Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dismal Results (Part 2)

The Connecticut breakout from the 2015 Transgender Survey has just been published and the results are not good especially since we have laws that are supposed to prevent it.

Another section that they break out the Connecticut results is in healthcare and some of the finds were,

  • In the past year, 20% of respondents did not see a doctor when they needed to because of fear of being mistreated as a transgender person, and 25% did not see a doctor when needed because they could not afford it.
  • 29% of those who saw a health care provider in the past year reported having at least one negative experience related to being transgender. This included being refused treatment, verbally harassed, or physically or sexually assaulted, or having to teach the provider about transgender people in order to get appropriate care.

Where I volunteer two days a week they have a database of friendly LGBT providers, and I get a lot of inquiries about trans friendly healthcare providers. But for me I never had any problems with doctors or other healthcare providers. I have to train one doctor which I didn’t mind doing but he should have learned that in medical school.

  • 22% of respondents experienced a problem in the past year with their insurance related to being transgender, such as being denied coverage for care related to gender transition or being denied coverage for routine care because they were transgender.

That is a major problem and it varies from insurance company to insurance company. One company set up a concierge service for us where they assign a case manager for us if we run into any problems. While other make you jump through hoops and still sticks to the old Standard of Care.

It also seems that it varies from whoever answers your call, two operates can give you two different answers. I know that it can vary on your documentation, some proceeds are covered with no questions asked if your insurance has you listed as female if you are a trans woman while denying it if you are listed as a male on the policy. It depends also on how the doctor codes your treatment, improper code can cause complications and raises questions.

  • 56% of respondents said they would feel uncomfortable asking the police for help if they needed it.

I had to interact with police officers three times. The first was before I transitioned and I presenting as female, the Maine state police officer looked at my documents, looked at me and asked “how would you like to be addressed.” He called my Diana and miss when we talked but all the paperwork had my legal name at the time. Then one time my car was hit by a “hit and run” drive. In the last time I called 911 I thought that a friend was in trouble.

In each of the cases before I dialed 911 I worried how I would be treated.

Lastly they have about changing your legal documents, now this one is a little confusing for me.

  • The cost of changing IDs was one of the main barriers respondents faced, with 41% of those who have not changed their legal name and 37% of those who have not updated the gender on their IDs reporting that it was because they could not afford it.

Since I wasn’t charged for changing my name and gender on my driver license and the Probate Court fee for your name change can be waivered. Neither Social Security nor Medicare had any fees associated with changing your name.

Other findings under document changes were,

  • Only 11% of respondents reported that all of their IDs had the name and gender they preferred, while 71% reported that none of their IDs had the name and gender they preferred.
  • 27% of respondents who have shown an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.

Once was asked for my ID when I went into a bar and the bouncer said that they check all IDs but I didn’t observe him asking for anyone else’s IDs and I’m in my late 60s so the only reason I could think of was that he was curious to see what was on it.

Some general thoughts on the breakout data.

First, the study was also quantitative using the Likert scale in some questions while in other questions it was just a simple yes or no. This was an online survey so the answers that were given are based on the respondent interpretation of the questions, so when the question asks yes or no to “Have you ever been harassed in a public accommodation?” the range could be from just being starred at to being yelled at or even thrown out of the building. Therefore, the answers that were given are based on the respondent interpretation of the questions.

Also this was an online survey so then the demographics might be skewed toward white middle-income people and to those who had access to a computer or smartphone.

Day 2 At The “Fair”

As usual I woke in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep so I took a sleeping pill at 3 AM and I woke up again at 8. It was cold overnight so in the morning I did some work on workshop and then went out to lunch and on the way down to the Post Office restaurant I met Dallas Denny and we walked down together to the restaurant.

After lunch I walked around town and I looked at the damage done by the fire at Lopes Square that they had here in the spring. They had it pretty much cleaned up, the building where the fire started is all torn down and the restaurant next to the one where the fire started is all gutted on the inside as they rebuild.

I then when to the keynote address to hear Gwen Smith talk about trans history which I always find interesting. After her talk I bought her book, “Trans/Active: A Biography of Gwendoyn Ann Smith” and then when back to the motel to work more on my workshop.

