Monday, December 31, 2018

On Parade

Tomorrow is the Rose Bowl Parade and there is a “first” that will happen in the parade…
Pasadena’s Annual Rose Parade Blooms With Its First LGBTQ Queen
Louise Deser Siskel is also the event's first Jewish queen and first with glasses.
By Brandon Voss
December 29, 2018

We stan a queer queen!

There she is: Louise Deser Siskel will lead the Rose Court on New Year’s Day as Queen of the 130th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, Pasadena Star-News reports.

Siskel is a senior at Pasadena’s Sequoyah High School, where she is a member of the debate team and judicial committee.

The 18-year-old San Marino resident says she entered the 2019 Rose Court search “on sort of a whim” but came to realize “the value of the Tournament of Roses, and the role it plays in our community,” adding that the organization gives the young women on its court “a real voice; for that I feel very thankful.”

Siskel feels especially honored to be the Rose Parade’s first Jewish queen, the first queen with glasses, and first queen who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community.
Bravo! Bravo!

It shows how far we have progressed where being LGBT doesn’t matter anymore in certain areas of the country.

Gay Navy sailor recreates iconic New York WWII kiss photo with his husband but faces brutal homophobic backlash for the modern twist
  • Bryan Woodington, 33, and husband Kenneth, 30, recreated the iconic WWII kiss
  • Bryan, a Navy sailor, was returning home to Florida after seven months in the Persian Gulf and Europe when the photo was taken
  • The couple won a lottery to perform the ceremonial first kiss, a naval tradition
  • Some have been critical of the couple, while others are embracing the kiss
  • 'There are people who see the beauty in it,' Kenneth said. 'As for those who don't, have a nice day.'
The Daily Mail
By Daily Mail Reporter
29 December 2018

A gay Navy sailor has recreated the iconic Second World War kissing photo with his teacher husband - but the heartwarming moment has been marred by an angry homophobic backlash.

Bryan Woodington, 33, returned home to Florida after seven months in the Persian Gulf and Europe on December 21, to greet husband of one year Kenneth Woodington, 30.

The couple won a lottery to perform the ceremonial first kiss, a naval tradition that was captured on Jacksonville station News 4 Jax.

But the station reports that not all their viewers were pleased with the same-sex couple's intimate moment, and News 4 Jax was 'bombarded' by hate messages.

'When I saw Bryan, I lost all control and ran over to him,' Kenneth, a special education teacher, told Yahoo Lifestyle.

According to News 4 Jax, Bryan was one of 300 sailors returning to their families right before Christmas.
Okay first the good news… it is great that the navy is so open that lesbians and gays are accepted in the military services.

More good news… they were not the first same-sex couple to win the lottery,
In 2011, two female sailors were the first same-sex couple to win the lottery.
Now the bad news… if it was a straight couple everyone would probably thought it was great that they recreated the iconic Second World War kissing photo.

More bad news… trans service members are still shunned.

Being Trans Is Not New

We know that trans people have been around since the beginning.

Here in the U.S. one of our founding “fathers” was lawyer for a trans woman who was attacked…
John Adams's notes on the case indicate that the cause of the scuffle was an earlier incident in which young Pitts had been "gallanting" (flirting with) a person he assumed to be a young woman. Only later did Pitts learn that this individual's feminine clothes covered a male body -- apparently, either Gray's or that of another male closely associated with Gray. Learning of the deception, young Pitts, after unsuccessfully demanding an apology from Gray, opened Gray's scalp with a walking stick -- the injury for which Gray brought legal charges.
Now over in Iran they are finding evidence that we were around 3000 years ago much to the chagrin of the Revolutionary Guard.
Ancient Civilization in Iran Recognized Transgender People 3,000 Years Ago, Study Suggests
Analysis of funerary artifacts in Iron Age burials at Hasanlu, Iran indicates there were three different sets of offerings: for males, females and a 'third gender'
By Ariel David
December 30, 2018
Well “ain't that a kick in the teeth” I was just getting ready to write about the above headline when I got kicked out by a pay firewall but the internet being the internet I found the article on another website.
Ancient civilization in Iran recognized transgender people 3,000 years ago, study suggests – 
Trend Daily News
ArchaeologyPublished 21 hours ago on December 30, 2018
By mohali

As 2018 came to its end, the Trump administration was busying itself with stripping transgender people of official status in U.S. law. It may come as a shock to the White House, but it’s trying to erase something that has been recognized by many human societies for thousands of years. Apparently, an enigmatic civilization in Persia may have embraced this diversity by recognizing the existence of a third gender besides “male” and “female” already 3,000 years ago.

That is the theory based on the statistical study of artifacts found in the burials at Hasanlu, an ancient site thousands of years old located in what is today northwestern Iran.

The study rattles the assumptions archaeologists make about sex and gender in ancient civilizations, and also highlights that many non-western societies – past or present – have a non-binary view of gender.
But the algorithm also showed that around 20 percent of the burials in Hasanlu featured a third cluster of co-occurring objects: unusual combinations of artifacts, of types that accompanied skeletons of both sexes.
In any case, Cifarelli tells Haaretz, there are clearly more than two categories of funerary artifacts in Hasanlu: one can be clearly mapped to women, one to men, and then there’s a middle category.

The art historian theorizes that these three groupings of ritual funerary objects signal that the local culture recognized the existence of at least three different genders.

But how can we know that the artifacts were indeed markers of gender rather than indicators of some other social role, or even just random offerings left by grieving relatives?

We cannot be sure, the researcher concedes, but the fact that the two more polarized clusters correlate closely with the biological sex of the deceased suggests that indeed gender identity played a role in the selection of mortuary accouterments.
However, Cifarelli believes that traces of this third gender can be discerned in Hasanlu’s art, particularly in a golden bowl uncovered there by archaeologists.

Among the figures depicted on the bowl is a bearded man wearing female clothing shown sitting on the floor, a position that local iconography usually reserved for women, Cifarelli says. She thinks this may be a representation of a non-binary person.
Hmm… very interesting!

And the gays and lesbians were also appears to be accepted.
The most famous of these remains are the so-called Hasanlu Lovers, two people who appear locked in a tender embrace. Since both the skeletons are believed to be male, this discovery has long fueled a debate over love and sexuality in this ancient culture.
This kind of shows that transphobia and homophobia is the result of Christianity and it offshoot religions. It we looking at the North America indigenous peoples they seemed to okay with trans and lesbians and gays, it was when the Europeans came here and forced Christianity on them that they changed.

Note: Sunday’s morning post “It’s In Our Bones” is related to this post; the article cited appears to be written by a student in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania that studied the artifacts from Hasanlu.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

It’s In Our Bones

You all have read it… God made man and women! Sex is in our chromosomes men=XY women=XX!

We now know that sex and gender are a lot more than chromosomes, that there are proteins, androgen receptors, and many more biological factors that determine gender.
Science keeps showing us that sex also doesn't fit in a binary, whether it be determined by genitals, chromosomes, hormones, or skeletons.
By Alexandra Kralick
December 25, 2018

She wasn't especially tall. Her testosterone levels weren't unusually high for a woman. She was externally entirely female. But in the mid-1980s, when her chromosome results came back as XY instead of the "normal" XX for a woman, the Spanish national team ousted hurdler María José Martínez-Patiño. She was ejected from the Olympic residence and deserted by her teammates, friends, and boyfriend. She lost her records and medals because of a genetic mutation that wasn't proven to give her any competitive advantage.

