Saturday, December 31, 2016

It Is That Time Again

For my New Year’s predictions!
  • By the end of the year, President-elect Trump will be impeached. I believe the Republicans are just looking for a way to get rid of him and have Vice-president-elect Pence become president.
  • Connecticut will pass this year another pro-LGBT legislation.”
  • The Republicans will pass a “Religious Freedom law that will give special rights for people to ignore laws in the name of religion.
  • The Republicans will repeal Obamacare forcing millions of Americans to lose their health insurance.
  • Medicare will be stripped by the Republicans and made into a voucher system somewhat like Obamacare is now (Obamacare gives financial assistance to those who can’t afford health insurance so they can buy insurance on the open market) in that you will receive a check to buy insurance on the open market.
  • The Republicans will increase the age that you can start collecting Social Security and they will cut the amount of Social Security benefits you will receive in retirement. 
  • The Republicans will also pass an anti-abortion bill and defund Planned Parenthood.
  • The stock market will continue its climb pushing well above DJIA of 20,000 until October when the bubble will go “pop.
It is going to be a great year for billionaires and a lousy year for the working class.

Saturday 9: Tammy

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Tammy (1957)
In celebration of Debbie Reynolds

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1. In this song,Tammy sings of being able to hear "the breeze from the bayou." What sounds can you hear as you answer these questions? 
The hiss of my tinnitus.

2. This week's song was the theme of a popular movie about a girl who grew up on a houseboat in Mississippi. Looking back on 2016, did you spend much time on or around water?
A lot. After all we have a lakeside cottage in New Hampshire.

3. In addition to being an Oscar-nominated actress, this week's artist, Debbie Reynolds, was a big movie fan. She amassed an amazing cache of movie memorabilia. Do you collect anything?
Parking tickets… Just kidding, I don’t collect anything.

4. Though she never won a competitive Oscar for acting, Debbie Reynolds was awarded the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award earlier this year for 60 years of charity work. While she supported many causes throughout her life, one she was closest to was The Girl Scouts. She was not only a Scout herself, she was a leader when daughter Carrie was young and a fundraiser throughout her life. Were you ever in Boy or Girl Scouts?
Yes, and I will let guess which one.

6. The New Year's Eve fireworks celebrations in both Disney World in Florida and Sydney, Australia coordinate pyrotechnics and music. Are you expecting either fireworks or live music on your New Year's Eve celebration?

7. According to the National Insurance Bureau, more cars are stolen on New Year's Eve than any other single day. Are you confident your vehicle(s) will be safe and sound this Saturday night?
Yes, it will be parked in the garage and I will be binge watching Outlander with a pizza and a beer.

8. Do you have any New Year's Resolutions for 2017?
Yes, not to make any New Year’s Resolutions… OH wait, I just broke it by making a resolution.

9. Looking back on 2016, what surprised you?
Well, I think the biggest surprise was waking up at 3 AM on November 9th and finding out that Trump won.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Trans In Television

Although not on the big screen but on the little screen, on the CMT network, the Co-Writer & Co-Executive Producer of Her Story has been cast in Nashville.
'Nashville' returns with transgender actress, new plot lines
By Kristin M. Hall, The Associated Press
December 29, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The new season of "Nashville" starts with traditional songs rooted in gospel and folk music rather than big production country songs.

Rayna, played by Connie Britton, finds a revelation after hearing a blind man singing "Wayfaring Stranger," an Appalachian tune estimated to be two centuries old. And Juliette, played by Hayden Panettiere, sees an angelic vision in white singing the hymn "God Shall Wipe All Tears Away."

Cancelled by ABC after four seasons, the new season of "Nashville" on CMT , which begins Jan. 5, aims to reflect more diversity in both the music and the cast. The new season also will be available on Hulu.
Richards, who earned an Emmy nomination for her web series, "Her Story," said word spread quickly within the transgender acting community that "Nashville" was casting because there are so few television roles available.

"I only get called in for trans roles and then I lose those parts to men because they think I look too much like a regular girl to play a trans part," Richards said.
Herskovitz said the show will address Richards' gender later in the season, but said many people likely will not even notice in the first episodes.
First it is great that she has cast in “Nashville” and second it is great that they are downplaying her being trans, but… why do we need to be cast in a trans part? Why can’t we be cast as just an ordinary man or woman?

This Needs To Be Banned!

It is torture. It is trying to make a person in to something they are not, conversion therapy or as it is also known as reparative therapy and it is against the ethics of every major medical and mental healthcare associations.
A Survivor Of Gay Conversion Therapy Shares His Chilling Story
We were no longer people at the end of the program.”
Huffington Post
By JamesMichael Nichols
November 17, 2016

With two months between us and a Trump administration, it’s time we consider Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s relationship with the many different issues affecting LGBTQ people ― including conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is not only promoted in the Republican party’s 2016 platform, the most anti-LGBTQ platform in the party’s history, but something Vice President-elect Mike Pence has actively supported while a member of congress. He is also arguably one of the most anti-LGBTQ state elected officials in the country.

So, what exactly is conversion therapy? Why is it so bad?

Conversion therapy is a set of practices that intend to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity to fit heterosexual or cisgender standards and expectations ― and it is usually religiously motivated.

Therapy practices can include methods such as talk therapy, electroshock therapy, treating LGBTQ identity as an addiction issue like drugs or alcohol, and more. While certain therapies, like talk therapy, are also legitimate forms of care for people who experience mental health problems, being gay is, of course, not a mental health disorder.
I know if anyone was going to connect electrode up to my brain I would agree to anything… the sky is green… yup, isn’t it a nice shade of green.

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that,
Thirteen percent (13%) of respondents reported that one or more professionals, such as a psychologist, counselor, or religious advisor, tried to stop them from being transgender.
Of those who had conversion therapy,

  • Participants who had a professional try to stop them from being transgender were:
  • Far more likely to currently be experiencing serious psychological distress (47%) than those who did not have the experience (34%).
  • More likely to have attempted suicide (58%) than those who did not have the experience (39%).
  • Nearly three times as likely to have run away from home (22%) than those who did not have the experience (8%).
  • More likely to have ever experienced homelessness (46%) than those who did not have the experience (29%).
  • More likely to have ever done sex work (18%) than those who did not have the experience (11%).

Conversion therapy harms!

It is junk science.

In an article in the Huffington Post Peterson Toscano wrote,
With such disastrous results, I understand the need to legally ban these types of conversion treatment programs. Laws banning conversion therapy send a powerful signal to the public about the dangers of tampering with someone’s sexuality and gender identity, but they come with a legal risk. These laws ultimately can be challenged by conservatives in federal courts leading to a Supreme Court decision. If we have a Conservative-leaning Supreme Court, it may well strike down these laws and embolden anti-LGBTQ therapists and ministers even more.
He has written a play about his time in conversion therapy, he called the play “Doin’ Time In The Homo No Mo’ Halfway House” and from his website,
After 15 years of submitting to reparative therapy, ex-gay support groups and even three exorcisms, Peterson Toscano enrolled in the ex-gay program, Love in Action. He graduated successfully from the program nearly two years later, but in January, 1999, decided he just needed to accept himself as a gay man.
We need to ban it now!

Here in Connecticut ctEQUALITY is collecting story from those who have gone through Conversion Therapy.
Have you had past experiences with efforts by a medical or mental health professional to try to change your sexual orientation or gender identity? You might have heard these practices alternatively referred to as conversion therapy, reparative therapy or gender identity/sexual orientation change efforts.

Connecticut Trans Advocacy Coalition is a member of ctEquality which is a coalition of likeminded organizations fighting for equality and justice for LGBTQ people in Connecticut and our goal for the coming legislative session is to pass legislation banning conversion therapy for children under the age of 18. We're looking to hear from you.

You can help us collect stories from anyone who has undergone this kind of treatment, been referred to a provider for this treatment, or been told as a parent to take their child for this kind of treatment. We are especially interested in hearing from people who have had these kinds of experiences before turning age 18 or any parents who have had related experiences.

