Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Conservatives Are Jerks About Hurricane Irene…

I don’t how else to say it, but I have been caching up on the news and what I’m reading about what they said about the hurricane is full of bull! Sorry for being so blunt but have you read what they have said?

First, the conservative press, George Will said on ABC Roundtable: Politics of Storms
Florence nightingale said whatever else you can say about hospitals, they shouldn't make their patients sicker. and whatever else you want to say about journalism shouldn't subtract from the nation's understanding and certainly shouldn't contribute to the manufacturered synthetic hysteria that is a part of modern life and I think we may have done so with regard to this now tropical storm as it now seems to be.
Do you believe this bull? The topography of the New England states with it valleys and forests make it especially susceptible to flash floods and wind damage. To warn people to take precautions is not hype but common sense. There are still hundreds of thousand people who do not have power and some probably will not get it back until the weekend. A strong wind blowing down Long Island Sound creates a strong storm surge. The effects of a hurricane in New England are totally different from a hurricane in Florida or Texas where storms surges goes for miles inland. For the conservative press to criticize the President and the governors for telling their citizens to be prepared is wrong, it is bull shit! It is gutter politics. What does Mr. Will want a Katrina all over again, where the rich were able to flee and the poor are left behind to fend for themselves.

This opinion piece from the Washington Times,
One approach, let's call it the Red State mentality, is that the media hypes up storms to an insane level. It isn't a disaster, it's just a little windy.

The Blue State approach is to send in the National Guard to save everyone, and while they're there it would be nice if they could build a few new public buildings.

Think of this as you-are-all-a-bunch-of-wimps vs. I-want-my-mommy.
News Busters said,
When you think about the unnecessary panic and fear ginned up by the media over what indeed turned into a tropical storm before it hit Manhattan, one has to wonder how much time and money was wasted in preparing for the hyped worst case scenario that fortunately never transpired.
The Daily Beast said,
Irene fell far short of the media’s dire warnings even before it was downgraded. Howard Kurtz on the scaremongering by television and local officials.
So the liberals have hyped the storm, what do you think? At the height of the storm 775,000 customers without power here in Connecticut shattering the previous number of customers who lost power in hurricane Gloria. Forty-seven people were killed as a result of Irene, making it the 4th deadliest hurricane in the last 30 years. A friend’s house on Long Island Sound was flooded and her neighbor’s house bashed in from the storm surge and the storm surge went inland over a ½ mile, exceeding all other hurricanes except the 1938 hurricane; here are some pictures from around the state. The center of town where I live was flooded and they were worried about the dams breaking. Eighty-three percent of the town lost power. Look at this video… do you think that the news media hyped the warning?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What do the Republican candidates have to say…
Cantor says federal help on Irene cleanup must be offset
The Hill
By Pete Kasperowicz

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Monday reiterated that the federal government has a role to play in cleaning up the damage caused by Hurricane Irene, but stressed again that federal funds must be offset by spending cuts.

“This is a time, an appropriate instance, where there is a federal government role,” Cantor said Monday morning on Fox News.

“We will find the money if there is a need for additional monies,” he added. “But … those monies are not unlimited, and what we’ve always said is we offset [with] that which has already been funded.”
So the Republican House Majority leader wants to hold hostage all those people and small businesses who need federal disaster relief so that he can blackmail Congress into getting his way. Where will he find the money? They have already made drastic cuts in programs for the seniors cutting “Meals on Wheel”, for infants with cuts to WIC, cutting medical help for women’s health programs, while at the same time refusing to tax those who can afford to pay more, the billionaires and millionaires.

What does Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul think about helping with disaster relief?
…On the eve of hurricane Irene, Paul called for abolishing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Paul is absolutely frank about wanting to turn back the clock to a simpler time:
"We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960," Paul said. "I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.

"There's no magic about FEMA. They're a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don't have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states," Paul told NBC News. "A state can decide. We don't need somebody in Washington."

Paul, a government minimalist, gets points for honesty and consistency. He believes in an every-man-for-himself society, and is honest about how retrograde that is. Paul notes, for example, that Galveston, Texas, is in his district, site of the most deadly hurricane disaster in the US of all time, is the 1900 utopia he imagines. Thousands killed, a city destroyed. In the aftermath, a telegram was sent to President William McKinley: "I have been deputized by the mayor and Citizen's Committee of Galveston to inform you that the city of Galveston is in ruins." And while the city has rebuilt, historians say that what could have been one of the most important port cities in America was set back more than a century by the Great Storm. Some argue that it is a city that has never recovered.
By Knute Berger
Everybody for themselves, the Titanic mentality. The rich get the life boats and everyone else swims.

So what did Rep. Bachmann the presidential candidate have to say about the hurricane Irene?
The Huffington Post
Jon Ward
She later said that she was only joking.

The conservatives hold the Sword of Damocles over our heads while people whose homes have been washed away and are begging for assistance and give us a Hobson’s choice of what we want to give up; food stamps for the millions of unemployed or loans to rebuild our house and small businesses.

While the conservative media mock up and call us wimps.[/RANT]

Update: 8/31/11 8:15pm

Hurricane Irene will most likely prove to be one of the 10 costliest catastrophes in the nation’s history, and analysts said that much of the damage might not be covered by insurance because it was caused not by winds but by flooding, which is excluded from many standard policies.
New York Times
This shows even more how much of a fool that George Will is for shooting off his mouth before the storm even hit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ramblings On Hurricane Irene

At a quarter of eight Sunday morning I became one of the over seven hundred and seventy-five thousand people without electricity. I went to put plan “A” into effect and that fizzled, I was hoping that my computer system UPS would power the scanner so that I could listen to the police, fire and electric company. So I had to go to plan “B”, I went back to bed. When I woke up later in the morning, nothing had changed… I had hoped that maybe it was just a dream.

I’m listening to the radio and they are talking about all this damage and flooding and I’m “Hun”, the wind is hardly blowing here, maybe at the most we are seeing 20 – 30mph wind gusts. Where’s the hurricane? I hear that along the shore flooding is a half mile inland and around the state there are a number of washed out bridges.

For lunch, I had instant macaroni that I cooked on my camp stove and I think for dinner that I’ll go out to eat. I think that power will be back on before long there can’t be that much damage in town. Then I went outside to check for damage around the house. There were no trees or limbs down, just a lot of leaves and twigs. I just laid on the couch all day reading. I went on the internet using the phone modem that I use up at the cottage and eventually I ran the battery down in my laptop (like I’m doing now). I drove around town looking for any hurricane damage while I was recharging my laptop on the car’s cigarette lighter. There wasn’t much damage that I could see, a few trees down, some broken limbs and the regular areas were flood in town. I then had dinner at Mickey D’s and a lot of other people had the same idea. The parking lot was filled and the drive through window had about ten cars in line. While the Burger King across the street was closed because of a large tree blocking the driveway.

When I got home I could hear a number of generators purring in the neighborhood. However, most of the homes were dark or you could see candles or oil lamps lit through their windows. I read for a while by the light of a propane camp lantern and listened to the radio. After a while that got boring so I’m going to bed at 9:30. Maybe in the morning I’ll wake and the power will be back on.

It was dark last night and it was quiet. It is a new moon and with sixty percent of the state without electricity, it was very dark. I did find out one thing, my alarm system makes weird noises in it death troughs, it beeps faintly, it squeals as the battery slowly dies.

Another surprise this morning, the phone is dead, when I went to connect to the modem, a message popped up – “No Dial Tone Detected”. At least yesterday I could read my email, surf the web and keep in touch with friends. But today I’m isolated from everyone.

I went out to breakfast this morning and afterward, I drove around town and I didn’t see very many places with downed wires. All the flooding has receded and there were a lot of cleanup crews cutting up the downed trees. On the way back home I spied a friend sitting out in his yard so I talked for a while about the hurricane. Now I’m back to reading and napping.

