Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our Asian-Pacific Rim Transsisters Form APTN

TransGriot Note: Our transsisters in Asia and the Pacific Rim made a little history this month to close out the 2k's. They formed an organization designed to advocate for the rights and the health issues of transpeople across the region.

This is wonderful news not only for transpeople in Asia and the Pacific Rim, but their transsisters on the rest of the planet.

Here's the press release for the Asia Pacific Transgender Network courtesy of Leona's blog.


World’s First Asia Pacific Transgender Network Launched to Champion Health and Rights of Transgender Women in the Region

Diverse groups from warias, kathoeys and hijras to be represented

22 December 09, Singapore. Transgender women from 10 Asia Pacific countries and areas are coming together to say “No!” to discrimination and marginalisation by forming the world’s first Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN). After three days of intense meetings, it was decided that the APTN, composed entirely of transgender women across the region, will champion transgender women’s health, legal and social rights.

Ms. Khartini Slamah, Founding Working Group member and Core-Group Chair of the Transgender Programme in Pink Triangle (PT) Foundation, Malaysia, says this represents a milestone in the history of transgender women in the region. She says, “For a long time transgender women have been represented among the MSM (men who have sex with men) sub-population group, but there is now a recognition that we are a distinct demographic with our own unique needs. We wish to be separated from the MSM umbrella and inform The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to stop clustering us under the MSM umbrella. Transgender women are not men – we have different issues and needs. Thus we have formed a network addressing the needs of transgender women only.”

From hijras in South Asia to warias in Indonesia

The group represents a broad spectrum of transgender women from sex workers to career women, from hijras (South Asia), warias (Indonesia), kathoeys (Thailand) and sao praphet songs (Thailand) to specialized interest groups such as youth, Muslims and elderly transgender women.

Ms Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, another Founding Working Group member and one of the most recognizable faces of hijras in India, says she is pleased the community is being represented by the network. She says, “For the first time in history, hijras from Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are joining hands with our transgender sisters from Asia Pacific to say ‘No!’ to being treated like second-class citizens. We know there is strength in numbers. Together, we can advance and improve the health, legal and social rights of transgender women.”

The network will also tackle issues in the region such as HIV prevalence among transgender sex workers, especially in countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia, where infection rates are extremely high and resources in place are inadequate to ensure access to quality healthcare, as well as to protect the rights of the sex workers.

Outreach activities

The network is developing a workplan for the next two to three years. The Working Group will identify and explore key populations/groups in immediate need of support and plan activities to reach out to these target groups. Transgender representatives have also been appointed from every sub-region and from key sub-populations to rally transgender organisations within their respective sub-regions or areas to become members of the network.

Ms Sitthiphan (Hua) Boonyapisomparn, APTN Coordinator who is based in Bangkok, says, “At this stage, it is important that we develop a comprehensive workplan that addresses the needs of APTN members. We are already in discussion with potential donors and sponsors to explore how they might support APTN programmes.”

For more information about the network or to support its programmes, please contact Ms Sitthiphan at

APTN Sub Regions and Key Populations

The APTN is categorized according to seven sub-regions and seven key populations. Each group is represented as follows:

Danisha (Malaysia) for transgender drug users

Jetsada Taesombat (Thailand) for transgender youth

Jin Qiu (China) for China Sub-Region

Khartini Slamah (Malaysia) for senior transgender women

Laxmi Narayan Iripathi (India) for India Sub-region

Leona Lo (Singapore) for Developed Asia Sub-region

Luluk Surahman (Indonesia) for Insular Southeast Asia Sub-region

Manisha (Nepal) for South Asia Sub-region

Prempreeda Pramos Na Ayutthaya (Thailand) for the Greater Mekong Sub-region

Sam Sela (Cambodia) for transgender people living with HIV

Sulastri (Malaysia) for transgender sex workers

Zahida Hijra (Bangladesh) for hijras

Vacant – for transgender Muslims

Vacant – for Pacific Sub-region

About APTN

The mission of APTN is to enable transgender women in the Asia Pacific region to organise and advocate to improve their health, protect their human rights, and enhance their social well-being and the quality of their lives. The network startup is supported by the 7 Sisters Coalition of Asia Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS, Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), and Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW)

Shut Up Fool! Of The Year

One of the more popular features on this blog has been the weekly 'Shut Up Fool! Award in which I shine a bright spotlight on the fools that are within our midst.

