Monday, January 31, 2022

Blocked!

Marriage equality is a done deal… wrong!

Many states do not have laws about same sex couples to adoptions or take materially leave. The National Center for Lesbian Right reports says that,

When a legally married couple has a child, they are both automatically presumed to be the legal parents of the child. This means that, if they get divorced, they both remain legal parents unless a court terminates one or both of their parental rights. This presumption applies to same-sex parents when children are born to couples who are married or where their state recognizes their civil union or comprehensive domestic partnership at the time the child is born. Most states have not yet addressed this issue directly, but every state that has considered this question in its highest court has held that the marital presumption and assisted reproduction provisions apply equally to same-sex spouses, and a number of states have changed their statutes to be gender neutral.

[...]

 Regardless of whether you are married or in a civil union or comprehensive domestic partnership, NCLR always encourages non-biological and non-adoptive However, six states currently permit private child placement agencies to discriminate based on their religious beliefs while still operating under a state license, and in some of these states, while receiving state funding. Laws in Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia, Alabama, and Texas allow private child placement agencies to refuse to provide services based on the agency’s religious beliefs. Mississippi previously passed a bill permitting this kind of discrimination, but a federal district court declared the bill unconstitutional.

It is a hodgepodge of state laws and the red states are dragging their feet to change their laws so that means court cases. Connecticut has passed laws giving the same rights to all couples but some states still, for example the state of Hawaii only allows maternity level for women, that means a gay couple are not eligible for maternity for a new born or an adoption.

NCLR report goes on to say,

Mississippi recently passed a law that may allow adoption service providers to refuse to place children with lesbian and gay single parents or couples if it would burden the exercise of their religion. There is currently a case pending challenging Nebraska’s policy that excludes lesbian and gay parents from being foster or adoptive placements for children in state care.

So we are seeing barriers being placed in the way of same-sex marriages.

LGBTQ advocates regroup on paid parental leave after Biden's safety net bill stalls
NBC News
By Jacob Fulton
January 29, 2022


The Rev. Richard Weinberg, an Episcopalian rector in Washington, D.C., was surprised to find that his diocese didn’t have a policy for paid parental leave when he began preparing to adopt a child with his partner last year.

[…]

Weinberg’s experience is common in the LGBTQ community, advocacy groups and think tanks studying the issue say. According to a 2020 study by the Census Bureau, same-sex couples are more than four times as likely as opposite-sex couples to adopt children — and more than twice as likely to foster children. But the policies vary by employer and are applied inconsistently, according to studies of the issue.

[…]

LGBTQ advocates hope that polls showing broad support for paid parental leave will create momentum for legislative action. Eighty-four percent of voters — including majorities of Democrats, independents and Republicans — support a paid family leave policy, according to a 2018 study from the National Partnership for Women and Families, an advocacy group focused on the issue.

[…]

Policies also don’t cover sexual orientations and gender identities equally. A 2018 survey by the Human Rights Campaign found fewer than half of LGBTQ respondents said their employers' leave policies were LGBTQ-inclusive. Respondents also expressed concern about potentially outing themselves or encountering workplace discrimination when asking for leave, the survey found.

As I mentioned there is no impetus by the Republican states to change their laws, same-sex couple have to drag the state to court to change their laws on adoption or in vitro fertilization. It will take a federal law.

For Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., the issue is personal. Craig, who co-chairs the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and is one of two LGBTQ parents in Congress, said the complexities that same-sex couples face in becoming parents have shown the importance of a uniform paid leave policy.

LGBTQ people face a wide range of barriers when starting families, Craig said. One such circumstance occurred when her wife adopted their first child — even though she was married to the primary adoptee, Craig had to file for second-parent adoption, a practice in place in many states.

Across the nation, nearly 20 states, primarily led by Republicans, have not passed protections against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexuality in adoption, according to the Movement Advancement Project, a think tank focused on promoting equal rights.

If it one thing that LGBTQ know how to do better than anyone else is fight for their human rights!

Oh and for trans couple you might think that this only applies to lesbians and gays, well I got news for you, when you transition you are now in a same-sex marriage (Unless you were in a same-sex marriage before your transition).

Sunday, January 30, 2022

A Farewell To Amy

After her loss a number of articles appeared about her and what she thought about losing.

Amy Schneider reflects on her historic 'Jeopardy!' run and what it means to her personally: People 'don't think there's something wrong with me'
Yahoo Entertainment
By Raechal Shewfelt
January 27, 2022


Jeopardy! juggernaut Amy Schneider's 40-day run on the show, which ended Tuesday, gave her much more than the nearly $1.4 million she won there. It also helped give her self-acceptance.

"A few months ago, deep down, I simply did not believe that I could ever really be accepted for who I was," the record-breaking contestant wrote in a piece for the Jeopardy! website. "That is, I had come to believe (not without some difficulty) that at least some people accepted me: my family, my girlfriend, my inner circle of friends. But I always believed that most people would see me as trans people have so often been seen: a freak, a pervert, a man in a dress, a liar, mentally ill."

Schneider, who is transgender, said she had prepared herself for rejection when her episodes aired, but she was happily surprised that it never came.

"Sure, there have been a few isolated voices trying to bring me down, but the overwhelming reaction has been of support and acceptance," Schneider wrote. "People actually believe me when I say who I am. They don't think there's something wrong with me. And because of that, for maybe the first time in my life, I'm starting to think there really isn't anything wrong with me either."

She has been is a great asset to the community, millions upon millions turned into the show and saw just a typical middle age woman and not a “drag queen” or a big burly man in a dress. Just a pleasant middle aged woman.

"The acceptance I've received is the fruit of long, violent struggles — some famous, some forgotten — in which generations of trans people have risked their lives to secure their basic right to exist. Frances Thompson and Billy Tipton, Lili Elbe and Dora Richter, Sylvia Rivera and Felicia Elizondo, Laverne Cox and Gavin Grimm, and so many more who are lost to history, have devoted themselves to creating the conditions that exist today, where a trans Jeopardy! champion can be, for most people, uncritically accepted and celebrated as the person she is," Schneider reflected. "And the most rewarding thing I've gained from my Jeopardy! run is the ability to finally say that I, too, have helped that cause. I haven't thrown rocks at the police, or fought for my rights in the Supreme Court; all I've really done is chase a lifelong dream of appearing on Jeopardy!. But I knew that I was taking on a burden of representation, and I will always and forever be proud to say that I've done my little part to ease the path for future generations of trans people to live free, open, and happy lives, and that feeling is worth more to me than any financial gain could ever be."

In an article on the Jeopardy website she had this to say,

AMY SCHNEIDER: WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY JEOPARDY! EXPERIENCE

Today, my Jeopardy! run enters the history books. It will appear in the archives as a 40-game win streak, running from Nov. 17, 2021 to Jan. 26, 2022, with winnings of $1,382,800 (plus $2,000 for the second-place finish in game 41). But for myself, none of those statistics are quite right: when it started, when it ended, what I gained.

When did my Jeopardy! run start? For me, it started in childhood, when my parents first began watching the “new guy,” Alex Trebek, hosting a revival of a quiz show that had gone off the air a few months before I was born. Like so many people, Jeopardy! has been in the background of my life for as long as I can remember – a calm, comforting routine: 3 contestants, 61 clues, 3 Daily Doubles. Potent Potables, Potpourri, “genre.” Every weeknight, month after month, year after year. It was a place that valued the same things I’d been taught to value: curiosity, collegiality, just a hint of pedantry, and above all, a sense that knowing things was fun! I always knew that I would find myself there someday, and while I didn’t know what would happen when I got there, I knew I wouldn’t regret finding out.

