Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dancing The Night Away

Last night I danced the night away at a lesbian dance at first I was a little leery about how well I would be accepted at the dance. My friend had gone before and assured me that they were very accepting of trans-people.

When we got there my friend introduced me to the woman who runs the group and it turned out that I knew her from another organization where we are members. I had a great time and the only problem that I had was around 10:30 my legs, hips and back started giving out from all the dancing and this morning I was sore.

Yeah, I will be going back again to the next dance, but… I think I need to do a little exercise first to get into shape.

It’s The Law!

Title VII prohibits sex discrimination and last year the EEOC had a ruling that said that discrimination based on gender identity of expression is a form of sex discrimination. I just came across this article that is about what employers should do to avoid discrimination suits but is also important for us to know…
Transgender discrimination under Title VII
By Katie Loehrke
Published: June 30, 2013

What employers should know

When an employer discriminates against someone because the person is transgender, the employer has discriminated based on sex, according to the EEOC. This is true regardless of whether an employer:

- Discriminates against an employee or applicant because the person has expressed his or her gender in a non-stereotypical fashion (for example, discrimination based on the fact that a woman sports short hair, forgoes makeup, or wears "masculine" clothing).

- Is uncomfortable with the fact that the person has transitioned or is in the process of transitioning from one gender to another.

- Simply does not like that the person is identifying as a transgender person.

The EEOC did not address customer preference for non-transgender individuals, but it is likely that the commission would be opposed to such a defense. In its decision, the EEOC likens transgender discrimination to certain forms of religious discrimination. Current EEOC guidance states that it is discriminatory to take customer preference based on religion (including religious garb and grooming practices) into consideration when making employment decisions.
Even though this is for the employer the employee should their rights also and notice that this applies to gender expression as well as gender identity.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Six #481

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #481

1. How old is your microwave oven?
It is only a couple of months old, the old one that it replaced lasted 21 years. But even more amazing is the one I use in the basement rec room… (A little drum roll please) it is an original Amanda Radarange from the 1970s!

2. How many television sets do you own?
Two, one in my bedroom and one in the kitchen

3. What type of cell phone do you own?
A basic cell phone, nothing fancy just a Samsung

4. How much else besides making calls do you use your cell phone for?
-0- Imagine, I only use my phone for talking, did think anyone still did it?

5. Do you still have a landline in your home?
Yes, but I also only use it for incoming calls. I found something better for outgoing calls… Google Voice. I have a Google Voice number and when I get a call it rings my home phone, cell phone and cottage phone all at once. To place a call I enter the number I want to call on the Google Voice webpage it then calls my phone (either the home, cottage or cell phone depending on which one I selected) and when I answer it then calls the number that I want for free.

6. Do you have a single-serve coffee maker like a Keurig, or is yours a more traditional multi-cup model?
Neither, I have a small 2 cup coffee maker.

Saturday 9: Suit and Tie

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Suit and Tie

Thanks to Bankerchick for suggesting JT

1) When was the last time that you got dressed up, or to borrow from Mr. Timberlake, "fixed up to the nines?"
Last November for a fundraiser.

2) Justin Timberlake is known for his threads. Do you try to keep up with fashion trends?
Yes, most definitely! I up on the fashion trends for T-shirts and cut-off jeans

3) While on tour, Justin has a cigar roller on call so that he and the band can enjoy a "gentleman's club" atmosphere back stage. Do you enjoy the smell of a good cigar?

4) Justin appeared on Star Search when still in grade school, and he's been working ever since. When Crazy Sam was that age, her only "job" was to load the dishwasher and for this she earned her $1/day allowance. Did you work when you were a kid?
Yes, the summer of the year that I graduated from high school. I had a state job taking inventory.

5) JT has appeared several times on Saturday Night Live, a show that premiered before he was born. Who is your most favorite ever SNL castmember of all time?
Umm… I never made it up that late.

6) Justin is a very good golfer (6 handicap). Will you play this summer?
What? You want me to chase a little white ball around a field?

7) A round of golf requires hours outside in the elements. Have you ever endured a painful sunburn?
Oh yes… Especially in my teen years, you know when you think you are immortal.

8) When they were young, Justin dated Britney Spears. Obviously, it's been easy for him to keep up with her successes and problems over the years. Do you wonder how one of your exes is doing?
Every once in awhile I hear about how she is doing through mutual friends.

9) Ever since his days with N'Sync, Justin Timberlake has supported music education. Did your grade school offer music classes? If so, do you remember any of the songs you learned then?
Nope, but I do remember taking up the trumpet and I remember how glad everyone in the house was when I gave it up.

My Sixth Anniversary Since I Transistioned

Today (June 29) marks the sixth anniversary of my transition. It was six years ago at 11:00AM when I was laid off, I went home and took off my male clothes for the last time.

Do I have any regrets?

No, they are more like wishes. I wish that I could pass better, I joke that if you can’t tell that I’m trans within ten feet than you need glasses and a hearing aid. I wish that I could change my voice to sound more feminine, I’m forever getting “sired” on the phone. I wish that I had bigger boobs. And I wish that I had hair and didn’t have to wear a wig all the time.

I wish that I could say that it was smooth sailing but it wasn’t, there have been a lot of ups and downs but whose life doesn’t have ups and downs. I just have different ups and downs. I generally feel that my life is better since I transitioned; I am doing more with my life. I have made many new friends and I also went back to college and got my Master’s in Social Work.

Some of the problems that I had were carried over after my transition; I still have a hard time socializing, I still don’t like crowds and I don’t like going someplace on my own (I think those are a little worst since I transitioned because now I stand out.). I do feel that these problems are related to my trans-ness because it was a defensive mechanism to hide a part of myself, I never let anyone get close to me.

I think in one way my health is better. I used to have panic attacks, I don’t have them anymore. I used to live in fear of being discovered and I was afraid that I would be disowned by my family and that built up stress in my life which I think contributed to my panic attacks. I developed diabetes and there are some research that says it is linked to cross-gender hormones, but I don’t think so; I think it had more to do with my love for apple turnovers and drinking a couple cans of soda a day.

A friend asked me why didn’t I come out to my friends earlier and I think the answer is the timing wasn’t right. I think if I came out say thirty years earlier I would probably be living on the street right now and also back then I would have had to lie to my therapist and tell them that I am attracted to men. Because back then you couldn’t transition unless you could be assimilated into society. You had to pass and be heterosexual. Also I don’t know how my friends would have felt back then, some would have accepted me but I don’t know about others. When I didn’t come out to them one friend said I was the third person that he knew who transitioned.

So how would I rate my life since transition? I’ll give it a 8.793 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Friday, June 28, 2013

LGBT Pride Songs & Films

The Huffington Post had two articles in their Gay Voices section; the first was for songs and the other one was for films. As usual the list was heavily weighted in favor of the Ls & Gs. These are the songs and movies that I think pertain to trans.
LGBT Pride Songs: 34 Gay, Transgender, Lesbian And Bisexual Anthems 2013
The Huffington Post
By Christopher Rudolph
Posted: 06/25/2013

'I'm Coming Out,' Diana Ross (1980)
Nile Rodgers, who also produced smash hits for David Bowie and Madonna among other artists, is said to have come up with the idea for the song after noticing three different drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a New York club.

'Believe,' Cher (1999)
Named by Billboard magazine as "the best darn thing that Cher has recorded in years," the song -- which sold over 10 million copies worldwide -- breathed new life into the diva's music career, re-inventing her as a disco queen and making her the only recording artist to hit No. 1 on the pop charts

'Over The Rainbow,' Judy Garland (1939)
It's shocking to think now, but Judy Garland's signature tune was initially deleted from "The Wizard of Oz" because MGM executives thought it slowed down the action of the film. Ranked by the American Film Institute as the "greatest movie song of all time," it has since been recorded by Eva Cassidy, Patti LaBelle, Kylie Minogue, Matthew Morrison and others.

'Supermodel (You Better Work)' - RuPaul
The 1992 single that shot RuPaul to stardom. A song sung by a drag queen, about supermodels and "sashaying" was an unexpected hit in the early 90s.

