Archive for October, 2008

Three Hours to get my Peach

Friday, October 31st, 2008

By Monica F. Helms

(Sung to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island theme.)
“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a faithful vote,
That started in this Southern State, on a day to wear a coat.

This girl is a mighty Democrat, who’s never, ever late,
But, standing in that line that day, was a three hour wait,
A three hour wait.”

Somehow, that song came to mind when I finally saved my selections on the computer and got my “I am a Georgia Voter” peach, three hours to the minute from when I first stood in line.  In about three-quarters of the country, states have initiated early voting and Georgia is one of them.

The news told many stories about long lines and hours of waiting before people could get to vote.  On Monday, October 27, is some parts of Georgia, people waited for SEVEN HOURS to vote and in other parts, they waited TEN HOURS.  Tuesday and Wednesday the wait dropped to four hours in many places.  I felt lucky for only having to wait three hours.  The good thing about Georgia is that if you get in line before 7 PM, the polls will stay open until that last person votes.

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Transsexual “gene”?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

By Donna Rose

Donna has been a long-time friend of mine since the early days of our transition in Arizona. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but we have remained friends through some tough times.

It seems that every year or two there is an article somewhere that some scientist or doctor has identified a biological “cause” for being gay or transgender. These kinds of things seem to get a significant amount of attention and then fade into obscurity until the next bombshell discovery is made. In 1993 there was much fanfare over an article published in Science magazine about the discovery of a “gay gene.” Did that settle the question of whether or not sexuality is biological or learned? Of course not. That investigation continues today.

The most recent revelation in this regard is a report out of Australia that scientists there have found a genetic link for transsexualism. This kind of research is looking to provide conclusive proof about something that many of us already know – that there is a biological connection to development of gender identity. Although many of us get excited and get our hopes up when we see this kind of news, I doubt any of us are naive enough to believe that this will be the be-all, end-all of research in that regard.

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A Plea to Get Out and Vote . . . Democrat

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

This is an E-mail I sent out to all of my Georgia Friends:

Friends,

There is 9 days before we find out who the next President will be. Regardless of who wins, the choice will be historical. We will either get the first female Vice President or the first African-American President. No one would have guessed this four years ago. No one.

I am writing this to ensure you get out and vote. Yes, some of you are on many mailing lists and are getting the same bombardment of E-mails as I am. But, I’m writing for another reason.

I am a proud Democrat, so you know where my loyalties lie. This E-mail is going out to all of my transgender friends and allies in Georgia because we can make a difference. Why should we vote for Senator Barack Obama, you may ask? He understands us more than all the previous Presidents put together. He sponsored and pushed for various trans inclusive legislation in his home State of Illinois when he was a State Senator there. He has stated multiple times he is in support of a fully-inclusive Employment N-Discrimination Act and Hate Crimes Bill.

Many of you have faced unemployment and have lost jobs for being trans or gay. Some have looked for so long for work that if has become a job unto itself. Some have given up. And some, like Alice Johnston, took their own lives after becoming homeless. Let’s face it. Georgia will NRVER pass a fully inclusive State ENDA. Even if the Democrats controlled the State Assembly and the Governorship, we would still have enough blue-dog Democrats to keep it from passing.

Our only hope in breaking the chains of oppression is to ensure a friendly President sits in the White House. That is Obama.

I apologize to any Republicans on this E-mail. Yes, Republican LGBT people do exist. But, McCain will never allow us to be free. And if he died in office, Palin would make our lives even worse. In my opinion, a Republican vote by a LGBT person is the most illogical move one can make.

And, for those crossdressers out there, don’t think you’re safe. Just remember what happen to truck driver Peter Oiler when Winn Dixie fired him for crossdressing OFF the job. That was in Louisiana, a state that has the same attitudes as here in Georgia. None of us are truly safe and even if ENDA passed and was signed by Obama, there would still be a lot of problems for us. But, we would at least have legal action available to us that we don’t have now. Our families deserve to have a chance.

So, my friends, as a concern transgender citizen of Georgia, I would like to see future generations of LGBT Georgians have a better world then we do. Let’s give them that world by voting for Obama. We can put him over the top here in Georgia. The latest poll shows him at a one point lead. One point! There are enough LGBT people in Georgia to give him another point. Let’s do that, for the future. And, pass this onto your friends.

Monica Helms

Marietta, GA

Who Says Electronic Voting is Safe?

