Thursday, February 28, 2019

Why Are They Always Picking On Us.

The military ban is the subject of a House hearing and new data just came out about the cost of our healthcare in the military.
Military spent about $8M on transgender care since 2016
by Julie Watson and Jennifer McDermott
February 27, 2019

Trump has cited "tremendous medical costs" as a reason for the ban.

According to new data from the Defense Department provided to the House Armed Services Committee ahead of the hearing, the military has spent about $8 million on transgender care since 2016. The military's annual health care budget tops $50 billion. The Associated Press obtained the data Wednesday.

The hearing will be held by a subcommittee chaired by Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier who introduced bipartisan legislation in February that would prohibit the Department of Defense from denying the enlistment or continued service of transgender people if Trump's ban takes effect.
USA Today broke down the cost and compared it to other medical expenses.
Through Feb. 1, the cost of treating troops with the diagnosis of gender dysphoria has totaled $7,943,906.75. That included 22,992 psychotherapy visits, 9,321 prescriptions for hormones and 161 surgical procedures. Surgeries performed included 103 breast reductions or mastectomies, 37 hysterectomies, 17 "male reproductive" procedures and four breast augmentations. Psychotherapy sessions cost nearly $5.8 million and surgery cost more than $2 million, according to the data.
Brad Carson, the Pentagon's former top personnel official and one of the architects of the Obama-era policy, said Wednesday that the number of transgender troops is smaller than anticipated, as is the cost of treating of treating them. He noted that the Pentagon spends about $50 billion per year on health care.
Pink News reports that…
It is far less than the $84 million spent annually by the military on Viagra and erectile dysfunction medication, and the $437 million spent annually on military bands.
Meanwhile in the House yesterday,
In a first, active duty transgender service members will testify before Congress on policy, potential ban
Military Times
By: Tara Copp
February 27, 2019

Army Capt. Alivia Stehlik spent December 2018 deployed in Afghanistan with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, volunteering to take the place of another soldier who could not deploy.

But even as she filled the combat billet, providing physical therapy to the brigade and military personnel throughout Afghanistan, the Pentagon and White House were working toward a plan to keep others like her from serving, because Stehlik is transgender.

On Wednesday, Stehlik and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann will be the first active-duty transgender personnel to testify before Congress as part of a panel looking at how President Donald Trump’s transgender policy impacts their ability to serve.
The issue of whether transgender personnel will be allowed to continue to serve is now tied up in the courts, more than a year and a half after Trump’s initial tweets upended a policy that had allowed Stehlik and others to serve openly. In January, a Circuit Court sided with the White House, in one of the four federal cases challenging the policy. The court ruled that the process former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis took to implement the president’s directive was sufficient and did not result in a blanket ban, something Stehlik and advocacy groups strongly disagree with.
What it all boils down to is that the Republicans hate our guts and will use their hate to raise campaign funds over our trampled bodies.

Its Bathrooms Again

It always seems to boil down to bathrooms!

We can’t have blacks in bathrooms with our white children!

We can’t have gays and lesbians in bathrooms with our children!

We can’t have transgender people in bathrooms with our children!

We can’t have Republicans in bathrooms with our children… Ops… No… No… Wait… We can’t say that!

It sure does seem like more Republican politicians are caught in bathrooms molesting children than all the other three combined.

This is what the ultra-conservative website had to say,
Female students rebel against transgender bathrooms, refuse to use same facilities as boys

February 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Over and over again, we are told by LGBT activists that our schools must be transformed for the children. The massive changes to the curriculums, the transgender bathrooms, the revolutionary new ideologies—we are told that these are simply responses to the grassroots demands of parents and students, who have independently discovered that the way we understood the world for the entire history of Western civilization is, apparently, both hateful and inaccurate.

But nobody appears to have actually asked the students what they want. These policies are justified on the basis that the children need them, but in many instances, the precise opposite turns out to be the case. When one school in Alberta decided to bring in gender-neutral bathrooms back in 2017, many students avoided them because, as any idiot knows, boys and girls generally feel uncomfortable doing their business in a stall next to a member of the opposite sex. Lineups began to form outside the gender-specific bathrooms, and students trekked all the way across the school to avoid using the gender-neutral bathrooms.

“I find it uncomfortable. I have other things to do than boys, in there,” one female student told the media, referring to the changing of feminine hygiene products. “You can hear it.” One student eventually started a petition to demand more gender-specific bathrooms, and he was “overwhelmed” by students looking to sign on the first day. Eventually, he ran out of forms. “You don’t see [gender-neutral bathrooms] anywhere,” he noted. “You don’t see those in restaurants, you don’t see them in government buildings, you don’t see them anywhere, yet we throw them into our schools and assume it’s just fine. I don’t know whose idea this was but it wasn’t a very good one.” Parents, too, were angry that they hadn’t been consulted.
You know we have heard that all before; blacks in the bathroom make me feel uncomfortable, gays in the bathroom make me feel uncomfortable, and now trans people in the bathroom make me feel uncomfortable.

Feeling uncomfortable is not grounds for discrimination!

More on bathrooms, this time out in California,
Coachella says it’s safe for LGBTQ people, but transgender siblings say they were denied restroom access
LA Times
By Hailey Branson-Potts
February 26, 2019

Donavion “Navi” Huskey just wanted to see Beyoncé.

She had waited all day to see Queen Bey perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio last April and made a quick stop at the restroom before the concert began.

After a 10-minute wait, Huskey reached the front of the line. That’s when, she said, a security guard told Huskey, a transgender woman, she couldn’t use the women’s restroom. She was humiliated.

“Coachella is part of the pop culture zeitgeist,” Huskey said. “It’s all colorful and inclusive. There are tons of LGB [lesbian, gay and bisexual] people typically there. I felt like it would be a good space. … I just didn’t know the festival itself didn’t have policies that were inclusive. That was jarring.”

The next day, Huskey’s sibling, Taiyande “Juice” Huskey — who identifies as transmasculine, presents as male and uses the pronouns “they” and “them” — was turned away from a men’s restroom and escorted out by a security guard who said he would show Huskey to a gender-neutral restroom but then didn’t.
We have seen that same problem here in Connecticut at concert venues. Rent-A-Cop or as they are also known as security guards have been a problem at concerts, they just don’t know the law or put their bias ahead of the law.
The Huskeys said the existence of an all-gender restroom is not an excuse for denying a person access to a male or female restroom.

“It’s a partial solution that they have gender-inclusive options,” said Navi Huskey, a 31-year-old graduate student at UC Irvine. But being relegated to another, separate restroom without choice is a harmful “separate-but-equal” situation, she said.
I have been asked many times about my thoughts on “all-gender bathrooms” and my answer has been “I am in favor of them as long as we are not forced to use them.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Crying “Wolf” It Hurts Us All

There has been a couple of “fake” hate crimes reported lately and it hurts everyone.
Hate Crime Hoaxes Are Rare, but Can Be ‘Devastating’
New York Times
By Audra D. S. Burch
February 22, 2019

The Muslim college student was on the New York City subway when three men snatched her bag, reached for her hijab and called her a terrorist. A Houston sixth grader was kidnapped and robbed by a band of young white supremacists, one with an “I hate black people” tattoo on his arm. And on one of the coldest nights of the year in Chicago, Jussie Smollett, a black and gay actor, was attacked by two men who shouted “MAGA Country” and slipped a noose around his neck.

The three victims reported these horrific assaults to the police as hate crimes, all built on America’s race, religion and sexual identity fault lines. Except the police say the incidents never happened.
Despite the headlines that have dominated the news cycle since, fake hate crime reports are uncommon.

Hoaxes are not tracked formally, but the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said that of an estimated 21,000 hate crime cases between 2016 and 2018, fewer than 50 reports were found to be false. The center believes that less than 1 percent of all reported hate crimes are false.

