Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Congrats Janet Mock For Making TheGrio 100 List!

Had to take a moment to give a TransGriot shoutout and congratulate my sis Janet Mock for making TheGrio's 2012 list of 100 people making history today in the Media category .  

Here's the full list in case you wish to peruse it.

It's nice that people get to read her story and realize that African American transpeople exist in our community who are successful and are proud of being who we are.

Much love and respect for you making this list of community movers and shakers. 

Keep on being a positive role model for your generation of trans women, mine, and future generations to come.

Happy Birthday Kerry Washington!

I love actress Kerry Washington, and had fun watching her thoughtfully eviscerate conservafools in various debates in the runup to that historic 2008 election as a Obama supporter.

My respect level for her went up to stratospheric levels when in an interview she gave while promoting the movie Life Is Hot In Cracktown in which she played transwoman Marybeth she made this thought provoking point.
Because, really, what a trans woman is, is somebody who is a woman but whose biology has betrayed them in someway. For me, I take for granted my identity as a woman. I take for granted my anatomy and physiology. I don't really think about those things. What if actually I was born with my body betraying me in some way? I would think about it differently. I go to the gym four times a week to get rid of my ass but what if instead I was paying thousands of dollars on the black market in hormone therapy to have an ass? [Laughs] I might walk differently, stand differently, dress differently -- I might think about celebrating my identity as a woman in a different way.
I also discovered that in the process of filming that movie, to more authentically play Marybeth, she hired Valerie Spencer as an advisor.   Valerie and I talked about that experience she had with Kerry when I finally had the pleasure of meeting her during the 2011 Out on the Hill Conference.

Well, today is Kerry's birthday and I wasn't letting it pass without giving her a TransGriot shout out

Naw, It Ain't 'The New DADT'

A new OutServe article talks about an issue we loudly were trying to point out to you GLB peeps back in December 2010 when the DADT repeal was being blitzed through that lame duck session of Congress that trans military personnel couldn't openly serve either. .

While DADT didn't specifically mention trans people, it was still being used to out trans military personnel and kick us out of the US armed forces. We pointed out the DADT repeal bill needed language in it to cover trans military personnel and wouldn't do squat for us if it didn't , but you deliberately ignored that point.

Then when you loudly crowed about the DADT repeal being signed by President Obama and celebrated your win when it took effect September 20, 2011 about GLB peeps finally getting to serve openly and proudly after a 17 year fight, elements of you accused the trans community of 'sour grapes' for not being happy about being thrown under the bus by y'all once again as you stuffed yourselves at the human rights table and left us behind because you wanted a win after that 2009 Maine marriage referenda defeat

We are painfully aware that as long as one house of Congress is controlled by the Republifools, nothing is going to happen to fix this problem.   We are going to need the reelection of President Obama, the retaking of the House by the Democrats and the Democrats holding the Senate in the upcoming 2012 election before w get any congressional action to rectify this.

So where do the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and our 'fierce advocates' in the GLB community stand on the issue of pushing for their trans brothers and sisters to serve openly as GLB people do?  While SLDN includes this trans service page on their website, you'll have to go to a drop down menu to find it..

While SLDN talks about the need for trans people to openly serve, they haven't walked the walk.  They are more preoccupied with marriage and partner related issues than doing things to help speed up the day that trans people can openly serve their country.

So naw it ain't 'the New DADT' as this OutServe article mistakenly called it.   It's the same BS that transpeople in the United Sates who want to openly serve in our nation's military have had to contend with for years that could have been rectified in 2010 but wasn't.

Canadian Air Travel Regulation Changes Concern Trans People On Both Sides Of The Border

Air travel is a stressful enough situation for trans people to endure, especially when we have combinations of identity documents that may or may not match our current gender presentations for various reasons.  

Mercedes Allen has a post up at her Dented Blue Mercedes blog which comments about a Canadian regulatory change in the Aeronautics Act pushed through by Harper government ministerial fiat that may affect the trans communities on both sides of our shared border.  

The air travel regulation change  happened July 29.  It has trans Canadians concerned and has the potential to cause problems for transpeople of other nations either flying to, from or transiting Canada if they possess documents that don't reflect their gender presentation.

Sec 5.2(1)(c) of the ID screening regs of Aeronautics Act "An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents."

Hmm.  That's problematic to say the least.   What if you're from a province that will not allow you to change gender markers on your ID without surgery?   The Canadian government also will not allow you to change the gender marker on your passport without proof of surgical reassignment or a letter guaranteeing you will undergo SRS within a year..

So in a nutshell, our Canadian transpeeps in that mismatched gender marker situation are effectively banned from flying on airplanes inside or out of their nation.

