Sunday, March 31, 2019

Backlash Down In Texas

Once again the Republican controlled government is trying to give special rights to a small group of individuals and the legislators are facing a strong backlash from businesses.
Top firms decry religious exemption bills proposed in Texas
By Clarice Silber
March 27, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Some of the world’s biggest companies are back to oppose a range of new Texas legislation they say is discriminatory, two years after Apple, Facebook and other Fortune 500 companies banded together with gay rights activists in defeating the state’s “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people.

The corporate giants, which also include Google, Amazon, and IBM, joined Texas businesses and more than a dozen local chambers of commerce in a letter to lawmakers Wednesday urging the Republican-controlled Legislature to focus on other legislation.

“We will continue to oppose any unnecessary, discriminatory, and divisive measures that would damage Texas’ reputation and create problems for our employees and their families,” the letter said. “These include policies that explicitly or implicitly allow for exclusion of LGBTQ people, or anyone else, as well as the preemption of municipal nondiscrimination laws, in whole or in part.”
The corporations realize that to get the best employees they cannot discriminate and cannot allow employees to say they will not work with certain other employees.

It is discrimination when you allow a law to target one group of people and not other people.
Editorial: It’s not religious freedom if only some views are protected
The Statesman
By American-Statesman Editorial Board
March 29, 2019

The ability to worship as we choose is one of America’s most cherished rights.

So is the ability to love who we choose, and express ourselves as we choose.

We see no reason to put these values on a collision course. But some Texas lawmakers are trying to do so with “religious freedom” bills that, in practice, would give legal cover for discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community.

Texans of all faiths should be troubled by a Senate committee’s vote this week advancing Senate Bill 17, which would protect state-licensed professionals from sanctions if they cited religious beliefs when doing something that might otherwise land them in hot water with their licensing boards.
Also against the bill…
Many religious leaders have spoken against SB 17, arguing a person’s faith should not be license to infringe on the beliefs or rights of others. Or as the Rev. Krystal Leedy of University Presbyterian Church told our editorial board back in January: “We have the religious freedom to swing our arms wildly if we want to, but that ends right when we hit somebody in the nose.”
Again, lawmakers should pay attention to their constituents’ views: the Public Religion Research Institute polling found two-thirds of Texans, including majorities in all faith groups, support nondiscrimination ordinances that protect gay, lesbian or transgender people.
Why do Republicans hate us so much?

Why do those gays, lesbians, bi, and even trans who vote Republican look the other way and ignore the hate against us?

Are You Visible?

Today is the “Trans Day of Visibility” which is one of two days that I have concerns about, the other is national coming out day.

I add a caveat to being visible… BE SAFE!

Your safety should be your primary concern, ask yourself is it safe to come out? Will I be thrown out of the house? Will I lose my job? Will I face harassment or violence?
Maplewood to raise flag in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility
TAP Into
By Linsey Kelleher
March 30, 2019

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. - Township officials will be honoring the transgender community this Sunday during a flag raising event.

Elected officials from Maplewood Township and the Township of South Orange Village are co-hosting the event to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, a national day that celebrates the transgender community. International Transgender Day of Visibility is March 31.

The event will be held on Sunday, March 31, at 2 p.m., on the front steps and lawn at the Maplewood Municipal Building, 574 Valley St.

There will be speeches from several local leaders, a proclamation to honor International Transgender Day of Visibility, and a flag raising to show solidarity.
But on the other side of the country…
Oregon Mayor Rejects Trans Day of Visibility, Claims It’s “Discriminatory”
In response, trans rights supporters are fighting to make Canby the welcoming town they once called home.
By Nico Lang
March 27, 2019

Trans people in a small Oregon town have reportedly faced severe backlash after its mayor rejected a proclamation honoring the International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31.

The controversy began last Wednesday when Sarah Spoon, a city councilor in Canby, Oregon, forwarded to Mayor Brian Hodson a request from members of the local LGBTQ community to recognize the annual event. According to its website, the International Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) was founded in 2009 to celebrate “the accomplishments and victories of transgender and gender non-conforming people.”

Hodson rejected the petition, saying he already signed an inclusive “safe city declaration” passed by the city council in 2016. While that declaration pledged to further a “culture of mutual understanding and appreciation for the inherent value of all within our community,” it did not mention transgender people.

“I will have proclamation requests to favor all individuals, because setting aside one group based on race, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic would be discriminatory,” he wrote. “Don’t you agree?”
The city councilor who asked for the request said,
“We hand out proclamations like candy,” she claims. “Hodson claimed he has said ‘no’ to proclamations before. I have no public record of that, and the city recorder said that he hasn’t said ‘no’ in over a year.”
So evidently there is bias in the mayor rejecting the proclamation.

Okay, I’ll bite… what is a trans voice?
Amazon Alexa has enabled a transgender voice for International Transgender Day of Visibility
The device will invite the listener to visit a petition applying pressure to advance trans rights on the UN’s human rights agenda.
Pop Buzz
29 March 2019

Amazon Alexa users will be able to access a transgender voice on International Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31st) to initiate a much-needed conversation on transgender issues.

#VoiceofTrans will see UK users of Amazon Alexa-enabled devices be able to activate the voice of a transgender man by asking “Alexa, open the voice of trans”. The project has been inspired by a desire to give the Trans community a platform, allow them to tell their story and to have their voice listened to. Their aim is to make trans issues a national talking point.

Once activated, the voice will go on to thank the listener for wanting to listen to him and will proceed to tell his story, which will be compiled from a series of real-life experiences from members of the transgender community around the world.
It seems that it is not a “voice” but rather speakers talking about various aspects of being trans.

Whatever you decide to do on this International Transgender Day of Visibility be safe!

Green Light

The bigots are crawling out of the swamp where they have been hiding.  But now they have received the green light to come out in the light of day by Trump.
Homophobic And Racist Posters Are Part Of Ongoing Harassment At McCormick Jr. High
Wyoming Public Media
By Tennessee Watson
March 28, 2019

A Cheyenne junior high was the target of hate speech Wednesday. Racist and homophobic posters discovered at McCormick Junior High have students concerned for their safety.

An eighth grader, who we're calling Nicole to protect her privacy, said this isn't the first time she's witnessed homophobia. She was a member of the school's gay-straight alliance or GSA, but within the last couple weeks, she stopped going because she felt targeted. She said homophobic slurs have been directed at her.
Cheyenne Representative Sara Burlingame is Wyoming Equality's executive director. She said the organization, which works to defend the rights of LGBTQ Wyomingites, immediately started to receive calls from concerned parents and community members.

"The message from the community has been super unequivocal and super clear: this is unacceptable. It does not reflect the values of Cheyenne. We're not going tolerate this," said Burlingame. "And we're going to show up and support our LGBT youth and our black youth with unwavering pride and support."
Guess what the school system’s response was?
Racist, homophobic flyers passed out, gay students bullied at junior high school
The Torrington Telegram
By Morgan Hughes Wyoming Tribune Eagle
March 29, 2019

CHEYENNE — Flyers reading “it’s great to be straight it’s not OK to be gay,” “black lives only matter because if it weren’t for them who would pick our cotton,” and “Join the KKK,” with “the confederate kid club” in parentheses beneath it were taped to walls and passed out by students during the day Wednesday at McCormick Junior High School.

It’s the most recent event in a chain of bullying of McCormick’s Gay Straight Alliance students, according to a teacher at the school.