But such false reports can play an outsize role in undermining the credibility of real bias victims and anti-hate efforts. In the aftermath of Mr. Smollett’s arrest, one lawmaker has even promised to draft a bill increasing the penalty for filing false hate crime reports.
Just like Aesop's Fables about the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” from between 620 and 564 BCE it is true today. Crying wolf hurts us all, it causes our hater to see we told you it was “fake” and in today’s climate that resonates.
“These kinds of rare cases do damage, especially in the current hostile political environment,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “They are seized upon and used to try to discredit legitimate anti-Muslim incidents or used to say there is no such thing as a hate crime.”

Mr. Hooper said his group received 2,000 to 3,000 bias reports annually before verification, and “less than a handful” were deemed false each year.
What we have to do is condemn those who falsely report a hate crime because the conservatives will hold up that one out of a thousand as an example.

And it has already started…
Minnesota lawmaker seeks crackdown on fake hate crime claims
By Associated Press
February 21, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota lawmaker wants tougher penalties for falsely reporting hate crimes in his state after an actor in Chicago was accused of doing so.

Rep. Nick Zerwas' bill comes after actor Jussie Smollett was charged with falsely telling authorities he was attacked by men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck.
Filing a false police report is usually a misdemeanor in Minnesota. His bill would make falsely reporting hate crimes a gross misdemeanor punishable up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
Whether or not this bill is a good idea or not is beside the point.

We have to in our strongest language to condone the falsely reporting a crime, we can’t be silent because the opposition will use our silence against us.

The Trans Military Ban Hearings

The House is holding hearings on trans servicemembers.
In a first, active duty transgender service members will testify before Congress on policy, potential ban
The Military Times
By: Tara Copp
February 26, 2019

On Wednesday, Stehlik and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann will be the first active-duty transgender personnel to testify before Congress as part of a panel looking at how President Donald Trump’s transgender policy impacts their ability to serve.

“I’m really here to talk about one question,” Stehlik said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. "And that is: What is the value of having transgender people in the military? Based on my experience first as a combat arms officer and medical provider, the answer is unequivocally that my transition and so many others has dramatically increased the readiness and lethality of every branch of the armed forces.”
The House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee will take up the issue Wednesday, hearing from the service members and the Pentagon’s policy leadership, including James Stewart, who is performing the duties of undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency.
Fox News said,
In the nearly three years since the U.S. military welcomed transgender people into the armed forces, they have served without incident. Some, like Muller, have earned prestigious medals or received other forms of recognition.

They say they stand as proof against President Donald Trump's argument that their presence is a burden.

"Once you meet transgender people who have served in the different branches ... it's really hard to dismiss the fact that you will find Purple Heart recipients, Bronze Star winners, attack aviators, Navy SEALs," said Muller, who will not be testifying but is a plaintiff in one of four lawsuits challenging the ban. "We've been here, and we will continue to be here regardless. In what capacity is up to the administration."
Military chiefs testified before Congress last year that they found no problems with transgender troops on morale or unit cohesion, though Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said commanders have had issues with medical leave.
And in an article in “The Hill” retired generals are in favor of trans in the military.
More than 40 retired military officers are expressing “grave concern” with the Trump administration’s defense in court of its transgender military policy, saying it could “undermine the integrity of United States military judgment.”

“Military judgment is a solemn responsibility of each Commander-in-Chief and of the military chain of command,” the 41 retired generals and admirals wrote in the statement, obtained first by The Hill.

“In a polarized climate, the defense of anti-transgender discrimination using ‘military judgment’ as a pretext risks inflicting harms that go well beyond the context of transgender service, threatening trust in the national security apparatus.”
Basically everyone is saying except for Trump and his religious bigots that there is no problem with trans troops, it is going to boil down to can the Supreme Count put aside their bias and vote on the law,

So while the world is watching the Congressional hearing on Cohen we will be watching the hearing on trans servicemembers.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Another Truth That We All Know

We all know that transitioning is like a weight coming off our backs. My brother noticed a change in me and so do one of my cousins before I even came out to them… I was more outgoing.

Even through this article is more than a year old it bears repeating,
Gender-affirming surgery 'significantly improves quality of life,' study says
Approximately 75 percent of transgender women showed an improved quality of life after surgery, a study out of Germany found.
NBC News
By Vanessa Guillen Matheus
April 11, 2018

Before her surgery, Sydney Walther, 21, said she had been terrified of going out in public and being stared at by unknown faces. But today, she said those fears have dissipated, and it’s “as if a weight has been lifted” off her shoulders.

The Virginia resident traveled to New York City last year for what she described as a “life-changing,” gender-affirmation surgery at NYU Langone Health.
“Since the surgery has taken place,” her mother said tearfully, “she felt comfortable in being who she was, and that was really touching as a mother to see that transformation, to know she wasn’t struggling.”
Walther is one of many transgender people who has shared their personal stories regarding life improvements following gender-affirming surgery, but a new study now corroborates what trans people have long known anecdotally: “Gender surgery significantly improves quality of life for the majority of patients.”

A team at University Hospital in Essen, Germany, followed 158 transgender women patients for a median of more than six years after their surgery. They found approximately 75 percent of patients showed improved quality of life after their procedure. The results were unveiled last month at the annual European Association of Urology Conference in Copenhagen.
Yeah we knew that!

But what is important and we must never forget… the rest of the world didn’t know that.

Whenever we talk about our lives the question always comes up; where’s your data? Yesterday at the hearing on intersex surgeries the same question came up; where’s your data?

So when research finds things we already knew don’t take it for granted that everyone else knows.

Upon This Rock

Affirming religions are affirming to different degrees and one is on the verge of being torn apart over the issue of LGBTQ+ acceptance.
United Methodist Church on edge of breakup over LGBT stand
By David Crary and Jim Salter
February 25, 2019

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The United Methodist Church teetered on the brink of breakup Monday after more than half the delegates at an international conference voted to maintain bans on same-sex weddings and ordination of gay clergy.

Their favored plan, if formally approved, could drive supporters of LGBT inclusion to leave America’s second-largest Protestant denomination.

A final vote on rival plans for the church’s future won’t come until Tuesday’s closing session, and the outcome remains uncertain. But the preliminary vote Monday showed that the Traditional Plan, which calls for keeping the LGBT bans and enforcing them more strictly, had the support of 56 percent of the more than 800 delegates attending the three-day conference in St. Louis.
As evidence of the deep divisions within the faith, delegates Monday approved plans that would allow disaffected churches to leave the denomination while keeping their property.
In a Religious News Service article they write,
ST. LOUIS (RNS) — In a surprise, the plan recommended by the United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops was rejected Monday (Feb. 25) by the denomination’s decision-making body.

The so-called One Church Plan did not pass out of General Conference’s Legislative Committee to be considered by delegates Tuesday during the plenary session.

But that doesn’t mean the proposal is dead, according to supporters.

Reconciling Ministries Network, a movement advocating for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church, tweeted after the vote that the rejected plan will “almost certainly still come up” as a minority report on Tuesday.
I am honored that they are willing to tear their church in half over our rights.

Update 2:15 PM 
They rejected recognizing marriage equality and LGBT priests
United Methodist delegates reject plan allowing same-sex marriage, LGBT clergy
The Tennessean
By Holly Meyer,
February 26, 2019

ST. LOUIS — United Methodists on Tuesday rejected an effort by more progressive members of the global church to lift the denomination's ban on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy.

During the special session of the church's General Conference here in St. Louis, delegates voted not to substitute the more inclusive One Church Plan for the conservative Traditional Plan, which reinforces the denomination's current prohibitions.

The swap failed by 75 votes, 374 to 449. But the delegates still need to take a final vote Tuesday on the Traditional Plan.

