Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The 50th Anniversary Of The March On Washington And The Trans Community

Today is the actual 50th Anniversary of the March On Washington which was capped by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's speech for the ages. 

I spent most of last Saturday afternoon glued to the couch watching the  commemoration march that happened Saturday and seeing friends like Donna Payne and Aisha Moodie-Mills either speaking during the event or getting to comment on it afterward. 

While I'm happy the gay and lesbain segment of the African-American community got to participate last Saturday, it still bothered me that there was no T and B representation at the event.

Now that I've gotten the obvious point of contention out of the way, time to use this anniversary date to ponder where the African-American trans community is as of August 28, 2013.

We are now sixty years past the February date in which Christine Jorgensen stepped off the plane from Denmark to the glare of the world's media in New York.  The Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit-In and Protest we would jump off in Philly happened two years after the March On Washington.

Just as it was pointed out by of African-American cis brothers and cis sisters, while the African-American trans community has made some fantastic progress since 1953, in many ways it has still been the same old same old dynamic. 

And yes, as I continue to point out, Black transgender issues are black community issues.   Like our cisgender counterparts we face Stop and Frisk policing.   The voter suppression issues affect us too.  And yes, while I may have morphed into a different body shape, I still because of my Black skin and heritage face the same bigotry and old racism like every other African American    

Being transgender didn't change that, just the way I experience it.

Speaking of the transgender community,  we're still invisible when it comes to the leadership ranks of this community.   We still face crushing unemployment-underemployment, and yes, we're taking along with our Latina transsisters the brunt of the casualties as last week's deaths of Islan nettles and Domonique Newburn painfully pointed out.

And we have to deal with the scourge of transphobia inside the African-American community that is fueling some of the anti-trans hate and violence we are suffering. 

But at the same time there are encouraging signs that we're making progress.  In this decade we have more out and proud African descended trans role models than ever before.   We have TPOCC, the NBJC and a host of local organizations fighting for our human rights.   The NAACP is recognizing that their membership base contains Black trans people.   BTMI and BTWI in just three short years has inspired our transbrothers to not only step up their leadership game inside and outside our community but reclaim their history.  We have Black trans people doing some amazing things and as more of us walk off college campuses with degrees in hand I expect to see more groundbreaking and amazing leadership and things to come from my younger transsisters and transbrothers 

Yes, we've made some amazing progress, but we African descended transpeople still have like our cis African-American counterparts a long way to go and problems to solve. 





     

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two More Trans Sisters Senselessly Killed

Islan NettlesDamn, we've lost two more girls like us to anti-trans violence.   Once again both transwomen who were killed were under age 35.

We'll start this sad news off with what transpired in New York last weekend.   

21 year old aspiring fashion designer  Islan Nettles was out with a group of trans girlfriends when they ran across a group of men around 11 PM EDT Saturday at the corner of West 148th Street and Eighth Ave. 

When the men realized they were girls like us, they began spouting transphobic slurs and savagely throwing punches   Nettles was taken to Harlem Hospital where she remained on life support for several days until she was taken off of it August 22 and subsequently died of her injuries.

The anti-trans hate attack took place across the street from the NYPD Police Service Area 6 station and resulted in the initial arrest of 20 year old Paris Wilson.    The investigation by police detectives was thrown course by a false confession of one of Wilson's friends and the belief that Nettles' injuries weren't fatally serious.

Nettle's mother and Harlem based TBLG groups are not happy with the ridiculaously low bail set in this case. The Manhattan D.A. requested $7,500 bail during the first court appearance but Judge Melissa Crane set bail at $4,000 bond or $2,000 cash after Wilson's attorney argued that he was no flight risk.

"It's troubling that such a terrible attack would happen and there was no awareness and the person got let back out on the street with a small bail," said Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center said according to a DNAInfo story.         

Domonique Newburn, 31, aspired to be a reality TV star and the first transgender performer with a hit song on iTunes.Meanwhile on the Left Coast it was 32 year old aspiring actress Domonique Newburn, who was found dead in her Fontana, CA apartment at 4:30 PM PDT on August 20   Newburn appeared in the YouTube web series Hollywood House Boys, a show about gay and transgender friends

Witnesses told police they saw a bare chested man leaving the apartment in what appears to be Newburn's vehicle, a black four door 2004 Mercedes  C240 with the California license plate 7AAY925 

Suspect in this case was described as Black, in his late 20s to early 30s, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with an average build.

Fontana police at this time aren't investigating the murder as a hate crime and are looking for the suspect in this case.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The TransGriot 20th Anniversary 'Living Single' Quiz-The Answers

Did y'all have fun trying to solve my 20th Anniversary Living Single Trivia Quiz? 

Or did some of you not even try and waited until today to find out the answers?   If you fall into the latter category, shame on y'all for not wishing to flex your intellectual muscles. 
   
As promised, here are the answers to the Living Single quiz.

1. What was the name of the law firm that Maxine worked at?
Evans and Bell

2.  Khadijah and Maxine were roommates at which HBCU?
Howard University

3.  True or False:  Queen Latifah's and Kim Fields' real life mothers played their character's mothers on the show.
True.  Queen Latifah's mother Rita Owens played her character's mother Rita James and Kim Field's mother Chip Fields Hurd played her character's mother Laverne Hunter.

 
4.  Kyle and Overton were childhood friends from which city?
Cleveland, Ohio

5.  What is Maxine's middle name?
Felice


6.   True of False:  Regine and Kyle dated each other.
True.  That tidbit was revealed in a flashback episode.

7.  When Khadijah won her journalism award, who presented it to her?
Susan L Taylor, the former Editor of ESSENCE magazine.  Khadijah was her intern.

8.  Synclaire was from what Midwestern city?
Minneapolis, MN

9.  When the girls confessed to each other about the first people they made love to, who was the NBA ball player they shockingly discovered Synclaire got busy with? 
Michael Jordan at a Minnesota basketball camp.

10. What was the name of the soap opera that Regine worked as a costume assistant for?
Palo Alto

11.  Ira Lee Williams III moves into Khadijah and Regine's apartment after Overton and Synclaire get married and she moves out.  What was his nickname?  
Tripp

12.  True or False:  Gladys Knight and J. Anthony Brown played Overton's parents on the show.
False.  Gladys Knight did play his mother.  Antonio Fargas played his father on the show and J. Anthony Brown played his Uncle Tibby.

13.  What was Max's campaign slogan when she ran for alderman? 
Ride The Maverick

14.  What Gray's Anatomy actor played Khadijah's boyfriend Dr. Charles Roberts?
Isaiah Washington IV

15.  What was the name of the Black Mountie who kept tormenting Overton and Synclaire during their Canadian Christmas trip?
Constable Robeson 

16.  True or False: Arsenio Hall made a cameo appearance on the show.
True

17.  What was the name of Synclaire's monstrous troll doll she kept in her room?
Crispus Attucks

18.  What rapper played the bully that tormented Kyle in high school and he finally stood up to at their reunion?
Tone Loc

19.  Khadijah, Regine and Scooter were from what New Jersey town?
East Orange

20.  True or False:  During an excursion the girls made to a gay bar, Max was misgendered by a bar patron as a trans woman.
True.  And bonus points if you knew the bar patron hitting on her was played by the Jamie Foxx Show's Christopher B. Duncan


Friday, August 23, 2013

Shut Up Fool Awards -March On Washington 50th Anniversary Edition


The 50th anniversary of the 1963 March On Washington is actually on August 28, and there will be a commemoration of it at the Lincoln Memorial featuring President Obama on that date.

