Friday, April 30, 2010
Posted by De Sube at 4/30/2010 11:00:00 AM
The journey a Transgender person takes is unique to each individual. There is some commonality, though. It takes great courage to face what one fears and attempt to live an authentic life.
Transgender people face losing everything they have in order to live their lives. This is not a lifestyle choice. For most, it is a matter of life and death.
A qualified therapist, counselor and guide is so important to help the Transgender person find the way on this journey. This is not just any guide. If the guide does not know the way, everyone gets lost. Yes, the guide should be knowledgeable about gender identity and gender expression issues.
The journey is made so much easier when the first appointment is made and the first steps are taken. There are bumps along the way and some choices need to be made.
Eventually, the Trans individual finds the way to where they feel balanced, authentic and happier than they have ever been in their lives.
The journey never ends but it is far more enjoyable which is something many people do not quite understand, if they have never addressed the issues in their own lives.
Living life 'transgender'
Sarah Delage, Multimedia Journalist
ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Though Claire Folsom lives life as a woman, she was born male.
She says had a pretty average childhood growing up in Holden. But when her male body started to develop, she realized it was a body she didn't feel right in.
"I'd say middle school probably," Folsom said. "When you start to realize there's a difference, an actual difference not just a social one, between girls and boys. But even then I didn't know what it was, I just didn't feel right. It was kind of like a persistent feeling of just wrongness, and I didn't have any words for it, I didn't know what was going on."
Claire tried to get involved in activities with her peers.
"I was involved in Cub Scouts, briefly in Boy Scouts," Claire told NEWS CENTER. "I was in Odyssey of the Mind in high school. I was on the chess club. I was involved in things, but I could be in a room full of people and I always felt alone. And I just didn't know why. And I didn't have any words for that until about the end of high school."
Licensed clinical social worker Cheryl Daly has worked with transgender people for more than a decade. She says they often know about their gender issues when they are children, even if they don't know what those feelings mean.
"People know from a very young age just that they're different," Daly said. Not different in a bad way, but that they're more aligned with the other gender."
At the end of high school, things became clearer for Claire thanks to the information she found on line.
"It was confusing, it was scary it was frightening, I didn't feel like I could talk to anybody, and I still didn't really for years." Claire recalled.
Folsom finally talked to councilors at the University of Maine in her second year in college. Cheryl Daly says once a transgender person is ready to take that step, they work to identify how they feel and what actions they need to take to make them happy. Claire descibes it as peeling back the layers of an onion.
"The goal is to reach a point of calm, of equilibrium, of sustainability, if you will," Folsom said about her own counciling. "So, you rule out things. You say, 'this is how I feel, this is not how I feel'"
Folsom slowly began to change her appearance to look more like a woman.
"You do steps," Claire said. "So maybe there will be some dressing in the other gender's appropriate dress or whatever it is. For some people that's great and that's enough, and they can live their life and do that on the side and they have have perfectly normal, coherent lives. And for some people that's not enough."
For Folsom, it wasn't enough. She chose to begin a treatment called hormone replacement therapy, taking hormones to make her male body develop female characteristics. She has continued that treatment for several years.
Cheryl Daly says transgender youth can also seek medical care to change their bodies. If both a doctor and young patient feel it is the healthiest decision, the doctor can put the child on medication to postpone puberty.
Daly says to try understand where a transgender person at any age is coming from, you have to accept that gender doesn't always fit neatly into two categories.
"Someone's born, and the minute they're born it's, 'it's a boy, it's a girl,' and everything seems so black and white and it's just not that simple" Daly said.
Claire Folsom's transition will be complete when she can afford gender reassignment surgery, a procedure not covered by medical insurance. But for now, she says life is pretty good.
"I feel a lot better, a lot more sustainable than when I was younger and before I started that process," Claire said with smile. "I feel as though I belong in some places."
In part two of this special report, NEWS CENTER will be taking a look at proposed guidelines from the Maine Human Rights Commission. They state that transgender children should be allowed to use the bathroom of their gender identity. We'll hear reactions to that proposal from attorneys, conservative groups, and parents.
For more information about trans issues in Maine, click here.
Posted by De Sube at 4/30/2010 10:50:00 AM
Posted by De Sube at 4/30/2010 08:04:00 AM
Posted by De Sube at 4/30/2010 08:01:00 AM
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Posted by De Sube at 4/29/2010 02:27:00 PM
During a recent archeological expedition to the Middle East, the oldest and most accurate copy of the Bible's Book of Genesis was discovered in a Gay bar sealed in a salsa jar.
