.
In 2006 the doctors should have known better than to operate on an intersex child, there has been a number of studies that showed the child should be allowed to when they are old enough to decide for themselves. At the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in 2005 Science Daily reported that presenters at the conference said,
"Surgical sex assignment of newborns with no capacity to consent should never be performed for cosmetic reasons, in my opinion," said Vilain, an associate professor of human genetics who also serves as a chief of medical genetics and director of research in urology and sexual medicine within the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. "We simply don't know enough yet about gender to be making surgical or legal assumptions."

Another AAAS speaker, William G. Reiner, M.D., agreed. "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 a 2004 paper in The New England Journal of Medicine, William G. Reiner, M.D., and John P. Gearhart, M.D. on a study of 16 genetic males patients with Cloacal exstrophy of which 14 were “…neonatal assignment to female sex socially, legally, and surgically…” found that,
Eight of the 14 subjects assigned to female sex declared themselves male during the course of this study, whereas the 2 raised as males remained male. Subjects could be grouped according to their stated sexual identity. Five subjects were living as females; three were living with unclear sexual identity, although two of the three had declared themselves male; and eight were living as males, six of whom had reassigned themselves to male sex. All 16 subjects had moderate-to-marked interests and attitudes that were considered typical of males. Follow-up ranged from 34 to 98 months.
And their conclusion was,
Routine neonatal assignment of genetic males to female sex because of severe phallic inadequacy can result in unpredictable sexual identification. Clinical interventions in such children should be reexamined in the light of these findings.
Two years after these results were publish the doctors at Medical University of South Carolina decided to perform “corrective surgery,” WYFF reported that,
The lawsuit states doctors, acting as agents of defendant hospitals, performed the surgery for the purpose of "assigning" the child the female gender despite their own conclusion that the toddler "was a true hermaphrodite but there was no compelling reason that she should either be made male or female."

At birth, the child was identified as a male because of his external genitalia, but shortly after that doctors discovered the baby had "ambiguous genitals" and both male and female internal reproductive structures, according to the lawsuit.

Defendants decided to remove the child's healthy genital tissue and "radically restructure his reproductive organs in order to make his body appear to be female," the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit contends that the surgery was not done with proper oversight and to make adoptions easier.

I find the use of the word “hermaphrodite” offensive; the television station should have consulted AP Style Sheet for correct word to use. I don’t even think they had a clue that the word was archaic and offensive to some people.

Oh Well…

The Valentine Dance I was supposed to go to last night was canceled while we were out to dinner. I meet with two other friends (another friend was sick and couldn’t make it) for dinner at the 99 in Glastonbury and afterward we were planning on going to a lesbian dance but while we were eating we got emails saying that the dance was canceled.

The drive there and back was horrible, 25 – 30mph and the lanes were all snow covered. If you took it slow and kept your distance from the car in front of you it wasn’t that bad, just slow. There were a couple of idiots who went flying by in SUVs; a number of them had skis in roof racks as they went zipping by throwing up slush on to my windshield. There were a couple of cars that spun off the road, none seemed to badly damaged.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Six #514

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #514

1. G is for GENDER: To which gender does the majority of your friends belong?
Most of my friends are female.

2. G is for GENEOLOGY: How far back have you traced your family line?
Rumor has it that I am related to Benedict Arnold, but I never traced my roots.
3. G is for GENERIC: For prescription medication, how often do you use a generic versus a name brand?
All my medicines are generic. Right now I am fighting my Medicare Part D insurance company to cover all my medically necessary medication that has be prescribed by my doctor, they are refusing to pay for one prescription.

4. G is for GOURMET: Which dish do you make that you think would most closely resemble what others might call a “gourmet” dish?
Lobster Newberg

5. G is for GOVERN: If you were forced to run for office, local, state or federal, which position would you choose and why?
Dog catcher because I would never run for office; whatever you do will be wrong. I am friends with the governor and the mayor of Hartford and I can see how the weight of office bears on them. No thanks.

6. G is for GRADUATION: What do you think was your biggest accomplishment prior to graduating from high school or college?
Hmm…prior to graduating from high school. That was fifty years ago you know.
In science club we built a Tesla Coil and we were interviewed by a local newspaper and the article was picked up by the New York Times. It was kind of neat seeing your name in the Times.

