Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Breaking News! Next Stop The Supreme Court

Well it looks like the state of Virginia only option left is the Supreme Court in the trans bathroom case.
Breaking: In Win For Transgender Rights, Federal Appeals Court Refuses to Rehear Historic Case
Is the U.S. Supreme Court the Next Stop?
The New Civil Rights Movement
May 31, 2016

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has just refused to hear a historic case that paved the way for the Departments of Justice and Education to issue sweeping guidance on preventing discrimination against transgender students.

The Federal Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, denied the request, submitted by the Gloucester school system, to re-hear the case brought by a transgender boy, in court documents listed as G.G., but publicly known as Gavin Grimm. In April, the 4th Circuit Court siding with Grimm, upheld a previous ruling that federal civil rights laws include transgender people in cases involving education discrimination, and that Title IX protects transgender students.
Will the Supreme Court hear the case? Will they refuse to hear it and the Appeals Court ruling stand making the law in the 4th District? What will North Carolina do? If the Supreme Court hears the case how will they vote? Will win? Will we lose? Or will it be a tie?

Stay tuned for the exciting saga of the 2016 trans bathroom debate.

Unfortunately We Need This.

With all the laws that are being passed or being proposed in states around the country that gives special rights to people discriminate in the name of religion this law is necessary.
Kennedy, Scott Introduce Amendment to Religious Freedom Restoration Act
The Rainbow Times
By TRT Editor
May 27, 2016

WASHINGTON—Joined by leaders from the civil rights, social justice and faith communities, Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) and Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, today introduced legislation to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  The Do No Harm Act would clarify that no one can seek religious exemption from laws guaranteeing fundamental civil and legal rights. It comes in response to continued efforts across the country to cite religious belief as grounds to undermine Civil Rights Act protections, limit access to healthcare, and refuse service to minority populations.

Specifically, the Do No Harm Act would limit the use of RFRA in cases involving discrimination, child labor and abuse, wages and collective bargaining, access to health care, public accommodations, and social services provided through government contract.

“The right of Americans to freely and fully express our faith is sacred in this country,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy III. “But in order to guarantee that liberty for every citizen, our system must ensure that my religious freedom does not infringe on yours or do you harm. While not its original intent, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has become a vehicle for those seeking to impose their beliefs on others or claim that the tenants of their faith justify discrimination. The Do No Harm Act will restore the balance between our right to religious freedom and our promise of equal protection under law.”
Representative Kennedy is right when the law was passed it had another purpose but over time the courts have started to interpret differently. In the past the courts have recognized that religious exemption didn’t apply to the civil and legal rights, they have ruled that there is an overriding right to treat everyone equally and not to discriminate against minorities, but there are strong indicators that that might be changing.
“When Congress passed RFRA in 1993, the goal was to protect religious freedom for minority groups by requiring the government to demonstrate a compelling interest and to use a policy that was the least restrictive means,” said Congressman Bobby Scott. “Since then, the law has been misconstrued as allowing the sincerely-held religious beliefs of one person to trump the civil rights of others. Civil rights are a compelling government interest, and we cannot allow so-called ‘religious freedom,’ ‘religious liberty’ or ‘faith-based initiatives’ to invalidate the very laws designed to correct the generations of injustices inflicted on minorities. The Do No Harm Act restores the original intent of RFRA.”

In 1993, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in response to a Supreme Court case undermining the rights of religious minorities. But in recent years, the misapplication of RFRA has been used to deny health care coverage for employees, claim exemptions to civil rights law, and complicate justice in child labor and abuse cases.
But now these laws are being used to justify discrimination against LGBT people. I see it only as a matter of time when a company like Hobby Lobby claims they are not hiring LGBT employees because it is against the company owners’ religious beliefs.

Trans Rights

In this year’s political arena the candidates are speaking out on trans rights and some of their positions are head scratchers.

Bernie’s position according to Buzzfeed,
Bernie Sanders declared he was an ally to the transgender community and he vowed to expand transgender protections under existing federal civil rights laws if he’s elected — according to his answers to a presidential questionnaire sent in April by a transgender-rights advocacy group.
Hilary’s position according to her statement,
In her statement, Clinton pledged to fight for full federal equality for LGBT Americans. She advised she will work with congress to pass the Equality Act, an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Act would provide LGBT individuals explicit and comprehensive protection from discrimination in all facets of American life—employment, housing, schools, access to credit, public education, jury service, and public accommodations.
Now Trump’s position is hard to pin down because it is flapping all over the place. The latest that I could find was,
Last month, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump broke with his party’s orthodoxy and came out against a North Carolina law that bans schools and public buildings from accommodating transgender individuals’ bathroom use.

“North Carolina did something that was very strong,” Trump told Today, “and they’re paying a big price. There’s a lot of problems.”

But Trump has steadily walked those comments back during the handful of weeks since. In fact, Trump’s recent comments suggest he doesn’t actually object to anti-trans state laws like North Carolina’s aforementioned HB2 after all.

Earlier this month, Trump said that while he thinks "transgender people should be protected under the law," the bathroom issue is one that should be left to the individual states to sort out. The problem with that position, however, is that states like North Carolina are passing laws that do the very opposite of protect trans people.

Then, during an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor this Monday, Trump rolled out another rationale for why states shouldn't be required to accommodate trans people -- it's allegedly too expensive.

"Frankly, it would be unbelievably expensive nationwide," Trump said, referring to gender neutral bathrooms. "It would be hundreds of billions of dollars."
So take your pick on whether he is for trans rights or against them, it seems to depend upon his mood and audience.

Personally  I feel that human rights, not just trans rights but women’s right to determine their own reproductive health, integration, and freedom from religious persecution are the important issues for me this election cycle.

I believe that the Republicans cry is to get government off our back overlook the fact that they want to put government into our doctor’s office and tell us what we can do with our bodies. What could be more invasive that what Republican legislators have proposed… vaginal ultrasounds before a woman can get an abortion?

They have passed legislation that gives special rights to people to disregard laws and discriminate against people that they don’t agree just by saying it is against their religion.

In parts of the south segregation is alive and growing.

They are disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of voters in states and claim it is to stop voter fraud which they have admitted in court doesn’t exisit.

I cannot in good conscious vote Republican , a party that as part of their party platform criminalizes me.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Let Us Remember

Repost from May 25, 2015 - Memorial Day

All those who have served in the defense of our country, but let us also remember those who must keep silent because if they reveal their true gender they will not be able to serve. As people cerebrate that gay and lesbian servicemembers we seem to be lost in the celebration, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy with 21 other senators issued a press release that said in part…
"The repeal of DADT represented great progress toward eradicating a significant barrier to formal equality, but the military is not yet an equitable environment for gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members. The absence of formal equal opportunity protections not only undermines foundational American principles of fairness and equality, it also presents an unneeded risk to national security by negatively impacting the morale and readiness of our all-volunteer force. Conversely, an environment in which all service members can defend their country with honor and personal integrity, and without fear of discrimination, strengthens the bonds of shared sacrifice and maintains good order and discipline,"wrote the Senators.
It would have been a perfect opportunity to make a statement about changing the policy for trans servicemembers.

The Advocate in an op-ed, Gay Purple Heart Recipient Says 'Mission Not Accomplished' called for our inclusion,
It has been five years since President Obama repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but the military remains exclusionary. While we made huge strides in allowing LGB individuals to serve openly, we didn’t, as we say in the military, “accomplish the mission.” Our nation still does not allow our transgender brothers and sisters to wear the uniform and serve our country. Since my coming out in 2007, I've met many transgender people who served in the military but had to hide their gender identity. As a nation, we will never know just how many of our brothers and sisters died while still living and feeling the oppression of the closet; the fact that this is still happening is unconscionable. As I often say in most of my public speeches, we still have work to do. Aside from fixing the ban on out transgender military personnel, we still need to make sure the National LGBT Veterans Memorial gets completed so we can best remember those in our community who worked so hard to preserve our way of life.
I know perhaps a dozen trans servicemembers who served in silence it is time for them to get recognition for their military service.

