Monday, November 30, 2020

No One Is Immune.

Trans people are not immune from violent attacks, the latest trans person to be attacked is Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox.
Laverne Cox Says She And Friend Were Attacked Because She’s Trans
By Carlie Porterfield
November 29, 2020

Laverne Cox, best known for her role on Netflix hit Orange Is The New Black and for being the first openly trans person to be nominated for an acting Emmy, said she and a friend were targeted in a transphobic attack over the weekend by a stranger “looking for trouble because I happen to be a trans person in public.”
“It doesn’t matter who you are. You can be Laverne Cox, you know, or whatever that means,” she said. “If you’re trans . . . you’re going to experience stuff like this.”
It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you can integrate in to society or you are recognized as trans there is always that threat of violence.
Laverne Cox is 'in shock' but OK after she and a friend were targeted in transphobic attack
USA Today
By Hannah Yasharoff
November 29, 2020

Actress Laverne Cox is "definitely in shock" and "triggered" but OK after a transphobic attack while walking with a friend in a park.

Cox, 48, shared in a live Instagram video Saturday that she and a male friend had been walking earlier that day in Los Angeles' Griffith Park when a man "very aggressively" asked for the time. Cox's friend told him what time it was, after which the man asked, "Guy or girl?"

Her friend, understanding the man was referring to Cox, told him to "(expletive) off" and the man began hitting her friend, she recalled. The actress and her friend, whom she wanted to keep anonymous, believed the man wanted Cox to answer his questions so he could gauge "whether I'm trans or not."
"This dude was looking for trouble ... because I happened to be a trans person in public," she said. "That's all it felt like. This isn't shocking to me – obviously, this is my life. I've dealt with this a lot, but it never fails to be shocking, I guess... I've been trans my whole life, I've been harassed and bullied my whole life. None of this is new, but it's still just kind of like ... why do you need to be aggressive?"

She added: "If doesn't matter who you are. You can be, like, Laverne Cox, whatever that means. If you're trans, you're going to experience stuff like this."
Haters have been emboldened by Trump and have crawled out the swamp into the open.

I am a little leery because I have been on the local news many times and you never know what the right-wing “patriots” will do. One time a reporter found my home phone number and address, if he could find where I lived anyone could.

I worry about trans people like Jazz and other out trans young women, like Ms. Cox they can become targets for violence.

Be safe out there!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

This Is True For Bloggers

One of the reasons that I only allow monitored comments is this…
It’s time to hold editors accountable for harassed news workers
If you are an editor, publisher or general manager, what, if anything, do you do when employees, especially women, are harassed online?
By: Michael Bugeja
November 25, 2020

Like many professors, I follow journalism graduates on Facebook to keep up with their achievements, and recently came upon a disturbing post that inspired this column. An alumna received a signed message from a reader who called her “a f—— idiot” and told her to “go and f— yourself, b—-.”

Jessie Opoien, opinion editor for The (Madison, Wisconsin) Capital Times, broke journalism convention by sharing the offensive message. That same convention asks news workers to ignore slurs and threats, promote their work on social media, and focus on their assignments instead of their detractors.

That’s a prescription for PTSD, especially for women journalists.

In October, Ms. Magazine ran a article titled, “Online Harassment, Physical Threats: The Cost of Reporting for Women Journalists,” emphasizing these points:
  • In the first half of 2020, some 25 organized troll campaigns targeted women journalists, up from 17 cases during the same period last year.
  • By publication time, there had been 267 attacks and threats against women journalists.
  • Many of these attacks focused on appearance or sexuality, including death and rape threats, as well as incidents of doxing in extreme cases.
  • Women of color were 34% more likely than white women to be mentioned in abusive tweets.
  • Black women received racist messages in addition to being addressed in sexist or profane slurs.
The article concluded:
As trolling often falls into the gray zone somewhere between freedom of speech and online anonymity, we believe that a real, honest conversation with actual journalists who experience online abuse firsthand, is crucial to get some more clarity and sense of solidarity.
Solidarity is fine. What isn’t is journalism convention.
I also get shall we call them “negative comments.” and all a ton of spam comments
A man, by any other name, (or dress or "presentation"), is stilts [sic] man.
And it seems like a conservative group latched on to a blog where I wrote about a trans woman in Maine and I am getting a series of comments that uses her deadname and male pronouns.

The Poynter article ends with,
Trolls have power without consequence. It’s time to give them a taste of their own toxic medicine.
I believe in not feeding the trolls.

Trans Playing Trans

What a novel idea having a trans woman playing the part of a trans woman, that is something many of us hoped for.
Saved by the Bell star Josie Totah agreed to play show’s first trans character on one crucial condition
Josie Totah agreed to join the new Saved by the Bell cast on one condition: that she was given a voice behind the scenes.
Pink News UK
By Reiss Smith
November 26, 2020

The Saved by the Bell reboot landed on streaming service Peacock Wednesday (25 November), 27 years after the original series ended.

Along with the original cast, the new series introduces a new generation of Bayside High kids, including Totah’s character Lexi – a mean girl cheerleader with a sharp tongue and an even sharper wit, who is also the franchise’s first transgender character.

“Lexi is this mean, fun, aspirational, fantastical character that also happens to be transgender — but it [isn’t] everything about her,” Josie Totah, who is also trans told Teen Vogue.
The only thing I wonder is “a mean girl cheerleader with a sharp tongue,” will she be the villain of the show?

Teen Vogue had this to say about her…
Josie Totah has been gracing your television screen for nearly a decade. The talented young performer boasts an impressive resume, having previously starred in Disney Channel’s Jessie, Glee, and NBC’s Champions. But in those roles, Josie was contorting her identity in a way that acting should never require. In 2018, Josie penned a poignant essay for Time in which she publicly announced that she was transgender. According to Josie, that essay was more for the public than herself. Her family had known she was transgender since she was in pre-school. It was simply time for the rest of the world to catch up. In the op-ed, she manifested a bright future for her career, writing that coming out would allow her a “clean slate — and a new world.”

Now 19, Josie's new world includes college, where she studies film and belongs to a sorority, and affirming roles in Netflix's No Good Nick and the upcoming Amy Poehler-directed film Moxie. “It feels extremely exhilarating and freeing to get to not only do what I love but be who I am,” Josie tells Teen Vogue. “It definitely makes my job a lot easier, and just makes it more fun ... not having to worry about everything that came with playing a different gender.” Josie’s latest role is in this fall’s highly-anticipated revival of Saved by the Bell.
And it had this to say about being a “mean girl,”
Josie plays Lexi: a sharp-tongued cheerleader, the epitome of a Gen Z Valley Girl, and the fashionista queen bee of Bayside High, who is also transgender. In the show, Lexi’s gender identity is not her biggest plot point and is instead treated as a matter of fact, something that excited Josie when showrunner Tracy Wigfield approached her for the role. “Getting to play a role that’s dynamic and interesting and more than what people think about on the outside is such a gift as an actor,” Josie says. “[Lexi is] this mean, fun, aspirational, fantastical character that also happens to be transgender — but it [isn’t] everything about her. That was really important to me and the people that I talked to in the trans community because so much of the trans representation in [media] has to do with struggle ... and that's only when it's done in favor of trans people, [most] of the time [the media] perpetuates the negative stigmas and stereotypes that create the erasure of trans people in our world.”

Josie worked alongside Tracy to build the character of Lexi and is the only member of the younger cast to have a producer credit on the show. Josie wanted to not only ensure that they were flipping the popular cheerleader archetype on its head, but to more importantly protect the integrity of a trans character on and off-screen. “It had become clear to me that I wasn't going to participate in a show that depicted a trans character as one of the leads but didn't have the representation in the writers' room or on the producing team,” shares Josie. “It didn’t feel just to me. I told Tracy, ‘I will do the show, but only if I get to serve as a producer.’ She was so accepting and supportive of that idea and she really pushed the studio for me to get to have that role. Getting to play this multidimensional character and actually get to serve as a producer, to the point where I had a say in her layers, was a super cool opportunity.”
At the end of the Teen Vogue article I think Josie sums it up pretty good…
“I just want to tell stories that haven’t been heard,” Josie expresses. “I want to highlight creators and storytellers that are marginalized like myself and get to be in things worth talking about... and that make people feel seen.”

