Monday, March 31, 2014

Jane's Letter Concerning The Attacks On Aaron

TransGriot Note:  Jane Vaughan is a former Winston-Salem State University student and past president of the WSSU Gay-Straight Student Alliance (now called Prism) .  She along with Chevara Orrin alerted me to the situation that is transpiring on the WSSU campus involving the homophobic hate being stirred up in social media and aimed at WSSU student Aaron McCorkle

This is her letter addressing it dated March 30th.
Good Afternoon:
Winston-Salem State University's LGBT community needs your help! In a vicious social media attack, WSSU junior, Aaron McCorkle is being bullied and harassed via Twitter because another student released a two-year old image of Aaron "dressed in drag." The trending Twitter topic, "Gay & Crossdressing Mr. WSSU Candidate Causing Major Controversy" has elicited numerous biased and bigoted comments from many in the campus community. While the university has been made aware of the release of the image, they are not proactively educating the campus body by providing sensitivity training or creating safer spaces for LGBT students who may be negatively impacted by this unfortunate incident.
Aaron is an openly gay student who is an active and respected member of the university student body. He was elected Mr. Freshman (2011-2012), Student Government Association Freshman Class Council (2011-2012), Mr. Sophomore (2012-2013), and Mr. Mass Communications (2013), and has served in numerous leadership roles within various student organizations including NAACP Student Representative, Campus Activities Board, and Prism (LGBT org). He is also a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholar. In addition, Aaron serves the broader community by volunteering with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Second Harvest Food Bank.
The disparaging and violent tweets question the appropriateness of his candidacy for Mr. WSSU and some even call for physical harm against him. Most disturbing are the tweets from Brian "BDAHT" McLaughlin. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is the newest cast member to Season 6 of Nick Cannon's Wildn Out on MTV2, Comedian on 102 JAMZ Wild Out Wake Up Show (since August 2005) and the PA Announcer for WSSU Athletics (since August 2005). As a radio and television personality, BDAHT has a wide following. As a campus ambassador, it is most inappropriate for him to attack a student in this manner. He tweeted, "If y'all let a drag Queen be Mr. #WSSU, I quit. Straight up."; "#WSSU: y'all really letting a dude, that goes out in drag #nshit, run for Mr. Ram? Have y'all lost y'all mutha fuckin minds, man?!"; "Yes we ARE talking about this putrid shit. Y'all have completely lost it. The nigga dresses in drag, & HE will represent our school?"; and "...Get the fuck outta here. Ya turning the position into a fucking joke. Clowns."

