Monday, March 31, 2014

What Is With Tennessee?

The religious right is crying that they are persecuted and prevented from practicing their religious right to discriminate. We have seen awful laws being proposed to allow businesses to be able to discriminate if it violates their religious beliefs and the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby case that could have disastrous effect on all civil rights laws.

In Tennessee they just passed a new bill that is now on the governor's desk to end religious persecution in schools,
Tennessee Sends Religious Anti-Discrimination Bill To Governor
The Huffington Post
By Shadee Ashtari
Posted: 03/25/2014

Tennessee lawmakers approved a bill on Monday that seeks to expand religious liberty protections for students in public schools.

The Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act, which passed the state Senate 32-0, would permit students to express religious beliefs in their homework, artwork and written and oral assignments without academic punishment or discrimination.

The legislation’s primary sponsors, state Rep. Courtney Rogers (R) and Sen. Ferrell Haile (R), introduced the measure after a teacher asked a 10-year-old student to choose a subject other than God to write about as the person she admired most, according to the Associated Press. The state House passed the bill earlier this month by a vote of 90-2.
That ACLU said that this bill will,
But this bill also encourages religious coercion, requiring local school boards to establish a system for selecting student speakers and allow those students to express their beliefs about religion in a variety of inappropriate settings, from the classroom to school-day assemblies and school events. Should this pass, students with a range of religious beliefs, as well as non-believers, would likely routinely be required to listen to religious messages or participate in religious exercises that conflict with their own beliefs.
This bill seems to me as an end run around teaching religion in schools, this allows a student to expound their beliefs to their classmates. I think this is aimed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, tell me what will happen when a student makes racist comments about blacks or comments about Jews and Muslims and claims that they are just exercising their religious tenets?

What A Crazy Drive This Morning!

I had a car appointment this morning at 9:30; because it was snowing I left 20 minutes early.

I drove to the expressway and the cars were all stopped so I went to plan B. I took the state road, I went a couple of miles and we came to a stop. After creeping forward feet at time I came to a town road and took that. A mile down the road it came back out to the state road and that was still backed up in both directions so I scooted across the road and continued on the town road.

A few miles down that road passed some factories the road goes up a hill and traffic was at a standstill with a truck stuck on the hill spinning its tires, the smell of burning rubber filled the air. A police officer was telling him to back up to the side of the road to let everyone by, but he was ignoring the officer.

Another officer was with me asking if I was stuck and to shift into a lower gear. I told her the Prius only has forward and reverse, that it is a Continuous Variable Transmission and the computer figures out the best ratio. While sitting I said her that it is one crazy day and she said that there are over a dozen accidents in town and also downed wires.

Finally the truck pulled over and we were able to get by him. The rest of the way was just slow going and I finally made it the car dealer after 90 minutes. Talk about being strung out from the road, I was frazzled.

The ride home to 11 minutes.

The storm caught everyone off guard, the state didn't pre-treat the roads because the snow wasn't forecasted and I think that the towns had the plows off the trucks. Big thick flacks came down fast and piled up, we ended up with over 3 inches of in a little over two hours.

Updated 3:30PM:
Does sitting in a car dealer's waiting room for 2 hours and talking to a cop for 5 minutes count?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Is It Costing RuPaul $$$$$?

RuPaul apologized for his show.
Producers Respond To Trans Issues On “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
March 28, 2014
By Dan Avery

Today, the show’s executive producers released a statement:
    “We delight in celebrating every color in the LGBT rainbow. When it comes to the movement of our trans sisters and trans brothers, we are newly sensitized and more committed than ever to help spread love, acceptance and understanding,” said RuPaul Charles, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe and Mandy Salangsang
Logo said, “We have heard the concerns around this segment. We are committed to sharing a diverse range of  trans stories across all of our screens and look forward to featuring positive and groundbreaking stories of trans people in the future.”
GLAAD said in a statement,
We hope you will join us in our other current campaigns to help the first trans woman perform at Carnegie Hall, end discrimination against trans women at Crossfit, and bring mainstream media attention to the Trans 100.

Culture-changing work is a marathon, not a sprint. The specific details of GLAAD's work with the media are not always visible, but our commitment to fair and accurate representations of trans people in news and entertainment media is unwavering.

You can learn about just some of the highlights of GLAAD's work on trans media representations here, and on our blog here.
My question is why did it take over 10 day for this to happen?

Did all of sudden they realize that they might the show’s sponsors or lose some of their donors?

Why did it take 10 days to realize that he went too far?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Six #520

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #520

1. M is for MACROPHOBIA: How paranoid are you about having to sit for a long period of time in a doctor’s waiting room? Do you worry you’ll catch something from sick people in the room with you?
Nope, no problem. I’m actually volunteering in a free health clinic.

2. M is for MAGNITUDE: What’s the strongest earthquake you’ve ever experienced?
0.0 magnitude, I have never been in an earthquake. I tell you something neat, we had to test our products to withstand a magnitude 10 earthquake and it is simple amazing to watch a 20’ X 10’ X10’ electrical cabinet by shaken like that.

3. M is for MAMMAL: Not counting people, what’s your favorite mammal?
A dog.

4. M is for MATURE: If you had to pick a general age at which you think the majority of young people today are mature enough to make their own decisions, which age would you choose?
42. I sometimes think you have to experience life before you can really make decisions, so since 42 is the answer to the “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything,” I’ll pick that number.

5. M is for MINGLE: How good are you at mingling in a room full of strangers in a social setting?
Very bad, it is my worst nightmare. I have that deer in the headlights look.

6. M is for MOPED: If you lived close enough to work to use a moped, what would be the biggest obstacle for you to use it as your primary transportation there?
Winter. Also the fact that I never knew when I had to drive up to our main office 20 miles away.

Saturday 9: Too Close (2011)

Crazy Sam’s  Saturday 9: Too Close (2011)

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

1) This song is about a friendship that turned romantic ... and it doesn't end happily. Have you ever crossed that line with a friend? If so, how did it work out?
Nope. I don’t know anyone where this worked, they always broke up.

2) When he was a kid, this week's singer, Alex Clare, listened to his dad's Stevie Wonder records. When you were in 7th/8th grades, what music were you into?
Isley Brothers, Twist And Shout
The Temptations, My Girl
The Supremes, Stop In The Name Of Love
The Zombies, She's Not There
The Animals. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place & House Of The Rising Sun
But the great era of “Rock & Roll” started in my 11th grade and ended when I graduated from college; disco we just starting then… blah.

3) "Too Close" has been featured on the TV show, The Vampire Diaries. Do you enjoy shows/books/movies about the supernatural?
Nope, but I love science fiction and fantasy

4) Some of Alex Clare's tour dates were sponsored by Bud Light. Do you like beer?
I never was a big fan of beer, give me a rum & coke any day (back when I was young, now alcohol is a no, no.)

