Thursday, September 30, 2021

Changes To The Hate Crime And Other Laws In Connecticut Tomorrow!

On October 1st changes to the Connecticut Hate Crime laws take affect, they are just a few word changes but will have a significant impact on the laws.

The law changes “because of” to “motivated in whole or in substantial part by.” It does seem like much but it packs a major punch.

I was briefed by the Division of Criminal Justice during a meeting of the Governor’s Hate Crime Council and what was explained to us was that the change does is change the law from the requiring the only motive of the attack being bias to be bias just as to be one of the components. Suppose you were robbed and the robber sees that you are trans and calls you a derogatory word, then hits you. The way I understand it that under the existing law that couldn’t be a hate crime because it wasn’t solely bigotry but also robbery. Under the new law going into effect tomorrow it would be a hate crime because it was in part based on bias.

So what are the punishment for hate crimes?
  • § 53a-181j Intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the first degree is a Class C Felony*
  • § 53a-181k Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias in the Second Degree is a Class D Felony
  • § 53a-181l Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias in the Third Degree is a Class E Felony
  • § 53-37 Ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race is a Class D misdemeanor
  • § 53-37a Deprivation of a person's civil rights by person wearing mask or hood: Class D felony
That is a biggie! A real biggie! The state statute says,
Any person who, with the intent to subject, or cause to be subjected, any other person to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities, secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of this state or of the United States, on account of religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness or physical disability, violates the provisions of section § 46a-58 while wearing a mask, hood or other device designed to conceal the identity of such person shall be guilty of a class D felony.
Did you get that?

So if they are wearing a mask while attacking you because you are trans the assault the crime gets bumped up to a Class D felony!

Then we have;
  • § 46a-58 Deprivation of rights. Desecration of property. Placing of burning cross or noose on property. Penalty. Restitution
Any person who, acting alone or in conspiracy with another, for the purpose of depriving any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws of this state or the United States, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws of this state or the United States, engages in the use of force or threat, as provided in section 53a-62, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, except that if bodily injury results such person shall be guilty of a class C felony or if death results such person shall be guilty of a class B felony.
  • § 53a-62 Threatening in the second degree: class A misdemeanor or class D felony
  • 53a-40a Persistent offenders of crimes involving bigotry or bias. Will increase the sentence.
Also swatting, calling in a fake crime is also bias crime if it is based on a protected class.
  • § 53a-180(a)(4) Falsely reporting an incident in the first degree can be either class D felony or a class C felony
  • § 53a-180c Falsely reporting an incident in the Second Degree is either Class A misdemeanor or a class E felony
  • §53a-180d Misuse of the emergency 9-1-1 system for bias can be a class A or B misdemeanor
  • This statute has been changed to include us!
  • § 53a-181c Stalking in the First Degree is a class D felony
  • §53a-181d Stalking in the Second Degree is a class A misdemeanor
The statute reads in part…
(3) "Personally identifying information" means:
(A) Any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual's identity, such as name, prior legal name, alias, mother's maiden name, Social Security number, date or place of birth, address, telephone number or biometric data;
(B) Any information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, financial, education, consumer or employment information, data or records; or
(C) Any other sensitive private information that is linked or linkable to a specific identifiable individual, such as gender identity, sexual orientation or any sexually intimate visual depiction.
(b) A person is guilty of stalking in the second degree when:
(1) Such person knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at or concerning a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to
(A) fear for such specific person's physical safety or the physical safety of a third person;
(B) suffer emotional distress; or
(C) fear injury to or the death of an animal owned by or in possession and control of such specific person;
(2) Such person with intent to harass, terrorize or alarm, and for no legitimate purpose, engages in a course of conduct directed at or concerning a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear that such person's employment, business or career is threatened, where (A) such conduct consists of the actor telephoning to, appearing at or initiating communication or contact to such other person's place of employment or business, including electronically, through video-teleconferencing or by digital media, provided the actor was previously and clearly informed to cease such conduct, and (B) such conduct does not consist of constitutionally protected activity; or
(3) Such person, for no legitimate purpose and with intent to harass, terrorize or alarm, by means of electronic communication, including, but not limited to, electronic or social media, discloses a specific person's personally identifiable information without consent of the person, knowing, that under the circumstances, such disclosure would cause a reasonable person to:
(A)Fear for such person's physical safety or the physical safety of a third person; or
(A)Suffer emotional distress.
(c)For the purposes of this section, a violation may be deemed to have been committed either at the place where the communication originated or at the place where it was received.
(d) Stalking in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
This is something that I didn’t know, so if someone tells people that you are trans they might be committing a crime.

One thing that the presenter mention to a question about the First Amendment and hate crimes, a 2017 Supreme Court ruling in Matal v. Tam set down limits for hate crimes. However, the courts have not thrown out hate crime laws just added limits.

What probably is covered by the First Amendment is someone who just yells at derogatory words at you, but if they threaten you or assault you the hate crime laws will probably protect you (Lawyers don’t like to give a yes or no answers, they will say something like “it most likely...”).

Also all hate crimes are based on motive and intent which is very hard to prove in court, I sometime half-heartedly say if you are being beat up get them to say that they are beating you because you’re trans.

  • *A Class B felony is punishable by up to 40 years and additional fines up to $15,000.
  • A Class C felony is punishable by to up to 10 years and additional fines up to $10,000
  • A Class D felony is punishable by five years and a fine of up to $5,000
  • A Class E felony is punishable with up to three years in prison.
  • A Class A misdemeanor – is punishable by up to one year in jail.
  • A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • A Class D misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.

Other laws that goes into effect tomorrow is Public Act No. 21-69, An Act Deterring Age Discrimination in Employment and what it does is,
By Ronni Newton
September 27, 2021

A law that was championed by the Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who chairs the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, as well as state Sen. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford), becomes law in Connecticut on Oct. 1 and was lauded Monday at a press conference at the Elmwood Community Center in West Hartford by those who have been fighting to overcome age discrimination.

The law makes it illegal for employers to require information on an initial application that would reveal an applicant’s age – not only the individual’s birth date, but also dates like when they attended or graduated from high school and years spent working at past jobs.
“It is critical to all of us to support the implementation of this legislation,” she said, and organizations like the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) supported it, and understand the critical need for workers. The ACLU states that six of 10 workers over age 65 have seen or experienced age discrimination, and it’s even more apparent among women and people of color, she said.

“This is a fight for our older workers, it’s a fight for women, it’s a fight for people of color, and hopefully it will give our older workers a better opportunity to have access to the many jobs in our state that remain open,” Bysiewicz said.
When I was laid off in 2007 I was 59 and I knew that I could never get a job that paid as much as the job that I was laid off from so I took early retirement. 

The Hartford Courant reports that these laws are also going into effect tomorrow...
Grow your own marijuana
For the first time, medical marijuana patients will be allowed to grow their own weed in their homes, starting Oct. 1. The new law says they can grow six plants in their home if they are 18 or older with a maximum of 12 plants per household — regardless of how many people are living there.

Little nips will be taxed
In addition, retailers will start charging a five-cent surcharge on “nips,’’ which are miniature bottles of liquor. The “nips’' are expected to generate an estimated $4.5 million per year for cities and towns, based on the sale of 90 million nips bottles per year in Connecticut. That includes 3.1 million sold in Hartford, 2.4 million in Manchester, 2.2 million in Bristol, and 1.5 million in East Hartford.

Domestic violence
The law will now include nonviolent acts like financial and psychological abuse, which advocates said will help judges to rule in cases where they have not seen any physical violence.

The new law details the concept of nonviolent abuse or “coercive control,” saying that it includes “isolating the household or family member from friends, relatives, or other support,” as well as “depriving the household or family member of basic necessities,” according to a legislative analysis.

