Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

The clock is ticking down not only on the end of this historic year, but the end of the Bush presidency as well.

It's been a up and down year for us in the transgender community. We've added a few more cities to the long list of areas that believe our civil rights are worth ensconcing into law. We backed the winner in a historic presidential race.

It was a historic year for African American transwomen. Dr. Marisa Richmond became the first African-American transwoman to become a delegate at a major party convention. Isis King and Laverne Cox made ground breaking television appearances showcasing our beauty and intelligence.

Oh yeah, some African-American transgender blogger emerged as a finalist for the 2008 Weblog Awards Best LGBT Blog award.

Unfortunately we lost 30 more of our transsisters to anti transgender violence, with the latest one just happening days ago in Indianapolis.

We are receiving renewed attention from the Forces of Intolerance. They have decided to use any unchristian means necessary to oppose the inevitable arching of the moral universe towards justice for transgender people.

Sadly, one of the willing members of that cabal of intolerance is the Roman Catholic Church.

But one of the things I'm looking forward to in 2009 besides the Obama inauguration is exploring the exciting possibility that our African descended biosisters are not only keenly interested in learning more about us, but may finally be realizing that we transwomen are their natural allies.

I'm also encouraged that while we still have a long way to go, we have taken major strides toward destroying some negative myths about African descended transgender people and what we bring to the African American family table.

So change is coming, and it's not just at the White House on January 20 either.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Indiana Transsistah Dead And Disrespected By The Media

Well folks, here we fracking go again. This time the disrespect is not only in my neck of the woods once again, it's up I-65 from me in Indianapolis.

Bil is also blogging about this over at The Bilerico Project since it's in his backyard.

Taysia Elzy and her boyfriend were killed over the holidays. Not only did they identify her as a 'man' they used mug shots for the photos. Also peep the comments coming from the 'enlightened' citizens who are posting onto this story.

As per TransGriot policy, I'm rewriting the story the way it should have appeared per AP Stylebook guidelines for covering transgender people.


2 People, Dog Found Dead In Home
Police: Residents Had Not Been Heard From Since Wednesday

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two people and a dog found dead in a north side Indianapolis home on Friday may have been there since the middle of the week, police said.

Officers went to check on the welfare of a resident at 5853 Rosslyn Ave. who had not been heard from since Wednesday, said Sgt. Paul Thompson.

Taysia Elzy, 34, and Michael Hunt, 22, were found dead in the home, along with a pit bull, Thompson said. Three other pit bulls were also removed from the home.

Detectives said they were looking for a blue 2001 four-door Mercury Sable that should have been at the house. The vehicle has an Indiana 2009 Children's Trust license plate No. KW1329, along with custom 22-inch rims, television monitors in the headrests and the phrase "sexy and independent" painted on the rear of the car.

Police said they believe the vehicle may either be headed to or already in the Fort Wayne area.

Anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS or 800-222-TIPS.

Holiday Black Blog Rankings Update

Electronic Villager updated the BBR's on December 20, so let's check out where I stood as of that date.

In this holiday update, 1516 blogs were ranked which was an increase of 20 blogs and puts the BBR's over the 1500 mark. Pam's House Blend is still Number One.

So where's TransGriot?

TransGriot is still in the Top 50 Black Blogs at number 47 with a Technorati ranking of 144. Moved up three spots toward my new goals of being in the Top 25 BBR and at a 200 Technorati ranking by my May 4 birthday, but I'm concerned because I only picked up 1 point since the early December rankings, and I know that's questionable.

So close to my previous goal of 150 goal but yet so far. Hopefully whatever problem my Technorati ranking is having updating itself will go away.

Congratulations Angela!

Monica Helms sent me the word a few days ago, but I need to take a moment to congratulate an old friend who was named Q-Notes Person of the Year.

I've served with Angela Brightfeather on the NTAC board, have walked the halls of Congress with her, hung out at various conventions with her, and she was one of the people in the room when I picked up my Trinity in 2006.

She also beat my behind soundly on the pool table in the Philly hotel's sports lounge during that same 2006 IFGE convention.

