Thursday, April 30, 2015

Take A Walk On The Wild Side

When I was coming of age I was very naïve, I got Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wide Side,” the Beatles “Get Back,” and the Kink’s “Lola” you couldn’t not know the meaning of those songs but other songs like Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window” was a little less obvious.
22 Queer One-Hit Wonders From Yesteryear
Remember these great one-time-only Top 40 hits by LGBT artists?
The Advocate
By Gina Vivinetto
April 30, 2015

A trip down musical memory lane reveals that the Top 40 archives are peppered with one-time-only hits by LGBT artists — some beloved and some relatively unknown. Let's turn the radio dial to yesteryear and remember a few such gems.

Lou Reed, "Walk on the Wild Side" (1973)
If you're a fan of Lou Reed, who reportedly bedded both men and women, you know his tribute to transgender cult film stars Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn, which made it to number 16 on the pop charts, was just the tip of iceberg. "Walk on the Wild Side" only hints at Reed's vast, decades-long musical catalog that explored life on a seedy Lower East Side. But of course, for many, this hit tune's catchy doo-doo-doos are all they'll ever hear of Reed, who died in 2013.
Janis Ian, "At Seventeen" (1975)
The best song about growing up female ever written, out folk singer Janis Ian's "At Seventeen" made it all the way to the number 3 spot on the pop singles chart (and hit the number 1 spot on the adult contemporary chart). This ballad of an "ugly duckling" was nominated for several Grammys, scoring a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance win. Though she continues to release excellent music, Ian never cracked the Top 40 again. But she's actually not a one-hit wonder: In 1967 she hit number 14 on the pop charts with "Society's Child," a timely take on interracial relationships.
But others like…
 Me'Shell Ndgéocello and John Mellencamp "Wild Night" (1994)
Another one that's hard to believe: Critically acclaimed bisexual R&B songstress Me'Shell Ndgéocello has cracked the Top 40 just once, and that was in a duet with John Mellencamp. And the duet was a cover of an old Van Morrison tune. It went to number 3 on the pop chart.
Baltimora, "Tarzan Boy" (1985)
Baltimora was a short-lived Italian dance-pop group fronted by a young gay Irishman named Jimmy McShane. It scored exactly one hit, "Tarzan Boy," which spent six months on the Billboard chart, ultimately reaching the number 13 spot. The song bounced back on the chart in remixed form in 1993, climbing to number 51. Sadly, McShane died of complications from AIDS in 1995.
I never heard of, but that is not surprising for me because I usually listen on to artist from mainly the sixties and seventies.

Wow! I Wonder If It Is True.

I came across this on my morning reading of trans news…
Joe DiMaggio’s transgender ‘date’
Page Six
By Richard Johnson
April 29, 2015

Joe DiMaggio fans, brace yourself. Film critic Jeffrey Lyons claims the Yankee legend once dated the world’s first famous transsexual, Christine Jorgensen.

Appearing on the Joe Piscopo radio show, Lyons (the son of columnist Leonard Lyons), said, “My parents were friendly with [Jorgensen]. They fixed her up . . . got her a date with DiMaggio.”
I wonder if this is true and I wish that there were more than four of paragraphs about this.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It Is Hard To Be A Trans Kid In State Custody

We have seen it here in Connecticut with Jane Doe, a teenage trans woman that is being held in a male correctional facility, states do not know what to do with trans youth in their custody.
Juvenile hall’s detainee shares experience of being transgender with Bruce Jenner
Maine News Online
Written by Kimberly McArthur
29 Apr 2015

A detainee at juvenile hall asked Bruce Jenner that 'I'm transgender, do you have anything for me?' Jenner said that at first he was momentarily stunned by the question. Bruce Jenner answered the detainee, 'Yes, I do'. He took a lifetime to talk about it in open.

Jenner said that the meeting took place in March, a month before his two-hour tell-all on ABC. He assumed that the young person was seeking words of wisdom. The teens belonged to a male unit at juvenile hall.
Jenner said that though he left the detention center but the young ward stayed with him emotionally. He said that he imagined very well that how rough it must be in lockdown in a male unit, let alone on the mean streets.
States just don’t know what to do with transgender prisoners, many states house them in solitary confinement which is normally reserved as a punishment for inmates who get into trouble in prison. But trans inmates are housed there “to keep them safe” or in other words it is the easiest way to get trans people out of the hair.

But it is even worst for juveniles because either the trans women are put in a male prison or they are put into isolation wards. When they are put into the general population trans kids are subject to bullying and harassment and are more likely to get into fights defending themselves. And if they are put into isolation then they don’t develop proper social skills.

By the way, DCF (Department of Children and Families) won. The news media moved on from covering the protests and now Jane Doe in still in the male juvenile detention facility and she is going to “age out of the system” in the fall when she turns 18.

A Good Day

Yesterday was one of those days that ended on the plus side of the register.

As many of you know I volunteer twice a week at a health collective as their trans advocate. Most of the time I sit around reading my Kindle and once or twice a day I get a phone call from a trans person looking for a trans friendly doctor or where they can find an endo, but once in a while I get to help a trans person with paperwork to change their documentation. Yesterday was one of those days, a young trans woman came in wanting help with the paperwork for the Probate Court. It also turned out that she was going to be homeless in a couple of days, had no health insurance for hormones, and hasn’t had any luck in finding work (I think it was because all her documentation still said male and she is a very presentable woman).

So after we filled out the court documents I contacted some social worker friends and managed to set her up with an appointment to talk to a case worker.

Then in the evening I went over to the NASW (National Association of Social Workers) CT office to help stuff bags for their Friday conference where I am giving a workshop on cultural competency (which is filled up with 40 attendees). After we stuffed the bag we sat and talked about families, vacations and work over pizza.

Today there is a meeting in the morning for the Community Research Alliance, a group of non-profits that help researchers with their research projects and subjects. At the last meeting we suggested adding questions about LGBT status to a research projects studying seniors that are addicts. But just adding three questions they can capture important data on LGBT people who are part of their study.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sex v. Gender

Most people think that they are one and the same but most trans people know they are not; one is between your legs and the other is in your brain.
Sex redefined
The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that.
Claire Ainsworth
18 February 2015

Sex can be much more complicated than it at first seems. According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary — their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another. Parents of children with these kinds of conditions — known as intersex conditions, or differences or disorders of sex development (DSDs) — often face difficult decisions about whether to bring up their child as a boy or a girl. Some researchers now say that as many as 1 person in 100 has some form of DSD.
These discoveries do not sit well in a world in which sex is still defined in binary terms. Few legal systems allow for any ambiguity in biological sex, and a person's legal rights and social status can be heavily influenced by whether their birth certificate says male or female.
There are many who think that gender dysphoria has its roots biology, that forever what reason or reasons our brains do not develop as a typical male or female brains. For whatever reasons we know our true gender was not the gender that was assigned to us at birth.

It is interesting to note that the same is true for intersex people who were assigned a gender at birth contrary to their true gender.
Yet if biologists continue to show that sex is a spectrum, then society and state will have to grapple with the consequences, and work out where and how to draw the line. Many transgender and intersex activists dream of a world where a person's sex or gender is irrelevant. Although some governments are moving in this direction, Greenberg is pessimistic about the prospects of realizing this dream — in the United States, at least. “I think to get rid of gender markers altogether or to allow a third, indeterminate marker, is going to be difficult.”

So if the law requires that a person is male or female, should that sex be assigned by anatomy, hormones, cells or chromosomes, and what should be done if they clash? “My feeling is that since there is not one biological parameter that takes over every other parameter, at the end of the day, gender identity seems to be the most reasonable parameter,” says Vilain. In other words, if you want to know whether someone is male or female, it may be best just to ask.
Maybe the next best option is to leave the gender blank on the birth certificate until the child is old enough to say what their true gender.


