Sunday, January 31, 2016

They Will Do Anything To Get Out Of Paying

Insurance companies are known for trying to weasel out of paying for a medical claim and especially if it involves trans people.
UnitedHealth Medicare plan must cover U.S. sex reassignment surgery
By Brendan Pierson
January 29, 2016

A U.S. government panel has ruled that a privately run Medicare plan must cover sex reassignment surgery for a Texas transgender woman, a decision her attorney said was the first of its kind.

Charlene Lauderdale, a U.S. Air Force veteran, first sought surgery through her UnitedHealthcare/AARP Medicare Complete insurance plan in November 2014. The federally funded plan, operated by a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc, denied the request.

An administrative law judge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ruled last April that the plan must cover the surgery, and the agency's Medicare Appeals Council upheld that decision this month.
This strikes close to home because I have UnitedHealthcare/AARP Medicare Complete.

Back in May of 2014 the U.S. Department of Health and Services review board overturned the ban that prohibited Medicare from covering transition-related medical procedures for transgender people. But still insurance companies tried to avoid paying.
According to Young, many transgender patients have been unable to get coverage for sex reassignment surgery because insurers or contractors hired by Medicare to make such determinations have decided the procedure is cosmetic, or not medically necessary, among other reasons.

Young said the decision in Lauderdale's case was the first time HHS ordered a Medicare Advantage plan to cover sex reassignment surgery. Though the decision is not legally binding on other cases, Young said he believed it would set an important "guidepost."
So what this means is that other trans people will still have to fight for their legally required coverage.

For those of you who can't get to sleep I suggest reading the decision here.

Nothing New Here In CT

The big news is only news there, here in Connecticut Planned Parenthood has been providing healthcare for trans people for over a decade.
Planned Parenthood Is Helping Transgender Patients Access Hormone Therapy
By Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart
January 29, 016

For transgender Americans, finding safe, affordable, and nonjudgmental medical treatment can be a struggle. Hormone therapy, which typically consists of testosterone (for patients seeking to become more masculine) or estrogen plus androgen blockers (for patients seeking a feminizing effect), is among the most commonly used treatments in medical transition. Across much of the country, it can be difficult to find doctors who are willing to prescribe the drugs required for hormone replacement therapy, and medical practitioners who choose not to prescribe hormones to these patients may be ignorant or insensitive to patients who come in to request them. Fortunately, a large national organization with a name most people are already familiar with has stepped up to bridge the gap in access to treatment for transgender patients. Planned Parenthood affiliates are increasingly offering HRT as one of the many vital health care services they offer to underserved communities.

Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of communications told me via email that at least 26 Planned Parenthood locations are currently offering testosterone or estrogen therapy to transgender patients and that the number of affiliates offering these services is growing. He added:
Last year, a new health center offering transgender services opened in North Carolina—and this weekend, a colleague of mine at a conference met a transgender woman from Tennessee who shared the huge difference it’s making in the lives of transgender people in the region. She said it was the only place within a 3-hour drive that would provide HRT, and she was so grateful to have that access. Those are the kinds of patients we have to reach.
The Planned Parenthood in New Haven has been providing Cross Sex Hormones since around 2005 and as they normally do they provide the healthcare and your ability to pay.
While all the other local clinics require a letter from the patient’s therapist before they will prescribe HRT, Planned Parenthood operates on an informed consent basis. This means that all patients whose bloodwork indicates they are good candidates for the treatment will be prescribed testosterone or estrogen and androgen blockers, so long as they understand the likely effects and accept the possible side effects that go along with it, after those side effects have been explained to them. This distinction can be crucial to poorer patients, who may struggle to afford the months of therapy that can be required before a letter is forthcoming. (There are still some questions about the informed consent model, due to worries about poorly prepared patients taking drugs that can have irreversible physical effects. However, informed consent has been widely advocated by transgender people themselves, many of whom have had negative experiences with gatekeepers preventing or delaying their access to these treatments.)
Okay, now for one of my pet peeves.

This article uses Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT to describe the treatment of hormones to trans people. I use Cross Sex Hormones. There is a reason why I do this and that is because the levels on types of hormones that we take is many orders of magnitude greater than that is normally giving to women going through menopause and in an emergency situation that could be a matter of life and death. Those of us on a patch take around 0.100 to 0.200 mg of estradiol while those women on HRT are usually taking 0.025 to 0.050 mg of estradiol and also progesterone. In addition we usually take anti-androgens.

Why is this important?

Because of the higher dosages of estrogen we are more susceptible to DVT, Gallstones, elevated liver enzymes, weight gain, hypertriglyceridemia, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and breast cancer than if we were taking dosages equal to the levels used in HRT. So if you are being wheeled into an emergency room and they are asking you what meds you are taking and you reply HRT they might not be looking for the above diseases.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday 9: Don't You Care?

Crazy Sam's Saturday 9: Don't You Care? (1967)

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

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

 1) What's something that seems to fascinate everyone else, but you just don't care about?
Sports. I just can’t get worked up a sports team. I know people that you would think they were owners of the team or the head coach.

2) The lyrics refer to "the times we cried and laughed." Which did you do more recently, cry or laugh?
Cry, I was watching The Danish Girl and I cried at the end of it.

3) In the song, our hero seems surprised that his girlfriend doesn't believe him. Are you more believing and trusting, or suspicious and skeptical?
I am very trusting, that is why I would make a lousy babysitter. I would believe whatever the kids would tell me.

4) This song is just over two minutes long, which seems short for a song but awful long when Sam is waiting for her chicken soup to heat in the microwave. What's the last thing you heated in a microwave?

5) This week's band, The Buckinghams, were one of the first acts to perform at Chicago's premiere summer festival, The Taste of Chicago.* Let's think ahead: Have you made any plans for Summer 2016?
Yeah, go up to the cottage.

6) In 1967, when this song was popular, Rolling Stone magazine published its first issue. What magazines do you subscribe to? Do they arrive in the mail, or do you read them online?
I don’t subscribe to any magazines.

7) Country star/American Idol judge Keith Urban was born in 1967. Are you watching the final season of American Idol?
Nope, I never have watched it. Reality TV shows are another thing I don’t care about.

8) In 1967, the average cost of a movie ticket was $1.25. By 2015, it had risen $8.60. What's the last movie you saw in a theater? 
The Danish Girl and it was only $5, the nice thing about getting old senior matinee prices.

9) Random question: Sam's taking everyone out to dinner and she's buying. Would you prefer the steak or the lobster?
Anyone who has followed my blog knows my answer to this question… Lobster!

*Though back in 1970, it was called ChicagoFest.

Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us next week for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!" Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Biting My Nails

I hate court cases because it is a crap shoot. It is not the law that I fear but the judges’ bias of the law that I hate. Lower courts are starting to turn our way in interpreting Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act to include gender identity discrimination as sex discrimination.
Va. transgender student’s case could have national implications
Washington Post
By Moriah Balingit
January 27, 2016

A transgender teen’s fight to use the boys’ bathroom at his high school in a rural corner of Virginia could shape how schools across the country deal with the question of whether transgender teens have the right to use bathrooms in accordance with their gender identities.

Gavin Grimm, 16, and his attorneys on Wednesday took the teen’s case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, where judges will determine whether banning Gavin, who was born a girl, from the boys’ bathroom constitutes sex discrimination and violates federal law. Gavin sued the Gloucester County School Board in the fall, asking for a preliminary injunction to allow him to use the boys’ bathroom.
Whichever way the courts rule you know the opposite side will appeal and then it goes to the Supreme Court and it will all boil down to bathrooms.
If the judges rule in Gavin’s favor, it could clear the way for other transgender students to assert their rights to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity and for supporters of transgender students to argue for greater protections in the nation’s schools. If they rule against Gavin, it could give those fighting for bathroom restrictions more ammunition.
The lawyers that are representing the school district are from Liberty Counsel the same lawyers who backed Kim Davis the court clerk who refused to marry a same-sex couple in Kentucky and you know they want to make this a test case.

When it gets to the Supreme Court it will all boil down to which side can persuade Justice Kenney to rule for their side.

