Thursday, March 30, 2017

TransFORM Our Hearts Event

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Our Republican controlled Texas legislature is still in session, and in addition to watching the Texas Transgender Oppression Act (SB 6), we are watching other unjust bills like SB 4.

Because the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) is happening tomorrow, an event is happening starting at 6 PM.

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In light of the continued violence exacted upon our Black sisters, the atrocity that is S.B. 6 that continues to demonize trans women, and the silence about the loss of Black lives coming from Washington    In light of the interdependent systems of disadvantage that affect the Latina trans community, the atrocity that is S.B. 4, and the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from Washington.

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Women and Allies and Pantsuit Republic Houston are hosting this fundraiser mixer at Dan Electros on Thursday, March 30 (on the eve of the day for trans visibility, March 31).

The purpose of this event will be continued education and awareness of the struggles of the Trans community in Houston.

It will be a great opportunity for all of us who do not know members of the Trans community to mingle and get to know more of our family in the fight against injustice.

Let's join them and other progressive organizations around town in support of a group that is continually marginalized! RSVP now! And invite all your friends!

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The address of Dan Electro's Guitar Bar  is 1031 E. 24th Street in Houston.   Looking forward to seeing you there. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Getting Another Award This Weekend

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Well, this latest award for my nearly 20 years of trans advocacy work is coming from an unexpected direction and organization in the Human Rights Campaign.

Yep, HRC.  And yeah, many of the folks in HRC Houston know that along with my longtime readers at times I have been one of the organization's harshest critics.

I'm getting the John Walzel Equality Award at the upcoming Houston gala on Saturday April 1, and nope, this isn't a TransGriot April Fool's Day prank.

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Who was John Walzel?   He was a native Houstonian, Bellaire HS grad and the owner of Walzel's Houston's oldest fine jewelry store that was founded by his father in 1944.

Walzel was also active in social justice and LGBTQ rights issues in Houston.   He was not only an active member of HRC and sat on its Board of Governors, but supported other causes like the AIDS Foundation Houston, the Center For AIDS, DIFFA, and the Houston Black Tie Dinner.

He was also politically active.  He supported Chris Bell in his unsuccessful bid to become Houston's mayor, Annise Parker when she successfully ran for city council, former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore.

Walzel died at age 50 while on vacation in New York in June 2002.  

 It's really happening, and HRC Houston was serious about wanting to honor the work I've done and will continue to do on behalf of the TBLGQ community.

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This year's gala is happening at the new Marriott Marquis hotel on the other side of Discovery Green in downtown Houston, and looking forward to seeing a few people this Saturday..

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trans*H4CK TDOV Panel 'On Being Black and Trans In The US'

March 31 is the Transgender Day of Visibility, and there are many event planned to focus on trans lives throughout the country

The Oakland based Trans*H4CK will be sponsoring a TDOV discussion moderated by Dr Kortney Ziegler entitled 'On Being Black and Trans in The US'.

The panelists are A. Dionne Stallworth,  Jevon Martin, Michael David Battle, Lynx M'Chea, Deja Sparks, Preston Martin and Lourdes Ashley Hunter.

This International Trans Day of Visibility, Trans*H4CK celebrates the lives of Black Trans Americans. In this live video panel, you will hear from black trans, black gender non conforming and black non-binary folks covering topics such as: Cross gender coalition building; Black Trans mental health; grassroots activism; ways to self-sustain as a black trans person with our current administration.
RSVP and join the discussion live on The LOFT March 31st at 10:00 AM PDT. 

The discussion will start at 10 AM PDT  (11:00 AM MDT, 12;00 PM CDT and 1:00 PM EDT)  and looking forward to hearing the discussion.

Handling Our #LGBTMedia17 Business in Orlando

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As you TransGriot readers were aware of, I've spent the last several days in Central Florida getting my learn on at the 8th annual LGBT Media Journalists Convening.

It's one of my fave events, and I get to spend some quality time  with my media fam in addition to get my learn on about the issues impacting our community in different parts of it.

Many of the premiere bloggers and journalists  of our community were in the Rosen Centre Hotel house including four of the five nominees for this year's GLAAD Best Blog Award.  

