Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Scarlet Letter #2

The Republican controlled legislature is doubling down, instead of backing off from HB2 they are adding even more outrageous legislation.
North Carolina’s Anti-Transgender Bathroom Law Just Got Worse
As if North Carolina’s legislation wasn’t idiotic enough, lawmakers are toying with a provision that would give only a few more trans people access to public restrooms.
The Daily Beast
By Samantha Allen
June 29, 2016

North Carolina lawmakers may try to create a new type of government documentation called a “certificate of sex reassignment” to allow a tiny minority of otherwise-banned transgender people to pee in public restrooms. What could possibly go wrong?
But a leak of the draft reveals that they are still dreaming up horrific new ways to restrict public bathroom access.

“An individual who was born in another state or territory of the United States that does not provide a mechanism for amending a current certificate of birth or issuing a new certificate of birth to change the sex of an individual following sex reassignment surgery … may request a certificate of sex reassignment from the State Registrar,” the draft reads.
If the proposed draft becomes final and goes into effect, North Carolina would also further reinforce the bizarre double standards it already imposes on its transgender residents depending on their state of birth.

Under HB 2, for example, a transgender woman born in Tennessee who has undergone SRS cannot legally use a public women’s restroom in North Carolina because the law measures her gender by her birth certificate. But a transgender woman born in California who has not undergone SRS can legally use the ladies’ room provided she has changed her birth certificate back home.
In addition to California, Connecticut and five other states allow a trans person to change their birth certificate without surgery.

This is not the first time that we saw a Republican legislator require us to register, it happened right here in Connecticut. At that time I wrote…
The Scarlet Letter

Do you remember the book “The Scarlet Letter”? Where Hester Prynne had a daughter out of wedlock and the daughter carries the sin and guilt of the mother. This amendment that a Republican has introduced for the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill, HB6599 is our Scarlet Letter.
"Sec. 501. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) Any person holding a motor vehicle operator's license whose gender-related identity is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth shall notify the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles of such identity and the commissioner shall indicate such identity in the electronic record maintained by the commissioner pertaining to such person's operator's license. "
This amendment is hateful! It is punitive. It serves no purpose other than to cast stigma and to humiliate transgender people. It is meant to marginalize and oppress the trans-community. This label on our driver license will always stick with us where ever we go. Whenever we go for a job interview and they do a background check it will be there. Whenever we apply for a loan, it will be there. Whenever we rent an apartment, it will be there. This will be a Scarlet “T” branded on our foreheads.

I am going to write something that I have never written before and I have avoided using it as a comparison because of the horrors that are associated with it, it is beyond comparison. However, this amendment comes so close to how the Holocaust began when the Gays and Transgender people were forced to wear Pint Triangles. What is next Senator Witkos, what is next?
And now we see this idea resurfacing in North Carolina. The Republicans say their goal is to get government off of our backs but in reality they are doing the opposite they want government to check what is between our legs, they want women to have a virginals ultrasounds before having an abortion, and now for trans person to register for a government database.

Need Help? Who Are You Going To Call?

Like many of us we call triple A and we expect to be treated like everyone else, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.
Tow Truck Driver Allegedly Spit On Transgender Customer In Worcester
CBS Boston
By Julie Loncich
June 23, 2016

WORCESTER (CBS) – Three years ago Jameson Fernandez was Jocelyn Fernandez. He’ll be the first to tell you the decision was agonizing.

“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life, by far,” said Fernandez.

Six months ago, the 30-year-old man legally changed his name, and carries the legal documents daily.

“I’m more shocked because I didn’t think it would happen to me,” Fernandez said.

Jameson’s car broke down on a Worcester side street on Memorial Day.

“My mom always said, ‘keep your AAA card!’” Fernandez said.

The card was in his wallet, but it read Jocelyn Fernandez. Jameson says he notified AAA of the discrepancy.

“I had let them know they hadn’t sent me my card yet. My name is not Jameson on the card,” Fernandez said.
And that is when the trouble started, the tow truck driver saw another name on the card and when James explained why there was a woman’s name on the card, that was when things got bad.
“From there, he put an array of just discriminatory words,” Fernandez said.

And then, he says, the situation escalated.

“Before I could even get my stuff that I had placed on the side of the truck, he cleared his throat and spit in my eyes, in my nose and in my mouth,” Fernandez said.
When we call for help we never know what is going to happen. Will the police officer treat me right or will things get ugly? Or in this case the tow truck driver.

A lot also depends upon how well you can blend into society, the tow truck driver could see a woman or trans woman depending upon how well you pass.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Nine Years!

That is how long it has been since I transitioned, it has been so long ago that it is all a haze now. The worrying, the crying, the roller coaster, it is all just a faded memory now.

What I do remember is thinking “Is that all there is?” my transition went so smoothly that I felt guilty when in the support groups I heard all the horror stories that made me fear for the worst, losing my family and friends, losing my job, being a social pariah, none of that happened. But for me things went smoothly, my family accepted me, and maybe because I had already been living as Diana except for work it was easy to slip into being "Diana" full time.

So what does the future look like?

I wish I knew, but one thing that I do know whatever happens will happen and I will do it as Diana.

So why did I wait almost until I sixty year to transition?

I was afraid is the simple answer.

I was afraid of being disowned by my parents and family. I was afraid of losing my job and I was afraid that I would be all alone.

It wasn’t until I saw other trans people were living a “normal” life, they had family, they had friends, and most important they had jobs. So I planned on transitioning when I retired at 59 ½ when I could live off of my retirement accounts and become a hermit if I had to (Ha... was I wrong. My life has expanded in unbelievable directions, I would never have guessed I would be where I am today.).

But it was also the fact that I didn’t think I was transsexual; I thought that I was a crossdresser and it was all about the clothes but after a couple of years in the support group I realized it was more than just the clothes. That it was more of an internal feeling of contentment when I was Diana.

It was also because I was going out in public with the support group and the world didn’t end, most people didn’t care about me being trans.

And it was a medical problem that kicked me in the ass to motivate me to transition. I thought I was having a heart attack and it was then I realized life was too short and that we only get one chance in life.

Some people celebrate the day as their birthday, the day of their rebirth but for me it is just a day that my life changed from the way I knew it. And it was for the better.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

You’re So Brave

I hate those words, being brave has nothing to do with transitioning; it is all about survival. What is brave is if you are willing to stand up and fight for what is right.
What Coy Mathis' Story Means For The Transgender Community Today
By Andrea Gnzaalez-Ramirez
June 27, 2016

Coy Mathis made headlines throughout the country three years ago.

The family of the then-6-year-old was engulfed in a legal battle over her right to use the girls’ bathroom at her Colorado elementary school.

The reason there was a fight for what may seem like such a basic right? Coy is transgender.

The Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled in favor of Coy, making it the first ruling of its kind regarding the rights of transgender students. The decision became a milestone in the fight for transgender rights — and film director Eric Juhola was there to witness Mathis family's journey.

Growing Up Coy, his film chronicling the Mathis family life before, during, and after the lawsuit, premiered during the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City last week. The documentary's release comes amid a wave of new bills targeting rights for the transgender community, including HB2 in North Carolina.
The director goes on to say…
This story is focused on Coy, this little girl at the center of the legal fight. How was the experience of interacting with her and getting to know her?
"It was incredible. I had no idea what to expect when I first went to Colorado and met the Mathis family. But the thing about Coy is that she’s just like any other average little girl. We did not talk — no one in our documentary crew talked to Coy what it felt like to be transgender, we tried to protect her from that sort of discussion and just let her be herself and treat her like the little girl that she is. And the truth is, I think Kathryn says it best in the film when she says, 'You know, Coy doesn’t want to talk about how she’s different. She just wants to be, she just wants to do what any other little kid does.' I think that that’s something that you would find with any 6-year-old, they just want to play.
I had a hard enough time handling my transition as an “Out” trans woman, it had to be some much harder for a child to deal with all the negative publicity. The comments can really tear down your defenses so of the things that you read about yourself can cause you question your existence and children like Coy and Jazz have to deal with all that hate at a young age.