No Surprise Here

This is something that many trans people know, that being trans makes it hard to find a job. Now a study find the same is true for lesbians.
What a researcher learned after sending out resumes with ‘LGBT indicators
By Nidhi Prakash
January 17, 2016

Job hunting is an already stressful process but LGBT women face an additional hurdle, according to new research. Women might be less likely to be called back for a job interview if their resume indicates that they’re LGBT, a study published this week found.

After sending out 1,600 resumes to apply for more than 800 jobs, the study found that women with an “LGBT indicator” on their resume (represented in the study as work experience at an LGBT advocacy group) were about 30% less likely to receive a call-back than women who didn’t have those indicators.
The study, Discrimination Against Queer Women in the U.S. Workforce: A Resume Audit Study, published in the journal Socius, is the first to try to objectively measure employment discrimination against LGBT women in America. It included jobs for administrative, clerical, and secretarial positions across two liberal states (New York and D.C.) and two conservative states (Tennessee and Virginia). For each job, Mishel used resumes that listed similarly-ranked universities and work histories, but with a different position listed under student work experience: either an LGBT advocacy group or an unrelated student group.
I wonder what it would be like if they did it for a trans woman? I know a number of highly qualified that struggled to find a job and many never did find a job or they accepted a job way below their skill level.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

We Are Ahead Of The Curve

Connecticut is ahead if the other states and HUD with integrating homeless shelters.
Speaking up for equal access to shelters
By: National Center for Transgender Equality
January 26, 2016

Over 1500 people have joined the National Center for Transgender Equality to urge the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ensure that all trans people can access safe shelters when they need it.

Right now, HUD is considering a regulation that would require federally-funded shelters to let trans people be housed according to their gender identity. That’s a policy that can save lives. For many trans people, being treated with dignity in gender-specific facilities is a real challenge—and shelters are no exception. Trans people who try to access shelters are routinely turned away or kicked out, forced to stay in shelters that don’t match their gender, and harassed and assaulted by other residents and staff. Too often, trans people end up staying on the streets or in abusive homes because they can’t get access to safe shelters. By making it clear that shelters have to treat trans people with respect, this regulation can give more people a place to stay when they need it more. And it can be a critical stepping-stone in the fight to make sure that trans people can equal access to single-gender spaces and programs of all kinds, like restrooms in schools and at work.
Working together with our friends in other LGBT organizations, NCTE also developed a more detailed comment, which you can check out here In our comment, we applauded HUD for taking this important step to protect trans people in shelters, and urged it to also include these critical points in its final regulation:
  • Shelters would still be able to provide special accommodations for anyone who asks for extra privacy or safety—but they wouldn’t be able to turn anyone away because they are trans, force them to stay in a different or separated area against their will, or deny them equal treatment because of their gender identity.
  • Shelters can only give someone special accommodations because that person specifically requests it for their own health, privacy or safety. For example, if a trans person doesn’t want to stay in a separate room, shelter staff shouldn’t require them to do it just because they decide it’ll be safer for them or they’re worried that other residents will be uncomfortable.
  • Every shelter-seeker should have equal access to supportive services and programming (like employment and housing support services), regardless of how they are housed.
  • Shelters should develop written policies that specify how they will protect all residents, and especially LGBT and gender non-conforming residents and other vulnerable individuals, from harassment and violence.
  • Nonbinary and genderqueer people should be protected to the same extent as transgender and non-trans men and women under the final rule and should have full and equal access to the gender-specific shelters that they determine to be most consistent with their needs.
We have been training the shelter staff and 211 operators on how to integrate the homeless shelters for gender variant clients since last spring. We are half way with the training; four of the eight districts have been trained.

Last year there was an incident where a trans women was placed in a men’s shelter and she was attacked. This prompted a coalition to form of non-profits and HUD, the organizations in the coalition are AIDS CT, CT Coalition to End Homelessness, CT Fair Housing Center, and CT TransAdvoacy Coalition.

I can’t say it has gone smoothly there have been many bumps or rather shelters that don’t want to follow the law. We have gotten push back from a number of shelters in each of the training session that we gave and we have simply told them obey the law or lose their funding and get sued.

What A Difference

In the past couple of days I have been writing about legislation to block trans students from using the facilities of their gender identity, well this is about a town taking the initiative to make sure trans students feel welcome.
Southington Developing Policy on Addressing Transgender Students
NBC Connecticut
By Leslie Mayes
January 27, 2016

The Southington Public Schools are trying to develop a plan on working with and educating transgender students.

Supt. Timothy F. Connellan said developing such a plan has become a necessity in modern education and the goal is to ensure that all students are treated fairly and equally.
And how do the town’s people and the students feel about this proposed policy?
“They spend majority of their time in school. They need to be comfortable wherever they are,” Jyesha Coleman, a Southington parent, said.

“If a student wants to be identified as what they feel they are, I think they should be because it helps them grow as a person,” Stephanie Verderame said.
A little different from some of the schools that I have been reporting on.

This morning I am going to a Safe Schools meeting by the CT Department of Education where we are working on a policy cited in the article. As part of the committee I am vetting the proposal School Climate model policy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I got an interesting email last night about proposed Massachusetts legislation for the bill of a Conversion Therapy Ban and that got me thinking what is the focus of their legislature effort. Is the bill to add public accommodation their main focus or is it “Oh by the way” we have this bill to add public accommodation to the non-discrimination statute.

When I went to MassEquality website I found the are pushing a number of important legislation, but I can’t help wondering how much effort are the putting to our bill? Have they written it off as a dead bill?

Their legislative agenda is quite impressive,

  • Nondiscrimination Protections for Transgender People in Public Spaces (SB 735; HB 1577)
  • Conversion Therapy Ban (HB 97)
  • Lipodystrophy Treatment (SB 618; HB 927)
  • Cultural Competency Training for Service Providers for LGBT Elders (HB 526)
  • Comprehensive Sex Education in Schools (SB 265; HB 448)
  • Increased Healthcare Access for Homeless Youth (HB 2010)

These are all great bills that they support and I don’t really know the level of support, are they just signing on as a supporter of the legislation or are they providing lobbyists.

Lobbyist cost money, and passing legislation cost political capital, does MassEquality have enough to focus on all the bills on their agenda or are they spread too thin. Looking at their list I see two bills beside the public accommodation that will need a lot of political capital to get passed, Conversion Therapy Ban and the Comprehensive Sex Education in Schools bills.

I can just hear the religious conservatives screaming over those two bills, you are infringing upon our religious freedom by not allowing us to make our kids straight and any sex education beyond abstinence is wrong.

In Connecticut we only pushed one bill at a time because we didn't have the finances and the legislators didn't like more than one "LGBT" bill a session. Does MassEquality have that much funding that they lobby for all these bills? So I have to wonder how much of an effort are they putting into our bill? Did they say that we are never going to get the governor to sign the bill and give up?

It Happened To Me

Have you ever been told that you were not you? Sometimes it can be very frustrating to be arguing on the phone that you are really you and this is what happened to a trans woman in Washington state.
Transgender woman files suit against Peoples Bank for allegedly denying her service
By Jacki Ochoa
January 26, 2016

SEATTLE -- A transgender woman has filed a civil lawsuit against her bank, saying they denied her service over the phone because she sounds like a man.

Lizzi Duff said Tuesday she felt violated and attacked, and still does now.

Duff said she called Peoples Bank three times trying to access her balance. She answered all the security questions, but they still wouldn’t release her information. Lizzi said a teller said her voice didn’t match the bank’s files, which says she is female.
“Sometimes people will call me Sir,”  Duff said. “And I’ll say, no, I’m not Sir and usually people will apologize and get it. I’ll say I’m a transgender woman and they are fine with it and very friendly but when it goes beyond that it becomes hostile, and I can say it, adversarial.” 
For me I run in to this when I call my credit card company and usually I get transferred to security and I tell them that I’m trans and I then conduct the business that I called them about. Once that didn’t work and I asked them why would I call about a product I bought with their credit card that didn’t work and I was having a problem with sending it back to the online store.

The other problem that I had was with my doctor when the nurse called to give me my test results and she didn’t believe I was Diana and we got into yes I am… no you aren’t. I finally hung up on her and called the doctor’s office and got a different nurse who knew me.

