Monday, September 30, 2019


When I transitioned back in 2007 I had a number of loans outstanding and with my name change I had to change my name on the loans.
Student Loans Are Even More Complicated For Transgender Borrowers. Here's Help
ByAsia Martin
September 22, 2019

Blossom C. Brown graduated from Mississippi University for Women in 2015 with a degree in public health education and $40,000 in student loans.  When the time came to pay off those loans, she faced the complications most of the 44.7 million Americans with student debt confront, plus an additional one: she’s transgender and her loans were all taken out in her old, male birth name.
Brown discovered that she had to change her name with her student loan servicers when she received a repayment bill in her old name. So she called both of her student loan servicers to update them. She thought it would be safer to pay her loans under her new legal name lest someone suggest she had changed her name to shirk her loans or commit fraud. But to this day, she says, one of those servicers continues to bill her under her former name. Brown is currently making payments to the servicer that has her name change right, but not to the other servicer—that loan is in forbearance until Brown’s name change form is fully processed and approved, she says.

Brown’s experience isn’t unusual. Professionals who assist transgender men, women and non-binary individuals report those who change their names or the sex they identify with run into a variety of issues and hassles with student loans. 
I had problems when I changed my name and gender on forms.

Most went smoothly but I had two wrinkles.

My mortgage changed easily, I just went to the bank and gave them a copy of my probate letter… no problem. Car loan same thing, credit cards… it went mostly smoothly, stocks… I had one snag,  and work… one crazy hitch.

The credit card companies all but one had forms to fill out and I had to send a notarized copy of the probate letter but one did it over the phone… big mistake! The person was a non-English speaker and said I could change my name over the phone. That should have been a red flag! The person misspelled my name and now on my credit history I have this note, AKA with the misspelled name. When I tried to correct it security froze my card until they figured it out.

My stocks went easily, they all had forms and wanted a copy of the probate letter, that is all but one. I should have realized that calling down to Texas where the company had the firm that handled their stock transactions was located… a very rude woman told me that they can only change the name on stock certificates for marriage… NOT SEX CHANGE! She told me to sell my stocks and buy them back. I wasn’t going to take 40 years of capital gains just to change my name on the certificates. So I kept my old name on them.

That came back to bite me you know where some fifteen years latter. I lost a dividend check and it had my old name on it so they said they would reissue the check, I just had to fill out a form. Ugh I had to sign my old name and send a copy of my driver license… my driver license had my legal and the certificates had my old name, so I called the same company that I called 15 years before and told them my problem. She said no problem she would send me a form to changed the name on the stock certificate and asked me why I didn’t change my name on the certificate before. I told her what the other woman said, she said that wasn’t true the form has always been the same and that there are boxes to check for either name change due to marriage or a legal name change and in either case you send a copy of the document.

And the hitch at work was really crazy. I transitioned the day I got laid-off, the next day I gave my former employer my probate letter and they changed all the paperwork, or so I thought.

When COBRA ran out and I received my insurance payment booklet it had my old name on the payment stubs... hun? (part of the deal they gave those who took early retirement option was we could buy the company health insurance until we were eligible for Medicare)

It turned out all the paperwork for COBRA was changed but not my retirement paperwork. When they finally straighten it out they said they had Diana retired and my old male name still working… I asked does that mean I can get two checks? They got a chuckle out of that… no dice.

The Forbes article goes on to say…
New York student loan lawyer Jay Flesichman says that the name change process for transgender individuals is not too different from common name changes public and private agencies process if newlyweds change their names. (Except there is an extra twist involving Selective Service registration, which we’ll explain later.) First, here are the basic steps Flesichman recommends transgender individuals take after receiving a court ordered name change.
The article goes on to list the order of step to take to change your name on documents and I do recommend you do them in that order… Probate court, Social Security, driver license, Medicare (if old enough for it), and then your loans other legal papers. And my advice is if they want to do it over the phone don’t do it! Request a paper form.

Breaking News: Man Arrested In Attack On A Trans Woman

In a brutal attack on a trans woman a man has been arrested!
Person dragged for 2 blocks by minivan in 'horrendous' attack
Neighbors say transgender victim was beaten, tied, dragged for 2 blocks
By Kelly Wiley - I-TEAM reporter, Steve Patrick - digital managing editor, Roxy Tyler - Web producer, Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor
September 27, 2019

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police are investigating a brutal crime early Friday morning in Northwest Jacksonville: A person was severely beaten and then tied to the bumper of a minivan and dragged for two blocks before the rope was cut and the victim was left lying in the street.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the person, who may have already been unconscious, was dragged from the intersection of Moncrief Road and West 36th Street -- the entrance to the Majestic Plaza Apartments -- to Pearce Street. The victim was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police recorded graphic video of the incident at the Real Time Crime Center.

"We can't release it," JSO Assistant Chief Brien Kee said. "It is horrendous."

Multiple sources, including the maintenance worker at the apartment, told News4Jax the victim is a transgender woman. 
Just this morning…
Man arrested, accused of beating, dragging person behind van
Neighbors say transgender victim was beaten, tied, dragged for 2 blocks
By Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor, Kelly Wiley - I-TEAM reporter, Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor
September 30, 2019

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Eric Bridges, 24, was arrested Sunday afternoon on charges of attempted murder in connection with what police described as a horrendous attack on a transgender woman Friday.
Bridges is accused of severely beating and then tying a person to the bumper of a minivan, dragging the victim for two blocks before the rope was cut and the victim was left lying in the street.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the person, who may have already been unconscious, was dragged from the intersection of Moncrief Road and West 36th Street -- the entrance to the Majestic Plaza Apartments -- to Pearce Street. The victim was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries on Friday.
At first appearance before a judge Monday morning, Bridges was ordered held on $500,000 bond. He is due back in court on Oct. 22.

Bridges has a long rap sheet with charges that include grand theft and resisting an officer. He was released from prison in June 2018.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Conservatives Found A Scapegoat

And we are it, around the world conservatives are using us to rally their base with hate. One of the leading political groups (besides the Republicans) is the Polish conservative party the Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS) or the Law and Justice party.

There in Poland and other former Soviet Bloc countries are generating hate not only against us but also against the Jews. Anti-Semitic literature was found on the halls of parliament there,
A news kiosk inside Poland’s parliament was found to be selling a newspaper with an article instructing readers on “How to recognize a Jew”, drawing accusations that lawmakers were happy to tolerate anti-Semitism. (Reuters)
In other former Soviet Bloc countries LGBT concentrations camps have been reported.
Chechnya opens world's first concentration camp for homosexuals since Hitler's in the 1930s where campaigners say gay men are being tortured with electric shocks and beaten to death (Daily Mail)
In Poland the government is looking the other way when LGBTQ+ people are attacked.
Poland’s Pride Parade turns into disaster.
This City's First Ever Pride March Ended With Far-Right Mobs Hunting Down Queer Kids
Footage taken after the march in Kharkiv, Ukraine shows thugs in balaclavas kicking and beating Pride marchers.
By Tim Hume
September 16 2019

The first ever Pride march in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv descended into scenes of violence Sunday, as mobs of ultranationalist thugs hunted down and assaulted marchers at the end of the event.

Three marchers and two police officers were injured in the clashes, while police arrested 17 far-right demonstrators for their role in the attacks.

