Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Historic Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit In Site Permanently Closing

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When the LGBT Media Journalists Convening happened in Philadelphia in 2014, the host hotel for it was right across the street from a trans historical site in Dewey's Lunch Counter.

52 years ago today a successful sit in a protest jumped off by African-American gender variant teens who were told they would be refused service if they were not in gender appropriate attire happened here.

This happened a year before Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco and four years before Stonewall. The Deweys protest was also another instance of a trans themed protest happening in the US and one that we know of with significant African-American involvement.

Since 1978 a 24 hour eatery has been open in the former Dewey's space called Little Pete's.  I'd eaten there with a strange sense of deja vu not long after I arrived in Philly and got settled into my #LGBTMedia14 hotel room.   I spotted it while gazing out the window of my room, was still hungry from my travel day, and just decided to check it out and grab something to eat there since it was close.

I was told a few hours later at the opening LGBT Media mixer event by a Philadelphia attendee who knows my love of history that we were across the street from the old Dewey's, and subsequently told all the trans journalists we were right across the street from a trans historical site.

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During a break in Saturday's LGBT Media programming, all the trans journalists in attendance,  myself, Gwen Smith, Dawn Ennis, Gretchen Hammond, Jos Truitt, Cristan Williams and Becky Juro along with NLGJA executive director Adam Pawlus walked across the street to take a photo in front of Little Pete's and pay respects to our sadly unknown elders who participated in that trans humanity centric protest.

Well peeps, if you wish to replicate that photo, better do it soon because the sad news I'm hearing is that Little Pete's will be permanently closing next month,   Its last day of business will be May 29, and after that it has a date with a wrecking ball to make room for a Hyatt Centric hotel.

It's always sad to me when a historic site closes,   Here's hoping that someone in the Philly LGBT community will work to have a historical marker placed at that spot where Black trans history was made once the new hotel is completed.

BTAC 2017- Day 1 Schedule

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My behind is hopefully in bed as you read this instead of running my mouth, but this is what's on the agenda for the first day of BTAC 2017 from our host hotel, the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria.

So looking forward to Day 1 of the 2017 edition of BTAC.  The theme for this year's conference is Loving Ourselves Through Ultimate Service (LOTUS).  That's important in a time in which we have a hostile federal government and many of us live in states that are hostile to trans people as well.

On the agenda at 1 PM CDT is the BTAC Conference Welcome and Orientation along with the first two sessions of BTAC 2017.

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At 7 PM the BTAC Interfaith Welcome Interfaith Service takes place followed by at 8:30 PM the AKANNI trans masculine support group meeting, the AYOMBI trans feminine support meeting and a new event this year, the ANCHORS cisgender women's support group.

We have always had cis women in our BTAC family who are either dating or married to trans men   This year we'll have a conference programming track set up to support them.

These women have also been invaluable in terms of breaking down to their trans feminine sisters what it's like and what the societal and community expectations are for being a Black woman as a person who has had to deal with those issues from birth.

Those conversations are vital to us building sisterhood not only in the BTAC and BTA ranks, but over time in the Black community as a whole.


Monday, April 24, 2017

'Great Day Houston' Transgender Issues Show

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While I was traveling to Dallas, the Great Day Houston show on KHOU-TV focused on transgender issues happened.  I knew it was going to talk place today and was asked to be there for it, but I'd already committed to traveling that day, and my bus was scheduled to leave an hour before I was supposed to be at the KHOU-TV studios.

Those studios are also just west of downtown.  

Oh well, can't be at everything.  But the cool thing about being an advocate during this time period i that we have more people stepping up to be voices for our community.  


Here's the video of the segment of Michael Hughes and Jessica Zyrie discussing the bathroom issue.  



A Test of Faith segment with Kimberly Shappley




Parenting Transgender Children with Dr. Joanna Smith



Transgender Rights with Dr. Colt Keo-Meier, Dr. Joanna Smith and Mitchell Katine



Transgender Q&A



Final Thoughts

Moni's In The Middle Of BTAC 2017!

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I'm finally in my room at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria, and ready to handle my BTAC business here as a board member and the Media chair for Black Transwomen, Inc.

This Megabus trip up left Houston 18 minutes late, and we got here to my stop at the DART Downtown Transit Center 20 minutes late.  

But I forgot that quickly as Rachel Gonzales scooped me up and we killed some time before i headed to the host hotel..

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And yes, since I'm treating BTAC as the start of my extended birthday celebration week, I'm going to take a little time to have some fun while I'm here as well.

