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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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 

 

What is Best for Staten Island? Winning the race for Congress in the 11th District

While we are all focused on the Primary coming up in New York State on April 19th. Whether you are #FeelinTheBern or #ImWithHer just #MakeSureYouVote

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We also need to be focused on the many races going on for Congress. That is how we move forward and make sure issues like #HB2 that are dangerous to the transgender and gender non-conforming people of this country don’t happen again.

One of those races is the New York 11th Congressional District coming this November as well.

If you take the #StatenIsandFerry into work this morning, be on the look out for myself and the Democratic Candidate for Congress in the 11th NY District. Richard Reichard

As a favor to me and #ReichardForCongress follow him and like on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Accounts.

He need your support to carry my message throughout #StatenIsland & #Brooklyn. #ReichardForCongress #InvestInAmerica #VoteBlue#Democrat

Please donate to the campaign and ask others.
tinyurl.com/richardreichard

Meet Richard ReichardDemocratic Candidate for Congress at the Staten Island Ferry

SR-71 Lyrics So…

SR-71 Lyrics Song “Politically Correct”

I don’t mean to piss you off with things I might say
But when I try to shut my mouth they come out anyway
When I speak my mind, that’s when we connect
But that’s not politically correct

Your head’s so filled with thought, you can’t use your imagination
Like a sky so filled with stars, you can’t find a constellation
And everyone’s so sensitive to every bad vibration
We’re so impressing while we’re regressing

There’s nothing I believe in more than my own insignificance
So why does everybody think that my words can make a difference
I just don’t have time to think up every social consequence
I’ll just keep on talking you keep applauding

I don’t mean to piss you off with things I might say
But when I try to shut my mouth they come out anyway
If you spoke your mind you might feel more connected
But, until you get politically corrected

You lean a little to the left or the right but
You can only see what’s on your side.
Look a little like a deer in the headlights
A little blind a little hypnotized.
So you conform with the best of intention
Change comes from inside.
After all that’s what this country was founded on
Do nothing different just fall in line.

What happened to make us so afraid
You couldn’t make a Mel Brooks movie today
I saw Blazing Saddles yesterday

 
 

Bill De Blasio- LGBT Community Plan and Commitment to Equality

Bill’s vision for NYC has resonated with New Yorkers throughout the city, including myself, which is why I am excited to see De Blasio administration at the helm of our next city government. As Bill tells it, there are nearly 400,000 millionaires (based on assets) who call our city home, but nearly half of our neighbors still live at or near the poverty line. At the same time, our middle class keeps leaving the city. Bill has the passion, experience, and dedication to address the income inequalities facing our city.

 

But this is an LGBT event for Bill so I want to take a moment to discuss Bill’s commitment to the LGBT community. From preventing hate crimes and bullying, to expanding supportive services for people with HIV/ AIDS, to winning full legal protection for transgender New Yorkers, Bill is committed to full equality for every LGBT New Yorker. Bill also has a plan for the LGBT community, which will,

 

 

·    Increase support for homeless LGBT youth services for the beds and other materials needed. Bill’s budget will base line funding for LGBT homeless youth and work to expand street outreach teams and supportive housing. LGBT youth face a much higher risk of homelessness than their heterosexual peers, and those numbers are borne out in our City’s shelter system—which is unwelcoming and dangerous to LGBT youth.

 

·    Broaden access to housing for LGBT seniors by working with the Department for the Aging and community-based organizations to increase LGBT-specific housing and care options that treat LGBT seniors.

 

·    End discrimination against LGBT bi-national families by fighting for federal reform and ensuring city agencies extend full recognition and benefits to same-sex couples regardless of immigration status.

 

·    Expand health insurance coverage in the LGBT community by leading an aggressive campaign to enroll LGBT New Yorkers in public and affordable private insurance plans that meet their needs.


 

 

 

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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