Before Stonewall uprising (’69) there was the Compton Cafeteria and Silver Lake’s Black Cat Tavern uprisings (‘66) and before that was the Dewey’s Lunch Counter protest (‘65). But even before those was the Cooper Do-nuts uprising (‘59). What all of these had in common was harassment, the police used to come in and check to see if everyone had at least three pieces of clothing of their birth gender and if there was any same-sex dancing or kissing was going on.

This blog was recently posted on Facebook and even through it is a couple of years ago I feel that it is timely.
The Cooper Do-nuts Uprising - LGBT Heritage Month
By Eric Brightwell
June 17, 2013

May 1959: Seven years before Silver Lake's Black Cat Riot and ten before New York's Stonewall riots, a group of drag queens and hustlers clashed with LAPD officers at Cooper Do-nuts (also often referred to as Cooper's Doughnuts or Cooper's Donuts) usually considered to be the first gay uprising in modern history.
…There were also numerous small eateries, one of which was Cooper's Doughnuts, a 24 hour coffee and donut spot popular with a clientele comprised in part of multiracial trans and hustlers. The network of gay hangouts came to be known as "The Run."
Transgendered people made obvious targets and were imprisoned in large numbers for the crime of “masquerading” (despite the fact that courts had declared such behavior not criminal in 1950 -- at least for women). On the night of the riot, as they did on many nights, LAPD officers entered the donut shop and demanded to see the patrons' IDs. If the sex on their ID didn’t match their gender, it was department policy to throw them in jail -- usually a wing of the Lincoln Heights Jail nicknamed "The Fruit Tank."
The same story would be told six years later at Dewey's Lunch Counter and then the following year at the Compton Cafeteria and Silver Lake’s Black Cat Tavern. The Los Angles Magazine said in an article about the Black Cat,
Before Stonewall
How a brutal police raid in 1966 at Silver Lake’s Black Cat Tavern ignited the nation’s first Gay Rights rally
By Ben Ehrenreich
September 2, 2013

On New Year’s Eve of 1966, the Black Cat had been open for just two months. It joined a dozen or so gay bars huddled around a single square mile of Silver Lake. Affection between men was officially a perversion, a crime, a sign of mental illness. But in a few bars in a few neighborhoods, gay men could find acceptance, companionship, the indispensable solace delivered by music, dancing, laughter. That night the Black Cat was packed, the barroom strung with Christmas lights. A trio called the Rhythm Queens was performing, and when the costume contest concluded at New Faces, the saloon down the block, 15 or 20 men in wigs and gowns squeezed into the Black Cat.

The clock hit twelve. Balloons tumbled from the ceiling. The Rhythm Queens belted out “Auld Lang Syne,” and for a moment there was time to grab a kiss. But not all the revelers were there for the same party. At five minutes after midnight, plainclothes policemen began swinging clubs and pool cues, dragging patrons out the door and into the street. They pulled the bartender over the bar, lacerating his face on broken glass. Two patrons ran across Sanborn and took cover in the crowd at New Faces, where Circus of Books now stands. Officers followed, breaking one bartender’s nose, leaving another with a ruptured spleen. Sixteen people were arrested that night—six of them charged with lewd conduct, also known as kissing.
All of these uprisings were because of police oppression, making a marginalized community the focus of their raids. LGBT people were an easy target because no one would speak up for them, they were the perfect victim. They took the abuse without complaining because if they did they could lose their families, their jobs, their housing, everything was on the line.

They took it until they had nothing to lose and then they fought back against their oppressors. The oppressors called it a riot and the oppressed called it an uprising.

Monday, April 27, 2015

This Is Not New To Us

Before I transitioned I avoided going to the doctors when I was sick because I was afraid of what my doctor might say about shaving my body hair.
Transgender people pass on health care to avoid social stigma
Medical Press
By Marcene Robinson
April 27, 2015

Discussing your sexual history with a doctor, or anyone for that matter, can be an uncomfortable experience.

But for many transgender people, the conversation never takes place because they aren't seeking health care, according to Adrian Juarez, PhD, a public health nurse and assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Nursing.

Through a preliminary study examining HIV testing access and health-based decision making in urban, transgender populations, Juarez found that social stigma, as well as a lack of affordability, keep many transgender people from pursuing needed care.

"There is evidence that health care providers do tend to be judgmental, and it's unwelcoming," says Juarez. "People will refrain from going to health care providers if they have to deal with stigma and discrimination."
I was running a fever that was over 100 and I decided to “tough-it-out” because I was afraid of what my doctor might say, I know that I should have gone but as the article says didn’t want to deal with the stigma or face possible discrimination.
Transgender women still require prostate screenings, and transgender men need a Pap smear, although a cautious health care provider may not offer the testing to avoid suggesting treatment that goes against the patient's identity.
Doctors need to treat the body, not the gender.

As many of you know I volunteer at the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective twice a week and they have this warning…

If you are sexually active get tested!

You Are Cured!


First of all Conversion or Reparative therapy means that something is wrong with you, but what is really wrong are the ones who think that being trans or gay is wrong and can be “cured.” Second Conversion or Reparative therapy creates more harm than good, the suicide rates go up, there is an increase in depression, and it creates false hope.
Conversion therapy bans necessary
The Columbia Chronicle
By Editorial Board
Posted on Apr 27, 2015

President Barack Obama’s April 8 call for a ban on conversion therapy—an unethical and disproven method that some people claim can repair variant gender expression and sexual orientations—seems too little, too late in light of the growing concern over the many public instances of bullying and suicides of those considered “other.”

With the many hits the U.S.’s LGBTQ communities have taken in recent weeks, this show of support from the president may seem as if it is a giant leap forward in the fight for LGBTQ equality. However, the fact that many young children and teens are forced into “corrective” therapy for identifying as gay or transgender—identities that have been deemed as illnesses that can be cured by those who administer conversion therapy—demands more than a show of support. It demands actual legislation.
Of course, Congress’ track record for approving anything Obama puts forth is abysmal, so making the decision to place the responsibility of a conversion therapy ban upon individual states is a rational move. It is simply a matter of applying the right amount of pressure to those states that remain backwards in allowing its residents to practice and participate in conversion therapy.
Here in Connecticut there is talk about legislation banning Conversion/Reparative therapy but so far we do not know of any therapists who practice Conversion/Reparative therapy here in Connecticut so right now it is on the back burner in case it becomes a problem here. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Two Cents

With the interview of Bruce Jenner over there are a lot of opinions out on the Internet  both for and against what Jenner said in the interview there is one issue bubbling to the top of the comments, Jenner’s Republican affiliation.

There are a lot of angry comments out there. I don’t understand how anyone trans con support the Republican party, but what upsets me most is the hateful comments that some trans people are making. While I don’t agree with Jenner’s political leanings I disagree with the hateful comments more.

I feel we should take the high road, we can disagree with his politics, but we shouldn’t stoop to the Republican’s level of hatred. In a CNN Money article, Mara Keisling said,
Being transgender is different for everyone. Some of us are fortunate and privileged in many ways, while some folks never have fairness on their side. Nonetheless, as a lot of my friends have said, every one of us loses something. Some lose everything.
And that is the thing, we all come from different backgrounds but we have one thing in common, we all transition and stand up to facing an unknown. We are all on our own journey but we share common elements of that journey. Some come from places of privilege while others are living from moment to moment not knowing where their next meal will come from or if they will have a roof over their head tonight. But there is no reason to be hateful, life is too short to hate. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

I'm In Two Places At Once

Right now I am at a TV studio doing an interview on Bruce Jenner and our Trans Health & law Conference. I originally turned them down saying,
We each transition in our own way and I am not comfortable talking about another person's journey. We follow our own path, there is no right or wrong way to transition and I feel uncomfortable discussing another person's transition.
But we worked out questions that are mutually acceptable, so right now I'm sitting in a studio probably nervous as hell.

As I said, I will not talk about Jenner transition, but I will talk about transition in general.

