Thursday, January 31, 2013

Being Fearlessly Out And Trans Is A Revolutionary Act

On one of the trans Facebook groups I monitor a post was put up about the gruesome murder of transman  Evon 'Yung LT' Young.  One person remarked in the comment thread under the post that's why she never leaves her home, and of course my response to that comment triggered this post. 

That's what the haters want...They want you to cower in fear locked up behind your doors. Your most revolutionary act as a trans person is to be fearlessly out and about in the world.

We have to constantly battle as transpeople the unholy trinity of shame, guilt and fear.   One of the reasons we get so much violence aimed at us is not only because we are trans,  but the haters want to intimidate us into silence so they can go back to demonizing us with impunity and claiming we don't exist..

Umm no.  This is the second decade of the 21st century.   We are now 60 years beyond the February 13 day Christine Jorgensen returned from Denmark to popping media flashbulbs and overwhelming media attention.   

Trans people need to be out, proud and claiming their rightful place in the beautiful mosaic of human life. We  need to be and are demanding our human rights be respected and protected in the laws of the countries we reside in.  We are demanding respect for our humanity from friend, foe and frenemy.  

If the haters don't like that, tough.   I know I don't care what they think because being trans is nothing to be ashamed of.  If you honestly don't feel that way, then why did you transition in the first place?   

I say it loud that I'm Black, trans and proud every day on this blog, at any panel discussion I'm privileged to be a part of around this nation and when I get the opportunity to do my speeches.  Hopefully I''ll get to do that on an international level one day.

I'll look damned good when I do so.

our best defense as a hated upon marginalized group is to be visible, not cowering in the fetal position waiting to take blows from your oppressors.  So go on that shopping trip to the mall.   Join your local civic organization.  Take that walk around the block and say hello to you neighbors as you get your exercise in.   Join that local church.   Attend those city council and school board meetings and introduce yourself to your elected representatives   Go shake you butt at the club.  Live your life.

The late civil rights icon Dorothy Height said, "When you're a Black woman, you seldom get to do just what you want to do, you always do what you have to do."

What we have to do is stand up, be proud of who we are, tell our stories and stand up for our human rights.  We can't do that from a closet or locked behind a door in our room scared to walk around in the world.  

And how do you stand up for your human rights?  By committing the revolutionary act of being fearlessly out and about in the world living your ordinary, everyday lives.

Two Months Later-Sage Smith Is Still Missing

January 20 marked two months since the November 20 day that Sage Smith went missing.

Still no word about Sage, but a "person of interest" has been named in this case.  Charlottesville, VA police are searching for evidence in a landfill, and a $10,000 reward has been offered. 

A half-dozen officers are searching for evidence in a landfill in Henrico County, the location where the trash from Charlottesville was sent when Smith was reported missing on November 20.

The family is still trying to keep their hopes up, and you may wish to consider sending your positive thoughts and prayers to them for a swift resolution to this case and Sage's safe return.

Will keep you posted if any newsworthy developments happen.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Historic Day For African-American US Senate Representation

With the confirmation of Sen John F. Kerry to become the next Secretary of State, his now empty Senate seat had to be filled by an appointment until the state of Massachusetts can elect his replacement.

After considering former Rep. Barney Frank for it, Gov Deval Patrick (D) appointed his former chief of staff  William 'Mo' Cowan to hold the seat until the election is held June 25

"Mo Cowan has been a trusted adviser, and professional colleague and friend for a very long time," Patrick said at a press conference at the Statehouse Wednesday. He lauded Cowan's law background and experience in the administration, in which Cowan has served since 2009.

Cowan unfortunately will not be a candidate in the special election to succeed Kerry, but reassured his new constituents that he will head to Washington "ever mindful of what matters to the people of Massachusetts." He noted jobs, education and affordable health care as top priorities for state voters.

By selecting him, Cowan made a little congressional and Black history.    He is the not only the second African-American US senator from Massachusetts after Republican Edward Brooke who served from 1967-1979, he is the first Democratic senator who hails from a state other than Illinois.

All three previous Democratic senators, Carol Moseley-Braun, Barack Obama, and Roland Burris all were residents of the Land of Lincoln.  .

Interestingly enough, with this appointment following South Carolina Gov Nikki Haley's (R) appointment of Tim Scott (R) to fill the remaining term of the resigned Jim DeMint, this is the first time ever in US history that we have had more than one African-American senator serving in the US senate during the same congress. 

Just wish Sen. Cowan was serving longer than June 25..    

NBJC Launches 'Many Faces, One Dream' Economic Empowerment Tour

"What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn't earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?" Dr. King in a 1968 speech to workers. 