[…]

But the acceptance I’ve received isn’t due to any special qualities in myself (or at least, those qualities aren’t the most important reason for it). The acceptance I’ve received is the fruit of long, violent struggles – some famous, some forgotten – in which generations of trans people have risked their lives to secure their basic right to exist. Frances Thompson and Billy Tipton, Lili Elbe and Dora Richter, Sylvia Rivera and Felicia Elizondo, Laverne Cox and Gavin Grimm, and so many more who are lost to history, have devoted themselves to creating the conditions that exist today, where a trans Jeopardy! champion can be, for most people, uncritically accepted and celebrated as the person she is. And the most rewarding thing I’ve gained from my Jeopardy! run is the ability to finally say that I, too, have helped that cause. I haven’t thrown rocks at the police, or fought for my rights in the Supreme Court; all I’ve really done is chase a lifelong dream of appearing on Jeopardy!. But I knew that I was taking on a burden of representation, and I will always and forever be proud to say that I’ve done my little part to ease the path for future generations of trans people to live free, open, and happy lives, and that feeling is worth more to me than any financial gain could ever be.

She is fantastic!

As Harvey Milk said if we want to bring change we need to be visible and she was visible! As Miqqi Gilbert said one time as Fantasia Fair, there is “out” and then there is “OUT!” 

And then there is the money, after taxes it will be something like $750,000!

How 'Jeopardy' contestant Amy Schneider plans to spend her $1.4 million winnings
CNBC
By Alicia Adamczyk
January 28, 2022


"Jeopardy!" contestant Amy Schneider's historic 40-game hot streak finally came to an end on Wednesday, when she lost after amassing a total of $1,382,800 in winnings.Though the Oakland, California-based software engineering manager will ultimately take home much less than that — CNBC estimates that between federal and state taxes she'll net around $755,000 — she still has a healthy chunk of change to spend. And Schneider has a few ideas for her winnings.

A day after her final episode aired, the gameshow champ told Extra TV she plans to travel and save up for a house. Her winnings could go a long way toward a down payment on a home if she stays in Oakland, where the typical home cost is $953,536, according to Zillow.

"We're gonna go to Ireland and go on a little bit of a shopping spree, get some designer clothes, and things like that," she said.

It also says a lot about homes in California that even after winning $1.3 million that you can’t afford a home.

And then there is the man that she lost to, the man in the neon glasses…

Rhone Talsma talks 'Jeopardy' buzzer strategy, those neon glasses, dethroning Amy Schneider
USA Today
By Elise Brisco
January 27, 2022


Rhone Talsma is $29,000 richer and a new "Jeopardy!" household name after dethroning history-making champion Amy Schneider. 

The 29-year-old librarian from Illinois "expected an intense response" after winning Wednesday's "Jeopardy!" game against the No. 2 winner in consecutive games. In reality, he was not prepared for the attention.

"Jeopardy!" episodes are taped in advance, so he's kept his victory under wraps since November,  but viewers are just now discovering Talsma. USA TODAY talked to him Thursday, the morning after his winning appearance.

"I wish I had a social media manager right now,” he says. He shares how he beat Schneider, and what was going on in the brain behind those spectacular glasses during the show.

Talsma's win Wednesday leaned largely on a true Daily Double about mythology, asking what the Greek goddesses of vengeance are more commonly called in Latin (answer: the Furies) and a "Final Jeopardy" that leveraged his geography knowledge: The only nation in the world ending in "H" (answer: Bangladesh).

Those two moments changed everything. 

"I was just so shocked; there was this huge wave of catharsis," Talsma says, describing the moment Jennings announced him as the winner. "All of the emotions that I would have felt during the course of the game all came flooding back at once … I’m laughing, my heart rate is racing, I’m smiling, I’m almost crying.”

There is some talk on social media that she lost on purpose and for me it does matter. I have a feeling that all the great Jeopardy winners got tired of winning and ended it. According to Ken Jennings,

And then the five games are recorded — almost in real-time. There are a few stops in the games to correct things and to let the contestants know if they are being consistently too late or too early on the buzzer — they really take pains to try to help everyone do their best. But unless there is a long pause to resolve a scoring question or fix a tech problem, the little interruptions don’t take much longer than the commercials would when the show airs.

The show maintains the illusion that the winner is returning from “yesterday’s game,” even though it ended only 15–20 minutes ago. The pace if frenetic. The contestants get up to play, and before they know it the game is over. But all of the contestants — win or lose — have a great time. Contestants are requested to bring a few changes of of clothing (shirts and ties, blouses, scarves, etc) so that they will have a somewhat different outfit on when they come back from the green room 20 minutes later for “the next day’s” game.

Winning must take lot out of you, after all they do a whole week of shows in one day followed by another week of shows, followed by a week off and it must get tiring. She won second place, a million and a half dollars, and the next milestone was about another 30 games away. She will be back again for the Tournament of Champions.

It wouldn’t be like taking a dive because it is not for money but for a desire to move on.

Anyhow, Rhone Talsma was just a one game winner and bragging rights that he beat Amy.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Saturday 9: All of Me

Sam’s Saturday 9: All of Me (1932)

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 song, Louis Armstrong calls his girl "baby." What's the last endearment someone used when speaking to you?

I usually don’t hear words of endearment, usually it is the opposite 

2) He sings that losing his love made him cry. Do you cry easily?

Oh yes, once the faucet turns on it is hard to shut it off.

3) Louis was born in New Orleans, a city famous for music and cuisine. What's something you love about your home town?

Well when I was growing up it was its small size you knew everyone by name, but now it has grow and it is full of strangers. However, many of my high school friends are still here.

4) At age 11, Louis unwisely fired a pistol during a New Year's Eve celebration and was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile detention facility. It was there that he met music teacher Peter Davis, who believed in Louis and taught him to play cornet and bugle. Tell us about someone who believed in you and made your life better.

My family, they have been supportive.

5) Louis would say that arrest changed his life for the better because it was at the detention center that "me and music got married." After his release, he began playing on streetcorners, or in honkytonks ... any place he could hone his skills. What is something you have worked hard to be better at?

Photography.

6) In the late 1920s, Louis led a jazz band called The Hot Five. His wife, Lil, believed he was too talented not to receive star billing. He just didn't feel ready. She went behind his back and convinced the management at Chicago's Dreamland Cafe to advertise: "The Hot Five, featuring Louis Armstrong: The World's Greatest Trumpet Player." It worked! At the end of the gig, Okeh Records signed him to a recording contract. Can you think of a time when, like Lil, you were glad you asked for forgiveness rather than permission?

Naw I never did that, I always asked permission first.

7) In 1932, the year this record was popular, the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped and killed. This famous case inspired Agatha Christie to write Murder on the Orient Express. Have you read the book? Seen the movie, the remake or the miniseries?

I haven’t read the book but I saw the movie and also Masterpiece Theater.

8) Another aviator was in the news in 1932. Amelia Earhart flew 14 hours from Newfoundland to Londonderry. What is the longest flight you've ever taken?

To the west coast.

When I worked I had to get a passport and a visa for South Korea because we had contracts to build power plants there, it would have been a 22 hour flight which I avoided like the plague (Hmm… Like COVID). I talked to my primary care physician to see if there was any way that I could avoid the trips, so he said that he would write a letter saying my health wouldn’t allow a long flight.

One thing that was kind of neat, the visa was an open ended visa with no expiration date and said that I was a critical personnel.

9) Random question: You have the opportunity to travel safely in a time machine. Would you go back to the past, into the future, or say, "no thanks, I'll stay in 2022?"

I would love to go back into time, some time around the colonial times, I love Outlander series.


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 Loved Snow Days As An Adult

On snow days I took personal time off from work, best was when I snowed on the weekend.

Before I transitioned I loved snow days because no one would be coming to the front door, so that I could be Diana all day.

Other days always ran the risk of a friend ringing the doorbell.

But now that stress is gone.



Friday, January 28, 2022

Is New Hampshire Trying To Make A Right Turn?

In a sea of blue, New Hampshire is purple going on red.

Draft legislation would allow discrimination based on gender identity
New Hampshire Public Radio
By Peter Biello
January 1, 2022


State lawmakers are again attempting to pass a law that would allow schools to discriminate against transgender athletes.