I went out for supper and charged my laptop again. I noticed that the phone company has generators at all of their concentrators (they take local phone lines and put them on one cable) so that is probably why my phone is working again.

My neighbor went out and got a generator and it has been running all day and into the night. It is starting to get on my nerves; it is loud, constant noise twenty feet from my deck. I was reading out on the deck and had to come in because of the noise, I closed all the windows on that side of the house.

YAHOO!!!! Power is back on at 7:40pm, a total of 35 Hours 55 Minutes without power. The internet is still down and I’m still using the dial-up modem.

Cable and internet is back at 11:15am. All systems are back to normal.

I think I will buy this, I think it will allow me to be able to listen to the scanner and radio, and also be able to use my laptop without running out to my car twice a day to recharge my laptop.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Status

I'm OK, house is OK, no trees down, but I have no power, no cable, phone is OK and I'm on a dial-up modem. Battery running down in laptop.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Give Me Shelter From The Storm

“Shelter From The Storm"

I was in another lifetime one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness a creature void of form
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".
Bob Dylan

I’m prepared for hurricane Irene; I bought a bottle of rum and a carton of coke!
All kidding aside, I am making a much ice that I can to fill the freezer,
I got batteries and blubs for the flashing lights,
I got batteries for my radio,
I got mantles for the propane lantern, filled the gas grill propane tank,
I have oil for the oil lamps,
I got canned food and dry food (pastas to make tuna fish or crabmeat salad, etc.),
I filled my prescriptions that were low,
I have city water and they have backup generators, but if worst case happens, I have a 40gal hot water tank,
I charged up my cell phone,
I filled the car gas tank,
I bought a 12vdc to 110vac inverter that plugs in the car cigarette lighter so I can charge my laptop (need to be able play games).
I got a new book.
And most important, I took a hot shower; it might be my last for a several days.

This might be my last blog entry for a while, since Hurricane Irene is supposed to make land fall tonight as a category 1 hurricane. I don’t know if we will have power when I wake-up in the morning and I imagine it is going to be a sleepless night with the heavy rain and wind starting around 3:00am.
While most people are worrying about hurricane Irene, trans-people have their own worry…
National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Press Release
Increasing reports show that Hurricane Irene is gaining strength as it heads to North Carolina's Outer Banks and up the East Coast. As residents prepare for Irene's landfall, NCTE emphasizes care for transgender people displaced by the storm. In the past, transgender people have faced disrespect and discrimination when seeking resources or accessing homeless and emergency shelters.

Read our Hurricane Preparedness Kit and pass it on to friends and loved ones who may be impacted by the storm.

Hurricane Preparedness Kit Download

If you are experiencing disrespect or discrimination in a relief shelter or emergency service, please call a Lambda Legal National Help Desk for assistance:
Toll free: (866) 542-8336
New York: (212) 809-8585
Atlanta: (404) 897-1880

We strongly recommend bringing the Hurricane Preparedness Kit with you if you evacuate so that you will have all of the resource numbers in case you encounter a problem.

NTCE Hurricane Preparedness Kit
Hurricane season is underway, and NCTE wants you to stay safe—both from Mother Nature and from any unique problems transgender people may face during an evacuation. It is important for transgender people living in coastal regions to be prepared for obstacles both during and after a hurricane hits. NCTE urges everyone to put together a preparedness kit that not only takes into account basic survival needs, but also your specific health and legal needs as a transgender person.
Lambda Legal National Help Desks:
Toll free: (866) 542-8336
Dallas: (214) 219-8585
Atlanta: (404) 897-1880
National Center for Transgender Equality: (202) 903-0112,
Hurricane season can be a difficult and dangerous time for all residents of coastal states. For transgender people it can be especially difficult to access emergency services and shelters because of discrimination. As you may recall, during the wake of Hurricane Katrina many transgender people were victims of harassment based on their gender identity and/or expression. A few were even arrested and jailed for using gender-appropriate showers in shelter facilities. Some forgot important items, such as hormones and cosmetics.

In light of these negative experiences, and considering the often problematic treatment of transgender people within homeless and other emergency shelters, NCTE encourages community members in hurricane-prone regions to prepare in advance. You can do this by developing a Disaster Plan, building a Hurricane Preparedness Kit, gathering transgender medical, documentation items, making sure important legal and advocacy contact information is easily accessible, and cosmetic items as needed.

Making Shelters Safe for Transgender Evacuees:
Transitioning Our Shelters: A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters for Transgender People
National Weather Service:


The National Weather Service recommends that everyone have the following items in an emergency kit:
▪▪ Water & Food (enough for 3-7 days)
▪▪ Blankets, pillows, etc.
▪▪ Clothing (rain gear/ sturdy shoes)
▪▪ First Aid Kit , medicines, prescription drugs
▪▪ Special Items (for babies and the elderly)
▪▪ Toiletries, hygiene items, moisture wipes
▪▪ Flashlight and batteries
▪▪ Battery operated radio
▪▪ Telephones (fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional-not cordless-telephone set)
▪▪ Cash (with some small bills) and credit cards
▪▪ Keys
▪▪ Toys, books and games
▪▪ Important documents (in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic
bag, such as insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social
Security card, etc.)
▪▪ Tools (keep a set with you during the storm)
▪▪ Vehicle fuel tanks (filled)
▪▪ Pet care items
For more information about disaster planning

In addition to the standard emergency information, NCTE recommends that transgender people also have the following with them:
▪▪ Prescriptions
▪▪ Medications (hormones, etc.)
▪▪ Syringes, alcohol swabs, etc.
▪▪ Vaginal stints/dilators
▪▪ Other medical devices/supplies Legal
▪▪ Phone numbers for Lambda Legal’s help desks and for the NCTE (below)
▪▪ Proof of name change
▪▪ Court orders
▪▪ Identification, including passport
▪▪ Doctors letters regarding gender identity from therapist & surgeon
▪▪ Razors
▪▪ Cosmetics
▪▪ Binding, Packing Equipment (e.g. ace bandages, gaffs, “packies”)
We strongly recommend that you take this document with you if you evacuate so that you will have all of the resource numbers with you in case you encounter a problem.

I leave you with Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From The Storm”

Be safe!

Saturday Six Episode 385

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode 385

1. Where is the last place you visited that involved a flight?
Seattle in 1999, we went out to Seattle for my cousin’s son’s wedding and then we drove down to San Francisco

2. If given a choice and all prices are the same, which airline would you most be likely to choose for your own travel?

I have no idea; the airline that I went out to Seattle on is no longer in business.

3. With which airline have you had the most negative experiences?
I fly so irregularly that I couldn’t say.

4. You come to the security checkpoint and you find a new full-body scanner: would you voluntarily be scanned?
That is so hard to decide for a trans-person, or documentation does not match our physical characteristics. It because a real problem for us, you can read about them here.

5. Security agents tell you that the scanner is being calibrated and that it would take 30 minutes before you could pass through security unless you allow them to do a full putdown. If waiting 30 minutes won’t endanger the chance of you getting to your gate on time, would you wait or agree to the patdown?
I would rather take the patdown and not wait the 30 minutes.

6. Which airline fee bothers you the most and why?
The baggage fee, after all you have to take some bags with you. I can see adding fee for extra bags or heavy bags, but not for all your bags.

Hurricane Warning!!!!!

Warning from the National Hurricane Operations Center...
For immediate release

"As Hurricane Irene prepares to batter the East Coast, federal disaster officials warn that Internet outages could force people to interact with other people for the first time in years. Residents are bracing themselves for the horror of awkward silences and unwanted eye contact. FEMA advises: “Be prepared. Write down possible topics to talk about in advance. Sports...the weather. Remember, a conversation is basically a series of Facebook updates strung together.”