The film synopsis on IMDB says,
A Colorado family is thrust into the international media spotlight when they fight for the rights of their 6-year-old transgender daughter in a landmark civil rights case.

This Is So Cool!

Maybe they might learn something is they go over and talk to their new neighbors.

Westboro Members Now Live Next To House Painted Colors Of Transgender Flag
“We need to fight for the right for ALL people to live freely and love freely without fear.”
Huffington Post
By JamesMichael Nichols
June 27, 2016

The Equality House, the rainbow-colored house across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, just expanded its compound — with a home painted the colors of the trans flag — and by doing so furthered its visible statement of solidarity with the queer community.

The Equality House was created by non-profit Planting Peace when it purchased the home and painted it the colors of the rainbow flag in March 2013. Earlier this year, we brought you the news that Planting Peace was attempting to acquire the house next door to The Equality House and paint it the colors of the transgender flag — like The Equality House was painted on the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2013.

Thanks to a man named Martin Dunn, this dream has become a reality.
And they also hold events at the house,
Over the past several years, The Equality House has held a number of pro-queer initiatives and events — all essentially on the front lawn of the Westboro Baptist Church. One of its earliest efforts involved a child’s lemonade stand for peace. Other events have included a gay wedding, a drag show and a mock wedding between Dumbledore and Gandalf.
Maybe Equality House can go across the street with an apple pie to help open a dialogue or have a block party to invite the neighbors over.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Bigots Are Crawling Out Of The Woodwork

As Pride month winds down, with the horrible massacre in Orlando still fresh in our minds, and with all the hate politics it is no wonder that the hate mongers are getting bolder.
YouTube’s Most Disliked Video? A Pride Video Featuring Transgender Community
In a sign of just how far society still has to go, the most “disliked” video in YouTube history is one promoting LGBT equality.
The Daily Beast
By Samantha Allen
June 26, 2016

YouTube marked the Pulse massacre and commemorated Pride Month with a compilation video of some of their best LGBTQ vloggers. Bigots responded by making it the most “disliked” video on YouTube’s official channel within 24 hours.
The video featured vloggers from every walk of life—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, and more—coming out and encouraging others to be proud of who they are. But if anything could discourage young LGBT people from coming out to their peers, it’s what happened next.

First, the comments below the video got so bad that they had to be disabled. A YouTube spokesperson explained to The Daily Beast that YouTube bans hate speech “including the promotion of violence on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“Given the number of comments on this video that violate our policy, and out of respect for the creators who appear in this video, we have decided to turn comments off for now,” the spokesperson added.
They take something beautiful and turn it to a thing of hate. We try to ignore them but they creep into our subconscious, depressions increase, suicidal thoughts increase, so go back into the closet… the hate takes its toll.

While the bigots feel empowered and their words turn to violence.

We cannot let them win!

Oh Why Can’t We Live Our Lives?

Why do we have to face all this crap, why can’t people just let us do our job.
Grace under pressure: Transgender woman’s story strikes familiar chord
The Sun
By Joe Nelson
June 26, 2016

Grace McAllister’s story is similar to that of many transgender women: a tale of attempted liberation thwarted by institutional oppression.

On a recent morning, McAllister, due to a lack of chairs, sat cross-legged on the wooden slats of her balcony at her bare bones Crestline cottage in the San Bernardino Mountains overlooking Waterman Canyon, and told her story.

McAllister claims to be the victim of workplace discrimination of the ugliest kind - the kind that kills the human spirit, causes psychosomatic disorders and prompts suicide attempts. Her allegations are detailed in a federal lawsuit filed June 3 in U.S. District Court in Riverside against Bear Valley Community Hospital in Big Bear Lake, where McAllister worked as an EMT and ER technician from August 2003 through January 2015.
McAllister clearly is not alone. Her lawsuit is one of dozens of discrimination lawsuits filed across the nation in recent years on behalf of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, illustrating an escalating battle for civil rights underscored by recent controversy over gender neutral restrooms and increasing awareness that is prompting employers to adopt policies ensuring workplace protections.
Why does it take a law suit to get them to do the right thing?
Why do we have to sue to get healthcare?
Why do we have to sue to get an apartment?

Are we asking too much by demanding that we be treated as humans and not some abomination?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Hate Crime

There is a lot of debate over hate crime laws; some say that an assault is just an assault whatever the motive and others including me think that an assault that targets people because of a certain characteristic or group affiliation is a hate crime.
Transgender Activist Beaten Following Benefit For Orlando Victims
“This is what transphobia looks like.”
Huffington Post
By Michael McLaughlin
June 24, 2016

Seattle police and the FBI are searching for the perpetrator who assaulted a transgender activist after a benefit concert for victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

The attacker allegedly said “Happy Pride” before uttering offensive language as he punched and strangled the victim, who lost consciousness, on Wednesday night in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Volz is a social worker and former county government employee who helped create the Kings County Transgender Resource Guide, according to The Seattle Times.

Volz was walking alone around 11:30 p.m. when the attack happened. The suspect is a white man in his 20s, with brown hair and a partial beard, according to the Seattle Police Department. He wore an orange or copper-colored sweatshirt, blue jeans and sandals, police said.

“I’m disgusted by this hateful attack,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “I want to assure the victim and the community that the SPD will leverage every resource to identify the suspect and bring him to justice.”
The Seattle Times reported that,
A local activist said people in the trans community are shocked and fearful.

“Our community continues to face violence every day … I think people are very scared,” said Danni Askini, executive director of the Gender Justice League.
And this is what makes this a hate crime, “Our community continues to face violence every day … I think people are very scared” the attack not only targeted the individual but also the community.

When I was walking back to my car one night in Hartford I was worried, it was after 11:30 at night, there were people hanging out outside bars and the streets were mostly deserted and it made me nervous to be out there. I was lucky, when I stepped out of the place where the event and I stood in front of the door to the event was being held I didn’t like the looks of the area, however a group of lesbians was also came out of the event and was walking back to their car. I asked them if I could join them and they said yes, one of them put her arm around mine and asked me where my car was parked. The five of us with me arm in arm with this unknown lesbian walked to me to my car. Then she hugged me and asked me if I was alright.

For many women this is second nature, check your surroundings first, but for us trans women we don’t have that instinct and on top of that because we are trans we are the prime target for a hate crime.

A Trans Woman?

I came across an interesting story the other day and I did some research of a person who might be a trans woman or an intersex woman but the truth is lost in history. This is a story about a German athlete who was in the 1936 Olympics, Dora Ratjen.
The Jewish jumper and the male impostor
9 September 2009

A new film tells the remarkable story of a female Jewish high jumper banned by the Nazis from the 1936 Olympics in Berlin - and whose team mate, it later turned out, was a man in disguise.

Berlin 36, due out this week, recounts how Gretel Bergmann was tipped for Olympic glory but was bumped off the German team at the last minute for fear that a gold-medal winning Jewish athlete would embarrass Hitler.

Instead, her "weird" room-mate Dora Ratjen competed. Dora gained only fourth place, but caused controversy two years later when a doctor discovered "she" was actually a he.
Her story is remarkable.
Mrs Lambert says she never suspected her team-mate Dora Ratjen was not who she appeared to be.

"She was part of the Olympic team. We all trained together and she was my roommate," she remembered.

"She never came in the shower with us, so we thought she was a little weird, but I had absolutely no idea she was actually a man."
Dora Ratjen - whose real name was Horst Ratjen - continued to compete in the high jump for another two years.

Ratjen set a new world high jump record for women in 1938 but was disqualified after a doctor discovered he had strapped up his genitals
His story was…
Horst Ratjen himself said he was forced into it by the Nazis "for the sake of the honour and glory of Germany".

