Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Story Part 121 – The Strongest People

Remember those "Life Stress Test" where you add up all the major changes in your life? Well how many of them are affected when you transition?

Death of spouse or child    
Marital Separation    
Detention in jail or other institution    
Death of a close family member (eg parent or sibling)    
Major personal injury or illness    
Being fired from work    
Marital reconcilitation    
Major change in health or behaviour of family member    
Pregnancy of spouse/partner    
Sexual difficulties    
Gaining a new family member (e.g. through birth, adoption etc)    
Major business readjustment (e.g. merger, reorganisation, etc)    
Major change in financial state (e.g. a lot worse off or a lot better off)    
Death of a close friend    
Changing to a different type of work    
Major change in the number of arguments with spouse (e.g. a lot more or less)    
Taking on a significant (to you) mortgage    
Foreclosure on a mortgage or loan    
Major change in responsibility at work (e.g. promotion, transfer, demotion)    
Son or daughter leaving home (marriage, college etc)    
In-law troubles    
Outstanding personal achievement    
Partner beginning or ceasing work outside of the home    
Beginning or ceasing formal schooling    
Major change in living conditions (e.g. new house, renovating)    
Revision of personal habits (dress, manners, association etc)    
Troubles with the boss    
Change in residence    
Changing to a new school    
Major change in usual type and/or amount of recreation    
Major change in church or spiritual activities (e.g. a lot more or less than usual)    
Major change in social activities (e.g. clubs, dancing, movies etc)    
Taking on a small loan (e.g. purchasing car, TV, freezer etc)    
Major change in sleeping habits (e.g. a lot more or less)    
Major change in number of family get-togethers (e.g. a lot more or less)    
Major change in eating habits (e.g. a lot more or less food intake)    
Holiday or vacation    
Minor violations of the law (e.g. traffic or parking infringement)

I think it becomes very obvious why we are under so much stress, I can check most of the boxes and if the person who is transitioning is married, it is almost a grand slam. My friend who is a therapist up in the northwest corner of the state said to me that he think we are the strongest people that he knows and it is because of our transition.

When I took the test, this is what it said for my results…
According to the Holmes & Rahe* statistical prediction model your score means a significant amount of life change and a significant susceptability (about 80% probability) to stress-related illness. However please keep in mind that there are many variables that interact on health including positive factors such as support from family, friends or work associates. If you are concerned about your stress levels then you should seek the assistance of a qualified counsellor or health practitioner.
And I have to agree. I have had stress related illnesses including panic attacks which stopped once I transitioned. What do they say, “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and I think it is true. It could also be one of the reasons why we as a community have such a high suicide rate.

I also have to say that "positive factors such as support from family, friends or work associates." is very important to our transition. In my transition I had the support of my extended family, my brother and his family as well as the support of my cousins. Without their help I do not know where I would be now.

People tell me that I am brave, but really they should say I’m strong. I am not brave because I don’t have a choice, it got to a point where I had to transition because I couldn’t keep being trans inside me anymore. The stress was becoming unbearable and I believe that the stresses lead to my heart condition and panic attacks. I had to transition. I am strong because I am a survivor, I didn’t take the easy way out.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A New Sport In Kuwait

On my morning search for news I came across this article…

Kuwait Mass Arrests For ‘Vice,’ ‘Immorality’

By Paul Canning
May 29, 2012

149 people, including at least four gay men and two transgender women, have been arrested in the latest raids on parties in Kuwait.
She said that since Islamists won a majority in Kuwait’s parliament, there had been a crackdown on a wide range of behavior and people, but that this has disproportionately affected LGBT people.
And what caught my attention was…
In January Human Rights Watch published “They Hunt Us Down for Fun,” an examination of discrimination and police violence against transgender women in Kuwait.
So I looked up the report and found the press release…

Kuwait: End Police Abuses Against Transgender Women

Law Against ‘Imitating the Opposite Sex’ Leads to Torture, Arbitrary Arrests
Human Rights Watch
January 15, 2012

(Kuwait City) – Kuwaiti police have tortured and sexually abused transgender women using a discriminatory law, passed in 2007, which arbitrarily criminalizes “imitating the opposite sex,” Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government of Kuwait should repeal the law, article 198 as amended in 2007, and hold police officers accountable for misconduct.
Police have free rein to determine whether a person’s appearance constitutes “imitating the opposite sex” without any specific criteria being laid down for the offense. Transgender women reported being arrested even when they were wearing male clothes and then later being forced by police to dress in women’s clothing, and the claim made that they arrested them in that attire. In some cases documented by Human Rights Watch, transgender women said police arrested them because they had a “soft voice” or “smooth skin.”
Despite an official recognition of gender identity disorder (GID) by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health as a legitimate medical condition, the law criminalizing “imitating the opposite sex” makes no exception for people who have been diagnosed with GID. The law leaves them at the mercy of officers in an unmonitored police force who transgender women said have refused to recognize, and sometimes have even torn up, medical reports and GID diagnoses that transgender women present to them upon arrest.
Sometimes we don't know how good we have it here in the U.S.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Some Memorial Day Thoughts

My father is the 2nd Lieutenant on the right
As the saying goes… freedom is not free.

My father joined the National Guards back in the thirties and then transferred to the Army Reserves shortly after that. His unit was the 242nd Coastal Artillery and he was stationed at the outbreak of WW II on Fisher’s Island protecting the sub base in New London and Long Island Sound from the Germany submarines. Later he was transferred down to Key West Florida to Fort Taylor for coastal defense.

After VE Day his unit was reorganized into an anti-aircraft battalion and he was stationed in New Guinea. Then later, because he was a civil engineer he was put in charge of rebuilding Manila’s water and sewer systems.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Six Episode #424

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Episode #424

1. What is your favorite holiday of the year?
The Forth of July, because of the fireworks. Up at the cottage it is still legal to shoot off the big stuff. You know New Hampshire, “Live Free or Die”… no seatbelt laws, no helmets laws, no hand free cellphone laws!

2. What is your least favorite holiday of the year?

3. Which holiday strikes you as the most somber?
Easter. All the holidays are “party time!”

4. Which holiday seems the most festive, even if it isn’t your favorite?
See above.

5. How likely are you to intentionally wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?
On a scale of 1 to 10, minus five. I’m Italian! And besides I don’t like holidays like Columbus Day, St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo.

6. Which holiday that isn’t currently on your workplace’s list of official company holidays would you most like to add?
Since I am retired I don’t have to worry about what days are holidays. But when I was working I didn’t like when they took the week between Christmas and New Year’s away. If you came in that week the shop was a ghost town, all the women on the shop floor took it off because the schools were out for the week.

