Friday, March 31, 2017

Is Visibility Hurting Us?

On this day of Transgender Visibility does it end up hurting us? Or should we remain back in the shadows.
I remember back when we were trying to pass the non-discrimination bill for us we were debating should we try to pass the bill under the radar of the opposition or in the light of day? We chose the daylight. But has that created a backlash?
Whatever Happened to the Transgender Tipping Point?
After the optimism of 2014—the ‘Transgender Tipping Point’ as decreed by Time magazine—trans people are facing an onslaught of legislative prejudice.
The Daily Beat
By Samantha Allen
March 31, 2017

In 2014, Time magazine announced “The Transgender Tipping Point.”
Laverne Cox adorned the cover in a blue dress.

The author of the cover story, Katy Steinmetz, declared that “another civil rights movement is poised to challenge long-held cultural norms and beliefs,” chalking up the emergence of “new policies” to the “new transparency” that transgender people were exhibiting after “emerging from the margins to fight for an equal place in society.”

The narrative was clear: Transgender visibility was good. It could change the country. And although Steinmetz herself was careful to qualify that the “transgender revolution still has a long way to go,” Time’s headline made it seem like a critical threshold had been crossed. Progress is linear, it supposed, and there is no going back.

That narrative—I am sad to say on March 31, the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV)—is wrong.
Is it wrong?

Or is this what happens when the opposition is forced back into a corner?
If 2014 ever could have been described as a “Transgender Tipping Point,” we might say that we’re now in the “Transgender Dipping Point”—a moment when, despite increases in media representation, the sort of tangible progress that felt within our grasp a few years ago may now have been delayed well into the next decade or beyond.
Those who are old enough remember Anita Bryant and the “Save Our Children” campaign to force lesbians and gays back into the closet back in the late seventies, it all started because of a Florida   county ordinance that banned discrimination in areas of housing, employment, and public accommodation based on sexual orientation. Sound familiar?

The article goes on to say,
In 2016, in an essay for the Pacific Standard entitled “After the Transgender Tipping Point,” Melissa Gira Grant warned that the “flip side of visibility—especially when it appears to be sudden, and media-driven is vulnerability.”
If we want our rights, we are going to face pushback from not only the opposition but also from our so called allies when it doesn’t align with their goals. You cannot bring about change from the shadows, maybe is you have power and money you can do that but for us we have to be visible, you have to sit at tables, you have to go and shake your legislator’s hand, you have to attend rallies, and you have to write letters to the editors and sign your name to the letters.

But as I said this morning make sure you are safe.

Are You Out?

You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you.
Harvey Milk

Today is Transgender Day of Visibility.

On days like today’s I also have mixed feelings, one part of me knows that being out changes peoples’ minds. I was tabling for CT TransAdvocay Coalition at the Women’s March on Washington event in New London and the next day I got this email,
"I attended the Walk event yesterday at Conn College, and while there, I had the pleasure of talking with one of your representatives. Transgender issues are something about which I know very little, and I have never knowingly met someone who identifies as transgender. (That's not to say I have never met someone, just that I was not aware.)

To spend a few minutes speaking with your representative had a profound impact on me. I can't even explain why, except to say that being able to speak to someone has taken the issue out of the abstract for me.

I intend to educate myself more about transgender issues, and I hope to have an opportunity to stand as an ally for transgender people. Thank you for attending the event."
We do make a difference.

But then there is this from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey,

  • One in ten (10%) reported that an immediate family member had been violent towards them because they were transgender.
  • Fifteen percent (15%) ran away from home and/or were kicked out of the house because they were transgender.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents who were out or perceived as transgender in K–12 had one or more negative experiences, such as being verbally harassed, prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, or physically or sexually assaulted.
  • Fifty-four percent (54%) of people who were out or perceived as transgender in K–12 were verbally harassed, and 24% were physically attacked.
  • “The day I came out as transgender at work, I was let go. Since transitioning, employment has been difficult, with a 95% reduction in earnings.”
  • “I quit after seven months of unbearable working conditions. I have been struggling to keep afloat financially. I’m afraid of going to apply for unemployment or SNAP benefits because I know that I will be discriminated against. I’m on the brink of being homeless and my own family hasn’t even reached out to help me.”

Coming out has risks you could lose your family and friends; you could end up homeless or jobless.

So I say if you are thinking about coming out ask yourself these questions… Is it safe? Is there danger of violence? Do I have a support network if things go badly?

Once you come out you can never go back, saying “I was only kidding” just doesn’t work and once you come your life will never be the same.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Big Deal!

Why is this news?

Most states have been doing this already.
The Latest: Transgender Inmates Could Have Bras, Cosmetics
Transgender California prison inmates could have bras, cosmetics and other personal items corresponding to their gender identities under newly proposed regulations.
U.S. News and World Report
March 28, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California transgender inmates, (all times local):

6 p.m.
Transgender California prison inmates could have bras, cosmetics and other personal items corresponding to their gender identities under newly proposed regulations.

The state corrections department filed the rules Tuesday in response to a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit earlier led California to become the first state to provide taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery to an inmate.

Transgender female inmates housed in men's facilities could have feminine undergarments, lip gloss and mascara, for instance, while transgender male inmates in women's prisons could wear aftershave and boxers.
Whoopy Do! Connecticut has been doing this all along, when I did training at a local prison the social worker told they get the trans inmates clothes from the Niantic women’s prison.
2:34 p.m.
California officials say the first U.S. inmate to have taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery [Ugh! It is Gender Confirming Surgery or Gender Affirming Surgery] again has access to a razor after she complained that she was being forced to grow a beard and mustache.

Corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Tuesday that 57-year-old Shiloh Quine was recently moved into the general inmate population at the Central California Women's Facility.

There she can have a razor and other property that wasn't allowed for nearly two months while she was being evaluated as a new inmate.

Thornton says the same rules apply to all female inmates.

The convicted murderer was transferred to the women's prison last month after having surgery in January.

She complained in a court filing that her facial hair was making the transition to life as a woman more difficult.
From what I understand the Connecticut corrections commissioner is supposed to be working on a policy for trans inmates but as far as I know not one trans person has been invited into the discussion.

They Are At It Again

People say I pick on Republicans but except for one case anti-trans and anti-LGBT legislation have all been introduced by Republicans.  The Republicans say they are for less regulation and get government out of our lives but it turns out that is not true. They want to control what we do with our bodies.
44 MN House Republicans back ban on transgender employees using the bathroom
The Column
By Andy Birkey
March 21, 2017

A striking fourty-four Republicans have cosponsored a bill in the Minnesota House that would block businesses and other employers from providing gender-neutral restrooms or from enacting policies that allow transgender employees to use appropriate restrooms. The bill, like one introduced in the Minnesota Senate on Friday, amends the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the nation’s first nondiscrimination law barring discrimination based on gender identity.

HF 3374 and its identical counterpart HF 3395 defines “sex” as “A person’s sex is either male or female as biologically defined.” The bill does not mention people who fall outside the male-female binary such as those who are intersex, nor those whose sex designations have been legally changed under Minnesota law.

The bill prohibits employers as well as schools and universities from having gender-inclusive policies. While it allows for single occupancy gender neutral facilities, it would block all-gender restrooms and would prevent transgender people from using the appropriate restroom even if an employer has inclusive policies.
A little background… Minneapolis Minnesota in 1975 was the first place in the U.S. that passed a gender inclusive non-discrimination law and that was followed in 1993 with the state passing a broad sexual orientation non-discrimination law.
 "Sexual orientation" is defined as "having or being perceived as having an emotional, physical, or sexual attachment to another person without regard to the sex of that person or having or being perceived as having an orientation for such attachment, or having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one's biological maleness or femaleness. [My emphases]"Sexual orientation" does not include a physical or sexual attachment to children by an adult."
Do you know how many trans people sexually assaulted a person in a bathroom in all these years? Zero! Not one trans person attacked a person in a bathroom. So why do they need to change the law?