# # # # #

Meanwhile, I did another interview a couple of Wednesdays ago that is being shown tonight on the 11 o'clock news. That interview went very well and it last about forty-five minutes and included a walk int he park.

# # # # #

My afternoon post will be about my studio experience.

# # # # #

The morning show was cancelled. Yay! I got bumped because of "breaking news," I wasn't looking forward to a live interview.

Wild And Crazy...

With the conference tomorrow, I'm running around doing all the last minute things that have to be done by today... get money, print up last minute schedule changes, pack the car so I'm reading to head out at 7 AM. Then on top of it all I am on a panel for the Gen Silent movie tonight at the University of Hartford.

My to do list for today...
Blue Mastic Tape
Magic markers
Poster pad
Conference Bags
Cash box
Yard Signs & stakes
Presenter packages
Social workers application
Workshop Evaluation form
Conference Evaluation forms
Name tags
Meal tickets
Clip board
Walk-ins for the conference are welcome and here is the workshop schedule (Stana's workshop is at 10:45).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Last Night

I went to the Laverne Cox’s lecture at the University of Connecticut Jorgensen Auditorium, because I am on the Rainbow Center’ Alumni Group I was invited to a pre-lecture buffet at the center. Afterward we went over to our third row reserved seats and I felt a little guilty walking in because we went to the head of the line and just walked in. But my guilt didn’t last long, as we took our seats.

After the lecture we went back for a signing of the flyer by her and a chance to have our picture taken with her.

I deleted her photo because I was just reading the back of the ticket and it said "NO PHOTOS OR VIDEOS" Ops...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I Sentence You To Five Years Of Rape

For trans women that is sometimes what happens when they convicted of a crime. It is almost like rape or solitary confinement is part of their sentence.
Judge Denies Transgender Inmate’s Request for Transfer
New York Times
By Deborah Sontag
April 20, 2015

MACON, Ga. — Ashley Diamond, the Georgia inmate whose lawsuit is making her a protagonist in transgender rights history, said in her first federal court appearance on Monday that she had come to blame herself for being a victim of multiple prison rapes, internalizing the guilt placed on her by corrections officials.

Ms. Diamond, a transgender woman who has been housed in male prisons since entering the system three years ago, said, “If I wasn’t so feminine, maybe if I didn’t talk the way I talked or move the way I moved, I would be less of a victim that way.”

Turning to address the judge directly, she continued in a soft voice: “I also feel a little less human because when I did report things, the very people I wanted help from, Your Honor, would tell me things like, ‘You brought this on yourself.’ “
It is one thing to be convicted of a crime and “doing your time,” it is entirely different to be subject to prison rape and according to the article she was raped seven time so far. The correctional facility has a legal responsibility to house the inmates safely, free form violence.

The article goes on to say, the correctional authorities used male pronouns, called her by her male name and refused to provide her hormones that she had been taking long before she was incarcerated.

After you have been on hormones for a number of years your testacies shrink and stop producing testosterone so when you go off of cross gender hormones (CGH) there could be all types of medical problems. The article says the prison authorities started CGH again because of the lawsuit but at too low of level and that,
But the judge said that the state had made a persuasive argument that it had transferred her as a “positive” reaction to the lawsuit. She is housed in the system’s smallest unit, which has 11 inmates, all with individual cells. It is a supported living unit for rape victims and for inmates with special mental health needs, state officials said, and they testified that they had increased security there over the past couple of weeks.

Ms. Diamond, however, testified that she had been sexually harassed, threatened and forced to pay protection money since her arrival. She said she had not gone to the mess hall for 17 days because she feared encounters with maximum-security inmates there. She said that when she declined to be put in protective custody, which she called “lockdown,” prison officials coerced her into signing affidavits saying she was doing well. (Officials denied any coercion.)
I am not saying that trans people should not be incarcerated but rather should be housed in a humane way, safe from violence and have all medically necessary treatment.

When You Know Somebody

Harvey Milk is quoted as saying,
Gay brothers and sisters,...You must come out*. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.
It does make a difference when you know somebody who is LGBT. I am out to all my neighbors (they would have to be blind not to know I’m trans), I am out at the grocery store, I am out at the shoe store, I am out everywhere.

It makes a difference,
Reba McEntire On Gay Rights, Same-Sex Marriage And The Evolution Of The Country Music Community
The Huffington Post
By Curtis M. Wong
Posted: 04/21/2015

Country superstar Reba McEntire has pledged full support for same-sex marriage, noting that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights are "very important" to her for many reasons.

To promote her new album, "Love Somebody," McEntire, 60, spoke to PrideSource's Chris Azzopardi and recalled attending her first same-sex wedding earlier this year.

The singer's newlywed pals Michael and Steven had been together for 20 years before tying the knot, and she said, "I thought that it was not fair, and I didn't understand why they couldn't get married. It wasn't because they just wanted to get married. If one of them had gotten injured and gone to the hospital, the other one couldn't make decisions for them. It's very upsetting. It's not only for convenience or for romantic reasons -- it's for practicality."
Do you think she would have been as pro LGBT if her friends were not out to her?
"I have gay friends who have partners, and I see where they would want to get married," she told Out magazine in 2009. "I understand why. So, I can't judge that."
When I do training I know that there would be some who don’t “get it”, nor want to “get it” but that is alright became all it takes is one person who “gets it.” Monday I was part of a team that did training for homeless shelter administrators and afterward I received this email from the training organizer,
Just wanted to share a bit of feedback. A provider shared that they thought that the training was awesome, hit on all the right notes, and led them to change one of their program policies.
Great work team.
One person “got it” and maybe it will make life a little easier on a trans person and maybe Reba's album will touch one person.

*I would add but first make sure it is safe to come out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Freedom Of Speech?

If they stuck to writing anti-gay slogans and Bible passages on their hand they wouldn’t have crossed the line,
Students At Pennsylvania's McGuffey High School Organize 'Anti-Gay Day' And Allegedly Target LGBT Classmates
The Huffington Post
By Curtis M. Wong
Posted: 04/20/2015

A Pennsylvania high school has come under media scrutiny after a group of students organized an "Anti-Gay Day" in response to the nationally-observed Day of Silence.
Although the Day of Silence was observed April 17 nationally, McGuffey High School in Claysville scheduled their related activities for Wednesday, April 15 because of a planned field trip, BuzzFeed is reporting. This prompted the group of students to ask classmates to wear flannel shirts and write "anti-gay" on their hands on Thursday, April 16, in protest, according to WPXI-TV.
Okay, so far they didn’t do anything wrong, they were within the limits of the First Amendment, they have a right to be bigots but then,
"We came into school on Thursday and found a lot of people wearing flannel and we couldn’t figure out why,” Zoe Johnson, a 16-year-old McGuffey High School who identifies as bisexual, told BuzzFeed's David Mack. "People started getting pushed and notes were left on people’s lockers. ...I got called a dyke, a faggot. They were calling us every horrible name you can think of."

More troubling still was an alleged "lynch list," which the group was reported to have circulated around the school, according to WPXI-TV.
Now they crossed the line big time, if they called the when they started pushing the student that is called assault and battery and coupled that with calling them dyke and faggot makes it a hate crime. I do not know if Pennsylvania has a hate crime law, but the federal sure does, and it is called the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.” And if those students sat down together to come up with the list, that is conspiracy. The school system cannot brush this off, there felonies that were committed.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Life Is Getting In The Way

I am going to be crazy busy from now until Saturday getting ready for the Trans Health & Law conference so I will be blogging only when I have a few minutes to spare.

