Staten Island Democratic Association takes official position on Transgender Rights

trans-symbol1Yesterday at the August meeting of the Staten Island Democratic Association the club voted unanimously to adopt a paper written by fellow club member and Social Secretary Bryan Ellicott (myself).

The paper was discussed at length at the July Monthly membership meeting. Which included speakers like New York State Senator and Co-Sponsor of GENDA (Gender Expression NonDiscrimination Act) and LGBT Liaison to Comptroller  Scott Stringer’s office Eric Holguin.

The Staten Island Democratic Association started in 1961. They are the oldest, largest and most Progressive Democratic Club in Staten Island. The paper covers the topics of Public Awareness and Advocacy, Legal and Political Action.

This was an extremely powerful moment especially because its Staten Island and the uphill battle our borough faces when it comes to the discussions on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

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TRANSGENDER RIGHTS
POSITION PAPER

 

Since the founding of The Staten Island Democratic Association in 1961, we have taken pride in being Staten Island’s oldest, largest and most Progressive Democratic Club. It has come to the attention of the Staten Island Democratic Association that we must take a stand on the rights of Transgender Americans, New Yorkers and especially Staten Islanders.

It is a time when so many Transgender people are under attack for nothing less than being who they are.

Harvey Milk (the first openly gay person elected to public office in California) once said “It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.”

 

Background

 

Gender is a human social system of differentiation by sex for roles, behaviors, characteristics, appearances, and identities (e.g. “man” or “woman”). Gender maps cultural meanings and norms about both sex and gender on human bodies. Everyone has an internal sense of their “gender” and this sense is called “gender identity”.1     “Most people’s gender identity is congruent with their assigned sex, but many people experience their identity to be discordant with their natal sex (sex assigned at birth)2

“Transgender” is a broad term used to describe those whose gender identity or gender expression is in some sense different from, or transgresses social norms for, their assigned birth sex. Transgender may include those who identify as being transsexual, cross dresser, androgynous, bi-gender, no-gender or multi-gender, genderqueer, and a growing number of people who do not identify as belonging to any gender category at all. For some transgender people, individuals discomfort with a social gender role is accompanied by a profound sense of mismatch of the physical body to their internal bodily experience. This body dysphoria (known as “gender dysphoria”) causes significant distress, negatively impacts daily functioning and well-being, and requires medical services in order to realign the body with the self. There are many transgender people with medically diagnosed inter sex conditions. 3     In the absence of systematic data collection, estimates vary widely as to the number of transgender individuals in the United States, ranging from 3 million to as many as 9 million individuals 4. Prevalence of transgender identities is likely to be on the order of at least 1:100 (i.e. 1%), and transsexualism is also not rare, with prevalence now being estimated at between 1:2000 and 1:5000.5 Reports now indicate there may be roughly equal numbers of male-to-female and female-to-male transsexual people.6

Transgender people encounter difficulties in virtually every aspect of their lives, both in facing the substantial hostility that society associates with those who do not conform to gender norms and in coping with their own feelings of difference. Considerable verbal harassment and physical violence accompany the powerful social stigma faced by transgender people 7 and may be accompanied by racial and ethnic discrimination 8 .Transgender people also experience dismissal from jobs, eviction from housing, and denial of services, even by police officers, and medical emergency professionals..9 Restrooms, the most mundane of public and workplace amenities, often become sites of harassment and confrontation, with access often denied     10 ).

