Thursday, March 31, 2016

These Guys Are Not In Their Right Mind, They Are Down Right Scary!

I keep on wondering why they hate us so much, is it just politics or do they have that much hate in their souls?
Ted Cruz Reveals The ‘Religious Liberty’ Plan His Hate Group Buddies Came Up With
By Zack Ford
March 25, 2016

In his bid for the presidency, Ted Cruz (R) has consistently surrounded himself with some of the most extreme social conservatives in the country. In addition to appearing beside these individuals at various events, he also recruited a Religious Liberty Advisory Council — what Fox News’ Todd Starnes calls a “faith-based Justice League.”

Through Starnes, Cruz unveiled this week just what kind of ideas this council has developed to protect “religious liberty.” Given the fact that his council consisted of representatives from only the most conservative iterations of Christianity, the 15-point list is unsurprisingly dedicated to privileging Christian beliefs and enabling discrimination against the LGBT community and women.
If you look at their 15-point list it is pretty draconian,
Domestic Religious Liberty Policy Proposals for Incoming Administration
Initial Recommendations from Ted Cruz's Religious Liberty Advisory Council

Marriage and Human Sexuality:
  • Issue an Executive Order protecting persons from discrimination by the federal government on the basis of their view that marriage is between a man and a woman (this executive order could model the protections in the First Amendment Defense Act).
  • Call for passage of the First Amendment Defense Act.
  • Rescind Executive Order 13672, which had (without adequate religious exemptions) required certain federal contractors to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In the alternative, create significantly larger and robust exemptions for religious organizations and businesses falling under the authority of Executive Order 13672.
  • Direct all federal agencies to stop interpreting “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and/or “gender identity” where the term “sex” refers to a protected class in federal law. Prioritize this effort at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Housing and Urban Development.
And it also has what he wants to do to the military,
  • Require service chiefs to fully update and revise their regulations protecting the free exercise of religion to ensure they properly reflect a robust, constitutional understanding of free exercise, and the religious liberty protections in the 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts (which are reflected in DOD Instruction 1300.17). These updates and revisions should also include guidance outlining the robust religious freedom and free speech rights of chaplains, as not bound by the limits on public employees making statement pursuant to their official duties.
  • Require that service chiefs implement programs to proactively educate commanders, chaplains, and JAG officers about these regulations once updated.
  • Expand the protections Congress afforded to chaplains in FY13 and FY14 NDAA amendments to apply equally to all service members.
This is some scary stuff… religious training for the military. Whoa!

The article goes on to say,
None of these ideas is surprising, however, given who serves on Cruz’s committee. His council’s chair is Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT hate group. “These are the policies that he is going to pursue,” Perkins promised Starnes. “He is absolutely committed to the issue of religious liberty.”

Other members include:
  • The Benham brothers, who have become celebrity victims since HGTV decided against giving them a house-flipping show because of their anti-gay beliefs.
  • Ryan T. Anderson, the Heritage Foundation’s point man for espousing anti-LGBT positions.
  • Bishop Harry Jackson, who was one of the loudest opponents of marriage equality fights in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
  • Steve Riggle, a Houston pastor who helped lead the fight against the LGBT-inclusive Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
  • Kelly Shackelford, head of First Liberty (formerly the Liberty Institute), a legal organization that defends individuals and businesses when they discriminate against LGBT people.
  • Jim Garlow, a California pastor and activist with a storied history of railing against the LGBT community.
No one on the council represented any non-Christian religions nor any of the LGBT-inclusive or even more moderate Christian denominations. With Ted Cruz as president, it seems the only religion that will have any liberty is his particular conservative brand of evangelical Christianity.
An article in Forward Progress quotes Cruz as saying,
Well, while speaking to the American Family Association (a known anti-gay hate group), Cruz said that the only way this country can be saved is for evangelicals to rise up and vote for politicians who’ll pass legislation based upon Biblical principles.

“Nothing is more important in the next 18 months than that the body of Christ rise up and that Christians stand up, that pastors stand up and lead,” Cruz said. “In this last election, 54 million evangelical Christians stayed home. If we can simply bring Christians to the polls – is it any wonder we have the government we have – we have the leaders we have if believers stay home and leave electing our leaders to unbelievers. We get exactly what we deserve and nothing is more important that having people of faith stand up and just vote our values, vote biblical values and that’s how we turn the country around.”
I don’t know about you but to me this is all creepy stuff, it sounds like the beginnings of a theocracy.

Today Is Transgender Day Of Visibility

…And it is also LGBT Awareness Week. I have a problem with days like these and the National Coming Out Day. The first commandment in coming out or being visible should be “Be Safe!”

And that sometimes is overlooked, somebody may do something rash and lose their job, or lose their housing, or they maybe thrown out of their family and end upon the street if their family is non-supportive of them.

So if you are planning to do something today, think first.

For me, I can't be any more visible which sometimes is a curse. You don't really want to hear from the deli worker "Oh I saw you on television!" or being joked about by other trans people that "Everyone knows Diana" and you just smile and laugh it off. For me I just want to help other trans people make a better life for themselves.

I just want to be as a student in a class where I guest lecture said...
When I walked into class on Wednesday I remember seeing the back of a tall woman standing in front of our class, thinking she was our guest, and proceeded to sit down and open up my computer. About 5 minutes later the guest came forward and she said that we were going to start the lecture. Once the guest lecturer starting talking and I began to look at her a bit more in detail, I realized something very interesting - our guest speaker was a transexual [sic].

 Now being an educated grad student I was fully aware of was exactly a transsexual was and that the transexual community is growing every day, however, as far as I know, this was my first time meeting one. The weird thing however was that it didn’t seem like I was meeting a transexual, but rather just another women - a guest lecturer. Once you get past the deep voice and the 6’2” figure, there was nothing weird or different here, just another woman. 
..."just another woman."

What A Tangled Web

The problem when you spin a web is you never know who you will catch!
Marcus Bachmann Denied Service in Indiana, Store Owner Assumed He Was Gay
National Report

INDIANAPOLIS – Marcus Bachmann, husband of former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, unwittingly became the first public face of Indiana’s newly-enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Act, after being refused service at a dress boutique because the store owner assumed he was gay.

The Bachmanns were visiting the state capitol on Thursday to lend their support to embattled Gov. Mike Pence when the incident occurred. Dorothy Holtz, owner of Dotty’s Dress Den described what happened.
Marcus reacted with shock when he realized he had fallen victim to the very measure he had come to Indiana to support. “I was gobsmacked! I never realized a law meant to protect individuals’ religious freedoms would be twisted in such a way as to discriminate! Clearly, people are mis-applying this well-intentioned law.” 
The story is more than a year old but it popped up on a Facebook news feed and it was too good to pass up in the light of North Carolina’s law.

When you pass these stupid laws you never know who will get stuck in the sticky trap.

This afternoon I head over to the UConn School of Social Work to be on a panel. Then at night I have Google Hangout meeting for the conference committee.

Busy, busy, busy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Set Your Wayback Machine

You might have seen articles about the Digital Transgender Archive, the Smithsonian has an interesting article on the archive.
This Transgender Archive’s Oldest Artifacts Tell a Story of Courage and Community

People whose gender identity does not conform to the one assigned to them at birth have long faced discrimination, harassment and assault. Though it remains unclear just how many people identify as transgender today, trans visibility in mass culture is higher than ever before. Now, a new digital archive is calling attention to the long history of transgender people—and its oldest artifacts highlight trans culture and remind people of just how long transgender people have been struggling for visibility and civil rights.
The article goes on to list a number of historic trans people.
Reed Erickson, 1931
This photograph is of Reed Erickson, a trans pioneer who helped educate the world about transgender people. Born Rita Erickson in 1917, Reed officially changed his name in 1963 and had gender confirmation surgery two years later.

