Friday, October 31, 2014

Embracing Your Child

Family love knows no bounds. When I hear “family values” I think of loving parents that love their children and know that together they can conquer any hurdle.
Woman's Day Magazine Features Groundbreaking Article About Transgender Family
The Huffington Post
By Cavan Sieczkowski
Posted: 10/30/2014

Woman's Day broke ground recently with an article featuring a Christian mother and her transgender son.

The story, titled "The Son God Gave Me," was published in the October 2014 issue of the lifestyle magazine and focused on Gina Kentopp and her transgender son, Kyle.

Kentopp told Women's Day she reconciled her traditional Christian faith with acceptance of her child after reading the memoir of a gay Christian.

"Instead of asking God to change your child, the author suggested, why don't you ask Him to change your heart?" she said. "It was a revelation: I had never even considered that idea."
I think the Woman’s Day article says it all…
…And he has taught me so much—about living authentically, and about not passing judgment on others. Of course, he's had some rough times, but he got through them. His adult journey has begun.

And mine continues. I found a church that accepted our family for who we are—I couldn't worship under pastors who thought my child was going to hell. I learned that I didn't need to worry about what other people thought. I had to stay focused on my family, and remember that God had entrusted us with a precious child—He chose us to be Kyle's parents. We needed to be good stewards of that gift, to love Kyle as he faced a world that at times would treat him harshly.

And God's promised blessing? It turns out I had it all along.
All of these so called “Family Institutes” don’t represent my family values and instead represent hate and alienation. They tear apart families instead of building families.

Insurance Part 2

After I wrote yesterday’s blog the Boston Herald came out with this are article,
Insurers unsure on transgender care
Meanwhile patients unable to find docs for procedures
Thursday, October 30, 2014
By: Marie Szaniszlo

Four months after the state Division of Insurance put health plans on notice that denying medically necessary treatment to transgender people is prohibited sex discrimination, insurers are still grappling with what constitutes medical necessity, and patients are struggling to find doctors who’ll treat them.
The answer is easy, what the AMA, APA, WPATH and other medical associations deem medical necessary and not the insurance companies.
On the other hand, he said, Harvard Pilgrim does not want to approve procedures such as facial feminization for transgender people if those procedures would be considered merely cosmetic for other people.

“If we cover them for transgender patients, we would be being reverse-discriminatory,” said Dr. Robert Nierman, medical director at Tufts Health Plan.

But Ruben Hopwood of Fenway Health said facial feminization is not about wanting a “cuter nose.” A transgender person’s appearance is more likely to be the difference between getting a job or not getting one, and walking down the street unafraid or being attacked, Hopwood said.
That’s right, it is not about a face lift, but it is about improving the quality of life for us. It is the same as a person’s who’s face was disfigured because of an accident.

Let the medical community decide what is medically necessary and not the insurance company’s bottom line.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


This is going to be a short blog. I have been trying to figure out how to send an email from a form on a website that I manage. It works on one website that I manage but when I copy it to another website it doesn’t work so sent in a help ticket. Grrr… Just the way I wanted to spend my Thursday morning.

Now that we have insurance everyone thought this will be an answer to all our prays… Wrong!

In the Hartford Courant they had an article about healthcare coverage, “Sex Change Insurance Coverage Increasingly Common,” don’t you just love the title, as if that is the only thing that the insurance covers.

The article is terrible misinformed; they say nothing about Medicare coverage,
"There is an evolving professional consensus that treatment is considered medically necessary for certain individuals who meet established … criteria for a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder/Gender Dysphoria," John O'Brien, director of Healthcare and Insurance at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, wrote in a June 13 bulletin to health insurers.

O'Brien's advisory was sent to health insurers that sell policies on the Federal Employee Health Program, a sort of insurance exchange serving nearly 9 million federal employees, retirees and family members. Coverage for federal employees is largely funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars, though employees also pay a portion of premiums.
 The article sound like Connecticut just passed the anti-discrimination law last year instead of 2011…
Within the past year, the legislature amended Connecticut's anti-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on "gender identity or expression." As a result, HMOs and health insurance companies writing individual, large and small group plans cannot discriminate for coverage of treatment for gender dysphoria — the condition in which a person identifies with a gender different from that person's biological sex — when deemed medically necessary, said Connecticut Insurance Department spokeswoman Donna Tommelleo.
Then the article says, “This change is in accordance with guidance from the Connecticut Department of Insurance, Bulletin HC 34, and effective December 19, 2013.” Umm… no, it was the Insurance Commission bulletin IC 37 that did that not HC 34.

The problem now is that insurance coverage is so new that no one really knows what is covered and what isn't. From what I have heard it depends on who answers the phone at the insurance company, one person might tell you the medical procedure is covered while another operator might tell you that it isn't. It also depends upon how the question is asked or how the doctor codes the procedure.

In addition, if insurance does cover Gender Confirming Surgery it will only cover a fraction of the cost. Many of the doctors are out-of-network and they want the cash up front so there is a large out-of-pocket expense that many trans-people cannot afford.

What we must do now is to take the imitative to define what should be covered and not let the insurance companies dictate to us what is covered. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sometimes They Get It

Many pastors, ministers, and priests say negative things about gays, lesbians, bi, and trans-people but they are not all like that, there are some who get it. One pastor who does is Pastor John Pavlovitz on his website he listed five things you will not hear him saying.
1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.
My children won’t be our family’s best kept secret.
If my children come out, we’ll be out as a family.

2) If I have gay children, I’ll pray for them.
I won’t pray for them to be made “normal”. I’ve lived long enough to know that if my children are gay, that is their normal.
Above all, I’ll pray to God that my children won’t allow the unGodly treatment they might receive from some of His misguided children, to keep them from pursuing Him.

3) If I have gay children, I’ll love them.
If my kids are gay, they may doubt a million things about themselves and about this world, but they’ll never doubt for a second whether or not their Daddy is over-the-moon crazy about them

4) If I have gay children, most likely; I have gay children.
If my kids are going to be gay, well they pretty much already are.
God has already created them and wired them, and placed the seed of who they are within them. Psalm 139 says that He, “stitched them together in their mother’s womb”. The incredibly intricate stuff that makes them uniquely them; once-in-History souls, has already been uploaded into their very cells.
There are 3,834 comments on his post they run from “Bless you!” to “How can you call yourself a pastor?”

In Heidi Stevens column she says this about why the pastor feels the way he does,
Pavlovitz, raised Catholic in upstate New York, attended college at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, where he made friends with people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. "That's when I first started to realize, 'These are human beings, not just some reasons to quote scripture,'" he told me. "That opened my eyes to seeing homosexuality not as an issue but as a human story."
When you know someone it is a lot harder to hate them, I realize that not everyone can be out, but one of the greatest experiences in life is to know that you have brought change for the better in a person’s. to hear someone say that by knowing you they have changed for the better the way they think about trans-people.

