Tag Archives: transgender

Election Surprise: Health Care Galvanizes Voters

A voter casts his ballot at Hillsboro Old Stone School on November 7, 2017 in Purcellivlle, Va. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Health care appears to have played an unexpectedly robust role in Tuesday’s off-year elections, as Democrats swept statewide races in Virginia and New Jersey and voters told pollsters it was a top concern.

The health headline of the night came in Maine, where voters by a large margin rebuked Republican Gov. Paul LePage and approved a referendum  expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Maine is one of 19 states that has not expanded the program to people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $16,600 for an individual. An estimated 70,000 to 90,000 Mainers could gain insurance under the expansion.

The Legislature has passed similar bills five times, but LePage vetoed each one. And despite Tuesday’s outcome, he held firm in his opposition. The governor announced Wednesday that he would not implement the expansion, which he said would be “ruinous” for the state’s budget, unless it is fully funded by the Legislature.

Medicaid expansion might also be back in play in Virginia. Voters there not only elevated Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam to the governorship, they may have steered Democrats to a takeover of the state House of Delegates, which has been the primary source of opposition to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s efforts to expand Medicaid. As of Wednesday morning, Democrats had picked up 15 of the 17 seats they would need to take over the majority with several races too close to call or requiring a recount.

And while it was not a headline issue in the governor’s race, health care proved decisive to Virginia voters, according to exit polls funded by a pool of media organizations.

Health care was by far the top issue for voters, according to the poll, which asked voters which of five issues mattered most to them. Nearly 4 in 10 said health care was the issue most important to their vote, followed by gun policy at 17 percent, taxes at 15 percent, immigration at 12 percent and abortion at 8 percent. Among those voters who cited health care, 77 percent voted for Democrat Northam, making it his strongest issue by a wide margin.

The fallout will depend on who holds which views, said Rodney Whitlock, a former GOP Senate staffer. If health care is a top concern for Democrats, “that doesn’t have a lot of meaning for Republicans,” he said. But if independents are the ones who see health as a salient voting issue, “that means much more.”

But Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard University, said the election results suggest that health care has again become a positive for Democrats. “You don’t have to say you love the ACA, but that you don’t want to drop millions of people” from coverage, he explained.

In New Jersey, voters said they were more concerned with state issues, with property taxes and corruption topping the list of topics they told exit pollsters drove their votes. But health care was third.

Still, the election results likely hinged on a host of concerns, warned Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. Health issues are still strongly viewed through partisan lenses, he said, and the voting probably was more of a referendum on President Donald Trump than on health care. But the results in the Maine referendum could have repercussions beyond that state, showing that Medicaid expansion is “far more popular” than Republicans have acknowledged. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

In Ohio, voters defeated what some called a confusing ballot measure aimed at limiting prescription drug prices to no more than the amount paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs. A similar measure was voted down in California last year.

Looking for perverts in the wrong place

Cartoonist Nick Anderson from the Houston Chronicle poses the question: For all the time that wingnuts spent hyperventilating about transgender bathrooms, funny it doesn’t bother them that they’re supporting for president the man who appears to be the biggest pervert of them all?



A Trump-related clip so scary it’s almost not funny at all

These are not actors. These are real Trump supporters. Now watch it and be horrified.

First of all, the producers of this clip had to get these people to sign releases in order to appear in this bit. And they all signed it. Which means:

  1. They don’t care if they look completely stupid and they signed it anyway.
  2. They don’t think they look stupid, which I guess makes more sense than the first answer.

It could still be answer #1 because so much of extreme right-wing America thinks being intelligent means either thinking you’re better than other people (chiefly them) or that education is evil because it makes you less likely to believe in Jesus and join the KKK.

Racist and dumb-as-a-rock stupid: welcome to the 30-odd percent of the country that is impervious to reason and has been fucking up society ever since the Republicans decided to give them a seat at the table in order to keep winning the Deep South.

It should also be pointed out that not all of Trump’s supporters are this clueless. Some of this support has dropped off already. That alone proves that some of them are open to reason. But the people in this video? I don’t get how people reach adulthood and remain this thick. There is an education problem in this country.


UK moves transgender prisoner to female prison

The world, it changes in small yet important ways:

A transgender woman sent to a men’s prison has been transferred to a female jail after a campaign to get her moved.

Tara Hudson, 26, from Bath, was jailed for 12 weeks and placed at the all-male HMP Bristol after admitting assault.

The BBC understands she has now been taken to HM Prison Eastwood Park in South Gloucestershire.Earlier, she lost an appeal against her sentence, but a judge asked for consideration to be made about where she serves her sentence.

Source: Transgender woman Tara Hudson moved to female prison – BBC News

Transgender Prison Rules in the UK


How some trans people must feel during traffic stops

Trans transgender driver's license traffic stop jefferly.com

While this cartoon is amusing, it does point to a very real problem for trans people: negotiating the often byzantine (though rapidly changing) world of government IDs and vital records with rules that vary widely from state-to-state.

