Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday 9: Thriller

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Thriller (1983)

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

I’m back home again from my vacation on Cape Cod, the NH cottage is all closed up for the season and I’m getting over a cod that I had since Monday.

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

1) In this video, Michael Jackson is transformed into a "werecat," with fangs, claws, yellow eyes and whiskers. What  monster or ghoul frightened you the most?
I’m not really frightened of any make believe monsters.

2) Michael sings that evil things that will be lurking "close to midnight." Where will you be at midnight tonight?
In my bed sleeping.

3) Horror movie icon Vincent Price does the voice over on "Thriller." What's your favorite scary movie? 
I was never a big fan of horror movie, the all seemed so camp. I got a good laugh from the “Blob.”

4) Mr. Price's House of Wax, made in 1953, was one of the first 3D movies. What's the most recent 3D movie you saw?
I've never seen a 3D movie.

5) Horror fans might be surprised to know that, despite his sinister image, Mr. Price enjoyed very genteel and relaxing hobbies, like cooking, gardening and painting. What would we be surprised to learn about you?
Well I think by now most of you know my little secrets but maybe not this one, I won a science fair project in junior high school when we launched a mouse on a model rocket.

6) A Halloween tradition is the jack-o-lantern. Did you carve a pumpkin this year?
Nope, I haven’t carved a pumpkin probably in over fifty years.

7) According to Yahoo!, the most popular costume of Halloween 2014 was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Will you be in costume this Halloween? If not, who or what would you most like to dress up as?
Nope, I will be in hibernation. Maybe a nun if I was going to dress up..

8) When you went trick or treating as a kid, did you usually wear a store-bought costume, or was it DIY?
Homemade costumes like Davy Crockett or a pirate.

9) When trick-or-treaters show up at your door, what candy will they get?
A cold shoulder. Bah Humbug or whatever the Halloween equivalent is.
But actually our neighborhood has grown old and all the kids are now parents of their own.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Trans Students

The skirmishes continues as school districts around the country thumb their noses at Title IX.
The latest battleground in transgender rights: the school changing room
The Economist
By V.V.B
Oct 30th 2015

A DISAGREEMENT about the treatment of transgender students is pitting the largest high-school district in Illinois against federal authorities. The bone of contention is the access to changing rooms for a transgender high-school student in one of the five high schools and two alternative schools of Township High School District 211 in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago. The student, who was born male but identifies as female, lived for several years as a girl and plays on the girls' sports team, demands that she is given full access to the girls' locker room.

Daniel Cates, the superintendent of district 211, denies her full access to that and instead offers her a separate room or the male locker room to change in. He argues that he has to balance the privacy rights of 12,500 students and the rights of a group with particular needs. In his view, the privacy of that vast majority of students is infringed if transgender students are allowed to change in the same locker room as the students of the gender they identify with.
Meanwhile, hundreds of school districts are following the Department of Education’s rules without it causing them much trouble. A few objected to the rules and ran into trouble. On October 28th the Obama administration filed a legal brief in a federal appeals court backing a transgender student’s challenge of his school’s policy banning him from using the bathroom that corresponds with the gender he identifies with. Gavin Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, sued his school in rural Virginia over a policy requiring him to use the girls’ restroom or a single-stall unisex bathroom. Some of his class mates and their parents reportedly argued that his presence in the boys’ bathroom would be disruptive and violate the male students’ privacy.
Segregation is never right, we learned long time ago that “separate but equal” is wrong, forcing a trans student to use a special bathroom stigmatizes the student and causes bullying and harassment; it marks them “different.”

And as the article points out hundreds of school districts around the have integrated their school districts without trouble proving the fear moguls wrong.

Trans People In The Movies

In the past I have said that there are a lot of talented trans actresses and actors out there that need a chance to audition for parts in movies and on TV shows, well there is an article about a campaign for trans actresses and actors to get an Oscar.
First Oscar Campaign for Transgender Actresses Launches
By Ramin Setoodeh
October 6, 2015

Tangerine, Sean Baker’s Sundance Film Festival darling about two transgender prostitutes on a Christmas Eve jaunt through Los Angeles, might not seem like your typical Oscar movie. But against the backdrop of the Emmys recognizing Laverne Cox’s performance in Orange is the New Black in 2014, Magnolia Pictures and the Duplass brothers, who produced Tangerine, are launching an Oscar campaign for the indie, Variety has learned. It’s the first time a movie distributor has ever backed an awards season push for a transgender actress in Hollywood history.

The scrappy campaign — which is forgoing traditional “For Your Consideration” advertising — will officially kick off on Tuesday night, during an Academy conversation with the Duplass brothers, where Jay and Mark will show a clip from the film. Magnolia plans on sending Tangerine screeners to the actors branch of the Academy, as well as cinematographers (the movie was shot on an iPhone 5s) and screenwriters, in a bid to gain heat for the script, which Baker developed with his actresses.
There are a lot of talented trans actresses and actors who should be given a chance to audition. Hopefully, this will be the ice breaker and producers will start to audition trans actresses and actors not only for trans characters but also for non-trans character parts.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Friend In Our Court

No other administration has fought for trans rights more than the Obama administration.
Obama Administration Supports Transgender Student In Federal Appeals CourtOn Wednesday night, the Justice Department filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting a transgender student barred by his school from using the restroom that corresponds with his gender identity.
By Chris Geidner
Originally posted on Oct. 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration filed a groundbreaking legal brief in a federal appeals court on Wednesday evening, supporting a transgender student’s challenge to his school’s policy banning him from using the restroom that corresponds with his gender identity.

The move at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Gavin Grimm’s case is the strongest step yet from the Obama administration to advance its position supporting the right of transgender people to seek legal protections under current civil rights laws.
Wednesday night’s filing, however, is the first time the administration has weighed in on the issue in an appeals court. That is an important distinction because a decision in the case would apply to all federal cases filed within the circuit — not just to this student’s case.
Both parties dicker over the budget, and taxes. One party believes that big business should be helped while the other party believes that there should be a safety net for the less fortunate. However, for me what is important is human rights. I will not support a party that wants to criminalize my existence. I will not vote for a party that wants to prevent my access to a bathroom. I will not vote for a party that demonizes me. I will not vote for a party that will deny my right to a job because of who I am or to housing and public accommodation.

Ticky Tacky Little Boxes

Trying to force kids into boxes is wrong, it is much better to let kids explore their gender than to force them into gender roles.
Transgender children: 'I first realised Jackie was different when she was 18 months old'
Article By: Angeline Albert, News Editor

With more and more children seeking medical treatment for gender identity issues on the NHS, can a child be too young to know who they really are and what can nurseries do to help?

Figures from Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, the only UK clinic to provide medical treatment to transgender children, reveals the number of referrals have risen steadily over the past five years and are up five-fold from 139 in 2010/11 to 697 in 2014/15.

In 2014/15, seven five-year-olds were referred to the clinic and five four-year-olds.
“We have to support people to manage uncertainty and their understandable distress” she says. Even if society may put girls and boys in different boxes from birth: pink for a girl, blue for a boy, nurseries are expected to be more forward-thinking. “Nurseries should acknowledge that a binary culture does not fit everyone. In early years, if there was less reinforcement of the binary, there would be less of an issue if a child felt they didn’t fit.

"Boys and girls outfits, lining up according to gender, books depicting genders in a stereotypical way.

But she says it is also “unhelpful to create a third box and say male, female, trans. Trans is an umbrella term covering a range of experiences of gender, including for example, non-binary. “We need to break down assumptions that certain ways of dressing and behaving go along with set genders.”

Taking gender out of the equation in early years means children have more space to express themselves.