5) Mr. Clare trained to be a chef, just in case the music thing didn't work out. Are you a good cook?
I’m a fair cook, I like to experiment.

6) Crazy Sam is forever running out of mayo because she slathers it on her sandwiches. What is currently on your grocery list?
I just went shopping a few days ago so the list is short. Egg, pickles, oranges and coffee (but coffee is just on the list to check for sales, if the brands I like I’ll pick some up.)

7) Where are you most likely to find spare change -- between the sofa cushions, in your jeans as you toss them into the washer, or under the floor mat of your car?
Two main places, the bottom of my pocketbook or in the cup holder in my car.

8) How did you spend your Friday night -- working late, hanging out with friends, or just enjoying a quiet night at home?
A quiet night at home, I did get much sleep Thursday night so I crashed early, around 10:30

9) Do you use Pinterest?
No I use Picasa, blogger posts their pictures there so I see no need to post to more than one photo site.

Friday, March 28, 2014

More Good News

In Maryland, the House of Delegates passed the gender identity/expression non-discrimination bill and now it is on the way to the governor.
Maryland transgender rights bill receives final approval
Washington Blade   
By Michael K. Lavers
March 27, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A bill that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders on Thursday received final approval in the Maryland House of Delegates.

The 82-57 vote on Senate Bill 212 – the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 – took place after lawmakers debated the measure that state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) introduced in January for more than two hours.
This sounds familiar, Connecticut Republicans tried to pass a similar amendment that increased the criminal penalty when committing a crime while crossdress,
State Del. Anthony O’Donnell (R-St. Mary’s and Calvert Counties) introduced a proposed amendment to SB 212 that sought to ban anyone from asserting their gender identity and expression to “enter a place of public accommodation for the purpose of committing an illegal activity.” House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore and Harford Counties) put forth a proposal that would have exempted bathrooms from the measure
The Republicans tried to strip “public accommodations” from the bill and also limit access to “distinctly private and personal” places and “private facilities.” The debate over the bill sounded just like the debate we had here in Connecticut, with a lot of imaginary “what ifs.”

In the end the bill passed without any amendments and the governor is expected to sign it into law. This is the first bill to pass after Massachusetts passed their bill without public accommodations in 2012, Maryland showed that we can overcome the setback in Massachusetts.

Ending The Week On An Up Note

Israel passes a gender identity/expression non-discrimination law for schools.
The Knesset passed a law that protects the rights of gays and lesbians
(Google Translation)
The new law is the first prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Knesset plenum approved today (Tuesday) final bill prohibiting discrimination against students on sexual orientation and gender identity. The law, which is actually an amendment to the rights of the student, is the first Israeli law defines gender identity as grounds for discrimination. The bill, initiated by MK Dov Henin (Hadash), is also the first bill complements the 19th Knesset concerning the protection of LGBT rights. Law was passed third reading with the support of 25 MKs, while only two opposed.

“Upon receipt of the bill - every room teachers, each school will right of LGBT youth - black and white - have students equal. But this law is there to protect not only the students in the LGBT community - it is there to protect us all. Whether schools cannot find a warm and intolerance community members boom, then so does our society look like,” said Henin.

“If youth today are experiencing verbal abuse in schools, then physical violence against the community could become everyday reality. Approval of the bill sends a clear message: We want to live in a society where we all have equal rights, and is the responsibility of us all to fight for this cause.” About a quarter of the students suffered from hurtful their teachers.
It sure would be nice if Congress passed the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Boycott Firefox?

This is a hard one to decide if a boycott is justifiable. If you haven’t heard Mozilla Foundation picked for their CEO a person who is against marriage equality.
Firefox Users Boycott Browser Over New Anti-Gay CEO
New Civil Rights
by David Badash
March 25, 2014

Some Firefox users are furious over yesterday’s promotion to CEO of Brendan Eich to lead Mozilla, the company that makes the world’s second-most popular internet desktop browser, Firefox. Eich actually co-founded Mozilla, but made headlines when it was reported he had donated $1000 to support California’s anti-gay Prop 8 in 2008.
Eich is the Javascript creator so he has a strong background in web development and he made this statement about Mozilla,
I am deeply honored and humbled by the CEO role. I’m also grateful for the messages of support. At the same time, I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla. I hope to lay those concerns to rest, first by making a set of commitments to you. More important, I want to lay them to rest by actions and results.

A number of Mozillians, including LGBT individuals and allies, have stepped forward to offer guidance and assistance in this. I cannot thank you enough, and I ask for your ongoing help to make Mozilla a place of equality and welcome for all. Here are my commitments, and here’s what you can expect:
  • Active commitment to equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building.
  • Working with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.
  • My ongoing commitment to our Community Participation Guidelines, our inclusive health benefits, our anti-discrimination policies, and the spirit that underlies all of these.
  •  My personal commitment to work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalized in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult. More on this last item below.
I know some will be skeptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything. I can only ask for your support to have the time to “show, not tell”; and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain.

Mozilla is a movement composed of different people around the world, working productively together on a common mission. This is important to our ability to work and grow around the world.

Many Mozillians and others know me as a colleague or a friend. They know that I take people as they come and work with anyone willing to contribute. At the same time, I don’t ask for trust free of context, or without a solid structure to support accountability. No leader or person who has a privileged position should. I want to be held accountable for what I do as CEO. I fully expect you all to do so.

I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion.

You will see exemplary behavior from me toward everyone in our community, no matter who they are; and the same toward all those whom we hope will join, and for those who use our products. Mozilla’s inclusive health benefits policies will not regress in any way. And I will not tolerate behavior among community members that violates our Community Participation Guidelines or (for employees) our inclusive and non-discriminatory employment policies.

You’ll also see more from Mozilla under my leadership in the way of efforts to include potential contributors, especially those who lack privilege. This entails several projects, starting with Project Ascend, which is being developed by Lukas Blakk. I intend to demonstrate with meaningful action my commitment to a Mozilla that lives up to its ideals, including that of being an open and inclusive community.
Many of those calling for a boycott say that this is not good enough, they want an apology. But I think his views and how he runs the company are two different things. I believe that if you truly believe in diversity you have respect all people views as long as they are not hateful. I believe that Mr. Eich didn’t call for violence or were they hateful, he just doesn’t believe in marriage equality. If we boycott everyone who disagrees with us there would be very few companies that you shop or use their products. Additional, he gave a $1000 which in no way makes him a major contributor to the anti-marriage campaign; I think it would make a difference if he gave $10,000 or $100,000 to the anti-marriage side.