If you're willing, you can share an overview of your story. Someone from ctEquality will follow-up with you to connect and learn more about your experience. Also please share this with your friends on social media.
Click here to tell your story.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

More Support From The Medical Community

Another medical organization just joined the ranks of the other medical organization that supports the trans community.
New ACOG Committee Opinion: Support Transgender Adolescents
Medscape Medical News
By Bridget M. Kuehn
December 27, 2016

Obstetrician-gynecologists must offer sensitive and supportive care to transgender adolescents, a new committee opinion from American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends. The recommendations are important because one of the first places a transgender adolescent may express their feelings of gender dysphoria may be at their obstetrician-gynecologist's office. The committee opinion was published online December 21 and in the January 2017 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Transgender individuals have gender identities that differ from the sex they were assigned at birth. According to estimates from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, about 1 in 11,900 individuals assigned a male gender at birth are transgender females, and about 1 in 30,400 individuals assigned a female gender at birth are transgender males. Obstetrician-gynecologists, who are increasingly seeing transgender patients, can provide both support and essential care to these individuals, according to ACOG's Committee on Adolescent Health.

"We have a responsibility to approach transgender adolescents in an informed and thoughtful fashion, positioning ourselves as part of their support network during what can often be a complicated and emotionally fraught process," Veronica Gomez-Lobo, MD, coauthor of the committee opinion and director of pediatric and adolescent obstetrics and gynecology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center/Children's National Health System, District of Columbia, said in a news release.
This is a very big step; let’s hope that this will end the bias that many OB/GYN have against us.

I know of many trans men and women who were told that they were not welcome in the waiting rooms of OB/GYN. A lot of trans men still need medical attention for their body and are turned away from healthcare providers because the provider is uncomfortable with a trans patient and many have died because of lack of healthcare.

Most notable was Robert Eads who died January 17, 1999 at age 53 of ovarian cancer because no one would treat him.

The Fall Out!

The angst over the November elections still haunt the trans community.
America's LGBT youths are calling this LA-based crisis hotline. And they're afraid of Trump.
Donald Trump hasn't even taken office, and yet America's LGBT youths are saying one thing – they are scared.
89.3 KPCC
By Leo Duran
December 23 2016

The Trevor Project, based in West Hollywood, is the nation's only lifeline for these young people. Volunteer counselors will be an ear to whatever crisis or problem they might have 24/7, from the fears of coming out to thoughts of suicide.

KPCC spoke with several counselors and have agreed to use pseudonyms to protect their anonymity so as not to influence their work.

Since November, they've heard from person after person worried about what's to come with the new administration.

"I don't think I heard politics mentioned that much before the election," says Sadie, one of the counselors. "But when you have 12- and 13-year-olds who are calling and freaking out, that has struck me."

This anxiety is nothing like the people at The Trevor Project have ever seen before.

For instance, another crisis point was the mass shooting last June at The Pulse Nightclub, a gay bar in Orlando, Florida, where a gunman killed 49 people.

"A day after the Orlando massacre, we had the highest, single day call volume we’ve had in over a year," says The Trevor Project's David Bond. "The day after the election, we had twice as many incoming contacts as we did the day after the Orlando massacre."

And the number of calls in the week post-election ended up setting a record in the organization’s 18 year history.
And here are some important phone numbers…

  • Trans Lifeline 1-877-565-8860
  • Note at this time this is not a 24 hour hotline.
  • The Trevor Project: Suicide Hotline for LGBTQ Youth: 1-866-488-7386
  • The Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
  • National Suicide Hotlines USA: 1-800-784-2433 & 1-800-273-8255 Deaf Hotline: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
  • CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services Hotline: 1-888-999-5545 English & 1-888-568-8332 Español
  • Or call 991.  

If you have submitted a workshop to the 2017 Trans Health and Law Conference and used the webpage link please visit the webpage because there was an error in the link to the workshop proposal form and your workshop proposal might not have been received.
Transgender Health and Law Conference Workshop Problems!

We just found out yesterday that the link on our website did not work!

The link went to a test page instead of the actual workshop proposal website. The test page looks just like the real proposal webpage so we never noticed the error (Constant Contact was notified of this problems and they said that they will make changes to their test pages to indicate that it is a test page.) We never suspected a problem because we were getting proposals, just not a lot them were coming in, it was until yesterday when someone who said that they had submitted a workshop and it wasn't on the list that we knew we had a problem.

The link in our emails was correct, just those who submitted their workshop proposal online are affected.

These are the workshops we received:
  • Suicide Prevention Strategies for Trans* People
  • "Trans"-formative Couples Therapy - Common threads in inner and outer work in one couple's case and how it changed the way a therapist views therapy
  • Makeup Basics for Trans Females
  • Artistic Expressions of Transgender Youth
  • PFLAG Hartford Parents and Grandparents Support Our Transgender Kids
  • 50 Shades of Coming Out Kinky
  • How to Advocate For Your Healthcare Needs
  • Advanced Endocrine Care of Transgender People
  • CT Law Protects against discrimination on the basis of Gender Identity or Expression and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities' Discrimination Complaint
  • Message for Schools: Getting Your [stuff] Together
  • HIV Prevention Strategies for Trans* and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Individuals

If your workshop is not on the list could you please resubmit it? The link on our webpage is now fixed. 

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

This Is My Problem

Finding something that fits, when I transitioned I joined the ranks of “plus size” women in their quest to find fashionable clothes.
A plus-size transgender model just made history by landing a major fashion campaign
MIC Style
By Rachel Lubitz

The year 2016 was a hallmark year for transgender women in fashion. In September, fashion weeks on the whole saw a huge influx of transgender models walking the runway. By the end of the year, transgender women like Hari Nef, Jazz Jennings, Andreja Pejic and Laverne Cox had been featured on magazine covers.

So it's really only fitting that in the last few days of this year, trans models continue to make history.

This time, it involves model Shay Neary, who is now the first out plus-size trans model to snag her very own fashion campaign.
Meanwhile, Coverstory was interested in casting a plus-sized trans model — and had been for a while now — but according to Coverstory's Heidi Kan, it was difficult to find a trans model above a size 6 or 8 working right now.
The other problem trans women have is that all our curves are not the same as cis women, my hips are not that wide and as a result clothes for me tend to by baggy at the hips.

My dream is not to have to go looking for clothes in the plus sizes, not so much because of my weight but more because of my diabetes, as I lose weight my blood glucose levels drop.


I was at a function with a person who fought for lifting the ban on gays scouts and scout leaders and we somehow got on the subject of scouting and I mentioned that the boy scouts do not allow trans scouts. The person’s response threw me for a loop, the person said, “Well it is not a written policy.” Hun?

I have learned when and where to pick my battles and sitting around the a table at a banquet is not a place to get in a shouting match, the way the person brushed off my comment indicated to me that no matter what I said would change the person’s mind, I checked off as “Gay Inc.”
8-year-old transgender boy barred from Cub Scouts
USA Today
Abbott Koloff , Staff Writer
December 27, 2016

From the moment he joined, 8-year-old Joe Maldonado eagerly looked forward to camping trips and science projects as a member of the Cub Scouts. But his expectations were dashed after his mother said she received a phone call from a scouting official who told her that Joe would no longer be allowed to participate because he was born a girl.

Kristie Maldonado said she was stunned because her son had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus for about a month, and his transgender status had not been a secret. But some parents complained, an official from the Northern New Jersey Council Boy Scout told her – even though her son had been living as a boy for more than a year and was accepted as a boy at school, she said

"Not one of the kids said, "You don’t belong here,’” Maldonado said of the scouts in the pack.
The comment that the LGBT organizations made me think of my conversation at the banquet.
Joe's case could be the first time someone has been barred from participating in scouting because they are transgender, said members of the LGBT community. And it comes as the Boy Scouts of America appeared to be emerging from a period of turmoil involving sexual orientation issues, reversing long-standing bans against gay scouts and gay scouting leaders over the past few years. Those policy changes were made amid an internal debate that saw at least one local council defy national scouting decrees by hiring a gay camp counselor, and pressure brought from corporations that withheld donations from the organization.

