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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Christmas Blessing For Sage Smith's Family

http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/Local-Group-Donates-Christmas-Gifts-to-Missing-Teens-Family-363232921.html

Today I found that this was run on television in Charlottesville, VA dated today and I wanted to share a small bright spot in the tragedy of Sage Smith's disappearance. We all pray she is still alive, but we also pray for peace for her family.......
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- This year, many members of the Charlottesville community came together to buy and wrapChristmas gifts for the family of Dashad "Sage" Smith, a transgender female who disappeared back in 2012.
Sage went missing after planning to meet a man near the Amtrak train on West Main Street.
Thanks to the Stand for the Silent and Central Virginia Friends and Family Support Group, gifts were donated from all over, and activists from across the Commonwealth drove to Charlottesville to lend a helping hand.
"We have to keep these people in the public eye," said Pamela Clark of Cue Search and Rescue. "Because if we don't, they kind of get lost in the shuffle because there's so many murdered and missing in America."
Since Sage first disappeared, these groups have been pushing to keep hope alive. They want the Charlottesville Police Department to do a little more to help bring closure to the family.
They feel that sexual orientation and the fact that Sage was black has an influence on the case.
"You know they gathered people to search and there were maybe 100, 200 people," said anti-bullying advocate Joann Robertson. "So there's a vast majority of difference with whats happening in some cases versus the others and again Sage is still missing so we want to bring awareness."
One of their goals is to put the same support and effort into finding Sage as was put into finding Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington. Even though the outcome of those two cases was heartbreaking, the group of women just want to assist and be of comfort to the family.
"We just want to help," said Robertson. "Whatever it is we can do, whether it's fundraising for the search fun or anything we can do, we're here please let's not move Sage to the back burner."
As fall has turned to winter and yet another Christmas is about to pass, this group can only pray that Sage's family gets the justice they deserve.
The gifts that were donated were given to a member of the Smith family, who will then make sure they are distributed just in time for Christmas. Community Bikes in Charlottesville donated bicycles to the smaller children.

























Sunday, December 20, 2015

Further Reflections on the Nature of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Transgender Individuals and Implications for Its Treatment

In October of this year, I completed 12 face to face educational hours and 16.5 hours online learning in depth about the nature and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I became a certified trauma counselor through the International Association of Trauma Professionals. I have had an intensive exposure to learning about the nature of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a dis-regulation of the Sympathetic Nervous System resulting in a person on a  frequent to continuous basis experiences being in the state of "flight or fight"response.

 The Sympathetic Nervous System is a subdivision of the Autonomic Nervous System. The other half of the Autonomic Nervous System is called the Parasympathetic Nervous System and it's job is to promote a physical sense of calm and well being, and allowing us to be present in the moment when there is no existing threat to us.

Normally, the Parasympathetic is the dominant or default condition of the autonomic nervous system, In those who experience dis-regulation of the Sympathetic Nervous System, it becomes the dominant system. The individual will experience symptoms of anxiety, excessive perspiration or dry mouth, muscular tension, sleep disturbances, feelings of panic and other symptoms of this nature when in reality, no threat exists for the individual.Experiencing these type of symptoms can range from frequently feeling dysphoria of a mild to a severely incapacitating degree.

It is not known at this time the number of transgender people who suffer from the symptoms of P.T.S.D, In my opinion, to the degree that a transsexual has developed a sense of self awareness, the discovery of one's physical body is not of the gender that matches one's gender identity, the greater the degree of traumatization the individual will experience. Similarly, the longer the individual lives with the inability to live authentically and denies one's true identity, the greater the risk for increasing levels of traumatization over the life span.

It is important to be able to identify the type of trauma experience of the transgender person as a complex trauma or as a developmental trauma, so that the type of treatment selection is important.
Developmental traumas do not respond well to psychotropic medications. That does not mean they have no role in the treatment of developmental or complex trauma, it does imply that medications will not be the solution alone in successfully treating this type of PTSD. Medications will be relatively less effective in this type of PTSD over the long term in resolving symptoms.

What is necessary is a retraining of the Autonomic Nervous System to give people more control in activating and learning to stay in states when the Parasympathetic  system is restored to being the dominant division over the Sympathetic system.