'I Am What I Am' From 'La Cage Aux Folles,' Gloria Gaynor (1983)
Arguably the best-known song from the 1983 musical "La Cage aux Folles," "I Am What I Am" didn't quite repeat the chart success of "I Will Survive" for Gaynor, but nonetheless went on to become the second of her singles to achieve gay anthem status.

'I Want To Break Free,' Queen (1984)
Queen frontman Freddie Mercury remains an LGBT icon for many reasons -- as one of rock music's first performers to not only acknowledge his bisexuality, but also embrace it in his flamboyant stage presence. Mercury's openness was certainly envelope-pushing in the world of 1970s and '80s arena rock, and it only seemed to further his band's popularity among the masses.

The video for the song, which featured Freddie and other band members in full drag, was considered controversial in the U.S. and initially banned by MTV.
The other article was
LGBT Pride Films 2013: The Best Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual And Transgender Movies To Celebrate
The Huffington Post
By Christopher Rudolph
Posted: 06/27/2013

'Paris Is Burning'
Shot in the mid-to-late 1980s, this 1990 documentary chronicles the "Golden Age" of ball culture of New York City, and the black, Latino, gay and transgender communities involved in it.

The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert'
This 1994 comedy-drama follows two drag queens and a trans woman as they travel across the Australian Outback in a tour bus that they have dubbed "Priscilla."

'Ma Vie En Rose'
This 1997 Belgian film tells the story of Ludovic, a child who, though born male, believes she is a girl on the inside, and acts as such. The family initially humors her identity, believing it's a phase, but increasingly struggles with Lodovic's gender-nonconformity in an unaccepting society.

'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'
The eccentric 1975 rock musical stars Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the self-proclaimed "Sweet Transvestite" from Transsexual, Transylvania. "Rocky Horror" is the longest-running theatrical release in film history, so, if you haven't seen it, you must prepare to do the Time Warp. If you have seen it, prepare to do the Time Warp again.

'To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar'
Starring Wesley Snypes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo as three New York drag queens stranded in a small conservative town, this campy 1995 comedy is a lesson in how to spread fabulousness.

A transgender woman (played by Felicity Huffman) takes her long-lost son on a road-trip across America in this portrayal of a personal journey toward self-acceptance.

'Hedwig And the Angry Inch'
This 2001 American musical comedy-drama film paints a portrait of a transgender punk rock girl from East Berlin who tours the U.S. with her rock band as she tells her life story.

'The Birdcage'
This 1996 comedy features Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as a gay couple who agree to pretend to be straight so that their son can introduce them to his fiancé's conservative parents.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman stars as a drag queen and Robert De Niro as the tough cop in this 90s critically acclaimed film.
I think he should have definitely have included Lola and he should have included such movies as “Different for Girls”, “My Life in Pink”, “The Crying Game” and “Soldier's Girl” and also one of my favorites “The World According to Garp.” But what do expect from a young gay man, he probably never heard of any of these.

The lists remind me of a documentary in 2006 that I attended at the University of Hartford called “Further Off the Straight and Narrow: A Decade of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Visibility, 1995-2005” and all the associate professor talked about in her documentary was gays and lesbians. When my friends and I called her to task about not included any trans TV shows, her reply was that she hadn’t found any shows that included trans-people. My friends and I rattled off a half a dozen shows and she stood there dumb-foundered. I commented that if I was grading her that I would have giving her an F and send it back to her to do more research (I just Goolged her and found out that she changed the name of her video to just Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals… typical of gays and lesbians to write out trans-history).

What are your favorite songs and movies?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

What anniversary you ask?

Why it is the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, it was on this day back in 1969 that the rebellion took place (Ops... I was one day early). It was on this day that the LGBT people in New York stood up and said enough.

Each year the memory gets fainter and each year the history gets rewritten a little more.

A couple of years ago I was at a Pride event down in the southwestern part of the state and they had posters about Stonewall and each poster was about a lesbian or gay person who took part in Stonewall. When I asked a young gay man with a pride volunteer T-shirt why there were no posters of trans-people hanging up, his answer was, “Well they weren’t any.” So I went over to one of the organizers and asked him, he sheepishly said that he looked but he couldn’t find any.

We keep getting written out of history, people say that Stonewall was the beginning of the “Gay Rights Movement” but what it really it was the beginning of the “LGBT Rights Movement.” When you question them on that they usually say… Oh, I meant Gay as in LGBT. So we get all lumped together under “Gay” but the problem is that people think of gay as gay not LGBT.

So let’s go back to the source to September 1970, one year and three months later. the Transadvocate has a letter-to-the-editor in the Advocate in response to another letter-to-the-editor that was complaining about the “drag queens” in the Pride parade…
Also, he should remember that the homophile community ranges from flamboyant drag queens to conservative closet queers—but we are all human and should join together in this our common struggle. Please don’t forget that it was the DRAG QUEENS who fought back last year, not we closet queens.
In the first letter-to-the-editor the writer said,
How can we make demands for equality, based on our rights as normal citizens, when our public image is constantly destroyed by flamboyancy and poor taste.

I, as much as anyone else, really enjoy a campy good time, but a public demonstration is not really the place for dropping beads and “in” jokes.

Where were the “normal looking fags,” the college types and so on, whose appearance would bolster our image?
And that is why we were written out of the history of Stonewall because they only wanted the ‘’’normal looking fags,’ the college types and so on, whose appearance would bolster our image” and to this day there are some lesbians and gays who wish that we would just go away.

You Speak With Forked Tongue

Or you speak out both sides of your month or you are two faced or whatever you want to call being a hypocrite. In yesterday’s dissenting opinion on DOMA the justices contradicted what they said in Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on Voter Rights Act. In an article in the Nation they point out how hypocritical they were,
The Supreme Court's Constitutional Hypocrisy
Ari Berman on June 26, 2013

In his dissent in the Defense of Marriage Act case today, Justice Scalia wrote: “We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation.”

Justice Roberts wrote in his concurrence: “I agree with Justice Scalia that this Court lacks jurisdiction to review the decisions of the courts below… I also agree with Justice Scalia that Congress acted constitutionally in passing the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Yet that reasoning didn’t stop Justices Roberts and Scalia from striking down the centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act yesterday, a hugely important civil rights law that has been passed by Congress five times with overwhelming bipartisan approval. Why didn’t the court defer to Congress on the VRA, which has a far more robust Congressional history/mandate than DOMA? And how did Roberts and Scalia reach such contradictory conclusions in the different cases?

It doesn’t seem like the Chief Justice has a very sound grasp of the Constitution when it comes to the VRA. Richard Posner, an esteemed conservative legal theorist at the University of Chicago and a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, wrote in Slate that Roberts struck down Section 4 of the VRA for violating the “fundamental principle of equal sovereignty,” which, as Posner writes “is a principle of constitutional law of which I had never heard—for the excellent reason that…there is no such principle…The opinion rests on air.” The extensive record developed by Congress, most recently in 2006, Posner writes, “should have been the end of this case.”
It is not only “The Nation” who noticed these two faced decisions, but also Rachel Maddow on MSNBC,
So on what grounds, exactly, did the court find Sec. 4 of the VRA unconstitutional? I have no idea.

Assuming I'd missed something important, I asked the Constitutional Accountability Center's David Gans to help me out. He told me:

    "Your question highlights a fundamental flaw in Chief Justice Roberts' majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder. The Court strikes down a core provision of the Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional without ever explaining what provision of the Constitution commands this result. Chief Justice Roberts' opinion for the conservative majority argued that the Voting Rights Act provision was inconsistent with the 'letter and spirit of the Constitution,' but he never really explained why.