People like Martínez-Patiño have been ill-served by rules that draw a hard line between the sexes. In the United States, the Trump administration looks set to make things worse. According to a memo leaked to The New York Times in October, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is trying to set up a legal binary definition of sex, establishing each person "as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth." But our bodies are more complicated than that.
Skeletal studies, the field that I work in as a doctoral student in anthropology, and the history of this field show how our society's assumptions about sex can lead to profound mistakes, and how acknowledging that things are not really as binary as they may seem can help to resolve those errors. Trump and his advisers should take note.
But researchers started to find discrepancies in the theory on identifying the sex of the skeletons, there were too many males.
In 1972, Kenneth Weiss, now a professor emeritus of anthropology and genetics at Pennsylvania State University, noticed that there were about 12 percent more male skeletons than females reported at archaeological sites. This seemed odd, since the proportion of men to women should have been about half and half. The reason for the bias, Weiss concluded, was an "irresistible temptation in many cases to call doubtful specimens male." For example, a particularly tall, narrow-hipped woman might be mistakenly cataloged as a man. After Weiss published about this male bias, research practices began to change. In 1993, 21 years later, the aptly named Karen Bone, then a master's student at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, examined a more recent data set and found that the bias had declined: The ratio of male to female skeletons had balanced out. In part that might be because of better, more accurate ways of sexing skeletons. But also, when I went back through the papers Bone cited, I noticed there were more individuals categorized as "indeterminate" after 1972 and basically none prior.
As any trans person know gender and sex is complicated, it is not binary but a spectrum and now science is proving it.

We Are Under A Microscope

Everything that we do is going to be brought to light by the opposition even if it is not true. Whether it is the way we look or dress or behave it will be used against us.

When all the microaggressions build up all day and then someone mis-gender you…
Transgender woman loses it when shop worker calls her ‘sir’ (video)
Rolling Out
By Terry Shropshire
December 29, 2018

A transgender shopper went volcanic on a game store worker when the employee used the wrong title to address her.

The unidentified woman exploded on the male employee, who made the innocuous error of addressing her as “sir” instead of “ma’am” at a GameStop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The transgender customer had just purchased an item when the fireworks popped off.

Because the transgender woman considered “sir” an indignity, she demanded her money back.

“I don’t want credit, you’re going to give me my f—ing money back,” the customer fired off at high decibels, according to Christian Journal Media.

At one point, the transgender customer even demanded the male shop employee walk outside with her so that she could show him what “a sir” really is.

After the customer finished her rant, she stormed toward the door and deliberately toppled a display of toys. But she was just getting started because she then walked back toward the counter to continue the tirade.
We don’t know what lead up to her frustration but my guess this was cumulation of being harassed all day.

It is hard to get by in a world that is trying to force you into a binary, whether is a “sir” that you know by the tone of voice is a dig, or the stares, or taking your picture without your permission they all pile up and sometimes it becomes one too many.

While I don’t condone violence it becomes understandable after a day of provocations.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Saturday 9: Winter Wonderland

Sam’s Saturday 9: Winter Wonderland (1968)

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

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

Welcome to the last Saturday 9 of 2018! Thanks for a great year, everyone.

1) This is an unconventional take on an old familiar song. Over the holidays, do you prefer traditional carols? Or do you like to mix it up with more contemporary fare?
I prefer the old classics Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and all the other singers from that era.

2) Now that Christmas is behind us, are you enjoying a relaxing week? Or do you have socializing/celebrating/chores to do?
I am having an early evening movie party on New Year’s Eve I am showing Loving Vincent which I saw in a movie theater Thursday and I wanted to see it again.

3) Winter is a time for cocooning. What book or movie did you enjoy in 2018 that you would recommend to your fellow Saturday 9-ers?
Oh that’s a hard one… how about Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones

4)  Looking back on the past year, what was one of your happiest moments?
When I bought the cottage on Cape Cod

5)  What was the smartest thing you did all this past year? 
Buying the cottage on Cape Cod

6)  As 2018 comes to a close, what are you most grateful for?
Still being above ground.

7) This week's featured artist is Herb Alpert. Because of the style he popularized and the name of his band, people assume he's Hispanic. Yet his parents were Jewish immigrants from Romania. What's something we'd be surprised to learn about you?
Family rumor is that we are related to Benedict Arnold.

8) He performed an instrumental version of "The Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXII. How did your favorite sports teams do in 2018?
Um… I don’t have one.

9) Random question: When did you last check your social media feed?
Um… while I was writing this.

Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us on next Saturday for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!" Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, December 28, 2018

History Worth Remembering

Back when I was starting thinking about coming out and transiting I attended Twenty Club (XX Club) meetings in the early 2000s and I was lucky to hear the history of the Twenty Club by the Rev. Canon Clinton R. Jones and Dr. Higgins.

Rev. Cannon Jones told about starting a support group at the YMCA in Hartford in the early sixties called “Project Homosexual” and in the lobby they put up a sign on meeting days that pointed the way to the meeting room.  The sign said “Project Homosexual” with an arrow. After the first couple meetings the management of the Y came up to Rev. Jones and said that they want to support the group but could they please change the name to “Project H.”

At the meetings there were some men who said they wanted to be women. The reverend realized that these men were not gay but were in the term of the era transsexual. Rev, Cannon Jones, Dr. Higgins a psychologists, an endocrinologists who I don’t know, and a surgeon who I believe was Dr. Snow and Dr. Snow  I think worked with Dr. Harry Benjamin at John Hopkins, Rev. Cannon Jones and Dr. Snow formed the Gender Identity Clinic of New England (GICNE) in the mid-sixties and .

On the website Timeline they write,
By 1979, only 30 surgeries had actually been performed at Hopkins itself, but the clinic consulted on more than a thousand surgeries at different hospitals, training doctors along the way. By the time the Hopkins clinic closed, between 15 and 20 medical centers were performing the surgery.
And one of those was GICNE and the surgeries were performed at Mount Sinai Hospital

Besides starting GICNE they also started the XX Club back in the late sixties or early seventies which makes the XX Club one of the oldest continuous trans, if not the oldest support groups in the nation.

The LGBT Religious Archive Network had this to say about the XX Club,
In 1968-69, Canon Jones studied counseling at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health in New York City and completed an S.T.M. degree at New York Theological Seminary. He subsequently began a counseling ministry at the Cathedral as well as gathering an extensive library on homosexuality there. In his ministry he came into contact with a number of transgendered persons. Along with Dr. George Higgins, professor at Trinity College, Canon Jones and other professionals developed an extensive program of counseling and psychological services for persons seeking gender reassignment. The "Twenty Club," a support group for transgendered persons was created at the Cathedral and met for more than 30 years and has since continued at the GLBT Community Center.
And the article was written in 2005 so now it will 40 years old.

For me my first contact was in the summer of 2000 at a picnic that the XX Club held each year at Stratton Brook State Park, in my diary I wrote…
Big update. First I did go to the XX Club picnic and had a real great time. Meet a lot of new friends…
Now back to the picnic and some pictures of course.

I’m the undefeated Backgammon Champion of the XX Club picnic.

