Sunday, July 31, 2016

I'm On Vacation

I am on vacation up at the cottage with some friends, I will return to my regular postings Tuesday.

I'm a little loony about loons...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday 9: Jamming

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Jamming (1977)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun...
This weekend I am up at the cottage with some friends so I will reply to you all when I get a chance.

... Because Eloquent Obi suggested Bob Marley. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In Jamaica, "jamming" means to celebrate. What's going on in your life today that's worth celebrating?
I’m breathing.

2) The group that became famous as "The Wailers" originally called themselves "The Teenagers." What was trendy when you were a teenager (clothes, music, etc.)? 
Hippies. Long hair, beads, and far out!

3) Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley were very close. In addition to being bandmates, they were friends in elementary school and later became family (Bunny's dad and Bob's mom had a daughter together). Who has known you the longest?
My brother, he was there when I was born.

4) Does the person you named in #3, the one who's known you longest, know you best?
My brother, he knows how to press my buttons

5) Bandmate Peter Tosh became an avid unicycle rider. What's your favorite form of exercise? 
Reading… Oh wait that’s not an exercise, I have to say walking.

6) Bob Marley was known for his signature dreadlocks. When were you last in a stylist’s chair?
Uh… maybe ten years ago. If you count a wig stylist than it was in April.

7) Marley's charisma is credited for popularizing reggae music the world over. Are you a fan? 
Somewhat, there are some songs that I like such as “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

8) Mr. Marley is one of the highest-earning dead celebrities, and manufacturers pay his estate to use his likeness to sell their merchandise. What dead celebrity have you seen recently on a t-shirt, mug, poster, etc.?
No one, I don’t look for that kind of thing.

9) Random question: Have you ever had your palm read?
Nope, never.

Friday, July 29, 2016

I Was In Jail Yesterday

Yesterday I was invited to do some training at a correctional institute which was a new experience for me.

I was running late as usual and I rushed, my pocketbook and the computer cables but I forgot my laptop which I didn’t realize until I got to the prison and I was collecting my stuff to go inside… SHIT! My PowerPoint was on it! Lucky I emailed her the presentation and I could use her copy without the embedded video.

I’ll tell you it is a little scary to hear the bars close behind you with a loud metal clank; you realize fast that this is the real McCoy.

Though a number of locked doors I was escorted to her office and then to the chapel where I was going to give my presentation. While we were walking down the chapel we walked by a number of cells, I didn’t want to look inside them but curiosity got the better of me and I peeked inside a few. They were all empty but they all had a bed, toilet, and a chair. The toilet was in plain sight of the hallway. Meanwhile prisoners were walking by us just like in any other office building except the all had brown coveralls on my escort explained that they were on their way to the cafeteria for lunch.

As we round one corner the guards stopped us and said to my escort, they are transporting a prisoner. So we ducked into an office. Four guards with a prisoner in the middle walked down the hallway, the prisoner hands and feet were shackled to waist… we were not in Kansas anymore.

When we got to chapel there was an inmate trusty setting up the TV and computer. Then the staff started to drift in, my escort said that they were waiting for the other wardens and the Correction’s Commissioner. It turned out this wasn't just for the staff of the institute but for a number of other facilities from around the state. Afterward I got to talk to the commissioner and he is interested in getting together to talk about writing a policy.

Then they escorted me out and boy did the gate sound a lot different when you are walking out.

Too bad it wasn't a "Get Out of Jail Free" card.

A Question…

For all of you legal people out there. How can they use a field drug test to make arrests if they don’t know how accurate it is?
Florida man arrested when officer mistakes Krispy Kreme doughnut glaze for meth
Washington Post
By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
July 29, 2016

It wasn’t the first time someone claimed a Krispy Kreme doughnut was a type of drug. But the joke wasn’t funny for a Florida man who was arrested when an officer mistook doughnut glaze for methamphetamine.

Now Daniel Frederick Rushing is looking to sue the Orlando Police Department, which is also facing heat for its inaccurate roadside drug test.
It wasn’t the first time someone claimed a Krispy Kreme doughnut was a type of drug. But the joke wasn’t funny for a Florida man who was arrested when an officer mistook doughnut glaze for methamphetamine.

Now Daniel Frederick Rushing is looking to sue the Orlando Police Department, which is also facing heat for its inaccurate roadside drug test.
Now here is the kicker,
A New York Times investigation on roadside drug tests found that the testing kits used by Florida officers are far from reliable:
There are no established error rates for the field tests, in part because their accuracy varies so widely depending on who is using them and how. Data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab system show that 21 percent of evidence that the police listed as methamphetamine after identifying it was not methamphetamine, and half of those false positives were not any kind of illegal drug at all. In one notable Florida episode, Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies produced 15 false positives for methamphetamine in the first seven months of 2014.
A spokesperson for the Orlando Police Department told WFTV “there is no mechanism in place for easily tracking the number of, or results of, field drug testing.”
So tell me, how can you base an arrest on a test that the accuracy of it is not known? You can cause major harm to a person’s by giving them an arrest record. Their name is usually published in local newspapers as “Arrested for possession of controlled substance.” Many businesses check backgrounds of prospective employees and it may also show up on credit reports.

I hope he sues the pants off of them.

Attacked, Attacked

We have a target on our backs. We are the target of bigots and perverts who think it is okay to beat someone within an inch of their lives or that we are trans we are easy pick-ups.
Transgender person's bloody post-assault video goes viral as police investigate bar brawl
By Gus Burns
July 28, 2016

DEARBORN -- Video of the aftermath shows a transgender person with a split lip, dried blood covering the left side of her face and tracking down her body.

"And I don't understand why they attacked me like that," the victim said in a graphic video posted to Facebook following the apparent assault.
Dearborn police confirmed there was a transgender person involved in a melee at the Post Bar on Michigan Avenue about 1:50 a.m. Wednesday.

"On scene the victim stated that another bar patron had made derogatory remarks about her and an argument ensued," Dearborn police said in a statement Thursday. "Management escorted all parties out of the bar and once outside the victim states she was stabbed in the back and struck in the face with a bottle."

What led to the fight is unknown at this time, said Dearborn Police Lt. Gary Mann.

"We're still investigating and having a hard time getting ahold of the victim," Mann said. "We don't know if it was a hate crime right now or not."
And then to compound the battering the comments pour salt into the wound.
In one discussion thread on the Detroit Crime and Homicide Facebook group, numerous commenters hurled insults and criticism at the victim, speculating that victim made an unwelcome pass at a man before the assault, calling the assault karma for violating the laws of the Bible and making jokes about the victim's sexual identity and appearance. 
As if making a pass justifies violence, if that was the case then it should be okay for every women attack a man for making a pass.

What do you would happen if this trans woman attacked the man who made a pass at her, would it be justifiable?
Transgender woman livestreams supervisor's sex harassment
Hawaii News Now
By Lynn Kawano,
July 26th 2016

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A city community service supervisor has been charged with fourth-degree sex assault after a transgender woman livestreamed him sexually harassing her on Facebook.

Makana Milho says she turned on Facebook Live to record the interactions with her supervisor after he had previously directed inappropriate comments her way.

"I didn't want him touching me," she said. "I did it for my own safety and for proof to show what went on."

Milho was sentenced to six days of community service for stealing a handbag from a department store to pay her rent. She says on the fifth day, while cleaning a city park in Aiea, her supervisor grabbed her behind and started asking for sexual favors.
Milho hides her phone in her bag, while still streaming live on Facebook. For several minutes a man is heard talking about other sexual encounters he has had. Then, he tells Milho he wants her to perform sex acts on him.

"Oh I got to kiss you, too?" Milho asks. The man responds, "I don't know. If you like, but I was going ... I like kiss you."

