Tuesday, January 31, 2017

It Is Hard Enough…

...When you transition but if you transition and you are a son or daughter of a celebrity it is much harder, all eyes are on you.
Love Is Everything’: Celebrity Advice for Raising Transgender Kids
By Ellena Kilgallon
January 19, 2017

Not every parent is able to come to terms with their son or daughter’s gender transition. But several Hollywood stars are showing the way forward.

Mothers and fathers across the world can learn a lot from the celebrities who have shown understanding and affection to their transgender children.

ENTITY looks at five famous parents of trans kids and how they reacted to the transition.

Chaz, 47, is one of Hollywood’s first transgender kids, making headlines when in 2009 he confirmed that he had begun his transition. Born Chastity, Chaz is the son of iconic duo Sonny and Cher.

Chaz initially came out as a lesbian when he was 18. However, he tells The Sun that it wasn’t until his mid-30s that he realized he is transgender.
Stephen was born as Kathlyn to actors Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. Now 24 years old, Stephen began his transition in 2016. He is now a transgender activist and poet.

In his first major interview in 25 years, Warren Beatty said of his eldest son to Vanity Fair, “He’s a genius, and my hero, as are all my children.”

Jay Kelly was born Jaya Kelly to famous R&B singer R. Kelly and dancer Andrea Kelly. When he came out on Ask.FM, he admitted that he knew he was male from the age of “six or seven.”

While Jay’s mother has been nothing but supportive of her son’s transition, his father has not responded to the news as well.
On National Coming Out Day in 2016, Mickailia “Ila” Adu, son of English singer-songwriter Sade, came out as a transgender man.
Although “The Waltons” actor Lewis Arquette passed away before Alexis transitioned in 2006, Alexis was supported by her siblings, actors David, Rosanna, Richmond and Patricia.

When she passed away in September 2016, her siblings posted a touching statement on Facebook. “Alexis was born as Robert, our brother,” the statement said. “We loved him the moment he arrived. But he came in as more than a sibling — he came as our great teacher. As Alexis transitioned into being a woman, she taught us tolerance and acceptance. As she moved through her process, she became our sister, teaching us what real love is. We learned what real bravery is through watching her journey of living as a trans woman. We came to discover the one truth — that love is everything.”
When we transition most of us dread telling our parents and family, we worry if we will be accepted or thrown out on the street to survive on our own. I can’t even imagine what it is like when you are in a celebrity family where your every move is watched over by paparazzi.

Take Your Pick…

This morning’s battling headlines:
Sources: Trump executive order allowing anti-LGBTQ discrimination is coming soon
Obama’s Protections for L.G.B.T. Workers Will Remain Under Trump

LGBTQ Nation reports,
An executive order from President Donald Trump opening up discrimination against the LGBTQ community on the basis of religious belief is expected sometime this week, possibly as soon as today.

Several sources spoke with LGBTQ Nation on the condition of anonymity who have told us that the order will allow for discrimination in a number of areas, including employment, social services, business, and adoption.

From what we’ve heard, the executive order could be far-reaching, and could include: making taxpayer funds available for discrimination against LGBTQ people in social services; allow federally funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ parents; eliminate non-discrimination protections in order to make it possible to fire federal employers and contractors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity; and allow federal employees to refuse to serve people based on the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that gender is an immutable characteristic set at birth, which would impact a broad range of federal benefits.
Meanwhile the New York Times reports,
WASHINGTON — The White House said on Monday that President Trump would leave in place a 2014 Obama administration order that created new workplace protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

In a statement issued in response to growing questions about whether Mr. Trump would reverse the Obama order, the White House said the president was proud to embrace gay rights.

“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the statement said. “The president is proud to have been the first ever G.O.P. nominee to mention the L.G.B.T.Q. community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”

The decision to keep the order, the statement added, was Mr. Trump’s. It uses stronger language than any Republican president has before in favor of equal legal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, though that is not likely to quiet Mr. Trump’s critics on the left.
My guess is that he will keep the order but add a giant loophole for “religious freedom” that will allow a company to discriminate against us.

But who really knows? With Trump as president anything is possible, what he says today might not be true tomorrow.

You all have probably heard about this already, it is all over Facebook and the news,
Boy Scouts Will Admit Transgender Boys
By Richard Gonzales
January 31, 2017

In a surprise announcement, the Boy Scouts of America said that it will begin accepting transgender boys who want to join its scouting programs.

The Scouts' policy change came in a written and video statement released by Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh. He said that for more than a hundred years the Scouts used the information on an individual's birth certificate to determine a boy's eligibility to join its single gender programs.

"Communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently than society did in the past," Surbaugh said, "and these new laws vary widely from state to state.

"Starting today we will accept registration in our Scouting programs based on the gender identity provided on an individual's application," said Surbaugh.

Monday, January 30, 2017

You Ought To Be In Pictures

I came across two articles about trans people in media…
Is Japan ready to love a transgender lead character?
Naoko Ogigami's gentle film 'Close-Knit' set to touch audiences' emotions
Nikkei Asian Review
By Fran Kuzui
January 30, 2017

TOKYO -- Naoko Ogigami and Kumi Kobata are a rarity in Japan where female directors and producers are as uncommon as independent filmmakers. When asked how they met, they turned to each other and shook their heads, laughing softly because neither could recall. Eventually Ogigami remembered it was on her 2006 film "Seagull Diner" ("Kamome Shokudo"). Suurkitos, Kobata's film distribution company, came on board as a financier and released the picture in Japan. The collaboration has yielded five films over the last 10 years, including their latest, "Close-Knit" ("Karera ga Honki de Amu Toki Ha"), a film whose subject matter is also a rarity in Japan.

"Close-Knit" ventures into interestingly topical territory, telling the story of a transgender woman, a man who loves her and the young girl who comes into their lives. Rinko (played by one of Japan's hottest young male stars, Toma Ikuta) is a transgender woman living with Makio (Kenta Kiritani, another enormously popular actor) who accepts her unconditionally. Makio's emotionally unstable sister runs off with a man and her young daughter Tomo (Rinka Kakihara) shows up at her uncle's door. Makio's girlfriend Rinko welcomes her warmly and the couple begins to care for the child. Rinko is reminded of her mother's compassion when she was a young boy and discovers her own motherly instincts through her relationship with the young girl. Tomo slowly becomes the child that Rinko will never conceive, but longs to nurture. When the girl's actual mother returns from her adventures to claim her child, a choice needs to be made.
Of course the trans lead is played by a cis-male.
Ogigami and Kobata had already discussed using a transgender actor and had been casting a wide net hoping to find an experienced actor who could play the nuanced character of Rinko. One huge obstacle however was the difficulties that all small filmmakers face in raising funds, particularly in Japan. The interest and involvement of two young stars in the project gave the filmmakers the crucial financing opportunity.

"I loved working with Ikuta," said Ogigami. "He's a total man, but on the set he became so female it surprised me."
The movie sounds great but too bad they didn’t have a trans woman to play the lead character.

The other article that I found is from Australia.
The evolution of transgenderism in film and literature
The Conversation By Michelle Smith, Deakin University
January 27, 2017

In Laurie Frankel's new novel This is How it Always Is, an American family grapples with prejudice about transgender children. Youngest child of five boys, Claude, in addition to wanting to be "a chef, a cat, a vet, a dinosaur, a train, a farmer" when he is older, tells his parents that he wants to "be a girl".

The Walsh-Adams family readily embrace his difference, but the world beyond is less capable of processing the gender non-conformity of a five-year-old child. At kindergarten, Claude is permitted to wear dresses, but is castigated for using the boys' bathroom. After his decision to become Poppy, a school friend's parent threatens violence in the face of Poppy's imagined queer contaminating effect upon his son.