"For three years I lived the life of a girl. It was most dull," he is reported as saying in 1957.
And she was “outed” on a train to Cologne. The website Rare Historic Photos picks up the story from there.
Born a male but raised as a female, Ratjen competed on the female German track team. He set a world record for the high jump at the 1938 European Athletics Championships, but competed as a female at that event. His true identity was discovered while riding on a train headed for Cologne.

Ratjen was born in Erichshof, near Bremen, into a family described as “simple folk”. The father, Heinrich Ratjen, stated in 1938: “When the child was born the midwife called over to me, ‘Heini, it’s a boy!’ But five minutes later she said to me, ‘It is a girl, after all.'” Nine months later, when the child, who had been christened Dora, was ill, a doctor examined the child’s genitalia and, according to Heinrich, said “Let it be. You can’t do anything about it anyway.” Dora stated, also in 1938: “My parents brought me up as a girl [and] I therefore wore girl’s clothes all my childhood. But from the age of 10 or 11 I started to realize I wasn’t female, but male. However I never asked my parents why I had to wear women’s clothes even though I was male.”

On her last trip as a woman, Dora Ratjen wore a gray two-piece, skin-colored tights, and light-colored ladies shoes. On September 21, 1938 she took an express train from Vienna to Cologne. At the European Athletics Championships in the Austrian capital a few days earlier, she had won gold for the German Reich, clearing the high-jump bar at 1.70 meters, a new world record.
But a doctor later examined “him” and said,
A physician was summoned and after an examination pronounced Ratjen to be male. However, the physician described the genitalia as having a “coarse scarred stripe from the tip of the penis to the rear”, and stated his opinion that with this organ sexual intercourse would be impossible. This seems to describe an appearance similar to the result of a mika operation by Australian aboriginals in which the male urethra is slit open along the penis. After birth a high degree of hypospadias on a micro-penis, plus cryptorchidism, may give a midwife the impression of a vulva with a long clitoris – and the error may continue for many years, especially if the intersexual escapes expert medical examination.
We will never know, the facts have been lost to history but one thing is for certain is that nature does not like binaries and nature loves to examine all possible combinations.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday 9: As Long As You Love Me

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: As Long As You Love Me (1997)

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

... Because Bookstraveller suggested The Backstreet Boys. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This video shows the boys in the band nervously await an audition. When were you last nervous? 
Whenever I give a presentation I always have butterflies in my stomach.

2) BSB Brian Littrell was born with a congenital heart problem and had open heart surgery the year this song was released. Who is the last person you visited in the hospital?
It has been a while since I visited a person in a hospital, the last couple of times that I visited a hospital was to do training.

3) Littrell had different health trouble in 2009. While working in Japan, he contracted swine flu, which caused the band to cancel several events. Have you battled a cold or flu this summer?
Nope… knock on wood. My allergies have been bad this spring but so far no colds.

4) When you feel a cold coming on, what's your favorite remedy?
Drink a lot of liquids, take vitamin C, and get plenty of sleep.

5) Brian and his cousin, fellow BSB member Kevin Richardson, are both from Kentucky and have been inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. According to their website, if you tour the Hall of Fame you'll see exhibits that celebrate Kentucky's contribution to American music. Do you enjoy museums? Or do you think they're a snooze?
I love museums, this afternoon I am going to the New Britain Museum of Modern American Art to see a Salvador Dalí

6) BSB Nick Carter was named one of People magazine's "Most Beautiful People in the World." Who is someone you think is especially gorgeous?
I refuse to answer on the grounds that it will incriminate get me into trouble.

7) This spring Nick became a father for the first time. Is anyone in your life expecting a baby this year?
Not that I know of.

8) The band has been involved in ongoing litigation with their first manager, saying he had been dishonest with them about how much they had earned. Tell us about someone you trusted, but shouldn't have.
On the grounds of maintaining peace with them I refuse to answer.

9) The band's recordbreaking 1999 tour was sponsored by the Sears department store chain. Sam remembers the twice-a-year shopping trips to Sears -- spring and fall -- with her mother to update Sam's school wardrobe. What's the last article of clothing you bought?
A sun dress… it should get here any day now. It is hard picking out clothes because of my stomach, I wanted to find a dress that didn’t make me look like I’m pregnant. Also finding a dress that doesn't look like a mini dress on my six foot frame.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Human Rights Should Never Be Put To A Vote

When women’s suffrage was put to a vote it didn’t pass in most of the states, it took an act of Congress to get the vote for women.
Q poll: Voters split on transgender bathrooms
CT Post
By Jim Shay
Published June 23, 2016

Should transgender people be allowed to use public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity?

And should the federal government order public schools to let transgender students use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify?

Voters are divided over these issues, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday in the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Those states were selected because since 1960, no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.

Voters in thoses states are about evenly divided on whether transgender people should be allowed to use public bathrooms of their choice, but they oppose - by large margins - forcing public schools to extend these rights, according to the poll.
“Voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania oppose the federal government order to public schools that they must let transgender students use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. But they are split roughly evenly on whether these students should be able to use whatever bathroom they choose,” Brown added.
So you can bet your bottom dollar that we will be a campaign issue this year, with us being the whipping dog. It is going to get mean and nasty in the next five months.

City Thumbs Its Noise At The State

And does the right thing.

The school system for Charlotte NC approved an inclusive transgender policy.
Gov. Pat McCrory’s office blasts CMS transgender policy as 'breaking state law'A McCrory spokesman accuses CMS of violating HB2 with new policy
CMS following path taken by UNC System

Charlotte Observer
By Jim Morrill
June 23, 2016

A spokesman for Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday blasted Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for “purposely breaking state law” with a new policy involving transgender students.

On Monday, CMS officials adopted a regulation requiring principals to honor a student’s gender identity in restrooms, locker rooms, yearbooks and graduation ceremonies.

In March, the Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 2, which requires people in government facilities to use the bathroom or locker room of the gender on their birth certificates.

“Instead of providing reasonable accommodations for some students facing unique circumstances, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System made a radical change to their shower, locker room and restroom policy for all students,” McCrory press secretary Graham Wilson said in a release. “(CMS) should have waited for the courts to make a decision instead of purposely breaking state law.”
Yup, the school system ignored the state law and followed the federal law.

This morning I am at a meeting to discuss health care disparities for the trans community. The CT Multicultural Health Partnership is holding the annual meeting and I was invited to talk about the problems our community faces like the lack of endos, and  surgeons, and also discrimination be healthcare providers

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Some Don’t Get It

Maybe it is just the fact that I avoid those who don’t understand, but that doesn’t mean that there are people out there that don’t want to “get it” and take the time to learn about being trans.
To The Gay Man At The Vigil: I Didn’t Think I’d Have To Protect My Trans Son From You
We don’t decide who we are inside. We just are.
Huffington Post
By Lisa C. Wolfe
June 21, 2016

I’ve been thrust into the role of a defender of my newly-out Transgender son from the usual people you would expect — well-meaning relatives, people who need a bit of education. However, as a long-time supporter of the gay community, I have been saddened by a minority of responses he has gotten and I’m compelled to share our story.

Recently, we were at a vigil for the shooting victims at the in Orlando, and I introduced my son to a gay gentleman that I’d met earlier in the evening.

He stared at my son, and said, “Your son. Right. Whatever you say.” I was stunned. He went on (I was not processing words at this point) and indicated that he knew my son is a girl, but “whatever.”
I lost count of how many times I have heard “whatever” when I correct a person use of pronouns
This morning, I posted in my Parents of Trans support group and the response was electric. This was the experience of many, many Trans people. In some cases, the gay community was outright transphobic.
As I said I haven't had this problem from the LG community, maybe it is because I instinctively avoid those toxic people or maybe they avoid me or they keep their mouths shut around trans people.

The LGBT community like every other minority community very diverse, there are conservatives and there are liberals, there are Republican and Democratic lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans people, and there are rich and there are poor LGBT people. There are transphobic lesbians and gays and there’re homophobic trans people. We all don’t sit around the campfire singing Kumbaya.

But you know we all share one thing in common, we can be a victim of a hate crime at anytime.