The man then tells her she can end her community service early that day, if she complies:

Milho: "I can go home instead of going home at 3:30 yeah?"
Supervisor: "Yeah, yeah or 10:30 or whatever. Cause if not, I going have to keep you at least until 1 o'clock, you know what I mean?"

Milho later says in the video, "I'll think about it."
He was in a position of power over here, he could have her sent to jail just on his word,
"I was thinking in my head, he can do basically anything to me," she said. "My power was stripped away from me. I felt like a nobody because he had that power over me. He could have easily called my PO (probation officer) and made something up and I could have gotten into more trouble."

Breiner [her lawyer] adds, "She would have been thrown out of probation and possibly facing an open jail sentence.
She was smart to record the conversation.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Blue States Are Taking On The Red States

It is another battle between the Blue and Grey, this time it is over trans rights.
Taking on Texas: States led by Washington defend transgender rights
Seattle PI
By Joel Connelly
July 27, 2016

The federal government is right in its new guidelines designed to protect civil rights of transgender Americans, according to a legal brief filed Wednesday by Washington, 11 other states and the District of Columbia.

The states are responding to a legal challenge, brought by Texas, which has asked a U.S. District Court to block guidelines prohibiting school districts and employers from discriminating against transgender persons who want to use bathrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.

There are approximately 1.5 million transgender Americans.

"Texas's lawsuit is just another unacceptable example of the discrimination transgender individuals experience," said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.  "While Texas and other states hide behind unfounded safety concerns, this case is really an attempt to deny the civil rights of our transgender friends, coworkers and family members."
"Contrary to Plaintiffs' claims, our shared experience demonstrates that protecting the civil rights of our transgender friends, relatives, classmates and colleagues creates no public safety threat and imposes no meaningful financial burden," argues the states'/D.C. brief.
And the states that are standing beside Washington state are,
Washington is joined in its brief by California, Oregon, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico and the District of Columbia.
I am glad to see that Connecticut is one of the states that are standing up for our rights.

No Supreme Court?

The teen who has brought a discrimination case against a Virginia school is asking the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal that the school has petition Chief Justice John Roberts .
Transgender teen asks court not to bar him from restroom
By Associated Press
Published: July 27, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An attorney for a transgender teen in Virginia is urging the U.S. Supreme Court not to bar him from using the boys restroom when he returns to school this fall.

In a brief filed Tuesday in the high court, Josh Block of the American Civil Liberties Union says the Gloucester County School Board has failed to show that it will be irreparably harmed by allowing Gavin Grimm to use the restroom that corresponds with his gender identity while his case plays out in lower courts.
It might be a good move, but a case will have to be eventually heard by the Supreme Court. I know that once it goes to the Supreme Court it becomes a crapshoot where anyone can win or lose.

This morning I am going to prison!

I am going to a state correctional institute to do training for the staff. I am a little nervous but I look at as a new adventure.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It Is Only A Matter Of Time

That we are taken out of the DSM but in the meantime we are stuck with the stigma of being trans and it is that stigma that causes us so much pain.
The Lancet Psychiatry: First field trial supports removing transgender diagnosis from mental disorders chapter within WHO classification
The Lancet
Eureka Alert
July 26, 2016

New evidence suggests that it would be appropriate to remove the diagnosis of transgender from its current classification as a mental disorder, according to a study conducted in Mexico City. The study is the first field trial to evaluate a proposed change to the place of the diagnosis within the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

The research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal today and led by the National Institute of Psychiatry Ramón de le Fuente Muñiz, involved interviewing 250 transgender people and found that distress and dysfunction were more strongly predicted by experiences of social rejection and violence than by gender incongruence itself. The study is the first of several field trials and is currently being replicated in Brazil, France, India, Lebanon and South Africa.

"Stigma associated with both mental disorder and transgender identity has contributed to the precarious legal status, human rights violations and barriers to appropriate care among transgender people," says senior author Professor Geoffrey Reed, National Autonomous University of Mexico. "The definition of transgender identity as a mental disorder has been misused to justify denial of health care and contributed to the perception that transgender people must be treated by psychiatric specialists, creating barriers to health care services. The definition has even been misused by some governments to deny self-determination and decision-making authority to transgender people in matters ranging from changing legal documents to child custody and reproduction." [1]

"Our findings support the idea that distress and dysfunction may be the result of stigmatization and maltreatment, rather than integral aspects of transgender identity," says lead investigator Dr Rebeca Robles, Mexican National Institute of Psychiatry. "The next step is to confirm this in further studies in different countries, ahead of the approval of the WHO revision to International Classification of Diseases in 2018." [1]
Now tell me you think we didn’t know that? That it is because of what people do to us that causes us so much pain.

That it might be the religious leaders telling us we are cursed and damn to hell? That it might be the politicians who want to make us criminals? That it might be our family disowning us? That it might by the bigot on the street shouting obscenities at us who is causing our anxiety?
More than three-quarters of participants (191, 76%) reported experiencing social rejection related to gender incongruence, most commonly by family members, followed by schoolmates/co-workers and friends. A majority of participants (157, 63%) had been a victim of violence related to their gender identity (table 3) - in nearly half of these cases, violence was perpetrated by a family member. Psychological and physical violence were the most commonly reported, and some experienced sexual violence.
We know this, we don’t need a study what we know from our own experiences, but if it help to get us out of the DSM I’m for it.

I Have To Wonder

George Will is a noted conservative/libertarian columnist has brought up an interesting conversation about Donald Trump connections with Russian.’
George Will raises possible Trump link to Russian oligarchs
The Hill
By Joe Conch
July 26, 2016

Fox News contributor George Will says GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump will not release his tax returns because they may show "he is deeply involved in dealing with Russia oligarchs."

"Both the campaign chair and anybody you talk to, including Sen. [Chris] Murphy [D-Conn.] would not go down that road once pressed on the connection between Russia and the Trump campaign," said Baier. "But they have thrown it out there. George?"
"Well, it's the sort of thing we might learn if we saw the candidate's tax returns," Will responded. "Perhaps one more reason why we're not seeing his tax returns — because he is deeply involved in dealing with Russian oligarchs and others. Whether that's good, bad or indifferent, it's probably the reasonable surmise."
That does raise some interesting questions.
Trump’s hidden tax returns take on new significance
By Steve Benen
July 26, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tried her hand at political punditry, the progressive jurist raised a variety of concerns about Donald Trump. Among them was an issue that had largely faded from the debate.

“How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns?” Ginsburg asked. “The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”
Trump can make questions like these go away quickly by doing what every presidential candidate in the post-Watergate era has done. For reasons the Republican candidate hasn’t explained, he continues to stick to secrecy.
So what is he hiding?

How much in debt to the Russians is he? Is it enough that they can use it for leverage?

ABC News article about his visit to Russia back in
Trump speculated in a speech Monday that “China, Russia or one of our many, many friends… hacked the hell out of us,” but the GOP candidate and his top advisers have rejected the suggestion that the Russians were motivated to help the business mogul. Trump tweeted Monday morning prior to his speech, “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails … because Putin likes me.”

Suspicions about the Russian interest in Trump’s candidacy stem in part from the Republican businessman’s comments and long history of work with Russian business interests. Trump has long hinted that he would have a warm relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
And Trump is not alone; his campaign manager Paul Manafort has ties also with Russia,
Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who did consulting work in Ukraine for a political candidate with Russian ties, dismissed outright the notion that Russian hackers were looking to help the Republican nominee.

