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Dayton transgender woman: ‘I cannot and I will not hide in the shadows anymore’

Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 10:22 AM

Jasmine Miller of Dayton opens up about being a transgender woman. Video by Amelia Robinson

Jasmine Nicole Miller does not remember a time she was not insulted.

“I’ve been called every name under the sun,” the 41-year-old with fiery red locks said. “It went from sissy as a kid to fagot as a teenage to tranny (now).”

Miller overcame fear of hate and outing herself to the world when she took the stage recently at the Dayton Pride Festival. 

She talked about the pain she faced being a transgender woman, the strength she draws from her parents and her journey to wholeness.

“I cannot and I will not hide in the shadows anymore,” she told the crowd. 

>> Ultimate guide to Dayton Gay Pride 2018 (May 31, 2017) 

Instead of the hate she’s encountered in the past, Miller said she was embraced by the Courthouse Square crowd mostly made up of members of Dayton’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (queer) community and their allies.  

COMING OUT OF THE SHADOWS

The cosmetologist at Salon J Ladner & Spa on St. Clair Street said most transgender people did everything they could to hide when she was coming of age and even long after she had the sex reassignment surgery at age 19 in Montreal, Canada in November 1996.

Due to social media and other societal shifts, Miller says it is nearly impossible for the transgender youth that come into her salon these days to hide — nor should they. 

Recalling the December 2014 suicide on I-71 of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender Warren County girl, Miller said that in many ways today’s transgender youth face more obstacles and fears of retaliation than she did in her youth. 

>>Transgender teen killed on I-71 left suicide note

 

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a part of  United States National Library of Medicine, the suicide attempt rate among transgender people ranges from 32 percent to 50 percent in the nation. 

Risk factors include gender-based victimization, discrimination, bullying, violence, being rejected by the family, friends and community; harassment by intimate partners, family members, police and public; discrimination and ill treatment by the health care network. >> RELATED: What are the warning signs of suicide? 

Miller said it is important that transgender adults share their journey, she said. 

“(Local transgender youth) don’t really have a role model. I didn’t have a role model going into it,” she said. “I always felt like a hypocrite because I wasn’t sharing my story.”

>> RELATED: One of Dayton's most popular drag queens opens up about overcoming addiction

SURPRISING SOURCE OF BULLYING

Adopted and raised in Jackson Center, a Shelby County community with a population the U.S. Census Bureau estimated to be 1,464 in 2017, Miller said she was tormented throughout her childhood by adults and children.  

Teachers and administrators were among her worst bullies, she said. 

Miller recalled when one official told her she was the primary reason abortions existed. 

“(A school counselor) told me I was an embarrassment to my family, and that I would never amount to anything,” she said. 

Miller said she has learned to “clapback.” 

>> RELATED: Surprise proposal steals the show at Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus and DCDC concert

FAMILY TRADITION 

Despite and because of it all, Miller said she had the love and support of her parents, Gerald and Shirley Miller.

“I was allowed to express myself without ridicule (from my parents),” Jasmine Miller said. “People need to hear my parents’ story. If you don’t have a supportive (parental) unit, (chances) are you are not going to make it.”

Jasmine Miller said sharing her story publicly is in part a way to honor her parents, who have dedicated chunks of their life to public service. 

Now battling cancer, her dad was a sheriff’s deputy and a volunteer firefighter. Her mom was a paramedic. 

Miller, who always looked feminine and wore her hair long as a youngster, remembered the day a junior high boy at McDonald’s flirted with her, thinking she was a genetic female. 

Jasmine was a flattered school girl. Her mom freaked. 

That wasn’t the first or last time Shirley Miller worried.

“My mom was always so worried that someone wanted to harm me,” Miller recalled. 

“I AM GOING TO SAVE MY OWN”

Dayton cosmetologist Jasmine Nicole Miller.(Amelia Robinson)

Reached by phone, Shirley Miller said her only choice was to love her daughter. 

>> Legendary 'Queen of Dayton,' who won more than 100 pageants, dies

We had adopted her in as our own. I am going to save my own,” Miller said. “I didn’t really care what people thought.  This is my child.  This is my child and I will raise her to be happy and safe and be around for a long  time.” 