Coupled with a transgender woman being shot on a local college campus after a sexual encounter, the family decides that Madison, Wisconsin is an inhospitable environment for Poppy and moves to more progressive Seattle. Nevertheless, they still find it easier to start again without explaining that Poppy is transgender.

Frankel's novel was inspired by her own experience raising a transgender child. Western culture is currently facing the challenge of understanding transgenderism and the first generation of openly transgender children.
The article goes on to talk about the various stages of trans films
Sensational freaks and psycho killers
Ed Wood's cult film Glen or Glenda (1953) was designed to shock and is primarily about a man who cross dresses. The film's final section "Alan or Ann", comprised largely of stock footage, is more specifically about a transgender (and potentially intersex) character.
Homicidal (1961) features a murderous woman, Emily, who wears a wig and prosthetic teeth to conceal that she is, in fact, Warren. Nevertheless, Warren was actually born a girl, but raised as a boy by her mother because his father desired a male child and would have harmed a girl. In keeping with the sensational representation of transgender killers, the film was screened with a "fright break" at its climax, in which audience members could leave the theatre and seek a refund if they were too scared
Then the author talks about probably the worst trans movies,
Being forced into a particular gender role is clearly traumatic, as in the well publicised case of David Reimer who was raised as a girl after a failed circumcision. However, the implication of Sleepaway Camp and other films with serial killers who are arguably presented as transgender, such as Silence of the Lambs (1991) (and even Psycho [1960]), is that gender non-conformity is frightening and unnatural. As Phillips suggests, revelations of transgender murderers not only make the killings bizarre and monstrous but also "trade on the otherness of transgender to engender fear and loathing".
The next film genre that she writes about is the,
Life in pink: transgender children
It is only recently that transgender children have begun to be overtly represented in literature and film. This is indicative of shift from demonising transgender people to greater attempts to understand them and represent them positively, as in mainstream films such as the award-winning Transamerica (2005).
One of the first representations of a transgender child was the Belgian film Ma Vie En Rose in 1997. It playfully blurs the line between fantasy and reality in order to show the thoughts of a seven-year-old boy, Ludovic, who wants to be a girl.

Despite its arthouse aesthetic and the fact that Ludovic, as reviewer Roger Ebert suggests, exhibited "no sexual awareness in his dressing up", the film was given an "R" rating in the United States. The rating suggests that two decades ago there was still significant discomfort with the idea of a boy who might not "grow out of" his femininity. It also signals that young people should not be exposed to the reality of transgender children.
The last category she writes about is…
The next wave of representation
This is How it Always Is is symbolic of the next wave of representations of transgender people. In novels and films for adults, psycho killers who were forced into the "wrong" gender by a parent, or tragic figures such as trans man Brandon Teena, whose real-life rape and murder is dramatised in Boys Don't Cry (1999), are being replaced by more positive depictions of transgender people.

We are beginning to see stories of young people who are being supported by friends or parents to live as the gender with which they identify – such as transgender boy Cole in The Fosters – and of teens learning to accept a parent's transition, as in Australian film 52 Tuesdays.
We are seeing a change in the way trans people are portrayed in movies, when I was growing up trans people were always the bad guys or the psycho killers of Dressed to Kill and Psycho to now with leading roles like Boy Meets Girl. There are now positive trans films that are bring about changes in people’s attitudes toward us.


In any community there are radicals who bring about change, sometimes that change is for the good when it expands human rights and other times it is for the worst when it takes away human rights.
Rift in Women’s Studies Over Transgender Issues
Popular online discussion group sees resignations and call for boycott over comments some see as bigotry toward trans scholars.
Inside Higher Ed
By Scott Jaschik
January 30, 2017

WMST-L is like many online discussion groups for scholars. It features many posts in which scholars try to help one another. What would be a good book to add to a syllabus on a given course? What do people know about the content of a forthcoming conference? Who might be interested in joining a panel at a scholarly meeting?

And it was the response to a seemingly innocuous call for panelists and papers that has prompted scholars to quit the Listserv and call for a boycott. Those calling for the boycott say the list, a major forum for communication in women’s studies, gives voice to anti-transgender bigotry.

The call for panelists was for a session for this year’s conference of the National Women’s Studies Association. The session is to be called “Pregnancy Without Women: Representations of Reproduction in Art, Literature, Film and Culture.”

Organizers explained: “Almost 20 years ago, Jack Halberstam challenged scholars to consider ‘masculinity without men.’ At the time, this endeavor might have seemed perverse, but it ultimately challenged feminists to rethink the discourses they relied on to frame sexuality and sexual identities. In similarly counterintuitive fashion, this panel seeks papers that theorize pregnancy without women from feminist and/or queer perspectives …. We’re interested in how economics, race and ability complicate both ‘pro-choice’ rhetoric that relies on fairly narrow constructions of a self-reliant woman and also conceives of pregnancy (and abortion) as an issue that impacts more than just women. To paraphrase Halberstam, considering pregnancy without women ‘affords us a glimpse of how [pregnancy] is constructed as [pregnancy].’ Since pregnancy without women is not yet a biological possibility, we are particularly interested in papers that consider imaginative constructions of pregnancy through art, literature, film and so forth.”
But the discussion morphed into…
Some of those who responded on WMST-L then objected to the idea of discussing pregnancy without women, and some of those arguments suggested that being a woman should reflect biology alone. Transgender people and those who study them have a wide range of views on gender identity but generally reject the idea of a biologically driven gender binary. And they view those scholars who state such a binary as the only way to look at gender as hostile to the rights of transgender people.

One comment in particular angered trans scholars.

“We don't need supposedly progressive folks downplaying the importance of women's reproductive functions at this time. Let us stop this game now. Only women get pregnant and it serves women not at all to pretend this is not true!”

The comment was from Sheila Jeffreys, a professor at the University of Melbourne, in Australia, whose work criticizing the transgender movement has been controversial in other settings as well.
And this brought out the TREF and the discussion heated up online.

I believe in open discussion but when one side is denying the existence and their right to exist there can be no discussion. It is like “Black Lives Matter” versus “Blue Lives Matter,” there can be no discussion until both sides understand that it is blacks who are being killed just because of their color of their skin. While all most all the police officers who were killed was because they tried to mediate a domestic dispute, or they tried to arrest a robber, or stop a car, while only a few officers are killed because they were police officers. Most blacks who were killed by police officers were killed because they are just black, until you understand that you cannot have a discussion.

For trans people until you understand that we are born trans and it is not just on a whim that we decided to be trans then we cannot have a discussion. If you deny our existence and prevent us from living our lives then we cannot have a discussion.

The original premises of the panel, “We’re interested in how economics, race and ability complicate both ‘pro-choice’ rhetoric that relies on fairly narrow constructions of a self-reliant woman and also conceives of pregnancy (and abortion) as an issue that impacts more than just women.” seems like a good discussion but when it changed into “the idea of discussing pregnancy without women, and some of those arguments suggested that being a woman should reflect biology alone.” it seems like those who objected didn’t read the whole proposal and just went by what the others were saying.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Busting The Gender Binary

One thing that is hard for people to get their head around is non-binary gender, we have always thought of gender in a male/female binary but as usual it is the kids that are leading the way.
7 Young People on Their Views of Gender
New York Times
By Annie Tritt

About two years ago, I began photographing transgender and “gender-expansive” children and young adults in the United States and Europe. I wanted to ask this question: “Who are we beyond ideas tied to our gender?” The answer is critical not only to the transgender community, I believe, but to everyone.
In the younger participants, I have found self-assuredness and confidence; they are clear about who they are. In the older youths — especially the nonbinary ones who identify as both genders, or neither — I see a willingness to break free from boxes society puts us into. In all of them, there is creativity and compassion for peers and strangers alike.
Max, 13
Bay Area, California. Nonbinary.
“I asked my mom if I could text her something. I texted her that I am attracted to boys and that I feel more girl than boy. Later that year, I found the term nonbinary. It just felt right. I still am often scared of the reactions of people when I tell them.