Although, BDHAT states in his twitter bio that his views are not the views of 102 Jamz or MTV2,  I believe that it is reflective of his roles and responsibilities within these organizations. From my perspective, BDHAT's representation of MTV2, 102 Jamz, and Winston-Salem State University is far more questionable than an authentically openly gay young man who may occasionally express gender variance.
I have spoken with many current students (gay and straight allies) who belong to the LGBT student organization, Prism that say they are afraid to speak out or feel that this issue does not directly impact them. According to Campus Pride, the leading national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students, "Like other forms of oppression, homophobia not only oppresses members of the target or minority groups (gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people), but also, on many levels, hurts members of the agent or dominant group (heterosexuals). As a result, everyone eventually loses, and more specifically, the negative effect of homophobia remains alive.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for appalling silence of the good people." I refuse to stand in silence. I stand in active solidarity with Aaron McCorkle and others at WSSU who are marginalized and victimized for being their authentic selves. 
As a former WSSU student and president of the WSSU Gay-Straight Student Alliance (now Prism), I am angered and saddened that people have stooped to such levels and caused dissension within the WSSU family while perpetuating stereotypes against the LGBT community in order to win an election. In 2013, at the University of Houston-Downtown, third-year social work major, student Kristopher Sharp was the victim of a vicious smear campaign that revealed his HIV-positive status in order to keep him from winning the student vice-presidency. Flyers and graffiti were plastered across the campus. Sharp ultimately won the election.
This is yet one example of on-going attacks against students at college campuses and schools across our nation. From the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi at Rutgers University because his roommate released a video of an intimate encounter with another man to this past week's report of eight year-old Sunnie Kahl in Lynchburg, VA being told by school administrators that "she’s not feminine enough," those of us that belong to the LGBT community are being targeted and singled out.
I know firsthand the pain of being alienated as an LGBT college student. While attending WSSU, I was “outed.”  My family rejected me after they discovered that I identified as a lesbian. Had it not been for the WSSU Gay-Straight Student Alliance, I would have had nowhere to turn. No support. No hope. Through the organization I was given a light of hope with the support structure, community leaders, career/job opportunities, and other endless possibilities!  The executive board of GSSA, including myself had the grand opportunity of being a part of the first LGBT panel at the Congressional Black Caucus, attended the OUT for Work conference and the Human Right Campaign’s HBCU LGBT Career and Leadership Summit. We also regularly participated in policy, advocacy and education discourse through our monthly organizational meetings. When I experienced discrimination from an instructor at WSSU, I was able to advocate for myself because of the leadership of our advisors and support they garnered from the broader community. I knew then that I would always be an active participant in addressing injustice against the LGBT community.
Those experiences, and others too numerous to name were life changing. We are all responsible should this matter escalate any further into an act of violence against Aaron or any other gender non-conforming WSSU student. This is our time to speak up and stand strong! I will not choose to stay in the closet with the door open enough for me to see the world and for the world to see me. I will not succumb to society’s discomfort by remaining silent. 
When will it end? Homophobia, transphobia and misogyny must be addressed at WSSU. We need to have honest discussions about black masculinity, hyper-masculinity, hyper-femininity and the impact on the LGBT community. We need honest, ongoing dialogue and training to combat discrimination against our students…our future leaders. We need honest dialogue to understand why the image of a man who does not conform to traditional clothing norms causes such immediate vitriol. We have created space in the black community for Tyler Perry as Madea, Martin Lawrence as Big Momma, Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier as Men on Film, Flip Wilson as Geraldine, and Wesley Snipes as Noxzema. Perhaps we are more comfortable with caricatures that continue to perpetuate gender biased and sexist stereotypes. We have created space for Prince, Lenny Kravitz and Janelle Monae. Why can't we create space for Aaron McCorkle and other students who may be gender variant?
Winston-Salem State University’s mission states, "Preparing diverse students for success in the 21st century...” Diversity on the campus is not limited to race, nationality, and religion but also includes sexual orientation. In 2008, former WSSU administrator Chevara Orrin and WSSU Student Services Specialist, Thomas Clark co-founded the first-ever WSSU GSSA. Seven months later the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to expand protections to include "sexual orientation" for the first time in the university's history. While we celebrated this triumph, it was clear that the journey for equality was far from over as the original language had been amended to exclude "gender identity" and "gender expression."
The recent chain of events highlights clearly the importance of broader protections that include gender non-conforming and transgender students. The university's mission also states, "As a comprehensive, historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, Winston-Salem State University contributes to the social, cultural, intellectual and economic growth of the region, North Carolina and beyond. " Now is time for WSSU to take action with those words. The University must address the issue of the bullying and harassment of Aaron McCorkle if it seeks to be a leader in our nation.
Join me in speaking for those who have no voice. Let us use this incident as an opportunity to educate, build bridges between the heterosexual and LGBT people and create a platform to expand the current discrimination policy and strengthen our campus community.
Homophobia has a cure: EDUCATION! 
**Attached, please find images of the twitter discussions.
Jane Vaughan
Past President
Winston-Salem State University Gay Straight Student Alliance

Geena Rocero's Trans TED Talk

Geena Rocero at a TED talkGeena Rocero is a name you're going to be hearing a lot of soon.  I had a long conversation with her Friday, and our transpinay sister is an activist and  model who was one of the presenters at last night's Trans 100 reveal event.