The Rev. Tom Berlin, a delegate from the Virginia Conference, spoke from the General Conference stage in support of the One Church Plan, which would have allowed same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy while adding protections for churches and pastors who do not support the marriages.

Monday, February 25, 2019

At The Legislative Office Building

I didn't testify.

We left around 3 PM and they hadn't even covered the first bill and they was because there were dozens of people signed up to testify, the bill was to make some vaccines mandatory so that brought out the anti-vaxxers. Judging by the number of people ahead of us on the list to testify we would probably have been there until midnight.

So here is my written testimony.
Dear Co-Chairs and Committee Members,

The Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition would like to urge you to vote in favor of SB 388 AAC Concerning A Person’s Intersex Status Or Characteristics. The passage of the bill will have a positive effect on the intersex community.

The Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition has stood by our intersex friends in 2003 for an intersex demonstration with Bodies Like Ours at the Ct Children's Medical Center and we now stand by them in favor of this bill. No one should have surgery that is not medically necessary without their consent.

On Public Med the report, Navigating Surgical Decision Making in Disorders of Sex Development (DSD) says in part,

… “reconstructive surgery has always been a substantial part of DSD care and has remained so for many years seemingly without debate”; then noted “this has changed dramatically following disquieting reports of unfavorable outcomes, including high complication and/or reoperation rates and patient dissatisfaction”

Furthermore the surgery is not without complications, it is major surgery and it is being performed on infants and the surgery might cause a lifetime of complications. The Public Med report goes on to state,

Some activist organizations have urged governments worldwide to ban elective genital surgeries without the individual's informed consent. This suggests two future possibilities: one where all non-urgent procedures are eliminated until adulthood and one that leaves decisions to parents, providers, and patients—as they become increasingly able to provide assent as they mature

There also have been studies that show that there is high dissatisfaction rate of children that had forced “normalization surgeries” as infants, and the studies recommend waiting until the child is old enough understand and make an informed choice on having the surgery.

In a United Nations Special Rapporteur report they state,

The Special Rapporteur calls upon all States to repeal any law allowing intrusive and irreversible treatments, including forced genital-normalizing surgery…

In addition a Human Rights Watch article on intersex surgery report that former US Surgeons-General are against forced intersex surgeries,

In July 2017, three former US Surgeons-General, wrote that they believed “there is insufficient evidence that growing up with atypical genitalia leads to psychosocial distress,” and “while there is little evidence that cosmetic infant genitoplasty is necessary to reduce psychological damage, evidence does show that the surgery itself can cause severe and irreversible physical harm and emotional distress.” They said: “These surgeries violate an individual’s right to personal autonomy over their own future.”

The Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition is also in favor of providing for a third option for gender designation on state documentation and personal identification records. As more children and adolescents come out as gender non-conforming or gender neutral it is becoming vital to have a gender neutral option on state IDs.

Other states have added a third option on their state IDs, five states — including California, Colorado, Oregon, and Maine, and Washington D.C. offer gender-neutral options. In addition United States District Court for the District of Colorado Judge R. Brooke Jackson has ordered the State Department to issue a gender-neutral passport.

The Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition respectfully asks that the Public Health Committee pass SB-388.

Update: 8:00 PM
They called my name at 7:45 PM

At The LOB

No posts this morning.

I am at the Legislative Office Building to testify for SB-388 AN ACT CONCERNING A PERSON'S INTERSEX STATUS OR CHARACTERISTICS.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Legislation Defeated, Good News For Us!

Out west in South Dakota the legislators saw the light and defeated an anti-trans bill.
South Dakota 'Don't Say Trans' Bill Fails
The Advocate
By Trudy Ring
February 22, 2019

South Dakota lawmakers’ effort to ban discussion of transgender identity and issues in schools is dead for this session.

The Senate State Affairs Committee Friday rejected a bill to prohibit mention of gender dysphoria in grades K-7 in public schools, the Associated Press reports. The bill had passed the state House of Representatives last week.

The committee voted 7-2 to defer House Bill 1108 to the 41st day of the legislative session, which blocks it for this year, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota tweeted. The ACLU had opposed the measure.
“After the failure of two previous bills targeting transgender people, this bill’s death should serve as third strike for the state legislature,” NCTE executive director Mara Keisling said in the release. “Throughout this process, it’s become clear these bills have nothing to do with safety or concern for children and far more to do with fear based on ignorance.
Hopefully the bill to restrict trans athletes will also fail.

Also yesterday disturbing news out of Hollywood, a father is accused of molesting his trans daughter.
Director Rob Cohen Accused of Sexual Assault by Trans Daughter
The Advocate
By Daniel Reynolds
February 22, 2019

Rob Cohen, known for directing films like The Fast and the Furious, xXx, and The Boy Next Door, has been accused of sexual assault by his daughter, Valkyrie Weather.

Weather, a 32-year-old transgender woman, came forward with her allegation in a Thursday Facebook post. “When I was very young, Rob used my body for his own sexual gratification,” she wrote. “My mother witnessed one of the assaults when I was between two and two and a half years old, and has since confirmed what she saw."

Weather said her memory of the alleged molestation was foggy in an interview published Friday with The Hollywood Reporter. “Mostly what I remembered was the pain, the memory of the place and time, just being there, in the bath ... it was so painful that I couldn’t verbalize it for a long time."
The Hollywood Reporter wrote…
Transitioning “makes your really dissect every childhood moment, it stirs up a lot of old resentments and bitterness and lost opportunities,” Weather says. “It’s an incredibly introspective time for most people who come out as trans as adults. It was through that reopening of the past as an adult that my mom and I had a conversation.” Weather notes that her mother “thought she was sacrificing her relationship with me by telling me what she saw and she was, in a way, right. I said, ‘You saw this and you did nothing?’ I called her every name and I broke off contact and I didn’t talk to her again for a long time. We have recently taken steps to bridge that.”

Weather says that she confronted her father over e-mail several weeks after her mother’s disclosure, and the director eventually responded — an “unusual” length of time for him. “He basically said that my mother was psychotic and likened her to the Son of Sam killer in terms of the depth of her psychosis.”
I hope that Ms. Weather has her day in court and Mr. Cohen gets what’s coming to him.

This afternoon there is a rally in support of a police woman on the Hartford force who has been harassed because she is a lesbian by a fellow police officer and the department turned a blind eye to the sexual harassment.

WFSB Ch3 reported…
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Disturbing complaints of sexual harassment have been made inside the Hartford Police Department.

A female officer’s complaint has gone public and while the allegations are troubling, she says the department has done little to nothing since.

A nine-page document was released to Channel 3 by two sources within the city.

The officer raised concerns about a sergeant’s behavior back in May 2018.

She says the department took no action and now she’s blasting them and the sergeant, in a complaint filed on Monday.

The nine-page memo sent from Officer Kelly Baerga, who is also the department’s LGBTQ liaison, was sent to the city’s human resources director.
But filing the complaint may have backfired because Baerga says after Rodney was interviewed he retaliated against her, confronting her at the department and shouting at her and allegedly placing a fake gun in the backseat of her cruiser.

Baerga also alleges she was still paired with Rodney four times after the complaint, making her, “feel incredibly dirty every time he lasers me with his eyes…”
I will be there this afternoon.

On Monday there will be a legislative hearing for SB-388 AN ACT CONCERNING A PERSON'S INTERSEX STATUS OR CHARACTERISTICS.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General
Assembly convened:
That the general statutes be amended to (1) prohibit discrimination against a person on the basis of such person's intersex status or characteristics, (2) prohibit any licensed health care provider from engaging in medically unnecessary surgeries on an intersex person without such person's consent, and  provide for a third option for gender designation on state documentation and personal identification  records.
Statement of Purpose:
To address the needs of the intersex community who have suffered from discrimination, unnecessary surgery and inaccurate documentation of their gender by providing relief from such issues.
Please contact your Connecticut legislators and tell them to support this bill.