Asked by George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday if there were any ties between Trump’s campaign and Putin, Manafort said, “No, there are not. That’s absurd. And you know, there’s no basis to it.”
The Washington Post has some theories about why he hasn’t released his tax returns, besides the Russian connection they list,
3. He did not pay any taxes. The scant evidence we have on Trump's approach to taxation gives this theory credence. A 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators showed that Trump did not pay any taxes at all for two years in the 1970s. How? Because as a developer he was able to report negative income. (Here's a good explanation of how he could do that

4. He has mob ties. The idea that Trump has links to organized crime has been kicking around for decades. But they've come much more to the fore since he began running for president. Ted Cruz, during a late February interview on "Meet the Press," brought the accusation into the presidential race: "There have been multiple media reports about Donald's business dealings with the mob, with the mafia. Maybe his taxes show those business dealings are a lot more extensive than has been reported."
They also list that possibly he doesn’t donate to charities or maybe he is not as rich as he says he is.

Also without his tax returns we do not know if there are any conflict of interest or anyone who could use his debt as leverage if he is elected as president.

There are a lot of unanswered questions that could be answered with the release of his tax returns. It has been four decades since the last presidential nominee who didn’t release their tax returns, care to guess who that was? It was President Ford.

Update 2:00PM:

I just found this on MSNBC as if it can't get weirder than it is now...
Donald Trump calls for Russia to help elect him president
By Steve Benen

There’s a temptation among some to believe Americans have seen it all before. No matter of ridiculous politics can get, no matter how outlandish an election, no matter how severe the dysfunction, there are those who will tell you there’s nothing politically new under the sun.

Those people are wrong. We’ve never seen anything like this.
Donald Trump on Wednesday asked Russia to help find the missing emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump proposed from a podium at his Doral Resort. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” 
The Republican presidential hopeful added that he doesn’t believe Russia was responsible for hacking DNC materials – there’s overwhelming evidence that suggests Trump is wrong – but the GOP candidate said that if Russia did steal Democratic documents, he “hopes” the Russians have Clinton’s emails.

Let’s be very clear about what happened this morning. The Republican candidate for president held a press conference in which he urged Vladimir Putin’s espionage services to help sabotage the American election and put Trump in the White House.
Also consider what we’re learning about Trump’s perspective on intelligence. As far as he’s concerned, there’s nothing wrong with urging an unfriendly foreign state to commit a cybercrime against an American for political purposes. If Trump heads the U.S. executive branch, and has some authority over the CIA and NSA, is anyone prepared to argue that he’ll be restrained and responsible?

It Is A Crap Shoot Out There

If you are flying you never know what will happen when you have to go through security, it doesn’t matter what the policy is because what it boils down to is the person who you get for the inspection.
TSA agents examine transgender DNC delegate’s genitalia over ‘groin anomaly’
New York Daily News
By Tobias Salinger
July 26, 2016

A transgender activist was subjected to a groping and full-nudity inspection of her genitalia by Transportation Security Administration agents, she said.

TSA agents stopped Mia (Tu Mutch) Satya at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport when she was traveling as a delegate to this week’s Democratic National Convention Sunday. She told the Daily News the encounter reflects a common reality among the transgender community.

"This kind of harassment and non-consensual groping is so widespread that when I posted it to Facebook a lot of the comments were 'How is this any different than what happens to me when I go to the airport. And it's not," said Satya, 25. "The agency has proven itself unwilling to listen to the trans community."

An agent patted down Satya, who was designated the male gender at birth, on both of her thighs and “the entirety of my panties” after telling her the imaging chamber showed a “groin anomaly,” she told the San Francisco Examiner. The agents then ordered her to a private screening room, where she had to take off her underwear and wait several seconds as TSA screeners examined her privates.
This is subhuman treatment, it is degrading, and totally violates TSA guidelines, but that doesn’t matter because if you object you will be treated even worst.
The latest episode in transgender people’s struggles with the agency’s “groin anomaly” appeared to violate TSA’s own security screening policies.
And you wonder why trans people worry about flying?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

We Have Two Highly Visible Trans People...

...In jobs at the Democratic convention, one is making a speech on Thursday night and another trans person is making sure she doesn’t run over the allotted time.
Transgender woman serves as official timekeeper for Democratic convention
By Joey Garrison
July 25, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – A Tennessean who recently became the state’s first transgender woman to be appointed to a local government board has been tapped to serve as the official timekeeper at the Democratic National Convention.

Marisa Richmond, a longtime Democratic activist from Nashville, said she believes the designation makes her the nation’s first transgender person to be a podium official at a major party convention.

It will give her a prime seat at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Arena for the four nights of speeches, culminating with the expected nomination of Hillary Clinton for president.

“It’s a personal honor and a privilege to be up there on the stage,” Richmond, 57, said. “I’ll be just a few feet away from all of the speakers all four nights. It’s literally one of the best seats there.

“It shows that this is easily the most trans-friendly convention ever,” she said. “It shows that this party has really made progress in terms of inclusion and diversity.”
And the other trans person is Sarah McBride,
Meet the First Openly Transgender Speaker at a Party Convention
By Katy Steinmetz
July 26, 2016

When Sarah McBride takes the stage in Philadelphia on Thursday night, she will have just three minutes to make her speech. But she will only need to say a word to make history.

When she does, the 25-year-old press secretary will become the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention. And if there is one thing she would like you to take away from her speech, it is the message that she is a fully realized person with feelings—not a duper, not a predator, not an abstract concept to be bandied about in America’s culture wars.

“People forget our humanity,” McBride told TIME from her hotel room on the first day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. “Behind the dialogues and debates are real people that hurt when they are made fun of, that hurt when they are targeted for discrimination and that have the same dreams and aspirations as everyone else.”
McBride, though she will be a new presence in America’s living rooms, is not new to politics or to offering herself up as a public face for the transgender community. The staffer for the LGBT rights group Human Rights Campaign grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and was active in campaigns from an early age, rallying for the likes of late Delaware attorney general Beau Biden. Part of that was an effort to overcome her internal struggle about her gender identity, she says, but she found that “making a difference didn’t actually make me feel more complete.”
And this doesn’t even included trans delegates at the convention,
There Are More Transgender Delegates at the 2016 DNC Than Black Delegates at the RNC
Policy Mic
By Celeste Katz
July 25, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — The numbers tell the story.

There are more transgender delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention here in the City of Brotherly Love than there were African-American delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.

According to various tallies, about 27 or 28 transgender delegates, superdelegates and committee members will serve at the DNC, which gavels in Monday night.

Only 18 African-Americans served at the GOP gathering, a turnout that reportedly marked a historic low for the last century.
Yes, the numbers do tell a story.

They Got It Right

Are friends to the north got it right when they passed protections for us.
Transgender human rights bill passes, with some Liberal dissent
Vancouver Sun
By Rob Shaw
Published on: July 25, 2016

VICTORIA — A new law to protect transgender rights in B.C.’s Human Rights Code passed into law Monday, despite opposition from at least one of the governing party’s own MLAs.

Laurie Throness, the Liberal MLA for Chilliwack-Hope, said his religious beliefs prevented him from supporting legislation to specifically enshrine protection for transgender people in the human rights law. He said he believes in a fixed-gender, which is decided at birth, and described the LGBTQ community as a powerful lobby group intolerant of himself and others who disagree that the law would add necessary protections.

