Month: April 2010

Hawaii Congress Approves Civil Unions

Posted by – April 30, 2010

In the midst of all the bad news, about Arizona and the BP Gulf spill, Hawaii’s state Congress approved Civil Unions. The Senate approved it back in January, when it got snagged on opposition, but just yesterday Hawaii’s House approved it, so it goes next to the Governor, who has not indicated whether she would sign it or not.

Still, news that doesn’t suck!

(via Joe.My.God)

Unemployed Trans + ENDA Direct Action

Posted by – April 29, 2010

NCTE has a direct action going on. If you’re a trans person or ally who is out of work, you can drop off your resume + cover letter to your local Congressperson, and then send copies to NCTE who will deliver them in person. The idea is to show Congress exactly how much we need ENDA. More below the break: More

Red Scab Returns (or, Adam Ant is Back)

Posted by – April 29, 2010

Oh, because I have to: I just read the first really good interview with Adam Ant in forever and a day, AND he’s shown up on boingboing as well.

I guess you know you’re famous when a costume company sells a pre-fab costume of you, eh?

Adam Ant is playing live again, which pretty much kills me because I’m not in London. He’s also turned up for gigs with Gary Numan, and the Glitter Band.

But he’s also playing with a new band, and has finally figured out that people want to hear him do the old punk stuff, like “It Doesn’t Matter” and “Red Scab.”

I so wish I could be there, but at least he’s back.

WTF?

Posted by – April 28, 2010

Someone attacked a trans person in a men’s room at CSU-LB and carved into the person’s chest.

Here’s a sketch of the asshole:

I hope someone recognizes him so he can be brought to justice.

(via Matty & Calpernia)

The Other Catholic Church

Posted by – April 28, 2010

A nice piece on “the other Catholic Church” which is still out there, still doing cool anti-poverty work, and still taking a lot of risks:

This is the church of the Maryknoll Sisters in Central America and the Cabrini Sisters in Africa. There’s a stereotype of nuns as stodgy Victorian traditionalists. I learned otherwise while hanging on for my life in a passenger seat as an American nun with a lead foot drove her jeep over ruts and through a creek in Swaziland to visit AIDS orphans. After a number of encounters like that, I’ve come to believe that the very coolest people in the world today may be nuns.

So when you read about the scandals, remember that the Vatican is not the same as the Catholic Church. Ordinary lepers, prostitutes and slum-dwellers may never see a cardinal, but they daily encounter a truly noble Catholic Church in the form of priests, nuns and lay workers toiling to make a difference.

It’s high time for the Vatican to take inspiration from that sublime — even divine — side of the Catholic Church, from those church workers whose magnificence lies not in their vestments, but in their selflessness. They’re enough to make the Virgin Mary smile.

I know I’ve said more than once that when Catholics are cool, they’re cooler than many.

(h/t to Doug for the link)

Two Tune Tuesday: Got a Groove?

Posted by – April 27, 2010

I’m not much into “music to do drugs by” but these two tracks have appealed to me lately: the Hot Chip has some New Order resonance, and Animal Collective – at least this track – strikes me as an odd combo of Paul Winter and Adrien Belew.

Co-Signers of the Letter to the APA about GID

Posted by – April 26, 2010

Here is the final list of the co-signing organizations & individuals of the Callen-Lorde/Gay Center letter to the APA about the DSM V revision of GID:

Co-signing Institutions:

