Saturday, March 31, 2018

Saturday 9: Easter Parade

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Easter Parade ("In Your Easter Bonnet") (1948)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
I’m sorry I didn’t post any comments last week; but after the “March for Our Lives” rally I was beat and by the time I got home I didn’t do much of anything.  On Sunday I was visiting a friend.

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

1) This song is about a special Easter hat to be worn with your "Sunday best." Will you be getting dressed up this weekend?
No, I don’t that many people dress up for Easter any more. I am just going to wear a skirt and a white blouse.

2) Judy Garland's partner in this movie was supposed to be Gene Kelly, but he was unavailable because he broke his ankle playing volleyball. Have you ever lost a big opportunity because of a medical issue?
Yes. I was supposed to lead a march for a rally when I had a biopsy on my big toe. My dermatologist didn’t like the look of a black spot under my toe nail of my big toe, so he drilled a hole through my toe nail… so much fun!

3) Garland later confessed that, at first, she would have preferred Kelly because she knew him well and was intimidated by Fred Astaire. By the end of filming, she found she enjoyed Astaire a great deal. Can you think of a friend with whom you had a rocky relationship at the beginning?

4) This song was inspired by New York City's Easter Parade. Does your community host a similar event?
No, I don’t even know of any town in Connecticut that has one.

5) The biggest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy, measured 34 feet tall and weighed a staggering 15,000 lbs. Do you thinks it's possible to have too much chocolate?
Most definitely, especially now that I’m diabetic .

6) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. A 2013 poll tells us that red is by far the favorite jelly bean color, with yellow a distant second. Do you have a preference?
I haven’t had a jelly bean since Reagan was president.

7) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween?

8) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?
A good night sleep which is becoming rarer and rarer was I get older. And now is nap time, I've been up since 4 AM

9)  This year, April Fool's Day happens to coincide with Easter Sunday. Do you expect to fall victim to any pranks this weekend?
No, but I saw a great idea for an April joke. You know those little chocolate eggs that are wrapped in foil? Well someone took the chocolate egg out of the foil and used the foil to wrap grapes.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Many, Many Times I Have Said…

…Human rights should not be put up for a vote. One of the reasons our founding fathers created the Bill of Rights was they realized that the majority could suppress the minority.
Is Massachusetts the next transgender rights battleground?
By Lauren Dezenski

BOSTON — Deep-blue Massachusetts may seem an unlikely battleground in the fight over transgender rights. But supporters and opponents alike say a November ballot question on whether to strike down the state’s recently enacted law protecting transgender individuals in public spaces could be the next crucible in the national debate.

“Both sides recognize this vote has national implications. If this movement can be stopped in Massachusetts, it can be stopped anywhere in the country,” said Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which opposes the commonwealth’s 2016 transgender protection law.

Despite its liberal reputation, Massachusetts has plenty of socially conservative pockets (and routinely elects moderate GOP governors, like current Gov. Charlie Baker). But proponents of the Massachusetts law are worried that support for it is weak enough that a concerted effort by opponents of transgender rights could create a public firestorm like the one that gripped North Carolina in 2016, and lead voters to overturn the law.
You know that the opposition will get down and dirty with lies and innuendos about bathrooms, we see that now in Alaska.
Anchorage voters to decide on anti-transgender "bathroom" law pushed by far-right extremists
Southern Poverty Law Center
By Brendan Joel Kelley
March 21, 2018

Voters in Anchorage, Alaska are deciding the fate of an anti-transgender “bathroom” initiative in the city’s first vote-by-mail election (ballots are due by Election Day, Tuesday, April 3).

Proposition 1, on the ballot due to the signature-gathering efforts of the far-right anti-LGBT Alaska Family Council (AFC), would overturn some protections enshrined by the Anchorage Assembly’s (the city’s legislative body) 2015 nondiscrimination law, and require city-owned changing facilities and restrooms to be designated for persons of the same sex listed on their birth certificate. The current nondiscrimination law being targeted by the Alaska Family Council and its allies entitles people to use bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms that are “consistent with their gender identity.”

Anchorage, which last year elected the state’s first two openly gay politicians, Christopher Constant and Felix Rivera, to the municipal assembly, has a long history with anti-LGBT culture wars, and the Alaska Family Council, led by its director Jim Minnery, has been the tip of the spear in attempts to deny LGBT equality over the last decade.
And who is pushing the anti-trans bill?
Minnery and the Alaska Family Council, with support from the national anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (of which Minnery’s cousin Tom was a co-founder and former board chairman), led the campaign against Anchorage’s Proposition 5 in 2012, which would have added sexual orientation and transgender identity to the city’s civil rights code. The initiative failed after an ugly campaign against it that included anti-transgender cartoon ads former Governor Tony Knowles described as “intentionally stigmatizing” and “dehumanizing.”
And you can bet your bottom dollar we will see the same thing in Massachusetts and you can also bet that PAC money from both sides will pour into Massachusetts. Politico writes...
Keep Massachusetts Safe has so far seen the vast majority of its donations limited to in-state contributions. Of other major national conservative groups who have been involved in campaigns like the one in North Carolina, only the conservative Family Policy Alliance says it is “still evaluating whether we will give a monetary grant toward this referendum,” said spokesperson Autumn Stroup. Family Policy Alliance, which considers the Massachusetts Family Institute a state-based member of its alliance, has provided resources and behind-the-scenes support related to the law, she added.
Let us hope that sanity wins out.

Really great evening last night with really great people.

I was on a panel last night answering questions from the audience about the book and trans stuff after a reading by the authors of "At the Broken Places". Another trans woman was also on the panel. Also one of my former professors and the some of the staff at UConn School of Social Work, it was nice to seeing them again. I also got a tour of the school's new digs.

One of the questions from a professor who asked was what do you about the opposition, how do you change their minds?

I thought wow! That is right out of the community organizing manual… you don’t, you go for the movable center. You thank your supports and tell the opposition that you don’t agree with them, and then concentrate of those that you can change.

I Know Of A Couple Trans People From Ohio

And they are stuck… they cannot change their birth certificates even after surgery.
Transgender people can't change their birth certificates in Ohio
By Julie Carr Smyth, Associated Press
March 29, 2018

COLUMBUS - Four transgender people filed a lawsuit Thursday against Ohio saying the state won't allow them to change the gender listing of their birth certificates to properly reflect their identities.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the plaintiffs, said the requirement prevents the three females and one male from obtaining a document essential to everyday living and subjects transgender people to discrimination and potential violence.

"Ohio's categorical bar stands in sharp contrast to the approach of nearly all other states and the District of Columbia, which have established processes by which transgender people can correct the gender marker on their birth certificate," according to the lawsuit.

The action further claims the birth certificate rule imposed by the Ohio Department of Health and state Office of Vital Statistics also is inconsistent with Ohio's practice of permitting transgender people to correct gender markers on their driver's licenses and state identification cards.
Having a birth certificate that reflects your true gender is vital, you need it to be employed and you need it for the Real ID Act. What do you think a prospective employer will think if you are a trans man and your birth certificate says you are female or if you are flying and have to go through TSA?

Let’s hope that they win in court and that they will be able to change their birth certificate.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Great Move!

We all know that Pence is not a friend of LGBT people and he has done everything he can to marginalize us, well now someone found a great way to thumb his nose at Pence.
A high schooler is organizing the very first LGBTQ Pride Festival in Mike Pence’s home town
By Bob Brigham
March 26, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown of Columbus, Indiana will have a Pride Festival for the very first time, organized by a high school student as a senior class project.

