Social Conservative DADT Proponents Focusing On Fear & Process

OneNewsNow (a subsidiary of the American Family Association) has an interesting article up on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) entitled Military’s DADT supporters effectively silenced. An excerpt:

Retired Army Brigadier General Douglas Lee, board president of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, says troops who oppose openly homosexual military service don’t dare say so.

Everywhere you look in the military, I think it’d be safe to say there’s simply pressure to not rock the boat on this,” he offers.

Lee says those who supported DADT have been effectively silenced.

“There’s no vehicle or way for them to express what they’re thinking about these subjects — they have to suck it up, as they say,” continues the retired Army officer. “There are people now who live in what I call a culture of fear and don’t want to speak out about it.

Fear. The General is citing fear.

Let me remind folk some of what Elaine Donnelly of the Center For Military Readiness believed would occur should DADT be repealed:

inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community,” the prospects of “forcible sodomy” and “exotic forms of sexual expression

And in graphic form what she claimed would happen if DADT were repealed:

Image: Center For Military Readiness Predicts Forced Intimacy Predicted Would Occur If Repeal Of Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repealed

And…

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A 47%-er

As I wrote just this past weekend in my piece Living On Government Largesse, according to Gary Bauer said about those receiving checks from the government:

Bauer also told TPM that “there are a lot of people who will vote this November because they depend on government largesse,” meaning checks from Washington. He expects those voters to go Obama as well.

“They will vote for their own perceived interests, which is they don’t want anybody cutting back the size of the checks,” Bauer said.

And as I said, I’m one of those folk. I’m a retired military veteran receiving a pension. I’m a disabled military veteran with a 100% VA disability rating, service connected. I’m just plain disabled and unable to hold down a job. For all of these statuses, I “depend on checks from their fellow taxpayers.”

Now it’s reported in Mother Jones article SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters what Gov. Mitt Romney told his high-dollar donors this past May:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

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Call me a 47%-er. Call me one of the people a President Romney has apparent distain for — one of those disabled veterans who can’t work and lives on what Bauer called “government largesse.”

I’m voting to reelect President Barack Obama because of social issues. At this point, even if my social values aligned with social conservatives I wouldn’t vote for Gov. Romney. Disabled veterans are among the 47% of people who he believes considers themselves victims. Instead of saying that the government “has a responsibility to care for them,”, he derides those whom he states “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

Romney’s failure to understand that not only are many of those who receive government want to make it on their own and not be on government assistance…his failure to understand that that 47% who he says “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims” include retirees, working poor, people who want to work but can’t find work, and disabled people — as well as disabled veterans like me…

Well, I cannot adequately express my anger at Gov. Romney’s comments. His failure to understand is a major fail.

Living On Government Largesse

Image: Autumn SandeenSometimes I don’t understand conservatives with their “small government” approach to “government largesse” and big government approach to reproductive rights.

Talking Points Memo (TPM) has an article up on what Gary Bauer, the former president of the Family Research Council, said at the Values Voter Summit said about people like me. And no, not about trans people like me, but about people who are receiving what are often referred to as entitlements.

The TPM article, entitled Gary Bauer: Obama’s Votes Come From Welfare Checks And Voter Fraud, had this to say about those receiving checks from the government:

After his speech, Bauer told TPM “voter fraud is rampant in urban areas” and he expected that to help Obama.

Bauer also told TPM that “there are a lot of people who will vote this November because they depend on government largesse,” meaning checks from Washington. He expects those voters to go Obama as well.

“They will vote for their own perceived interests, which is they don’t want anybody cutting back the size of the checks,” Bauer said.

…“There’s a lot of people out now around America who depend on checks from their fellow taxpayers being in the mailbox every day,” Bauer said. “They will turn out in massive numbers, but so will the entrepreneurs, the small businessmen and women, the military families, the soldiers in harms way, the millions of Americans that want to hope again.”