The Boy Scouts did not address the transgender issue at the time, LGBT advocates said, perhaps because the organization had no written policy related to gender identity. Transgender rights only recently emerged as a national issue, often focusing on the use of restrooms based on gender identity. Dozens of North Jersey school districts, including Secaucus, have granted that right, among others, to transgender students.
The headlines when the scouts removed the ban on gay scouts and leaders, everyone was celebrating the “victory” and the trans community was saying “what about us?” and we were ignored. I thought at the time that it sounds like “we got ours, and you can fight your own battles.”

And what was the reason given to kicking him out of the scouts?
The Scouts declined to say whether they have a written transgender policy. Effie Delimarkos, the communications director for the Boy Scouts of America, said in a statement that the organization’s Cub Scouts programs are for boys between the ages of 7 and 10, and that "the classification on the participant’s birth certificate” would be used to “confirm legal status.” She did not provide additional details, and did not specify whether the Boy Scouts have ever examined gender statuses on birth certificates.
To me that sounds like a copout, “we go by the birth certificate” I think that they know that someone that young cannot have surgery or hormones and in all but something like eight or nine state you need surgery to change your birth certificate.
No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” she said, but added: “Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.” The Boy Scouts declined to directly address the situation in Secaucus or say whether local or state scouting leaders consulted the national office about the matter.
I stood by the gays and lesbians for marriage equality, and I stood by them when they had rallies at the capitol. But will they come and stand by us to end discrimination?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Corrupting What It Means To Be Trans

Iran is corrupting what it means to be Gender Dysphoric
Why Iran’s Mullahs Bless Sex Reassignment
Iran has the death penalty for homosexuality but subsidizes sex reassignment surgery. BuzzFeed News looks at how Iran became a center of sex reassignment in the Middle East, and why many trans Iranians still find life impossible in the Islamic republic.
By J. Lester Feder
Posted on Dec. 26, 2016

DENIZLI, Turkey — Sorena sought out the mullah after committing a sin she feared could not be forgiven.

It was the winter of 2014, and Sorena was just 17 years old. She lived with her family in Shiraz, a city of 1.5 million people in southwest Iran. Sorena had been to consult the mullahs before as they dispensed advice from tables in the city park, mostly about how to reconcile the beliefs of her mother — who belonged to Iran’s minority Sunni sect — with the teachings of Shia Islam, the faith of her father, and Iran’s official religion.

But never had she come to discuss something so personal — or so potentially dangerous.

“My desires are not matched with my body,” she told the mullah. “I think because I’ve fallen in love with someone who’s the same sex as me that I’m committing a sin.”

Sorena’s family had raised her as their youngest son, but she saw herself as a woman when she dreamed. She’d also recently had sex with a man for the first time, and the fear that she had sinned beyond redemption drove her into a panic that lasted weeks.
“You are transsexual, and you have to go for the surgery,” he pronounced. “It is accepted in our religion.”
I think you imprison or even execute gays and lesbians you give them a strong incentive to say they are transgender instead that they are gay or lesbian.
HBO's VICE Uncovers Gay Iranians Forced to Surgically Change Gender
Hard to believe, but the Iranian government will pay for gender-reassignment surgery to "cure homosexuality."
The Advocate
By Thom Senzee
April 11, 2015

The next installment of HBO's VICE documentary series, which premiered Friday, took on "a terrifying cultural landscape" as it looks at a Muslim country whose government will pay for what it calls "sex-change" surgery as a so-called cure for homosexuality.

The show's producers shared an advanced clip of the segment reported by VICE correspondent Thomas Morton. It's an astonishing tale about how gay men who are not transgender are compelled to have what would normally be gender-affirmative surgery if they were indeed trans. For many if not all of these men, it's a matter of living as someone they are not for the rest of their lives following surgery — or facing execution.

Once a relatively progressive country, Iran became a fundamentalist Islamic state where homosexuality is punishable by death after the fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979. Public executions of gay men in Iran is a frequent occurrence. In fact, the noosed bodies of young men are sometimes put on trucks and paraded through cities, towns and villages for all to see.
When given a choice between death or a sex change* which would you pick?

*I use the term “sex change” because it is not gender-affirmative surgery, not when you force them to choose between death and having surgery.

I Wouldn’t Say That.

The population of the trans community according to some reports is about 0.5% of the overall population. Now it would be very hard for our small community to tax the healthcare systems, but if you read the headlines you would think we are creating a nationwide shortage of healthcare providers.
Demand for transgender medical care is exploding
Business Insider
By Usha Lee McFarling
December 26, 2016

Thanks to the openness of Caitlyn Jenner and others, public awareness of transgenderism — and demand for trans-specific medical care like counseling, hormone treatments, and genital surgery — is exploding, even for the youngest of patients. At the 30-plus clinics for transgender youth across the US, doctors like Olson-Kennedy can barely keep up with the demand.

Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, for example, opened its trans clinic just four years ago but already has 500 patients — and a four-month waiting list. Seattle Children’s Hospital opened its clinic in October and immediately got scores of calls. Olson-Kennedy’s clinic, the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, is the country’s largest, treating 725 trans youth from across the western US. Five hundred of those patients are Olson-Kennedy’s.
This story on is about the lack of healthcare for trans people and how a new grant might alleviate the shortage…
Expanding limited resources for transgender healthcare
By Matt Butler
December 26, 2016

One of the hardest parts about transitioning to life as a transgender person is the difficulty in finding sufficient healthcare to assist with any complications that may arise. Often, access to that type of care is restricted to big cities, such as the massive Center of Excellence for Transgender Health in San Francisco.

That may soon be changing for upstate New York. A recent grant awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program to five practitioners from The Gender Wellness Center at A.O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta will go toward founding the new Clinical Scholars Program, a program designed to foster networks addressing the health inequities faced by the transgender population in our medical system.

The grant is worth $500,000 over the next three years and will support a group consisting of Dr. Carolyn Wolf-Gould, Dr. Christopher Gould, Dr. Diane Georgeson, physician assistant Tania Villa, of Ithaca, and Justine Woolner-Wise, a licensed medical social worker, in their work.
“It’s dizzying in some ways, it’s hard to keep up with, but I’m pleased by it […] I find it exciting,” she said. “Things are moving fast.”
Here in Connecticut there are rumors that Middlesex Hospital is planning some type  of trans center and also Yale/New Haven Hospital has a surgeon who is doing Gender Confirming Surgery for MtF.
Hartford Hospital also has had a clinic for trans children four at least six or seven years.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Peace On Earth and Goodwill To All

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

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

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

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

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

And a cute little video...

Saturday, December 24, 2016


I normally don’t post Saturday afternoon, but this message had to get out there.

When I first went into social work after I retired I didn’t major in the micro track into individual or group therapy because I am not a people person, I am too empathic, I knew that I couldn’t distance myself from the client, their problems would become my problems so instead I went into macro and community organizing.

Right after Trump election I started receiving calls on the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition phone line with trans people crying and saying they are afraid of what Trump might do to us. It was very hard to talk to them and be positive, and it has taken a toll on me. Well I am not the only one, a person who I know in the community wrote this article,
Trumphobia: Crisis hotline flooded with calls from scared young queers
LGBTQ Nation
By Dawn Ennis
December 23, 2016

The phones have been ringing off the hook at the Trevor Project offices in West Hollywood, Calif. ever since Election Day, and those working in the crisis hotline call center say there is mounting fear among LGBTQ youth.

“A lot of fear,” said Jean to KPCC-FM, a Southern California Public Radio station. “Jean” is not her real name; the station provided pseudonyms to those who spoke with them to shield their identities.

In the 18 years since its founding, the Trevor Project has responded to all kinds of fear, from coming out to peer pressure and parental rejection to suicide.

But this is different, said another one of the counselors.

“I don’t think I heard politics mentioned that much before the election,” said Sadie. “But when you have 12- and 13-year-olds who are calling and freaking out, that has struck me.”