Transgender and transsexual people are often denied appropriate medical and mental health care and are uniquely at risk of adverse health care outcomes. 11 Basic services may be denied because of ignorance about or discomfort with a transgender client. To align the physical body with the experienced sense of self usually is an integral part of the social transition away from the sex assigned at birth. Transsexuals and some other individuals require medical services (for example, hormone replacement, facial electrolysis, or surgical and other procedures, as appropriate to the individual). Despite ongoing evidence that the vast majority who access these achieve congruence and well-being 12 It is important to underscore the denial of basic health care, and also the extreme race and socioeconomic status disparities: Needs assessments in major cities show that severe marginalization and barriers to transition contribute to high rates of joblessness, and disproportionately affect people of color. Lack of employment leaves many without health insurance, and because insurance carriers often deny coverage for transgender individuals other nontransition related services, transgender individuals often lack access to all ongoing basic health services, even when employed. 13

Many transgender children and youths face harassment and violence in school environments. Those who do not feel safe or valued at school cannot reach their potential and may drop out. 14   Medical protocols exist for children whose body dysphoria may lead to severe depression and suicidality, including endocrinology intervention to prevent or delay unwanted puberty.15  There are few support resources for transgender children, their parents or surrounding social institutions, leaving transgender youth particularly vulnerable to so-called “reparative” treatments. 16

Issues Statement

Transgender people experience the stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and extreme hostility known as transphobia on a daily basis. Although gender non-conforming experience can be traced across history, and the successful social and medical transition of transsexuals is well documented since the middle

of the twentieth century, it is only in recent years that this/has emerged in the public discourse. Unfortunately, most in our society have little or no understanding of the profound discomfort some may feel in trying to conform to rigid gender roles assigned to them by virtue of their physiology. Similarly, ignorance and insensitivity prevail regarding the debilitation that accompanies body dysphoria, and the damage done to those left without access to medical and social transition.

We as human beings have the responsibility to understand and appreciate the full range of differences that exist among human beings and to explore any and all prejudices that result in oppressive and unjust treatment.

 

Policy Statement

Staten Island Democratic Association (S.I.D.A.) recognizes that considerable diversity in gender expression and identity exists among our population.

S.I.D.A. believes that people of diverse gender- including those who are included under the transgender umbrella- should be afforded the same respect and rights as any other people.

S.I.D.A asserts that discrimination and prejudice directed against any individuals on the basis of gender identity or gender expression, whether real or perceived, are damaging to the social, emotional, psychological, physical, and economic well-being of the affected individuals as well as society as a whole.

S.I.D.A. reaffirms a commitment to human rights and freedom and opposes all public and private discrimination on the basis of gender identity and of gender expression, whether actual or perceived, and regardless of assigned sex at birth, including denial of access to employment, housing, education, appropriate treatment in sex-segregated facilities, appropriate medical care and health care coverage, appropriate identity documents, and civil marriage and all its attendant benefits, rights, and privileges.

S.I.D.A. encourages the repeal of discriminatory legislation and the passage of legislation protecting the rights, legal benefits, and privileges of people of all genders identities and expressions.

Public Awareness and Advocacy

S.I.D.A. supports efforts to provide safe and secure educational environments and promote an understanding and acceptance of self in which all youth including youth of all gender identities and expressions, may be free to express their genuine gender identity and obtain an education free from discrimination, harassment, violence and abuse.

S.I.D.A. supports a development of, and participation in, coalitions with other professional associations and progressive organizations to lobby on behalf of the civil rights of all people of diverse gender expression and identity.

S.I.D.A. supports collaboration with organizations and groups supportive of the transgender community to develop programs to increase public awareness of the mistreatment and discrimination experienced by transgender people and of the contributions they make to society.

S.I.D.A. encourages the development of programs, training, and information that promotes proactive efforts to eliminate psychological, social and physical harm directed toward transgender people and to portray them accurately and compassionately.

S.I.D.A. supports the development of programs within schools and other child and youth services agencies that educate students, faculty, and staff about the range of gender diversity and the needs of transgender children and youth.

S.I.D.A. supports the creation of scientific and educational resources that inform public discussion about gender identity and gender diversity, to promote public policy development and to strengthen societal and familial attitudes and behaviors that affirm the dignity and rights of all individuals, regardless of identity or gender expression.

 

Legal and Political Action

S.I.D.A. advocates for increased funding for education treatment services, and research on behalf of people of diverse gender expression and gender identity.

S.I.D.A supports the legal recognition of marriage, domestic partner, and civil unions, regardless of either the sex or gender status of the betrothed or partnered individuals.