She said she is proud of her daughter and that she is telling the truth about herself.

Jasmine Miller’s story is the subject of a documentary being filmed by Dayton’s Indigo Life Media

Now 79 years old, Shirley said her daughter inherited her outspoken personality. 

“Stand by your child. Don’t leave them,” the mother of two encouraged other parents of transgender children. “Love that child with all you can. They are very precious.” 

THE FLEETING POWER OF ATTENTION

Dayton cosmetologist Jasmine Nicole Miller.(Amelia Robinson)

Miller said her parents made big sacrifices to pay for the surgery she feels corrected a “birth defect.” 

She was relieved the moment she woke up after her sex reassignment surgery. But the road ahead was not easy and included abusive relationships, thoughts of suicide and sexual and physical assault. 

Miller said she tried to live a quiet life after the surgery and went to cosmetology school for the first time. 

That didn’t stick. 

She became a stripper after going to a strip club for a waitress job.

The money was just too good, she said.  

At first it was great, and Miller said she felt powerful. 

“I loved it because all of these men who harassed me and belittled me were begging for my attention,” she said. “It was such an ego boost.”

She called the money great and said she performed in clubs here and around the country, including Miami and Los Angeles. 

Back then, Miller, who had her birth certificate and high school diploma change to reflect her new name, said “you were supposed to be so passable that no one questioned you.” 

She said no one did and only a handful of the men she dated in her life knew about her transformation. 

About five or six years into her life as a stripper, Miller said the glam and feeling of power that came with the job wore off. 

Yet she continued.

“At that point, you get too into the money and the freedom the money gives you,” she said.

>> RELATED:  What makes Brenden Wynn tick?

And after awhile, Miller said you get the feeling you can’t do anything else. 

About eight years ago, Miller said she had enough and had reached the point where she could not do her job unless she was drunk. 

She left the business behind, moved back to Ohio and went to cosmetology school again.

She has been working at  Salon J Ladner for about three years where she says she gladly transforms the looks of men and women. 

Dayton cosmetologist Jasmine Nicole Miller.(Amelia Robinson)

Joshua Ladner, the shop’s co-owner with his husband, was one of Miller’s background dancer during her appearance at the Dayton Pride festival earlier this month. 

He said he was so moved by her speech that it was hard to get through the triumphant confetti-filled performance. 

He said he is proud of Miller’s personal transformation and how she has embraced her truth.

“At the end of the day, I am happy with her being who she is — whether she changes one person or a million,” Ladner said. 

Miller said haters are going to hate, but neither she nor anyone else has to accept their hate as truth.

Hiding is no longer a viable option.  

“We have to promote a message to people that it will get better,” she said. “The community in general needs to have more people who are going to be outspoken.”

>> RELATED: 10 of your biggest salon etiquette questions answered by Dayton's beauty pros

 

 

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What is selfitis? 5 things to know about the obsessive selfie disorder 

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:12 AM

Do you or someone you know suffer from selfitis? Three selfies per day is considered borderline Individuals who suffer from the condition are typically attention seekers Researchers developed 20 statements to analyze individuals who may suffer from selfitis Proper treatments still need to be developed The condition might actually be deadly

This story has been updated.

The term "selfitis" may have started off as a hoax back in 2014, but now psychologists have warned it's a genuine mental health issue.

»RELATED: How your selfie could affect life insurance

Researchers form the Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom and Thiagarajar School of Management in India actually investigated the social media phenomenon, leading them to create a "Selfitis Behavior Scale." Now, individuals who believe they may suffer from the condition can be properly evaluated by psychological professionals.

"A few years ago, stories appeared in the media claiming that the condition of selfitis was to be classed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association," Dr. Mark Griffiths, Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Addiction in Nottingham Trent University's Psychology Department, told The Telegraph.

"Whilst the story was revealed to be a hoax, it didn't mean that the condition of selfitis didn't exist. We have now appeared to confirm its existence and developed the world's first Selfitis Behavior Scale to assess the condition," he explained.

If you're worried that you or someone you know may suffer from selfitis, or just want to know more about this condition, here are five things you should know:

1. Three selfies per day is considered borderline.

How many selfies do you actually take on a daily basis? 

