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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BiNetUSA Comic Con & just a little Politics

 

 

CCILogo-R_LargeThe reason for my trip to San Diego for Comic-Con was sort of business in nature but not completely, it’s not often that I am given the ability to travel or go on vacation. That was an  opportunity was given to be because of BiNetUSA and the role I play as a member of their board and our newest project called The Bi Stories Project at the booth of Prism Comics.Prism Comic is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) creators, stories, and readers in the comics industry. Incorporated in 2003, Prism Comics publishes the annual resource guide, Prism Comics: Your LGBT Guide to Comics.

PrismBlackLogoPrism Comic is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) creators, stories, and readers in the comics industry. Incorporated in 2003, Prism Comics publishes the annual resource guide, Prism Comics: Your LGBT Guide to Comics.That was an  opportunity was given to be because of BiNetUSA and the role I play as a member of their board and our newest project called The Bi Stories Project at the booth of Prism Comics.

BiNetUSA is America’s advocacy organization for bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer-identified and unlabeled people. Bi NetUSA facilitates the development of a cohesive network of independent bisexual and bi-friendly communities; promotes bisexual and bi-inclusive visibility, and collects and distributes educational information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity with an emphasis on bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer (bi+) communities hope to acquaint comics readers with a wide range of creators who present good stories that readers can really relate to and that reflect their own experiences. We hope that more readers will sample the work of LGBT creators when they’re spending their money on comics and, as a result, demonstrate to more publishers that these books are truly worthwhile. We also hope to knit together a large LGBT comics community so that creators can feel more comfortable coming out of the comics closet and standing up as proud participants in an industry we all care about. Bi Stories T-shirt graphics_one color_FINAL_FINAL

I went on this trip to do further to progress and advancement of the Bi+ Community (give the definition of Bi+) especially among populations like those of us who identify as Bi+ in areas such as Comic Con where many other types of people and families go to enjoy themselves.

IMG_6608The Second Day of Comic-Con, I had a run in Congressmen John Lewis (GA-5) an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. Congressmen Lewis’s commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from the state of Alabama as a sharecropper’s farm to the hall of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American Presidents.

Why was a great American Leader and Civil Rights trailblazer at San Diego Comic Con? Graphic Novels, which he has 3 of now. They are titled ” March- Book One, March- Book Two, March Book Three”

It’s not every day, you attend the largest Comic Convention in the country and run into a US Congressmen who just recently had made the headlines again for staging a sit-in just before the Summer Break of Congress over the need for a national discussion and vote on Common Sense Gun Safety Legislation.
I had planned to try and have a “non-political” vacation. That didn’t go as planned because being the kind of always has a way of finding me. Day Three of the Con, while sitting at the Booth of Prism and BiNetUSA, I had the honor of meeting San Diego Commissioner and Queen of the Imperial Court Nicole M. Ramirez.

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Those were the unexpected parts of my trip, but I enjoyed them never the less and learned that even in the other part of my life politics is still a big part who I am in so many expects of my life. I am more than just a political nerd even if when its a label, that I have given to myself. Growing up my Dad brought me into the world of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Its where was always the most comfortable and it’s where we spent most of our time when my mother wasn’t around. We’d spend hours watching Star Trek Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and as I grew up I learned about who Ambassador Spock was before he was Ambassador Spock.

My Dad’s favorite superhero was Hal Jordan (Green Lantern). The Oath something he had committed to the memory of the years and then engraved in mine “In brightest day, in blackest night,No evil shall escape my sight.Let those who worship evil’s might,Beware my power…Green Lantern’s Light!” 

IMG_6631 (1) I went there with very little expectations, however when I found that Brent Spiner would be there to sign autographs and meet fans before the 50th Anniversary Panel in Hall H (which was called Hall Hell or Hall Heaven) depends on who speak too. I knew, because of my anxiety and other things that I’d never make it into Hall H.

