Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"Fair & Balanced"

You all heard that motto from Fox which is something of a joke coming from Fox, but there are many other news sources that are fair and balanced.
Fair and accurate media coverage really could improve the lives of transgender people like me
A recent report by Kings College London found that negative representations of trans people in the media can worsen dysphoria causing feelings of shame
The Independent
By Owl Fisher
February 20, 2018

Yes — this is yet another piece about transgender people. You’d be forgiven for thinking that we make up 90 per cent of the population (the reality is between 1-2 per cent). We are everywhere in the media, and not in a terribly good way lately.

Ever since the Government announced they’re considering reforming the Gender Recognition Act (2004) about six months ago a very corrosive and heated public debate in the UK about trans rights and the reality of trans people is being played out in the media, and we are the fodder. Under the act trans people will no longer need a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a health care professional to receive their gender recognition certificate. This means that trans people can get a new birth certificate without having to jump through hoops to prove who they are. We have seen many trans voices being heard in positive ways amidst the chaos, however much media coverage has shown trans people in an extremely negative light.
What is the impact of these attacks on us? How is this affecting our mental health? Can fair and accurate media coverage improve the lives of trans people, making our children safer and happier? Happily, the answer to the last question is yes, as a new study shows.
News coverage can make or break a trans bill. In New Hampshire when a trans rights bill was introduced the Union Leader relentlessly attacked the trans bill calling it the “Bathroom Bill” and the articles created such a backlash to the bill that even the bill sponsors didn’t vote for the bill.
The research, carried out by King’s College London in partnership with All About Trans, looked at how media representation of trans people affects trans people themselves. 78 per cent thought that coverage about trans people was inaccurate and when seeing negative media coverage, 69 per cent felt unhappy, 78 per cent felt angry, 69 per cent felt bad about society, 49 per cent felt excluded and 41 per cent felt frightened.

It found that negative representations can worsen the dysphoria of trans people causing feelings of shame, making one respondent feel “like I will never be accepted in society as my true self and this hurts deeply”.
The study also found that,
Where there is fear and misinformation, there is hate. Research published by Stonewall in January 2018 showed that two fifths of trans people (41 per cent) experienced a hate crime in the last 12 months, nearly half of trans people (48 per cent) avoid using public bathrooms, one in four (25 per cent) have experienced homelessness, two in five (40 per cent) have adjusted the way they dress out of fear of harassment or discrimination and one in eight (12 per cent) have been physically assaulted by colleagues or customers in the last year, simply for being trans.
We are seeing that now in the U.S. the number of hate crimes directed against LGBT people has risen, we now see many more hate comments on websites.

As Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said,
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
But when politicians advocate violence the heartless are no longer restrained.

Call to Action!

We need to stop the haters.

There has been a building campaign against Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald who Gov. Malloy has nominated to be the next Chief Justice of the state’s high Court. Two of the architects of this campaign are the Family Institute of CT and the Catholic League (not the Catholic Church itself).

Andrew has been a leader in the state senate on marriage equality, transgender protections, and other issues that impact the LGBTQ community. He is being attacked in part for these positions, and is also being attacked by some of the fringe opponents simply for being gay.

The Judiciary Committee is meeting this Friday. The Family Institute and others are mobilizing against his nomination, and it is critical that we counter their lobbying efforts by getting calls and emails into legislators in support of Andrew.

This is what the FIC has said…
Oppose Andrew McDonald's confirmation for Chief Justice. What form this opposition will take remains a work in progress. But a man who tried to use the power of the state to strip the Catholic Church's bishops and priests of financial authority over their own parishes, a man who seems to exhibit a pattern of placing personal agendas above the law, is a man who should not be the head of the most powerful and least accountable branch of our state government.
And in another email the FIC has quote from the Waterbury Republican-American
The Family Institute of Connecticut just launched an opposition campaign, alleging McDonald is hostile to religious liberty, puts his own agenda above the law and feigns moderation until he has the power to enact his true goals.
The infringement that they are talking about is a bill that was submitted on behalf of a constituent, a common practice in the legislature and the bill never got anywhere and was submitted because of a priest who embezzled from the Catholic parish funds and the bill would have required oversight by lay church council.

They further go on to say…
McDonald is the first openly gay justice in state history, and he would be the first openly gay chief justice of a U.S. state if confirmed.

Executive director Peter Wolfgang said FIC is not opposing McDonald's nomination because he is gay or because the advocacy group and McDonald clashed over the legalization of same-sex marriage in Connecticut.
Yeah, right and I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

The President of the CT Bar Association and Deans of UConn and Quinnipiac law schools endorsed Governor Malloy’s nomination of Justice McDonald as Chief Justice of CT’s Supreme Court campaign and I have known him since around 2005, 2006 timeframe.