Do you think a boycott is justified?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Trans Health and Law Conference, Saturday April 26

Right now I am slowly going nuts helping to organize our Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law Conference, otherwise known as the Transgender Health and Law Conference. There are just so many small details to cover, like parking, menus, security... and on and on.
2014 – Transgender Lives
Intersection of Health and Law Conference
Saturday April 26, 2014

 The eighth annual Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law Conference is on Saturday, April 26 at the UConn Health Center from 8:00 AM till 5:00 PM. This all day conference is geared towards Allies, Medical and Legal Professionals, Service Providers, Trans and Gender non-conforming community and all those interested in the learning about the transgender and gender non-conforming communities.

Keynote Speaker: Dru Levasseur & Tony Ferraiolo Co-Founders of the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money to fund gender-confirming surgeries. M. Dru Levasseur is the Transgender Rights Attorney for Lambda Legal and Tony Ferraiolo, is a Certified Life Coach and Transgender Youth Advocate in New Haven

Some of this Year’s 23 Workshops cover topics such as:
  • Trans 101a newcomers guide transgender healthcare and issues
  • The Health Care Professional and the Transgender Patient
  • The Effects of Discrimination on Trans Health.
  • Networking for parents of Transgender Child
  • How to Successfully Transition in Your Employment
  • Trans Discrimination and the Fight for Housing Justice
  • LGBT Adoption, Surrogacy, and Sperm/Egg Donation Law 2014
  • Trans Health: An Evidence-based Update
  • Partners, Family and Friends: Grief and loss, dealing with stigma, coming-out and other common experiences.
UCONN Health Center
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, Connecticut 06030
Saturday, April 26, 2014

High Level Conference Timeline
  • 08:00 - 08:30 AM : Registration and Continental Breakfast
  • 08:30 - 09:15 AM : Welcoming Remarks and Introductions
  • 09:15 - 12:00 AM : Morning Workshops (Sessions I & II)
  • 12:00 - 01:00 PM : Lunch & Movie
  • 01:00 - 03:30 PM : Afternoon Workshops (Sessions III & IV)
  • 03:30 - 04:45 PM : Keynote
  • 04:45 - 05:00 PM : Closing remarks and wrap up
Registration is $25 for Individuals (though no one will be turned away due to registration cost), $50 for NASW CEC

Registration online:

Or Mail to:
CTAC Conference Registration
P.O. Box 111
Farmington, CT 06034

Walk-ins Welcome
If you register after April 20, meals will not be included

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Supreme Court Today…

…Is hearing the case of Hobby Lobby today. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods sued the government because they say that providing contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act to their employees violate their religious beliefs. You might think that this doesn’t affect me, I don’t care if a company provides birth control pills to their employees, this case might be one of the most important cases heard by the Robert’s Court.

Why? For two reasons the first is that Second Amendment’s religious freedom clause will now apply to companies and the second it will turn all the anti-discrimination cases void. Bishop Gene Robinson wrote,
Religious Freedom Goes Too Far
By Gene Robinson March 23, 2014 12:00 AM The Daily Beast

On Tuesday, March 25, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments from Hobby Lobby, a nationwide chain of craft stores, whose CEO objects—on religious grounds—to funding certain types of contraception under the Affordable Care Act. If the Supreme Court makes good on presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s statement that “corporations are people too,” investing them with “freedom of religion,” there will be no end to such claims in the courts.
There is already a generous and broad religious exemption for religious bodies—a hole wide enough to drive a Pope-mobile through, in my opinion. Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious affiliations have the authority to set their own rules and practices, according to their beliefs, without interference from government. What is at issue in the Hobby Lobby case is one man’s religious beliefs which, because he is the CEO of the company, he wants to impose on the 14,000 or so of his employees.
Make no mistake. You can support religious liberty and still reject Hobby Lobby’s arguments.  But a Hobby Lobby victory risks paving the way for corporations to use religion to control the lives of others and to trample their religious freedom and their right to equal treatment under the law.
If they rule in favor of Hobby Lobby it a huge impact on the anti-discrimination laws,
Religion run amok? Hobby Lobby's case comes to the Supreme Court
LA Times
By Robin March 21, 2014

“Where will this end?” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, during a conference call Thursday with reporters that included representatives from Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the National Women's Law Center. “What could be next? Could our bosses decide on religious grounds they don’t want to offer vaccinations? Or HIV medications?”

The Supreme Court has never held that a corporation can express religious beliefs, said Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center. “And it has never held that religious exercise provides a license to harm others, or violate the rights of third parties.”
And an article in Yahoo News by Warren Richey said that the,
The government warns that if the religious owners in the current case win their exemption at the Supreme Court it could open the floodgates to limitless demands for other religious exemptions.

“Employers might assert religious objections to coverage of virtually all conventional medical treatments, including immunizations, blood transfusions, anti-depressants, medications derived from pigs, and gene therapy,” Verrilli says.

“The result would be a patchwork of unpredictably incomplete coverage for employees dictated by the religious beliefs of their employers’ shareholders,” he said.
Would it also mean that a business could refuse to hirer blacks or non-Christians or LGBT people because it would violate their religious beliefs? As you can see this court case has far ramifications that will affect all of us.

Here is an analysis of today's hearing,
Justice Kennedy Thinks Hobby Lobby Is An Abortion Case — That’s Bad News For Birth Control
By Ian Millhiser
March 25, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — Justice Anthony Kennedy thinks gay people are fabulous. All three of the Supreme Court’s most important gay rights decisions were written by Justice Kennedy. So advocates for birth control had a simple task today: convince Kennedy that allowing religious employers to exempt themselves from a federal law expanding birth control access would lead to all kinds of horrible consequences in future cases — including potentially allowing religious business owners to discriminate against gay people.

Kennedy, however, also hates abortion. Although Kennedy cast the key vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey upholding what he called the “essential holding of Roe v. Wade,” he’s left no doubt that he cast that vote very grudgingly. Casey significantly rolled back the constitutional right to choose an abortion. And Kennedy hasn’t cast a single pro-choice vote in an abortion case in the last 22 years.
Indeed, not long after Solicitor General Don Verrilli took the podium to argue the government’s case, it appeared that he may ultimately emerge victorious. Clement spent much of his argument on his heels. The three women on the bench appeared quite confident in their questioning. Kennedy was silent for much of Verilli’s argument.

But then he made a statement that will likely doom the government’s case. “Your reasoning would permit” Congress to force corporations to pay for abortions, Kennedy told Verrilli. This was not the Anthony Kennedy that worried about conservatives imposing their anti-gay “animus” on others, this was the Anthony Kennedy that views abortion as a grave moral wrong. Shortly after Kennedy made this statement, Justice Kagan’s face dropped. It appeared that she’d just figured out that she would be joining a dissenting opinion.
You can never know what the justices are thinking, just look at the decisions in the Affordable Care Act and the Citizens United cases.

