NYC Communities for Crisis Intervention Teams

 Today on the Steps of City Hall in NYC, CCIT NYC was joined by members of the New York City Council members, community activists, mental health services providers and others to discuss the need for the NYPD to receive CIT training to be able to handle issue of a person with a mental illness in a manner than is safe for them and the person going through a crisis.

The group CCIT NYC has drafted a NYC Council Resolution on Emotional Disturbed Person Calls and the need for Crisis Intervention Teams it reads, 

“WHEREAS, the New York City Police Department is currently the most used intervention for people in crisis in New York City; and

WHEREAS, the New York City Police Department responds to 100,000  crises or so called “Emotional Disturbed Person (EDP)” calls a year; and

WHEREAS, these calls often result in the unwarranted arrest, emotional and physical abuse and death of those in crisis; and

WHEREAS, it is the duty of the New York City Police Department to enhance the quality of life in our City by working in partnership with the community and in accordance with constitutional rights to preserve the peace, reduce fear, and provide for a safe environment; and

WHEREAS, it is the duty of the Office of the Mayor to protect the safety, welfare, and rights of all New Yorkers;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor should instruct the Police Department to repair damaged relationships with communities and individuals in crisis affected by unwarranted abuse; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor should instruct the Police Department to reduce unwarranted abuse and death by expanding officer and cadet training to include a Crisis Intervention Team training model, currently the national standard in police crisis training; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor should instruct the Police Department to work along aside peer specialist and crisis intervention workers when responding to crisis/EDP calls; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor should instruct the Police Department to appoint a community oversight committee to measure the efficacy of the Crisis Intervention Teams as they are being implemented and to hold precinct commanders accountable for reducing unwarranted arrests, abuse and deaths in their precincts.”

The way we handle people with mental disorders and disabled has come along way from the horror stories of Willowbrook State School, which would later become the College of Staten Island.

 I think of the movement that is the Mental Health Movement in New York City, it shows we have come a long way.  We haven’t fixed all those problems and we are far from perfect but we do need more oversight for people who can’t always speak for themselves.

CCIT NYC wants to work with the NYPD and local mental health providers to improve police response to crisis situations involving the mentally ill. The goal is to have response to mental health crises be appropriate, so that mental health recipients are not automatically thrown into the criminal justice system, and to reduce possible injury to police and mental health recipients.

I went to this press conference today to show support to the CCIT, because I know what they are capable of and the good they have for the people of New York City. In my opinion the NYPD could do nothing but learn to be better prepared for these situations and possibly save the lives of person in crisis and in need of help.

As people continue to come out in the LGBT community at a younger age, some have faced periods of depression and even attempted suicide. When this happens and 911 is called these training and procedures become important to being able to talk to a person in crisis and not treat them like a criminal (if they are acting out) 

 

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Bisexual Visibility Day 2013

Bisexual Visibility Day has been around since 1999 created by Wendy Curry, Michael Page and Gigi Raven Wilbur to celebratethose who identify as bisexual, pansexual, fluid and non- monsexual people. It is celebrated every year on September 23rd.

“Ever since the Stonewall rebellion, the gay and lesbian community has grown in strength and visibility. The bisexual community also has grown in strength but in many ways we are still invisible. I too have been conditioned by society to automatically label a couple walking hand in hand as either straight or gay, depending upon the perceived gender of each person.” Wilbur

The bisexual community consistently feels left out and invisible by the lesbian and gay community. We have our own Bisexual History, Bisexual Culture and we also have also have our own issues with Biphobia.

I recently read this article on 9 Stupid Myths About Bisexuals That Will Make You Laugh, these are all things we hear from the heterosexual, Gay and Lesbian community. 

1)   Bisexuals are sluts

2)   Bisexual women only do it to turn on straight cisgendered men

3)   Bisexuals are indecisive or confused

4)   Bisexuality is a cop-out or a phase

5)   Everybody is bisexual

6)   Nobody is bisexual

7)   Bisexual can never be happy in a monogamous relationship

8)   Bisexuals love threesomes

9)   Bisexuals love puns

 At the end of the day we are all just looking for love, partnership and a sense of family or community.  My coming out journey started with my sexuality come first and my gender identity and expression came later.