Get NHPR's reporting about politics, the pandemic, and other top stories in your inbox — sign up for our newsletter today.

Draft legislation in Concord, HB 1180, would add new language related to gender to the law covering birth records.

It would insert a paragraph saying public entities — like schools or jails — can differentiate between people assigned male or female at birth.

Similar proposed legislation targeting trans athletes failed last session. Laws discriminating against transgender athletes violate Title IX, which protects trans students at school.

Last year the bill died in committee, in an article in Outsports Dawn Ennis wrote,

New Hampshire’s HB 1251 — a controversial bill that would have outlawed transgender girls or women from competing on school sports teams matching their gender identity — died in the State House Education committee Wednesday, reported the Union Leader.

By a vote of 13-6, the panel recommended killing the measure, which would prohibit trans female athletes from competing in primary, secondary or college sports teams for women. Trans men could still try out and compete on any boys’ team.

Other problems over trans people in a cross-border dispute with Vermont have surfaced.

In cross-border school district, protections for transgender students face a legal threat
VTDigger
By Peter D'Auria
January 26 2022


In School Administrative Unit 70, an interstate district straddling the Vermont-New Hampshire border, transgender students are explicitly given the right to keep their gender identity private. 

The goal is to give students a safe place: Some kids may hide their gender identity at home, but be openly transgender or gender nonconforming — meaning they do not adhere to stereotypical gender norms — at school. Others may be confiding in a trusted teacher or staff member. 

Under a district policy known as JBAB* — a student gender policy used in New Hampshire school districts — school staff cannot tell parents, family members or other school employees about a child’s gender identity “unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.” 

Of course a bunch of conservative parents spoke up…

This school year, a group of anonymous parents in Hanover, New Hampshire, is seeking to strike down those protections, according to communications obtained by VTDigger through a public records request. 

Richard Lehmann, a Concord-based attorney, told district officials in an October letter that he was hired by parents to “demand that the (school) Board repeal or substantially amend” the policy.

The schools’ requirements “interfere in the constitutional rights of parents to raise their children without undue interference from the government” and “violate federal educational privacy laws which guarantee parental access to educational records,” Lehmann wrote. 

Hey hold on!

I don’t see anything in the Constitution that says anything about constitutional rights for parents. Maybe some laws can tell me where in the Constitution it says that?

SAU 70, the nation’s first interstate school district, is made up of three schools in Hanover, New Hampshire, and one — Marion Cross Elementary — in Norwich, Vermont. 

Do I see a split over this? It all depends now upon the courts and that could have a far reaching affects on schools around the U.S. including Connecticut where we have rules that do not allow schools to tell parents if their child is trans.


* The New Hampshire Valley News.

In 2015, a model policy called JBAB was issued by the New Hampshire School Boards Association. So far, 48 school districts or charter schools have adopted it, or a similar policy.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Ignoring The Voters

[RANT]

In many states they have ballot initiatives where voters can place on the ballot laws and constitution amendments, but what happens when the legislators ignores the will of the voters?

GOP Works to Override Voters on Medicaid, Higher Wages, Pot
Pew
By: Sophie Quinton 
April 27, 2021


 Progressives cheered last year when voters in several red states approved left-leaning ballot initiatives.

Floridians voted to raise the minimum wage to $15. South Dakotans voted to legalize medical and recreational pot. Missourians voted to expand Medicaid to adults who earn under $18,000 a year. Arizonans voted to tax the rich to fund public schools.

But this year, Republican lawmakers in all those states—plus Idaho, Oklahoma, Utah and others—are trying to undermine such voter-approved measures and to make it harder for future ballot initiatives to pass. At stake is the power to make state laws.

Attacks on the initiative process have escalated, said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that in 2020 backed successful cannabis legalization campaigns in Montana and South Dakota.

[…]

The fight over ballot measures stems, to some extent, from arguments over who best represents the will of the people. While Democrats and initiative sponsors say Republicans are trying to silence voters, GOP lawmakers counter that they were elected to represent voters through a more deliberative process.

It seems like for all their bravo over how they are the party of the people, they sure ignore them when the vote the way that the Republicans don’t like.

Editorial: Missouri Republicans ignore the voters on Medicaid. The courts must step in.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By the Editorial Board
April 29, 2021


Now that Republicans in Missouri’s Legislature have officially voted to sacrifice the health of 275,000 of their poorest constituents, and thumbed their noses at the expressed will of the state’s voters, it will be up to the courts to force the state to live up to its responsibility to expand Medicaid, as last year’s ballot initiative demanded. The stubborn heartlessness of those who put Missouri in this position with their refusal this week to fund the program shouldn’t be forgotten or forgiven. It’s the clearest evidence yet that in place of a functioning government, this state has a klatch of right-wing zealots whose anti-government — indeed, anti-democracy — fervor borders on anarchy. Voters at least still have the power in next year’s elections to change that, and they should.

[…]

Last year, fed-up Missouri voters went around their legislators to pass a referendum forcing the state to finally expand Medicaid. That effectively required the state to provide $130 million toward expansion — a bargain, considering that the rest of the $1.9 billion expansion program would come from the federal government. Yet Republicans in the House and, now, the Senate have said no, scuttling the expansion by refusing to approve the funding in blunt defiance of the voters. No one should doubt that the 20 Senate Republicans who delivered the final coffin nail on Wednesday were operating under the familiar, abhorrent philosophy of sacrificing the poor for the sake of partisanship.

This is not a new phenomime this has been going on for a while back in 2020 in Florida the Republicans did it over on restoring voter rights which goes against their philosophy of “Lock ‘em up and throw away the keys.”

How Republicans gutted the biggest voting rights victory in recent history
Florida voters overwhelmingly supported restoring rights for those with felony convictions. But tens of thousands of people remain disenfranchised
The Guardian
By Sam Levine
6 August 2020


On election night in 2018, Meade and Wright would find out that 64.5% of Floridians had voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to end the policy. More than 5.1 million people – more than voted for Ron DeSantis, the Republican elected governor that evening – were in favor of the measure. The referendum – often referred to as amendment 4 – was one of the most dramatic expansions of the right to vote in US history since the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.

But more than a year and a half after amendment 4 went into effect, hundreds of thousands of people still remain blocked from voting.

The promise of amendment 4 remains largely unfulfilled because Republicans in Florida moved aggressively to gut it. They passed a law that put insurmountable hurdles in front of those with felony convictions and required them to navigate a byzantine bureaucracy to get their voting rights back (one county official testified in May that records from crimes decades ago had been kept on index cards in shoeboxes). As of late May, Florida’s top election official had tens of thousands of pending registrations from people with felony convictions, but had yet to fully review a single one.

Their goal is a one party system like Russia and China… they want to form an authoritarian government.

Like Smokey the Bear said “Only you can prevent a Coup. VOTE!"

[/RANT]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Update 4:20PM

The Republicans are going one step further in canceling the voters…

Arizona bill would allow legislature to overturn election results
The Hill
By Reid Wilson
January 27, 2022


An arch conservative member of Arizona’s state House of Representatives has proposed a mammoth overhaul of the state’s voting procedures that would allow legislators to overturn the results of a primary or general election after months of unfounded allegations and partisan audits.

The bill, introduced by state Rep. John Fillmore (R), would substantially change the way Arizonans vote by eliminating most early and absentee voting and requiring people to vote in their home precincts, rather than at vote centers set up around the state.

Most dramatically, Fillmore’s bill would require the legislature to hold a special session after an election to review election processes and results, and to “accept or reject the election results.”

You know we can’t have the voters voting the wrong way.

“I don’t care what the press says. I don’t trust ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox or anybody out there. Everybody’s lying to me and I feel like I have a couple hundred ex-wives hanging around me,” Fillmore said. “This is not a President Biden thing. This is not a the other red-headed guy thing.”

“We should have voting in my opinion in person, one day, on paper, with no electronic means and hand counting that day.  We need to get back to 1958-style voting,” he added.