Hate Is Still Out There

There still is a lot of hate out there that is directed towards us.
Transgender woman's car vandalized, authorities think it may be hate crime
By Forrest Saunders
June 20, 2016

ALBURNETT, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The Linn County Sheriff's Office is trying to figure out who painted what looks like hate speech on a transgender woman's car in Alburnett.

Deputies are investigating it as a possible hate crime. Sheriff Brian Gardner said that might be tough to officially determine. Authorities would likely need to talk to a suspect and discover the motive behind the graffiti.
Oh yeah, let’s try to figure out if this is a hate with “Kill Yourself” and “Tranny Whore” it takes a lot to figure out if the is a hate crime.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dissed In Prison

When you are incarcerated you don’t have many choices your life is pretty well dictated but when you are a trans people sometimes your life is hell and many times it is by the prison staff.
Transgender Inmate Wins Personal E-mail Discovery
Bloomberg BNA
By Tera Brostoff
June 15, 2016

June 15 — A transgender prisoner can get the personal e-mails of physicians who allegedly acted with deliberate indifference to the inmate's need for hormone therapy, the Eastern District of New York held June 14 ( Sunderland v. Suffolk County, 2016 BL 189009, E.D.N.Y., No. CV 13-4838 (JFB) (AKT), 6/14/16 ).

The court allowed the “no stone unturned” search because of the concern that relevant e-mails could be found on personal computers that the defendants intentionally decided to keep off their work computers.

Jeremy Sunderland sued Suffolk County, N.Y., as well as physicians employed by the county who treated Sunderland while she was an inmate, for alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment.
“Moreover, to the extent such documents exist on the Individual Defendants' personal computers, they may contain information going to bias or motivation which may show why a personal computer was used for such communications, including information which may support Plaintiff's claims of deliberate indifference against the Individual Defendants,” the court concluded.
This is a touchy subject with many strong feelings on both sides of the argument.

Some people think this is prison and you have no rights, that prisoners should not be given hormones or Gender Confirming Surgery.

I take an opposite view that they should receive all medically necessary medical treatment the courts have ruled that you cannot deny an inmate proper healthcare to do so otherwise is cruel and unusual punishment. It is hard enough to get your hormones in jail let only having a biased doctor.  

Next month I am going to jail... to do training for the staff at the prison.

I am trying to figure out what I should cover in the presentation, any ideas?

Dissed In Death

We have control over many things in life but in death our wishes may not be respected.
Lambda Legal Urges Court to Rule in Florida Case Seeking Accurate Death Certificates
June 20, 2016

Lambda Legal today announced it has filed papers with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida asking the court for a swift end to the harm and indignity that Florida same-sex spouses, like gay widowers Hal Birchfield and Paul Mocko, face when denied accurate death certificates that acknowledge they were married and recognize them as surviving spouses.

Karen Loewy, Senior Attorney for Lambda Legal, said:
Florida’s state officials are talking out of both sides of their mouths when they express their concern for the LGBT community in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando all the while refusing to take responsibility for their history of discrimination against LGBT people.

These officials cannot continue to pretend that recent rulings that protect the LGBT community, like the Supreme Court’s historic ruling almost one year ago today in Obergefell v. Hodges, do not apply to them. Every day that Hal, Paul, and other surviving same-sex spouses in Florida don’t have accurate death certificates for their loved ones is another day they are forced to bear the burden of discrimination and are denied the protections available to surviving different-sex spouses.
This is not just a problem for lesbians and gays; it is also a problem for trans people. Many times the death certificate lists our gender assigned at birth and not our true gender. You could have lived all your life in your true gender, had surgery and changed your birth certificate but all it takes to erase your whole life is a stroke of a pen by a doctor.

Many times it is family that does this and not respect your wishes. Other times it is the doctor who does this out of ignorance or bias.

When we were passing the birth certificate bill one of the things that we questioned was do we need a law for the death certificates and the response by the lawyers was no. There are no statutes mandate the information on your death certificate and the gender should follow the gender on your birth certificate.

Only time or a court case will tell if this is true or not.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What Happens When Schools Do The Right Thing

When schools allow trans students to fully integrate in school nothing happens.
These schools let transgender students use the bathroom, and here’s what happened
  • Schools in Missouri and across the nation have quietly made change with little trouble
  • Their actions preceded federal guidance on the issue
  • Meanwhile, some states, including Kansas, are suing feds over bathroom policy
The Kansas City Star
By Curtis Tata, Megan Henney, John Tompkins and Eleanor Mueller
June 20, 2016

WASHINGTON At least once a day, Pam Retzlaff answered a call from parents concerned about her decision to allow a transgender student at Edgar Road Elementary School to use a bathroom different from his biological gender.

“It was hard in the beginning, very hard,” she said. “You can imagine my first open house. I had more parents in my office than ever before.”

It was new territory for Retzlaff, then principal of the school in Webster Groves, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb, but it was never a question of whether she would or wouldn’t open the bathroom.

And as time passed, the calls slowly began to subside, going from once a day, to once a week, to once a month.
Once the fear monger leave everything went back to normal and the same thing happened in other schools.
Although some state attorneys general and legislators have taken the federal government to court over its directive instructing all public school districts to allow transgender students to use restrooms that match their gender identity, school districts in those very states have quietly dealt with the issue with relative ease.
Atherton High School in Louisville, Kentucky, has had a policy in place for two years that allows transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, and Principal Thomas Aberli says there have been no problems.
“We have several transgender students now,” he said. “It’s just kind of a non-issue.”
It is the adults that have a problem, the students do not have a problem until adults come in and stir up trouble.

Nebraska’s reports that,
As the state’s largest and most diverse school district, Omaha Public Schools should lead the way and craft clear policies that protect transgender students, several community and school board members said Monday night.
The guidelines said students should be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. It also addressed dress codes, student names and participation in sports.
But meanwhile state Board of Education had to add their two cents…
Earlier this month, a Nebraska State Board of Education resolution calling fore rejection of the federal guidance ended in a stalemate. The meeting drew emotional testimony from speakers who said schools have a responsibility to make vulnerable transgender students feel comfortable and speakers who worried about violating the privacy of other children, especially those who have experienced sexual abuse.
The OPS Board will hold another meeting on the 29th.

Then in Louisiana they are also tackling bathrooms.
Transgender issues, particularly bathrooms, uncharted territory for most Louisiana school administrators
The Advocate
By Charles Lussier
June 20, 2016

As state and federal leaders feud over whether transgender students should be able to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, public educators in Louisiana say they are just beginning to grapple with an issue that is brand new to many of them.

Hollis Milton, superintendent for West Feliciana Parish and president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, said he cannot recall a time during his six years as a superintendent educating any transgender students in his small 2,100-student district north of Baton Rouge. And it’s not something he and his fellow superintendents had been talking about.
Not all react well. Some schools, she said, refuse to make any changes, including unwillingness to allow transgender students to go by their preferred name.

“In schools that have earnestly worked to fully accommodate transgender students, I’m not aware of any problems arising: no bathroom panics, no sports team problems, not anything,” Green said.
You would think that since they are in education that they would first learn about how trans policies in other school districts worked out, if they had any problems and how did they handle them instead of flying off the handle.

Right now I am over at the Plainville Senior Center for the LGBT Moveable Senior Center and today's activity is a game of miniature golf which I haven't played since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

He Doesn’t Know What He Is Talking About

Another person who has no idea about trans children and medical protocol but speaks out against us.
Rupert Everett says Caitlyn Jenner made 'a terrible mistake' by transitioning
The actor also says he wanted to be a girl while he was growing up
The Independent
By Maya Oppenheim
Sunday 19 June 2016

Rupert Everett has said Caitlyn Jenner made a terrible mistake in choosing to transition and had “no clue” of what being transsexual involved.

The 57-year-old actor, who is gay himself, warned about the dangers of children having sex change operations and argued children should be able to embrace the “ambivalence” of their gender without resorting to medical procedures.

