Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lighting A Candle

Today is November 1, and the solemn countdown has begun towards our observance of the 11th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

In twenty days in locations all over the world, transpeople and our family members, friends and allies will stand in solidarity with us and help is mourn the people who tragically fell victim to trans hate violence.

We will read their names, light candles for them, shed some tears, pray for them, and resolve to make sure that what happened to them and their lives will never be forgotten.

This is not a happy-happy joy-joy event, nor should it be. It is a memorial.

But after we are done memorializing our fallen transpeeps, we need to be doing some hard, solid thinking about what we can do in our various locales to stem the tide of violence. We need to cooperatively work together with each other and our allies to stop the madness.

The candle is a symbol. When lit, it brings immediate light to a darkened room. When we began to draw attention to the horrific levels of violence visited upon our community, we shed light on that problem and sparked the national and eventual worldwide discussion and effort to combat the problem.

While it doesn't bring back the people we've already lost, what the TDOR does do is far more important. It gets the greater society to think about and focus needed attention on our community and realize we are human beings, too.

It hopefully will also move them to act in concert with us to end the scourge of anti-transgender violence that plagues it.

Hail JJ!

Had to show my high school alma mater back home some love as well. My Jesse Jones Falcons have been playing some serious light-out football back home. They have dominated District 22-4A for the last two years and the Falcons are the two time defending district champs.

Last year JJ went undefeated in District 22-4A play, but they have that same maddening tendency that the school had when I was walking the halls there of falling in the playoffs.

Aaron Taylor, our senior quarterback is starting to heat it up and the Falcon offense has responded. He's also determined to make this year's playoff sojourn a more extended stay.

They beat down our old rival Phillis Wheatley on and off the football field. There was a little rumble after the game as the frustrated Wildcat team turned the ball over four times and watched a 14-7 Wheatley lead turn into a 41-22 Falcon romp.

JJ ran their season record to 6-2 and a spotless 5-0 record in district play.

The Falcons have already clinched a playoff spot and can clinch the district title tonight for the third straight year with a win over Booker T. Washington.

So here's hoping my good day continues tonight with my alma maters winning football games.

What Are You Wearing For Halloween?

It's open thread time!

For those of you who are going to Halloween parties tonight or are thinking about it, what are you wearing?

What were your fave costumes of all time? What's your fave Halloween memory?

The comment thread is yours as I take a moment to scarf up some candy corn.

Coogs Treated To Shootout Win Over Southern Miss

My Number 15 ranked University of Houston Cougars won their matchup against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, but it wasn't easy. Both teams combined for 93 points and 1,358 yards in a defense optional shootout.

At one point during this wild game UH held a commanding 40-22 lead with 12:25 left, but two Southern Miss touchdown passes from Martevious Young to wide receiver Gerald Baptiste in a span of 5:25 tied the game with 57 seconds left.

It took Heisman Trophy candidate Case Keenum throwing for a personal best 559 yards and five TD's, a 48 yard touchdown throw to Patrick Edwards with 21 seconds remaining to break the tie, and the defense swatting down a Southern Mississippi Hail Mary pass in the end zone to preserve the 50-43 win over one of the C-USA East Division co-leaders.

The win was a Halloween treat for Cougar fans at the Rob as they witnessed the Cougars 13th straight home win.

In addition to the offensive fireworks Keenum provided, the Cougars racked up a season-high 750 yards of total offense as they bumped their season record to 7-1 for the year and 3-1 in C-USA West play.

Next up are road games versus Tulsa and UCF before they return to Robertson Stadium and finish the season at home against Memphis and Rice.

Pat Robertson And CBN Friends Are Tripping Again

Happy Halloween Peeps!

Too bad I'd already selected my Shut Up Fool! award winner for this week or televangelist Pat Robertson and CBN contributor Kimberly Daniels would have snatched the prize.

Pat posted an unhinged commentary by Daniels on his Christian Broadcast Network website as part of his anti-Halloween crusade.

His Hateraid for Halloween goes back to 1982. Back in the day he called it a “Satanic ritual” and said on his 700 Club TV show, “I think we ought to close Halloween down.”

On Oct. 29, 2007, Robertson called Halloween a “festival of the devil” and added that celebrating the holiday is “a mistake for Christians.”

