Saturday, November 16, 2019

Moni's Thoughts On The NCTE Mess

Image result for NCTE Mara Keisling
Many people in this community know I have much disdain for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) to the point I didn't post about them on TransGriot or ignored their press releases. But because I've been getting a lot of questions in my recent interactions with trans peeps and allies as to my thoughts about NCTE and why I feel the way I do about them and their executive director,
Hmm, where do I start in discussing NCTE , it's ED and the mess they are in right now?

My disdain of NCTE is centered in large part not only because of
their racist and mediocre ED, but because of its questionably murky founding in 2003. One of the rumors was that the seed money that started NCTE came from folks that didn't like the feisty
National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) and wanted a trans org more subservient to Gay Inc.
Image result for GenderPac Riki Wilchins
NTAC was founded in large part after GenderPAC decided to take itself out of national trans lobbying in 1999, and the NTAC founders discovered during the 1999 GenderPac DC Lobby Days that GenderPac's ED Riki Wilchins had been colluding with HRC lobbyists to sabotage their own lobby days in 1997, 1998 and 1999. That group of diverse NTAC founders included yours truly, and we created the org to fill the void left by GenderPac's WTF level decision to immediately abandon national trans advocacy.

NTAC as a nascent multicultural trans org quickly earned the respect of Capitol Hill legislators with its professionalism and political acumen. But that wasn't good enough for some white trans peeps big mad the people at the head of the new national trans org and on the board included people that didn't look like them.

Image result for National Transgender Advocacy Coalition
Many of you trans Beckies trashed NTAC at every opportunity, and wanted to bow to HRC's demand to have trans leadership deferential to m instead of relentlessly holding them accountable.
We at NTAC also realized that we needed to quickly grow to critical mass to ensure the organization's long term survival

Several of us in NTAC warned y'all about Keisling, her lack of activist credibility, and how incompetent she was, and y'all called it 'sour grapes' It wasn't just NTAC calling her incompetent. Peeps on Capitol Hill and congressional staffers were also saying it to us.
That was a request we NTAC leaders said 'hell no' to, knowing that we would need an unbought and unbossed trans org that didn't have uncomfortable ties to an HRC that at the time was still hostile to trans inclusion, and whose ED , Elizabeth Birth, had already demonstrated we couldn't trust her, and was the most hated woman in the trans community next to Janice Raymond.
NTAC was also determined that we weren't going to stop our primary mission of advocating for trans persons of color, whose voices were non existent in the trans policy conservation prior to NTAC's founding.

That Keisling leadership incompetence was on full display in 2007, when NTAC lobbyists that included yours truly warned the trans community in June 2007 after our May DC lobby days that we were about to get cut out of ENDA and immediate action was needed to stop that from happening .

Keisling called us in NTAC ';delusional' during the Gender Odyssey conference in Seattle that August and claimed to the people in attendance that trans inclusion in ENDA inclusion was a 'slam dunk'

It was a slam dunk alright. A slam dunk that clanked off the front of the civil rights basketball rim in October 2007 when Barney Frank yanked us out of ENDA as we in NTAC predicted..

Image result for Houston Unites
NCTE was part of the Houston Unites coalition of out of town orgs that in 2015 fubared our defense of the now repealed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance to mine and Black LGBTQ Houston's exasperation.
And when I say that Keisling is racist, I say so with personal experience of it. I am
one of the two Black IFGE winning trans leaders (Dawn Wilson is the other one) that was called an 'uppity n-word' by her at the 2002 Southern Comfort after she gleefully torpedoed an NTAC initiative that would have resulted in NTAC doing a Trans 101 presentation to the Congressional Black Caucus during the CBC Annual Legislative Conference weekend with the provision it stay secret, I was not shocked when it was revealed that NCTE had an inhouse racism problem, and NCTE has zero respect in the trans communities of color.

Image result for us trans survey
That lack of respect and disdain for NCTE and its executive director was so pronounced in Black Trans World, I had to write a TransGriot blog post urging Black trans folks to participate in the 2015 US Trans Survey. Because I and the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition (BTAC) did so, we got just enough Black trans participation to allow us to get good statistical numbers on the national Black trans population, and in several states including Texas.

We were also paying attention in Black Trans World when we noted that NCTE's staff looked like a Republican Party convention, and considered it seriously problematic that you could count the number of Black trans women hired by this org throughout its history on one hand.