She is also the founder of a global trans rights organization called Gender Proud, which seeks to get legislation passed that will allow transgender people to change their identification to match their gender expression with having to undergo SRS or sterilization surgeries.  

This is the video of the amazing and highly praised TED talk that Geena did in Vancouver, in which she explains why she needed to come out as trans.  She received a standing ovation for it when she was done.

And how apropos it has been released on International TDOV Day.


Happy International Transgender Day Of Visibility 2014!

For most of you on the eastern side of the International Date Line, it's Monday, March 31.   But today is also the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Transgender Michigan Executive Director Rachel Crandall founded it on March 31, 2010 because she wanted to have a transgender community event that was the flipside of the TDOR memorials every November.   Rachel's vision for the Trans Day of Visibility when she founded it four years ago was to focus on all the good things in the trans community, instead of just remembering those who were lost.

It also gives our trans community allies another day and event in which they can show and express their support for our community.

"The day of remembrance is exactly what it is. It remembers people who died," Crandall said. "This focuses on the living.   

Since it's all about positive visibility of trans people, the TDOV is gaining traction in the trans community with a major assist from the Trans 100, which releases its list every March 31.

Happy International Transgender Day Of Visibility to you! 

SGL Hatin' Going On At Winston-Salem State U

Got a call early Saturday morning from Chevara Orrin and Jane Vaughan alerting me to a developing situation at North Carolina HBCU Winston-Salem State University 

Junior Aaron McCorkle is a Thurgood Marshall College Fund scholar, an out and proud SGL man and popular student on the WSSU campus.   During his time there 'Stacks' has walked away with the Mr. Freshman title in 2011-12, was elected to the Student Government Association Freshman Class council the same year, was elected Mr Sophomore in 2012-13, and Mr. Mass Communications in 2013.

He has also served in leadership roles at Winston-Salem State as a member of Prism, the WSSU on campus LGBT organization, the Campus Activities Board and as the NAACP student representative all while maintaining a 3.3 GPA.  

Now McCorkle has set his sights on winning the Mr. WSSU crown and based on his previous track record has a great chance of winning it.  

And some WSSU folks are not only 'scurred' about that possibly occurring, they aren't happy about it and are expressing their homophobic opinions on social media.

In addition to the haters expressing themselves on social media, with one person suggesting that all the former Mr WSSU's get together to 'whip his (McCorkle's) ass', as an eerie reminder to me of last year's ugly smear campaign aimed at openly gay UH-Downtown student Kristopher Sharp when he was running for student vice president, two year old photos of McCorkle in drag popped up just as his campaign for Mr. WSSU ramped up with the caption, 'Is this what you want representing the entire school community?' 

Adding to the divisive crap being stirred up by somebody who is desperate to win the Mr. WSSU title by any means necessary, are homophobic tweets by Brian 'B-DAHT' McLaughlin, a local radio hip-hop DJ on WJMH-FM 102 Jamz since 2005 who is a Winston-Salem State alum and an announcer at WSSU sporting events.    

McLaughlin poured gasoline on the fire being stirred up by tweeting the following comments:

"If y'all let a drag Queen be Mr. #WSSU, I quit. Straight up."; "#WSSU: y'all really letting a dude, that goes out in drag #nshit, run for Mr. Ram? Have y'all lost y'all mutha fuckin minds, man?!"; "Yes we ARE talking about this putrid shit. Y'all have completely lost it. The nigga dresses in drag, & HE will represent our school?"; and "...Get the fuck outta here. Ya turning the position into a fucking joke. Clowns."

At the same time McLaughlin tried to hypocritically say his anti-gay views didn't reflect 102 Jamz or MTV2, where according to his Linked In profile he is one of the cast members on the sixth season of Nick Cannon's Wild 'N Out improv show on that cable network 

Naw Brian, your homophobic views negatively reflect on you as a human being.  They are also dangerous because you have influence in the community because of your 100,000 watt radio station platform, television appearances and on the WSSU campus as the announcer for Ram athletics. 