Friday, August 26, 2011

Saturday 9: I Fought the Law

Crazy Sam's Saturday 9: I Fought the Law

1. Have you ever been on the wrong side of the law?
Well does doing drugs back in the 60s and 70s count?

2. What was the last thing you described as either “surprisingly good” or “surprisingly bad?”
“Surprisingly good” - Graduating from college with my MSW.

3. When was the last time you unintentionally surprised someone else?
I can’t remember.

4. When was the last time you deliberately surprised someone else?
I’ll take the Fifth.

5. What was the last really funny movie you watched?

6. What is something that you've never done that you secretly are dying to do?
Take a trip cross country. A month long trip out west and visit all the national parks

7. What do you hope is different in your life by August 2012?
The Stock Market is a bull market.

8. Who is the last person you greeted at your door?
A Jehovah Witness and I wouldn’t exactly say greeted

9. If you could live in any ancient city during the height of the quality of its society and culture, which one would you choose?
Hmmm, did we answer this question a couple of weeks ago? Here is what I said then…
“Paris in the 1890s, the gay nineties, the height of the Impressionist. Can you imagine being with Claude Monet, Antoine Blanchard, Mary Cassatt and all the other impressionists.”

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. How in the world did I _end up here_.

2. _Without my glasses, I couldn’t see you standing_ in front of me.

3. Life's _a bitch_.

4. _I love a _ picnic lunch.

5. That was where we _got hit by a Mac truck_.

6. _I wish that I could _ I think of as "our place".

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm not looking forward to _going up to New Hampshire to tie up the boat and put away the lawn furniture before hurricane Irene hits_, tomorrow my plans include _putting away the stuff around my house_ and Sunday, I want have to _hunker down while hurricane Irene does it damage (right now the eye is predicted in passing by over my house)_!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Story Part 88 – The Cottage

Back in 1981 my parents bought our New Hampshire lake cottage and my parents use to live up there during the summer. Just before Thanksgiving they use to close up the cottage for winter and then in April or May they would go north and open it up for the season. In the winter they use to rent a condo in Florida, so for most of the year I had their house all to myself. I lived at their house until I was in my mid-forties, I mowed the lawn in the summer, shoveled the driveway in the winter and forwarded their mail to New Hampshire or Florida. Then in 1990 my aunt retired and moved in with us, she didn’t like New Hampshire so she stayed at the house during the summer and went with them to Florida, which was when I moved out, I couldn’t be Diana when she was there.

During the summer I would go up to the cottage when they had to come back to town for doctor visits. While I was at the cottage, I was Diana. There were a few close calls when a neighbor can up to the door and knocked or when I was down by the dock in my bathing suit reading and a neighbor came out and sat in his dock reading, I was stuck there until he left.

Back in the eighties, we had a neighbor who lived there year round and they had a delinquent teenage son, who one time broke in to the cottage and stole all the alcohol. But he did something much worst. I was up there as Diana lying on the couch read one night and I heard voices and giggling outside the dining room window. I got up and walked into the other room and turned on the outside spotlight, I saw three boys running away and one of them was the neighbor kid. I cried all night curled up in a ball, I left the next day and I cried on the way home. I couldn’t tell anyone, I couldn’t call the police and tell them about the peeping toms for fear of being victimized by the police, I couldn’t tell my parents because I wasn’t out to them. I kept it bottled up inside. At the family Christmas party that year I was talking to my cousin who had a boyfriend whose parents had a cottage up on our lake and she said that he told her that there was a crossdresser up at the lake, I froze and couldn’t say anything (when I finally came out to the family before I transitioned, I found out that she didn’t know it was me.).

Fast forward to a couple of years ago we were working on the cottage spreading stone around the foundation, the stepfather came over and was talking to my brother. He said that his stepson has a back hoe and he could help us spread the stone. When he left to call his stepson, I freaked out, I don’t remember much after that, I think I told my brother about the peeping tom, but I’m not sure, it was all a blur. I packed my bags and left before he got there to help out. Later, when I told my brother about the whole incident, I don’t think it really sunk in about how strongly I felt that I was violated that night.

I debated with myself and talked a friend about posting this entry, but I think that it serves a purpose in educating people about how trans-people are victimized not only be others but also by society. How many crimes against the community go unreported for fear of not only “Outing” ourselves but also fear of being revictimized by the police or others in authority (EMTs, doctors, nurses, etc.).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This And That In the News – Life Behind Bars

"This And That In The News" is about articles in the news that have caught my eye and I want to comment about. There are three articles about trans-persons in jails that caught my attention today.
Transgender Woman Forced Into Men's Prison After Alleged Assault
By Diane Anderson-Minshall
August 22, 2011

A transgender woman in Philadelphia who has been spent the last 14 months incarcerated at Riverside Correctional Facility, the city's only prison for women, is now being moved to the men’s prison after she complained that a correction’s officer forced her to perform oral sex.

Prison officials apparently did not know that Jovanie Saldana, 23, is transgender. But, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, while examining her allegations of assault, investigators recorded Saldana's phone conversations and overheard the inmate's mother chiding Saldana into telling authorities the truth about her gender. After that, Saldana — who has been living and dressing as a female since she was 12 years old — was transferred to a men’s prison.
Saldana was charged with several felonies June 11, 2010, including armed robbery. Prison officials say Saldana, who has not had sex-reassignment surgery, should have undergone a cavity search during the initial intake into the prison system and after each subsequent outing for court appearances.

Astonishingly, Lorenzo North, president of the union representing corrections officers, claimed the goof proved that the officer whom Saldana accused of sexual abuse is innocent.
Now tell me that the corrections officers did not know that she was trans after all those months. For whatever reason the guards kept their mouths shut and didn’t say anything about her being trans until she complained about being rape. Then they put her in a men’s prison where the chances of being raped has increased exponentially or she will be put in solitary confinement to punish her for being trans.

The next article is also from the Advocate…
Abused Transgender Teen Reaches Settlement in Philadelphia
By Diane Anderson-Minshall
August 19, 2011

Lambda Legal announced the resolution of a discrimination complaint on behalf of L.P., a now-18-year-old transgender woman who was physically attacked by other residents and verbally abused by staff at Philadelphia’s Youth Study Center every day for almost a year and a half when she lived in the facility. The complaint was processed by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations against the city of Philadelphia Department of Human Services and the Youth Study Center, among others.
The allegations of the complaint were stunning. According to Lambda Legal, a Family Court judge ordered the Department of Human Services in February 2008 to provide L.P. with all appropriate medical treatment for gender identity disorder, including hormone therapy, and mandated that her female gender identity be respected. However, Youth Study Center staff and administrators failed to treat the girl in accordance with her female identity. They refused to refer to her by her preferred female name or use female pronouns. Staff also refused her access to clothing and grooming options that matched her gender identity and reprimanded her for acting in a feminine manner. When she asked to be referred to by her preferred female name, a staffer told her, “You ain’t no fucking female, you are a dude. ... Till you get your dick cut off, I’m not going to call you [by your female name].”
These are the people who are sworn to serve and protect us and they totally disobey the orders of a judge and violate the Human Rights of the inmates. I think they should get more than a slap on the hand and retraining, it should be a criminal offense and they should serve time for what they did to that woman.

Lastly, sometimes the law does come out in our favor but it takes a long time for it to happen.
Judge apologizes to inmate seeking sex-change
Associated Press
August 18, 2011

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday apologized to a transgender inmate who has waited years for a ruling on whether she can get a taxpayer-funded sex-change operation.

Michelle Kosilek, a convicted murderer, first sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction 11 years ago. Two years later, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that Kosilek was entitled to treatment for gender-identity disorder, but stopped short of ordering surgery to complete Kosilek's transformation into a woman.
Since 2006, Wolf has heard hundreds of hours of testimony from medical experts and others, but has not issued his ruling.

On Thursday, as Kosilek's lawyers made additional arguments citing recent rulings in other transgender cases, Wolf apologized for taking so long.