I talk often about how trans rights are human rights, and how our struggle at times mirrors the African-American civil rights one of the 50's and 60's

We have seen one of our Holy Grail federal legislative objectives pass in terms of the Byrd-Shepard Hate Crimes law, but have yet to see the Employment and Non Discrimination Act become law.

The National Black Justice Coalition is going to do their part to help address the economic part of the Black LGBT community 'Owning Their Power' by joining forces with the US Small Business Administration to launch the Many Faces, One Dream LGBT economic empowerment tour for communities of color.   

“Despite the challenges we face, gay and transgender people represent an untapped segment of aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners,” explains NBJC Executive Director Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks. “Rich with ideas and talent, LGBT men and women are creating and leading their own companies. It’s time to expand the conversation from economic security to economic empowerment. It’s time for us to own our power.”

Janet Mock is one of the National Ambassadors for this tour which will hit 13 cities including my hometown  of Houston.   The others are Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, Oakland/San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

"Some claim they don't know any LGBT people of color thriving; others argue that we simply don't exist. The Many Faces. One Dream. tour shatters those assumptions and challenges that invisibility,” says Janet Mock, writer, public speaker and Many Faces. One Dream. National Ambassador. “As a trans woman of color, I'm all too familiar with the fact that my people have been activating at the intersections of many oppressions for far too long, and my goal as a National Ambassador is to unveil the unseen, overlooked, untapped talent that exists in my community."

"This groundbreaking initiative is an exciting continuation of NBJC's ongoing work to empower people at the intersection of the movements for racial justice and LGBT equality," says The Honorable Darryl Moore, Berkeley City Councilman and NBJC Board Chair. "NBJC envisions a world where all people are fully empowered to participate safely and successfully in society, regardless of race, class, gender identity or sexual orientation. Many Faces. One Dream. brings this vision one step closer to being a reality." 

For more information, visit you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for Many Faces. One Dream., please contact Michael J. Brewer at or 202-319-1552 x104.

Why I Can't Stand RuPaul

As a recent article noted, it was twenty years ago that RuPaul's 'Supermodel of the World CD was released and propelled him to stardom, an MTV television show during the height of the gangsta rap era, and now a five year run on the LOGO TV show RuPaul's Drag Race.

I own that 'Supermodel' CD and used to once upon a time like RuPaul, but excuse me if I and other transpeople aren't jumping with joy over the coronation of Ru in that Tracey Ross article as some sort of 21st century gender warrior or trans expert.

It really pisses us Black trans women off that you give RuPaul Andre Charles (and Tyler Perry dressed as Madea) more love and respect than you do the average Black transwoman struggling to live their lives and interact with the Black cis and SGL communities without major drama.

RuPaul is a Black gay man, not a transperson, and the trans community is beyond sick and tired of being sick and tired of him being elevated by cis and gay people to some nebulous 'trans expert' level.. 

As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I became a trans activist in 1998 was because of a Transgender Tapestry magazine article in the 90's that ignorantly considered RuPaul and Dennis Rodman as Black transwomen juxtaposed against other accomplished white trans people despite both Ru and Dennis Rodman emphatically saying they weren't trans and didn't want to transition.

It was the epiphany that made me realize just how invisible Black transwomen were in the trans human rights movement at the time and gave me the impetus to get involved and change that dynamic.

Since 2002 Ru has pissed so many of us trans people off on multiple levels that we (myself included) have a contempt for him bordering on the level of dislike we have for the trans exterminationalist radfems and their sellout TS separatist allies

He's earned it after his rabid and consistent defense of Shirley Q. Liquor's racist
blackface drag show, his slamming of activists calling his behind out about defending
Chuck Knipp's racism, his repeated use of the 'tranny' and 'shemale' words after being repeatedly told both are considered offensive slurs to the trans community, and elements of the white gay community rushing to RuPaul's defense and trying to use him as their 'gayplaining' excuse to justify the continued use of the 'tr***y' epithet in gay and lesbian community circles

It also didn't help that one of RuPaul Drag Race contestants
Sharon Needles infuriated the African American SGL community after getting caught saying the n-word at an ATL gay club appearance, and then tried to 'gaysplain' his way out of it.  

Ru also added to the still white hot contempt many of us have for him by making a bad joke during an October 29 episode of Drag Race (that I refuse to support) making light of the still somewhat contentious subject in trans world about the differences between transsexuals and drag queens.

Comedienne Vicki Lawrence asked, “Hey Ru, what’s the difference between a drag queen and a transsexual?”
RuPaul laughingly replies, “About twenty-five thousand dollars and a good surgeon.”
He then doubled down on his ignorance and dismissive attitude about the trans community's feelings about the t-word slur during a January 14, 2012  HufPo Gay Voices interview with Michaelangelo Signorile  

And no one has ever said the word "tranny" in a derogatory sense. In fact, you have to go to the intent of the person saying it. Of course Lance Bass, his intent would never be to be derogatory. Never. So, you know, that's really ridiculous. And I hate the fact that he's apologized. I wish he would have said, "F-you, you tranny jerk!"

