508 #23: Homeless transsexuals

posted by Mike on February 22nd, 2008

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s panel is Jesse Pack, Cha-Cha Connor, and Brendan Melican.


City Councilor Kate Toomey sent Mike birthday greetings on Facebook!

Jesse is starting a “support fund” for area transsexuals facing homelessness and other difficulties. The homelessness rate among transsexuals is very high.

Cha-Cha talks about her performance in the US premiere of “A Journey to Kreisau,” a dramatic presentation about Nazi resister Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, written by Worcester theater icon Marc P. Smith. She connects the performance to both immigration issues and Worcester’s “Canal District.”

Brendan mentions a police harassment settlement involving “disturbingly graphic photographs showing severe facial swelling and bruising.”

Dan Kelley calls in complaining about Mike’s use of the word “complicit.” (Anthony Hmura complains, at greater length, here.)

Brendan comments on this photo of Bruce:
Do you have your tickets to the gun show?

Mike criticizes Worcester Magazine for publishing Kate Toomey’s Facebook updates; he defends them against the InCity Times‘ claim that they got this story “wrong.”

Jesse talks about a press event he held with Cha-Cha to ask the CDC to release some HIV stats.

Mike briefly dropped by the Worcester Local First kickoff event. Mike mentions a Boston Globe article about how the number of 25-34 year-old residents of Massachusetts is in decline.

The New York Times reported on a former Worcester resident living in a box on the Lower East Side.

mp3 link, other formats, feed, low-fi versions

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

14 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On February 22, 2008 at 16:16 Rudi Cilibrasi said:

    I am sympathetic to the plight of homeless people everywhere; I think anybody that can speak ought to have a minimal ration of food and shelter. In the particular case of transsexual homelessness however, I believe there are other psychological factors. The direction of causation is not clear, but both in some very old studies and even current message boards (linked; I studied these forums years ago) there is a lot of evidence that male-to-female transsexuals sometimes have severe depression afterwards. I guess changing from a constant mostly testosterone endogenous dosing to a constant mostly estrogen dosing (if hormones are used) could be a lot like an addict switching from one drug to another — a risky move, psychologically. Even without the new hormones, the shift could be tricky from testosterone addict to testosterone tee-totaller. So I think we ought to care about drug addicts, depressed people, women, and transsexual homeless as well as ‘regular guy’ homelessness.

  2. On February 22, 2008 at 16:54 Mike said:

    Last week I talked to a guy about this subject; he thought homelessness was a problem for the trans community because when you begin the process, it tends to freak people out, which would make it harder to get or keep a job. Supposedly there is some legislation brewing in Mass. to make this sort of discrimination explicitly illegal.

  3. On February 23, 2008 at 16:47 Daniel Kelly said:

    The full sign for the demonstration is here.
    Perhaps Mike truly does not know what he’s done in terms of missing the mark on this issue. My clarifications are objective ones. I do not know his intentions, but these clarifications are essential, one way or another. That side-guy? Direct lies, and provocations have come out of his mouth, after having been forgiven and reasoned with. They’re on record and we’ll go to court about it, should he like that route instead.

  4. On February 25, 2008 at 11:17 Brendan said:

    Dear Daniel,

    I’m not sure if you realize how crazy you sound. But if you don’t quite get it yet, let me be the first to point out that to the casual observer you truly appear unstable. Since I don’t know you or Anthony nor have I never met you or Anthony, it’s not exactly clear how I have been “forgiven and reasoned with”. Which is exactly the point the two of you seem to be missing.
    So let me help clear this up for you, I do not care what kind of half baked, whack job conspiracy theories are popular down on Millbury St. I do not care who you believe to be responsible for terrorist attacks in the United States. I do not care if you’re feasting or fasting. I find your mere existence hilarious and your one sided yet seemingly conversational ranting to be some of the best comedy I have ever read. If you feel I have somehow infringed upon your rights, I do encourage you take legal action against me as It’s been some time since Worcester has had any entertaining court action. Please feel free to shoot me an email if you would like to be put in touch with my attorney.

    That side-guy
    Brendan Melican

  5. On February 25, 2008 at 17:11 Rudi Cilibrasi said:

    [3:40 seconds in] Good morning, my dear friends, welcome to the IP .. retreat.
    Um… Is it possible to organize our retreat like a … picnic?

    I think so. Because, uh, in a picnic, we enjoy doing everything. To drive to the site of the picnic, and we enjoy our driving. Or you walk to the picnic place, and you enjoy your walking… (linked)

    (with many thanks to Thich Nhat Hanh)

  6. On February 26, 2008 at 11:26 Mike said:

    Rudi: Thanks for the nice link.

    Once in Philly, we did a performance where we juxtaposed TNH’s thoughts on various aspects of housework with Erma Bombeck’s. Turned out much better, and much more meditative, than we expected.

  7. On February 26, 2008 at 18:07 joe said:

    as far as being homeless transsexuals , they should try to examine why they are homeless – do they work , do they collect welfare or are they just lazy- i am not being judgemental- just real. we as taxpayers do not owe them anything , they have made thier choice now they have to live with it , i iam a landlord and if you can pay the required rent and have a source of continued income , i couldn’t care less what your sexual orientation is or isn’t , it would be my pleasure to rent to you- but don’t expect a freebie – i don’t , nor should you or anyone else- is their discrimination perceived , do they have other psychological problems or what is the deal ? would you rent to them or work with them – i would as long as they act in a responsible manner just as i would expect from any other human being!!!!!