Update 4:15PM Another analysis of the case:

Lyle Denniston Reporter
Posted Tue, March 25th, 2014 1:18 pm

Argument recap: One hearing, two dramas

Emotions And Music

Music doesn’t usually affect emotionally but it happened twice. The first time was at first time I went to a Transgender Day of Remembrance and we sang “We Shall Over Come.” It hit me so hard and I cried and cried, it was right after the reading of the names when we sang the song.

The other time was Sunday, I was at a private concert with Namoli Brennet and she sang a new song that she just wrote about how the same day that everyone was celebrating the passage of marriage equality in Rhode Island, a gay man was murdered in New York and about the millions who have died of AIDS. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.

Music can stir all types of emotions and memories not just the sad ones. It can stir national spirit, rally the workers and march for peace.

Monday, March 24, 2014

How Will Maryland’s House Vote?

It looks like the people of Maryland know better than the legislature according to a poll,
Poll Shows Transgender Rights Bill Has Wide Support, While Lawmaker Fears 'Guy In A Dress' (UPDATED)
The Huffington Post
By Arin Greenwood
Posted: 03/20/2014

A Maryland bill that would prohibit discrimination against transgender people has overwhelming support among state residents, according to a new poll.

Opponents, meanwhile, continue to obsess about men in dresses nefariously hanging around women's bathrooms -- even while acknowledging that they're probably going to lose this one.

The Goucher Poll found that 71 percent of those surveyed said that they favor including gender identity in the state's anti-discrimination laws. Twenty percent were opposed. Metro Weekly reports majority support from both women and men, from black, white and "other" races, and from Republicans (60-27), Democrats (79-15) and independents (68-23).
The Senate voted earlier in the month 32-15 to pass the bill and now it is going to the house, but the opposition is gearing up to fight the bill and of course the fight is over public accommodations. One of the House delegates said in her newsletter,
I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I am completely and unequivocally opposed to this bill which doesn't aim to end discrimination, but to normalize abnormal behavior.

HB 1265 seeks to create a new class of protected individuals in the state's anti-discrimination statute. Specifically, the bill defines "gender identity" as "appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual regardless of the individual's assigned sex at birth."

It is important that Maryland does not separate one's "gender identify" and their "assigned sex at birth" as noted in the bill. Like the majority of Marylanders, I share the view that this redefinition rejects our society's understanding of human nature. So ladies if you happen to see a guy in a dress in the restaurant bathroom, you'll know the bill passed and that I voted NO!
The opposition isn’t conceding defeat but they do realize that the bill will probably pass and the governor will sign it making Maryland the eighteenth state to protect us.

Do We Have The Right…

…To decide who can transition or not, who is trans and who is not?

This came out of one of the discussions from the True Colors workshop over the weekend. Suppose the person has very masculine features, say they’re 6’6”, 300lbs, large hands, big feet, and a deep voice should a therapist approve them for hormones and transition?

What is the job of therapists?

As members of the trans-community do we accept them or shun them? Do we call them “combat boots” or a “man in a dress”?

These are real ethical questions that arise all the time and making the wrong decision could result in their death.

The job of a therapist is to asses if we can make an informed decision, that we are capable of understanding what we are about to do; it is not to judge if we can integrate into society. Once we make our decision then it is the job of the therapist is to give us the tools to survive, to give us coping skills.

According to WPATH's Standard of Care Abstract,
The SOC articulate standards of care while acknowledging the role of making informed choices and the value of harm reduction approaches. In addition, this version of the SOC recognizes that treatment for gender dysphoria i.e., discomfort or distress that is caused by a discrepancy between persons gender identity and that persons sex assigned at birth (and the associated gender role and/or primary and secondary sex characteristics) has become more individualized. Some individuals who present for care will have made significant self-directed progress towards gender role changes or other resolutions regarding their gender identity or gender dysphoria. Other individuals will require more intensive services. Health professionals can use the SOC to help patients consider the full range of health services open to them, in accordance with their clinical needs and goals for gender expression
As the community should we mock them? Should we judge them? Would you be seen out in public with them? Should we let our own internal bias affect our behavior?

Unfortunately, many times I have seen our community behaving badly. I have seen members of a support group call another member “combat boot” and I have been called “a man in a dress” by members of our community because I haven’t had surgery. When you start drawing a line in the sand we usually draw the line under us. Who gets to decide? Are we going to hold a vote, one blackball and you are out or maybe two blackballs and you are thrown out of the community? Maybe we can have a tribunal pick from member of the trans-community and they vote on your admission into the trans-community?

I thing you would agree that these are all absurd. We do not have a say in who is trans and who is not trans, it is the person who gets to say if they are trans or not.

When I went to therapy to start on hormones, I said to the therapist “I am a transsexual and I want to start on hormones” and that was my admission to the community.

Updated 9:30AM: Added SOC

Sunday, March 23, 2014

When Kids Transition

One of the workshops that I went to helped me answer the question that I had and also get asked when I give workshops, how do you know when a child is transsexual.

The workshop was “Working with the Families of Gender Non-Conforming Children” and the key is,
  • Insistent
  • Persistent
  • Consistent
That is what you want to look for, that the child is insistent that he should be a girl or a girl should be a boy. That they are persistent in their desire to transition and they are consistent in their desire to change gender.

The presenter said that they have identified three types of trans-children which he called,
  • Transgender
  • Gender explorers
  • Non-transgender
The non-transgender might start out believing they are transgender but it becomes oblivious that they are not transsexual. While the transgender child showing all three indicators, insistent, persistent, and consistent, can start to socially transition right away and they can start on hormones when they enter Tanner Stage 2. The gender explorers are not quite sure of their gender identity and they don’t show the three traits so they are usually put on puberty blockers until they are teenagers while they socially transition.

He said that about 70% turn out to be non-transgender, 20% gender explorers and 5% transgender with only about 20% of the gender explorers and transsexual children going on to transition fully.

The presenter also covered what to do about parents who don’t approve or is against their religious beliefs. This has always stymied me on what to say to people who asked me that, I didn’t know the answer since they are the legal guarding for the child. His answer was “acceptance is protection,” that if they want the best for their child then the best way to do that is to allow the child to seek their own way. The data shows that all the negative factors like suicide decrease with family acceptance.

For families that hold strong religious beliefs against lesbian, gay and transgender people, the presenter said that the courts are increasingly seeing that by denying children to transition or come out is a form of child abuse. The courts are taking the child out of that environment and placing the child in a home of another family member or in a foster home.

I leave you with Riley’s comment on gender marketing to boys and girls…

The Conference

Everyone who is anyone in Connecticut knows what conference I’m talking about this time of year, it is the True Colors conference.

