Monday, August 31, 2009

Guest Blogging At Feministe Until September 13

Wanted to let you loyal TransGriot readers know that my two week guest blogging stint at Feministe starts today and runs until September 13.

You can check out my initial post over there by clicking this link.

My game plan is to write a mix of posts exclusive to Feministe, some cross posts from TransGriot, and maybe a TransGriot classic or two.

But as always, the goal is to make sure it's thought provoking.

Kerry Washington-More Video

Here's more Kerry Washington video promoting Life Is Hot In Cracktown (which I have yet to see since I'm not in a major city.

Happy Birthday Caroline!

The Caroline I'm referring to in this post is one of our transgender icons. Back in the 70's and 80's she was a Bond Girl, model, author of two books, civil rights activist, a Paris showgirl and even posed for Playboy.

Today Caroline Cossey, AKA Tula is celebrating her 55th birthday.

She grew up in Britain, worked in Paris, Rome and London as a showgirl, had her SRS at 20 and became a sought after high fashion model.

But after achieving her childhood dream of being a Bond girl and appearing in the For Your Eyes Only Bond movie, she was outed by a British tabloid. It derailed her push to become an actress and temporarily sidelined her modeling career.

She fought back by releasing her first autobiography in 1982 entitled I Am A Woman

Upset about the jacked up British laws concerning the legal status of transsexuals in the wake of the Corbett v. Corbett case, in 1983 she filed suit against the British government to get the legal status of transsexuals changed.

While the legal process percolated through the British judicial system she made numerous media appearances and campaigned tirelessly for transsexual civil rights

After seven years, in 1989 her case reached the European High Courts in Strasbourg, France, where they ruled in her favor. The conservative British government promptly appealed it,

She got married in the wake of the court ruling to businessman Elias Fattal. Soon after she'd returned from her Caribbean honeymoon, the same tabloid that outed her earlier, News of the World, did so again.

During this ugly period, her marriage to Fattal was annulled, her car was sabotaged, and she received death threats. To top it all off, in 1990 she received an adverse ruling from the European Court that reversed her win from the year before.

Despite all the drama swirling around her, she released her second autobiography, My Story and resumed her modeling career.

It does end happily for her. In 1992 she met and married Canadian David Finch and has since moved to the States.

Happy birthday to Caroline Cossey, another one of our transgender icons. May you have a nice quiet stress free day down in Georgia.

I hope to one day get to meet you in person and tell you how much of an inspiration you were to me growing up.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy 173rd Birthday H-Town!

Happy 173rd birthday to my hometown!

It was on this day that New York entrepreneurs Augustus and John K. Allen founded the city on 6,653 acres of land near Buffalo Bayou.

They named it after Sam Houston, the hero of the Texas Revolution and the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto. It briefly became the capital of the Republic of Texas from its founding until it was moved to Austin in 1839.

It is the county seat of Harris County, the largest city in Texas with 2,208,140 residents and the fourth largest in the United States.

It has a fascinating history, and I'm proud to note that African-Americans have played a major role in driving it as well.

Hopefully my hometown will be making some more history this November by electing its second woman mayor in Annise Parker.

Too bad I'm not there to celebrate it properly by heading to Frenchy's and scarfing up a Campus Special or grabbing some Shipley's Donuts.

Missing You, Michael

Today would have been Michael Jackson's 51st birthday, and it still seems surreal to talk about him in the past tense.

As the events of his last day begin to unravel and the stories get out, we're learning more about what led up to his untimely death.

But it still doesn't change the fact that when he was onstage, he was the King Of Pop and a first class entertainer.

But it speaks to the fact I was spoiled. I didn't realize the quality type of music I had growing up and the sheer volume of music legends that graced my teen and early adult years. I'm becoming aware of it as these peeps leave us and what we have currently pales in comparison to them.

And it's sad to realize that not only is Michael Jackson gone, there won't be another singer like him in my lifetime.

Katrina Plus Four

Today is the fourth anniversary of the devastating landfall of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area.

I spent two years living on the West Bank and was there when Hurricane Betsy whacked the city in 1965. I still have friends and my godsister in the area.

I still find it amazing that four years later the GOP and assorted conservaidiots are still trying to have it both ways in the wake of this disaster. Eben on his way back to Texas in the waning days of his presidency Junior was trying to rewrite history and claim their response was timely.

The only timely response that came from the Bush misadministration was how many no bid contracts they could shovel at their cronies and how they could do a 'heck of a job' using this disaster for GOP political purposes.