Though its rare for a Liberal MLA to criticize his own government’s legislation, Throness did not go so far as to vote against the bill. Instead, he abstained from voting at all. The bill passed unanimously.
In another Vancouver Sun article they list the protections,
Highlights include:
  • Continue building and retrofitting public facilities to add universal washrooms and signs. Signs are designed to use function-based icons rather than gendered figures.
  • Ensure an inclusive approach in all recreational programs and implement pilot programs for trans and gender variant participants.
  • Acknowledge that people who identify as TGV2S [trans*, gender variant and two-spirit] often face discrimination in housing. At city-operated shelters, single room occupancies and supportive housing, the city will allocate resources to create gender-specific programs and spaces.
  • Use granting programs in community services to help foster gender diversity and equity in arts and culture and to support gender creative children and families with TGV2S parents in child care. Creating a supportive environment can help prevent children from hiding their true identity at a young age.
  • Create a level of trust among TGV2S people that they will not have to “worry about gender when navigating public spaces and/or programs.” The city will aim to train staff so that TGV2S people are seen “as an asset to the city because of their unique gifts, insights and contributions.”
This is more than protections it also includes funding to improve services for us and according to the mayor's office,
“Over the years Vancouver has shown incredible leadership in our commitment to equality, acceptance and inclusion, and we are a stronger and more vibrant City for it,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “I’m proud to support this progressive TGV2S Inclusion policy that brings us even further in achieving equal rights and access to services for all residents.”
I wish some U.S. cities would follow Vancouver's lead.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Meanwhile Across The Pond

You might know him as the former co-host of the BBC show “Top Gear” Jeremy Clarkson just opening his trap again.
Jeremy Clarkson has hit out at a report that calls for gender-neutral toilets in Parliament, claiming “you might as well install urinals suitable for Klingons”.
Pink News
By Nick Duffy
25th July 2016

A report commissioned by Commons Speaker John Bercow last week recommended Parliament introduce gender neutral toilets for MPs, staff and visitors “to plan for a future sex/gender parity and diverse Parliament”.
Jeremy Clarkson claimed in a column in the Sun that it was like introducing toilets for aliens.

He wrote: “This is seen as part of an ongoing struggle to fight sexism and prejudice. Hmmm.

“More like part of an ongoing struggle for our leaders to completely detach themselves from reality.

“First of all, there are no transgender MPs that I’m aware of. So why use taxpayers’ money to provide a facility that isn’t necessary?

“You might as well install urinals suitable for Klingons.”

He continued to mock trans people’s infertility, saying: “It’s all very well fighting for a man’s right to have babies.

“But where’s the foetus going to gestate? In a box?”
It just goes to show you that ignorance and bigotry knows no bounds.

This afternoon I am at the Canton Senior Center for the LGBT Movable Senior Center, this is just one MSC event that is part of a multi-year project to help LGBT seniors meet and have fun.

Putin & Wikileaks

You all have probably seen the news about the stolen Democratic National Committee emails

You know what concerns me more than politics as usual is the fact that the Russian government is trying to influence our elections. The Russians released their stolen documents timed for the Democratic convention and it tells you a lot about who Putin is backing.

The Washington Post had this to say on Friday about the stolen emails,
Friday's digital document dump follows a report last month by The Washington Post that Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee, gaining access to an entire database of opposition research. DNC and Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment Friday as reporters and campaign staff began to assess the situation.
CBS News reported,
Clinton campaign manager says pro-Trump Russia behind DNC email leak
July 24, 2016

Hillary Clinton's campaign manager accused Russia on Sunday of leaking emails on purpose from the Democratic National Committee to help Republican Donald Trump in the presidential election.
The hackers were all kicked out of the DNC computer system shortly after they were discovered. A spokesperson for the Russian Embassy said at the time they had no knowledge of the operation. No financial information was stolen, which indicates that the breach was not the work of criminal hackers.

Putin has complimented Trump in the past and Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign chairman, has worked with Kremlin-linked figures abroad.
The New York Times had this to said about Putin's involvement in our politics,
 WASHINGTON — An unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia: Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election?

Until Friday, that charge, with its eerie suggestion of a Kremlin conspiracy to aid Donald J. Trump, has been only whispered.

But the release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, many of them embarrassing to Democratic leaders, has intensified discussion of the role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign.
Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult. But researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies, which were the same attackers behind previous Russian cyberoperations at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year. And metadata from the released emails suggests that the documents passed through Russian computers. Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects. Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.

On Sunday morning, the issue erupted, as Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, argued on ABC’s “This Week” that the emails were leaked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump” citing “experts” but offering no other evidence. Mr. Mook also suggested that the Russians might have good reason to support Mr. Trump: The Republican nominee indicated in an interview with The New York Times last week that he might not back NATO nations if they came under attack from Russia — unless he was first convinced that the countries had made sufficient contributions to the Atlantic alliance. It was a remarkable moment: Even at the height of the Cold War, it was hard to find a presidential campaign willing to charge that its rival was essentially secretly doing the bidding of a key American adversary. But the accusation is emerging as a theme of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, as part of an attempt to portray Mr. Trump not only as an isolationist, but also as one who would go soft on confronting Russia as it threatens nations that have shown too much independence from Moscow or, in the case of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, joined NATO.
And Defense One was even more to the point,
How Putin Weaponized Wikileaks to Influence the Election of an American President
By Patrick Tucker
July 24, 2016

Evidence suggests that a Russian intelligence group was the source of the most recent Wikileaks intel dump, which was aimed to influence the U.S. election.

Close your eyes and imagine that a hacking group backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin broke into the email system of a major U.S. political party. The group stole thousands of sensitive messages and then published them through an obliging third party in a way that was strategically timed to influence the United States presidential election. Now open your eyes because that’s what just happened.

On Friday, Wikileaks published 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. They reveal, among other things, thuggish infighting, a push by a top DNC official to use Bernie Sanders’ religious convictions against him in the South, and attempts to strong-arm media outlets. In other words, they reveal the Washington campaign monster for what it is.

But leave aside the purported content of the Wikileaks data dump (to which numerous other outlets have devoted considerable attention) and consider the source. Considerable evidence shows that the Wikileaks dump was an orchestrated act by the Russian government, working through proxies, to undermine Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign.
“This has all the hallmarks of tradecraft. The only rationale to release such data from the Russian bulletproof host was to empower one candidate against another. The Cold War is alive and well,” Tom Kellermann, the CEO of Strategic Cyber Ventures told Defense One.
The use of Wikileaks as the publishing platform served to legitimize the information dump, which also contains a large amount of personal information related to democratic donors such as social security and credit card numbers. This suggests that Wikileaks didn’t perform a thorough analysis of the documents before they released them, or simply didn’t care.
And Defense One summed it up nicely…
The evidence so far suggests it’s a weapon that Putin used to great effect last week.
I know many people are criticizing the DNC, but people this is the nature of U.S. politics for better or worse and I sure would like to see the Republicans emails about them trying to block Trump for the nomination. Do you actually think that the Republicans didn’t write similar emails about Trump?

This should be a major concern that a foreign power is trying to control our elections. Does anyone else not like foreign governments and organizations butting in to our elections?

More Differences

If you need another example of the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats just look at their delegates and speakers.
There Are More Than Two Dozen Transgender Delegates At The Democratic Convention
"It is a very diverse group reflecting the overall demographics in the Democratic Party’s umbrella," says superdelegate Babs Siperstein.
Logo NewNextNow
By Dan Avery
July 25, 2016

Comparing the diversity at the Republican National Convention to this week’s Democratic Convention almost isn’t fair. While the GOP had white people holding signs that read (incorrectly) “Hispanics Para Trump,” the DNC’s delegates represent a wide swath of American.

That includes diverse gender identities, too: For the first time, a trans person will speak at a major American political convention.

Sarah McBride, press secretary for the HRC Foundation, will address the convention on Thursday, the final day of the event. But she’s far from the only trans person heading to Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.

Logo political correspondent Raymond Braun reports there are at least 27 trans delegates at this year’s convention.
One party is the party of inclusion and one party is of the party of exclusion.

