Friday, July 31, 2015

It’s Against My Religion!

More and more people are saying that they have a right to discriminate because their religion gives them that right.
Balancing Freedoms in the WorkplaceA recent lawsuit filed in Michigan raises questions about how an employer can balance employees' religious freedoms with employees' sexual orientations.Human Resources Online
By William Atkinson
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Former Ford Motor Co. engineer Thomas Banks said in a federal lawsuit filed in early July that the automaker and an employment services firm both violated his religious freedom when they fired him for posting an anti-gay comment on Ford's website.

Banks, who describes himself as a Christian, worked at Ford for three years on assignment from Rapid Global Business Solutions, an employment service firm.

In July 2014, in response to a Ford intranet article celebrating the 20th anniversary of a group fostering an inclusive workplace for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, Banks posted a comment saying, among other things, that Ford has no place promoting sodomy and immoral sexual conduct. Banks also claimed that the article was an assault on his religious beliefs.
We are going to see this more and more in the workplace. I know of one case where an employee refused to wear an Ally sticker on her badge because if her religion and she used male pronouns when she was assigned a trans woman client. The company policy is that they treat all their clients the same; with respect and dignity.

The article goes on to say,
Does this case have implications for employers beyond those who are involved in this specific case itself?

Many legal experts would say yes.

"I think there will be a run of lawsuits which will claim that the application of the right of a homosexual couple to marry is an unconstitutional infringement on a person's or business owner's religious freedom," says Emilee Boyle Gehling, an attorney with Goosmann Law Firm in Sioux City, Iowa.
In light of the Banks case, Sasser [chief counsel for Liberty Institute a conservative organization] believes that employers should be careful to review calls for the company to participate in "social issues of the day," to ensure that the company is ready to handle the conversations that such issues may create within the workplace. "Second, employers should train supervisors about Title VII and its implications for people of all faiths, in order to ensure that supervisors treat with care the intersection of social issues the company is promoting and religious objections," he says. "Employers should acknowledge that religious liberty is protected, and that conversations and issue resolution techniques are far superior to taking punitive action against a religiously-motivated employee."
I see many more of these cases coming forward as companies become more inclusive they will start butting heads with religious conservatives who feel that they have a right to discriminate.

It should be interesting to see what happens with that case worker, does she have a legal right to be disrespectful to their clients? Or does the company have the right to require employees to treat all clients with respect and dignity?

Why Does It Always Take A Lawsuit

It seems like it always takes a lawsuit for a business to do the right thing. Here in Connecticut a police officer was harassed and discriminated against but the city is playing hardball.
Middletown files nonsuit motion against fired transgenderofficer
The Middletown Press
By Brian Zahn
July 30, 2015
  MIDDLETOWN >> Francesca Quaranta, a former Middletown police officer who was fired for exhausting all her leave time from the force, must defend against motions to dismiss two lawsuits she brought against either the city or a city board.
  In an ongoing suit, Quaranta, a transgender woman who began her transition while employed with the department, initially alleged discrimination from the city and various police employees.
  The city moved for a nonsuit on July 23, saying Quaranta would not revise her suit after an April 13 court order claimed she did not have the jurisdiction to allege discrimination from individual defendants. The basis of the claim was they were not mentioned in her application to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
Motion after motion it seems like the city is doing everything to stall the case from being heard. As one commenter said that it will probably be cheaper to just give her the pension than to pay all the lawyers.

Meanwhile down in New Jersey,
Transgender Newark teacher files suit claiming advocacy ledto firing
By Dan Ivers
July 30, 2015
  A longtime former Newark schools employee has filed suit against the district, claiming she was repeatedly faced discrimination because she is a transgender woman.
  In her complaint filed in U.S. District Court in February, Christine Hamlett alleges that she was passed over for promotions and was subjected to other unduly harsh treatment before eventually being fired in 2013.
  The termination marked the end of a 42-year run working for the school district, after being hired as James Hamlett in 1970. She worked as a social studies teacher in various schools before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 1983, according to the complaint.
And of course the school filed a motion to dismiss,
Attorneys for the district have filed motions to dismiss two of the suit's three counts for wrongful discharge and breach of contract, and a ruling is expected soon, according to Hamlett's South Orange-based attorney Christina Bennett. Hamlett is seeking unspecified damages.
Why does it always take lawsuits to get people to do the right thing?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

In The Courts Again

Down in Huston HERO is back in the courts and this time we lost. The case was heard in the Texas Supreme Court,
Texas Supreme Court Throws Out Houston's LGBT Protections
The ruling comes three months after a judge ruled that opponents of Houston's controversial non-discrimination ordinance failed to force a repeal referendum.
The Advocate
By Dawn Ennis
July 24, 2015

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that city leaders must either repeal its controversial equal rights ordinance, enacted in May 2014, or place it on the November ballot, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"We agree with the Relators that the City Secretary certified their petition and thereby invoked the City Council's ministerial duty to reconsider and repeal the ordinance or submit it to popular vote," said the Texas Supreme Court, in what is called a per curiam opinion. "The legislative power reserved to the people of Houston is not being honored."
Texas's high court sided with City Secretary Anna Russell who earlier said enough signatures were gathered to force a repeal measure on HERO be placed on an upcoming ballot. The city's out mayor, Annise Parker, disagreed with Russell and said many of the signatures were invalid.
The media in Huston has been against us, the Huffington Post writes,
The "sexual predator" talking point has been thoroughly debunked by law enforcement experts, government officials, and advocates for sexual assault victims in states and cities that have had laws like HERO on their books for years. Non-discrimination laws don't make sexual assault legal, and sexual predators don't decide to act based on whether a local non-discrimination ordinance exists.

That kind of irresponsible coverage continued after HERO's passage, as the push to put the ordinance on the ballot gave way to an intense legal battle. Houston's Fox affiliate continued to uncritically repeat the bogus "bathroom" myth, and before long, Fox News' national network took notice. Led by Mike Huckabee, the network turned the fight in Houston into a national conservative rallying cry, peddling myths about HERO and misrepresenting legal proceedings to stoke outrage. Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined Huckabee in using the controversy to establish his social conservative bona fides. By November of 2014, thousands of activists were descending on Houston to rally against HERO and demand a public vote.

But that didn't stop local media outlets in Houston from uncritically repeating the "bathroom" myth in their reporting on HERO. Opponents' talking points permeated local news coverage of the ordinance, resulting in a public debate that focused on conservative fearmongering rather than anti-LGBT discrimination…
That kind of irresponsible coverage continued after HERO's passage, as the push to put the ordinance on the ballot gave way to an intense legal battle. Houston's Fox affiliate continued to uncritically repeat the bogus "bathroom" myth, and before long, Fox News' national network took notice. Led by Mike Huckabee, the network turned the fight in Houston into a national conservative rallying cry, peddling myths about HERO and misrepresenting legal proceedings to stoke outrage. Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined Huckabee in using the controversy to establish his social conservative bona fides. By November of 2014, thousands of activists were descending on Houston to rally against HERO and demand a public vote.
I have said many times that human rights should never be put to a popular vote because they tend to impose bigotry on a marginalized minority. There is a history of ballot referendum taking away basic human rights, in the majority of states where women suffrage was on the ballot it was voted down, marriage equality was made illegal by constitutional referendums in states, and non-=discrimination laws were repealed by referendums. Will the citizens of Huston do the right thing or will the bigots win?

The Battle Begins

On Sunday I wrote about Facebooks policy on “Real Names” and how it hurts trans people and now Germany has taken on Facebook.
Germany Takes On Facebook’s ‘Real Name’ Policy
By Lauren C. Williams
July 30, 2015

German privacy regulators determined Facebook’s controversial “real name” policy violates individual privacy rights under the country’s data protection law and that consumers can use pseudonyms if they choose.