A successful entrepreneur and wealthy businessman, Erickson founded the Erickson Educational Foundation (EEF). His initiative funded innumerable research and education projects that taught the public about transgender people, sex reassignment and gender identity. At the time of this photograph, Reed was 14 years old and still lived as "Rita."
This is what some trans people are concerned about,
'Female Impersonators on Parade', 1960
This 1960 magazine is just one edition of Female Impersonators on Parade, a magazine highlighting drag queens and other gender nonconforming individuals. The pictures inside give a fascinating glimpse into the often-undocumented world of drag, along with commentary on how cross-dressers got used to women's clothing and accounts of the difficulties faced by men who dared to appear in public as women.

“The amateur female impersonator likes the gay social movements he finds in the company of others with the same likes and desires in experiencing the graceful life of a woman,” read one article. “The sympathetic understanding they derive in knowing that others are in the same plight as themselves often compels them to take the chance of being arrested by attending so-called ‘drag’ balls, where they can act and dance like women and discuss the latest feminine fashions of the day.”

Like drag balls, Female Impersonators on Parade itself wasn’t immune to prosecution and discrimination: In 1964, the magazine was investigated by a New York legislative committee studying “offensive and obscene material.”
Many trans people that this will give the wrong idea about transgender people. That the opposition will use the old magazines to claim that is about “sex” and not about identity.

This is my take on the archive that I wrote on a forum…
My two cents

As couple of years ago the big news was the photographs from Casa Susanna, do you remember the book about those photographs? Then there was the play “Casa Valentina” by Harvey Fierstein based on the photos.

I do a workshop on trans history and much of our history is lost, there are some good books out there about our history such as “Transgender History” by Susan Stryker but the ids today have no idea what it was like when many of us were growing up. When I begin my workshop I begin by telling the story about how the presentation came about.

I was attending a lecture at the True Colors conference here in Connecticut about LGBT history and in reality the talk was just about lesbians and gays, when I questioned her about it she said she couldn’t find anything about our history. And this was from a professor of “Queer History” at Brown University.

Later that year at the University of Hartford there was a lecture on LGBT in the Media by a Ph.D. candidate and once again it was just LG, when we questioned her afterward she said there wasn’t any shows about trans people. We then rattled off a list of television shows that had trans characters in them (I have since found her thesis online and she renamed it LG in the Media).

Then at Norwalk Pride in 2009 they had photographs of gays and lesbians that were in the Stonewall Uprising but not one trans person’s photo. When I found the director of the group I asked him where are the trans people from Stonewall, you can guess his answer… there weren’t any.

And then there was Congressman Barney Franks in 2007 when he pulled gender identity from ENDA he stated his reason for doing so was we had not put in our time lobbying for the bill, that we can’t just walk in the last minute and expect to be covered. He was totally ignorant of the decades of lobbying by the trans community.

So back to the Digital Transgender Archive, I think it is a mixed blessing. Will some people use it against us? Yes, they already have, read the comments.

But it will also be used for education and research and it will be a record of our history which we will lose as the generation from the 50s and 60s die. Stonewall will forever be know a “Gay” riot without our history. In my workshop when I mention that the police were arresting trans people at the Stonewall Uprising for not having three pieces of male clothing the kids couldn’t believe it.

The other day I was sitting around with a bunch of old lesbians (they are my age) who were in the trenches back in the 50s and 60s and they were complaining about the kids now a days having it so easy today and not knowing what it was like back then.

Hopefully, these archives will inform the generations to come what it was like to grow up with all the oppression that we all face.

Your Lease Favorite Topic

I know you are all fed up with politics but unfortunately politics affect our daily lives and we should be aware of what is going on in the world of politics. So…

Down in Louisiana the governor is taking action,
Gov. John Bel Edwards to Rescind Bobby Jindal's Horrific Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Order
Democratic Governor Also Plans Measure Protecting LGBT State Employees
The New Civil Rights Movement
by John Wright
March 29, 2016

On Monday the press secretary for Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he will rescind the sweeping anti-LGBT executive order signed by his predecessor, former Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal last May. Jindal's order, which resulted in a lawsuit from the ACLU, allows businesses and state agencies to turn away LGBT people based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Back in December, after defeating Republican David Vitter in the race to replace Jindal, Gov. Edwards had said he also plans to sign an executive order extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT government employees and contractors.

“Governor Edwards will issue the executive order, but it is in the drafting stage,” his press secretary, Shauna Sanford, told Deadline Hollywood Monday. “As far as Jindal’s religious liberty order, the governor intends to rescind it in the near future.”
Then down in North Caroline a number of civil rights organizations is suing the state over their new anti-LGBT law.
North Carolina attorney general won’t defend transgender law: It’s a ‘national embarrassment’
Yahoo News
By Michael Walsh
March 29, 2016

One day after civil liberties groups filed suit to fight a controversial “bathroom bill” in North Carolina that they say discriminates against the LGBT community, state Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he would not defend its constitutionality.

“We should not even be here today, but we are. We’re here because the governor has signed statewide legislation that puts discrimination into the law,” Cooper told reporters in Raleigh Tuesday.
“House Bill 2 is unconstitutional,” he said. “Therefore, our office will not represent the defendants in this lawsuit, nor future lawsuits involving the constitutionality of House Bill 2.”
Meanwhile the governor is crying crocodile tears…
NC Gov. Pat McCrory on Anti-LGBT Bill: We’ve Been ‘The Target of a Vicious, Nationwide Smear Campaign’
by Sean Mandell
March 29, 2016

In a video released on Tuesday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory alleged that his state has been “the target of a vicious, nationwide smear campaign” since he signed an anti-LGBT bill into law last week.
Condemning those who have spoken out against the bill, McCrory said, “they demonized our state for political gain.”

McCrory added, “Some have called our state an embarrassment. Frankly the real embarrassment is politicians not publicly respecting each other’s positions on complex issues…North Carolina has been the target of a vicious, nationwide, smear campaign. Disregarding the facts, other politicians from the White House to mayors and city council members, and yes, even our attorney general have initiated and promoted conflict to advance their political agenda even if it means defying the constitution and their oath of office.”
Well governor maybe they are right? The law is draconian and punitive and should be repealed.

Then we head north to Indiana where their legislature doesn’t want to be left behind in the race in who can pass the most repressive law but in Virginia the bill gets struck down.
Virginia defeated own transgender bathroom bill in February
The Roanoke Times
By Andrew Cain Richmond Times-Dispatch
Posted: March 29, 2016

RICHMOND — Virginia lawmakers helped avoid the firestorm that has roiled North Carolina over LGBT rights by defeating a bill with similarities to the measure North Carolina’s governor signed last week.

On Feb. 9, a Virginia House of Delegates committee defeated a bill that would require transgender students at Virginia public schools to use the restroom and locker room of their “biological sex.”

Virginia lawmakers scuttled the bill, in part, to wait for an appeals court ruling — now expected any day — in the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who is fighting to use a boys bathroom at his Gloucester County school.

“I do think our legislature showed admirable restraint and made the right decision,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, which is helping Grimm in court. The ACLU also considered the Virginia measure unnecessary and discriminatory.
It sounded like a bright spot but looking deeper it looks more like the legislature is just waiting for the court case to play out.

The British Newspaper The Guardian had this to say about all the anti-trans bills being introduced around the country.
From Jim Crow to transgender ban: the bathroom as battleground for civil rights
North Carolina’s ban on transgender people using public bathrooms matching their identity is the latest in a history of contention over a very private space
By Maria L La Ganga in San Francisco
Wednesday 30 March 2016

Tar Heel State lawmakers are just the latest proscribing transgender use of public facilities. Bills have been introduced in 16 state legislatures in the past four months alone, with calls for justice and access bumping noisily up against arguments about safety and privacy.