I tell you why… MONEY! VOTES!

They do not care that the law will marginalize us, they do not care if the law increases violence against us, they do not care that we are being killed because it brings campaign donations, it brings in votes from far right religious base.

They say they want to get government off of our backs, but it was a Republican that introduced a bill to require vaginal ultrasounds before terminating a pregnancy. It was a Connecticut Republican who introduced a bill to require an ultrasound test before terminating a pregnancy even if the doctor didn’t think one is necessary.

Down in North Carolina they are once again trying to repeal HB2.
North Carolina Lawmakers Announce Deal to Repeal ‘Bathroom Bill’
NBC News
By Alexander Smith and AP
March 30, 2017

Lawmakers struck what they heralded as a breakthrough deal late Wednesday with a proposal to repeal North Carolina's controversial "bathroom bill."

The original legislation passed last year prohibits transgender people from using public bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity, and sparked a huge political and financial backlash.

The proposed reversal — which will be debated and voted on Thursday — has incensed gay-rights activists, who want nothing short of an unconditional repeal of the divisive House Bill 2.
But once again the Republicans are only giving lip service to the people because they bill does not repeal HB 2.
This is because the new plan would not cancel out the legislation entirely but replace it with a new law. The new framework would give the state final say over multi-stall restrooms and ensure "women and girls should not have to share bathrooms with men," according to its backers.

Unimpressed, activists alleged the proposal was "simply another version" of the old law, and was merely an attempt by officials to stop the financial hemorrhage sparked by its passing.
The governor ran on repealing HB 2 but he cops out.
Their proposed legislation would have several effects: repeal House Bill 2; leave state legislators in charge of policy over multi-stall restrooms; and put a temporary halt on local governments passing nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020, something they said would allow time for ongoing court cases about transgender issues to play out.

It was one of those ordinances (a law passed by a municipal government) that prompted North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature to pass House Bill 2 in the first place. Lawmakers said they wanted to stop an ordinance passed in the city of Charlotte allowing transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

This Is Something That I Preach

When I was on Face the State Sunday morning talking heads show and the host kept on harping on bathrooms and locker rooms, I said everyone wants privacy and that should be the goal. The same is true for homelass shelters.
Better locker rooms: It’s not just a transgender thing
Sport Management professor George B. Cunningham and Gender Studies director Erin E. Buzuvis look at what can be done to make locker rooms safe – for transgender people and everyone else.
Pink News UK
By George B Cunningham and Erin E Buzuvis
28th March 2017

Most of these court cases also apply to student athlete access to locker rooms and question schools’ obligations to provide appropriate facilities as well as the rights transgender athletes have to access these facilities.

The result has been considerable debate over how to accommodate the needs of transgender athletes. As researchers who focus on diversity and inclusion in sport, we see significant changes in the ways trans athletes are treated and believe there are pragmatic solutions available that will serve all athletes.
To illustrate, consider the case of a high school in Palatine, Illinois. There, a transgender female athlete was permitted to play on girls’ teams, but she was excluded from the girls’ locker room. The locker room contained private changing areas that the student intended to use. Nevertheless, she was forced to use a private changing area located in another part of the building. The Department of Education found this exclusion to violate the student’s civil rights and eventually reached an agreement with the school district that now permits the student to access the girls’ locker room.
More and more schools are going to single changing stalls.
Privacy, on the other hand, is a relevant consideration, but not a reason to exclude transgender athletes from gender-appropriate locker rooms. Rather, privacy is a concern for many students faced with the prospect of communal showers and large undifferentiated changing areas. It would seem that most individuals – irrespective of their gender identity and expression – don’t want to change in the open or bathe in gang showers.

Back when I was in college in the dark ages of 1970s the college that I attended had individual changing stalls. Each stall had a bench, a locker and a shower. If they could do it back then, then why don’t they do it now?

This afternoon I am on a panel at a local law school discussing non-binary gender at their “Breaking the Binary”

We Lost A Battle

Out in Colorado the Birth Certificate died in the Republican Senate committee.
Colorado Senate kills bill on transgender birth certificates
The Gazette
By: Joey Bunch
March 28, 2017

The LGBTQ agenda in the Colorado statehouse is officially retired for the rest of the session, as a Senate committee killed a bill to make it easier for transgender people to amend their birth certificate.

House Bill 1122 died on a 3-2 party-line vote in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Monday for a third year in a row.

The same committee last week killed legislation to ban gay conversion therapy by licensed mental health professionals.
And why did the Republicans vote against the bill?
Republicans on the committee said it was about preserving an important government record of history.

"It no longer constrains people from living as who they want to be, who they are," said Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs. "It doesn't preclude those decisions that happen later on and the full expression of those decisions.

"The question for us is what should be the criteria for changing a birthday certificate, for changing a state document that records an actual event on which a host of other things are built upon."
Which is pure CRAP, the only thing a birth certificate is used for is to citizenship and identification, it is not a historic document!

And get a load of this excuses…
Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, said it's important in identifying bodies. She told the story of the paperwork she went through getting a divorce, changing her last name and going to court, just as transgender people have to do now to change a birth certificate.

She also talked about DNA was used to identify her ex-husband after a plane crash. Marble said changing the gender on a birth certificate could impede identifying bodies.
At one time it was the Republicans who saw the need to change our birth certificates, in 1965 ten states have passed laws to change birth certificates. They did it so we could get jobs and married and lead productive lives. But now they see that by demonizing and marginalizing us they can get votes and campaign donations.

And also notice that they are don’t care that those who have conversion therapy are more likely to take their lives or have mental health issues thought out their life, or that ever professional medical association condemns the practices.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Will Connecticut Landlords Pay Attention?

Face it we face discrimination everywhere including in housing even through it is banned by law. But they are now getting stung by an angry bee.
Most transgender renters see discrimination
Boston Globe
By Kay Lazar
March 28, 2017

One prospective renter was offered a steep discount on an apartment security deposit, from $2,000 to $500. But there was no reduction for a second applicant.

The difference between the renters? The one who got inferior treatment was transgender. The other was not.

Transgender people frequently encounter disparate treatment while apartment hunting in Greater Boston — even though Massachusetts law prohibits such discrimination, according to a study from Suffolk University Law School that outside analysts said is among the largest projects documenting such bias.

The Suffolk team found evidence of discrimination in more than 60 percent of the apartment shopping encounters studied.
The discrimination is wide spread,
Transgender renters and those who are gender nonconforming — whose behavior or appearance does not match their gender of birth — were 21 percent less likely to be offered a financial incentive, compared with those who are not transgender, according to the study.

Similarly, the transgender and gender nonconforming renters were 27 percent less likely to be shown additional areas of an apartment complex, compared with the other study participants. And they were 9 percent more likely to be quoted a higher rental price.
How did the sting work?
Each pair of prospective renters would respond to a randomly selected ad for an apartment. One would meet with the rental agent, then the other. Transgender participants were trained to let the agent know, in as natural a manner as possible, about their gender orientation.

For example, they would ask whether a credit or background check would be conducted. If so, they were trained to say that a credit check would reveal a different legal name because the person is transgender and uses a different name.
Anzalota [Director of the Boston’s Office of Fair Housing and Equity] said transgender people who call her office about discrimination have been reluctant to file a formal complaint, fearing retaliation and further discrimination. She said her office is working to encourage more trust from the community, and to educate people in the real estate market about discrimination laws
Does that happen here in Connecticut most likely. We know that there is discrimination against us here in Connecticut but we need people to come forward, but it is hard especially for someone who is marginalized in fear of being blackballed by other landlords.