Safety around ice cream trucks
The legislation requires ice cream truck owners to install safety equipment that includes flashing lights, caution signs, signal arms, and front convex mirrors by May 2022. It also prohibits ice cream sellers from stopping in high-traffic areas.
And in another Hartford Courant article they also list another law,
Employers are required to tell applicants how much a job pays under a Connecticut law that takes effect Friday, breaking from standard practice that gives employers discretion in disclosing the salary at different times in the hiring process.
Employers must disclose the pay range they anticipate relying on when setting wages for a position. The range could be an applicable pay scale, previously determined wage ranges for the job, actual wage ranges for current employees or the employer’s budgeted amount for the position.
While NBC Connecticut reports that these additional laws will go into effect October 1st.
Seat Belt Requirement
One new law will require anyone inside a vehicle to wear a seat belt. The current law requires drivers and front-seat passengers as well as all rear-seat passengers between 4 and 16 years old to wear a seat belt. Anyone older has not been required to wear a seatbelt while riding in the back seat.

Breastfeeding in the Workplace
One new law is about breastfeeding in the workplace.

It says any employee may, at her discretion, express breast milk or breastfeed on-site at her workplace during her meal or break period and an employer "shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in private.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Oh When Will They Ever Learn

The Fourteenth Amendment has been around for a very long time, the1984 Equal Access Act (EAA) has required schools to have equal access to GSAs but school systems continue to ignore the law.
Gay-Straight Alliance Sues Indiana School Over Unequal Treatment
The club says the school’s principal will not allow it to advertise or fundraise like other student groups.
The Advocate
By Alex Cooper
September 28 2021

A Gay-Straight Alliance in Indiana is suing its school and school district after the club says the school’s principal banned the group from publicizing its activities or fundraising for itself on campus.

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on September 22, claims that Pendleton Heights High School has put unequal burdens on Pendleton Heights Gay-Straight Alliance, according to a press release. The school club provides social, emotional, and educational support to LGBTQ+ students and allies.

In court documents, the group said other clubs exist at the school that do not relate to the school’s curriculum. These include SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), E-gaming, Robotics, Best Buddies (students working with special needs students), Mat Maids (supporters of the wrestling team), and Outdoor Adventure Club. Those clubs, according to the suit, are allowed to advertise and fundraise on school grounds.
The law has been on the books for close to four decades you would think by now that equal access would be a done deal, but no… school systems still are ignoring the law to push hate.
The ACLU of Indiana said that the treatment that the Pendleton Heights Gay-Straight Alliance compared to other student groups violates the Equal Access Act, the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Equal Access Act makes secondary schools that receive federal funding provide the same access to “noncurricular” clubs as other student groups regardless of the content of the club’s meeting, reported The IndyStar.
The Indianapolis Star reports that this is not the first time the school violated the laws to promote discrimination.
Ongoing issues at Pendleton Heights
Wednesday's lawsuit is not the first time that LGBTQ+ students have said they feel the district has treated them unfairly.

This summer, a group of Pendleton Heights students and parents approached the South Madison school board over a directive that teachers remove rainbow pride flags from their classrooms.

The district had told teachers they couldn't display the flags because they are supposed to remain neutral and not engage in political speech.

At the time, Hall told IndyStar that the district isn’t anti-LGBTQ.

“We pride ourselves on creating an environment that is welcoming to all," he said. "Teachers are legally obligated to maintain viewpoint neutrality during their official duties to ensure all students can focus on learning, and we can maintain educational activities and school operations.”

Students and community members appealed to the board, arguing that pride flags are not political speech. School board President Bill Hutton said during a meeting in May that if the district allowed pride flags to be displayed, they'd have to allow that same ability to other groups. Hutton said that could include white supremacy groups.
They know that they are going to lose in court, it is more than the GSA, it goes to school climate and making school open and affirming to all.

Oh when will they ever learn?

In other news from around the world, Poland took a step forward to undo two steps backward,
The European Union had previously threatened to withdraw funding from the regions.
NBC Out News
By Reuters
September 27, 2021

WARSAW -Three Polish regional councils voted on Monday to repeal motions declaring their provinces "LGBT-free zones," state-run news agency PAP reported, after the European Union threatened to withdraw funding.

Numerous local authorities in Poland declared themselves free of "LGBT ideology" in 2019, part of a conflict in the predominantly Catholic country between liberals and religious conservatives, who see the struggle for gay rights as a threat to traditional values.

This set Poland on a collision course with the European Commission, which says the zones may violate E.U. law regarding nondiscrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
But they’re only three out of around hundred provinces that passed anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Another article, this one in NPR reported,
By Scott Neuman
September 28, 2021

Riding support from Poland's right-wing populist Law and Justice Party and the local Roman Catholic clergy, nearly 100 provinces and municipalities in 2019 passed symbolic resolutions declaring themselves "LGBT-free."

But two years later, and the central government is asking them to repeal those declarations after the European Union threatened to cut off millions of euros in funding to local and provincial governments that took an anti-LGBT stance. By doing so, they may be in violation of the EU's regulations against discrimination due to sexual orientation, the European Commission says.
On Monday, the southern provinces of Malopolskie, Lubelskie and Podkarpackie provinces complied, following a similar move last week by the regional assembly of Swietokrzyskie, Reuters reports, quoting the Polish PAP news agency.

The chairman of Malopolskie's assembly, Witold Kozłowski, said in a statement that while the region is "built on values and based on the centuries-old tradition of Christianity," he and his fellow councilors had no desire "to take responsibility for keeping [Malopolskie] without these EU funds."
Money talks… maybe we should withhold federal funds from Texas and other Republicans states that discriminate against us?
Last year, Poland's President Andrzej Duda declared that "LGBT is not people, it's an ideology." He said that during Poland's communist era children had been indoctrinated. "Today, there are also attempts to push an ideology on us and our children, but different. It's totally new, but it is also neo-Bolshevism," he said, according to The Associated Press.
We still have a long way to go, a very long way to go in eastern Europe.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

An Ally From An Unexpected Source

Did you see 60 Minutes Sunday?

Rep. Liz Cheney came out on 60 Minutes and said she was wrong on marriage equality and the LGBTQ+ discrimination.
Liz Cheney Says She Was 'Wrong' In Opposing Same-Sex Marriage
By Barbara Sprunt
September 27, 2021

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., expressed regret over her earlier opposition to same-sex marriage, a position she took eight years ago that led to a public falling out with her sister, Mary, who is gay and married with children.

"I was wrong. I was wrong. I love my sister very much. I love her family very much," the lawmaker said in an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes.
"This is an issue that we have to recognize, you know, as human beings — that we need to work against discrimination of all kinds in our country, in our state," Cheney said. "Nobody should feel unsafe. Freedom means freedom for everybody."
But “a leopard never changes its spots” she still doesn’t fully support LGBTQ+ human rights.
Despite her evolving stance on LGBTQ rights, Cheney voted in February against the Equality Act, legislation that would have amended the 1964 Civil Rights Act to explicitly prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
USA Today had this to say about her interview,
"I was wrong. I was wrong. I love my sister very much. I love her family very much," she told Stahl. "It's a very personal issue, and very personal for my family. I believe that my dad was right. And my sister and I have had that conversation."

Liz Cheney famously broke with her family in 2013 by opposing gay marriage ahead of a failed Senate bid. Her objections caused a rift with her sister, Mary, a married lesbian. Mary's spouse, Heather Poe, posted on Facebook that year that Cheney's position was offensive and that "I always thought freedom meant freedom for EVERYONE."
I don’t know how coming out in support of us is going to affect her campaign but what I do know is we bring about bring change by being out.

When people that we know and love comes out it has a big impact on those around us. I had a Jehovah Witness who was a former employee write to me and say “I don’t nothing about this transgender stuff but I know you and you are good.”

Harvey Milk in his famous quote,
“Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.”
It was true then it is true now, Mary Cheney brought about change in coming out, we bring change be being Out and Proud.

“Freedom means freedom for everybody.”

Monday, September 27, 2021

Not Good News

Things just got harder for us.

It used to be that employment discrimination was easy to prove and the employers was responsible for their employees and had to make their workplace free from discrimination. All that may have changed.
Employer Was Not Liable for Harassment of Transgender Woman
By Jeffrey Rhodes
September 21, 2021

A transgender woman could not establish employer liability for a co-worker's threatening statements and conduct that the employer investigated but could not immediately stop, or for retaliation, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

The plaintiff lived and presented as a man when starting to work for the city of Detroit in January 2016. About five months after starting the job, the plaintiff decided to undergo surgery to transition to a woman and asked for time off. The city supported the transition and the need for time off.

