Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Another one word title that says it all.  It seems like the Lone Star state want to keep on poking us.
Texas leads suit against transgender health rules
The Star-Telegram
By Alexa Ura The Texas Tribune
August 24, 2016

Ramping up its resistance to the federal government’s anti-discrimination rules regarding transgender people, the Texas attorney general’s office filed suit Tuesday to block a federal regulation prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in some health programs.

Texas, on behalf of the Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network, and four other states say a federal regulation implemented last month would force doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children. The suit asks the court to block the federal government from enforcing the regulation.

The federal rule on nondiscrimination in health-care prohibits denying or limiting coverage for transgender people, including health services related to gender transition.
Translate… Hey our President Bush appointed judge is on our side; let’s see if we can go two for two.
The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, who on Monday sided with the state in a request for an injunction to block the Obama administration’s guidelines on accommodating transgender students in public schools. Those guidelines say that schools must treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for the purposes of complying with federal nondiscrimination statutes.
Unfortunately I think they are.

Houston Press put it this way…
Texas Seeks to Allow Doctors Right to Refuse Treating Transgender Patients
By Meagan Flynn
August 24, 2016

The crusade against transgender rights in Texas — along with Attorney General Ken Paxton's race to break the record for most lawsuits filed against the federal government—is ripe and thriving.

While the lawsuit Texas filed against the feds for directing school districts to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identities makes its way through court, Paxton has got to work on a new anti-trans project, this time suing the feds for issuing a rule that prevents healthcare providers from discriminating against transgender patients.

Now, Paxton is pushing to give physicians the right to deny transgender people medical treatment — similar to the way he attempted to give cake bakers and even public officials the right to deny gay people service and rights.
This is not good news. These ruling by Judge O’Connor are having an impact on the lives of LGBT child and adults. People might die because of this. What they are doing is denying medically necessary treatment because of political reasons.

And I would like to point out that every single person who have sued to block proper health care and to block Title IX is a Republican.


Sometimes reality is hard to face but sometimes you don’t have a choice.

The title says it all, “I’d Rather Have a Living Son Than a Dead Daughter

WNYC the PBS station in where else New York City went to a gender clinic in North Caroline to interview people there including a mother of a trans child.
Earlier this year, North Carolina passed HB2, the so-called "bathroom bill." The law bans anyone from using a public restroom that doesn't match up with his/her biological sex. HB2 put the state in the middle of a national fight about gender. But North Carolina is also home to one of the few gender clinics for kids in the South, at Duke University's Children's Hospital.

This week, we spend a day in that gender clinic, the only one in North Carolina. We wanted to know how a clinic like this one operates in this political climate. And we wanted to find out how these patients are coping.

Dr. Deanna Adkins, a pediatric endocrinologist, started the clinic a year ago. Over the course of our day, we met three of her very different patients. Drew Adams is a 15-year-old trans man who came with his mom, Erica, all the way from Jacksonville, Florida. On the drive up, Drew wore a T-shirt with "This is What Trans Looks Like" printed on it. He told us he decided to change out of it before he stopped for a bathroom break in North Carolina; he used the men's room. When Dr. Adkins told Drew that not only would he get a prescription for testosterone, but that he could give himself his first shot that very day, Drew stood up and cheered.
They also shadowed a doctor at the clinic and they interviewed another trans person.

You can hear the show here….

Today I am off to West Point on a LGBT senior bus tour and we are also stopping off at the Culinary Institute of America. Pictures to come...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Connecticut Is Ahead Of The Curve

We have been training homeless shelter about trans inclusion for over a year now.
Homeless Shelters Could Soon Become More Welcoming To Trans Residents
New proposed regulations would ensure transgender people can stay in shelters matching their gender identity.
Huffington Post
By Sarah Grossman
August 22, 2016

Shelters may soon be safer and more welcoming to homeless people who are transgender.

New rules proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would allow transgender people to stay in the homeless shelters that correspond to the gender they identify with.

“Anybody who is seeking services at a homeless shelter is already in crisis or in need ― and it’s important for them to be treated with dignity and respect,”David Stacy, of LGBT advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign, told The Huffington Post. “A transgender person should have their gender identity recognized and treated appropriately ― and that’s what these regulations do.”
Current regulations on housing protections for LGBT people were established in 2012 and prohibit shelters from turning away someone because they are transgender, but those rules don’t explicitly say you have to house people according to their gender identity, according to Stacy.

The new proposed regulations build off guidelines that HUD issued to shelters last year specifying that transgender people should be allowed access to shelters based on the gender they identify with. But while guidelines are informal ― and it’s up to shelters whether to follow them ― the new regulations would be mandatory and enforceable, according to Stacy. 
Our training covers the 2012 regulations, our slides list the regulations…
  • HUD published  the Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity final rule (Equal Access Rule) (77 FR 5662) on February 3, 2012
  • The Equal Access Rule requires that HUD’s housing programs be made available to individuals and families without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status
  • It prohibits owners and administrators of HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing, approved lenders in an FHA mortgage insurance program, and any other recipients or subrecipients of HUD funds from inquiring about sexual orientation or gender identity to determine eligibility for HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing
  • It provides a limited exception for inquiries about the sex of an individual to determine eligibility for temporary, emergency, shelters with shared sleeping areas or bathrooms, or to determine the number of bedrooms to which a household may be entitled
  • HUD has subsequently determined it is necessary to provide additional guidance on how best to provide shelter to transgender persons in a single-sex facility. HUD is continuing to evaluate whether setting a national policy through rulemaking is necessary.
If HUD finds a recipient or subrecipient has failed to meet program requirements, HUD may take actions such as those described in 24 CFR 576.501 (Enforcement) or 24 CFR 576.540 (Deobligation of Funds[translated from bureaucratic talk... take back the monies]).
Of course you know that the conservatives are all up in a tizzy over the proposed regulation
The proposed regulations have provoked backlash from some conservative organizations.

“Why do you have to force other people to feel really uncomfortable, and in some cases unsafe, just to make your political point?” Tim Wildmon, president of the conservative American Family Association, told The Hill.
Our training also points out that it is behavior that is important, if someone is causing a problem then there are the one who should be dealt with, not the victim.
LGBT advocates do not agree that the safety of others would be threatened by transgender people accessing spaces corresponding with their gender identity.

“There’s not a real problem here,” Stacy said. “Any person can pose a threat to others, and nothing in these regulations says you can’t deal with appropriate threats. If there are concerns about someone that are not based on factors related to their gender, but based on relevant factors, such as them being violent, those criteria still apply, and they apply equally to all people.”
Our training program came about because a trans woman was placed in a men’s shelter and was attacked by another resident and she was the one who was thrown out of the shelter on a cold January night at 11 o’clock in the dark of the night.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…

Any trans person knows this about getting a job, no matter how much the companies say they don’t discriminate we know otherwise.
Transgender and unemployed: businesses shut doors to trans workers'When employers aren't supporting [trans people], they're compromising the health of those people'CBC News
By David Burke,
Posted: Aug 30, 2016

'I've never had to look for a job'
"I've noticed that I haven't made it through first-round phone interviews, which is a new experience in my career. You're talking to someone, I've never had to look for a job. Before I transitioned I never even had a resume, it was just I was really good at what I did, people knew that and I got work, that's it, now I can't. It's just a different ball game."

Leard isn't alone, every month the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project hears from people who have either been fired after starting their transition, or simply weren't hired after applying for a job.

"I hear routinely from folks who said I was going to transition and I disclosed that to my employer and they fired me a week later, that's really, really common," said Áine Morse, co-chair of the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project.
Just like with age discrimination or sex discrimination the companies know all the right words to say.

