Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Religious Freedom v. Marriage Equality

How many times have you heard religious people claim that marriage equality infringes on their religious freedom, well this is another story about that. In South Carolina it is against the law to perform a marriage without a license and the churches are saying that they should be able to marry a couple in a religious ceremony in their church without a license.
Religious Liberty Hypocrisy: North Carolina Forbids Churches From Performing Gay Weddings
By Mark Joseph Stern
April 28, 2014

On Monday, the United Church of Christ brought a federal lawsuit against North Carolina’s marriage laws, which were amended in 2012 to ban gay unions. What interest does the United Church of Christ have in toppling the state’s homophobic ban? Under North Carolina law, a minister who officiates a marriage ceremony between a couple with no valid marriage license is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and can be thrown in jail for 45 days. And since gay marriage is illegal in North Carolina, that means any minister who dares celebrate a gay union in his church may face jail time.
I think that this law suit points out the hypocrisy of Republican lawmaker who are passing laws denying marriage equality on the grounds of religious freedom and at the same time passing laws prohibiting churches from marrying couples of their faith.

Look at all the marriage equality or non-discrimination laws and they all have clauses that exempt religious institutions from the laws, but now the Republicans passing laws to prevent churches from marrying people in their religious institutions.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Not Even Anywhere Near The Bus

The Pentagon just released their Human Rights Goals and we are not mentioned. The Washington Blade wrote that,
Pentagon’s gay-inclusive human goals charter omits trans people
April 28, 2014
By Chris Johnson

The Pentagon issued Monday a new declaration of its goals for human rights, and although the document affirms for the first time inclusion of gay, lesbian and bisexual service members, it omits any reference of either transgender troops or civilian workers.

The document, known as the Department of Defense Human Goals Charter, sets forth principles for the Pentagon to “create a culture of inclusion” in the U.S. armed forces — both on the military and the civilian side. Although the document sets goals for the department, it doesn’t necessarily reflect a change in policy or law.
Regarding the absence of “gender identity” from the military service portion of the document, Christensen [Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a Pentagon spokesperson] said “there are no plans to change” to change the policy on transgender service.
There is no law banning trans-people from serving in the military, it isn’t like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell where they had to repeal a law, all they have to do is change their policy. At one time they said we couldn’t serve because of the DSM listing us as having a mental disorder so what excuses are they using now?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Overheard At The Conference… Part 2

I was reading posts on Facebook and Kelly Winter’s had a link to Julia Serano's blog about subversivism (which I gather is seeking to subvert, overthrow, or destroy the legitimacy of a social group) which we are doing to each other. The part that caught my attention was,
Find me someone who thinks that drag is more conservative than transsexuality, and I'll find you someone who believes the exact opposite.

Do you know what all these positions have in common?

1) they are all hierarchies
2) they all condemn an entire group of people based upon some shared gender or sexual trait

Drag is not inherently conservative, or subversive, or assimilationist, or liberating. It is simply an expression of gender. People who do drag are different from one another, and they gravitate to drag for different reasons. Some drag performers are cis gay men, while others are eventual trans women. Some drag queens present masculinely when they are not performing, while others present femininely 24/7 and face cissexism and misogyny on a regular basis. Some people do drag to explore or experiment with their own gender, others to challenge societal binary gender norms, and still others may do it to mock other marginalized groups (e.g., women or transsexuals).
I am friends with drag queens and they get it, they understand what it is to be trans, they are not like the RuPauls of the world. I am friends with crossdressers. I am friends with gays and lesbians, and I am event friends with straight people. For me it is more important the person and not the label.

She goes on to say,
Finally, the recent rifts among trans women with regard to drag seems to have veered into separating-from-the-transgender-umbrella (or purging-drag-from-the-umbrella) territory, so I figured that I should point out my earlier piece A “Transsexual Versus Transgender” Intervention. It was written with regards to HBS-type separatism a few years ago, but some of the points I make are still relevant in this case - especially the section where I point out that transsexual is an umbrella too…
Last summer I wrote a blog “A Trans-Woman Who Lives As A Woman” that was what Lt Colonel Cate McGregor and the comments that I received illustrates what Ms. Serano said about HBS-type separatist and my post resulted in hate emails. I had to take my email address off my blog and put the “Contact Me” in its place and I had to go to a policy of approving comments. The less inflammatory comments I left on post.

One of the things that we wanted to make sure was in the non-discrimination legislation was gender expression because we feared that without it crossdressers and drag queens and genderqueers would not be covered. We were afraid that it could be argued that dressing in drag, crossdressing or being genderqueer was not part of their core identity but rather an expression. We wanted the whole transgender umbrella was covered.

I believe in inclusion, not exclusion.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Overheard At The Conference…

…drag queens are not transgender.

I believe that anyone who crosses the gender normative is transgender; the entire spectrum from drag queens to genderqueers to post-op transsexuals. I believe when we start dividing who is and who is not it become exclusionist, we draw the line beneath us and look at those below us as inferior. We are trying to separate ourselves from the stigma associated from the rest of the marginalized group.