Nevertheless, she's a role model to myself and many of us. She serves as the vice president of TAVA, the Transgender American Veteran's Assn and is a tireless advocate for transgender veterans issues. She also excels at keeping HRC 'ejumacated' and fighting for the civil rights of transpeople in North Carolina and around the nation.

She keeps us focused on the bigger prize of equality for all, and it's nice to see one of the good peeps in the community win a well deserved honor.

Congratulations Angela!

2008 Weblog Awards Finalist!

The 2008 Weblog Awards

Hey TransGriot readers, just wanted to let you know that I did get my Christmas wish this year. This blog is one of the ten finalists for 2008 Best LGBT Blog!

Here's my esteemed competition:

The Bilerico Project
Pam's House Blend
Susie Bright's Journal
Tammy Bruce
This Girl Called Automatic Win
Gay Patriot

To be part of this list is a huge honor. Pam's House Blend won it two years in a row (2005-2006) and was a finalist last year. Joe.My.God. was the 2007 winner. The Bilerico Project is a finalist for the second year in a row.

Congratulations to Lisa at Black Women, Blow The Trumpet, who is a finalist in the Best Small Blog Category

There were over 5000 nominations submitted this year, and over 290 in the Best LGBT blog category. I submitted a nomination for the award last year but didn't make the final cut.

So yeah, I'm deliriously happy right now. I've got some tough competition, with the voting starting on January 5 and running through January 12.

Here are the rest of the finalists in the various categories, and good luck to 'errbody' when the voting starts.

But that 'Best 2008 GLBT blog winner' button would sure look good on TransGriot!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hello, There Are Beautiful Transwomen Who Are Black

There's an old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One of the things I really get tired of is when the general conversation of transwomen turns to beauty and the discussion ignores us.

What got me thinking about the subject was this YouTube video I ran across while searching for something else spotlighting gorgeous celebrity transwomen. Too many times when that discussion gets started, the transwomen that are held up to that standard nine times out of ten have European ancestry. If on the rare occasions you do see a transwoman of color make it into this conversation, she's either Latina or Asian.

Black transwomen hardly ever make it into this general conversation, but when it comes to whatever negatives are slapped onto transwomen, notice how quickly they get shunted to Black transwomen. There have been too many times that when more attractive pictures were available of Black transwomen, the media seems to find the most unflattering, unattractive picture of a transwoman of African descent.

Somehow, that shouldn't be surprising to any of us who paid attention in history class. If our biosisters have had drama over the centuries (and still do) just getting the world to recognize the curvaceous beauty of Black women from vanilla creme to darkest ebony, what made us Black transwomen think we'd have it any easier, especially in the face of a near total news blackout when it comes to transwomen of color?

It was one of the reasons why I and many other Black transwomen were deliriously happy about Isis making it on America's Next Top Model and rooting for her to win it all, and seeing Laverne Cox representing on I Want To Work For Diddy. Not only were we finally getting to see on television beautiful, intelligent transsistahs doing their thang on the tube, they looked good doing it.

It's interesting that our beauty is not talked about or celebrated despite the fact that in the major non African-American transgender pageant systems such as Miss Continental and Miss Gay US of A sistahs routinely win titles. The Miss Continental system just finished a run in which Black transwomen won the title three consecutive years, but yet we're still 'unpretty' in the general beauty discussion or only grudgingly acknowledged.

I can almost guarantee that if the ballroom community were a overwhelmingly white one and not one in which beautiful Black and Latina transwomen rule, it would have been claimed by mainstream GLBT culture long ago.

When coverage of transwomen since 1953 has been predominately driven by, of and about white transwomen, it follows that discussions of what makes a transwoman beautiful would be decided in that context as well. It sucks, but that's the reality we deal with.

We also know from observing our biosisters just how much of a battle it's going to be to broaden the discussion of what makes a transwoman beautiful to include African descended ones more frequently than it happens now.

But for the sake of our transkids and others, it's one that we must fight.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


If there are any Detroit Lions fans who still care about the once proud NFL franchise after this season, they are in mourning because the team has made history in a negative way.

They fought hard to avoid the stigma. They were even tied 14-14 at the end of the third quarter. But unfortunately for them NFL football games are 60 minutes and four quarters long and fell to the Packers 31-21 in Green Bay.