In the evening I went to go to supper at Bayside Betsy’s and have a bowl of their clam chowder but they were closed! I ended up eating at the Mayflower and their clam chowder on a scale of one to ten was a… maybe a 3.5 compared to an 11 at Bayside Betsy’s. The Mayflower’s clam chowder tasted and looked like it had a lot of corn starch in it and the pieces of clam had the texture of rubber.

As many of you know I am not a night person so I headed back to my room at the motel and did some reading. All around me I could hear sounds of partying from the younger or the younger at heart crowd.

It looks like that many of the regulars didn’t make it this year but FanFair usually picks-ups at the end of the week as many come for the long weekend and not the whole.

Well it is now 6 AM and I’ve been up since 3:30 so I am going to try to catch some more Zs before breakfast here at the motel.

Dismal Results

The Connecticut breakout from the 2015 Transgender Survey has just been published and the results are not good especially since we have laws that are supposed to prevent it.

Some of the finds that I find disturbing are;

  • In the past year, 23% of those who held or applied for a job during that year reported being fired, being denied a promotion, or not being hired for a job they applied for because of their gender identity or expression.
  • 20% of those who had a job in the past year reported other forms of mistreatment based on their gender identity or expression during that year, such as being forced to use a restroom that did not match their gender identity, being told to present in the wrong gender in order to keep their job, or having a boss or coworker share private information about their transgender status with others without their permission.

The survey was done four years after the passage of the non-discrimination law, businesses should have known by then about the law but it seems that many businesses are choosing to ignore the law.

Then in education…

  • 77% of those who were out or perceived as transgender at some point between Kindergarten and Grade 12 (K–12) experienced some form of mistreatment, such as being verbally harassed, prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, disciplined more harshly, or physically or sexually assaulted because people thought they were transgender.
  • 22% of respondents who were out or perceived as transgender in college or vocational school were verbally, physically, or sexually harassed because of being transgender.

The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity (CHRO) issued their guidelines in the fall of 2012 and also Connecticut has some of the strongest anti-bullying laws in the nation and they include cyberbullying laws. I know that many towns have been following the law but there still are holdout towns who go with their lose interpretation of the law. Just this summer the Connecticut Department of Education has released their own guidelines that will hopefully wake-up those towns that are not following the law.

In housing,

  • 17% of respondents experienced some form of housing discrimination in the past year, such as being evicted from their home or denied a home or apartment because of being transgender.

I get about 3 or 4 calls a month about housing from trans people, many of them are looking for trans friendly housing and unfortunately I don’t know anyone who has a list like that. 211 operators and homeless shelters have been trained but like any training it is only as good as the person who answers the phone.

Then there is public accommodation and they are just as bad.

  • Respondents reported being denied equal treatment or service, verbally harassed, or physically attacked at many places of public accommodation—places that provide services to the public, like retail stores, hotels, and government offices.
  • Of respondents who visited a place of public accommodation where staff or employees thought or knew they were transgender, 29% experienced at least one type of mistreatment in the past year. This included 12% who were denied equal treatment or service and 20% who were verbally harassed because of being transgender.

Even in LGBT Provincetown we are subject to harassment. I was walking down the street Sunday afternoon four guys started to laugh, swishing their ass and holding their wrist limp as they walked by laughing. Then later a guy walked by a women and a trans woman holding and he stared almost walking in to a parked.

Tomorrow I’ll write about the rest of the survey summary for Connecticut.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Do you trust him?

Do you trust him to prosecute your case?

If you have been following the news you will have heard about a hate crime that the feds are prosecuting in Iowa where a man murdered a transgender high school student last year.
Aiding Transgender Case, Sessions Defies His Image on Civil Rights
New York Times
By Matt Apuzzo
October 15, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has dispatched an experienced federal hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to help prosecute a man charged with murdering a transgender high school student last year, a highly unusual move that officials said was personally initiated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In taking the step, Mr. Sessions, a staunch conservative, is sending a signal that he has made a priority of fighting violence against transgender people individually, even as he has rolled back legal protections for them collectively.