We did fire/not hire you because    “Fill in the blank”     we fired/didn’t hire you because “you were making too much money” or “we are downsizing” or “over/under qualified” but for us it is all the same… no job.
Inclusive business
There are businesses in Halifax that are working to become more inclusive; Pavia Gallery, espresso bar and cafe is leading that change. It already has trans inclusive policies in its employees handbook.
But no matter what the employee handbooks says it all boils down to the person who is doing the hiring and their biases.

When someone tells me that they are looking for a job and are planning on transitioning I tell them if at all possible wait to transition until they are off the probationary employment period and when you had a performance review. That way the company cannot say you didn't perform up to expectations.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Party's Over

Still on vacation with some friends up on the lake, today is clean-up day.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday 9: Hello

Crazy Sam's Saturday 9: Hello (2015)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun...
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This video begins with Adele and her flip phone. Is your cell phone a simple or a smart phone?
Just a flip phone which is usually turned off. If you listen to my voice message it says, “You can leave a message and I will get back to you when I hear you message but be aware it might be not for several months.

2) As soon as her cell is fully charged, Sam disconnects the adapter from the outlet to save electricity. Are you careful about conserving energy?
No, you know that your chargers use so little electricity that when you run your electric dryer for an hour you probably used more electricity than you use in your lifetime leaving plugged in. Cell power charges use millwatts (1/1000 of a watt) and the dryer uses kilowatts (1000 watts)

3) Adele sings that she must have a called a thousand times but her former lover never picked up. Think about the last call you made. Did you get through? Did you leave a voice mail? Or did you just hang up? 
It depends. For business I leave voice mail, for all other it depends upon what the call is about.

4) Adele brews a cup of tea in the video. How often do you drink tea? Year round? Only in winter? Never?
Year round, but right now I’m sun tea. I just leave tea bags in water on the counter for a couple of hours; I have a 2 quart jar that I put two regular tea bags and one peach-orange tea bag.

5) Adele told Glamour magazine she like two sugars in her tea. Do you watch your sugar intake?
Most definitely, being diabetic I count carbs.

6) This song is about reaching out to someone and extending an apology. When is the last time you said, "I'm sorry?"
I have no problem apologizing. If you made a mistake, apologize for it and move on.

7) Adele was a heavy smoker who enjoyed the habit and didn't quit until 2015, after doctors convinced her it contributed to her chronic throat problems. What's something you know you should do for your health?
 Exercise! I really need to get out there and walk a couple of miles a day.

8) Even though she is one of the world's highest-earning entertainers, she recently had her credit card rejected while shopping at H&M. She admits she was "mortified." Have you ever experienced that moment at the counter when your card was rejected?
No, but I have been asked to show my driver license a couple of times.

9) Random question: When you were a kid, did you keep a neat or messy bedroom?
Messy and it carried over into adulthood.

I am up at the cottage this weekend with company and I don't know when I will get free time to answer your comments.

Friday, August 26, 2016

I'm On Vacation

I will be up in New Hampshire until Tuesday and I am having a whole cottage full of friends over the weekend, so will be just posting Saturday 9

Thursday, August 25, 2016

There Is Are Differences

In certain areas of our brains there is a section that determines our gender.
Researchers demonstrate gender identity is reflected in the brain, including transgenderism
August 23, 2016

Women and men often show marked differences as regards mental illnesses. In order to learn more about this phenomenon, a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF explored how opposite-sex hormonal therapy applied to transgender individuals influences the brain

In basic research, breakthroughs are often the result of a combination of curiosity and chance. In order to explore biological factors in mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders, a team of researchers at the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Wien) investigated the impact of sex hormones on the brain. Working in close cooperation with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy and the Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, the scholars from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy were rewarded with a significant new insight. They demonstrated that gender identity is reflected in the brain, including the brains of transgender individuals, formerly also known as transsexual
It was research into the trans brain that lead to this finding.
Hormonal effects on the brain
Using magnetic resonance tomography (MRT), the researchers examined both transsexual subjects and control subjects to observe what happens in the brain when opposite-sex hormones are administered over a prolonged period in order to achieve opposite-sex hormonal blood levels. "We were able to demonstrate the effect of hormones on language processing, on functions such as risk-taking behaviour, spatial cognition and impulsiveness, as well as on structural brain connections between female and male subjects", Lanzenberger explains. It was interesting that the scans also showed that, prior to hormonal treatment, the brain structure of transgender individuals exhibited levels falling in the mid-range between the two sexes.

Testosterone as a key factor
In concrete terms, the research teams from MedUni Wien were able to show that an increase of blood testosterone levels induced a decrease in the volume of two brain regions of central importance for language processing, and it also changed their connections. "This suggests that the impact of testosterone on language processing occurs via the influence it has on the structure of grey and white matter in the corresponding brain region", notes Lanzenberger and goes on to say: "We assume that some of the difference in white matter we found may emerge very early on, perhaps in the womb or before puberty. That would make it a type of biological information, a marker for gender identity."

The knowledge that brain connections and their functions can change as a result of hormone administration even in adulthood may be important in certain situations, for instance when the neuroplasticity of the brain is reduced, as is presumably the case in depression. Using another imaging procedure, positron emission tomography (PET), the researchers therefore explored the impact of hormones on the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to improve an individual's mood. The result showed that testosterone significantly increased serotonin transporter density.
A 2014 article in Psychology Today also discusses the differences…
Brain Differences Between Genders
Do you ever wonder why men and women think so differently?
By  Gregory L. Jantz Ph.D
Feb 27, 2014

It’s no secret that boys and girls are different—very different. The differences between genders, however, extend beyond what the eye can see. Research reveals major distinguishers between male and female brains.

Scientists generally study four primary areas of difference in male and female brains: processing, chemistry, structure, and activity. The differences between male and female brains in these areas show up all over the world, but scientists also have discovered exceptions to every so-called gender rule. You may know some boys who are very sensitive, immensely talkative about feelings, and just generally don’t seem to fit the “boy” way of doing things. As with all gender differences, no one way of doing things is better or worse. The differences listed below are simply generalized differences in typical brain functioning, and it is important to remember that all differences have advantages and disadvantages.

Male brains utilize nearly seven times more gray matter for activity while female brains utilize nearly ten times more white matter. What does this mean?

Gray matter areas of the brain are localized. They are information- and action-processing centers in specific splotches in a specific area of the brain. This can translate to a kind of tunnel vision when they are doing something. Once they are deeply engaged in a task or game, they may not demonstrate much sensitivity to other people or their surroundings.

White matter is the networking grid that connects the brain’s gray matter and other processing centers with one another. This profound brain-processing difference is probably one reason you may have noticed that girls tend to more quickly transition between tasks than boys do. The gray-white matter difference may explain why, in adulthood, females are great multi-taskers, while men excel in highly task-focused projects.
They also found chemical differences in the brain,
Male and female brains process the same neurochemicals but to different degrees and through gender-specific body-brain connections. Some dominant neurochemicals are serotonin, which, among other things, helps us sit still; testosterone, our sex and aggression chemical; estrogen, a female growth and reproductive chemical; and oxytocin, a bonding-relationship chemical.
But more important is the brain structure, in the research on the brain they are able to tell the difference between male and female brain structure.
Structural DifferencesA number of structural elements in the human brain differ between males and females. “Structural” refers to actual parts of the brain and the way they are built, including their size and/or mass.

Females often have a larger hippocampus, our human memory center. Females also often have a higher density of neural connections into the hippocampus. As a result, girls and women tend to input or absorb more sensorial and emotive information than males do. By “sensorial” we mean information to and from all five senses. If you note your observations over the next months of boys and girls and women and men, you will find that females tend to sense a lot more of what is going on around them throughout the day, and they retain that sensorial information more than men.