We Know…

I have been called everything from “That’s a ugly bitch!” to “That’s a F**king Dude!” to having a teenager follow me making kissing noises and rubbing his crotch at a mall. Some men are pigs and the crazy thing is they think it is cool to act like pigs.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Reason Why…

I’m voting for Governor Malloy I think was said best in the Hartford Courant editorial
Mr. Foley never tires of reminding voters that Mr. Malloy initiated the largest tax increase in state history. What he doesn't say is that Mr. Malloy faced the worst budget deficit in state history, $3.7 billion, and a glacially slow recovery from the Great Recession. Instead of putting off the day of reckoning, as his predecessors were willing to do, Mr. Malloy attempted to meet the problem head on, with almost $1.9 billion of tax increases, union concessions, consolidation of state agencies and other spending reductions.
As the editorial said, the Republicans left the state with over a three billion dollar deficit and as Foley’s ad shows Governor Malloy said raising taxes will be the last thing he would do and it was. As the editorial says he got union concessions and consolidation of state agencies and he raised the state sales tax by only a fraction of a percent with most of the tax increase going to those in the upper income brackets.

Molloy fought to keep high tech industries here in Connecticut the editorial goes on to say,
In economic development, Mr. Malloy faced a moribund state economy, so he tried some bold things. Mr. Foley and other Republicans have criticized Mr. Malloy for the $291 million investment in the Jackson Laboratory genomic research facility, plus millions more in operating subsidies. By itself, it's a lot of money for 300 jobs, the minimum benchmark for the company at decade's end. But if it helps create a bioscience sector in the state's economy, then, according to an administration analysis, it adds thousands of jobs. It's a chance worth taking.

Mr. Malloy was also criticized for the $400 million in tax breaks approved earlier this year for United Technologies Corp. UTC supports hundreds of suppliers and contractors and is critical to the state's aerospace and engineering industries. The tax deal is supposed to trigger a $500 million expansion by UTC. What governor wouldn't try to keep as many UTC operations in the state as possible? 
I think we got a good deal with those two companies. They are the cornerstones of technology here in Connecticut with many spinoff companies here in the state.

What the editorial didn’t say was that governor Malloy fought tooth and nail to pass our gender inclusive non-discrimination legislation. Without him we would be like New York still trying to pass their legislation. It was Governor Malloy who went out on the floor of the House to lobby for the bill personally. It is the Malloy administration that issued the decree mandating insurance coverage for us.

Foley is endorsed by the Family Institute of Connecticut, it was legislators that they endorsed that tried to pass the draconian amendments to the bill such as the amendment to require us to register with the Department of Motor Vehicles if we were transgender, a Scarlet Letter on our driver license.
Sec. 501. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) Any person holding a motor vehicle operator's license whose gender-related identity is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth shall notify the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles of such identity and the commissioner shall indicate such identity in the electronic record maintained by the commissioner pertaining to such person's operator's license.
The ads says Foley has a plan that he is going to, lower sales tax by 0.5%, reduce property taxes, and cut taxes on small businesses but nowhere does he say anything about how he is going to do it and balance the budget. What is he going to cut? He promises a pie in the sky but doesn't tell how he is going to delivery it... trust me.

In addition, there is an anti-LGBT PAC that are supporting Foley that have bought over a million dollars in negative adverting.

These are the reasons why I am voting for Governor Malloy. If you want to go backwards and have amendments tacked on the anti-discrimination law than Foley is your man, but if you want to move forward then vote for Malloy.

She Is Not The First

I have known a number of transgender lawyers, one of the first trans-woman that I met was a lawyer so I don’t understand why this is news,
For transgender lawyer with own practice, change has been good
Dallas News
By Sarah Mervosh
Published: 26 October 2014

After 16 years as a public defender, Sprinkle started her own firm a year ago — practicing law for the first time as a woman. While no organization formally tracks such things, Sprinkle is the only known openly transgender lawyer in Dallas County and one of just a handful across Texas.

In addition to her criminal defense practice, she’s become a go-to lawyer for transgender issues at a time when transgender people are getting more attention than ever in mainstream media, yet remain one of the most misunderstood groups in the LGBT community. Sprinkle, 47, uses her unique perspective to empathize with clients and guide them through the legal challenges of transitioning genders.
At work, Sprinkle is one of six openly transgender attorneys licensed to practice in Texas, according to Houston municipal judge Phyllis Randolph Frye, the nation’s first openly transgender judge. Frye said the timing of Sprinkle’s transition was particularly unusual: Most trans lawyers transition before they graduate law school — or not at all.
Maybe it is harder to be a trans-lawyer down in Texas but most of the lawyers that I know have transitioned after they became lawyers, it is only the younger trans-people, but those who are in their forties have transitioned after they were on the bar. Many of them younger than forties have transitioned in college or high school.

Phyllis Randolph Frye is an activist pioneer, who is now a judge, the Dallas Voice reported back in 2010 that,
Then, just this morning, longtime Houston activist Phyllis Randolph Frye became the first trans judge in Texas, when Mayor Annise Parker appointed her as an associate municipal judge.
Hopefully, that someday it will be a non-event when public figures transition.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I Thought About It…

…But I decided to show the video.

You see I don’t like making a point about being trans unless it is at a function where I am there because I’m trans, like at meetings or when I’m giving a presentation. Otherwise I just want to be “me.”

So on Friday’s I go to the photo club at senior center I just want to be me, not a trans-activist and I was debating whether I wanted to show my video “Provincetown After Dark” to the club. Why you ask that would be a problem? It is because the reputation that Provincetown has as being a “Gay Mecca.”

You see back over the summer I showed photos of Fire Island and one of the members said “Oh! I would never go there*.” I knew what he meant without his saying it, it was because Fire Island is also known as a Gay Mecca even through only a couple of towns on the island have a large LGBT population.

So I have been debating whether I wanted to fight a skirmish over the video or if I would be passive and avoid any clash over it. But I have decided not to be intimated, so I am going to show the video and photos from Provincetown.

*This is called “microagression” it is a conscious or unconscious utterance that is prejudicial. It is like a dripping faucet one drop doesn't get on your nerves but the repetition is what causes mental anxiety.

You’re In The Army Now

While I was up at Fantasia Fair there was a series of news articles about integrating the military. For me the issue is simple, anyone who wants to sever their country should be able to serve.
Transgender Troops In Other Nations Are Proof That Inclusive Militaries Work
Huffington Post: Gay Voices
By Jennifer Bendery
Posted: 10/21/2014

Murray [a trans-service member from Canada] was one of more than a dozen speakers at a first-of-its-kind event on Monday: an international conference of transgender military service members, hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union. Eighteen countries currently allow transgender people to serve openly -- the United States is not among them -- and transgender troops from five of those countries gathered in Washington, D.C., to share lessons learned and, perhaps, to influence U.S. policy.

Speakers at the event revealed the sharp contrast between the United States' military policy on transgender people and the military policies of some of its closest allies. The Supreme Court of Canada, for example, ruled in 1992 that it was unconstitutional to ban people from serving based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. In the United Kingdom, there's never been a ban. Instead, it's been a matter of keeping military personnel educated on LGBT issues over the years.
I have stated over and over that the U.S. should follow the lead of other countries an integrate the military. The Canadian Daily Mail wrote,
The panel, convened by a think tank at San Francisco State University, said the ban has existed for several decades and apparently was derived in part from the psychiatric establishment's consensus, since revised, that gender identity issues amounted to a mental disorder.