Saturday 9: As Time Goes By

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: As Time Goes By

 1) This is the theme song of Casablanca, generally acknowledged as one the screen's great love stories. In honor of Valentine's Day weekend, what's your favorite movie romance?
I’m at an age where I like romantic movies like Hope Springs and On Golden Pond

2) Even though he was only 5'8 and had a receding hairline, Humphrey Bogart was a popular leading man. What movie or TV actor or actress makes your heart skip a beat?
I have two crushes on TV shows, Emily Deschanel from Bones and Angie Harmon as Rizzoli on Rizzoli & Isles.

3) Sweethearts are those little heart-shaped candies that are printed with messages like, "Be Mine" and "Kiss Me." Do you like how they taste?
Way too much sugar so I don’t eat them and when I could I never liked the taste.

4) Valentine's Day is a big day for florists. When is the last time a floral arrangement adorned your table or desk?
I can’t remember, probably it was the last time my parents were over my house.

5) Do you think an e-card means as much as a conventional card in an envelope?
Nope, besides there is really good change that the card contains a trojan virus or is spam so I don’t even open them.

6) Despite what you see on Valentines, the human heart isn't bright red. It's really a brownish shade of red, like a brick. Now it's your turn. Share some trivia that's been rattling around in your head. (It does NOT have to be about Valentines or the human heart. It can be any random fact at all.)
Beta cells in your pancreas create insulin and when you have no more Beta cells you become diabetic.

7) When is the last time you thought your heart would break?
Two years ago.

8) What is the most recent thing to lift your heart?
When someone told me that I made a difference in their life on Monday when I did a workshop on cultural competency.
You have an awesome story to tell and it made a deep impression on the staff. Thank you so much for coming and sharing it with us. I know I will be talking with you again and please know I am touched by your warmth and kindness.
9) Who is the most "hard hearted" person you know?
Boy you really want to get me into trouble by naming names.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Good And The Bad

Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?

Here is the bad news first…
Bill would protect business owners from denying services to gays
By JOHN MILLER - Associated Press
Published: Jan 29, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho lawmakers and conservative Christian allies who contend faith is under siege by gays, lesbians and the government are launching a "pre-emptive" strike to bolster rights of licensed professionals to refuse service or employment to those they conclude violate their religious beliefs.

On Tuesday, Rep. Lynn Luker outlined a plan to shield religious people from the threat of having their professional licenses - issued for everything from midwives and doctors to physical therapists and nurses - revoked.
You don’t even have to be gay or lesbian the doctors just have to think you are to deny treatment and of course there is a “family” organization involved, the Cornerstone Family Council.
Julie Lynde, Cornerstone's executive director, says governments are increasingly passing or interpreting laws to block people from "living out their faith."
These people are just using religion to hide their bigotry.

Now the good…

In Texas a court ruled in favor of Nikki Araguz,
BREAKING: Texas appeals court rules in favor of trans widow Nikki Araguz
Dallas Voice
Posted on 13 Feb 2014

ORPUS CHRISTI — The 13th District Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi issued a landmark opinion Thursday in favor of Houston trans widow Nikki Araguz, ruling that Texas must recognize the marriages of trans people.

The opinion, written by Chief Justice Rogelio Valdez, reverses the 2011 ruling by Houston state district Judge Randy Clapp, who ruled that Araguz was born male and Texas’ 2005 marriage amendment doesn’t recognize her marriage to a man. Her 2008 marriage to her late husband, Thomas Araguz III, became invalid. Thomas Araguz was a volunteer firefighter in Wharton and was killed in the line of duty in 2010 and Nikki Araguz was denied his death benefits.
Okay let’s have a show of hands, who thinks that there will be an appeal?

Just to get you in a good mood, here is another positive story,
New Phila. police policy reaches out to transgender people
By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: February 11, 2014

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey says he hopes to alleviate that fear in an unprecedented policy change announced in late December. The policy, Directive 152, is the first in the department's history that addresses how officers interact with the transgender community. The directive also addresses thornier issues: namely, housing, transportation, and processing for transgender inmates.

It is also one of the few guidelines in the country to offer direction on how to speak to reporters about trans offenders or trans victims of crime. In cases where a transgender victim has died, the policy states officers should "use pronouns and titles of respect appropriate to the individual's gender identity as expressed by the individual."