The Justice Department rarely assigns its lawyers to serve as local prosecutors, and only in cases in which they can provide expertise in areas that the federal government views as significant. By doing so in this instance, Mr. Sessions put the weight of the government behind a small-city murder case with overtones of gender identity and sexuality.
So this is unusual in two ways, the first in that the Department of Justice is prosecuting the case and the second thing is that they are doing at all because of all the rhetoric that the U.S. Attorney General has made about us not being covered under Title VII and Title IX.
The difference might be because of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate crime law that specifically spells out protection for us.
 “This is just one example of the attorney general’s commitment to enforcing the laws enacted by Congress and to protecting the civil rights of all individuals,” said Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the Justice Department.
[…]
But he has also brought several hate crime cases, including one against a man accused of burning a mosque. He condemned white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., far more forcefully than the president. And he has vowed tough action against hate crimes, speaking aggressively in ways that few of his most ardent opponents could have predicted. He has tied enforcement of those crimes to his tough stance against violence, a cornerstone of his policies as attorney general.
But still for me I would be a little leery and wonder how much effort the federal government will put into the case.

And I’m not the only one to think that, in an article in Pink News,
Trump’s Attorney General ‘cynically exploiting’ murder of trans teenBy Nick Duffy
16th October 2017

Trump’s Attorney General has been accused of cynically exploiting a transphobic murder for good PR.

16-year-old Kedarie Johnson was shot to death last year in Iowa.

Jorge “Lumni” Sanders-Galvez was charged with first-degree murder over the shooting, but the state’s hate crime laws do not protect LGBT people, meaning the case could not be treated as a hate crime.

However, Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions has intervened in the case – putting out a release declaring that he would pursue hate crime charges federally.
[…]
Pro-LGBT law firm Lambda Legal accused Sessions of a “cynical publicity stunt” by seeking positive coverage for simply following the precedent set by the Obama administration, at the same time he works to undermine civil rights protections for transgender workers.

Lambda Legal Director of Strategy Sharon McGowan said: “Of course it is important and right that the Department of Justice assist in bringing to justice the murderer of Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, one of the far too many transgender people, and especially transgender people of color, targeted in the ongoing lethal epidemic of hate violence.

“But it is the height of cynicism for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to use this – frankly rare – instance of civil rights enforcement under his tenure to deflect from the current department’s sustained opposition to its historic mission.
Maybe the Attorney General Jeff Sessions sees hate crime differently than discrimination; hopefully that is the case.

FanFair Day 1

The day started off with an Orientation Brunch and I left right after I eat and before the orientation, it is the same talk that they give every year so I wasn’t interested in sticking around for it. Instead I went grocery shopping and bought some stuff to have in my room for the week.

I wanted to attend the keynote address by Nick Adams who is Director of Transgender Media & Representation at GLAAD but life got in the way, I got some type of stomach bug and I didn’t want to get too far away from my room.

In the evening I went to the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award Banquet where they honored where they will honor Gwen Smith and Martine Rothblatt. Dallas Denny gave the introduction and the award to Gwen Smith and she gave a short speech.

In her introduction Ms. Dallas talked about Ms. Smith’s history as an activists and of her many accomplishments,
Gwendolyn Ann Smith has been an advocate for the transgender community for most of her adult life, with a focus on the trans community on the internet, as well as in honoring those we have lost due to anti-transgender violence. Starting in 1992, she lobbied America Online, getting the company to change its policies and allow discussions on gender issues on their service. This led to the creation of the first public forum on a major online service, the Transgender Community Forum, one year later. This service allowed thousands of transgender people worldwide to connect on a daily basis. With the rise of the World Wide Web, Gwen began to provide web management for many within the community, creating sites for the Southern Comfort Conference, for transgender photographer Loren Cameron and many others, pioneering the early transgender web. She is still involved on transgender internet projects, serving as the managing editor for Genderfork. Her best known work on the Internet, however, is Remembering Our Dead, a project founded in 1998 to chronicle the scourge of anti-transgender murders. Through this project, Gwen founded the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The event, now 18 years old, is honored in hundreds of locations across the country and worldwide. Gwen also writes a column on transgender issues and ideas for the Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco, California. Her column, Transmissions, has been running biweekly since 2000. Her essay, “We’re all someone’s freak” is also featured in the book Gender Outlaws, edited by S. Bear Bergman and Kate Bornstein.
According to Wikipedia Martine Rothblatt,
Martine Aliana Rothblatt (born 1954) is an American lawyer, author, and entrepreneur. Rothblatt graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a combined law and MBA degree in 1981, then began work in Washington, D.C., first in the field of communications satellite law, and eventually in life sciences projects like the Human Genome Project. She is the founder and Chairwoman of the Board of United Therapeutics. She was also the CEO of GeoStar and the creator of SiriusXM Satellite Radio
They also had an auction to raise money for their scholarship program and raised over $900 for it.