A year ago trans servicemembers were promised they would be welcome to serve in the military, they were promised that the policy barring them from the serving would be removed... we are still waiting. It is time to let all servicemembers who want to serve, serve.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


There have been a number of “Preachers” on YouTube who have been marching through Target or in front of schools who have been preaching their own brand of hate. One person who was preaching hate in front of a school got hit in the head with a baseball bat, I do not condone violence, the girl who did it got arrested and the preacher “denied that he was responsible for the attack by inciting the violence.”
When will some churches stop treating transgender people as modern-day lepers?NOLA.com
By Robert Mann
May 27, 2016

Theodore Parker, the 19th century Unitarian minister and abolitionist, was right: "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." History takes a circuitous route, but it inexorably gravitates toward acknowledging the dignity and inherent worth of every person. Fitfully – and with some maddening steps backward – minorities, immigrants, refugees and other marginalized people will continue to earn greater rights and wider public acceptance.

And, eventually, perhaps 10 years hence, we will glance back at today's nasty, politically motivated struggle over transgender rights and ask, "What, exactly, did we fight about?"

I've given up hope that Louisiana's political leaders will soon muster the courage to "bend toward justice" on LGBT issues. That's one reason, as a person of faith, I find it particularly tragic that so many religious leaders lack the fortitude to lead their flocks towards greater acceptance of gay and transgender individuals. And I'm not talking about hate mongers in the style of Tony Perkins, Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson.
I do not think that these churches will ever stop hating LGBT people because it fills their collection plates and focuses their members away from the real issues.
It's beyond tragic that gay, lesbian and transgender people often find no place of comfort in their faith communities. Certainly, many churches have embraced LGBT individuals. The Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, the Reform Jewish Movement and the Unitarians, to name a few, not only perform same-sex weddings; they have also ordained LGBT pastors or rabbis. These are, however, still a minority.
These churches have to do more than embrace us; they have to speak up for us. It is not until they make their voices heard that there will be change.

Also the media has to stop focusing on the negative and have religious leaders  on their shows that support  us. But that will never happen because someone shouting damnation and hate bring in viewers while a preacher who says that trans people should be allowed to use the bathroom of their gender identity does bring in viewers.

In addition, the Republicans Party uses LGBT issues as a way to get donations and rally their conservative base, to take away the attention from the fact that even with a Republican control Congress they are fighting among themselves.

Started Something!

Those who have been following my blog know that for the last year I have been working with a group of non-profits, senior centers and state agencies in organizing a LGBT day at senior centers around the state and it has taken off.

We have added a number of new towns and cities to those who want to have a LGBT day at their centers, this month we have two centers that will hold a day at their centers. This month for the first time there will be two senior centers holding a LGBT day at their centers and one center is a new member. There are also a number of centers east of the Connecticut River that wants to join the group.

On our Facebook page some of the “likes” are from other LGBT senior groups from around the country, so the idea is catching not only here in Connecticut but also in other states. One senor group is from Ohio and another group is the Trans Aging Project.

You can see this year’s schedule on our website here. So if you live in Connecticut, a senior (over 50) and want something to do give the LGBT days at the senior centers a visit and meet new people, and do new things.

You have to be LGBT to come to a center, the programs are open to everyone, I’m definitely going the Plainville LGBT Day and play miniature golf which I haven’t played in ages.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Milking It For All Its Worth

The North Carolina governor got a big boost in the polls when he sued the federal government.
Poll: N.C. Gov. Gains 15-Point Swing After Opposing Obama’s Transgender Agenda
By John Pudner
May 26, 2016

A poll shows that Republican Governor Pat McCrory has surged 9 points since he stood up against President Barack Obama’s order to allow transgenders into K-12 restrooms, and he has now converted a 10-point deficit into a 5-point lead in his 2016 reelection campaign against Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat.

“The shift we’ve seen since last month’s poll shows that, along with the continued strength of the state’s economy, Governor McCrory has re-taken the lead on the narrative of HB2,” said Francis De Luca, president of Civitas Institute, which conducted the poll of 600 likely voters.
The poll suggests that Democrats [Roy Cooper who is running for governor ] will lose President Barack Obama recently nationalized the issue with his May 9 executive order requiring 55 million K-12 kids to share their bathrooms with a small number of self-identified transgenders.
Breitbart is a conservative website that was owned by Andrew James Breitbart who was a columnist for the Washington Times.

In North Carolina the cities and the surrounding suburbs are Democratic while the rural countryside is Republican. Right now the rural countryside controls the legislature but that is starting to change as more “outsiders” move down to North Carolina.

Hog Tied

The House is tied up over LGBT rights and amendment was passed in the House on a military spending bill that ordered federal contract not to discriminate against LGBT employees.
An argument over transgender rights has killed a major spending bill in Congress
Business Insider
By David Morgan, Reuters
May 27, 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The rancorous political debate over sexual identity unexpectedly prompted the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to rejected an energy and water spending bill on Thursday after Democrats attached an amendment to protect the rights of transgender people.

The legislation, which would have funded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Energy in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, failed on a 112-305 vote, with 130 Republicans and 175 Democrats opposing the legislation.

The vote outcome was such a surprise that the House Appropriations Committee initially announced that bill had passed and was forced to retract the statement.

Democrats blamed Republicans for opposing a Democratic amendment to bar federal contractors from government work if they discriminated against the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGBT) community. Democrats were unable to attach the same measure to a separate House spending bill last week.
So the Republicans feel that it is OK to discriminate against people as long as they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The Democrats said that they voted against the bill because,
The White House had already threatened to veto the legislation, and Democrats said on Thursday that it contained a number of "objectionable riders" including three provisions that they said would undermine the Clean Water Act and another that would allow people to carry arms on Army Corps of Engineers land.
Yup, we need to carry our guns when we go on a picnic at an Army Corps of Engineers site and we want companies to be able to pollute the waterways… the nerve of the government telling us that we can’t dump chemicals into the brook on our property! Just because the brook flows into our neighbor’s property and eventually into another state or ocean and making the water unusable for everyone else they are taking away my right to poison the brook.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Get Out Of Here!

That is what a trans woman heard from a McDonald’s employee in New Jersey.
Transgender Woman Says She Was Harassed and Told to Leave After Using Bathroom at NJ McDonald's
By David Chang
May 25, 2016

A Delaware transgender woman says she was harassed and told to leave a Gloucester County McDonald’s after she used the women's bathroom.

Misty Hill, 42, of Wilmington, Delaware, told NBC10 she was using the women’s restroom at a McDonald’s in Paulsboro, New Jersey Wednesday around 4:30 p.m. Hill, who says she transitioned and has been living as a woman for a little over a year, told NBC10 she was wearing cargo pants and didn’t have any makeup on when she used the bathroom.
As Hill used the bathroom, she says she was followed by the restaurant’s manager.

“The female manager followed me in and when I was in the stall she asked if a gentleman was in,” Hill said.

Hill says she told her she was a woman. She then claims the manager came back inside about a minute later and asked her once again if she was a man.

“She said, ‘you don’t belong here,’” Hill said.
The manager had this to say…
NBC10 reached out to the manager of the Paulsboro McDonald's. The manager told us she never harassed Hill, never told her to leave and never threatened to call police. Instead, she says she was trying to address the concerns of another customer.