We see this in all social communities, whether it is race or ethnicity or socioeconomic classes, or whatever; we develop ways to separate us from “them.” They are “fresh off the boat,” they live on the “wrong side of the tracks,” or any other the host of phrases that separate them from us and it is a form of discrimination.

The thing about this lateral bias is that it is only within the subculture that we see the differences, when a bias assault is committed the perpetrator is not thinking “he is an immigrant” or “he was born here” the attacker sees “Asian.” When we are getting the crap beaten out of us the assailant is not thinking “drag queen” or “post-op” he just sees a trans-person.

But we like to separate us from "them" because it makes us feel better then “them”; it makes us feel superior to “them.” It is just like when gays and lesbians look down at trans-people, we hate that and call them “Gay Inc.” because we know that they are trying to make us inferior to "them." So stop and think before you say, “she’s only crossdresser” or “he’s just a drag queen”

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I Just Got Back...

... From the Trans Health and Law Conference. It was a very long day... but a positive day.

I was in charge of the conference so I had to do a lot of running around and I'm beat! There were hitches but we worked around them and the conference was a hit. We had a lot fewer per-registrations but we made up for it in walk-ins.

Afterward I went out to dinner with some friends from New York, it was nice to sit down and not have to get up and put out some fire. Now I'm going to take a long hot shower and go to bed.

Tomorrow morn8iing there is a meeting in Ledyard for a LGBT chamber of commence 

Friday, April 25, 2014

I Am At A Rally For Jane Doe

The 16 year old trans-girl that is being held at York Correctional Facility for Women in Niantic. The rally for her is being held at 505 Hudson St in Hartford at 1:00PM in front of the DCF offices.

Jane Doe wrote a passionate letter

A lot of things have been said about me recently. Some of those things were said at court and other things were said in the news. I just read the article by Commissioner Katz. People might think they know me based what they have heard but they know nothing about who I am.

I have been involved with DCF since I was a little kid. There were lots of problems in my family and DCF got involved so they could help me. Over the years I have had many DCF workers and some of them did care about me and really tried to help me. Others just did it for the paycheck. I have been in lots of different placements, some were OK but in others I was sexually abused by the workers. I admit that I have acted out and got into fights, many DCF kids fight with staff and other kids while in placement. I am not saying it was Ok to do this but I have a lot of stuff built up inside me and don’t know how to deal with it at times. They tell me that trauma changes people and makes them act out. Believe me, it does

Although my life has been harder than most anyone can imagine, the last few months have been the worst. I haven’t always agreed with everything DCF has done but I thought they were supposed to be on my side. All of that changed after what happened in MA. Forget what DCF said, I didn’t blind anyone or break their jaw. DCF has said a lot of things that aren’t true so they can make me look like a monster. Just think about how you would look if your worst enemy wrote down every bad thing you have ever done and on top of that made up some things that weren’t true.

I sat in court for six days freaking out that I was going to be sent to a men’s prison, that was really hard. The only person from DCF that was against me in court was the Superintendent of CJTS. He said that he thought I was the most dangerous person who had ever been at the Training School. He had never even met me before he asked that I go to Manson. And for the entire time I was at CJTS I was perfectly behaved. He said that didn’t matter. Commissioner Katz wouldn’t come to court to explain why she said things about me that weren’t true. She did show up on the last day to sit and watch and she wouldn’t even look at me. All of the other people from DCF who came to court said really nice things about me. They would ask to work on my unit because they liked being with me. One CJTS worker even came to visit with me when she wasn’t working. I really miss her.

So now I am sitting in a room at the end of the hallway in the psych ward at York. I have to stay in my room 22 hours a day with a guard staring at me even when I shower and go to the bathroom. It’s humiliating. I was constantly listening to women screaming and crying and it was really hard to sleep. They just moved me down a different hallway were it’s not as crazy. I keep telling myself that this is just a nightmare but it doesn’t end. I know that I need to work on my issues and I want to work on my issues but this is not the place for that to happen. I am afraid of the women here and I don’t want to be around them. They yell comments to me and make fun of me when they see me.

People are telling me that a lot of the news stories are focused on DCF. I don’t want this to be about them, I don’t care about people who don’t care about me. I think that DCF is wrong for what they have done to me but making them look bad isn’t going to help me. I want people to understand who I am what my life has been like and how I ended up where I am. I have survived what would have destroyed most people and I’m not going to let it destroy me. I can’t change what has happened in the past but I can build a future just like every other 16 year old.

If Commissioner Katz wants to know who I am she should come to this prison and meet me. If she does, she will see that I am more than what is written on paper. I am a girl, with a lot going on in her life. We have all made mistakes but I don’t deserve this.
The first thing that I thought about after I read the letter was this should never happen to any 16 year old. How is she going to learn how to socialize with other people when they let her out when she turns 18? How is she going to get her high school diploma, will she have a GED instead and come out of prison handicapped with a GED?

In June 2009, a trans-woman was sent to Central Virginia Regional Jail, a men’s prison. The prison placed her in solitary confinement, for “her own protection” and a U.S. District Judge ordered her removed to a federal prison with treatment facilities and counseling for transgender prisoners. Yet, Connecticut is doing this to a 16 year old girl who has not been charged with any crime.