They’ve never seen anxiety like this before, the counselors told the station.
In fact, the number of calls in the week post-election set a new record in the organization’s history.
At the Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, after the service I saw a person sitting down crying so I sat next to them (the person identifies as genderfluid) and I asked them if they are okay. And over tears they explained that they had just come out to their parents and they was worried about what will happen to us. There was another trans person who told me that she was scared and she didn’t know what is going to happen to all of us.

The talk that we have survived before and we will again does allay the fears and now with the holiday season upon the loneliness that many trans people have around the holiday days are compounded by the fears of the coming Trump presidency.

So I ask you all if you can, open your doors to LGBT people this holiday season for many of us are without families and are scared about the future.

And here are some important phone numbers…
Trans Lifeline 1-877-565-8860
Note at this time this is not a 24 hour hotline.
The Trevor Project: Suicide Hotline for LGBTQ Youth: 1-866-488-7386
The Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Hotlines USA: 1-800-784-2433 & 1-800-273-8255 Deaf Hotline: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services Hotline: 1-888-999-5545 English & 1-888-568-8332 Español
Or call 991.  

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays!

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

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…

1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you by pass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?
It has been so long that I don’t remember, but I would think that greed who have taken over and I would have spill my guts out telling him everything I wanted.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?
I am nice, I have been helping someone who major health problems, and I am going tomorrow morning to set up a stereo for him… not a thing that I have on my list to do for Christmas Eve.

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?
Mea culpa, mea culpa. I haven’t even sent out any Christmas cards this season, it is the first time ever that I let it go.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?
Kind of, I am buying a modem/router because I found out that I will be paying $10 a month for the cable companies modem/router and you can buy them for around $100-$150. I am also going to buy a back-up power supply.

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie?
Bah humbug! I don’t have any. But it seems like we are starting a tradition of going to see a play.

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?
Yes once and never again.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party? 
Nope, but it was fun to watch everyone else embarrass themselves.

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?
If I don’t have to worry about carbs then I like hot mulled cider with Captain Morgan.

9. Share a memory from last Christmas.
Walking in the woods on Christmas Eve. When I was a teenager it was snowing and I was bored along with a neighbor who was also bored, so we took a couple of road flare and went walking in the woods… it was beautiful! The snow made the woods so quiet, the only noise was the crunch of our footsteps and the hiss of the flares and the flares lit up the woods and snow coming down all red.

Friday, December 23, 2016


For the first time a man has been prosecuted in federal court for a hate crime against a trans person.
Mississippi man pleads guilty to first federal hate crime for killing transgender ex
By Elizabeth Preza
December 22, 2016

A Mississippi man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal hate crime for killing an Alabama transgender teenager whom he had dated, the nation’s first involving a victim targeted solely based on their gender identity, WKRG reports.

Joshua Brandon Vallum, 29 pleaded guilty to a state murder charge in July 2015; he admitted to beating 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson to death after discovering her biological gender. In court, Vallum admitted he would not have killed Williamson if she was not transgender.

Authorities say Vallum was in a gang called the Latin Kings, which banned homosexuality. When his friend discovered Williamson’s biological gender, he “believed he would be in danger if other Latin Kings members discovered that he had engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with a transgender woman.”

Several months after ending his sexual and romantic relationship with Willaimson, Vallum reportedly picked her up under false pretenses and killed her, using a stun gun, pocket knife and hammer.
Good! I hope the judge gives him the maximum sentence.

Fusion reported,
According to the DOJ, Vallum and Williamson had been in a relationship, and Vallum was fully aware of Williamson’s gender identity. While Vallum contended in his state trial that he killed Williamson only after discovering she was transgender, federal prosecutors said Vallum used a stun gun, repeatedly stabbed, and beat her with a hammer out of fear that fellow members of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation would learn of their relationship—something prohibited in the Latin King bylaws.
This was one of the typical hate murders, where the suspect knew she was trans and then when friends found out that he was dating a trans women he kills her to protect his honor.

The reason it was a federal crime according to Fusion,
Vallum is already currently serving a life sentence for killing Williamson after pleading guilty to murder charges in Mississippi. The Sun Herald notes that because the state does not have laws to protect victims of hate crimes based on gender identity and because Vallum crossed state lines from Alabama to Mississippi to commit the murder, the DOJ had room to bring federal hate crime charges.
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and I have to wonder if we will see more or less hate crime prosecutions under Trump presidency than Obama’s administration?

What Comes Next… Banning Insurance Coverage For AIDS/HIV?

When you give religious exception for healthcare insurance where do you draw line?
Religious organizations want an exception for our healthcare.
Catholic Benefits Association blasts federal transgender regulation
Catholic News Service
By Mark Pattison
December 22, 2016

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Catholic Benefits Association, which is made up of Catholic employers nationwide, has come out against a federal regulation scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 that redefines "sex" for anti-discrimination purposes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services requires that coverage in group health plans "include coverage for gender transition services, hormonal treatments, counseling and a host of surgeries that would remove or transforms the sexual organs of men or women transitioning to the other gender," said Martin Nussbaum, general counsel for the association, who called it an "extreme rule."

"Clearly these things are contrary to Catholic doctrine and values, and part of what creates the problem for Catholic organizations," he said during a Dec. 21 teleconference spelling out the regulation and its potential effects.

The Oklahoma City-based Catholic Benefits Association is made up of Catholic dioceses, hospitals, school systems, religious orders and other entities that offer their employees insurance and benefit programs that adhere to Catholic teaching.
So tell me how do you pick what exemption to hand out? Will there be a religious test… will they have to show where it is outlawed in your tenants where it is banned?

Will a white supremacist church be allowed to not cover sickle cell disease? Would a Jewish synagogue be able to refuse to cover Trichinosis? Would a religion be allowed to bar treatment for STDs? What about health coverage for the child of an unmarried couple, could a religious order not allow coverage for the child of an employee?

You open a whole can of worms when you start giving religious exemptions for healthcare coverage.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

LGBT Articles

Slate has a series of LGBT articles and two of those piqued my interest.
Don’t Have Time, Don’t Want To: Why Lesbians Don’t Participate in Health-Care Studies—and Why That’s a Problem
By Marybec Griffin-Tomas
December 21, 2016

On June 5, 2016, New York University’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies launched a study into how lesbians between the ages of 18 and 29 access health care.* We figured that we would have no problem surveying 200 lesbians during Pride month—after all, we could recruit at the Dyke March and at the city’s massive Pride parade. We were even offering $5 in cash to anyone who would complete a survey at several of the season’s outdoor festivals. Besides, we had easily recruited around 800 gay men for a parallel study. So simple, we thought. So wrong we were.
What they think is the reason they can’t find any lesbian for their research,
Even superqueer New York City has a lack of explicitly lesbian spaces, though the same isn’t true for gay male venues. We could only recruit at four lesbian bars, while we had more than 30 gay men’s bars to choose from. This meant we were going to the same places over and over in search of study participants—the same places where we’d failed to sign anyone up the week before. The disappearance of lesbian bars isn’t unique to New York City, of course; lesbian bars are closing all across America, but if there are only four lesbian bars in a city of 8 million, just imagine the challenges we would have faced in a smaller metropolis.
The scientific community hasn’t conditioned lesbians to participate in research in the way it has gay men. A PubMed search of the scientific literature from the past 10 years found 135,266 health articles on women, 882 of which were about lesbian health. That’s less than 0.7 percent of the scientific literature. Compare that with a similar search of men’s health articles—66,306 total articles with 1,401 on gay men’s health, or 2.1 percent of the scientific literature.
We found the same problems with trans people, not only is there a lack of research with the trans community but also we are hard to find because we are such a diverse community. Many trans people do not go to gay bars and there are fewer social spots where trans people gather.

When we were doing a pilot study on HIV/AIDS in the Hartford area we had a hard time getting a diverse trans population. We went to gay bars and support groups looking for trans people to take the survey but a lot of trans people do not visit places like those. We also reached out to community health services for people to take the survey.

Also the CDC considered us “men” so they categorize us as Men having Sex with Men” (MSM).

I think all research should include in their demographic questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, it will only three questions and they can gather so much more information about the LGBT community.