About Me

Nerd/Geek Alert

I wasn’t very good in school; it bored me to death, all that rote memorization… science was what I excelled at. I squeaked by and graduated from high school and went to UConn to study Electrical Engineering.

Well I flunked out of UConn, my one “A” class was an engineering class, all the other classes I got C’s and D’s. But in that one class we had to write a program in FORTRAN IV. In that I wrote my first program in FROTRAN and it was to solve 3 unknowns using Cramer's was in '69, I still have my FORTRAN coding sheets and my FORTRAN text book.

And that brings me to the article that I want to talk about…
The Secret History of Women in Coding
Computer programming once had much better gender balance than it does today. What went wrong?
The New York Times Magazine
By Clive Thompson
February 13, 2019

As a teenager in Maryland in the 1950s, Mary Allen Wilkes had no plans to become a software pioneer — she dreamed of being a litigator. One day in junior high in 1950, though, her geography teacher surprised her with a comment: “Mary Allen, when you grow up, you should be a computer programmer!” Wilkes had no idea what a programmer was; she wasn’t even sure what a computer was. Relatively few Americans were. The first digital computers had been built barely a decade earlier at universities and in government labs.

By the time she was graduating from Wellesley College in 1959, she knew her legal ambitions were out of reach. Her mentors all told her the same thing: Don’t even bother applying to law school. “They said: ‘Don’t do it. You may not get in. Or if you get in, you may not get out. And if you get out, you won’t get a job,’ ” she recalls. If she lucked out and got hired, it wouldn’t be to argue cases in front of a judge. More likely, she would be a law librarian, a legal secretary, someone processing trusts and estates.

But Wilkes remembered her junior high school teacher’s suggestion. In college, she heard that computers were supposed to be the key to the future. She knew that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had a few of them. So on the day of her graduation, she had her parents drive her over to M.I.T. and marched into the school’s employment office. “Do you have any jobs for computer programmers?” she asked. They did, and they hired her.
So many of the first programmers were women and one of the most famous computer engineers was Admiral Grace Hopper.
The Eniac women were among the first coders to discover that software never works right the first time — and that a programmer’s main work, really, is to find and fix the bugs. Their innovations included some of software’s core concepts. Betty Snyder realized that if you wanted to debug a program that wasn’t running correctly, it would help to have a “break point,” a moment when you could stop a program midway through its run. To this day, break points are a key part of the debugging process.
“— and that a programmer’s main work, really, is to find and fix the bugs” but they were not called “bugs” then and that is where Admiral Hopper comes in…

According to the Jargon Files,
Historical note: Admiral Grace Hopper (an early computing pioneer better known for inventing COBOL) liked to tell a story in which a technician solved a glitch in the Harvard Mark II machine by pulling an actual insect out from between the contacts of one of its relays, and she subsequently promulgated bug in its hackish sense as a joke about the incident (though, as she was careful to admit, she was not there when it happened). For many years the logbook associated with the incident and the actual bug in question (a moth) sat in a display case at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC). The entire story, with a picture of the logbook and the moth taped into it, is recorded in the Annals of the History of Computing, Vol. 3, No. 3 (July 1981), pp. 285--286.

The text of the log entry (from September 9, 1947), reads “1545 Relay #70 Panel F (moth) in relay. First actual case of bug being found”. This wording establishes that the term was already in use at the time in its current specific sense — and Hopper herself reports that the term bug was regularly applied to problems in radar electronics during WWII.
So back to me story.

After flunking out of UConn I went to Waterbury State Technical College and got my ASEET (translation: Associate of Science Electrical Engineering Technology) and there I learned BASIC.

I then when to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and that elusive BSEE slipped from my grasp again due to liberal arts classes and too much partying. But I switched to the School of Technology that didn’t require as much math and theory. There I built my first computer using an Intel 4004!

Out of college and at my third job one of the draftsman got an AIM65 a development single board computer which I wrote programs for in Assembly Language and using an on-board compiler. I used it as my alarm clock. I wrote a program in BASIC that used a temperature sensitive resister to measure outside temperature and a relay to turn on a radio. I brought it into work one day and my boss picked it up after walking across the room on a cold dry winter’s day… ZAP and that was the end of that.

At work one day back in the early eighties the owner asked me to write a program for a “Black” Apple II+ and a Magnavox LASER Disk Player, he wanted a program to retrieve drawings and photos. It was a simple program that allowed you to enter a part number and retrieve the drawing, a photo of the part and photo of the location it is used in a power plant. It also allowed to walk through the power plant like Google now does with “Street View.” I did a number of other BASIC programs mainly to interface with test equipment. I still have the “Black” Apple II+, the Magnavox 12 inch LASER Disk Player and the demo disk.

Later on I learned HTML IV and finally before they shut the plant I learned to program PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) When I was laid off from work when they closed the factory we were using PLCs in parallel processing, we had 4 electronic bays running in parallel and you could shut down one bay and still have redundant 2 out of 3 logic. In other words if two if the electronic bays detected a problem it would shut down the plant. I still have my textbooks from the class.

Then I retired and put all my electronic stuff down in the basement.

So back to the article.
The field rewarded aptitude: Applicants were often given a test (typically one involving pattern recognition), hired if they passed it and trained on the job, a process that made the field especially receptive to neophytes. “Know Nothing About Computers? Then We’ll Teach You (and Pay You While Doing So),” one British ad promised in 1965. In a 1957 recruiting pitch in the United States, IBM’s brochure titled “My Fair Ladies” specifically encouraged women to apply for coding jobs.
If we want to pinpoint a moment when women began to be forced out of programming, we can look at one year: 1984. A decade earlier, a study revealed that the numbers of men and women who expressed an interest in coding as a career were equal. Men were more likely to enroll in computer-science programs, but women’s participation rose steadily and rapidly through the late ’70s until, by the 1983-84 academic year, 37.1 percent of all students graduating with degrees in computer and information sciences were women. In only one decade, their participation rate more than doubled.

But then things went into reverse. From 1984 onward, the percentage dropped; by the time 2010 rolled around, it had been cut in half. Only 17.6 percent of the students graduating from computer-science and information-science programs were women.
One researcher was Allan Fisher, then the associate dean of the computer-science school at Carnegie Mellon University. The school established an undergraduate program in computer science in 1988, and after a few years of operation, Fisher noticed that the proportion of women in the major was consistently below 10 percent. In 1994, he hired Jane Margolis, a social scientist who is now a senior researcher in the U.C.L.A. School of Education and Information Studies, to figure out why. Over four years, from 1995 to 1999, she and her colleagues interviewed and tracked roughly 100 undergraduates, male and female, in Carnegie Mellon’s computer-science department; she and Fisher later published the findings in their 2002 book “Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing.”

What Margolis discovered was that the first-year students arriving at Carnegie Mellon with substantial experience were almost all male. They had received much more exposure to computers than girls had; for example, boys were more than twice as likely to have been given one as a gift by their parents. And if parents bought a computer for the family, they most often put it in a son’s room, not a daughter’s. Sons also tended to have what amounted to an “internship” relationship with fathers, working through Basic-language manuals with them, receiving encouragement from them; the same wasn’t true for daughters. “That was a very important part of our findings,” Margolis says. Nearly every female student in computer science at Carnegie Mellon told Margolis that her father had worked with her brother — “and they had to fight their way through to get some attention.”
So this brings me back to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classes there has been a push to get women in to the STEM fields and I second that effort.

There is good money to be made in STEM; most of the current Silicon Valley billionaires are in the STEM fields and even if you don’t start up your own company there is good money in STEM.