S.I.D.A. encourages the repeal of laws and discriminatory practices that impeded individuals in their identification with, and their expression of the gender which matches their sense of themselves in all areas of the public arena, especially employment, health care, education and in a housing including in custodial settings.

S.I.D.A. encourages the adoption of laws that will prohibit discrimination against, and protect the civil rights of, and preserve the access to health care and well-being of, individuals who identify with and express their gender identities, in education, housing, inheritance, health and other types of insurance, child custody, property and other areas.

S.I.D.A. acknowledges the importance of working with groups in and around the community of Staten Island to support the transgender community’s development and help larger community organizations help overcome ignorance and fear of transgender people, and to move toward equality and justice.

S.I.D.A. supports the statements of both President of the United States Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in support of the transgender and non-conforming community across the country.

 

References

  1. Stone, 2004
  2. Lev, 2004, p. 397
  3. Xavier, 26 Honnold & Bradford, 2007
  4. Bushong 1995; Olysl*ger & Conway, 2007
  5. Olysl*ger & Conway, 2007,p.23
  6. Bullough, Bullough, & Elias, 1997; MacKenzie, 1994
  7. Clements-Notes, Marx, & Katz, 2006; Lombardi, Wilchins, Priesing, & Malouf, 2001; Wyss, 2004
  8. Jung, 2006
  9. Xavier, 2000; Xavier, Honnold, & Bradford,45 2007
  10. Transgender Law Center, 2016
  11. Dean et al., 2000; Xavier et al., 2004
  12. De Cuypere et al., 2005; Newfield, Hart, Dibble, & Kohler, 2006; Pfafflin & Junge, 1998;   Rehman, Lazer, Benet, Schaefer, & Melman, 1999; Ross & Need, 1989).
  13. Xavier et al, 2004
  14. D‘Augelli, Grossman, & Starks, 2006; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 2004; Grossman,       D‘Augelli, & Slater, 2006; Wyss, 2004
  15. Cohen-Kettenis & van Goozen, 1997; Smith, van Goozen, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2001; Spack, 2005
  16. Menvielle, Tuerk, & Perrin, 2005; PFLAG, 2004

 

 

 

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Reps. Maloney, Velázquez, Nadler, Jeffries, New York City elected, LGBT leaders, and Gun Safety Advocates Join Together to Call on Congress to Pass Gun Safety Reforms

NewYork~ Today, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, and Congressman Hakeem Jeffris, gathered with city leaders, members of the LGBT community and gun safety advocates to demand Congressional action on gun safety reforms and remember the 49 people who were murdered and 53 wounded in the attack in Orlando. The attack, by a gunman using a semi-automatic assault weapon to murder members of the LGBT community, was the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

 

The members of Congress were joined by Public Advocate Letitia James, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, Manhattan District Attorney and co-founder of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence Cyrus Vance, Brooklyn District Attorney  Ken Thompson, Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Members of the New York City Council Dan Garodnick, Stephen Levin, Margaret Chin, Costa Costantinides, Ben Kallos, members of the LGBT community Michael Mallon and Bryan Ellicott, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Leah Gunn Barrett, Regional Organizing Manager for Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Kim Russell, Donna Dees from the Million Moms March, and Monica Atiya from Organizing for Action-New York.

The group called on Congress to enact common sense gun safety reforms including: renewing the Assault Weapons Ban (H.R. 4269), prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list and those convicted of hate crimes from buying guns (H.R. 1076 & H.R. 4603), lifting the prohibition on federal public research on gun violence (H.R. 2612), and requiring universal background checks for all gun sales (H.R. 1217)

“Gun violence is an epidemic in our country,” Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “We just had the deadlist mass shooting in American history in Orlando when a man full of hate murdered 49 people because of their sexual orientation. That was on top of another 6,000 people who had been murdered by guns this year. This country needs to wake up and pass meaningful gun safety reform like renewing the assault weapons ban and keeping guns out of Congress have blocked us even having a vote on these bills is a degrace. These reforms won’t imfringe upon the Second Amendment- hunters don’t need assault rifles- but they will save lives”

“All of us mourn the loss of life in Orlando, but thoughts, prayers, and moments of silence are no longer sufficient,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. “Enough is enough. There is a range of policy options Congress could adopt that would make a difference. Restoring an assault rifle ban and preventing those on the FBI Terror Watchlist from purchasing guns are common sense first steps. If House Republicans fail to act on ideas like these, they are abdicating their fundamental responsibility to keep the American people safe.”