Today Ms. Smith is giving the keynote talk.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Here’s Gratitude For You

But what do you expect from a religious conservative.
Politician whose life was saved by lesbian police officer to speak at national anti-LGBT convention
Pink News
By Josh Jackman 
5th October 2017

Four months ago, Republican congressman Steve Scalise had his life saved by a heroic lesbian police officer.

Now, the House Majority Whip is set to speak on stage at a virulently homophobic hate group which has questioned if gay people should be executed.

When a shooter opened fire on Republicans who were practising for a charity baseball game in Washington DC, Crystal Griner ran towards the bullets, saving lives in the process.
[…]
Griner carried out her duty to protect Scalise, even though he previously co-sponsored a failed Constitutional Amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage in the United States.
It seems that officer doesn’t care who you are or what you believe, she treats everyone the same. She could have claimed that it was against her religious beliefs to protect someone who’s biased against LGBT people but she didn’t. She saw them as human beings who need protect and she did her job.

The Lockport Union-Sun and Journal wrote about how Rep. Scalise made a speech at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit conference.
Then there's Steve Scalise, the House majority whip, coming up a bit short in the love-thy-neighbor category. After his shooting at a congressional baseball practice stunned the nation, he graciously praised Capitol Police special agent Crystal Griner — a lesbian who is married to a woman — and the other officer who saved his life as "heroes" and "part of our family." But on Friday, Scalise was scheduled to speak at the Family Research Council, which proudly proclaims that "homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed."
The Family Research Council has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of their maligning and vilifying us.

It Is Not Only In The U.S.

But it is happening in other countries around the world, this time in England where a printer refused to print business cards for a trans woman.
Christian printer refuses to produce business cards for transgender diversity consultant because they might 'marginalise' fellow believers
  • Christian printer Nigel Williams refused to produce pro-LGBTQ+ business cards
  • In a letter Mr Williams said he didn't want to encourage Christian discrimination 
  • Transgender rights activist Mrs Joanne Lockwood was left reeling after refusal 
  • The clash is reminiscent of the Ashers Bakery saga in Northern Ireland in 2014
Daily Mail
By Rod Ardehali
15 October 2017

A devout Christian printer refused to produce business cards for a transgender diversity consultant because he didn't want to promote a cause potentially harmful to fellow believers.

Nigel Williams turned down the chance to work for Joanne Lockwood's consultancy, SEE Change Happen, which promotes diversity, equality and inclusion.

Following Mrs Lockwood's approach to use his business, Mr Williams sent the diversity coach a letter explaining why he was refusing the business deal.
And of course a Christian legal organization to help the printer.
Mr Williams has been offered support by the Christian Institute - a pressure group which previously backed a family bakery in Northern Ireland accused of discriminating against a gay customer.
I do not believe that England has any “Religious Freedom” laws to complicate the case like we have here in the U.S.



I made it up here to P’town yesterday with no problems, I pulled over at a rest area to have a sandwich and take a cat nap for about twenty minutes. It is a four hour drive from home up to Provincetown, only an hour more than driving up to where we had a cottage in New Hampshire, but that extra weighs heavily on me.

At night there was welcoming reception at Tin Pan Alley which was well attended for an opening night at the Fair. They also had an event at the Pilgrim Monument but I didn’t go to earlier in the evening.

Today I’m at the opening brunch and this evening is the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award Banquet where they will honor Gwen Smith and Martine Rothblatt.