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Sam’s Saturday 9

Sam’s Saturday 9: Black (2016)

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

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

1) This song was chosen because yesterday was Black Friday, the traditional day of sales. Have you begun your Christmas shopping?
Naw. Like years in the past, if you wait to the last minute to buy something, no fuss no muss just buy what’s left and let them exchange it for something they want.

2) Was there an adult beverage served with your Thanksgiving feast?
Since it was just me, no.

3) Did any pets enjoy scraps from your Thanksgiving table?
No pets

4) Are there any Thanksgiving leftovers in your refrigerator right now?
Well I never got to make Thanksgiving dinner, I was too bummed out and I just made a sandwich. So Friday night I made it.

First I was going to make homemade ice cream and I burned the mixture of eggs, cream and sugar. Next I dropped some pistachios and you know how when you reach just a little too far you pull your shoulder so with an aching arm I stooped down to pick them up from under the table, lost my balance and fell. Then the family Zoom get-together lasted longer than planned and it was just too late to make the Lobster Newburg and I wasn't hungry, so I just had a ham and pickle sandwich.

5) Football is a popular Thanksgiving weekend pastime. Will you be watching any games over the next few days? If yes, which team(s) are you rooting for?

6) This week's song is by Dierks Bentley. He wrote it for his wife, Cassidy Black, who appears in the video. They met in eighth grade, dated on and off, and then eloped when they were in their late 20s. Has anyone ever surprised you by going off and suddenly getting married?

7) 2016 was a good year for Bentley. This song was one of three hits he had that year, he co-hosted the CMAs and was nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year and Video of the Year. As 2020 winds to an end, do you feel it's been a successful year?
I think we should get a do-over for 2020 so on January 1st we start 2020 all over again just like it never happened.

8) In 2016, David Bowie died. Do you have a favorite Bowie song?
Space Oddity

9) Also in 2016, CBS telecast reran How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the 50th time. What's your favorite Dr. Seuss story?
Not really, my youth was a very, very long time ago and with no kids of my own I have picked up a Dr. Seuss book in decades. If I had to pick one it would be “A Very Crabby Christmas” the title sounds interesting.
However, I have been to the Theodor Geisel* museum exhibit in Springfield.

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!

*Theodor Geisel is Dr. Seuss’s real name. I bet you didn’t know that.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Have You Noticed?

That the number of LGBTQ+ bars are closing?
Bars for queer and transgender women are disappearing worldwide. Will they survive the pandemic?
The World
By Bianca Hillier
November 24, 2020

LGBTQ bars have been steadily disappearing for decades. In the 1980s, there were more than 1,500 LGBTQ bars in the US; now, there are less than 1,000. For bars catering to queer women, the plunge has been even steeper, with the number dropping from more than 200 lesbian bars in the 80s to just 15 today.

It’s not just in the US. Queer nightlife is shrinking around the world — from the UK to Turkey, and beyond — and now the coronavirus pandemic threatens to shutter even more queer nightlife spaces.

In the US, those 15 remaining bars continue to provide important and liberating experiences. Erica Rose, a queer filmmaker in New York, remembers the first time she walked into the legendary Manhattan bar, Cubbyhole
Rose and Street have teamed up to direct the Lesbian Bar Project. They’re raising money to celebrate and preserve the country’s 15 remaining lesbian bars, which they define as spaces for all marginalized genders within the LGBTQ community, including cisgender queer women, transgender queer women, nonbinary folks, and transgender men. People can donate to the month-long campaign through Nov. 25.
So what do they attribute the closing to?
But nailing down the reason for these closures can be tough. To start, non-male entrepreneurs get a tiny fraction of the investment money men do, so it is harder to open doors in the first place. Plus, according to a study in the UK, queer people get paid 16% less than cisgender, straight people. That means LGBTQ people may have less disposable income to spend on a night out.

Then there are the dating apps: queer adults are twice as likely as straight adults to use them, and therefore might not rely on going to bars to meet someone.

But Marshall says their research on queer nightlife points to something bigger.

“LGBTQ venues have occupied space that nobody else wanted to occupy,” Marshall said. “[This is] partly about accessibility. Partly, historically, because of stigma. And those kinds of spaces have gone on to be regenerated or become gentrified.”
That all makes sense and I would like to add to the reasons...marriage.

As more LGBTQ+ people get married they are not interested in the bar scene.

I think that there has been a shift of why LGBTQ+ go to be with other people. I say “be with other people” instead of picking up people because as the article said “there are apps for that.” I think people just want to be with other people and don’t like the bar scene. Some do, but I think that their numbers are dropping.

Personally I prefer a coffee shop, or someplace with folk music or an open mic. Before the plague struck I used to go a board game night once a month.

Maybe it is time to start looking for alternative for the bar scene.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

400 Hundred Years Ago…

The Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod and most of the history that we learned about it is wrong.

The New York Post has this article about the Pilgrims…
Pilgrims’ descendants defend their ancestors — and the history of America
By Peter W. Wood
November 21, 2020

Rebecca Locklear, 64, a 12th-generation Cape Codder, is a descendant of four of the families who arrived on the Mayflower in November 1620. She worries that society today, “is put into groups that are supposedly in a struggle against one another, rather than looking for commonality” — a view that opposes “the more open, inclusive society that the signers of the Mayflower Compact envisioned.”
Locklear and Whitaker both wrote to me after they read my recent New York Post essay, “This American Lie.” In it, I argued that The New York Times’ 1619 Project — which links the beginning of our country to the arrival of the first slaves on our shores in 1619 — is completely wrong. Instead, the Pilgrims’ signing of the Mayflower Compact in 1620 is a more accurate root of our nation, which is built on the idea that “all men are created equal.” Even before the Pilgrims and dozens of non-Pilgrims (or “Strangers” as the Pilgrims called them) stepped ashore in Plymouth, they set aside their deep divisions and voluntarily joined together to sign the Compact, agreeing to govern themselves with “just and equal laws.” After settling in Plymouth, this group lived in peace alongside their Native American neighbors, the Wampanoags, in a treaty that was unbroken for more than 50 years. In 1621, the autumn harvest meal between the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoags marked the first ever Thanksgiving feast in America.
Yes, the Mayflower Compact was an important document but they brought over slaves and indentured servants. And they didn’t live in peace with the indigenous population… Did you ever hear of the King Phillip War and the Pequot War?

First off the Mayflower wasn’t just carrying Pilgrims, there were also Brownists or Separatists who were fleeing England on board the Mayflower.
The Mayflower compact is a significant historical document, the "wave-rocked cradle of our liberties", as one historian evocatively put it. Signed by the Pilgrims and the so-called Strangers, the craftsmen, merchants and indentured servants brought with them to establish a successful colony, it agreed to pass "just and equal laws for the good of the Colony"1
The Mayflower first stop in “New World” (which was really only the “New World” if you came from Europe because the indigenous peoples lived here for tens of thousands of years.) wasn’t Provincetown, they first stopped in Newfoundland to resupply, probably at Renews in Newfoundland. And they were actually heading for the Hudson River where they had a charter from the Virginia Colony to settle.

The Pilgrims had slaves and indentured servants (a fancy word for slaves).
Just as their brutality has traditionally been downplayed, the Puritans' embrace of slavery has been ignored. Not only did the colonists import African slaves, they exported Native Americans. By the 1660s, half of the ships in Boston Harbour were involved in the slave trade. At least hundreds of indigenous Americans were enslaved.1
Provincetown was a known harbor, fishing fleets from England, France, Portugal, and Spanish ships all stopped there to resupply and get fresh water. The Grand Banks are only a couple of hundred miles offshore.