The picnic was really nice, it was the first time I went to any of the functions of the XX Club. You got to understand that COS [Connecticut Outreach Society, another support group] is the minor leagues and the XX Club is the major leagues. COS is open to all transgender people and the XX Club is for transsexuals only, both MTF and FTM’s. They were supposed to get the pavilion at Stratton Brook State Park but got there to late to get the pavilion. The family that got there first was kind enough to let them have part of it. I wonder what they thought about all of the TS’s that descended upon them ( well it was that many only fifteen or twenty ). As I mentioned before I had a great time sitting around talking and playing backgammon. It was different from the COS meetings in that there was talk about the “operation”, what doctor does the best work, about cost and hormones. Because of the weather the turnout was low according to them last year they had about forty people there. One more observation a lot of the members seems to be involved with motorcycles and a number of them were in the military. Hmm…
This is history that needs to be told; we need to preserve our history or it will be lost forever.

One Is Too Many

When we were working to pass the gender inclusive non-discrimination law we were asked how many trans people are there in the state and when we told them around 0.5 percent their answer was “why do we need a law to protect so few people?”

When heard the same thing when we tried to pass the bill banning conversion therapy for minors, it isn’t a big problem here in Connecticut so why do we need a law?
What the administration's shifting arguments against transgender military service reveal
The Hill
By Diane Mazur, Opinion Contributor
December 24, 2018

There’s a new twist in the Trump administration’s effort to stop transgender Americans from serving in the military. In a Dec. 10 hearing before the D.C. Court of Appeals, a Justice Department lawyer highlighted information about the number of transgender troops serving—about 9,000, based on survey answers from active-duty members.

One would think this an odd way to open the argument, because it shows the significant contribution transgender Americans are making in our defense, despite efforts to demean their service. A lot of people serving in uniform will be affected by whether federal courts let the ban take effect.
The Trump administration’s new tack was to argue that this relatively low number to date meant that the ban wasn’t even a ban, and so courts should allow the new policy crafted by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to go into effect. The government argued that Mattis had actually eased Trump’s tweeted ban, and so the injunctions protecting trans troops were no longer justified.

It wasn’t really a ban, so went the argument, because the Trump/Mattis plan said that people who identify as transgender can serve provided they don’t have gender dysphoria (the medical term for divergence between birth sex and gender identity) and they agree to serve for the duration in birth sex. The government’s pitch was, in essence, “Look at the thousands of transgender troops who are happy serving in birth gender. They won’t mind if new policy prohibits gender transition.” (One of the other judges on the panel reasonably noted that it seemed a contradiction in terms to state that transgender people were not impacted by a ban on gender transition.)
But in the end, what difference does it make what percentage of people who identify as transgender wind up transitioning gender? Whether 0 percent or 100 percnet [sic] transition gender, the following three facts remain the same.
We said the same thing that the numbers don’t matter.

That even one is too many.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

History In The Making.

Now that the November elections are behind us a new crop of legislators taking their seats history is going to be made as trans legislators begin their work.
Transgender state representatives poised to make history
Associated Press
December 26, 2018

Two New Hampshire politicians will make history next week when they're sworn in as the state's first openly transgender women to serve in the State House.

The Portsmouth Herald reports Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker will represent Somersworth and Exeter respectively when they take office on Jan. 2. Stacie Laughton became the first openly transgender lawmaker elected in New Hampshire in 2012. However, Laughton never took office because of a felony conviction.
Not all news coverage was good…
Two Transgender Representatives About To Join New Hampshire Legislature
New Boston Post
December 24, 2018

Two biological men who identify as women plan to join the New Hampshire House of Representatives in January 2019 — and they’ll make up half of the openly transgender state legislators in the nation.

State representative-elect Gerri Cannon (D-Somersworth) plans to file a bill that would allow transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificates.
Seacoast Online reported,
“I don’t identify myself as a trans person going to Concord, but I am a trans person in Concord,” Bunker said during a sit-down interview with Seacoast Media Group alongside Cannon. “It is important to represent. One way I think we can do that (is) to look at legislation from a trans person’s point of view, or an LGBT person’s point of view, and ask if there’s something people are missing here because they just don’t know.”
Cannon made her first foray into political office last year when she was elected to the Somersworth School Board, but she has long been involved in public discourse. She’s testified several times about transgender issues before the Legislature, and she said seeing the political process up close got her motivated to give it a go herself.

“There’s a lot more things than just the transgender community,” Cannon said. “As I sat in other sessions in the House, I realized there were a lot of things I had an opinion about. There were a lot of health and human services issues.”
There are something like five trans persons that were elected in November. Liz Lyke and Kathy Ottersten were elected in Fairbanks Alaska, and in Colorado Brianna Titone, according to the New York Times there also were at least 153 LGBTQ candidates elected last November.

I met Gerri Cannon at Fantasia Fair in October, she gave a noon Keynote address.

He Got It Wrong

A Catholic Bishop said that our families should disown us and shut us out of family gatherings.
Calgary priest under fire for homophobic remarks
StarMetro Calgary
By Emma McIntosh
December 20, 2018

CALGARY—Critics are calling for apologies from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary and the city’s Catholic school board for homophobic sermons delivered by a priest who works with students.

Rev. Jerome Lavigne, the vicar for education at the diocese, has said that the rainbow pride flag was invented by Satan and represents “lawlessness” and a “break from the natural order.” He is also affiliated with white nationalist Faith Goldy.
At the event, Goldy advocated against gay-straight alliances and referred to being transgender as a “mental illness,” a since-deleted video shows. She also discussed the sexuality of former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne, saying the openly lesbian politician is to blame for “forcing” her “beliefs” onto her son, who is openly gay.
Then, in February, Lavigne gave his sermon about the pride flag, called “The Rainbow.” Though the diocese later removed the sermon from its website and Facebook page in an effort to respect “the inherent dignity of persons,” according to a July 5 statement, a recording surfaced online this week and prompted widespread criticism.
In a September sermon called “Origins of Evil,” Lavigne said “there’s no such thing as ‘God made me this way’” when it comes to homosexuality. Video of the sermon was deleted after StarMetro sent a list of questions to Lavigne.
I think it should be the priest who should be banned from family functions.

The magazine Commonweal wrote this week…
LGBT Catholics Are a Reality
Theology Must Acknowledge Gender Science
By Craig A. Ford, Jr.
December 19, 2018

The second was the decision by bishops at the 2018 Synod on Young People not to include terms like “gay” or “LGBT” in the synod’s final document when discussing theologies relevant to persons who identify somewhere along the LGBTQ+ spectrum, or simply as “queer”—even though the former term was used in the gathering’s preparatory documents. (Some notes on these terms: When used to refer to identity, the word “queer” distinguishes gender identities and sexual orientations that exist at some variance, on the one hand, with a binary understanding of cisgender embodiment [man/woman], and, on the other, a binary understanding of sexual desire and sexual practice. Both “queer” and “LGBTQ” are shorthand, but the latter explicitly names specific identities. Adding “+” to LGBTQ signals that there are forms of gender and sexual variance beyond those named in the acronym. One such example is “gender-queer,” which distinguishes any gender identity that lies at some variance with the cisgender gender binary, covering persons for whom the word “transgender” does not accurately represent their self-understanding. As others have pointed out, the simple use of the term “LGBT”—even without the “Q” or the “+”—represents great progress in terms of recognition in ecclesial documents.)
I think that the Catholic Church like many institutions is of two minds. One side is compassionate and wants to embrace LGBTQ+ people and others want to damn us.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

While Researching An Article

I came across this NAMI* website. A couple of years ago I was invited to do a presentation at their conference on Cultural Competency for mental health professionals.
Without mental health we cannot be healthy. We all experience emotional ups and downs from time to time caused by events in our lives. Mental health conditions go beyond these emotional reactions to specific situations. They are medical conditions that cause changes in how we think and feel and in our mood.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) community faces mental health conditions just like the rest of the population. However, you may experience more negative mental health outcomes due to prejudice and other biases. Knowing what challenges you may face as a member of the LGBTQ community and how to find and work with LGBTQ-inclusive providers can help ensure more positive outcomes.