Friday, October 24th, 2008

By Monica F. Helms

Since the first time they came out, electronic voting machines have been accused of providing inaccurate information and could easily be hacked into and change the results. On the one side, proponents and manufactures insisted that the machines are secure, while opponents insisted they could be remotely “adjusted” and would like paper backup for their voting results. Many states who use electronic voting machines print paper backup forms to verify the results.

In July of 2002, Georgia’s Secretary of State, Cathy Cox (D) signed a contract with Diebold to provide electronic voting machines for the entire State of Georgia. We became the first in the nation to go totally electronic voting. In August 2003, Walden O’Dell, then CEO of Diebold, announced he became the top fundraiser for President Bush and the Republican Party and said he would do whatever it takes to get Republicans elected. Pretty scary comment from the person whose company builds the very machines our votes get recorded on.

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A Lot Has Changed in 40 Years

Friday, October 24th, 2008

By Monica F. Helms

In 2009, I will be attending my 40-year high school reunion, so it got me thinking about all that has transpired in the last 40 years. Ah, yes, I’m from the Class of ’69. What a wonderful number. But sadly, I digress.

Next year, there will be a lot of celebrations in the LGBT community. After all, the Stonewall Riots took place in late June, 1969. I can easily bet that LGBT blogs across the internet will be lit up like Christmas trees with articles about the Stonewall riots and other related events in the month of June. Because of the incoming flood of articles, I don’t need to elaborate here in this article. However, I can’t wait to see what others will write.

On July 20, 2009, it will be the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. Hard to believe it was that long ago when Armstrong said those famous words, “That’s one small step for man . . .” You know the rest. Since then, NASA has lost fourteen astronauts on two Shuttle disasters, four of the original seven astronauts have passed away, leaving just two left. Gus Grissom died before the Apollo 11’s mission, but John Glenn got to become the oldest man to fly in space when he went up in the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998.

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McCain’s Outrage Inciting Road Rage

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Dr. Jillian T. Weiss has a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Law, Policy & Society. Currently Associate Professor of Law and Society at Ramapo College of New Jersey, she has conducted research involving hundreds of companies and public agencies that have adopted “gender identity” policies. She publishes a popular blog on the subject of Transgender Workplace Diversity, and has numerous research publications on the subject of gender identity. Links to these are found below.

Dr. Weiss is also Principal Consultant for Jillian T. Weiss & Associates, a consulting firm that works with organizations on transgender workplace diversity issues. She has trained hundreds of employees at corporations, law firms, diversity trainers and governmental organizations. Dr. Weiss has worked successfully with Fortune 500 companies and large public agencies during the past few years, including Boeing, HSBC, KPMG, Viacom, and the New York City Department of Homeless Services. Her work has been featured in news stories by the New York Times, Associated Press, the Society for Human Resource Management, Workforce Management Magazine, and HR Executive Magazine.

Originally posted on The Bilerico Project.

It was a beautiful fall day as my partner and I drove upstate from New York City to enjoy the change of seasons in Northeast U.S.A. this past weekend. We enjoyed looking at the glorious colors of the foliage in my car, proudly emblazoned with an “Obama ’08″ sticker on the rear bumper of my Jeep.

Suddenly, from hundreds of feet behind, a red SUV accelerated madly, blowing the horn continuously as it careened within inches of our bumper. We were traveling at about 60 miles per hour, and just entering a sharp exit curve that required slowing to a speed limit of 40 mph. This is a dangerous situation for any vehicle, but especially to roll-over prone vehicles like my boxy, high and narrow Jeep. My heart pounded and my knuckles whitened as I wrestled the steering wheel into the curve. I slowed down to accommodate the steeply-banked turn, hoping the maniac behind me would slow down enough to avoid an accident. Instead, the red SUV moved even closer and the continuous horn blaring did not cease.

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A Vacation and a Wedding

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

By Monica F. Helms

I set this vacation aside to fly to San Diego so I could attend the wedding of my oldest son, Robert. Just so happened, the weekend had been also set aside by the planners of Southern Comfort for their yearly conference. I would miss seeing all of my friends by not being at SCC, but I would be spending time with friends and family in Southern California. I felt there would probably be disadvantages and advantages to both, and at the end, my feelings turned out correct.

Day One: My vacation actually started a day before I flew out to San Diego, giving me time to get ready for the trip. But, a day that would seem rather dull and mundane turned out to be an interesting one after all. Around 3 PM, I picked up my ex-girlfriend at the airport, because she came into town to attend Southern Comfort.

It felt nice to see Karen again, but the strong love I had for her had changed to a deep friendship. This friendship went far deeper and more diverse then our relationship had ever been. I still have a love for her, but it is the same kind of love I have for the few other people I call my best friends.

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