article in Metroland on the transgender community of
the Capital District was incredibly well-written [“Coming
Out of the Shadows,” Aug. 15]. Nancy Guerin has done an excellent
job describing both the humanity and incredible diversity
of transgender people. Transgender people are coming out in
greater numbers here in the Capital Region, and everywhere
in the world. Education is one of the vital keys for their
full inclusion and acceptance in workplaces, schools, and
I am privileged to work in many capacities with transgender
people, as a family therapist, a social-work advocate, an
educator, and a trainer of other health care professionals.
I have witnessed numerous people coping with transgender feelings,
as well as those who chose the complex and expensive path
of physical transition. The ease and success of gender transitions
often depends on the support, acceptance, and love of family,
friends, and community.
I encourage all those reading this article who have transgendered
loved ones, colleagues, coworkers, children, parents, as well
as those of you in the medical and social services profession
who are advocates for clients, consumers and their families,
to open your hearts and minds and embrace what at first may
seem baffling. Your support might make the difference in someone
else’s life, and you also might find that reaching out has
changed you and enriched your life in positive manner.
I stand in awe at the dignity of a community coming of age.
Manager Rainbow Access Initiative
To the Editor:
am very impressed with the way that your paper covered the
issues of being transgendered in “Coming Out of the Shadows.”
Health, safety, family, community, and employment issues make
up who we are as citizens, and you showed that the transgender
community faces these issues like the rest of us.
Your fair and inclusive reporting will not only educate many
of your readers, but will probably improve (and possibly save)
the lives of those struggling with who they are. Now they
can seek out the many support organizations available to them,
or they may realize that they are not alone in this sometimes
Your excellent journalism has been recognized by the LGBT
Field Director, National Coalition for LGBT Health
was disappointed in your article “A Tale of Two Bridges” [Newsfront,
Aug. 15]. Resolving the responsibility for the maintenance
of the pedestrian bridge over a section of Manning Boulevard
is clearly needed because that section of road was designed
solely for speed without respect for the facilities and communities
it bisects. The article’s treatment of the Hudson River Way
was, however, myopic.
Questioning the cost of the celebration was appropriate, though
the event has made the bridge an instant favorite. Glossing
over the difficulties of shifting construction grant monies
from one project to another was perhaps an oversight. But
the overall one-sided report and the quote at the end of the
article claiming the Hudson Way is a “bridge to nowhere” requires
a strong response.
In many cities it’s downright stupid to say that going to
the shores of the Seine or Danube is going nowhere. Our Hudson
is not a less important waterway. Unfortunately, in Albany,
commerce and transportation locked the river off from the
public back in the age of robber barons. Then DOT (DPW at
the time) easily negotiated a right of way from the railroad,
which was (is?) trying to back away from large landmark stations.
Getting from downtown to the river is a much-needed regional
amenity. Also, this is not a new goal. A more extensive park
with many access points across Interstate 787 was touted back
in the early 1970s, but only a bare semblance of a park (bikeway)
with very limited access was finally built with meager funding.
Meantime, the Hudson has been greatly cleaned up at great
cost and rediscovered, so it’s timely to provide improved
access not only from Albany but also from Menands and Troy.
Please don’t disparage one very good project just to illustrate
the need to resolve another issue.
To the Editor:
Jerry Jennings’ passing of the buck on the Arbor Hill footbridge
is ridiculous, irresponsible and an all-too-familiar response
to the needs of the minority community. Even if maintenance
were the responsibility of the school district, who does he
think will pay when someone gets hurt on that bridge? His
constituents do! Stop pointing fingers and fix this eyesore
and accident waiting to happen. Trust me, as soon as someone
falls (and that’s not if, but when) their lawyers will be
quick to decide who is responsible for the damages. Just fix
Grass Is Greener . . .
was good to read that the marijuana reform party is campaigning
in support of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes
[“The Other Green Party,” Aug.8]. This is also the issue highlighted
on their Web site.
The Green Party itself goes further, supporting the removal
of all penalties for the private possession and responsible
use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal
use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This
would legalize use by individuals while maintaining criminal
penalties against those who sell large quantities. This position
was advocated in 1972 by President Nixon’s National Commission
on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. The Greens support a legally
controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could buy
marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source.
Both Stanley Aronowitz, the Green Party candidate for governor,
and Ralph Nader, our recent presidential candidate, have publicly
spoken in favor of legalization of marijuana and an end to
the War on Drugs. Bill Clinton may smoke but not inhale it
and George Pataki may bake it with beans, but the Greens are
the only major national party that supports legalization of
The Green Party also supports many other issues such as public
funding of elections, peace not war, corporate accountability,
a halt to global warming, abolition of the death penalty,
reproductive freedom, closing Indian Point and other nukes,
gay marriage, the right to organize, repeal of the Rockefeller
Drug Laws, a $10-an-hour minimum wage, etc.
Enforcing existing marijuana laws costs taxpayers $10 billion
annually, with 734,000 individuals arrested nationwide per
year—far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent
crimes combined, including murder and rape. Marijuana arrests
have more than doubled since 1991, while adult use of the
drug has remained stable.
People of color get arrested for marijuana more often than
whites. Among smaller counties, Albany was in the top 10 nationally
for disparities in arrest rates, with 10.56 blacks arrested
for every one white.
Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America
(behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly
80 million Americans. Marijuana is significantly less dangerous
than alcohol or tobacco. 50,000 people die each year from
alcohol poisoning, with more than 400,000 deaths each year
are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana
is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose. The 1999 federally
commissioned report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute
of Medicine found that “except for the harms associated with
smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the
range tolerated for other medications.” The European medical
journal The Lancet stated that “the smoking of cannabis,
even long-term, is not harmful to health. . . . It would be
reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat . . . than
alcohol or tobacco.”
Former President Jimmy Carter told Congress in 1977 that:
“Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to
an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is
this more clear than in the laws against the possession of
marijuana in private for personal use.”
Green Party of NYS
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