In an article in the Cape Cod Times they write...
Myth: The Pilgrims were the first Europeans to land in Southern New England and to interact with the Native people. 
The commonly told version of the 1620 Mayflower landing is that the Pilgrims were the first Europeans to step onto the shores of Massachusetts. According to historic accounts, however, Europeans had been visiting New England since at least the late 1400s. The Basques, English and French had a thriving fishing industry off the coast of Maine and New England. The first documented European to make contact with either the Narragansetts or the Wampanoags in Southern New England was Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano, who, in 1524, while sailing for the French, traveled up Narragansett Bay and traded with the Native people he found there. 6
The BBC article also mentioned earlier contacts with Europeans,
It's also a mistake to view the arrival of the Mayflower as the first interaction between white settlers and indigenous North Americans. Contact with Europeans had been going on for at least a century, partly because slave traders targeted Native Americans. When the pilgrims came ashore, a few members of the Wampanoag tribe could even speak English.1
While sitting out in Provincetown harbor they realized that they did have a charter to settle there and there were no laws governing them. So they got this idea… The Mayflower Compact.
Quickly, the Pilgrim leadership drafted a rudimentary constitution to “combine our selves together into a civil body politick”—which would, through democratic process, enact “just and equal laws…for the general good of the Colony.”
In reality, the signing was probably more of an informal affair, Pickering says. “The document was carried from person to person: ‘Here—sign this!’ There was also a bit of coercion involved. You weren’t getting off the boat until you signed.”2
And they were not good neighbors… They stole the Wampanoag food!

Oh look somebody buried corn in clay pots!
To narrow it down to the outermost areas of Cape Cod, the Nauset tribe, which was part of the Wampanoag Nation, would likely have been watching and wondering what the intentions of the Mayflower occupants were, Peters said.
“Certainly the Nausets didn’t write down (that) they were watching the Mayflower come ashore, but we absolutely know that they would have. You can’t pull that boat up to the coast and people not notice,” he said. “And for them, it must have been such an odd sight to all of a sudden see women and children step off the ship …”
The text also describes how the exploring party came across “heaps of sand” under which they found baskets of “fair Indian corn” and ears of corn of varying colors. The Englishmen dug up the food stores and stole them.
After stealing their food the Nausets said enough…
“I think they would have thought about that very carefully, and I think they were careful in how they responded,” he said. “Ultimately, they did respond in the ‘first encounter’... you know, shoot some arrows at them to say, ‘OK, time for you to move along. We don’t want to take the risk of having Europeans hanging around here.’ That ultimately pushed them over to Plymouth, which was just a short ride in the shallop for them to get there.”3
The Wampanoag tells their story for the 400 anniversary of the Mayflower…
The Wampanoag have lived in southeastern Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. They are the tribe first encountered by Mayflower Pilgrims when they landed in Provincetown harbor and explored the eastern coast of Cape Cod and when they continued on to Patuxet (Plymouth) to establish Plymouth Colony.
Chapter 1: Captured: 1614
In 1614, a European explorer kidnapped twenty Wampanoag men from Patuxet (now Plymouth) and seven more from Nauset on Cape Cod to sell them as slaves in Spain. Only one is known to have returned home: Tisquantum, who came to be known as Squanto. This tragic and compelling backstory to the colonization of Plymouth has been long overlooked comes to life in the exhibit’s dramatic images and video impact statements.
Chapter 3: The Great Dying – 2016
God’s Will or Unfortunate Circumstance?

Between 1616 and 1619 Native villages of coastal New England from Maine to Cape Cod were stricken by a catastrophic plague that killed tens of thousands, weakening the Wampanoag nation politically, economically and militarily.5
And then came the Mayflower.

As for the first "Thanksgiving" the indigenous peoples were not invited but can a running. 
Myth: The Pilgrims and Wampanoags came together in November 1621 for a Thanksgiving feast. 
There’s a lot to unpack with this one, and not just because it forms the basis of our country’s Thanksgiving Day story. 

First, while the Puritans did have “days of Thanksgiving” they were literally the opposite of a big, fun, family feast. They were usually days of fasting and prayer that maybe would be broken with a larger meal. 

Edward Winslow, in his writing about the first few years in Plymouth titled “Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims in Plymouth,” does mention a celebration marking the settlement’s first successful harvest, probably held around October 1621. Given the context, it certainly wasn’t a huge deal but it would later become one in modern America.

According to Winslow, despite the fact that the Wampanoags had allowed the Pilgrims to live on their land, provided them with aid and taught them how to successfully grow native crops, the Wampanoags were not invited to this celebration. They arrived only after the Pilgrims started shooting their guns into the air. Believing themselves to be under attack, the Wampanoags head sachem, Massasoit, showed up at the settlement with about 90 warriors expecting war. Instead, they found a celebration and they decided to stay, with their hunters bringing in five deer as a contribution. Rather than a happy celebration of camaraderie and partnership, the feast that would serve as the basis of the traditional Thanksgiving myth was actually quite a tense affair, fraught with political implications.6
Oh, by the way. The Trump administration just decertified the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, who have lived on the Cape for tens of thousands of years.The Guardian reported the decertified
Trump administration revokes tribe’s reservation status in ‘power grab’
Sign of willingness to use discretionary powers to attempt to take lands away from Native American tribes, advocacy group says

A tribe is losing reservation status for its more than 300 acres in Massachusetts, raising fears among Native American groups that other tribes could face the same fate under the Trump administration.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, which traces its ancestry to the Native Americans that shared a fall harvest meal with the Pilgrims in 1621, was notified late on Friday by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs that it will be rescinding its reservation designation and removing the land from federal trust, according to Cedric Cromwell, the tribe’s chairman.
The US Department of the Interior, which oversees Native American affairs, is obligated by a recent federal court decision to remove the special land designations, which were bestowed in 2015 under then President Barack Obama, according to Conner Swanson, an agency spokesman.

In February, the US court of appeals in Boston upheld a lower-court decision declaring the federal government had not been authorized to take land into trust for the Cape Cod-based tribe.4
The Pilgrims and the Mayflower have been romanticized and the truth has been swept under the rug and glossed over and now on the 400 anniversary of their landing in the “New World” is still trying to be whitewashed and the Trump is creating of the 1776 Commission to continue to whitewash history.

When I wrote this last weekend I didn't realize that there would be so many articles about this today in the news.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Off To A Good Start

President-elect Biden is off to a good start with his appointments he is nominating a diverse appointees to his transition team including a trans person.
Trans vet, Obama alum named member of Biden transition team
The Washington Blade
By Chris Johnson
November 11, 2020

The Biden transition team has named transgender veteran Shawn Skelly as a member of its agency review team as LGBTQ advocates are pushing the new administration to undo President Trump’s transgender military ban expeditiously.

Skelly, who co-founded Out in National Security, an affinity group for LGBTQ national security professionals, and served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 20 years as a naval flight officer, is named a member of the agency review team for the Defense Department in a news statement that went out Wednesday.

Ted Kaufman, a former U.S. senator and co-chair of the Biden-Harris transition team, said in a statement members of the agency review team would rigorously evaluate operations of federal agencies as Joe Biden prepares to take office as president.
Skelly was special assistant to the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics; coordinator of the Department of Defense Warfighter Senior Integration Group. Skelly also served as director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the Department of Transportation during the Obama-Biden administration.

President-elect Biden is going to change the harm done to the trans community.

However, don’t expect everything to change back to the way it was under the Obama administration because we now have hundreds of far-right judges and we will also have deal with the obstructionist Senate majority leader McConnell.

Many of Trump’s programs that have to be turned back can be done by executive orders, some will take policy changes which will take time for hearings and reviews, while others will take congressional acting which Mitch will probably block, and court cases could be blocked by the Supreme Court.

As the blessing/curse “May you live in interesting times.” is being fulfilled.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

It Has Started…

The attack on our rights by the judges appointed by Trump and McConnell. McConnell held up all of Obama and now our worst fear are being realized a federal court overturn the ban on Conversion Therapy.

