This site is intended to educate and help raise awareness of the issues affecting the rights and quality of life within the LGBT culture.

Transgender Community

Some thoughts on a previous dialogue … This is to serve as a gentle reminder that trans people have reasons to raise concerns and if not concerns, at least some questions. Some of us continue to read about how the law erases who we are and how complacency contributes to the marginalized group at an alarming rate. Celebrating a marker without considering points raised by trans people is participating in silencing our voices when we raise concerns.

Gender markers.
Will they serve the transgender population well? What about the gender queers? How will cishets and cisgays know the differences in determining how to move forward in treatments, asking questions and simply just having the dialogue? Does it matter to differentiate? Should a medical form encompass a bit more than just the umbrella terms, transgender? Some of us think it should. For instance, on a medical form the term transgender could also accompany a series of questions to seek clarification and to help with codifying and classifying for actuarial studies. This makes a tremendous difference in a number of ways. Let’s look at some of the ways this could actually foster dialogue among practitioners to better serve the transgender population.
Are you mtf? Are you ftm? Are you in transition? Are you female but identify as male? Are you male but identify as female? Are you gender fluid and mtf? Are you gender fluid and ftm? Are you straight? Are you gay? Are you a lesbian? Are you a bisexual? Are you pansexual? Are you asexual? Are you intersex? Are you aromantic?
By what pronoun do you prefer to be addressed?
The above questions are some of the ways the exploration towards understanding the patient who presents for the first visit can help clarify who they are as an individual.
This matters. It matters, because it will determine who we are as transgender identified individuals. We are part of a rainbow. This same marker should be used for GLBIA. It should not erase anyone else from medical forms from exploring their preferences and identities.
When non trans people are quick to accept limited representation and dismiss questions by trans and take an adversarial position towards this very marginalized group – despite the validity of their questions, they must welcome questions and not view these as attacking. We need to move away from personalizing any criticism raised by those who are transgender individuals. We experience marginalization every day. Markers on forms are not necessarily all inclusive and to hear anyone state that “this is a start” is farthest from welcoming all inclusive and intersectional sectors who serve under this umbrella term. “Microaggression, a theory coined by Chester M. Pierce back in 1970, hypothesizes that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as small acts of mostly non-physical aggression.”

“Verbal and behavioral indignities are classic symptoms of microaggression.” Mary Rowe in 1973 who wrote about it on sex and gender.

Some of us have served on committees and experienced microaggression in settings right within our borders. This is not okay. It feels attacking when we raise valid concerns. It is time to move beyond the power struggle and move towards harmony, without taking positions that those of us who raise concerns, are delivering these in an attacking manner.

© an Goldbauer

Chester M. Pierce


Each year the Oscar Awards are given to individuals who were nominated as Best Performing Actor followed by all those in other categories for their excellent performance and achievements.

Having directed sets, plays and teams, I am cognitive of the hard work each individual contributes in efforts put forth to ensure that recognition didn’t happen because of just their singular part; that it happened because they were a part of the team.

If anything cannot be stated enough throughout this essay, it will be this very sentence just written; emphasis on the importance of any participant’s collective work of art or act of force, in their role to deliver an exemplary outcome, cannot be undermined and only happens when everyone respects each person’s contribution.

In a few weeks in an upcoming conference at UNF, I will be sharing thoughts on the slow process the media plays in addressing public representation as well as misrepresentation of Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer-Questioning-Intersex-Asexual (LGBTQIA).

I don’t want to detract or undermine the efforts of actors who – on stage -as well as – on sets – come prepared after agonizingly studying their character roles, to ensure they deliver, as convincing as possible, without having to appear convincing at all, the character of whom they play.

While I recognize that actors are acting and aim to have a strong connection to their characters, even going as far as portraying the character building throughout their work and personal life, all in an effort to strengthen their identities to the character they portray, I know that it is through developing, practicing and shaping their roles in character studies, which will deliver an outstanding performance and that it is a lot of bloody, hard work.

Why is it that those of us who are transgender and/or gay persons, belly ache rather loudly about cisgender persons taking on roles of those who are transgender or gay? Why do we sound angry or unappreciative? Is it because we are not even considered as capable and therefore, leave others who cast actors in these roles, to feel culpable? Is it that we are disqualified because we are transgender or gay persons? Why are we passed over?

Some of us feel it is an injustice to impart roles to cisgender persons when these could be played by the very party who represent us or any particular population for that matter. An illustration dates back to just a few decades ago when white actors portrayed Native American Indians. I must say that their performance wasn’t all that convincing since it felt off somehow, (not meaning any disrespect) but, I think the same could be said of the white man portraying an African American, African, a Middle Eastern, Mexican, Latino and Asian character.