The ban also appears based on the assumption that providing hormone treatment and sex reassignment surgeries would be too difficult, disruptive and expensive.

But the commission rejected those notions as inconsistent with modern medical practice and the scope of health care services routinely provided to non-transgender military personnel.

'I hope their takeaway will be we should evaluate every one of our people on the basis of their ability and what they can do, and if they have a condition we can treat we would treat it like we would treat anyone else,' Elders said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Britain’s Guardian had a quote from Joshua Block, a lawyer with the ACLU,
“President Truman signed an executive order integrating the military based on race long before the supreme court held that segregation was unconstitutional and the same thing happened when the military repealed ‘don’t ask don’t tell’, so I think the same can be true here.”
As an aside, a number of years ago I went to a talk by then senator Blumenthal on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and at the end in the Q&A session I asked him a question about transgender military service members. he responded say the repeal would not cover trans service members but that he was concerned about our exclusion. When I commented about my question on Pam’s House Blend I got stepped all over by gays who said that I was hijacking their issue.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fantasia Fair Day 8

I was up early, read another chapter in "Outlander: The Fiery Cross", packed and got ready for the farewell brunch.

The brunch is always sad but it gives a nice closure, I sat with Hawk Stone and Ms. Bob; it was nice to listen to their stories over brunch. I also stopped to chat with Jamie and Barbara.

Some thoughts on the Fantasia Fair, this was around my seventh or eighth fair most of the workshops on transitioning or going out in public or voice training I’m not interested in attending, I’m more interested in our history and activism. Ms. Bob’s keynote on historic photographs was very interesting especially the part about Casa Susanna in the Catskills from the sixties. Speaking of history, all the fair paraphernalia that I collected this week is going in the Central Connecticut State University LGBT collection.

Some of the high points of the week:
  • When I was walking to the Sunday night welcoming reception at the Saki Restaurant from the motel, a first timer was also walking there from the motel. It was her first time out in public and she was all nervous but as we talked along the way she relaxed and when I saw her at the Farewell Brunch she all smiles.
  • I enjoyed the walk back to the motel after Jamison Green keynote and talking with him along the way.
  • Talking to one of the therapist that I know from CT and maybe collaborating on a much needed project.
  • I enjoyed immensely the keynote talks of Drs. Bowers MD and Serano PhD the relax atmosphere of the discussion makes it a great learning experience.
  • Dinner at the Ross Grill, the Seafood Risotto was excellent and the lobster Newberg at the Lobster Pot was delicious but the service there, um… to put it bluntly sucked (it was half empty and it took about 20 minutes for them to take our ordered) and also one of the wait staff was very rude (he called one of us “brother”).
  • A ride in a Tesla Model S… Okay it had nothing to do with the fair but a friend at the fair has one that I got a ride in when we went to the Atlantic Spice Company. The acceleration is unbelievable it is like a jet taking off.
  • And of course meeting many old friends and making new ones.

Fantasia Fair Day 7

For lunch I went to Bayside Betsy’s and had a taco salad, it was okay but if I had a choice I would have had something else. However, the other choice I didn’t like because they way too many carbs for my diet. After lunch I went to the keynote speech.

They had some fabulous speakers this week including Jamison Green, Rev. Moonhawk River Stone, Dr. Marci Bowers, and today Julia Serano. Ms. Serano is an author and according the fair website,
Julia Serano is an Oakland, California-based writer, performer, and activist. She is best known for her 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, which garnered rave reviews—The Advocate placed it on their list of “Best Non- Fiction Transgender Books,” and readers of Ms. Magazine ranked it #16 on their list of the “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.” Her second full-length book, Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, came out in 2013 to rave reviews. Julia’s other writings have appeared in anthologies (including Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, and Word Warriors: 30 Leaders in the Women’s Spoken Word Movement) and in magazines and websites such as The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Bitch,, Out, and Ms. Magazine blog. Julia has gained notoriety in feminist, queer and transgender circles for her unique insights into gender, and her writings have been used as teaching materials in queer and gender studies courses across North America.
She gave an excellent keynote address about her history and activism and she briefly about her new book. Afterward we sat in the circle and had a great discussion of various topics and later in the week I will be writing about my views on one of the topics that we discussed.

The main reason why I went this year was the keynote addresses that they had at the fair. They all were top notch leaders in the trans-community; it was great to listen to their thoughts. Also it is nice to reconnect with old friends and meet new friends. I was thinking at the Awards Dinner tonight how I have known some of the people here for over fourteen years and have watched they grow old together and some have passed away. One friend that I have known since the beginning who is from Connecticut is extremely stick and is in a nursing home. The first time I came up here in 2000 I shared a room with her and she was my big sister who showed me the fair. Another friend that came up here with me that same and it was her first year also had to be taken to a hospital in Hyannis the other day. We have grown old together.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fantasia Fair Day 6

Photo taken by Stana
For once I wish I could sleep through the night, last night I woke up around 1:30 AM and didn’t fall back to sleep until after 4 AM. The wind still was howling all night and into this morning with occasional showers.

I went to lunch at Bayside Betsy’s and had a delicious lunch of fish and chips (fries) and after lunch I went down to the keynote address “Waging a Culture War on Two Fronts” by Dr. Marci Bowers where she talked a little bit about trans-history and the history of her surgery, and also her work to in Africa to reverse Female Genital Mutilation. I stayed for the discussion afterward.

For dinner we went to Georgie’s for pizza and beer, we decided we didn’t want a forty dollar dinner just something simple. You can’t get anything more basic than a pizza and beer (I know I’m going to pay the price tomorrow morning when I check my blood glucose). After dinner we went to the Follies at the Crown and Anchor, we have some very talented people in the trans-community.

I was beat so I left at intermission and on the way back I took these photos…

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fantasia Fair Day 5

Today was a goof-off day. I didn’t attend any of the workshops instead I went with some friends to the Atlantic Spice Co. in North Truro. The place is fantastic! They sell spices in bulk and kitchen supplies, ii bought a 6oz. bottle of vanilla extract for less than the small 2oz, bottle in the supermarkets. I also bought some small hard to find whisks, an eggs ring (when I make egg McMuffins at home the egg spills over the side of the muffin), and I also bought a tea ball (a strainer that you put tea in to steep in hot water). My old tea ball somehow accidentally went in the garbage disposal and when I turned on the disposal this thing popped out… what the heck? It did a pretty good job of mangling it into a crunched up piece of metal.

When I got up the sun was up and I went out and took a few photos around the motel and then I went to Bayside Betsy’s for breakfast. I had Stuffed Potatoes Skin, the skins were stuffed with scrambled eggs and corn beef hash topped with cheese.

Then we went to the Atlantic Spice Co. and when we got back from there the rains came. There were showers off and on all afternoon so I read and dozed, I think that I woke up more tried than before I napped… it was one of those rainy lazy days. For supper we went to Ross Grill and I had Lobster, Shrimp & Scallop Risotto… delicious! It was in a cream sauce with arborio rice and peas. The restaurant was almost empty when we go there but by the time we left the restaurant was filling up.

I decided not to watch the movie tonight; as usual I was up most of the night this time because of the wind and rain. Also the chairs in the Paramount room are not the most comfortable chairs to sit in for an hour and a half.

