Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What Has Pride Become?

I see Pride has become like many celebrations and excuse to get smashed just St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and now Pride. The corporate sponsors has stepped in… beer and liquor companies have helped defray the Pride festivals expenses.

This article from 2013 is just as timely today as it was back then.
Re-Queering Pride
How can we get back to the radical roots of our LGBTQ movement?
By Ngoc Loan Tran
July 25, 2013

The history of Pride in America

June was Pride month in the United States. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks from coast to coast celebrated the history of queer resistance led by drag queens, poor and homeless queer youth, and trans* women of color like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson… oh what? Word? That’s not what you thought Pride was? Well, maybe that’s because it isn’t what Pride looks like these days.

For some members of the LGBT community, June arrives in an explosion of glitter and rainbows, complete with crowds of sweaty half naked gay men drinking Absolut Vodka and signing up for Wells Fargo savings accounts. But for others, June comes as a reminder that while Pride month is about LGBT folks proclaiming our existence, many of us – queer and trans*, disabled, fat, migrant, poor – have to try a little harder to be recognized, to have our histories remembered and our struggles made visible.
The Riots served as a catalyst for queer and trans* folks, particularly those living in New York City, to come together and work towards building a community invested in actively resisting targeted violence. A year after Stonewall, cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City held their first ‘Gay Pride’ marches to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Riots that started it all.
I remember at one Pride that I attended back in 2009 on the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising the event organizers had posters of those who took part in the uprising but there was a glaring omission… everyone on the posters were gay or lesbian, no trans people. When I questioned one of the organizers he made it even worst, he said that he couldn’t find any trans people who was in the uprising!
Today, Pride is no longer intentional in the way it is politicized. Pride events are divorced from their historical legacy, and they do not carry the same weight they once did. In the interest of transparency, I want to make it clear that I have only been to two Pride events: one in Charlotte, North Carolina and the other in Manhattan. But between these two cities and between these two Prides, I have an understanding of the general landscape of what Pride looks like today: sponsorships from major banks and corporations like JP Morgan Chase and Target, partnerships with major alcohol manufacturers like Absolut, and a plethora of non-profits wishing they had prettier branded merchandise to lure the gays (and their wallets) in with.
Pride celebrations today contradict the vision planted 44 years ago by reinforcing a hierarchy of desirability that queer and trans* people struggle with on numerous fronts. In many ways, this hierarchy is encouraged and upheld by the corporatization of Pride.
I realize that it cost money to hold a Pride festival or parade… insurance, police, city workers overtime, and a host of other expenses so the organizers have to look for corporate sponsors.

But when I walk around many of the Pride festivals I see many beer booths and a lot of drunken people. Many Pride events are making it a weeklong event with a different bar hosting the night’s function. Some Pride events are more of a family event with areas set aside for a children play area, many have face painting and other things for families.

However, many Pride festivals still focus on “PARTYING”

I hope that as marriages in the LGBT community become more common that the organizing committees turn away from liquor sponsors and look for more family orientated sponsors. There will always be those that want to party but hopefully it will be a minor part of Pride after all it all started in a bar.

A Victory… For Now

Many of you probably have seen this already but it is worth posting it because it is such an important ruling for us.
Groundbreaking 7th Circuit Ruling in Favor of Ash Whitaker, Transgender Student Seeking Access to Correct Bathroom
Transgender Law Center
May 30, 2017

(Chicago, May 30, 2017) Today, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a groundbreaking ruling in favor of Ash Whitaker, the transgender student plaintiff in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District. In a unanimous decision authored by Judge Ann Claire Williams, the court upheld the preliminary injunction, issued by a federal district court in September 2016, that has allowed Ash, a senior at Tremper High School in the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to use the boys’ restrooms at school throughout his senior year without fear of discipline or invasive surveillance by school officials.

In this landmark decision, the unanimous three-judge panel held that transgender students are protected from discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The court agreed with the lower court’s conclusions that Ash was harmed significantly by the Kenosha Unified School District’s discriminatory practices that singled him out from other students and that KUSD failed to provide more than “sheer conjecture” that permitting Ash to use the boys’ restrooms would harm anyone. The court wrote:
“The School District has failed to provide any evidence of how the preliminary injunction will harm it, or any of its students or parents. . . . , whereas the harms to Ash are well-documented and supported by the record.” The court further described the school district’s actions as “arbitrary” and in violation of Ash’s Constitutional rights.
With this decision, the Seventh Circuit (which covers Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana) is the first federal appeals court to find conclusively that a transgender student has the right to be treated in accordance with the student’s gender identity at school under both Title IX and the Constitution. Notably, it is also the first decision to reach that conclusion without reliance on the Obama Administration’s guidance on schools’ Title IX obligations to transgender students, which the Trump Administration rescinded in February.
Yes this is a very big ruling besides the fact it is a Court of Appeals it also reaffirms that gender identity and expression is covered under Title IX. The next stop is the Supreme Court!

So what will happen if the Supreme Court finds that gender identity and expression is covered by Title IX and the schools must recognize our gender identity? Well my prediction is that Congress will pass a law to nullify the court’s ruling.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Continuum

If you have been around the trans community you will know the gender is a continuum or a spectrum and if not binary.

I found this article on WPATH’s Facebook page…
Why Sex Is Mostly Binary but Gender Is a Spectrum
A short genetic history of one of the most profound dimensions of human identity.
By Siddhartha Mukherjee
December 29, 2016

Anyone who doubts that genes can specify identity might well have arrived from another planet and failed to notice that the humans come in two fundamental variants: male and female. Cultural critics, queer theorists, fashion photographers, and Lady Gaga have reminded us— accurately—that these categories are not as fundamental as they might seem, and that unsettling ambiguities frequently lurk in their borderlands. But it is hard to dispute three essential facts: that males and females are anatomically and physiologically different; that these anatomical and physiological differences are specified by genes; and that these differences, interposed against cultural and social constructions of the self, have a potent influence on specifying our identities as individuals.

That genes have anything to do with the determination of sex, gender, and gender identity is a relatively new idea in our history. The distinction between the three words is relevant to this discussion. By sex, I mean the anatomic and physiological aspects of male versus female bodies. By gender, I am referring to a more complex idea: the psychic, social, and cultural roles that an individual assumes. By gender identity, I mean an individual’s sense of self (as female versus male, as neither, or as something in between).
You got that?

Sex is what the doctor says when he holds you up and whacks your bottom.

Gender is what society says.

Gender identity is what you say you are.

The article goes on to discuss the genetic switch that determines external sex organs and the SRY gene. The article then starts discussing Dr. Money and David Reime and how they raised him as a girl but something inside him told him he was a boy.

Back in the 50s through even today, intersex babies were made into girls so they can have a “normal” life, well they had anything but a normal life. Doctors William G. Reiner and John P. Gearhart did a paper on “Discordant Sexual Identity in Some Genetic Males with Cloacal Exstrophy Assigned to Female Sex at Birth” and their conclusions was,
Routine neonatal assignment of genetic males to female sex because of severe phallic inadequacy can result in unpredictable sexual identification. Clinical interventions in such children should be reexamined in the light of these findings.
So there is something in the brain that tells us our gender.