There is something called judicial precedent which said is…
Judicial precedent means the process whereby judges follow previously decided cases where the facts are of sufficient similarity. The doctrine of judicial precedent involves an application of the principle of stare decisis ie, to stand by the decided. In practice, this means that inferior courts are bound to apply the legal principles set down by superior courts in earlier cases. This provides consistency and predictability in the law.
There have been dozens attempts to overturn bans from the practice of conversion therapy
U.S. top court rejects 'gay conversion' therapy ban challenge
By Andrew Chung
May 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left intact California’s ban on “gay conversion” therapy aimed at turning youths under age 18 away from homosexuality, rejecting a Christian minister’s challenge to the law asserting it violates religious rights.

The justices, turning away a challenge to the 2012 law for the second time in three years, let stand a lower court’s ruling that it was constitutional and neither impinged upon free exercise of religion nor impacted the activities of clergy members.

The law prohibits state-licensed mental health counselors, including psychologists and social workers, from offering therapy to change sexual orientation in minors. The Supreme Court in 2014 refused to review the law after an appeals court rejected claims that the ban infringed on free speech rights under U.S. Constitution’s the First Amendment.
So the nations highest court upheld the challenge of the based on the First Amendment not just once but twice.

Down in Florida federal judges threw out the judicial precedent ban on conversion therapy…
Federal court strikes down conversion therapy bans in Florida
Conversion therapy aims to change people’s sexual orientations or gender identities and is prohibited for minors in 20 states and Washington, D.C.
NBC News
By Reuters
November 22, 2020

A divided federal appeals court on Friday declared unconstitutional two south Florida laws that banned therapists from offering conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a 2-1 decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with two therapists who said the laws in the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County violated their free speech rights.

Circuit Judge Britt Grant said that while enjoining the laws “allows speech that many find concerning — even dangerous,” the First Amendment “does not allow communities to determine how their neighbors may be counseled about matters of sexual orientation or gender.”
Republican President Donald Trump appointed both judges in Friday’s majority.

Circuit Judge Barbara Martin, appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama, dissented, citing a compelling interest in protecting children from a “harmful therapeutic practice.”
This is horrible!

It flies in front of a long history of cases that rejected the First Amendment arguments and will cause endless grief of LGBTQ+ youth.
Let’s Look at this Appeals Court’s Incredibly Stupid Opinion Protecting ‘Conversion Therapy’
This outrageous twisting of facts by judges vetted by religious extremists may not be an outlier for long.
The Daily Beast
By Jay Michaelson
November 23, 2020

To understand the wrongness, ignorance, and just plain stupidity of the Eleventh Circuit’s decision to strike down a ban on so-called “conversion therapy,” consider this hypothetical:

A 15-year-old boy, “voluntarily” but actually forced by his parents, goes to see a therapist offering a “therapy” that has been condemned by the American Psychological Association and shown in numerous studies to be ineffective and indeed counterproductive. When the boy reveals he is considering suicide, the therapist says “You should just do it. If you’re feeling suicidal, that shows you are weak and undeserving to live. You’re pathetic.”

Should this be legal? Of course not. What a therapist says to a vulnerable client, especially an underage one, isn’t constitutionally protected “free speech.” It’s medical practice, like prescribing medication. And it’s malpractice to say something so dangerous and wrongheaded. Obviously.

Yet that is exactly the convoluted logic that two Trump-appointed judges just applied in Otto v. City of Boca Raton, which ruled that it was the constitutional right of two therapists to practice “conversion therapy” (now known as ‘sexual orientation change efforts’ or SOCE) and thus unconstitutional for two Florida municipalities to ban it.

Unbelievably, the court described the bans not as protections of the mental and physical health of children but as “the government… choosing favored and disfavored messages,” as if a therapist guiding a vulnerable teenager were no different from a protester on the street. They categorically denied that therapy is not speech but “conduct,” which of course it is; therapy is a medical practice. They said that the bans “limit a category of people—therapists—from communicating a particular message,” again, as if the therapists were simply writing an op-ed in a newspaper.

There is not one professional organization* that supports conversion therapy, not the American Medical Association (AMA), not the American Psychological Association (APA), not the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, not the American Academy of Pediatrics, American School Counselor Association, and not the National Association of Social workers (NASW).

Yet Trump’s judges have used rejected arguments that have been upheld by the Supreme Court and ignored the damage this will do LGBTQ+ children. My prediction is that this case will go all the way to the Supreme Court and win. The Supreme Court since the refusal to overturn the California case had three ultra conservative added to the bench who put their religious beliefs above the Constitution added to the bench.

*The American College of Pediatricians is against the ban and supports conversion therapy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center the ACP is…
The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a fringe anti-LGBTQ hate group that masquerades as the premier U.S. association of pediatricians to push anti-LGBTQ junk science, primarily via far-right conservative media and filing amicus briefs in cases related to gay adoption and marriage equality.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Another Pioneer Has Passed Away

We lost another trans woman who blazed the way for us.
Jan Morris, Celebrated Writer of Place and History, Is Dead at 94
In more than four dozen books, Morris explored foreign lands, her own Britain and her experience as a transgender woman.
New York Times
By Jonathan Kandell
November 20, 2020

Jan Morris, the acclaimed British journalist, travel writer and historian who wrote about history’s sweep and the details of place with equal eloquence and chronicled her life as a transgender woman, died on Friday in Wales. She was 94.

Her son Twm Morys said in an email that she died in a hospital near the village of Llanystumdwy, where she lived. He did not give the cause.

As James Morris she was a military officer in one of Britain’s most renowned cavalry regiments and then a daring journalist who climbed three-quarters of the way up Mount Everest for an exclusive series of dispatches from the first conquest of that mountain, the world’s highest.
Then she began her journey in to gender transition.
It was in the early 1960s that Ms. Morris met with a prominent New York endocrinologist, Dr. Harry Benjamin, an early researcher on transgender people.

He advised her on a slow process of transition that began with heavy doses of female hormones — some 12,000 pills from 1964 to 1972, according to the writer’s own calculations. Ms. Morris wrote, “I was about to change my form and apparency — my status, too, perhaps my place among my peers, my attitudes no doubt, the reactions I would evoke, my reputation, my manner of life, my prospects, my emotions, possibly my abilities.”
She complained that her transition had distracted from her writing accomplishments. “I do object to it being dragged in, for example, when I write a book about the British Empire,” she said on “CBS Sunday Morning” in 2000. Nonetheless, she repeated on the program her prediction that the headlines on her obituaries would read: “Sex-change author dies.”
A beautiful woman died, a woman with a spirit of adventure and skills to write about it.

When I was coming out an exploring the world outside the closet I came across her book ‘Conundrum’ but I never finished it, she didn’t write style that I liked, it was too British and too high brow for me.

We own a lot to her and those who broke trail before us.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

It Took Awhile, But…

IBM finally saw the light!

Did you know as you read this on your computer, or table, or smartphone that a trans woman made all that happen? That because of her invention modern computers are possible?

Yes, a trans woman made all that possible and just a few of her awards are…
  • Fellow of the IEEE, 1985, "for contributions to VLSI technology
  • National Achievement Award, Society of Women Engineers 1990
  • Presidential Appointment to the United States Air Force Academy Board of Visitors, 1996
  • Computer Pioneer Award, IEEE Computer Society, 2009
  • Fellow Award, American Association for the Advance of Science (AAAS), 2016
Now IBM has…
IBM Apologizes For Firing Computer Pioneer For Being Transgender...52 Years Later
By Jeremy Alicandri
November 18, 2020

You’ve likely never heard of 82-year-old computer scientist Lynn Conway, but her discoveries power your smartphones and computers. Her research led to successful startups in Silicon Valley, supported national defense, and powered the internet.