“As a trans person who has experienced hate, I want people to understand that nobody deserves to be hated. Everyone deserves love, regardless of race, gender, sexuality.”
Kyla and Mya (twins), 18
Los Angeles. Nonbinary.
“I feel most comfortable in the space between the gender binary, a space where I’m allowed to construct my own ideas of gender and gender expression. That means I feel more masculine than feminine. For many, this is a hard concept to understand.
The article also has the stories of five other non-binary young adults.

I have my own theory of non-binary individuals. As the research comes in about trans people showing that in a certain area of our brain develops more towards the gender that we identify with than with our external gender, I wonder what happens when that area of the brain just doesn’t develop any differential of gender? Would the person not have a binary view of their gender?

But whatever the reason it once again boils down to “asking the person their gender.”

Train Trans

Yesterday I went up to the Eastern States Exposition to the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show. I not really a big fan of model trains but we had a train layout in the basement when I was little and it gave me many hours of enjoyment, and the hobby has progressed immensely since I was little. One of the directions that it has advanced is in the area of electronics; my background is in the field of Instrumentation and Control Engineering.  Before I retired I worked for an international company that made control systems for power plants so model train controls is just an extension of that.

Also for some reason trains and trans seem to go together. In one support group it got so bad that we had a rule that you couldn’t talk about trains, a rule that was broken many times, and on one of the online forums they has a thread devoted to trains.

So here are some photos and a video from yesterday’s trip.

I went up with a retired employee from work and member of the senior center’s photo club. We met two other former employees who now have a video production company that makes train videos. Also much to my surprise I met a trans woman that I know and she was selling trains equipment.

One thing, for many trans people they think going to a show like this is impossible but it is an excellent way to get out because no one cares about you, they only care about model trains.


When is a bill banning trans people from using the bathroom not a bout trans people?

When a Texan Republican says it is not.
Senator says bathroom bill not aimed at the transgender
Houston Chronicle
By Peggy Fikac,
January 24, 2017

AUSTIN - The author of the so-called bathroom bill said she is working on potential changes after listening to people "from all walks of life," emphasizing that her measure is aimed not at the transgender people it would affect but at men who might assert a right to go into women'srestrooms for perhaps nefarious purposes.

"It's really not about the transgender. It's about other people that will abuse that. And that side of it's not been told very well," Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Bren-ham, said, citing discussions with "lots of women."

There is no evidence of a transgender person assaulting anyone in a restroom in Texas, and transgender advocates see the measure as indisputably targeting them.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Kolkhorst together unveiled the bathroom bill, Senate Bill 6, days before the legislative session began. The measure on Tuesday was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee.

It would specify thatrestrooms [sic], dressing rooms and locker rooms in government buildings, schools and universities be designated for use by people according to their "biological sex." It would allow school districts to make accommodations, such as single-occupancy bathrooms, and it would allow for exceptions for parents with their children. Kolkhorst said she is looking at whether more exceptions are needed.
Yeah, right! "Biological sex" is not targeted at us. There are laws already banning sexual assault and immoral behavior why do you need to pass a law like this if not to ban us from using a bathroom?

Nobody else wants this law, only Republican legislators…
The Texas Association of Business released a study in December saying that initiatives targeting gay and transgender Texans could cost the economy $8.5 billion a year and endanger 185,000 jobs.
The purpose of this law is to ban us from using public bathroom, it is a mean, hateful law.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday 9: Brokenhearted

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Brokenhearted (2012)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
Sorry I didn’t get to reply to everyone last week. But I was up at the Women’s Rally in Hartford and on Sunday I went to a friend’s birthday party. Today I am at a model train show in Springfield.

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

1) This song is about a girl who is eager and anxious for her new lover to call. Do you owe anyone a call? An email? A text?
I owe a lot of people emails to tell them their workshop proposals have been accepted for our conference  in April and I have been procrastinating.

2) The lyrics are peppered with the informal English exclamation, "cheerio!" What pops into your head when you close your eyes and think of England?
Brexit. What a nightmare!

3) This week's artist, Karmin, is a husband/wife duo who met at college, and that meeting changed the course of their lives and careers. Think of someone who has had a huge impact on your life. Did you know, as soon as you met, that this was going to be a life-changing relationship?

4) Though she sings about consuming tequila, the female side of Karmin, Amy, is a big proponent of healthy eating. She recommends organic foods that are free of pesticides, hormones, food coloring and added sugar. Think about your most recent meal. Was it a good example of "healthy eating?"
Chili, it has all your basic food groups

5) Husband Nick has his own Twitter account (@NickKarmin), but he doesn't use it often. His last tweet was back in August. What's the last thing you posted to social media? (No, your blog doesn't count.)
Probably something anti-Trump.

6) Karmin performed "Brokenhearted" live on Dancing with the Stars. DWTS is  very big business for ABC-TV. So many people vote for their favorite couples each week that their phone and text systems often overload. Have you ever voted for a contestant on American Idol, DWTS, The Voice, etc.?
I don’t. I have never voted for any shows like that.

7)  In 2012, the year"Brokenhearted" was popular, the average cost for a gallon of gas was $3.91. In 2016, it had dropped to $2.40. When it's time to fill up your tank, do you shop around for the lowest price/gal.? Are you brand loyal and always return to the same station, regardless of price? Or do you just buy gas from the nearest station when you're running low?
I have brand loyalty (Citgo) but for some reason our gas in town is cheaper than any town around. Right now it is $2.32.

8) In 2012, the Space Shuttle Endeavor was retired and placed on permanent display at the California Science Center, a Los Angeles museum dedicated to encouraging excitement and enthusiasm about air and space travel. Let's say you had a long weekend to spend in Los Angeles. Would you go out of your way to see The Endeavor? What else would you like to do during your time in the City of Angels?
I don’t know if I would want to see anything in Los Angeles, I would probably head up the costal highway.

9) While we're thinking about aviation ... Statistics show that it's still a predominantly male field, and less than 10% of commercial pilots are women. Would you be nervous flying with a woman pilot?
Nope. Th one time that I flew in the company jet it was a woman co-pilot.

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Mother’s Love… Not! (Part 2)

Back in November I wrote about a mother suing her daughter to prevent her transition, well now the daughter gets to speak in court.
Minnesota Transgender Teen Sued By Her Own Mom Speaks Out
NBC News Out
By Mary Emily O'Hara
January 26, 2017

On Thursday morning at a U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota, an improbable case began to unfold. As a courtroom full of about 20 people looked on, Anmarie Calgaro's attorneys explained why the small-town mom from the state's northernmost "Iron Range" is suing her own 17-year-old child.

The teen in question—referred to as "E.J.K." in court memos—says she's been living on her own for two years. After the minor worked with a legal aid group on an emancipation statement, she began to seek transgender-specific medical care at a local clinic.

When the teen's estranged mom discovered E.J.K. had begun to receive gender transition-related care, she tried to intervene—but said she was surprised to discover her parental rights had been effectively terminated. In November, Calgaro filed a lawsuit against her daughter, health clinics and county agencies.
The mother back in November said she was a loving, caring, nurturing mother and that the state had no right in taking away her parental rights of her “son.”  Well the daughter got her say in court…
The teen also said when she first came out as gay around age 13, her mother and stepfather became verbally and physically abusive. At age 15, she said, her mom gave her permission to move in with her biological father—who became incarcerated shortly afterward. E.J.K. then stayed with her grandmother and a series of friends before finally getting her own apartment, where she currently lives.