I’m a retired military veteran receiving a pension. I’m a disabled military veteran with a 100% VA disability rating, service connected. I’m just plain disabled and unable to hold down a job. For all of these statuses, I “depend on checks from their fellow taxpayers”; I apparently am one of those many “people who will vote this November because they depend on government largesse” — meaning checks from Washington.

I’m going to vote for a second term for President Obama, but a May Gallup Poll on how veterans will vote breaks it down this way:

U.S. veterans, about 13% of the adult population and consisting mostly of older men, support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama for president by 58% to 34%, while nonveterans give Obama a four-percentage-point edge.

It seems that Bauer has at least one group, many of which receive “government largesse,” a little bit wrong on who they vote for.

But interestingly to me, it seems to me that Bauer doesn’t consider people who receive checks from the government — which would seem to me to include disabled veteran and non-veteran Americans, military retirees, as well as older Americans receiving Social Security benefits — full citizens of the United States. It appears to me that he implied that our votes should be diminished and discounted.

As the Marines are fond of saying, “Hoo-rah!” That’s so the way to indirectly degrade all American citizens who receive government checks.

Listing The Reasons Trans People & Allies Should Vote For Obama

Helen Boyd — author of My Husband Betty and coordinator for Trans United For Obama — has recently spelled out why trans people should be voting to reelect President Barack Obama in her En|Gender post President Obama’s Accomplishments for Transgender Americans

President Obama Took Pivotal Steps To Ensure That Transgender Americans Have Stronger Protections Against Hate Crimes And Discrimination

  • On October 28, 2009, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, making it a federal crime to assault another individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. This is the first time gender identity has been protected by federal law.
  • Obama Administration Officials have collaborated with transgender advocates to discuss strategies to prevent bullying and end gender-based violence.
  • The State Department now includes an evaluation of the state of LGBT citizens in its annual country reports, in order to better identify abuses, state-sanctioned homophobia and transphobia overseas.

From Veterans To Families, President Obama Has Improved Access To Respectful, Quality Health Care For Transgender Americans

  • The Department Of Health and Human Services confirmed that federal health care programs and those receiving federal funds are barred from discriminating against transgender people.
  • President Obama required all hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds to recognize a patient’s designated partner, both for hospital visitation and decision-making rights, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is collecting health data on LGBT populations in an effort to help researchers, policy makers, health care providers, and advocates identify and work to reduce health disparities in the community.
  • Under President Obama’s leadership, the Veterans Health Administration established policy to ensure comprehensive and respectful health care to the transgender and intersex Veterans enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system or who are otherwise eligible for VA care.
  • The Veterans Health Administration now allows transgender veterans to update their medical records according to their gender identity.
  • The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced grant opportunities to address HIV health care quality specifically for transgender women of color, a demographic disproportionately limited by quality care.
  • The Affordable Care Act bans discrimination on the basis of gender identity in operating insurance exchanges.

President Obama Took Steps To Help Make Sure That Professional Environments Are Safer For Transgender Employees

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FDL Book Salon Welcomes Kate Bornstein, A Queer and Pleasant Danger: A Memoir

Welcome Kate Bornstein (KateBornstein.com) and Host Autumn Sandeen (Pam’s House Blend)

A Queer and Pleasant Danger: A Memoir

One of the very first books I read after beginning my transition in 2003 was Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw. My first thoughts were “She is so wrong about transsexual people — we are NOT in between male and female! I know I’m a woman!”

And I still know that as truth about myself, and it’s a different personal truth than the personal truth Kate has embraced for herself. But what I’ve come to realize is that Kate, through that book, taught me that there is no right way to be trans. She taught me that there is not a standard narrative or set of experiences one has when one comes to realize one is a transsexual. I had an orchiectomy instead of a vaginoplasty, and that’s not considered by many to be what my surgical outcome should have been as a transsexual. I accept that I’m a gender outlaw, and always will be one whether I want to be or not — but Kate taught me that that was okay. (more…)

I’d Apparently Be A “Taker” In An Ayn Rand/Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan Presidency

My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.