In the CT  Mirror in an article from January they say,
McDonald would be the first openly gay chief justice of the highest court in any state, though not any jurisdiction. Maite Orono Rodríguez, who is a lesbian, was confirmed a year ago as the chief justice of the highest court in Puerto Rico. Nationally, there are only about a dozen LGBT justices in state supreme courts.

As an openly gay candidate, McDonald was a political rarity when he was narrowly elected to the state Senate from Stamford in 2002. Three years later, he helped win passage of a civil-unions law that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples, albeit under a different name. The distinction was erased in 2008 in a decision by the court he now hopes to lead.
McDonald was confirmed by votes of 30-3 in the Senate and 125-20 in the House after a debate in which opponents focused on his lack of previous judicial experience and his sponsorship of a bill in 2009 that Catholics deemed an intrusion into church affairs. It would have made changes in the state’s religious corporations act, which governs the corporate structure of several denominations.
All 23 legislators opposing his nomination five years ago were Republicans, though the ranking GOP House and Senate members of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, which screens nominees, pronounced him qualified, as did the leaders of the Republican minorities in the House and Senate.
Notice the vote, it was almost unanimous and in the House it was a landslide in his favor, so what has changed?

What changed is the religious right does not want someone on the bench who puts the state and U.S. Constitutions ahead of the Bible and they sure as hell don’t want a gay Supreme Court Chief Justice.

I met him at a fundraiser for GenderPAC which was a Washington DC based trans lobbying political action committee. The fundraiser was held at the home of Westport’s First Selectman’s home, attending the fundraiser was the then mayor of Stamford, Dannel Malloy, and the co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Mike Lawlor and Sen. Andrew McDonald. I have also contributed to the campaign of all three.

When I testified before the Judiciary Committee for the gender inclusive non-discrimination bills both McDonald and Lawlor were there and encouraged me during my testimony.

We cannot let the bigots win…call or email your legislators!

They don't want a gay man as Chief Justice of the CT Supreme Court. They also don't want a gay justice ruling on a involving a LGBT case, but they have no problem with a straight person ruling on a case involving LGBT issues... a double standard.

To find your legislator click here, it is about half way down the page.

Please share widely, we need to counter the far right.

This morning I am given cultural competency training to a non-profit that I have worked with in the pass. We worked with them on  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fight For The Next Generation.

That is what I am fighting for, the next generation of trans children coming out.

Let us all work to make their lives easier that what we have now.
Even as gay rights battles are won, transgender people continue to face obstacles
Los Angles Times
By Jaclyn Cosgrove
February 19, 2018

In post-marriage-equality America, where same-sex couples live openly and increasingly are embraced in their communities, those on the conservative right who once pushed back against gay rights now appear to have shifted their focus to the transgender community.

So far this year, 10 states have introduced a flurry of bills that would make life tougher for transgender people, especially students who try to use campus restrooms that match their gender identity. And earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education confirmed that it will no longer investigate civil rights complaints from transgender students who say they were barred from using restrooms that align with their gender identity.

"We're seeing proposals around the country that would make it harder for trans people to go to work, go to school, participate in public life, or even do things as simple as go to the store or go to a restaurant with their family," said Jay Wu, communications manager at the National Center for Transgender Equality. "If laws like this pass, they can send a message to transgender people and their families that they are not as worthy as their peers and that they don't deserve to have the same rights as everyone else."
We are in an era of right-wing backlash to the advances we have made in the past few years; they have circled the wagons and have used hate, lies, and fear to win control of the government. They have used people’s fear and hatred of “Big Government” to win elections but people are now realizing that they were only lies, smoke and mirrors to divert the attention of the voters to their real agenda and that is making us a third world country.

We will survive…

The pendulum will swing back but the question is what will the damage be?

The Republican Party… The Party Of Hate

Well the Republicans are at it again, a new legislative session, a new session of hate legislation and resolutions. This time it is Kansas.

Kansas GOP votes to ‘oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity’
The Wichita Eagle
By Jonathan Shorman and Hunter Woodall
February 18, 2018

The Kansas Republican Party has voted to "oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity."

The party’s state committee endorsed that statement on Saturday and also said it recognizes the dignity of those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

The committee approved a resolution on human sexuality after a debate where some questioned the state party’s priorities. The lead proponent of the resolution said he was motivated by love.

In the resolution, the party affirms "God’s design for gender as determined by biological sex and not by self-perception." The document also opposes efforts to surgically or hormonally alter an individual’s body to conform with "perceived gender identity."