    "His majority opinion emphasized that the Voting Rights Act diminished the sovereignty of states, ignoring that Fifteenth Amendment expressly gives to Congress broad power to prevent all forms of racial discrimination in voting by the states. As Justice Ginsburg's powerful dissent demonstrates, the Court's opinion cannot be squared with the text, history, and meaning of the Fifteenth Amendment."
Judicial restraint is often a rather amorphous concept, which sometimes means different things to different people. But in this case we have a piece of civil-rights legislation that was approved by the people's representatives, and then re-approved with large majorities several times. It was signed into law by an elected president, and then reauthorized to great fanfare by subsequent presidents of both parties. It's been subjected to judicial scrutiny over the course of several decades, and a judicial precedent has been set: the Voting Rights Act is legal.
Hmmm…. It seems that some of the conservative judges have selected vision see only the parts of the Constitution they want to see and when. Do you remember the confirmation hearings in the Senate the Republicans made such a stink about “Activist” judges and they wanted judges who followed the Constitution? If you have been following the court’s decisions you will notice a trend in interpolating the Constitution more towards “state’s rights” and limiting the rights of people.

This is the court that,
Allowed corporations to influence elections
Made it hard to sue your employer for discrimination
Took away the federal government power to insure fair elections

The Crooks and Liars blog said this about the decision.
Pretty straightforward, but it leaves some open questions yet to be resolved. Justice Kennedy was careful to write the majority opinion from a federalist stance, leaving the states free to ban or approve gay marriages while requiring the federal government to rewrite most of the rules around how marriage is defined for purposes of federal benefits.
We are now left with a quagmire of state laws. What will happen if one spouse of a same-sex couple that is vacationing in a state that has a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality becomes ill, will the other spouse be able to visit them in the hospital? What happens when a legally married couple who resides in a state with marriage equality move to a state without equality? What happens if a legally married same-sex couple has a child and one spouse runs off to another state that doesn’t recognize their marriage? These are all real questions that will arise over time.

Think about this from University of Missouri School of Law;
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents a constitutional question never addressed by this Court: whether a statutory scheme adopted by the State of Virginia to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classifications violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. For reasons which seem to us to reflect the central meaning of those constitutional commands, we conclude that these statutes cannot stand consistently with the Fourteenth Amendment.

In June 1958, two residents of Virginia, Mildred Jeter, a Negro woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were married in the District of Columbia pursuant to its laws. Shortly after their marriage, the Lovings returned to Virginia and established their marital abode in Caroline County. At the October Term, 1958, of the Circuit Court of Caroline County, a grand jury issued an indictment charging the Lovings with violating Virginia's ban on interracial marriages. On January 6, 1959, the Lovings pleaded guilty to the charge and were sentenced to one year in jail; however, the trial judge suspended the sentence for a period of 25 years on the condition that the Lovings leave the State and not return to Virginia together for 25 years. He stated in an opinion that:     "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
Do you think today’s court would have ruled the way they did in 1967? Now change it from “interracial” to “same-sex” do you think that today’s court would follow the logic of the 1967?

Many trans-people do not see the implications of yesterday’s ruling on the trans-community. But consider a trans-woman who has had surgery, living in her birth state and all of her documentation has been changed to her true gender. Marries a man and they then move to a state that bans same-sex marriages and only recognizes the gender assigned at birth. The husband dies and the wife tries to collect insurance and the insurance company claims that they were never legally married. How do you think this Supreme Court that is steeped in “state’s rights” would rule? Would they follow the Loving court decision or would they say that the law in the state that they now live in will prevail?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Marriage Equality is legal in California!

Supreme Court takes the narrow view in Prop 8, that they didn't have standing to challenge Prop 8. Therefore, the court did a two-step around the question about the constitutionally of marriage equality and limited their decision to apply only to California.

It was a 5-4 vote with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the majority.


Unconstitutional based on the 14th Amendment.

This is very good news, not that it was struck down but because of the 14th Amendment, this makes it a very broad affecting states as well as DOMA

It was a 5-4 decision

Politics As Usual In Texas

Last night there was a heroic effort to block the passage of an anti-abortion bill in the Texas Senate. Senator Wendy Davis filibuster for over 10 hours before she was declared “out of order” and the senate started voting. When the Senate finally finished the vote on the bill the clock said 12:02 after the deadline for the senate to adjourn.

On the Texas Tribune live blog followed the action on the Senate floor,

Texas senators are trying to get to the bottom of whether Republicans successfully pushed through a vote on Senate Bill 5, the omnibus abortion restriction bill, ahead of their midnight deadline.

Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, says the bill passed at 12:02 a.m.; if that's true, the vote may not withstand legal scrutiny.

"It's pretty conclusive that it didn't pass," said Whitmire.

But the Senate still has not officially adjourned sine die. When Senators resume floor proceedings, Whitmire said Democrats will call a point of order on the motion to vote on a bill after the midnight deadline.
12:27 a.m. by Becca Aaronson

When the clock struck midnight, Republican senators were gathered around the dais attempting to vote on Senate Bill 5. It's still unclear whether they were successful.

The protesters seated in the gallery erupted roughly 10 minutes before midnight, and screamed so loudly that the floor proceedings couldn't be heard.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, told the press, "we started voting before midnight," and therefore, it counted. But state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said, "the session is over's over with at midnight," and so, the vote didn't count.
1:08 a.m. by Becca Aaronson

The state legislative website currently shows a record vote on Senate Bill 5 on June 25 — Tuesday, before midnight. The page has been edited, as it originally showed a record vote on June 26, 2011.
1:43 a.m. by Ross Ramsey

A different look at the changing vote records. We took these screenshots from the Legislature's own website. The first one shows the last actions on SB 5 taking place after midnight:

And the second, taken 9 minutes later, shows the dates changed to 6/25:
Hmm…. I seem to remember something about changing official government records as being a crime.

Later, the Lt. Governor declared the vote invalid, I wonder what would have been the outcome if these photos were not all over the web?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


You have probably heard already about the firing of Allyson Robinson from the directorship of OutServe-SLDN.
Allyson Robinson to Continue as OutServe-SLDN Director for 'Near Term'
Allyson Robinson says she will be stepping down as executive director of the LGBT military advocacy group "of her own accord," but will continue to lead "in the near term."
The Advocate
By Sunnivie Brydum
June 24 2013

After nearly a full day of speculation — and of a flurry of resignations — since a leaked email and emergency board meeting indicated that LGBT military advocacy group OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network asked its executive director, Allyson Robinson, to resign, both Robinson and the organization issued statements Monday afternoon. Those statements don't provide much additional information about how the leak occurred but do confirm that Robinson will continue in her role as executive director through the organization's upcoming leadership transition.
In a lengthy statement also published in OutServe Magazine, OutServe-SLDN claimed the organization is facing financial hardship and requires organizational restructuring, which prompted the issue of Robinson's removal.

"The board would like to clarify that the drafted item was only part of a series of discussions aimed at transitioning the organization in what has been a rapidly changing financial and political landscape facing the LGBT movement, which will soon include a Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act," reads the statement.
Translated… “We got ours, screw the trans servicemembers.” My guess is that the funding is drying up (if that is the real reason for her firing) because “Gay Inc.” is no longer supporting SLDN because of the repeal of DADT. We have seen that in every state that has passed marriage equality legislation. Here in Connecticut one of our strongest supports Love Make a Family closed its door once marriage equality legislation passed because the donations stopped.

Allyson Robinson took the high ground in the statement that was published on OutServe website,
This weekend’s events were most unfortunate and deeply troubling for many of us, but for my part, as from the beginning of my tenure with this organization, I am fully and firmly committed to our LGBT service members, veterans, and their families and to their fight for equality. For that reason, and to honor those who’ve shared those values with me, it is my intent to continue to lead OutServe-SLDN in the near term as we approach an historic moment for our community and our country. After that, at a date to be determined, I have decided of my own accord to step down, and will work with our members to ensure an orderly transition to the next phase of this organization’s life.

Very few people ever get the opportunity in this life to hear from those whose lives they’ve touched just how much they are loved and respected. I have no words to express my gratitude for the hundreds who have reached out to me privately or stood up for me publicly over these last 24 hours to show their support: from the military community, the LGBT community, and most especially, most dear to me, the troops of OutServe-SLDN and their families. For that, I am blessed beyond measure.

In light of the momentous events the coming days hold for us all, I intend to put this matter behind us and look forward to shifting the focus back to where it belongs: our LGBT service members, veterans, and families, who sacrifice so much every day, and their ongoing fight for full equality.