  • This morning I have my 6 month endo check-up
  • This afternoon I part of team that is doing training for homeless shelters, there a former homeless trans man, a lawyer to lay down the law to the shelters operators, me to do cultural competency training, and an expert who will talk about how to integrate the shelters.
  • This evening I have a Board meeting for the UConn Alumni Board

The next couple of days are also just as busy, including going up to UConn main campus in Storrs to see Laverne Cox preform at the Jorgensen Auditorium on Wednesday night (tickets are still available).  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I Just Don’t Understand What's Wrong With Wanting To Treat Everyone Equally

But the Republicans seem to have a problem with that; in Oklahoma they wanted to pass a law regulate Uber and Lyft riding-sharing services and in the law they wanted to include a non-discrimination provision for LGBT people.
Even Your Uber Ride Has Become a Gay Rights Battleground
By Steve Williams
April 19, 2015

The legislation passed the Oklahoma House with relatively few problems, but in the Senate it hit a stumbling block. As introduced, the legislation contained standard nondiscrimination protections and, as a way to reflect the nondiscrimination policies of the main ride sharing services, also contained gay and transgender protections that simply stated LGBT passengers should expect to be treated with the same dignity and civility as other riders.

Republican Senator Jason Smalley was not happy with this and re-wrote the House version of the legislation so as to delete these protections. ”I believe if a private business owner wants to serve or not serve an individual, they have that purview right now,” Smalley is quoted as saying, and I have to take exception to the weaseling there: if Smalley wants to discriminate against LGBT people and embolden others to do so, he should at least have the integrity to say it plainly.

Despite fierce criticism from Democratic lawmakers, Smalley persevered with the legislation and the Senate passed the bill minus its LGBT rights protections in a 35-11 vote, which appears to be the version of the legislation that will now move forward and be signed into law. 
What is with these Republicans? Why do they hate us so? All we want is a ride in a taxi, we don’t want to convert them, we just want to go from point A to point B.

I Was Dubious…

A friend called a couple of weeks ago and asked if I was interested in going to see a play with them. When she explained what the play was about… a pianist I was a little dubious about going. A play about a pianist? But I decided to go to see The Pianist of Willesden Lane.

So we met for dinner at a restaurant at Buckland Hills in Manchester, so I set my GPS at the address on the restaurant’s website. When it said that I have arrived, the mall all the dozens of satellite stores and I started driving around looking for the restaurant, but with all the traffic it was hard to look for it and drive. Lucky one friend called me wondering where I was and she was able to direct me there.

After dinner we car pooled to Hartford Stage. The Hartford Courant said this about the play,
The life story of Mona Golabek's mother, Lisa Jura, is entrancing without its engrossing musical soundtrack. As a 14-year-old girl in Nazi-occupied Austria, Jura was sent alone by her family to London on the Kindertransport, the rescue operation that saved some 10,000 children in the months leading up to World War II. As Golabek tells it, her mother's adventure was a relatively upbeat one of perseverance in the face of adversity. Placed in a home that doesn't allow her to pursue her dreams of becoming a great musician, Jura runs away and arranges a better situation for herself in an orphanage in Northwestern London. There, she is able to concentrate on her playing. The commitment and talent endear her to others on Willesden Lane and lead to deep friendships and life-changing opportunities.

Golabek is not a particularly great actress. Much of her storytelling seems rote, and she acts largely with her hands — sweeping gestures for emphasis and even moments of mime when suggesting such characters as a maid or a man with an eyepatch or saluting when discussing the military. But her physical performance is not the point of "The Pianist of Willesden Lane." Golabek brings a warmth and sweetness to the stage, a genuine love and admiration for the woman she is portraying. (In the program notes, she calls her mother, who died in 1997, "my best friend.") She recites Lisa Jura's story clearly and efficiently. The real emotion of the piece lies in her piano playing, which is transcendent. Golabek performs bits of Beethoven's "Moonlight" and "Waldstein" sonatas, Chopin's "Opus 9 No.1" and "Scherzo No.2," Bach's "Partita," Scriabin's "Etude in D# Minor," Rachmaninoff's "Prelude Op. 2," and especially the Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor. That's where she does her mother proud. When she plays these familiar classical works, she embodies that passionate young woman in the story, overwhelmed and inspired by the beauty of the music to take control of her life during a time of isolation, insecurity and global pandemonium.
The story was the play and not the acting, and it was very moving and emotional at times. When Lisa Jura was separated from her family on the Kindertransport I had tears in my eyes and when she was giving her solo performance at the Royal Academy of Music the day the war in Europe ended and she was united with her sisters I was also sniffing.

There was incident that tried to bring me down but I will not let do so (I will write about it later), so I give the night five stars out of five.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday 9: Neon Lights

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Neon Lights (2013)
Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Think of a neon sign you pass by often. What does it say?
“Open” in bright blue letters with a red circle around the letters

2) In the video for this song, Demi Lovato spends a great deal of time in the water. When is the last time you swam?
This past summer up at the lake. I usually don't swim when the lakes are frozen over.

3) The song encourages us to "look up at the sky." OK, we will. How does the sky look where you are today?
Bright blue and sunny.

4) Demi is a contributing editor for Seventeen magazine. When she was in junior high school, Crazy Sam eagerly awaited each new issue of Seventeen. When you were younger, what magazine(s) did you read regularly?
National Geographic

5) Demi is an investor in the company that makes Texas Tea, a bottled beverage available at Whole Foods. Do you have any tea in your kitchen right now?
Ha! I probably have about twenty different flavors of tea and I also buy in bulk.

6) Demi is currently on tour, performing halfway around the world in Australia and New Zealand. Have you ever had a job that required travel?
Yes, and I hated it. I’m a homebody, I didn’t like spending a week out of a suitcase and working in strange locations. One time we were installing a transmitter at a hospital and I was up on top of the elevator shaft (with a safety harness on) looking down a 6 story elevator shaft while stringing coax cable to the roof.

7) Demi had a recurring role on the show Glee. That show's series finale aired last month. Is there a show that's no longer on that you miss?

8) Fast-growing fast food chain Chipotle reports that their top sellers include a burrito bowl with steak or chicken, salad with chili-corn salsa, and a soft taco. Which of these would you order?
They opened a Chipotle in town a couple of years ago and I tried it once and didn’t like it. I like the little family run Mexican restaurant in Hartford and I usually order a Fajitas Coyote or a chicken Quesadilla Linda. Hmmm… it reminds me that I need to stop by there sometime soon for lunch, I haven’t been there for awhile.

9) What beverage would you like to enjoy with your burrito bowl, taco or salad?
I used to order a Snapple or a Margarita but now I have cutout the juices so I either have water or a Margarita.

# # # # #

I might be a little sluggish in responding today because I am going to a play tonight at the Hartford Stage  but first I have work to do with planning a conference next Saturday... speaking of which I miss next Saturday's meme because of it. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pride Is Coming Back To Hartford

There is now a Pride committee in Hartford planning to have a rally on June 26th and a Pride celebration in September.

The June rally will be from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm at the Old State House and the September Pride will be over three days… September 10th: PRIDE Celebration Kick-Off 2:00 pm-3:00 pm, September 11th:  Pride Restaurant & Bar Evening 9:00 am-2:30 am, and the main Pride Festival will be September 12th from 12:00 pm-10:00 pm.

For more information visit their Facebook page.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Why Is It Always The Republicans

Colorado was on its way to joining the states California, Iowa, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, and the District of Columbia to allow birth certificates to be changed without surgery.
Republicans block Colorado bill on transgender birth certificates
Associated Press
Thursday, April 16, 2015

DENVER — Colorado Senate Republicans have put an end to a Democratic attempt to make it easier for transgender people to change their birth certificates.
A Senate committee voted 3-2 Wednesday to reject a bill to allow people to change the gender listings on their birth certificates without getting surgery. All three Republicans on the committee voted against it.
And the bill would have also made it like Connecticut law where a new birth certificate is issued.

You know at one time the Republicans were behind legislation, they saw it as a means to help trans people get jobs, but now the Republicans are on a crusade against anything LGBT. It should be interesting to see how they vote on Connecticut’s bill because the Public Health Committee vote was bipartisan, will it continue to be bipartisan in the House and Senate?

# # # # #

Things are getting a little hectic as we approach the Trans Health and Law conference on the 25th I have a thousand things to get done.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Are You Trans?