The article continues…
The existence of a transgender identity provides powerful evidence for this geno-developmental cascade. In an anatomical and physiological sense, sex identity is quite binary: Just one gene governs sex identity, resulting in the striking anatomical and physiological dimorphism that we observe between males and females. But gender and gender identity are far from binary. Imagine a gene—call it TGY—that determines how the brain responds to SRY (or some other male hormone or signal). One child might inherit a TGY gene variant that is highly resistant to the action of SRY on the brain, resulting in a body that is anatomically male, but a brain that does not read or interpret that male signal. Such a brain might recognize itself as psychologically female; it might consider itself neither male or female, or imagine itself belonging to a third gender altogether.
Mother Nature doesn’t like the binary, and she is always experimenting with different combinations, some of them work and some of them don’t.

The last take away is that just because a person doesn’t have any genetic complications does mean that they are not trans and the best way to determine if a person is trans is ask.

Now Class! Class!

Most people do not know anything about us. “You are transgender? So you’re gay?”

That is what most people think that trans = gay and they don’t even have the slightest knowledge about trans men.
Does the public need more time to learn about transgender people?
Gender Analysis
By Zinnia Jones
Posted on May 27, 2017

By 1933, so much knowledge about transgender people had already been accumulated at the library of Germany’s Institute for Sexual Science, the Nazi party chose to burn it all in front of a crowd of thousands. This happened 12 years before the advent of nuclear weapons.
Trans people have been around for longer than your grandparents, yet it seems like we’re still waiting for much of the population to get their act together. I’ve been explaining trans issues nonstop since I came out five years ago. Contrary to Time magazine’s 2014 proclamation of a “transgender tipping point” of public understanding and acceptance, I now receive more comments than ever from people who seem to think I expect too much from my audience. “Being trans is still very new to a lot of people,” I’m told. “You need to be patient and give them time to learn.”
Well OK, I’ll give them time to learn if they stop trying to pass draconian laws against us while they are learning.
We know that there is a learning curve, which is why trans people have been working for decades to make educational materials available to the public. So I don’t think that’s really the problem here. Instead, it’s usually the case that when I’m told the public “needs more time to learn about trans people”, this is in response to some very serious issues I’ve been covering. When I discuss the damage of family rejection, the dangerous atmosphere of political persecution, the harmful myths that threaten our access to medical care, or the consequences to our lives when we’re banned from using the bathroom, the protest of “people need more time to learn” is deployed as some kind of excuse for these behaviors.
The best learning tool is us. When we are out an about, just by being ourselves and going about our daily lives we are making a difference.

Onetime when I was an intern at a LGBT family and youth service agency I staffed a table at a wellness conference that is sponsored by the local NBC station. I was amazed at how many people didn’t know what LGBT stood for, it only took me a short time to start saying “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender family and youth service agency” and it was the children who told their parents what “LGBT” meant. It was the children who knew all about trans.

Harvey Milk was right when he said,
Gay brothers and sisters,... 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. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.
But I would change it to…
Trans brothers and sisters,... 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. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by Donald Trump.”

Monday, May 29, 2017

So We Do Not Forget

For all those who made the ultimate sacrifice and for all those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

On Vacation

I'm on vacation and I will be back to my regular posts on Tuesday

Friday, May 26, 2017

It Is Not Rocket Science

Our healthcare is not that hard to understand, there is nothing special about our needs, it is pretty much just standard treatments for common aliments just applied to us.

Hormones? There is nothing fancy about our dosage it is basically the same as anyone with an endocrine disorder. Blockers are also nothing special, spiro has been around since just after World War II so basically doctors have the knowledge to treat us.
Should Doctors Be Certified To Treat Trans Patients?
Inside the struggle to make doctors’ offices more inclusive.
Huffington Post
By Keren Landman, M.D.
May 8, 2017

When Chaslyn Heath first started looking for someone to prescribe her estrogen in her west Georgia town of Carrollton in 2014, she ran into a few dead ends. Then 16, she had identified as transgender for three years. She asked her pediatrician for help, and he put her in touch with a local therapist.

But during their first session, says Heath, the therapist demonstrated a profound misunderstanding of the origins and realities of being transgender: She asked if someone was persuading Heath to transition, if she’d gotten the idea from seeing Caitlyn Jenner come out, or if perhaps she was just confused.
Many health care providers are unable to provide high quality care to transgender people, whether due to a lack of education or exposure, or due to their own biases, but are nevertheless called on to treat transgender patients, both for general health concerns and for trans-related issues.
With so much at stake, how can a person determine how trans-competent a doctor might be? There is currently no clear answer, but a leading organization hopes that might soon change.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) is doing training around the country for therapist and healthcare providers and they give a certificate for those who complete the seminar.
Now, they hope to offer a formal accreditation in transgender-competent care – something WPATH’s members have asked for, says Donna Kelly, the director of the organization’s education programs.

The formal program would require 35 additional hours of classroom and clinical work, passing an exam, two years of membership in WPATH, and an additional undisclosed fee. Currently, the certification exam is in the process of being vetted by specialists, but organizers hope to offer its first set of certifications within the year.

But is a certification necessary? Not everyone who works in transgender health agrees.
Here is where we get to the meat of the problem.
Indeed, some doctors who are otherwise trans-inclusive view a potential certification as an onerous requirement. Jeremi Carswell, medical director of Gender Management Services at Boston Children’s Hospital, says her first reaction to a certification process is, “that’s something else I have to do. More money...a burden.”

The medical aspects of transgender care are not complicated, Carswell says, adding they could be taught using an online training module. And, she says, the most important aspects of care – cultural competence issues like addressing people by their preferred names and pronouns – would be covered under more general LGBTQ training.
Ah… so what’s the problem?

Well as the article points out “that’s something else I have to do. More money...a burden” and also the insurance companies have caught on and some of them are requiring our letters for surgery and health care come from “certified” healthcare providers. In other words the therapist and doctor we have been seeing for years will not be able to give us a letter for our GCS we will have to hunt out a new therapist and healthcare provider that is certified.

An interesting discussion is taking place about Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and insurance companies about how they deal with trans people, one brand of EMR only lets the doctor only code us with F64.1 “Dual Role Transvestism” it doesn’t recognize “Gender Dysphoria” this happened because the company that owns the EMR program hasn’t updated it to the new ICD-10 codes so when they code it to F64.0 Transsexualism it doesn’t get processed by the insurance companies.

I Think The Answer Is Very Obvious

Transphobia/Homophobia is the answer as to why we are getting murdered.

It is because they cannot accept the fact that they are gay, so they hide their gayness by dating pre-op trans women who can pass. They think that they are not gay but then the transphobia/homophobia starts to creep in or one of their friends finds out that they are dating a trans woman and then the violence takes over.
Why Straight Men Kill The Trans Women They Love
"Bigotry is rarely as simple as we’d like to believe."
By Jen Richards
May 23, 2017

My heart was beating a little faster as I walked down the hotel hallway. I had done this plenty of times before, but Mark’s voice had betrayed a different kind of nervous energy than I was accustomed to. There was an edge to it.

I’m often the first trans woman a guy has been with. I’m white, passable, easy-going, confident, and a strict bottom—for the most part, I’m just a hot chick they get to have anal sex with. I’ve come to enjoy first-timers. It’s my specialty. I like their innocent anxiousness, the relief that washes over them when they see me and realize I’m even more attractive than they hoped. I know how to put them at ease, get them excited, make sure we both have a good time, and inevitably leave them hooked. I pride myself on being a kind of ambassador to trans sex.