“There was a little girl going to the bathroom,” the manager said. “She[Hill] started talking to a little girl. The girl got scared and told her mom and her mom told me.”
New Jersey is one of the states that has protections for us in public accommodation, so the manager should never have even made an issues about tit.

This goes to show you that even with the laws we still have to fight for our rights.

Do They Have A Leg To Stand On?

Do the elven states that are suing President Obama have any standing in court?
States Sue Obama Administration Over Transgender Bathroom Policy
New York Times
By David Montgomery and Alan Blinder
May 25, 2016

AUSTIN, Tex. — The Obama administration on Wednesday faced the first major court challenge to its guidance about the civil rights of transgender students in public schools, as officials from 11 states filed a lawsuit testing both the scope of federal anti-discrimination law and the government’s sweeping interpretation of it.

The officials, in states from Arizona to Georgia to Texas to Wisconsin, brought the case in Federal District Court in Wichita Falls, Tex., and said that the Obama administration had “conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over common-sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.”

The lawsuit asked the court to block the federal government from “implementing, applying or enforcing the new rules, regulations and guidance interpretations.”
So do they any legal standing?
“I see it as a political stunt, and a really unfortunate one because it’s at the expense of transgender people, including transgender youth all across the country,” said James D. Esseks, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who focuses on gender identity and sexual orientation issues. “They’re acting as though the Obama administration’s guidance that came out a few weeks ago is like the first time that anyone has interpreted federal bans on sex discrimination to cover transgender people.”

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said the administration “may be pushing the envelope, but not a whole lot.”
The first hurdle to get by for the Department of Education and the Justice Department  is that the case…
...was assigned to Judge Reed C. O’Connor, an appointee of President George W. Bush, the officials said that the federal government had gone “so far beyond any reasonable reading of the relevant congressional text such that the new rules, regulations, guidance and interpretations functionally exercise lawmaking power reserved only to Congress.”
I think it is going to be like the Virginia case where the Federal judge that was appointed by President Reagan ruled in favor of the state and dismissed the case, however, the case was later sent back to the trail judge on appeal.

I wasn’t  surprise that Maine’s Governor LePage jumped on the bandwagon he is trying to make Maine like the southern states.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It’s Education

Those of you who saw my interview on television last week saw how I ended the interview. The show’s host asked me when is needed to be done now and I answered education.
Transgender Panic Isn’t Hate—It’s Ignorance
Yes, Virginia, transgender is a real thing—and it’s not the same as cross-dressing, lifestyle choice, whim, or personal preference.
The Daily Beast
By Jay Michaelson
May 23, 2016

Rodney Cavness, superintendent of a Texas school district, became famous last week for saying that the White House’s guidance letter on transgender kids and school bathrooms was “going straight to the shredder.”

The response from right and left was predictable, and so this week, Cavness complained on Fox News that “I’ve been called everything you can be called this week… hateful, bigoted… it is simply not like that.”

He’s right. The problem isn’t hate; it’s ignorance. In fact, in Cavness’s five-minute interview, four key misconceptions about this whole non-issue were laid bare for anyone who cared to pay attention.
There is a thin line between ignorance and bigotry. There is a difference between willing to learn and not wanting to learn and that is what makes it bigotry. Also there are those who know the facts and choose to ignore them and make up lies because of political gain.

The article goes on to say,
First, the fair and balanced Fox News anchor said the White House was demanding that schools “let transgender kids use any bathroom they want.”

False, false, false. In fact, so false, so idiotically and completely false, that it makes those of us watching this debate wonder whether these people actually believe this stuff, or whether they’re just saying it to scare folks.
The other argument that they use against us is that this is about states’rights.
That’s true, but the responsibility of enforcing the Civil Rights Act is put on the federal government. This is not a case of government overreach. The White House letter was intended to put schools and other institutions on notice that they are violating Title IX if they don’t accommodate trans kids. Period. That’s exactly the purview of Title IX, and exactly why it exists in the first place.
Lastly the author points out that this is not about “safety” but rather,
This is where people like me get suspicious, because there isn’t really a safety issue here at all. There are no cases of trans women assaulting cisgender women in restrooms. And there’s no way to read the White House letter (or non-discrimination laws like Charlotte’s) as requiring unisex bathrooms, or boys in the girls’ room, or any of the other frightening prospects raised by conservative fear-mongers. (What is it with these people? Why are they always so afraid? Remember when they tried to terrify us all about Ebola?
What these politics are saying is we are going to punish the trans community for acts of others. We must educate people that we are not the problem, the problem is with those who are using us for their own political gains.

Support From A Needed Ally

When we fight the conservatives bathroom frenzy we have an axe to grind and it doesn’t carry as much weight as when an ally speaks up and when ally is a religious leader it is even more powerful.
Transgender Bathrooms Are a Human Rights Struggle - and a Jewish Imperative
As Jews our responsibility is to embrace the gender identity of each individual not only in our communities but in society at large. That means repealing transphobic legislation like North Carolina's HB2.
Rabbi Jesse Olitzky
May 22, 2016

North Carolina's controversial "Bathroom Law", which stipulates that in government buildings, individuals may only use the restroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificates, continues to make headlines. Proponents of the law, known officially as HB2 "The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act," claim that it is about safety, preventing men from "claiming to be transgender" just so that they can enter a women's bathroom and invade their privacy. But over 200 local, state, and national organizations that work with assault victims claim that there is nothing to support the fears of these lawmakers. And none of the 18 states that have nondiscrimination laws that protect transgender rights has seen an increase in public safety issues because of these laws.

The fight over the law hit a tipping point when the Department of Justice determined that HB2 violates the Federal Civil Rights Act and gave North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory an ultimatum to ensure that the state would not comply with the law. North Carolina didn't budge, and instead sued the government. The Justice Department responded with a lawsuit of their own, with Attorney General Loretta Lynch describing the battle over this law as the civil rights struggle of this era.

But the fight over HB2 is more than a civil rights struggle; it's a human rights struggle. And as Jews, we have a particular imperative to treat it as such. 
Lots of times we paint all religions as being anti-LGBT but many more religions support us than hate us. It is that vocal minority that gets all the press. It is that woman walking through Target shouting Bible verses and derogatory words about us gets all the publicity while those who preach inclusion and acceptance do not get any press.

At a Transgender Day of Remembrance once a rabbi brought a stained glass window pane and she told a story about Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass" she said that it wasn’t only the Jews the Nazi came after but also trans people, gays and lesbians, gypsies, and people with disabilities. That we share that common heritage.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Another Newspaper Gets It

In an opinion in the Portland Press Herald the paper shows that they understand that this whole bathroom campaign is not more than a political ruse.
Our View: Invented threat feeds hysteria over bathrooms
For years, transgender people have been using public restrooms in Maine without incident.
By The Editorial Board
May 17, 2016

Gallons of ink, and volumes of hot air, have been spent in the last few months on the supposed dangers of allowing transgender people in general, and students in particular, to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

A Portland High School senior, however, summed up the debate in four words.

“No one really cares,” Brianna Guptil, 18, told the Portland Press Herald last week, after President Obama issued a federal directive supporting transgender rights.

No one really cares, that is, except those drumming up unwarranted fear of sexual predation, all at the expense of a small, vulnerable population just trying to live their lives.

That’s because, before conservatives, suddenly and hysterically, made transgender bathroom usage an issue, it wasn’t an issue at all.
These problems only existed in the minds of people ignorant and uneasy when it comes to gender identity, and unwilling to learn more, and the politicians happy to exploit that fear and unfamiliarity.
The editorial goes on to write about Nicole Maines and her court battle that went all the way to the Maine Supreme Court.