Everett explained that he wanted to be a girl while he was growing up and dressed exclusively as a girl between the ages of six and 14.
He goes on to criticizes the transition of children,
Everett also argued that resorting to hormones was a significant step.

“It's nice to be allowed to express yourself, but the hormone thing, very young, is a big step,” he said. “I think a lot of children have an ambivalence when they're very young to what sex they are or what they feel about everyone. And there should be a way of embracing it.”
Well Mr. Everett children between 6 and 14 do not receive hormones but only socially transition, it is when they are older and begin puberty is when they are given puberty blockers which are 100 percent reversible. It is only when teenagers get old enough to make the important decision to go on hormones that they begin taking hormones.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Role Model

I was deep in the closet when I first heard about her and I went out and bought her book.
This Trans Supermodel Was Outed In The ‘80s, Lost Everything And Became A Pioneer
“As painful as it was to endure what I did in my life, it’s all worth it when you hear you’ve saved lives or helped people find direction in theirs.”
Huffington Post
By James Michael Nichols
June 19, 2016

Long before Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, or any of the trans women currently making waves in entertainment, fashion and culture, there was Caroline Cossey.

Born in England in the 1950s, Cossey came to live as her authentic self and rose to prominence in the fashion world at a time when it was extremely dangerous — and potentially career-ending — to be transgender. With roots as a showgirl and performer, Cossey went on to work as a model under the name “Tula.” Living full-time as a woman — and not openly transgender — she appeared in the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only” and modeled for Playboy.

Following these two high-profile appearances, Cossey was outed by a tabloid as transgender and lost everything — in both her career and personal life. The years that followed the outing, in the words of Cossey, “propelled me into the realm of activism” as she engaged in a high-profile legal battle with the British government. “I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life feeling ashamed or apologizing for it and I didn’t think anyone else should either,” she says.
I feared going out to buy her book, I figured that when I picked the book off the shelf lights would shine down on me and siren would go off, over the loudspeaker would be an announcement “We have a Transvestite in isle 3!” So with great trepidation I picked up the book and walked over to the checkout and nothing happened, I don’t even think that the clerk knew what the book was about.

Then later I went through the same thing when I bought the issue of Playboy that had an article about her.

She is one of our pioneers, she blazed the trail for many of us.

Oh When Will They Ever Learn

You would think that businesses would have learned by now that they cannot discriminate against trans people.
U.S. transgender woman's journey turns into constitutional fight
By Daniel Trotta
June 17, 2016

Kate Lynn Blatt once lived as a woman at home but went to work in a battery factory as a man, a painful phase in her gender transition that would later propel her to the forefront of a constitutional battle for transgender rights in America.

She decided to start over, interviewing as a woman for a new job with the outdoor equipment and apparel retail chain Cabela's Inc (CAB.N), landing it, and finally leaving her life as a male behind. A 6-year transition, starting from when she graduated high school, was finally over.
Blatt, now 35, is suing Cabela's for sex discrimination, saying she was subjected to all manner of humiliation by superiors and co-workers during the six months she worked as a seasonal stocker in 2006 and 2007.
I don’t know if her lawsuit is winnable because of the grounds she is suing on, I don’t know why her lawyer picked the ADA.
The lawsuit, brought by Blatt in 2014, also challenges a little-known clause in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) as discriminatory because it specifically excludes transgender people from protection.
Blatt's lawyers, Neelima Vanguri and Brian Farrell of Philadelphia-based Sidney L. Gold & Associates, are asking the judge to rule that the clause of the ADA violates the U.S. Constitution because it denies equal protection for all under the law.
That  is going to be hard to prove, I hope that she is also suing under Title VII that she was discriminated against because of her sex.

I know that many trans people do not like the fact that in several states the courts have ruled that we are protected under the state’s ADA laws, but I look at it as “any port in the storm,” that we should use whatever is available. However, the federal ADA law specifically excludes us and that is what she saying violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause. They first will have to prove that the law discriminates violates the clause and then they will have to prove that the store was in violation of the ADA law.

Also against her is the fact that DSM V changed Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Dysphoria and it could be argued that it is no longer a disability but rather an uncomfortable feeling.

Her lawyers have their work cut out for them by taken the road less taken.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Snip, Snip, A Little Whitewash Here…

Have you noticed that we have been whitewashed out of some news reports on the tragedy in Orlando? There are some news media reports that do not mention that it was a LGBT nightclub and are focusing on the killers ISIS statement.
National GOP Cut LGBT People From Its Response to Orlando Shooting
The Republican Party cut out a reference to the LGBT identity of the Orlando victims in a revised press release.
The Advocate
By Nico Lang
June 17, 2016

The Republican National Committee won’t say gay.

Earlier this week, the RNC released its official statement on the Pulse shooting, which claimed the lives of 49 people in Orlando. There was, however, one thing missing from the group’s statement: an acknowledgement of the victims’ LGBT identities.

In its initial statement, the national GOP recognized that the shooting, the largest in U.S. history, was an attack on the LGBT community. Even then, the language was brief and rather vague. “Violence against any group of people simply for their lifestyle or orientation has no place in America or anywhere else,” the original press release read.

The group would later decide to cut that language out when the RNC’s official statement was released to the public Monday. It was replaced with a denunciation of Islamic extremism.
In an interview with Mashable, Lindsay Walters, a spokeswoman for the RNC, defended the change. “Walters said the revision was meant to be more inclusive because it invoked a common humanity and referenced all Americans instead of singling out LGBT people,” Mashable reports.

But Log Cabin Republicans president Gregory T. Angelo said that the amendment is indicative of the way the GOP has largely cut LGBT people out of their own tragedy.
The RNC comments about being more inclusive makes sense on the surface but with more and more evidence that the main motive was the shooter hatred of the LGBT community the RNC explanation of why we were cut from their statement doesn’t hold water.

It seems the killer was struggling with many internal conflicts of self-hate and his inability to find a sex partner is what brought him to kill and that his ISIS comments were just an afterthought.
Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told Mashable that this trend is indicative of how willing the Republican Party is to deny the humanity of LGBT people.

“Even in the face of such a horrific attack on our community,” Minter said, “the RNC cannot bring itself to embrace LGBT people or to acknowledge that anti-LGBT hate violence is a serious, nationwide problem.”
When you use hate for votes and donations you are reasonable for what that hate lead to.  I not saying that the Republicans cause the Orlando massacre but their policies of anti-gay legislation and rhetoric has nurtured the hatred that is causing more bullying, harassment, and discrimination against LGBT people. It has also caused an increase in calls to suicide hotlines.

It Is Not Rocket Science

Healthcare for trans people is nothing special but trying to find a doctor who wants to treat a trans patient is hard.
Transgender Healthcare: Why Finding an Adequate Doctor Is Still a Hurdle
NBC News
By Parminder Deo
June 18, 2016

After James Parker Sheffield medically transitioned six years ago — requiring hormone replacement therapy and chest reconstructive surgery — he faced major challenges in getting adequate healthcare.

The Georgia native not only had to travel more than 40 miles to see a doctor trained in transgender health, he had to seek that care at a clinic for women. Sheffield, who was born a female, says it's not unusual for transgender patients to encounter a series of such hurdles in the search for medical care.

"If we're fortunate enough to afford care, we then have to find a physician that is welcoming and understanding of our status as trans," said Sheffield, 36. "In rural areas, or even some suburban areas, those physicians don't exist. This often means traveling extreme distances to see a doctor, which then creates the obstacle of transportation and time resources."
There are only a handful of endocrinologist and endocrine APRN who accept trans patients in Connecticut but there is nothing special in treating trans patients, once you know what the normal dosage is for trans clients you just monitor us just like any other patient.