For me it’s about much more than sex, though.

What I’m really seeking is affirmation of my womanhood, and this is the most available means of doing it. No one is more anxious about their sexuality that straight cis men, no one more frightened of being labeled “gay.” This is especially true for first-timers. Hooking up with them is like handling a volatile explosive—and I like the rush. I need that intensity. It’s the only thing that keeps the din of self-doubt and self-loathing at bay. Their wanting me is the proof I need of who I am.
That is the most dangerous time for us when the guilt and homophobia kicks in.
Women like Mercedes Williamson, a 17-year old trans girl living in Alabama. When her body was found in Mississippi, bludgeoned to death with a hammer, Joshua Vallum was tied to the crime. He originally told police that he only discovered Williamson was transgender when he put his hands down her pants, and that he blacked out and didn’t remember killing her. It was only later that it came out the two had been dating. After their relationship ended, when a friend of Vallum’s found out that Williamson was trans, that he went to kill her. Vallum was a member of the Latin Kings, which forbids homosexual acts, and he was afraid word would get out.
I don’t have much to say because we all know it is dangerous for us out there. I don’t care with whom you have sex with or why as long as you are both adults and above the age of consent. What I have a problem with is society that tries to marginalize and demonize us that creates hate and transphobia/homophobia.

Cosmopolitan has an article about dating…
8 dating struggles you only know if you're trans

1. Being seen as a fetish is so tiring
A LOT of the time, people just want to have sex with transgender people because it’s some sort of fetish for them. The majority of us don’t want to be seen as a fetish and want to be loved and respected like EVERY. OTHER. PERSON.
4. It’s frustrating when sex is the only thing on our date's mind
Sex with trans women seems to fascinate the (majority of) men we go on first dates with. It'd be nice if sometimes we could go on a date where sex isn’t on the radar. We’re the same as everyone else: just because you’re dating a trans woman doesn’t mean sex is automatically at the top of the agenda.
6. We see so much fear of homosexuality
We’ve come across many men who can't understand that dating or liking a transgender woman doesn't change their sexuality. Many guys are (wrongly) afraid of liking trans women as they think this somehow means they won’t be thought of as straight.

7. Lack of openness drives us mad
There’s nothing more disheartening than when a guy goes out with us, enjoys our company, but then says he can’t tell his family he’s dating a trans woman. This is something we witness all too often.
One time I was on a panel with a group of lesbians, one of them said she is totally supportive of trans people, that she considers herself as an ally. Somebody in the audience (which was mostly women) asked if she would date a trans woman and her answer was that she only dates “women.” She had no idea what she just said was transphobic, that she is not an ally for trans people if she doesn’t recognize  us as the women or men that we truly are.

I didn’t get a chance to answer since time ran out and there was another workshop waiting to come in but if I had I would have called her out on it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A New Report Is Out

One of the questions we are always asked is how many trans people…

We were asked that when we were trying to pass the bill banning conversion therapy on minors, we were asked that when we were trying to pass the birth certificate bill, also the non-discrimination law and when we do training at homeless shelters.

Now we have somewhat of an idea of the numbers of trans people in shelters in Connecticut.

Every year, one night is set to count the number of homeless people in Connecticut; it is not perfect but it is a start. That count is called the “Point-in-Time” and one of the questions that they ask the those who are homeless is “Are you transgender?”

Anyone want to guess how many said yes to the question in the 2017 PIT?

2% and if you do the math out of 3,387 that were counted 2% is 68 trans people that are homeless in CT. They also found,
Twenty-three percent of youth also identified as LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual)
Again doing the math and the number of homeless LGBTQIA people is 779, so we are a definitely a small part of the homeless people in Connecticut but for those 68 homeless trans people the numbers are meaningless.

Some of the other findings of the report,

  • TOTAL HOMELESS POPULATION LOWEST COUNTED IN CONNECTICUT: 3,387 total individuals counted, a 13% decrease from last year and a 24% decrease from 2007.
  • CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS DROPS SIGNIFICANTLY: The number of chronically homeless individuals (experiencing long-term homelessness and living with disabilities) decreased 60% since 2014; down 11% since 2016.
  • MOST CHRONICALLY HOMELESS ON THE PATH TO HOUSING: Nearly 60% of those counted as chronically homeless were in the process of securing permanent housing.
  • UNSHELTERED COUNT DROPS SHARPLY: 415 people were unsheltered – a 38% decrease from last year.
  • FEW VETERANS COUNTED AS HOMELESS: only 34 Veterans were identified in emergency shelter: a decrease of 24% since 2016; only 14 Veterans were unsheltered — a decrease of 67%. CT continues to house homeless veterans in about 90 days.
  • NUMBER OF HOMELESS FAMILIES FALLING: 392 families were experiencing homelessness, a decrease of 13% from 2016.
  • 4,396 YOUNG ADULTS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS:  4,396 young people under the age of 25 were experiencing homelessness or housing instability across Connecticut.

When I was going to grad school for my MSW we had to analyze a government policy and I chose the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) policy because that year they just added transgender to the subpopulation that are being counted.

A couple of the comments that I mentioned was one, that trans people might be reluctant to out themselves especially to the government, and many trans people do not identity as trans and they are just as likely to identify as male or female.

I have to wonder is we and the rest of the LGBT community will continue to be counted by the Trump administration or will it become like the census with no questions about anything LGBT?

Would You Take The Third Options?

Oregon is thinking about creating a third gender on their driver’s license…
Oregon moves toward allowing third gender option on drivers' licenses
By Terray Sylvester
May 11, 2017

Oregonians may soon be able to identify themselves as neither male nor female as Oregon works toward becoming the first U.S. state to allow a third gender option on its drivers' licenses and state identification cards.

Last June, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehn granted a request by Army veteran Jamie Shupe, who has been transitioning since 2013, to change the retired sergeant's gender from female to a third, nongender option. It was believed to be the first decision of its kind in the United States.

"I deserve the right to properly classify my identity here on the homeland," Shupe said in an email to Reuters on Tuesday.

The rights of transgender people along with public policy involving gender have become polarizing issues across the United States, most notably in several states, including North Carolina, which have tried to address the use of public bathrooms.

Since Shupe's request was granted, Oregon's Department of Motor Vehicles has been researching the state's gender laws and determining how to incorporate the third option into state computer systems, DMV spokesman David House said.

"It was new territory for everybody," House told Reuters on Tuesday, noting that no other state offers a third gender choice.
The first thing that comes to mind is how the other states would handle somebody with the third gender on their driver’s license, especially states like Texas and North Carolina.

The other thing that I thought is that this would open the trans person to discrimination such as when you have to show your ID at a bar or when you are looking for a job.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Healthcare, Or The Lack Of Healthcare

For many of us it is almost impossible to find proper health care, especially if you need to have procedures for transitioning such as an orchiectomy for trans women or breast removal for trans men. Many physicians refuse to remove “healthily organs” other refuse because of biases.