Jane Doe has had a very tumultuous life for her sixteen years she has been raped by family member, by other client of the juvenile facilities and she has been sexually assaulted by correction official. Of course she is going to strike out, what she needs is not imprisonment but therapy. 

A Great TED Talk

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I Am At A Meeting This Afternoon

It is for a project that I’m working on with a few friends, we want to start a residency house for trans-people. Our dream is to get a multifamily house in the Hartford CT area and convert it into a place where homeless trans-people can live together; we call our dream Celebration Home. Not Celebration House, but a home where they can live and not just stay.

We are meeting right now with an organizer who helps out with projects like ours, we don’t know if this will end with our dream but we feel that it is worth the effort to try.


How many of you have heard the word? How many of you have been the target of microagressions?

Microaressions are all those little digs that are thrown at us like misgendering us on purpose or using the wrong pronouns or using derogatory words or the numerous other terms that are used to demean us. They are not outright assaults bit are more like a slow torture designed to wear us away or as Dr. Derald W. Sue, a psychology professor at Columbia University described it; microassaults, microinsults and microinvalidations.

One of the blogs that I follow is the Connecticut Law Blog and earlier in the month he had a blog on microagression in the workplace, a topic we know all too well. In the blog he mentioned an article in New York Times,
Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions’
MARCH 21, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A tone-deaf inquiry into an Asian-American’s ethnic origin. Cringe-inducing praise for how articulate a black student is. An unwanted conversation about a Latino’s ability to speak English without an accent.

This is not exactly the language of traditional racism, but in an avalanche of blogs, student discourse, campus theater and academic papers, they all reflect the murky terrain of the social justice word du jour — microaggressions — used to describe the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes can play out painfully in an increasingly diverse culture.
Or for us, “I almost thought you are a woman” or “You pass pretty well” they are the digs that are not worth the effort to fight back against and we never know if they are a disguised insult or a poorly thought out compliment.

At work does microagressions create a hostile environment? In a restaurant when the waitress misgendered you does that constitute discrimination?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Non-Discrimination Laws Have Teeth

A bar out in Oregon found out the hard way that discrimination is wrong…
Twilight Room Annex will close after Bureau of Labor and Industries begins collecting $400,000 penalty
The Oregonian
By Casey Parks
April 19, 2014

The Twilight Room Annex will close for good tonight, owner Chris Penner said, after his bank accounts were seized in connection with a Bureau of Labor and Industries judgment.

The bureau ordered Penner last August to pay $400,000 to a group of transgender and crossdressing people whom Penner asked not to return to his bar. Penner appealed the bureau’s judgment, but the Oregon Court of Appeals has not yet reviewed his case.

“We have an enforceable judgment against Penner and the Twilight Room from when he discriminated against his patrons by denying them service based on gender identity,” said BOLI spokesman Charlie Burr. “To our knowledge, Chris Penner has not asked the court of appeals for a stay of enforcement to halt the payments that he owes. To date, we have not received any payment from Chris Penner. We are going to try to collect the money.”
He didn’t pay the fine and fluffed it off until the Bureau of Labor and Industries sized his bank account and now he is crying crocodile tears.
“I know I misspoke. I said a couple of stupid things without thinking,” Penner said. “Now I’m put out of business. Employees are out of work. I can’t have a checking account, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.”
He could have done a lot of things that he never did, the Daily Kos wrote,
The girls asked for a mediated settlement with Penner, saying it wasn't about the money, they just wanted a public appolgy [sic]. Penner declined and filed an appeal, but he did not appeal the monetary penalty.
I do feel sorry for him, he was losing business but he went about it the wrong way and for that he got what he deserved.

Justice For Jane J4J

Join the Justice for Jane Rally.

Justice for Jane! Rally Outside DCF Headquarters in Hartford
Friday at 1:00pm
505 Hudson Street - Hartford, CT 06106

Jane Doe, a 16 year old trans-girl is being held in solitary confinement in an adult prison and has not been charged with any crimes.
Since being sent to an adult prison eight days ago, 16-year-old Jane Doe has spent 22 to 23 hours a day in a prison cell.

Jane – a transgender, self-identifying girl whose name has not been released because she is a minor – has had no contact with anyone her age or been given any educational instruction, according to court documents she filed Monday about her living conditions.

An officer watches her in her cell 24 hours a day.

Jane is not incarcerated for a crime serious enough for her to be charged as an adult. She was sent to live at York Correctional Institution from the state’s juvenile justice system because the Department of Children and Families says it has no appropriate place to treat this “uniquely dangerous” youth. A spokesman said the placement is necessary to avoid endangering other committed youths and DCF staff.
CT Mirror By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

1960s Trans Get Away

There is a new play out on Broadway from the Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein it is the latest in a series of plays called ‘Casa Valentina,’ Harvey Fierstein wrote plays like Kinky Boots, La Cage aux Folles, and Torch Song Trilogy, and he also acted in Hairspray. In his latest play he writes about a 1960s Catskills resort that had a getaway weekend for trans-people, kind of like a precursor to trans-conferences.
Clothes Make the Man
‘Casa Valentina,’ Fierstein’s Play About ’60s Cross-Dressers
New York Times
APRIL 10, 2014

Before rehearsals began for the new Broadway play “Casa Valentina,” the seven men in the cast were asked to come to work a few days early. They arrived to find a huge table covered with ladies’ wigs in ’60s-era hairdos — flips, bobs, French twists. Nearby was a long rack of colorful house dresses and white slips and brassieres. Yet no one made a move. The actors shared small talk, sipped coffee, checked their smartphones and looked around as if the room were empty.

