Thursday, January 28, 2016

Not Happy About GLAAD Chopping The Best Blog Awards Category

GLAAD, annual, media, awards, 2016, 27th, movies, film, TV
When GLAAD announced their nominees for their upcoming media awards shows in Los Angeles and New York, there was a glaring admission in the 2016 edition of the awards.


My blog is celebrating its 10th anniversary (January 1) in continuous operation as one of the few Black owned media outlets that centers the voices of trans persons of color and talks about trans history from our perspective..  

As a former nominee for that Best Blog award in 2014, I am not liking the decision, whoever made it, to cut the blogging award category.

Even when TransGriot was nominated in 2014, I felt like we were treated like media stepchildren by not even having our blogging award given during the televised feed. That's why when I was a finalist in 2014, my behind was in Dallas, TX at the BTAC conference being enveloped in my community's love instead of New York at the GLAAD awards ceremony being snubbed.

There seems to be this disconnect concerning just how much impact bloggers have in driving the media conversation about TBLG issues and the movement as a whole.  Since my blog is the only one that unapologetically discusses issues from a Black trans perspective and has done so for a decade, it is considered a credible news source to mainstream journalists and the LGBT big box outlets that do get nominated for awards.  The fact I have been an activist for now approaching 18 years also makes my blog unique and gives me more credibility when I opine about LGBT activism issues.

I can't tell you how many pictures I joyfully took or conversations I had with young LGBT kids at the recent Creating Change in Chicago that grew up reading TransGriot.  In addition to having conversations with the next generation of our movement, and my fellow LGBT journalists, they thanked me for writing the over 9000+ posts I have written over the last ten years telling it like it T-I-S is about our community.

And speaking of my fellow LGBT journalists, looking forward to sharing space with them in Baltimore for the upcoming LGBT Media Journalists Convening in March.

It's also important to have media outlets that are not centered in Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York since the vast majority of  LGBT people don't live there but in cities and rural areas in what is derisively called 'flyover country'.   It is also vitally important to have trans media voices of color breaking down stories from their perspectives.  The more diverse voices we have on the ground to inform our community, the better.

I didn't get into writing TransGriot for the awards.  It simply started as a way for me to have a real time way back in 2006 on commenting on the issues of the day when I was writing a then two year old monthly column at a Louisville-based regional LGBT newspaper.  TransGriot the blog became bigger than and enhanced the readership of TransGriot the newspaper column until it ended in 2007.

It was also founded because I saw the necessity of having an unapologetically Black trans centered blog talking about the issues of the day from a trans perspective.

But it sure is nice when the hard work you put into making sure your blog is a credible news source is recognized by your peers.

It's interesting for me to note my GLAAD media trained self gets quoted in news stories inside and outside the LGBT community, and so do my Twitter comments from time to time.

If anyone doubts my impact on community conversations or the news cycle, ask the Houston Pride Committee just how much impact my blog 'nobody reads' had when it came to generating the media publicity storm that resulted in getting them to change their misguided decision to move the Houston Pride date to Juneteenth.   I also pointed out mistakes made during the coverage by those same LGBT national outlets GLAAD wants to honor about the HERO fight that was playing out in my Houston backyard.

And before the bigger outlets started doing so, it was yours truly chronicling the deaths of Black trans women, calling people out about the disrespectful transphobic news coverage, chronicling Black trans history, and talking about the history of why HRC is loathed by many in Trans World.

My readers include in addition to high school and college peeps, Houston, Washington D.C. and Texas politicians, various people in my old Louisville stomping grounds, TBLG leaders around the country and the world, and educators at the high school and collegiate levels.

I have been told by various college professors across the country that some of my TransGriot posts have been used in their classes when they wish to talk about and teach trans issues during their gender studies classes.  

2014, 2015 GLAAD Media Award Nominee  - Outstanding Blog

And more seriously, so far I have had five people privately tell me that reading some of my posts that focus on empowerment and trans pride on TransGriot kept them from committing suicide.

But I agree with my fellow former two time GLAAD nominee Alvin McEwen that eliminating the Best Blog category sends a negative message.  It's not only short sighted to those of us who toil in the blogging world with little to no compensation at times to ensure that the voices of marginalized LGBT people here and around the world are heard, it's also a mistake.

And it's a mistake I hope they rectify next year.

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