At one time we would call a person like this paranoid and put them in a padded cell back in the 1950s. I don’t know about Arizona but Connecticut as long as I remember had absentee voting and now we still use paper ballot that you fill-in the little circles like you used to do on SAT tests.

Besides his bill would violate federal election laws, just a minor detail for the Republicans.

This bill would violate 52 U.S. Code § 20511

A person, including an election official, who in any election for Federal office—

(1)knowingly and willfully intimidates, threatens, or coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any person for—

(A)registering to vote, or voting, or attempting to register or vote;

(B)urging or aiding any person to register to vote, to vote, or to attempt to register or vote; or

(C)exercising any right under this chapter; or

(2)knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by—

(A)the procurement or submission of voter registration applications that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held; or

(B)the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held,

shall be fined in accordance with title 18 (which fines shall be paid into the general fund of the Treasury, miscellaneous receipts (pursuant to section 3302 of title 31), notwithstanding any other law), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

Big Business Does Do Something Right Once In Awhile... Maybe

Do they have our back when it comes to discrimination?

Over 500 corporations back effort to support Equality Act. Does it matter?
Critics point out that some of those same companies are funding the politicians who are standing in the way of the sweeping LGBTQ rights bill’s passage.
NBC News
By Matt Lavietes
January 25, 2022


A business coalition that is urging the passage of landmark LGBTQ rights legislation grew to more than 500 companies Tuesday.

Launched in 2016 by LGBTQ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, the Business Coalition for the Equality Act is a group of U.S. corporations that have pledged their support for a bill that would federally ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, known as the Equality Act.

As of Tuesday, the group was composed of 503 corporations — including 160 Fortune 500 companies — making it the largest business coalition to pledge support for LGBTQ equality, the HRC said. Corporations new to the coalition include McDonald’s, Harley-Davidson, Sony, REI, Honeywell, Edward Jones and Stop & Shop.

“Today’s announcement reinforces the breadth and depth of support for the Equality Act among America’s business leaders, who are joining a majority of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, hundreds of advocacy organizations, and more than 60 business associations — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers — in endorsing the federal legislation,” the HRC said in a statement.

But as the article points out that they are talking out of both sides of their mouth.

We heard the same thing during the insurrection.

The Corporate Insurrection: How companies have broken promises and funded seditionists
Citizen for Ethical Government
By Angela Li and Areeba Shah
January 3, 2022


The January 6 attack shocked the nation. Even Corporate America appeared to register that democracy faced one of its most precarious moments in our country’s history. They promised to hold members of Congress who sought to undermine democracy accountable. But it wouldn’t be long before business interests lured these companies back into the giving game. 

Many companies that cut off donations to Republicans in Congress after January 6 have since abandoned those commitments, reportedly driven by concerns about losing influence with Republican lawmakers. This has been amplified by members of the Sedition Caucus threatening companies that cut them off. CREW has persistently called out the companies that have caved to this pressure for putting political access over the urgent need to take a stand for democracy. Instead of filling the campaign coffers of members who voted not to certify the election and continue to spread the Big Lie, corporations and industry groups should demand that these members renounce their votes and stop undermining our democracy.

With talking out of both sides of their mouth how can anyone take them on their word? 

You also have to take into account that many of these same companies have a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI) 

The NBC article goes to say,

But as the HRC celebrated, some critics called its business coalition a form of “pinkwashing,” a term used to describe corporate exploitation of LGBTQ people.

“It’s a way for HRC to, like, ‘play with the big boys’ as it were, as well as to bring in money,” said Jay W. Walker, an organizer with the Reclaim Pride Coalition, the group behind New York City’s alternative LGBTQ Pride march. “For the corporations, it’s a way for them to pinkwash their images and to make LGBTQ people who don’t pay attention to the details think: ‘Oh great, they’re wonderful. They’re great corporate citizens.’”

Walker also noted that some of the same companies that publicly backed the passage of the Equality Act are funding the politicians who are standing in its way.

As far as I am concerned the CEI is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Action is greater is greater than words and so far the business actions shows they are just words to placate us.

All Good Things Come To An End.

Her 40 game winning streak came to an end.

I have wondered if all the super champs get tired of winning and lose gratefully. She has the second greatest wins and there is a long gap between 40 games and 70 games that she had to cover to take the championship, did she just think that this is a good place to end. After all she won about most a million and a half dollars and 40 games and she is in the record book.

Matt Amodio ended his run on some simple questions also. It is not like taking a dive in boxing just getting tired.




Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Court Victory

Here in Connecticut we fended off another attack to the gender inclusive non-discrimination law. The case was about sex segregated facilities in gyms, even through the case wasn’t about us per se we were part of the discussion. The case involved the carving a "gender privacy" exception to the gender inclusive law, PA 11-55 by a lower court.

Lawsuit opposing women-only workout areas goes before CT Supreme Court
CT Post
By Nicholas Rondinone
May 5, 2021


The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit that claims gyms and exercise facilities with designated areas where only women can work out discriminated against men.

In a 90-minute hearing, the justices heard from both parties on whether gyms violates a statute prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations or if these separate areas are exemptions like separate female and male bathrooms and locker rooms.

They did not issue a ruling before going into recess until separate hearings will be held Thursday.

The appeal before the state’s highest court, which followed complaints to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities from two men who exercised at the Edge Fitness and Club Fitness, seeks to overturn a lower court ruling that having areas in a gym exclusively for women does not violate the statute.

Well the court finally ruled on the case today (Speedy justice!).

Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities v. Edge Fitness et al.
GLAD

Overview

GLAD has submitted an amicus curiae brief in the Connecticut Supreme Court in Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities v. Edge Fitness et al., a case in which a male customer at a gym sued to challenge a women-only workout area. GLAD filed the brief to ensure that the Court’s ruling does not inadvertently undermine Connecticut’s nondiscrimination law, including for transgender people.

Because current Connecticut law does not authorize sex-segregated gyms or workout areas, the trial court in this case created a new, vague, and ill-defined implied right to “gender privacy” to rule that a women-only workout area was lawful. GLAD’s brief argues that the creation of an implied right to “gender privacy” that is not authorized by any statutory language will create a substantial risk that it will be utilized in other contexts that will undermine the state’s nondiscrimination laws. Privacy has all too often been used as a guise to hide prejudice and discomfort with LGBTQ people. The invocation of “gender privacy,” for example, has been relied upon for decades as an unfounded justification of those who objected to the presence of transgender people in gender-separated spaces. It has also been used as a reason to exclude openly gay and lesbian servicemembers from the military. The creation of a new “gender privacy” right could even encourage the reassertion of gender segregation in previously male-dominated spaces.

GLAD recognizes the importance of workout spaces for women that are free from harassment and objectification. Any change to Connecticut law, however, must come from the legislature which can craft a narrow exception rather than through a broad new judicially-created right.

GLAD’s brief was submitted by attorneys Bennett Klein, Jennifer Levi, and Gary Buseck and Kenneth Bartschi of Horton, Dowd, Bartschi & Levesque, P.C. of Hartford. The brief was also joined by Lambda Legal and Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition.

It is not a big win but an important win, it stopped our protection from being whittled away.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

When Is A Hate Crime A Hate Crime?

Just because you get mugged doesn’t make it a hate crime just because you are trans?

It is very narrowly defined for a reason, it has to directed at a protected class, here in Connecticut in Public Act No. 11-55  they are: race, color, religious creed, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, mental retardation, mental disability or physical disability.

The Connecticut hate crime law Public Act No. 04-135 says,

(a) A person is guilty of intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the first degree when such person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of the actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, [or,b>] disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of such other person, causes serious physical injury to such other person or to a third person.

(a) A person is guilty of intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the second degree when such person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of the actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, [or,b>] disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of such other person, does any of the following: (1) Causes physical contact with such other person, (2) damages, destroys or defaces any real or personal property of such other person, or (3) threatens, by word or act, to do an act described in subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection, if there is reasonable cause to believe that an act described in subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection will occur.