There are certain people that should get it every week, but that's another post.

So without further ado, I'm going to reveal the winner of the Shut up Fool! of the Year Award for 2009.

As always, there were a plethora of worthy candidates, some who are in the running for the Shut up Fool! Lifetime Achievement Award like a certain Oxycontin popping right wing talk show host.

But one person particularly stood out in terms of being a straight up fool with nauseating consistency.

The envelope please.

Our winner of the 2009 Shut Up Fool! Of The Year Award is:

Michael Steele.

Whether it was calling Rush Limbaugh out and then retracting the statement, giving 'slum love' to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, trying to entice African Americans to join the Republican Party with 'hip-hop outreach' or claiming the GOP was 'scared of him', GOP Chairman Michael Steele never ceased to come up with some stupid jibber jabber as our mascot would call it.

He also consistently embarrassed himself and his party. Glad he's on your team.

Congratulations, and Shut Up Fool!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thank You For A Good 2009

Thank you TransGriot readers for helping this humble blog grow and hit some milestone achievements this year.

*1 million hits

*My 2000th post

*2000 hits per day

*2008 Weblog Awards Finalist

Thanks to you loyal readers, those were achieved and more. I'm looking forward as the anniversary of TransGriot's founding looms at midnight to continued growth, continuing to create quality posts, reaching the 2500 and 3000 post milestones, getting to 1.5 million hits and keeping TransGriot an enjoyable and informative place for you to visit.

'She Was Never He' Video

Boy George has a trans themed song entitled 'She Was Never He' that I like. I finally found a YouTube video of it that y'all can peruse until I catch up on the sleep I lost from my cross country holiday bus ride.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Heading Back To Da Ville

After a few wonderful days back in H-town, I'm now getting back on the bus and making the return trip to Louisville.

My routing is going to be a little different from the one I took down here. I'm going through Dallas on the initial leg and after arriving there, I change buses for one departing to Memphis at 11:20 PM CST.

I change again to a Nashville bound bus after I arrive in Memphis that leaves at 9:00 AM CST on the 30th.

I make my last bus change for the run up I-65 to Louisville and arrive back in Da Ville at 5:40 PM EST.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Trans People Are Part Of The Diverse Mosaic Of Life 6

Even though you've digested your Christmas meal by now, returned or exchanged your gifts you didn't like and thrown away the wrapping paper, the struggle continues around the world for trans people to assert and fight for their human rights.

Yes, we are part of the diverse mosaic of human life, and the sooner y'all haters and other people realize that, the better, because we ain't going away.

Keisy and Tamara having a conversation on a Honduras street

Calpernia Addams and Laverne Cox looking lovely at the GLAAD Awards

A protest in Dallas

Trans teen J. Escobar

Transwoman on phone being checked out by 'the menz' during protest in Guatemala

Trans Muslims at a prayer service in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Claudio shaving

Friday, December 25, 2009

Shut Up Fool! Awards-Merry Christmas Edition!

To my loyal TransGriot readers, Merry Christmas!

I hope you are having a wonderful day with friends and loved ones and got everything you asked Santa for on your Christmas wish list.

It's Friday, and you know what that means. It's time for us to find out what fool or fools earned lumps of coal in their Christmas stockings from St. Nick.

Our Shut Up Fools for this week go to the Agape Christian Church, Word for Life Church of God and Centerpoint Church (formerly Third Reformed Church) in Kalamazoo, MI.

Why are they getting our illustrious award? Because they pulled out of a local homeless ministry because one of the member churches supported the successful fight to pass Ordinance 1856.

Martha’s Table, through which eight churches have provided Sunday afternoon worship and meals for the needy at First Congregational Church, is losing the three churches because of the issue of homosexuality, even though the ecumenical ministry takes no position on it, said the Rev. Matt Laney, pastor of First Congregational.

Ron Vestrand, senior pastor of Agape Christian Church, said it was conversations with Jeff McNally, pastor of Word of Life Church that led to his church withdrawing from Martha’s Table.

“As time went on, Pastor McNally was becoming concerned with Pastor Matt Laney’s stand on homosexuality. I believe it was causing some disunity. ... I think the primary issue was that we felt that Matt’s stance on homosexuality as a valid Christian lifestyle violated our biblical worldview.”

The Kalamazoo Gazette was unable to reach a representative of Centerpoint for comment.

