Remembering Stonewall By Reclaiming Gay (LGBT/T) Liberation Front Thinking

Stonewall Time

Another reason why I am always aware of my SRS anniversary is because it coincides with Stonewall celebrations.

One way I can generally tell people were around at the time of Stonewall is how they isolate it in ahistorical space.

Instead it was an important point, the reaching of critical mass, by a movement that had been building for 20 years.

It could have been like the dozens of incidents that had occurred in the decade before had it not been for the reaching of that critical mass.

In the six months leading up to Stonewall gay organizations were already in the streets demonstrating regarding many of the same issues LGBT/T organizations are still fighting to achieve.  Such as employment non-discrimination and recognition of same sex marriage.

There was a difference though.

In the late 1960s same sex sexually relationships were criminalized.  Often time wearing the clothing of the other sex was too.

Of course there were still obvious people.

Those too butch or too femme to hide it.

Mostly though the infra-structure for the Gay Liberation Front type movement that sprung forth during the summer of 1969 was already germinating.

In these days of Page One Q, The Advocate as well as thousands upon thousands of LGBT/T Blogs like this one it is hard to remember how slow news traveled in 1969.

The gay and lesbian press was just emerging.  The MSM went out of its way to ignore gay and lesbian people unless they were providing a scandal that would sell news papers.

Many of us got our news  from the alternative media of under ground newspapers. We had things like Liberation News Service.

I think the first real stories that went deeper than a paragraph on page 32 next to the obituaries took nearly two weeks to reach the Bay Area.  Mostly due to the week after Stonewall being the Forth of July and the underground newspapers deadlines.

I remember that summer in part because of how I benefited from it.  People who had known me before, movement people were extraordinarily nice to me and supportive.

When we saw same sex couples openly displaying affection towards one another we thought “How cool is that?”

It was the 1960s but that ability to think people who were different were neat for having the courage to be different continued on through the 70s until the Reagan/Thatcher regimes.

Granted being individualistic took dings from the assimilationists in both the gay and lesbian movements in the form of attacks on “roles”.

But generally we were a better people back before Reagan/Thatcher.

It is way too easy to give in to authoritarianism, to point the self-righteous finger of scorn at those who are different.  Too easy to be just like those who filled the ranks of “conservative” pushers of mandatory conformity and servitude on the part of working people.

I didn’t let a post through tonight from some one condemning the Clinic making access to hormones easy.  I think this person is an asshole who wantts to be special and thinks calling names makes her special.  She also believes in GID.

My feelings about this clinic are: “About fucking time.”  You see I never had to jump through any hoops to get on hormones.  I put on a dress, went to a Berkeley Public Health Clinic and met a nurse/social worker there who told me to go talk to a couple of people at San Francisco’s SIR and Mattachine Society who knew the ins and outs of the Public Health Clinic system in SF.  They gave me the Center For Special Problems.  I had a half hour chat with a psychiatric social worker who spent most of the time telling what I was facing and the resources available to help me face those hurdles.  I was then given an appointment for a week later when the physician gave me a brief physical, told me what to expect and a month’s prescription with an appointment to come back in a month.

No GID.  I was a self diagnosed person with transsexualism, the screening was the doing.  Take the hormones, go to the appointments, on time, go to the places they suggested would help and take the steps to do the progress.

Not one doctor gave me shit about being a hippie radical.  Not one doctor told me I couldn’t be transsexual and feminist.

I ran with gay and lesbian people along with hippies and radicals, visual artists and musicians.

I never much cared about being accepted by Republi-Nazis or for that matter church going straights.

The liberation mind set is about freedom as well as integrity and respect for others.  It is about following your own muse and yet not dictating to others that they must follow your muse when they might have a different muse.

I’m an atheist when it comes to the Wicca just as I am with monotheism but they have a pretty good saying that articulates a hippie ethos that I embrace: “Do as you will but harm no one.”

The Wiccan Rede is the rule governing Wiccan behavior. It permits Wiccans to engage in any carefully considered action, as long as it harms nobody, including themselves. The Rede is reinforced by the Threefold Law. This is the belief that any harm or good that a Wiccan does to someone else comes back to hurt or benefit them — magnified three times over. Both are mentioned in the Wiccan Credo, a poem about Wicca whose origin is unclear.

horizontal rule

The Wiccan Credo:

The Wiccan Credo is a Wiccan poem. Some Wiccans believe that it was written circa 1910 CE by Adriana Porter. Others suggest that it was created during the very early years of Gardnerian Witchcraft, during the 1940s and 1950s. 1 It includes the text of the main Wiccan rule of behavior, the Wiccan Rede, and a reference to the Threefold Law.

The third last stanza refers to the Threefold Law. It states, in part:

Mind the Threefold Law you should,
Three times bad and three times good

The end of the Credo contains one version of the Wiccan Rede. It reads:

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
An’ it harm none,
Do what ye will.
Blessed Be to thee

US – THInC (Trans Hormones — Informed Consent) program puts transgender process on an easier path…

Offered by Andrea

From the Chicago Tribune,0,1405089.story

Program puts transgender process on an easier path
New system avoids months or years of barriers

By Jenni Prokopy
Special to the Tribune

June 23, 2010

Ten years ago, when Candice Hart began her transition from male to female, she faced the possibility of losing everything, including her relationships and career. That, in addition to the process she had to undergo in preparation for the transition, was agonizing, she said.