This could even be as simple as splitting children into two groups according to a specific animal or cartoon character. Dr Carmichael says it is important that “nursery staff don’t jump to conclusions”. “We don’t want to assume that children are trans or have a different sexuality. Children are developing and their understanding of themselves and what feels right for them can change over time.”
How refreshing to hear this… let the children sort it out for themselves. If children grow up in a non-threatening environment they will have less preconceived notions of gender binaries.

# # # # #

Since coming home from Fantasia Fair I found a clogged kitchen sink that I need to call the plumber for (I tried a snake but that didn't work so now I have to call in a professional), I closed up the New Hampshire cottage with my brother, and I have a cold. Not a god week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Free Speech

Many people do not know that the First Amendment only protects individuals speaking in public. It doesn’t cover business preventing employees talking about the business while they are on the job. It doesn’t prevent newspapers from prohibiting dissenting opinions but it does allow newspapers from printing their views.

So when I block a comment I am not infringing on your First Amendment rights because it is my blog and I can decide what to print and what comments to allow. But that power comes at a price.
Free speech is the natural ally of transgender rights
The Spectator
By Dan Hitchens
October 27, 2015

Enter the student censors, this time in Cardiff, who have decided that because of her crude remarks about trans women, Germaine Greer should be banned from speaking, even on a different subject. To his credit, Cardiff’s vice-chancellor Colin Riordan came out in support of the event going ahead, but Greer seems to have chosen not to turn up. It’s another bleak moment for free speech – and it may not be a particularly great moment for transgender rights, either.

For one thing, it makes the activists look as if they don’t trust their own arguments. It also allows Greer to seem a fearless speaker of truth to power, which may be more than she deserves. Her offensive – and increasingly foul-mouthed – remarks about trans people suggest that she finds this subject an awkward one. It’s not entirely clear why that is – though it’s interesting that The Female Eunuch attacks the belief in a distinction between male and female psychology, and that trans people’s inner lives sometimes seem to revolve around just such a distinction; but the point is that she doesn’t sound like somebody winning a debate. Banning Greer allows her an easy victory: it stops people asking why she might find this issue so problematic.
Bingo! By banning her it makes us look like the villain. We should welcome the debate, we should have been out in front of the auditorium handing out flyers telling our side of the story and why she is wrong. It would be different if it was hate speech using derogatory or hurtful words

Helen Boyd wrote on her blog en|gender,
Germaine Greer is wrong. And her speech, whether she admits to it or not, carries a greater resonance – and a greater burden – because we expect such remarkable feminism and knowledge from her. She is not dismissable nor stupid, but she is still wrong. Because everything I know as a feminist is built on inclusion; ‘woman’ is an alliance, not an identity you choose; it is the sum of all of the parts of what it is to live in a patriarchy and to feel no power and a tremendous threat of violence if you don’t follow the rules. And if there is anyone in the world who is experiencing those things right now, it is trans women. She is not just upsetting people by saying what she says. She is giving those who hate trans women permission to make their lives more miserable. And there is nothing, NOTHING, feminist about asserting the rights of the oppressors over the dignity and value of the oppressed.
She didn’t attack Ms. Geer but stated her reasons why she felt Ms. Geer was wrong.

We should avoid ad hominem attacks in the comments and instead state the reasons why we disagree with a person. We should not use derogatory words or call the other person names in our comments.

Ms Geer should have been allowed the right to speak at Cardiff, the college administration should not have had to step in to allow her to speak. College is about the intercourse of ideas and not just one sided discussions.

Bias In The Court

Can you imagine going before a judge that said you have a mental disorder and not recognizing you true gender?
Attorneys for Transgender Student Ask for New Judge
ABC News
By Larry O'Dell, AP
October 21, 2015

A judge who repeatedly referred to a transgender student's "mental disorder" should be removed from presiding over the teenager's lawsuit challenging a policy that bars him from using the boys' restrooms at his high school, his attorneys said in court papers Wednesday.

Attorneys for 16-year-old Gavin Grimm also said U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar of Norfolk has made statements indicating he may be suspicious of modern medical science regarding gender identity and that he objected to lawyers publicizing their client's transgender status.

Doumar did not immediately respond to a telephone message from the The Associated Press.

Grimm's lawyers asked for a new judge in a 58-page brief asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse two key rulings in the case. Doumar refused to grant a preliminary injunction that would have allowed Grimm to use the boys' bathrooms when the new school year started in September, and he threw out a claim that the policy violates federal sex discrimination law. He has not yet ruled on Grimm's claim that the policy violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.
It was President Reagan who nominated Doumar to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He was a friend of President Reagan and shared Regan’s conservative beliefs.

The Buzz Feed had this to say about the case,
But Doumar announced midway through Monday’s hearing that he was throwing out that argument. “Your case in Title IX is gone, by the way,” he told ACLU staff attorney Joshua Block, who argued on Grimm’s behalf. “I have chosen to dismiss Title IX. I decided that before we started.”

The announcement was unexpected not only because it diverges from the recent legal trend on the question of whether sex discrimination bans include anti-transgender discrimination, but also because a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice who had come to argue in Grimm’s favor on the Title IX question had not yet been given a chance to speak.
But Doumar pointed out that Title IX allows segregating single-sex facilities in general, like restrooms and locker rooms, for male and female students. And as such, he appeared to argue, transgender students can be segregated as well based on their birth sex. He suggested birth sex is solely at issue in Title IX, not a person’s chosen gender.
The article also pointed out that this is not an isolated case.
The school board’s arguments leaned heavily on a Pennsylvania case, in which a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit in March filed by a transgender college student who raised similar arguments to those in Grimm’s case. Because it is acceptable to separate male and female restrooms generally, Judge Kim R. Gibson found that a transgender student may be barred from a restroom based on his or her sex at birth.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fantasia Fair Day 7 – The Party’s Over

Yesterday was the last day of FanFair, everyone is packing up and heading home.

I had breakfast with three other friends at the Gifford House Inn. It was one of three places that had lobster on their breakfast menu, two of them had lobster Benedict and one of them had lobster hash and one of my friends wanted to try the Gifford House so we went there. When I ordered lobster Benedict the waiter said that they were all out of lobster because it was the end of the tourist season… Agg!

A couple of hours later I went to lunch (it is included in the price of the conference) but I wasn’t hungry so I had the Ruben without the bread and skipped desert. I walked down to the Crown & Anchor for the keynote speech by Jillian Weiss a trans lawyer who has taken part in many notable cases.

On the way to the Crown & Anchor I went through the Whaler Wharf mall to the beach where I took a whole slew of photos of an old pier.

After the keynote I went back to the room to catch a few Zs before the banquet. I just fell asleep when my cell phone rang… whatchadoin? I was sleeping. So much for taking a nap before the banquet.

The Gala Awards banquet is where they give out the awards for Alison Laing Congeniality, Brenda Viola Most Helpful awards, the food was very good and it was nice to socialize before dinner. For many attendees the banquet gives them a chance to dress to the “nines” for me it is just another banquet.

I like going to the fair for two reasons, first I like to meet old friends and second I like to take photos. I see people here from all over the country and it is a great networking place.

Now I am heading off to breakfast at Bayside Betsy’s… until next year!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saturday 9: It Don't Come Easy

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: It Don't Come Easy (1971)

Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…
I am up at a conference in P'town until tomorrow so I don't know when I can post comments on the other blogs.

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

1) This was Ringo's first big hit as a solo artist. Who is your favorite member of his old, very famous group, The Beatles?
John Lennon, I saw him as the rebel.

2) In this song, Ringo sings that you have to pay your dues. Do you belong to any organizations that require you to pay dues?
Yes, I belong to two professional organizations, NASW and WPATH.

3) He also sings, "you don't have to shout." When did you last raise your voice?
When I was a guest lecturer for a college class.