This morning as the executive director of the CT TransAdvocacy Coalition I am at a meeting with another non-profit ED to see how we can work together. On their website they say that,
We offer support, education, and advocacy to people living with mental illnesses, their family members, friends, professionals and the public at large.
Hopefully we will find some common ground to work together to promote our non-profits.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Where Are People’s Mind

When we were trying to pass the gender inclusive non-discrimination here in Connecticut one legislator introduced a Senate amendment to require all trans people to register with the Department of Motor Vehicles, his justification was if we were stopped and questioned by police for being in the women’s bathroom the officer could check the DMV database to see if it was okay for us to be in there. I called the amendment “The Scarlet Letter.”

The earlier this year North Carolina wanted to create a new government document that identified us as trans so that we could use the bathroom of our true gender.

This idea of creating a special identification for us just doesn’t want to go away…
Lawsuit: Trans Students Made To Wear Green Bracelets To ID Themselves
Think Progress
By Casey Quinlan
July 20, 2016

The Wisconsin lawsuit notes other problems with how the school treated Whitaker. He was repeatedly called by his birth name and referred to with female pronouns by school staff, wasn’t allowed to run for prom king (until the school received a petition and media scrutiny), and wasn’t allowed to lodge with boys during school trips. The district also requires staff to make Whitaker and other transgender students wear green bracelets identifying them as transgender to staff — which caused Whitaker to worry about stigmatization and harassment, according to his lawyers. The school eventually instructed security guards to ensure Whitaker didn’t use the boys restroom.
Do you know why the color Pink because the LGBT color? According to ALGBTICAL (Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama) it is because,
Inverted Triangles
The pink triangle is easily one of the more popular and widely-recognized symbols for the gay community. The pink triangle is rooted in World War II times, and reminds us of the tragedies of that era. Although homosexuals were only one of the many groups targeted for extermination by the Nazi regime, it is unfortunately the group that history often excludes. Each prisoner in the concentration camps wore a colored inverted triangle to designate their reason for incarceration, and hence the designation also served to form a sort of social hierarchy among the prisoners. A green triangle marked its wearer as a regular criminal; a red triangle denoted a political prisoner. Two yellow triangles overlapping to form a Star of David designated a Jewish prisoner. The pink triangle was for homosexuals.
And back in those days the Nazi didn’t make any distinction between gays and trans people.

I don’t think that the people who came up with these ideas knew the history of making us register or wear special IDs. I would like to think that they don’t because if they did that would make it so much worst.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Inquisitr News reports that,
In a statement sent to Mashable, the Kenosha Unified School District denied having a “practice or policy requiring any student to wear a wristband for monitoring any purpose or for any reason whatsoever.” The district added it is reviewing the complaint.
According to CNN the green wrists bands...
Then, in May, his guidance counselor showed Ash's mother a bright green wristband that the school intended to use to mark students who are transgender, the lawsuit says.

He was never asked to wear it, he said, but he believes he will have to wear it when he returns for senior year.

The district called the allegation "patently false."

"The district does not have a practice or policy requiring any student to wear a wristband for monitoring any purpose or for any reason whatsoever," Ruder said.
Somehow I find it a little bit hard to believe the school, I think the wrist band is something that would be hard to make up by the parents.

So this will be an interesting case to follow.

I Heard Good Things…

I know of a couple of trans women who have seen her for voice training and the reports that I hear from them was good.
Helping Transgender People Find Their Voice
Heard on Weekend Edition Saturday
July 23, 2016

When they make a transition to publicly presenting themselves as a different gender, transgender people face many challenges. Possible surgeries and hormone treatments are some of them.

But one often overlooked struggle is to find a voice to fit a person's identity. People can identify men's and women's voices because there are typically different ranges in pitch and differences in timbre.

That's where Wendy Chase comes in. She's the director of the University of Connecticut Speech and Hearing Clinic. She works with people who want to make their voice sound more like their gender identity.
On why speech therapy is a good idea for transgender people
Most of our patients are seeking to allow the world to perceive them in the way that they want to be perceived. And communication is a really critical component of that perception, particularly when there is not a visual cue. And I think that it's important for there to be safe places to practice and try things out, and the speech therapy room can be one of those places.

But more importantly, we want folks to be able to change their voice in a way that is safe and doesn't do damage long-term to their vocal cords, because they're going to need it for the rest of their lives.
She is worth a try, I believe there is a nominal fee like $10 a session, she uses the workshop as a training for her students.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday 9: Surf City

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Surf City (1963)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun...
... Because Melissa suggested Jan and Dean. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) When the song was written, "Surf City" was a fictitious town.* Tell us a song that is set in a real place.
New York, New York

2) In the song, Jan and Dean sing about riding around in a 1934 station wagon, which means the car was 29 years old when the song was recorded. How old is your vehicle?
3 ½ years old

3) Are you good on a surf board?
I have never been on one so I doubt it very much

4) When you spend time out in the sun, are you careful about applying sunscreen?  
I don’t go out in the sun that much, I much rather sit in the shad.

5) Dean's original partner was Arnie Ginsburg. When Dean was drafted into the Army, Arnie didn't feel like waiting so he abandoned show business and went back to college. Today he holds several patents. What is something you wish someone would invent? 
A transporter so I don’t have to drive everywhere.

6) Jan was a perpetual student who juggled college with recording. He not only graduated from UCLA, he completed two years of medical school at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Have you ever considered going back to school?
I have gone back to college after 40 years I went back when was 60.

7) In 1966, Jan was sidelined by a serious car accident. During the years that he was unable to perform, partner Dean became a graphic artist. He designed logos and album covers for Steve Martin, Diana Ross and others. Do you feel you respond most to words, pictures, or music?
Words and pictures.

8) In 1978, CBS made a TV movie about Jan and Dean. If they approached you about a made-for-TV movie of your life, who would you like to play you?
Yikes! I don’t know but it will have to be an actor to play the first half of my life and an actress to play the second half.

9) Random question:  Growing up, how did you learn about the birds and the bees? (From books/the web, from parents, from your friends...)
My mother sheepishly handed me a book.

Friday, July 22, 2016


No one knows why people are left handed, there are theories but no one has said “Eureka!”

What we do know is that worldwide ten percent of the population is left handed, it doesn’t matter what your race, sex, if you are rich or poor, or ethnicity it is still 10%. However, there is one group of people that are significantly more likely to be left handed! Do you know what that group of peoples?

One time at the True Colors conference which is a conference for LGBT youth I was collecting signatures for a petition for the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill and I noticed something, a good number of the people in the registration line were taking my pen in their left hand… Hmm?

I was at a meeting with gays, lesbians, and trans people and when I looked around the table about half were left handed! I remembered back to the conference and I made a note in my notebook, “search the internet on gays and left handedness.”

What I found was that for some unknown reason we have a significate higher percentage of lefties.
Canadian Scientists Find More Homosexuals Left-Handed
Science Daily
By Drs. Martin L. Lalumière, Ray Blanchard, and Kenneth J. Zucker, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of Toronto [Yes I know who they are.]
Date: July 10, 2000
Source: University Of Toronto
Summary: Three Canadian researchers have shown that left-handedness is more common in gay men and in lesbian women than in comparable heterosexual persons.

The study, published in the July issue of Psychological Bulletin, combined the results from 23,410 heterosexual and homosexual men and women. The results for both sexes were statistically significant; however, the tendency toward increased levels of left-handedness was markedly greater for lesbian women than for gay men.

The importance of these results lies in their theoretical implications. Handedness is determined early in development -- probably before birth. Therefore, the correlation of handedness and sexual orientation demonstrates that at least some influences on adult sexual orientation operate quite early, maybe even before an individual is born. The results also suggest that there may be at least one cause of homosexuality that is common to both gay men and lesbian women. This is in contrast to much other biological research on sexual orientation, which has usually suggested that sexual orientation in men is influenced by different factors than sexual orientation in women.

