Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Shay from "My 600-lb Life" Comes Out as a Trans Woman

I'm a fan of TLC's "My 600-lb Life." I often watch it or portions of it when I work out in the evenings. Recently, TLC has been airing new episodes of the program, titled "My 600-lb Life: Where Are They Now?" The latest update has been featuring a younger person named Chay Guillroy.

Chay is 23-years-old and spent of his original appearance on the program going through a very slow process of working to overcome his cycle of emotional eating. It wasn't until late within his first year of treatment with Dr. Nowzaradan that he finally underwent weight loss surgery. And much of what assisted him with getting to the point where he could go through the surgery was the support of his aunt and uncle, as well as a therapist to work on his psychological blocks. He managed to lose 120 pounds by the end of his first appearance on the program, placing him at about 450 pounds by the end of his first year of treatment. He was feeling good about his progress.

I haven't seen his "Where Are They Now?" program, but have seen a couple different clips on YouTube and I'm intrigued. Now that Shay is beginning to lose more weight and to work seriously on issues with his therapist, he has come out to his family and friends as a male-to-female trans person.

Unfortunately, the aunt and uncle who had been such strong advocates with Shay's weight loss goals haven't been as supporting of her gender transition. It's been a few weeks since she came out, but Shay was particularly upset by a video that her aunt had posted on Facebook about trans people in the restrooms.


I'm really curious about how Shay and her family will move forward. I'm hoping that her family is just needing time to process and progress.

Anyway, the episode was tonight and I was busy so I totally missed it. But I should eventually catch the episode during the reruns.

You can watch the two clips here and here.

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9: All Kneel Before Hot Dog, King of the Dead!

It's been just over a year since the previous issue was published, but I'm currently holding a fresh copy of AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9 in my hands! It's a great issue. I'm not sure that it's worth waiting a year between each issue, but it's still a great issue.

I have a new computer at my home. As a result, I haven't yet figured out how to get my printer to scan stuff and forward it to my new computer. As a result, I had to take a picture of one key page from AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9.

Here's the set-up... Reggie is on his own and being approached by a horde of the undead. The strange thing is that none of them will touch him.

They instead passed by him until he reaches "ground-zero of the contagion." Reggie assumes that the King of the Zombies is Jughead.

But Jughead steps aside and reveals...
The Dog of Doom.

I kneel before it... Hot Dog, now Anubis, the Jackal, the God of Death...
I was right. 26 months ago, I was right.

I predicted back in March 2014 that Zombie Hot Dog is the King of the Dead.

Hot Dog was the first of the infected. He is the one who spawned the apocalypse (not Juggie). The zombies all make strange, gurgling noises. Just like a growl. And we saw a scene where Zombie Fred Andrews tracked Archie and his mother through his sense of smell.

I was right. Zombie Hot Dog is the King of the Dead and I'm pretty excited about that moment of insight!

Marvel Comics to Fans: Didn't You Know that Captain America Is Totally Into Hydra??

So I was going to write last night about #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend, a goofy Twitter campaign that urged Marvel Comics to hook Steve Rogers (AKA Captain America) with longtime chum, Bucky Barnes (AKA Winter Solider). After all, "you don't oppose 117 nations just for 'a childhood friend.'" Unless you're Captain America!

But then I got busy and the whole campaign seemed silly, so I got distracted and let it drop.

All silliness aside, that Twitter campaign -- which got the anti-gay trolls and traditionalists all in an uproar for a short time -- was nothing compared to what Marvel Comics appears to have done this morning in STEVE ROGERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA #1.

Marvel Comics had Steve Rogers kill off fellow hero, Jack Flag, and reveal that he is a Hydra agent:
In recent months, Steve Rogers' body had been drained of the Super-Soldier Serum, leaving him old and weak. Now, he's back in action, young, and fit... and on the last page of today's issue, it's revealed that he's working with Hydra.

Through flashbacks, it's implied that Cap has been working with Hydra since he was a child and they helped protect his mother.
Fans don't believe it. I don't believe it. Husband Mark didn't believe it when I told him about it earlier today. Red Skull is currently telepathic and could easily have messed with Cap's brain, but Marvel Comics says otherwise:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How long has this been in development? What inspired you to rethink such an iconic character in this way?...

WRITER NICK SPENCER: Rick Remender, who was the previous writer on Captain America, had been building towards this story of Hydra having infiltrated various institutions of government and various super teams. I thought that sounded like too big of a story. I drilled it down and thought, what if there’s just one very valuable Hydra plant? What if they’re looking for 100 people, but there’s just one? So I started asking, who’s the worst person it could possibly be? It was really obvious straight away that there’s nobody who could do more damage and nobody that could be a more valuable Hydra plant than Steve Rogers. That was really the genesis. It sprang pretty organically from story ideas that were already on the table.