Kimberly Daniels took it a step further by stating in the piece that has subsequently been taken down from the CBN website, “[M]ost of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches,” Daniels wrote. “I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference.”

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, urged Robertson and Daniels to lighten up.

“I’ve heard of the devil being in the details, but to think he’s lurking inside a Snickers bar is a little too much,” Lynn quipped. “Pat Robertson has always peddled some scary stuff, but this is over the top.”

Added Lynn, “I hate to see all of that candy go to waste. I wish Robertson would send it to me, because I’m throwing a Halloween party and could use it.”

I agree, Rev. Lynn. A chocolate bar is a terrible thing to waste. That's why I eat as much chocolate as I can stand and revel in every delicious minute of it.

It would also be a travesty to let those gummi bears, gumballs, malted milk balls and other delectable confections that hardworking people created go to waste as well.

“I think Pat has been watching too many scary movies. Still, if he doesn’t want to celebrate Halloween, that’s fine with me, but he should quit trying to spoil everyone else’s fun.”

No kidding, Rev. Lynn.

Yo Pat and Kim, if you have any candy corn, send it my way. I'll be glad to scarf it up for you or any candy you're not using tonight.

But seriously, y'all need to stop tripping over there at CBN.

Airline Manager Game On Facebook

Many of you loyal TransGriot readers know that I'm on Twitter and Facebook, and yes you can find me on both social networking sites.

Facebook does have some cool games and apps that are addicting. Every now and then my homegirl Melinda challenges me to a game that tests your geography knowledge.

The first time I played it I busted her high score. She has subsequently beaten that high score I posted and I haven't gone back to it yet.

My friend Chandler introduced me to a Facebook game that grabbed my interest. It's turning into a lot of fun and somewhat of a mini labor of love called Airline Manager.

Your challenge is to take the one airplane they start you off with (a Boeing 737-800) some start up capital and build an airline. You select the routes it flies, make the ad buys, employment payroll decisions, purchase fuel and investing in the stock in the other virtual air carriers in the game.

You also have all the drama of labor unrest, random events like bird strikes, potential fines, volatile fuel prices, C-checks and all the other joys and pains real life airline execs grapple with including the possibility of a crash.

Of course this appeals to the airline junkie in me, so I have been busy in between posts, work and speech writing building up TransTexas Airlines.

Of course you know I have my virtual airline hub in Houston, and I'm having fun recalling the 14 years of accumulated airline knowledge and making all the decisions that can make or break an airline.

Some of my old CAL co-workers are playing this game as well and I've invested in their airlines and Chandler's Happy Nappy Airlines.

Over time you want to build your airline into a powerhouse that gets cargo runs and make money so that you can buy bigger airplanes. You also get passenger bonuses that you can spend on items like 100,000 pounds of fuel, et cetera.

It's also real time based in terms of the flights. For example if you have a plane on the Houston-Nashville fight it actually takes 4 hours to complete a roundtrip. The Houston-London takes 16 hours. So you learn early you want a mix of short hauls and long routes that keep the cash flowing.

And just like with a real airline, your virtual planes can't make you any virtual cash if they're sitting on the ground.

Well, now that I'm hooked on the game, we'll see if I can build TransTexas Airlines into a powerhouse or bankrupt it. I was at CAL long enough to see it done both way, and have a head start in avoiding the mistakes that lead to bankruptcy.

But we'll see.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Not Feeling The New SCLC President

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference has a historic and symbiotic connection to the African- American civil rights movement.

It was founded to coordinate and support nonviolent protests of segregation and played a key role in many of the most famous demonstration of the civil rights movement. Its history is so intertwined with that history the SCLC's website can rightfully say 'Welcome To The Home of The Movement'.

One of the SCLC co-founders and its first president was none other than the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He ran the organization from its founding in 1957 until his 1968 assassination. His son Martin Luther King III led the SCLC from 1997 to 2004.

Can you guess who was one of the other co-founders of the SCLC?

If you said Bayard Rustin, congratulations and go to the head of the class.

This morning the SCLC announced the results of their October 29 presidential election. For the first time in SCLC history they will be led by a woman and she has accepted the position.

Interim SCLC president Rev. Byron Clay told reporters about their new leader, "She is excited. I am excited. The nation will be excited."

The TransGriot, much of the African-American GLBT community and our supporters aren't giddy about this news. It's because of who the SCLC selected as their first female president.