This year for the first time I feel like a complete person, I have embraced my community fully for the first time and it wasn’t intentional. It happen because I was put into a position that forced me to come to the front and say that “ I am a Transgender Bisexual Man” sometimes as an activist you forget to that you are a individual. We need to fight for who you are and remember you choice your labels to wear for yourself, and for a while I knew I had forgotten that.

This year Bisexual Pride Celebration and Top Surgery Fundrasier  is a celebration of me and the work of the bisexual community.  

 

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Op-Ed: My Supreme Court Marriage Rally Transphobic Experience From Hell

The United for Marriage Equality Rally held at the U.S. Supreme Court last month was supposed to be about bringing the LGBTQ community together in support of the Proposition 8 California plaintiffs and Edie Windsor, the principal plaintiff in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case that was being heard by the highest court in the land.

But that important gathering — one in which I enthusiastically joined as an American and a New Yorker, and as someone who openly identifies as a bisexual transman — was spoiled for me because of aggressive, transphobic comments and actions directed at me by a series of Human Rights Campaign (HRC) staff members during the rally that I had been so excited to join.

While standing with GetEQUAL activists, I became a target by HRC staff member Karin Quimby, who told me to remove the Trans Pride flag I was holding near the rally stage.

Interestingly, she did not initially know that the flag I was holding was a Trans Pride flag.

Ms. Quimby asked me, aggressively, “What flag is this?” When I told her it was the Trans Pride Flag she said, “This [rally] is about marriage equality, this is not about the trans community.”

Moments later she came back to where I was standing and continued, “You know what, you guys need to focus on what you need to do. We [HRC] are the organization that makes things happen.”

Two more times I was approached by HRC staff members who asked me to remove the flag.

I was shocked by these actions and comments and asked those around me if they could believe what had just been said to me. The reason for us being at the Supreme Court was to show our unity toward the ultimate goal of marriage equality for all people and certainly not to exclude Trans people.

I decided to remain resolute, to stand my ground and not take the flag down, and I stood there for the reminder of the rally.

After additional transphobic comments were uttered toward me by an unidentified videographer, who threatened to burn the Trans flag for reasons that were unclear to me, I decided to hand off the flag to C.d Kirven from GetEQUAL, because I felt threatened and was having considerable emotional difficulty handling such a hostile environment directed at me for being a Transman.

As a victim of a previous hate crime, I was very frightened about what could happen and I didn’t feel protected or safe in this situation.

Fortunately, United for Marriage Equality issued a statement apologizing for unidentified coalition partners who attacked trans people and asked undocumented queer speakers to not come out as “undocmented” during their remarks at the rally.

Subsequently, I received a phone call “apology” from Karin Quimby the weekend after the rally and later received an email apology from HRC, after they had publicly denied that the Trans flag incident had occurred. I received a second communication on Facebook messenger from Karin Quimby who asked me if “I would make this all stop.”

Because of this wrenching experience, I want steps taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again, especially when we come back together as a community in June when the Supreme Court decisions on Proposition 8 and DOMA cases are expected to be announced.

Because of these events, and speaking for myself and for some other trans members of the LGBTQ community, we want the following steps taken by the HRC to show their commitment to trans issues:

  • An HRC pledge to support Trans related issues comprehensively throughout its organizational goals and objectives, including a commitment to hire trans staff members for a more diverse workforce at the country’s largest LGBT advocacy organization;
  • Commit to supporting anti-trans discrimination at the federal level and support passage of a gender identity inclusive ENDA bill in Congress;
  • HRC must support local efforts across the country to defeat anti-trans legislation including the Arizona Anti-Trans Bathroom bill and support efforts of the LGBTQ community of New York to pass the New York State Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA);
  • Invite the Trans community to be official participants in future rallies and be included in the planning of future organized rallies and related activities.

Karin Quimby is apparently at it again, in Jacksonville FL. Why is  the HRC allowing her to continue her “work” on trans* issues. When we all know she has no respect for people who identify as trans*

Gender Dysphoria and the Struggle too Explain the Importance of Surgery

Gender Dyphoria[i] is a very difficult thing for those who identify as trans*[ii] too explain to their cisgendered[iii] friends and family regardless if they are lesbian, gay or bisexual.

 

Most people when they look in the mirror talk about losing some weight; they have too much body hair, things that you can change. You go to the gym, you change your diet, maybe you shave or wax, possibly even just laser it all off.