What prevents us from proper healthcare is the healthcare provider bias.
"The only way to combat stigma in healthcare is to train young physicians properly," said Dr. Dana Beyer, who teaches at Georgetown and is the executive director for Gender Rights Maryland. "Now that there is growing insurance coverage, there is a developing phenomenon of gender clinics across the United States. Young physicians notice that, read about trans people in the news, recognize there is a need, and are willing to train."
Let’s hope that students will get more than a few hours of training on how to make your office LGBT friendly, let’s hope that they get trained on our medical needs.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Saturday 9: Papa, Don't Preach

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Papa, Don't Preach (1986) 

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

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

1) Madonna has sold more than 200 million records worldwide. Do you have any of her songs on your iPod/mp3 player/phone?
Believe it or not, I am not that big a of a fan of Madonna (different generation), if I had to pick a song I pick “Like A Prayer” but what I really liked was her performance in the movie “A League of Their Own.”
A little story about my mother; she didn’t like Madonna and one time I showed her the movie “A League of Their Own” which she liked and when I told it was Madonna she was amazed.

2) When she first arrived in New York in search of fame and fortune, Madonna supported herself by working at Dunkin' Donuts. What did you order last time you were at Dunkin' Donuts?
A large decaf ice coffee black.

3) Madonna and her first husband, Sean Penn, ended their marriage on New Year's Eve, 1988. Sam's New Year's Eves are never that dramatic. What about you? Do you have any vivid New Year's Eve memories you'd like to share?
I am lucky to make it to eleven thirty.

4) Madonna admits she suffers from brontophobia, aka the fear of storms. Are you scared of thunder and lightening?
Nope. A couple of times there were close calls that got me nervous. One time a cell moved right over the cottage, I was watching the lighting crossing the lake with the bolts hitting the water just offshore. As it passed overhead I could hear the sizzling noise of the static electricity as the electric charged cell moved over head and then the flash boom together.

5) Onstage during the 2015 Coachella fest, Madonna shocked the audience by planting a kiss square on the lips of much-younger rapper Drake. What's something that surprised you recently?
The action of somebody who stabbed the group in the back, I thought the person was better than that.

6) More recently, Madonna was at the center of a controversy because Prince fans didn't like her tribute at the Billboard Music Awards. They made themselves heard on social media. Was your last Facebook post or Tweet positive or negative?
Positive; from last night “I'm up at the lake and I am hoping to get some good night photos, the loons are going crazy with their laughter”

7) One of the things Sam's papa preaches about is car maintenance. He reminds her to check her car's air filter regularly, because a dirty filter can reduce mileage. Share your own car maintenance tip with us.
Here is my tip, when the “maintenance” idiot light comes I call the dealer to make an appointment.

8) When she was growing up, Sam's father was often away on business. He always remembered to bring back the complimentary shampoos, conditioners and lotions from the hotels where he stayed. When will you next stay in a hotel (or motel, bed-and-breakfast or Airbnb room)? 
In July at an overnight party in Vermont, I am way too to old to camp out on the ground so I am getting a room at a B&B.

9) To celebrate Father's Day, Sam is giving away her father's favorite candy: LifeSavers. Would you prefer a roll of Wild Cherry, Butter Rum, Winter Green or Peppermint?
Wow! What a choice, they are all good flavors… can I pick all of them?  …No, then I pick Butter Rum.

I am up at the cottage this weekend to relax and try to take some night sky photos. Last night the weather didn’t cooperate, there were high thin cloud cover and I was hoping that the moon would be over the lake but it is behind the cottage.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Yesterday I did a three hour workshop the longest that I ever gave normally it is a ninety minute presentation but I stretched it out for the workshop adding an “ice breaker” and other exercises along with new material. (In the evening I went to Real Art Ways’ Creative Cocktail Hour which was celebrating Pride Month… it was a long day on my feet!)

Later this month I am doing training at a homeless shelter in addition to the training we have been doing around the state training 211 operators and homeless shelters staff.

At the end of next month I am going to prison to do training for their staff.

I am a member of the Stonewall Speakers; they go out to schools and businesses and usually have a panel of LGBT people and their allies talking about their experiences. I like going to colleges because the students are there to learn but I don’t like going to high schools. It seems like the college students are more interested in what we have to say than high school students.

However, I like giving presentations a lot more then talking about our experiences being LGBT both have their place in educating the public but I have more fun giving a PowerPoint presentation.

A Time For Reflection

I guess the massacre has affected me more than I thought.

I think it has to do with the fact that the violence hasn’t stop not only against the LGBT community but also in general. The headlines still talk about shootings, about violence and it seems like have the population wants more violence.

It is the feeling of helplessness. When I worked to pass the non-discrimination law and the birth certificate law I felt that I was making a difference but now I feel like no matter what I do hate wins.

I feel like we are returning to the Wild West. People are arming themselves and I there is so much had in the world and that is a dangerous combination. The drive of the car that cut you off, is he armed? The student that you flunked to not doing his homework is he armed? Your car broke down at night and you are afraid to knock on the door for help because they might shoot first and ask questions late.

I have no problem if you want guns to protect your life and house. I have no problems if you go hunting or you like to go to a firing range.

What I have a problem with is high capacity magazines and assault rifles. There is a video that is being circulated on Facebook showing how fast you can change magazine clips, the video claims that it makes no difference what size the magazine that smaller magazines can be changed fast enough to shoot as many rounds as a large capacity magazine. But they had all the magazines laid out on the top of a barrel.

What I have a problem with is open carry. I do not understand why people want to walk down main street or go into a restaurant with an assault weapon over their shoulder.  What I have a problem with is “Stand Your Ground” laws; the victim never gets their say because they are dead. Trayvon Martin never got to say his side of the story. In Connecticut the use of deadly force can only be used as a last resort except in your home.

I cannot understand the line of thought that “good guys with guns” can stop a bad guy with a gun. There have been research done showing that civilians do not have enough training to react in a crisis. I posted this on Facebook,
I was just reading comments on a website that was calling for mandatory back ground checks, a ban on assault weapons, and ban on large capacity magazines.
Commenters were saying if "good guys with guns" were there they could have stopped him.
So let me get this straight...
Bad guy with gun starts shooting.
Good guy #1 sees the bad guy with gun and pulls out his gun and starts shooting at bad guy.
Good guy #2 with gun sees Good Guy #1 shooting and starts shooting at him.
Good guy #3 with gun sees Good guys #1 & #2 with guns and the Bad guy with gun and starts shooting at them all three of them thinking they are all bad guys with guns.
Police officers come in and see Bad guy with gun, Good guys #1, #2 and #3 with guns shooting and fires at all 4 of them thinking they are all bad guys with guns.
Now how is this supposed to be better?
As someone commented on this said, “And in this case, it was all supposed to happen in a dark, loud, crowded chaotic scene where folks had been drinking. So.”

Wouldn’t had been better if you can’t buy the gun first than starting a shootout in the first place?

I don’t know why violence is increasing. Some say it is because of the violence video games. Some say it is because of the “war on drugs” and others say it is because politics is becoming so polarized while others say it is because of the media glamorizing violence. And other say that it is because guns are a big business.

I don’t know why the violence has increased I just know that something meaningful has to be done. If that doesn’t work then let’s try something else until we find the key. What I do know is that I do not want to go to anymore vigils.

Let the first step be background checks for all gun purchases, ban large capacity clips and assault rifles.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

This One Resonated With Me

As a community we have faced hostility and violence and that shapes our reaction to Orlando. For non-trans people they can’t really understand what we are feeling. I found an article on the website Global Comment that listed seven thing non LGBT cannot understand how we feel about Orlando and the one that resonated with me was number four. Many Republican legislators are having a hard time saying that one of the motives of the shooter internalize homophobia.
4. This really, really was a hate crime and it really, really was political
Earlier this year, the UK’s Foreign Office warned LGBT Brits against travelling to certain parts of America due to discriminatory laws. Right-wing Americans pledged to carry guns into restrooms in case a trans person was presented and needed, Lord help us, to wee. When the Pope made a public statement about the Orlando attacks, he managed to do so without mentioning once that the victims were LGBT.