"I deeply regret that my decision in this case has not yet been issued," he said.
Wolf asked both sides to submit additional arguments in writing by Sept. 16. He tentatively scheduled another hearing for Oct. 11.
Isn’t that great, he is going to hold another hearing after holding hearings for 11 years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Up At The Lake…

I have been up at the lake for the last couple of days with a group of friends, this year there were nine of us there for the weekend and we had great weather. Late Sunday afternoon we had a thunder storm that blew through, but other than that it was in the low eighties during the day and at night it dropped into the low fifties.

I took one of my friends waterskiing and another friend tubing. We did a lot of floating around on inner tubes and soaking up the sun laying on the deck, there were a number of raccoon eyes at night (from the sunglasses).

On Saturday the lake association had their 8th Annual Regatta and we watched it from the deck. They had a sailboat race and a kayak/canoe race…

But the high point of the weekend was a trumpet solo by Frank Fezishin, “You are cordially invited to join us on the evening of Saturday, August 20, to hear the magic of music echoing across the pond and through the mountains.” The echo and the canopy of stars overhead were magical. We just laid out on the dock looking up at the stars and listening to the music, my favorite was when he played “Born Free” and a loon cried out in the distance.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. It's fun to _daydream_.

2. _Peach cobbler_ is easy to make.

3. I like to be _fabulously rich_.

4. _But_ I will never know!

5. Something I'm very much excited about _is presenting workshops at conferences_.

6. _Having a chocolate milk shake_ was well worth it.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _being with friends up at the cottage this weekend_, tomorrow my plans include _floating around the lake and dashing inside when the afternoon thunder storms come_ and Sunday, I want to _saying goodbye to everyone and relaxing_!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Transgender Love: When Husband Becomes Wife
ABC News
Aug. 15, 2011

When Diane Daniel met her husband Wessel, she was attracted to his smile, quiet humor and gentleness -- "and of course his Dutch accent." Though it shocked her, she dismissed the occasional cross-dressing as they dated and lived together as just part of his nerdy nonconformity.

But two months into their marriage in 2004, her husband revealed at dinner that he wanted to live as a woman, and the couple embarked on a long wrenching jouney to stay together.

Wessel is now Lina, and at 47, she has transitioned publicly from male to female.
"I detached emotionally and physically," she writes. "I cried every day. I wondered what else he hadn't told me. I feared something was wrong with me to attract this kind of mate. I was angry and ashamed."
I know many wives who felt the same way and I can't really blame them for the way that they feel. But at the same time I understand why their husband never told them, I know so many trans-people who fought it all their lives and finally they had no other choice except to transition.
Helen Boyd, author of the 2003 book, "My Husband Betty," had a similar experience to Diane.

When her theatrical husband went from dabbling in drag to asking to wear an ordinary denim skirt, she thought, "This isn't fun anymore."

"I was shellshocked. I took a bath and just cried," said Boyd. "I knew that I would lose my male husband."

Boyd stayed with Betty, whom she had married as a man, "because I love her," and the couple just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.

"She is still as charming and still the person who can make me laugh when I don't want to laugh about anything," said Boyd. "We still share the same world view and she knows me better than any other human being."
"I would not wish transition on anybody," she said. "All major life changes are difficult, but the lack of understanding is triple -- dealing with all the prejudice and bias, and even the sensationalism and prurient interest
I have known "Helen and Betty" for about six years now, we first met up in Provincetown at Fantasia Fair, a conference to trans-people. Our pathes have crossed from time to time and I have seen their love in their eyes. At the same time I have witnessed how the strain has affected their marriage. I have seen other marriages come apart when one partner transitions. At a support group meeting one time, a wife cried "I just want my husband back!" As Helen said,"I would not wish transition on anybody,"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This And That In The News – Tea Party

This And That In The News – Tea Party

"This And That In The News" is about articles in the news that have caught my eye and I want to comment about. There are three articles that caught my attention today. Today it was two articles about the Tea Party,
Tea Partiers Care More About Godlier Government Than Smaller Government
New York Magazine
By: Dan Amira

In 2006, long before costume shops first began selling tri-corner hats to early adopters of the tea party movement, professors David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam "interviewed a representative sample of 3,000 Americans" about their "political attitudes." By re-interviewing many of the same people this summer, they were able to determine what type of person eventually became a tea partier. Some of what they found is about as shocking as an episode of Full House: Current tea-party supporters were likely to have been "highly partisan Republicans," and "even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president."[…]
Shocking? No, really if you read the CBS/New York Times poll back in April of 2010…
18% of Americans identify as Tea Party supporters of those…
  • 89% are White
  • 58% live in the Midwest or the South
  • 75% are 45 years old or older
  • 73% are Conservatives
  • 39% are Evangelicals
  • 76% make over $50,000
  • 54% are Republicans
  • 63% say they get the majority of their political and current events news on television from the Fox News Channel
  • 84% say the views of the Tea Party movement reflect the views of most Americans (However, Americans overall disagree: Just 25 percent say the Tea Party movement reflects their beliefs, while 36 percent say it does not)
  • 30% say they believe Mr. Obama was born in another country
  • 92% say that President Obama's policies are moving the country toward socialism (Compared to 52% of American)
  • 93% say the economy as at least somewhat bad, and 42% say it is getting worse.
  • 82% say they see illegal immigration as a serious problem
  • 66% say they doubt the impact of global warming
  • 40% say they oppose same-sex marriage and civil unions
The New York Magazine article had a link to another article in the New York Times
Crashing the Tea Party
New York Times
Published: August 16, 2011

GIVEN how much sway the Tea Party has among Republicans in Congress and those seeking the Republican presidential nomination, one might think the Tea Party is redefining mainstream American politics.

But in fact the Tea Party is increasingly swimming against the tide of public opinion: among most Americans, even before the furor over the debt limit, its brand was becoming toxic. To embrace the Tea Party carries great political risk for Republicans, but perhaps not for the reason you might think.
Of course, politicians of all stripes are not faring well among the public these days. But in data we have recently collected, the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.
More important, they [Tea Partiers] were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

This inclination among the Tea Party faithful to mix religion and politics explains their support for Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Their appeal to Tea Partiers lies less in what they say about the budget or taxes, and more in their overt use of religious language and imagery, including Mrs. Bachmann’s lengthy prayers at campaign stops and Mr. Perry’s prayer rally in Houston.
Do you remember the first bill the Republicans introduced this year in the House? It was an anti-abortion bill that attempted to redefine rape to only allow forcible rape to be defined as rape. Beside blocking the debit limit increase, the majority of bills introduced by the House Republicans dealt with social issues, abortion, same sex marriage, to cut Planned Parenthood from the Federal Budget, cuts to Head Start and WIC, and cuts to Meals on Wheels. But nothing to create jobs.

