Friday, December 31, 2021

My New Year’s Predictions.

It is the time of the year to gaze into the crystal ball and see what the future will hold.

Sadly the crystal ball is foggy showing three paths where there can only be one. But first off about the plague, I see us getting a yearly shot when we get the flu shot. The flu shot that we get every year is for the 1918 Flu that was caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. So every fall we will  be getting the combine shot for the two viruses.

I foresee three possible paths that fork on November 8th two lead to the downfall of America and the other to hope.

The Republican party will continue throughout the year with their pogrom against us the LGBTQ+ community and us in particular, their attacks against immigrants, and other minorities, their forcing themselves between our doctors women and us. They will pack the school to allow only books that support conservative views, banning books about LGBTQ+ and books like “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” and books that tell the true history slavery. 

They will continue to rig the elections to create a one party system though their gerrymandering, packing election committees for the fascist followers, requiring voter ID that make it impossible for minorities and people living on the margins of society to vote. The Courier Journal in an editorial wrote,

Two Kentucky historians agree it’s past time for Democrats to start warning voters — loudly, clearly and unceasingly — where Donald Trump and his truest true believers in the GOP are steering the country: Straight toward white supremacy and authoritarianism.

“This is real, this is serious and it’s frightening,” said Brian Clardy, a Murray State University history professor. “We must build a democratic resistance that amounts to a counter-fascist coup — In short, we must all become ‘antifa,’ or antifascists,” said John Hennen, a Morehead State University history professor emeritus.

[…]

Hennen said Trumpism has deep roots. “The eruption of violent white nationalist authoritarianism in our country is the shocking manifestation of less noisy currents of fascist politics which have evolved for decades.”

AP News reported in the article ‘Slow-motion insurrection’: How GOP seizes election power that,

In battleground states and beyond, Republicans are taking hold of the once-overlooked machinery of elections. While the effort is incomplete and uneven, outside experts on democracy and Democrats are sounding alarms, warning that the United States is witnessing a “slow-motion insurrection” with a better chance of success than Trump’s failed power grab last year.

[…]

“It’s not clear that the Republican Party is willing to accept defeat anymore,” said Steven Levitsky, a Harvard political scientist and co-author of the book “How Democracies Die.” “The party itself has become an anti-democratic force.”

Republicans who sound alarms are struggling to be heard by their own party. GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming or Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, members of a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, are often dismissed as party apostates.

[...]

In Georgia, an election bill signed this year by the GOP governor gave the Republican-controlled General Assembly new powers over the state board of elections, which controls its local counterparts.

There is darkness gathering as the Republicans seize the power away from the voters.

They have created their own “Brown Shirts and have cut them loose in Charlotte and other cities around the country, and troubling they have encouraged an insurrection. While their politicians have sanctioned the insurrection by either direct encouragement or by their silence.

Their party platform has no policies only culture wars, no solutions only grievances. It is a party that supports vigilantes, be it Kyle Rittenhouse or the Texas abortion law. A Party that has lost its conservative way. A Party that stands for fear and hate. It is a party that is corrupt to the bone from years of one party states where they ignore people referendums.

In the New Republic the article “How GOP Lawmakers Ignore the Will of the People” is about ballot referendums that the people voted for in the 2016 elections that the Republicans either ignore or pass legislation overturning the ballot initiatives.

I see this coming year once again filled with anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. I see more states banning abortion once the Republican Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade and worst of all I see states ignoring the Supreme Court and federal law by banning our rights in schools, public accommodations, and employment, I see them thumbing their noses at the federal government.

My crystal balls shows the way out from this dystopian future.

The answer is simple… VOTE!

The Republicans are firing up their base with hate and lies and we have to fire up our base and get them to vote like they never had before to get them out to vote to overwhelm their gerrymandering, their closing voting places in minority community.

I mentioned three way that the election could out… the third is civil war if the Republicans lose.

Another Attack On Our Healthcare Providers

Of course it is another Republican legislator who introduced the legislation…

Arizona doctors could face prison time for providing therapeutic care to trans youth
The bill would force teachers to out queer students to their parents and harm trans youth by denying them life-saving care.
LGBTQ Nation
By Tyler Stevenson
December 29, 2021

Arizona state Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers has proposed Senate Bill 1045 to prohibit medical procedures that affirm the gender identity of children and teens who are transgender.

The law would ban medical staff from performing gender-affirming surgeries on transgender minors as well as prescribing testosterone to transgender men or estrogen to transgender women under the age of 18. Health professionals who do so would be guilty of a Class 4 felony, with a prison sentence of one to three years.

Senate bill 1045 also states that teachers, school staff, and administrators cannot “withhold from a minor child’s parent or legal guardian information related to the minor child’s perception that his or her gender or sex is inconsistent with his or her biological sex.” This would ultimately force teachers and schools to oust trans and gender non-conforming students to their parents, even at the student’s potential peril.

The Republicans legislator ignore the medical research and push the agenda of anti-LGBTQ+ organization like the Heritage Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom. While all the national medical associations says laws like this will do more harm.

Studies have proven that both hormone therapy and social transitioning have been proven through studies to be beneficial for transgender youth— a group that is at an elevated risk of suicide due to bullying and lack of school social support.

A most recent study in 2021 found that hormone therapy has a positive effect on trans youth, reducing their risk of suicide.

Other studies have found there is a significant inverse association between rendering treatment with pubertal suppression during adolescence and lifetime suicidal ideation among the transgender adults who wanted such treatment. These results align with past literature, suggesting that pubertal suppression for transgender adolescents who wanted it is associated with favorable mental health outcomes.

Another study by the American Academy of Pediatrics reached the exact same conclusion.

