Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year In Review

I think for me the high point of the year was the passage of the birth certificate legislation and being invited to the bill signing.

Here is my Christmas letter,

Merry Christmas                                                                                       2015

Wow, another year has gone by! It seems like the year went by in a blink of the eye.

It was another busy year, it felt like I am busier in retirement than when I was working. I probably on average did a least two training session a month and I also did a number of guest lectures at universities at UConn, Quinnipiac University, and Albertus Magnus College. I have a friend who worked in CT Department of Education before he retired and is now teaching a class on multicultural education and when he gets to the part on gender identity and expression he lets me teach the class. All the rewards of teaching without the grading of papers.

I also was part of the coalition that helped pass a new law that allows the gender marker birth certificates to be changed without surgery, many trans people cannot afford the surgery or may have a medical condition that rules out surgery. The high point was when I went to the bill signing in the governor’s office.

I have also been going around the state doing training for homeless shelter staff and 211 operators; so far we did four training sessions with four more to go. Then earlier this month I gave a speech at Norwalk City Hall the anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.

On the fun side I went to a couple of plays at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, “La Cage aux Folles” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Christmas on the Rocks” at Theater Works in Hartford. I love plays; nothing beats a live preference.

I also got to go to see Laverne Cox when she came to UConn as a guest of UConn. We had a buffet given by the UConn Rainbow Center and the Alumni Foundation and then we went over to the Jorgensen to listen to her. We had reserved seats right up front. I felt guilty walking up ahead of everyone, but feeling guilty didn’t last long. Then afterward we had our picture taken with her.

I didn’t go out to Fire Island this year, the person who usually has the party was sick so there was no party there this year. But I did go to the annual party uniTy in Jacksonville VT and then I headed up to the cottage afterward. We got a lot done on the cottage this year, or rather my brother did, he wants to sell in two years and I’m thinking about using my half to buy a condo on the Cape Cod.

Speaking of the Cape I was up in Provinctown for a week in October for a trans conference called Fantasia Fair and I took a number of trips around the area taken photographs and I even saw a whale. I was at Race Point when a whale breeched and dived, it was impressive seeing a whale out of the water so close to shore. But it didn’t do it again while I had my camera out.   

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


It is How You Say It.

I will post comments that are opposed to my views but your comments must be civil and not derogatory. There was a court case in New Mexico about the First Amendment that illustrates my point.
Free speech lawsuit against UNM tossed
Albuquerque Journal
By Maggie Shepard / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Friday, December 25th, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A University of New Mexico student has lost her lawsuit against the school in which she claimed her professor violated her free speech rights by kicking her out of class for criticizing lesbianism in an essay.

Monica Pompeo and her attorney, Bob Gorence, have filed an appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Her First Amendment violation lawsuit received national attention when she filed in it 2013.

Based on initial court documents filed in the case, civil rights and free speech advocates slammed UNM’s treatment of the student.
But the judge found that the school didn’t object with her point but in the way she said it.
Armijo wrote that the further investigation into the case showed Pompeo’s professors offered her numerous opportunities to rewrite her essay to adhere to academic standards or to take alternative academic routes to achieve her class grade.
And Hinkley asked Pompeo to back up her statements about homosexuality, writing on the margin on Pompeo’s paper: “Why is attraction to the same sex perverse? This is a strong statement that needs critical backup. Otherwise it’s just inflammatory.”

At one point, Hinkley told Pompeo that some of her language in the paper could be considered hate speech, according to court documents. And Pompeo told Hinkley that some of the films in the class were “unendurable,” to which Hinkley replied there would likely be more such films. Pompeo reported this made her feel she was being pressured out of the class.
So if you want to comment on my post, just make sure that you do not use “hate speech.”

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

We Have A Unique Perspective

When it comes to male privilege trans people have a matchless perception of it.
These 25 Examples of Male Privilege from a Trans Guy’s Perspective Really Prove the Point
Everyday Feminism
By James St. James
May 30, 2015

Quite a bit changed for me over the first couple of years I started testosterone.

My health and mental wellbeing improved, my happy button grew over an inch in length, my natural musk became so fragrant that now I gross even myself out if I don’t shower pretty much every day (no deodorant can contain this beast).
But just as fascinating as it was to witness my mental and physical changes, it was just as equal of an adjustment to comprehend how other people were responding to me.

In short, I was being treated better by everyday America because people were reading me as a young, white, straight (?!) male. And I recognized many new privileges that came my way because of it.
Yes, plenty of (passing) trans guys do feel the effects of male privilege. Especially us white ones. I wouldn’t argue against that for a second.

But we can’t be wasting time griping over trans guys because they happen to gain male privilege for transition reasons that have nothing to do with it. What we need to be focusing on is—you know—male privilege, which is the actual problem. The patriarchy is being unfair, so it’s the patriarchy we need to attack.
For us trans women we lose our “male privilege” and it can be a shock.

Some of the things that he lists are,
1. I’m Suddenly Funny
Now that I’m a short white guy, people automatically peg me for a comedian and laugh at the bulk of my mouth zings.

But nothing has changed. I’ve even recycled some of my old material that people didn’t find funny before just to make sure

2. Yet I’m Still Taken (More) Seriously
I’m still amazed at the amount of people that now immediately shut their mouths the second I open mine.

Believe me, my ideas haven’t improved at all.

I’ve even tried to derail serious conversations with ludicrous stuff just to see what would happen – and I’d still be regarded highly.
I am friends with a trans man and he said overnight he became an expert on cars.

He goes on to list,
3. I Rarely Get Interrupted4. I Get Paid More.
9. I’m Very Likely to Arrive Home Safely After Walking Alone at Night
But then if you are black trans man now all of sudden you are getting stopped by the police. A friend told me when “she” walking in her neighborhood she was never stopped by the police and once he transitioned he has been stopped many times.
10. I Don’t Have to Worry About Keeping an Eye on My Drink at Parties and Social Gatherings.
12. I Don’t Have Strangers Giving Uninvited Opinions About My Body as I Pass By.
22. I’m Allowed to Take Up Space – And Lots of It
If I feel like spreading out on public transportation, nobody – regardless of gender – tells me to move over anymore.
They just act like I have full right to be obnoxious.
(Please note that I’ve only ever done this for experimental purposes.)
And we get squeezed, I noticed that the first time I went to the movies with a guy on both sides of me, the good ol’ “man spread”

I know one trans woman (if you didn’t know she is trans you would never know) who is a project manager who before she transitioned when “he” something in a meeting everyone would be nodding their heads in agreement, now when she says something it gets ignored until a man says the same thing. One time at a meeting with customers she was even asked to get the coffee.

So trans people have an unique view on “male privilege.”

Ballot Initiative Approved

In Michigan the constitution ballot initiative to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections is approved.
Michigan Elections Board Approves Formatting Of Gay Rights Petition
Detroit CBS
December 30, 2015

LANSING (AP) – Supporters of amending Michigan’s constitution to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity cleared an initial procedural step Tuesday when the state elections board approved the format of their petition.