I know that there is a non-profit that works with those who have been discriminated against in housing and they are all primed to do a sting on landlords who discriminate against trans people.

Another State Sees The Light

Slowly state legislators and governors are realizing that they are going too far and are killing anti-trans bills.
Montana Lawmakers Vote Against Transgender Bathroom Bill
A Montana legislative panel has rejected a bill that called for a statewide vote on whether to bar transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that don't match their gender at birth.
US News and World Report
March 27, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana legislative panel has rejected a bill that called for a statewide vote on whether to bar transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that don't match their gender at birth.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-7 against the bill on Monday. It is likely dead, though it could be revived if enough votes flip in the committee or if a majority of representatives blast it to the House floor.
Hopefully this trend will continue in other states like Arkansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma. But I doubt very much if Congress will see the light because they don’t care what the people think, they have their agenda and by God nothing will change them.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Julie Comes Through

We are seeing an increase in television shows with trans characters in all types of shows and now Julie Andrews add Muppets to the list.
Julie Andrews’ New Children’s Show Features A Gender-Neutral Puppet
"If pressed we'd say she's a girl, but maybe not forever."
By Christopher Rudolph
March 22, 2017

Oscar-winning actress Julie Andrews is back on the screen, this time in her new Netflix children’s series, Julie’s Greenroom.

The show is a Jim Henson production and focuses on Andrews as she teaches five children known as the “greenies” about “the magic of the performing arts.

The students are racially diverse and include Hank, a piano-playing prodigy who uses a wheelchair and Riley, who is gender-neutral.
Will the show attract an audience or will it go the way of Doubt with Laverne Cox. Is the public ready for a gender neutral character?

I have been busy with the Trans Health and Law Conference and a number of other stuff on my plate, including keeping a BSW intern busy so my post has been short and sweet

One Saw The Light

One Texas Republican has seen the light and will vote against SB 6 the anti-trans bill.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus: ‘Count Me as a No’ on ‘Bathroom Bill’
The San Antonio Republican said Senate Bill 6 is ‘unnecessary’ and the product of a ‘manufactured’ problem.
The Texas Observer
By Kolten Parker and Lyanne A. Guarecuco
March 24, 2017

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus came out swinging against the “bathroom bill” during a livestreamed interview Friday.

“I oppose it … I’d never even heard about [this issue] until a year or two ago … Count me as a no,” Straus said during a sit-down at the University of Texas at Austin with Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at UT.

The San Antonio Republican, who was elected unanimously by House members as speaker this session, has said previously that Senate Bill 6 was not a priority for the House, as it is for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and the Senate.

But Straus made his opposition to the proposal crystal clear Friday, adding that for SB 6 to get this much attention at the Legislature is “astounding,” and the measure seems “manufactured and unnecessary.”
Does it mean the bill is dead?

I hope so and I hope other legislators around the country get the message.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

With All The Changes In Washington

With all the changes going on with travel regulations we are starting to face stronger scrutiny by the TSA when trans people travel by air.
Tripping Perspective
Transgender passengers uneasy about TSA shift on pat-downs
Washington Post
By Fredrick Kunkle
March 25, 2017

When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a recent shift toward a more aggressive and uniform policy on pat-downs at airport checkpoints, transgender people had special reason to be wary.

Transgender passengers have used social media to document humiliating and sometimes hostile experiences at airport checkpoints in recent years. Given the apparent change on transgender policies already signaled by the Trump administration, some LGBT advocates are worried.

“Every time transgender people navigate airport security they risk being demeaned and humiliated. While the Transportation Security Administration has taken steps to better protect the privacy of transgender passengers, there is a long way to go,” David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a written statement. “More invasive pat downs are a dangerous step in the wrong direction.”
But even when we tell them we are trans we still run into problems,
Melville has asked the security officers to set the machine to the male setting and been refused because of her appearance. But when the machine operates on the female setting, it sets off an alarm that requires her to submit to a pat-down. She said she has tried alerting TSA personnel that she’s transgender but is often ignored, despite the TSA’s stated policies. The Advocate magazine wrote last year that the TSA’s policy on using body scanners would likely cause transgender and gender-nonconforming people to be regularly subjected to intrusive examinations.
I have been through security checkpoints twice this month, but in both case once when I went in to the Legislative Office Building (LOB) and the other time was Friday when I went in to the courthouse to do training and I set off the alarms. The first time I set off the metal detector and the officers frisked me down with a hand held detector and the second time something in my pocketbook caused the officer to look into my pocketbook (My guess that it was my remote clicker because of its handle). Both times the officers were respectful. But they were not TSA.

I have a feeling that it is only going to get worst with the Trump administration, I don’t even think they have gotten started changing the TSA regulations.

What Do We Do?

There is a transphobic bus touring around the northeast and there is a big debate over what we should do about it.

It was vandalized down in New York and the opposition made a big deal about it, the Advocate said,
 The "free speech" bus, which is managed by anti-LGBT groups International Organization for the Family and National Organization for Marriage, was parked outside of an event at the United Nations, when it was spray painted with the words "trans liberation," reported USA Today. While it was parked, two people keyed the bus, cracked several windows with a hammer and spray painted the bus, Brian Brown, president of NOM told USA Today.
In reference to the attack on the bus, Brown said, "If they thought that would silence us, they were totally wrong."
I am against any form of violence and destroying property.

So the question is what should we as a community do about provocations like this?

Some are in favor of ignoring it, they say by protesting it we draw attention to it and encourages other anti-LGBT groups to do thing like the bus.

Some want civil disobedience, blocking the bus by lying down in front of it or blocking it in.

Others want peaceful demonstrations.

My suggestion was to block it from view like they did with the angels in Laramie Wyoming with bed sheets.

What are your thoughts? What is the best way to protest the bus or even if we should protest the bus?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Heat of the Moment

Saturday 9: The Heat of the Moment (1982)

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

1) What's something you did or said "in the heat of the moment?"
I don’t usually do things in the “heat of the moment,” I am slow and methodical.

2) Asia's founder and bass player, John Wetton, passed away in January. One of his bandmates remembered him as a reliable performer who made everyone around him look better. Do you enjoy being the center of attention? Or would you, like Mr. Wetton, prefer to play a supporting role?
I rather be on the shadows, when you are in the spotlight you get hit with a lot of sharp barbs.

3) Asia is a British band who played their first US concert at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. The nearest major city -- Ottawa, Canada -- is a 90-minute drive from Pottsdam. When you were last in the car for an hour or more? Where were you going?
Yesterday (see my answer to question #9) when I went to court* in Danielson CT.

4) The song refers to disco hot spots, which apparently, by 1982, no one wanted to go to anymore. Let's make that negative into a positive. Describe your perfect night out with friends. Where would you go?
Dinner and a play, anywhere there is a theater and I have gone to about a half a dozen different theaters.

5) In 1982, the year this song was popular, someone laced bottles of Tylenol with cyanide. That's why we now have tamper-proof caps on many products. Have you used anything in a tamper-proof bottle yet today?
Yes, I think the next time I order my meds I will request regular bottles.

6) In 1982, Time Magazine's Person of the Year wasn't a person at all, it was "the computer." What do you use your computer for most often?
Everything! I use my laptop for work, suffering the web, games, and to keep my papers rom blowing around.

7) 1982 also saw the premiere of The Weather Channel. Where do you learn the day's weather forecast? (Watching the local news on TV, checking your phone, looking out the window ...)
Mostly from the TV, but I have a weather bug on my homepage.

8) In 1982, Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie, Conan the Barbarian, was a hit in theaters. When you settle down to watch a movie, is it usually a fantasy, like Conan? Or do you prefer another genre (action, comedy, adventure, romance, drama, classic ...).
I like SiFi, and old classic mystery or spy movies.  But I don’t like horror or monster SiFi movies, my favorite is Outlander.