On one hand they whine it wasn't their fault that Junior's goverment massively failed the citizens of New Orleans, it was Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin

The evidence says otherwise. Gov Blanco and Mayor Nagin did everything possible on their ends to prepare for the disaster.

It's all on you conservaboys and girls who hate government and routinely spout that 'government can't do anything right' conservaabull.

Maybe you should truthfully restate your pet phrase. It's CONSERVATIVE run governments that can't do anything right.

We still have New Orleans residents living in FEMA trailers while others were part of the largest relocation of African descended people since the Great Migration.

The area is still slowly recovering from the storm, but for many people it will never be the same as it was pre-Katrina.

Say a prayer today for the people that didn't survive the storm, and for the people in the area who are still struggling to rebuild their lives in the aftermath.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Words Mean Something – And So Do Letters

TransGriot Note: This is a guest post courtesy of another one of the people in the community I have much love and admiration for, trans historian and attorney Katrina Rose.

This was originally posted at ENDAblog,

Engaging in historical revisionism must give some people a buzz comparable to Pineapple Express.

Exhibit 639,172,825: Former Scampaign head Tim McFeeley.

Ted Kennedy’s leadership in defense of the civil rights and aspirations of LGBT Americans has been remarkable, and his death leaves us without our fiercest champion in the United States Senate. The value of one strong advocate in the Senate — someone who will use every parliamentary, personal and political lever to preserve, protect and defend an issue — cannot be overstated, and Senator Kennedy was the LGBT community’s lion-hearted advocate.

Whether working with Republican Senator Lowell Weicker to secure the first funding to care for people with AIDS, or standing up to the incessant, vile attacks on gay Americans and people with HIV/AIDS from Jesse Helms, or ensuring that all people with HIV are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Ted Kennedy was the “go-to” Senator for LGBT Americans for over 20 years. Senator Kennedy was not deterred by a lack of political support; whether our side could deliver 50 votes or 5 in the Senate, and whether the public opinion polls favored the gay side or not, if Kennedy felt the issue deserved his support, he would hold the Senate floor as long as necessary to achieve the best result.

Would that be the same ADA that includes not one, but two, explicitly anti-trans provisions – provisions that led to the erasure of pro-trans Rehabilitation Act precedent?

Senator Kennedy was not deterred by a lack of political support….


Then why was there never even a trans-inclusive ENDA bill in the Senate until three weeks before Kennedy’s death?

And, if folks are keeping track, Kennedy died in 2009 – not 1994.

One day in particular stands out in my mind: July 29, 1994, a hot summer Friday in Washington. The Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) had its inaugural introduction just a few weeks before, and Senator Kennedy as Chairman of the Labor Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for 10 a.m. We lined up outside the hearing room two hours in advance, and as the doors opened we had to jostle with a phalanx of right-wing ministers led by Louis Sheldon and his daughter Andrea who broke ahead of the line to try to pack the room. A scuffle and angry words brought Capitol police officers to restore calm, and before the hearing officially commenced Senator Kennedy had to denounce the uncivil behavior at a hearing to discuss civil rights. Here was the leader of every major civil rights bill protecting women, ethnic and racial minorities, and people with disabilities taking up the fight once again, this time to stop discrimination in the workplace against LGBT Americans.


What was Sen. Kennedy – or any senator, much less you Mr. McFeeley – doing in July 1994 to stop discrimination in the workplace against transgender Americans? You know – July 1994? When not only was there not a trans-inclusive ENDA but when trans activists were blocked by a Senate committee from even testifying? When one senator not named Kennedy managed to get the written testimony of two trans activists (Phyllis Frye and Karen Kerin) added to the record?

Yes – that July 1994.

But believe it or not, my posting here is not anti-Teddy. I’m willing to accept the possibility that Teddy may finally have come around – but, honestly, there’s not really much of a record (other than his co-sponsorship of the Senate ENDA bill) to back that up.

But that’s not the issue here.

The historical record, when it is finally in full view, may even provide some room to at least maneuver him out of the Barney Frank category; maybe he meant better than his lack of official action indicates – though, it does seem as though there are too many indicators that he indeed was the Senate roadblock that trans people have asserted him to be for the last decade and a half.

But even that’s not the issue here.

The issue is yet another purple-n-yellow-blooded professional queer creating more nuggets of fake trans-inclusive histories of a trans-exclusive movement and a disgustingly transphobic organization, to muddy not just the water but the air and everything else.