When a person is able to exercise more emotional regulation, it is then the therapy can move forward to process and resolve the significance of the past trauma. In part, this is accomplished by the individual recognizing that the past trauma is not occurring in the here and now. As one is able to leave the past behind, the trauma loses its powerful hold on the individual and she is able to continue through the healing process using the techniques learned to manage her levels of reactivity. She is able to be more present in day to day life as opposed to experiencing symptoms of rumination of negative thoughts of the past or future that remove one from what is going on in the here and now. She becomes free to build a brighter future.

An area that I think deserves further consideration and study is whether  the presence of lingering low self esteem or a sense of stigmatization in individuals who have successfully transitioned represents some type or residual state of PTSD that will be extremely treatment resistant.. Is it possible, as Bob Dylan wrote, "You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way..."?

If it can be addressed, it will likely come through cognitive restructuring requiring long term psychotherapy.  The longevity of the treatment will be as important as the frequency of appointments. In psychotherapy that lasts over several years, appointments are held once a week for a long period of time leading to appointments a few times a year over several years after the most intensive part of the therapy is completed. I believe this type of therapy offers the best chance of resolving residual issues of PTSD such as I described above.

I did a literature search on the National Medical Library of the National Institutes of Health and did several fetches using keywords such as PTSD, Transgender and Trauma and found no articles after an advanced search that directly address the concepts I am writing of here. The closest article was an article in a psychoanalytic journal. It is called Mourning the Body as Bedrock;  Developmental Considerations in Treating the Transsexual Patient Analytically. (www.NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov/pubmed/25277869). It suggests that psychoanalytic treatment can be helpful in resolving developmental or complex traumas experienced by transgender people. Research into the treatment of PTSD reveals that many different therapies can be effective in treating PTSD. What is most important is that the therapist be fluent in the modality of of treatment she employs over any particular school of therapy.

In any event, much more research is obviously indicated to help transgender people effectively resolve past trauma and build a future based on mastery over self and the social environment.




Sunday, December 13, 2015

Donald Trump, the Islamic Radical Terrorist Threat, and American Politics

Donald Trump is a Republican candidate in the coming Presidential election. Recently, he called for a ban on allowing Muslim refugees from entering the United States on a temporary basis and has been denounced both by Democrats and the majority of  Republicans. The American news media have shed all pretense of being objective in vociferously attacking Trump rather than staying true to their role of simply reporting the news objectively. That isn't surprising however. The majority of news agencies have been pushing a liberal political agenda as long as I can remember going back to the late 1960's and now the minority of news agencies are no less objective in reporting by pushing a conservative agenda. It is curious, though, how many Republicans have joined the bandwagon calling him a racist and a bigot.

I am not a supporter of Donald Trump. Eight years ago he was a vociferous supporter of Barak Obama, who has easily eclipsed, in my opinion, the worst president of my lifetime, Jimmy Carter. Obama makes one nostalgic for the old days when Carter contributed to destroying the U.S. economy with high taxes and seriously weakened national security. He brought our nation the energy crisis that left us with terrible energy shortages. Gasoline was rationed in the summer of 1979 and I remember having to wait in long lines because you could only buy gas every other day depending whether your license plate ended in an even or an odd number. Jobs were difficult to come by and wages were lagging with inflation. President Carter brought us an economic index called the "Misery Index" Because of his perceived weakness as a President who was weak on national defense, we had the Iranian hostage crisis, which only ended after our citizens were held in captivity by Iran. His administration sold out our closest Middle East ally, Israel. He gave away the Panama Canal, which is now controlled by the People's Republic of China. Amazingly, the Iranian hostage crisis ended within the first several weeks after President Reagan was sworn into office as President of the United States. While Iran had no fear of Carter, they knew that President Reagan was not a leader to further antagonize. But even President Carter had the common sense to ban Iranians from entering our country and revoked the Visas of Iranian Students who were studying at our colleges and universities during that time of crisis.

President Obama cannot even identify the threat to our country as Radical Islamic terrorism. He consistently underestimates the threat ISIS poses to our country, calling them the (Junior Varsity) in January of this year after the first terrorist attack in Paris, and announcing that ISIS was contained the day before the horrific attack in Paris in November of 2015. My best hope is that he is merely incompetent and out of touch about the danger we face here and abroad, and my worst fear is that his pronouncements are a deliberate intent to aid and abet the destruction of our country and our way of life. His address last Sunday and the recent statements of our attorney general reveals that he and his administration consider us more of a threat to Muslims than Radical Islam is to the citizens of the United States. I find that quite astonishing.

