Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Participate In National LGBT College Climate Study

Campus Pride’s National LGBT College Climate Study
Go Online Now -- www.campuspride.org/research

Do you consider your campus to be gay-friendly? Does your campus have work to be done on transgender issues? What does it mean to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual or a transgender (LGBT) student, staff, or faculty on your campus?

Whatever your experience we WANT TO KNOW.



The National LGBT College Climate Survey is a comprehensive assessment to document annually the experiences of students, faculty, staff, and administrators who identify as LGBT at America's colleges and universities. The survey is conducted through the Q Research Institute for Higher Education owned and operated by Campus Pride.The annual assessment examines emerging issues, trends and changing demographics of LGBT people in higher education. The Research Director is Dr. Susan R. Rankin of The Pennsylvania State University and Associate Research Director is Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld of The Iowa State University.

About Campus Pride Research
Campus Pride is the leading national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer, more welcoming college environment for LGBT students. The Q Research Institute for Higher Education is the only institute of its kind specifically for the advancement of LGBT issues in higher education. The Institute underscores the mission of Campus Pride to build future leaders and safer, more LGBT-friendly colleges and universities.

More info or questions, email info@campuspride.org or go online to www.campuspride.org. Any specific concerns/questions, please contact us directly, as follows:

Susan R. Rankin, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Higher Education
The Pennsylvania State University

Warren Blumenfeld, Ed..D.
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Iowa State University

Shane L. Windmeyer, M.S., Ed.
Executive Director & Founder
Campus Pride

Postal Address
Campus Pride
PO Box 240473
Charlotte, NC 28224

Journey To Womanist-hood

TransGriot Note: This is a guest post I wrote for Womanist Musings coming out of the closet so to speak about being a womanist and claiming the label.

As a transwoman of African descent I've developed during my 15 plus year transition a distaste for feminism.

Much of that dislike of it is multifaceted, but has its roots in the virulent disco-era hatred still expressed by some rad fem drones. It's also fueled by witnessing the lack of support, disrespect, back stabbing and drama given to Black women to the point that they left the movement.

I paid very close attention to the almost pathological hatred that some feminists have for Black men that is rooted in the historical fact that Black men got the vote courtesy of the 1870 ratification of the 14th Amendment several decades before the 19th Amendment gave women the vote in 1920. I also noted that the meme played out once again in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary between then Senators Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.

I was annoyed by the naked hypocrisy of seeing feminists rush to the defense of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin at any perceived slight during that campaign as well, but their lips were and continue to be zipped for any attack on now First Lady Michelle Obama.

Ain't she a woman, too?

It also didn't escape my attention that some of the loyal cisgender Black female friends in my life tended to identify themselves as womanists.

Being the intellectually curious type I am, I started reading womanist sites and picked up writings by Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. I noticed that much of what womanism espouses and had to offer fit my worldview.

But with the rad fem haters fresh in my mind I wondered if there was space in the womanist movement for me and other transwomen of color, or was I setting myself up for more of the same old 70's era transphobia?

I found it ironic that as I was going through my womanist musing phase, a commenter compared my writing style on some issues to bell hooks. I don't know if I can walk in her pumps, but I do consider it an honor to even be thought of in the same lofty company with her.

The interview I recently conducted with Renee also jumpstarted my thinking as to why I was reticent in claiming the womanist label for myself. While I've accomplished much in the transgender community on an activist level and still have much work ahead of me still to do, I still had questions in my mind about where I fit, if I could measure up, and had concerns about how my cisgender sisters would react if I did.

So I'm taking a deep breath, stepping out on faith and making the declaration that yes, I am a womanist. I know my journey is far from over and I have much to learn, but I intend to be a compliment to all that the pioneering womanist thought leaders have built. I want to continue taking major steps toward continuing to bridge the knowledge gap between my cisgender sisters and my transsisters on various subjects, and collectively work together toward taking the movement in bold new directions.

And if I continue to learn and grow as a proud woman who happens to be transgender, then that's all good, too.

