Saturday, February 27, 2021

Where did they find that picture of me?  


Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Historic LGBTQ Rights Bill Passes



02/25/2021 05:21 PM EST

The House passed sweeping legislation on Thursday to ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, delivering a major victory to the LGBTQ community — while exposing an ugly rift in the GOP.

The Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to provide protections for LGBTQ individuals, garnered unanimous support from House Democrats on its way to approval on a 224-206 vote. Three Republicans crossed party lines to join Democrats to endorse the bill, less than half of the number of GOP votes the measure got the last time it came to the floor.

But some Republicans worry that this week's controversial antics from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who harassed Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) over her transgender daughter, have stomped on their attempts to sensitively communicate why they are opposed to the LGBTQ rights bill. Most Republicans say they oppose the measure due to its perceived infringement on religious freedom, not out of discriminatory sentiment toward LGBTQ people — a fine line that Greene has effectively erased.

The Greene-Newman incident has revived a thorny issue for the GOP, which has wrestled over its stance on gay marriage and battled accusations that it's not inclusive or protective of LGBTQ rights. Just last year, former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) was censured by his state party for officiating a same-sex marriage; he wound up losing his primary race.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), who is hosting a transgender person on his podcast next week to discuss military issues, said it’s “pretty damn important” for the GOP to clearly articulate why they oppose this particular bill.

“There’s definitely a wrong way to message everything,” he added.

For Democrats, Greene’s comments about Newman’s daughter only underscore the importance of passing the LGBTQ rights bill, which is unlikely to pass the Senate in its current form. Advocates for the LGBTQ community argue that the sort of federal protections the bill would enshrine are long overdue, especially because more than half of states in the U.S. lack explicit legal protections for those discriminated against on the basis of sexuality or gender identity.

“When you tell people that in a majority of states in this country, you can either be kicked out of your apartment, fired from your job, or denied service in a restaurant because you're gay or in the LGBTQ community, people think that can't be true,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the lead House co-sponsor of the bill, told POLITICO in an interview.

The LGBTQ rights bill would ban discrimination in various areas, including the workplace, housing and education, in addition to federally funded programs. The legislation also would expand the 1964 bill to cover public accommodations to include places like shopping malls, sports arenas, and even websites.

The measure’s House passage comes on the heels of President Joe Biden ending Donald Trump’s ban on transgender troops serving in the military. The bill passed the House in 2019, but LGBTQ activists are elated that it now has a shot at becoming law with Biden in the White House.

"It is time to move together to ensure LGBTQ people have the chance to belong, to participate and to succeed in all areas of American life," Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the LGBTQ rights group GLAAD, said in a statement after the House vote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised that the legislation will get a floor vote “at exactly the right time.” But it will need 10 Senate Republican votes in order to beat back a GOP filibuster. That won't be easy: Most Republicans, as well as some religious groups, warn that the LGBTQ rights bill would chip at religious liberty protections, leading to lengthy and pricey court battles.

House GOP leadership did not formally whip against the bill, but Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said leaders have been recommending a “no” vote. Republicans also discussed their gripes with the measure during their weekly conference meeting, and ultimately two went from supporting it in 2019 to opposing it on Thursday: New York Rep. Elise Stefanik and Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

The three Republicans who supported the LGBTQ rights bill were Reps. John Katko of New York, Tom Reed of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.

On top of the Republicans and religious leaders who fear the broad language in the bill fails to clarify that “places of accommodation” does not include places of worship, like churches and synagogues, other conservatives object to the LGBTQ rights expansion outright. They argue it would alter the country’s social fabric by blurring gender lines in women’s sports and other cultural practices.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy explained his opposition to the bill in terms of both its effects on religious liberty and women's sports.

“If you look at Biden’s appointments [of] Cabinet members, suing nuns and others, this really seems like an onslaught against freedom of religion. For girls' sports as well," McCarthy said in a press conference. "Now the Democrats have even taken it further."

Utah GOP Rep. Chris Stewart, who has previously introduced his own compromise legislation aimed at protecting LGBTQ rights as well as religious freedom, said he plans to reintroduce his approach on Friday. It has won support from key religious groups but drawn quick, vocal pushback from civil rights and LGBTQ groups as failing to live up to its middle-ground billing.

