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It’s Not Really About Bathrooms

In November 2015, many of us in Houston, Texas, feared that we would lose on the recall vote about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. We did, and we lost massively.

During that campaign, the primary weapon of the religious right was the bathroom predator myth. They had TV ads and everything and blasted that myth across the airwaves. It was not until 2 days before the elections that any local media even began to refute those lies.

As a consequence, we lost that vote bigtime by 61% to repeal the ordinance versus 39% to retain it.

When we lost that vote, within a few days, I made the prediction that the GOP would take the bathroom predator myth nationwide. Why? Because it both helps defeat trans rights and in doing so, it drives ignorant Republican voters to the polls. The bathroom predator myth is, therefore, just a tool to turn out ignorant white straight fundamentalist voters.

This means they are scapegoating trans people as a means to grasp at political power. This was never about women’s safety or bathrooms. This was always about the GOP finding a divisive fear generating wedge issue and then hammering that wedge issue with a sledge hammer til it fractures other coalitions and drives voters into Republican arms.

Republicans see this as a win, because it lets them back down (a little, not all the way) on racism as a fear tactic and instead scapegoat a much smaller population that is unable to defend itself. I’ve even seen Republicans make overtures to black churches about how “bad” trans rights are.

If the SCOTUS ever does rule on this and supports trans civil rights, like the Gavin Grimm case returns to the SCOTUS, you can count on right wingers making “rollback trans rights” into another Supreme Court nominee litmus test just like “rollback abortion rights” is right now.

They will argue they need to pack the court with anti-trans judges to stop this “horror” and “danger” to society. And transgender people will be scapegoated and actively harmed solely to support Republican fear mongering. Trans people will die just so Republicans can use fear mongering to gain political power. And that, my friends, is the real evil here.

A Visit With Dr. Chettawut And Other Random Thoughts

IMAG0099-resizedIt’s Wednesday morning in Bangkok and  I had my final visit with Dr. Chettawut today. He said I am healing “beautifully” so far. We took photos and while I guess I look less than stellar, no makeup and clearly physically tired, I’ll excuse myself with it having been just three weeks since surgery.

My only remaining medication is my antibiotic, which I was told to finish. Judging by what’s left that will be sometime next week.

My dilation schedule with #2 changed this week. That’s the dilator that’s getting most of the time now with #1 just basically helping me to relax and loosen up. Strangely enough, unlike a lot of the other women I’ve met here, my most relaxed session is the morning, and I’m at my tightest in the evening, so that session takes the longest.

I’ve stood a few times looking at myself in the mirror now, both dressed and undressed, both frontal and sideways. I don’t think I’m doing too badly for a woman my age either. And I will admit that I’m starting to see what my daughter must see when she teases me about a bikini next summer.

I recently participated in a long Facebook thread started by a woman who posted publicly (if you don’t want dissenting comments, post for friends only!) about her opposition to transgender protection regulations in a Houston suburb school district. I provided fact after fact, but these people refused to consider these facts, or the professional opinions of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, or the American College of Physicians. They refused to accept the scientific research, with one paranoid delusional claiming that science and professional medicine had been taken over by “liberals” and “Satan”. Well, buddy, when you’re that paranoid and delusional, you are the one that needs psychiatric help, not transgender kids. And they refused to accept the criminal evidence provided by the states and major cities that have enacted transgender protection ordinances, again claiming “liberal” conspiracy.

This little discussion was absolute proof that these bigots don’t care about facts. They just twist facts to try to justify their bigotry. They totally lack the compassion, empathy, and love that Christ himself told them to show.

That’s what dealing with transphobic bigots is like. Deny, deny, deny, fall back on “cuz Gawd”. It’s a blatant display of willful scientific and medical ignorance. And they are often proud of it!!! You’re left with a sick sinking feeling that these people are the exact sort that would gladly load cattle cars with human beings just so long as nobody disturbs their comfort. And granting equal rights under the law to transgender people? They just don’t want to. One practically admitted he wanted someone else to mock. These are sick, sick human beings.

