Friday, September 22, 2017

We Can Have All The Laws, But… (Part 2)

Even with all the laws and regulations can’t stop hate.

It seems like all the bigots are crawling out from under the rocks now that the current administration has rescinded the protections of Title IX in schools.
Transgender students told to leave South Glens Falls school bus
Post Star
By Michael Gott
September 21, 2017

SOUTH GLENS FALLS — Two transgender high school students were told to get off a South Glens Falls school bus on Wednesday after they say the driver became upset because they wanted to sit on the side of the bus with the boys.

A school official said the district regretted the incident, which was recorded on video and posted on Facebook, and said it never should have happened.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Patton called the matter “unfortunate” and said it was not handled appropriately at all. The students should not be segregated by sex on a bus, he said.
For some reason the bus driver segregated the students by gender on the bus and that is when the trouble began.
Leo Washington, 16, and 15-year-old (Aaren) Layla Sweenor both identify as neither male nor female, which is referred to as trans nonbinary. (Sweenor said people know her by both names and it was how her email was signed.) They wanted to sit on the boys side.

“Before he started the bus, (the bus driver) gave us this weird look and he told us to get to the girls side of the bus and we didn’t move because we felt more comfortable where we were sitting. When we tried to explain it to him, he started yelling at us to move to the other side of the bus,” Washington said.
The bus driver said that he segregated the students by gender to keep the peace on the bus; the school system’s superintendent said “wanted to create some type of order on the bus” But the driver sure went at it the wrong way and he probably violated Title IX in the process.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Politic is a lose, lose proposition, no matter what you do you lose and that is especially true at the state level. Connecticut is caught between a rock and a hard place, it all boils down to whom do you want to squeeze, the rich, or the workers, or education, or the towns & cities?

The Republican and Democratic budgets suck!

The three proposed budgets do not balance, the Connecticut Mirror says…
Despite their many disagreements over how the next state budget should look, Republican and Democratic legislators have one key element in common
.
Neither of their respective plans would spare Connecticut from grappling with another massive budget deficit two years from now.

The legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis says the two-year budget crafted by Republican legislators and passed in the House and Senate late last week would balance the state’s books this fiscal year and next — wiping out a $3.5 billion deficit in the process
.
But that same plan, unless adjusted, would run $3.31 billion in the red between 2019 and 2021.

And the alternative budget developed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Democratic legislative leadership would fare even worse, with a potential shortfall of $3.58 billion.

In other words, when Connecticut’s next governor arrives at the Capitol in January 2019, that person and the General Assembly effectively would face the same challenge that has confounded Malloy and legislators for the past eight months. And that’s after taking into account the wide array of spending cuts and tax hikes both sides have built into their latest budget plans.
You just cannot balance the budget without some type on new sources of revenue.
Malloy has said he will veto the Republican plan, citing several problems. The governor says that budget would:
  • Unilaterally reduce employee pension benefits after mid-2027 and reap some of the savings now, reducing pension contributions by $321 million across this fiscal year and next.
  • Impose excessive cuts on public colleges and universities.
  • Cut income tax relief for the working poor by $150 million.
  • Provide insufficient aid to Hartford to avert insolvency.
  • And require the governor to find $260 million more in undefined savings after the budget is in force than the Democratic plan would demand.
So when the Republicans say there budget doesn’t have any tax increase they are full of… well baloney. According to the Hartford Courant some of the things that the Republican budget does away with are.
While the Republicans rejected Democrats’ proposals to institute new or higher taxes on cellphone plans, Uber and Lyft rides, restaurant meals, cigarettes and vacation homes, the GOP is calling for other changes that could result in less money in people’s pockets.

For instance, proposed changes to the earned income tax credit would result in less money for the working poor. An increase in the fee for criminal background checks could cost businesses more. And the elimination of an exemption to the admissions tax at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the XL Center and other venues would cost concert-goers and minor league baseball fans a collective $2 million in fiscal 2019 and another $2 million the following year.

The Republican plan calls for $20 million in unspecified fee increases in fiscal 2019 to cover administrative expenses. It also would generate millions by raising the state’s hospital tax in a complicated maneuver that is designed to bring in more federal funding, with the promise that some of that money would be sent back to the hospitals.
So how do you define tax increase? Me, I define it by having to pay more to the government. Increased usage fees I define as tax increases, losing earned income tax credit is a tax increase.

So where do you get new funding sources?

Personally I would like to see an increase in usage fees such as hunting & fishing licenses, professional fees and increases in cigarette and liquor taxes. I would like to see tolls (but the locations of the tolls would have to be made so it didn’t pick any locations. i.e. just at the borders), and I would like to see marijuana legalized and taxed.

I also think part of the problem is in Washington as they cut grants to states. The Republican rush to cut the taxes on millionaires and billionaires is causing federal budget deficits to increase and plus the drastic increase in military spending is going squeeze the states even more as the Congressional Republicans move to cut spending and funds to the states to pay for the tax breaks on the rich and increase in military spending.

There is not easy answer, with the move by Congress toward “state’s rights” states will be battling each other on a race to the bottom.



Many people say that government should be run like a business.

I say it is not a business. It is a government that have certain duties and responsibilities to the people.

How do you put food assistance in a profit/loss statement? Are there certain number of acceptable deaths due to starvation?

What about budgeting for hurricane relief? Or snow removing? How do you run that like a business?

You can only make so many cuts and then people start dying. What is an acceptable ratio for the Department of Social Service case workers to clients? How about the roads, how do you put them in a profit/loss statement?

Do we want parks? What about libraries, do we need them?

Government is not a business.


We Can Have All The Laws, But… (Part 1)

They cannot stop the heartless.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said,
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
However, when the president gives the green light to hate, laws are not enough. Washington state has laws to protect us…
Friend of transgender woman assaulted on Capitol Hill: "It's destroyed us a bit"
By KOMO News Staff
September 22nd 2017

SEATTLE -- Seattle police are trying to identify three men after a transgender woman was assaulted at a restaurant on Capitol Hill.

The assault happened early Sunday morning inside Rancho Bravo on East Pine Street, the victim reported to officers. The assault her bruised and in stitches.

"It was my birthday last week, so she wanted to take me out," said close friend Chris Ferrentino, who was with the victim at the time of the assault.
When they sat down at the restaurant she noticed a person taking photos of her,
His friend, who is a transgender woman, soon noticed some guys were taking photos of her on a cell phone for no reason and questioning her gender.

"And she politely asked them not to. And then it just escalated," Ferrentino said.

The victim told officers she confronted the men and they exchanged words, according to the police report.

The next thing Ferrentino knew, one of the men punched his friend so hard in the face that she fell to the ground, he said.
The police are looking for the suspects and are investigating it as a bias crime; they have a description of the suspects and their car. Hopefully there are surveillance videos of the car and can get the license plate numbers from the video. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Human Rights Should Never Be Put To A Vote

The founders of our Constitution realized that there are certain thing that should not be put to a vote, they saw that the majority should not be able to oppress minorities by a popular vote. They created protected classes such as religion and over time the states have also expanded the rights of their citizens.
Montana must rewrite transgender bathroom ballot description
SF Gate
By Amy Beth Hanson, Associated Press
September 20, 2017


 HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court ordered the state attorney general to rewrite ballot language for an initiative that would require people to use public restrooms and locker rooms designated for their gender at birth.

The court ruled Tuesday in a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, saying the language did not include the initiative's specific definition of "sex" and was otherwise vague.

The justices agreed with the ACLU that the ballot language does not specify that the law would apply to local government buildings and public education facilities and does not include how much it would cost them to comply.

It also isn't clear in the language that people could sue the state for emotional or mental distress if they encounter a transgender person in a public bathroom and the facility had not taken reasonable steps to prevent it, the court said.
And who is behind this attack on us?
The conservative Montana Family Foundation has until June to gather nearly 26,000 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2018 ballot. State lawmakers rejected a proposed referendum on the issue this year.

Foundation President Jeff Lazloffy said the organization is happy with the decision and that the issues raised by the ACLU were "fairly minor." But he said it may not be possible to determine the financial effects of the initiative.
Let’s hope that this ballot initiative will never get on the ballot.