But transgender people are hardly the first to be embroiled in a very public bathroom brawl. The commode has been at the center of civil rights battles since the first modern public lavatory with flushing toilets opened in Victorian London.
In the segregated south, Jim Crow laws banned black people from public “whites only” bathrooms until the 1960s, in perhaps the most elemental form of segregation. People with disabilities were not promised access to public lavatories until the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by then-president George W Bush in 1990. Homeless people still struggle to find restrooms they are allowed to use.
“People are afraid because they’re exposed,” says Anthony, author of Designing for Diversity: Gender, Race and Ethnicity in the Architectural Profession. “There’s a vulnerability we feel in public restrooms we don’t feel in other places.”
The article goes on to say where the real problem is,
But a 2014 report by the US Department of Justice said transgender people are the ones most at risk of sexual assault. Citing recent studies of transgender experiences, the report said one in every two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted during their lifetimes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Unsafe Bathrooms

A trans woman just got sexually assaulted in a bathroom in of all places the Stonewall Inn
Transgender Woman Allegedly Raped in Stonewall Inn Bathroom
A trans woman was allegedly raped at the Stonewall Inn, the iconic site of LGBT liberation.
The Advocate
By Cleis Abeni
March 28, 2016

A 25-year-old transgender woman says she was raped Saturday inside a single-occupancy unisex bathroom at the Stonewall Inn bar on Christopher Street in New York City, reports Gothamist.

The New York City Police Department has not identified the woman. The woman told police that around 11:40 p.m., a man “came into the bathroom claiming he only needed to wash his hands, then proceeded to grope and rape her,” according to Gothamist.

The man then “fled the scene” and the victim also left the bar and then returned to phone the police, the site reports. The victim was taken to Lenox Hospital for treatment. Police have made no arrests, but are “looking for a man in his 30s,” says Gothamist.
Yet, as this one incident of alleged rape suggests — and several other incidents of violence against transgender individuals make clear — transgender people face grave danger when accessing public accommodations and gender-variant people are 3.7 times more likely to face violence than cisgender (nontrans) people.
This is a way more likely incident of violence then a trans woman attacking someone in a bathroom. Especially now that the conservatives have stirred up hatred against us and they are trying to put a bounty on our heads.

This afternoon I am at the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective where I help out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for three hours and then this evening I go over to a neighbor’s house to be interviewed by the daughter for a term paper. You can guess what the paper is on.

And So It Begins…

The long court battle over the North Carolina law.
North Carolina governor sued over transgender law
By Ralph Ellis, CNN
March 28, 2016

(CNN)A federal lawsuit was filed Monday against the North Carolina governor and other state officials over a new law that blocks transgender individuals from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity and stops cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people.

Two transgender men, a lesbian, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina want a judge to declare the state law, House Bill 2, unconstitutional and a violation of federal laws banning sex discrimination.

"While the discriminatory, stated focus of the legislature in passing H.B. 2 -- the use of restrooms by transgender people -- is on its own illegal and unconstitutional, H.B. 2 in facts wreaks far greater damage by also prohibiting local governments in North Carolina from enacting express anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity," the lawsuit says.
Round and round where it ends no one knows.

This will probably be a fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

Right now I am heading off to do training for 211 operators on integrating homeless shelters. This is  one in a series of trainings that we are doing around the state to teach shelter staff and 211 operators about the law here in Connecticut and also about the Fair Housing Act and HUD policy.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Ugly

The conservative Republicans seem to have an unhealthy fixation on bathrooms. With something like 49 anti-LGBT bills introduced in state legislatures this year and many of them to deny us the right to use the bathroom.

In Massachusetts there is H.1320 “An Act relative to privacy and safety in public accommodations“ which prohibit trans people from using the bathroom of their gender identity.
Bill H.1320 
An Act relative to privacy and safety in public accommodations
By Miss Garry of Dracut, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1320) of Colleen M. Garry and others relative to the definition of gender identity as it applies to lawfully segregated facilities.
The bill simply states,
SECTION 1. Section 7 of chapter 4 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following clause:-

Fifty-ninth, The meaning of “gender identity” shall be distinct from that of “sex” and “sexual orientation.” Access to lawfully sex-segregated facilities, accommodations, resorts, and amusements, as well as educational, athletic, and therapeutic activities and programs, shall be controlled by an individual’s anatomical sex of male or female, regardless of that individual’s gender identity.
Of course the bill totally ignores intersex people. They are trying to put into boxes what nature doesn’t.

Why all this obsession with bathrooms, well they in an interesting article in “The Nation”
The Ugly Fantasy at the Heart of Anti–Trans Bathroom Bills
Do supporters of so-called “bathroom bills” want trans people to cease to exist altogether?
By Tobias Barrington Wolff
March 25, 2016

 North Carolina has now jumped to the front of the line of states pushing “bathroom bills”—laws that prohibit transgender people from using the facilities that are right for them. Here is my question for the lawmakers who enact these laws: Which facilities do you want trans people to use? Because I don’t think you have thought this through. Or let’s start with a more basic question: Are you trying to eradicate transgender people altogether? Trans people exist. They are human beings. They have just as much right to exist as you do. They are not going to disappear, and if what you really want is to make them disappear, then you are hoping for genocide. Good people don’t hope for genocide.
 All of that leads to the genocide point. That’s an inflammatory word, but it is an important word, because it forces us to confront what is really going on here. The only way these “bathroom bills” make any sense is to imagine that they will make trans people cease to exist altogether. Supporters of these laws don’t want trans dudes to use the ladies’ room or trans women in men’s rooms. They want to exile trans people, exclude them from the public square, cast them out to some faraway place. Some of them may imagine that trans people can be eradicated. Casting out innocent people is cruel. Imagining that people can be legislated out of existence is an ugly genocidal fantasy.

If you are worried about privacy in restrooms, let’s address privacy in restrooms, not demonize trans people. If you are concerned about rape and sexual assault, let’s do something real about rape and sexual assault, but that terrible affront to human dignity has nothing to do with the bathrooms that trans people use. And if what you really want is for trans people to cease to exist, then you need to realize that is never going to happen—and it is not something you should ever wish for.
I believe that for many conservative Republicans the world is moving too fast for them, they long for the good ol’ fifties when life was simple. The woman stayed home and took care of the two kids and the dog while the father was the breadwinner. There were no gays, or lesbians, or trans people, we knew the corner grocer, we knew who the enemy was, and we saw everyone at church on Sundays.

But now life it too complicated for them.

In another article it is about how we went from winning to going on the defensive.
View from the left: How the LGBTQ movement went from winning to losing in nine months
The Daily Kos
By Kerry Eleveld
March 26, 2016

As I wrote Thursday, LGBTQ Americans are now the clear target of a nationwide campaign being waged by religious zealots to systematically lock in discrimination in every state that hasn't already enacted nondiscrimination protections. The effect could be very much like that of the 2004/2006 anti-gay marriage amendments. This could very well lead to a divided nation where most blue states outlaw discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, while most red states explicitly give it their blessing.
What this means is that the equality movement went from an unimaginable mind-bending success in June 2015 to a crushing defeat that could have long-term implications in the span of nine months. An achievement that we have been working toward since the mid-1970s—explicit employment protections at the federal level—is now likely out of reach for the foreseeable future, taking public accommodations and housing protections down with it since they are now bundled together in a bill called the Equality Act. There’s just no path to getting Congress to pass legislation that either hasn’t been adopted, or worse, has been roundly rejected by far too many states.

We are now in a total defensive crouch—dodging anti-equality bullets month after month, year after year, as our entire agenda is effectively dictated by the right.
The thing is that we didn’t win, we lost.

Do you remember all the anti-LGBT laws and state constitutional laws that were passed in the seventies? Also only nineteen states and Washington D.C. have laws protecting LGBT people and three other states have laws protecting lesbian and gays (what I find disturbing is that the “LGBT” organizations list New York state as having protection for gender identity, no law has been passed to protect us, it is only a regulation. What one governor decrees another governor can take away.). We didn’t win many battles in state legislatures or on the ballot; most of our wins have been in the courts.