“It isn’t an either-or,” Stewart said, referring to protecting LGBTQ rights and religious freedom. "We believe it can be both."

Dr. Rachel Levine speaks via videoconference during a Senate Transportation subcommittee hybrid hearing on Dec. 10, 2020.

But that message has been complicated by Greene, who has insisted “there are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE” and hung an anti-transgender sign outside her office after Newman — whose office neighbors Greene's — hung a pink and blue transgender pride flag.

On the House floor, Greene argued the Equality Act “will put trans rights above women’s rights,” calling the bill “too much." She's already caused plenty of headaches for her colleagues with incendiary remarks, including support for conspiracy theories such as the false claim that mass shootings were staged.

One GOP lawmaker privately dismissed Greene's behavior as nothing more than attention-seeking, especially after she was stripped from her committee assignments over her behavior before offering an apology widely perceived as half-hearted at best.

But other Republicans went further, expressing worry that Greene’s shenanigans could be a drag on the GOP and turn off the young, moderate and independent voters who will be crucial in the 2022 midterms and beyond.

"This is sad and I'm sorry this happened. Rep. Newman's daughter is transgender," tweeted Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who noted that "this garbage must end" in order to restore the GOP. Greene's decision to antagonize Newman "represents the hate and fame driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs," he wrote.

Stewart, meanwhile, declined to directly comment on Greene. But, he added, “the less controversial we make this, the better it is. I will say that.”

The GOP’s potential political problems on the issue of LGBTQ rights are hardly limited to the raucous House. Across the Capitol, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) went after Dr. Rachel Levine, Biden’s pick for assistant secretary of health, who's poised to become the first ever openly transgender official confirmed by the Senate.

Paul, an ophthalmologist, pushed Levine on her views on medical care for transgender teens, claiming hormone therapy leads to “women with beards” and alleging that young transgender people are “confused."

Levine, a pediatrician by training, responded calmly that transgender health care is “complex and nuanced” and offered to meet with Paul privately to walk through the issue. He responded that she did not answer the question and said he’s “alarmed” by her support for medical care for transgender minors.

Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) rebuked Paul a few minutes later for making “ideological and harmful misrepresentations” and told the whole panel to stick to questions about the nominee’s professional qualifications.

“It is critical to me that our nominees be treated with respect,” she said.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Every-Day Wear - Why Not


Venus Basic Flounce Top    Tory Burch  T MONOGRAM JACQUARD BUCKET BAG  Generic Jeans.  

I love this casual look.  As I knock around the beach house or hit the market for lunch, no one notices.  I am what they see and comfortable/confident.  Why not....


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Instead Of Saying 'Hi Guys!'... (part 2)

Raise Your Awareness of Gendered Language On The Job and Socially

The things we say matter!

HuffPost 8/2/2020

By: Monica Torres

The problem with “guys” is that it is a “masculine word,” according to Amy Jeffers, an organizational development specialist in diversity, equity and inclusion. There are better alternatives, such as “Hi, everyone” or “Hi, folks” that are not gender-assuming, Jeffers added.

Alternatives to "Hi guys"

  • Hi team
  • Hi crew
  • Hi all
  • Hi folks
  • Hi people
  • hi peeps
  • Hi y'all (southern)
  • Hi everyone  (my personal favorite)
  • Hi pals
  • Hi friends

Sociologist Sherryl Kleinman wrote an essay in the journal Qualitative Sociology against terms such as “you guys” in 2002, pointing out that they reinforce a language that already privileges men. Kleinman cited words such as chairman, postman and freshman as other examples.

This I hate
"What can I get you guys?"

”‘Get over it,’ some people say,” she wrote. “Those words are generic. They apply to everyone. But then how come so-called generics are always male?”

GLSEN, an education organization that advocates for policies designed to protect LGBTQ students and students of marginalized identities, advised defaulting to gender-neutral language such as “friends,” “folks,” “all” or “y’all” rather than “brothers and sisters” or “guys,” “ladies,” “ma’am” or “sir.”

Gendered language creeps into work communication in other insidious ways. Think about how you describe colleagues you don’t know. Do you default to “that guy” or “that woman?” GLSEN’s guide suggested that when you have not been introduced to people and don’t know their pronouns or gender identity, use descriptive language such as, “Can you give this paper to the person across the room with the white T-shirt and short brown hair?”