If this was just another Broadway romp starring men in drag — another “Kinky Boots,” another “Hedwig and the Angry Inch*,” another “Twelfth Night” — the mood might have been lighter: Boas, corsets and high heels are fun, familiar staples of theater. But “Casa Valentina” is about a subculture rarely seen onstage — cross-dressers — and mixes masculinity and femininity in ways that daunted the actors at first, and may do the same to audiences. The play, now in previews, is based on a real Catskills resort where husbands and fathers went in the 1960s to dress and act as women. These were white-collar professionals hobbling in heels, not drag queens sashaying in stilettos; men expressing their femininity without compromising their maleness.
Back when I first came out, before I realized that I could truly transition and it wouldn’t be the end of the world I went to conferences like First Event in the Boston area; where I could be myself for four days without a worry. The New York post said,
The real-life inspiration for the show burst into public life in the mid-’00s when furniture dealer Robert Swope and his partner, Michel Hurst, published a book of photographs they’d found at the 26th Street flea market. They were of transvestites hanging out at a resort nicknamed Casa Susanna, after the female alter ego of Tito Valenti, a New York City court stenographer/interpreter who owned it with his wife, Marie.
“It was this Garden of Eden, this perfect place where they could be themselves and live,” Fierstein says.

As it turns out, some of the pics were taken at Casa Susanna while others dated from its neighboring predecessor, the Chevalier d’Eon — named for an infamous 18th century transvestite spy and owned by the same people.
Time has the photos from Mr. Hurst book, Casa Susanna: Photographs From a 1950s Transvestite Hideaway and photos from the play are on If you are interested in attend the play you can get tickets here.

*I’m seeing “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” June 8 on Broadway staring Neil Patrick Harris.

Easter Walk

Over Easter I went up to my brother and sister-in-law’s condo in Maine and my niece was still there with her son. For lunch we had lobster rolls and my niece headed back to New Jersey and for dinner it was the three of us had ham and scalloped potatoes with a salad. Beside my niece and her son on Saturday my nephew and his family were there for "Easter Dinner" So they had a fill condo for most of the weekend and I came up just for Sunday and I returned home yesterday.

Later Sunday afternoon I went walking with my brother along an old trolley bed along the Mousam River and of course I took my camera with me. In the old days they grew salt hay in the tidal marshes and the trolley brought the tourists down to the beach, now it is part of the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge. As we were walking towards Kennebunk beach I spied a row of old fence posts that framed the marsh, I liked the way they drew your eyes along to the focal point off in the distances.

I like they way this  framed  but there are all the branches in the foreground. The pine tree as it curves around frames the scene nicely adn everything brings you to a apex in the distance... if only those darn branches were not there or I had a pair of boots.

Notice the difference in this picture, the composition is not as good but it is a better picture because the foreground is not cluttered and the next picture is from the other end of the fence posts looking back,
 you can see that it doesn't have the same visual impact as the other pictures because this one draws your eye back and it just ends in a wall of trees.

This picture I like because of the foreground fence posts and the pine tree on the right, it breaks up the open space into layers.

The last picture is of the same marsh but from a different perspective.

I like this perspective is better than the other one because of all the lines drawing your eye into the photograph, your eyes are drawn into the picture and you wonder where the stream goes, you can picture it as it rounds the far bend.

It was a hard day to photograph because it was around 3 in the afternoon, the sun is still high in the sky making the colors flat and overexposed; I tried taking picture on the other side of the trail but the glare off the water was too much. Also being early spring (there was still ice in some spots that were in the shade) the colors were mostly grey, green and blue and the marsh hay was still matted down.

Monday, April 21, 2014

It’s Prom Time

It is that time of year when students’ thoughts turn not to books but to gowns. But for some it is a trying battle to bring their date. You would think that school officials would have learned by now that you cannot discriminate, maybe they think that the justice systems wheels turn slowly and the prom will be over before the courts rule.
Anais Celini Allegedly Blocked From Attending Prom With Boyfriend Nathaniel Baez, Who Is Transgender
The Huffington Post
By Curtis M. Wong
Posted: 04/14/2014

A teen couple at a New York high school is crying foul after allegedly being blocked from attending the prom together because one of them is transgender.

Anais Celini, who is a senior at the Martin Luther High School in Maspeth, Queens, told Pix 11 that she was told by school officials told her that boyfriend Nathaniel Baez's "transition was unconventional" and "not beneficial."

Baez added, "It's hard because I really wanted her to be able to go to prom with her friends, and me as well, because it is one of the stepping stones in high school."

School officials have thus far declined comment, according to Pix 11, but Baez has said that he will plan a private prom celebration for his girlfriend if authorities do not budge by May 22, when the dance will be held.
So the school only wants “conventional” students to attend, the school is a Lutheran high school but if the school is open to the public or receive public funding then they cannot discriminate.

