Mika for Stonewall Vice Chair

I am a candidate for Stonewall Vice Chair and I would like to earn the privilege of serving you and lifting up your voices.

I am a student at the University of Iowa studying psychology and German. I have served on the Pottawattamie County Democrats Central Committee and as Affirmative Action Chair.

I grew up in Nebraska and six years ago I moved to Iowa to work for President Barack Obama, to attend college and to get a kidney transplant at the University of Iowa Hospitals.

I experienced significant discrimination and oppression growing up in Nebraska which is where my passion for politics and equality comes from. This past taught me that if you want to see change you must step up and create that change.

Since 2009 to 2014, I was involved with the Iowa Pride Network and from 2010 to 2013 I was on the College Leadership team, organizing and leading the Southwest Iowa GSA Network, fighting anti-LGBTQIA+ bias on campus and helping fill the education gap in Iowa and Eastern Nebraska on LGBTQIA+ issues and history.

Additionally, in Nebraska, I worked with State Senator Sara Howard to pass her bill LB 380, which would have allowed all couples to adopt regardless of marital status, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

I firmly believe that we must consider and include ideas from everyone, not just those who have been involved in the Party for years. We must face the fact that a greater number of young people – the next generation of voters – are independents and therefore, we must ask ourselves why that is. Then, we must create an action plan to either bring them into the Party or open it up to them in other ways.

As a transgender person, I know that the Democratic Party has room to grow to become fully inclusive and welcoming of gender non-binary and transgender people.  Therefore, making the Party more inclusive and welcoming is a major priority of mine, second only to electing Democrats and ensuring that Democrats take back Iowa.

I know that I will be a powerful addition to the Stonewall Caucus and the Iowa Democratic Party because I have experience within my life, as well as through the work I have done on issue, advocacy, and political campaigns.

I would be honored to have your support and represent you as Vice-Chair of the Stonewall Caucus. I will be a strong, compassionate and dedicated voice for LGBTQIA+ Iowans.

Advertisements

Iowa Democrats State Convention & Transgender Equality

Iowa has a long history of leading the nation on social issues and civil rights including interracial marriage, admitting women to the University of Iowa, the right to free speech (e.g., John and Mary Beth Tinker in their protest of the Vietnam War resulting in Tinker v. Des Moines), Senator Tom Harkin fighting for the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Democratic Majority General Assembly amending the Iowa Civil Rights Code to ban discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruling that civil marriage is a right regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.

In Iowa, we have made great progress on civil rights FOR ALL, including for transgender and gender non-binary people. It is illegal here in Iowa to discriminate against transgender and gender non-binary people in the areas of employment, housing, education, public accommodations and services, and credit practices. This is in addition to civil marriage.

Nevertheless, and unfortunately, we (transgender and gender non-binary people) still face serious discrimination and stigma in our daily lives. Especially when it comes to accessing health care and updating our identity documents. Frequently we are denied appropriate gender transition-related medical and mental health care despite evidence that appropriately evaluated individuals benefit from gender transition treatments.

Additionally, we face harassment and discrimination when it comes to using a restroom. However, contrary to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) which has consistently held that people must be permitted to use the facilities in accordance with gender identity, a judge here in Iowa ruled that the Iowa Civil Rights Code does not require allowing a transgender person to use the facilities that match their gender identity.

Therefore, we have work to do and Iowa Democrats are in a position once again to lead the nation.

We must stand firm in our commitment to equality and justice for all by passing the resolution at the Iowa Democratic Party State Convention on June 16th on gender identity and gender expression nondiscrimination.

We as Iowa Democrats must state that we support

  • the passage of laws and policies protecting the rights of people of all gender identities and expressions,
  • full access to medical and mental health care and full access to restrooms regardless of gender identity and expression,
  • legal and social recognition of transgender and gender non-binary individuals consistent with their gender identity and expression, and
  • full access to identity documents consistent with their gender identity and expression that do not involuntarily disclose their status as transgender or gender non-binary.

Furthermore, that we support amending the Charter and Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States to ensure the full inclusion and non-discrimination of gender nonbinary and transgender people so that we (gender non-binary and transgender people) are not forced to choose between a binary gender of man or woman to run for Party offices such as State Central Committeeperson or Democratic National Committeeperson.

Go here to view the resolution: Click here

I am Transgender

I am raising money to help pay for the procedures I am hoping to have that will help me affirm my gender identity and overcome gender dysphoria.