Using gender-neutral language is not about using “he” or “she” equally but asking yourself, “Why are we using he or she at all? Couldn’t we just be using ‘they’?” Jeffers said.

Read more here:

One way to get proactively better? Practice so that gender-neutral language at work becomes a habit. “The more we lean into gender-neutral language, the less mistakes we make, the less room for assumption, the less awkward moments,” Jeffers said. “Get good at practicing this, regardless of who is in the room, regardless if you know if someone is sensitive to this or not.”

Why You Should Stop Saying 'Hey Guys

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Instead Of Saying 'Hi Guys!'...

Guy Fawkes - 1570-1606

My opening when teaching gender awareness is to address my audience with "Hi Guys!"  I always hope that there are females in the class and have not had that misfortune yet.  The "Hi Guys", always gives me an opening to point out that not all here today are guys. All know what gender is but few understand the negativity associated  with misgendering. This is especially true in the transgender and gender non-conforming community.

By using "guys" we are ignoring the cognitive impact on women (marginalizing) as well as gender non-conforming folks by only addressing the male identifying individuals that are present.  

The first step in the process is to be aware.

Springfield Collage, a small collage in Springfield, MA, published a wonderful statement on this subject:

Springfield College is committed to valuing and validating the gender identity and expression of members of the campus community. Gender identity refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth or the sex designation on their legal documents. One way that Springfield College seeks to create gender-inclusive academic, living, and work environments is by encouraging all members of the campus community to indicate the pronouns they use for themselves, if desired, in classes, residence halls, workplaces, and other settings, and by encouraging members of the campus community to respect these pronouns.

Etymologists trace the term “guys” to the historical figure Guy Fawkes.  In 1605  a man name Guy Fawkes participated in the "Gunpowder Plot". It was a failed Catholic plot to blow up the British Houses of Lords and with it the King of England.

Although a non-event, the attempted bombing had a huge legacy. There was the historical impact, with King James I using it as an excuse to crack down on England's non-conforming Catholics and lay the foundations of a unified British state. There was the cultural impact, with Nov. 5 celebrated ever since with fires and fireworks as Bonfire Night or, in tribute to the plotter caught red-handed, as Guy Fawkes Night. There is a significant linguistic legacy too: the creation of the word "guy."

The word "guy," as used today to indicate a "man, fellow, person, individual, creature," didn't exist in 1605. In fact, even the name Guy, a name with Norman French origins given to poor Guy Fawkes by his parents in 1570, was relatively rare in England at the time.

Because of this tradition, the word "guy" began to be used in England to mean "effigy" and later came to be used in a pejorative sense to describe a man ("he's a bad guy") or a usually a "weirdly dressed person," according to Parliament's history of Guy Fawkes Night.

At some point it spread to the United States, where, perhaps due to the lack of context, it began to be used in a wide variety of ways, not all negative. That American English usage later returned to United Kingdom, where it became common to use it to mean "man" or "person.".

Now that you know the origin, let's take a look at alternatives.  Stay Tuned.    

Monday, February 22, 2021

I Love a Success Story - Rosemay Ketchum

 West Virginia Elects Its First Out Transgender Official

Rosemary Ketchum

By Tim Fitzsimons June 11, 2020 

Rosemary Ketchum was elected Tuesday to the City Council in Wheeling, West Virginia, becoming the state’s first out transgender elected official.

In the nonpartisan election, Ketchum won 39.3 percent of the vote, beating Peggy Niebergall by just 15 votes, according to WTOV-TV. She will assume office July 1.

“Running for office was never in the plan for me,” Ketchum, 26, said in an interview with NBC News. “I didn’t know what that would look like or how I would fit into that world.”

After graduating from Wheeling Jesuit University in 2019, Ketchum threw herself into community organizing, serving as the director of a mental health center in Wheeling.

“The more local I kept my mindset, the more passionate I became about representing my community on some of the issues I think are most important,” she said, explaining that poverty, homelessness and substance abuse are recurring issues for the West Virginia panhandle area.

Wheeling, in West Virginia’s northern panhandle, is sandwiched between Ohio and Pennsylvania, along the banks of the Ohio River. Pittsburgh is an hour’s drive to the northeast.