Saturday 9: Self Esteem

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Self Esteem

1. How was your self-esteem growing up?
Down in the dumps

2. Do you ever have a hard time with morals?
Nope, my parents taught me well.

3. Do you eat in bed? If yes, what?
Nope, ever since I spilled a soda.  What a mess that was.

4. What was the last movie you hated and why?
Well hate is a strong word, it is more like dislike. Last night I was looking for a movie on Netflixs and from the description it sounded interesting. However, it was amateurish, it was a rip-off of that horror film that used a hand-held camera.

5. Have you ever felt that you lost it all? If yes, explain.
Yes and I will not explain.

6. Have you ever been stalked?
Nope. Well… maybe. I started getting nasty comments on my blog from one person down in Australia and I had to limit my comments to Google users.

7. Do you believe in 'self help' for problems, or do you prefer therapy?
Yes and no. Sometimes it is good to have an impartial person to talk to.

8. What celebrity do you think should make a run for office?
I have no idea. In general I don’t think being a celebrity qualifies a person for office. Here in Connecticut we have the former head of the wrestling network running for office. The only thing that qualifies her is her money. She spent $50 million of her own money running for office in 2008 and didn’t get elected and now I bet she will spend another $50 million. Somehow I don’t want a person who can spend $100 million dollars like pocket change as my senator.

9. Do you believe in happy endings? (We do. That why this is the last question!)
No. we all die sometime.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. These three words describe my significant other (or dog, cat, baby, grandchild, best friend!): _wishing_, _hoping_, _and praying that I find somebody to love_!
2. _The weather for this weekend_ is a delightful!
3. Oh, how I adore _the spring_.
4. _You will be amazed_ if one takes time to be friendly.
5. Inevitably, _someone will say something_.
6. _My brother_ is someone who never ceased to encourage me.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _watching the movie “The Pajama Game_, tomorrow my plans include _writing the CEU certificates for the conference_ and Sunday, I want to _be with my brother and sister-in-law at the cottage_!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Story Part 120 – Deer In The Headlights

There is a discussion going on the WPATH e-list about the value of what is called the Real Life Experience” or RLE. When I was transitioning and even occasionally now (like when I had to go into an auto parts store to buy a new headlight bulb), I had a hard time being out in public in certain locations. But I realized that I had to overcome my uneasiness if I was going to transition, unbeknownst to me I developed many copping skills and it wasn’t until I was researching for an independent studies class that I realized that on my own I had developed some basic copping skills.

One of the people commenting on the e-list discussion said, “It's one thing to appear as someone of the affirmed gender in specific situations where acceptance is highly likely, such as with close friends or at Pride events and such, and another thing entirely to appear as this new person every day in every situation, including those where acceptance is not guaranteed, or where the person may experience the down side of living in the affirmed gender, such as discrimination due to gender or loss of privilege.” And that is so true, without the RLE I would not have been able to develop those copping skills. I wouldn’t have been able to go to the grocery store to buy food or to the shoe story.

When I first went out in public I was scared s***less and it showed, I was read (identified as being transgender) all the time. One time at the support group’s banquet I was walking across the lobby and this truck driver read me and he started laughing so hard that he fell over. Another time when I got off the elevator and doors closed, I could hear that laughter fade away as the elevator went up.

That does happen now, except once in an extremely great while. Why? What is the difference between now and then?

I think the big difference is my confidence. I think people can see your nervousness and that in turn feeds on your fear. Once you gain confidence you start to notice that people pay less attention to you and it becomes a case of positive feedback. That in turn builds you confidence even more and I think that is one of the values of the RLE.

It is also a time to find out if transitioning is really for you; is it who you are inside or is it just a dream? Are you able to handle the stresses in transitioning or are they too much to bear. Will you have a support network or will you just be thrown out to see if you sink or swim?

In studies that looked at “Regret” associated with GCS (Gender Conforming Surgery) only around 1% had regrets and many of those were with the results of their surgery not with their transition. As one report stated,
…it is hard to imagine any other major life decision—whether to have married a specific person, whether to have had children, whether to have pursued a specific occupation—that would yield such an overwhelmingly positive set of subjective outcomes.
I know of only one person who de-transitioned and that was because of financial reasons in that they had to move back in with her in-laws out in the mid-west.

I think that one of the factors in such positive outcomes is the RLE where you are able to develop the needed life skills. For me, my transition when smoothly because I was living as Diana full time except for work and when I retired I was able slip into going fulltime with ease.

In the news there is an article about Warren Buffet’s son,
By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 23 May 2012

Warren Beatty's transgender son Stephen Ira, is said to be having 'second thoughts' about taking the final step in his sex change.

According to The National Enquirer, the 20-year-old student and activist 'has put his sex change plans on hold.'
Although Stephen's parents Warren and Annette Bening are said to have 'finally accepted' his decision to become male, The Enquirer reports that they are 'urging him to take his time and rethink the drastic surgery.'
That is precisely the purpose of the RLE, it to find out your comfort zone. For some, surgery is not necessary that maybe just taking hormones is enough.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer Camp - Part 2

A friend left a comment on my post about the children’s summer camp, Camp Aranu'tiq and how there is also an adult summer camp for LGBT people called ‘Camp’ Camp in southern Maine. It piqued my interest and I looked it up on the web.

According to their web-site…
Since 1997, ‘Camp’ Camp has offered a fun and distinctive vacation for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Camp is structured just like the sleep-away summer camp that you remember from when you were young(er), with a full program of great outdoor, athletic, and arts & crafts activities and a variety of entertaining evening social events. Located in scenic southwestern Maine, ‘Camp’ Camp is the perfect alternative vacation for adventurous members of the GLBT community looking for a unique vacation option beyond the usual gay cruise or resort. It's a gay camp for adults! ...What could be better than that?
As I wrote in my other blog post, I am not a fan of organized activities; however, ‘Camp’ Camp does seem to offer a number of activities that I possibly might enjoy. They offer canoeing, kayaking and hiking and they also offer some non-physical activities such as cooking, digital photography and pottery.

My friend also mentioned that it was kind of on the expensive side, so I looked up how much they were charging for the week and it was $1150, and I thought, “umm…yeah, that is a little expensive.” But then I thought, that includes room and board, and if you compare it to a week at Fantasia Fair it is about half of what you would spend at the Fair for the week.