Congrats Lady Cards!

Y'all knew I was gonna show some love for the lady hoopsters from U of L.

The 33-4 Lady Cards next game will be 200 miles west of Da Ville in St. Louis. As I predicted, Angel and the gang beat down number one seed Maryland 77-60 for the Raleigh Region Championship and helped earn the Lady Cards first trip to the NCAA Women's Final Four.

Angel McCoughtry is the woman. She scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Lady Cards never trailed in the game. There was also the added drama of Louisville women's coach Jeff Walz facing his old boss, Maryland coach Brenda Frese.

Warm up the bus. We'll be rolling on I-64 west to play either Oklahoma or Purdue on Sunday.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tiger's Baaaaaack!

Memo to the Not Ready For Golf Prime Time Players: Playtime is over.

Hope y'all enjoyed your eight month chance to get some of the spotlight while Tiger was rehabbing his surgically repaired knee and welcoming another child into the world.

At the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando he dusted off the patented Tiger Sunday magic. He went from 5 strokes down at the start of the day to draining a 25 foot birdie putt on the 18th hole by shooting a 4 under par 66 round to erase that deficit and set up the dramatic victory.

In the process, he won his 64th PGA tournament, tying him with Ben Hogan for number 3 in all time wins, won his fifth straight tournament event dating back to last year's US Open and served notice that he would be one of the favorites to get another green jacket when the Masters tees off in two weeks.

Hey Augusta, you may want to pre-order that green jacket in Tiger's size

Latest Blogtalkradio Show Is Up

Renee of Womanist Musings and I's most recent Blogtalkradio podcast show is now up and available for your listening pleasure along with our March 14 show.

We had a wonderful conversation with Tami, the editrix of What Tami Said concerning the topic of Motherhood as An Active Choice. We were also blessed to have Corinne call in and leave some thoughtful comments a part of the show and help us 'tell you something good'.

Our next show is scheduled for April 11, so tune in. As always, if you can't listen to it live, you can always download the podcast later.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sarah Gronert Cleared By WTA To Play Women's Tennis Events

22 year old German tennis player Sarah Gronert was born intersex, had surgery to correct her ambiguous genitalia, and identifies as and was raised female.

Should be an open an shut case in terms of her gender identity, correct?

Not when you're playing professional tennis and you have people like Schlomo Tzoref ignorantly asserting she has an unfair advantage by dint of her intersex status.

"This is not a woman, it's a man. She does not have the power of a woman and no woman has such a technique."

Tzoref's comments have the strong whiff of sour grapes. They came in the wake of Gronert serving 20 aces to beat down Julia Glushko, one of the tour players he coaches in the quarterfinals of a tournament Gronert went on to win.

Gronert is making rapid progress climbing up in the world tennis rankings. She's currently as of this writing ranked a career high 555th in the world. She has played in 9 tournaments over the last three years, won two of them, but has yet to win a major.

There is growing unrest among some people in tennis who claim her intersex birth status may give her an edge over other cisgender female players. Under WTA Tour rules, if there is "any question as to the eligibility" of a player, the WTA has the right to "require a player to submit to gender verification to determine sexual status".

Gronert has also been subjected to cruel and derogatory comments similar to Tzoref's to the point that she nearly quit playing the sport.

Despite a WTA spokeperson admitting that he wasn't directly aware of any complaint being filed against Gronert by other players or coaches, her case was recently reviewed by a Women's Tennis Association Tour medical delegate to make sure that she satisfied all the requirements to compete in the women's game.

The delegate concluded that there was "sufficient independent and verifiable evidence" to show that Gronert was eligible to play women's tennis. The positive ruling means that Gronert is eligible to compete in any tennis event that her rankings and wild cards allow her to play in.

"The Tour's gender determination rule is similar to the International Olympic Committee's rule, and under this rule, Gronert is allowed to play Tour events as a female," a spokesman said.

That affirmative gender determination also clears Gronert to play in International Tennis Federation tour events as well.