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So yep, that meant that for the first time since the 2012 Netroots Nation me and Alvin McEwen of 'Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters' not only got to see each other, but plot and plan how we were going to piss off the haters next.   I also got to hang out once again with many of our kick butt women bloggers and journalists, but also content owners like the amazing Melanie Davis

The trans media fam was in effect with birthday girl and my suitemate Dawn Ennis, Gwen Smith, my Houston homegirl Cristan Williams, Brynn Tannehill, Meredith Talusan and Lewis Wallace.

I also got to spend quality time with and get to know people like Derrick Clifton, Jahnell La Mara Johnson, and Rosalind Bentley.with the amazing Lizz Winstead, who was our MC for the weekend, and kept the panels running on time.

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Thursday night our mixer event was held at Mango's Tropical Cafe where we go to enjoy some great food and even better conversation.  It was nice hanging out with Joe Jervis and Colin Murphy and getting to talk to Andy Humm about community history.

 I also got a chance to hang out with my Orlando via Texas homegirl Melisa Gomez, meet Elixher's Associate Editor Jahnell La Mara, see old friends like new BiNet USA president Lynnette McFadzen, Trish Bendix, Ebone Bell, Fiona Dawson Zack Ford and Mary Emily O'Hara while eating some wonderful food and min lava cakes while seeing their show from a TV screen in our VP area that had a trio of Michael Jackson impersonators.

We also got to see upon our return to the Rosen Center Hotel from our excursion to Mango's the fountain in front of the hotel lit up in the rainbow flag colors in honor of our event being there.

Friday morning came way too early, and our first LGBTMedia17 day got started with breakfast and the morning talks from 9-12 noon

In addition to the extra day of informational panels and talks we were doing this year, there was also a new feature being initiated for this year's event in which we paired at a table with veteran and newbie attendees so the newbies didn't feel left out.

I was part of Trish Bendix's 'Trish's Magnificent Seven' table

The topics covered in those talks were Objectivity Is Dead by Lewis Wallace,  International News Coverage Begins At The Source by Michael Lavers,  Journalist Or Accidental Tourist: Covering International LGBTQ Issues  by Roberta Sklar, Visual Storytelling: A Guide To Showing Not Telling by Steve Johnson, When It Was Made About Me , I Learned It Had Nothing To Do About Me by Jana Shortal and we closed out the morning talks with Beyond Murder: Covering Transgender People Of Color  by Meredith Talusan.

We LGBTMedia attendees were also tweeting the proceeding via the #LGBTMedia17 hashtag, which we were proud to discover within an hour after the morning talks started, was the number one hashtag on Twitter.

We were also happy to discover during lunch that our gender neutral restroom sign was not only well received by other people sharing the hotel with us and being used, it was sparking conversations.

After lunch we had two deep dive sessions scheduled to run from 1-2:45 PM  to choose from that lasted 45 minutes with a 15 minute break to switch between session if you wished.

Steve Johnson moderated the Showing Not Telling session while Roberta Sklar moderated the Practical Considerations For International Coverage  one

After a snack break in the main meeting room from 2:45-3:15 PM  we began the Afternoon talks in which the topics covered were LGBTQ Equality and Religious Freedom: You Can Have Both  by Sally Steenland, #PopCulturePivot by Twanna Hines, Highlighting Experiences of Family Members Of Transgender People by Brynn Tannehill  and to close out the business end of LGBTMedia Day 1 Audience Engagement Is Like Dating by Joy Mayer.

After remarks from our MC Lizz Winstead, we had a break from 5:30-7 PM before we returned to Salon 3 for dinner, drinks and a speech from Atlanta mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard.

But before Cathy was brought on to speak to the LGBTMedia 17 fam by Jen Christensen, we were introduced to the owner of our amazing host venue Harris Rosen, who is also known in the Orlando area for his wonderful philanthropic work

Something I ate at breakfast that morning didn't agree with my stomach, and I left early during Cathy Woolard's speech to retire to my room and purge whatever was upsetting my stomach.  I got over it, but it kept me up most of the night as I made frequent trips to the porcelain throne room.

Yeah I know, TMI.

