Thursday, July 31, 2014

Is It All In Our Head?

There is a short article in the Rolling Stones this month about the causes of gender dysphoria.
The Science of Transgender
Understanding the causes of being transgender
By Sabrina Rubin Erdely
July 30, 2014

What causes people to be transgender in the first place? The prevailing theories used to be psychosocial: That early traumas like dysfunctional family dynamics or childhood sexual abuse were responsible. "That is absolutely not true at all," says Dr. Johanna Olson, medical director of the Transgender Clinic at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "But I still get people in my clinic who are trying to unravel what the traumatic incident was, that caused their kid to be trans."

Rather, a growing body of research is pointing to biological origins. The 2008 discovery by Australian researchers of a genetic variation in transgender women—their receptor gene for the sex hormone testosterone was longer, making it less efficient at communicating signals—set off speculation that insufficient uptake of male hormones in utero contributed to a "more feminised brain." And the brains of trans people do look different. Recent Spanish imaging studies have shown that the white matter of untreated trans men look much like those of biological males, and that the patterns of trans women's white matter fell about halfway between those of biological male and female control groups. But it's premature to draw conclusions from those studies, warns Olson, since "those parts of the brain are shaped by performance and experience," and so may be a product of nurture, not nature…
I am always leery of finding a biological cause for either gender dysphoria or sexual orientation because nature is so diverse that I don’t think that there is one cause, but many factors may contribute to us being trans* or gay or lesbian or all of the shades in between.

There is a 2005 article in the New York Times where they interview Dr. William G. Reiner a doctor who has studied intersex children and I think he has the best answer to the question how do you determine the gender of a person…
Q. What conclusions do you draw from your study?

A. That sexual identity is individual, unique and intuitive and that the only person who really knows what it is is the person themselves. If we as physicians or scientists want to know about a person's sexual identity, we have to ask them.

A Bum Rap

Today’s blogs are both from the Rolling Stone; the first is about CeCe McDonald, the trans-woman who was convicted of murder for defending herself.

It happened one night in Minneapolis, CeCe was walking down the street that night when she was attacked by skin heads calling her names and one of them hitting her with a bottle in the head. Her trial was stacked against her when the judge ruled her defense couldn’t talk about the man she killed in self-defense had previous violent crimes or the Nazi tattoo. She had a choice 40 years in jail or plea-bargaining the charges down to second-degree manslaughter. She took the deal.

She severed 19 months in jail plus the time she waited for her trial and she was released early for good behavior. She did her time in a men’s prison.

She had a trouble life growing up, according to the Rolling Stone article,
CeCe had always tried staying in her mom's good graces by being a responsible, diligent child, constantly neatening the house, making the beds and whipping up recipes inspired by cooking shows, but nonetheless she felt her mother grow distant. CeCe was unable to find sanctuary with her family, and tensions grew in the crowded three-bedroom house. One day, an uncle found an undelivered love note she'd written to a boy and, CeCe says, knocked her to the kitchen floor and choked her. She ran away from home, never to return. She was 14.

She crashed with friends before taking up residence in a glorified drug den where other runaways congregated. CeCe tried to see the bright side of her family's rejection: She was finally free to be herself. The first time she tried on a bra and panties, she felt a shiver of recognition that she was headed in the right direction. Instead, she fell right through a trapdoor. She'd reached a crucial point in the too-typical trans woman's narrative, in which, cut loose at a young age from family, she falls directly into harm's way… CeCe grew up fast. "Honey, I think there's not too much in this world that I haven't heard or seen or done," she tells me. "And a lot of that is sad."
Jane Doe who is being held is following the same path as all too many other trans-youth, from a dysfunctional family she was forced in to prostitution when she was a pre-teen and CeCe was forced in to live off the streets when she was fifteen. I have to stop and wonder how will Jane Doe turn out when the system throws her out at 18, will she be like CeCe and earn her GED and go on to college or will she end up back in prison? DCF is threating to press charges and try her in adult court for the incident that involved her and three other girls.
…Despite a strong network of friends, and the continued affections of her boyfriend – both lifelines to her – she's struggling. She has residual PTSD and trust issues. She's unemployed, and with a felony on her record, she's less hopeful about the job applications she's been filling out. For now, CeCe is living on food stamps and the remaining funds raised by the Free CeCe campaign; for her housing, she's crashing with a kind supporter in a small spare bedroom.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jane Doe

Jane Doe is the 16 year old Latino trans-girl who is in the custody of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Family (DCF). While she has been in DCF custody she has been sexually assaulted over a dozen times by the staff and by the other residents, before that she was prostituted by her family members. She suffers from trauma and PTSD and she has been bounced around from one therapist to another therapist for a total of five therapists and has never been with one long enough to have a working relationship with one.

She has been put in solitary confinement at an adult women’s prison and held without any charges filed against her. She was then put in the Pueblo Detention Facility for Girls where she got into a fight with three other girls they put her in the boys' Connecticut Juvenile Training School and once again in solitary confinement “for her own protection.” She was supposed to go to a facility in Massachusetts that specializes in children with trauma and PTSD but that was cancelled after the incident at Pueblo.

The Hartford Courant had a editorial yesterday that said,
What a woefully one-dimensional account the state Department of Children and Families has spun in steering transgender teen Jane Doe's heartbreaking trip through the juvenile justice system.

The state agency has singled out her conduct for public dissemination, without putting it in context, according to the state's advocate for children. Any minor, no matter how troublesome, deserves better from her legal caretaker.
Ms. Eagan [the State Child Advocate] is on the money in calling DCF's treatment of the 16-year-old a "public shaming" and "inexplicable," considering that the other girls were not named. Why publicize only a "fraction" of an incident, as Ms. Eagan called it?
Last week the New Haven Register also published an editorial on how DCF is handling the Jane Doe case,
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families has an annual budget of $900 million. It has more than 3,200 full-time employees.

It successfully lobbied for state funding for the creation of a secure, locked facility in Middletown to house girls who represented the “most difficult” cases.