Unfortunately, I have not had a job that provided adequate health care benefits so I could even consider having any gender affirming procedures. I have Medicaid at the moment and while it covers hormone therapy it does not cover anything else.

These procedures are medically necessary because of the many effects of gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which they identify. People with gender dysphoria may often experience significant distress and/or problems functioning associated with this conflict between the way they feel and think of themselves and their physical or assigned gender (American Psychiatric Association).

Living with gender dysphoria is like an immeasurable and indescribable self-hate. Hate because you feel that everything about you is wrong and you would rather destroy your own body because how disgusted you are with your own body. All this because you identify differently from what biology gave you. It destroys your life, it harms everything from your academic performance to your intimate relationships. You have trouble relating to people and completing daily tasks. Everything it is to be a human becomes hard if not impossible.

Those of us with this, deal with many mental health concerns. Not because there is anything wrong with us but because society is the problem. Because society forces everyone to conform to what Christian conservatives think is normal.

According to a 2011 National Center for Transgender Equality found that 41% of transgender individuals have attempted suicide at least once and 50% of transgender youth will attempt suicide before their 20th birthday.

I became so depressed in 2016 because of many reasons but one of the biggest was because of realizing that doing just hormones is not even to make my body into who I really am. Then the thought that I could not be intimate with any one again because of how much I hate my body added on top of that is the war I continue to fight because society has not come to the point where everyone is given the health care they need regardless of their zip code or income level.

It is very difficult for me to do this but I must for my own health, ask for your help in paying my medical expenses for my gender affirming procedures. I need to raise at least $10,000 to help cover these expenses. Health insurance will not cover the procedure so I have to pay out of pocket for it.

Please go here to donate: Mika Covington

Jon Neiderbach & Cathy Glasson for Iowa Governor

I support both Cathy Glasson and Jon Neiderbach for Iowa Governor. I believe that both are great candidates and both have bold progressive agendas.

I support Jon Neiderbach because he believes in education and ensuring everyone has an equal chance to get ahead.

My budget will include $100 million dedicated to make post-secondary education and training available and accessible. Students who agree to stay and work in Iowa after graduation and are enrolled at any of Iowa’s community colleges and public universities will qualify for this new program. My budget will also include funding to reduce debt owed by students. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he understands that every Iowan must have affordable high-quality health care.

I support keeping the ACA – with needed “fixing” legislation – until there are enough votes to replace it with single-payer universal coverage. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he believes that Iowans need lower drug prices right now.

I believe Iowa should in cooperation with other states negotiate drug prices for our residents, and press hard for the Secretary of HHS to do the same for all Americans. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he believes that every Iowa regardless of gender identity must have access to high-quality comprehensive health care.

I will work with the Board of Medicine and the relevant professional societies to educate providers and stamp out discrimination and bias toward transgender and intersex individuals. Iowa should require health insurance policies written in the state to cover medical and mental health services in association with gender identity issues. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he wants to combat bullying and harassment in Iowa and especially against LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) students.

Every principal should be required to attend training, with follow up training for the teachers in their building. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he knows that discrimination against LGBTQIA people continues to happen in Iowa even with marriage equality and the amended Iowa Civil Rights Code.

I will propose additional funding for the Iowa Civil Rights [Commission] for timely investigations and enforcement actions, and I will embrace the Governor’s Conference on LGBTQIA Youth. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he supports common sense gun reform.

I support applying universal background checks to all sales including those at gun shows, and I favor using technology to make it easier for law enforcement to link bullets to specific weapons. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he supports comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

Iowa needs more people in our workforce, and welcoming immigrants including a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals is an excellent way to increase our population. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he supports a living wage.

I support increasing the state minimum wage to $15 an hour immediately, with a provision that it will increase indexed to inflation. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he supports “too-big-to-fail-to-big-to-exist” legislation.

We need aggressive federal oversight to financial institutions to ensure that none get so large their failure would jeopardize the banking system. Banks want capitalism when they are profitable and socialism when they are in danger: unacceptable. – Jon

I support Jon Neiderbach because he believes that we need a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act.

The bottom line is we need legislation to ensure the stability of the financial system, limit the power of the financial system and any individual institution, and make sure the financial system works to help hardworking American families. – Jon

I also support Cathy Glasson for Iowa Governor. Cathy has been an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for over 20 years, she is the president of Iowa SEIU 199 and lives in Coralville Iowa.

