Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Californian's Thoughts On Sen. Kamala Harris' Candidacy

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I've been getting sick of hearing the borderline racist at times vitriol being aimed at Sen Kamala Harris and the BS 'Kamala is a cop' line.   I'm leaning toward supporting her in large part because I've been keeping an eye on her political ascent since 2010 and I'm tired of the anti-Kamala rhetoric.

Is her record perfect?  Nope.  Neither are the other 20 people running for the Democratic nomination either,

One of Harris' constituents, Viktor Kerney wrote this on his Facebook page explaining why he enthusiastically supports her 2020 candidacy for president.


So, someone asked me why I ride hard for Kamala Harris, especially since was a prosecutor. Well, I don’t see being a prosecutor a bad thing. I think people have to realize that a prosecutor is not a simple job, like working at Target. It takes someone who can make tough decisions and look at things through a critical lens. But here are my reasons...
Kamala has fought for people of color during her time as DA and AG in California. She’s worked on initiatives to get people back on track after being incarcerated, making sure the children had a proper education and opportunities to succeed. Yes, the truancy policy was not ideal, but with the research about children missing school and later becoming incarcerated, she had to do something.
Kamala is comfortable making tough decisions. I want a president who can make these decisions with proper caution.
Kamala’s policies for America helps middle-class workers as well as Black people. I’ve seen people say what is her Black agenda. It is my believe that the Black agenda is healthcare, jobs, education, shortening the pay gap and the ability to have home security.
She has a strong list of successful receipts through her time in office and a high approval from President Obama himself.
Kamala has fought the big banks, predators, corporations in the world to make life easier for her constituents.
She understands hard work and does not shy away from big tasks.
She understood that being a prosecutor will bring negative views about who she is. However she used her experience to improve criminal reform.
While there are many rumors about her record, the facts state that she has been successful. I encourage people to read her records from versus some blog post from these descendant of slaves (ADOS) or her rivals’ fan base.
She has taken on men like Trump and not afraid to call them out and hold them accountable. That’s what I want in president and I think she can do it.

Congrats Judge Watson!

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Y'all know I have much love and admiration for my trailblazing Houston activist sis Fran Watson.

She's an attorney and former head of the Houston GLBT Caucus.   She was also the first Black woman to head the Caucus.  ,

Fran has run for the Texas state senate,  is one of only three Black women to be elected as a Houston Pride grand marshal, and volunteers her time to many worthy causes and organizations in the Houston area.

Earlier today the Houston City Council unanimously voted to approve Fran's nomination for a two year term as a municipal judge.

Congratulation Judge Watson!   This is a well deserved, and glad you will get to serve our fellow Houstonians from our municipal court bench.  I have no doubts that you will do a fantastic job in this new position

Thursday, July 11, 2019

2019 Williams Watch - Serena Makes It To The 'Williams'-don Final

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I call 'The Championships' as they are referred to across The Pond 'Williams'-don because both Serena and Venus have basically turned the All England Club into their personal tennis playground..

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The 2019 edition of Wimbledon started with Venus exiting the tournament in the first round after being upset by 15 year old American qualifier Cori 'Coco' Gauff 4-6,4-6 in straight sets.    Gauff electrified the tennis world by making a run all the way to the fourth round before being eliminated by Romania's Simona Halep.

That wasn't the end of  Venus' time in London.   She decided to play mixed doubles with fellow American Frances Tlafoe while Serena an Andy Murray of Great Britain played together.

Venus and Tlafoe made it to the second round of the mixed doubles tourney while Serena and Murray lasted until the third round,

11th seeded Serena had no problems with the qualifier she faced in Italy's Giulia Gatto-Monticone, dispacting her in straight sets 6-2,7-5.   That sent her into a second round match with another qualifier in Slovenia's Kaja Juvan

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Juvan served notice that this wasn't going to be like Serena's first round match.    She took the first set, but Little Sis regrouped and took the next to to punch her ticket to the third round after her 2-6, 6-2. 6-4  win. 

Her third round opponent was Germany's Julia Gorges.   Williams rolled to a 6-3, 6-4 straight set win over the 18th seeded Gorges to set up her fourth round match with Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.