It is led by a commissioner with an incredible resume. Joette Katz left the Connecticut Supreme Court to lead the agency.

Yet DCF is flummoxed by the case of a single 16-year-old girl. Not, we would argue, because she’s the worst-behaved kid they’ve ever dealt with, but because she is transgender.
It’s not because of her symptoms — plenty of kids who get bounced around among foster homes and institutions lash out and assault others. It’s because they don’t know what to do with, or don’t understand, or don’t want to go out of their way to help, a transgender child.
And the editorial goes on to lay the blame right where it belongs…
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families’ treatment of Jane Doe has been cruel and unusual, and it’s in response to problems in her behavior that were caused in large part by its own negligence.
There will be a rally for Jane Doe this afternoon in front of the DCF headquarters at 505 Hudson St. and it is a 5:30pm.

Clothes Does Not Make A Transsexual

You can dress 24/7 in clothes from the opposite gender and that doesn’t make you a transsexual, it goes a lot deeper than what clothes you wear.

Slate has an article about a butch lesbian who wears men’s clothes all the time.
Why I’m Still a Butch Lesbian
By Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart

I first began wearing men's clothing a few years ago, because I thought that looking like a lesbian might help me get girls. Once I'd started, I realized almost immediately that I was feeling far more comfortable and confident and that I liked the way I looked in the mirror for the first time in my life. Other people who knew me said I looked more natural, more like my clothing fit my personality. It felt a bit like I'd been wearing an uncomfortable, ill-fitting costume all my life.
For me I also “liked the way I looked in the mirror for the first time in my life” but for her it just how she liked the looks and for me it went much deeper than the clothes. It went to my identity, it went to who I felt inside, and I also think it went to how society sees you and treats you. I am more comfortable as a woman, I am more relaxed as a woman.

She sees herself as female and I see myself as female.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


There was an article on CBS News about women firing back to men who make catcalls.
Minnesota woman confronts and exposes cat-callers
CBS News
July 23, 2014

For Lindsey, hearing catcalls is nothing new, but now she is exposing her alleged harassers.

"Women were put on this earth to satisfy a man, so if she feels offended she should've never been born," another cat-caller said.

"Oh my God!" Lindsey responded.

She created a website which has already posted more than a dozen videos of her street side confrontations.
A study last year found that nearly two-thirds of females experienced street harassment. About 41 percent of those said the harassment became physical.
So why did I bring this up? To stop it, it is a form of sexual harassment, the guys probably think they are being cool and some are maybe doing it to hide the fact that they are gay.

An also because it happened to me on Saturday when I was out on Fire Island, but in a very negative way, if you look at yesterday pictures you can see that the boardwalks are narrow and go right by the cottages.

I was coming back from the ocean side in my bathing suit with a towel wrapped about my waist when I passed a group of men sitting out on the deck; when I walked by one of the men called out a man’s name and said, “There is one for you! Do you want me to fix you up with her?” and all the other men laughed.

My first thought was “A**hole,” my second thought was, at least they thought that I was a woman and then I thought this is the cr*p that women have to put up with all the time.

Updted July 31, 29014

Jerry Springer All Over Again...

They is a hubbub over a trans-woman who has had plastic surgery in excess, well folks cis-gender also abuse plastic surgery.
Transgender woman thrown off pro-plastic surgery TV show after botched breast augmentation
Daily News
By Marianne Garvey, Brian Niemietz and Oli Coleman
Sunday, July 27, 2014,

A new pro-plastic surgery show on E! — which claims to fix “horrible boob jobs, disfiguring nose jobs and cheap implants” — has ruined a transgender woman’s life, she claims.

Nicole Sanders says she filmed a breast correction for the show, and ended up suffering complications that have affected her ability to work. Sanders, who has since been cut from the reality show, is now “furious” that producers are no longer using her footage.
Sanders was born Jason Torres, and has had countless surgeries over the years in an effort to resemble a Barbie doll — including five breast surgeries, calf implants, lip fillers, four nose jobs, a brow lift, cheek implants, jaw surgery, chin implants, tons of Botox and sexual reassignment surgery. Her transformation has cost more than $100,000.
And the producers thought she would be good on the show? Someone who is addicted to plastic surgery? Someone who wants to look like a Barbie Doll? All the producers really wanted was a person who was a “Jerry Springer show” type of a person that they could exploit and because she is trans* she casts the whole community in a negative light. Cis-gender women do the same thing but it does make all the women look bad, but she makes the whole community look bad.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fire Island Day Trip

Well actual it was more than a day trip, I went out to Long Island to stay with some friends on Friday, we went to Fire Island on Saturday, and then I came home on Sunday on the 4:15 ferry out of Port Jefferson.

We got up early so we could be at the passenger ferry boat terminal in Bay Shore to catch the 9:30 ferry to Fair Harbor. All the ferries to the different towns on Fire Island are lined up for the morning run. (click on a photo to see it full size)

My friends had invited me to a party that the organization that belong to was having at a cottage in Fair Harbor. In the morning a group of us walked over from the bay side where the cottage was to the ocean side of the island, a distance of only a quarter mile. This is a view looking down Pine Walk towards the ocean.

In the afternoon I went over to wade in the ocean. The waves were about 2 feet high but then a seven foot wave would roar in. A couple of years ago I got caught in one of the seven foot waves and I was knocked over and ground into the sand. But this year I knew what watch out for, the dreaded seven foot waves, because soon as you turn your back on them… WHAM! This year it happen to a father and daughter, the girl looked about ten or twelve years old; the father had his back to the waves when a seven foot wave stuck them and deposited then up on the beach. The girl was crying and coughing but otherwise okay.

This year there were lifeguards on duty. I was trying to figure out the mound of sand that they dig in front of the tower and the only thing I could think of was that it was to help lift the tower into place.

There is only one way to get around on the island other than walking and that is by bike, so everywhere you go there are bicycles racks and each bike must have a bell and a light… it’s the law!

And if you have packages to carry off the boat you use your little red wagon that you keep by the ferry slip.