The Hamburg data protection authority said Tuesday the social network could no longer force users to provide government documentation such as passports, drivers licenses, and other ID forms to verify their Facebook account and use the site.

“As in many other complaints against Facebook, this case demonstrates that the network wants to enforce the so-called real names policy with no regard to national legislation,” said Johannes Caspar, the agency’s commissioner, adding that pseudonyms are permitted under German law and “the unauthorised modification of the pseudonym … blatantly violated the right to informational self-determination and constitutes a deliberate infringement of the Data Protection Act.”
Of course Facebook is not taking this sitting down,
Facebook disagreed. “We’re disappointed Facebook’s authentic name policy is being revisited, since German courts have reviewed it on multiple occasions and regulators have determined it fully complies with applicable European data protection law,” a spokesperson said in a statement to ThinkProgress. “The use of authentic names on Facebook protects people’s privacy and safety by ensuring people know who they’re sharing and connecting with.”
Too bad we don’t have laws like Europe, but it would have to get through the Republican Congress where businesses can do no wrong.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Remember…

Back when I was doing my first internship for my MSW and my field supervisor asked me about my support network and I didn’t know what she meant. I thought she might be talking about trans support groups but what she meant was who do I turn to for emotional support. I told her that my brother was my support network. But I though that I would never need that because my concentration was in Community Organizing, but I was wrong.
How Connecticut is Helping Combat Child Sex TraffickingThree hundred child victims of human trafficking have been reported in Connecticut since 2008, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.New London Patch
By Jaimie Cura (Patch Staff)
 July 29, 2015

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a bill that gives law enforcement an additional tool to investigate domestic minor sex trafficking, or DMST, and also expands access to services to victims of child exploitation.

Malloy also announced the launch of a new law enforcement education initiative that will enhance the effectiveness of investigations and prosecutions of this crime, according to a press release from his office.

300 Child Victims of Human Trafficking
“That there have been 300 child victims of human trafficking have been reported in Connecticut since 2008 is stunning — and people want action,” Malloy said on Wednesday, July 29. “As we work towards smart policing and a more effective criminal justice system, ending the trafficking of children has to be a central component. It’s, simply, a moral issue. If law enforcement, social workers, and other professionals have access to the tools they need, we can help the victims and more effectively prevent this type of horrible crime. That’s why these steps are so important.”
One day during my second year internship I was asked by my boss to go to a meeting for her at Court Support Services Division (CSSD) and the meeting changed my life.

The meeting was about a teenage trans woman who was thrown out of her home when she came out to her parents and she ran away to Connecticut. She was picked up by a pimp at the bus stations, locked in a room and shot up with heroin and then forced to work the streets. She was arrested and jailed as a prostitute, she turned in her pimp. At the pimp’s trail she told the court what he had done to her and on the steps of the court house he shot her.

CSSD was looking for a shelter to place the girl in and get treatment for her addiction but nobody wanted to take her in. No one wanted to take an addict with a contact on her head. The feds did want to put her into the witness protection program because she was too small of a fish, and the Connecticut program was fill and also couldn’t handle a minor.

I never found out what happened to her, but that night I needed to call my brother because I too emotionally upset over the meeting. Human trafficking is something that we think happens only in third world countries but it is happening in our own backyards and many of the children are run away trans children.

Need Help In Understanding Trans Kids?

Here is a mother’s comments on understanding trans children…
How many transgender kids will change their minds? What are the real numbers for kids like mine, who told me at age three that she wasn't the boy I thought she was? I decided to do some digging into the "science" about transgender kids.
THE FACTS (about transgender kids) from gendermom on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I have said many times human rights should not be voted on, but there is an interesting polls that surprised me.
Most small business owners think it should be illegal to deny service to gay customers
The Business Journals
By Kent Hoover
July 13, 2015

Nearly two-thirds of small business owners don’t think a business owner should be able to deny goods or services to gay Americans on religious grounds.

That’s according to an Internet survey of 500 small business owners conducted for Small Business Majority by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

Even a majority of Republican and Christian small business owners say religious beliefs don’t justify discrimination against LGBT individuals.

When asked specifically about gay marriage, 55 percent said businesses shouldn’t be allowed to refuse same-sex couples with wedding-related services because of the business owners’ religious beliefs.
This was a surprise but still disappointing that only 55 percent thought they shouldn’t discriminate. Also when you stop and think about it, what these business owners are saying is that money tops bigotry… if your money is green we want to business with you.

I Hate Court Cases

It is a crap shoot; you never know how it is going to turn out.

There is a federal court case now in Virginia where a trans boy is suing the school district to allow him to use the boys bathroom.

The New York Times has an editorial about the case yesterday, in the article they said,
 On Monday, Judge Robert Doumar of Federal District Court in Virginia is scheduled to consider whether the school board’s decision to prohibit Gavin from using the male restroom is unlawful discrimination. The case addresses one of the main unresolved battles in the fight for transgender equality.

A favorable decision for the student would be the first time a federal court has ruled that refusing transgender students access to proper restrooms is discriminatory. Any other outcome would reinforce cruel policies that deny dignity to some of the most vulnerable students and subject them to more bullying and stigmatization.
As usual the other students had no problems with him using the boy’s bathroom, but then the parents and elected officials got involved,
Soon, though, feeling that most students were supportive or unfazed, he received permission to use the boys’ room, and did so for seven weeks last fall without any problem. But when word of this reached parents in the community, many were incensed. In response, a Gloucester County school board member, Carla Hook, introduced a resolution in November stipulating that access to locker rooms and restrooms “shall be limited to the corresponding biological genders, and students with gender identity issues shall be provided an alternative appropriate private facility.”
Since then, Gavin has tried to use the nurse’s restroom at school as infrequently as possible, which has caused urinary tract infections. The ordeal has made him a pariah to many in his community. Judge Doumar has an opportunity to end blatant discrimination by ruling against the school board. Gavin’s lawyers are seeking an injunction that would restore his right to use the proper restroom before school starts in September. A final ruling in the case may take several months.
Judge Robert Doumar is a Reagan appointee and was a  delegate to three Republican national conventions before becoming a federal judge.

In Buzzfeed they have more about the hearing today,
But Doumar announced midway through Monday’s hearing that he was throwing out that argument. “Your case in Title IX is gone, by the way,” he told ACLU staff attorney Joshua Block, who argued on Grimm’s behalf. “I have chosen to dismiss Title IX. I decided that before we started.”
  The announcement was unexpected not only because it diverges from the recent legal trend on the question of whether sex discrimination bans include anti-transgender discrimination, but also because a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice who had come to argue in Grimm’s favor on the Title IX question had not yet been given a chance to speak.
But Doumar pointed out that Title IX allows segregating single-sex facilities in general, like restrooms and locker rooms, for male and female students. And as such, he appeared to argue, transgender students can be segregated as well based on their birth sex. He suggested birth sex is solely at issue in Title IX, not a person’s chosen gender.
  “I have no problem with transgender. I have a lot of problems with sex,” said Doumar. “I am convinced he is a biological female who wants to be a male.”
  Grimm’s lawyers countered that the Supreme Court used gender and sex interchangeably.
Doumar is letting another one of Grimm’s arguments proceed — a constitutional argument for equal protection. However, Doumar warned Grimm’s lawyers, “[Y]ou have an uphill battle.”
The judge said several times about being trans is a mental disorder and was corrected the ACLU attorney that it is "gender dysphoria — the medical term for being transgender — was problematic only if a patients could not live in accordance with their gender identity."

The judge then goes on to show his basis in the case…
On Monday, Doumar repeatedly interrupted lawyers and waxed on tangents about his frustrations with how the United States is changing. “Where the U.S is going scares me,” he said. “It really scares me.”