4) Ringo has two piercings on each ear and one tattoo on each arm. Do you have more piercings or body art?
Earrings, not body art.

5) Ringo gave his first wife, Maureen, a one-of-a-kind birthday gift. Frank Sinatra made a recording of "The Lady Is a Tramp" personalized to her. Tell us about one of your most memorable birthday celebrations.
My first birthday as Diana and I received gifts that I always dreamed of getting.

6) Ringo appeared as Mr. Conductor on Thomas the Tank Engine. He recorded the narration for the entire first season in just a week. Tell us what you did last week. 
Oh, where to begin? I taught a class, was on a panel for the movie Gen Silent, I was a guest lecturer for a student organization at Quinnipiac University School of Medicine, went to a house concert on Friday, and went out to lunch with my cousins on Saturday.
This week I was up at a conference all week in Provincetown MA on Cape Cod

7) Ringo also did the narration for Ladybird children's books. Do you like audiobooks?
I never really listened to any so I can’t say, but my latest thing is listening to old time radio programs.

8) As a boy in Liverpool, Ringo loved watching American westerns. His passion for the genre is reflected in the outfit he's wearing on the sleeve for "It Don't Come Easy." Do you like cowboy movies/shows?
Yes, they are OK. The old westerns are pretty camp, I like how they shot from the hip and hit someone a 100 yards away.

9) You know what else don't come easy? Nine questions every week. Crazy Sam has heard it all: this meme asks too many movie questions, too many questions about sports, too many questions that sound familiar ...  OK, now it's your turn. Help a tired meme mistress out. Contribute a random question that is not about movies or sports (pro or collegiate) and has never been asked before on this meme. Sam will compile these for an all-random Saturday 9 in November. That way she'll get a much-appreciated week off. Thanks for your help!
Have you ever swum in an ocean? As I sit here listening to the waves crashing on the beach.

The view from my motel  room.

That was taken Sunday afternoon with passing snow showers.

Fantasia Fair Day 6 – The Dunes

Yesterday’s I was up at 6:30 AM and went for a walk at 7 with a couple of friends over to Hatches Harbor trial, it is a little one mile out to the dunes but I stopped short of them to take photos. I took a total of 53 photos and I tried a couple of things with the camera. The first is what is called HDR (High-dynamic-range), I took multiple photographs of the same thing but varied the EV (exposure value) by several f stops and then combining the photos to bring out details in the photograph that wouldn’t have been in the photo normally. I also tried stitching together photographs to form a panorama photograph.

I then joined some friend for lunch at the Post Office after which I gave my workshop which was a repeat of the one I gave on Tuesday morning so I didn’t expect a large turn out and I was right. There was just one person who attended.

At night I joined some other friends and went to dinner at the Mayflower Café which was followed by the Follies at the Crown & Anchor.

I called the quits after the first act, I was just too beat from all the walking that you do at the FanFair and on top of that I had the morning walk.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fantasia Fair Day 5 – Do Nothing Day

Yesterday I didn't do anything. I just went to the keynote address by Marisa Richmond an activist from Tennessee. She talked about the state of Tennessee trans politics, the speech was titled “The Lost Speech” because of a mix up back in 2002 she never got to give the speech so she did yesterday. The only other thing that I did was to have a group photo taken at the Pilgrim memorial.

It is nice to goof off because there is a lot of walking at FanFair. Walking from the motel (the Boatslip) to where I picked to have lunch, yesterday it was the Crown & Anchor and at least yesterday it was the same place where they have the keynote (which is open to the general public) and then back to the motel. The workshops are also at the Boatslip and so is registration, since that is where I am staying it makes it nice with no walking.

Last night, tonight, and tomorrow night we have to get our own meals, the other nights the meals are included in the price of the conference. Lunches are also included in the price of the fair at either Bayside Betsy’s, the Post Office, or at the Crown & Anchor.

So last night I had supper with some friends at Bayside Betsy’s and while we were walking down there we met someone just arriving for the fair and it was her first time so we invited her to dinner with us. It turns out that she was checking out FanFair for her company a trans travel agency which I wrote about back in August 2014, Transgender Vacations when they were having a 10 day boat trip up the Elbe River.

So what is on the agenda for today? I photo shoot of Race Point Lighthouse which will be a two mile walk (I have to think I’m a little crazy to be doing it), I am giving my workshop again in the afternoon and then a night the Follies.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fantasia Fair Day 4 – Whales!

Yesterday’s luncheon keynote address was by Denise Norris and her keynote was “My Journey to Gender Authenticity.” I haven’t heard of her so I read her bio,
Denise Norris is more recently the lead for global transgender workplace inclusion at a global management consulting firm with over 300,000 employees world-wide and she also serves on the Board of Directors for Marriage Equality USA, a national organization advocating an end of discrimination regarding civil marriage for all people regardless of gender or orientation. Her roots in the Transgender community extend back more than 20 years from co-founding The Transexual Menace in 1993 to the creation of the Institute for Transgender Economic Advancement in 2014. In 2012, she received the Stonewall Spirit of Pride Award from the Stonewall National Museum and Archives for her contributions to the Transgender community. Her vision for the future is that we will no longer be separated by letters like L, G, B and T, but will become one community, united in seeking equality for all genders and all orientations. She claims the mountains of the Catskills in New York State as her home along with several horses and a couple of dogs.
In her talk she said many things that I believe such as what we have in common with LGB and that it is the person who does not conform to the gender norms that are discriminated against; that those who cannot “pass” or integrate into society face the blunt of harassment and violence.

She also said that diversity improves the bottom line, having a diverse workforce brings about a border pool of ideas and innovations. Having teams made up of men and women, people from different races, sexual orientation, and gender identities actually is more productive.

Companies that value diversity are leading in the market place; they are well ahead of companies that meet the HRC’s (Human Rights Campanian) Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

In the morning “Effectively Representing the Trans Community” and I was on a panel with Dr. Miqqi Alicia Gilbert and Dainna Cicotello and I was the light weight on the panel. They were pushing the envelope long before I was even peeking out the closet door. We kept getting off track but Miqqi did an excellent job of keeping us on topic.

In the afternoon I went on a photo shoot and I got side tracked… I went over to Race Point and as I was walking down to the beach a whale breaches about a 100 yards offshore. .. whoa! I set up my camera with the 500mm telephoto lens and wait, and wait, and wait. After about 45 minutes I give up, I think I have some photos of the hump and it blowing but it didn't breach again. I'm walking back to the parking lot and I hear everyone gasp, it breached again about a 1/4 mile from shore. Aggg...

While I was there about for “kids” walked by dragging a large cage and one of them asked me what everyone was looking at, I told her there was a whale with a calve offshore. She asked a few more questions and then called her boss. It turned out they were there to rescue an injured seal and she said it was very rare for a whale to be in so close to shore.

So this was the best shot of the whale, all you can see is a black share and the spray of water from the blow hole.

Passing by about a 1/2 mile offshore was this NOAA research ship…

I can't help wonder if the NOAA fisheries research ship had any relationship with the whale being just offshore. I thought maybe they were tracking a large school of fish.

The Coast Guard station…

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fantasia Fair Day 3 – Pioneer Awards

Yesterday’s luncheon keynote address was by Monica Roberts who was this year recipient of the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award. Some call me an activist but I don’t even come close to those who have come before me and Monica is one of the those activist. She was blazing the trail for all those who followed; I was still huddle in the dark closet.

In her speech she talked what has happened before but it was more about the current state of trans affairs in Texas and the hope of passing HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) in Houston. How Texas is starting to head for a blue state as more blacks and Latinos are moving to the suburbs and the state is becoming my integrated.

She also talked about Black Lives Matter, how she talked to the leaders of the movement and they assured her that ALL Black Lives Matter including black trans lives. That the message might not have filtered down to the chapters but the leaders are emphatic they include all black lesbians, gays, bi and trans lives.

