Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Passing Privilege

That is what it all boils down to, how well you can integrate into society. Back in the seventies the “Gay Liberation Front” (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) kicked Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson out because they couldn’t assimilate into society and now we are back to that era. Those who can blend in to the crowds do not get harassed.
Column: Transgender bathroom issue may be a matter of image
Chicago Tribune
By Eric Zorn
February 24, 2017

If you're near a computer or a smartphone right now — and, come on, you are — take a moment and perform an image search for "trans men."

That's the accepted term for people who were born female but have transitioned to male, just to be clear. And don't worry, the results are not particularly graphic.

What you'll see will look to you like a collection of pictures of guys. Guys in casual wear. Guys without their shirts on. Guys with stubble and full beards. Macho guys. Somewhat effeminate guys. Guys.

Now ask yourself. Should states and local units of government be allowed to force such people to use the women's restrooms? And would most women be OK with sharing a row of toilet stalls with them?

Now do an image search for "trans women." You'll see a similar range of pictures of gals, most of whom would occasion surprise if they walked into a men's room. Do you want them there nevertheless?
Trans adults have been doing exactly this for many years, quietly and without causing harm to anyone. So have trans children, who will feel the brunt of it when benighted communities force them into situations in which they and those around them will feel most uncomfortable.
And then came the Republican Party and they found they could use us to get votes and money.

What it comes down to is if you are a 6’5” trans woman with large male features you are going to be a target of violence and harassment when you go out in public. But if you are a 5’5” trans woman with feminine features you will get by in society without anyone knowing you are trans.

In the old days the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care would only let those trans women who could integrate in to society transition, if you could fit into the gender norms they stamped your ticket. If you didn’t fit into the bell curve of the gender standards you couldn’t possibly be trans. The standards were very biased.

But now modern science has realized they we come in all shapes and sizes, that we can also be gay or lesbian or straight and have gender dysphoria to various degrees that is when the haters found a target.

The Attacks Continues!

The Republican attack on our Human Rights continues.

The latest attempts to nullify our existence come from Tennessee.
Tennessee has declared war on same-sex families: Inside the legislation that would eradicate nearly all rights for LGBT couples
A brace of bills in the Tennessee statehouse is aimed at rolling back gains made by during Obama administration
By Nico Lang
February 27, 2017

Filed by State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, House Bill 1406 would prevent a couple from listing on the birth certificate the second parent (the spouse not giving birth) after a woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination. The legislation would nullify a provision of the Tennessee Code Annotated 68-3-306, which was issued as part of the Vital Records Act of 1977. The law states, “A child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman’s husband, is deemed to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife.”

If Weaver’s bill passes, Heather would not be considered the legal guardian of the child on the way. In order to gain that status, she would have to file for a second-parent adoption, a process that’s both costly and time intensive. The couple is raising a daughter the two adopted four years ago and it cost $6,500 for Heather and Chariety to gain her custody.
If Charitey were to be in a car wreck, for instance, Heather could make legal decisions for her but not for their expected child. The  newborn would have no rights to Heather’s inheritance or her insurance — an added complication for the couple. If HB 1406 were to be passed, it would go into effect on July 1, three months before Charitey is expected to give birth. Heather receives health care benefits through her workplace, but if the new baby would not be longer eligible for that coverage, who would pay for the hospital costs?
These bills are vengeful, draconian to deny us of our human rights.

They fly against the 2015 Supreme Court decision and against the Fourteenth Amendment.

WPATH Statement

This was posted on the WPATH website on the 24th and states the position of WPATH to Trump’s revoking our protection.
For Immediate Release February 24, 2017

WPATH Supports Student Health and Safety

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) today affirms its commitment to the health and safety of transgender students in the U.S. and across the world.

In an ominous action for the rights of transgender students, the Trump administration eliminated U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice guidance that provided rationale and encouragement to public school administrators across the country to recognize, support, and protect the importance of gender identity for all students, including those who are transgender.

Relevant federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, have not changed. That act states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." The law applies to students of any age.

A joint statement, issued late on February 22 by “acting” officials in the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, expressly rescinded two documents issued by officials in the Obama administration which provided evidence for including gender identity as a component of sex, and procedures for including transgender students in sex-segregated activities and facilities. The statement opines that the previous guidance did “not (…) contain extensive legal analysis” and that “formal public rulemaking should have occurred prior to the adoption of any such policy.”

Although the statement declares that “(a)ll schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment”, and that the two Departments are committed to the application of Title IX and other federal laws to ensure (…) protection” from discrimination, bullying, or harassment, it also highlights that “the Departments believe that, in this context, there must be due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

By invoking States’ rights, many WPATH members believe that the current administration seeks to create a context in which to establish policies defining sex as nothing more than one’s assigned sex at birth. Such policies blatantly reject established science, and could severely impact the health—and lives—of transgender students and their families.

WPATH members in the U.S. region, and more widely, stand ready to defend the science of gender diversity and fight against the health disparities that this regressive action is likely to exacerbate.

For additional background on this story, see https://nyti.ms/2lvgnF0

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health is a nonprofit educational association of over 1400 physicians, mental health providers, and social scientists whose work impacts the lives of transgender, transsexual, and gender-nonconforming people worldwide.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Rise And Fall Of Trans Rights

We have been on a roller coaster, we reached our peak during President Obama administration and now in the Trump administration the question is “how low will we go?”
Understanding Transgender Access Laws
By The New York Times
February 24, 2017

The highly charged debate over transgender rights has resulted in a tangle of contradictory laws governing access to public bathrooms and locker rooms across the country. Many states permit transgender people to choose bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity, considering it a civil rights issue. But in a handful of states and cities, legislators are moving in the opposite direction. Here are some milestones in the national debate.
The Justice Department revises policy
December 2014 | In a memo by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the Justice Department took the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applied to claims of discrimination based on gender identity. The memo was one of a combination of policies, lawsuits and public statements that the Obama administration used to change the civil rights landscape for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

May 2016 | The Justice and Education Departments issued guidance that, under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student’s transgender status — and that the departments would treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX.
Houston voters reject an anti-discrimination ordinance
Nov. 3, 2015 | After a yearlong battle, Houston voters easily repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance that banned discrimination based on several “protected characteristics,” including gender identity. Opponents said the measure would allow men claiming to be women to enter women’s bathrooms and inflict harm. The message "No Men in Women’s Bathrooms” on signs and in television and radio ads turned the debate from one about equal rights to one about protecting women and girls from sexual predators. (Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor, Annise D. Parker, in December 2009; she had pushed hard for the ordinance.)
The article goes on to write about various state battles in Texas, South Dakota, Virginia, and other states. It then discusses federal policy.
The federal government issues guidelines
May 12, 2016 | The Obama administration took up a legal fight with North Carolina over the issue, quickly issuing guidance — signed by Justice and Education Department officials — that was sent to all school districts, outlining what schools should do to ensure that no student was discriminated against. The letter did not have the force of law, but it contained an implicit threat: Schools that did not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal dollars. The measure attracted criticism and support from across the country.
It also writes about how cities in the south are in opposition to their states,
A split emerges between Southern cities and states
Cities in the Deep South were increasingly at odds with their states on gay rights and other benchmarks, moving toward common ground with big cities on the coasts. And North Carolina, the rare Southern state that is evenly split between liberals and conservatives, was considered to be up for grabs in the November presidential race. But backlash against the law roiled the governor’s race and affected other crucial contests.
We were floating on air in President Obama’s administration and without a crystal ball we do not know how deep the crash will be with the Trump administration.

This Looks Interesting... Maybe

With the attack on our rights by the White House it is good that there is going to be a show that focuses on LGBT history.
Review: ‘When We Rise’ Charts the History of Gay and Transgender Rights
The New York Times
By James Poniewozik
February 26, 2017

“Identity politics” is one of those labels that say most about the labeler. Used as a pejorative (generally by people who already feel safe in their identity), it implies that causes like race, gender and sexual-orientation rights should be secondary to concerns that — so the argument goes — are more concrete and universal.