When the federal government’s lawyer was asked to answer questions toward the end of the hearing, Doumar patronized the Department of Justice for enforcing marijuana prohibition in some states while allowing other states to tax and regulate pot, filing a brief in another unspecific case without pursuing a penalty, and other perceived shortcomings.
  “I am sorry for the Department of Justice,” he said. “Sanctuary cities. Where are we going?”
  “I get perplexed, very perplexed,” he continued. “I believe in the Constitution. … I am worried about where we are going. Maybe I am just old fashioned.” Doumar then went on to cite the works of philosophers Rousseau and Voltaire, saying Congress was too quick to pass new laws.

ABC 13 News Now had this video about the hearing today,

It is nail biting time again. This could be a major victory or a major defeat and end up going all the way to the Supreme Court.

Another State Joins The List

There are now the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, California, Washington, and Oregon and Washington D.C. where you are able to change our birth certificate without surgery.

Massachusetts state senator Jason Lewis has posted this on his webpage,
State Senator Jason Lewis is pleased to announce that his measure to facilitate the process for transgender people to amend their birth certificates has been included in the Fiscal Year 2016 state budget signed today by the Governor.  The measure will take effect when the budget takes effect on August 1.

Under existing law (Section 13, subsection (e), of Chapter 46 of the Massachusetts General Laws), a person must show the completion of sex reassignment surgery in order to have the ability to amend the listing of their sex on their birth certificate. However, this requirement is onerous as sex reassignment surgery can often be a series of surgeries and procedures that are very expensive and are typically done over a long period of time.  Also, many transgender people simply choose not to seek sex reassignment surgery.

Under Senator Lewis’ measure, individuals seeking to amend their birth certificates to accurately reflect their sex can do so by presenting to either the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics or their municipal clerk’s office: an affidavit executed by the individual, or by a parent or guardian if the individual is a minor, indicating the individual’s sex; and, a physician’s notarized statement that the individual has completed medical intervention appropriate for the individual.  This requirement to offer proof of medical intervention replaces the former, more onerous requirement to offer proof of completion of sex reassignment surgery.

“Vital records are the primary documents that serve as guideposts to our lives: they announce a child’s birth, affirm our most sacred relationships, and help get our affairs in order after we die,” said Senator Jason Lewis.  “Yet, if you are a transgender person in Massachusetts, state law still requires proof of surgery to amend your birth certificate.  This is an out-of-date and unduly onerous requirement that is also inconsistent with medical best practices.”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Do You Know How Hard It Is…

…To live if you are trans and black?

Eleven trans women were killed this year and three of us in three days, because it didn’t happen all in one place at one time it is not news. It seems like someone put up a sign that says “Open Season on Trannies”
Man arrested in connection with attack of transgender woman at Cal Anderson Park
A 28-year-old man was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of attacking a transgender woman at Cal Anderson Park.
By Walker Orenstein
Seattle Times
July 24, 2015

A 28-year-old man was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of attacking a transgender woman at Cal Anderson Park, according to Seattle police.

The man reportedly harassed the woman, threw a cup of ice water at her, and punched her in the head, a news release says.
She was lucky, she only got punched.

On MSNBC Janet Mock read the names of the trans women that were killed so far this year here in the US.

In an article on TakePart, Janet Mock talks about the traps that lead so many black trans women on to the streets…
“A lot of the ways in which I dealt with it and a lot of my girlfriends dealt with it was underground economies,” said Mock. “Some dealt drugs or dealt with that piece of it, and some, like myself, dealt within the sex trade.”
“What I find shameful is a culture that exiles, stigmatizes, and criminalizes those engaged in underground economies like sex work as a means to move past struggle to survival,” Mock wrote in a blog post last year.

Her time as a sex worker was a means to an end. After high school, Mock headed off to New York University, graduated with a degree in journalism, and went on to become a contributing editor to fashion magazine Marie Claire and the host of MSNBC series So Popular.
For many black trans women there is no happy ending. Their “johns” find out that they are transgender and kill them. They were just trying to survive and it cost them their lives. For many they are unemployable because their family threw them out on the street and with no education, they turn to the only way they know how to survive… working the streets.

In A Closet, In A Box On The Back Shelf

That is how far I was hidden in the closet before I came out and what opened the door and took me out to the light of the day was the internet.

In this TEDx talk by CiCi she talks about crossdressing and also she mentions how the internet brought about the trans revolution. For me it differently was the internet that brought me out of the closet in 1999.

For me I was working with computers way back in 1969 and I dabbled with dial up timeshare systems back in the late 70s but I didn’t stay with it. Then one day at work we got PC and connected to the internet, being in electronics my boss asked me to research a replacement transformer for a power supply that we built on this newfangled computer.

Back in 1998 the search engines were not like todays Google and were rather crude, so I typed in “transformers”; lo and behold what came up crossdressers and transsexuals. Within a few days I had the internet in my house and I discovered that there were people who were just like me out there, I was not alone.

So take a few minutes and watch CiCi’s talk, it is much more that the internet…

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Quite, Withdrawn & Easy To Anger

A trouble kid, a cutter, can’t concentrate in class, a straight “A” student now barely able to advance to the next grade…
GREENWICH (AP) — In ninth grade, Evan Connors was taken to the hospital three times. He was reclusive. He was mute. He hated himself.

"Ninth grade was like getting sucked into a black hole," he says. "I'd just ... do things to myself that weren't good. It was horrible, it was scary, I didn't know who I was."

His mother, Wendy Connors, didn't know how to reach her child.
"I vividly remember standing in your room when you were so, beyond," she says to him.

Terrified, as any parent would be, Wendy told herself she was going to stop what she saw happening.

"I said, ... 'I'm not going to lose my kid, I'm going to change things right now. I'm going to pull you back out. And you know, it was just a matter of love and talking and making sure I didn't just give up. And here we are. Right?" 
So what do you think, is there any way to turn this trouble child around?

The Hartford Courant article goes on to say,
"To see the progression from that time to where we are now, I can't even tell you how proud I am of this kid sitting here, just the confidence and the ability to sit and talk openly and present yourself as yourself," Wendy says.
So what brought about the change?

Well since this blog is about trans I think it is obvious… he came out as trans. The depression went away and his school work improved so much that he is going to college this fall.

It is not a smooth road, there are many bumps and detours and one of the things that helped was a strong GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) at school and at graduation “Evan's classmates voted him "Most Changed" in this year's yearbook.”

What They Say & What They Do.

I had a couple of friends that Facebook locked out because they didn’t used their real name. They are crossdressers so they didn’t use their real name because some of them are not out.
Facebook Builds A Rough Road Back For Those Booted By Its “Real Name” Policy
Process hell and faceless bureaucracy may await those locked out of their accounts — even when they use their legal names.
Posted on Jul. 17, 2015
By Alex Kantrowitz

Until recently, Daniel Wilson, a transgender musician based in England, went by the name Chalcedony Angel on Facebook. The moniker, a stage name, worked fine for a while, but as he — a pronoun he suggested we use — grew more comfortable with his identity, Wilson legally changed his name to Eveshka Ghost, and then made the change on Facebook as well.

Ghost’s new legal name displayed briefly on Facebook without issue. But then, like many in the trans community, he ran into trouble. On June 19, a message arrived in his inbox demanding he provide proof that Eveshka Ghost was indeed his real name. If he could not, he’d be kicked off the platform. When Ghost replied with his change of name form, he tumbled into a rabbit hole of Facebook bureaucracy. Nearly a month later, he still doesn’t have his account back.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, this never should have happened.

In a Q&A on his Facebook page earlier this month, Zuckerberg said his company’s “real name” policy — which prohibits aliases on the platform — should be workable for people in the trans community, who often go through identity transitions. But the reality is different. People who are reported as “real name” violators can find themselves locked in a bureaucratic mess, responding to emails that are essentially form letters from faceless Facebook employees, with no opportunity to talk live despite the complexities of the policy and the harshness of its enforcement. This system has hit the trans community particularly hard. But it’s also made life difficult for activists and various others.
One person that I know went by their trans name and on her gender she had transgender, but that didn’t help. For many trans people they are not out and if anyone found out they they are trans it could cost them their job or worst.