There's a 7 Eleven around the corner in walking distance from the hotel, and they will be seeing me frequently destroying Slurpees this week.  Only four away from another free one.

I will be taking the time to write and tweet about what's happening here, and as a reminder, you can check out the #BTAC2017 hashtag on Twitter and Facebook to see what everyone's up to.

On that note, time to check the hotel lobby again and see who has arrived.  

BTAC 2017 Bound!

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Yes, I was just on a Megabus last week headed to Austin on Easter Sunday no less to do battle with the Texas Forces of Trans Intolerance desecrating our state capitol.

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Now that I've done my part to help fight the attempt to pass the unjust HB 2899, this time I get to do something that is fun for me in terms of getting on a Megabus rolling north on I-45 to go to Dallas for BTAC 2017.

The Black Trans Advocacy Conference is not only my favorite conference, it's a unique one in the trans conference ranks.  For five days, it's one that unapologetically centers Black trans people and the issues that impact our community while serving as a family reunion style gathering. 

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We also get to inform, educate and network with each other while building that extended family with life changing results.  Once you attend BTAC once, you'll never be the same person again.

It's even therapeutic in some ways.  I came up during the 2014 BTAC a day after enduring a 14 hour marathon HERO committee hearing in which I heard far too much dehumanizing anti-trans language from the opposition.  By the time I'd gone through the remaining days of BTAC enveloped in the love of my community, I was refreshed and ready to go back to Houston to take the HERO haters on
 
The planning committee enjoys putting it together, and they are shooting for another record attendance year for 
BTAC.  You can also follow the action on social media at the #BTAC2017 hashtag.

What will be weighing on our all our minds is Chay Reed, the young trans sister we just lost this weekend in Miami.  Here's hoping they catch the waste of DNA who killed her.

During this BTAC week that starts today, we'll have the blessing of getting together to make another year of memories, laugh, cry, learn from each other, hug old friends, meet new ones, thank our allies and sponsors for their support and just gather together as a extended family once again.
     

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In addition to the BTIPS pageant, the TransManifest  Live open mic talent show, the awards gala, the State of the Black Trans Community Town hall and Saturday's Family Fun Day, it's going to be another informative and fun week.  

Yeah, I spent much of the last few days since I returned from Austin catching up on my sleep since I know I have a few long nights ahead of me.  That's before I factor in all the folks in the DFW area who want to see and chat with me while I'm here. .   

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This is the sixth annual incarnation of it, and as a member of the BTWI board, I also get to do my part in helping the convention trains run on time.   It's also the kickoff to my extended birthday week celebration.    

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This BTAC 2017 week that we've all in the BTA family impatiently waited for since the close of last year's conference will sadly be complete when we reach Sunday, April 30.

And it's still not too late for you to join us.  See y'all in a few hours.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

We Don't Need Alt-Facts In Black Trans World

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One of the things I've been pondering in the run up to the start of BTAC 2017 in Dallas is the recent incident with a Black trans woman with a large YouTube media following in TS Madison Hinton having a trainwreck of an interview with a person who misgendered and disrespected trans men by calling them lesbians.

Note to that person, trans men are men.

That interview justifiably pissed off my trans brothers, and to TS Madison's credit, she wants to clean up the media mess she helped create and have a trans man on her channel who actually knows something about and can expertly talk about being a Black man of trans experience.

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But that incident drives me to make this point.  Our social media platforms, whether they are on blogs or video channels, are powerful informational tools that are not to be played with.  When you have a large media following, great responsibility comes with that social media platform, and what you say and how you say it matters.

When you put something out there on your social media platforms, especially as a Black trans person, it needs to be accurate and on point.because you don't get to make mistakes.  Neither should you be putting alt-facts out there either.

Not everyone is qualified to talk about trans issues, especially if you aren't living our trans lives.   There are also some folks in Black Trans and SGL World who need basic Trans 101 'ejumacation' themselves.

We already have the burden in Black Trans World of overcoming the myth with cis Black people fed by right wing kneegrow sellout preachers cooning it up for white fundie pastors that being trans is a 'white thang'.   There's also that myth in LGBTQ World that Black people are 'more homophobic' that needs to die as well.  

We Black trans peeps are far too often invisible to the media except when they want to cover another Black trans woman being murdered, and still screw it up.  

That media invisibility is even more pronounced for Black trans men, who get little to no coverage about the issues of importance to them   Neither do Black trans kids or their supportive parents.