Additionally, before boys or girls are born, their brains developed with different hemispheric divisions of labor. The right and left hemispheres of the male and female brains are not set up exactly the same way. For instance, females tend to have verbal centers on both sides of the brain, while males tend to have verbal centers on only the left hemisphere. This is a significant difference. Girls tend to use more words when discussing or describing incidence, story, person, object, feeling, or place. Males not only have fewer verbal centers in general but also, often, have less connectivity between their word centers and their memories or feelings. When it comes to discussing feelings and emotions and senses together, girls tend to have an advantage, and they tend to have more interest in talking about these things.
And guess what, our brains match the gender of our identity. I use this video when I teach cultural competency.

Gender is a lot more than what is between our legs and is a lot more than our chromosomes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

American Academy of Pediatrics

Not the evil American College of Pediatricians but rather the good guys AAP, who president posted this on their website.
Letter from the President: Pediatricians should not be transgender children’s first bully
Benard P. Dreyer, M.D., FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
August 3, 2016

As I sat at the AAP Districts II and VIII joint meeting in late June listening to two families talk about their experiences with their young transgender children, I felt privileged to witness such love and acceptance — and such normal, happy children who just happened not to fit their “assigned” or birth gender. I was proud to be an AAP member and a pediatrician, just as I was proud in April, when the North Carolina Chapter and national AAP called for repeal of North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill,” a law that denies transgender students access to gender-segregated spaces such as restrooms and locker rooms in schools.

I’ve learned so much from these children and their families. First, gender dysphoria can start very early. Both children experienced strong opinions about their gender at the age of 4 or 5. Second, there is a continuum in gender dysphoria. Both children had natal male genders. Yet one child changed her name to reflect a female gender and insisted she was a girl, while the other child wanted to be addressed with male pronouns in spite of a preference to dress like a girl and choose play and roles traditionally engaged in by girls.

Both families stressed how important it is for home to be a safe and accepting space for the transgender child. When those children walk through the door of their homes at the end of a school day, they should be able to be themselves without any judgment. As one of the fathers passionately said, “I won’t be my child’s first bully!”
He goes on to say what we all know all to well,
The pediatrician’s office, and the entire health care setting, should be a safe, accepting place as well. I was sad to receive an email from one of the parents telling of another family’s encounters with the health care system when they bring their 5-year-old transgender daughter in for care for her serious chronic disease. The doctors refuse to treat her as a girl until she is older, and some have even called child protective services claiming the mother is harming her child for allowing her to live as a girl.
I know of so many trans people who have been denied medical services just because they are trans. Some times when the doctor's office finds out they are trans they refuse to treat us because it will make the other patients uncomfortable or we hear that the doctor doesn't know how to treat a trans patient. Whatever the excuse it boils down to the same thing, we do not get the proper health care.

He ends with,
I will end this column by speaking directly to transgender children and youth with a quote from the book [“Free to Be …You and Me” by Marlo Thomas and Friends.]: I would like “to remind you that you’re the hero of your own life adventure and that you can write your story any way that you dream it can be.” You are free to be whomever you want to be!
It is so nice to hear something positive instead of all the hate that the Republicans are raining down on us.

Texas Is At It Again

Once again the state of Texas is going after trans people this time it is over health insurance.
Texas Leading Suit Over Federal Transgender Health Policy
Texas Tribune
By Alexa Ura
August 23, 2016

Ramping up its fight over the rights of transgender people, Texas filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government over a regulation prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in some health programs.

Texas, on behalf of religious hospital network Franciscan Alliance, and four other states are claiming the new federal regulation would force doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children and requested the court to block the federal government from enforcing the regulation. The federal rule on nondiscrimination in health care prohibits denying or limiting coverage for transgender individuals, including health services related to gender transition.

The lawsuit was announced by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Franciscan Alliance. It was filed Tuesday morning in the Wichita Falls-based District Court for the Western District of Texas.
It is funny how these organizations want government funding but they think it is okay to discriminate against people but just saying magic words… “It is against my religion.” I wonder what they would do if someone denied them service by saying “It is against my religion to serve bigots.”

This is nothing more than to grant special rights to people so that they do not have to obey the law.

This morning I am heading up to the University of Connecticut's main campus in Storrs to giving diversity training to student employees.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Research Is Proving Transitioning Improves the Quality Of Life

More and more studies are proving transitioning proves beneficial to trans children.
Study examines families' journeys to accepting transgender children
August 23, 2016

Jessica was one of 36 parents (29 mothers and seven fathers) who participated in a University of California-Davis, study, which will be presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), on how they came to make room in their families for notions of gender that go beyond conventional concepts of male and female.

Through in-depth interviews, Krysti Ryan, a PhD candidate in sociology, found many similarities in the journeys of parents who are supportively raising children who are "gender diverse," identifying as transgender, agender (no gender), bigender (both genders), gender-fluid (boy on some days and girl on others), or gender-nonconforming (expressing preferences that persistently diverge from the expectations of their gender).
Most of the parents in the study, the majority of whom self-identified as liberals or progressives, said they initially presumed their transgender daughters were sons who were going through a phase. "Nearly all parents I spoke with initially interpreted their child's gender expression as an indicator of future sexuality, not gender difference," Ryan said.

Over time, however, mothers like Jessica who warned her transgender daughter not to dress as a girl in school, realize their children are unhappy with these restrictions. As their children showed signs of depression or other emotional distress, the mothers in the study reached a tipping point in accepting their children's gender diversity.
Once the parents got over their initial doubts they became strong advocates for their children.
Many of the mothers in the study became lay experts on gender diversity—throwing themselves into reading everything they could find on the topic and identifying resources for their children—as a way of responding to social perceptions that they failed to raise a "normal" child.
The article did say that most of the parents identified as liberals or progressives and I hate to think about trans children growing up in families that deny them their gender identity.

Losing Skirmishes

We lost a second battle to the courts; both judges were appointed by President George W. Bush and both judges ignored the Supreme Court, Appeal Courts, previous federal court rulings and ruled based on pre 1989 interpretations of “sex.”
Obama’s Transgender Student Bathroom Policy Blocked by Judge
By Tom Korosec
August 22, 2016

The Obama administration was barred by a judge from enforcing a directive that U.S. public schools allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity.
A federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sunday sided with Texas and 12 other states that argued the administration’s policy usurps local control and threatens students’ safety and privacy.
In the Texas case, the judge said his ruling was based on the administration failing to follow rule-making procedures and not underlying issues of students’ rights. With the preliminary injunction in place, the judge will now consider whether to make the order permanent.
The Department of Education just didn’t pull the policy out of a hat, but it was based on case law all they was to implement court decisions including the Supreme Court ruling on the Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins case in 1989.

The article says this about the judge,
O’Connor, who was nominated by former President George W. Bush and confirmed for the bench in 2007, last year put on hold a federal rule granting Family and Medical Leave Act benefits to same-sex couples after Texas filed a lawsuit. Three months after his order, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
This coming November elections is a lot more than Clinton and Trump, it is also about more than two dozen federal lower courts openings and up to three Supreme Court justices lie in the balance. The judges will shape the future for a generation. President George W. Bush also appointed U.S. District Judge Sean Cox who just ruled that a funeral home did not break any laws when they fired a trans employee and U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar who ruled against a trans student in Virginia was appointed President Reagan.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Identity v. Expression

A lot of people do not get what is the difference between gender identity and gender expression. For most people they are aligned and they see only “gender” but I like to think of it as looking down a line of telephone poles. When you are aligned with the poles you see only the first telephone pole. However, is you step aside you see that there are actually two telephone poles. The same is true for gender identity and expression, they are two poles.

I came across this article posted on Facebook…
Separating Out Gender Identity from Gender Expression
Everyday Feminism
By Wiley Reading
May 15, 2014

I’ve let my hair grow out so long that I have to put it in pigtails when I ride my bike so it doesn’t get caught in my helmet straps. I’m wearing my girlfriend’s tiny turquoise athletic shorts. My legs are closely shaved, and I’m sitting curled up on the couch with a game of Candy Crush on my phone to my right and a sleeping cat to my left.