The average shelf life for a Black NCTE employee was also because of the toxic racist culture in the organization, six months to a year. And naw, we aren't going to forget how one of our highly respected and few Black Mama Bears was disrespected while employed there.

So nope, not surprised to hear that NCTE may be imploding. Neither am I popping champagne corks because NCTE may be in its death spiral. The one thing I am shocked about is that it didn't happen sooner.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Headed To Austin Again!

Image result for Austin bergstrom terminal
Well, for once I'm doing an ATX trip that doesn't involve me spending most of my day at the Pink Dome.   But it's a little unique in how I'm getting there.

For the first time in 20 years, back in my Air Marshal days, I'm flying to Austin for an event.   It's also the first time I will fly into Austin Bergstrom Airport, which opened back in May 1999 and has been expanded since then to house 34 gates. 

It used to be Bergstrom Air Force Base until it closed in 1993.  Austin's tiny local airport on the north side of town was generating increasing citizen noise complaints, and the city asked to Air Force to consider making Bergstrom a joint civilian-military field.  Those requests were rejected until the base closed. 

Image result for LBJ on Air force one Austin
Bergstrom was also where Air Force One repeatedly flew into from Washington DC when Lyndon B. Johnson was president and enjoying time on his nearby LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, TX.

Image result for Austin airport hotel
The city of Austin eventually acquired it, demolished all the old base structures except the runway and the circular 12th Air Force HQ building that got converted into a hotel. 

The main terminal at the ABIA airport is named after trailblazing Texas legislator Barbara Jordan, and there's a statue of her in it. 

Image result for barbara jordan statue austin airport
Most of the time when I go to Austin from Houston I'm rolling past the airport on TX 71 either as a bus or car passenger.   But since I was in a United hub city in San Francisco and I needed to be in the ATX, decided to save myself a trip and just fly nonstop to Austin instead of flying back home to IAH,  heading to downtown Houston, then taking a nearly 2 hour bus ride back to the ATX.

It was going to be a 'Bougie bus', AKA a Vonlane, but still, why do that to myself?

Image result for Vonlane
I will be taking the bus back home to Houston when I'm done up here

What is that business?   I'm here for the 30th anniversary gala for Equality Texas that's happening on Saturday night, and they're giving me an award.

And yes, I will have room on my trophy shelf for it.

Image result for Equality Texas 30th anniversary logo
That 30th anniversary gala will happen at the AT&T Conference Center in downtown Austin on Saturday night, and looking forward to seeing and spending some time with my ATX family 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

2019 TransGriot NFL Picks -Week 11

Image result for seattle beat 49ers
The 1972 Miami Dolphins are popping champagne corks because Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks took down the last unbeaten team in the 2019 NFL season.in overtime.

That game in a Week 10 full of upsets also capped the worst week I've had in years of NFL prognostication and my first sub-500 one of this 2019 NFL season . 

Ugh.  I want to make sure this is my LAST sub .500 week of the 2019 NFL season.

Image result for ravens beat cincinnati
The Texans come out of their bye week and start their brutal stretch of games that see them playing the Ravens in Baltimore, a must win against their AFC South rivals the Colts and the New England Cheatriots Patriots at NRG Stadium over the next three weeks.   At the end of it, we'll know if this Texans team is a contender or a pretender.

Let's get to Week 11.  The Seahawks, Giants, Titans and Packers are on their bye week, so only 14 games to pick.   My picks will be in bold red print with home team in CAPS.   Mike's Week 11 picks will be at this link.

Week 10 Results                                2019 NFL Season Results 
TransGriot  3-10                                 TransGriot  89-58-1
Mike           4-9                                   Mike           85-61-1

Thursday Night Game
Steelers over BROWNS

Sunday Early Games
RAVENS over Texans
PANTHERS over Falcons
Cowboys over LIONS
Jaguars over COLTS
Bills over DOLPHINS
VIKINGS over Broncos
WASHINGTON over Jets
Saints over BUCCANEERS

Sunday Afternoon Games
49ERS over Cardinals
RAIDERS over Bengals
Patriots over EAGLES

Sunday Night Game 
RAMS over Bears

Monday Night Game
Chiefs over CHARGERS (Mexico City)




Wednesday, November 13, 2019

I'm Chilling In San Francisco!