But all eyes will be on the march held tomorrow that has been spearheaded by the Rev Al Sharpton and his National Action network  and includes Marin Luther King III, NAACP CEO Ben jealous and other major civil rights leaders. 

And its timing couldn't come at a better time in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, a jacked up Supreme Court ruling involving the Voting Right Act and conservafools tripping all over themselves in North Carolina and Texas to see who can do a better job of rolling back the voting rights of non-whites in their respective states African-American voting rights.

It's also Friday, and y'all know what that means.   It's time to see what fool, fools or group of fools kept their eyes on the prize and earned this week's Shut Up Fool Award honors.

So let's get busy, shall we?

Honorable mention number one is a group award for FOX Noise for their failed attempt at race baiting in the Christopher Lane murder in Oklahoma.  They tried to claim the three kids involve in the senseless crime were all African-American, but only one is.  The others are biracial and white. 

Guess the words 'fact-check' don't mean anything over at FOX noise when fact get in the way of an opportunity to race bait

Honorable mention number two goes to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) who said in reaction to the news that Atty Gen Eric Holder was suing Texas to stop its voter suppression law the DOJ was “inserting itself into the sovereign affairs of Texas

"As Texans we reject the notion that the federal government knows what’s best for us. We deserve the freedom to make our own laws and we deserve not to be insulted by a Justice Department committed to scoring cheap political points.”

As a native Texan Sen Cornyn I'm tired of the white dominated GOP dictatorship tyranny of the majority in the Lone Star State working overtime to suppress my voting rights in the state and you and your GOP buddies trying to justify it  

Can't wait to vote your azzes out of power in 2014.
 
Honorable mention number three goes to Supreme Court Injustice Antonin Scalia for saying in a Monday speech in Bozeman, MT that the SCOTUS should stop 'inventing new minorities' when it

“It’s not up to the courts to invent new minorities that get special protections,” Scalia told an audience at an event held by the Federalist Society.

Injustice Scalia, you should stop trying to justify your bigotry and conservative biases and resign from the SCOTUS for the good of the nation.   And take your ventriloquist dummy Uncle Thomas with you when you do..

This week's Shut Up Fool winner goes to Robin Thicke who who just forfeited his white soul brother card by claiming his hit song 'Blurred Lines' didn't sample melodies from Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up', and then took it a nekulturny step further by filing a lawsuit against the estate of Marvin Gaye when they justifiably demanded payment for his doing so.  

Hiding behind you wife Paula Patton's skirts won't help you in this fight, homey.  And the longer you stall in paying the Gaye estate the money you owe them, the longer it's going to take for you to get you cool points back with the Black community.  

Ask Justin Timberlake how long the Black community stayed pissed at him when he left Janet hanging in the wake of Nipplegate.  .  

Robin Thicke, shut up fool!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The TransGriot 'Living Single' 20th Anniversary Quiz

On August 22, 1993 Living Single broadcast the first of 118 episodes on FOX.   We were introduced to a Brooklyn brownstone and twentysomethings Khadijah and Synclaire James, Regine Hunter, Maxine Shaw, Kyle Barker and Overton Jones as they lived, worked, loved and got married over the next five television seasons.

Was it really 20 years ago that the show debuted?  

When I compiled my last A Different World quiz I promised you TransGriot readers you'd be getting another one of my infamous trivia quizzes based on this show, and here it is.  It's an open internet test that I'll give y'all through this weekend to mull over these 20 questions based on the show.

I'll post the answers on Monday, so until then have fun racking your brains trying to answer them.  

1. What was the name of the law firm that Maxine worked at?

2.  Khadijah and Maxine were roommates at which HBCU?

3.  True or False:  Queen Latifah's and Kim Fields' real life mothers played their character's mothers on the show. 
 
4.   Kyle and Overton were childhood friends from which city?

5.   What is Maxine's middle name? 


6.   True of False:  Regine and Kyle dated each other.

7.  When Khadijah won her journalism award, who presented it to her?

8.  Synclaire was from what Midwestern city?

9.  When the girls confessed to each other about the first people they made love to, who was the NBA ball player they shockingly discovered Synclaire got busy with? 

10. What was the name of the soap opera that Regine worked as a costume assistant for?

11.  Ira Lee Williams III moves into Khadijah and Regine's apartment after Overton and Synclaire get married and she moves out.  What was his nickname?  

12.  True or False:  Gladys Knight and J. Anthony Brown played Overton's parents on the show.

13.  What was Max's campaign slogan when she ran for alderman? 

14.  What Gray's Anatomy actor played Khadijah's boyfriend Dr. Charles Roberts?

15.  What was the name of the Black Mountie who kept tormenting Overton and Synclaire during their Canadian Christmas trip?   

16.  True or False: Arsenio Hall made a cameo appearance on the show.

17.  What was the name of Synclaire's monstrous troll doll she kept in her room?

18.  What rapper played the bully that tormented Kyle in high school and he finally stood up to at their reunion?

19.  Khadijah, Regine and Scooter were from what New Jersey town?

20.  True or False:  During an excursion to a gay bar, Max was misgendered by a bar patron as a trans woman.

Monday, August 19, 2013

TransGriot Ten Questions Interview-Carmen Xtravaganza

What can I say about the person I'm about to have the pleasure of doing this Ten Questions interview with? 

She's an actress, runway model and legendary house mother of the legendary international House of Xtravaganza.  She's in the iconic documentary Paris Is Burning and How Do I Look, and has led a fascinating life as well that she's contemplating writing a book about (and should).

It's time to ask Carmen Xtravaganza the TransGriot's Ten Questions. 

1. You're originally born in Rota, Spain because your father was in the military.  How much moving around did you do as a child and when did you realize you were meant to be Carmen?

CX-We did a lot of moving as a child. My Dad was stationed in a lot of different naval bases around the world. My parents had split up when I was a very small child but they both shared custody of us so we spent some years with my Dad and some with my Mom. 

Well I knew I was meant to be Carmen around 5 years old or so.  As far back as I can remember my dad always knew from when I was a small child I was always effeminate.  He explained it to me much later after I had already transitioned.  My Dad had no problem at all. My Mom took it a little harder, but once she saw me as Carmen she understood and we became much closer. She was my protector, my everything.


2. You began your transition at 16.  How difficult (or easy) was that for you to do at that time?

CX-Actually I began at 15 years old in Washington.D.C.at DuPont Circle. I actually ran away from home  and started staying in a runaway house there. Life was hard because I was on my own and had to hustle to survive. In Washington D.C. at that time it was very dangerous. I got robbed, mugged, raped and incarcerated during those early two years.  Then I headed up to New York with a friend from school who was in the same situation I was.


3.  When did your involvement in the ballroom community start and what drew you to it? 

CX-I first became involved in the ballroom scene in 1981. I became Carmen St Laurent through the father Robbie St. Laurent. I was drawn to this community because of the adrenalin of competition. The girls that were there were working girls that I had met working the stroll on the West Side Highway in Manhattan near the Village. 