And if you are a student, Vermont wants to know.
Are you transgender? Vermont Agency of Education wants to know
Vermont Watchdog
By Bruce Parker
April 15, 2015

As the governor and Legislature weigh cuts to close a $113 budget gap, the Vermont Agency of Education is spending more than $23,000 to find out if Vermont school kids as young as 10 are transgender, among other things.

The Vermont School Climate Survey, which was developed over the past few months at the request of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe, seeks to help school administrators know more about the student learning environment.
Boy, is the headline and first paragraph loaded? It sounds like that is the only question being asked but in reality it is part of a school climate survey,
Based on nearly 50 questions put to students, researchers hope to gather data on bullying, cyberbullying, sexual identities, race and even guns from children as young as 10 years of age.

In the survey’s section on demographics, researchers ask students to identify if they are male, female or transgender. Another question asks students if their school provides enough learning opportunities about sexual identity and race.
They have a photo of the trans question that shows it is part of demographic questions…

Here in Connecticut I am a member of Safe School Coalition, we are trying to get funding and have the schools use one standard school climate survey instead of a 169 surveys.

Trans Actresses/Actors

Jobs are starting to come calling on trans actresses/actors, just a couple of weeks ago there are rumors that actress Michel Henley (Boy Meets Girl) will be in a new NBC series this fall. And now there is a trans actress who just came out……
After Years of Hiding in Hollywood, Trans Actress Trace Lysette Is Finally 'Living Out Loud'
The Transparent star tells her inspiring story of going from the closet to 'living out loud' in her two new roles as feisty trans women on upcoming TV shows.
The Advocate
By Mitch Kellaway
April 15 2015

Corresponding with The Advocate as she travels home from Puerto Rico, Trace Lysette is full of gratitude tinged with a hint of awe. It's not necessarily easy to sound humble while telling someone you're flying home from a days-long TV pilot shoot, but Lysette remains genuine in spite of the glamour.

In fact, it's not hard to tell that she's probably smiling widely on the other end of the screen. And Lysette has plenty to smile about.
And now, she reveals exclusively to The Advocate, Lysette has been cast in recurring roles in two upcoming TV comedies: "brash head waitress" Gloria Del Rey on NBC's new drama The Curse of the Fuentes Women and Gisele in quirky Starz comedy Blunt Talk, which has found her shooting alongside childhood idol Patrick Stewart.
She wasn’t always out,
"I never disclosed I was trans to anyone in the casting process for fear of being discriminated against. I wasn't living out loud yet," she reflects. "I hadn't seen another trans woman in a nontrans role on TV before. ... It was uncharted territory for me and I remember being a nervous wreck on-set, hoping that no one would 'clock' me [as trans]."
But now she sees a change in Hollywood’s attitude on trans actresses/actors to a point where she now is comfortable coming out as trans.
"Don't get me wrong," she adds, "there's still a long way to go before it stops being sensational and starts getting really real. But I have definitely seen progress in my lifetime. Especially in the last few years." Maybe one day, Lysette muses, trans characters "can just be characters and the 'trans' part of it is more an afterthought."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Something That I Have Been Saying…

Someone posted this on Facebook yesterday, It is an article that is almost a year old but still is timely,
What if the LGBTQ movement fought for prison abolition rather than same-sex marriage?
Waging non-Violence
By Isabelle Nastasia
May 5, 2014

The Against Equality collective is an archival project created by five queer and trans activists and writers. First and foremost, their new book is an anthology of critiques of the issues that have come to define gay and lesbian politics over the past 20 years. But it also proposes alternative paths for the movement, putting forth both prison abolition and transformative justice as distinctly queer political projects.
Today, gay marriage is centered as the LGBTQ issue. But the first section of the book is an archive of critiques of gay-marriage legislation in favor of more broad-base policies like universal healthcare. Why?

At the first event I ever did, this woman from Athens, Maine, which is a town of a couple hundred people, came. She’s a down-home, DIY mama kind of person. She’s raising a disabled daughter and her partner at the time was disabled. One is an intellectual disability and the other one is a physical disability.
So if marriage isn’t materially beneficial for many people’s lives, how has it coalesced into the central LBGTQ issue? And where do we go from here?

There are lots of poor people who have been convinced that this is the way forward by a bunch of upper class gays that have rammed it down everybody’s throats.

I think that if we get back to people’s actual lives, we can find a way forward. If people want to make the argument that gay marriage will get more people health care, let’s talk about how to get all people health care regardless of marital status. Same thing for immigration. Same thing for having secure family law. Family law should not revolve around the ideology of the nuclear family. It should reflect people’s actual lives.
I like the fact that marriage equality has progressed, but… I think there are so many more important things that should have been placed before marriage. Things like employment, housing, public accommodations, fair credit, prison reforms, healthcare, and the list could go on and on. It looks like marriage equality will be achieved with the Supreme Court case but it will still be legal to fire or evict someone who is LGBT in the 29 states based on sexual orientation, and in 32 states based on gender identity.

Marriage equality is great but it does not affect all LGBT people just a few while these basic human rights affect every LGBT person and should have been the priority.

Something We Never Talk About

This topic is usually taboo, it is hidden away in dark closets,
Transgender assault survivors' strength explored in the Espavo photo project at Harrisburg LGBT Center
By Kari Larsen
April 13, 2015

How does one love oneself after sexual assault? That is what a photography project, on exhibit in Harrisburg on April 17, explores within the context of the transgender community.

The Espavo Project is a series of photographs of transgender and gender non-conforming survivors of sexual assault. In collaboration with FORGE, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based organization that advocates for the rights of transgender people, the LGBT Community Center of Central PA is exhibiting photos from the project in their gallery.
Sexual assault is a catastrophic problem in the transgender community, which is disproportionately subject to violence compared to the general population. In Pennsylvania, where there are no state-level laws protecting transgender and non-binary people from hate crimes, transgender people are even more vulnerable.
Here in Connecticut we do have a hate crime law for gender identity/expression a long with the non-discrimination legislation. But unfortunately laws do not stop sexual assaults.

If you need support you can call CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services (Hotline: 1-888-999-5545 English & 1-888-568-8332 Español), they have trained crisis workers there to help you.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What’s Happening With The MWMF?

 There seems to be some discussion going on about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (Michfest), TransAdvocate suspended their petition.

The Windy City Times report that,
NCLR and Task Force remove names from Michfest petition
By Sarah Toce

Just days after Kate Kendell and the organization she leads, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), removed their signature from Equality Michigan's Michfest petition, another big league LGBT organization followed suit. National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey has withdrawn her support for the petition.

Kendell and Carey's original letters were met with an outcry from the LGBT community opposed to Michfest's intent on transgender women, and an additional joint statement was released on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

"We are writing to state clearly our commitment to the full inclusion and welcome of transgender women, as women, in the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (Michfest). We will continue to actively work to fulfill that goal," the updated response said. "After a number of conversations, we do not believe the petition/boycott is going to be ultimately productive in achieving the goal of a fully inclusive Michfest."

Kendell and Carey added, "There have been a number of misstatements and distortions that have been included in some media reports, social media and blogs about our positions regarding Michfest that have wrongly equated taking our names off the petition with a lack of support for trans women. We have not abandoned our efforts to work for a fully inclusive Michfest. Our goal is a Michfest that fully welcomes Trans women." 
And now the TransAdvocate reports that,
TransAdvocate Suspending Its MichFest Petition Signature
By Autumn Sandeen
April 12, 2015

On the evening of April 8, 2015, The TransAdvocate editors came to a unanimous decision to suspend our signature on the Equality Michigan petition asking for MichFest to change their trans exclusionary, womyn-born-womyn intention.