— Allyson Robinson, Executive Director, OutServe-SLDN
According Bilerico the entire senior staff resigned over the firing of Allison Roberson,
The entire senior staff of the organization promptly tendered resignations following the board vote and other additional staffers like Kulsoom Naqvi, staff attorney, and Erica Reardon, communications and development associate, are no longer listed on the website as employees according to Buzzfeed.

At least three board members - Sue Fulton, Beth Schissel, and Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Phelps - tendered their resignations yesterday. In a statement to the Washington Blade this morning, Phelps announced that the board refused to accept his resignation and has asked him instead to participate in resolving the crisis.
We are going to have to wait to see how this affect SLDN position on trans-servicemembers, Ms. Roberson was the only trans-person on their Board.

The article goes on to say,
Schissel refers to "an organization in chaos that has put egos before mission," in her letter and multiple sources are suggesting that Seefried's motivation to seek Robinson's removal had nothing to do with fundraising abilities or anti-trans bias. Instead, they - like Schissel - claim that the actual reason is petty jealousy.
UPDATE 2: Nine OutServe-SLDN chapters have threatened to break away if Seefried does not step down as board co-chair. They say they will form their own organization.

UPDATE 3: Military Advisory Council member Jeremy Johnson resigned from the organization an hour ago citing the treatment of Robinson. A copy of his resignation letter is after the break.

Update 7/4/2013:
American Blog just had this article about SLDN/OutServe,
OutServe-SLDN co-chair steps down
By John Aravosis

Josh Seefried has stepped down as co-chair of OutServe-SLDN, in an effort to help the organization survive what has become a bitter – and I mean literally bitter – fight for survival.
Here’s what we do know.
6. Robinson’s supporters, including three board members and a number of OutServe-SLDN chapter heads, fought back and demanded the resignation of OutServe-SLDN co-chair, Josh Seefried, who is gay.  No explanation for why Seefried is singled out.

9. We discovered a few days ago that OutServe-SLDN is for all intents and purposes now bankrupt.

10. Board co-chair Josh Seefried, in an effort to help the organization survive and move past this dispute, has just resigned.
Stay tune as the saga continues...

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Forgotten Children

I imagine it is hard enough growing up in a foster’s parent home but imagine what it must be like if you are LGBT? The CT Post has an article these kids…
States fight discrimination toward gay foster kids
By KELLI KENNEDY, Associated Press
Saturday, June 22, 2013

MIAMI (AP) — Sixto Cancel says his ultra-religious foster family frequently talked about their disdain for his homosexuality at the dinner table, trashed his room and called him homophobic slurs. While he was still a teenager, he says, they kicked him out of their Connecticut home after he had lived there for nearly a decade.
"I've had conversations with many youth in the system who will not come out because they saw how staff treated their friends in the system after they came out," said Kamora Herrington (I interned with Kamora at True Colors), mentoring program director of True Colors, an organization that helps gay foster youths in Connecticut.

Last year, a lesbian girl who Herrington worked with was kicked out of a Connecticut foster home after the family's grandmother, who was very opposed to homosexuality, moved in. Herrington said the last time she heard from the girl, she was hitch-hiking across the country.
During my internship at True Colors I met many children like the one Karmora mentioned many of them were trans and they have a hard time finding foster parents or mentors for trans-kids. True Colors is always looking for adults to mentor them and they offer a training program for their mentors.

I was at a fundraiser for CTAC Saturday, while I was there a trans-woman came up to me and said “Hi Diana.” It turned out that she was one of the kids who attended True Colors functions (True Colors runs many programs for LGBT youth, not just programs for DCF) back when I interned there.

I urge you to think about becoming a foster parent for LGBT youth or mentoring a LGBT child.

A Skirmish Won, The Battle Goes On

Out in Colorado a skirmish was won with the Colorado Rights Division ruled in favor of Coy Mathis in her fight against the Fountain-Fort Carson School District; however, my guess is that the school district will appeal to the court system and that the battle will continue all the way up to the state’s highest court.
Rights Unit Finds Bias Against Transgender Student
The New York Times
Published: June 23, 2013

In a sharply worded ruling, the division concluded that the Fountain-Fort Carson School District needlessly created a situation in which the student, Coy Mathis, would be subject to harassment when it barred her from the girls’ bathroom even though she clearly identified as female.

Telling Coy “that she must disregard her identity while performing one of the most essential human functions constitutes severe and pervasive treatment, and creates an environment that is objectively and subjectively hostile, intimidating or offensive,” Steven Chavez, the division director, wrote in the decision.
We see the same thing here in Connecticut where school districts force the student to either use the bathroom of their birth gender and the faculty bathroom. One school district that refuses to let the student use the bathroom of their gender identity claims that they don’t have to because the law does not specifically address bathrooms. But the school district totally ignores the fact that there were numerous amendments introduced to limit bathroom use to the persons birth gender and they all were defeated.

In Maine last week (I wrote about it here) the Supreme Judicial Court heard a case similar to the Colorado case. I have it from a reliable source that they are “positively optimistic” of a favorable outcome judging by the questions that the justices asked. However, one of the judges recused his/her self from the case and my source believes that the judge would have been favorable to the student side of the case.

The Washington Times said,
During Wednesday’s session, the justices, led by Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley, covered “safe harbor” policies for schools, the meaning of “sex” and “sexual orientation,” whether Maine lawmakers had been clear in their legislation, and whether the case was moot, since the plaintiff family left the school district several years ago.
It would be a shame if the court determined that the case was moot because the family moved out of town. That would mean that if you harass someone enough for them to move that they couldn’t sue for discrimination anymore.
The article goes on to say…
In her arguments for the Maineses on Wednesday, Jennifer Levi, an attorney with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, said the school should not have removed “Susan” from the girls’ bathroom because “another student misbehaved.”

The parents may have agreed to an alternative bathroom plan in theory, but because the school overruled the parents in applying it, the school illegally segregated the child, said Ms. Levi. The Maine Human Rights Act forbids discrimination in public accommodations and in education based on sexual orientation, including gender identity or expression.
We see this a lot where the victim is the one to be punished by being transferred or forced to use another bathroom and the bully gets off scot free.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Great Debate…

I know a number of people who think separating boys and girls in school is a great idea. A couple of their reasons are that boys and girls learn differently and that having opposite sex in the classroom is distracting for kids with raging hormones.

My main objection is that separate and equal never works and that in life you are going to have to work side by side and if you don’t learn social skills when will you learn them? In college? In the workplace?

The ACLU brought a lawsuit against Birmingham Alabama which had separate classes.
Alabama: Another Unlawful Single-Sex Program Goes Co-Ed
By Amy L. Katz, ACLU Women's Rights Project

A Birmingham, AL public middle school has agreed to abandon unlawful single-sex classes as the result of ACLU action that led to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the federal agency charged with enforcing Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs.
Huffman had been separating boys and girls in every grade for all core curriculum classes, homeroom and lunch, on the theory that there are "hard-wired" differences between boys' and girls' brains requiring them to be taught differently, but, possibly in response to ACLU letters of complaint, had cut the program back this year significantly.

Pop theories of hard-wired brain differences between boys and girls have been debunked by neuroscientists, psychologists and educational researchers. Even Birmingham CSD testing researchers were unimpressed with the results of sex separation at Huffman. Analysis of student test results in the areas of reading and mathematics at Huffman and other Birmingham schools that had experimented with sex separation showed no clear pattern of improvement after the initiation of single-sex programs, and the researchers concluded: "There is no definitive proof that the percentage of students scoring proficient is significantly impacted by students being taught in same gender classroom settings."
I do not believe that any case can justify “separate but equal” all it does is breed discrimination and biases.

It’s the Bathrooms Again (Part 2)…

In Iowa, the sheriff’s department got its hand slapped,
Johnson County settles with transgender woman, will clarify public restroom policy
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Written by Josh O’Leary
Jun. 20, 2013

Sheriff’s deputies will receive new training on civil rights matters, and Johnson County will clarify its policy on public restroom use under a settlement agreement with a transgender Iowa City woman.