Stana stopped by my house at a little after nine and we car pooled up to the University of Connecticut in Storrs arriving a little after 10. We had to walk to from the south parking lot to the Student Union and it was COLD! The wind was whipping down Hillside Road, I was carrying my workshop handouts and a coffee and my hands were freezing, my ears were freezing and my nose was freezing. I was trying to carry everything in one hand so I could keep switching hands so I could keep one in my pocket.

The first workshop that I went to was Global LGBT Rights and I thought it was good, but. The description in the program guide didn’t quite match the workshop. It was more about how to research global LGBT issues than actually what is happening around the world.

For lunch I went to one of the cafeterias to meet a former classmate from the School of Social Work, she is now a school counselor and one of the co-leaders for the school GSA (Gay Straight Alliance). She and a teacher brought 20 GSA students to the conference and I answered any of the questions the student had about trans-issues.

After lunch I went to the History of LGBT Activism in CT workshop, it was a small workshop of just three of us and the presenter that I have known from my activism. I learned the early gay history here in Connecticut; I know the presenter and have worked with her when I was on the Anti-Discrimination Coalition when we were trying to pass the gender inclusive non-discrimination law.

Then it was time for my workshop; I had about 10 attendees and my evaluations were all “excellent” or “very good” with one rating me “poor” because she wanted me to go over an actual school non-discrimination policy instead of a general discussion about what a policy should include.

After the conference I went to dinner with Stana at a restaurant in Manchester and we made it back to my house by 6:30, it was a long day.

This morning I left also around nine and got up there in time to stop by the Connecticut Outreach Societies table and then head for the first workshop which was on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. One of the topics that the presenter covered was the difference between hate speech and a hate crime. After the workshop I went to lunch with presenter, who is from the US Department of Justice and I know him from the Safe Schools Coalition. We are on the committee and he also did a workshop at the Trans Health and Law conference last year.

The workshop after lunch was another excellent workshop, it was called “Working with the Families of Gender Non-Conforming Children,” I attended it with a friend who is a LCSW and a friend from the health collective. The workshop answered some of the questions that I had and what can be done when the parents are non-supportive of a child’s transition, the courts have become more proactive in labeling it as a form of child abuses because if you do not allow a child to transitions it can lead to negative outcome such as suicide.

The last workshop of the conference was supposed to be on the future of activism, however, I was the only one there, and I had a great discussion with the presenter. It was kind of like fate brought us together.

I was then asked to stick around and watch the table of CDs for Namoli Brennet while she performed in the closing ceremonies. So I had two long days in a row and now I am heading off to a party in Sharon Connecticut.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday Six #519

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #519

1. L is for LABIOMANCY: How good are you at reading people’s lips when you can’t hear a conversation?
I never even tried.

2. L is for LAMPADEPHORE: If you had the opportunity to run with the Olympic torch, would you? Why or why not?
Nope, maybe walk but not run… definitely not run.

3. L is for LARYNGITIS: What’s the longest you’ve had to go without your voice?
I don’t know, it has been a very long time since I had laryngitis.

4. L is for LID: If we checked your kitchen cabinets, would we find that you had more container lids than bottoms, more bottoms than lids, or the same amount of each?
About the same.

5. L is for LOCK: A security company ad promises its app will let you lock up your home by remote control from your phone. Given the rise of hacking, how much would you trust this technology?
Not at all, I can see any reason for me to get that. However, I would like it if my alarm system called me when it went off, when there is water in the basement and when the furnace malfunctions.

6. L is for LUXURY: If you were buying a new car, what luxury in a new car that your old one doesn’t have would you most look forward to having?
That radar system that checks your blind spots.

Saturday 9: Copacabana

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Copacabana

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

1) This song refers to the merengue and the cha-cha. Are you a good dancer?
It depends on what you mean by dancing; if you mean slow dancing then I’m all left feet.

2) Dances like the merengue and cha-cha are featured on Dancing with the Stars. Are you a loyal DWTS viewer?
I never have even watched it.

3) The Copa girl in the song, Lola, wears yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there. If we were going to the clubs tonight, what would you wear?
Jeans and turtleneck with a denim jacket.

4) The real Copacabana nightclub was on East 60th Street in New York. It was used as a setting for the movie Goodfellas. Do you have a favorite mobster movie?
No, unless you call North By Northwest.

5) Our featured artist, Barry Manilow, has unfortunately spent a great deal of this young century in the hospital -- broken nose, face lift, chest pains and two hip surgeries. Tell us about your most recent trip to the doctor, ER, or dentist.
My annual physical was Thursday, it went well.

6) Manilow told US Magazine that he enjoys nude sunbathing. Have you ever skinny dipped or sunbathed au naturel?

7) Before he became famous as a performer, Manilow was a very successful jingle writer. "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there …" and "You deserve a break today at McDonald's …" were his. Tell us about a TV commercial you saw recently.
That is a hard question for me, because I tune them out. I usually play a game of solitaire on my Kindle during a commercial or channel surf. So I am kind of oblivious and tuned out during them. 

8) The Manilow faithful are known as Fanilows and proudly wear Barry hoodies, wristwatches and even dog tags. Do you have any clothes that feature a recording artist?
Nope. Not a one.

9) In 2005, Manilow refused to respond when Larry King inquired about his sexuality. Do you think it's rude for interviewers to ask personal questions? Or is it something a performer should expect because it goes with the job?
It is rude.

I will be away all day today at a conference, so I will not be able to approve your comments until I get home.

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Workshop…

Policies for Gender Variant Students (Professional Audience): This workshop will examine barriers that gender diverse students face in schools and how the non-discrimination law affects them. In a school system, some of the obstacles gender diverse students face in their educations can easily be overcome by having a policy in place. This workshop will cover briefly the transition process and the Connecticut anti-discrimination law. Then we will look at what a school policy should cover, such as name change, changing records and the use of bathrooms.
Much of my research for this workshop comes from my work on the Safe Schools Coalition and these sources,
Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO): "Guidelines for Schools on Gender Identity and Expression

CT Department of Education: Resources for Title IX / Equity Coordinators

MA Department of Education: Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools: Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity


Safe School Research Brief 13: Understanding Safe Schools for Transgender Students


San Francisco Unified School District Policy SECTION:  Non-Discrimination for Students and Employees

Mooney and Fay Speak about Transgender Students and Individuals with Disabilities in Activities – Shipman & Goodwin

NYC Transgender Student Guidelines

GLAD: Maine’s Doe v. Clenchy Case Study


I will be away all day at the True Colors conference and in the afternoon I will be giving my workshop in the last timeslot of the day. Afterward on the way home, I will have dinner a friend and then go home and crash to be ready for the second day of the conference. Then Saturday evening I’m going to a lesbian dance.