So if you are a happy camper, you might consider ‘Camp’ Camp as an alternative to an exclusively trans event.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Trans-People In The Asia-Pacific Region – Part 1

When we think of the oppression of trans-people we usually are North American centered in our thinking, but trans-people are in every country and on every continent. I came across a report on transgender people in the Asia-Pacific region on the WPATH eList that shows that our struggle for human rights is global.

The report is by the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Asia-Pacific Regional Centre and the NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) titled “Lost in Transition: Transgender People, Rights and HIV Vulnerability in the Asia-Pacific Region
The Asia-Pacific region is home to a large number of trans* people; individuals whose gender identity, and/or expression of their gender, differs from social norms related to their gender of birth. Across the region it can be speculated that there are possibly 9-9.5 million trans* people, though existing research is scattered and small-scale, and is largely limited to trans* women. Asia-Pacific research, again scattered and small-scale, indicates alarming numbers of trans* women are HIV positive, with prevalence rates as high as 49 percent. There appear to be no data at all on HIV rates among trans* men, an emerging identity group. The number of trans* people of either gender who have died of AIDS, or what proportion they represent of overall AIDS-related deaths, is unknown.
In order to effectively study AIDS/HIV you must study the transgender population. However, when we were trying to survey the trans-community in the Hartford CT area one of the difficulties that we faced is that it is hard to find members of an oppressed community and the same holds true for the Asia-Pacific trans-communities. You have to earn the co-operation of the community in order to begin to make connections within it.
Research on Asia-Pacific trans* people, scattered and often small-scale, has tended to focus on young and urban communities of trans* women, and has neglected the elderly and rural, as well as trans* men. That said, the research indicates that stigma and prejudice are major problems for trans* people, and are rooted in a range of beliefs (either traditional or modern, depending on the culture concerned) about sexuality and gender norms and nonconformity. The stigma and prejudice appear to put large numbers of trans* people onto a slope (a ‘stigma-sickness slope’), prompting patterns of discrimination, harassment and abuse (verbal, sexual and physical) in the family, at school, in the workplace, in the
provision of services (including health) and in society more broadly (including in the law and law enforcement).
We not only face repression from society in general, but also from those that are there to protect and care for us. I know of several trans-people who have received discrimination from healthcare professionals. One trans-woman that I know slipped and fell on some ice and they brought her to the emergency room of a hospital here in Connecticut. When the staff found out that she is trans, they sent her home without examining her. The next day when she was still in pain she went to another hospital and they found out that she had broken her back in several places. This type of treatment or lack of treatment is found world-wide. The report goes on to state…
Across the region, there are numerous reports documenting problems in healthcare for trans* women - whether for general, transition or sexual health. The challenges facing trans* men remain severely under-researched. Trans* people approaching health services commonly report that providers are uncooperative or hostile with staff addressing or responding to the trans* person in a gender inappropriate way, adopting a mocking or ridiculing attitude, withholding or refusing healthcare, or even offering ‘reparative’ treatments. Providers may lack competence in regard to trans* health care.
It is hard enough trying to educate healthcare and service providers here in the U.S., but it must be hundreds of time harder to try to do that around the Pacific Rim countries. You have so many different cultures that require a different approach in education that it will require individual strategies for each culture.

Next in Part 2, the results of the report.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Who Do You Love?

Everyone knows about the struggle for marriage equality, but not everyone knows the struggle that trans-people go through to marry.

In Connecticut and five other states it is no problem, but in the other forty-four states it is a hodgepodge. As far as I know if you are legally married before you transition, you are still married after your transition even if you change your birth certificate in all 50 states. The problem is if you want to get married after you transition. The court’s rulings are enough to make your head spin. In Texas the court ruled that marriage is based on birth gender, while in California the court ruled that marriage is based on your legal gender. And even crazier, in Kansas the court ruled that a trans-person cannot get married because we are neither a man nor a woman.

In Texas the court ruling means that two people who are legally female can marry if one is a trans-person, while the Kansas ruling totally denies marriage for a trans-persons and it dehumanizes us.
On March 15th [2001], the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the marriage of J'Noel Gardiner to her late husband, Marshall Gardiner was invalid. In ruling that Gardiner was not a woman in a probate case brought by her late husband's son, the Court wrote,  "The words 'sex,' 'male,' and 'female' in everyday understanding do not encompass transsexuals...A male-to-female post-operative transsexual does not fit the definition of a female."
The Transgender Law & Policy Institute
In Salon, Tracy Clark-Flory writes…
Officials in Nevada refused to let Danielle Pauline Severson marry her partner, Rebecca Love. No surprise there, right? Same-sex marriage is illegal in the state. But here’s where things get mind-bendingly complicated: California has actually approved Severson’s marriage license, because the state considers her to be a he, according to the Associated Press. The 49-year-old was born a man and — having taken female hormones, changed her name and started wearing feminine clothing — she is now a pre-op transgender woman.
That is how confusing and crazy our laws on marriage are when it comes to trans-people. Many trans-people do not see marriage equality as a trans issue, but it is. We shouldn’t have to go shopping to find a state where we can marry the person that we love.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What's Next?

We passed the gender inclusive anti-discrimination law here in Connecticut that covers employment, housing, public accommodation and credit, so what’s next? What should we focus on now? Some of the suggestions are focusing on educating the public about the law, work to develop policies for state agencies (such as insurance), concentrate on advocating for trans-people for housing including homeless shelters, and advise trans-people in how to navigate the social services agencies.

So what do you think we should do?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Six #423

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #423

1. Would you rather read the newspaper from a physical paper or online? Why?
It depends; I like to read the paper while I’m eating, but read the news online at other times.

2. Would you rather be part of the Addams Family or the Munsters family? Why?
Yuck, neither one… they both are creepy

3. Would you rather take a cruise to the Bahamas or Alaska? Why?
Alaska, I always wanted to see Alaska and the Northern Lights and also they kill people like me in the Caribbean and Bahamas

4. If you had to choose one of them, would you rather be shorter or taller than your current height? Why?
Shorter, I’m too tall now.

5. Would you rather give up your favorite beverage or your favorite food for good? Why?
I have given up both. I’m on a low carb and low sugar diet.

6. Would you rather be able to read people’s minds or know the future? Why?
I would rather read people’s minds than see the future. I don’t want to know when I will die, it would take all the fun out of life.

Saturday 9: Somebody That I Used to Know

Crazy Sam's Saturday 9: Somebody That I Used to Know

1. How do you feel when you realize that an impasse will cause a relationship (any type) to end?
Sad. But I move on.

2. You’re planning a trip that would be an eight-hour car ride, a four-hour train ride, or a two-hour plane ride. With money and time being no object, which would you most likely choose and why?
I’ll take the train, less hassles than flying and more relaxing than driving.