All the leading Republican candidates have signed a marriage pledge to “defend” marriage, included in that pledge is a promise to set up a McCarthyism type presidential commission to “…investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters,” and to have a litmus test for federal judges, “Appoint judges and an attorney general who will respect the original meaning of the Constitution”. Hmm, the last time I looked, there was nothing in the Constitution about marriage, only an amendment that required the government to treat everyone equally.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Goodbye Compassionate Conservative

Way back when I was in college (last year) for one of my classes we had to read Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, the book is about a woman who for a year went undercover and worked minimum wage jobs. The book became a New York Times bestseller. Ms. Ehrenreich this past weekend wrote an article in the Huffington Post,
On Turning Poverty into an American Crime
Huffington Post
By Barbara Ehrenreich
April 14, 2011

I completed the manuscript for Nickel and Dimed in a time of seemingly boundless prosperity. Technology innovators and venture capitalists were acquiring sudden fortunes, buying up McMansions like the ones I had cleaned in Maine and much larger. Even secretaries in some hi-tech firms were striking it rich with their stock options. There was loose talk about a permanent conquest of the business cycle, and a sassy new spirit infecting American capitalism. In San Francisco, a billboard for an e-trading firm proclaimed, “Make love not war,” and then -- down at the bottom -- “Screw it, just make money.”
The big question, 10 years later, is whether things have improved or worsened for those in the bottom third of the income distribution, the people who clean hotel rooms, work in warehouses, wash dishes in restaurants, care for the very young and very old, and keep the shelves stocked in our stores. The short answer is that things have gotten much worse, especially since the economic downturn that began in 2008.
Media attention has focused, understandably enough, on the “nouveau poor” -- formerly middle and even upper-middle class people who lost their jobs, their homes, and/or their investments in the financial crisis of 2008 and the economic downturn that followed it, but the brunt of the recession has been borne by the blue-collar working class, which had already been sliding downwards since de-industrialization began in the 1980s.
How have the already-poor attempted to cope with their worsening economic situation? One obvious way is to cut back on health care. The New York Times reported in 2009 that one-third of Americans could no longer afford to comply with their prescriptions and that there had been a sizable drop in the use of medical care. Others, including members of my extended family, have given up their health insurance.
This is happening while the Republicans and the Tea Partiers are cutting Medicaid and healthcare. In a city in Florida this weekend they had free dental care and over 2000 people lined up and many had to be turned away.
Food is another expenditure that has proved vulnerable to hard times, with the rural poor turning increasingly to “food auctions,” which offer items that may be past their sell-by dates. And for those who like their meat fresh, there’s the option of urban hunting. In Racine, Wisconsin, a 51-year-old laid-off mechanic told me he was supplementing his diet by “shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them stewed, baked, and grilled.” In Detroit, where the wildlife population has mounted as the human population ebbs, a retired truck driver was doing a brisk business in raccoon carcasses, which he recommends marinating with vinegar and spices.

The most common coping strategy, though, is simply to increase the number of paying people per square foot of dwelling space -- by doubling up or renting to couch-surfers.
Does this sound like America or some third world country?
We do of course have a collective way of ameliorating the hardships of individuals and families -- a government safety net that is meant to save the poor from spiraling down all the way to destitution. But its response to the economic emergency of the last few years has been spotty at best. The food stamp program has responded to the crisis fairly well, to the point where it now reaches about 37 million people, up about 30% from pre-recession levels. But welfare -- the traditional last resort for the down-and-out until it was “reformed” in 1996 -- only expanded by about 6% in the first two years of the recession.
Take the case of Kristen and Joe Parente, Delaware residents who had always imagined that people turned to the government for help only if “they didn’t want to work.” Their troubles began well before the recession, when Joe, a fourth-generation pipe-fitter, sustained a back injury that left him unfit for even light lifting. He fell into a profound depression for several months, then rallied to ace a state-sponsored retraining course in computer repairs -- only to find that those skills are no longer in demand. The obvious fallback was disability benefits, but -- catch-22 -- when Joe applied he was told he could not qualify without presenting a recent MRI scan. This would cost $800 to $900, which the Parentes do not have; nor has Joe, unlike the rest of the family, been able to qualify for Medicaid.
So the Parentes turned to what remains of welfare -- TANF, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. TANF does not offer straightforward cash support like Aid to Families with Dependent Children, which it replaced in 1996. It’s an income supplementation program for working parents, and it was based on the sunny assumption that there would always be plenty of jobs for those enterprising enough to get them.
Last week I wrote about the requirements to get assistance which has many hoops that a person has to jump through that causes many needy people not to qualify for assistance, especially hard now in this depression when many are running out of unemployment insurance.
So what is the solution to the poverty of so many of America’s working people? Ten years ago, when Nickel and Dimed first came out, I often responded with the standard liberal wish list -- a higher minimum wage, universal health care, affordable housing, good schools, reliable public transportation, and all the other things we, uniquely among the developed nations, have neglected to do.

Today, the answer seems both more modest and more challenging: if we want to reduce poverty, we have to stop doing the things that make people poor and keep them that way. Stop underpaying people for the jobs they do. Stop treating working people as potential criminals and let them have the right to organize for better wages and working conditions.
With the campaign rhetoric beginning already we need to ask the candidates why they want to cut the safety net for the most needy and at the same time defending the tax cuts for the billionaires and millionaires, and why they want to keep the tax loopholes for the luxury jets and yachts.

There was a good show on Dateline NBC on Sunday about Millen Georgia, “The Town That Jobs Forgot”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The “Safety Net” is there for all of us, unless you are a millionaire, we all could be only months away from needing public assistance… SNAP, TANF, SSI we never know when we will need them. All it takes is a slip on an icy sidewalk, a pink slip, being fired because you are transgender, we never know what tomorrow will bring.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It is all About Jobs

I have wrote about how during the elections the Republicans campaigned on "It is all jobs" and it will concentrate on getting America back to work. But since they have controlled the House, they have not introduced one job bill. Watch what Rachel Maddow had to say about an idea that Rep. Bachmann had about how to use the federal stimulus money. It is worth watching...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What Do You Think?

For transgender children there are two diametric opposed treatment, one is to allow the child to explore his or her own gender and the other is to force the child back into their birth gender. This article is about a child’s journey into their gender identity.
When boys would rather not be boys

Kids are being diagnosed—and identifying themselves—as transgendered younger than ever before
by Roberta Staley
August 12, 2011

Cormac O’Dwyer entered Grade 8 in Vancouver as a girl named Amber. All traces of femininity stopped with the name; Amber looked, dressed and acted like a boy. “It was awkward,” admits Cormac, sleeves rolled up to reveal downy, muscular arms, elbows resting on the kitchen table in the family’s immaculate home in upscale Kitsilano. From the other end of the table, Cormac’s mother, Julia, pipes up. “People would use the male pronoun,” she recalls. Usually Julia felt obliged to correct the error, leaving new acquaintances flustered and confused.

But solecisms were the least of Cormac’s worries during the transition from female to male. Becoming a boy involved wearing a breast-flattening binder, changing for phys. ed. in the teachers’ change room, declining invitations to go swimming, and carrying a cellphone to call for help in case of bullying. And then there was the therapy: testosterone injections, counselling and surgery that removed his breasts and contoured what remained into the flat, square planes of a male chest.
Treatment of GID [Gender Identity Disorder] is highly controversial. Some experts believe that the best way to help children and teens is to convince them to accept their bodies and not undergo the therapies that will cause dramatic physical changes. …Metzger [Cormac’s pediatric endocrinologist] believes that the best course of treatment for teenagers diagnosed with GID is hormone therapy: either blockers to stop puberty or, if post-pubescent, hormones that physically alter the body in a way that reflects their chosen gender. For some teens like Cormac, who are confident, psychologically stable and have family support, this transformation can be complemented further with cosmetic surgery.
There in lives the riff, to force the child into a box or to allow them the freedom and safety to explore their true gender. Some may find out that they are transgender, others might find out that they are gay and other might find out that they were neither.
Without treatment, Metzger argues, the path to adulthood for GID teens can be torturous, as evidenced by shockingly high suicide rates: 45 per cent for those aged 18-44, in comparison to the national average of 1.6 per cent, according to the U.S. 2010 National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care. Cormac carefully considers what life would be like today if he were still Amber. He pauses for a few seconds then gravely announces, “I think that would push me to be suicidal.” He is much more calm now, he says, free from his obsession with wanting to be a boy. “Before I transitioned I thought about it a lot, like, every minute. Now, I feel like I have so much extra brain space,” says Cormac, who is an honour roll student.
While Cormac has found inner peace, the professional therapists are arguing over what is the “best practice” for transgender clients.
Transgender experts like Harvard Medical School professor and endocrinologist Dr. Norman Spack, co-director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s clinic for disorders of sexual differentiation, speaks highly of the B.C. Transgender Care Group. In fact, Spack deems the B.C. program one of the more progressive in the world. While progressive, the B.C. Transgender Care Group is not radical. The group’s psychology or psychiatry transgender specialists will ensure that an adolescent who is diagnosed with GID is mentally healthy before referring them to Metzger for hormonal therapy. If a child has GID in combination with depression or anorexia—which can occur in youngsters trying to cope with the stress of GID—then the hormonal cocktail that transforms their sexual development is delayed…