There are also a few US states that will not allow you to change the gender marker on ID without proof of SRS either, but that is mitigated somewhat by the State Department regulations allowing us to obtain United States passports with the correct gender marker without surgical intervention.  

The regulation's unintended (?) discriminatory consequences needs to be pointed out to Transport Canada.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Another Obama Administration 'Crumb'- HUD Housing Nondiscrimination Rule To Be Enacted

The rainbow fixated on gay marriage only detractors of President Obama or busy selling out to the GOP were loud about hollering 'crumbs' every time the administration made regulatory or policy changes that positively impacted this community.

Well, here's another 'crumb' they can gripe and mumble incoherently to themselves about.   

The Federal Housing Administration announced today in a press release they have released the final text of HUD's new nondiscrimination rule that will prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in several HUD programs including Title VIII based public housing and FHA backed loans.

It was also announced during the just concluded Creating Change conference in Baltimore by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

According to HUD the new nondiscrimination rule will:
  • Requires owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing, or housing whose financing is insured by HUD, to make housing available without regard to the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant for, or occupant of, the dwelling, whether renter- or owner-occupied.  HUD will institute this policy in its rental assistance and homeownership programs, which include the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance programs, community development programs, and public and assisted housing programs.
  • Prohibits lenders from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a basis to determine a borrower’s eligibility for FHA-insured mortgage financing.  FHA’s current regulations provide that a mortgage lender’s determination of the adequacy of a borrower’s income “shall be made in a uniform manner without regard to” specified prohibited grounds.  The rule will add actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity to the prohibited grounds to ensure FHA-approved lenders do not deny or otherwise alter the terms of mortgages on the basis of irrelevant criteria.
  • Clarifies that all otherwise eligible families, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, will have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs. In the majority of HUD’s rental and homeownership programs the term “family” already has a broad scope, and includes a single person and families with or without children.  HUD’s rule clarifies that otherwise eligible families may not be excluded because one or more members of the family may be an LGBT individual, have an LGBT relationship, or be perceived to be such an individual or in such relationship.
  • Prohibits owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing or housing insured by HUD from asking about an applicant or occupant’s sexual orientation and gender identity for the purpose of determining eligibility or otherwise making housing available. In response to comments on the proposed rule, HUD has clarified this final rule to state that this provision does not prohibit voluntary and anonymous reporting of sexual orientation or gender identity pursuant to state, local, or federal data collection requirements.
The rule will be published in the Federal Register and will take effect 30 days after its publication.


The Muppets Strike Back At Fox Noise

Remember the ridiculous assertion that Faux Business news commentator Eric Bolling made that the Muppets were 'communist', 'anti Big Oil' and 'brainwashing kids against capitalism' last month?  

Well, the Muppets have struck back.

And naw, it isn't brainwashing kids to let them know that the almighty business sector at times will stoop to cheating, theft, crony capitalism and unethical behavior in the name of making profits.

2012 Team USA Women's Olympic Soccer Watch- Clean Sheet To Title

The highly anticipated showdown between the USA and Canada for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament championship last night had a disappointing result for much of the record pro-Canadian sellout crowd of 25,427 at BC Place Stadium.

It was another dominating day at the office for Team USA, another USA win on Canadian soil and their third straight CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament title with the 4-0 win.

It didn't take Team USA long to get on the scoreboard as Alex Morgan scored her first goal of the evening only four minutes into the first half.  Abby Wambach followed it up with a pair of goals in the 24th and 28th minutes to propel the FIFA number one ranked squad to a comfortable 3-0 halftime lead.  Morgan contributed another goal in the 56th minute as the USA kept up the pressure on their northern neighbors all night.    

The win allowed the USA to complete this CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament without giving up a goal while blistering opposing nets 38 times in five matches.  It also increased their record to 5-0-1 in matches played against Canada on their side of the border.

Shoot, save some of that firepower for London.  

Can't wait until the chase for the Olympic threepeat starts in July..

Transphobic Actions At A Tennessee A'Gaci?

One of the things I was concerned about when the bigot eruptions started happening at the governmental level in Tennessee last year is that the legislative bigotry they were peddling would filter down to the unwashed masses in the rest of the state.

I  had good reasons to be concerned in light of some highly publicized Volunteer State incidents such as transwoman Forresta Bee being publicly disrespected at a Nashville radio station party at LP Field to another transwoman being arrested after a protest at a Tennessee drivers license facility to a state legislator trying to pass an unjust transphobic bathoom bill.