It was a community that I felt totally comfortable in. In those days it was much more family oriented than it is today.  There were no programs for trans girls like there are now.  I became Carmen Xtravaganza in 1983  when I competed for face as Carmen St. Laurent and sat down 7 girls including some Xtravaganza beauties.  I then took my trophy and gave it to Mother Angie and she made me an Xtravaganza at that moment. It was exactly 30 years ago this month in August at the Elks Lodge in Harlem 


4. I came close to spending my gender variant teen years in New York in the late 70's as my Dad contemplated taking a radio job there.  What would have awaited me had my parents decided to make that NY move? 

CX-Well at that time New York was street hard but to get your transition going it was very easy. You had access to the best hormones in the world and lots of support through the girls and great surgeons who modified their prices for our community of trans women.  Money was easy to make in the hustle life. There was GG's Barnum Room, Guilded Grape, 2-20, The Grapevine, Plato’s Retreat, Casa Dario, Paradise Garage, Studio 54 and so many others. There are those girls that didn't live the same life that I did but for me this was my path.  It wasn't without pitfalls and risk. There are many of my close friends that didn't make it for a variety of reasons, whether it be murder,drugs or AIDS. .


5.  As a house mother, do you believe there should be better cooperation and working partnerships between the ballroom and the trans activist communities?

CX-Yes, I love this question!  I do believe that their should be a blending of these two communities.  It needs to happen with the quickness. There are a lot of kids out there today that are outcasts from their own family, they have nowhere to go and no one to ask for advice. Since the house scene has changed there is no longer the same kind of camaraderie and support like in the days when I was coming up.  The kids today have a very shallow understanding of being trans. For them it's about looks and looks only.  Yes, it was about how do I look, but back then we had a sense of self and understanding about core values of community.

Nowadays there is a lot out there for younger trans folks to access compared to the 70's and 80's and 90's.  This is something I'm on a mission to change starting with speaking out and explaining my life narrative. I am involved in developing a project with my sister Koko Jones Xtravaganza called 'Stories From The Edge'

Our vision for 'Stories From The Edge' is to travel to colleges and community based organizations around the country to tell our stories which vary and explain that everyone has a different path and no path is wrong as long as you get to where you want to be.


6.  As someone who has done runway modeling what do you think about the Brazilian trans girls like Lea T and Carol Marra getting that opportunity and would you like to see more American trans girls get their shots in New York fashion shows? 

CX-I remember Marc Jacobs telling me in the 90’S in Sally's Hideaway that he loved my look for fashion. He felt I could do it in Europe but here in the States it would be hard for me.  It's the agencies that are in control of who is hired on shoots and runways. The only agency here in the States that has changed their policy since the early 80's is the Wilhelmina Agency who had as a model Caroline Cossey (Tula). She was the first one there. I have done a lot of modeling overseas in Europe and have had a much easier time with the agencies knowing my secret (Carmen's not Victoria's) LOL.. But not the public.

7. You have the power to change or erase one thing that happened during your lifetime.  What would that point in your life be? 

CX-Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing.  I have learned from my mistakes and the lessons that I was taught through them.  Knowing what I know I would like to be able to impart  some of my knowledge to those that I have lost due to AIDS, violence and racism.

8.  What are some of the current projects you are currently engaged or involved in?

CX-Like I said before I'm involved in developing a multimedia presentation called 'Stories From The Edge' with my sister Koko Jones Xtravaganza. It will highlight both of our careers and our transitions. I have such a different story than Koko but at the same time both of our stories are similar. I have also been doing makeup for photo shoots and music videos. Koko and I just did a photo shoot for Beth Israel medical Center in New York for their new LGBT  services.  I'm happy to say that we are the faces of LGBT services in New York City.


9. You get to ask the TransGriot one question that you've been dying to ask me.  What would that be?

CX-How difficult was it for you to transition and create the life you have now? (I hope this is not too personal a question)

TransGriot: Nope it isn't.



10. Where do you see the person of color trans community ten years from now?

CX-Well, I hope to see trans people of color in a better situation, for violence against us to be reduced. For our brothers and sisters to be able to get the healthcare and service that we most urgently need.  There is a need for us to be educated about our gender identity so we can empower ourselves to reach greater heights and become more visible in society. 

Carmen, thank you so much for answering these Ten Questions!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Octavia St. Laurent- Salon Talk

Octavia St. Laurent passed away in May 2009, but she still lives on not only in the hearts of those who loved her, but also the memories of the people who had the pleasure of meeting her or seeing her in the ballrooms.

Here's YouTube video of Octavia getting her hair done before the 2005 Legend's Ball and talking candidly about some of the changes in her life. 


Part 1




Part 2.

Friday, August 16, 2013

San Antonio Councilmember Elisa Chan's Transphobia and Homophobia Revealed

Well, well, well.  More interesting and revolting developments as San Antonio heads toward a September 5 vote on adding sexual orientation and gender identity to their revised non-discrimination ordinance.  

It's also giving you an example of what your LGBT brothers and sisters here in the Alamo City are dealing with as they fight to have their human rights codified into law. 

Elisa Chan, one of the San Antonio council members who is a firm NO (for now) on this proposed non-discrimination ordinance revealed her true feelings about TBLG people in this May 21 meeting at her City Hall office with members of her staff.  They were discussing the city's proposal to update its nondiscrimination ordinance by adding protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and their political responses to it..

James Stevens, one of her now former staff members was secretly taping the meeting on his cellphone (thank God)  He handed the recording to San Antonio Express-News reporter Brian Chasnoff who compiled and broke the story that I linked to in the previous paragraph. 

Bigotry, transphobia and homophobia is bad enough. When you have a public official with the power to vote on and write legislation expressing that kind of anti-TBLG hate, it's worse. 

Hope Councilmember Chan when she comes back from her 'pre-planned vacation' takes some time to ponder her jacked up attitudes and uses this September 5 vote as an opportunity to change her ways.  If not, may she get the electoral butt kicking she so richly deserves when San Antonio has their next round of civic elections and never hold public office in San Antonio, Bexar County or the state of Texas ever again.    

That's my take from my end of I-10.  Mayor Julian Castro (D) also commented on Councilmember Chan's bigotry.  
"Councilwoman Chan's misinformed, hurtful views do not reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of San Antonians. Ours is a city that respects and welcomes all people," Mayor Julian Castro (D) said in a KSAT-TV interview. "This attitude is precisely why we have to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance."

Okay, it's on like Donkey Kong now.  Here's the CAUSA Change.org petition in favor of the ordinance that they need to reach 5000 signatures on before September 5. 

Please consider calling or e-mailing the San Antonio City Council and urge then to pass the revision including gender identity and sexual orientation.   In the wake of this I hope Councilmember Ivy Taylor is considering being a drum majorette for justice instead of an oppressor like Elisa Chan has revealed herself to be. 

And now, to help you understand why its necessary to do this, here's Elisa Chan's TBLG bigotry unplugged 

Shut Up Fool Awards-Post Halle Berry Birthday Edition

Halle Maria Berry celebrated another birthday on August 14 and I'm definitely showing some love to my fave Academy Award winning actress.  The Cleveland, OH native turned 47 on Wednesday, is about to become a mother for the second time and looking good doing so. 