All they care about is winning at all cost, we are nothing but cannon fodder to them.

~~~~~~~~

Update 12:41

You know what gets me is that the Republicans have no problems with "corrective surgery" for day old intersex babies.

No surgeries without informed consent! 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

We Made Gains This Year

In some places you would not expect.

From Bhutan to Botswana, LGBTQ rights advanced in unexpected places in 2021
DW
December 27, 2021


From accepting a transgender mayor in Bangladesh, restoring gay rights in the US to decriminalizing homosexuality in Botswana, several countries have offered glimmers of hope this year in advancing LGBTQ rights.

Across the world, gay people have gained many protections with changes in laws and norms surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage, discrimination and equal rights. Global acceptance of the LGBTQ community, an acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning, is on the rise, according to the US-based Pew Research Center.

So the article lead me to the PEW website and what I found was an old article from last year...

The Global Divide on Homosexuality Persists
But increasing acceptance in many countries over past two decades
By Jacob Poushter and Nicholas Kent
June 22, 2020


Despite major changes in laws and norms surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage and the rights of LGBT people around the world, public opinion on the acceptance of homosexuality in society remains sharply divided by country, region and economic development.

As it was in 2013, when the question was last asked, attitudes on the acceptance of homosexuality are shaped by the country in which people live. Those in Western Europe and the Americas are generally more accepting of homosexuality than are those in Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. And publics in the Asia-Pacific region generally are split. This is a function not only of economic development of nations, but also religious and political attitudes.

Well yeah, I think that we knew that already eastern Europe was under an authoritarian yoke for generations where non-conformity is not tolerated. While Africa, the middle east, and western Asia are all under conservative religions. But as people reject religion they become more tolerant of people who are different from them.

Many of the countries surveyed in 2002 and 2019 have seen a double-digit increase in acceptance of homosexuality. This includes a 21-point increase since 2002 in South Africa and a 19-point increase in South Korea over the same time period. India also saw a 22-point increase since 2014, the first time the question was asked of a nationally representative sample there.

There also have been fairly large shifts in acceptance of homosexuality over the past 17 years in two very different places: Mexico and Japan. In both countries, just over half said they accepted homosexuality in 2002, but now closer to seven-in-ten say this.

In Kenya, only 1 in 100 said homosexuality should be accepted in 2002, compared with 14% who say this now. (For more on acceptance of homosexuality over time among all the countries surveyed, see Appendix A.)

The DW article goes on to state,

The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan became the latest Asian nation to decriminalize homosexuality this year. In February, King Druk Gyalpo signed off on a law passed by lawmakers, amending a line from Bhutan's penal code that criminalized "sodomy or any other sexual conduct that is against the order of nature," previously treated as a reference to gay sex.

Activists have hailed the move in a country where stigma and discrimination are rife and it's common for gay people to be blackmailed. Many say the country now needs to begin the hard work of fighting homophobia.

Nazrul Islam Ritu, Bangladesh's first transgender mayor, hopes her rise will empower the country's 'Hijra' community

Bangladesh elected its first transgender mayor in 2021. Nazrul Islam Ritu, who is "third gender," the official designation for transgender people in the Muslim-majority nation, beat her rival in a landslide election in November to become mayor of the small rural town of Trilochanpur in western Bangladesh, where she was born.

In Europe…

Switzerland became one of the last remaining nations in Western Europe to approve same-sex marriage in September, with nearly two-thirds of voters backing it in a referendum. The law change will allow same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies and provide them with the same rights as other married couples. Foreign spouses will become eligible to apply for citizenship through a simplified procedure, and same-sex couples will be permitted to jointly adopt.

In June, France passed a law that expanded access to its free fertility treatments, such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF), to women in same-sex relationships and single women. The procedure was previously reserved for infertile heterosexual couples, forcing lesbian couples and single women to shop abroad for IVF treatment.

Africa

Botswana's court of appeal in November upheld a 2019 ruling that decriminalized same-sex relationships, in what was hailed as a major victory for gay rights campaigners on the continent. Before the 2019 High Court ruling, engaging in gay sex in Botswana was punishable by up to seven years in prison.

The bench of five judges unanimously ruled that criminalizing same-sex relationships was a violation of the constitutional rights of LGBTQ individuals to dignity, liberty, privacy and equality.

[…]

In February, a new criminal code went into effect in Angola after the parliament passed it in 2019 and the president signed it into law in November 2020. The new penal code scraps a 133-year-old passage banning same-sex relations, put in place when the southwest African nation was still a Portuguese colony. It also contains full anti-discrimination protections on the basis of sexuality and gender identity.

There is headway being made, but in eastern Europe there are still a whole slew of anti-LGBTQ+ laws on the books and in parts of Poland there are still regions where they claim to be “LGBTQ+” free zones.

We are making headway but it seems like it is three steps forward and two steps backward.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

This Is What Is Needed… Churches Must Step Up And Denounce Hate.

The churches must speak up and exert their moral fiber against religions that teach hate.
This sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it is no joking matter.
How a rabbi and an evangelical pastor are fighting white supremacy together
USA Today via Yahoo News
By Tom Krattenmaker
December 28, 2021


Depressed by the mutual contempt in which the two Americas hold one another? By the gloom hanging over what is supposed to be a season of light?

I certainly am. But I am lifted by the story of Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin and evangelical pastor Tom Breeden and the work they’ve been doing together since the infamous "Unite the Right" rally violated their city of Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.

Rather than running for the shelter of like-minded liberals as she was tempted to do, Schmelkin has thrown herself into the work of reducing identity-based violence and hate. She has found a ready partner in Breeden who, contrary to oversimplified notions about evangelicals, shares her commitment to restoring decency to public life.
When we speak up people don’t listen, they see us as having an “axe to grind” but when clergy speak up against injustice and bigotry they are seen as being a “moral person” and their voices carry more weight with religious people. A friend says, "If you hear mean, intervene."

We cannot let the manipulators and extremists on both sides continue their self-serving battle at the expense of, and against the wishes of, the non-extremists who constitute the majority.

To not speak up against bigotry and violence is to condone it.

Do You Have This Problem?

I never did. I know that some of the guys need chest binders but other than that I don’t know if we need “special” clothes for us. I just buy clothes off the rack.
Transgender Women Struggle To Find Gender-Inclusive Lingerie
Forbes
By Laken Brooks
December 26, 2021


This year, Valentina Sampaio, a transgender model, made headlines when she joined Victoria’s Secret. Sampaio broke ground as the company’s first transgender angel, but lingerie shopping isn’t always a heavenly experience.

Many trans people have trouble finding underwear that fits their body and affirms their gender identity. Underwear belongs in the closet — humans do not. Underwear is the foundation of any outfit, and many transgender people rely on fashion as a vital outlet to express themselves. In a Refinery29 article, Devin Halbal wrote about how fashion helped her embrace her gender identity:

“After much reflection, I realized that although I am biologically male, I feel happier and more like myself when I present as a woman ... Fashion lends a way to choose how we want to showcase ourselves every day. It’s a means to break from gender norms — one of the only ways I can challenge how others perceive me. Fashion is the avenue through which I can change and reinvent myself — on my own terms.”
Is it a product that is looking for a market?

There used to be a local lingerie that welcomed us, but then she moved to the west coast to be by her children and grandchildren. She catered to the trans community and helped us just like her other customers to pick out underwear.

The only problem that I ever had was small breasts, large torso, with hormones that problem has mostly gone away.
So what do you think?




Sadly we lost another sisters who was just beginning her life.
Mom heartbroken by daughter’s suicide blames transphobic Republicans & health insurers
“Her life and existence never should have been up for political debate," her mom said. The obituary she wrote for her daughter has since gone viral.
By LGBTQ Nation
December 28, 2021


An 18-year-old transgender teenager in North Dakota named Haley Gabriella Feldmann died by suicide on November 12, just six days before her 19th birthday. Her parents blame anti-trans Republican policies and inaccessible trans-related medical care for her death.