The teen is remarkably self-sufficient: She has her own apartment, a full-time job and will graduate high school in the spring. She has already received two acceptance letters, say court documents, from college nursing programs. She turns 18 in July.
After her testimony the judge said,
Thursday's oral arguments lasted about an hour, with lawyers mostly arguing about whether Calgaro has a constitutional ground for suing anyone. In the end, the judge told the courtroom that he plans to take the case under advisement, apologizing for a backlog that could delay the process.
The mother is suing,
Calgaro's lawsuit seeks damages from St. Louis County, where her hometown is located. She's also suing the St. Louis School Board and the principal of her daughter's high school, the director of the county's Health and Human Services agency, and two nonprofit health clinics. Calgaro also wants to regain parental control of E.J.K. and prevent healthcare providers from offering any further treatment.
It seems to me that the mother doesn't have a leg to stand on in this cases.

It’s Time For The Snowbirds To Fly South

For many northern people it is time to take a vacation to a warmer climate. My parents were snowbird they want to Florida in January through March and now my brother and sister-in-law are going south for a part of the winter, and at times I wish that I went south for the winter. But being the “T” in LGBT we have to pay more attention to our destination.
Advice for Gay and Transgender Travelers
New York Time
By Shivani Vora
January 27, 2017

If you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, traveling has the potential to be a challenge, said David Rubin, the chief executive of the California travel company DavidTravel. He said L.G.B.T. travelers “may have to contend with discrimination or inadvertent uncomfortable situations when there’re on the road.”

Here, Mr. Rubin shares his advice on planning a seamless and satisfying getaway for those who might face some of those challenges.

PICK THE RIGHT DESTINATION Some cities are especially welcoming to L.G.B.T. travelers, whether your budget is lavish or shoestring, Mr. Rubin said. “These cities have long histories of diversity, acceptance and creativity,” he said, plus a strong a night life scene. They include New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Montreal, Barcelona, Berlin and Amsterdam. Conversely, travelers should be mindful about public displays of affection when traveling in destinations where their communities aren’t generally well accepted, including Brunei, Ethiopia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Somehow I don’t think any LGBT people would go to places Brunei, Ethiopia, Iran and Saudi Arabia because we like to keep our head attached to our neck.

The other tips are,
Even then I would have to think twice about the hotel. Would places like Sandals Resorts be open to a LGBT couple? How about a trans couple?

But even then it is iffy for trans people. There was a “LGBT” cruise and the cruise line issued a statement,
Carnival attracts a number of families with children and for this reason; we strive to present a family friendly atmosphere. It is important to us that all guests are comfortable with every aspect of the cruise. Although we realize this group consists solely of adults, we nonetheless expect all guests to recognize that minors are onboard and, refrain from engaging in inappropriate conduct in public areas.

    Arrangements have been made for drag performances in the main theater featuring stars from LOGO TV. These functions will be private and only the performers are permitted to dress in drag while in the theater. Guests are not allowed to dress in drag for the performances or in public areas at any time during the cruise.
Now tell me what would the cruise line do if a trans person showed up for a cruise?

Their last tip was,
I would have to question if LGBT travel agents are trans friendly. Do they even consider trans clients or are they really for lesbians and gays only? There are some trans travel agents out there but you will have to look for them.

Then you have…
Fort Lauderdale Welcomes 2017 With Ads Featuring Transgender Models LGBT visitors bring $1.5 billion to city's economy
Ad Week
By Jane L. Levere
December 30, 2016

Fort Lauderdale tourism—which has been courting lesbian and gay visitors for decades—on New Year's Eve will roll out a new campaign that could be a first in the travel category, with transgender models starring in mainstream media ads.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau advertising campaign, created by Fort Lauderdale-based Starmark International, is kicking off with two new videos on twin billboards at 1515 Broadway and on a bowtie billboard at 1500 Broadway, both in New York's Times Square.

The first video will start running Saturday morning, Dec. 31, and will feature two men, a woman and a transgender model wearing New Year's Eve headgear, drinking flutes of champagne as they sail the Atlantic off Fort Lauderdale Beach. The ad's transgender star is Isabella Santiago, a Venezuelan model who was Miss World Transgender in 2014. The copy says "Hello, sunny" and "Hello, 2017," as well as "Greater Fort Lauderdale."

On Jan. 2, the video will change to depict the same four people now simply sailing, with copy saying, "Hello, winter blues."
You know there is a big difference between having a beautiful Trans model and the average trans person. And how will the Florida “Religious Freedom” bill affect travel in Florida? Or for that matter how will travel be affected by other states that pass laws legalizing discrimination.

Even in “Gay Mecca” towns like Provincetown and Ogunquit  trans people can have problems. I had problems in both towns. In Provincetown MA a while back when I was up there with a group of friends we were not waited on, after sitting at a table for twenty minutes and not getting waited on we got the message and left, and we even had the town’s first selectman in our party (and he was pissed!).  In Ogunquit ME the bouncer at the door didn’t want to let us in she said it was a lesbian danceandwhen we were finally let in after refusing to leave the bouncer said not to use the dance floor. When we sat down on the patio all the women around the other tables got up and moved away. It was until the lesbians we were with came in and sat down at our table that the other women started filling up the tables around us.

So moral to the story is, if you are trans you are going to find it a lot harder to find a welcoming space.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Your Papers Please.

When you apply for a job you have to submit your identification papers to prove you are a citizen or that you are in the country legally. You also have to give references from former employers which can be a major stumbling block for many trans people.
The High-Stakes Name Game for Transgender Job-Hunters
‘Have you ever been known by any other name’ is a far from innocuous question for transgender people, who may immediately out themselves with an honest answer.
The Daily Beast
By Samantha Allen
January 25, 2017

For most job applicants, the question “Have you ever been known by any other name?” is not a stumbling block.

If you have a maiden name—or if you simply hated your first name and changed it from Jacqueline to Jessica—it’s unlikely that disclosing a previous alias on an application or a background check authorization form would adversely affect your chances of employment.

But for transgender applicants, that question can be a perilous catch-22: Unless your pre-transition name was gender-neutral, answering it honestly will out you. But leaving it blank could cause problems, too.

“If you say that no prior names were used when that’s actually not the case, that could leave you open to the charge of lying on the application, which could give your employer reason to fire you,” Jillian Weiss, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, told The Daily Beast.
Here in Connecticut a trans employee of one of the casinos was fired for not listing their previous name, which was ironic because the casino had hired other trans people and she didn’t really need to not disclose her old name.

Also in Connecticut they cannot ask you your criminal history; Connecticut is one of the few states that “Ban the Box.” The article goes on to say,
“It is very difficult in this day and age for a person to remain ‘stealth,’” the Transgender Law Center notes in a fact sheet on employment rights. “This is because employers may have access to databases tied to a person’s social security number, which may contain information about previous name and gender information.”
One of the problems is with your old employer, they don’t have to change your name on your employment history, nor do colleges and universities and they can create a big hurdle.

What is out there on the internet is always out there. I had to laugh when I did a google vanity search of my name; one site had me as living with myself. It had both my name and my old name as living at my address.

Which brings me to a rather humorous story; when they shut down the factory where I worked for almost 30 years, I transitioned the day that I was laid off. I notified them of my name change and gender change and they changed my paperwork accordingly, well when my COBA ran out the fun began. My retirement checks had my new name on them but my health insurance had my old name.

After many email iterations saying they had the wrong name on my health insurance they finally figured it out. They had my female self as retired and my old male self as still working for the company, once they figured it out I asked if that would mean that I get two checks? One check for Diana’s retirement pay and one for my male self for working? They said nice try, but no. Oh well you can’t blame a gal for trying.