So here are some photos from yesterday…
This is my motel and my room is the last room on the left with the awing.

This is the house across the street from my room; it is really interesting looking house with the cupola. It looks like an old captain’s house.

This is looking down the west end of Commerce Street from my motel.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fantasia Fair Day 4

I skipped the morning workshop again and I was planning on going out to take photographs around town but the weather didn’t cooperate so I stayed in my room and read book 5 of the Outlander series “The Fiery Cross.” While I was reading I could hear the workshop downstairs doing their voice exercises for feminizing your voice… mmm… do, ra, me, fa, so, la, ti, do… ahhh…

For lunch I went to Bayside Betsey’s and had Cesar Salad with scallops with two friends from Connecticut, the salad was excellent!

After lunch we went down to hear the luncheon keynote address by Jamison Green, his talk was titled “Evolution of an Activist: How to Keep Busy Helping Others for Fun and (almost no) Profit” and afterward I stayed for the discussion. I was a very good talk and I learned a lot in the discussion, I got some great contact leads that I’ll follow-up with.

For dinner we went out to eat at the Lobster Pot, if you are in P-town it is written in the law that you must eat at least once there. They have roadblock set up outside of town and you have to show them your receipt from the Lobster Pot. I had Lobster Newberg, it was delicious! I’ll probably have to pay for it tomorrow morning with a high blood glucose reading.

I skipped the fashion show and just went back to my room. I have seen the fashion show so many times and I’m not really in to fashion. It is a great show but just not my cup of tea.

This is my kind of fashion…

Give me jeans and sneakers any time over a dress.

P.S. The wind was howling overnight rattling the windows and it poured with thunder and lighting! Because the room has cathedral ceilings, the ceiling is the actual roof the rain was quit loud.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fantasia Fair Day 3

This morning the forecast was for rain, heavy at time but we squeaked by with only a shower during lunch which I had at the Crown and Anchor. There I meet a trans-woman who is a first timer for the fair and we chatted while we ate, her wife is like many wives tolerant of them crossdressing.

I skipped the morning workshop and skipped the luncheon keynote address and just went to the afternoon workshop that my friend was giving about her blog at the motel where I was staying. The workshop was well attended with her readers. While I was there I noticed that the sun had come out and the lighthouse across the harbor was lit by the setting sun so after the workshop I got my camera and started taking pictures…

In the evening the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Awards Banquet was held with Jamison Green and Mariette Pathy Allen receiving the awards this year. The dinner was very good, I had the beef brisket and the desert was apple crisp and ice cream. The ice cream tasted like there was All Spice or Nutmeg in it, mmm, very good!

Hartford, CT National Day of Protest to STOP Mass Incarceration

October 22, 2014, must be a day that makes clear that thousands and thousands are willing to stand up and speak out today and to awaken and rally forth millions. There must be powerful demonstrations nationwide on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

Where: Keney Park, Hartford. Woodland street entrance.
When: 4:30 - 6:30PM
To find out more go to their Facebook event page.


I believe so. A couple a weeks ago I wrote about the murder of trans-woman by a U.S. Marine and if he would be tried under military law or be transferred over to the Philippine authorities. We now know the answer,
Marine suspected of trans woman’s murder transferred to Philippine custody
JIM GOMEZ | Associated Press
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pemberton’s transfer by helicopter to Manila early Wednesday was agreed by the U.S. and the Philippines, Philippine military chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang told a news conference. He said that Pemberton will be detained in an air-conditioned van, directly guarded by U.S. Marines while Philippine military guards will be posted outside the compound, he said.

“They agreed to put him in a facility which will pass U.S. custodial standards,” Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told The Associated Press. “We’re happy with this because he’s a suspect in a crime that was committed in our country.”
According to the article the U.S. military authorities will have custody of him until the end of the trial and if he found guilty he will serve his time in a Philippine prison. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fantasia Fair Day 2

I found the orientation brunch on the third try, I stopped at Bayside Betsey’s… nope not there. They say it was at the Crown and Anchor so I went to the Cabaret Room… nope not there and someone said that it was in the Paramount Room… yup.

I sat with some friends from COS and meet other people from uniTy, there are quite a number of folks from COS and uniTy here as well as others that I have known from past fairs. Unfortunately the one workshop that I wanted to attend was canceled because of the doctor didn’t show up.

At the brunch I asked the chief of police if there were any charging station in town for electric vehicles and she said that there weren’t… rats. My car is a plug-in hybrid so I guess I have to burn gas around town.

I went to the lunch time talk “Yellowed and Fading: Searching for Transgender Identity in Vintage
Photographs of Crossdressing,” it was a very good presentation on vintage photographs of trans-people from the early nineteenth century to about the mid-seventies. The presenter has an extensive collection of old photographs, many of them were from Casa Susanna in the Catskills.

When I was leaving the talk, Mariette Pathy Allen was photographing someone who was dressed in late 1800s style dress out in the parking lot of the Crown and Anchor.

When I got back to my motel room and checked my email I found that I had a number of email for a meeting that I’m coordinating for CTAC (Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition), so I had to send out a bunch of emails. No rest for the wicked.

In the evening there was a dinner and a show for us at the Paramount Room at the Crown & Anchor, and I sat with Stana, a couple from uniTy, and someone else from Connecticut. After the dinner of hot dogs and hamburgers Christine Howey did her spoken word play Exact Change about her life and transition… it was excellent! There were so many parts that resonated with me, her early childhood and wanting to go and play with the girl, crossdressing in secret, her being a quite boy and the relief she felt once she transitioned.

The FanFair website said this about the play,
For the Fantasia Fair 40, The Ruby Jubilee, acclaimed film critic, poet and trans woman Christine Howey will be performing her one woman play, Exact Change, for our Monday night Town and Gown affair. This is a moving play about finding your voice and championing your identity. Exact Change is the powerful, amusing and personal story of noted Cleveland actor, journalist and critic Christine Howey (formerly Dick Howey). Before transitioning in 1990, Ms. Howey was a celebrated stage actor in Cleveland, known for playing such heavy-hitting male roles as Lucifer, Josef Goebbels, "Terrible Jim Fitch," Richard Nixon, Robespierre, God and others. Exact Change is a one-woman tour-de-force spiced with literary references, personal stories and an incisive wit that truly packs a punch.
Also I had a pleasant surprise, a therapist (she is cisgender) that I know came to Fantasia Fair and after the play when I was talking to her after the play she told me that watching the play made her realize that she is in the right job.

P.S. As I mentioned yesterday, the motel that I am staying at is a bare-bones motel, this morning it was reinforced. The continental breakfast has coffee, tea and orange juice, and muffins, scones and pastries but no cream cheese or butter. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fantasia Fair Day 1

I got up here around 2:30, checked in, and made three trips from the basement garage to my second floor room to bring all my stuff to my room. I am staying at the Boatship and the room is pretty basic, nothing fancy (a light switch by the door would have been nice.) but I didn’t expect much for $99 a night.

I went downstairs and registered for the fair. One thing nice about the place is registration and a number of the workshops are here so I don’t have to walk them. The last time I was here I staying at a cottage in Eastham which was a half hour away. I shared the cottage with a couple of friends and it was only $450.

