Transgender Mainers face uncertain, ‘nervous’ future

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Let’s just get right into it.

What we’re talking about

Beth Brogan today reports:

Nearing the end of a year that has seen 26 transgender people murdered in the United States and Donald Trump elected president, transgender Mainers and their supporters will gather across the state on Sunday for a day of remembrance, hoping to find solidarity and comfort as they cope with fear.

On the heels of news this week that a transgender teenager died by suicide at Long Creek Youth Detention Center, Sunday’s events in Bangor, Portland, Lewiston, Waterville, Belfast and Damariscotta will provide the first opportunity for transgender people to officially gather and reflect since that incident and the election.

National reports of bullying and harassment of transgender people since the election have terrified transgender people in Maine, according to Gia Drew, a transgender woman and outgoing president of the board of directors at the Maine Transgender Network.

Leo Eichfeld, 16, of Topsham said Wednesday that his mother took him to get his passport two days after the election, fearing that under a Trump administration, he might not be able to have his gender changed.

Read her full story here. Here are the details on the Portland vigil.

In other news

A group wants to build a new substance abuse treatment center in East Deering — Randy Billings of the Press Herald reports:

Crossroads for Women, a behavioral health group, wants to open an eight-bed residential treatment home in a 3,100-square-foot, single family home at 735 Washington Ave. It would offer the same services as the Back Cove Women’s residential program the group operates on Forest Avenue, a 10-bed facility that opened in 2014.

The news came the same week that Maine marked another grim milestone in the drug epidemic. As of September, 286 people had died of drug overdoses in Maine — that’s 14 more than the entirety of last year, which was the previous record.

Portland just wasn’t ready for a ‘makerspace’ for people who sew and quilt — Kathleen Pierce reports:

After three-plus years, A Gathering of Stitches will close its Portland facility at the end of December. The East Bayside “makerspace” that centered on fiber arts and sewing just wasn’t sustainable, according to its founder.

“I had high hopes not met. It was disappointing,” said Samantha Lindgren, a skilled seamstress who is moving her studio to Biddeford. “Any business worth its salt evolves.”

The 12 studios she rented to clothing businesses and fabric fanatics were filled. But the classes and equipment rental side of the business never took off. Lindgren opened thinking more Portlanders wanted to learn to sew, quilt and make their own frocks.

Watch Portland’s holiday tree go up in Monument Square — We’re pushing for Asher Woodworth — Portland’s tree guy — to officially light the 40-foot blue spruce next week.

The Big Idea

It’s unclear whether Trump could abolish the North Woods monument — Nick Sambides Jr. digs into the unclear legal history of national monuments:

Seventy-eight years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attorney general told him that presidents lack the authority to abolish national monuments. That written legal opinion, and several opinions offered since then, prevent Trump from rescinding the executive order creating Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The monument’s superintendent, Tim Hudson, said that the prohibition extends back to 1938, when Homer Cummings wrote that Roosevelt could not abolish the Castle Pinckney National Monument. Early in his presidency, George W. Bush considered abolishing a monument created by his predecessor Bill Clinton, but he never attempted it.

“As far as we know, it has never been done,” Hudson said Wednesday.

That national monuments remain untouchable simply because of a lawyer’s opinion, instead of federal law or case law, is not terribly impressive to many monument opponents, said Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, which opposed the monument.

Since Trump’s election, local anti-monument groups and officials have been discussing the possibility of Trump reversing President Barack Obama’s executive order of Aug. 24 creating a new national monument out of 87,563 acres in the North Woods of Maine.


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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.