The loss means that the Detroit Lions become the first team since the NFL went to a 16 game schedule to go winless for the season. The Lions haven't won since the defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on December 23, 2007.

The last team to go winless for the season was the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their expansion year. The NFL only played a 14 games schedule at the time.

I feel your pain, Lions fans. Back in the day the 1972 and 1973 Oilers compiled back to back 1-13 records. I also enjoy reminding Irving Cowchips lovers that their beloved team also went 0-11-1 in their expansion season in 1960 and didn't have a winning record in their first five years of existence.

Speaking of my hometown NFL team, the Texans beat the Chicago Bears today 31-24 at Reliant Stadium to finish 8-8 for the second straight season. Fellas, is it too much to ask for in 2009 to win more than 8 games and make the playoffs?

I also got to enjoy watching the Tennessee Traitors being beat down by the Colts 23-0.

No, I'm not going to forgive, forget or let it go that Bud moved my Oilers to Nashville.

But back to the Lions. They have the number one pick in the upcoming draft and they've got a lot of work ahead of them to rebuild this team into a contender.

But take heart Lions fans, it can be done. Remember, you witnessed those same 0-14 Buccaneers four years later, thanks to some shrewd draft picks, trades and a rifle armed quarterback from Grambling named Doug Williams win the NFC Central Division, host the NFC title game in Tampa and came agonizingly close to making it to the Super Bowl

So your winter of discontent with the Lions hopefully shouldn't last long and you'll soon be cheering a team that's worthy of your football affections and that will make you proud.

Carmen Xtravaganza

I remember where I was when I first began to hear about the NY ballroom scene. I was with one of my then homies who was trolling for adult films to rent at Bellaire News while I was perusing the out of town newspapers.

This was the early 80's BI (before Internet) when you couldn't simply fire up a computer to access an out of town paper. You had to buy it at a newsstand or go to the public library to read it, and some of those newsstands also sold adult magazines and videos.

While waiting for him to complete his rental, I was reading the Village Voice and this particular issue had an article about the NY ballroom scene. It got my undivided attention when it started talking about the femme realness category and one of the up and coming stars in that category in the 80's, Carmen Xtravaganza.

Since I was in information procuring mode about anything transgender at the time, I continued to read the article. As I recall it, people inside and outside the community were raving about her as and coming legend and I paid particular attention to the quotes from her mother about her transition.

I bought that issue and kept the article for a few years until it got lost when I moved out of my parents house.

Not long after I read about her in the Village Voice, Paris Is Burning came out and Carmen was in this scene from it.

Even though I've visited New York a few times, I was never able to time my visit so that I could attend a ball. As some of you know I have much love for the ballroom community and it's still a goal of mine to do just that to attend a ball one day.

carmen xtravaganza the princes boll 8/3/20008

Carmen is still around, looking as lovely as ever and became the mother of the House of Xtravaganza for a while. She still pops up at the balls and performs in New York from time to time.

The Proud Family

You and me will always be tight
Family every single day and night
Even when you starts acting like a fool
You know I'm loving every single thing you do

I know I can always be myself
Around you more then anybody else
And every day as I'm heading off to school
You know there no one
I love as much as you

Family, a family
Proud Family
They'll make you scream
They'll make you wanna sing
Its a family thing a family
A proud proud family
Proud Family
They'll push your buttons
They'll make you wanna hug 'em
A family
A family
A proud proud family

When this cartoon premiered on Disney with the catchy theme song sung by Destiny's Child and little sis Solange Knowles, it got my attention.

Not long after I moved to Louisville Dawn and I were parked in front of the TV watching the antics of Oscar, Trudy, Penny, Suga Mama, the infant twins Bebe and Cece and Penny's friends Zoe, Dijonay, Sticky and 'frenemy' Lacienega.

Toss in Wizard Kelly owning everythang, Oscar's humorous attempts to sell the town his barf inducing Proud Snacks, The Gross Sisters jacking 'errbody' in the school for their money, Dr. Payne, rapper Sir Paid A Lot, the Boulevardez clan, Suga Mama's romantic pursuit of Papi Boulevardez, little Peabo's crush on Penny, and Penny navigating the waters of a teenager growing up, and life in Wizville, CA and at Willy T. Ribbs Jr/Sr.High was never boring

It was also cool because this was not only written as a slice of teen life from an African-American middle class perspective, it's rare that you had a cartoon that focused on African American life and our perspectives, period.