Erin Bailey, a bisexual student, told LGBTQ Nation that the notoriously homophobic Vice President “definitely” influenced her decision to organize the celebration.

“I wanted my project to be big because I sat on the panels last year. They all seemed cool, but I wanted to do something that would impact the community in a really big way,” Bailey told LGBTQ Nation. “I thought doing a pride festival would do that”

In a discussion of LGTBQ rights, President Donald Trump reportedly said that Pence “wants to hang them all!”
I think that this is great!

This is the original purpose behind Pride, it is not to party, it is not a social event, but rather it is to show our solidarity, it is to show our defiance to oppression.

I hope that Pence blows a gasket over this in his home town.

This afternoon I am at one of my alma maters, UConn SSW for a panel discussion about the book “At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces,” the authors will talk about their book and it will be followed by panel on trans issues.

Are You Visible?

The Trans Day of Visibility is this Saturday are you doing anything special?
On Trans Day of Visibility, Do More Than Make Yourself Seen
Being out and proud is important, writes Milo Primeaux, but visibility alone will not set us free.
The Advocate
By Milo Primeaux
March 28 2018

There was no Transgender Day of Visibility when I first learned what "transgender" meant as a freshman in college. It was the fall of 2003. I was absent-mindedly flipping through books from the library of the queer culture house on campus when I came across Loren Cameron’s book, Body Alchemy, and saw transgender men of all shapes and sizes staring back at me from beautiful black and white portraits. I knew in an instant, with great shock, excitement, and some terror, that the men featured in this book were me. I saw them, and saw my future.

Fifteen years later, much has changed. Transgender issues have never been more visible in mainstream culture. If I were a freshman now, that electrifying moment of self-recognition would have happened long before I stepped foot on campus. I would already have spent years reading best-selling books by trans authors, watching TV shows and movies with trans lead characters, and watching as trans people get elected to public office. And I would have witnessed the backlash against that greater visibility; hearing politicians debate whether people like me have the right to exist in my school, to serve in the military, to have access to health care or jobs or homes.
The reality is that visibility alone will not set us free. There can be a lot of pressure to be out and proud in every sphere for the express purpose of gaining more social and political acceptance. But this can actually render invisible the risks and costs of being expelled, fired, evicted, or denied medical treatment just for being who you are. This is especially true for trans people of color, poor trans people, those with disabilities or HIV/AIDS, or who are undocumented, don’t speak English, have criminal records, or are in abusive relationships — all of them at exponentially and disproportionately higher risk of experiencing violence and discrimination if they are also perceived to be transgender.
I am always leery on days like this and the “National Coming Out Day” because I feel the most important thing that you can do is be safe. Think before you take the leap.

For me, I am going grocery shopping.

As a very out trans woman there is not much more that I can do to be visible, but what about you? Are you doing anything to be “out”?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sex? Gender?

Are they the same or are they different? Does it matter how they are used in a sentence? Does it matter legally?
Federal courts ask: What is the meaning of 'sex'?
A SHIFT IN THOUGHT Existing prohibitions against discrimination 'because of sex,' already provide a civil rights umbrella wide enough to cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender identity, some judges are beginning to say.
Christian Science Monitor
By Harry Bruinius
March 27, 2018

NEW YORK—A number of federal courts have begun to ask a question that has become more and more subtle over the past few years: What is the meaning of ‘sex’?

It’s a question that has in many ways evolved out of the storms of cultural change that have surrounded the country’s shifting ideas about human sexuality and gender over the past few decades. Many of these culminated in the US Supreme Court’s landmark 5-to-4 decision in 2015, in which a bare majority declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

On the one hand, the high court’s epoch-changing decision that legalized same-sex marriage created the kind of situation that inevitably arises out of rapid cultural change. Today, neither the federal government nor some 28 states offer any explicit civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBTQ), either in the workplace or any other arena of daily life.

“It is constitutionally jarring to know that, in most states, a lesbian couple can get married on Saturday and be fired from their jobs on Monday, without legal redress,” notes the legal scholar William Eskridge, professor at Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn.
The question that have been rising up in the courts, are we covered by Titles VII and IX?
Indeed, a number of federal courts have recently begun to weigh in on a vigorous and relatively new legal idea, simmering for the past few years in federal civil rights cases but only now beginning to take a more defined legal shape.

There may be no need to press Congress and the majority of state legislatures to change their statutes and explicitly add LGBTQ people to their lists of protected classes. (Traditionally, these include race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.) Existing prohibitions against discrimination “because of sex,” already provide a civil rights umbrella wide enough to cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender identity, some judges are beginning to say.
Many courts have found that we are covered under Titles VII and IX,
Such an evolving legal definition of sex could again reshape the nation’s legal landscape. “Potentially a lot is at stake,” says Professor Eskridge. “Depending how broadly you go, this idea could affect dozens of state statutes and dozens of federal statutes, the chief of which are Title VII and Title IX,” sections in the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act that forbids discrimination both in the workplace and in public schools.
It all boils down to the meaning of “sex” (Hmm… I think there was a president who said that).
On the surface, the debate over the meaning of “sex” in these cases divides legal thinkers into classic liberal and conservative approaches to the law. Those who focus on the “original intent” of laws and the precise words of the legal text have generally rejected the expansive lines of thinking about the definition of sex.

“I think the better answer, the cleaner answer is just, let Congress go ahead and change the laws,” says Mark Goldfeder, senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory Law School in Atlanta. And there’s virtue in hashing out such questions through a political process rather than letting a panel of judges make such society-shaping decisions.

Indeed, this was part of the reasoning behind a three-judge panel in the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which came to the opposite conclusion. In a 2-to-1 decision, the majority said that discrimination “because of sex” and discrimination based on sexual orientation were two different things. The disagreement among appeals courts could invite a potential Supreme Court review, scholars say.
But there have been many Supreme Court cases that ruled…
By the end of the 1980s, the Supreme Court found that discrimination based on “gender stereotypes” was also a violation of civil rights laws – in this case a woman who was passed up for promotion because she did not act feminine enough.
And the nation’s high court broadened the definition even further in 1998, ruling unanimously that Title VII’s workplace protections covered sexual harassment between members of the same sex – a key decision, says Ms. Eisenberg, citing a passage that in many ways redefined her job.
And the courts are now looking at those two decisions and finding what could be more “gender stereotypes” than a trans person or a lesbian and gay people.

So the ruling in the 11th Circuit in Atlanta flew in the face of the Supreme Court rulings. They say it should be up to Congress to change the definition of “sex” but I think it is up to Congress to change it if they don’t like the court rulings. By not changing the definition of “sex” they have given their approval of the change, they had over twenty years to change it and have not done so.

When You Ban Something It Isn't Gone

Case in point, premarital sex or only allowing straight people to attend a Christian college,
Christian Colleges Are Tangled In Their Own LGBT Policies
By Tom Gjelten
March 27, 2018

Conservative Christian colleges, once relatively insulated from the culture war, are increasingly entangled in the same battles over LGBT rights and related social issues that have divided other institutions in America.

Students and faculty at many religious institutions are asked to accept a "faith statement" outlining the school's views on such matters as evangelical doctrine, scriptural interpretation and human sexuality. Those statements often include a rejection of homosexual activity and a definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Changing attitudes on sexual ethics and civil rights, however, are making it difficult for some schools, even conservative ones, to ensure broad compliance with their strict positions.