But one of the main reasons is the lack of insurance coverage or the lack of money to have the surgery.
Colorado assault case exposes transgender health issue
By Krystyna Biassou, KUSA
May 22, 2017

KUSA - The transgender woman at the center of a case that's made headlines nationwide blames the system as to why she turned to a "back alley" procedure.

James Pennington, 57, is accused removing a transgender woman's testicles during a botched surgery. The Westminster man, charged with aggravated assault, is now out on $50,000

Denver police say Pennington didn't have a medical license, and performed the surgery at an apartment.
The woman said in a statement that,
Three days prior to writing this I had an unlicensed operation done in my home to remove my testicles. There was a complication during the operation and while the operation was successful in its purpose, I started to bleed heavily afterward and my spouse was forced to call emergency medical services. Shortly thereafter the man who did the operation on me was arrested, and shortly after that his name was released to the press who have now released several stories painting the man as a monster and me as a victim. I am here to verify that I am indeed a victim. However, I am not a victim of 57 year old James Lowell Pennington who is the suspect in this case. I am a victim of a society and healthcare system that focuses on trying to demonize transgender people and prevent us from getting the medical transition we need instead of trying to do what is best for us. Arranging a back-alley surgery was out of pure desperation due to a system that failed me…
The insurance commission said,
The Colorado Division of Insurance says the state doesn't require carriers to cover gender reassignment surgery "primarily because there is no state or federal mandate to do so."
Colorado has a non-discrimination law just like Connecticut and other states and their insurance commissions have found that the non-discrimination laws also cover insurance, that any procedures that are paid for that are non-trans related must be covered for trans people.

Medically necessary breast reductions are covered by insurance for non-trans patients so therefore medically necessary breast reductions for trans men should also be covered. Medically necessary orchiectomy are covered by insurance for non-trans patients so therefore medically necessary orchiectomy for trans women should also be covered.

And if you break down Gender Confirming Surgeries all of the individual surgeries are covered by insurance so they should also be covered for trans people. It they are medically necessary procedures it should be covered for everyone.

We Are Not Homogenous

People like to lump things together like they are all the same; the trans community is not one monolithic community we are all different, the same is true for religions. There are many religions that do not condemn us, so get it.
How my Christian faith led me to love my daughter's transgender classmate
Dallas Morning News
By Yvette LaCroix
May 22, 2017

I'm a politically conservative Christian. Six years ago, God blessed my husband and me with a beautiful daughter. Like all parents, we want to do everything we can to keep her safe.

A few years ago, I found myself caught up in an article on Facebook about legislation to block transgender people from using bathrooms of their identified gender. The article cited safety concerns, arguing that pedophiles would sneak into bathrooms, dressed as the opposite sex, to hurt our children. I bought this hook, line and sinker. After all, I wanted to keep my daughter safe.

Now, my daughter is in school, and one of our favorite families has a sweet girl (who was physically born a boy). Our daughter is not concerned that this little girl used to be a little boy; she's a girl, and they both like to play dress-up. This family has strong Catholic roots; they do not fit the caricature of experimental parents forcing a new gender identity on their kid. Rather, just like my husband and me, they want to keep their child safe.
So she looked into her faith, asked questions and found the answers…
1. Why does a family allow a child to be transgender?Parents aren't forcing transition on their kids; they're helping save their kids' lives. Transgender children have a significantly higher rate of mental health issues and suicide attempts than nontransgender children, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, because of the stigma and bullying they face. Kids who are allowed to transition, however, have mental health similar to their nontransgender peers.

Parents meet with doctors and counselors and go through extensive sessions before their child begins to transition, according to guidelines from the University of California at San Francisco. Young transgender children like my daughter's friend do not have surgery to change their physical anatomy.
Other questions that she found answers to were,
2. Is my child really in danger of transgender people in the bathroom?3. Why can't transgender children just use a special bathroom?
For this question she found…
Special bathrooms remind me of the not-so-distant past when we labeled restrooms "White" and "Colored." Separate but equal is not equal.

When a transgender child is forced to use a separate bathroom, it allows others to discover that they are transgender. If we want to keep all of our children safe, then we need to allow transgender children the privacy of simply being a boy or girl and not that transgender boy or transgender girl.
She also commented on,
4. Should my concern for my child's safety override the safety concerns for a transgender child?
5. What if I just don't believe in this transgender thing?
She ends with,
Once I started applying my Methodist reasoning, I had to face the fact that I had been living in fear and not in faith, reacting to something I didn't understand. God has blessed me with friendship with a family that is facing the challenges of protecting a child simply because she is transgender. As a fellow Christian, how can I do less than join them in protecting her and all of our children?
I take away three things from this article, first that there are religions that don’t crucify and demonize us, second that change comes about one family at time, and third and possible the most important of the three is that it is hard to hate someone when you know them.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Talk A Walk On The Wide Side!

Is it transphobic?

Or is just about a subculture in the trans community?

That is the hot question that is being discussed in the trans community.
Canadian Student Association Apologizes For Playing ‘Transphobic’ 'Take a Walk on The Wild Side’
By Ashley Rae Goldenberg
May 17, 2017

The student association at a Canadian university is apologizing to members of the transgender community who may have felt “hurt” or devalued by overhearing Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.”

In a statement on Facebook (archive link here), Ontario’s University of Guelph Central Student Association apologized anyone who was upset by the “hurtful” “transphobic lyrics” played during a campus event. The student association claimed the song “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” was picked for a playlist of ‘70s and ‘80s songs out of “ignorance” and showed “an error in judgement” [sic]:
It’s come to our attention that the playlist we had on during bus pass distribution on Thursday contained a song with transphobic lyrics (Lou Reed, Take a Walk on the Wild Side). The playlist was compiled by one of the Executives with the intent of feeling like a road trip from the 70s and 80s. The song was included solely on those terms and made in ignorance as the person making the list did not know or understand the lyrics.

We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community and we’d like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement.
The student association also said they are “committed” to being more “mindful” of the music they play during events in the future, and suggested students attend a meeting to “discuss how we can create better playlists in the future” with songs that are “more inclusive."
Okay, my take on this is; were there trans people who ran away from home and went to California? Yes. Are there trans people still leaving home and transitioning? Yes again.

The article goes on to say,
The student association page continued by saying the mere concept of the song, taking a walk on the wild side, is “problematic” and “dangerous” because it describes transgender people (reportedly 0.5 percent of the Canadian population) as being “unusual," which they claim is “dehumanizing” and makes people somehow less supportive of transgender rights:
Additionally, stating that conversing, spending time with, or having sex with a trans person is “taking a walk on the wild side” is also problematic. It labels trans folks as “wild” or “unusual” or “unnatural” which is a dangerous rhetoric.
The student association ended their lecture about “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” by admitting that although the song promoted transgender acceptance at the time, “it is now being consumed in a different societal context” and it is “not always consumed in the ways that it was intended,” which apparently justifies people being offended by it.
Well it is a lot more than “transgender acceptance at the time” it is still going on today. All you have to do is visit a bus station at night to see runaway trans kids.

So I see this debate trying to hide a highly marginalized segment of the trans community.

So what are your thoughts?

Is "Walk on the Wide Side" Transphobic

survey maker

P’town In Photos

Over the weekend I went up to Provincetown with a group from the Connecticut Outreach Society, there was a total of five members for a long weekend. I drove up with Deja and we got there a little bit before the two o’clock check-in time but they let us register.