3. What is your ideal past time on a lazy summers day?
Sitting in a lounge chair down by the lake reading and when you get tired of reading jump in the lake and cool off. Then take a nap.

4. Name a CD you own that no one else on your friends list does.
Black Crow by Namoli Brennet

5. What's a wish of yours?
Good health and long life

6. What is something your going to do a lot of this week?
Reading and sleeping. There is nothing on my calendar this week.

7. Is there someone you wish would just fall off the face of this earth?

8. What did you do last night?

Watched a movie up at the cottage with my brother and I fell asleep watching it.

9. Where is the next place you'd like to go vacation?
Out west to visit all the national parks.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. When we _laugh, the whole worlds laughs_!
2. _I’m a_ head _taller than you_.
3. It'll be _Loch Lomond before you_.
4. _The National Parks out west_ is a place I always wanted to visit, but haven't yet.
5. When I'm sad _I really down in the dumps_; when I'm happy _I’m floating on air_.
6. _You have a lot to learn_ about my community.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _relaxing and watching a movie after installing lights up at the cottage_, tomorrow my plans include _relaxing and then driving home in the evening_ and Sunday, I want have to _go to a Board Meeting retreat_!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Story Part 119 – All Summer Long

And we were trying different things
And we were smoking funny things

For many of us who are trans, we have fought it all our lives and we tried many ways to get it out of our systems. For many it was alcohol or drugs. During my undergraduate years (1969 - 1974, I tried, uppers, downer, hallucinogenic. It was also the era of the hippies, where drugs were a way of life on the college campuses around the country. I’m not proud of it, but I won’t hide that part of my life.

I do not know if I did drugs because of being transgender, but I think it was one of the factors that contributed to my using them. It was also part of the culture and when I hear Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” it brings back memories of my late teenage and early twenty years. Sitting around the “rock cut” or at keg parties watching the sun rise after staying up all night tripping… “and trying different things and smoking funny things.”

My brother use to be blamed all the time for being the “wild one” while I was the quite one. While in reality I was down in a friend’s basement with the blacklight posters and a hazy of smoke that wasn’t from cigarettes, listening to Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Jimmy Hendricks and Jefferson Airplane.

Then we grew up. We became engineers, mechanics, machinists and draftsmen. Some went on to become parents and yelled at their kids for using drugs. I sometimes joke that I want a tee-shirt that says, “I survived the sixties”

But at the same time I was struggling with my gender identity. It the privacy of home, I hid with the shame of being what at the time all the books and news media said was a perversion which laid a guilt trip on me that in some ways still last today. Drugs were a way of avoiding the reality of being different. Once I got out of college I stopped all the hard stuff and just smoked marijuana at night after work and on weekends. I never was much of a drinker, and in college we were divided into two groups the druggies and the alkies. One time the alkies threw a vending machine over the balcony and us druggies watched it fall and went … Wow, far out! Back in ’99 when I developed a heart condition my doctor said to lay off the pot and when I went on hormones in ’04, my endo said to lay of alcohol. He said that I have a choice alcohol or hormones, that my liver could only stand one or the other but not both. When I stopped pot cold turkey, there were no side effects. But what I missed most was sitting out on the deck at night just before I went to bed and smoking one last bowl listening to the Dark Side of the Moon. So now I sometimes sit out on the deck with my mp3 player and have a glass of milk… but somehow it not quit the same.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Will New York State Be Number 17?

Right now there are sixteen states (and the District of Columbia) that have protection for gender identity and expression, will this be the year that New York finally passes their law to protect gender identity and expression?
NY Considers Transgender Discrimination Bill
By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. at
Tue May 15, 2012

New York legislators recently debated a bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. The NY transgender bill would amend all of the state's anti-discrimination laws, including those that cover employment and housing.

The State Assembly passed the legislation with overwhelming support, but it is currently sitting in the Senate Rules Committee. Supporters are trying to mobilize a floor vote before the end of the current legislative session.
The bill is called GENDA or Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act and it covers employment and housing. That’s it, employment and housing, no public accommodation and no credit protection. This will be the fifth time the bill has been introduced. In April of 2008, a big rally for GENDA legislation was scheduled; however, a few days before the rally Governor Paterson said that he supported marriage equality and GENDA got pushed aside in favor of marriage legislation, It was just like what happened here in Connecticut in 2009 when we were promised that our bill would have top priority only to be shoved aside for the marriage bill.

In 2003, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) went into law, which made it illegal for anyone to be discriminated against in employment, housing, credit, education and public accommodations because of their real or perceived sexual orientation. Gender identity and expression was originally in the bill, but in backroom negotiation it was thrown out and the bill became a purely sexual orientation bill. The trans-community was told, don’t worry we will come back for you. Sound familiar? Some nine years later there is still no protection for trans-people and even if this bill passes it will provide fraction of the protection that SONDA provides. Without public accommodation trans-people cannot go out in public without the possibility being discriminated against. They can be thrown out of restaurants or walk in the park without the fear denied entrance.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Breaking News....

Bomb threats were made to Washington DC offices of LGBT organizations today. The offices of the NTCE, NGTF, GLSEN, NBJC and HRC were evacuated this afternoon.

Threat Prompts D.C. Evacuations

Los Angeles Police convey bomb threat to ''national gay rights organizations''
By Chris Geidner
Published on May 15, 2012

Following a reported bomb threat, the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT organizations in Washington evacuated their offices today. According to Fred Sainz, HRC's vice president for communications, the Los Angeles Police Department received an unspecified bomb threat against a ''national gay rights organization,'' which led the LAPD to notify the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department of the threat, which subsequently notified HRC and others.
With the surrounding block cordoned off, police vehicles surrounded the building and prevented pedestrians from approaching as teams led dogs in search of any threat. By 12:50 p.m., MPD called the all-clear and people began re-entering the building.

The Argentina New Law

By now many of you have heard or read about Argentina new law on gender rights.
Argentina gender rights law: A new world standard
By Michael Warren, Associated Press
May 10, 2012

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Activists say Argentina now leads the world in transgender rights after giving people the freedom to change their legal and physical gender identity simply because they want to, without having to undergo judicial, psychiatric and medical procedures beforehand.

The gender identity law that won congressional approval with a 55-0 Senate vote Wednesday night is the latest in a growing list of bold moves on social issues by the Argentine government, which also legalized gay marriage two years ago. These changes primarily affect minority groups, but they are fundamental, President Cristina Fernandez has said, for a democratic society still shaking off the human rights violations of the 1976-1983 dictatorship and the paternalism of the Roman Catholic Church.

