Trump and the LGBTQ Community

Months ago, Donald Trump decided transgender children will no longer be protected under federal law. They will no longer be allowed to choose the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Instead, they will be forced to use the bathroom that matches the sex they were born. Even though with all their souls, and everything they believe in, these children feel they were born in the wrong body.

I’ve heard the argument that not allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice is to protect children, even though there has never been a record of a pattern of child sexual abuse by transgender people. Too bad the same can’t be said for Catholic priests, yet no one has ever suggested banning them from public restrooms.

Now Trump wants to ban transgender people from the military. A five-time draft dodger, who once claimed Sen. John McCain wasn’t a war hero because McCain was captured, and Trump likes war heroes who weren’t captured, wants to prevent a group of people, who are ready, willing, and able to fight for their country, from serving their country.

How poetic.

I say anyone who supports banning a capable person from the military better put on a uniform and take their place. If you’re too old, then offer your children.

It’s disappointing when people you know exert what you think are bigoted sentiments. Before the presidential election last year, I had a conversation with a woman I’d known for years. She had always seemed pretty liberal, but that day she was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, while attempting to reassure me that Donald Trump had no plans to take away the rights of the LGBTQ community.

If there is such a thing as white privilege (and there is), then there is such a thing as straight privilege because this woman very casually urged me not to worry because Trump didn’t want to take away the right for gay people to marry, he just wanted to leave it up to the states to decide.

“But we live in a blue state,” she said. “People here won’t vote against it.”

I’m not a selfish person. Whatever rights I have as a gay person in my state, I want my gay counterparts in every state to have those same rights. Whether you live in Kentucky, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, or California, gay people should be protected by the same equal rights. Marriage Equality gave every gay person in this country the federal right to marry, despite any prejudice ideology that may be popular in certain states.

The ease at which my friend had suggested I should be okay with putting my rights on a ballot for any Joe Schmo to vote on, displayed a privilege she seems to take for granted. I am certain she wouldn’t be okay with strangers making decisions about anything regarding her personal life, especially one that involves who she chooses to love, but yet, she expected me to accept it.

If my friend ever considered adopting or fostering a child, I am sure she never worried about being denied because of who she loves. Straight people don’t have to concern themselves with things like that.

According to her, if gay and transgender people want rights, we simply need to cross our fingers and hope we live in a tolerant state.

 

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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The Republican’s HealthScare Plan

It’s been three weeks since the U.S Presidential election gave us Donald Trump as President. The shock that a man with no military or government experience will be leading the most powerful country in the world, hasn’t subsided much. And the sting of having such a hateful anti-gay man become the country’s Vice President-Elect, hurts as much today as it did the morning of Nov 9.

The last few weeks of hearing the announcements of Trump’s cabinet has been horrifying. I’m not going to run through them right now, rather, I think each person deserves their own blog devoted to them, because that’s how terrifying they are. A lot of space is needed to show just how scary these appointments are. So I’m not going to talk about Steve Bannon…yet.

The man I want to concentrate on right now is Tom Price. Trump has selected Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Price has been wanting to dismantle Obamacare since 2010, when the law was signed. Donald Trump talked a lot about getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, and it looks like he found the man to do it.

If you are sick, old, or poor you should be very afraid. I know I am. Although I am fairly young, I am also very-fairly sick. I undergo treatments that stabilize me, and they work very well, but they are expensive. I know I am not alone. Many people (too many) suffer from diseases and illnesses they need to rely on medicine/treatment to get along each day. That’s why, when our leaders talk about healthcare, I listen very carefully. And every word that has come out of a Republican’s mouth about healthcare has scared the shit out of me.

An article (click on link below) on http://www.msn.com about Price and the changes he wants to make to Obamacare is frightening. After reading this, I have to ask, why do Republicans hate old, sick, and poor people so much? Is it all Republicans, or just the politicians? I know many Republicans personally, and most are not like this, but this is the party they vote for.

Here are some pieces of the article:

“Just as is the case under Obamacare, people with pre-existing medical conditions or chronic illnesses couldn’t be denied coverage under Price’s approach — provided they had continuous insurance for 18 months before choosing a new policy.”

So Price will keep the no denial for pre-existing conditions because he, and most Republicans, know that people really like that. (Which bears noting we wouldn’t have that clause if not for Obama.) Why do we like that? Because we don’t want to fucking die!!!! If we get cancer or Parkinson’s or a fucking tumor, we want to know that an insurance company can’t deny us or charge us extra because they’re a bunch of dicks. (Pardon the explosion of curses. It’s what happens when you have a disease and politicians with cushy government-provided healthcare start talking about gutting healthcare for us minions.)