 

Cisgendered men if you ask them the simple question. Do you like your penis? They will say yes, even when they wish inside their own brain they may wish it was bigger or thicker, they may even wish that their mothers had no circumcised them as babies but they are happy having a penis.   This is true among most cisgendered men whether gay, bisexual or straight.

 

Cisgendered women if you ask them a question such as. Do you like your breasts the way they are will say yes, some may say they wish they had more or less but overall are happy to have at least breasts of some size and shape. That goes with out saying for women who are lesbian, bisexual or straight as well.

 

These things are what society has made people think about when they thing of the binary gender[iv] socialization system. Which means when people are transitioning from their birth gender to the gender they choice to identify and expression, which at least for me is the gender I believe I was supposed to be.

 

I have always seen myself as a very masculine person, that’s just me. Some FTM’s aren’t and that’s okay.  I found this great diagram called the Genderbread Person too show the variations in gender identity, gender expression, biological gender and sexual attraction.

 

When I look in the mirror in the morning all I want to do is make my breasts disappear. I want them gone from my body, they aren’t supposed to be there and I don’t want them. I have been diagnosed with GID for almost 2 years now, and I have been on HRT[v] for the past 19 months. All the changes I have wanted from the injections have taken place and I love all of it.

 

The hardest part is however getting the procedure to have top surgery[vi]. Top surgery is not covered because insurance companies consider any type of SRS[vii] as sophisticated plastic surgery. Top surgery is not at all cosmetics it is needed for many reasons both socially and medically. Please watch this video on the dangers of chest binding

 

I have been binding for the past two years, and I am already feeling the damage that I am doing too myself. Lots of people who I have known since my transition started try all the time to get me to just “take it off for a little, it’s just us. It may be just them and I know they would never say or do anything to make me feel unsafe or any less of a guy to them. It’s me…I like feeling like they aren’t there and not reminded that they are. During this years Democratic Primary in New York City, this wasn’t just a primary this was personal. My best friend, my mentor and my person was running for City Council. He was the one who believed in all the things I’ve done when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up.

 

The decision to spend 48 hours in my binder was my own, but I can’t hide from the world while I do this. No one learns that way; this isn’t something that should go on without the world learning about it.

GID is just as harmful as many other diseases and disorders, and if you aren’t strong enough or have the right support to do this. It may kill you, because you need to be able to look at yourself when other people don’t.

 

Summer is the worst part of it for me, so I look forward to fall and winter. However next week I am holding a Personal Fundraiser for Top Surgery for myself. The goal is also to bring awareness to the need for insurance companies to realize how important SRS is too the Trans* who want it.

 

Please join me if you are in New York City at the Historic Stonewall Inn next Monday September 23 from 6-8pm. It is also Bisexual Visibility Day and since I do personally identify as Transgender and Bisexual we are celebrating that as well.  Please come out and support my mission toward top surgery, while at the same time making plans to help others in the future.


[i] A conflict between a person’s gender assigned at birth and the gender they choice to identify and express toward themselves and others around them. The individual is with the aspects of their body of their birth gender.

 

[ii] This term has many definitions. It is frequently used as an umbrella term to refer to all people who deviate from their assigned gender at birth or the binary gender system. This includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, genderqueers, drag kings, drag queens, two-spirit people, and others. Some transgender people feel they exist not within one of the two standard gender categories, but rather somewhere between, beyond or outside of those two genders.

 

[iii] A person whose gender identity and expression matches the gender typically associated with their biological sex. For example: a female who identifies as a woman.

 

[iv] A culturally/socially defined code of acceptable behaviors, which teach that there are men and women, who are masculine and feminine, and that there is nothing outside of this system. Most popular discussion on gender assumes a binary gender system. Discussion of trans issues and identities, however, challenges a binary gender system and forces us to think of gender within a multi-gender system

 

[vii] Sexual Reassignment Surgery

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Transgender Equality in New York State GENDA 2014

New York State has been stonewalling the legislation called GENDA (Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act) to the Transgender Equality movement in the State Senate since 2003. Assemblymember (D) Richard Gottfried, and New York State Senator (D) Tom Duane first introduced it in Albany in 2003. Sen. Tom Duane retired in 2012, and Senator Daniel Squadron took it on in 2013, as the leas sponsor.

