Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Historic Day For Trans WOC At The White House

I've been coming to Washington DC since 1998 to lobby for trans human rights issues, policy meetings, board meetings, retreats, and panel discussions.  I've even been to the White House four times.

But this fifth trip to the White House was special and historic, because for the first time trans women of color, fittingly on the Transgender Day of Visibility, were gathering from around the country for the inaugural White House Trans Women Of Color Women's History Month Briefing.

It was organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force's Kylar Broadus and kicked off at 9:00 AM in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's South Auditorium with opening remarks from Aditi Hardikar from the White House Office of Public Engagement.

She was quickly followed by Tina Tchen from the White House Council For Women and Girls and Stacey Long Simmons from the Task Force before we dove into the policy remarks part of the program.

Cecilia Chung started the policy portion of it with some framing remarks before yielding the platform to my fellow TPOCC board member Mattee Jim and LaLa Zannell from the National Anti Violence Project.

Mattee's commentary focused on the issues that Native American and rural trans women face, while LaLa focused on discussing how many of the women we have lost to anti-trans violence were actually intimate partner violence (IPV) cases.

Zannell also pointed out that trans women are less likely to be protected from IPV and some recommendations to change that negative paradigm.

When those ladies were done with their presentations, Ruby Corado of Casa Ruby and Bamby Salcedo of the Trans Latina Coalition were up next.

Corado's presentation concentrated on HIV status, how it affects trans women and the issues that revolve around that but reminded us that 'action solves problems.' 

Salcedo talked about our trans Latina sisters an the issues they face in ICE detention including sexual assault and HIV infection and pointed out "It's important for us to understand how structural violence plays into us getting killed.".

Tracee McDaniel from the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc in Atlanta and Kylar Broadus from the National LGBTQ Task Force talked about the employment discrimination that trans women of color face on the micro and macro levels..

The final two person info panelists were Dr. Ayana Elliott, FNP and Raffi Friedman-Gurspan from the National Center for Transgender Equality.  Dr Elliott got our attention by stating 'Transgender women are an endangered species," then broke down the statistics across various health categories to back that sobering statement up.   

Raffi's presentation also contained some suggested policy recommendations for the assembled White House staffers and trans women of color from across the country nodding their heads in agreement.

When their panel was finished, Roy Austin, the Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs  Justice and Opportunity, took a few moments in his remarks to update us on where things stood on trans issues inside the Obama Administration.

In addition to informing us that Title VII the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers  transpeople, Austin also discussed a Task Force on 21st Century Policing report that urged in its recommendations that police departments and law enforcement personnel across the US improve their relations with their local trans communities (which probably explains the invite I got from Harris County DA Devon Anderson last week to talk about issues of importance to the Houston trans community).

He opened it up for questions, and I asked about the possibility of getting mandated national standards for ID.  I pointed out that much of the discrimination we face is triggered by mismatched identification that in many cases the states throw up multiple barriers for us to correct.

After taking a few questions, Mr Austin departed, and a super info panel was convened in which audience members received a few moments of the remaining time left in the event to ask the info panelists questions.

After remarks from Aditi, Kylar and Stacey and a poem from Cherno Biko, the briefing ended at 12 noon EDT.

We then headed to the National LGBTQ Task Force headquarters on Massachusetts Ave for lunch and remarks from Stacey Long Simmons, outgoing deputy director Darlene Nipper, and incoming deputy director Russell Roybal.. 

It was my first visit to Task Force headquarters since the 2000 National Transgender Policy Meeting they facilitated at their old NE Washington DC digs.  It was fun reconnecting with all my friends in the Task Force from the Creating Change team (and yes H-town, I let them know we want to host it again), and was happy to see Kathleen Campisano and Sarah Reece from my days of causing angelic trouble in Louisville with both of them.

We also were in the building on Nipper's last official day as deputy director, and we gave her a standing ovation when she was finished.

Major thanks to Kylar and Stacey for the invitation to be there for this historic briefing, lunch, and to super intern Dominique Chamely who did a wonderful job on the logistical end getting me and my trans sisters to DC from our various spots around the country.

And thanks to all my transsisters who made this historic day at the White House and this 6th annual Trans Day of Visibility a memorable one for me.

The Ongoing Journey To Womanist-hood

Six years ago today I wrote a post that was my declaration that I was a womanist and I embraced it over feminism, which I consider profoundly problematic and far too white feminine centric.

I also rejected it at the time because of the deafening silence of white led feminism to the TERF (trans exterminationalist/exclusionary radical feminist)  wing that in some cases had people openly advocating for the genocide of trans women to deafening silence from Feminist World.

Six years later there has been movement in Feminist world to condemn and call out the TERF''s and make it clear by their creation of the TERF term they are not radical feminists or part of their trans feminine inclusive movement.

I've noted that Gloria Steinem has recanted the ugly anti-trans remarks she made back in the 70's-early 80's, but I and other trans women and our allies are still waiting for her's and feminism's deeds to catch up with their lofty words.

But I'm still a proud womanist.   Said TransGriot commenter Hypathia at the time, "Womanist theory can handle the intersectionality of race, class, and gender, all of them simultaneously and in connection with each other.  Because it can do that, it is the most powerful theory. Womanism is the first movement to ever achieve that synthesis, which today we see as vital to progress. We have Womanism to thank for the progress that has been made."

And I've said it before and will continue to say it, I have yet to see or have happen a womanist disrespect my humanity as a trans woman or push laws and policies that negatively affect me as feminism's adherents have repeatedly done.

I don't have any problem with self identified Black feminists either, but  I am, and still identify as a womanist.   Womanist theory not only aligns with my political and personal human rights beliefs, it's also a plus that I have womanists in my life who see me as their sister.

And  that sisterhood is deeply appreciated and reciprocated as I continue my ongoing evolutionary journey to womanist-hood. .