Getting A Job

Is always hard, the competition for jobs is insane, some job posting get hundreds of resumes for each job opening. But if you are a member of a minority it is even harder and if you happen to also trans finding a job is just about impossible.
Transgender People Face Discrimination In Job Market
Despite increasing public awareness of transgender issues, transgender people continue to face high rates of joblessness.
By Gloria Hillard
March 26, 2016

And there's another movement we want to talk about - the one for the rights of transgender people. With celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox, transgender people probably have more high-profile advocates than ever before. Even so, challenges remain for men and women who physically change, or as many prefer, confirm their genders. A particular challenge is employment. Transgender men and women face high rates of joblessness and can be fired in many states for being transgender. Even in California, one of 19 states with employment protections for transgender people, finding and keeping a job can be a major struggle. Gloria Hillard reports.
I know of so many highly qualified trans people who cannot find jobs that match their qualifications and are underemployed or unemployed. Trying to prove discrimination is almost impossible during the hiring phase, it is easier to prove if you already have a job, but smart employers knowns ways around the law.

Unless a prospective employer does something really dumb like saying “We don’t hire people like you.” it is very hard to prove discrimination in hiring because there are so many excuses they can use like “you are over qualified”, or “you are not qualified” or even “you are not a match with our company vision.”

When I counsel trans people who are thinking about transitioning and are looking for a job I tell them to wait until they get a job and have at least one job review under their belt before they transition. It is tough love to tell them to wait but their odds of getting a job are a lot higher.

Listen to the whole interview...

Last fall a Washington D.C. study documented the employment discrimination.
Sting reveals anti-trans job bias
By Lou Chibbaro Jr.
November 4, 2015

The D.C. Office of Human Rights on Tuesday released the findings of a six-month study that showed 48 percent of employers appeared to prefer at least one less-qualified job applicant over a better-qualified applicant perceived as being transgender.

The study involved sending 200 “test” cover letters and resumes prepared by OHR to 38 employers that advertised 50 individual job openings, according to an OHR statement.

The statement says OHR sent two sets of cover letters and resumes to each of the advertised job openings from “applicants” who appeared to be transgender and another two sets from applicants who were portrayed as non-transgender. 
The report key findings were,
Among the key findings in the testing project:
  • 48 percent of employers** appeared to prefer at least one less-qualified applicant perceived as cisgender over a more-qualified applicant perceived as transgender. 
  • 33 percent of employers offered interviews to one or more less-qualified applicant(s) perceived as cisgender while not offering an interview to at least one of the more-qualified applicant(s) perceived as transgender. 
  • The applicant perceived as a transgender man with work experience at a transgender advocacy organization experienced the highest individual rate of discrimination. 
  • The restaurant industry had the highest percentage of responses perceived as discriminatory among the employment sectors tested, although the sample numbers are low and therefore not conclusive. 
This is something that I think the trans community knows about first hand but it is good that the report documents the discrimination.

** For determining rates of discrimination, only tests where one or more applicant(s) received a response were considered. This is in-line with best practices on correspondence testing.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


There is growing acceptance of trans people at religious schools and you can guess what conservative religions have to say about that.
Rhode Island Catholic school promises 'accommodations' for transgender students
Catholic World News
March 09, 2016

Bowing to pressure from "transgender" activists, a Catholic secondary school in Rhode Island has said that it is prepared to make "reasonable accommodations" to students who identify with the opposite sex.

Mount St. Charles Academy has eliminated an admissions policy that barred "transgender" students, and promised to explore other means of accommodating them.
Then there was this article about the school/s choice to change their policy.
LGBT Lobby Bullies Catholic School Into Accommodating Transgender Students
After LGBT protests targeted a private Catholic academy in Rhode Island for its policy against catering to crossdressing students, the school now says it is open to reversing its rules and making “reasonable accommodations” for children who want to be treated as members of the opposite sex.
By Thomas D. Williams, PH.D.
9 Mar 2016
The academy is run by a Catholic religious order called the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a community founded in France after the French revolution to “to rescue young people from ignorance, to prepare them for life, and to give them knowledge and love of religion.” The school’s declared primary mission is “the evangelization of young people,” which presumably includes a Christian understanding of sexual identity.

Moreover, the academy expressly aims at “the formation of the whole person, traditional values, high expectations, self-discipline, fairness, professional competence, and collaboration,” which would preclude encouraging young people from self-destructive experimentation with gender fluidity, contrary to Catholic teaching on the human person.
The article goes on to say…
Accepting one’s nature also carries over into gender differences, [Pope] Francis observed, underscoring the Christian vision of humanity as male and female.

“Valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different,” he wrote. “In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment.”
But not all religions are against LGBT people, there are many churches that are affirming.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday 9: I Don't Know How to Love Him

Crazy Sam’s  Saturday 9: I Don't Know How to Love Him (1971)

Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…

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

1) This song is from Jesus Christ, Superstar. Though now a beloved classic, the play was controversial when it first premiered. Can you think of something else that originally made people uncomfortable, but went on to be accepted?
Oh that is hard one; I never really thought about that… how about "The Man Who Fell to Earth"with David Bowie.

2) Jesus Christ, Superstar was originally developed as a "concept album," a collection of songs written to sequentially tell the story of The Crucifixion and Resurrection. Do you remember the first album you bought? Did you download it, listen to it on a CD player, your cassette deck, or record player?
Actually it was a 45 and it was the Monster Mash and I used to drive my brother crazy.

3) When the album's songs were performed live in concert at the Pennsylvania Civic Arena, producers decided to stage it as a play and the rest, as they say, is history. Tell us about a really good idea you've had recently.
I don’t know about recently, but long, long ago like in the sixties a friend was telling me the problem with high rpm in a car and how the points started to “float” and I said can’t it be done electronically? Just think if I followed through on that idea I could have had the patent for the electronic ignition system.

4) Jesus Christ, Superstar is a truly international phenomenon. During a revival tour that began in 2011, it's been a hit with audiences in the United States, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Brazil, Hungary, India, New Zealand, Italy, France, Mexico, Chile, Bulgaria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Australia, The Philippines, South Africa, Panama, Colombia, Croatia, Bolivia, The Netherlands and Portugal. Besides the United States, which of those countries have you visited?
Just Canada. I rather “See the USA in my Chevrolet” or in my case my Prius.

5) Peeps are big sellers every Easter. Would you rather have yellow chicks or pink bunnies?
Pink bunnies

6) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. One theory says they were introduced in Boston during the 19th century. What else comes to mind when you think of Boston?
The “Great Molasses Flood” Hun? What is that?

7) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween?
Neither, candy for me equals poison.

8) Easter lilies will adorn many churches this Sunday. What's your favorite flower? 
The lilac, I have a bush planted under my bedroom window and it fills the whole house with it fragrance in the spring.

9) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?
A good nap.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Yesterday’s Meeting

One of the meetings that I attend on regular bases for the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition is the Safe School Coalition meeting, the coalition is made up of state agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO) and is led by the Connecticut Department of Education and we meet at the Chief State’s Attorney’s office. For the last couple of meetings we have been working on vetting a statewide model School Climate policy modeled after Westport’s policy.

But yesterday’s meeting was different; instead we had a workshop on Restorative Practices in schools. Restorative Practices is about schools becoming proactive instead of reactive and is aimed at breaking the “school to prison” pipeline.  It is based on having a positive school climate and developing character in students, it is about problem solving and conflict resolution and one of the key features is for the students to develop the program and not forcing a policy on them. Also all levels must buy into the program that includes the school board, the administration, the teachers, the staff, and the students.

One of the tools is conflict resolution circles to try to settle differences peacefully and within the school instead of running to the “school resource officer” otherwise known as the police officer.

In school systems where they are using this method they have seen a drop in bullying, fights, detentions, and expulsions and an increase in scholastic achievement, graduations rates, better attendance , and an improvement in school climate.

Back in 2010 when I was a graduate student I did literature review on school climate and bullying and there are numerous studies that found a direct correlation between school climate and scholastic achievement.

I am sold on it.