The article goes on to say,
Documentation Lady Soliloquy provided to BuzzFeed News shows how frustrating the process can be. In an initial message to Lady Soliloquy, Facebook linked a list of accepted documentation, and wrote the following: “If this is the name you are known by in everyday life, please help us verify it by attaching a copy of an ID that shows your name, photo and date of birth in a reply to this email.”

Lady Soliloquy then submitted multiple forms of identification — a bank statement, a utility bill, an IRS employer identification number receipt, and a photo ID — only to be met with a message from a “Jean” of Facebook’s community operations telling her, “We received your ID but couldn’t use it to verify your identity.” Little further information was offered.
It seems like some people at Facebook just will not accept any form of identification and I can’t help but wonder of it isn’t willful discrimination by some of their employees. They have a policy that some of their employees are not following.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday 9: All the Way

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: All the Way (1957)
Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…

... because The Gal Herself is into Sinatra

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

1) In this song, Frank sings, "who knows where the road will lead us?" Which leads Sam to ask, does your vehicle have GPS?
Yes, it is great for coming home from bars at night. You just hit “Home” … Just kidding!

2) Sinatra introduced "All the Way" in the movie, The Joker Is Wild. During that film he also sang "Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)." A few years later, in the movie Robin and The Seven Hoods, he declared Chicago as his "kind of town." Besides Chicago, can you think of another city Frank immortalized in song?
New York City, the “Big Apple.”

3) When Frank was 19, he saw a pretty girl sitting on her front porch, giving herself a manicure. He went and got his ukelele and serenaded her. That girl became his first wife, Nancy. Tell us how one of your romances began.
At a speech I gave at the Legislative Office Building

4) Both Frank and Nancy grew up in New Jersey. When you think of NJ, what else comes to mind?
“Tollgate” or whatever they called the brew-ha over closing a lane on the George Washington bridge.

5) Sinatra made Las Vegas as famous for entertainment as for gambling. He was so identified with the Strip, that when he played Caesar's Palace the marquee simply said, "He's Here." Have you ever been to Vegas?
Nope, and I have no desire to go there. I don't like to gamble or go to the shows they have there.

6) Thin for most of his life, Frank was blessed with a metabolism that allowed him to whatever he wanted without gaining weight. He especially enjoyed clams posillipo. What's your favorite Italian dish?

7) Perhaps because of his hardscrabble childhood, Sinatra was a soft touch for charities devoted to kids. One of his favorites was Variety, which sends disadvantaged children on day trips to museums, zoos and sporting events. Here's your chance to tell us about a cause that's near and dear to your heart.
True Colors, a LGBT youth, and family service agency. I did my internship there for my MSW and have worked on many co-projects with them.

8) Sinatra was a neat freak who couldn't stand dust or clutter and showered at least twice a day. He got this from his mother Dolly, who was compulsive about housecleaning and hygiene. Can you think of a time when you caught yourself doing something and thought, "I'm just like Mom/Dad!"
Yes, it happens many times. One time I was “discussing” some with my brother and my sister-in-law laughed and said we sounded just like “Lu and Elly” our parents

9) In 1998, Sinatra was buried with the things he always had in tow: a bottle of Jack Daniels, a pack of Camels, a Zippo lighter and 10 dimes. Why the dimes? According to his daughter, "He never wanted to be caught not able to make a call." Of course, 17 years later cell phones have replaced pay phones. Anyway, tell us what you always carry.
Cell phone, tissues, nail file, breath mints, pen, and hand sanitizer.

The last couple of weekends I have had company up at the cottage and it makes it hard to take some time to reply to comments.

Friday, July 24, 2015

What I have Been Saying…

Those of you who have been following my blog know this has been something that I have been saying for a long time, we need to go beyond ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act),
The Equality Act Is the LGBT Rights Bill We Want and Need
By Mara Keisling
July 22, 2015

In 1974, the Equality Act was introduced to add sexual orientation throughout the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Twenty years later, for various political reasons, the bill was stripped down to be only an employment rights bill and renamed ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. ENDA has been the centerpiece federal legislation ever since—although gender identity was excluded from the act until 2007. And this week, we are very pleased to announce that ENDA is being replaced with the Equality Act, a more comprehensive bill that when passed will offer protection in employment, housing, public accommodations, and four other areas.
This is what I wanted to hear,
NCTE has advocated for over ten years for refocusing on a comprehensive bill more akin to the original Equality Act. The most notable difference between the Equality Act and its 1974 namesake is that it includes both gender identity and sexual orientation—and unlike in 2007, removing gender identity is now completely unthinkable.
For those of you who do not know what the reference to 2007 means, it was the first time ENDA included gender identity and expression and the HRC was “totally” behind the inclusive bill until Congressman Barney Frank pulled it from the bill and then the HRC switched to supporting the non-inclusive bill leaving us to get run over by the bus.

The NCTE blog goes on to say…
Here’s what you may want to know.
  • The Equality Act will be introduced this Thursday, July 23 by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the U.S. Senate and Rep. Cicilline (D-RI) in the U.S. House of Representatives, along with many co-sponsors: Senators Tammy Baldwin, and Cory Booker, and Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and John Lewis. They will be joined by a large number of co-sponsors.
  • The bill will explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, credit, public accommodations, jury service, and federally funded programs. (Gender identity and sexual orientation are defined the same way they were in ENDA.)
  • The bill will also codify the existing interpretations of sexual orientation and gender identity bias as being forms of sex discrimination, which many courts and federal agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have already embraced. Think of it as wearing both a belt and suspenders. So for instance, if a trans person is discriminated against in their job, it will be clearly illegal as both gender identity discrimination and sex discrimination. This is important for various reasons, including that it will help cement these interpretations under various other laws not directly amended by the bill.
  • Interestingly, the types of businesses considered to be public accommodations would be expanded by the Equality Act, not only for sexual orientation but also for the existing categories of race, color, religion, and national origin. Additionally, the category of sex would be added to the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act for the first time, greatly advancing women’s rights.
  • In the same way the law protects people on the basis of their race and religion, the Equality Act will make clear that discrimination because someone is (or is perceived to be) LGBT, or is a parent, child, partner, or otherwise associated with someone who is LGBT--is also illegal.
  • Whereas ENDA would have created a new law specific to LGBT people, the Equality Act will add LGBT protections to existing civil rights laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Jury Selection and Service Act. It is being done this way to ensure that LGBT people are protected equally compared to other marginalized groups that are already protected.
  • No special religious exemptions would apply for discrimination against LGBT people. Amending existing civil rights laws means that the religious exemptions that have been in place for fifty years will remain in place. Mainly this means that religious institutions can continue to prefer individuals of their own faith.
Two things to notice, the first is this bill is not just a LGBT bill, it is also adding “sex” to areas of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 where it was left out like in public accommodations. And second it allow religious exemptions, “Amending existing civil rights laws means that the religious exemptions that have been in place for fifty years will remain in place.” The Advocate writes,
The Equality Act would include protections in public accommodations, public education, employment, housing, federal funding, jury service, legal protections, and credit. The bill would also clarify that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used to defend discrimination against LGBT people.
The Equality Act would also amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include employment protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Religious beliefs, race, sex, color, and national origin are already protected characteristics. The bill would not change existing religious exemptions for religious corporations, schools, and associations to make hiring decisions based on religious beliefs if the employee will be performing work connected with their religious activities. [My emphasis]
So it maintains the exemptions that were in place since the original law was passed. But that doesn’t sit well with the conservatives.