How Do Mental Health Conditions Affect The LGBTQ Community?
LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. This fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities, can lead to depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse.

LGBTQ people must confront stigma and prejudice based on their sexual orientation or gender identity while also dealing with the societal bias against mental health conditions. Some people report having to hide their sexual orientation from those in the mental health system for fear of being ridiculed or rejected. Some hide their mental health conditions from their LGBTQ friends.

As a community, LGBTQ individuals do not often talk about mental health and may lack awareness about mental health conditions. This sometimes prevents people from seeking the treatment and support that they need to get better.
The website lists areas of concern,

  • Prejudice & Stigma
  • Suicides
  • Substance Abuse
  • LGBTQ Youth
  • Disparities In Care

Under Prejudice & Stigma they write…
The effects of this double or dual stigma can be particularly harmful, especially when someone seeks treatment.

Often termed “minority stress,” disparities in the LGBTQ community stem from a variety of factors including social stigma, discrimination, prejudice, denial of civil and human rights, abuse, harassment, victimization, social exclusion and family rejection.

Rates of mental health conditions are particularly high in bisexual and questioning individuals and those who fear or choose not to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity. Though not all people will face mental health challenges, discrimination or violence, many people report less mental well-being and satisfaction.
And for us this time of year can be highly stressful, many trans have been rejected by their families, and many have no one to turn to for help. They are homeless, and unemployed because of discrimination and rejection which leads to high incidents of self-harm for the holiday season. I am one of the lucky ones, I have a loving family.

*National Alliance on Mental Illness

A Restraining Force

The ban on trans servicemembers has been making its way through the courts and we have lost an advocate in the administration, the Secretary of Defense who has been trying to hold his former boss back from doing even more drastic steps to trans servicemembers.
All the ways Mattis tried to contain Trump
The Defense secretary tried to steady the president without saying "no."
By Wesley Morgan
December 20, 2018

For two years, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis slow-walked and stymied President Donald Trump's most dramatic impulses on military policy.

That strategy came to a swift end when it came to Syria.

Trump’s and Mattis' vocal disagreement on withdrawing U.S. troops from the war-ravaged country was just the latest clash between the president and his Pentagon chief on their approach to deploying the military and projecting American power
Transgender troop ban
When Trump tweeted his order that the military ban transgender personnel, Mattis tried to walk it back but ultimately failed. After the White House followed up the tweet with formal guidance, Mattis ordered a six-month policy review headed by his top deputy and generals from each of the military branches.

While the reviews were underway, the existing Obama-era policies that allowed troops to be open about their transgender status — and in some cases receive government-funded sex-reassignment surgeries — remained in place.

But the review ended with Mattis largely acquiescing to Trump, recommending in a memo to the president that "persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria" be "disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances.”

Trump followed through in March by formally ordering a ban based on Mattis’ recommendation — although that policy is now being contested in several court cases.
It wasn’t much but at least he tried to stop his boss… now there is no restraint on Trump and God help us.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Peace On Earth and Goodwill To All
Earthrise (NASW Photo) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

It this time of year that we reflect on all that has happened this past year and to give thanks. However, for many it is not a time to rejoice, it is a time of loneliness, their families may have moved and left them behind, their family or spouse might have pasted away leaving them without any close relatives or their children might be at their in-laws for this holiday, for whatever the reason, it is a lonely time.

This year I will be going  down to my nephew's to be with the family today.

For many in the LGBT community it is an especially lonely time,
they might not have seen their family since they came out to them. Their families and children have disowned them. Sometimes when we do attend the gathering, we feel like outcasts, like the square peg in the round hole, we just don’t fit in, we are tolerated when we bring our partners or ourselves to the table.

So let us open our hearts and doors to them and invite them to the table.

I leave you with this Christmas song by Nat King Cole - Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

An American traditional songs...

And a cute little video...

Monday, December 24, 2018

Come Out, Come Out

How many times have we heard that but it is true just by knowing a trans person research has shown we change minds.
Just one gay acquaintance can change hearts and minds on LGBTQ rights, study finds
The study confirms what many have already known anecdotally: “Coming out works as a strategy for changing minds" on LGBTQ rights.
NBC News
By Gwen Aviles
December 17, 2018

When Dr. Nelson Bonheim first discovered that the new female physician hired by his medical practice was living with another woman, he was "a little uneasy about inviting her to his golf club," he recalled. Now, 25 years later, the 76-year-old retired gastroenterologist looks back on that uneasiness and thinks about how much he has evolved.

Bonheim said once he got to know his colleague, a lesbian 15 years his junior, they quickly became close friends. In fact, he said he eventually considered himself the younger doctor's "surrogate father or brother."

By the time his colleague married her female partner, Bonheim said he realized they “were like any other couple." He even spoke at her wedding, a wedding he said her own parents, who are Orthodox Jews, refused to attend because they didn’t fully accept her relationship.

“I was never opposed to same-sex marriage; people have a right to do what they want to do,” Bonheim added, "but I wasn’t as accepting as I am now.”
Bonheim is not alone in evolving on LGBTQ rights and acceptance after befriending a gay person. A new study confirms what many have already known anecdotally: Having at least one gay or lesbian acquaintance not only makes straight people more likely to support gay rights, but also makes them more accepting of gay people in general.

The phenomenon is known as "contact theory," according to Daniel DellaPosta, the study's author and an assistant sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University. DellaPosta, who is gay, said he has both a "personal and academic interest" in the topic and was inspired to research it after finding data that showed acceptance of homosexuality grew five-fold between 1973 and 2016.
It is not just knowing a LGBTQ person but it also effects those who know a Muslim or blacks or Latino person, it is hard to hate someone you know. The researchers found that…
… furthermore, we can see that respondents who were acquainted with a gay or lesbian person were indeed likelier to change their attitude in the direction of greater support for same-sex marriage. Although those with no gay acquaintances generally retained similar attitudes over time, or even became slightly less supportive of same-sex marriage, the percentage of people with gay acquaintances who also supported same-sex marriage increased from 45 percent in 2006 to 60 percent in 2010…
I must insert a word of caution… make sure it is safe to come out! Number 1 concern be safe, could there be violence, or the loss of housing or employment?

The article ends with…
DellaPosta acknowledged that not everyone who has a gay acquaintance will have a change of heart when it comes to gay people and LGBTQ rights. But, he added, "broadly speaking, it works."
Be safe but if you can come out, come out.

Many Don’t Last, But Others Last A Lifetime

When it comes to trans marriages there are no rules, it is only what works for you and your spouse and sometimes no common ground can be found.
Reinventing a relationship when one spouse reveals they’re transgender
The Rev. Donnie Anderson and Debbie Jamieson have spent the last year on parallel journeys of self-discovery after Donnie’s announced intention to transition to a woman.
The Providence Journal
By Karen Lee Ziner
December 14, 2018

NORTH KINGSTOWN — In August 2017, the Rev. Donald C. Anderson set an inescapable deadline. The women’s clothes from Kohl’s were due to arrive any day.