Long before becoming a highly respected professor at the University of Michigan, Conway was a young researcher with IBM IBM -0.2%. It was there, on August 29, 1968, that IBM’s CEO fired her for reasons that are illegal today. Nearly 52 years later, in an act that defines its present-day culture, IBM apologized and sought forgiveness.
In 1964, Conway joined IBM Research, where she made major innovations in computer design, ensuring a promising career in the international conglomerate (IBM was the 7th largest corporation in the world at the time). Recently married and with two young daughters, she lived a seemingly perfect life. But Conway faced a profound existential challenge: she had been born as a boy.
Despite cultural clichés at that time, both her immediate family and IBM’s divisional management were accepting and supportive. However, when IBM’s Corporate Medical Director learned of her plans in 1968, he alerted CEO Thomas J. Watson, Jr., who fired Conway to avoid the public embarrassment of employing a transwoman.

Now many of you were not even alive back then, but when I was in college studying electronics there was a joke that you could spot an IBM salesman a mile away. First there were only men selling IBM products and second they all looked the same, they wore blue suits, white shirts with button-down collars, blue ties, and had flattop haircut.
Even so, she pressed on with her social, hormonal, and surgical transition, and began seeking employment as a woman in a secret new identity in early 1969. First finding work as a contract programmer, Conway rapidly ascended the career ladder. By 1971, she was working as a computer architect at Memorex Corporation. Her rising reputation led to her recruitment by the (soon to become famous) Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1973.

In 1977, while leading PARC research into enhanced methods for computer chip design, Conway began co-authoring a book on the methods with Carver Mead, a professor at Caltech. On sabbatical from PARC as a visiting professor at MIT, she created and taught an experimental course on Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) chip design based on the draft of her textbook with Mead.
In the 80s where I worked they were designing custom integrated circuits (IC) and when I was in a meeting about the product I asked about learning more about the process and one of the engineers on the project gave me the book Introduction to VLSI Systems by Lynn Conway and Carver Mead. Almost twenty years later I learned about Lynn Conway and I remembered reading the book, at the time no one knew she was trans.
For over 30 years, from 1968 onward, Conway never revealed she was transgender (excepting close friends, relatives, HR offices, and security-clearance agencies). However, in 1999, when computer historians began investigating her early innovations at IBM, she foresaw the inevitability of public outing. With the support of her husband Charlie (they’ve been together since 1987) she chose to reveal her gender history online, including the reason she had left IBM.
Back then on a slow day at work I surfed the web looking up websites that had articles about the old computers that I learned programing on… IBM 1620 and IBM 360 computers. On one website I read about IBM 360 ACS (Advanced Computing Systems) and about this researcher who came up with dynamic instruction handling and then work got in the way of my reading about this so I booked marked the page. Months later I found the bookmarked and went to article… but the article now says Lynn Conway, hun? I remember that the it was about a man who discovered the dynamic instruction handling subroutine. Hmm… I wonder? I did a google search of her name and found this…
Lynn's Story
This is the story of a woman who made amazing contributions to society,
in spite of intense ostracism and stigmatization just for trying to be herself,
and how she did it by taking on a secret new identity, and living her life in "stealth mode".
Oh yeah, what she discover it is simply this.
Until her discovery all mathematical calculations were done on a computer one at a time and she thought… If A plus B equals C, and D times E equal F, and G divided H equals I then all the calculations can be done at the same time because they are independent variables and not dependent upon one another. It sped up the processing times.

So now every time you pick up your smartphone or surf the web… remember a trans woman made it possible.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Saturday 9

Sam’s Saturday 9: Walking on Broken Glass (1992)

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

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

1) Annie sings that she feels she's walking on broken glass. What's the most recent item you broke?
I forget, it was a couple of weeks ago and I remember that I was mad at myself for breaking it. But like a bruise, you forget what you did. 

2) She sings about being cut until she bleeds. Tell us about a time you needed stitches.
Actually in all my years of living I only had stitches once and to this day I remember it. I was about 10 years old at the time and we were in a car accident… This was long before padded dashboard, air bags, and seat belts. We were on the Merritt Parkway Easter afternoon coming back from visiting my father’s mother and somebody threw a cigarette that caught the grass on fire. The smoke blew across the highway and the next instant we were in a seven car pileup.
When I hit the dash I almost bit off my tongue and I needed stitches. My mother got the worst of it, she was scalped. She had the visor down to block the setting sun but she didn’t have it pushed toward the window, it was at about a 45 degree angle facing toward her and on impact she was thrown forward and the visor peeled back her scalp.

Here is my pet peeve: Don’t put your feet up on dashboard, in the event of a low speed accident it can kill you.

A woman at work was in an accident going about 10 mph and had he feet up on the dash, when the air bags went off it drove her legs and knees into her chest. It fractured both her knees and hips, the EMTs said she was lucky to be alive because most times it drives your knees into your chest killing you.

When she stopped by to see HR I talked to her. She had seven operations with more to come but she said she will always need a walker to get around.

3) This week's featured artist, Annie Lennox, was born on Christmas Day. Do you know anyone whose birthday falls on a holiday?
Yes, my grand niece was born on the 4th of July.

4) When Annie met Dave Stewart, with whom she'd form the duo The Eurthmyics, she was living in Australia and staying in a tiny apartment called a bedsit. The occupant has his/her own combination bedroom/livingroom with cooking facilities, but must share a bathroom. Tell us about one of your early apartments.
My one and only apartment with with six other college students, four guys and two women in a three bedroom and one really large closet apartment.

5) After the Eurythmics broke up, Annie went out on her own. Would you rather work independently, or as part of a group?
I worked both ways and it doesn’t matter.

6) Among her many honors, Annie Lennox was named chancellor of Scotland's Glasgow Calledonia University. What's the last college campus you visited? What brought you there?
Oh, none lately. It has been all on Zoom. I think the last time was when I was on a committee for the Yale School of Nursing we were working to get a grant to start a new clinic.

7) In 1992, the year this song was recorded, compact discs outsold cassette tapes for the first time. Back in the day, did you enjoy making your own mix tapes?
Oh yes, I had the only 8-track recorder (Mommy what is an 8-track?) in the dorm so everyone was stopping by to make their own 8-track tapes

8) Also in 1992, Johnny Carson made his last appearance as host of The Tonight Show. The catchphrase, "Here's Johnny!" was associated with the show. Can you think of another popular TV catchphrase?
“Bang, zoom, to the moon, Alice!”

9) Random question: Think of your past week. Now look ahead to the coming week. Would you like it to be more, or less, exciting?
Well since I am hibernating, all the weeks blend into one another. My big excitement is watching the squirrels trying to reach the bird feeder.

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, November 20, 2020

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Every November 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance is when we remember the trans-people who were murdered in the last 12 months. They were murdered for who they were; not for money or passion but were murdered but because of hate. They were killed because they had the courage to live their lives as the person they were.

This year’s TDoRs are going to be unlike any in the past and memorial services will be held virtually. I am still debating whether or not I want to attend the virtual services. When I went to my first TDoR on 2001 and it was very emotional for me as I read the name of Ontwon Curtis, I cried while I read her name. She was a stranger to me but we shared a common trait, we were both trans. It never gets easy reading the names. I’m thinking it might be too emotionally to watch by myself.

