Thursday, April 26, 2018

Close To Home Again

We are never far from violence in the community, this winter a trans woman in Western Massachusetts was shot and killed by her husband and now down in Bridgeport a trans woman was shot in her own apartment.
Well-known transgender woman shot in her home
News 12
Posted: Apr 25, 2018

Bridgeport police say a prominent transgender woman was shot in the face in her own apartment Wednesday afternoon, and they're looking into whether it was a hate crime.

Witnesses say they saw the victim stumble out to the sidewalk near the intersection of Park Avenue and Stillman Street.

It happened in the victim's first-floor apartment, police say. They say they believe the victim knew her attacker. They did not immediately make an arrest.
My grandparents lived just off of Park Avenue and North St by the old King Cole’s grocery store, so I know that area and I think that the article is in error, I think they meant Park St.

She is in my thoughts for a speedy recovery/

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Bottom Line

Most companies just look at the bottom line, however some companies look at social issues and they want not only a diverse work force but also take into account the surrounding communities.
The unspoken factor in Amazon’s search for a new home: Jeff Bezos’s support for gay rights
The Washington Post
By Jonathan O'Connell
April 20, 2018

When Amazon executives recently toured the Dallas-Fort Worth area, one of 20 finalists for a second company headquarters, local officials touted its growing workforce and low taxes as perfectly suited to accommodate 50,000 planned Amazon jobs.

But the local team also brought an unexpected guest: the Rev. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas, pastor of a predominantly gay megachurch in Dallas. He impressed upon the Amazon representatives how inclusive and welcoming the community has been to him, his husband and the 4,000 congregants at his church, according to people familiar with the meeting.

In the high-stakes contest to become’s new location, it may have been a shrewd move. Although the company’s search materials don’t make it explicit, Amazon has quietly made rights for and acceptance of gay and transgender people part of its criteria in choosing a second headquarters, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely.

As Amazon executives recently toured finalist locations to help select what they’ve dubbed HQ2, they asked public officials about what sort of “compatible cultural and community environment” — the wording from the company’s search parameters — each city offers, adding to speculation about whether Amazon will choose a liberal stronghold.

In North Carolina, company representatives asked pointed questions of Gov. Roy Cooper (D) about several state policies such as the “bathroom bill,” which restricted the use of public facilities by transgender people, according to a person in the room. In another city, an Amazon executive groaned at the mention of proposed legislation in Georgia that would restrict funding for same-sex adoption, according to another person who attended the meeting between the company and state and local officials.
I have heard many negative things about how Amazon treats their employees and I have mixed feelings about the company, but hopefully they will go where all their employees feel safe.

There has been pushback from conservatives,
But by raising a social issue during its search, Amazon also risks alienating conservative political leaders, including President Trump, who has recently criticized the company’s taxes and its contract with the U.S. Postal Service, which delivers many of its packages.
The sponsor of the Georgia bill, state Sen. William T. Ligon Jr. (R), said the issue of same-sex adoption wasn’t intended to be discriminatory. In his view, the legislation would benefit children because church-based adoption agencies would shut down if they were forced to serve same-sex couples.

Ligon said he hoped any company would support the bill.

“If you’re against, then I think we need to think hard about whether you ought to come here,” he said. “We need to seriously consider whether we want you to come here.”

That sentiment has not played well at Amazon, according to a person who has been on tour with Amazon as it meets with local officials. “I just think Atlanta’s out,” the person, who is not an Amazon employee, said.
The bill failed to come to a vote before the session ended, but I wouldn’t put it past the Republicans to introduce the bill after Amazon makes up its decision.

Meanwhile rumors have it that Boston is in the running,
Boston, D.C. likely picks for Amazon
Boston Herald
By Jordan Graham, Dan Atkinson
April 20, 2018

Boston and Washington, D.C., could be front-runners in the race to land Amazon’s second headquarters, according to an analysis of the kind of jobs the company is already posting in the 20 finalist cities.