It discloses that the ancient cities of the plain Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim and Bela were invaded and conquered by the Lesbionites - a tribe of wild and crazy women. This invasion by the Lesbionites on Sodom and the other cities was in reaction to the way the ruling class of Sodom - the Stupidites treated Sodom's minority residents and the Lesbionites allies - the Transgentites (also known as Transvestites in the less civilized world), Bipanflutites and Gaymenintites as second-class citizens and not children of their false god.
The text further explains that no Stupidites were permitted to have sexual encounters or reside in Lesbionite country; but in order to prevent their race from dying out, they Lesbionites had to visit the Transgentites, Bipanflutites and Gaymenintites and party. The male children who were the result of these parties were allowed to explore their sexuality and gender expression; the females were kept and brought up by their Lesbionite mothers, and trained in agricultural pursuits, hunting, the art of kayaking and the use of power tools.
This ancient text of Genesis further explains the true loving God sends three men, thought by most commentators to have been angelic Drag Queens appearing as Gaymenintites to Abraham in the plains of Mamre. After receiving the hospitality of Abraham and Sarah, his wife, God reveals to Abraham that he will investigate Sodom and Gomorrah, because their food is great, "and their parties are the best since sliced bread."
In response, Abraham reverently inquires of God if he would bless the city if fifty Queer people were found in it, then forty-five, then thirty, then twenty or even ten, with God affirming he would not destroy it after each request, for the sake of the Queers yet dwelling therein. The two angelic Drag Queens of God proceed to Sodom and are met by Abraham's flaming Bipanflutites nephew Lot, who constrains the angelic Drag Queens with chains and leather to lodge with him, and they eat with his family after performing several flamboyant versions of Broadway productions.
This ancient version of Genesis describes what followed, which confirms the real, cross my heart and hope to die story:
"But before they lay down, the Stupidites of the city, the Stupidites of Sodom, both young and old, all the Stupidites to the last person, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, "Where are the Drag Queens who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may party with them" "
In response, Lot refuses to give his guests to the Stupidites of Sodom and, instead, offers the Stupidites two six packs and a bottle of Ripple and said "do to them whatever you like." [Gen 69:]
However, the Stupidites refuse this offer and threaten to pout if they cannot get their way. And the Stupidites lunged toward Lot to break down the door to his gender-neutral bathroom. Lot's angelic guests rescue the party and strike the Stupidites blind with incredible lip synch, style and fashion. Then, the angelic Drag Queens command the Lesbionites, Transgentites, Bipanflutites and Gaymenintites including Lot to gather his family and leave, revealing that they were sent to redevelop Sodom and Gomorrah into shopping malls. As they make their escape, the angelic Drag Queens command the Lesbionites, Transvestites, Bipanflutites and Gaymenintites including Lot and his family not to look back under any circumstance. However, as God leveled Sodom and Gomorrah with a bulldozer, Lot's wife looks back, longingly, at the city in defiance of the angels' specific command not to look back and she becomes a Bipanflutite.
The Lesbionites who had access to U-Haul trucks, Transgentites, Bipanflutites and Gaymenintites including Lot and his Bipanflutite wife moved to the three other cities of the plain Admah, Zeboim and Bela where they grew and prospered.
Unfortunately, the Stupidites hid under their rocks from the loving God's wrath and continued to evolve into Republicans, conservative reactionaries and religious fanatics in most areas of the world.
Thus creating the need for a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act - ENDA. Get involved or the Stupidites will have their way!
The "bathroom bill" bigots
To win passage of ENDA, says Sherry Wolf, activists need to be ready to counter the bigots' lies.
April 29, 2010
A CULTURAL storm is brewing on the horizon over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would finally provide workplace rights currently denied to most LGBT people. Right now, only 21 states and the District of Columbia mandate workplace protections for sexual orientation, a mere 12 states provide legal protection for gender identity.
ENDA would extend federal employment discrimination protections currently provided based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability to sexual orientation and gender identity. It is urgently needed.
As a transgender-inclusive ENDA makes its way through Congress in coming weeks, the good money is on it passing easily through the House and being stonewalled in the Senate.
While polls show that 89 percent of the population support workplace equality for LGBT people, fear-mongering and transphobic stupidities are being spread and echoed by right-wingers. Now that it is less palatable to openly discriminate against lesbians and gays, transgender people have become the primary targets of the cultural cretins.
One central excuse for denying LGBT people--in particular, transgender people--their workplace rights is that this legislation is, in the words of right-wingers, a "bathroom bill." In other words, a diabolical plan for men in drag to slip into women's restrooms, feigning femininity.