The Billionaires Have Decided…

…What is best for the country. The Trump transition team has been working on the budget not with a hatchet but with a very large ax.
Trump team prepares dramatic cuts
The Hill
By Alexander Bolton
January 17, 2017

Donald Trump is ready to take an ax to government spending.

Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned.

The changes they propose are dramatic.

The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.

Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.
The Heritage Foundation is supported by the Koch brothers who have donated millions of dollars to the foundation. The foundation has strong conservative leaning, some would say even libertarian.
Yet it could be very difficult to reduce U.S. debt without tackling the entitlement programs. Conservative House budgets have repeatedly included reforms to Medicare and Social Security, arguing they are necessary to save the programs.
Medicare and Social Security are NOT entitlement programs! We paid for every dollars in the fund and the Republicans went to scrap it and make a voucher program out of Medicare so that their billionaire friends on Wall Street can get their grubby hands on all that money. They want to push out the retirement age for Social Security until you’re 70 years old and hope that you will die off quickly so they don’t have to pay out your money to you.

Look where they want to cut…
At the Department of Justice, the blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.

At the Department of Energy, it would roll back funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Under the State Department’s jurisdiction, funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are candidates for elimination.
If you look at the federal budget, all these programs are a drop in the bucket! The 2015 spending including both discretionary and mandatory spending; Education, 3%, HUD, 1%; State Department, 2%, and Department of Energy & EPA, 1%.

A Difficult Problem

We’re a very diverse community. One person might not have a problem with it while may have a with a notation on their medical record about their LGBT status.
Indian Trail woman says ‘lesbianism' listed as problem in medical history
By: Joe Bruno, Tina Terry
January 26, 2017

INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. - An Indian Trail mother was shocked by a discovery she made on her medical history.

Kristina Rodriguez said that after she had blood work done by her medical service provider, Lake Park Family Practice of Carolinas Healthcare System, she saw “lesbianism" listed under medical problems on her medical history record.

Rodriguez showed the documents to Channel 9 on Tuesday, and her story has garnered national attention since.

“This listed as a medical problem could really set someone back, could mess with their self-esteem and could make them think something is wrong with them,” Rodriguez said. "I hope to bring change to where stuff like that is not disclosed on your medical record, because that's personal information.”
Some trans people do not want to reveal their trans history, and some trans people are comfortable with a note about their trans status.

So what should the medical community do? Well one thing not add a comment in the under medical problems, that is a definite No, No. When I am on the panel for second year med students the doctor recommends put a note in the comment section in their medical record. But even some LGBT people don’t like that.

I know some trans women who would mortified if they knew that there was any notes at all about the fact that they are trans. And I know some lesbians who would like a note on their record just so they don’t have to go through the “Safe Sex” lecture.

The Hospital issued a statement…
“Carolinas HealthCare System recognizes optimum care depends on strong relationships between doctors, care teams and patients. To that end, our physicians and care teams seek information to help them understand as much as possible about patients, their families, and their lives to treat them holistically. Health care providers everywhere are working to better understand the best way to include information in the most sensitive and respectful way to each patient. Like other providers, we are continuously working to improve our process and have work underway to enhance our efforts to appropriately collect patient information in accordance with industry best practices guided by the Human Rights Campaign.”

“Sexual orientation is not a clinical diagnosis and we will be working closely with our physicians and providers to ensure that information included in medical records is appropriate, respectful and consistent with our belief in the importance of diversity. We strongly support diversity and inclusion in all our interactions with patients, the public and our teammates, including creating an affirming environment for LGBT patients and their families.”
I think we should list the fact that we are trans in our medical history our lives may depend upon what is on our record. Our legacy organs can and do develop problems, we can have prostate problems, the guys can have problems with their ovaries or uterus.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

No Matter Where You Look, We Are There

Trans people have been around throughout history. In ancient Rome, the middle ages, in the 17th, 18th, and the 19th centuries we were there. In Peterson Toscano play Transfigurations he points out possible trans people in the Bible.
Don't dismiss transgender issues as a modern fad
The Bolton News
By Angela Kelly
January 25, 2017

WE as a mainstream society are very quick to dismiss the increasing focus on transgender individuals.

I was myself and very uneasy about all the recent publicity surrounding transgender teaching in schools and about the book by CJ Atkinson, “Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?”

Like many parents, and grandparents, I felt that over-emphasis on this to assist the few would simply confuse the majority of children. After all, these are growing children. Surely just coping with developing is difficult enough without chucking in the hand grenade of whether or not you’re in the right body?
Like everything, if we as adults are not open to ideas and close conversation about it with our children, they will simply look elsewhere. To the playground, to other adults, to what is available on the internet. Surely it’s best for parents to try to give them genuine, authentic knowledge to help?
What is new is that we are not hiding the closet anymore. What is new is that we have the internet. What is new is that there is research that shows being trans is just part of human diversity. What is new is that we are listening to our children.

Science is just start to catch up to what we have known since the beginning of time… we were born this way.

Do We Live In The Deep South?

There has been a rash of anti-choice legislation introduced into the Connecticut House and Senate and they makes us sound more like a conservative state from the deep south.

While I was at the "Women's March on Hartford, CT: in solidarity with Washington" on Saturday one of the speakers mentioned anti-women legislation that was introduced here in Connecticut so I researched the bills.

Three of them are the same and they require parental notification (HB 5566, SB 321, SB 324) before a minor can terminate a pregnancy. The other bill requires an unnecessary ultrasound to be done before an abortion (SB 330).

At first thought you might think what is wrong about notifying parents before a medical procedure is done on a minor?

Well what happens if incest or rape?

What happens if the parents become violent or abusive?

Those were the first two questions that I thought about when I read the proposed bills and then I thought deeper about it and the more that I thought the more I realized that these bill are just down right punitive and try to put roadblocks in the person’s way and to increase the cost.

The next thing that I thought about is that parental notification might drive someone to have a backroom abortion without trained medical personnel present. I am old enough to remember before Roe v. Wade all the news articles about women dying in backroom abortions. The ones who could afford it took “a little vacation” to a foreign country but those who couldn’t found someone who would do it. Usually it wasn’t in a medical facility but rather in someone’s dirty apartment.

What would happen if one parent is missing? Suppose that the parents are divorced, what happens then? Could one parent blackmail the other in order to get them to sign the consent? “You want me to sign, well agree to cutting the child support payments.”

In addition abortion rates are dropping nationwide for various reasons a new study reported by Guttmacher Institute,
Health care increased, abortion rates declined
By Wendy Holdren Register-Herald Reporter
January 22, 2017

The abortion rate in the U.S. has hit a historic low — 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2014 — a statistic many believe was reached though increased access to health care and contraception.

Since 2011, after the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare) was signed into law, the abortion rate has declined 14 percent in all regions of the U.S.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, West Virginia likewise experienced a 14 percent decline in its abortion rate — down to six abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age in 2014.

With the passage of the ACA, women could not be denied coverage or charged more just because of their gender. And as the uninsured rate declined, so did the rate of abortions.

According to U.S. Health and Human Services, the uninsured rate among women ages 18 to 64 decreased from 19.4 percent to 10.8 percent between 2010 and 2015. The number of abortions in 2013 and 2014 dropped below 1 million for the first time since 1975.
I can see only negative thing for a parental notification law. Wouldn’t it be better to teach safe sex before a pregnancy? Or have better access to contraceptives?

The bill requiring an ultrasound is called “AN ACT REQUIRING AN ULTRASOUND PROCEDURE PRIOR TO THE TERMINATION OF A PREGNANCY” and all it is, is a placeholder, it statement of purpose is “To ensure the health and well-being of an individual who decides to terminate a pregnancy.” So we don’t know much about what they are going to fill in when and if there is a hearing on the bill in the Public Health Committee.