When you look at it through the “trans” lens you see that when bullying goes on unanswered it is usually the trans student who gets punished when they fight back against bullies and harassment. The school is reactive instead of being proactive. When the school has a positive school climate bullying is reduced and handled not by expulsion but by conflict resolution.

The meeting ended on with “never give up on school climate.” 

An Important Court Ruling

I read many news articles and I follow a number of blogs gleaming nuggets to write about each day. One of the blogs that I follow is the Connecticut Employment Law Blog and the other day they had a post about the U. S. District Court of Connecticut ruling on a case. The court has allowed the Title VII case of a trans woman to proceed. The incident of discrimination against the trans woman was before the Connecticut gender inclusive non-discrimination law was passed. Mr. Schwartz writes in his blog,
While the groundbreaking decision in Fabian v. Hospital of Central Connecticut (download here)  is sure to be the subject of discussion, as the court notes, Connecticut has — in the interim — passed a state law explicitly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Thus, for a few years now, Connecticut has already explicitly prohibited transgender discrimination under state law. (The case was based on facts that occurred before passage of the state’s anti-discrimination law.)

But the decision obviously goes further than that and takes up the logic advanced by the EEOC and others of late — namely that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination “because of…sex” should be read to include transgender discrimination.  The court’s opinion should be mandatory reading not only in the state, but for practitioners nationwide faced with similar claims.
In the court’s decision the case was about,
II. Background
Deborah Fabian is an orthopedic surgeon and a transgender woman. She alleges that she was very nearly hired by the Hospital of Central Connecticut (“HCC” or the “Hospital”) as an on-call orthopedic surgeon for its Emergency Department, albeit with the involvement of a third party provider of physicians and management services—Delphi Healthcare Partners, Inc. (“Delphi”)—that the Hospital used as a means to find physicians. Fabian entered the hiring process with Delphi and subsequently went to interview at HCC believing that she was all but hired. At that time, she was publicly presenting as male and was known as David Fabian; she informed her interviewers at the end of her interview, however, that she is a transgender woman and transitioning to presenting as female, and that she would work at the hospital as Deborah Fabian. She subsequently learned that she would not be hired, and she alleges that she would have been except for her disclosure of her identity as a transgender woman. She alleges that the interview was barely more than a formality, that she had already been told she would get the job, that she had already been given a contract with a start date (which she executed and returned), and that it was in reliance on that reasonable understanding that she and her wife sold their home in Massachusetts.
This sounds like what happened to Diane Schroer’s case against the Library of Congress in 2008, where she was hired and then immediately fired when she said she was going to transition.

In the Fabian v. Hospital of Central Connecticut case the judge writes about the Supreme Court Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins case, the judge goes on to say,
IV. Conclusion
Employment discrimination on the basis of transgender identity is employment discrimination “because of sex” and constitutes a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

HCC has not shown that the position Fabian sought is as a matter of law beyond the scope of Title VII as a result of being for an independent contractor rather than an employee. And Fabian has met her burden under McDonnell Douglas to make a prima facie case of discrimination and to proffer sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that the non-discriminatory reasons HCC offers for not hiring her are pretextual. Whether the Hospital discriminated against Deborah Fabian on the basis of her gender identity is a question for a jury. Because she has proffered sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that it did, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment is denied.
Note, this only allows the case to proceed; she still has a long way to goes to win her case. The judge notes,
The decision about employee status in a failure-to-hire case like this one may be even harder than in other cases of staff physicians suing hospitals, because the physician never started work and some of the dynamics that would have obtained are therefore less apparent.
So she has an uphill battle to win her case.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Letter!

A letter in the mail box...

Yesterday when I got home after volunteering at the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective and I got the mail out of the box there was a letter in the box that wasn't mailed.


Was it from a neighbor who was complaining about having a trans person in the neighborhood?
Intrigued, I opened it.

It was a letter from my neighbor!

The letter turned out to be a request for an interview for a term paper. she is taking a class in Anthropology on men and women in different cultures. She had to interview someone from a different culture.

Of course I said yes.

I remember when I was going to grad school, there was a rash of term papers on trans topics. Toward the end of the semester I was being interviewed two or three times a week. I remember talking to a professor a couple of years after I graduated he said he had a record number of term papers on trans issues while I was there. I heard of one class project to change some bathrooms to gender neutral bathrooms. Just by being "Out" we change the world. 

Under Attack!

I have been accused of being liberal and being down on Republicans. I plead guilty as charged, but tell me is it justified?
Minnesota lawmakers push to restrict transgender bathroom use

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - A group of Minnesota lawmakers is hoping to define who can use which public bathrooms.

Today, republicans unveiled a bill that would require transgender individuals to use facilities matching their biological gender.

The move is meant to promote privacy and safety but some say it would have the opposite effect.

The so-called "Safe Bathrooms" Bill is already drawing passionate support and opposition.
And in Kansas…
Kansas Bill Would Pay Students A $2,500 Bounty To Hunt For Trans People In Bathrooms

With only two weeks left in the Kansas legislation session, state lawmakers have introduced a pair of bills that would prohibit transgender students from using restrooms that match their gender. The “Student Physical Privacy Act” would apply not only to public schools, but all public universities in the state as well, guaranteeing that anyone who saw someone transgender in the bathroom could sue their school for $2,500 for every time that it happened.
Down in Georgia…
The Fight Continues Against the Religious Freedom Bill

Rob Woods, the Senior Field Organizer for Georgia Equality, stopped by Real Talk and discussed House Bill 757 – also known as the Religious Liberty Bill- which was passed by the Georgia Legislature last week. The bill came under scrutiny due to many charging that the bill would in fact legalize discrimination in Georgia. Before it was passed the Georgia Legislature made changes to the bill adding that it cannot be used to allow “discrimination on any grounds prohibited by federal or state law.” However the bill does allow faith based organizations to refuse assistance or service to anyone it finds as “objectionable.”

As Gov. Nathan Deal ponders the “religious liberty” bill that the General Assembly has adopted, he can look to recent examples of how two other Republican governors handled this particular issue.
Then we have North Carolina we have the new laws blocking cities from being too liberal and granting protections from discrimination…
North Carolina Governor Signs Repeal of LGBT Protections
The Advocate
By Sunnivie Brydum
March 23, 2016

In the span of a single day, North Carolina lawmakers introduced and passed a bill through two houses and got it signed by the governor. That seemingly urgent bill strikes down all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances across the state.

North Carolina lawmakers voted overwhelmingly today during a special legislative session that was called in response to Charlotte, N.C. passing a transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance.

The state’s Republican-led House of Representatives passed House Bill 2 by a vote of 83-24, according to the anti-LGBT North Carolina Family Policy Council, which supports the legislation. Less than 10 hours after it was introduced, the bill unanimously passed the Republican-controlled Senate, in a vote of 32-0, because every Democratic Senator walked out of the chamber in protest, according to BuzzFeed News. Then Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed it that same night.
I hear people say that they vote Republicans because they are for smaller government and lower taxes, that is the teaser to draw voters in but in reality they are pushing their conservative social agenda with anti-LGBT and anti-women legislation.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

American College of Pediatricians (ACP)

Do you know the difference between the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)? You should because there is a very big difference between them beside the number of members. The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 pediatricians while the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has membership estimated at between 60 and 200 members. Big difference!
Hate Group Masquerading As Pediatricians Attacks Transgender Youth
By Zack Ford
March 22, 2016

The American College of Pediatricians (ACP), which utilizes the totally convincing slogan “Best for Children,” has issued a new position statement claiming that respecting transgender children’s identities causes them harm and conservative groups are already latching onto it.

If the claim sounds peculiar, it’s because it’s a claim completely refuted by all available scientific evidence. It’s also because the ACP is not a legitimate medical organization; its name is designed to be mistaken for the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is a national organization with some 60,000 members. The ACP, by contrast, is estimated to have no more than 200 members, and it has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-LGBT positions.