And honestly?

If there’s anyone who should be more pissed off about it than trans people…

its Ted Kennedy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shut Up Fool! Awards-The Ted Kennedy Memorial Edition

Edward Moore Kennedy, the Liberal Lion Of The Senate has succumbed to a year long battle with brain cancer. In the midst of mourning his loss, we remember his remarkable political career and life.

Rest well Teddy, you've earned it. Time for you to join John, Bobby, Martin and Coretta.

But there will be no rest for the fool or fools we expose on a weekly basis.

As our Shut Up Fool! Awards mascot constantly reminds us, fools are everywhere.

And to think when I started this feature I was worried I wouldn't have enough of them to give out a weekly award.

While there were many worthy contenders as always including the usual suspects of Beck, Bachmann, Coulter, Limbaugh and Hannity, I have to give this week's award to Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS).

While at a town hall meeting she told the folks assembled there that the GOP still had to find a "great white hope."

"Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope," said Jenkins. "I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington."

As examples, Jenkins mentioned Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Yo Lynn, guess you didn't read the GOP memo that you aren't supposed to say aloud what your party's strategy is for 2010 and 2012.

Do stiff arm salutes, yell 'White Power' and court the neo-Confederate and batshit crazy sheeple vote.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, shut up fool!

Everyday Sheeple

TransGriot Note: It's time for another one of my infamous song rewrites. This one is dedicated to all the hoodwinked and bamboozled batshit crazy people who support the birthers, deathers, and use Fox News and right-wing talk radio as their primary news source.

Everyday Sheeple
Sung to the tune of People Everyday by Arrested Development

I remember the night that is long gone
"Obama won!" we screamed in an excited tone
The celebrations went on all night
And the whole planet thought it was really hype
Outta nowhere comes the GOP hating
Lies, demonstrations and obfuscating

But nevertheless I was pleased
Barack's inaugurated and my soul's at ease
Until a group of birthers started bugging out
Drinking the Kool Aid, going the Klansman route
Saying crap that was really mean
Doing tea bagging with signs obscene

I ignored them cause see I know their type
They're racist, got guns and they're mainly white
They see a Black Democrat trying to do some good
Some of them tryin' to test Obama's manhood

Obama was born in Honolulu
His daddy being from Kenya makes them swear [Damn!]
He's in the White House and they're having fits
And his birth certificate they be dissing it
Pray they come to their senses eventually
But they demand to see parts of his anatomy
Why, Lord, do conservatives hate our country?
All we want is for it to be strong and free

They are everyday sheeple
They are everyday sheeple

Told the sheeple, get your news from CNN
And stop denying that he is a citizen
But they won't stop watching the Fox News
And the birthers and deathers are even more crude

At this point I was mad by then
It's sad these peeps listen to Rush, Lou and Glenn
But that's the story y'all of Republicans
Mad because they lost to an African

They are everyday sheeple
They are everyday sheeple

Tenika Watson's Story

When Teddy Pendergrass had the traffic accident that paralyzed him back in 1982, there was another passenger in his car whose life was affected as well.

Then 31 year old Tenika Watson's injuries were more emotional than physical. Her life after the accident suffered as a result of the publicity surrounding the crash and after she was outed as a transwoman.

She said about Pendergrass at the time. "I was concerned about him. I was concerned if he was really hurt. I feel about him as I do about any other human being. I thought we were both going to die."

The 5'10" beauty was on her way to becoming a model when the fateful traffic accident occurred. It took according to her an hour and 45 minutes to free her and Pendergrass from the wrecked car before she was taken to the hospital.

She told Philadelphia Tribune writer Barbara Faggins in an interview published in the May 31, 1982 issue of JET that the medical people on duty were more concerned with getting a urinalysis test done than finding out about the extent of her injuries.

"They were interested in finding out what I had in my system. The wanted to find out what was in my urine." I was very upset with them. I must have gotten to the hospital around 1 AM and didn't leave until 6 AM."

I remember at the time there was much Hateraid directed at her from die hard ciswomen Teddy fans. Pendergrass used to have 'For Women Only' concerts back in the late 70's and they loved them some Teddy. Some even ignorantly blamed her for the accident as if she was driving the car.

"My family and friends are angry because of what they've read in the papers about me." she said. "What really upset me was the fact that the papers made me out to be some animal or demon and that I was not a God fearing person."

Amen sis.