The Daily Signal (a news organization of The Heritage Foundation) reports that,
Nevertheless, having expanded the bill from including sexual orientation to also including gender identity, activists have also extended this misguided policy well beyond employment—to “credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service and public accommodations.” These SOGI laws must be resisted, as I explain in chapter six of my new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.”

The Advocate reports that the “Equality Act’s” special privileges would apply to “public  accommodations, public education, employment, housing, federal funding, jury service, legal protections, and credit. The bill would also clarify that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used to defend” people who believe that marriage is the union of man and woman. That’s right: the bill says that religious freedom needs to take a back seat to special SOGI protections.
So we are going to have a long uphill battle in the Republican controlled Congress even though the polls show that the majority of the people support this bill. The 2016 elections are going to very important; the Republicans are trying to expand religious exemption and if they control Congress and the Presidency you can probably bet your bottom dollar they are going to pass the law.

Your Paper Please - Birth Certificate

When you are looking for a job you have to prove that you are here in the U.S. legally and to do that you have to present a certain approved documents like a passport or green card. Or you can use your birth certificate but for many trans people it might still show your assigned gender at birth and that could create problems.
That's Not My Name: What Maryland's new law on birth-certificate changes means for the state's transgender and gender nonconforming communities
Baltimore City Paper
By Olivia Adams
July 21, 2015

For trans people, changing names can be an important part of changing gender identity. For years Maryland citizens have been able to change their names and gender markers on most identity documents, such as Social Security cards and driver's licenses. But in March of this year, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law which removes almost every barrier to changing the gender marker on one's birth certificate. It was announced in March that Gov. Larry Hogan would let the bill go into effect without his signature, so beginning Oct. 1 of this year, transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex people across the state can more easily change their markers. All you need is a letter from a licensed health care practitioner stating that you have "undergone treatment appropriate for the purpose of sex transition" or that you have "been diagnosed with an intersex condition," according to the law.
This is the same as the Connecticut law which also goes into effect October 1st but Connecticut’s governor Malloy signed the bill.

The article goes on to say,
"No one should have to go before a judge and have the judge determine whether or not they're gonna count your gender as legally recognized," said Patrick Paschall, executive director of FreeState Legal, a Baltimore organization that provides free legal services to low-income LGBTQ people. "And so the law removes that requirement all together."
A little known section of the Connecticut law allows you to go before a Probate judge for a court order to change your birth gender on your birth certificate from another state,
Sec. 2. Section 19a-42b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015):
(a) In the case of a person who is a resident of this state and was born in another state or in a foreign jurisdiction, [if such other state or foreign jurisdiction requires a court decree in order to amend a birth certificate to reflect a change in gender,] the probate courts in this state shall have jurisdiction to issue [such] a decree of a change of sex. [When a person has completed treatment for the purpose of altering his or her sexual characteristics to those of the opposite sex, such] Such person may apply to the probate court for the district in which such person resides for a decree that such person's gender is different from the sex designated on such person's original birth certificate and that such birth certificate be amended to reflect the change in gender. The application to the probate court shall be accompanied by [an affidavit from a physician attesting that the applicant has physically changed gender and an affidavit from a psychologist, psychiatrist or a licensed clinical social worker attesting that the applicant has socially and psychologically changed gender] the following documents: (1) A written statement from the applicant, signed under penalty of law, that the applicant's gender differs from the sex designated on the original birth certificate; and (2) a notarized affidavit by a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 370 or holding a current license in good standing in another state, an advanced practice registered nurse licensed pursuant to chapter 378 or holding a current license in good standing in another state, or a psychologist licensed pursuant to chapter 383 or holding a current license in good standing in another state, stating that the applicant has undergone surgical, hormonal or other treatment clinically appropriate for the applicant for the purpose of gender transition. Upon issuance, such probate court decree shall be transmitted to the registration authority of such person's place of birth.
Note: underlined text was added and bracketed text was deleted from the original law.

So this part of Connecticut’s law could be used to change the gender marker on birth certificates in states where you need a court order to change the gender marker.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

You Will Be Assimilated. Resistance Is Futile

But for those who cannot be assimilated life can be harsh.
The Queers Left Behind: How LGBT Assimilation Is Hurting Our Community's Most Vulnerable
Huffington Post Gay Voices
By Colin Walmsley
July 21, 2015
On the evening of June 28, two very different celebrations took place to mark the most historic New York City Pride week in decades.

The flashier of these celebrations was the iconic Dance on the Pier. As the Pride Parade came to a drizzly end, an exuberant crowd of young, gay and mostly white men made their way to Hudson River Park's Pier 26, where Ariana Grande headlined a big-budget outdoor mega-party. Complete with laser lights, multiple jumbotrons, fireworks and a legion of half-naked go-go dancers, the event was a brazen testament to the newfound trendiness of urban gaydom. Admission started at $80, but that didn't stop 10,000 enthusiastic fans from snatching up tickets to what organizers billed as one of the world's top-tier LGBT events.

If any of those 10,000 attendees had taken a break from the dancing and glanced across the Hudson to the north, they may have seen the outline of the Christopher Street Piers, where a celebration of a very different kind was taking place. Here, a motley crowd of queer homeless youths -- who definitely could not afford admission to Dance on the Pier -- decided to throw an impromptu party of their own. With the bass from the Ariana Grande concert pulsing in the background, the youths -- male, female, cisgender, transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, black and Latino -- drank, smoked, sang, vogued and played cards under the dim light of the street lamps.

Both parties paid homage to a common past by celebrating Pride and the decades of struggle it commemorates. Both parties acknowledged a common present by sharing space on the Hudson River Piers, the heart of New York's LGBT community. But the extravagant Ariana Grande concert and its upscale audience could not have seemed more out of place among the piers that have served as a safe haven for the queer community's most marginalized -- mostly queer homeless youth of color -- for decades.
The Haves and the Have Nots.

The “Haves” fought for marriage equality, the “Have Nots” fought for a roof over their heads and a meal.

What separates them besides the obvious one like race and what side of the tracks they were born on is how well they can assimilate into society. The feminine gay, the butch lesbian, or masculine looking trans woman they are the ones who can’t find a job, they are the ones living on the margins and struggling to stay alive.

If you are white, college educate and you can integrate into society life couldn’t be better. But if you cannot assimilate into society and you are black or Latino, a high school drop out because the bullying and harassment you faced in school you are probably out on the streets preforming survival sex.

The next time you go to a Pride event look around and look at those who are celebrating and look at those who are missing.


Transgender:  A term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is a broad term and is good for non-transgender people to use. "Trans" is shorthand for "transgender." (Note: Transgender is correctly used as an adjective, not a noun, thus "transgender people" is appropriate but "transgenders" is often viewed as disrespectful.) [NTCE]

Transgender (adj.): An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms - including transgender. Some of those terms are defined below. Use the descriptive term preferred by the individual. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to change their bodies. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon medical procedures. [GLAAD]

Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression, or behavior falls outside cultural norms associated with their assigned sex. Include drag queens/kings, crossdressers, genderqueer, genderfluid, and transsexuals. [Mine]

Now look at this article in VOX,
Myth #9: Drag queens and kings are transgender
LGBTQ group GLAAD explained: "Transgender women are not cross-dressers or drag queens. Drag queens are men, typically gay men, who dress like women for the purpose of entertainment. Be aware of the differences between transgender women, cross-dressers, and drag queens. Use the term preferred by the individual."

This distinction is very important to LGBTQ and trans advocates because it helps show the permanence of someone's trans identity.

Being trans isn't a matter of dressing up in different clothes. It's a permanent identity that follows people throughout their entire lives. And while some trans people enjoy dressing up in exotic outfits to entertain others, the act of dressing up in clothes that match one's gender identity reflects only one part of what it means to be trans.