I am supporting Cathy because she believes as do I, that the primary job of a Governor is to raise peoples’ standard of living.

As Cathy says, 381,000 Iowa households are struggling to pay their bills because two-thirds of the jobs in our state pay less than $20 an hour. Parents working two and three low-wage jobs are still scrambling to come up with $900 each month for childcare, to pay the rent or mortgage, to put food on the table and gas in the car.

Cathy understands that we must provide for those who have the least. She understands that Iowa must increase the minimum wage to a living wage and that Iowa must do more to make childcare affordable for all families.

I support Cathy because she believes workers must have collective bargaining rights. She believes that it should be easy to form unions not harder.

As a nurse, I believe healthcare is a right and holding Iowans’ care hostage is wrong. – Cathy

As she says, healthcare is a right, it is not a privilege for a few.

I support Cathy because she understands that education is a right and Iowa must fully fund our public schools, make community college free, and freeze tuition at Iowa’s public universities.

It is time for a bold progressive, please support Cathy Glasson and Jon Neiderbach for Iowa Governor and join the campaign.

Go here to join Jon Neiderbach’s campaign: click here
Go here to join Cathy Glasson’s campaign: click here
Not endorsed by any candidate, candidate’s committee, or political party.

Depression

fotolia_42927929_subscription_monthly_xxlOn December 31, 2016, I lost my health insurance. Ever since June of 2016, I have been fighting with the Social Security Administration to appeal their decision that I am no longer medically disabled.

Losing the insurance has led to me being unable to get several of my medications, which led to my depression worsening. The depression progressed to the point where on January 20, 2017, I attempted suicide. I took a couple extra of two of my medications then realized shortly after what I was doing and understood that the thoughts I was experiencing were not healthy, and I would be letting someone else win. Therefore, I went to the Emergency Department at the University Hospital.

At the hospital, I was evaluated and observed for several hours. They were not able to prescribe new anti-depressants to see a psychologist. Thus, they set up an appointment, and I went on my way.

The depression did not just go away. The following Sunday, I went to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

At the NIH, my depression was made worse because the NIH had not updated their records and still had me listed by my old name. And at the security gate, they printed my pass with that old name, and I had to explain that yes that was me.

Furthermore, when I signed in at the clinic, I had to sign in using the old name. When the nurse called, me she called me “Mr. Covington.” I was humiliated as I walked up to the nurse and she told me that no she was looking for a “Mr. Covington” and that she wanted to know where “he” was.

I was forced to stand there in the lobby and try to inform her that I was indeed the patient. She just stood there looking me up and down before she had me follow her to a room where she became defensive while asking me to show her my ID, which of course said Mika Jayne which is the legal name. This led to more questions and a terrible attitude from the nurse.

Throughout my time at the NIH I was called by male pronouns even after I asked them to call me by female pronouns. Some even went out of their way to be loud when talking to me about why the system still has the old name.

Therefore, my depression and gender dysphoria were made even worse, and while I was there, I had suicidal thoughts again.

I previously loved going out to the NIH. I loved flying and going to a beautiful city. This time I was feeling angry and even hurt throughout most of the visit. This led to an emotional breakdown at the final appointment with the whole team and the nurse I had been seeing since I was an infant.

synergy-research-centers-major-depressive-disorder-infographicRecently, I have been seen by a psychologist who diagnosed me with major depressive disorder (MDD). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), MDD presents with depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities for more than two weeks and impaired function in social, occupational, and educational activities. Additionally, MDD is a significant mental health condition that can affect every aspect of life.

I am not proud of my suicidal actions, but I know that mental health care is important and I know that it is not easy to just deal with it without help. My advice is to seek help and if you are having suicidal thoughts go to the nearest Emergency Department. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.

Do you want to help fight for mental health care? Then, here are some ways to help out. Call your U.S. Representative and Senators to tell them you support the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Currently, the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans want to repeal the healthcare law. Keeping the ACA is important for mental health and substance abuse treatment as one of 10 “essential benefits” that health plans must include. It also included a ban on excluding people with pre-existing conditions.

Speak out, call and write your Reps and Senators tell them to support health care.

Call your Rep or Senator here: HouseSenate

 

I really liked this video and how depression feels, it is not PG.