“When We Rise,” ABC’s sweeping four-night history of the gay rights movement, is a rebuttal. As a television drama, it often plays like a high-minded, dutiful educational video. But at its best moments, it’s also a timely statement that identity is not just an abstraction but a matter of family, livelihood, life and death.

Largely written by Dustin Lance Black, “When We Rise” begins in post-Stonewall San Francisco, tracing a trio of idealists — people who would not take “social-justice warrior” as an insult — whose lives intersect on and off over five decades. (Mr. Black wrote the screenplay for the film “Milk,” about the San Francisco gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, whose work and 1978 assassination figure in here.).
Okay, it is billed as LGBT history now let’s sees if they are going to cover the “T” in the series?
The early hours of “When We Rise” are impressively specific, both about the gay and transgender subcultures of the 1970s and 1980s and the nuts-and-bolts tactics of organizing, alliance and local politics. Roma’s community organizing introduces her to tensions between mainstream and radical feminists, gay women of color and “straight white Wellesley girls,” respectability politics and revolution.
But the article doesn’t say what the “T” will be; the article has about AIDS, marriage equality, and racial inequality but there is nothing about us in the article.

So will we once again be brushed aside and our contribution to the LGBT movement minimized? The show premieres tonight on ABC at 9:00 PM.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I Was At The Women’s Rally In Hartford

There has been a lot of discussion about holding a rally for trans people in Connecticut but I do think that we probably have less than a tenth of the people who came out for the women’s rally.
If You Marched In The Women's March, You Need To Show Up For Trans Rights
By Mia Mercado
February 23, 2017

On Wednesday, news broke that Trump’s administration rescinded federal guidelines specifically protecting bathroom access for transgender students. These guidelines, put in place by the Obama administration, allowed students who are transgender to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. The news was met with outcry by people already taking to the streets and even the White House to protest for transgender rights.

A note to my fellow cisgender women and men: If you were one of the more than two million people who participated in the Women’s March, you need to show up for trans rights.

If you are someone who considers themself a feminist, if you support human rights, if you actually believe all people were created equal, if you truly love thy neighbor: you need to show up for trans rights.

You need to do the work for and with your transgender family because they have shown up for you.
Well I didn’t go to the rally because I expected reciprocity; I went because it was the right thing to do for me.
But the resistance will not be successful unless it is intersectional. Trans rights affect women. They affect men. They affect people in between and outside the binary. They affect white people and people of color. They affect people who are Christian and Muslim and Jewish and atheist. They affect people who are poor, people who are disabled, and people who are LGB or Q. Because people who are transgender exist under all those categories, and more.
I would hope that cisgender people would attend because they saw the intersectionality.

Right now there is a discussion going on about having a trans rally here in Connecticut on March 31st. I am pushing for a smaller rallies around the state instead of one large rally and True Colors is having a rally on the UConn Storrs campus on March 17th.

One Of The Things That I’ve Learned

Is that we are all bitten with the Gender Dysphoria bug differently some get it really bad and some just have a mild case of dysphoria.
Not All Transgender People Have Dysphoria – And Here Are 6 Reasons Why That Matters
Everyday Feminism
By Sam Dylan Finch
August 13, 2015

I remember talking with a friend of mine who is transgender with the assumption that we both experienced dysphoria, which is the distress or discomfort that occurs when the gender someone is assigned does not align with their actual gender.
“Well, I don’t…” Kai paused. “Don’t judge me or anything, but like, I don’t experience dysphoria.”

At that point, I had never heard of a transgender person not experiencing some kind of dysphoria. But there they were, right in front of me.

My instinct was to be protective over my transness. The idea that dysphoria was not required, and that anyone could just identify as trans if they wanted to, seemed to water down the importance of my identity and the struggles of my community.
Take a look at the word “dysphoria,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary it is “a state of feeling unwell or unhappy.” For a lot of trans people I think can cope without any intervention, they just life their life in their true gender and don’t seek an medical intrusion, while others need cross hormone therapy and surgery.

The article goes on to list the reasons it doesn’t really matter what level of dysphoria a person has.
1. It Suggests That Gender Identity Is for Outsiders to Decide
It’s weird that some trans people are totally on-board with making a rulebook for transness, instead of encouraging people to self-identify and declare their gender identities for themselves.

When we allow other people to make the rules, we strip away the rights of trans people to self-identify. If we tell trans people that their identities don’t belong to them, we uphold a culture where the naming of gender identities belongs to outsiders instead of ourselves.
I remember when I first started going to the Twenty Club there was a person there who didn’t believe that I was trans because I didn’t need GCS NOW! that I was taking my time to verify that this right for me because to her she needed surgery immediately and to wait one year was too long.
2. It Medicalizes the Experience of Being Transgender
The phrase “gender dysphoria” became the go-to phrase after “gender identity disorder” was deemed offensive and inaccurate. Since then, the two phrases have been used interchangeably in the medical realm.
Need I remind you that Western medicine has been less than kind to trans people historically?[…]
Placing the lives of trans people into an “illness” framework ultimately stigmatized their identities and left their needs to be dictated my “medical professionals” rather than trans people themselves.

The medical model disempowered trans people.
3. It’s a Eurocentric Definition of Transgender
A lot of trans folks will say that “transgender” as an experience didn’t originate in the West – and they would be correct. There have been “trans” experiences in many cultures globally, long before the West had any concept of “transgender.”

Some identities outside of the West that you might know of include two-spirit, hijra, and kathoeys, and they have a history that precedes ours.
4. It Equates Being Trans with Distress and Dysfunction
If someone came up to you and asked you what it was like to be transgender, it probably wouldn’t be as simple as saying, “It’s terrible.”

It can be terrible. The pain can be very real. But for most people, being trans is a very complicated thing that involves a whole spectrum of emotions.
5. We Privilege Some Narratives Over Others
I’ve been told before that I’m not “trans enough.”
At what point will we stop tearing each other apart and start lifting each other up?[…]
6. It Breeds Transphobia
There is a pervasive fear that if we leave “transgender” as a term that relies on self-identification, it will be rendered meaningless by people who claim it for the wrong reasons.

But this weirdly mirrors a lot of oppressive attitudes that are used against all trans people.

Take the trans bathroom debate, for instance. There is a widespread belief that cis people will pretend to be trans just to get into the wrong restroom and violate other people.
If trans people interrogate other trans people with disbelief, we are giving permission to the rest of the world to do it to us.

If we bully trans people and tell them they are deceiving other people, or following a fad, we’re telling cis people that they can accuse us of being imposters, too.
Long time ago at a First Event conference before I transitioned and I was still trying to discover who I was, I was sitting on a couch in the lobby and someone sat next to me and asked me if I was transsexual. When I said that I didn’t know she said “Oh” and walked away. I thought one of two things, first she wanted to talk about transitioning or two she was a snob and didn’t want to associate with a mere crossdresser. I took it as the latter because of the way she said “Oh.”

We are all on our own gender journey and no one else can define it for us, they can aide us on the journey but they cannot guide us, we have to find our own road to travel.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday 9: I'll Be There

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: I'll Be There (1992)

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

1) In this song, Mariah pledges to "have faith in all you do." Have you recently given someone support or a pep talk?
Ha! I do it all the time, I volunteer two days a week at a health clinic and answer the support line.

2) Mariah was at the center of a controversy in Times Square on New Year's Eve when she had audio problems and claimed she could not perform. Times Square is at the busy intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue. If we went to the busy intersection nearest your home, what would we find? (A store? A church? McDonald's?)
A Dairy Queen, a consignment store, a feed and grain store (yes, we do have farms in town), and a garage,

3) Her nickname in high school was Mirage because she cut school so often. Did you ever play hookey?
I probably did but that was fifty years ago.