  8. On February 27, 2008 at 09:16 Mike said:

    @Joe: Apparently the homelessness rate for trans people is *way* above average, so the cause is probably not laziness. We’ll try to get back to you next week with some credible data and possible causes.

  9. On February 27, 2008 at 09:42 Mike said:

    P.S. I’m going to be deleting any more comments here attacking Dan Kelly (or any comments from Dan shooting himself in the foot, which accomplish the same thing). Maybe Dan can turn on comments on the Hmura blog? Maybe people want to take this over to Volcanoboy or Indymedia?

  10. On February 27, 2008 at 17:37 joe said:

    mike ,i do not think that trans persons are lazy , nor did i mean to imply that , i just do not understand why they are in such a situation in worcester, being a landlord i do not care what your sexual orientation is or isn’t , just concerned with your ability to pay, after all it is a business! do they work ? why or why not . i am very sympathetic . but if they are able to work i would expect them to , not get a freebie from the gov’t just because they are transgendered. i do not see being a trans person a reason to be homeless unless there are other mental health issues involved., then it would not just be a trans issue and perhaps they may qualify for public assistance – but not just for being transgendered- that is just a lame excuse as far as i am concerned.that should not affect their ability to work like the rest of us !

  11. On March 3, 2008 at 15:24 Wolfgang E.B. said:

    Joe, many homeless trans people are youth whose parents kicked them out. Others lost jobs due to discrimination. Some have mental health issues, some don’t, but remember that mental health, just like physical health, is directly influenced by the environments we live in. Many trans people are or were abused as children, by parents, siblings, other family members, peers, even schoolteachers, society as a whole–Any or all of the above. Some trans people reach adulthood with various degrees of post-traumatic stress. Some don’t reach adulthood at all because they took their own lives.

    A recent study in the District of Columbia found a 70% unemployement rate among trans people. While that study didn’t capture the causes of unemployement, there have been plenty of high-profile job discrimination cases recently, confirming that discrimination is a significant factor. Also of note is the fact that in response to these cases, a very large swath (if not a majority) of the general public thought it was perfectly okay to discriminate against a trans person.

    Also keep in mind that about 10% of the overall homeless population works full time. These people simply don’t make enough money to put a roof over their head. There is also no doubt that many homeless people would dearly love to have jobs, but it is extremely difficult to get a job when you’re homeless, as most employers won’t hire anyone without an address and phone number.

    Another problem for transsexuals is that we have medical expenses that generally aren’t covered by insurance. When forced to make a choice between paying the rent and buying our (literally, Life-Giving) hormones, many of us would choose the hormones.

  12. On May 9, 2008 at 05:52 ms.claudia hillman said:

    I am a transsexual and have not been able to get a job even though I am an emergency medical technician (EMT) with over 20 years experience.It is a terrible lifestyle.I was 25 when I became a woman.Now I am 45.I had nothing all these years.My family disowned me .very few people will rent apartments to transsexuals or give them jobs.I would not suggest this lifestyle for anyone.Society judges everyone by appearance.

  13. On March 5, 2009 at 04:45 Stephanie said:

    Hi Claudia,

    I too lost all my family when I transitioned in 2006, I have been beaten up 5 times, my home targetted 8 times, and been targetted with stones, bottles, bricks and cans, and still get verbal abuse from the public for being myself.

    I have applied for close on 1,000 jobs in my 3 year real life test, but have only managed 6 weeks as an admin.

    The part of the UK where I live is very transphobic, and I have contemplated suicide, but I keep going because transition is not a choice thing, you either are or aren’t.

  14. On October 29, 2009 at 08:41 Gay Guevara said:

    I think the fake “War on Drugs” is the most hypocritical issue of the last 100 years ( becoming more obvious with Nixons anti-hippie rethoric)is one of the most damaging policies ever dished out on
    the unsuspecting citizens of the world…Basically the hyper-inflated prices of blackmarket commodities in conjunction with complex medical side of addiction results in ,among other predictable consequences sadistic amounts of damage ranging from homelessness ,employment stability, increased health risks with IV drug use ,exacerbated by moralists banning the distribution of clean injecting paraphenalia…
    Transsexuals belong to a demonized minority and are subject to abuse/discrimination (work ,housing,health services) that most people will never experience,hence they probably do the rational thing ( according to many leading psyches) self medicate on illicit drugs as
    a way to numb the multiple emotional attacks they are subject to on a daily basis…
    I believe TS would benefit greatly from drug policy overhaul as would many other minorities…
    But hey ..there are control freaks with vested interests on making as many people as possible into criminals…=Prison Industrialist Complex
    /corrupt police involved in asset forfeiture who fund their own local police stations/weapons purchase…
    once this ridiculous unwinnable “war on drugs/people” ends…and part of the 69billion annually spent making privatized prisons profitable
    goes into medical and housing services… i think we can have this discussion again

Leave a comment