Some specialists question whether such a metamorphosis is appropriate for young patients. Psychologist Kenneth Zucker, who heads Toronto’s Gender Identity Service in the Child, Youth, and Family Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, leans toward counselling to get his patients—especially the younger ones—to accept their birth sex. He worries that the Internet, which has opened up a world of information for children and teens confused about sexual orientation, may be making “transgenderism fashionable: it’s kind of cool to be transgender, as opposed to being gay or lesbian,” says Zucker, who sees at least 50 new GID cases a year, a “quadrupling compared to 30 years ago.” To illustrate his point, Zucker describes one 15-year-old female patient as a “tomboy” who is attracted to other girls—but interprets the attraction as transgenderism. Such “internalized homophobia” can emerge in homes or cultures that oppose homosexuality, Zucker says. The teen thinks, “It would be easier if I were a boy attracted to girls, because then I wouldn’t be teased for being a lesbian.”
“Transgenderism fashionable”, yeah right! It is fashionable because being transgender is finally being recognized that it is natural, that it is no longer being hidden in the closet. Also, how narrow minded of Dr. Zucker to believe that a person only wants to transition because they can’t face being homosexual. He totally ignores all trans-people who love a person of the opposite gender of their birth gender. Ask yourself this, which is better for the child, to be treated as there is nothing wrong with their feelings or to be treated as it is totally wrong with what they are feeling.
Nonetheless, the mental health experts with the B.C. Transgender Care Group are cautious when it comes to approving the irreversible, final step of GID treatment: sex-reassignment surgery. Cormac O’Dwyer’s surgery was one of only about five that have been approved for adolescents by B.C.’s Medical Services Plan (MSP) in the past 20 years, says Dr. Gail Knudson, one of the group’s psychiatrists…
In Toronto, Kenneth Zucker treats children as young as five who exhibit early signs of GID. These include, he says, unconventional play behaviour: a little boy might prefer dolls instead of Bionicles and tiaras instead of hockey helmets. Such cross-gender play should be discouraged, says Zucker, or it might become permanent in adolescence. “They just have an easier life—they don’t have to go on lifelong therapy or have these incredibly invasive surgeries,” he reasons. About 80 per cent of his preadolescent patients outgrow their cross-gender behaviour by puberty, he claims, which supports the rationale for a highly conservative approach to therapy.
OK, Dr. Metzger clinic found “one of only about five that have been approved” that equals 20% go on to surgery and Dr. Zucker says that 20% of his patients go on to surgery… so what do you think is better for the child? Being forced into a gender role that creates harmful stress or being able to choose your own true gender. As Cormac said about not being able to transition, “I think that would push me to be suicidal.” What I would like to see is a long term study of the effects of Dr. Zucker’s Reparative Therapy and letting the child explore their gender, how does it affect their quality of life.

The American Psychological Association (APA) is in the process of changing their guide for therapists called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) and one of the changes that they are looking into is changing the Gender Identity Disorder diagnostic criteria or remove it all together. However, one of the major obstructions to reform is the fact that the chair of the committee is Dr. Zucker who does not want the criteria to change. You can read more about the DSM reform movement here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday 9: My Best Friend's Girl

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: My Best Friend's Girl

1. Have you and a friend ever have an argument because you were attracted to the same person?

2. Who never returns your phone calls?
A professional associate.

3. What was your favorite childhood toy?
Are you kidding? That was over 50 years ago, you expect me to remember way back then.

4. Who is the last person you greeted at your door?
A religious zealot.

5. Would you change anything about your life right now?
Yes, I would be 30 years younger

6. Who is the easiest person for you to talk to?
Oh, good question. I wish that I could pick just one, but there are so many to choose from.

7. If you could live in any ancient city during the height of the quality of its society and culture, which one would you choose?
Paris in the 1890s, the gay nineties, the height of the Impressionist. Can you imagine being with Claude Monet, Antoine Blanchard, Mary Cassatt and all the other impressionists.

8. What is the most exciting event you’ve ever witnessed?
Last June when the Connecticut Senate vote on the Anti-Discrimination bill.

9. What do you consider the ideal age to have a first child?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. The only question is _how far will the stock market drop_.

2. _I lost 1/4 of my IRA’s_ in one day.

3. Three things on my desk: _bills, bills and bills_.

4. _Visit my doctor_ is the one thing I HAVE to do today!

5. I love playing with _the slot machines at Foxwoods_.

6. _The smell of mowed grass_ overwhelms the senses.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _doing nothing_, tomorrow my plans include _going to a picnic_ and Sunday, I want to _finish the book I’m reading_!

My Story Part 87 – The Down Side Of Being An Activist

This past spring a scary thing happen to me, a journalist student found my home telephone number. Nowhere do I list my home phone number, I always use my cell phone number if I have to give out my phone number and my business cards only have my cell phone number. I don’t list any personal information on Facebook, no phone numbers, no city, no street address, just my Yahoo email address.

However, when you are an activist, you give interviews, you testify, your bio get posted for speaking engagements… you become public. All those bit and pieces can lead a person to your front door. I joke about “Google sees all, Google knows all.” But it is true, it does. Even writing this puts me at risk, by putting the pieces of the puzzle together you can find me.

The internet has shrunk the world back down to a village where everyone can know what everyone else is doing. It has made the world a backyard fence to gossip over. I wish I knew this when I started to become active, I would have been more cognizant of what information that I gave out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Question That Is Always Asked

When I do an “Outreach” at a college there are several questions that are always asked and one of them is “Are you gay?” I always reply how do define “Gay” and they always come back with “Do you like men?” To that I reply that would make me straight. For a trans-person straight or homosexual takes on a whole other meaning. We see this in this article,
Does dating a Transgender woman make a guy gay?
The Canadian
Date: 08 August 2011
By: by Gregory Martin

The short answer is NO. Let me personally make clear the reason why males who date transsexuals aren't gay. Firstly, it must be known that every man has their very own likes and dislikes in terms of sexuality and emotional companionship. Many "straight" men are not as straight as they say they're, but that doesn't necessarily make them gay or bisexual. Simply due to the fact society likes to label people with straight, gay or bisexual doesn't mean everyone suits those categories. In the Transgender Dating world those terms don't always match up to reality.

Additonally, transgenderism has nothing related to sexual orientation.
In conclusion I applaud those men who're not afraid to say they would rather date transsexuals and do not be worried about what society will think. But please be aware how the greatest sacrifice is made by those people who are transgendered [note: most people, at least here in the US, think that it is wrong to add an “ed” to transgender] and have to struggle with the constant abuse which society and ignorant males prey upon them .
While I agree with most of he says, he is only looking at from one perspective, a man who dates a trans-woman. However, there are those trans-women who like to date women and the same is true for trans-men, some like to date women and others like to date men. There are some men who only like to date pre-op trans-women who can pass [not be identified as transgender by other people] and once they have the operation, they want nothing to do with her and drop her. I think because they are in denial that they are homosexual. The men who only like to date pre-op trans-women who can pass in the trans-community we have a name for them, “Tranny Chasers” and some of them do so because no one will think that they are gay. This can lead to violence against the trans-woman if the friends of the man find out that he is dating a trans-woman. This is what happened with Angie Zapata when her boyfriend friends found out he was dating a trans-woman, he beat her to death.

It can also be hard on married couples, many of them end up in a divorce but not all of them and for the ones who stay together they face their own unique problems.
Goodbye husband, hello wife
He had come to the realization he was a woman with clarity and joy. I reacted with confusion and despair.
Boston Globe
August 09, 2011
By Diane Daniel

I am not a transgendered person, but I am happily married to one. Her name is Lina and she is a “male-to-female’’ transsexual. She is 47, and I am 53.
After that, we dated, fell in love, lived together, and married.