This was decided after earlier in the day the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ (NCLR’s) Kate Kendall sent a letter to Lisa Vogel and withdrew its name from Equality Michigan’s petition asking for MichFest to change its trans exclusionary, womyn-born-womyn intention.
On April 10th, I called Emily Dievendorf, the Executive Director of Equality Michigan, and informed her of our decision to suspend our participation in the petition in an attempt to foster the kind of honest and forthright dialogue that Kate Kendall suggests; we are committed to the truly productive discussions that Rea Carey states are necessary. These kinds of discussions cannot be done with intermediaries alone.
We at the TransAdvocate are making a good-faith effort to engage MichFest in dialogue with the goal of a reconciliation that will bring an end to the decades of trauma the MichFest, trans and feminist communities have experianced. So, we at The TransAdvocate are giving pause; we’re giving space. We’re giving space to give an opportunity for the face-to-face meetings that are long overdue to reconcile, heal, and embrace the core value of inclusiveness. We, along with MichFest associated intermediaties who are in dialogue with the TransAdvocate, have reached out to Vogel and await a response.
So is there a breakthrough coming? I guess we are going to have to wait and see.

I Hate The Word “Stealth”

If you look at the definition of the word it says,
1: a archaic :  theft
    b obsolete :  something stolen
2:  the act or action of proceeding furtively, secretly, or imperceptibly
3:  the state of being furtive or unobtrusive
4:  an aircraft-design characteristic consisting of oblique angular construction and avoidance of vertical surfaces that is intended to produce a very weak radar return
The connotation is that of deceit, that you are pulling a “fast one”

There is an article in the Everyday Feminism about,
7 Myths About ‘Stealth’ Transexuals That Undermine Valid Choices
By James St. James
April 9, 2015

1. Being Stealth Isn’t Possible
In sum, being stealth is incredibly possible, especially to those of us with passing privilege.

That being said, in some ways, being stealth isn’t possible – but I mean that in the sense of the rascally government.
And let me tell you, it’s quite maddening to pass as a man during a great job interview, only for a recruiter to get all dopey and awkward when the background check comes back.
And that is the rub, no matter how hard you try to lose your paper trail it is impossible. I knew someone who went to extraordinary measures to erase her past only to have a reporter call her says that he was doing a story on why people change their names. He said that he wondered why she had changed her name from John Doe to Jane Doe.
2. Anyone Can Live Stealth If They Try Hard Enough
3. Not everybody has passing privilege, and not everybody should have to have passing privilege.
Not everyone has the physical looks to integrate in to society, I know a trans woman who is six foot six, has large bone structure and wears a size 14 women’s shoe.

The following I believe is not true, people integrate in to society for a number of reasons and not all of them are these…
4. Living Stealth Means You’re Ashamed of Being Trans5. Being Stealth Means We Want to Be Cis
Living “stealth” means only you don’t go around with a sign on you saying “I’m trans.” 99.999% of the time no one knows that I’m trans, but that doesn’t mean that I’m “stealth” what it means is that I just want be me and I don’t advertise the fact that I am trans. But at the same time I will not deny the fact that I’m trans and if you Google me there is no doubt that I’m trans.

Okay, about the word “stealth” as I mentioned before, I think it has a very negative connotation and I like the word integrate better. If you look up definition of the word it is,
: to combine (two or more things) to form or create something
: to make (something) a part of another larger thing
: to make (a person or group) part of a larger group or organization
And that is much closer to what we want, to be a part of a larger group, “I live integrated” rather than “I live stealth.”

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I Wish Them Luck

But somehow I don’t think it will happen,
Airline Unions Blast Gulf Carriers
Boston Edge
By Heather Cassell
Bay Area Reporter
Sunday Apr 12, 2015

Airline unions and flight attendants are making an unprecedented move toward equality in the air in the ongoing battle to level the playing field in Open Skies agreements.
The airline unions are working on including human and labor rights in the agreement being negotiated with Norwegian Air International as a part of the European Union-United States Open Skies agreement, he said.

The fight is also focusing on Middle East airlines.
He wasn't sure if there were any LGBT-identified cabin crew members, but the airlines headquarters are centralized in countries with strong anti-gay laws. To work for these airlines is to go deep into the closet "setting us back decades in the work that we've had to do as cabin crew," he said.
Somehow I don’t think that I would want to work for a company from a country where they behead me. It would make me slightly nervous everyone I was in the country.

Breaking The Law

It is against the law to require students at school that receive federal funding to discriminate against trans students and require them to use a single stall bathroom or use the bathroom of their birth gender. However, that doesn’t stop state legislatures or school board from passing laws or policies to the contrary.
Nevada transgender bill passes committee
Reo Gazette Journal
By Trevon Milliard
April 11, 2015

A bill to segregate Nevada's transgender students into separate school bathrooms passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Friday, the final day for bills to stay alive in the 2015 session.

Assembly Bill 375 survived the committee — dominated by conservative Republicans — on party lines. Only Democrats voted against it.

It will now be up to the full Assembly to decide if the controversial bill, described by opponents as illegal under federal law, should go any further.
And it is not like they do not know about Title IX,
Critics don't only contend the bill is harmful. It flies in the face of federal law.

Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funds, said Vanessa Spinazola, legislative and advocacy director for the ACLU of Nevada, noting that the bill "will be litigated if it passes."

"The bill is proposed by nothing but hate and unjustified fear," said Brock Maylath, president and co-founder of Reno's Transgender Allies Group.
So what this law will do is to put school systems in a vice. If they obey the state law they are going to be fined by the federal government and subject to lawsuits, but if they follow federal they will be violating the state law.

Way to go Republicans! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

An Observation

Over the years I have done hundreds of outreaches at colleges around the state and there is a trend that I noticed. There is no scientific research that I know of other than what I have noticed and that is men in the classes that I do the outreach don’t ask questions. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule but in general most of the questions come from the women in the class and it seems more so for undergraduates than graduate students.

I do not the dynamics involved, I don’t know if they don’t ask question regularly in class or it is because of the topic (gender identity/expression) and the fear of being too inquisitive on the topic and being labeled a closet gay.

The worst outreach that I ever did was for a sports medical class, the class was all jocks and they didn’t ask a single question. They all sat there with their arms folder and legs spread in a typical “male dominance” posture. For the whole class the other trans woman that I was doing the outreach with, we asked each other questions.

I do not know if is because society has taught them that it is not “macho” to be inquisitive or what but I seems like it hurts them.

Saturday 9: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (1970)

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (1970)

Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song asks, "Does anybody really care about time?" How about you? Do you pride yourself on being punctual? Or don't you really care?
No, I run about ten minutes late. My nemeses the shower, a hot shower is soooo relaxing that I lose track of time. What I really need is a clock in the shower.

2) The lyrics refer to a stranger asking the time. When is the last time you conversed with someone you didn't really know? What did you two talk about?
Yesterday, I did training at a public health class at a university in New Haven and afterwards I talked to the students who still had questions.

3) According to the Top 40 tracker Tunecaster, this song knocked Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Knock Three Times" out of the #1 spot on the charts in January 1971. Are you familiar with "Knock Three Times?"
Oh yes, I remember the song very well. I heard it so many times on the radio.

4) Chicago is not only the name of the group but also of the midwest's largest city. Chicago is the proud hometown of such luminaries as Bill Murray, Michelle Obama and Derrick Rose. Does your town have any favorite sons or daughters?
Well there was Emma Hart Willard who led the movement for women’s education and then there was the “Yankee Peddler” there was a number of tin makers living in town. During the winter they made their tin plates, cups, and tableware which they sold around New England in the summer.

5) The group Chicago was originally known as The Chicago Transit Authority, after the city's public transportation system. When is the last time you were on a bus or a train?
This past spring when I went down to New York to see a Broadway play.

6) Four of the original seven bandmembers are still with the group … after 48 years! What's the longest you stayed at the same job?
28 years and I only left because they closed down the factory.

7) Lead singer Rob Lamm confessed that, at times, being in a band has been hard for him because he is by nature a loner. How about you? Are you more introverted or extroverted?
Introvert, I look on extroverts with jealousy, dreaming of being able to strike up a conversation with anyone.