As someone who has performed the roles of characters, I know that it is hard bloody work. It is even harder work for the minority actor to perform, because of all the cultural practices of the misunderstandings, misappropriations, misogyny and the long ties to cis behaviors, within a binary world, whose players participate in marginalizing a population – directly affecting the minority individual – cast in the role representative of them. The minority among the majority has been examined time and time again by sociologists, interested in the field of study, including preschoolers of the minority functioning within a native group. Studies show that they have behavioral problems unique to their culture of which there is a correlation between socio-economics and psychological factors stemming from the first generation of immigrants. One such study referred to as the Generation – R study from the Netherlands included 7925 participants. This study was not in anyway including or pertaining to LGBTQIA, but rather to any minority race and culture. “When considering generational status, we found that the risk was particularly increased in children of first generation immigrants, though the second generation also presented more problem behaviour. A potential explanation for this finding is that immigration risk factors such poor proficiency of the native language and cultural barriers, more common in first than in second generation immigrants, can lead to social isolation and associated stress in mothers, which may affect children’s behaviour [1,34].”

We can say the same about our culture since many cisgender persons simply do not understand the language binding our sense of who we are as much as how we live and practice. When some of us are asked why we dress like men, when we are women, we have to explain ourselves. When we are asked why we don’t hang with our gender, we have to explain ourselves, once again. When we are asked why we emulate certain characteristics, we have to remind those posing questions and seeking clarification that we are who they see and that emulating is cross sectional throughout history as much as it is in the world of cisgender persons. We have to continuously explain ourselves even at the detriment of exhausting ourselves. We have to step out even among some of our subcultural groups, who seem to also fail to recognize differences.

The roles given to actors who portray people from other classes, rich or poor; other populations and subcultures among cultures; race, creed; blind or deaf etc, in no way make the actor a lesser human being. In fact, their role requires some really hard efforts in character studies; study of history, study of subcultures within the culture, as well as study of current affairs in order to understand the character role they portray. It is doubly hard for the minority; simply because, the majority truly doesn’t really “experience it through our eyes and ears” – for lack of better words – Living a life of a minority everyday, every waking hour, calls within us an alert state; at a heightened level, which we cannot afford to reduce to a low hum and not because we don’t want to, but rather because when we do, it is then that we are at risk in falling prey to the misogynistic and homophobic/transphobic practices by those who think it is their place to stand against or for us without realizing their role and how they affect us on a level impossible with which to connect, because in their daily life they are not having to defend themselves. Why is it that in the Dutch study and many others like it, the minority are classified as having behavioral problems? Pathology assigned and we are labeled as disturbed in some way. Is it any wonder that we appear angry? The studies are done to protect the minority in efforts to reduce the pitfalls of any minority group not well understood. We implement practices and hope that we can actively legislate on behalf of the minority who are victimized and often lack representation across all realms.

Efforts to improve LGBT health include:

  • Curbing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with interventions that work.8
  • Implementing antibullying policies in schools.9
  • Providing supportive social services to reduce suicide and homelessness risk among youth.9
  • Appropriately inquiring about and being supportive of a patient’s sexual orientation to enhance the patient-provider interaction and regular use of care.10
  • Providing medical students with access to LGBT patients to increase provision of culturally competent care.11

If the actors, as a collective measure, stood their ground on behalf of those from minority groups, who are not given these roles, or stood their ground on pushing for talent agencies and scout agents to seek individuals representative of the minority group, that would shed light on efforts made by everyone to ensure that the measures were taken to insist that these roles are filled by those who could best portray the character.

Is this being done? Are we assuming that it isn’t being done?

The worst representations were of those who as whites performed as Africans. Make up artists had to work hard in producing a convincing outcome. Not quite.

What about those who pass? An illustration of someone who passes is the person with sight and hearing who portrays a blind or deaf character. Do we belly ache about the lack of representation when casting blind or deaf characters? Do the blind and deaf actors complain? Do we ever hear, see or read about any of the blind and deaf actors complaining? Pause … yes. They have and had to prove even more so than those with sight and hearing that they are exemplary at acting. Why is it that we have to “pass” at all?

What about Down Syndrome characters? We now have Down Syndrome actors who portray a character with their genotypes. They are not portraying themselves. They are performing the role of a particular character.

Is it fair to state that a really superb actor could perform any character of any population? Yes. We would say that this person had to work doubly hard to be convincing without appearing this way. Do we even understand that it is even harder for the minority to portray someone from their group? Do we understand that the minority are inside the borders of the majority? Do we “get this”?

Is it fair to state that the marginalization of a population hinges on participatory efforts by those who are unaware of the role they play in real time opposed to the role they should be playing? They could turn down the role. Right?

Actors earn a living. Inside the borders of the entertainment industry is a world comprised of shareholders, bankers, board members, producers, etc., who play an even more powerful role and in a twisted sort of fashion could end the careers of many individuals. I, therefore, am reluctant to bash an ensemble, who as a collective force, participated in delivering their contribution to bring a successful outcome.

I am one of those individuals who wants to affect change in the way our industry, repeatedly casts actors who replace those from the very population they portray.

Some of us even have felt this way about efforts put forth by allies who should be giving the LGBTQIA the platform but, who stand in place of all these individuals representing us as if we are incapable of representing ourselves. We know we need allies! Not anyone of us denies the strength in collective bargaining tactics. We understand more than anyone outside of our borders that we must align with the forces of those who stand up on our behalf to show support as well as encourage others of their group to do the same. Political strategizing consists of a number of principle practices without participating in criminalizing or marginalizing minority populations. Yet …, we experience the counter intuitive.