“It’s personal to me,” Ketchum said. She was homeless after her family’s home burned down as a child, and she said that family members have also been affected by the opioid epidemic that has killed hundreds of West Virginians annually for over a decade.

“I absolutely am focused on that, and helping to bridge the gap between compassionate law enforcement and rehabilitation,” she added.

Ketchum said her status as a transgender woman was not an issue in the election, describing 98 percent of her interactions with voters as positive.

“The moniker is that we are the ‘friendly city,’ and it’s something I think we exemplify every single day,” she said, describing Wheeling as “progressive” compared to other areas in the state.

And as for that less-than-friendly 2 percent? “You don’t get this far by being sensitive to people's fever dreams, so I’ve definitely built up the ability not to take it personally," Ketchum said.

Reflecting on her historic victory, Ketchum said she was inspired by LGBTQ women like Danica Roem, a member of Virginia's House of Delegates, and U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, all Democrats.

“It’s still strange that it makes history, but I'm grateful to be a part of that,” Ketchum said.

Annise Parker, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, a PAC that supports LGBTQ candidates, said Ketchum “has shattered a lavender ceiling in West Virginia and will join the growing number of out trans elected officials serving nationwide.”

“Trans people are severely underrepresented in elected office — with just 26 out trans officials anywhere in the country — so Rosemary’s victory will resonate well beyond her state,” Parker added in a statement. “We know Rosemary’s race will inspire other trans people from conservative states to consider a run for office in their communities — and then those candidates will inspire others as well. That virtuous cycle is the key to building trans acceptance and political power long-term.”

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Saturday, February 20, 2021

People Will Stare...


Have a wonderful Saturday...



Harry Winston (March 1, 1896 – December 8, 1978) was an American jeweler. He donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958 after owning it for a decade. He had been called by many as the "King of Diamonds".

Friday, February 19, 2021

Trans People Are The Same As Everyone Else

Transgender stories: 'People think we wake up and decide to be trans'

From the Guardian by Kate Lyons

Nikki Hayden, 26, psychology student, London

Nikki Hayden 
Trans people are the same as everyone else, our ideals in life are to be happy, to be respected, to be comfortable. I’ve had people who have openly said to me that they’ve had prejudices around trans people but as soon as they’ve met me they’ve understood more – it’s who I am and the way that I was born. There’s no real difference between myself and people who are cisgender [non-transgender].


Until I was about four or five I didn’t know I wasn’t a girl, to be honest with you. One of my earliest memories, about five years old, was being yelled at by a teacher for going to the toilet with the girls. About the same age I realized I was different to these other boys. At the age of nine I refused to have my hair cut. I didn’t have it cut until I was 16, because having it cut was such a torment to me.

School was extremely difficult. I got bullied a lot. I was picked on for being too thin, for being feminine, for not liking football, for hanging round with girls, for having long hair. They mocked everything they could think of in terms of gender and sexuality.

I learned what trans meant through YouTube. I knew how I felt but I didn’t know there was a term for it. I was basically just trying to Google what I felt. A light- bulb went off in my head and I thought, this explains all the issues I’ve had as long as I can remember.

I never really told my family. They know, but I just started transitioning. I never said: “Oh, by the way …” My mum asked me if I was transgender when I was around 19 after I’d already transitioned. She said: “Well, are you?” And I was like: “Are you blind?”

On a day-to-day basis I don’t tell people I’m transgender. The thing about trans people is, we feel very normal. It’s the way we are, it’s only when people say you’re not normal that you feel that way.

I’ve always been extremely feminine, I always felt that way. I can’t say that I ever felt like a boy, I just had to live as a boy for the first 16 years of my life.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

A Father's Love - Ruby Alexander

His trans daughter couldn't find comfortable swimwear, so he launched a swimsuit line

By Maria Morava and Jay Croft, CNN

February 6, 2021

Jamie Alexander poses with
his daughter, Ruby Alexander

Ruby Alexander just wanted to go to the beach.

As a transgender 11-year-old, she struggled to find comfortable, well-fitting bikini bottoms.

So, her dad made them.

That was two years ago. And since then, RUBIES -- the clothing brand the dad-daughter duo in Toronto created -- has shipped over 500 pairs to transgender girls around the world.