Did you get that first sentence?

I always thought that an employer was responsible for the conduct of their employees.
The plaintiff returned to work after the first of a series of medical procedures. The plaintiff's supervisor revealed that someone filed a complaint alleging that the plaintiff had violated the dress code [Because she came to work in her true gender.], but the supervisor stated that the plaintiff's attire was appropriate. In July, the supervisor again told the plaintiff that another dress-code complaint was filed.
Two days later, someone delivered to the plaintiff's desk a gift bag that contained a phallic sex toy and a handwritten note quoting a Bible verse against cross-dressing. The note also said, "We don't wont (sic) people like you working here." The plaintiff reported the gift bag and note and asked the city to install a lock on the office door and a camera to help identify the harasser.
On May 8, 2017, the plaintiff received a typed note quoting a Bible verse commanding execution of homosexuals and reported it as a death threat. The plaintiff learned that a nearby co-worker in accounting made the earlier dress-code complaints. The plaintiff suspected that the co-worker might be the harasser but did not tell HR or the city.
Meanwhile the city tried to find out who was harassing the employee they had the handwriting analyzed, they disciplined one employee, but the harassment continued.
The plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit against the city, claiming sexual harassment and retaliation. The city moved for summary judgment, which the district court granted.

On appeal, the 6th Circuit determined that the city had fulfilled its duty to investigate the acts of harassment, even though it did not find the perpetrator. It further found that the plaintiff could not establish retaliation by the city because the decision not to promote her occurred months after the complaints were made and the plaintiff presented no other evidence of causation.
My reading of the case is that companies are no longer be libel for employee behaviors if they make an effort to find the tormentor which is very disturbing.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

All Rise For The Honorable…

One of the things I think we all want to avoid is a court case* that we are involved in and we have to deal with lawyers.

I know a number of lawyers professional though trans rights advocacy and I think that they all share a common trait, you cannot get a yes or no answer out of them. What you get is; “Well it is most likely…” or “You probably…” or “In my opinion…” I understand where they are coming from, going to court is a crap shoot, it all boils down to the jury.

I ran across this article about what lawyers should know if they have a trans client.
Top 7 Best Practices for Representing Transgender and Nonbinary Pro Bono Clients
By Erin Meyer
September 22, 2021

Transgender and nonbinary individuals are often among the most marginalized communities we serve as pro bono lawyers. In the US and abroad, transgender and nonbinary people have faced a history of discrimination in employment and housing, unequal access to healthcare, and violence. Indeed, as the Human Rights Campaign has reported, 2020 was the deadliest year on record for transgender and gender non-conforming people – and especially for transgender women of color, dozens of whom were violently killed. The rates of suicide attempts, particularly among transgender and nonbinary youth, are similarly alarming.
Here are what the author felt was important for a lawyer to know,
1.Avoid deadnaming and assumptions about your client’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or pronouns.
When introducing yourself to your client, share your name and pronouns.
Ask your client what name they go by and what pronouns they use – avoid asking for “preferred” pronouns. Don’t refer to your client by a name they no longer use – a practice called “deadnaming” – even if that name still appears on their legal documents. Deadnaming invalidates a transgender person’s identity and can be very emotionally damaging.

2. Mirror your client’s language in describing their sexual orientation and gender identity, and accept that your client’s self-identification may evolve over time.

3. Beware of coercive narratives when describing LGBTQ+ identities in asylum applications.

Particularly in the context of asylum cases, there are times when the way your client self-identifies their sexual orientation or gender identity may not fit neatly into the “particular social group” categories that have been recognized in US immigration case law. In these instances, you may feel tension between trying to label your client’s identity in a way that ensures a legally cognizable claim based on existing case law while also trying to mirror your client’s language and understanding of their identity.

4. Practice using the client’s pronouns, but if you make a mistake, acknowledge, correct it, and move on.

5. Ensure your client will be able to access your office building and the bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity.

For any low-income pro bono client, coming to a corporate law office can be an intimidating and unfamiliar experience. This can be all the more true for a transgender or nonbinary client whose government-issued identification document does not match their name in use and gender identity.
I remember once when I had a meeting for the anti-discrimination bill and the meeting was at a very prestigious law firm in New Haven, it was on the top floor of the building overlook the New Haven Green… I mean it was very exclusive, the conference room furniture was all expensive wood, leather chairs and I can say that even I felt intimidated. When I worked and got called to the VP of Engineering of a large multinational for a conference (which they flew me out on the corporate jet) I know what it is like to be intimidated by “power.”
6. Be cautious when working with translators to ensure your client is not being misgendered.
When using a translator to speak with your transgender or nonbinary client, have everyone in the room introduce their names and pronouns to ensure the translator is aware of how each person should be addressed. This practice can help prevent the translator from unintentionally misgendering the client.

7. Interrupt bias and be an ally to your client in court.
In Lambda Legal’s 2012 “Protected and Served?” survey of 2,376 LGBTQ+ people, 19% of the survey respondents who had appeared in a court at any time in the past five years had heard a judge, attorney, or other court employee make negative comments about a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Some of the survey respondents also had their sexual orientation or gender identity disclosed improperly, such as for the purpose of embarrassing them or attacking their moral character.
I know a trans women who was misgenderd and her ex wife and her lawyers misgendered her and the judge let it pass even though her own lawyer pointed out that was not her legal name nor birth gender.

The only lawyers that I personally had to deal with were real estate and probate lawyer, who happened to be my neighbor when I was growing up and we road the same school bus together. So I can really give much advice on getting a lawyer, but I will say like any major transaction do your homework, or as lawyers like to call it your due diligence. In most states there is a LGBTQ+ section have a lawyer referral service. Also the Better Business Bureau has a rating service, and do a search on the web where you also can find referrals and ratings.

*I was on a jury in a federal court case, it was very interesting and I learned a lot about a particular disease and it got me out of work for two weeks.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Saturday 9: Cardigan

Sam’s Saturday 9: Cardigan (2020)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
Today is a travel day, I will reply to your comments once I get settled in. 

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

1) When she's feeling low, Taylor Swift compares herself to an old cardigan, forgotten under the bed. Do you store anything under your bed? Or do you try to keep that area clear (except for dust bunnies)?
Have draws under the bed and I store blankets and sheets in them… all but one where I have electronic junk in one.
But I do have a nice collection of dust bunnies.

2) The lyrics begin with a reference to a new phone. Do you foresee yourself getting a new phone before 2021 ends? Or are you happy with the one you've got?
I just got one and activated Thursday. My old phone had only 3G and the carrier (Consumer Cellar) is going to 4G at the end of September

3) She sings that her lover haunts all of her "what if's." Have you recently wondered, "what if?" What were you musing about?
Naw, it doesn’t make sense to second guess yourself.

4) Taylor Swift admits that she rewinds after concerts by watching Friends reruns. What do you do to relax?
I think anyone who plays Sat 9 know what my hobby is, photograph.

5) Thinking of TV shows, Taylor appeared on a 2009 episode of CSI. That series was about crime-scene investigators who use forensics to solve murders. Do you enjoy crime shows?
Well it depends upon the show, I like British crime shows. They have no blood and guts, I believe the US crime shows are desensitizing us to violence, how many US crime shows show that the ends justify the means, so what cutting corners as long as you get the bad guy… but are they really bad guy?

6) Taylor grew up on an 11-acre tree farm where she learned to ride. Her mother was a horsewoman and hoped riding was a passion they could share. When she was 12, Taylor admitted to her mother that she really wasn't that into it and wished she could spend more time on her music. Her mother was supportive. Tell us about a tough conversation you've had that turned out well.
Oh, that is hard one to answers…

7) She enjoys good, old-fashioned mysteries, especially those by Agatha Christie. Are you currently reading a book?
I am listening to a book, Passages by Lois McMaster Bujold.

8) In 2020, the year this song was released, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek died. The search for a new host has caused interest and even controversy. Would you enjoy the job?
As I write this I am watching it, Matt Amodio is blowing everyone away. I feel sorry for the contestants that go up against him.
I would rather watching it.