I will not bash actors who performed the role of you or I. I will criticize their speech delivery in not addressing the issues and why acting the role of a minority is a privilege. Many actors have stood up and made political statements as the world looked on. Last night would have been a successful evening if a transgender person could have performed a speech right along side Jared Leto on behalf of transgender persons. How about Janet Mock?

I think what many of us, who have opinions about the Global Awards feel, is that the privilege of playing the role of a minority isn’t exactly recognizing that LGBTQIA are a minority, and it feels a bit as if we are removed from the human element. Even Comedy has a place at the political helm. Otherwise, we are behaving entitled. We fail to underscore the messages. We fall short of our human side when it becomes all about accolades and very little about the roles of human suffrage.

Dutch Study
Studies on LGBT

Understanding the Gay Culture

“There is a lot of brokenness in the Gay community” once said a friend of mine during a conversation we were having on his porch about what life is like inside our borders. Eventually, I would have to agree with him.

There are many individuals who, as children, did not have their emotional process affirmed or accepted, because of parents and caregivers being dismissive of their gender identity/expression or fluidity during their growth and development; a painful journey for many and certainly one, in which anyone who has gone through it in their childhood, leaves residual, emotional scars.

Brokenness can be seen within our borders with the use of drugs and alcohol; measures to self medicate are not all that unusual. Brokenness can be witnessed among those who are religious addicts who have swapped out chemicals for religion. Then there are those who are unable to stop the G-d talk or giving lectures to the point of saturating and driving everyone away; compromising friendships.

Another friend once said “We have allies who try to convince us that they are our best friends and have our best interests at heart. Don’t believe all of them.” She was referring to outside of our borders and in particularly, referencing straights who claim to be allies, because they happened to like gays. What does it take to be an ally for any cause? Isn’t it good enough to like gays?

Good allyship requires training and education on the culture the ally supports. Allies who do not seek proper training and education fail to understand the dynamics, the history of how critical issues played a force in the human rights movement and they won’t know how to hold a conversation if the translation of language is not well understood, so in seeking information it is equally important to speak with individuals who are able to translate the gay language. Speaking on issues which affect the rights of a human population requires having the conversations, being able to participate in dialogue and agreeing to removing all caution and stop signs and signals in order to keep the dialogue flowing and moving forward. Once censoring is employed traffic jams occur and the conversation stops; imploding the process. We welcome allies who are schooled, but we run from those when we see the damage that was  done, because they failed to understand their position on issues affecting the oppressed group.

“Straights who think they can speak for the LGBT and who claim they give LGBT a voice is somewhat insulting”, said another friend of mine. “We have a voice. We aren’t heard because they don’t want to hear what we have to say. Big difference!” We hear the expression Giving Voice, a lot.

Do people realize how this is perceived by those, whose voices are never heard, because they either are not invited to the table or if they are they are overshadowed by the greater force? Do people realize that when they speak out on behalf of the marginalized group that this is still not really giving the individuals of the oppressed group their voice? Do they not realize that the more they speak out, swapping places and swapping expressions, which originated with the oppressed group, that they are partaking in silencing the very group to whom they should be giving the stage?

Another friend of mine said this … “They don’t really respect us; if they did then they would ask for our insights and knowledge on the subject.” We see LGBT human rights groups send in straights to serve as leaders and role models for LGBT organized action as if the LGBT movement for decades has never had any experts in this realm.

LGBT see B.S. a mile away. We recognize mixed messages in a heartbeat. We see patronizing behavior coming before the person finishes delivering. This stems from years of marginalization, having to identify sublimable behaviors and messages. When we witness this within organized groups for action we see the writing on the wall.

My personal accounting, living as a gender fluid queer, has been agonizing – while at at other times – liberating when I surround myself with other queers who understand the language and the power in words to help raise awareness of a subculture within a culture. When we are prevented or reminded of who we are through messages from well meaning straights that sound something along these lines, … “Why do you have to talk the gay stuff all the time?”; we realize we don’t have the same rights to joke or have access to conversations unless they are heteronormative.  The conversations is driven down a one way street. The traffic only flows in one direction. To cross over into other lanes of identities and discussions becomes a hazardous endeavor.

I can talk the gay talk, walk the gay walk, live and breath the gay who I am, but only if I am with gays. This privilege is not extended to me once I cross into the hetero world of those who practice living heteronormative lives as cisgenders in a  binary world. I have watched the gay community agree to the limit setting imposed on them by cisgenders.

Even in our gay community we have people who don’t want to move away from heteronormative roles. It is perplexing to me how someone can be gay and be so closed off to the rest of the gay culture. These individuals are equally as guilty as those who refuse to listen and learn about the gay cultural movement.

My friend was correct. We are a broken community inside our borders, but we are also witnessing the brokenness outside of our borders from cisgender allies who insert themselves, uninvited and challenge our gender non-conforming behaviors, swapping the language and describing those who are gender benders and non-conformists as aggressive and angry while they would herald these qualities in cisgender men, challenge these qualities in women and the LGBT.