Nicole Maines recently gave a TED talk about her experience…

Big Step In The Right Direction

If you are trans, an undocumented alien and were picked up by ICE that was almost like a death sentence because of the harassment and violence you faced in detention centers.
Immigration officials to start sending transgender women to the middle of Texas
By Jorge Rivas
May 23, 2016

U.S. immigration officials are opening a new detention facility in Texas that will include a unit specifically created for transgender individuals, Fusion has confirmed.

“The facility is expected to house about 700 detainees, including a separate 36-bed unit for transgender individuals,” said Carl Rusnok, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.)

ICE says the Prairieland Detention Center will open in November in Alvarado, Texas, and will operate with the agency’s most advanced care guidelines for transgender detainees. Each detainee will have an individualized detention plan “covering items such as searches, clothing options, hygiene practices, medical care, and housing assignments,” Rusnok said.
For many trans people they are fleeing violence and oppression in their native country; they are fleeing for their lives. When they get here many are seeking political asylum and are placed in a men’s detention center where they face more violence, this should help stop the violence.

Monday, May 23, 2016

States’ Rights

This morning I wrote about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and how states thought it was an infringement on states’ rights. This afternoon post was suggested by a reader and it also has to do with state rights.
Oklahoma Introduces Measure To Impeach Obama Over Transgender Bathroom Rights
State lawmakers also want to take down the U.S. attorney general and the U.S. secretary of education.
Huffington Politics
May 20, 2016

Oklahoma’s Republican-dominated legislature has filed a measure calling for President Barack Obama’s impeachment over his administration’s recommendations on accommodating transgender students, saying he overstepped his constitutional authority.

Lawmakers in the socially conservative state are also expected to take up a measure as early as Friday that would allow students to claim a religious right to have separate but equal bathrooms and changing facilities to segregate them from transgender students.
The impeachment resolution also introduced on Thursday night calls on the Oklahoma members of the U.S. House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment against Obama, the U.S. attorney general, the U.S. secretary of education and others over the letter.
Again this all goes back to the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Supreme Court's Price Waterhouse ruling that “sex” also includes “sex stereotyping.” The states do not the right to discriminate against of their citizens under the Constitution the states must treat all citizens equally.

Title VII & Title IX

Do you know the history of why “sex” was added to Titles VII & IX, it is a very interesting story and started a path that lead to the courts ruling that we were covered by the Civil Rights Act.
How A Poison Pill Worded As 'Sex' Gave Birth To Transgender Rights
By NPR Staff
May 15, 2016

The legal case over transgender rights hinges on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion and sex. But the word "sex" wasn't always going to be part of the bill. And "sex" — which, at the time was meant to mean gender — was not on that list when the bill came to the House.
On how the word "sex" ended up in the Civil Rights Act
It got in there in a mischievous way in the final phase of the Florida bill in the House of Representatives, when Howard Smith, an elderly Virginian, unrepentant segregationist and racist and chairman of the rules committee — which was the absolute bottleneck that had held all such rules hostage for years — decided to insert it. And there's some disagreement about exactly why he did it. Most people think he did it as a poison pill, to kind of make people vote against the bill because it would be so ludicrous on the face of it to protect women in a bill that was intended to end racial discrimination.
On why Judge Smith thought putting "sex" in the bill would doom it in the Senate
I think he thought that there were a bunch of people who thought that anti-discrimination should not be enshrined in federal law. There was another school of thought that in the early 20th century, it was seen as progressive to limit the hours and working responsibilities of women as a humane gesture and in places like Virginia, where the textile mills depended on female labor, that meant that there were severe restrictions that limited what many manufacturers could demand of female workers. So a very cynical view could hold that Judge Smith wanted to eliminate that safeguard for women in his home state and there would be a boon to manufacturers who could in fact treat women just like men and make them tote the barge and lift the bale and get more work out of them.
Up until the Civil Rights Act discrimination was a state’s right, that the states had a right to discriminate against a minorities in their states and that the federal government should butt out.

But that all changed when the Act was passed. What lead up to the Civil Rights Act was a court case,
Following World War II, pressures to recognize, challenge, and change inequalities for minorities grew. One of the most notable challenges to the status quo was the 1954 landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas which questioned the notion of "separate but equal" in public education. The Court found that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and a violation of the 14th Amendment. This decision polarized Americans, fostered debate, and served as a catalyst to encourage federal action to protect civil rights.
And the law didn’t pass easily it was a long drawn out battle over states’ rights,
The real battle was waiting in the Senate, however, where concerns focused on the bill's expansion of federal powers and its potential to anger constituents who might retaliate in the voting booth. Opponents launched the longest filibuster in American history, which lasted 57 days and brought the Senate to a virtual standstill.

Senate minority leader Everett Dirksen nurtured the bill through compromise discussions and ended the filibuster. Dirksen's compromise bill passed the Senate after 83 days of debate that filled 3,000 pages in the Congressional Record. The House moved quickly to approve the Senate bill.
And part of that battle to defeat the bill was the addition of “sex” to the bill.

Once again the battle is over states’ rights, the right to discriminate against a part of the state’s population and in our case the LGBT people of the state. Once again the Fourteenth Amendment will play an important part in the legal discussion.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

How To Teach Your Children

There are some educators who are doing the right thing.
HS principals group: Transgender students are not 'those' kids. They're 'our' kids
By Michael Allison
Published May 18, 2016

The Obama administration’s recent guidance on the treatment of transgender students ignited a firestorm of response, tapping deep visceral feelings on both sides of the issue.

But enter the school building, and you see there are no “sides.” Just kids.

The public debate about whether to uphold the rights of transgender students rings hollow to school leaders, who commit to seeing each unique child and creating the school conditions in which each child can succeed. That commitment is not limited just to students who look or behave in ways our culture labels normal. It’s for all kids.

We can’t ignore the research that reveals transgender students are more likely to feel unsafe and be victimized in school. And fear for their safety causes one in three of these students to miss at least one day of school each month. The research links a 90 percent school attendance rate closely to academic success, so more absences means less learning, lower grades, and a smaller chance of success after high school. In short, kids who live in fear don’t learn very well.

In light of these details, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NAASP) adopted a position in support of the rights of transgender students and requesting the federal government to clarify the law.
There are school systems that are doing the right thing. There are people who realize that we are not a threat and that the conservatives are using this as a wedge issue to divide the country and to distract voters from the real problems.

This afternoon I am up in Vermont with my cousins and brother and their spouses. We have been getting together regularly, as we are getting older you never know when this will be the last time that we can get together. 

Teach Our Children

To ignore the law, that is what Georgia schools are teaching the students.
Georgia’s top education official: No need to obey trans student policy
By Kathleen Foody, Associated Press
May 20, 2016

ATLANTA — Georgia‘s top education official said Friday that state school districts don’t have to comply with the Obama administration’s recent guidance that transgender students at public schools be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

State Superintendent Richard Woods, a Republican, said the guidance, contained in a May 13 joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice, “does not have the force of law.” But the directive from President Barack Obama‘s administration says schools that refuse to comply could lose federal aid — nearly $2 billion statewide in Georgia for the coming year.

“If the federal government does decide to withhold federal funds, enforce this directive, or bring suit against any district in Georgia because of a decision a local district makes, we will work with all parties to take appropriate action,” Woods wrote to school district superintendents around the state.
Isn’t that great! We will only obey the laws that we like and ignore the ones we don’t… isn’t that a great message to teach our children?

President Obama just didn’t pull these regulations out of a hat, they all have been based on court rulings but that doesn’t matter to these Republican legislators or the State Superintendent Richard Woods.

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

South Pacific - You've Got To Be Carefully Taught Lyrics

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Saturday 9: What Hurts the Most

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: What Hurts the Most (2006)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun...