The Fair Michigan ballot committee now must gather roughly 315,000 valid voter signatures by summer to put the initiative on the November statewide ballot. But it must do so without the backing of major gay rights advocacy groups such as Equality Michigan and the American Civil Liberties Union. Those organizations oppose the 2016 measure because they worry voters will defeat it, and they want to focus on other approaches, including lobbying lawmakers for new legislation.
And their worries are well founded,
The landslide defeat in November of a nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston has left LGBT-rights activists bracing for their opponents to seize on the successful tactic of stoking fears over transgender people’s access to public restrooms. White said the LGBT community should not have to endure “hate speech” that would inevitably come during the failed ballot campaign, and advocates first need to better educate the public in order to push back against opponents’ arguments.
Get ready for a flood of “bathroom” ads showing a creepy guy following a little girl into the bathroom. I like to believe that the voters are more intelligent than to be persuaded by fear.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

We Have No Control

Over the media, there will be good programs and bad programs; we will never get rid of shows like Jerry Springer or movies like “Dressed To Kill” because they make money for the producers.
Trans ™: how the trans movement got sold out
From Zoolander 2 to Brewdog, now being transgender is cool, corporations are co-opting the sexy bits to turn a profit.
Open Democracy
By Ray FilarI
25 November 2015

Nowadays, trans people are everywhere. According to pop culture, gender fluidity is the new thing. Seeing the money making possibilities, everyone wants in. But they don't always get it right.

The new Zoolander 2 trailer has just dropped, featuring the trans character ‘All’. Played by cis actor Benedict Cumberbatch, the trailer shows the androgynous All giggling inanely in response to the question: “do you have a hotdog or a bun?” Pop star Will Young recently released the video for his single ‘Brave Man’, featuring the trans actor Finn walking around naked as passers-by abuse him, first mockingly and then violently.

Yet trans people are cool enough to feature now - not quite, but almost like that point in the 90s when Will and Grace and Sex and the City were at their heights and everyone wanted a sassy, bitchy, gay male best friend who could help pick out the right pair of shoes.
This partial acceptability stems from the trans movement’s push for inclusion. It’s a respectability drive, supported by a bevy of companies who are jumping at the chance to use trans or non-normative gender expression to sell their products. Trans-ness is sexy. Major London retailer Selfridges now has an section called ‘Agender’, which they describe as ‘a celebration of fashion without definition’. The denim label Diesel has the billboard slogan ‘this ad is gender neutral’. And the craft beer company Brewdog just launched the supposedly ‘transgender’ beer No Label, boasting that it uses hops that change from ‘female’ to ‘male’ in the brewing process.
Do you remember “Metrosexuals” the new “in” look is androgynous or cross gender.
Community activist Felix Bear Lane has described this kind of opportunistic trans-branding as "jumping on the transwagon": trend-spotters gaining wind of a new way to make money and grabbing it with both hands. The transwagon is just the newest vehicle in a long tradition of liberation movements being co-opted by capitalists and conservatives.

When the next fad comes around, there will be a sharp drop in the number of supposedly ethical campaigns around trans identities - few of which will have helped end the discrimination that trans people face. When a minority cause becomes successful enough to reach further than the group immediately affected, outside responses are always the same: how can we sell this? And then: what can we sell next?
As long as there are $$$$ to be made we will see negative portrayals of trans people. And I wouldn't say "sold out" because we are not the ones who are making the money, it is more like we were "pimped out" because they are making money off of us.

I Have Seen To Many Disowned Children

There are a number of adults that I know that were disowned by their parents when they came out and I just can’t understand how parents can do that to their children.
Did You Disown Your Trans Child?
Huffington Post Blog UK
By Lisa Severn
Posted: 27/12/2015

Have you been watching the news this last year and noticed that trans people are more visible and more accepted than ever before? Are you feeling guilty?

You called your child, now grown up, such horrible things and closed the door on them. They've not yet come crawling back?

The twitch of a neighbours curtain made you do it. Couldn't you bear the shame?

You'll never use their new name. Who do they think they are?


They're out there you know, your transgender child. They're living their life with a vitality that you've never seen. Taking their new name, and maybe a changed body, out into the world. A world that's slowly changing for the better as the tolerant and the kind assert the truth that people are people, and we all deserve to be treated with respect. Its still a harsh world though and harsher still when you're on your own; what did they do to deserve this?
No, not all children are out there living their lives because they died. Whether because of violence, or because of a drug overdose, or of AIDS, or they might have just given up living, or maybe they just froze to death one night.
I've been lucky to have parents that could get over their discomfort at my transition but its cruel that in the 21st century, not every trans person can say that, leaving them without family support simply for trying to be happy. Its horribly common too, with the Scottish Transgender Alliance's 2012 Trans Mental Health study finding that almost 1 in 3 trans people had unsupportive parents. Society must try harder; there is nothing wrong with being trans, but there is something wrong with abandoning trans people. Help stop this, please.

Most parents await the birth of their child with excitement, perhaps preferring a boy or a girl, but usually hoping simply for a healthy child who will be loved regardless of their gender ... why should that change now?
One thing that reduces suicides by trans children is family acceptance, by having a supportive family the risk of self-harm drops down to the levels of non-trans children.
Transgender community marks anniversary of Leelah Alcorn's death, renews teen's call to fix society
Alcorn walked into traffic to end her life
By Kristen Swilley, WCPO Staff
December 28, 2015

CINCINNATI - One year ago, 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn took her own life, bringing the fight for transgender teens – the fight to "fix society," as she put it - to the national forefront.

Now, other transgender persons have taken up the cause.

"We're still absolutely heartbroken," Callie Wright said Monday to open a gathering of transgender persons at the Woodward Theater. They weren't just marking the anniversary, though. They were picking up the torch.
Then there's the ban on conversion therapy , which seeks to prevent other trans teens from having the same troubling experience Leelah did before she took her life. It passed city council with sponsorship from council member Chris Seelbach.
I know a trans woman who was thrown out of her home by her parents when she was a teenager and she lived off the street, was beaten by the police when they found out she was trans and lived in homeless shelters from Virginia to Connecticut where she received Section 8 housing and managed to find a job.

Monday, December 28, 2015

How Many Times Are The Conservatives Try To Pass A Bathroom Bill?

We have seen it over and over bills introduced to criminalize our sue of bathrooms, yesterday the LA Times had an editorial, enough is enough!
Editorial Time for transgender rights opponents to give up the fight

Ever since California's law to protect the rights of transgender students went into effect two years ago, opponents have tried to whip up fear and confusion about what they see as the scary new bathroom rules, under which they say that any child of any gender may wander into any old restroom whenever they want. Voters, however, aren't buying it. For the second time, backers of a ballot initiative to overturn the law have failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. It's time they gave up the fight.
Ever since California's law to protect the rights of transgender students went into effect two years ago, opponents have tried to whip up fear and confusion about what they see as the scary new bathroom rules, under which they say that any child of any gender may wander into any old restroom whenever they want. Voters, however, aren't buying it. For the second time, backers of a ballot initiative to overturn the law have failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. It's time they gave up the fight.
And it was not just in California the first time that I know that they tried to use fear against us in Gainesville Florida was in 2009 and they have used it with mixed success. But more to the point, it has never happened since the first non-discrimination ordinance was passed in Minneapolis in 1975.

One More Time…

It seems like Republican lawmakers never give up. If you don’t succeed try, try again. Last spring Indiana Republicans introduced “Religious Freedom” and a bathroom bills, and both of them got shot down, well this coming season the Republicans are trying again.
Indiana bill targets transgender bathroom use
Indiana Business Journal
December 26, 2015
Associated Press

An Indiana lawmaker has proposed a bill that would make it a crime for transgender people to use public bathrooms and locker rooms that do not conform to their gender at birth, threatening to draw Indiana further into a national debate over transgender rights.

"We've walked through a doorway we'll never go back through. And we're going to have to address some concerns that are now facing us," bill sponsor, Republican state Sen. Jim Tomes said. "If you were born a man, then you are obliged to use the males' restroom."