9) Random question: What is something you try to avoid?
Going through Hartford during rush hour, which I couldn’t do yesterday. It took 40 minutes to drive from way up in the northeast corner of Connecticut which is about 40 miles and 40 minutes to go the 5 miles through Hartford.

*I did training for the court staff and judges.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Written Out

When we try to pass legislation or seek grants one of the questions that we face is how many people does this affect? We use various sources to answer these types of questions; we use the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, the Census, and other government research to justify our needs. But when surveys and other researchers don’t ask questions it becomes harder for us to validate the needs of the community.
Federal surveys trim LGBT questions, alarming advocates
ABC News
By Matt Sedensky
March 20, 2017

LGBT advocates are questioning the Trump administration's quiet deletion of questions on sexuality from two federal surveys.

Combined with the withdrawal of another planned survey evaluating the effectiveness of a homelessness project for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, the moves have alarmed watchdogs who worry they may point to a manipulation of government data collection to serve the ideology of a government they view as hostile to their causes.

"In an age when LGBT rights are such a part of the national discussion, the Trump administration is choosing to not only ignore us but erase us from the discussion," said Laura Durso, vice president of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, a nonprofit liberal advocacy group. She worried officials might be rolling back such data collection elsewhere.

Each year, a survey done by the Department of Health and Human Services gathers data from those receiving transportation, homemaker and meal services, visiting senior centers, or taking part in other programs funded by the Older Americans Act. A draft of this year's National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, released this month, removes a single query asking whether a respondent is gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual from a battery of demographic questions.

A second HHS-sponsored survey, the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living, gathers feedback on counseling, skills training and other services provided to the disabled. A revised draft posted four days after President Donald Trump's inauguration included a question on sexual orientation, but the survey was subsequently edited, with the deletion of the sexuality question the only apparent notable change.
This could cause us grave consequences; with lose of funding for many LGBT programs and identifying our needs.

It also marginalizes use by denying our existence and I have to wonder if we will be even counted in the next Census.

This afternoon I am going to court.

I am giving Cultural Competency training to state judges and their support staff.

Update 8:20 PM

The bill banning Conversion Therapy was voted out of committee and the next stop is the floor of the House

From The Frying Pan In to The Fire

If you thought that it couldn’t get any worst on the national level you were wrong, it just got a whole lot worst. According to NCTE,
Trump Appoints Radical Anti-LGBT Activist to Lead HHS Civil Rights Office
Roger Severino spent much of his career demeaning and marginalizing LGBT Americans; civil rights groups express deep concern, urge recusal

This statement was co-signed by the Center for American Progress, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Health Law Program, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the National Women's Law Center, and Out 2 Enroll.

President Trump this week quietly appointed anti-LGBT extremist Roger Severino as Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS/OCR). The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), the Center for American Progress (CAP), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Health Law Program, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and Out 2 Enroll expressed grave concern that Severino, whose extreme views opposing women’s rights and transgender people brought him to prominence on the far right, will now be in charge of enforcing the very same civil rights protections he has worked to undermine.
And get a load of this…
Until this week, Severino served as Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society for the Heritage Foundation. There, he authored a report opposing OCR's implementation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex in federally funded health programs. Severino has called the efforts of agencies such as OCR to protect transgender people from discrimination an “abuse of power” wielded “to coerce everyone…into pledging allegiance to a radical new gender ideology.” Contrary the conclusions of most courts to consider the issue, Severino has claimed that applying Section 1557 to gender identity discrimination constitutes a “radical” “redefining” of sex discrimination that is “not justified” by the law.
We just went back to the era of Jim Crow.

And there is still gets even worst…
Further, Severino has falsely asserted that HHS’s 1557 rule “create[s] special privileges based on gender identity” that can “force doctors to perform sex-reassignment surgeries” even when they are not medically necessary. The rule does no such thing. And these medical treatments, which Severino calls “controversial,” are supported by decades of research and the opinions of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, and American Academy of Family Physicians, among others, as being medically necessary for many patients.
And women are not immune to his wrath.
Severino also strongly opposed HHS’s commonsense interpretation of Section 1557 to apply to discrimination related to pregnancy termination, including denying care to patients just because they have previously had an abortion. He has been a staunch opponent of access to contraception and other sexual and reproductive health services, opposing the ACA’s contraceptive access provision and calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
We have elected a psychopathic monster!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Not Good News

I think if you read the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey you will find a lot of the stress that we face is not because of our gender dysphoria but because of social pressures that we face. That stress manifest in many ways and according to Science News one of them is…
Transgender college freshmen drink more, experience more blackouts, study shows
Transgender students had more physical, social, academic problems due to alcohol
March 22, 2017

Duke University Medical Center
A survey of more than 422,000 college freshmen found that students who identified as transgender were more likely than their cisgender peers to experience negative consequences from drinking, including memory blackouts, academic problems and conflicts such as arguments or physical fights.

Full Story:
A survey of more than 422,000 college freshmen found that students who identified as transgender were more likely than their cisgender peers to experience negative consequences from drinking, including memory blackouts, academic problems and conflicts such as arguments or physical fights.

The 989 students who identified as transgender were also more likely than their cisgender peers to cite stress reduction, relationship troubles or the sedating effects of alcohol as motivation for drinking, according to an analysis of the survey publishing March 21 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

The results suggest transgender college students may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol abuse, which can negatively affect their academic standing and their physical health, said Scott Swartzwelder, Ph.D., senior author of the analysis and professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine.
A survey of more than 422,000 college freshmen found that students who identified as transgender were more likely than their cisgender peers to experience negative consequences from drinking, including memory blackouts, academic problems and conflicts such as arguments or physical fights.

The 989 students who identified as transgender were also more likely than their cisgender peers to cite stress reduction, relationship troubles or the sedating effects of alcohol as motivation for drinking, according to an analysis of the survey publishing March 21 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

The results suggest transgender college students may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol abuse, which can negatively affect their academic standing and their physical health, said Scott Swartzwelder, Ph.D., senior author of the analysis and professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine.
The report ends with,
"Why do these students drink more, and what's making them more vulnerable to these negative consequences of drinking?" Swartzwelder said. "These are very important social questions we hope to answer."
I think I can answer this question. It is because societal pressures to conform, when you are being harassed, bullied, and marginalized the stress that builds up needs to find a way to be released and for many people including trans people they release that stress by forms of self-harm.

I would like to see if trans men show the same behavior or if society is more condoning on trans men because they gain status as oppose to lose status?

This afternoon I am doing training for town’s Community Services Council and their social workers.

A Bit Of Good News

With all the anti-trans and anti-LGBT bills being proposed it is nice to see one bill die in committee.
Tennessee transgender bathroom bill fails in Senate panel
March 22, 2017

NASHVILLE (AP) - A transgender bathroom bill in Tennessee has failed in a state Senate committee.

The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday made no motion to consider the legislation by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet. The lack of a motion effectively kills the bill for the year.

The bill sought to require students at public schools and colleges to use restrooms and locker rooms of their sex on their birth certificates.
We need every victory that we can get in today’s political environment. What makes this noticeable is that the Tennessee Senate is controlled by Republicans. Maybe they are starting to see that they are going too far and the voters are not behind them and they feel exposed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

When To Transition?

Some say it is too early for a child to know that they are trans or not. Others say let the child explore their gender.
Transitioning early is beneficial for transgender children 
Colorado Springs Independent
By Heidi Beedle
March 22, 2017

On Feb. 22, the Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidance, which urged schools to allow trans students to use facilities that correspond to their identified gender. This guidance originally emerged in response to efforts to ban transgender people from public restrooms, pushed by conservative state legislators, many of whom were provided with pre-written legislation and lobbied by groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and Liberty Counsel.