“Since the Pulse Night Club Shooting in Orlando that killed 49 LGBT & Latino people and injured many others, we have witnessed the work that still needs to be done not only for the LGBTQ community,.”  said Secretary Stonewall Democrats of New York City Bryan Ellicott. “We also need to figure out how to deal with the continuing problem of gun violence in this country. We need 100% full equality under the law for all members of the LGBTQ community. Especially those who are transgender and gender non-conforming. We need gun control laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm to ALL communities especially because of who you are or who you love. We need to join together as a community of human beings and stop pointing figures and come up with the solution so this stops happening”

 

Democratic Party of Richmond County Convention

Last night the Democratic Party of Richmond held their County Convention nominated State Sen. Diane Savino, Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Assemblyman Michael Cusick, as well as three sitting Civil Court judges, Barbara Panepinto, Kim Dollard, and Philip Straniere to be on the party line for our borough.

Things that happened that WILL NOT be mentioned in our local paper the “Staten Island Advance” half of our party slate is female identified. That’s right HALF! We the Democratic Party of Staten Island are letting Female Identified people LEAD THE WAY. Starting with State Senator Diane Savino.

The party did something else last night that won’t be mentioned in the local paper. The more powerful story somehow missed  last night by the Staten Island Advance was that  for the first time in Staten Island history a transgender person Bryan John Ellicott (Yea that would be me) addressed a political convention, sadly however it was tTHE SAME NIGHT that in  BROOKLYN a TRANSPERSON was ASSAULTED!?! The same day a ciswoman was ASSAULTED in a women’s restroom for “looking like a dude.” in another state. It’s pretty clear that Transgender people are under attack.

I was asked by Assemblymember Matthew Titone to second the nomination for his re-election.

“Few people (we later found out none) like me have had this chance. I made the most of it. However, I am thankful to Chris Bauer, Michael Arvanites, Bobby Digi and the other men in the room…who understand what needed to be said. While we supportAssemblymember Matthew Titone as our voice of the vulnerable citizens of SI.”

I spoke of his continued fight for the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) next to sponsor Assembly Dick Gottfried. The continued struggle of the LGBT community…and how important it is in Staten Island that we support across the borough our only LGBT elected official and one of few in Albany.

(featured photo credit: Michael Arvanites)

 

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Photo Credit: Roy Moskowitz 

 

Primary Day Tomorrow in New York State

Dear New Yorkers,

By now it would be very hard NOT to know that tomorrow April 19th (Tomorrow) is the presidential primary in New York.

Here’s the deal: only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in tomorrow’s historic election.

Hmmm, am I registered to vote? Check here:
https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/
If you are registered as a blank/no affiliation, as an independent, or as a member of the Working Families Party or the Green Party, you will unfortunately not be able to vote tomorrow. This is because of NY’s strict “closed primary” rules that say only registered Dems can vote for Democratic presidential candidates and only registered Rs can vote for Republicans and the deadline changed your party affiliation passed a long time ago (That is a whole other argument that we can get into later)
OK, so I checked the site, I’m a registered Democrat/Republican, so WHERE do I go vote tomorrow? Have no fear, check here: http://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search
Be aware that your polling location may have been changed since the last time you voted but the link above has all the most current & updated info (I know this because I already knew my polling site had changed and that website had my accurate updated info)
WHEN DO I VOTE TOMORROW? Polls open tomorrow at 6:00 am and close at 9:00 pm.
IMPORTANT STUFF BUT NOT ABOUT TOMORROW:
The 2016 United States general presidential election is set for Tuesday, November 8. As long as you are registered, EVERYONE can vote, regardless of your party affiliation.
If you are not registered at all, make sure you get registered in time to vote in November! New voter registration applications must be postmarked no later than October 14 and received by the NYC Board of Elections no later than October 19 to be eligible to vote in the General Election in November.