~Any Rand as quoted in Playboy (1964)

Image: Autumn SandeenIf there is a personal aspect of the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Gov. Mitt Romney’s running mate outside of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, it’s Medicare.

I’m not 55 years old, I’m 53 years old. Not only am I currently receiving medical care through the Veterans Administration, I also receive some of my healthcare via Medicare. You see as a disabled woman, I’m eligible for Medicare.

It appears then that I’m one of those at the perceived center of what Fox News Arthur Herman describes as America’s coming civil war — makers vs. takers:

On one side are those who create wealth…

…On the other are the public employee unions; left-leaning intelligentsia who see the growth of government as index of progress; and the millions of Americans now dependent on government through a growing network of government transfer payments, from Medicaid and Social Security to college loans and corporate bailouts and handouts (think GM and Solyndra).

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has been known as a big fan of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, and the Los Angeles Times article Paul Ryan loved Ayn Rand, before he said he didn’t summed up his recent love of Rand this way:

…Ryan made no bones about his philosophical influences just a few years ago. He told the Weekly Standard in 2003 that he gave his staffers copies of “Atlas Shrugged” as Christmas presents. Speaking to a group of Rand acolytes in 2005, Ryan said, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”

Even three years ago, Tim Mak of Politico noted, Ryan channeled Rand. “What’s unique about what’s happening today in government, in the world, in America, is that it’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now,” Ryan said. “I think Ayn Rand did the best job of anybody to build a moral case of capitalism, and that morality of capitalism is under assault.”

Rep. Ryan now says he doesn’t love Ayn Rand:

“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan told Robert Costa of the National Review. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview.” He added that he had merely “enjoyed a couple of her novels,” which also included another bestseller, “The Fountainhead.”

But does he really reject Rand’s philosophy?

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Romney’s VP Choice Looks Like It’s Going To Be Rep. Ryan

MSNBC is reporting that Rep. Paul Ryan is going to be Gov. Romney’s choice for VP. Via 3 sources indicate Romney will pick Ryan

Three different sources close to the Romney campaign indicate to NBC News that Mitt Romney will announce House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate at tomorrow’s campaign event in Norfolk, VA.

The announcement will be in front of the U.S.S. Wisconsin — which just happens to be Ryan’s home state.

With recent national polls showing Romney trailing President Barack Obama, Ryan is a bold pick. He would excite economic conservatives, and is considered one of his party’s rising stars.

Related: Paul Ryan’s strengths and weaknesses

Interesting note from the IVN Editor’s Blog‘s Twitter Preemits Romney VP App:

Despite a much-lauded campaign mobile app designed to break the news of Romney for America’s choice for vice president, news of the campaign’s decision broke on Twitter hours before a formal announcement.

By 10-11pm EST, major news outlets were reporting of Gov. Romney’s imminent announcement of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee.

In a case of much ado about nothing, when word leaked late Friday of Romney’s vice president decision, it came via Twitter, not from the Romney VP app dedicated to breaking such news…

The Associated Press‘s release of the news appears to be if not the first breaking of the story, it’s one that other media outlets are sourcing. Via the AP‘s AP source: Romney picks Ryan for running mate:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a Republican with knowledge of the development. They will appear together Saturday in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the newly minted GOP ticket to the nation.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to disclose the decision.

…Before Romney’s team issued the statement, all signs seemed to point to Ryan, the seven-term Wisconsin congressman whose nomination could help assuage the conservative base of the party that has been reluctant to fully embrace Romney…

Apparently, the Romney Campaign will announce the VP choice officially tomorrow.

My add question for whomever receives the VP nomination on the Republican ticket: How many years of tax returns do you belive that candidate will release?

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Update: From The Advocate‘s Paul Ryan as VP Would Match Mitt Romney on Homophobia; Paul Ryan has voted to ban same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples, and he voted against repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military:

…Romney supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. And Ryan twice voted in support of the failed Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006.