There was no way out: Donald’s wife, Debbie, would finally have to learn a secret that had been buried like a stone in the sea.

On the morning of Aug. 20, Donald asked Debbie to sit down: there was something to tell her. As usual, Debbie chose the living room sofa, Donald the rocking chair. Family photos reflecting 23 years of marriage — a second marriage for each — surrounded them.

Donald, then 69 and executive minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, searched for nuance and grace, but found none.
“Death by a thousand needles,” Donnie recalls. “Salt in the wound,” Debbie says.

Debbie pleaded, tried to bargain: ”‘Do you have to do this? Can’t you just do this on weekends, at home?’
For spouses it can be a nightmare and overwhelming at first. She sought help in understanding from a lesbian couple.
“I couldn’t stop crying. Couldn’t stop crying,” says Debbie. “They were very compassionate, very loving. They were like, ‘Emotional intimacy in a marriage is much more important.’ I kept saying, ’I like men. I am very comfortable with my gender. I know who I am. I don’t want a wife. ... I didn’t sign up for that.”
As Debbie says, “It’s been painful because we’ve lost friends ... There are some people who we were close to who are probably going to drift out of our lives. I can look at them and say, ’Don was with you when your mother died. He was with you when you had cancer. ... He was with you when you had life-threatening surgery ...

“It’s not right. We have to do better as a society in not judging.”
I have never married but I have watched many couple move through this troubled time.

Some have worked it out, some have ended up in divorce, some have divorced and then got married again; each forging their own paths because each journey is unique.
Two days later, they appeared before Judge Brian A. Fielding at the North Kingstown Probate Court, a small, quiet room in Town Hall.

Donnie’s petition requested a name change from “Donald Carl Anderson” to “Donnie Anderson.” Debbie’s requested a return to her maiden name: Jamieson.

“The judge was very nice, kind and compassionate. He knew what the case was. He told Donnie, ‘I’ve seen your story, I read your story. I just want to tell you how courageous and brave I think you are,’” Debbie recalls. “Then Don started to cry.”

The judge turned to Debbie, addressed her by her new-old name, and expressed admiration.
It sounds like they had an excellent judge!

I am friends with a couple whose wife says she misses holding hands and walking down the street, now they get harassed, and she misses falling asleep on her husband’s shoulder on a train. I know of a lesbian couple where they stayed together but she had to adjust to being a straight couple and they lost some of their lesbian friends.

Let’s face it transitioning is hard on everyone and there is no easy way to do it.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Trans Athlete

As I wrote this morning about the growing opposition to trans athletes, one athlete took her case to court to allow her to play on a girls football team.
Transgender football player prevails in lawsuit against Minnesota team, league
MPR News
December 22, 2018

A transgender woman has prevailed in her discrimination suit against a Minnesota women's football team and league.

In 2017, Christina Ginther sued the Minnesota Vixen and the Independent Women's Football League after the team barred her from playing because she was trans.

Ginther, 44, told MPR News that she didn't think being transgender would pose a problem for the Vixen. She learned about the team at the Twin Cities Pride Festival, and recalled her reaction as, "Oh, this an LGBTQ-friendly organization. Cool."

But after her tryouts, Ginther said, she got a surprising phone call from the team's owner, Laura Brown
Once again when they say LGBTQ they really mean LGBQ and the “T” is forgotten.

Many of those complaining have no idea of Tanner Stage 2, puberty, body development, or any other medical information on the differences between boys and girls; they only know what is on the birth certificates (I bet you that they don’t even know that birth certificates can be changed in Connecticut).

So be prepared for a fight in the legislature and I bet we will see the so called “family” organizations stepping into this attack on us.

Another TERF Crawls Out

She says she is sorry but the hurtful words have been spoken.
Martina Navratilova deletes tweet about trans athletes after being called transphobic
Yahoo Sports
By Chris Cwik
December 21, 2018

Martina Navratilova is not having a good week on Twitter. The tennis star drew plenty of criticism Tuesday after sending out a negative tweet about trans athletes.

The tweet — which has now been deleted — read:

“Clearly that can’t be right. You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard…”

Navratilova’s view on the issue came as a surprise to fans. The 62-year-old Navratilova has been a prominent LGBTQIA activist. After being accused of being transphobic, Navratilova deleted the tweet, and vowed to educate herself on the issue.
Hmm… maybe she is just a LGB activist?

She said afterward,
I am sorry if I said anything anywhere near transphobic- certainly I meant no harm - I will educate myself better on this issue but meantime I will be quiet about it. Thank you
Okay, I am willing to see what she does in the future. To see if this is a onetime even or if is a beginning of a pattern but I wouldn’t doubt that the TERF radicals use her statement against us.

But I will say this… we have to be prepared for another probe by anti-trans conservatives and their Republican cohorts on trans athletes. They are attacking us in the sports arena; here in Connecticut we have already seen the opening blitz. A number of sore losers parents have been pressuring their state legislatures to force trans athletes to play on teams of their birth gender, they point to two trans athletes who competed in the state championship.
Connecticut parents petition to ban transgender track athletes
USA TODAY High School Sports
By: Cam Smith
June 6, 2018

For the second straight year, a small group of transgender athletes dominated their respective events at the girls track and field state championships in Connecticut. Apparently, the second time through the ringer for some fellow competitors was too much, with parents of those athletes now stepping forward to try to ban those transgender athletes from competing as females.

As reported by the Hartford Courant, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference allows athletes to compete as members of the gender with which they identify. That means that transgender teenagers can compete alongside cisgender opponents, creating what some feel is an uneven playing field.

Supporters of two petitions to eliminate the transgender regulations claim that their efforts aren’t aimed at the individual athletes who will be most directly impacted by the regulations. Still, it’s impossible to overlook the success of Andraya Yearwood, who first spoke about her transition to being a transgender female with the Courant a year ago. In the time since then, Yearwood has captured back-to-back 100-meter State Open titles as a freshman and sophomore. After Yearwood broke out as a freshman she inspired multiple other transgender entrants, according to the Courant.
But there are dozens more trans athletes who do not win and as the article says,
While parents of opposing runners may deny their petitions have anything to do with the chosen gender identity of the teens in question, it’s hard to debate the impact such rules and regulations could have on transgender athletes themselves.
There are probably less than a hundred people who signed the petition they have caught the ear of Republican legislators and we expect them to enter a bill forcing trans athletes to compete in their birth gender.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays!

Sam's Saturday 9: Happy Holidays! (from the archives)

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

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!

1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you by pass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?
Those memories are lost in the fog of time, it is probably 60 years since I sat on Santa’s lap.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?
I got there by believing in people

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?
No gifts this year, my brother’s family is getting together on Sunday and I am having an open house Sunday for my friends to drop by

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?
Yes, new boots.

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie? Have you seen it yet this year?
Bah Humbug… I don’t have any favorite movie.

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?
Yes and then we went and had Chinese, it was with my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and her son, her son got to pick the movie. The adults kind of looked at one another and went “What?”

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party?
Nope, I never really drank that much booze at Christmas parties… well once I was out of my twenties that is. I remember one company Christmas party where the guys (we were a little United Nations) were drinking Polish overproof vodka and all they did was drop a Maraschino cherry in the bottle, as it sinks it left a thin pink trail behind it.

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?
Don’t tell my diabetes doctor but holidays are “For-the-hell-of-it” day so I have hot mulled apple cider with Captain Morgan rum.