But what hasn’t been reported is the actual law [Emphasis mine] …
(This was from and translated using Google Translate.)
Article 1: The objectives of this Act:
- To ensure the recognition of the dignity, uniqueness and own lives of transgender people: transsexuals, transvestites, transgender.
- Promote respect, protection and exercise of human rights of those discriminated against based on gender identity, transgender, transvestite, transgender.
- Promote the implementation of a specific state area for the care of trans people and promoting their
- Raise awareness of the right to non discrimination on grounds of gender identity.
- Guarantee the right to identity of people whose gender identity does not correspond with the sex and name with which they were enrolled at birth.
- Adjust the correction procedure for registration of sex and name change of a person when such registration is inconsistent with their gender identity.

Article 2: Believe in the field of Human Rights Secretariat of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the Office for Gender Identity shall be:
- The creation of a field of counseling and support for trans people.
- The study and promotion of cross-cutting public policies in all areas of government for the integration and discrimination against people based on gender identity.
- The evaluation of applications for registration of sex correction and change of name.

Article 3: The Office shall have the following powers:
- Create a space for consultation and participation of NGOs representing gender diversity formed by the group of transsexuals, transvestites, transgender.
- Require advice to public and private institutions it deems appropriate.
- Make arrangements with universities.

Article 4: The Gender Identity Office will coordinate an interdisciplinary technical team made up of professionals who specialize in gender identity and diversity, for the purposes of assessing applications for registration of sex correction and change of name.

Article 5: The Office shall have the following obligations:
- Issue within 90 working days of receiving the request, administrative action to order the Civil Registry where he was seated the birth certificate, amendment registration of sex and name change of the applicant.
- Keep in all cases, subject to the identity of the applicant, unless required by law.
If the application is rejected, it shall issue a resolution duly founded.

Section 6: First order of rejection of the application or after 90 days without response, the applicant may operate through direct action before the Federal Administrative Litigation Chamber

Article 7: Any person may request the modification registration of sex and name change when gender identity is inconsistent with such registration.

When the case of persons under 18 years, will include provision for progressive principles of ability and interest of the child as stipulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Law 26.061 of Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents .

Section 8: There are prerequisites to enter the correct registration of sex and name change, it is found:
- The existence of dissonance between sex and the name originally registered and self-perceived gender identity by the applicant.
- The stability and persistence of this dissonance.
The applicant may provide, for the purposes of that determination, all means of proof.
Not be required the above requirements when the person has made any sexual reassignment surgery.
Under no circumstances will require sex reassignment surgery to access the correct registration of sex and name change.

Article 9: Once ready the correct registration of sex and name change will correspond to the Civil Registry and / or capacity of the Persons of the jurisdiction where established birth certificate, issue new birth certificate proving the change with a reference to indicate the location of the previous round of correction.

Article 10: The original birth certificate prior to registration of sex correction and change of name, have access only those who demonstrate a legitimate interest, or in case of legal acts in the genetic sex must inevitably be considered.

Article 11: Obtaining the correct registration of sex and name change will force the person to request the issuance of a new national identity in the National Registry of Persons attesting to such changes, preserving the original number.

Article 12: The National Registry of Persons report the change of national identity to the National Registry of Recidivism and the Secretariat for Electoral Registry for the correction of electoral rolls, male or female.

Article 13: The correct registration of sex and agreed name change will not alter the ownership of rights and legal obligations that may correspond to the person prior to the recordation of the change registration.

Article 14: It is forbidden to advertise the correct registration of sex and name change of a person, except that mediates this special authorization.

Bypassing publication in the newspapers referred to the art. 17 of Law 18,248.

Article 15: The provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires made the necessary actions to the effect that their civil registries or similar offices giving effect to this Act

Article 16: Contact the Executive

This should be a model law for all nations. It is an amazing law it establishes so many rights for trans-people and sets humanistic guideline for transition that the government must follow. But what struck me most is the vote in the Senate 55-0 and in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies by a vote of 167-17!

Notice that you cannot just go in to demand surgery or hormones, but you follow established medical procedures. However, you do not need surgery or hormones to change your documentation.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Summer Camp

When I went to summer camp it wasn’t like this, but I wished it would have been…
Camp Aranu'tiq is a weeklong, overnight summer camp for transgender and gender-variant youth ages 8 through 15.
I wasn’t a big fan of the summer camp that I went to because it was mainly organized sports and crafts. I liked the canoe trips, the swimming and hiking, but when it came to volleyball and baseball I was always the last one chosen on the team. I was never big on competitive sports with their pecking order.  When we built birdhouses, I made sure that they had a large supply of Band-Aids because for some reason my thumb always came between the nail and the hammer.

I think this is a wonderful opportunity for trans-kids, to give them a chance to explore their gender in a safe environment.


Port Townsend, WA
Esprit always sounded interesting to me, it sounds like the west coast equivalent of Fantasia Fair in Provincetown.
Annual Esprit transgender convention opens today
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
May 12. 2012

The convention provides a place for transgender individuals to wear their identity openly, to learn to be ladies and to live it up a little.

The Red Lion, which has hosted the event since 1990, was deep in preparations for the arrival of the Esprit participants Friday, said Vanessa Fuller, Red Lion director of sales.

Most of the events at the convention are closed to the public, including clothing exchanges, a pool tournament and classes in self-defense, religious and legal issues, cosmetics, dancing and social graces.

The Esprit conventioneers are “wonderful to be around and easy to work with,” Fuller said
Guests at the convention also will be offered more typical North Olympic Peninsula tourist activities, such as a trip to Hurricane Ridge, a visit to the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, shopping in Port Townsend and a ferry trip to Victoria
In 1999, I went out to the west coast for a wedding and afterward we drove up the Olympic Peninsula to Port Townsend, but we never made it up to Port Angeles which was the next town up the coast. So I always thought it would be nice to go out to Esprit someday just to sight see and enjoy the evening activities at night.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bureaucrats Know A Thousand Ways To Obstruct

It doesn’t matter what country you live in, if a bureaucrats wants to screw you over they can…
ID crisis after sex change ends in court
Pretoria News
By Zelda Venter
May 10 2012 at 03:05pm

The new documents will also make life a lot easier for this 41-year-old redhead, as she is no longer a man as reflected on her identity documents.

She cannot travel as she cannot get a passport.

Neither can she get a job, as she cannot prove her true identity.

Fed up after a two-year struggle with the Department of Home Affairs, Louw obtained a Pretoria High Court order last week compelling the department to consider her application within 30 days to have her birth certificate and ID altered to show her new sex.
The department immediately responded following the order and met her at its office in Belville yesterday, but Louw was faced with another problem.