Jodie Jones had filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission after she was denied use of a women’s restroom while dressed as a female by a deputy in November 2011 at the Johnson County Courthouse.

The settlement was facilitated by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission after Administrative Law Judge Heather Palmer concluded earlier this year there was probable cause supporting Jones’ claims of discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sex and sexual orientation in a public accommodation.

Under the agreement, the county’s Board of Supervisors will pass a motion reaffirming its policy that people are permitted access to restrooms in county buildings based on their gender identity, and regardless of their gender at birth.

In addition, the Johnson County Attorney’s Office will provide 30 minutes of in-person training to deputies assigned to work at the courthouse. And by February 2014, all deputies will receive two hours of training on civil rights and public accommodations with specific emphasis on gender identification and sexual orientation issues. That training will also be made available to officers from municipal police department annually.
In the Iowa the Gazette also had an article about the case, in it Dru Levasseur from Lambda Legal said…
Equal access to public restrooms for transgender people is a national issue that needs greater public awareness, said Dru Levasseur, an attorney and Transgender Rights Project director for Lambda Legal, a gay-rights organization based in New York City.

About 12 percent of the 7,000 calls Lambda Legal receives each year concern transgender issues, and many of those deal with bathrooms, he said. Violence and harassment are very real concerns for transgender people, he said, and confrontations in bathrooms can lead to unsafe situations.

“That is definitely a very important topic that we are working on,” Levasseur said.
Why can’t they just let us pee in peace?

I'm At A Fundraise...

This afternoon I am attended a fundraiser for GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocate and Defenders) and the guest of honor is Governor Malloy. Most people do not know it, but if it wasn’t for the governor we would not have the gender inclusive anti-discrimination statue that we now have.

The governor and his staff pushed through the bill when it was stalled in the House and then later in the Senate. He and his staff persuaded many legislators in both chambers to vote for the bill and when the bill came up for a vote in the wee hours in the morning, his chief of staff came up to the visitor’s gallery to join us in watching the final vote.

 And the governor continues his support of the trans-community.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Six #280

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #280

1. Based on celebrities you’ve seen who’ve had plastic surgery, more often than not, do you believe it’s better to have cosmetic surgery or just age gracefully?
It depends on what surgery, I think it is so easy to tell people who had face lifts, and they look so “plastic”

2. Should there be an age limit for teenagers who want cosmetic surgery for appearance only (in other words, when no legitimate medical issue is involved)?
Yes, and there should be a limit on how many times you can have it done.

3. What part of physical aging do you fear most?
Losing my mind.

4. Would you ever consider having Botox injections for cosmetic purposes?
Nope, I don’t want to inject poison into my body.

5. Would you ever consider a facelift, chin lift or brow lift?
Well you have to understand my special circumstance; yes.
6. Would you ever consider liposuction, lapband or stomach stapling surgery to combat obesity?
Once again you have to understand my special circumstance, yes I have thought about liposuction as part of fat transfer.

Saturday 9: Livin' on a Prayer

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Livin' on a Prayer

1) This song tells the tale of Tommy, who works on the docks, and Gina, who works in a diner. Where do you work?
No place! I’m retired, I use to work for a large multi-national corporation that at one time when I was working there we owned by the Queen of England.

2) Jon Bon Jovi has said that he and Frank Sinatra are distant relatives. Tell us about one of your relatives.
Hey, what do you want a family feud? I have nothing but great relatives.

3) Jon and his high school sweetheart tied the knot in Vegas at the Graceland Wedding Chapel, and they remain married today. When you were in school, who did you fantasize about marrying? Where is that person today?
It was a girl that I was dating in high school; I believe that she is working in biotech out on California.

4) The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation is devoted to supplying local food pantries and helping rebuild neighborhoods hit by natural disasters. Here's your opportunity to give a shameless plug to a charity you support.
It is the non-profit that I’m on the Board of Directors.

5) Jon is often complimented on his hair. What's the most recent compliment you've received?
About my blouse.

6) Everyone talks about their favorite vacation spots. But, since Sam is crazy, she wants to hear about a place you visited that you wish never to return to.
I don’t know if I have a worst vacation, I’m finicky so I research where I go on vacation.

7) When was the last time you played cards with an actual deck (as opposed to on your computer)? What game was it?
Up at the cottage and it was Hearts.

8) Do you bite your nails?
Nope, I stopped biting them back in high school and surprise! I stopped getting colds.

9) Where are you as you answer these 9 questions? What's the view from where you sit?
At home looking out my living room window and I see woods.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Last weekend I went up to my brother’s and sister-in-law’s condo in southern Maine and then on Monday we went up to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay and timing was perfect. Most of the flowers were in bloom and the weather was picture-perfect, around 80 degrees and low humidity with a light breeze. But on the way home we hit some very strong thunderstorms, so we were lucky that we left when we did.

I put together this three and half minute video of the gardens and I set it to an instrumental by Kevin MacLeod called Windswept…

If you like this video please leave a comment.

Do You Remember A Couple Of Months Ago…

...When the Republicans said that they wanted to be more inclusive of minorities and gays, lesbians, bi and trans people? Well get a load of what these Republicans want to do,
Idaho GOPer fears gay employees will come “into work in a tutu”
The Idaho GOP is pushing to overturn local ordinances that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation
By Jillian Rayfield
June 18, 2013

As Idaho Republicans push resolutions to get the state Legislature to overturn city ordinances that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, one local GOP official argued that though he would hire a gay man as an employee, he shouldn’t have to keep him on if he comes “into work in a tutu.”

“I’d hire a gay guy if I thought he was a good worker. But if he comes into work in a tutu … he’s not producing what I want in my office,” said Cornel Rasor, the current chairman of the resolutions committee of the Idaho GOP, according to the Spokesman-Review. “If a guy has a particular predilection and keeps it to himself, that’s fine,” Rasor continued. “But if he wants to use my business as a platform for his lifestyle, why should I have to subsidize that? And that’s what these anti-discrimination laws do.”
“Resolved, that the Idaho Republican State Central Committee recommends that our legislators support Idaho’s current anti-discrimination laws and policies and enact a law that would make unenforceable any municipal ordinances that would seek to expand categories of prohibited discrimination beyond current state anti-discrimination laws and policies,” the resolution states.
Six cities in Idaho have passed ordinances banning discrimination and this guy feels he should be able to discriminate against.

In another article a Republican in Congress has proposed another stupid law…
Congressman Wants Public Schools To Teach Gender Stereotypes ‘At A Very Early Age’
Think Progress
By Josh Israel
June 19, 2013

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) wants American youths to be taught gender stereotypes in grade school classes, so they understand the roles of mothers and fathers — and the importance of allowing only opposite-sex couples to marry.

In a speech Monday on the House floor, Gingrey stressed his continued support for the Defense of Marriage Act — which defines marriage as only union between a man and a woman — and suggested that children need to be carefully taught about the traditional roles of their genders:
GINGREY: You know, maybe part of the problem is we need to go back into the schools at a very early age, maybe at the grade school level, and have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young boys and say, you know, this is what’s important. This is what a father does that is maybe a little different, maybe a little bit better than the talents that a mom has in a certain area. And the same thing for the young girls, that, you know, this is what a mom does, and this is what is important from the standpoint of that union which we call marriage.”
Yup, these Republicans sure know how to appeal to the voters.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Number Seventeen!

There are seventeen states, one territory and the District of Columbia that have protection for gender identity and expression, Delaware is number seventeen.
Delaware gender identity bill clears final vote
Opponents fear men will lurk in women's locker rooms
Written by Randall Chase AP
Jun. 19, 2013

DOVER — Transgender people in Delaware will soon join the list of protected classes under the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

The Senate voted 11-to-9 Wednesday to give final approval to a bill adding gender identity to the list of protected nondiscrimination categories, including race, age, religion and sexual orientation. The legislation also allows for enhanced penalties under Delaware’s hate crimes law for targeting someone based on his or her gender identity.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to sign the bill into law Wednesday evening.