If you take at least three every day, you have borderline traits of selfitis, according to the newly developed scale. The condition becomes more severe when you actually start posting those selfies online for others to see. 

A chronic case would be someone who takes selfies all the time and posts at least six on social media networks daily.

2. Besides taking a lot of selfies, what does selfitis entail?

Individuals who suffer from the condition are typically – and not surprisingly – attention seekers. They also generally lack self-confidence and aim to improve their social standing by posting images of themselves online.

These factors have, however, led some psychiatrists to question the need for coining a new mental condition to diagnose. 

"There is a tendency to try and label a whole range of complicated and complex human behaviors with a single word," Dr. Mark Salter, a spokesman for The Royal College of Psychiatrists said, according to Business Insider.

"But that is dangerous, because it can give something reality where it really has none."

3. How does the scale work?

The team of researchers developed 20 statements used to analyzed individuals who may suffer from selfitis. Individuals are asked to rate how much they agree with a specific sentiment, allowing psychiatrist to determine how severe the condition might be.

Some example statements are: "When I don't take selfies, I feel detached from my peer group" and "I feel more popular when I post my selfies on social media."

4. Proper treatments still need to be developed.

Dr. Janarthanan Balakrishnan, a researcher from Nottingham Trent's Department of Psychology who was also involved with the study, explained now that a scale has been developed, more research can be done to determine the best treatment.

"Typically, those with the condition suffer from a lack of self-confidence and are seeking to 'fit in' with those around them, and may display symptoms similar to other potentially addictive behaviors," Balakrishnan said.

"Now the existence of the condition appears to have been confirmed, it is hoped that further research will be carried out to understand more about how and why people develop this potentially obsessive behavior, and what can be done to help people who are the most affected."

Of course, one obvious treatment, as The Guardian pointed out, would be to "just put our phones down for a second and experience the real world." The average millennial might respond ‘or not...whatever.’

» RELATED: New app uses selfies to help screen for pancreatic cancer

5. The condition might actually be deadly.

Although a lot of readers may be rolling their eyes at this news, more than 30 people died in 2017 from taking selfies. 

Some would-be selfie takers have been hit by trains. Others have fallen from extreme heights or drowned, trying to get the perfect snap. At least one person was even trampled to death by an elephant. 

None of these individuals were actually diagnosed with the condition before they died. So, it's unclear whether they suffered from "selfitis.” One thing, however, appears certain: excessive selfies can potentially be hazardous to one’s physical and mental health.

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Venomous spiders: How to identify the pests and get them out of your home

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 7:31 AM

What You Need To Know: Brown Recluse Spiders

Most people aren't too happy when they encounter a spider, and that's especially true if the creepy-crawly you come across happens to be dangerously venomous.

>> Brown recluse spiders: 4 things to know as the dangerous pests become more active

Although it's understandable to be anxious about venomous spiders, it’s important to know the difference between a harmless spider and a dangerous one.

Here are some important tips from experts on dealing with venomous spiders and what to do if you think you’ve been bit.

Identify types of venomous spiders

Even if you think you've been bitten by a spider, most are actually harmless, according to the Mayo Clinic

Only a few types have venom strong enough to harm you and fangs (yikes!) long enough to penetrate your skin.

Venomous spiders found in the Southeast include:

  • Black widow – identified by the pattern of red coloration on the underside of its abdomen.
  • Brown widow – identified by an orange hourglass shape on a brown body
  • Brown recluse – identified by its brown color and dark violin-shaped marking on its head.

(Identifications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UGA Extension)

>> 10 ways to prevent tick bites on people and pets

Wear gloves when you're working outside or in the garage

If you stick your bare hand into some brush, you may be bitten by a brown or black widow. Although they usually try to avoid people, they don't have a choice if you accidentally wrap your hand around one, according to UGA Extension. Be sure to wear long sleeves and gloves when you're cleaning in the garage, clearing brush or pulling a log off a woodpile.

Look out for your clothes and shoes

Black and brown widows can also hide in clothes and shoes that have been left outside, UGA Extension advised. The best solution is to not leave these items outside (or in your garage) if you can possibly avoid it, and, if not, make sure you shake them out and check them carefully before putting them on.