When Reagan left office eight years later, our country was strong economically and our national defense was strong. It is really quite hard to believe that the United States has fallen so far in such a short period of time. My opinion is that much of the responsibility lies at the feet of liberal Democrats and center left to left leaning Republicans. Both the Democrat party and the Republican party have sold us out.

So why am I not a supporter of Donald Trump, you may ask? I am not a supporter of him for several reasons. While I agree with most of the things he says and what he says appears to resonate well with conservative people, the way he presents his views are unacceptable as he antagonizes people and does not try to persuade people who disagree with him. He does not present himself or his views in a presidential manner.

I also question whether he is a Trojan Horse, really a liberal democrat who is out to destroy any chance of electing an alternative to Hillary Clinton who will continue the policies of destroying our country that Barak Obama began. Apparently, he is a good friend of Ms. Clinton's too. I simply do not trust him to govern in a manner that is consistent with his stated political opinions. I do believe that he is an extremely divisive figure and not a uniting force in America.

As far as his opinion that we should temporarily ban Muslims from entering our country, I agree with that position as our government has proven itself incompetent in screening Muslim Immigrants coming into our country. In Europe, we have seen that ISIS (or ISL, or however we call them on any given day) has secreted terrorists among the refugees flooding the European Union. Mr. Trump NEVER said that Muslims in America today should be rounded up, interred in prison camps or expelled from our country. He simply believes that no Muslims should be granted entrance to our country until we can determine who they are, their history and whether they pose a threat to our country. Given that a Pew Poll in 2013 found that 13% of Muslims in our country are sympathetic to Radical Islam and would like to see Sharia Law imposed in America, his position seems prudent.

Here in America, we have accepted almost no Christian refugees (less than 1% and more persecuted than anyone in the Middle East), while the majority of  Muslim refugees are not women and children, but young men of military age. There is something VERY WRONG with this picture, and our government has no clue about the background of these people they are allowing into our country, even in the face of vocal opposition of the majority of the American people. In my opinion, this is a prescription for disaster.

Until we can find a way of learning exactly who these Muslim people are, my hope is that they will be prevented from entering the United States until they can be properly identified and certified accurately as not being a threat to American citizens. These people do not want to assimilate into American Life, many want to bring Sharia law to our country. They are hostile to Western values and are hostile to the existence of transgender people. We need to find ways of properly evaluating each of the refugees before they are cleared to enter our country

Friday, December 11, 2015

Hello Russia!

Russia is the nation with the second most views of my blog for all time after my own country, the USA. For the past month, I've had 600 views from Russia, not many less than my own country's views.

As an amateur student of Russian History and Russian Literature, I am curious about what it means to be a transsexual or transgender person in Russia or in Eastern Europe and in the former member states of the former Soviet Union.

My interest in Russia goes back to my adolescent years when I first saw the movie Nicholas and Alexandra. In my undergraduate studies.  I took a course in Russian History. I began to read literature by Dostoevsky, Chekov, and Solzhenitsyn. I found Ayn Rand on my own and have embraced many) of her philosophical ideas in my own personal philosophy (along with much of the philosophy of B.F. Skinner and Behaviorism). I was also fascinated by the influence of Grigory Rasputin (referred to as the "Mad Monk" over the Czarina Alexandra as well as his own story.

I grew up in the 1960's and 1970's in the era of what we call in America "The Cold War". One of my earliest memories was of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Here in the USA, my early childhood memory was of the adults fearing we were going to die at what seemed to be the beginning of World War III. Thankfully, that event would not become the catalyst of the destruction of two great countries and perhaps the entirety of Western Civilization.

I was a young adult when Ronald Reagan implored Gorbachev to tear down the wall separating East Berlin and West Berlin and saw that wall fall on television along with the disintegration of the United Soviet Socialist Republic, or as we called it, the Soviet Union.

 As an American transsexual who is a mental health professional, my practice is partly devoted to working with transgender people. I am quite interested in how people such as myself fare in other countries. My audience for this blog is truly international. I have readers in every continent, even from Middle Eastern countries and African countries where people such as myself suffer unspeakable persecution, to the point of torture and loss of life because of who they are. There are things worse than dying for who one is or one's religious belief, though, such as being tortured or living under extreme oppression.

