Monday, June 29, 2015

Voice Training

The University of Connecticut has a voice training program for trans people...
In A Word: Transgender Transition Through Speech
June 29, 2015
By: Sheila Foran & Bret Eckhardt

Communication happens in a gesture. A laugh. A choice of phrasing. Things that most of us never think about. But for individuals transitioning from one gender to another, speaking and acting in a way that supports their new identity can seem like a daunting challenge.

That’s where the speech-language pathologists at the University of Connecticut’s Speech and Hearing Clinic enter the picture.
Individuals seeking to adopt speech that sounds more feminine may feel particularly challenged, says Chase [Wendy Chase, clinic director]. The transition of male to female is complicated by biology. During puberty, a male’s larynx, or voice box, expands and the vocal cords become thicker and longer, which results in a deeper sound. Currently there is no medically approved intervention that can reduce the size of a person’s voice box.

Speech-language pathologists at the clinic help male to female clients pay particular attention to the rate of vibration of their vocal chords – commonly referred to as pitch – as well as all the other aspects of vocal retraining that they’ll need to feel successful, says Chase.

CTAC At Work – Legislative

CTAC has a long history of legislative victories.

CTAC has worked with coalitions to help pass the Hate Crime legislation in 2004, in 2011 the Anti-Discrimination legislation, and in 2015 we again worked with the coalition to pass the Birth Certificate bill that will go into effect on October 1<sup>st</sup>.

This year we also worked with the coalition members to defeat a bill that would have stripped us of our insurance coverage. Bill H.B. 5193 stated purpose was,
…health insurance policies delivered, issued for delivery, renewed, amended or continued in this state shall not be required to provide coverage for gender reassignment surgery or related surgical expenses.
We will continue supporting legislation that helps and work against bills that are counter to the transgender community.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

CTAC Press Release

Yesterday with the signing by the governor Connecticut joined the ranks of seven other states, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, California, Washington, and Oregon and Washington D.C. to be able to change our birth certificate without surgery. On October 1st Public Act 15-132 will go into effect, the law will allow transgender people to change the gender designation on their birth certificates with a notarized statement from their physician or psychologist attesting to the fact that they have transitioned. making it the same way that you can change your gender on Social Security, passports, and diver license.

The new law also allows those born in another state to change their birth certificate with a Probate Court order if their birth state permits it to be changed.

The new law is PA 15-132 An Act Concerning Birth Certificate; the bill passed the Public Health Committee, the House, and the Senate with bipartisan support. The vote was of 126-18 in the House and 32-3 in the Senate.

Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition was a member of the coalition that worked to pass this legislation. The other members of the coalition were the American Civil Liberties Union CT (ACLU CT), Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Planned Parenthood Southern New England, Quinnipiac University School of Law Civil Justice Clinic, True Colors, and the UConn Rainbow Center. The ACLU CT graciously provided their lobbyist Betty Gallo of Gallo & Robinson, LLC.

This legislation is CTAC's latest victory in the string legislative actions that began with the passage of the Hate Crime bill in 2004, the passage of the gender identity and expression non-discrimination legislation in 2011, and now the birth certificate bill in 2015.

Monday, June 22, 2015

CTAC At Work - Elder Services

One of the areas that CTAC is doing work in is transgender elder care. We are members of LGBT Aging Advocacy a group of state agencies, non-profits, and senior centers that are working to train nursing homes, senior centers, and home care provides on LGBT care.

We went down to New York City today to the SAGE senior center to get a better understanding of the needs of the senior LGBT community and to learn what programs work. Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is organization that does training and works to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults.

Three senior centers in Connecticut have a LGBT night one night a month on a rotating schedule and will be expanded to a total of five centers in the fall.

Monday, June 15, 2015

CTAC At Work - Homelessness

HUD, CT Coalition to End Homelessness, AIDS CT, and the CT Fair Housing Center and CTAC gave a workshop at the 2015 Annual Training Institute (ATI) conference about integrating shelters for trans people. The 75 minute workshop reviewed the HUD policy on sheltering transgender clients, a trans man discussed his homeless experiences, and we did a short cultural competency training. That was followed by a session on the nuts and bolts of how to make shelters trans friendly with in-take forms, staff training, and of course what to do about bathrooms and showers and lastly we review the state law on discrimination.

In addition, with our partners we are training homeless shelters staff around the state we are training staff at shelters around the state. We will also be training Coordinated Access Network (CAN) staff.