  1. CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, New York, NY
  2. Agnodice Foundation, Lausanne, Switzerland
  3. Brainpower Research and Development Services Inc
  4. Brooklyn Community Pride Center, Brooklyn, NY
  5. Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council, Albany, NY
  6. Center on Halsted, Chicago, IL
  7. The DC Center for the LGBT Community
  8. Equality Ohio, Columbus, OH
  9. The Gay Alliance in Rochester NY
  10. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado, Denver, CO
  11. L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, Los Angeles, CA
  12. Legacy Community Health Services, Houston, TX
  13. LGBT Community Center Coalition of Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA
  14. The LOFT LGBT Community Services Center, White Plains, NY
  15. Malecare, New York, NY
  16. Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia, PA
  17. Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, Milwaukee, WI
  18. National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), New York, NY
  19. National LGBT Cancer Network, New York, NY
  20. New Mexico GLBTQ Centers, Las Cruces, NM
  21. New York City Anti-Violence Project, New York, NY
  22. New York Trans Rights Organization (NYTRO), White Plains, New York
  23. Out With Cancer – The LGBT Cancer Project, New York, NY
  24. Pride in Practice, Silver School of Social Work, New York University, New York, NY
  25. Rainbow Heights Club, Brooklyn, NY
  26. Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center, Sacramento, CA
  27. San Francisco LGBT Community Center, San Francisco, CA
  28. Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), New York, NY
  29. Spectrum LGBT Center, San Rafael, CA
  30. Third Root Community Health Center, Brooklyn, NY
  31. YouthPride, Inc., Atlanta, GA

The following individuals have requested their names be added to this letter in show of support:

  1. Alison Aldrich, LCSW, Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU Silver School of Social Work, New York, NY
  2. Alison Alpert, New York, NY
  3. Angie Canelli, MA MHP LMHC NCC, Gender and Sexual Minority, Specialist, Seattle Counseling Service, Seattle, WA
  4. Brenda Solomon, Ph.D., M.S.W., Graduate Program Coordinator and Associate Professor, Social Work at The University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
  5. Craig Sloane, LCSW, New York, NY
  6. David J. Brennan, MSW, PhD, Assistant Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  7. David Steinberg, San Francisco, CA
  8. Deanna Croce, LMSW, New York, NY
  9. Dennis Holly
  10. Devon Claridge, Brooklyn, NY
  11. Dr. Karra Bikson, Assistant Professor, NYU Silver School of Social Work, New York, NY
  12. E Maxwell Davis, Ph.D., LISW, Assistant Professor, Human Development & Women’s Studies, California State University, East Bay, CA
  13. Elizabeth Mullaugh, Board Secretary, LGBT Community Center of Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA
  14. Fareen Ramji, LMSW, Brooklyn, NY
  15. Foresta Castañeda, MSW, Middlebury, VT
  16. Franklin Brooks, Ph.D., LCSW, Chairperson, Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, National Association of Social Workers, Maine Chapter, Portland, ME
  17. Helen Boyd, author and lecturer in Gender Studies, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI
  18. Holly Rider-Milkovich, Director, Student Wellness Center. New York City College of Technology, New York, NY
  19. Jane Mildred, MSW, MA, PhD, Amherst, MA
  20. Jean Sienkewicz, MSW–Offender Re-Entry Housing Specialist, Burlington Housing Authority, Burlington VT
  21. Jase Schwartz, BA Psychology, MSW Candidate, Hunter College School of Social Work, New York, NY
  22. Jeff Brody, LMHC, ATR-BC, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Board-Certified Art Therapist, Licensed School Adjustment Counselor, Braintree, MA
  23. Jeremy D. Schwartz, MSW Candidate, Student Senator, NYU Silver School of Social Work, New York, NY
  24. Jessie Jacobson, Los Angeles, CA
  25. Joyce E. Garee, LMSW, Albany, NY
  26. Justus Eisfeld, co-director, GATE – Global Advocates for Trans Equality, New York, NY
  27. Karalyn Shimmyo, LMSW, Brooklyn, NY
  28. Kayleen White, Thornbury, Victoria, Australia, former co-convenor of Victoria’s TransGender Victoria
  29. Laura Booker, LCSW, New York, NY
  30. Lex Moran, New York, NY
  31. Mauro Cabral, co-director, GATE – Global Advocates for Trans Equality, Córdoba, Argentina
  32. Melissa Sklarz, New York, NY
  33. Michael Miller, MSW Candidate, 2011, Silver School Of Social Work, New York University, New York, NY
  34. Michelle Kay, MS, FNP, New York, NY
  35. Misty L. Wall, PhD, MSSW, LCSW, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Boise State University, Boise, ID
  36. Nerissa Belcher RN, Decatur, GA
  37. Nickerson Hill, LMSW, Masters of Public Health Candidate, Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
  38. Nicole Paige, New York, NY
  39. P. Swan, MSW, Seattle, WA
  40. Paisley Currah, Professor, Brooklyn College-CUNY, Brooklyn, NY
  41. Pamela Bianco, Staten Island, NY
  42. Pega Ren, Ed.D., Registered Clinical Counsellor, Board Certified Sexologist, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  43. Rebecca Capri-Durkee Transgender Health Advocate, Boston, MA
  44. Robin Mangini, New York, NY
  45. Romy Reading, MA, New School for Social Research, New York, NY
  46. Rosalyne Blumenstein LCSW ACHP-SW, Therapy2Go, Los Angeles, CA
  47. Samuel Lurie, Director, Transgender Training and Advocacy
  48. Sand Chang, PhD, San Francisco, CA
  49. Sari Surkis, MBA, MSW Candidate, New York, NY
  50. Sean M. Endress, MA, LCSW, Albany, NY
  51. Sebastian Colon-Otero, LMSW, Brooklyn, NY
  52. Shelley Schwartz, Chappaqua NY
  53. Sherry Tripepi, MSW, EqualityToledo, Toledo, OH
  54. Stacey Peyer, MSW, LCSW, CalSWEC Field Consultant, CSULB Department of Social Work, Long Beach, CA
  55. Steve Prentice, LMSW New York, NY
  56. Steven Lipsky, LCSW, CASAC, New York, NY
  57. Sue Langer, LCSW, New York, NY
  58. Susan E. Roche, Ph.D., M.S.S.W., University of Vermont Department of Social Work, Burlington, VT
  59. Tim Pierce, President, Community Alliance and Action Network, Joliet, IL
  60. Toby C. Siegel, Astoria NY
  61. Trey Polesky, MSW, Bloomington, IL
  62. Tyler Blake Kim, New York, NY
  63. Yosenio V. Lewis, Transgender Health Advocate, San Francisco, CA