Tomes' bill would send people to jail for up to a year and fine them as much as $5,000 if they were convicted of entering a bathroom that does not match up with their birth gender. Exceptions are made for janitors, first aid providers and parents accompanying children under the age of 8. The measure would also require public schools, including charters, to ensure students do the same, though students would not face criminal penalties.
So they upped the ante and you can end up doing jail time just for peeing.

The legislator said, “"not trying to single-out anybody or destroy anybody." But the LGBT community disagrees,
"That is the most disingenuous statement I've ever heard," said Camilla Taylor, of Lambda Legal, a national LGBT advocacy group, who noted that it singles out people who do not identify with their birth gender.
And if this bill passes it will put businesses and schools in conflict with Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Too Tall Women

For trans people being tall is a curse. They are always being “read” and have to put up with all the negative comments that go with it. Even trans people call them names. Gender dysphoria has no rules on who is bitten by it; nature doesn’t just limit gender dysphoria to those who can integrate into society.

But it is even worst to cis women who are tall.
Why being 6ft 2in tall makes it hard to be a woman
Jes Fernie has never fitted in to society’s idea of a typical female. Now her daughter’s height is shooting up, will she face the same problems?
The Guardian
 By Jes Fernie
Saturday 26 December 2015

As a 6ft 2in woman, I have been able to monitor, on a daily basis, the extent of society’s limited parameters of what it is to be female. Now that my daughter is fast approaching my height, I am looking at the situation anew, scratching around for any signs of progress. Will she be called “sir” with the regularity of a finely tuned clock? Will she be mistaken for a transvestite and nearly beaten up in a dark Manchester side street? Will she be offered sex in Soho (“Looking for a good time, mate?”) or be asked if she is a model (“A model what? A model citizen? Certainly not an aeroplane”). Will she have to cross to the other side of the road late at night when walking behind a woman who thinks she is a man? (The mental gymnastics!)
Every bit of social cueing pitched me as an aberration. Every film I had seen, every advertisement, every relationship I witnessed, taught me that the natural order of things is that a woman looks up to a man. This relation of small to tall is so elaborately enshrined in the minutiae of daily life that it is pretty hard to unravel. It sets up a pattern of well-honed oppositional binaries: protector/ protected, masculine/feminine, powerful/powerless. It dictates who we are attracted to, and how our fantasies are constructed. The archetypal photo of a male-female couple (his arm around her, her head nuzzled against his chest) speaks volumes about the strict code of behaviour expected of each sex.
Society does not like anyone who is outside of the gender norm; people can be cruel to them. Society tries to push us into those little boxes of male and female but at the same time nature is exploring ways to expand those boxes. For those who are born intersex trying to be crammed into those boxes starts the day they are born.

Ask yourself this question, why do they even have boxes on birth certificates. I know that some birth certificates record the footprint or hand print of the baby, doesn’t that make more sense than recording the gender of thee baby?

It’s Against The Constitution!

How many times have you heard the Republicans say that about marriage equality? All the Republicans presidential candidates have come out against marriage equality and most of them say that it should be a state’s rights to determine who they want to marry. Ballotpedia has the candidates positions on marriage equality.

Jeb Bush:
On June 26, 2015, Jeb Bush released a statement asserting that the legality of same-sex marriage should have been decided by the states rather than the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. The statement read: "Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate."

Chris Christie:
On June 26, 2015, Chris Christie stated he approved of Chief Justice John Roberts' dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges and believed that marriage equality "is something that shouldn't be decided by a group of lawyers, but should be decided by the people." Christie added, "That being said, those five lawyers get to impose it under our system and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land. And that under the Supreme Court's ruling is now the law of the land, but I don’t agree with the way it's been done. But I take an oath and the same way I've supported and enforced the law here in New Jersey since our Supreme Court made their 7-0 decision on same-sex marriage and I've supported and endorsed that law, I would have to do the same across the country. But I want to be clear, I don’t agree with the way it was done. But it's been done and those of us who take an oath have a responsibility to abide by that oath."

Ted Cruz:
At the “Rally for Religious Liberty” at Bob Jones University on November 14, 2015, Cruz said the issue of same-sex marriage was “not settled” legally. He said, “It’s not the law of the land. It’s not the Constitution. It’s not legitimate, and we will stand and fight.” Under the Tenth Amendment, Cruz believes the definition of marriage should instead be “left to the states and left to the people.”

Rand Paul:
The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional on June 26, 2015. Following the decision, Paul wrote in a Time op-ed, "While I disagree with Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract." He also questioned whether government has a place in regulating marriage. "Perhaps it is time to be more careful what we ask government to do, and where we allow it to become part of our lives."

Marco Rubio:
On December 13, 2015, Marco Rubio argued that the Constitution does not give “the federal government the power to regulate marriage.” He said, “I don't believe any case law is settled law. Any future Supreme Court can change it. And ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed,"

Donald Trump:
On June 26, 2015, following the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, Trump tweeted, "Once again the Bush appointed Supreme Court Justice John Roberts has let us down. Jeb pushed him hard! Remember!"

So what did Obergefell v. Hodges ruling say?
The right of same-sex couples to marry that is part of the liberty promised by the Fourteenth Amendment is derived, too, from that Amendment’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws. The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way, though they set forth independent principles. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always coextensive, yet in some instances each may be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other. In any particular case one Clause may be thought to capture the essence of the right in a more accurate and comprehensive way, even as the two Clauses may converge in the identification and definition of the right. See M. L. B., 519 U. S., at 120–121; id., at 128–129 (KENNEDY, J., concurring in judgment); Bearden v. Georgia, 461 U. S. 660, 665 (1983). This interrelation of the two principles furthers our understanding of what freedom is and must become.

I am not a lawyer but it seems quite clear that the Supreme Court found that the Constitution does protect marriage equality with the Fourteenth Amendment.

All of the candidates said that if they are elected they will pack the court with conservatives justices.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

James Baldwin, William F Buckley Debate

I am constantly amazed at the internet, when I was growing up our access to historical events was limited to the size of your library. You would never have had the chance to watch the 1965 James Baldwin debated William F. Buckley at the Cambridge Union Society, Cambridge University. Libraries were for books, very few had any film libraries, but now at your fingertips you can watch this historic debate. Sit back and watch it, look at it in the light of what is happening in cites around the country, has anything really changed in 50 years.

I want to thank TranGroit for bring this video to us.

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays!

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Happy Holidays! (from the archives)

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

1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you by pass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?
Are you kidding! Of course I climbed on St. Nick’s lap… he was giving away free toys.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?
A little of both, I’m nice because I care about people and I won’t tell you about the naughty part, there are some thing a girl has to keep secret!

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?
I traveled down to New Jersey for Christmas and I just got home.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year? 
Not yet, but I will

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie?
I don’t have a favorite, because I don’t like any of them. But I did go see “Christmas on the Rocks” which was about all the old Christmas movies.

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?
Yes, enough said.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party? 
No but I enjoyed watching other make a fool out of themselves.

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?
It used to be hot mulled cider with rum, but alas being diabetic all the winter drinks have way too many carbs.

9. Share a memory from last Christmas.
Last Christmas wasn’t  too memorial, but I will share one from Christmas past. When I was a teenager it was snowing on Christmas Eve (my parents were parting with the neighbors at our house) and my neighbor stopped by because he was bored and I was bored and we figured two bored kids could find something to do better than one bored kid. So anyway he had a box of road flares and we decided to go walking in the through the woods across from our houses with the flares until midnight. Well for me it turned into an unforgettable night.