It can get very frustrating sometimes, but like ever issue there are humorous times, like when a telemarketer (before I got caller ID) who call asking for Diana and I said she’s not here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

It Is Always The Republicans

People have criticized for using a broad brush to paint the Republicans…
Legislator explains why she's blocking transgender bathroom opposition bill
My Northwest
By Eric Mandel
January 25, 2016

Washington state Rep. Laurie Jinkins disagrees with a proposed bill that would limit the state's transgender bathroom policy, but she told KIRO Radio's Jason Rantz that's not why she's blocking it from being heard by the Legislature. At least, not the only reason.

"I'm not in favor of the bill and I also know that the bill does not have bipartisan support," Jinkins said. "It would not move out of the committee."

The bill in question would allow public or private entities to keep private facilities segregated by gender, in response to a new rule from the state's Human Rights Commission that allows transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
And who introduced the bill?

Representatives Brad Klippert R-Kennewick, and Larry Haler, R-Richland ad all the co-sponsors are Republican

Meanwhile over in South Dakota…
House panel approves bill governing student bathroom use
Rapid City Journal
Associated Press
January 25, 2016

Students in South Dakota public schools would be required to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their biological sex under a measure a state legislative panel approved Monday.

The House State Affairs committee sent the plan to the full chamber. If passed, it would then head to the Senate. The bill also requires schools to provide "reasonable accommodations" for transgender students' bathroom, showering and changing needs upon request, said Republican Rep. Fred Deutsch, who is sponsoring the measure.
Any guesses on which party introduced the bill?

Then down in Oklahoma Republican issues bill to put gender limits on public bathrooms
Oklahoma ‘Bathroom Bill’ worries LGBT community
By Lorne Fultonberg
January 22, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill that would require people to use a bathroom consistent with their biological gender is being hailed as "protective" by its author but "discriminatory" by its opponents, namely the LGBT community.

Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow) has filed Senate Bill 1014 in the interest of public safety after his constituents voiced fears of male pedophiles, for example, "identifying" as females and walking into the women's room.
Then there is…
Illinois Bill Would Limit Transgender Bathroom Access
Tristate Homepage
Published January 26, 2016

A new proposal in Illinois could force transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth.

The measure also authorizes school boards to allow transgender students to use a single-occupancy restroom if such accommodation is requested.

Under the proposal, if the student is not an adult, they need the written request of a parent or guardian for such an accommodation to be made.
All the bill co-sponsors are Republicans and then next door in Indiana they have their own bill that would make it a crime to use the restroom according to the sex they were assigned at birth.

Other states that also have bill to criminalize us for using the bathroom and bills that expand religious exemptions that make non-discrimination bills useless are Virginia, Georgia and Florida. All of them introduced by Republicans.

I know people who tell me that they vote for Republicans financial reasons, but you are implicitly approving of their social agenda. You are condoning their effort to repeal marriage equality, their efforts to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and their efforts to criminalize us.

Human rights overrule financial reasons.

Their Concerns Are Real

It is hard for me to not to sound like I am marginalizing what happened to them because I know they are speaking from their heart.
Sexual Assault Victims Speak Out Against Washington’s Transgender Bathroom Policies
The Daily Signal
By Kelsey Harkness
January 25, 2016

OLYMPIA, Wash.—A group of women who say they are former victims of sexual assault are making an emotional plea to Washington state legislators to reverse a bathroom policy that they say leaves them and their young children vulnerable, exposed and unsafe.
The Daily Signal met with Simon, Triller Haver, and Flores in Washington’s state capital to learn why they’re breaking their silence about their past experiences to fight what they believe are dangerous new policies.
“There is no doubt in my mind that many, many people will be hurt with this kind of policy,” Simon said.
The policies that they are talking are the YWCA and the Washington State Human Rights Organization’s polices about trans people using bathrooms and locker rooms.
“Over and over again, women are told your abuse is not important, it’s not important to fund, it’s not important to protect. This is just one more way for us to know that our abuse doesn’t matter, that we’re not protected,” Simon said, adding:
And now I’m a fearmonger because I’m speaking out about it. I don’t accept it. I’m not. I’m not crying that the sky is falling. This is actually happening. It’s not a pretend thing, I wish it was.
Their fears are real, their concerns are real, but they are misdirected. The first non-discrimination law was passed in 1975, Minneapolis passed a non-discrimination ordinance covering gender identity (they called it “affectional preference,”) and since then there has never been a trans person who sexually assaulted nor has there been a person who used the law as an excuse to sexually assault a woman in a bathroom or locker room.

Monday, January 25, 2016


That is what some opponents of a Gay Straight Alliance are saying, that the GSA is a terrorist group.
Tennessee Parents Wage War On Gay-Straight Alliance, Compare Club To ISIS
Hate Speech, Bible-Based Attacks From Anti-LGBT Parents Underscore Need For GSAs
The New Civil Rights Movement
January 22, 2016

Opponents of a Gay-Straight Alliance at a rural Tennessee high school are comparing the club to the terror group ISIS and calling on school officials to resign for allowing it.

The GSA met for the first time this week at Franklin County High School in Winchester, Tennessee, a town of 8,500 about 70 miles northwest of Chattanooga.

On its web site, the school explains that under the federal Equal Access Act and long-established court precedent, it is required to allow the GSA if it allows other extracurricular clubs.
But I guess that the school really needs a GSA if you read some of the comments that the opposition has made.
Martin Jonathan, who apparently attended Franklin County High School but now lives in San Antonio, according to his Facebook page, called the GSA "ungodly" and "wrong."

"The more we conform to this ever changing society the more weak we become as a Christian nation," Johnathan wrote. "What would be your opinion on a group initiating an ISIS club @ FCHS? Allow it so they don't become the next suicide bombers?"

"Unbelievable how times have changed," Johnathan added. "What a disgrace. Not the FCHS I was raised in nor the one for my children. ... [Principal Greg] Mantooth should be forced to resign. The parents and taxpayers in FC shall be heard."

Others argued that because some teachers have posted rainbow flags in their classrooms indicating that they're LGBT allies, people should also be allowed to display rebel flags, Christian flags, "Panther club" flags, white pride flags and gang symbols.
Hmm, I guess they feel that it is OK to harass, bully, and threaten students. As the student organizer put it,
"We did not threaten anyone," Bullington wrote. "I have wanted this group since I started at Franklin County High School. I have pushed and pushed but Mantooth and the board said no, no, no, no, no — until we found out that we are federally protected and that we are allowed to start the group. Now I'm sorry that a lot of you don't agree with the group, but find it in your heart for acceptance and peace."

WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL -

The Olympics

Did you see the news about the Olympics and trans athletes? They no longer require surgery.
Olympic Committee relaxes guidelines on transgender athletes
Fox World News
By the Associated Press
Published January 24, 2016

Transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympics and other international events without undergoing sex reassignment surgery, according to new guidelines adopted by the IOC.

International Olympic Committee medical officials told The Associated Press on Sunday they changed the policy to adapt to current scientific, social and legal attitudes on transgender issues.

The guidelines are designed as recommendations -- not rules or regulations -- for international sports federations and other bodies to follow and should apply for this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Now, surgery will no longer be required, with female-to-male transgender athletes eligible to take part in men's competitions "without restriction."

Meanwhile, male-to-female transgender athletes will need to demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a certain cutoff point for at least one year before their first competition.