I sound like a girl, right?

I’m not.

Why? Because I don’t identify as one.

And although it really is as simple as that, I understand where some people have trouble: “If you express yourself in this way,” they wonder, “then doesn’t that imply that that is how you identify?”

When I was taking part in group discussions between LGBT people and their allies at the invitation of a friend at a retreat for Quakers, in one of the discussions there were on one side of the room three gender non-conforming teens and twenty somethings and on the other side were older lesbians and gays. The lesbians and gays didn’t understand why the “kids” wanted to include in their introduces your preferred pronoun, the reason why they didn’t understand why to also include gender pronouns was not everyone’s gender identity and expression line up.

The article goes on to say,
Although gender identity and gender expression can be related, the point is that they don’t have to be.

So what’s the difference?
And the article goes on,
Gender identity is internal, deeply-rooted, and a central part of many people’s senses of self.

For example, I identify as masculine-of-center. If I were to say “I am a woman,” it would feel as ridiculous as if I were saying “I am a dinosaur.”

Gender expression, on the other hand, is what everyone around us can see.

Gender expression is the way in which you express your gender.

Sometimes these expressions go along with socially sanctioned ideas of what is appropriate. For example, we live in a society that deems dresses appropriate for women, but not for men. But sometimes they don’t.

You may identify as a woman and dress in a traditionally feminine way. You may identify as a woman and dress in a traditionally masculine way. The point is that the two aren’t necessarily related.
Just as sex is a continuum so is gender as is identity and expression not linked and is a continuum. And just to throw a monkey wrench into the whole mixture, sexual orientation is also not linked and is a continuum.

The author goes on to talk about being misgender and the gender spectrums.
It’s pretty normal to be shocked, or surprised, or even uncomfortable when you come across someone breaking gender barriers.

We’re all socialized to think of gender as a fixed, unchanging, biologically imparted quality.

But a little critical thinking reveals that this is a falsehood, and a little open mindedness gives you access to a world of freedom with regards to gender.

Gender “creativity” is getting less and less stigmatized, so there’s more art and fashion and media than ever that showcases people with non-traditional gender presentations. Check it out!

And if it feels right to you, experiment with your own gender presentation.
Attacks on LGBT people is not because they are lesbians, or gay, or bi, or trans but because their gender expression does not fit the society’s norms. Think about that.

One of my slides in my workshop presentations is…
Visual non-conformity is a risk factor in causing anti-transgender bias and its attendant social and economic burdens
If you blend into society you do not get discriminated against but if you don’t…

I’m Leaving On A Jet Plane

No not really, but rather on a bus and I am going to West Point and the Culinary Institute of America on a senior LGBT tour.

It will be the first time I’ve taken a tour like this and I am looking forward to the trip on August 31st. The trip is sponsored by CT Prime Timers which is a senior gay men’s group but they opened the trip up to all LGBT seniors. Of course I will have my camera so expect to see photos of the trip.

On Friday I went to see a new play “The Sign of the Times” at the Terris Theater in Chester.
1965. The pulse of a changing era lures Cindy from Middle America to the swirl of Manhattan. Unexpected friends, lovers, careers and conflicts are all a subway ride away in a pop-fueled new musical featuring songs made famous by Petula Clark and other hit-makers of the day. "I Know a Place," "The Shoop Shoop Song" and "If I Can Dream" are among the fabulous favorites on an eye-opening ride from innocence to experience. Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares—go "Downtown" and find out who you are!
It was a good play, I wouldn’t say great but it was very enjoyable and after the close when the actors came on stage for a bow they sang Downtown against and the audience joined in.

The Terris Theater is a small theater that holds around 200 people and Norma Terris established a fund to develop the careers of new actors and to promote musical theatre, so many new musicals and careers started at the theater. The theater is part of the Goodspeed Opera House.

Speaking of theaters, in the beginning of October I am going to New York City to see the Broadway play Beautiful: The Carole King Musical with my cousins. And then later in October I am going up to Provincetown for Fantasia Fair.

Also in October I am going to two banquets one for the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) where I interned for my MSW and then the day before I head off for FF I am going to One Big Event the fund raiser for the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective where I volunteer two days a week.

In between I am doing a lot a training workshops including one at UConn in Storrs this week.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Stopping The Dreaded Puberty

For trans children when puberty or Tanner Stage II starts it brings added stress to them, now there are visible changes taking place that are transforming their bodies into someone they are not. But at the same time they are still too young to make an informed consent about their future, so what is a child to do?
Puberty Blockers May Improve The Mental Health Of Transgender Adolescents
Kaiser Health BNews
By Elaine Korry
August 19, 2016

Puberty is no picnic, even in the best of circumstances. Once the sex hormones estrogen or testosterone kick in, there’s no turning back: Here come breasts and periods, Adam’s apples and acne. It’s a tough passage for many kids, but for some — transgender youth whose bodies don’t match their gender identity — puberty can be unbearable.

For one Oakland family, their daughter’s path was clear from the time she was 3. Her birth certificate said “male,” but the child would always say she wanted to be a girl, and that soon became, “I AM a girl,” said the mother, who asked that her family’s name not be used to protect her daughter’s privacy. She recalled a day when the girl wept in frustration trying to fashion a skirt out of some t-shirts.

“Finally I just said, ‘Honey, do you want a dress?’’ and they went to a store and bought one. “I literally thought she was going to faint or hyperventilate,” said the mother. “She couldn’t sit still, she was so excited and so happy. It was a moment of pure joy for her, and also a turning point,” she said.

She was happy growing up and attended a progressive school in the San Francisco Bay Area as a girl. But when she was approaching puberty, she became very nervous, “worried about getting facial hair or watching her shoulders get broader. It was all very painful for her,” her mother said.
But all that can be stopped cold in its tracks by puberty blockers.
Full-blown puberty is irreversible, but for transgender children, it’s no longer inevitable. By taking a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist, secretion of the sex hormones can be stopped and the onset of puberty suppressed, so that the body does not develop secondary sex characteristics. This has been done safely for decades to suppress sex hormones in children who develop too early, a condition known as precocious puberty. Suppressors have also been used to treat endometriosis, uterine fibroids and prostate cancer.

It was only in 2008 that the Endocrine Society approved puberty suppressors as a treatment for transgender adolescents as young as 12 years old. The Society, with members in more than 100 countries, has since declared that the intervention appears to be safe and effective.  In 2011 the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), also issued Standards of Care for the treatment of patients with gender dysphoria, which include puberty suppression.
The blocker can be a life saver…
“If you are able to suspend puberty as soon as it happens you’re optimizing the benefits that it can bring physically,” said Leibowitz. Starting early may alleviate the need for surgical breast removal or voice modification therapy later on. It also makes it far easier for transgender teens to fit in. “That ability to blend in and be perceived as the gender that they identify with is associated with long-term psychological benefits,” said Leibowitz.
By giving the child time can make all the difference in their lives, it gives them time to get to know if this is right for them. It gives them time to breath without the pressure of time.

The evil “medical association” you probably have heard them being quoted in articles against us. There is the American Academy of Pediatrics with tens of thousands of members and then there is the “other” pediatrics association the one with it is believed to be less than a couple of hundred members. I say believed because they refuse to give out membership numbers.
Fake Medical Organization Publishes Lie-Ridden Manifesto Attacking Transgender Kids
Do not trust your children with the American College of Pediatricians.
Think Progress
By Zack Ford
August 19, 2016

Earlier this year, the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) issued a position statement rejecting transgender kids. Now, the fake medical organization that exists solely to oppose abortion and LGBT equality — not to be confused with the legitimate American Academy of Pediatricians — has published a more extensive manifesto denying the reality that some kids are transgender and benefit from being respected in those identities.