Some of this phobic hatred being aimed at McCorkle is because the winner of the Mr. WSSU title goes on to face off against seven other HBCU's in the now ten year old Mr. HBCU contest held on the campus of Lincoln University (Missouri).   WSSU has been quite successful at that event, bringing back the crown once and placing in the first runner up spot twice.      

If the goal was to stir up enough anti-gay animus on campus to wreck McCorkle's Mr WSSU campaign, the perpetrator succeeded in stirring up the anti-gay animus part by also injecting a heaping helping of transmisogyny in the mix. 

Whether it will succeed in derailing McCorkle's chances to become Mr WSSU is still debatable, and may even backfire.  It may cause students on the WSSU campus to rally to defend the embattled student because he is being attacked.    

Will definitely be keeping an eye on this developing situation.

Update: Mr WSSU election is Wednesday.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

5.5 Million Hits!

Another day, another milestone here at TransGriot.

Thanks to you loyal readers, I passed the 5.5 million hit milestone at 11:53 PM CDT today.    That's a lot of readers since I reached the 5 million hit milestone back on July 4 of last year..

And how apropos is it that I'm getting my 5.5.millionth visitor on the eve of the Transgender Day of Visibility for a blog that was founded to heighten the visibility of the trans communities of color?

I also get to find out the day before my May 4 birthday whether or not I can call TransGriot a GLAAD Media Award winning blog instead of just a GLAAD Media Award nominated one. 

Thank you once again for surfing by the blog to read my posts, and as long as y'all keep doing so and occasionally drop some change in the Tip Jar if you REALLY like what I do here, I'll keep cranking them out.  

Next stop 6 million hits!

The 2014 Trans 100: Initial Thoughts

I spent an enjoyable few hours watching the livestream feed of this year's second annual Trans 100 reveal show once again from a sold out Mayne Stage in Chicago.

This year's show opened with performances from 2004 Miss International Queen and Baton Show lounge performer Mimi Marks, Kelly Preston and mistress of ceremonies and 2014 Trans 100 honoree Angelica Ross.

After remarks from Trans 100 co-founder Jen Richards, 2014 Trans 100 honoree Fallon Fox and 2013 Trans 100 honoree Christina Kahrl took the stage to read the first group of 2014 Trans 100 honorees names that included Angelica and Fallon.

2014 Trans 100 honoree Kye Allums then took the stage to deliver his keynote speech, to be followed by 2014 Trans 100 honoree Tiq Milan reading the next group of names that included Kye.

After a break and musical performance, the new feature of the Trans 100 was introduced with 2013 Trans 100 honoree Janet Mock and 2014 Trans 100 honoree Precious Davis giving Gloria Allen the inaugural Trans 100 Living Legend Award.

Geena Rocero then took the stage to read the last group of 2014 Trans 100 honorees before the stage was yielded to 2013 Trans 100 honoree Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler.

Dr KRZ presented the winners of Trans*H4CK Chicago, and they proceeded to describe their winning project for a few moments before Laverne Cox took the stage to deliver her keynote speech.     
The night concluded with a performace from trans rapper KC Ortiz.

So what are my initial thoughts as someone who was named to the inaugural 2013 list? 

First, congratulations to everyone who was named to the 2014 Trans 100 list.   I know how I felt when my name was called last year.  I like the idea of opening it up to choose another 100 people to emphasize the fact we have a hell of a lot of people in our community who are out, proud and doing the work to uplift our community. 

Are there going to be people pissed because they didn't make this year's or the 2013 Trans100 list?  Probably.  

All I have to say is if you didn't make it or you are reading this post and think someone's contributions to your trans community were overlooked, when the nominations open for the 2015 Trans 100 List, nominate the people you think should be on it.because that's what I and other did when the nominations window opened for 2014..   Three of the five people I nominated were eventually selected.    The two I submitted that weren't were international trans persons.