"Millennials are looking at the issue of gay marriage, and more and more they are saying, 'OK, we know the Bible talks about this, but we just don't see this as an essential of the faith,' " says Brad Harper, a professor of theology and religious history at Multnomah University, an evangelical Christian institution in Portland, Ore.
The times, they are a changing and they are leaving behind those who can’t change.
Staff and faculty at these Christian schools have to balance a need to attend to their students' personal and spiritual needs with a commitment to their schools' faith statements or official positions on sexuality.

"You've got those two values," says Mary Hulst, senior chaplain at Calvin. "We love our LGBT people. We love our church of Jesus Christ. We love Scripture. So those of us who do this work are right in the middle of that space. We are living in the tension."

Consider… Last night I taught a class at a Catholic college run by the Dominican Sisters and I was greeted by the Director of Education Programs who gave me a warm welcome and introduction to the class.
At Calvin College, Hulst says the struggle to find an appropriate response to her LGBT students is among the most difficult challenges she has faced as a college chaplain.
For Christian colleges and universities they are going to have to make some hard decisions because many Christian religions are now affirming churches; now that same-sex–partners can get married the colleges that say “no sex outside marriage” how are the colleges going to deal with LGBT Christians who remain celibate?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

An Ally Speaks

The junk science in the new military policy that bans us from the military is called for what it is… trash science. The American Psychological Association issues a statement supporting us.
March 26, 2018
APA Statement Regarding Transgender Individuals Serving in Military
WASHINGTON — Following is a statement by Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, regarding President Trump’s placing new limits on transgender individuals serving in the military:

“The American Psychological Association is alarmed by the administration’s misuse of psychological science to stigmatize transgender Americans and justify limiting their ability to serve in uniform and access medically necessary health care."

“Substantial psychological research shows that gender dysphoria is a treatable condition, and does not, by itself, limit the ability of individuals to function well and excel in their work, including in military service. The science is clear that individuals who are adequately treated for gender dysphoria should not be considered mentally unstable. Additionally, the incidence of gender dysphoria is extremely low."

“No scientific evidence has shown that allowing transgender people to serve in the armed forces has an adverse impact on readiness or unit cohesion. What research does show is that discrimination and stigma undermine morale and readiness by creating a significant source of stress for sexual minorities that can harm their health and well-being.”

APA’s governing Council of Representatives adopted a resolution in 2008 supporting full equality for transgender and gender-variant people and calling for legal and social recognition of transgender individuals.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.
This will not stop the haters, they don’t want to be distracted from their hate simple things like facts. They want to believe the trash that the White House put out; they don’t want to hear anything that questions what they think they know. They want things simple like gender is what is between their legs or that sex is determined by XX or XY chromosomes, and they completely dismiss that intersex people exist.


It is love it or leave it

How many people read the agreement when they download an App?

How many people read the fine print when they play games on Facebook or on a App?

How many people click on the link to post a quiz results on Facebook?

Do you know that you have probably agree to share your personal information and friends list with the app maker? The exact same stuff that everyone is up in arms about with Facebook.
It's not just Facebook. Thousands of companies are spying on you
By Bruce Schneier
March 26, 2018

(CNN)In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, news articles and commentators have focused on what Facebook knows about us. A lot, it turns out. It collects data from our posts, our likes, our photos, things we type and delete without posting, and things we do while not on Facebook and even when we're offline. It buys data about us from others. And it can infer even more: our sexual orientation, political beliefs, relationship status, drug use, and other personality traits -- even if we didn't take the personality test that Cambridge Analytica developed.

But for every article about Facebook's creepy stalker behavior, thousands of other companies are breathing a collective sigh of relief that it's Facebook and not them in the spotlight. Because while Facebook is one of the biggest players in this space, there are thousands of other companies that spy on and manipulate us for profit.

Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff calls it "surveillance capitalism." And as creepy as Facebook is turning out to be, the entire industry is far creepier. It has existed in secret far too long, and it's up to lawmakers to force these companies into the public spotlight, where we can all decide if this is how we want society to operate and -- if not -- what to do about it.

There are 2,500 to 4,000 data brokers in the United States whose business is buying and selling our personal data. Last year, Equifax was in the news when hackers stole personal information on 150 million people, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver's license numbers.
Folks if you use a computer or a smartphone they are gathering data about you!

Any browser that you use is collecting data on you.

I joke that when click on an “I Accept” box that I just gave away my first born baby… but it is no joke! You just did.. you agreed to give them all your data on your family. They know the name of your spouse, the know the names of your children, they know their dates of birth.

How many of you list your true date of birth or where you live on Facebook (I listed my date of birth on Facebook as 1901… it took a while but I got an email from Facebook says that we don’t believe you are 116 year old)?

How many of you use Incognito when you search online? You do know that they track you when you visit online retailers, that is why you start getting ads for what you were just looking for.

Many time we don’t want to opt-out of cookies or other tracking devices because they make it easier for us to surf the web.

Look at the very bottom of my blog and you will see,
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That is because in Europe they ban most of the stuff that Congress has allowed here.
In the wake of this scandal, even Mark Zuckerberg said that his industry probably should be regulated, although he's certainly not wishing for the sorts of comprehensive regulation the GDPR is bringing to Europe.

He's right. Surveillance capitalism has operated without constraints for far too long. And advances in both big data analysis and artificial intelligence will make tomorrow's applications far creepier than today's. Regulation is the only answer.
It is not going to happen here. If you are complaining about the NRA well the internet companies are lobbying just as hard to block any laws like that here.

Hate Groups.

There is an official definition by the Southern Poverty Law Center of a hate group
What is a hate group?
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group as an organization that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

The organizations on our hate group list vilify others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity – prejudices that strike at the heart of our democratic values and fracture society along its most fragile fault lines.

The FBI uses similar criteria in its definition of a hate crime:
[A] criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.
We define a “group” as an entity that has a process through which followers identify themselves as being part of the group. This may involve donating, paying membership dues or participating in activities such as meetings and rallies. Individual chapters of a larger organization are each counted separately, because the number indicates reach and organizing activity.
Now groups that have been listed as a hate organizations by the SPLC are about to come out with a list of hate groups of their own…
Religious right group will publish a hit list of ‘anti-Christian’ LGBTQ groups & leaders
LGBTQ Nation
By Bil Browning
March 19, 2018

Matt Barber, the head of Christian Civil Rights Watch, has announced that he will publish a hit list of progressive LGBT organizations and activists that a religious zealot or domestic terrorist could use to attack the community. He says the list will only include “anti-Christian extremists.”

Barber has been associated with the Christian legal group that represented disgraced Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, Liberty Counsel, for years. Not only was the organization’s Director of Cultural Affairs, he left that position to lead their lobbying arm. Barber co-hosts a daily talk radio show with the extremist group’s founder and chairman, Mat Staver.

Both Barber and Liberty Counsel have been waging an ongoing campaign against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) after the esteemed civil rights organization officially listed Liberty Counsel as an anti-LGBTQ hate group. Barber, however, has shockingly announced the new tactic in his war to delegitimize the not-for-profit extremist group monitors. Together with several other Christian hate groups, Liberty Counsel and Barber have waged war against SPLC and their listing of hate groups active in the United States. The Family Research Council and the American Family Association are also on the list.
So it looks like these “Christian” think that it is alright to use derogatory language, tell lies, to twist research, to discriminate against LGBT people, and hide behind the Bible as long as it is for a “good” cause.

And now they want to label anybody who calls them out on it a “Christian Hate” group.