Principal Jeff Conine told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle there were only two flyers, and that they were taped to a wall in an area without security cameras. He said teachers found the flyers and took them down before the school day began.

But at least three other, independent reports claim the walls of the school were papered with the flyers, and that students with Confederate flags were passing out the flyers to targeted students in the GSA club at the school.
Towleroad reported…
Cook was then FIRED after reporting the hate speech to Wyoming Equality: “Kaycee Cook tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that McCormick Junior High Principal Jeff Conine sent her an email Wednesday saying she was no longer welcome as a guest or a substitute teacher at the school. Cook says she thinks Conine took action after she called members of a local LGBTQ advocacy group to tell them about the flyers.”
Yup, they fired the messenger instead of trying to stop the bullying

Friday, March 29, 2019

Where It All Started

Goofing around at the Lobby Day
Change of plans...
One of the side effects of getting old is your sleep patterns are all off. I've been up since 3 AM and I fell back to sleep around 5:00 - 5:30 and slept about 2 more hours. So I'm bailing out of going in person. I have already submitted my testimony yesterday.

Today I am sitting in the Judiciary Committee room waiting to testify but it is also the same room where it all started.

Back in 2007 I gave my first testimony here for the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill.

I remember one year I was sitting reading my homework while I was waiting to hear my name called to testify… what I was reading was an article on Saul Alinsky from his book “Rules for Radicals” and on its cover was the Communist flag crossed with the American flag.

At the lobby day
After reading for a while I looked up and around me, I was surrounded be state police. In front of me, on both sides of me, and in back of me; I admit I was a little intimidated.

Another time I was interning with CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund and I was helping out at the Lobby Day. My job was to look up people’s legislators s they could go and talk to them.

Testifying before Judiciary Committee for the first time wasn’t so bad because I had two allies on the committee… the co-chairs.

Two Weeks Ago
Back in December 2005 I went down to Stamford for a fundraiser for GenderPAC and at the fundraiser was then Senator Andrew McDonald (now Supreme Court Justice), Representative Michael Lawlor (now professor), and then Mayor Dannel Malloy of Stamford (now former governor). I met them a couple of times again at fundraisers. The last time that I met the governor was he signed the birth certificate law and he gave me the signed bill (which now resides in the Elihu Burritt Library in my collection there).

So anyhow back to the committee hearing…

When I sat down to testify for the first time knowing the co-chairs helped immensely.

Sitting here in the hearing room is both exciting and boring at the same time. It is exciting because of all the power in the building you can actually feel it and boring because it is mostly sitting around doing nothing.

Today’s Going To Be A very Busy Day Again

Change of plans...
One of the side effects of getting old is your sleep patterns are all off. I've been up since 3 AM and I fell back to sleep around 5:00 - 5:30 and slept about 2 more hours. So I'm bailing out of going in person. I have already submitted my testimony yesterday.

By the time you read this I will be at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) for about an hour to sign-up to testify on bill… S.B. 58 An Act Concerning Gay and Transgender Panic Defense.
Statement of Purpose:
To prohibit the use of gay and transgender panic as a criminal defense.
Connecticut would not be leading the way so far California, Illinois and Rhode Island have the law banning trans/gay panic defense in court.

So what is trans/panic defense, basically it is… I Lost It! I just flipped out when I found out “she was a man” so I killed her. It is using transphobia or homophobia as a defense.

If you live in Connecticut I ask you to please call or write your legislators in support of the bill.

To find your Connecticut legislator chick here.

For help in writing your testimony click here.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Wow did you see all those trans flags on Capitol Hill?

That was a good idea that National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) had in sending all of those trans flags to the legislators.
Pelosi, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez place transgender pride flags outside Capitol Hill offices
The Hill
By Rachel Frazin
March 26, 2019

Several lawmakers hung transgender pride flags outside their Capitol Hill offices this week ahead of Sunday's International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Several lawmakers posted pictures of their flags on social media, including 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.) and Lori Trahan (D-Mass).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Jennifer Wexton (Va.) also hung the flags outside their offices.
The National Center for Transgender Equality tweeted on Tuesday that it delivered transgender pride flags to every member of Congress to celebrate Transgender Visibility Week.

"With the help of community members & volunteers, we delivered trans pride flags to EVERY member of the Congress, from every party, including voting members and non-voting delegates," the center tweeted from its verified account.
I wonder who didn’t display the trans flag? I think that list would be interesting, I would bet that not one Republican legislator displayed it.

But as I said in the title “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” there are some trans people who found fault in this. It seems like some trans people were upset that the flags had wrinkles and it got them in a lather over it.
Trans Flag Creator: Worrying About Bernie Sanders’ Wrinkled Trans Flag Is “Chickensh*t”
Monica Helms weighs in on angry tweets about wrinkled trans flags on Capitol Hill.
By Kate Sosin
March 27, 2019

There’s a wrinkle in the story about an unprecedented number transgender pride flags popping up on Capitol Hill in honor of Transgender Visibility Week—quite literally.

While most have lauded the fact that lawmakers from Nancy Pelosi to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have draped the iconic pastel pink, blue, and white outside their D.C. offices, Twitter has had some words for lawmakers who seemed to have misplaced their irons.
In a viral tweet Tuesday, popular YouTuber Natalie Wynn asked, “Thanks, but could you steam it first [sic].”

And so set off the national debate on proper display of the trans flag.
The creator of the trans flag had this to say about the wrinkles…
Monica Helms, a U.S. Navy veteran, created the transgender pride flag 20 years ago. She said people can wear it like a cape, so long as they display it.

“Worried about it being wrinkled is a real kind of chickenshit thing, if you don’t mind me saying,” Helms tells NewNowNext. “Yeah, it’d be nice if they’d steam it, but the important thing is to actually put it out there.”
I totally agree with Ms. Helms.
Rep. Mike Honda is believed to be the first on Capitol Hill to display the flag in 2016 (his flag was notably unironed).
And that is what is important… a show of support and unity for us.

A Blessing To Discriminate

That is what the Republican controlled legislature has done in Texas.
Texas Senate kicks off fight over religious exemptions
The Statesman
By Chuck Lindell
March 25, 2019

Opening what promises to be one of the most contentious fights of the 2019 legislative session, a Senate committee on Monday approved a bill to give state-licensed professionals — including doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and barbers — broad protection for actions taken according to their religious beliefs.

Opponents said the bill, and more than a dozen similar measures that have not yet been acted upon, would give religious people, particularly conservative Christians, the power to discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender people as well as anyone they don’t want to do business with or serve.

But supporters of Senate Bill 17 — including its Republican author, Sen. Charles Perry — said the protections are needed to ensure that licensing agencies do not discriminate against religious professionals by forcing them to do something that violates their beliefs.

“Living our faith does not stop when we start to work,” Perry, R-Lubbock, told the Senate State Affairs Committee during Monday’s hearing on SB 17.
The Republicans are doing everything they can to force us back in the closet.

And look what other bills they are trying to pass down in Texas.
Monday’s hearing was the legislative session’s first action on more than a dozen Republican bills that would create faith-based exemptions. They include:

• SB 1107 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, and House Bill 2892 by Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, would allow medical professionals to refuse nonemergency treatment that violates their religious beliefs.

• HB 4512 by Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, would let individuals decline to participate in gay marriage ceremonies or provide goods or services for use in a same-sex marriage.

• SB 1009 by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, and HB 2109 by Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, would allow state and local judges to refuse to perform marriages that are opposed by their religion.