Use insect repellent

The Mayo Clinic recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and shoes.

>> Dangerous plant that causes blindness, 3rd degree burns found in multiple states, officials say

Don't create a habitat your home

Don't store firewood against your house, since it can serve as a haven for spiders which can then find their way inside. The same is true for piles of rocks or lumber near your home.

Clean up spider webs

If you see a spider web inside your home, vacuum it up, put it in a sealed bag and dispose of it outside.

Make it harder for spiders to get inside your home

Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors that fit tightly. Seal any cracks where spiders could work their way into your home.

Recognize the signs of a bite

Many spider bites go unnoticed or cause only an itchy bump. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may have been bitten by a venomous spider and should seek medical attention, according to the Mayo Clinic:

>> Read more trending news 

  • Pain – starting around the bite mark and possibly spreading to the abdomen, back or chest
  • Abdominal cramping – can be severe
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Skin that becomes dark blue or purple and develops into a deep open sore
Things You Didn’t Know about Spiders

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Your guide to finding the best lawn care pros this summer

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 4:01 PM

William Moss, Master Gardener with the National Gardening Association, discuses some tips that help make your summer lawn maintenance easy.

The “Agony and the Ecstasy” may be a literary classic, but it's also an on-point description of owning a house with a lawn. Yes, it offers a wonderful play space for the kids and a respite from the workaday world for the adults. But when the heat climbs and the brown spots start showing and the lawn guy who signed up in cooler months starts ghosting you, your lawn can turn into real burden.

»RELATED: How to keep snakes out of your yard

It doesn't have to be that way, though. If you select lawn care professionals carefully and follow up with the respect that will keep them around, a lush green lawn can be yours− even in August.

Set the standard

According to Sue Silva of Arbor-Nomics, you should think of keeping your grass green the same way you think of having a healthy smile. "Your dentist provides regular care along with advice on preventing problems and warning signs to watch for. In between visits, you floss, brush and follow recommendations for any special care. You want that same kind of relationship with your lawn service. Regular weed killer treatments and fertilization alone won't guarantee a yard you're proud of and enjoy being in. For best results, you need to work with someone who is knowledgeable in what they do and can explain what you need to do."

Avoid the over-the-phone estimator. You'll never get anywhere with a company or individual who can't be bothered to see your lawn and answer your questions before discussing money.

Ask about later. Potential hires should be able to tell you about their refund policy and how their work is guaranteed. Make sure to get it in writing.

Find someone who understands fertilizer. According to Reader's Digest landscaping experts, many bigger lawn companies recommend too much fertilizer. You can save money and possibly avoid health risks if you look for a company or independent contractor who will employ a fertilizer with time-releasing water-insoluble nitrogen and use it only twice a year on a steady schedule.

Consider several options. It's not just price that will vary depending on who does your lawn. You'll also encounter different ways of billing, bundling services and establishing a fee schedule for everything from buying seedlings to paying electronically. Home Advisor recommended speaking to at least three or four lawn care providers before settling on one.

Check their mowing standard. According to LawnStarter, one simple question will weed out low-quality lawn care providers: "How often do you sharpen your blades?" Dull blades make grass look tattered and brown on top. Ask them how many mowing hours they go through before changing or sharpening blades. The answer should be no more than 10 hours. Popular Mechanics adds that a home owner or a professional will get the greenest lawn by letting the clippings fall while mowing. It's also important never to mow unless there's rain in the short-term forecast.

Get personal. "When it comes to the techs themselves, the fewer the better – at least in terms of who treats your property," Silva noted. "You're better served by having the same dedicated technician or tech team visit after visit. That way they get to really know your yard and can stay on top of any problem areas."

Get references. The lawn care industry is tricky, according to LawnStarter, which operates franchises in the Georgia area, because the industry is decentralized. "While Yelp reviews don't provide the whole story (usually only really positive and really negative experiences are written about), it does provide a good glimpse at what you're getting into. In addition, ask your neighbors which company they use and what they think of them." If you expect immediate service and are willing to pay for the privilege, you might want to consider a company that employs an office manager or owner-manager who can respond promptly.

Look for a business license and insurance. Sure, there are high-quality contractors who don't have multiple certifications, but most homeowners want a firm with a business license and proper insurance, so you won't be liable for injuries or damages, Katherine Hutt, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau, told MarketWatch.

