Tag Archive | Legal

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.

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Who Are The Real Sexual Predators?

The right wing has been on the warpath against transgender people using the bathroom of their expressed gender, as opposed to the gender assigned at birth. In that entire discussion, I’ve seen the conservatives find one single incident in Canada several years ago where a man pretended to be transgender to get into a women’s homeless shelter and assault them. One incident.

Conservatives are notorious for telling us that criminals don’t obey laws, and point to gun free school zone laws as proof. Yet now, somehow magically, criminals are going to obey a law that says to not enter a women’s restroom? And that’s the justification for violating the rights of transgender women, because some non-trans man will maybe do something wrong?

I suggest they focus on an area where there is proven sexual assault. I suggest they pass a law mandating that women and children are not allowed in churches since pastors and church staff have a proven record of being sexual predators of both women and children.

Here’s a list of recent stories in the last few months. This is just a few months of quick stories collected together. Imagine how bad it must be for a full year! Imagine all those women and children being violated by religious authority figures! So if Republicans want to really protect women and children, pass a law barring anyone who works in a church from having contact with women and children. (I say this in jest, in case anyone is stupid enough to believe I mean it, but I say it to show how stupid these laws are.)

And here’s that list.

Man accused of sexually assaulting 6-year-old girl at Raleigh church | abc11.com

Cedar Hill youth pastor accused of sexually assaulting 3 young boys | | Dallas Morning News

Update: Former Atkins Youth Pastor Charged with Sexual Assault –

Cedar Hill youth pastor accused of sexually assaulting 3 young boys | KDFW

Maryland Baptist Bishop Arrested, Accused of Sexually Assaulting 22-Year-Old Woman | NBC4 Washington

NC pastor charged with indecent liberties with a child | myfox8.com

Monroe pastor charged with indecent liberties with a child – | WBTV Charlotte

Teen rape accusation: Ex-pastor’s return to U.S. expected, police say – CNN.com

Pastor accused of sexually assaulting youth member | KXAN.com

Former Mesa pastor accused of sexual assault arraigned in Pennsylvania

Texas Youth Pastor Beaten by Witnesses Who Caught Him Sexually Assaulting Kindergartner: Report – The Root

Pastor who warned of “transgender predators” sexually harasses and assaults women | The TransAdvocate

Trinity Fellowship sued over accusations of sexual assault of child by volunteer pastor | KVII

Pastor, a convicted sex offender, charged with sexually abusing child – Aurora Beacon-News

Pastor Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Woman During Exorcisms | News One

Jury convicts former Las Vegas pastor in sex assault case | Las Vegas Review-Journal

TX pastor accused of sexual assault; given leave of absence

Shevlin Pastor Found Guilty Of Sexually Assaulting 2 Boys « WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Fort Worth Pastor Accused of Sexual Assault | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Former D.C. Police Officer, Pastor Sentenced To 18 Years For Sexually Assaulting Minors : DCist

Teen claims local pastor sexually assaulted her | www.ajc.com

Greenville County Pastor Arrested on Sexual Assault of a Minor Charges

Canaan youth pastor accused of sexually abusing young girl — Mid-Maine — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

Greenville County Pastor Arrested on Sexual Assault of a Minor Charges | WCBD News 2

Cumberland County pastor pleads guilty to sexually assaulting child | Local News – WGAL Home

Youth pastor at local church facing local sexual assault charges | Picayune Item

Texas Youth Pastor Sexual Assault

Pastor Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Church Member | NBC 6 South Florida

Pastor charged with sexually abusing child at North Aurora church | WFLD

Suffer The Little Children: Almost 12 Cases Of Christian Pastors Sexually Assaulting Kids In Just The Last Month | Left Wing Nation

Looking Forward To July

FFS is now behind me. I’ve left the tape behind, a few days early, but my nose feels great and reading other rhinoplasty recovery guidelines, a full month of taping was a bit on the overly cautious side anyway.

So now it’s preparing for July, for GCS and BA, and to try to enjoy Thailand a bit before and after the surgery, as conditions allow. I’m planning to buy 3-4 Kaftans, I think. Loose, flowing, easy to don and remove, these should make most days after surgery much more bearable. Bangkok’s weather sounds a lot like Houston’s – hot and humid. I’m hoping there’s plenty of shade outside because I’d like to sit outside the cottages and enjoy the fresh air.

I have another facial hair removal session for early July,  Thursday, July  2nd, since businesses are closed July 3rd to celebrate July 4th, which falls on Saturday this year. That’s a couple weeks before I fly so by the time I leave for Thailand, I’ll have some idea of how much facial hair is still left. I plan to make the next appointment for early to mid September, then another possibly for early November but we’ll see what the schedule allows.

I’m considering going home to visit my siblings this Christmas. I’ve not been there since we buried Mom, in 2012. A lot has changed since then, obviously, and I’ll have to ask if I’m wanted back there or not. I don’t expect any negativity, but we’ll see. I’ve been sadly surprised before. Plan for the worst, hope for the best, they say.

Trans people are becoming more and more visible each day in the US. And we’re winning more and more legislative battles, even while Republicans try to throw more and more legislative obstacles in our way. Yet now we have high tech companies backing us too, threatening and actually following through on those threats to take business elsewhere if Republican states openly enact bigoted laws. Indiana got a rude shock and is now spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars trying to repair their idiocy. Personally, I hope they continue to fail and people remember what Mike Pence and the Indiana GOP actually did until they are driven from office, and state wide LGBT protections are implemented there.

I know that Texas is sweating bullets too.  Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and several Texas businesses, Apple Computer in Austin, Dell Computer in Austin, and others are threatening to cancel Texas business expansions and even consider relocating should the Texas legislature enact anti-LGBT laws. Suddenly many anti-LGBT legislative proposals are getting tied up in committee. The GOP won’t openly oppose them, just quietly kill them, which will have to be enough for now. But make no mistake, Republicans will try this again and again and again unless we remove them from public office.

So the “transgender tipping point” from last year into this year seems real, and it’s a good thing too. More and more children are being diagnosed and helped at young ages. My therapist and I mused together that within a century there may not be any adult transitioners left. That getting the “wrong” socialization may stop happening, as children are diagnosed early, allowed to socially transition young, placed on hormone blockers, then allowed to complete transition medically at the age of 18. Those children will never suffer biological development that fails to match their inner selves. They’ll never have to unlearn one gender role and relearn a new one. In fact, they will nearly be as “stealth” as might be possible in a high tech society, with only trace information about their earliest years hinting they were ever anything other than the man or woman they show to the world. It gives me hope for trans kids tomorrow. Assuming the religious Christian Taliban doesn’t take over first, of course.

And finally, I need to find a real tablet, netbook, or notebook computer to take to Thailand. My phone was sort of trying to use for 10 days in Guadalajara. I’ll want a bit more convenience than that for a month in Thailand.

In a sense, I am now approaching the medical end of my transition. The facial hair may be done by year’s end or early next year. The other medical procedures will all be complete. The legal steps have been taken. I live and work day to day as myself finally, and I am happy doing it. I still think about losses I’ve experienced but those people made their own choices. All that I can do is go on living my life, and I plan to do just that – living finally, instead of merely existing.

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.