To find out just how much they can vary, click on this link at TransEquality.org.

National Center for Transgender Equality trans jefferly.com

Howard Brown Health Center to add Rogers Park location

Gerber Hart Howard Brown Health Center jefferly.com
The location in Rogers Park where Howard Brown Health Center will open an additional office, where the health center will share space with the Gerber Hart LIbrary.

Who would have thought way back in 1974 when this institution started with, in its own words, “a coffee pot, a portable kitchen table [and] a room above an old grocery market,” that it would become what it is today?

Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC), Chicago’s much-respected community health center which already operates out of three locations in Uptown (Buena Park) and Lakeview, along with its Broadway Youth Center, announced big news today about a new location on the far North side:

Today, Howard Brown Health Center (Howard Brown) announced plans to open a medical clinic in Rogers Park by the end of 2015. Howard Brown’s new facility will be co-located with Gerber/Hart Library and Archives (Gerber/Hart) and is one of the new opportunities resulting from Howard Brown’s recent designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center.

“We’re thrilled to have an opportunity to better meet the needs of LGBTQ people in Rogers Park, a vibrant neighborhood on Chicago’s far north side and one of the most diverse communities in the city,” said David Ernesto Munar, President and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center. “The new site, located in an emerging hub for LGBTQ culture in Chicago, furthers Howard Brown’s mission to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning people. Sharing a space with Gerber/Hart also gives us an exciting opportunity to provide a robust wellness experience that impacts a visitor’s body, mind and spirit.”

Located at 6500 N. Clark Street, the new facility will open its doors and begin providing limited healthcare services by the year’s end. At almost 15,000 square feet, the clinic will offer complete healthcare services by early 2016, featuring primary healthcare services including a sliding scale, behavioral health services, wrap around support services, educational opportunities, and a meeting/event space. The facility will display Gerber/Hart’s unique collection of LGBTQ artifacts and memorabilia from Chicago, giving a rich, contextual experience to visitors and clients.

HBHC (which, incidentally is holding a big Halloween costume ball fundraiser) notes on its web site:

Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) was founded in 1974 and is now one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) organizations.

With an annual budget of over $22 million, the agency serves more than 18,000 adults and youth each year in its diverse health and social service delivery system focused around seven major programmatic divisions: primary medical care, behavioral health, research, HIV/STD prevention, youth services, elder services, and community initiatives.

HBHC serves men and women, infants, youth, and children through a multi-site operation based in Chicago that includes a main health and research center in the Uptown neighborhood (Sheridan Road), Aris Health by Howard Brown Health Center, the Broadway Youth Center, and three Brown Elephant resale shops in Chicago (Lakeview and Andersonville neighborhoods) and Oak Park.

I regularly visit the Brown Elephant resale store in Andersonville. It’s a great place if you like to rummage around for bargains.

I also use HBHC as my health center and my primary care provider there is easily the best doctor I’ve ever had.

You should note also that HBHC does not limit itself to LGBT health care, providing services to anyone regardless of ability to pay. 

You can read the rest of HBHC’s announcement about the new location at the link below.

Rogers Park is one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, bounded on the North by Evanston, home of Northwestern University. As it is home also to 16,000-student Loyola University, Rogers Park has a large number of college and university students, faculty and staff while still retaining its diversity from being the northern edge of Uptown.

Source: Howard Brown : Announcing New Clinic in Rogers Park

Howard Brown Health Center Sheridan Road jefferly.com
Howard Brown’s location in Uptown’s Buena Park neighborhood.

A transgender singing group in Boston

Photo: Boston Globe. Click on photo to go to Globe article.

What happens when you like to sing, but you are trans and your voice might change weekly?

You get this inspiring effort:

HE PLUNGED A NEEDLE filled with testosterone into his thigh each week. He changed his name to Andre and announced that he was becoming a man. His muscles grew.In nearly every way, his new body fit him better than his old one. Then his voice deepened, as expected, and he tried to sing. He grieved for the voice he had lost, the one he had trained for six years in choruses and choirs, the voice he still heard inside his head.

Andre, who asked not to be identified by his last name, might have given up singing. His voice was too low to continue with the women’s chorus where he had sung for years. So before Andre, 36, fully transitioned, he joined the new Butterfly Music Transgender Chorus, whose founder believes it’s one of two choirs in the country open only to transgender people.

Even as the public becomes more aware of the estimated 700,000 transgender individuals in the United States, many trans men and women say they still struggle to feel accepted. For those who transition, their voices can attract attention. Singers say they are grateful to find a chorus where they can feel the support of others who understand.

The chorus practices near Boston, which has become a center of medical care and research for the transgender community. (Because trans men and women report high rates of harassment, assault, and discrimination, the singers wanted to keep the location private.) Fenway Health , a community health center, saw 90 trans patients in 2006. Last year, 1,600 trans patients visited the center.