Judges Interpret The Law Not The Bible

Under the Trump administration it is the other way around, the administration seems to be applying a religious test to its judicial appointments.
Report: Trump's judicial nominee from Texas called transgender kids part of "Satan's plan"
Jeff Mateer, one of President Donald Trump's latest judicial nominees and a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office, said transgender children are part of "Satan's plan" in a May 2015 speech, CNN reported. 
Texas Tribune
By Cassandra Pollock
September 20, 2017

Jeff Mateer, a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office whom President Donald Trump has nominated for a federal judgeship, said in speeches in 2015 that transgender children are part of "Satan's plan" and argued same-sex marriage would open the floodgates for "disgusting" forms of marriage, according to CNN.

"In Colorado, a public school has been sued because a first grader and I forget the sex, she's a girl who thinks she's a boy or a boy who thinks she's a girl, it's probably that, a boy who thinks she's a girl," Mateer said in a May 2015 speech first reported by CNN, referencing a Colorado lawsuit that involved a transgender girl's parents suing her school for prohibiting her from using the restroom she preferred. "I mean it just really shows you how Satan's plan is working and the destruction that's going on."

In the same speech, Mateer also criticized the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage as taking the nation back to a time of "debauchery."
The Republicans stopped appointing federal judges under president Obama and as a result there are over a hundred federal judicial openings and now they the Republicans are in control of Congress and the presidency the juggernaut is in full gears to appoint judges that are anti-LGBT, anti-women’s rights, and believe in special rights for religious bigots.
Mateer was one of five Texas judicial nominations Trump made last week and among two with ties to the First Liberty Institute. Trump's other Texas nominations were:
  • Matthew Kacsmaryk, a deputy general counsel to the First Liberty Institute, to be a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Walter David Counts III, a United States Magistrate Judge, to be a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
  • Fernando Rodriguez, who currently works as a field office director for International Justice Mission in the Dominican Republic, to serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
  • Karen Gren Scholer, a partner at Carter Scholer PLLC in Dallas, to be a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Jeff Mateer, tapped by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in 2016 amid a staffing shakeup, has built his career as a tenacious champion of religious expression in the public square. [Full story]
  • Before his recent nominations, the Trump administration faced 17 legal vacancies in Texas. [Full story]
Be afraid, be very afraid!

Federal judges are appointed for life!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Finally, At Long Last

The medical profession is starting to come about and realizing that they have been wrong about intersex surgery on babies.

We are so hung up with the gender of a baby that the first question usually asked is “Is it a boy or a girl?” There is so much stigma in a babies gender that answering “We don’t know.” is not an option.
Why Intersex Patients Need the Truth and Doctors Need to Listen
As an intersex woman and a doctor, I’ve seen the dangerous stigma the US medical establishment attaches to our community.
The Nation
By Katharine B. Dalke
September 12, 2017

When I was 22, I sat in the kitchen and did something I never imagined I would do: discussed my medical history with my grandfather. Tears stung my eyes as we talked openly about a secret my parents had fiercely protected me from for years: I’m intersex.

“You must be mad as hell,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

In my case, “intersex” means that I am a woman with XY chromosomes. My condition, called Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, meant that my body did not respond to male hormones, and so I developed an externally typical female body. When I was 6, I had routine surgery for a hernia in my groin. During the procedure, instead of ovaries and a uterus, my surgeon found undescended testes.
[…]
This was the legacy of the now-discredited “blank-slate” theory of gender that gained traction in the 1960s. For intersex children, the thinking went, “If we make this child look and function like a ‘normal’ boy or girl, and never tell them otherwise, everything will be fine.” Although we now understand that gender identity and expression is informed by a combination of nurture and nature, the importance of an intersex child’s genitals’ being surgically altered remains the bedrock of an ongoing medical paradigm.
The problem is that gender is in the brain, no matter how much you change the body, the brain knows you true gender.

A liberal think tank, The Palm Center came out with this policy paper… Re-Thinking Genital Surgeries on Intersex Infants and in the paper they say,
Fortunately, a consensus is emerging that concludes that children born with atypical genitalia should not have genitoplasty performed on them absent a need to ensure physical functioning. Government agencies in Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and Malta, as well as human rights groups, including the World Health Organization, have examined this issue and found that these irreversible medical procedures, which are performed before individuals can articulate whether they wish to undergo such surgery, are not necessary to ensure healthy physical functioning, and that such surgery is not justified when performed on infants. These bodies have called for a moratorium on cosmetic infant genitoplasty so as to allow individuals with a DSD to have substantive input into decisions affecting their own identity and appearance.
Surgery was not always done on intersex babies, it was like the doctors came up with a procedure and looked for areas where they can do the surgery and they found intersex babies and sold a bill of goods on parents when they were most vulnerable.
Performing cosmetic infant genitoplasty was not always the default practice. Before the middle of the twentieth century, most children born with genitalia that did not fit the male-female binary norm were not subjected to surgery. Beginning in the 1950s, however, an era when pressure to conform to social norms was often unyielding, the standard treatment protocol shifted. Infants born with atypical genitalia were subjected to surgical procedures such as clitoral reduction, vaginoplasty, gonadectomy, and hypospadias repair, primarily to “normalize” gendered appearance, not to improve function.
And we can also thank doctors like Dr. Money for pushing their pet theories that gender was a social construct and not an intrinsic part of our brains.

Hopefully, "corrective" surgeries will be delayed until intersex people can decide for themselves what they want.

Stand In Support

When we protest for trans rights we are thought of having an axe-to-grind but when an ally speaks up they do it from their heart.
When football players join in to mock transgender people, Kansas high school students protest with a sit-in
Washington Post
By Cindy Boren
September 20, 2017

Holding signs that said “trans rights = human rights” and “I shouldn’t have to be cis to be safe,” students at a Kansas high school cut classes and held a sit-in Monday, protesting an extracurricular text conversation that included slurs about transgender people and involved more than 200 students, including football players.

More than 100 students refused to budge in the Lawrence High rotunda, citing derogatory comments and slurs that compared transgender issues to mental disorders and asked, “if a [slur for transgender person] hits you, is it still hitting a woman or no?” Yet another stated that the gender listed on a person’s birth certificate should determine a person’s identity. One issue being protested: Football players who were in on the conversation were allowed to play in a game Friday night. That decision, sophomore Elliot Bradley told the Lawrence Journal-World, led students to believe that “LHS is valuing their players over their minority students.” So Etana Parks and Jonavon Shepard, co-presidents of Total Equality Alliance at the school, organized the sit-in.
[…]
Students decided to hold the sit-in because of what they perceived to be administrators’ reluctance to take action for something that happened outside school and was unaffiliated with clubs or staff. “The entire protest,” senior Rollin Love told the Kansan, “was purposed around the inaction we as students saw from the administration in dealing with transphobia and discrimination going beyond the groupchat.”

Administrators spent the day interviewing students, and the protests ended peacefully at the end of the school day.
Why does it seem like that if you are a football or basketball player you can get away with murder as long as you are good on the playing field? We have a new idol that we worship and put up on a pedestal, the athlete.

I want to thank all those who came out to protest for us.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Battle Lines Are Drawn

But does there have to be battle lines at all?

I do not condone violence of any type but it is hard not to when someone is denying your right to exist.
CONFUSED? Feminists who OPPOSE equal rights in outdoor scrap with transgender group!
A PUBLIC discussion over transgender rights erupted into a brawl between radical feminists and transgender activists. 
Express
By Harvey Gavin
September 19, 2017

Maria MacLachlan, 60, was hit in the face by an activist protesting Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists - feminists who oppose equal rights for trans people - and protestors campaigning for transgender rights.

The punch-up broke out on Wednesday, September 13 in Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner, an area usually celebrated as a bastion of free speech.

Video footage showing part of the clash between the rival groups has been posted online and viewed nearly 60,000 times.

TERF’s Ms MacLachlan said she was punched in the face and kicked to the ground after the fight broke out.
Logo’s NewNowNext website reported that,
A group of transgender activists got into a physical altercation with anti-trans feminists in London’s Hyde Park last week.

A video posted to YouTube shows the altercation between a group of transgender people and members of the Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs) in Speaker’s Corner on Wednesday.

TERFs, a fringe element in mainstream feminism, deny the validity of trans people’s self-affirmed gender and are known to ally with anti-feminist and anti-LGBT groups to work against transgender rights.
[…]
“There was quite a generation thing. These studenty-looking types were turning up and some arguments started to take place.
I think that it is a generational, the young kids get it, while the adults have a hard time understanding the gender spectrum because they grew up in the gender binary. The teenagers and the twenty something are growing up in a non-binary world.