Supporters say the law is needed because transgender people can be straight or gay and are thus not protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Opponents argued the bill is unnecessary and will lead to disturbances by men lurking in girls’ restrooms and locker rooms, then claiming to be transgender.
It seems like each state has to add a little something to the language of the bill to satisfy legislators who were sitting on the fence. Connecticut added,
…which gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person's core identity or not being asserted for an improper purpose.
Delaware added this to appease the fence sitters,
In an effort to address such concerns, the House amended the bill this week with language stating that gender identity may be demonstrated by “consistent and uniform assertion of the gender identity or any other evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity,” and that gender identity cannot be asserted “for any improper purpose.”
I do not know if the bill also contains wording for gender expression protection. I think that it is vital to include gender expression because an employer could say that they have no problem with you being trans, just don’t show it at work.

The bill prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, public works, contracting, and insurance. 

Meanwhile, in neighboring Maryland the bill are still hung-up in the legislature because of religious fanatics and their frenzy over bathrooms. Even through there has never been any case where a person used the anti-discrimination laws to commit a crime since the first law that was passed in 1975.

Updated: 9:36AM

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

File This Under “I Would Have Never Guessed!”

I think this is no surprise to anyone…
Experts: Fox News' Coverage Contributes To Violence, Discrimination Against Transgender Community
Media Matters
Carlos Maza

Fox News Routinely Promotes Inaccurate And Defamatory Depictions Of The Transgender Community. Fox News' transgender coverage consistently includes derogatory and harmful misinformation - including name-calling and transphobic pseudoscience - including:

  • Joking About "The One Part Of Chaz [Bono] That Hasn't Been Operated On [Fox & Friends, 9/27/11]
  • Referring To A Transgender Woman As A "Burly Man In A Dress" [Fox News Radio Reporter Todd Starnes, 6/3/13]
  • Asking If Trans-Supportive Parents Are Guilty Of "Child Abuse" [O'Reilly Factor, 5/23/12]
The article goes on to report on what various LGBT or Trans organization had to say about Fox New. The quotes are from…
  • National Center For Transgender Equality: Fox's Coverage "Permits Disrespectful And Sometimes Violent Treatment Of Trans People."
  • GLAAD: Fox's Coverage "Gives License For Continued Violence And Discrimination" Against Transgender People.
  • New York City Anti-Violence Project: Fox's "Vitriolic Hate Speech" Contributes To Violence Against Transgender People.
  • People For The American Way: Fox's Coverage Does "Real Harm To Real People."
  • Human Rights Campaign Foundation: Fox's Coverage Is "Propaganda That Further Stigmatizes" Transgender People.
I don’t think anyone is surprised the Fox News is biased; however, some of the local affiliates are LGBT friendly. The local affiliate here in Connecticut has covered local LGBT and even one of their news personalities has MCed the Hartford Pride for a number of years. They also have covered the Hartford Transgender Day of Remembrance.

SSA Changes

There have been some questions arising from the recent announcement by the Social Security Administration about what happens to you spouse if you change your gender marker. The NTCE has tried to answer some of those questions
Will changing my gender with SSA affect my health benefits?
Changing your gender marker with Social Security will typically not affect your health insurance at all if you have private insurance. While some insurance plans may automatically refuse coverage of services that appear inconsistent with a gender marker in the plan’s records, insurance plans generally do not base their gender data on, or match it with, Social Security records, but instead use data from enrollment forms.

An exception is that if a person is enrolled in Medicare, or is enrolled in both the Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, their insurance record will be based Social Security data. In that case, they may experience automatic refusals for coverage of services that appear inconsistent with a gender marker in Social Security records. These automatic rules were developed as a means to prevent erroneous or fraudulent billing, with the unintended consequence of sometimes affecting trans people. (This can happen with private insurance too, but that will be based on the gender in plan records, not Social Security records.) These types of denials can usually be resolved by having your provider’s office either add a specific billing code, contact the plan, or help you request a formal coverage determination. For more information, see NCTE’s health care and Medicare rights below.
What does “Appropriate Clinical Treatment” mean?
The new policy recognizes that people’s medical needs vary, and that treatment options must be decided by health care professionals on an individual basis. You are entitled to an updated gender marker if you have had the clinical treatment determined by your health care providers to be appropriate, in your individual case, to facilitate gender transition.No specific type of treatment is required, and details of your treatment should not be included in the letter from your physician to SSA.

NCTE encourages you and your doctor to only state in the letter that you have had the clinical treatment determined by your health care providers to be appropriate. Details about surgery, hormone treatment, or other treatments are unnecessary and not help
How does Social Security treat marriages involving transgender people?
Social Security recognizes as valid any marriage that was recognized under state law as being a valid, different-sex marriage when it was entered into. Any marriage that was valid when it was entered continues to be valid regardless of a spouse’s transition.

Social Security looks to state law and government-issued documents (such as birth certificates and court orders) to determine marital status – it is not based on the gender marker in your Social Security record. For this reason, changing your gender marker with Social Security will not affect your or your spouse’s right to Social Security benefits.
A complete list of questions and a list of resources is here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Are You Better Off?

That was the question that was asked by PEW researchers last week, here are some of their results…
A Survey of LGBT Americans
Attitudes, Experiences and Values in Changing Times
June 13, 2013

An overwhelming share of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults (92%) say society has become more accepting of them in the past decade and an equal number expect it to grow even more accepting in the decade ahead. They attribute the changes to a variety of factors, from people knowing and interacting with someone who is LGBT, to advocacy on their behalf by high-profile public figures, to LGBT adults raising families.
The survey finds that 12 is the median age at which lesbian, gay and bisexual adults first felt they might be something other than heterosexual or straight. For those who say they now know for sure that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, that realization came at a median age of 17.
Hmmm… I wonder what it was for trans-people? Was it younger? But wait! When you look at the data it turns out that the survey was mostly LGB… surprise! Only 5% of those surveyed identified as transgender.
This report is based primarily on a Pew Research Center survey of the LGBT population conducted April 11-29, 2013, among a nationally representative sample of 1,197 self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults 18 years of age or older. The sample comprised 398 gay men, 277 lesbians, 479 bisexuals and 43 transgender adults.
Woopie! Imagine that they interview a whopping 43 trans-people! About 9/10s of the survey was about lesbians, gays and bisexuals and you have to go way down to the bottom of the article to find anything about trans,
Because of the small number of transgender respondents in this survey (n=43), it is not possible to generate statistically significant findings about the views of this subgroup. However, their survey responses are represented in the findings about the full LGBT population throughout the survey.
Yup, once again the lesbians, gays and bisexuals speak for us.

To answer my first question about coming out at an earlier age, from the limited amount a data they did find the trans-people did come out at an earlier age. Usually before puberty, which make sense because you form your gender identity at a younger age, your “Id,” a sense of who you are before you form your sexual identity.

Even through the survey had a small trans population it did have some interesting comparisons and the survey is worth reading, there is a lot of interesting data in it. One of the ones I thought interesting was the question on “Social Acceptance” where,
Respondents were also asked to assess the level of social acceptance for specific LGBT groups: gay men, lesbians, bisexual men, bisexual women and transgender people. Across the LGBT population, bisexual women and lesbians are viewed as being more accepted by society than gay men, bisexual men or transgender people. There is a significant gap in perceptions about the extent to which society accepts gay men and lesbians. One-in-four LGBT adults say there is a lot of social acceptance of lesbians, while only 15% say there is a lot of acceptance of gay men.

Similarly there is a gap in views about social acceptance of bisexual women and men. One-third of all LGBT adults say there is a lot of social acceptance for bisexual women; only 8% say the same about bisexual men.

LGBT adults see relatively little social acceptance for transgender people. Fully eight-in-ten say there is only a little (59%) or no (21%) social acceptance of this group. Only 3% say there is a lot of acceptance, and 15% say there is some.
Yup, we are the black sheep of the family.

Here is another non-surprise…
Among both gay men (52%) and lesbians (47%), fewer say they have a lot or some common concerns and identity with transgender people.
Only about a quarter of bisexual men (24%) and about four-in-ten bisexual women (38%) say they have a lot or some in common with transgender people; pluralities of both bisexual men (51%) and bisexual women (39%) say that they feel they do not have any common concerns and identity with transgender people.
… while 47% of lesbians feel a sense of commonality with transgender people, that share rises to 58% among those who say being lesbian is extremely or very important to their overall identity.
Another non-surprise, 57% of the LGB people survey said marriage was important while only 29% said that health insurance for trans-people was important.