She was asked by Faggins if there was any part of her life that she would like to change, Watson stated, "I wish I had been born genetically a woman instead of having to get surgery. Society won't accept me as a woman."

I had a recent conversation with Dionne Stallworth, and she tells me that Tenika is still in the Philly area. I would love to hear from Tenika what has transpired in her life since it was turned upside down by that traffic accident.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Following In Jack 'The Rapper' Gibson's Media Footsteps

If you wonder where I came up with the phrase 'tellin' it like it T-I-S is', I borrowed it from this iconic African-American radio personality and chronicler of Black radio that sadly is no longer with us.

I used to race my Dad to the mailbox to read his Mello Yello when it was delivered by my friendly neighborhood letter carrier. I prided myself back in high school days of being on the cutting edge of Black music, and reading the Rapper's newsletter gave me the edge I needed to stay ahead of my music loving classmates.

Who was Jack 'The Rapper' Gibson? He was the first voice heard on the first Black owned and operated radio station, WERD-AM in Atlanta when they started broadcasting in 1949. Gibson founded the National Association of Radio Announcers for Black DJs or NARA in 1955 to give the original 13 Black DJ's a voice in the industry.

He published for over a decade the Mello Yello tipsheet that was no holds barred in telling the truth about things that went on in the radio world along with tracking R&B music. Starting in 1977 he hosted an annual convention in Orlando, FL that became a must attend event.

The 'Family Affair' was a convention that not only many R&B music stars, radio personalities and music execs attended, but became a forum that set the stage for many of the major changes in the recording and music industry that allowed African-Americans to advance to leadership roles in it.

It was because of Gibson's work in Black radio that the voice of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other SCLC leaders was heard for the first time over the airwaves. He helped Motown get much of the airplay in the 1960's that was the springboard to its success, and was one of the people who gave hip hop and its artists a leg up when they were begging for airplay and attention in the early 80's.

Gibson's work didn't go unnoticed. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C and into the Nevada Broadcasting Hall of Fame when he hosted a Las Vegas radio show until his death from cancer in 2000 at age 79i.

But for me, I'm focused on the truth telling part of Gibson's life. He always told it like it T-I-S is, as he would say in the pages of the Mello Yello, and his love for our people always shone through while doing so.

Those are two lessons of his that I'm proud to carry on in these electronic pages at TransGriot.

My Liberal Identity

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.

I am a proudly unapologetic liberal progressive person. I despise conservatism, ignorance, fundamentalist Christians and propaganda networks such as Faux News and right-wing talk radio.

I believe in justice, civil rights coverage for all, government staying out of my bedroom and bathroom and a level playing field for all.

I also believe in freedom to pursue your dreams to the best of your abilities and God-given talents.

I am also aware that we have problems in this country that require government intervention to solve. The private sector is NOT the only answer to them, nor should they be left alone. They have proven over three GOP administrations to be irresponsible and too greedy to be concerned about the welfare of their fellow citizens, and need regulation.

We must do more to employ our people with good jobs at livable wages. I define livable wage as being paid enough to not only keep the basics of food, clothing and shelter ensconsed around you, but be able to save for a rainy day as well.

Every citizen deserves a quality education and affordable, universal health care. Our greed is good system that only benefits the insurance companies needs to be overhauled and regulated.

So yeah, that's a snap shot of what I believe as a proud Houstonian, Texan, and African-American. We can respectfully debate those beliefs at any time.

But don't come at me with Rush Limbaugh or GOP talking points. I'll blow those out of the water.

Senator Ted Kennedy Dies

"For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." Sen. Ted Kennedy, 1980 DNC

Senator Edward Moore 'Ted' Kennedy, the person once considered the political lightweight of the family who became a powerful and influential liberal senator, died today at age 77 after a year long battle with brain cancer.

Ted Kennedy has served in the Senate seat once held by his brother John since 1962, which is the third longest term in US history.

He was an advocate for labor unions and a higher minimum wage. He was involved in the civil rights and voting rights debates of the 1960s, and he pressed for an expanded role for the government in health care.

He supported the creation of Medicare in 1965 and of a national system of neighborhood health care centers as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1966.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, starting with Thurgood Marshall, he participated in the confirmation debates of every current Supreme Court member or nominee of the late 20th-early 21st century with the exception of Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

He also led the successful 1987 opposition killing Robert Bork's confirmation to the Supreme Court in addition to staunchly defending abortion rights.