Okay, so now we have The Boondocks, but this preceded it, people.

I also loved the fact that during its four year run from September 15, 2001 to August 19, 2005 it had a long list of African-American and other entertainers doing guest appearances that ranged from Vanessa L. Williams to Samuel L. Jackson and Kobe Bryant.

But the one thing that irritated me during the show's run and since was how Kim Possible, a show that started at roughly the same time and even though I love that cartoon as well, was relentlessly pushed marketing wise with merchandise in their Disney stores and on the Disney website and The Proud Family wasn't.

I';m also mildy irritated that Kim Possible is still on the air and the Proud Family isn't as well.

Thanks to Bruce W. Smith and his Jambalaya Studios, we'll have the Proud Family around (as soon as they put all four seasons on DVD) to treasure forever.

SFPD's Stephan Thorne Gets Promoted

As I mentioned in another post, I met then Sgt. Stephan Thorne during the 1999 Creating Change when it was held in Oakland and had a wonderful conversation with him.

I was ecstatic to find out that the 24 year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department was recently promoted to lieutenant.

In gaining his promotion, he also made history. He is the highest-ranking out transgender law enforcement official in the country, according to San Francisco Police Commission President Theresa Sparks, who is also transgender. Thorne is one of the top-ranked LGBT officers in the SFPD.

Thorne has been a police officer for 28 years, and stated to the Bay Area Reporter's Seth Hemmelgarn that he's honored and excited about the promotion not just for himself, but also for others.

"This is a really significant step, and a really validating experience personally for me, but also for all other transgender people," he said.

Sparks said she thinks Thorne's promotion from sergeant is well deserved.

"What's really gratifying is Stephan Thorne was promoted in spite of being transgender, not because he's transgender ... he was promoted on merit as opposed to anything else."

Sparks said Thorne is "a gentleman" and "really an excellent role model for our community." She said there are also two transgender patrol officers on the force.

Thorne, who transitioned in 1994 amid quite a bit of publicity, said he identifies as queer but is in a long-term relationship with a woman, Michiko Bailey. The two have five children between them from previous relationships, and four grandchildren.

Thorne doesn't yet know where he'll be stationed. First, he has to go through two weeks of training. Police lieutenants typically manage other personnel.

"I'm proud on behalf of my community, and also acutely aware of the shoulders I'm standing upon of all the people that have come before me and done such hard and incredible work to move forward with equal rights for all of us," Thorne said.

Openly gay Supervisor Bevan Dufty said he's worked with Thorne over many years.

"I think that he embodies the professionalism and commitment to public service that we want to see in the SFPD leadership," Dufty said.

Dufty said he's heard from many members of the police department about Thorne's promotion.

"People really regard him as eminently qualified," Dufty added.

Let me add my congratulations to Stephan as well for his historic promotion. He's a quality guy and the San Francisco PD is definitely lucky to have him as part of their force.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Favorite Transgender Cop

I've had the pleasure over the years of meeting now Lieutenant Stephan Thorne of the San Francisco Police Department (congrats Stephan on the promotion) and hanging out with TOPS founder Tony Barreto-Neto during the 2000 IFGE convention in Washington DC.

But my favorite transgender police officer is Sgt. Aoi Futaba of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

Aoi was a former star high school basketball player in Japan with many female fans and after joining the force worked on the vice squad.

She crossdressed as part of an operation to catch a serial rapist, and after the case was successfully concluded she realized her body may be male, but her spirit was female and continued to dress and live as a woman full time.

She transferred from Vice to the Traffic Division soon afterward and ends up at Bokuto Station. After a rocky beginning, Aoi's new coworkers at Bokuto Precinct fully accept her, even with the knowledge that she wasn't always female.

By the way, did I mention that Sgt. Aoi Futaba is an anime character?

Some of you may have figured out either by the photos or the initial paragraph I wrote that I'm talking about the anime series You're Under Arrest. While the show is focused on the exploits on and off duty of Sgt. Miyuki Kobayakawa and Sgt. Natsumi Tsujimoto who are this anime police show's Cagney and Lacey clones, Aoi is the far more fascinating character on it.