Privilege is a lovely thing to have, but it is only lovely when you recognize it and appreciate having it. It is an ugly thing when it becomes a power struggle, leads to entitlement and superiority; egomaniacal individuals who need their egos fed at the expense of another end up serving in roles as predators looking for a host on whom to feed and in the end serve only their own best interests.

If we could just stand up for each other, be kinder and forget what it will do for our popularity, we would actually get somewhere to civil and the world might be a better place for all of us. It must start with language and not just a few words as this would abandon the rest of the gay culture. A lesson which could easily apply to any oppressed group.

Bring out the dictionary and let the lesson begin with words.

For more information on good allyship please select the link below.

© An Goldbauer

Here are some arguments why political correctness doesn’t have a place in public discourse. For those who spoke on bill 2012-296 at the city council hearings last year, reports came in that there was an attempt at censorship by some of those within our borders who served on the Jacksonville Committee for Equality, including manipulative control by city council members in undermining those who, as LGBT, spoke out about abuse and threats they had encountered over the years. One of the city council members compared the LGBT to citizens living in Egypt. Whether anyone at the time realized it or not, the insults weren’t just directed to LGBT in Jacksonville, but were also directed at Egyptians; Kimberly Daniels, one of the city council members stated she had heard that some of the Egyptians practiced bestiality and necrophilia; implying that gay people did the same. The outrage could be felt throughout the room and while there were many unkind and untruths spoken, ranging from some of the city council members to those in the audience, the LGBT voices seemed to be nullified in the eyes of those who were homophobic. The rules had to be followed and anyone who spoke at the city council hearings had (3) minutes without uninterrupted time by either parties from the audience, which wasn’t always a practice adhered by some of the city council members.  Much debate ensued on whether or not the LGBT were presenting favorably as citizens. Destiny children had their theories and those who had impressions based on absolutely very little historical fact and mostly false rhetoric, were determined to lead the process under the assumption that political correctness would nullify any negative perceptions.

The measure to pass the bill failed as did the amended bill.

Two of the city council members, Denise Lee and Warren Jones voted in favor of the bill which encompassed the full inclusive language and if passed, would have protected LGBT; the watered down version failed a 10-9 vote.

It became quite evident that the arguments presented weren’t enough. Very little focus was placed on statistics from valuable sources, such as Centers for American Progress (CAP), SAGE and GLAAD, including our local organizations, such as JASMYN; the civic leaders who spoke up didn’t present economic arguments other than to say “It is the right thing to do”, and while that may be what the LGBT and the community of their allies believed, it wasn’t a sentiment shared among mainstream Jacksonville. Civic leaders could have easily presented measured data to support the need to vote in favor of bill 296.

Reports came in from a few individuals that the civic leaders took measures in their own hands, moved through matters very quickly, barring very little time for educational measures by those who were well equipped to dialogue about the differences in the bill and the proposed amendment, causing the Committee for Equality to lose control of the process.

Hours of deliberation and months later, the community of LGBT felt betrayed and angered for a number of reasons. The discussions among those who talked about the process, complained, they had been misled by those on the inside who served on the Jacksonville Committee for Equality. The Jacksonville Committee for Equality defended themselves and felt they had lost control – despite the well intentioned efforts of those who spoke out on behalf of the bill. The LGBT community learned too late that the full inclusive bill had been replaced with the amended version and were told that every measure would be taken to include the full inclusive language at another time. Historically, this has failed as what happened in Orlando some years ago and what had been pointed out by Equality Florida’s executive director, Nadine Smith and Joe Saunders who now serves House district 49 in Florida.

The transgender community felt deceived and for good reasons. The population of transgender persons run the highest risk for homicides, worldwide and according to GLAAD, 45% of reported hate murders were Transgender women.

The LGBT community didn’t have any idea what had happened last year and by the time anyone had bits and pieces of various versions passed on down, the LGBT and some of the allies lost faith in the process, which brings us currently to the same concerns; the newly formed committee has some hoops through which to jump if they are to win back the trust of those who felt marginalized and thrown under the bus.

Is it any wonder why the transgender community of Jacksonville were angered by anyone from within the borders agreeing to the proposed amendment? Those from within the borders claim they did not see this coming and expressed heartfelt sadness over the shift that occurred. Will they be in control this time around?

When the LGBT could not have their feelings validated without being viewed as negative by even those from within the borders, they experienced what many victims experience, trauma. Claims were heard that they were blamed for having negative views and therefore, would somehow affect the political platform and took the criticisms personally. Some of these individuals will not speak out in fear that they will be verbally attacked.

In defense of the LGBT, not one individual was prepared to hear city council members pass degrading remarks at those who reported incidences of being fired because of their sexual orientation, or whose property had been vandalized. The LGBT who reported the incidences were led to believe that their behavior (simply for having a sexual orientation other than that of heterosexuality and gender nonconformity) caused the vandalism and were the reasons for losing their jobs. What would this mean for heterosexuals who are gender non-conforming? How many of these individuals have experienced marginalization? Is anyone listening? Does anyone care enough to ask these questions within this population who might be mislabeled as gay and who were denied equal opportunities?

Lastly, the LGBT were angered by political correctness enforced upon them within their borders. One such individual, Professor Steven Lance Stoll, spoke up and challenged the city council members on why they were following a book written back in the Bronze age. Did many of the city council members vote against the bill and the watered down version because of their religious beliefs?