Yo SCC, Why So Quiet On HB 583?

And I'm interested in knowing what the Southern Comfort Conference thinks about this revolting development, especially in light of the fact they just moved their convention from the ATL to Fort Lauderdale for the next three years.
TransGriot, March 10, 2015, Unjust Florida Anti-Trans Bill Clears Subcommittee

Well, it's been a 21 days since I asked that question, and as of yet there has been radio silence coming from the Southern Comfort Conference about that revolting development that could really frack with their conference that has moved to Ft. Lauderdale from the ATL where it was founded for the next three years

You would think that Southern Comfort would at least say something or even put out a press release making their feelings known about an unjust bill that would dehumanize their customers and have the potential to make people stay home instead of being there from September 29-October 3.

You would think that SCC would point out how much economic impact our T-bills pack, why they moved the conference from Georgia to there, and the folly of dissing and dehumanizing people who would like to spend money in your state.   But then again, I had to call them out on the problematic proposal of a 'Gone With The Wind' theme for the 2008 event.

So why so quiet abut HB 583, which has the potential for deterring your potential attendees of even coming if they have to face the prospect of being arrested for using the bathroom?

This is the time for bold leadership and action against an unjust bill that deleteriously affects our community, not cricket chirping silence.  The trans community, the country and the world are waiting.

Transgender Day Of Visibility 2015

Thought I'd remind you TransGriot readers with the help of the glamorous Nikki Araguz Loyd that today is the Transgender Day of Visibility

We need to remind you cispeeps on this day and the rest of them in 2015 and beyond that not only are we part of the diverse mosaic of human life, our humanity is not up for discussion.   You WILL accept us as the men and women of trans experience we are, and we will not tolerate any attempts to dehumanize us or strip us of human rights coverage.

Take some time to show your trans friends some love on this day.   There will also be events happening around the country with #TDOV in mind.

Happy Transgender Day of Visibility!

Monday, March 30, 2015


I've flown about 8000 miles in the friendly skies above our nation in this month alone.

Instead of flying back to my home sweet humidity today as scheduled after spending a few days in Chicago for the inaugural National Transgender and Gender Non Conforming Anti-Violence Conference that was embedded in the Incite! Color of Violence 4 Conference, the Air Marshal found herself on another Southwest flight to Washington DC.

I got the word while I was in Chicago I was invited to attend a White House event that will discuss trans women of color on the Transgender Day of Visibility.  Since it made more sense for me to do the shorter travel distance travel to DC from Chicago instead of Houston, that's what happened.  

But I did have a frustrating moment before I left Chicago.   After getting there on an express CTA train to Midway from downtown after I bid farewell to Joanna Cifredo, Vanessa Victoria and Elizabeth Rivera who were headed to O'Hare on the Green Line train we started at the Cermak Rd station on, I was there in plenty of time for my 1:15 PM departure on a beautiful Chicago spring day .

Ran into Mattee Jim on my way to the ticket counter to check my bag and found out we were booked on the same flight, so this is already continuing to be a great day.   Checked bag, headed for TSA security and that's when it started going sideways.

I cleared TSA security, and as I put my leather coat back on I noted my phone wasn't in my coat jacket pocket.   Since I was still at the checkpoint, I started asking the TSA agents on duty to help me locate it.

After a few minutes of fruitless searching, I had no choice but to exit TSA security I'd just cleared and retrace my steps all the way back to the CTA train I'd gotten off of but hadn't departed for downtown yet.

After negative sightings of my phone at the ticket counter and the CTA station, I reluctantly headed back to TSA security to reclear it and head to my flight at gate B-20 in a somewhat pissed off mood.

The bumpy at times flight on take off and landing didn't help, but Mattee's soothing presence made me forget about it for a little while.  So did seeing Ruby and Lourdes when they picked us up at the Columbia Heights Metro station and after dropping Lourdes off, she dropped me and Mattee at our hotel, the Washington Plaza.

There is a happy ending to this story.   While taking my boots off in he hotel room, noted something shiny on the floor, and miracle of miracles, it was my missing phone.

Oh well, at least I can call you DC peeps now and get some sleep for the White House event tomorrow knowing that my phone didn't get left in Chicago unlike my travel pillow and is still in my possession.

The Trans 100 Class of 2015

The Trans 100Even though I expressed my concerns about Sunday's event and the glaring omission of Texas trans activists in a year in which two Texas cities passed trans inclusive ordinances , make no mistake about it, I am as a 2013 Trans 100 honoree an unabashed supporter of it.   

Congratulations to all the people who were selected for the 2015 list, which included our first international honoree in Victor Mukasa and our first posthumous one.

And now, the Trans 100 Class of 2015

Maddie Adams
Ben Power Alwin
Joe Bates
Oliver Bendorf
Andrea Bowen
Avi Bowie
Myles Alexander Brady
Meghan Buell
Lexie Cannes
Daniella Carter

Joanna M. Cifredo
Thomi Clinton
Dr. Lynn Conway
Yvonne Cook-Riley
James Darling
Samantha-Jo Dato
Jordan Gwendolyn Davis
Rashida Davison
Mashuq Mushtaq Deen
Dallas Denny

Ashley Diamond
Rev. Tammy Jubilant Butcher Ojcr
Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi
Kale Edminston
Lauryn Farris
Sam Feder
Dylan Fluker
Theo George
Katrina Goodlett
Dr. Kai M. Green

Brooke Cerda Guzman
Gretchen Rachel Hammond
Rhys Harper
Imani Keith Henry
Joe Ippolito
Mary Irons
Monica James-Lawren
Sandy Evan James
Jennell Jacquays
Sawyer Andrew Johnson

Monica Jones
Nic Key
Bryn Kelly
Aydin Kennedy
Mira Krishnan
Malachi Larrabe-Gaza
Jiz Lee
Justin Lenley
Aryah Lester
Dr. Rachel  Levine