I seldom get comments from people from foreign countries who read my blog. My guess is that in some of the countries my readers come from that they dare not leave a trace that they have read what I have written.

As I mentioned, I am quite interested in the lives of transgender people in other countries and other cultures. I would like to invite my Russian readers to participate in commenting on your lives, your struggles and your triumphs to live an authentic life.

Thank you my Russian friends!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's 2015 and Sage Smith is Still Missing

Sage Smith is a young transgender woman from Charlottesville, VA  who is still missing. I say "is" because we still don't know of her fate, except that she was supposed to meet a man from Minnesota who came to Charlottesville to meet her. She disappeared in December 2012 and while there have been some feeble leads, no one has been able to find out her fate.DaShad Laquinn Smith 2



I never knew Sage. I don't know anyone in her family. I have no contact with the Transgender Community in Charlottesville, partly because I live 25 miles from Charlottesville, partly because in a relatively rural area, almost every person who is transgender has been a patient of mine, and I can't have relationships outside of my work with people I work with for at least two years after my work with them is done and over.

More information was released by Charlottesville, VA police this past November and featured on NBC channel 29 in Charlottesville, which I discovered today:




"Charlottesville Police Offer New Details in Dashad 'Sage' Smith Case

Posted: Nov 16, 2015 4:50 PM ESTUpdated: Nov 30, 2015 5:07 PM EST
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) -
Investigators with the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) are releasing new details about the disappearance case of a transgendered teenager.
Dashad “Sage” Smith vanished from along West Main Street almost three years ago.
Police are now saying the only person of interest in the case likely didn't have a hand in the disappearance.
Investigators working the case have released a new timeline of events from the night Smith vanished. Detectives say Smith left home to meet Erik McFadden at the Amtrak Train Station about 5:40 p.m. on November 20, 2012.
  • 5:17 p.m. - Smith sends text message to Erik McFadden, “When r u leaving”
  • 5:20 p.m. - McFadden replies, “I already did.  I’m at the Hampton Inn.”
  • 5:17 to 5:40 p.m. - Smith and McFadden exchange various text messages.
  • At approximately 5:40 PM Smith leaves his residence.
  • 6:08 p.m. - McFadden sends text message to Smith, “Where u at?”
  • 6:12 p.m. - McFadden sends text message to Smith, “I’m standing here where r u?”
  • 6:18 to 6:37 p.m. - Smith talking on his phone with friend from Northern Virginia. Texts from McFadden come in during this time frame, but it is unknown if Smith read them.
  • 6:27 p.m. - McFadden sends text message to Smith, “Bye u stood me up smh”
  • 6:35 p.m. - Witness sees Smith walking on 4th Street NW. Smith stops and talks to witness at a bus stop in the 400 block of West Main Street. Smith tells witness he is going to meet someone at the Amtrak Station.
  • 6:40 p.m. - Smith walks westbound on West Main Street.
  • 7:00 p.m. - Unconfirmed account puts Smith alone at Wild Wing CafĂ©, which is next to the train state.
A separate witness said three “cross-dressers” were seen inside the restaurant that evening. No video was available to assist in identifying them or to verify Smith was there. Police also note that there is no one that saw Smith at the train station.
According to a witness, Smith was wearing grey and black rain boots with purple and pink lining, grey sweatpants, and a black jacket with a hoodie.
McFadden told police the meeting never happened.  McFadden had sent an email to his girlfriend saying he did meet with Smith, but added he was scared off by a group of approaching people.
McFadden disappeared a few days later, and has been considered a person of interest in the case.
Police are now backing off of McFadden for several reasons: Investigators don't believe McFadden had the means to dispose of a body. "Phone records indicate that they may not have gotten together at all," said CPD Captain Gary Pleasants.
"Someone somewhere at some point in time saw Dashad that afternoon. Maybe they saw him walking up the street alone. Maybe they saw him walking with someone else. Maybe they saw him get into a car, or go into a building. That's the person we need to hear from," said CPD Chief Tim Longo.
Chief Longo is also publicly talking about raising the reward for information. "I would like to think it would be more than money, but you know in this case we're taking every step we can to persuade people," he stated.    
"Any little thing, any little thing can help us. It's been three years and we're getting pretty desperate. I know I am, as a mother, I'm desperate to know where my baby is," said Latasha Grooms, Smith’s mother.
Police plan to be out in the area of West Main Street Friday, Nov. 20. They will be putting up missing person posters to generate new leads.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.
A $20,000 reward is currently being offered in the case."