Image result for sfo airport
After a crowded flight, I'm now in my hotel and chilling as I get ready for my TDOR event tomorrow.

The interesting thing about San Francisco is that it has a lot of small hotels sprinkled throughout its downtown area, and I'm staying at one called the Herbert Hotel.
Gallery image of this property
It opened in 1909, and definitely has been renovated since then with a flat screen TV in my room and comp WiFi.

Image result for sf cable car turnaround
It's on Powell Street, overlooking Union Square and two blocks from the turnaround for the San Francisco cable car line.   The Powell Street BART station is two blocks from here, which was definitely a blessing that meant I didn't have to schlep my bag too far from the subway station to the hotel 

Since I arrived a little after noon Pacific time, have the rest of the day and evening to hang out, and that's the plan so far.

Going To Miss You, Nikki Araguz Loyd

Image may contain: Nikki Araguz Loyd, sitting
Ironic that  I find myself on the day that we're having the viewing of  Nikki's body back home, I am in San Francisco, 122 miles from where she was born in Carmel, CA.

The viewing of her body is happening today, with the service happening tomorrow at the Humble Civic Center.   And I'm a little bummed that due to a previous commitment I must miss it.

Our Houston community woke up a week ago to the shocking news that Nikki Araguz Loyd had passed away at age 44.   We still as of yet don't know the cause of death, but what I can tell you is that even a week later, it is still sending shockwaves through me and everyone else in the Houston activist community who knew her.

I got to meet her in July 2010, not long after I moved back to Houston and the media firestorm around her marriage case was blowing up.  We became friends after a road trip I took with her to the northern Houston 'burbs. a month later

Image result for nikki araguz  lloyd
As I watched her ultimately successful precedent setting marriage case unfold, our friendship grew.

She knew I tended to be a loner at times, so she would unexpectedly show up at my place to pull my behind away from my computer and out of the apartment to do road trips with her and her bestie Meagan.   She took me out for my birthday one year, and I was also present for an epic Thanksgiving dinner in 2015 and more of her epic parties..

Image may contain: 11 people, including William Loyd, Monica Roberts, Danielle Skidmore and Ebony Houston-Blocker, people smiling, people standing and indoor
When I had drama in my life,  she was there helping me navigate through it.  I was also in her attorney's office when she won her case, and we subsequently rolled over to the Harris County Civil Courthouse to watch the now fired Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart try a last ditch resistance of the Obergefell ruling.

She purchased the Lenovo laptop I currently use when I travel to events, and got me as a birthday present in 2015 my first smartphone.

She was also there to put her size 9 foot up my behind when I needed a motivational kick in the butt.

Image result for Nikki Gallery Girls
I got to meet many of the people in her circles like Meagan Gillett, Bryanna Cox, Denisse Acha, Cressandra Thibodeaux  and countless others.   There were local trans advocates she also facilitated meetings with, supported and connected to each other.  She was connected to many national trans peeps as well like Jeanette and Jazz Jennings,  Joanna Cifredo de Fellman, Angelica Ross and Geena Rocero just to name a few.

She was connected not only to our trans community,  but the HIV/AIDS one, and the Houston arts community.

Image result for Nikki Araguz Loyd Gallery Girls
Because Nikki transitioned in her teens, she was seen as a role model and shero to our trans kids, and she loved them back.

Related image
While she will always be remembered for the landmark 2015 trans marriage equality Araguz v Delgado case that took down the 2001 anti-trans Littleton v Prange precedent, she also helped us pass HERO in May 2014 by revealing a painful event in her own life. 

She helped people get their name and gender marker changes.  When we were spending all day at the Pink Dome waiting to testify against SB 6 in 2017, she and Will walked into the Texas Capitol building with 20 large pizzas to feed us.

Interestingly enough that while she was a kick butt advocate, she told me during a birthday dinner for me a few years ago that her goal after she transitioned was to simply be a wife and mother.

Image may contain: 3 people, including Dee Dee Watters and Monica Roberts, people smiling, closeup
And she relished that role as well.   So well that she got elected as the PTA president at her daughter's school.

Nikki's life was short and way too brief for us, but it was one lived fabulously and well.  She always loved a good party, and is probably organizing a few of them with our transcestors now.

And yes diva, I'm going to miss you.

Leaving On A Jet Plane To: SFO

Image result for united airlines
If my flight left on time, I should be as you're reading this airborne and headed toward San Francisco and a TDOR event taking place on Thursday thanks to United.