Jennifer Louise Lopez
Kristen Parker Lovell
Tommy Luckett
Mickey Mahoney
Greta Gustava Martela
J Mase III
JD Melendez
Julian Melson
Joselyn Mendoza
Victor J. Mukasa

Michael Munson
Toni Newman
Maxwell Ng
Kean O'Brien
Elijah Oberman
Marcus Alexander Xavier Ordane
Reyna Ortiz
Alexis P. Paige
Ben Panico
Petey Peterson

Dianne Grace Piggott
Chelsea Poe
Penelope Poppers
Rebeka Refuse
Dr. Sam Reisner SCD
Geena Rocero
Rev. Megan Rohrer
Avi Isaiah Rudnick
Jayden HC Sampson
Greyson Simon

Ms. Dr. Joseph L.Simons
Grace Sterling Stowell
Turner Stulting
De Sube
Emma Violet Todd
Crispin Torres
Jos Truitt
Alek Vaid-Menon
Jay Very
Victoria Villalbe

LaSaia Waide
Bonn Wade
Melvin Antoine Whitehead
Willy Wilkinson
Dawn Josephine Wilson
Hina Wong-Kalu
Evan Young
LaLa Zannell
Leslie Feinberg (posthumously)

Impressions Of The Trans 100 Class of 2015 Reveal Show

For the first time I got an opportunity to actually be in the Mayne Stage house for the third edition of The Trans 100.  I congratulate every honoree who was named in the Trans 100's Class of 2015 including my Louisville homegirl Dawn Wilson.

As a 2013 honoree I have been pleased and proud to see this dream of Toni D'orsay's grow to become a much anticipated event thanks to Jen Richards' efforts.

But because Toni and I are friends, we have had long discussions over the last two years on the direction of it and where she would like it to go.

Not only was Toni not happy about what transpired at the 'Chicago Trans Advocate Awards' last night, neither was I.

While I also with everyone else in the audience enjoyed emcees Precious Davis and Myles Brady AKA the #TransObamas, when it came time to read the names for the Trans 100 Class of 2015, I was shocked to note that in a 2014 year in which trans inclusive non-discrimination ordinances were passed in Houston and Plano and a court case that erased the transphobic Littleton precedent happened, for only ONE Texan (Lauryn Farris) to make the list was a travesty.

It also has the problematic smell of homerism when 8 Chicagoans make the 2015 list, including one of the current board members of the Trans 100. 

Under Toni's original vision, she and Jen didn't allow themselves to be added to either previous Trans 100 class out of transparency

Something else that is problematic was adding Leslie Feinberg posthumously to the list.  

That opens the thorny question of if you add Feinberg, then who else should be added for lifetime work?   Sylvia Rivera?   Marsha P. Johnson?   Marcelle Cook-Daniels?  Alexander John Goodrum?  Where do you draw the line?

Toni's Trans 100 vision also called for the list to diverse not only in ethnic terms, but regionally as well, and it appears that neither happened last night either.

I loved being able to see Tona Brown perform live for the first time ever.  Enjoyed Laura Jane Grace, and seeing Rocco doing his thang on stage as well.   Tiq's keynote was first rate and loved seeing his wife Kim again.

Loved talking to Gloria Allen, and have a standing invite to spend some quality time with her the next time I'm in Chitown.  

I also got the opportunity at the after party at The Glenwood to meet Kristen, our blonde haired  trans ally in the bathroom meme I created from a pic someone sent me.

And thank you for letting me know you appreciate my work as well to all the peeps who told me how much they enjoyed reading TransGriot.

Yes, I'm still an enthusiastic supporter of the Trans 100 for being a FUBU trans community production.  But at the same time I'm concerned about the problematic direction that the Trans 100 has taken in the absence of its visionary creator, who was busy caring for her terminally ill husband.

I hope that in the 2016 edition of the Trans 100, those problematic mistakes won't be made again.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trans 100 Is Tonight!

The Trans 100
The 2015 edition of the Trans 100 Live unveiling show at the Mayne Stage  happens in a few hours.   Thanks to being in town for the just concluded #NTAVC15  convening, I'll be able to attend the live event for the first time ever. that starts at 7 M

I;m looking forward to seeing who are the members of the 2015 Trans 100 Class.   Also looking forward to getting the opportunity to  see a few friends and meet Lana Wachowski.

The Mayne Stage is located at  1328 W Morse St i the 60626 zip code

For those of you who won't be at the Mayne Stage with me tonight, you'll be able to see the Trans 100 Live event via the live feed.

What 100 trans peeps will join the Trans 100 Class of 2013 and Trans 100 Class of 2014 as the latest honorees?   We'll find out in a few hours.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Indiana Enacts 'Religious Bigotry' Law- Backlash Ensues

Bigotry has a cost, and Indiana is about to find that lesson out the hard way.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) signed the Orwellian named Religious Freedom Restoration Act  into law on Thursday that allows faith-based discrimination against the TBLG community.   Ever since  then, the condemnation and backlash of the unjust law has been swift.

“The lawmakers didn’t listen. The governor didn’t listen. They ignored huge job creators and small businesses. They ignored churches and other institutions of faith. They dismissed the idea that a license to discriminate would make us unappealing to visitors and potential residents.”
--Freedom Indiana

“We certainly understand the implications this legislation has on our ability to attract and retain employees, Simply put, we believe discriminatory legislation is bad for Indiana and for business.”
Janice Chavez, Eli Lilly spokesperson 
(Eli Lilly has 17,500 employees in Indiana)

Hey, where were y'all Eli Lilly and other businesses when this unjust law was being considered? Now y'all wake up and call it out?