NewNextNow reported that,
Action for Trans Health London said in a statement, “We condemn violence against women in all forms. We’re proud that many self-organizing activists, allies and supporters stood against hatred, misogyny and intimidation.”
What do you do when someone denies you right to exist? What do you do when a white supremacists wants to enslave you? What do you do when someone uses their religion against your religion?

These are all tough questions and there are no definitive answers. Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said violence is wrong and advocated peaceful protests. Many became impatient and demanded more violent actions to bring about change now.

What do you do when a peaceful protest is taken over by violence? We are seeing this happening much more where a thousand peaceful protesters are invaded by a handful of people that are bent on violence. In the Hyde Park incident it was one person who attacked a TREF and that person’s action created a martyr, a 60 year old grandmother TREF. That one attack changed the focus of the trans people who were protesting peacefully the hate directed against us to us as bullies.

These are all relevant questions today as they were in 30s with Mahatma Gandhi, in the 50s and 60s with King, and in the 70s and 80s with Nelson Mandela.

Personally I do not believe in violence, violence only begets violence. Violence gives legitimacy to the haters.

I Dub Thee…

How did you pick your name?
One way that we are unique is that we pick our own names, most people are given their names by their parents but we get to pick our own name.
9 Transgender People Share How They Chose Their Names
Refinery
By Kasandra Brabaw
September 18, 2017

Choosing a new name can be a big part of transitioning for transgender and gender non-conforming people, who often aren't comfortable still being called by their birth name (also sometimes called a "dead-name"). But just like parents choosing a name for their newborn, the decision isn't always easy.

As we can see from the answers on an AskReddit thread, where someone asked transgender people on Reddit to explain the inspiration behind their chosen names, names can come from pretty much anywhere — including the Disney movies we loved so much as kids.
[…]
"That dude from the Atlantis Disney film."
"Milo. That dude from the Atlantis Disney film, man I wanted to be him when I was a kid. Also it sounds like a dog name and I like that."
[…]
"It literally means victory."
"I picked Victoria.

For one, it literally means victory. Finally getting to be yourself and becoming comfortable in your body is a huge victory, hence the name.
[…]
"My mama chose my birth name, and she chose my new name too!"
"Just legally changed my name to Finn (I'm FTM). My mama chose my birth name, and she chose my new name too! My middle name is Alistair, a carry over from Alice, which was a family middle name."
For me it was from doing a high school term paper on Roman mythology; I came across a god who made the other gods mad at him and they changed him into a goddess (I have never been able to find the reference that I used back in the mid-60s) and when I went to my first support group meeting someone asked my fem name and I thought back to that paper and said “Diana.” My middle name was by family consensus, I wanted to keep my middle initial.

So how did you get your name?

Monday, September 18, 2017

One Of Our Wishes

We wish that we didn’t have to train the doctors about ourselves, that they could get that information in college, well now there are more medical school that are teaching about us (Being cynical I would say it is because we now have insurance coverage and they can make money off of us).

Anyhow, here is a research paper on teaching trans health in college,
Implementation and Evaluation of a Pilot Training to Improve Transgender Competency Among Medical Staff in an Urban Clinic
Transgender Health Volume: 1 Issue 1
By Corina Lelutiu-Weinberger, Paula Pollard-Thomas, William Pagano, Nathan Levitt, Evelyn I. Lopez, Sarit A. Golub, and Asa E. Radix
January 13, 2016

ABSTRACT
Purpose:

Transgender individuals (TGI), who identify their gender as different from their sex assigned at birth, continue facing widespread discrimination and mistreatment within the healthcare system. Providers often lack expertise in adequate transgender (TG) care due to limited specialized training. In response to these inadequacies, and to increase evidence-based interventions effecting TG-affirmative healthcare, we implemented and evaluated a structural-level intervention in the form of a comprehensive Provider Training Program (PTP) in TG health within a New York City-based outpatient clinic serving primarily individuals of color and of low socioeconomic status. This pilot intervention aimed to increase medical staff knowledge of TG health and needs, and to support positive attitudes toward TGI.
[…]
Results: Compared to pre-training scores, post-training scores indicated significant (1) decreases in negative attitudes toward TGI and increases in TG-related clinical skills, (2) increases in staff's awareness of transphobic practices, and (3) increases in self-reported readiness to serve TGI. The clinic increased its representation of general LGBT-related images in the waiting areas, and the staff provided highly positive training evaluations.

Conclusion: This PTP in TG health shows promise in leading to changes in provider attitudes and competence, as well as clinic systems, especially with its incorporation in continuing education endeavors, which can, in turn, contribute to health disparities reductions among TG groups.
One of the sections that I like in the study was.
Acceptability of the trainingLastly, based on the training evaluation surveys we collected at the end of each training session, we obtained 37 anonymous evaluation forms between the three training sessions (Table 3). Ninety-two percent of participants found the training to be very helpful, 87% of participants found the training to be very informative, and 95% of participants found the trainers to be highly knowledgeable.

Eighty-seven percent of participants highly agreed that the training helped them gain more knowledge and helped them feel more motivated to make changes in their interactions with TGI. Eighty-nine percent of participants highly agreed that the training helped them develop a better understanding of TG identity and 84% highly agreed that it further prepared them for interactions with TGI.

Qualitative text evaluations provided in the free-writing areas by participants reflected a positive experience, with statements such as “The session was very informative”; “I believe it was a great training and it covered a lot of material. Great information, I liked it!”; and “Everything was very good. Thanking you for being so open and informative, using personal life it always makes it interesting and engaging.”
It is good that the healthcare providers were interested in learning about us and that they thought highly of the training. I have don’t cultural training at a couple of hospitals and both had standing room only, the medical staff wants to learn about us if given an opportunity.



The non-profit that I am the Executive Director of was asked to  support a study entitled, "Development of a Transgender Affirming Medical Curriculum to Improve Medical Care and Cultural Competency for Transgender Individuals." We were asked to be a part of the Community Action Board and assist in the process of participant recruitment for the project’s in-depth interviews, as well as provide input on the development of a transgender-affirming curriculum and survey development if they receive the grant. In the past we have worked with the research organization on a pilot study of the trans people and HIV/AIDS in the Hartford area.

I hope that they receive the grant because this looks like an interesting study.

The Non-Binary

For many trans people they do get “non-binary” and they are not alone many cis-gender don’t understand transgender let alone “non-binary.”

The California legislature gets it.
California Just Got One Step Closer To Recognizing A Third Gender
“We need to make it easier for transgender and gender non-conforming people to live their lives as who they are,” said the coauthor of the landmark bill, which is headed to the governor's desk.
Buzzfeed
By Jessica Testa
Posted on September 14, 2017

The California legislature passed a bill Thursday that would make the state the first in the US to widely recognize a third, nonbinary gender.

On May 31, the Gender Recognition Act, or Senate Bill 179, passed the California Senate with a 26-12 vote. On Wednesday, more than three months later, it passed the California Assembly with a 57-21 vote. The bill then went back to the Senate for approval of amendments made in the Assembly. On Thursday, SB 179 finally passed the legislature, one day before the deadline for bills to be passed this legislative session.

SB 179 now awaits a decision from Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not yet indicated whether he’ll make it law. As the bill passed the legislature on Thursday, intersex activist Sara Kelly Keenan told BuzzFeed News she’s “guardedly optimistic, because we still need the governor’s signature … until he signs on the dotted line, I’m not doing any jigs.”
Hopefully he will sign the bill into law.

When you stop and think, non-binary makes sense. If you think gender as a spectrum with masculinity and femininity, male and female it makes sense that there is something in the middle; androgyny or non-binary.

Through research we have learned that trans women brains closely resembles that of a women’s brain and the same thing for trans men, their brains resemble that of a man, so it is not hard to think that maybe for non-binary people that their brains might not have developed in to either distinct brain pattern.

Nature is amazing; it is always experimenting with new combinations.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

More Med Stuff

You all probably know by now that a couple of years ago that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders came out with new version DSM V and now there is a new version International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes.

One of the people who was on the committees to bring about those changes was Dr Jack Drescher, clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City and Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and in a video and article in MedScape he talks about the changes and the reasoning behind the changes.