The bikini bottoms incorporate compression spandex and mesh to provide a compact fit, so that transgender girls can feel comfortable doing the same activities as their cisgender friends.

"The response has been amazing," Ruby said. "I am so happy to see all the kids that can get back into enjoying the activities they love, like swimming, dance and gymnastics."

A childhood transition

At 3 years old, Ruby loved her mother's high heels and the drama of Disney princesses -- interests her dad, Jamie Alexander, called "gender-creative."

"She would take a bed sheet and wrap it around her hair, and go up the stairs and throw the sheet down the stairs," Alexander said. "This is when 'Tangled' came out. She was always the princess."

Ruby's parents had joined a group established by the Toronto public school system for parents of gender-creative kids.

When Ruby was 8, Alexander said, some of the kids in the group had begun to transition. Alexander told Ruby that she could too, if she wanted to.

Ruby told CNN she was excited about her dad's offer -- and impatient.

"Every day for a while, I'd just be like, 'I want to be a girl, I want to be a girl,'" she said.

Soon after, Ruby come out to her entire school.

Some students, she said, stared at her or asked questions about her anatomy. But many applauded and cheered.

"That saying where there's a weight and it goes off your shoulder ... it felt like that," she said.

Read More Here...

Alexander said the process has been exciting for her, as opportunities arise and products -- like a one-piece swimsuit and underwear -- are being developed. Ruby said:

My future hope is for trans kids to not be judged. I want all girls, and all trans kids, to just feel comfortable about their body."

Rubies - Every girl need to shine

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Feminine Differential - Is My Slip Showing?


Modesty be darned! Women's slip sales are slipping

Liz Taylor
"Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" 1958

There are few garments that cry femininity better than the slip.  It is an in-between look that is not exactly an "unmentionable" under garment and something you would not wear in public. 

 I remember my mother getting dress for church on Sunday and having a slip on as she completed her hair and makeup.  I tried not to stare but was fascinated by the look.  After putting her dress on I remember my mother asking, "Is my slip showing?"  

Whenever I would sneak into her closet it was always my try-on favorite. 

Getting back to Liz: I think she probably did more for slip sales than any lingerie advertising agency could dream of. Can you imagine the slip sales after her appearance in a lacy full slip in her 1958 movie, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Overnight slips became dramatic, provocative and sexy. That was not the last time either. 

Then she did it again in 1960> The movie *BUtterfield 8 and more seductive slips. Liz again showed us lingerie can be fabulous and not just meant for under a dress.  Thank you Liz.


Liz in "BUtterfield 8"

Amazon describes "The Skip" this way:



Here is great article from USA Today by Maria Puente

July 7, 2017

In the 1940s through the 1960s, you could look in any woman's underwear drawer and find one: A slip. Silky, lacy, sexy. Think Elizabeth Taylor in her Oscar-winning role in Butterfield 8.

 And there was Rita Hayworth's picture in a lacy slip from 1941, which helped make her a top pin-up girl for GIs during World War II.

Not familiar with those iconic images? Well, therein lies the problem: Who wears slips nowadays? And, more to the point, who buys them?

The global lingerie industry, which includes bras and panties and a dozen other product categories, totals more than $28 billion annually and is growing. But no one seems to have any data on sales of slips, or if they do, they don't want to talk about it. Victoria's Secret, the leading retailer of underwear, with as much as 60% of the U.S. market, declined to discuss their sales data with USA TODAY.

Available on Amazon

But it seems clear from the testimony of celebrity stylists, fashion historians, manufacturers and retailers that sales of slips for their original purpose have been slipping, and for some time.

"Slips are not really worn anymore," says Cheryl Paradis , account executive for Mapale, a Miami-based manufacturer of lingerie. "It probably started in the late '70s and early '80s when people stopped layering and became a little more comfortable showing skin. Back then if you were wearing a skirt or a dress, you were wearing a slip. Nowadays, it's not really done anymore. "

So what happened? Fashion historian Colleen Hill, curator of costume and accessories at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, says many women stopped wearing full slips during the 1960s and into the 1970s as hems hiked up and half-slips, camisoles and teddies became easier and more wearable choices.