In other matters, Tuesday evening (last night), Julie and I went to the Japanese restaurant just outside the Tesco department store about 5 blocks down the street. It was a feast for 950 Baht total (roughly $26). We got the beef and seafood. They put hot coals in the little burner in the center of your table and you cook your meal there, with over half a dozen different seasonings provided. We had more beef than we could eat, plus mega-shrimp, small salmon steaks, and various vegetables we could put on the grill as well. There was also a rice bowl that basically looked like fried rice unstirred, so we stirred that and ate about half of that as well. Julie and I split the salad and it was gone, and we each also got Miso soup with the meal. All in all, I came home stuffed and happy. It as delicious.

Today Julie is at the Tiger Temple. I have her looking for a few things for me for other people, plus I told her I wanted my own stuffed tiger if they’re available. She’ll be gone all day as that trip is 3 hours drive each way north of the city and 4 hours at the temple proper. She’s going to try to sign up for the chance to get a tiger photo where the tiger puts its head in her lap. I hope she gets it! If I can return someday, I want to see the Tiger Temple too, when I am healthier.

Our trip to the other side of the world is drawing to a close. Julie and I will see one of the local temples tomorrow, and maybe one other local sight on Friday. Saturday we rest and pack, as our ride back to the airport comes to the hotel at 9pm that evening and our flight back to the US begins just after midnight. We’ll arrive back in Houston on Sunday, August 16th, at about 8:30 am at international terminal D. I need to help Julie get over to terminal B for her flight home to Memphis that leaves around 10:30 so it will be close. We have to come in through customs, collect luggage, take the train to terminal B, then she has to check in at the counter and check her bag again for the separate flight home. We’ll make it but we’ll be busy. After she’s set, I’ll arrange to meet my ride outside terminal B at the arrivals pick up area. And then home, where the process of settling back in, re-establishing my dilation and massage schedules begins, and where I get comfortable for a week before resuming work on Monday, August 24th.

To all who have helped distract me on this trip, keeping my mind off the difficulties of healing early on, thank you. You have my gratitude for simply being there. But don’t worry. I’m not going away, and as I recover, I do hope to meet more of you who are in and around the Houston area.

Leelah Alcorn – Her Death and Facing Human Monsters Among Us

People are trying to whitewash what Doug and Carla Alcorn did to their child. I’m having none of it. They chose to be religious bigots. They chose to ignore medical and scientific fact in favor of 6000 year old superstitious nonsense. As surely as Leelah was their child, they also killed their own child with their words and by sending their child to therapists who practice a form of therapy that is considered “unethical” by both the AMA and the APA. They helped kill their child by authorizing three times the dose of Prozac recommended for children, when Prozac itself is proven to increase suicidality in children.

I will not stand by and submit to the nonsense being spewed by Carla Alcorn about “unconditional love”. If that’s what love looks like, then that kind of love kills.

I will not excuse James Dobson and his hypocritical motto “Families: where life begins and love never ends” because his transphobic rantings fueled the Alcorns extremist positions. For Leelah Alcorn, Dobson’s advice as “Families: where life ends and love never begins.”

I will not stand by and excuse them for their role in this because the culture around them “brainwashed” them. They had a choice and they deliberately chose scientific ignorance over medical fact.

It’s time to end this religious superstitious nonsense. It’s time to make reparative therapy a felony crime, including when practiced by “religious” therapists!

As a nation, we no longer tolerate lots of fundamentalist nonsense. We no longer allow women to be sold to the man that raped her to be forced to be his “wife”. We no longer tolerate “curse of Ham” religious reasoning for racial bigotry. There are lots of fundamentalist extremist ideas to which this nation has already said “NO!”

Now it’s time to say no to Reparative Therapy – a form of psychological abuse and torture intended to force someone to conform to gender and sexual stereotypes. It’s time to ban reparative therapy and make it a nationwide federal felony. And it’s time to prosecute and imprison every barbaric monster who insists on practicing this superstitious nonsense.