“The American College of Pediatricians urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex,” the statement reads. “Facts – not ideology – determine reality.” The “facts” that follow actually reflect a social conservative ideology that rejects the very reality of what transgender children experience.
Whoa! They have this professional sounding organization when in reality they are against adoption of children by same-sex couples or single parents; they oppose legislation requiring HPV vaccination and believe in for abstinence before marriage. They are conservative Christian based organization.

Our Stories

Our stories move minds.

We can change minds.

Harvey Milk was right when he said “Gay brothers and sisters, you must come out. Come out to your parents… But once and for all, break down the myths. Destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake.”
Transgender Bathroom Bill Dies in Tennessee House Committee
ABC News
By Sheila Burke, Associated Press
March 22, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A bill that would require transgender students to use bathrooms that match their sex at birth has failed.

The bill died in a House Education Administration and Planning Committee meeting Tuesday that was packed with transgender youth who opposed the measure.

Transgender students who testified before the committee were elated and said they felt like sharing their personal stories had impacted the vote.

“It feels great to know that my voice is counting,” Henry Seaton, an 18-year-old student who attends Beech High School in Hendersonville, said after the vote. Seaton, who was born female but identifies as male, testified last week in a subcommittee and then spoke to committee chairman Mark White, R-Memphis, before the meeting. Seaton, who said he has to use a teacher’s restroom that is locked half the time, said he thought White listened to him when he spoke with the lawmaker in the legislative cafeteria.
Their voices did make a difference.
After Meeting Transgender Students, Some Lawmakers Change Course On Controversial Bathroom Bill
Nashville Public Radio
By Emily Siner
March 22, 2016

A conservative lawmaker says he now thinks transgender students should be able to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Rep. Rick Womick's comments Tuesday led to the sudden failure of a bill that would have required students to use the restroom of their birth sex instead.

Womick, R-Rockvale, said he changed his mind after talking to his doctor, John Guenst, whose child was born with male organs but has identified as a girl for most of her life. John's wife, Valerie, says with medical help, their daughter went through puberty as a girl.
"This is, to me, a bill that's government trying to get involved in something they don't need to," he said during the House education committee hearing. "Why are we going to fix something that's not broke?"

That combination of small government ideology and a personal connection also swayed Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis. He pointed to a transgender boy in the audience and said the bill would unnecessarily complicate his life.
One voice can make a difference!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I Met Her

Digital Transgender Archives
College of the Holy Cross
I remember the first time that I met Alison, it was up at Fantasia Fair in Provincetown in 2000. She was one of the organizers for the fair but at the time I didn’t know who she was, it wasn’t until later that I found out about her history.
PHOTOS: This Trans Woman Dared to Be Herself in 1960s America
The Advocate

Meet Alison Laing. Between 1956 and 1965, the young transgender woman was the subject of 36 photographs, taken from  by an unknown individual (most likely her wife, Dottie Laing). These images comprise the first album in the groundbreaking Digital Transgender Archives at the College of the Holy Cross, a 173-year-old Jesuit Catholic college in Worcester, Mass. In this first image of Laing, she appears sharply attired outdoors on the boardwalk in front of a mini-golf course and a motel. —Cleis Abeni

Here Laing is seen at an unidentified person’s home sometime between 1956 and 1965. Laing’s photographs are some of the most remarkable records of a proud, out trans woman taken during that era. Today, Laing remains a prominent leader in the movement toward affirmation of transgender Americans. She founded the Renaissance Transgender Association, served a term as director of the International Foundation for Gender Education, and directed Fantasia Fair, an annual gathering in Provincetown, that, more than 40 years after its founding, remains the longest-running trans-affirming conference in the United States.
She is a remarkable woman, her health has dropped off and she is not attending Fantasia Fair anymore .

Conservative Wrath

This legislator was just looking for a person to focus his anger on.
This lawmaker thought he was in the presence of a transgender woman. So he ‘threatened to wave his p***s’ at her.
By LGBTQ Nation
March 21, 2016

Fayetteville councilman John La Tour is being accused of confronting a woman he assumed was transgender and threatening to wave his p***s at her at a crowded restaurant.

The Arkansas Times reports that La Tour is a Tea Party conservative and is a self-professed crusader for “Conservative Values.” The lawmaker recently scored a $2,000 campaign donation from Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
He says he’d merely asked the woman — who is employed at the restaurant — to dance.

“You can declare you’re a man or you’re a woman, whatever you want to. I’m not going to ask a man to dance with me,” La Tour insists he says. In fact, he claims his exact words were: “I am a man and I can prove it.”
These conservative have an unhealthy bathroom fixation; they really should see a therapist for that.

Monday, March 21, 2016

We Lost This One

I think we lost this case because of the stigma that is attached to trans people. That this is all about sexual gratitude not about our identity.
Transgender Woman Loses Anti-Discrimination Case Against Blood Bank
A jury found there was a business interest in CSL Plasma turning away Lisa Scott.

By Dominic Holden
March 18, 2016

A federal jury in Minnesota has ruled against a transgender woman in a leading case over discrimination at a blood bank.

Although the jurors agreed that CSL Plasma turned away Lisa Scott because she is transgender, they also believed the company had a legitimate business reason to do so.

“CSL Plasma is pleased with the court’s favorable decision,” Robert Mitchell, the director of marketing for CSL Plasma’s U.S. operations, told BuzzFeed News on Friday.

The jury’s March 9 verdict does not set a legal precedent like a judge’s opinion would, but the decision raises questions about the viability of similar claims of discrimination at blood banks, including a lawsuit by another transgender woman against the same plasma company in Washington State.
The FDA and blood banks see us as “Men having Sex with Men” (MSM) they that a very archaic view of trans people, to them we are all drag queens.
CSL’s Mitchell explained by email on Friday, “Our position is always to follow the guidance provided by regulators such as the Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies to ensure the safety of the plasma we collect.”

But Klassen contended that here is no such federal policy banning transgender people from donating blood. He stood by the lawsuit’s allegation that CSL Plasma violated a Minnesota state law that prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating against transgender people.
The FDA has lessened their restriction on blood donations, the FDA on their website “FAQ” for blood donations says,
How do the recommendations apply to transgender individuals?
The FDA’s recommendation to blood establishments is that in the context of the donor history questionnaire, male or female gender should be self-identified and self-reported for the purpose of blood donation.
What are the current recommendations for donor referral?
FDA recommends that blood establishments defer potential donors as follows:
  1. Defer indefinitely an individual who has ever had a positive test for HIV.
  2. Defer indefinitely an individual who has ever exchanged sex for money or drugs.
  3. Defer indefinitely an individual who has ever engaged in injection drug use that was not prescribed.
  4. Defer for 12 months from the most recent contact any individual who has a history of sex with a person who: has ever had a positive test for HIV, ever exchanged sex for money or drugs, or ever engaged in non-prescription injection drug use.
  5. Defer for 12 months from the most recent transfusion any individual who has a history of receiving a transfusion of Whole Blood or blood components donated by another person (allogeneic transfusion).
  6. Defer for 12 months from the most recent exposure any individual who has a history of through-the-skin contact with the blood of another individual, such as a needle stick or blood contact with an open wound or mucous membrane.
  7. Defer for 12 months from the most recent tattoo, ear or body piercing. However, individuals who have undergone tattooing within 12 months of donation are eligible to donate if the tattoo was applied by a state regulated entity with sterile needles and non-reused ink. Individuals who have undergone ear or body piercing within 12 months of donation are eligible to donate if the piercing was done using single-use equipment.
  8. Defer for 12 months after completion of treatment any individual with a history of syphilis or gonorrhea or with a history of diagnosis or treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 12 months.
  9. Defer for 12 months from the most recent contact a man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months.
  10. Defer for 12 months from the most recent contact a female who has had sex during the past 12 months with a man who has had sex with another man in the past 12 months.
So in other words we have to be celibate in order to give blood, and notice their guidelines says nothing if you are married, only “Defer for 12 months from the most recent contact a man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months.” nothing about is that man is your partner.