"It is necessary to ensure insofar as possible that trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition," the IOC said in a document posted on its website that outlines the guidelines. "The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition."
They are only recommendations and they don’t have to be followed but it is a great step forward from the old rules where athletes had to prove their gender by chromosome test.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

What We Need Now

Is long term research in to trans children, what works and what doesn’t. Right now there is a lack of longitudinal studies, but that is about to change.
First U.S. Study of Transgender Youth Funded by NIH
Four Sites With Dedicated Transgender Youth Clinics to Examine Long-Term Treatment Effects
University of California San Francisco
By Juliana Bunim
August 17, 2015

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $5.7 million for a five-year, multicenter study, which will be the first in the U.S. to evaluate the long-term outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth. This study will provide essential, evidence-based information on the physiological and psychosocial impact, as well as safety, of hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones use in this population.
The study — which will begin enrollment in fall 2015 — will include 280 transgender youth with gender dysphoria, those who are persistently distressed by the incongruity between their gender of identity and the gender they were assigned at birth. Participants will be those who seek medical intervention to align their physical bodies with their gender identity and alleviate gender dysphoria and its associated negative effects, including anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

The study will include youth from two age groups: younger children in early puberty, who will receive hormone blockers, called GnRH agonists, used to suspend the process of puberty — preventing the development of undesired secondary sex characteristics; and older adolescents, who will begin use of masculinizing or feminizing cross-sex hormones that allow them to go through the ‘right’ puberty — consistent with their gender of identification.
The opposition have used studies that reported that 80% of the trans children turn out not to be trans, but the problem with that study is that many of the children in the study were not trans, they didn’t meet the DSM definition of gender dysphoria. They were either feminine boys or masculine girls and the study also labeled children who dropped out of the study as not being trans even though they didn’t know the reason why they dropped out.

Another article mentions another study on trans children, the study was reported in the Association for Psychological Science.
Transgender Kids Show Consistent Gender Identity Across Measures
January 29, 2015

A study with 32 transgender children, ages 5 to 12, indicates that the gender identity of these children is deeply held and is not the result of confusion about gender identity or pretense. The study, led by psychological scientist Kristina Olson of the University of Washington, is one of the first to explore gender identity in transgender children using implicit measures that operate outside conscious awareness and are, therefore, less susceptible to modification than self-report measures.
Olson and co-authors Nicholas Eaton at Stony Brook University and Aidan Key of Gender Diversity, a Seattle organization that provides training and runs support groups for families of gender-nonconforming children, specifically focused their study on transgender children who were living as their identified gender in all aspects of their lives, who came from supportive home environments, and who had not yet reached puberty. The participants and their cisgender (non-transgender) siblings were recruited through support groups, conferences, and word of mouth.

Finally, the researchers recruited cisgender children from a database of families interested in participating in developmental psychology research studies. These cisgender children were age-matched to the transgender participants for analytical comparisons.

To get a comprehensive sense of the children’s gender identity, Olson and colleagues used self-report measures that asked children to reflect on aspects of their gender in combination with implicit measures designed to gauge the strength of the children’s more automatic gender associations.
So what did they find?
Overall, data from the various measures indicated that transgender children’s responses were indistinguishable from those of two groups of cisgender children.

On the IAT [Implicit Association Test] measuring children’s gender identity, transgender children showed a strong implicit identification with their expressed gender. When the researchers looked at the data according to the children’s expressed gender, they saw that the data from transgender girls showed the same pattern as the data from cisgender girls and the data from transgender boys showed the same pattern as data from cisgender boys.
Transgender children also showed the same pattern of results as cisgender children on the explicit measures included in the study. For example, transgender girls, just like cisgender girls, preferred to be friends with other girls and they tended to prefer toys and foods that other girls liked.
This study wasn't a longitudinal study, it was only a snapshot of how that felt during the study.

Our Favorite Subject To Bash

And not without cause, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), they make it so easy for us to criticize.
‘Establishment’ criticism of HRC strikes a chord
Washington Blade
By Chris Johnson
January 24, 2016

Sen. Bernard Sanders retracted his comments about the Human Rights Campaign days after he made them, but labeling the nation’s leading LGBT advocacy group as part of the “establishment” last week struck a chord with some LGBT critics.

Some said Sanders was correct in labeling as “establishment” the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT group known for black-tie fundraising dinners, lauding corporations with pro-LGBT records in its Corporate Equality Index, close ties to Democratic Party leaders and support for Republicans who back LGBT rights (even when their Democratic opponents are stronger on LGBT issues).
Andrew Miller, a member of the New York-based grassroots group Queer Nation, said Sanders’ comments were accurate.

“I’m surprised Chad Griffin wasn’t flattered that Bernie Sanders labeled HRC ‘part of the political establishment,'” Miller said. “Griffin, who has just returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, certainly runs the organization as if that’s what they aspire to. It’s gratifying that at least one American politician understood — at least for a moment — that HRC represents the 1 percent, not the majority of the LGBT community nor the values of LGBT Americans.”
One of the reasons why many in the trans community does not like the HRC,
One of the chief criticisms of the Human Rights Campaign is the view that it has been historically reluctant to insist on the inclusion of transgender people in the LGBT movement. In 2007, HRC ignited a firestorm by declining to oppose a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that prohibited discrimination only on the basis of sexual orientation and omitted gender identity.
“Especially those who are a little older, my age, believe the HRC is exactly that, they are the establishment,” Juro [Rebecca Juro, a New Jersey-based transgender advocate] said. “They’ve constantly resisted change, they’ve consistently resisted going beyond the rich, white gay level of support. They had to basically be forced into it, embarrassed into it by journalists, columnists and protests. So, I think especially within the trans community, I think calling HRC ‘establishment’ will help [Sanders] a lot because that’s exactly the way transgender people see HRC.”
On the website Unicorn Booty, Jason Parsley writes about what the HRC can do to improve their relationship with the trans community
Hire More Trans People
As president Chad Griffin has done an adequate job of hiring more trans staff and in the past year HRC appointed Hayden Mora, a trans man, its deputy director.

“With Hayden as deputy chief HRC now has a trans person in on the upper level meetings,” Beyer said. “That’s a start.” While Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center added, “I am impressed with how many trans people they’ve added under Chad’s leadership. That’s a really good sign of their intentions.”

Promote Trans Equality
HRC has done a spectacular job using their resources promoting same-sex marriage. Trans activists want the same effort to be put into highlighting their issues — including trans equality.

“HRC needs to use their media shop to promote trans equality. We see full color celebrity ads from HRC promoting marriage all the time,” said trans activist Rebecca Juro. “They could likely win some brownie points with trans people by making and running ads promoting an inclusive ENDA and trans equality in particular.”

Promote Trans Equality
HRC has done a spectacular job using their resources promoting same-sex marriage. Trans activists want the same effort to be put into highlighting their issues — including trans equality.

“HRC needs to use their media shop to promote trans equality. We see full color celebrity ads from HRC promoting marriage all the time,” said trans activist Rebecca Juro. “They could likely win some brownie points with trans people by making and running ads promoting an inclusive ENDA and trans equality in particular.”

Support Other Trans Organizations
HRC’s resources and pockets are deep. So deep in fact that Griffin’s annual compensation at HRC was over $400,000 in 2012. Of course that’s a drop in bucket for HRC’s total revenue, which amounted to more than $50 million in that same year.

Some trans activists would like to see HRC use some of that money to support fledging trans organizations across the country.

Tackle the Issue of Trans Violence
Violence against the trans community is often ignored by authorities, underreported by victims, or ignored and/or underreported in the media. And since crimes against any minority is usually rooted in intolerance, ignorance or fear it will take an aggressive campaign on HRC’s part to really tackle this issue.
And I will add something that they should not do…

  • Don’t make the Transgender Day of Remembrance a fundraiser
  • Don’t dictate to trans organizations and 
  • Don’t take credit for state organizations

And lastly but most important,

  • Don’t propose state legislation without discussing it with state organizations. 

It will take a lot more than lip service to win back trans support, it will take deeds and time.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday 9: The One You Love

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: The One You Love (1982)

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

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
In memory of Glenn Frey (1948-2016).

1) In this song, Glenn explores one of the great romantic conundrums. This week, Saturday 9 is confronting it, too. If you had to choose, would you prefer to be loved, or to be in love? 
I rather be loved because loving someone is easy, finding someone to return that love is hard.

2) The song describes an awkward moment: an old boyfriend calls when a woman is on a date with someone new. To whom did you last say, "I can't talk now?" 
A friend called me right when I was cooking dinner last week.

3) The lyrics talk about heart vs head. When you find yourself in that predicament, which usually wins -- heart or head?
Heart because there is no reasoning with it.

4) This song was from Glenn Frey's solo album, No Fun Aloud. What fun stuff are you looking forward to this weekend? 
Watching the snow come down and this evening watching “A Walk in the Woods” with Robert Redford.