Corbin Ray Bach, 23, Oct 6th, 2019, Paducah, Kentucky
Christine Zephier, 23, Oct 10th, 2019, Mankato, Minnesota
Daphne Dorman, 44, Oct 11th, 2019, San Francisco, California
Brianna “BB” Hill, 30, Oct 14th, 2019, Kansas City, Missouri
Nikki Kuhnhausen, 17, Dec 7th, 2019, Larch Mountain, Oregon
Angel Rose Garcia, 21, Dec 10th, 2019, Hyattsville, Maryland
Alice Carter ("Baby Alice"), 35, Dec 18th, 2019, Washington, D. C.
Yahira Nesby, 33, Dec 19th, 2019, Brooklyn, New York
Mia Penny, 26, Dec 29th, 2019, Washington, D.C.
Dustin Parker, 25, Jan 1st, 2020, McAlester, Oklahoma
Alex McCray, 22, Jan 4th, 2020, St. Louis, Missouri
Camila María Concepción, 28, Feb 21st, 2020, Los Angeles, California
Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, Feb. 24th, Puerto Rico
Yampi Mendez Arocho, 19, March 5th, 2020, Puerto Rico
John Scott Devore/Scottlyn Kelly Devore, 51, Mar 12th, 2020, Augusta, Georgia
Monica Diamond, 34, Mar 18th, 2020, Charlotte, North Carolina
Lexi "Ebony" Sutton, 33, Mar 28th, 2020, Harlem, New York
Lorena Borjas, 59, Mar 30th, 2020, Queens, New York
Ashley Moore, 26, Apr 1st, 2020, Newark, New Jersey
Henrietta Robinson, 79, Apr 3rd, 2020, Miami, Florida
Johanna Metzger, , Apr 11th, 2020, Baltimore, Maryland
Penelope Diaz Ramirez, April 13th, 2020 Puerto Rico
Serena Angelique Velazquez Ramos, April 21st, 2020 Puerto Rico
Layla Pelaez Sanchez, 21, April 21st, 2020 Puerto Rico
Nina Pop, 28, May 3rd, 2020, Sikeston, Missouri
Helle Jae O’Regan, 20, May 6th, 2020, San Antonio, Texas
Jayne Thompson, 33, May 9th, 2020, Orchard Mesa, Colorado
Tony McDade, 38, May 27th, 2020, Tallahassee, Florida
Selena Reyes-Hernandez, 37, May 31st, 2020, Marquette Park, Chicago, Illinois
Name Unknown, Age 16 to 20, Jun 6th, 2020, Chicago, Illinois
Riah Milton, 25, Jun 9th, 2020, Liberty Township, Cincinnati, Ohio
Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells, 27, Jun 9th, 2020, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Brian Powers ("Eagle"), Jun 13th, 2020, Akron, Ohio
Brayla Stone, 17, Jun 25th, 2020, Sherwood, Arkansas
Tatiana Hall, 22, Jun 30th, 2020, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Merci Mack Richey, 22, Jun 30th, 2020, Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas
Draya McCarty, 28, Jun 30th, 2020, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Shaki Peters, 32, Jul 1st, 2020, Amite City, Louisiana
Bree Black, 27, Jul 3rd, 2020, Pompano Beach, Florida
Summer Taylor, 24, Jul 4th, 2020, Seattle, Washington
Angela Martinez Gómez, 42, Jul 6th, 2020, Santa Monica, California
Marilyn Monroe Cazares, 22, Jul 13th, 2020, Brawley, California
Tiffany Harris or ("Dior H Ova"), 32, Jul, 26th, 2020, The Bronx, New York
Queasha Hardy, 24, Jul 27th, 2020, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears or ("Rocky Rhone"), 32, Jul 28th, 2020, Portland, Oregon
Kee Sam, 24, Aug 13th, 2020, Lafayette, Louisiana
Shelley Lynn Rose, 16, Aug 26th, 2020
Elie Che, 23, Aug 31st, 2020, The Bronx, New York
Isabella Mia Lofton, 21, Sep 7th, 2020, Brooklyn, New York
Gia Valentina Romualdo Rodríguez, 46, Sep 15th, 2020, Miami, Florida
Aerrion Burnett, 37, Sep 19th, 2020, Independence, Missouri
Mia Green, 29, Sep 28th, 2020, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Michelle “Michellyn” Ramos Vargas, 33, September 30th, 2020, Puerto Rico
The list of names is from PFLAG and is from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020


I have seen the musical twice the first time was at the Hartford Stage Company and the second time on Broadway with Neil Patrick Harris and the first time the lead was played by Anthony Rapp.

Down under there is a protest over the lead role in the musical.
'It's not about cancel culture': Hedwig and the Angry Inch postponed after trans-led petition
One of Sydney festival’s flagship shows will no longer go ahead, after the casting of Hugh Sheridan drew ire from sectors of the queer community
The Guardian
By Kelly Burke
18 November 2020

The actor who launched a petition that led to Sydney festival’s cancellation of Hedwig and the Angry Inch has spoken out about why they believe “it’s time to make change happen” when it comes to casting transgender roles.

The January festival announced the postponement of rock musical and seminal queer show Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Tuesday, following a flood of complaints over the casting of a cis male in the title role.

The Packed to the Rafters actor Hugh Sheridan was announced to be playing the role of Hedwig, a complex genderqueer character, in early November.
Okay so what are they protesting? They want a trans actor to play the part of Hedwig.
Since launching a social media campaign on Monday, Daya Czepanski has collected more than 1,700 signatories expressing the transgender community’s “profound sadness and disappointment” over the casting of “a cisgender male as a transgender character”.

“[This] is offensive and damaging to the trans community, and continues to cause genuine distress and frustration amongst trans and gender non conforming performers all across Australia,” the open letter posted on Instagram said. It called on the show’s producer and the Sydney festival to “rectify this casting choice” by casting a transgender actor in the title role, employing “trans advocates on the [Sydney festival] creative team”, and including “trans advisors and talent” in the Hedwig production.
Who knows the story of Hedwig, raise your hand.

Hmm… I don’t see many hands raised.

Well the story is about a teenager in East Germany in the 1970s, an American soldier is smitten with Hansel Schmidt (Hedwig) and the soldier concocts a plan to get Hansel out of East Germany by having a “sex change operation” (I didn’t use “Gender Confirming Surgery” because he was never diagnosed with gender dysphoria) then they can marry.
“It’s not about cancel culture,” Czepanski said, from their Covid-19 quarantine hotel in Christchurch, New Zealand. “It’s just about bringing an awareness that systemic change needs to happen from the ground up, and if we can fix the root cause of the problem we can work towards a healthy environment for non-cis trans artists.
“I don’t have all the clear answers; it’s a developing conversation, but it’s a conversation that needs to happen,” they continued. “It’s time to make change happen, and we can’t use the past as an excuse to not make that change.”
Those who follow my blog know that I am a support of trans characters play by trans actresses/actors so the conversation boils down to is Hedwig trans?
John Cameron Mitchell, an American actor, playwright, screenwriter and director who created Hedwig and originated the role, has previously said that he does not see Hedwig as a trans character, and that it was a role that could be played by anyone.
“Hedwig was forced into kind of an accidental trans state by political and by patriarchal pressures,” Mitchell told Buzzfeed. “I’ve seen trans people [play] it, I’ve seen female people do it … the feelings and the ideas are more important than the attributes of the person playing it physically or age-wise.”
The counter argument is...
“We are in a different time now, and we are trying to find a way to have these discussions,” she said.
So what do you think? Is Hedwig trans?

survey services

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

At One Time…

“Religious Freedom” freedom to worship now it is being morphed into freedom to discriminate under guise of religion. There was a test that the Supreme Court did to see is a law was biased against religion, if a law was religiously neutral then it didn’t violate the First Amendment but that is being changed by today’s courts.
Amy Coney Barrett sizes up 30-year-old precedent balancing religious freedom with rule of law
The Conversation
By Mark Satta
November 13, 2020

Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s first week as an active Supreme Court justice began on Nov. 2 and almost immediately included a case that could test her credentials as a religious conservative.

On the surface, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which was argued in front of the court on Nov. 4, concerns whether the city can require organizations it partners with to accept same-sex couples as foster parents.

But underneath are questions about how Barrett and her fellow justices will deal with a decades-old Supreme Court ruling that could have wider implications for religious liberty cases.

Foster care
The case in front of the justices concerns how Philadelphia partners with private organizations – both religious and secular – to find homes for children in foster care. In 2018, Philadelphia learned that two organizations, Catholic Social Services and Bethany Christian Services, had religiously motivated policies against placing children with same-sex couples in violation of Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance.

Philadelphia stopped sending foster care placement requests to these organizations as a result, prompting Catholic Social Services to sue.

Lawyers for Catholic Social Services argue that Philadelphia’s response violates First Amendment protections of religion and speech. Two lower federal courts ruled in Philadelphia’s favor. It is now up to the Supreme Court to decide whether the lower courts got it right.