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

1) What hurts Sam the most is her sole, since she just found that earring she thought was lost by stepping on it with her bare foot. How about you? Any aches and pains to report?
Ha, are you kidding? At my age when I get out of bed in the morning all my bones and muscles let me know my age.

2) What's the last thing you misplaced? Did you find it?
Yes I found it after I thought I was going nuts. It was the lawn care bill, I put it on the kitchen table and I put the groceries on top of it. After I put away the groceries I went looking for it and I couldn’t find I looked everywhere. Did I accidentally throw it out so I dug the garbage… ick. Nope it wasn’t there. I picked up the empty grocery bags nope it wasn’t inside them and looked and looked and couldn’t find it anywhere! I looked on the kitchen table again and as I was holding the grocery bag up this piece of paper came floating down. It was stuck to the bottom of one of the bags.

3) Lead singer Gary LeVox sings that he's not afraid to cry. When is the last time you shed a tear?
When I was watching a movie Carol at the Elmwood senior center. The movie ended happily, they got back together again.

4) Gary auditioned for another country group, Little Big Town, but didn't get in. Considering how successful Rascal Flatts has been, he's probably not sorry. Tell us about something you thought you wanted, but later weren't so sure.
I don’t know, I usually hem and haw over purchasing anything that by the time I buy it I want it.

5) The country group has their roots in Columbus, Ohio. What else is Ohio known for?
A river.

6) Lead guitarist Joe Don Rooney married model and former Miss Georgia, Tiffany Fallon. Many major pageants give prizes in the talent, congeniality and swimsuit competitions. Would you prefer to have exceptional skills, a great personality, or a terrific body? 
Well I already have a great body and exceptional skills so I will take a great personality.

7) 2006, the year this song was popular, was a very good one for tennis pro Roger Federer. He reached the finals in all four Grand Slam tournaments, and won three. What's the last game you won? (Yes, Words with Friends counts.)
I am not a competitive person so I enjoy the game rather then winning… translated I don’t win often.

8) Actor Tony Shalhoub won an Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of detective Adrian Monk on Monk. Who's your favorite TV detective?
I love all the British detectives show but my favor is DCS Foyle and Honeysuckle Weeks. Technically Ms. Weeks is not a detective but she alaways help DCS Foyle solve the crime.

9) Random question ... You've just won an all-expenses-paid trip but now you have to choose: Carnivale in Brazil, the Bordeaux Wine Festival in France, or the Running of the Bulls in Spain?
Well I don’t like big drunken city wide parties and the running of the bulls is too inhumane not for the bulls but for the idiots who run in front of them so I will pick getting drunk on wine, it is much more civilized.

Sorry I didn't reply to you all last week but my allergies got the better of me.

Friday, May 20, 2016

As We Get Older

Concerns about long term care facilities become important to us; will they respect my gender diversity? Will the residents shun me? These are the questions that we think about as we get older.
Nursing facility doors slam shut for transgender Iowan
Nursing homes and rehab centers' failure to accept transgender people a national problem
The Des Moines Register
By Lee Rood
May 19, 2016

Iowa’s Civil Rights Act expressly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. Still, Edwards’ caregivers have been unable to find a place for her to live.

Brian Carter, a retired United Methodist pastor and a longtime friend of Edwards and her family, contacted the Reader’s Watchdog about her dilemma:

Last August, Edwards had a stroke. She went to a rehabilitation facility in Clarinda, Iowa, and arrived at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines in March with bad wounds on her legs.

She was scheduled to be discharged Tuesday. But a hospital social worker said hospital staff checked with roughly 90 nursing homes and rehab facilities and none — except one that was 2 1/2 hours away in Muscatine — would take her.
Carter said a hospital social worker told him Monday one of the reasons they can’t find a nursing or rehabilitation facility near Des Moines is that Edwards is transgender. He said the social worker told him that facilities are accepting new residents say men don’t want to room with a person who is biologically male but identifies as a woman. Neither do their female residents.
It is not limited to Iowa but it is a nationwide problem. Only 17 states and the District of Columbia have protections for trans people in public accommodations and housing.
If this seems like an isolated incident, here’s something to chew on: Edwards’ plight is a growing one. The transgender population in the United States is growing substantially right along with the baby boomer population.

While estimates vary widely as to how many Americans are transgender, people 65 or older in the U.S. will reach 19 percent of the population by 2030.

“The problem is huge,” said Donna Red Wing, executive director of One Iowa, the statewide advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. “I can’t tell you how many people get turned away. And in the state of Iowa, you can’t discriminate against transgender people like this.”
Here in Connecticut we have gender inclusive non-discrimination law but how will long term care centers and nursing homes handle trans residents is really an unknown factor. We are doing training but will it be put into practice? Or will it take a lawsuit to get them see the light.

How will the residents treat trans residents is also an unknown, will they shun us? I imagine that it will probably be like society in that it will be mixed, some will and some won’t.

Today I am at the Moveable Senior Center in Newington, it is program where senior center host a LGBT day at their centers. The centers like the idea of having a program for LGBT seniors and it has spread to other centers from the original five.

Even After We Won The Battle The War Goes On

In the states and Washington DC where we had laws protecting from discrimination the war still goes on and on.
Alleged Transgender Assault Puts Spotlight on DC Area Laws
NBC Washington
By Mark Segraves and Gina Cook
May 19, 2016

Gender identity discrimination laws in the D.C. area are receiving renewed attention after a security guard was charged Wednesday with assaulting a transgender woman who was using the women's bathroom at a Giant grocery store.
In D.C., it's against the law to deny someone access to a bathroom based on their gender identity and the District requires that single-user bathrooms be gender neutral.
That didn’t stop the security guard from throwing her out of the store and here in Connecticut a citizen took matters into her own hand when she confronted a trans woman in the bathroom.
Woman with short hair mistaken as transgender, got harassed in bathroom
She cut her hair to donate them to cancer patients, but got discriminated and insulted by a transphobic stranger
Gay Star News
By Nigel Tan
May 19, 2016

On 13 May, she was in the women’s bathroom at Walmart when a stranger decided to confront her.

‘She said, “You are not supposed to be here, you need to leave,”’ Toms described of her encounter with the woman in the Facebook video she posted.
‘After experiencing the discrimination they face firsthand, I cannot fathom the discrimination transgender people must face in a lifetime,’ Toms added. ‘Can you imagine going out every day and having people tell you you should not be who you are or that people will not accept you as who you are?’
In both cases they were not breaking any laws but because of all the hate being stirred up by the Republicans and their fear-mongering it is putting everyone at risk.

In Minnesota one of the first states to pass gender inclusive non-discrimination law are now trying to amend that law according Fox6Now.
But in Minnesota, where Target is headquartered, a Republican state senator has proposed a bill that would restrict access to restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms based on “biological sex.”
Since the law was passed in 1993 there has never been any incident in Minnesota where a transgender person sexually assaulted anyone in a bathroom, since the law was passed there has not been anyone who used the law to justify sexually assaulting anyone but this isn’t good enough for the Republicans they want to demonize us for votes and campaign donations.

In today’s climate we must be vigilant to attempts to roll back our protections.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Human Rights Should Not Be Subject Of A Popularity Contest

Women would never have gotten the right to vote.
Black would probably still be segregated.
LGBT people would never been able to marry.

The reason why human rights should never be voted on is because human rights protect all people and the majority will never give rights to the people that they oppress.
CBS Poll: Americans Divided Over Transgender Bathroom Laws
May 19, 2016

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Americans remain divided over the issue of whether transgender people should use the restroom of their birth gender, or of the gender they identify with.