When I was graduating with my MSW in 2011 my classmates were boasting about getting $40,000 to $50,000 jobs, I didn’t have the heart to tell them that a Nuclear Engineer fresh out of college was getting a starting pay in 2007 of  $60,000.

My education allowed me to retire comfortably at age 59. My advice to students graduating from high school is, it’s great to graduate from college with a liberal arts degree but they are a dime a dozen go for a STEM degree especially if you are women.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saturday 9: No. 9 Dream

Sam's Saturday 9: No. 9 Dream (1974)

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

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

1) John Lennon liked the number 9. It shows up in three of his songs (in addition to this song, he performed "Revolution #9" and "The One after 909" with the Beatles). He was born on the 9th of October, as was his son Sean. Coincidentally, "No. 9 Dream" hit #9 on the Billboard chart. Do you have a favorite number?
Naw, any number is just as good as any other number

2) The phrase repeated in the chorus, "Ah bowakawa pousse pousse" means nothing. It's gibberish that John sang until he could come up with "real" lyrics for this melody. Then he decided he liked the sound of it, so he kept it. Can you think of a word that's fun to say just because you like how it sounds?
“Thank you”

3) John referred to "No. 9 Dream" as an example of "craftsmanship writing." A snatch of the melody just came to him and he got it down on a tape recorder, wrote lyrics, arranged it and recorded it in short order because he needed another song to finish the LP, Walls and Bridges. What's the last thing that you did because you were supposed to or you had to, and not because you wanted to?
Thursday I substituted for a professor out on maternity level, I was hoping for a snow day but alas the sun came out the temperature went from 29 to 52 by the 11 AM class time.

4) Yet once "No. 9 Dream" was recorded, it became one of John's favorite of his solo songs. He loved its ethereal feel. Tell us about something that turned out better than you thought it would.
Well it wasn’t that psychology, they were freshman and they sat there like bumps on a log. What went better than I thought was a panel that I was on at another university, when the professor invited me she didn’t mention that it was a panel discussion. Two of the four panelist didn’t show up and the one that did it turned out that I knew her.

5) When he was working, John drank a lot of tea, as many as 30 cups in a day. Do you take your tea with cream, sugar, honey, or lemon?
Lemon and just a touch of sugar

6) During his reclusive years (1975 to 1980), John didn't have household help, preferring to take care of his young son and housework himself. He did, however, have a chauffeur on call around the clock. If you could afford to a staff of one, what single thing would you have him/her do?
A contractor to fix all the little things around the house that I can’t do now.

7) When John was a boy, he requested water colors and colored pencils for his birthday and at Christmastime. Do you recall a special birthday or Christmas gift you received as a child?
I remember once I wanted ice skates but my father got me hockey skates instead figure skates.

8) Beatles producer George Martin said John was "a completely impractical man." Would you describe yourself as impulsive, with flashes of practicality? Or are you practical, with flashes of impulsivity?
Practical, with flashes of impulsivity. I think it is the result of an engineering mind.

9) Random question -- Congratulations! You just won the Saturday 9 Sweepstakes, and the prize is your choice of a boat or a motorcycle. Which one do you take?
A boat, but boats are a money pit but motorcycles are a deathtrap, I much rather have 14 air bags around me.

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, February 22, 2019

Criminal Gets A Double Sentence.

She was convicted of insurance fraud and is serving time for it but in a male prison even though she had surgery.
Transgender woman has asked to be moved from Lillington men’s prison. So far, NC has said no.
Fayetteville Observer
By Josh Shaffer, The News & Observer (TNS)
February 21, 2019

LILLINGTON -- In 2017, Kanautica Zayre-Brown had the last of several surgeries changing from male to female, a final and irreversible step on her long-desired path to becoming a woman.

That same year, she went to prison as a habitual felon, convicted of insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretenses. Now inmate No. 0618705 at Harnett Correctional, a men’s prison in Lillington, she is believed to be the state’s only post-operative transgender prisoner.

At 37, she both admits and regrets her crimes and has braced herself for a sentence of up to 9 years and 11 months. But she has repeatedly requested, and so far been denied, housing at a women’s prison, sleeping instead on a bunk in a dorm for 38 men.

The state of North Carolina recognizes her by her birth name, Kevin Chestnut, which she legally changed, and as a male. She changes clothes and showers in view of male inmates despite having had her breasts augmented and male genitalia removed, and she said she is regularly issued men’s undergarments.
North Carolina laws requires…
If Zayre-Brown is receiving men’s undergarments, that would appear to violate North Carolina’s trangender policy, adopted in 2018. It allows transgender inmates to request behavior health or medical services if their gender identity causes dysphoria, or distress. It permits them to receive hormone therapy if it was prescribed before prison time, gender-appropriate undergarments and housing “to enhance staff supervision.”

Zayre-Brown, who is from Wilson, said she has received hormones after months of delay but nothing else.

“Underwear, bras, hygiene, shoes,” she said. “Anything the policy allows me to have, they don’t do it.”
This is a case of prison officials believing that they are above the law and she is not alone, other states correctional systems ignore the law.
However, also in 2018, a transgender woman in Illinois won a yearlong legal fight and was transferred to a women’s prison after numerous assaults left her feeling like a “sex slave,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Here is Connecticut we have a law Public Act No. 18-4 AN ACT CONCERNING THE FAIR TREATMENT OF INCARCERATED PERSONS that states…
Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2018) Any inmate of a correctional institution, as described in section 18-78 of the general statutes, who has a gender identity that differs from the inmate's assigned sex at birth and has a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, as set forth in the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders", shall: (1) Be addressed by correctional staff in a manner that is consistent with the inmate's gender identity, (2) have access to commissary items, clothing, personal property, programming and educational materials that are consistent with the inmate's gender identity, and (3) have the right to be searched by a correctional staff member of the same gender identity, unless the inmate requests otherwise or under exigent circumstances. An inmate who has a birth certificate, passport or driver's license that reflects his or her gender identity or who can meet established standards for obtaining such a document to confirm the inmate's gender identity shall presumptively be placed in a correctional institution with inmates of the gender consistent with the inmate's gender identity. Such presumptive placement may be overcome by a demonstration by the Commissioner of Correction, or the commissioner's designee, that the placement would present significant safety, management or security problems. In making determinations pursuant to this section, the inmate's views with respect to his or her safety shall be given serious consideration by the Commissioner of Correction, or the commissioner's designee.
That is all great, but it will all boil down to will the Department of Corrections enforce the law.

We Go Back To 2005

When I decided to transition in 2004 I went to the Gender Identity Clinic of New England (GICNE) and my endocrinologist was Dr. Petit and his APRN was Kathryn Tierney. When the horror that happened to Dr. Petit’s family I continued to have as my endo Kathryn Tierney at the Hospital of Central Connecticut (AKA New Britain General Hospital) and then to Middlesex Hospital.
Middlesex Health offers a comprehensive transgender program
By: Christina Alexander
February 21, 2019

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) - Middlesex Health offers a comprehensive transgender program that it is very proud of—one that continues to grow. It ensures that all LGBTQ individuals have access to the care they need.

We are joined by APRN, Middlesex Health Transgender Medicine Program Medical Director, Kathryn Tierney and Middlesex Health Patient, Darien Dunham to share the resources Middlesex Health has to offer the LGBTQ community.

Middlesex has a network of providers who work with people who are transgender to meet specific needs. This network includes primary care physicians, surgeons and other specialists. Middlesex works to coordinate services throughout its health system and has revised policies and procedures and practices, addressed facility issues and provided education on transgender matters to staff and the community.
The new LGBTQIAP+ magazine, CT Voice here Connecticut has a podcast interview with Kathryn Tierney…
Episode 1: The Challenges and Triumphs in Transgender Medicine & Why Diversity in the Workplace Just Makes Sense

Thursday, February 21, 2019

You All Probably Heard About…

… What Martina Navratilova said about trans people, well what did her former partner have to say about that?
What does Billie Jean King say about Martina Navratilova’s stance on trans athletes?
Out Sports
By Dawn Ennis
February 20, 2019

Record-shattering tennis legend and out lesbian Billie Jean King tweeted a plea for an end to “conjecture” and to let science figure out the debate over transgender inclusion in sports, recently re-ignited by her friend and fellow icon, Martina Navratilova.