It's none other than Dr. King and Coretta Scott King's baby girl, the Rev. Dr. Bernice King.

Even though she'll be the third King to lead the organization and she's more than qualified to do it, I'm not feeling her in that post.

So why is Moni not feeling her? Glad you asked that question, TransGriot readers.

For starters, she's a minister and elder at New Birth Baptist Church in Lithonia, GA, the 25,000 member predominately African-American megachurch run by Bishop Eddie Long.

He spent most of the 2K's kissing up to the GOP, the Bush misadministration and the conservative movement's behind shilling for faith-based bucks.

New Birth Baptist Church was the outfit that sponsored an anti-marriage equality "Reigniting the Legacy" march in 2004 that started at the foot of Dr. King's tomb in the ATL and ended at Turner Field.

There's also this problematic statement she made as well.

“I know deep down in my sanctified soul that my father (Dr. King) did not take a bullet for same-sex marriage.”

Never mind the fact that King's late mother Coretta and her late older sister Yolanda had other ideas. Her mother was a long-time supporter of GLBT rights.

For too long, our nation has tolerated the insidious form of discrimination against this group of Americans, who have worked as hard as any other group, paid their taxes like everyone else, and yet have been denied equal protection under the law.... I believe that freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience.

My husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' On another occasion he said, 'I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.' Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others. The great promise of American democracy is that no group of people will be forced to suffer discrimination and injustice."

Yolanda King was an outspoken advocate for GLBT rights as well.

Coretta Scott King has stated she believed her husband would have supported the quest for equality by gays and reminded her critics that the 1963 March on Washington was organized by Bayard Rustin, an openly gay man.

The Rev. Eric Lee, the Los Angeles SCLC chapter president that the previous leadership tried to force out because of his support for marriage equality in California, said in a statement that he hopes King will follow her parents' example with respect to the rights of lesbians, gays and transgender people.

"We know that her mother, Coretta Scott King, was supportive of LGBT equality, and we believe that Dr. King would have been as well," Lee said. "My hope is that her election is a sign that SCLC is returning to its spirit of equality for all people."

I'm with Rev. Lee. Even after expressing my reservations about the latest Rev. Dr. King to helm the SCLC, I'm going to take the advice I give to the white GLBT community or a regular basis about President Obama and give her time to prove me wrong.

I want to see if the Rev Dr. Bernice King is going to live up to her father and mother's legacy and take the SCLC in a different, more positive direction for the 21st century.

A direction that recognizes Black GLBT people are part of the African American community and a stakeholder in the civil rights legacy that SCLC brought about.

If she doesn't after a reasonable amount of time has elapsed, well, you know the TransGriot and other Black GLBT bloggers definitely won't be shy about calling her out about it and reminding her that we are.

Trans People Are Part Of The Diverse Mosaic Of Life 2

I compiled a post which has photos of transpeople from various parts of our planet just living their lives.

Since our haters want to continue to deny our humanity, we exist and pimp other lies and falsehoods about us, here's some more photographic evidence that transpeople are part of the diverse mosaic of human life.

Harisu kisses her hubby on her wedding day in South Korea.

Iran's Maryam Khatoon Molkara getting ready

Bulent Ersoy during her successful free speech trial in Turkey.

German pole vaulter Balian Buschbaum

Director Linda Wachowski at a Hollywood event

Britain's April Ashley back in the day

Rabbi Elliott Kukla

Coccinelle in 1963 at the Olympia Revue in Paris

Uganda's Victor Juliet Mukasa after winning a court judgment.

Hawaii State Board of Education member Kim Coco Iwamoto speaking during a legislative hearing.

Former New Zealand MP Georgina Beyer, the first transwoman in the world elected to a national legislative body.

A group meeting of Cuban transwomen

The mother of the US transgender rights movement, Sylvia Rivera

Indian TV talk show host Rose

A Charles 'Teenie' Harris back in the day photo of Pittsburgh transwoman at a club

The Canadians Have A Point-Hate Speech Should Be Regulated

You know, I'm beginning to agree with the Canadians on the point they make about regulating hate speech, especially in light of the unprecedented racist abuse that President Obama is taking.

Many of us progressive Americans are fearing that some fool will go to the next level and attempt to do with a bullet what they couldn't do at the ballot box.