Similarly, being a cross-dresser or drag queen or king doesn't mean that people identify with a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. Some drag queens or kings may even be straight and cisgender — meaning they identify with the gender assigned to them at birth — and are only dressing up for entertainment. What cross-dressing means can vary a lot from individual to individual.
I believe that this is wrong.

But that it seems is how the media is using the word. They are focusing on just one small part of the umbrella and they don’t understand that the word means so much more than identity, it also means expression and behavior. The media doesn’t like complex issues and they like to make it simple… transgender = “It's a permanent identity that follows people throughout their entire lives.” Ah I got it! They don’t realize that the word has a broader meaning.

In a way I am part of that myth, when we were trying to pass the anti-discrimination bill it was easier to let them believe that the bill only covered transsexuals because of the worry that if the legislators knew that transgender also covered crossdressers and drag queens and kings it would be harder to pass the bill.

In Connecticut we made sure that the bill was broad enough to cover anyone who crossed the gender norms.
(21) "Gender identity or expression" means a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth, which gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person's core identity or not being asserted for an improper purpose.
Notice that the law says, “a person's gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior” and that it doesn’t say anything about having to have medical treatment but it says “…consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person's core identity…” A crossdresser or a drag queen shows a “consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity” just by crossdressing or their drag performance.

But now the media is morphing the word to just mean transsexual and we have to fight to make sure that transgender continues to be an umbrella term; otherwise the conservatives win by dividing the community. Just look at the OSHA guidelines, “A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers” if we let the narrow definition stand crossdressers will be locked out of the bathroom of their gender expression.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

For Your Eyes Only

Once in a while I bought a Playboy magazine, but when I went to purchase the copy of Playboy in 1991 with Tula I thought lights and sirens would go off with signs pointing to me saying “Crossdresser!”
By Shane Michael Singh
June 22, 2015

Before Bruce Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer, before Laverne Cox earned an Emmy nod for Orange Is the New Black and before President Barack Obama appointed the first transgender woman to a senior government position, there was Tula. A striking six-foot-tall British model whose face graced magazine covers and popped up in national ad campaigns for vodka and lingerie in the 1970s, Caroline “Tula” Cossey never yearned to be more than a working model and, someday, a wife. But when her enormous success as a model backfired into public hysteria, she had decisions to make. She could stand and fight, or she could run away. She chose to fight. In the wake of it all, Tula would become the first of many things, much to her surprise.

In June 1981, Tula debuted as a Bond girl in For Your Eyes Only. To promote the film, she, along with the film’s other Bond girls, appeared in a Playboy pictorial, images from which appear in these pages. Tula’s career was soaring. Life was good. But everything changed the following year. The British tabloid News of the World revealed Tula’s secret in a single headline: JAMES BOND GIRL WAS A BOY.
I remember all the media that surrounded her, I couldn’t read enough or watch enough about her. The times had changed since Renee Richards came out and this was the male bastion “Playboy” and here it was featuring a “transsexual!” Somewhere in my pile of trans memorabilia is the copy that I saved.

The article goes onto a Q&A with Ms. Cossey,
Was your retirement from public life voluntary or forced?
My career had definitely taken a turn. I was being offered only trans roles on shows like Hill Street Blues. I thought, No, that’s not right. I didn’t like it. There’s a difference between being known as Tula the transsexual international model versus just a successful model. It wasn’t the same. I felt like a circus act. I was also on a tour for my second book, doing eight interviews a day. It became overwhelming, and I got burnt out. Two, three years into it I worried about my sanity. I wanted quiet. I wanted peace of mind and to fall back into society in a more regular manner as a loving and supportive wife. For that reason, I became reclusive for an awfully long time.
Has the growing acceptance of LGBT people made life easier?
I don’t know if I’ll ever stop feeling like a second-class citizen. It’s embedded and instilled from birth. You grow up, you don’t fit in, you don’t belong, you’re bullied. That doesn’t go away in five minutes. I don’t think it ever goes away. When I look back at it all, what I went through was tragic. But how do you deal with pain? You shrug it off. That’s the British way of doing it, at least. [laughs] I do feel a hell of a lot better. I’m an optimist and try to make light of the tragedies I went through, to see the funny side, and that has helped tremendously. I’m never going to be ashamed of something I had no control over, but I don’t want to walk around with it written on my forehead. I know I felt great when I was successful as a model, before my career took off in a different direction.

Speaking of your career, the job that started—and nearly ended—it all was For Your Eyes Only. The Bond films are bigger than ever, winning Oscars and raking in hundreds of millions of dollars. If you were to get a phone call tomorrow asking you to appear in another Bond movie, what would you say?
There’s not a big calling for 60-year-old transsexual women. [laughs] I would hear it out. I would never say no to something that’s tastefully done, but I’m not expecting to grace any covers anytime soon.
I would love to see her back in pictures.

When her book “My Story” came out I once again summoned my courage and bought it and this time it was even harder because it wasn’t Playboy but a book by and about a “transsexual” but the clerk didn’t even blink an eyelash.

Oh by the way, her photos in Playboy didn't really "bare it all."

P.S. Her ebook "My Story" is now on sale on Amazon... no more sneaking into bookstores to buy it.

Is It Wrong?

Drag is not my thing but I don’t hate it, I’m just not interested in watching it. However, I don’t think it should be banned from a Pride parade.
Scotish Pride Event Bans Drag Queens To Avoid Offending Trans People
Logo NewsNowNext
By Matthew Tharrett
July 20, 2015

A Pride event in Scotland is facing backlash after banning drag queen performances because they may be offensive to transgender and non-binary people in attendance.

Free Pride Glasgow, an “anti-commercialist” alternative event to the city’s main Pride event, announced the decision in a statement that claimed some transgender individuals had expressed their discomfort with drag performance because they feel it mocks gender identity.
I have to agree that Pride has turned into a corporate event that pushes beer but I don’t think they should ban drag queens. The article has part of the statement from the organizers,
The statement reads in part:
After much discussion, the trans and non binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event.

The decision was taken by transgender individuals who were uncomfortable with having drag performances at the event. It was felt that it would make some of those who were transgender or questioning their gender uncomfortable. It was felt by the group within the Trans/Non Binary Caucus that some drag performance, particularly cis drag, hinges on the social view of gender and making it into a joke, however transgender individuals do not feel as though their gender identity is a joke. This can particularly difficult for those who are not out and still present as the gender they were assigned at birth.

While it was discussed whether we could have trans drag acts perform, it was agreed that as it would not be appropriate to ask any prospective drag acts whether or not they identified as trans. It was therefore decided that having no drag acts perform would be the best option as it would mean no-one would feel pressured to out themselves. This also adheres to our Safer Spaces Policy, where we ask that no-one assume anyone else’s gender identity, and to always ask people’s pronouns.
It is not just a black and white, I can understand that some people do not like drag and I can also understand that some think of it as a form of “blackface.” There are similarities but there is also differences and the question is does the differences outweigh the similarities.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Surprises When You Transition

On the Huffington Post blog Mac Scotty McGregor has a fun post about,
4 Things You Have to Find Out the Hard Way When You Transition” it is kind of like “the this mom never told me” but for trans people…
1. Sexism is alive and well. Guess what? No matter if you transition from M to F or F to M -- you will encounter sexism in a brand new way. For example if you were seen as female; people may have offered to carry your bags or hold your door. Welcome to being a man. Doors will be closed in your face and not only will you be humping your own suitcase, you will suddenly find yourself carrying everybody else's as well. Got your female on? Welcome to womanhood. Prepare to be judged by your weight, your beauty and your age. Starting now.
Number 3 is another important one that lots of trans men do get right away,
3. Sometimes, our new gender comes with societal baggage; for female to male you may find yourself walking in your newly minted male body and notice a woman walking alone, crossing the street at night to create safe space from you. Wow! Welcome to manhood you are considered a possible predator now. Better think twice about approaching small children that you don't know well because parents may now question your motivations. In your female bodied self, it's very likely that it was quite safe for you to gush over babies and small children. Men are less welcome; and no one prepares you for the dark steely expression that can fall over a parent's face when a male bodied person makes a fuss over a child in the grocery store line…
I have a trans friend who does this and I cringe every time he talks to a child like this.