5) Glenn Frey was born in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit. The Motor City is known for car manufacturing. Is your car domestic or foreign?
Foreign, a Toyota Prius

6) The popular 1990s sitcom Home Improvement was set in Royal Oak. Are you handy around the house?  
I’m all thumbs

7) Glenn Frey co-founded The Eagles in 1970. What's your favorite Eagles song? 
Hands down, Desperado

8) The Eagles helped define "California Rock," but in recent years Glenn and his wife lived in Tribeca. Have you ever been to New York? If so, did you like it? 
Yes, not really. I just want to get in and back home as soon as possible.
In 2014 I went to see a Broadway play on the day they won the Tony Awards (You can read about it here)

9) Glenn wrote "Smuggler's Blues" and "You Belong to the City" for the iconic 1980s TV show, Miami Vice. What else comes to mind when you think of the 80s?
Not much, the 80s are kind of nothing decade.
The sixties, rock came in on its own
The seventies, leisure suits and disco
The eighties, were just the eighties.

Friday, January 22, 2016


This is one topic that many trans people either loves it or hates it. Let’s face it dating is hard when your trans, there are plenty of “tranny chasers” who just want to sex with a trans person and many of them don’t want to date post-op trans women. Many trans women who don’t integrate into society that well have a very hard time finding a mate.

So now there is a web series about relationships “Her Story,”
Q&A 'Her Story' creators Jen Richards and Laura Zak highlight dating while transgender
LA Times
By Tre'vell Anderson
January 19, 2016

“Right now we're in the Sidney Poitier phase of trans representation, where the few that we have have to be so unassailable so that we can open doors,” she said in an interview with The Times last year. “But what's next is we need our hot messes, our rebels, our sexpots and drama queens. We need representation across the board.”

In an effort to vary such representation, Richards, who is transgender and known for being on “I am Cait,” teamed up with Laura Zak to pen the script for a Web series called "Her Story.” The series of six 10-minute episodes, available online for free Tuesday after a successful crowd-funding campaign, follows the lives of two trans women (played by Richards and Angelica Ross, who is also trans) and a queer woman (played by Zak) as they navigate the intersections of desire and identity.

Ahead of the release of the drama, Richards and Zak, along with producer Katherine Fisher, sat down with The Times to discuss creating “Her Story” and pulling together a team of primarily trans and queer women to get the job done.
They go on with the Q&A and one question was,
One of the topics I really liked was the line about the “tacit acceptance” of trans people by the broader LGBT community and how we can be complicit in transphobia. With such complex topics, was it difficult putting them into the script?

Zak: I don't think it was difficult to tackle that particular theme because that was one of the obstacles built in for [my character] Allie, and grappling with this attraction she was feeling. She was looking at her own [surroundings], of what she believed was a progressive queer community of friends, and seeing there were no trans people. And then learning through her friends’ reaction to her new connection with this person, the transphobia within the queer community. I think a lot of people outside of the queer community don’t realize how much division there is within the LGBTQ world. For that part, the theme organically came out the story.

Richards: What that line refers to is something that was present from the very genesis. A lot of people in the queer community, because they're queer, see themselves as particularly progressive and therefore are cut off from some of these other issues. But their groups are often entirely white, middle class, college educated and cis. They have an intellectual understanding of a lot of these issues without any direct experience.
One of the issues that it looks like they tackled was when to tell.

There is no firm answer about when you should tell a prospective partner that you’re trans. If you tell them up front then you probably not make it to the first date. Other trans women say they tell a prospective partner start to get romantically involved, while others say they don’t tell them at all.

All paths can lead to violence, especially if you are dating men. They might be okay with dating a trans woman but their friends might put pressure on them if they realize that he is dating a trans woman.

Our Worst Fear

For many trans people one of our fears is being incarcerated in a prison of our birth gender and once we are in prison will we get proper medical treatment. There is a study that just has been released about healthcare in New York City Correctional System. “Improving Transgender Healthcare in the New York City Correctional System
In community healthcare settings, transgender individuals are more likely to be refused care than others. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Healthcare, 19% of participants claimed that they were refused care because of their transgender identity. Even when care is provided, a healthcare provider's discomfort with or misinformation about transgender individuals' care needs can alienate patients, potentially affecting the quality and utilization of care by transgender patients.
In addition, transgender individuals in the community face inadequate medical care such as improper diagnosis and treatment and the onerous financial burdens of treatment. Many health insurance plans do not cover the cost of mental health services, cross-sex hormone therapy, or sex reassignment surgery. Consequently, some transgender individuals resort to illegal and dangerous self-administered injections to induce feminine or masculine physiological changes.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) oversees the delivery of medical, mental health, and dental care, as well as discharge planning services in the New York City (NYC) jail system, which has an average daily census of 11,000 inmates, over 70,000 annual admissions, and an average detainee stay of 30 days. Our efforts to improve and standardize care for transgender patients in the NYC jail system were initiated after we received increasing complaints from transgender patients regarding clinical care.

In the NYC jail system, transgender individuals are assigned to housing according to their genitals or sex assigned at birth regardless of their gender expression. Upon intake into the NYC jail system, transgender patients are seen by a healthcare provider who is responsible for documentation of their community medication history before prescribing medications in the correctional setting. However, the process by which medical providers obtained these patients' community medication history was not uniform, which resulted in many patients not receiving their transgender therapy consistently. Furthermore, there was no existing written transgender medical care policy, which resulted in unstandardized and suboptimal care for this population.
Their findings were not unexpected…
Overall, our efforts to assess the quality of care provided to transgender patients in the NYC jail system have revealed significant areas for improvement. By taking a deliberative approach to formulating policies that are rooted in community standards and the express wishes of our patients, we have made significant gains in the acceptance of our new policies by patients and staff alike.
This survey didn’t look at whether inmates were housed in the facilities of their birth gender or a facilities of their gender identity (which is also area of concern) but only if they are getting proper medical care.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Do You Want To Be A Chair?

No not that type of chair, the type that heads a university department.
U.S. Jewish Billionaire Donates $2m to Transgender Study Program
January 20, 2016

An American Jewish billionaire philanthropist in Chicago has donated $2 million to establish what is believed to be the first chair of transgender studies at a university, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Jennifer Pritzker, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who is believed to be the only transgender billionaire in the world, made the gift through her Tawani Foundation to the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Aaron Devor, a sociology professor who studies transgender issues and the founder of the University of Victoria’s Transgender Archives, will be the inaugural chair.
I wonder what they are going to study? Social issues? Medical research?

The Chicago Tribune says that half the of the money will help get the programs off the ground and support it for five years while the other half will be used as matching grants for fundraising. The article goes on to say,
"Far too many trans and gender-nonconforming people still live in poverty and fear," Dr Devor said in a statement. "As the inaugural chair, I will act as a resource locally and internationally for those needing information for their own research or for policy development, as well as building linkages between community-based and academic scholars working in transgender studies."

Dr Devor also is the founder of the university's Transgender Archives, launched in 2012, which houses publications and memorabilia detailing the history and work of notable transgender and gender-nonconforming activists.
Much transgender research throughout North America has been supported through philanthropy. Some of the first pushes for exploring transgender issues came through funding and support from the Erickson Educational Foundation, according to Dr Devor.

Reed Erickson, a transgender man, started the foundation in the early 1960s. Among other things, the organisation sponsored the first symposiums of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, named for the doctor who worked with patients with gender dysphoria. That organisation now is called the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
And where did the Lt Colonel get a billion dollars? She owns the Hyatt hotel chain and other companies in the Marmon Group.

Thump, Thump

That is the sound of the bus running over us again, this time in Indiana.
LGB and not the T: Who will be protected in Indiana?
By Alexis Moberger
Published: January 18, 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — LGBT advocates have been working on civil rights for years; and it seems now, some may be getting the protections they’ve asked for from the state of Indiana. However, the transgender community might still be waiting for those rights.

A variety of LGBT bills are in the works; and many lawmakers are doing what they can to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

State Sen. Ron Alting said this is something he has been working on for the past 20 years.
He said Senate Bill 344 has the most potential of passing. The bill prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity.

“I think with the transgender language the bill will struggle getting votes to get the entire bill out of the Senate,” said Alting.