In her tweet Wednesday afternoon, King set a conciliatory tone clearly aimed at trying to douse the flames that Navratilova’s controversial Sunday Times of London op-ed had fanned. She didn’t take sides, but she did make a plea for science, not emotions or bias, to settle the matter.

From the words she chose, it appears she’s reluctant to take sides, although some were quick to see her tweet as an endorsement of their cause. A man whose profile said he was a professional tennis umpire tweeted, “We need more people onboard with us to support our cause ”

King’s tweet started with a defense of her friend, calling Navratilova a long-time “LGBTQ champion” who “cares deeply for the transgender community.”
Okay… I am tired of “LGBTQ champion” just giving us lip service, you are either for us or against you can’t be a fence sitter. I realize that it is hard to come out against a former partner but all she had to say is something like “I don’t agree with her.” Spouses, partners, and friends disagree all the time instead she tries to wiggle out of answering with a non-committal statement.

This morning I am substituting for an adjunct social work professor at University of St. Joseph who is out on maternity leave.

Yesterday I was on a panel at University of Hartford for a psychology class and I feel bad for the lesbian that was with me, I asked all of the questions…gays and lesbians are so passé.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

I Knew That

When I was starting on Cross-gender Hormone Therapy in 2004 my doctor sat down and told me the risks… Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), cardiovascular disease, elevated triglyceride levels and decreased LDL cholesterol levels, weight gain, and a host of other risks.
Transgender Hormone Therapy Could Pose Heart Dangers
U.S. News and World Report
By Alan Mozes, HealthDay Reporter
February 18, 2019

MONDAY, Feb. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Men and women who get hormone therapy during gender transition treatment may face a much higher risk for developing heart disease, new Dutch research cautions.

"In light of our results, we urge both physicians and transgender individuals to be aware of this increased cardiovascular risk," said study author Dr. Nienke Nota, a researcher in the department of endocrinology at the Amsterdam University Medical Center.

"It may be helpful to reduce risk factors by stopping smoking, exercising, eating a healthy diet and losing weight, if needed, before starting therapy, and clinicians should continue to evaluate patients on an ongoing basis thereafter," Nota said in an American Heart Association news release.

The finding came from a review of medical records concerning more than 2,500 transgender women and nearly 1,400 transgender men undergoing gender transition in Holland.
Stroke risk and heart attack risk among such trans women was pegged as more than double than it was among other women, while stroke risk alone was almost twice that of men.

Deep vein clot risk among trans women was also found to be five times that of other women and 4.5 times that of men, according to the study.

Among the almost 1,400 trans men (assigned female at birth but with male gender identity) who were tracked for an average of eight years, researchers saw a tripling of heart attack risk compared to women.
Yes, we knew all this.

But sometimes we need a reminder to make sure you get annual checkups because it can save our lives.

Oh Come On Now

It is chocolates for Pete sake.

A conservative newspaper is claiming that we are protesting a chocolate company making gendered chocolates.

  • Chocolate company is slammed for making 'boy' and 'girl' flavours that are blue and pink – because it doesn't take transgender people into account
  • Whittaker's Coconut Ice Surprise blocks come in blue and pink colours
  • Campaign raises money for children's charity, contributing 20c for each block
  • Activists, academics have criticised promotion for excluding non-binary gender

Daily Mail
By Ben Hill
18 February 2019

A chocolate company has been criticised for its latest promotion - as activists and academics claim it excludes transgender and intersex people.

Whittaker's Coconut Ice Surprise blocks come in blue or pink colours - representing a 'boy' or a 'girl' - and are a special product designed to raise money for children's charity Plunket in New Zealand.

The campaign has been criticised by academics, activists and on social media for not considering intersex, transgender, gender non-binary and gender-fluid people.
RainbowYouth executive director Frances Arns said although it was good that 20c of every bar sold was going to charity, the campaign was still 'disappointing'.

'It's a shame that they used a binary notion of gender, which is erasing many of the identities that exist in the rainbow community,' she told Stuff.

The Whittaker's promotion was inspired by 'gender reveal parties', where expectant parents hold a special ceremony to announce whether their child is a boy or a girl.
This is a big ado about nothing.

And they also brought in a spokesperson for intersex people,
Intersex university sociologist Sarah Hendrica Bickerton said she likes Whittaker's as a company but doesn't appreciate the campaign.

'I get  that they were just trying to have some fun and Plunket does an amazing job so it's really good they want to support them. But if you place the campaign in a wider context effectively it is excluding a whole range of people,' she said.
Maybe they can make one trans chocolate trans in every 200 that they make and one in a thousand intersex.

One thing I learned in life is that you pick your battles and this is not one of my battles. My battle is not eating chocolates and I don’t care if the chocolate is pink or blue (frankly I don’t find pink or blue chocolate appetizing).

What about you, what do you think?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

I Don’t Know How It Caught On, But…

…There seems to be a lot of drag queens reading books.

I don’t understand why they want to butt in and try to force their religious beliefs down everyone’s throats. They are not being forced to attend the readings, those who attend want to attend to hear the stories.
Drag Queen story hour draws more protest and counter protests
February 18, 2019

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (CNN/WSPA) - Drag queen story hour drew more spirited protests and counter protests outside the event when it returned on Sunday.

The Greenville County Sheriff's Office had several temporary rules in place during the event at Five Forks Library in Simpsonville after some social media threats were made. The event had been canceled due to an issue with posting tickets on a site, but returned on Sunday.

“On behalf of God, we’re asking him to move this totally out of our community, that we just don’t think it’s a healthy situation,” said one protestor.

Rylee Hunty, a reader at the event and one of the organizers, said, “There’s more people in this community that are behind us than you think there is."
Then in Pennsylvania,
Drag queen's visit to Exeter Library draws hundreds, including protesters
The Mercury
By Marian Dennis
February 10, 2019

EXETER — The Exeter Community Library held its first-ever "Drag Queen Story Hour" Saturday, Feb. 9, and it was met with a wealth of both opposition and support.

The event featured drag queen Miss Amie Vanité and included stories, dancing and a craft for children.
The controversial program has been making the rounds at libraries across the country.
"We're very excited for it. For us, it's promoting kindness, tolerance, acceptance of people who might be different from you," said Mallory Hoffman, executive director of the Exeter Community Library. "We're having a drag queen story hour. It's a national thing,"

By 1 p.m., a half-hour before the story hour was scheduled to begin, crowds had already formed in the library's parking lot. While some had congregated outside the building to oppose the event, others lined the edge of the library's driveway to show their support to those attending the story hour.
Others outside the library had a different take on the event.

"We're showing our support against the program about drag queens and exposing our children to something they're not prepared for," said Bill Sutton of Shillington.
Out in California they also ran into protests…
After protests, an estimated 500 attend East Bay library's 'Drag Queen Story Hour'
SF Gate
By Alyssa Pereira,
February 12, 2019

There were some in Brentwood who felt that a literary event at the Brentwood Community Center on Monday night was inappropriate for kids. Why? The public reading in Contra Costa County featured a drag queen reading children's books to, well, children.

But the 25 or so people who showed up to protest mostly peacefully outside the venue were well outnumbered by the 500 people Contra Costa County Libraries estimated to have attended the event. It was more people than the organization expected to attend to hear Bella Aldama read to young guests, a spokeswoman for the group told SFGATE, but it was nevertheless "a rousing success."