Issue 1 lays the groundwork for the reveal with flashbacks to Steve’s childhood and his first contact with an operative of Hydra. Does this mean it’s been this way his whole life?... 

SPENCER: Issue 2 will lay a lot of our cards on the table in terms of what the new status quo is, but the one thing we can say unequivocally is: This is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself....

What kind of relationship will Cap have with this new generation of Hydra? 

SPENCER: It’s a big part of our story, what Steve’s beliefs are about what Hydra should be, where it should go, what it should focus on. To me, I always get really fascinated by this kind of thing. Any World War II history buff can talk your ear off about the internal power struggles of the Nazi Party. There were some fun parallels to play with here. There’s also a little bit of The Man in the High Castle here. It’s a difficult challenge to get people invested in Hydra characters because their ideology is so repugnant, but what The Man in the High Castle did so well was get you to pull for the lesser of the evils. You might be seeing some similar things here.
So there you go. Steve Rogers -- the man who fought Nazis since World War II as Captain America -- is now revealed after 75 years to be a Nazi and Hydra agent. I don't buy it at all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

KKK Litters Alabama Neighborhoods with Anti-Trans Leaflets

Every so often, you hear reports of the Ku Klux Klan leaving fliers in neighborhoods (such as here or here or here). The fliers usually reach out to residents, suggesting that they will keep the neighborhood safe from unspecified threats.

Now residents of Dothan, Alabama, are reporting that KKK fliers have been left outside of roughly 75 house. Only difference is that the Klan moved from vague threats and named their targeted "threat": trans people:
Anti-transgender fliers claiming to be from a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan were distributed in at least one Dothan neighborhood.

"It is a free speech issue. There is no threat put in there, no call to arms. It looks like they are asking for donations and putting out a political agenda instead of a hate-based one," Dothan Police Capt. Will Benny said...

Police were notified of three fliers placed in an east Dothan neighborhood of about 75 houses...

Benny called the neighborhood in question quiet and "certainly not a hotbed for Klan activity..."

Dothan police said the dissemination of the fliers isn't necessarily illegal, but a resident could file a complaint for littering.
The flier reads:

TRANSGENDER
Is an abomination according to the Kings James Bible

Deuteronomy 22:5
"A woman shall not wear that pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: For all that do are an abomination unto the Lord Thy God.

These freaks are jeopardizing the safety of bathrooms all across the nation for our women and children. This needs to STOP

There is no confusion
If you have a PENIS -- Use the MENS ROOM
If you have a VAGINA -- Use the LADES ROOM

If your confused and don't know what sex you are today
USE A TREE OUT IN THE BACK YARD

JOIN AND HELP US STAND UP AND BOYCOTT THIS ABOMINATION

The Loyal White Knights of the KKK

According to the news article, a copy of this flier was sent by local police to the FBI.

Iowa City: Tate High School Evacuated Due to Bomb Threat

There were local news reports yesterday that schools in Altoona, Marion, and West Des Moines were evacuated due to bomb threats. It was reported that this also affected schools nationwide. We were told that it was an automated phone call threat. We were told that these calls affected high schools, junior high schools, and elementary schools.

For some reason, the local media failed to point out until earlier today that Tate High School of Iowa City was also evacuated yesterday due to a bomb threat. At least, Iowa City's bomb threat was buried among news reports.

According to the Press-Citizen...
Tate High School in Iowa City was evacuated after receiving a phone call about a bomb threat, Iowa City Police Sgt. Chris Akers and school staff confirmed...

A phone call of a bomb threat came to Tate Monday morning, Kristin Pedersen, the district's coordinator of community affairs, said via email. Iowa City police were notified, and students were sent home as the department assessed the threat, Pedersen said. The police department could not provide specific details. An email was sent to Tate parents at 12:30 p.m., Pedersen said.
My son isn't a student at Tate High School. But I usually receive email and phone alerts from the school when big things happen. Like a bomb threat that evacuated one of the district's high schools.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Phoenix Goddess Temple Leader Convicted of 22 Charges Connected to Running a Brothel // Sentenced to 4.5 Years of Prison

I've written a couple of times (here and here) about the Phoenix Goddess Temple, which was the subject of a 6-month undercover investigation for operating a secret brothel. Several male and female church practitioners were arrested and accused of performing sex acts in exchange for monetary donations. The Goddess Temple argued that their neo tantric healing therapists were not acts of prostitution, but instead religious acts.

I've vaguely followed this case since it went to trial. I don't know what happened to the various church practitioners, but I do know that Tracy Elise, the Phoenix Goddess Temple's leader, was found guilty last March of 22 criminal charges connected to running a brothel. Those charges include conspiracy to commit illegal enterprise, illegal control of an enterprise, operating or maintaining a house of prostitution, multiple counts of money laundering, and multiple counts of pandering.