Although the findings of increased left-handedness in homosexual persons are quite reliable, they are small in absolute magnitude, and they have no application besides providing clues to the origins of sexual orientation. Handedness could not be used to decide whether someone else (or oneself) is gay, lesbian, or heterosexual.
In Bilerico there also was an article about this study,
Putting together the results of 20 previous studies that involved more than 23,000 men and women, the scientists concluded that the odds of being left-handed are 39 per cent higher in homosexuals than in heterosexuals. Broken down by gender, they found that gay men are 34% more likely to be left-handed and lesbians are 91% more likely to be left-handed.
Whoa! Stop right their “lesbians are 91% more likely to be left-handed!” and that correlates with my observations.

The Bilerico article goes on to say,
In 1993, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario found that 69% of lesbians and 45% of gay men interviewed were left-handed in "at least one of 12 simple manual tasks." Sandra Witelson, a co-author of the McMaster study, speculated that the higher incidence of left-handedness may be because "brain organization may be different than in others" resulting from differing hormonal levels while in the mother's womb.
So let’s review, 10% of the general population is left handed, almost 70% of the lesbians are left handed, and 45% of the gays are left handed and no one knows why people are left handed. Hmm.

When I was researching this I came across something else that was interesting.
New York Times: Science
By Jane E. Brody
Published: April 19, 1983

LEFT— HANDED people, already burdened by minor inconveniences in a right-handed world and by a language full of such ego-deflating figures of speech as two left feet, out in left field and left-handed compliment, also seem to face an increased risk of certain disorders that can further impair the quality of their lives.

A series of new studies show that left-handed people are more likely to suffer from learning disabilities, stuttering, migraine headaches and, according to the latest findings, autoimmune diseases, like ulcerative colitis, myasthenia gravis and celiac disease, in which the body attacks its own tissues.
Although left-handedness had previously been associated with learning disorders and certain other problems, the possible biological significance of the connections had been unappreciated. In fact, the high incidence of the learning disability dyslexia among left-handed people had often been attributed to attempts by parents and teachers to force them to use their right hands. For example, the late Nelson Rockefeller, a dyslexic who tended to read and write words backwards, was a lefty whose father had tried unrelentingly but unsuccessfully to convert him to a righty.
I haven’t been formally diagnosed with dyslexia but one of my professors in grad school who is a LCSW specializing in learning disorders thought I might be dyslexic and gave me a website to visit to test for dyslexia and I failed the test miserably.

The New York Times article goes on to say,
Left-handedness, learning disabilities, autism and stuttering are all found more frequently among boys than girls, Dr. Geschwind noted. This suggests that a sex-related factor is involved. According to the scientist, animal studies have shown an effect of testosterone on other brain regions. Dr. Geschwind hypothesizes that testosterone may also be the determining factor in delaying growth of the left planum. Testosterone is produced in large quantities by the male fetus, but the female fetus is exposed to only small amounts of this hormone.
There is that ugly word, testosterone. So maybe it all has something to do with the fetus development, when, how much, and how long the brain was exposed to hormones.

So what does this all have to do with being trans?

Well I am trans, I am left handed, and I am probably dyslexic and no knows why anyone is anyone is any of them.

I leave you with this video…

What Did He Mean?

I thought of many titles for the post, “Can leopard change its spots?” “Deeds over words” “Too little too late” or “Lip service” but whatever the title the question is still the same, what did Mr. Trump mean when he said,
“This time, the terrorists targeted our LGBT community,” Trump said to applause. “As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
“As a Republican, it makes me feel really good to hear you cheering for what I just said,” he added.
It is nice to know that he will do what he is supposed to do if he is elected president. But what about domestic violence directed at us? What about discrimination against LGBT people?

But most important what would he do about laws that attack us and make us criminals for just being ourselves for just being the way we are born?

Why Am I Trans?

I have always thought “Why me?

When you stop and think about it being trans is like anyone else with a disability, we all face discrimination of one type or other. I wouldn’t wish being trans on anyone, it is not fun and it is definitely not a choice or lifestyle.

Why was I born this way?

I like to think that there is some purpose in life and for me I think I have found my reason why I was born trans… to educate.

I like to think God made me trans to teach other people love and understanding; that we are being judged by how we treat other people. How we treat people with physical disabilities and how we treat people who disabilities are not visible.

I also like giving workshops presentations, I like making a difference, I like making this world a safer place and I like making life easier for the next generation.

I was with some friends waiting for our reservation at a restaurant in Hartford one when we were going to see a play at the Hartford Stage. As I was standing there a woman who was coming out of the restaurant stopped and said to me, you probably don’t remember me but I was in your workshop at the NASW (National Association of Social Workers) conference and because of your workshop I was able to help a client when she came out to me as transgender.

I am a guest lecturer for a friend’s class on multicultural education at local colleges and after the class he sends me some of the student journals.
When it was announced that we would have a guest speaker for our next class I originally thought nothing of it. I’ve had a good experience with guest speakers in the TCPCG program so far and I was excited to hear what the guest lecturer would say. When I walked into class on Wednesday I remember seeing the back of a tall woman standing in front of our class, thinking she was our guest, and proceeded to sit down and open up my computer. About 5 minutes later the guest came forward and she said that we were going to start the lecture. Once the guest lecturer starting talking and I began to look at her a bit more in detail, I realized something very interesting - our guest speaker was a transexual [sic].

Now being an educated grad student I was fully aware of was exactly a transsexual was and that the transexual community is growing every day, however, as far as I know, this was my first time meeting one. The weird thing however was that it didn’t seem like I was meeting a transexual, but rather just another women - a guest lecturer. Once you get past the deep voice and the 6’2” figure, there was nothing weird or different here, just another woman. When the lecture started I was expecting to learn all about life as a transsexual, and while she did touch on this a little, she was focused more on the big picture. The picture being that there are thousands of transexuals and people dreaming of being a different gender all around us, and often times they either go unnoticed or are looked as weirdly or differently. I think the message she was trying to tell us is that although on the outside we may look a little strange, it is really who they are on the inside that matters.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Walking The Line

Under political pressure the Fort Worth Texas school district has backed away from its trans policy.
Fort Worth Revises Transgender Student Guidelines
Texas Tribune
By Isabelle Taft
July 20, 2016

The Fort Worth Independent School District issued new guidelines on Wednesday for accommodating transgender students, making minor revisions that prompted Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton to declare victory in their assault on the district's previous policy.

Fort Worth ISD found itself in the middle of a statewide controversy in April when it issued an eight-page set of guidelines instructing district employees to acknowledge transgender students’ gender identity and provide accommodations. Patrick flew to Fort Worth to hold a press conference decrying the policies and requested an opinion on their legality from Paxton.

The new guidelines, condensed to two pages, affirm transgender students’ right to accommodations but eliminate a portion of the April guidelines that told schools not to out transgender students to their parents out of concern for their safety.

The new guidelines require parents to be involved with students and administrators in developing a “student individual support plan,” including provisions for bathroom use. Clint Bond, a spokesman for Fort Worth ISD, said the change was insignificant.
As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago this policy comes very close to violation the  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and HIPAA and that in some cases it might depending upon the age of the student.

The LGBT Nation said that the changes came about because of the State’s Attorney General butting in,
The revision came after a series of community meetings where “it was clear there was much misinformation and misunderstanding about this policy,” Scribner said.

State Attorney General Ken Paxton last month issued a non-binding opinion suggesting Fort Worth schools were violating Texas law with the restroom guidelines.

He had claimed that Texas’ sixth-largest school district relegated “parents to a subordinate status” since the policy was created without their proper input or consent. Paxton, a Republican, had argued the guidelines violated state education code.

His opinion was sought by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a fellow Republican who had unsuccessfully demanded Scribner’s resignation.
At least the district only backed off a little and kept most of the policy intact.