She accepted the award at the banquet that night. The banquet that night was very nice in that the awards ceremony was short and sweet and to the point. There was a cocktail hour first and the awards ceremony which was followed by a buffet.

In the morning I gave my workshop, Effective Lobbying and there were four people who attended it, which was what I expected because after all it wasn’t about makeup or wig care but rather it was about lobbying. I am doing another workshop this morning on “Effectively Representing the Trans Community” and I am on a panel with Dr. Miqqi Alicia Gilbert and Dallas Denny. And my last workshop will be a repeat of yesterday’s workshop.

Sadly I lost an Cubic Zirconia earring, it wasn’t a diamond earring thank goodness but it still was slightly expensive.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fantasia Fair Day 2 – The Therapist

Yesterday's luncheon keynote address was by Dr. Maureen Osborne and her talk was “Observations from Two Decades of Active Listening to the Life Stories of Transgender Clients and their Families: A gender therapist’s journey from reluctant gatekeeper to fellow explorer of the gender frontier” and it was excellent!

She covered so much information that it is hard to remember everything that she talked about (I going to try and find out if her speech is posted online anywhere.) but one thing that I remember is that for many of us we go through a phase where we dress to the nines. I remember when I first came started going out in public used to wear dress and heels with a lot of make-up and that like teenagers we are experimenting with our gender, for some of us we outgrow that phase and settle down when we find our “style.” She also talked about working with couples and families and that around forty-eight percent of the couples stay together. Also mentioned was that sexual orientation is not linked gender identity.

One of the things that she mentioned was about suicides. Most therapist do not lose patients by suicide, the exception is therapists that work with trans patients, what is different about trans patients is that their trauma is not due to their being trans but rather because societal pressure to conform to the gender binary. Society wants to force us into boxes but nature abhors boxes.

In the evening we all headed over to Provincetown Theater for dinner and a play, the play “Debutante Balls” was by Scott Turner Schofield. According to the Fantasia Fair’s website,
"Debutante Balls" is a theatrical stand-up comedy dance through the fascinating culture of the Southern Debutante Ball. Schofield’s wicked sense of self-aware humor and poetic sensibility guide us through the many ways he "came out" into Southern Society (as a lesbian, radical feminist, and finally, as a transgender man), poking fun at gender roles and sniffing the vapors of nostalgia gone-with-the-wind in these modern times.
And the play was up to Schofield high standard; it was both humorous and portrayed his transition. I first saw Scott Turner Schofield in 2009 performing “127 Way to Become a Man” at Real Art Ways.

Today I am giving my workshop Effective Lobbying.

The fleets in... MacMillan Wharf Provincetown MA on Cape Cod

Updated 8:15AM
Added the part about suicide

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fantasia Fair – Day 1

It’s snowing!

I wasn’t prepared for that, when we got up to around Truro I started noticing that there was white flakes hitting the windshield… no that couldn’t be snow, it is 45 out. But it was, there were passing snow showers. The sun will be out and then there was a passing snow shower.

I took a friend up with me; he had a scholarship and needed a ride up since he lives north of Hartford I took the Mass Pike and I-495 to the Cape. It is a little long but it is supposed to be faster however I hit traffic and it stretched out the drive so I probably go home through Providence RI.

I got up here around 3:30 and I checked in and registered for the fair at the Boatslip which is also the fair headquarters. I then took my friend over to where he is staying and I went back went back to the motel with the thought of taking a nap… Wrong! It turned out the T Dance was being held down on the pool deck and I could hear the bass booming three floors up.

Later it was our turn, the reception was held there so all I had to do was walk down the stairs. I met many of old acquaintances from previous fairs which is one of the main reasons that I attend the fair and another reason is to take photographs. Most of the workshops do not interest me but the keynote speakers after lunch has a number of interesting speakers that I want to attend.
Looking out of my motel room at the town pier with the snow squalls in the background.

I am also giving two workshops, “Effective Lobbying” which I think is important here in Massachusetts with their effort to add public accommodation to their non-discrimination law. The other workshop is a panel discussion on “Effectively Representing the Trans Community” with Dallas Denny and Miqqi.

Also my cell phone will not turn on and the nearest Verizon Wireless store is down in Hyannis so 30 miles away. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Amazing Stats

One thing that I point out when I am doing cultural competency training is that family support makes all the difference in the world when a child transitioned. At the talk that I gave the other day at Quinnipiac University to the Netter School of Medicine the doctor there point out this slide from Trans Student Educational Resources and it just hammers home when family support is so important.

I Am Off To Provincetown

I am on my way to P’town for Fantasia Fair, a weeklong trans conference. I am giving a workshop on lobbying and also I’m on the panel for the Effectively Representing the Trans Community” workshop.

I have been going to Fantasia Fair off and on for since 2000, before I transitioned Fan Fair gave me a chance to be “Diana” for a whole week. It was exciting to walk down a street as Diana and it was a safe space to not have to worry about being seen by someone I knew. It was an adventure, with workshop on makeup, hair removal, voice training, and loads of other workshops. It was a chance to see trans people that I only read about online. It was a chance to go out to dinner with friends and they also had the follies and two banquets where I could get all dressed up.

Now I go up there for different reasons, I don’t need to hide any more. I go to see old friends and also as a vacation, the Cape is so photogenic that there are thousands of different places and thing to photograph. There will be days where I will take off to the dunes or to lighthouses around Provincetown.

The banquets and follies I usually leave early because they are not novel anymore and the last time I was it the follies I took these photos and made it into a video.

I will be posting daily from the Fair this week.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday 9: Beyond the Sea

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Beyond the Sea (1959)

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

Last weekend I was up in New Hampshire for my birthday.

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

1) This song mentions golden sands. When do you think you'll next visit the beach?
Tomorrow. I am going up to Provincetown on Cape Cod tomorrow for the week.

2) Shortly after "Beyond the Sea" hit the charts, Bobby Darin  met and married movie sweetheart Sandra Dee. Her squeaky-clean image is spoofed in the song, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," from Grease. Can you name another song from Grease?
Nope. I would have to google it because it has been so long since I watched the movie.

3) Years earlier, Bobby had an ill-fated romance with singer Connie Francis. According to Ms. Francis, Darin wanted to marry her, but her father forbade it. Have you ever had a relationship that your parents disapproved of?
No, I didn’t come out until after they passed away.

4) Bobby was a Renaissance man: Grammy-winning singer, Oscar-nominated actor, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and an excellent chess player. Are you good at chess?
I know the moves but I am not that good at strategy.

5) A car buff, he drove a 1960 custom car that was so unique and spectacular it's now in a Detroit museum. The bright red paint was mixed with ground diamonds to ensure that it sparkled in the sun. Each of the four bucket seats had its own ac/heat control and radio speaker. The steering wheel was slightly squared for easier handling. What features would your dream car have?
Automatic parallel parking. One time I was trying to parallel park on a street at Yale and it took what seemed like a forever. When I finally got out of the car there was about a dozen Yale students lined up watching me and they applauded me when I got out of the car. I curtsied for them.

6) Beyond the Sea is also the name of the 2004 screen biography in which Kevin Spacey played Bobby Darin. Who would you choose to play you in the story of your life?
This question sounds familiar. How about Caitlyn Jenner.

7) When he was just 8 years old, Bobby Darin was stricken with rheumatic fever, and the disease left him with a dangerously weakened heart. Did you spend much time in the hospital when you were a kid?
Yes, I broke my wrist when I was a couple of months old.

8) In 1959, when "Beyond the Sea" was popular, Alaska became our 49th state. What comes to mind when you think of Alaska?
The northern lights, I would love to go on a photo shoot sometime.