Autumn Sandeen Update

Posted by – April 26, 2010

Pam of Pam’s House Blend has a post up at Daily Kos about Autumn Sandeen’s treatment in federal lock-up. I wish I could say I’m surprised. Autumn, in the meanwhile, is home safe & sound.

Per Ardua ad Astra

Posted by – April 26, 2010

The RAF has a pilot who is transitioning on the job, & nutty them, they think it doesn’t matter as long as she can still do her job.

(“Per Ardua ad Astra” is Latin for “through adversity to the stars” which is the motto of the RAF and which certainly be the motto of the trans community, no?.)

Trans Answers and Surveys in the NYT

Posted by – April 25, 2010

Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth recently answered a bunch of questions about transgender issues in The New York Times. It’s in three sections: one, two, and three. She’s working on a book called Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, and people like Jennifer Boylan and Jamison Green and Pat Califia (on sexuality!) have already signed on to write for it.

She is also currently conducting surveys, and yes, there’s one for partners:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=exaD1ewtMleNRnDAkKTkqPKWKAYSBdKPW8BsiUBKy3I%3d&

I am pleased as punch to see that they’re going with a qualitative survey for partners’ issues. If you’re a partner, and especially if you’re the kind of partner who isn’t “typical” or in the majority most of the time (boyfriends/husbands of trans women, male partners of FTMs, women who intentionally sought out trans partners) make sure you fill it out.

There are other surveys for the book for trans people, of course, too, and one for parents, as well.

Pretty Green

Posted by – April 24, 2010

An article by SirensMag.com, which I found via BlogHer, and via Sarah, tell us the truth about what it means for women to spend so much money on our looks:

More money on mascara means less money donated to politicians who can do you favors.
More money on pedicures means less money for the non-profits like shelters, crisis centers, and halfway houses.
More money on haircuts means less money for more education & training.
More money on moisturizers, face lifts and boob jobs means less money, less influence, and less power.

Period.

When SciFi Comes True

Posted by – April 23, 2010

The first full facial transplant, imagine that.

Guns, God… and the Trans?!

Posted by – April 23, 2010

Wow. A Republican trans woman named Donna Milo is running against an incumbent Democrat in Florida, which makes two trans women who don’t seem to understand politics.