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So after that mostly sleepless night, my phone alarm rang way too early to start Day 2 of LGBTMedia17   After breakfast, we started Day 2 at 9:30 AM by talking about one of the things that was on everyone's mind since we were here in Orlando by discussing the PULSE club mass shooting attack.

The Covering Pulse panel featured Jeff Truesdell, Billy Manes, Erik Sandoval and Meredith Talusan.

It then moved on to introducing Ricardo Negron-Almodovar, who as a survivor of the Pulse attack told his perspective on what the media, and specifically the LGBTQ media got worng about their PULSE coverage and his hope it gets corrected before the looming one year anniversary of it on June 12.

Ricardo was also given extra time to talk because our MC correctly thought it needed to happen.

Andy Humm then took to the podium for his talk entitled There Is No Substitute For Face To Face Interaction, followed by Intersectionality and Storytelling by Derrick Clifton ,

The morning sessions closed out with a Science of Storytelling one by Matt Sheehan and Ann Christiano before we broke for lunch in Salon 3 at 12:30

Intersectionality is s topic that can't be discussed in 5  minutes, and it was something that myself and several people tweeted about in terms of wishing that it was a subject for a deep dive discussion.

Well, you know the old saying about putting something out in the atmosphere with the hope , speaking it into existence and it will happen?  We did so on the intersectionality topic and were rewarded with an intersectionality deep dive discussion moderated by Derrick Clifton.  But it was starting at 1 PM, so i had to finish my lunch a little faster than I would have liked in order to get back down to the Signature 1 main room where Derrick's session was happening.

It was a needed and necessary topic added in addition to the previously scheduled #StoryScience one by Sheehan and Christiano and How To Build Audience By Watching Movies and TV by Twanna Hines.

The 2:45 snack break came way too soon to end it and set us up for the Afternoon talks

Moya Bailey talked about via video Social Media and Social Justice Ethics, and took some questions from us before we moved on to the next topic .Prophecy and Proof: How A Half Century of Medical and Media Narratives Came To Define Transgender People  by Bethany Grace Howe.
Mary Emily O'Hara then took the podium to talk about Creating and Owning A New Beat.

Fiona Dawson then took the podium to discuss Leveraging The Intersection of Advocacy and Journalism.  She laid out in her discussion how her story about Logan and Laila Ireland eventually led to ending the ban on trans military service.

The final afternoon talks of  LGBTMedia17 covered the topics of the Power of A Single Story by Rosalind Bentley and my Texas homeboy David Taffet discussing Covering A Murder When The Story Leads Back To Your Office.   

After filling out some evaluations and some down time taken either in poolside conversations or retreating back to our various rooms to get ready for out on the town forays later that evening, we gathered in the Rosen Center hotel lobby at 6:30 PM to board the buses again.

We were traveling first to the PULSE nightclub to pay our respects to the 49 predominately Latinx people who died there, and then head to dinner in downtown Orlando at Kres Chophouse.

I and my dinner companions after being seated at the chophouse began to have discussion ranging from classic Black movies to neo-soul artist to me doing an impression of Anika Noni Rose's Grace Makutsi character from the short lived HBO cable TV series The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.

News flash, I do have a sense of humor I unleash upon the world at times.

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And yeah, they weren't kidding about those pork chops,.  They were thick, meaty and amazing

While some of us headed back to the hotel, others headed to The Parliament House or Southern Nights for a well deserved night on the town.   When we got back, I satisfied my Slurpee craving since there was a 7 Eleven less than a block from the hotel and paired it up with a slice of the pizza from the deli inside the Rosen Center hotel for a midnight snack.

Then I settled down to do some writing before I flipped the TV to SportsCenter to see how my NCAA men's and women's brackets were doing.  .

Sunday dawned with us gathering near the pool to have brunch and say goodbye to each other until we got the chance to see each other again either at some upcoming conference or next year's #LGBTMedia18 event.

Definitely looking forward to #LGBTMedia18, wherever it happens next year.

Monday, March 27, 2017

You Ride On An Airline Pass, Gotta Follow That Airline's Pass Rules

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I worked in the airline business for 14 years and transitioned in the middle of my time there at IAH's Terminal C.   One of my perks as an CAL airline employee was reduced rate non-revenue travel on mine and every airline on the planet that we had an interline agreement with.  