My thoughts are, isn’t it better to let the doctor decide if an ultrasound is required rather than forcing a woman to an unnecessary medical procedure? This will hit low income women and those without insurance the worst. The only purpose of this bill it to put a roadblock in the way of a women’s right to control their own body.

We just had an election this past November and if you remember the Republicans said it was about jobs, the economy and making Connecticut a “business friendly” state and what was someone of the first bills that they introduce? Four anti-abortion bills!

I call that “bait and switch.”

Update January 29, 2017:

The Hartford Courant just had an editorial about these bills. One of the things that the editorial point out was,
Counselors For Girls
In Connecticut, abortions for girls under 17 are rare — just 2 percent of the total. Most girls seeking abortion do have a trusted adult counseling them. The few who don't are, by law, given professional counsel and offered alternatives to abortion.

Connecticut has had a mandatory counseling law for girls under 16 seeking abortions since 1990, passed that year with the blessing of the Pro-Life Council of Connecticut and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford.

The law requires a doctor or counselor —psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, ordained member of the clergy and the like — to explain the alternatives to abortion in clear, understandable language. Those alternatives include details on no-cost adoptions and lists of local and national adoption agencies.

Counselors are also required, by law, to talk with the girl about involving her parents in her decision and to explain how that might be in her best interest.

They must let the girl know she can change her mind about the abortion at any time.

They must also report to authorities any signs of abuse.

I Don’t Think So

I went to the Women's March in Hartford CT at the Capitol and a number of other trans women also attended the rally and I saw no reports that we had any problems at the rally. I saw a number of LGBT signs, the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective had a table there and I hung around it for a while and I didn’t hear any disparaging remarks so I was surprised when I saw this article.
How the Women's March's "genital-based" feminism isolated the transgender community
By Marie Solis
January 23, 2017

In the weeks approaching the Women's March on Washington, a woman in Los Angeles accidentally created what became the most popular accessory among protesters: a pussy hat.

"I wanted to do something more than just show up," Krista Suh told the Los Angeles Times. "How can I visually show someone what's going on? And I realized as a California girl, I would be really cold in D.C. — it's not tank-top weather year-round. So I thought maybe I could knit myself a hat."

Suh made the knitting pattern freely available online, and soon women across the country were working quickly to finish their own pink hats before the big day. The hats became a movement within a movement, turning President Donald Trump's infamous "grab them by the pussy" comment on its head.

While clever, Suh's pussy hats set the tone for a march that would focus acutely on genitalia at the expense of the transgender community. Signs like "Pussy power," "Viva la Vulva" and "Pussy grabs back" all sent a clear and oppressive message to trans women, especially: having a vagina is essential to womanhood.

"The main reason I decided not to go was because of the pussy hats," 28-year-old Jade Lejeck said in an interview Sunday night. "I get that they're a response to the 'grab them by the pussy' thing, but I think some people fixated on it the wrong way."
I personally just don’t see it. The rally was about women’s rights and the “Unity Principles” for the event were,
We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights. We must create a society in which women - including Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian queer and trans women - are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.
We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes.
Um… “We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes” I think that spells it out pretty good.

I understand that at the Hartford rally there was a trans speaker (I left the stage area before the end of the rally.) and the Huffington Post has an article by a trans person who spoke at the Topeka.

I think that the organizers tried to be inclusive of all that attended the rallies around the country and their “Unity Principles” also was inclusive covering many marginalized communities. There were many signs like the ones mentioned but they were all homemade signs and the “pussy hats” was a grassroots effort and I don’t it was done to marginalized any communities.

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rebuttal To BBC2

BBC had a documentary about trans children and Dr. Zucker which I wrote about yesterday and the Huffington Post has a rebuttal to the documentary.
6 Facts About Affirming Therapy for Trans And Gender Non-Conforming Youth
Here’s what you need to know.
By Brynn Tannehill
January 23, 2017

BBC2’s recent program about transgender youth featured a lot of scare tactics about what happens if transgender youth are affirmed in their gender identity. This was topped off scary music when talking about the alleged dangers of allowing transgender and gender non-conforming youth to express themselves. It also featured disgraced former head of the Gender clinic at Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Dr. Kenneth Zucker.

The documentary left out crucial details, such as the fact that as far back as 2009 Zucker’s clinic was investigated by his employer, and warned to change their methods. When the 2015 follow up independent review found that little, if anything had changed since the warning he received 2009, he was dismissed. His explicit hostility to other experts in the field was evident at the 2016 WPATH Conference as well.
The article goes on to list the six rebuttals to the documentary,
Fact #1: Affirming therapy does not railroad youth into transitioning
The entire point of the affirming approach to transgender and gender non-conforming youth is to NOT push them in any particular direction, but to give them a safe space to explore their identity and expression. Pushing them towards transition goes entirely against this concept.

Dr. Colt Keo-Meier, the lead author of Division 44 (LGBT issues) of the American Psychological Association’s guidance for treating transgender children, refutes this fear-mongering claim:

“The gender affirmative model supports identity exploration and development without an a priori goal of any particular gender identity or expression.

“Practitioners of the gender affirmative model do not push children in any direction, rather, they listen to children and, with the help of parents, translate what the child is communicating about their gender identity and expression. They work toward improving gender health, where a child is able to live in the gender that feels most authentic to the child and can express gender without fear of rejection.”
A therapist is your guide not your leader; their goal is to help you understand yourself, not to plant ideas. The classic cartoon where the therapist says, “And what do you think?” is really what they do.
Fact #2: Transition regret is rare, and competent affirming therapists aren’t the problem
Transition regret is rare. In the context of the BBC program, they provide anecdotal evidence rather than actual evidence from peer reviewed studies. In both the US and the Netherlands, youth who were properly screened, and placed on blockers, had a regret rate of taking blockers that is effectively zero. In a Dutch study, out of a cohort of 55 only two of the youth dropped out of taking blockers, and neither expressed regret at having taken them.
Fact #3: Autism and Gender Dysphoria are not synonymous
There does appear to be some statistical link between autism and gender dysphoria. However, the vast majority of autistic people are not transgender, and the vast majority of transgender people are not autistic. (i.e. autistic people are slightly more likely to be transgender, and vice versa). BBC2’s program tries to imply that autism causes gender dysphoria, which is demonstrably false in the vast majority of both transgender, and autistic people. If you diagnosed a transgender person as autistic simply because they are transgender, you’d be wrong 19 out of 20 times.
Fact #4: Affirming therapy has demonstrated highly successful outcomes
A number of recent studies of transgender and gender non-conforming American youth treated under an affirming model have shown excellent outcomes. The youth are both well-adjusted in their gender identification, and in terms of overall mental health. Indeed, one study showed no significant statistical difference between the overall mental health of affirmed transgender youth and in the general population. Similar outcomes were also observed in Dutch populations.
Fact #5: The “80% of youth desist” figure used against affirming therapy is no longer credible
The “80% desist” figure is used by Dr. Zucker to support his “Drop the Barbie!” methods is used to argue that affirming therapy will lead gender non-conforming youth down a path that leads to a transition they neither want nor need.
More importantly even Dr. Zucker contests the numbers,
Zucker himself admitted during the 2015 investigation into CAMH that 70% of his patients were “sub-clinical” to begin with.
The last fact that they cite is,
Fact #6: Affirming therapy does not regard being transgender, or gender non-conforming, as a bad outcome
Affirming therapy does not treat “heterosexual cisgender as the most acceptable treatment outcome.” A child who is happy, well adjusted, confident, and supported in their gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression is the desired outcome of affirming therapy.
As I said yesterday, the problems that I see with Dr. Zucker is that he is stuck in the past and he kept trying to fit the children into his idea of gender dysphoria instead of letting the child guide their transition. In a way it was a form of conversion therapy that he practiced.