It was so beautiful with the snow falling and the woods and snow lit up by the red flares, the only sound was the hissing of the flares and the crunching of our feet on the new snow.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Peace On Earth and Goodwill To All

Earthrise (NASW Photo) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

It this time of year that we reflect on all that has happened this past year and to give thanks. However, for many it is not a time to rejoice, it is a time of loneliness, their families may have moved and left them behind, their family or spouse might have pasted away leaving them without any close relatives or their children might be at their in-laws for this holiday, for whatever the reason, it is a lonely time.

For many in the LGBT community it is an especially lonely time,
they might not have seen their family since they came out to them. Their families and children have disowned them. Sometimes when we do attend the gathering, we feel like outcasts, like the square peg in the round hole, we just don’t fit in, we are tolerated when we bring our partners or ourselves to the table.

So let us open our hearts and doors to them and invite them to the table.

I leave you with this Christmas song by Nat King Cole - Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Trans Children And The Holidays

When families get together for the holidays it can be a time of joy and a time of stress. What happens when you go to your relatives and you have a trans child, here is some comment sense tips.
Preparing for the Holidays – Tips for Parents of Gender-Expansive Youth
Gender Spectrum
Dec 13, 2015

While the holiday season is full of excitement and joy, it can also come with some anxiety for families of Gender-expansive youth.

Oftentimes, the holidays are the one time a year we see extended family and family friends who may or may not know about our child’s gender, or who may have less-than-accepting feelings about our child’s journey or our parenting.

I’m seeing family for the holidays who don’t know about my child’s gender. What should I do?
There is not just one way to deal with this situation, of course, as every family and group of friends are different. Remember that family members and friends are at different places in their understanding of Gender identity and gender expression; recognize that while we’ve had some time to think about this (and think about it, and think about it…), this may be completely new to them, as it was to us at some point in time. They also aren’t around our children as much as we are, and may not see what we see in our kids.
Some of the other questions were,

  • Should I communicate with family/friends ahead of time? If so, what should I say? If not, what should I say when I see them in person?
  • Should I prepare my child somehow?
  • What if I don’t want to talk about it?

The article ends with,
In general, try to remind yourself that people come to their very limited understandings of gender honestly–we haven’t been taught anything different in our society. You know you are doing the right thing by supporting your child to be exactly who they are, so try to remember that if the going gets rough. You may be surprised, both positively and negatively, about your loved ones’ responses, so try to approach them with an open mind. Then come back and debrief on the Lounge with all of the other parents who understand exactly where you’re coming from. Most of all, enjoy your holidays with your wonderful and amazing kids!
One of the slide that I have in my Cultural Competency is that we have to tell the extended family, I add that they tend to notice little things like showing up in a dress. It is not easy coming out to family; I found it much harder to come out to someone whom you love than coming out to a stranger. You have so much more to lose with those who you love.

Finally! Trans Actresses And Actors Are Playing Cis Gender Characters

This is something I have been saying for a long time, why aren’t there any trans actresses/actors playing straight characters in the media?
Transgender actress Rebecca Root: 'The year my identity stopped being a crisis'
From Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover to the casting of a trans actor in EastEnders - 2015 has put gender on the agender. Pioneering BBC star Rebecca Root reflects on a year of transformation
Evening Standard
By Rebecca Root
December 23, 2015

Actress Annie Wallace transitioned 26 years ago but it wasn’t until October this year that she felt able to come out. She didn’t want to jeopardise her acting career by saying she was trans. Now she is on Channel 4 every weeknight, playing strict head teacher Sally St Claire in Hollyoaks, the first character on the soap to be played by a trans woman.

This has been a year of empowerment for trans people. There have been so many significant moments in 2015, from Caitlyn Jenner’s unveiling on the cover of Vanity Fair to boxing promoter Kellie Maloney coming out and EastEnders casting a trans actor, Riley Carter Millington.

Visibility brings with it a sense of protection that comes from collective strength — to feel accepted you need to see people from your own community represented. When you see someone who reflects your own identity on the cover of an international bestselling magazine or on screen, you no longer feel isolated or like a second-rate citizen. You feel as though you have a place at the table; you’re not a punchline to a joke but someone worthy of being given a platform.  This moment has been building for a couple of years, ever since Laverne Cox was cast as a trans prisoner in American drama Orange is the New Black. Everyone I know in the trans community was delighted when she came on the scene — we knew it was only a matter of time before the UK caught up.

I feel privileged to have been given a platform to be involved in this growth in support for trans people, although I wasn’t expecting the show I’m in, Boy Meets Girl, which was on BBC2 in the autumn, to have the impact it did. I play Judy, a transgender woman who falls in love with Leo, a cisgender (ie non-trans) man. It’s the first mainstream on-screen depiction of a trans relationship.
But in the past Rebecca Root played the part of a cis woman also on the day time soap Hollyoaks, according to the Guardian, “…which quietly had Rebecca Root on the show in a non-trans role earlier this year – isn’t making a song and dance about it.” And article in the New York Times also mentioned that in the movie “The Danish Girl,”
Mr. Hooper also cast two transgender actors in cisgender roles: Rebecca Root, who plays Lili’s nurse, and Jake Graf, a transgender man who plays a small part. It was the third cisgender role for Ms. Root, who is one of the leads in the BBC sitcom “Boy Meets Girl,” and she is having her busiest acting year yet. Whether to cast a nontransgender or a transgender performer for a character undergoing a transition remained, she said, a “gritty question.” She continued: “Who’s the right actor in terms of talent, look, voice and indeed public profile? Let’s face it, star power is what gets a film financed.”
Are trans actresses and actor finally breaking through the trans ceiling?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Have You Heard Of Tracey Norman?

I haven’t either but she is one of the pioneers of the trans community.
The First Black Trans Model Had Her Face on a Box of Clairol
No one knew her secret. Until they did.
New York Magazine
By Jada Yuan and Aaron Wong
December 14, 2015

Tacey “Africa” Norman always knew that the question wasn’t if she’d be found out, but how long she could go undetected.

To be black and from Newark in the mid-1970s and get plucked from a model casting call for Italian Vogue by Irving Penn — it was the kind of success story that was unheard of, especially for someone like her. She was signed by a top agency, photographed multiple times for the pages of Essence magazine. She landed an exclusive contract for Avon skin care, and another for Clairol’s Born Beautiful hair color boxes: No. 512, Dark Auburn, please. She went to Paris and became a house model in the Balenciaga showroom, wearing couture and walking the runway twice a day. Norman was never as big as Iman, Beverly Johnson, Pat Cleveland, or the other models of color breaking barriers on international runways or on the cover of Vogue. But she was riding that wave. It was more than she could have ever hoped for when she was a kid in New Jersey. Back when she was a boy who knew that, inside, he was a girl.

Norman still turns heads — passersby, shop clerks, waiters at the diner where we have lunch. At 63, she is strikingly beautiful, with buttery deep-brown skin that reads decades younger, and straight black hair that hangs to her ribs. That regal posture, those strong cheekbones demand attention, even as she hides her slender frame under a long black skirt and a navy shearling-lined peacoat that I later learn is from H&M. She’s open and warm but seems nervous. “It’s not easy for me to talk,” she says. She’s practiced so long the art of being both beautiful and invisible, of letting people look at her but not really see her. It’s how she managed to build a career in an industry where her job was to be gazed upon, in an era when the truth would mean certain, and possibly violent, persecution.
This is a great article about her struggle to become a model and about the discrimination she faced for being transgender when her secret was found out.