Saturday morning I was going to go out to shoot the dunes in the National Seashore Park but I woke up with an aura migraine and since I can’t see where I am looking it makes it quite hard to shoot photographs. So I closed the room drapes and put on some Eagles and just chilled out for almost an hour.

After the aura dissipated I went out to take photos of the town…

The parking lot attendant’s booth.
Whaler’s Wharf mall, which is built on the site of a theater was destroyed in a fire in 1998 and was rebuilt as an open air enclosed mall. Hun? Well the best way understand it is the photo.

As you can see you can look right through the two story build and in the center there is a large circular space open to the sky.

The sea kayaks out behind the mall

This was taken at sun rise on Sunday from my motel room balcony at Long Point Lighthouse across the bay.

In the afternoon I went out to the Race Point Bike Path and walked along it for a little less than a mile.

All photos are HDR taken at EV -0.3, 0, & +0.3

Monday, May 22, 2017

We Are Everywhere!

Does it seem like that there are more trans people coming out than ever before? Well you’re right. More trans people are having surgery than we have in the past.
U.S. Gender Confirmation Surgery Up 19% in 2016, Doctors Say
May 22, 2017

Editor's Note: Reuters has withdrawn this story because of questions surrounding the data supplied by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Gender confirmation surgeries rose 19 percent in 2016 from the previous year, a survey of plastic surgeons said, an increase some doctors attribute to expanded Medicare coverage and greater social acceptance of transgender people.

But less than 0.5 percent of those procedures involved the genitals, according to the survey of 703 doctors released on Monday by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
He attributed the increase to a 2014 decision by Medicare to end a blanket denial of coverage on gender transition related surgery and to changing societal attitudes toward transgender people and more positive images of them in the media.

The society publishes an annual statistics report on all types of plastic surgery and began reporting gender confirmation surgery for the first time this year.

They reported 3,256 surgeries, of which 54 percent were performed on male-to-female patients, or transgender women, and the remainder on female-to-male patients, or transgender men.
I think that as the article says, insurance coverage is probably one of the reason for the increase but I also think it because trans people feel safer in coming out during the timeframe of the should be interesting to see if it declines with the Trump administration.

Another factor might be…
More U.S. Hospitals Offering Gender-Affirming SurgeriesNBC Out
By Dawn Ennis
October 31, 2016

A boon is underway at medical institutions from coast to coast, aimed at helping transgender Americans who suffer gender dysphoria because of the mismatch between their bodies and their gender identity.

Gender-transition services and surgeries are becoming more widely available across the nation, and more insurance companies are adding coverage to help the more than one million Americans who identify as transgender.
The Cleveland Clinic, Boston Medical Center, Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City are among the latest medical centers to provide gender-affirming procedures.

"At Mount Sinai, we are offering the full array of services for transgender people regardless of whether they have already accomplished their transition," Zil Goldstein, a nurse practitioner and program director at Mount Sinai's Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, told NBC OUT. "We want people to know that these treatments are available, and also that our staff are prepared to serve and care for the transgender community with sensitivity."

This month an institution with a controversial history regarding transgender health care added its name to the list: Johns Hopkins Medicine. Johns Hopkins made history in 1965 as the first academic institution to offer gender-affirming surgeries, but it stopped in 1979 and never resumed. However, in a letter posted earlier this month, it reaffirmed its "commitment to the LGBT community" and announced it will resume gender-reassignment surgeries in 2017.
Also here in Connecticut the Yale/New Haven Hospital is also offering GCS surgery and Middlesex Hospital is offering trans care, they have added APRNS for endocrine care.

I just got back from a weekend in Provincetown on Cape Cod as part a Connecticut Outreach Society trip that I lead up there for their members.

More to come, right now I just want to recuperate from the weekend and the four hour drive home.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Oregon Joins The Club

Of states that allow us to change our birth certificate with a letter from our healthcare providers.
Oregon Eases Birth Certificate Changes for Trans People
A bill signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown today will make the process simpler, cheaper, and more private.
The Advocate
By Trudy Ring
May 18 2017

Oregon’s Kate Brown, the nation’s first and only out bisexual governor, is helping to keep the state in the forefront of LGBT progress, today signing a law making it easier for transgender Oregonians to revise the name and gender on their birth certificates.

Under the new law, House Bill 2673A, trans people with Oregon birth certificates will be able to make the changes simply by filling out a form rather than posting a public notice in a county clerk’s office and going to court, making the process easier and more private while greatly reducing the cost, Reuters reports. Oregon is only the second state to put such a procedure in place; California was the first, in 2014. Oregon’s law will go into effect January 1.

“Many transgender Oregonians fear being publicly outed by having sensitive medical and personal information disclosed through the current court process,” said Nancy Haque, co-executive director of LGBT group Basic Rights Oregon, in a press release. “They have to post their name change on a public bulletin board and sometimes answer personal medical questions in open court. This is a real barrier.”
I know of some other states where you have to post in a newspaper you name change, talk about outing yourself! Having to post a legal notice that you are changing your name from John Doe to Jane Doe is letting the whole world know you are trans.

The bill also…
The new law will also lower the cost of the process significantly. It will “entail an administrative cost expected to run just $65, compared to the hundreds of dollars typically incurred to complete required paperwork, plus thousands more that an applicant often faced to hire a lawyer,” Reuters reports. Because of various barriers, only 10 percent of transgender Americans have identification matching their gender identity, according to a 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality.
In Connecticut it doesn’t cost anything to change your birth certificate but it does cost $30 for a copy of your full birth certificate. For help in changing your birth certificate here in Connecticut see GLAD’s toolkit.

They Are Everywhere!

Who are “they?” They are rightwing conservative Christians legal organizations that sue at the drop of a hat. They say that they are for “religious freedom” but in reality they are just anti-LGBT.
Matthew Shepard's Mother: Multimillion-Dollar Hate Groups Are Bullying LGBTQ Children
By Judy Shepard
May 15, 2017

Aren’t you exhausted by the constant barrage of news — the proposed legislation against our communities and the reports of hate crime after hate crime? One fifth of these crimes are now reported to be done in President Donald Trump’s name.

In the 19 years since my son Matthew Shepard was murdered because of his sexuality, my foundation has seen the ups and downs in the numbers and targets of hate crimes. But in the last few months there has been a dramatic increase in reports across the spectrum.
The bigots have received a green light to spread their hate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big cut in the budgets of those federal agencies that track anti-LGBT hate crimes.

But it goes beyond individuals to…
Unfortunately, groups like Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which describes itself as a conservative Christian organization, exploit children in the name of hate. It parades them around a courtroom for frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit. One prime example is a suit filed recently against a school district in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, claiming that a high school student was sexually harassed when he saw a transgender boy changing in the school locker room.
The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled ADF as a hate group this year because of their longstanding history attempting to criminalize LGBTQ people. But I know firsthand the extent of their hate. At a 2014 conference, an ADF lawyer asserted that my son’s murder was a hoax fabricated to advance the “homosexual agenda.” These same lawyers are now trying to take advantage of young people who are “uncomfortable with” transgender students using the same restroom or locker room in school districts across the country. Everyone would be better served if education and acceptance were the solutions to feeling "uncomfortable" rather than nuisance lawsuits.
Back in the fifties and sixties "uncomfortable" was a code word used against integration as in “I would be uncomfortable with a black man in the bathroom with my son!”