As the sun sets in the west the 8:00PM ferry to Bay Shore departs into the setting sun.

The sunset from in front of the cottage where we were visiting…

On Sunday I walked around Port Jefferson while I waited for my ship to come in, I found a spot in the shade and watched karaoke singers while I had a grape Italian ice cup. I didn't have long to wait, when it arrived I drove up and into the ferry. One of the nice things about owning a compact car is that you get loaded first and you are one of the first to get off. This is a photo looking through my car windshield out the back of the ship, they allow you in your car during the voyage so I put the radio on, put the seat back and read.

# # # # #

Fire Island is known for its “gay” community but it is only two towns out of more than a dozen towns on the island.

When we were getting on the ferry to go back to the main island there were a number of people debarking and I could swear that there was a member of the tribe getting off the boat. So I guess I not the only trans-women in Fair Harbor.

Every year they have an invasion to the Pines, another small village on Fire Island. The Fire Island News said this about the invasion,
History of the Invasion for newbies (are there any?)

The Invasion started 39 years ago when a few bored Grove drag queens led by Teri Warren decided to take a water taxi to the Pines where they were denied entrance to a well known watering hole because it conflicted with the Pines’ ban on cross dressing. She went back to the Grove and got friends who then, en masse, “invaded” the Pines. The Invasion has become a friendly and fun tradition ever since. Panzi was one of those original invaders, and has led the parade of invaders.

Sayville Ferry owner Ken Stein has transported the parade of the invaders every year. They now average 300 strong occupying a special ferry that sails into the Pines harbor (I [Panzi, the drag queen who organizes the invasion each year] toot the horn since all the queens are waving, and Capt. Stein has to maneuver between the yachts lining the harbor – who toot back whatever signal I give. This is my moment!)

When XX = Male

When you read some of the comments on news stories about transgender people you usually find comments from people who say XY equals males and you can’t change your chromosomes. Well nature isn’t as simple as that, in China there is a man who just had his period… Surprise!
44-Year-Old Married Chinese Man Finds Out he is Woman
The International Business Times
By Roshni Mahesh
July 25, 2014

It took 44 years for a Chinese man to realize that he is actually a woman.

Chen, who has been married for the past 10 years, came to know about his original biological identity only when he approached doctors complaining of stomach pain and blood in his urine, Shanghaiist reported.

A CT scan performed at the Yongkang hospital, Zheijang Province in China, revealed that Chen possessed ovaries and uterus and the discomforts he suffered were due to menstruation. Making the picture clearer, a chromosome test exposed the pair of XX sex chromosomes Chen possessed. A physical examination conducted by the doctors revealed that Chen did not possess male characteristics, such as an Adam's apple or facial hair and normal male genitalia.
Doctors said that Chen was suffering from congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a condition that leads to an increased production of male sex hormone androgen. The condition occurs mainly due to the absence of an enzyme adrenal glands required to produce basic hormones like cortisol and aldosterone. The condition, according to experts at the March of Dimes, can affect the development of a baby's sex organs, making a baby girl's genitals to look like that of a boy child.
The article goes on to say that although it is a rare condition there are a number of others case of CAH that go undiagnosed for many years, usually until another medical condition finds their intersex. In XX men it is caused by as the article said an increased production of male sex hormone androgen and in XY women it is caused not having androgen receptors, the body produces male hormones but just does know what to do with the hormone.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Now Here Is Workshop That I Like To Attend

This looks like it would be an interesting workshop, too bad it is out in San Diego.
Comic Con San Diego To Hold Panel On Transgender Issues
The Huffington Post
By James Nichols
Posted: 07/23/2014

At this year's popular comic book convention in San Diego, organizers have orchestrated a panel focusing specifically on transgender issues. Called “Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture," this panel is reportedly the first of its kind as it will consist solely of panelists that identify as transgender.

The panel is organized by Prism Comic's Tara Madison Avery and will reportedly analyze the appearances and representations of trans characters and include open discussion about the complexity and depth added by featuring the transgender experience in comic books.
On my side bar, I have three comics that are about transgender issues and they are written by trans-artists. If you know of other comics let me know and I will put up a link to them.

The Hot Potato

We get tossed around like a hot potato, no one know what to do with us, whether it is DCF or a college trying to figure out what dorm we belong in.

New York Times
JULY 24, 2014

NEWBERG, Ore. — A growing number of openly transgender students have forced schools around the country to address questions so basic that they were rarely asked just a few years ago, much less answered: What defines a person’s gender, and who gets to decide?

A small Quaker college here, George Fox University, has become the latest front in this fight, refusing to recognize as male a student who was born anatomically female. The student calls himself a man, and as of April 11, when a state circuit court legally changed his sex, the State of Oregon agrees.

But George Fox University sees him as a woman, and it prohibits unwed students from living with anyone of the opposite sex. So when the student asked to live next year with a group of male friends, the university turned him down. Instead, it offered him a single-person apartment on campus, or off-campus housing.

The dispute has drawn attention from two departments of the federal government. It has already broken new legal ground, and it might do so again soon, according to experts on gender identity issues.

The answer is so simple, put us with the gender that we identify with. He is a man. The students where he wants to stay don’t have a problem with him living there, why should the college?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

30 Days In The Hole

One of the most feared things that can happen to a trans-person is being jailed. Would we be put in prison of our birth gender? Would we be put in solitary confinement? Would we be in with the general population? Many times all they go by is what is between your legs and ignore the fact that you might have breast and look totally feminine.

The Bangor Maine television station WLBZ2 has an article about the Penobscot and Cumberland counties jails and how they process transgender inmates.
Transgender inmates pushing policy changes
By Samantha Edwards,
July 24, 2014

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Awareness for transgender individuals continues to grow in society. A person who is born a man or woman, but who in every other way see themselves as the opposite sex. For many people it can be an uncomfortable topic. For others they completely accept it. Where the topic is being discussed more is inside our county jails and state prisons. Transgender inmates change the way booking, housing, and safety protocols are done. The increased number of transgender individuals coming in are causing correctional officers to reevaluate.

Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross said, "One thing we have learned is that there is no gold standard here so we are learning as we go along and trying to do the right thing."

In Maine each transgender case is handled individually. The inmate, correctional officers, and mental health experts hold a meeting to understand where the inmate is in their process if any, what gender they relate to, and what housing would best suit their situation.
It is nice to see that these counties do base their decisions on more than what is between their legs.


It Is Never Easy…

Especially in the south to pass non-discrimination laws for gender identity and sexual orientation, but in Baton Rouge Louisiana they are trying.
“Fairness Ordinance” supporters hope extra time fosters support
The Advocate
By Rebekah Allen
July 24, 2014

Community leaders in support of the so-called “Fairness Ordinance” spent weeks preparing for Wednesday night’s Metro Council meeting, coordinating phone calls and emails to build support for a proposed law to ban discrimination against gays and lesbians only to watch council members kick the vote to a meeting in three weeks.

It’s an extra three weeks of public debate they need, as despite their aggressive campaign, it was widely believed that they lacked sufficient votes on the Council to pass the law. In fact, Councilman John Delgado — one of only two council members to publicly affirm before the meeting that they would vote in favor of the ordinance — filibustered the final minutes of the meeting partially because he was expecting a defeat.
As usual the opposition comes from the Christian right,
Opponents included not only Louisiana Family Forum President Gene Mills — a fixture at public meetings about social issues — but a number of pastors and local business and property owners. They complained that the law would not only violate their religious freedom, but potentially open up business owners to litigation.
Ah yes, their famous “religious freedom” that since the beginning of this country never was. Nowhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights or has any court recognized the right to discriminate. Not even in the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby case did they recognize the right to discriminate, and they even stated in majority decision that their decision doesn’t cover discrimination cases.
The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. See post, at 32–33. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the work-force without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.
So when you hear businesses or individuals say that their religious freedom is being violated that is just wishful thinking on their part, no court in the land has given them the right to discriminate.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Singled Out

Last Friday I wrote about how in a press release DCF singled out Jane Doe and transferred her to a boys’ juvenile detention facility after she got into a fight with three other girls. The fact that she was involved in a fight with the other girls was never mentioned in the press release, it was made to sound like a isolated incident that involved only Jane Doe.

The Child Advocate just commented on the press release and Jane Doe’s treatment; according to WNPR,
Child Advocate Sarah Eagan said in a lengthy statement on Wednesday that DCF "singled out Jane Doe's behavior" when at the time the incident had not been investigated and the youth was not charged by police. Eagan said DCF's actions were "inexplicable in light of the fact the July 12 incident involved four girls all of whom were restrained, all of whom were described in DCF records as hitting each other and staff."
Eagan said one of the girls involved in the fight at Pueblo was restrained on five separate occasions during the same night. She stressed DCF did not transfer any of the other girls who were involved in the incident.

The child welfare agency is Jane's guardian, Eagan said, and is legally obligated to make decisions that protect her interests. "DCF's rush to publicize a fraction of an incident is difficult to reconcile with its parental role," she said, questioning whether the department has a conflict of interest between its roles as Jane's guardian, and managing juvenile services for the state.

Eagan was also critical of DCF's decision to discontinue Jane Doe's clinical relationship with the community based psychologist she began working with while at York. This was despite the recommendations of her office, the federal court appointed Guardian Ad Litem, and Jane's public defender. She said the disruption is not helping the teen, with a history of physical and sexual abuse, to make progress in treatment. Eagan said in the last seven months, Jane Doe has been moved four times and switched therapists at least five times.

Jane's struggles with aggressive behavior and frequent placements are not unique, the child advocate said. Her office conducted a recent review of incidents at the girls' Pueblo Unit and at the boys' Connecticut Juvenile Training School, both in Middletown. Eagan said there have been over 200 incidents in the last three months where staff reported using physical or mechanical restraints to control youth.
DCF is just bumbling through with no long term plan on the treatment of transgender children in their care and is making the situation worst. As the Child Advocate pointed out they are jerking Jane Doe from one therapist to another and she is unable to build a working relationship with her therapist. The other point that the advocate pointed out was that “there have been over 200 incidents in the last three months where staff reported using physical or mechanical restraints to control youth” but Jane Doe was the only person sent to York Correctional Institution for Women and the only one sent to the Juvenile Training School.

To make matters worse, the only treatment facility for traumatized youth is in Massachusetts where she was to be sent, but they refused her after the incident in the press release,
DCF said a Massachusetts facility that had tentatively accepted Jane Doe has now rejected her admission.
And now she is back solitary confinement at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School for boys just like she was at the York Correctional Institution for Women in Niantic. The way DCF paints her, no one will want to take her into a foster home or will she ever get the proper treatment that she desperately needs.

Update July 25, 2014:
You can read the letter from the Child Advocate here.

Smile Into The Camera And Say...

Yesterday I did something cool, I was in a commercial that will be shown later this year and I can’t tell you the details until it comes out. But I can tell you that it was really neat.

Complete with makeup artist, reading my lines, lighting, different camera angles, and my mark on the floor. It took a little bit to find the place and that in itself is a story*, but when I got there a little after 1PM everyone was on their lunch break. After lunch was over we went down into “makeup” and she did only around my eyes and nose so that there wasn’t any shine off them and just a touch of lipstick.

They explained the idea behind the commercial and went over my lines, and then I waited until it was my turn in front of the camera. When I went down into the studio they had marks laid out on the floor and the photographer posed me and a woman came over and did my hair. The cameraman gave me directions on where to look and said my lines which I repeated… Now say it with a big smile; now say it with a little smile and now say it as a question. Now look over there and slowly look toward the camera and then say the lines. Every once awhile, the woman came over to fix my hair or to adjust my glasses when the cameraman said my glasses are crooked.