However, Brent Spiner was signing autographs at a booth across the way from Prism Booth in the Large Exhibit Hall. That was something I know that I had to make happen. It would probably be a once in a little time opportunity. The next question that I had to figure out was. What would he sign? What would you say? These were the next things to figure out so naturally, I bought a 50th Anniversary Star Trek. Now to move on to what you say to a person who’s character made so much sense that even before I knew the word for who I existed. While Brent played Data an Android who aspired to be nothing more than human that is what always made me so intrigued by him. I spent all  those years of my life wanting nothing more than to be the person I knew I was.

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The night before you filled out a google doc, and the first 50 people get to meet the person. You were supposed to get an email by noon. I did my shift w/ BiNet & Prism table and waited for my email. Sadly the email never came, however, it had come to the attention of the organizers that my google form was on 51 on the list. The person in charge of the check-in gave me the bracelet and said “I seen, you’ve been working all weekend and haven’t probably gotten to meet all of the people or stand in many of the lines” That’s how I got to finally meet and speak with Brent Spiner and he signed my hat.  I told him that as much as Data aspired to human…I had spent the majority of my youth aspiring to the boy/man I knew I was. He smiled and look at me and said “than I guess he did his job and so did I”

IMG_6705  Moving on to the part of the Con that was what I was sent by BiNetUSA to do. The last day of the Convention. The “Bisexuality and Beyond” moderated by Faith Cheltenham. This panel was full of well-versed Bi,Pan, Fluid and Queer people. It included R.J Aguiar, Sarah Stumpf, Tara Avery, Steve Orlando, Bob Schreck & Mariss Lee. My assignment was to live tweet the panel. So those unable to attend the panel around the country and world.

Some of the most memorable tweets include “You run out of closets after a while” Bob Schreck

“Many shades of purple…purple does exist” RJ Aguiar “An everyday conversation…all the time”

These are just some of my experiences from Comic Con 2016 in San Diego. I also got to meet a friend of mine from a part of my past story of my coming out that did have a face. The ability to connect w/ Eric meant a lot to me, as much as it meant to the work I do for BiNet USA.

If you identify with the Bi+ community share your story with us by using this link  The Bi Stories Project.

 

 

 

 

Way More Transgender People in the US than people thought

Williams Institute Estimate of Transgender Adults in U.S. Doubles from 700,000 to 1.4 million — 0.6% of Adult population

D.C., Hawai’i, New Mexico, Georgia, Texas, and Florida are states with the highest percentages of adults who identify as transgender.

0.7% of 18 to 24-year-old  people that identify as transgender, as do 0.5% of those 65 and older

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New York City adopts ​gender-neutral bathrooms

Single-occupant restrooms at restaurants, bars and other public places in New York City will all be gender-neutral under a new law signed Tuesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The bill, which requires that “men” and “women” signs on single-stall restrooms be replaced with ones indicating they are Gender Neutral is “yet another step toward becoming a place where all can live with dignity, free from fear and free from judgment,” the mayor said.

The legislation was designed with transgender/ gender non-conforming people in mind, though it could also benefit the women who get stuck in long lines while the men’s room is empty and parents tending to children of the opposite sex.

Similar legislation has been adopted in cities including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., West Hollywood, and Austin, Texas .

The New York bill passed the City Council on a 47-2 vote last week and has met with little opposition.

“Most New Yorkers take their unfettered access to bathrooms for granted, yet every single day, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals must grapple with the fact that their choices may lead to harassment or worse,” City Councilman Danny Dromm

“Other places in the country are trying to divide Americans with small-minded things, such as who can use a restroom. We’re dedicated to accommodating all people in New York City,” speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said.

Kevin Dugan, regional director of the New York State Restaurant Association, which has lobbied against previous bills like the one requiring chain eateries to post calorie counts, said he didn’t expect the bathroom law to hurt business.