An ITF spokeswoman said that like the WTA, the governing body had never received any formal inquiry or complaint about Gronert's eligibility.

"Sarah Gronert is legally and biologically a woman," the spokeswoman said, "and as such perfectly entitled to compete in ITF Pro Circuit events and, at some point if her ranking warrants it, in WTA Tour events."

Yo Schlomo, Sarah can play, so deal with it. While you're at it, deal with your intersexphobic behavior as well.

Isis Update On Tyra

When we last checked in with little sis Isis, she was just coming off an appearance on The Tyra Banks Show in which we were introduced to her mom, she got to confront one of her ANTM Cycle 11 tormentors Clark, and she was surprised with the announcement from Tyra that she was paying for her SRS as she introduced her to Dr. Marci Bowers.

In the Tyra show being broadcast on Monday, Isis is sporting a new blonde look, she will talk about her SRS, the changes in her life and introduce us to her boyfriend Desmond.

There will also be another surprise for Isis on this show, a marriage proposal

So set the TIVO's peeps. This should be interesting.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Alexandra Billings Stars In Upcoming Movie 'Stealth'

TransGriot Note: Remember when I asked the question when would Hollywood start using transgender actresses for transgender parts and surmised it would take us writing and producing our own films for that to happen? Peep this press release I received today about the movie Stealth.

Move over Lana Wachowski, you're not the only transgender director in town

Marlo Bernier’s directorial debut, Stealth, explores life as a Transgender

Los Angeles, California
March 28, 2009

Principal Photography begins April 4th on Marlo Bernier’s transgender tale, Stealth, which spotlights both the unfortunate intolerance of society and the reinforcing power of acceptance.

The film, shooting in and around Los Angeles, California, is a Jackie Frost Films production in association with Scorpio Rising Films and funded by Mississippi Films, Susan Smith and Jon Lipitz.

Award-winning transgender actress, singer and renowned Professor of The Viewpoints at California State University and The Steppenwolf Theater, Alexandra Billings (Grey’s Anatomy) takes the lead as Veronica Terranova alongside Indie actresses Jennifer Fontaine (LOOK) and Elizabeth J. Martin (Expired) who complete the ensemble in roles as her two sisters.

Stealth steers audiences through the secretive and shocking events surrounding transgender Veronica Terranova. Sitting alone in a dark hotel room, a dead and dirty politician by her side, Veronica must make the difficult decision to call Jeannine, her younger sister, who has always been there for her. Panic stricken, Jeannine secretly calls their eldest sister, Celia, the only one who can truly help...but will she?

A powerful mix of sisterly love and abject rejection, Stealth is an insightful and candid look at how one family handles transgenderism. Director, Marlo Bernier reveals, “I know this world all too well. I have lived my entire life as Mark and am now forced to deal with not only my own demons, but also a world that, for the most part, has absolutely no understanding of what it means to be transgender.”

Behind-the-scenes, 4-time Outmusic award nominated and visionary transgender singer/songwriter Namoli Brennet will provide a haunting score, and award-winning documentarian Andre Enzensberger will lend his eye as the Director of Photography.

Stealth marks the second collaboration of the writing/producing team Marlo Bernier and Jennifer Fontaine. The team’s first endeavor ‘The Last Time We Were…’ garnered the duo a Silver Remi at WorldFest Houston and played to packed screenings at the Los Angeles International Shorts Fest and the Beloit International Film Fest. They currently have 5 feature scripts in various stages of development, including ‘Glass Houses’ which has attached actors Pruitt Taylor Vince, Austin Pendleton and Jason Connery, and is currently in the packaging stage.

Susan Smith
Scorpio Rising Films

Introducing T-COPS International

When I was in Washington DC back in 2000 for the IFGE convention, we got a group of people together to hang out at a local Arlington, VA restaurant. I had a blast meeting and hanging out with Sheriff Tony Barreto-Neto, who was head of the organization TOPS (Transgender Officers Protect and Serve) at the time.