The other article that caught my attention was about married couples with one spouse a trans man.
Staying Married Through a Gender Transition
By Evan Urquha
December 21, 2016

Six years ago, Cassie and I met and began dating as lesbians. At the time, I didn’t know I was transgender. Then about two years ago, just nine months after we were married, I told her I thought I might want to transition and live as a man. It’s hard to overstate how difficult this was for us at first, but we stuck with one another and managed to preserve our marriage. I spoke with Cassie about staying together, and about being a lesbian (or maybe not) in a relationship with a trans man.
When you first told me, I was surprised by how angry I was. I mean, you weren’t my first experience with a trans person. I’ve had a number of friends come out, and it’s never been hard to adjust. Plus, I was in the queer dorm at UMass, and many of the kids I lived with were trans. I always figured I was well prepared for the possibility of a romantic partner coming out. I didn’t know what I’d do, exactly, but I didn’t think I’d be angry. But when you told me, I don’t know … We were trying to get me pregnant at the time, and all I could think was that you were fucking up my adorable little lesbian life.
Part of the feels it seems to me is the loss of the partner’s lesbian identity because now they are seen as a straight couple.
Sometimes I see myself as a lesbian, and sometimes I don’t. Part of me thinks it’s wrong to consider myself a lesbian because if I do, and I remain in a relationship with a trans guy, or even admit attraction, on a certain level, to any other trans guys, I’m effectively invalidating their gender. That said, coming out to myself was such an important thing for me. It made so much about myself make sense, not just who I was attracted to but my personality and how I interacted with the world. It made me so much happier. I don’t want to let that go.

And then the big question…
This reminds me, we’ve been talking about trans men, but what about trans women? Are you attracted to trans women? Have you ever been with a trans woman? Do you think you can be with trans women and still be a “real lesbian”?

Yeah, I’ve been attracted to and been with trans women. I know it’s a point of contention for some people, but I think that’s silly. At least for me, if I’m hanging out, flirting, feeling attraction and chemistry with someone, then there’s a good chance I’m going to enjoy having sex with that person if I get the chance. I guess if you’re only attracted to genitals, that could be more limiting, depending on the specifics, but I feel like you’re probably having pretty boring sex. Maybe I’m wrong, and to each their own, but it’s not an issue for me. And I kind of suspect it would be less of an issue for other people than they think, but they just don’t want to think about it.
Being trans is hard not only for us but also for those that love us.

The straight couple is now perceived as a lesbian or gay couple and the gay or lesbian couple is now perceived as a straight couple. Both results in being excluded from the space they occupied before, a lesbian or gay couple becomes less welcome in lesbian or gay spaces and a straight couple now is less welcome in a straight space.

A Night Out On The Town

Last night was our second annual night out on the town to see Christmas on the Rocks. The ads for the play said that the play had new characters from last year’s play, well it did but there was only one new character in the play.

I left the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, where I volunteer two days a week, early and I got home a little before Stana came over to my house. I drove up to Hartford; the problem was it was rush hour but at least everyone was leaving Hartford and we were heading in to Hartford so I wound around the streets avoiding the traffic. From all of the meetings that I go to in Hartford I know my way around the city, when I interned in the city I learned fast the best way to avoid the traffic jams on I-84 and I-91. After parking we went to Max Downtown to meet our other three friends.

If you haven’t been to Max Downtown, it is a 5-star restaurant and it’s price lives up to its reputation but so does the food. I had a glass of Chardonnay and the Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop (Brown sugar sweet potato souffle, brussels sprouts, bacon & apple slaw, sticky bourbon bbq sauce), the pork chop was divine! My share of the bill was just under $60.

After dinner we went over to Theater Works which is only a block away from the restaurant , the play is set in a bar and the bartender meets all these offbeat characters from Christmas stories and movies who stop by on Christmas Eve. Their website says,
Your favorite kids from Christmas stories—all grown up, shaken, stirred and served with a twist.

It's Christmas Eve in a rundown local bar. Expecting a silent night, the bartender finds himself mixing drinks for a parade of surprising guests - children from your favorite Christmas specials and movies - now all grown up. Join them as they pour out their Christmas woes in this delightful parody.
And the Hartford Courant writes,
It keeps on rockin' in the Christmas world: TheaterWorks' soused seasonal hit "Christmas on the Rocks" is back for another round.

The jolly, juiced-up comedy anthology, stocked with familiar (if fallen) faces from classic holiday stories, is a proven crowd-pleaser. TheaterWorks created it in 2013 and has nurtured it like a scrawny tree outside Snoopy's doghouse. Soon the script will be published and available to other theaters around the country. "Christmas on the Rocks" is the gift that keeps on giving, as long as the booze doesn't run out.
One of the characters who stops by the bar a Christmas Elf who is flaming over-the-top gay and one of the jokes is when Hermey dances into the bar and says “Guess where I just came from?” and the bartender replies “Provincetown?”

This year’s play they took out “Cindy Lou Who” and added "Frosty the Snowman" who ended up as a bucket of water.

This time after the play we knew how to get out of the parking garage, last year we wandered around trying to find a way into the garage after hours. It was nice to get out again with some old friends.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Good Old Bathrooms Are Back In The News

But this time it shows the BS that the Republicans say about trans people using bathrooms.
Most women happy to share bathrooms with transgender women
One reason for men's concerns about transgender women using female-designated public bathrooms is because they see themselves as 'protectors of women'.
December 20, 2016

Most women aren't concerned about sharing public bathrooms with transgender women. But many men are concerned about the safety and privacy of the women in their lives, a new online opinion survey says.

A transgender woman is someone who identifies as female, but was registered at birth as male.

Researchers analysed 1,035 comments posted by readers of 190 online news articles about transgender women's use of public bathrooms. The issue is controversial, particularly in the United States, where so-called "bathroom bills" are being considered for transgender use of public facilities.

Men were about 1.55 times more likely than women to express safety and privacy concerns. Women were much less likely to comment on the news stories. When they did, they were more restrained than men
PsychCentral said that,
Such male transphobia seems to have its roots in how men see themselves as the protectors of women, said Dr. Rebecca Stones of Nankai University in China and Monash University in Australia.

The study has practical implications, as transgenderism has become controversial lately. In the U.S., for example, so-called “bathroom bills” are being considered that will determine whether transgender people can use restrooms that are in line with their current gender identity, or if they will have to go to those designated for their birth gender only.
Once again it is men who know best what is right for women.
Stones says that male transphobia appears to be tied to the male gender role of protector. It is reflected in comments such as, “‘I don’t want some guy-turned-girl in a restroom while my wife is in there” and, “I have a teenage daughter and I demand that her privacy be protected from a gender-confused pervert that may walk in on her while she’s in the restroom!”

She theorizes that the concerns expressed by men in their online comments are also rooted in how they view transgender females. They see them not as women, but still as men who are just lying or are merely mistaken about their gender identity.
Whether it is reproductive rights or who can use the bathroom it men who rule the roost and pass these draconian laws against women and trans women. It is their misogyny and transphobia that drive them to pass these laws. The women don’t care who uses the women’s room, all they care about peeing in peace.

From The Other Side Of The World

Trans people are everywhere! Anywhere you go in the world there are trans people and some are struggling for their lives. In Pakistan there is a play Teesri Dhun (The Third Tune), The Institute of Sacred Music describes the play…
Four transgender performers from Pakistan take over the Marquand Chapel to share their experiences of being neither man nor woman, in a search for God, love and identity. Through music, dance and storytelling, this documentary theater unfolds narratives of history, separation, desire and celebration as our characters jostle for a third space in a polarized gendered world.

Teesri Dhun is based on research by Shahnaz Khan and Claire Pamment and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. First staged at Lahore Arts Council in 2015 and produced by Olomopolo Media, it now visits the USA with the support of Yale ISM.
Nadia Anwar writes in an article in The Nation that,
Teesri Dhun: Bringing the shadowy world of the transgender community into light
The Third Tune no doubt touched the strings of heart through its disturbing yet highly entertaining and sensational performance at Alhamra Arts Council Lahore

In a society divided on the lines of Self and Other and in which the marginalized communities are still struggling to eke out their existence by creating pockets of resistance against the stereotypical outlook of their more privileged counterparts, being a member of the audience of Teesri Dhun, a performance depicting the struggles of transgender community in Pakistan, had been a startling but fulfilling experience.