That level of clueless transphobic ignorance is dangerous, especially when it comes from somebody with a 2009 GLAAD Best Reality Show award winning media platform as big as RuPaul's that is watched by millions of people in cisgender America. 

And it's why I can't stand RuPaul.

Shut Up Fool Awards 4th Anniversary

One of the features on this blog that you readers have come to know and love is my weekly Trans Shut Up Fool awards in which I shine a bright spotlight on hypocrisy, stupidity, and jaw dropping ignorance..

January 30, 2009 was the first time I selected a Shut Up Fool winner, and that week's first selection was Juan Williams    

The weekly SUF feature has taken a life of its own and begat the Shut Up Fool of the Year Awards that I pass out on New Year's Eve and the upcoming Shut Up Fool Lifetime Achievement Awards.

During Oscars weekend I select five people or groups and retire them from weekly SUF award consideration unless they do something so breathtakingly jacked up I just have to call them out on it.  .

I also thank those of you who hit me up on my FB page or send me e-mail with examples of fools I should highlight during the week that I may have missed. 

happy anniversary, Shut Up Fool Awards.   As long as this blog exists and there are fools to call out, I'll be doing it every Friday without fail.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Moni Does Dallas Soon

Moni's going to be in Dallas, TX March 13-17 for the second annual Black Transmen, Inc Conference at the Hilton Doubletree Dallas-Campbell Center

The person who will be given the honor and pleasure of doing one of the keynote speeches for this event will be a certain IFGE Trinity Award winning blogger y'all all know and love.    

I'll get to see one of my fave transmen in the community in the person of Kylar Broadus, who will be following in Louis Mitchell's capable footsteps in giving the 2013 BTMI keynote address. 

It's also the first time I'll be doing a keynote speech inside the borders of the Lone Star State, and it'll ironically be on the opposite end of I-45 from my hometown.  

Go figure.  I hope you peeps in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex come check it out.

I'm looking forward to it and will do my best to give you Black Transmen, Inc. Conference attendees a speech worthy of the event.

See y'all in Dallas March 13-17!

Coming Monday, The 3rd Annual TransGriot African-American Trans History Quiz

Two years ago I started compiling a Black trans history quiz on this blog after getting a little perturbed over my observation that Black transpeople were being erased and marginalized in  LGBT compiled quizzes that were heavy on the LG end of the community.

Since Black History Month starts this Friday, it's time for me to post my latest incarnation of the TransGriot African-American Trans History Quiz as a reminder that Black transpeople did (and still are) making history today in all the communities we intersect and interact with.  

As per usual, it's an open Internet test and some of the answers are buried in my TransGriot posts.

Once I post it on Monday I'll give you a few days to ponder it before I post the answers at midnight Central time on Thursday.    And yes, some of the 25 questions you'll get will be true or false and multiple choice ones.

Just to give you a taste of what you're going to get Monday, I'll post the links to the previous quizzes.

The First Annual TransGriot African-American Trans History Quiz

The 2nd Annual TransGriot African-American Trans History Quiz

TransGriot Note:  Photo is of trans model Tracy Africa Norman during a photo shoot.

Miss Philippines Universe Entry Deadline Passes With No Trans Applicant

If I had to put money on which national pageant organization would be the first to have an out trans woman on the Miss Universe stage representing their nation, the Philippines would be in my top three. 

The others in case you're wondering are Thailand and Brazil. 

I say that because as me and my homegirl like us Naomi Fontanos are well aware of and discuss from time to time, the Philippines and Thailand take their beauty pageants seriously.  

Those two nations are also home to the most prestigious and internationally renowned trans pageants for their local trans women in Miss Tiffany Universe in Thailand and the Amazing Philippine Beauties.

Jenna Talackova brought the glass pageant ceiling down and took out the odious 'natural born women' rule that was used to bar transwomen from competing in Miss Universe system pageants.

Since then the Miss Universe franchise pageants are being given extra scrutiny from inside and outside the trans community to determine if any 18-27 year old trans women exercise their option to enter and attempt to win their national pageant and qualify for Miss Universe 2013.

Jenna made it to the Top 15 in Miss Canada Universe 2012 a few months ago.  Kylan Wenzel was one of 229 contestants who recently attempted to win the always tough Miss California USA pageant.

As of this writing 19 women have already qualified for Miss Universe 2013  with more national pageants yet to be conducted including the Miss USA 2013 one in June.  