"The elimination of the slip also coincided with the greater acceptance of the bare or 'natural' body," Hill says. "Sheer, unstructured bras and slips were often all that was worn under clothing. The slip made somewhat of a comeback during the 1980s, but it has not been considered an essential undergarment for decades."

"I feel like I had to re-educate a whole generation on how to wear a slip," O'Brien says. "I find that women are still wearing slips because everything drapes better with a slip, it helps with opacity when you’re dressing for the office and it’s comfortable."

Her campaign has been a success, she says, demonstrated during New York Fashion Week when she spotted a woman at a restaurant wearing a black Commando slip as a dress.

"There are no rules in fashion anymore," she says. "There was a time when undergarments were very private and nobody spoke about what they were wearing beneath their clothes, but they are now visibly wearing those pieces on the outside."


*Anyone else remember why the "B" and "U" (both) would be capitalized in the movie title "BUtterfiled 8"?  I was "GLobe 4".  


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Fashion Changes...

Then and Now

There is no one who enjoys dressing to the "9s"* more than I.  Shopping, I would go out thinking, "If I worked in an office as the female executive, I would wear this."  I had Austin Reed power suits with multiple/matching skirts that had varying lengths. My dresses had matching shoes. I kept my eye glasses updated with the latest "Smart Gal" styles/look. I have lived the fantasy on many occasions in that I have given presentations, interviewed, and worked presenting in my best female ensemble; wonderful memories. 

Rhonda - 1992
One of  My Best Executive Looks

Times have changed.  We all know that fashion is never meant to be static.  We all remember the 50's when women and men both wore hats. You would never go out without one.  There was the 70's  when "Bell Bottoms" were everywhere.  Fashion by definition refers to the styles of dress that is currently popular

Fashion goes beyond just clothing;  it extends to shoes, jewelry, and even how you style your hair.  Your overall presentation. 

According to TeenVogue:

At this point, no one really knows how or when the pandemic will end, and the fashion industry, just like every business sector, is scrambling to make it through – one thing is certain though: everyone has changed their daily life and also their fashion choices. It has been proven that major historical events, including pandemics, recessions, and wars change the way women dress. And clearly COVID-19 will also have a substantial effect, perhaps forever, on the way we dress...  We can assume that our fashion might continue to focus on comfortable staples even after the pandemic ends.

For me, fashion is the perfect form of escapism, for all the time spent in another life and now currently at home. We look forward to the next stage of fashion, post-pandemic. Here’s to dressing up, enjoying feel-good trends and wearing clothes that define our individuality/self once again.

The new Escape!  

* According to the Phrase Finder: To be 'dressed to the nines' is to be dressed flamboyantly or smartly. One theory has it that tailors used nine yards of material to make a suit (or, according to some authors, a shirt). The more material you had (used) the more kudos you accrued. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Letting Go


Which Balloon are you?

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Reversals Continue...

 HUD to pursue gender identity-based discrimination complaints, reversing Trump policy

The policy marks a major shift from HUD’s position under President Donald Trump and his housing secretary, Ben Carson.

02/11/2021 07:26 AM EST

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will begin investigating complaints of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity under the Fair Housing Act, in a pointed reversal of Trump administration policy.

The new policy, to be announced Thursday, applies to all complaints filed after Jan. 20, 2020 — one year before President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing agencies to “prevent and combat” such discrimination.

The directive requires state and local jurisdictions that receive funding through HUD’s Fair Housing Assistance Program “to prohibit discrimination because of gender identity and sexual orientation.” The agency cited the Supreme Court’s ruling last June that gender identity and sexual orientation are protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawing discrimination on the basis of sex.

A senior HUD official told reporters Wednesday that the agency believes a “significant” share of fair housing complaints it receives involve sexual orientation or gender identity.

The policy marks a major shift from HUD’s position under President Donald Trump and his housing secretary, Ben Carson.

Carson formally proposed a rule change in July that would have allowed homeless shelters to deny protections to transgender people. That was after he flirted with the idea for over a year and came under fire from advocacy groups over a Washington Post report that he had expressed concern about “big, hairy men” trying to use women’s bathrooms during a staff meeting in 2019. HUD officials disputed that report.

“The proposed rule modifications also better accommodate religious beliefs of shelter providers,” HUD said when it released the revamp in July. “For example, such policies could be based on biological sex, sex as identified on official government identification, or the current rule’s mandate of self-identified gender identity.”