According to a new CBS/New York Times poll, 46 percent of Americans said they believed transgender people should use the bathroom connected to their birth gender, with 41 percent saying they believed transgender people had the right to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as.
Democrats and liberals are overwhelmingly in support of transgender people using the bathroom they identify with, with 60 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of liberals saying they supported the idea.

On the other side of the aisle, two-thirds of Republicans and 66 percent of conservatives said they believed that transgender people should use the bathroom associated with their birth gender.

Independent voters were split on their view, with 49 percent believing transgender people should use the bathroom associated with their birth gender, and 38 saying they should be able to use the restroom they identify with.
This is very interesting,
Men and women were also split on the idea — more women favored transgender use of the bathroom they identify as (46 percent), while more men (51 percent) said they believed that transgender people should use the bathroom associated with their gender.
Hey, wait a minute isn’t this whole thing about protecting the women? But they seem to feel that they are safe in the bathroom with trans women… then why pass the anti-trans bathroom laws?

Oh wait, the laws were passed by men not women. Maybe it is because the men feel that their manhood would be questioned if they didn’t vote for the anti-trans legislation.

Has This Ever Happened To You?

I don’t like talking on the phone. I have a mild phobia of calling people on the phone my transition aggravated my uneasiness, if I have to call about a credit card problem I always get transferred to security.
Bank freezes transgender woman’s account because she ‘sounded like man’
By Toby Meyjes
19 May 2016

A transgender woman has said she was left feeling ‘humiliated’ after her bank account was blocked by call centre staff because she ‘sounded like a man’.
The 34-year-old said she was first refused service in a branch in Exeter for carrying ID bearing her former name, Tim.

But after heading to Plymouth to resolve the dispute, she said a fraud protection team was called in and her account frozen.

‘I repeatedly stopped her to say “No, it’s madam, I am a transwoman”,’ she said.

‘I was so embarrassed and humiliated, I was literally in tears leaving the branch.’
But after heading to Plymouth to use the phone banking system, she said she was told her voice didn’t match the name on the account.
Has this happened to you?

It has with me, like I said I usually get referred to security as soon as I say my name. Most of the time it is just a minor annoyance but one time when a doctor’s office called with my lab results I got into an argument with the nurse…
Nurse: Is Diana there?
Me: Yes, I’m Diana.
Nurse: No, I need to speak to Diana.
Me: I am Diana
Nurse: I can only give Diana the information.
Me: I am Diana.
Nurse: Please put Diana on.

This went on for what seemed like twenty minutes but probably was less than five minutes, I finally hung up and called back and got a different nurse and she gave me my lab results.
She said: ‘Unfortunately, we didn’t handle her query sensitively and our customer was understandably upset by this.

‘We have provided feedback to the member of staff involved.
It is nice that they apologized but it should never have happened in the first place. When you answer all of the security questions and tell them that you are trans that should be enough .

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I See Life From Both Sides Now…

Both male and female.

We have a unique perspective when it comes to “male privilege” as another song says “That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone” and when a trans woman transitions and you lose male privilege you realize what it really means. While trans men gain male privilege and all of a sudden they omniscient.
What Trans Men See That Women Don’t
Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”
By Charlotte Alter

Yet experiences of trans men can provide a unique window into how gender functions in American society. In the last few months, I’ve interviewed nearly two dozen trans men and activists about work, relationships and family. Over and over again, men who were raised and socialized as female described all the ways they were treated differently as soon as the world perceived them as male. They gained professional respect, but lost intimacy. They exuded authority, but caused fear. From courtrooms to playgrounds to prisons to train stations, at work and at home, with friends and alone, trans men reiterated how fundamentally different it is to experience the world as a man.

“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin,” says Tiq Milan, a friend of the future groom.

And that cultural sexism is often more visible to trans men, because most say they find it easier to be low-disclosure than trans women. They’re often not recognized as trans, which means they can be less vulnerable to obvious transphobia. Some call it “passing” or “going stealth”; others say those terms suggest secrecy or deception, preferring the term “low or no disclosure.” In practice, this means that a 6’2” woman is often more conspicuous than a 5’4” man. James Ward, a lawyer in San Francisco who transitioned about six years ago, put it this way: “We have the ability to just walk through the world and not have anybody look at you twice.”
As a trans friend told me once, it is like all of sudden he has a brain. He can say anything and people agree with him, he knows nothing about cars but if he said that it sounds like you need a new muffler bearing everyone would be nodding their heads in agreement.

While for trans women,
Trans women have long observed the flip side of this reality. Joan Roughgarden, a professor emerita of biology at Stanford and a transgender woman, says it became much more difficult to publish her work when she was writing under a female name. “When I would write a paper and submit it to a journal it would be almost automatically accepted,” she said of the time when she had a man’s name. “But after I transitioned, all of a sudden papers were running into more trouble, grant proposals were running into more trouble, the whole thing was getting more difficult.”

“As a man, you’re assumed to be competent unless proven otherwise,” she says. “Whereas as a woman you’re presumed to be incompetent unless proven otherwise.”
A trans woman friend who has an Electrical Engineering degree, a MBA and is a project manager says it is like she has had a lobotomy. Before she transitioned if she said something during a meeting everyone’s  nodded in agreement, now she is ignored when she says something and when a man says the same thing  everyone’s  nodded in agreement with him. She said one time at a customer’s factory she was asked to get the coffee.

It is also the hormones…
Every transgender man interviewed for this story said he wasn’t just treated differently after he transitioned—he felt different, too. Those who had taken testosterone treatments said they noticed psychological changes that came with the medical transition. Most trans men said that after they took hormone treatments they felt more sure of themselves and slightly more aggressive than they had been before the treatment.
“As a female there was black and white and everything in between. When I started taking the hormones, it was more black and white,” he explains, adding: “If I get into a disagreement with someone at work, I don’t have that feeling afterwards of, ‘I hope I didn’t hurt his or her feelings.’ I’m not a worrier as much as I was in the female body.”
Back before I transitioned and I was passing as a man, someone said “men are pigs” and we would laugh agreeing with it.
“Being privy to the conversations that men have amongst themselves really does give me an indication of how they think about women,” he says. “And sometimes it can be really scary.”

Another Voice

Another North Carolinian speaks out against HB2, billionaire Martine Rothblatt. Do you listen to Sirius Radio? Did you know that the founder of Sirius is trans?
For transgender CEO, fight to repeal NC’s HB2 is personalHighlights:
  • Martine Rothblatt had sex reassignment surgery in 1994
  • Her biotech company, United Therapeutics, employs 300 in Research Triangle Park
  • She says HB2 is causing ‘psychological trauma for no benefit’
The Charlotte Observer
By David Bracken
May 13, 2016

Like many CEOs whose companies have operations in the Triangle, Martine Rothblatt is against House Bill 2, the controversial legislation that has put North Carolina at the center of the fight over transgender rights.

But unlike many of her fellow CEOs, Rothblatt has a very personal connection to the issues being raised by HB2. In addition to being CEO of United Therapeutics, a $5 billion biotechnology company that employs 300 people in Research Triangle Park, Rothblatt is also transgender.

Born Martin, Rothblatt had sex reassignment surgery in 1994 and has written widely about sexual identity and the need to overhaul our system of labeling people as either male or female based only on their genitalia.
Rothblatt believes HB2 stems from a lack of education and understanding about the transgender community. She said many transgender people already fear they don’t appear female or male enough and will be arrested for using the “wrong” bathroom.