And the last one is also an import lesson,
4. Whether you transition from female to male or male to female; you may find that your traditional safe places, clubs and even bars no longer welcome you. The world is cut up into gender clubs; and no matter how close you were to your all female book club -- now that you're a man...

I know of a lesbian couple where one of them transitioned and they found it awkward in lesbian spaces where they used to hang out. Sadly they ended up getting a divorce because the non-trans partner found that she couldn’t adjust to being a straight relationship.
...You may also find that you are not welcomed into either gay or straight gender spaces with your new embodied gender. So where do you go? Yes, the world is opening to transgender people -- but the all women's group whether it is straight or gay may not be comfortable yet having a transwoman there. Flip it, and the same goes for the newly minted male. The all male naked yoga class may not be ready for you.
Sometimes it is a big cultural shock when we first transition; I remember my shock the first time I went into a women’s restroom… “My god they talk in here!” the contrast between a women’s and a men’s restroom is amazing, the guys all stare straight ahead and if there is any talk at all it is about sports or work. While in a women’s restroom everything is talked about it is more of a private social club, but of course there is more waiting in line.

And I want to add one, it is kind of related to #1, when you are trying to pull out into traffic guys are more likely to let you in. As a trans woman I was trying to pull out from the CVS store and a guy in a pick-up truck stopped to let me and I gave him a big smile.

More States Are Publishing…

…Guidelines for schools on the rights of trans students, New York just released their guidelines.
Guidance document for transgender, gender nonconforming students released
July 20, 2015

New York State Education Department released a guidance document for school districts on transgender and gender nonconforming students on Monday.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia released the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Guidance document to school districts. This document was given to every public school district in the state. It is intended to help create a safe educational environment free from discrimination for transgender and gender nonconforming students.

The document includes information on how school districts should comply with local, state and federal laws concerning bullying, harassment, discrimination and student privacy. It also outlines how schools need to be providing all students with a safe and inclusive environment.
The New York guidelines introduction starts...
Guidance to School Districts for

Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment
For Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students
JULY 2015

The New York State Education Department (“NYSED”) is committed to providing all public school students, including transgender and gender nonconforming (“GNC”) students, with an environment free from discrimination and harassment, to fostering civility in public schools, and to ensuring that every student has equal access to educational programs and activities. The Dignity for All Students Act (“DASA”) illustrates the State’s commitment to ensuring that all students are educated in a safe and supportive school environment.
Connecticut did that back in 2012 and then Massachusetts. I was on a committee that worked on the Connecticut Guidelines, we came up with the questions and a lawyer from GLAD wrote the answers and we reviewed it and sent it to the lawyers at the Commission of Human Rights and Opportunity. The whole process took over nine months.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Have You Had This Problem?

I have, I’ve had to fight the insurance company to get my PSA test covered…
Obamacare’s Failed Transgender PromiseThe health law requires insurance companies not to deny coverage based on gender, but advocates say enrollees are still being turned down for services for that very reason.By Lisa Gillespie
Kaiser Health News
July 20, 2015

Transgender people are still fighting for access to crucial health services, despite the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance companies not deny coverage based on gender or health history.

The issue stems from the requirement that enrollees check a single gender box when they sign up for a plan sold on the individual or small group markets, according to advocates and health care providers.

“What happens is that the health insurance companies have specific codes and they put you in as female or male; you only get services that go with that code,” said Robin Maril, senior legislative counsel at the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender people.
As a result, they might still need annual mammograms or pap smears even if they are transitioning to men, or prostate exams if they are transitioning to women—not to mention treatment for problems typically regarded as gender-specific. Those could range from sexually transmitted diseases to life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.
Yup. That’s me; it takes almost six months to straighten out payment for my PSA test. Even when I explain it to the insurance company or the doctor’s office billing department I still have problems.

The article goes on to state…
But that doesn’t always work [putting a statement in the patients file], says Dru Levasseur of the Transgender Rights Project at Lambda Legal. Most insurance billing systems are automated, and reproductive services like mammograms and prostate exams are flagged with a corresponding “female” or “male.”

Levasseur says the service is denied automatically if the gender and service don’t match. To allow payment, he and others say, an insurer could put a hold on the claim, verify it with the health care provider, and then manually override the code. “The onus should be on the insurance companies,” Levasseur said.
That is what happens to me, I end up fighting the insurance company and the doctors office.

CTAC (CT TransAdvocacy Coalition) was asked to comment on Medicare’s 50th anniversary and our comment was,
25. Medicare Can Be a Source for LGBT Inclusive Medical CareThe Center for Medicare Advocacy
By LGBT Aging Advocacy (Connecticut) and CT TransAdvocacy Coalition
July 7, 2015

…So too, transgender people should also be able to receive health care and Medicare coverage based on their medical needs, not on their gender identification.  “Treat the body, not the gender” is how transactivists summarize the distinction. Medicare recently rescinded its coverage rule that denied coverage for gender identification-related surgery and services.
And we shouldn’t have to fight each time to get the coverage that we are entitled to.

We Are So Far Behind The Rest Of The World

State’s Rights, State’s Rights, that’s all I ever hear, but there are rights that supersede state’s right, they are basic human rights that cannot be denied and one of those rights are the right to determine their gender.
Ireland passes law allowing trans people to choose their legal gender
Gender recognition bill will eliminate need for medical or state intervention and comes months after the country voted for same-sex marriage
The Guardian
By Henry McDonald
July 16, 2015

Transgender people in Ireland have won legal recognition of their status after a law was passed allowing them to change their legal gender with no medical or state intervention.

The majority of countries in Europe require transgender people to undergo surgery and sterilisation, or be diagnosed with a mental disorder and get divorced if they are married, in order to have their desired gender legally recognised.

The gender recognition bill, passed late on Wednesday and set to be signed into law by the end of July, makes Ireland only the third European country, after Denmark and Malta, to allow transgender people aged over 18 to change their legal gender without intervention.

The bill was passed months after the people of Ireland backed same-sex marriage by a landslide in a referendum that marked a dramatic social shift in a country that decriminalised homosexuality just two decades ago.
Last year, Denmark became the first European country to allow transgender people to self-determine their legal gender from the age of 18. Malta’s law, introduced in April, permits parents or legal guardians of under-18s to apply in court on their behalf to change legal gender.
Here in the U.S. we only have eight states and the District of Columbia that allow you to change your gender on your birth certificate without surgery and in the majority of the states LGBT have no protection at all.

Because of the way you were born in 28 states you can be fired, made homeless, denied entry into a business.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Guilty Of Being Trans

When you are black you are guilty until proving innocent. Two black women found that out when they checked in a hotel.
A black transgender woman is in jail because police were called on her for being transgender
RAW Story
By Bethania Palma Markus
July 18, 2015

A black transgender woman is currently in solitary confinement in an Iowa jail because she is transgender.

Meagan Taylor, 22, was arrested Monday by Des Moines police after staff at the hotel she was staying with another transgender friend called police. According to the police report, officers were called by the hotel about “two males dressed as females who checked into the Drury Inn,” and that “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity,” according to the Des Moines Register.

She is currently being held at Polk County Jail in isolation, because jail officials don’t know whether to place her with men or women.
“There is… no good reason for a 22-year-old nonviolent person like Taylor to be locked up indefinitely,” the Register’s Rekha Basu writes. “Maybe the real offense is a private business calling police on paying guests because they didn’t conform to gender stereotypes.”
But there is… she is black and transgender. What more do the police need?