In addition to the historic 2001 Oscar win, Halle Berry has also won a Golden Globe, an Emmy, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and an NAACP Image Award.

And for you pageant fans, Halle was the first runner up for Miss USA in 1986.

But I know y'all didn't surf over here to hear me crush on Halle Berry, y'all came here for another reason.  It's time my usual Friday blogging 'bidness' of calling out the fool, fool or groups of fools that exhibited jaw dropping ignorance, stupendous stupidity, unparalleled arrogance, and parted their lips to say head scratching WTF statements.

Yep, it's time for this week's version of the TransGriot Shut Up Fool Awards, so let's get right to work determining this week's fool, fools or group of fools who had the wrong stuff to win this week's SUF award because I have a lot of them to wade through.

Honorable Mention number one goes to Randy Thomasson, the ED of Save California (from what, exactly?) who during a CNN debate with the Transgender Law Center's Masen Davis over the just signed AB 1266 law in California that ensures trans teens in the state can participate in activities and use facilities appropriate to their gender presentation.  Thomasson waited until the end of it to snidely misgender him.

Honorable Mention number two is a joint award to the Missouri Rodeo KKKlown (who has remained nameless) and Rep Steve Stockman (Teabagger-TX).  The rodeo clown wore a President Obama mask and a photo of the insulting display at the Missouri State Fair went viral and earned him a lifetime ban.  

Stockman stuck his nose in this steaming pile of feces along with Glenn Beck when he extended an invitation to the still unnamed rodeo clown to perform here in Texas.  In a statement released Wednesday, Texas Republican Steve Stockman said that any rodeo in his state would be proud to have the banned clown perform. 

"Liberals want to bronco-bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if it's speech they don’t agree with,” Stockman said in a statement. “From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between, Texans value free and open political speech."  

"I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have performers,” he said.
 
Naw Steve, I don't think you'll be seeing this Klan Rodeo Klown at either Rodeo Houston or the San Antonio one any time soon.  And keep Molly Ivins name out of your teabagging mouth, since you hated on her along with your conservafool friends when she was alive and calling your behinds out when she was at the Ft.Worth Star-Telegram. 

Honorable mention number three is the fools at Fox Noise for ramping up their War on Transpeople


Honorable mention number four is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for hatin' on the federal court ruling that declared the NYPD stop and frisk policy that overwhelmingly targets Black and Latino cis and trans people unconstitutional.  Numbers don't lie, and neither did your statements about 'stoking fear in Black and Latino youth' that cemented why Judge Scheindlin ruled the way she did. 

Honorable mention number five goes to Rep Steve King (Teabagger-IA) who launched into a racist tirade against Latinos and said at a 'Stop Amnesty' rally attended by 30 people that Latinos are from a 'violent civilization' that will bring more violence to America.

That's a ludicrous comment coming from someone descended from an ethnic group that shoots up schools, malls and movie theaters with automatic weapons, dives planes into federal buildings or blows them up, threatens 'Second Amendment remedies' if elections don't go their way, think it's okay to kill an unarmed Black teenager, nearly exterminated Native Americans as they took their land and have a fetishistic attachment to guns.

Honorable mention number six goes to Sen. Rand Paul (Teabagger-KY) who tried to justify the voter suppression law NC just passed by parting his lips to say that African-Americans aren't being stopped from voting.

Oh reallyHere's your proof.   Voter ID suppression laws are nothing more than 'Keep the Black Peeps From Voting' laws.   And don't step foot on another HBCU campus spouting that bull feces about how you want my peeps to join the National Neo-Fascist White People's (Republican) Party . 

Our Shut Up Fool award winner for this week is Russell Simmons, who thought it was hilarious to post a Harriet Tubman sex tape on YouTube and justifiably incurred the wrath of Black Twitter for his ignorance.     

Dude, what the hell were you thinking disrespecting Harriet Tubman like that?   Especially in light of the fact that one of the things white slave masters routinely did to their female slaves during their 246 years was rape them.

And that doesn't even count the times that females unfortunate enough to be captured by slavers and their henchmen were raped on the march to the coastal slave castles, in the slave castles and during the Middle Passage voyage across the Atlantic to the Western Hemisphere before they were sold at auction.  


Rape culture isn't funny, and neither is disrespecting a historical icon like Harriet Tubman who helped thousands of our people escape slavery. 

Russell Simmons, you not only get a Shut up Fool for this one, you also get the Negro Iz U Sirius?!!!! Award..

TransGriot's Going To Be In The Trans* H4CK House!

'The judges and the speakers at the inaugural Trans* H4CK will be named later and I'd love to be there in the Bay Area just to satisfy my inner tech nerd and see what takes place at a hackathon.'
--TransGriot August 12, 2013


Kortney was reading that post I wrote about next month's Trans* H4CK and asked me not long after that if I'd like to take part in this inaugural event.  I can finally announce now that the details have been finalized.  The TransGriot is headed to the Left Coast for Trans* H4CK

So what's Trans* H4CK you ask?   Basically it is the melding of a hackathon with trans social justice issues that was the idea of Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler.

So I'm not only going to be there when Trans* H4CK takes place Sept 13-15, it's the first time I'll be in the Bay Area since the 1999 Creating Change event happened in Oakland.

So I'm looking forward to seeing how much Oakland has changed since Jerry Brown was the mayor, and will see you peeps at the New Parkway Theater for the judging and the after party at the conclusion of the
event.

'How To Solve A Problem Like Maria' Documentary

As I will continually point out as long as this blog exists, trans people are present throughout the African Diaspora and on the second largest continent on planet Earth.  

It is one of my blog's missions to bring you the stories of continental African transpeople, and just found out about this documentary being shot by Scottish filmmaker Tristan MG Aitchison.

He was commissioned by the Kenyan TBLGI organization Jinsiangu to produce a series of short films about the members of their organization.

The first one in that series is entitled 'How To Solve A Problem Like Maria' and discusses her experiences with taking hormones and her transition.  It debuted during a May 29-31 TBLGI regional conference held in Naivashu, Kenya called 'Changing Faces, Changing Spaces'.

The theme of the conference was “Umoja-Ujima-Kujichagulia”. Exploring, celebrating and internalizing ideas of unity, collective work and responsibility, and self-determination is crucial to the social change desired by the East African sex workers and LGBTI movements.

That 4th regional conference brought together sex worker advocates and TBLGI advocacy ones from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi as well as activists working in other regions of Africa, their allies in the health and legal professions, human rights activists and organizations.  

Check out the first video in this series. 
 



H/T  Kelli Busey Planet Transgender 
    

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Philip Porter, Derrick Doll And Detransition

Until they moved to Nashville and became the Tennessee Traitors, I was a huge Houston Oilers fan.  When they started their cheerleading squad called the Derrick Dolls, one of my college classmates Thomasina was on it for a few years.

And yes, it bothered me during the 80's that I was in the wrong body to even have a shot at trying out for it and I was jealous of Thomasina for a minute because she was on that squad. 

So it jolted me when I heard about my fellow Texan Philip Porter's detransition story and it subsequently coming out that during his 32 years as Phoebe he had been an NFL cheerleader in his trans feminine life.