There won't be a trans contestant at Miss USA 2013 because all 50 state pageants and the Miss District of Columbia one have been conducted, so the first trans Miss USA contestant is on hold until 2014..   

But moving to the Philippines.   They had Janine Tugonon finish as a first runner up in the 2012 Miss Universe competition and Kevin Balot bring the 2012 Miss Universal Queen title back to this pageant mad nation from Thailand. 

24 year old Miriam Jimenez was a semifinalist in that same 2012 Miss International Queen trans pageant, and there were unconfirmed rumors that she had entered Binibining Pilipinas that were posted on several blogs.

But when the January 22 deadline passed to submit entry forms they turned out to be false.  Ms. Jimenez sad to say won't be competing this year.

I was hoping the rumors were true along with many of my transpinay sisters and girls like us around the world, but looks like it's also wait until 2014 to see if a transpinay steps up and attempts to enter Binibining Pilipinas.

And in the meantime, still more than a few nations like Singapore who opened their pageant doors to trans contestants who haven't conducted their national pageants yet.   

Monday, January 28, 2013

Morehouse College LBGT History Course Starts Today

HBCU's need to send the unmistakable message to their faculty, current and future students, alumni, and the communities they serve that discrimination against LGBT students on HBCU campuses will not be tolerated, they have inclusive and welcoming campuses, and they are willing to include LGBT students in their ongoing missions to uplift the race through educational achievement.

TransGriot July 23, 2012 'HBCU's Better Recognize Black TBLG Students Exist '

In a remarkable advance for a campus that in the 90's was considered one of the Most Homophobic by the Princeton Review, Morehouse College's first ever LGBT history course got started today. 

The student initiated course is entitled
"A Genealogy of Black LGBT Culture and Politics" and meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.   It has the goal of outlining various concepts in Black feminism, cultural theories, and the methodology behind them.

SafeSpace, the campus gay-straight alliance and student advocacy organization partnered with former Morehouse student and Yale University professor Dr. Jafari Allen in order to bring the idea to fruition.

Allen is teaching the course t his semester via video conference from Yale and s
tudent reaction to the groundbreaking class has been positive.   More than 20 people registered for the class; with some of them coming from neighboring all-female Spelman College.

It will be interesting to see how this class evolves as the semester plays out.   There will also be interested observers inside and outside the ATL watching to see if there will be more LGBT class offerings on the campus that proudly claims Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr as an alum.

Five Arrested And Charged With Murder Of Black Transman

The case of Evon Young, a 22 year old transman who has been missing in Milwaukee, WI since January 1 has taken a horrifying turn.

Five men, one of them being Young's roommate, were arrested and charged with first degree intentional homicide.

Young, who was a local rapper known as 'Yung LT' was last seen on New Year's Day near North 52nd St and West Custer Avenue according to a Wisconsin report   

Young failed to report for work that day and his mother filed a missing person's report January 2 with the Milwaukee Police Department.

The criminal complaint states that investigators suspect Young was killed in the basement of the residence he shared with Griffin in what began as a gang re-initiation test for Griffin.

According to the complaint, Young and Griffin were home when the door bell rang. Stewart and Mcalister were at the door, along with Allen and Seaberry. The men entered and went into the kitchen, where an argument ensued.

Griffin allegedly told police that the men began to punch Young and said the victim could not be trusted. Young then was led to the basement, where the attackers choked Young with a chain. Then they placed a plastic bag over his head, rendering Young unconscious. The assailants beat and shot Young, possibly as many as three times. Mcalister allegedly fired the weapon.

Authorities allege the basement was cleaned with beach. Evidence collected in the crime includes DNA, blood, burned clothing and a chain. 

Both Griffin and Stewart allegedly made admissions to police, who were searching a landfill on January 23 for Young's body, which the men allegedly placed in a dumpster.

Charged in the case are Young's roommate Billy R. Griffin, 26, Victor Stewart, 27, Ashanti Mcalister, 19,   Ron Joseph Allen, 37, and Devin L. Seaberry, 23..

Below are the mugshots of the five individuals being charged in the death of Evon:

The defendants are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in this case on January 31.

H/T Lexie Cannes Guerrilla Angel Report

Why Y'alll STILL Hatin' On Beyonce?

Frankly, I think a lot of the industrial sized Hateraid that's directed at Beyonce Giselle Knowles stems from jealousy. She's living what seems like a fairy-tale life. She's breathtakingly beautiful but down to earth. She's won Grammys. She sings the national anthem at the 2004 Super Bowl played in our hometown. She has a wealthy boyfriend in Jay-Z. She just became the first non-athlete, non-model and the second African-American woman to do the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover solo. If I'd come up with her story as the basis for a fiction novel people would roll their eyes and claim it's unrealistic.

TransGriot 'Why Y'all Hatin' On Beyonce'   February 20, 2007.