The things I loved about Wessel are what I love about Lina, and, yes, in a romantic way. She is big-hearted, intelligent, emotionally mature, athletic, and adventurous. She has great legs.

We had been together for almost two years, but married for only two months, when Wessel shared his news. He wanted to be my wife, not my husband.

He had come to this realization with a sense of clarity and joy. I reacted with confusion and despair.
I detached emotionally and physically. I cried every day. I wondered what else he hadn’t told me. I feared something was wrong with me to attract this kind of mate. I was angry and ashamed.
“What I fear the most,’’ he said one day, his shoulders shaking with each sob, “is that you’ll see me as a monster or some kind of a freak. That everyone will, but mostly you.’’
That is what kept me in the closet for over 50 years. I worried what my family would think and I wondered if I would accept me.
Overall, our “gender journey’’ has been smooth. The love and support we have felt from nearly everyone in our lives, from Lina’s family to Huck the handyman, have carried us through this
I believe it was our willingness to be open, vulnerable, and honest that allowed people to see us as real people going through something rare but nonetheless part of the human experience. None of this is to say there are not challenges. For my part, I am now perceived as a lesbian, which doesn’t offend me, but it sure is different. (I did have a relationship with a woman in my early 20s, but I consider myself straight.) I’m partnered with a 6-foot-1-inch woman with size 12 feet and a male voice that she’s working on feminizing. On some days, her face looks more like a husband’s than a wife’s. I would rather it didn’t.
It is hard for any couple to stay together, but it is infinitely harder for a couple where one partner is transgender. I am friends with a couple where the husband transitioned and the wife said that it was hard to be seen as a lesbian couple. The little things that they did like holding hands became a challenge, she could hear people comments about them as they walked down the street holding hands, it was hard on her, but they stuck together. Another couple that I know started off as a lesbian couple and one of them transitioned and all of a sudden they were identified as a straight couple. When they walked in to a lesbian bar, she could hear them say, what are they doing in here? Many of her friends shunned them, it was hard for her to adjust to their new reality (I have learned that after 5 years of marriage, they have gotten a divorce. I don’t know the reason and I don’t know if his transness was a factor).
When a trans-person is looking for a life partner there are so few people who are willing to date a trans-person, that it is a great challenge.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

This And That In The News

"This And That In The News" is about articles in the news that have caught my eye and I want to comment about. There are three articles that caught my attention today. The first is about the beating of a trans-woman a couple of months ago just outside of Baltimore. One of the perpetrators just pleaded guilty.
Teen pleads guilty to beating transgender woman at Rosedale McDonald's
Prosecutors to seek 10-year sentence, with 5 years suspended, in case that drew national notoriety
The Baltimore Sun
By Andrea F. Siegel
August 04, 2011

A teenager pleaded guilty Thursday in the beating of a transgender woman at a Rosedale McDonald's, an incident that was caught on video and drew national attention after it went viral online.

Teonna Monae Brown, 19, pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to one count of first-degree assault and one hate crime count in the April attack on Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, which became a rallying point for transgender-rights advocates across the state and nationwide.

Prosecutors will seek a prison sentence for Brown of 10 years with five years suspended, said Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger. The combined maximum sentence for the crimes is 35 years.

A 14-year-old girl who was charged as a juvenile in the same attack admitted her responsibility to identical counts July 1 in juvenile court and was committed to a juvenile facility, Shellenberger said.
"Asking for five years is a good sentence where the person has no prior convictions, and we are very pleased that this case has now been resolved," Shellenberger said. He said it was important to Polis that Brown admit guilt.
I would have like to see her get the 35 years, but at least she pleaded guilty and the victim doesn’t have to testify and be re-victimized.

The next article is about a possible serial attacker who is preying on trans-women in the Washington DC area…
D.C. police probe whether 2 attacks on transgender people were motivated by hate
The Washington Post
By June Q. Wu
August 5, 2011

D.C. police are investigating whether two recent attacks on transgender people within a block of each other in Northeast Washington were motivated by hate, police said Tuesday.

The attacks — the first of which was fatal — are not yet classified as hate crimes, but police said they are trying to determine whether the sexual identities of the victims played a role.

“I’m very disturbed to learn that a second transgender victim in as many weeks has been targeted with gun violence on a stretch of Dix Street NE,” D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said. “In the wake of the first incident, I expressed concern about the possibility of it being a hate crime. This second incident increases that concern.”
Police said Tuesday that the attack may be linked to the June 20 death of a 23-year-old transgender person in the same area.
Now there’s an understatement “I expressed concern about the possibility of it being a hate crime.” Two trans women shot in two weeks with the same MO.

In the last article, threats were made Facebook by a LGBT activists against a feminist who submitted an anti-transgender paper to the United Nationals Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
Threat linked to treasurer of Fairness PAC
Group condemns violent posting
Courier Journal
By Peter Smith
August 8, 2011

The posting appeared Sunday on the Facebook page of Anthony Casebeer of Louisville, treasurer of the Fairness Campaign's Committee for Fairness and Individual Rights, in reaction to a paper submitted to the United Nations and co-authored by lesbian activist Cathy Brennan of Maryland. Brennan's paper opposed the extension of transgender rights that it argued could curtail the rights of women.

The posting on Casebeer's page stated of Brennan: a “nice home run swing to the head with a 38-oz. Louisville Slugger is more in order.”

It went on to say that if the poster “ever saw her in my windshield, I'll be wiping blood off my white Buick. But I won't be using the brakes.”

Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, said the organization and its PAC “condemn Mr. Casebeer's statements” but was also trying to confirm that Casebeer was the author.
I know it is sometimes hard to read the hateful language that our opposition writes about us. However, we should never stoop down to their level; we should always take the high ground. Let us counter their hateful speech with logic and reason, we should never condone hate speech no matter where it comes from.

Update: 8/10/11 7:55AM
Courier Journal
The political action committee of the Fairness Campaign accepted the resignation of its treasurer Tuesday after a Facebook post linked to his account in which he used violent, threatening language against a lesbian activist.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Just When You Need It The Most

Tea Party congressman Paul Ryan (R) who is chair of the House Budget Committee has proposed a 20% cut in SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), formally known as Food Stamps. If his cuts were passed it would have forced tens of thousands off of SNAP.
The struggle to eat
As Congress wrangles over spending cuts, surging numbers of Americans are relying on the government just to put food on the table
The Economist
Jul 14th 2011

Take food stamps, a programme designed to ensure that poor Americans have enough to eat, which is seen by many Republicans as unsustainable and by many Democrats as untouchable. Participation has soared since the recession began (see chart). By April it had reached almost 45m, or one in seven Americans. The cost, naturally, has soared too, from $35 billion in 2008 to $65 billion last year. And the Department of Agriculture, which administers the scheme, reckons only two-thirds of those who are eligible have signed up.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives want to rein in the programme’s runaway growth. In their budget outline for next year they proposed cutting the amount of money to be spent on food stamps by roughly a fifth from 2015. Moreover, instead of being a federal entitlement, available to all Americans who meet the eligibility criteria irrespective of the cost, the programme would become a “block grant” to the states, which would receive a fixed amount to spend each year, irrespective of demand. The House has also voted to cut a separate health-and-nutrition scheme for poor pregnant women, infants and children, known as WIC, by 11%. (The Senate, controlled by the Democrats, is unlikely to approve either measure.)
One of the great fallacies is that somehow all these undeserving people or non-documented aliens are just live off the welfare system, so what are the requirements to be eligible,
Households may have $2,000 in countable resources, such as a bank account, or $3000 in countable resources if at least one person is age 60 or older, or is disabled. However, certain resources are NOT counted, such as a home and lot, the resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly AFDC), and most retirement (pension) plans.