At any rate, you faux conservachristians are revealing yourselves every day to have as Dr. King put it. 'dry as dust' religion.

"A religion true to its nature must also be concerned about man's social conditions....Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion.

Such a religion is the kind the Marxists like to see---an opiate of the people."

Pulling out of a ministry that feeds the hungry for political reasons at Christmastime is a new low even for y'all.

You have more loyalty to the conservative movement than to feeding the hungry and speaking up for the powerless against the powerful.

Agape Christian Church, Word for Life Church of God and Centerpoint Church, shut up fools!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas TransGriot Readers!

I'm in Houston enjoying the holiday with my blood family for the first time since 2000, so unless some serious breaking news warrants me posting about it, I'm taking a well deserved blogging day off.

Merry Christmas to all of my TransGriot readers!

May the toys that say 'some assembly required' get put together by Santa's helpers with minimum drama, may food be plentiful and tasty, may your travels to and from your holiday destinations go smoothly and may you have a stress free and blessed holiday.

Live From Houston-It's Moni!

Hey TransGriot readers!
I'm sitting in the den of my childhood home at my sister's computer. Immediately to my left is the family Christmas tree and the sun is shining brightly.

The weather was sunny and a balmy 70 degrees when I got here, but the cold front is coming.

So yeah, it's all good right now.

Bus trip was interesting and calls out for its own blog post. The Shreveport-Houston leg was an hour late getting me here after doing the tour of East Texas. I did get to knock off one of the things on the Moni H-town To Do List, which was ride the METRORail. I did it in order to make it easier on Mom who picked me up at the Fannin South terminus of the line and it was surprisingly inexpensive at $1.25 (for now). Parking around the bus station was always problematic, and now that the Red Line runs down the middle of Main Street it's even worse.

Seems like I'm not the only person in the family that came back to Houston for the holiday. My cousin Trey is in the Navy and decided to do so with his family. My Aunt Gwen and cousin Zoya who is in the Army got here Monday. Cuz looks good after going through Uncle Sam's Health Club, AKA basic training.

They all hit the house last night along with my cousin Ebonie, who lives in Fort Bend County.

So I chilled at the house with my sis Latoya, Mom and my niece Chanty, who is going to be tall like her aunt Monica. She'll be 10 in a few weeks and is already standing a little over 4 feet. Will pop over to see my dad sometime during the Moni Returns To H-town Holiday Tour.

Of course, getting spoiled by Mom already and started the process of catching up with my H-town peeps and relatives.

On that note, Merry Christmas 'errbody'. Getting ready visit some peeps and I'm counting down until I can start tearing into my mom's legendary German Chocolate pound cake.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Luther-The Mistletoe Jam

Another one of my favorite Christmas songs with soul from Luther Vandross' 'This Is Christmas' album.

Boy do I miss 'Lufer'

I'm Finally Home

Well, after 23 hours, several bus transfers and 9 plus years, I'm finally standing inside the Houston city limits during the Christmas holidays.

My bus just pulled into the Greyhound station here in H-town, and I'm getting a first hand look at how much things have changed since my last trip here.

The METRORail light rail line that runs from UH Downtown through Hermann Park and the Med Center to Reliant Stadium runs right past it.

I'm going to probably take an up and down trip on the line just to give me something to do on one of my days here I'm waiting to hook up with Crys, Ness, the gang at IAH and my family.

Hoping my first time home for Christmas since 2000 will be drama free, but only time will tell.

A Transsistah's Secret-Being Comfortable In Your Own Skin

Being comfortable in your own skin is one of the often overlooked major keys to a happy and successful transition.

We catch so much flak as African descended transpeople from many directions that it can be a struggle at time just to summon the courage to be yourself, much less have the rock solid faith and confidence in yourself that being a Black transwoman requires.

Even the Phenomenal Transwoman at time has those days where I'm put in a situation or two that makes me feel insecure, or when I get out and about in the public eye a comment that may or may not be directed at me has me questioning what the mirror told me when I stepped out of the house that day.

The mirror doesn't lie, and neither are our heads, hearts and the people in our friendship circles who truly love us when they tell us we are the beautiful women we see reflected in the image staring back at us.

We have to take that, feed upon it, become confident and believe that we are.