I have a huge problem with for-profit healthcare, but unfortunately with Republicans at the helm, restrictions Obama had placed with insurance companies are going to be void, which means less protections for the common people. You know, the ones Republicans don’t give a shit about.

Under Obamacare, it was pretty straight-forward that one could sign up for insurance, during open enrollment, and pick a plan, whether you had cancer or a hole in your head, you were covered without prejudice. But under Price’s plan, insurance companies will be able to deny you coverage, if you had no prior health coverage for the previous 18 months.

Get that? The continuous coverage clause bullshit. Lost your job and could only afford two of the three: rent, food, or insurance. And you choose to eat and have a bed to sleep in every night, but three months later you develop cancer, and now really need insurance. Screw you, Buddy. Pray away your cancer because Republicans just denied you access to healthcare because your insurance lapsed.

“In one of the biggest blows to poor and low-income Americans, Price would repeal the expanded Medicaid coverage in 32 states and the District of Columbia for able-bodied single people and leave those current beneficiaries to fend for themselves on the open market, using other tax credits and benefits.”

Yep, they really hate them poor people. But if that’s not enough:

“Finally, the Price proposals would foster an insurance market very welcoming to young, healthy and financially self-sufficient people but hostile to sicker and older people. For one thing, it would eliminate Obamacare-style mandates for insurers to include a standard package of benefits such as maternity services and pediatric care and allow them to offer cheaper, less comprehensive policies to younger people who are looking for a bargain.”

Price, like most Republican policies, favor wealthy people and big corporations over the working poor or middle class – no matter how much they try to spin being otherwise in their speeches. With Obamacare, insurance companies were mandated to offer basic services stated above for free or very little cost. Price will do away with that and give insurance companies the freedom to charge as they want without a mandate to offer even the basics of service.

Wow, that sounds really great for the people! (Shaking my head in disgust) I’m betting many of those who voted for Trump will soon realize they voted against their own self-interest. If you don’t have millions of dollars in the bank, you voted against yourself. If you’re sick, you voted against yourself. If you rely on any form of government assistance, or government programs, then yes, the fuck you did vote against yourself.

Big time.

The sad thing is, those of us who did vote for our own self-interest is going to suffer along with you because you guys didn’t do your homework. You believed the fake news sites that were overwhelmingly pro-Trump, because most people like their news spoon-fed to them. No one wants to look up facts anymore.

The only thing that gives me some solace is Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote by over 2.4 millions votes so far. That’s unheard of in modern times.  I hope if Republicans, even with their new governmental powers, try to pass policy that hurt the most vulnerable of people, that we stand together and make a lot of noise.

Remember, there are more of us than there are of them.

Power to the People.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/healthcare/8-big-changes-under-tom-price%E2%80%99s-obamacare-replacement-plan/ar-AAkXhse?li=BBnb7Kz

 

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

What Now for the Gay Community?

The only part of my body that seems to agree with a Trump presidency is my waistline. My waist is finally doing what I’ve been struggling to get the darn thing to do for months now. It’s getting smaller.  But it’s not happening the way I had planned. I’m not exercising more than usual, nor am I restricting myself from high-calorie foods that aren’t healthy.

The pounds are peeling off because since Wednesday morning I don’t have much of an appetite.

I went to bed on election night before the final results were tallied, but the writing was on the wall. I woke up to texts asking how I was doing. And then the frantic calls came in from friends concerned what a Trump presidency means, not only for gay and lesbian people, but people of color, Muslims, women, the sick, and the poor. I just finished reading an article about how Republicans want to get rid of Medicaid and replace it with vouchers, not to mention their desire to privatize Social Security and Medicare. What could possible go wrong?

I am scared for all people who are not rich, have health conditions, or fit into a minority group because those are the ones who are most vulnerable to a Trump presidency. The protests in the streets following Trump’s election night win aren’t a bunch of babies acting out because their side lost. They’re out there because they’re afraid that hate won Tuesday night. (I’m not defending those who caused property damage and spray painted A’s all over buildings. You are anarchists and most likely didn’t even vote. You are NOT what the heart of these protests are about.)

The protesters are afraid of the divisive and hateful rhetoric Trump’s campaign was built around. And the fear is real, and it is valid. If any other Republican from the party’s long list of candidates had won, there may have been frustration, but not this kind of fear. People wouldn’t have taken to the streets, in the thousands, to protests across the country if John Kasich had become the president-elect.