"The Contra Costa County Library is proud of the event," spokeswoman Brooke Converse said. "Our mission is about bringing people and ideas together. We want to be representative and inclusive of everyone in our very diverse county and community."
In Exeter one of the protesters said, “…exposing our children to something they're not prepared for…” well they are not being “exposed” the protester’s children are not inside listening to the stories being read, what the protester really wants is to control what other people think, they want to force their religious beliefs on others of different religious beliefs.

They think their religion is the only true religion and dismiss everyone else’s beliefs.

The Supreme Court when they take up “religious freedom” they better tread very carefully or they are going to create a can-of-worms.

It Is All About Saving A Life

They say we are selfish when we transition, that we don’t think about others but it is the exact opposite. We are worried about others and that is one of the reasons we didn’t transition earlier, and it is not until we reach a point where we realize that we can’t live any long without transitioning.
Transgender actress Talisa Garcia says transitioning saved her life
Pink News
By Patrick Kelleher 
18th February 2019

Transgender actress Talisa Garcia has said that transitioning to female, and undergoing gender reassignment surgery at 18 years old, saved her life.

The 45 year old actress, who is currently starring in BBC miniseries Baptiste, made the revelation about her experiences as a transgender woman in an interview with the Telegraph.

In the interview, Garcia revealed that she attempted suicide when she was a teenager, which led to her opening up about her gender identity.

“As soon as they gave it a name, everything became better,” Garcia said. Several years later, she underwent surgery, and told her parents: “If I don’t wake up, it’s fine. If I can’t have the operation, I won’t be here anyway.”
Talisa Garcia also said that nobody has ever questioned her gender identity, which made her more inclined to keep her experience a secret.
That is what happens when you transition at a very young age, you can integrate in to society. When you have a lifetime of testosterone soaking into your every pore it is much, much harder to integrate in to society without being identified as trans.
However, the actress said she has had difficult experiences with romantic partners – some of whom have not been accepting.

In one painful break-up, she fled Spain where she was living after she told a boyfriend and his family that she was transgender, saying that they “really” didn’t accept her.
That is something that affects the young and old; finding love.

There are a few trans women who do find love but the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found almost half of us are single.

P.S. In the mini-series Baptiste she is playing the part of a trans woman... a trans woman playing a trans woman, not some cisgender actor in trans-face.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Another Lost, One Of Many To Come

Sad, sad, sad… another anti-LGBT judge has been appointed to Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
5th Circuit's James Ho Agrees With Himself in Denying Broad LGBTQ Rights
ALM Media
February 8, 2019

When Fifth Circuit Judge James Ho wrote the majority opinion affirming a district judge’s dismissal of a transgender employment discrimination claim this week, he also wrote a second separate opinion concurring with himself.

Ho’s unusual concurrence—three times as long as his majority opinion—included a lengthy discourse on maintaining separate bathrooms for the sexes, even though transgender bathroom issues did not figure into the case at hand. He also included a quick English lesson on what the word “sex” really means.

The employment lawsuit against Phillips 66 Co. was filed by Nicole Wittmer, who identifies herself as a transgender woman. A judge in the Southern District of Texas tossed the case after finding Wittmer didn’t present sufficient evidence to support her discrimination claim. Phillips 66 contended it rescinded a job offer after a background check revealed “misrepresentations” and “discrepancies” involving a previous job that were unrelated to her transgender status.

But because Wittmer’s suit contended Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act precluded discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation—a contention the trial court endorsed while ruling on other grounds—Ho made clear in his concurrence that he believes Chief Judge Lee Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas is wrong.
“He also included a quick English lesson on what the word “sex” really means” well this is what the Supreme Court ruled sex means,
Federal courts ask: What is the meaning of 'sex'?
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

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’?
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.

“She argued: that’s discrimination against me on the basis of my sex,” says Steve Sanders, a professor at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. “They’re not discriminating against me as a woman per se, but they’re discriminating against me because I failed to demonstrate certain stereotypes of what it means to be a woman, and the Supreme Court accepted that.
You got that Judge Ho.

The Supreme Court said sex discrimination includes sex stereotyping!
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 [managing partner at the Miami office of Cozen O’Connor], citing a passage that in many ways redefined her job.
Even so, Eisenberg points out that given the ways in which the high court has redefined the meaning of sex in past precedents, today simple claims of “gender stereotyping” already covers most claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
But the judges appointed for life by Trump and the Republicans put their prejudices ahead of the Constitution and Supreme Court precedents.

It Is Typical…

The Republican response to high school students is deplorable and hateful.
Group says Wyoming lawmaker compared homosexuality to bestiality, pedophilia
Lynn Hutchings allegedly made the comments in front of a Gay-Straight Alliance student delegation. She claims her remarks were mischaracterized.
NBC News
By Tim Fitzsimons
February 12, 2019

Wyoming Republican state Sen. Lynn Hutchings is facing calls to resign after allegedly making comments earlier this month to a group of high school students comparing homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia.

On Feb. 1, Wyoming Equality, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, arranged to have a Gay-Straight Alliance student group head to the state capital Cheyenne to meet with state legislators. The students intended to tell the lawmakers why they should support HB 230, a state bill that would ban workplace discrimination against LGBTQ people.
The students then asked to talk to their state senator, something that I have done many times and I have been with friends when they talked to their legislators and some of them were Republicans and against the legislation that we wanted to pass.
Hutchings “came out to the gallery to meet the students,” the letter said. “Hutchings said she was unfamiliar with the bill’s language, so the students shared that they wanted her support because the bill would protect the students from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Then, according to the letter, Hutchings said: “If my sexual orientation was to have sex with all of the men in there and I had sex with all of the women in there and then they brought their children and I had sex with all of them and then brought their dogs in and I had sex with them, should I be protected for my sexual orientation?”
Can you imagine saying that to a group of high school students?

When we talked to our legislators who were against the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill we never got a response like that! Senator Hutchings answer was despicable, disgraceful and demeaning to her office and the Wyoming legislature.

In her own defense she said,
In a statement released Tuesday, Hutchings disputed Wyoming Equality's account of the interaction. "I at no time compared homosexuality with bestiality or pedophilia. That never happened," she wrote.

"I made an attempt to best engage several of them by asking four rhetorical questions," Hutchings said. "My questions to them were intended to highlight the vagueness and subjectivity of the term 'sexual orientation' and how it can be defined in so many ways. After spending more time with them than I expected, we cordially parted company with fist bumps all around.“
If she said "…then they brought their children and I had sex with all of them and then brought their dogs in and I had sex with them, should I be protected for my sexual orientation?” then that sure sounds like she was equating bestiality or pedophilia to lesbians and gays.
The Republican lawmakers promised that their inquiry into the matter would be a “confidential” process.
Yup, if you believe that I have the proverbial bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. What they will look in to is damage control.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Blue States Doesn’t Always Mean Safety

For trans people a blue state doesn’t a safe space, there are always jerks who try to make your life miserable.
Guest Commentary: I moved to Colorado for freedom as a transgender man. Instead, I found discrimination.
Denver Post
By Dashir Moore | Guest Commentary
February 15, 2019

When I was a kid, my mom gave me Barbies, but I preferred to play with G.I. Joes. By high school, I was dressing in my brothers’ clothes. At Georgia State University, I first heard the word to name who I am: transgender.

I began living as male. I shaved my head and started getting fade haircuts. I started taking testosterone. My new best friend, the first to accept me for who I am, was another Black man. I was coming into myself, and that felt so good.
I heard that Colorado has a great lifestyle and excellent trans health care, with doctors specialized in gender-confirming surgery. In my soul, I wanted to go somewhere where I could be myself.
But his problems still continued even in a blue paradise when he wanted top surgery.
That May, I called the company that processed my health claims, UMR, twice and representatives said the procedure was covered at 70 percent and didn’t need preauthorization. (I didn’t know Denver Health called UMR for authorization anyway.)