“I lived in fear that I would be denied access to hormones or other services that I believed were necessary for me to live my life,” said Hart. She said the therapist who would approve her hormone therapy was a virtual stranger who held the keys to her new life.

Hart’s experience is common for those following the traditional path for transgender treatment: months or years of costly, time-consuming counseling that are barriers for many. It also can be so overwhelming that many people abandon the idea or suffer severe emotional and psychological damage, said Hart, vice chair of the Illinois Gender Advocates.

In April, the Howard Brown Health Center Iaunched a new program designed to minimize some of the emotional suffering and reduce barriers to care for those seeking access to hormones. Officials hope the program, in which patient and health care provider work as a team, will set a new standard in the Chicago area for consistent treatment that will empower patients and create healthier outcomes for members of the transgender community, whether or not they subsequently move forward with sex-change surgery.

“We have chosen this as the model that works best for the population we serve,” said Kelly Ducheny, director of behavioral services at the center who helped develop THInC (Trans Hormones — Informed Consent). She said other health care providers with the necessary interdisciplinary team could adopt similar approaches.

“If an organization has the dedication to do that … (and) people are competent at providing the service, absolutely we would love to see that,” Ducheny said.

The THInC protocol is a three-step process, now a requirement for hormone treatment at the center, one of the largest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) organizations in the country. Howard Brown’s main location is located in the Lakeview neighborhood popularly known as Boystown and is convenient to Andersonville, two North Side neighborhoods that are home to large LGBT communities.

THInC patients start by providing a full medical history and receiving a physical exam, including blood tests to examine liver function (which can be affected by hormones). A second appointment with a hormone advocate ensures the patient can demonstrate “informed consent.” If the patient has all the information necessary, plus the cognitive ability to decide to move forward — having considered both the short-term and life-long consequences of hormones — informed consent is granted.

The advocate then helps develop a transition plan, including ways to address workplace and relationship issues.

At a third appointment, the patient and health care provider discuss test results, review the transition plan and decide which hormones, if any, are appropriate and begin treatment. An optional fourth step is participation in a support group.

Earlier this month, about 60 LGBT-focused mental health professionals and community members gathered at Center on Halsted to discuss the program.

Braden Berkey, director of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Institute at Center on Halsted, said the collaborative aspect of THInC is “powerful.” Transgender individuals exploring hormone therapy are not mentally ill and shouldn’t be “pathologized,” he said.

Throughout the health care system, patients consent to all kinds of medical treatments every day, and using hormones to align a person’s physical body with gender identity should be no different, Berkey said. The key is informed consent, ensuring each patient understands the risks of hormones and is not impaired from making a fully informed decision.

Liam Lair, a patient who participated during the pilot phase, said he felt “a great sense of relief of being able to be transparent with myself” throughout the process. “I really did feel like they were advocating for me.”

Lair said the program allowed him to follow the life narrative he experienced, instead of trying to fit into a narrow gender definition.

Those in the LGBT health community say THInC is a radical change from the traditional treatment model for transgender individuals. Many physicians follow standards of care developed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Inc., which recommend a minimum of three months of psychotherapy and a letter from a therapist documenting an individual’s “real-life” experience living in their chosen gender.

The traditional approach contains barriers to access, according to many in the LGBT health community. While the THInC program can take as little as four to five weeks to start hormone treatment, the traditional process can take many months or years. Some people without health insurance can’t afford extensive psychotherapy, and even those with insurance may not be covered.

The therapy process can be frustrating and demoralizing, especially for someone who has already planned their transition for years and feels like the resulting letter is more like a permission slip. The process often leaves patients feeling ashamed and angry, say Berkey and Ducheny.

“We think those letters are unnecessary and pathological,” said Ducheny. The THInC program is designed to empower patients to make choices about their bodies and their transition, she said, not make them feel like they are unhealthy individuals.

Hart has thought the same thing: “Why does someone who has these strong convictions have to jump through flaming hoops?” She said people spend years wanting to be authentic and genuine, but they can still be denied access to what for them is necessary treatment.

Another unhealthy side effect of the traditional model is illegal purchase and use of hormones, said Pamela McCann, public health administrator with the city’s Office of LGBT Health. Some people simply can’t get treatment under the traditional model, or abandon the system out of frustration with a variety of barriers to access.

“Hormones are a necessary intervention for so many members of the transgender community. If they’re not able to access hormones within the routine prescription process, then many members look outside for medications, and that means street drugs,” she said. Any program that prescribes and administers hormones in a safe and healthy environment is “a very positive thing,” McCann said.

To make the THInC program as accessible as possible, Howard Brown provides care on a sliding scale to those not covered by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. While program participants must complete all three steps of the protocol, they may also coordinate with a health care provider outside of Howard Brown.