But he didn’t win. Donald Trump did, and now many groups across the country are wondering what this means for them.  I’m a lesbian. And I’m wondering what this means for me.

On the morning after the election, I was lying in bed, reading an article about gay rights and a Trump/Pence presidency. It wasn’t pretty.

Here is a link to that article:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/11/09/here-is-what-president-trump-means-for-lgbt-rights/

Below is a quote from the above article:

“His running mate Mike Pence has confirmed a plan to dismantle Barack Obama’s protections for LGBT people, as part of an ‘immediate’ review of executive orders issued by President Obama…Also significantly, President-elect Trump has pledged to sign the Republican-backed First Amendment Defence Act, a law that would permit forms of anti-LGBT discrimination on the grounds of religion.”

Is it any wonder that when my mother saw me that morning, and was about to gloat how Trump had won, that I burst into tears so uncontrollably that I couldn’t even talk? There is nothing subtle or more frightening than to hear words, so blatantly filled with hate, directed right at you.

Now is the time for every community threatened by a Donald Trump presidency to come together. History tells us we have been through much worse. We must do all we can to not go back there ever again.  In the meantime, call a trusted friend. Surround yourself with people who make you feel protected.

We’ll get through this together.

 

 

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

Election 2016 – Let’s Make Herstory

 

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So this is the day the past year has been leading me to. From the moment I watched the first (out of way too many) Republican primary debate, to the Hillary and Bernie showdown, through Hillary’s emails and every racist, misogynist, xenophobic, and otherwise completely insane statements that spewed from Trump’s mouth. Through all of that, here we are.

Call it Judgement Day.

Call it the Day of Reckoning.

In America, we call it Election Day.

And thank God it’s almost over because my jeans can’t take anymore of the anxiety-fueled binge-eating episodes triggered by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency.  For a while, I was cool about the election, thinking no way could Trump ever win, but then the numbers coming in suggesting a close race. And it’s hard to keep one’s sanity when a man who puts down a former POW for getting caught, stereotypes an entire ethnic group as rapists, brags about sexually assaulting women, fights with a Gold Star family while he had been granted five deferments during the Vietnam War, promises to implement a ban on Muslims, if elected, and mocks a disabled reporter, is in a close race for the US Presidency.

The first of U.S voting centers will be closing in approximately less than four hours. The early polls solidly show Hillary Clinton has the lead, as well as more paths to the needed 270 electoral votes needed to win than her opposition does. I’m anxious to hear the results, as most Americans probably are, but I’m not binge-eating today. I am confident, but not cocky, that my candidate, Hillary Clinton, will be voted as the first woman U.S President.

I live in a divided house. The sooner this election is over, the better.  But the hope that the end results of this crazy election will bring a peaceful transition to this country, with Donald Trump gracefully conceding the race(if he should lose), is a long-shot.

I’m going to do some yoga, with a concentration on deep breathing, before I plant myself in front of my TV to watch the coverage of the intense election. Hopefully, Hillary Clinton gets an early victory because I can’t take much more of this anticipation.

 

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Photos courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

 

This Election is Different

I drove to the ballot boxes yesterday to cast my early vote. My mother beside me. Her for Trump, me reciting out loud the words “Madame President.” The car ride lasted about ten minutes, with each of us making our last arguments. Neither did it to try to change the mind of the other, we’ve both come too far for that.  Rather, I suppose, just to get under the other’s skin a bit. A little heckling before the big game.

I know that’s the reason I ran my mouth, because ever since I was a little girl, nothing amused me more than to aggravate my mother enough to get her to drop the F-bomb. And she did.

Mission accomplished.

Flashback four years ago. My mother and I were having a very different kind of car ride. We were driving to one of my niece’s softball games. The election between President Obama and Mitt Romney was fast approaching. My mother is mostly conservative. She had spent most of that campaign talking up Romney and regurgitating every email and posts her like-minded Republican friends shared on Facebook.

If you recall, it was that election when the president came out in support of gay marriage. I’m gay. My mother knows this.

So four years ago, I was driving with my mother when she turned to me and said, “I want you to have equal rights. I want the law to protect you as much as it protects me. So, for you, I’m voting for Obama…but don’t tell anyone.”

And with that I almost drove the car into someone’s front lawn.

It was wonderful to have had my mother’s support. I know I still do today, just not in her vote because this is a different election.

Way different.

I can’t say for sure that if Trump’s campaign promised to not only take away all gay rights, but to chop off the feet of every gay person in the process, just because, would be enough for my mother to select the X beside Hillary Clinton’s name.