And yes, Moni did her share of domestic non-revenue travel of which I will expound upon in future TransGriot posts in terms of the joys and pains of airline travel while trans in the 90's.

I was a gate agent, CSR and a gate supervisor during my time with Continental, which meant that one of my job duties was to enforce the dress code for pass riders.

When I started at CAL in 1987, the employee pass policy of the time stated employees had to wear business attire, regardless of whether we were sitting in coach or first class or doing business or leisure non-rev travel.

That meant suits and ties for the guys, dresses, slacks or pantsuits with hose for women.

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When that policy was crafted, flying was considered a luxurious and status filled way to travel, and people dressed that upscale way when they did so.   It also made it easier for employees to get bumped up to first class if those were the only available seats left to put non-revs in on a full flight.

But because the airline business was changing in early 1987 and becoming a more common way to travel, folks in both classes of service started dressing more casually to do so.  The advent of frequent flyer programs like our OnePass one made upgrades happen more often, and us more formally dressed CAL airline employees following the company pass policies of the time stick out like sore thumbs when we non-revved on flights around the country and the world.

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The policy was changed so that we could dress in a more business casual style, but you still had items that we CAL employees couldn't wear when we did partake in non-rev travel.   When the buddy pass program was implemented in the late 90's, that company pass policy and its rules also extended to the people that we allowed to travel on our passes.  If they violated them, the punishment could extend to suspension or in the case of an egregious violation of those policies termination of buddy pass and non-revenue travel for the employee.

So yes, I was extremely careful about who I gave my ten buddy passes per year allotment out to, and in many cases when possible and I wasn't working, I traveled with the buddy pass rider to ensure they followed our airline's non-rev policies to the letter.

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Non revenue travel can also be stress inducing at times for the employee and the gate agent working the flight, especially if it's to a popular destination or during holidays. which is why I actually do more flying now that I'm not in the airline business than I did when I had the ability to fly around the world for next to nothing cost wise.

When we flew non-rev, we were also considered representatives of the company, which is why the dress code rules were around in the first place.

So when I heard this story about the teen girls being denied boarding on a United flight for wearing leggings and changing into dresses in order to fly, it brought me back to those days when I would have to diplomatically explain to someone screaming epithets at me that no, you can't travel wearing a bathing suit or Daisy Duke shorts on a flight while traveling on a buddy pass,. The flight was leaving on time from this gate, and you needed to change clothes ASAP if you wanted to fly on that pass and on that plane out of IAH today to your final destination.

I also had to explain to peeps from time to time that you couldn't fly on a pass barefoot, in flip flops, ripped jeans, tube tops or any attire that exposed your undergarments or revealed too much flesh.
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So I had to shake my head and chuckle at all these folks who don't have an airline background commenting on what happened at that United gate in Denver.  They basically took half the story and did some loud and wrong running at the mouth facts free commentary about it.

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Maybe at the time those policies were crafted for the merged Continental/United carrier, leggings weren't considered professional attire.  Fashion has evolved to where leggings have become a fashion forward item.   I also see this as a textbook case of someone getting half the story and stirring up misplaced outrage without having all of the facts.

United had every right to enforce their non-rev pass rules.  It is part of a gate agent's job to enforce those rules when they are violated whether the person violating them is a veteran UA employee or a teen traveling on a buddy pass.

How it's done depends on the circumstances.   But it still doesn't change the salient fact that if you're riding on a airline pass, whether you have an airline employee's badge or are traveling on that employee's passes, for that moment you are considered a representative of that carrier, and you still have to follow that airline's pass rules.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

BTWI Statement Concerning The Murder Of Alphonza Watson

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TransGriot Note: BTWI  Statement concerning the death of Alphonza Watson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2017
Contact: Monica Roberts BTWI Media Chair
Carmarion Anderson  BTWI Founding President
855-255-8636  Ext 11
media@blacktranswomen.org


Black Transwomen, Inc is once again dismayed and saddened to note the death of another of one of our trans sisters in 38 year old Alphonza Watson of Baltimore, MD.

She was found shot in the stomach in the 2400 block of Guilford Ave and later died from her gunshot wound at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Two males were seen leaving the scene in a dark colored vehicle

She is the eighth trans woman., and the seventh Black transwoman to die in 2017.