“So for people who are already dealing with a very, very emotional issue it’s adding some psychological trauma for no benefit,” Rothblatt said of HB2. “ ... And I think that there’s enough real problems we have in the world that I think we should focus on solving real problems rather than causing trauma to our own fellow North Carolinians.”
I think she is right the fear is fear of the unknown, people just do not understand what gender dysphoria is and base their emotions on the lies and fearmongering of the conservatives. Harvey Milk was right when he said,
“Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.”
The conservatives have made us the boogeyman and until the public sees us no different than themselves we will be continuing fighting these battles.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Conservative Right & Hate

We are seeing an explosion of attacks and harassment directed at us from the right. The latest happened right here in Connecticut where a woman harassed another woman in the bathroom because she thought the other woman was a man.
3 reasons conservative Christians will lose the transgender debate
Religious News Service
By Jonathan Merritt
May 14, 2016

When LGBT rights first became a national issue following the Stonewall Riot of 1969, conservative Christians responded with a disastrous campaign against gay and lesbian causes. Christian leaders cited pseudo-science claiming homosexuality was a “choice,” or worse, a mental disorder. Preachers regularly promoted the idea that AIDS was God’s judgment on LGBT people. And money began to flow into “ex-gay” Christian ministries that promised to make LGBT people straight, but ended up making them suicidal instead.

When it comes to conservative Christianity, it seems the more things change, the more things stay the same. A national debate on transgender rights has rapidly progressed in America, and predictably, conservative Christians have once again elbowed their way to the front lines. Christian leaders make speeches, tortors preach sermons, and political activists make cable news network appearances–each armed with rhetoric intended to incite panic and stir up fear.

Sadly, their messages are just as disconnected from reality as their response to the LGBT rights movement decades ago. By recycling old tactics, conservative Christians are poised to lose the transgender debate in America.
So what are the three things that will defeat the rightwing conservatives?
– They focus on ideology while ignoring people:
Christians’ poor framework here is identical to the way they fought the gay marriage battle. They spoke of “God’s law” and “historic institutions” while progressives told stories about loving couples who couldn’t provide health insurance for their same-sex spouse or pass along their shared possessions as inheritance. Rather than consider their Bible’s calls to protect and defend the least of these, conservative Christians attacked some of society’s most vulnerable members. This made Christians appear uncompassionate and shifted public opinion to the left. Once again, conservatives fail to remember that if your political position lacks a face, people will assume your political position lacks a soul.

– They prooftext from scripture while ignoring science: Christian discussions about transgender issues often skip over science and use scripture to prooftext their positions. Moore writes that the Obama letter violates “one of the most basic facts of science and life: that there are two sexes.” But he then moves swiftly away from science to Bible verses like Genesis 1:27 to argue, “God created us as human, and within humanity as male and female.” This attempts to give readers the impression that Moore’s views have a scientific basis when they do not.
The scientific research on gender is growing even more problematic for these Christians over time. Recent research conducted in Europe demonstrates that transgender people have significantly different brain patterns than cis-gender people. MRI scans of female-to-male transgender people, for example, resembles male brain function even though they were born biologically female. Conservative Christians argue that if a person is born a certain way then God intends them to remain that way (only applied to gender identity, of course). But Christian theology asserts that God created our minds as well as our bodies. How does one choose between the two when they do not align?

– They rely on fear while ignoring facts: Conservative Christians often rely on bombast to create a feeling of panic and urgency on culture war issues. They will often talk as if the future existence of Western society–or every society–depends on the matter. Moore, for example, didn’t just argue that the Obama Administration’s position “won’t work.” He went on to say it would dismantle our notion of gender and could destroy “people and neighborhoods and nations and culture.”
Meanwhile these laws and backlash is taking its toll on trans people, especially the young who are still trying to find their way through the gender maze.

In another article this one in RawStory about how parents are coping with all the hate.
How these parents with a transgender son learned to deal with conservative hate
By Valerie Tarico
12 May 2016

Religious Right politicians hoping to exploit transphobia may be up against one of the most powerful forces in the world: parental love.

Jo and Jon Ivester don’t exactly have kind words for North Carolina Governor McCrory and religious right legislators who called an all-day session to push state sanctioned discrimination against transgender people.
Recently the Anti-Defamation League of Austin gave Jo and Jon a humanitarian award for work they have done over the past 25 years to promote greater harmony and cooperation in the community. Trained as an engineer, Jo works today as a writer and an advocate for civil rights. Jon, a retired high-tech executive, has served as board chair for the Red Cross of Central Texas and for BalletAustin. Their lives carry forward the passion for racial and economic justice that defined Jo’s childhood in Mississippi.
Jon and Jo perceive North Carolina’s recent anti-trans “bathroom bill” and others like it as mean-spirited opportunism—politicians playing with ignorance and fear, preying on some of the most vulnerable members of society for political gain. But the whole anti-trans political strategy relies on exploiting unfamiliarity with what transgender actually is. That’s why the Ivesters are determined to tell their family’s story to whoever will listen.
Love will win out, people are beginning to see what lies behind the conservative push for these bathroom and “religious freedom” laws, they are seeing them as an effort to divide America and create hate. Eventfully love will win out, but it will leave a trail depression and suicides in its wake.

What European’s Think About Us

The U.S. has signed many U.N. treaties promising that we will obey international law but we make those promises with our fingers crossed.
European Union Says HB 2 Violates United Nations Treaty
The European Union is taking a stand against North Carolina's anti-LGBT law. 
The Advocate
By Yezmin Villarreak
May 15, 2016

The European Union spoke out against North Carolina's anti-LGBT House Bill 2 this week, saying that it should "be reconsidered as soon as possible."

In a statement released this week, the European Union singled out North Carolina's HB 2, as well as the anti-LGBT laws that have passed in states such as Tennessee and Mississippi recently. The European Union said that those states "are violating an international agreement on civil rights," reports The News & Observer.
Catherine Ray, a spokeswoman for the Union, wrote in a statement posted on the European Union's website that anti-LGBT laws "discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons" and "contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the U.S. is a state party, and which states that the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection."

The covenant that Ray is referring to was established in 1966 by the United Nations General Assembly. According to the U.S. Constitution, "international treaties have the same authority as federal law," reports the Observer. The treaty does not specify sexual orientation or gender identity among the categories protected from discrimination, reports the Observer.
Under President Obama the U.S. also signed the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2009 but somehow I don’t think North Carolina is quaking in their boots.
“We relinquished our adherence to the British crown and European powers over 200 years ago,” Diaz [Gov. Pat McCrory's campaign spokesman], reports the Observer. “The law is now in federal court, where it will be resolved.”

N.C. Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse told the Observer that the European Union's statement was “absolutely no surprise since North Carolina Democrats led by Roy Cooper want to install European socialist policies ... that are an affront to the common sense traditions of North Carolina and America.”
No surprise here. North Carolina just doesn’t care what the rest of the U.S. thinks and they don’t care what the world think.

Monday, May 16, 2016

When Healthcare Providers Don’t Follow Their Code Of Ethics

I am a card carrying member of the National Association of Social Worker and as such I am required to follow their Code of Ethics. Professional organizations usually have a CoE and all medical associations do and most of them have a LGBT nondiscrimination clause in their code.

Questions arise about what happens when a state gives healthcare providers the option to violate those codes.
When Doctors Refuse to Treat LGBT Patients
A new law in Mississippi makes it legal for physicians and therapists to opt out of care on religious grounds. What does this mean for medicine?
The Atlantic
By Emma Green
April 19, 2016

Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is not a disease. It took a long time, but nearly all medical organizations now agree that queerness is not a “sociopathic personality disturbance,” as the American Psychiatric Association once maintained.