“They told me they had mislaid my original documents and that I had to apply again for these documents.” Louw again filled in the forms, had her fingerprints taken and went through the formalities.

But her hopes of receiving her new documents as ordered by the court have been dashed.

“They could not give me a new birth certificate and said I will only receive a temporary ID book in about four weeks, if I am lucky.

“I was also told it may take up to a year before I will have my new ID book. By the time all this is over I will be an old woman.”
She is going back to court to get a contempt order if they don’t comply within the 30 days. Anyone want to place a bet that she will get her new documents? I doubt very much that she will get her new papers and who will the courts hold in contempt? All the bureaucrats will just point to each other and blame them; it is not my fault… I have to wait for paperwork to be processed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday 9: Touch Me in the Morning

 Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Touch Me in the Morning

1. Who or what sleeps with you?
Only my dreams

2. Last time you saw your high school best friend?
Earlier in the week, he has a road side vegetable stand that I stop by occasionally

3. What do you do when you're sad?
Cry. Or call my brother.

4. What do you wear when you are relaxing around the house?
Jeans and a Tee

5. What did you do immediately after high school?
When to college and flunked out and then went back again when I became 1A

6. Is anyone on your bad side right now?

7. What's the first thing you do when you get online?
Check my email accounts

8. What jewelry are you wearing?
A watch and earrings

9. Post a current song that you like. (Or name it and tell us why you like it.)
>br />
I had crush on her.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. What a beautiful _Mother’s Day Weekend_!
2. _You agree with me,_ right?
3. It's no surprise _that Amendment 1 passed in North Carolina, disturbing, but not surprising_.
4. _Doing the preparation for the medical test last week_ wasn't easy, but _I did it_.
5. I like to try _my hand at teaching at the graduate level_.
6. _Desperado by the Eagles_ is one of my most favorite songs!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _reading_, tomorrow my plans include _going up to Northampton MA for a Pride festival_ and Sunday, I want to _visit my mother’s grave_!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Story Part 118 – Coming Out

Last week I wrote about coming out at work to my HR director, this week it is coming out to my cousins.

When I came out to my cousins on my father’s side I wrote them a letter because they are much more numerous then my cousin on my mother’s side (10 verses 2). This is the letter…
Hi _____

There is something important I’d like to share with everyone.

In September of 2006, they announced at work that they were closing down the factory in stages, beginning the end of the first quarter of 2007. We saw the shutdown coming when they were not sending us any new orders, but instead were farming the work to other locations. In June of 2007, I was laid off. For me it worked out great, I was planning to retire in 2008, so with the severance package, I was able to collect pay until just before I was eligible for early retirement. In addition, I received tuition reimbursement and I went back to college for my Masters

However, that was not the only changes that were taking place in my life. I was always the quite one, at parties or family gatherings. Well there was a reason for that.  You see all through my life I was deeply troubled. I knew I was different and it wasn’t until I had my heart problems in 1999 that I felt I had to act, that life was too short. Therefore, I sought counseling, with counselors and support groups, and I have finally achieved self-acceptance. I now have a life. I have been going out; to movies, plays, lectures, and restaurants; getting involved in politics, went back to college; started traveling and I made new friendships.

You see that I come to accept myself for who I am a transsexual. Some of my earliest memories were of feeling that I should have been born a girl. I remember when I was little and saying my prayers at night, ending with prayer that I would wake up as a girl and I used to cry myself to sleep. I have fought this for over fifty years and I realized that I could not hide it anymore, that hiding was causing physical stress. Now I have been on hormones since 2004 and when I was laid-off in June of 2007, I started living full time as “Diana”. Once I went full time, I had my name legally changed to Diana, changed all my paperwork and got a new driver’s license with an “F” for the gender marker.

Whatever is the cause of GID (Gender Identity Disorder is the medical term for transsexualism) I can tell you one thing and that is it is not a choice, I have been fighting this all my life and it is not something I would ever want. Life is hard and this doesn’t make it any easier, but I am happier and I am getting out enjoying life. No one really knows what causes GID, but the majority of medical information indicates that it is caused by something pre-natal. Whether it is a hormone imbalance during pregnancy or it is genetic is not known.  What is known, is that gender is part of your very being and we are all are born with a sense of our gender identity.

Since coming out I have been very active; I have given lectures at colleges (including Yale, UConn School of Law, UConn School of Social Work and the UConn School of Medicine), I have helped out with Ned Lamont’s campaign for U.S. senate, I have lobbied Congress in Washington, and helped out at various non-profit organizations in the area. I am currently on the steering committee of a coalition that is trying to change the Anti-Discrimination laws in Connecticut and I have testified before the Judiciary Committee. As a part of that effort, I have been interviewed by the Hartford Courant, the Connecticut Post and I have been on the radio and television. In addition, I am graduate student at the UConn School of Social Work Master’s program since September 2008 and my concentration is in Community Organizing. I’m planning to graduate next spring. As you can see I am no longer just sitting around the house, now it is a rare evening that I am home.

I know that this is hard for you to understand and it is also hard for me to understand as well. If you need to talk you can call me at (860) ___-____ or email me at ________@_____.___
Since I sent out the letter I have become closer to some of my cousin than I ever was before coming out. And I received a nice letter from one of my cousins,
The last time we saw you was at your father's funeral. It was actually the first time in my memory that we had spent any real time together. I remarked to [her husband] as we were leaving what a warm and charming host you were and how sorry I was that I never knew you well. Now I understand better why. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I, in turn, shared your letter with my children who, as parents themselves, need to be reminded of the importance of accepting their children as they are. Whatever their differences may be. To see from another person's point of view is always enlightening. We admire your courage and rejoice in your new life.
Do I have a great family or what!

Update On The EEOC Ruling

I have read a lot on Facebook about how great the EEOC in its protect for transsexuals in the work place and I keep pointing out that the ruling covered everyone, not just trans-people. I found this posting in the Huffington post that also emphasizes what I have been saying.
The EEOC and Sissies Like Me: How the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Made the Case for a United LGBT Movement
Huffington Post
By Mark Daniel Snyder
Posted: 05/07/2012

What struck me personally about the ruling was how broad-reaching and how eloquently it explained the connections between gender and sexuality that so many gay, lesbian, and bisexual people struggle to make. "The term 'gender,'" says the ruling, "encompasses not only a person's biological sex but also the cultural and social aspects associated with masculinity and femininity."
The EEOC's ruling makes the case for feminine men, butch women, and really everybody who may be discriminated against because he or she is not behaving in a way that conforms to stereotypes about gender to unite in our cause for full equality. It connects the dots between homophobia, transphobia, and sexism.
Notice what the ruling doesn’t say, it doesn’t say only trans-people or gays are covered. It also covers straight people who are discriminated in the workplace because they do not conform to gender norms.

