PFLAG Events for November

PFLAG’s mission is uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies.  PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy.  PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

PFLAG was the first support organization I heard of when I was growing up.  I attended their meetings a few years ago and found it was a supportive, and inclusive community.  PFLAG is a wonderful group, especially for our spouses and family members and I am happy to promote the events the Twin Cities chapter has scheduled.

Guest Speaker: Billy Eloy

Billy will be providing information on events and services available to queer, trans and gender nonconforming youth in the Twin Cities.Suggestions for how parents can provide support and advocacy for their queer, trans and

Parents and youth welcome!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 at 6:30 pm
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Support groups will be held at 7:30 pm directly following the program.
Love, Hannah
Advertisements

Transgender, Nonbinary Individuals and Allies March Through U of M Campus

7fabbf-20181108-transmarchfixed01

From MPR.org

A group of about 60 people marched through the University of Minnesota campus Thursday in support of transgender and nonbinary individuals’ rights on campus.

The march, dubbed “We Will Not Be Erased,” was largely in response to a statement by the university’s College Republicans student group painted on the Washington Avenue Bridge. The message read, “The proposed pronoun policy mocks real social issues,” which the marchers called “hate speech”.

Continued here!

Love, Hannah

Vote, Dammit

vote

In previous elections, I often heard that one should vote as if their life depended on it.

I think its safe to say without hyperbole that with the midterm elections on Tuesday and likely the presidential election in 2020, we have moved into a climate where we should vote BECAUSE our lives depend on it.

I know some of you of don’t like it when I discuss politics, but I will always maintain that the transgender community never sought to make being trans a political issue.  But being transgender has now become front and center when it comes to human rights.

I make it no secret that I am liberal.  I believe in science, I believe in equality and I believe in helping others.  As someone who presents as a white male most of the time, I am not often faced with discrimination.  I am constantly learning what it’s like for other genders and races to do things that I take for granted.  It’s important that I see life through the eyes of others.  Issues regarding anyone’s rights and experiences are issues that everyone should treat as important.

In the last two years we have seen laws and legislature discussed and pass that affects our community.  Some of us shrug them off.  I get emails that tell I am making too big of a deal about this.  Some ask why I care since I don’t plan on transition.  I’ll tell you why.

We are all members of the transcommunity.  Whether you have legally changed your name, starting hormones or just wear panties, we are all in this together.  Although I don’t plan on transitioning, I do not want any law passed that affects the rights and medical options of my friends who have, or will, or may one day transition.

When I go out to dinner or hit the mall, I do not want to be refused service just because I am wearing a dress and heels.  But now the Department of Justice says that businesses can discriminate because I am transgender.  If you live in a state that allows you to update the gender box on your driver’s license to reflect something other that the gender you were assigned to at birth, you may soon lose that right.  If my employer ever found out I identified as transgender, it’s perfectly legal for them to fire me because of that.

If you are transgender and this does not make you afraid, or if you believe in human rights and this does not anger you, I don’t know what else I can tell you to convince you to vote.

Please vote.  Find your polling place here.

Love, Hannah

 

 

Trans Visibility Event

If you are in the Twin Cities area, I encourage you to participate in a trans visibility even this weekend.  Details below!

unnamed.jpg

Trans folks & allies, does anyone else just want to stand out in public with each other, in a never ending line and be seen? Not a protest, per se but a trans visibility event.
We could hold signs simply saying something like:
“I’m trans and I exist” 
Allies can hold signs saying something like:
“Someone I love is trans and they/she/he/ze exist”
Let’s do it on Sunday, October 28th at 12:00 noon! Starting at Chicago Ave & Lake Street in Minneapolis, shoulder to shoulder, standing on the curbs, not blocking traffic, with our signs. Let’s see how far we can stretch this line. Can we make it all the way down Lake Street, over the bridge and down Marshall Ave into St. Paul? Let’s try!
Bring your own signs, warm clothes, a chair if you need it and ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY! It’s a time to stand together and be visible. Please invite all your local friends, families, contacts. Please post on your profiles, pages, groups. Let’s do this!
Love, Hannah

Justice Department Says Businesses Can Discriminate Against Transgender Employees

After the news from earlier this week, I don’t know if we can take much more of this…

From The Hill:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it is lawful to discriminate against transgender employees based on their gender identity, according to Bloomberg Law. 

In a brief to the Supreme Court, the DOJ wrote that federal civil rights law banning sex discrimination in the workplace does not extend to transgender people.

Please vote on November 6th.

Love, Hannah

Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence

People protest U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military, in Times Square, in New York City

If anyone still doubts that the current administration is trying to erase our community, then this news should confirm that.  It’s the latest in a series of destroying rights that the transgender community deserves.

Almost a year ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed a three-year-old Justice Department policy that protected transgender workers from discrimination under federal law.  This was just a few months after the president said that the transgender community should be barred from serving in the military.