They should base their guideline o behavior, a woman or a man who sleeps around if more of a risk that a trans person or gay person who doesn't sleep around. 

Another High Profile Trans Person Forced To Come Out

Another trans person was forced to come out, this time down in Australia,
Successful Australian multi-millionaire came out as transgender on national television
Savannah Jackson, formally known as Daniel Kertchera, came out as transgender to her multi-million company as well as thousands of clients worldwide.
Gay Star News
By Nigel Tan
March 21, 2016

Savannah Jackson, who was formally known as Daniel Kertchera, is a well-known consultant in the global financial industry. Recently, she came out as transgender to her multi-million company as well as thousands of clients worldwide who tune in to her weekly webinar online.

The 43-year-old who runs a Sydney-based financial company, Trading Pursuits, with her former wife Julie, said in Australia’s popular interview show, Sunday Night, that she’s happy that she can finally be herself after all these years.

‘It’s surreal that it’s here. Like it’s a dream, it’s a thought, it’s a hope and a wish that you have every single day of your life. And then, to actually be here in this moment now… it’s just like every Christmas all come at once,’ she said.

When she was still living as a man, Jackson said that she enjoyed doing ‘boy things’ but never felt like a boy on the side.
I think many trans people are “Type A” people, we are driven to exceed because I think, we are trying to overcome our own feelings of inferiority. I think we are over compensating for being trans.

This time she was forced to come out not by the news media but because of blackmail.
That was until one day she received an $150,000 extortion from a person who had obtained a photo of her dressed as a woman, and was threatening to disclose it. At that point, Jackson had yet told her parents, daughter or the extended family that she is transgendered.

The incident had caused Jackson to become clinically depressed as she stopped going out or dressing up as Savannah at home. Her work life had suffered, causing her to lose millions of money.
We are so vulnerable, to blackmail, to the ruthless media, and to violence because we are trans. People try to take advantage of us when we need a plumber, or buying a car, or at the doctor’s office, or any other time we have to place ourselves at the mercy of others.

Did we really need all that plumbing work done or did he take advantage of me? Did I get the best buy on the car or did he think that I wouldn’t haggle over the price? Does he actually care about or did he just want me out of his office so the patients wouldn’t see me? All those questions go through our minds when we have to deal with others. I know many women also wonder about these questions but we have it twice as hard being trans.
In the video, she says that as she transitions everyone around her and to see her transition in the video is amazing.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hopefully We Are All Getting Older

The alternative is not good, getting planted six feet underground. As we LGBT people get older we once again become more vulnerable in long term care facilities, nursing homes, and even in our own home when health care workers come into our homes.
The Challenge of Being Transgender in a Nursing Home
Many elder-care facilities are ill-equipped to deal with the needs of transgender seniors, who fear that a move to assisted living may leave them vulnerable to discrimination and harassment.
The Atlantic
By Mo Perry
August 12, 2015

Brett, who is transgender, has a full beard, a low speaking voice, and has had his breasts removed. But he never had sex-reassignment surgery, meaning that his transgender status would quickly become obvious to a nursing-home aide charged with bathing or dressing him. Like many transgender seniors, he worries what this will mean for him once he enters a nursing home or assisted-living facility.
One thing, though, is clear: For transgender people, aging into the later years of life can present a unique set of challenges.

Most transgender people have not surgically transitioned—for reasons that include prohibitive cost and decreased sexual function—so when they disrobe in a medical setting, they’re automatically outed, explained Loree Cook-Daniels, the founder of the Milwaukee-based Transgender Aging Network. “That inability to closet even if they want to means we have a much bigger problem in getting trans people to health care,” she said.
Also consider crossdressers, will they be able to crossdress in a LTC facility?
“As I am only part-time in each gender, I am worried that I will be in some situation that will force me to be considered totally masculine,” one of Witten’s study participants wrote, like “being assigned to ‘the boy’s room,’ meaning exile from femininity.”
One of our fears is being “outed” to the staff or to the residents.
The roommate question, in particular, can be fraught with complications. Brett recently experienced what life might be like for him in a long-term care facility when he checked in for a temporary stay in a St. Paul nursing home to recover from a back injury. After a week in a single room, he said, he was assigned a male roommate—but he worried that a roommate of either gender would soon discover that he was transgender, a fact he didn’t want to be publicized.

“A female would have a problem with me, and I’d have a problem with a male,” he said. “I wouldn’t want him to know about me … And with the gossip in nursing homes, that secret would last about a week.”
The staff must be trained that any divulgence of patient’s gender dysphoria is a HIPAA violation! In addition segregating trans patients is a violation on non-discrimination laws here in Connecticut and may also be a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Mitigating the effects of social isolation experienced by older LGBT adults is a goal of the advocacy group Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE). One of the organization’s current priorities is working to secure recognition for the LGBT community in the Older Americans Act (OAA), the source of federal funding for senior-care programs across the country, as a population of “greatest social need,” deserving of dedicated funds for training, outreach, and services. (The current interpretation of the term, as explained by the U.S. Administration on Aging, is vague: “In some communities, such isolation may be caused by minority religious affiliation. In others, isolation due to sexual orientation or gender identity may restrict a person’s ability to perform normal daily tasks or live independently. Each planning and service area must assess their particular environment to determine those populations best targeted based on ‘greatest social need.’”)
I have received a number of reports of trans people in nursing homes being shunned and isolated by the other residents. Nursing homes and LTC facilities must be made aware of the possibilities of LGBT patients being rejected by the residents.

There are many problem areas that have to be worked on to insure that the needs of the elderly LGBT population and caregivers are slowly beginning to realize our unique needs.

A Hatch Job

I am not going to link to the video because it is disgusting and I don’t want to popularize their video. There is a horrendous video making the rounds on conservative websites that is full of half-truths and innuendos.
The Most Extreme Attempt Yet To Demonize Transgender People And Deny Them Rights
By Zack Ford
March 18, 2016

Fear has been the primary strategy employed by conservatives opposed to transgender equality, such as in the fight against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). A new video circulating among various advocacy groups takes this tactic to a new extreme by not only conflating transgender women with male predators, but actually attempting to portray all transgender women as having malicious intent.

The video, called “Women: Decide For Yourselves,” was published to YouTube last weekend by an apparently pseudonymous “Jane Williams,” but has since been shared by several anti-LGBT organizations, including the Illinois Family Institute and the “Just Want Privacy” campaign to overturn Washington’s state-level transgender protections. Over the course of the 23-minute video, a female narrator graphically describes sexual assaults and murders committed by men who tried to disguise themselves in dresses or who later actually came out as transgender (like Michelle Norsworthy and Michelle Kosilek) alongside stories of perfectly harmless transgender girls simply seeking access to facilities that match their gender.
The video seems to target Washington specifically. Following one example about a Seattle man charged with voyeurism, it claims, “According to Washington state law, men dressed as women now have the right to use women’s bathrooms, so he will be allowed access to vulnerable women and girls.”

Not so, says Danni Askini, executive director of Gender Justice League, a transgender advocacy group in Washington. “The reality is that the law that we have here in Washington state — the state nondiscrimination law — it does nothing to legitimize illegal conduct or behavior,” she told ThinkProgress. “So if people enter a bathroom and commit illegal conduct, they absolutely will be arrested and prosecuted, as were the people in that video. The reason why we know about these examples is because they were arrested and prosecuted.”

Askini rejected conservatives’ claims that the law somehow prevents people from being asked about their identity if other people suspect they might be in the restroom for nefarious purposes, noting that the Human Rights Commission has specifically issued guidance clarifying just that. “Inquiring if someone’s in the illegitimate bathroom is absolutely permissible under law, however harassing someone for using the bathroom for its intended purposes is not permissible.” The law, she said, only protects trans people from intimidation, not basic questions to make sure people are where they are supposed to be.
I couldn't stand watching the while video, but around 6:48 or so I am in the video. It is a still photo of the “Jane Doe” protest in front of the Department of Children and Families office. In the video they describe the actions of Jane Doe making her into some kind of monster. The New York Times wrote this about her,
LAST month a 16-year-old child was placed in solitary confinement at the York Correctional Institution for Women in Niantic, Conn. She has never been charged, tried or convicted. What is her crime? That she has survived.