Throughout history discrimination was justified by vilifying a minority and now it is our turn to be demonized. But what is different is not we have these so called defenders of “religious freedom” legal organizations.

Connecticut had its own run-in with a rightwing conservative Christians legal organizations, the American Center for Law and Justice which defended the town of Enfield when they wanted to hold their high school graduation in a church (you can read about it here, here, here, and here).

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday 9: Him or Me -- What's It Gonna Be?

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Him or Me -- What's It Gonna Be? (1967)

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

I’m up in Provincetown MA on Cape Cod this weekend. I’ve been derelict in commenting on your blogs and it is going to continue as I go away this weekend and next. I have been writing my blogs on Thursdays to post over the weekend and I don’t have time other than to “accept” the comments.

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

1) In this song, a man pleads with his girlfriend to make up her mind. Do you consider yourself decisive?
Yes somewhat, when I make up my mind I usually do it.

Since this song is all about either/or, we're using that as our theme this Saturday ...

2) Choose a condiment: Catsup or mustard?
Well it is not an either/or answer because it depends upon the food. If you are talking about French fries then it is catsup or as I spell it ketchup, mustard on fries just don’t hack it. While ketchup on a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich yuck!

3) Choose a sci-fi series: Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Trek

4) Choose your spy: James Bond or Jason Bourne? 
Oh this is a hard one, I have to go with James Bond over Jason Bourne

5) Choose your winter sport: Football or hockey? 
Sports! Ugh!

6) Choose your breakfast: Pancakes or waffles?
Pancakes, waffles are good but it is harder to clean up.

7) Choose your side: French fries or potato chips?
Oh another hard one. When I was up in Bennington VT with my cousins the restaurant had homemade potato chips…mmm!

8) Choose your chore: Washing dishes or doing laundry?
Um… can I not choose? Who likes to do chores?

9) Choose your nextdoor neighbors: Munsters or Addams Family?
I didn’t like either one but if I had to choose I’ll pick the Addams Family because of Morticia and because of their theme song.
Okay, true story. I know someone who had the Addams Family theme song as their ring tone on their phone, she is into Goth. But when her phone rang you could hear people in the room start humming the song, it is a great song for an earworm. I bet you will be humming the song for the rest of the day… They're creepy and they're kooky,
Mysterious and spooky…

Friday, May 19, 2017


The haters broke into the website of trans cartoonist Sophie LaBelle and deleted all her works and then posted their hate.
Trans cartoonist forced to cancel Halifax book launch 'overwhelmed' by community support
Sophie Labelle said positive messages from local residents condemning hate was overwhelming.
By Yvette d'Entremont
May 18, 2017

Although Montreal-based trans cartoonist Sophie Labelle had to cancel a Wednesday night book launch in Halifax due to death threats and hate-filled messages, she says the outpouring of community support has overwhelmed her.

Labelle’s newest comic book, ‘Dating Tips for Trans and Queer Weirdos,’ was released last week. The outspoken activist said an orchestrated online attack was launched against her last Saturday. Her attackers posted her home address on several forums and forced her to take down her web page and social media accounts.

“They have a very clear eugenics agenda where they use Nazi imagery to promote their transphobic, homophobic and racist views,” Labelle said in an interview in downtown Halifax on Thursday before her return to Montreal.
This is so sad, her comics are one of the ones that I follow and it is also really scary that they published her address.

But what is amazing is the support that she has found,
"Our staff have been working very hard since (Wednesday) to delete hateful or hurtful comments as they appear on our Facebook page and will continue to monitor it," Haywood said. "On the brighter side, we've been happily overwhelmed by the hundreds of people who have posted positive reviews and messages of support."
I think one of the hardest things that we have to cope with is the fact that people hate, not just don’t like us, but actually hate us for just being ourselves.

President George Washington said this in a letter to the to the Hebrew Congregations of Newport, Rhode Island,
"The Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens."
Please be an ally and speak up when you see or hear hate and to hate give no sanction, to persecution no assistance.

She Made Her Bed

And now she is going to have to sleep in it.

I have to wonder what would have been if she was allowed to transition in the army before she did her treasonous act.

Dawn Ennis wrote Thursday in LGBTQ Nation,
“Okay, so here I am everyone!!”

With those words, Chelsea Manning revealed her true and authentic self, in a caption to her first Instagram post as a free woman. Manning was released Wednesday from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as a result of the bulk of her 35-year-sentence being commuted by President Obama.

What a difference freedom makes. Manning appears with mascara, lipstick, and her short blonde natural hair styled in a very femme fashion.
She is going to have a very, very rough life, between being trans and being a traitor her life is not going to be easy.
From Instagram xychelsea87

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Opposition

Sometimes it is a good idea to keep track of what the opposition is saying so I regularly stop by their website (if you have high blood pressure it is a good idea to take you meds before reading this).

Now you have to realize that OneNewsNow is a rightwing conservative religious website…
Science disqualifies transgenderism arguments
The transgender movement may be forced to reconsider past arguments used to justify the lifestyle.
By Charlie Butts
May 16, 2017

The transgender movement may be forced to reconsider past arguments used to justify the lifestyle.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel conducted an exhaustive study that identified 6,500 genes in the human genome that are expressed differently in men and women. The scientific research clearly conflicts with the idea that gender is simply subjective psychological identity. (See earlier story)

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council says the traditional view that biological sex determines gender has been under attack from a number of angles. He goes on to explain that the WIS research "really deals a blow to the idea that there are no significant differences between men and women."

The research, he says, may explain why some transgender individuals who have undergone hormone therapy and mutilation surgery don't believe it made them any happier.
Hmm… it seems to me that without any research into whether or not trans people have any of those genes that Mr. Sprigg is just blowing smoke to cover up the real facts.

Then you have our own rightwing conservative religious organization which shall remain nameless, this is to say about the conversion therapy bill,
The March 6, 2017, press conference, too, was what was expected. Heart-rending stories and stats but not a shred of evidence that conversion therapy even exists in Connecticut.

FIC Action’s emails on this point were mentioned by reporters during the Q and A and one of the gay activists responded by claiming that there are five religious organizations in CT that do conversion therapy and that the bill would affect the licensed professionals working with them. She provided no evidence for her claims and did not name a single ministry or licensed professional.
The thing is it takes great courage to sit before a legislative hearing and tell a bunch of strangers and have it become a public record about what you went through. And I would add the number of LGBT people who went through doesn’t matter because even one is one too many.

A High Cost To Pay

We sometimes forget that the surgery that we have is dangerous, it is major surgery and with it comes risks.
Transgender Georgia man who fought judge for name change dead at 25
Georgia Voice
By Patrick Saunders
May 16, 2017

Rowan Feldhaus, a transgender Augusta man who successfully fought a Georgia judge to get his name changed, has died after complications from surgery. He was 25.

Superior Court Judge David J. Roper denied Feldhaus’ request last June because it might offend the “sensibilities and mores” of other Georgia citizens. Roper’s decision was later overturned by the Court of Appeals of Georgia in January, and both Feldhaus and another transgender man whom Roper ruled against in a separate decision got their official name changes.