He was an influential voice within the Democratic party. He campaigned extensively in 2004 for Sen John Kerry and his early endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama in 2008 helped him cement the liberal wing of the party prior to his successful run for the presidency.

President Obama released a statement after hearing the news while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, MA

Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.

For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.

I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've profited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.

An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time.

And the Kennedy family has lost their patriarch, a tower of strength and support through good times and bad.

Our hearts and prayers go out to them today--to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.

Ted Kennedy is definitely going to be missed, especially when we have this contentious and ignorance filled debate over one of his pet issues, health care reform taking place.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Littleton v. Prange 10th Anniversary

Kat Rose reminded me of another anniversary taking place this month that jolted the Texas transgender community when it went down ten years ago.

It's the sad anniversary of the 1999 Littleton v. Prange case.

San Antonio native Christie Lee Cavazos transitioned back in the 1970's as part of a university sponsored gender program. She'd gotten her corrective SRS surgery and moved on to quietly live her life in stealth as transpeople were advised to do back in the day.

She was briefly living in Kentucky when she met Jonathan Mark Littleton. She fell in love, told him about her past, he didn't care, they got married, moved to Texas and she concentrated on building her thriving hair salon.

They had been happily married for seven years when Mark died as a result of alleged medical malpractice by Dr. Mark Prange. Christie Lee sued as the surviving spouse and the case shall we say was badly mishandled.

During the depositions it surfaced that Christie Lee had been identified as "male" on her original birth certificate. The defendant's attorneys sought summary judgment on the theory that Christie was a "male" at the time of her marriage and is still a "male" -- "same-sex" marriages being illegal, then Christie Lee's marriage was invalid and thus she did not have any legal standing to file suit.

In other words, they used DOMA to invalidate her marriage, even though DOMA was not in effect at the time she and Mark tied the knot.

In addition, Justice Phil Hardberger tried to use chromosomes as the defining factor WITHOUT knowing what Christie Lee's chromosome patterns were.

It also screwed Christie Lee out of a share of the $2 million settlement that the rest of the Littleton family got, and she's the one who filed the suit in the first place.

Texas justice at its finest.

It addition to stripping Christie Lee of her legal gender ID as female in the 4th Circuit it set up a convoluted mishmash of gender confusion. I'll have to ask Kat if the 2003 constitutional ban on same gender marriage changed anything.

In the wake of that ruling, in my birth county and elsewhere in the Lone Star State I'm legally female. The minute I cross over into Bexar County or the 32 others covered by the Texas 4th Circuit I'm back to being 'male'. I can get married to a male in the rest of the state, and to a woman in the 32 4th Circuit counties.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that in the rush to screw Christie Lee, they made same gender marriages legal in the 32 Texas counties affected by the Texas 4th Circuit.

After her attorneys who screwed the legal pooch dropped her, she ended up being represented by transgender attorneys Phyllis Frye and Alyson Meiselman. They tried to get the case reversed in 2000, but the all-Republican at the time Texas Supreme in April 2000 denied the hearing. The US Supreme Court in October 2000 denied it as well.

Christie Lee did rebound from this. She ended up getting remarried and became an activist in the state for transgender issues.

August 2009 Villager's Black Blog Rankings

Depending on where you reside, school has either started or will be doing so shortly. Yes, it's a wonderful time of year for the parents, but not so wonderful for the children whose summer vacations have rapidly come to a close.

Just in time for back to school is the latest edition of the Afrosphere's most anticipated post on Electronic Villager, the Black Blog Rankings.

After a one month hiatus, the Villager has released the latest edition of the Black Blog Rankings, or BBR's as we fondly call them in the Afrosphere.

I'll give you one guess what the BBR number one ranked blog is. It's been holding down the Number One spot for the last year, and is still the undisputed BBR champion, Pam's House Blend.

This month's BBR ranked 1766 blogs, an increase of 62 blogs from the June 2009 rankings. To see the full list click on this link.

In my last blog post that chronicled my progress up the BBR charts, I was nine tantalizing spots away from cracking the BBR Top 25. As of the June 2009 BBR's I was number 34 with a 138 Technorati ranking.

Renee's Womanist Musings jumped to Number 6, just missing the Top 5. You can check out the rest of the Top Ten and Top 25 here.

Speaking of the BBR Top 25, you'll see a new blog listed there. As of the August 24 compilation date, I FINALLY cracked the list of BBR Top 25 blogs! TransGriot is now at BBR 24 with a 102 Technorati ranking.