This ruling covers everyone.

I knew a woman, she was very tall, heavy build and had a deep voice for a women. She use to get “Sired” all the time, she wasn’t a lesbian, just heavy set and the last time I heard from her she was married with two children. This ruling would cover her in the workplace if she was discriminated against because she did conform to the typical stereotype of what a woman should look like.

So when I hear that this is a trans ruling or a LGBT ruling or it about special rights; it’s not… it is about equal rights.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

UN High Commission for Human Rights

Many people do not realize that the United Nations is working for Human Rights for trans-people.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay talks about the human cost of homophobia and transphobia.
Wednesday, 09 May 2012

...When I raise these issues, some complain that I’m pushing for “new rights” or “special rights” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But there is nothing new or special about the right to life and security of person, the right to freedom from discrimination. These and other rights are universal … enshrined in international law but denied to many of our fellow human beings simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We cannot let these abuses stand. We know what needs to be done. States must repeal discriminatory laws and ban discriminatory practices: punish violence and hatred … not love.
As the UN forges ahead for human rights for LGBT people, we are moving backwards. In North Carolina bigotry won out yesterday, they band the basic human right of being able to marry the person that you love.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


The American Psychiatric Association has just posted the proposed changes to DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) on their web-site and the have the third iteration of “Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents or Adults” and “Gender Dysphoria in Children” posted. The only thing that they changed from the previous proposals is the name they changed it from “Gender Incongruence” to “Gender Dysphoria” from the DSM IV-TR “Gender Identity Disorder”. They still have it listed as Axis I, which I think is wrong. They write as justification,
We also debated and discussed the merit of placing this condition in a special category apart from (formerly Axis-I) psychiatric diagnoses to reflect its unusual status as a mental condition treated with cross-sex hormones, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender (particularly with regard to adolescents and adults). We chose not to make any decision between its categorization as a psychiatric or a medical condition and wished to avoid jeopardizing either insurance coverage or treatment access (Drescher, 2010).
In both versions 2 and 3 there is a questionnaire on the severity the feeling of being trans. The questionnaire does allow an “out” from the diagnoses which was possible before. The questionnaire measure the distress in your current gender; therefore once you have transitioned your distress will decrease and you will no longer meet the criteria for “Gender Dysphoria”

I believe that it should be removed from the DSM all together and placed in the ICD (International Statistical Classification of Diseases). There is enormous stigma that is tied to having it in the DSM that is used against us. It is also important to remember that the purpose of the DSM and the ICD is to bill the insurance companies, if it is not in the DSM the therapist does not get paid or the doctor if it is not in the ICD. An example is that I have diagnosed with ICD code 272.0 or high cholesterol, if you look at your bill you will see the code number on it. The therapist uses the DSM to look up the best diagnoses that fit the patient symptoms and bills the insurance company, not everything in the DSM is a mental illness. I don’t think that you would classify bet wetting as a mental disorder, but it is listed in the DSM (307.6). Why? Because you might suffer some form of stress over it and go to a therapist about the stress but it does not make you mental ill. The therapist wants to get paid for threating your anxiety so there has to be a code number for bed wetting (Enuresis).

Monday, May 07, 2012

Speak No Evil

Or if you’re trans, don’t speak at all. That was what one trans-woman was told when she was invited to come in and speak to the class. Just before Jennifer Braly was schedule to speak, the professor received an email from Dr. Rita Barrett, Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair telling her the guest speaker would not be allowed to speak.
Breaking News: Transgender Student Lecture Sparks Debate
Lions’ Chronicle – University of Arkansas Fort Smith eNewspaper
By Joshua Barnhardt and Melanie Stout

Jennifer Braly, a transgender UAFS student, was scheduled to give a guest lecture for Dr. Laura King’s General Psychology class on Friday, April 20th at 9AM. The lecture coincided with the class unit on gender and sexuality. Thursday afternoon, Ms. Braly received an email from Dr. Rita Barrett, Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair, which, according to Ms. Braly said,

“All of my faculty are now diligently preparing for the closure of the semester. They must be in compliance with their syllabi, grading, final exams, graduation exercises, etc. and it is impossible to afford more class time to accommodate an additional speaker at one week before finals.Therefore, your scheduled speaking engagements in any course in my department (PSYC, CJ, SOCI, ANTH) have been cancelled. This includes the two scheduled for tomorrow Friday April 20th in Dr. Laura King’s classes.”
Dr. Henry Rinne, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences told the professor that the speaker was not qualified to speak and would be barred from speaking at the university.  The professor was told that she will have to take a survey to determine if there was a need to have a transgender speaker in the future.

In an article in the NWAHomepage by Bobbi Smith reported that,
“Dr. Laura King, the teacher who asked Jennifer to come speak to her class, believes a student complaint led to the lecture being canceled.  "I don't know what complaints would justify her not speaking if there had been complaints."
The articles goes on to say that most of the students met with Ms. Braly in the student lounge to listen to her talk and to ask questions.

I call this the ostrich syndrome, bury your head in the sand and the problem will go away. These are students who are taking a general psychology class and may go on to be psychologist in the future and the university doesn’t want them to learn about Gender Identity Disorder. I think the school is being very negligent in not teaching a topic that their student might have to deal with in their professional life. I believe it may be a violation of the code of ethics of the APA, I know for social workers you have to be “culturally aware” and that means training students in working with clients who are gender variant.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Sticks and stones may break my bones,

…but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours.
Eric Idle quotes

It may also cost them a pocketful of cash. Here in Connecticut the Supreme Court just ruled that a person may file a harassment complaint for name calling behind his or her back because of his sexual orientation. The court said that…
The plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a machinist from 1977 until his termination on November 8, 2004.4 Beginning in 1991, the plaintiff became the subject of name-calling on the shop floor of the defendant’s industrial plant. The name-calling consisted of derogatory slurs for homosexuals in Spanish, such as ‘‘pato’’ and ‘‘maricon,’’ and in Italian and English, such as ‘‘pira,’’ ‘‘faggot,’’ and ‘‘homo.’’ The slurs were used in a variety of contexts, including ‘‘faggot go home’’ and ‘‘faggot get out of here.’’ The plaintiff heard such words ‘‘very often,’’ sometimes even ‘‘two or three times
a day.’’ The derogatory words were not spoken to the plaintiff’s face, but were made in his presence, such as directly behind his back while he was operating machinery.
The jury found in favor of the plaintiff and the company appealed the verdict and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court just ruled on the case and said,
The central issue presented by this appeal is whether General Statutes § 46a-81c (1) imposes liability on employers for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employees from being subjected to hostile work environments based on their sexual orientation.
I’m not a lawyer, but from what I have read, this ruling basically says that the employer has to ensure a non-hostile work environment. Even through this ruling was for sexual orientation, gender identity and expression was added to statutes, so I would imagine that the same thing will to providing a non-hostile work environment for gender identity and expression.