Well, for various reasons TOPS disbanded, but in 2002 a new organization arose to take its place called T-COPS International. (Transgender Community of Police and Sheriffs)

Transpeople and law enforcement is nothing new. I met Lt. Stephan Thorne back in 1999, and there has been a long list of officers and numerous stories about transpeople who have transitioned while members of various police departments in the States and around the world.

They have had mixed success as well. Some like Lt. Thorne have had long, distinguished and trouble free careers with the San Francisco PD, while others like Sgt. Philecia Barnes in Cincinnati have had to fight tooth and nail and litigate just to stay employed in the jobs they love.

In addition to its Yahoo discussion list and a pending application for 501c3 non profit tax status, T-COPS International acts as a peer support group for its members involved in various areas of law enforcement.

T-COPS International will help the transgender community as a whole if they are successful in terms of getting the word out that 'transgender police officer' isn't an oxymoron. Hopefully T-COPS will evolve to not only continue to be a powerful voice against police misconduct directed at transgender people, but take a leading role in education efforts amongst their fellow officers about transgender issues.

Hopefully that will begin to break down the wall of mistrust building between the transgender community and law enforcement personnel, and help their fellow officers understand that 'protect and serve the public' means all citizens.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Rad Fem Collective- Still Hatin' On Transwomen

We are the Rad Fem Borg. Lower your intellectual shields and surrender your brains. We will add your biological and feminist distinctiveness to our own. You will adapt to hating transwomen just like us. Resistance is futile.

In my 'Ain't Feelin' Feminism' post one of my commenters remarked that the anti-transgender sentiments that drive some of the radical feminist movement had subsided, to which I dissented on that point.

While I had in the back of my mind the things I'd read on the Questioning Transphobia blog about rad fem bloggers still stuck in the 70's, we got fresh indications that the transphobic infection of idiocy has been implanted into new rad fem drones.

One was even dispatched to Womanist Musings recently to attack the esteemed editor of that blog because as a trans ally, Renee politely asked for her post to be removed from a rad fem blog carnival that turned out to be an anti-transgender hatefest.

The rad fem hatred of transpeople continues with a post that rad fem transhater Margaret Jamison wrote because Renee called the Nicky drone out concerning a transphobic comment this person left on a post she wrote on intersex tennis pro Sarah Gronert. Nicky then ran to her space and tried to claim that Renee was 'rude' to her.

Renee exercised her right as the owner/editor of the blog to call out the transphobic comment, and because Nicky got smacked down, she's exercising her white privilege to claim that Renee was 'rude to her.'

You know, I'm beyond sick of the deluded transphobic hatred expressed by some rad fems, some gays and lesbians and some intersex people being spun as 'truth'. When you call them out on it, they hop in their Borg cube and run back to the collective at warp speed and whine on their blogs we're being 'rude', especially if you're a POC calling them out. And just like right wingers, they attempt to falsely project their nekulturny behaviors onto the transgender community and claim we're engaging in it.

You don't deserve civility when you are colluders aiding, abetting, and enabling the attitudes that result in transgender people being discriminated against or killed, disrespecting the real life experiences of transpeople and come into our spaces and the spaces of our allies to express your anti-transgender hostility.

Resistance to the disco era thinking of the rad fem collective is not futile.

Arsenio Hall Show 20th Anniversary

Damn, has it been 20 years since The Arsenio Hall Show graced our late night television screens?

January 3, 1989 was the date the first of 1,284 shows aired, and judging by the sorry state of what passes for late night television these days, we desperately need him or someone else on the air

So to show you the flava that's missing from late night TV, I'm posting some YouTube video to illustrate what a quality late night show looked and sounded like.

Late night TV hasn't been the same without him.

Shut Up Fool! Awards-Sweet Sixteen Edition

The NCAA tournament continues with the Sweet Sixteen round in both the men's and women's tournaments. The sixteen teams left will be pared down to the Elite 8 and eventually the teams that will travel to Detroit for the men's Final Four and St. Louis for the women.