In this social and political climate, is it really so surprising that an American-born man was so riled up by his own homophobia and transphobia that, allegedly enraged by seeing two men kissing, he went on a rampage and shot 102 people?

Edward Sissons wrote in the Independent, “Queerphobia is no relic of a bygone era: it exists from the vigilante attacker on the street through to the hallowed institutions of the Congress and the Senate. What drives these attacks is the same hate that drives Republican governors to pass bills removing LGBTQ non-discrimination rights in North Carolina, the same prejudice that makes our blood unviable. Orlando is only an exception in magnitude, not an incident entirely without parallel and precedent.”

The choice of Pulse was not a random one: “You can’t keep us out of fucking bathrooms one week and then claim you care if we live or die the next. You don’t get to claim this for your war on terror.” (Latisha Nichole McDaniel)
When politician stir up hate it spills over in to many areas and one of the areas is bullying and harassment of LGBT people.

In West Hartford a man took his homophobia out on a Home Depot clerk according to NBC Connecticut,
A customer at the Home Depot in West Hartford allegedly called the cashier a derogatory slur and referenced the Orlando shooting that killed 49 people at a gay club in Florida, police said.
The cashier told police the suspect called him a slur and referenced the deadly Orlando incident where a gunman opened fire at an LGBT nightclub on Sunday, according to police. The customer's comments were overheard by another employee.
Hate knows no boundaries, once you light it’s fire you do not know where it will spread.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sticks And Stones…

…may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

We know that is not true, words do hurt, words do kill.
Is it only a joke? Local transgender community concerned about comments
Updated: Jun 15, 2016

Recent jokes made in public by a supporter of Initiative 1515 have gotten the attention of Seattle's transgender community -- who believe the comments may inspire harassment against people who decline to sign the initiative's petition.

The jokes refer to male signature gatherers, who are encouraged to consider following women into public restrooms to convince them to sign the petition.

If I-1515 supporters gather 325,000 signatures by July 8, the initiative will go on a ballot next November. I-1515 would repeal current state law allowing transgender people to use bathrooms based on their sexual identity. The initiative would allow businesses to decide if women - born as men, or vice-versa - should be forced to use the restroom or locker room for the sex they were originally born.

Audio recordings were anonymously delivered to the Gender Justice League of Seattle. Joseph Backholm, the director of the Family Policy institute of Washington, was directing signature gatherers who favor initiative-1515, to find supporters to sign the petition.
This is typical of the rightwing attacks on the non-discrimination laws… they use lies, innuendos, and fear are used to coerce voters.

The thing is this tactic is causing an increase in calls to suicide hotlines, it is causing children to stay in the closet, it is causing parents to fear for their children safety, and it is causing parents to disown their children when they come out.

We do know that words cause emotional and physiological harm that last throughout their life. We know that the internal conflict can cause them to do harm to themselves and others.

Here is the video from KIRO, but warning… that your blood pressure medication first.

This And That In The News

There are so many trans topics in the news today covering education and employment, we really are making headway but there still are setbacks.
Library board says no to transgender benefits
By Sharon Coolidge
June 14, 2016

Cincinnati's public library Tuesday stood by its previous decision not to cover an employee's transgender transition surgery, citing costs.

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Library employee Rachel Dovel, who legally changed her name from Nathan last year, brought the issue to light earlier this year after her insurance declined to cover gender confirmation surgery. The board initially declined to change their policy,

Tuesday's policy vote – which was unanimous – came after several people spoke, some emotionally about their own journey.
Gazing into my crystal ball I see lawsuits in the library’s future.

Then there is this article in on the Workforce website,
A Transgender Transition in the Workplace
Some companies offer sex reassignment benefits as a way to attract LGBT workers.
By Rita Pyrillis
June 14, 2016

While legal campaigns targeting the rights of LGBT people seem to be mushrooming across the country, a growing number of employers are leading the way in supporting the rights of transgender people in the workplace.

From Target Corp.’s recent announcement about allowing transgender employees and customers to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity to companies like Facebook Inc., Kroger Co. and Visa Inc. offering coverage for gender reassignment surgery, more employers are looking for ways to attract and retain lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers. Offering comprehensive insurance coverage of procedures and therapies related to sex reassignment is one way of doing that.

The number of major U.S. companies surveyed by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation offering transgender-inclusive health care coverage has spiked from 49 in 2009 to 511 in 2016, according to the organization’s annual Corporate Equality Index.
The Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010, prohibits insurers and providers from discriminating against patients because of their gender identity.
“This is an important time for people in HR to pay attention to these things and to make sure that they have fair and equal treatment when it comes to company health care policies,” he said. “People may not be aware that what’s in their insurance contract is unlawful. It’s important for HR to understand what constitutes discrimination.”
Too bad the Cincinnati's public library didn’t read this first, it might save them so litigation costs.

Then there is this in Kansas where the state board of education thumbed its nose at Title IX.
Kansas education board votes to ignore transgender decree
The Kansas State Board of Education has voted unanimously to ignore a directive from President Obama's administration that public schools allow transgender students to use restrooms matching their gender identity
U.S. News & World Report
By Melissa Hellmann, Associated Press
June 14, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday to ignore a directive from President Obama's administration that public schools allow transgender students to use restrooms matching their gender identity, and instead the board left decisions up to school districts.

What remains unclear is whether the 10-0 vote will endanger over $479 million in federal aid, or about 10 percent of the state's education budget.

Scott Gordon, general counsel for the state's education department, said that the threat of loss of federal funding is not sweeping. The entire state would not lose federal education funding if one school is found out of compliance with the anti-discrimination law. Gordon told The Associated Press that he didn't think the board's statement would jeopardize federal aid.

He noted that only one transgender student had filed a complaint for alleged discrimination with the Office of Civil Rights in 2015, which board members cited as proof that districts already have adequate regulations in place.
My guess is that only one person is willing to stand up to fight the discrimination, that the other trans students are bullied into silence.

Then down in Texas, one school board is fighting to buck the state.
FWISD forms committee to oversee transgender policy changes
By Fox4 News Staff
June 14, 2016

The Fort Worth ISD superintendent announced a committee will be formed to go over their controversial “transgender guidelines” and possibly make changes.

The new policies have been the subject of protest and were challenged by the Lieutenant Governor and the Attorney General.

The Fort Worth school board convened yet another meeting filled with people either for or against the controversial transgender guidelines. Once again, Superintendent Kent Scribner addressed the issue. This time, it was a post mortem on six community forums over the past two weeks.

The guidelines are vague on how, and under what circumstances, boys who identify as a female would be allowed to use a girl's restroom. The district says its practice with transgender students, which is not clarified in the eight-page guidelines, is to require transgender students meet with an administrator to work out bathroom issues. Scribner announced a plan to clarify that.
And who is the most vocal against the board’s plan, why it is none other than Lt. Governor Dan Patrick whose tweets quoting the Bible after the Orlando Massacre has resulted in calls for him to stepdown from office. Dallas/Fort Worth NBC News 5 reported…
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Deletes Bible Tweet After Orlando Massacre
Scheduled tweet deleted, Lt. Gov. issues formal statement after mass shooting

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has deleted a tweet quoting the New Testament in the wake of the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting.

Hours after the shooting at a gay nightclub that left 50 dead, Patrick sent a tweet from his personal account: "Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."

The tweet received harsh criticism online. North Texas Congressman, Marc Veasey, specifically called out the Lt. Gov. for his tweet.
"It was a sad day in Texas history for all the great representation of Texas we've had over the years," Veasey said. "For a second-ranking state official to do something like that [shakes head]."
The Lt. Governor’s office said that the tweet was pre-scheduled just like his other Sunday tweets.