Williams handled her tennis business and sent the 30th seeded Suarez Navarro packing after a 6-2, 6-2 straight set win to punch her ticket to the quarterfinals

After Serena won the first set of this quarterfinal, Alison Riske flipped the tennis script and forced a winner take all third set.   Little Sis would not be denied, and took this match 6-4, 4-6, 6-3,

Serana faced Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic in the semis, and wasted no time pinning a 6-1 6-2 straight set 59 minute tennis beatdown on Strycova to punch her ticket to her 11th Wimbledon finals appearance.

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She will take on seventh seeded Simona Halep, who is playing in her first ever Wimbledon final.   She has also won just once against Little Sis in ten meetings, but thinks she's ready for the challenge.

If Serena wins on Saturday, she will capture not only her eighth Wimbledon title, but will tie that unrepentant homophobe Margaret Court with her 24th Grand Slam title win.

Good luck Serena!    Handle your tennis business

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Moni's Headed To Netroots Nation 2019!

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Once again I'm hopping on a jet plane to the East Coast, and unlike the secret World Pride trip, this time I can tell y'all what my destination is. 

I'm headed back to Philadelphia for the first time since Creating Change 2017 to check out the 2019 edition of Netroots Nation.   If my flight left on time at 11:00 AM CDT the Air Marshal is already winging her way to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

Even better, I'm doing so on a nonstop flight.

The reason I'm leaving H-town today is because I'm participating in the Netroots Connect LGBTQ Pre-Conference event that's happening tomorrow starting at 8 AM EDT. 

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One of the reasons I love Netroots Nation is because it's not just a TBLGQ  conference.  While we do have a community specific pre-conference event and an LGBTQ caucus, Netroots Netroots is predominately a progressive political one I've been attending and participating in since 2012.

That 2012 one was held in Providence, RI and I was there to participate in the first ever all-trans panel on the subject of trans bloggers doing so for social justice and trans visibility.

It would be 2016 before I got to attend another one in St Louis, MO and start my streak of consecutive Netroots Nation events.   It was also memorable for me because I walked away from it as the 2016 Netroots Nation Pundit Cup champion

Netroots is also one in which I get to hang out with and see many of my peeps who are involved in progressive politics at the local, state and national level and meet new ones.. 

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I also get a chance to get my learn on, and see some of our up and coming progressive political peeps.   I met Stacey Abrams during the 2017 one in the ATL, and wasn't surprised when she made the Georgia governor's race so close Brian Kemp had to do what Republicans do and cheat to beat her.   I also passed the Pundit Cup championship torch to 2017 champion Tenaja Jordan, who was the third straight Black woman to win it.

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In NOLA last year I got to meet Del. Danica Roem and see my old friend and Colorado House member Leslie Herod.    Won't be surprised if Leslie ends up in the Colorado governor's mansion or Congress soon.
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And even though I've been to Philadelphia now six times in this decade, I actually haven't done much sightseeing in the city beyond checking out Dewey's Lunch Counter during the LGBTQ Media Convening.   That one happened because it was right across the street from the host hotel.

Sadly, it closed in 2017 and was demolished for a new hotel.

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Philly also has 7-Elevens.   But Wawa definitely gives them a run for their money. 

On that note, I'm so ready to see what transpires at this year's edition of Netroots Nation    Since the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has begun, there will be a presidential forum during this year's event that will take place on Saturday from 3-6 PM

Also looking forward to spending some quality time with my Philly trans fam when I'm not at the convention center.

Here's I come again Philly!  Break out the cheesesteaks.

MJ Rodriguez and Billy Porter Sing 'Home' At Trevor Live

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One of the things we've learned form season one of POSE is just how talented MJ Rodriguez is.

Hopefully after this year's season, she'll get some Emmy Award consideration and maybe even snatch a trophy this time.

But one of the revelations about Rodriguez is that girlfriend can 'sang'.   The 'Love Is The Message' episode in which she and Tony award winner Billy Porter, who plays Pray Tell,  sang the song 'Home' from The Wiz in a room full of AIDS patients had me shedding tears by the time it was over.