The Canadians use the standard under their Charter of a 'reasonable person'. Any speech that would be considered racist and offensive by that person is subject to regulation.

Yes, as a blogger and civil rights advocate I'm a staunch defender of the First Amendment. I have a copy of the US Constitution right next to my computer that I read on a regular basis. I'm quite aware it guarantees your right to free speech and dissent. But at the same time it guarantees my right as a person with contrary views to yours to have my say as well.

But with free speech comes consequences. I not only have an equal right to challenge you on it, but sue the crap out of you if your hate speech results in physical harm to my person.

When it comes to hate speech, while you have the right to say it, it doesn't add anything positive to the political discourse of the nation. All it does is fuel animosity and hatred. As a person of African descent I know all too well that unchecked hate speech far too often leads to escalating violence which can ultimately lead to death or genocide.

Too many times in this country's history we have seen hate speech used by vanilla flavored people to incite discourse and fan the flames of dissent in order to exploit the fears of people for their narrow political and economic interests.

Over the last fifty years, particularly during Democratic administrations we have seen a ratcheting up of hate speech by the conservative opposition to demonize politicians and people they don't agree with.

That has unfortunately led to the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the murders of many others working for progressive causes or social change.

We have seen this play out ever since President Obama was elected on November 4. The 'white' wing has been uttering increasingly nastier, false and devoid of logic rhetoric by the day. When you call them on it, you're accused of being 'politically correct' or 'stifling their constitutional First Amendment rights.'

And as a transperson, I see with grim regularity the hate of the 'christian' right, the Roman Catholic Church, radio shock jocks and transphobic bigots manifest itself into murdered transpeople that we end up memorializing every November 20.

Don't even get me started about the 'Kill him' cries that rang out during McCain-Palin rallies last year. Many of us are fearful that the unprecedented unhinged rhetoric being disgustingly spat by 'white' wing conservafools and pimped for ratings by Fox News at President Obama will lead to another tragedy.

So based on this backdrop of history, is it any wonder why I would be in favor of hate speech being closely monitored?

Shut Up Fool! Awards-Halloween Weekend Edition

Happy Halloween Weekend peeps!
Wow this year is definitely moving along. Only eight more weeks left until New year's day and the dawning of a new decade.

Not only are we getting ready to move into November, Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 AM. It's fall back time, so you'll get that hour of sleep back you lost in March.

Getting prepared for the invasion of ghosts. goblins, ghouls and other costumed creatures begging for treats Saturday night.

Speaking of goblins and ghouls, it's time to see if scary creatures like Ann Coultergeist or Rush Limbaugh made us scream about their stupidity or if we have some other fool that distinguished themselves this week.

As always, there were many worthy fools to choose from, but my winner this week was brought to my attention courtesy of Renee and a post she read at Feministing.

It talks about a USA Today article about conscience clause legislation. The right wingers have been pushing these bills which would allow pharmacists and health care workers to deny women access to birth control pills if it goes against the pharmacist's religion. These laws are also of concern to transpeople because we can be put in the situation in which a Bible thumping pharmacist could deny us access to our hormones and other medication we need for transition.

But our winner of this week's Shut Up Fool! Award is Dr. Michele Phillips from San Antonio, TX.

She had this to say in the opening paragraph of the USA Today article.

She had a request to give an unmarried female patient a prescription for birth control pills and refused to do so. She then resigned her position and does contract work at a 'faith-based' practice that permits her to "prescribe according to my ethical values. "Her reason?

"I'm not going to give any kind of medication I see as harmful. The drugs would not protect her patient from "emotional trauma from multiple partners," Phillips reasoned, or sexually transmitted diseases. "I could not ethically give that type of medication to a single woman."

Can you say 'evangelical christian'? Thought you could.

Michele, you're an embarrassment to the home state. To think my tax dollars paid for the med schools where you got that medical education.

You need to focus more on the Hippocratic Oath and less on injecting your personal religious beliefs into people's medical needs.

Dr. Michele Phillips, shut up fool!

Catholic Priest In Italy Given Involuntary Vacation After Marrying Transperson

For those people who continue to waste their time trying to argue with me that the Catholic Church doesn't have open hostility for transpeople, here's more evidence they have lost their damned minds.

According to an Agency France Press story, an Italian priest who blessed the marriage of a 64-year-old transsexual to her 58-year-old male partner was suspended, the Archbishop of Florence said in a statement on Monday.