The BBC documentary also added fuel to those who want to deny our existence.
BBC documentary exposes dangers of trans agenda
The Christian Institute
17 Jan 2017
A BBC documentary has highlighted the dangers of endorsing the view that people can be ‘trapped in the wrong body’.

‘Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?’ uncovered how trans activists in Canada have sought to enforce their radical agenda through accusations of ‘transphobia’ towards opponents.

Activists, critical of the concerns raised by the programme, even lobbied the BBC to pull it before it aired on BBC2 last Thursday.

The documentary focused on the work and research of Dr Kenneth Zucker, a recognised authority on childhood gender dysphoria, who ran Canada’s largest child gender clinic for 30 years.

Dr Zucker was fired for challenging the idea that children who believe they are ‘trapped in the wrong body’ should always be affirmed in that belief.

Former colleague Dr Ray Blanchard said: “People are now probably fairly terrified of taking any stance that is out of step with what trans activists are demanding.
The BBC documentary added ammunition to those who want to oppress us.

If you have ever seen a child who transitioned you will see a happy, well-adjusted child. I don’t know how many article I read and how many children I meet that said they were heavily medicated for a whole host of alphabet disorders... ADD, ADHD, ASD, Eating disorders, Mood disorders and the list goes on and on. One trans child that I know went from taking 14 pills a day to zero once she transitioned. One child that I know went from a basically a zombie to a child who outgoing and vibrant just by transitioning.

Our Northern Sisters And Brothers

The conservatives up in Canada are trying to copy what conservatives down here in the states are trying.
Conservative candidate vows to kill transgender rights bill
Lemieux meets with U of T prof at centre of free speech, political correctness debate
By Beatrice Britneff
Monday, January 23rd, 2017

In what he calls his “plan to strengthen free speech in Canada,” Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Lemieux says that as prime minister, he would immediately repeal Bill C-16 and create a legislative committee that would review all Canadian laws that govern speech “to ensure that they properly balance freedom of speech and reasonable limits.”

Bill C-16, currently before the Senate, seeks to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada by adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination.

In a campaign email sent out Monday morning, Lemieux said the release of this platform point follows a meeting he had with Jordan Peterson — a Toronto-based university professor who has received national media attention for his critiques of political correctness and for his refusal to use non-binary pronouns.

“Freedom of speech in Canada is under attack,” Lemieux is quoted as saying in the campaign email, following his meeting with Peterson. “Protection from discrimination is entirely different from not wanting to be offended. Chronic political correctness is strangling free and respectful debate in Canada and it has to stop.”
It seems to me that conservatives all around the world want to be able to discriminate against marginalized community. They want to be able to not hire someone because of the color of their skin, or where they worship, or the way they were born.

Monday, January 23, 2017

It Is Going To Be A Tough Four Years

And that was reinforced by who President Trump is rumored to be about to pick for the head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
Donald Trump’s Pick to Enforce Civil Rights Is a Civil Rights Disaster
By Jeremy Stahl
January 20, 2017

Just before he became president, a report came out indicating how Donald Trump’s Justice Department would be treating Civil Rights. The Hill on Thursday offered a sneak peek of the blueprint for Trump’s DOJ, one major upshot being a reduction in funding for its civil rights division.

If it was already clear before the inauguration that Trump and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions are likely to short shrift the issue, on Friday it became more so.

It was reported on Friday that John M. Gore, an attorney at the Jones Day firm, would be leading the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division as the deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights.

This is indicative for a number of reasons of the disregard with which Trump’s administration will treat civil rights enforcement.

First and foremost, as Deputy Director for the Center for American Progress Action Fund Igor Volsky noted, Gore was one of the defense attorneys who argued in court on behalf of North Carolina's discriminatory and economically disastrous anti-transgender bill HB2. The bill blocks transgender people from using public bathrooms that align with their gender identity. (Gore pulled out of the case last week and this appears to explain why.) As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern has written, the bill has received mixed reviews in federal court. Gore was helping the state defend it against allegations that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and federal law. Basically, he was on the side of discrimination in the country’s most high-profile LGBTQ rights case of the past year.
And we are not the only ones under the gun…
Secondly, as Richard Hasen notes over at the Election Law Blog, one of Gore’s main areas of expertise appears to be defending redistricting plans against claims of civil rights violations, with his online bio boasting of a number of successful such defenses.
If the Republicans are allowed to germander voting districts to entrench the Republican Party, it will a lot harder to vote them out of office. Take a look at North Carolina’s or Texas’s voting districts and compare them to Connecticut. Texas and North Carolina’s districts, some of them right through one town to another and only one street connects the town towns! 

Why? It is because the Republicans wanted to connect two Republican strongholds and to minimize the minority vote. Here in Connecticut the districts are pretty uniform in shape with no long narrow sections connecting the suburbs and dividing up big cities so that the districts have a Republican majority.

And the New Yorker says that,
But the outlook has grown even more dire in the weeks since. First, and most critically, Trump named Jeff Sessions — a longtime critic of federal civil-rights enforcement, who once prosecuted three African-American get-out-the-vote activists on dubious charges of voter fraud — as his pick to lead the Justice Department.

Then, moments after Trump was sworn in, a “Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community” page was added to the White House’s official website. The page decries the “dangerous anti-police atmosphere” in the United States, and declares, “Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter.”

Of course, steadfast enforcement of civil rights law does not require the federal government to supply looters with free pillow-top mattresses, wooly slippers, or ergonomic chairs. But since no one thinks the government’s job is literally to make rioters more comfortable, it seems likely that what the Trump administration really means is, “Our job is not to investigate local police departments that have been accused of systemic civil-rights violations.”
What other cases has Gore defended?
Gore does boast some expertise in civil-rights litigation — specifically, he has considerable experience defending the Republican Party against allegations that its voting laws violate civil rights.

As BuzzFeed notes, Gore defended controversial redistricting plans pushed by Republicans in Florida, New York, and South Carolina in 2012.

He also defended Florida governor Rick Scott’s attempt to purge his state’s voting rolls of non-citizens, shortly before the 2012 election. A federal court later ruled that Scott’s measure had violated the National Voter Registration Act, as it purged many legal voters from the rolls, most of whom happened to belong to left-leaning constituencies.
In two years there are elections in 2018, 435 seats of the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be up for a vote. My concerns are that by that time to Republicans will have entrenched themselves into power but gerrymandering voting districts, passing voter ID laws that create hardships for minorities, and packed the courts with conservative judges. 

Right now I am sitting in on a meeting for ctEQUALITY for this year’s legislative agenda. The last meeting was very informative about the new legislative session; one of the bills that I hear the Republicans are planning on introducing is a requirement for women who want to have an abortion to have a vaginal ultrasound first. I only thought that bill like this were introduced in states like Texas, not in Connecticut. This is the new reality that we are now facing.

Dr. Zucker

Every trans person eyebrows just rose in wondering “What about Dr. Zucker?” he has that effect on us. Whether you are just coming out, or you are a seasoned veteran we all have our opinion about Dr. Zucker and almost all of them are bad opinions, which I think with just cause. Dr. Zucker is from the old school which included Dr. Money… which is that gender is a social construct (read “As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl”).