The committee approved the resolution on a voice vote. The committee is made up of about 180 people, with delegates from each congressional district, along with elected officials and leaders of groups affiliated with the party.
Last year they also had another resolution…
Shelby County GOP passes resolution in support of Moore
The Hill
By Rebecca Savransky
November 15, 2017

The Shelby County Republican Executive Committee on Tuesday passed a resolution in support of GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, according to multiple reports.

The committee said in its resolution it would "assist and support" Moore's effort to win the Alabama Senate seat and urged Republicans to back Moore's candidacy.

The resolution says Moore has been a "consistent proponent" of the positions of the Alabama GOP, listing his stances on issues such as fiscal policy and government regulations, according to the Alabama Political Reporter, which obtained a copy of the resolution before the meeting Tuesday.
I guess that God speaks to the Republican Party… hate thy neighbor, kill thy neighbor, covet thy neighbor… maybe it is really Satan whispering in their ear and not God.

Meanwhile all these resolutions are going on Kansas has a massive deficit with massive cuts to the budget, maybe they should tackle instead of spreading hate.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

“It's Just This Little Chromium Switch Here"

I have my theories (totally unscientific) with the causes of gender dysphoria and I think that it all happens in the womb.

I think that there are serval vectors that might cause GD, the first is that the fetus get washed with male hormone around the 8th to the 10th week the fetus which starts out in life as female gets washed with testosterone that creates the male genital. Then around the 20th week the fetus gets a second wash to masculinize the brain, if that doesn’t happen then the brain continues to develop as female. I also believe that there can be various degrees of transformation of the brain, that the brain can be masculinized to various degrees.

Another possibility can be that there are no androgen receptors for the DHT (testosterone is changed into DHT by enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, lacking the enzyme the fetus will continue developing as a female) the BSTc area of the brain, the area that is believed to determine gender.

Though out the body there are DHT receptors, a classic case where there are no receptors where there are supposed to be receptors is male pattern baldness which is cause by a genetic mutation that did away with the DHT receptors on hair follicles. So why can’t a similar type of mutation be involved with gender dysphoria? Maybe there is a lack androgen receptor (AR) in the brain’s BSTc area?

So maybe there is no switch to turn on the masculinizing the brain.

Amend The Second Amendment?

I am against it for the following reasons; there are two ways to amend the U.S. Constitution, the first is Congress by a vote two thirds of its members can propose an amendment and then three fourths of the states have to vote in favor of the amendment or the states can call for a Constitutional Convention where three fourths of the delegates vote in favor of the amendment.

I fear a Constitutional Convention because once convened they are limited to just the Second Amendment, I can see the Republican states delegates adding an antiabortion, an anti-LGBT, and a pro “religious freedom” amendments. Since the Republicans control almost enough states to get the ¾ is the states this is a real possibility.

The second reason that I am against is that this country is already divided on gun control and passing an amendment to the Second Amendment would rip this country apart.

I much rather that they pass sane gun laws first as I wrote about in this rant.

Follow-Up… We Won!

I have been following (here) a case in Cincinnati where a trans woman has applied to have her grandparents appointed as her guardians because her parents will allow her to get Cross-sex Hormone Treatment (CHT).
Judge paves way for transgender teen to get hormone therapy at Cincinnati Children's Hospital
By Kevin Grasha,
February 16, 2018

A Hamilton County judge has paved the way for a 17-year-old who wants to transition in gender to undergo hormone therapy. The case pitted the teen against his parents.

Sylvia Hendon, a visiting Juvenile Court judge, issued a ruling Friday granting legal custody to the teen’s grandparents, who according to a prosecutor "accept their grandson for who he is."

But the ruling comes with conditions.

Hendon said before hormone therapy can begin at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the teen must be evaluated by a psychologist not affiliated with the hospital.
I don’t think that will be a problem as long as the therapist has worked with trans clients.

It must have been a hard decision for the judge to make, to take away custody from the parents.
Hendon said it was understandable that the teen’s parents “were legitimately surprised and confused when the child’s anxiety and depression symptoms became the basis for the diagnosis of gender dysphoria.”

She also said it was unfortunate the case had to be resolved in the courts.

“The family would have been best served if this could have been settled within the family after all parties had ample exposure to the reality of the fact that the child truly may be gender nonconforming and has a legitimate right to pursue life with a different gender identity than the one assigned at birth," she said.
She is right that it is best to keep the guardianship with the parents but unfortunately the parents are deeply religious and they forced her to listen to Bible verses for six hours and the father wanted her to go through conversion therapy.

I have heard rumors that in Connecticut the Department of Families (DCF) has taken the stance that not letting a child transition is a form of child abuse.