The march — the first ever held in the conservative eastern city — faced opposition before it even took place, with Mayor Gennady Kernes threatening legal action to try to prevent the event, and far-right groups threatening violence if it went ahead.
“These groups of ultra-right youth hunted for participants of the march throughout the city and beat several of them,” Andriy Maymulakhin, coordinator for the Nash Mir Center, a Ukrainian LGBT rights organization, told VICE News.
Meanwhile elsewhere in Poland…
Polish towns advocate ‘LGBT-free’ zones while the ruling party cheers them on
The Washington Post
By Rick Noack
July 21, 2019

Ahead of parliamentary elections this fall, Law and Justice has thrown the full weight of its party apparatus behind a campaign that is marginalizing Poland’s LGBT community, its critics say.
This spring, as the Law and Justice party was gearing up for European Parliament elections, its leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski highlighted another supposed foreign danger. Warsaw’s mayor had recently advocated integrating sex education and LGBT issues into school curriculums, in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines. In Kaczynski’s telling, this was “an attack on the family” and “an attack on children.” He called “LGBT ideology” an imported “threat to Polish identity, to our nation, to its existence and thus to the Polish state.”

A Law and Justice campaign ad depicted an umbrella with the party logo protecting a family from rainbow rain.

Regional party officials have since pushed to declare cities and even entire provinces in the country’s conservative southeast ­“LGBT-ideology free.” Activists have counted around 30 such declarations so far, including one in the region where Kielce is located.
New Britain Connecticut…
Polish president welcomed to New Britain by Lamont, senators, crowd of thousands
The Hartford Courant
By Don Stacom
September 23, 2019

The crowd that gathered at New Britain’s Walnut Hill Park to hear Polish President Andrzej Duda wasn’t nearly as big as anticipated, but made up for that in enthusiastic determination.

A few thousand people stood for most of the afternoon under a relentless sun, many of them jammed up against metal security gates in hopes of seeing the first Polish president to visit New Britain.

When the motorcade with Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda arrived more than 45 minutes behind schedule, the crowd yelled eagerly. Waving red-and-white Polish flags, the audience then cheerfully applauded a series of speakers, flag presentations and an awards ceremony in Duda’s honor.
Not one word was said in opposition to Polish President Andrzej Duda treatment of LGBTQ+ and Jewish peoples.

Also where was the Catholic church and the Pope in condemning the growing violence against us?

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Saturday 9: Shake It Off

Sam’s Saturday 9: Shake It Off (2014)

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

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) This song makes Crazy Sam want to dance. What song inspires you to get on your feet?
The songs that the kids listens to now… they make me want to get up on my feet and run away.

2) Paul McCartney met Taylor Swift at the SNL 40 Anniversary special and told her he really enjoys playing and singing this song. What's the last song you sang along with?

3) The lyrics tell us Swift "shakes off" nasty gossip and unfair criticism. What about you? Do you worry about what others think of you?
Yes, I think we all do. There was a book that I had to read, “The Social Animal” by Elliot Anderson, let’s face it we all are social animals that look for approval of our peers. Think about the last time you found out that your friends had a get-together without you, how did you feel?

Rejection of LGBTQ youth by society is the number one cause of suicide in the community.

4) Her parents are big music fans, and were going to name their baby (boy or girl) "Taylor" after their favorite artist, James Taylor. Can you think of a singer that your mom and/or dad really enjoyed?
Glenn Miller.
I listen to "Big Bands" music sometimes when I am in the mood.

They had all his albums and I remember when they attended a Glenn Miller tribute band… they were in heaven for days and all they talked about for days afterward was about the concert.

5) She grew up on an 11-acre Christmas tree farm. Do you get a fresh tree every year, or do you have an artificial tree, or do you not put up a tree at all?
I started putting up an artificial tree and having an open house on the Sunday before Christmas.

6) Taylor Swift is 5'10". According to the CDC, the average American woman is 5'4" while men are, on average, 5'9". Are you taller or shorter than average?
Well in my younger days I was six foot now I think I have shrunk with age.

7) She enjoys good, old fashioned mysteries, especially those by Agatha Christie. Are you currently reading a book for pleasure?
I’m listening to a free audio book “The Clock Strikes Thirteen” by Mildred A. Wirt-Benson.
Penny Parker is a teen-aged sleuth and amateur reporter who has an uncanny knack for uncovering and solving unusual, sometimes bizarre mysteries. The only daughter of widower Anthony Parker, publisher of the "Riverview Star," Penny has been raised to be self-sufficient, outspoken, innovative, and extraordinarily tenacious. Her cheerful, chatty manner belies a shrewd and keenly observant mind. Penny was the creation of Mildred A. Wirt, who was also the author of the original Nancy Drew series (under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene). 
8) Her brother Austin is a freelance photographer who took the official pictures for her 2008 concert tour. Who took the last photo of you?
The police, I had to stand in front of a wall with markings for height and hold a card with numbers on it … just kidding.

A friend took this while we were sitting around drinking a beer in a bar in Provincetown or as it is known by the locals P’town.

9) Random question: What's your go-to comfy outfit?
Well now it is moving away from sundresses or tee shirts and shorts with sandals to jeans, long sleeve tops with sneakers, later in the season the long sleeve tops will be replaced by baggy sweaters.

Friday, September 27, 2019

October 7th The First Monday In October.

You should by now know that is the day when the new session of the Supreme Court begins and that is the day that two major LGBTQ+ cases will be heard.

The cases will make or break transgender rights in the United States. The cases will decide if trans people and gays and lesbians are covered under the Civil Rights Act Titles VII and IX. But there is another case that will be heard in November that also has far ranging consequences for us. The case is not about LGBTQ+ rights but rather about racism.
Justices tuning in to cable television civil rights lawsuit
By Jessica Gresko
September 8, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Comedian and media mogul Byron Allen wants TV viewers to watch the channels his company produces — from one that runs “Judge Judy”-like shows all day to those dedicated to comedy, cars, food and pets. But while many distributors carry Allen’s channels, two cable giants have refused.

Allen says the reason is that he’s black, and so he’s sued for racial discrimination. An appeals court has let his lawsuits go forward, but now the Supreme Court will weigh in and could deliver a setback.

The justices will hear arguments Nov. 13 in a $20 billion lawsuit that Allen filed against Comcast, with the outcome also affecting a $10 billion case he has filed against Charter Communications.

If Allen prevails, black-owned businesses will have an easier time winning suits that allege discrimination in contracting. If Comcast wins, the bar will be high to bring and succeed with similar suits.

The question for the justices is whether Allen needs to show that race was just a factor in Comcast’s decision not to offer him a contract or whether it was the sole factor.
So what does this mean for us?

It will mean that businesses will be exempt from the civil rights laws. Suppose you own a business (for argument sake, a plumbing business) and you are submitting a bid on a job with company X as a sub-contractor. Company X says “We do not hire trans owned businesses.” That would be a violation of Connecticut’s non-discrimination laws, but if the Supreme Court rules in Comcast’s we might not be protected.

So which side do you think the Trump administration is backing?

According to Blavity,
DOJ Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on August 15 supporting Comcast, claiming companies were allowed to decide on contracts based on race as long as it was not the sole factor confirming a decision.

Michael Foreman, the director of the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic at Penn State, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that by backing Comcast, the government was essentially saying it is "OK to discriminate based on race, just don’t make that the significant part of the decision. I’m sure [Trump’s] thinking is, Let’s make it harder to sue for discrimination claims, and he’s taking that position at the Supreme Court.”
This is major departure from civil rights laws, in the past it only had to be a contributing factor, not a major factor. So in other words… “I didn’t hire him because he’s trans but also because I didn’t like his green suit” would not qualify as discriminating based on gender identity because being trans is not the sole factor in not hiring the person.

You are going to see more and more of these cases that try to create wiggle room in discrimination cases whether for “religious freedom” or cases like the Comcast case.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Capital “G” And The Small “t”

… Or Can A Leopard Change Its Spots?

I had to learn the hard way, I didn’t listen to my peers, and I got stabbed in the back.

What am I talking about?