If you have information that will bring her killers to justice, you are urged to call the Baltimore Police Department at 410-396-2100, text a tip at 443-902-4824 or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7LOCKUP  (866-756 -2587).

Rest in power and peace ,sister.  We won't rest until the persons who killed you are brought to justice

Friday, March 24, 2017

Shut Up Fool Awards- LGBTMedia17 Edition

As many of you TransGriot readers are aware of, I'm in Orlando for the 8th annual LGBT Media Journalists Convening.   We had a mixer last night, and now we are knee deep into our first day of sessions.

But since it's Friday, and I have y'all spoiled, it's  time for our weekly post in which I call out our fools, that are everywhere.

So let's get to it.

Honorable mention number one  the Trump administration for pick an outrage this week

Honorable mention number two is Neil Gorsuch for trying to cover up his far right conservative judicial rulings during his confirmation hearings with a fake aw shucks demeanor. 

Naw homes, we know you're a younger version of Scalia and unfit for the SCOTUS.

Honorable mention number three is the Republican Majority for trying and failing so far to replace the ACA and replace it with Trumpcare

Honorable mention number four is Steven Hotze.  This long time Houston area gaybaiter just put out a video recently urging Texas lawmakers to support SB 6.
 
Really fool?   Don't you have a medical practice in Katy to run?

#NoMoreHotze  #ByeHaterHotze

Honorable mention number five is the National Organization for Marriage, who is mad that their hate bus got vandalized, and had the nerve to call it a 'hate crime'...

Naw you idiots, what you're doing to trans folks is a hate crime.

Accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, Rick Perry speaks after being sworn in as secretary of energy. On Friday, he addressed the department's employees.Keep going for a look back at Rick Perry's tenure in Texas through the eyes of Houston Chronicle editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson.  Photo: Olivier Douliery, MBR / Abaca Press
This week's Shut Up Fool winner is my former governor Rick Perry, who seems to be more concerned with a student government election on the Texas A&M campus than his job as Secretary of Energy.  

Secretary Goodhair is mad that the students at his alma mate elected an openly gay SGA president.

Gig 'em!   And dude, you have more important things to do than reading The Battalion and paying attention to A&M campus politics.

And oh yeah, Rick Perry, shut up fool!

   

Accuracy Matters When We're Discussing Trans Murders


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As much of the country is aware of, we have now had eight trans women murdered due to anti-trans violence.   We know that seven of the eight were Black, and one was native American.  We also know all of them were under age 40.

But we have some people in Trans World who wish to count a trans man who died as a result of a police incident as a murder when it wasn't.   We also have people that wish to include folks who have committed suicides.

No to both of those, and here's why.

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First of all, the trans man in question, Sean Hake wasn't murdered.   It was a police domestic disturbance situation that ended with a weapon being discharged and Hake dying as a result of it.   It wasn't a murder, and it's disrespectful to the memory of the eight women who have had their lives taken from us in 2017 to call it that.

Not all suicides involving trans people a result of anti-trans violence.  The reasons for a person committing suicide are as varied as the person committing it and them leaving a note behind explaining why they did so.  .

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As someone who has been tracking trans murders for over a decade, accuracy in how we talk about these cases matters.  Now that we're finally getting some media attention concerning the issues of anti-trans violence, we cannot afford to be perceived as fudging or inflating the numbers with cases that clearly aren't murders..

Accuracy matters when we're telling the story about our trans siblings murders.  It's even more important to be accurate about it because the victims are predominately people of color, and we're dealing with a media that is predominately made up of cisgender white people .    .

The numbers alone are horrific enough.   We don't need to cast doubt on them by calling a police incident an anti-trans murder when it isn't, or claiming suicides are 'anti-trans violence'

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Moni's In The Middle Of LGBTMedia17

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Had an amazing morning at IAH wandering Terminals C and E before I boarded my United flight to Orlando.  It was nice seeing some of my old co workers, and I see some more when I return on Sunday.

I've arrived in Orlando for what is basically a business trip.  I've been to the Orlando airport before to catch connecting flights, but this is the first time I've visited the city.