Talent and beauty come in many untraditional forms.

Fascinating and very cool.

Source: At Butterfly Music, transgender men and women discover new voices and community – The Boston Globe

The Daily Show dismantles wingnut panic over transgender bathrooms

Jon Stewart slices and dices the right-wing transgender bathroom scare.

From Equality Matters:

The myth that male sexual predators use non-discrimination laws to sneak into women’s restrooms has been repeatedly debunked by experts, but it remains a tremendously popular conservative attack on legal protections for LGBT people.Transgender Bathroom

Unfortunately, mainstream media outlets tend to treat the “bathroom” myth as if it were true, uncritically repeating it in their coverage of LGBT non-discrimination laws.

Fears that non-discrimination laws will punish Christians or let men sneak into women’s restrooms are as ridiculous as they are pervasive. Media outlets would serve their audiences better by following The Daily Show’s lead and treating right-wing attacks on LGBT non-discrimination laws as the jokes they really are.

Watch the vid. It’s very good.

At annual meeting, the AMA votes to support trans military personnel, end personal and religious exemptions for vaccinations

The nation’s top physicians’ organization takes an important stand. More than one, actually.

The American Medical Association has adopted policies against nonmedical vaccine refusals and for transgender people in the military.

The nation’s largest doctors’ group says parents should not be able to refuse to have their kids vaccinated for personal or religious reasons. That’s because of the health risks unvaccinated kids pose to others.

At its annual policymaking meeting in Chicago on [June 8], the AMA said it would support efforts to end those exemptions in state immunization mandates.

The AMA also adopted a policy saying there’s no medically valid reason for the military’s ban on transgender service members. And it agreed to organize efforts to create guidelines for assessing whether older physicians remain competent to safely treat patients.

Good for them.

via AMA adopts policies for transgenders, against nonmedical vaccine refusals – Chicago Tribune.

Famed gender researcher says not to push children too much, too fast on gender identity

Dr. Alice Dreger, one of the big guns in the medical ethicist arena, offers in a June 4 article in Wired some opinions which, while not new to people who follow the field closely, are sure to anger some in the trans community:

THE RECEPTION TO Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover story this week has been mostly laudable. The country, it seems, may finally be ready to approach transgender people with humanity and calm acceptance instead of snark or fear or hate. In fact, even the president continues to put a focus ona transgender issues, repeatedly calling for an end to “conversion” therapies for “transgender youth.” His intentions are good, but his understanding of gender identity needs to evolve. 636_050213_fx_transgender_symbol

Gender is complicated. Gender identity development in children is even more so. Even with our ever-expanding understanding of gender’s fluidity and variance, we still err by reducing it to simple labels that do not apply to everyone. When children are developing their gender identities, over-simplifying gender can be especially harmful, as a nudge in one direction or another at this crucial phase might forever change a person’s life. Can we respect the expressions of gender-crossing children without being so “affirming” of their declarations that we accidentally steer them to a transgender path they might otherwise not want or need to take?

Dreger goes on to note that gender is fluid in young children and that, of the children who present with cross-gender behaviors when they are, for example, preschoolers, many will simply end up being gay or lesbian and not trans.  Smaller portions will turn out to be actually trans regardless of their sexual orientation. Still others will end up being heterosexual and can lose some or all of their cross-gender behaviors completely.

The point is that while we ought not tell them when they are little that boys playing with dolls or girls hating dresses and frilly things are bad, that is as far as it should go.

Accept, but do not push them one way or the other.

There have been cases of parents who are so hyper-informed on LGBT issues they cross the line from parent into advocate, which is fine if their kid is old enough to conceptualize these ideas on their own. But tell an 12-year-old only one time that you think they are trans and they may fixate on it to the point where they are suddenly demanding hormone therapies when they are not actually trans but rather have bipolar disorder or something else that is making them chronically unhappy and unable to deal with the world.

Interesting stuff, but as I said, not new.

Dr. Scott Leibowitz of Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital and the National LGBT Health Education Center is known for being a knowledgeable, caring clinician with small kids who exhibit cross-gender behaviors — and he also gives excellent presentations on these subjects.

It should be interesting to see how Dreger’s piece is received the trans community.

Finally, some might ask: if gender identity is so fluid that we do not want to push small kids one way or the other, why is the same not true with sexual orientation which is now the subject of efforts to outlaw conversion therapy?

The answer is simple: sexual orientation is not fluid in almost everyone. By the time a kid is reaching adolescence and starting to have feelings of sexual desire — something 8-year-olds shouldn’t be having — sexual orientation is fixed. Efforts to change it are simply medical malpractice since it cannot be changed. Unless, of course, yours is a political agenda and not a medical one.

via The Big Problem With Outlawing Gender Conversion Therapies | WIRED.