The Republicans Focus On Trans Servicemembers

On Monday night the Republicans dragged out a retired general to criticized the president over lifting the ban of trans servicemembers.
General: Obama’s transgender decree is harming the military
Life Sites
By Ben Johnson
July 20, 2016

CLEVELAND, July 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Joining a growing consensus of military leaders, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said President Obama’s decision to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military is bogging enlisted men down with irrelevant matters and social engineering.

"Too often, way too often, our troops are instead are distracted by trivial matters, trivial matters about what words to use, what terminology is politically correct and what bathroom door to open up,” he told the Republican National Convention in a prime time speech delivered on Monday. “My God, war is not about bathrooms. War is not about political correctness or words that are meaningless."
However, on this issue, he joins the majority of Republicans, as well as an increasingly vocal chorus of veterans who say the president’s transgender policy will harm military readiness.
The service will offer “extended leave” so that soldiers diagnosed with gender dysphoria at least 18 months earlier can transition to their “preferred gender.”
The policy, which is estimated to cost between $4 and $14 million each year, will begin being implemented on October 1.
Somehow I don’t even think it will even cost a million dollars let alone fourteen million dollars, and servicemembers already get medical leave. Heck there are only between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender individuals serving in the military according to a study by the RAND corporation and only a fraction will transition and have surgery. Also our troops have already fought alongside NATO transgender servicemembers, but the Republicans don’t want to hear about that, they want to make people think that the president I breaking new ground. However, the first country to allow trans people in the military was the Netherlands in 1974! Now there are a total to twenty-one countries including the U.S.

In another article it is apparent that they don’t know what they are talking about…
Pentagon Disallows Transgender Troops From Embracing 'Preferred Gender' at 'Place of Duty'
Christian Post
By Samuel Smith
July 20, 2016

The Pentagon has released a new instruction manual detailing that transgender service members must undergo sex change transition to be officially recognized by their "preferred gender" in the military.
The manual states that service members must obtain and provide diagnosis from a military medical provider that states that gender transition is "medically necessary" in order to be provided government-funded "medical care and treatment for the diagnosed medical condition."

"Gender transition begins when a Service member receives a diagnosis from a military medical provider indicating that gender transition is medically necessary, and concludes when the Service member's gender marker in DEERS [Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System] is changed and the member is recognized in the preferred gender," the directive states.

According to the instructions, the commander can only change the service member's gender marker in DEERS once the medical service provider advises he or she that the service member's "gender transition is complete."
Well yeah, all insurance companies require it to be "medically necessary" and the Standard of Care requires a medical assessment before hormones can begin, so the military is following the SOC… what else would you expect? You would still be griping if they didn't follow the SOC.

Trans people in the military is going to be a non-event just like when they lifted the ban on gays and lesbians in the military. The Republicans want to use us to stir up hatred against the Democrats.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Foot Lose And Fancy Free

I have always wanted to travel but what kept me back was being single, I am not one to go off on alone, I want company. I have two dreams one is to travel along the coast of Maine on a windjammer cruise and the other is to travel the “National Park to Park Highway” a giant loop around the western national parks.
My Transgender Life: Wanderlust And Wonderlust”
The Huffington Post
By Grace Anne Stevens
July 19, 2016

In a few weeks, I will be celebrating my birthday. This one, for many reasons seems to be having some extra baggage with it. I will soon have completed my sixty-ninth trip around the sun. I am not certain of all the reasons that I am feeling heaviness about this. After all, I have lived so many of my dreams, and am living as my true self with joy and gratitude each day. Perhaps the various external transformations belie the fact that so many of my internal parts are starting to see the wear of time. Over the past few years I have found my strength reduced as I hike and bike. Sometimes I think it the impact of estrogen running through me. Of course my endo tells me that my estrogen count exceeds that of most women my age. I do hear him, but this is the point where I practice some cognitive dissonance. I mentioned that I seem to be losing strength to my primary care doc at my last physical, and he matter-of-factly replied — “You’re getting old!” I must admit that this triggered the heck out of me.
Summer of 1974 on the trail to Yipsilon Lake
And I am only a couple of years behind her, I was always the runt of the litter and I am feeling my age a lot more than my older brother. In my younger days I used to go backpacking carrying a 60 pound pack and the most distance that I covered was 25 miles in two days, now I am lucky if I can make 2 miles with no pack. I backpacked all over the Adirondacks and the Berkshires in Connecticut and once I even backpacked in the Rocky Mountain National Park and camped out at 11,000 feet above sea level at Yipsilon Lake.
I have always had a difficult relationship with traveling and exploring. I would read and watch adventures whether real or fantasy and let my mind wander through these worlds without limitation. However, I barely would take a step out on my own to explore our real world. Perhaps it was my parts that told me to keep in hiding — don’t let anyone ever know the truth inside of you; perhaps it was all the responsibility I had to provide for my family. For me “getting out” into the world was internally limited and constrained.
The same for me, as I got out of college my traveling days were limited, so limited that I barely left my town. My job was only four miles from my house and I mostly stayed in town. The only time that I traveled out was west was right out of college I did it with two friends and we drove non-stop to Lincoln North Dakota and we only went off the road once when the driver fell asleep. Three of us went out but only two of us returned, one of my friends got a letter from the President… Greetings from the President, you are here by ordered to…

The other time was when my cousin got married out in Washington, from there we drove down to San Francisco along the coast (Note: driving down the coast means that you are on the outside lane looking down a couple of hundred feet to the Pacific ocean and some of the lumber trucks come around the blind curves in your lane.)
When I get to be on these trains I will wander the country and see the wonders though the windows. Although I may be sitting in a chair, I will be on a train and I will be moving as the landscape stands still. I am pretty sure this is different than just watching the snow drift by through my window at home. The train will have a direction, and a destination. However I am certain that once I am on board I will be enjoying the sense of freedom of wandering and looking forward to whatever wonders I may see and take part in.
I would love to travel out west by train… but I know that I probably never do it.

If I did travel I would like to visit the National Parks out west. You can make the grand tour of the parks in about a leisurely four or five weeks visiting twelve national parks… maybe someday.

Under Attack

Here in Connecticut a woman got attacked in the bathroom at a Walmart in Danbury because a woman thought she was a trans woman and this is happening around the country.
I lived as a transgender woman in peace for years. Then the GOP got involved.
Since the "bathroom bills," I've experienced newfound humiliation, threats and harassment. The Republican National Convention will only make it worse.
The Washington Post
By Janice Dodero
July 19, 2016

I’m not unlike many other 67-year-old women. I dote on my two beautiful granddaughters. My daughter, an only child, has always been special to me. I retired a few years ago and moved to California to be with my 92-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s. I also happen to be a transgender woman.
But something has changed. Since March, when the North Carolina “bathroom bill” was first introduced and a leading presidential candidate saw fit to launch his own crusade to net a few primary votes, I have experienced harassment unlike anything since I first transitioned in the ’90s. Any hope that this would be a passing phase has steadily eroded as state after state has chosen to double down on anti-trans legislation as a way to push back on President Obama’s directives. And now we find ourselves heading into what is sure to be continued vilification during the Republican National Convention, as the party puts forth the most anti-LGBTQ platform in history.

But something has changed. Since March, when the North Carolina “bathroom bill” was first introduced and a leading presidential candidate saw fit to launch his own crusade to net a few primary votes, I have experienced harassment unlike anything since I first transitioned in the ’90s. Any hope that this would be a passing phase has steadily eroded as state after state has chosen to double down on anti-trans legislation as a way to push back on President Obama’s directives. And now we find ourselves heading into what is sure to be continued vilification during the Republican National Convention, as the party puts forth the most anti-LGBTQ platform in history.
This is what the Republicans are doing to us; they are doing this because they think they can get votes. They are stirring people up to get them angry so they go out and vote Republican and also to get them to send “hate money” to the party. They are catering to the right wing Christians.