9) In 1959, Conair introduced the first hair dryer developed for home use. Is there a hair dryer in your bathroom right now?
Yes, all covered in dust.

I Admit It…

I’m a groupie. Merriam-Webster defines a groupie as; a fan of a music group who follows the group on concert tours. I have driven up to northwestern Connecticut to hear her and down to the southeastern Connecticut to hear Namoli Bennet a song writer and folk singer, and last night was no exception; I drove down to New London to listen to her at a house concert.

I first heard her up in Provincetown in October 2006 and I liked her music. I not a fan of loud music, I like folk music, and I like small venues such as coffee houses and in this case in a home with 20 or 30 people like last night. A woman that I know down in New London sent me a link to an Event on Facebook and I saw that it was for a house concert with Namoli Brennet so I made sure that I could go down there.

Then a couple of days before I received another invite for a concert by her in a church up Cornwall CT but it was on a night when I was giving a lecture at Quinnipiac University… rats! But at least I could attend her concert in New London and I was glad that I did. I think that the venue was much better than the church, much more intimate with everyone sitting around in the atrium rather than in a church.

Friday, October 16, 2015


I was busy yesterday and I think that the day ended up in the positive column.

The day started out with a meeting for the Safe School Coalition at the Office of the State’s Attorney where we discussed biases in education. Being biased is not a problem the problem lays when we make decisions based on those biases. And the day ended talking about biases in healthcare.

At the Safe School Coalition meeting we review a model Safe School Climate Plan that the Connecticut Department of Education is working on, it is a modification of the Westport CT to make it generic for the other school districts in Connecticut.

The day ended with me going a talk down at Quinnipiac University to the Netter School of Medicine to their LGBT student organization. I think this was the best talk that I ever gave, I felt that I nailed it and I didn’t even use a PowerPoint presentation. I just had a list of topics that I wanted to talk about and filled in the rest as I went along.

After I talked, they had a doctor talk about having a trans friendly practice and between the two of us I think we gave an excellent workshop. Afterward I had a time to talk to the doctor and we are both interested in doing training for doctors and therapist here in Connecticut.

So it was a powerful day yesterday and today is not going to be shabby either. I am heading off to the Newington Senior Center for the second LGBT Moveable Senior Center and in the evening I am heading down to New London to catch a house concert with Namoli Brennet.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

By His Own Words

Republican presidential candidates Senator Rand Paul says non-discrimination laws are not necessary.
Rand Paul Says LGBT Discrimination Laws Are Unnecessary"If you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you."The Huffington Post
By Mollie Reilly
October 14, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Wednesday the government shouldn't step in to protect workers against anti-gay discrimination by their employers, arguing that such protections are unnecessary and would expose businesses to legal problems.

Paul, speaking to students at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, was asked whether he believes businesses should have the right to fire employees because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

"I think really the things you do in your house, we could just leave those in your house and they wouldn't have to be part of the workplace," said Paul, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination. "I don't know if we need to keep adding to different classifications to say government needs to be involved in the hiring and firing. I think society is rapidly changing and if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you."
So what you are saying Senator, is that we are to keep our mouths shut, that we cannot talk about our spouses, that we cannot hold hands in public, that we cannot have any public display of affection… Well senator that is what is known as bigotry and that is why we need laws to protect us.

Fear Mongers

They can only win by creating fear, they know it is not true but that doesn’t stop them from using falsehoods to create fear.
Transmissions: Take action on toilets
Bay Area Reporter
Published 10/15/2015
By Gwendolyn Ann Smith

In Houston, Proposition 1 seeks a veto referendum on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, aka HERO. The ordinance would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, just as HERO already had. It would also make explicit coverage for sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, genetic information and pregnancy, on par with federal law.

In the fight against HERO, as well as Proposition 1, the issue of public access for transgender people has taken center stage, with graphics speaking out about men in women's bathrooms, and critics seeking to call the ordinance the "Sexual Predator Protection Act."
This has not stopped the group Campaign For Houston from publishing statements like this on its website. "Campaign for Houston is made up of parents and family members who do not want their daughters, sisters, or mothers forced to share restrooms in public facilities with gender-confused men, who – under this ordinance – can call themselves 'women' on a whim and use women's restrooms whenever they wish. This 'bathroom ordinance,' therefore, is an attempt to re-structure society to fit a societal vision we simply do not share or can support."

I want to draw attention to some slanted language in the above. This notion of "on a whim," as it if were so easy, is specious. So is stating that those who would opt to do so are "gender confused." It is not us, apparently, who are so confused. At least, in that statement, they did not try to call transgender people sexual predators.
Ms. Smith goes on to write about the similarities in the use of fear in Wisconsin where two Republican legislators have introduced a bill to force bathroom police to check birth certificates.

These fear tactics haven’t worked before and let’s hope that it doesn’t work now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Thumbing Their Nose (Part 2)

A school district in Illinois is disregarding the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights order to change their school policy with regard to transgender students.
Chicago School Doubles Down On Discrimination Against Transgender Student
By Zack Ford
October 13, 2015

This week, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) informed District 211, Illinois’ largest school district, that it was in violation of federal law by refusing to allow a transgender student to use the locker rooms that match her gender identity. The school has responded by declaring that it will continue to discriminate against the student.

The student, whose name has been kept private, first filed a complaint with support from the ACLU of Illinois in early 2014. She was already living as a girl and was playing sports, but was forced to change in a separate room a long hallway away from the gym. Following precedent in two similar cases in California, OCR informed District 211 in a not-yet-public decision that depriving the student of equal access to facilities violates Title IX’s sex nondiscrimination protections, calling such treatment “inadequate and discriminatory.”

The school responded by doubling down. At a press conference, Superintendent Dan Cates insisted, “This is about matters of student privacy.” Promising not to abide by OCR’s pending decision, he explained, “What they are asking us to do is have opposite sex students in the same open area of the locker room and that we do not do. This is a matter we take very seriously and this policy would undo that.”
The Chicago Tribune writes that the two sides are far apart.
School officials and board of education members worked for months in hopes of finding an acceptable compromise, Cates said. The proposed solution, which Cates said was "quickly squelched," required the transgender student to change and shower in private.
The student who filed the complaint has been living as a girl for a number of years, Knight said. She plays sports and would like to be in the same locker room as her friends and classmates. Relegating her to a separate room down a long hallway from the gym only serves to stigmatize her, he said.
It is as the student said; requiring her to use a separate room marginalizes her from the rest of the student body. The students pick up on the fact that she is different and that is when bullying and harassment begins.

What does the school district have to lose by bucking the OCR, plenty.
If the district cannot reach a compromise with federal officials, it risks losing some of the $6 million it receives in federal funding. Cates also acknowledged that litigation is a likely outcome.
Last year, OCR fined a California school district for Title IX discrimination against a trans student.

Thumbing Their Nose (Part 1)

Hobby Lobby lost the bathroom skirmish but it looks like they are going to press the battle all the way to the Supreme Court again.
Judge: Yes, Hobby Lobby Discriminated Against Trans Woman
The Advocate
By Cleis Abeni
October 11, 2015

In a decision from May that was only made public this week, Administrative Law Judge William J. Borah ruled that Hobby Lobby violated the Illinois Human Rights Act by refusing to allow a transgender female employee to use the women’s restroom at work.
While management did not fire Sommerville, and acknowledged her as a woman once she legally changed her state ID and birth certificate in 2010, her complaint alleges that by sanctioning her for using the women's bathroom, managers created a hostile environment. Moreover, Hobby Lobby management maintained that Sommerville had to first undergo specific gender-affirming surgeries before using the bathroom that corresponded with her gender identity.
So what is Hobby Lobby doing that the judge ruled against them? ThinkProgress reported that,
Unfortunately, five months later, Sommerville’s experience has not improved; she’s still not allowed to use the women’s restroom. “The reality is nothing has changed,” she told the Windy City Times. “It’s humiliating. I have had to restructure my life to watch how much I drink and eat before going to work in an effort to try to avoid using the restroom as much as possible but my fibromyalgia is aggravated with dehydration which just compounds the problem at work.”