They had monitors set up where the ad agency people could watch the product and once in a while I heard them say, “that’s good, excellent!” or they would have me say a different line. After the shoot I asked about the camera and when I got home I found out that the camera body was $14,500! The sensor is 19 Meg and the array is 6144 (h) x 3160 (v) and it can take 4K Full Frame video in RAW at 60 FPS. It is definitely not a camera for amateurs.

*My GPS took me a roundabout way instead of getting off of Route 9 in Middletown at the Randolph Rd. exit the GPS had me get off at the Silver St. exit and by the Connecticut Juvenile Training School for boys where Jane Doe is being held. It was scary driving around the state complex and by the jail. Then when my GPS said that I arrive at my destination there was nothing but woods, I had to ask a letter carrier where the studio was located.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What Would You Do?

I was reading a blog the other day and the person was writing about when a neighbor asked her where’s her husband, the neighbor said that he hasn’t seen him in years

She had two options; one was to tell the neighbor that she is him and out herself and the other option was to say that he moved.

What would you say? Would you out yourself or lie?

My choice would have been to tell him that she used to be him. Because sooner or later that neighbor is going to find out the truth and realized that she lied to him. Some day he will be talking to another neighbor or the letter carrier or someone else and find out the truth.

Yes, the information is private and not everyone needs to know but I think a neighbor is someone on a need to know. I look at it as kind of like a Venn diagram, there are those whose life doesn’t intersect with us on a daily bases and then there is the rest of the world.

Suppose you are at work and a customer calls and asks for his salesman, John Doe. Do you tell him that John doesn’t work there anymore and that you have taken over his accounts or do you tell him that you were John and now you are Jane.

Suppose this was a big account, and he finds out through the grapevine that you transitioned and is now mad at you for not telling him the truth and you lose the account. Of course you could lose the account if you tell him the truth but which would be more ethical?

The trouble with the Venn diagram is that it is not a sharp line between those we tell and those we don’t; the line gets blurry around the edges.

Suppose it is the bagging clerk at the supermarket that asks, do we tell that person?

I personally would tell the clerk, I told enough lies when I was hiding, I don’t want to tell anymore lies. However, I realize that not everyone thinks the way I do and that it is a very personal decision that we each have to make.

What do you think?

Fourteen Years Ago…

I remember the advice given to parents of trans-children, they were told to document everything. Keeping a record of all medical and therapy visits was important because sooner or later they were going to get a visit from DCF or the police because someone will report them for child abuse. They will need to prove that they are following proscribed medical treatment.

The Huffington Post has an article about how society has changed in the last few years,
Transgender Children Today: Shifting the Responsibility for Change Away From Children and Onto Society
By Aidan Key
Posted: 07/21/2014

The first time a parent of a transgender child asked me for advice, I was thrown for a loop. Ten years ago, I couldn't quite fathom the reality that a family would actually seek to support their child. Limited as it was, my perception came from the notion that any of us desiring a gender transition had to pursue that as an adult, and that we do so only as a last resort. If anyone were to support our journey, we should feel deeply grateful.
In the past, our society has encouraged, pleaded with, threatened and pushed these children to change, to adapt to societal norms of both gender expression and gender identity. A child who said that they were a different gender was simply viewed as being confused and in need of stronger reinforcement of society's gendered roles and expectations. When children did "change," we breathed a sigh of relief at this "success." But we now understand that this child's "success" was -- more often than not -- a deep and painful repression of their innate selves that did not change them. In most cases it only postponed self-realization. The damage to these children's self-esteem and resiliency has had devastating consequences, and the numbers prove it. The occurrence of depression, anxiety, suicidality, homelessness, bullying, and physical or sexual abuse -- to name just a few risk factors -- is astronomically higher than the national average.

If supported, what kind of lives will these children live? Everyone wants to know, and the world is watching. What I know -- and what these brave families know -- is that these children experience significant improvements. When the critical elements of familial and societal support are in place, these children's lives are transformed. Children who were once withdrawn, anxious, and even suicidal are now more outgoing, creating strong friendships, becoming more engaged in extracurricular activities, and improving academically. Parents share their stories of the courage and strength within their child. Many name their child as their hero.
It is amazing to see the changes in kids when they are allowed to be themselves; it is like a fog has cleared. All of sudden they are more alive and they are now taking part in the world around them. Ten years ago they would have been forced back into their birth gender and ten years ago it was harder to identify kids who are trans but now we know what to look for in children who are transgender.

I have known many kids that have transitioned at an early age and I have seen them grow up and it is amazing to see them as adults.

Ten years ago parents would have been investigated if their child transitioned and now they are investigated if they do not.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lateral Hostility In The Lesbian Community

This morning the Huffington Post Gay Voices has an article about a new documentary "The Same Difference," that looks at discrimination by lesbians against other lesbians.
The Huffington Post: Why is this documentary important?
Nneka Onuorah: "The Same Difference" documentary is important because it is something that is needed in the community. There are people who are suppressing who they really are to fit in, in fear of being jumped, outcaste and ostracized. It also isn’t a topic that is ever brought to light so it is an ongoing negative thing. This documentary is going to start a conversation and hopefully have people be more open-minded to being accepting of people who have different ways of doing things. Not just in the lesbian community but people in general. Who would have thought that there would be hatred amongst a community from the inside that already gets it from the outside.

What types of misconceptions are you trying to be dispelled through this work?
One of the misconceptions I am trying to dispel through this documentary is the belief that there are rules to being who you are. In the lesbian community, for example, if you’re a butch lesbian you can’t do anything girly. You can’t be too beautiful, your pants can’t be too tight, if you get your hair straight that’s wrong and getting pregnant isn’t right. It's almost like being a part of a gang. People don’t want to beat you or make you feel bad if you do something that’s out of the “norm” but we are gay we are already out of the norm. I also want people to see the true title of what “The Same Difference” means. We always judge others for things that they do, but we don’t see how the things we judge people for parallel with things we do that might not be right. It’s the Same Difference. Just like how there are some people who are a part of the heterosexual community that protest against us and think what we are doing isn’t right we are taking those same attitudes and putting them onto each other.
Does this sound familiar? In the trans-community we have the HBSers (back in the nineties and before there were rigid standards on who could transition. You had to be attracted to men and you had to be able to integrate into society. What is now called gender dysphoria was called “Harry Benjamin Syndrome” and those who adhere to the old standards are called the somewhat derogatory term HBSer) who try to enforce their views of what a trans-person is, how they should look, and how they should behave.

