Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New York Equality and Justice Day

April 28, 2009, New York State had its Equality and Justice Day at the State Capitol in Albany, NY. I was out there lobbying for Dignity for All Students ACT, Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), and marriage equality. I was really wowed by the pure raw energy through out the day, especially during Governor David Patterson’s morning speech, and at the rally. The other thing that really caught my attention was when we were walking to the legislative office building and hearing the roar of the supporters from other states, especially Vermont, thank you Vermont!

I met with my legislators (both of whom happen to be republican), and the big message I received from both was that they need to hear from their constituents. When I asked the Chief of Staff of my Assemblyman why my assemblyman voted against the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), he replied "we need to hear from our constituents, and we vote on what the majority of out constituents want from us". My senator also told us that he votes based on his constituency and moral values.

I have been involved in a lot of activism leading up to the New York Equality & Justice Day in my community. I find that after all the media attention we have received this last year, people are eager to learn about transgender and the transgender community. The transgender literature was flying off the tables. People are hungry to know more about us, they want to hear our stories, and they want to hear it from the transgender people themselves.

Since I have been "out" in my conservative little community, the people have been just wonderful to me and my children. Sure I have dealt with small pockets of discrimination, but I find this disappears with education and time. My children’s school district has been wonderful to me, they allowed be to do a common-law name change on my children’s school records, refer to my using proper pronouns. I raise a child with disabilities and all the disability organizations we deal with have been very supportive.

You may ask, "Why do we need Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and Dignity for All Students Act? The reason is simple, we still have serious pockets of hate and violence, transgender people are still loosing their jobs due to discrimination, transgender people are still being evicted from our homes, being denied necessary healthcare, etc. These bills will give us the tools we desperately need to continue the fight towards winning full equality.

You can make a difference, even if you can't attend the events. Hand written letters and phone calls carry the most weight. Most legislators read their mail, but email is easily deleted. Talk about your experiences, good and bad. People want to learn about us.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Anti-Trans Radio Broadcast About Angie Zapata

KNUS weekend host Trevor Carey asserted that a transgender woman murdered in Greeley had committed "fraud" in presenting herself as a woman and agreed with a caller that it was grounds for physical violence against her. Carey also stated that the victim, Angie Zapata, had "faked" the suspect into having "some sexual relations," and claimed that "rage" regarding "the fact that [Zapata] was living as a woman" had "so much to do with the murder."

To read the entire item and check out the audio clip, go to:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New York State Assembly Passes Bill Banning Transgender Discrimination

April 21, 2009 We thank the New York State Assembly for voting by a wide margin today to amend the state’s human rights law to include anti-discrimination protections based upon gender identity and expression. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA, A.5710) provides crucial civil rights protections for transgender New Yorkers by banning discrimination in housing, employment, credit, public accommodations, and other areas of everyday life.

Read the statement released by the Empire State Pride Agenda:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Trouble with Amazon

You may have heard already that Amazon has recently begun removing ranks and search-ability of books that are considered to have "adult content." Here's what we know:

Authors and readers began to piece together the trends over the weekend -- largely via Twitter -- and realized that many of the books that have been labeled "adult" are ones that address gay/queer/lgbt issues. (Eerily, the exception to this seems to be anti-gay propaganda, like books on preventing homosexuality in your children.)

A writeup of what has happened so far;

Twitter is leading the discussion about Amazon's policies;

There is a Facebook group recently started called AmazonFail which has details about the situation:

Petition against this policy:

More info can be found by putting the term "#amazonfail" in Google and/or Twitter.

The LGBT community is an respectable part to the booksellers market share and if we all boycott Amazon, perhaps Amazon will rethink the idea of censoring our books and classifying them as "adult".

A great alternative to Amazon is Barnes & Noble.

Thanks to all who have written about this and for showing your support for all writers and readers who want and deserve shame-free access to LGBT books.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Comming Out To My Kids School

I just got my common-law name change done in my school district and changed on all my kids school records and paperwork. It is also noted that I am transgender and should be referred to with female pronouns.

It all started when I was talking to my attorney who was handling an school related issue with one of my children and I brought up the fact that my different on all my kids paperwork and the school was the only ones to be using my male name yet. My attorney said I can take care of that for you if you like and I agreed, so she contacted the school attorney and the school attorney said "what ever she wants". She (the school attorney) sent a memo from the top down stating that I should now be referred to as Lynn and female pronouns should be used. This memo went to all the principles, teachers involved, secretaries and everyone else involved with me or the care of my children.

While this is no great surprise to the school as I have kinda been out with the school, this now gets everything out in the open so I don't have to worry anymore and I am free to be me. It feels like someone just lifted a ton of bricks off my chest.