9) Random question: Of Superman's three superpowers -- tremendous strength, the ability to fly, and x-ray vision -- which would you choose?
Strength, the older that I get the tasks are getting harder.

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, September 24, 2021

A Tale Of Two Articles

Two newspapers are poles opposite; the Washington Examiners a far right newspaper verses the Advocate a LGBTQ+ newspaper. First the Examiners.
Texas attorney general sues Biden over LGBT workplace mandates
By Luke Gentile
September 21, 2021

Texas is suing President Joe Biden's administration over new federal efforts to force businesses to recognize gay and transgender people's bathroom and pronoun preferences.

In a suit filed Monday in the Northern District of Texas federal court, state Attorney General Ken Paxton charged that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission infringed on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it recently added new language.

In issuing a technical assistance document to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton, the EEOC mandated that individuals be permitted to use the bathroom of their choosing and deemed "misgendering" via pronouns as harassment under certain conditions. The original ruling in the case banned workplace discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Some of their objections are,
In addition to Title VII, Paxton argued the administration violated the First Amendment, the 11th Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

"States should be able to choose protection of privacy for their employers over subjective views of gender, and this illegal guidance puts many women and children at risk. Once again I’m suing The Biden Administration," Paxton posted to Twitter. "See you in court."
Now lets look at the Advocate,
Texas Seeks Right to Discriminate Against Trans People
Trudy Ring
Thu, September 23, 2021

The state of Texas is suing President Joe Biden’s administration over its guidance on treatment of transgender people in the workplace, calling the guidance a “radical attempt at social change.”

The suit, filed by anti-LGBTQ+ Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, particularly objects to the administration’s calls for employers to allow trans workers to use the restrooms and changing rooms comporting with their gender identity and to address these workers by their preferred names and pronouns.
Requiring that state employees use their trans colleagues’ preferred names and pronouns “would cause Texas to violate its employees’ free speech rights,” the suit continues. It claims that these pronouns are “based on subjective gender identity rather than biological sex.” In general, the suit says, the EEOC guidance obligates employers “to treat biological men as women and treat biological women as men.”
Paxton and other Texas state officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (all Republicans), are well known for their hostility to LGBTQ+ equality. Before the Supreme Court heard the Bostock case, Paxton and several other states’ attorneys general filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the court to find that sex discrimination did not include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. When Barack Obama was president, Paxton sued his administration over guidance on equal treatment of transgender youth in schools and a ban on anti-trans discrimination in health care.
It might be hard to win pronouns because of the First Amendment but preferred could be easier to win because people use preferred names all the time, suppose Richard goes by “Dick” which is his preferred name so if you use a person’s preferred name in one case and not another could be seen as discriminatory.

But bathrooms and locker rooms has been ruled on by the Trump court in our favor in the decision of Bostock v. Clayton. But still any court case is a crap shoot.

Texas is not just trying to overturn Title VII but also marriage equality.
He argued in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court that key LGBTQ+ rights decisions "have no basis in constitutional text or historical practice."
Up Worthy
By Jisha Joseph
September 23, 2021

Jonathan Mitchell, the former Texas solicitor general who is considered the architect of the state's radical 'heartbeat' law, has invited the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn key LGBTQ+ rights decisions. According to The Guardian, in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court ahead of its ruling on a Mississippi case limiting abortion to 15 weeks, Mitchell took aim at decisions that legalized same-sex relations and same-sex marriages in all 50 states. In the brief, Mitchell and co-counsel Adam Mortara called for the landmark Roe v Wade to be overturned while acknowledging that doing so could open the door for other "lawless" rights and protections to be reversed, including the right to have gay sex and the right to same-sex marriage.

Mitchell and Mortara argued that landmark LGBTQ victories — including Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision that banned states from criminalizing private, consensual gay sex, and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision that legalized marriage equality in all 50 states — "have no basis in constitutional text or historical practice" and that they "preserve the court-invented rights to homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage." They added that there isn't a "fundamental right to marry" in U.S. legal tradition and instead only a "right to marry an opposite-sex spouse" that must be protected.
Okay let stop right there, “have no basis in constitutional text or historical practice" so what did the courts base their decision on for those two cases?

The Fourteen Amendment is a simple amendment what it says is that you have to treat everyone equally in the law. Period.

So what the court said was in the Obergefell v. Hodges was if it was legal for a man and a woman to have sex then according to the 14th Amendment it must also be legal for a same-sex couple to have sex because of the amendment. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

All The Laws In The World…

Will not stop bigotry nor harassment. New York has some great non-discrimination laws the same as Connecticut but when you are in a hospital you are at the mercy of the nurses and the orderlies.
‘They made me feel so low’: Transgender men speak out about alleged discrimination at Highland Hospital
By Ally Peters
September 17, 2021

Two local men say they were discriminated against at a Rochester hospital.

Trey Lowery and Cori Smith are transgender men and they say in separate instances, staff at Highland Hospital treated them inappropriately.

When the alleged incidents happen, Lowery and Smith didn’t know each other. But now, they are speaking out together, hoping their stories bring awareness to adequate care and safety for transgender or non-confirming individuals.

Lowery said his incident happened in July of 2021, when he went to Highland Hospital for a bariatric surgery. He wanted to change his life around for his kids and wife, but was left upset by how the staff treated him.
“They begin to call me a she throughout my stay. They never put me as a male, though I corrected them and let them know that I was a male,” Lowery said. “The whole situation was a whole disaster for me. It literally made me feel took my pride in everything away from me.”
He wasn’t the only one that happened to, the other person was hospitalized before the non-discrimination law was passed.
Seven years ago, Cori Smith, who is also a transgender man, said he experienced discrimination at the hospital as well.

Smith had to go into the hospital in 2014 because he had endometriosis and adenomyosis. He had gotten his eggs retrieved, but there had been a complication following the retrieval, which lead him to need emergency surgery.

“They put a female wristbands on me, they put my old name on there, which I don’t know how they still had. I gave them my updated information and said that I am actually a male and they need to put that on, and that my name is Cori. They refused and didn’t do that. They laughed it off,” Smith said.
If this happens to you first thing talk to the head nurse, then the hospital HR department or the patient advocate. If that doesn’t work then go to the state agency that handles discrimination cases. But above all else no matter what they say don’t raise your voice. I know of one trans person who was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Here in Connecticut they have to assign you a room consistent with your gender identity, they cannot put you in a single room without your approval, they can offer but not put you in a single room automatically (I rather take the single room rather than a ward).

If someone complains about you being in a ward with others of your gender, than that person is moved not you. I moderated a panel one time for a panel of lawyers including lawyers from the CHRO (Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity) and one questioner asked this very question and the CHRO lawyer asked the questioner what would they do if a person in the ward complained about a Muslin being in their room. The questioner said they would move the person who was complaining from the ward… the questioner paused for a second and said, “Oh I see.”

Their complaints bore results;
After Smith’s came forward with his complaints, Highland Hospital says they have taken the following steps to support transgender patients, including:
  • Removing gender from patient wristbands and identification stickers in the hospital
  • Implementing practices for staff members to assist patients who want to update gender, name, and pronouns in their electronic medical record
  • Creating a process to make sure hospital billing aligns with a patient’s gender identity
  • Converting public restrooms to all-gender
  • Our mandatory annual education provides training about working with transgender and gender diverse individuals, and we offer a number of ongoing trainings [sic] to increase affirming and equitable care for transgender and gender diverse individuals.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What Do You Expect From Texas?

This is not unexpected from a Republican state, Texas is challenging Title VII trans inclusion.
Texas sues Biden administration over guidance on transgender worker rights
The Hill
By Mychael Schnell
September 20, 2021

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) on Monday sued the Biden administration over guidance it released in June requiring employers to offer certain protections to transgender workers.

Paxton's lawsuit - which names Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chairwoman Charlotte Burrows and Attorney General Merrick Garland as defendants - asks for declaratory and injunctive relief against the enforcement of the June guidance, which it says is "unlawful."