The dinner was at a sushi bar and I met Stana and three other women from Connecticut. It was the first time that I used chopstick and I actually managed to eat with them. I left around 8:30 and walked back to the motel. In the room next to me someone is reading trans-poetry, I hope they don’t do that all night.

I had a flashback to the first time I came to the fair, walking down Commerce Street in heels and a dress felling the wind blowing on my legs and now I was in jeans. A big change from twelve years ago. But the wind is still howling and rattling the shutters.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

On The Road Again...

Right now I should be pulling into the motel that I am staying at for Fantasia Fair. It is a little over a four hour drive from my house and I take Rt. 2 to I-395 and then I take that back roads through Voluntown and pick up I-95 in Rhode Island. Routes 138 and 165 is a nice drive and I usually do 50 mph unless I hit traffic and I-95 at times can be a nightmare.

Then when you get on the Mid-Cape Highway (Rt. 6) the expectations start to build and it make the drive seem like it will never end. Route 6 is also known as a one of the deadliest highways in the U.S. parts of it is a two lane road that everyone is going 60 mph and there are a lot of head on crashes along it.

Once you get to around North Truro it because a nice scenic ride through the dunes. When I was little we used to come up to North Truro for vacation, my parents used to rent one of the bayside cottages for a week and our neighbor rented for the following week. We used to take the neighbor kids for the first week and they come up the following and I would stay with them. So we would stay two weeks there and our parents would get a week vacation from us kids.

When we went in to Provincetown my father used to call it an “artist colony” because of its bohemian atmosphere (I now think he was calling it that because of all the gays and lesbians, but in those days that was never spoken about.). Little did I know back then that some forty years later I would be one of those bohemians.

School Discrimination

I the past I have written about school systems that continue to discrimination and avoid obeying the law, well the U.S. Department of Education just posted a webpage with resources for both the student and the school administrators…
Because every student is entitled to equal educational opportunities regardless of race, color, or national origin, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued new guidance that highlights and explains what Federal law requires regarding the provision of educational resources, how OCR investigates resource disparities, and what States, school districts, and schools can do to meet their obligations to all their students.
One section that jumped out at me was,
Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act
Overview of the Law
On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Part of No Child Left Behind is the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, Section 9525 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by Section 901 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (the Boy Scouts Act), which applies to public elementary and secondary schools, local educational agencies (LEAs), and State educational agencies (SEAs) that receive Federal funds made available through the Department of Education. Under the Boy Scouts Act, which became effective on January 8, 2002, no such public school, LEA or SEA that provides an opportunity for one or more outside youth or community groups to meet on school premises or in school facilities shall deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet to, or discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any other youth group listed in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society, that wishes to meet at the school.
OCR is charged with enforcing the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act. Complaints alleging violations of this law may be filed using the OCR online complaint form or by contacting the OCR office with authority to handle complaints where the institution or entity you are complaining about is located.
What does this mean?

It means that the Boy Scouts can discriminate all they want because they don’t have to obey non-discrimination laws. They can bar gay scoutmasters or trans-scouts and there is nothing that we can do to prevent them from meeting at the school.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Six #549

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #549

1. You see that someone you’re talking to has a piece of spinach in her teeth. Would you say something or pretend you don’t notice?
I would pretend no to notice because someday I might be me doing it absentmindedly.

2. You overhear a mom creating a scene in a grocery store and using profanity while yelling at her child. Would you say something to the mom or would you feel it was none of your business?
Yes. A couple a days I was in line and two women behind my were commenting about androgynous looking clerk and they were saying that the store shouldn’t let “someone like it” work there and I spoke up.

3. You overhear a child creating a scene in a grocery store and using profanity while yelling at his mom. Would you say something to the mom or would you feel it was none of your business?
I would like to think I would but I probably would say nothing.

4. You see a child shoplift a toy and notice the parent doesn’t see it. Would you say something to the parent, the child, store management, or no one?
Again, I would like to think I would but I probably would say nothing.

5. You see an apparently homeless man shoplift something at a store. Would you say something to the man, the store manager, or no one?
Depends upon what they were shoplifting and I would wonder how you can tell if someone is homeless.

6. You see a homeless man outside a restaurant begging for food and you happen to have an extra $10 in your pocket. Would you buy him lunch, hand him the cash, or do nothing?
I have bought food for someone who is homeless, but I have known her for a couple of years and she couch surfs with friends.

Saturday 9: The Power of Love

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: The Power of Love (1985)

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

1) In this song, Huey explains that you don't need a credit card to find love. What's the last thing you charged? 
Clothes, I’m going on vacation this week so I bought some new clothes for the trip.

2) This song was written for Back to the Future. At the beginning of the movie, hero Marty McFly traveled around town on his skateboard. Are you good on a skateboard?
Ha! I never skateboarded in my life, I’m not crazy.

3) Huey sings lead and his backup group is The News. Was the most recent news you heard bad or good?
Ebola, Ebola, Ebola! It seems like some news channels are trying to create panic.

4) Huey's mother, Maria, was born in Poland. Who is the first member of your family to be born in the US of A?
Benedict Arnold, according to family lore we are related to him in some way.

5) Brainy Huey got a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT. Did you take the SAT? How did you do?
Are you kidding? I don’t remember that far back (almost 50 years).

6) This song also hit #1 in Australia, where anzac biscuits are popular. To make them (the recipe is here) you need coconut. Do you have any coconut in your home right now?
No. It not something that I stock in the pantry.

7) Thinking of dessert, would you rather have cookies, cake, pie, ice cream or frozen yogurt?
Ice cream, at least I can somewhat tolerate it.

8) We're definitely into autumn now. What will you remember most about Summer 2014?
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

9) Tell us your superhero name, as determined by the color of your shirt and an item directly to your right. For example, Sam fights crime as The Gold Kleenex Box!
Pink Laptop.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Oh When Will They Ever Learn

This time it is a Rhode Island college that was in the process of creating guidelines for trans-athletes and because of pressure they are now backtracking.
Westerly School Committee tables controversial transgender proposal
Westerly Sun
Published: October 16, 2014
By Anna Maria Lemoine Sun Staff Writer

WESTERLY — The School Committee on Wednesday night tabled a proposed policy that would allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room of the gender with which they identify, and prohibit discrimination against transgender and nonconforming students.

But the action, which essentially halts the policy for now, did little to quell the dozens of residents who showed up to Town Hall chambers in opposition to the policy, with some calling it “absurd.”
According to the proposed policy, “with respect to all restrooms, locker rooms or changing facilities, students shall have access to facilities that correspond to their gender identity. Schools may maintain separate restroom, locker room or changing facilities for male and female students, provided that they allow students to access them based on their gender identity,” the policy states. And “under no circumstances” will students be required to use “sex-segregated facilities that are inconsistent with their gender identity,” the policy states.

Any student who is uncomfortable using a shared facility, regardless of the reason, can request an alternative such as the addition of a privacy partition or curtain, according to the policy. The policy, however, maintains that “requiring a transgender or gender nonconforming student to use a separate, nonintegrated space threatens to publicly identify and marginalize the student as transgender and should not be done unless requested by a student.”
Their proposed policy follows both Rhode Island state non-discrimination law and Title IX and by not addressing the problem they are opening up the school district to legal action.