P.S. My hit counter just passed 10,000 hit!

When will they learn...

When will the Russians learn that their spam is going to be deleted and that no one can read Russian anyway.

I bet that I will get 4 or 5 spam comments all in Russian from this post.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Saturday Six #421

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #421

1. In an average week, how many television shows do you make a specific effort to watch?
Not counting the news, about five or six

2. What major (“Big 4”) television network do you tend to watch the most?

3. The “Big 4” aside, which cable network do you tend to watch the most?
It is a tossup between USA and TNT

4. When you’re driving, what genre of music do you listen to most often?
Classic rock

5. How many local radio stations do you listen to in an average week?
One or two

6. If you’re playing a CD in your car, is it more likely a purchased album or a CD with various artists that you mixed and burned yourself?
Get with it Patrick, who listens to CD anymore? It is mp3 players. Mine plugs right into the car.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Friday Fill-ins

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins

1. After a while, _the same old things get boring_.
2. _Can you put your stuff away_ at least.
3. Well, anyway, _that’s the way I feel_.
4. _It didn’t seem fair_ to me.
5. I always _like visiting with friends_.
6. _Not knowing what tomorrow will bring is what_ keeps me going.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _heading up to the cottage_, tomorrow my plans include _checking the television antenna to see why it doesn’t work_ and Sunday, I want to _read out on the deck_!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

My Story Part 117 – Coming Out At Work

I transitioned after I was laid-off when they closed down the factory in 2007, but I came out at work in January of 2006. I was beginning to talk around the state at colleges and universities on panels, also I was going out more in public as Diana and I thought it might be a good idea to tell Human Resources. I had known the HR manager for over 25 years and was friends with her. Because I was a supervisor I was in her office several times a week, so I knew form our talks that she was pro-LGBT.

So one Friday just before 3:30 as we were finishing up the meeting, she asked me what I was doing for the weekend and I said that I was going to a semiformal fundraiser. She said, oh are you getting a Tux? I debated what to say or if she asked what organization the fundraiser was for (The Hartford LGBT Community Center), and I decided that it was time to tell the truth. I told her, not really… let me tell you a story.

I started to tell her about my being trans and after about a half hour of me talking; I will never forget what she said, “They are having a 30% off for dresses at Syms this week.” Talk about total acceptance, that comment told more than anything else she could have said about supporting me.

So why am I telling this story now? Well right now I am heading off to Windsor to the main office to meet with her and three other friends from work for lunch. We meet two or three times a year, some are still working and others have retired like me.

Update 3:00
I just got back from lunch and it was so hard to leave everyone afterward. It was great seeing again and having lunch with the gang.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Why Can’t They Let Us Pee In Peace

All we want is to be able go the bathroom without being arrested…
EXCLUSIVE: Transgender woman ticketed for using women’s restroom at Parkland hospital
Dallas Voice
By David Taffet
Posted on 01 May 2012

Police cited a transgender woman for disorderly conduct on April 25 for using a women’s restroom at Parkland hospital.

An officer with the hospital’s police force wrote the citation for a class-C misdemeanor after a complaint was lodged by someone who saw the transgender woman, Paula Witherspoon, leaving the bathroom.
Officials at Parkland, Dallas County’s public hospital, are looking into the incident.

“We have verified that on April, 25, 2012, Parkland Police responded to a complaint from a concerned female patient regarding her allegation that there was a male in the female restroom,” Parkland spokeswoman Charise Thomason wrote. “Because of the complexity of the issue, the incident is currently under review. Parkland strives to treat patients, visitors and staff with dignity and respect, as well as provide a safe environment at all times.”
First of all, there wasn’t any disorderly conduct, she went in to the bathroom and was arrested when she came out. Secondly, they couldn’t arrest her for using the bathroom because in Dallas there is no law again it.

According to the article, Ms. Witherspoon had a letter from her therapist that she showed the police officer, but the officer went ahead and arrested her for disorderly conduct by committing a lewd act. So now and forever, she has a criminal record. And you wonder why I am always a little nervous going into a public bathroom.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Positive Role Models Part II

We win our battles one skirmish at a time. It takes a brave person to stand up and say this is wrong and to fight for their rights.

Victory! Transgender Woman Wins Health Insurance Coverage for Mammogram
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Press Release
April 30, 2012

We are thrilled to announce that we have resolved a claim on behalf of Beth Scott, a 44-year-old transgender woman in New Jersey who had been denied health insurance coverage for a mammogram. Ms. Scott underwent the mammogram in June 2010 at her doctor’s recommendation. Aetna denied coverage for the mammogram on the grounds that it fell under her policy’s exclusion for treatments “related to changing sex.” As a transgender woman, Ms. Scott was assigned male at birth and developed breasts after undergoing hormone therapy. Aetna refused to alter its position throughout the lengthy appeals process.
Aetna reversed its position and paid for Ms. Scott’s mammogram in full. It agreed that the policy exclusion for transgender health care will apply only to treatments prescribed to change an individual’s sex characteristics, and not to any other medically necessary care. Additionally, Ms. Scott secured changes to the health plan ensuring that transgender people can access all necessary sex-specific care, such as prostate exams and gynecological care, regardless of whether they are categorized as male or female in insurance records. Many transgender people have claims rejected when an insurance company asserts that the procedure is not covered because it does not match the sex listed in the policyholder’s records. The plan will also allow individuals to correct the sex on their insurance records by presenting an updated ID such as a driver’s license, passport or birth certificate.
Exclusions for transgender health care such as hormones and surgery exist in most health insurance plans. These exclusions unfairly force transgender policyholders to pay out-of-pocket for medically necessary care. Often, as in Ms. Scott’s case, insurance companies also use such exclusions to deny transgender policyholders coverage for other medically necessary care that is in fact covered under the plan.

What will our next skirmish be? I would like to see all exclusion for trans-people  removed and Gender Affirming Surgery covered.

Then this Friday…
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