In the article New Diagnostic Codes Lessen Stigma for Transgender People he says,
In addition, we removed the specifier for sexual orientation. There was a time when it mattered, for some reason, whether a person's sexual orientation was involved in making the decision to transition. For example, in the middle of the 20th century, if you were born a man, assigned male at birth, and you were attracted to women but you believed yourself to be a woman and wanted to undergo a transition, you could not tell the doctors that you were attracted to women. The doctors were only involved in making heterosexuals at the end of the treatment. They were not going to make any lesbians or gay men by transitioning people who, at the end, would be attracted to the same gender. That is not the case in terms of how clinicians practice today, but that was the case then. Thus, we removed the sexual orientation specifier because it is irrelevant to clinical work. Those were some of the DSM changes.
He goes on to say about the new ICD-11,
We also made a slight change at the international level. The World Health Organization's ICD-11 will come out in 2018. There was more flexibility in the ICD compared with the DSM, where a diagnosis is either in or out. The ICD includes all diagnoses, psychiatric and medical. The recommendation, which has been followed, is that the new diagnosis, called gender incongruence, will be moved from the mental disorder section to another chapter, called "Conditions Related to Sexual Health." This allows countries that have national healthcare systems to have a diagnosis code, to continue to provide care for people, and to reduce the stigma of a mental disorder.
I think that this could be a major step forward moving out of the section on mental disorders into "Conditions Related to Sexual Health." As the doctor pointed out in the video is that there has to be a code number in order for the insurance companies to pay for our healthcare, so the question where to put the diagnoses.

Also I have to wonder does this make gender dysphoria an intersex condition?

What do you think?

Big Surprise… Not

All of a sudden people are starting to notice that beside trans girls there are trans boys. They have been around for a long time, they were Tom Boys, some went on to become heterosexual women, some went on to be lesbian women, and some transitioned to be trans men.
Why Are Trans Youth Clinics Seeing an Uptick in Trans Boys?
Slate
By Evan Urquhart
September 13, 2017

Clinics that treat gender nonconforming youth have noticed two clear trends over the past 20 years or so. First, the number of total youth seeking treatment has steadily increased: What began as a tiny trickle of patients from the 1970s through the ’90s saw an uptick in the early 2000s and has become a steady stream of cases today. Second, during the post-2000 period, the gender balance of youth seeking treatment seems to have changed. According to anecdotal reports from clinicians and a handful of small studies of transgender youth, trans youth clinics in North America and Europe have seen a shift from a majority of transfeminine patients (assigned male at birth) to a majority of transmasculine patients (assigned female) now. In contrast, studies of adult trans patients thus far have either documented a majority of trans women or roughly equal numbers of trans women and trans men.

Why has the ratio of transfeminine to transmasculine youth seeking treatment changed, and what does this shift mean? Unsurprisingly, the opponents of transgender rights have a theory: Blogs from this contingent weave a story that transness is a social mania that seeps into the minds of young “girls” and, Svengali-like, causes them to believe that they are trans. Of course, devotees of science and research-based medicine don’t have the same freedom to take an interesting phenomenon and spin a conspiracy around it. Still, it’s worth asking what we actually know about the changes in who is seeking treatment for gender dysphoria, and what experts in transgender medical care think that a shift might signal.
Well I think that part of the uptick in the number of trans masculine children is that the doctors are not dismissing them as Tom Boys and are now taken them seriously.

At onetime therapist didn’t think that there were any trans men if you look at the early history thought that trans women were 1 in 30,000, now by some accounts it down around 1 in 200 and for trans men it used to be 1 in 300,000. I believe that the number of trans men is probably at the same rate as the number of trans women. Dr. Johanna Olsen-Kennedy from the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles thinks it is even greater,
There have been soft papers, observational papers, describing more people presenting for care at a younger age. At our clinic, the balance was about 50/50 when I started [7-8 years ago], and it’s shifted to be maybe 65-to-70 percent transmasculine today. We also see a different trajectory for our transfeminine and transmasculine patients, such that more of the younger kids under 12 are transfeminine/trans girls, and then we see transmasculine patients coming in for care at or slightly after pubertal development. This is unfortunate because what happens is, because of the age, it’s often dismissed as just an adolescent phase.
The article goes on to say,
“When you look at the earlier studies [of the make-up of adult trans populations], what you see is that they’re collecting data on genital surgery,” Olsen-Kennedy explained. “But the reality is that it’s easier to surgically create a vagina than it is a penis—there’s just no way of knowing how many trans men there always were that studies missed.”
Studies are finding more and more trans people are not having Gender Confirming Surgery (GCS) they are finding that just by living their lives in their true gender their gender dysphoria is under control.

Medical Xpress said this about trans healthcare, their article “Experts issue recommendations for gender-affirmation treatment for transgender individuals” about the Endocrine Society new guidelines said,
Over the last few decades, there has been a rapid expansion in the understanding of gender identity along with the implications for the care of transgender individuals. The new guideline establishes a framework for the appropriate treatment of these individuals and standardizes terminology to be used by healthcare professionals.

Many transgender individuals are prescribed hormone therapy to reduce the distress caused by having a gender identity that is different from the sex assigned at birth. Endocrinologist—specialists who untangle complex symptoms to diagnose, treat, research or cure hormone-related conditions—play a key role in treating transgender individuals, but a broader healthcare team is needed to provide mental health services and other treatments, such as gender-affirmation surgery [I prefer using Confirming instead of Affirming (GAS)].
[…[
Other recommendations from the guideline include:
  • Hormone treatment is not recommended for pre-pubertal gender-dysphoric /gender-incongruent persons;
  • For the care of youths during puberty and older adolescents, an expert multi-disciplinary team comprised of medical professionals and mental health professionals should manage treatment;
  • For adult gender-dysphoric/gender-incongruent persons, the treating clinicians (collectively) should have expertise in transgender-specific diagnostic criteria, mental health, primary care, hormone treatment, and surgery, as needed by the patient;
  • All individuals seeking gender-affirming medical treatment should receive information and counsel on options for fertility preservation prior to initiating puberty suppression in adolescents and prior to treating with hormonal therapy in both adolescents and adults;
  • Removal of gonads may be considered when high doses of sex steroids are required to suppress the body's secretion of hormones, and/or to reduce steroid levels in advanced age; and
  • During sex steroid treatment, clinicians should monitor, in both transgender males (female to male) and/or transgender females (male to female), prolactin, metabolic disorders, and bone loss, as well as cancer risks in individuals who have not undergone surgical treatment.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday 9: Don't Talk to Strangers

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Don't Talk to Strangers (1982)



On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
I’ve been away for the last couple of weekends… but I’m back now for awhile.

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

1) When did you recently have a conversation with a complete stranger? What did you two discuss?
Apples and peaches.
I was at a local orchard and looking at the peaches and the woman standing next started talking about how this year’s crop of apples and peaches were so good this year.

2) In the video for this song, a woman is having a "hot" conversation on a corded, rotary dial phone in her bedroom. Do you have a landline? If so, do you have an extension in your bedroom?
Yes I have a landline and I do have a remote phone in my room.

3) This week's artist, Rick Springfield, says he wrote this song when he was worried that his girlfriend (now his wife) would cheat on him when he was touring. Would you describe yourself as suspicious or trusting?
Trusting, that’s I near should have any children… “What are doing?” “Nothing.” I would totally believe them.

4) He became a daytime heartthrob as Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital. Do you think it would be cool to have a really attractive doctor? Or would it make you uncomfortable?
I do already, she is my endo and she is totally hot and she is a divorced lesbian. But alas, she's in her late 30s and I am in my late 60s.

5) He's discussed how sad he was when, as a boy, he had to leave his dog Elvis behind when the family left Australia. While you were growing up, did your family often move?
Once, when my father got transferred to Hartford.

6) In 1982, when this song was popular, Italy won the World Cup. Do you ever watch soccer?
Nope… I don’t watch sports.

7) "Smiley," the first emoticon, was introduced in 1982. Do you use emoticons in your communication? Or do you avoid them?
Sometimes but not on a business email.

8) The Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC, in 1982. Do you know any veterans of that conflict? If so, tell us about him or her.
He doesn’t want to talk about it. My other neighbor was the first to come home in a box. A couple of times I was 1A and I quickly went back to school. One time I got a job at a defense contractor to keep me out of Vietnam. My draft number was 348 while my friend’s number was 1, he said the only thing he won in his life was a free trip to Vietnam. While my other neighbor signed up in the Marines, stepped on a land mine and came home in a box.

9) Random Question:  Your friends are throwing a birthday "roast" in your honor. Which one quality of yours are you sure will be singled out for laughs?
My worrying.