Here they are again with Our Lady J at piano singing it again at the Trevor Foundation's TrevorLive event in Los Angeles back in December 2018.



Monday, July 08, 2019

Soldier Accepts His Trans Daughter Video

Every now and then you get to see a video that tugs on your heart and reminds you what you are fighting for. 

I constantly say in any interview I do that the trans rights work I'm getting recognized for is about the kids behind me and leaving a better world for them.

This video short illustrates that better world I and other trans advocates are working to make a reality.   This video is about a teen trans girl who has a father in the military and transitions while he is deployed. 

You'll have to watch it and see what happens when he finds out his child has transitioned while he's away. 

Sunday, July 07, 2019

USA Women Are The Four Time FIFA World Champs

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Looks like Dolt 45 has a decision to make after the USA women handled their soccer business and completed their run to back to back titles for the first time in program history by defeating the Netherlands 2-0.

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This was Team USA's fourth FIFA world championship, and they left no doubts about the fact they are the world's best team despite a stiff challenge from the Netherlands, the reigning European champions who were playing in their first FIFA women's World Cup final. 

The Netherlands was riding the hot goalkeeping of eventual Golden Glove winner Sari van Veenendaal, who kept the USA scoreless until  Alex Morgan drew a penalty in the 61 minute that led to Megan Rapinoe's sixth goal of the tournament.   That snapped van Veennedaal's scoreless streak at 314 minutes, and seven minutes later Rose Lavelle sent a scorching shot from 18 yards out past van Veenendaal to make it 2-0 and start the party in Lyon for te American fans there and back in the USA. 

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Rapinoe not only captured the Golden Boot  award for the tournament's top scorer, she also snached the Golden Ball (MVP) trophy as the tournament's best player. 

Take that Donald Trump!

The Netherlands along with England and Sweden did walk away from this tournament knowing that they have qualified for the 2020 Olympics..    Sweden also won the Third Place game 2-1 against England.

But all hail the queens of the FIFA soccer pitch.    Will they threepeat in 2023?   We'll have to wait to find out the answer to this question.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

The Meaning Of July 4 For Black Trans Americans

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One of my favorite Frederick Douglass speeches is one he gave on July 5, 1852, entitled The Meaning of July 4 for the Negro. That speech pointed out the glaring hypocrisy of America celebrating Independence Day while enslaving millions of African-descended people. Since the 4th is upon us, I decided to write this column in the style of Frederick Douglass’  famous speech, but apply it to what is happening with black trans Americans here in Texas and elsewhere in this country.
My fellow Americans.
Once again, we pause to celebrate another birthday of the nation we love. July 4 is also the day when the Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 brave men who put their lives on the line for the principles they believed in.
But there is a group of Americans for which this day that many of you celebrate seems hollow. In this dark time, our transgender siblings are not feeling the national love or pride in this nation. In fact, we feel there is nothing to celebrate on this day when we have already lost 11 people to anti-trans violence this year.
Say their names. Dana Martin, Ashanti Carmon, Jazzaline Ware, Muhlaysia Booker, Michelle Washington, Claire Legato, Paris Cameron, Chynal Lindsey, Chanel Scurlock,  Zoe Spears and Brooklyn Lindsey. Their Black trans lives have joined the ancestors far too soon because of the anti-trans hate speech and rhetoric coming from the Oval Office, evilgelical church pulpits, and the mouths of right-wing media pundits.
Black trans Americans are dismayed and angered by the silence of both our politicians we helped to elect and our legacy organizations like the NAACP concerning the genocidal levels of violence being aimed at us.
Why should a Black trans American be proud of this nation when they are demonized for being African-American and transgender? Why should we feel proud of a nation that gleefully denies us the ability to earn a decent living by making it easier to prevent us from getting a job?
Why should we be proud of a nation that seeks to deny us medical care or get housing? Why should we be proud of a nation that seeks to pass dehumanizing modern-day Jim Crow laws regulating where we poop and pee?