One more section that I found interesting was about why the change in attitude has happened.
Respondents were asked about the various factors that may have contributed to increased acceptance of people who are LGBT. Individual relationships and the role of well-known public figures are viewed as being the most helpful things in terms of fostering acceptance. Fully seven-in-ten LGBT adults say people knowing someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender helps a lot, and 24% say this helps a little.
I think this is the main reason why the change in attitudes. We are no longer the anonymous, we are your neighbors, we are your fellow workers, we are family, we shop where you shop and we are your customers.

I came out the closet in 2001 and a lot has changed since then and I think that in another ten year we (the trans-community) will not be discriminate against openly but behind our backs, we still won’t have true equality.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Wheel Turns In Mysterious Ways

Last Wednesday I walking over at Pistol Creek which is an abandon golf course with a friend and her mother. A couple of years ago I met her on Facebook, she is from town. When she posted on Facebook that her parents sell antiques and they were looking stuff to sell on consignment, I contacted her since I was looking to sell the stuff that we cleared out from my parent’s house that was taking up space in my basement. I had them over to look through what I had and they took some on consignment.

Fast forward to today, the town is thinking about turning the abandon golf course in to sports fields which I’m against because the area has reverted back to its natural state. The golf cart paths make excellent walking trails that are used by many town residents. There are mother’s pushing baby carriage and seniors being pushed in wheelchairs, so I guess you can say it is used from cradle to grave.

When I went to a town Conservation Commission meeting where there was a hearing on the plan I meet some of the people who are organizing the opposition to sports fields. She mentioned that there were some historic foundations along the creek where they want to put in the fields. I knew my Facebook friend knew a lot about the town history so I contacted her and we decided to photograph the old foundation. When we met there, her mother who also knew a lot about the town history was with her. As we were walking around the park taking pictures they were telling me the history of the site. (Above is the foundation of the Jacob Wilcox's house. It was overgrown and was partially destroyed when the built the golf course.) One of the first gun companies in the U.S. was located there in the 1700s. Simon North made pistols there in 1799 (Hence Pistol Creek).

When we walking I mentioned my age and her mother said that she was only a year younger. She said where she lived when she was little and I said I lived a couple of blocks away... What school did you go to? It was the same school! I asked what is your maiden name, she said her name and it rang a bell with me.

Later when I got home I dug out my 5th grade photo and there she was! We were classmates in elementary school! Not only that but we use to play together. It a small world after all!

Here is a photo of one of my birthday parties and she is one of the girls in the picture.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Trans-Equality For New Yorkers

There was an editorial in the New York Times saying it was time for the New York State Senate to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)
Civil Rights for Transgender People
Published: June 12, 2013

New York stood for equality by approving same-sex marriage two years ago. It is time now for state lawmakers to extend basic civil rights protections to transgender people. The 2002 state statute that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, credit and public accommodations does not explicitly cover transgender people.
A measure to outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression — the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or Genda, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Daniel Squadron — passed the Democratic-led Assembly in April for the sixth time. There is a good chance it would also pass the Senate, with nearly all Democrats and some Republicans voting in favor. The challenge is getting the bill to the floor for an up-or-down vote before the end of the legislative session, scheduled on June 20.
Here in Connecticut we had the same problem, the senate sat on the bill and it took a strong commitment by the governor to get the bill to come to a vote in both the House and the Senate.

Birth Certificates

In Oregon State they just pass a law that will allow you to change your birth certificate with having surgery. The ACLU said in a press release that,
Oregon Legislature Repeals Surgery Requirement for Gender Change on Birth Certificate
By Becky Straus, Legislative Director, ACLU of Oregon & Kevin Díaz, Legal Director, ACLU of Oregon & Amanda Goad, LGBT Project

With Gov. Kitzhaber's approval of HB 2093 yesterday, transgender people in Oregon will no longer have to show proof of surgery in order to change their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender. Previously, Oregon law required surgery in order to update a birth certificate gender marker, even for those transgender people who did not need or want it, or were unable to access surgery for financial, medical, or other reasons. The ACLU supported the great work of agency and advocate partners to reach this victory. We are glad to see Oregon's legislature and governor sign off on this important change and advance the rights of transgender Oregonians.
Long overdue, HB 2093 aligns Oregon law with well-established medical standards. It promotes fairness and equality and makes life easier for transgender people born in Oregon.
This is ground breaking! Oregon is now the second state that allows you to change your birth certificate without surgery. The first state to allow you to do that was Illinois when last October a court ordered the Department of Public Health to allow trans-people to change their birth certificate without having to undergo genital reconstruction surgery.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Six #479

Patrick’s place Saturday Six #479

1. Would you have ever dated someone you knew was in a committed relationship with someone else, even if you knew that the other person was okay with the idea?
No, if they were in a committed relationship and they were still playing the field I wouldn’t trust them in a relationship with me.

2. If you were in a longterm relationship and your significant other gained weight because of a medical issue, would you think less of him/her as a person?
No, I was in that situation where I was gaining weight because of an illness.

3. When dating someone, how important is it that you’d communicate with that person every day?
Wow, that is something that I have debated with myself for a long time. you don’t want to be a pest but on the other hand you don’t want the person to think you are not interested.

4. If you had to choose one or the other, which is more important in a relationship: dedication or passion?
Neither is the most important thing in a relationship. I think caring is the most important.

5. Is jealousy healthy or unhealthy in a relationship?
Unhealthy. You have to give the other person their own space.

6. Would you have a problem with your significant other spending a good deal of time with his/her exes if you knew it was completely platonic?
I don’t know, it would have to do with the circumstance.

Saturday 9: Daddy's Back

Crazy Sam's Saturday 9: Daddy's Back

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here.

1) Crazy Sam's dad often traveled for business, and always remembered to bring her the little complimentary soaps or body lotions he got from the hotel. When you travel, do you bring back souvenirs? Send post cards?
I take nothing but pictures, everything else just collects dust. When I was little we traveled to just about all the states this side of the Mississippi and we posted the bumper stickers from the tour traps that we stopped at on a wall in the basement.

2) When you fly, do you prefer window or aisle? Or doesn't it matter?
I prefer a window seat, but I won’t pay extra for it.

3) According to, Jim Anderson (Robert Young) of Father Knows Best is the best TV dad ever. Who is your favorite TV (or movie) dad?
Archie. He’s the best!

4) Sam's father was the family disciplinarian. What about you? Do you consider yourself a rule maker, a rule follower, or a rule breaker?
A rule follower, I get very nervous when I break the law. I have a guilty face, one look and you know I was up to no go.

5) Sam's father was the one who gave her driving lessons. Think back to your first few times behind the wheel. Were you a naturally good driver?
My brother taught me to drive a standard on his MGB

6) This week's featured artist, Kenny Loggins, was born in Washington State. Have you ever lived in, or traveled to, any of our northern border states? (For those of you not as well versed in geography as Crazy Sam, that's AK, WA, MT, ND, MN, WI, MI PA, NY, VT, and ME.)
Sam, you missed some states… NH, OH, IN, IL, WY & ID.
I have been to ME, NH, NY, PA OH, IN, IL, MN, WI, ND & WA.

7) As part of the duo Loggins and Messina, Loggins performed the song "House at Pooh Corner." Do you have a favorite character from the Winnie the Pooh books/movies?
I was never a big fan of Winnie the Pooh.

8) The mercury is going to start rising. How hot is too hot for you? 85º? 95º? Or are you one of those “the hotter the better" people?
Well it is not so much the temperature but more about the humidity. I like a dry 75º.

9) To celebrate Father's Day, Sam is giving away her father's favorite candy: LifeSavers. Would you prefer a roll of Wild Cherry, or Butter Rum, or Winter Green or Peppermint?
None of the them, there is way too much sugar, besides I’m not a dad.