In Buzzfeed article she said,
“I don’t plan on asking them again,” Celini, 18, told BuzzFeed. “I’m not going to fight them, that wasn’t the point. It’s a big night for everybody and I don’t want to cause a scene.”

Baez, 19, is saving money to put on their own small celebration, and Celini said that a transitional housing center has already come forward and offered to host a special prom for the couple. “It’s a really big deal, because he needs that money and he’s trying to put that together for me,” Celini said. “Nathaniel is helping.”
It was very nice of her not to press the issue and it was nice that the housing center offered to have a prom there. Here in Connecticut the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective where I volunteer has an annual Rainbow Prom. For many LGBT youth they are afraid to go to the prom with someone they love for fear of harassment, so the Glitter & Glamour Queer Prom is a safe space for them.

When I graduated from grad school we had a dance “A Night To Remember” and it was a night to remember form me. It was a night that I had dreamed about, going to a prom as myself. It wasn’t really a prom but in my mind it was the prom that I never had. The next morning I was so sore from all the dancing. It was a very emotional night, as I waked back to my car tears were flowing, because it would be the last time that I saw many of my classmates. Many of them would not be going to the graduation ceremonies up on the main campus in Storrs the following weekend and I wasn’t the only one crying on the walk to the parking lot, one of my classmates was also crying. We laughed and hugged through out tears.


In San Francisco starting last summer they offer surgery for trans-people.
Transgender surgeries funded by San Francisco called successful
by Chris Roberts @cbloggy | March 23, 2014

San Francisco's foray into paying for sexual reassignment surgery for the poor and uninsured is so far a success, officials said.

Fifteen people have had sexual reassignment surgeries paid for by The City in the last nine months, when the Department of Public Health started covering the once-controversial procedures.
However, San Francisco remains the only city in the state to cover gender reassignment surgery for the poor and uninsured with gender identity disorder. Gender identity disorder, or gender dysphoria, is the condition where a person does not identify with the sex with which they were born.
A total of 87 people without health insurance have entered the program, according to Barry Zevin, who heads the Transgender Health Project in the health department. About "five to 10" new requests are received each month, he said -- and at a negligible cost.
Now if only Husky here in Connecticut covered gender confirming surgery. ACA will require trans-people to be covered for medically necessary treatment, including GCS.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How Is Discrimination Protected By The First Amendment?

This does make sense to me, back in January I wrote about B. Scott being told not to dress as a woman for the BET Network Awards, and the courts ruled that it was the network’s First Amendment rights to tell her to dress more masculine.
B. Scott to Appeal Ruling Finding BET Didn't Discriminate
A Los Angeles judge has dismissed transgender media maven B. Scott's lawsuit claiming that BET discriminated against him when the network yanked him off the red carpet before the 2013 BET Awards and demanded he put on more traditionally masculine attire.
The Advocate
BY Sunnivie Brydum
April 18 2014

A Los Angeles judge ruled Thursday that BET did not unlawfully discriminate against transgender media personality B. Scott when the network ordered him to change his attire in the middle of the preshow for the 2013 BET Awards, for which Scott had been hired as a style stage correspondent. 
"It disheartens me that the message sent today wasn’t a message of acceptance, but rather it’s acceptable to discriminate against transgender individuals on the basis of their gender identity and expression," Scott said Thursday evening in a statement posted to his popular blog. "And that such discriminatory acts are protected under the first amendment. … Standing up for your rights and the rights of others can be a lengthy, uphill war. When one battle is lost, another is waged and yet we must press forward."
Ruling that “entertainment companies have a right to control their ‘creative process’ and all aspects contributing to the way the final product appears.” Interesting; that seems to give seems to give them a very broad brush and in a way I can see how that might apply. However, like I said back in January, “what do you expect when you hire a drag queen” that is what B. Scotts is known for.

Happy Easter

I’m up at my brother and sister-in-law’s condo today. I hope that all of you who celebrate Easter are with the ones you love. However, for many people holidays are a stressful time, so open your hearts and invite them in you your home.

I leave you with some Easter humor...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday Six #523

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #523

1. P is for PAEDOTROPHY: Do you think your parents did a better or worse job of raising you compared to how well their parents raised them?
I like to think that they did a better job but I don’t know since my grandparents died when I was young.

2. P is for PANCAKES: How often do you have pancakes for breakfast, and what’s your favorite flavor of syrup?
Never, I used to have them on Sundays but since I became diabetic I can’t have any syrup and I would have to limit myself to one pancake. I used to make blueberry pancakes with Maple syrup.

3. P is for PARADE: What was the last parade you remember attending?
I can’t remember, I probably wasn’t even a teenager yet.

4. P is for PEN: What’s the price of the most expensive pen you’ve ever purchased?
They are all cheapies, just your basic generic pen.

5. P is for PILL: On a normal day, how many pills do you take (including medication, vitamins and supplements)?
Yikes, a whole slew of them six pills and two of them I take twice a day.

6. P is for POWER: Do you have any power backups in your home in case the lights go out?
Yes, but it is for the computer modems. I can sit in the dark and still surf the web. I do have a gas lantern, some oil lamps and flashlights, along with a gas campstove.