Currently there are nine city council members who were honored at First Baptist Church for heeding FBC advice to vote against the bill. Please visit YouTube for more information on FBC honoring the city council members.

The Witherspoon Institute on August 13, 2013 published an article on Dissecting Public Discourse written by Stella Morabito who points out that the problem with political correctness, or PC, is that “we all perpetuate political correctness when we succumb to the fear of contradicting PC” truth.”

What happens in groups? Is it normal to witness self assignments without any votes being cast? What makes some of these individuals privileged? Granted, some of the individuals now have experience from which to draw that they did not have last year. Will they listen to those who raise concerns or are they more concerned, once again, about behavior, personalizing the criticism received by those who do speak up or raise concerns?

I was one of these individuals who was told that I am half cocked because I called people to task and asked a lot of questions. I removed myself from the committee after realizing that my voice would not count and was viewed as politically attacking and inappropriate, even though, I raised concerns based on rumors circulating from last year and public comments made by the LGBT. My overall concern with the process is will the floor communicate with the committee? Will those who question the process encounter repeated harassment with emails calling for private one on one meetings. Will they be accused of being half cocked?

Morabito talks about psychological manipulation and its correlation to suppression. “If we think of PC as bacteria, suppression is like the dark room and the culture required for the bacteria’s growth and replication.”

She refers to suppression as one of the twins while the other is “saturation”. Morabito dissects the outcome and pointedly refers to this as producing an illusion that shifts public opinion by heavily saturating them with an impression, ‘opinion cascade’ as she calls it. The outcome? Regulating opinions of others. Politicians understand twin processes well enough to know that it results in “shaping public opinion and the political process.” according to Morabito.

Morabito writes that in 1999, and article on ‘availability cascade’ was published on a ‘related concept’ in Stanford Law Review where the purpose is to prevent people to think freely and fall victim to practice survival mode for social acceptance.

We have some people within our community who have been successfully silenced in this manner through social isolation and vilified as the enemy by those who might have experienced fear of going against PC.

Some of us watched and observed the toxic affect this had on our community and soon realized that some of the players were classifying themselves as our allies. A rhetorical question some of us had “Are some of our allies dispelling truth?”, and no pun intended here with the use of the label ‘all lies’, but it seems even some of them are propagating the idea that censoring behavior, expression and individual style must meet standards of their idea for PC. Are they correct? Are they suppressing voices within our own borders from the outside? Do they have the right to do so? Who grants them this privilege while we stand by and recognize that even among some of these allies they do not understand the gay culture. It is even more disturbing that within our borders even some of the LGBT want to compare LGBT rights to the black race issues. A black person will tell you that there isn’t any comparison, because the race issue continues to exist in present day. They cannot escape being black. Why then is there this need to continue to focus on the religious argument and play the race card? Why are we not educating the public on the different types of sexual orientations since anyone of any color and creed can have any of the sexual orientations? Is it because the religious evangelists have successfully managed to brain wash individuals from birth through tainted, hateful rhetoric? Isn’t this equally as damaging as any other addiction or is it deliberate and can we call this out as criminal? Isn’t it disturbing when we hear of people raised with fundamental religious views who take their own lives or those of others, because of their sexual orientation?

Morabito points out Cass Sunstein in a chapter of his book titled “On Rumors” 2009, referring to “chilling effect” as a tactic and essentially did everything he could to discredit Obamacare. Could we say this is what FBC and the Family Policy Council attempted?

What is Morabito’s recommendation in all of this? She suggests avoiding isolation and instead, to do the work through having conversations with others in the community in order to build a stronger voice. Morabito writes “if enough people come out of isolation and shed the fear of speaking their minds, a genuine cascade of truth will ensue.”

Social media allows for this opportunity, however, some of the LGBT and allies have been verbally attacked on FB by those who viewed their remarks as negative. Who are these destiny children? Why are they so afraid? Do they really believe that speaking truth and raising concerns will result in bad outcomes?

To read more about Stella Morabito please refer to her article on Public Discourse. It is an excellent read. The Washington Examiner, American Thinker and The Human Life Review feature some of Morabito’s articles.

The information pertaining outside of any references made to Morabito’s article does not in any way reflect her views. These are views gathered from various LGBT members in the community who over time have expressed similar sentiments along with the author.

© a n Goldbauer


Organizational behavior is an interesting study among activists and volunteers who work together to improve the quality of life among oppressed groups. Members serving on committees, who are blind-sighted by hidden agendas, not privy to all information or proposed changes, are in danger of falling victim to the very facet which they vow to eliminate; oppression. Distrust sets in among members who now find themselves victims of oppression; triggering dysfunction and obstructing the fluidity of the process. When a proposal is presented by the individual running the process, as something which was suggested in prior months by members whose names are not mentioned, to restructure the organizational reporting by those who have selectively self assigned entitlement to certain roles and activities, a heightened sense of awareness among the oppressed members ensues and without any words exchanged, the dynamics within the group change.