The Third Tune no doubt touched the strings of heart through its disturbing yet highly entertaining and sensational performance at Alhamra Arts Council Lahore this Saturday. One of the highlights of the whole performance experience was the strong presence of the transgender community in the hall as members of the audience. The performance, in fact, not only enabled access to a marginalized community into the circles of mainstream audience but also bridged the imaginary gap between the two audiences created through the years of historical misapprehensions.

Clair Pamment and Shahnaz Khan took an important task of exposing the dark realities surrounding the lives of the transgender to the wider public. The effects of the performative actions were optimized by putting up a challenge to concepts and socio-cognitive constructs such as mardangi, sharam, and izzat.

The third tune brought the shadowy world of transgender community into light as well as suggested the change in mind-sets reflective of how we perceive things and phenomena by shutting doors to more inclusive alternatives. The effort allowed an interstitial space both for the socially acceptable and marginalized communities to get together under one roof and allow the ‘Other’ to become a part of their world by shedding all fears and ill wills.
The play was performed here in the U.S. at several colleges around the U.S. including Yale. I wish I know about then because I probably would have gone to see it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Ugh… being trans makes it a lot harder to find romantic partners. I not talking about one night stands but rather long term relationships.

What are the ethics of transgender dating?
LGBTQ Nation
By Brynn Tannehill
December 19, 2016

Even before I began transitioning, I was aware of the ongoing debate revolving around when, how, and whether a transgender person should disclose being transgender to potential romantic partners. Like any complex social and ethical issue, there are a lot of aspects to consider.

There isn’t a lot of research on transgender people and dating. The data that exists isn’t particularly encouraging. 47% of LGB people would consider dating a transgender person, and 44% would not. Transgender women are the members of the LGBT community most likely to try dating online, in part because they almost always need to search a larger geographical area than any other segment of the LGBT population to find someone willing to date a transgender woman. This effect is magnified for transgender women in rural areas with a lower population density, where they might have to drive for hours to meet another queer, single person.
I was thinking about online dating but I have cold feet.

I was dating a woman after I transitioned, I knew her for a while and she attended a workshop where I was giving a talk and we dated for a couple of months afterward, I never really knew why she broke it off but my thoughts were that she had a problem with being seen with a bunch of trans people.
For transgender and queer people in the rural areas, online dating applications have become the primary way of meeting other people, and the number of queer spaces and “gay bars” is falling accordingly. Putting that you’re transgender right up front in your profile might cut down on the number of responses, but it also reduces the chances of “jerks and surprises.”
I am not into the “bar scene” and secondly I am not interested in men. I do attend many lesbian functions such as “game night” at Real Art Ways in Hartford and we have good times there, it is lots of fun learning new games each month.
When transgender women choose to disclose online, they are often fetishized on dating sites, being treated like, “just an item to check off someone’s sexual bucket list.” “Chasers” present something of a dilemma too: sometimes they represent the only potential attention a transgender woman might receive in a rural area. Transgender men seem to be less subject to prurient interest on gay dating sites, but often feel misunderstood or unwanted. They frequently are subjected to ignorant, insensitive, or hostile comments on sites like Grindr.
I know of several trans people who have found happiness from online dating sites but I also know other trans people who have had bad luck with the sites. Many of those who had bad luck reported getting only inquiries from “Tranny Chasers” to who were only interested in one night stands, kind of like they are checking off their “bucket list,” slept with a tranny… check.
The news is even worse for transgender people who identify as heterosexual. Only 12% of straight people in one survey said they would be open to dating a transgender person, while 65% would never consider it. There is a great deal of stigma attached to being a man who dates a transgender woman, even when that transgender woman is Janet Mock. The horror of accidentally dating a transgender woman continues to be the source of humor for a public still generally uncomfortable with the idea.
And that is also where a lot of the violence comes from, their friends make fun of them dating a trans person so the beat-up or kill their partner because they feel ashamed of dating a trans person.

I think she hit the nail on its head when she wrote,
The simplest explanation for these logical and legal inconsistencies is a toxic mix of homophobia and transphobia. Men are afraid of being labeled gay, or doubting their own masculinity, if they have sex with a transgender person. People in general have a visceral “ick” reaction to a stereotype of transgender people, whether or not they were able to tell the person was transgender. This is the definition of bias.
They don’t see us a woman or man.

I was at a senior center one time and the discussion was about senior dating and one of the lesbians said that she doesn’t have a problem with trans women in women’s space, but then she added, but I wouldn’t date a trans woman because I only date women.

I still think the best way to meet someone romantically is to go out and do things like game night. That maybe someone will get to know you as a person rather than a trans person.


Sometimes we have allies and sometimes we don’t when we fight for our rights. When we fight our battles we do it for our survival, but when allies fight with us they do it for love. However, sometimes their good will  is misplaced.
U.S. school an antidote to transgender discrimination complaints
By Letitia Stein
December 19, 2016

Inside a sunny classroom at a church decorated with rainbow flags, two transgender teenagers exploded into giggles during a dance break from math at Pride School Atlanta.

They are among a handful of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) youth who have found a haven at the school, which opened this fall at a time when the number of discrimination complaints from transgender students has been soaring across the nation.

The non-profit private Pride School Atlanta is seen as the first school in the American South focused on the LGBT community and one of few addressing similar concerns in the nation.

"They don't have to fight for the right to exist here," Christian Zsilavetz, the school's transgender co-founder and director, said in an interview.

Court records and data reviewed by Reuters show a 12-fold surge in transgender student-related civil rights complaints lodged with the U.S. Department of Education - from seven in 2014 to 84 in 2016.
I love that they are proving a safe space for LGBT students but they shouldn’t have to if the schools are doing their job of proving a safe learning space for students as they are required by law to do.
At Pride School, where transgender students are the majority of its inaugural class, Josh Farabee, 14, feels comfortable showing off his spunky pink and lime hair and long mauve nails.

Under the gender-neutral restroom policy students voted for, he tried the men's restrooms but discovered he still prefers the women's.

The transgender student's days at the school are a far cry from his former public school, where classmates called him "tranny" and "fag."

"I don't wake up scared to go to school," he said.
The U.S. Department of Education has published guidelines for safe schools,
Schools must be both safe and supportive for effective teaching and learning to take place. Three key principles can guide efforts to create such productive learning environments. First, work in a deliberate fashion to develop positive and respectful school climates and prevent student misbehavior before it occurs. Ensure that clear, appropriate, and consistent expectations and consequences are in place to prevent and address misbehavior. And finally, use data and analysis to continuously improve and ensure fairness and equity for all students.
It is nice that the Pride School proved a safe space for LGBT students but to me it sounds like ghettoizing LGBT students… here let’s put them in their own school so we don’t have to worry about bullying.

The article goes on to say,
The transgender student's days at the school are a far cry from his former public school, where classmates called him "tranny" and "fag."

"I don't wake up scared to go to school," he said.
No student should be afraid to go to school

I think it is a good idea to have the LGBT school however, it shouldn’t leave public schools off the hook to provide a safe learning space for all students. A safe school policy is Westport’s Safe School Climate Plan. Their definition of bullying includes gender identity and sexual orientation.
Bullying shall include, but not be limited to, a written, verbal or electronic communication or physical act or gesture based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristics, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national  origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics.
And the policy is being modified to be the model for other school districts here in Connecticut.

Let us all be working for safe schools and not for “separate but equal LGBT school “ because in life LGBT people will have to work alongside of cisgender and straight society.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Unintended Consequences

With the Republicans rush to pass anti-LGBT legislation some of the laws may have consequences they never thought about.
A Conservative Defense of Transgender Rights
Conservatives should hesitate before empowering the government to look up people’s skirts.
National Review
By Josh Gelernter
December 17, 2016

Kentucky governor Matt Bevin said last week that he hopes the Kentucky legislature won’t consider a transgender-bathroom bill in the upcoming legislative session; according to Bevin, “the last thing we need is more government rules.” He’s absolutely right, and I think it’s worth offering a conservative defense of transgender rights — which ought to be a conservative issue.

