Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday 9: Danny Boy

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Danny Boy (1956)

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

"Danny Boy" was selected in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This is a sad song of farewell. Who is the last person you said "goodbye" or "so long" to?
A friend who I was with yesterday at a conference in Storrs on the UConn campus.

2) According to the 2000 Census, Massachusetts is the state with the largest percentage of residents of Irish descent. Have you ever been to The Bay State?
I never heard of the state of Massachusetts but I have heard of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Oh, have I told you that I bought a small cottage on Cape Cod in the town of Wellfleet?

3) "The wearing o' the green" is one way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Will you wear something green in honor of the day?
Naw, maybe something orange just to stir up trouble.

4) What color makes you look best?
I have no idea, maybe I should make up a poll to find out.

5) Will you drink something green in honor of the day (like a Shamrock shake or a green beer)?
Yuck... I don't know anything that is naturally green to drink and I don't want to drink green food coloring.

6) A four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Do you have a lucky charm?
Nope. But my mother could look at a field of clover and pick out the four leaf covers  after I spent hours looking for them.

7) Though she's singing an Irish ballad, this week's featured artist, Joni James, is of Italian heritage. Can you think of a song as identified with Italy as "Danny Boy" is with Ireland?
How about the Italian Street Song

8) Soda bread and potato bread are popular in Ireland. Are there any rolls or bread in your kitchen right now?
Yes I have potato hot dog rolls

9) Ireland is known for its whiskey. Do you enjoy Irish coffee (black coffee, whiskey and whipped cream)?
Well not the recipe but rather black coffee, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and whipped cream.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Insurance, Love It Or Hate It

We here in the U.S. are stuck at the whim of the insurance companies, they and not our doctors are make the decision on what is and what is not covered.
Many transgender patients pay cash for gender-affirming surgery
By Lisa Rapaport
March 15, 2018

(Reuters Health) - Even though a growing number of transgender patients now use insurance for gender-affirming surgery, almost half are still paying cash for procedures their health plans don’t cover, a U.S. study suggests.

The proportion of patients getting genital surgery as part of their transition rose from 72 percent in the period from 2000 to 2005 to 84 percent from 2006 to 2011, yet 56 percent paid out of pocket.

Even in the period from 2012 to 2014, about 46 percent of patients lacked insurance for these operations and paid cash, researchers report in JAMA Surgery.
While costs may still keep some people from getting gender-affirming surgery, a limited supply of surgeons also plays a role, said senior study author Brandyn Lau, director of quality and research for the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health in Baltimore.

“We know that patients can spend years on a waitlist for surgery because there have only been a limited number of providers who have committed to making gender-affirming surgery a part of their practice,” Lau said by email.
Many of the trans people that I know are looking overseas, or to surgeons who are just starting to perform Gender Confirming Surgery (GCS).

Above The Law

When that prison gate slams shut and echoes down the hall you no longer have rights.

Many, many prisons do not follow the law. Here in Connecticut the gender inclusive non-discrimination law is ignored; trans women are routinely placed in male prisons.
After transgender inmate was raped, beaten, Texas agrees to clarify LGBT prisoner policies
Dallas Morning News
By Lauren McGaughy, Texas Government Reporter
March 15, 2018

AUSTIN — Texas will clarify its policies regarding the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inmates as the result of a settlement with a former prisoner.

Passion Star, a transgender woman housed in men's prisons, filed a civil rights complaint in 2014 alleging she was repeatedly brutalized during her time behind bars. Star said she asked to be housed separately for a decade before Texas prison officials put her in safekeeping.

The state of Texas and Star recently reached a settlement that was "agreeable to all parties," the LGBT law group Lambda Legal announced Wednesday.

"For years, I was raped and beaten in prison and when I asked for help I was ignored," said Star, who was released last year. "I was hurt, scared and thrown in solitary in hopes that I would be forgotten, but today I can be proud that I never gave up."
Federal courts have ruled many times, but the states ignore their rulings that confining trans prisoners in solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment when trans inmates having done anything to justify the confinement.

Prisons operate in their own world when you enter prison property you surrender all you rights including visitors.
Lawsuit: Prison guards ordered transgender visitor to strip
Chicargo Sun Times

BATON ROUGE, La. — A transgender woman who tried to visit her incarcerated brother claims Louisiana prison officers ordered her to remove her underwear and told her she would have to reveal her genitalia before she could leave the facility.

China Nelson, a 48-year-old New Orleans resident, said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that officers at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola insisted on searching her vehicle after she refused to take off her pants and underwear.

Nelson, who sued under her given name Donald, filed the federal suit against the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections. It accuses several unnamed prison guards of violating her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Nelson’s suit says guards stopped her from entering the maximum-security prison last September after a body screening machine detected an “unknown object” in her pants.