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Trans Rights Are Human Rights

 Jen Psaki shuts down Fox News’ transphobic question with:

 Trans rights are human rights

White House Press Secretary defends transgender rights when asked by Fox Radio about allowing transgender kids to play in school sports.

Posted by Washington Blade on Tuesday, February 9, 2021


What a difference!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

I Love A Success Story - Julie Wessels

Julie Wessels

Breaking Boundaries In Art and More

Source: Pretoria Rekord 

December 2019

When Julie Wessels is all dressed up in her heels with a pencil in her hand, she feels the most like herself.

A former Pretoria North resident is making her mark, stepping out as a transgender artist and loving every moment.

When Julie Wessels is all dressed up in her heels with a pencil in her hand, she feels the most like herself.

Wessels (20) has produced various pencil sketches of local celebs and her artwork is taking the country by storm with sketches of Zozibini Tunzi, Bonang, Lasizwe, Rolene Strauss, Demi-Leigh Nel Peters and rugby stars Siya Kolisi, Francois Pienaar and James Smal.

She has also made sketches of Cathy Heaton, Ryno Mulder and a self-portrait.

A pencil sketch takes Wessels between four to eight hours and sells at a rate of R1 200 per sketch.

Wessels’ favourite media to draw with are pencils.

“I have recently started drawing with charcoal, but I am not to fond of the texture. I prefer pencil, it blends much more softly,” she said.

Her pencil sketch of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi sold the very same day she uploaded it to her Facebook art page where she has built up a following of nearly 1 000 people in a short period of time.

On her Facebook page she not only uploads photos of her artwork, but she also makes videos where she explains her artwork.

Wessels also recently came out as transgender and has since February, embraced her new look as she identifies as a woman.

“I was in Grade 3 when I first realized I do not belong in the little boys’ row to the bathroom,” Wessels said.

By the time he was in high school he knew for sure he was gay. By last year November, Wessels confessed to his family and friends that he was transgender and made the full transition by February this year.

“I have never taken offence when people talk about me or make fun of me, because I know who and what I am.”

Wessels giggles now when she looks back at her early sketches as a teenager.

While drawing I always used to get jealous of the woman I drew, why were they allowed to have long hair and wear makeup and earrings?

Wessels has now started drawing portraits full time and said she was working on a concept to make sketches for blind people to enjoy.

“Deaf people can see art, but not blind people. I want blind people also to experience art,” Wessels explained.

She is also working on creating a virtual online gallery.

Besides pushing the boundaries in the art world, Wessels plans to take the pageant world by storm.

“I want to be the first transgender woman to participate in Miss South Africa.

“I feel like anything is possible”.



Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Monday, February 8, 2021

Gabriella Haug TED Talk - Be Who You Are...

Gabriella talks about gender stereotyping and the need for society to respect people for who they are. Gabriella's TED talk will focus on gender stereotypes and the importance of being true to who you are. She will share her experience of being a 10 year old female who does not always follow gender stereotypes. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Today's Reflection - Night Moves

" I woke last night to the sound of thunder

How far off I sat and wondered

Started humming a song from 1962

Ain't it funny how the night moves

When you just don't seem to have as much to lose

Strange how the night moves

With autumn closing in"

Night Moves

Bob Seger

December 12, 1976

A Good Day and A Wish For You


Friday, February 5, 2021

One Of Us - Sgt. Franklin Thompson aka Sarah Emma Edmonds

Source: American Battlefield Trust

A Part of our History. 

Sarah Emma Edmonds
Sarah Emma Edmondson was born in New Brunswick, Canada in December of 1841. Her father was a farmer who had been hoping for a son to help him with the crops; as a result, he resented his daughter and treated her badly. In 1857, to escape the abuse and an arranged marriage, Edmondson left home, changing her name to Edmonds.  

Edmonds lived and worked in the town of Moncton for about a year, but always fearful that she would be discovered by her father, she decided to immigrate to the United States. In order to travel undetected and to secure a job, she decided to disguise herself as a man and took the name Franklin Thompson. She soon found work in Hartford, Connecticut as a traveling Bible salesman.