On the American political spectrum, conservatism is the mind-your-own-business ideology. I know smoking is unhealthy, but I enjoy smoking, and my health is none of your business. I know motorcycles can be dangerous, but I like the wind in my hair; whether or not I wear a helmet is none of your business. I realize that fireworks can blow up before they’re supposed to, but they’re fun and my fingers are none of your business. Don’t tell me what sort of car to drive, or what kind of light bulb I can buy, or what kind of milk I can drink, or how to raise my kids.

There’s a reason, when push comes to shove, most libertarians vote Republican. The Republican party is — more often than not, and should invariably be — the party of individual liberty. So conservatives have to ask, is it a good idea to empower the government to start lifting up people’s skirts?
One of the big mantras is “States’ Rights” and all the anti-LGBT bills that the Republicans have said they will introduce in Congress take away from states’ rights. One of the issues they opposed President Obama executive orders on trans issues was “States’ Rights” well now they are doing it.
Furthermore, it is a fundamental position of American conservatism that you don’t penalize innocent people in anticipation of criminal activity. It’s not my fault, as someone who wants a gun for self-defense, that someone else may want a gun to shoot his neighbor. Crime prevention does not preempt my right to self-defense. It’s not my fault, as someone who wants to contribute to a candidate he supports, that someone else might contribute to a candidate in order to buy political influence. Crime prevention does not preempt my right to political speech.
We already have laws against sexual assault and laws that allow us to use the bathroom
As for being uncomfortable in a public bathroom — should we ban guns because they make liberals uncomfortable? (And it’s not as if public bathrooms were comfortable to begin with.)
And, in the end, how will the government tell who is and isn’t transgendered? Will suspicious parties be sequestered by police and asked to produce sex identification? Will broad-shouldered women be detained on suspicion of a Y-chromosome?
And he ends the article with…
Conservatives should remember that big government threatens freedom, even when Republicans are in power. They should also remember that conservatives who pick and choose whose freedom they defend aren’t worthy of the name.
In addition, the so called “religious freedom” bills are so broadly written that you can say just about anything you don’t like is based on your personal beliefs and no one can prove you wrong. And if they write them just to cover LGBT issues then the 14th Amendment of the Constitution say you have to treat everyone the same under the law and that was one of the reasons marriage equality laws were struck down.

I believe that the only reason why Republicans attack trans people and LGB people is because it gets them votes and cash in their war chest. Because if you stop and think, passing laws that impose of the freedom of LGBT people is counter to the Republican philosophy of less government and at one time they supported LGBT rights. The first time that the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill came up in the state Senate the vote was 30 Yeas, 4 Nays and 2 Absent and then when it passed in 2011 the vote was right along party lines.

This afternoon I am down in New London doing training for homeless shelter staff.


Has McCarthyism returned, are we going to have witch hunts again?

Besides the hunt for “Reds” Sen. McCarty also tried to weeds out “Homosexuals” from the state department.
Trump Ally Calls for Incoming Administration to Purge the State Department of Pro-LGBTQ Employees
HRC Blog
By Stephen Peters
December 16, 2016

Today, HRC called on President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to denounce comments made by Tony Perkins calling for a purge of pro-LGBTQ State Department employees. Perkins, a close Trump ally and the head of the rabidly anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, called on the incoming administration to have pro-LGBTQ employees “ferreted out” and “replaced by conservatives.”

“Tony Perkins’ proposal to purge pro-LGBTQ employees from the State Department is beyond the pale,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Perkins is hatefully suggesting pro-equality, career civil servants be rounded up and sent packing for doing their jobs.  The incoming administration should immediately denounce Perkins’ illegal and vindictive proposal. The State Department plays a crucially important role in America’s efforts to advance LGBTQ human rights around the globe. In countries with hostile anti-LGBTQ regimes -- like Russia, Syria and Egypt -- lives are literally at risk. Countless LGBTQ people depend on the State Department’s efforts, and we cannot and must not leave them behind.”

The Family Research Council (FRC) is known for virulent rhetoric that has earned them designation as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. FRC has a long history of demonization of LGBTQ people that has nothing to do with disagreements over public policy issues such as marriage equality or non-discrimination laws.  Among FRC’s many anti-LGBTQ statements devoid of facts are their linkages of gay people to pedophiles, their call for exporting gay people from the United States, their position that there should be criminal penalties for homosexuality, and their thoroughly debunked claim that one can change their sexual orientation.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ by George Santayana.
Are we going to repeat history? Are we going to repeat the Salem Witch Hunts? Are we going to repeat the “Lavender Scare” of the forties and fifties?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Attacking Our Families

The far-right is at it again, not only attacking us but also our families, so much for their “family values.”
Trump inauguration singer bullied online over trans sister
The Washington Blade
By Mariah Cooper
December 15, 2016

Opera singer Jackie Evancho, who will be singing the national anthem at Donald Trump’s inauguration, is facing an onslaught of criticism because she has a transgender sister.

Jackie, 16, received her big break when she was a finalist on season five of “America’s Got Talent” at 10 years old. Her sister Juliet, 18, came out as transgender at Global Lyme Alliance’s inaugural gala last year.

Juliet penned an essay, published on Wednesday, for Teen Vogue describing her struggles with gender identity.
The Teen Vogue article she talks about her coming out,
How Juliet Evancho Came Out as Transgender to Her Family, and the Entire World
“You don’t have to sacrifice who you are in order to be loved and accepted.”
By Juliet Evancho
December 14, 2016

Gender Dysphoria is a heated topic lately, but I’ve been living this “hot topic” since I was quite young. My name is Juliet Evancho — but I was born Jacob.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, for as long as I can remember I’ve always been into what would be classified as ‘girly’ things. I played dress up with my sister Jackie, loved Barbies, and occasionally we’d raid my mom’s makeup kits together. My parents noticed that I had zero interest in the typical “boy” toys and activities and began to question things. I can even remember getting very upset one Christmas when Jackie got a Barbie dollhouse and I got a remote-controlled truck. I can remember talking to my mom about my feelings. I told her I don’t think I’m gay — there's more to it than that. I feel like I really am a girl. At the time, I had never heard of the word "transgender." My mom pointed out the term and I began researching it. This led to a conversation with my doctor, as we wondered if this was normal behavior. My parents and I discussed it with him and he told us, “He isn’t insisting you call him Mary, so I don’t think he's transgender. He'll probably grow out of it.”
Typical ignorance of healthcare providers, instead of referring her to a specialist he pronounces his God like decree, she can’t be trans because…

When she realized that the doctor was wrong, her family supported her.
I have such a supportive family — even my dad came around eventually telling me, “Jacob, you’re still my child whether you’re a boy or a girl and I will always love and support you. It will take me a while to get used to calling you by another name and I’ll slip occasionally but I’ll get there and help you in any way I can.” My sister Jackie even dedicated her version of “All of the Stars” to me and told my story through the video that accompanied the song.
Now that is what true family values are.

In the People’s article Jackie talks about the hate she has received since accepting the job of singing at president-elect Trump inauguration.
Opera prodigy Jackie Evancho made headlines yesterday when it was revealed that she would be singing the national anthem at Donald Trump‘s presidential inauguration next month. Though honored by the prestigious invite, the 16-year-old soon became the target of vicious Twitter bullying by Trump’s detractors.

Many celebrities have their share of haters, but trolls attack the singing sensation’s family for a very personal reason as well.

“My family is kind of a big target. I have a transgender sister and so a lot of hate goes towards us,” Evancho tells PEOPLE Now.
Evancho, who rose to fame in 2010 when she came in second place on America’s Got Talent at the age of ten, admits that although there are times when the family gets frustrated with the hateful comments, they do their best to ignore it.
I think it is so hypocritical of those who sprout “family values” when they tear a family down for parents loving their children.

Today I am up in Vermont for my cousin’s birthday with the family.