While the number of teams still playing basketball in the NCAA tournament is dwindling, the number of fools in our society seems to exponentially increasing.

So on that note, let's segue into our business for this post and see what fools deserve to be pitied, or not this week.

Fool Number One is Jackson, MS negro Republican George Lambus who is canvassing mostly White neighborhoods in his mayoral run with an odious campaign flier that calls for “a noose and stout tree limb” to combat crime.

Okay, this is in a state where the 14th Amendment wasn't ratified until 1999.

The flier reads:

"Incompetent negro Democrats at City Hall, negroes without civic pride, negro criminals and corrupt negro police officers have just about driven this city into the ground. Any negro Democrat running for mayor who tells you that he or she can reduce crime and bring jobs to Jackson is a damn lie. They only want to be mayor for the salary. Job creation is contingent upon the economy improving, and crime can only be alleviated by a noose and a stout tree limb. I will provide the noose, and when the economy improves, I will get the jobs here."

Yeah, right. One job you ain't gonna get is mayor of Jackson, MS. On top of that, you live in the state which competed with Alabama to see who could commit the most egregious atrocities during the Civil Rights Movement. I know your sellout azz is old enough to remember Emmitt Till, the 1964 killings of Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman, the shooting of James Meredith and the killing of Medgar Evers.

Yo, does anybody have the Drop Squad's number on speed dial?

Fool Number Two is Tammy Bruce, who put on her pink sheet while guest hosting on Laura Ingraham's radio show and attacked First Lady Michelle Obama.

"That's what he's married to..You know what we've got? We've got trash in the White House. Trash is a thing that is colorblind, it can cross all socio-economic...categories. You can work on Wall Street, or you can work at the Wal-Mart. Trash, are people who use other people to get things, who patronize others, who consider you bitter and clingy..."

Like you, Ms. Bruce?

Fool Number Three is Faux News commentator Mike Huckabee, who compared abortion to slavery in a fundraising speech to an anti-abortion group in Jefferson City, MO.

The only way that wacked comparison is valid is if you're talking about the atrocities committed during the Middle Passage, in which sailors on those slave ship voyages that shared Mr. Huckabee's heritage cut open the stomachs of pregnant African women.

This week's winner is- George Lambus

George Lambus, shut up fool!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blog Talk Radio Show This Weekend

This weekend you'll get the opportunity to hear Renee and I 'tell you something good' on our Blogtalkradio show that happens from 4-5 PM EDT.

Our topic on Saturday is 'Motherhood Is An Active Choice' and our guests will be Tami from the blog What Tami Said and Ouyang Dan of Random Babble.

If you're chillin' out this weekend and wish to participate in the conversation, the show's call in number is (347) 326-9452

You can also download the podcast several hours after the live show has concluded.

It should be an informative and entertaining show, and hope you tune in.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

'Officer Friendly' Ain't So Friendly To Transpeople Of Color

One of the things that you grow up with as a person of color in the US is that when it comes to the police, the smiling countenance of 'Officer Friendly' we see in our elementary schools when we are children doesn't translate out in the real world.

As soon as we are old enough, that myth gets busted by our parents and extended family. We are told the long, sad history of police 'patrol and control' tactics in POC communities, see thanks to civil rights era video that the police were the enforcers of Jim Crow segregation and hear snippets of the in house racist police chatter thanks to monitored radio broadcasts.

Note that one of the reasons for the 1966 formation of the Black Panther Party For Self-Defense was weariness about police brutality in the Bay Area.

In many cases POC's try to live our lives so that we have minimum interface time with white-dominated police departments and their officers who live in rural areas or exurbs far from the 'hoods they protect and serve. We know that an encounter with the police from questioning to a simple traffic stop can end in death or injury for an African-American be they male or female.

Add 'transgender' to that mix and it gets ugly in a hurry.

We know that the late Duanna Johnson's beat down by the Memphis Po-Po's last year was caught on tape, but she isn't the only transperson of color who has faced less than civil treatment at the hands of police officers.