Why the HRC of course or the Human Rights Campaign.
Human Rights Campaign hasn't always defended LGBTQ people of color — we're changing that
I know what it is like to be both black and gay in America. For too long, LGBTQ people of color have been marginalized in our fight for justice.
USA Today  Opinion
By Alphonso David,
September 26, 2019

Four hundred years after the first African slaves were brought to the shores of North America, we still have a responsibility to confront — honestly and without qualification — the painful truth that the United States continues to oppress people of color on the basis of race.
At this juncture in our history and in our ongoing struggle to realize America’s promise of equality and justice for all, we must confront this fact with unambiguous moral clarity and make intentional commitments to act as individuals, organizations and institutions.

For me, this is deeply personal.

A few weeks ago, I became the first person of color to lead the Human Rights Campaign, the world’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.
This is a step in the right direction, but…
The truth is that LGBTQ people of color have long been marginalized within our community — and by our organization. They have seen their contributions to our collective history diminished or forgotten, and their needs and priorities sidelined. While we have fought and won important battles on issues including marriage equality, we have historically failed to also engage in consistent and meaningful work to address the impact of racial inequality on LGBTQ people across all aspects of their lives — including on issues such as voter suppression, health and economic disparities, and violence. It is our responsibility to make that right and to demonstrate our commitment every day.
Those of us who have been around for a long time knows that this is true for all LGBTQ+ organizations including here in Connecticut and it is not just the LGBTQ+ organizations but also the trans organizations. Go to any support group and it is all most all white trans people.

On November 20th when we remember our dead it is mostly a white audience remembering people of color who gave up their lives so that they could be their trueselves.

Back to the HRC, there is a nickname that many in the trans community has given them… “Gay Inc.”

The might be trying to change their spots but their main donors are rich white gay men and for their donations most of them want a return on their investment, and for along time it was the golden ring of marriage.

Back in 2007 I was a newbie that was just stepping out into the world and I went do to Washington DC to lobby for the gender inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). After decades of of non-trans inclusive ENDAs a proposed bill included us for the first.

Where we had the training for the lobby day was at the HRC headquarters, that day in May everything was lovey dovey and we sang Kumbaya together. The head of the HRC came out and told us that they will only support the trans inclusive ENDA.

A trans man friend told to watch out they will stab you in the back the first time it doesn’t go their way.

At the Southern Comfort conference in September the HRC president Joe Solmonese gave a speech before 800 trans people…

My friend told me watch out!

In late September, Rep. Barney Frank pulls the inclusive ENDA bill and substitutes a non-inclusive ENDA bill, Joe Solmones says the HRC will would not oppose or endorse the non-inclusive bill.

In late October the HRC says they will support non-inclusive bill, but will not penalize any congressperson who votes against the non-inclusive bill.

In November HRC, says they will penalize any congressperson who votes against the non-inclusive bill.

When the vote came up in the House six U.S. Representatives vote against the non-inclusive bill and they lost their 100% rating on LGBT issues from the HRC.

That knife scare in my back still hurts on days when I hear that the HRC is working for trans rights. I wonder if they will drop us like a hot potato if thing don’t go their way and they think that they can get what Gay Inc. wants if they throw us under the bus.

Yes, they have hired some trans people, yes they have hired some black women… but will they end up with bus tire tracks across their backs like we did back in 2007.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

They Forget

How many times have you heard complaints about trans athletes? One thing they forget is that there are also trans male athletes, so when you force athletes to only play in their gender assigned at birth that creates major problems.
17-Year-Old Transgender Boy Wins Texas Girls' Wrestling Championship
By Camila Domonoske
February 27, 2017

The Texas state wrestling championships aren't usually national news. But they made headlines this weekend when a 17-year-old transgender boy — barred by state rules from competing in the boys' league — won his weight class, against girls.

Mack Beggs, the teenage boy in question, hasn't sought the spotlight. By all accounts he just wants to wrestle.

But media attention found him anyway. In part, that's because some parents of female wrestlers have vocally objected to the fact that Beggs, who has been taking testosterone as part of his gender transition, is wrestling girls. One parent even filed a lawsuit against the league that organizes public school sports.
And it is not that he wants to compete against the girls,
"He wants to compete against boys," Merritt says. But under Texas rules, boys can't compete against girls, and students must compete as the gender marked on their birth certificate. That meant if Beggs wanted to wrestle, he had to do it in the girls' league.
In their anger they want us to compete in our birth gender but they don’t think it through because one there are trans male athletes and also what happens when we change our birth certificates?

I bring this up now because there is a federal court case about trans athletes that is winding its way through the system now.

This brings up a pet peeve of mine, too much emphasis is to high school sports at the decrement of other after school activities. When you read the newspapers how many time have you read that the school budget was cut and they have either cut back or eliminated all after school activities except for sports.

Students get scholarship in other activities besides sports but that does count, only almighty sports are important. You hear how sports builds self-confidence and self-esteem, teamwork, leadership, social skills, and discipline; well I have news for you so do other after school activities.

The high school robotics team won first place in the New England regional tournament they got one square inch in the town newspaper while on the other page they devoted a whole page to the winning quarterback. Don’t you think that the robotics team at the very least deserved to have their names in the paper?

At my 50th high school reunion most of the football players were all walking around with canes… Just saying.


Okay so here is my prediction… I know I am going to get a lot of friends mad at me with my prediction.

The impeachment will get nowhere, it will never make it out of the House.

Here is why…

    1. 435 Representatives are in the House, of those 235 are Democrats and the Constitution states that you only need a simple majority to vote for an Articles of Impeachment.
        a) When the committee calls for Trump’s people to testify they are going to decline to testify. That in itself is obstruction, the Democrats will file the courts to force them to testify and it will slowly wind its way through the court system. From the Republicans you will hear… crickets.
        b) The House hearings will be stalled because “all the president’s men” will ignore the subpoenas and the hearing will get bogged down in court. The House will hold them in Contempt of Congress and submit the case to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.  Do you think that the Attorney General Barr will proceed with the court case?
        c) Only 218 representatives, a simple majority must vote for the Articles of Impeachment.
    2. If by any chance it does make it out of the House the Articles of Impeachment will then be tried in the Senate and in order to convict the president they will need 66 votes in favor of impeachment. The Democrats have 45 seats in the Senate and 2 independents, so the Democrats will need to get 19 Republicans to vote for impeachment.
        a) The Constitution gives the Senate authority to hold the impeachment trail and the Supreme Court's chief justice presides over the Senate trial. However Sen. McConnell can keep it from seeing the light of day, there is nothing in the Constitution that says the Senate has to hold the trial.

So my prediction it will not happen.

But that does not to mean that the impeachment hearings are wrong, I just mean that I don’t think they will lead to the impeachment of the president.

I think that the Democrats will need to petition the Supreme Court to hear the cases right away when witnesses refuse to testify. I think that the Democrats need to focus on the economy and how he handles international diplomacy and trade. They should keep the hearings on the back burner otherwise the public will get burned out over the impeachment news.

I hope that I am wrong.

Update 5:45 PM

When I wrote this this morning I didn’t realize that Trump would release such a damning transcript of his conversations with Ukrainian President Zelensky.

The Washington Post had this to say about the release of the transcript.
At least Richard Nixon had the good sense to resist releasing the “smoking gun” tape until finally forced to do so by the Supreme Court. That is because Nixon, the worst criminal to occupy the Oval Office until now, at least had a modicum of moral sense and self-awareness. He knew what he had said was wrong — he was heard plotting to use the CIA to shut down the FBI investigation of Watergate — and he realized that the tape’s release would be devastating to him.