The rescission of the Obama guidance was not about states' rights — as the Trump administration's saber-rattling over legal marijuana the very next day proved — but about erasing the existence of trans youth from public schools.
Right On! The Republicans want us back in the closet, out of sight, out of mind.
Adults often wring their hands over the impact of the "gay agenda" on young people, ignoring both personal agency and the immutable nature of sexuality and gender identity. The pushback against trans rights in recent years has been bolstered by dubious claims from discredited mental health professionals such as Kenneth Zucker and Paul McHugh, and the advocacy of thinly veiled hate groups such as the American College of Pediatrics (not to be confused with the American Academy of Pediatricians, a legitimate medical group which opposes any legislation that discriminates against trans children).
She got that right. They hide behind so called medical professionals, but really it is just a few conservative medical professionals who are trying to hide behind a highfaluting sounding organization designed to confuse people in to thinking it is a legitimate organization.
Trans youth face seemingly insurmountable obstacles to assert their identities, even though they overwhelmingly report an improved quality of life as a result of their transition. The actions taken by the Trump administration and by various state legislators to block trans people from restrooms are an attempt to block trans people from public life, to bully kids back into the closet. Take it from me, bad-faith arguments about desistance don't stop kids from transitioning, it just forces them to wait until they're 30.
Let them find their way,we should only be their guides through life and not lead them.

This morning and afternoon I was down in New Haven at Southern Connecticut State University teach two classes on public health.

Is Feeling Uncomfortable A Justifiable Excuse?

I am old enough to remember when segregation was the norm in the south. When I was probably ten years old we drove down south to visit the Civil War battlefields and I can vaguely remember seeing signs saying for blacks to use another facility.

One of the reasons that they gave other than the “Good Book” says it is OK to discriminate was that if a black person was in the bathroom with a white boy, the black person may sexually assault the white boy and that having a black person in the bathroom made them feel uncomfortable.

Well now those same arguments are being used against us.
Locker room lawsuit: Boy claims his transphobia outweighs trans student’s rights
LGBTQ Nation
By Dawn Ennis
March 21, 2017

Joel Doe is one very upset high school junior, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday. He is embarrassed, humiliated, “does not feel secure in the locker rooms or restrooms” at school and even avoids using the restroom during the school day, all because of his gender identity.

But Doe is not transgender. He’s cisgender, and his lawyers at the Alliance for Defending Freedom are using every legal argument cited by advocates for trans youth to win equal access to bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams, in hopes of reversing those gains with what may prove to be a landmark case of reverse discrimination.

This legal twist is just the latest outrageous maneuver by the anti-LGBTQ and far-right Christian-based ADF, a non-profit organization that has been labeled an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Doe — not his real name, of course — claims that his Pennsylvania school district has violated his civil and constitutional rights by respecting the rights of transgender classmates.
Back in the fifties it was the southern Democrats who were in favor of discrimination and blocked legislation to outlaw segregation; they finally saw the light and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. What it took to change their minds was television coverage of the wanton attacks on blacks who were marching for their human rights.

Well now it is the Republicans who are attacking us for political gains and then don’t care if we get hurt in their efforts to gain political power.
No court date has yet been assigned to hear the case. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has yet to officially define how the Department of Justice will proceed on cases of Title IX although it has already removed itself from notable cases involving trans plaintiffs, including the appeal of a Michigan woman fired by her employer because she transitioned. The federal judge in that case determined a funeral home owner’s religious beliefs outweighed Aimee Stephens’ right to express her gender identity at work.
Will the Justice Department stand against discrimination or will Attorney General Jeff Sessions follow his Southern roots and come in on the side of segregation and discrimination.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


I never heard of that before until a couple of months ago but it is fitting.

A few years ago on a forum there was a thread about going to schools doing outreach and I said there we some questions that I wouldn’t answer such as telling my old name. I got tons of flak over that with comments saying I should answer all of their questions because they are there to learn.

My response was learning to ask trans people what their old name was is not educating them it is responding to their curiosity, it is better to teach them that it is impolite to ask trans people about their old name.

When I heard the word “Deadnaming” for the first time I thought “Wow, that is a good name for that” because it is from our past, I don’t hate my old name it is just that is ten years in the past and it seems foreign to me now.

I still get mail with my old name and I cringe a little when I see it. I still get some checks form stock dividends with my old name on them, I don’t change my name on them because they will only reissue a stock certificate to replace a lost certificate with my old name not my legal name.

I change all my legal documents over to my legal name and gender including my birth certificate but the question remains; can you ever really change all your records? Credit reports list my old name as AKA. I also wonder if my death certificate will list me a “female” or will they just go by what is between my legs?

When we were passing the birth certificate we asked the question to our lawyers do we need legislation to make sure the death certificate doesn’t list our old gender? They when back and researched the question and at the next meeting they said in their lawyer talk that they thought we didn’t need to add anything to the bill because it should follow what is on their birth certificate and when questioned by us they said that In their opinion it should reflect the gender on our birth certificate.

So time will tell if we are “deadgendered” in our death.

*From Wiki Gender
Deadnaming is the act of referring to a transgender person's birth name instead of their chosen name.

Deadnaming normally occurs for one of three reasons:
1: Someone accidentally deadnames because they're used to using that name.
For example: John Doe called his transgender sister, "Steve" by accident because he had referred to her as that for most of his life. He apologized and corrected himself.
2: Someone purposefully deadnames to cause distress.
For example: At school, while Jen was walking down the hall, Anthony walked by her and coughed "Steve." Jen got upset and tried to correct Anthony, but he just walked away snickering.
3: Someone purposefully deadnames because of their beliefs.
For example: Great Aunt Mary called Jen "Steve" because she believed that Jen is still a boy.
Many consider deadnaming to be a form of transphobia.
Some ways people avoid deadnaming:
  • use stand-ins like [boyname]
  • use the single initial of the former first name
  • refer to that identity as pre-[current name]

The Times They Are A Changing

Sometimes for the worst and sometimes for the better and in this case for the better. All around the country there is legislation to ban us and demonize us being proposed but I one town…
Parents express anger at school district's exclusion of transgender students from anti-discrimination policies
By Daniel Simmons-Ritchie
March 21, 2017

SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP - In a feisty meeting that drew occasional shouts and boos from parents, the board of the Cumberland Valley School District unanimously approved revisions to its non-discrimination policies on Monday night that omitted protections for transgender students and staff.

That vote followed impassioned pleas from a crowd of 100 attendees, many of them parents, who requested that the district update its policies to add those provisions.
In a surprise move on Monday night, the board voted to add protections for sexual orientation. However, that addition didn't go far enough for many of the meeting's attendees.
Yup you read right, the parents were mad because trans students were not included in the school’s non-discrimination policy. And it even gets better,
Some parents said they felt particularly slighted that none of the board's nine members discussed any of the challenges facing transgender students that were raised by parents at the meeting.

"I just think that it's ridiculous that it wasn't even discussed," said Sarah Goldblum, addressing the board. "When you know these children are being bullied, and you know they are having trouble in schools and committing suicide.
And what did the Board do in response to the parents? They said we will study the feasibility of including gender identity, in other words they brushed them off.

Monday, March 20, 2017

What The Opposition Thinks

Those of you who follow my blog know one of the things that I do is cultural competency training; I have seen a wide range of acceptance from total rejection to tacit acceptance, to total acceptance. Well here is a look at a conservative view of cultural competency training.
Trans Conference Celebrates Getting People Fired For Not Calling Men Women
If this is the workplace of the future, I would rather be prepared ahead of time than surprised later. But it’s going to be quite the journey.
The Federalist
By Anonymous
March 20, 2017

“I was scared to go alone to my ultrasound; so I took a friend. Throughout the procedure, the nurse kept referring to me as a ‘she’. Each time, my friend would correct her. After a while, the nurse seemed confused. ‘She’s having a baby,’ she insisted.” ‘No,’ my friend responded, ‘he’s having a baby.’ It was very upsetting. A week later, the nurse called and left a voicemail with the results of my exam. ‘His cervix and bloodwork look healthy,’ she said. I was so happy. The nurse had finally gotten it.”