• Named the Free to Believe Act, HB 1035 by Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, would let marriage-related businesses refuse to serve same-sex couples, allow county clerks to opt out of providing same-sex marriage certificates, outlaw local regulations requiring transgender-friendly bathrooms and let religious groups refuse to hire or rent to those whose actions or beliefs conflict with the group’s faith.

• SB 1978 by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, and HB 3172 by Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, would bar local governments and state agencies from taking “any adverse action” based on a person’s religious belief or moral conviction.

• SB 880, also by Hughes, would let university organizations limit membership to those who comply with the group’s religious beliefs or standards of conduct.

• HB 4497 by Rep. Cole Hefner, R-Mount Pleasant, would prohibit state agencies and local governments from punishing people or businesses that decline to provide “marriage-related goods and services.”

• SB 85 by Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, would let therapists decline to provide mental health services based on the counselor’s religious beliefs, if a referral to another professional is made.

• HB 4357 by Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney, would prohibit punishing counselors who provide faith-based treatment. Opponents fear the bill would support “conversion therapy,” which treats being gay as a curable condition and puts patients at risk of harm, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
This gets me so mad, there is so much hate against us, they should be called “freedom to discriminate” laws. They are creating two sets of laws? One for religious bigots and one for everyone else.

But there are some very powerfully allies speaking up for us.
Amazon, Google, Facebook pen letter opposing Texas bills 'that allow for the exclusion of LGBTQ people'
Dallas News
By Lauren McGaughy, Texas Government Reporter
March 27, 2019

AUSTIN — Apple, Dell, PepsiCo and several other businesses, tourism groups and chambers of commerce have penned a letter to Texas lawmakers criticizing bills they say would hurt the state's economy and target the LGBT community.

"We will continue to oppose any unnecessary, discriminatory, and divisive measures that would damage Texas' reputation and create problems for our employees and their families," the letter reads. "These include policies that explicitly or implicitly allow for the exclusion of LGBTQ people, or anyone else."
Apple, Amazon, Facebook, HP and PayPal also signed the letter, as did the Dallas, McKinney, Plano and Richardson chambers of commerce and the Dallas and Fort Worth convention and visitors bureaus.

The business coalition held a news conference Wednesday at which it specifically targeted two of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's  priorities.

Senate Bill 15, which aims to do away with local sick leave policies, would also undo city rules that prohibit discrimination for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, the coalition said. Senate Bill 17, which would give legal cover to occupational license holders who cite sincerely held religious beliefs to turn away clients or refuse services to certain people, also drew the businesses' opposition.

We just want to live our lives that God gave us but the Republicans use their power to push their hate, bigotry, and spitefulness to try pass these laws. If you vote Republican you condone this behavior, you are an enabler.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

This Will Never Make It Through The Senate.

This bill doesn’t have a snowball chance in hell to pass the Senate, then why introduce the bill?
The Equality Act: What Transgender People Need to Know
Go to the profile of National Center for Transgender Equality
A bipartisan coalition in Congress is introducing The Equality Act — a nationwide law that would ban discrimination on the basis of your gender identity or sexual orientation. Here’s what that means for transgender people and their families.

The Medium
By National Center for Transgender Equality
March 13, 2019

The ambitious piece of legislation represents a major step forward for the transgender equality movement, and transgender people and their families might have reasonable questions about what it is and what it does: Who is covered by the Equality Act? How would it impact my job, my school, or my health care? What if I already live in a state with legal protections for transgender people? Won’t the President just veto it?

What would the Equality Act do?
The Equality Act prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, credit, education, jury service, federally-funded programs (including health care), and businesses that serve the public. It will also prohibit discrimination against women and girls in public accommodations for the first time in federal law.

Finally, the bill expands the list of protected places of public accommodations to include retail stores, transportation services like airports, taxis and bus stations, and service providers like accountants, for all groups covered.

To do this, The Equality Act would amend several crucial pieces of civil rights legislation — such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 — to clearly prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. This would prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in the same way these laws already prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin.
What is a federally-funded program?
Federal civil rights laws apply to any program or service that accepts federal funding, whether through a contract, grant, award, or other forms of funding. This includes (but is not limited to) public schools, prisons, hospitals and health care providers that accept Medicare or Medicaid (which is nearly all of them), many state and local government programs, as well as any program operated by a federal agency (such as Social Security or immigration enforcement). The Equality Act would make clear that discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other gender-related bias is prohibited in these settings.

In short, the Equality Act would prohibit discrimination against transgender people by any entity that accepts federal dollars.
So why introduce the bill if it is going to die in the Senate?

It is to get the Republicans on record of rejecting the bill; you remember this morning’s blog about the poll that found strong support for us? I believe this is to get the LGBTQ+ and our allies votes and to use it against the Republicans.

So who supports the bill?

'We support it': NAACP endorses LGBTQ Equality Act
The African-American civil rights group, which shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law, endorsed adding LGBTQ people to those the act protects.
NBC News
By Tim Fitzsimons
March 22, 2019

The NAACP, the country’s oldest African-American civil rights organization, publicly endorsed the Equality Act, a federal LGBTQ anti-discrimination bill.

“We support what it does — and we support it now,” Hilary Shelton, the organization's D.C. bureau director, told NBC News on Friday. “It’s important that it gets through.”

Shelton said the group had previously endorsed the bill in meetings with two of its sponsors, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.

But they are not alone.

More than 160 major companies announce support for the Equality Act
Act would ensure protections for the 50% of LGBTQ people who live in 30 states without comprehensive civil rights laws
Metro Weeky
By John Riley
March 8, 2019

On Friday, the Human Rights Campaign announced it had organized a coalition of 161 leading businesses that support for the Equality Act, a piece of federal legislation that would codify protections for LGBTQ people into law.

The coalition announcement comes less than a week before Democratic leaders in Congress are expected to introduce the bipartisan bill, which would expressly prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations.

Currently, 50% of LGBTQ Americans live in the 30 states that lack a comprehensive statewide nondiscrimination law that protects LGBTQ people. LGBTQ advocates have attempted to engage the business community and have prominent companies — many of whom already have pro-LGBTQ employee policies in place — place pressure on members of Congress to pass the law.
“These leading employers know that protecting their employees and customers from discrimination isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s also good for business,” Griffin added.
Some of the companies announcing their support include, but are not limited to: Abercrombie & Fitch, Adobe Systems Inc., Airbnb Inc.,, American Airlines, Apple, Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton; The Coca-Cola Co., Corning Inc., Cox Enterprises., The Dow Chemical Co., eBay, Facebook, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Kellogg Co., Marriott International, Spotify USA, Target, Twitter, Under Armour, Wells Fargo & Co., Yelp, and Zillow Group.
But they are not alone in their support….

Sally Field and Son First to Support HRC’s Star-Studded ‘Americans for the Equality Act’ Campaign
By Anna Tingley
March 26, 2019

Award-winning actress Sally Fields and her son Sam Greisman are among the first wave of stars supporting the Human Rights Campaign’s “Americans for the Equality Act,” which launched March 25. In the series’ debut video, filmed by award-winning directors Dustin Lance Black and Paris Barclay, Fields talks to her son about his own journey to accepting his sexuality.

“Sam’s journey was just a different one than his older brothers,” Fields says in the video. “Being with him, watching him to finally be able to be all that nature intended him to be – it was not an easy road for him.”