Saturday 9: Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1950)

Crazy Sam’s  Saturday 9: Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1950)

1) Which do you prefer: colored hard-boiled eggs, chocolate marshmallow eggs, or plastic eggs with coins inside?
The hard boiled eggs that I make into deviled eggs.

2) What's your favorite color of Peeps (yellow, purple, or pink)?
I don’t like Peeps, way too much sugar for my tastes.

3) All this talk of sweets is making Sam hungry. What's for lunch?
Mexican, I going out to lunch with a former classmate from Texas so she is taking me to a restaurant that she wants to try.

4) This song was introduced by country singer Gene Autry and it's still a favorite. Please share some of the lyrics. (And you're on your own; Sam didn't include a link to the song this week.)
I imagine that today’s kids are wondering what is “an Easter Bonnet?”

5) Gene Autry was so popular that a town in Oklahoma named itself for him. Have you ever been to Oklahoma?
Nope, I have been to Kansas through.

6) In addition to singing, Mr. Autry made 93 cowboy movies. What's the last movie you saw?
Does the Winds of War count? It was a seven part mini-series that I’m watching on Netfix

7) He and his horse Champion also had a TV show. Can you name another famous horse?
Trigger, I was watching Roy Rogers this morning.

8) Gene Autry also recorded "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer," and it was, of course, wildly popular, too. Who is your favorite recording artist?
Burl Ives since we are on the fifties era music.

9) Back to the holiday celebration at hand -- Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated?
A good night sleep which is rare for me now a days.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Trans Health and Law Conference

In just seven days the Trans Health & Law Conference that will be held on April 26, 2014 at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, Ct. I have been working on the conference ever since the first conference eight years ago when I was a Master Thesis project for the director of the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective. The conference was also designed not just for trans-people but also the healthcare providers and lawyers who work with the community. The idea was to create a synergy where both the community and the healthcare/legal professionals will gain a greater knowledge then if the conferences were held separately. Unlike other conferences for trans-people you will find no workshops on makeup or other workshops that trans-conferences usually have, instead you will find workshops on what your rights are if you rent and apartment or about the state’s non-discrimination laws. Or workshops on how Obamacare will affect the trans-community.

Eighth Annual Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law Conference

Our keynote speakers are Dru Levasseur & Tony Ferraiolo Co-Founders of the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money to fund gender-confirming surgeries. M. Dru Levasseur is the Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal and Tony Ferraiolo, is a Certified Life Coach and Transgender Youth Advocate in New Haven.

Some of this year’s 22 Workshops cover topics such as:
  • Trans 101a newcomers guide transgender healthcare and issues
  • The Health Care Professional and the Transgender Patient
  • The Effects of Discrimination on Trans Health.
  • Networking for parents of Transgender Child
  • How to Successfully Transition in Your Employment
  • Trans Discrimination and the Fight for Housing Justice
  • LGBT Adoption, Surrogacy, and Sperm/Egg Donation Law 2014
  • Trans Health: An Evidence-based Update
  • Partners, Family and Friends: Grief and loss, dealing with stigma, coming-out and other common experiences.
High Level Conference Timeline
  • 08:00 - 08:30 AM : Registration and Continental Breakfast
  • 08:30 - 09:15 AM : Welcoming Remarks and Introductions
  • 09:15 - 12:00 AM : Morning Workshops (Sessions I & II)
  • 12:00 - 01:00 PM : Lunch & Movie
  • 01:00 - 03:30 PM : Afternoon Workshops (Sessions III & IV)
  • 03:30 - 04:45 PM : Keynote
  • 04:45 - 05:00 PM : Closing remarks and wrap up
Registration is $25 for Individuals (though no one will be turned away due to registration cost), $50 for NASW CECs

You can register online here. However, if you register after April 20, meals will not be included.

The conference will be held at,
UCONN Health Center
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, Connecticut  06030

It is the only exclusive transgender conference in Southern New England and the workshops are geared for Connecticut’s laws.


When you need emergency medical treatment and you are on a gurney with doctors and nurses leaning over you are at your most vulnerable, you do not want to hear that it is against their religion to treat someone like you.

Or you are in your primary care physician office and he refuses medically necessary treatment because you are a sinner. Lambda Legal is suing a doctor for doing just that,
Lambda Legal Sues Doctor and Clinic for Denying Medical Care to Transgender Woman
By Lambda Legal
April 16, 2014

Yesterday, in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Urbana Division, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of Naya Taylor, a transgender woman denied medical care after she requested hormone replacement therapy. The lawsuit alleges a violation of the ACA’s non-discrimination provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, (which includes gender identity), and requires that clinics receiving federal funds treat transgender patients in the same manner as they would any patient under their care.