(a) A person is guilty of intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the third degree when such person, with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person or group of persons because of the actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, [or,b>] disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of such other person or persons: (1) Damages, destroys or defaces any real or personal property, or (2) threatens, by word or act, to do an act described in subdivision (1) of this subsection or advocates or urges another person to do an act described in subdivision (1) of this subsection, if there is reasonable cause to believe that an act described in said subdivision will occur.

The FBI says a hate crime is,

A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.

Notice it says about freedom of speech and other civil liberties. Remember last winter at UConn a drunk was walking across a parking lot and was using racially derogatory language. He was arrested for a racial hate crime, but later all charges were dropped!

Why were the charges drooped?

He didn’t use any threatening language. Therefore, it was “Free Speech” under the First Amendment. And that is the key, threatening language or actual violence against one of us, there is a difference hate speech and hate crime. You can call a Black person with the “N” word and other racist words and it is not a hate crime but if they add something like “You better watch your back, I got you in my sights!” then that crossed over the line, it is a threat of violence. If someone uses derogatory language and give you a shove or puts their hands on you, that crossed the line.

There are a lot of people that don’t believe in the hate crime laws, they say violence is violence why should it be different for hate crimes?

It all goes to motive, we already separate crimes by motive just look at murder. There are manslaughter, second degree murder, and first degree all separated by intent. The same goes for hate crimes, it comes down to intent. A hate crime not only affects the victim but also the whole community, it intimidates all the disabled community when someone is beat up because they are disabled. When we hear about a trans person being attacked it sends a message to all of us.

So bottom line is motive, their motive has to be more than using derogatory words, it has to be a threat or an actual assault.

Around The Country…

Laws are being proposed to block trans children from getting their healthcare and we are getting some heavy hitters on our side.

Elliot Page, Jazz Jennings & other trans celebs join legal fight for trans youth in Arkansas
Director Lilly Wachowski and state Sen. Sarah McBride were among the 58 trans adults who told the court that trans people can accomplish anything if supported.
LGBTQ Nation
By Molly Sprayregen
January 20, 2022


58 trans celebrities, elected officials, and notable people – including Elliot Page, Jazz Jennings, Miss Major, and Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride (D) – have joined the Transgender Legal Defense and Education fund to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a case fighting to overturn a discriminatory Arkansas law.

The Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act (SAFE) passed in March after the legislature overrode Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s (R) veto. It banned doctors from providing gender-affirming care of any kind to trans youth, including hormone therapy and reversible puberty blockers.

[…]

Those involved in the friend-of-the-court brief supporting the case are all trans adults who have received gender-affirming care.

In the brief, Page describes what it felt like to receive top surgery.

“I couldn’t believe the amount of energy I had, ideas, how my imagination flourished, because the constant discomfort and pain around that aspect of my body was gone,” he wrote.

[…]

Director Lilly Wachowski discussed the experience of what the brief describes as “gender euphoria,” the act of finally feeling comfortable in one’s own body.

We have some well know trans people standing up and being heard, but we need more! They are all trans people, what we need is cisgender people to stand up for us, we have an axe to grind but our allies  speak from the heart.

There are also tons of research to back us up. Psychology Today published an article on peer reviewed papers studies on healthcare for trans youth.

The Evidence for Trans Youth Gender-Affirming Medical Care
Research suggests gender-affirming medical care results in better mental health.
By Jack Turban MD MHS
January 24, 2022


KEY POINTS

  • Fifteen studies to date have examined the impact of gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.
  • Existing evidence suggests that gender-affirming medical care results in favorable mental health outcomes.
  • All major medical organizations oppose legislation that would ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender adolescents.

I'm a physician-scientist who studies the mental health of transgender and gender diverse youth. I also spend a lot of time on Twitter. And yes I know, that's my first mistake. I've noticed there seem to be hundreds if not thousands of Twitter accounts, many of which seem to be bots, that will repeatedly post that there is no evidence that gender-affirming medical care results in good mental health outcomes for transgender youth.

Since several U.S. states are introducing legislation to outlaw gender-affirming medical care this year (despite opposition from just about every major medical organization including The American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and The American Psychiatric Association), I thought this was a good time to review the relevant research for you all. So buckle up — here we go. The studies are in chronological order. I'll provide a brief summary of each and provide the citation for people who want to read more. I'll plan on updating this post as new studies become available. As you read, please keep in mind that all studies have methodological strengths and weaknesses and conclusions must be drawn from all of these studies together.

I am not going to through all of the studies, there are listed in the article, but I will say this all of these studies and all the testimony will not change the outcome. This is not about saving the children this is about politics, this is about rallying their base for votes and campaign donations.

They do not care if people get hurt, they don’t care that some children might try self harm, they just wants VOTES!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Amy

I think you all know by now know who Amy is, the Jeopardy contestant who has won as of Friday night 38 games.

MY SCHNEIDER
MOST SUCCESSFUL WOMAN ON JEOPARDY

... Loves Repping Trans Community
NBC News
By Jo Yurcaba
January 24, 2022


Amy Schneider, the "Jeopardy!" contestant who recently became the show's top female earner and only the fourth person to take home more than $1 million in prize money, discussed the best part of being on the show in her first live interview.

Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, California, on Monday told "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos that being able to represent the transgender community on TV has been a highlight of her experience.

"I think that the best part for me has been being on TV as my true self, expressing myself and representing the entire community of trans people," Schneider said. "And just kind of showing a different thing than maybe some people have seen, of just being a smart, confident woman and just doing something super normal like being on 'Jeopardy!'"

[...]

"The main secret is just being curious and spending my life learning a lot of stuff," she said.

[…]

But just a week earlier, after wearing a trans Pride flag pin on the show, she wrote on Twitter that she "didn’t want to make too much about being trans, at least in the context of the show."

“I am a trans woman, and I’m proud of that fact, but I’m a lot of other things, too!” she added.

She is amazing!

And she has amazing buzzer skills and I suppose that after being on the show so long that she can hone her skills which she talks about in this video.


In a commentary in the San Antonio Express News, Elaine Ayala writes…

Schneider has made history in several ways. On Friday, she reached her 38th consecutive game and passed the $1.3 million mark in winnings.

She’s leading a movement to bring back the demure pearl necklace, yet before each show, in her head she calls on the lyrics of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment,” they say. “You own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot.”

[…]

She’s a software engineer manager from Oakland, Calif., who lives openly as a transgender woman.

News reports have noted she’s not the first openly trans woman to appear on the show, nor its first trans champion.

Her demeanor has made her stand out. She’s a gracious winner but is poised, focused and steely with superb strategic skills and an all-American smile. She has won over fans.

She is on locally on WTNH Channel 8 at 7:00PM

Will she break Matt Amodio record tonight?

And the number one question will she break Ken Jennings record of 74 games?

Stay tune!

We Are Becoming Politicalized.

We are the new boogeyman for the Republicans, the assault of anti-trans legislation on the most vulnerable is beginning and it is worst than ever.

Exclusive: 2022 could be most anti-trans legislative years in history, report says
USA Today
By Phillip M. Bailey
January 20, 2022


Transgender Americans could face a historic year of legislation that will further erode their rights as advocates brace for roughly 280 proposals in statehouses across the country aimed at some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community.

That's according to a comprehensive study released Thursday by the Human Rights Campaign, one of the country's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights groups, which looked at dozens of proposals pushed by lawmakers last year.

In its State Equality Index scorecard, the group says state legislatures last year sought more measures than ever before that specifically targeted the transgender community across a range of issues.

While 2020 saw 79 different anti-trans measures dealing with education to athletics and healthcare to bathroom access, in 2021 that count nearly doubled with 147 proposals aimed at transgender Americans.

Why is this happening?

We are the low fruit on the tree, most people do not understand gender dysphoria and the lack of understanding to attack us.