The workshops that I’m attending are…
Global LGBT Rights (Professional Audience): Participants will explore the status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) communities throughout the world. Resources, instructional tools, video clips and other techy tools will be shared!
One of the reasons that I want to attend this workshop to see how much of an emphasis the presenter places on the “T” in LGBT.
Controversies in Gender Diagnosis (Parents and Caregivers): Parents and caregivers, educators, pediatricians, clinicians are being increasingly challenged to respond effectively to the unique needs of gender non-conforming children. But what is the right response when a five year old insists she is a boy? Or a four year old says that he is a boy on the outside and a girl on the inside? Please join this distinguished and accomplished panel of clinicians, doctors and researchers as share their diverse experiences, theories, questions, ideas and best practices in working with these children and their families.

Transgender for Direct Care Workers: A 101 for Care of Transgender Youth (Professional Audience): This workshop will introduce to providers to the world of transgender as it relates to working with transgender children and adolescents in care. The workshop will cover the basics of what’s transgender?, critical issues in providing care, development of a safe environment for trans youth, and the impact of heterosexism and thinking outside the gender binary in agencies and foster and residential care.
I am attending these workshops because of the volunteer work that I’m doing at the health collective and also I know some of the presenters.
My workshop is in the last timeslot of the day and on Saturday,
Helping your loved one have a healthy transition (Parents and Caregivers): People who are transitioning need a lot of resources for a smooth and healthy transition, but the most important resources are the people in their lives. This workshop is designed for those people, because they need support themselves. Learn who to contact and how to get support instantly, understand ‘pronoun etiquette', get familiar with important terminology and vocab to be trans* savvy, learn how to make the switch with a new name and get food and lifestyle tips to keep yourself centered and grounded during the process.
I would love to go to another workshop but it is in the same timeslot, “How the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act Affects You (General Audience),” I know the presenter and I saw his presentation once so I decided to attend the other workshop.
Working with the Families of Gender Non-Conforming Children (Professional Audience) :  Many parents feel concerned and uncertain about how to handle their children’s gender expression or identity when those do not align with social expectations or the child’s birth sex. While they can access information online, they might feel isolated, struggling to find other parents who can understand their dilemmas or appreciate their family accomplishments. While some parents find it easier to embrace gender-variance, other parents find themselves uncertain as to how best protect and nurture a child with gender fluidity. How can clinicians, social workers and child welfare professionals help families negotiate positive parent-child interactions with transgender, gender non-conforming and/or gender fluid children?
And on Saturday I will probably leave and go home after this workshop on to rest up for dancing in the evening.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Do You Know Where That Kidney Came From?

This is something that you thought doesn’t really happen, it is only in television shows and movies… but it does happen in real life; forced organ harvesting is happening around the world.

I came across this topic on a social work blog, Social Justice Solutions and it was something that I never really thought happened except on Law & Order or CIS. The SJS blog was about an article in the Huffington Post,
Child Organ Harvesting And Trafficking-Linked Arrest Made In Mexico
Posted: 03/17/2014

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Police in Mexico's western state of Michoacan detained an alleged member of the Knights Templar cartel who is suspected of kidnapping children to harvest their organs, an official said Monday.

Michoacan state Public Safety Secretary Carlos Castellanos Becerra alleged that Manuel Plancarte Gaspar was part of the cartel's organ-trafficking ring. The ring would kidnap children and take them to rented homes with medical equipment where their organs were removed, Castellanos Becerra charged.

"We have several statements in open investigations that point to a network of several suspects who would identify people with certain characteristics, especially children, and kidnap them," he said.
When I read this two thoughts came to mind, where do they sell them, I hope that it is not to hospitals and the other thought was those who are buying them should be locked up for life! So I researched it some more and found that it was not limited to Mexico that the problem is worldwide. On the website CommunityRun they have a petition drive to stop this practice and they says,
There are many countries in which illegal organ harvesting takes place, including India, Mozambique, Philippines, Israel, Pakistan and Egypt, but it is China that has taken this industry to a whole new level.  In China, the government is profiting from the removal of organs from living, unconsenting people; the sale of these organs on the black market and the transplanting of those organs into paying clients.  The transplants are occurring in Chinese military hospitals using organs from Government concentration camps containing individuals who have been imprisoned as a result of real or imagined crimes against the state, including followers of Falun Gong, a peaceful practice that was banned after gaining too large a following. Over 90% of organs harvested are from Falun Gong followers, people who have committed no crime at all.
This is SICK!

Who is profiting from this? CNN back in 2011 covered this topic…
Refugees face organ theft in the Sinai
By Fred Pleitgen and Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, CNN
November 3, 2011
Al-Azazy says the organs are taken from refugees while they are still alive. "The organs are not useful if they're dead. They drug them first and remove their organs, then leave them to die and dump them in a deep dry well along with hundreds of bodies."

He says he was once taken to the area where the bodies are dumped after the organ removal process. He says he believes corrupt Egyptian doctors are working with the Bedouins, coming to Sinai with mobile hospital units to perform the operations to remove especially corneas, livers and kidneys.

"Mobile clinics using advanced technology come from a private hospital in Cairo to an area in the deserts of Mid-Sinai and conduct physicals on the Africans before they choose those suitable, then they conduct the operation," Al-Azazy said.
"The doctors deal directly with the Sawarka family [a Bedouins tribe], and they buy the organs starting from $20,000," the source said in a phone interview.
These people should be locked up and never see the light of day. This is the lowest of the low.

This video is from “Tales from the Organ Trade”

I understand why some people need to sell their organs to survive but the people who buy them are the lowest of lowest.

It Is That Time Of Year...

...where kids and parents are thinking of summer camp, but what do you do if your child is transgender? Where can they go to have fun?

There are a number of summer camps around the country for trans-youth, probably the flagship camp is Camp Aranu'tiq in Connecticut. said,
On the volleyball court, a boy spiked a shot and his teammates cheered. Nearby, some campers lay on mats, doing yoga stretches. A girl executed a series of cartwheels. Over in drama, the kids performed a “cranky old lady” talk show; everyone cracked up.

Before the week was over, there were campfires, Capture the Flag, a skit night, and a talent show. Camp Aranu’tiq seemed like a traditional New England camp, complete with requisite lake, rustic cabins, and 65 shrieking campers.

Only when you see tags around campers’ necks, with the words “(HE)” or “(SHE)” under their names, do you realize something’s different here. It is the only camp of its kind in the country, a camp for transgender kids, where idle chatter on sports, music, school, and teenage crushes blends right in with talk about “coming out,” “transitioning,” puberty blockers — and bullying.
Have heard from the parents of children who attended the camp and they liked it. There are other trans-camps for kids around the country and can be found by googling "summer camp transgender children" for them.