"

PLEASE, if you have any information that can help the police in Charlottesville and Albemarle county find Sage alive or find out her fate, I'm sure it would bring great comfort and peace to her loved ones.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukah to all my Jewish friends and to all observant Jews across the world! I, as a Christian stand with you in these darkest of times.

Friday, December 4, 2015

What a Difference Fourteen Days Make

When I last posted two weeks ago ("Useful Idiots"), I was actually referencing what I believe is either the gullibility, the ignorance or the deliberate failure, or unwillingness of President Obama (and those who blindly follow him) to identify Islamic terrorism for what it is. One can only wonder what his motives are.

He dismisses the threat to freedom and way of life that Islamic terrorism poses to our country. He sees ISIS as the "J.V. team": and told us that the threat of terrorism originating from the
Islamic world was contained the day before Paris was attacked for the second time in less than 12 months. Is he merely disengaged? Is he not in touch with the reality of what is happening abroad and in our own country? Is there something more to what is going on than what people are willing to say on the record  about what they think his motivations really are about?

In my opinion his inability to take seriously the threat not only to our country, but to Western Civilization in its entirety is beyond comprehension. For some reason he cannot bear to utter the words "Islamic terrorism" or "Islamic Jihad. No other Western ally has a problem with identifying the nature of the threat to our civilization.

It is all well and good that Barak Obama has made progress in creating a more equal playing field for transgender people in the United States, but what will it amount to if he delivers people such as myself to radical Islamic terrorists who will execute me as soon as they can get a chance, along with others who are Christian and Jewish, or who do not bend to to their perverted and distorted concept of the will of Allah.

 Could it be that he is essentially lulling us into a type of political stupor while he unwittingly   (or deliberately) delivers us into the hands of those who will destroy our way of life? Really, does he truly believe that "Global Warming", now relabeled as "Climate Change" (because they couldn't really ever sell the idea that Global Warming is man made and a threat to our survival) is a greater threat to our existence than Islamic Terrorism?  I guess he really showed the Islamic terrorists by having that conference on climate change in Paris.

I do not believe that the religion of Islam is evil. I believe that all the religions of the world are how God has revealed Himself to different peoples of the world. However, as we all know, there are people of all faiths who pervert religion to serve purposes of evil and to subjugate other people who believe differently. This is the case with Islam today. 

It is irrelevant to waste time worrying about where Barak Obama was born or if his faith is Christian or Muslim It really doesn't matter. What does matter is his behavior. Why does he have such a singular of purpose in forcing America to admit "refugees" from Syria who mainly consist of young Islamic males of military age, relatively few women and children and no Christian refugees from the Middle East when the majority of Americans recognize the threat they pose and do not want them to enter our country? 

His behavior is strongly reminiscent of that Neville Chamberlaine, the former British Prime Minister who sold out Great Britain and Western Europe to the Nazis. Really, was Chamberlain's politics so different from Obama's? Those who do not take heed and learn from history will repeat it.

Why does he try to dictate to other countries to seal their borders, yet he  insists having open and porous borders in the U.S., particular on our southern borders when we know Muslims who have been tied to Syria and terrorist organizations are entering through this poorly controlled border.

In the United States, a 2011 poll from Pew showed that 21 percent of Muslims are concerned about extremism among Muslim Americans. 19 percent of American Muslims as of 2011 said they were felt favorable toward Al Qaeda.

It's time to take the threat to freedom that radical Islamic terrorism poses to our way of life very seriously. Soon it will be too late. It's time to stop paying attention to what Barak Obama says and start paying attention to the consequences of what he does.

I pray to my God it is not too late to turn back from the road of self destruction that we are on, but in the best case scenario, it will be a long uphill battle to save our nation.

In the current climate, I am fearful about maintaining an on line presence. I have debated about deleting this blog. I have not made a decision. I have, however, discontinued most of my social networking on line. I'm not sure it is a safe thing to continue to do. At this time I remain undecided. It is a decision I will have to make in the near future. The internet being what it is, though, it may be too late. Who knows?