In the coming weeks, the star-studded campaign will cut a swath through every industry, featuring stars such as Olympic figure skaters Adam Rippon and Shea Diamond, to actors Jamie Lee Curtis and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as they stand behind the Equality Act.
Hey with Norma Rae on our side how can we lose?

One of the things that I learned about passing laws, you don’t give up. You use each time a bill is brought to educate more legislators. We got better organized. We got more voters involved.

Hey if there was a lobby day in Washington, I would go to it.

No Kidding Sherlock

Okay we all know that hate crimes are increasing, and that the country is becoming more divided well now a new poll has come out.
Support for LGBTQ Rights Has Dropped Among Young Republicans
Support has remained steady or risen among other key demographics.
By Jeff Taylor
March 26, 2019

While support for LGBTQ rights is broadly on the rise, it is, according to a new survey, dropping among one key demographic: Young Republicans.

Comparing support of LGBTQ rights from 2015 to 2018, the survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, found support for nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity fell five percentage points over that three year period, from 61% to 56%. Notably, that support dropped most among Republicans who had previously been most supportive, declining around ten percentage points with young Republicans ages 18-29 (74% to 63%) and liberal Republicans (68% to 59%).

Support among all Americans, Independents, and Democrats remained steady, dropping slightly in the first two groups and rising by one percentage point among Democrats. 71% of Americans are in favor of laws protecting LGBTQ people.

Support among religious people also remains high, with 80% support among Jews, 71% among white mainline Protestants, 70% among Mormons, 65% among black Protestants, and 60% among Muslims. The lowest levels of support among the religious (white Evangelical Protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses) were still above 50%.
Wow young Republicans are supporting us!

The article goes on to say,
He said to understand the shift more research would be needed, but offered the hypothesis that, “The Republican Party is becoming more ideologically pure,” and that there are likely increasingly fewer young Republicans among the ranks.
What I find interesting was the Jehovah’s Witnesses support.

I was laid off from the factory where I worked for 28 year and I transitioned the same day. Well one of my former technicians spilled the bean about me; he massed emailed the employees about my transition (he was probably just chomping at the bit to tell everyone).

One of my technicians was a Jehovah’s Witness and when he found out he wrote,
Hi diana this is your friend _______!  I am getting older but still kiking!   I just want to tell you how much I valued your kindness to me during my trials with jenny sick and all..............  you helped me through situations that I couldent help my self out of.     just talking to me when I needed it really helped.   and all the instruction on the computer came in good st
I know about your change in life style but my feelings for all good.
We are winning over the hearts and mind of the voters.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Doctor Will See You Now…

But in some states that is almost impossible, many doctors refuse to treat us, they have all types of excuses but it all comes down to bias.
In Georgia’s Bible Belt, health care for transgender people is often out of reach
The Macon Telegraph
By Samantha Max
March 18, 2019

McPherson Newell lives in limbo.

The sophomore in college has known since he was a little kid that he didn’t feel comfortable in his own body. He’d get upset when friends told him he couldn’t play the boy character in games and never felt comfortable dressing as others expected him to.
Accessing health care has proved one of the most difficult obstacles yet.

Newell’s student insurance covers primary care and weekly mental health therapy sessions at the Macon Counseling and Psychological Services center, but he hasn’t found any doctors in Middle Georgia who specialize in care for transgender patients. Most of the resources are in Atlanta, Newell said, and he doesn’t have a car to drive there.
Finding a trans friendly healthcare provider in the top question that I get asked. Even in a blue state it can be hard to a provider.
About a quarter of transgender individuals in Georgia chose not to see a doctor when they needed treatment out of fear of discrimination, according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Nearly half avoided the doctor’s office because they could not afford it, the survey found.

Lack of access to health care could pose a dire risk, especially for a population that suffers disproportionately high rates of mental illness.
Can you imagine what it must be like to live in a conservative state where they shun anyone who is different from them?
“Social stigma, discrimination, bigotry are definitely issues that make it challenging for folks to seek services in traditional health care systems,” Jackson said. “So, if you are going into a space to get your care needs met and you’re immediately misgendered or you notice people’s, like, physical discomfort when you come into the room, that’s not a place where you want to stay and get care.”

It can be especially difficult for transgender individuals to access health care in Georgia.
So this afternoon and every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon I am at the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective where I answer question about transitioning, healthcare, and where to find LGBTQ+ friendly healthcare providers.

For me I have never had any problems with healthcare providers, I don’t think I am an exception but rather more providers are trans and LGB&Q friendly and their training now includes at the very least something about LGBTQ+ patients. Next month I will be on a LGBTQ+ panel for 1st year med students. Also next month I have a meeting on how to make Long Term Care facilities more inclusive, including LGBTQ+ patients.

Change is coming at least to blue states.

Crocodile Tears

I find apologies after getting caught and there’s a backlash so insincere. The latest is the school official who got fired for yelling at a trans boy in the bathroom.
Lawyer for Liberty High School assistant principal asks school board to reconsider contract decision
By Rodney Lamp
March 25, 2019

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. - Liberty High School Assistant Principal Lee Livengood is requesting that the Harrison County Board of Education reconsider its decision to not renew his contract.

Livengood became involved in a controversy related to a transgender student using the boys' bathroom at the school.  Liberty High School officials said Livengood was not terminated, but his probationary contract was not renewed.  The school board did not elaborate on why it was not renewed.

Livengood's attorney, Alex Shook, sent a letter to the school board asking for it to "remedy this situation."  In the letter, Shook stated, "this decision was based upon the controversy involving the incident with the transgender student."

Shook's letter goes on to say, "First, there were at least three faculty witnesses that saw and heard some or all of the incident.  One was standing right outside the bathroom door, and heard the entire conversation start to finish."

In speaking to 12 News, Shook said the three teachers, all female, who witnessed the incident, deny that Livengood was bullying the student.  Shook said the teachers saw a girl go into the boys' bathroom, which is against school policy, and they asked Livengood to address the matter.  Shook also stated that he has requested hallway surveillance video of the incident, but he has not received it.
Was it an honest mistake?

Was it bigotry?

What do you think?

bike tracks

I think that there is that doubt but… and it is a big but, why was he yelling at him? That in itself I think tells a lot about the encounter. He screamed at him, if he asked him in a conversational voice “What are you doing in here?” then I think there might be some cause to rehear the case. But to me it sounded like there was a lot of bias in the encounter.

The Republicans passed a law banning LGBTQ+ people from adopting children but a court saw otherwise.
Michigan will no longer fund adoption agencies that discriminate against gays
Detroit Free Press
By Kathleen Gray
March 22, 2019

Michigan will no longer financially support adoption and foster care agencies that refuse to work with same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals because of religious beliefs under the terms of a settlement of a lawsuit negotiated by Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The settlement, which was announced Friday, sets up a battle with the Republican-led Legislature, which passed a law in 2015 that allows adoptions agencies to refuse to work with members of the LGBTQ community.

The terms of the settlement require that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services agrees to maintain nondiscriminatory provisions in its foster care and adoption agency contracts. It also calls for the department to enforce the nondiscrimination provisions by terminating contracts with agencies that either discriminate against same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals who would otherwise qualify to become foster or adoptive parents or that refer them to other agencies.
But the battle isn’t over the Catholic Conference  vows to fight on.
After the settlement was announced Friday, the Michigan Catholic Conference, the Lansing-based advocacy agency that serves as the official voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan, tweeted, "The settlement announced today by the Attorney General in the Dumont/Lyon case does nothing to protect the thousands of children in foster care looking for loving homes. As such, it is highly unlikely this is the last chapter of the story."