ACP’s thesis is founded on false statements that begin appearing by the second sentence of the document. Here are 14 claims the ACP makes about kids’ gender identities that are either unsupportable or directly contradicted by the available research.
Here are some of their unfounded positions,
1. Gender is not biological.The ACP article opens by insisting, quite matter-of-factly, that gender “is a psychological concept and sociological term, not a biological one.” This sets the tone for the rest of the article, which is largely — and admittedly — dedicated to delegitimizing trans identities as an innate trait.
3. Delaying puberty harms children.The primary form of medical treatment offered to transgender children is puberty blockers, which delay puberty from making permanent changes to the child’s body, allowing them more time to mature and be sure of their gender identity before taking permanent steps. ACP simply takes for granted that this must be harmful.
When there are a number of research study to the contrary.

Then they tell the Big Lie, it is all the parents fault,
7. Parents are responsible for making their kids trans.Because ACP is trying to make the case that there’s no biological component to being trans, they then blame parents for making their kids trans.

Examples include claims that mothers who are upset they didn’t have daughters might try to cross-dress their sons and that fathers of feminine boys might spend less time with them. If a mother is depressed and withdraws or a father overworks and isn’t around, “the boy’s anxiety and insecurity intensify, as does his anger, which may all result in his inability to identify with his biological sex.” The citation for all of these claims? Articles by the aforementioned Zucker, who encouraged parents to try to force their kids to engage in gendered behaviors.
Yes, lay a guilt trip on the parents!
ACP thinks that kids might also just be self-diagnosing themselves as transgender after visiting sites like Tumblr, Reddit, and YouTube. Rather than recognize that some kids might just be able to better understand their own inner conflict when they can access resources that explain it, ACP suggests “that social contagion may be at play.”
Oh yes, it is now the cool “in thing” to do be trans so you can be bullied, harassed and even killed.

Then they used twisted logic to twist the outcome of the Swedish study,
14. There’s a high rate of suicide among trans people who’ve undergone surgery.No attack on the veracity of transgender identities is complete without the hackneyed claim that transitioning somehow causes or maintains depression and can lead to suicide. Like everybody else who makes this claim, ACP relies on a study from Sweden that found that “the rate of suicide among post-operative transgender adults was nearly twenty times greater than that of the general population.” This indicates that “sex reassignment alone does not provide the individual with a level of mental health on par with the general population.”

But ACP cites this while arguing against surgery for transgender people entirely, and it’s been widely debunked that the Swedish study does not inform any conclusions about the effectiveness of surgery. In fact, the author of that study, Cecilia Dhejne, has explicitly rebuked attempts to draw such conclusions. “People who misuse the study always omit the fact that the study clearly states that it is not an evaluation of gender dysphoria treatment,” she told Cristan Williams at The TransAdvocate last year. “If we look at the literature, we find that several recent studies conclude that WPATH Standards of Care compliant treatment decreases gender dysphoria and improves mental health.”
But hate has no bounds; it is okay to lie, and to bear false witness as long as it is against LGBT people.

This is what the Southern Poverty Law Center had to say about the ACP, the mince no words…
Meet the Anti-LGBT Hate Group that Filed an Amicus Brief with the Alabama Supreme Court
By Hatewatch Staff
November 13, 2015

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is an anti-LGBT hate group founded in 2002. It bills itself as “a national organization of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children.”

Like other organizations, ACPeds involves itself in judicial matters, and files amicus briefs with various courts in support of or in opposition to various cases.

What its website will not tell you is that this fringe organization, under the veneer of its professional-sounding name and claims, works to defame and discredit LGBT people, often by distorting legitimate research. It consists of around 200 members and started because a small group of anti-LGBT physicians and other healthcare professionals broke away from the 60,000 member American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), composed of leaders in the professional field, to form its own group after the AAP issued a new policy statement in 2002 in support of adoption and foster parenting by same-sex couples.

ACPeds has a history of propagating damaging falsehoods about LGBT people, including linking homosexuality to pedophilia, and claiming that LGBT people are more promiscuous than heterosexuals, and that LGBT people are a danger to children.
The SPLC sums it up nicely,
But in the strange world of the anti-LGBT right, damaging falsehoods about LGBT people are considered true while legitimate science is seen as false. This is why fringe think tanks like ACPeds have formed in hard-right circles: a means to hold on to and perpetuate views that are being proven wrong with every passing day.
The conservative news media like the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and Fox News love the ACP because they can quote the official sounding name to justify their bias

There Is Out And Then There Is OUT!

We want to be in control of our transition but sometimes our transition takes on a life of its own and we lose control of it.

On Transgender Universe, Mila Madison writes about "Dealing With the Fallout When Your Transition Goes Nuclear"
So you finally come to terms with yourself. After years of struggling with it, you accept the fact that you are transgender. Congratulations! Now it is time for you to come out, but that could be a scary proposition. As much as you prepare for it, nothing can make you ready enough for the fallout from telling everyone you are trans. It is the moment of truth when you learn who really loves you. None of us come out of it unscathed. For some, they nuke their entire lives, losing everything in its wake.

There is so much to consider before you take that leap off the ledge and throw yourself to the unknown. You have no control when it comes to how others will react to your news. You have parents, friends, and work. For some there may be a relationship or a marriage that will be tested. If you have kids, how do you tell them? How will they handle it? It is these worries that are the very building blocks of the proverbial closet that many of us have lived in or in some cases still live in.
But many if not most of us, our schedules fall apart as soon as we take the first step upon on journey. Some of us get cold feet, some of us can’t wait and want to accelerate their transition, while others have it all laid out on a spreadsheet  and I even know one trans person who used Microsoft Projects to lay out her transitions complete with milestones and parallel tasks (and yes she is an engineer).

But we are human and when it comes to making important decisions in our lives we should be flexible. I know trans person she worked with HR to plan how she was going to come out at work and the next thing she knew HR was saying that according to the schedule they were going to send out an announcement to the department heads, but she was getting cold feet about coming out to everyone. HR wanted to keep her to her schedule.

There is one person that I know had it all figured out which family member she was going to tell first and then tell the other family members one at a time while building support within her family. Well after she told the first family member it was too juicy of news to not tell the other family members so she spilled the beans to all the family members. Some family members were mad at her for not telling them, that they had to hear it from other family members, while some were downright hostile and tried to spread their hate among the other family members.

The main thing to remember is to be flexible; no plan is carved in stone.  Make sure HR recognizes the need to change your plans at the last minute. Understand your family and friends might tell others beforehand about your transition, you might want to stress the need to tell other family members and friends first but you also have to realize that they might not respect your wishes.

However, always remember the first rule… be safe.

"There Is Out And Then There Is OUT!" came from Fantasia Fair's staff person who tells a story of being interviewed by the college newspaper where she works about her crossdressing but the story was picked up by a Canadian national newspaper.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Saturday 9: The Trolley Song

Crazy Sam’s  Saturday 9: The Trolley Song (1944)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun...
... Because Stacey suggested Judy Garland. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this movie clip, just about everyone (except Judy) is wearing a hat. Do you wear hats for fashion, for warmth or for both?
I am not much of a hat wearer.

2) This song is from Meet Me in St. Louis, which was a huge hit and the second highest grossing movie of 1944. When is the last time you watched a movie in the theater?  
This spring at a film festival that is held at Trinity College in Hartford.

3) The movie follows the Smith family as their hometown, St. Louis, to prepares to host the 1904 World's Fair. What's the biggest thing happening in your hometown? 
Mrs. B cat had puppies.
There is not much happening in town; we are a typical bedroom town.

4) This week's featured artist, Judy Garland, is best known as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. That movie is shown so often that Sam thinks she may have seen it a dozen times. Is there a movie or holiday special you've seen over and over?
Yes, Outlander. I am waiting for Amazon to start season two.