Based on the questions asked during oral arguments, Fulton could well be decided on technical grounds over whether Catholic Social Services is a contractor or licensee of Philadelphia. But from my perspective as an attorney and First Amendment scholar, Barrett’s questions during oral arguments are of significant interest in considering the future of First Amendment law as it pertains to religious freedom.

Specifically, they suggest that Barrett is examining a key piece of First Amendment precedent: Employment Division v. Smith.
The case that is often cited was Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) where according to Middle Tennessee State University…
That three-prong test articulated by the Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) is used by the high court and other federal courts to determine whether government has violated the First Amendment principle of church-state separation. Even though the word neutrality does not appear in the Lemon test, many scholars and judges have interpreted the test’s commands to mean that government must be neutral in matters of religion — that is, laws and government actions should have a secular purpose, should neither advance nor inhibit religion, and should not foster an excessive entanglement with religion. Over the years, various justices have tinkered with and criticized the Lemon test, but the Court has never overruled it.
The Lemon Test named after the Lemon v. Kurtzman case says,
  • First the court must first determine whether the law or government action in question has a bona fide secular purpose.
  • Second, a court would ask whether the state action has the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion.
  • Third the court must consider whether the action excessively entangles religion and government.
The other case cited was the Employment Division v. Smith, in that case “Smith and Galen Black were fired from their jobs as private drug rehabilitation counselors for ingesting peyote as part of a sacrament of the Native American Church” this is somewhat similar to arrest someone under age for taking communion because they had wine.

The Conversation article goes to say,
In writing the court’s opinion in favor of the state, Justice Antonin Scalia recognized that without some kind of limit on the Constitution’s religious free exercise clause, laws could become meaningless.

He held that the Constitution does not allow religious adherents to violate a “neutral law of general applicability,” by which he meant a law that applies to everyone and does not favor or disfavor people based on their religion or lack thereof. Because Oregon’s law was neutral and generally applicable, the state’s refusal to exempt religious peyote use from its drug laws was deemed constitutional.
What Justice Barrett is trying to do is overturn the Lemon test and as Justice Scalia warned about is creating two separate case laws where laws could become meaningless.

The bottom line.

Right now non-discrimination laws work because the laws are religiously neutral, they don’t single out any religion but only apply to houses of worship and their clergy but if the Lemon test and religiously neutral test gets thrown out then anyone can claim that they are exempt from the law.

Why is this important to you? [Rant: When I post topic on the law, they are the least read posts. It seems like many in the trans community are just not interested, their eyes glaze over and roll in their head.]

If you are a member of the trans community and if Justice Barrett prevails… all the non-discrimination laws are null and void. Think about that for a second. Do you want to be forced back into the closet? Do you want to be rushed in to an emergency room after a car accident and be refused treatment because it is a religious hospital? Do you want to walk into a restaurant and be refused service?

Do you know the biggest landlord in Connecticut is the Catholic Church. If Justice Barrett prevails they could refuse to rent to us or unmarried couples or anything else that they see as a sin.

This is not far fetched idea… this is happening NOW. I know someone who slipped and fell on some ice and the staff refused to treat her, they told to go home and take two aspirin. She fractured her spine and hip in the fall. It was a hospital here in Connecticut not down south someplace.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Our Hormones

My insurance covers hormones, if you have private insurance here in Connecticut your hormones are covered but in many other states they are not and if you have ERISA* though your employer you might not get your hormones covered.

Here in the U.S. most of us either get our insurance through our employers or through Medicaid. You lose your job and you lose your insurance however, you covered for eighteen months by COBRA**.

So where does that leave you if you do not have health insurance or Medicaid? Where do you get your hormones if you are paying out of pocket.
Transgender Adults Often Forced to Seek Unlicensed Hormone Therapy
— Many are uninsured, others have claims denied, study shows
MedPage Today
By Jeff Minerd
November 9, 2020

Transgender adults are commonly denied insurance coverage for gender-affirming hormone therapy, and substantial numbers thus turn to unlicensed, nonprescription options that carry potential health risks, researchers reported.

A cross-sectional analysis of 27,715 transgender adults from a national survey found that approximately 21% reported having their insurance claims denied, said Daphna Stroumsa, MD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues.

As shown in their study online in Annals of Family Medicine, use of nonprescription hormones was more common among those whose claims were denied (OR 2.53, 95% CI 1.61-3.97, P<0.001) as well as among the uninsured (OR 2.64, 95% CI 1.88-3.71, P<0.0001).

Overall, 9.17% of transgender adults who said they were taking hormone therapy indicated they were using non-prescription sources, such as getting the medication from friends or online, a percentage that translates to approximately 75,000 individuals.

I have to disclose that when I first started out on hormones my health insurance would not cover my hormones. My monthly out-of-pocket expense was about $300 while I could order my hormones from a New Zealand based pharmacy for $100 which I did. I was nervous about ordering from there but I figured that since my endo was monitoring my hormones levels ever six months I went New Zealand pharmacy.

I had excellent health insurance at the time but it was through the company’s ERISA policy so I wasn’t covered by Connecticut law and the company was based out of state so it was not bound by Connecticut law. But when I went on Medicare all that changed because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had a ruling that we were covered under Medicare and Medicaid so I now get my hormones covered.

If you live in Connecticut there are a couple of policies that require coverage for us.

First is the oldest ruling, in 2013 the Connecticut Insurance commissioner issued a statement,
December 19, 2013

Then in 2014 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ruled that Medicare cannot categorically exclude treatment for gender dysphoria, including transition-related care.

Then on April 15 of this year the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) issued a ruling that in part said,
Insurance policies that categorically refuse to consider certain procedures for certain people on the basis of their race, sex, or sexual orientation are facially discriminatory. So too are such exclusions for transgender people on the basis of gender identity, a condition unique to them.
Transgender people are uniquely reliant on medical services to help them treat gender dysphoria – to avoid both personal distress as well as future violence and discrimination. The State cannot permit itself, its agents, and its municipalities to discriminate against this vulnerable group of people.
Even though it was aimed at health insurance policies offered by the State of Connecticut and municipalities it was a warning to the insurance companies that they must cover health insurance for us.

*The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established retirement and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans.

**The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events. Qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102% of the cost to the plan.

Monday, November 16, 2020

We Did Good… NO! We Did Great!

Now that the election is a couple of weeks behind us now, it is amazing the number of trans and gender non-conforming candidates that won.
Trans And Nonbinary Candidates Set Record Wins In Red And Blue States
By David Garcia and Piper McDaniel
November 9, 2020

In the 2020 general election, voters elected six transgender candidates to state office, a historic turn that will increase the number of trans elected officials in state legislatures from four to seven nationwide.

"For the entire LGBTQ community, but especially for trans people, these victories are incredibly meaningful and indicate a growing level of acceptance that definitely was not there just a few years before," says Elliot Imse, Senior Director of Communications at LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Openly trans candidates were elected, or reelected, in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, New Hampshire and Vermont. The LGBTQ Victory Fund reports that the total number of transgender elected officials nationwide will jump from an existing 28 to 32 when new winners take office next year.

Illinois set a milestone electing its first openly transgender person, Jill Rose Quinn, as a judge in Cook County. Voters in Oklahoma elected Mauree Turner, the first nonbinary person to serve in a state legislature, to state House District 88. Turner is also the first Muslim lawmaker to serve in Oklahoma.
"It's inspiring for the trans community. Ten years ago, no one would have thought that transgender people could win elected office, let alone in Oklahoma or Kansas. And now, we're seeing boundaries broken all the time," says Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Deputy Executive Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality.
This is really amazing!

When I was just poking my head to test the transition waters, I would never in my wildest dreams believed that a trans person would be sitting in Congress.
"Every single victory has an impact that extends well beyond the boundaries of a district [where] that trans candidate won. It inspires trans people to run in their district or home state and it also humanizes trans people for the American public, which is extremely important in moving equality forward," says Isme [sic... Imse Senior Director of Communications at LGBTQ Victory Fund].
The voters didn’t want the hate that Trump and his cronies have been spewing.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

They Actually Encouraged Us To Change Our Birth Certificates.