 

Every year it has been put through the State Assembly and than left alone by the New York State Senate.  Last year we were the closest we may ever be but still the bill never made it too the floor. In fact the week leading up too the final week of session a State Senator named Diane Savino from Staten Island (my home borough) decided instead of pushing for this legislation too attack someone else. I called her out this year, and she was rather unprofessional toward my call too action, she decided too call me out in this press

 

Current Governor Andrew Cuomo who was on board for Marriage Equality in 2011 and has received lost of praise for supporting the ability for same-sex couples has not been as vocal of a supporter of the Trans* protections. However I believe that if he wants to be governor for another term and his aspirations of being the Next President of the United States as is rumored he does need to get on board her.

 

GENDA is an important piece for the community for many reasons, but we need our non-trans* or cisgendered[1] friends and family to support us and fight for us. This legislation would prohibit discrimination because of a person’s gender identity or expression. Many of trans* [2]  pre op, post op and non op are fired, when their employers find out they are trans* are fired, when they find out they are trans* or plan to take time off to have surgery or been thru surgery already. Trans* people and gender non-conforming[3] people are denied equal treatment in public accommodations. They are asked to leave restaurants, hotels, stores, medical facilities and educational institutions and much more.

 

GENDA when it is finally passed it would change the statutory language to make it clear that all New Yorkers across the state that one should not be subject to discrimination under the conditions of gender identity or expression in the human rights law. The same law that protects discrimination against race, religion etc would now cover gender identity and gender expression.

 

Other places across the country has similar protections in place they include states like Minnesota, New Mexico and Rhode Island, 54 cities across the country has GENDA like provisions such as Ann Arbor, Baltimore, Boulder, Pittsburgh, San Franciso, and Seattle.

 

This is no longer a back burner issue for New York State this needs to be a NOW issue. Those supporters of Marriage Equality in 2011 need to be carrying this issue to the front for 2014, its not okay to just be okay with Marriage Equality you need to be on board with it all.

 

You can do something to help this as a trans* person or as an ally cisgendered person. If your trans* tell your story open up about your personal transition process.  If you are a cisgendered ally talk about your trans* friends, ask them questions, take an interest in their transitions if they are comfortable with it. Ask questions! 

Look at websites like Empire State Pride Agenda , Transgender Legal Defense Fund or any other organization like them to get involved for the fight for GENDA in 2014. I am always here to talk about and answer question email me ellicottbryan@gmail.com 

 

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[1] Cisgendered- a person whose gender identity and expression matches the gender typically associated with their biological sex. For example: a female who identifies as a woman.

[2] Trans*- an umbrella term to refer to all people who deviate from their assigned gender at birth or the binary gender system. This includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, genderqueers, drag kings, drag queens, two-spirit people, and others. Some transgender people feel they exist not within one of the two standard gender categories, but rather somewhere between, beyond or outside of those two genders.

 

[3] gender non-conforming – A term for individuals whose gender expression is different from societal expectations related to gender. – See more at:

 

 

My Experience on this year’s Campaign Trail

This year I spent my time on two campaigns for the majority of the time, but I did make sure to spread my political love across the city. From East Harlem, the Upper West Side, LES, Red Hook and the big finale in Sunset Park. The campaign trail is a long road; it’s a lot of hours. If you’re like me you make the choice to personally make all your time for these people because you believe in their cause.

I love being on the campaign trail with my candidates, I spent a great weekend in East Harlem with a great friend and councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito and our mutual friend Andy Praschak. Walking around from family day events, too festivals, talking about Melissa. Watching the love her district had for her was amazing.

Spending the last two weeks with my sister from another mother Councilmember Rosie Mendez was also amazing and a great test of self-control for me. Her opponent was a thug, a straight up no holds bar thug. He was rude, disrespectful and sure didn’t know how to play the rules as a gentleman. I am a spark plug, you threaten me, and my family or my friends is on. GOTV weekend took a lot of deep breathes for me to get by, he had people throw eggs, sit on peoples car, attempt to run people over. NO CLASS by this guy. The point here is I so kept it cool, and it was all worth it she won with 80% of the vote.  I am very proud and honored to have been on Rosie’s team this year and honored that she allowed me to feel at home at comfortable being me.

Rosie Mendez also teamed up with my councilmember where my apartment is with Councilmember Margaret Chin so I did get to do some work with her in terms of my first dear neighbor letter which was awesome. Also supporting Gale Brewer for Borough President. 