It's been a week since the inauguration in which she did a kick azz rendition of the national anthem and  looked good doing so until US Marine Corps band member Master Sgt. Kristin duBois mysteriously opened her mouth and accused her of lip syncing it.   

Still have to ask the things that make you go hmm questions as to what motivated Sgt duBois to do so in the first place.  I'd also like to know more about her accuser Sgt duBois down to her ethnic background.. 

I also find it interesting that duBois and the media were quick to claim Kelly Clarkson wasn't lip syncing, but felt the need to pile on Beyonce Knowles-Carter. 

Even Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is head of the Joint committee that organizes the inauguration event is reportedly demanding an apology. 

Careful Chuck, Jay Z is a New York resident and probably won't be too happy that you're joining in the media feeding frenzy and fake controversy aimed at his wife.  He may remember that when you show up at his office in 2016 trying to get a contribution for your reelection campaign  

So what's up with the hatin' on Beyonce meme that seems to be fueling this kefluffle along with the deep seated conservaneed to do something to embarrass the POTUS?

Some of you peeps just live for hatin' on Beyonce, whether it's the feminist community , the gossip blogosphere, or just you peeps full of foaming at the mouth jealously that Beyonce in her 31 years on the planet has been blessed many times over.

You peeps hating on Beyonce isn't going to change the fact she has a daughter, married a man that is worth $500 million, has $200 million of her own money in the bank, had a trophy case full of awards, and will be the halftime entertainer at this year's Super Bowl.

And she's once again is going to look fabulous doing it.

Creating Change 2014 Is Finally Houston Bound!

The curtain has closed on another wildly successful Creating Change Conference in the ATL, and now the hosting torch for this premier community event is being passed to my hometown for 2014.

I can tell you right now the Houston rainbow community and yours truly are ecstatic that it is coming here. We are immensely proud of our world class international city which is the largest in Texas and with 2.2 million citizens residing here the fourth largest in the nation.   We're looking forward to having you 3500 plus peeps who attended the 2013 edition of Creating Change join us here in H-town from January 29-February 2, 2014. 

I mentioned in the post I wrote not long after I attended a local interest meeting for it last June, Mayor Parker, the Convention and Visitor's Bureau and our local TBLG community really wanted this event, especially since that little burg 262 miles up I-45 from us has hosted it twice

Yeah, there's no let up in the civic competition between Houston and our state's third largest city, and I can say with certainty that we Houstonians are determined to exceed what Dallas did in 2010. 

What a lot of people don't realize is that Houston has a long and proud progressive history.and the Lone Star imprint on GLBT history has a Houston flavor as well.  

'The Houston GLBT Political Caucus that was founded in 1975 is the oldest such GLBT political organization in the South. The Lawrence v Texas Supreme Court case that took down US sodomy laws had its origins here.  

We have groundbreaking GL leaders such as Ray Hill, the late Rep.Barbara Jordan and Mayor Annise Parker who call our 628 square miles of southeast Texas soil home.  

Transgender history also has a Houston flavor to it as well thanks to a major assist by 'The Godmother of the Trans Civil Rights Movement' in Judge Phyllis Frye.  

There are three living IFGE Trinity Award winners (Phyllis Frye, Vanessa Edwards Foster and moi) that reside inside the Houston city limits.  A fourth Trinity was won by the late Brenda Thomas. 

Some of the early trans community leadership was epicentered in Houston or cut their early activist teeth here like blogger and trans historian Katrina Rose.

We Houston transpeople also have a propensity for starting conferences that fulfill trans community needs of the moment.  ICTLEP was started here by Phyllis in 1992 and now we have the Texas Transgender Non Discrimination Summit that Josephine started in 2009. 

The leadership tradition Judge Frye, Jackie Thorne, Jane Ellen Fairfax and Sarah DePalma started continues with Vanessa Edwards Foster, Lou Weaver, Josephine Tittsworth, Jenifer Rene Pool, Cristan Williams and some award winning African-American blogger y'all might have heard about    

When it comes to the female illusionist and pageant world, Houston is a hotbed for that as well. 

1999 Miss Continental titleholder Tommie Ross, 2012 Miss Gay US of A Lawanda Jackson  Hot Chocolate, the late Naomi Sims, the late Michael Andrews, Shawnna Brooks and Chevelle Brooks are either from here or honed their skills in this area before moving on to fame, fortune and titles elsewhere.  In the development pipeline are more talented people in our Montrose gayborhood clubs who keep that proud tradition going. 

And yes, been a while (1999) since I've attended a Creating Change.  Various schedule conflicts and challenges have kept me from attending my second one.  Many of you let me know last weekend how much you missed me in the ATL and the feeling was mutual.  