Monday, March 26, 2018

We Keep Winning For Now

We are winning in federal court for now but the future is murky with Trump packing the federal courts and appeals courts with Bible thumping judges. You might remember that we won a case this month in Maryland about trans students and locker rooms.
Transgender Workers Gain New Protection Under Court Ruling
New York Times
By Robert Pear
March 24, 2018

WASHINGTON — Employers are moving to adopt or strengthen policies to prevent bias against transgender people after the latest in a series of court rulings that have extended protections for an increasingly diverse work force.

A federal appeals court, rejecting the position of the Trump administration, ruled this month that transgender people are protected by a civil rights law that bans workplace discrimination based on sex.

Lawyers who specialize in employment cases said that the decision, by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, was highly significant. The court held that job discrimination on the basis of transgender status was inherently sex discrimination, and that the employer in this case could not claim an exemption from the law because of his religious beliefs.
The court’s conclusion is at odds with a position taken by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in October. In a memorandum to Justice Department lawyers, he said that “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”
You might remember that a funeral home lost a discrimination case last month when they claimed that they could fire a trans employee because of “religious freedom.”

We are winning in the courts but I concern about the future for as long as Trump and Pence are in office.

Is One Too Many?

There is a court case going on in Kansas over voter disenfranchisement and when I read about the research that was done the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
Testimony Ends in Kansas Voting Law Trial; No Opinion Yet
An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union says a Kansas voter registration law enacted in 2013 has stopped thousands of eligible citizens from voting and will damage the election process if it is allowed to stand.
US News
By Margaret Stafford, Associated Press
March 19, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas voter registration law enacted in 2013 has stopped thousands of eligible citizens from voting and will damage the election process if it is allowed to stand, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union argued Monday as testimony ended after seven, often-contentious days in a federal bench trial.

ACLU attorney Dale Ho said during closing arguments that the hordes of noncitizens accused of illegally registering to vote and stealing elections by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach "are not real." He derided one of Kobach's frequent statements that the 129 noncitizens he says have registered to vote in Kansas are "just the tip of the iceberg."

"The iceberg, on close inspection your honor, is more of an ice cube," said Ho, who urged U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson to find that the law will not be imposed in Kansas.
In his closing, Kobach argued that the plaintiffs had not proven the law undermines the election process. His team has argued throughout the legal case that a vast majority of Kansas residents have access to the documents required by the law and the small number who don't have several methods in which they can get off the suspended list and complete their registrations.
This is what got my hackles up.

“that a vast majority of Kansas residents have access to the documents required by the law and the small number who don't…” so what is an acceptable limit of disenfranchise voters? 1 percent? 10 percent? I think one voter is one too many disenfranchise voter.

What about if that they are all minorities, is that acceptable?

What about if that they are all from one party, is that acceptable?

A Break In The Ranks

Even some Republicans are telling Trump enough is enough and have fallen out of line with the hardline Republicans when it come to the military on us.
Armed Services Committee Republican breaks with Trump on transgender troops
The Hill
By AveryY Anapol
March 25, 2018

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on Sunday broke with President Trump over his new ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

In an interview on “Face the Nation,” Ernst told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan that she supports allowing transgender people to serve in the military as long as they fit the physical and mental standards required.

“I have asked transgenders myself, if you are willing to lay down your life beside mine, I would welcome you into our military,” she said.

“We do want to make sure that they meet physical requirements,” Ernst said. “We can't waive that. That is true across any demographic within our military, making sure that they are physically fit and they meet the mental standard.”
She is not alone; other Republicans have also spoke out against the ban.
She said Sunday that she would be open to having discussions with the Trump administration about the ban, but declined to say if she would ask the White House to change its position.
Maybe there is hope for us after all.

So who did pen the Trump’s new policy, did he dream it up or did he do a “Donald” and palmed it off to someone else to write and if so who?
Pence secretly drafted Trump’s latest transgender military ban
Junk science informed the new order, not military readiness.
Think Progress
By Zack Ford
March 25, 2018

 When President Trump announced a new ban on transgender people serving in the military late Friday, it was somewhat of a surprise — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had reportedly recommended in February that Trump allow transgender people to serve. It turns out that Vice President Pence and some of the country’s most prominent anti-LGBTQ activists had a role in reversing the outcome, which explains why the report explaining the decision is rife with anti-trans junk science.

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern reported Friday night that, according to multiple sources, Pence played “a leading role” in creating the report, along with Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, which has been dubbed “Trump’s favorite think tank,” and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC), an anti-LGBTQ hate group. Both Heritage and FRC praised the report Friday. According to Stern’s reporting, it was true that Mattis favored allowing transgender military service, but Pence “effectively overruled” him.
You might remember the Heritage Foundation from Ryan Anderson’s book “When Harry Became Sally” that did a barbarous job on us and the Family Research Council has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

So much for the high quality research done on the ban they probably made it much easier to get it banned in court.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

We Lost A Major Battle In State Court

Down in Louisiana the governor tried to do an end run around the legislature and issue an executive order protecting LGBT employees but the court would hear none of it.
Supreme Court shoots down Governor's order barring LGBT discrimination against workers
The Advocate
By Mark Ballard
March 23, 2018

A split Louisiana Supreme Court on Friday shot down Gov. John Bel Edwards’ order that bans companies contracting with the state from discriminating against LGBT employees.

The 5-2 majority, without comment, refused to hear Edwards' appeal, which essentially nullified his April 13, 2016, executive order.

Trial and appellate courts had ruled Edwards overstepped his authority by issuing an order when the Legislature disagreed on the policy of creating a “gender identity” protection within the state’s executive branch agencies, including those headed by elected officials, as well as the private companies seeking to do business with state government.
Of course the conservatives are doing a jig over their victory while thousands of LGBT people are wondering if they will have a job tomorrow.
Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson, of New Orleans, wrote in her dissent that the high court’s majority held “an unreasonably restrictive view” of the governor's authority and that their refusal to sort out this issue "may spell doom for longstanding anti-discrimination policies" in other institutions.

"I am dismayed that Louisiana finds itself, yet again, on the wrong side of history in a matter of civil rights and social justice," she said.
I hope businesses who are thinking of moving to Louisiana will stop and think twice before they move, do they want to hire the best employees and will their employees feel welcome to move to a state like Louisiana?

Calling BS For What It Is

The right is twisting the facts again about us with their wild unscientific theories; their latest is that gender dysphoria just pops up in us.
Why 'rapid-onset gender dysphoria' is bad science
Med Xpress
By Florence Ashley and Alexandre Baril
March 23, 2018

A few decades ago, sexologist Ray Blanchard suggested that trans lesbians—trans women who are solely attracted to other women—were in fact men whose misguided heterosexuality led them to be aroused by the thought of being women.

Blanchard's theory has since been put to rest by careful analyses and scientific studies. Despite being discredited, the theory remains popular among opponents of transgender rights.

Another idea is now making the rounds in anti-trans circles: "Rapid-onset gender dysphoria." The theory suggests that youngsters are being misled into claiming a trans identity before they truly understand what that means. They are supposedly influenced by the internet, social media and peers.

It is presented as a critique of the gender-affirmative model of therapy, which encourages supporting the child through their journey of exploration and affirmation of their gender identities, without expectations as to the result.

Debra Soh and Barbara Kay's recent pieces in The Globe and Mail and National Post bring this previously underground notion into the mainstream. They claim that rapid-onset gender dysphoria contradicts gender-affirmative care, which they misleadingly portray as pushing children to transition.
Yeah it is all our fault… it is our secret agenda.

Why does this nonsense get traction?