President Trump, by contrast, is so clueless — so lacking in even the most basic sense of right and wrong — that he could actually tweet this morning: “Will the Democrats apologize after seeing what was said on the call with the Ukrainian President? They should, a perfect call — got them by surprise!” Suffice it to say, there were no apologies after the release of the Memorandum of Telephone Conversation (TelCon) between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. This isn’t a verbatim transcript, and it’s always possible that it was doctored in some way, but what is revealed in its five pages is deeply damaging to Trump.

“The United States has been very very good to Ukraine,” Trump tells Zelensky with an undertone of menace. “I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very.good to Ukraine.” Eager to placate Trump, Zelensky thanks him “for your great support in the area of defense.” “We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.” (The Javelin is an antitank missile.)

The very next words out of Trump’s mouth are: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.” Quid, meet quo. Trump is explicitly tying U.S. military aid to Ukraine to Ukraine’s willingness “to do us a favor.” He then makes clear that the “us” he is referring to is not the United States of America. It is the Trump campaign.
So maybe he will get 19 Republicans to vote for impeachment.

Now the balls in the Republican court, will they develop a backbone or will the kowtow down to the Republican Party and Senate Majority Leader McConnell?

However, many people still doesn’t support impeachment in a poll before the bombshell transcript.
Poll: No increased voter appetite for impeachment
By Steven Shepard
September 25, 2019

House Democrats still have a long way to go to get voters behind an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

While even some of the caucus' most vulnerable members spent this past weekend inching closer to supporting impeachment, a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll — conducted before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement on Tuesday that Democrats will pursue an impeachment inquiry — found that a plurality of registered voters still opposed impeachment, with little sign of movement toward supporting such steps.

In the poll — conducted Friday through Sunday, as stories circled about Trump allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the Democratic candidates hoping to oust him — 36 percent of respondents said they believe Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.
And then in the Israel National News
According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, the President’s job approval rating rose to 45.3% on average, the highest level since February 5th, when his job approval rating was 45.7%. Trump’s current job approval rating is just shy of his all-time recorded high of 46% on February 4th.

Trump’s net job approval rating remains underwater, however, with 52.1% of Americans disapproving of his performance as president according to an average of recent polls. That’s far above the lowest disapproval rating of his presidency, 44.2%, which was recorded nine days after Trump’s January 20th 2017 inauguration.
Will McConnell stand pat and refuse to hold the impeachment trial? Only time will tell.

Can the Senate Decline to Try an Impeachment Case?
What is impeachment and how does it work?

Update October 24th

There is an opinion article in the Washington Post today by Paul Waldman …
Surprise: Democrats are actually mounting an effective impeachment inquiry

If there’s one thing everyone in the political world agrees on, it’s that Democrats are a bunch of screw-ups who can’t get anything right. The impeachment process was supposed to be just one more example: They were fools for not starting it sooner, then they were dumb for starting it at all, then everything about it was supposed to be disastrous.

But now? From both a substantive and political perspective, the impeachment inquiry is going about as well as you could hope. Democrats are, in fact, getting this right.

That’s not to say everything’s been perfect. For instance, the leadership chose to focus on the Ukraine scandal and not include the many other impeachable acts Trump has committed as part of the inquiry. There’s a reasonable case you could make for either approach, but there are certainly plenty of high crimes and misdemeanors just around Ukraine.
This will then lead almost inevitably to a vote on impeach. The president is unlikely to be convicted in the Senate, which would require 20 Republican senators voting to remove him, but by then Democrats will have done all they could to gather information, display his wrongdoing for the public to see and understand, and impose what accountability they can.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Passing* Privilege

Back in the old days in order to transition you had to meet certain criteria that were forced on by the medical community, one of the requirements was that you had to be able to blend into society.

I say that if you can’t tell I am trans you need a hearing aid and glasses, but what happens when you do integrate into society?
Transgender Women Explain What It's Like When They Don't 'Look Trans'
When women don't visibly scan as transgender, it can feel affirming, dangerous, and totally unremarkable, all at once.
By Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard
July 25 2019

When I was 10 years old, I was a boy that looked like a girl. I had thick chestnut hair down to where my boobs should’ve budded and a dainty voice as yet untouched by testosterone.

My 90-something neighbor used to congratulate my mother on what a beautiful young lady I was becoming. “Oh, Clementine, this is my son!” my mom always quickly corrected. I didn’t know whether I was more embarrassed that I passed as a girl, or that I was embarrassed that I liked passing as a girl.
Being able to integrate in to society brings its own risks,
What some guys see as hot about trans women can also be their grounds for violence. Some men realize they're attracted to someone who looks like a girl, but challenges their notions of what a girl is, so they panic. "Trans panic," in fact, was the defense mounted in the 2002 murder case of Gwen Arujo, a 17-year-old Latina trans girl from California. She had been sexually involved with four men at a party who forced her to undress. When they learned she had a penis, they tortured and murdered her.
I’ve experienced the dangers of passing, too. One Baltimore summer day, I was trudging alone on a busy thoroughfare. Two guys in a car slowed down, creeping alongside the curb and jeering profanities. Suddenly: “Oh, shit, that’s a dude!” The driver started cackling at the friend who had leaned his head out the window—and who was now enjoying an unexpected reversal in vulnerability. The spotlight was no longer on me, but on the man, whose face ripened into an ashamed blush. To course-correct, he spat, "Fucking faggot," then, "Die, tranny." Ducking into the nearest storefront, I bawled—but I was safe.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Either way we are vulnerable.

A lot of times the perpetrator is okay with dating a trans women until his friends found out and then harasses him for dating a trans women. Or he is teased by his friends when he makes a comment about a “hot girl” at the end of the bar and his friends start teasing him when they tell him that she’s trans.

Back in the “old days” the medical profession wouldn’t provide healthcare for us to transition unless we were able to integrate in society and we were attracted to men, we had to give up everything and start over in our new life. We got the reputation of lying to our therapist because they forced us to jump through hoops so we told them what they wanted to hear. And trans men didn’t exist in their model of gender dysphoria.

There is a quote from the “National Transgender Discrimination Survey” that I use in my workshops...
Visual non-conformity is a risk factor in causing anti-transgender bias and its attendant social and economic burdens.
It means that if you can integrate in to society you are going to face less discrimination and harassment than a trans women who cannot. In the “old days” the gatekeepers threw trans people under the bus if they couldn’t “pass.”

We should not be denied the right to transition if we cannot integrate in society.

*Passing… I don’t like using “passing”but sometimes it is hard not to use it. The reason I don’t like using “passing” is because of the connotation that we are putting something over on people. That we are hiding that we are trans.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Have You Changed Your Birth Certificate?

Well in one state you cannot change it and they are being taken to court…
Transgender group’s birth certificate suit advances in Ohio
Miami Herald
By The Associated Press
September 23, 2019

Four transgender people challenging an Ohio rule preventing people from changing the gender listings on their birth certificates have won their day in court.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson denied the state's request that the lawsuit filed by the ACLU, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Ohio be dismissed.

The lawsuit contends the birth certificate rule imposed by the state Department of Health and the Office of Vital Statistics is unconstitutional.
All Tennessee and Ohio allow you to change your birth certificate, some like Connecticut you only need a letter from a doctor to change it and in some states you need surgery.

The rallying cry from the right wing is “religious freedom.” They are trying to stand the First Amendment on its head.
Court says Sacramento-area transgender man can sue Mercy San Juan over denying hysterectomy
The Sacramento Bee
By Cathie Anderson
September 18, 2019

The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled that a Sacramento-area transgender man can sue Mercy San Juan Medical Center over the last-minute cancellation of his hysterectomy, overturning a lower-court ruling that dismissed the case.

Dignity Health, which operates Mercy San Juan, arranged for Evan Minton to have the procedure at Methodist Hospital in south Sacramento within 72 hours of the denial, court records state. The procedure was canceled, the lawsuit stated, after Minton mentioned to a nurse that he is transgender.