The EEOC released guidance in June that said employers are not allowed to stop transgender employees from dressing in a way that is consistent with their gender identity and said employers cannot deny transgender individuals from accessing bathrooms, locker rooms or showers that correspond with their gender identity.
Okay the Trump administration stripped protection for us and president Biden administration restored the protection but the thing is there was a Supreme Court ruling in our favor which the Trump administration ignored.
The guidance was based on a June 2020 decision from the Supreme Court - Bostock v. Clayton County - which said the prohibition against sex discrimination that is included in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes employment discrimination against an individual based on sexual orientation or transgender status.
I would laugh if this was so important but the Civil Right Act is settled law, many court have up held Titles VII and IV.
"States should be able to choose protection of privacy for their employers over subjective views of gender, and this illegal guidance puts many women and children at risk," Paxton said in a statement.

"If the Biden Administration thinks they can force states to comply with their political agenda, my office will fight against their radical attempt at social change. These backdoor attempts to force businesses, including the State of Texas, to align with their beliefs is unacceptable," he added.
The thing is the law applies to interstate commerce, if they do business across state line the Civil Rights Act applies, also if they receive federal funding the law applies.

But Texas is not along in attacking Titles VII and IX.
The lawsuit comes after a group of 20 GOP-led states filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration last month over guidance that said the Bostock decision could also be applied to transgender workers and students when using bathrooms, locker rooms or joining sports teams.
Bostock v. Clayton County case was where a funeral home fired an employee when she transitioned and the Supreme Court ruled that it violated Title VII sex discrimination. The court said… “That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

I don’t that their case has a leg to stand on but it is always a crap shoot when it comes to the courts.

Here in Connecticut a Catholic high school is thumbing its nose at the none discrimination laws and they will probably get away with it.
St. Paul Catholic High School added a gender identity policy to its handbook. Alumni are asking for it to be removed, calling it ‘transphobic’ and ‘grossly harmful’
Hartford Courant
By Amanda Blanco
September 21, 2021

More than 250 alumni of St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol are asking school leaders to remove a gender identity policy added to the 2021-2022 student handbook, calling the language “transphobic” and “grossly harmful to past, present and future students.”

In an open letter, first reported by The Bristol Press, the alumni take issue with a handbook passage that states: “God made male and female in His image and likeness. He made every child exactly as He intended.”

“Accordingly, and consistent with Archdiocesan OEEC policy,” the section continues, “St. Paul Catholic High School shall accept and relate to students and all members of the school community, for the duration of their years in attendance at St. Paul, according to their God-given, biological sex as male or female consistent with the complementary nature of each, and maintain appropriate distinctions between males and females especially in issues of facilities use, athletic teams, uniforms and nomenclature.”

The handbook also says the school “shall not sponsor, facilitate, or host such organizations, events, or activities that would promote views contrary to Catholic doctrine regarding human sexuality and gender, either on or off campus, or thorough social media,” and a “pastoral approach consistent with Catholic Church teachings must be used in addressing matters of gender, including transgenderism, and gender dysphoria.”
It is Catholic doctrine that will probably let them get away with it.

Around The World…

We have seen attacks both physical and legislative rise around the world, the worst is in eastern Europe.
Thousands march in Ukraine for LGBT rights, safety
AP News
September 19, 2021

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Some 7,000 people gathered in Ukrainian capital on Sunday for the annual March for Equality to support the rights of the country’s LGBT community.

Equipped with colorful costumes and rainbow flags, the crowd marched down the central streets of Kyiv, some carrying banners reading “Fight for right!” Participants announced eight demands for Ukrainian authorities, including the legalization of civil partnerships for LGBT people and the creation of laws against LGBT hate crimes.
The march was guarded by police, who sought to prevent clashes with far-right groups that attempt to disrupt the event every year. Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova urged radical groups to refrain from violence.
I salute those that marched. I have marched in some Pride and Trans parades but it didn’t take courage to do so, it was more like a party atmosphere but in Ukraine and other eastern European countries it can cost you your life.
Big Pride parade in Paris; Turkish police stop marchers
AP News
By Frances D'Emilio and John Leicester
June 26, 2021

ROME (AP) — Police in riot gear on Saturday blocked streets to try to thwart gay Pride marchers in Istanbul, while thousands turned out joyfully in Paris and elsewhere in Europe after pandemic privations — although setbacks against LGBT rights tempered some of the celebratory air.

Authorities have banned Istanbul Pride events since 2015, citing public security, and more recently, COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The Cumhuriyet newspaper said at least 25 people were detained.
In Italy, thousands of Pride celebrants rallied in Rome and in some smaller cities.

With a proposed law to combat hate crimes against LGBTQ people stalled in the Italian Senate for months, the Vatican and right-wing political leaders have been lobbying to eliminate some of the provisions, citing fears the legislation will crimp freedom of expression.
A new Hungarian law prohibits sharing content on homosexuality or sex reassignment to people under 18 in school sex education programs, films or advertisements. The European Union nation’s government says the law aims to protect children and insists it doesn’t target gays. Critic says the law links homosexuality with pedophilia.
Many participants in Paris expressed alarm about rollback of rights in Hungary and Poland, two EU nations led by right-wing governments.

“If European leaders tolerate this, what’s to stop them from tolerating that at home? said Mornia Paumelle—Pichon, a 26-year—old illustrator.
At Pride’s around the country here we have almost a party like aura of celebrations, we forget that south of the Mason–Dixon line we are still being persecuted for being LGBTQ+. For many in the south they still can lose their job, their housing, and be refused service for being trans or gay or lesbian or queer. They don’t have legislative LGBTQ+ committee to advise the legislature on issues affecting our community.

Lets show the world what it means to be an out and proud trans person.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A Gave Injustice.

A possible tripping point occurred in the summer of 2016 the question is, can we heal it or is it too late to repair the damage done.

In the spring Antonin Scalia passed away and President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Merrick Garland is a moderate Republican justice. However, then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican lead Judiciary Committee refused to hold hearing on his appointment.

They forever changed the United State… hopefully we can recover from the blow.

Then in 2018 Justice Anthony Kennedy was persuaded to retire then the Republican refused to have a detailed investigation of their appointee Kavanaugh. We are only now finding out how the Republicans hamstrung his background investigation.

The coup de grâce came when days before the election Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a grand hypocrisy held the vote to appoint Amy Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Now justice Barrett came out with this,
Justice Amy Coney Barrett Insists That The Supreme Court's Rulings Aren't Partisan
By Brian Naylor in 2018.
September 13, 2021

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett warned that her colleagues on the bench must be "hyper vigilant" to ensure their personal biases aren't creeping into their decisions.

But she said that "judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties."

Barrett, a conservative picked by former President Donald Trump to fill the seat left open by the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said that people were wrong to see the court as a partisan institution.

"To say the court's reasoning is flawed is different from saying the court is acting in a partisan manner," Barrett said. "I think we need to evaluate what the court is doing on its own terms."
Now is this the height of arrogance (I don’t even know if that is the right word.)? After the history of the last 3 justices being political appointees!
And were did she give that speech?
The advocacy group Fix the Court criticized Barrett's appearance before the McConnell Center.
Isn’t that amazing that she said that there, the center that was created by her benefactor that rammed through her appointment.
Op-Ed: Are Supreme Court justices 'partisan hacks'? All the evidence says yes
Los Angeles Times
By Erwin Chemerinsky
September 19, 2021

If Supreme Court justices don’t want to be seen as “partisan hacks,” they should not act like them.

In a speech last week at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville Law School, Justice Amy Coney Barrett said, “This court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.” She added, “Judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties.”

Setting aside the irony of uttering these statements at an event honoring Sen. Mitch McConnell, who blocked the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the court and rushed through the confirmation of Barrett precisely because of their ideologies, the reality is that time and again the court’s Republican majority has handed down decisions strongly favoring Republicans in the political process.

Does Barrett really expect people to believe that is a coincidence?
Then there is this article from “The Business Insider,” via Yahoo News.
We're watching the implosion of the Supreme Court in real time
By Michael Gordon
September 19, 2021,

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett admitted that the Supreme Court is crumbling as an institution.