His Day In Court

There is a little known law here in the US that lets a person from another country to sue a US citizen in federal court for human rights violation. The law is Alien Tort Statute and it is not a new law it was part of Judiciary Act of 1789.
The Alien Tort Statute ("ATS"; also known as the Alien Tort Claims Act) refers to 28 U.S.C. § 1350, granting jurisdiction to federal district courts "of all causes where an alien sues for a tort only in violation of the law of nation or of a treaty of the United States." Broadly speaking, it serves as a statutory instrument for gaining universal jurisdiction over violations of international law.
This leads us to Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively, he went to Uganda to urge their legislature to pass anti-LGBT legislation and he is now being sued by LGBT people from there. I wrote earlier about the court case (here, here, here, and here), now the case is proceeding in Springfield MA. Georgiboi reported that, “This week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals denied Lively’s final request to have it dismissed because, well, the whole genocide thing.” The Religion News Service in an October article wrote,
A lawsuit by Sexual Minorities Uganda, an LGBT advocacy group, alleges that Lively conspired with Ugandan religious and political leaders since 2002 to strip gays of their rights in that country that has resulted in housing and employment discrimination, arrest, torture and the murder of gays and lesbians. The case, filed in 2012, is expected to go to trial early next year in a U.S. district court in Massachusetts. If convicted, Lively could face a fine.
Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Center for Constitutional Rights contend that Lively’s presentations in workshops in 2009 and 2012 influenced a 2013 Uganda law, which initially called for life in prison for people who engage in same-sex relations. Later the law was revised to also punish individuals or groups that support gays. After international outrage, the constitutional court in Uganda overturned the law in August 2014 on a technicality, but lawmakers have said they will revive the bill.
Uganda wasn’t the only place that Lively preached his hate, he also went to Russia,
After a 2007 visit to Russia, Lively urged that country to “criminalize the public advocacy of homosexuality.” Russia’s parliament unanimously passed a federal law banning the spreading of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors in June 2013. The law makes it illegal to distribute material on gay rights and calls for fines for individuals and media groups found guilty of breaking the law. It has spurred international outrage, especially during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Now is only someone from Russia would sue him.

Hmm... I wonder if it might be interesting to sit in on the trial one day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Here We Go Again

Even when we have legislation that gives us protection from discrimination we still have to be on our toes.
Bill would let businesses shun gays, transgenders
Albuquerque Journal
By Maggie Shepard / Journal Staff Writer
Monday, December 21st, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two state legislators have proposed a bill that would allow businesses to deny services to gay people and people who aren’t clearly male or female if it violated their religious beliefs.

The proposed bill generated immediate opposition. 
Anyone want to guest the party of the two legislators?
The bill, HB 55, pre-filed by Reps. David Gallegos, R-Eunice, and Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, on Thursday, would remove the words “sexual orientation and gender identity” from the state’s current Human Rights Act, which says that businesses, government and non-profits can’t deny services based on certain customer characteristics.
Was anyone surprised that they are Republicans?
Gallegos and Espinoza take out the sexual orientation and gender identity wording  and emphasize that state law should not “burden a person’s free exercise of religion by requiring the person to provide a service or to conduct business” in opposition to their “sincerely held religious belief” regarding sexuality and gender. Gender is not always the same as a person’s anatomy, which is protected under the current and proposed laws as a person’s sex.
Whenever I see “religious freedom” I always wonder how they are going to determine if it is a “sincerely held religious belief” will there be some type of test? I doubt it, for one thing it would be unconstitutional. So basically what they are saying is that anyone can discriminate against trans people, lesbians and gays just by saying that it is against their religion.

Also there are some religions where the sexes cannot mix, for an example a man could not wait on a woman in a restaurant. So that religious belief can be violated but when it is against LGBT people we can’t go against the religious beliefs.

A Bigot

:  a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially :  one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary

We use that word a lot; it means a lot more than not agreeing with each other. When someone does not agree with marriage equality many of us call them a bigot. When someone does not believe that we are transgender because the person might not have Gender Confirming Surgery some of us call them a bigot, and when someone does not believe a child should transition we call them a bigot. Are they really bigots or is that the wrong use of the word?

Notice the definition “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices” it says nothing about hating. It says “obstinately or intolerantly”
Full Definition of obstinate
1 :  perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion [obstinate resistance to change]
2 :  not easily subdued, remedied, or removed [obstinate fever]
When someone doesn’t recognize your right to exist whether or not there is any hate that is bigotry because they “perversely adhering to an opinion” and they are treating the members of a group with intolerance.

Can say a black man who is facing an intolerant person and calling that person a bigot be also a bigot because they don’t respect the person’s views? Or can a trans person who is called a “man in a dress” and calls that person also be a bigot because they are intolerant of the other person’sopinions?

In the Huffington Post, Dr. Joe Wenke writes “Is It Right to Call a Bigot a Bigot?” and in the article she says,
It really comes down to this: If, based on your religious beliefs, you demonize people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and you deny people the right to have sex and marry, then you are against freedom and equality for those people. You are practicing bigotry. You are a bigot, and you deserve to be called a bigot.

Yes, it is right to call a bigot a bigot. In fact, it is a responsibility. I will embrace that responsibility whenever necessary, and I call upon everyone who values freedom and equality for all people to do the same.
Or to put it another way the oppressed in not a bigot for calling the oppressor a bigot. When they are denying us our humanity our right to exist they are by definition “bigots.”

Monday, December 21, 2015

We Are All Different

One thing about each and every one of us we all think different and that is due to our own uniqueness because of our environment, our family, our gender, our race and our culture. They all go into shaping our way of thinking.

Back in the sixties you could always tell an IBM employee, they all looked like they came from a cookie cutter; buzz cut haircuts, a blue suit, white shirt, and a thin blue tie. And they were all men. Then into this culture came a person who wanted to transition and they let her go; she later became one of the leaders in the computer revolutions.
How transgender employees can help your business
The Star Tribune
By Holly Maholm
December 20, 2015

Now, not every company can afford to hire a superstar athlete to devote that kind of time to revitalizing a corporate culture. So let me tell you about my friend “Cindy.”

Cindy is a transgender woman. She is in her 50s and is very good at what she does (she’s an IT specialist). Cindy works in Cleveland for a large insurance company. (I won’t tell you the name of the company, but in the “ebb and flow” of memory, you may guess who it is.) So a year ago, she told her boss she wanted the company to accept and support her desire to “come out” as “Cindy” — so that she could begin living her life as her authentic female self.

So what Cindy’s boss did was amazing. He responded “Great! Go for it!” And then Cindy’s request was passed up to her boss’ boss, and then to the boss above that boss, and right on up to the Biggest Boss (who, in a big insurance company is a Big Kahuna indeed). And every one of them said “Great!” And since then, Cindy has become someone who — if I were still doing contracts for famous athletes — I would say is doing the job of a superstar athlete who:
  • Represents the company at conferences where new employees are recruited.
  • Is the face of progress and flexibility for the company.
  • Provides valuable community outreach by meeting with local leaders and the media telling them how she has been supported and encouraged by management.
  • As company spokesperson, stresses a “big” company’s values and responds to individual needs.
  • Delivers intangible assets in the form of company ­goodwill.
I am impressed — though not at all surprised — at how her company has used and promoted Cindy. The insurance business is one that cannot help but involve tens of thousands of customers, millions of transactions, and many more millions of payments received and checks mailed out.
When we attack a problem we use all of our life experiences to solve the problem, it does matter if it is an engineering problem or how to sell more widgets. We use our culture, an Asian with look at the problem different than a European, a black person with approach the problem differently than a white, and a trans person will look at the problem in another way than a cis gender person.