Sorry, folks, but the Family Values crowd isn’t pro-transsexual, and if you actually think the old school Conservativism has any pull just now, you haven’t been paying attention. Trans or not, here’s hoping Milo loses (but I still hope her transness isn’t used to undermine her).

Impact: MHB

Posted by – April 22, 2010

Jessica Who? wrote a nice piece about her experience reading and re-reading My Husband Betty. It’s so satisfying to know that anything I’ve written helped someone else come to terms with their crossdressing or their transness. I was just putting the finishing touches on it seven years ago, around this time of year. I had no idea how my life would change once it was published, but I’m sure I had even less idea that anyone else’s would!

Congrats to Jessica Who? on her year of blogging.

Gender Neutral Bathrooms at CSI

Posted by – April 21, 2010

The College of Staten Island is making some of their restrooms unisex, or gender neutral. It’s not particularly tricky: they’re putting signs on the doors of both male & female stick figures, add a lock to the main door and a sign letting people know they can use the gender neutral bathroom as a single-use, private one.

Amazingly uncomplicated, and as the article points out, useful for more than people whose genders are in flux, fluid, or trans: a father who has to change his daughter’s diaper, for instance, doesn’t have to worry about finding a family bathroom, either.

(h/t to Darryl Hill, who is also mentioned in the article)

Autumn Sandeen Chains Herself to WH Fence

Posted by – April 20, 2010

No kidding – you go Autumn!

From GetEqual’s website:

Our hopes swelled when President Obama promised at the State of the Union to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the policy that discriminates against lesbian and gay servicemembers. But his words mean nothing without action. And he has an opportunity to take action right now. The Defense Authorization Bill (DAB) provides funding for all military operations, and it will soon be up for renewal.

President Obama knows that the DAB provides a way to repeal DADT immediately. And he knows that repealing the policy quickly and decisively is the right thing to do for LGBT servicemembers and for all of the armed forces. But recent reports suggest that the Administration is trying to delay any law change until December or even later.

Join us in supporting Lt. Dan Choi, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd, and Cpl. Evelyn Thomas as they take action at the White House to demand that DADT be repealed through this year’s DAB

(via PHB, of course)

Response to the APA’s New GID

Posted by – April 19, 2010

Callen-Lorde and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, both of New York, have written a response to the APA’s revised DSM diagnosis for Gender Identity Disorder — which is now being re-named Gender Incongruence. They make a few important and valid points in a statement which is tidy, well-written, and well-argued. I’m impressed & will be added as a signatory.

Re: Comment on the proposed “Gender Incongruence” in the draft revision of the of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5
(DSM-5)

American Psychiatric Association:

The undersigned providers of and advocates for medical and mental health services to transgender and gender non-conforming communities welcome this opportunity to offer feedback and comment on the American Psychiatric Association’s draft revision diagnosis for Gender Identity Disorders (GID), “Gender Incongruence” (GI).

The lead organizations facilitating this response are Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of New York City. Each of these organizations started providing community services in 1983 and together serve over 2,000 people of transgender experience with primary health care and hormone care as well as substance abuse, mental health, and community building services. Our organizations, as well as the other signatories to this letter, represent the largest settings providing health and social services to transgender and gender non-conforming people and their families in the United States.

We appreciate the APA’s proposed “Gender Incongruence”(GI) diagnosis is an effort intended to de-stigmatize gender non-conformity and improve transgender-identified people’s access to mental health care. We agree with the intention behind this effort; however, we endorse an alternative viewpoint, based on our years of collective practice knowledge. We believe GI will continue to inappropriately pathologize gender non-conformity, maintain barriers to medically necessary health care, and lend justification to gender based stigmatization and discrimination.