Unfortunately, that is common behavior in any marginalized community, there are some people who have internalized self-phobia and want to distance themselves from other people who are like them. Immigrants who have been here for a number of years look down on those who just immigrated, they are “fresh off the boat,” you pick any marginalized and find it.

In the trans-community some of those who can successfully integrate into society look down on those who cannot and call them names like “men in dresses” and some crossdressers look down on drag queens. It is internalized transphobia for those who still follow the old standards and look down on those who do not meet their high standards, and it is homophobia for those who look down on drag queens.

The article goes on to say,
The inner-community policing of gender roles segregates the lesbian community. It makes it hypocritical. It causes seclusion. It makes people not have a place to feel comfortable. It also causes people to have to hide the some of the most beautiful parts of themselves. It limits the success of people as well…

View From The Other Side…

When the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision was announced there were all kinds of theories of what it will mean to the LGBT community. Some people are saying that the ruling will lead to companies’ claiming that it is against their religious beliefs to hire LGBT people and while others claiming that the ruling only applies to healthcare.

There have been a number of colleges that claimed religious exemptions from hiring LGBT employees or enrolling LGBT students. One of the notable colleges to claim religious exemption was Gordon College in Salem Massachusetts.

Now that President Obama has signed the Executive Order banning discrimination against LGBT employees for federal with the narrow religious exemptions there are those who are citing the Supreme Court decision to claim religious exemptions. In the OneNewsNow artilce “'Imperialist president' at it again, says attorney” they quote Matt Barber who is the vice president of Liberty Counsel Action,
"Here we have this president acting and ruling as the imperialist president – circumventing Congress, circumventing the separation of powers in order to force his radical, leftist agenda on the rest of America – and targeting and discriminating specifically against Christian companies in order to do so," he tells OneNewsNow.

Barber  argues the president isn't heeding the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision last month that permits business owners of faith to operate their business on the basis of the their faith. He says with this latest executive order, the president is doing exactly what the ruling forbids.
Now here is a lawyer who seems to be someone with “national standing” saying that the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision applies to employment discrimination. I am not a lawyer, but this seems quite clear,
The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. See post, at 32–33. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the work-force without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.
The majority opinion justices pointed out that the Hobby Lobby decision does not apply to employment discrimination a point the conservative lawyers seem to have overlooked.

Monday, July 21, 2014

“Your Papers Pleases!”

Some trans-people fear these words because it has become a nightmare in some states to change your ID. In West Virginia two trans-women are suing the state DMV because even though they have transitioned the DMV wanted them to look more masculine on their driver licenses. CNN reported that,
Two West Virginia transgender women claim their recent DMV visits were especially harrowing as they attempted to update their names and change their driver's license photos.

In separate incidents, both recount officials telling them their appearance looked too feminine for a driver's license issued to a male and that they would have to dress down for their photos.
Meanwhile in Kansas the problem is voting, the Topeka Capital-Journal said in an article,
Hanson, a transgender Kansan, said she is loathe to let her gender identity be vetted by a random poll worker.

"My identification and my ability to vote should not be up to the subjective interpretation of anyone,” Hanson said.
Witt said others have called his organization to ask about their voting rights, but “everybody is reluctant to be public about this, because there is no protection against discrimination based on gender identity in this state.”

Kay Curtis is a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who spearheaded the voter ID laws.

Curtis said potential voters are allowed to present a second ID with a more current picture, that doesn’t have to be government-issued, such as a Sam's Club membership card.

Curtis also said a government ID on which the gender doesn’t match shouldn’t be a problem because the law specifically instructs poll workers to consider only the name and appearance.
I was questioned once at the polling place once. I was asked if my driver license was mine, the photo on my license matches to appearance and the gender says female. We just stared at each other when I said yes for about thirty seconds and then he said “well I guess it is OK.”

IDs are not just an American problem, on the other side of the globe in India it is also a problem. The Times of India reported,
MUMBAI: The transgender community in Maharashtra wants to be officially recognized as 'transgenders' or 'third gender', rather than be labeled as 'others' on electoral rolls. Deputy chief election commissioner H S Brahma, however, refused to replace 'others' with any term.

The community has become more vocal after a Supreme Court order recognized transgenders or hijras, pointing out that it was one of the apex court's directives to issue government documents identifying them as transgenders or hijras.
MTPS convenor Laxmi Tripathi said the term 'others' made it seem like they were furniture or animals. Tripathi said the state women and child welfare department had promised to set up a Hijra Welfare Board to address issues of transgenders. Tripathi said the assurance was given before the SC order gave legal recognition to the third gender in April.

In The News… Well It Is More Like…

…On the news. In Turkey the news anchor is a trans-woman.
Meet Turkey's First Transgender News Anchor
By Kat Callahan
July 20, 2014

Meet Michelle Demishevich, a prominent LGBT rights activist, and Turkey's very first transgender news anchor.

Turkey is more tolerant of gay and transgender individuals than other Muslim countries. Turkey hosts the largest LGBT pride event anywhere in the Muslim world, and changing one's gender marker has been available in the country since the 1980s. Despite these legal changes, society has been slow to increase its level of acceptance.
Sometimes we our advances come from locations where we least expect them.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Breath Of "Fresh Air"

On NPR there were two radio shows on transgender issues last week, one was on the nationally syndicated show "Fresh Air" and the other on the locally produced show "Where We Live."

Fresh Air was about the book "Trans Bodies, Trans Selves': A Modern Manual By And For Trans People" and featured contributors Jennifer Finnely Boylan, Aidan Key and the book's editor, Laura Erickson-Schroth.
The new book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a collection of essays describing the varied experiences of transgender people — and the social, political and medical issues they face. It's written by and for transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

The idea was inspired by the groundbreaking 1970s feminist health manual Our Bodies, Ourselves.