Lori Windham, an attorney with Becket, a Washington D.C.-based law firm that works on religious freedom cases, said the settlement violates Michigan law that protects religious adoption agencies.
There is something called the Fourteenth Amendment… you know the part that says everyone must be treated equally?

Once again the Republicans are trying twist the Constitution to mean that religion beliefs can be forced on to another person. That there will be two sets of laws one for the bigots and one for everyone else.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Once more we need your help again!

There have been a number of LGBTQ+ bill introduced this legislative session and the latest is…

Statement of Purpose:
To prohibit the use of gay and transgender panic as a criminal defense.

Connecticut would not be leading the way so far California, Illinois and Rhode Island have the law banning trans/gay panic defense in court and other states around the country have introduced similar legislation.

So what is trans/panic defense, basically it is… I Lost It! I just flipped out when I found out “she was a man” so I killed her. It is using transphobia or homophobia as a defense.

If you live in Connecticut please call or write your legislators in support of the bill, or write testimony for the hearing on Friday.

The hearing is Friday, March 29 @ 10:00 AM in room 2E of the Legislative Office Building (LOB)

You can find your legislators here.

You can find help in writing your testimony here.

You can email your testimony here.

Not Quite

But close enough, in Japan trans people need to be sterilized to transition however this headline is not quite true, yes it is true but…
It’s Not Just Japan. Many U.S. States Require Transgender People Get Sterilized
Many transgender people in the United States must undergo sterilizing medical procedures if they want birth certificates and driver’s licenses that reflect their gender.
The Daily Beast
By Samantha Allen
March 22, 2019

More outrageous than The Economist asking in a tweet, “Should transgender people be sterilized before they are recognized?”—more outrageous still than Japan continuing to require transgender people be sterilized to have their gender identity legally recognized—is the fact that sterilization requirements for transgender people are not restricted to one country.

This week may have been the first you heard about transgender sterilization.

After Japan’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this year in defense of the country’s 2003 law requiring transgender people to have their gonads removed or rendered non-functional before being allowed to legally change their gender, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch released a groundbreaking report on the impacts of the outdated law.
Okay, for trans women if you are having Gender Confirming Surgery (GCS) a side effect is you’re going to be sterilized; for trans men top surgery doesn’t require sterilization and for their bottom surgery from what I understand doesn’t require sterilization.
But the transgender sterilization issue is much broader than any one country or tweet. In fact, many transgender people in the United States must undergo sterilizing medical procedures if they want birth certificates and driver’s licenses that reflect their gender.
Yes, for trans people in states like Georgia that require surgery…
Georgia will amend the sex on a birth certificate "upon receipt of a certified copy of a court order indicating the sex of an individual born in this state has been changed by surgical procedure and that such individual's name has been changed." Ga. Code Ann. § 31-10-23(e). Such birth certificates will be issued as new and not marked as amended.
So for trans women they need GCS and for trans men just having “top surgery” only might qualify for changing their birth certificate.

So I see this headline a little misleading because the state don’t come right out that sterilization is required, just calls for “surgical procedure” and they don’t spell out those procedures.

Not quite, judge throws the brake on Trump’s military edict.
Federal judge rebukes Trump & says he can’t institute the trans military ban after all
LGBTQ Nation
By Alex Bollinger
March 20, 2019

A federal judge just rebuked the Trump administration for saying that it would implement its transgender military ban, arguing that one of the injunctions against the ban in still in place.

District court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who is hearing the Doe v. Trump challenge to the ban, issued a notice that her injunction, which prevents the military from implementing a ban on transgender servicemembers, is still in place.

There are four federal cases against the transgender military ban, and all of them had issued injunctions against the ban as of last year.

In January, an appeals court overturned Kollar-Kotelly’s injunction against the ban.

Several weeks later, the Supreme Court overturned two others. The fourth was lifted earlier this month.

The Justice Department filed a notice in the cases saying that the military would begin to implement the ban, and the Defense Department issued a memo that said that transgender people would no longer be allowed to sign up for the military starting on April 12, 2019. People already in the military would also be prohibited from transitioning.
The Justice Department is chomping at the bit to start their bigoted program of kicking out trans people out of the military.

While we are on the military…

Not quite true testimony,
Former military chiefs accuse Pentagon of deceiving Congress about transgender troops
LGBTQ Nation
By Bil Browning
March 6, 2019

The former secretaries of the Air Force, Army and Navy, along with instructors at the Air Force and Coast Guard academies, are accusing the Pentagon of deceiving Congress about the ability of transgender people to serve in the military.

The former military leaders say Department of Defense officials ignored internal data to make the claim that medical treatment for trans troops keeps them out of service for longer than other personnel.

“In seeking to justify President Trump’s wrong-headed ban on transgender service members at a congressional hearing last week, Defense Department officials made misleading claims,” Deborah Lee James, Ray Mabus and Eric Fanning, who ran the Air Force, Navy, and Army respectively, said in a statement.

“Under inclusive policy that is currently in effect, transgender service members must meet exactly the same fitness and deployability standards as everybody else, but the witnesses ignored data confirming the success of that policy.”
A second memo written by five professors from top military academies details numerous “deceptive, erroneous and false assertions” given by Pentagon officials during testimony.

“Both the written and verbal testimony introduced deceptive, erroneous, and false assertions about the ostensible risk that gender dysphoria poses to readiness and deployment and about standards that [the Department of Defense] plans to apply to transgender service members,” they write.
It seems like one of the requirements to be in the Trump administration is that you have to be a good liar.  

Sunday, March 24, 2019

It Is Wrong To Out Somebody

It is terribly wrong to out somebody without their permission, no matter who it is. Even if it is your son.
Carolyn Hax: Parents push transgender son to out himself in college essay
By Carolyn Hax Washington Post Writers Group
March 23, 2019

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn,

Our transgender teenage son will be applying to colleges in the fall and has started working on his college essay. His father and I feel he should use this opportunity to write about his transition to help highlight his unique perspective, maturity, and the challenges he has faced.

So far, he is against this. His goal for transitioning is to blend in — he doesn't want to be a "trans guy," he just wants to be a "guy."

We understand that, but feel like if something can be used against you, it is better to embrace it and use it to your advantage when you can. Normally, we are hands-off when it comes to his academics, but he wants to get into competitive programs and we feel like this is the edge he needs. Are we overstepping?

— To Push or Not to Push

Yes. Let your son tell his own story his own way. What a gift. More valuable in the long run, I'm guessing, than admission to Impress U.
Don’t do it!

It is one of our strongest code of ethics in the trans community… “Thou Shall No Out A Fellow Trans Person.”

Oh, oh so many times I wanted to ask someone if they were a member of the tribe but I zippered my lip.

Whether or not a person is “out” is their choice you might be thinking that they are going to be in trouble down the line but it is their choice to make, not ours.

Update: 3:30 PM

When I applied to the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in 2007 I wrote about being trans in my Personal Statement,
About six years ago, I came out as a transsexual after denying it for most of my life. I hid this part of my life from all of my family and friends.  Over time, the pressure from keeping this secret grew inside of me.  I knew that I needed to make a decision which would rectify this internal discord. As part of this journey into self-acceptance, I joined a transgender support group - the Connecticut Outreach Society. With the help of its members, I began going out into the public as Diana.  I also became more involved with the group – attending their Board meetings and taking part in outreaches at colleges and universities throughout Connecticut.
But that was my choice, it wasn’t forced on me.