In January 2007 former San Antonio Police Sgt. Dean Gutierrez was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for civil rights violations and raping Latina transwoman Starlight Bernal on June 10, 2005.

After almost seven years, the Philadelphia Police Department still hasn't come up with any straight answers as to how African-American transwoman Nizah Morris died of a head injury after being given a courtesy ride by them after a December 22, 2002 Christmas party at a Philadelphia bar.

New York transactivist Mariah Lopez was arrested by the NYPD April 24, 2005 while she was waiting at a bus stop for a bus for 'loitering'. During her intake process she was catcalled, had her genitals and breasts “accidentally” brushed against and was examined medically in the correctional facility in front of 20 male officers.

Bear in mind also that the root cause of the Stonewall Riot in New York jumped off by transgender POC's 40 years ago was peeps getting sick of taking police harassment.

The Amnesty International report Stonewalled: Police Abuse and Misconduct Against Lesbian, Gay and Transgender People in the U.S. adds an exclamation point to the less than warm and fuzzy feelings that many transpeople of color have towards the po-po's.

While we know that not all police officers exhibit this behavior and believe that to serve and protect includes ALL citizens, there are still enough that don't to make us extremely aware of the fact that when it comes to transpeople of color, 'Officer Friendly' ain't so friendly.

Gainesville, FL Residents Defeat Anti GLBT Amendment 1

The good citizens of Gainesville, FL saw through the lies and deceptions of the Forces of Intolerance and voted down Amendment 1 yesterday, which would have amended the city charter to eliminate civil rights protections based on sexual preference and gender identity.

With all but one of 34 precincts reporting, 11,717 peeps, or 58.32 percent of voters rejected the amendment. Voting for the amendment were 8,375 people, or 41.68 percent. Translation: the protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals stay in the city charter.

Thanks to Equality Gainesville and all the hard work you and your coalition partners put in to keep Gainesville on the correct side of the moral universe arc.

But be aware that the Forces of Intolerance and their Right Wing Lie Machine never sleep, so we need to be vigilant. We must also be mindful of the fact that it's easy to pass civil rights protections, but harder to keep them. We must also in the future stand ready to help any city or jurisdiction facing similar right wing attacks on GLBT civil rights laws.

But break out your fave beverage. This time the Forces of Justice won one.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who Died And Made Y'all The Femininity Police?

While doing the research and searching through YouTube video for the Brittney Griner post, especially the one in which she's being interviewed, I noted that far too many comments from the haters ensued which questioned her femininity and made snide references to the movie Juwanna Mann in doing so.

In light of that I have to ask the question, who died and made y'all the femininity police? Are you little boys feeling jealous because some of you are Brittney's height or shorter and don't have her hoops skills?

You haters need to take some remedial science classes. The bottom line is that you get half your genetic material from mommy and half your genetic material from daddy. In addition to that, all human life at conception is female. You don't come out as boys on the other end of that nine month developmental journey inside mommy's womb until certain things happen during the eight to twelfth weeks of pregnancy that put the fetus firmly on the male development path.

That means, for the scientifically illiterate, if the hormone wash doesn't happen, you haters would have feminine names, be wearing heels and hose and wouldn't have the Almighty Phallus to grab at regular intervals.

It also means that you get a blend of physical characteristics from mommy and daddy and some interesting combinations as well. I know women who have deeper voices than Brittney does, and have you ever heard Toni Braxton sing certain notes? I also know men with feminine facial features and body builds, and women with big hands, long arms and big feet.

But this speaks to some of the larger issues I've talked about. The fact that Black women's images have been under attack for several centuries and we are considered less than beautiful and feminine. Too many times Black men, who are supposed to be our swords and shields in standing up for us and calling out the haters have aided and abetted in that image destruction. If you are a woman above 5'7" tall and have what are considered 'masculine' features, you're automatically assumed to be a transwoman or insultingly called one as Ciara and a depressingly long list of Black women have been.