That book "was put together ... by a group of women who ... weren't getting the care that they needed from what was mostly male physicians at the time," the book's editor, Laura Erickson-Schroth, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And so they put together this really radical book that included topics like abortion and rape and lesbian identity. And this was something that I thought we could duplicate — something that was written by and for trans people about all aspects of life."
Here is the show...

The other show was "Where We Live" the show was "Transgender Rights: 'The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time'?" and it was about Jane Doe a trans-girl in DCF care.
Those who identify as transgender Americans continue to face social stigmas, discrimination, and legal issues not often faced by other members of the LGBT community.

This hour, we talk with some transgender rights experts and advocates about what Vice President Joe Biden has called "the civil rights issue of our time."

We also check in with WNPR reporter Lucy Nalpathanchil, who gives us the latest on the case of transgender teen Jane Doe.
You can listen to the show on their website, they do not have an "embed" function.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday 9: Ring of Fire

Crazy Sam’s  Saturday 9: Ring of Fire
(because country music was recommended by Colletta's Kitchen's Sink)

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here.

1) Recorded by Johnny Cash, "Ring of Fire" was written by his wife, June Carter. Johnny's daughter Roseanne says it's about "the transformative power of their love." What's your favorite love song?
Honey, but only because I heard it on the way up to the cottage.

2) Though more than 50 years old, this song is still popular today. Country Music Television named it one of the best and most requested of all time. Are you a country music fan?
Nope, long live Rock and Roll.

3) This recording features mariachi horns, inspired by Mexican folk music. Have you ever been to Mexico?
Nope, just Canada

4) Cash's birth certificate said, "J. R. Cash," and "J.R." is what his parents always called him. When he enlisted in the Air Force, Uncle Sam refused to let him simply go by initials, so he chose the name "John." If you could choose a different name for yourself, what would it be?
 I did that already, Diana was not my birth name.

5) Cash and his first wife, Vivian, had their first date at a roller skating rink. Tell us about one of your first dates.
That was so long ago… I can’t even remember what we did.

6) Cash died in September, 2003, four months after he lost his second wife, and love of his life, June. The cause of death given was complications from diabetes, but his children believe he died of a broken heart. Do you think that's possible?
Yes, that is what my father died of, my mother passed away two years before after 88 [Ops... I meant 66] years of marriage and my father lost all will to live.

7) Cash was known as "The Man in Black." What color do you wear most often?
Blue as in blue jeans.

8) There's a Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville. What's the last museum you visited?
The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park and the Billing’s Farm

9) A stretch of Tennessee Highway 31E is known as "Johnny Cash Parkway." What street in your town is named for a famous person?
Norton Road.

Friday, July 18, 2014

When Is A Kiss More Than A Kiss?

When you are thrown out of the bar. In San Antonio a lesbian couple exchanged a peck on the dance floor and was told to leave the bar. 1200 WOAI reported that was what happened to a lesbian couple,
Two women are filing a complaint against a south side ice house and dance hall, which allegedly evicted them because they kissed on the dance floor.

  "It was only a peck, and happened only once," reads the complaint, obtained by Newsradio 1200 WOAI, "but when the complainants returned to dance again, the music was abruptly shut off."

  The complaint says a security guard told the women that 'this is a family establishment and the owner do now allow 'the lesbians' to kiss."
However, the ordinance has no teeth, the most they can be fined is $500. I can see this going all the way to the Supreme Court as a breach of the First Amendment.

Controlling The Message

The Department of Children and Families seems like it is trying to do just that. Feministing website has a good analysis of the Jane Doe case...
The Connecticut State Department of Children and Familes (DCF) has created just such a crisis in the case of Jane Doe, the 16 year old trans Latina who was bounced from the DCF system into prison without charges or trial because of alleged violence. On July 13, she was quietly moved to a boy’s facility and returned to a solitary confinement situation because she had allegedly become violent again at the Pueblo Girls’ Detention Facility in Connecticut, while her transfer to a girls’ treatment centre in Massachusetts was pending. Her lawyer, Aaron Romano, believes that by issuing a press release about the allegations and refusing to talk Doe’s representatives, DCF Commissioner Joette Katz is attempting “litigation in the press,” which ACLU attorney Chase Strangio describes as “concerning on multiple levels.” It is hard to disagree with that assessment.
Violent children are not an unusual phenomenon in state-run childcare, which, too often, exists at a terrifying nexus of social crises. The wages of mass impoverishment, of parental abuse writ large and small, of incarceration, and of sex trafficking, manifest in generations of lost children that are cast adrift with neither succor nor care. The apparatus of state run foster care was meant to be a humane system of last resort for those left behind, providing a civilized alternative to the warehousing of children in creaking orphanages and poorhouses. As Jane Doe is demonstrating, however, we have too often simply substituted Dickensian punishments with more Foucauldian ones. Our world’s ugliest impulses leave their scars on our children very early on, and the situation improves only marginally (if at all) under the care of the state, which often recapitulates institutional violence in a buttoned-down, officialized form. Jane Doe is no exception to this, and the allegations of abuse she has suffered under DCF’s care have been taken nowhere near as seriously as allegations of her own violence.
I think that Jane Doe is just the tip of the iceberg; the DCF is under federal monitoring for more than two decades because of understaffing and as the article said
It’s because they don’t know what to do with, or don’t understand, or don’t want to go out of their way to help, a transgender child.
DCF is trying to control the message to hide their blunders. They are trying to make Jane Doe's case seem like an isolated case instead of their normal inability to provide proper care and I am not saying it is all DCF fault. Much of the blame falls on the federal and state legislatures, chopping the budget each year has dire consequences on the lives of the children in DCF care. Ask yourself what do you think will happen to these children when they are thrown out on the street when they turn eighteen?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Now If Only Other Parochial Schools Will Follow

All we see in the news is Catholic schools barring transgender, lesbian, and gay students but one Catholic school in Canada bucked the trend,
Vancouver Catholic schools adopt transgender policy
CTV News
James Keller, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, July 16, 2014

VANCOUVER -- Catholic schools in Vancouver have adopted a policy that could allow transgender students to use the pronouns, uniforms and washrooms that match their gender identity after a human rights complaint forced the local archdiocese to balance its religious teachings with the rights of transgender children.