A USA TODAY investigation last year of roughly three dozen states that proposed similar bans, however, found few examples of transgender athletes seeking to participate in sports and even fewer complaints about them.

"The lack of examples just goes to show that they’re grasping for straws here," Chris Mosier, a U.S. triathlete and transgender advocate, told USA TODAY last summer.

"There is not a problem, and there is not a problem at the scale they’re trying to make it. There’s not a problem that would warrant any types of laws against these young people."

It is every state that the Republicans control that are introducing anti-trans legislation.

Ahead of May primary, transgender rights become latest culture war for Ohio Republicans

The Columbus Dispatch
By Haley Bemiller
January 23, 2022


Former state treasurer Josh Mandel has stated allowing children to change their gender is abuse.

In a speech at the National Conservatism Conference in November, "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance blasted research that shows gender confirmation surgery improves mental health outcomes and reduces suicidal ideation. 

Former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken called on supporters at a recent event to "stand up for the women in this country" by opposing the inclusion of transgender athletes in sports.

The GOP U.S. Senate candidates are among Republicans nationwide who have trained their focus on efforts to expand transgender rights, casting themselves as supporters of women and religious values. 

Advocates, meanwhile, say it's the latest culture war that distracts from issues like the COVID-19 pandemic while harming transgender Ohioans. 

"Trans people exist. Trans children exist," said Elliot Kesse, a board member for the Transgender Advocacy Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. "That’s not something that’s up for debate. We exist. We're here."

It is dark days ahead for us that I see, especially if the Republicans gain control of Congress, I see this attack continuing on a national level. First they come for the children. Then they will come for us adults.

The Republicans hate our guts. They have been trying to rollback marriage equality, and anything to do with us. Under the Trump administration they tried to take away our health insurance, they kicked us our of the military, and they tried to get between our doctors and us. And don’t think Connecticut is immune, a Republican legislator introduced a bill to block insurance for us and I foresee that there might be a bill introduced about trans athletes here in Connecticut to boost the court case against trans athletes.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Turning It On Its Head

Here in Connecticut we have a law banning conversion therapy, Public Act 17-5 for minors. The prevents therapist from trying to make children straight, but in Britain the law has a diabolical twist.

We need to talk about conversion therapy before it is barred, say MPs
The Telegraph via Yahoo
By Edward Malnick
January 22, 2022


Boris Johnson is facing mounting calls to halt the fast-tracking of a ban on conversion therapy, as 30 Tory MPs warn against rushing through a new law "without debate".

In a letter to the Prime Minister, a copy of which has been seen by this newspaper, the MPs say they are "deeply concerned" that the proposed ban could also "criminalise legitimate therapies" for children suffering from gender dysphoria - the unease or distress experienced by those who feel at odds with their sex.

[…]

But proposals published last year make clear that the ban would also encapsulate conversion therapy aimed at changing gender identity, which MPs fear will criminalise routine conversations between children and parents, teachers, or clinicians.

Did you get that? If a healthcare provider helps a child to transition they might be breaking the law.

In December, Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary and equalities minister, bowed to pressure to extend the formal consultation on the issue, which was initially restricted to just six weeks and due to close before Christmas. It is now open until February 4 after Mr Johnson raised concerns with aides about the initial time period.

The conservatives are trying to ram through the bill with little or no debate in the bill. What do they want to hide? Why are they stymying debate?

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Nickle and Diming You

[RANT]

As most of you know I am an amateur photographer and in the past I bought software programs, Lightroom by Adobe was around $175, Photoshop was expensive around $500 - $600 but they all were one time expenses but now you have to have a subscription of around $10 a month so for Lightroom it is like buying the program every year. Now for an amateur who uses the app maybe four or five times a month it isn’t worth it.

Now we come to Microsoft.

You can no longer buy Office, you have to subscribe to it, for someone who uses it to write letters, and other occasional uses once again you have to pay around $10 a month. Then there is “One Drive” and Microsoft gives you something like only 5 Gig of space free so chalk up another $10 a month. I bought a 2T NAS RAID1 for the same price as one year’s subscription for “One Drive” and I can store all my data across platforms so I can share data between my computer, tablet, and smartphone. 

Cha ching, cha ching, cha ching.

That will be around $500 or $600 a year for something that you used to be about to buy out right for about what you spend on subscription fees.

I have been using open source software, Libre Office is a pretty good substitute for Microsoft Office, it isn’t as polished around the edges as MS Office but it is free. And there are photographic software programs also like GIMP and RAWTherapee that are open source. But I find they are overly complicated for what I need.

I am willing to buy software but good programs are few and far between.

I ran into problems with Libre Office Impress which is like PowerPoint but I found that Google presentation sofware to be equal of PowerPoint.

I will not be held hostage by Microsoft and Adobe.

[/RANT] 


Saturday 9: I'm the Only One

Sam’s Saturday 9: I'm the Only One (1993)

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


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

1) Melissa Etheridge sings this song as though her heart is breaking. What's your favorite love song? Is it about falling in love, being in love, or losing love?

Hmm… there are so many many great song it is hard to pick just one.

I pick Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight


Runner up…

Chris Norman & Suzi Quatro - Stumblin' In 


2) "I'm the Only One" is a favorite song of American Idol contestants, having been performed four different times. If we were to have a Saturday 9 karaoke night, what song would you do?

Row, Row Your Boat.

Okay, before I retired we had contract to build power plants in South Korea and that meant filed trips to there, so the company gave culture competency training and because karaoke is big over there were had to have a song ready when we are asked to to karaoke. I said I can’t sing, and the trainer said that’s half the fun watching someone stubble through a song, so I said Row, Row Your Boat.

3) A rocker at heart, Melissa Etheridge began her career in her teen years, playing with local country groups. Which do you enjoy more: country or rock?

Rock! Or more precisely rock of the 60s and 70s.

4) In 1985, Melissa sent a demo to Olivia Records, hoping for a record deal. She was rejected. Her debut CD was released in 1988 on the Island label and went gold. Tell us about a time you bounced back from professional adversity.

Well as I said I built power plant control systems, well we built a billion dollar plant in Korea and they went to turn it on, they flipped the switch and nothing happened! Well all eyes focused on me and the test department. I mean all eyes! From the CEO of where I worked to the CEO of the Korean electric company. I had to do a video conference (This was back before Zoom, it was an actual video link we had to the plant over there.) so I outlined my plan to get the plant online (It is a million dollars a day when the plant is down.) the CEO of the electric company was screaming at the CEO of the company and little ol’ me was standing right in the middle of the brouhaha.

It turned out that the electric company’s crew had dropped a screw and it shorted out a power supply and it wasn’t our fault, I imagine that there were a lot of red faces over there when we fixed their problem. 

5) In her personal life, Melissa has faced major challenges, including breast cancer and the death of her son. She credits music with helping her heal emotionally. What gives you strength?

Living each day a me.

6) Melissa is a vegetarian, so her diet emphasizes plant-based foods like fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables. What was your most recent meal? Would it qualify as vegetarian?

Um… no I wouldn’t qualify as a vegetarian, it was bacon and eggs with hash browns.

7) In 1993, the year this song was popular, a massive storm dropped a record 56" of snow in Mount Le Conte, TN. Have you done much shoveling this winter?

Zero. I have someone plow the driveway and sidewalks.

8) One of the most popular movies of 1993 was A Few Good Men, starring Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson, who famously said, "You can't handle the truth!" What's the most recent movie you watched?

Let’s see, I think it was… was… I don’t watch many movies so this is hard. Um… I think it was last week that I stumbled across a movie on cable Blue Ridge.

9) Random question: Dessert is on us! Describe your perfect ice cream sundae.

A scoop of rum raisin ice cream, chocolate fudge (Of course.), cherry vanilla ice cream, more fudge, Banana Split ice cream, and topped with a cherry, and pecans, drizzled with fudge.

I got a suggestion for a song and questions… “A Hole In the Bucket” by Harry Belafonte & Odetta and the questions can be about your bucket list.