“When an unknown guard stated that she saw ‘something’ in Ms. Nelson’s pants, Ms. Nelson acknowledged that she was born a male as indicated on her driver’s license in an effort to explain the ‘something’ the guard stated she saw,” the suit says.
When I went to do training at a maximum security prison there was a BIG sign that said everything and everyone was subject to searches.

She is going to have a very hard time to prove that it was done because of bias.

Today I will be up at the True Color conference at UConn’s main campus in Storrs. It is the largest LGBT conference in the world with over 3800 attendees over the two days. I am giving a workshop on Trans history.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


The name sound deadly with the root word “morbid” with the connotation of being something unhealthy, or disturbing, or unpleasant. But medically it means having coexistence of two or more disease processes. So what it means for us is having one or more mental health diagnoses besides gender dysphoria.

On Facebook this link was just posted…
3 Transition Obstacles I Never Expected as Mentally Ill and Transgender
Everyday Feminism
By Sam Dylan Finch
March 23, 2017

“I think we need to hold off on this,” the therapist tells me, “until you’re doing a little better.”

My heart dropped. I was stunned, sitting in total silence.

This was the third time I’d been given a red light and told not to proceed with top surgery – a surgery I desperately needed, but struggled to access because of my mental illness.

This was a struggle I knew all too well as both mentally ill and trans – a struggle many of my other transgender friends had never even heard of.

Intersectional feminism tells us that the various aspects of our identity will impact our lived experiences – especially as it relates to power and privilege.

This is true for me as a transgender person who is also white, and thus does not experience racism and benefits from white privilege. I think it’s really important to be mindful of the ways that this impacts how I move through the world – and how I can be a better ally to trans people of color.
  • The article goes on to list the three roadblocks he faced.
  • My Clinicians Have Interfered with My Access to Hormones
  • I Keep Being Denied Surgery
  • My Clinicians Don’t Have the Research They Need to Help Me – Because It Doesn’t Exist
Being diagnosed with a mental disorder is not a roadblock to treatment of gender dysphoria per se, there are a number of factors that should be considered.
The Standard of Care says,
3. Assess, Diagnose, and Discuss Treatment Options for Coexisting Mental Health Concerns
Clients presenting with gender dysphoria may struggle with a range of mental health concerns (Gómez-Gil, Trilla, Salamero, Godás, & Valdés, 2009; Murad et al., 2010) whether related or unrelated to what is often a long history of gender dysphoria and/or chronic minority stress. Possible concerns include anxiety, depression, self-harm, a history of abuse and neglect, compulsivity, substance abuse, sexual concerns, personality disorders, eating disorders, psychotic disorders, and autistic spectrum disorders (Bockting et al., 2006; Nuttbrock et al., 2010; Robinow, 2009). Mental health professionals should screen for these and other mental health concerns and incorporate the identified concerns into the overall treatment plan. These concerns can be significant sources of distress and, if left untreated, can complicate the process of gender identity exploration and resolution of gender dysphoria (Bockting et al., 2006; Fraser, 2009a; Lev, 2009). Addressing these concerns can greatly facilitate the resolution of gender dysphoria, possible changes in gender role, the making of informed decisions about medical interventions, and improvements in quality of life.

Some clients may benefit from psychotropic medications to alleviate symptoms or treat coexisting mental health concerns. Mental health professionals are expected to recognize this and either provide pharmacotherapy or refer to a colleague who is qualified to do so. The presence of coexisting mental health concerns does not necessarily preclude possible changes in gender role or access to feminizing/masculinizing hormones or surgery; rather, these concerns need to be optimally managed prior to, or concurrent with, treatment of gender dysphoria. In addition, clients should be assessed for their ability to provide educated and informed consent for medical treatments.

Qualified mental health professionals are specifically trained to assess, diagnose, and treat (or refer to treatment for) these coexisting mental health concerns. Other health professionals with appropriate training in behavioral health, particularly when functioning as part of a multidisciplinary specialty team providing access to feminizing/masculinizing hormone therapy, may also screen for mental health concerns and, if indicated, provide referral for comprehensive assessment and treatment by a qualified mental health professional.
So there is no reason for anyone to be denied Cross-gender Hormone Therapy or surgery if they have been diagnosed with a mental illness; as long as they are able to make an informed consent and have the mental illness under control.

Scott Lively’s Alien Tort Statute Case Update

There is a court case that I am following and it didn’t end well for us. Scott Lively was sued by an organization from Uganda for the violation of the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) (you can read about it here and here) and he got off scot free. However, that wasn’t good enough for him.
Homophobic pastor appeals his own legal victory, because judge called him a ‘crackpot’
Pink News
By Nick Duffy
8th June 2017

In a bizarre twist, a homophobic pastor who escaped ‘crime against humanity’ charges is appealing against a ruling in favour of himself – because he is upset that the judge was mean to him.