Currently, the center treats six or seven new patients each week in the THInC program, said Ducheny: “We have seen a significant increase in the number of people accessing hormones since we put the new protocol in place.”

© 2010, Chicago Tribune

Death By Hamburger: How Much Meat Is Too Much?

From Alternet

By Kiera Butler, Mother Jones
Posted on June 23, 2010, Printed on June 24, 2010

Whether you’re a burger lover or a strict vegetarian (I’m somewhere in the middle—more on this in the July/August 2010 issue of Mother Jones), you’ve probably heard that too much meat is definitely not a good thing. Most recently, researchers have linked over-consumption of red meat with early puberty in girls: A University of Brighton study found this month that about half of UK girls who ate 12 or more servings of meat each week at age seven had started their periods by age twelve and a half, compared to about a third of those who ate fewer than four servings. Worrisome, since some research suggests that girls who go through puberty early are at greater risk for breast cancer.

Meat-heavy diets aren’t great for adults, either: In 2009, a landmark National Cancer Institute study of 500,000 Americans between the ages of 50 and 71 found that people who eat a quarter-pound of red meat or processed meat every day were 30 percent more likely to die in the 10 years of the study than those who ate 5 ounces of red meat or less per week. Compare that to research about vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventists, many of whom live significantly longer than the average American.

Continue reading at:

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300,000 to 400,000 LGBT Youth Facing Homelessness Each Year

From Bilrico

Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

June 22, 2010 7:00 PM

Reposted with permission:

The Center for American Progress released a report yesterday on LGBT youth homelessness and the federal response to it. lgbthomeless-01.jpg

It is not a pretty picture.

According to the report, there are approximately 1.6 million to 2.8 million homeless young people in the United States, and estimates suggest that disproportionate numbers of those youth are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

The portion of the homeless youth population who are gay or transgender is estimated to be 20 to 40 percent, although gay and transgender youth comprise only 5 to 10 percent of the overall youth population.

Here’s a few numbers:

320,000 to 400,000: A conservative estimate of the number of gay and transgender youth facing homelessness each year.

14.4: The average age that lesbian and gay youth in New York become homeless.

13.5: The average age that transgender youth in New York become homeless.

We must come face to face with this reality and begin to address it. We must not become inured. More info, and how to help, after the jump.

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The report can be found here. It is extremely well written, and is an engaging mix of facts, individual stories, policy and history. Well worth reading.

The information in the report is shocking and saddening. Of the approximately $4.2 billion the government spends annually on homeless assistance programs, less than 5 percent of this funding, $195 million, is allocated for homeless children and youth.

Even less actually goes to serve unaccompanied homeless youth. Further, each year the federal government spends $44 billion on rental assistance, public housing, and affordable housing programs, yet less than 1 percent of these funds, only $44 million, is allocated for homeless youth housing assistance.

Children on the street, looking for comfort, looking for solace, looking for food, looking for shelter, looking for a friendly face, looking for love — and where can they turn?

I, as an adult, found myself after transition without friends, without family, without job or material resources. It was terrifying, frightening, soul-killing. Did I turn to unsuitable people and places and things to try to stem the well of tears from my descent into the maelstrom?


And I was 36 years old, with education and other racial and class privileges.

Imagine a 13 year old trying to cope with social abandonment, with the material and emotional resources of a 13 year old.

Also from the report:

  • Homelessness disrupts a young person’s normal development, often leading to issues in mental and physical health, educational attainment, and behavior.
  • Sixty-two percent of gay and transgender homeless youth attempt suicide compared to 29 percent of their heterosexual homeless peers.
  • The Ruth Ellis Center, an organization that exclusively serves gay and transgender homeless youth in Detroit, reported in 2006 that more than 60 percent of their high school age youth population had dropped out of school due to bullying or discrimination.
  • A full 58 percent of gay homeless youth in Midwestern cities had been sexually victimized.
  • 44 percent of homeless gay youth reported being approached to engage in sex in order to meet their basic needs.
  • A 2004 study found that gay homeless youth were more likely to suffer from major depression than heterosexual homeless youth, and lesbian homeless youth were more likely to have post-traumatic-stress syndrome than heterosexual homeless young women.
  • A 2006 study found that 42 percent of gay homeless youth abuse alcohol compared to 27 percent of heterosexual youth.
  • Injection-drug use is significantly more common for gay homeless youth than heterosexual homeless youth.
  • Homeless gay and transgender youth also report higher rates of unprotected sex than heterosexual homeless youth, as well as higher rates of HIV infection.

This report shows how imperative it is to address the plight of our youth. The conditions to which our young people are subjected are nothing less than criminal.

Whenever I hear about this issue, my resolve to get involved becomes stronger. I think about my own son, who has grown up into a wonderful young man. The thought of his being mistreated makes me angry; and it makes no difference that the youth being tortured by society through abandonment and homelessness are not my own.

One of the programs designed to shelter homeless LGBT youth is the Ali Forney Center in New York City. The work they do is nothing short of amazing. You can read more (and more importantly, donate) here.

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