The website TransAdvocate has started a series on the history of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) gender identity program which was recently closed down.
Part I – The Rise and Fall of #DiscoSexology: Dr. Zucker, CAMH, & Conversion Therapy

With the recent enthusiastic promotion of disco-era ideas about trans people and gender identity in general, the TransAdvocate felt that it would be important to release a comprehensive review of these ideas. In this series that will feature the tag #DiscoSexology, the TransAdvocate will review the fomentation of these gender postulations into an axiomatic body of circular logic, how this circular logic was and continues to be vigorously promoted and defended, regardless of the cost to it research subjects: children and even infants.  Moreover, this series will trace the rise and fall of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) gender program as envisioned by Disco Sexologists, featuring full length interviews with the clinical director of CAMH and a long term survivor of Dr. Zucker’s specialized treatment. Other interviews include:
  • An interview with a Radical Feminist pioneer in affirmative care for trans people.
  • An interview with the co-author of the SAMHSA’s repudiation of reparative therapy and co-founder of Gender Infinity.
  • An interview with the author of the groundbreaking book, The Last Time I Wore A Dress: A Memoir.  
  • An interview with a sexologist who dared question the gender postulations of Dr. Money and paid the price.
Along the way, this article will provide first-hand accounts of a presentation in which Drs. Zucker and Green presented back-to-back arguments against laws banning conversion therapy, as well as a comprehensive review of the uncritical media exposure disco-era gender ontology currently enjoys.
Depending on who you believe, when Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) parted ways with the controversial sexologist Dr. Kenneth J. Zucker and committed itself to a process of restructuring, CAMH either took a significant step towards providing ethical community-based trans care or, as Zucker’s advocates would have us believe, fell into the hands of politically correct trans activists who intend to use the bodies of vulnerable children to further their “transgender ideology” and/or “transgender agenda.” This article reviews and contextualizes the fact claims made by both sides of this story and contrasts these claims against the experience of a long-term recipient of Zucker’s therapy and the realities behind CAMH’s restructuring, as described by its medical director.

In the process of doing research for this article I noticed there seems to be a particular set of ideas, propagated around the time of the disco era, that stand in stark contrast to contemporary ethical therapeutic models for working with transgender individuals. I came to think of these particular views as “Disco Sexology.” At its heart this is a story about a cathartic moment in the way mental health professionals regard trans people and the trans experience itself.  Sexolological ideas about trans people from around the time of the disco era have held sway over the care and treatment of trans kids and adults until very recently. Sexologists who postulated that sexual fetishes and/or gender roles drove trans people to implicitly experience their bodies in the way they do in no small way comprised the ontological foundation of trans care for decades.
When I first heard about CAMH I thought it was great to have such of prestigious institution like CAMH on our side, but it didn’t take long for doubt to start forming in my mind about them.

The first doubt that formed was… I am not sexually attracted to men so they are saying that I’m not trans? Then there was that “sexual fetishes and/or gender roles drove trans people” but I knew that I should have been a girl long before I was sexually aware and don’t girls have sexual fantasies? And don’t lesbians have dreams about making love to other lesbians, why are mine now labeled “sexual fetishes” for the exact same thing?

Then the biggie came out… “autogynephilia” Whoa! What was that? Wait a minute what research was done, by whom, what was the control group? Were their findings repeatable? And for that matter how was their research conducted and the more I looked into it the more I found out it was junk research.

The TransAdvocate article goes on to said that this is the first part of a series of article on the history of CAMH.

In part II the history of CAMH is discussed,
Part II, The History – The Rise and Fall of #DiscoSexology: Dr. Zucker, CAMH, & Conversion Therapy

Founded in 1968, CAMH established a gender program for youth led by psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Bradley in 1975. Until recently, the type of sexology CAMH both practiced and promoted was the product of 1970s-era gender theory. Dr. Zucker was introduced to Bradley while at graduate school and went on to collaborate with Bradley’s gender identity program. Zucker became the program’s clinical lead in 2001.

While Dr. Bradley was working to establish the CAMH gender identity program, Dr. Richard Green, founding editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, began working on a study that would inform the CAMH approach to working with gender diversity in children: The Sissy Boy Syndrome study. This study found that since almost all of a group of effeminate boys grew up to be cisgender, the authors presumed that most trans kids will therefore also grow up to be cisgender. Around this time, Dr. John Money was working on his own study concerning gender identity in youth. While Green’s study continues to be cited in mainstream news, both studies were later implicated in the deaths of their study subjects.

What follows is an overview of how Green’s research informed the clinical practice of CAMH’s gender identity program for youth:

Comprehensive reviews of the literature by Zucker and Bradley (Zucker & Bradley, 1995, 1999; Bradley & Zucker, 1997) report that there are no definitive evaluations of interventions with children and adolescents diagnosed with GID. One study, often cited in discussions of the long-term implications of gender variance among youth is Green’s (1987) report on “sissy boys.” Very few discussions highlight the problematic findings of this study. Green conducted a follow-up on 66 feminine boys referred to his clinic and a control group of 56 masculine boys. He was able to contact only 44 of the feminine boys and 35 of the masculine boys for follow-up, representing a loss of approximately a third of both groups, growing concerns about biases among his remaining participants. Interestingly, of the feminine boys, only one was considering sex reassignment surgery at follow-up, but most reported same-sex or bisexual desires. Green concludes that most feminine boys eventually forgo the desire to change sex without therapy, suggesting that his sample largely consisted of “pre-homosexual” and not “pre-transsexual” boys. Green’s study is a central cornerstone of early approaches to gender variant youth, yet the study has been overvalued given its biases. A better sense of what happened to Green’s sissy boys was revealed in a recent report by one of the participants in Green’s study. Bryant (2004), one of Green’s “sissies,” in a paper presented to the American Psychiatric Association, describes Green’s treatments as a trauma. He reflected on Green’s rejection of his femininity and said this:
I experienced this as a strong negative judgment about something I felt very deeply about myself, at my core. As a result, I think that the main thing that I took away from my years at [Green’s gender clinic at] UCLA was a kind of self-hatred and a loss of a sense of who I really was. I learned to hide myself, to make myself invisible, even to myself. I learned that who I was, was wrong.
Bryant suggests that treatment protocols for these children and adolescents, especially those based on converting the child back to a stereotypically-gendered youth, may make matters worse, causing them to internalize their distress. In other words, treatment for GID in children and adolescents may have negative consequences.
The thing that I see wrong with CAMH is that they are living in the past and when science moved past them they clung onto their old ways, even when it was shown that their ways caused harm. I think because of that it was the right thing for CAMH to do in shutting down the gender clinic.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fantastic Day Yesterday!

I didn’t really think that we needed to get there that early, ninety minutes before the rally I thought was too early… I was wrong.

When we got there the crowds were already forming and a short while later there were more people there than any other rally that I attended, by the time the rally started there were over ten thousand people there for the Women's March on Hartford CT: in Solidarity with Washington.

Before the rally started, I circulated around the rally meeting people that I knew but as the start of the rally grew near I found “my spot” on the second step on the left side of the north capitol steps. I had a good view and I sat crossed legged on the cold damp granite steps for three hours until I could no longer stand it, I then got up and tried to winding my way to the back of the audience. From sitting crossed leg for three hours I could stand when I tried to get up and this morning I am so sore from sitting.

I got some great shots until the professional photographers moved in. Instead of squatting down so that everyone else could see they all stood around blocking their views.

This photo was taken about an hour and a half before the rally.

Some of the signs at the rally…

And some of the politicians (well it was a rally about human rights) and speakers…
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo
Governor Malloy
Senator Beth Bye
This photo shows just how large the crowd was.
Photo by: Deputy Chief Brian J. Foley
Chief of Detectives Hartford Police Department.
I posted these pictures a “public” and posted them on the rally’s Facebook page and they brought out the “trolls.” Some people just will never understand what the rally was all about; it wasn’t an “anti-Trump” rally but rather a rally for human rights… for women’s rights, for the rights of the disabled, for the rights of black people, for the LGBT people, and for all those who are living on the margins.

It was a message that we are here and we vote!

What's next?
Well I for one am going to email all my Congressional and state representatives thanking them for their support of human rights. You can find your legislators here, call or write or email them but just let them know that you support Human Rights for all. .