The lawyer for the 11-year-old transgender girl behind the complaint says Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese appears to be the first Catholic school board in North American to implement such a policy.
But all is not that rosy, the school also said,
The policy stresses gender "expression" and notes Catholic teaching says people cannot change their sexual or gender identity. The document says the school cannot support or accommodate a student who wants to transition from one gender to another.
They don’t use the word “transgender” but use the medical term gender dysphoria instead and it is like they agreed to let them use their preferred name, gender pronoun, bathroom, and uniform to humor them. But I don't care as long as she is able to be herself.

A New Book…

The buzz is about a new book of letters from trans-women, The Advocate said,
A new anthology, Letters for My Sisters: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect, asked transgender women to answer this question, according to publisher Transgress Press. The result is a heartfelt collection of advice, confessions, regrets, and triumphs from 35 women — the largest number of contributors to a collection by trans women yet published.

Edited by engineer Deanne Thornton and film producer and activist Andrea James, the collection was inspired by a 2011 companion book for trans men titled Letters for My Brothers. The collection includes well-known writers, including GLAAD cochair Jennifer Finney Boylan, and many emerging voices who wish to comfort and help their trans sisters by sharing their own.
The article has a letter from author Jennifer Bolyan, Webcomic Artist Jenn Dolari, Lynn Conway, and actress Calpernia Addams.

The is the product of trans-women, from the letters to the publishing.
The only voices here are our own. ... This book isn't biographies, but a distillation of our thoughts and feelings about who we are, where we have come from, and how we got there."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Live Long And Prosper

But if you are LGB that might not be the case.
Health of gay and straight people compared in first major survey
Updated: Jul 15, 2014

(CBS) - Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people may be more likely to smoke, drink excessively, and experience serious psychological distress, compared with heterosexual people, but in some other health-related areas they fare better, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report marks the first time that the CDC has looked at health disparities among lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations on a national level. CDC researchers recently added an option for people participating in the agency's National Health Interview Survey to indicate their sexual orientation.
The researchers found that a higher percentage of gay or lesbian (35.1 percent) and bisexual people (41.5 percent) said they had five or more drinks on one day at least once in the past year, compared with those who identified themselves as straight (26 percent). Similarly, a higher percentage of gay, lesbian and bisexual people reported being smokers, compared with straight participants. [5 Myths About Gay People Debunked]
I cannot but wonder how much this is due to being marginalized by society. The article goes on to say,
"There's certainly a lot of social stress for people who are living in places where they are being treated unequally based on their sexual orientation," Greene said. "We also definitely have unequal access to healthcare benefits, for people who are living in places where healthcare benefits are not translated to same-sex spouses."
I know from personal experience that once I came out, my stress levels dropped way down and some of my medical problems disappeared. When you have to hide a part of your life it is extremely stressful.

Lobby Day

Yesterday and Monday were the Lobby Days for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). I was glad to see that they were lobbying not for the current version of ENDA that has a broad religious exemption but for a bill that has the same exemption as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. But do we even need ENDA?

The NCTE website said,
All are invited to help enact explicit federal job protections for transgender people. With transgender people leading the effort, we can educate members of Congress about transgender issues and move a modified version of ENDA forward (one without the overly broad religious exemption).
If you will like to help you can email your congressional representatives to tell them that you support an ENDA without the religious exemption (You can find your congressional representatives here)

But I am beginning to believe that we do not need ENDA, the courts have ruled that gender identity and expression are covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under Title VII and Title IX. In addition, a number of federal agencies such as Housing and Urban Development, Department of Education, Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have issued directives covering us. The Advocate article said that,
In a series of court decisions over the past couple of decades, the definition of what constitutes “sex discrimination” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has broadened considerably to include discrimination against transgender employees. But a new development in a case earlier this year could foretell a further evolution of Title VII to cover LGB workers as well.

Since 2004, several federal courts have ruled in favor of trans plaintiffs making discrimination claims, but the first court of appeals case to unequivocally equate anti-trans bias with sex discrimination was Glenn v. Brumby. The case was brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of Vandy Beth Glenn, who was fired from her job as a legislative editor for the Georgia General Assembly based on her intent to transition. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, ruled in Glenn’s favor in December 2011, restoring her to her original post at the state legislature.
The roots of these court cases go back to the 1989 Supreme Court case Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins where the court said that that gender stereotyping is actionable as sex discrimination. The case was about an associate at Price Waterhouse that was denied a promotion because she didn’t look feminine enough. From that case the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity declared that we were covered under Connecticut sex discrimination laws.

What I like in the Glenn v. Brumby case was the judge’s analogy that if a person changes their religion, suppose that changed their religion from being a Christian to being a Jew, it is still religious discrimination.

In the case of Macy v. Holder the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also found that we are covered by Title VII because being transgender is a form of sex stereotyping and now that logic is being used to expand Title VII to cover sexual orientation. The Advocate article goes on to say,
But the latest twist that shows promise for the broader LGBT movement comes from Washington, D.C., where federal district court judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that a gay man, Peter TerVeer, could move forward with a sexual orientation discrimination claim under Title VII.

“TerVeer is a homosexual male whose sexual orientation is not consistent with the Defendant’s perception of acceptable gender roles,” read the original complaint.

The lawyer who is handling TerVeer v. Billington, which will likely take another couple years to litigate, calls the development a “giant step forward” for workplace protections based on sexual orientation.
So is ENDA going the way of the dinosaur? If the courts rules rule that sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination we will not need ENDA and if ENDA passes in its current form it might even hurt us.