They wanted us to get jobs and marry, they wanted us to be productive members of society.

Who are “they?” It was the Republican party. Yes the Republican party but that was back in the 60s. In 1965 ten states have passed laws to allow changes to birth certificates and many of them were Republican states.*

But now…
How Birth Certificates Are Being Weaponized Against Trans People
A century ago, these documents were used to reinforce segregation. Today, they’re being used to impose binary identities on transgender people.
The Atlantic
By Garrett Epps Professor of constitutional law at the University of Baltimore
June 8, 2018

Six decades later, however, Plecker’s ghost still sometimes shows his face—most recently in litigation about the rights of transgender Americans.

Plecker was Virginia’s registrar of vital statistics from 1912 to 1946. He played a leading role in creating and enforcing the grotesque racial dictatorship called segregation, which ruled the South from the 1890s until 1964—and whose heritage still divides and degrades the region today.

When Plecker took office, the birth certificate was a relative novelty—a Progressive-era reform pushed in part as a eugenics measure to protect old-stock white America from nonwhites and immigrants. Plecker’s article, “A Standard Certificate of Birth,” published in 1914, was one of the first to advocate for nationwide registration of a baby’s birthdate, age, sex, “legitimacy,” and race. It urged that the forms be worded simply enough to be understood by midwives—to suit “the infantile intellects of our host of grannies, who hold in their dirt-laden hands the lives of thousands of mothers and infants.”
The birth certificate was invented in-part to enforce racism and xenophobia just before the “War to End All Wars”
Plecker would, I suspect, not be surprised to learn that in 2018, the birth certificate is being used as a weapon against transgender people. To him, the birth certificate always was a weapon; he deployed it in a nearly 40-year campaign of racial terrorism against Virginia’s black residents—and a disturbingly successful attempt at what Coleman calls “pencil genocide” against the state’s Native American population. It was particularly powerful in his hands because he was one of the architects of Virginia’s notorious Racial Integrity Act, passed in 1924 to prevent racially mixed marriages. Enforcing the Act required the state to maintain comprehensive records of its residents’ race. The race had to be recorded on the birth certificate, and Plecker policed that record-keeping ruthlessly. The birth certificate, he believed, was a key part of preserving the purity of the white race. Under the law, there were two and only two answers: “white” or “colored.” The notation was important: It would determine whom the individual could marry, where he or she could seek medical care, and even where he or she could be buried.
It seems clear, however, that what we call birth certificates are not scientific or medical documents. When a baby is born, hospitals fill out and file what is called a form attesting to a “live birth,” which contains information about parentage, weight, sex, and general health and is shared with public-health authorities. The birth certificate, issued later, is primarily used as a form of identification. It is frequently altered later in life—most commonly after adoption, when most states allow the adoptive parent or parents to be substituted for those recorded at birth. Transgender people seek the same opportunity to make their birth certificates match their present identity.
When the birth certificate bill was being passed there were many Republicans who claimed it was a historic document and shouldn’t be changed. But as the article points out it is used for identification and proof of citizenship.

And the only place you actually need your birth certificate is when you are applying for a job, your driver license, or a passport.
The opposition to recognition of transgender status makes the claim, first and foremost, that they are sticking up for science. There are two and only two sexes, male and female, they argue, and one is born one or the other. “Biology isn’t bigotry,” Ryan Anderson, a senior researcher at the Heritage Foundation and the author of When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, told a panel at Heritage. The emerging contrary medical consensus, Anderson argues, has come about because “transgender activists … [have] co-opted many professional associations for their cause.”
We know that is crap. There are dozens of chromosome combinations; XX and XY are the two most common combinations but there is also XXY, XYY, XXXY, and just X. And then there are Mosaic individuals who have two sets of chromosomes. Then there the proteins that determine gender such as 5-alpha reductase or they have Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). Nature is always experimenting.

So why did the Republican party shift away from us? Well in one word… votes.

When the Republicans crawled into bed with the Evangelical Christians, the Evangelical Christians hated anything LGBTQ+ and so the Republicans hated anything LGBTQ+.

When the trans non-discrimination bill in 2011 passed it was straight down party lines but when the bill was originally introduced in 2007 the vote in the Senate was bipartisan.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Sam's Saturday 9

Saturday 9: All of Me (2013)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
I missed the last couple of Saturday 9 because I had a broken water pipe at the cottage and it kept me busy going up and back to the Cape on Saturdays.

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

1) John Legend sings he loves his woman's "perfect imperfections." Tell us something quirky or imperfect about a loved one that you would not change.
If you try to change someone then they become someone who they are not… let it be.

2) John wrote this love song to his wife, Chrissy Teigen. The couple recently lost their baby after pregnancy complications. To whom did you most recently send a sympathy (or "thinking of you") card or message?
I haven’t had to send one in a very long time. Not that I haven’t lost a friend it just that was no one to send it to.

3) While adventurous in his creative career choices, John admits his taste in food leans toward the tried and true. His favorites are chicken (rotisserie or fried), macaroni and cheese, and steamed vegetables. What's on your weekend menu?
Not much, whatever I can scrape together.
But I have my Thanksgiving’s dinner for one planned already.
Lobster Newburg in pastries shells
Tossed salad
Dessert homemade Pistachio ice cream

Thinking about it just now, I think that I will grill a steak on the hibachi and German Potato salad, it might be the last time to cook outside for the season.

4) When he was growing up, John's mother, Phyllis, helped support the family as a seamstress. Are you any good with a needle and thread?
Ha! I can do simple mending and repair but my stitches will not win any awards.

5) As a child, he was such a big fan of Andy Griffith and Matlock that he wanted to be a lawyer. If you grew up to have the same occupation as the TV character you liked best as a kid, what would you be doing?
Riding a horse named Silver and chasing down outlaws.

6) John is a judge on The Voice. Do you watch that show? Or America's Got Talent, or American Idol?
Nope, nope, & nope.
I don’t watch any of those shows nor “reality” shows

7) In 2013, the year this song was popular, twin baby pandas were born at Zoo Atlanta. Their panda parents had been given to the US as a gift from the Chinese, with the understanding that any offspring would be given to China. So, in 2016, the panda cubs were flown to a Chinese conservation center. They had a hard time adjusting at first, confused by jet lag, unresponsive when spoken to in Chinese, unimpressed by their new diet. Have you ever found yourself similarly overwhelmed when you traveled far from home? (BTW, the pandas are doing just fine now in their permanent Chinese home.)
Oh yeah,
I got in to the Seattle airport at midnight local 3 AM east coast time

8) Also in 2013, The Pope posted his first tweet. What social media platforms do you regularly use?
Just Facebook... I'm friends with some Saturday 9 regulars. 

9) Random question: Have you ever a) written something on a public wall or b) carved anything into a tree of bench?

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, November 13, 2020

With The Holiday Season Upon Us…

 Let us remember all those without family and have no place to go these holidays.

This year is going to be a strange holiday season with the virus, even those with family will find themselves isolated from friends and family. The holidays are an especially lonely time, they might have been estranged from their family since they came out to them or their families and children have disowned them and for them Thanksgiving is a time when they feel their loss the greatest. Thanksgiving is a time where we reflect on all that we have been thankful for the year but for those of us it could also be a time a great sadness while they see others around them celebrating during the holiday seasons. So if you feel safe in the time of the virus, let us open our hearts and doors to them and invite them to the table.

That is the case with me, my brother’s family are scattered to the four winds along the eastern seaboard from the Carolina's to Maine. So right now it looks like we are having a zoomgiving, probably scheduled around football games.

So I have been putting my Thanksgiving dinner menu...
Lobster Newburg in pastries shells
Tossed salad
Dessert homemade Pistachio ice cream

Last month was my birthday and my brother and sister-in-law gave me this birthday card that brought tears to my eyes.