Borah’s order was a recommended ruling, but the Illinois Human Rights Commission still has to affirm it before it becomes final. In the meantime, Sommerville otherwise loves her job. “Why should I quit?” she said. “I’m good at what I do. I love what I do. If I quit, I give a right to any other company to discriminate against their employee in the hopes that they will quit so they will be done with them.”
My guess is this this is going to go all the to the Supreme Court again with Hobby Lobby saying that allowing Ms. Sommerville to use the women’s bathroom is an infringement of their religious freedom.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Tale Of Two Armies

There are two articles that were making their rounds on Facebook the other day; they are different as day is to night. First the day,
National Coming Out Day: British Senior Transgender Officer Shares Her Story
Morning Ledger
By Regina Inonog
October 12, 2015

With the recent celebration of National Coming Out Day comes the inspiring stories that followed. One such story is that of Captain Hannah Winterbourne’s, the highest ranking transgender officer in the British Army.

The captain in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers spent her first few years as a man in the Army before making the decision to transition at age 25, while on duty at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

“Being in the Army I felt I had to put on a veneer of confident outgoing masculinity,” she said. “I played a good game. I suppressed a lot of feminine characteristics and learnt to behave in a very masculine way because that’s how society had conditioned me to be.”
“The army has been very, very supportive. It is a great place for transgender personnel. They don’t care if you are LGBT, black or white, as long as you can do your job.”
And now about the darkness…
Transgender officer who spent $50,000 to become a woman slams US Army rules that force soldiers to keep calling her 'sir'
Daily Mail
By Kieran Corcoran
PUBLISHED: 7 October 2015

A transgender soldier in the U.S. Army has hit out at military rules which mean her subordinates still have to refer to her as 'sir'.

Captain Jennifer Peace, an intelligence specialist, started transitioning into a woman in early 2014 after a decade of military service that saw her fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But, despite the 30-year-old undergoing surgeries to make her look more feminine and being recognized as a woman by the federal government, military officials insist on treating her as a man.
And though she says they began being supportive, high-ranking officers later put her through psychiatric tests and medical evaluations, with one even suggesting she leave the military altogether.

Before she returned to duty with her new identity, commanders even issued orders to troops she was in charge of, insisting they continue to refer to her as a man, because the Army does not officially recognise the possibility that soldiers can change gender.
It must be a living hell for trans service members in the U.S. military and they must possess courage to want to stay in the military. I hope that U.S. military doesn’t delay much longer in changing the their policy for trans sevicemembers.

The Same Ol’ Story… Peeing In Peace

Massachusetts is trying to pass a public accommodation law for trans people and is running into the same opposition from the “family values” coalition.
Transgender Rights and Public Bathrooms
Huffington Post Politics
By Paul Heroux State Representative, Massachusetts
Posted: 10/12/201

Fear is often used to push public policy. Sometimes it is warranted, sometimes it is not. In the case of a transgender person's access to public bathrooms, I do not think there is reason for alarm.

In the Declaration of Independence states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Accordingly, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has an "Equal Protection Clause" to it.
One of the reasons that we progress as a society towards a more perfect union where all the men and women are treated equally is that we come to understand more about who we are. Researchers examine controversial topics to find out what fact is and what fiction is. Politicians then often use these milestones in research to better inform our understanding in order to advance social policy and improve civil rights. One such example is with transgender persons.
He then goes on to rebut the arguments that are used against us. One topic he lists is about piracy in the bathrooms and locker rooms and then he rebuts…
Non-Transgender Persons' Comfort -- Under the transgender public accommodations laws, there is also the argument that a non-transgender person feels uncomfortable with a transgender person using the same bathroom. This is the same argument that was once made of people of color using public bathrooms, seating on public transportation, public drinking fountains and more. It is a lack of understanding at best, and hateful at worst.
There are a number of cases where people have sued companies that do not discriminate against trans people saying that they are made uneasy with trans people in the locker rooms and he talks about the law suits.
Discrimination Lawsuits -- There is the argument that the transgender public accommodation law would "allow for cross-gender bathroom usage and expensive 'discrimination' claims." That is if someone violates the law. Again, we should not deny one group of people rights because others may abuse the law. We don't do it with guns, welfare, voting, or any other area of public policy. We prosecute people who abuse the law. We don't deny someone civil rights because someone else may abuse the law.
As he has stated feeling uncomfortable is not a reason to discriminate. Would it be all right to deny a Muslim service in a store because they make other people uneasy? Then why would it be all right to deny trans people service?

Monday, October 12, 2015

This Is Something We Know

All the statistics show how marginalized we are, high suicide rate, high drug and alcohol usage, high homeless rates, we as a community know that it is because of discrimination and bigotry that the numbers are so high. Now a study confirms it.
Gender Nonconforming Transgender People Face Greater Discrimination And Health Risks, Study Finds
By Zack Ford
October 7, 2015

A new study published last month in Sociological Forum has found two important connections that demonstrate how discrimination has a negative impact on the health and well-being of transgender people.

The study from Indiana University involved a new analysis of the data collected in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. It specifically looked at how gender conformity impacted whether transgender people experienced discrimination, and whether experiencing discrimination caused individuals to have more health issues.

Consistent with other findings, the study found that the more everyday and major discrimination a transgender person experienced, the more likely they were to engage in health-harming behaviors, such as attempting suicide, abusing drugs or alcohol, and smoking. This is further evidence that the mental health consequences transgender people experience are not a result of being transgender, but a result of how they are treated for being transgender.

Furthermore, the study found that trans people were more likely to experience discrimination if they were perceived to be trans or gender nonconforming. In other words, the more likely they are to be “clocked” or “read” as transgender, “the more they are subject to major and day-to-day discriminatory treatment.” Likewise, in combination with the first finding, “gender nonconformity predicted greater likelihood of attempted suicide, drug/alcohol abuse, and smoking — a relationship that was partially mediated by major and everyday discrimination.”
This is one of those “Well Duh!” we knew that. Those who can integrate into society do not face discrimination; it is the trans person who is easily identified as trans that faces the discrimination and hatred. But that is also true for gays and lesbians, those who do not fit into the gender norms are the ones who are harassed and belittled.
The article goes on to say…
The study confirms previous analysis that discrimination is linked to suicide attempt rates and further counters the argument made by conservatives that transgender people are inherently mentally ill.
It is the children that are too tall, too short, too overweight, the boy who is too feminine, the girl that is too masculine that are picked on in school. They also face a high suicide rate, those that are marginalized are singled out and harassed.

What A Joke!

We are always hearing the right-wing conservatives talking about the “Gay Agenda” while they are pushing their agenda. This is almost funny if it didn’t hurt so much.
By Liam Deacon
11 Oct 2015

Channel 4 has revealed a transgender schoolteacher will feature in the soap opera Hollyoaks, just two days after the BBC announced they would introduce a transgender character into their flagship drama Eastenders.

A few weeks before, the BBC launched the world’s first sitcom focused on a transgender love story. Now, it has been revealed that a powerful transgender lobby group is behind each of the developments.