“Given the relatively large number of ads for headquarter caliber occupations and the growth rate in those ads, the Washington, DC metro area and Boston seem the most likely candidates for a second headquarters,” The Conference Board said in a report released yesterday. “Amazon’s current footprint in these cities could ease the hiring of 50,000 new employees and growing demand signals their desire to increase their presence.”
“I am proud that Boston is on Amazon’s shortlist for its second North American headquarters,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement. “As a thriving city with a talented and diverse workforce, culture of innovation and opportunity for all, I see no better city than Boston for Amazon to call their second home.”
Let’s hope that they do chose Boston, it will be a big boost to not only Boston’s economy but also the region. Maybe it will kick some life into the Northeast.

Two Different Perspectives

We are not fit to serve in the military is the administration’s position, but most military personnel don’t believe that and it includes many high ranking officers and the European military proves that we can serve.
Transgender pilot Ayla Holdom was invited to the last Royal wedding, but then all hell broke loose
One Plus One As told to Jane Hutcheon
April 24, 2018

Ayla Holdom is a helicopter pilot with the UK's National Police Air Service. She was a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force for 13 years, serving in the search and rescue team with Prince William before she was outed as transgender by the tabloid media.

She's in Australia with her wife Wren Holdom, whom she married prior to her transition, for the opening of Still Point Turning — a play about her friend, former Army speechwriter and transgender officer Catherine McGregor. Ayla shared her story with One Plus One's Jane Hutcheon.
Her story is familiar to many of us… burying ourselves in masculine jobs.
I imagined if I could just do the next thing … if I went to university, joined the military, became a pilot, ticking all these boxes, that would complete me, that would make me feel right and I could settle down and feel complete or happy.
But it didn’t work and she transitioned in the military.
I worked in the search and rescue unit with Prince William and I was invited to his wedding. This was during my period of coming out to my friends and colleagues.

During that process, at some point, somebody — I don't know who — went to The Sun newspaper and they ran this article.

The headline — thankfully it's been removed from the internet now — was "Will's Pal Loses his Chopper"
Anything to sell papers, even if it wrecks lives.
I felt attacked and vilified by people I'd never met and betrayed by whoever went to the press. Prince William was joining our unit. I was worried about the effect that this would have on him and the attention it would draw.
But this is about her, it is about trans people in the military and her experience was exemplary.
I had been lucky because the armed forces had policies in place since the turn of the century. I wasn't the first transgender person in the armed forces by any stretch.
Here in the colonies, military leaders are standing up for us and coming out in support of us in the military.
All 4 service chiefs on record: No harm to units from transgender service
Military Times
By: Tara Copp
April 24, 2018

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein told Congress Tuesday he was not aware of any negative effects from transgender personnel serving, joining all three other service chiefs in a rare public split with President Donald Trump over the issue.

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., as she had with the top military leaders of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps when they appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for their budget hearings, used the opportunity to question Goldfein as to whether he was aware of any “issues of unit cohesion, disciplinary problems or issues of morale resulting from open transgender service.”

“In the last two weeks Gen. [Mark] Milley, Gen. [Robert] Neller, and Adm. [John] Richardson have told me that they have seen zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale as a result of open transgender service in their respective service branches,” Gillibrand said, referring to the chiefs of staff of the Army, Marine Corps and Navy, respectively.
Likewise, in earlier testimonies, when the three other service secretaries were asked if they had heard of any harm to unit cohesion or other problems, they responded:

Navy: “By virtue of being a Navy sailor, we treat every one of those Navy sailors, regardless, with dignity and respect,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson. “That is warranted by wearing the uniform of the United States Navy. By virtue of that approach, I am not aware of any issues.”

Marine Corps: “By reporting those Marines that have come forward, there’s 27 Marines that have identified as transgender, one sailor serving. I am not aware of any issues in those areas,” said Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller.

Army: “We have a finite number. We know who they are, and it is monitored very closely, because, you know, I’m concerned about that, and want to make sure that they are, in fact, treated with dignity and respect. And no, I have received precisely zero reports,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
But Trump continues to listen to people like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council which has been labeled as a “hate organization” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The four service chiefs, along with the chief of the National Guard Bureau and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, comprise the president’s top circle of military advisers. Each service chief’s testimony marked an unusual split with the president and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who have advised that allowing personnel with gender dysphoria to serve would harm unit cohesion and present an “unreasonable burden on the military.”
It is going to be interesting to hear how Trump and company is going to justify the ban in court, what research that they cite.