Angie's List just cancelled a $40 million dollar expansion in the state that would have brought 1000 jobs to Indiana.   The Indianapolis based Disciples of Christ denomination sent a letter to Governor Pence  threatening to cancel their 2017 convention that is scheduled to be held there.

"Our perspective is that hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry," Todd Adams, the associate general minister and vice president of the Indianapolis-based denomination, told The Indianapolis Star. Adams said the Disciples of Christ would instead seek a host city that is "hospitable and welcome to all of our attendees."

The Indianapolis based NCAA, which hosts the men's Final Four there at Lucas Oil Stadium next week, is also concerned about the anti-LGBT law.

"The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events. We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement.

“We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce."

2009-08-05T14-56-06 -- IMG_7776The Gen Con gamer convention, which brings 56,000 people to Indianapolis and has a $50 million dollar impact on the local economy, is also threatening to pull out of the city. 

Unfortunately it's too late for Indiana to stop its passage, but it can serve as a cautionary tale for Texas and the rest of the country considering passing the same kind of blatantly unconstitutional and unjust laws

Blasting Off On Planet Privilege

Trans human rights, the final human rights frontier.   These are the voyages of the USS TransGriot, having to check somebody once again for something they wrote and didn't give much thought to before firing up their laptop,.   My guest post at the Dallas Voice

I read that 'Planet Confusion' post from Leslie McMurray of the Dallas Voice, and let me just say for starters it was a hot mess.  You know it ain't good and you have screwed up in Trans World when our TERF enemies and the TS separatist useful fools are gleefully linking to it, disrespectfully misgendering you at the same time and you are getting called out by your trans family for the problematic commentary in it.

And once again, we have another instance of a late transitioning trans person saying some problematic crap.

The first problem with the post was using that Jackie Robinson analogy.  It didn't fit this situation, and you would have been better off leaving it out of the post.  

It was also problematic the conclusion jump that was made based on a cis woman's assertions that Carlotta Sklodowska, the trans woman in question,  was a crossdresser.   She's not, and has stated that she was trans.  So why would you do Yvette Cormier's and the conservafools dirty work for them by not only continuing to erase her declared identity, but then go on an anti-crossdresser rant on top of it?

Sklodowska could have looked like Heidi Klum when she walked into that locker room to hang up her coat and purse and she still would have been misgendered.unjust

I started transition in 1994.  I was wearing femme attire in public long before that   It is a cardinal rule in Trans World that when out and using public restrooms that correspond with gender presentation, we ALWAYS sit to pee period, and for you to insinuate we don't reinforced the transphobic 'men in dresses' trope.

It may be news to you Leslie, but those of us who have been out and proud longer than 2012 are a lot more  politically and PR savvy than you gave us credit for.  Did it also not occur to you Ms. McMurray to ponder the point Yvette Cormier may have had an agenda and been lying? 

No police report, no arrest, no predator.   Anyone who has been in TransWorld long enough to pay attention knows that far too many conservative white peeps  have been crying wolf and white women's tears over nonexistent trans predators.  Now they and the anti-trans industry and their non-white sellouts are desperate to create some phantom predators to back up their transphobic lies and the unjust anti-trans bills popping up like kudzu.

I'm concerned about those unjust bills  too.  So much so I and a group of trans people  and our allies in business attire took a day out of our busy lives to travel to Austin to fight them because if they are enacted, they will disproportionately affect trans people of color.

In addition to the problematic anti-crossdresser rant, the post had the vanillacentric privileged stench of trans identity politics that makes me sick.   Not everyone in Trans World can plunk down $20K and jet to Thailand to get SRS for various personal. fiscal and medical reasons, and you need to keep that fundamental point in mind in the future.

You also need to keep in mind there are many ways to present as female, and cis and trans women come in all shapes, sizes and genital configurations.

But the bottom line in this whole sorry mess is this.   Yvette Corrmier lost her membership for bullying and being a transphobic jerk, and now she has the audacity to want Planet Fitness to pay for her precious delicate nerves being disturbed by a trans woman merely existing.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Shut Up Fool Awards- Moni's In Chicago Again Edition

Another weekend, another conference.  

This time I'm in the Windy City taking part in The National Transgender Non-Conforming Anti-Violence Convening that kicked off at 8AM and has us slated to go until 7 PM CST

It didn't help that I was up writing late Wednesday and Thursday last night and spend late, and traveling on four hours of sleep.

But it's Friday, and i still have that weekly SUF business to handle for you even thought i handling community business at this convening while you peruse this post.

So let's get to this week's fool.

It's been a while since he;s been mentioned on these Shut Up Fool pages,  but this week's loser winner is George Zimmerman.

George Zimmerman (screen grab)The should have been convicted child killer opened his mouth to unleash a double dip of stupidity by claiming that it was 'God's will' the killed Trayvon and that President Obama committed a 'dereliction of duty'

“President Obama held his Rose Garden speech stating if I had a son he would look like Trayvon,” he explained. “To me, that was clearly a dereliction of duty pitting Americans against each other solely based on race.”

You know, I don't even know where to begin in calling his should be under the jail ass for even saying something so monumentally stupid.

.George Zimmerman, shut up fool!

Aisha Moodie-Mills To Become Victory Fund President and CEO!

Y'all know I have much love for the fabulous Aisha Moodie-Mills, her spouse Danielle, and all her fabulousness as one of the  amazing human rights leaders that I admire in this community.

I was thrilled to learn that she will become the new president and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

She is well suited for this job.  She was previously at the Center for American Progress, where she served as a senior fellow and director of the FIRE Initiative that explores the intersections of race, class, and sexuality. She has worked as a political advisor, private-sector liaison, and fundraiser to more than 50 members of Congress, including six senators and the Congressional Black Caucus. Before joining American Progress, she was the president of Synergy Strategy Group, a boutique fundraising and political consulting firm where she raised millions of dollars for candidates and advocacy organizations.