GOTV and Election Day for me was a personal battle with myself, one that starts even before this campaign trail. When I was not so political, I met a person for no other reason than he walked up too me in a room full of a lot more important people and he introduced himself too me, than one shy girl from Staten Island. That’s what I was back than. I didn’t know who I was or what I was passionate about.

Two and half years later…I am who I am now, just a transgender bisexual man living my dreams that I didn’t believe where possible. Helping the same person I had met all those years ago, a person who had been there for me when I wasn’t even there for myself.  Our story runs a lot deeper than this but this is an election story. Carlos Menchaca was running for city council and I was the “solider” standing outside talking to voter. I did this pretty much all day, which meant I spent 48 hours in my binder.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for Carlos if he asked me too, and I did this because I knew that he could beat her. I had been told months before that he would lose and had her staff talk bad too me about him and me. I didn’t care he’s my best friend, and I would not be any of this with his support and love. When the polls were closing and we were waiting for the numbers these ladies from her campaign “how can you be friends with Carlos your not Mexican” I went and got the numbers which he won both ED’s and said back as nicely as I could “Bye Ladies, this guys got a best friend too see and no I am not actually Mexican but I’m sure ill be just fine at the party”

I ran too the location too wait for the results met his family, and it was like we had already met it was really great. The results came in and it was such a rush of emotion. I didn’t know whether too smile, laugh, cry but I pretty did it all. However my chest was killing me, it had been hurting since around 5pm but I had to stay out side for me and for him. I however decided to stick it out, but I didn’t get to stick around for too long. I knew had been a part of something amazing and I needed to see happen. 

These are the people I spend my time with because I believe in what they do, and the movement of progressive democrats across New York City, New York State and the United States. I would do it all again, and trust me it’s not the last long campaign season for me. 

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Post Primary Results and Thoughts

A couple weeks ago I listed my support for the 2013 primary here in NYC the Endorsement Link . In the 33 races, that I personally endorsed 17 of those candidates won, 5 lost and one of them made it too the run-off for Public Advocate. That’s not a bad record. I had the honor and pleasure to help my friends Rosie Mendez and Carlos Menchaca toward their victories.

The race for mayor did not have the outcome that some of the LGBT community wanted, and that’s what happens when we don’t all join together and support each other. As democrats we do now need to stand united and support Bill de Blasio in his race against GOP nominee John Lohta former Chairperson of the MTA. There is still the possibly of a run off as Mr. De Blasio is only at 40.2% as of (9/11/13).

Scott Stringer the former Manhattan Borough President will be New York City’s next Comptroller beating Eliot Spitzer by 52.1% of the vote. The race for Public Advocate is down to a run-off against Leticia James and Daniel Squadron on October 1st. Neither of them received the 40% needed to win.  Melinda Katz is the new Borough President of Queens, Eric Adams for Brooklyn and Gale Brew has won the nomination to go against Republican David Casavis in November.

The City Council kept the following members as they have won their re-election some with heated races and some unopposed. Councilmembers Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez, Melissa Mark Viverito, Ydanis Rodriguez, Mark Weprin, Daniel Dromm, Jimmy Van Bramer and Stephen Levin. The council gained members Corey Johnson, Antonio Reynoso, Ritchie Torres and Carlos Menchaca.

We sadly didn’t elected Mel Wymore or Micah Kellner too the city council but these two but up a great fight for their races, we do need to continue to bring visibility to the bisexual and transgender needs of our community and I have confidence that the new members of the City Council we not exclude us but also realize we have different issues as well.

My plan moving forward is that I will support Bill de Blasio to be the next mayor of New York City because we need to take back the mayor’s seat with a Democrat. I of course will be supporting Daniel Squadron for Public Advocate, but stand by what has been said earlier either one of them would make a fine Public Advocate for New York City. Gale Brewer also has my support for Manhattan Borough President. As a born and raised person from Staten Island I do support my buddy John Mancuso. 

My plan going forward is making sure that Bill de Blasio pays attention to the issues of the LGBT community. We have issues with the Commission on Human Rights that need to be fixed, GMHC needs founding and LGBT homeless youth as well as many other issues. We have a better chance at these subjects becoming real issues brought to the floor with a Democrat than with any Republican in power.

The Democratic Party must stand together in order to make that all happen, so I do give my support to Bill de Blaiso after the primary to be the next mayor of New York City. 

 

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