He said tabling transgender protections, for right now, is in the best interest of getting equal rights for lesbian and gay people.
Have we heard this before… Can you say New York?

In New York they pulled gender identity in in 2002 and said that they would come back and pass GENDA. Well they still haven’t passed GENDA and the gays and lesbians last year threw up their hand and gave up.

So once again it is happening, this time in Indiana. Don’t they know that gender identity protection protects gays and lesbians who cross the gender norms, like the lesbians who were thrown out of a restaurant in New York City because they looked too masculine to use the women bathrooms.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

There Is A Difference

One party wants to criminalize us and one party wants to embrace diversity.
Desert Stonewall Dems' forum talks transgender issues
The Desert Sun
By Mauricio Pena
January 20, 2016

Transgender issues -- everything from health care to unisex restrooms -- were discussed Tuesday night during a forum hosted by Desert Stonewall Democrats in Palm Springs.

“We’ve had victories in the LGBT community in the last year, but the trans- and gender non-confirming people across the country are still struggling to survive on a daily basis and continue to face ongoing discrimination,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization,

Hayashi was joined by local community activists Lisa Middleton and Paulina Angel. The trio formed a panel that led Tuesday night's discussion, which took place at the Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs.
James Williamson, vice chair of Desert Stonewall Democrats, said the panel discussion was prompted by a survey conducted 16 months ago where members expressed an interest in learning more about transgender issues.
Meanwhile, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have agreed to support the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which would expand the religious exemption from discrimination laws to make the non-discrimination laws worthless.

Stay Out Of Our Lives

I don’t care about your religion, but keep your religion out of my life. Fine, you want deny my existence I have no problem with that, what I have a problem with is that you want me to obey your religious tenants.
US Catholic bishops urge parents to fight school’s transgender policy
By Catholic News Service
Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016

Nebraska's bishops have called on parents to ask the local school board to reverse its ruling on 'transgender participation'

Nebraska’s three Catholic bishops have asked school officials and parents to “make every effort” to reverse action by the local school board on “transgender participation” that would allow boys to compete in girls’ sports teams, among other things.
The bishops issued their statement through the Nebraska Catholic Conference, which represents their public policy interests and lobbied against the association’s board policy.
“Student-athletes, parents, and member-schools are discouraged to learn that the NSAA ignored their concerns about the welfare of Nebraska’s children that was shared during the district voting process,” the bishops said. “Member-schools and parents must make every effort to reverse an NSAA board action that compromises fairness, equality, privacy, safety, and respect for Nebraska’s high school students.”
Equality? Respect for Nebraska’s high school students? When you want to discriminate against a portion of the community because they make you uncomfortable, do you think that is respecting all students? Is it equality that you will not about students not to play sports because of the way they were born?

And you bring up that old lie about safety; they know there has never been an incident when the safety of students was in jeopardy because of a trans student. It is far more likely that it is our lives in jeopardy.

You want to demonize to your members, fine but don’t try to take away our human rights just because you don’t believe in science. We can’t wait 400 years for you to realize that you made a mistake.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hurtful Words

There is an expression “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But it is not true, words do hurt.
The Psychology of Hateful Words
The Advocate
By Amanda Kerri
January 19, 2016

Remember as a kid when you got teased at school or by a sibling, maybe the neighborhood bully? They would say something only the dark and twisted mind of an 8-year-old could conjure, something like “You have doo-doo breath” or “You’re dumb.” Whenever we fell victim to such heartless comments, we would be told by harried adults, “Just remember, sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” This little poem worked once. And only once. After that, the more imaginative bullies learned to go for the throat. That’s when we learned that the real poem went like this: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can make me cry in the corner for hours.” It’s a lesson we learned the hard way, and we ourselves learned to utilize to full effect. Every last one of us learned how to use words with certain folks to essentially drive a stake through their heart and to twist any knife we dug into them.
Words can drive people to suicide, words can cause irreversible harm. When you stop and think why people use hurtful words it is to marginalize and belittle the person. They are not using hurtful words to make build up a person but rather to tear them down.
What Greer and Humphries are saying is that trans women are destroying their view of human gender expression. I know this sounds Freudian, but there is a psychology to words. In the case of Greer and Humphries and anyone else who feel that trans women (it’s never trans men, it seems) are mutilating themselves, they are implying that their view of gender and sexuality is reliant on anatomy — that anatomy defines who we are and nothing else. It’s especially telling in Humphries's case as he has made no small amount of money and fame on playing fast and loose with gender presentation. What it shows is a very narrow, very backward understanding of the human mind. It honestly is the definition of ignorance.
When I hear someone say the things that Greer and Humphries and many of the people who comment on trans article it makes me think that they have narrow minds and they don’t want to learn. It makes me think that people like Greer and Humphries would rather be ignorant than picking up a book and expanding their knowledge.

They Are Trying To Get It Right

School boards across the country are struggling to deal with gender variant students, some are getting it right and some are doing everything that they can to marginalized gender variant students.
Parents disagree on 2 proposed transgender policy draftsLaramie Boomerang
By Nuria Mathog
January 19, 2016

The policy was first introduced in August, when the initial draft passed a first reading at a School Board meeting. A month later, the board opted to form an ad hoc committee, consisting of board members, district administration, school principals, parents and an LHS student, to study the matter further, and Dec. 18, two versions of the proposed policy — Draft A and Draft B — were released to the public.

While the two drafts are largely identical — each states school staff should use a student’s preferred name and pronouns and students can dress according to their gender identity — they also have significant differences. One of these key differences is Draft A allows students to use locker rooms and restrooms in accordance with their gender identity, while Draft B does not permit this.
So one policy obeys the law and the other one does not. Simple choice, obey the law.
Laramie City Councilor Andi Summerville, whose children will soon attend school in the district, said she was in favor of Draft A because it would provide more protections for students.

“Although both policies are great, and I would be happy for either one, I think that policy A provides a better environment and sends a better lesson to our Laramie community that we’re welcoming and all-encompassing and we’re going to create school environments that are open and comfortable to people from all walks of life,” she said in a phone interview Friday.
While Draft B…
Several emails either expressed support for Draft B, citing safety and moral concerns about having children share restroom and locker room facilities with students not of their assigned gender, or opposed the concept of a policy altogether.

Parent Sam Martin said he didn’t support either policy but preferred Draft B because of its approach to the restroom and locker room matter. The moral standards surrounding the policies appear to come from outside the community, he said, adding it’s essential for parents to have the voice and the authority to say what goes on at their children’s schools.
It looks like there will be a modified Draft A that will include allowing any child to use a gender neutral bathrooms, which in my opinion is the way to go.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Hard Case To Win

When it comes to a discrimination lawsuit you have to prove first that you are a member of a protected class and second that the discrimination was the result of being a member of the protected class and it is not easy to prove them.
Court allows transgender mechanic’s bias claims to proceed
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Bill Rankin
January 15, 2016

The federal appeals court in Atlanta has allowed a transgender woman’s discrimination claims to proceed to trial against an Austell car company.

Jennifer Chavez was hired in June 2008 by Credit Nation Auto Sales as a mechanic at its garage in Cobb County. She was never disciplined before she announced her gender transition in October 2009. She was fired on Jan. 11, 2010, for “sleeping while on the clock on company time.”

In a Jan. 14 opinion, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the auto company did not use sleeping on the job as a pretext for firing Chavez because she was transgender. The court noted that Chavez admitted to sleeping on one occasion and that another employee had been fired for doing the same thing.

But the court said Chavez presented “plenty” of circumstantial evidence to support her discrimination claim and that her gender was a motivating factor in her being fired.

For example, the court noted, Chavez said the company president told her not to bring up her transgender status and not to wear a dress to and from work. The company’s vice president also told her to “tone it down” and not talk as much about her gender transition, Chavez said.
There were other thing that her employer did that establish a pattern of discrimination like not letting her use the unisex bathroom.

But the big thing that she has to overcome is sleeping on the job, other employees were fired for doing the same thing and that will make it much harder to prove discrimination. It would be nice if we were all saints and the employer came out and say they were firing you because you are trans, but in the real world things are not black and white.