In his appeal court decision, Presiding Justice Stuart R. Pollak stated: “Without determining the right of Dignity Health to provide its services in such cases at alternative facilities, as it claims to have done here, we agree that plaintiff’s complaint alleges that Dignity Health initially failed to do so and that its subsequent rectification of its denial, while likely mitigating plaintiff’s damages, did not extinguish his cause of action for discrimination.”
The hospital is a Catholic hospital but it serves the public.
“Catholic hospitals do not perform sterilizing procedures such as hysterectomies for any patient regardless of their gender identity, unless there is a serious threat to the life or health of the patient,” the Dignity statement continued. “Courts have repeatedly recognized the right of faith-based hospitals not to provide services based on their religious principles....In this case, Mr. Minton was able to quickly receive the sought-after procedure at another nearby Dignity Health hospital that is not Catholic-affiliated.”
Not true, most courts have not recognized a religious hospital right to deny medically necessary healthcare, however I see this case going to the Supreme Court.
Pollak, in his ruling, wrote that the denial of a procedure that treats a condition particular to transgender persons supports an inference that Dignity Health discriminated against Minton based on his gender identity. This is true, he noted, even if the denial was based upon a policy that does not appear discriminatory on its face. Justices Alison Tucher and Tracie L. Brown concurred on the opinion.
This case can have a far reaching implications, can you imagine if you are in an accident and the only hospital in the area is a religious hospital and they refuse to treat you as you are dying… sorry we don’t treat transgender people.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

I Laughed...

...When the doctor wanted to know my sexual history.

Lets face when it comes to love there are not many options for trans people.
Are Trans People Excluded from the World of Dating?
New research explores the extent to which trans people are excluded from dating.
Psychology Today
By Karen L. Blair Ph.D.
June 16, 2019

Imagine for a moment that you were to find yourself looking for a new partner at some point in the near future. Perhaps you would turn to a popular dating app and begin filling out your dating profile in hopes of finding "the one." In the process of doing so, you'd likely be asked to indicate your gender and the genders of others that you would be interested in dating. Under these hypothetical circumstances, which of the following people would you consider as a potential dating partner (check all that apply):
  • a cisgender* woman
  • a cisgender man
  • a transgender woman
  • a transgender man
  • a person with a non-binary gender identification
So who do you think was at the bottom of the survey?
Recently, my colleague and I asked this question of just under 1,000 participants and we published our findings in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Our results indicated that 87.5% of the participants who were asked this very question only checked off the cisgender options and excluded transgender and non-binary individuals from their hypothetical dating pool.

In addition to simply looking at the overall percentages of how many people included or excluded trans persons from their hypothetical dating pool, we also examined the demographics of those who were inclusive. For example, while only a very small minority of cisgender, heterosexual individuals (3.1%) were willing to date a trans person, a much greater percentage of individuals who identified as bisexual or queer provided inclusive responses (55%). One reason for this may be that individuals with queer or bisexual sexual orientations are already looking beyond gender in many ways when selecting a person to date. This also provides some promising insight, as it means that within certain demographic groups, acceptance seems to be much higher.

Looking more closely at the patterns of responses, it also became clear that individuals were least likely to express an interest in dating trans women, even if their sexual identity would otherwise indicate an interest in women. Indeed, nearly 20% fewer people indicated an interest in trans women than would have been expected based on the sexual identities of the individuals within the sample. 
No surprise here if you are a trans person… we know that already.

I don’t think there is much we can do, unless there is a huge culture change.

The study didn’t include trans men which on an anecdotal level I see having more couples than trans women and I have a theory about that.

I think it has a lot to do with how well you can integrate into society, those that are easily identified as trans have a lot harder time finding a partner. So what does that indicate? That there is a lot of gender bias out there by people who think that they are not biased.

I am not saying it doesn’t happen, I know of several trans people who have partners but most of them can integrate into society. Some are partnered with cisgender partners, so are in same-sex partners, some are in opposite sex partners, and some are partnered with trans partners. I dated a cisgender women for awhile, I never knew why we broke up but it happened after we went out to dinner with some other trans women.

The way I look at it, is that love is like lightening because you never know when or where it is going to strike… so never give up looking.

*Note: ‘cisgender’ refers to someone whose current gender identity is the same as the one they were assigned at birth, while ‘transgender’ refers to someone whose gender identity differs from the one they were assigned at birth.)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saturday 9: THE CANDY MAN

Sam’s Saturday 9: THE CANDY MAN (1972)

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

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

1) This song is from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder. The movie was remade as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Which Wonka did you prefer?
Gene Wilder, he was a natural for the part while Depp was not made for the part.

2) In the movie, this song is sung by Bill, the candy store shopkeeper. Think about the last counter person you dealt with. We know that he or she likely didn't break into song, but did you two engage in conversation?
No, she didn’t say a word other thank ask me for the store discount card. While on the hand her supervisor I talk to all the time… just small talk.

3) The lyrics tell us that The Candy Man can make the world taste good. What's the last thing you ate? Was it delicious, or just OK?
Stir fry, I had some pork ribs that had to used up before they go bad. So I cut the meat off the bone and marinaded it in teriyaki sauce and stir fry it with peppers and onions and served it over wild rice.

4) The most popular recording of this song was by Sammy Davis,  Jr. Sammy was in a horrific car accident when he was 29 years old. His cheek and nose were broken and he lost an eye. That he survived at all left him reflective and after his hospitalization, he converted to Judaism. Do you still worship in the faith you were raised in?
No. I was raised Catholic and they don’t like me.

5) Sammy was proud of the honorary college degrees because he received because never formally attended school. As a child, he performed on the road with his father and uncle. In addition to depriving him of an education, that lifestyle kept him from kids his own age. He would later describe his childhood as, "in a word, 'lonely.'" Give us a one-word description of your childhood.
I grew up in a bubble, I found out in grad school that I am dyslexic (that’s what happens when most of your professors are LCSW) and I wouldn’t doubt that I had some type of learning disorder.

6) Because he spent so much of his youth on the road, living on buses, trains and hotel rooms, he loved eventually having his own kitchen and being able to cook his own meals. This weekend, will you spend much time in the kitchen?
Nope, except for grabbing snacks.

7) Sammy enjoyed experimenting with clothes and jewelry. What about you? Do you consider yourself conservative in dress or are you fashion forward?
I am a conservative dresser,  I don’t want to draw attention to me.

8) When he died, Sammy was in debt to the IRS. Do you handle your own taxes, or do you use the services of an accountant?
No, I have professionals do it and they make mistakes. I had a letter from the state Revenue Services saying I owed  $5000! The “professional” forgot to file my state taxes… I owed nothing.

9) Random question: If you had to tell nothing but the truth (not even the tiniest white lie) for 24 hours, do you think you'd get yourself in trouble?
No but I would get a lot of friends mad at me.

I found this video of the Lawrence Welk Show's Gail Farrell and Dick Dale singing Brewer and Shipley's song "One Toke Over The Line," Somehow I got the feeling that they had no idea what the song was about smoking pot.

Friday, September 20, 2019

We Stood By Them, Will They Stand By Us?

When marriage was on the line, we stood by them.

When they were fighting to be in the military, we stood by them.