People don’t want to believe that being trans isn’t a choice, they see it as a “lifestyle” that way they can justify their bigotry. When you read comments you see them sticking to the old notion of 1950 biology that it is all chromosomes or you see comments about external genital. Well nature is much more complicated than those simple notions.
It conveniently pulls on heartstrings by calling us to defend our children, much as Blanchard's work appealed to our sexual puritanism. It distinguishes "good," true transgender people from "bad," fake trans people, allowing proponents to claim that they have nothing against trans people—well, at least the real ones.

Theories which rely on the idea of "contagion" in order to invalidate marginalised identities are not new. The same has happened with other marginalised groups, such as gay, lesbian and bisexual people. Young people were thought to be misled by the "gay agenda" into mistakenly and rashly claiming a queer identity.
They, those follow this idea, want a simple explanation that doesn’t hurt their head or challenge their beliefs. They don’t know what the medical protocols are, they think that the doctors begin shooting up children with hormones that create permeate changes in the children.
The goal of gender-affirmative therapy is not transition, contrary to what proponents of rapid-onset gender dysphoria claim. The goal is to "listen to the child and decipher with the help of parents or caregivers what the child is communicating about both gender identity and gender expression."
But they don’t understand that.

I see one of the reasons why there is this lack of knowledge is because of our puritan background; we don’t teach sex education in the classrooms… its icky. Also most of our text books come from religiously conservative Texas so they are lacking in biology and science because they don’t want to buck Bible teaching.
Gender-affirmative therapy's motto is: "Follow the child." If that means following them to social transition and, in due time, medical transition, then so be it. But only if that's what they truly want.
It is something that we need to do more of... listening to our children not only for their gender identity but also for other things in life. They seemed to do pretty good yesterday at the "Marches for Our Lives" around the country and the world.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Here We Go Again… Round 2

If nothing else he is persist, or if at first you get shot down get up and do it again, and again (Wait! What do they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, that it is a sign of mental illness.).
Trump moves to ban most transgender people from serving in military
The Hill
By John Bowden and Avery Anapol
March 23, 2018

President Trump is moving ahead with his plan to ban most transgender people from serving in the military, with limited exceptions, following up on a proposal he called for last summer.

The White House issued a memorandum late Friday on policies determined by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, stating that transgender people are "disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances."

The memo, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, states that "transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Mattis will have some leeway in implementing the policy, the memo states, as will Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen when it comes to the Coast Guard. The ban is something Mattis "concluded should be adopted," it notes.
You may have read about the federal judge ordering Trump to release the names of those he asked about banning trans servicemembers in his first attempt at banning us from the military, I wonder who were asked in this ban? reported…
The White House memo, released late Friday night, highlights recommendations from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria be barred from serving, saying these people "may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery."

With limited exceptions that are not spelled out in the memo, these people will be disqualified from military service, according to the policy.

"On the advice of ... experts, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security [Kirstjen Nielsen] have concluded that the accession or retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery -- presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality," the White House said in a released statement.

The new policy, the statement continued, would allow the military to apply health standards equally to all who serve.
You might remember that under the Obama presidency they research the policy for trans servicemembers for over two year and used independent researchers from the RAND Corporation. There was also an independent study done by the LGBT think tank the Palm Center and who did Trump ask for this newest ban? Were they something like the Family Research Council an organization that was labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center?

The further wrote…
"Today's announcement fulfills President Trump's July 2017 tweet calling for the reinstatement of the transgender military ban," Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin wrote. "In service to the ideological goals of the Trump-Pence base, the Pentagon has distorted the science on transgender health to prop up irrational and legally untenable discrimination that will erode military readiness. There is no evidence to support a policy that bars from military service patriotic Americans who are medically fit and able to deploy. Our troops and our nation deserve better."
The phrase “See you in court” comes to mind.

And Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe got it right; in an article in The Hill his tweet is quoted…
The "Morning Joe" co-host sent a tweet accusing Trump of issuing the decision in an attempt to distract from the massive spending bill he reluctantly signed Friday and an upcoming "60 Minutes" interview with adult film star Stormy Daniels.

"Boy, this transgender ban is going to get conservatives to forget you signed the biggest spending bill ever and Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview.
#DeflectionDon," Scarborough tweeted.
He got that right!

Have you notice that Trump comes out with the most outrageous tweets when he is boxed in a corner, that is why I am concerned if he ever is impeached will he start a war with North Korea or Iran to distract and table the impeachment?

Saturday 9: Sweet Disaster

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Sweet Disaster (2016)

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

1) This video begins outside a convenience store with a sign advertising beer, produce, lotto and an ATM. Will you buy beer, produce or a lotto ticket this weekend? Will you visit an ATM?
No beer, no lotto tickets, no ATM, but maybe produce

2) As the video progresses, fountain drinks and donuts are consumed. When you stop for a snack during a road trip, what do you usually grab?
On the trip to Cape Cod and back I ate all the stuff a diabetic shouldn’t eat… chips, bagel with cream cheese, peanut butter crackers with a black coffee.

3) The lyrics reference "a river of champagne." When did you last enjoy a spot of the bubbly?
It has been too long to remember… probably at some wedding.

4) The end of the video features sci-fi/horror images. Is that a genre you enjoy? If not, what kind of books do you read most often?
Si-Fi rules!

5) The trio that makes up The Dreamers are dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers. If you could live in any city or village in the world, would you move or stay right where you are?
I would stay, I’m a home body. I like familiar surroundings.

6) The Dreamers describe themselves as "impractical."  What about you? Do you consider yourself practical or impractical?
Way too practical

7) They also won't "listen to those who doubt" them. Sometimes we find the ones who doubt us most are ourselves. What about you? Are you confident, or do you suffer from self doubt?
I have tons of self-doubt. The biggest one right now is buying the cottage.

8) Do you often remember your dreams?
I can’t remember dreams and I feel cheated because I can't remember them.

9) Random question: Would you rather get $100 today, or $250 on this date a year from now?
I will take the $100 now and invest it in the stock market so that next year it will be worth $80.

I will be away most of the day at the “March for Our Lives” rally in Hartford

Friday, March 23, 2018

In High Places

More and more trans people are being appointed to high government positions, President Obama had about a dozen trans people in key government positions and a trans women has just been appointed to a Pennsylvania cabinet position.
Levine becomes PA’s first trans cabinet member
Philadelphia Gay News.
By Kristen Demilio 
March 21, 2018

The Pennsylvania Senate this week confirmed Dr. Rachel Levine, along with three other women, to cabinet-level positions, making Levine the commonwealth’s first-ever transgender individual to reach this level of government.

Levine, who was already serving as Pennsylvania’s Physician General — also a first for the trans community — was appointed Secretary of Health, joining the appointments of Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith and Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman.

As Physician General, Levine initiated the effort to establish opioid-prescribing guidelines in Pennsylvania. She also has led an LGBT workgroup on behalf of the governor’s office to promote fair and inclusive access to healthcare.

Levine, who specializes in pediatrics and psychiatry, “is firm in her stance, but professional and gentle in her delivery,” said Dane Menkin, clinical operations director of the Mazzoni Center and a member of the workgroup. “She takes issues that could spark conflict and de-escalates them.”
Hmm… I am a little surprised to see her appointment because the Senate is controlled by the Republicans while the governor is a Democrat.

The classes went very good, I didn’t finished the slide set in my presentation but I left them with a pdf copy of the PowerPoint. I might see them again at the March For Our Lives rally tomorrow in Hartford, they will get extra credit for attending the rally.