Earlier this month, the newest justice gave a speech lamenting how the Court is viewed as partisan and warning that her fellow justices must be "hyper vigilant to make sure they're not letting personal biases creep into their decisions." She must know something we don't.

These remarks may seem like a surprise. After all, Barrett was confirmed to the Court in a hyper-partisan process and gave the aforementioned speech at an event celebrating Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the architect of the judicial system's rightward turn. Despite the hypocrisy, or perhaps because of it, the comments struck a chord.

In an age of Republicans challenging legitimate election results because they lose or might lose, the credibility of the Court is the next hammer to fall in our democracy, the last bastion of hope for nonpartisan decision making.

But now the Court is rightfully losing public support as the veneer of impartiality slips, and the hyper-partisanship both at and around the Court is to blame.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell blocked all of Presidents Obama’s federal judicial appointment and when Trump came to power they appointed over 270 federal judges to lifetime appointments! Many of those judge had never even tried a case before a court, one was even just a couple of years out of college.

Stop and think for a moment.

The Republicans have wrecked our confidence in the election process.

The Republicans have packed the court with conservative judges who are anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ+, pro-religion, and pro-business and anti-voter rights.

We have to ask why? What is their ultimate goal?

Will be ever be ale to recover from the damage that the Republicans have done? 

Monday, September 20, 2021

My Story Part 181: Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is like COVID-19 in that people exhibit symptoms to a different degree. For some people gender dysphoria is like an itch that won’t go away, while others have to transition. I have seen both cases. For me it was like a slow burn, so I took my time keeping the burn under control, 

There is an old joke… “What is the difference between a crossdresser and someone who transitioned, three years.”

Just because someone didn’t transition doesn’t mean that they don’t have gender dysphoria, or just because someone de-transitioned also doesn’t mean that they don’t have gender dysphoria.

Mother Nature loves to experiment on us.

I have seen trans people that needed to transition NOW! For me I was middle of the road, I tested out the waters first. I was living female except for 8 hours at work and I was planning on transitioning when I retired but work had other plans. They shut down the factory and the day I got my pink slip I transitioned.

The burn became too hot to control so I went to the Gender Identity Clinic of New England (GICNE) in 2004 and started on hormones then and then in 2007 I transitioned.

Someone who came to the support group once, never crossdressed in her life wanted to get surgery immediately, GICNE turned her down saying she had to follow the Standard of Care protocols (This was in the early 2000s). She went to Thailand for her surgery, I always wondered how she is doing.

I know someone who de-transitioned and became a trans-exclusionary radical male (TERM) and tells everyone who will listen about the horrors of trans people.

I know a few people who de-transitioned; one because she couldn’t find a job and she had to move back into her parents house. The last time that I talked to “him” he said that he is having a hard time being male again. I know someone else who de-transitioned because of work and family, but she re-transitioned. In another trans person the gender dysphoria is not a driving force in their life and decided not to transition.

I think they all have gender dysphoria but it manifests in different way, in different levels of dysphoria, and they cope with it in different ways.

The whole idea with treatment for Gender Dysphoria is to follow what the patient desires, the patient leads and the medical community provides the support that we need on our journey. For some of us all we need to keep the burn under control is to occasionally crossdress, for some it is only socially transition, other need hormones, while other need Gender Confirming Surgery. We are all unique. 

But then we have trans-exclusionary radical trans persons (TERTP), they want to appoint themselves as gatekeepers to decide who is and who is not a trans person. For them you have to have had surgery to be trans, anything else is “Just a man in a dress.” They want to establish a pecking order, a pyramid with them on top.

My journey has taken me to many interesting places where I have never dreamed of being; testifying before the legislature, going to Washington to lobby, being on a legislative committee, and being on a advisory committee for the governor. On the flip side I experienced prejudice and bias. My advice is to just follow your heart, to paraphrase Smoky the Bear only you who gets to decide if you are trans or not.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Trans TV

As many of you know I am a big supporter of trans people playing trans people in the media. Well I came across an article in Out about just that.
12 TV Shows With Trans Men Characters Played by Trans Actors
By Mey Rude
September 3, 2021

We love to see positive trans representation!

As trans representation picks up, we're seeing more stories about different kinds of trans people. Thankfully, that includes trans men. These trans actors are changing the way people view trans men, and making it so that poeple who never saw themselves represented get to finally do that.

Unfortunately, most of these roles have been played by just a handful of trans actors, with Elliot Fletcher, Ian Alexander, Theo Germaine, and Brian Michael Smith each appearing multiple times on this list. Hopefully, we'll soon see a wider range of trans actors getting these roles!
There are trans people playing trans parts but also straight parts!

Here are 12 TV shows with trans actors playing trans men characters:
  • '9-1-1: Lone Star' [Fox]
  • 'Faking It' [MTV]
  • 'The Fosters' [Netflix]
  • 'Good Girls' [NBC]
  • 'The L Word: Generation Q' [Showtime]
  • 'Queen Sugar'[OWN]
  • 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' [Netflix]
  • 'Star Trek: Discovery' [Paramount+]
  • 'The OA' [Netflix]
  • 'The Politician' [Netflix]
  • 'Work in Progress' [Showtime]
  • 'Shameless' [Showtime]
But it is not only the guys who are making inroads into acting careers but also the ladies. Last July Insider ran an article on trans actors/actresses here are the women.
18 transgender celebrities who are changing television
By Frank Olito
July 16, 2021

More TV shows are featuring transgender actors and characters.
  • Zion Moreno is starring in the "Gossip Girl" reboot, which just premiered on HBO Max.
  • MJ Rodriguez is known for her work on "Pose" and recently became the first transgender person to be nominated for a major acting Emmy.
  • Elliot Page acted in "Umbrella Academy" and "Tales of the City" before coming out as transgender.
  • Laverne Cox got her start on "Orange Is the New Black."
  • Asia Kate Dillon stars as Taylor Mason in "Billions."
  • Dominique Jackson made a name for herself on FX's "Pose."
  • Indya Moore is another transgender person who appeared on "Pose."
  • Hunter Schafer stepped into the limelight with HBO's hit "Euphoria."
  • Josie Totah transitioned after starring in NBC's "Champions."
  • Jen Richards produced and starred in the web series "Her Story."
  • Alexandra Billings is most recognizable for her role in "Transparent."
  • Trace Lysette has appeared in "Transparent" and the movie "Hustlers."
  • Nicole Maines is portraying the first trans superhero on CW's "Supergirl."
Not name on the list but also an actress who also made a movie is Rachel Crowl (I have meet her and her wife Helen Boyd) who was in And Then There Was Eve.

It is really great for trans actors getting so much air time! It very important because one of the things that we know is the more visibility that we have the more acceptance we have. By having trans people in the media we also show that viewership doesn’t go down, which hopefully will results trans people can make a living in acting.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Saturday 9: I Left My Heart in San Francisco

Sam's Saturday 9: I Left My Heart in San Francisco (1962)

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 is a valentine to the city of San Francisco. Songwriters George Cory and Douglas Cross moved to New York to find fame and fortune and found themselves homesick for the city by the bay. Have you ever been homesick? Or, in the parlance of the song, where have you left your heart?
Maybe my first couple of months in college.
I am a “homebody” I lived in the same town for close to 65 years, while my brother lived in seven places.

2) Cory and Cross were buddies with Ralph Sharon, a piano player who often worked with Tony Bennett. Ralph brought the song to Tony and the results were very happy for all involved. Have you more recently done, or been on the receiving end of, a favor?
I received more favors than doing favors. Note, this plague has kept me indoors so there less interaction with others.

3) The lyrics compare San Francisco to Paris, Rome and Manhattan. Have you visited those cities?
Yes, San Francisco and Manhattan.

San Francisco I visited in 1999 and Manhattan in 2016 to see Beautiful: The Carol King Story

4) This week's artist, Tony Bennett, sang professionally for the last time in August. He retired after performing at Radio City Music Hall with Lady Gaga. Their musical collaboration dates back to when they both performed at President Obama's inauguration. Though 60 years apart in age, they became fast friends based on their shared love of jazz. Do you find that most of your friends are older than you, younger than you, or within 5 years of you?
Younger. Not by much but all but one are younger than me, the “youngest” is 59.