Will they stand by us?
We’re Fighting a New 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' All Over Again
The Advocate
By Stephen Peters
September 20, 2019

Eight years ago today, the deeply discriminatory law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) officially came to an end. September 20, 2011 was a day of incredible celebration as gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members were finally able to serve our nation openly and authentically. But after such tremendous progress, little did we know that only seven years later, there would be a new “don’t ask, don’t tell” forced onto the military in the form of a transgender military ban.
But today, we face a new form of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” this time targeting transgender servicemembers. In June 2016, the military updated the outdated regulations that prevented transgender people from serving authentically, finally allowing these troops to also serve openly with pride. But nearly a year later, a new occupent of the Oval Office decided to single out these brave Americans and target them for discrimination based on nothing more than bigotry.
At MMAA [Modern Military Association of America], we immediately sprung into action. Representing transgender servicemembers, qualified transgender recruits, the Gender Justice League and the Human Rights Campaign, we joined with Lambda Legal and Winston & Strawn to file a lawsuit against Donald Trump and his ban. Challenging this un-American policy in the courts and on Capitol Hill, together we’re determined more than ever to ensure that justice and equality ultimately prevail and transgender patriots are once again able to serve authentically.
We can’t fight this by ourselves we need the support of our gay brothers and lesbian sisters to stand with us along with our allies.

One of the places that the LGBTQ+ communities needs help with is in the polical arena.
Where do 10 candidates stand on LGBTQ issues?
Gazette looks at presidential candidates' pasts before Friday's forum
The Gazette
By Erin Jordan
September 19, 2019

With 10 Democratic presidential candidates gathering Friday evening in Cedar Rapids for a forum on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues, The Gazette reviewed their past comments, votes and other actions on LGBTQ issues. Here is a synopsis:

Joe Biden
In 1993, Biden voted to ban gay Americans from serving in the military. President Bill Clinton modified that in 1994 with “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allowed gay men and women to serve if their sexual orientation was secret. President Barack Obama signed the repeal of that ban in 2010.

On same-sex marriage, Biden voted in 1996 for the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing these unions and preventing same-sex partners from the same benefits of other married couples. States started making same-sex marriage legal (the Iowa Supreme Court did in 2009, making it the third state to do so) and the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.
Biden said in June he would make the Equality Act his No. 1 priority if elected president. This bill, passed May 17 by the U.S. House, would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes in federal civil rights law.
Cory Booker
The New Jersey U.S. senator long has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ issues after writing in 1992 in the Stanford Daily newspaper he’d evolved to that position.
The city of Newark, which Booker led as mayor from 2006 to 2013, displayed a rainbow flag for Gay Pride Month in 2007 before it was trendy for many cities and companies to use the symbol.

That gesture stuck out to Kyla Paterson, the first transgender chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Stonewall Caucus and an Iowa City resident. Paterson this week endorsed Booker.
Well we pretty much know where Pete Buttigieg stands on LGBTQ+ issues.
Julian Castro
Castro has said he used his positions in city and federal government to help LGBTQ people avoid discrimination.

On the San Antonio City Council for four years before becoming mayor in 2009, Castro signed an ordinance in 2013 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for employment, housing and public accommodations, reported Pink News in January. This protected San Antonio residents who had no federal or state anti-discrimination laws, the news outlet noted.

As U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Obama administration, Castro helped expand regulations to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community, he recently told the National Center for Transgender Equality. He spoke specifically about services and advocacy for LGBTQ teens who are homeless.
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard, a U.S. representative, has made a dramatic reversal on LGBTQ issues.

The Hawaii native grew up supporting the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, an organization run by her father, Mike Gabbard, which opposed gay rights.
The article goes on to list the other candidates stands on LGBTQ+ rights.

The other news articles that caught my attention wasn’t about politics.
Despite protests elsewhere, Hartford library hosting a Drag Queen Story Hour as part of its LGBTQ-themed Big Read
The Hartford Courant
By Susan Dunne
September 18, 2019

Drag Queen Story Hour, which has swept the nation since being introduced in San Francisco in 2015 but has drawn protests in some cities, is coming to the Hartford Public Library for the first time, with two events on Sept. 28 as part of the library’s Big Read program.

The nationwide story hours have been controversial in cities such as St. Petersburg, Florida; Spokane, Washington; and most recently in Chula Vista, California, where protesters failed to stop a story hour at the library. The St. Louis Public Library has a Drag Queen Story Hour scheduled the same day as Hartford, and protests are expected there.
The Big Read is the library’s annual focus on one book for the entire city. This year’s Big Read is “Advice from the Lights,” a book of poems by Stephanie Burt, a transwoman who is a professor of English at Harvard. The kids’ Big Read is “George,” a story about a young transgirl.

“This year we wanted to focus on LGBTQ literature and start it at the same time as the citywide celebration of pride,” says Liz Castle, the library’s programming and events manager. Two of the books to be read — “Pink is for Boys” and “Julian is a Mermaid” — are LGBT-themed.

And speaking of “Julian is a Mermaid”
A children’s book about a trans mermaid just won a prestigious prize
Pink News
By Vic Parsons
September 12, 2019

A children’s picture book about a trans mermaid called Julián has won the prestigious Klaus Fugge prize.

Jessica Love, the author of Julián Is a Mermaid, was named the winner on Wednesday, 11 September. The prize goes to the most exciting and promising newcomer to picture book illustration.

Judge and former children’s laureate Anthony Browne called the book “astonishingly beautiful”.
“Julián Is a Mermaid reminds us that picture books can make us understand the world differently and better; that they are for everyone. It is a groundbreaking book,” said Julia Eccleshare, chair of the judges.
Thank you for stopping by. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Geriatric Crowd...

Which I am a card carrying member, faces more discrimination. Many of us lack mobility and may need assisted living or home care what will happen to us? Will we get someone at a LTC (Long Term Care) facility who follows us around quoting the Bible? Will we get invited to setback card games? Or will we be isolated? Will we have to go back in the closet?
Growing old LGBTQ in the Berkshires: Barriers are many, residents say
The Berkshire Eagle
By Haven Orecchio-Egresitz
September 11, 2019

PITTSFIELD — A lack of public transportation and access to primary care physicians make growing old in the Berkshires a challenge. For LGBTQ residents, even more so.

On Tuesday, more than a dozen residents attended a Massachusetts Commission on LGBT Aging listening session at the Berkshire Athenaeum to talk about issues they have faced.

"Isolation, we know, is a really significant and toxic experience for folks," said Lisa Krinsky, director of the LGBT Aging Project at the Fenway Institute. "Most of us came from Eastern Massachusetts to attend the listening session. I think we all left with much more of an appreciation for the kind of transportation issues in the Berkshires."

The Commission on LGBT Aging has been traveling the state to hear from residents about barriers they face. The Pittsfield event was hosted by state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, vice chairwoman of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Elder Affairs.
If I have to go into a LTC or a nursing home will I be harassed by the residents or the staff?
Members of the commission also talked about how to respond to discrimination, if it arises.

Two women also shared stories about how they have been intentionally misgendered, both being called "sir," at different county businesses.

Misgendering can be considered illegal gender stereotyping, said Chris Erchull, an attorney for GLAD, a national organization that provides legal services and advocacy for the LGBTQ community.
Um… well first off, GLAD is New England based and GLAAD is national, and Chris is from GLAD.

I know here in Connecticut there is work being done on making home healthcare, nursing homes, and LTC more LGBTQ+ friendly. Connecticut Community Care is providing training to those facilities…
What is LGBT Inclusivity and the Getting it Right program?

Getting it Right: Creating an LGBT Inclusive Organization is a program of Connecticut Community Care supported with funding from the John H. and Ethel G. Noble Charitable Trust. The program works with aging service providers such as home care and facility-based providers to create welcoming and intentionally inclusive services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) clients and families. We provide an integrated set of resources to Getting it Right (GIR) providers. These include training and other best practice resources. GIR begins with the premise that intentional inclusion means proactive practices that go beyond current standards and policies of non-discrimination.
Getting it Right is a “train the trainer” model. We train organizational champions who are then charged with training other direct service staff. GIR provides these training resources to the provider agency.
So far five organizations have gotten certified.