9. Share a memory from last Christmas.
I had to go and look it upon my blog; I went to a friend’s apartment because I couldn’t make it to my brother’s family.

Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us next week for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!" Enjoy your holidays!

Since you did have a song with this weeks meme I picked my own song.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Bad, Bad News

You know that our healthcare ebb and flow according to the whims of the politicians and the courts; well now we face the judge who just struck down the ACA healthcare law and has also ruled against trans students and marriage equality. Well now he is hearing another case that affects us and it could be a matter of life and death.
Texas judge who struck down ACA to weigh in on transgender health case
The plaintiffs take issue with an Obama-era rule they say would force them to "perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions."
NBC News
By Julie Moreau
December 20, 2018

Judge Reed O’Connor, the Texas judge who last week struck down the Affordable Care Act, has given the green light on a lawsuit that could have profound implications for transgender patients and those seeking an abortion.

The suit — brought against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by eight states, a religious hospital network and an association of Christian health care professionals — takes aim at an Obama-era rule issued by the HHS in 2016 that interprets “sex” discrimination in Section 1557 of the ACA to include discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.”

“The rule would require Plaintiffs to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions contrary to their religious beliefs and medical judgment,” the Dec. 11 filing states.
While the nondiscrimination rule in question has never officially been enforced, because of a December 2016 injunction by O’Connor, many insurers removed exclusions from their coverage in anticipation of its coming into effect, according to Out2Enroll, an organization that helps LGBTQ people enroll for coverage under Obamacare.
So I don’t even think this is a guess but rather a given… our healthcare will be at the mercy of religious bigots.

NPR writes this about Judge O’Connor,
"Judge O'Connor has been the go-to judge for Ken Paxton and Republican attorneys general who want to file ideological suits in any court across the country," Nelson says. "Reed O'Connor is their best shot to get a ruling that they like."
So prey that if you ever are in an accident or need emergency medical treatment that the doctors and or healthcare providers are not religious bigots.

A Right To The Jaw… A Left Jab…

We have been accused of unfair advantage in sports then how do they explain this win in boxing by a trans man?
Transgender boxer Patricio Manuel’s KOs barriers
Mercury News
By Adam Grosbard Southern California News Group
December 16, 2018

Patricio Manuel stood in the tunnel of the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio last week, waiting to, at last, enter the ring – history ahead of him but not on his mind.

The 33-year-old Manuel went into the routine that he’d fine-tuned since he first started boxing at 16. He focused on his opponent, Mexican super-featherweight Hugo Aguilar, and his strategy for the bout.
He walked out to the ring, like he’s done many times before, but this time, unlike anyone before him.

When he entered the ring last weekend, Manuel became the first-ever visible transgender male boxer in U.S. history to participate in a professional fight. The bout ended a six-year altogether different battle for Manuel, starting with his social transition in 2012 and medical transition a year later, to be allowed to fight against the gender he identifies as.
Before he could get in the ring he had to fight for the right to get into the ring.
He was left to wait for factors outside of his control to move his life forward. As he aged out of his athletic prime, it became more and more frustrating.

“I’m not getting any younger,” he remembered thinking. “Time is not on my side.”

But that changed last weekend.
The boxing community as a whole was supportive of him before and after his fight, he insists. After the fight, Aguilar had nothing but positive things to say about the man who had just beaten him.

“For me, it’s very respectable,” Aguilar told reporters. “It doesn’t change anything for me. In the ring, he wants to win and I want to win, too.”
I am not a fan of boxing but I am a fan of equity and this was a big step for us and I am glad he won his battles.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

This And That In News

A couple of articles caught my attention yesterday; the first is about Ohio’s Republican governor sign an executive order giving state LGBTQ employees protections and the other article is about Colombia trying a murderer of a trans woman as a hate crime.
Gov. Kasich Issues New Executive Order to Protect all LGBTQ State Employees
Ohio Equality
By Grant Stancliff
December 19, 2018

Today, Governor John Kasich issued Executive Order 2018-12K to take a significant step in ensuring that all Ohioans, including LGBTQ Ohioans, are protected from discrimination in state employment. This Executive Order explicitly prohibits discrimination in state employment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and other protected bases such as race, color, religion, age, and disability.

Today’s Executive Order builds on a previous order issued by Governor Kasich, which had only protected lesbian, gay, and bisexual state employees. By adding gender identity and expression in his latest Executive Order today, Governor Kasich showed leadership in ensuring that transgender and genderqueer Ohioans have the employment protections they deserve.
Maybe some Republicans are seeing the light and breaking away from the extremism of the national Republican Party.

Down in South America Colombia they are charging a killer of a trans woman with a hate crime.
For the first time, Colombia prosecutes a transgender woman's murder as a femicide
“This shows a change in the way the judiciary and the prosecution are dealing with crimes based on prejudice," said the deceased family's attorney.
NBC News
By Nicole Acevedo
December 19, 2018

In a historic ruling, Colombia prosecuted the murder of a transgender woman as a femicide.

Colombia instituted its femicide law — also known as the “Ley Rosa Elvira Cely,” named after a woman who was brutally killed and raped in 2012.

Under the Rosa Elvira Cely law, the killing of a woman for simply being a woman or for how she expresses her gender identity or sexual orientation is considered a femicide.

Davinson Stiven Erazo Sánchez, 23, was sentenced to twenty years in a psychiatric center for “aggravated femicide”— a year after he fatally shot Anyela Ramos Claros, a transgender woman who used to run her own beauty salon.
This is doubly important to us, first that the murdered was convicted of a hate crime and that she was recognized as a woman (too bad it a death to bring about change).
“This shows a change in the way the judiciary and the prosecution are dealing with crimes based on prejudice. Clearly, there’s still much to be done in both the State and civil society; we are willing to contribute what we can,” said the lawyers who represented Ramos Claros’ family in a statement provided to Colombia Diversa.
Hopefully this is the start of a new movement down in South and Central America in protecting trans rights.


There have been some updates on stories from last week, Sunday I wrote about politicians that saw the light and changed political parties, Sometime Conservatives See The Light
2 More Kansas Republicans Just Left Their Party To Become Democrats
They join two other GOP lawmakers in the state who have defected from the party this month.
Huffington Post
By Nick Visser
December 19, 2018

Two Kansas Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they would leave their party and join the Democratic minority because the GOP is no longer serving in the best interests of their state.

Kansas state Sen. Dinah Sykes and state Rep. Stephanie Clayton, who had identified as moderate Republicans in the past, announced their decisions ahead of the upcoming legislative session, which begins next month. The lawmakers said they were disappointed in Republican leaders who focused on “issues and approaches that divide our country,” as Sykes put it, rather than their constituents’ needs.

Clayton pointed to an effort to scrap a bipartisan school funding proposal that had been in the works for two years until the GOP said it would be too expensive.
Sykes, who said she was a “moderate person who represents a moderate and pragmatic district,” echoed that statement, saying she did “not agree” with the Republican approach.
Four Kansas Republican lawmakers have switched to the Democratic party this month. Along with Sykes and Clayton, state Sen. Barbara Bollier and outgoing state Rep. Joy Koesten announced they are leaving the GOP.

Bollier said last week that despite her 43-year history as a registered Republican, she had developed “frustrations that have been ongoing” to the point of swapping affiliations. She also cited President Donald Trump as a leading influence in her decision.