Prior to addressing the reasons behind our recommendation, we would like to respectfully address the process by which the APA undertook this effort.
From the vantage point of LGBT health and community centers, the conceptualization of “Gender Incongruence” occurred without valuable and necessary input from community providers who serve and are accountable to significant numbers of people affected by this diagnosis. The November 2008 Report of the DSM-V Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group indicates that the “sub-work group has addressed feedback from interested advocacy groups and other stakeholders. Surveys were sent to more than 60 organizations.” While other agencies have provided feedback in this process, we are concerned that the institutions that provide the bulk of medical and mental health services to transgender people nationwide were not asked for input. We have reached out to LGBT community health centers and LGBT community centers; none of these key, high-volume, client-centered, community-driven stakeholders seem to have been included in the research or vetting process. Without input from a representative sample of such organizations and their clients, the conclusions of the sub-work group regarding GI cannot be considered generalizable.

Our specific concerns regarding the validity and utility of the proposed inclusion of GI are as follows:
– Gender non-conformity is not a mental disorder: The proposed definition of a mental disorder in the DSM-V expressly prohibits the inclusion of diagnoses that are “primarily the result of social deviance or conflicts with society” (APA, 2010). The “Gender Incongruence” diagnosis inherently contradicts this tenet. Whereas the criteria for other psychiatric diagnoses are lists of symptoms that impair functioning, the proposed criteria for GI are a list of characteristics of gender non-conformity. There is no evidence or need for treatment that decreases gender non-conformity or crossdressing, as noted in “Transvestic Fetishism.” The GI diagnosis obfuscates the root cause of the distress many transgender people experience – pervasive discrimination. It is commonly acknowledged among mental health providers that being gay, bisexual or lesbian is not a disorder, but that the social impact of stigma, discrimination and homophobia can cause the individual great distress. GI falsely assigns dysfunction to the gender non-conforming person, rather than within the social environment.

– An inappropriate pathway to transgender-specific medical care: There is legitimate community concern that removal of a mental health diagnosis would limit access to transgender-specific medical care. While a minority has succeeded in using the legal system or in fulfilling their insurer’s requirements for coverage to access care, the majority of people needing transgender-specific medical care are denied coverage. GI maintains these barriers to care. Medical interventions are better substantiated by the use of medical diagnoses, not psychiatric diagnoses. Access to transgender-specific, medically necessary care can be directly and more effectively addressed by utilization of a revised medical diagnosis in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The psychiatric needs of transgender people are better addressed by existing psychiatric diagnoses.

– GI lays the groundwork for unethical and harmful reparative therapy: A GID diagnosis has historically been misused to justify treatment of “pre-homosexual” children in the hope of preventing or delaying the development of a positive and healthy gay or lesbian identity. With adults, transgender-specific medical intervention is often offered only if reparative therapy fails to relieve distress and improve social functioning.
The GI diagnosis will continue to lend false credence to interventions that foster shame, encourage children and adults to betray their true selves, and delay healthy identity development. This practice is harmful and unethical.

In summary, we propose all diagnoses addressing gender non-conformity and identity be eliminated from the DSM-5. The mental health needs – when present – of gender non-conforming people are addressed by existing diagnoses. We ask the APA to formally renounce reparative therapy addressing gender non-conformity in children, adolescents and adults. We acknowledge that a diagnosis must exist for those who require medically necessary transgender-specific care, and ask the APA to advocate for a viable transgender-specific medical diagnosis in the ICD. Finally, we respectfully request that the APA include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender healthcare institutions and community centers in these processes.

Sincerely,

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York City More

However:

Posted by – April 18, 2010

What happened to Harold and Clay is one of the many reasons same sex couples need more than visitation rights and ALL the same legal rights as anyone who is civilly married:

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.

Read the whole brutal story, if you can stand it, at Bilerico.

Tammy Baldwin’s Statement on Recent Obama Decision

Posted by – April 18, 2010

Courtesy of Our Lives magazine:

President Obama’s decision to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to take steps to ensure that hospitals participating in Medicare or Medicaid respect the rights of patients to receive visitors and designate others to make decisions about medical care in the case of an emergency is the right one. It follows the lead of many states and makes a strong statement about who we are as a nation and what we value.

Read the whole thing

NOH8

Posted by – April 17, 2010

A Lawrence student has been taking photographs of faculty, staff & students who wanted to participate in the NOH8 campaign, and yesterday, on our 12th anniversary, we decided to (finally) get ours taken. Here are some of the shots.

Photographer: Andrew Hawley