5) While Lady Gaga grew up listening to Tony Bennett, as a young man Tony recalled listening to Bing Crosby, Judy Garland and Joe Venuti. Which singers did you enjoy during your teen years?
This is very, very hard because I grew up in the 60s and 70s with so many great artists, up near the top of the pack is Linda Ronstadt. Here she is with the Stone Poneys (not the greatest group but her voice surpasses the band.).

6) While he's famous for singing about San Francisco, Tony is a proud son of New York. Born in Queens, he chose to end his career at Radio City Music Hall and was excited to perform "New York State of Mind" with Billy Joel at Shea Stadium in 2008. Do you have a favorite Billy Joel song?
Captain Jack.
Did you know that his song River of Dreams was filmed in Connecticut, the bridge that they used I go by every time I go to my endo and once I went of a Connecticut river cruise and the captain pointed out all the locations where the video was filmed. The barn they filmed in is a tobacco barn where they dry out the tobacco leaves and the ferry I have been on many times, it is the one of two oldest ferry in the US

7) Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra may have been competitors but they shared mutual admiration. Sinatra called Bennett "the best singer in the business," and Bennett did a Sinatra homage album called Perfectly Frank. Think of people you have worked with over the years. Tell us about someone who has impressed you, and why.
My boss at the second company that I worked at after college, he ran the engineer department and when he left I followed him to the new job where I worked for 28 years. I remember him telling us about his escape from Romania after WWII. One of the stories he told was when he came here he went to the Labor Department to get his new job, it blew him away that they didn’t assign him a job and that he had to find a job on his own.

8) The 1970s were a difficult period for Tony. During the days of disco and Studio 54, he said singing new songs made him feel like his mother, a talented seamstress, when she was forced to make a cheap dress. OK, so Tony doesn't like disco! Is there a genre of music you just don't care for?
I’m with Tony on disco, the other music that I don’t like is rap music… it is just that I tend to like the music of my generation.

9) Random question: Imagine you're the passenger in a long car ride. Are you more likely to be calm or fidgety?
Long car trips do not bother me (it is a 4 hour drive to the cottage on the Cape), the only time I get fidgety is when my bladder starts calling.

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, September 17, 2021

We Have A Target On Our Backs

We are the low hanging fruit.

One thing that I have learned over the seventy something years that I have walked this earth when dictators take power they do so with focusing the people anger at a minority. Hitler used the Jew, Romani people, LGBTQ+ people, those who are different.

It is a common trait among authoritarians; all your problems are caused by these, fill in the blank _______ people. We are really passing these laws to protect you from ______.

Germany passed the Nuremberg Laws which were anti-semitic and racist laws in 1935.

The authoritarian governments of Russia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine and Albania are all passing anti-LGBTQ legislation. In China the government ordered a boycott of “sissy pants” celebrities.

In a New York Times opinion by David Brooks titled “When Dictators Find God” he wrote,
What is the 21st century going to be about? If you had asked me 20 years ago, on, say, Sept. 10, 2001, I would have had a clear answer: advancing liberalism. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid, Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in China, a set of values seemed to be on the march — democracy, capitalism, egalitarianism, individual freedom.

Then over the ensuing decades, democracy’s spread was halted and then reversed. Authoritarians in China, Central and Eastern Europe and beyond wielded power. We settled into the now familiar contest between democratic liberalism and authoritarianism.
We are not immune.

In 2020 the “Big Lie” emerged to begin a wave of voter suppression legislation by the Republicans 

In 2021 the Republicans passed an anti-trans healthcare law in Arkansas and over 15 states tried and some succeeded in passing anti-trans bills.

The Times article goes on to say,
Xi Jinping is one of the architects of this spiritually coated authoritarianism. Mao Zedong regarded prerevolutionary China with contempt. But Xi’s regime has gone out of its way to embrace old customs and traditional values. China scholar Max Oidtmann says it is restricting independent religious entities while creating a “Socialist core value view,” a creed that includes a mixture of Confucianism, Daoism, Marxism and Maoism.
Vladimir Putin and the other regional authoritarians play a similar game. Putin has long associated himself with religious philosophers like Ivan Ilyin and Nikolai Berdyaev. In an essay for the Berkley Center at Georgetown University, Dmitry Uzlaner reports that the regime is casting itself as “the last bastion of Christian values” that keeps the world from descending into liberal moral chaos.
Even wannabe authoritarians in America and Western Europe are getting in on the game. The international affairs scholar Tobias Cremer has shown that many of the so-called Christian nationalists who populate far-right movements on both sides of the Atlantic are actually not that religious.
We are the focus of their hate all around the world authoritarian governments are attacking us, the Times article goes on…
The pseudo-religious authoritarians have raised the moral stakes. They act as if individualism, human rights, diversity, gender equality, L.G.B.T.Q. rights and religious liberty are just the latest forms of Western moral imperialism and the harbingers of social and moral chaos.
In Texas they just passed the most restrict abortion law in the nation and to top it off they authorized vigilante justice. The law was passed to energize their conservative religious base, to get them fired up and vote Republican in the elections.

What we have to ask ourselves what are Republican goals in passing these draconian laws that attack women and the LGBTQ+ community?

We have to ask ourselves why did the Republicans crawl into bed with the evangelical Christians? Not just any Christians but with white conservative Christians?
I believe that you have to look at all the legislation that the Republicans have or are trying to pass. You cannot look at them individually but as a whole and why. You have to look at where their funding comes from.

1. The demonizing of minorities.
2. The restriction of the vote.
3. Funding by oligarchies.

I believe that the Republican goal is to have a one party government in other words an authoritarian government. They are following down the same path as other dictators around the world.


What is the root cause of the growth of the worldwide growth of authoritarianism?

I believe that it wealth inequality as the billionaire gobble up the world wealth they are destroying the middle class and they are fighting for the scrapes from the billionaire tables.

Why are we being persecuted? It is to distract the masses from the real causes, the oligarchies accumulation of wealth and use us as scapegoats. It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz when he is exposed behind the curtain and he says “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” we are the curtains that they are hiding behind.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Car Theft

Have you been following news lately? The big thing is about car thefts at town meetings they are shouting and yelling the thefts by juveniles and demanding tougher laws! This outrage is being lead by the Republicans… FEAR!

The news had safety tips about going to your car and of course the warnings were directed at women. Yes, you should be aware of your surroundings but let me ask you when was the last time you heard that happen, a random kidnapping and robbery here in Connecticut? I can’t remember, can you?

Let’s look at some crime data instead of emotional rhetoric.
1. Connecticut was 33 in car thefts in 2019 (which is the latest data available)!
2. Connecticut’s violent crimes have been decreasing faster than the national average!
3. Connecticut was 46 in violent crimes!
4. The number of car thefts with keys or FOBs in them have been increasing.
5. Nation wide car thefts are up, not just in Connecticut.
What do the news media have to say about the rise in crime?
Connecticut has a teen car theft problem, but it is not related to state juvenile justice reforms, new analysis finds
Hartford Courant
By Zach Murdock
March 26, 2021

A new data analysis of car thefts across Connecticut has concluded there is very little evidence state juvenile justice reforms over the past decade contributed to the scourge of stolen vehicles that have led some law enforcement leaders and lawmakers to argue the state is too soft on young offenders.

Police officials have noted a spike in motor vehicle thefts since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year and frequently blame roving groups of serial teenage thieves, who many law enforcement leaders argue cycle through the juvenile justice system repeatedly with few consequences.

Advocates have decried that conclusion and now the new analysis from the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University confirms the recent increase in car thefts is not correlated to reform laws designed to keep teens from incarceration.

The rate of car thefts in Connecticut did increase in 2020, the preliminary data show, but it is still about 3% lower than in 2018 and closely reflects a nationwide trend during the COVID-19 pandemic, IMRP project manager Ken Barone said this week.
But the Republicans are stirring up their making “CRIME” the number one issue in Connecticut labeling Democrats soft on crime.