WRDW reports that Feldhaus suffered complications after one of his gender affirmation surgeries, going into septic shock after a hysterectomy and losing oxygen to his brain.

“Rowan knew the risks going into all of this and he was willing to accept the risks to do what he knew he wanted to do,” Austin Atkins, a friend of Feldhaus told WRDW. “Rowan will always be a personal hero of mine. he set an example for others to follow with how he lived his daily life.”
In addition to the fact that Gender Confirming Surgery is major surgery there are many diseases that can complicate GCS and it can make the surgery very hazardous.

Then there is paying for all of our healthcare for our transition and post care.
I Can't Afford to Transition: The Unseen Costs of Being Transgender in 2015
Living authentically comes with a hefty price tag.
Marie Claire
By Samantha Leal
July 21, 2015

Some insurance agencies are making moves to update their policies. In fact, Aetna—one of the biggest health carriers in the U.S.—became the first major health-benefits company to cover gender-reassignment surgery for its holders in 2009. While others are following suit, there's still a divide between what's needed and what patients can get.

"Many providers have exclusions, deep in the plan documents, where they won't pay for things not only related to your transition, but because of your transition," Kalra says. "I've seen circumstances where a person broke their leg and had a cast put on, only to be told by the insurance agency that they're not going to pay for that because the person was on hormones. The insurance company was claiming that hormones had weakened the person's bones, even though clinical research has shown that's not true."

While many insurers are willing to work with individuals, there are far too many horror stories for them to be considered isolated incidents. "It can be exhausting and intimidating, and so confusing," Kalra says.
A lot of times it all depends on who answers the phone at the insurance agency and how you ask the question.

I know of some trans people who were refused coverage while others have gotten their surgery covered from the same insurance company

While others have gotten their electrolysis covered by using the ICD-10 code L68.0 for Hirsutism, it all depends on how you phrase the question. If you say you want electrolysis for transition you will not get anywhere and the insurance company will claim it is for cosmetic reasons. But if your doctor says it is medically necessary because you have Hirsutism then they may cover it.

This morning I am up at the Connecticut Convention Center doing a workshop at the ATI Conference.
B-6) Cultural Competency and Equal Access LawHomelessness disproportionally effects members of the LGBTQ community, yet to this day many individuals face discrimination when seeking assistance. In this workshop participants will learn effective language and definition of terms associated with the LGBTQ community, strategies for being an ally to the LGBTQ community, and HUD law around safe shelter and fair housing for LGBTQ individuals.
I am doing the workshop with; the Triangle Community Center, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the agency that I represent the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition.

I intend just to go there for the workshop and then run earns to get ready for the weekend up in Provincetown.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

If You Don’t Get It, It’s Your Fault

I know the statement is kind of harsh but of the things that I learned over time is to take a person’s word when they tell you gender and if they tell you they are genderqueer believe them. And if they tell you their gender pronouns, use them.
By Sam Dylan Finch
September 15, 2014

It can’t be emphasized enough: Coming out as transgender or any variation thereof is downright terrifying. It is often met with criticism, resistance, and invalidation. When I came out to friends, it felt like the world was crashing down all around me.

And by far, the worst part was the resistance I faced when asking others to stop saying “she.” Beyond coming out, we also ask others to change a very ingrained habit — to use different pronouns when speaking about us. This is where I encountered the most turmoil.

Some folks simply don’t understand what they are saying when they refuse to use someone’s stated gender pronouns.
When someone states their pronouns (he, she, ze, they, etc), they are asking for your respect. And when you choose not to use these pronouns, and instead opt for your own, you are not only invalidating someone’s identity, but you are also saying a plethora of harmful things that you likely never intended.
Sam goes on to list what you’re really saying when you refuse to use their pronouns,
1. I know you better than you know yourself.
When you make the decision to not respect someone’s pronouns, what you are ultimately saying is that their personal truth is something you are more knowledgeable about than them. You are saying, “How could you possibly know your gender? Only I could know that, and you’re wrong.”
2. I would rather hurt you repeatedly than change the way I speak about you.
Each time we misgender someone, we are inflicting harm. Would you rather hurt someone? Or simply change the way you are speaking?

3. Your sense of safety is not important to me.
When we misgender someone, we run the risk of threatening their personal sense of safety, as well as their physical safety. When someone feels invalidated or disrespected, they may not feel safe or comfortable in the space.
4. Your identity isn’t real and shouldn’t be acknowledged. 5. I want to teach everyone around me to disrespect you. […] 6. Offending you is fine if it makes me feel more comfortable.
Sam goes on to list four more things and sums it up with,
Using the correct pronouns is a way of validating that we ALL have the right to live our truth, however that truth looks or however that path twists or turns. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
And I would add that it also shows respect for the person.


There are so many Republican politicians that want to put us back into the closet.
GOP Lawmaker Thinks There's a Difference Between Being Gay and Being 'Just a Human Being'
By Rafi Schwartz

On Monday, Missouri lawmakers voted to approve a bill that would make it dramatically more difficult for people to successfully sue their former employers for discriminatory wrongful termination.

The bill, SB43, would modify existing Missouri’s Human Rights Act legislation, and require plaintiffs prove that bias was the motivating, and not simply a contributing, factor in their firing—a much tougher legal hurdle to clear.

During Monday’s debate, Rep. Kevin Engler, a Republican, introduced an amendment to make it illegal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity—something not currently on the state books.
Sounds like that is a good thing that they are adding sexual orientation and gender identity. But not the part that makes it a lot hard to file a complaint and it likes it makes it impossible to win a discrimination case unless they are stupid enough to say why they are firing you.

But get a load of this…
But, for Engler’s fellow Republican Rick Brattin, discriminating against the LGBTQ community isn’t just a legal matter—it’s a universally held religious truism. Because, Brattin explained, “When you look at the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Qu’ran, of other religions, there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being.”

Got that? There’s gay people, and then there’s “just being a human being.”
One of the hardest things I found to understand after I came out was why we are hated for just wanting to live our lives.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Public Money/Private Schools

It is a growing debate about whether private schools that receive government funding can discriminate. Could a private school that is receiving school vouchers or other government funding be for whites only? What about a religious school that is also receiving school vouchers or other government funding and limit enrollment to just those that believes in their faith?
Catholic Schools Try To Find Balance On LGBT Issues
Hartford Courant
By Shawn R. Beals
May 10, 2017

The controversy began, as many do these days, with an online petition.

A senior at Mercy High School in Middletown, an all-girls Catholic school, wanted to bring another girl as her date to the prom. The school's longstanding policy was clear — girls go with friends or bring a boy as a date.

More than 1,800 signed the student's "Let Girls Take Girls To Prom" petition on, and the ensuing debate showed the increasingly complex position the Catholic church and its schools are in. Traditional Catholic policies remain, but Pope Francis is setting an agenda of greater flexibility and understanding, and though the issue is over for this prom season at Mercy, some alumni are pushing the school to change.
"All conversation about such issues is healthy; the school agrees with that," Strammiello said. "Whatever has prompted the conversation, I think, is less important than the conversation itself. It's an issue that requires a very thoughtful process by the school. There are larger implications that go all the way to the Vatican about how the church listens and shapes its response in a very broad sense. All of us who care about every student, we need to be very patient about where our divine faith leads us. It's not a bad place to be."