4) Mariah doesn't apologize for spoiling her dogs, who have been known to travel by limo. Do you know anyone who treats his/her pets like people?
Most definitely.

5) Mariah has something to fall back on. She studied cosmetology and worked as a hair sweeper in a salon. When you get your hair cut, do you socialize with the stylist? 
Again “HA” you have to have hair to get a haircut.

6) When married to her first husband, Mariah went vegetarian. Tell us about last night's dinner. Would it qualify as a vegetarian meal?
Most definitely no, I had meat lasagna for dinner and I paid for it this morning with a high blood glucose reading.

7) This week's song was introduced by The Jackson 5. Think of your favorite Michael Jackson song. Did he record it solo or with his brothers?
Well first you assume that I have a favorite Michael Jackson song which I don’t.

8) In 1992, when this song was popular, The Mall of America opened. Located in Minnesota, it's the biggest mall in the nation, with more than 400 stores. Think about the last thing you purchased. Were you shopping out of necessity, or for fun?
Well I just ordered online more Vanilla Extract - 6 oz (177 ml) for $12.30 because I ran out. But I also ordered Coffee Beans, Chocolate Covered - 8 oz for $7.45 and Cranberries, Dark Chocolate Covered - 5 oz and they were $4.50,I didn’t need them but heck I might as well order them while I was at it.

9) Have you ever shoplifted? (Don't worry. We won't tell.)

P.S. (11:30 AM) Tonight's meal is homemade French onion soup. I'm making a crock pot full and freezing the rest.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Our Favorite Punching Bag

Caitlyn Jenner is in the news again. I know there are a lot of trans people who hate her because she is rich and/or a Republican. Well the other day she tweeted Trump.
Caitlyn Jenner tweets of Trump's 'disaster' transgender policy
Commentary: In a video, the Olympian turned reality star asks the president to call her.
By Chris Matyszczyk
February 23, 2017

President Donald Trump likely expected tech companies not to be happy about his decision to withdraw federal protections for transgender students in schools.

He might not have expected quite the robust reaction he got from fellow Republican Caitlyn Jenner.
She said in a video,
"You're winning," she said. "I know it doesn't feel like it today or every day, but you're winning. Very soon we will win full freedom nationwide, and it's going to be with bipartisan support."
"Now I have a message for the bullies: You're sick. And because you're weak, you pick on kids, you pick on women or anyone else you think is vulnerable. Apparently even becoming the attorney general isn't enough to cure some people of their insecurities," she said.

The last line appeared to be a pointed reference to new attorney general Jeff Sessions. He was reportedly behind this move, one that reversed the Obama-era policies by which public schools had to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity.

Finally, Jenner addressed the president himself.

"I have a message for President Trump from well, one Republican to another," she said. "This is a disaster. And you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community."
Is she losing her faith in the Republican Party? Is she seeing the light?

Here is her video...

Losing Our Identity

Last night I went to a Moveable Senior Center* event and the guest speaker the assistant dean of enrollment and students at UConn School of Law.
Hidden in the Shadows: Black LGBTQ Leaders in History
The intersection of race, gender, sexual orientation and the expression of these identities is at the forefront of many conversations today.  Throughout history, people with multiple identities often hid in the shadows and are missing from our narratives. This session will look at the intersection of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression and focus on black LGBTQ leaders in our history.
There were a couple of questions asked that showed the enigma of being identified as LGBT.

One woman asked the speaker what she thought about the National Museum of African American History and Culture having a section on black LGBT leaders and earlier I asked a question about losing our lesbian, bi and trans identity in the Stonewall Uprising when it is called the start of the “Gay Revolution”

The two questions are in a way related.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is in a way segregating us. Putting us off by ourselves seems like we are being ghettoized in to a little corner of the museum. The discussion that followed was very interesting so thought it highlighted our contribution to history. James Baldwin was used as an example; he was a gay author and activist who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. His gayness was hidden while he was alive, many people knew about him but didn’t know he was gay and because of that he wasn’t invited to go to the White House with Dr. King.

The younger people in the audience last night liked the idea of having a separate section in the museum because it made him a role model for the younger LGBT blacks, while the older people in the audience said that his “gayness” didn’t define him, he was a great man in his own right and the fact was gay was just a small part of his life.

My question was how when we are put under the “gay” umbrella we lose out identities,  it wasn’t just gay white men who stood up against the police harassment but also trans people and lesbians and many if not most of them were black and Latinos.

So if we want to be known as a person and not defined by our race, religion, sexual orientation, or our gender identity then we lose a part of ourselves and our history. And if we want to keep out history then we have to be known in part as a LGBT person and have a room of our own.

*From the LGBT Aging Advocacy webpage:
A grant to Connecticut Community Care, Inc. (CCCI), from the The John H. and Ethel G. Noble Charitable Trust administered by Deutsche Bank Trust Company, N.A. helps to support these efforts. The LGBT Moveable Senior Center is one of the funded initiatives included in the CCCI project “Getting it Right: Creating an LGBT Responsive Organization”. The goal of this project, undertaken in collaboration with LGBT Aging Advocacy, a grassroots group of providers and LGBT community members in the Greater Hartford area, is to advocate for and provide resources to help create LGBT inclusive aging services.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

It Is Hard…

…To find something else to write about not related to Trump’s Executive Order, so I had to dig into my file on possible articles to write about.
Tillerson declines to say whether ‘gay rights are human rights’
The Washington Blade
by Michael K. Lavers
January 11, 2017

President-elect Trump’s nominee for secretary of state on Wednesday declined to specifically say whether “gay rights are human rights.”

“American values don’t accommodate violence or discrimination against anyone,” said former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson in response to a question U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) asked during his confirmation hearing that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held.

Coons also asked Tillerson whether he believes the promotion of gay rights is “a piece of our human rights advocacy and agenda around the world.”

“That’s part of that American values that we protect,” said Tillerson.

Tillerson did not specifically mention lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people.

Coons noted in his question that he previously met with a woman from Zimbabwe who received asylum in the U.S. because she was tortured “for who she was.” He also told Tillerson, who was a member of the Boy Scouts of America’s executive board when it voted to allow openly gay scouts into the organization in 2013, that he was “encouraged by his tough leadership moment.”
ExxonMobil was boycotted back in the 2000s because they wouldn’t provide benefits for LGBT people including marriage benefits for same-sex couples. Back in 2013 the Huffington Post ran this article,
Exxon Mobil’s Anti-Gay Discrimination Policy Rejection Slammed By GetEQUAL Advocacy Group

A group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists are decrying Exxon Mobil shareholders’ decision not to explicitly ban discrimination against potential gay employees.

Members of national LGBT advocacy group GetEQUAL released the following statement via email in response to a 4-to-1 ratio vote defeating a resolution to ban anti-gay discrimination:

“ExxonMobil continues to dig in its heels to prove that it is one of the most ardent proponents of LGBT discrimination in the country. While ExxonMobil rakes in billions of dollars in federal contracts each year — paid for with taxpayer money — it’s stunning that the company is so actively and blatantly out of step with the three-quarters of the American public who support LGBT workplace protections.”

As the Associated Press pointed out, the Exxon board argued that the company didn’t need to add language regarding LGBT employees to its pre-existing policy, which bans discrimination of any type. Shareholders had previously rejected anti-bias and climate change resolutions in recent years.

Recently, Exxon — the nation’s largest oil and gas company — received a score below zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) ranking of corporate policies towards LGBT employees.

Exxon officials had reportedly been sent two nearly identical resumes for a job opening at its office in Patoka, Ill. by LGBT advocacy group Freedom to Work in conjunction with a high-powered Washington law firm. One of the fictional applicants had been depicted as a gay rights activist and did not receive a callback despite having significantly higher high school and college grades than the other, who was contacted, according to the AP.
And two years ago the Illinois Department of Human Rights found according to Washington Blade.
For the first time, the findings from the Illinois Department of Human Rights reveal ExxonMobil’s defense for opting to choose the less qualified non-LGBT candidate over the more qualified LGBT candidate.