5) Judy admitted to being perpetually tardy. Are you usually prompt? Or are you always running late?
We have a joke in our family, that we run on family time which is about 20 minutes behind the rest of the world.

6) Judy's first professional performance was a rendition of "Jingle Bells" when she was just two. How old were you when you entered your chosen profession?
22, 23 somewhere around there was when I graduated from college and then my second career when I was 63.

7) Thinking of "Jingle Bells," here's a wintery question for a hot summer day: What's your favorite carol?

8) Judy was a very demonstrative person. She enjoyed hugs and admitted that, when she nervous, she took emotional support from physically reaching out. Are you demonstrative?
No, I am a private person and don’t like hugs that much.

9) She told Barbara Walters that people would be surprised to learn that she was a good cook and specialized in desserts. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Yes, and that was my Achilles’ heel.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Battle In The War Lost

We lost a skirmish in the war for our rights, but it is only one battle.
Federal court upholds firing of transgender funeral director
Judge says transgender not protected class, funeral home can't be made to go against religious beliefs
Detroit Free Press
By Tresa Baldas,
August 18, 2016

In a decision that favored religious freedom over transgender rights in the workplace, a federal judge ruled today that a metro Detroit funeral home did not discriminate against an employee when it fired her for transitioning from a man into a woman.

That's because transgender individuals are not a protected class under federal employment laws, the judge ruled, and the funeral home can't be forced to make employment decisions that go against its sincerely held religious beliefs.
In this case, the funeral home owner believed that a person’s sex is a “God-given gift," and that the government can't  force him to abandon that belief.

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox agreed.
"The funeral home's owner admits that he fired (the employee) because (the employee) intended to 'dress as a woman' while at work," Cox wrote in his ruling. But, he added, forcing the funeral home owner to do otherwise  "would impose a substantial burden on its ability to conduct business in accordance with its sincerely held religious beliefs."
Moreover, Cox stressed: "Significantly, neither transgender status nor gender identity are protected classes under Title VII."
This is horrible! This ruling grants special rights to anyone to disobey any law because they can claim without proof that it violates their religious beliefs.
ACLU attorney Jay Kaplan, who initially interceded on her behalf, believes it was discrimination disguised as a religious view. And Cox's decision, he said, will only allow more such workplace discrimination to take place.

"This case represents the dangerous slippery slope. Any individual employer can cite their own religious beliefs to discriminate," Kaplan said, noting the funeral home is not a religious organization, but strictly a business. "It's not a religious funeral home. It serves all denominations, and yet because the owner professed a particular viewpoint toward transgender people, he can willfully violate civil rights laws?  ... It’s a highly flawed decision. ... This is now open season to justify discrimination by individuals and businesses against various groups of people."
This ruling opens the door to businesses refusing to hire Jews, Muslims, blacks, or any other protected classes and they have to do is say the magic words…”It is against my religious beliefs.” and if they only say that it applies to LGBT then that violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendmant.

And the judge’s claim that "Significantly, neither transgender status nor gender identity are protected classes under Title VII." doesn’t hold water either. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit was the latest court to rule that it is covered under Title VII and they based their ruling on many, many lower court cases that ruled that we are covered under Title VII and they based their rulings on the Supreme Court’s Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins in 1989 where the court ruled that sex discriminate was much more than “sex” but also covered sex stereotyping.

It was President George W. Bush who nominated Cox to the federal bench and in this election cycle we have maybe three Supreme Court justices’ appointments along with many lower court opening for judges which the Republican controlled Senate has refused to fill.

So when you say that because of your conscious that you cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, what does your conscious say about letting the courts be packed with conservative judges?

The Privatization Of Government (Part 1)

The mantra of the Republican is to let the private sector do it. They want to privatize Social Security and they are fighting to do away with Medicare. On the state level they have privatized prisons, roads, water works, and even parking meters

Well government is not a business.

There are certain things that have to be done no matter the cost. Public heath must be maintained. Bridges have to be maintained. The water distribution systems must be updated. The railroads must be brought up to modern standards. Because of the fatal train wreck just outside of Philadelphia Congress order the railroads to move up their schedule for adding automatic safety features to the trains but that resulted in many of the bridges from the 1800s being delayed in their replacements because Congress refused to grant them additional funds to do both.

Congress went on vacation instead of debating fund to fight the Zika and before they went on vacation many of the Republican legislators were refusing to add funding unless the budget was cut somewhere else. Now we see it spreading in Miami from the area of the original outbreak.
5 ways privatization is fleecing American taxpayers
Government outsourcing goes horribly wrong more often than not. Here are a few representative horror stories
By Dave Johnson
May 20, 2014

For decades we’ve been subjected to constant propaganda that government is inefficient, bureaucratic and expensive. We’re told that the answer is to “privatize,” or “outsource” government functions to private businesses and they will do things more efficiently and everyone comes out ahead. As a result we have experienced decades of privatization of government functions.

So how has this wave of privatization worked out? Has privatization saved taxpayers money and improved services to citizens? Simple answer: of course not. If a company can make a profit doing something the government had been doing, it means that we’re losing out one way or another. It’s simple math. And the result of falling for the privatization scam is that taxpayers have been fleeced, services to citizens have been cut way back and communities have been made poorer. But the companies that convinced governments to hand over public functions have gotten rich off of the deal. How is this a surprise?
1. Chicago Parking Meters
The mother of all privatization horror stories is what happened with Chicago’s parking meters. In 2008 the city “financialized” its parking meter revenue stream. It leased the rights to collect from parking meters to a consortium led by Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley. The lease is for 75 years.

Right away parking-meter rates went up fourfold and meters stopped working. The city’s residents were unhappy, but there was nothing they could do about it.

But wait, it gets worse. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that the big Wall Street bank was more interested in making money than in giving Chicago the best deal it could. An inspector general looked into the deal and found that the city was shortchanged by at least $974 million. But a 2010 Forbes story says the Morgan Stanley consortium may realize a profit of $9.58 billion after paying Chicago only $1.15 billion.

To top it off, the city not only gave up 75 years of revenue for not nearly enough up-front cash, it had signed a contract prohibiting the city from interfering with Morgan Stanley’s ability to profit from the deal. This means the city can’t build parking structures where they are needed and can’t even give out disabled parking permits. The city can’t even close streets to have street fairs or festivals without paying Morgan Stanley for lost meter profits.

2. Toll Roads
Some states are considering privatizing their roads with “public-private partnerships.” The deal is that private companies maintain the roads and in exchange can charge a toll and make a profit. How is this working out?

In 2006 Indiana privatized I-80, the Indiana Toll Road. For $3.8 billion the state gave a 75-year lease to the Australian company Macquarie Group and Spain’s Cintra. (Goldman Sachs is said to have earned $20 million for brokering the deal.) At the time Washington Post business columnist Jerry Knight wrote that the deal sounded like “tossing the family furniture in the fireplace to keep the house warm.”

Since then tolls have just about doubled. And it’s going to get worse. Dave Jamieson at the Huffington Post explained, “The road’s leaseholders can now raise the toll annually at one of three rates — at a flat two percent, at the percentage increase in the consumer price index or at the percentage increase in gross domestic product — whichever is highest. Over the course of the coming decades, Hoosiers can expect to learn a hard lesson in compound interest, long after Gov. Daniels is gone.”

In 2007 Colorado leased its Northwest Highway to a Portuguese/Brazilian company for 99 years. The company raised tolls 50% and taxpayers have to pay the company if too many carpoolers use the high-occupancy lanes. The contract includes a “non-compete” clause that “requires payments to the foreign corporation if certain roads or facilities are built in the area that would compete with the toll road.” In other words, if traffic gets really bad Colorado is not allowed to do anything to solve the problem for its citizens – mass transit, congestion-relief arteries, etc. — instead forcing citizens to use that highway and pay whatever the toll is. For 99 years.
The article goes on to list prisons and how business gouge the government for any changes. In some states they have to pay the private prisons for prisoners that they don’t have, so that is an incentive to jail people for even minor offenses in order to keep the jails full. In Pennsylvania a just was convicted to taking kickbacks from the private prison company to send my juveniles to prison.