I jumped ten spots to accomplish my goal and beat my Labor Day deadline for doing so.

I'm concerned like everybody else in the Afrosphere about what's happening with Technorati since it's one of the primary ways Villager compiles these rankings.

I've gone from a 159 ranking to a 102 despite having more readers from around the globe, having various blogs link to my posts and getting 1500 to 2000 hits per day.

But I'll worry about that later. Break out the Champale! TransGriot is in the BBR Top 25. I'm BBR number 24! Next stop, the BBR Top Ten.

Can't wait to see next month's rankings!

Women Come In All Shapes, Body Sizes, Hairstyles and Genitalia Configurations

One of the silver linings in this jacked up Caster Semenya situation is that it's fostering a serious discussion around the planet about the parameters of femininity.

Trans and intersex people can already tell you that gender is not an either/or immutable proposition. Just as there is a continuum of sexuality, there is one for gender as well.

Anyone who remembers their reality based science classes knows that you get half your genetic material from mommy and half your genetic material from daddy.

That leads to some very interesting variations and combinations of traits alleged to belong to the 'opposite' gender that can be mixed and matched in a masculine or feminine bodied person.

There are masculine bodied persons who are short with small hands and feet. Conversely, there are feminine bodied people who are tall, have large hands and wear double digit shoe sizes.

Then you have those peeps that Mother Nature got creative with and did the mixing and matching of various traits and chromosome patterns.

One of the things we have to realize in this evolving femininity discussion is that for centuries, the standard of beauty is a narrow Eurocentric one that by default 'others' women of color.

Black women have particularly suffered because of this beauty standard. Thanks to slavery, for centuries myths and falsehoods peddled as 'scientific facts' were used along with religious dogma to justify denying the humanity of African descended people.

Contrary to what some people believe, the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the 50's and 60's didn't magically make that negative history disappear. Those centuries old ideas and myths are still stubbornly part of our culture today.

As philosopher Simone de Beauvoir observed, 'One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.'

On the way to womanhood, some of us were fortunate to be born in feminine bodies at birth. Others of us had to work at morphing into our feminine bodies as fast as we could later in life.

But it's past time to recognize that women come in all shapes, body sizes, hairstyles, hair colors, and genitalia configurations.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Jerrydome's Flaw

The new $1.15 billion dollar home of the Arlington Cowchips has every bell and whistle you could want as a fan. Climate controlled comfort, retractable roof, great site lines and those world famous Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders shaking what their mamas gave them.

For owner Jerry Jones, the things he likes about the 100,000 seat Cowboys Stadium is that his new football playpen has more seats and luxury boxes than Texas Stadium did. He can also host other revenue producing events like Super Bowls, major concerts such as the upcoming U2 one October 12, Big 12 Championship games and NCAA Final Fours.

But every new stadium when it opens for business (as Yankees fans can tell you) has some glitch or unforseen flaw in it that has to be corrected.

The Jerrydome's flaw is is hanging right over the football field.

The flaw is the 1.2-million pound, four-sided video board hanging from the rafters exactly 90 feet above the field.

It's a 160 foot wide, 90 foot tall $40 million HD video screen that stretches from twenty yard line to twenty yard line.

In their debut game in their new stadium, during the third quarter of the Cowboys 30-10 win, reserve punter A.J. Trapasso hit the gargantuan screen.

Jones doesn't think it's a problem being 90 feet above the field, despite the fact that two years ago, while conducting tests in San Antonio's Alamodome one of his own punters kicked balls more than 100 feet into the air.

The NFL signed off on the board and Jones said he does not plan to alter it.

Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher disagrees. It's worth noting that Fisher was not happy about the board getting in the way of one of his team's punts and he's the co-chair of the NFL's Competition Committee.

Translation, he has the power to do something about it.

He thinks it needs to be raised, and the competition committee could order that to happen.

"It's an issue, yeah. I'm sure the Cowboys or the league will tell you, I shouldn't have to throw a flag out there because [the officiating crew] didn't see the ball hit the scoreboard. Now, it's not necessarily their responsibility. Once a fair catch signal is given, then there are no eyes on the ball anymore. So they don't see it. So something has to get worked out. It can become a problem."

So how will this latest chapter of the ongoing sports soap opera known as the Cowchips turn out? Will Jerry raise the HD board? Will the NFL order him to do it? Will Vegas establish a sports betting line on how many NFL punters hit it this season?

Stay tuned to this latest episode of As The Cowchips Turn.