Even the so called 'proof' of bearing children doesn't end that negativity hurled at them. Just ask our 5'11" First Lady, who was disrespectfully called 'Stokely Carmichael in a dress' by Faux News conservaidiot Juan Williams.

There was even a scene in one of my fave movies Love & Basketball that illustrates this. Sanaa Lathan's character Monica Wright is a high school superstar baller in this movie who could really care less about the feminine pursuits like her mother and sister until other women start chasing her love interest, her longtime next door neighbor and basketball prodigy Quincy McCall.

At her high school spring dance during her senior year she reluctantly gets glammed up for the event after losing the city championship game earlier in the day. She's enjoying herself, and while taking a dance break she's comfortably leaning forward in her chair with her legs spread instead of sitting ruler straight on the back of the chair with her knees together while wearing her dress. Two boys walk by and you hear them say loud enough for her to hear it "I'm a man" as they chuckle to themselves. Monica then instantly snaps into 'feminine' seating position.

It ain't just 'the menz' who are guilty of femininity policing. Women can be just as bad or even worse in some cases. Be a girl who is interested in sports or who isn't in their judgment 'feminine enough' for their tastes and watch the catty remarks come flying off their tongues.

The point is that it's arrogantly ignorant of men to think that they can and have the power to make that judgment call on who is and isn't feminine based on your exposure to the Jet Beauty of the Week, rap videos or Playboy and King magazine photo spreads and it needs to stop.

The Next Women's B-Ball Phenom - Brittney Griner

It's a not too well kept secret inside and outside the transgender community how much I love women's basketball, and Stephanie Stevens recently sent me a link to a story about a girls basketball phenom in my hometown.

She's Brittney Griner, a senior at Aldine Nimitz who stands an imposing 6'8" tall. In addition to being considered the number one girls basketball player in the country, sistah girl can dunk.

So what you say? Yes, Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and Sylvia Fowles have dunked in women's games, and Leslie and Parker have done it in the WNBA. Griner is unique in the fact she doesn't need a clear path to the basket in order to slam.

In other words, Griner can dunk in traffic, with authority just like the boys and has done so repeatedly. She's dunked over 50 times this season and she's still growing. She also has the potential to elevate the women's b-ball game to another rim rattling level.

But for you fans at women's basketball powerhouses salivating at the chance to see her playing at your school for the next four years, dream on. You'll have to either catch her on the tube or buy tickets for the game because she'll be playing against your school.

Brittney's staying in the Lone Star State and she'll be terrorizing a Big 12 arena near you after recently signing a letter of intent with the Baylor Lady Bears.

In the meantime, she led the Nimitz Lady Cougars to their first state final and executed the first dunks in the history of the Texas girls tournament as they marched through Region III-5A enroute to Austin and the tournament finals that took place March 6-7.

Unfortunately, after Griner scored 44 points, snared 18 rebounds and blocked 8 shots to help Nimitz beat Pflugerville in the semifinals 74-47 in addition to dunking twice in the game, the 37-1 Lady Cougars were upset in the 5A state title game by Mansfield Summit 56-43, who had their own 6 footer in tournament MVP and TCU signee Starr Crawford.

But fans of women's basketball have much to look forward to next fall and especially in Waco. They are eagerly awaiting the start of the 2009-2010 basketball season and packing Ferrell Center to watch Brittney Griner play.

Monday, March 23, 2009

25 Writers Shaping My World

Educator Marva Collins once said 'readers are leaders'. Nowhere has that statement proven to be so emphatically true as to note the major difference between the last two presidents.

Our current one loves to read and wrote two books of his own, the last one brags he never did despite being married to a woman with a library science degree. You can see how the country turned out as a result of being under the misleadership of a non-reader.

I've been reading since I was two, when to my mom's surprise I picked up one of her college textbooks and wasn't 'scurred' to read and pronounce the 'big words' contained in them.

So you can thank Electronic Villager for this post since I got tagged by him. I get to tell y'all who are the twenty five readers who shaped my world.