When you call 211 for housing information you are accessing CAN. CAN serves as the gateway to the resources for shelter housing, permanent housing, rental or utility assistance or specialized services for other crises.

Monday, June 8, 2015

CTAC At Work - Reseach

CTAC is a member of the Community Research Alliance, as group of no-profits that help researchers design research projects and help to recruit people who want to take part in the research. At a meeting recently a researcher was discussing his project to study depression in the elderly and we suggested adding a more demographic question and changing one question.

CTAC suggested changing the question that asked for your gender from “What is your gender?” to “What was your gender assigned at birth?” and adding “What is the gender identity?”

By making those changes their study will also be able to look to see how depression affects the elderly transgender community. In addition, being a member of the alliance we can help recruit trans people for the study.

Friday, June 5, 2015

ACLU Press Release on the Birth Certificate Bill

Connecticut Passes Transgender Rights Bill

Bill removes barriers to changing gender on birth certificate and makes Connecticut a national leader on transgender rights

June 1, 2015

CONTACT: Patrick Gallahue, 860.471.8468, 860.992.7645,

The ACLU of Connecticut applauds the passage of a bill that will enable transgender people to change their birth certificate to the appropriate gender without invasive requirements.

Stephen Glassman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said, “This is the arc of history bending toward justice for transgender people. As one of the earliest states to recognize and affirm gender identity and expression in our laws, we have now made this important additional step toward recognizing people as they self-identify with regard to their gender.”

Connecticut law previously included a state Department of Health requirement that people show proof of surgery before they were able to change the gender market on their birth certificate. This burdensome condition denied recognition to numerous people as well as those who could not afford such a procedure.

The new bill empowers healthcare providers with the ability to make a recommendation as to whether a person’s birth certificate should be corrected. The criteria could include "surgical, hormonal, or other treatment appropriate to the individual for the purpose of gender transition.”

Glassman said, “This modernizes our outdated laws and makes Connecticut a national leader once again in an evolving understanding of transgender rights.”

The ACLU of Connecticut made a recommendation to update birth certificate amendment standards in partnership with a coalition of groups including Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, True Colors, Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition, Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund, and others.

H.B. No. 7006 passed by a vote of 32-3 in the Senate and 126-18 in the House.

Patrick Gallahue
Communications Director
American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut
330 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06106

Thursday, June 4, 2015

NCTE Blog on CT Birth Certificate Bill

Connecticut Assembly Approves Birth Certificate Modernization Bill

After a 32-to-3 vote in the Senate yesterday, Connecticut’s General Assembly sent House Bill 7006 to the Governor’s desk for his signature.  When signed into law, the bill will go into effect on October 1, 2015 and make Connecticut the 8th state to modernize birth certificate access (joining CA, MD, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA, and DC).  Similar legislation is currently on the governor’s desk in Hawaii.

Current law in Connecticut requires a person wishing to change the gender marker on their birth certificate to reflect their gender identity to show proof of gender affirmation surgery.  HB 7006 removes this surgery requirement and instead requires a written statement from a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or psychologist attesting that the person applying for a gender marker change has “undergone surgical, hormonal or other treatment clinically appropriate for the applicant for the purpose of gender transition.”  In so doing, the Connecticut state legislature removed a significant barrier to accurate birth certificates that surgical requirements impose on transgender people who cannot or do not want to  undergo such surgeries.

Connecticut’s bill is part of a larger trend of removing unnecessary and restrictive barriers, such as surgical and court order requirements, to changing the gender marker on identity documents.  In addition to recent state-level developments (such as last week’s victory in Maryland and pending victory in Hawai’i), the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has worked hard to successfully modernize gender marker change policies for U.S. passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and Social Security records.

Being able to change one’s gender marker on legal documents is a critical issue for transgender people.  The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that more than 40% of transgender respondents live without identification that matches their gender identity.  Inaccessible gender marker change policies pose a serious threat to the safety, health, and wellbeing of transgender people by making it more difficult for transgender people to find employment, enroll in school, vote, and apply for public assistance programs.

NCTE applauds the efforts of partner organizations who made this change possible, including the American Civil Liberties Union of CT, the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, GLAD, Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, True Colors, and many other wonderful local advocates.

If you would like assistance in updating your name or gender markers on your legal documents, the NCTE can help.  We can be reached at

For more information on the ID policies in your state, please consult our ID Document Center here.