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It's rare where we are shown in the media speaking intelligently about TBLGQ politics and other issues beyond the 'tragic transsexual' meme, so when we get those media moments as Black trans people, they are priceless educational opportunities to be used wisely.

That also includes our blogs and video platforms.  It takes a long time to build them up as credible sources, and it only takes one of two egregiously bad mistakes to ruin the years of hard work put in to get them to that point.

We also must remember that some of the peeps we need to educate on what ails the Black trans community are in our own cis Black community.   We must also be cognizant of the fact that with this ongoing national Republican push to pass unjust anti-trans laws, some of the legislators who will be voting YES or NO on those unjust bills share our ethnic heritage and are being lobbied by those misguided sellout pastors spouting facts free lies about us.

So facts about our Black trans lives matter.  Accurate telling of our Black trans stories matter.   Factually accurate discussions about our Black trans lives is mandatory, especially when you have a camera or a microphone in your face.

It's why we don't need nor should we tolerate any alt-facts about Black trans people in our Black trans community.
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It Is Not Godly To Oppress Trans People

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He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both [are] abomination to the LORD.   Proverbs 17:15

One of the things that bothers me as a Christian is when our right wing pseudo faith based opposition tries to hide behind Scripture and use it to justify their bigotry and hatred.

It is a centuries old tactic for conservatives to try to use the Bible as a shield in their attempts to other and demonize people, and now they are attempting to do so against transgender people.

The Southern Baptist denomination made it the official policy of their church in 2014 to hate trans people, following the Roman Catholic Church in doing so.

One of the basic commandments of our faith is to love thy neighbor as you love yourself.  It's obvious these faux faith based so called 'christians' hate themselves since they are so busy spending their time and hate orgs money bearing false witness against transgender people.

And the most odious part of their transphobic hate rants is that they are aiming them at transgender kids and their parents

I have a major problem with that.   My pissivity about it is heightened even further when you try to claim that God is on your side when you spout your loud and wrong facts free anti trans comments

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God hates injustice and the people who push it.  It's even more odious when you pastors are getting paid to push anti-trans hatred for your personal and political gain at trans kids and their parents who unconditionally love them.

Hate is not a Texas value, much less a value in our Christian faith tradition.  Love is.

It is not godly to oppress trans people, and if you pseudo faith bathed oppressors keep pushing that bald faced lie, you will reap what you sow, and the trans folks you are trying to oppress will be standing tall as your efforts to oppress them continue to fail.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

BTWI Statement Concerning The Death Of Chayvis 'Chay' Reed


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2017
Contact: Monica Roberts BTWI Media Chair
Carmarion Anderson  BTWI Founding National Director
855-255-8636 Ext 11
media@blacktranswomen.org

Black Transwomen, Inc is saddened and angered to hear about the loss of another precious life to anti-trans violence in the person of 28 year old Chayvis Darice 'Chay' Reed of Miami. FL.

We at Black Transwomen, Inc express our deepest condolences to Ms. Reed's family and all the people in her all too brief life who loved her.

According to a witness a group of people were walking up a sidewalk in the West Little River neighborhood near the intersections of Northwest 27th and Northwest 93rd Streets when one of them ran across Northwest 27th Street at approximately 5 AM EDT.   Six or seven shots subsequently rang out according to the witness and that person fell to the ground.

The shooter fled the scene and is being sought by Miami-Dade police.  The incident was captured by the home surveillance cameras of the witness, and the video is being reviewed by Miami-Dade police detectives.

We at BTWI are also upset and angered to note that once again, a deceased Black trans woman has been misgendered and disrespected in the local media.  

Reed is the ninth trans woman of color murdered in the US in 2017, and the eight African-American trans person killed  this year.   Out of those eight Black trans women we have lost this year, seven of them are under age 40.

If you have any information that will bring Chay's killer to justice, you are urged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305- 471-TIPS (8477)

Rest in power and peace, Chay.   Know that all who love you will not rest until justice is served in this case.
   

Now There Are Nine - Rest In Power And Peace, Chay

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We've lost another Black trans woman to anti-trans violence, and as you probably guessed, she  was misgendered by the media. 

The location for the ninth US trans murder this year is Miami, FL and it happened at approximately 5 AM EDT this morning according to a witness.  

28 year old Chayvis 'Chay' Darice Reed according to this witness was walking with a group along Northwest 27th Street and Northwest 93rd Street in the West Little River neighborhood.  The witness stated that one person ran across the street, six or seven gunshots subsequently rang out and a person fell to the ground.  