I am referring to the process of a Jacksonville’s committee whose members were intent to see to it that the HRO would pass at the local level without any assistance by outside groups, whose individuals are accustomed to working with political agendas, but were asked to take a back seat. Rumors flew throughout the community and tensions escalated. Questions from community members were “Why a large organization, such as Equality Florida, would not be invited to the table and take position in the forefront of the process?” The general consensus among the LGBT public was that the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing and that they could have benefitted from outside support. Others argued that the changes needed to be done at the local level without outside assistance. Who was in charge? No one really knew, but some of the individuals in the LGBT community surmised that it was a selective group of individuals who were viewed as secretive and not willing to freely disclose matters. While the new members are assured that any future process will be transparent, validation and accountability are going to be put through a Litmus test.

What strengthens freedom among members serving on committees is the belief in allowing expression of all thoughts to flourish. Dysfunction occurs when the parties are not forthcoming and camouflage truth through establishing a power grab of those whom they have deemed unworthy or less capable of serving as part of the inner circle, (not by majority vote) witnessing the proposal to demote some of the members by recommending a change in structure, (not by any voting process transparent to the entire committee), leaving much doubt and dismay among some of the members.

Some of the members expressed that they were just handed the kiss of death.  Distrust could be pulsed throughout the room. The realization sat in that they were not deemed, any longer, politically correct or worthy of any contribution. The question which comes to mind among members, is “Who are the gate keepers?”.  Glances were swiftly swapped from one individual to another in round table fashion, while the tension among the power players increased. Some of the members weren’t easily swayed by colorfully presented denials that they might actually have gone back to gate keeping.

Reluctancy sets in among some of those who have financially and emotionally invested and contributed their time and energy and trust to improve quality and performance within organizational structures, circumventing those who want to gate keep through the art of asking questions to help dispel any possible hidden agendas, which disrupt healthy process and otherwise would hinder bringing about the desired change. When practices are in question and are overlooked or not challenged inside the borders, that is when the dysfunction sets in. Circumvention calls for a strategy and should be implemented by the members to enforce corrective measures and ethical behavior in order to reduce any chance of oppression; insisting on equality at this basic level among all of the members, who signed up to improve their communities, would ensure respect among the group and enhance their interests in working collaboratively to wipe out discrimination. The first course of action might result in a decision to challenge the process with the support of peers, advisers or financial backers before they remove themselves from the process. When committee members question professional conduct it might be time to challenge the platform.

Pope Francis

The Pope has recently made the statement “Who am I to Judge?” when asked about LGBT.  Did he make this statement because the Vatican is in financial crisis? A commentator for, Leslie Hudson, published an article, February 20, 2013. Hudson wrote, Italian authorities placed the Vatican bank on the U.S. State Department’s list of countries for money laundering after seizing $29 million.  J.P. Morgan tried to obtain information from the Vatican due to large deposits and withdrawals of money. When the Vatican failed to provide the information, J.P. Morgan closed one of the accounts. The Vatican hired outside financial advisers to address the Vatican bank’s compliance in meeting financial regulations. Who are they? How many other accounts exist?

The Daily Beast posted an article from World News by Barbie Latza Nadeau, July 2, 2013 and author of Angel Face, a book about Amanda Knox. Since 1997, Nadeau has reported from Italy for Newsweek and appears on a number of networks, such as CNN,  BBC, and NPR. The article is a painful reminder of the underground activities at the Vatican.  Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, former Vatican finance official who became a priest at the age of 32,  also known as Monsignor 500, because of his habit in carrying around cash, was arrested this year in an attempt to smuggle $26 million from Switzerland to an unidentified bank account in Italy. General Director, Paolo Cipriani and deputy, Massimo Tulli, both resigned on July 1 and are under criminal investigation by Italian authorities for assisting Msgr. Scarano. The former Vatican’s bank president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi provided his friends with a list of enemies after claiming, last year, that he was in fear for his life.

He should. After all, Nadeau referred to Roberto Calvi “Three decades ago, another of “God’s bankers,” Roberto Calvi, was found hanging from a noose under Blackfriars Bridge in London.

In an article published by Catholic News Agency, Andrea Gagiliarducci, July 15, 2013 reports that according to the authorities, Msgr. Scarano was the mastermind of the plot and included former suspended agent of the Italian Domestic Intelligence agency, Giovanni Maria Zito, along with the financial broker, Giovanni Carenzio.

Lizzy Davies from Rome wrote a piece for The Guardian, June 26, 2013 on the Vatican’s image and Pope Francis vowing to uphold ethical financial reform. Ernst Von Freyberg, a German Financier for the institution, and a lawyer, validated that the Vatican had some cleaning up to do while the seven possible incidents of money laundering are under investigation.

Religion News Service posted an article on February 15, 2013 written by Alessandro Speciale, concerning Freyberg, who took over from the former ousted president Tedeschi. His new position with the Vatican bank triggered an uproar. Freyberg served as the chairman of the executive board of German shipyard Blohm + Voss.  Apparently, this enterprise was involved in the production of warships under Nazi Germany.

The Vatican defended selecting Freyberg and claimed that it has never in previous history, hired an international headhunting agency to do the scouting. The question is how does an international headhunting agency decide Freyberg’s moral excellence when the Vatican Bank president is a descendant of one of the shipyard’s founders as confirmed by Blohm + Voss? Who recommended the international headhunting agency?