The announcement that male-to-female transgender actress Annie Wallace would play a transgender teacher in the popular drama Holyoaks was made by transgender journalist Paris Lees in a Guardian column on Friday.
Lees [a transgender journalist in the Guardian] credits the recent proliferation of transgender characters and commentators in popular culture and the mainstream media to the All About Trans lobby group; “a project to connect media professionals with young trans people in informal settings,” which she works with. She writes:
“Although we never go in with an agenda for creative outcomes, if you put people with stories in the same room as writers, filmmakers and journalists, it’s inevitable.
“Over the past few years All About Trans and our team of volunteers have met with the makers of Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, EastEnders and the BBC’s comedy department, to name a few.
“The explosion in the representation of trans people on your screens this autumn is no coincidence but, rather, the results of a determined campaign to see better media portrayals of trans people in the British media.”
Our little secret agenda… to be treated just as anyone else is treated, to be able to have a job and a roof over our heads. Such radical ideas.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

It Is All In Your Brain

As research continues probing the brain with more and more sophisticated tools differences in the brain between male and female brains are being found.
Sex on the BrainMasculinization of the developing rodent brain leads to significant structural differences between the two sexes.The Scientist
By Margaret M. McCarthy
October 1, 2015

A mammalian embryo is female by default. Males develop when the Sry gene of the Y chromosome is expressed, spurring the development of testes. During fetal development, the testes produce large amounts of testosterone, much of which is converted to estrogen. Both hormones then act on the brain, inducing the cellular process of masculinization.

One of the most well studied brain regions that differs between male and female mice is the preoptic area, a region of the hypothalamus that is essential for sexual behavior in males. The SDN, for example, is bigger in males than females, due to the die off of cells in the female brain in the absence of androgen hormones from the testes. The pBNST is similarly larger in males than in females. Conversely, the AVPV is larger in females than in males, though there are 10-fold more neural projections from the pBNST to AVPV in males.

In addition to the anatomical differences between the male and female brain, researchers have uncovered variation at the cellular level. In the mPN of male mice, neurons have twice as many dendritic spines (potential synapses) as do neurons in females; synapse number correlates with male copulatory behavior in adulthood. The male mPN also has more innate immune cells known as microglia, and these cells are in a more activated state, with shorter and thicker processes. In contrast, the microglia in female brains have long, thin processes indicative of a quiescent state. Astrocytes in this part of the male brain are “bushy,” with more abundant processes than those in the same region of the female brain.
In another article in the Scientist they explore the differences between boys and girls.
But there is now increasing evidence that differences in brain function are prevalent across the sex divide, and that these differences manifest in surprising ways in animal models of both health and disease. (See “Gender bias in neuropsychiatric disorders.”) Many sex differences in adult brain structure and behaviors are the result of in utero organizational effects of gonadal steroid hormones, in particular androgens and their aromatized derivatives, estrogens, both of which are present in substantially higher concentrations in male fetuses due to testicular steroidogenesis. Brain differences between the sexes can also arise from diverse factors, including the expression of genes carried on the sex chromosomes and discrepancies in maternal treatment of male and female progeny. Together, these factors mediate differences in neurogenesis, myelination, synaptic pruning, dendritic branching, axonal growth, apoptosis, and other neuronal parameters.

This is not to say that everything is different. Indeed, much of the brain and its functions are indistinguishable between the two sexes. But when it is different, the question is, how did the differences come about? By what cellular mechanisms did the course of development change in a particular region that differs between males and females?
Developmental masculinization of the brain leads to significant structural differences in the brains of the two sexes. (See illustration.) Some brain regions are larger in males; others are smaller. Collections of cells that constitute nuclei or subnuclei of the brain differ in overall size due to differences in cell number and/or density, as well as in the number of neurons expressing a particular neurotransmitter. The length and branching patterns of dendrites and the frequency of synapses also vary between males and females—in specific ways in specific regions—as does the number of axons that form projections between nuclei and across the cerebral hemispheres. Even nonneuronal cells are masculinized. Astrocytes in parts of the male brain are more “bushy,” with longer and more frequent processes than those in the same regions of the female brain. And microglia, modified macrophages that serve as the brain’s innate immune system, are more activated in parts of the male brain and contribute to the changes seen in the neurons.
When you couple this with a study in Spain of the brains of trans people it starts to reinforce the reality that being transgender is a form of being intersex. Back in 2011 New Scientist published an article on the transgender brain.
Antonio Guillamon‘s team at the National University of Distance Education in Madrid, Spain, think they have found a better way to spot a transsexual brain. In a study due to be published next month, the team ran MRI scans on the brains of 18 female-to-male transsexual people who’d had no treatment and compared them with those of 24 males and 19 females.

They found significant differences between male and female brains in four regions of white matter – and the female-to-male transsexual people had white matter in these regions that resembled a male brain (Journal of Psychiatric Research, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.05.006). “It’s the first time it has been shown that the brains of female-to-male transsexual people are masculinised,” Guillamon says.

In a separate study, the team used the same technique to compare white matter in 18 male-to-female transsexual people with that in 19 males and 19 females. Surprisingly, in each transsexual person’s brain the structure of the white matter in the four regions was halfway between that of the males and females (Journal of Psychiatric Research, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.11.007). “Their brains are not completely masculinised and not completely feminised, but they still feel female,” says Guillamon.
The thing to remember is that this might be only one of many vectors that lead to a person being transsexual, that there could be many more reasons why we are transgender.

National Coming Out Week

This week is National Coming Out Week and I am republishing a blog from 2009

Next week is the “National Coming Out Week,” you might expect that I am in favor of it, but I am not. Coming out involves great risks and you should assess the risk before you come out. Know if you have a support network just in case things go bad. Do your parents support LGBT issues or are they opposed to them. Assess the risk if you are coming out in school; know how much support the school administration will give you. These are just some of the factors that you should consider before coming out.

In the New York Times article on school bullying entitled, Bullied for Being ‘Gay’ Dr. Jeffrey Fishberger of The Trevor Project writes,
Bullying and being teased for being what others perceive as “different” happens to many children. Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered young people — or those perceived to be L.G.B.T. — have a much higher incidence of harassment at school. In fact, it’s estimated that more than a quarter of L.G.B.T. young people drop out of school because of this very harassment.
It is important that you have a safe environment before coming out. The article goes on to state…
Fortunately, there are organizations that can work with your son’s school to help all the children understand the impact of their language and behavior.

GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), for example, works to ensure safe schools for all students through a variety of programs. The Day of Silence, for example, continues to grow each year, and hundreds of thousands of students now come together each year to participate. Another program, the No Name-Calling Week, provides schools with tools and inspiration to foster a dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying and name-calling in their communities.

Another resource that can be of help is The Trevor Project’s workshop program. …to open up discussions with all students about how language and behavior can affect the way an individual feels about him- or herself. A supportive teacher, school counselor or school administrator can assist in implementing these programs in your son’s school.
Here in Connecticut True Colors is a valuable resource for children coming out in school.

Remember, that once you come out, there is no going back. You can't say I was only kidding.
Be safe.

Friday, October 09, 2015

When I'm Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair, 
Many years from now. 
Will you still be sending me a Valentine 
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

We are all getting older (Thankfully, because I don’t like the alternative) and we will be needing long term healthcare.
The reality of transgender agingThe Philadelphia Gay News
By Dawn Munro
November 29, -0001

What does aging mean to you? It probably means something very different to a trans person.

We see a barrage of TV commercials for retirement communities with happy people playing bridge or Mahjong. There are also endless ads for electronic equipment that will automatically call for help if you slip and fall. Other ads feature youthful-looking elders enjoying beach resort vacations in the Caribbean sunshine.

All of this is very nice, but these are alien pictures to the vast majority of older trans people for whom the prospect of aging is a daunting one. Those who have survived to what others in the cis-gender community think of as “retirement age” grew up at a time when discrimination was the rule. Due to bullying, harassment, neglect and violence, many trans people fled the school system in their teens and, unable to find any kind of employment, were driven by poverty into survival sex, substance abuse and, almost inevitably, HIV infection.
Here in Connecticut there are organizations that are working to make the lives of senior LGBT people better. One of the initiatives is with town senior centers to make them more LGBT friendly and to hold LGBT days. Another project is training the staff of service providers that deliver home health care. Residential care and skilled nursing facilities are starting to realize that they need to train their staff to our needs. They are realizing that they woefully under prepared to care for transgender clients and are starting to take steps to develop policies and staff training.