Miyuki correctly observes during their initial meeting that Aoi is more feminine than any genetic woman in Bokuto Station by saying to her after she explained her emotions and thoughts leading to her transition, "You're the daughter my mom always wanted." During the first and second season her observation proves to be right on target.

You have the embarrassing situations centered on Aoi's pre-op status in various episodes, but over time she not only proves to be a valued officer at Bokuto Station, she simply becomes 'one of the girls.' Even Yoriko Nikaido, the nosy Bokuto station dispatcher and scheming gossip who had a major problem with her at first using the women's locker room eventually warms to Aoi and becomes her patrol partner.

It's interesting to note that Aoi realistically mirrors many of the emotions, concerns and problems that many transgender people face. She faced the bathroom issue in the very first episode that chronicles her character's initial arrival at Bokuto Station.

There were two episodes in which she faced the 'When Do I Tell Him' dating dilemma. She had to decide when to disclose to a handsome and famous actor she was attracted to and who showed romantic interest in her that she was a transwoman. The other episode chronicling Aoi's dating dilemma focused on her anguish about meeting a man she'd become romantically involved with via the Internet and revealing her secret.

There was also the You're Under Arrest-Full Throttle episode in the third season in which her old superior in the vice department Udamura Kumanosuke felt responsible for her transition because of those crossdressing missions and showed up at Bokuto station with the announced intention of turning Aoi back into a man. After the failure of the remasculinization plan, his wife pointed out after meeting Aoi that she was always female and that was her natural predestined path to travel.

Even one of her female fans in the first episode who'd developed a crush on the pre-transition Aoi in high school and treasured the pair of old basketball shoes she was given by Aoi eventually realized the same thing.

So yes, she's my favorite transgender police officer, at least in the anime world.

As for my favorite transgender police officer in the real world, I'm pleading the fifth on that.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Transsistah's Secret-Legs

She's got legs, she knows how to use them.
She never begs, she knows how to choose them.
She's holdin' legs wonderin' how to feel them.
Would you get behind them if you could only find them?
She's my baby, she's my baby,
yeah, it's alright.

ZZ Top Legs

My fellow Texans and legions of singers and writers have waxed poetically about the mystery and beauty of women's legs.

Short of our faces, breasts and our bodies, the next thing a transsistah obsesses about (because she knows that guys and sometimes other women do) are her legs. The last thing she wants is to have NFL linebacker legs or anything that has a mere hint of masculinity.

Fortunately the shape of our legs is something that we have a little control over in terms of exercise to tone and shape them. In addition we get the same benefits from estrogen when it comes to our bodies that biowomen get in creating feminine curves.

After we start taking them, over time hormones do shift fat around and elongate the leg muscles to create a more feminine look to them.

And if you've grown up in the African-American community, you are well aware of the fact that many of our legendary beauties from Lena to Dorothy to Tina to Rihanna have been admired and desired not only for their looks, curvy brown frames, talent and intelligence, but their killer legs as well.

Rihanna not only won Venus Breeze's 2007’s Celebrity Legs of a Goddess, but they also insured her legs with Lloyd's of London for $1 million.

I've observed that guys go especially gaga over those legs if they're wearing hose with them.

Hey ladies, just kicking knowledge to y'all from my time on the other side of the gender fence. If you prefer male companionship, break out the hose. Your love life and the hosiery makers of the planet will thank you for it later.

But back to the original post.

So is it any wonder that after observing the cultural cues and taking all that in, why transwomen, and especially African-American ones would be anxious about how their legs look?

It's also a concern if you're involved in the pageant or ballroom communities in which the closest you come to looking as feminine as possible enhances your chances of winning.

I got the genetic luck of the draw with my legs as well. I can't tell y'all how many hours of teasing I endured in my junior high gym classes about my 'girl's legs' or after we started doing coed gym in tenth grade how many comments I got from my female classmates stating that I needed to trade my legs for theirs.