One you do that, you're taking the first steps toward becoming confidently comfortable in your emerging femininity and by extension, comfortable in your own skin.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rolling Towards Houston

At this moment my Greyhound bus is pulling out of the Louisville station and heading south on I-65 to start the first leg of my long journey back home to Houston.

It's nonstop to Nashville, TN from Louisville, then I change buses and depart Nashville at 4:25 PM EST to continue south on I-65 to Birmingham, AL.

I change buses again and depart Birmingham at 9:50 PM EST enroute to Shreveport, LA where I make my final bus change and arrive in beautiful downtown Houston at 12:30 PM on December 23.

The best part about it is I'm not doing the driving.

As you TransGriot readers probably guessed I'll be keeping a diary during my journey back to the Lone Star State. If I get access to a computer I'll post as often as I can.

But on Christmas Day, I will definitely be taking the day off ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

First Trans Beauty Pageant Hosted In India

There have been some recent groundbreaking events taking place for the GLBT community in India that have broken down cultural barriers.

In July the Delhi High Court decriminalized gay sex between consenting adults by declaring a colonial-era ban on homosexuality unconstitutional.

In November eunuchs won the right in a long standing campaign to be listed as 'others', distinct from males and females, on electoral rolls and voter identity cards.

In the wake of the changes in Indian society, the Indian Community Welfare Organization (ICWO), organized and hosted the first annual pageant for Indian transwomen on December 19.

The ICWO is the local organizations that works for the rights of TBLG people in Chennai and drew 120 contestants across India aged 20 to 35 to the city

Besides tiaras for the winners of the 'Miss India' title, crowns were also handed out to victorious contestants in other categories such as "Miss Beautiful Hair," "Miss Beautiful Eyes" and "Miss Beautiful Skin".

So why a pageant? ICWO Founding Secretary A.J. Hariharan told AFP, "We had a meeting of the transgender community some months ago where we discussed various events to bring community members into society,"

After rejecting several proposals including sporting events, "everyone unanimously supported the idea of a national-level beauty pageant," he said.

"We thought it would create an opportunity for the transgender community to showcase their skills, create a platform to address the problems they face - discrimination, marginalization and misconception."

The winner was Karina Shaline, a 25-year-old model from Mumbai. Romi, a 23 year old beautician from the northeastern state of Manipur, was second with local favorite and dance instructor Padmini, 25, grabbing third place.

Nat King Cole-The Christmas Song

To me, it isn't Christmas unless I'm hearing this as part of my classic Christmas songs with soul. Enjoy the legendary Nat 'King' Cole

It Ain't 'Deception'- We're Living Our Lives

One of the memes I'm beyond sick and tired of that gets pimped and hurled at us by the Forces of Intolerance and others is this 'deception' one.

That's bull feces. How is a transwoman openly living her life and minding her own damned business 'deceiving' someone?

If me and my sisters are out and about doing thangs, shopping, talking to our cis or trans girlfriends, having a good time and you're checking us out, it's all good.

We transwomen are under no obligation to walk around with a scarlet 'T' on our clothing or reveal our status to you or anybody else until you either ask us for a date or are suggesting intimate coupling with us while on that date.

Once you do, we're in a Catch 22 situation either way.

If we tell you and you start tripping, we are quite aware of the fact that the reaction to what we just told you about our background can range from a loud, disrespectful verbal rebuke to a physical beatdown or murder.

If for some reason we escape that, then we have to deal with the fact you will create a virtual scarlet 'T' for us by running and telling every dude we potentially want to hook up with our business. And if you're feeling especially spiteful, you'll flap your gums to a few jealous ciswomen who will do the rest of your 'scarlet trans' handiwork for you.

But as you run and tell this transwoman's business, bear in mind you and your cohorts may have initiated a chain of events that sets the transwoman in question up for a hate crime or worse if the wrong person gets wind of that information.

So no, transwomen aren't running around in the dating scene wanting to 'trick' cis men as the urban legends about us go. We're in the dating scene for the same reasons you are, looking for love and companionship.

Trust me, before we go out, we've contemplated long and hard about the potential dangerous consequences. There is no way we transwomen are going to play games that can result in us getting killed or severely injured.

As long as I am writing TransGriot, I can't stress this point enough. Transwomen are women who happened to be born in masculine bodies, not 'men in dresses'. That means me and my trans sisters being and becoming the phenomenal women we are is not in any way 'deceiving' society as our detractors disrespectfully and erroneously put it.