“I cannot be complicit in supporting” the president, Bollier told the Kansas City Star. “I can’t call it leadership. I don’t even know what to call him. He is our president, but he is not representing my value system remotely.”
I just hope that other politicians see the light and change parties and I can just imagine what the Republicans are calling these legislators for changing parties.

The other article is about a school principal that tried to force a trans boy to pee in an urinal that happened last week.
The Latest: Official suspended in transgender incident
The Latest on a West Virginia high school assistant principal accused of harassing a transgender student in a school bathroom
Fox News
By Associated Press
December 18, 2018

A West Virginia assistant principal has been suspended after a complaint that he harassed a transgender male student inside a high school bathroom.

News outlets report Lee Livengood was suspended with pay after a meeting with Harrison County school administrators Tuesday. The suspension runs through the end of the semester on Friday, when the holiday break begins.

The American Civil Liberties Union's West Virginia chapter called the four-day suspension "not sufficient." In a statement, the ACLU says the county school district "needs to make significant changes to its culture."

The ACLU had complained to county schools Superintendent Mark Manchin about Livengood. Student Michael Critchfield says Livengood harassed him for using a boys' bathroom Nov. 27 and told him, "you freak me out."
So the official has been given a paid four day vacation, this is not even a slap on the wrist. Instead he should be arrested for unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or sexual assault.

I get a kick out of Fox News writing one sentence paragraphs, I guess they write that way so the Trump and his supporters can read the articles.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

New Direction Of Attacks Against Us

My child lost so it must be an unfair advantage. It couldn’t be because they weren’t that good; no I must be because of discrimination.
Transgender high school 100m runner facing scrutiny for competing as a girl
Andraya Yearwood is a 17-year-old sprinter from Cromwell, Connecticut who's advocating for transgender rights in sport
By Madeleine Kelly
December 17th, 2018

Andraya Yearwood is a 100m runner who’s also a transgender girl. The Cromwell, Connecticut native is in her third year competing for Cromwell High School, but her track and field performances have upset some members of the running community, who claim that Yearwood has an unfair advantage in competition and shouldn’t be allowed to compete. Yearwood reportedly changed her name and pronouns with the school district before her freshman year, which allows her to compete as a girl.
In America, the rules on transgender competition vary by state, and in Connecticut, Yearwood is allowed to compete as a woman. Yearwood describes to the Bleecher Report being yelled at during track meets. One spectator said, “He shouldn’t be running.” The sprinter has a personal best of 12.17 in the outdoor 100m, and has run a 25.33 over 200m. She finished second in the state open in 2018 with a time of 12.29. Yearwood’s story has gained international attention, and she recently spoke at Harvard on a panel called “The Intersection of Gender Identity, Race and Student Support.” She was there to advocate for transgender individuals.
Okay first of all she didn’t win the state championship, second what does the fact that she was on a panel at Harvard have to do with her competing in sports?

There are probably less than a 100 athletes here in Connecticut and most of them don’t win but all you hear about are the two that have won but you don’t hear about them. The facts are that until Tanner Stage 2 there is no muscular difference between boys and girls and after Tanner Stage 2 most of the trans athletes are taking blockers so physically they still have the muscular structure of a pre-pubescent child.

Meanwhile down in Arizona…
AIA alters language of transgender policy for Arizona student-athletes
"The kids feel it’s a little less invasive."
ABC15 News
By Shane Dale
December 17, 2018

In an effort to make discussions of gender identification less invasive for students, the Arizona Interscholastic Association approved changes to the language of its transgender rule at its Dec. 10 meeting.
The changes were made to Article 41 (found on page 7 of the meeting minutes), which pertains to the AIA's sports medicine rules. Students or parents are still required to contact their school's administrator or athletic director if the student "has a consistent gender identity different than the sex listed on the student's school registration records." But previously, students were required to explain why they were making the request, as well as the point in time in which they began to identify with a different gender.

The new language of the rule requires "a description of the student’s gender story, including age at emerging awareness of incongruence between sex assigned at birth and gender identity and where the student is in the gender transition process." The new language also requires a letter of support from the student's parent or guardian, rather than "documentation of the student's consistent gender identification affirmed by" the parent or guardian, per the previous rule language.
That wouldn’t fly here in Connecticut; trans students are not required to “prove” they are trans or provide a “personal narrative” to prove they are trans.

There is a rumor that a bill might be introduced to force trans athletes to compete in their birth gender.

Maybe Our Courts Could Learn From Them

There is a lot of concern over the Supreme Court conservative leaning that we will be stripped of our rights by religious bigots’ “religious freedom” to discriminate.
Hope For Our Times
December 12, 2018

Canada’s top court has ruled in favour of denying accreditation to a Christian law school that banned students from having gay sex.

Friday’s ruling against Trinity Western University in British Columbia (BC) was closely watched by both religious freedom and gay rights advocates.

The university made students promise not to have extra-marital or gay sex.

The Supreme Court found that protecting LGBT students from discrimination trumped religious freedom.
As I was researching for other articles about this I found out that this was a ruling from the summer…
Canadian Supreme Court Shames U.S. Supreme Court On Gay Rights In Law Schools
The only good thing about climate change is that soon Canada will be warm enough to live in.
Above The Law
By Elie Mystal
June 15, 2018

This month, the American Supreme Court decided that open bigotry towards gay people has to be allowed if even one government official appears hostile towards someone’s misinterpretation of their own religion.

In Canada, they do things a little differently. The Canadian Supreme Court decided a case that, arguably, involves a much greater impingement on religious freedom than a baker being asked to make a cake. And yet that the Canadian court found a way to reject bigotry.
The Canadian Supreme Court agreed. From CBC News:
In the court’s view, the law societies were acting within their mandate in considering TWU’s admission policies in the accreditation process, also to ensure upholding a positive public perception of the legal profession.

“In our respectful view, the [law societies] decision not to accredit Trinity Western University’s proposed law school represents a proportionate balance between the limitation on the Charter right at issue and the statutory objectives the [law societies] sought to pursue,” it reads.
It was a 7-2 decision. The majority said that the ruling was a “proportionate and reasonable” restriction on religious rights to ensure LGBT students are treated fairly. The two dissenting justices said that the accrediting body shouldn’t have this much power.
As you can imagine the religious bigots are up in arms over this ruling…
The Canadian Supreme Court Rules against a Christian Law School
In its decision, it undermines conscience rights and the nation’s legacy of liberty for dissenters.
The National Review
By Edgar Noble
July 3, 2018

A law school that does not subscribe to progressive beliefs about gender identity and marriage should not be allowed to operate. That’s the effect of last month’s 7–2 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. The ruling is a blow to Trinity Western University, a Christian institution near Vancouver. Trinity had developed plans for a law school.
While the decision appears on the surface to be about discrimination based on sexual orientation, in fact it hinges on the meaning of marriage. TWU is even-handed about orientation. Those who identify as gay and those who identify as straight face exactly the same restriction: no sex outside marriage. The problem arose because TWU continues to affirm that marriage can properly exist only between a man and a woman — as the school has always believed, and as its associated churches have always believed.
But what about the broader objection? Might TWU produce lawyers who are hostile to the rights of self-identified gay (or alternatively gendered) citizens? The question can be redirected: Is it possible that other Canadian law schools, dominated by secular progressivism, are turning out lawyers and future judges unsympathetic to the rights of citizens with a traditional religious outlook?
The question is can one group of people use their “rights” to deny the “rights” of another group?