You're part of the equation, too.

When it comes to hiring the most reliable and competent lawn care professionals - particularly the little guy businesses - you're in competition with other homeowners and renters. Think of it like trying to hold onto a really good babysitter. Sure, you're already paying for lawn care, maybe a king's ransom if you've opted for the manicured lawn approach, but if you want your lawn to be the first serviced by an independent contractor when everyone needs mowing at the same time, being nice goes a long way.

Clear the yard before the mowers arrive. Be sure to pick up toys and dog poop and all the other things that can get in the way of the highly qualified professional you hired to mow your lawn.

Put the pets up ahead of time. Instead of inadvertently wasting a lawn care pro's time (or risking having to pay for a return visit), develop a routine that involves securing all your indoor and outdoor pets out of harm's way on mowing day.

Keep the kids off the clock. It's crucial not to waste a landscaper or mower's time. "We know your kids want to help," one professional told Reader's Digest, "but they're just making our job take longer."

Offer a cold drink. A cold beverage goes a long way when the temperature starts climbing. If you're not going to be home, set out a cooler with a note.

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Here’s how to identify (and get rid of) venomous spiders in your home

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:38 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:38 PM

Here are some important tips from experts on dealing with venomous spiders and what to do if you think you’ve been bit Most spiders are actually harmless and only a few types have venom strong enough to harm you A black widow can be identified by the red coloration on the underside of its abdomen A brown widow has an orange hourglass shape on its brown body Brown recluses have a dark violin-shaped mark on its head Wear long sleeves and gloves when you're cleaning in the garage, clearing brush or pulling

Most people aren't too happy when they encounter a spider, and that's especially true if the creepy-crawly you come across happens to be venomous.

»RELATED: Brown recluse spiders: 4 things to know as the dangerous pests become more active

Although it's understandable to be anxious about venomous spiders, it’s important to know the difference between a harmless spider and a dangerous one.

Here are some important tips from experts on dealing with venomous spiders and what to do if you think you’ve been bit.

Identify types of venomous spiders 

(PeteMuller/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Even if you think you've been bitten by a spider, most are actually harmless, according to the Mayo Clinic

Only a few types have venom strong enough to harm you and fangs (yikes!) long enough to penetrate your skin.

Venomous spiders found in the Southeast include:

Black widow – identified by the pattern of red coloration on the underside of its abdomen.

Brown widow – identified by an orange hourglass shape on a brown body

Brown recluse – identified by its brown color and dark violin-shaped marking on its head.

(Identifications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UGA Extension)

Wear gloves when you're working outside or in the garage

If you stick your bare hand into some brush, you may be bitten by a brown or black widow. Although they usually try to avoid people, they don't have a choice if you accidentally wrap your hand around one, according to UGA Extension. Be sure to wear long sleeves and gloves when you're cleaning in the garage, clearing brush or pulling a log off a woodpile.

Look out for your clothes and shoes

Black and brown widows can also hide in clothes and shoes that have been left outside, UGA Extension advised. The best solution is to not leave these items outside (or in your garage) if you can possibly avoid it, and, if not, make sure you shake them out and check them carefully before putting them on.

Use insect repellent

The Mayo Clinic recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and shoes.

The best spider web wound dressings are fresh and clean so their natural healing qualities are in full force. (Handout/TNS)(Tribune News Service)

Don't create a habitat your home

Don't store firewood against your house, since it can serve as a haven for spiders who can then find their way inside. The same is true for piles of rocks or lumber near your home.

Clean up spider webs

If you see a spider web inside your home, vacuum it up, put it in a sealed bag and dispose of it outside.

Make it harder for spiders to get inside your home

Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors that fit tightly. Seal any cracks where spiders could work their way into your home.

Recognize the signs of a bite

Many spider bites go unnoticed or cause only an itchy bump. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may have been bitten by a venomous spider and should seek medical attention, according to the Mayo Clinic:
  • Pain – starting around the bite mark and possibly spreading to the abdomen, back or chest
  • Abdominal cramping – can be severe
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Skin that becomes dark blue or purple and develops into a deep open sore

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