…Also, as a U.S. representative for Wisconsin’s first congressional district, Ryan was more recently faced with a ballot question in his home state on whether to ban marriage equality…

…In 2003, Ryan voted in favor of the Marriage Protection Act, which would have prevented federal courts from considering and possibly overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. Romney also backs DOMA…

…Ryan voted in 1999 in favor of banning same-sex couples from adopting in the District of Columbia, over which Congress often exerts control…

…Ryan also lined up with Romney on repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it came before Congress in 2011. Ryan voted against repealing DADT, and Romney was outspoken in his opposition to repeal. Since then, though, Romney has said reinstating DADT would be unnecessary…

…[W]hen the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed through the House in 2009, Ryan voted against it…

The entire The Advocate article is well worth the read.

And too, it’ll be worth the read to see what GoProud says about the apparent VP pick of Rep. Ryan given Ryan’s record on LGBT equality issues.

Still Living With Mental Illness

In December of 2009 I “came out of the closet” as having a mental illness. I have a bipolar condition that Dr. Hagop S. Akiskal, the psychiatrist who developed the bipolar spectrum and who was a few years ago also one of my diagnosing psychiatrists, describes as bipolar type II ½. Some others in the mental health community refer to that specific bipolar condition as cyclothymia, and other times as bipolar type III, but my experience with my bipolar condition is often more than that the mild depression (dysthymia) and mild hypomania that are seen as the primary symptoms of cyclothymia.

Image: BrainWhen I wrote about my bipolar condition in 2009 I was experiencing more hypomania than depression. These days I’m experiencing more depression than hypomania.

And, why talk about my bipolar condition and depression? It’s because sometimes internalized ableism is often a powerful thing in my life — it’s definitely more a powerful thing in my life than any internalized transphobia I experience.

I’m fairly self aware, but even when I believe I’ve worked through emotional stressors and situations I find what I actually did to “solve” these stressors and situations is bury my emotions. I’ve unconsciously been doing that for awhile now with a number of circumstance related emotional fountainheads.

I can be triggered by a variety circumstances too — from every day circumstances to big life stresses.

In the past few weeks I’ve had the quantity and intensity of both my buried and on the surface emotions coalesced, and my emotions bubbled over the top in a quite painful and overwhelming way. And in the process, I became aware of many of the sources of the stresses and the overwhelming emotion that were at the fountainhead of my recent experience of a painful, bubbling over of raw emotion.

As a function of self-care I’ve had to change my tact from consciously and unconsciously burying emotions to dealing with the issues and circumstances at the root of those emotions.

And sadly, I have public and private issues relating to the steps I’ve taken to physically and legally change my sex and gender. My recent “bubbling over of raw emotion” experience is mostly rooted in my emotional responses to the external pushback I’ve experienced from uncaring government bureaucracies and private individuals who’ve worked to erect various types of barriers in the way of my legal changing of sex and gender.

On a certain level, it feels like I’m internally fighting for my survival as a woman because of external efforts to define me as a man. And internally for me, this is at the intersection of being a trans woman and being disabled due to mental illness.

From experience, I know it takes a lot of personal effort to work myself out of significant depression — the kind of depression I’m now aware I’m experiencing; the kind of depression that my bipolar condition — my mental illness — amplifies. It takes switching from a position of trying to bury emotions to doing something to resolve what’s at the roots of those emotions.

So, I’ve began the process of doing just that; I’m taking actions instead of allowing myself to be emotionally overwhelmed. For example, just yesterday (August 7, 2012) I filled out the California Form VS 24 that I received a few weeks ago in the mail — I then mailed off the completed form to the California Department of Public Health, Office of Vital Records. This VS 24 form is the form I needed to fill out and send off to amend my California birth record. In taking that effort, I’m working to address the issue of the barriers to legally changing my gender — addressing the issue of those barriers instead of just being emotionally distressed by those barriers, or focusing on those who’ve worked to erect those barriers.