He said Mercy has made its decision, but continues to listen to the needs of its students as it looks for a balance between changing social views and traditions of the Catholic church.

"In this sometimes anxious world, when you're dealing with issues with such deep thought and sensitivity such as this, we need to be patient," Strammiello said. "We would be poorly served if anyone was being closed-minded about this."
The article frames this as religious canon debate but it is also a debate on if the school is receiving government funding and if they are allowed to discriminate against LGBT students and my guess they are receiving some sort local, state, or federal funds and if they are then I think the answer is simple; allow the students to be who they want to the prom.

If you answered that private schools cannot discriminate on the bases of race then they should not be allowed to discriminate against LGBT students.

Walking The Fine Line

In our quest for love we walk the fine line. If you look at trans people who have been murdered many of them were killed by people who they thought loved them.

The horrible death and mutilation of a trans women in Brisbane, Australia, in October 2014 that is going to trail is a case in point. I don’t know why it took all these year for the inquest to begin into her murder by her boyfriend.

Then here in the U.S. there was another murder of a trans woman by her boyfriend which resulted in the first case of a hate crime being prosecuted under the Mathew Sheppard, James Byrd Hate Crime Act. He killed his girlfriend because he feared that his friends would find out that he was dating a trans woman.
Man to be sentenced in anti-transgender hate crime
Detroit News
By Jeff Amy, Associated Press
May 15, 2017

Jackson, Miss. — For the first time in the U.S., a person will be sentenced on federal hate crimes charges for killing a transgender person.

Joshua Vallum is scheduled to appear before a federal judge Monday in Gulfport, Mississippi, after pleading guilty in December to hate crimes charges in the 2015 death of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson.

U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. could sentence Vallum to as long as life in prison without parole.

The case has been closely watched by LGBT groups nationwide, who cite studies showing transgender people are particularly likely to be victims of violent crimes. A 2009 federal hate crimes law included protections for gay and transgender people, but of the 47 people prosecuted during the period reviewed by The Associated Press, none were for offenses against transgender people.
In his defense, Vallum initially told sheriff’s deputies and later told The Sun Herald newspaper that he found out that Williamson had a penis on May 30, 2015 — moments before he killed her. He said he “blacked out” and doesn’t remember the crime, a variation of what’s known as a “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense. He declined to speak with the AP in a March letter, citing advice from his lawyer, but could talk to the judge Monday about the issue.

Prosecutors have said Vallum knew of Williamson’s transgender status long before he killed her, citing a witness in a state court proceeding who testified that Vallum and Williamson had sex multiple times while the witness was a roommate with Williamson.
Her murder saddens all of us but at least we know that he will not be out on the streets again where he can murder other people.

I am not an expert in love but I could see warning signs in relationships; you should be cautious if they don’t want to be seen in public with you and do not introduce you to their friends. These signs should send off red flares in the relationship.

We must also work to block “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense in court cases.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Raise Your Hand If You Know What ERISA Is?

Most people probably haven’t heard of ERISA but if you work for a company with a federally insured retirement or health insurance plan then you are most likely covered by ERISA.

ERISA plans do not follow state laws but federal laws.
Aetna Beats ERISA Lawsuit Over Transgender Breast Surgery
By Jacklyn Wille
May 11, 2017

From Pension & Benefits Daily
Pension & Benefits Daily™ covers all major legislative, regulatory, legal, and industry developments in the area of employee benefits every business day, focusing on actions by Congress,...

A transgender woman who sought disability benefits following a breast augmentation surgery lost her lawsuit against Aetna Life Insurance Co. ( Baker v. Aetna Life Ins. Co. , 2017 BL 154737, N.D. Tex., No. 3:15-cv-03679-D, 5/9/17 ).

Aetna properly denied the woman disability benefits for her post-surgery recovery because it reasonably concluded that the surgery was for cosmetic purposes and not a medically necessary procedure aimed at treating an illness, a federal judge ruled May 9. According to Aetna, the surgery wasn’t medically necessary because the woman’s hormone-replacement therapy had already caused her to develop “average-size female breasts,” rendering further augmentation cosmetic.

This case against Aetna and the woman’s employer, L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP, is one of the first cases to question the extent to which the Employee Retirement Income Security Act protects individuals who receive medical services related to their transgender status. In January, the judge rejected the woman’s attempt to state an ERISA claim for gender identity-based discrimination after finding that the statute didn’t provide for such a claim. The woman’s attempt to advance this claim under the Affordable Care Act was similarly unsuccessful.
Under the Obama administration the Department of Labor argued that Title VII sex discrimination covered gender identity and expression under the 1989 Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins Supreme Court decision.

But the Trump administration takes a 1950 view of sex.

However, the court’s case wasn’t all that bad for us because Aetna didn’t rule out not covering the breast augmentation in the future,
Aetna said that it has no categorical rule about gender dysphoria or male-to-female transitions. Rather, coverage was denied in this case because the woman didn’t establish that her surgery was medically necessary, given that she had developed “size B-C breasts” from her hormone treatments.

The judge agreed with Aetna, noting that the insurer’s medical necessity determination was based in part on the woman’s own description of the surgery as a “cosmetic procedure.”
So that means that they possibly cover breast augmentation if there wasn’t sufficient breast development.

The End Of An Era

As I sit here on May 14th writing this snow is falling up at the lake in New Hampshire as we get ready to sell the cottage.

There have been many good memories made here and some bad.

My parents bought the cottage back in 1981 for their retirement and the enjoyment of their kids and grandkids and now greatgrandkids. But all things come to an end.

This was some twenty-six years before I transitioned but I was crossdressing back then I used to come up here by myself and be “Diana” back then the cottage was one floor with three bedrooms and a crawl space for the basement. It wasn’t until around 2006 that we added a basement with three bedrooms and we lost one upstairs bedroom for the stairs, so it became the mudroom with a new front door.

As I said that I used to come up here to be Diana but with that came the only bad memory about the cottage… three neighborhood teenagers were Peeping Toms and I caught them as they watched me laying on the couch reading. I heard gigging and when I look out the window I saw them running away. I knew who they were because they broke into the cottage and partied drinking up all the booze (one of them later would be accused of murder).

But there has been a lot more good memories made…

One of the memories was before I transitioned, I came up here in the winter and got Snowed In, it is in capitals because we got over 24 inches of snow, the power went out and I couldn’t even get out of the cottage because the snow drifted over half way up the only door and I couldn’t push it open. So I had to climb out the window to get out of the cottage.

That night I huddled around the woodstove trying to keep warm because I was so cold in the cottage my rum and cokes were freezing. My van was stuck are the end of the driveway that slopes down to the cottage and I only had a small snow shovel to dig my way out, but the year round resident across the street worked for the town, he had the town snow plow and dug me out and then towed me up the driveway.

But it wasn’t all bad that weekend it was great cross-country skiing on the lake with two feet of new snow.

The day the boat sank

Written my term paper

Way before I transitioned

A stone bridge not far from the cottage

Fourth of July

The Big Dipper

Getting ready for dinner with the "Gang:

What lies for the future?

I plan on using my half of the sale to buy a three season place on the tip of Cape Cod.