The shooter fled the scene and has not been located at this time.  The witness has home surveillance footage which is being reviewed by Miami-Dade police detectives. 

Chay is the ninth transperson of color killed in 2017, and the eighth Black trans woman this year.  
Of the eight Black trans women killed this year, sadly seven of them have been under age 40.

If you have information concerning Chay's murder that will help capture the perpetrator of it, you are urged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477)

If I hear of a memorial service for Chay, will pass along those detail as I receive them.

Dee Dee Watters will also be hosting a moment of silence in Chay's honor starting at 9 PM CDT this evening on her Facebook page.

Rest in power and peace, Chay.  Your trans family will not rest until the waste of DNA who killed you is rotting in a jail cell.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Shut Up Fool Awards- Countdown To BTAC 2017 Edition

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It's that time of year when I get to hang out for a week in Dallas at this year's edition of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference that runs from April 24-30.  It's a unique experience because it's one of the few that unapologetically focuses on the Black trans community with a family reunion feel.

That fun for me starts on Monday.    But today is Friday, and it's time to call out some fools for their usual shenanigans and idiocy.

So let's this this Shut Up Fool Awards party started

Let's just jump straight to this week's winner in Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. our Confederate Attorney General who seems to have a problem with the concept of judicial review.  .

Sessions is 'amazed' that a judge in Hawaii can squash a presidential executive order.   But had Jee been paying attention to or even much less reading the Constitution, he wouldn't and shouldn't be surprised about that.

But he didn't have any problems with judicial review when it was working to shut down executive orders that POTUS 44 was writing.

Coretta was right.  You're not only not qualified to be a federal judge, you're unqualified to be Attorney General of the United States.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III,shut up fool!

Moni's Texas Travel Bucket List

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Since today is the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto that led to Texas' independence from Mexico,  I thought this would be an apropos day for this post.

I have been blessed to travel around much of the US, and much of my France sized home state.  I have done the long drive along 1-10 from Houston to LA twice, have visited the LBJ Ranch and his presidential library on the UT campus, and gone to Dallas so much I can drive around it without a map.   .

But there are still parts of the Lone Star State I haven't seen or visited.   Here's my Top 10 spots that I'd like to visit inside the Lone Star State

1. Corpus Christi

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It's Selena's hometown and the gateway to another spot I'd love to visit in Padre Island.   Would love to see the Selena Museum and some of the other sights of Corpus Christi before zooming across the Queen Isabella Causeway to Padre Island.

2.  Padre Island

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I was supposed to go there for a high school senior trip but didn't.   Even during my airline days I put it on the back burner of places to go see because I now had an expanded list of places and famous beaches to visit.   It's also home to Padre Island National Seashore, which protects 70 miles of the 113 mile long barrier island from the development that has turned South Padre Island iato a spring break destination.

3. The Rio Grande Valley

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It's considered to be the three counties along the southernmost tip of the Texas-Mexico border, Starr, Hidalgo, and Cameron counties plus Willacy County.   Despite having a lot of friends and people I know who grew up there, I've never been to 'The Valley', which is also predominately Latinx.

I would love to visit the cities of Harlingen, McAllen, Brownsville and check out its blended culture. They do host a gender conference at UT- Rio Grande Valley, so maybe that will happen for me sooner than I think.

4. Big Bend National Park

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While I'm not one of those girls who loves camping out, still have to check out Big Bend National Park and all it has to offer scenery wise.

It hugs much of the Texas-Mexico border in West Texas, and because it is sparsely populated and a long way from city lights, it is considered prime territory for star gazing and has the McDonald Observatory nearby.

Image result for amarillo tx5. The Panhandle

It consists of the northernmost 26 counties in the state and has Amarillo as its major city, connected to Lubbock by I-27.   It also has Palo Duro Canyon in the region just south of Amarillo, which is the second largest canyon in the United States .

Speaking of Amarillo, which is on I-40 and the fabled Route 66, it has some attractions of its own like the Cadillac Ranch sculpture and the Big Texan restaurant with it's 72 oz steak that free if you can complete its food challenge.

6/  Texarkana

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While I've driven through it twice in 2006 and stopped to get gas there on my way from Louisville to Dallas for my cousin's wedding, I'd still like to see State Line Drive and the Texarkana City Hall that straddles the border between Texas and Arkansas.

7. Lockhart

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In a state that is well known around the world for its barbecue, Lockhart is the mecca for it with four well known spots to pig out on it (pun intended)   And yes, this town has been on my radar for some time.