According to findings, Dona Steadman, a human resource adviser for ExxonMobil, denied sexual orientation was a factor in the hiring decision. She testified she selected in the initial screening process for her boss 35 applicants out of the 51 who applied by “looking at their experience, not their volunteer work and their education.”

“Steadman stated she did not have a narrowing tool, her process was to open the resume and skim it for certain words,” the finding states. “She felt 35 applicants was a significant number of applicants to pass on. She felt she was passing on a lot of documents for review and she was providing a lot of candidates with experience he had outlined. She was not keeping a tracking sheet for all 51 of them, in fact, she does not know if she opened all 51 of them.”

Although the straight candidate was included in the 35 applications chosen, the LGBT candidate wasn’t included in that group, Steadman testified.
And now the person who was the CEO of ExxonMobil is the Secretary of State, do you think he will support LGBT rights in the UN or around the world?

You All Probably Have Heard…

That despite rumors to the contrary Trump has dumped our Title IX protection under the Education Amendments of 1972 even through the courts have found that we are protected under Title IX.

So what can we expect?

Governor Malloy has in a press released said,

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy released the following statement regarding President Trump’s decision to rescind protections for transgender students:

“Discrimination of this kind is outrageous and has no place in our society. This shouldn't be a partisan issue – the president’s regressive actions must be rejected by all compassionate people, regardless of party affiliation. In 2011, I was proud to sponsor and help win passage for a comprehensive transgender rights bill here in Connecticut, and to subsequently lead fights nationally against efforts in North Carolina, Indiana, and elsewhere to restrict the rights of people who are transgender. In Connecticut, we will defend the rights of all students – regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, and disability status – and will continue to protect their access to welcoming learning environments.”
Buzzfeed reported…
States Vow To Keep Protecting Transgender Students After Trump Rolls Back Rules
“This rollback at the federal level won’t stop transgender protections.”
By Dominic Holden
Posted on Feb. 22, 2017

Several state and local officials wasted no time Wednesday night announcing they would keep enforcing bans against transgender discrimination in schools and make sure students can use bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Their announcement was a swift rebuttal to the Trump administration’s decision to rescind a federal policy created under President Obama that said school districts must protect transgender students.

“I will ensure…protections for transgender and gender non-conforming students are enforced fairly and vigorously,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

Ferguson was one of three state attorneys general who told BuzzFeed News that while the federal government is stepping back, they will step up. “The civil rights of transgender individuals will continue to be protected under Washington state law,” Ferguson said, calling Trump’s decision “a disappointing step backward.”
And the LA Times reported that,
The state plans to keep its promises to transgender students, says California schools chief
By Joy Resmovits
February 23, 2017

With news that the Trump administration is rolling back former President Obama's guidance on protecting transgender students, State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is reminding California students of their rights .

"California students will continue to have their civil rights protected," he said in a statement Wednesday. "California will continue to work to provide that environment for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students regardless of any misguided directives by the federal government and the Trump administration."
Well first off… Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law and it is not subject to state  interpretation the law, it is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce the law, not the states.

What to watch out for in the future.

Here in Connecticut and the other states that have protection for us we are not in immediate danger, but…

The Republicans are poised to pass a “Religious Freedom Act” that will give special rights to certain religions, all a person will have to do to discriminate against us it say it is against their religion. What could be dangerous to us is if they say anyone receiving federal funding will have to let people discriminate against us. That would include schools, state and local governments, and businesses with federal contracts. It will nullify the state laws, so much for state rights.

What else to watch out for?

The Supreme Court will hear G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board next month and that could be a game changer. There are several possible outcomes.

The first possibility is that Gavin Grimm wins and the courts find that Title IX does apply to us.

The second possibility is the Grimm loses and Title IX does not apply to us.

The third possibility is if Judge Gorsuch is not appointed to the bench yet it ends in a 4-4 tie and their ruling only applies to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

My guess is that if we win the Supreme Court case the Republican controlled Congress will pass a law exempting us from Title IX and Trump will sign the bill into law.

An old Chinese saying is “May you live in interesting times” is coming true.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Now The Good News

To our neighbors to the north of Connecticut and the state where my family has a summer cottage, New Hampshire they are once again introducing a gender identity/expression non-discrimination bill.
NH House considers adding transgender protections to anti-discrimination laws
Supporters say transgender community faces discrimination
By Josh McElveen
February 21, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. — Lawmakers in Concord are considering a bill to protect transgender people in the state's anti-discrimination laws.

Supporters of House Bill 478 said the transgender community is ignored under current state law.
Rep. Ed Butler, D-Hart's Location, is the prime sponsor of HB 478. He said the measure has support from members of the clergy and from businesses.
But, you know there is always a “but,”
Supporters outnumbered opponents in the hearing, but Peter Sprague of conservative group Cornerstone Action argued that in order to change the law or make a new one, it must be proven that action is needed.
The last time a trans bill was introduced it was a dismal failure, but I have a feeling that the ground work has been laid this time and they have a better chance to pass the bill.

New Hampshire is the only New England state not to have a gender inclusive non-discrimination law.

It appears that the bill cleared the Health and Human Services committee with a vote15-2 today.

First The Bad News

And you can guess who has introduced another negative trans bill.

This time it is to take away our health insurance, instead healthcare provider determining our health needs a bunch of legislators are doing it.
Minnesota Republican lawmakers target transgender health insurance coverage
Duluth News Tribune
By Zach Kayser
February 15, 2017

ST. PAUL -- A bill introduced Monday in the Minnesota House of Representatives would free health insurance companies from having to cover gender transitions.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, introduced the measure Monday. With the proposal, it would be enshrined in state law that insurers don’t have to cover “health services related to gender transition, including but not limited to sex reassignment surgery.” The bill contradicts provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act that prohibit discrimination, but a paragraph of the bill stipulates it won’t take full effect until the ACA is repealed.
Last year, Gruenhagen authored a bill that would mandate transgender people use the public bathroom that corresponds with their sex at birth, not the one they identify as. In 2013, he called homosexuality an “unhealthy, sexual addiction,” the Star Tribune reported. 
I have been accused picking on Republicans but I only know of one draconian anti-trans bill being introduced by a Democrat all of the others were introduced by Republicans. Here in Connecticut a couple of years a Republican introduced a bill in the Public Health Committee a bill to strip insurance coverage for us and he didn’t even stick around the hearing room when his bill was heard.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We Are On The Bus

Most of the time I write about us getting thrown under the bus but this time we are on the bus.
Transgender school bus driver, Navy veteran embraces life she knew was hers
The Orange County Register
By David Whiting
Feb. 20, 2017

The yellow school bus doors swing open and a gaggle of kids climb the stairs as one kindergartner squeals out, “Ms. Marsha, you look boo-ti-ful today!”

The bus driver beams. She is feeling terrific and took extra time to dress up a bit more than usual, get her makeup just right.

But the comment means more than the little boy knows.

Marsha Morgan, a 55-year-old school bus driver, isn’t used to such compliments.

As a he, Morgan served two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf as a sonar technician on a fast-attack submarine. As a he, Marsha also was married to a woman.

In some ways, the 6-foot-2 Morgan still is a he. But that will change forever in April when Morgan will become Kaiser Permanente’s first Southern California gender reassignment surgery patient.

For this nation’s estimated 1.6 million transgender people, tolerance is changing as well.
“The times they are a changin” at least for the better in nineteen states and it is nice to see bus company obeying the law and judging by the way the children treated her they didn’t have a problem with her transition, most children don’t unless their parents make a stink, they just see it as different and move along with their life.

I have to wonder if she transitioned in Texas or Tennessee if she would be treated the same way?