“Nearly all” is an important caveat, though. There are still a few organizations—which most doctors and scholars would likely consider part of the fringes of medicine—that challenge this view. Some are dissenting offshoots of mainstream associations. Others are the de-fanged descendants of ex-gay-therapy groups. They’re often accused of outright bigotry, but these doctors tend to frame their dissent differently, placing an emphasis on “choice.” Patients have a right to choose a therapist who will help them with unwanted same-sex attractions or feelings of gender dysphoria, they say. And physicians and therapists have a right to choose not to provide treatments that conflict with their religious beliefs. These treatments might include sex-change operations, hormone-replacement therapy for transgender people, fertility treatments to same-sex couples, or counseling for patients who are in non-heterosexual relationships.

Some legislators agree. In the first week of April, Mississippi passed a new law making it expressly legal for doctors, psychologists, and counselors to opt out of any procedure or choose not to take on any patient if doing so would compromise their conscience. The law is specifically designed to protect medical professionals who object to gay marriage and non-marital sex. Tennessee’s general assembly just passed a similar law, which would only apply to counselors, and a now-dead Florida bill would have protected religious health-care organizations from having to “administer, recommend, or deliver a medical treatment or procedure that would be contrary to the religious or moral convictions or policies of the facility.”
In Massachusetts a doctor lost his privilege at a hospital because he spoke out against the hospital support of a Gay pride parade,
Paul Church is an evangelical Christian who attends services at a Congregationalist church in Massachusetts. He’s a urologist—a surgical specialty focusing on pelvic, urinary-tract, and male reproductive disorders—and has been practicing as a staff doctor and affiliate of various Boston hospitals for nearly three decades. He even had a joint appointment as an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School. After coming into conflict with staff over statements he made about homosexuality, he lost his privileges at two area hospitals, effectively ending his ability to perform surgeries.
He said that as a doctor he had,
Church framed his objections to homosexuality in moral and religious terms, but he also argued that he has a medical obligation to talk with gay patients, for example, about the risks associated with men having sex with other men. “We are supposed to counsel patients about self-destructive habits like smoking and overeating,” he said, “but we’re not supposed to place any judgment on behaviors that involve these sexual practices, for fear that we’ll be accused of being discriminatory or bigoted.”
Yes, it is true but the talk should be about safe sex and not about being LGBT and that is where I think he was wrong. It is not about being LGBT; it is not their sexual preferences that put them at risk but having unsafe sex.

I said most “most of them have a LGBT nondiscrimination clause in their code” because,
Church resigned his membership in the AMA based on its positions on LGBT issues. He’s now involved with an organization called the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, a former gay-conversion-therapy group known as NARTH that reconstituted itself in 2014. A long-time member of its board, Michelle Cretella, is also the president of the American College of Pediatricians, a group that broke off from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2002 in protest of the organization’s support of adoption by same-sex couples. These groups are part of a small network of medical-professional associations that have formed largely in opposition to mainstream groups like the AMA. They say, like the Mississippi legislature, that physicians should have the choice to not participate in a procedure that violates their conscience.
So they totally disregard their Hippocratic Oath that they took upon graduating from medical school.
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:...
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

When You Stir Up Hate (Part 24)

You don’t know who is going to get swept up in it. Sometimes it is just a person who doesn’t fit our idea of gender normative.
Kentucky woman says man beat her for looking too masculine — as people stood by and watched
David Ferguson
14 May 2016

A Paintsville, Kentucky woman said that she was attacked and brutally beaten on Thursday for looking too masculine.

In a post on her Facebook timeline, Brittany Nicole Wallace wrote, “Today I was assaulted. A man assaulted me because I look like a ‘dike’! He told me that he would ‘beat me like the man I want to be.’ He said, ‘people like me make him hate the world.'”

“He started by hitting me over and over in the face until he got me down,” Wallace wrote. “After I was down he began to kick me in the stomach, side, and face.”
“The sad part is that no one would come help me either. Several people stood around and watched this happen to me. Again, I truly believe that if I had a more feminine appearance someone would have helped,” she wrote.
The worst part was that no one came to help her they just let the man beat her to an inch of her life. Whether the bystanders stood by because they were afraid or they agreed with the man we do not know.

She said,
“This has not only physically but mentally and emotionally damaged me. I will do everything I can to try to put a stop to this hate and violence,” she went on. “I love people and try to help people all the time. All I ask if you read this is to please stop the hate, and help people when you see them getting hurt verbally, emotionally and physically!”
This is what happens when you use hate for votes, when you demonize others for your own gain.

The Republicans have made hate a part of their party platform and are encouraging states to do likewise. The New Civil Rights Movement reports that Texas just added anti-LGBT steps to their party platform.
The first anti-trans plank appears in a section of the 2016 Texas GOP platform called, "Strengthening Families, Protecting Life, and Promoting Health: Celebrating Traditional Marriage."

It reads:
Gender Identity — We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals’ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex. 
This plank was approved by a whopping 90 percent of GOP delegates to the party's state convention in Dallas.
They are like a trapped a wild animal looking for a soft underbelly to attack and they found trans people.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

When You Stir Up Hate

It gives permission to others to behave badly.
Trans students attacked as ‘perverts’ in North Georgia
Project Q Atlanta
By Matt Hennie
May 13, 2016

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – A transgender student, in tears, described the beatings and harassment he faced from classmates at Fannin County High School. But that didn't stop a crowd of hundreds from cheering on other speakers who called LGBT people "perverts" and "pedophiles" that threaten the safety of students.

The emotional testimony came Thursday as Fannin County in North Georgia became the latest flashpoint in the debate over LGBT equality. More than 300 people filled the high school cafeteria, with hundreds more watching in a nearby gym, to speak out during the Fannin County Board of Education meeting. Residents were outraged over rumors that the school system was going to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity rather than their gender at birth.
Some 50 people spoke during a public comment session that lasted nearly three hours. They included local pastors, parents, school system employees, students and a handful of LGBT residents who offered support for students like Xavier Eaton. The 2012 graduate of Fannin High described the torment he experienced as a transgender student at the school.

"I was beaten up more than once. I never said anything. There was no one there who understood what I was going through. I did it alone," Eaton (top photo) said. "Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean you can't accept it or coexist."

"I am not here to get an uproar or clapping and hurrays. I am here to let every student know that if you are transgender and you are scared, I am here. I will be there for you. I may be transgender, but I am also a Christian. And my God tells me that everyone's life matters. Everyone's," he added.
Children learn through their parents, when the parents hate so do their children. When children see their parents hating it give them tacit permission for them hate and do worst to the focus of their hate.

Since North Carolina passed their harsh anti-LGBT law there has been an increase in calls to the trans suicide hot line. With statements like these can you wonder why the calls are increasing?
  "Perverts is what they are – in with our daughters and wives in these restrooms across our cities and our nations," Walden added.

"We have come to the point in America that every immorality is acceptable and every moral conviction is now bigotry," he said.
On Friday I had a call from a news editor at a local television station and they were looking for background information on the President’s statement on trans rights. When I mentioned that Connecticut has had a similar policy in place since 2011 she was surprised and she asked if there were any trans students in Connecticut schools. When I told her that there were and they were using facilities of their gender identity, she asked why there was no backlash from parents I told this is Connecticut not the South.

I don’t know if my talk with her had any influence on her story but I like to think so.
State education officials: Gender identity determines team for Connecticut athletes
Fox 61
By Associated Press
May 13, 2016

HARTFORD — Education officials say Connecticut transgender students not only can use the bathroom of their choice, but also play on sports teams that match their gender identity.

Vincent Mustaro, head of policy for the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, says new recommendations on transgender student rights from the Obama administration are nothing new in this state.

The state association in 2013 began recommending schools adopt a policy that students “shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity consistently asserted at school.”
Let’s teach our children to embraced diversity not despise it.

This afternoon I am at a fundraiser for GLAD, they were one of the leaders in the effort to pass the gender inclusive and birth certificate laws here in Connecticut.