It took a lot of prayerful self examination, inner fortitude, counseling, and ongoing real life experience to put us on the path of getting our bodies to match our feminine spirits.

We are being honest with ourselves and living our lives. Not our fault the estrogen worked to make us look good as well while doing so and you want to get with us.

You call it 'deceptive' because you're having a problem processing the fact you were feeling the positive vibe and aura that particular transwoman was broadcasting to the world because she's finally happy with herself, and you were intrigued enough by it to step to her.

But this meme about transwomen 'deceiving' people is so 20th century and really needs to die.

25th Anniversary Of The First NCAA Women's Slam Dunk

I talked about my Houston homegirl Brittney Griner becoming the ninth woman to dunk in NCAA women's competition a month ago.

It's time for Moni to play Final Jeopardy with you.

On December 21, 1984, this 6 foot 7 West Virginia University player became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA game against Morris Harvey University (now the University of Charleston) Name the player who accomplished this feat.

If you said, who is Georgeann Wells-Blackwell, you are correct.

Today is the 25th anniversary of Wells-Blackwell's groundbreaking dunk. What was even more impressive about it is that back in the day, she did so while using the men's regulation ball. She is the only women's player to do so in NCAA competition while using the men's ball.

ESPN was only a fledgling network just beginning to break out of its northeast regional turf and wasn't the dominant sports force it is now.

Wells-Blackwell's dunk was such a big deal back in 1984 that she appeared on network television, in an issue of Sports Illustrated, was honored at a luncheon in New York, had a display put up in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, another one in the Women’s College Basketball Hall of Fame and was given the honor of being inducted in the University of Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma dunking fraternity.

It took ten years before another woman b-baller joined her in the elite basketball dunking sorority Alpha Slama Dunka.

But Georgeann Wells-Blackwell will forever be known as the first one to do so.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy 50th Birthday Flo Jo

It's hard to believe she's been gone from us for eleven years, but today would have been Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner's 50th birthday. She was born in this date in south Los Angeles in 1959

Back in the day I loved me some Flo Jo.

She was known not only for her flashy form-fitting bodysuits and six-inch fingernails, but had world-record speed. The 100m record she set back in 1988 still hasn't been threatened by the current crop of female sprinters.

Florence Griffith Joyner was a triple gold medalist at the 1988 Seoul Olympics who captivated the world with her blistering speed, glamorous looks and flamboyant style.

She still holds the world records in the 100m and 200m dashes. She set the 100m mark of 10.49 seconds during the quarter finals of the 1988 US Olympic trials at Indianapolis.

At Seoul, she won the 100m gold medal in a wind-aided 10.54 seconds and won her 200m gold medal in a world record time of 21.34 seconds.

Because she had an unbelievable competitive year, as usual any sistah who excels in the international sports world is accused of cheating. In Flo Jo's case, because of her curvy and muscular build, she was dogged by accusations of steroid use even though she never failed a drug test.

She retired after the Seoul Games to pursue other interests, and died unexpectedly of heart failure at age thirty-eight on September 21, 1998.

Athletes like her only come along once in a generation. She is definitely missed by those of us who loved to watch her run and look good blowing away her competition at the same time.

Rest in peace, sis.

Christmas Podcast Tonight

Renee, Allison and I will be doing a short podcast of our Womanist Musings show at 8 PM EST.

We just wanted to take the time to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and also introduce you to some of the peeps that make it happen for us.

We also wanted to give you a chance to talk to us as well.

Call in number is 347-326-9452

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Am I A Black Transleader?

Friday night I received an e-mail from a young African descended transwomen based on the East Coast who I have high regard for and admire as a trans activist. Her closest friend is another young and musically talented African descended transperson I admire as well.

Her e-mail floored me by expressing hers and the other transwoman's admiration for me. She continued to say in it she saw me as an inspirational role model and expressed her desire to have a long sit down chat with me that will result in us getting to know each other a lot better in 2010 and beyond.

I was shedding a tear or two after I finished it because I was having a bit of a crummy day before I received that e-mail.

Even though I've heard for a decade how much of a leader I am and a positive influence on the African American transgender community and the trans community in general, I kind of take it in stride because I have a cadre of close friends that ensure I never get 'big head syndrome'.

I also have my detractors and haters who at regular intervals let loose their negativity at me as well.