The full list will be released to the rest of the world tomorrow,  but here's some of the people listed who jumped out at me.   My fellow Texans Cristan Williams, Lou Weaver, Tye West and Sharyn Grayson.   Veteran activists Jamison Green, Nancy Nangeroni, Valerie Spencer, Jazz (who also became the youngest Trans100 Honoree with her selection BTW), Kim Watson, Cheryl Courtney-Evans, Dee Dee Chamblee, Nikki 'Tita Aida' Calma, Tracy Garza and Lourdes Hunter.

Sarah McBride, Laura Jane Grace, Rocco 'Katastrophe' Kayiatos and Lana Wachowski made it this year, and so did Maria Roman, Brynn Tannehill, CeCe McDonald, Cherno Biko, Holiday Simmons, Kiara St. James, Bali White, Dr. Jillian T. Weiss, Dr. Ben Barres, Dr Van Bailey, Rev Dr Cameron Partridge, and Rev. Lawrence T Richardson.    
The Men of BTMI also were representing in Sean Coleman, Charley Burton, and Minister Louis Mitchell. 

Tobi Hill-Meyer, Danielle Askini, Morgan Robyn Collado, Trystan Reese, Octavia Hamlett and TPOCC's Parker T. Hurley also were named. 

The Trans 100

The best part of the Trans 100 event is hearing the names of activists we aren't familiar with and getting to know their work because they now have heightened name recognition

Some of my fellow trans Texans I was surprised didn't make it this year were Rev. Carmarian Anderson, Lauryn Farris and Nikki Araguz Loyd.   Rev Anderson is South Regional minister for TransSaints and active in the DFW area.  Lauryn was part of the team that got the non-discrimination ordinance passed in San Antonio, and Nikki had that ground breaking legal win that may have broken the back of Littleton v. Prange.   Tracee McDaniel was another name I was surprised I didn't hear called along with Tona Brown, Monica Stevens, Arianna Lint, and Danielle Castro just to name a few.  

I'll post the full list when it's released tomorrow. 


The 2014 Trans 100 Revealed Tonight

The Trans 100
At the Mayne Stage tonight in Chicago the second annual Trans 100 event hosted by Angelica Ross will take place starting at 7 PM CDT.   There will be keynote speeches by Laverne Cox and Kye Allums for this highly anticipated and sold out event.  

For those of you in the Chicago are who wanted to see it live, you still can, but you'll have to do what the rest of the US and the world is doing.   We'll be watching the live feed of it from 7-9 PM CDT.   

And for you international trans folks, I would love to see see future Trans 100 type events in your various nations, so please get busy forming your international teams so we can see that happen in 2015.

Who will be the 100 trans people that make the 2014 edition of the Trans 100? 

I know who 100 of them WON'T be.   Me and 'errbody' else who made the inaugural 2013 list will not be on this one because the co-founders of the Trans 100 wanted to highlight a new set of out and proud trans folks who are doing the work of the community. 

Looking forward to checking out the live feed later tonight with notepad in hand to write down this year's honorees.. 

Tona Plays Amazing Grace

Just a reminder of how awesome Tona Brown is and how such awesomeness needs to be on the stage of Carnegie Hall.  This video is from the Baltimore TDOR.   Tona is playing 'Amazing Grace' accompanied by cellist Kevin Jones of the Aida Strings

Tona is an advocate for transgender issues and the arts.  She founded the Aida Strings in 2005 with the goal of showcasing the talent of classical artists in African American and LGBT communities who have a harder time getting the same exposure or opportunities as others.

So enjoy this duet and pull out a dollar or two (or $5, $10, $20...) to help get Tona to New York.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

In The 2014 BTAC Homestretch

I'm planning on being on the other end of I-45 April 29-May for the the third annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference which is shaping up to be even bigger than last years event at the Doubletree Campbell Center 

As many of you TransGriot readers are aware I had the honor of giving last year's keynote address along with Kylar Broadus, and this year that dual honor will go to Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler and Cheryl Courtney-Evans. 