I’ve Been Taken In…

It seems like yesterday’s post might not have been on the up and up, according to Cristan Williams at the Transadvocate the author of the Slate article didn’t report the conclusion of the research accurately.
Slate wants you to be concerned that, “A Disproportionate Number of Autistic Youth Are Transgender.” Here’s why that concern is BS.

Cited are the following papers:
  • Gender identity disorder in a girl with autism —a case report, 1997
  • A 2017 Atlantic article that itself cites a 2010 paper titled, Autism Spectrum Disorders in Gender Dysphoric Children and Adolescents
  • A 2016 paper titled, Gender Dysphoria and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review of the Literature that predominately considers a pre-2013 dataset.
In fact, the 2016 study warns researchers that:
Notably, 1 study explored the link between the DSM-IV diagnosis GID and ASD in a clinical sample of children and adolescents using the more comprehensive Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO), a semistructured 2- to 4-hour interview. This study identified 1 child (of 52 with GID) who also met criteria for ASD according to the DISCO… In conclusion, current research has not established an overrepresentation of GD among those with ASD or the converse.
Yup, this is the paper that Slate cites as an example of supporting that:
A.) There is a consensus that “gender-dysphoric youth are more likely to be autistic than would be expected based on autism rates in the general population”; and,
B.) “This co-occurrence has implications for the treatment of both gender dysphoria and autism in young people”
The Slate article states, “Research on this phenomenon goes back to at least the 1990s, when the first case study of an autistic child with gender dysphoria (then called gender identity disorder) was published. As studies investigating the co-occurrence (or correlation) between gender dysphoria and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have trickled in, there is a growing consensus in the medical community that the two do co-occur at disproportionate rates.”
Consider the following from a 2018 paper published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:
More recently, growing attention has been paid to a putative relation between gender dysphoria (GD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This concept has become particularly popular in the lay press. Some individuals have gone so far as to suggest that transgender identity is a result of underlying psychopathology, with ASD being one example. These conclusions are not supported by extant research, and practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists should be aware of the literature on this topic and its limitations.
This paper is titled, “Gender Dysphoria” and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Is the Link Real?

As this paper correctly notes, the idea that Autism and GD share a link has, “become particularly popular in the lay press.” If you care to see how these misconceptions are used as propaganda, check out the way this misconception is used on this ex-trans site, a site that recently helped publish an ex-trans booklet targeting schools and school children. Click here to see the 100s of news articles on google fretting over the link between autism and being trans.
So I guess I was suckered in to reporting the Slate article.

What I do see is that many of trans children have been misdiagnosed with ADHD and other spectrum disorders; that many time when a child socially transitions all misdiagnosed symptoms disappear and the child begins living a normal life.

She ends the article with…
While it’s possible there is, in fact, a link between autism and being trans, the reality is that we do not have evidence to substantiate that hypothesis. Until we have clear data that substantiates the claims Slate and others regularly make, we need to remain agnostic to such claims, no matter how often these claims are made. While there are certainly autistic people who have gender dysphoria (just like there are autistic people who are GNC or gay) this reality doesn’t mean that being GNC, gay, or GD is any more likely than the general population to be autistic.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Is There A Link?

Or is it because the dysphoria mimics many of the symptoms of ADHD or Autism? It is because therapists only look for the oblivious and don’t probe deeper?
A Disproportionate Number of Autistic Youth Are Transgender. Why?
By Evan Urquhart
March 21, 2018

Gender specialists first noticed decades ago that a large number of people who seek treatment for gender dysphoria also seemed to have autistic traits. Research on this phenomenon goes back to at least the 1990s, when the first case study of an autistic child with gender dysphoria (then called gender identity disorder) was published. As studies investigating the co-occurrence (or correlation) between gender dysphoria and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have trickled in, there is a growing consensus in the medical community that the two do co-occur at disproportionate rates. This consensus is based on numerous studies reporting that gender-dysphoric youth are more likely to be autistic than would be expected based on autism rates in the general population. (This may also hold true for adults, although the research on adults is sparser.) This co-occurrence has implications for the treatment of both gender dysphoria and autism in young people, and hints at a connection between the biological causes of both transgender identity and ASD.

“We have enough evidence, across multiple studies internationally, to say that autism is more common in gender-diverse youth than in the general population,” said John Strang, a neuropsychologist and founder of the Gender and Autism Program at Children’s National Health System in Washington. Strang authored a 2014 analysis that found that more than 5 percent of autistic youth sampled for his study also displayed some level of desire to be the other gender, according to parental reports. (He cautioned that it’s too soon to say what the exact percentage in the overall population may be.) Another widely referenced study found that 7.8 percent of young people being treated for gender dysphoria at a clinic in Amsterdam had a confirmed diagnosis of ASD.

These studies seem to support the hypothesis that transgender identities are rooted in biology, especially when combined with other studies pointing to a strong heritable component of transgender identity. A biological basis for transgender identity is still highly contested, although the science has been pointing toward that explanation for several years. Researchers believe that autism itself is highly heritable, so a link between autism and gender identity could even provide some direction for researchers hunting for genes associated with transgender identity.
Two things, first we cannot get hung up on a biological component of gender dysphoria, there might be many other reason for GD besides biological causes. Also we cannot say that the two are linked; there are many autistic children who are not trans.
On the other hand, it’s possible that autism is overrepresented among trans youth because autistic people are less concerned with social norms and less likely to bow to social pressures that keep other trans people from coming out. Our ability to study gender dysphoria and diversity is limited by the fact that there are such strong social pressures, starting in early childhood, to conform to gendered expectations. There’s no way of knowing how many people hide their transgender identity, so we can’t know for sure whether studies of openly transgender people are representing the full picture at this time.
It can be as simple as asking questions about their gender identity.
One practical outcome of this research is that clinicians are recommending that autistic youth should be screened for gender dysphoria—and that clinics that work with gender-dysphoric youth should screen clients for autism as well. Young people who are found to have both need individualized, compassionate care, and they and their families also need to know that they are not alone. Strang cautioned that ASD should not be viewed as a negative for transgender people, because the ability to ignore social pressure can be very freeing for this group: “Autistic people may be more bold and individualistic, less swayed by social expectations. Some of the front-line leaders of the trans rights movement have been trans and autistic—and there’s a beautiful focus, for many of them, on being themselves and not bending to social expectations of what others expect them to be.”
The other thing we have to be aware of comorbidity.

We cannot block a child’s transition just because they’re autistic or if they have any other medical or mental illness. The governing factor should be can they make an informed consent to transition.

Update: 7:55 PM
The TransAdvocte reports that this article if flawed... Tomorrow post will look at her reserach.

I Have Said…

…That human rights should not be subject to a popular vote.
Anchorage voters to decide on anti-transgender "bathroom" law pushed by far-right extremists
Voters in Anchorage, Alaska are deciding the fate of an anti-transgender “bathroom” initiative in the city’s first vote-by-mail election (ballots are due by Election Day, Tuesday, April 3).
By Brendan Joel Kelley
March 21, 2018

Proposition 1, on the ballot due to the signature-gathering efforts of the far-right anti-LGBT Alaska Family Council (AFC), would overturn some protections enshrined by the Anchorage Assembly’s (the city’s legislative body) 2015 nondiscrimination law, and require city-owned changing facilities and restrooms to be designated for persons of the same sex listed on their birth certificate. The current nondiscrimination law being targeted by the Alaska Family Council and its allies entitles people to use bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms that are “consistent with their gender identity.”

Anchorage, which last year elected the state’s first two openly gay politicians, Christopher Constant and Felix Rivera, to the municipal assembly, has a long history with anti-LGBT culture wars, and the Alaska Family Council, led by its director Jim Minnery, has been the tip of the spear in attempts to deny LGBT equality over the last decade.

