Time to lobby for transgender rights in Massachusetts

More than 50 businesses, including Google, Harvard Pilgrim Health, and Eastern Bank, as well as the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Hospital Association, and the YWCA of Boston have thrown their support behind a bill aimed at protecting transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations.

On the opposing side are Governor Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Family Institute.

In 2011 the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill protecting transgender people from discimination in housing, employment, and credit and added gender identity to the state's hate crimes law.

Though hailed at the time as a "major victory," it was not a total success.

The bill did not include language to protect transgender people in public accommodations, which advocates had sought. They will continue to fight to expand transgender protections to include public accommodations, such as hotels, restaurants, and clubs, she said. Opponents had decried those proposals as “the bathroom bill,’’ arguing that they would enable biological men to demand access to women’s restrooms and locker rooms.

Anti-discrimination protection in public accommodations was just perceived as going a bridge too far.




The Breakfast Club (Tupac Bluegrass)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault. 






Trans woman denied healthcare

Minnesota resident Nova Bradford, 21, had a chemical dependency problem, which she wanted to get help with, so she tried to gain admission to the University of Minnesota Medical Center's Lodging Plus substance abuse treatment program.

You can recover from chemical addiction and live a fuller life. To do so, you most likely will need support or assistance. Our services include assessment, medically supervised detoxification, inpatient and outpatient evaluation and referral, inpatient-to-outpatient treatment, family counseling and aftercare. Working with us, you’ll recover physically, psychologically, interpersonally and spiritually.

As it turns out the use of the word "you" in the above was overly broad.

Nova was refused admission because she is a transgender woman. Fairview Health Services, which operates UMMC informed her that it would be inappropriate to accept her into the program because there were separate floors for male and female residents and "because they have open showers."



Making a new plan, Stan

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has a new plan.

Under a new policy announced yesterday Sheriff Mirkarimi intends to house all inmates in San Francisco County's jails by their gender identity.

He hopes to have transgender inmates living with their preferred population before 2016.

But transgender inmates who choose to remain in segregated housing or to continue living with other inmates who share the their birth sex can do so, according to Kenya Briggs, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

I carry the perspective forward that the transgender population is marginalized on the streets of America. Consider how magnified that treatment is inside prisons and jails.




A day at the Louisiana OMV

 photo glover_zpsbrba5jms.jpgAlexandra Glover of Denham Springs, LA needed to update her drivers license. That's not a fun thing to do for anyone, but it was worse for Alexandra. You see, Alexandra is transgender and she lives in Louisiana.

Transgender advocates say Louisiana is one in a minority of states that are behind when it comes to accommodating transgender and gender non-conforming people in ID laws. Recent efforts by transgender people in South Carolina and West Virginia have helped to change driver’s license practices in those states.

After being denied at a couple of OMV offices, Alexandra's friend thought she should document a visit with video.




You can’t present as a woman if you’re listed as a man.

If you have makeup on or anything like that you’re supposed to take all that off, because you are actually a man.

--OMV worker



The social costs of denying health care for transfolk

For background you might read Joan McCarter's How bad is health insurance for trans people? Really, really bad.

A new nationwide survey measures the social cost of health care providers denying care to transgender people.

As a result of being denied insurance coverage for transition-related medical care, 35% of survey respondents reported needing psychotherapy, 23% became unemployed, 15% attempted suicide, 15% ended up on public assistance programs and 14% became homeless.

The report also discovered that 37% of respondents who were denied care turned to drugs and/or alcohol and 36% developed other physical symptoms.



Nursing schools didn't want "her kind"

 photo blossom-brown-1-600_zpsic7dvh7f.jpgBlossom Brown is a graduate of Mississippi University for Women, with a degree in public health, and a native of Jackson, MS. Having earned what she descibes as an "awesome GPA," and wanting to be able to give back to her community, she applied to some nursing schools.

She received six rejections which she thinks were unfair.

People always say, 'You're going to confuse the patients,' or, 'We don't want your kind here.'

People were looking at that, and you need to be looking at my hard work and dedication that I put into that hard work.

--Blossom Brown

You see, Blossom Brown is a transgender woman.




Boulder campaign seeks to humanize trans people

Out Boulder has begun a new campaign which is intender to humanize the image of transgender Coloradans.

The Boulder Rapid Transit buses in Boulder County will carry advertising designed to illustrate the humanity of Boulder's transgender residents.

 photo MardiMoore_zpsqobfa87p.jpgModeled after a similar campaign in Washington, DC, it is expected that 806,000 riders will be reached by he advertising.

There has been trans-activism in Boulder County for a long time. But there has never been an assertive campaign like this for our community. I don't think policy is the end-all. We have non-discrimination laws that include transgender people in Colorado, but that doesn't mean that discrimination doesn't continue to happen.

We're trying to change hearts and minds.

--Mardi Moore, Out Boulder



Sunday Train: Hobbling & Liberating Renewables with Markets

A concept that has been percolating into debates over the feasibility or desirability of moving to an all-renewables, no/low carbon energy supply system is the ceiling on what percentage share of our total energy supply we can take from variable renewables. At The Energy Collective, in the second of a two part May 2015 series on Wind and Solar energy, Jesse Jenkins looked at the question of Is There An Upper Limit To Variable Renewables?. Now, as the Sunday Train has covered many times, there is an upper limit, and so an all-renewable no/low carbon energy system requires dispatchable renewables as well as variable renewables ... and all cost-optimizing models of all-renewable energy systems that I have seen confirm this.

However, Jesse Jenkins proceeded to mis-characterize the policy question at hand, when he wrote:

First, as a growing body of scholarship concludes, the marginal value of variable renewable energy to the grid declines as the penetration rises.

Indeed, where renewable energy earns its keep in the energy market — and is not supported outside the market by feed-in tariffs — the revenues wind or solar earn in electricity markets decline steadily as their market share grows.

Well, not so fast. There is a fundamental flaw in the assumptions behind this claim. It turns out that kind of market situations that allow market prices to measure a resource's "ability to earn its keep" quite clearly exclude this particular situation he is talking about.

So it makes a difference how markets are put together, which is what this week's Sunday Train takes a look at.





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