[…]
However, their daughter’s despair deepened in response to anti-transgender legislation being introduced nationwide and the transphobic rhetoric that became a mainstay during the administration of Republican President Donald Trump.
[…]
“Her life and existence never should have been up for political debate,” she added. “It should have been easy for everyone to agree that everyone has the right to personal autonomy. She should have been able to be comfortable in her day-to-day existence with the knowledge that society found anyone, and any laws, that shunned or rejected her existence to be distasteful and unacceptable.”
They are using our lives for votes and campaign donations.

We are expendable to them. We are just cannon fodder to them.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

She’s Right On!

A couple of years ago I would have said that 99% of the people didn’t know a trans person but now that is changing, the percentage is still high but it is coming down thanks to people like Amy Schneider, Danica Roem, and Dr. Rachel Levine.

‘People fear what they don’t understand’: Rachel Levine, pioneering trans official, on protecting Americans’ health
Dr. Levine discusses why debates over trans rights are so toxic, and how the climate crisis will widen health disparities
The Guardian
By Ed Pilkington
28 December 2021


This year has been excruciating for many Americans who have been battered by Covid, extreme weather disasters and political discord, but for one individual 2021 will be remembered for having propelled her into national prominence.

Rachel Levine has shattered not one but two major glass ceilings this year. In March, she became the first openly transgender person to win confirmation in the US Senate after Joe Biden nominated her as assistant secretary of health.

Then in October she was sworn in as the first openly transgender four-star officer as an admiral and head of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. At that exalted rank she gets to wear the blue uniform of the corps, which though non-military is one of eight uniformed services.
[…]
Sensitive and supportive medical care has overwhelmingly positive outcomes, she said. “There is so much evidence that trans youth, when they are supported by their family and community and receive the standards of care treatment, they have excellent physical and mental health outcomes.”

She is bring about change, not just for us but she is bring about visibility to use and sometimes she is a lightning rod for the haters. Much of the lightning strikes are coming from politicians.

Much of the toxicity around the trans debate, Levine believes, is whipped up by partisan posturing. “A lot of this is political. There are those who are using these issues as wedge issues in the upcoming election.”

She has personal experience of being targeted by such hostility. Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky, was rebuked during Levine’s confirmation hearing for his “harmful misrepresentation” of transgender surgery as a form of genital mutilation.

Jim Banks, a Republican congress member from Indiana, was temporarily suspended from Twitter in October for willfully misgendering Levine. In a tweet, he said: “The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man”.

In addition to such politically laden hatred, Levine thinks that fear plays a large role in driving much of the transphobic agenda. “People fear what they don’t understand and have experience of. I’m hoping that my appointment, and my being open and out and working for the nation’s public health, will lead to less fear and more acceptance. That’s my goal.”

By being visible it does two things: first people get to see and know a trans person, they see we are just like them. We have all the same wants and likes, that… well we are normal. And second it show the hate we face everyday. They see Rand Paul misgender us, they see transphobic rants against us. We are not going to change everyone, we are not going to change the followers of Trump, we are not going to change the evangelical Christians, but we can change the movable middle.

Being out is not for everyone, but those brave enough to be out can make a huge difference.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Stress Induced Resilience

So I was watching Nature on PBS on a show about monkeys and they were tracking two baby monkeys in the mountains in Tibet. One monkeys had a helicopter mother and the other was ignored by it mother and had to live on its own, and the show mentioned Stress Induced Resilience and it peaked my ears.

So I headed over to Google Scholar and found some research on the topic. An article Frontiers in Human Neuroscience defined Stress Induced Resilience.

Resilience means “the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions” (Fletcher and Sarkar, 2013; Robertson et al., 2015). However, in the context of recent biological and psychological research, resilience has gained a more specific meaning. The idea of resilience as resistance to stress (Figure 1) originated in the 1970s when researchers began to study children capable of normal development despite a difficult upbringing (Masten, 2001). 

Since this is a blog about trans topic what does Stress Induced Resilience have to do with us?

Well I added “gender dysphoria” to the search criteria,

Resilience in Individuals with Gender Dysphoria: Association with Perceived Social Support and Discrimination

The study found that having a support network improved the outcome of transitioning and I think that it supported my observations.

What I have noticed in my years in the trans community is that there are two distinctive groups of trans people one that shows resilience and can roll with the punches that nature give us and the other group have a chip on their shoulder.

The first group when they get knocked down gets up and tries again, and again, and again. While the second group blames others and continues with the same behavior. They didn’t get fired for being drunk on the job but because they are trans. They couldn’t get a lawyer to sue the company not because they didn’t have a case but because of discrimination by the lawyers. They mean-mouth the LGBTQ legal organizations for not taking their case.

I think that resilience has a lot to do with our transition and living with gender dysphoria, we under go a huge amount of stress when we transition and how we handle that stress determines how well we do our transition and blame everyone but themselves. Those who have developed coping strategies are a lot better off than those whose coping strategies is to blame others.

Oh, and the monkeys.

Well the monkey who had the helicopter mother is very neurotic and runs to his mother when challenged by other males, while the one that had to fend for itself was very self-sufficient and could fend off attacks by rival males.

That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.




A few years back I wrote these on coping skills and grounding,

Not All Have Our Backs.

There has always been a faction that did not think that the “T” belonged with the LGB and politicians are exploiting that gap.

Attacking Stonewall for defending trans rights is a slippery slope
The gender wars are being fuelled by a Tory government – don’t let infighting destroy the LGBTQ+ community’s greatest champion
The Guardian
By Finn Mackay
December 20, 2021


The UK’s national LGBTQ+ charity, Stonewall, has recently been accused of advocating for trans rights. Six years ago, there was another “Stonewall question”, but the issue wasn’t whether the organisation should be advocating for trans rights, but instead why it wasn’t.

For those of us who remember these fights, it’s discombobulating to witness a reframing of Stonewall as a sinister organisation that sneaked trans rights on to its agenda when nobody was looking. The very opposite was the case: it was hard won. Many petitions were circulated, letters written and debates had. The inclusion of trans men, trans women and all transgender people eventually followed in 2015.

Stonewall public campaigns, training, policy, work with employers and sports organisations, for example, included trans and transgender people. They could seek advice if they faced discrimination at work, in housing or health provision. For many people, this was an obvious broadening out of the title, to reflect the solidarity and diversity that already had long existed in LGBTQ+ communities, clubs, organisations and social groups.

There has always been TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist) and transphobic gays who didn’t want to be associated with us but now they are receiving political backing and they reinforced the conservatives in their attacks on us.

Then in 2018 the government announced its LGBT equality action plan and began a public consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act. Around this consultation, and the similar one launched by the Scottish government, many groups mobilised in favour, and just as many mobilised against. Opponents, such as the LGB Alliance, called this a “green light” for “predators” and some people felt it would mean that men intent on abuse could change all their sex markers on their official identification online one evening, access spaces for girls or vulnerable women the next day, then just change back again online. This was never what was suggested or offered in the consultation document though.

They are pushing the conservative lies and fear. They are fighting diversity training that includes us, they want to roll back the clock and force us back in to the closet.

The current gender wars are not a fight against the binary roles that constrict our society, instead this particular manifestation of the culture wars is a battle against trans women in particular. Most of the debate concerns what services trans women should or should not be allowed to access, from public toilets to public services.

They are using us just like the Republicans are using their hate against us as a wedge issue…