This time I had to go to the big airport as we refer to IAH down here because the org sponsoring the trip had United vouchers for me to travel on, and United has a hub at IAH.

And yes, I love it any time I get to see my former coworkers that are still working at IAH and counting the days to retirement in some cases.

But traveling on United also means it's necessary for me to get there an hour to two hours earlier than I normally would for a flight because I still know half the airport.  I'm stopping every five to ten minutes running into Houston based flight attendants, coworkers, and even the shoe shine guys on my way to my departure gates in either Terminal C or Terminal E.

It's also a deja vu experience because I transitioned in that building.  While the south side of Terminal C is basically the same as when I was working there, the renovations they have done since I left in 2001 have also made it look vastly different from the Terminal C I used to know.

Related image
The bars and shops in there now remind me of a shopping mall.   Even the food courts and what they offer are light years different from when I was working there.    When I was working there, we had more locally based chains contracted to be in our airport terminals.

The new Terminal C north side gates are close enough now to Terminal B that you can walk to them from the north side C gates.

Image result for united airlines Terminal C IAH
That's especially true when I have a flight out of the north side of Terminal C, which is not even close to the one I used to work in.  The massive Terminal E, which connects to the south side of Terminal C and Terminal D (AKA the International Arrivals Building) on its north side, didn't even exist when I was there,

But back to discussing my trip.   Destination this time is San Francisco, and this will be the first time I've been back since 2016, when I attended the GLAAD Gala San Francisco, picked up an award and made a little speech at it.

Thus time I along with Toni Newman will be speaking at a Commonwealth Club of California, Gilead Sciences and SFPride sponsored TDOR event taking place on November 14.

looking forward to spending some time in the Bay Area, and hope i get to see some of my trans fam living here while I'm in San Francisco.




Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Harris County Commissioners Court Issues TDOR Resolution

Image may contain: text

Blue elections have positive consequences, and one of those happy consequences was after over a decade of GOP control, we finally flipped the Harris County Commissioners Court, our county's governing body to blue with the elections of Lina Hidalgo as our first Latina county judge and Adrian Garcia in the heavily Latinx Precinct 2.

Image result for harris county commissioners court 2019
Earlier at today's Commissioners Court meeting, Commissioner Adrian Garcia offered and got passed a resolution noting that this was the 20th anniversary year of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Image result for harris county commissioners court 2019
It was signed by the Democratic members of Commissioners Court in Commissioners Garcia and Rodney Ellis and County Judge Lina Hidalgo.  As you probably guessed, the signatures that were noticeably absent from the resolution were those of Republican commissioners R. Jack Cagle and Steve Radack. 

Radack is unfortunately my commissioner (for now), and has been on Commissioners Court since 1980.   He is thankfully up for reelection next year.   Cagle barely survived a challenge from Penny Morales Shaw for his seat in 2018.

Looking forward to firing Radack's disco era azz

Image result for harris county commissioners court 2019
Thanks to Judge Hidalgo, and Commissioners Garcia and Ellis for recognizing trans Harris County residents and the importance of TDOR to us.

No White Supremacists On My City Council

Image result for Anthony Dolcefino
Our Houston municipal elections back on November 5 led to the mayoral race and several city council  races going into runoffs.

One of those races going into a runoff is the At Large 4 city council race in which Anthony Dolcefino,  son of former ABC 13 investigative reporter Wayne Dolecefino, is in against Dr Letitia Plummer.

Image result for amanda edwards
This is the seat that CM Amanda Edwards held and was expected to win reelection to before she surprisingly decided to jump into the 2020 US Senate race.

I wasn't a fan of young Dolecefino in large part because of what his father pulled back in 1991.

Related image
Wayne Dolcefino aired that libelous hit piece on Sylvester Turner mere days before that 1991 mayoral runoff that cost him the chance to become Houston's first Black mayor and cost Dolecefino his ABC13 reporting gig. 

He's been hatin' on ABC 13 and Mayor Turner ever since, and is a frequent conservafool fixture on FOX 26.

It seems that young Anthony has a troubling history of palling around with White supremacists that goes back to his days at UT.   I also find it interesting that the Houston Firefighters endorsed Dolcefino.

Related image
We don't need someone like that on our Houston City Council, and I urge you to vote for Dr Letitia Plummer next month when early voting starts to make sure that happens.