Friday, June 14, 2013

News Flash....... SSA Nolonger Requires Surgery!

The Social Security Administration no longer requires surgery to change your gender marker!!!!!
NTCE Press Release
June 13, 2013

In June 2013, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a new policy to for updating Social
Security records to reflect a person’s gender identity. Under the new policy, a transgender person
can change their gender on their Social Security records by submitting either government-issued
documentation reflecting a change, or a certification from a physician confirming that they have had
appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. This policy replaces SSA’s old policy, which required
documentation of sex reassignment surgery.
You can read the rest of the press release here.

Update 3:06PM
RM 10212.200 Changing Numident Data for Reasons other than Name Change

C. Exhibit – Sample Letter from Licensed Physician Certifying to the Individual’s Gender Change
(Physician’s Address and Telephone Number)

I, (physician’s full name), (physician’s medical license or certificate number), (issuing U.S. State/Foreign Country of medical license/certificate), am the physician of (name of patient), with whom I have a doctor/patient relationship and whom I have treated (or with whom I have a doctor/patient relationship and whose medical history I have reviewed and evaluated).

(Name of patient) has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to the new gender (specify new gender, male or female).

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the forgoing is true and correct.

Signature of Physician

Typed Name of Physician


One Of My Worries As I Get Older…

…Is elder care. How will I be treated in a nursing home or in a senior living center? They is a number of studies about gays and lesbians but there are very few on trans-people*.

We have different needs then senior gays and lesbians, will we still need our hormones and if so at what dosage? Our biology might not match our identity. Some of us might be hair challenged, will we still have access to our wigs? These are just some of the questions that still have to be answered.

There is an article in GeriPal (A Geriatric and Palliative Care Blog) by Robert Killeen MD about this,
Hospice and the Transgendered

Hospice is beset by many societal obstacles in its care of the transgendered patient.  I saw a most recent example of this in our local community hospice.  An elderly female (MTF) transgendered patient had developed metastatic cancer.  Chemotherapy had failed and had left her profoundly weak and infirmed.  Estranged from her family, she had only a few friends to rely on but then only intermittently so.  Hospice admitted her to their IPU and, with supportive care, her overall status did improve.  However, now she was in a dilemma.  She was well enough to leave the unit but not well enough to go home.  Too poor to afford a single room, the patient was unable to be placed.  Chronic care facilities viewed her as if she were both male AND female.  This prohibited her placement with a roommate.  As she was physically female she wished to have a female roommate; the facilities saw her as originally 'male' and either could not or would not comply.  In the end, she remained at the hospice center for the remainder of her life.  While the hospice provided her with exemplary care, the obstacle of society's views on gender prevented her from ever leaving the unit.
When the Connecticut Transadvoacy Coalition (CTAC), the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) and the Connecticut Women Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) held a workshop in 2011 on the new gender inclusive anti-discrimination law one of the questions that was asked was from a lawyer at a hospital. His questions were “how do we place a trans-patient?” and “what happens if we put a trans-woman in the women’s ward and someone complains?” The CHRO and GLAD lawyers responded that you place the trans-patient in the ward of their gender identity and for the second question they asked a question to the hospital doctor, what would you do if there was a patient that complained about a Muslim in the room? The hospital lawyer replied that they would remove the patient who complained and the CHRO lawyer responded that person who complained about a trans-patient should also be moved and not to isolate a trans-patient in their own room.

Dr. Robert Killeen goes on to say…
The transgendered population confronts a myriad of difficulties which hospice must also address.  Socially, transgendered folk, gentle folk, find themselves relegated to a near-netherworld existence.  Forced to society's fringes they feel isolated, even abandoned, by family and friends.  They may find their friendships restricted to a "gay-friendly" environment or to other 'T-girls'. … In an era when patients can be nudists, "fuzzies", or carry tattoos of violent causes (eg. Nazis), why must the transgendered have fear of disfavor from a medical staff corrupted by society?  Their only supposed crime is gender.
In a national survey of trans-people it was reported that 20% of trans-people surveyed we denied treatment in a doctor’s office or a hospital and 25% reported that they were harassed in a doctor’s office or hospital. What is even worse is that the report found that 28% postponed medical care due to discrimination. I was one of those who postponed treatment because of a fear of being discriminated against.

In Dr. Robert Killeen blog he said…
The transgendered population is often helpless to find support for their health care.  Transgendered people are a 'minority of minorities', "society's most vulnerable population" as per the Reverend Stan Sloan of Chicago House, creator of the TransLife Center.
Many of us say that they are not activists or that they don’t want to be an advocate. But we all must be pro-active when it comes to our own health-care.

*In a report titled “The Aging and Health Report Disparities and Resilience among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults” they say it is a LGBT survey but in reality it is only a LGB survey. Their report mainly talks about Lesbian, Gays and Bisexuals and of the more than 2500 participants only 174 were trans.

What we need is our own study of elder care for trans-people.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sad News...

TGF Founder JoAnn Roberts has passed away
TG Forum
Angela Gardner
Jun 10, 2013

JoAnn was 65-years-old. She is survived by her wife Jaini, daughter Brie and sister Donna.

JoAnn was diagnosed with lung cancer in February of this year. She went through a round of chemotherapy treatments and they appeared to be successful in stopping the cancer in her lungs and liver. Radiation treatments were begun last month to eradicate a tumor on her spine but were halted last week when it was determined that the cancer had spread again. JoAnn opted to go into hospice care and she passed away peacefully on Friday evening, June 7, 2013.

JoAnn, like many of us, had been attracted to women’s clothing since she was a young boy in the Philadelphia, Pa. area. She was living in California in the 1970s when she saw Virginia Prince on a television talk show discussing her organization for heterosexual crossdressers, the Society for the Second Self (Tri-Ess). JoAnn was shocked, amazed and delighted to learn that there were other men who felt the way she did about dressing up.
In 1987 JoAnn proposed to our circle of CD friends that we start an organization to raise awareness, provide support and educate about transgender issues. It would be a legitimate organization with a 501 [c] 3 nonprofit status. Alison Laing, Trudy Henry, Melanie Bryant and I were among the group she got together to discuss and then create The Renaissance Education Association, Inc.. (Later renamed The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc..)
Many of our pioneers are passing away, those that had lead the quest for equality back in the 60s and 70s are in ill health. Leslie Feinberg is in a hospice, from Leslie’s blog,
I suffered with tick-borne diseases for 35 years without treatment. In the five plus years since I have been in treatment, I have been diagnosed with late-stage Lyme along with serious coinfections including Babesiosis, Protomyxzoa Rheumatica, and Bartonella. My 20-year pattern of periodic immuno-suppression has become chronic for quite some time.

My body is failing so fast that I can’t undergo more diagnostic and treatment attempts. It is difficult for me to swallow, walk, breathe, talk and write. This sharp decline, evidenced in labs and in life, has forced me to set up home hospice care quickly.
Leslie is an activist and author, ze is best known for zer book “Stone Butch Blues” which was a ground breaking book in 1993. I saw Leslie once when ze gave a talk at Post University in Waterbury, ze reminded me of the great oracles in history. Ze was passionate when it came to equality.

Another activist who is in ill health is Kate Bornstein, she has lung cancer, Huffington Post said last year,
She is a groundbreaking author, performer and "advocate for teens, freaks and other outlaws" whose books, like My Gender Workbook and Gender Outlaw, have been critical to furthering gender theory over the last 20 years.

Sadly, the self-described "queer and pleasant danger" was diagnosed with lung cancer in August. Doctors thought Bornstein had been cured after surgery, but in February they discovered that the disease had returned. The good news is that the cancer appears to be curable. The bad news is that the cost of treatment is astronomical, even with Bornstein's health insurance plan.

To make matters even worse, her treatment is more complicated than most because she has suffered from another kind of cancer -- CLL, or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia -- for over fifteen years.
I saw Kate Bornstein’s monologue a couple of times up at UMass at Amherst, she gave an amazing performance talking about her life’s journey.

We are coming to the end of an era, those who gave their heart and soul so that we can walk with our head held high are in the twilight of their lives.