I just do what all people do that are thrust into leadership roles and ignore the haters. As an additional layer of defense against 'big head syndrome' I still filter whatever positive commentary that flows my way through the definition of Black leadership attributed to University of Maryland political scientist Dr. Ronald Walters.

The task of Black leadership is to provide the vision, resources, tactics, and strategies that facilitate the achievement of the objectives of Black people.

These objectives have been variously described as freedom, integration, equality, liberation, or defined in the terms of specific public policies. It is a role that often requires disturbing the peace. And we constantly carry on a dialogue about the fitness of various leaders and the qualities they bring to the table to fulfill this mission.

It is this definition of leadership I use as a measuring stick in terms of my own leadership qualities. I try to follow in addition to the Walters definition of Black leadership the sterling examples of leadership from Malcolm X, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the late Rep. Barbara Jordan from the home state, the late Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the late Coretta Scott King and a host of other leaders past and present.

I'm cognizant of the fact that people do look up to me and I never want to be a disappointment to them.

But yes, I'm also human as well. I wonder at times if I have the qualities necessary to carry out such a critical and important mission.

That mission, ladies and gents is getting our African descended cis brothers and cis sisters to recognize that their trans brothers and trans sisters have the same African heritage, history and cultural ties. Our issues as African descended trans people are the same as Black America's issues.

It is getting our cis brothers and cis sisters to accept that we aren't going away and for them to do their part in ensuring that our humanity and our human rights are respected and protected.

It is calling out and speaking truth to power to those people inside and outside the community who align themselves with the same white fundamentalist-GOP Dixiecrat Forces of Intolerance who opposed our 50s and 60's era march toward full equality and our constitutionally guaranteed civil rights.

It is also praising our allies when they do something right on our community's behalf and chastising them with Kingian love when they don't.

So do I have the right stuff to carry that mission out?

Well, the IFGE Trinity Award on the mantel is a big clue that I know a little something-something and have some skills to execute this mission.

But my fellow African American transpeople will let me know one way or the other soon enough.

There's A Special Place In Hell For The Wastes Of DNA Who Stole The 'Arbeit Macht Frei' Sign

Ever since World War II ended in 1945, the infamous Auschwitz death camp in which 2 million people were sent to die has been a museum to our seemingly limitless ability as humans to be cruel to each other.

The world was stunned to hear that the 5 meter (16 foot) 'Arbeit Macht Frei' sign that curved over the entrance gates to the camp was stolen in a brazen pre dawn theft Friday.

Auschwitz has also been a favorite target of Holocaust deniers who try to claim the 'Final Solution' never happened.

Um, check the Nazi photographic evidence of the Einsatzgruppen doing their grisly work in newly conquered Soviet territory and later executing the decisions made at the January 20, 1942 Wannsee Conference that formulated the murderous solutions to the 'Judenfrage'.

As outrage over the theft poured in from all over the world, Polish authorities have begun an extensive manhunt to capture the wastes of DNA who executed this crime.

"The fact is that the 'Arbeit Macht Frei' sign has become the defining symbol of the Holocaust, because everyone knew that this was not a place where work makes you free, but it was the place where millions of men, women, and children were brought for one purpose only — to be murdered," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's founder and dean.

The Center is a leading Jewish human rights group, and has urged Poland to intensify its investigation and bring the thieves to justice.

The camp was liberated by Soviet army troops on January 27, 1945. Polish officials plan to mark the 65th anniversary of that liberation next month with somber ceremonies at the site.

I hope when Polish authorities find and convict the thieves for doing so, their punishment will be to not only clean every square millimeter of the death camp, but be put to work helping to restore it.

The African-American Transsisterhood Initiative

Transpeople make up about 3% of the 36 million people that identify as African-American.

The 2Ks will be over in about two weeks and yet we still have problems in the African American transgender community with not knowing our history, not having working relationships with each other and not knowing other African American transpeople.

Well, the 2K10's will be starting soon. One of the things I have constantly complained about is the lack of national community and infrastructure we African descended transpeople have vis a vis our white transsisters. We need our own, and we needed it like yesterday.

To quote Kwame Toure, 'In order to participate in the greater society, we must first close ranks.' When I say African descended transpeople must close ranks, I'm talking about following the historic examples of our cis ancestors, parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

Just as they gathered together to form the organizations, fraternities, sororities and other self help groups that are household names in our communities today, that same spirit of collective organization needs to happen in the African American trans community as well.