This afternoon I will be at the local agricultural fair where I entered one of my photos.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Debates

I have to ask what would happen if a candidate refused to debate a black candidate would there be an outcry? How about if a Republican has refused to debate the Democratic candidate because she is trans.
Conservative stalwart Bob Marshall won't debate his transgender challenger
Fauquier
By Jill Palermo
September 15, 2017

Incumbent Del. Bob Marshall is refusing to debate his Democratic challenger, Danica Roem, because he says her campaign has referred to him as “Bigot Bob,” an insult he says “disqualifies” the two from face-to-face discourse.

Marshall, R-13th, said the phrase "is simply not correct" and suggests his Roem is more interested in "hurling insults" than discussing public policy.

In the same interview, Marshall doubled down on calling Roem, a transgender woman, "he," asking a reporter: "Why do you call Danica a female? Did Danica's DNA change?"

Roem, the 32-year-old former Gainesville Times journalist vying to unseat the longtime conservative stalwart did not immediately return messages Thursday night seeking comment on Marshall’s remarks.
Danica Roem has a long uphill battle to get elected in Virginia and I think she should run on the issues and not to call the Republican names, she should take the high road.

Danica Roem is not the only trans candidate running for office, here in Connecticut we have a trans woman running for governor.
Transgender candidate running for Conn. governor
CT Post
By Neil Vigdor
March 7, 2017

Jacey Wyatt doesn’t conform to labels the way most politicians do.

She has run for local office in Branford, Conn. as a Republican and a third-party petitioning candidate.

Wyatt, who grew up as John Christian Pascarella before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2003, is running for governor as a Democrat.

“I don’t care if people are wondering what I have under my pants,” Wyatt told Hearst Connecticut Media on Monday. “My body obviously does not look like a typical politician.”
[…]
In 2011, Wyatt ran unsuccessfully for tax collector in Branford, which is east of New Haven, as a Republican. In 2013 and 2015, she ran for first selectman as a third-party petitioning candidate, but did not get elected.
Even though she is trans I don’t support her; she has no experience in governing and I don’t want somebody who will need on-the-job training when the state faces a financial crisis.

Let’s face it; we are fighting an uphill battle when running for office. Not only do we have to campaign against the opposition candidate but we have to overcome the stigma of being trans.

I’m Not A Big Fan…

But I realize that many people are fans of drag shows, well now a Tennessee town wants to ban them. The whole movement to ban them seems to be based on prejudice because there is no nudity.
Tennessee town tries to ban drag shows, rally planned in response
Tennessean 
By Amy K Nixon
September 14, 2017

A rally is planned in the small city of Portland next week to support a local drag show group after that city's move to shut them down.

The city of Portland, just off Interstate 65 at the Kentucky state line, passed the first reading of an ordinance amendment on adult-oriented businesses that would essentially prohibit Elite Drag Star Productions from holding drag shows.

One of Elite’s owners, Kyle Guillermo, said the ordinance is a response to a drag show that the company put on for the first time Aug. 12 at Envy Bar & Restaurant at 111 Main St. in Portland.

“Shortly after that, we received hate mail on Facebook,” said Guillermo. “People are trying to get us out of Portland.”

Guillermo said that the ordinance is trying to label them as “adult cabaret.”

“That’s not what we do,” he said. “We are drag queens, we are not taking our clothes off. We are not cabaret.”
[…]
At its Sept. 5 meeting, the City Board of Alderman voted unanimously to amend the combined zoning ordinance in regards to “adult oriented business” with no discussion. They did reference a larger discussion at a previous work session.
So the Board equates being LGBT as being the same as pornography.

This battle was fought in the 50s, 60s, and 70s and those who banned LGBT entertainment lost in courts because it violated the First Amendment rights to free speech, so now the battle is being fought again.
Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, a statewide organization that works for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, said, “This ordinance raises First Amendment questions because of the way it limits artistic expression, equal protection questions because of the way it regulates gender, and it creates a bad climate for business through over-regulation. I think the Board of Aldermen has an opportunity to press the pause button before they invite legal trouble and national scorn."
Will the bigots win in court?

I don’t know, but there is always a chance that they will win in the Supreme Court. However, one thing I do know is that we have to hope the Justice Kennedy does not retire until the Democrats control either the presidency or the Senate.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…

On a list of wants by trans people jobs has to up near the top of the list. When we transition all of sudden there is a layoff off one person because of lack of work… it is just a coincident that the employee just transitioned. Then you see an ad for an opening with just a slightly different job description and the trans person is invited to apply for the new position but somehow they don’t qualify.
Hiring Transgender Employees Isn’t Just The Right Thing To Do — Now It’s Good For The Bottom Line
90% of trans women of color report experiencing harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job
Good.is
By Rebekah Sager
September 13, 2017

WHEN JESSYE ZAMBRANO WAS 18, SHE WAS A STAR EMPLOYEE at a large fast-food chain — she prefers not to name which one — and was even named “Outstanding Manager” three years in a row. Then she began her transition; not long after, she says she was demoted from her position as general manager.]
[…]
Mendelsohn, 65, is an openly transgender woman and the founder of California Trans Work Project (CTWP), an organization seeking to foster more trans-positive workplaces in California and help transgender women with the launch of one of the largest job programs to help them find work. She is also CEO of Pollo West Corp., one of El Pollo Loco’s largest franchisees, with six L.A.-based restaurants. Under Mendelsohn’s leadership, El Pollo Loco has been committed to hiring transgender people (mostly women of color) in their restaurants.

Today, Zambrano is a manager at one of Mendelsohn’s Pollo Locos, and she says she thanks God for the day the two met. She greets every customer with a smile and walks with the confidence of someone who may be a franchise owner herself some day.
For us we have a very hard time finding time finding jobs. If your voice or looks identifies you as trans you never even to get a chance to get your foot in the door, the door is slammed in your face.
“It’s the same as when African-Americans showed up for jobs,” Broadus says. “They may have sounded white on the phone, but then they show up, and suddenly, the job is filled. Then you have trans women who are ‘identifiably trans,’ meaning they don’t look like what someone would think a woman is supposed to look like. Lastly, a lot of [employers] fear they’ll be sued if they have to fire this person, so they say, ‘Why even bother?’”
My tip in looking for a job is to check out big box stores, from the reports that I have had stores like Target, Walmart, and Home Depot hire trans people.

We Are A Political Pawn

Once again was have become political pawns for candidates running for office, they stirred up hate and bigotry against us. It all started when a trans student’s car was vandalized in a school parking lot.
Transgender bathroom policy is flash point in Fairfield school election
Des Moines Register
By Mackenzie Ryan
September 13, 2017

Allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choosing became a linchpin issue in the Fairfield school board race.

The issue prompted heated campaigns that drew an unusually high number of voters to the polls Tuesday in the southeast Iowa community.

Fairfield became a political battleground after a transgender student's car was vandalized in 2016. The school board passed guidelines and renovated school facilities to offer transgender students protection, causing a backlash that found its way into this week's school board election
The majority of the school board seats were up for reelection and the battle lines were drawn, the opponents, those who political and religious ideology wanted to put us back into the closet against those who wanted to keep the protections that the school board put in place.

The outcome may surprise you…
The Jefferson County Bernie Progressives backed a bloc of candidates likely to keep those protections. All four won seats. They are Frank Broz, Debi Plum, Kelly Scott and Christi Welsh.
The other board member who voted for the inclusive policy won his bid to the state legislature so there will be another special election to fill his seat.

The voter turnout was massive for a school board election,
In total, 2,118 voters cast ballots in the Fairfield race, compared to 463 voters in 2015, according to the Jefferson County Auditor's Office.
This goes to show you that there are many people out there that support us and are starting to realize that the Republicans have it wrong… instead Americans are speaking up against bigotry and hate.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Diss’ed in Death

The Urban Dictionary defines “Dis” as,
1.to disrespect some one
When we die we have no control over our body or any announcements, we are at the mercy of our next of kin.

This is from the website “The Order of the Good Death”
DYING TRANS: PRESERVING IDENTITY IN DEATH

Trans folk may settle into loving communities of friends and partners that are not their blood relatives. What they may be unaware of is that upon their death, all power over their body is turned over to their legal next of kin, possibly an unsympathetic parent or sibling. Tragedies of misgendering can occur postmortem, compounding the tragedy of the death. Christine Colby explores what the trans community can do to protect themselves at death.