This is wrong on so many levels where to begin? The police said they found “found pills in an unmarked bottle in her purse and arrested her for possessing prescription drugs without a prescription” which she claims are her hormone pills. How many of us carry our medications in a seven-day pill box? Did you know you could be arrested for that? If you are white middle class do you think that you would be arrested for that? I doubt it, but if you are black and the police are looking for something to charge you with you’re now fair game.

The Advocate reported,
This is a form of gender identity-based profiling that the Register writer calls "arrested while trans" — a reference to the common assertion by trans women of color that they are profiled and arrested for "walking while trans." Black trans activist Monica Jones, who was arrested on an Arizona street in May 2013 for allegedly "manifesting prostitution," explained to the ACLU when she was convicted in April 2014 how trans women of color are disproportionately targeted nationwide simply for being themselves in public.
"'Walking while trans' is a saying we use in the trans community to refer to the excessive harassment and targeting that we as trans people experience on a daily basis," Jones said. "'Walking while trans' is a way to talk about the overlapping biases against trans people — trans women specifically — and against sex workers. It's a known experience in our community of being routinely and regularly harassed and facing the threat of violence or arrest because we are trans and therefore often assumed to be sex workers."
To make matters worse she has being temporarily placed her in a medical unit without a cellmate in a men’s prison. There are protests beheld in front of the hotel and there is a fundraising campaign to raise her bail and get a lawyer for her. 

Pet Peeve

We all have them and many of them are silly but annoying.

One of mine is when trans people call the hormones they are taking HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) instead of the correct name Cross Gender Hormones.

Why does this bother me? It is because of the dosage, with HRT the normal dosage for Transdermal 17β-estradiol patches is 0.05 mg while the dosage for CGH is 0.20 mg that is a big difference and HRT may also contain Progesterone.

Say you are in the emergency room and the doctors are trying to figure out what is wrong with you and they ask you what meds you are on and you reply “HRT” and the doctors could start looking in the wrong place for the problem and it could cost you your life.

I have my theories why trans people say HRT instead of Cross Gender Hormones, one of them is that they do not know any better because they hear other trans people say it all the time. While others think it sounds more womanly to say HRT.

I know it sound trivial but just think about the next time you are being wheeled into an emergency room on a gurney with IVs in your arms and the EMTs are shouting at you “What meds are you on?”

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday 9: Bubbly

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Bubbly (2007)
Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…

... because Jodi suggested Colbie Caillat

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

1) Singer Colbie Caillat says this song was inspired by a trip to "the beach and having a wonderful day with a person you like." Have you been to the beach yet this summer?
I have been to the lake does that count? But I do want to get to the beach latter this summer when the water warms up.

2)  Are you careful about applying sunscreen?
Nope, just when I know I will be out in the sun for awhile, say long than 30 -40 minutes.

3) Colbie made her TV debut in a 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live. Are you a big SNL fan?
Nope, never watched it.

4) "Bubbly" is often a synonym for champagne. When's the last time you enjoyed a glass of bubbly?
At my brother’s wedding back in 67.

5) Colbie sang the National Anthem at the third game of the Red Sox/Cardinals World Series in 2013. How is your favorite baseball team doing so far this season?
I’m not a fan of sports, but my brother’s family is all Red Sox fans even the ones living in New Jersey.

6) In 2005, Ms. Caillat tried out for Season 4 of American Idol but was eliminated very early in the process, before she could even audition for Simon, Paula and Randy. The winner that year was Carrie Underwood. Are you a Carrie Underwood fan?
Wrong generation, I’m a Linda Ronstadt fan.

7) In 2007, when "Bubbly" was popular, actress Yvonne deCarlo died. She was best known as Lily on The Munsters. If you had to choose (and yes, this Saturday you have to), would you rather hang out with Lily Munster or Morticia Addams?
Mortician, I’m more in Goth than Mod.

8) In 2007, MySpace was faced with a serious challenge from Facebook, and it's obvious which social network won. Did you have a MySpace account? If so, do you still post to it?
Nope, but I had a Geocities account.

9) Random question: Which have you had longer, your ironing board or your plunger?
A plunger, I need that but not an ironing board.

I am going to a picnic in VT today so I will not get to approve comments until tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Take An Hour Out Of Your Life To Watch This

This is an interesting discussion of the human brain and gender identity.
Watch Charlie Rose’s Fascinating Roundtable On Gender Identity & The Brain Led By Nobel Prize Winner
Charlie moderates a brilliant discussion on the topic, joined by: Ben Barres, chair of neurobiology at Stanford University, Norman Spack of Boston Children’s Hospital, Catherine Dulac of Harvard University, Melissa Hines of University of Cambridge, and Janet Hyde of University of Wisconsin. Kendel opens the discussion with the introduction: “This is a marvelous topic, and I like it in particular because it shows how brain science can be a liberating influence in our life.”

So What Else Is New?

When it comes to the history of the LGBT movement, there is the “gay” history and then there is history. Someone once wrote "History is written by the victors" but it is better said by "history is written by the one with the loudest voice."
In celebrating Philly LGBT history, the 'T' is silent — and that's not all
By Cei Bell
July 15, 2015

A history of exclusion
Pride has become a business with corporate sponsorship, and "LGBT" is the trademark acronym, so it became easy for people to conflate the gay rights movement of 50 years ago with the so-called LGBT movement of today. For many transgender and gender non-conforming people, July 4 is an annual reminder of their exclusion. To participate in the Annual Reminders demonstrations of the '60s, women had to wear dresses, and men had to wear shirts, ties and pants. No expression of gender non-conformity was allowed. So to claim that this was the start of an LGBT movement is fraudulent. It is like saying conservative activist Phyllis Schafly is the mother of modern feminism.

Several months before the 1965 protest on Independence Mall, a multi-racial group of drag queens, gender non-conforming people and their friends held a five-day sit-in demonstration at the Dewey's at 17th and Chancellor to protest their not being served there. Why are the Annual Reminders, and not the Dewey's sit-in, being held up as the beginning of the LGBT movement? How does it make sense that a group that discriminated against transgender people is responsible for the transgender movement?
History repeating
That brings us to the "50th anniversary" of our big happy dysfunctional family. The banner on Equality Forum's website states "Advancing LGBT Rights." It also proclaims July 4, 2015, as the 50th anniversary of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement. Yet, there were no transgender presenters listed on the Equality Forum schedule and no transgender-specific programming.

Equally bad and very telling, there were not even any lesbians on the legal panel, which consisted of five white men and apparently one Latino man. No women at all. How can transgender and lesbian issues be represented when transgender and lesbian people are not represented? This points to lack of diversity that permeates the Equality Forum and the Constitution Center's exhibit.
When trans people question “The Gay Movement” many times gays say that the word “Gay” includes lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people but it is a lie. They are looking through pink colored glasses and can only see gays.

The article goes on to say,
It isn't that transgender people did not participate in the LGBT movement. We frequently worked for lesbian and gay rights. What we received in return was constant scrutiny, insults and questions about whether we should be aligned with lesbians and gays. For example, in 1973 Radical Queens, a group I co-founded (with Tommi Avicolli Mecca) held the first benefit for the Gay Community Center, now called the William Way LGBT Community Center. In the mid-'90s the Center had to decide whether transgender people were part of the community. They eventually decided that we were, but it stings that the question was even taken seriously. A William Way board member told me that, to his knowledge, there are no transgender members on the board. William Way Executive Director Chris Bartlett told me that there are no transgender employees at the LGBT community center.
I remember at a LGBT fundraiser in 2011 we had just passed the gender inclusive non-discrimination law, the MC was talking about all the accomplishments that happened, and there was no mention of the new law. Even today we are snubbed, at the Pride Rally that was being held an what turned out was the day of the Supreme Court decision our Birth Certificate legislation was an oh, by the way.