Again, any questions? Just email me at  ellicottbryan@gmail.com

P.S Feel free to forward this email to your networks. We want high voter turnout.

Sincerely,

Bryan J. Ellicott

April 19th (1)

De Blasio Signs Bill Allowing Use Of Bathrooms, Locker Rooms Based On Gender Identity

New York City has enacted a regulation that ensures people visiting city facilities can use restrooms or locker rooms aligned with their gender identity.This being a couple months after I settle my case with the NYC Parks Department from 2013. It’s no surprise that I got calls from many members of the Press from City Hall, wondering where I was. Well, guess who the Mayor’s people “forgot” to invite? (Bryan J. Ellicott)

This Executive Order is a step in the right direction Mr. Mayor. However until you have been discriminated against…and than forgotten about this feels like a battle I fought for no reason. I say that because of the hours of questions and requests for information about my life that I suffered before settling my case.

Way to Go Mayor De Blasio, you  forgot the transguy from Staten Island. When it already feels like half the time the borough LGBT or Not falls on deaf ears

Let’s read about what this Executive Order does.

However until you have been discriminated against…and than forgotten about this feels like a battle I fought for no reason.  Way to Go Mayor De Blasio, forgot the transguy from Staten Island. Let’s read about what this Executive Order does.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order on Monday that guarantees people access to single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity at city facilities, including offices, pools and recreation centers, without the need to show identification or any other proof of gender. The move comes amid a continuing national debate over anti-discrimination laws.

The new regulations apply to all city-owned buildings, including city offices, public parks, playgrounds, pools, recreation centers and certain museums. It doesn’t require agencies to build new single-stall restroom or locker room facilities, but instead enforces that all individuals, including those who are transgender or gender non-conforming, are free to use single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity, city officials said.

The order does not apply to the city’s public schools because there already is a policy that students must be allowed to use locker rooms or restrooms consistent with their gender identity. A bill currently pending before the City Council would require publicly available, single-occupancy restrooms in both public and private buildings to be designated as gender-neutral.

An estimated 25,000 transgender or gender non-conforming people live in New York City, officials said. De Blasio’s executive order went into effect immediately after it was signed on Monday.

“New York City is the birthplace of the fight for LGBT rights, and we continue to lead in that fight so every New Yorker can live with dignity,” de Blasio said.

Nearly all of the nation’s 20 largest cities, including New York City, have local or state nondiscrimination laws that allow transgender people to use whatever bathroom they identify with, though a debate has raged around the topic nationwide.

Houston voters defeated an ordinance in the fall that would have established nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people. Last week, South Dakota’s governor vetoed a bill that would have made the state the first in the U.S. to approve a law requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth.

 

City Council Press Conference on Comprehensive Sex Education

Talking Points- Comprehensive Sex Education

October 27th 2015 at 10am

My name is Bryan Ellicott. I am a transgender/ bisexual identified man and LGBTQ advocate/activist born and raised in Staten Island & attended all NYC public schools K-12.

I am here to speak in support of comprehensive sex education in our schools and why it NEEDS too be inclusive of topics of Gender, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression. 50% of all New York public high school students have mentioned they have had sexual intercourse according to the ACLU…this statistic doesn’t say whether the students identified as homosexual or heterosexual.

Almost 75% of NYC public schools report not learning about LGBTQ its 2015…where we have marriage equality across this country, were our Governor gave an executive order to The Department of Human Rights to include Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming people under the Human Rights Law. Celebrities and Icons come out almost every other week

Its time to discuss Sex Education in an affirming way that includes all identities that our children may identify with and continue to review and expand as does our vocabulary for expressing our selves and our potential partners.