There is legislation being pushed by the Republicans to ban the disclosure of non-profits and Pac donors, they say…
If donating meant putting you and your family at risk, would you still support causes and charities you believe in?
Yeah but then we will never know about the Koch brothers or Chick-a-fil.
By Daniel Moritz-Rabson
March 20, 2019

The nation's eighth-largest nonprofit donated $56.1 million to a series of organizations identified as hate groups from 2015 to 2017, according to a report from Sludge.

National Christian Foundation, which identifies itself as the largest Christian grant maker and one of the largest donor-advised funds in the nation, has served as a vehicle for individuals trying to anonymously send money.

Donor-advised funds allow individuals sending the tax deductible contributions to remain anonymous from the IRS and instruct where they want the payments to be sent. For those donating via NCF, this meant sending money to 23 organizations that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled hate groups. Most of the hate organizations that received money from the NCF opposed LGBT rights. The report also found that the NCF donated to anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant organizations.

Organizations receiving the most funds from NCF included the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has advocated for sterilizing transgender individuals, and the Family Research Council, which has advocated conversion therapy. Members of the Family Research Council including Tony Perkins, the organization's president, have sought to link pedophilia and homosexuality.
The Republicans and the backer are trying to block a Democratic bill that will expose “Dark Money.”
House Democrats propose major campaign finance reforms in first bill of session
Open Secrets
By Karl Evers-Hillstrom
January 4, 2019

House Democrats on Friday officially unveiled the For the People Act, a bill meant to, in part, reduce the influence of money on politics.

During Friday’s press conference, Democrats appeared to label wealthy political donors and “special interests” as an existential threat to American democracy and argued big money is a major reason why Americans are always so disappointed with Congress.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) cited the political influence of the National Rifle Association as to why generally-popular background checks on gun sales haven’t been passed, and the pharmaceutical industry and its “army of lobbyists” as to why bills to curb prescription drug costs were defeated.

“The overwhelming influence of money and special interests is a cancer in our democracy that needs to be removed,” Nadler said.

Along with mandating automatic voter registration, eliminating partisan gerrymandering and requiring Presidents to disclose tax returns, the bill puts a big focus on making campaign finance more transparent and less dominated by big money.
And the Republicans are scared stiff this bill will pass because then we will be able to see where all that “dark money” is coming from. The Koch brothers? Chick-a-fil founder?  Home Depot founder?  The Russians?

We would never know if the Democrat's bill doesn’t pass.

Licensed To Serve

When you are a hospital that serves the public one of the things you have to do is serve the whole public, you don’t get to pick and choose.
Transgender Californian denied healthcare based on hospital’s religious views
Los Angeles Blade
By Staff reports
March 21, 2019

Aug. 30, 2017, an IV drip hooked up waiting for the general anesthetic to be administered. He was completely prepped for his life-changing hysterectomy procedure when his surgeon informed him that the hospital’s executive administrators had canceled his surgery.

The reason for the surgical cancellation is detailed in a 12-page civil lawsuit filed March 21 in Superior Court for Humboldt County, California, by Knight, a transman, against St. Joseph Hospital, located in Eureka.

In a phone call with the Los Angeles Blade Thursday, March 21, ACLU Foundation of Northern California’s Elizabeth Gill, who is representing Knight, now 29, say the hospital claimed that because Knight is transgender, the surgery conflicted with the hospital’s adherence to Catholic doctrine and beliefs.

St. Joseph Hospital is part of the Providence St. Joseph Health Network, a national, Catholic not-for-profit health system, one of the largest health systems in the country, operating 51 hospitals, with over 25,000 physicians. The network operates 18 hospitals in California.

Gill says that Knight being denied healthcare based on the hospital’s religious views—which does not recognize gender-affirming care—is a violation of California’s public accommodations laws governed by California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.
What do you think would happened if the turned away another minority or a person from a different religion? What would happen if they turned away a woman in labor because of her race or marital status?

But for some reason it is okay to turn away us.

An interesting patterns to the increase in hate crimes…
Hate crimes have risen 226% in areas where Trump held rallies
LGBTQ Nation
By Daniel Villarreal
March 23, 2019

A recent study by scholars from the University of North Texas has shown that “counties that had hosted a 2016 Trump campaign rally saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally.”

We already knew that U.S. hate crimes have been on the rise since Trump’s election. Even though the president’s spokespeople falsely claim that he doesn’t support political violence, he continues making barely veiled threats to his political opponents.

But this is the first study to quantify how Trump’s very presence might increase animus against marginalized people (though researchers stop short of claiming causation).
You got that?

This study was done by some Yankee liberal college but by a Texas college!
When asked whether he thought he should tone down his language, Trump responded, “I think my language is very nice.”

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Saturday 9: Young and Beautiful

Sam’s Saturday 9: Young and Beautiful (2013)

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

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

1) Lana Del Rey wrote this song for the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby. She wanted it to reflect the feelings of Daisy Buchanan. Have you read The Great Gatsby?
No, but I have been to their house does that count?

2) In the 1970s, Robert Redford portrayed Jay Gatsby. In the 2013 version, Leonardo di Caprio played the part. In real life, both "Gatsbys" have helped raised funds for the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Are you careful about recycling and conserving water/electricity?
Above average in recycling and conserving water/electricity
Passive solar house, Prius Plug-In, low flow toilets, etc.

3) Lana Del Rey admits that she dropped out of college because she simply could not get the required math credits. When confronted with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, do you do it in your head? Reach for pencil and paper? Or do you take advantage of the calculator that's on your desktop or phone?
I use a calculator

4) She enjoys Kurt Cobain, Eminem, Elvis and Sinatra. Which of those four gentlemen did you listen to most recently?
On Pandora I listen to the “Big Bands” channel

5) Speaking of Sinatras, she has described her high maintenance look -- big hair, long nails, elaborate eye makeup, full lips -- as "Gangster Nancy Sinatra." How long does it take you, on an average day, to prepare to face the world?
5 minutes, if I take a shower a half hour... I love taking a hot shower..

6) She's a big soccer fan, and her favorite team is Liverpool FC. Here in the US, college basketball fans are currently obsessed with March Madness. What's the last sporting event that you watched?
The Super Bowl but I watched it off and on during the game. I had a Super Bowl party at my house.

7) Her younger sister, Caroline, studied photography and is responsible for some of Lana's publicity pictures. Have you ever gotten a job because of a relative?
Yes, my father got me my summer jobs in high school.

8) In 2013, when this song came out, Pope Francis became the first pope from a Latin American country. Latin America generally includes Mexico, most of Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. What's the farthest south that you've ever traveled?
The west coast for a wedding in Washington state and we drove down to San Francisco.

9) Random question -- What button would you prefer your life to have: rewind, fast forward or a pause?
Rewind… I’m coming to the end of the tape.

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, March 22, 2019

I Lost It!

I just flipped out when I found out “she was a man” so I killed her. Or gay, or lesbian or substitute any other protected classes.

There is a bill before the state legislature that will ban gay/trans panic defenses, the bill is SB-58 AN ACT CONCERNING GAY AND TRANSGENDER PANIC DEFENSE.
Gay/Trans Panic Defense
The LGBT Bar

What is the gay and trans “panic” defense?
The gay and trans “panic” defense is a legal strategy which asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction, including murder. It is not a free standing defense to criminal liability, but rather a legal tactic which is used to bolster other defenses. When the defense is employed, the perpetrator claims that their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity not only explain – but excuse – their loss of self-control and subsequent assault. By fully or partially acquitting the perpetrators of crimes against LGBTQ+ victims, these defenses imply that LGBTQ+ lives are worth less than others.