I'm blessed to know and have the acquaintances of many African American transpeople in various locales around the country. Some are activists, some aren't. What I would like to do is step it up another level and build lasting, lifelong friendships with many of these wonderful folks as well.

So here's how I envision and propose we do that.

We are hooked up on one level or another on Facebook or other social networking media. We can start by resolving in 2010 and beyond to get to know 5 African descended transpeople you didn't have a lot of communication with or face time this year. We should also include in this effort African descended transwomen that aren't on the Net as well.

Your job as part of the African American Transsisterhood Initiative will be to select five people you've wanted to get to know as friends, and for one year do exactly that. Where they live doesn't matter. They can live in your city or outside of it, but one member of your sisterhood circle must be younger than you, another must be older than you. You can even do more than five people if you wish.

That way as you're getting to know your five peeps, you are getting to partake of the wisdom of your trans elders and your trans younglings.

That education will also be a two way street because we senior trans mamas can kick knowledge about our lives, our history and mentor our trans younglings.

At the same time we get the benefit of finding our more about the lives of our trans younglings, and they can enlighten us with fresh perspectives of looking at issues that will benefit both us and the entire AA transgender community.

One of the things that has immensely helped my growth on my feminine journey is to have been included in the sisterhood networks of some of my cis women friends. They have had my back on many issues, been a font of wisdom and knowledge when it comes to getting my gender act together, have helped me grow spiritually and get better attuned to living life as a Black woman.

At the same time me being the transwoman of the crew has opened their eyes to some of the issues I and other transwomen deal with as well and helped them realize there's not much besides superficial differences between a ciswoman or a transwoman.

I believe we African descended transwomen can benefit from forming sisterhood networks with each other, and what better time to do so than at the start of a new decade, the 2010's.

Let's resolve to finally do the work to make this decade one in which Black transwomen take control of their destinies, not be passive spectators in what happens and begin to make serious moves to take our rightful place at the African American family table.

The first and I believe the easiest step in the long journey to do that is getting to know and becoming friends with the Phenomenal Transwomen that are in our midst.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Black Transwoman Thinking, Composing Posts

Been out and about today running a few errands and prepping for my upcoming trip back home to the 713 for Christmas.

In the process of doing so, getting ready to go home and the general hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I haven't had enough quiet time to solidly think about some issues and write about them.

When I compile posts about various issues, a lot of hard solid thinking, research and fact checking goes into the creative process for me. I have a few in various stages of construction, but they're not quite at the quality level I demand from myself for a TransGriot post.

When I've refined them to my satisfaction, up they will go on the blog as expeditiously as possible.

Shut Up Fool! Awards-Madame Mayor Elect Edition

This edition of our illustrious awards is dedicated to Houston mayor-elect Annise Parker. On January 1 she'll take the oath of office to become only the second woman elected and first Rice University alum to run my hometown.

Congrats madame Mayor-elect, it's been a pleasure to watch your rise to the highest elected office in Houston. You are definitely the best candidate for the job, I have the utmost confidence along with your fellow Houstonians in your ability to do so and may you get the full six years to prove it to your detractors.

Moving from the best to the worst, it's now time to shift gears and see what fool or fools won our award for this week.

Thanks to Renee at Womanist Musings, I've found him.

Keeping with the Texas theme for this one, it's conservaactor Chuck Norris. He has a ranch just north of Houston in the town of New Waverly, TX and is (ugh) thinking about running for public office as a Repugnican.

The conservafool went there in terms of his opposition to the health care legislation now percolating in the senate by mixing the image of the Virgin Mary and doing a little slut shaming at the same time.

Lastly, as we near the eve of another Christmas, I wonder: What would have happened if Mother Mary had been covered by Obamacare? What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been provided the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, etc.) to avoid the ridicule, ostracizing, persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Imagine all the great souls who could have been erased from history and the influence of mankind if their parents had been as progressive as Washington's wise men and women! Will Obamacare morph into Herodcare for the unborn?

Bottom line Chuckie, you and your Republican friends not only can afford to go to the doctor, you don't have to be concerned about the costs.

Many of your fellow Americans don't have that security.

But then again, since when did Republicans care about anyone living inside this country's borders except wealthy white males?

Chuck Norris, shut up fool!