Households have to meet income tests unless all members are receiving TANF, SSI, or in some places general assistance. Most households must meet both the gross and net income tests, but a household with an elderly person or a person who is receiving certain types of disability payments only has to meet the net income test. Households, except those noted, that have income over the amounts listed below cannot get SNAP benefits.
Household size = 1 Gross monthly income (130 percent of poverty) = $1,174 Net monthly income (100 percent of poverty) = $ 903. So if a person has a take home income of $903 or less a month then they are eligible for federal assistance.
The amount of benefits the household gets is called an allotment. The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment. This is because SNAP households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their resources on food.
So a single person would able to receive $200 in food assistance.
Employment Requirements
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) eliminated the time limit for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) during the period from April 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010, unless a State chooses to offer a qualifying work activity.

Generally ABAWDS between 18 and 50 who do not have any dependent children can get SNAP benefits only for 3 months in a 36-month period if they do not work or participate in a workfare or employment and training program other than job search. This requirement is waived in some locations.

With some exceptions, able-bodied adults between 16 and 60 must register for work, accept suitable employment, and take part in an employment and training program to which they are referred by the local office. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the Program.
So that means that they need to get a job or they are only eligible for “food stamps” for 3 months. In a single parent family, the parent needs to have a job to get food assistance.
Immigrant Eligibility Requirements
The 2002 Farm Bill restores SNAP eligibility to most legal immigrants that:
  • Have lived in the country for 5 years; or
  • Are receiving disability-related assistance or benefits, regardless of entry date; or
  • Starting 10-1-03, are children regardless of entry date.
Certain non-citizens such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons and those admitted for permanent residence are also eligible for the program. Eligible household members can get SNAP benefits even if there are other members of the household that are not eligible.
The welfare myth that the Tea Party and the Republicans disseminate is not true, non-documented aliens are not eligible for federal assistance and employable legal aliens can only receive assistance after they are here five years.

What about assistance for families, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), well the federal requirements are the same as for SNAP. In Connecticut the requirements are,
Jobs First Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) provides cash assistance to families. For families with an employable adult, there is a 21-month lifetime limit for the receipt of TFA. Families in which there is no employable adult have no limit to the duration of the benefits. Eligibility is based on income being lower than a set standard and assets being below limits. Earned income of recipients of TFA that are working are not counted until they are equal to the federal poverty level. They are thus allowed to keep all earnings up to the federal poverty level as well as the cash assistance benefit. Families are allowed to have up to $3,000 in a bank account, and life insurance policies and pension plans are excluded. The equity value of an automobile in excess of $9,500 counts towards the asset limit. The amount of assistance varies depending on which of three regions of the state they live in. The assistance for a family of three in the most populous region is $500 per month if in subsidized housing, $543 if not. Adults in the family are subject to digital imaging of their fingerprints to prevent receipt of duplicate assistance.

Families subject to the time limit may qualify for six-month extensions to the limit if they have good cause for being unemployed or underemployed (earning less than the TFA benefit) at the end of the 21-month period, or any extension.
Once again, there is an employment requirement and a time limit for state assistance, 21 months.

The Economist article goes on to say,
Stacy Dean of the Centre for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a think-tank, argues that the rapid growth of food stamps in recent years is a sign that they are working as intended, responding promptly to hard economic times. In contrast, she points out, block-grant programmes grow much more slowly when times are tough, since funding for them does not increase in line with demand. Food-stamp participation rose by 45% between December 2007 and December 2009, CBPP calculates, while the number of families receiving cash grants under TANF, a block-grant scheme, rose by just 13%.
As more and more unemployed workers unemployment insurance runs out and they need to turn to federal programs, the Tea Party and the Republicans are trying to gut the programs, while they defend the tax cuts to billionaires and millionaires. I guess the compassion has run out of Bush’s “Compassionate Conservatives”.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

It’s All About Jobs…

The New York Times and CBS came out with a poll this week…
Poll Shows Negative View of Tea Party on the Rise
New York Times
Published: August 5, 2011

The percentage of people with an unfavorable view of the Tea Party in a New York Times/CBS News Poll this week was higher than it has been since the first time the question was asked, in April 2010. Forty percent of those polled this week characterized their view as “not favorable,” compared with 18 percent in the first poll.
However, the Republican Party fared even worse, the poll found…
6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress have handled the negotiations on the debt ceiling?
Approve – 21%
Disapprove – 72%
DK/NA – 7%
The poll also asked about what people thought about Speaker of the House Boehner
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way John Boehner is handling his job as Speaker of the House of Representatives?
Approve – 30%
Disapprove – 57%
DK/NA – 13%
(The Democrats didn’t fare much better, their Approval/Disapproval rating was 28/66) The Times article reported on what  people thought about the debate in the House about the debit limit…
In the most recent poll, most Americans took a negative view of the debt-ceiling negotiations, seeing them as “mostly about gaining political advantage.” With Republicans in charge of the House, more of the blame fell on them. And many people — a 43 percent plurality — saw the Tea Party as having too much influence on Republicans.
Speaker Boehner was gloating over the fact that he won, that President Obama blinked first. That President Obama backed down from the tax hikes on the billionaires and millionaires and cutting tax loopholes. The New York Times and CBS poll asked,
12. Which do you think is better for the country? Should the Democrats and Republicans compromise some of their positions in order to get things done, or stick to their positions even if it means not getting as much done?
Compromise – 85%
Stick to positions – 12%
DK/NA – 3%
While House Speaker Boehner was gloating, Standard & Poor lowered the credit rating of the U.S. because of Congresses inability to work together and compromise. This is going to cost the country billions because of higher interest rates and result in the laying off of thousands of workers.
GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar to drop on S&P move, flows seen to safe havens
By Emelia Sithole-Matarise
Sun Aug 7, 2011

LONDON, Aug 7(Reuters) - The dollar may fall and Treasury yields rise on Monday in response to the United States losing its top-tier credit rating from Standard & Poor's but any selling is likely to be tempered by the euro zone's escalating debt crisis.

Equity markets' likely reaction was indicated by a drop of more than six percent on Sunday in Tel Aviv stocks, one of the first to open globally after S&P on Friday cut the U.S. long-term credit rating by a notch to AA-plus from AAA.

Investors will be all the more likely to withdraw to safe havens, such as the Swiss franc, the yen and gold, if euro zone officials cannot stem concern that their debt crisis risks engulfing Italy, the bloc's third largest economy, whose government bond yields have soared to 14-year highs.
So Mister Speaker, who won? Not the citizens of the United States, not the global economy. Neither the Republican Party nor the Tea Party, their approval rating plumbed because the American people saw it for what it was, political grandstanding. No one won Mr. Speaker… no one.

The Republicans and the Tea Party were elected to get us out of Bush’s depression, they have done everything else except create jobs. The have attacked women rights, they have attacked Planned Parenthood, they have attacked low income healthcare, and they have fought the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Now through their “Take No Prisoners” attitude on the budget, they have succeeded in lower the credit rating of the United States.
NYT-CBS News poll: Obama is doing okay. Congress? Not so much
Washington Post
By Jonathan Capehart
August 5, 2011

Ever since Obama walked through the doors of the Oval Office for the first time as president, he has been beset by one crisis after another that would sap his support or raise doubts about him and his leadership. There was the imploding economy in early 2009 and the actions taken to prevent another Depression; the politically debilitating health-care debate and the law that helped fuel the rise of the Tea Party and the loss of the House; the response to the gulf oil spill and the swine flu epidemic; the struggling economic recovery and frustration over the lack of jobs; the debt-ceiling fiasco; the delegitimizing birther nonsense that gained traction; and a Republican minority in the Senate and then a Republican majority in the House that see their sole purpose as thwarting anything that might be viewed as a success for the president, even if it might do right by the country.

Given all that, a 48 percent approval rating is damned impressive.