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!

~~~~~~~~~~

In memory of Meat Loaf...



Friday, January 21, 2022

I Am Proud Of Her

The last couple of days I have been writing about influencers, well I just ran across an 8 year old influencer.

11-year-old transgender girl is a finalist for TIME's 'Kid of the Year'
“I’m a bold and strong, independent little lady, and I will keep fighting for as long as I need to,” Kai Shappley said.
The Hill
By Brooke Migdon
January 19, 2022


An 11-year-old transgender girl from Texas is a finalist for TIME and Nickelodeon’s second annual “Kid of the Year” distinction.

Kai Shappley, a resident of Austin, Tx., is one of 20 finalists for the award, which honors young leaders making strides in areas like social justice, science, and education, according to a news release.

Shappley in April testified before a Texas Senate committee to argue against the passage of two bills that sought to restrict access to gender-affirming care for minors, asserting that Texas lawmakers “have been attacking me since Pre-k.”

“I love ballet, math, science, and geology,” she told the committee in April. “I spend my free time with my cats, chickens, FaceTiming my friends, and dreaming of when I finally get to meet Dolly Parton. I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices.”

“It makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids like me to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist,” she said. “God made me. God loves me for who I am. And God does not make mistakes.”

When I testified before a committee hearing I was nervous as hell, can you imagine an eleven year old doing and she did it with poise.

“Being the mother of a transgender child who’s consistently under attack, being her mom has made me a better person,” Shappley’s mother, Kimberly, said in a recent interview with NBC-affiliate KXAN-TV. “It’s made me a better Christian. It’s made me a better neighbor. It’s made me a better friend. It’s made me a better mom to all of my kids.”

I firmly believe that transitioning makes you a stronger person, the stress that we go through when we transition, we are quenched and tempered in the forge of life.



Wednesday, January 19, 2022

One Of Many.

Monday I wrote about about Amy Schneider being an influencer well yesterday this article came out in LGBTQ Nation.

Trans Jeopardy! champ Amy Schneider helped an 83-year-old man accept trans people
"You're the first person he's used correct pronouns with."
By Molly Sprayregen
January 18, 2022


History-making trans Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider recently shared a heartwarming story about how her role on the game show helped an 83-year-old man become more accepting of trans people.

Schneider told NPR that she does her best to avoid reading any negative comments online, but that the overall response to her Jeopardy! winning streak has been positive.

But one message stood out to Schneider as particularly meaningful.

“So someone wrote on Twitter, somehow, after two to three years of conversation, you being on Jeopardy! every night has taught my dad to be accepting of trans people,” she explained. “You’re the first person he’s used correct pronouns with, an 83-year-old man saying, this isn’t too hard. Thanks for your message of love.”

Schneider said it was “just one of the best things I could hear” and that helping people is “what I want to do most of all.”

That is what an influencer does, changes people minds but Amy Schneider is not the only influencer, others pointed out other influencers in our community.

Some mentioned Dr. Rachel Levine assistant health secretary and Jenny Boylan author, New York Times opinion writer, and college professor. Others mention trans politicians like Danica Roem, Sarah McBride, and own Raven Matherne who was elected to Stamford Board of Representatives.

And I would like to add… you. Every trans person who goes out in public is an influencer. We change people minds all the time, you are our ambassadors.

They Know They Are Harming Us.

But they don’t care, another study has shown that transitioning helps trans children.

Early access to gender-affirming hormones linked to better mental health, study finds
Trans people who had access to hormones in their early teens had less than half the odds of past-year suicidal thoughts than those who didn’t.
NBC News
By Jo Yurcaba
January 12, 2022


Access to gender-affirming hormone therapy in adolescence is associated with better mental health outcomes for transgender adults, according to a new study.

The research, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One, was based on data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, which surveyed more than 27,000 trans people across the country. It compared the psychological distress and suicidal thoughts experienced by 12,738 trans adults who had access to gender-affirming hormones during early adolescence, late adolescence or adulthood to the distress and suicidal thoughts experienced by 8,860 trans adults who desired hormones but never had access to them. 

The odds of negative mental health outcomes decreased significantly among trans people who had access to gender-affirming hormones from ages 14 to 17. Access to gender-affirming hormones during this period was associated with one-third the odds of severe psychological distress in the previous month and half the odds or less of suicidal ideation in the previous year when compared to trans people who wanted hormones but never had access to them, according to study co-author Dana King, a data programmer and analyst for the Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, a Boston-based LGBTQ health care and research organization.

But still the Republicans want to deny us proper healthcare, they keep on passing legislation that blocks us from transitioning,

More than 20 states considered bills last year that would have banned gender-affirming health care for transgender minors, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Only Arkansas passed a law completely banning access to gender-affirming health care, including puberty blockers and hormones, for trans minors; a judge blocked the law from taking effect in July pending the outcome of litigation. Tennessee enacted a more limited law that bans doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment and surgery to prepubescent minors.

Medical associations give testimony to these legislators so they know that their bills are killing us.

Last spring a poll found that the public is against the anti-trans laws.

Poll finds vast majority of Americans oppose anti-transgender athlete laws
Most Democrats — and Republicans — surveyed said they oppose trans athlete bans. But the vast majority of GOP respondents said they remain against trans athletes competing according to their gender identity.
Outsports
By Ken Schultz
April 22, 2021


[…]

According to a poll from PBS Newshour, NPR, and Marist College, 66-percent, or “two-thirds of Americans are against laws that would limit transgender rights.”

Which would be encouraging news as it is. But this story gets really interesting in the poll’s demographic breakdown. For example, in answer to the question, “Do you support or oppose legislation that would prohibit transgender student athletes from joining sports teams that match their identity,” 69-percent of Democrats responded, “Oppose.”

That’s about as expected. Here’s the shocker: that number is almost matched by the 66-percent of Republicans who also answered “Oppose.” Quick, somebody tell the politicians in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Alabama, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee...

From those numbers, it seems as though anti-trans legislators are going against the wishes of their constituencies, even in the reddest of red states. However, the poll also includes another question that muddies the waters a bit.

They pass these bills as a wedge to drive division in the country and to rally their base at our expense.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

I Was Asked The Other Day…

[RANT]

...That if today’s trans people know our history by a reporter and my answer was no.

I have found over the years is that people want to remain ignorant, they usually don’t do it on purpose but rather because of a lack of curiosity, or out of laziness.

When I was going to town hall meetings to hear what our community thinks should be needs to be done for our community I don’t know how many times I heard that we need to pass a non-discrimination legislation and they were surprised to learn that we had that law since 2011! The same with birth certificates. Or take the death of Robert Eads because no doctor would treat him for ovarian cancer. Or how a trans woman was left to die on the streets of Washington DC because the EMTs didn’t want to tough “it.” Or the long standing dislike of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for stabbing us in the back over the ENDA in 2007.

How many comments have you read that didn’t know that there is a law all ready on the books.

The same is true with so many other things like discrimination laws or redlining or the discrimination in farm aid or the GI bill. They don’t want history taught that they might have to answer awkward questions by their children.

For many ignorance is bliss.

It makes their heads swim just thinking about our past.

George Santayana quote is so true, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” and we are repeating our past now.

[/RANT]

They Got Our Backs

Even with all that hate out there directed against there are still people who stand with us. When hate showed its ugly face in Canada they neighbors came together to support them.

Community responds with kindness and support after Pride flag ripped from London home
This has encouraged us to speak even louder, says Sharla Thompson
CBC New
By Isha Bhargava
January 12, 2022


A London, Ont., family says it's gotten an outpouring of support from the community after a Pride flag was torn from their home and burned last week.

Sharla Thompson and her family say they've received kind messages in the form of letters, care packages, and stories of consistent allyship. 

The Thompsons have been showcasing the flag since June to support their 16-year-old son who is transgender. They say they were shocked to find themselves as targets of a hate-motivated act.