As he told his story on HuffPost Live recently, and seeing this picture of Phoebe as a trans Derrick Doll brought those memories back on how I felt back in my wandering in the gender wilderness 80's. 

When I was watching those NFL home games being played at the Astrodome along with much of the city of Houston, I was struggling with my own gender issues.  It occurred to me that during the 1992 and 1993 season that Phoebe would occasionally pop on our TV sets, be part of two Derrick Dolls group photos, and take part in the various events the Dolls performed at or graced as hostesses around the city I was taking major steps to get my own transition started.  


Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 6.05.44 PM
I respect Philip's decision to detransition and hope he's happy.  It's his life, his journey and I wish him the best.  

But it also gives me an opportunity to talk about the contentious subject in Trans World of detransition.  

We transpeeps go through hell and back just to be recognized as the people we are now, and that journey to be our true selves is a satisfying one to 95% who aren't even thinking about detransition.  That percentage shoots up to 98% if you include the people who have genital surgery. 

At the time I was doing my transition in 1994, one of the WPATH requirements in place was I had to do the 'Real Life Test' in order to get approval from my gender therapist to have genital surgery.  That RLT was in place so that people had an opportunity to back out if they were having second thoughts or had difficulty adjusting to life on the other side of the gender fence before the surgeon's scalpel came into play.   


She said: 'I don't want to live in isolation, away from everyone I love. This is the only way forward. I just want to be happy and this is my last chance.'But instead of the focus on trans issues being about the people who are happily navigating their post transition lives or our challenges, the media focus at times becomes fixated on the very few people in our community who transition and decide to go back as Don Ennis, Ria Cooper and Philip Porter did. 

And sometimes it is the bizarre reasons these detransitioning peeps give for why they are doing so that also sets us off in Trans World. 

The oversaturation coverage of the instances of people detransisitioning leads to cis people asking us the annoying 'When are you going to go back?' question.  

When I got asked by a female student that question during an HCC-Southeast Trans 101 discussion I was conducting last year, my response to that student was why would I go back to the miserable existence and life I had before transition?


There are a lot of reasons why people do so and it really should be a personal issue, but as the old saying goes, the personal can become the political.  That's especially true when you have a marginalized group fighting for human rights coverage and at the same time be understood by the general public.  As they do so everything that happens to that marginalized group good, bad or indifferent is framed in that political context, especially by its enemies. 

It's why detransition is such a contentious topic in the transgender community.  We get prickly about it not only because of our own personal psychic and sweat equity investments in perfecting our gender presentations and gender identities to the world, but by the awareness that far too often some of the people who do detransition become the trans equivalent of 'Ex Gays'.     

Former Transgender Tells His StoryThey are seized on in conservative circles as a reason why trans human rights coverage shouldn't be granted to the rest of us who are very happy in the trans skins we're in.  

The detransitioned 'Ex-Trans' folks are also pimped by the Religious Reich and groups like PFOX as poster children and 'proof' that you trans people can use prayer to turn away from your 'sinful' lives as trans people

Funny, it was after I attended a 1993 TD Jakes revival in Los Angeles and prayerful contemplation my faith led me to write the letter to the Rosenberg Clinic asking for the first available appointment that started my transition.

BTW peeps, Pat Robertson has said twice what we already know, that transsexuality isn't a sin.

But that doesn't stop the Religious Reich from not only trying to push that loud and wrong message, they also use these stories of detransitioned 'Ex Trans' folks as a way to pimp their religious conversion therapies.

They are the same ones that didn't work for gay folks, but they are now trying to retool them to grab the cash of parents desperate enough to try them to 'fix' their trans children. 

Whether it was the loathsome Jerry Leach in Kentucky or the recent story that Sabrina Samone told on her blog about P-FOX trumpeting the story of her 'Ex-trans' friend Darrell, the trans community gives these stories the hostile side eye when we hear them. 

Another reason for the trans pissivity when the issue of detransistion comes up besides the right wing and other trans haters exploitation of it is our sadness about the tragic story of Mike Penner, the LA Times sportswriter who famously transitioned to become Christine Daniels, transitioned back to Mike and committed suicide.

So yes, Trans World is concerned on many levels when we hear about people detransistioning, but our biggest concerns are always going to be focused on the side of the well being of the person going through it. 

But if you use it as a way to attack the trans community in general, it's on like Donkey Kong. 

BTMI/BTWI Wants You!

Black Transmen, IncI've been in an advisory role for BTMI/BTWI since the convention in Dallas last March and love the direction it's trying to go as an organization.  But let me let them tell you what's happening with them.

***

Black Transmen, Inc. has really made a great impact in the global transgender community over the past few years. Emerging as the leading first national non-profit organization for Black Transmen, BTMI continues forging onward with the support of Black Transwomen in leadership advocacy, education and performing outreach in the community about challenges facing the transgender community as well as building bridges with allies.

Espoused sister group Black Transwomen, Inc has been visible within the community this year with the help of trailblazing women, Minister Carmarion Anderson, Ms Monica Roberts, Ms Diamond Stylz and Ms Nekidra Brown. At this time, Black Transmen, Inc. is delighted to announce the formation of the first board of directors for Black Transwomen, Inc. this fall.

Black Transmen, Inc. is thrilled to announce:
2013-14 BTMI State Chapters and Leader/Board Members

Maryland/D.C - Mr. Vann Millhouse – BTMI Board
http://www.facebook.com/btmimd

Michigan - Mr. Mykell Price – BTMI Board
http://www.facebook.com/btmimichigan

Virginia - Mr. Charley Burton – BTMI Board
http://www.facebook.com/btmiva

Illinois - Mr Melvin Whitehead - President
http://www.facebook.com/btmiil

Pennsylvania - Mr. Mekhi Johnson - President
http://www.facebook.com/btmipa

Washington - Mr. Qayden Smith - President
http://www.facebook.com/btmiwa

Georgia - Mr. Kendall Brown - President
http://www.facebook.com/btmiga

Texas - Mr. Carter Brown – Dallas - President
Mr. Tye West – Houston - President
Mr. Jabriel Williamson – Fort Worth - President
http://www.facebook.com/btmitx

State Chapters Coming Soon: Louisiana, California & Connecticut

Black Transmen, Inc. is uplifted by the men and women who take a stand for equality through leadership commitment, serving as advocates in the trans community.

Are you eager to have a hand in creating increased positive visibility for the trans community nationwide? BTMI state chapters are currently accepting inquires from transmen and transwomen who desire to commit and serve in one of the volunteer leadership positions available. All skill sets are needed to fulfill a variety of management leadership roles: president, vice-president, secretary or treasure. Other non-management leadership opportunities are available within our outreach programs including our trans speakers bureau. The Black Transmen, Inc leadership program minimum commitment timeframe is one year; invitations are forthcoming.

The next BTMI/BTWI Leadership invitational will be issued in August and will take place online. Interested candidates should contact BTMI/BTWI at http://outreach.blacktransmen.org/ or http://outreach.blacktranswomen.org/.

TransGriot Ten Questions Interview-Louis Mitchell

I had the pleasure of first meeting Louis Mitchell during the 2005 Transsistahs-Transbrothas conference we held in Louisville.