2015 Trans Survey (Cont.)

Today I am reviewing employment and there are a number of important issues that the 2015 Transgender Survey full report covers. I think most of us in the trans community already know this, but our empirical knowledge is now backed up by data, their key findings are:

  • The unemployment rate among respondents was 15%, three times higher than the U.S. unemployment rate at the time of the survey (5%).
  • Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents were living in poverty, more than twice the rate in the U.S. adult population (14%).
  • One in eight (12%) respondents reported an annual household income between $1 and $9,999, three times higher than the U.S. adult population in this income bracket (4%).

And if you look our employment status,

  • Work full time for an employer 35%
  • Work part time for an employer 15%
  • Self-employed in own business, profession or trade, or operate a farm (not including underground economy) 15%
  • Retired 14%
  • Not employed due to disability 13%
  • Student 11%
  • Unemployed but looking for work 11%
  • Unemployed and have stopped looking for work 5%
  • Homemaker or full-time parent 3%
  • Work for pay from sex work, selling drugs, or other work currently criminalized 2%
  • Not listed above 4%

I think that this is quite telling especially the unemployed 15% compared to 5% in the general population.

Some of the other facts,

  • One in eight (12%) respondents reported that they had a household income between $1 and $9,999 per year, three times the rate in the U.S. population (4%).
  • Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents were living in poverty, more than twice the rate in the U.S. population (14%).
  • More than half (53%) of respondents whose sole source of income was from the underground economy had a household income between $1 and $9,999 per year, more than four times the rate in the overall sample.

Even with protects here in Connecticut I know a number of trans people who can’t find jobs and unless come right out say that they are not hiring because you are trans it is very hard to prove discrimination. They can come up with a thousand other excuses as to why they didn’t hard you.
In Our Own Voices“The day I came out as transgender at work, I was let go. Since transitioning, employment has been difficult, with a 95% reduction in earnings.”
I know someone with a post-PhD and she worked for Fortune 50 companies, not Fortune 500, but 50 and she had a hard time finding a job once she transitioned.

In the chapter on employment and the workplace the numbers are not any better.
Key Findings:
  • Sixteen percent (16%) of respondents who have ever been employed reported losing at least one job because of their gender identity or expression.
  • Thirty percent (30%) of respondents who had a job in the past year reported being fired, denied a promotion, or experiencing some other form of mistreatment in the workplace related to their gender identity or expression, such as being harassed or attacked.
  • In the past year, 27% of those who held or applied for a job reported being fired, denied a promotion, or not hired for a job they applied for because of their gender identity or expression.
  • Fifteen percent (15%) of respondents who had a job in the past year were verbally harassed, physically attacked, and/or sexually assaulted at work because of their gender identity or expression.
  • Nearly one-quarter (23%) of those who had a job in the past year reported other forms of mistreatment based on their gender identity or expression during that year, such as being told by their employer to present as the wrong gender in order to keep their job or having employers or coworkers share private information about their transgender status with others without permission.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents who had a job in the past year took steps to avoid mistreatment in the workplace, such as hiding or delaying their gender transition or quitting their job.
As a former supervisor, let me give you a tip.

When I had a troubled employee, say coming in late or the smell of alcohol on his breath, HR told me to keep a log on the employee so if we have to fire him we will have a record of his conduct. Well, that is a two way street.

Keep a log (a logbook with numbered pages is excellent) of the harassment, assaults, or anything else that happens to you because of being trans, also keep a copy of any written complaints or even if you just say to your boss or HR “They are at it again.” Write it down in the logbook (date, time, place, any witnesses, and what was said). I also like emails because they have all that information in them.
More than one-quarter (27%) of those who held or applied for a job in the past year reported not being hired, being denied a promotion, or being fired during that year because of their gender identity or expression.
Once again this is hard to prove in court unless the company is stupid.
In Our Own Voices:“Coworkers would gossip about me as news about my trans status spread through the workplace. I was treated significantly differently once people heard about me being trans. Coworkers felt they had the right to disrespect me because the owners set the tone. I became a spectacle in my own workplace.”
Boy did that happen to me. Before I transitioned, well actually on the day that I transitioned, word about me spread like wildfire through the company. Somehow one of my technicians found out I was trans and the day they laid me off (not about my transition but they were shutting down the plant) the hit counter on my blog went ballistic! I normally back then got 150 hits a day, the hit counter recorded over 500 hits that day and it was over the normal hits for the next couple of days, and when I looked to see where all the traffic was coming from I found all the hits were coming the domain name of the company where I used to work. Then the emails started coming in congratulating me. I think that my tech didn’t it discredit me but it backed fired.

We don’t take being fired lying down.
Response to being fired
  • They did nothing: 69%
  • They contacted a lawyer: 15%
  • They made an official complaint: 14%
  • They contacted a transgender, LGBT, or other group: 10%
  • They contacted their union representative: 2%
  • Not listed above 7%
Place complaint was filed
  • Employer’s human resources or personnel department: 53%
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): 33%
  • Employer’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office: 18%
  • Local or state human rights commission: 17%
  • Supervisor or manager 9%
  • Not listed above 26%
One thing that I don’t like is that if you make a complaint with the state human rights commission it because a searchable public record. One friend if you Google their name the discrimination lawsuit shows up.

The next chapter is about how we survive.

Today I am up in Vermont for my cousin’s birthday with the family.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Saturday 9: O, Holy Night

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: O, Holy Night (1967) 

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

1) This beloved carol takes its lyrics from a French poem. What else can we thank the French for?
Champagne and Roquefort cheese

2) How well do you know  "O, Holy Night?" Without looking up the lyrics, could you sing along with Ella?
I can’t sing or to put it another way, you don’t want me to sing.

3) In order to get this record into stores in time for Christmas 1967, Ella had to record this in late July. So let's reverse that. Now that it's Christmastime, what do you miss most about summer? 
Jumping into a lake.

4) Sam is crazy about the open toed pumps she'll be wearing to holiday parties, but that means she needs to get a pedi. Will you be at a salon between now and year-end?

5) Will you be consuming any egg nog this holiday season? And if you do, will it be spiked?
No. do you know how many carbs are in eggnog?

6) Thinking of holiday cuisine, what's your favorite Christmas cookie?
My grandmother on my father’s side made used to make Angel Wings and my grandmother on my mother’s side used to make Poppy Seed Rolls and Nut Rolls ( Potica ) while not really cookies they are more like sweet breads. I loved them and I never got her recipes for them, the closest I got to her recipes are on my website here.

7) Sam knows she will get a bottle of red wine from her boss, because that's what he gives his staff every year. Is there a gift you can count on receiving?
Nope, when my mother was alive I could count on getting a shirt.

8) What one gift would you most like to receive this year? Do you think anyone will get it for you?
We usually have a Yankee Swap at Christmas.
  1. Participants bring one wrapped gift (typically within a predetermined price range) and places the gift in a pile/central location.
  2. Participants draw numbers to determine the order in which they go.
  3. The person who drew #1 goes first and must open a gift from the pile.
    • After taking your turn you must keep your gift out where other players can see it.
    • When it’s your turn if you touch a wrapped gift you have to open it.
  4. The person who drew #2 goes next and has the choice of taking the gift opened by #1 or selecting an unopened gift. If #1's gift is taken player #1 must open another gift from the pile.
  5. The person who drew #3 goes next and can either take #1's gift, or take #2's gift, or open a gift.
  6. If player #3 takes an opened gift from player #1 or #2 then that player who is now giftless has the option of taking the other gift that was opened or opening a wrapped gift (they cannot take player #3's gift -- see rule 8).
  7. Play continues as such with players either taking/swapping a gift or opening one.
  8. When a gift is opened the round is over (you can't decide you don't like what you opened and decide to swap for something else).
  9. Any single gift can only be swapped once per round.
  10. Once the round for the highest numbered player has completed player #1 can swap gifts with any other player (for this final round there is no futher swapping after that).

9) This time of year is big for charitable fundraising. Here's your chance to plug a cause or organization that's near and dear to you.
True Colors, a sexual minority youth and family Service agency.