Signing Away Your Rights

Have you ever read the fine print of credit card companies, rental car companies, your employment agreement, or any other contract? More and more companies are burying binding arbitration in the contracts.

I read Google News headline and one of them popped out at me…
Uber is not the only tech company that mishandles sexual harassment claims
By Megan Rose Dickey
February 20, 2017

On Sunday, a female former Uber engineer detailed her experiences of sexual harassment during her one-year stint at the multibillion-dollar company.

The engineer, Susan Fowler, said she experienced sexual harassment and had reported it to Uber’s human resources department but to no avail. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has since said that he plans to investigate.

Unfortunately, Fowler’s experience with sexual harassment at Uber does not seem to be uncommon in the tech industry, with 60 percent of women in tech reporting receiving unwanted sexual advances, according to the 2016 Elephant in the Valley survey. Fowler’s failed attempt to receive help from Uber’s HR department also seems to be common at tech companies.

We’ve been hearing about sexual harassment for years in the tech industry, perhaps most notably beginning with Ellen Pao’s 2012 sexual discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In 2014, now-former GitHub engineer Julie Ann Horvath detailed her experiences of sexism and intimidation and just last year, Amelie Lamont, a former employee Squarespace, alleged overt racism and sexism at the company.
When you click on “I Agree” you just signed away all your legal rights! And sometimes you don't even have to click on "I Agree," more on that later.

They pick the arbitrator and you can bet your bottom dollar that the arbitrator knows where their paycheck gets signed.

Even the state of Connecticut falls into the binding arbitration trap, according to the New Haven Register,
With even Gov. Dannel Malloy acknowledging that binding arbitration for municipal government employee union contracts may be a bit of a problem amid state government’s worsening insolvency, maybe sensible change is coming to Connecticut. But what the governor has proposed is timid, little more than an invitation to the General Assembly to discuss the issue, which is the last thing legislators want to do, lest they provoke the unions and all the government employees living in their districts.

But this would leave the binding arbitration system in place, a system that removes most of a municipal budget from the ordinary democratic process. The governor’s proposal is not likely to save any significant money for the public.

Elected officials want binding arbitration almost as much as government employee unions do because they don’t want to have to be seen choosing between taxpayers and government employees. Elected officials want someone else — those unelected arbiters — to take responsibility for the big decisions that drive municipal taxes up or public services down every year. Elected officials want to be able to shrug and proclaim their helplessness to their constituents.
In other words we could vote down a budget and it gets reinstated by an arbitrator and there is nothing that the town can do because a lot of times in the contract there is a clause that says disagreements will be settled by arbitration.

A NPR article tackles binding arbitration,
Have We Lost A Constitutional Right In The Fine Print?
November 12, 2015

Fresh Air
New York Times reporter Jessica Silver-Greenberg says many companies' contracts force consumers to settle complaints through arbitration instead of in court, and include bans on class action suits.

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross, who has a couple of days off. Think for a moment, and you can probably remember a dozen times when you've signed a contract or clicked a box online, agreeing to a long list of terms you never read. Our guest, New York Times business reporter Jessica Silver-Greenberg, says embedded in many of those agreements for cell phones, rental cars, as well as employment contracts and countless other goods and services, are a few words which have dramatically altered consumers' ability to challenge deceptive business practices. Companies now require their customers to agree to pursue any complaint through a private arbitration process, rather than going to court. Also included in many of these clauses are bans on class action lawsuits where a large group of consumers could join together to pool resources and reveal a widespread pattern of illegal or deceptive practices. The right to require arbitration was ratified in a series of battles in the Supreme Court, which, Silver-Greenberg says, was engineered by a Wall Street coalition of credit card companies and retailers. Silver-Greenberg and her co-authors, reporters Michael Corkery and Robert Gebeloff reviewed thousands of court records and conducted hundreds of interviews for a three- part series which ran recently in The New York Times. I spoke to Jessica Silver-Greenberg on Tuesday.
JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG: So arbitration - I think the simplest way to think about it is it's a parallel system. So it's a parallel to court. So it's a private system where there is no judge, there is no jury, and the rules are set up slightly different - well, some would say very different - from court. Instead of a judge presiding over your case, you'll have what's called a neutral, an arbitrator - typically a retired judge or a lawyer who will decide the outcome of your case. And then there are all these kind of steps from there, but that's the basic setup. Arbitration was designed - in its ideal form, it was designed to really be a system where companies of equal bargaining power went to work out their disputes. So say they had a dispute over a widget, and they wanted - instead of a judge, they wanted the expert on widgets to preside over their case. Well, they could do that. They could avoid the sometimes costly and bureaucratic procedures in court and go to this alternative forum. But in that instance, it would be two entities that were agreeing to go. What we have in the consumer context and the employment context is far different.
Think about this, your employer here in Connecticut comes right out and says “Your fired because we don’t want you people working here.

This is blatantly discrimination based on your gender identity, no ifs, ands, or buts. So you file a complaint with the CHRO and you go see a lawyer and it gets thrown out because when you were hired your signed a binding arbitration agreement.

So you go to binding arbitration, the company hires the arbitrator. The arbitrator hears your case but finds in favor of the company. What can you do… absolutely nothing because you signed your legal rights away.

Think this is farfetched?
Judge: Airbnb Can Force Users’ Racial Discrimination Claims Out Of Courtroom
By Chris Morran
November 1, 2016

A large — and growing — number of companies use arbitration clauses in their overlong, legalese-stuffed customer agreements to prevent customers from bringing lawsuits and joining together in class actions, but can that arbitration agreement be used to avoid legal liability for possible violations of federal civil rights law? According to one federal judge, yes.

In March 2015, a man named Gregory Selden was planning a visit to Philadelphia and signed up for Airbnb on his iPhone. He created his account and uploaded a photo of himself to the site. Selden, an African-American, then says he tried to rent a listed home from a host named Paul, only to have Paul give him the bad news that this room was no longer available.

However, Selden says that he soon noticed that this same listing was still posted as available to rent on Airbnb. Curious to find out if he’d been rejected by the host because of the color of his skin, Selden created copycat accounts under the name of “Jessie,” a white male whose profile was otherwise no different from Selden’s, and “Todd,” an older white male. Both accounts tried to reserve the same listing and same time period for which Selden had been rejected, and he says both fictional guests’ requests were accepted by Paul.
When Selden signed up for Airbnb on his iPhone, he did not even have to check a box to say that he’d read the site’s user agreement. Instead, as you can see on the left, the Airbnb terms are passively agreed to by simply “signing up” for the site.
They have us over a barrel!

There is nothing that we can do because the cable company, electric company, and just about every “I Agree” have an arbitrator clause in it. You want any service you have to sign it or you will not have electricity, or gas, or cable, or a credit card.

It’s All Talk

But that is what she does. She‘s on talk television show in London.
Cumbrian transgender broadcaster 'surprised and gobsmacked' at award nomination
News & Star
21 February 2017

The Cumbrian journalist who become the first transgender woman to present an all-female TV talk show has been short-listed for a prestigious award.

India Willoughby, 51, who has always been determined to ensure her transition was not a reason to end her career in the media, said she was “gobsmacked” to have been nominated for event that has become the Oscars of the LGBT world.

She was nominated by ITV in London.

The broadcaster – which employed India before her transition - has stood by her, and gave her the chance to return to TV reporting.

Her shortlisting followed two much talked bout appearances on ITV's Loose Women.

The nomination states: “Fans of the ITV panel show were thrilled by the journalist’s performance on the show and tweeted their hopes that she would become a permanent fixture, saying 'Loving India. Breaking barriers, addressing stigmas, making way for a new era of acceptance and inclusion in society'."
From what I read the show is something like “The View” her in the states so it is big that she was invited on the show’s panel.

The more we become visibly the more people will come to accept us. Milk was right, coming out helps the community especially now when Republican legislators are passing anti-trans bills and Congress is poised to pass a religious special law granting them exemption from following laws if they feel the law is against their “religious beliefs.”