This piece of legislation was personal for me because for almost a year this has been my project. I saw it thru the legislative process and advocated for it. Read The Text of 871-A

Transgender Birth Certificate Change Fails in Colorado

A bill to make it easier for transgender peopleto change their birth certificates has failed in a RepublicanColorado Senate committee.The bill would have changed the process for transgender residents to update their birth certificates to reflect their correct gender.

The bill would have allowed the change without the person getting surgery. And the new birth certificate would not be marked as “amended,” as is the case now.

The bill passed the Democratic House but failed on party lines 3-2 in a Senate committee Monday. Republicans did not explain their votes.

 

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Letter to NYS Majority Leader John Flanagan on GENDA

The Honorable John J. Flanagan NYS Senate Majority Leader Room 330, State Capitol Building Albany, New York 12247

 

January 29, 2016

Re: Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, GENDA [A.4558 (Gottfried)/ S.61 (Squadron)] Dear Senator Flanagan,

As a group of concerned organizations and individuals committed to achieving true legal equity and social equality for all transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals in New York State, we write today to call for your leadership on this critical issue.

In October 2015, Governor Cuomo announced that he would direct the Division of Human Rights to promulgate regulations explicitly protecting transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers. You immediately denounced the appropriateness of this move, claiming that the legislature is the proper place for deliberation on such issues.

However, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (A4558/Gottfried) (S61/Squadron), also known as GENDA – a bill that would write explicit protections for transgender and gender- nonconforming individuals into the human rights statute itself – has yet to be brought to the Senate floor for deliberation over the past 13 years, after passing the Assembly 8 years in a row.

Each day the Senate drags its feet, an estimated 58,000 transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers continue to face often insurmountable barriers to employment, housing, health care, education, social services, and public accommodations – all basic facets of life that non- transgender individuals like yourself enjoy and take for granted. This community – particularly transgender women of color – experience open hostility, harassment, discrimination, and violence every day of their lives from family members, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers alike. Indeed, transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals consider themselves “lucky” to get through a day without experiencing these traumas – and that is an unacceptably low standard of humanity and decency to maintain for anyone in this great state.

Senator Flanagan – the Senate’s 13 years of inaction on this issue have not only failed to address and ameliorate the systemic atrocities transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers must overcome on a daily basis, but in fact the Senate’s silence has effectively enabled these discriminatory and violent systems to continue and grow. You have publicly stated that the legislature is the proper place for action – and so in your second year of leadership in the Senate, we call on you to act. We ask that you move forward with the necessary deliberation of this life- saving legislation for the extremely marginalized and vulnerable community you referenced in your response to the Governor in November. Don’t allow this untenable situation to stand under your watch. The Senate and New York cannot afford to fall behind on this critical human rights issue. We need you to work with your colleagues to make sure that GENDA passes in 2016.

Sincerely,

 

Milo Primeaux, Esq.

Staff Attorney, LGBT Rights Project Empire Justice Center mprimeaux@empirejustice.org (585) 295-5721

 

ORGANIZATIONS

 

Affirming Transgender Rights Albany Damien Center

American Association of University Women NYS Anti-Defamation League

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center Central New York HIV Care Network Choices Counseling & Consulting Eleanor’s Legacy

Family Allies for Trans Equality in NYS Family Planning Advocates of NYS Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Greater NYC for Change

Housing Works Lambda Legal

Lesbian & Gay Family Building Project

LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL)

 

 

Trail Begins For The Killer of Island Nettles

Please come out and show support for the family,friends  and member of the transgender community who  of Islan Nettles. Here’s how you can be supportive if you live in New York City.

Who- Trail for the Killer of Islan Nettles

What- Rally and Courtroom Sit in show of support for Islan’s Family, Friends and the Transgender Community

Where- Manhattan Criminal Court (100 Centre St) at 8:30am

Why- Its taken a long time for this to happen and finally we may see justice for the life of Islan Nettles taken August 2013. This has been a long time coming we need to show that this life matters and that all Trans Lives Matters.