This is one of the stories I heard at a recent conference on how to create a transgender-inclusive workplace culture. I went because I wanted to learn the perspective from transgender individuals personally. I also realized that if this is the workplace of the future, I would rather be prepared ahead of time than surprised later.

The conference was administered by a group of transgender individuals, from male-to-female, female-to-male, and even gender-to-genderless. Predictably, it wasn’t a conference for the squeamish. Throughout the day, we were regaled with stories of penis amputations, breasts being bound or removed, and even someone who removed nipples because those represent either gender.
Unfortunately, this is true, there is a "pecking order" in our community,
I was fascinated to learn that there is a pecking order within transgender culture known as “privileged trans.” The first tier of a privileged transgender is someone wealthy enough to be able to afford the full gauntlet of surgeries to appear as a man or woman. Unprivileged transgenders must settle with cross-dressing and shaving. However, the highest level of privilege is someone who is both wealthy and already has certain physical attributes of the preferred sex, such as feminine facial features, a low voice, or broad shoulders.

The penultimate goal of transition is when a person is in “stealth,” which means one is always recognized by strangers as one’s intended gender. When you’re in stealth, you no longer have to worry about “being read,” in which a stranger tries to figure out whether you’re a boy or a girl.
We as a community is hung up on being able to integrate in to society and it is a form of privilege to be able to do so. Many trans people are not able to integrate in to the cisgender community and as a result they face much more bigotry and discrimination but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be able to transition.

The article goes on to say about being fired for harassment and discrimination,
I learned it’s illegal in my state to refuse to use someone’s preferred pronoun. Almost every presenter had a story of a time they got a coworker, employee, or boss fired. A speaker (pronouns xe, xyr, xemself) passionately told us of a time when xe had an older coworker who referred to xem as “ma’am.” When xe repeatedly told him xe preferred to be referred to as xem, he responded that he couldn’t, because he had been brought up to be polite and use sir and ma’am.
You know it is all a matter of respect, having respect for others. If you cannot not respect your other coworkers do you belong working there? Before I was laid off there was this guy at work that I hated, he was a complete ass. A bragger who knew everything and just made life hell for those who were around him but he was excellent in his job in contracts. Every time I went to him I always took a deep breath and let it out slowly before I went into his office to calm me down because I knew that as part of my job I had to deal with him. If you can’t work with your coworkers you have no business working for that company.

The article ends with…
Even after being trained, I still have questions. If gender is not biological, then why do we think someone who claims to be trans-black is crazy? Under what moral standard do we prosecute polygamists? Why don’t we consider depression or suicide adequate lifestyle choices? Why is transgender considered a fulfilling life but those with Downs Syndrome should be aborted? Apparently, the only thing society can agree on is that nothing’s worse than being a straight, white man.
Well the first question “If gender is not biological…” is wrong, gender is biological it is just not binary but rather a continuum, a spectrum.

As far as I know, I don’t know anyone who thinks that fetuses with Downs Syndrome should be aborted and I don’t see how that is related to being trans. No, “Apparently, the only thing society can agree on is that nothing’s worse than being a straight, white man” the only thing that we should be able to agree is to treat everyone with respect and dignity.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Voice Of Sanity

In a country that makes the Mad Hatter Tea Party look normal.
Joe Biden Slams Trump Administration for Rescinding Protections for Trans Kids
The Advocate
By Tracy E. Gilchrist
March 18, 2017

Former Vice President Joe Biden voiced disapproval with the Trump Administration over its rollback of transgender rights during an impassioned speech while accepting his award from Help USA in New York City on Thursday.

Biden’s speech to accept the Help Hero Humanitarian Award from the organization that provides shelter and housing to homeless people including veterans, children, and victims of domestic violence focused great deal on safeguarding protections for women but he pointedly took aim at the Trump administration over its treatment of LGBT, specifically trans, people.

“As much great work as we’ve done, we face some real challenges ahead. We thought things were moving in the right direction,” Biden said, touching on the Trump administration’s unraveling of trans protections. “But there’s a changing landscape out there, folks, and we have a hell of a lot of work to do.”

Without mentioning Trump or the administration by name he suggested that they were wrongly focused on which bathrooms transgender children use when LGBT homeless kids face a myriad of issues.
See how easy it was to take away our human rights, with just a stroke of pen were lost a decade of advancements in LGBT civil rights.

New York state pay attention, your protections are just by a stroke of a pen by the governor and another governor can just as easily take them away.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

This And That In The News

There were a number of articles in this morning’s news all of them not good.
Man Charged With Hate Crime, Accused Of Attacking Transgender Women In Queens
CBS New York
March 18, 2017

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man has been arrested and charged after he allegedly attacked two transgender women outside a McDonald’s in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Patrick O’Meara, 38, was charged with a hate crime in the Friday afternoon incident, police told CBS2.

Police alleged that around 4:30 p.m. Friday, the suspect began yelling at the women as they tried to enter the McDonald’s at 37-59 82nd St. and called them slurs. He then allegedly pushed one woman to the ground and punched her and kicked her, police said.
The attacker has been arrested.
Visa Delayed: Transgender US judge’s visit cancelled
Victoria Kolakowski, who became the first transgender trial court judge in 2010, was expected to participate in a programme on LGBT law and policy as part of an event by the US Embassy
The Indian Express
Written by Shubhajit Roy
March 19, 2017

An American transgender judge has been forced to cancel her trip to India this week after her visa was allegedly stalled. Victoria Kolakowski, who became the first transgender trial court judge in 2010, was expected to participate in a programme on LGBT law and policy as part of the American Embassy’s speaker programme.

In a Facebook post, Kolakowski, 55, wrote that the visa was not ready a day before her departure on March 9 even as she had applied applied for it on February 20. Kolakowski was told to return in the afternoon on March 9 when she visited the front office for Indian visas. She was later told to come back again the next morning to get a manager’s authorisation to pick up the visa at the Indian consulate in San Francisco. “We came back Friday morning at 9 a.m., with my bags in the car, awaiting a 1:40 p.m. flight.” Kolakowski was eventually told the visa was still unavailable while the organisers told her “they were in urgent discussions” with US State Department officials.

Kolakowski later went to the consulate with her invitation letters and other documentation. “Just before they closed at noon, a man came out to return the letters,” she said. “He pointed to the letter where it said ‘to participate in a program on LGBT law and policy in India.’ He explained that they needed to know more about the programme, so they had directed their inquiries to the Indian Embassy in DC, who forwarded the matter to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.”
Ah yes… we don’t want you LGBT here in India stirring up trouble. Bigotry knows no international boundaries.

Bigots in Oklahoma are feeling they can discriminate against with impunity.
Oklahoma City Restaurant Warns 'We Don't Have A Transgender Bathroom'
On Top Magazine
By Carlos Santoscoy
March 18, 2017
A restaurant owner's anti-transgender bathroom policy is raising concerns in Oklahoma City.

Bob Warner, owner of the Steak and Catfish Barn, began warning his customers 10 months ago that his restaurant does not have “a transgender bathroom.”

“We do not have a transgender bathroom,” a sign outside the eatery reads. “So don't be caught in the wrong one. Thank you, Bob.”

Paula Schonauer, a transgender woman, said that the sign carries “an implied threat” of violence.

Warner told NBC affiliate NewsChannel4 that he was just trying to protect his property and customers.