Like all training and certifications they all look good on paper but it takes a continuing effort to make it happen, it has to be top down with the administration leading the way and it has to be enforced at the supervisor level.

Also here in Connecticut the state legislature included a LGBTQ+ legislative committee, its charge is…
Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) There is established a  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Health and Human Services Network to make recommendations to the state legislative, executive and judicial branches of government concerning the delivery of health and human services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons in the state.

(b) The network shall work to build a safer and healthier environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer persons by (1) conducting a needs analysis, within available appropriations, (2)  collecting additional data on the health and human services needs of such persons as necessary, (3) informing state policy through reports submitted at least biennially, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public health, human services, appropriations and the budgets of state agencies, other legislative committees as necessary, the Governor and the Chief Court Administrator, and (4) building organizational member capacity, leadership and advocacy across the geographic and social spectrum of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
I believe that this is the first LGBTQ+ legislative committee in the nation and one of my goals on the committee is to make sure that aging trans population get proper healthcare.

There is also another agency that is looking into proper healthcare for us in LTC facilities. State Unit On Aging Long Term Care Ombudsman Program has “Inclusive Community Workgroup” that is working to make sure not just the trans community but all minorities are treated with respect and dignity, and do not face discrimination and harassment.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Sex Change Capitol Of The World

How many of you remember that name given to Trinidad Colorado?

The LA Time just had an article about Dr. Biber, the Sisters of Charity, and Mt. San Rafael Hospital.
How Stanley Biber, a pioneer in gender confirmation surgery, won over the Sisters of Charity
By Martin J. Smith
September 12, 2019

TRINIDAD, Colo. —  In 1969, when Dr. Stanley Biber first performed gender confirmation surgery on an acquaintance who’d sought his help, he created a whole new set of challenges for himself in Trinidad: How was he going to explain all this to the Sisters of Charity who were still helping run the small, rural hospital where he worked, and to the mostly Roman Catholic community that eventually would be hosting about three or four transgender medical pilgrims a week?

The original Mt. San Rafael Hospital was built by the Catholic order in 1889 and was run by those nuns for the next 79 years. The Sisters of Charity turned control of the hospital over to the Trinidad Area Health Assn. in December 1968, just before Biber began specializing in gender surgery but continued working as patient advocates and in other roles with the hospital for decades afterward.
At first, Biber kept the charts of his early transgender patients in the hospital administrator’s safe. Claudine Griggs, at the time a law-office secretary and part-time graduate student in Rancho Cucamonga who went to Biber for surgery in 1991, says she heard the surgeon concocted a cover story about his first patient being “an accident victim” to avoid raising questions.

Secrets don’t stay secret for long in a town that size, especially with so many strangers wandering around. “Obviously when they started having a lot of ‘accidents,’ they knew something was going on,” Griggs says.
A conservative town opens their doors to us…
By the time Griggs went to Trinidad for her surgery, she says Biber and the Mt. San Rafael staff were welcoming transgender patients in a way that affirmed their dignity and reassured the patients about the professionalism of the surgeon and the hospital.
In another article in the LA Times...
He made this town the world’s ‘sex-change capital,’ but he’s not honored here
By Martin J. Smith
September 12, 2019

TRINIDAD, Colo. —  If you’re looking for evidence that this little-known Western outpost was, for 41 years, known as the world’s “sex-change capital,” be prepared to look a long time.

Dr. Stanley Biber, the colorful country surgeon whose pioneering work made “going to Trinidad” a euphemism for gender confirmation surgery, has been dead since 2006. His decades of work, which brought medical pilgrims from around the world to this heavily Catholic former coal-mining town, is not commemorated in any way at Mt. San Rafael Hospital, where Biber and his protege, Dr. Marci Bowers, performed an estimated 6,000 gender surgeries between 1969 and 2010.
Then the news media picked up on what was going on in the sleepy town.
His work made headlines — and occasionally drew the attention of self-righteous outsiders. In 1999, for example, members of the staunchly anti-LGBTQ Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church arrived to picket what its news release for the event described as “Satan’s physician” and the town it called the “anteroom to Hell.” Feature stories about Biber appeared in this newspaper and other national media, and TV show host Geraldo Rivera and his camera crew documented a surgery.
You may have concluded that Biber’s obscurity suggests a certain discomfort among locals with his chosen area of specialty, or a continuing marginalization of that important history for transgender Americans. Most locals will tell you that you’re wrong, including one you might expect to take Biber’s exclusion as a personal slight.

Trinidad City Councilwoman Michelle Miles came to Trinidad for gender confirmation surgery in 2005 and later made it her home — one of the few medical pilgrims to have done so. She says Trinidad is just not the kind of place that goes around putting up statues and plaques.
CBS Sunday Morning did this video about him and the town...

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

More Hits Against Us

The hits keep on coming and they’re not good hits, this time it is coming from the Department of Labor.
TLC Strongly Opposes Proposed Rules by Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance
Transgender Law Center
By Anna Castro
September 16, 2019

Last Friday, Transgender Law Center submitted a comment in strong opposition to the proposed rules by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance that would amend section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246. The proposed rule would allow federal contractors to invoke their religious beliefs in order to discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) employees.

“The Trump administration is proposing policy changes that radically depart from existing policy and established case law. When the stakes are this high, you’d expect that someone would be able to provide an answer as to why” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center, noting that the Department of Labor has provided no justification for such a drastic change in regulation. “Meanwhile, trans people are working jobs at which they’re being discriminated against simply for being themselves, or not able to find a steady job with a good income and living on the streets or engaging in survival work just to be able to eat. The Department of Labor has a job —their job is to advance policies that safeguard the rights of all employees living in the United States. They should do it.”

The impact of this proposed rule would be acutely felt by transgender people of color, transgender people living with HIV, and transgender people with disabilities. Earlier this summer, Positively Trans (T+) announced the results of their 2018 needs assessment of TGNC people living with HIV in three locations in the U.S.: Detroit, Michigan, New Orleans, Louisiana, and South Florida. Nearly half the respondents were unemployed and 86% reported that their greatest legal need was related to employment discrimination.
We are the punching bag for the Trump administration.

Then down in Arizona the courts sanctioned discrimination against us...
Court: Phoenix Business Can Refuse to Make Invitations for Same-Sex Couples
Phoenix New Times
By Lynn Trimble
September 16, 2019

In a 4-3 opinion, The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Phoenix-based Brush & Nib Studio, a small business that refused to produce wedding invitations for LGBTQ couples.

“The rights of free speech and free exercise, so precious to this nation since its founding, are not limited to soft murmurings behind the doors of a person’s home or church, or private conversations with like-minded friends and family," wrote Justice Andrew Gould for the majority. "These guarantees protect the right of every American to express their beliefs in public. This includes the right to create and sell words, paintings, and art that express a person’s sincere religious beliefs.
Okay, so what they are saying is that all discrimination laws are null and void.

After all if it free speech to refuse to do business with us than it is free speech refuse to do business with people who are Jewish, Muslims, black, an unmarried couple, a woman who divorced, or anyone else in a protected class.

But my guess is that the courts will just discriminate against us and allow other protected classes to stand.

Kidnapping, unlawful restraint, assault, and probably a whole of other charges could be brought against them but do you think that they would get convicted in the Bible belt?
A gay couple was attacked at church, held down & prayed over to turn straight
"It’s a sin, it’s an abomination, you need to realize, wake up, and see it for a sin," the pastor said as the victim was surrounded.
LGBTQ Nation
By Alex Bollinger
September 17, 2019

A gay couple says that they were attacked by a church’s congregation in attempt to convert them to heterosexuality.