The rest of the NATO countries allow trans service members with affecting their readiness and I foresee doing the same after a court fight all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

One Attack After Another…

We have been under constant attacks by the Trump administration, this time attacking our healthcare.
Trump Plan Would Cut Back Health Care Protections for Transgender People
New York Times
By Robert Pear
April 21, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration says it plans to roll back a rule issued by President Barack Obama that prevents doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people.

Advocates said the change could jeopardize the significant gains that transgender people have seen in access to medical care, including gender reassignment procedures — treatments for which many insurers denied coverage in the past.

The rule was adopted in 2016 to carry out a major civil rights law embedded in the Affordable Care Act. The law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in “any health program or activity” that receives federal financial assistance.

The Obama administration said the rule covered “almost all practicing physicians in the United States” because they accept some form of federal remuneration or reimbursement. It applies, for example, to hospitals that accept Medicare and doctors who receive Medicaid payments, as well as to insurers that participate in health insurance marketplaces.

Trump administration officials said they believed they had to modify the rule because a federal judge in Texas had found that parts of it were unlawful.
But eight states, a network of Roman Catholic hospitals and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, representing 19,000 doctors, challenged the Obama-era rule. A federal district judge in Texas temporarily stopped enforcement of the protections for transgender patients, saying that Congress had outlawed discrimination based on sex — “the biological differences between males and females” — but not transgender status.
Yeah but about a dozen other judges have found that the law does cover us and the Supreme Court did back in the 80’s, the court ruled that sex stereotyping is a form of sex discrimination.
But Jennifer C. Pizer, the law and policy director at Lambda Legal, a gay rights group, said, “That is an excruciatingly narrow and legally incorrect definition of the term ‘sex’ that would jeopardize legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
In recent years, some courts have held that federal sex discrimination laws do apply to discrimination against transgender people, as the Obama administration said.

Judge Susan Richard Nelson of the Federal District Court in Minnesota has found that the Affordable Care Act protects people who “allege discrimination based on ‘gender identity’” — a person’s internal sense of gender, which may differ from the sex listed on the person’s birth certificate.
Let’s face it Trump is a liar. He said he supported us during the campaign but now he has Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council whispering hate in his ear along with all the other bigots who hide behind religion.

Award Winning

No not me, but a teachers out in Kansas has won the National Educator of the Year by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
Transgender Wichita teacher wins national education award
Wichita Eagle
By Suzanne Perez Tobias
April 23, 2018

About four years ago, Stephanie Byers addressed her students on the first day of class.

"I said, 'Obviously, there's something different that we need to talk about,'" says Byers, a North High band and orchestra teacher who came out as a transgender woman in 2014.
Byers, 55, says she didn't transition to be a pioneer or an advocate, but she has become both. She thinks she is the first Wichita teacher to transition after being hired into the district. As she contemplated her transition, she called district officials to ask about it and, "There were no protocols in place for this," she said.

Over the past few years, Byers has quietly met with school leaders, participated on panels about LGBTQ issues, talked with parents about gender identity, chaperoned a local "Day of Advocacy" and spoken at the state Capitol. Last week, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) named her National Educator of the Year.

Being a teacher is hard enough but transitioning on the job must have made the job so much harder but she got through it and made her that much stronger.

I know of a couple of teachers who transitioned before the non-discrimination law was passed here in Connecticut and they were fired.

I hope for the day when a trans teacher wins an award that is not by a LGBTQ organization.

I have been up at the cottage with my brother and a friend cleaning up the cottage and then this weekend is the Trans Health and Law Conference, on Sunday a GLAD next weekend is the NASW conference on May 4, May 5 is Noho Pride and that is followed by a new Pride event in Bethel. I also hear rumors of a clam bake at a friends house on Sunday.