“We have a lot of redneck guys that come in here,” Warner said. “Truck drivers and everything. They're big husky guys and I said, 'Man alive! If their wife or their little girl walked in that bathroom and a man followed them in there, I wouldn't have a restaurant.'”
The green has been given by the Republicans for violence and discrimination.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

It Was A Long Day Yesterday.

I was up at the True Colors conference at UConn main campus in Storrs all day yesterday. When I was going for my MSW I interned at True Colors but I have known Robin the director way before my internship, we probably go back fifteen years, we worked on many legislative bills together.

I got up there a little after 11 AM and I got home at 7 PM after having dinner with Stana at Adams Mill in Manchester.

I normally go to lunch with a former UConn School of Social Work classmate and her students, she is a high school social worker but when I got to Storrs the parking lots were filled because of the conference and all the women’s NCAA basketball tournament was going on at Gampel Pavilion. The conference was maxed out with around 2500 attendees for the conference.

When I got to the Student Union I went to the presenter’s table and checked in, while I was standing there in line I spied my classmate and talk to her for a while apologizing about not being able to join them for lunch with her LGBT GSA students because of the long walk across the campus and up a couple flights of stairs, it would have been too much for my back. Then I went to the vendor area and stopped by the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective’s table and dropped my stuff coat off and left flyers for our conference in April, and then over to PFLAG’s table to drop off more flyers for them to hand out.

Since it was now after noon I went up  to the Rainbow Center on the fourth floor of the Student Union for lunch (the presenters get free lunch), I said “Hi” to the assistant director of the center and I was hoping to meet the former Director who now has a job out in Colorado but she had already left. I found a place to park my butt next to a friend who does the radio show Gay Spirits at WWUH. A couple of trans people that I know walked by and we said “Hi” to each other, also Peterson Tuscano sat down and we had a talk about his new projects that he is working on.

Things quieted down at the center and I was able to stretch out on a couch to ease me back.

I then started over to the classroom for my presentation. I had a fair turnout for my workshop on Trans History, I glanced at the workshop evaluation forms after my lecture and I got rated all fives!

Then it was off to Adam’s Mill to meet up Stana. The waitress remembered us from last year… one of the things about being trans is that people don’t forget you.

One of the people who attended my workshop was “Dave.” He is a gay man that I first meet way back around 2003 – 2005 time frame at the True Colors conference (back then it was called “Children from the Shadows”). I was a attending a Trans 101 conference that a friend was giving and he was in the audience, after the workshop we walked back to the main lobby and he was asking questions about being trans. Well every conference since then our paths cross and we catch up on what has happened to us that year, this year he told me sad news, his mother passed away during the year. We also usually met at the LGBT Film Festival opening night.

Along Again, Naturally

Saturday 9: Along Again, Naturally (1971)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
Not familiar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1. Friday was St. Patrick's Day, March 17th! Did you celebrate with green beer or a green milkshake? 
Nope.  But I did have an Irish beer with my supper.

2. Did you remember to wear green?
Nope… I don’t believe in St. Patrick's Day, it seems like it is just another excuses to get drunk just like Cinco de Mayo.

3.  What color do you look best in?
I like the denim look.

4. This week's featured artist, Gilbert O'Sullivan, was born in Waterford, Ireland. Waterford is famous for Waterford Crystal. Do you have glassware that you save for special occasions?
Yes, I have my grandmother’s crystal (What is left of the set).

5. This week's featured song includes the line, "To think that only yesterday I was cheerful, bright and gay." How were you feeling yesterday?
I was cheerful, bright and gay at the True Colors’ conference where I gave a workshop.

6. It begins with reference to a wedding that didn't quite come off because the bride left the groom at the altar. When were you most recently at church? Was it for a holiday service, a regularly scheduled service, a special event (a wedding or baptism)?
It was for a special event, a funeral for a friend.

7. In 1971, when this song was popular, Malibu Barbie was a big seller for Mattel. This doll had a perpetual tan. For a human to achieve this, a tanning bed or self tanner is usually required. Have you used either method to give yourself a tan?
I don’t like to tan, you can usually find me in the shade.

8. In March, 1971, James Taylor appeared on the cover of TIME magazine. What's your favorite James Taylor song?
How can you have just one favorite James Taylor song when there is so many to choose from? When there is songs like Carolina on My Mind, Fire and Rain, Our Town, and of course You've Got a Friend.

9. Random Question: What word or phrase do you hear yourself saying too often?

Friday, March 17, 2017

From The Other Side

You have heard what we the victims say about conversion therapy, what does the other side say?
Does Science Support Bans on ‘Conversion Therapy’ for Gender-Identity Issues?
National Catholic Register
By Joan Frawley Desmond
February 22, 2017

Opponents of reparative therapy claim the practice has harmed patients, who suffer from higher levels of depression and suicidal feelings. Its defenders say practitioners adhere to professional protocols and many people have benefited.

Now, “transgender-rights” activists are adopting similar claims of the therapy’s harm as they seek to ban therapies designed to help patients realign their gender identity with their biological sex. Their arguments have received relatively little public scrutiny, though the medical debate on treating gender dysphoria, formerly known as “gender-identity disorder”— an intense experience of conflict between one’s biological sex and the gender with which one identifies — in the young is far from resolved.
Dr. Paul Hruz, a pediatric endocrinologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, challenges the claim that science supports a ban on corrective or neutral responses to this condition. Likewise, he questioned whether research endorses an “affirmative model,” which has led to guidelines that direct students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
The American College of Pediatricians’ statement raised similar concerns. Treatment protocols that combine puberty suppressants and cross-sex hormones result “in the sterility of minors,” the professional group stated, while disputing the scientific basis for arguments that present gender-identity disorder as “innate,” and thus fixed.
The highfalutin sounding name “The American College of Pediatricians” is really conservative Christian association of about two hundred doctors compared to "The American Academy of Pediatrics” which has over 60,000 members.

And who do they cite?
Released in August 2016, the report was written by Dr. Lawrence Mayer, scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, and Dr. Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who served for 25 years as psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The authors expressed grave concern about the high rate of suicide associated with individuals who identified as “transgender,” but they also said the science did not support recourse to medical intervention and surgery, and more research was needed.
There are already a number of good peer reviewed studies that contradict their findings. They go on to defend Dr. Zucker…
Meanwhile, the furious reaction of activists to the nuanced methods of experts like Kenneth Zucker highlights the political stakes for the “LGBT” movement, which increasingly opposes any suggestion that gender may not be a fixed condition. That resistance deserves more scrutiny from policymakers than it has received, say critics who argue that gender ideology, not science, is behind this trend.

“For decades, gay activists have claimed that people who have same-sex attraction are born that way,” said Katherine Kersten, a policy fellow at the Minneapolis-based Center of the American Experiment, who published an article on gender ideology in the February issue of First Thing.
Yes, the 60,000 plus doctors are wrong and the 200 with their Alternate Facts are right.

I have been at the True Colors conference all day and my workshop should have just started right now. My workshop is on trans history, hopefully I can educate the younger generation about our history.

We Are Everywhere Doing Everything

Wherever you look you find trans people doing all sorts of jobs including…
Life As A Transgender Intelligence Analyst
March 5, 2017

Here are two things to know about our next guest, Alexandra Chandler. First, she's a senior intelligence analyst for the U.S. Defense Department. Over her career, she's worked to keep the country safe from urgent and long-term threats, including weapons of mass destruction. So that's the first thing to know. Here's the second - she's a transgender woman. She was born biologically male and raised by her family as a boy. A little over a decade ago, while working in military intelligence, she made the decision to live openly as a woman. Chandler recently wrote about that experience and her life since in an op-ed in The Washington Post. We invited her to come to our studio to tell us more of her story. And I asked her if back in 2006 when she made the transition she knew of any other openly transgender people in her very traditional workplace.
ALEXANDRA CHANDLER: At the time, no, I did not know a single person that was transgender within either ONI, within the...