Now Creating Change its finally coming to my hometown for the first time ever and I couldn't be happier about it.  

I and the Houston GLBT community are chomping at the bit for next January to roll around.  We're ready to roll out the pink carpet for you folks who want to experience some of our world famous Texas hospitality and help facilitate a Creating Change that will help you build your activist organizing skills, friendships, and knowledge base at the same time.

And oh yeah, when you get here, make sure you sample some Blue Bell ice cream before you leave.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

WWLT-TV, I Find Your Lack Of AP Stylebook Trans Understanding Disturbing

Why in Hades is it so hard for professional journalists to get this breathtakingly simple concept?

Per the AP Stylebook:

transgender-Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.

If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the individuals live publicly.

Once again (sigh), we have another example of media misgendering of a transperson.

This person is being sought by the New Orleans po-po's as a suspect in a French Quarter robbery.   BTW, if you have info in that regard, call New Orleans Crimestoppers

But back to riffing on the media again.   WWLT-TV's report was in violation of the AP Stylebook guidelines for reporting on trans people.  Since they have shown no aptitude for being able to read the English language version of the AP Stylebook  the TransGriot is going to have to go back to her earlier blog policy of showing them by example how it should have been done.

(Moni cracks knuckles)

NEW ORLEANS - Police are searching for a suspect they describe as a transgender female who they say robbed a man while walking on Bourbon St.

According to police, the robbery happened early Tuesday morning at around 5:25.

According to police spokesman, Frank Robertson, the suspect reportedly approached the victim and tried to start a conversation, then two other suspects appeared, and attacked the man. They then took his wallet and money.

Police say they are searching for a Transgender African American female, 5’07” to 6’00” tall, in her mid-20’s to early 30’s. If you have any information that could help police, call CRIMESTOPPERS at 822-1111.


See, now that wasn't so hard was it WWLT-TV?    You might as well start now practicing how to get these descriptions of trans people consistently right since you have a large concentration of my trans peeps in the New Orleans metro area.    It will not be the first or last time you have to accurately report on a trans person in New Orleans, so get used to doing it. . 

And since it's more accurate, it might even lead to the capture of said suspect instead of the confusion you sowed when you wrote the aforementioned piece describing a person with a feminine gender presentation as a man.

This Week In The 2013 Texas Lege-Week Ending January 25

For my Texas readers, I'm going to start posting the Equality Texas weekly legislative updates on the blog until the session is over.   We must be aware of what the heck is going on in Austin, especially since the Republicans control both the Texas House and Senate and Governor Goodhair is still occupying the governor's mansion..

Equality Texas' Daniel Williams will be bringing you these weekly updates, and here is the one for the week ending January 25, 2013.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Listening To Jazz

The video of the ABC 20/20 appearance with Jazz and her family finally got posted, so I get the opportunity to share it with you TransGriot readers.

Here's the update to the story of one amazing girl like us and advocate for transgender kids..

Trans Organist T. Desiree Hines Passes Away

Was stunned and saddened to hear the news from Tona Brown that trans organist T. Desiree Hines passed away January 24 due to the Stage Four neuroendocrine cancer she was bravely battling.

I had the pleasure of having a few long conversations with her, and when I last checked in with Desiree she had moved to Kansas City, MO, was playing the organ at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and had started her studies at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Before moving to Kansas City she was a well known fixture in the Philadelphia TBLG community.  But mere months into her KC stay she received the devastating medical news last March. 

Despite that the Jackson, MS native stayed upbeat about her situation and fought it tooth and nail despite the long odds until the end.

"When I'm sick, it affects me. But it is actually given me a better outlook on life, more drive to be a better person, a better musician," Hines said.

Rest in Peace Desiree.   Heaven just picked up one heck of an organist.   You will be missed. 

President Obama's Message To Creating Change 2013

President Obama sent his taped greetings to the 3500 attendees of Creating Change down in the ATL.


Juror Non-Discrimination Act Introduced

I've had the honor and pleasure to serve on juries three times in my life   I did so once at the county court level and twice at the municipal level in Houston.  

Two of those times it has happened for me post-transition, and as much as I was looking forward to seeing how Kentucky went about conducting jury duty and comparing and contrasting it with how it's done in Texas, I was never called in the eight years I lived there. 

Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) has introduced a bill in Congress to make sure all TBLG citizens can do what I had the pleasure of doing.   Before you start griping, I'm going to give you a little food for thought in this post as to why you should be supporting this bill.   

The Juror Non Discrimination Act Rep Davis introduced with 14 cosponsors prohibits a person from being removed from a jury because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Serving on a jury is one of America’s most cherished civic duties,” Rep. Davis said. “It is unjust to exclude a particular group of people from participating in civil society because of whom they love or what they look like. The federal government already prohibits juror discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and economic status and as we pursue greater equality for all Americans, I believe LGBT Americans should be also be free from juror discrimination.”