Being uncomfortable is not a reason to discriminate.

Do You Think This Law Suit Has Merit?

Somehow I don’t think this is worthily of a law suit, just because he was embarrassed is no reason to sue.
Man sues over pink panties after colonoscopy
USA Today
By Sean O’Sullivan,
The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal
October 15, 2014

DOVER, Del. — A Delaware man who underwent a colonoscopy awoke after the procedure to find he was wearing pink women's underwear, according to a lawsuit.

Plaintiff Andrew Walls, of Dover, Del., was not pleased, or amused, and this month filed a civil suit in New Castle County Superior Court against the Delaware Surgery Center in Dover seeking damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
According to the complaint, Walls went to the Delaware Surgery Center on Oct. 12, 2012, for a colonoscopy and as part of the procedure was placed under anesthesia.

"When the plaintiff recovered from the effects of the anesthesia administered by defendants, he awoke to realize that while he was unconscious pink women's underwear had been placed on his body," according to the suit. "When the plaintiff initially presented for his colonoscopy he had not been wearing pink women's underwear and at no time did the plaintiff voluntarily, knowingly or intentionally place the pink women's underwear upon himself."
Horrors of horrors!

He sure wouldn’t want me on the jury, talk about frivolous law suits. I would be mad being call to jury duty to hear the case.

survey services

Thursday, October 16, 2014

From On High

Those who have power never see what it looks likes from below…

Master: I don’t understand why they want to be free, they are out there singing in the fields and they get three meals a day.

Boss after he gets a ten million dollar bonus: I don’t understand why they aren’t happy; I gave them a 25 cents raise.

Gay man:
But there are too many progressives and liberals who take it to the next level. I can't speak for everyone, but when one takes something that is not offensive to begin with (e.g. the Silverman video), sprinkles it with accusations of bigotry or ignorance, and then condemns it publicly, it comes across as self-serving and self-righteous. It's almost a way to say, "Look at how enlightened and socially conscious I am!" It serves no constructive purpose and only works to split hairs and as self-promotion.
But within activist and social justice circles, there's a tendency to find problems and bigotry where none exists. Whether it's accusing LGBT ally and liberal comedienne Sarah Silverman of being insensitive to trans issues in a comedic PSA or calling someone who critiques a religious doctrine "racist," the result is the same: ego stroking disguised as awareness.
Those of privilege do not see the injustice that their privileges create, when you look at any marginalized community their oppressors just don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Sarah Silverman is right, wage discrimination is wrong but you don’t go about correcting that discrimination by poking fun at another minority.

# # # # #

It is not just the trans-community that is under attack it is other oppressed communities that are also under attack for speaking up,
Feminist Critics of Video Games Facing Threats in ‘GamerGate’ Campaign
New York Times
By Nick Wingfield
OCT. 15, 2014

Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist cultural critic, has for months received death and rape threats from opponents of her recent work challenging the stereotypes of women in video games. Bomb threats for her public talks are now routine. One detractor created a game in which players can click their mouse to punch an image of her face.
The malice directed recently at women, though, is more intense, invigorated by the anonymity of social media and bulletin boards where groups go to cheer each other on and hatch plans for action. The atmosphere has become so toxic, say female game critics and developers, that they are calling on big companies in the $70-billion-a-year video game business to break their silence.
The oppressors see nothing wrong in the way games treat women. They are clueless about what the games are doing to women by marginalizing them.


1. a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium.
2. a thing providing protection against a possible eventuality.

We now have insurance coverage for all medically necessary healthcare!

But, what does that mean if we are afraid to go to the doctors because we worry about how we will be treated by healthcare providers,
Op-ed: Hospitals Are Failing LGBTs
BY Jeff Krehely
OCT. 14, 2014

You’ve broken out in a cold sweat. You’re short of breath. And you feel pressure in your chest. You’ve got health insurance and know you should be going to the emergency room — yet you don’t.

The situation seems to defy logic, but now imagine that you’re living in a small, conservative community. You’re a transgender man. And your primary care doctor is more than 100 miles away because you were humiliated by the staff during your visit to the local doctor’s office. You’ve heard horror stories about the local hospital.
More states and companies are recognizing health insurance disparities for trans-people but what good will insurance coverage be if we do not trust our doctors and hospital to treat us properly? We shouldn’t have to ask one in other about which doctors are trans-friendly or we are afraid to call 911.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oh When Will They Ever Learn?

Another school district gets its hand slapped.
Downey Unified School District settles with Department of Education over transgender discriminationBy City News Service
Whittier Daily News
Posted: 10/15/14

DOWNEY - The Downey Unified School District, which was accused of discriminating against a transgender elementary school student, has settled a claim with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, according to the agency.
Under the terms of a voluntary agreement, “the District will ensure that gender nonconforming and transgender students can participate fully in the District’s programs and activities in a safe, educational environment,” it said.
Now the school district should have known that they were breaking both state and federal laws when they allow verbal harassment to continue and forbad her from wearing make-up, talking about being trans, and suggesting that she transfers to another school system. Instead they chose to ignore the law and see what they could get away with doing.

A Dilemma

The Marine that killed the trans-woman in the Philippines is creating a quandary for the U.S. Will the U.S. turn over the Marine to the Philippine government or try him by the U.S. military. It is becoming a political nightmare.
Issue over custody of US soldier may stall filing of murder rap in court—lawmaker
By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
October 15th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—The question of who takes custody of Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude, is threatening to derail the immediate filing of charges against the American serviceman, according to an Olongapo police official.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, who went to Olongapo to lead a preliminary probe, said on Wednesday, that Chief Insp. Gil Domingo, the commander of the police station handling the case, revealed to his group that the custody issue has slowed the criminal prosecution of the suspect.
“During inquest proceedings, the PNP [Philippine National Police] is duty-bound to produce the suspect in their custody. But because of Pentagon’s insistence on Pemberton’s custody, Philippine authorities are left with no choice but to pursue a direct filing in the fiscal’s office,” the legislator said.
Meanwhile, the PinkNews reported that,
Dozens of protesters burned the US flag on Tuesday night outside the US embassy, demanding Washington hand over a marine suspected of the murder of a transgender woman.
Yesterday night, around 40 activists waved red flags and shouted “US troops out now.”
They called for the scrapping of an arrangement that allows the US to keep jurisdiction of military personnel accused of committing crimes in the Philippines.
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and the Visiting Forces Agreement between the US and the Philippines give jurisdiction to the U.S. military.

The tug-of-war begins.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Year Of The Trans

This past summer Time magazine said this year was the year of the “Transgender Tipping Point” and now they picked a trans-teenager as one of the 40 most influential teenagers,
Jazz Jennings, 14

In a landmark year for transgender visibility in the media, Jennings stands out for how much she’s already accomplished. She’s been interviewed by Barbara Walters, met Bill Clinton and become the youngest person ever featured on the Out 100 and The Advocate‘s 40 Under 40 lists. She even co-wrote a children’s book, I Am Jazz, loosely based on her life (she started living as a girl at age 5), that aims to help other kids understand what transgender means. “I have a girl brain but a boy body,” Jazz says in the book. “This is called transgender. I was born this way!” —Nolan Feeney 
There is "out" and then there is "OUT"

The Countdown Continues…

…To Fantasia Fair

I started my list of what I am taking for the week, I stopped the newspaper, and the mail and I still have some clothes to buy (a sweater and a turtleneck).