8) This summer, Chicago will be touring with Earth, Wind and Fire. Have you seen/will you attend any concerts in 2015?
Nope… my last concert that I went to was back in the seventies.

 9) Random question: What's the last mess you cleaned up?
I dropped an egg this morning when I was taking it out of the refrigerator.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Why Does It Take A Sledgehammer?

Or in this case a lawsuit to get them to do the right thing.
Georgia Prison Officials Change Transgender Inmate Policy
ABC News
By Kate Brumback Associated Press
Apr 10, 2015

Georgia prison officials are changing how they treat inmates with gender identity conditions, just days after the U.S. Justice Department weighed in on a lawsuit filed by a transgender prisoner.

The new policy took effect Tuesday after the Justice Department said in a court filing April 3 that prison officials must treat an inmate's gender identity condition just as they would treat any other medical or mental health condition.

The Justice Department brief was filed in the case of a lawsuit filed in February by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman. The lawsuit says prison officials have failed to provide adequate treatment for Diamond's gender dysphoria, a condition that causes a person to experience extreme distress because of a disconnect between birth sex and gender identity.
The new policy makes clear that each inmate with a possible gender dysphoria diagnosis "will receive a current individualized assessment and evaluation." It also specifically says a patient won't be denied treatment if he or she wasn't receiving a comparable level of treatment or wasn't receiving any treatment previously.
Why did it take a lawsuit to change their policy, when there had been numerous court cases that ordered trans people to receive proper health care for trans prisoners.

And even this policy doesn’t go far enough, why is it limited to only trans people who previously have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, do they limit treatment for cancer patients who was diagnosed with cancer at their intake process and do they treat them when the cancer is diagnosed? If a trans person is diagnosed while they are in prison they should be able to begin the transition process.

The Leading Edge

Have you ever seen a President do more for LGBT people? It took him a little time getting up to speed but President Obama I think has done more than any other president, his latest act was,
Obama calls for end to 'gay conversion therapies'
Christian Today
By Ruth Gledhill
10 April 2015

Leelah explained how her parents had forced her to attend "conversion therapy", pulled her out of school and isolated her in an attempt to change her gender identity.

Now President Barack Obama has responded to a White House petition calling for an end to all conversion therapies aimed at reorienting gay, lesbian and transgender youth.

An accompanying post entitled "Official White House Response", quoting President Obama, says: "Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let's say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he's held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it's time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us -- on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build."
This is all well and good, but in order for anything to be done Congress has to act and show how I do not see a Republican Congress voting for this in an election year.

The article goes on to say,
"This Administration believes that young people should be valued for who they are, no matter what they look like, where they're from, the gender with which they identify, or who they love," the White House response says.
There are still therapists who think conversion or as it is also known as reparative therapy works, that you can force a child into a gender role. The APA in a resolution say,
Therefore be it further resolved that the American Psychological Association opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, and mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.
Here in Connecticut the topic of banning conversion/reparative therapy for minors has come up and it is not high up on the legislative priorities because from what I have been told there are no therapists in Connecticut that do conversion/reparative therapy.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Media…

When the media covers us we just never know what is going to come out of the mill. The press when we are doing an interview tell us that we have no right to determine content of an article. They want us to blindly talk them and answer their questions without any idea of the focus of the article. Will they rake us over the coals or will it be a puff piece about us, we have to just go on faith.
National News Networks Are Failing The Transgender Community
New Report Raises Concerns About Cable, Broadcast Coverage Of Transgender Issues
Media Matters
By Carlos Maza & Rachel Percelay
April 8, 2015

Which Transgender Stories Are Newsworthy?
When networks did discuss transgender stories, coverage was largely focused on the unusual circumstances of high-profile transgender individuals, rather than the shared experiences of the transgender community. Though CNN spent forty-six minutes discussing transgender issues, for example, over 80% coverage was centered on TV personality Bruce Jenner's transition.
While a few news hosts, including MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry and CNN's Don Lemon, used these stories as opportunities to talk about broader issues affecting the transgender community, the norm was overwhelmingly in favor of focusing on the particularities of already sensationalized news events.

This kind of sensationalized focus on trans issues is both misleading and disempowering. In a March 2015 study of transgender representation in the media for the World Professional Association of Transgender Health, Jamie Colette Capuzza wrote:
[T]ransgender people are largely "symbolically annihilated" by the mainstream news industry. Such invisibility makes this population more vulnerable to the power of other types of media images. Consumers may encounter transgender people more often than in the past, but these images lay primarily within entertainment media; even within the news genre, transgender people are featured more often in entertainment, arts, sports, and lifestyle sections. Audiences learn that transgender people are sources of entertainment more than they learn that transgender people face consequential and newsworthy obstacles as a community. [emphasis added [by the article]]
The media's focus on stories like Jenner's can't be blamed on the lack of substantive trans-releated news events.

During the first two months of 2015, seven transgender women of color were murdered in the United States, in what the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs called "an alarming epidemic of violence against LGBTQ communities, and particularly against transgender women of color."
So this lead up to an email that I received the other day from a television show producer, she asked me to be on their morning news show to talk about the conference that the non-profit that I am a member of is having on April 25 and about Bruce Jenner.

In my reply I wrote,
We each transition in our own way and I am not comfortable talking about another person's journey. We follow our own path, there is no right or wrong way to transition and I feel uncomfortable discussing another person's transition.
From our emails I got the feeling that our conference would be a secondary topic and the main focus of the interview would by Bruce Jenner.

I do not know if they got someone else or that they still will want to have me on their show. But I am worried that the interview will be just like what the Media Matters is talking about.

Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back

Human rights should never be subject to a vote!

In Springfield Missouri the city council passed a non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people but it was just overturn by a referendum.
Springfield voters repeal protections for gay, transgender people
By Paula Morehouse, Mike Landis Mike Landis, and Robin Yancey Robin Foster
April 7, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The vote was close but Springfield voters on Tuesday rejected an anti-discrimination ordinance meant to protect gay men, lesbian women, and transgender people.   The Springfield City Council added those protections to the city's broader anti-discrimination ordinance last October.

With all the votes tallied, about 51.4 percent of the Springfield voters on Tuesday said they wanted to repeal the City Council's action, while 48.6 percent wanted to retain it.  The raw numbers are 15,347 people voted "yes" to repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance and 14,493 people voted "no" to keep it on the books.
The reason why they are called “Human Rights” is because there are certain basic rights that are believed to fundamentally belong to every person. Hence one group of people should not be allowed to be voted away by another group of people. In other words, the majority should not be able to oppress a minority.

Do you think that voters would have voted to end segregation? Do you think that women would have the vote if it was put to popular vote? In Springfield we see a narrow majority to endorsed bigotry against a minority. And LGBT are a minority, we make up around 2 percent of the population.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Thoughts Of Spring

With the end of March Madness and with the coming of spring many of our thoughts turn to sports. The question always arises what about trans athletes, where do we fit in?
OPINION: Do transgender athletes have an edge?
New Haven Register
By The Associated Press
POSTED: 04/04/15

I was 150 meters from the finish of the eight-kilometer national Masters Championships in Brea, California, when I switched on what passes for a kick in a 58-year-old woman like me. Up ahead I saw Suzanne Cordes, a 55-year-old Bay Area runner and personal trainer who is ranked internationally in World Masters Athletics. I’d never beaten her in a race.

With mere meters left, I caught up to Suzanne. And then I edged past her into the finish chute. I clocked in at 36:14, she at 36:18. I was still bent over from the exertion of the sprint when she walked by and affectionately squeezed my hand. It was a small gesture but a meaningful one. That moment, in February, stood out because it was so different from the reception I often receive as a transgender athlete.
Once we start taking hormones our body starts to change, for us trans women we start to lose muscle mass and for the trans guys they start gaining muscle mass. I was never strong to begin with but I was amazed at how much strength that I lost. If it wasn’t for mechanical aids to open jars I think I would starve to death. I remember once up at the cottage trying to open a jar, I straining trying twist the lid off and my brother come up, takes the jar from me and just twist the lid off and gives me a look.