One of the most recognized cases that employed the gay “panic” defense was that of Matthew Shepard. In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21 year old college student, was beaten to death by two men. The men attempted to use the gay “panic” defense to excuse their actions. Despite widespread public protest, the defense is still being used today.

How is the defense used in court?
Traditionally, the gay/trans “panic” defense has been used in three ways to mitigate a case of murder to manslaughter or justified homicide.
  • Defense of insanity or diminished capacity: The defendant alleges that a sexual proposition by the victim – due to their sexual orientation or gender identity – triggered a nervous breakdown in the defendant, causing a gay or transgender “panic.” This defense is based on an outdated psychological term, “gay panic” disorder, which was debunked by the American Psychiatric Association and removed from the DSM in 1952. Sadly, while the medical field has evolved with our increasingly just society, the legal field has yet to catch up.
  • Defense of provocation: The defense of provocation allows a defendant to argue that the victim’s proposition, sometimes termed a “non-violent sexual advance,” was sufficiently “provocative” to induce the defendant to kill the victim. Defendants claiming a “provocative” advance stigmatize behavior which, on its own, is not illegal or harmful, but is only considered “provocative” when it comes from an LGBTQ+ individual.
  • Defense of self-defense: Defendants claim they believed that the victim, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, was about to cause the defendant serious bodily harm. This defense is offensive and harmful because it argues that a person’s gender or sexual identity makes them more of a threat to safety. In addition, gay or trans “panic” is often employed to justify violence when the victim’s behavior falls short of the serious bodily harm standard, or the defendant used a greater amount of force than reasonably necessary to avoid danger, such as using weapons when their attacker was unarmed.
What can you do to help pass this law?

Today I am up at the True Color conference at UConn main campus in Storrs and I will be doing a workshop on Trans History with a friend.

The conference is the largest LGBT conference in the world! Over 3500 hundred people attend the two day conference with most of the attendees come on Friday. About 2500 people come on Friday.

Now We See Who Got Our Backs

We are being singled out by the current administration in a “divide and conquer” strategy and we will learn who has our backs.

This article is 6 months old but it still is relevant.
A Trans Plea to the L,G,B, and Q: Help Us
What will you do to save your brothers and sisters?
The Advocate
By Amanda Kerri
October 22, 2018

There will be a thousand articles written about Trump’s plan to make it government policy that transgender people don’t exist. Some will explain what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how. Some will attack conservatives and Trump, some will attack those who enabled and empowered them through inaction or lack of concern for anyone but themselves. I can’t write those articles.

I already wrote them. I’ve already called the GOP a hate group, I’ve already called out hypocritical allies, I’ve gone after people condoning casual transphobia, warned of radical evangelicals changing the government, and I’ve laid into “progressives” who will throw us under the bus. Almost to the day, I warned about the “unpersoning” of trans people by the Trump administration a full year ago. To borrow a phrase from black folks, “We done told y’all.”

But here we are. The End. It’s not about bathrooms or celebrities, it’s not about pronouns or dating or anything of the sort, it’s just the end of us. Trump’s government is going to make it state policy that we simply do not exist. Literally every right and protection we had won before is gone. No, this is not hyperbole, we are not overreacting, this is their stated goal and not even in vague terms. We are not trying to distract you from something else, we are not trying to divide the left, we are just trying to survive. You have to understand, this isn’t just going to force us into the wrong bathrooms; people will be able to deny us medical care, access to homeless shelters, the right to work and put food in our mouths.
Yesterday I wrote about the “Log Cabin Republicans” who put their pocketbooks ahead of their rights and they not only threw us under the bus for money but also other lesbians, gays, bi, and queers.

We have seen lesbians and gays who say we should be in sports.

We have seen lesbians and gays who deny our right to exists.

But there are many, many more that have our backs.

I have seen lesbians jump all over another lesbians for saying derogatory things about us. I have been welcomed into the homes of other lesbians. I have many gay friends who stood up for me.

One time when I was leaving a late night LGBT function I was standing in the doorway looking at a bar that I had to walk past to get to the parking garage and there were all dunking men outside at the tables. A group of 4 or 5 lesbians were also leaving and they saw what I was looking at, and one put her arm in mine, together we walked by the dunking men. Yes they did harass us as we walked by making rude comments but the women had my back.

I guess what I am saying is done paint every lesbian women and gay men with a broad brush.

Today I am up at the True Color conference at UConn main campus in Storrs and I will be doing a workshop on Trans History with a friend.

The conference is the largest LGBT conference in the world! Over 3500 hundred people attend the two day conference with most of the attendees come on Friday. About 2500 people come on Friday.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Justice Is Served

I wish it didn’t have to end this way but he left no other choice, he let his bigotry and hatred override the duties of his job.
'You freak me out': School official loses job after allegedly harassing trans teen
A West Virginia school district has decided not to renew the contract of an assistant principal accused of harassing a transgender student in a boys' bathroom.
NBC News
By Tim Fitzsimons and The Associated Press
March 20, 2019

The school board in Harrison County, West Virginia, voted on Tuesday not to renew the contract of a school official who had been temporarily suspended late last year for allegedly harassing a transgender male student.

Lee Livengood, an assistant principal at Liberty High School, allegedly followed Michael Critchfield, 15, into the boys' bathroom last November and told him, “You freak me out.”

Livengood was suspended without pay for four days in December before returning to Liberty High. The American Civil Liberties Union's West Virginia chapter called the suspension "not sufficient."

The ACLU said 1,100 people signed a petition demanding the board take action. The petition was delivered Tuesday.
“I felt really degraded and discriminated against,” Critchfield said, adding that school “should feel like a safe place."
I am not asking for people to change how they think of us, I am asking for them to treat us fairly and equally just like they treat everyone else.*

Before I retired one of the employees at the factory was an asshole and a bigot (Hint: he shot off the tip of one of his fingers), but my job required for me to work with him and I put my bias aside and I did my best to work with him.

*One of the lawyers for the Commission for Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) once said it is not against the law to be an asshole as long as the person is an equal opportunity asshole and isn’t an asshole against a protected class.

Some Judges Do Rule On The Law

The courts are being packed with judges who put their conservative ideology ahead of the law; some of the old judges who put the law above political ideology are still on the bench.
Justices chose fact over ignorance in transgender health ruling
Des Moines Register
By Jeorgia Robinson, Guest columnist
March 20, 2019

Our law is not only based in fact and reason, but also in our evolving knowledge of human nature. Our law is informed by new learning. In the same way, ignorance and injustice are two sides of the same coin. Ignorance hurts us all.

The Iowa Supreme Court refused the path of ignorance in its decision to find Medicaid prohibitions of gender confirmation surgery to be a violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act. The court ordered that transgender Medicaid recipients receive all medically necessary care, the same as everyone else. Our evolving medical knowledge recognizes that medical necessity includes gender confirmation surgery.
Instead of criticizing the Iowa Supreme Court, I thank the court for understanding the transgender experience and striking down unjust and harmful laws. You should, too.
Thank goodness that there are some judges who listen to the facts and not the fear.

We will not be having as many court victories in the future thanks to the Republicans stuffing the courts who put their conservative ideology and the Bible above the law and the Constitution.