It seems as if the Conservative government has purposely fuelled and exacerbated the gender wars in order to consolidate its base. We’ve seen Liz Truss bleating about centralised control of public toilets to keep out trans women, and the government has ditched most changes to the Gender Recognition Act, despite the majority of more than 100,000 respondents to the consultation supporting modernising reforms. At the same time, the government has stalled on its promise to end conversion practices. For Truss, free speech must be protected, and this means an assumed right for those who are LGBTQ+ to consent to anti-LGBTQ+ conversion practices.

Sound familiar?

It is the same tactic that is being used by conservatives around the world, because most people do not understand much about trans people the conservatives exploit that ignorance to generate hate and fear against us. The conservatives dream of a fascist state with them in control, to do that they need a boogeyman and we are “it.”

Sunday, December 26, 2021

I Don’t Have A Problem With This.

 As I have written many times before that I have no problems with religion as long as they let me live my life.

Catholic diocese says gay and trans people can't be baptized or receive Communion
They must refrain from sacraments until they have "repented," the diocese in Michigan says. Critics say it's another example of defiance of the pope by “culture warrior bishops” in the U.S.
NBC News
By Jo Yurcaba
December 9, 2021


A Catholic diocese in Michigan has been thrust into the national spotlight after a prominent priest and author shared its guidance on transgender members and those in same-sex relationships on social media this week. The viral guidance, which the Diocese of Marquette issued in July, says such congregants are prohibited from being baptized or receiving Communion unless they have “repented.”

An advocate said it was the "most egregious" guidance ever issued by a diocese.

It instructs the church's priests on how to develop pastoral relationships with "persons with same-sex attraction" and "persons with gender dysphoria" and "lead them step‐by‐step closer to Jesus Christ in a manner that is consistent with the Church’s teaching."
[…]
Regarding transgender people, the Vatican in June 2019 released "Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education," which rejected the idea that trans people can exist and said the “ideology” aims “to annihilate the concept of ‘nature.’”

Fine, but don’t work toward forcing us back in the closet.

What you want to do with people who follow your teaching who are LGBTQ+ is your business and theirs, just keep your nose out of my life and the other people’s lives.


Islam.

As many of you know I am on a number of state committees including the Governor’s Council on Hate Crimes and today we had two very unlikely guests, one was the person who shot up a mosque in Meriden and the other guest was the Mulla or Imam (I am not sure which is correct, my guest it is like a priest verses minister) of the mosque.

He became radicalized through social media and the propaganda that he found there, he said it was like an echo-chamber spreading one lie after another taken out of context of the Quran. When the attacks in Paris took place his anger overflowed, he got his rifle and shot up the mosque.

The FBI didn’t take long to figured out it was him, all the bullet holes came from his house, he was placed on house arrest until his trial. He was sentenced to 6 months in a federal prison.

He reached out mosque and apologized to them and they accepted while he was under house arrest, they then began a dialogue and they spoke at the sentencing hearing on his behalf.

One of the things that caught my attention while they were speaking was… it is hard to hate a person when you know them as a person. And that also goes for trans people.

People like Amy Schneider the current Jeopardy champ, how many people who are watching the game show have changed their opinion of trans people? Of course you will never change the haters but those who never knew anyone trans before are thinking… she’s just an ordinary woman?

For us to change and stop the hate against minorities we need to be integrated, I grew up in a 100% white middle class town, engineering school was mostly white, my fellow employees were mostly white.

I believe that diversity is good. Diversity brings together people of different cultures, people who have different ways of thinking, and people with different backgrounds.

I like to think of IBM back in the seventies, the standing joke was you could spot an IBM employee a mile away. A dark suit, a white shirt, a thin blue tie, and a buzz cut hairstyle marked an IBM employee. In walks to hippies with this great new product… a computer that sits on a desk! Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were quickly shown the door.

A brilliant young engineer came out as trans and was also shown the door. She later went on to become a leader in the computer revolution, she later went on and was given many prestigious awards including;  Pioneer in Tech Award, National Center for Women in Technology, Fellow Award, Computer History Museum "For her work in developing and disseminating new methods of integrated circuit design," Fellow of the IEEE, 1985, "for contributions to VLSI technology," Computer Pioneer Award, IEEE Computer Society, and many, many more awards and honors.

I am always brought back to what a friend says “If you hear mean, intervene.” and what Hillary Clinton said, “It takes a village.” It takes a village to force hate back in the swamp again. It takes a village to stand up and denounce hate, violence, and discrimination… We Will Not Stand For That Behavior Here!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

SATURDAY 9: HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Sam’s SATURDAY 9: HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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

1. As you can see, when Sam Winters was a little girl, she loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. If you could ask Santa for anything at all, right now, what would it be?

Good health and peace on earth.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?

Nice, always nice. I think about others and wear a mask.

3. Are you traveling this Christmas? If so, are you going by car, plane or train?

By car but only 45 minutes but it is in the northwest hills of Connecticut and there will be snow in the morning.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?

Yes, two jars of Jake & Amos Pickled Sweet Watermelon Rind. They don’t carry them in the grocery stores any more so I bought them online.

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie or TV special? Have you seen it yet this year?

The Wheel of Time… Oh wait that’s not a holiday theme show, but it is the closest to any holiday-themed shows that I will watch.

6. Which do you prefer: candy canes or gingerbread?

Neither… they are way too sweet.

7. Close your eyes and tell us the first carol that comes to mind.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

8. What's your favorite winter beverage?

Hot mulled cider with a dash of rum.

9. What do you remember most about the 2020 holiday season?

A Zoom Christmas.

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



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

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

Some maybe quarantined, some out of worry for catching or spreading the virus, so for the travel bans in their states and some because they don’t have any homes to go to for the holidays. For whatever the reason this is going to be again a very different Christmas from all the others.

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

This year I will be going to my cousin's because it is getting harder for me to drive at night and going down and back to New Jersey in one day is also getting to be too much. So instead I am going to my couisins.

So let us open our hearts and doors to them and think of them this holiday season, give them a call, have a Zoom get-together or drop them a Christmas card, let them know that they are remembered.

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

An American traditional songs...







And a cute little video...

Friday, December 24, 2021

A Transphobic Doctor And Also Senate Candidate.

You all heard of him, he is running to become the Pennsylvania Republican senate candidate for Congress and it turns out that he hates us.
Dr. Oz praises J.K. Rowling's controversial comments on transgender women, gossip site says
“We have to be able to say these things in America.”
The Hill
By Brooke Migdon
December 20, 2021


Dr. Mehmet Oz, the 61-year-old celebrity physician running for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, this month reportedly said he doesn’t support transgender female athletes competing on women's sports teams and praised author J.K. Rowling — who has made controversial comments about the trans community — as “brave” for “willing to get in trouble.”
[…]
Oz is also said to have expressed his support for author J.K. Rowling’s comments regarding the trans community, which many say are transphobic.

Rowling in a recent viral tweet criticized a move reportedly proposed by Police Scotland to log rapes by offenders with male genitalia as being committed by a woman if the offender identifies as female.

Some said Rowling’s tweet was another example of her transphobia, with “Queer Eye” Star Jonathan Van Ness calling it “cherry picked vitriol.”

The young adult author Shannon Hale also responded to Rowling’s tweet, writing: “All women should be safe. This includes transgender women, who are far more likely to be a target of assault than a perpetrator. If a woman commits rape, that is still a crime and reprehensible. Calling a woman a woman won't change that. But amplifying bigotry helps no one.”

But Oz reportedly praised Rowling’s willingness to share her opinion online despite the fact that it may be unpopular or not well-received.
He has become just another typical Republicans using hate of those who are minorities as a wedge to gather voted from the haters. In the last four years hate crimes have increased like never before.

In this season of love and renewal all the hate out there is depressing.

Ask yourself what does the Republican party stand for?