Massachusetts hate preacher Scott Lively has become one of the world’s most notorious homophobes, by helping ‘export’ anti-LGBT laws to suggestible countries around the world.

The pastor faced a ‘crimes against humanity’ lawsuit from LGBT activists for his role in securing Uganda’s 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act, but a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit this week.

The judge in the case, Michael A Ponsor, described Lively as a “crackpot bigot” who has caused “immense harm” around the world, but ruled that there was no case to be heard as the actions did not take place on US soil.

In a surprise move, Lively has now confirmed he will appeal against that ruling, even though the court ruled in his favour.
From my reading of the act, I think that the judge was wrong; the Alien Tort Act was designed for actions by U.S. citizen abroad and it doesn’t have to involve the actions taking place on US soil. (I know Wikipedia is not a great source to use but here is their description of the Alien Tort Act)

So who is representing Lively?
His legal team from the Liberty Counsel, which is the same ultra-evangelical law firm that represented homophobic Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, accused the judge of pandering to an “LGBT agenda”.
What are some of the other cases they were involved in?

The HRC reports that…
Liberty Counsel’s Staver Defended Reparative Therapists, Calling Laws Banning The Practice “One Of The Greatest Assaults On Children And Families That Has Risen In Recent Times.” Mathew Staver, in an audio report on called Freedom’s Call, said “Last week I had the opportunity to submit a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court and to testify before Congress regarding the attacks on religious freedom of licensed mental health professionals, minors, and their parents. Homosexual activists have attempted to enact laws throughout the country that would silence mental health professionals from expressing the truth that an individual can successfully reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions behavior or identity. These efforts are nothing more than an attempt to censure any viewpoint concerning scriptural teaching on human sexuality. They represent one of the greatest assaults on children and families that has risen in recent times.” The name of the post was ‘Liberty Counsel Defends Minors Against Homosexual Political Activists.”  [Barb Wire, Freedom’s Call, 6/19/2014, AUDIO]
Liberty Counsel’s Staver Said A Third Party Would Take The Place Of Republicans If GOP Gives Up On Marriage, “That’s What Happened With The Issue Of Slavery.” According to World Net Daily, “Mathew Staver is the chairman of Liberty Counsel and has represented the traditional marriage position in in many states around the country. He is appalled at the suggestion that Supreme Court has effectively ended the political debate over marriage. ‘That’s ridiculous. In fact, you can’t have anything such as marriage or life over as a political issue. It’s [absolute] stupidity to have that kind of an opinion. You cannot just simply sit back and allow the Supreme Court or any justice or any judge to undermine something as basic and as fundamental and as necessary and as important as marriage,’ said Staver, who is furious what he sees as the GOP wilting on this issue once it stopped being an easy political winner for the party. ‘They’re cowards, and if Republicans don’t stand up for this, the party will become a non-issue. There will be a third party that will ultimately take its place,’ he said. ‘That’s what happened with the issue of slavery, and there’s no party that’s immune from the situation.’” [World Net Daily, 10/8/2014, AUDIO]
Liberty Counsel Advocated For Biological Mother In Custody Dispute In Jenkins V. Miller Case. According to the Windy City Times, “There have been a number of recent cases across the country in which a biological or adoptive parent tries to claim the other parent has no parental rights. Best known among them is the case of Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller, which has grabbed headlines nationally. Miller, the biological mother, asked courts in both Virginia and Vermont to deny Jenkins visitation and custody, and has taken issues to the U.S. Supreme Court five times, without success each time. Miller was eventually ruled in contempt of court for defying a Vermont court order that she allow Jenkins visitation. The court then granted Legal custody to Jenkins. But Miller went hiding with the girl at the end of 2009, and a man accused of helping her leave the U.S. was arraigned in a federal court in April…. In several of these cases, notably Miller v. Jenkins, attorneys from conservative legal organizations such as Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund have represented the biological mothers.” [Windy City Times, 9/14/11]

No Surprise Here

We all know that Trump and Pence hate us and want to force us back into the closet. One of their areas of focus of their hate is trans people in the military, I believe they want us out of the military because of two reason; one they hate our guts and two President Obama was the one who brought about the change in military policy for us.
Trump Is Dragging Feet on Transgender Ban Evidence, Judge Rules
By Erik Larson
March 14, 2018

The Trump administration has repeatedly failed to identify evidence it may use to defend the government’s stalled ban on transgender soldiers, a federal judge in Seattle says.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ordered the government on Wednesday to provide the information -- a standard procedure -- within five days. She criticized the administration’s earlier claims that no such information could be identified because the policy wasn’t yet in effect.

Pechman used President Donald Trump’s July 2017 tweets announcing the ban to challenge the government’s claim, noting the president posted that he made his decision after "consultation with my generals and military experts."
Does anyone really believe that Trump consulted anyone other than religious leaders about trans people in the military?