It's also a major problem that denies GLBT citizens a jury of their peers should they find themselves in courtroom seeking justice, as a defendant in a case or simply exercising their opportunity to engage in public service like I've had the opportunity to do post-transition.

And let's be real for a moment.   If you were seeking justice in a courtroom, wouldn't you want as many people from the rainbow community as possible sitting in that jury box?  You would also want SGL and trans community members fighting on your behalf in the deliberation room dispelling myths and misconceptions about our community that could potentially adversely affect the verdict you get.

I've seen far too many murderers of trans women get what amounts to a legal slap on the wrist for their crimes and I believe the lack of TBLG people on these juries plays into that.

A bipartisan Senate companion bill sponsored by Sen Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)  Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was also filed called the Jury Access for Capable Citizens and Equality in Service Selection Act..  The ACCESS Act  prohibits attorneys from seeking to strike potential federal jurors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

Senator Shaheen noted when she introduced this bill, “Our country is founded on the principles of inclusion, acceptance, and equality.  The jury selection process in federal courts should reflect those principles.”

If we LGBT people are going to demand human rights coverage in our nation's laws, one of the taxes we pay for that is jury service.  

If we deserve a jury of our peers when we access the justice system, we need to have some of our LGBT peers sitting on those juries.

Two M&M Ms. Brown Commercials

I love the M&M commercials featuring their new spokescandy and Chief Chocolate Officer Ms..Brown, who is voiced by one of my fave triple threat talents in singer-actress Vanessa L. Williams.

Here are two of the latest M&M spots featuring Ms. Brown 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Joanne Cassar Is Still Fighting For Her Human Rights

I've been curious to find out what has been transpiring in Joanne Cassar of Malta's life since I wrote my last post on her now seven year roller coaster battle for her right to marry that started in 2006.  

She took her case to the European Court of Human Rights where it was heard in July 2012, and she is now awaiting a ruling on it. 

Still haven't seen anything yet concerning a ruling from the ECHR, but did stumble across a recent Times of Malta article featuring her and detailing some of the foul transphobic crap that has been aimed her way in that European island nation as she fights for her human rights.

In the past the 31-year-old, who underwent gender reassignment surgery nine years ago, has even been beaten up because of who she is. The latest violent episode was three years ago when she was at a carnival party in Gozo.  

“I was walking off the dance floor. I was hit on the head with a bottle and kicked in my chest and stomach. They stole my bag,” she recalled, adding she did not see the point in filing a police report.
“What would I get out of it? I’d end up having to go to court repeatedly… and if I had to file a report each time I’m insulted, I might as well move into the police station,” she said.

“When I sense trouble I tell the bouncer or leave the club, even if it means crying myself to sleep. I try to make it look like I don’t care, but I do. Some people hate people like me and I don’t know why,” she said.

“But my greatest disappointment is that we are in 2013 and I’ve been fighting for a human right for seven years,” she said, referring to a pending case before the European Court of Human Rights where she is fighting for the right to marry.

Yeah, I feel your pain Joanne.  And that's why we're fighting all over the globe to make trans human rights a reality all over the planet so our transkids don't have to endure the crap we've had to deal with.  .


Shut Up Fool Awards-Creating Change ATL Edition

The 25th edition of The National Conference on LGBT Equality kicked off on the 23rd.  It will have over 3500 people from around the country and the world descending on the ATL for this skills buildings event chock full of seminars, workshops and other events this weekend.

I'm bummed I'm not there for Creating Change 2013 and it's been a long time since I attended one (1999 in Oakland), but if the rumors are true, Moni will be at Creating Change 2014 in full effect

Today is also Friday people, and y'all know what that means.   It's time for me to pass out this week's Shut Up Fool Awards.   Since January 30, 2009 every week without fail at 12 noon CT I chronicle tot fool, fools or group of fools exhibiting jaw dropping ignorance, conscientious stupidity, unrepentant hypocrisy and WTF moments that just scream out for me to shine the TransGriot spotlight on it.

So let's get busy.

Honorable mention number one goes to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R)  who claims that no Americans are forced to go without health care.    Yeah, right.   How do you explain the 48.6 million Americans who don't have heath care on a regular basis right now and their only health care plan is 'Don't Get Sick?' 

Honorable mention number two goes to Sen Rand Paul (Teabagger-KY), who made himself look like a complete azz (as usual) on national television in his clash with outgoing Secretary of  State Hillary Clinton in Thursday's Benghazi hearings.    He claimed that if he had been president he would have fired Sec. Clinton.