If you are a young at heart trans-woman there is Camp Camp in Maine, which is a LGBT week long summer camp.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Words Hurt…

Once again Ru Paul shows his disdain for the trans-community on his show.
RuPaul Stokes Anger With Use of Transphobic Slur
The controversial drag queen makes use of the transphobic term 'shemale' in a segment reminiscent of Maury Povich's 'Man or Woman?' episodes.
The Advocate
By Parker Marie Molloy
March 18 2014

Last night's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race featured a contest many on Twitter are calling transphobic. The game, "Female or Shemale," pitted the contestants against each other in a quest to determine whether they were being shown a picture of — as RuPaul phrased it — "a biological woman or a psychological woman."
The show has a long history of using the term "shemale" in various plays on words, most notably during a segment called, "You've Got Shemail." In last night's game, contestants saw pictures of cisgender women Christina Aguilera, former WWE wrestler Chyna, and "Tan Mom" Patricia Krentcil, alongside photos of well-known drag queens.

"Shemale" is a word that historically refers to transgender women, most prominent in pornography. The word originated with transgender porn and doesn't have roots in "drag culture," as some have argued is the case with the word "tranny."
At night he goes home, takes off his make-up, and becomes Andre Charles a gay man. I do not have any problems with drag queens and I am friends with many drag queens, what I have a problem with is his use a derogatory words for trans-people. In addition, he knows that the words that he uses hurts the community and creates an atmosphere where cis-gender people think it is okay to use those words. He knows that the words have the same effect on many of us the “N” word has to the black community. He knows that we hear those words when we are being attacked.

Remember that words that denigrate or marginalize groups tend to become part of the common lexicon unless we speak up.

Never Say Uncle.

In the continuing saga of California’s School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266), the opposition is rechecking the rejected signatures. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that,
Opponents of a new law that allows transgender students a choice of which restroom and locker room to use are scouring thousands of signatures that were tossed out in San Diego County and elsewhere, hoping to uncover enough evidence to prove that their referendum should be placed on the November ballot.

But it will not be easy. They must painstakingly double-check each signature for any hint that county elections officials erred. Statewide, nearly 132,000 were disqualified while about 487,500 were found to be valid.

“All we have to do is show that 17,200 were incorrectly declared invalid,” said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which often sides with conservative causes in court. “That’s why it’s early in the game and why we are cautiously optimistic.”
On and on it goes, where it stops no one knows… Meanwhile it is costing the impoverished state millions dollars. Even if by some far out chance that they win it will not change anything because there are other state and federal laws that requires students to be integrated based on their gender identity.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let’s Take The High Ground

I don’t know if you saw that Fred Phelps, the former pastor and founder of the Westboro Baptist Church is dying. There have been many calls to protest his funeral as he has done for many of ours, but I ask for us to take the high ground and not celebrate his death.

Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project has asked people not to protest at his funeral, KMUW wrote that,
Family members of 84-year-old Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps have confirmed that he's in hospice care in Topeka and may be near death.
The group is known for funeral protests that have created a lot of anger, but equality groups are asking for a different response to Phelp's condition.
The spoke’s person for the group said,
"That's what we're asking, is for people to treat us with dignity and respect. How can we ask for that if we're not willing to give that to other people?" says Mott.
Let us show them that we are better than they are; let us take the high ground and not stoop to their level.

You Can’t Do That!

Or when will they ever learn?

Two things in the news that caught my eye today, they both involve school that prohibited students from doing something so they wouldn’t get bullied. The schools have it backwards.

The first was in North Carolina where a boy was prohibited from wearing a “My Little Pony” backpack,
School Bans Boy From Wearing ‘My Little Pony’ Backpack, Claims It’s A ‘Trigger For Bullying’
Think Progress
By Judd Legum
March 17, 2014

A 9-year-old boy from North Carolina was bullied — punched, pushed and called names — for bringing a My Little Pony lunch sack to school. The school has responded by telling the boy, Grayson Bruce, to leave the sack at home, calling it a “trigger for bullying.”

Grayson says My Little Pony is his favorite cartoon. In a statement, the school said that Grayson’s bag “created a disruption in the classroom.” The school said they were looking into the conduct of the bullies but have, to date, taken no public action.
And the other case was in Arkansas  at the Sheridan High School in Sheridan,
Arkansas High School Blocks Gay Student's Yearbook Profile
Filed By John M. Becker
March 17, 2014

Administrators at Sheridan High School in Sheridan, Arkansas are in hot water today after they refused to publish a profile about a gay student in this year's yearbook.
The principal says the decision was made to avoid bullying, but Bruner and Ellis are calling shenanigans. "[E]verybody knows that I'm gay so it wouldn't be any different," Ellis said. Bruner adds, "I'm not going to be walked on with this because it's important to me and to Taylor and to all the other students who were interviewed and the yearbook staff."

The Arkansas Student Publications Act protects students' right to free expression in student publications.
There have been so many court cases that have been found in favor of the students that the schools should have known not to do what they did. Also they are required by law to prove a safe space for learning and you don’t do that by going after the victim but you go after the bully.

Monday, March 17, 2014

What Is The True Color’s Conference

Besides being wonderful. The CT Education Association (CEA) says the conference is,
The conference which is the largest in the country, targets lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) and ally youth, as well as those responsible for their health and well-being, including parents and caregivers; educators, clinicians, social workers, behavioral and physical health care providers and clergy. The mission of the conference is to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ youth at home, in school, and in the community at large by providing them and those who care for them, with the skills to act as advocates and allies. Participants are offered their choice of more than 200 workshops from introductory to advanced levels.
So the conference is probably the largest LGBT Youth conference in the world! It is a two day conference at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, that is open to everyone, not just LGBT youth or professionals, but it is open to anyone who wants to learn anything about LGBT people of any age and their culture. It is a two day conference with a two day attendance of around 3000 people and the conference has several different “tracks”; youth, college, professionals, and general workshops.

There are schools and people who come from all over the US; one year I met people from South Carolina, Maine, and Wisconsin. The Wisconsin group was a high school GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) who raised money for the trip.

My first time at the conference was when it was at the University of Hartford back in 2002 when it was called Children from the Shadows. I fell in love with it on the spot; there were so many smiling faces. For many it was the first time in their life were they could be themselves and not have to worry about what others think.

I went to help out at the Connecticut Outreach Society’s table and in 2011 I interned at True Colors and helped organize the vendor area at the conference. In 2012 I gave my first workshop there, it was on trans-history, and this year I am giving a workshop on writing a school policy for gender inclusion.

The conference is this Friday and Saturday and you can register here; walk-ins are welcome.