In an article, posted on February 16, 2013,, Freyberg not only is a minority shareholder in Blohm + Voss, he is a treasurer of the German association of the Order of the Knights of Malta, founded during the Crusades in the Middle Ages. The lay religious order has approximately 13,500 members around the world.

Breaking News from NPR reported by Sylvia Poggioli, February 09, 2013, Knights of Malta’s 4,000 members, Pilgrims and tourists, celebrated the 900th Anniversary at the Vatican and marched to the tomb of St. Peter. Poggioli writes that the mission of the Order is humility and charity.

Not only is Freyburg treasurer for this Order, but he is also the Vatican’s Financier.

NDTV released an article by Associated Press, May 19, 2013 reporting that Pope Francis led a rally to encourage moral conscience, after having deliberated in talks at the Vatican with Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. He expressed disappointment with the economic crisis. In his speech he told the crowd that the true crises lies with moral values.

Clearly the Vatican bank isn’t off the hook?

The Guardian posted an article by David Leigh, Jean François Tanda and Jessica Benhamou, January 21, 2013 with the Headline “How the Vatican Built A Secret Property Empire Using Mussolini’s Millions”.  The writer’s reported the lengths taken by the Vatican to keep matters undisclosed. Investigations reveal that at the height of the bubble in 2006, of the £15m the Vatican purchased 30 St. James Square where it housed the investment bank, Altium Capitol, bought by the company, British Grolux Investments Ltd.  The Vatican’s purchases also included properties, New Bond Street and in the City of Coventry plus properties in Paris and Switzerland.

Mail Online published an article by Mario Ledwith, January 22, 2013. Ledwith wrote that the Catholic Church owns a number of luxurious London properties and that it has been claimed that the property empire originally was funded by fascist dictator, Mussolini. Ledwith goes on to write that the Vatican’s offshore company portfolio is worth around £560 million.

Could we arguably say that Pope Francis is recruiting LGBT and others to build the census, in order to recover from the financial crisis and to rebuild the Vatican’s reputation?

Is the message here that gays are being recruited because the Pope has had a change of heart or are gays being recruited simply because it makes economic sense? After all, he still claims what so many other Christian Fundamentalists have said, Love The Gays, Don’t Love The Sin.

a n Goldbauer

I recently attended a workshop titled All In The Family: Gender Transitions Throughout The Lifecycle and purchased the speaker’s book titled Transgender Emergence Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and Their Families by Arlene Istar Lev, LCSW, CASAC. One of the pressing facets I walked away with was gaining insight into the world of the intersex; I was pleasantly surprised to learn the number of variances in intersex and the facts I had not ever acquired throughout any part of my career as a nurse. I continue to do as much research as I can on any given subject that I cover in any of the work I do even when it crosses over into the health care realm, I try to gain as much insight into the latest reports and can never possibly know everything, hence the reason we have specialists working in fields that are not well understood or addressed by every practitioner.

I currently live in Jacksonville, FL where the basic protections for human rights continues to remain in the forefront of our brains and have left those of us who believe a human rights ordinance bill is needed for the LGBT community, bewildered, at best, in trying to understand the fears of some who argue that in introducing a bill granting LGBT protections against discrimination would be granting the LGBT special privileges. Last year, one of the city council members mentioned it could lead to necrophilia, while others who attended the hearings and opposed the bill, argued that we would see a rise in pedophilia and bestiality.

The resistance of those opposed to this bill is difficult to grasp and while the bill was overturned and did not pass the majority voting in its favor, some of us were relieved, because we could see that if the watered down version had passed, this would leave our brothers and sisters in the transgender community at risk. Even with the watered down version that was introduced early on as an amendment to the bill, many transgender individuals were mad and felt they had been thrown to the curb by the allies and LGB who supported the amended portion to bill 2012-296, which left out Gender Identity and Expression. Those in support of the amended bill, claimed that they could return at a later time and introduce a bill for Gender Identity and Expression protecting the transgender community. Equality Florida’s Executive director, Nadine Smith, warned everyone that in accepting the watered down version of bill 296, could result in a backlash and would not necessarily guarantee, that in the future, protections for Gender Identity and Expression would pass, as what happened to the city of Orlando, Florida where citizen tried and failed for a number of years. It wasn’t until the county of Orlando introduced the bill with full protections for LGBT, that an all inclusive bill finally passed. Who can blame the transgender community of Jacksonville for feeling the way they do?

Where does the education begin? Does it begin with language? Do we need to use the current definitions in the language and insist on a broader range of adjectives, which best describe individuals in the LGBT culture? What protections are there for individuals who are at risk for discrimination and hate crimes because of their gender variances? Does it only affect the homosexual community? Could we say that in learning what we have of gender variance within a human population that the heterosexual community is also at risk for discrimination and hate crimes? What about gender variance in the heterosexual community? There are heterosexuals who gender express. Who are some of our transgender individuals? Have some undergone surgery? What defines someone as transgender? Why do some transgender individuals consider themselves born with a birth defect?