With her father incarcerated and her mother addicted to heroin, crack cocaine and alcohol, the girl — who is referred to simply as Jane Doe, to protect her identity as a minor — had been passed among family members since she was 5 years old. They repeatedly raped, tortured and even prostituted her.

At last rescued by Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families, she was placed in a foster care facility, where she was raped by a fellow resident and forced to have sex with a staff member. When she fought back, she was punished. When caught involuntarily performing sex acts, she was punished. Jane was then placed at a residential facility in Massachusetts, but the sexual assaults continued at the hand of a worker entrusted with her care.
The video makes no mention of any of these mitigating circumstance; instead they just mention the results of years of abuse at the hands of her families and the state agency that was supposed to protect her.

The article goes on to say,
“We will be accused of cherry-picking the worst of the worst, but we did not,” the video claims. “This film could have been hours long. For each offender here, there are dozens more we could have chosen, and for each offender there are victims. There are women and children who have been terrorized, violated, and even murdered, yet these men and their advocates keep telling us that this never happens — that men who wear women’s clothing never commit sexual crimes and that women have no right to privacy, no right to safety, and no right to fear. Decide for yourself.”

“We will be accused of cherry-picking the worst of the worst, but we did not,” the video claims. “This film could have been hours long. For each offender here, there are dozens more we could have chosen, and for each offender there are victims. There are women and children who have been terrorized, violated, and even murdered, yet these men and their advocates keep telling us that this never happens — that men who wear women’s clothing never commit sexual crimes and that women have no right to privacy, no right to safety, and no right to fear. Decide for yourself.”
Askini notes that it’s a “common tactic” of hate groups to engage in this sort of conflation to try to smear transgender people as criminals and propagate violence against them. “Transgender people are in all parts of our society. They’re our teachers, our doctors, our neighbors, our elected officials,” she said. “Unfortunately, some transgender people commit crimes, and that is deplorable, and they should be punished in the same way all people should be punished.”
Based on the bias in the Jane Doe segment I have discount the whole video as a hatch job on the same level of the doctored video about Planned Parenthood.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday 9: Kiss from a Rose

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Kiss from a Rose (1996)

Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…

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

1) This song is from the movie, Batman Forever. The movie Batman v. Superman will be out later this month. In that matchup, who do you support -- The Caped Crusader or The Man of Steel?
Well since I haven’t seen either movie I can’t say which one that I like.

2) "Rose" became a popular name in the 19th century, when parents also began naming their daughters "Iris," "Violet," "Daisy" and "Lily." Do you know anyone who has a flower name?
Yes I know of a couple of woman named after flowers; Lilies and Roses.

3) This week's artist, Seal, has something to fall back on. At his parents' insistence, before he pursued music he got an associate degree in architecture from a small college in Westminster. What's the last grade you completed?
Grad school with my MSW. I am not giving much thought about going on to get my PhD,

4) Seal wrote this song back in the 1980s but didn't really like it very much. His producer discovered it when they were looking for material to complete Seal's second album and the result was several Grammys. Tell us about a time when something turned out better than you thought it would.
Oh, another hard question for me. I guess it was when I did a presentation at a senior center.

5) Ex-wife Heidi Klum is not the only model in Seal's life. He also dated Tyra Banks. Can you name another famous model?
Um… no. if you didn’t mention those two names I wouldn’t have known that they were models or I wouldn’t have known their names at all.

6) Seal is currently involved with yet another model, Australian Erica Packer. Between them they have seven children. How many siblings do you have, and are you the oldest, youngest, or in the middle?
I only have an older brother.

7) Seal's birthday was back on February 19. Let's think about your birthday. If you could have any type of cake you wanted, what would you request?
A sugar free cake with zero carbs. But I have been known to sneak a piece of “Death by Chocolate” cake.

8) In 1996, when this song was popular, Lyle and Erik Menendez were found guilty of murdering their parents in a crime and trial that dominated the news in Los Angeles. What are people in your town talking about?
How many kittens will the Bruce’s cat have? Just kidding, I don’t know of anything they are talking about outside of politics.

9) Random question: There's an old saying, "Like nails on a blackboard." Sam can't recall ever hearing nails on a blackboard, but she knows she hates the sound of a dripping faucet. What sound bothers you the most?
Loud music, I hate it when a car goes by my house and with all the window closed in my house I can still here it.

I am up at the True Colors conference at UConn in Storrs CT all day attending workshops, my workshop yesterday was a hit. There was standing room only and almost all of the evaluation were fives.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Throw The Book At Him

I think they should go for the max, they gave him a chance but he refused to take it.
James Dixon, accused of fatally beating transgender woman, rejects plea deal and will stand trial — but has already confessed several times, prosecutors say
New York Daily News
By Shayna Jacobs
March 17, 2016

The man accused of fatally beating a transgender woman in Harlem balked at a plea deal Thursday and is now set to try his luck before a jury.

Judge Robert Stolz offered James Dixon 12 years behind bars in exchange for pleading guilty in the chilling Aug. 17, 2013 attack on Islan Nettles.

Dixon, 25, faces a range of 5 to 25 years behind bars if convicted at trial in the manslaughter case.
And he has already told people that he murdered her,
"There will be confessions the defendant made to four different civilians before turning himself in and a written confession he made to a detective after he turned himself in," Viorst said.

"There will be a lengthy, detailed, videotaped confession he made to me after that."
You watch, I bet he is going to use the “Trans Panic” defense, “She made a pass at me and I went berserk!”

And I don’t know why this isn’t a hate crime, the DA said,
The ADA said that while the killing was not charged as a hate crime, the incident would not have occurred had the victim not been a transgender person.

There's "clear overlay of animus toward the transgender status of the victim," Viorst argued.
So tell us mister DA why this is not a hate crime?

I am up at the True Colors conference at UConn in Storrs CT all day attending workshops and I am also giving a workshop on trans history.

Ready To Go To Battle

The battle lines are being drawn; on one side is the potty police and on the other side is the LGBT activists, I think you can guess what the battle is about.
Charlotte leaders, LGBT groups tell lawmakers to leave transgender ordinance alone
By Laura Leslie
March 17, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. — Charlotte City Council members and LGBT advocates rallied outside the Legislative Building in downtown Raleigh on Thursday in support of a nondiscrimination ordinance the council passed last month that state lawmakers have vowed to overturn.

The ordinance broadly defines how businesses must treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers, but as in other cities recently, the debate has focused on bathrooms. The measure allows transgendered people to use the bathroom in which they feel most comfortable.
Lawmakers have proposed holding a special legislative session to block the Charlotte ordinance, which goes into effect April 1. If not, the issue is expected to be among the first addressed when the General Assembly convenes for its regular 2016 session on April 25.
What more can I say? We have seen this rush to vilify trans people all around the country with Republican legislators and now they are attacking cities that do the right thing.
Republican lawmakers also are looking to turn the Charlotte ordinance into a political issue in the gubernatorial campaign, calling on Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democratic nominee for governor, to take action against it.
They know that they can energize their base and bring in campaign donation by making these draconian laws.

I am up at the True Colors conference at UConn in Storrs CT all day attending workshops and I am also giving a workshop on trans history. For lunch I am meeting with a former classmate from UConn School of Social Work, she is now a school social workers and she will have her school’s “Gay Straight Alliance” students up at the conference. I will be doing an impromptu Q&A session with the students during lunch.

The conference is the largest LGBT youth conference in the world, this weekend attendance will be around 3,000 students, teachers, school therapists, parents and allies. They have over 220 workshops in the two days! When I was in grad school my internship was with True Colors and I helped organize the conference that year.

My friend Stana is also up at the conference and will be doing a workshop, afterward we are supposed to meet for dinner