You have heard that this year the Republicans have to most hateful anti-LGBT party platform ever!

I am not a fan of Dan Savage got it right in this article,
The Utter Failure of the Log Cabin Republicans
By Dan Savage
July 18, 2016

So this happened last week:
Republicans moved on Tuesday toward adopting a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family... [it] amounts to a rightward lurch even from the party’s hard-line platform in 2012—especially as it addresses gay men, lesbians and transgender people.... Nearly every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed.
The proposed 2016 GOP platform condemns same-sex marriage and calls for the appointment of judges who will overturn Obergefell, the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states; it endorses "pray away the gay" conversion "therapies" that have been proven to be just as ineffective as they are dangerous; it backs bans on transgender Americans using appropriate public restrooms, i.e. the ones that align with their gender identities.

The Log Cabin Republicans, the most ineffectual political advocacy org this side of NAMBLA, condemned the proposed 2016 platform and tried to raise money off it too:
The country's largest organization representing LGBT conservatives has slammed the GOP for its draft platform, which remains opposed to same-sex marriage and bathroom choice for transgender people. "There’s no way to sugarcoat this: I’m mad as hell — and I know you are too," Gregory T. Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, wrote in a fundraising email sent Tuesday evening. "Moments ago, the Republican Party passed the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history."
The Log Cabin Republicans begged people to send them "$500, $250, $100, or whatever you can give," money they would use to "take back the platform" and "take back the party." They were going to be on the floor of the RNC! They weren't going to "go quietly into the night!" They were going to fight!
Log Cabin Republicans have been working to "transform the GOP from the inside" for forty years and not only hasn't it gotten better, it has gotten worse. The 2016 Republican Platform, adopted today without a peep of protest from Log Cabin Republicans, is worse on LGBT issues than any Republican Party Platform in history. Worse than the GOP platform in 1980, when the religious right was ascendent; worse than the GOP platform in 1984, when AIDS hysteria was at its peak; worse than the GOP platform in 1992, when delegates to the RNC were waving "Family Values Forever! Gay Rights Never!" signs on the floor of the convention in Houston. Worst. Platform. Ever. Log Cabin Republicans spent months wriggling their tongues up Donald Trump's ass and this is the thanks they get.
Let’s face it. The Republicans say they are a party of financial conservatives and want to get government out of our lives but in reality they are the exact opposite. They keep cut the budget but at the same time they give big business massive tax breaks and forcing the tax burden on to the states, cities, and towns. Governor Pence boasts a $200 million dollar surplus but how did he get that surplus?

Fact Check reports,
Unemployment Rate
Trump said the “primary reason” for selecting Pence was the decline in his state’s unemployment rate, which Trump said dropped to “less than 5 percent” this year. That’s close to accurate. As of May, the state’s rate was 5 percent — down from 8.4 percent in January 2013, when Pence became governor, as Trump said. That’s a drop of 3.4 percentage points, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, Indiana’s unemployment rate has roughly tracked the national average. During that same time, the national unemployment rate declined from 8 percent to 4.7 percent — a drop of 3.3 percentage points, according to BLS.

Indiana has added 147,800 jobs since 2013, according to BLS. But 18 other states added more jobs. Predictably, larger states such as California (1.3 million) and Texas (840,000) had larger gains, but so did states with smaller populations, such as South Carolina (152,000) and Oregon (157,000).

More importantly, Indiana’s private-sector job growth rate — the percent change in the state’s number of private-sector jobs — lagged behind 20 states and the District of Columbia, according to our analysis of BLS data.

Balanced Budgets
Like nearly all states, Indiana is legally required to balance the budget. “All the states except Vermont have a legal requirement of a balanced budget,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Indiana’s Bond Rating
Trump also touted Indiana’s bond rating. “It’s also rated triple A — their bonds, are rated triple A. Very few states have that,” Trump said.
As of July 11, 2016, 14 other states currently have AAA ratings, so Trump exaggerates when he says that “very few states have that.” They are: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming. That’s nearly one third of all states.
Education Week reported that,
"A darling of the extreme Republicans and the Tea Party, Mike Pence has been terrible for Indiana's students, families and public schools. As an unpopular and divisive governor, he pushed for draconian cuts to K-12 public schools at the same time that he diverted funds via private vouchers schemes from public to private schools and significantly expanded the number of corporate-run, unaccountable charter schools," said the union's president, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, in a statement.
In the Indy Star they reported that the Democrats said that instead of stockpiling $2 billion in reserves and having a $200 million dollar surplus that they could have,
Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, said that caution carries a cost.

“With an extra $12 million or so, we could add pre-school programs for five or six more counties,” he said. “Throw in an extra $80 million and we could double the amount of money that local units of government can use to fill potholes and fix a few streets.”
He balanced the budget by shifting the burden on the cities.

As for getting the government off our backs what could be more invasive then telling people who they can marry or which bathrooms to use. And what women can do with their bodies, in one state a Republican legislator proposed a bill to require women to get a vaginal ultrasound before they get an abortion.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Battle Never Ends

We just had a victory and the ink hasn’t dried yet in Massachusetts but already there are those who are fighting to repeal the law.
Activists file petition to repeal transgender law
Boston Globe
By David Scharfenberg
July 19, 2016

Conservative activists want to put a repeal of the state’s recently passed transgender rights law on the ballot in 2018, a move that would extend a divisive debate over civil rights and privacy for at least another two years.

Activists made a formal request Monday to put the measure on the ballot. If the state’s attorney general signs off on the effort, they will have until late September to collect the necessary 32,375 signatures from voters to put a referendum before the state’s electorate in two years.

The law they hope to repeal, signed by Governor Charlie Baker two weeks ago, bans discrimination against transgender people at malls, restaurants, and other public accommodations.
Beckwith, of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said several conservative advocacy groups, including the Renew Massachusetts Coalition and Catholic Citizenship, will be involved in the repeal effort, which kicks off with a State House rally on Wednesday.

“We believe as people learn about this bill,” he said, “more and more will mobilize against it.”
This is why I am against ballot initiatives, human rights should never be a popularity contest, and the tyranny of the many shouldn’t be forced on the few.

How Do You Fight Employment Discrimination?

It is one thing when you are fired from a job when you transition, that is much easier fight in court, it is much harder to prove discrimination in hiring.
Transgender jobseekers face barriers to employment
HRM Canada
By Nicola Middlemiss
19 Jul 2016

Ontario-based advocates are calling on employers to bolster opportunities for transgender people after research revealed discrimination is rife, particularly in the recruitment process.

"It's much harder to get a job than to keep a job," said local activist Cole Gately. "It's very, very easy to hire someone who isn't going to make people feel uncomfortable or isn't going to challenge anyone."

In a recent survey of 433 transgender people, almost a third (32 per cent) suspected they had been turned down from a job because of their gender while 18 per cent said they were absolutely certain of the same.
They can use a million excuses why they didn’t hire you; over qualified, under qualified, other candidates were more qualified, and a whole host of other excuses. Unless they are dumb enough to state it out right or they tell you the position is filled and they keep interviewing for the position it is almost impossible for you to prove otherwise.

Even if the company has a 100% rating from the HRC or a bold non-discrimination policy that includes us it is still hard to get your foot in the door because if a boss doesn’t like LGBT people he can makeup reasons why he didn’t hire you to HR.

It is very different if you had a perfect employment history with the company and when you transitions all of sudden they find problems with your work it is a lot easier to prove your case than if you have no history with the company. That is why I consul trans people if at all possible hold off your transition until after you get a job and have an employment record with the company. I know that sucks and we shouldn’t have to do that but that is reality.