Minnery and the Alaska Family Council, with support from the national anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (of which Minnery’s cousin Tom was once chairman), led the campaign against Anchorage’s Proposition 5 in 2012, which would have added sexual orientation and transgender identity to the city’s civil rights code. The initiative failed after an ugly campaign against it that included anti-transgender cartoon ads former Governor Tony Knowles described as “intentionally stigmatizing” and “dehumanizing.”
Much like in the 2012 campaign, Minnery and the Alaska Family Council are relying on scare tactics like the debunked “bathroom predator” myth to convince Anchorage residents to vote yes on the initiative.
What gets me is that these so called “Family” organizations don’t even blink an eye to lying, creating hate and fear. I don’t know about you but these are not family values, family values are love and acceptance.

Let us hope that love wins out over hate.

This morning I am up at the Legislative Office Building at an “Action” to support the nomination to Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

When Justice McDonald was appointed to the Supreme Court his vote in Senate and House was almost unanimous now it is split right down party lines.

The question is what has changed?

The Republicans claim it was his vote about the death penalty* but other judges who ruled the same as Justice McDonald were not grilled on their ruling.

The Republicans claim that he looked researched the law on issues that were not brought up before the court during the trail but the Republicans never questioned any other of the justices during their re-nominating hearings. So why was it an issue with McDonald?

The Republicans claim it is because of a proposed bill he introduced to add more oversite of church funds but that was not an issue when he was voted to the Supreme Court, why is it an issue now?

Is it because he is a personal friend of the governor?

Is it because he is gay?

Is it because conservative money is pouring into the state?

*Back when the legislature voted to repeal the death penalty, the convicts on death row sued saying it was unfair that those convicted before the legislation passed the law still faced the death sentence. Four out of the seven justices agreed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Have You Attended A Trans Support Group?

It seems like support groups have a love them, hate them with the community. There’re some trans people who swear by them and another group of people hate them and wouldn’t set foot in them.
Support group offers window into how Las Vegas treats its transgender residents
Nevada Independent
By Jackie Valley
March 18th, 2018

The circle of chairs just keeps getting larger.

First, it’s only a man and woman sitting on a couch. But then someone takes a chair across the circle. Then another. And another. By the time Blue Montana takes a seat and introduces himself, 13 people surround him. Some are strangers. Some are friends. But in this room — with its dark purple walls, lime-green lockers and orange-tinted floors — Montana wants all to feel welcome and, more importantly, comfortable to be themselves. So his introduction comes with an invitation to do just that:

“My pronouns are he/him,” Montana tells the group. “This week so far was good.”

The introductions continue in that pattern.

 “My name is T. I don’t have a pronoun right now. I think I had a good week.”

“I’m Harper. Female pronouns. My week has been terrible.”

“My name is Geneva. Pronouns she and her. Last week was pretty crappy, and I’d rather not talk about it.”
This is common in support groups, the check-in.

It is just basic peer support group procedure, it give everyone a chance to speak-up. Many times after the check-in the group will go back and ask a member to expand more on their opening comments. Some support groups are more social than support, they have trips out to dinner, movies, or the theaters. But even those trips can be supportive by getting their member out in the public to build up courage for its members.

I used to visit every support group in the state to talk about the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill so I got to know many trans people in the state and also see how their group operates. I still attend two support groups regularly now so much for support but more socially. I see many friends at the meetings. It is also the reason I attend Fantasia Fair, not for the workshops but more for the social aspect.

I am also the treasurer for Connecticut Outreach Society because I saw too many times the treasurer left the group and it was hard to track them down to sign over the bank account to another member so I became the treasurer.

You All Have Seen Those Hateful Comments…

About XY and XX chromosomes or about our anatomy between our legs; well that is 1950s thinking, we have come a long ways since then to understand gender.
Scientists uncover 20 genes linked to being transgender – supporting claims the condition has a physical basis
  • US researchers tested 14 female-to-male and 16 male-to-female patients
  • The latest findings point towards transgender identity having a physical basis
  • Dr Ricki Lewis, a geneticist, said: 'It lends legitimacy, if that needs to be added, that transgender is not a choice but a way of being'

The Daily Mail
By Colin Fernandez Science Correspondent
18 March 2018

Scientists have uncovered 20 genes linked to being transgender – supporting claims that the condition has a physical basis.

Researchers believe the gene variations may contribute to people identifying with the opposite sex.

Critics of transgender identity say the condition is ‘all in the mind’, and transgender people have a psychological problem rather than a medical one. But by highlighting genetic mutations that affect brain development, the latest findings point towards transgender identity having a physical basis.
‘The most promising of these include variants of genes involved in neurologic development and sex hormones.’

Dr Ricki Lewis, a geneticist, said: ‘These are highly reputable folks going about this exactly the right way, searching the genomes of transgender people to highlight which genes they have variants in. It lends legitimacy, if that needs to be added, that transgender is not a choice but a way of being.'
Then there is this article…
What Role Do Sex Chromosomes Play In Transgender People's Identities?
Quora , Contributor
Match 19, 2018

What role do sex chromosomes play in the identities of transgender people? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Sai Janani Ganesan, Postdoctoral Scholar at UCSF, on Quora:
Biological gender and gender identity are two very distinct concepts. Biological gender or sex refers to the anatomy and physiology of a human body, whereas gender identity is influenced by a multitude of factors, most of which we don’t fully understand.

Biological sex is purely determined by the choice of sexual differentiation pathway, which is guided by genes on the sex chromosomes (though not exclusively, for example: WNT4 on chromosome 1). Testis-determining factor (TDF) or sex determining gene Y (SRY) located on the Y chromosome is one such gene. SRY is largely responsible for testis formation. It is not the only gene, and a variety of pathways and proteins are involved in this process of sex differentiation, some even located in the autosomal regions, but SRY is… special.

The sex determining gene Y (SRY) was identified in the 1980s by Peter Goodfellow’s group [2]. Goodfellow’s group and others performed a series of experiments to demonstrate the role of the gene. In one such study, they looked at the genetic information of individuals who were anatomically female and had both XY chromosomes, and individuals who were anatomically male with XX chromosomes [3][4]. They found the SRY gene in an X chromosome in fifty cases of anatomically male with XX chromosomes. In one of the anatomically female case with XY chromosomes, they found a single nucleotide mutation in the SRY gene, that translated to a single amino acid change (from methionine to isoleucine), thus disrupting the testes development process. A single amino acid change from methionine to isoleucine in the SRY gene can cause an embryo with XY sex chromosomes to develop as a female. It is not difficult to imagine that such de novo mutations can also play a role in gender identity. In another study in 1991, they were able to transform female mice embryo to male (anatomically and behaviorally) by simply inserting one single SRY gene [5].
The thing to remember is that there may be many reasons why we are trans and just because you don’t have one medical indicator doesn’t mean you’re not trans. There is only one sure thing that indicates if you are trans or not and it is you. You are the final judge if you are trans.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Something That We Knew

When you talk to a trans person one thing I think everyone would agree once you transition it is like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.
Transgender surgery can improve life for most, study confirms
New research uses a transgender-specific survey to assess the well-being of people who underwent gender reassignment survey.
Medical News Today
By Ana Sandoiu 19 March 2018

According to recent estimates, at present, there are 1.4 million transgender adults living in the United States, which represents about 0.6 percent of the country's population.

Studies have shown that transgender people have, overall, a lower quality of life than the general population.