“We believe that Aisha is exactly the person Victory needs to usher in an innovative and holistic approach to creating a pipeline for exceptional LGBT leadership and public officials," said Kim Hoover, chair of the Victory Fund board. "To us, Aisha represents the future of the LGBT movement. We are at a pivotal moment and in order to continue our momentum we need the insight and energy that Aisha brings to the job."

“The National Black Justice Coalition is overjoyed that one of our own community members has been elevated to lead the important work of the Victory Fund. Aisha Moodie-Mills will be a phenomenal addition to one of our nation’s premier LGBT organizations, working to ensure broader representation of LGBT people in elected office. As a black lesbian, Aisha will bring new hope to women, African Americans and other people of color who seek greater opportunities within the LGBT community with her vast talents and dynamic leadership style. NBJC looks forward to continuing to partner with the Victory Fund as Mrs. Moodie-Mills takes the helm as their new president and chief executive officer.”  

--Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director & CEO, National Black Justice Coalition

Congratulations to Aisha, and to the Victory Fund for recognizing that the talents were a fit for what they needed as an organization.

Moni's Chilling In Chicago

Another weekend, another hotel room to crash in for another trans community event.

After my flight and CTA train ride, I'm finally chilling (literally) in my hotel room on the 21st  floor of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place getting ready for tomorrow's )first day of the National Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Anti-Violence Convening. (hashtag #NTAVC15) while the Incite! Conference is going on around us.   My room has a nice view of the South Side and Lake Michigan, not that I will be in it much to enjoy it.
Kudos to my little sis CeCe McDonald, who did some truth telling during her opening plenary panel that also included Marissa Alexander via Skype.

Temp was in the 70's when I left home this morning, and it's in the 30s here as I arrived. But enough about the weather, since I will be indoors for much of my visit here anyway. 

National Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Anti-Violence Convening was organized by the Transgender Law Center, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone over the next two days starting at 8 AM CDT.

And it looks like the trans gang's all here..  I saw Maria Roman, LaSaia Wade and finally met Jazzmun Crayton  five minutes after I dropped my bags in the room and went to the lobby to see who was here.   .

Also ran into Key Jackson and her partner, Je-Shawna Wholley, Ruby Corado and her husband, Bamby Salcedo, Arianna Lint,  BT, Louis Mitchell, Tiq Milan and a long list of people that is shaping up to be an event in which a wide cross section of the trans community leaders are in the house.

Exactly who I see and what we do that I can talk about will play out over the next few days..

And that's before we even start discussing the 2015 Trans 100 honorees that will be revealed Sunday.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Keep Calm And Love Your Trans* Friends

Because we can definitely use it right now with several states proposing unjust laws to criminalize our existence and national organizations being silent about it, our trans teens committing suicide, lies being told about our community and pimped by ministers and a propaganda network, and us feeling besieged.

But despite this, and still we rise.   We still strive to speed up the day when trans human rights is not just a distant dream but a concrete reality across the planet.   We yearn for the day when trans kids will be supported, loved and not thrown out of their homes like yesterday's trash

We also know that we are people loved by the Creator who wonderfully made us and are part of the diverse mosaic of human life.  While some may revile us, others embrace us and consider us a blessing in their lives.

And we also need to spread that same love amongst each other in Trans World as we receive it from the people who love and care about us.

If you as our allies genuinely feel that way, let you trans friends know that now as you give them a hug they most definitely need.

Keep calm.   This storm of anti-trans hatred and intolerance shall pass and will give way to the bright sunlight of freedom, love and acceptance..  

The Air Marshal Is Headed To Chicago

For the second straight week I'm boarding an airplane at Hobby that will fly to Chicago. 

And if Southwest handled their aviation business properly, I should be airborne as you read this.

But this time when I arrive there I'll be getting off and leaving the confines of Midway Airport to head to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place for a Transgender Law Center organized National Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Anti-Violence Convening on Friday and Saturday.

The Color of Violence Conference will also be convening while we are here. and as I'm flying toward the Chicago area will be kicking off with two per-conference institutes before the opening plenary that features our sis CeCe McDonald.

I'm going to try to find some time while I'm up here in the Windy City to not only see some of my Chicago based trans family, but make another pilgrimage to Giordano's to destroy another deep dish pizza.

And while I'm up here, the Trans 100 reveal show at the Mayne Stage will also take place on Sunday, so I;m going to have a activity filled weekend before I head back to H-town.

California Activist Counters Hate With 'Intolerant Jackass Act'

Charlotte LawsWe've all seen the stories about the so-called 'Sodomite Suppression Act' that if it collects the 365,000 signatures it needs to make it to the ballot, calls for the execution of gays and lesbians in the Golden State.

Activist Charlotte Laws on Monday filed a counterproposal to the unbridled genocidal 'Kill The Gays' initiative proposed by attorney Matt McLaughlin (have they yanked his law license yet?) entitled the Intolerant Jackass Act

"Any person, herein known as an 'Intolerant Jackass,' who brings forth a ballot measure that suggests the killing of gays and/or lesbians, whether this measure is called the Sodomite Suppression Act or is known by some other name, shall be required to attend sensitivity training for at least three (3) hours per month for twelve (12) consecutive months," the initiative reads in part. "In addition, the offender or 'Intolerant Jackass' must donate $5,000 to a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization."
Laws told The Advocate via e-mail why she filed it.

“I felt that ridiculing this man was the best way to defuse his vicious proposal and take away his power,” Laws told  The Advocate via email. “By filing the Intolerant Jackass Act, I am attempting to speak out against prejudice and hatred. It is important to fight injustice and intolerance. I want the world to know that Matt McLaughlin’s wretched and small-minded perspective is in the minority. Most people in California are caring and loving individuals who welcome the LGBTQ community.”