 Ramsey acknowledges that his department was behind the times when it came to transgender policy.
One step at a time.


Every situation is different; organizations vary from place to place. What okay in one place might not be in other location. A trans-man and his partner found that out at a PFLAG dance when he asked if his girlfriend and he would be welcome at a lesbian Valentine dance, this was the reply that he received
Hi --- -
Congratulations on your transition!
Your question is a difficult one:
It's a dance for women and the people attending expect to see women dancing with women.  Whether the women are lesbian or straight or bi - they're still women.  If you identify with being a man - then you're a man.
I'm sorry if it's not the answer you were looking for - but there are so many opportunities for women and men to dance and play together. This dance is special and especially for women.
All our best,
--- and ---
Tomorrow I am going to a lesbian Valentine dance with some trans-women friends and the people who run the dance are very open to trans-people. I had lunch with the dance organizer the other day and she said that their dances are open to all people who are or were women or identify or express themselves was women (This Valentine dance is actually open to all people including men).

I have been to a Tea Dances where they said that it was only for women born women, but after a stare down they let us in. Some of the women there were standoffish while others were friendly.

Update 2/15/14 10:00AM
There is an update on his blog, the dance is a fundraiser for PFLAG and not a PFLAG dance,
UPDATE: It’s been quite an emotional roller coaster. I want to make a clarification: This is a private group of women holding a fundraiser. It is NOT a PFLAG group. PFLAG, itself is trans-inclusive and trans-friendly. In addition, trans-women are welcomed at the dance. (Not sure about people who don’t identify as either binary but that’s a different issue.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Idiots In Charge Of The Hen House!

Don’t the legislators know how idiotic the laws they are trying to pass are?

In Tennessee, Kansas, and Kentucky the state legislatures have introduced bills that would allow businesses to discrimination against LGBT people if it violates their religious beliefs.

Queerty writes this about the Kansas bill,
This proposal was meant to prevent private businesses from being forced to serve customers when they don’t want to do so, i.e., a baker who makes wedding cakes wouldn’t be forced to make a wedding cake for a same-gender wedding ceremony. Yes, the Kansas government debated the legal and moral implications of wedding cake. Why is everyone obsessed with wedding cake?

Then it morphed into “protecting” government employees from being forced to do things that go against their religious beliefs. Although as a public employee publicly serving the public, with public money paying your public salary, that ALWAYS has been, is, and will be a component of the job. Imagine if the clerks at the DMV wouldn’t have to serve people they don’t like. They don’t like anybody. But we’ll let that go for now.
Yesterday the bill passed the House with a vote of 72 to 49 and it now goes to the Republican controlled Senate. Meanwhile Fox news in Memphis reports that,
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A new bill was recently introduced in the Tennessee State Legislature that, if passed, would allow people and businesses to refuse to provide goods and services to homosexuals.
The bill notes that businesses can refuse services and goods only if it furthers a civil union, domestic partnership, or same-sex marriage. The person or business would just have to say it was against their religion. For example, if a same-sex couple wanted a cake for their wedding reception, a bakery could refuse to cater to them.
Then to finish off the triple play, back in March Kentucky another article in Queerty saids,
We honored Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear as Badass of the Week for vetoing a bill on Friday that would have allowed individuals to ignore almost any state law that conflicted with their religious convictions.
House Bill 279 protects “sincerely held religious beliefs” from being infringed upon unless there is “a compelling governmental interest.” (Translation: Expect a lot of lawsuits.) The measure has clear implications for LGBT Kentuckians, who could be fired or evicted under the mask of religious freedom.
The first thought that pops into my head is, how are they going to determine who is gay? If two brothers come into a restaurant and the owner thinks that they are gay, can he legally refuse to serve them?

Also I seem to remember something little thing called the First Amendment, something about “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It seems to me that when you give a religious preference by not having to obey a law that is a violation of the First Amendment. Some will argue that the First Amendment also says, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” but the courts have time and time again said that if a law does not specially target a religion it doesn’t violate the First Amendment. Say a religion uses marijuana as a religious sacrament and the laws ban possessions of marihuana, the courts have said that ban does not infringe upon their First Amendment rights.