“Rights are over-rated,” she’d say. “And they do such wonders with prosthetics these days. You’ll be fine.”

Not to mention that the Vice President candidate on Trump’s ticket, Mike Pence, signed a bill last year as Governor of Indiana that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gay people based on “religious” convictions.

“It’s a nice day out,” my mother would say. “It won’t hurt you to eat in the car.”

Yep. This election is way different.

It’s uglier. And talks of election day violence should Hillary win (which seems likely) brings out the worst of this country.

The world is watching.

Vote this election. But vote in peace.

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

If Trump Isn’t Embarrassed, You Shouldn’t be Either.

A Facebook friend recently posted that she doesn’t have health insurance through her job, and had to pay a couple hundred dollars for medication. She can’t afford individual insurance, so one person suggested she may qualify for Medicaid. She agreed she would no doubt qualify, but would never go on Medicaid, or accept any kind of public aid.

I, along with quite a few others, commented that this was ridiculous. Programs like Medicaid were set up to protect people who can’t afford their own insurance, or, for people employed at jobs that either don’t offer benefits, or the person doesn’t meet company insurance eligibility requirements.

Whatever the scenario, if you don’t have insurance, and you qualify for Medicaid, i think you would be foolish not to take it. To walk around this country without health insurance, knowing how exuberant medical costs are, is just plain reckless. A trip to the doctor’s office alone can cost hundreds of dollars. Not to mention a freak accident that sends a person to the hospital, now we’re talking thousands of dollars. Easy.

So why would a person risk that? Is being on Medicaid shameful enough that a person would rather go without any type of coverage, and just take a deep breath and wish for the best?

Swallow your pride, people.

I blame a certain political party out there who love to bash people who need government assistance as “takers.” That somehow, they are always to blame for not being self-sufficient, regardless if said person had been working what they thought was a steady job, until that job was abruptly moved overseas, as so many of American jobs have gone.

People who are reluctant to apply for help, when they desperately need it, don’t want to be the kind of people some politicians put down publicly. The freeloaders. The irresponsible ones who need others to take care of them. The ones driving this country down.

I believe everyone, at some point in their life, will need help. Maybe it won’t always be financial, maybe emotional, but regardless, help will be needed because it’s tough to get through life on our own, alone.

It seems it’s more acceptable for certain people to take advantage of the system, than it may be for others. I was reminded of this as I watched the third Republican debate a couple weeks ago when the front-runner Republican candidate, Donald Trump, stated, in an unapologetic tone, (i’m paraphrasing) that in filing for four business bankruptcies he was merely taking advantage of the laws of the land.

This is true. Donald Trump did what corporate bankruptcy laws allowed him to do. When his companies racked up too much debt, he filed for bankruptcy. In 2004, according to CNN Money, Trump’s Hotel and Casino Resorts went through the bankruptcy court and shed over 500 million dollars in debt. Just like that. 500 million. Gone.

Although he lost majority control of the company, Mr. Trump was still able to retain control of his casinos.

This made me think of a scene from Goodfellas where mobsters assumed business interest over a bar, and the first thing they did was rack up the credit card bill. Then they took all that booze bought on credit and sold it out the back door for 100% profit. Then, once the credit ran dry, they torched the place. Never paying one penny back to the creditors.

This is what I think of when I listen to Trump talk about the “successful” bankruptcies that saved his businesses. How many companies didn’t did he pay when 500 million dollars was wiped out? It was a fresh start for Trump’s businesses, but what about the businesses he owed money to? The ones that never got paid.

If Trump can speak so blatantly about taking advantage of the laws that he could benefit from, then why are average people so ashamed of doing the same thing? Why does a person of modest means feel disgraced if they use the system to help them when they need it?

Why is it accepted as being advantageous for a business man to file bankruptcy four times and come out appearing as the tactical successful business man? When, If a regular person filed for bankruptcy four times he/she would be deemed as an irresponsible loser who doesn’t know how to handle their own finances.

But not Trump. Trump is leading his party in a run for the presidency. The highest office in the country, and, probably, the most powerful position in the world.

I worry about the prospect of a business man as a president. The notion that a country should be run as a business frightens me. But I’ll tackle that in another blog.

For now, I leave you with this, take the help that’s available for you when you need it. If Donald Trump isn’t embarrassed by all that he’s taken so far, then you shouldn’t be either.

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I don’t own this picture. I believe it is public domain, but if not, I will take it down.