High rates of depression, suicide attempts, and substance abuse have been documented among transgender individuals.

For many transgender people, quality of life improves after they transition. Gender reassignment is often essential for their well-being, with better psychosocial functioning, more stable relationships, and higher levels of contentment and happiness being reported by men and women who have transitioned.

Now, researchers from Essen University Hospital in Germany have developed, for the first time, a specific quality of life questionnaire for trans people who have had gender reassignment surgery.
The results of the study don’t come as a surprise to us,
Dr. Hess and colleagues surveyed 156 people who had all had gender reassignment surgery 6.61 years prior to the study, on average. The survey included open-ended questions regarding the participants' "general, optical, and functional contentedness" with the surgery.

The participants were also asked about their psychosocial well-being and quality of life. The latter was assessed at two different points in time throughout the transition process.

Overall, 71 percent of the participants reported feeling very satisfied with the "optical and functional results" of the surgery, with 76.2 percent of the participants saying that they were able to achieve orgasms.
Over 80 percent of the participants reported seeing themselves as female, and 16 percent said they felt "rather female." The authors conclude:
"We could detect a distinct improvement of general and trans-specific [quality of life] and psychosocial resources in our transgender cohort within [the] transition process."
When I transitioned I sent out a letter to all my cousins and one wrote back…
I remarked to _____ as we were leaving  what a warm and charming host you were and how sorry I was that I never knew you well. Now I understand better why. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
People can see a change in us, for me I was more outgoing.

You Have A Pain In Your Chest And Arms… What Do You Do?

For most people they would call 911 to be taken to an emergency room but for trans people that might be what they fear most.
What It's Like Being Transgender in the Emergency Room
One patient described the experience as making them feel like “the freak show.” But some hospitals are forging a path toward inclusive care.
National Geographic
By Susmita Baral
March 19, 2018

Visiting a hospital emergency room for medical attention can make anyone feel vulnerable. But for transgender patients, the experience can be even more harrowing. Gaps in staff knowledge about transgender health contribute to patients’ uncertainty about receiving prejudice-free, competent care. That in turn leads to alarming statistics about the well-being of the transgender community.

Today, roughly 0.6 to 0.7 percent of the American population identifies as transgender, and these people have disproportionately high rates of illness and death—in part due to widespread reluctance to seek out emergency treatment and even routine checkups over concerns about the quality of care. (Here's how science is helping us understand gender.)

In a study in the February edition of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, transgender adults who visited the ER overwhelmingly reported that health care providers lacked competency in issues specific to the transgender community. For instance, many providers did not understand the meaning of “transgender,” and they lacked experience with and knowledge in trans-specific treatment, such as the effects of hormone therapy or complications from reassignment surgery.

One subject in particular said prior hospital experiences left them feeling “like the freak show.” Similar encounters led to many participants saying they had avoided seeking out emergency care for fear of mistreatment, discrimination, and harassment.
One trans person I know who was hospitalized recounts a story of their hospital stay; she was in a ward with three other patients, one morning her doctor was leading a group of med students and her doctor was talking about her in the third person and about her being trans all in hearing of the other patients. She said she felt like a specimen on exhibit.
“When you’re that vulnerable, that’s the worst time to have to worry about people reacting to you,” one participant said. Often, the burden falls on patients themselves to educate their health care providers, according to a survey conducted by the National LGBTQ Task Force. But as transgender awareness grows, so does interest in formally educating medical professionals.
Another person tells the story about when she slipped and fell on icy, she could hear the emergency room personnel saying that they didn’t want to deal with “it.”
At New York University Langone Medical Center, transgender actors are trained to serve as so-called standardized patients, people who act out common health scenarios, to better prepare future professionals for patients with non-binary gender identities. Richard Greene, the director of gender and health education at the medical center, says it’s instrumental to have transgender individuals act as patients to keep the training authentic.
I understand that this is being done at a number of Connecticut medical schools.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Stigma & Fear

That is what is driving the growing backlash against us especially in schools; it is bad for children who have or are transitioning but it is even worst for the teachers because they face the same bigotry as the students bit also face the possibility of losing their job.
Swampscott won’t renew contract for transgender principal
Boston Globe
By Stephanie Ebbert and James Vaznis
March 15, 2018

By Stephanie Ebbert and James Vaznis GLOBE STAFF  MARCH 15, 2018
The superintendent of Swampscott Public Schools announced Thursday that she will not renew the contract of an elementary school principal who recently came out as transgender and who will remain on paid administrative leave for the rest of the school year.

In an e-mail to the community, Superintendent Pamela Angelakis said she informed principal Shannon Daniels of the decision earlier this week. Daniels’ contract does not expire until June 30, but the district had to notify Daniels by March 15 if the contract was not going to be renewed.

Angelakis did not specify a reason for not renewing the contract for Daniels, who has been on leave for more than two weeks.
Well of course she didn’t give any reason for the firing because it would have been against the law.
Do you really think that Daniels will ever find a job as a teacher again?
Transgender Teachers: In Their Own Voices
By LA Johnson. Clare Lombardo
March 18, 2018

NPR Ed has been reporting this month on the lives of transgender educators around the country. We surveyed 79 educators from the U.S. and Canada, and they had a lot to say – about their teaching, their identities and their roles in the lives of young people. We reported the survey findings here, and followed with this story about how educators are coming together to organize and to share their experiences in the classroom, and in their lives.

We asked our survey respondents to send in a selfie and tell us what they wish others knew about them as a trans- or gender nonconforming (T/GNC) educator. Here are some of their responses.
Here are some of the teachers that they had responses from
Dylan Kapit, special education teacher, New York City
"The one thing I wish people knew about me is that my identity as an educator is the most important one I have."

Benjamin Kennedy, early childhood and higher education, Vermont
"The one thing I wish people knew about being a T/GNC educator is how resilient you must be! Each choice about what pieces or how much of your identity to share is extremely intentional, and fighting off the fear of being 'found out' by unaccepting colleagues or families is exhausting. At the end of the day, it's all worth it – my kids have taught me more about myself and unconditional acceptance than I ever imagined."

Deena Dawn Larsen, English teacher, Manitowoc, Wis.
"A year ago, I legally changed my name. This fall, I fully transitioned at work, presenting as my authentic self in front of my students for the first time. My fear was that my transition would adversely affect the learning. In reality, my transition has been a non-issue. The staff, students, and parents have been amazing. I am able to focus on teaching and students can focus on learning. I am comforted knowing that my students see me as an educator who has their best interest at heart."

Alison Tippett, special education teacher, Massachusetts
"The one thing I wish people knew about being a T/GNC educator is that I am making a choice about my safety every day when I wake up and am out about being non-binary at work. We currently live in a society where it is not always safe for any trans person to be themselves at home, let alone be themselves out in public or in the workplace. I make this choice to be out every day at school because I believe it is my duty as an educator to show students that being one's authentic self is so much more fulfilling than hiding who you are.

"I want my students, and any student in my school, to know that gender norms and stereotypes are not something we need to continue to perpetuate. I want the students in my school to know they have someone they can talk to if they do not have a safe adult at home or in the community to discuss their feelings about gender. I also want my students to know that it is necessary to respect a person's gender identity and pronouns. I know I am not the only trans person that my students will meet and interact with in their lifetime. I am trying to prepare them for a diverse world where they can live with compassion and authenticity. I put my safety at risk every single day because I believe the end result will be so, so worth it."
I noticed one thing in common with all those whose responses NPR published… they all have passing privileges, while the Principal Daniels doesn’t.