As an ancient Chinese proverb says; “May You Live In Interesting Times” and that we are.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Reality Of Bathroom Laws

What those laws are really targeting is not trans people but those who do not fit the gender norms. Cisgender women and men are being targeted because they do not look like what some people feel a woman or a man should look like. I came across a blog the other day that talked about this.
Bathroom Laws Are About Insufficient Femininity, Not Being Transgender
Fibonacci Spiral
By Vandy Beth Glenn

Recently, in the wake of all the high-profile nonsense about restrooms in this country, a friend of mine (who is a gay attorney, just to set the table) messaged me on Facebook with this:
“I am in regular communication with lots of ‘Republicans’ and others who would self-describe as conservatives. I frequently hear people say, ‘I don’t have a problem with anyone being transgender.’ And when they elaborate, what’s clear is that their problem is with people who ‘look like’ they have transitioned—i.e., people who, for whatever reason, have external visual identifiers that indicate that they were formerly presenting as male/female. And I just think that that sort of thing is:
  1. classist (not everyone can afford procedures like facial feminization, etc.) and
  2. not really any different than other sorts of bigoted thinking—why should it really matter what someone looks like?”
There’s a good bit to unpack in that comment. Let’s start with his statement that’s really at the heart of the matter: “their problem is with people who ‘look like’ they have transitioned—i.e., people who, for whatever reason, have external visual identifiers that indicate that they were formerly presenting as male/female.”
Last Thursday I attended the LGBT Moveable Senior Center at one of the host towns, the guest speaker was the former Executive Director of Love Makes A Family and she was talking about her history and the history of the LGBT movement in Connecticut. Afterward there was a discussion, I was the only trans woman there, everyone else were older lesbians some of whom came out in the fifties and sixties and were on the frontlines of the battle for our rights all their lives.

A little while in the discussion I said that the root of all discrimination is not conforming to the gender norms. I expected a heated debate over this instead I got total agreement.

It is the lesbians and gays who do not fit what society thinks as a “typical” woman or man should look like that face the discrimination and harassment and violence.

It is when a lesbian or gay shows a public display of affection that they get attacked. It is the butch lesbian or the feminine gay or it is the trans person who doesn’t quite fit into society who face the harassment and violence.

What this Republican legislation is doing is trying to force everyone in to a mold of what the Republicans think a person should look like, dress and act. They want everyone to look like Jim and Margret from “Father Knows Best” and the children all should be like Betty, Bud, and Kathy and in the Honor Society and a star athlete.

A Long History…

…of violence against LGBT establishments. Sadly if you look at history the Orlando massacre is just the last of a long history of violence against us.
The Long, Tragic History of Violence at LGBTQ Bars and Clubs in America
By Mark Joseph Stern
June 12, 2016

The mass shooting at Orlando’s LGBT nightclub Pulse, which left at least 50 dead, is only the latest chapter in a long history of violence at LGBTQ bars and clubs in America. In fact, for as long as LGBTQ people have been congregating in their own social spaces, these spaces have been the target of vicious homophobic and transphobic violence.

Until the Pulse massacre, the most notorious act of violence against a gay bar was the burning of the UpStairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar, in 1973. An arsonist set fire to the bar, killing 32 people in less than 20 minutes. The vast majority of politicians declined to comment on the arson, and the Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans did not offer support to the victims. (The Archdiocese apologized for its silence in 2013.) Many news outlets ignored the story; some of those that did cover it mocked the victims for being gay. No one has ever been prosecuted for the crime. When asked about identifying the victims, the chief detective of the New Orleans Police Department responded, “We don’t even know these papers belonged to the people we found them on. Some thieves hung out there, and you know this was a queer bar.”

In 1997, “Olympic Park Bomber” Eric Robert Rudolph bombed the Otherside Lounge, a lesbian nightclub in Atlanta, later explaining that he believed “the concerted effort to legitimize the practice of homosexuality” was an “assault upon the integrity of American society.” He described homosexuality as “an aberrant sexual behavior,” and wrote that “when the attempt is made” to “recognize this behavior as being just as legitimate and normal as the natural man/woman relationship, every effort should be made, including force if necessary, to halt this effort.” In his confession, Rudolph railed against the “homosexual agenda,” including “gay marriage, homosexual adoption, hate-crime laws including gays, or the attempt to introduce a homosexual normalizing curriculum into our schools.”
The article goes on to write about, in 2000 “Ronald Gay opened fire on Backstreet Cafe, a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia,” and “in 2013, Musab Mohammed Masmari set fire to Neighbours, a gay nightclub” in Seattle.
Op-Ed: 'We Must Never Allow Haters to Have Our Silence'
By Mark Segal
June 12, 2016
If you'd ask almost any LGBT senior if they are surprised by the violent act of terror on our community last night in Orlando, they'd most likely say no.

You see, while the young in our community have seen progress with non-discrimination bills passing city-by-city, state-by-state; seeing the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and marriage equality sweeping the nation, we seniors saw an earlier version of that struggle for equality, and it wasn't so pretty.

The President stated today of the violence in Orlando that "this was an act of terror and hate." Most in our community think our struggle began at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, which was also a night of terror and hate from the New York Police Department.

What most don't know or appreciate is Stonewall represented the last straw, not the first.

Society had a systemic rule of violence against us as a people. Up until the late 1960's. If you met in public, you were arrested, usually for disturbing the peace or soliciting. At that time there were only three places for people to meet. Private parties, cruising spots (where you might be arrested) and Bars which usually had to pay off the police since it was literally illegal to serve known homosexuals. Then there were the very few gay & lesbian organizations, mostly in large cities who provided safety and help.
We must never allow haters to have our silence. We will be out and proud.

We must march for those who can't. Tomorrow, when the full list of those killed from this tragic act of hate are revealed, take a few minutes to look over those names, find one that speaks to you. Write it on a piece of paper, put it in your pocket and take it to your local LGBT pride celebration.
One of the things that we hear all the time is that many of these attackers repressed the gays feelings,
Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was gay, former classmate says
Palm Beach Post
By Lawrence Mower
June 14, 2016

A former classmate of Omar Mateen’s 2006 police academy class said he believed Mateen was gay, saying Mateen once asked him out.
The classmate said that he, Mateen and other classmates would hang out, sometimes going to gay nightclubs, after classes at the Indian River Community College police academy. He said Mateen asked him out romantically.

We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” the former classmate said. He asked that his name not be used.

He believed Mateen was gay, but not open about it. Mateen was awkward, and for a while the classmate and the rest in the group of friends felt sorry for him.
A number of patrons have reported that he was a regular at Pulse, there are some reports that he had been going to Pulse for over three years.

I can’t help but wonder if pressure from his father and family, and from his religion drove him to do this horrible act? We see this in politicians who pass draconian anti-LGBT laws who later are caught soliciting men for sex in bathrooms.

This does not justify violence or passing hate legislation, what it means is that society has to remove the stigma from being LGBT. Until people recognize that this is not a choice but is part of the way nature made us we will keep having violence directed against us.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Lows, Highs, Introspective

Yesterday started out unbelievable low note. My brain had a hard time comprehending what happened in Orlando, it was brain numbing… it can be real! As the facts started coming in and reality set in.

Then it was learned that we were his target, he targeted us, he hated us!

All because of two men kissing.

One of the hardest things that I had to deal with since my transition is learning that people hate me. It is hard to understand unless you are the ones being hated. I never had anyone tells me that I am going to hell before I transitioned.

I see all these laws being introduced and voted into law that wants to make me a criminal… why? I just want to live my life.

The Republicans say the high suicide rate among trans people is because we are mentally unstable, but you just have to read the news to understand why there is a high suicide rates. People hate us.

One of the comments that I heard that struck me hard was we can't even donate blood for our loved ones.

The High
Then my spirits took a turn for the better at noon.

I was at an appreciation brunch in Middletown for the Stonewall Speakers, those of us who go out to schools, business, and civic groups about being LGBT or allied to the LGBT community. At the brunch the David Knapp Award for outstanding service to the community… I received the award.

I want to thank the Stonewall Speakers from the bottom of my heart for the award, thank you.

Later in the afternoon I met with a new board member for CT TransAdvovacy Coalition.

That night I went the vigil that was held at the Capitol.