Taking action — in actively doing instead of passively, yet intensely, emoting — is my path out of the significant depression I’m experiencing…the depression I’m feeling that’s being amplified by my bipolar condition. At this point in time, it’s the best self-care tact for me towards functionality given the disabling aspects of my mental illness.

~~~~~
Related:
* Living With Mental Illness
* The HHS To Now Collect Data On Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Trans People
* Thinking On Bipolar Depression, Anxiety, And Hypomania… And Christine And Me

NCTE: HHS Affirms that Healthcare Discrimination Law Protects Against Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity

Vrom the NCTE entry HHS Affirms that Healthcare Discrimination Law Protects Against Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity:

HHS Affirms that Healthcare Discrimination Law Protects Against Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed that it views a 2010 law prohibiting sex discrimination in health care services as protecting from discrimination based on gender identity and gender stereotyping.

NCTE and ally organizations asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for clarification on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. In response, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has affirmed our view that the law banning sex discrimination in federally-funded health services includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

The HHS confirmation came in response to a letter to several LGBT organizations, including NCTE, seeking clarification of the law. In recent years, there has been a strong legal trend toward recognizing discrimination on these bases is covered under existing sex discrimination laws. The response noted that the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights will investigate such complaints and treat them as forms of discrimination based on sex, which is prohibited by law if an entity receives federal funds.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “This anti-discrimination law, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, creates an important new tool to combat anti-LGBT and especially anti-transgender discrimination in health care.” The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that one in five transgender people have been denied care by a medical provider. That survey and anecdotal evidence show that transgender people are too often turned away by doctors, mistreated by ambulance crews, and even thrown out of hospital emergency rooms.

“HHS affirms our position that these abuses are now clearly illegal,” said Keisling. “But a law explicitly banning health care discrimination based on gender identity is the next step. Our community needs medical providers to know what their obligations are and passing a law is the strongest and clearest way to do that.”

Because of this development, LGBT patients facing discrimination at hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, or other medical providers that accept Medicare or Medicaid (or other forms of federal funding) can file complaints of discrimination with HHS and expect to have those complaints taken seriously. NCTE strongly urges transgender people who are facing harassment or discrimination to use our health care “know your rights” resource to advocate for respectful care.

To speak to Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at 202-903-0112 / vvillano@transequality.org.

Related press release from NCLR: Affordable Care Act Prohibits Gender Identity Discrimination

This & That: Open Thread

It’s an open thread! Pleeeeease feel free to chat, blogwhore, and link-share in the comment thread… Emoticon: Autumn Sandeen, snarkily shifting her eyes right-to-left-to-right

Emoticon: Smiley drinking coffee while using computerImage: Bookworm Bob, the cartoon 'sockpuppet' of Autumn Sandeen's; Link: Pam's House Blend This & That tagSo, this is what my cartoon sockpuppet Bookworm Bob have been looking at since our last This & That post.

Navy Times70 years ago, WAVES paved way for Navy women:

…The WAVES [Navy Reserve’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Service] were established on July 30, 1942 to fill military jobs left vacant at home as large numbers of men were deployed to Europe and the Pacific.

While the Navy had employed women — known as “yeomanettes” — in secretarial positions during World War I, the WAVES were formed to become an integral part of the Navy Reserve, said Regina Akers, a historian a the Navy History and Heritage Command. With the establishment of the WAVES, women also were also permitted to serve in officer positions for the first time.

The WAVES program faced significant opposition by some members of Congress who were concerned about using women in the military in this new way. “The question was: ‘Women in the services? You mean other than nurses? Are you crazy?’” Akers said.

But the need for women was strong and after significant debate in Congress, legislation was passed and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Los Angeles TimesMedicaid could be scaled back sharply under GOP plans; Conservatives aim to cut federal funding for the state-run health programs for the poor if they control the White House and Congress.:

Nearly half a century after President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicaid into law, conservative critics of the massive government health insurance program for the poor are readying a new push to dramatically scale it back if Republicans control the White House and Congress next year.

GOP governors, emboldened by the Supreme Court decision on President Obama’s healthcare law, are already balking at expanding Medicaid to meet the goals of the Affordable Care Act. Some are rolling back coverage now, arguing that the program is ineffective and unaffordable.

At the same time, congressional Republicans, backed by influential conservative activists, are renewing calls to convert Medicaid into a series of smaller grants to states, reprising the successful GOP strategy that cut cash welfare programs in the mid-1990s.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has thrown his support behind a block grant plan that would cap federal spending, effectively slashing Medicaid funding by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade in what would be the most sweeping change in the program’s history…

Montreal Gazette‘s Note to Media: Get Your Pronouns Right!:

The coming-out announcement by movie director Lana Wachowski highlights yet again the trouble the media are having with pronouns when people announce they are gender transitioning. Most of the articles I am seeing online about it are still referring to Lana as “he.” Some are still using Lana’s old name, “Larry.”

The media really needs to get this straight: from the time a person makes the announcement, you MUST start using the appropriate pronouns. In other words, from the time Lana made her announcement, you should have been referring to her as “she.”

It gets a little tricky when you are talking about her past, but even then, female pronouns can be used in many instances.

It’s all a matter of respect, and when you get it wrong, you are showing disrespect. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Washington Post‘s Episcopal Church promotes the “T” in LGBT equation:

Commentators at the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times may decry the Episcopal Church as a place offering pet funerals but nothing for the faithful or failing to provide anything one cannot get from purely secular liberalism. These traditionalists appear to bemoan the loss of a 1950s-era church that promoted an Eisenhower-era civil religion replete with the cross draped in the American flag.

While they wax nostalgia over a past that largely existed only in TV Land, the Episcopal Church made history at its 77th triennial General Convention by passing two gender nondiscrimination resolutions. Led by a grassroots coalition including, TransEpiscopal, IntegrityUSA, the Consultation, and the Chicago Consultation, the General Convention granted transgender people protection against discrimination in the ordination process and in lay leadership in the Episcopal Church. Such protections remain unavailable in the vast majority of religious and secular institutions as well as in most states and municipalities (only 16 states have transgender nondiscrimination laws on their books.

In an effort to educate those deputies who would be voting on these measures, prior to General Convention, they received copies of documentary “Out of the Box.” This film puts a human face on this topic by telling the stories of both ordained and lay transgender Episcopalians. Also, the presence of a gender neutral bathroom at General Convention afforded those present the opportunity to engage in a discussion of gender identity and expression. (Those looking to further their education about the intersection of transgender issues and faith can posts at the blog of the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality.)

• Our Wiener Story Of The Day: Inquisitr‘s Perfect Hot Dogs… You’re Doing It Wrong:

Hot dogs are probably one of the easiest foods to make, and pretty much even the least skilled cooks can manage to get a hot dog to edible temperatures, slap it on a bun and call it dinner — but hot dog experts, which exist, say that the key to a fantastic hot dog is a bit more complex.

And amazing hot dogs, as you probably know, do exist. Ever get a hot dog that just reminds you how great this quintessential American food can be, either simply steamed and served with ketchup, or charcoal grilled and topped with kraut and mustard at a low-key barbeque?

Hot dogs are one of the simplest forms of casual American cuisine, but you can really step up your weiner — and experts have a few simple tips to master the art of the best hot dogs ever…

Ideas for dressing up hot dogs in the article…y’know, so you can do it “right”! Emoticon: Surprised

And as always, “The weenie tempts you!

So anywho…It’s an open thread! What are you thinking about today, or what books or articles have you been reading the past few days? Wanna share?

And again, please feel free to chat, blogwhore, and link-share in the comment thread because…it’s an open thread! Woo-hoo! Emoticon: Dancing happy face character