And to close, I’ll go one step further. We need to prosecute the therapists who helped kill Leelah Alcorn.. Punish them. Because they still think what they did was right and that, in itself, is a horror and a wrong that a respectable society should not tolerate.

Please sign the petition for Leelah’s Law, to ban reparative therapy throughout the entire United States. It’s time to strike back at the human monsters among us and remove them from civilized society. Let’s pass Leelah’s Law so no more children face Leelah’s fate. And let’s prosecute the Alcorns and the therapists who took part in this religious killing. It’s time.

First Day At Work

Gee, I’m finding a lot to say this month, but I suppose there’s a lot going on that deserves noting.

Monday, October 6th, was the first day that Cara was present in the office. I completed the legal name change last week but since I work mostly from home anyway, Monday was the first day at the office as me.

HR paperwork was done, with an enthusiastic congratulations from the HR rep who helped me correct the relevant forms. My new health insurance card should be available to me within a few weeks. If there are any issues, she said she’d be sure to notify me.

New photo for ID was taken. They’re all mug shots but I have to say I like this one better than the old one.

IT began the process of changing my email and user ids. We seem to have gotten most of it, but not quite all yet. My contact there wants me to wait 24 hours to be sure all the changes to the Domain Controller are propagated outward to the secondary controllers before we investigate any anomalies.

My team mates all apparently had similar reactions. I walked in and “Who is.. oh! That’s Cara!” 🙂

Got home from the office just a few minutes before my spouse, who pulled up having stopped at the grocery store after her classes were done. So still wearing my “power” suit (black blazer, black knee length skirt, white button down blouse, black hose and black shoes) I walked out to help bring things into the house. My neighbor, who is a strange old coot who also happens to own a strip club not too many miles down the road, was getting out of his truck. He stopped and stared. 😛 That’s the third time he’s seen me as me in the last week and it won’t be the last. I suspect he wants to wander over and ask a question but hasn’t done it yet. Color me amused.

I do have to say though, that my employer, being a Norwegian company that has strong and explicit corporate language protecting all LGBT people, and which has apparently fired people for breaking their zero tolerance policy on those issues, has been superb. Every step of the way, they have been helpful, and I was even able to get them a few answers they did not yet have since I am apparently the company’s first transitioning trans employee.

I made some PF Chang’s for dinner (hate the restaurant – too pricey, but love the frozen meals at the grocery), and spent the evening chilling out.

An excellent first day at work for Cara. 🙂

 

P.S. Today I saw my new company photo propagating to correct locations and more and m0re of the corporate IT domain controllers appear to be getting my updates. It’s nice seeing my name and correct photo showing up where it should. 🙂

So It Is Done

On September 29th, early in the morning (this judge was an early riser!), I and three other transgender persons received our court orders affirming our legal name and gender change. I am not going to discuss details of this, due to the extremely transphobic nature of so many of Texas’ radical right wing religious bigots, but I can and will recommend my attorney, Phyllis Frye, if you should need such legal services in Texas.

Frye, Oaks and Benavidez, PLLC
3315 Mercer
Houston, TX 77027
Phone: (713) 227-1717
FAX: (713) 522-2610
Email: info@liberatinglaw.com

Phyllis did a super job, handling everything professionally but with kindness and consideration as well. And so my legal name and gender are now correct in state records. I now begin the long process of updating financial and other records. I’ve updated one bank account already and I need to get copies made of my court order to send to credit card companies, the mortgage company, etc.

Phyllis and her law firm handle all aspects of transgender legal needs. Need a new will? Divorcing? Other legal issues? They handle it all. They’ll even go to bat for you with your employer if there are problems on that front. (Note: My employer has been super supportive, aside from being unwilling to alter the corporate insurance policy for GRS. And I expected that so am planning to go to Thailand for mine.)

If you are trans, in Texas, and need legal representation, I recommend Phyllis Frye and her firm.