Over and over again when hate raises it ugly head, people stand up for us and them we don’t want your hate here.

The importance of community allyship

The Thompsons believe visual representation is vital for LGBTQ+ youth, and they've heard from both the queer community and allies about what the flag means to them.

"It's a lot more important to stand strong and show our love and support for our kids," she said. 

[…]

London always comes together, says deputy mayor

Deputy Mayor and Ward 7 Coun. Josh Morgan says full and unconditional acceptance of everyone in a community should be the absolute minimum, and that he's very proud to see this support.  

"London has always shown that when acts of hate and intolerance happen in our community, there's a strong majority that steps up and reaches out with love and support," he said.

They had our back when conservatives tried to pass a law in Massachusetts to overturn a non-discrimination law Proposition 3 in 2018.

A NPR poll found…

But two-thirds of Americans are against laws that would limit transgender rights, a new PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll found. That opposition includes majorities of every political ideology from liberal to conservative and every age group.

The 19th reported that…

On Wednesday, Hart Research Associates and LGBTQ+ organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a new report that finds that 73 percent of people believe that trans kids should be allowed to play on the team on which they feel comfortable, including 56 percent of Republicans.  The poll also found that 70 percent of the country supports the Equality Act, the watershed nondiscrimination protections bill for LGBTQ+ people that is heading to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

So when thing look bleak remember that the people have our backs don’t the haters drown out the good. They are vocal but they are small, small in numbers. 

Stand tall! 

Monday, January 17, 2022

I Just Started To Hear The Word Influencer and I Realized We Have One In The Trans Community

Who has been watching Jeopardy with Amy Schneider? Well she in an influencer for us.

Ken Jennings Shares His Thoughts About Amy Schneider's Latest 'Jeopardy!' Record
Cosmopolitan via Yahoo News
By Selena Barrientos
January 12, 2022


Throughout her historic winning streak, Amy Schneider has broken record after record — but the latest one might just be the most remarkable of them all.

On January 7, the California-based engineering manager was quick on the buzzer following a nerve-wracking game the day before. Amy secured an early lead during her 28th Jeopardy! game and after starting out with a total of $977,400, she won an additional $42,200. With that, the Ohio native officially surpassed the $1 million mark ($1,019,600) and her incredible accomplishment was threefold — she is only the fifth person to do so in the quiz show’s history, the fourth person to accomplish this record in regular season play and the first woman to become part of the millionaire club.

[…]

That said, if she continues her 29 consecutive game-winning streak and goes beyond James’ 32 games, like Matt did, Amy can definitely catch up to James’ record. But if that isn't convincing enough, over on Twitter, Ken admitted how impressed he was by Amy's speed. "She did it! And in just 28 games, faster than my pace and tied with Matt Amodio," he wrote.

In the comments section there are hate comments but what gets me is that even Fox News uses female pronouns and calls her a woman.

There are problem millions of people tuning in to watch a trans woman win, she is probably the trans person many of have ever seen, and I think that she is making a good impress on them… she is an influncer!

We Are Everywhere!

Even on the highest mountains!

Meet the mountaineer flying the trans Pride flag on the world’s highest peaks
Colorado native Erin Parisi said being able to declare who she is on the highest mountains in the world speaks to her soul.
NBC News
By Jo Yurcaba
January 5, 2022


Erin Parisi has been climbing mountains for about 25 years, but, she said, she wasn’t a “seven summits kind of climber” — someone who wanted to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents — until after she came out as a transgender woman in 2016.

Parisi, who lives in Denver and manages a real estate network, said that after she transitioned, she felt she needed a physical outlet that allowed her to meditate and make sense of the world.

“I felt so strong after coming out,” she said. “I lived in fear, basically my whole life, of being seen, and when I came out, I found something that was completely different.”

She said she set out to climb the seven highest summits after she felt stronger during her transition. 

[…]

Just before the new year, after her 45th birthday, Parisi ascended Vinson Massif, the highest point in Antarctica, at 16,067 feet above sea level, and she waved a trans Pride flag. She has now completed five of the seven highest summits: Since February 2018, Parisi has climbed Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Elbrus in Russia, Aconcagua in Argentina and Vinson Massif.

She plans to attempt Denali in Alaska, the highest peak in North America, this summer, and then Mount Everest in South Asia, the highest peak in the world, next year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. During her Everest ascent, Parisi said, she wants to celebrate the life of Jan Morris, a trans author and historian who chronicled Hillary and Tenzing’s journey.

Qnews in the article Climber’s epic quest as she flies Trans Pride flag on Antarctica’s highest peak by Jordan Hirst reported…

“The community that took me in when I had no hope, and showed me that it’s better to be visible and free, than live in self imposed exile, and that stigma withers when we visibly embrace our truth.

“We’ve been pushed down, often even beat up, and faced every kind of coldness through our lives.

“Our resilience keeps us rising to the top.

“Together we forged through a 2021 during which the world tried to deny us dignity in healthcare, the right to hold jobs, the right to play sports, perpetuated stigma through comedians and podcasters on the world’s most popular channels, and continued escalating the voices of violence against us.

“We fought back in a way that shouldn’t have to be a fight: by living our best lives.

“This is my answer to a world that lashed out at trans lives in 2021.

“You can try to push me to the bottom of the world, and I’ll still find a way to the top.”

I'll climb any mountain I'll swim any sea

And you will find a trans person there with you.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Slippery Slope.

We are seeing more and more cases going before the Supreme Court about “Religious Freedom” and the court is creating a very slippery slope.

Opinion: We can outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ Americans and protect religious freedom
The idea that the Equality Act, awaiting a vote in the Senate, would undermine the freedom to exercise traditional faith beliefs is a misconception.
Des Moines Register
By Betsey Monnot
January 15, 2022


Christian faith and LGBTQ equality are often presented as if they are opposed, but this is not accurate. Jesus, in what we call his Great Commandment, commands us to love God and our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34 and Matthew 22:35-40). In this, and in other places in Scripture, he teaches us and commands us to open our hearts to every person. 

As I assume the role of the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Church of Iowa and first woman to hold that position, one of my hopes is to bring our state closer to God’s vision of open hearted justice and freedom for all, as expressed by Jesus. I believe every human being is beloved of God and that our laws should reflect this.

In the Episcopal Church we embrace and celebrate the lives of our LGBTQ members. LGBTQ persons are welcomed into every level of church participation in our denomination, including leadership.

Across the nation people of faith actively support federal nondiscrimination protections, including here in Iowa where more than 100 Iowa faith leaders, myself included, have called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would update civil rights law to protect LGBTQ Americans.

When we were trying to pass the gender non-discrimination bill we had an Episcopal bishop speak on behalf of the bill, we had around a hundred priest, minister, Rabbis, and other religious leaders submit testimony in favor of the bill.

The Equality Act won’t limit or change our freedom, it simply updates federal law to include protection for 13 million LGBTQ people, fellow Americans, in daily life, including non-discrimination in housing, public spaces, and federally funded programs. Across the country, over three-quarters of Americans favor LGBTQ protections, according to surveys.

No it will not, it hasn't in the states that have LGBTQ non-discrimination laws. Almost all of the southern states do not have protections for LGBTQ and some states never removed the law banning marriage equality.

In my tradition we promise to respect the dignity of every human being at our baptism, and when we renew baptismal vows. It’s my hope that our senators will work with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle toward passage of a federal LGBTQ nondiscrimination law that uplifts this respect and is supported by Americans of all parties and faiths. 

What I see happening in the future is that the court rules that people have a “religious freedom” to discriminate and that will lead the way to downward spiral because I foresee a challenge coming from another religion that is affirming saying those who discriminate violate their religious beliefs.

How would the court decide whose religious beliefs override the other’ person beliefs? And wouldn’t that violate the First Amendment by establishing a state religion by giving preference to a religion?

Furthermore, suppose that it is only a strongly held personal belief and not from an organized religion? Would the court rule that only organized religions that count and not personal beliefs… that would be a nightmare!

It is a quagmire that the court is leading into.