Dude, first, what makes you think that reality based Americans would EVER elect you as president?  Second point is what makes you think that Sec. Clinton would want to serve under you in that capacity?

Honorable mention number three is a group award for all the GOP legislators in the House and Senate who made themselves look like buffoons trying to score political points attacking Secretary Clinton over the Benghazi attack that killed 4 people.   Never mind the fact it was their party who cut funding to the State Department that goes to embassy and diplomatic outpost security in the first place. 

This week's winner is Rep James Lankford (R-OK).  He gave us a double sized portion of ignorance when he said at an OKC town hall meeting in response to an irate constituent rumored to be gaybaiting Oklahoma state Rep Silly Sally Kern that he wanted to use the 'power of humiliation'  to undermine a substance abuse program that help LGBT individuals.

CONSTITUENT: I want to know if you’re aware of the Substances and Mental Health Services Administration that has a book called the Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Individuals.


CONSTITUENT: They are going around the nation, they just did this here in Oklahoma, December 7th, and having conferences that are educational. [...] About 2 percent of the conference is dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. 98 percent is doing indoctrination or pushing the homosexual agenda. This is what our president is doing. He has a federal agency doing it. Our state, the Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department, put this conference on and is indoctrinating our citizens who are totally against this. Is there any way you can look into this?

LANKFORD: Oh yes, sure. You know I can absolutely get a chance to take a look at it. We’ll start the process, try to see what we can do to identify it. Some of those things you have the power of humiliation where you can raise it and put in sunlight. They love functioning in the dark. You put some sunlight on it, that does help. But, we’ll see. I’m glad to take that on.

During that same January 22 town hall meeting, he blamed gun violence on 'welfare moms'

And this is from the Number 5 man in the House Republican leadership. Is it November 2014 yet?

Rep. James Lankford, Shut up Fool!

IKEA Apologizes For Transphobic Thai Commercial

The Swedish based furniture giant IKEA is one of my fave places to shop for furniture, and it's where I bought much of my furniture for my first apartment back in the 90's.   One of those IKEA pieces I purchased back then at their Katy Freeway store is my current computer desk that has held up quite well through multiple moves.  

IKEA has had a positive reputation in the past for some positive trans inclusive commercials, so it was a shock to me when I read about this IKEA Thailand holiday one the Thai Transgender Alliance was protesting because of the stereotypical way the transwoman was portrayed. 

The commercial shows a couple strolling through an IKEA store when her voice suddenly goes into a masculine range that outs her as trans.  Her date then distances himself from her and eventually runs away from her as she continues to happily shop for IKEA products. 

As Reuters reported in terms of the brewing controversy, "The 20-second commercial shown on YouTube and on Bangkok's trains in December and January entitled 'Luem Aeb' ('Forget to Keep Hidden'), was disrespectful to transsexuals, according to the Thai Transgender Alliance and demanded an explanation from IKEA.

IKEA opened their first store in Thailand in November 2011 and the advertisement was part of a group of commercials for a holiday sale. 

The January 9 Thai Transgender Alliance complaint resulted in conversations with IKEA Thailand marketing officials that resulted in the apology letter the Thai Transgender Alliance posted on their Facebook page.

For those of you who are wondering why that commercial upset our Thai transisters and the international trans community, once again it played upon as the punchline for the humor in the ad the meme that trans women are people you are supposed to be fearful of or embarrassed to be around.  That is dehumanizing to Thai transwomen and their sisters around the globe.

And the dehumanization of transwomen is nothing to laugh at, especially in a commercial   .

Another Record TransGriot Hit Day!

January 23, 2013 was a big day for me on this blog.   I had 8999 people surf over to TransGriot to check out the post that contains the 'Sadie's Dream For The World ' essay she wrote.   

That is now the second highest total of people I've ever had to visit this blog all time.  It is only exceeded by the 9678 of you that did so on April 3, 2012.  

As a matter of fact, at the moment I'm compiling this post that essay alone has been read by over 5700 people since I posted it on January 22.  

The Thanks, Sadie! post has drawn another 800 people and counting to the blog to read it.

Thank you Sadie once again for speaking your mind and your unabashed pride in being a girl like us. Our community could use a lot more adult girls like us with your courage to stand tall for themselves and the trans community.  I have no doubts you achieve some fantastic things when you get older.  

Sage, as her proud mom for you, thank you and Sadie for allowing me to post it so that Sadie's words got the now national and international attention they deserved.

Thank you TransGriot readers who continue to tell me from time to time how much you appreciate what I do here.  I couldn't have achieved that number two all time high without y'all taking time out of your busy days to check out what I write here.  

And trust me, there's more thought provoking commentary to come before this year is concluded. 

TransGriot Update:  January 24 was another record day with 8573 people surfing by the blog.  That's now my third highest all time traffic day.