I think that the author of the Above the Law summed it up nicely,
I really don’t understand why this concept is so hard for American courts to grasp. Your freedom of religion should end right at the point it impinges on somebody else’s freedom from discrimination. Is that really so hard?
I hope that the court system here takes heed of what happened north of the border.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Healthcare Or The Lack Of…

For many trans people finding healthcare is a challenge, the laws now say that we have to be covered but now the challenge is finding a provider who will take us on as a patient.
Some Americans are denied 'lifesaving' health care because they are transgender
USA Today
By Kristin Lam,
December 11, 2018

From routine checkups and emergency room visits to medical and mental health services for gender dysphoria, transgender people face barriers to accessing health care. Experts and transgender folks across the nation tell USA TODAY about doctors denying services, express the need for comprehensive training among medical professionals and share stories of traveling great distances for competent care.
A new threat
A leaked Department of Human and Health Services internal memo reported in October by The New York Times threatens to roll back progress in strengthening transgender rights made in the past 10 to 20 years.

By reportedly redefining sex as “male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” advocates say it erases not only the transgender community, but intersex people, too.

Comprising 1.7 percent of the global population, intersex people are born with a range of biological sex characteristics that may not fit typical notions of female or male bodies. The intersex community often faces discrimination in health care – involving issues of autonomy and consent – as transgender people do, says Kimberly Zieselman, who heads interACT, an advocacy organization for intersex youth.

The memo’s proposal that “reliable genetic testing” could rebut the sex listed on someone’s birth certificate does not work for intersex people, Zieselman says.
Even here in Connecticut trans men have a hard time finding a surgeon for top surgery and trans men also find it almost impossible to find an OBY/GYN healthcare provider.
Accessing health care
Despite the Affordable Care Act, issues remain to secure insurance reimbursement for treatment for gender dysphoria, says Alex Keuroghlian, who directs the National LGBT Health Education Center, which provides training for health care organizations on transgender health and gender identity.
The insurance companies are experts on saying “No” and they sharpen up their red pencils and their “Denied” stamps for us.
“These are lifesaving procedures, and to deny somebody a lifesaving procedure is malpractice,” Olson-Kennedy says. “And it’s incredibly problematic to put your own feelings and needs and opinions above the needs of the patient.”
Olson-Kennedy spends much of her time talking with other providers and insurance companies to advocate for trans patients, as well as witnessing the trauma young people face from gender dysphoria compounded by the lack of available care.
Many insurance customers do not have any experience in advocating for ourselves, not just trans people. Sometimes it boils down to how you ask your question for example; trans women and men who want breast augmentation/reduction surgery. If you say I want breast implants/my breast removed you will get a response that they don’t cover plastic surgery but if instead you say “My doctor says that breast implants/breast reduction is medical necessary for my health” you are more likely to have the surgery covered.

The religious bigots are coming out in force they want everything in nice little boxes so they don’t have to think, thinking makes their head hurts people who look different from them make their head hurt.

They don’t want to think about intersex people… God said he made man and woman, he said nothing about intersex therefore they don’t exist.

They don’t want to think about trans people… God said he made man and woman, he said nothing about trans people therefore they don’t exist.

Not A Snowball’s Chance…

There is a movement around the nation that LGBT people need protection on the federal level but I think it doesn’t have a chance to pass under the current administration.
Elected officials across the nation are calling on congress to pass LGBTQ rights laws
LGBTQ Nation
By Bil Browning
December 13, 2018

Over 150 elected officials from across America have signed on to an open letter asking Congress to prioritize LGBTQ rights in the next session.

Organized by The Victory Institute, the letter will be delivered to the next Congress. It features “down ballot” politicians like city council members, mayors, and state legislators.

“LGBTQ political power is growing thanks to the rainbow wave of LGBTQ people who won elected office in November — and this letter is the first sign of us wielding that new power,” Victory Institute President and CEO Annise Parker.
Well I’ll tell you this has a snowball chance in hell of passing especially by the phobic Trump administration or the Republican Senate.

Hmm… I just had a thought. Add a LGBTQ non-discrimination amendment to a funding bill for the “Wall.” Talk about adding a poison pill to a bill this would be the ultimate poison pill, it probably make Trump catatonic.

Monday, December 17, 2018


There were two firsts today.

The first, First is about a mariachi band,
How the first transgender mariachi woman makes her LGBTQ audience feel ‘special’
‘When I get onstage, I kind of feel untouchable,’ Natalia Melendez, a professional musician with Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Ángeles, told Moneyish.
Market Watch
By Meera Jagannathan
Published: Dec 17, 2018

Natalia Melendez got her introduction to mariachi music as a young kid at her grandmother’s backyard birthday party. She watched, transfixed, as her uncle and other musicians performed with the late mariachi icon Laura Sobrino.

“The whole two-hour set that they did, I didn’t leave,” Melendez, 38, told Moneyish. “I just sat there on the sidelines just watching.”

Decades later, Melendez is in the game as the first transgender woman to work as a professional mariachi musician. The Mexican-American performer, who grew up in a family full of musicians in southern California, learned the violin at age 8 and went on to play with several mariachi groups throughout her teens and adulthood. She now plays violin and sings with the ensemble Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Ángeles (Rainbow Mariachi of Los Angeles), which bills itself as the world’s first LGBTQ mariachi.
While the group strives for authenticity, Melendez said, it also plays with the traditions of mariachi music — common themes of which include heartbreak, betrayal and love triangles — by bending gender norms. “A man will sing to a man; I sing to a man; a girl will sing to a girl,” Melendez said.

The point, she added, is to make members of their LGBTQ audience “feel special.” “We wanted to give that to the gay community. We wanted the gay men to feel a man sing to them. We wanted another lesbian to feel, ‘Oh my God, this girl just sang to me. I never had that before — this is different, but it was so beautiful.’”
And the second First you all probably heard about…
In a first, transgender woman competes in Miss Universe competition
Miss Spain, 27-year-old Angela Ponce, broke barriers in the 66-year-old competition, which this year was held in Bangkok, Thailand.
NBC News
By Tim Fitzsimons
December 17, 2018

While she didn’t win the crown, Angela Ponce broke barriers on Monday in the 67th Miss Universe pageant. The 27-year-old Spanish beauty became the first transgender woman to ever participate in the international competition.

“I never imagined (I would make it to Miss Universe) because I lived in a society where everyone said I couldn’t do that,” Ponce told NBC’s "Today" through a translator. “And I didn’t have the information to realize that my dream to be a woman could ever actually be realized.”
Hailing from southern Spain, Ponce won her first pageant in 2015, just three years after the Miss Universe pageant rejected Jenna Talackova from Canada’s Miss Universe pageant because she was not a “naturally born” female. Talackova threatened legal action, and the organization — then owned by Donald Trump — relented and changed the rules to allow transgender women to compete.

It was an uphill battle: Ponce said she faced discrimination as a model and was rejected from jobs because of her gender identity. Fortunately, Ponce said her family embraced her identity and supported her decision to live openly as a woman.
Congratulations to all the Firsts, not only these two trans people but all the others who are the first to come out in their employment, the first to come out in their social group, or the first to blaze a new trail.

This morning’s meeting went very good, as usual I was the only trans woman there at the meeting, I knew many around the table but for some I was the first trans woman they met.

The attendees were from non-profits, for-profit, and state agencies and we discussed assisted care, long term care, and home health care for the aging LGBTQ community.