What makes an activist judge?

You hear the Republicans always condemning “activist judges” so what constitutes an “activist judges?”

It is when a judges rules counter to what you believe is the law and instead rules on the law.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Going Against Your Own Interests

So what would cause someone to go against their own safety and human rights?
Former Log Cabin Republicans head publicly opposes proposed LGBTQ nondiscrimination law
LGBTQ Nation
By Bil Browning
March 18, 2019

Former Log Cabin Republicans president Gregory Angelo has come out against the Equality Act, the proposed legislation to ban discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Angelo says the bill “would flout bedrock principles that have served as the foundation of the American experience for centuries” and impinge on American’s “religious freedom” to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

“Don’t be fooled by the name,” Angelo writes in the rightwing Washington Examiner. “The Equality Act is legislation that would compromise American civil rights and religious liberty as we know it. All reasonable Americans, especially gay Americans who support pluralism and tolerance, should oppose it.”
So why would he be against the Equality Act? He says “religious freedom” but that is the twisted logic of the Republicans that “religious freedom” means that you can hide your bigotry behind religion.
“Passage of the ‘Equality Act’ would make liars out of the lot of us. It would put the nonprofit status of religious charities at risk; it would force mom-and-pop businesses to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies; and it would flout bedrock principles that have served as the foundation of the American experience for centuries.”
That is totally BULL!

Twenty-two states offer some protection for LGBTQ+ people and in not one of them has a religious non-profit but put out of business. They have lost funding from state governments because they discriminate and many of them lost funding from United Way because of discrimination.

Public funding should be for everyone, when they receive public funding and funding from United Way they agree not to discriminate… something the religious non-profit lied about when they got the funding. There is a famous case down in New Jersey,
Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association broke state’s discrimination law when it denied use of its pavilion for couple’s civil union ceremony

NEWARK – A state administrative law judge has ruled (50k PDF) that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association violated the state’s Law Against Discrimination when it denied Ocean Grove residents Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster the use of its boardwalk pavilion for their 2007 civil union ceremony. The association had allowed members of the public to rent the pavilion and had never before declined a permit other than for scheduling conflicts until it received Paster and Bernstein’s reservation request. The association rejected the couple’s application to use the space, stating that civil unions violated its Methodist doctrine.

“The Camp Meeting Association could have used the pavilion exclusively for its own purposes,” said Lawrence Lustberg of Gibbons, P.C., who represents the couple as a cooperating attorney for the ACLU-NJ. “The judge found, however, that the association opened the pavilion up to the public and thus was obligated to follow anti-discrimination laws.”
… The judge determined that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association breached its agreement to make the pavilion available to the public on an equal basis. The association was also required to make the pavilion public in exchange for a state tax exemption it received that requires equal access on a non-discriminatory basis…
Basically they lied when the association agreed to the terms.

As for Mr. Angelo assertion of “it would force mom-and-pop businesses to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies” he is right, but substitute “black” for same-sex. Would this be okay “it would force mom-and-pop businesses to participate in black marriage ceremonies” or how about “it would force mom-and-pop businesses to participate in Muslin marriage ceremonies?” Somehow it has become more acceptable to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.

So why is Mr. Angelo against the Equality Act all of his arguments don’t hold water? Could it be the reason that he supports the white supremacist, nationalistic, xenophobic, and misogynistic polices of the Republican?

A Big Win!

This is very good news for this Wednesday morning.
Supreme Court rejects anti-LGBTQ Hawaiian bed & breakfast’s ‘religious freedom’ case
LGBTQ Nation
By Bil Browning
March 19, 2019

The US Supreme Court has refused to hear a case involving a Hawaiian bed and breakfast that refused to allow a lesbian couple Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford, to stay there in 2007.

The high court denied certiorari to Aloha Bed & Breakfast after lower courts ruled that the company had discriminated against the couple and violated the state’s civil rights laws despite the owner’s claims of “religious freedom.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision to let the lower court ruling stand reaffirms that the freedom of religion does not give businesses a right to violate nondiscrimination laws that protect all individuals from harm, whether on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation,” Peter Renn, counsel for Lambda Legal’s Western Regional Office, said.
This is big! Really big! Humongous big!


It is that the Roberts’ Court was supposed to be a conservative court and based on “religious freedom” but their refusal to hear the case means “religious freedom” does not give businesses a right to violate nondiscrimination laws that protect all individuals from harm, whether on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation.”

So maybe there is some hope for us after all.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Is There A Doctor In The House

Finding a doctor who is trans friendly is a major challenge for many trans people.
Many transgender people drive hours to find health care. These advocates are trying to change that.
The Washington Post
By Samantha Schmidt
March 17, 2019

For seven years, Kyndra Purnell could find no clinic near her home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that would prescribe the hormones she desperately needed. She was forced to rely on the black market, buying estrogen injections from the few other transgender women she knew in the area.

Then, about three years ago, she found Chase Brexton Health Services, a medical provider in Baltimore that offers hormone replacement therapy and other types of health care for the transgender community.

But the clinic was more than two hours from Purnell’s home in Ocean City. Still, every three months, she made the drive, taking time off from her full-time job.

“Down here, there’s not much help for people like us,” Purnell said. “So many people are just at a loss.”

In large swaths of Maryland and Virginia, options for medical care are limited for those in the transgender community. Their need for specialized care and LGBT-friendly providers can force them to travel many hours. Of the 1,837 patients Whitman-Walker Health — a D.C. provider that specializes in LGBTQ care — served in 2018, more than half lived in Virginia or Maryland; about 50 patients traveled from as far away as South Carolina and Alabama.

In response, a local transgender advocacy group has launched an initiative to try to close gaps in gender-affirming health care. Last fall, the DC Area Transmasculine Society, known as DCATS, rolled out an online database that allows transgender individuals to recommend and review medical and wellness providers based on their competency of transgender needs.
Here in Connecticut the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective has a list of LGBTQ+ friendly healthcare providers.
The move will expand access to care in some parts of Maryland but will still leave gaping holes in areas further from the District and Baltimore. In the western part of the state, for example, Blinder said very few — if any — clinics allow a transgender patient to use what is called the “informed consent” model of accessing hormone replacement therapy. The model, pushed by transgender rights advocates and used by providers such as Whitman-Walker and Chase Brexton, allows transgender patients to quickly obtain a prescription for hormone replacement therapy after discussing the risks with a medical provider.
Most of the endos here in Connecticut work on the “informed consent” model.

There is a bill in the Connecticut legislature on healthcare for us. It appoints a committee to establish a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Health and Human Services Network to make recommendations to the state legislative.

The purpose of the committee is to…
The network shall work to build a safer and healthier
8 environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer persons
9 by (1) conducting a needs analysis, within available appropriations, (2)
10 collecting additional data on the health and human services needs of
11 such persons as necessary, (3) informing state policy through reports
12 submitted at least biennially, in accordance with the provisions of
13 section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committees of
14 the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public
15 health, human services, appropriations and the budgets of state
16 agencies, other legislative committees as necessary, the Governor and
17 the Chief Court Administrator, (4) assisting the Department of Public
18 Health to develop requests for proposals for grants awarded pursuant
19 to section 2 of this act, and (5) building organizational member
20 capacity, leadership and advocacy across the geographic and social
21 spectrum of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer
22 community. 
And who shall be on this committee?
39 (10) The executive director of the Connecticut Transadvocacy
40 Coalition;
Yikes that’s me!