The article goes on to say,
Science provides a clear explanation for why, in many sports, trans women don’t maintain any athletic advantage. Hormone therapy for trans women typically involves a testosterone-blocking drug plus an estrogen supplement. As their testosterone levels approach female norms, trans women see a decrease in muscle mass, bone density and the proportion of oxygen-carrying red cells in their blood. The estrogen, meanwhile, boosts fat storage, especially around the hips. Together, these changes lead to a loss of speed, strength and endurance — all key components of athleticism.

I understood that this would happen to me, too. But I was surprised how fast it happened. Within three weeks of starting hormone therapy in August 2004, I was markedly slower. I didn’t feel any different while I was running. But I could no longer match my previous times. By 2005, when I was racing in the women’s category, the difference was astounding. I finished one 10K in 42:01 — almost a full five minutes slower than I’d run the same course two years earlier as a man.
What does the NCAA have to say about trans athletes?
NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation
The following policies clarify participation of transgender student-athletes undergoing hormonal treatment for gender transition:
  1. A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for purposes of NCAA competition may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing that team status to a mixed team.
  2. A trans female (MTF) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for the purposes of NCAA competition may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.
Notice that they do recognize the fact that over time hormones affect muscle mass and bone density so they require for the athlete to be on hormones for at least one year.

And I just want to add this... GO UConn!  GO Huskies!!
As most of you probably know already the UConn Women Huskies won there third consecutive NCAA national title for a total of ten championships. They are running out of space on the sign on I-84.

2015 Transgender Lives Conference:

2015 Transgender Lives Conference: Intersection of Health and Law 
Saturday April 25, 2015

The ninth annual Transgender Lives Conference: The Intersection of Health and Law will be held on Saturday, April 25 at the UConn Health Center from 8:00 AM until 5:00 pm. This daylong conference is geared towards allies, medical and legal professionals, service providers, members of the trans and gender non-conforming community, and anyone interested in learning about the transgender and gender non-conforming communities. The conference features local and regional speakers on topics of health and law, and how the two fields impact the lives of transgender individuals on a daily basis.

This year’s keynote speaker is Dallas Denny, a longtime trans advocate renowned for her work in advocacy, policy issues, and health practices involving transsexual and transgender people.

This year the conference is offering 21 workshops covering topics such as:

  • The Treatment & Management of Pediatric Transgender Kids in a Family and Community Practice Setting
  • No Longer Lost in The Shuffle: Being Disabled and Trans* 
  • Trans Employment - How to Legally Protect Yourself 
  • Trans Discrimination and the Fight for Housing Justice
  • Trans Health: An Evidence-based Update
  • Healthy While Trans: Demanding Excellence from our Healthcare System and Providers

Conference Schedule

  • 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)
  • 03:45 - 04:45 PM : Keynote 
  • 04:45 - 05:00 PM : Closing remarks and wrap up

Registration Fee: $25 for individuals Can't afford it? We will have scholarships available the day of the event.

Registration Fee: $50 for CEC. (The 2014 conference included five CEC approved for the Cultural Competence requirements for licensure renewal.)


That happens a lot with activists, sometimes fighting windmill just becomes over powering and we throw in the towel. Back in 1999 Dallas Denny wrote an article about this topic,
We Eat Our Leaders

In the transgender community, we eat our leaders. I know this because I was nearly consumed myself.

What do I mean, we eat our leaders? I’m saying that the leaders of the transgender community, whether hired, elected, or self-appointed, tend to give so much of themselves and get so little in return that they eventually have nothing left—no vitality, no patience, no partners, no money, no careers, no homes, no futures.
And I cannot but help but wonder if this will happen to Jazz before she is out of her teens. It seems like everywhere you look there is something about Jazz, CNN had this article about Jazz,
Why transgender teen Jazz Jennings is everywhere

(CNN)The transgender community is celebrating several milestones thanks to one teen doing her part for transgender visibility.

Activist and YouTube star Jazz Jennings will star in a reality show debuting on TLC this summer, the network announced last week. "All That Jazz" will feature the 14-year-old and her family dealing with typical teen drama through the lens of a transgender youth.
Wait, there's more. Jazz is also the latest face of Clean & Clear's "See The Real Me" digital campaign.

Jazz appears in a video for the skincare company sharing the trials of growing up transgender.

"I've always known exactly who I am. I was a girl trapped in a boy's body," Jazz said in the video, which encourages teens to be "your true self."
She is also on the NO8H, she co-authored "I am Jazz,"  a children's book in 2014 based on her life, and she was at this year’s True Color conference.

I just wonder what is going to happen in five – ten years will she burn out? She will always have the “label” transgender and it will be very hard to live a “normal” life.

My one regret is that I am all over the web, if you Google my name you will get a thousand of hits that will leave no doubt that I’m trans and I can’t help but wonder what Jazz will be like when she is 30.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Where Is The Outrage?

Wow! The way so many people, companies, and politician all came together to protest the Indiana  “Religious Freedom” law was amazing! But… where is the outrage about the states that are trying to pass “No Pee” laws for trans people?

There is an article in the Chicago Tribune about how the residents of Indiana are embarrassed about their state,
Lately, the quiet heartland state best known for corn and car racing has become a bulls-eye for American judgment, a magnet for boycotts, a punching bag for late-night comics. Insults have proliferated across the Internet: "Now entering Indiana," read one viral meme. "Please turn back your clocks 200 years."

"I love Indiana. I was born in Indiana. All my friends are in Indiana," native son David Letterman quipped on the "Late Show." "But I think Indiana's gone nuts."
But Hoosiers everywhere feel embarrassed and misunderstood. On Facebook, they post impassioned pleas: Don't believe what you've heard. On the streets of Indianapolis, they strike up friendlier than usual conversations with visiting basketball fans. And at the Indianapolis International Airport, they've draped a big blue banner that reads "Indy Welcomes All."

"If only they could see who we really are, our Midwest hospitality," said Scott Prather, a 24-year-old nursing student who was born and raised in the city. "Everyone talking badly about us needs to come visit."
As I said it was amazing how public opinion was able to get the law modified to ban the use of the law to discriminate against LGBT people, but why are not the people in Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Kentucky embarrassed about their states? Why isn’t there an outcry about the bills to ban trans people from using public bathrooms?

Have you heard one company say they are going to ban travel to any state that passes those laws? have you heard one governor saying their banning travel there? 

We Are The New “In,”

Have you noticed that it seems like anything trans is now “In.”

You can turn around without seeing some new TV show or a movie or a magazine article that featuring a trans woman. There are some trans people that jokingly have a drinking game about trans people on TV, you take a drink every time you see them putting on make-up or a “before” picture. A new show on cable is bound to get you wasted. People magazine has an article about the show,
Check Out TV's First Series About Transgender Women (VIDEO)
By Lynette Rice

On April 2, the cable channel will be ready to share their stories with viewers. New Girls on the Block is not only the first original series developed by Discovery Life (formerly Discovery Fit & Health), but it will also mark the first time a network has embedded itself within the transgender community.

PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the unscripted series that will follow eight people, six of whom are transgender women, in varying stages of their transition and in relationships.
Now how many time do you think the show will show them putting on make-up or before transition photos? You better stock up your liquor cabinet.

I don’t mind show like the new TV movie Endgame that fall Michelle Hendley will play a trans woman or shows like “Orange is the New Black” where trans woman plays the part of a trans woman. But I think shows like “New Girls on the Block” are just exploiting the trans trend.

I was at a Creative Cocktail Hour (A monthly event at a local avant-garde art gallery) a few months back and a woman that I had never seen before invited me to a party. There were four women who looked like they were in their late twenties or early thirties wanted me a sixty+ trans woman come to their party on Saturday. The only reason I could think of was that they wanted a token trans person at their party.

So we are the new “In” and the gays are passé.