The next night after the speech I along with Kylar Broadus, Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler and Minister Louis Mitchell were honored with awards that were named after us.   Another one was started this year, the Lawrence T. Richardson Humanitarian Award named for the Minnesota based pastor.  

With the dates for the 2014 of BTAC rapidly approaching, the nominations have already gone out for the BTAC Advocacy awards that will be given out during the May 2 Black Diamond Ball.   Of course I'm interested in seeing who will be this year's recipients of the Monica Roberts Advocacy Award.

And yeah I'll be doing a BTAC panel discussion or two. 

See you in Dallas next month. 

Kat Blacque Talks About' RuPaul's Drag Race'

I've had my say about the jacked up RuPaul show.   And now for your TransGriot pleasure video blogger Kat Blacque comments about that heinous Drag Race episode and the transphobia it enables.

Warning:  NSFW video.       

Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy Janet Mock Day!

As y'all are aware of, Janet's tour across the country in support of Redefining Realness continues, and tonight she is in San Francisco. 

She was given a proclamation at an event that is happening right now declaring today in San Francisco as 'Janet Mock Day'.  

Embedded image permalinkI also found it deliciously ironic that it happened (snicker, snicker) on the very day the last Piers Morgan Tonight show is being broadcast on CNN.

Aww, my heart bleeds for him.  Psyche.  

Naw, I know I won't miss watching him berate guests and neither will America 

But back to the #girllikeus of the hour.  Congrats Janet for the well deserved honor!   

 And oh yeah, happy Janet Mock Day!

Moni Goes To Legacy

Spent a couple of hours this afternoon in the gayborhood at the invitation of Antonio Aguires speaking to a group of employees at Legacy Montrose Clinic.

My task for the hour was to discuss health issues, how they impact the trans community, and what we look for from the providers who wish to serve our community.  

It was one of the reasons I asked that question on my FB page in order to have a wide sampling of community opinions to do some hard, solid thinking about before I walked into the building Friday afternoon to discuss this issue. 

After a problematic incident with a trans patient a few months ago, Legacy is trying to address the problem that occurred by doing more training with its staff and the people who work there about our community and the issues we face. 

I started the talk a little after 1 PM CDT with this quote from the late Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) in which she stated during a 1970 congressional speech, "Health is a human right, not a privilege to be purchased."

I touched on some of the history of trans medicine.   I discussed Dr Magnus Hirschfeld and his Berlin institute for Sexual Research that was raided by the Nazis in 1933 and had its books and archives burned, touched briefly on Christine Jorgensen, the local gender clinic in Galveston that was founded in the early 1970's before shifting gears and tying all of this to the current day state of trans medicine and our expectations as the community Legacy seeks to respectfully serve. 

The point I wanted to drive home with the people in attendance is we trans people not only want to be seen as the men and women we are,
when we come to you for medical services, we want to be treated with the same dignity and respect you'd demand for yourselves . 

I pointed out in addition to local advocates, there were also emerging online links about the subject of respectful trans medical care they could peruse as well from various organizations like WPATH, Lambda Legal, Transgender Education Network of Texas  (TENT),  TransHealth Coordinators,  and the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health just to name a few. 

I spoke for 45 minutes, then allowed another 15 minutes for questions before it concluded. 

Haven't gotten any feedback yet from Legacy in terms of the reactions from the people in attendance for this lunchtime conversation.  But I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did, took away from it something about my trans community they may not have been aware of before and it leads to the goal we all want of better health outcomes and delivery of respectful medical care for the Houston area trans community.   

Shut Up Fool Awards-Sweet Sixteen Edition

#7 California vs. #2 Baylor (Second Round) (NCAA Women's Championship)The men's and women's NCAA tournaments enter the Sweet Sixteen round this weekend as they whittle it down to the Elite Eight and the Final Four teams that will fight for the 2014 men's and women's NCAA titles in Arlington and Nashville.

So far my men's and women's 2014 NCAA Final Four teams are still intact, but we'll see if that's the case after this weekend's games are played.