Sean Cormie, 23, recently came out to his family in Blackwell, Oklahoma. Since then, his family has been trying to get him to go to church with them and to bring along his boyfriend, Gary Gardner.
He said they started to leave, and Gardner was pushed away by other church members. Cormie, though, was forced to stay and he was slammed to the ground by his stepfather. A group of 12 to 15 church members held him down and prayed over him.

“Sort of picked him up and body slammed him over and started praying on him, and when they were doing that, Sean ended up with marks on his arms a black eye and sort of blacked out,” Gardner told News 9.
Police have been contacted but they are not commenting on the investigation.
I can hear their cry… “Religious Freedom!”

We should have the right to persecute non-believers!

Monday, September 16, 2019

It Ain't Cheap

Let’s face it is not cheap to transition, besides medical cost there are also social costs involved.
What Does it Cost to be Transgender?
New research compares the costs of transition across 4 countries.
Psychology Today
By Karen L. Blair Ph.D.
September 14, 2019

A new paper published in a special issue of Psychology & Sexuality has explored the costs associated with transitioning related treatment for transgender and gender diverse individuals living in four different countries: Canada, Japan, South Africa, and the United States. The authors of the paper first presented their work as part of a symposium at the 2018 LGBTQ Psychology Conference: Preaching to the Choir, held in Montreal, QC.
You want to guess which country is the most expensive?
Name Changes
While name changes were free of financial costs in Japan, the other three countries all charged something for anyone wishing to officially and legally change their name, ranging from $13 (CAD) in South Africa to $270 in the United States. However, in Japan, some of the requirements for changing a name or gender marker were more stringent, such as including that the person undergoes sexual sterilization.
Yup the US is the most expensive, here in Connecticut a name change cost $255 but you can get a waver.

“While some of the costs of GAS [Gender Affirming Surgery] are covered in Ontario, certain surgeries and transition-related care are not covered. For example, voice surgery, hormone replacement therapy, and electrolysis are some of the healthcare treatments not covered in Ontario.”

“In Japan, costs of GAS range from $17,000 - $24,000 (CAD), which, until recently, were not covered at all.”

“Although the costs of GAS are covered within the public system [South Africa], in some cases, waiting lists are up to 25 years.” Yikes! You could grow old waiting!

“What is covered or not covered varies wildly between insurance policies, but in general, costs for transgender men are in the range of $20,000 CAD, and up to $35,000 for trans women.”

Here in Connecticut insurance must cover trans related health costs, that includes breast argumentation, electrolysis, and other medical procedures that are covered for the general population. But it is a nightmare to thread your way through the systems, for example to get electrolysis covered you have to an “F” on your medical records because Hirsutism is covered for women and it must be coded as L68.0.

The same think is true for breast argumentation, it has to be coded properly as medically necessary.

The other problem that I find is many of us never had to advocate for ourselves on health insurance and as I like to say the insurance companies favorite word is “NO!” The companies realize that many of us will give up and not fight the denial. I was on the phone last week helping a trans women on where to find information on appealing a denial (A good source of information is CTAC’s Where To Look For Help?).

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sad News…

Two more deaths of trans women have been reported this week bring the death toll this year to eighteen that we know about.
Two transgender women were killed in a week. 18 transgender people have been killed this year
By Christina Maxouris
September 14, 2019

(CNN)Bee Love Slater is the 18th known transgender person to be killed this year, the Human Rights Campaign said.

The 23-year-old woman was found in a burned car this month in Clewiston, Florida, CNN affiliate WBBH reported.

"She was a people person," Desmond Vereen, who organized a vigil after Slater's death, told the affiliate. "She loved to be around people and meeting new people too because of her new lifestyle that she transitioned to."
Slater was killed in the same week as 17-year-old Bailey Reeves, a transgender woman who was shot on Labor Day.

Reeves was shot in a Baltimore neighborhood after she left a party, CNN affiliate WMAR reported.

"It was uncalled for, there was no reason for it," her brother, Thomas Reeves, told CNN affiliate WBFF. The affiliate reported she was suffering from several gunshot wounds.
So many of us who were murdered their bodies were also mutilated and we mustn’t forget that they were someone’s child.
‘That was my child’: Transgender deaths devastate families
By Martha Waggoner
September 12, 2019

LUMBER BRIDGE, N.C. (AP) — “Okay, Mommy. I love you.”

That was Brenda Scurlock’s last text from her son, Avery, before he was shot eight times, his body abandoned in a field in eastern North Carolina.

Scurlock had always worried about Avery’s safety. He was young and black in a society where those qualities could make him vulnerable.
Avery, 23, was one of 18 transgender people slain so far this year in the U.S., according to the Human Rights Campaign . Seventeen were black transgender women , including two killed within two weeks of each other in South Carolina. A woman in Dallas who became a vocal advocate for transgender rights after she was attacked in April was killed in May in what the mayor described as “mob violence.” In Detroit, a black transgender woman and two gay men were killed in an attack that two other people survived.
We need to work to end the violence. We need to end the hate against us.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday's 9: The Straw Hat Song

Sam’s Saturday's 9: The Straw Hat Song (1955)

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

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) In this song, Desi Arnaz encourages us to laugh and sing instead of concentrating on our troubles. Is this an approach to life you could adopt? Or are you a worrier?
I am a worrier, however you should always concentrate on your troubles. Those little annoyances have a way of turning into major problems.
I think worrying is good, it goes through "what if" scenarios.

2) Because Desi's public persona was carefree, people are often surprised to learn his early life was hard. In 1933, his wealthy family was targeted by Cuban revolutionaries. Their home was destroyed and were forced to flee the country. In Miami, they lived in a warehouse and 16-year-old Desi helped support the family by cleaning cages for the man who sold canaries outside a drugstore. Think about your friends and acquaintances. Whose life story turned out to be very different than you originally thought?
I think most of my friends lives turned out different for them.

3) While still in his teens, Desi got his first job as an entertainer. As a boy in Cuba, he expected to be a lawyer, not a musician. He only began playing guitar because he noticed girls like musicians and he liked girls. Tell us about a hobby of yours, and what inspired you to pick it up.
I think most of you know my hobby is photograph and I started out with a high school graduation present of a camera, a Minolta SR-T 101 is a 35mm SLR camera.

4) He discovered he was not only a talented musician but a natural leader. By the tender age of 19, he had organized The Desi Arnaz Orchestra and they were performing in Miami hotels. Have you ever been a boss? If so, did you enjoy it?
Yes, for 25 years and yes I did enjoy it and I think that most of my technicians enjoyed having me for a boss. I had a highly motivate crew, all I had to do was keep management off their back, take the heat when something went wrong and give them the credit when things went right.

5) When he was 23, he went to Hollywood to try his hand at movies and met a 28 year old actress named Lucille Ball. In Hollywood back in 1940, it was considered embarrassing for a woman to date a younger man. Their initial attraction was so powerful she quickly got over it. Do you think age matters when it comes to romance?
Nope. The way I look at love is that it is like lightening you never know who it is going to strike next.

6) Desi was the first person to call that famous redhead "Lucy." Throughout her entire life, friends, family and coworkers always referred to her as "Lucille," as she preferred. But Desi insisted on "Lucy." He said that name was his and his alone. Ironically it became the way the world referred to her. Do you have a pet name for anyone?

7) Lucille and Desi named their son and daughter after themselves. Were you named after anyone?
The family doctor.
There is probably a story behind that but I never knew.

8) Desi was the founding force behind Desilu. One of the first great production studios of the television age, Desilu grossed $15 million in 1957 (more than $135 million in today's dollars). He credited his success to his unconventional and creative approach to problems. Are you a good problem solver?
Yes, my engineering side of my brain takes over.

9) Random question: Who annoys you more, a know-it-all or an ignoramus?
I have found that usually the know-it-all and an ignoramus are the same person.

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!