It is not balanced budgets. Every Republican president since Reagan have out done each other in racking up the deficit and Trump out did all the other Republican presidents Trump increased the deficit by almost $7.8 trillion! That is how much of a tax cut that they gave the billionaires while increasing the taxes on us.

It is not getting the government off of our backs. The Republicans stepped between our doctors and us on abortion, trans healthcare, and sex in the bedroom.

The Republican party has no policies only culture wars, has no solutions only grievances, has no moral fiber only hate for those who are different. And now the beloved Dr. Oz has shown that he is following in the true spirit of the Republican party.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Fighting The Board

What happens when a school board rules to ignore the laws and institutes anti-trans policies?
For family of trans child, idyllic life in Hastings is no more
A school board election turned nasty when a kid was brought into politics. That was the Waits family's worst nightmare.
Star Tribune
By Reid Forgrave
December 11, 2021


If you know the name Kit Waits, it is probably because the third-grader from Hastings has become a symbol for transgender children after a CNN feature last month turned this community upside down.
Like many mid-western towns they are very conservative and do like change and when a child came out as trans all the animosity came out.
In a place that's 94% white, some leaders have tried to combat Hastings' lack of diversity. The school district recently received a large grant for diversity, equity and inclusion. A few years ago, the city and the school district released a joint resolution expressing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, including for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

After that, eight local pastors signed a letter against the "promotion of transgenderism,"writing, "We are not willing to sacrifice our children on an altar of social experimentation and political correctness." One church hosted a speaker who spoke against transgender issues. A local community group, Thrive in Hastings, countered by hosting a transgender lawyer for a Transgender 101 community class.
And who is stuck in the middle of the group that are trying to impose their religion on others?

It is the child.
But the school board election turned nasty and personal. A Facebook group, Concerned Parents of Hastings, outed Kit several times and made threats against the family. "She should be locked up for child abuse," wrote one commenter. "Her younger 'daughter' is actually a boy." Kelsey lost.

Kelsey said Kit being transgender was a closely held secret. It was clear to her that Kit's situation is different from Kelsey being a tomboy who grew up not conforming to societal views of femininity. Kit identifies as gender nonbinary, meaning they identify neither as a boy or a girl.
The hatred turned ugly, with threats, and bullying.
But now the secret is out. Telling the family's story became a way to turn something bad into something good.
[...]
It has been a rough several months for the Waits family. Their perfect home turned into a place they no longer consider safe. There had been uncomfortable moments before: a mom at a kids' playgroup who said she couldn't guarantee Kit's safety, the event at the church against transgender issues. But all that was a subtle prelude to the outing on Facebook, which led them to leave Hastings.
Hate won.

We see this all over the country, the hate has been fanned by politics, the lose of civility replace by threats and profanity which has became normal. Some guy down the end of my street where school busses drive by has signs on his front lawn with profanities against President Biden. To parents yell profanities over the heads of preschoolers when the president visited the daycare. Right-wing politics has embolden them to do thing that four years ago they would never have done.

How do we break this cycle of hate crimes? How do we get back civility in our public discussions?

At one time when I was interning at a family support agency for LGBTQ+ children there was talk that we were getting a person doing community service for a hate crime against LGBTQ+ person. Is that the answer having them the perpetrator of a hate crime do work with their targets? Or will that put everyone in danger?

Can you reeducate a hater? By knowing us can that change a person or will that only work for some and actually increase the hate in others?

Out on the west coast there was a study done that found that intervention done at an early age works, but it has to start in kindergarten. The teachers have to be trained to spot anti-social behavior, in a paper for the Safe School Coalition that I was on and for my internship, I wrote…
Furthermore, in a paper by California Department of Education (2002) titled, “What We’ve Learned About Safe and Effective Schools “ they found that anti-bullying intervention had to start early, not just in the middle or high schools, but in the elementary schools. The report stated that “Teachers in Beaverton Oregon elementary schools who were trained to spot children with anti-social behaviors who were then taught how to play together. The program reduced suspensions from 175 a year to less than a dozen.” (p. 12) Some of the other findings to reduce bullying according to the report were, teaching respect for others, generate self respect, and reward achievement. (p. 13 & 14) They also report that,
Create community connections—A dynamic partnership with the community includes volunteers and mentors in the classroom, health and family services on campus, community members on every committee, and recognition and incentive programs for the students. (California Department of Education, 2002, p. 16)
In addition, the report points out that the community involvement should include law enforcement agencies and parents. It also reported that the parental involvement should begin before their children start kindergarten. (p. 16)
Hillary Clinton was right it does take a whole village to raise a child, to show them that it is wrong to hate, something the village of Hastings is not teaching their children.

If you want to read some more about the articles that I reference here is the “Works Cited” for my paper,

Works Cited

  • Ali, R. (2010, October 26). Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying. Retrieved November 16, 2010, from U. S. Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.pdf
  • Batsche, G., & Knoff, H. (1994). BULLIES AND THEIR VICTIMS: UNDERSTANDING A PERVASIVE PROBLEM IN THE SCHOOLS. School Psychology Review , 23, pp. 165 - 175.
  • California Department of Education. (2002). What We’ve Learned About Safe and Effective Schools. Retrieved October 29, 2010, from Safe Schools: A Planning Guide for Action: http://www.gonzales.k12.ca.us/ssf/Safe_Schools_Planning/SSG2.PDF
  • Cohen, J. (Summer 2006). Social, Emotional, Ethical, and Academic Education: Creating a Climate for Learning, Participation in Democracy, and Well-Being. (2. 237, Ed.) Harvard Educational Review , 76 (2).
  • Eisenberg, M., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Perry, C. (2003, October). Peer Harassment, School Connectedness and Academic Achievement. Journal of School Health , pp. p. 311 - 316.
  • Espelage, D., & Swearer, S. (2003). Reseach on School Bullying and Victimization: What Have We Learned and Where Do We Go From Here. School Psychology Review , 32 (3), pp. 365 - 383.
  • Fonagy, P., Twemlow, S., Vernberg, E., Sacco, F., & Little, T. (2005, Vol 11(7)). Creating a peaceful school learning environment: the impact of an antibullying program on educational attainment in elementaryschools. Medical Science Monitor , pp. CR317-325.
  • Konishi, C., Hymel, S., Zumbo, B., & Li, Z. (2010). Do School Bullying and Student–Teacher Relationships Matter for Academic Achievement? Canadian Journal of School Psychology , 25 (1), pp. 19 - 38.
  • Newman-Carlson, D., & Horne, A. (Summer 2004). Bully Busters: A Psychoeducational Intervention for Reducing Bullying Behavior in Middle Schools. Journal of Counseling and Development , 82 (3), pp. 259 - 267.
  • Twemlow, S., Fonagy, P., Sacco, F., Gies, R., Evans, R., & Ewbank, R. (2001, MAY). Creating a Peaceful School Learning Environment: A Controlled Study of an Elementary School Intervention to Reduce Violence. Retrieved 10 29, 2010, from American Journal Psychiatry: http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/reprint/158/5/808


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Our Neighbors To The North

Have got their act together and passed bill banning conversion therapy,
Canada bans conversion therapy, joining a handful of other nations
Several other countries, including Germany and Brazil — and 20 U.S. states — have banned the debunked practice.
NBC Out News
By Matt Lavietes
December 9, 2021


Canada this week banned conversion therapy, a debunked treatment that aims to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

A bill making it a crime to subject Canadians of any age to the discredited practice became law Wednesday after Canada's Parliament passed the measure this month.

"It’s official: Our government’s legislation banning the despicable and degrading practice of conversion therapy has received Royal Assent — meaning it is now law. LGBTQ2 Canadians, we’ll always stand up for you and your rights," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter.
We could never do that here, it would never pass in the Senate, and of all the states that banned conversion therapy most were Democratic or were Democratic when they banned conversion therapy.
Canada's ban follows that of Germany, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan. Some of the nations, such as Germany, have passed bans exclusively for minors, whereas others, like Malta, have passed bans for all citizens.
A total of 20 states now ban it, including Connecticut and it passed here with bipartisan support. We only had toking testimony at the hearing because it was sailing through. But down south it is different, the courts are blocking the bans,
Trump-Appointed Judges Find Conversion Therapy Bans Unconstitutional