Over the next eight years I've had the opportunity to not only call this trailblazing leader in our community a friend, but be his house guest when I was in western Mass for the 2008 Trans Pride March and Rally. I've also had the pleasure of either seeing him in or participating with him in numerous conferences and events since TSTB including the recent Black Transmen, Inc Conference in Dallas back in March. 


Louis was part of Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler's documentary Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen, and remains in demand as a consultant, public speaker, trainer and preacher

He was honored by BTMI with an award named after him for his years of principled leadership to our community and is a devoted friend, father and husband.

And today is also his birthday!  Happy birthday, bro! 

So it's time for Louis to answer the TransGriot's Ten Questions.

1 We met back during the 2005 Transsistahs-Transbrothas Conference.  How important was that event in building our community?  


LM-I really began to see and imagine the magnificence, diversity, range and talents of our community! It was, to my knowledge, one of the first times that black transmen and black transwomen came together to produce an event that wasn’t primarily for entertainment or social services. The depth and breadth of us was and continues to be awe inspiring to me! I will admit it…I am in love with us! I love black transwomen, black transmen, black gender-variant people, black gender non-conforming people, black queer people! I can’t say with any certainty that the stone that we threw into the ocean in Louisville originated the ripples that have become the waves of amazing-ness that I’m able to witness now, but I sure hope so.


2. What are your thoughts about why the Black transmasculine community doesn't get the love, respect and visibility it deserves?

LM-I’m not sure that anyone gets the love and respect that is deserved – not trans folks, not black folks and surely not most, if any, black trans folks…lol.

I think that the intersections and overlaps of stigma and oppression play a part in so much of our experience. I don’t have hard data, but I would conjecture that most black men of trans experience (most trans men of color, actually) transition to and with a goal of living a no or low-disclosure life, i.e. stealth. So, I don’t believe that visibility is always desired.

I think that we, as most men, suffer discrimination, violence and assault in shame and silence – either because we risk being outed or because we fear the additional stigma of being weak, unmanly.
The black transmasculine community is very diverse and therefore we have many of the same issues as all black men – un/under employment, addiction, fatigue/lethargy, increased likelihood of arrest, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, misogyny, disablism, etc. We also have many of the same attributes – a strong and principled faith journey, a generationally practiced work ethic, strong commitment to family and community. We also face challenges in our personal lives like everyone else – who wants to date us, who wants to love us, who will accept us? Often, we, like some of our trans-sisters, believe that once we have medically “arrived” we can put our whole past behind us forever. And that may be true, I don’t know. But I am challenged by the idea that one becomes a whole man by amputating parts of your life.

All of that said, I believe that my brothers and I are on a path of learning new and creative ways to love and support each other, our families and our trans-kindred – respecting personal disclosure choices, gender presentation choices, affectional preferences and spiritual journey choices. I believe that we are on the path to giving ourselves and each other the love, respect and dignity that we deserve and having enough left over to share with others in the world who need love, support and nurture.


3.  When did you transition and why?

LM-I began my spiritual/mental/emotional transition in 1996 and my medical/hormonal transition in 1999 – after much research, discernment and getting the nerve to tell my momma!

I’m not sure how to answer the “why” question. There are so many reasons. I knew from the time I was a little child, age 3 or so, that I wasn’t a “girl”, but I had no idea what that meant. I had never heard of a man transitioning – women, yes, but men no. It was a dream, a fantasy that I could enjoy because I never needed to risk anything to realize it. When I met someone who was ftm for the first time, I had a rush of conflicting emotions! I was overjoyed, terrified, angry, resistant! I was thrilled that it was really possible. I was terrified because I knew that I would have to risk everything and everyone to transition. I was angry that I had to make these difficult decisions. I was resistant to let go of the relative comfort I had in communities that I’d long been a part of.

Ultimately it came down to a few things. I was going to keep hiding in my “lesbian” skin, taking away rare opportunities from women because I wouldn’t get out of the way or I was going to move into a manhood that I’d only imagined, but not been prepared for. I was going to try to stay sober living a “half-truth” and risk relapse or I was going to step out in faith that all of my recovery work had prepared me for. I was going to die to avoid upsetting my mother and my friends who would feel abandoned and betrayed by my transition or I was going to live into my greatest integrity.

4.  As a spiritual leader, do you have a message for the transpeople who feel beaten up by the folks who use faith as an attack weapon against us?

LM-I don’t know that I would call myself a spiritual leader – more of a spiritual comrade to the disquieted, disgruntled, wounded, betrayed, yet still seeking.

My only message is that we are not alone and must find comfort in each other and in those that understand the messages of love in the spirit. If you are bruised and battered, stop visiting/paying for/singing for/preaching for your oppressor. There are open and loving arms and hearts that will welcome you – every part of you, all of you. Get support for yourself – get out of the SDV (spiritual domestic violence) relationship that you’re in. Just as all survivors of abuse and trauma will need time and nurture to grieve and to heal, so will you. Try to be as patient and loving with yourself as you can. Those of us (and there are a lot) who have been through it are here and many of us are willing to be a support to you through your journey.


5. There are transmasculine leaders doing amazing things. Who are some of the leaders that deserve more recognition for what they do but aren't getting the attention for their work?   

LM-There are so many! Many of the men who are doing so much won’t ever get the kind of community wide recognition that I think they deserve out of respect for their disclosure choices.
The men who are doing the hard work in our growing number of greek organizations, Carter Brown and all of the men heading BTMI chapters around the country, just to name a few. Again, I would love to tell you who they are (and you know them already), but I am committed to respecting their own disclosure choices.


6.  Where are the places in which the Black transmasculine and transfeminine communities do an excellent job of working together and where are the areas in which we can improve?  



LM-We seem to do an amazing job every time we work together! The difficulty seems to be that many of our communities of origin, where we transitioned from, are not connected. The bridges that need to be built now are many and will require some growth on all of our parts. It’s been my experience that some of the things we say in conversations with each other and when we think that we aren’t around each other, have been really hurtful! Especially around love and companionship – “we don’t date t-women, we only date real women/we don’t date t-men, we only date real men”. We all have our romantic/sexual preferences, but if they are about anatomy or even what we assume the anatomical make-up of a person is, then how can we ever expect to be loved or valued in ourselves? Additionally, we have the challenges of sexism, homophobia and look-ism to contend with – intra and inter community. There is so much wonderful work that has been done, but there is yet plenty of work to do!

7.  What are some of the projects you are working on now?


LM-I have just finished developing curricula for spiritual care givers specific to suicidality in the trans and gender-variant communities for the Trans Faith Institute. It is an issue that is especially dear to my heart and of critical importance to our community. Many folk who are in clergy or in another form of spiritual practice are ill equipped to deal with suicidality and even less equipped to deal with the issue specifically in the trans communities.

I am spending most of my time being a dad, preparing to return to school, preaching and making myself available for speaking and trainings again.