A research study “Does Diversity Pay?: Race, Gender, and the Business Case for Diversity” in American Sociological Review by Cedric Herring reported in found that.
Diversity is thus good for business because it offers a direct return on investment, promising greater corporate profits and earnings.
 It is likely that diversity produces positive outcomes over homogeneity because growth and innovation depend on people from various backgrounds working together and capitalizing on their differences.
The findings presented here are consistent with arguments that diversity is related to business success because it allows companies to “think outside the box” by bringing previously excluded groups inside the box. This process enhances an organization’s creativity, problem-solving, and performance.

Saycation – Mystic Seaport Community Carol Sing

This was something like the third or fourth time that I went down to Mystic Seaport for their Community Carol Sing. Admission is normally $23 (senior discount) but this weekend it was free with a non-perishable canned good item food donation (All contributions are donated to and distributed by the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center.). I went with a friend and we wandered around and then went to the carol sing. After a while we grew tired of the caroling and walked back around the seaport, the sun was getting lower but the crowds were all over at the carol sing.

This photo (If you click on the photos you can see full size pictures) was taken from the I-95 scenic overlook about two thirds of a mile away.

Panorama f/22, 1/200sec, ISO 400, EV -1 290mm

Notice the lanterns for the Lantern Light Tours
Join us for the 36th annual theatrical production of Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport. Set on Christmas Eve in 1876, the play unfolds in the Museum’s historic buildings and vessels. Visitors of all ages will enjoy seasonal delights that include a horse-drawn carriage ride, the beautiful glow of lanterns that light the way and, just perhaps, a visit with old St. Nick! at Mystic Seaport.

The Mayflower II is undergoing restoration for the second winter...

Since it was a Community Carol Sing…

Sunday, December 20, 2015

This Struck A Cord

There is an article in the Hartford Courant that got to me on several different levels, diversity, who can teach diversity, and uninvited photos. The article is about a Hartford Board of Education member and a picture she took and posted on Facebook.
Facebook 'Selfie' Provokes Debate On Online Civility, Teacher Diversity
By Vanessa de la Torre
December 20, 2015

HARTFORD — Teacher Heather Zottola was at a training session for city educators on the evening of Sept. 2, hearing about ways they can better serve students of color — the bulk of Hartford's students — when she noticed one of the attendees angling a cellphone camera in her direction.

"I remember thinking, at first, 'Oh, she's taking a selfie.' Then I was like, 'Oh, look it, I'm in her picture,'" Zottola recalled this month. The woman, city board of education member Shelley Best, was seated only a few feet away in a downtown banquet room.
This is the first thing I have a problem with, I have been the subject of many uninvited photographs the one that I remember most is from an Olive Garden night out on the town. I was with a couple of trans women and their spouses and we were waiting for a table at a local Olive Garden and sitting across from us in the waiting room were two high school couples who looked like they were on a date. While we were sitting there I noticed that the two boys were talking photos of us and typing on their smartphones, three guesses what they were doing? That leads me to the second thing about the article, the posting of pictures on Facebook and social media.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Best's social media network had already learned the reason in real time as Best raised a blunt question about who was in the room that evening.

The head of the Hartford teachers' union, Andrea Johnson, would later say that she was "appalled" when she saw the Facebook post that would trigger pained conversations over teacher diversity and online civility.
I don’t post photos of strangers without their consent and I think it is very rude of people that do, especially if the other person is in a comprising situation. The only exception is if they are in a place where they don’t have an expectation of priviacy, like a rally or protest or other public event.

And the third thing that got me about the article is not so much about the article itself but rather about why they were there together, the training.
This is what Best remembered: A white female scholar illustrating her point with images of "sad, black males, little boys like this," said Best, mimicking a child's frown. "Like, sad, black boys who can't make it in school."
She noted that the only black man in the room was Stallings, a product of Hartford public schools. "If a man of color was presenting a presentation on the struggle of young black males in the classroom, and what we need to do to get young black males engaged — that's a different feeling."
Who should teach diversity? Should it be someone from the minority group that you are talking about? I know I would feel unqualified to teach diversity of race or national origin. Could a white person teach what discrimination a black person faces, yes but are they the best person to teach it, no. The only one who really knows what the discrimination a black person faces is a black person.

Can a non-trans person teach what discrimination a trans person faces every day? Probably, but are they the best person to teach it? You can read all the books in the world and see all the videos but you will never know what it is like to walk into a room and hear all the conversation stop.

There are only two non-trans people that I trust to teach trans cultural competency and that is because they have both worked extensively with trans people and been embed in the trans culture.

New England

If you look at a map of New England that shows which states have protections for trans people there is only one state that doesn’t protect, the “Live Free or Die” state or as I like to think of it… “I live free you die.”
Our Turn: Let’s protect transgender residents from discrimination
Concord Monitor
By Gilles Bissonnette and Stephanie Ramirez
For the Monitor
Sunday, December 20, 2015

Comprehensive legislation was introduced in Congress in July that would ensure full federal equality for all LGBT people. This bill, aptly named the Equality Act, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination in employment, housing, education and places of public accommodation.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster are among more than 200 co-sponsors in the Senate and House. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Rep. Frank Guinta should join their Granite State colleagues in supporting the Equality Act. Given the current state of Congress, however, prospects of the bill passing this session are grim.

Here in New Hampshire, we have state level protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, and public accommodations. However, gender identity is not yet listed as a protected status, which leaves our transgender residents vulnerable to discrimination.
Will New Hampshire join the other New England states in providing protection for its trans citizens or will it continue to be a hold out? A state based on freedom of its citizens but still allows some of its citizen to be marginalized and discriminated against.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Saturday 9: Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (1979)

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) According to a marketing research firm, this song is both one of the most played and most hated songs of the season. Do you like it?
I don’t hate it and I figure you have to listen to it at least once a season.

2) In this song, Grandma's troubles start when she drinks too much eggnog. Do you like eggnog?
I like eggnog but it doesn’t like me, way too many carbs (34g) for me. Just one glass would be enough carbs for a meal.

3)  In the song, Grandpa recovers from losing Grandma by drinking beer and playing cards with Cousin Mel. Will you be celebrating the holidays with cousins?
No, I might be celebrating with my brother’s family, but I haven’t decided yet if I want to drive down to New Jersey.

4) When did you most recently drink a beer? Was it in a bottle, a can or a glass?
Bottle, Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat

5) The lyrics refer to "pudding of fig." In "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," the carolers demand figgy pudding. Yet despite its popularity in holiday songs, Sam has never tasted fig pudding. Have you?
Nope, never trying it.

6) Thinking of holiday sweets, would you prefer a gingerbread cookie or slice of pumpkin pie? 
Well once again there are way too many carbs but I hate pumpkin pie so I would have to go with a gingerbread cookie.

7) This song was recorded by a duo named Elmo & Patsy. It occurs to Sam that she has never met anyone named Elmo. How about you? Any Elmos in your life?
Yes, in high school (but that wasn't his real name).

8) Do you need snow to get "into the spirit?"
Nothing will get me “into the spirit” Bah Humbug!

9) Random question: Are you going to get/have you gotten a flu shot this year?
Yes I did and I have for about twenty years.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Gender Review Board

Will we all have to go before a “Gender Review Board” to see if we “pass” (I hate that word, I prefer integrate instead) in order to be trans? Who will determine who passes and who does not? What happens if a cis gender woman does meet the criteria?
Second Nexus
By Haley Pollock
December 14, 2015

Popular culture appears to have moved quickly to embrace transgender celebrity. Transgender actors, runway models, and reality television stars abound, and actors portraying transgender characters have received a haul of television and film awards. There is, it appears, money to be made from rising transgender stars.