Jennifer Gable died in October 2014 at the age of 32, from an unexpected aneurysm. When her friends attended her funeral, they were outraged to see that she was displayed in the casket wearing a man’s suit, no makeup, and her hair had been cut. At no point during the service was her female identity even mentioned.
[…]
The funeral director was quoted in the media saying that he’d done what he was legally bound to do, and was honoring the wishes of the next of kin, despite Gable’s legal name change. And he was right. Funeral arrangements fell to her father, from whom she was estranged.
The article goes on to say,
In October 2015, D.C. Council member Mary Cheh introduced The Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2015 in Washington D. C. If passed, this would serve the same purpose for the D.C. trans community as California’s Respect After Death Act and, in addition, protects the person filling out the death certificate for any liability for how the decedent’s sex is recorded.
Okay, here in Connecticut when we were working to pass the law on birth certificates this was one of the questions that was brought up by the coalition; do we need to add something to the bill to make sure the death certificate reflects the gender on the birth certificate? The answer that came back from our lawyers was no, the gender on the death certificate should reflect the gender on the birth certificate. Notice the lawyer talk “should reflect,” they couldn’t give a definitive answer until an actual case is resolved in the courts.

The article goes on to say,
Devon, a Long Island transman, said he’s not aware of anything he could do, aside from rely on his sister and partner to do the right thing.

Despite not having taken any steps, Devon is passionate about the topic, adding, “For someone who is trans, their life experience is that of the trans experience, which is pivotal to who they are. People are being killed because they are trans; people are killing themselves because they are trans. To erase who someone is by not acknowledging that they are trans is erasing who they are, what roads they’ve traveled. Silencing their presence is an act of violence not only on the individual, but on the community as a whole.”
[…]
One available legal document is an advance directive, which is actually two main documents: a living will, which contains instructions about medical care, and a medical power of attorney (or health-care proxy) in which you can appoint a person to make medical decisions upon your behalf.
In death, we are at the mercy of our next of kin.

Consider this from Funeral.org…
Who has the legal right to make decisions about your funeral?

In more than half the states, there is a statutory obligation for survivors to honor the written wishes of the deceased, to follow your personal preference. In a few states, your wishes may be over-turned in the case of cremation, however. Even if there is no personal preference law in your state (blank entry below), it is better to have your wishes in writing than not at all. Courts routinely support all but the most outrageous wishes.

Perhaps the most useful laws are those permitting you to name a designated agent for body disposition. If you are estranged from next-of-kin or were never married to your significant other, the designated agent law allows you to name someone other than a legal spouse or relative to carry out your wishes. Or perhaps one of your children is a little more inclined to follow your wishes than the others.
Here in Connecticut the article says,
Connecticut— As of October 1, 2005, Connecticut citizens have the right to declare their own wishes for the disposition of their body. This declaration will be legally binding. In addition, citizens may appoint an agent to carry out those directions. You can download the form by clicking here.
Whether this also includes listing your true gender is going to be a matter for the courts to decide, so pick those who will represents you after death carefully.



Update 8:00 AM 9/14/17

This was posted on the Facebook; a trans boy was ordered by the courts to live with his father who forced to live as a girl and he committed suicide.

The obituary said,
UTICA – Elijah DePue, age 14, of Utica, passed away Tuesday, September 12, 2017, at his home.

Funeral services will be held at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, September 16, 2017 at Gladfelter Funeral Home with Reverend Duane Kaufman officiating.  Visitation will be held from 2:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon at the funeral home.

Elijah was born October 4, 2002 in Sasebo, Japan, the son of Zachariah and Lacy (Burnside) DePue.  He is survived by his father, Zachariah (Rebecca) DePue of Utica; his mother, Lacy DePue of Wisconsin; his siblings, Rachyl Newell, Olivia DePue, and Ethan DePue; his grandparents, Dean and Julie DePue of Maryland, Millie and Richard Kasal of Arizona, and Dave and Alice Cheli of Ottawa; his uncles, Jeremiah and Jodiah DePue and Dan Rice; as well as many cousins.  He was preceded in death by his maternal grandmother, Emily Burnside.

Elijah was a freshman at Ottawa Township High School.  He enjoyed reading Animé books, playing video games, and being outside.  He also enjoyed solving the Rubic’s cube.  Elijah was a member of the Academic Bowl, in which he excelled.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Waltham Elementary School Academic Team.

To share a memory or light a candle, please visit www.gladfelterfuneralhome.com or Gladfelter Funeral Home on Facebook.
Rebecca Jones wrote this on WPATH Facebook page…
***MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING / CALL FOR SUPPORT - ILLINOIS - FOR AN AWESOME MUMMY*** #HeelsForElijah

(Please note - Pronouns/name being used are as Elijah identified up to and at the time of his death - he had not transitioned socially - I am respecting Elijah and his mum by referring to him in the way he did himself)

Today my heart broke for Elijah's mum as I spoke with her about her beautiful 14 year old child who, despite her being his strongest supporter, his biggest ally, it just wasn't enough because a court-appointed psychologist decided it was in her child's best interests to not assist her to get her child the mental health assistance he so desperately needed to help him come to terms with his gender identity and to transition socially, but to place him in the custody of his father. Months later her beautiful child committed suicide believing - as had been instilled to him by others - that he was somebody who didn't deserve to live just because he was to work through his gender questioning.

His mum has said to me she doesn't need anything at all right now, but she said 'You know this is the internet maybe we could pass the details around of Elijah's Service and maybe someone will show up.' She further says 'I have a wish that everybody would come wearing heels - it would be so fitting.'

Please, please, if any of you can attend the service in support of his mum, and in tribute to Elijah, please do. Please respect his mum's privacy whilst she grieves.

- PLEASE ALSO FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS POST -

IF ANYONE FEELS THEY NEED TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE AFTER READING THIS, PLEASE REACH OUT IN THE COMMENTS OR FOLLOW THIS LINK: http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/


I Think Not.

I refuse to call white supremacists the alt-right, and I refuse to call hate groups anything but hate groups.
Anti-gay hate groups would like you to stop calling them anti-gay hate groups
Pink News
By Nick Duffy
7th September 2017
Homophobic hate groups are demanding the media stop referring to them as homophobic hate groups.

A string of fundamentalist and ‘alt-right’ groups are this week attempting to challenge extremism watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The SPLC has monitored the rise of white nationalist, neo-Nazis and anti-LGBT hate groups across the US, reporting on the activities of groups including the KKK and white supremacist National Alliance.

But in a letter this week, a number of groups that work to spread hatred about LGBT people have demanded that the media stop using the SPLC’s definition of a ‘hate group’
[…]
Groups that spread anti-LGBT propaganda including the Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel and American Family Association have signed the letter, which claims the SPLC “is a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention”.

In the letter, the groups demand that the media “cease using the SPLC’s data and its various lists and maps in your reporting”.
I think not.

A sunk is still a sunk by any other name.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center a hate group is…
All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.
Also…
Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.
Notice that a hate group doesn’t have to be violent to qualify as a “hate group” it only has to malign an entire class of people.

The Huffington Post said in an article that,
No one disputes the majority of the 917 domestic organizations on the list. Klan chapters, neo-Nazi groups and racist skinhead gangs are easy calls.

But our critics contend that we’re mixing apples and oranges when we include groups that are closer to the mainstream and that don’t advocate violence – groups like the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the Family Research Council (FRC).

We disagree. Indeed, we think it’s more important to call out hate groups that operate in the mainstream than those that operate at the fringes.

At their root, hate groups – those that have “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics” – are anti-democratic. Like hate crimes, they rip apart society along its most fragile fault lines – lines such as race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

CIS is a case in point. It’s a group whose immigration agenda is colored by ethnic bias. Part of a network of anti-immigration groups founded by white supremacist John Tanton, CIS has disseminated more than 1,700 articles from VDARE, a racist website and hub for white nationalists over the past decade. Hundreds of other articles came from leading racists and anti-Semites like Kevin McDonald, a former psychology professor who argues that Jews are genetically driven to destroy Western civilization. And, incredibly, after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, CIS President Mark Krikorian wrote, “My guess is that Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”
So an organization that is against same-sex marriage is not a hate group per se but an organization that is against say same-sex marriage that calls them perverts, or uses the word “f*gs” or other derogatory words to describe gays and lesbians or uses phrases like “men in dresses” to describe us is a “hate group.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

They Got Our Back

A couple of bipartisan senators are fighting for us by introducing legislation blocking Trump’s ban on trans troops.
Pair of senators submit amendment to delay Trump transgender ban
The Hill
By Jordain Carney
September 11, 2017

A pair of senators wants to use a mammoth defense policy bill to delay President Trump's controversial decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would delay any action until 60 days after Defense Secretary James Mattis finalizes his review on the decision and submits a report to Congress.