According to The New York Times, the Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a government-wide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.

A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing gender largely as an individual’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth. The policy prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed.

Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

This is a terrifying development.  The article goes on the explain the impact that this would have on our community:

The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves — surgically or otherwise — as a gender other than the one they were born into.

According to HRC.org, the administration’s decision could have severe consequences for LGBTQ people across the federal government. For example:

  • Same-sex couples and their families could be turned away from emergency shelters
  • A transgender person could have their insurance deny them coverage for transition related care
  • A gay man could be harassed about being gay at a job skills training
  • An elderly same-sex couple could be denied in home meal service
  • A transgender woman could be turned away from a hospital for a broken ankle

Is there really anyone left who identifies as transgender but will still vote Republican?

Yes?  You in the back?  You had a comment?

“Um, the economy is doing well.  There are more issues than just human rights, you know.”

You can shut the hell up and stay home on November 6th, thanks.

Love, Hannah

 

A Whole World Looks To See What We Will Do

Recently Danielle Muscato, a civil rights activist, public speaker and host of the #RESIST podcast tweeted this question:

Capture0

The responses were heartbreaking and eye-opening.

CaptureCapture2Capture3Capture4

As someone who presents as a white, heterosexual, cisgender male most of the time, I can honestly say that these, along with almost every response I read, were never anything I ever gave a second thought to.  In male mode, I am rarely, if ever, in fear of getting attacked when I go for a run or walk to my parked car.  This Twitter conversation is a reminder of my genetic privilege.

Men attacking women, whether it is verbal, emotional, sexual or violent has been happening for a very, very long time.  The #metoo movement has created awareness, and outrage, of how often this happens to more women than I ever imagined.  Of course I was, and am, horrified.  But women knew this.  They always did.

It’s important and necessary to listen to and believe the women.  I do not think women fabricate these stories for personal gain.

Yes?  You in the back?  You had a question?

“I think some women do make up the stories though.”

You can shut the hell up, thanks.

Over the past week, the entire nation was engaged with the recent testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as she painfully recalled and described a sexual assault when she was younger.  The president rewarded her courage by mocking her on national television.  His supporters laughed and cheered.  Dr. Ford and her family had their lives threatened.

Tell me again why you don’t think women come forward with their stories.

The president warned us that this is a very scary time for young men.  Men are not the victim here.  Men are not the ones looking over their shoulder when they pump gas.  Men being treated that they are the ones under attack is another example of their privilege.  What I mean is that many white men are used to everything being white men.  Black lives matter?  Let’s change that to ALL lives matter.  Yes all lives matter but the message of Black Lives Matter is about bringing attention to police killings of black people, and broader issues such as racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.

Dr. Ford’s testimony, the stories of the #metoo movement, Black Lives Matter are all examples of how white, heterosexual, cisgender men have never had to fight to be believed, listened to, or respected.  My grandmother fought for the right to vote, my brother fought for the right to marry his husband.  These were rights that I never had to fight for.

I am thankful for these reminders and for the women sharing their stories.  I am awed and humbled, and in some cases, shamed by their courage.  Bringing awareness to a problem is how change happens.  In this case, the change will come by changing the behavior of men.

I didn’t know what it was like to be wary of being in public until I plucked up the courage years ago and left my house as Hannah.  For the first time in my life I was out in the real world presenting as someone other than a cisgender, heterosexual male.  The terror started immediately.  What if the person in the car next to me sees me and follows me?  Is there anyone in the parking ramp that could attack me?  Will people yell at me from their car as I walk down the street?

As Hannah, I am constantly looking over my shoulder, I am constantly on alert and aware of my surroundings.  I am constantly prepared to leave the area, the store, or wherever I am if I feel threatened or harassed.  However, when I leave the house presenting as male, I feel relaxed and I am no longer on guard.  Sure, I have had very few negative experiences in the real world as Hannah, but it only takes one act of violence to change my life forever.

My point is that when I am Hannah, I am in her world.  Her world is full of lipstick, cute dresses and too-high high heels.  Her world, as well as every trans and ciswoman’s world, is also filled with danger, misogyny, violence and harassment.  These horrible things go away from my life when I return to presenting as male.  But my wife, my sisters, my friends and all women do not have the privilege of this safety.

As a t-girl, I am aware of my responsibility to create a positive perception of the transgender community to the rest of the world when I am out in public.  I know I also have responsibilities as someone who also presents as male when it comes to the #metoo movement.  There needs to be change on a behavioral level as well as on a systematic level.

I am committed to being the best person I can be, no matter how I present.  The world has shown us what needs to change, what needs to happen.  We can all be leaders in this change.  At a minimum, we can be decent people.

A whole world looks to see what we will do. We cannot fail their trust, we cannot fail to try. 

-John F. Kennedy

Have a wonderful weekend.

Love, Hannah