1. Martin Luther King
2. Alex Haley
3. Ralph Ellison
4. Toni Morrison
5. Alice Walker

6. Randall Robinson
7. John Hope Franklin
8. Barack Obama
9. Malcolm X
10. W.E.B DuBois

11. Eric Jerome Dickey
12. Kayla Perrin
13. Omar Tyree
14. E. Lynn Harris
15. Terry McMillan

16. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
17. Zora Neale Hurston
18. Pat Califa
19. Susan L. Taylor
20. James Carville

21. Marcus Major
22. Jimmy Carter
23. Molly Ivins
24. Tavis Smiley
25. Farai Chideya

The 25 writers who made my list contributed different things to shaping my world. Some gave me a different way of looking at the world in terms of theory. Some armed me with the information I needed to be able to articulately whack racism, prejudice, and right wing conservatism. Some expressed their hopes for an America that lives up to its Constitutional promise and warned us when it was veering off track.

The fiction writers infotained me. They not only drew me into the worlds they created and made me laugh or cry, they also provided some insightful commentary at the same time on love, relationships and various other issues pertaining to the Black community.

Some authors I tuned to for inspiration, education, enlightenment and empowerment.

There are also various books on my shelf that I read such as biographies, history, self-help, sci-fi, writing books to perfect my craft, or cover various issues that pique my interest.

And if you think I'm sleepin' on the facts, I'm armed with the last six issues of the World Almanac that I read cover to cover and keep within easy reach of my computer along with books to help me select the right quote to fit into what I'm writing.

Those 25 writers and many others not only shaped my world, they continue to do so.

Black People More Homophobic? You're Kidding, Right?

One of the memes that has irritated many Black people gay, transgender and straight since the Prop 8 debacle has been the 'Black people are more homophobic' one.

You're kidding, right?

Every time I'm watching TV I see predominately white ministers such as James Dobson, other white fundamentalists, white dominated anti equality orgs and peeps like Tony Perkins leading the anti gay charge.

Fred Phelps checks the 'white' box on his census forms, and the megachurches bankrolling these rights rollback or anti same gender marriage amendments have membership rolls of predominately European ancestry.

I'm not saying we don't have 'phobes in our midst. The peeps who are selling out to the white fundies like the Hi Impact leadership Coalition come immediately to mind along with the homophobic pronouncements of people like Rev. Gregory Daniels, Donnie McClurkin, and Rev. Bernice King.

But it was the Mormon church who provided the cash to fund and provided the foot soldiers for the Yes On 8 Forces of Intolerance. Last time I checked, the Mormon church ain't exactly chock full of members who look like me.

I find it laughable the Blacks are 'more homophobic' charge when the number one blog for almost a year in the Afrosphere's BBR's (Black Blog Rankings) has been the GLBT oriented Pam's House Blend. I and my transsisters have received much love, support, hands of friendship and sisterhood from womanists, but the predominately white dominated rad fem ranks have shown me and my transsisters nothing but hostile vitriolic hatred for three decades.

Even our civil rights icons such as Rep. John Lewis, Julian Bond and the late Coretta Scott King have consistently stated that GLBT rights are not only civil tights but human rights.

And if Black people are so homophobic as was scurrilously charged in California based on a flawed exit poll in Los Angeles County, explain why Prop 8 was defeated in Alameda County, which has a 13% Black population?

The major problem I have with the 'Black people are more homophobic' meme is that the peeps that keep spouting it are not only overwhelmingly white gays such as Dan Savage and others, but it deliberately ignores the fact there are Black SGL people as well.

If you want to eventually win the fight for same gender marriage, you can't continue to write off large chunks of the electorate because you have this false belief that our community is 'more homophobic', won't be receptive to your message and won't even try to be in my community to win it. You have to find a message that resonates with us just like you do any other community, and you'll need the help of the Black SGL/transgender community and our allies to do that. Failure to engage my community means failure to win at the ballot box.

So just as the white community has not only 'phobes but supporters and allies, so do we. It's past time you stop demonizing us with this disrespectful discredited meme and start humbly asking what can you do to win our support.