One Step Backward

We were dealt a setback in Malaysia that will make a lot harder for trans people.
Malaysia: Court Ruling Sets Back Transgender Rights‘Oppressive and Inhuman’ Cross-Dressing Ban RestoredHuman Rights Watch
October 8, 2015

(Washington, DC) – In overturning a landmark ruling, Malaysia’s highest court has undermined the rights of transgender people in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. On October 8, 2015, the Federal Court reversed a lower court ruling that a state’s prohibition on “cross-dressing” was unconstitutional. On wholly procedural grounds, the Federal Court upheld Sharia laws prohibiting “a male person posing as a woman.”

The judicial decision is a serious setback in a four-year struggle by transgender activists to end arbitrary arrests of transgender women on the basis of discriminatory laws, Human Rights Watch said.
The court found that the three respondents – transgender women in Negeri Sembilan who had all been arrested and prosecuted simply for wearing women’s clothing – should have obtained judicial permission of a Federal Court judge when they commenced their constitutional challenge. Although a High Court judge had granted permission in November 2011, the Federal Court ruled that it had done so erroneously. The transgender women will now have to reinitiate the case, starting at the Federal Court level.
It could have been worst, at least it is a technical defeat on a procedural problem.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Bigots Win

Even with laws we still get discriminated against, the fear mongers win
YMCA backtracks on policy about transgender locker room use
By Mark Miller Published
October 7, 2015

TACOMA, Wash. -- Pressure from a vocal group of members has prompted the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties to back-track on a new policy intended to be more sensitive to the needs of the transgender community.

YMCA leaders decided to no longer allow transgender members in transition to use locker rooms and showers of their choice at the Y's seven family-oriented locations.

"We are asking that our transgender members use our private changing room at our family facilities," said YMCA spokesperson Michelle LaRue.

The change comes after a flood of complaints about a new policy issued in April that allowed those in transition to use the locker room with which they most closely identified.
And why were they complaining, was over something that happened?
"The concern was that a non-transgender individual might pose as a transgender to gain access to our locker rooms and expose themselves to children and cause harm to children," explained LaRue.
Oh no! It is that ol’ bogyman… “a non-transgender individual might pose as a transgender.” That horrible imaginary man who poses as trans.

And what does a spokesperson for YMCA say,
"I have to be incredibly clear with our community. That we have no correlation. These are two separate issues," she said, acknowledging YMCA managers were responding to member complaints and concerns. "It is fear-based. We've not had any complaints filed about inappropriate use of our locker rooms from transgender members."
So the YMCA admits that there is no rational reason to segregate trans people, and she goes on to say,
The Y also believes its current policy is in compliance with all state laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, including gender identify.
Somehow I don’t think so.

The an Indiana judge in a similar locker room case in said,
"However, a co-worker's discomfort cannot justify discriminatory terms and conditions of employment," Borah wrote.
I see the Washington YMCA policy being challenged in court in the not to distance future.

I Think We Could Have Told Them…

Without a study,
Gender Nonconforming Transgender People Face Greater Discrimination And Health Risks, Study Finds
By Zack Ford
October 7, 2015

The study from Indiana University involved a new analysis of the data collected in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. It specifically looked at how gender conformity impacted whether transgender people experienced discrimination, and whether experiencing discrimination caused individuals to have more health issues.

Consistent with other findings, the study found that the more everyday and major discrimination a transgender person experienced, the more likely they were to engage in health-harming behaviors, such as attempting suicide, abusing drugs or alcohol, and smoking. This is further evidence that the mental health consequences transgender people experience are not a result of being transgender, but a result of how they are treated for being transgender.

Furthermore, the study found that trans people were more likely to experience discrimination if they were perceived to be trans or gender nonconforming. In other words, the more likely they are to be “clocked” or “read” as transgender, “the more they are subject to major and day-to-day discriminatory treatment.” Likewise, in combination with the first finding, “gender nonconformity predicted greater likelihood of attempted suicide, drug/alcohol abuse, and smoking — a relationship that was partially mediated by major and everyday discrimination.”
I don’t think that needed a study, all they had to do was ask a trans person. Violence against trans people, gays and lesbians is usually directed against people who do not fit into the gender norms. It is not trans people who can integrate into society.

In my presentations on cultural competency I have this slide,

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Something I Thought About

Trying to figure out how many trans people there our is very hard, when you have such a small population sampling doesn’t work that well so I was think about somehow using the Social Security database. Well someone also thought about that,
Transgender Americans Have Been Registering Their Transitions With Social Security Since 1936
Very few surveys ask people if they're transgender. One economist managed to mine American government data for clues to the transgender American experience over the last seven decades.
Pacific Standard
By Francie Diep
October 5, 2015

Transgender rights may seem like the hot new issue in America today, but transgender people have been around—and have been making contact with the government—for at least the past few generations. That's according to a fascinating analysis published last week by the United States Census Bureau.

For the analysis, Census Bureau economist Benjamin Cerf Harris looked through Social Security Administration data dating back to the administration's inception in 1936. Harris sought records of people who had changed their first names from something that's strongly associated (at least 90 percent of the time) with one gender, to something that's strongly associated with another gender. He found that, since 1936, more than 135,000 Americans have putatively transitioned genders and registered a new name with Social Security as part of their transition. At least a few folks make this change in every year of Harris' data.
Of course, it can be difficult to know for sure whether any one person in the Social Security Administration data is truly transgender… But Harris took several steps in his analysis to try reducing the likelihood of wrongly identifying non-transgender individuals as transgender. For example, he looked only for sex changes that were registered after the person turned 16, to reduce the odds of including people in his analysis who simply had the wrong sex recorded for them when they were born.
I was a little surprised that only 135,000 people may have transitioned. It would be interesting to see if the rate of changes is increasing now that the rules have changed for changing your gender marker, also the data that he used only goes up to 2010 and the new Social Security policy on changing your gender marker only went into effect in 2013, so it would be interesting to study the current data.

An Epidemic

It is an epidemic that is not talked about, the data is buried in surveys usually and we never really know the whys but suicides by trans youth is in epidemic proportions. GLSEN 2011 School Climate Survey found,
LGBT teenagers are two or three times more likely to attempt suicide than other teens ( If the family of the LGBT youth does not accept them, they are eight times more likely to commit suicide than other teens…
We memorialized trans people who were murdered, but in reality those who took their lives are also murder victims, they were murdered by society.
Family mourns transgender teen after he takes his own life
KGTV Ch. 10
Michael Chen
7:22 PM, Oct 6, 2015

SAN DIEGO - A local family is grieving after another transgender teen took his own life.

It's the fourth such suicide in San Diego County since March.
Born female, Emmett came out as transgender last summer.

From his parents there was quick acceptance. Emmett joined support groups at The Center in Hillcrest, but the words of some hurt him.

“A lot of people would misgender him as she and her. His father, Mike, had to pick him up from school because it upset him so much,” said Castle.
Boys will be boys… they’re just kids… they didn’t mean anything… they just have to tough it out… We hear all types of excuses justifying bullying and harassment by students but the thing is that type of behavior cannot be ignored. The teachers, the staff, the administrators, the Board of Education, and all the parents must all speak out against bullying.

In some states, courts and family agencies are starting to realize that schools must provide a safe learning space for their students, let’s hope that it doesn’t take any more LGBT student lives before changes happen.

The Trevor Project: Suicide Hotline for LGBTQ Youth: 1-866-488-7386