I had no idea that after my surgery had begun, UMR had contacted Denver Health to deny me coverage. I only found out after I got a call at home.

After some investigation, I learned that my employer had negotiated a plan that excluded coverage for gender transition, including “treatment, drugs, medicines, services, and supplies for, or leading to, gender transition surgery.”
He fell down the rabbit hole.

Here in Connecticut the insurance commissioner ruled that insurance companies must cover all medically necessary insurance claims that are covered for cisgender individuals which is just about everything. Gender Confirming Surgery… Check. Electrolysis… Check. Breast enlargement or breast reduction… Check.

But if you call your insurance company they will say no to every one of those surgery, the key is…

  • GCS, your doctor has to state that it is medically necessary and sometimes it helps to break down the surgery into its parts.
  • Electrolysis, you doctors have to use the medical code for Hirsutism (ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code L68.0) but then you have to find a electrologist who takes insurance or pay for it out of your pocket until you get reimbursed by the insurance company
  • Breast enlargement or breast reduction, your doctor has to state that it is medically necessary and sometimes it helps to break down the surgery into its parts.

The insurance commissioner ruling only covers insurance companies that are licensed to do business in Connecticut and that includes Medicaid (Husky). It does not include Medicare. Medicare is governed by CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) which currently has ruled that we are covered, that insurance companies must cover all medically necessary insurance claims that are covered for cisgender individuals which is just about everything but that may change with the current administration.

There is a monkey wrench in the insurance coverage and that is called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and if your employer self-insured well you are up the well know creek without a paddle. And that is what Mr. Moore is probably facing, those companies that are under ERISA which is not controlled by state laws or CMS. Your insurance coverage is what your employer want to have covered.

And remember don’t take no for an answer from your insurance company. They say “no” because they know many people will not question the answer.

For those of you that were planning on going to the National Trans Visibility March on April 1st it has been postponed until September.
A Message from the Senior Strategy Director:

As the Senior Strategy Director for the National Trans Visibility March, I am saddened, but not defeated, to have to postpone the first National Trans Visibility March, initially scheduled to be held March 31 & April 1, 2019, in Washington, DC, to be held in September 2019.

WE WILL march stronger than ever, WE WILL march more prepared than ever…WE WILL march more motivated than ever…we will NOT be detoured for fighting for our equal rights, health equity and job security. It is my hope that transgender and gender non-binary communities, as well as our allied partners, will not hold the National Trans Visibility March at fault for the postponing of the march, but will continue to work with us, as you have been doing so diligently, as we continue our journey to DC!

As the Lead Organizer, I take full responsibility for not foreseeing time restrictions and the overall cost for such an amazing event. After re-thinking and looking over our planning, we did not allow ourselves enough time for substantial fundraising and relationship building. I have been speaking with several leaders across the country, very late into the planning of the march, and we realized we could not have the National Trans Visibility March on April 1st in part due to it being recognized as “April Fool’s Day” which meant re-thinking our route and securing new permits.

I am completely grateful for the support and amazing leadership from the entire National Trans Visibility organizing team! Before making this very difficult decision I consulted with many community leaders from across country, Maria Roman & Chela DeMore (Los Angeles, CA); Arianna Lint & Cameron Pizarro (Ft. Lauderdale, FL); Kiara St. James (New York, NY); Tatyana Moaton & Trisha Holloway (Midwest Region) and many others!

They believe as I do, this adjustment was necessary and fuels our mission even more! I will be working with all 52 of our ambassadors leading up to the march, bringing more awareness to voter registration, web-based training on community engagement and working with our policymakers nationwide.

The next 6 months WE WILL continue to raise money and build alliances across the country, WE WILL continue meeting with our policymakers, WE WILL continue working to End HIV by 2030, and WE WILL continue to demand equity and social justice.

In Solidarity,
Marissa Miller
Sr. Strategy Director

A Draw

If their effort to erase us one politician saw the light and pulled his bill but the bill to allow us to change our birth certificate was also pulled.
Lawmaker pulls proposed transgender birth certificate ban
By Associated Press
February 14th 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah lawmaker is shelving a proposal that would have blocked transgender people from changing their gender on birth certificates, prompting a sigh of relief for LGBT advocates.

The legislation pulled Thursday by Republican Rep. Merrill Nelson would have changed general longstanding practice and declared a gender characteristics determined at birth "innate and immutable."

The proposal had been condemned by LGBT groups and prompted warnings it could put the state in a negative national spotlight at a time when Salt Lake City is trying to attract a future Winter Olympics.

A competing proposal that would have created a clear path to changing documents has also been pulled.
Back in January the Utah Supreme Court heard a case on birth certificates,
Utah Supreme Court wades into transgender rights and birth certificates
FOX 13 Salt Lake City
By Ben Winslow
January 8, 2018

 SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Supreme Court is taking up a thorny legal issue involving gender identity and birth certificates.

The justices heard arguments Monday in a case brought by two people who have tried to get the courts to change their gender on their birth certificate to reflect their gender identity. The impact of that change is widespread, said Angie Rice.

"If we pull a credit card out in a restaurant and it has a male name on it, or I get stopped at a traffic light and it doesn't appear to be what we see," she told FOX 13. "I've had difficult times in airports."
The courts in Utah have a mixed record for granting gender change so now the case has ended up in the Utah Supreme Court.
Justice Thomas Lee acknowledged they were in "a brand new frontier." He appeared to be uncomfortable with the fact the state of Utah has declined to weigh in on the case, and whether the Court should just rule alone. The Utah Attorney General's Office filed papers early on in the case essentially saying they would stay out of it.

"This case raises some really important questions of statutory interpretation, there's a constitutional question," said Justice Lee. "And we have no adversary briefing."
But jumped in it did and so did the legislature, and the legislators have pulled back for now.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Saturday 9: Valentine

Sam’s Saturday 9: Valentine (1993)

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

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

This song was specially chosen for the Saturday 9 closest to Valentine's Day.

1) This is a love song written by Willie Nelson for his young son. Have you sent any Valentines this year to someone you love who isn't a romantic partner?

2) Today that little boy, Lukas, is a singer/songwriter who wrote eight of the songs for the 2018 A Star Is Born soundtrack. Have you seen the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga big screen romance?
Nope… is this going to be an easy Sat. 9

3) On Valentine's Day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented the first telephone. Who did you most recently speak to on the phone?
A computer.
Update 3:30 It was CVS calling, press 1 to refill your prescription

4) Penicillin was also introduced on Valentine's Day (in 1929). When you get a shot, do you look away when the needle touches your skin?

5) According to legend, a gift of red roses signifies love and romance. When did you last purchase flowers or plants? Did you buy them for yourself, or someone else?

6) This week's artist, Willie Nelson, can trace his family tree back to the Revolutionary War. Captain John Nelson served with the Minutemen back in 1776. If you could go back in time to witness any great moment in American history, which would you choose?
The selling of Manhattan to the Dutch. I would be shouting… “Don’t do it! You will be sorry.”

7) Before he became a musical success, Willie was a door-to-door salesman, peddling first Bibles, then vacuum cleaners. INC magazine tells us that the traits of successful salespeople include resilience and good listening skills. Do you think you'd make a good sales person?
Nope. I would take no for an answer.

8) In 1993, when this song came out, Saved by the Bell aired its series finale. Crazy Sam likes to tease her brother because he once admitted to her that he has seen all 86 episodes of this teen sitcom. Is there a show that you believe you've seen every episode?
Well Star Trek of course.
I just have to hear them speak one line and I know what show it is from.

9) Random question -- We're having milkshakes! What's your favorite flavor?

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!