I went through the workshop list and picked out the workshops that I want to go to…
Fantasia Fair Itinerary


6:00-9:00 Welcoming Reception


9:30-11:30 Brunch
3:00-4:30 Hair Restoration in the Transgender Individual
6:30-8:00 Town & Gown Dinner
8:00-10:00 Town & Gown Show: Exact Change 

Morning free - photo shoot
3:00-4:30 Femulate Blog Party
6:30-10:00 The Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award Banquet


Morning free - photo shoot
1:30-2:45 Evolution of an Activist: How to Keep Busy Helping Others for Fun and (almost no) Profit.
3:00-4:30 Evolution of an Activist: Discussion & Followup
8:00-10:00 Fashion Show


10:00-11:30 Post-Transition Relationships: A Panel Discussion Dallas Denny & Heather Verdu
1:30-2:45 The Adventurous Evolution: The Life and Times of Trans* Over the Past Century or So...
3:00-4:30 A Participatory Discussion on Mental Health and Public Policy
9:30-11:30 Walking Tour ‐ The Darker Side of Ptown


10:00-11:30 Recording Our Stories: Forty Years of Fantasia Fair
1:30-2:45 Waging a Culture War on Two Fronts
3:00-4:30 Waging a Culture War on Two Fronts: Discussion & Followup
8:00-10:00 Fantasia Fair Follies


Morning Free - photo shoot
1:30-2:45 Transgender Activism and Beyond
3:00-4:30 Transgender Activism and Beyond: Discussion and Follow-up
[3:00-4:30 MTF Surgeries Marci L. Bowers]
6:30-10:00 Gala Awards Banquet


9:00-11:00 Farewell Brunch
I’m a devote amateur photographer and the Cape is so photogenic so in my free time I’m going to walk around town and drive around. The last time I was up to FF I got some great photos.

Monday, October 13, 2014

When They Stop Opposing Us Then I’ll Believe

The Pope is preaching tolerance but it hasn't seemed to filter on down yet.
Vatican Document: Gays Have 'Gifts and Qualities to Offer' Church
NBC News
October 13, 2014

In a dramatic shift in tone, a Vatican document said Monday that homosexuals had "gifts and qualities to offer" and asked if Catholicism could accept gays and recognize positive aspects of same-sex couples. Roman Catholic gay rights groups around the world hailed the paper as a breakthrough, but Church conservatives called it a betrayal of traditional family values.
"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home," said the document, known by its Latin name "relatio".
In September the National Catholic Reporter wrote,
As equal marriage rights continue to expand, more Catholic institutions will confront the issue of employees in civil same-sex marriages and this will likely result in more firings, unless some accommodation is reached.

Five dioceses have revised teacher contracts explicitly banning employees from supporting same-sex relationships in both their professional and their personal lives. Officials in Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Honolulu; and Oakland, Calif., have added these "morality clauses," causing many educators to either resign in protest or refuse to renew their contracts for the coming school year. It is often heterosexual employees unwilling to end their open support for LGBT family and friends who are most affected by these contracts.
When this stops then  I will believe then I will believe that the church is turning over a new leaf.

Update 10/18/14 3:30PM
It seems like the Vatican is backpedaling already,
A final statement agreed to on Saturday by a summit of Catholic Church leaders to discuss teachings on family retreated from groundbreaking language on “welcoming homosexual persons” included in an interim draft released on Monday.
The final statement — formally known as the Relatio of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family — drops the title “Welcoming homosexual persons” from the section on the place of gays and lesbians in the church. Weaker language that spoke of “The pastoral care of people with homosexual orientation” was proposed instead, and a phrase referring to “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community” was also dropped. But even this new language failed to receive a vote needed to be adopted, the Associated Press reported, failing on a vote of 118 to 62.

Columbus Day, What Do We Celebrate?

Today we celebrate Christopher Columbus the first person to discover the new world… only he wasn’t. He was the one who a better PR man and capitalized on his finding the “new world” only it wasn’t the “new world” there were people already living here. But they were only ignorant savages… only they weren’t ignorant savage they had a representative form of government and lived it cites. They had mathematics that enabled them to develop a calendar all the out to the year 2012. They also were very good at agriculture; if you remember when the pilgrims landed in Massachusetts it was the native people who showed them who to grow corn.

What Columbus had and they didn’t were guns and smallpox.

According to Cracked
There's a pretty important detail our movies and textbooks left out of the handoff from Native Americans to white European settlers: It begins in the immediate aftermath of a full-blown apocalypse. In the decades between Columbus' discovery of America and the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock, the most devastating plague in human history raced up the East Coast of America. Just two years before the pilgrims started the tape recorder on New England's written history, the plague wiped out about 96 percent of the Indians in Massachusetts.

In the years before the plague turned America into The Stand, a sailor named Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed up the East Coast and described it as "densely populated" and so "smoky with Indian bonfires" that you could smell them burning hundreds of miles out at sea.
The article goes on to say,
In written records from early colonial times, you constantly come across "settlers" being shocked at how convenient the American wilderness made things for them. The eastern forests, generally portrayed by great American writers as a "thick, unbroken snarl of trees" no longer existed by the time the white European settlers actually showed up. The pilgrims couldn't believe their luck when they found that American forests just naturally contained "an ecological kaleidosocope of garden plots, blackberry rambles, pine barrens and spacious groves of chestnut, hickory and oak."

The puzzlingly obedient wilderness didn't stop in New England. Frontiersmen who settled what is today Ohio were psyched to find that the forest there naturally grew in a way that "resembled English parks." You could drive carriages through the untamed frontier without burning a single calorie clearing rocks, trees and shrubbery.
The Indians cultivated the lands around their villages. When you stop and think if you found a bush that had very tasty berries wouldn't you dig some of them up and plant them around your house? Or a tree with edible nuts that not only provided you with nourishment but also attracted squirrels which you could also eat you probably would cultivate them also around your home.

The reason why no one was living in the forests was the smallpox the Europeans brought with them wiped out the vast majority of the Native Americans.

I have heard from many people that our form of government was because of Freemasons. How the Constitution, the two chambers of legislature, the Supreme Court and the Bill of Rights were all Freemasons ideas.

Have you ever heard of the Iroquois Confederacy also known as the Six Nations?

Excerpt from the rat haus reality press
On June 11 1776, an Onondaga sachem gave John Hancock an Iroquois name at Independence Hall. By John Kahionhes Fadden.
The people of the Six Nations, also known by the French term, Iroquois Confederacy, call themselves the Hau de no sau nee (ho dee noe sho nee) meaning People Building a Long House. Located in the northeastern region of North America, originally the Six Nations was five and included the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. The sixth nation, the Tuscaroras, migrated into Iroquois country in the early eighteenth century. Together these peoples comprise the oldest living participatory democracy on earth. Their story, and governance truly based on the consent of the governed, contains a great deal of life-promoting intelligence for those of us not familiar with this area of American history. The original United States representative democracy, fashioned by such central authors as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, drew much inspiration from this confederacy of nations. In our present day, we can benefit immensely, in our quest to establish anew a government truly dedicated to all life's liberty and happiness much as has been practiced by the Six Nations for over 800 hundred years.
This is from a conference that was held at Cornell University in 1987 on the Six Nations…
By the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Iroquois had practiced their own egalitarian government for hundreds of years. The Iroquois reputation for diplomacy and eloquence reveals they had securely evolved a sophisticated political system founded on reason, not on mere power. Accounts of the "noble savage" living in "natural freedom" had inspired European theorists John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau to expound ideas that had ignited the American Revolution and helped shape the new direction of government.