There's Smitty's,  Kreuz marker, Lockhart BBQ and Black's, and they all have people arguing constantly over which one serves the best barbecue.

Image result for fort worth water gardens8. Ft. Worth

While I have gone to Dallas frequently for a lot of reasons including family visits and the BTAC convention, that's not the case for its next door neighbor in Ft. Worth,

I've been there only once because I tagged along with my godbrother on a drive in 1981, and after Brent finished some TSTC school registration business in Waco, decided to head north on I-35 to visit his then girlfriend at TCU.

But there's a lot more to visit than the TCU campus, and that includes the Ft. Worth Stockyards, the Water Garden, the Ft Worth Zoo, and Billy Bob's Texas .

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9. Waco

The home of Baylor University and county seat of McLennan County is another place I haven't visited that does have some things to see besides the campus.  The Waco Suspension Bridge that was completed in 1870 and is open to foot traffic only, is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was the first bridge built across the Brazos River, and was used by people driving cattle along the Chisholm Trail.

And yes, just east of town was the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff.

10..Nacogdoches

It's considered the oldest town in Texas, being founded by the Spanish in 1716, two years before San Antonio was founded.

It is the home of Stephen F. Austin State University, where the Texas Transgender Non Discrimination Summit will be held this year..  It also hosts the Texas Blueberry Festival,

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Late Night In The ATX Fighting Trans Hate

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It was a long day and a late night for all of us justice loving people who were there from across the state of Texas to register our opposition to the unjust HB 2899.

Registration didn't start for oral testimony until 10 AM, but when it did I was one of the first peeps at the computer set up in our hospitality room to sign up to have my say.  I was surprised because my name got called a little early in the evening to testify, but once again, being in Austin for the last few days thanks to a major assist from my BTAC fam in Maddox and Rebecca Jackson made that possible.

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There were 389 people who registered to testify on HB 2899.  Of that number, the overwhelming majority of us were in opposition to its passage with only 18 people for it and 2 neutral.

And after a day that started for many of us a 7 AM CDT, the hearing finally got cranked up at 11:45 PM and went on until 4:40 AM.  

This committee was more diverse than the Senate one that couldn't hide their disdain for us a few weeks ago when we Texas trans folks, Mama and Papa Bears and our allies once again bumrushed our state capitol to express our opposition to the unjust SB 2899.

House State Affair Chair Rep. Byron Cook (R) was making sure that he ran the proceedings in an evenhanded and fair manner.

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n between the time I was at the Capitol talking to numerous people, getting my lunchtime Slurpee and wings and contemplating how and what I would say to the committee,  I was getting do something I don't get a chance to do back home in Houston:. television interviews.

Thanks to Adela Uchida of KEYE-TV (the local CBS outlet) and KXAN-TV along with interviews in the Texas Observer and another local media print outlet, I was getting the message out there that this bill deserved to die and discrimination aimed at any Texan is unacceptable.

By the time I finally stepped to the podium somewhere around 12:55 AM, an Anna Julia Cooper quote was echoing in my head before I took a deep breath and handled my human rights business on behalf of my Black trans community and the orgs that I represent.

What that Cooper quote, you ask?

'
Only the black woman can say 'when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing or special patronage, then and there the whole Negro race enters with me'


Image may contain: one or more people and indoorI got to crash a little after 3 AM because they called my name early, but I went to sleep knowing there were more than 50+ people still waiting to testify and those folks waiting to speak their minds to the committee were overwhelmingly going to be doing so in opposition to the bill.

And once again, I got to rep my Texas and hometown Black trans community.

As for what happened when the testimony concluded, the committee left the unjust HB 2899 pending, which means they can either call it to a vote or just sit on it until May 29.

How about y'all just kill the unjust bill and call it a day?   

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

HB 2899 Hearing Is Today

Once again I'm hanging out with a few of my friends from across Texas waiting to testify against HB 2899.  It's a bill that will not only bar Texas cities from passing ne non discrimination laws, it would wipe out current passed non discrimination laws in Austin, Dallas, El Paso and San Antonio in addition to oppressing trans Texans.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, shoes and childRegistration opened up at 10 AM, and it is supposed to be taking place at the John H Reagan Building.  

It has been postponed a few times already, and we are prepared to be here for a while.

If you wish to register your opposition to HB 2899, you can do so at this link 

Check my Twitter page also for my running commentary about the hearing, or the hurry up and wait nature of this that seems to be what's going on right now.