As delicious as this would be for this to go through the ballot initiative process and become California law, it may not be likely to happen.  Even if it did, it would probably be struck down as unconstitutional

But it sure will be fun to watch and see what happens.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Eden Lane Honored As 'Best Non-Network TV Personality'

And now, time for some much needed good news .
My Denver based sis Eden Lane recently received a wonderful surprise from Westworld, the local alternative weekly newspaper

Every year the editors of Westworld along with their readers select 'Best Of' winners in various categories.  And guess who won 'Best Non-Network TV Personality''?

Here is what they had to say about our hard working media sis.:

Since 2009, Eden Lane has been hoofing her heels all over Denver to cover the burgeoning performing-arts and media beats, using a scant crew to grab an interview with new talents and introduce them to the world via her weekly, self-produced In Focus show on Colorado Public Television (Channel 12 to those in Denver). Always professional, effervescent, creative and dressed to kill, Lane's recent openness on living life as a trans woman just might bring her to national eyes as a role model for how journalism should be done.

Take note of that underlined last sentence.

Hey, I've seen In Touch, and you can also watch the show on YouTube.  I'm still wondering why some network or local station hasn't hired her yet..   But nice to see quality work and a quality person recognized!

Congrats Eden!   Hope this is just one of many awards you'll get and it results in more positive attention for you!

Blake Brockington Commits Suicide

“I’m still a person, and trans people are still people. Our bodies just don’t match what’s up (in our heads). We need support, not people looking down at us or degrading us or overlooking us. We are still human.”
Blake Brockington

I have mixed emotions as I'm writing this post because I have the sad duty of informing you courtesy of QNotes that history making trans activist Blake Brockington took his own life March 23.

18 year old Brockington made history last year as the first ever African-American trans masculine homecoming king when as an East Mecklenburg High School senior he beat out 12 other nominees and raised $2355.55 for a school chosen charity to win the honor.

Since his graduation from East Mecklenburg HS he has been involved in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, a mentor to other trans kids and an outspoken advocate for our community.  I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to his at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference to congratulate him on his historic win and tell him how proud I was of him.

And that's one of the parts that is pissing me off and literally has me in tears as I compose this.  Brockington is the third trans person of color youth suicide this year, and that unhappy trend must end.  22 year old Aubrey Mariko Shine jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge February 24, and was preceded by the February 11 death of 19 year old Melonie Rose of Laurel, MD.

And to add insult to both those deaths, the families of Shine and Rose added to the hurt and anger we feel over these death by deliberately erased their trans identities at their funerals

We lost another one of our trans younglings to the ramped up anti-trans violence and hatred.   If #BlackLivesMatter,  don't #BlackTransLivesMatter too?

Trans younglings, your best revenge is living well and setting the goal of living to see your 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th and 70th birthdays.  If you need to talk to someone, find a trans elder or call the Trevor Project.  
It would have been interesting to see how Blake's life would have turned out, but we've been robbed of that opportunity.   

Rest in power, Blake

 For TBLG youth (ages 24 and younger) contemplating suicide, the Trevor Project Lifeline can be reached at 1-866-488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.

The Kentucky Anti-Trans Bill Is FINALLY Dead!

It took a little longer than expected, but Sen. CB Embry anti-trans Bathroom Bounty Bill is finally dead with the end of the 2015 Kentucky General Assembly session at midnight EDT.

You'll recall that back in February the Kentucky senate Republicans shadily passed the bill out of committee, then passed the unjust bill it in the GOP controlled Senate on a 27-9 vote.

But SB 76 was DOA in the Democratically controlled House, and it was parked in a committee with no intention to let it out to the House floor much less bring it up for a committee vote.  

With the clock ticking toward the end of the session, Embry decided to tack his unjust bill to HB 236, a bill that overwhelmingly passed the House that would allow for a student representative to be appointed to school superintendent search committees. 

Dismayed Kentucky students from across the commonwealth not only saw the bill they had worked so hard to pass being hijacked by Embry, but also being altered Tuesday after two student rallies in Frankfort and news coverage about the impasse.

HB 236 was altered by the Kentucky senate to allow the student to sit on the search committee,  but the student would not be able to vote on who is recommended for the job.    The 'Student Religious Speech' amendment was also attached to HB 236  by Sen. Albert Robinson (R) to permit students to voluntarily express religious viewpoints in schools.  Senator Alice Forgy Kerr (R-Lexington) successfully attached another amendment that would make HB 236 immediately come into force after it became law with Governor Steve Beshear's (D) signature. 

Coat of arms or logoSen. Embry withdrew his 'Bathroom Bounty Bill' amendment and the altered  HB 236 passed 27-9. But the damage was done, and the amended HB 236..has no support in the Democratically controlled House when they voted overwhelmingly for the original bill.

While I'm sad that a great bill that would have empowered Kentucky students fell victim to GOP political shenanigans, the bigger picture is that the unjust anti-trans bill is FINALLY dead. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Maya Avant Is More Important Than You Think

On Wednesday morning while I was rolling toward Austin to fight some anti-trans bills at the Pink Dome, the CBS soap opera Bold and The Beautiful was dropping a cliffhanger that would light up the Twitterverse for several hours in terms of the Maya Avant character, played by actress Karla Mosley, being revealed to be a trans woman. 

Seven years ago I wrote about the importance of Rebecca Romijn playing Alexis Meade on the ABC show Ugly Betty.   I compared it at the time to Nichelle Nichols playing Lt. Uhura on Star Trek in terms of the groundbreaking nature of it.

Now for the first time ever, we have a soap with a trans African-American character.   You know I not only have wanted to see a regular trans character that reflects my ethnic background for years now, I have also expressed my frustration at the ignorance level of elements of my people when it comes to trans issues.