The reactions to the overt and covert hatred peddled by Republican politicians has been heard loud and clear in the Volunteer State, and now in the wake of the increasing transphobia I received this e-mail from an African-American transwoman living in the state.    

She recounted a less than pleasant experience she and a gay friend endured recently at the A'Gaci location at the Stones River Mall in Murfreesboro, TN.


My name is Paris Pinkerton and I’m 22 year old transgender woman who lives in Middle Tennessee. Last Saturday (January 21), a friend and I went shopping at the Stones River Mall. We ended up experiencing discrimination in A’Gaci that day, which is a department store that’s located inside of the mall.

Once we arrived at the Stones River Mall, we both went inside A’Gaci and started shopping. I found a few items that I wanted to buy so I walked to the cash register to pay for the items I had selected.  My friend was standing right beside me while I was at the register, and I kept noticing that one of the cashier’s had a look of disgust on her face. She was telling me how cute my purchases were, but she kept eying my friend who is a flamboyant gay male.

After I made my purchases, I put on the items inside of the store and walked out with my friend. We shopped in the mall for a couple of hours until we got tired and decided to leave, and proceeded to exit the mall through A’Gaci.  

I saw a childhood friend while I was exiting the store and we started talking.  My childhood friend was actually working at the cash register inside of A’Gaci during that time, and I noticed that her manager (Alicia) was looking at me while standing next to a security guard. After our conversation was over, her manager (Alicia) called my friend and I over to where she was standing. That’s when the security guard informed me that we were banned from the store. I asked why and the manager refused to give me an answer, and just kept insisting that we leave.

Not long after that, the security guard left and I asked the manager if I could speak to her manager. She informed me that the store manager was not there, and that’s when I asked her why I was being banned from her store.  This time, she told me that there was a misunderstanding.   I told her that I thought she was discriminating against me, because of the fact that I’m an African-American transgender woman. However, she denied that was discrimination and that I wasn’t banned. I was still upset at how she approached me so disrespectfully, that I demanded to speak to the store manager (Amy). She informed me that she wouldn’t be in until Monday, and that I could talk to her then. I called the manager (Alicia) back, because I forgot to ask for the store manager’s (Amy) name. She told me that her name was Amy, and that she had spoken to after my friend and I had left. She also went on to tell me that they had both made the decision to go ahead and ban us from the store.

            The following week, I called the A’Gaci store manager (Amy) and explained what happened to her. She pulled the report, and told me that I was banned because I caused a scene by accusing her manager of discrimination. She started being rude and getting loud whenever I told her that I did not cause a scene in the store. I let her know that her manager and the mall security singled my friend and I out by humiliating us in front of everyone, and that I was just taking up for myself. She went on to say that they have the right to ban whoever they want, and that she stands by her manager’s (Alicia) decision. That’s when I asked for corporates number, which she did give to me.

            Shortly after my discussion with the store manager (Amy), I called corporate and was directed to the A’Gaci district manager. I explained what had transpired, and that I was a paying customer, as well as an awards card member in her store. That’s when she told me her team had handled the situation incorrectly, and that she was sorry. She went on to say that she didn’t want to lose me as a customer, however I informed her that I wouldn’t shop at a store that allowed their employee’s to openly discriminate against while still remaining hired. She told me that she was not able to fire the manager that had discriminated against me, but she could train her employee’s how to handle situations better. I told her that I didn’t think that was enough, and she told me that loss prevention would be contacting me later in the week to discuss the matter.
The week has already passed, and I have still have not heard from the A’Gaci district manager or loss prevention. With that being said, I know that my rights were violated in A’Gaci that day and it’s sad that I still have not received a concrete reason why I was banned from the store.

I think that everyone should boycott A’Gaci, because they allow their employees to openly discriminate against customers who are part of the LGBT community!


For those of you who wonder why I go ballistic when I hear some transpeople ignorantly assert that we don't need public accommodations language in any trans human rights legislation, situations like these are the reason why.

But back to this post.   Ms. Pinkerton has a point. Why is she being banned from a store for simply doing what anyone else would have done in her situation?  Wouldn't you if you felt you were being disrespected and discriminated against not only be pissed about it, but demand answers as to why as a loyal customer of the store was being treated that way?

I suspect she's correct in presuming by the A'gaci management actions she is being unfairly treated, and there  may be a strong undercurrent of homophobia and transphobia undergirding why this is happening to her and her shopping companion.

It's a things that make you go hmm question that Paris, the Tennessee TBLG community and all inquiring justice seeking minds deserve a straight (pardon the pun) answer to.

At the least, Ms. Pinkerton and her companion deserve an apology.