Why should we be proud of a nation that won’t allow us to serve in its military because a bunch of evilgelical bigots are advising the historically unqualified person currently occupying the White House to keep us from serving?
Image result for President Obama signing billWhy should we be proud of a nation that has rolled back President Obama’s positive policies and executive orders that were designed to help our community?

You claim to respect the rule of law, the Constitution, and the Bible, but ignore all of those things when it suits you to do so for conservative political advantage.

I already know what you MAGAts are going to say: If you don’t like America, leave it.

I will do no such thing. I love this country more than your Fox News-watching behinds ever will. I will not leave, because my ancestors shed four centuries’ worth of blood for us to be here in this moment, living better lives than they could have imagined for themselves. I love this country enough to fight for its soul and make it better than it was when I arrived on the planet.

I am not leaving because it would dishonor the memories of all the trans people we have lost to anti-trans violence. It is for their sakes that I must fight with every fiber of my being to create an America that recognizes the fact that the “We the People”
  in our Constitution unequivocally includes Black transgender Americans.

Our nation is increasingly accepting the fact that Black trans people not only exist, but the violence being aimed at us must stop. Our people are also increasingly coming to the realization that Black trans women are women, Black trans men are men, we are an intertwined part of the Black American family, and we have much to contribute to make the Black community better.

We Black trans people exist, and are proud of all the intersections that are housed in our Black trans bodies. If some of you in Black Cis World don’t like that, get over it, because we are beyond caring what your loud and ignorant opinion is about that.

You will give us the respect that we are due. We aren’t going away, or back into the closet. We Black trans Americans are going to work to the best of our ability to make a better world for the trans kids coming behind us.

And if that work to make a better world for our trans kids creates a better world for ourselves in the process, then we will consider that as a blessing.

And when that day finally becomes a reality, that will be a July 4 worth celebrating.

This article appears in the July 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine

Monday, July 01, 2019

Love You, Renee Martin

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It's Canada Day, but this particular one is filling me with sadness.

As many of you longtime TransGriot readers know, one of the people I have much love for north of the border is my homegirl Renee Martin, the founding editor of the blog Womanist Musings.

She's also a talented writer and eloquent speaker who has had many articles published by The Guardian and at Global Comment.     

She is also a co-founder of the Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association    This was her speech at the local Women's March a few months ago.

This was her speaking to the St Catharines City Council on February 11

Renee and I have been friends for over a decade.   In addition to our long phone conversations, have had fun tweaking each other over the US-Canada women's hockey rivalry.

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When those Canada-USA clashes happened during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Sochi, and Pyeongchang, the level of our good natured trash talking intensified. 

Renee and I have had long conversations on everything from US and Canadian politics to Blackness  to fashion.  I used to chuckle when she would refer to Alberta as 'that wretched province', Stephen Harper as 'The Sweater Vest', or my beloved Texas as 'Baja Alberta'.

Renee would also have me laughing as she'd tell me stories about her life as the only estrogen based human lifeform in a home with her husband, two sons and her beloved dog Sookie.

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I hadn't had the opportunity to talk to her on the phone as much as I used to because as y'all are well aware of, my life has gotten much busier, and the last time I had a long meaningful phone call with her was back in March.

I also noticed that she hadn't been posting as much on Facebook lately, and on June 27 she let me and all who love her know why.

Renee let us know in a Facebook post that she'd been ill the last few months, and was recently diagnosed with an inoperable liver cancer.    She has been given by her doctors a short time to live, and is currently in hospice care. 

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Tried to call her today, but she was having a rough day, and I'll attempt again sometime this week. 

I have had people in my life who I have lost to cancer.  There are also people I know in my life who have kicked cancer's azz.   But this time its one of my sister girls who is fighting it, and unfortunately cancer is winning.

While Renee asked us in that post to not feel bad for her, I just can't help it some days when I think about her situation.  I cried when I heard the news, and just writing this post has me wiping away tears right now.   

She has been a blessing in my life, and I'm going to miss her when she joins the ancestors.   I'm also going to be sad about the fact I never got to meet her in person.  

Love you Renee, and thanks for the decade of friendship, thought provoking conversation and laughs.

See you on the other side. 

TransGriot Update: Renee passed away July 8, just short of her 45th birthday on July 11