The Maya Avant character has the potential if handled correctly by Bold and the Beautiful writers, to finally bust some myths about what a trans person of African descent is like, and educate about many of the issues we deal with.

And while we African-American trans women have had amazing possibility models in Janet Mock and Laverne Cox capture the country's and the world's attention, and are an immense source of pride in our ranks, we now have a fictional character gracing the nation's television screens and the TV screens of the 100 nations where this soap is broadcast.

So when Bold and the Beautiful returns following the weekend's March Madness games, we'll see what happens with this unfolding storyline that suddenly has a lot of people inside and outside the trans community talking and  paying attention to the exploits of Maya Avant..

Monday, March 23, 2015

Yo Ted, Show Us Your Birth Certificate

Whoopi Goldberg
Ted Cruz has declared he is running for president in 2016 (stop laughing).  The junior senator from Alberta was an unrepentant birther, and now it is going to be delicious to whack him relentlessly with the same shade he and his birther crew threw at President Obama.

Teabagger Ted fits their scenario they tried and failed to pain the POTUS with.   He was born in Canada, has an American mother and a Cuban father.  

As I love to say, karma is not only a you know what, but wears a dress and stiletto heels.

And Whoopi Goldberg got the party started on The View earlier today by demanding to see Ted Cruz's birth certificate.  We don't care if you released it in 2013.  What if it's a fake?

(We Gottta) Fight For Our Right To Potty 2015

Back in 2010 I took an idea birthed during a conversation with Ethan St. Pierre and rewrote the Beastie Boys song (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party' as a protest song against the bathroom meme that was then being used to try to scuttle trans inclusion in ENDA.

It's now five years later, ENDA is still not the law of the land, and the bathroom lie is being used to attack trans human rights in general now.

With all the GOP anti-trans bathroom bills out there filed by Debbie Does Discrimination Riddle and Gilbert 'Potty Panic' Pena in Texas,, Frank 'Flush Away Our Humanity' Artiles in Florida, CM 'Bathroom Bounty Bill' Embry in Kentucky and other GOP conservafool legislative oppressors at the behest of ALEC, it was time to pull this song out of the TransGriot archives and tweak the lyrics for the 2K15.

So y'all know the drill.  Fire up those iPods or your fave music program and sing along with Moni's remixed lyrics.

And yeah, if you want to use it at a #WeJustNeedToPee protest, have fun.  Just give me the credit for composing this little ditty.

(We Gotta) Fight For Our Right To Potty 2015
sung to the tune of  (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party by the Beastie Boys.

Kick it!

Trans people need to pee but we don't wanna go
Needs to be gender neutral but the right wing says, "No!"
On anti-trans bills they went to work
As they started hatin' on us like transphobic jerks

We gotta fight for our right to potty

Presentation based bathrooms need to happen today
GOP oppressors are saying “No way!”
Facing trans discrimination can be so sad
Erasing our humanity makes trans folks fighting mad (Busted!)

We gotta fight for our right to potty

Don't like that I transitioned? Why should you care?
Don’t need to know the genitalia that I have down there
I’ve got to pee so bump that noise.
I’m not (will be) going to use the bathroom with cisgender boys!

We gotta fight for our right to potty
We gotta fight for our right to potty

We Black LGBT Peeps Only Care About Gay Rights? Ignorant Fool Please!

I saw this meme on Nephew's AKA Jaison Gardner's FB page that some fool with too much time on his hands created that I am compelled to call out.

It levels an old charge in Black non- SGL circles they aim at the Black TBLGQ community that Black gay people are 'not loyal' to the Black cause because they are 'only loyal to gay rights'.

Which is straight up bull feces.

SGL, bi and trans folks first up are Black people.  We have to deal with the everyday microaggressions and macroaggressions of just navigating life in a Black body just like straight Black folks, with an extra heaping helping of transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia dropped on top of that.

In addition to having to fight the conservative movement tooth and nail just to avoid being dehumanized, we have to also deal with the same crap coming from people who share our ethnic heritage uttering the same loud and wrong BS at us.

We in Black TBLGQ World are sick and tired of being 'too Black' for our gay counterparts and 'not Black enough' for some of you peeps regurgitating that anti-gay propaganda you've been fed by sellout ministers and FOX Noise

The reality is that Black LGBT issues are Black community issues and vice versa.

I guess the ignorant creator of this meme didn't learn anything about Bayard Rustin in school, who not only created the concept of the Freedom Rides so skillfully used by Diane Nash and SNCC two decades later, also was a brilliant movement organizer, leader, and advisor to the Rev. Dr MLK Jr. 

If it weren't for Rustin, the 1963 March On Washington wouldn't have been the spectacular success it turned out to be.   And yes, Rustin was a Black gay man.

Lorraine Hansberry, the creator of the play A Raisin In The Sun, in her brief life was a civil rights movement warrior who was also concerned about the African liberation struggle.

Guess whoever created this meme (and I wouldn't be surprised if it was someone in the National Organization for Marriage)  also forgot about James Baldwin and Angela Davis

This meme may be part of their well documented plan to drive a wedge between the African-American, Latino and SGL community, and if the fool who created this is Black, then I pity him for allowing himself to be hoodwinked and bamboozled by NOM's propaganda.

And as Coretta Scott King pointed out in a March 31, 1998  speech:
"Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery and Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the civil rights movement. I salute the contributions of these courageous men and women who fought for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own."
It's not just in the civil rights era that Black LGBT peeps handled their human rights business on behalf of the Black community, it's happening in 2K15 America as well.  

The Black Lives Matter movement founders, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometti rep the L.   Black TBLG  peeps in Houston including yours truly busted their behinds to get the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance passed last May while being opposed by Black ministers and Black people on the loud and wrong side of this human rights issue.