Monday, February 20, 2017

Maybe This Should Be Titled “My Time In Hell”

We all know what North Carolina’s HB2 is, it the law that bans us from using the facilities of our gender identity among other draconian measure against the LGBT community. Can you imagine what it is like living and working under that law?
My Life as a Trans Woman Teaching High School in a 'Bathroom Bill' State
By Aila Boyd
February 8, 2017
Because none of my coworkers or students knew I was trans, I thought I'd be immune to the effects of government-sanctioned discrimination. I was wrong—I witnessed the consequences of HB2 every day.

e first two professional jobs that I had following my graduation from a fairly liberal, midsized university in Virginia were both in North Carolina, a stark contrast from the openly queer lifestyle that I had taken for granted for while serving as president of my university's Gay-Straight Alliance.

At the time of my move, I considered North Carolina to be a fairly progressive state—most likely because all of the gay clubs that I had ever been to were located there. However, within a month of starting my job as a teacher at a public high school, HB2, the state's notorious "bathroom bill," was passed, legalizing discrimination against trans people in public spaces.

When the legislation took effect, I was terrified. I'm a trans woman, a fact that none of my coworkers or students knew. But despite my fury and disbelief at HB2's passage, I took comfort in the fact that I had already transitioned and had chosen to undergo gender confirmation surgery. I thought that, because I "passed" well, I was immune to the effects of the government-sanctioned discrimination. I was wrong. Although I was never told to use the men's restroom or outed, I witnessed the consequences of HB2 every day.

I started to overhear students joking with each other, saying things like, "You sound like a man," which was always directed at female students. I never heard anything like that before the bill was splashed across the front cover of local and national publications alike. One day, I witnessed a group of high school students wondering aloud how trans people reproduce; one suggested that "transgenders" could give birth through their "butt holes." The group let out a collective giggle, and started to loudly make comments about how "disgusting" the thought was.
When the laws give reign to discrimination the bullies come out of the woodwork because now they have the green light.

She moved to another school which had a strong anti-bullying policy and one of her students was bullying the other classmates,
Eventually, I moved to another school in the state; during my first week there, I was called into the guidance counselor's office following allegations that some students were bullying their androgynous female classmate. The guidance counselor informed me that the school had in place a strict anti-bullying policy, something my own students later reiterated, and something they would typically bring up whenever tensions started to run high in the classroom or when constructive criticisms weren't phrased as gently as they could have been.
One student felt save enough in her class to come out.
Towards the end of the semester, the student who had been bullied during my first week approached me after class and informed me that he actually identified as a trans man, and that he preferred male pronouns and wanted to go by the name Ashton rather than his female birth name. He said that he had wanted to tell me at the beginning of the semester, but was afraid that I would tell his parents. (He only felt comfortable coming to me, he added, because I'd assigned plays like Fences to read in class and taught a lesson about the life and persecution of queer playwright Oscar Wilde.) I reassured him that I would never out him to his parents—or anyone, for that matter—and though I could read his sense of relief immediately, I felt troubled. I was sad that he had assumed that revealing his true gender identity to a teacher was too dangerous to risk, and that he wouldn't be celebrated and embraced for doing so.
It can be hard when you integrate into society and you hide your history, but at the same time you can help other people while keeping your own secret.

Against The Odds

Being a trans person in Texas is hard enough but being a trans wrestle in Texas is even harder.
Transgender teen wins regional wrestling title despite attempt to ban him from competing
Dallas News
By Michael Florek , Staff Writer
February 19, 2017

ALLEN -- The winning wrestler pulled a tearful runner-up next to him on the victory stand, and they exchanged a hug after a match that never took place.

Mack Beggs, a transgender 17-year-old at Euless Trinity, won the girls 110-pound championship at Saturday's Class 6A Region II wrestling meet after a Coppell wrestler forfeited the final. Beggs, a junior, is taking testosterone while transitioning from female to male.

Madeline Rocha's forfeit came 11 days after a lawsuit was filed against the University Interscholastic League by Coppell attorney and wrestling parent Jim Baudhuin, urging the governing body to suspend Beggs because of the use of the steroid. The suit claims that allowing the wrestler to compete while using testosterone exposes other athletes to "imminent threat of bodily harm." Baudhuin's daughter is not in the same weight class as Beggs.
"Today was not about their students winning," said Nancy Beggs, Mack Beggs' grandmother and guardian. "Today was about bias, hatred and ignorance. (Mack Beggs and wrestlers from the Coppell team) have wrestled each other before, they know each other and they were not happy with this."
Mack Beggs began taking testosterone treatments in October 2015, according to posts he made on social media. The three-time state qualifier identifies as male but must compete against girls because of two UIL rules. One policy states student-athletes must compete as the gender listed on their birth certificate. Another specifically prohibits boys from wrestling girls and vice versa.
So basically it is a crazy rule forcing us even with trans boys who  are taking “T” are forced to play on the girls team.
The Texas Education Code and UIL rules prevent steroid use, but the code has a "safe harbor" provision that allows a student to use steroids if they are "dispensed, prescribed, delivered and administered by a medical practitioner for a valid medical purpose.
The NCAA rules allows are,
NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete ParticipationThe following policies clarify participation of transgender student-athletes undergoing hormonal treatment for gender transition:
1. A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for purposes of NCAA competition may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a  women’s team without changing that team status to a mixed team.
2. A trans female (MTF) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for the purposes of NCAA competition may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.
So because of the state’s prejudice against trans people they create these nightmare rules that just don’t make sense and buck national policy.

Geek Challenge

Over the past couple of months I have been trying to load Ubuntu Linux on to a bootable thump drive and I finally succeeded. I mainly did it to use a video editor program called Open Shot but while working on that I came across a RTS game (Real Time Strategy) called 0 A.D. and I am hooked on it.

I figured out how to increase the population and territory, now I am trying to figure out how to enter town phase.  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Non-Profits & Churches

Churches are non-profits not because they are churches but because they are also a corporation and a tax exempt non-profit. The law for non-profits is quit specific you cannot endorse a candidate or political party, but you are allowed to lobby for or against a law up to a certain point.
Utah, LDS Church join 'friend of court' briefs in transgender bathroom case
Deseret News
By Tad Walch
Published: Feb. 17, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church is one of six faith groups that have filed a joint "friend of the court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing a federal ruling that allows transgender students to use bathrooms matching their stated gender identity.

The brief's purpose "is to inform the court about the sharp clashes with religious belief and practice that will arise if the court interprets the term 'sex' in Title IX to include gender identity," according to a copy of the brief posted by scotusblog.com.

The friends listed in the brief are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Christian Legal Society.
I do not like churches to get involved with legislation, it is their right to do so but I don’t like it. They have too much power over the followers… “You are going to hell! If you don’t pick up your phones and call your legislators to vote against the bill!”

What they are doing is trying to force everyone else to follow their beliefs whether it is abortion, deciding when to end your own life or if you are LGBT. The First Amendment says in part,
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
Since the beginning of the Republic it has been interpreted to mean that government could not interfere with what went on inside the church. Now the far right is trying to change that to mean in their everyday life so that they can discriminate against people that they don’t like.

Think about that for a second. Does that mean that someone can discriminate against LGBT people? If they is true, does it mean that you can discriminate against someone because they are black? What about against other religions? And to carry it to the ultimate extreme would they be able to have animal or human sacrifice?

If you say no to human sacrifice then where do you draw the line? Or for that matter who draws the line?

Good Morning, Class. Good Morning, Class. Class? Class!?

Those words made immortal by Sister Mary Elephant while she tries to get the attention of the students, back then if you were trans you could expect to get fired and now you probably a 50/50 chance of getting fried depending upon where you live.
Transgender professor teaches tolerance along with math
Orlando Sentinel
By Gabrielle Russon
February 17, 2017

The professor wastes no time to make a revealing announcement on the first day of class.