Earlier this week, she was sentence to 4 1/2 years in prison for each of the 22 counts for which she was convicted. Seriously. Fortunately, the charges will be served concurrently. She will then be sentenced to four years of probation when she gets released from prison.

She will be given credit for the 305 days that she has been sitting in jail. Keep in mind that the trial began in November 2015. That means that she spent nearly a year in jail while waiting for her case to evolve.

She plans to appeal this verdict.

Let's set aside the question of religious liberty for a Pagan faith community that seems to have been trampled. Elise could have been sentenced to 99 years for prostitution. How sick is that?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Welcome to the Family, Chevy!!

You may remember that Ms. Lion, our pekepoo, died last September following a brief illness. We toyed with getting another dog, but decided to wait until after Christmas. Then we began looking at Iowa-based rescue groups for poodles and Pekingeses, but struggled to find any that seemed like good fits for our homes. So we took another break from our search. Then we noticed that Nero seemed droopy around the house and began thinking that he missed having another dog at home. So I put out a round of unsuccessful applications for dogs.

Then earlier this week, I noticed an image of a small poodle at a dog rescue called Second Chance Dog Rescue. I reached out and found that the dog was available for adoption. I submitted my application.

One day later, our application was approved. Then Husband Mark and I traveled to Prole, IA, earlier today and met our new family member: Chevy!

Chevy is 4-years-old and weighs about 9 pounds. He's shy, but increasingly curious about his new home and family. He must not have walked on a leash in the past, but he's getting pretty confident about walking with his new harness. Lastly, he and Nero have met and are cautiously getting to know each other. No fights yet!


Welcome to Iowa City, Chevy! We're excited to fold you into the family!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Washington DC: Security Guard Charged with Assault Following Bathroom Confrontation with Trans Woman

There is a report coming out of Washington DC involving a security guard who's in trouble with the police for roughing up a trans woman who needed to use the public restroom:
D.C. police have charged a security guard at a Giant grocery store with simple assault after a transgender woman said the guard forced her out of the women's restroom. 

Ebony Belcher, 32, said she went to the Giant in northeast D.C. with a friend to pick up a delivery from the Western Union. While at the Giant, she asked a store employee to point her to the restroom and passed a female security officer standing in the hallway. The officer came into the restroom and told her to get out, according to Belcher. "She opened the door and came in and started calling me derogatory names," Belcher said. She said the officer put her hand on her shoulder and arm, grabbed her and pushed her out of the store. 

Belcher said the guard told her, "You guys cannot keep coming in here and using our women's restroom. They did not pass the law yet." She said she called police and reported the incident after she left the store. According to a police report, officers arrested the guard at the Giant after the confrontation.
The security guard has been charged with assault.

Washington DC has a trans-inclusive anti-discrimination statute. And even if it didn't, the guard created a hostile response where none was warranted. Assuming that the story described above is accurate. I'm sure we will find out if it's not.

Carroll, IA: Naked Man Found Stuck in Chimney

Here's an odd story from the other side of Iowa. A 29-year-old man named Jordan Kajewski was discovered naked and covered with soot stuck in a chimney in Carroll, IA, earlier this week. He was naked and covered in soot.

According to witnesses, Kajewski claimed that he was playing a game of hide-and-seek with his cousin. He climbed from the roof of the Carroll Redemption Center and managed to get about 20 feet down into the chimney before getting stuck.

The Redemption Center's owner claimed that he'd been working late on the 17th when he heard a voice whisper "Get out of here." He apparently thought this was a ghost and left for home. His wife went to work the next day and heard somebody yell at her from within the chimney: "I’m in your chimney... I was playing hide-and-seek with my cousin. ... Don’t call the cops, I just need some help getting out."

The police and fire department were called to the Redemption Center that morning to help Kajewski out of the chimney. They tried pulling him out with a rope from the top, but ended up needed to smash a hole into the chimney to extract the naked man.

He was taken to jail and charged with trespass.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Trailer Released for Andrew Marin's Latest Book: "Us Versus Us"

It's been a while since I've written about Andrew Marin. He's been studying for a few years in Scotland and the Marin Foundation took a break last May due to some operational changes. I don't talk much these days with Andrew, though we see each other on Facebook pretty regularly. It was on Facebook earlier this week where I learned that Andrew has a new book out called "Us Versus Us."

This is what "Us Versus Us" is about:
For decades now, we have found ourselves caught up in a culture war; US VERSUS THEM. The good news: there is no them. Our culture war has been a civil war: US VERSUS US. This it the untold story of religion and the LGBT community. Thankfully, there is a path toward peace...
You can read about the book here or here. You can watch the official trailer here. And you can order the book here.

I ordered my book from Amazon yesterday. It arrived sometime today. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my summer reading list. I'll share my reactions once the book has been read!