These are things that I didn’t learn when I was in school whether it be middle school or high school, that I feel, my teachers should have given me would have benefited the feelings I had about my own gender identity and expression as well as my sexual orientation.

Many people in the LGBTQ community know how they are at a young age. I knew that I was transgender in middle school but didn’t have the words to describe how I felt (I was in fact looking for the word Transgender or Female to Male).I knew I was attracted to both men and women (Bisexual) in elementary school/middle school the word existed but the teachers didn’t know what to do with that knowledge.

Sex Education to youth when they identify with the gender they were assigned at birth and are attracted to the opposite gender is hard.That’s because you’re a kid and everything is a joke and not taken seriously, they are kids it is to be expected.

However sex education when it comes too youth who may identify or be curious if they are LGBTQ is even more difficult. (Not because they aren’t interested or curious) but because they are looking for the words to use.

We need to empower them and give them the tools to figure things out…if we don’t give them the tools we have already set them up to be in situations that can be avoided.

It’s not until you step foot into a LGBT service provider or youth drop in center that you are taught about safe sex and real discussions. I had sex way before I was properly educated on the subject

  • HIV/AIDS
  • STI’s/STD’s
  • Consent and Healthy Relationships
  • Reproductive Health

These are the things I wish I knew about, and that I had an adult that I could talk to at school that may have had the words that I was looking for. My journey may have been a little different and my transition would have started a little sooner.

I want our New York City school children to be more knowledgeable and the ability to make better choices an than I was, more able to possibly live in their own skin more comfortably

Feel included in the classroom…that the most important part to not live a student wondering where do I fit in this conversation. I want our youth to have trusted and trained adults who feel comfortable talking about.

bryan elllicot- sex ed presser

These are just some of the reasons why I am supporting the need for comprehensive sex education in our schools and why it NEEDS too be inclusive of topics including Gender, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression.

2013 LGBT Accomplishments and More

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2013 has been a powerful year of accomplishments for the members of the LGBT community. It has also been a great year as a self identified transgender man and open bisexual in New York City.  Here are some of the international, national and city LGBT moments of 2013 (not in any particular order)

  • Aziz Ansari Took Down Homophobia in 2 minutes flat
  • Barilla Pasta’s CEO learned NOT to mess with the LGBT community
  • Orange is the New Black and Laverne Cox become the first mainstream scripted television series too cast a transwoman of color in a leading role
  • GLAAD Expanded it’s mission to include Trans* Rights
  • Steamy Photo- Shoot featuring Ines Rau a Transwoman, made waves
  • Chelsea Manning bravely opened up about her gender identity
  • Kristen Beek became the first Transgender Navy SEAL to come out after her service
  • Islan Neetles death sparked calls from Politicians to Pass GENDA (Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act)
  • Same Love- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • The Boy Scouts will allow gay boys too be scouts
  • NBA Jason Collins Came out
  • Pope Francis “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge”
  • Jodie Foster Came Out
  • 75% of Millennial Came Out in Support of Marriage Equality
  • DOMA and Prop 8 struck down on the same day
  • Bryan John Ellicott and the HRC
  • July 7th Launch of this Blog
  • New Jersey, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Utah
  • Colorado allows Civil Unions
  • Republican Rob Portman came out in Support of his gay son & Marriage Equality
  • Raven Simone Came Out on twitter
  • Edie Windsor @ NYC Pride
  • Tim Cook Came Out in Support of ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act)
  • France, New Zealand, England and Wales, Uruguay all got Marriage Equality
  • Germany offers a third gender option on birth certificates
  • GQ Magazine Germany shot straight allies committed to Ending Homophobia
  • Australia’s PM took down every argument against Marriage Equality in One Speech
  • Activist fought back against Russia Anti-Gay Law
  • President Obama appointed Gay Athlete Billy Jean to Represent USA in the Sochi Olympics