 By the start of the Civil War in 1861, Edmonds was boarding in Flint, Michigan, continuing to be quite successful at selling books. An ardent Unionist, she decided that the best way to help would be to enlist under her alias, and on May 25, 1861, Edmonds was mustered into the 2nd Michigan Infantry as a 3 year recruit.

Although Edmonds and her comrades did not participate in the Battle of First Manassas on July 21, they were instrumental in covering the Union retreat from the field. Edmonds stayed behind to nurse wounded soldiers and barely eluded capture to return to her regiment in Washington. She continued to work as a hospital attendant for the next several months.

 Sgt. Franklin Thompson
on the right

In March of 1862, Edmonds was assigned the duties of mail carrier for the regiment. Later that month, the 2nd Michigan was shipped out to Virginia as part of General McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. From April 5 to May 4, the regiment took part in the Siege of Yorktown.

It was during this time that Edmonds was supposedly first asked to conduct espionage missions. Although there is no definitive proof that Edmonds ever acted as a spy, her memoirs detail several of her exploits behind enemy lines throughout the war, disguised variously as a male “contraband” and an Irish peddler.

On May 5, 1862, the regiment came under heavy fire during the Battle of Williamsburg. Edmonds was caught in the thick of it, at one point picking up a musket and firing with her comrades. She also acted as a stretcher bearer, ferrying the wounded from the field hour after hour in the pouring rain.

The summer of 1862 saw Edmonds continuing her role as a mail carrier, which often involved journeys of over 100 miles through territory inhabited by dangerous “bushwhackers.” Edmonds’ regiment saw action in the battles of Fair Oaks and Malvern Hill, where she acted once again as hospital attendant, tending to the many wounded. With the conclusion of the Peninsula Campaign, Edmonds returned with her regiment to Washington.

On August 29, 1862, the 2nd Michigan took part in the Battle of Second Manassas. Acting as courier during the battle, Edmunds was forced to ride a mule after her horse was killed. She was thrown into a ditch, breaking her leg and suffering internal injuries. These injuries would plague her for the rest of her life and were the main reason for her pension application after the war.

During the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 11-15, Edmonds served as an orderly for her commander, Colonel Orlando Poe. While her regiment did not see much action, Edmonds was constantly in the saddle, relaying messages and orders from headquarters to the front lines.

In the spring of 1863, Edmonds and the 2nd Michigan were assigned to the Army of the Cumberland and sent to Kentucky. Edmonds contracted malaria and requested a furlough, which was denied. Not wanting to seek medical attention from the army for fear of discovery, Edmonds left her comrades in mid-April, never to return. “Franklin Thompson” was subsequently charged with desertion.

After her recovery, Edmonds, no longer in disguise, worked with the United States Christian Commission as a female nurse, from June 1863 until the end of the war. She wrote and published her memoirs, Nurse and Spy in the Union Army, the first edition being released in 1864. Edmonds donated the profits from her book to various soldiers’ aid groups.

Edmonds married Linus Seelye in 1867 and they had three children. In 1876, she attended a reunion of the 2nd Michigan and was warmly received by her comrades, who aided her in having the charge of desertion removed from her military records and supported her application for a military pension. After an eight year battle and an Act of Congress, “Franklin Thompson” was cleared of desertion charges and awarded a pension in 1884.

In 1897, Edmonds was admitted into the Grand Army of the Republic, the only woman member. One year later, on September 5, 1898, Edmonds died at her home in La Porte, Texas. In 1901, she was re-buried with military honors at Washington Cemetery in Houston

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Fashion - Pull On Pants


There is nothing complicated going on here.  I love the look of the shown Boston Proper high rise pull on pants. Pull-on helps to flatten the stomach and with the right effort can provide a flat front. Here in Florida white is an acceptable look, year-round. 

The tops on the left is the Venus Basic Flounce Top and has a nice drape neck line with drop sleeves.  Sleeves can be problematic for us all as we age so choosing the appropriate length is important.  When in doubt, choose three-quarter length; always feminine and flattering.  

The shoes are my ancient J.Crew cap toe flats and wear just right across the front toes. Similar found here. or here  The J.Crew flats have real leather bottoms and a three-quarter inch heel; very comfortable for shopping and always look dressy.  

This is  great outfit for your spring/summer "Escape".  Enjoy!