But despite the speed of this bandwagon, it ignores an uncomfortable fact: Only transgender celebrities who “pass” make it into the mainstream. “Passing” privilege illustrates the hypocrisy of our popular culture, which only welcomes a few while pretending to welcome all.

We saw this in pre-Civil Rights America. Black Americans with lighter skin and straightened hair enjoyed more socio-economic privilege than their dark-skinned and textured-hair counterparts. Those who could “pass” for white were given more opportunities, better employment, housing and education. Still, they tiptoed through such an existence, vulnerable to anyone who might call out their blackness, conflicted about having to disassociate from family and friends to maintain their status. Echoes of this resound today.
Here is a comment that I received from my blog post “Umbrella” (which I didn’t publish)
Take a look into the mirror if you want to see the real face of cultural appropriation and as you call it, lateral hostility!"

You have absolutely no idea how much damage you do to women like me, or like Nikki everytime you open your big yap! We were born transsexual, not transgender and there's absolutely nothing common between your kind and mine! But does that stop you? Ohhh noooooooo! You see, it comes down to "Cui Bono," who benefits? And I've got a news flash for you, It's not us, it's YOU! You need us! You feed on us! You always put us out there again and again as the face of "trans" to hide the fact that you and the other 90% are still packing a penis, and that you intend to keep the precious! Take us out of the equation? You know exactly what will happen... you'll be laughed off the street! God forbid! And that's why you're so intent upon that never happening! Male privilege much?

So instead, you do everything humanly possible to obfuscate and appropriate our narrative solely for your own benefit! Oh you can call yourself an activist all you want, but to women born transsexual? You're an effing terrorist!
Compare this to what Ms. Pollock wrote about light skin blacks, do you see any comparisons?

In a research paper by Judith B. White and Ellen J. Langer titled “Horizontal Hostility: Relationships Between Similar Minority Groups” wrote this,
In each of these instances of horizontal hostility, the target – a black person who is light skinned, a deaf person who uses oral language, bisexuals – are willing to be identified with the more distinctive minority group, who may view the targets of horizontal hostility as “wannabes.”
Notice any similarities between the groups?

They all have internalized phobias they do not want to be associated with a marginalized minority. Ms. Pollock goes on to write,
Within the trans community, “passing” means conforming to the stereotype of gender. The more like a woman a trans woman appears, the fewer hackles are raised. As a result, American popular culture can claim to be progressive and tolerant of trans persons, yet ostracize those who are gender nonconforming.
Similarly, must a transman sport suits, ties, short hair and embrace male-dominated pursuits to be welcomed? Is it acceptance if the culture only embraces transpeople who represent themselves as an idealized or quintessential version of their gender?
The trans purist do not believe in the gender spectrum for them they see the world in male and female if you do not conform to the binary you cannot be transgender. For them you must have surgery even if means losing your life in the operating room. They adhere to the archaic Harry Benjamin model that has been discredited by the medical community.

The article goes on to say,
… The fixation with surgical status goes beyond likeability. In many places, the right of trans people to change legal documents, such as driver’s licenses and other forms of identification, depends on transition surgery. This means that unless transpersons undergo costly surgery, they cannot legally be classified as their true gender. It also means that each job, loan, college application, voter registration or medical form outs them to potential employers, lenders and care providers. This could open the door to discrimination against transpersons without any real recourse.
Luckily many states have realized that surgery shouldn’t be a requirement to change your documentation including your birth certificate and Connecticut is leading the way.
There is thus a certain insincerity behind the interest, awareness and acceptance of the trans community. If it is truly the case that only those privileged and wealthy enough to “pass” are worthy of the cisgender-dominant culture’s praise, then how far have we really come? While it remains revolutionary that highly visible and influential transgender people are now celebrated, this is at best conditional acceptance: Popular culture supports only the Good Transperson, the one who acts as a walking, talking, informational pamphlet to satisfy the public’s often lurid curiosity.
We cannot have a gender police who tries to enforce the gender binary standards. Nature does not do things in a binary fashion and we cannot deny a person the right to self-determine their gender just because it doesn’t fit some other person’s gender binary.

A Tale Of Two Governors

The birth certificate bill here in Connecticut passed with strong bipartisan support and was signed by the governor. However, down in New Jersey it is a political football.
Christie trumps N.J. Democrats on his veto of transgender birth certificate bill
NJ Advance Media for NJ
By Susan K. Livio
December 17, 2015

TRENTON — By one vote, the state Senate on Thursday failed to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a bill that would have permitted people in New Jersey who have undergone a clinical sex change procedure to amend their gender designation on their birth certificates.

Two Republicans, Sens. Diane Allen (R-Burlington) and Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-Somerset) voted with the 24 Democrats who control the upper house, but a total of 27 was needed to overcome the veto. The bill was withdrawn rather than letting it go down to defeat. That allows the Senate to bring it up again before the current two-year legislative session expires Jan. 12. 
So why did he veto the bill? According to his veto statement,
Last year, I vetoed identical legislation noting that a birth certificate is one of the most important legal documents that a person possesses and that proposed measures to revise the standards for the issuance of amended birth certificates must be accompanied by appropriate safeguards to mitigate security related risks. Birth certificates unlock access to many of our nation and State’s critical and protected benefits such as passports, driver’s licenses, and social services, as well as other important security-dependent allowances. Accordingly, I remain committed to the principle that efforts to significantly alter State law concerning the issuance of vital records that have the potential to create legal uncertainties should be closely scrutinized and sparingly approved.
When I vetoed this same bill last session, I asked the Legislature to consider incorporating appropriate measures to alleviate the security concerns and legal uncertainties that would be created by this legislation. Once again, I ask the Legislature to reconsider this proposal and to bring forth legislation that addresses these legitimate and significant concerns.
What do you use your birth certificate for?

Is it used for historic records or is used to prove citizenship and who you parents are?

It is used for the latter to prove you are a US citizen and parental rights and having it reflect you appearance when you apply for a job. When you apply for job you have to prove that you are legally entitled to be here in the US and if you give your future employer a birth certificate that says you are male and you look female you are way more likely to be discriminated against.

Many trans people cannot afford to have gender confirming surgery even with insurance, many trans people have life threating diseases like diabetes or heart disease that prevents them from having major surgery or some may not need surgery. Gender dysphoria is not the same in every trans person and if their gender dysphoria can be lessen to a manageable level without surgery why force them to have surgery to change their documentation?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Doing The Right Thing

The YMCA is doing the right thing and is getting push-back from the conservatives.
New Pierce, Kitsap YMCA policy change for transgender members raises concern
Fox 13
Posted, December 16, 2015,
By Janet Kim

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- The YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties announced this week that it’s putting together new rules for its transgender members.

The policy is aimed at helping the transgender community, but some people are afraid the police [sic] could put others at risk.

The YMCA leadership says the purpose of the new policy changes is to be more inclusive in the community, but there has been backlash, with some fearful this will open the door to a lot more than those who are transgender.

This week, Autumn Bennett plans to cancel her family's YMCA membership.
“I can't in good faith give my money to an organization that prides itself on honesty and integrity and say they want to protect children, that's going to do something like this,” said Bennett.
It must be hard to live in fear all the time. To live in the fear that the conservatives have created with their incessant fear mongering about trans people and bathrooms.