So I was comforted in the knowledge that HRT would already enhance what I had. Being 6'2" and mostly legs at that, it takes me hours just to shave them. It's an exercise testing my Taurean patience just to get it done, and I do it deliberately and carefully in order to avoid the tendency of rushing it and nicking myself in the process.

Personally I'd like to zap them with the laser and be done with it, but since I'm not rolling in that kind of dough yet, it's the razor, Nair, waxing, depilatories or whatever new product becomes available to get them looking their best.

Canaries In The Memphis Civic Coal Mine

When this video first got uploaded to YouTube a few months ago, I thought about posting and commenting on it based on the lousy reporting in it that tried and miserably failed to make this situation humorous.

Because of other pressing news matters and other issues that garnered my attention I let this one slide for a minute.

Now in light of what's been happening in Memphis over the last few months, I'm recognizing it as a alarm bell and a window into the transphobia that permeates some quarters of the community in Memphis. I believe the frustration over that transphobia and other situations in the Memphis transgender community probably triggered the negative reactions of the transpeople involved in this McDonald blowup chronicled in this jacked up report.

It also gives us some understanding into why all of a sudden Memphis has become a dangerous city for transpeople to live in.

I'm also beginning to warm up to the idea being floated in some quarters of the transgender community of having us and our allies boycott Memphis until their po-po's get it through their heads that 'protect and serve the citizens' means ALL Memphis residents, and that Memphis realizes that it's not okay to declare open season on their transgender residents.

Memphis citizens, if you don't work diligently to find the person or persons who are committing these attacks on transgender people, you may one day have this violence visited upon a member of your own family who may or may not be a transwoman. One that day you will painfully learn the lesson of the 'inescapable web of mutuality' that Dr. King talked about.

Memphis, you have a problem, and it's time in conjunction with local groups in the city, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition and other state groups to work together to solve it before more people get hurt or killed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt Dies

Y'all know how much I love Eartha Kitt. I was saddened to find out she died today of colon cancer at 81.

She went from being an ostracized mixed race girl from South Carolina to an internationally loved star garnering multiple nominations for Tonys, Grammys and Oscars. And don't forget that famous cat purr.

She was sent at age 8 to by her mother to live with her aunt in Harlem and auditioned for the famed Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe during her teens. She was hired as a featured dancer and vocalist and toured worldwide with the company for several years.

The stint with the Katherine Dunham Dance troupe launched Kitt into a life of roles in the entertainment field. She was a well liked cabaret singer in Europe during the 50's and performed on Broadway. That lead to a recording deal in which she produced 20 albums and acted in hundreds of movie and television roles.

In 1968, however, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon that reportedly made then First Lady Lady Bird Johnson cry. The resulting positive and negative public reactions to Kitt's statements was much more extreme and resulted in professional exile in the United States.

After enduring the professional ostracism by performing in Europe, once the anger faded over the Vietnam War remarks, she returned to US shores and garnered a new generation of fans that ensured she was performing almost until the end of her remarkable life.

She recently finished taping a PBS special six weeks ago in Chicago which is set to air in February. Her recording of one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Santa Baby" was certified gold last week.

Kitt was well known for her distinctive voice and made a name for herself in her portrayal of Catwoman in the television series "Batman." That role produced Kitt's recognizable sultry cat growl.

She worked in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television during her lengthy career.

Heaven just became a little more PURRRRRfect and we have just lost another iconic singer. Rest in peace, Eartha. You've earned it.

Another Memphis Transwoman Shot

Here we go again in Memphis, TN. A transwoman was shot in the face and is in critical condition.

Memphis police say the shooting happened sometime around 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, December 23, 2008 in the 3100 block of Boxtown Road in south Memphis near T.O. Fuller State Park. Leeneshia Edwards was last seen about an hour earlier at the “C.K.’s Coffee Shop” on Union Avenue in midtown Memphis.

Edwards' cousin reports that Lenneshia was shot in the jaw, side and back and is undergoing multiple surgeries.

So peeps in the Memphis area, if you saw anything that night, do us and the family of Leeneshia Edwards a favor. Call Memphis Crime Stoppers if you have any information about either this case, Ebony Whitaker's or Duanna Johnson's at (901) 528-CASH that gets the po-po's one step closer to resolving these crimes. Remember, the peeps that did this could one day strike your family, so the sooner you get them off the streets and behind bars, the safer Memphis becomes for you as well.