Father Alessandro Santoro, a priest based in Piagge, an industrial suburb of Florence, married postoperative transwoman Sandra Alvino and Fortunato Talotta in a religious ceremony on Sunday.

Florence archbishop Giuseppe Betori said he had invited Santoro to take time off for "reflection and prayer" after he ignored protests from the Catholic Church not to go ahead with the union.

Betori described the couple's wedding as "devoid of value because of the absence of the necessary components of a religious marriage".

Excuse me?

"The act is particularly serious because it is misleading for the two people concerned," he added.

Betori claimed the ceremony had sparked "confusion" amongst Christians and the general public.

"They could think the essential conditions for a religious marriage have changed," he said.

The only 'confusion' here is how and why you clowns continue to call yourselves 'christians'.

Santoro defended his decision, stating it was "not an act of rebellion," but rather "an act of loyalty to my congregation, to the church and to the people that I love... It was my duty".

Cardinal Renato Martino, a senior Vatican official, had strongly criticized the decision to wed the couple.

"I do not understand how something like that can be done. It's against nature and it does not bring anything to the church," which does not recognize same-sex partnerships.

"Biology, that God made man and woman, cannot be changed by trickery," he said.

No, Cardinal Martino, you and your Vatican adviser Paul McHugh are the clueless idiots who refuse to deal with the reality that transpeople are part of the the God given diversity of human life.

Ms. Alvaro had SRS 20 years ago. It is an opposite gender marriage and it's time for y'all to wake up and smell the cappuccino on that.

But then again, why am I expecting rapid change from an institution that still won't admit it made an error when it persecuted Galileo and Copernicus for daring to suggest several centuries ago the Earth revolves around the Sun?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Little Sis Will End Year Atop World Tennis Rankings

For the first time since 2002 the final world tennis rankings will reflect what the whole planet already knows:

Serena Williams is the best women's tennis player in the world.

This elite tournament in Doha, Qatar matches up the top eight players in the world. Little Sis entered this $4.5 million season ending WTA Championships event trailing Safina by 155 ratings points.

The players are divided into two groups, the Maroon and White ones, with the top two from each group advancing to the semifinals after playing a round robin schedule. In addition, each victory in this tournament is worth 230 points.

After Serena dispatched Svetlana Kuznetsova in her opening Maroon Group match 7-6, 7-5, Safina entered her White Group match against Jelena Jankovic trailing by 75 points. After stepping onto the court and earning 70 ranking points for doing so, Safina was forced to retire two games into the mach due to a back injury.

Unfortunately defending champ Big Sis lost her Maroon group match to Elena Dementieva 6-3, 6-7, 2-6. The win gives Dementieva a share of the Maroon Group lead with Little Sis.

Even if Serena doesn't win any more matches, she will finish the year ranked Number one. Then she and Big Sis will get a well deserved break until January 18-31, 2010.

What are those dates, you ask? The scheduled dates for the first Grand Slam event of the 2010 tennis season, the Australian Open.

Trans Peeps In NY State No Longer Need Doctor's Note To Change Name

The good news just keeps on coming for the transgender community. A New York State appellate court on October 21 struck down a lower court requirement that transgender people seeking to change their names provide medical evidence of their need for the name change.

The case concerned Olin Winn-Ritzenberg, a 23 year old trans man who attempted to change his name earlier this year.

His name change petition was denied by the lower court because he had failed to provide a letter from a doctor, therapist or social worker establishing his need to change his name.

When he was told by a New York court clerk he had to show a note from his doctor detailing his "need" to change his name, he contacted the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund for help.

The appellate court wrote,

"[t]here is no sound basis in law or policy to engraft upon the statutory provisions an additional requirement that a transgendered-petitioner present medical substantiation for the desired name change." The court's decision sends a powerful message that transgender people must be treated equally and that they cannot be subjected to different legal requirements than everyone else. People’s names are fundamental to their identities. This decision confirms that each one of us has the right to be known by a name we choose. That decision can’t be second-guessed by doctors, therapists or anyone else simply because someone is transgender.

Upon learning of the ruling, Olin said in a statement, "This means that I can finally change my name and move forward with my life. My gender transition has been a very personal journey, and no one is in a better position to decide that I need to change my name than I am."

Thanks once again to TLDEF for being fierce advocates for our legal rights.