I've always wanted to visit Disney World, and when I was working at CAL is was something on my travel bucket list, ,but never got the chance to do so while I was an airline employee and had the ability to fly there.

I'm checked into my 17th floor Rosen Centre hotel room with a nice view of the Orlando Convention Center across the street  and downtown Orlando in the distance.  I also gleefully discovered I have a 7 Eleven less than a block away, so that means Slurpees will be destroyed on this trip

Image result for mangos orlandoI'm getting ready for the first event of this year's 8th Annual LGBT Media Journalists Convening, which is an icebreaker reception at Mango's Tropical Cafe.

I alway enjoy getting to see and spend quality time with my TBLGQ media colleagues from across the nation.   But this year's edition of LGBTMedia17 is happening at a time in which we have a so-called POTUS who seems to think it is okay to attack the media.

This convening is needed and even more necessary at a time when journalism is under attack.  For those of us in Trans World who are in attedace, we're here at a time when not only our humanity and human rights are under assault, we had our 8th trans woman of 2017 murdered in Baltimore a mere 24 hours ago.

It's going to be an interesting few days as we get our learn on about various issues that impact the TBLGQ community, network and get to see some of Orlando beyond the hotel.

You can check out the action at the #LGBTMedia17 hashtag, our Facebook pages, and our various blogs and media stories.

And so ready to get my media learn on.

Leaving On A Jet Plane- To Orlando

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It's time for me to hop on another plane to take me to another community event.  But this time I'm leaving out of as we call it in H-town the Big Airport, or Houston Intercontinental

It's always an emotional trip for me every time I fly out of IAH.   I spent 14 years of my life there working in the airline biz and have some fond memories of it and many of the people I worked with.

Probably going to be even more emotional because I'm getting close to the April 4 anniversary day I clocked in for work as me for the first time.  It would have also been my 30th anniversary year this year.

 I transitioned in the middle of Terminal C, and I still have friends there who haven't retired yet who started at CAL-UA when I did and I run into when I transit it from the ticket counters to the gates to the shoe shine guys.

Image result for Houston Intercontinental Airport terminal CThat means from the moment I arrive in Terminal C,  I'll be running into former coworkers from the time I arrive at IAH until the time I return.

And if it's a Houston based flight crew on either leg to MCO and back, that means I'll also possibly be running into flight attendants or pilots I know either on the plane or in the halls as I'm heading to my departure gate.  It's also a good thing that people still think highly of you, even though I haven't worked a flight in that building since February 2001.

While that a good thing, the bad news is that IAH is on the opposite side of town from where I currently live.

But hey, I get to see some of my IAH peeps, fly on a 737-900 for the first time and if my United flight is on time, in a few hours I get to see my homies and homettes from the LGBT media world

Rest In Power and Peace, Alphonza

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We have now lost eight trans women in 2017 to anti- trans violence.  Seven of them have been African American trans women.

The latest murder happened in Baltimore, MD  yesterday morning, and the person we will be saying her name is 38 year old Alphonza Watson.

Watson grew up in Washington DC, but moved to Baltimore 10-15 years ago.

She was found at 4:15 AM by police officers suffering from a gunshot wound to the stomach in the 2400 block of Guilford Ave ion the north side of Baltimore.  She was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital where she died from her wounds several hours later.

Baltimore Police media relations chief TJ Smith stated that witnesses reported an argument between Watson and two men took place before the gunshots happened.   Those witnesses reported that immediately after the gunshots two men were spotted running  and getting into a dark colored vehicle before speeding away from the scene.

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Baltimore has been a particular deadly city for trans women.  Since 2005 there have been 14 murders involving trans women, with Crystal Edmonds being the last person killed.

Edmonds case is still open, but the others according to Baltimore PD have been closed.

I'm also refusing to use  the mugshot that has been plastered all over Baltimore media out of respect for the deceased.  If someone who knows her has a nicer photo of our deceased sister, please send it to me so I can then share it with the media,

If you have information that will bring her killers to justice, you are urged to call the Baltimore Police Department at 410-396-2100, text a tip at 443-902-4824 or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7LOCKUP  (866-756 -2587).

Rest in power and peace, sis.   The community will not rest until the people who did this are caught and justice is served.