The amendment, if it ends up in the final version of the bill, could delay Trump's ban until the spring of 2018.
There is opposition from both sides of the aisle in the Senate to Trump’s plan to ban us from the military,
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said earlier this year that forcing transgender individuals out of the military was "a step in the wrong direction."

"The Pentagon’s ongoing study on this issue should be completed before any decisions are made with regard to accession. The Senate Armed Services Committee will continue to conduct oversight on this important issue," he said in a statement.
I don’t give it much chance to succeed.

What might help us is the fact that there is growing unrest in the Republican party over Trump and this amendment might get legs just to spite him. 

The Republicans Are Marking The Deck

They are doing everything in their power to rig the elections in their favor. Gerrymandering elections districts, voter disenfranchisement laws and now this…
Nestled in House Spending Bill: Campaign Finance Deregulation
House package is unlikely to advance in the Senate, but provisions easing rules for companies and churches could become bargaining chips
Wall Street Journal
By Cezary Podkul
Updated Sept. 10, 2017

WASHINGTON—House Republicans are backing several provisions that could reshape campaign-finance rules ahead of next year’s midterm elections as spending negotiations continue this fall.

The measures are included in a GOP package of spending bills being debated in the House. While the House package is unlikely to advance in the Senate, its provisions could become bargaining chips in the negotiations leading up to the next government-funding deadline, now Dec. 8.
[…]
Under one deregulatory measure in the spending package, churches may be able to contribute to candidates without fear of losing their tax-exempt status, furthering President Donald Trump’s promise to “get rid of and totally destroy” a law that forbids such activity.
In other words, they want to give special rights to churches allowing them that no other non-profit can do, campaign to a candidate.
Corporations also would be able to ask their employees to donate to unlimited numbers of trade associations’ political-action groups instead of limiting employee solicitations to one group per year.
So companies can twist their employees arms to get to donate to PAC that might be detrimental to the employees. How would you like to be told by your employer to donate to a PAC that was trying to do away with overtime pay?
Other measures included in the bill would continue to prevent the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission from implementing rules that would affect political activities of 501(C)(4) nonprofits and publicly traded corporations, respectively.
So at the same time that the Republicans want to exempt churches that want to tighten down on other non-profits.
The multiple provisions—called riders—are prompting pushback from campaign-finance watchdogs, who generally favor tighter restrictions on money in politics. The provisions have been sought by religious or business groups, who have argued they are otherwise hamstrung from fully participating in the political process.
The Republicans are doing everything that they can to stack the deck in their favor and make this a one party nation.

A New Type Of GCS.

There is a new type of Gender Confirming Surgery that is spreading across the U.S.
A PATIENT GETS THE NEW TRANSGENDER SURGERY SHE HELPED INVENT
Wired
By Megan Molteni
September 11, 2017

LIKE MANY OTHER surgery patients, Hayley Anthony has a daily physical therapy regimen. But unlike other post-ops, the 30-year-old marketing consultant is recovering from a procedure she helped invent. Five months ago, she became one of the first people in the world to have a piece of tissue incised from the cavity of her abdomen and turned into a vagina. A surgeon in New York City may have pioneered and performed Anthony’s procedure—but the idea to try it in the first place was all hers.

With only about a dozen doctors in the US who specialize in gender affirmation surgery, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with demand, let alone innovate new ways of doing things. But that’s what Jess Ting, director of surgery at the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai, has been up to for the last two years. What started as a Google search on Anthony’s computer is now the most sought-after surgery Ting performs. In the last six months he’s given 22 trans women something that they weren’t sure they’d ever have—a vagina that looks and feels and secretes like the real thing.
This could be a major game changer and my guess is that you will see other doctors to start preforming this surgery.
During her research though, Anthony came across a paper describing the work of some doctors in India who were building vaginas a bit differently. They were performing surgeries on women with a rare disorder that causes the organ to develop abnormally or not at all. So they had to start from scratch, which requires a lot of material. They found a way to do that with tissue from the peritoneum, which is basically a bag of loose tissue that encircles the inside of your abdomen and holds your guts in place. She brought the paper into her next consultation and showed Ting. “At first he was like, ‘What is this girl doing?’” Anthony says, laughing. “I have no medical training. I’m not a scientist. But then he looked at it and said, ‘Oh, there might be something here.’”
[…]
Though, that should soon change. In July, Mount Sinai launched the country’s first medical fellowship dedicated explicitly to transgender surgery. Ting will be training one fellow each year and he’s hopeful they’ll stay on staff once they’re done to help meet the city’s growing demand. Another important part of their job will be to follow up with these surgery patients over the next few years; while the new procedure is showing superior results so far, it will be important to monitor to see how it holds up long term.
Yes I want to see the long term results, since this has been done in India it might be worthwhile to do a study of women who had it done there.

One thing about the article is that they used the term Gender Affirmation Surgeries, I don’t know about you but I don’t want GAS but rather GCS (Gender Confirming Srgery).

Monday, September 11, 2017

What A Nightmare That Trump Has Created For Us

We can serve, we can’t serve… no wait yes we can serve, well kind of. We are being used like pawns for votes. Trump’s bigoted ruling on trans people in the military has created a nightmare for those who are in the military now.
Transgender Iowan deploys to Hurricane Irma despite president's ban
Des Moines Register
By Courtney Crowder,
September 8, 2017

Witnessing the desperation and the kindness of strangers that followed in the path of Katrina — as it does so most disasters —Thomas made a decision.

When she got the chance, she would be one of the rescuers reaching a hand to people on roofs and highway overpasses. In the glow of CNN’s 24-hour Katrina coverage, Thomas vowed to join the U.S. Coast Guard.

In 2011, she made good on that vow, entering the Coast Guard Auxiliary, a civilian volunteer force, and working her way up to flotilla commander, which, she said, is roughly equivalent to the rank of lieutenant.
She’s working with fellow Coast Guard members to prepare and coordinate search and rescue efforts in response to Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms recorded in Atlantic waters, which could make landfall in Florida as early as this weekend.
[…]
Thomas, 59, a transgender woman and activist, deployed in the wake of President Trump’s much-reported ban on transgender people serving in the military.
She is mission orientated just like all the other military members
“When I’m on a search-and-rescue mission, the job of rescuing people in distress comes absolutely first,” she said. “I’m not individually concerned with who you voted for or where you go to church. My only concern is that you are in trouble and that I have the skills — and my organization has the skills — to do something about saving your life.”
I wonder how man of the people that she has recused cared that she is trans? I bet you not a one.

This is what Adm. Paul F. Zukunft said,
 “I reached out personally to Lt. Taylor Miller [the branch’s first openly transitioning officer], who was featured on the cover of The Washington Post last week,” he said. “Now, if you read that story, Taylor’s family has disowned her. Her family is the U.S. Coast Guard. And I told Taylor, ‘I will not turn my back. We have made an investment in you, and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard, and I will not break faith.'"


My heart and thoughts go out to everyone in Florida, and my ex-Connecticut friends down there are slowly checking in and letting everyone that they are okay.

We Are All Different

It’s that difference that makes the world go round, can you imagine if everyone looked the same, thought the same we would be like ants.

In England one family rejects those that are different.
Boy removed from school in transgender rights row
BBC News
September 11, 2017

Nigel and Sally Rowe said their son became confused as to why the child dressed as both a boy and a girl.

The Diocese of Portsmouth, which runs the Church of England school on the Isle of Wight, said it was required to "respect diversity of all kinds".

The couple believe the school should have consulted all parents.
[…]
Two years ago they removed their eldest son from the same school in a separate row about a different transgender child.

The Rowes say the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts with their Christian beliefs as a family and they are seeking a legal challenge against the school's actions.

The Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mr and Mrs Rowe, said the couple were being accused of "transphobic behaviour" because of their "refusal to acknowledge a transgender person's true gender".
[…]
Jeff Williams, director of education for the Diocese of Portsmouth, said: "Church of England schools are inclusive environments where pupils learn to respect diversity of all kinds.
So these parents say it is against their religious beliefs but sent their children to a religious school that believes in diversity and now they are suing.