A federal appeals court blocked enforcement of two Florida laws banning use of the practice on minors, saying they violate free speech rights, with Trump judges in the majority.
The Advocate
By Trudy Ring
November 20, 2020


A federal appeals court has blocked enforcement of two Florida laws banning the use of conversion therapy on minors.

The bans in the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, which includes the city, violate the guarantee of free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, says a 2-1 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, issued Friday. Other courts have upheld such bans to date, including two at the federal appeals level, and the judges who ruled against the Florida bans were both appointees of Donald Trump. The decision applies only to Florida, Georgia, and Alabama — the states in the Eleventh Circuit. No cities or counties in Georgia or Alabama have such a ban, and none of the states has a statewide ban, so as a practical matter it affects only the municipalities in Florida that have adopted such laws.

“We understand and appreciate that the therapy is highly controversial,” the ruling reads. “But the First Amendment has no carveout for controversial speech. We hold that the challenged ordinances violate the First Amendment because they are content-based regulations of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny.”
Torturing someone is not “Free Speech.”
A trial court had denied their request for a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the laws, but the appeals court granted it. In a decision by a three-judge panel of the appeals court, two judges appointed by Trump ruled in favor of the injunction, one appointed by President Barack Obama against. The city and county could accept the ruling, effectively ending the case, or seek a rehearing by the full court of appeals, according to a message sent by Palm Beach County Attorney Denise Marie Nieman to the County Board of County Commissioners. She said she is continuing to review the ruling.
All the medical associations have said that conversion therapy causes harm to the individuals and since all the laws here in the US are just for those under 18, adults can be sadomasochistic and get all the “therapy” that want but the children are protected.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Ageism.

[RANT]

We tend to think of discrimination in terms of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity but there are other protected classes here in Connecticut, the law states;

...discrimination against any person or group of persons on the grounds of race, color, religious creed, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, mental retardation, mental disability or physical disability…

Did you catch “age”?

Lots of people forget ageism… 

  • “Okay Boomer”
  • “We are looking for some new fresh voices.”

But there are other ways that people and things discriminate against older people and you never even think about them such using AI (Artificial Intelligence) employment applications some have been found to have built biases for race, sex and even age biases.

And I bet that you never even thought about touch screens.

I first noticed it back in the seventies, my mother used to get so flustered because she couldn’t turn on my turntable. I had (well actually I still have) a Philips GA 212 turntable and she could not turn it on, I walk over, just touch the controls and the it would start playing. What I found out was her finger tips didn’t have enough moister in them to operate the touch controls. I showed her that she had to breath on her fingers tips to make it work.

Fast forward fifty years.

Smartphone touchscreens.

They don’t work that good for seniors, as people age their skin gets drier and the touchscreens on phones work the same way as the Philips turntable, by capacitance.

They even have a name for it; Zombie Fingers!

Touchscreen trouble? It could be zombie finger
Here's why capacitive screens don't respond to every touch
Consumers Reports
Published: June 02, 2015


Some smartphone and tablet users are afflicted with a malady. No matter how hard they press on the display, they just can’t seem to get the device to acknowledge their touch. These people may have the same problem with laptop touchpads. In layman’s terms, they suffer from zombie finger.

“The capacitive touch sensor is—to most people—this kind of magical thing,” says Andrew Hsu, Ph.D., a pioneer in touchscreen tech at Synaptics, a major supplier of the technology to electronics manufacturers. “In an ideal situation, you barely touch the surface of the screen and the sensor is able to detect the presence of your finger.” In some cases, however, that finger confounds the technology.

“It’s a problem we’ve been wrestling with for 20 years now,” says Hsu. “It’s a very delicate balance. We spend a lot of time essentially trying to determine whether a user has touched the surface or not.”
[...]
So what should you do if you have zombie fingers? You might try licking your fingertip or, better yet, applying a water-based moisturizer to your hands. And, if you can’t bear to give up playing electric guitar or having designer nails, think about using a touchscreen stylus to funnel the electricity into your mitts.

Don’t have one handy? People in South Korea have discovered that a pork link will do the job. “There’s moisture in that sausage,” says Hsu. “So long as your body is in contact with it, it has enough conductivity to affect the electric field.”

What else can cause “Zombie Hands,” well according to Gabe’s Design Blog,

Thinking more broadly, it’s not just elderly people who might experience problems with touch screens, there are many others who could be affected by temporary or permanent conditions:

  • People with poor circulation may have colder hands
  • In the winter, cold and dry hands are more common, as is wearing gloves
  • Healthcare workers wash their hands a lot and are more prone to dry hands
  • People with diabetes or blood conditions may have cold hands
  • Carpenters with callused hands
  • Guitar players with callused fingers
  • People with Anemia and low levels of iron may have colder hands
  • Raynaud’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis causes cold hands
  • A thyroid imbalance can cause cold hands and dry skin

I’ve reflected on this experience a number of times in my work as an experience designer and it’s stuck with me over the years. I feel it’s helped me design and create things more inclusively, and I hope it resonates with you.

Why this rant now?

Well this morning I went to swipe the touch screen and I had to swipe it a couple of times to get it to work. This morning it is cold outside and the air inside is dry, and my fingers are dry because I just wiped them with alcohol before I took my morning Blood Glucose reading, hence dry fingers. It brought me back to remembering my 80 year old mother’s problem with the turntable.

It is probably that the twenty something engineers never thought about to test, will it rise to the level of discrimination? Or will it just be an announce of getting older? Only the courts will know for sure. 

[/RANT]


Shut-up!

More states are passing laws banning the discussion of anything LGBTQ+ in the classroom and more and more states are being sued over the laws. The Republican controlled legislature in New Hampshire just passed such a law (The Republicans control both chambers and the governorship.).
Filed: Federal Lawsuit Challenging New Hampshire School Censorship Law
December 20, 2021

ACLU, Largest Teachers’ Union NEA-NH, Leading Disability and LGBTQ+ Advocacy Groups, and NH Law Firms File Federal Lawsuit Challenging NH Classroom Censorship Law

“Banned concepts” law unconstitutionally chills discourse on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and gender identity in schools and public workplaces

CONCORD, N.H. – A diverse group of educators, advocacy groups, and law firms filed a federal lawsuit today challenging a New Hampshire classroom censorship law, contained within state budget bill HB2, which discourages public school teachers from teaching and talking about race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and gender identity in the classroom.

New Hampshire is one of many states across the country that passed similar laws in 2021 aimed at censoring discussions around race and gender in the classroom. This is the third federal lawsuit in the country to facially challenge one of these bans, including the ACLU’s recently filed lawsuit challenging Oklahoma’s classroom censorship ban. The New Hampshire lawsuit argues that HB2’s language unconstitutionally chills educators’ voices under the 14th Amendment, and prevents students from having an open and complete dialogue about the perspectives of historically marginalized communities, as well as on topics concerning race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.
[…]
“This unconstitutionally vague law disallows students from receiving the inclusive, complete education they deserve, and from having important conversations on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity in the classroom,” said Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire. “It is an attack on educators who are simply doing their job. Just four months into the school year, teachers are reporting being afraid to teach under this law for fear of being taken to court. This law, through vagueness and fear, erases the legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of Black and Brown people, women and girls, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities.”
So now it is off to the courts for the long journey up to the Supreme Court where is is a crap-shoot if we will win.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Staycation... Sort Of.

Yesterday didn't go that good. It was their Choir Sing and admission was free Sunday with a food donation, I have gone in the past and had a good time and took a lot photos but this is the only one that I took yesterday. 

Looking out the wheel house on the fire boat "Fire Fighter" that was built in 1938 and retired in 2010.

My back was sore for the last couple of days but I thought that I would be okay walking around around the seaport but I had to climb the steep ladder in to the wheel house was the straw that broke my back. I left after that.