She has a great lawyer Jillian Weiss and I wish her luck.

# # # # #

I have been up in New Hampshire and Vermont this weekend visiting my cousins with my brother and sister-in-law. We met at The Foundry at Summit Point on Killington Rd. in Vermont, it was the first time that I was up there since the early 80s, not much has changed since then. It was the first time that I've been to Killington in ages. We met my cousin and his wife there, they came from New York and my other cousin lives in New Hampshire. Afterward I stayed over at my cousin in NH with my brother and sister-in-law.
The Foundry at Summit Point ice skating pond with
Killington Ski area in the background
This morning we woke up to six inches of snow and the drive home was a little touchy, the speed limit on I-89 was only 45. But I-91 was clear and everyone was doing the speed limit, once I got to Massachusetts the snow depth dropped and Connecticut only received a dusting.

We are all getting up in age, I am the youngest and my cousin from NY is the oldest. Let's just say we all qualify for Social Security.

The Battle Begins In Massachusetts

As the legislative session beings in Massachusetts one of the bills that the spotlight is focusing on is the bill against discrimination in public accommodations for gender non-conforming people. The latest article is in the Boston Globe.
Should the state ban discrimination against transgender people in public places?
By Beryl Domingo
Bridgewater resident, mother of a transgender child

As the mother of a transgender son, the bill to update Massachusetts’ current nondiscrimination law to include transgender people in public accommodations is hugely important and would make life better for our entire family.

My 27-year-old, Micah, was born and raised in Massachusetts. When he came out to me and my husband as transgender and began transitioning from female to male at age 21, my first and most consistent concern was fear for his safety. I know as a social worker that transgender people face some of the highest rates of assault, homelessness, and suicide in Massachusetts. I was overwhelmed with the need to protect my son from a world that suddenly seemed a very unsafe and unfair place.
But then the opposing says…
By Jonathan Alexandre
Brockton resident, legal counsel to the Massachusetts Family Institute

Supporters of the “bathroom bill” have disguised their movement as a civil rights issue with both the Massachusetts attorney general and co-sponsors of the legislation making analogies to segregation and race-based discrimination against black Americans. As a person of color, I strenuously object to the false narrative of equating “gender identity” and race.
The bill that is currently before the Massachusetts Legislature is not about the lunch counter or the back of the bus. It’s about bathrooms. And while it is true that there was a time when some bathrooms in this country were labeled “whites only” and others as “colored,” we as a society now recognize that there is no legitimate basis for limiting bathroom access based on the color of someone’s skin. Racially segregated bathrooms would violate our civil rights; separate public bathrooms for men and women do not.
As one commenter says,
I don't think it is always right to compare how one movement or one group of people who experience discrimination compare to another. None are exactly the same and comparing them often pitts marginalized people against marginalized people and then no one wins except those in power.
That person hit the nail right on its head. Discrimination is discrimination, I don’t care if the sign says “Whites Only” or “No Trans People” it is still discrimination.

And to say this is only about bathrooms is wrong, it is about being able to sit a lunch counter, it is about walking in the park, it is about being able to get on the bus, and it is about so many things more than bathrooms.

Mr. Alexandre says “It is imperative that they understand that requiring men and women to use bathrooms consistent with their biology and anatomy does not constitute “discrimination,” as experienced for generations of black Americans.” and by that he is denying our existence based on some 1950s it idea of biology. We now we know gender is not based on chromosomes but it is way more complicated than that.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Just Another Day In The Life Of A Trans Person

Unfortunately, this is all too typical of the hate that is shown against trans people.
North African men suspected of stoning transgender women in German city
“That was barbaric what they did. They are barbarians,” one of the victims said.
The Jerusalem Post
By Benjamin Weinthal
January 16, 2016

Three young men from North Africa sought to stone two transgender women in the western German city of Dortmund on Sunday.

According to a report on Friday on television station SAT1.NRW, the men attacked Yasmine und Elisa, two transgender women, near the city’s main train station.

“Within seconds we were tossed around…and they took stones from a gravel bed on the corner and threw them at us,” said Elisa.

A police car at the train station appeared as the stoning attack unfolded and arrested the men.
The Dortmund police official Kim-Ben Freigang said the suspects told the police that “such persons must be stoned.“

German media reported that one suspect said "You whores must be stoned."
Why can’t people just leave us alone? These three guys hit on the trans women and then when they found out the women were trans they said that “their” honor had been insulted so they stoned the women.
The three men, according to Yasmine and Elisa, propositioned them. After the men realized that Yasmine and Elisa are transgender women, the men launched their assault with stones.

So Many Trans People Are Turned Off By Religion

But as religions are starting to become more affirming some of the thing that they should know about/
7 Things the Transgender People in Your Congregation Wish You Knew
By Austen Hartke
January 15, 2016

This past weekend I had the honor of attending the Gay Christian Network Conference in Houston. This conference is, for many, a once-a-year opportunity to speak to other LGBTQ+ Christians about the joys and struggles we experience in our churches. We ask each other questions like “how do you find common ground in your non-affirming community?” and “does your denomination ordain LGBTQ+ folks yet?” and even “how long has it been since you’ve been allowed to take communion?” As I spoke to other transgender Christians, I found that many expressed frustration with the lack of education on trans issues in their churches. They told me that even though trans people are being recognized in the media, real and relevant conversations are just not happening in the sanctuary or at Bible study. Maybe folks are worried about saying the wrong thing, or perhaps our churches don’t make space for discussion. Whatever the reason, we as Christians are called into fellowship with one another, and real fellowship takes education and communication. In that spirit, here are seven things that transgender people in your congregation wish you knew. 
Austen goes on to write about the seven things…
1. We exist.
And we’re already a part of your church! Whether you know us, it’s very likely that there’s a transgender person in your congregation. This likelihood, of course, increases with the size of each community, but with transgender people numbering about .3 percent of the U.S. population — or, three in every thousand people — even a fairly small church has a good chance of including a trans person. And no, we don’t all look like Caitlyn Jenner. Some of us do dress or present in ways that you may read as definitively transgender, but others don’t, and the reality is that there’s no real way to know without asking someone directly.
And the other six things are,
2. We’re human, and in many ways, just like you.3. We’re waiting to see if you’ll make space for us4. We’re NOT waiting for you to tell us we’re OK.5. We’re diverse.6. We long to lead, share, give, and love in community.7. We can’t answer all your questions, but we’re almost always happy to share resources.
I once did an outreach at an Episcopal church when one of their members was coming out, so they had a panel to talk about trans issues and for him to come out on. Which thought it was a little hard on him, everyone in the room before the discussion began was murmuring about her being on the panel and when we introduced ourselves he came out as trans masculine. But that was the way he wanted to do it when he talked it over with the church elders.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Saturday 9: Let's Dance

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Let's Dance (1983)

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

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
In memory of David Bowie (1947-2016).

1) In this song, David encourages his partner to "put on your red shoes and dance." When did you last dance?
Oh wow, I can’t remember. Usually when the band starts up I leave, not because of dancing but because of the music is so loud. I went to the movies Wednesday and Thursday my tinnitus was hissing away.

2) Mr. Bowie recalled that he and choreographer Toni Basil developed a dance step now known as "the moonwalk" for his 1974 tour, nearly a decade before Michael Jackson performed "Billie Jean." Can you think of something you should have gotten credit for, but didn't?
Yes, when I was a teenager I could have invented electronic ignition system. When a friend to me why an engine breaks down at high RPMs I said why don’t you use an electronic switch… if I only followed through.

3) Similarly, the band Roxy Music was upset because Bowie copied their "catsuit look" for his own stage wardrobe and made it famous. What do you usually wear, Monday through Friday?
Jeans, a Henley, and either sneakers or ankle boots.

4) David Bowie was particular about the aftershave he wore, and one of his favorites was by Guerlain. Do you regularly apply cologne or aftershave?
Nope, that was an easy question to answer.

5) In school, David's best subject was art. Think back to your own school days. In which class did you excel?
Science classes.

6) In addition to art and music, David Bowie displayed a keen head for business, leaving a fortune of more than $600,000,000. Would you describe yourself as "good with money?"
Yes. I’m a tightwad.