For those of us who live in Memphis and beyond, keep Leeneshia in your prayers this holiday season.

When the 110th Congress opens for business,, as soon as an ENDA bill is filed, we need to demand that it not only include transgender people, but it be passed without delay.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my TransGriot readers around the world! This Christmas season also marks the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Apollo 8 orbital moon mission that produced this famous photo taken on December 24, 1968.

Let's strive to remember in 2009 and beyond that despite the times we fight like cats and dogs with each other, we are still one human family.

We also only have one planet, so let's take care of it. We ain't at Battlestar Galactica technology levels to where we can pack up and move to another one.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Catholic Church Is STILL Hatin' on Transgender People

What the frack is wrong with the old Nazi who's running thangs in the Catholic Church?

Of all the things going wrong in the world these days that he could have taken the time in his Christmas speech to call attention to, he chose to call transgender people a threat to humanity?

But then again, with Paul McHugh, one of the transgender community's longtime haters advising him, I knew that the anti-transgender rhetoric was only going to get progressively worse.

I also have to consider the source of these irrational comments as well. These are the same peeps who 400 years ago persecuted Galileo for daring to suggest that the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way around, so it takes a little while for science to catch up with Catholic religious dogma.

Gee, didn't know that transpeople fighting to live their lives around the world was such a threat to a bunch of sexually repressed old men chilling in the Vatican.

You idiots have far more in common with fundie christians than living the actual teachings of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for sharing that message this holiday season, Pope Benedict.

2008 TIME Magazine Person of the Year

If you had any doubt who TIME Magazine would choose as their Person of the Year, now you know. The runners up for the honor were Henry Paulson, Sarah Palin, French president Nicholas Sarkozy and Chinese director Zhang Limou.

Since 1927, TIME Magazine has chosen a man, woman, or idea that for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year, and there's no doubt that the soon to be 44th president of the United States has definitely dominated this year news wise.

It was definitely his year in more ways than one, and I can't wait until January 20.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Historic Meeting Of African Transactivists

TransGriot Note: This is wonderful news! Transgender people on the second largest continent on Planet Earth are getting together and getting organized.

Trans activists attend first pan-African meeting
By Staff Writer, uk • December 22, 2008 - 15:31
Pink News, UK

South Africa hosted the first ever African Strategy Workshop for transgender activists last week.

Trans people from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe took part in the event organised by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Gender DynamiX.

15 activists met to discuss the specific needs of transgender people on the African continent.

"Transgender people throughout the world experience frequent and unacceptable discrimination, violence and abuse," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's executive director.

"IGLHRC is proud to be part of this historic gathering of transgender people, taking the fight for human rights in Africa to a whole new level."

There is only one transgender organisation, Gender DynamiX, on the whole continent.

The African Strategy Workshop was designed to help activists, "document human rights abuses against transgender people, derive best practices for human rights advocacy, and share information on gender identity, reassignment surgery and hormone treatment."

Liesl Theron, Director of Gender DynamiX, said: "This long overdue meeting forms an integral part of trans history on our continent and a cornerstone for our future work.

"Participants at the workshop gave moving and painful testimony revealing the wide range of human rights abuses-from arbitrary arrest and detention to rape and murder-that African transgender people regularly encounter."

Activists focused on the case of South African Daisy Dube, who was murdered in Johannesburg after requesting that she not be called istabane (a derogatory Zulu slang word, similar to faggot).

Skipper Mogapi, Trans Alternate at the Trans Secretariat of ILGA, said the workshop was a dream come true.

"Seeing trans people together in their space raising their concerns without being intimidated. We know what the issues are and can now deal with them."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dear Diego

Dear Diego,

This may come as a surprise that you're seeing this open letter from me, one of the more vehement critics of HRC and your new boss, but congratulations on your new senior legislative policy adviser job starting January 9 in Representative Barney Frank's (D-MA) office.

Contrary to what many peeps may surmise, I have been observing and admiring your historic rise through the Democratic Party hierarchy. Know that I'm extremely proud of you and I'm confident that you'll be an excellent role model as well. The fact that you're doing it as an out and proud Latino transman makes your historic climb even more remarkable and noteworthy.