But the Founding Fathers found their best working model for their new government, not in the writings of Europeans, but through their direct contact with the Iroquois League; for the Great Law of Peace provided both model and incentive to transform thirteen separate colonies into the United States.

George Washington, after a visit to the Iroquois, expressed "great excitement" over the Iroquois" two houses and Grand Council. Ben Franklin wrote, "It would be strange if ignorant savages could execute a union that persisted ages and appears indissoluble; yet like union is impractical for twelve colonies to whom it is more necessary and advantageous."

At Cornell's conference, Dr. Donald Grinde, Jr. of Gettysburg College presented evidence that Thomas Jefferson adopted the specific symbols of the Peacemaker legend. The Tree of Peace became the Tree of Liberty; the Eagle, clutching a bundle of thirteen arrows, became the symbol of the new American government.

Grinde also brought the revelation that "one of the framers, John Rutledge of South Carolina, chair of the drafting committee, read portions of Iroquois Law to members of the committee. He asked them to consider a philosophy coming directly from this American soil."

The Great Law of Peace laid out a government "of the people, by the people and for the people" with three branches. The Onondaga, the Firekeepers, are the heart of the Confederacy. Similarly, the U.S. presidency forms an executive branch.

The League's legislative branch is in two parts: Mohawk and Seneca are Elder Brothers who form the upper house, while Oneida and Cayuga are Younger Brothers, similar to the Senate and House of the United States Congress. The Iroquois" equivalent of a Supreme Court is the Women's Councils, which settle disputes and judge legal violations.
So the next time that you celebrate Columbus Day remember what you are celebrating is the disruption of one of the oldest civilizations in the world and which lead to our United States Constitutions.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Little Did I Know

One day at work I was bored and surfing the web trying to look busy and for some reason or another I started looking up the old computers that I learned on. I started reading about the IBM 360 but while I was reading it work got in the way so I booked marked the page. That bookmark would lead to an amazing discovery.

Several months later I went back to it and as I was reading it, it dawned on me that the article was on Lynn Conway but the title of the bookmark said Robert Conway…?
Life, Engineered
How Lynn Conway reinvented her world and ours
Michigan Engineering – University of Michigan
Story by Nicole Casal Moore

On a two-lane Texas highway in January 1978, it hit Lynn Conway that she might be leading a revolution.

She was 40 years old, driving a gold, wood-paneled Dodge wagon from Cambridge to Palo Alto on a southern route to stay out of the snow. She passed much of the trip with the windows down, flipping through radio stations for Boston's latest anthem or a Gerry Rafferty saxophone riff.

The last two years had been a blur. Conway had been working for Xerox on a daring project that would democratize microchip design – break it out of the vaults of the big semiconductor firms so the "personal computers" these futurists envisioned might begin to take shape.
If we have our heroes, Lynn Conway is one of those heroes. Because of her what you are reading this was made possible. The article that I was reading back in the late 90s was about a revolutionary breakthrough in computers that was made in the early 70s by Lynn Conway.

When she transitioned she also began a new job,
…She started as a contract programmer and quickly ascended to Memorex and then to the high-profile Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. 
And from there…
But she didn't know how to make microchips. So she learned. Then she ignored most of what she absorbed. Conway and Mead felt that the process needed to be reimagined, standardized and simplified.
A textbook would take the new concepts straight to the next generation. The team began writing "Introduction to VLSI Systems" and self-published the early versions at Xerox.

"The book was a landmark," Chuck House, director of InnovaScapes Institute wrote in the IEEE special issue about Conway. "The paradigm shift that enabled Apple's and Microsoft's emergence had vital antecedents that have largely remained obscure. Conway's role there, while crucial, has often seemed behind the scenes to outside observers."
So the next time you pick up your smartphone you will know that a trans-woman made that possible.

Wrong Way

I believe this is an important topic but this is the wrong way to debate wage inequity.

There are many other ways to bring this issue to the forefront instead of trivializing trans-people. GLAAD said,
Anti-trans workplace discrimination is no laughing matter

But as an ally to the transgender community, I also see why a video released by the National Women’s Law Center missed the mark in addressing the topic.

I certainly get the video’s humor, and I think we can all agree it’s well intended. But for transgender people and allies like me, it's difficult to watch without thinking about the dire employment situation trans people face in the workplace. For example:
  • Transgender people are four times more likely to live in poverty than non-trans people
  • The unemployment rate for transgender people is double the rate for the general population, and four times the rate for transgender people of color
  • 47% of transgender people report they were either fired, not advanced, or not hired due to their gender identity
  • Studies suggest the earnings of transgender women workers fall by nearly 1/3 following transition 
  • You can be fired in 32 states for simply being transgender
When I was in the House gallery listening to the debate, the opposition trivialized our struggle by saying we were transitioning to save money on our auto insurance and I see this ad doing the same thing trivializing trans-men transition.

Substitute race for gender and you can get some idea how off color the ad is. Suppose they had a black man saying he became white to get better jobs, what would you think about the ad? Is it now objectionable? Then why is it okay to say that about a trans-man?

Yes, the ad is funny, yes the ad does show how ridiculous wage discrimination  is, but there are better ways to do it.

Update Oct. 12, 2014 6:30PM:
Sarah Silverman said on her Facebook page...
If I literally got a sex change I would indeed find the work force far less friendly. The video wasn't transphobic it was transignorant - never crossed my mind. But to my *unintentional* credit- people are talking about it & so begins awareness. Please don't punish this cause because of my video. I certainly don't only fight for causes that concern or benefit me and I expect the same of the vital trans community.
Update Oct. 14, 2014 3:45PM
The National Women’s Law Center said on their blog,
The video also features the ridiculous notion that Sarah Silverman would “become a dude” to avoid the wage gap. Sex reassignment surgery is an expensive and complex procedure, which health insurance companies typically refuse to cover, and is therefore out of reach for many of the transgender people who seek it—and transitioning from female to male would clearly not guarantee higher pay in reality. We know transgender people receive no pay premium; in fact, they almost universally report harassment and mistreatment on the job. Nearly half report having been fired, denied a promotion, or not having been hired because of their gender identity and studies suggest the earnings of transgender women workers fall by nearly a third following transition.
In a poll about the ad on the Huffington Post...
What do you think of Sarah Silverman's video?
  • It was completely offensive.    12.25%
  • I think it included valid points about the wage gap, but I understand and agree with the arguments against it.    34.77%
  • It didn't bother me at all.    52.98%
Maybe the reason the majority found the ad inoffensive was because they don't have a clue of discrimination that we face. They live in their own little privileged world and have no knowledge of what is happening in the real world.