7) Bowie also appeared in a variety of movies from The Man Who Fell to Earth to Zoolander. Who is your alltime favorite movie actor?
Oh… you know how I hate these type of questions because I don’t really have any favorites. Wednesday we went to see “The Danish Girl” and I thought Alicia Vikander gave a great performance and deserves “Best Supporting Actress”

8) One of Bowie's hits is "Life on Mars." If you had the opportunity to travel into space, would you take it?
You wouldn’t even have to twist my arm.

9) The creators of SpongeBob Square Pants are huge Bowie fans and were thrilled when, in 2007, he appeared in an episode. Sam suspects that she may be the only person who hasn't seen that cartoon show. What about you? Have you ever watched an episode of SpongeBob, start to finish?
Nope, Sam is not alone, I have never watched SpongeBob. Wrong generation, Bullwinkle yes, SpongeBob no.

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Night On The Town… Rather An Afernoon On The Town

Credit: Ullstein Bild via Getty Images
Wednesday afternoon I went with three friends to see “The Danish Girl" and the next morning the movie was nominate for several Oscars. Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Viaknder were nominated for Best Actor and Supporting Actress and the movie was also nominated in the following categories; Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

Overall I thought it was a good movie and in the end I was crying over her death. The movie was a fictional account of the lives of Lili Elbe (Einar Wegener) and Gerda Wegener.

My first thoughts were that the movie makes Gerda the martyr in that she stuck by Lili to the end, but in real life it is believed that Gerda was either a lesbian or bisexual. I also felt that they played the multi-personalities card too much. Lili kept on referring Lili and Einar as two different persons. They also made it sound like when Gerda had Einar dress up in stockings, shoes and ballerina dress was what caused Einar to transition but in real life she had always felt that she was a woman (the movie briefly touch on it when the movie had a flashback with Hans when they were teenagers) and the dress was just the trigger to bring her gender dysphoria to the surface.

I think what they got right was the turmoil that we go through before we transition how it is a wild roller coaster ride from one extreme to another. They also got it right how trans people and gays were treated as being insane back then. Even though they made Gerda the martyr it gave a pretty good portrayal of a wife whose husband transitioned. My favorite quote was “I think Lily's thoughts, I dream her dreams. She was always there.” My dreams have always been “Diana” as long as I can remember. A little humor was provided by Hans when he said to Lili “I've only liked a handful of people in my life, and you've been two of them.”

I have always said that trans people should have a chance to audition for trans parts in the movies and The Danish Girl didn’t give trans people a chance to audition, however, they did have two trans actors who played cis gender parts in the movie, I wrote about it here.

The movie talked about the “doctor from Germany” who in real life was Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld and the real operation that she died from was a womb and ovaries transplant. A good article about the Lili Elbe was in the UK paper The Telegraph
Wegener lived at the dawn of understanding of human sex and gender. In 1918, Magnus Hirschfeld, a German physician who also founded the world’s first gay rights organisation, opened the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin. Having spent the previous 30 years documenting the experiences of homosexual men and women around the world, Hirschfeld’s intention was to turn sexology into a rigorous academic discipline. It was Hirschfeld who came up with the term “transsexualismus” for those who wanted to become, rather than simply appear to be, a different sex. (This is distinct from being transgendered, which does not necessarily imply a desire for physical transformation.)
The procedures by which the then-47-year-old Wegener became Elbe are not precisely known, partly because the library and archive of the Institute for Sexual Research were destroyed by the Nazis in May 1933. In the biography Man into Woman, which incorporates many of Wegener/Elbe’s diary entries and letters, as well as conversations with the book’s “editor”, Niels Hoyer, details are elusive.
Just as a point of history; the Institute for Sexual Science that Dr. Hirschfeld founded was burned down by the Nazis Brown Shirts in 1933 and the classic picture of the Nazis burning books was actually from the Institute for Sexual Science.

After the movies we headed over to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I have been there many times and I always had a good time but the only problem is with all the types of cheesecakes I can’t have any because there are way too many carbs in them.

Insistence, Persistent, And Consistent

You might have heard that eighty percent of children who turn out not to be trans, but there are a number of inconsistencies in the way they reached that number.
Are Parents Rushing to Turn Their Boys Into Girls? 
By Kristina Olson and Lily Durwood
January 14, 2016

Should a boy who grows out his hair, likes to wear pink, and prefers to jump rope at recess rather than play football be raised as a girl instead of a boy? Several recent pieces in prominent media outlets would have us believe that this is a major issue in North America. In the latest such piece, “The Transgender Battle Line: Childhood,” an op-ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 4, doctoral student of sexual neuroscience Deborah Soh raises alarm that many feminine boys and masculine girls are being encouraged by their parents and therapists to undergo social transitions, changing their names and pronouns to live full-time in the other gender. Soh characterizes these transitions as premature and in contradiction with established research, citing studies showing that most children who are gender nonconforming do not grow up to be transgender adults.

The central problem with this often-made argument is that it treats all children who violate cultural gender norms as a single category, when in fact there is a wide range of such children in the world. On one end of the spectrum are children who enjoy toys and clothing that are stereotypically associated with the opposite sex (imagine a girl who loves G.I. Joes and rough-and-tumble play or a boy who love Barbies and ballet). In the middle are children who express a lot of unhappiness about being a member of their gender group. For example, a boy who says he wishes he were a girl because then no one would tease him about his preference for nail polish or the fact that he only plays with girls. At the other end of the spectrum are children who consistently, persistently, and insistently assert that they are members of the opposite sex and who are beside themselves when they are not allowed to live as such. Such children sometimes resort to self-harm or become anxious and depressed that others will not recognize their gender identity. Importantly, while some children in the last group undergo social transitions, we see no evidence that anyone believes that children elsewhere on the spectrum should do so. We believe these recent articles, whose authors, to our knowledge, do not work with transgender children, overlook key differences within the spectrum of children who do not conform to gender norms, misinterpret past research, and misconstrue interventions to help transgender children.
But the problem with the 80% number is that they were comparing apples to oranges, not all of the children in the study met the diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria and that those who dropped out of the study were labeled that they detransitioned.
These findings are used to argue that social transitions should not be encouraged, because according to the logic, around 80 percent of these children who are identified as gender dysphoric will not ultimately be transgender if left alone or given proper therapy. Here, again, the distinction between transgender children and the rest of the spectrum of gender nonconforming children is critical to acknowledge. The studies that found this 80 percent number (or similar numbers) included a broad range of gender nonconforming children. The authors of this particular study, Zucker and Bradley, wrote that it is actually quite rare for children who are brought to gender clinics to believe themselves to be the other gender. Much more common were children who showed cross-gender behaviors, who may have wished they were the other gender at times but still saw themselves as members of their original gender group. Thus, most of the children who are argued to have grown out of their gender dysphoria never claimed a transgender identity to begin with.
What we need is more longitudinal studies because there is no hard data on how children did over decades.
This is not to say that a transgender identity in childhood never desists in adulthood. The truth is that we do not know precisely how many transgender children will grow up to be transgender adults, because no long-term studies have recruited a large number of children who believe that they are members of the opposite sex nor separated the few they have included in past studies from the broader group of gender nonconforming children. Until the start of our project in 2013, we knew of no studies tracking large numbers of children who specifically identified as transgender in early childhood. Thus, while most popular articles on this topic imply that 80 percent of children with transgender identities will not grow up to be transgender adults, we believe it is more accurate to say that we have no good estimate. What little data do exist suggest that many transgender-identified young children do in fact become transgender-identified teens and adults.
I probably know a half a dozen children who transitioned at a very young age and all of them are doing very good. We need follow-up studies not only for children but for adults, for many of us once we transition we disappear. I know of one person who detransitioned but she did it because she had to move back in with her in-laws out in the mid-west.
We do not yet know what the outcomes of social transitions in childhood will be, but this is where people like Soh, the future generation of researchers and clinicians, as well as those who publicly write about these issues, such as Dreger, and those of us studying transgender children can hopefully all agree. By systematically studying the impact of social transitions in transgender children, and by studying outcomes in transgender children whose families make a wide array of decisions, we can best discover what is in the best interest of the transgender child.