We may have been on opposite sides on a few issues in the transgender community, but I presume we're on the same page when it comes to seeing that all transgender people attain full citizenship rights.

I know you're the second out transperson hired as a senior staffer after Susan Kimberly in Sen. Norm Coleman's (R-MN) office, but you're the first transperson of color to earn that distinction and I presume the first out transperson to be hired as a senior staffer in the House of Representatives.

Diego, you are someone the entire community can point to with pride and say, transteens, here is an example of what is possible if you bust your butts to get that education and dare to dream big dreams. This is a message that transpeople of color need to see and hear as well, in addition to seeing transpeople like you in positions of power and authority.

I hope your hiring also empowers other transgender staffers that are rumored to be employed in various offices on The Hill to feel comfortable enough to come out.

But my joy over your hiring is tempered by who did it. I hope and pray it signals a profound change in Chairman Frank's thinking about transgender inclusion in ENDA, but I long ago subscribed to deeds, not words when it comes to people whose past exclusionary deeds outstripped their flowery rhetoric.

I hope your hiring signals, like Barack Obama's election to the presidency, that historic change has actually come to the office of the representative from Massachusetts on transgender issues, but only time and the progression of legislation authored by Chairman Frank through the 110th Congress will tell in that regard.

Once again, congratulations on the new position and achieving a historic milestone, and I hope I'm blessed with the opportunity to personally congratulate you the next time I'm in Washington DC.

Sincerely yours,
Monica Roberts
2006 IFGE Trinity Award Winner

Crossposted from The Bilerico Project

Oh,You One Of Them Smart B*****s

Over the years I've gotten to know some wonderful people who are part of the female illusionist and pageant sectors of our community. Many who live full time have turned out to be not only beautiful human beings inside and out, but I've had some fascinating conversations with them.

Unfortunately, that's not always true with 'errbody' in that world. I'm turned off by the anti-intellectual strain exhibited by a minority of peeps in that world, and the horror is that some are proud of it.

What brought on this post was seeing the photo of Chevelle Brooks I posted and remembering a benefit show I attended for her at Incognito, a Black GLBT club back home a few years ago. I was invited by Chevelle's mom to attend, and it was to help her raise funds to compete in a looming Miss Gay US0fA pageant.

That particular night I wasn't feeling well and had a slight temp, but I felt like I had to be there to support Chevelle and her mom, so I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and made the beeline to the edge of downtown where the club was located.

Sophia McIntosh was the MC of the show and living in Dallas at the time. It was being held during the time (1996) the Oilers were fighting the city and then Mayor Bob Lanier to be let out of their Dome lease so they could move to Nashville.

Sophia cracked a joke about losing the team, which didn't sit well with me and a few others in the crowd because it was a sensitive, emotional subject at the time for us. The Dallas-Houston rivalry being what it was, the fact that someone living in Dallas brought it up only added to the pissivity. Being the militant 'I hate the Irving Cowchips' Oilers fan I was, I spoke up and pointed out that the Oilers were still bound by that lease to play in H-town until 1998.

You know how illusionists don't like to be upstaged, so she retorted, "oh, you one of them smart b*****s. Okay, if you're so smart, who was the president of the United States in 1964?"

"Lyndon Baines Johnson," I quickly replied. "Took over after Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in your city and won election in a landslide over Barry Goldwater in 1964."

The crowd whooped it up and hollered, and after she made a lame joke about my hair and was satisfied with the laugh she got out of it, on the show went.

We actually had a nice wide ranging conversation backstage after that, and she confided that most people in that room sadly didn't know half of what I articulated in my response to her.

Anti-intellectualism is not just a GLBT problem, it's a societal one as well. As I've said repeatedly and should be evidenced by the posts here, I was blessed with God-given intelligence and have no problems flexing my intellectual muscles when necessary. And yeah, I'm proud of it.

One of the things I was adamant about before I transitioned was that I wasn't 'dumbing down' for anyone. Love me or hate me, one thing peeps can consistently say about me is 'that girl's smart.'

I'll take that any day over someone whispering behind my back 'that girl's stupid'.