Kenneth Upton, Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal, said:
    The provisions of the Affordable Care Act are clear: doctors receiving federal funds cannot discriminate in providing patient care just because a person is transgender. Patients such as Naya Taylor place their health and well-being in a doctor’s hands. Ms. Taylor asked for her doctor to provide services similar to those provided to other clinic patients who are not transgender and the doctor and clinic refused, posing a significant risk to Ms. Taylor’s health. The ACA’s non-discrimination provisions were intended to ensure appropriate medical care for transgender people, a community that already faces a disproportionate amount of discrimination, violence and suicide rates.
When a doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath there is no clause in the oath that says they treat patients with “only patients with the same beliefs.” The AMA says that,
A physician may decline to undertake the care of a patient whose medical condition is not within the physician's current competence. However, physicians who offer their services to the public may not decline to accept patients because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis that would constitute invidious discrimination.
The doctor originally said to Ms. Taylor that she was not trained in cross gender hormone treatments, but the clinic later told her that the clinic “does not have to treat people like you.”

Once a doctor or clinic or hospital accepts federal funding they agree not to discriminate against anyone, there is no clause for a religious exemption, everyone who walks through their doors must treated equally. A doctor who does not treat patients who do not share their religious beliefs should maybe look for another job.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trans-Youth In An Adult Prison

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a trans-girl in an adult women’s prison, here is a follow-up on her,
Transgender CT teen writes court of her living conditions in prison
CT MirrorBy: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas
April 16, 2014

Since being sent to an adult prison eight days ago, 16-year-old Jane Doe has spent 22 to 23 hours a day in a prison cell.

Jane – a transgender, self-identifying girl whose name has not been released because she is a minor – has had no contact with anyone her age or been given any educational instruction, according to court documents she filed Monday about her living conditions.

An officer watches her in her cell 24 hours a day.

Jane is not incarcerated for a crime serious enough for her to be charged as an adult. She was sent to live at York Correctional Institution from the state’s juvenile justice system because the Department of Children and Families says it has no appropriate place to treat this “uniquely dangerous” youth. A spokesman said the placement is necessary to avoid endangering other committed youths and DCF staff.
She has not been charged with any crime, she has not been convicted of any crime but she is basically being kept in solitary confinement.

What she has done is what many other youths in the custody of DCF have done, strike other children in DCF custody, and strike DCF workers but they have not received this punishment, she is the first child to confined in an adult prison in the 14 years this law has been effect.

She writes,
I can feel myself growing more and more isolated, frustrated, and feeling alone in my current isolation,” she wrote the court. “I need to be given treatment and services specific to my needs. I need to deal with the trauma I’ve experienced in my life. This prison cannot do that for me.”
I can feel myself growing more and more isolated, frustrated, and feeling alone in my current isolation,” she wrote the court. “I need to be given treatment and services specific to my needs. I need to deal with the trauma I’ve experienced in my life. This prison cannot do that for me.”
She has been raped many times over, including at the DCF facility where she was sent to live. She has been sold as a sex slave and addicted to drugs and what has DCF done? They have basically written her off and washed their hands of her.

According to Think Progress,
After being sent away from her mother’s house to her grandmother’s residence, the youth writes that a cousin would coerce her into anal sex that caused her to lose control of her bowels. An uncle routinely beat her, and an aunt allegedly told her, “you’re a boy, what the fuck is wrong with you!” when she caught the child, then 11, wearing her lipstick and dress.

The youth allegedly endured instances of sexual abuse at two juvenile therapeutic facilities to which the DCF transferred her — at the Eagleton School in Massachusetts and Connecticut Children’s Place. Staff members at both facilities forced the girl into performing oral sex on them, the affadavit states.

She was targeted for even more sexual abuse after returning to the care of her mother at age 14. She became addicted to crack and involved in prostitution after moving to an aunt’s home, which landed her in several juvenile detention facilities.
Here is the DCF Commissioner defending their actions,

It is time for the DCF to do their job, protect the youth in their care, and give proper healthcare to them.

You can help by becoming a foster parent or a mentor, you can contact True Colors here in Connecticut or a family and youth family agency in your state to become a foster parent or mentor.

Update 5:00PM

It seems like there might be some movement in the case,
Talks Begin Privately To Move Transgender Youth Out Of Prison
The Hartford Courant
April 17, 2014

With criticism mounting each day a transgender girl stays in adult prison with no criminal charges, advocates and officials with the Department of Children and Families are starting to talk privately about getting the 16-year-old out of prison and crafting a suitable treatment program.
But there may be a break in the impasse.

State Child Advocate Sarah Eagan said Thursday morning that there have been preliminary discussions about removing the youth from prison and fashioning treatment in an age-appropriate setting.

"There's some positive conversation taking place,'' Eagan said. "I think folks on all sides are looking for a way to move forward in a way that supports this youth and addresses any safety concerns."


Last night I went to a local PFLAG meeting for the second time; now that I am helping out at the local LGBT free clinic, they asked to attend the meetings with their representative. I have known the couple that runs it for a great many years and they have done a great job with the chapter.

There was an article on NPR about the Department of Justice training of police forces around the country about trans* issues.

By Carrie Johnson
April 16, 2014

Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole says its new training program is motivated by a simple yet powerful idea.

"The department recognizes what is often lost in the debates about transgender individuals, and it's that transgender lives are human lives," Cole told a group of about 130 police and community activists who recently gathered at the Justice Department to unveil the new program. "We heard you when you told us that we needed to establish a foundation of trust between those who serve and protect the public and those in the LGBT community, particularly the transgender community."
Diego Sanchez, director of policy for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, helped to develop the new Justice Department training.