KELLY: Office of Naval Intelligence.

CHANDLER: ONI - Office of Naval Intelligence, that's right. So the way that I dealt with my fear, and my fear was profound, was to reach out to those close to me. And this is part of the lesson that I wanted to bring forth with the article, which is transgender people out there, you are never alone because there are people that can surprise you with the love, the acceptance. When I came out to my first-line supervisor, the senior analyst in my group - these were people who just by happenstance happened, I would say, be more conservative than most Americans, yet I could have not chosen greater fighters for me anywhere.
KELLY: You felt like they were fighting for you.

CHANDLER: Yes. I would call them champions. Straight up the chain of command, I had unified support from very early on.
She was a trailblazer,
CHANDLER: ...From the first instance, when I first went in to come out, I was coming out with the intent of saying clearly I can no longer work here, and I'm going to have to go, so I want to ensure a soft landing for the important projects that I'm dealing with.

KELLY: Why did you assume you'd have to quit?

CHANDLER: Because it's - it had never been done before, and I was afraid. So what they did for me was help me get past that fear and to say, well, why don't we try? But when it comes to the broader workforce and people who had not actually interacted with me...
She had support from management,
I was sitting in my cube at the time hearing this over a closed-circuit audio-video, and hearing that, my heart sunk because I was in the middle of negotiating when I was going to come out, what it was going to look like at work and hearing that. But then the captain gave a speech that is etched into my brain. He had made a decision based on the value that he put on mission coming first above all else and that he wanted to bring his entire workforce to that fight that I was part of at the time and that his decision was final. And though he recognized that people can have different personal opinions about this, we are all here to fulfill a mission, and we will all be valued in doing so.
And remember this was back in 2006. She sums it up by saying...
CHANDLER: I've seen the backlash that's come through society regarding the progress that transgender people have made. I saw it in North Carolina in terms of the quote, unquote, "bathroom bill," instances of hate crimes of trans people being harassed. I wanted to make the most revolutionary statement I could in such a climate, which is to become more visible than I'd ever been before, and to assert that trans people can do things and do jobs and have careers and have contributions to this society that you probably didn't realize.

And what's true for trans people is true for people of color, immigrants, other groups that have been feeling a lot of that fear and hate in this climate today. And then to wrap that up to say that we're all in this together and that me as a trans person, I only succeeded because of people that were not trans people, of extremely conservative people, of extremely liberal people, of people who've served in the military, who haven't, people from all walks of our society who, from childhood to my actual transition and my job, made this happen.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Some Progress

In all the doom and gloom there are a few rays of hope.

We are seeing some progress in being able to change our birth certificate without having surgery.
Plan would make changing birth certificates easier for transgender people
Chicago Tribune
By Haley BeMiller
March 15, 2017

A proposal that would make it easier for transgender people to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity cleared an initial hurdle Wednesday, as supporters said the existing process in Illinois often can make life unnecessarily difficult.

A longtime Illinois law says transgender people can only change the sex listed on their birth certificates if a doctor says they've had transition surgery. Under a new plan approved by a House committee, a birth certificate could be changed if a medical or mental health provider confirms someone has received "clinically appropriate" treatment. A range of practices including hormone therapy would be covered, using a similar standard that applies to U.S. passports.

Supporters say doing away with the surgery requirement would relieve a burden put on transgender men and women and reflects scientific findings that operations are not a necessary medical treatment. Grayson Alexander, a high school senior in Springfield, said he can't change his birth certificate in Illinois because he can't afford surgery without jeopardizing his plans to attend college.

Advocates said people can be denied coverage for preventive care like pap smears and prostate exams if their birth certificates and identities don't match.
Yeah, it is annoying that I have to fight to get my prostate exam covered by insurance but it is only a minor nuisance compared to have my birth certificate reflex my true gender.

But more importantly,
 "It's also a symbolic thing to be recognized by the state as the gender that you identify as," Alexander said. "That is immensely important. It's very validating."
And in Oregon State…
Transgender Birth Records Bill Passes Oregon House
U.S. News
Associated Press
March 15, 2017

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A proposal that would privatize the process for transgender individuals to make changes to their birth certificates cleared the Oregon House on Wednesday in a 37-23 vote.
Here in Connecticut we are trying to pass a bill banning Conversion Therapy for minors and we are facing opposition who are saying that there are only a few LGBT minors who go through conversion therapy but we say that even one is too many.

We have some news organizations that support the bill,
Frank J. Bewkes: Conversion therapy has no place in Connecticut
The Hour
By Frank J. Bewkes
March 3, 2017

Imagine, as a parent, a medical professional recommending to you that your child undergo a therapy regimen that includes induced vomiting or paralysis, electric shocks, and extreme shaming. Chances are, you would not request it for your child, nor would ethical medical professionals provide the treatment.

Yet these are just some of the dangerous techniques that so-called “conversion therapy” — the ineffective and discredited practices that attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity — uses. Shockingly, conversion therapy remains legal in Connecticut — even for children.

Hopefully, thanks to a new bill introduced this session by state Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, and state Rep. Jeff Currey, D-East Hartford, this will soon no longer be the case. The bill, HB 6695, would prohibit licensed health professionals from providing conversion therapy to minors.
Children who experience such a strong rejection of their identities are almost six times more likely to experience high levels of depression and are more than eight times more likely to have attempted suicide. This is especially concerning, considering that, according to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Connecticut’s lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are already more likely to be bullied, experience depression, and consider or attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
The there was also an article in the Hartford Courant by Dr. Christy Olezeski of the the Yale School of Medicine and by  Laura M. I. Saunders PhD at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital.

Doom And Gloom

It is hard to find positive trans news to write about, most of it is all doom and gloom, since Trump was elected there is an increase in legislation against us and an increase in violence against us.
Indiana judge dismisses transgender man's name change suit
The Indy Channel 6ABC
The Associated Press
March 16, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a transgender man's lawsuit challenging an Indiana law that prevents him from changing his first name to a male name matching his gender identity.

The man's parents brought him illegally to Indiana from Mexico at age 6. His lawsuit argued Indiana's law requiring anyone seeking a name change to provide citizenship proof is unconstitutional.

He said he's forced to "out" himself as transgender whenever he displays his driver's license because it lists his gender as male alongside his female birth name.

An Indianapolis judge dismissed his suit Monday, finding he hadn't established his legal standing to sue.
In Washington State there was a violent attack against a trans student.
Transgender teen bullied, punched at Vancouver middle school
By KATU Staff
March 15th 2017

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A transgender 13-year-old girl was bullied and punched in the face at her Vancouver school Wednesday.

A Facebook post about the attack from the teen's aunt is going viral; she says the teen was bullied by a male student, who called her a boy and said "she has to go to the doctor to tell them she's a girl."

The boy then allegedly punched the girl several times in the face, and she has visible bruising.
So much for providing a “safe learning” space in school as required by law.

A follow up on yesterday’s story about the anti-trans group using a woman’s assault for their political gains.
Group apologizes for using assault victim's story to push bathroom bill
By Kelsey Mallahan
March 15, 2017

SEATTLE -- A group backing I-I552 posted a public apology Tuesday to a woman who survived a sexual assault in a public restroom at Golden Gardens Park last week.

_______ said the Facebook group Just Want Privacy used her name and story to push the ballot initiative aimed at rolling back the state’s law that allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

“I refuse to allow anyone to use me and my horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others,” said _______ in a release.

_______’s story went viral last week after she posted about being attacked on her Instagram account.
It is too late to apologize, they already exploited her and spread her photo and name all over the internet and used her to raise money for them. Are they going to give back her privacy? Are they going to give back the money they raise by using her?