It was also cold. The temperature was right around freezing with a stiff breeze coming across Long Island Sound.

You’re A Fraud!

That is what Uber said to trans drivers out in California when some of their drivers transitioned…
Uber deactivated some transgender drivers' accounts for submitting 'fraudulent' profile photos taken after they transitioned, a report says
Uber deactivated the accounts of some transgender drivers after they updated their profile photos, per the LA Times.
Some of the drivers said Uber had deemed their post-transition photos as fraudulent, per The Times.

Business Insider
By Kate Duffy
December 13, 2021


Uber has deactivated some transgender drivers' accounts over what it deemed to be fraudulent profile photos taken after their transitions, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The ride-hailing app company mistakenly classed some transgender and nonbinary drivers' ID documents as fraudulent, according to five drivers who spoke to The Times and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) records reviewed by the publication. Some drivers told The Times they weren't able to recover their driver accounts through Uber's appeals process.

Zahid Arab, an Uber spokesperson, told The Times that Uber was working to reactivate the drivers' accounts. "On occasion, requests can be misrouted and result in a regrettable customer experience which we are working to address," Arab, adding that it was working to ensure that its "background check process runs as expected for transgender and nonbinary users."
Accident or a bias incident?

That is the question, was it done on purpose and then when they got caught did they claim that it was a mistake? If it happened once, it was a mistake but five times?
According to The Times, the ACLU of Southern California then wrote to Uber asking the company to reactivate Escobedo's account, and according to Escobedo, it was reactivated the next day.
They claim that it was do to a mismatch in documentation because the name on the driver license and the photos but quickly changed their tune when the lawyers got involved, it shouldn’t have taken lawyers to resolve the problem.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Motorcycles In December.

[RANT]
The other night my next door neighbor was riding his motorcycle home from work, it was 55 out and the day before broke an all time high temperature record of 63 degrees!

For the last five years the ponds in town haven’t frozen over thick enough to support skaters.

I was going to have a couple of trees cut down last winter but we never had enough frost to support trucks on my lawn.

Tornadoes in Decembers.

Ticks that were only found in the south are now making their way to Connecticut and we haven’t had a string of sub-zero weather to kill off the insects.

The good news is that I use less heating oil and contribute less CO2
Since 1980s US chances of a white Christmas melt a bit
By Seth Borenstein
December 17, 2021


A white Christmas seems to be slowly morphing from a reliable reality to a dream of snowy holidays past for large swaths of the United States in recent decades.

Analysis of 40 years of December 25 U.S. snow measurements shows that less of the country now has snow for Christmas than in the 1980s.

That’s especially true in a belt across the nation’s midsection — from Baltimore to Denver and a few hundred miles farther north. And snow that falls doesn’t measure up to past depths.
We still get blizzards but the snow doesn’t stick around.

It is not going out on a limb to say… “Global Warming!”
[/RANT]

It Saves Lives!

The data is there and it shows that providing healthcare to trans children saves lives, we can see it in their faces. The happiness, the smiles, the carefree expressions, they just beam it.
Gender-affirming care helps save lives, cuts depression risk in transgender and nonbinary youth, study finds
USA TODAY via Yahoo
By Claire Thornton
December 18, 2021


A new study has found a link between gender-affirming hormone therapy for transgender and nonbinary youth and a decrease in depression and suicidal thoughts. It's critical new data that advocates hope will rebut legislative efforts to restrict access to gender-affirming care.

The peer-reviewed study from the Trevor Project was published Tuesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health and marks the first large-scale study documenting the benefits of gender-affirming care among youth. Its findings come as a lack of research has helped fuel state laws restricting access to gender-affirming care for minors.

In the past year, more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth considered attempting suicide, according to a 2021 survey. Having one's gender identity supported and affirmed is a critical factor in youth mental health, said Amy Green, the study's lead researcher.

"This data shows access to gender-affirming hormones may be one of those areas through which we’re able to reduce those high levels of depression and suicide attempts," Green said.
Why is it then some politicians want to deny us the proper healthcare?

Ask yourself why do they want to step between us and our health providers?
Study finds benefits from hormone therapy, parental support
The study found that among 9,000 trans and nonbinary youth ages 13-24, receiving gender-affirming hormone therapy was associated with a 40% lower risk for depression and seriously considering suicide.

Youth who were not receiving gender-affirming hormone therapy but wanted to faced higher risk of depression and suicidal thoughts.

The study's findings are consistent with existing scientific evidence showing the care improves well-being and decreases suicidal ideation for transgender youth who want it, said Dr. Christine Moser, director of behavioral heath at Children's Mercy's gender pathway services clinic in Kansas City, Mo.
They use the lack of knowledge of non-trans people to drum up fear against us, why?

For votes! They don’t care the harm it does to our children, they are harvesting votes off of the lives of trans children and they know exactly what they are doing.
State ban on gender-affirming medical care cited lack of data
The new study expands on the findings of three smaller clinical studies among youth and other large-scale studies on adults. It also comes as access to gender-affirming care for youth is being fiercely contested in statehouses across the country.

In April, Arkansas' state legislature passed the nation's first bill prohibiting healthcare providers from prescribing or referring transgender minors for gender-affirming medical care.

A federal judge blocked the Arkansas law in July 2021, after a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the bill received support from 17 state attorneys general.

Please, please vote to stop this epidemic of laws.

The only way we are going to stop these legislative attacks on us is by voting in such number to overwhelm their gerrymandering, voter restrictions. They did it in Massachusetts when they defeated Question 3 to take away our rights. The people are behind us, they got our backs but we need the votes to break their stranglehold on the voters and save our lives.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Saturday 9: Please Come Home for Christmas

Sam’s Saturday 9: Please Come Home for Christmas (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) In this video, Jon Bon Jovi recalls decorating the tree with Cindy Crawford. They took turns wearing a Santa hat. Will anyone in your household be donning a Santa hat this season?

Nope. But my father did when he was in Kiwanis, he used to be the Santa at their Christmas tree lot.

2) He sings of the salutations he's received from friends and relatives. Have you received many holiday cards this year?

Nope, I think that they are going out of style. When I do get them they are just postcards.

3) Will you wrap many presents? Or do you prefer to use gift bags?

Nope, I am not going anywhere this Christmas. The drive is too much for me and I don’t like driving in the dark and I do use gift bags, I have a whole stack of them from other Christmases.

4) Jon Bon Jovi says he and Frank Sinatra are distant relatives. Do you believe that musicality is a genetic gift, or that it can be taught?

Yes. I am tone deaf and cannot keep a beat, I think that it is related to my dyslexia. But I think those without hearing disability you can teach them.

5) Jon is such a big Star Wars fan that he wrote a carol called "R2-D2: We Wish You a Merry Christmas." There a dozen Star Wars movies. How many have you seen?

I saw the first and second, and I didn’t like the second movie. I think that the others they stretched the series too far.

6) Jon once guest-starred as Carrie's love interest in an episode of Sex and the City, the popular HBO sitcom set in New York. The new reboot, And Just Like That, also centers around NYC life. Where does your favorite TV show take place?

Most of them in England. I watch a lot of Masterpiece Theaters detective shows.

7) Jon met his wife, Dorothea, when they were still in high school. Do you remember who you wanted to marry when you were in high school?

Yes, I had a crush on her,

8) At Christmastime 1992, when this song was released, toys that tied into Disney's Little Mermaid were very popular. Have you purchased toys for anyone on your gift list this year?

Nope, I have no gift list this year and when we do get together for Christmas we have a Yankee Swap.

9) Jon recorded "Please Come Home for Christmas" to benefit The Special Olympics. Here's your chance to plug a cause or organization that's near and dear to you.

Well my favorite organization is closing on December 31, they got hit hard by COVID. So now my new go-to organization is the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective which was founded during another epidemic back in the early eighties. 

Founded in 1983 by volunteer health professionals and supporters and incorporated in 1986, The Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective, Inc. (HGLHC), has become an organization with full and part-time staff and over 100 volunteers contributing thousands of hours annually.

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!