"It can be very difficult to interact with law enforcement officials," Sanchez tells NPR. "We're people like everyone else. We're not any different than anyone else. However, when we're encountered by law enforcement officers, we often find challenges both in being seen or respected."

I have needed police for two accidents that I had, one was a hit-and-run, and another where I was stopped at a toll booth where the drive behind me didn’t stop. In both incidents the police officer was courteous and treated me with respect.

In the past I have worked with the DOJ Community Relations Service unit, one of their trainers gave a workshop at the conference that I helporganize and I attended a workshop that he gave at the True Colors conference this past March. He is also on the Safe School Coalition committee that I am on; the committee is run by the Connecticut Department of Education.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lessons From The 2014 Winter Olympics

There is a movement to make the International Olympic Committee be more responsive to human rights. There is an effort to amend Principle 6 of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism  which is “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

The Windy City Times has a press release from AllOut movement,
"Russia's extreme anti-gay laws and violence were largely ignored by the International Olympic Committee throughout the Sochi Olympics. There must be basic, minimum standards to ensure that Olympic Host Countries protect athletes, tourists, and citizens of every country," said Andre Banks, Executive Director and co-founder of All Out, a 1.9-million member global movement for love and equality. "It's time for the Olympics to change the rules and make sure that all future Games follow Principle 6 of the Olympic charter — ensuring non-discrimination for all."
1. Overhaul the bid process to include requirements that host countries do not have laws in place that discriminate on protected grounds against groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, in violation of international law. The IOC should consider submissions from independent human rights organizations regarding any prospective host country's human rights record.

2. Future host city contracts should include specific human rights pledges and a commitment not to introduce laws or policies that violate human rights law before the Games. These contracts should be made public and include clear sanctions for failing to respect these commitments, up to and including a relocation of the Games.

3. Amend Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter to specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Although the IOC has stated publicly that it considers discrimination based on sexual orientation to be prohibited, the state-sponsored discrimination surrounding the Sochi Games points to a need to clearly codify these policies in the Olympic Charter.
It is not enough for them to amend Principle 6, but they need to follow it. They also need to change the way determine male and female athletes so they do not force intersex persons to have unnecessary operations to their model of who is a male or female athete.

More On India…

I came across this article in FirstPost which I believe is an India website, the article is about the recent Supreme Court ruling about trans-people being a third gender. The article is about the difference between gays and lesbians, and trans-people, but that is not what I want to write about this morning. What I want to write about is oppression.
Transgenders cut across all classes. As do gays and lesbians. But in popular imagination, reinforced by the images in the media, there is a clear-cut class divide between the groups.

In the media lens, gays are urban, metropolitan, perhaps a bit westernized, middle and upper middle-class, marching in Rainbow Pride marches, organizing queer film festivals and comfortable about appearing on English language television talk shows. In short, People Like Us.

In that same narrative, transgenders are lower down the class hierarchy. They are hijras who knock on the rolled up windows of the cars of PLUs, panhandling for money, when our vehicles are stalled at traffic lights. They might work in the sex trade, come from some mysterious opaque world with its own esoteric rituals, and are more comfortable spitting out colourful gaalis than arguing in human rights lingo. They are kinnars, aravanis, jogtas, hijras. People NOT Like Us.
If you look at oppression, the degree of oppression is based on how well you can blend into society and the size of the community. The more you stand out the more you are discriminated against, whether it is based upon disability, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression.

For gays and lesbians, it is the feminine looking gay or the butch looking lesbian who are harassed the most because they do not fit the image of a “normal” man or women. When a lesbian or gay couple hold hands in public they are faced with more harassment because they are not a “normal” couple. That begins to change when media starts to portray gay and lesbian couples as a “normal” couple in ads and on television.

The media use to portray gays and lesbian as living on the seedy side of life, hanging out in bathhouses and going from one sex partner to another, but as the media started showing them as a “normal” couple the public opinion of them started to change.

The same is true of trans-people, the media is starting to slowly change the way that they portray trans-people. We are no longer portrayed as the deranged killers in “Psycho” or “Dressed To Kill” but in a more positive light. If you look at the hit movie “Transamerica” where you see a trans-character in a positive role and who is a “normal” person. The Amazon show “Transparent” and the Netflix show “Orange is the New Black” they also show trans-people in as a “normal” person (I have an issue with Mort being played by a non-trans-person).

The media is starting to change and with it so is society.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Good Or Bad?

The India Supreme Court recognizes a third gender.

If you remember last year their Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that struck down Section 377 of the nation’s penal code, which prohibits activities described as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” But the court did the other day recognize transgender as a third sex.

VOA News

April 15, 2014
India's Supreme Court has granted legal recognition to transgender people, recognizing them as a third gender deserving of equal rights.

The landmark ruling Tuesday directs federal and state governments to include qualifying transgender people in welfare programs for the poor.

All official documents will now be required to have a category marked transgender, in addition to male and female.

If this a good or bad ruling? It gives trans-people many rights such as the welfare programs but at the same time it singles us out.

What do you think; would you like to be identified as a third sex? I know that I wouldn’t.