There are between 70 and 80 variances of intersex individuals. Some of these intersex individuals receive their sex assignment at birth and most of them are assigned as female. The practice to perform sex assignments on intersex is changing and the current practice is taking a shift, according to Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), it is better to wait and allow the child to determine which gender they fit more suitably; gender not determined by the parent, but determined by the child. ISNA sheds light on a paradigm which compares the way we should treat intersex as a patient-centered model opposed to past treatments which encouraged concealing the identity and treated it as an abnormality. According to the CDC, 1 in 250 births results in intersex; the statistics still don’t include all the other variances.  An internet site, Intersex Roadshow, maintained by Dr. Cary Gabriel Costello, reports that the birth rate for intersex could be put on par to the number of births born with green eyes. If this is true, it is an interesting comparison. Interesting because we seem to accept green eyes shamelessly while we marginalize intersex.

Shouldn’t a community maintain civil decency towards intersex and come to recognize that there are individuals who received sex assignments at birth that misaligned them with their identities? After all, the statistics of infants born intersex are  2% of the population.  What about individuals who feel disjointed from their biological sex without being intersex? We do not have any idea who is intersex and cannot possibly identify those with anatomical differences because the treatment approach was shamefully hidden by parents, family members and sometimes even from the child. Many of these individuals grew up with their sex assignments given at birth and with most of them receiving female assigned gender status at birth (FAAB), they didn’t necessarily feel female and in these cases were wrongly assigned as such. While everyone thought they had done the right thing in assigning a gender to these children and in keeping it a secret from society and in many cases from the child, the reality is that not all these children grew up feeling quite the same as those of their biological sex, causing a host of psychological as well as emotional struggles and shifting the anchored pillar within the family structure from its base.

The binary world only offers two options. Should there be more than two worlds from which to choose, since it is now clear that we have birth rates of intersex 1 in 250? The question comes to mind whether or not we should continue with the old binary model of male/female or move to a gender variant model which would broaden the spectrum for many individuals.

We have a population of individuals who are transgender, transsexual, and who gender express. All deserve a place at the table with the same rights and equal opportunities as everyone else. Some of these  individuals are intersex while others simply feel they were born with the wrong body parts and frankly, some prefer to dress anyway they please. Is it time that we should be kind and gentle towards a population of individuals who do not fit the binary world of the Westernized nation? Is the Westernized nation civil when it behaves antagonistically towards individuals who are different? Is it any wonder that some of these individuals feel they were born with a birth defect? If the truth was hidden from them, doesn’t it stand to reason they would feel it was shameful to admit that they were born this way; especially if this is how their parents and the medical establishment behaved towards their anatomical parts? How is this any different for individuals who do not feel they connect to their biological sex when the world only offers the binary model?

What about sexual orientation? We know that transgender has nothing to do with sexual orientation. We do know that transgendered individuals have a sexual orientation just as anyone else does.

Here is an illustration that might help you understand the differences of sexual orientation and how transgendered individuals aren’t any different from anyone else.

You can be a pilot and be either heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual.  Insert attraction for the opposite sex; the pilot is heterosexual. Insert attraction for the same sex; the pilot is homosexual. Insert an attraction for both sexes; the pilot is bisexual. Remove the sexual attraction; the pilot is asexual.

A transgender pilot could be any one of these individuals. A transgender pilot could be intersex. 

All four of the pilots share a common thread which is that they fly planes, must equally meet standards of practice and competency, standards of excellence, and maintain their licenses in meeting FAA standards of policies and procedures. They have nothing in common with each other’s sexual attractions or preferences other than they frequently fly in and out of airports. Again, their sexuality has nothing to do with what they do for a living or as a hobby.

My advice to those of you reading this is to really learn this, because if you are interested in wanting to have intelligent conversation on this subject, this will help you understand that there is nothing more to these differences. It has nothing to do with life style.

You might want to consider, when having a conversation with others who are walled off to anyone who does not fit the binary model, by asking these individuals why they insist homosexuality is a life style? Ask them to explain to you how life styles between heterosexuals and homosexuals differ? Should the topic of transgender come up remind individuals that 2% of the population is intersex. While not every transgender is intersex, it still remains an important component and is categorized under the transgender umbrella of definitions.

If you have an opportunity to help reach one human being across the spectrum of many others, remind the individual that sexual attraction has nothing to do with life style and transgender gender are those individuals whose identity differs from the social expectations of their biological sex. The more we dialogue, the more apt we are to close the gap on biases and prejudices that are derived from misunderstanding differences. Debunking rhetoric is far more heroic than continuing to allow it to stand in the way of truth. We fail at tolerance when we set up barriers, preach self righteously and stop listening.

This essay is written from my own point of view and none of which I have written holds any bearing on Lev other than mentioning her wonderful book and making the reference to the intersex variances from her book.

To learn more about Gender-Variant People and Their Families, please consider purchasing Lev’s book titled Transgender Emergence. It is an excellent read and very informative, written for therapists who are working with gender-variant people and their families, it will help some of you understand the world of gender variances. To contact Lev, please visit

The internet sites below were used for this essay and are very helpful to anyone who might be interested in learning more about gender variances.

An Goldbauer