This is what an Australian newspaper had to say abut this,
Christian parents want to sue school that allowed boy to wear dress
Nine Online
By Jo Abi
September 11, 2017
A Christian couple from the UK are considering taking legal action against their son's former school because it allowed a male student to wear a dress.

Nigel Rowe, 44, and Sally, 42, pulled their six-year-old son out of a Church of England primary school when a fellow student began dressing as a girl.

"A child aged six would sometimes come to school as a girl or sometimes come to school as a boy," Nigel explained in a Christian Concerns video.

Sally said her son became "quite ill and stressed" over the situation.

"Our concerns were raised when our son came back home from school saying he was confused as to why and how a boy was now a girl."
Well maybe, just possible maybe you son is reacting to the way you react to the gender fluid student?



Saturday was Hartford Pride and I was tabling at the LGBT Aging Advocacy coalition and also stopping by the CT TransAdvocacy Coalition table to see how it was going.

Photo by Deja


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Insurance?

For us insurance is a big question mark, what will the Trump administration do about insurance coverage for us, if the rumors are true we will lose our insurance coverage in Medicare and through the ACA (Obamacare). Well from an unexpected source we could find some relief.
This Christian Group Is Offering To Fund Transgender Surgeries As A Form Of Reparations
"For Christians who have seen this violence and have been horrified by it, it’s time to put your tithe money where your beliefs are."
Logo NewNowNext
By Kristina Marusic
9/7/2017


A new campaign is asking Christians to fund gender-confirmation procedures for transgender people as a form of reparations for past discrimination.

Many churches encourage members to tithe, but the Tithe Trans campaign organized by Faithfully LGBT is asking supporters to donate to the trans community, rather than church coffers.

“There needs to be tangible ways that progressive Christians, who disagree with anti-trans theology, give to the transgender community,” says Eliel Cruz, founder of Faithfully LGBT. “I want Tithe Trans to be a way for Christians to begin to pay reparations for the damage we have caused.”
They are asking for donations for…
Donations will be directed to the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit that provides grants for gender-confirming procedures. Organizers have set a fundraising goal of $10,000, and while #TitheTrans is targeting Christians, the initiative is open to anyone.
This is fantastic!

But the problem is that so many trans people need financial assistance that this will cover only a few trans people each year. What we need is strong insurance coverage, one that you don’t have to fight at every turn. Insurance companies refuse to cover almost anything related to trans healthcare even the most basic coverage, their vocabulary consist of one word, no. They are counting on us not to challenge their decision, even if only 1% doesn’t appeal their decision they make money.

I Know We Are All Different

This is not for me, but I realize that other trans people might want to do something like this,
Vocal therapy helps some transgender people find their voice
‘The world doesn’t see you the way you want to be seen’
The Lilly
By Paige Pfleger
September 7, 2017

“The guy called me miss as I walked up to the counter,” Gorelick says. “But when he was making my sandwich and I had to tell him what I wanted, he started calling me sir.”
As a transgender woman, this wasn’t the first time Gorelick had been misgendered because of her low voice.

“It’s kind of like the world doesn’t see you the way you want to be seen,” she says. “You feel speechless.”
[…]
Vocal therapist Christie Block’s office is on the 8th floor of a high-rise in Manhattan. It’s a cozy space with a wall of books and, above her desk, an anatomical poster of the mouth and throat. This is where she sees her clients who come to New York Speech and Voice Lab for vocal therapy.

Today, more than half of her clients are transgender — mostly women like Gorelick.

That’s because people who transition to male have the option of taking testosterone, which lowers their voices permanently. But people who transition to female typically have thicker vocal folds and deeper voices, and hormones like estradiol don’t change that.
For many trans women this could be a lifeline for them and there are a number of speech therapists around that cater to trans clients including one at the University of Connecticut.

The reason why I don’t go to a speech therapist is that I feel that I lived a lie for 59 years hiding my true identity and that this would be another lie… it is not who I am.

I know of several trans women who have taken the UConn course and they feel that it has helped them, so if you want to give it a try you can probably find a voice therapist near where you live.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Hartford Pride

I am off to the Hartford Pride this morning, I'm taking CTfastrak bus into Hartford which takes me a block away from Pratt Street where the Pride is being held. Since the fare for seniors is only 85 cents and parking is free, it sure beats the parking fee in the garages in Hartford where six hours parking cost $18.00! On the street parking is $1.00 an hour with a two hour limit.

While I am at the Pride I will be staffing the CTAC (CT TransAdvocacy Coalition) table and the LGBT Aging Advocacy table, plus wandering around checking out the other tables.I want to get there around noon.

So if you are here in Connecticut and are not doing anything today, come on down and show your Pride!

Friday, September 08, 2017

Important Battles Are Going To Be Fought (Part 2)

The other court case we should be watching is the case on "Religious Freedom” that is before the Supreme Court and it has just taken an ominous turn.
In major Supreme Court case, Justice Dept. sides with baker who refused to make wedding cake for gay couple
Washington Post
By Robert Barnes
September 7, 2017

In a major upcoming Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights with religious liberty, the Trump administration on Thursday sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

The Department of Justice on Thursday filed a brief on behalf of baker Jack Phillips, who was found to have violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to created a cake to celebrate the marriage of Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. Phillips said he doesn’t create wedding cakes for same-sex couples because it would violate his religious beliefs.

The government agreed with Phillips that his cakes are a form of expression, and he cannot be compelled to use his talents for something in which he does not believe.
Tell me Mr. Attorney General Sessions, would someone who is black and denied service would that be free speech? Would a company that has a sign up that says “No Muslims Will Be Hired” be free speech?

I would say Mr. Attorney General that you want to ban LGBT people not because of “religious freedom” but rather from bigotry and homophobia, that you are using region to hid you bigotry behind.
The DOJ’s decision to support Phillips is the latest in a series of steps the Trump administration has taken to rescind Obama administration positions favorable to gay rights and to advance new policies on the issue.
Mr. Sessions you are a bigot!


The Supreme Court case is about a baker in Colorado that refused to make a cake for a gay couple, the case was heard by civil rights commission when they found against him, he appealed to the Colorado courts and when he lost their he took his case to the federal courts.
But Phillips refused to discuss the issue, saying his religious beliefs would not allow him to have anything to do with same-sex marriage. He said other bakeries would accommodate them.

The civil rights commission and a Colorado court rejected Phillips’ argument that forcing him to create a cake violated his First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and exercise of religion.

The court said the baker “does not convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law.”
Why is this case so important to us?

Well first off, a baker or another store or business could just as easy to discriminate against us, since you can use the same argument against us. Also you could easily also include race and religion in this case because back in the days of Jim Crow laws they did base their discrimination of blacks on the Bible.

I feel most importantly there can be no religious test, because how can you prove that it is not against their religion? So all a bigot has to do is say “It is against my religion.”

Consider,,,
Religious Discrimination and Racism: It’s Not Old News
Columbia Law School Blog: Public Rights / Private Conscience Project
By Cindy Gao
August 22, 2014

In conversations about our work on religious exemptions law, I frequently compare the refusal to provide wedding-related services to gay couples or reproductive health care to women for religious reasons to the widespread refusal to provide services to African-Americans for religious reasons before, during, and even after the Civil Rights Movement. This comparison is most often met with dismissive incredulity: my audience insists that this did not happen, or that if it did, it was not widespread. But in fact, religious doctrine was routinely used to justify the extensive oppression of, and discrimination against, African-Americans, beginning with religious justifications for slavery and continuing through the 20th Century, particularly in the South under Jim Crow.  These arguments were more widespread before the Civil Rights Movement, but even as late as 1983 Bob Jones University, a Christian-affiliated school, was arguing in the Supreme Court that its racially discriminatory dating and marriage policies for students were constitutionally protected as a free exercise of religion. (The Supreme Court disagreed).

As it turns out, this argument is not old news. A new poll released this week finds that a full 10% of Americans think that business owners should be allowed to refuse service to African-Americans if the refusal is religiously-motivated. (Not to mention the 16% who believe business owners should be allowed to refuse service to LGBT individuals – that number is 15% when polled about refusing service to atheists and 12% for refusing service to Jewish individuals). Although that means the overwhelming majority of those polled do *not* support such exclusions, it’s still a striking result.
So this case is going to be more important than marriage equality because it void the Supreme Court decision on marriage and it can open up a whole new can worms. We might see other court case to challenge the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state non-discrimination laws.

I would be worried if Justice Kennedy steps down from the bench and Trump gets a change to pack the court with religious fanatics.