Students signed up for Kimberly Milton's math class at Valencia College's west campus. But there is no Kimberly —  it’s Kory, their professor says.

"I’m transgender," Milton says matter-of-factly to the sleepy-eyed students in the 8:30 a.m. class in early January.  "If you have any questions whatsoever, I am an open book about my transition. I’m not in hiding. I’m not afraid to be who I am."

There is no visible reaction among his students —  just like he hoped —  and Milton moves on quickly to talk about his syllabus.

For some of his students, Milton is the first transgender person they have ever met. He accepts that he is an ambassador and hopes the lessons from his class run deeper than how to do intermediate algebra.

“I’m glad they can see another positive role model being trans,” Milton says about pushing for respect in his classroom. “We’re normal people, just like you, who live everyday lives.”
When I do guest lecturers most of the time the professors doesn’t mention that I’m trans and that is the way I like it. When I gave a lecture at a Catholic college this is what some of the students said,
After meeting Diana during Tuesday’s class, I immediately thought about my personal reflection paper and what lessons where taught to me growing up in church and in my family. In all honesty, I never thought I would ever have a lengthy conversation or receive a lecture from someone transgender just based on my upbringing.


This week, the biggest eye-opener and learning moments came from the reading and the class visit from Diana.
By standing up in front of the class professor Milton is bringing change to many lives beyond his wildest dreams. We bring about change because we are willing to come out and be teacher.

One time I was waiting for our reservations at a restaurant in downtown Hartford and this group was just leaving the restaurant and a woman stopped and said to me, “You probably don’t remember me but you spoke on my social work class. And because of your lecture I knew when to do when a client came out to me as trans.”

When you stand up in front of a class you are like a snowball rolling downhill getting bigger and bigger. Professor Milton is creating something that brings change not to those in his class but also to all that his students touch.

For those of you who don't know who Sister Mary Elephant is and for those of you who do here is a video from Cheech & Chong.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday 9: Johnny Angel

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Johnny Angel (1962)

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

1) In this song, a girl sings that she'd rather spend a quiet evening at home than go out on a date. How about you? Do you enjoy quiet time? Or do you prefer keeping a busy calendar?
I enjoy quiet time but sometimes it does become a little too much.

2) She dreams of how her life with Johnny would be. What did you most recently daydream about?
Winning Powerball.

3) Shelley never considered herself a singer and is more comfortable acting. A costar on The Donna Reed Show, she was pressured to make this record by the show's producer, who wanted extra exposure for the show by having this song on the radio. Tell us about a time you ventured outside your comfort zone.
Every day when I go out, especially in today’s political climate.

4) Elvis said she was his favorite leading lady, and she appeared with him in three films. What qualities do you appreciate in a coworker?
They do their work.

5) She met her close friend and fellow teen star Annette Funicello when they were 12 and attended the same Catechism class. What do you recall from your middle-school years?
Not much. I don’t even remember much about high school. This year it has been fifty years since I graduated from high school

6) After The Donna Reed Show, Shelly went on to a recurring role on One Day at a Time and was twice nominated for an Emmy for her work on Coach. Her husband is Mike Farrell, who played BJ on M*A*S*H. Which of those four sitcoms would you enjoy binge watching?
I have been watching Barney Miller and Johnny Carson on one of the cable channels.

7) In 1962, the year this song was popular, is also the year Jack Nicklaus began his successful pro golf career. Do you enjoy playing golf? Watching it on TV?
Miniature golf, yes. Regular golf, no. And I don’t watch golf on TV

TWO Random Questions (especially for Harriet):

8) A 2013 study said most Americans will have 12 romantic relationships in their lifetime. Does this mean you've had more or less than your share?
Way less.

9) It's closing time at the mall and you find yourself accidentally locked in a toy store. You call the police and they say someone will be there in about half an hour to rescue you. While you wait, will you play with any toys? (If so, which ones?)
Probable not, I don’t even know what toys kids play with now.

I will be away all weekend so I don't know when I will be able to reply to your posts.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Trans People In Television

Okay, those who follow my blog know that one of my pet peeves is when something says “LGBT” and it isn’t. Well it happened again, this time in the New York Times, oh they threw us a bone but they ignored most of the televisions shows with a trans character with a recurring role.
14 TV Shows That Broke Ground With Gay and Transgender Characters
By Kathryn Shattuck
February 16, 2017

Last year was a remarkable time when it came to the representation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer regular characters on television, according to the latest Glaad report monitoring diversity on the small screen. But that milestone, along with more accurate story lines and fewer stereotypes, has been a long time coming — a turbulent 45-year trajectory from television movies to single episodes involving secondary players to fully fleshed-out characters central to a show’s story line. “All of these moments are very important in one way or another, either in progressing our lives as L.G.B.T.Q. people, or being able to help people understand who we are, especially in those times when so many people lived hidden and invisible,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and chief executive of Glaad (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). The following are some of the most momentous.
And they threw us a bone in naming two trans shows…
2013 — ‘ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK’ This Netflix series tells the story of a women’s correctional facility and its diverse cast of inmates, including the transgender Sophia (Laverne Cox) and the lesbian Poussey (Samira Wiley), who is killed off in Season 4 — the latest fatality in a 40-year string of lesbian deaths on television, beginning with Julie (Geraldine Brooks) in “Executive Suite” in 1976.

2014 — ‘TRANSPARENT’ This Amazon show stars Jeffrey Tambor as the patriarch of a California family who is transitioning late in life to the woman he has always identified as. Inspired by her own transgender parent, the show’s creator, Jill Soloway, makes a point of putting transgender people both in front of and behind the camera.
So what shows did they leave out?
All in the Family
Brave New Girls
Bosom Buddies
Dirty Sexy Money
The Education of Max Bickford
Golden Girls
The Jeffersons
Married... with Children
Then there are a whole hosts of crime dramas that had trans characters such as NCIS, Law & Order, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and others. There were a number of Soaps that also had trans characters including All My Children that had a number of trans people on who I know.
So once again we got short sticked when it comes to LGBt.

Here is a excerpt from the support scene in All My Children...

We Won A Battle

This time it is out on the West coast in the state of Washington, you may remember the florist who wouldn’t sell flowers to a gay couple well she had her time in court.
A Florist Who Refused A Gay Couple Just Lost At The Washington State Supreme Court
Barronelle Stutzman claimed her Christian faith exempted her from the state’s LGBT nondiscrimination law. The Washington Supreme Court disagreed, unanimously.
By Dominic Holden
February 16,

The Washington State Supreme Court on Thursday ruled unanimously against a Christian florist who had refused to sell flowers for a gay couple’s wedding, despite the florist’s claim that her religious objections provided legal cover.

Along with the gay couple, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson had sued Arlene’s Flowers in 2013 for violating the state’s nondiscrimination law and consumer protection act.

The court wrote in its 9–0 decision that the law is constitutional because it is a “neutral, generally applicable law that serves our state government’s compelling interest in eradicating discrimination in public accommodations.” As such, the court ruled, “We affirm the trial court’s rulings.”
Anyone want to guess what the religious right had to say about the decision?
FRC Stunned By Washington State Court Ruling that Puts Florist's Own Home at Risk of Seizure
FRC Press Release
February 16, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- Family Research Council (FRC) expressed outrage after the Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling today that puts at risk the home and personal assets of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist shop owner who told two men that she'd be happy to sell them flowers but couldn't -- in good conscience -- arrange them for a wedding ceremony that violated her faith.

Of the decision, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said:

"The Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling tramples on our nation’s long held tradition of respecting the freedom of Americans to follow their deeply held beliefs, especially when it comes to participating in activities and ceremonies that so many Americans consider sacred.

"The court also ignored an opportunity to reaffirm the basic principle that the government may not trample on the constitutional rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion. These rights do not stop at the door of your local church, and instead extend to every area of a religious person's life.