We Are Guinea Pigs

There is no long term research about the health effects of hormones or other medication that we take. When we take hormones or testosterone blockers they are “off label” meaning that they were never tested for what we use them for, therefore, the long term effects are not known.

So I pass along this survey…
Transgender and gender nonconforming individuals (age 14-30) needed for health research!
IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program, Northwestern University
Posted on December 18th

Contribute to transgender and gender nonconforming health research by completing an online survey.

The online survey is designed to capture a range of experiences associated with growing up as transgender or gender nonconforming. We plan to use this information to help other researchers, clinicians, and doctors become better informed of the developmental needs of transgender and gender nonconforming youth and young adults.

The survey will take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. The survey will ask very sensitive questions, including but not limited to, gender and sexuality.

Participants who complete the survey will be offered the chance to enter a raffle for one of ten $50 Amazon gift cards (odds of winning are approximately 1 in 75).

Please consider taking the survey today and please share with others you know who are transgender or gender nonconforming and age 14 to 30!

To learn more about participating and see if you are eligible, click on the eligibility screener

Laura Kuper, MA
Principal Investigator
Department of Psychology at University of Illinois at Chicago
Even though this study is not about the effects of drugs, I think it will give new insight in to the long term outcomes of early transition.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Amazon's Transparent

I just watched the Amazon steaming video Transparent and once again a non-trans-person plays the role of a trans-person. Surely they could have found some trans-person to play the part? Did they even look for someone to play Mort/Maura?

I’m not saying the show is not good or that Jeffrey Tambor didn’t do a wonderful job of acting, what I am saying is that when you have a part that calls for an ethnic or culture part it should be played by someone who is from that ethnicity or culture.

Do you remember the old westerns where the Native Americans were played by white actors? Can you imagine if a white person played Solomon Northup in “12 Years a Slave?” I’m not talking blackface, I just saying that a white person played Solomon Northup part, the part was written for a black person and should be played by a black; Mort/Maura was written as a trans-person, it should be played by a trans-actress.

I am also not saying that trans-actors/actresses can only play trans-characters, just like Asians or blacks or Latinos don’t just play ethnic characters but can also play other parts that are not specific ethnic characters. Trans-actors/actresses should be able to play other parts, which to my knowledge hasn’t happened.

Buzzfeed said this about the show,
Transparent’s examination of fascinating yet mundane lives has, of course, a big twist driven by Mort as he tries to evolve into Maura. Tambor, who has been acting for television for 37 years, plays his patented unhinged, patrician dad type with a very different aim here. As a father at dinner with his kids, he can be shout-y; as Maura, he seems gentle, and his eyes are full of sadness. But also some hope.

Transgender activists might well criticize casting Tambor, a cisgender actor, to play a trans character. Yet with the cultural and political climate for transgender people changing every day — as we see in wonderful ways with Laverne Cox’s ascent and in troubling ones with the insensitive, cruel coverage of whatever is happening with Bruce Jenner — Transparent feels contemporary and significant. More, please.
The show has been picked up by Amazon for the season. Will I watch it… yes, I just wish they had a trans-actress playing the part.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday Six #518

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #518

1. K is for KAINTOPHOBIA: As a general rule, do you usually embrace the unknown of change or are you more reluctant to accept the idea of change?
I hate doing new things! I am going to see a Broadway play in June and I have anxiety over going to New York to see a play for the first time. I told my friends who is a former classmate that I will pay for a taxi because I don’t want to ride the subway. Also I fear of going to NYC, “the big city,” with a lot of unknowns, but I should be OK and my classmate is also a therapist now.

2. K is for KARMA: Do you tend to believe that what goes around comes around, or do you believe things just happen?
No, I just believe you should just do good things.

3. K is for KIN: How far from you does your nearest relative not living with you actually live?
My nephew who is about 40 miles away, an hour drive.

4. K is for KINDNESS: What is the last random act of kindness performed toward you by a stranger?
She bought me a coffee for cutting me off in line.

5. K is for KISS: How old were you when you experienced your first kiss?

6. K is for KNOT: How many kinds of knots do you know how to tie?
Three, the half hitch, square knot and the bowline.

Saturday 9: Unicorn

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Unicorn

"The Unicorn" was selected because Monday is St. Patrick's Day. Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This song was recorded by The Irish Rovers. While it's said that on St. Patrick's Day everyone is Irish, can you honestly claim Irish heritage?
Nope, part English

2) According to the 2000 Census, Massachusetts is the state with the largest percentage of residents of Irish descent. Have you ever been to The Bay State?
Of course, it is only a half hour drive fro here and if you are heading anywhere north you have to go through Massachusetts.

3) Other than St. Patrick, what is Ireland famous for?
Beer and whiskey!

4) St. Patrick's Day is celebrated the world over. They even watch marching bands and wave Irish flags on St. Patrick's Day in Moscow. Does your town have a St. Patrick's Day parade?
Nope, but there are three parades in the state.

5) "The wearing o' the green" is one way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Will you wear something green in honor of the day?
Nope… maybe orange just to stir up trouble

6) Have you ever had green beer?

7) Have you ever ordered a Shamrock Shake at McDonald's?

8) A four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Do you have a lucky charm?
My mother did and she had a knack of finding four-leaf clover, I could for hours and she look down and spot one.

9) Speaking of Lucky Charms, they are magically delicious.  What brand of cereal is in your kitchen right now?
Generic cheerios.

Friday, March 14, 2014

More Tire Tracks…

New England states protect gender identity and expression and the last holdout is New Hampshire and the Senate passed a constitutional amendment (CACR 017) to provide protect for sexual orientation.
N.H. Senate supports amending constitution to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation
Concord Monitor
Friday, March 14, 2014

Senators unanimously endorsed an amendment to the state Constitution yesterday that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. If the amendment also passes the House, it then needs support from two-thirds of voters in November.

The state Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex or national origin. New Hampshire already has statutes in place that prevent businesses from discrimination against people based on sexual orientation. This amendment would prohibit discrimination by any individuals or the state itself.
New Hampshire is favorable now to same-sex marriage and rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but amending the Constitution would ensure those protections forever, Pierce [Sen. David Pierce is the primary amendment sponsor and an openly gay Senator] said. The state passed marriage equality in 2009, but there were efforts to repeal it under a Republican-led Legislature in 2012.
The Senator’s remarks about the time being right to ensure protections lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community seem to once again to really mean just lesbians and gays and not us. The amendment was passed unanimously (with the addition of an amendment to the bill to change “All men” to “All individuals”) by the Senate yesterday and the amendment reads in part,
Art.] 2. [Natural Rights.] All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights - among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex [or], national origin, or sexual orientation.
If the bill passes the House it will then be put on the November ballot.

Thump, thump…