The main focus of the Republicans is the age that a teenager could not be tried as an adult,
But the data show that increase mirrored the nationwide trend, not correlated with the reform laws in Connecticut, and that the share of teens arrested for motor vehicle theft has steadily dropped over the past 30 years, Barone said.

“The data tell us there is no evidence to support any claim that raise the age laws have caused an increase in motor vehicle thefts here in Connecticut,” he said. “We have lots of evidence to support that fact and very little evidence to support a claim that changes to the juvenile justice laws are causing an increase.”
You watch, the Republicans will make crime an issue in the 2022 elections. Here is what another Connecticut media had to say,
As car thefts rise in CT, police remind residents to stop leaving key fobs inside their vehicles
By: Rich Coppola
November 5, 2020

Between 1998 and 2017, officials report Connecticut saw car thefts decline by 43%.

“We were dealing with broken ignitions and filed down keys, and you actually needed more of an insight in regards to how to steal cars,” said Lieutenant Paul Cicero, who was an auto theft detective from 2005 until 2010. “Those were the thieves we were seeing.”

Back then, he said, they were mostly adults.

“And now it’s juveniles engaged in reckless driving behavior and other criminal acts.”

Those criminal acts include shootings, evading motor vehicle accidents, street racing and people losing their lives because of people operating stolen cars.
Hartford police said in one weekend in late August, 82 cars were reported stolen in Connecticut.

Why the uptick? Of those 82 cars stolen between Aug. 28 and Aug. 30, 62 of them had the key fob left inside.

“We’re seeing this increase because of careless owners,” Cicero said. “That’s what the big number is. Careless owners leaving their key fobs in their cars. It doesn’t take a seasoned car thief to open a door, push a button and drive away.”
When you listen to the Republicans legislators they want to rollback the age that teenager can be tried as an adult, mandatory jail time, and increasing the severity of the car theft.

Not once did you hear from them say to… “Lock it and pocket the key.”



Another Win

This time it is about birth certificates out in Utah.
Utah legislature may tweak Supreme Court ruling on transgender rights
Fox 13
By: Ben WinslowPosted
September 15, 2021

The Utah State Legislature took up the issue of transgender people and the gender marker on their birth certificates.

A hearing was called on Wednesday before the Health & Human Services Interim Committee to discuss an historic Utah Supreme Court ruling. The committee's co-chair, Rep. Merrill Nelson, wanted to know if they should accept the ruling or modify it.

The state's top court ruled in favor of Sean Childers-Gray and Angie Rice, who sought to have the markers on their birth certificates changed to match their gender identity. While most judges across Utah routinely grant such requests for transgender people, there have been a few instances where people are refused a gender marker change.

That led to judicial conflict and the Utah Supreme Court ruled, setting a uniform process for a transgender person to get their official state identification changed.

"It's in our hands to decide at this point if we're content with the status of law," said Rep. Nelson, R-Grantsville, adding: "Or if we as policy makers want to modify the statute."
The legislature has a split personality,
One lawmaker on the committee questioned why they were even willing to wade into it now that the Court ruled.

"If I may interject and just ask this blunt question, Rep. Nelson?" said Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi. "Are you comfortable with the definition that the Supreme Court came up with?"

The battle for our rights is ongoing, a new law suit looms over healthcare.
Catholic Medical Association joins lawsuit over HHS ‘transgender mandate’
By Catholic News Service
August 27, 2021

The Philadelphia-based Catholic Medical Association Aug. 26 joined in a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s mandate that doctors and hospitals perform gender-transition procedures on any patient despite any moral or medical objections of the doctor or health care facility.

“Biological identity must remain the basis for treating patients,” said Dr. Michael Parker, president of the association, a national, physician-led community of more than 2,300 health care professionals in 114 local guilds.

The suit was filed Aug. 26 in U.S. District Court by Alliance Defending Freedom, a national faith-based nonprofit in Arizona that focuses on legal advocacy.

Other joining the suit are Dr. Jeanie Dassow, a Tennessee OB-GYN doctor who specializes in caring for adolescents, and the American College of Pediatricians, made up of more than 600 physicians and other health care professionals in 47 states who treat children.
Of course the anti-LGBTQ+ legal firm is leading the attack on us, they are the ones behind all the bills introduced in Republican states.
Alliance Defending Freedom’s attorneys argue in the filing that HHS has reinterpreted Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits sex discrimination, “to include gender identity and thus require gender-transition interventions, services, surgeries, and drugs on demand, even for children, no matter a doctor’s medical judgment, religious beliefs or conscientious objection.” If doctors and hospitals do not comply, they will be held liable for discrimination.
These religious zealots will continue pogrom against the LGBTQ+ community hoping for that one victory to set precedent.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A Win

What happens when you win in court but you get short changed by the court ruling?

That happened to a professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University to a trans woman.
Transgender professor ordered reinstated with tenure at university in Oklahoma by federal court
A panel of three federal judges determined Rachel Tudor deserves her old job as a tenured-track professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
NBC News
By Antonio Planas
September 14, 2021

A transgender professor who was denied a promotion more than a decade ago must be reinstated with tenure at Southeastern Oklahoma State University because the school discriminated against her, a federal court ruled this week.

Rachel Tudor, who was fired from the university in 2011, won a landmark civil rights discrimination case in 2017 in which a jury awarded her more than $1 million in damages.

Although she was granted tenure during the 2009-10 academic year by a faculty committee of five in a 4-1 vote, the university’s administration denied her promotion to associate professor, according to a federal ruling from three judges filed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Given the jury verdict in favor of Dr. Tudor, it is established — and we cannot now question — that Dr. Tudor would have been granted tenure in 2009-10 absent the discrimination,” the ruling stated. “We are instead restoring Dr. Tudor to the position she would have been in had Southeastern not engaged in prohibited discrimination against her.”
A jury in 2017 found Tudor was discriminated against by her former employer and rewarded her $1.1 million in damages. That was reduced to about $360,000 in capped damages, according to the lawsuit.

It appears that the court didn’t figure in the promotion that she should have received so she went back to court and the university didn’t rehire her.

The Okahoman said…
After being fired, transgender professor wins job back at Southeastern Oklahoma State University
By Josh Dulaney
September 14, 2021

An appeals court this week ordered Southeastern Oklahoma State University to reinstate a transgender professor who alleged the school in Durant wrongfully denied her tenure.

In its 55-page ruling Monday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the university’s challenge of an Oklahoma City federal court jury’s decision to award Rachel Tudor more than $1 million in damages after determining she lost tenure because of her gender.

The appeals left in place a statutory $300,000 damages cap, but ordered lower courts to recalculate her attorneys’ fees and lost wages due.
The Oklahoman made the verdict clearer than NBC article and the Oklahoman went on to say,
Tudor, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, claimed she was subjected to unfair rules related to where she could use the bathroom and what she was allowed to wear on campus.

The defendants contended there was no evidence of discrimination and Tudor didn’t want to earn her tenure.

Jurors found the defendants discriminated against Tudor when she was denied tenure during the 2009-2010 application cycle and when she was denied the opportunity to reapply in the following cycle. The jury also found the defendants retaliated against Tudor by denying her the opportunity to reapply.

Last year the Supreme Court ruled that we are covered Title VII of the Civil Rights Act under sex discrimination.

The deck is stacked against the employee by the courts, it has become harder to prove discrimination in federal courts.
Supreme Court Raises Bar to Prove Job Discrimination
New York Times
By Steven Greenhouse
June 24, 2013

In two decisions issued on Monday, the Supreme Court effectively made it harder for workers to prove that they had suffered employment discrimination.

One ruling narrows the definition of what constitutes a supervisor in racial and sexual harassment cases, while the other adopts a tougher standard for workers to prove that they had faced illegal retaliation for complaining about employment discrimination.

In both cases, the rulings were decided by a 5-to-4 majority, with the dissenting justices, the court’s four most liberal members, calling on Congress to fix what they said were overly restrictive rulings.
I have always suggested that if you think you are being discriminated against keep a logbook on all the incidents because you can bet your bottom dollar the company is. A notebook with numbered pages and a record of the date and time along with the incidents will go a long way to prove your case in court.