"The government has no authority to force Americans like Barronelle Stutzman to engage in speech and events with which they morally disagree.
Yes they do!

You can’t hide your bigotry behind a cloak of religion. The courts over and over have ruled that bigotry and discrimination are prohibited and there are no special laws exempting bigots.

As I have said over and over again when you open your business to the public you must serve all the of the public, you cannot discriminate because of race, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or any other protected class.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

An Island Of Sanity

New Hampshire is the only New England that doesn’t have protection for us, the last time it came up in the state legislature the bill sponsors didn’t even vote for their bill. But there are islands of rationality in the state, Portsmouth and other towns have ordinances to protect us and now Keene school has passed protection for us.
Keene school board unanimously passes transgender policy
Sentinel Source
By Isaac Stein
February 15, 2017

It’s an issue of national import, and discussion about it has been happening here for several months. But Tuesday night was different — someone who openly identifies with the group being discussed was there to offer her perspective.

Stepping up to the mic during the public comment section of the school board meeting, Keene resident Jordan Mikayla Goodwin expressed support for the proposal on the table — a policy intended to protect transgender and gender nonconforming students in Keene public schools.

Goodwin, 34, is a master’s student in clinical mental health counseling at Antioch University New England, and a transgender woman, meaning she identifies with a gender different from her biological sex. She stressed that she hopes the board treats the issue with nuance as it goes forward.

“I ask you to treat this subject with empathy. Something as simple as having to go down a floor to go to the bathroom can be a hindrance to education and a form of discrimination, because it sets (a student) apart from their peers,” Goodwin said.

She was happy when the bill passed, 8-0. Board members Christine Parshall, Dawn Mutuski, Edward Murdough, George Downing, Jim Carley, Julia Atkins, Kris Roberts and Peter Starkey all voted in favor; Susan Hay was absent.

As written, the Keene policy allows, on a case-by-case basis, transgender students to use restrooms — and generally allows them to use locker rooms — that correspond with the gender they identify with.
It is not the best policy, but it is a start.

No Compromise

It was a good deal and the governor called the Republicans bluff that it is all about safety but the Republicans didn’t want to take the deal.
N. Carolina governor offers 'compromise' repealing LGBT law
February 14, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper proposed Tuesday what he called a compromise to repeal the state's so-called bathroom bill, saying a new measure is designed to allay fears by some over public bathroom safety.

But a powerful leader in the Republican-controlled General Assembly dismissed it, signaling that any agreement between the governor and GOP lawmakers is still distant. Even a close Cooper ally in the gay rights movement said he didn't support the governor's idea, calling the proposal a distraction from a repeal of what's known as House Bill 2.
The proposal does away with House Bill 2 and increases penalties for crimes in public bathrooms, the governor said at a news conference with the top Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. It would also tell local governments seeking ordinances covering sexual orientation and gender identity to give legislators 30 days' notice before doing so.
So it is not really about safety, but more about marginalizing trans people.

The North Caroline Herald Sun in an editorial said,
An HB2 exit strategy

It’s becoming a depressingly familiar minuet in Raleigh.

Opponents of House Bill 2, the disastrous “bathroom bill” that has dinged the state’s economy and dented its image, try another route to persuade the General Assembly to repeal it.

The Republican leadership slaps it down with not so much as a hint of discussion, and the chances of our forestalling years as a desert for major athletic competitions fade yet closer to zero.

Gov. Roy Cooper, who thought he had worked a deal for the legislature to repeal the bill in the closing days of the last session, took another shot at the impasse Tuesday. He proposed what he called a “common-sense compromise” that would repeal the law while imposing stricter penalties for bathroom crimes. It also would require cities to notify the legislature 30 days in advance before adopting local non-discrimination ordinances.
He [Senate Republican leader Phil Berger] repeated the unsubstantiated claim by HB2 proponents that it would enable men to infiltrate women’s restrooms and locker rooms. “Heterosexual men will be able to access women’s showers and bathrooms by simply posing as a transgender individual,” he argued.
The Republicans had a chance to save face but they stood by their ideology to marginalize the LGBT community.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Public Accommodation

Various laws define public accommodation differently but they all have one thing in common, public accommodation is any place that is open to the general public. That means if the place is allows anyone to use their facilities, to shop, sleep, live or proved care you cannot restrict protected classes from using your place. If you restrict it to only members of your religious order to use your facilities then you are not a public accommodation, but if you allow anyone in then you cannot not discriminate.

Hospitals are public accommodation because when they apply for a license they agree to accept anyone who walks through their doors, if they don’t want to do that then don’t apply for a license if you only want to limit it to people of your religion.
Catholic hospital denies unfair bias against transgender man
By The Associated Press
February 14, 2017

TRENTON -- A Catholic hospital denies that it unfairly discriminated against a transgender man who sued after the hospital refused to allow a surgeon to remove the man's uterus as part of his sex transition.

Saint Joseph's Healthcare System said that a court ruling in Jionni Conforti's favor would violate its constitutional right to freedom of religion. The hospital filed its response to the lawsuit Friday in federal court.

The 33-year-old Totowa man had scheduled the hysterectomy at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson in 2015. His lawsuit alleges a hospital administrator told him the hospital couldn't perform the procedure to remove his uterus because it is a Catholic hospital.

The hospital said in its response that Conforti's claims are barred by the First Amendment and that the court system shouldn't be able to interpret ethical and religious directives from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops followed by the hospital. The directives say procedures judged "morally wrong" by the church don't have to be performed.
An email cited in the lawsuit from the hospital's director of mission services, Father Martin Rooney, said it couldn't allow the surgery because it's a Catholic hospital.
Do they treat only Catholics at their hospital… no. They are only owned by the Catholics therefore they are a public accommodation and must treat al medically necessary procedures, if a woman’s need an abortion to protect her life they must perform it.

Can you imagine a pregnant woman is in an auto accident and the ambulance is rushing her to the nearest hospital? There the doctors determine that she needs an abortion or she will die but say they cannot do it because it is against their policy to perform abortions.

That is why hospitals should not be allowed to discriminate.

Unfortunately there is a bill that is being decided in Washington that will allow the woman to die and for hospitals to legally not treat us, the bill is called the “Religious Freedom Act” when I reality it is the Religious Special Rights Act that allows people to discriminate against up.

So if you are in a car accident and you call 911 the police officer, the EMTs, the hospitals, and the doctors can all legally refuse to help you. The next time you go to fill a prescription the pharmacist could refuse to wait on you.

You say that can’t happen here, we have state laws to protect us… WRONG. If Congress passes the law they can say that anyone who receives federal funds must follow the law, well federal laws supersedes state laws.

You Have To Stop And Wonder If They Have Ever Read The Constitution?

A Republican legislator in Arkansas is introducing a bill to not recognize marriage equality.
Arkansas Will Hear Bill To Dismantle Marriage Equality On Valentine’s Day
What a way to celebrate.
Huffington Post
By Cavan Sieczkowski
February 14, 2017

Arkansas is looking to deliver a blow to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality on none other than Valentine’s Day.

Republican Senator Jason Rapert’s Senate Joint Resolution 7, filed last week, says “Nothing in this Constitution or in the constitution or laws of any state may define or be construed to define marriage except as the 2 union of one man and one woman, and no other union shall be recognized with 3 legal incidents thereof within the United States or any place subject to 4 their jurisdiction.”

A hearing is set for Tuesday, according to Pink News, to consider the motion.

Thirty-four states need to call for the constitutional convention, and 38 states are required for the amendment to be added to the Constitution.
This is scary in that the senator said ““Nothing in this Constitution or in the constitution or laws of any state may define or be construed to define marriage…” didn’t he read the Supreme Court ruling? The court found that both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution apply to same-sex marriage.

Then passing a Constitutional Amendment is within the realm of possibilities, over half the states have either a Republican controlled legislature or the governor, it wouldn’t too many other states to come on board.