~~~~~~

I am discombobulated.

I am having my atrium painted and there have been painters here for most of the week, I am not used to having strangers in the house. My anxiety levels are increasing and the first time in along time I had a migraine headache.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Peeing In Peace.

When travel around the country there are a number of anti-trans legislation that place barriers in front of us, one of them is a safe place to pee*.
I'm a transgender woman in America. I shouldn't have to live in fear
CNN
Opinion by Jennifer Williams
December 15, 2021


Five years ago, my wife, children and I planned an Easter week trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, to visit some of our relatives. What should have been a relatively smooth road trip from New Jersey to North Carolina, however, soon turned into a highly precarious situation.

Just a few weeks before our trip, North Carolina passed House Bill 2, which required everyone in the state to use public restrooms based on the sex assigned to them at birth. What that meant for me -- an American transgender woman -- was that I would have to break this law in order to use the women's restroom at any of the stops we visited in the state.

As we crossed the border from Virginia, my wife and I both grew uneasy. We still had several hours of interstate driving in North Carolina ahead of us. Knowing that I could be arrested if I used a women's restroom, my wife found a downloadable Google Map called "Safe Bathrooms," which the spouse of a transgender person created so other transgender people could find a safe restroom to use in a supportive, private business.
Yeah, I had the same experience when I went down to Asheville NC for my nephews wedding, once I got past the Mason-Dixon Line my anxiety levels increased, I knew that I was safe around the interstates but once I got off the highways it was iffy.
As of this writing, only 21 states have full nondiscrimination protections for their LGBTQ citizens, according to Freedom for all Americans, a bipartisan campaign to secure nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans. That means over half the states in our nation lack comprehensive LGBTQ protective laws regarding public accommodations, employment and housing.
[…]
The US House of Representatives has already taken the first step, passing the Equality Act in February of this year. The Equality Act would update our federal civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in their daily lives -- be it in access to health care, restaurants and shops or housing. House Democrats were even joined by several Republicans, indicating that both parties may be moving closer toward acceptance, affirmation and celebration of our talents and abilities -- regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity.

Now, the US Senate must take up the bill. And if it cannot do so by the end of 2021, it should prioritize it in 2022. If Republicans in the US Senate need any persuading, they should consider this year's Public Religion Research Institute report, which found that over three-quarters (76%) of Americans "favor laws that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodation." That number includes 62% of Republicans like me, demonstrating that this issue is one that aligns with conservative values like freedom and individual liberty.
Ain't no way that the Senate is going to pass the bill.

Polls do not mean anything to the Republicans, all they care about is their white supremacist base. They will not do anything to antagonize them.
All Americans, regardless of who they are, who they love or where they live, deserve and need access to the same civil liberties. Congress can make this a reality by coming together to pass bipartisan LGBTQ nondiscrimination legislation, providing long-overdue protections in every state for every American.
Nope no way.

Here in Connecticut when the non-discrimination bill was first introduced in 2007 the bill in the Senate pass with bi-partisan support but by the time it passed in 2011 and was signed into law the vote was right down party lines. The political climate now is worsts that it was in back then.

~~~~~~

*There is a booklet entitled Peeing In Peace, when it was written in the early 2000’s it was a lot different world, now we live in a much more hostile world where even when we have laws protecting us there still is violence against us.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Invaded!

Yesterday I was invaded with painters. Tuesday night I get an email from the painters “We can start tomorrow morning.” 7:30 AM Ding Dong!

This is the first time that I am having the atrium painted, when I built the house in ‘91 I painted it but thirty years later no way am I getting on a ladder two and a half stories high, no way could I get the ladder into the atrium now.

So for the next 3 or 4 days I will be discombobulated and my posts will be short and sweet.

This afternoon I have a Zoom meeting for the legislative committee and I usually do them from the den in the basement but now I will have to find another location to do the meeting from.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

New Year Prediction.


With the coming of the new year everybody is making predictions and this is one of mine…

COVID-19 is not going away.

It will be with us for the rest of our history.

Did you know that the 1918 Flu is still with us today? It can be found in the strains of flu that we get now, it is highly mutated but its DNA is still with us, the same will be true for COVID it will be doing what all living things do… mutate.

I am a voracious reader of science articles and also science fiction and a couple of things that I have learned, one that as population increases toxins build up. Do you know why wines only have a 12% -17% alcohol? It is because of the yeast excrement poisons it environment killing off the yeast. Well the same thing is true for us, we are poisoning our own environment and disease can spread much more easily.

Another lesson I learned, this time from sic-fi. Ever watch Stargate? There are many science fiction books about space/time portals and many of the themes involve civilizations dying off because people could spread disease faster than the incubation period of the disease. Sound familiar?

With jet travel we can span the globe faster than the incubation period for COVID. The Omicron variant isn’t from South Africa but appears to have started in Europe and spread from there, South Africa was the first place it was identified as a new strain.

Most of the new strains of viruses cross the animal human barrier, there is even a name for it; Zoonotic Diseases. HIV, COVID, rabies, avian influenza and monkeypox, even Cat Scratch fever, the list goes on and on.

So my New Year Prediction is… we will have to be getting COVID booster shot just like the flu shots each year. They maybe even combined in to one shot.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

It Is Getting Worst Out There!

Legislative and legal actions against LGBTQ+ are on the rise across the country and the world. We have have been left out of a hate crime law in Pennsylvania as hate crimes are increasing around the nation.
Trans people excluded from Pennsylvania hate crimes law in year of record-setting violence
York Daily Record
By Sammy Gibbons
December 14, 2021


[…]
This year’s list tallied the highest number of deaths since the organization started tracking fatal violence against transgender people eight years ago. At least 50 transgender and gender-nonconforming people, including five in Pennsylvania, were killed in the U.S. as of Dec. 13. “At least” is key because these stories often don’t get told, or victims are misidentified in official reports, according to the Human Rights Campaign.&
[…]
PA lost five to anti-trans violence:Before she was shot dead in York, Whispering Wind Bear Spirit was a fearless peacemaker

The report highlighted how legislation could protect LGBTQ people. But hate crime laws comprise just one piece of a much larger puzzle that, when finished, reveals methods to curb anti-transgender violence.
As the violence against us increases in Pennsylvania the Republican politicians don’t see any need to add us to the state’s hate crime law.
"Ever since then, we've been trying to amend the existing hate crime statute to incorporate protections for the LGBTQ+ community and the disability community without any success," said state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, who has introduced several bills over his career to protect LGBTQ people.

The majority of Pennsylvanians support LGBTQ people's civil rights and related legislation, said Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, who was the first openly gay member of the House. But the Republican-led legislature "won't allow this issue to move at all," he said.
Hey so what if we are killed off, we vote Democrat anyway, so it is no skin off the Republicans’ teeth.

Meanwhile across the pond Hungary is passing anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
Hungary's anti-LGBTQ law breaches international rights standards - European rights body
Reuters
By Krisztina Than
December 14, 2021


Hungary's law that bans teaching about homosexuality and transgender issues in schools violates international human rights standards, the Venice Commission, a panel of experts of the human rights body Council of Europe said on Tuesday.

The legislation, which passed in June and has caused anxiety in the LGBTQ+ community and triggered sharp criticism from the European Union, bans the use of materials seen as promoting homosexuality and gender change at schools, ostensibly as a measure to prevent child abuse.

The constitutional law experts of the Venice Commission concluded that the amendments are not in accordance with international human rights standards and fail to ensure that children get access to objective and non-biased information on gender identity and sexual orientation.

"On the contrary: the amendments contribute to creating a “threatening environment”, where LGBTQI children can be subject to health-related risks, bullying and harassment," the panel said in its assessment.

"The amendments leave space only for one-sided and biased teaching, opening doors to stigmatisation and discrimination of LGBTQI people," the panel added.
Once again the conservative government doesn’t care, they know that they persecuting us and they don’t care what the rest of Europe and the world think. They know that with Russia rattling their sabers that the other EU and NATO countries are not going to do anything.

It didn’t stop them from passing the law earlier in the year.
Hungary's anti-LGBTQ+ law casts shadow over drag queen contest
Reuters
By Anita Komuves and Krisztina Fenyo
July 4, 2021


In a backroom of a dilapidated former factory outside Budapest, contestants wearing huge fake eyelashes and glittering dresses are preparing for Hungary's annual drag queen competition, all the while hoping it will not be the last.

"Let's party hard while we still can," drag queen Bonnie Andrews called out to a cheering audience as she took to the stage in a black evening gown and tiara.

Hungary's parliament passed legislation on June 15 that strengthens rules against paedophilia and bans the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender reassignment.
Oh yes, they knew exactly what they were doing in passing the laws, the same is true with the Republicans in Pennsylvania, they know that they are propagating hate and energizing their fascist base.