8.  I know you are immensely proud of your daughter.  What's it like being a parent?



LM-I can’t even describe it! I melt when she smiles and opens her arms and says “Dada”! A lifetime ago, I dreamt of this moment and felt certain that I would never know this feeling – I can scarcely believe I’m not still dreaming. Kahlo has just turned one and she is amazing! She is curious, observant, assertive and vociferous. She is strong-willed and determined and I love that! She makes me want to practice more self-care and self-reflection and to be a better person, so that I can be a better father. I’m so very, very, very grateful for her…and I love her so very, very, very much!


9.  You get to flip the script and ask the TransGriot a question you've been dying to ask me. Fire away. 

LM-I’m going to cheat and ask two…lol. When are you going to write/finish your autobiography? You are so awesome at lifting up our history and our history in the making, but what about you and your amazing life? And two (they are related), when are you going to start a publishing company for our works? I know and you know you could do it and do it with excellence! I love you, sis…so grateful for you!!!


10. Where do you see the Black trans community ten years from now?

LM-I see us everywhere, doing what we do! Producing, shaping, creating – holding offices, starting businesses, finding cures, making art and music, breaking athletic records, creating families of all kinds, healing families of origin, starting/opening/seeding mosques, churches, yoga studios, retreats, writing fiction and non-fiction, owning our own work, our own land/houses, supporting each other in philanthropic ways! The sky isn’t even a limit for us. I’ve seen us do so much with so little – we are chosen, called, anointed and purposeful!!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Can We Talk For Real Turns One!

PhotoI had the honor and pleasure of doing two enjoyable appearances on the Can We Talk For Real radio podcast show hosted by Ina, Michelle and Terry Boi. 

Their podcast turns one, and the CWT4R team will be celebrating that milestone on tonight's show.

Happy Anniversary!  Time to let the Can We Talk For Real podcast team have their say.

***. 

Wednesday, August 14th Can We Talk for REAL will be celebrating our 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

Ina, Michelle and Terry Boi would like to thank everyone that has been a part of this first year for allowing us to educate, entertain, share thoughts on some of the issues spoken and not spoken about, given voices to those who had been silent, and those that needed to be heard, and resources that the community may not have known was right in our own back yards.

'Thank you for allowing us to enter your homes each Wednesday with topics that were not being discussed enough.. The first year was where 'Silence was not an Option'. Many joined us to express their opinions and know they were all heard.

We were glad to know that our guests, callers and chatters were comfortable enough to know that here on CWT4R. It was okay to agree to disagree. Some of our guests that we had on during our first year will be joining us tomorrow for some interesting updates on what has been happening since you last heard from them. The night as always here on CWT4R will be educational, fun filled and exciting. So if you want to know who is coming back to help celebrate you have to be there!

Call in on 347-215-8985 at 10:30 pm Eastern time, 9:30 pm Central time, 8:30 pm Mountain time and 7:30 pm Pacific time. Press 1 if you want to Speak.
   

Diamond Williams Case Update: Sargent Hearing Delayed

CHARLES SARGENTIn the latest news about the Diamond Williams case in Philadelphia, 43 year old Charles Sargent, the waste of DNA who was arrested July 20 and is accused of murdering her, was supposed to face an August 7 hearing in Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni's court.

But according to a Philadelphia Gay News article by Angela Thomas, the hearing was postponed until October 15 after a continuance for the preliminary hearing requested by Sargent's defense attorney J. Michael Farrell was granted.

In addition to the murder, possession of an instrument of crime and abuse of corpse charges he faces in the Williams case, he was also charged with making a terroristic threat when he threatened to kill his girlfriend 
 
That hearing will now take place at 9 AM EDT in Room 306 of the Criminal Justice Center located at 1301 Filbert St.   I hope the Philadelphia trans community and allies are there in remembrance of Diamond and pack the courtroom on that date. 

UK National Transgender Memorial Vandalized

Damn, why is it that some idiots take it upon themselves to destroy or vandalize the nice things we trans people manage to put together as a community? 

The trans community in Manchester, England and their allies are probably asking themselves that question right now.  

They coordinated the Transgender Remembrance Memorial Project spearheaded by Tony Cooper, the chair of the Sackville Park Friends Association to construct what is believed to be the world's first purpose built memorial to remember the victims of anti-trans violence. 

The Manchester community spent hundreds of hours putting together a memorial garden and brick laid path in the park to complement the nine foot tall wooden structure being carved by sculptor Shane Green. 

The dedication of the National Transgender Memorial in Manchester's Sackville Gardens happened during the UK's Sparkle Weekend trans celebration that occurred July 12-14. 

Unfortunately on or around the night of August 6 some wastes of DNA vandalized the memorial and the CCTV surveillance system that is prevalent in many UK cities as bad luck would have it didn't have cameras pointed toward that section of the gardens.  . 

The Greater Manchester Police have opened an investigation of the crime and are solicting information leading to the arrest, trial and conviction of the vandals.  

Here's hoping in the interim the damage done to this first ever memorial will quickly be repaired.

I also hope we see more communities around the world take the initiative to put together their own memorials to honor our fallen transsisters and transbrothers.

Still Ain't Feeling Feminism

Feminism, according to a popular bumper sticker is the radical notion that women are people, too. Many feminists have forgotten over the years that the word 'people' also includes their Black, Latina, Asian and native American sisters as well as their transgender ones. 
--TransGriot  Ain't Feeling Feminism   January 23, 2009

While we transwomen have had a contentious thirty-six years of drama with the feminist community, it pales in comparison with the ongoing parallel struggle that women of color have with them. They have fought the ongoing silencing of their voices in the feminist movement, got tired of being dissed, ignored and being accused of or being labeled as 'crazy' or 'racist' anytime they critiqued their treatment.
---TransGriot   January 23, 2009 


Those words I wrote in 2009 are just as prescient now as they were four years ago.  I took the predominately white feminist world to task for their four decade long pattern of attacking trans women and their ignoring or silencing of Black, Latina voices in the feminist movement to the point where both groups have said adios and see ya to feminism. 

And yeah, they've also done the same thing to native American, Asian and other women around the world as well, but that's another post.    

The simmering pissivity blew up once again between white women and women of color fed up with a feminist movement that seems in the last few years to only care about a Feminist Prime Directive of power and privilege equality with white males and clocking dollars.   

And they clock those dollars while gleefully appropriating the work of Black and Brown women of color.

Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia)It led to another contentious and needed discussion and the hashtag created by Mikki Kendall that went viral. 

It also began to create another moment of conversation on the issue of women of color and feminism.

Hell, myself and other trans women have been calling out feminism for years over their transphobia and their cricket chirping silence over the four decades of hate speech the trans exterminationalist exclusionary radical feminists (TERF's) have aimed at trans women.  It's also a major reason why combined with my pissivity over the erasure of women of color from its ranks that I dislike feminism and identify as a womanist.  

You gotta love a movement like womanism that is not only is rooted in your culture, as of this point in its development it has embraced me as a trans woman, hasn't disrespected my humanity and encourages mine and the input of other trans women to make it better and more inclusive when it comes to our issues as African descended trans women.

As I wrote in 2011 and it is still true today, since my March 31, 2009 'I am a womanist' declaration, I have yet to run into a womanist who disrespected my evolving feminine journey or has actively worked to deny me and my trans sisters and brothers human rights coverage like people who call themselves feminists repeatedly do. 

I hope and pray I'm able to continue saying and writing that critical difference point about womanism and womanists for the rest of this decade and beyond.