We have the common goal along with our non-gay Black peeps of eradicating the anti-Black societal attitudes that deleteriously impact all of us.  Black BTLGQ people are not only concerned with advancing human rights for our own community, but simultaneously uplifting the Black community we intersect and interact with.

And there are many times we are doing Black community uplift work, but you just aren't aware that the person involved in your local civic club, chapter of the NAACP, or community leader is also part of the Black BTLGQ community.

While there are moments that the Black non-SGL community pisses us off with the internal homophobia that expeditiously needs eradication, the fact remains that we Black LGBTQ peeps are and historically have been an undeniable part of the kente cloth fabric of the African-American community. 

Our fate as Black TBLGQ people in this country is inextricably tied to the rest of Black America, and Black folks wishing to divide the Black SGL and non-SGL communities would do well to remember that.

So to say that Black LGBTQ peeps only care about gay rights is not only a blatant lie, it is a narrative contrary to the historical evidence.

Kerry Washington's 2015 GLAAD Vanguard Award Acceptance Speech

Kerry Washington at the 26th annual GLAAD Media Awards 
As y'all know, I have much love for Kerry Washington, and look forward to the day when I can meet her and let my inner fangirl loose,

In accepting the Vanguard Award last night, she cut loose with a powerful speech that brought the assembled crowd to their feet.  One portion of it was calling out the hypocrisy of marginalized communities turning on each other.

"So when Black people today tell me that they don't believe in gay marriage… the first thing that I say is please don't let anybody try to get you to vote against your own best interests by feeding you messages of hate. And then I say, you know people used to say stuff like that about you and your love. And if we let the government start to legislate love in our lifetime, who do you think is next?" 

"We can't say that we believe in each other’s fundamental humanity and then turn a blind eye to the reality of each others existence and the truth of each other’s hearts. We must be allies. And we must be allies in this business because to be represented is to be humanized. And as long as anyone, anywhere is being made to feel less human, our very definition of humanity is at stake and we are all vulnerable."

And here's the video of that Vanguard Award acceptance speech.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Told Y'all Papi Edwards Was A #GirlLikeUs

"In my two decades of lived experience as a Black trans woman, I have seen more than a few young gay males who liked doing drag, claimed it was 'a hobby', only did it for pageants or gay nightclub talent nights and swore up and down they were gay men and had no intention to transition.

But a year or two later after having that gender epiphany, those same gay males were declaring they were trans, swallowing hormones, answering to feminine names and transitioning to live full time as female."
-TransGriot, February 2, 2015,, The Case For Edwards Being A Trans Murder Victim"

Well, as this Dominic Holden March 6 BuzzFeed article points out, Moni was right.

A trans woman who knew Ms. Edwards and was also at the January 9 murder scene named Tiffany, came forward and publicly confirmed what I was hearing from multiple Louisville contacts.

“Papi got shot because she was a transgender female,” Tiffany told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview this month. “That is exactly why she was killed — because of gender identity.”

The photo in this post is a surveillance camera still shot of Ms. Edwards moments before she was killed.  And she is clearly presenting as female moments before she was killed. 

Henry Gleaves, the alleged shooter who prematurely ended Papi's young life, just had another court hearing March 26, with the trial due to start in Da Ville on October 27.

We have had eight trans women killed this year.  I expect there will be more before the calendar turns to January 1, 2016.   This Edwards case underscores the importance of police departments when they encounter trans murder victims, ACCURATELY identifying and publicizing the fact they are dealing with a trans murder case.

Because the sooner the trans community knows we are dealing with a trans murder case, the sooner we can spring into action to help you peeps in law enforcement solve them.

Trans 100 Class Of 2015 Honorees Revealed Next Week

The Trans 100
Next Sunday at the Mayne Stage in Chicago, the latest edition of Trans 100 honorees will be revealed in a show hosted by our fave trans couple in Precious Davis and Myles Brady.

The Trans 100 event will not only have our fave trans couple in the house, but will feature keynotes from Tiq Milan and Lana Wachowski and musical performances by Tona Brown, Laura Jane Grace and Rocco Katastrophe

Slide 1
Yeah, in case you're wondering, I was honored in the inaugural 2013 class of Trans 100 honorees.  And thanks to me being in Chicago for a fortuitously timed conference  I will be in the Mayne Stage house for the first time to actually witness the reading of the names in the Trans 100 Class of 2015.

For those of you who won't be in Chicago for it, you can watch the live feed of it.

I'll also be interested to see which Trans Texans join Phyllis Frye, Carter Brown, Katy Stewart (2013), Lou Weaver, Cristan Williams, Sharyn Grayson, Robyn Morgan Collado, Tye West  (2014) and yours truly as Trans 100 honorees.

I'm so looking forward to the Trans 100 reveal.  I'm looking forward to getting another\ opportunity to not only see some old friends , but finally get the opportunity to meet Lana Wachowski and Laura Jane Grace

We'll see what happens next Sunday.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Kerry Washington To Receive GLAAD Vanguard Award Tonight

The 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, LA Division will kick off in a few hours at the Beverly Hilton and I'm pleased to hear that one of my fave actresses in Kerry Washington will be honored with this year's Vanguard Award.

The GLAAD Vanguard Award is presented to the media professional who have made a significant difference in promoting equality.

Some of the previous Vanguard Award recipients have been Janet Jackson, Charlize Theron, Kristen Chenoweth, drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas and Sharon Stone.

In addition to appearing in LGBT-inclusive projects like Scandal, Peeples, She Hate Me, The Dead Girl, and Life is Hot in Cracktown (in which she played a trans woman),Washington has tirelessly spoken out in support of full equality and human rights for TBLGQ people. She has has participated in GLAAD's annual anti-bullying campaign, Spirit Day, by wearing purple to show her support for BTLGQ youth, and talked about the importance of stopping bullying on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Congrats to Kerry, and looking forward to seeing her later tonight along with her acceptance speech.