One widely circulated form letter to Congresspeople on Congress.org states, "The thought of my child or grandchild in a bathroom with a transgender (sic) is repugnant to me." Tellingly, this note doesn't even modify the adjective transgender to refer to an actual person--as if "a transgender" is some alien species and not a human being who deserves respect and equal treatment.
In a whiff of scapegoating to come on the federal level, Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial contender Charles D. Baker attacked a current statewide bill that would prohibit anti-trans discrimination in Massachusetts, likewise dubbing it the "bathroom bill."
Aside from the obvious ignorance about transgender people, it's worth noting that trans people are using public toilets now. What's more, there are no recorded incidents of male-to-female transgender people harassing other women in bathrooms. Quite the contrary, some biological females have resorted to verbal invective or violence to stop transwomen from sharing restrooms.
It's insulting and dehumanizing to reduce the legitimate demands of untold numbers of people who are transgender to a petty potty squabble.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
THE FACT that people in positions of power have been hemming and hawing for years against the inclusion of gender identity to any bill involving workplace equality is evidence not only of politicians' transphobia, but of activists' need to know the facts and to use them to mobilize broad forces to finally win workplace equality for all.
The statistics on transgender people's lives are stunning. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 97 percent have experienced mistreatment, harassment or discrimination on the job.
Try and imagine what it would feel like to have perfect strangers ask you about your genitalia on a regular basis. How it might affect you if going into a public toilet were an experience you had to mentally and physically gear up for because co-workers and employers often harassed and pilloried you for trying to relieve yourself. If simply living in your own skin in the only way you could imagine surviving was not only cause for emotional, physical and verbal abuse, but could cost you your job.
That's a snippet of life for most gender variant people, according to this first-ever survey of 6,450 transgender people in the United States.
Of those surveyed, 47 percent were denied a job, a promotion or were fired because of their gender identity. Despite higher levels of education than the population at large, 15 percent of transgender people earn less than $10,000 per year, twice the national average for that income level. Twenty-seven percent reported incomes of $20,000 or less.
According to the survey, hostile employers forced 32 percent of transgender people to present themselves in the wrong gender in order to keep their jobs. While 62 percent of the overall population has access to health care at work, only 40 percent of transgender people do.
Unequal and inhumane treatment wouldn't end overnight with the passage of a transgender-inclusive ENDA. But so long as politicians turn a blind eye--or worse, echo the bigots' fear-mongering of transgender people--discrimination and violence will be given a pass.
There are many flaws to ENDA. Workplaces with fewer than 15 employees would be exempt, along with religious institutions. So would the nation's largest workplace, the U.S. military. The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" would still be required before lesbians, gays and bisexuals could serve openly in the military. There are no quotas, affirmative action or clauses to allow for the correction of past discrimination on the job.
Yet ENDA would be an undeniable step forward in the march toward LGBT civil equality.
LGBT activists in many cities are building contingents for this year's May Day protests--both in solidarity with immigrants marching for their workplace rights. and to advance the struggle for ENDA. In cities across the country, activists are heeding Equality Across America's call to action on Harvey Milk Day on May 22 to press for full equality for all LGBT people, including passage of ENDA.
The Obama administration has signaled that it has good intentions on LGBT civil rights, but action is clearly needed to pressure Congress and the White House to pass ENDA this year.
Countering the bigots' lies and inanities must be part of activists' strategy in months to come if we are to win rights for all sexual minorities, including those who are gender variant.
Posted by De Sube at 4/29/2010 10:31:00 AM
This is great news for Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay youth in Illinois and now such laws are needed for the entire country. We are losing too many lives.
It will be a long time coming in draconian states like Arizona, Virginia and other bastions of religious extremists and conservative reactionaries where they are more worried about 'bathrooms' and hard working immigrants than about children's lives.
Illinois approves anti-bullying bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity
SDGLN Staff | Tue, 04/27/2010 - 10:07am
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign into law an anti-bullying bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Illinois House voted unanimously on Friday, April 23, to approve the bill. The Senate passed its version on March 24.
Schools will now be required to adopt anti-bullying policies and create bullying-resistance education for students.
“At long last, schools across the state will be uniformly required to take steps to protect vulnerable kids from bullying and violence,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's largest gay rights advocate.
“Students who are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are particularly vulnerable to bullying. And the attempted suicide rate rate among LGBT students, which is as much as three times higher than the general average, presents alarming evidence for just how urgently we need this law.”
Posted by De Sube at 4/29/2010 07:29:00 AM
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Posted by De Sube at 4/28/2010 05:17:00 PM