The article concludes,
Government outsourcing, also known as privatization, has been going on for decades, and now governments are reassessing whether turning public property and services over to private companies has really been a good idea. Story after story has appeared detailing horror stories of corruption, incompetence and general scamming by companies interested only in profit. Molly Ball reported recently in The Privatization Backlash in the Atlantic, “In states and cities across the country, lawmakers are expressing new skepticism about privatization, imposing new conditions on government contracting, and demanding more oversight. Laws to rein in contractors have been introduced in 18 states this year, and three—Maryland, Oregon and Nebraska—have passed legislation, according to In the Public Interest, a group that advocates what it calls ‘responsible contracting.'”
We all have heard about the disaster of the Detroit Water Department privatization…
Water Privatization: Facts and Figures
Privatizing local water and sewer systems usually does far more harm than good for our communities.
Food & WaterWatch
August 31, 2015

Water privatization – when private corporations buy or operate public water utilities – is often suggested as a solution to municipal budget problems and aging water systems. Unfortunately, this more often backfires, leaving communities with higher rates, worse service, job losses, and more.

Problems with Water and Sewer Privatization
Loss of Control
  • Privatization is irresponsible. By privatizing water and sewer systems, local government officials abdicate control over a vital public resource.
  • Privatization limits public accountability. Multinational water corporations are primarily accountable to their stockholders, not to the people they serve.
  • Loss of public input. Because water service is a natural monopoly that lacks a true market, consumers can exercise choice only at the ballot box through the election of the public officials who oversee their utility. They don’t have a vote in the corporate boardroom. With public ownership, residents can visit their elected officials and directly express their opinions about the operation of their water systems. If the officials fail to respond, the community can vote them out of office. The public lacks similar mechanisms to address their concerns with private utilities and appointed state regulators, and long-term complex contracts can tie the hands of local governments.
  • Loss of transparency. Private operators usually restrict public access to information and do not have the same level of openness as the public sector.
  • The objectives of a profit-extracting water company can conflict with the public interest. Because a water corporation has different goals than a city does, it will make its decisions using a different set of criteria, often one that emphasizes profitability. This can create conflict.
  • Cherry picking service areas. Private water companies are unlikely to adopt the same criteria as municipalities when deciding where to extend services. They are prone to cherry-picking service areas to avoid serving low-income communities where low water use and frequent bill collection problems could hurt corporate profits.
  • Contributing to sprawl. Local governments can use the provision of water and sewer services to promote smart growth, while water companies often partner with private developers to supply service to sprawling suburbs.
  • Undermining the human right to water. As a result of price hikes, service disconnections, inadequate investment and other detrimental economic consequences, water privatization often interferes with the human right to water. Read the issue brief: Water Equals Life: How Privatization Undermines the Human Right to Water
They also point out that the private water companies cost almost 60 percent more than public water departments. The higher rates result from,
Higher Operating Costs
  • Private operation is not more efficient. Empirical evidence indicates that there is no significant difference in efficiency between public and private water provision.
  • Lack of competition. In theory, competition would lead to cheaper contracts, but in practice, researchers have found that the water market is “rarely competitive.” The only competition that can exist is the competition for the contract, and there are only a few private water companies that bid to take over municipal water systems. Once a contract is awarded, the winning company enjoys a monopoly. A lack of competition can lead to excess profits and corruption in private operations.
  • Privatization often increases costs. Corporate profits, dividends and income taxes can add 20 to 30 percent to operation and maintenance costs, and a lack of competition and poor negotiation skills can leave local governments with expensive contracts. Read the fact sheet: Public-Private Partnerships: Issues and Difficulties with Private Water Service
  • Public operation often saves money. A review of 18 municipalities that ended their contracts with private companies found that public operation averaged 21 percent cheaper than private operation of water and sewer services. Read the fact sheet: The Public Works: How the Remunicipalization of Water Services Saves Money
And this leads me to Sunday’s noon post about federal prisons and charter scools.

The Windmills Never End

I sometimes get very discouraged from all the hate that is directed at us, the trans community. It seems like the more we get our rights the more hate that is directed at us.

For decades there never was any problems with schools, bathroom, and public accommodations until the Republicans stirred up the hate and added it to their political goals to pass attack legislation directed at us.

This is an interesting article about that hatred.
How this Iowa town became a 'political war zone' over transgender rights
The Des Moines Register
By Courtney Crowder
August 18, 2016

AIRFIELD, Ia. — Fairfield High School’s band and choir trip to St. Louis in mid-May was the one of the last school-sponsored activities that Draven Spicer, a senior, took part in before graduation. He couldn't wait to hang out with his choir and band friends at the zoo and Six Flags amusement park.

But he was most excited to stay overnight in a hotel room with other boys. Assigned female at birth, Spicer struggled with his gender identity for years before coming out as a transgender boy at the end of his sophomore year.

“I was finally going to get to room with boys … and I knew I was going to feel so much more comfortable than I had before when I roomed with girls," he said. "It was going to feel right. I knew it.”

What Spicer didn't know as he and the other kids boarded the bus early that Saturday morning is that his rooming with boys coupled with a just-released federal Department of Education “Dear Colleague Letter” instructing K-12 schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom aligning with their gender identity was going to ignite a controversy in his school district.

That controversy has divided the school board and the town, known as a hub for transcendental meditation and a bastion of progressive thinking. The last few days of the school year became what students and activists have called a “political war zone,” marked by an increase in bullying and threats of physical violence. The tension lingered throughout the summer, reaching a fever-pitch Monday, with the start of school less than a week away.
So what did happen on that overnight trip? Absolutely nothing,
On the trip back to Fairfield from St. Louis, Spicer reflected on rooming with the boys, which he thought had gone well, although they’d stayed up too late eating jelly beans. Spicer was mostly looking forward to going home to use the bathroom. He hadn't used the restroom since leaving the hotel, unaware of Missouri law regarding transgender bathroom usage and a little scared to test the waters.
As he got off the bus and grabbed his bag, he noticed something wrong with his car. When he got closer he realized someone had used chalk to vandalize the windows with drawings of penises and the phrase, “U r a girl.” His friend’s car was tagged, “Gay people suck.”
How did a weekend that went so good turn into hate? We just have to look at the parents and outside agitators,
"But I could tell once parents were getting involved, it was going to become ugly,” Spicer said.
And outside groups…
Members of Citizens United for Students’ Rights and Liberties group, a community organization that opposes the school's new guidelines, walked out of the meeting after they were approved.

“It’s clear that Fairfield’s transgender policy, which extends to the district’s middle school and three elementary schools as well, endangers the safety and privacy of schoolchildren,” the Family Leader, a conservative, Christian organization, wrote in an article posted to its website Wednesday night. “Girls hesitant to use the restroom or change in the locker room in front of biological males is understandable. Boys uncomfortable with dropping their drawers while a girl is using the adjacent urinal makes sense.”
It was when outside groups and parents started to complain that the students got the clue that it was alright to start to pick on Spicer.
The following week of school was marked by increasing intensity and anxiety caused by rumors and misunderstanding, said Shea Malloy, a friend of Spicer's who also just graduated from Fairfield. “It was sort of like the game telephone gone wrong,” she said.

On Monday, May 16, divisions began to form between student groups within the school, Malloy said. When Tuesday came, the kids supporting the right of transgender students to use the restroom of their gender identity wore black armbands as a way to identify themselves as LGBT allies, Malloy said. But some perceived those armbands as threatening and began to wear red armbands as a sign they disagreed with the guidance. On Wednesday, the two sides wore different color T-shirts for the same reasons.
We see this all around the country. In Maine, the school didn’t have any problems with a trans student until a custodian grandparent told his grandson to go into the girls bathroom and when the school disciplined the boy the grandfather brought in a so called “Family” organization that stirred up the hate. The case went all the way to Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court.