But back to the current drama.  Will anything substantive come out of this round of calling out feminism?   That is the $64,000 Question.  Or has the fissure between white and Black feminists that has over a century of contentious history predating the Schwyzer faux feminist mess become an impossible to bridge Grand Canyon?

Time will tell us what the end result will be, but I'm betting that four years from now I'll be writing another post if this blog is still in operation as to why I'm still not feeling feminism. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

NYPD Stop And Frisk Policy Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Judge

US District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled yesterday in Floyd v. City of New York that NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk tactics were an unconstitutional violation of the rights of people of color in New York City.  

Judge Scheindlin went on to find that top New York police officials have ignored the practice and treated racial profiling as “a myth created by the media,” ordered the NYPD discontinue it, and called for a federal monitor to supervise related reforms.

Duh!  We could have told you without a law degree that Stop and Frisk was unconstitutional.   Trans and gender variant New Yorkers can tell you along with other non-white New Yorkers racial profiling is most definitely isn't a myth especially since it happens to them far too often. 

85 percent of those stopped and frisked are Black or Latino. Among all people stopped and frisked, only 1 out of 10 of the stops results in an arrest or summons.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, walks with demonstrators June 17, 2012, during a silent march to end the "stop-and-frisk" program in New York. (Seth Wenig/AP)While Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly predictably hated on the ruling, New York's non-white population, the TBLG community (that is disproportionately targeted by and resent the tactics) and human rights advocacy groups hailed it.

Judge Scheindlin's (appointed by President Clinton in 1994) ruling in the Floyd case comes on the heels of the New York City Council passing and Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoing the Community Safety Act, bills that would prohibit profiling based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity and other identities, and would have establish an Inspector General to oversee the NYPD’s practices.

As I've said more than a few times on this blog, Black trans community issues are also Black community issues and vice versa.  

The odious NYPD Stop And Frisk policy is one of those issues in which the interests of the Black community as a whole and Black and Latin@ trans people are symbiotically aligned in wanting a deleterious policy ended as quickly as possible because it also affects our trans sector of it.

Under Stop and Frisk, Latina and Black trans women were selected by NYPD for search under the  suspicion they were sex workers and harassed in many cases.  If officers found more than one condom during the search, they were arrested for solicitation.

The city of New York says it will appeal the ruling, but they would be wise to just cut their losses and come up with a common sense based policing strategy that doesn't involve jacking up and searching non-white New Yorkers just to make white New Yorkers feel safe.

Happy Anniversary Wendy and Ignacio


Today is the second wedding anniversary of our Cuban trans sister Wendy Iriepa and her activist hubby Ignacio Estrada, and wanted to wish our Cuban girl like us and her hubby a happy one.

Wendy got married back on August 13, 2011 to her hubby in a very public wedding in Havana in front of the unblinking eye of the world's media with Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez as a witness.

Iriepa is the first person in that island nation to get a state sanctioned SRS through the CENESEX program run by Mariela Castro.

Iriepa worked for it and was the public face of CENESEX until she and Castro had a public falling out over her attacking her activist hubby, who is the self proclaimed 'number one opponent of the Castro government'. 

Wendy Iriepa, Ignacio Estrada, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, House of Representatives, Republicans, Florida, Gay News, Washington BladeShe and her hubby have been visiting the US for three months and in addition to being in Miami and taking part in panel discussions and events in the area traveled to Washington DC and met with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) whose district covers Miami along with touring Casa Ruby.

Happy anniversary Wendy and Ignacio!  May you continue to speak truth to power in your homeland and your marriage be a long, happy and healthy one.

Colorism Needs To Cease And Desist In The Black Trans Community

Just as race and class are issues the Black trans community will have to grapple with as we close ranks to become part of the greater community, so is the malignant cousin of race in colorism (or hueism).

African-Americans come in 23 identified skin tone shades from light, bright and damned near white vanilla creme to deepest darkest ebony.  

When we come out of the birth canal we have no control over what combination of characteristics we are going to get from our parents that are the building blocks of us. 

But you can bet that if you're on the lighter, middle or darker end of that 23 color skin tone palette the ways you experience being Black in America are undeniably going to be different based on that and what part of the country you grew up in.

If you came to the States from different parts of the African Diaspora like the Caribbean, the African continent or different North, Central and South American nations, that throws another variable into the mix.

Because we are a subset of the greater African-American community, the ills of colorism and hueism are also embedded in and contaminate our ranks. 

Just as the 'Are you Black' question comes up repeatedly for the people on the light, bright and damned near white vanilla creme end of the scale,  the reality is far different for the darker skinned Black trans folks among us because they get far more negativity unleashed upon them.  

The bottom line is that we are all Black and we are ALL hated for it, no matter whether we are light, bright and damned near white vanilla creme or deepest darkest ebony.

We have far more serious issues to tackle in terms of our crushing unemployment/underemployment, off the charts anti-trans violence aimed at our Black transwomen, lack of media visibility, a fundamental misunderstanding of what trans is in the cis and SGL African-American communities and a six decade old trans narrative in the parent culture that is overwhelmingly stacked toward telling the stories of our white trans counterparts.  

We don't need the distraction of who has 'good vs kinky hair', 'light skin vs dark skin' colorism battles taking root in our Black trans ranks and diverting our attention from the work that must be done to make trans life better for the kids behind us and ourselves. 

It is going to take all of our collective talents to help us trans African-Americans lift ourselves up as we close ranks and become part of the greater society.  We don't have much room for error in that regard and we cannot afford to have in chocolate trans world colorism dividing us and sowing seeds of trouble in our African descended trans ranks. 

All of us are beautiful and handsome no matter what our skin tone, body shapes or the way we choose to wear our hair.  We are all proud trans African-Americans, and we experience and express our cultural heritage in different ways.

Let's focus on the community building in our trans ranks that needs to expeditiously happen, the education in our African-American community that must be done, and the bigger civil rights prizes we need to fight to achieve together whether we are light skinned or dark skinned or have good, curly, natural, braided or kinky hair.

Monday, August 12, 2013

CAUSA Change.org Petition About San Antonio Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Photo'After a delay of the final vote in June, the San Antonio City Council is back at work and will soon vote on prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran's status in employment, housing, and public accommodations. No one should lose their job or be denied service just because of who they are, or if they served their country. This commonsense proposal to amend the San Antonio city code will bring San Antonio in step with other major cities such as Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Austin, each of which has included these protections in their city ordinances.'
--from the CAUSA San Antonio Non-Discrimination Ordinance Petition 

CAUSA, the Community Alliance For A United San Antonio has a Change.org petition that seeks to garner 5000 signatures in support of the inclusive ordinance and they need your help TransGriot readers to get there.

I'm doing my small part from my end of I-10 to help them pass the non-discrimination ordinance including getting the word out about what's happening in the Alamo City and writing this open letter I published today to Ivy Taylor, the lone African-American councilmember.who is undecided.

The vote is scheduled to take place September 5, and it would be nice if CAUSA could hand this peition in with 5000 (or more) signatures as part of this process.   They are so close to victory but need some help getting over the civil rights goalline.

Please consider signing this human rights petition and helping CAUSA expeditiously reach their 5000 signature goal.