The “Y” said,
The YMCA won’t comment on personnel issues. However, since announcing the policy change, the organization admits some have cancelled memberships. However, leaders stress there’s no reason for anyone to fear.

“We do have some procedures in place that staff are equipped and empowered,” LaRue said. “Our heart goes out to anyone who feels they can’t continue their membership at the Y, but I believe the Y is one of the safest places to be, and I don’t think this changes that.”
Not only that but they also up graded their facilities to increase the privacy for all of its members. No one likes getting undressed in front of anyone else, so it sounds like to me they improved and everyone benefited from the upgrade.

Christmas On The Rocks

I remember when, I used to be scared of going out in public, it was only fifteen years that I came out and a lot has changed since then.

Back in 2001 I wrote this on my on Geocities blog
Afterwards, we went out to eat at a small Mexican restaurant. Those of you who have been following this site know that every venture out is a new adventure for me. Going to the theater performance wasn’t bad because it was a TG friendly environment, however we were the only TG there. But, the restaurant was very public. We got a few stares and raised eyebrows, but we were left alone.
Last night we went to a five star restaurant in Hartford, Max Downtown and my only concern was the price. The food was excellent, I had Roasted Berkshire Pork Chop (Chive-potato rosti, port wine-braised cabbage, apple mustard) and it was cooked the way I liked it.

After dinner we walked over to Theater Works to see the play “Christmas on the Rocks.” The theater is down under an office building and is, I wouldn’t say very small, but rather quaint or intimate. In the old days I would be worried about how people would react to trans people, now it was that I would have to go up the long flight of stairs.

After the play we walked back to the garage and that was more of an adventure than anything last night. It was after nine when we left the theater and I didn’t know how to get into the parking garage. The doors on Pearl St. to the lobby were locked with a sign that said use the entrance on Asylum Ave; we walked around the building and found the doors also locked. I pressed a button on what looked like an intercom and a voice came out of it asking what we wanted and I said to get to in the parking garage and he buzzed us in. Then the really fun part was finding the way out of the garage, it was not marked clearly.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is no longer an issue going out trans, it is not an adventure going out trans but the rather what you do is the adventure. Seeing the play and going to a fine restaurant. Or the movie, or whatever you are doing that you have turned the corner when being trans is not on your mind at all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

When I Say Dr. Paul McHugh What Do You Think About?

If you have been in the trans community or an ally you probably know who is, and you probably know that to say the least he is not liked by us.
The Scary Science at Johns Hopkins University
Doctors at the esteemed institution are perpetuating dangerous myths about transgender people — and the university is not doing enough to stop them.The Advocate
By Brynn Tannehill
December 15, 2015

The name Johns Hopkins University connotes an institute of higher learning in medicine to most people. For those paying attention, it represents one of the most unapologetically transphobic institutions in America. JHU professors have headlined conferences on reparative therapy, cozied up with many Southern Poverty Law Center-certified hate groups, and taken money from the government to argue in court that transgender people don’t need medical care.

Administration has allowed staff members at JHU to ignore standards of care, reject evidence based medicine, and skip over guidelines of their professional organizations as long as the transgender community is at the receiving end of such malpractice.

Just prior to an October gathering of the World Congress of Families (which is an SPLC-certified hate group), a radio station in Utah held a pre-conference event called STAND4TRUTH 2015, sponsored by the Family Research Council (another hate group),  American Family Association (another hate group), and MassResistance (yet another hate group). Their speakers included some of the most radical anti-LGBT leaders from these groups such as Peter Sprigg, Peter LaBarbera, Michael Brown, Dave Welch, Matt Staver, and Brian Camenker.

And then there was Dr. Paul McHugh of JHU, prominently displaying his JHU credentials in support of reparative therapy and anti-LGBT animus.
His words and actions toward the transgender community are the most radical and egregious, however.  He has compared medical care for transgender people to “the practice of frontal lobotomy.” McHugh’s disdain for his own patients is evident, calling them “caricatures of women” and pushing the demeaning narrative that all transgender women are either self-hating gay men or perverted heterosexuals. Worse, the damage McHugh has done to transgender health care is incalculable. McHugh shut down one of the few gender clinics in the U.S. in 1979, and his lobbying in 1981 was instrumental in getting a national coverage decision forbidding the government from covering gender-affirming care. It wasn’t reversed until 2014. As a result of his outspoken desire to see transgender people shoved back into the closet, Dr. McHugh has become the go-to “expert” for right-wing organizations.
He is used as an expert by Fox News, and in anti-trans court cases. He has twisted research data to justify his religious bias. In addition there are reports of mistreatment of trans patients,
Anti-transgender bias at JHU has a long and sordid history. The study McHugh ran in the late 1970s was deeply flawed and biased, having been designed to get a particular answer. As a result, the psychiatric community no longer considers this study persuasive or credible. Fellow psychiatry staff member Dr. Thomas Wise has also espoused similarly outdated, offensive views on transgender people, including a belief that transgender people need reparative therapy, and not affirming medical care…
The abysmal treatment of transgender people and failure to follow evidence-based medicine have been noticed by younger staff members at JHU. They are also upset at how McHugh, Wise, and other members of the psychiatric staff are protected by the administration. One younger doctor at JHU spoke with me on the condition of anonymity. He stated flatly that the institutions mistreatment of transgender people directly affected his decision to leave.
So if you are in Maryland around the Baltimore area pray that if you need medical treatment that they don’t take you to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Here We Go Again

The Republicans waste so much time on anti-trans bills, they keep saying that cutting government spending is their #1 priority but it seems like they are more worried about peeing and locker rooms than anything else.
Nebraska’s Aggressive New Plan To Keep Transgender Students From Playing Sports
By Zack Ford
December 15, 2015

The Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) has been wrestling with what to do with transgender athletes for years. In December of 2012, the NSAA quietly opened the door for transgender students to play for the teams that match their gender identities, but its latest policy proposal places several hurdles into the process, some of which are likely to be insurmountable. In fact, the policy segregates the locker room usage of almost every transgender student who would take advantage of it, which is quite likely a violation of federal law.

In many ways, the NSAA’s drafted policy mirrors a policy introduced in Virginia last year, but with a few key differences. One of the biggest is the fact that individual schools in Nebraska will still be able to make their own decisions about letting transgender students participate.
But… you know there is always a “but”
If a school allows a student to participate, the student then applies to the NSAA’s Gender Identity Eligibility Committee. The application requires substantial documentation, including a written statement from the student and parents affirming the student’s identity, documentation from friends or teachers confirming consistent gender identification, written verification from an appropriate health-care professional, medical documentation of hormonal therapy and other treatments related to gender dyphoria, and and [sic] other relevant documents. If these documents do not satisfy the committee, there is an appeal process, but the Appeals Committee must unanimously agree that the student is eligible to participate.
Then there is a question as where the student can change, and you know the answer they have…
No hurdle is higher, however, than what the policy requires for access to locker rooms:
A transgender student who has been granted permission by the NSAA to participate in activities of the gender with which the student identifies, but has not undergone sex reassignment surgery, shall at NSAA-sponsored contests be permitted to use the restrooms and locker rooms associated with their birth sex or shall be assigned private toilet, locker and shower room facilities appropriate for the student’s gender identity, as appropriate and available.
In other words, students allowed to play will still not to be allowed to use the locker room with their teammates unless they undergo an expensive life-changing surgery. And almost none of them will. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care recommend that patients not undergo genital surgery until they reach the age of medical consent. Nebraska happens to have a peculiarly high age of medical consent; unless a minor marries or emancipates, the age of consent is 19.
So once again we are segregated and marginalized.