We see it in all of those laws that Republican states legislators have introduced where in one bill they wanted to put a $2500 bounty on our heads, if you catch us in the bathroom of our gender identity and you win $2500. Or in North Carolina where they actually passed a law to make us criminals.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Changes On A World Level

Most of us probably know the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is but many of us don’t know about the ICD (International Classification of Diseases), this is what the World Health Organization (WHO) has to say about the ICD
History of ICD
The first international classification edition, known as the International List of Causes of Death, was adopted by the International Statistical Institute in 1893.

WHO was entrusted with the ICD at its creation in 1948 and published the 6th version, ICD-6, that incorporated morbidity for the first time. The WHO Nomenclature Regulations, adopted in 1967, stipulated that Member States use the most current ICD revision for mortality and morbidity statistics. The ICD has been revised and published in a series of editions to reflect advances in health and medical science over time.

ICD-10 was endorsed in May 1990 by the Forty-third World Health Assembly. It is cited in more than 20,000 scientific articles and used by more than 100 countries around the world.

ICD purpose and uses
ICD is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally, and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is the diagnostic classification standard for all clinical and research purposes. ICD defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions, listed in a comprehensive, hierarchical fashion that allows for:
  • easy storage, retrieval and analysis of health information for evidenced-based decision-making;
  • sharing and comparing health information between hospitals, regions, settings and countries; and
  • data comparisons in the same location across different time periods.
Uses include monitoring of the incidence and prevalence of diseases, observing reimbursements and resource allocation trends, and keeping track of safety and quality guidelines. They also include the counting of deaths as well as diseases, injuries, symptoms, reasons for encounter, factors that influence health status, and external causes of disease.
And now it is being updated again to the ICD-11 and it looks like that we are finally are finally going to be taken of the ICD-11 as a mental disorder.
W.H.O. Weighs Dropping Transgender Identity From List of Mental Disorders
New York Times
By Pam Belluck
July 26, 2016

The World Health Organization is moving toward declassifying transgender identity as a mental disorder in its global list of medical conditions, with a new study lending additional support to a proposal that would delete the decades-old designation.

The change, which has so far been approved by each committee that has considered it, is under review for the next edition of the W.H.O. codebook, which classifies diseases and influences the treatment of patients worldwide.

“The intention is to reduce barriers to care,” said Geoffrey Reed, a psychologist who is coordinating the mental health and behavior disorders section in the upcoming edition of the codebook, called the International Classification of Diseases, or I.C.D.
“It’s sending a very strong message that the rest of the world is no longer considering it a mental disorder,” said Dr. Michael First, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and the chief technical consultant to the new edition of the codebook, which is known by its initials and the edition number I.C.D.-11. “One of the benefits of moving it out of the mental disorder section is trying to reduce stigma.”

Other parts of the proposed change are stirring debate, however. The proposal would not take transgender out of the codebook altogether, but would move it into a newly created category: “Conditions related to sexual health.”

Many, but not all, advocates favor the idea of keeping transgender in the codebook in some form because the designations are widely used for billing and insurance coverage of medical services and for conducting research on diseases and treatments. But where should it go?
My thoughts are that it has to be listed as a sexual health issue because I need to get my hormones and healthcare. If it is removed all together there will be no justification for us to get insurance coverage.

You have to understand that the purpose of the DSM and the ICD is for the doctors and therapists to get paid, they look up the diagnostic criteria that best fits their client and then bills the insurance company using the DSM or the ICD codes.

This change is coming about because of research that was done in Mexico.
The Lancet Psychiatry: First field trial supports removing transgender diagnosis from mental disorders chapter within WHO classification
Eureka Alert: American Association for the Advancement of Science
The Lancet
July 26, 2016

New evidence suggests that it would be appropriate to remove the diagnosis of transgender from its current classification as a mental disorder, according to a study conducted in Mexico City. The study is the first field trial to evaluate a proposed change to the place of the diagnosis within the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

The research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal today and led by the National Institute of Psychiatry Ramón de le Fuente Muñiz, involved interviewing 250 transgender people and found that distress and dysfunction were more strongly predicted by experiences of social rejection and violence than by gender incongruence itself. The study is the first of several field trials and is currently being replicated in Brazil, France, India, Lebanon and South Africa.

"Stigma associated with both mental disorder and transgender identity has contributed to the precarious legal status, human rights violations and barriers to appropriate care among transgender people," says senior author Professor Geoffrey Reed, National Autonomous University of Mexico. "The definition of transgender identity as a mental disorder has been misused to justify denial of health care and contributed to the perception that transgender people must be treated by psychiatric specialists, creating barriers to health care services. The definition has even been misused by some governments to deny self-determination and decision-making authority to transgender people in matters ranging from changing legal documents to child custody and reproduction." [1]

"Our findings support the idea that distress and dysfunction may be the result of stigmatization and maltreatment, rather than integral aspects of transgender identity," says lead investigator Dr Rebeca Robles, Mexican National Institute of Psychiatry. "The next step is to confirm this in further studies in different countries, ahead of the approval of the WHO revision to International Classification of Diseases in 2018." [1]
So this is very important for us to be removed out of the section of “mental disorders” to the section on sexual health. Now if only the DSM will follow suit.

[1] Quote direct from authors and cannot be found in text of Article.

A Little Dancing Around

A school in North Carolina is doing a quick two step with their policy on trans students, last week I wrote about how the gender unicorn was causing problems down in North Carolina well the school system backed down because of religious pressure.
CMS clarifies transgender policy, adds narcotics dog ahead of first day
By Mark Davenport
Wednesday, August 17th 2016

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools starts a new year in less than two weeks, on August 29. Leading up to the big day, school leaders held a briefing Wednesday morning to update parents and teachers on important information.

Superintendent Ann Clark and other administrators spoke about student enrollment, teacher staffing and other important information at Kennedy Middle school.
Superintendent Clark also clarified the school district's work with transgender children.

Clark said CMS won't employ a separate curriculum for transgender students but they will be following state guidelines on sports that say students are required to participate in athletics based on biological gender.

"It is my belief that if we are truly about every child everyday for a better tomorrow that every child means every child," said Clark.

She also said the school district held training for principals over the summer on proper ways to welcome transgender students and their parents.
The Charlotte Observer reported that,
CMS: Gender unicorn, transgender training won’t greet students
By Ann Doss Helms
August 17, 2016

There won’t be lessons on gender identity featuring a purple unicorn. Teachers aren’t banned from referring to boys or girls. And you won’t find boys playing on girls’ sports teams.

Despite local protests and a national media storm over Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ new plans for transgender students, the changes won’t be obvious to most students when classes begin Aug. 29, Superintendent Ann Clark said Wednesday. She opened her back-to-school news conference by rebutting false statements that have circulated about the plan, which was unveiled in June.

“I would say to parents in this community that very little is going to be different in terms of your child’s experience unless you are the parent of a transgender student,” Clark said.

One of the most controversial parts of the June announcement – allowing transgender students to use restrooms and changing facilities based on their current identity – was later put on hold based on an August U.S. Supreme Court ruling. CMS still plans to require teachers to refer to transgender students using the pronoun and name that reflects their identity.

Even after the bathroom changes were suspended, a local protest drew dozens of people who were upset about the plan. Media reports across the country have talked about CMS brainwashing children with a purple cartoon “gender unicorn” and banning teachers from making any reference to gender.
Oh the poor little gender unicorn all ze wanted to do was to help end gender bias and harassment but that was too much for some, they didn’t want their right to discriminate and bully kids who are different taken away.