And yes, I'm quite aware of what day it is on the calendar.   It's Friday, and time to slam dunk four more Final Four Fools.  So let's get to it.

Final Four Fool number one is a SUF Lifetime Achievement Award winner in Bill O'Reilly.  I had to call this fool out for aiming the 'race hustler' insult at Rep Barbara Lee (D-CA) during FOX Noise interview with Rep. Paul  Ryan on his show for justifiably calling out Rep Paul Ryan for his racist remarks.

Stop projecting Bill.  You and your friends at Fox Noise along with your Fox Fembots are the masters at 'race hustling'.  Your network and your movement never miss an opportunity to race bait.h

Final Four Fool Number two goes to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell  (R-KY) and his campaign,  The person who made it his political goal to make President Obama a one term president is deliciously in the fight of his political life to hold on to his senate seat.  

Either he or someone on his staff thought it would be a great idea to take advantage of the Kentucky Wildcats run through the NCAA tournament in this basketball crazy state and use them in an ad.   The finished product was a pic of the hated Duke Blue Devils winning the 2010 NCAA title. 

They compounded that error by trying to use the image of Wildcat Julius Randle in a replacement ad to which UK and the NCAA sent his campaign cease and desist letters in doing so because it violates NCAA rules to use the images of current NCAA student athletes in advertising.

Final Four Fool Number three is Washington NFL franchise owner Daniel Snyder,  who is catching major heat for not changing the offensive nickname of his NFL team and tried to deflect criticism of his refusal to do so by starting the Original Americans Foundation.   

Dave Zirin of The Nation dissects his open letter.   

Final Four Fool Number four is Alaska state senator Pete Kelly (R) who continues the conservafool War on Women by trying to push a bill that would mandate state funded pregnancy tests before women are allowed to drink in bars.   As you probably guessed because of the (R) behind his name, the troglodyte also hates on birth control, too

Caribou Barbie desecrating our television screens to deny there's no Republican War on Women in 5...4...3...2...1...

This is why you need to be running to the polls on November 4.

This week's Shut Up fool winner is Timberlake 'Christian' School of Forest, VA, who kicked out 8 year old Sunnie Kahle because she wasn't 'feminine enough'  for them. 

"You're probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment,"Doris Thompson, Sunnie's grandmother, read from the letter to ABC 27. "We believe that unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education."

Sunnie is in her tomboy phase and had a 4.0 average before her grandparents pulled her out of the school.

Incidents like this are why I am opposed to ANY public tax money school going to private schools like  But then again, TCS is near Lynchburg, VA, the old stomping grounds of the late fundie preacher, bigot and homophobe Jerry Falwell, so I'm not surprised to hear this story coming from that neck of the woods either.

Lte's do this.   Timberlake Christian School, thou fools need to stop flapping thy lips

If you didn't get that, here's the translation:   take it away Mr. T

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Maryland Trans Rights Bill Passes House!

Today, the Maryland House of Delegates righted a human rights travesty that took place in 2001. 

It was in that disgusting year a gay-only human rights law for the state passed that deliberately cut transpeople out of it. 

That human rights wrong was corrected today when the Maryland House of Delegates voted 82-57 to pass SB 212, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act!  This bill, unlike the unjust 2011 one I blasted all over these TransGriot pages at the time along with a coalition of trans people just as pissed off about the unjust bill, expand Maryland's anti-discrimination laws to protect transgender people in employment, housing, access to credit and public accommodations.

SB 212 passed the Maryland Senate on an overwhelming 32-15 vote. 

Of course the right wing haters stuck on the wrong side of history tried to get amendments passed to strip out the public accommodations language and gut the bill, but they all failed in the Democratically controlled chamber. 

Elections matter.   Remember that on November 4. 
"After more than 15 years of advocacy for trans Marylanders, the tremendous work by all our legislative champions, and the solid support of the leadership in Annapolis, history was made today.  The House of Delegates sent the same loud and clear message the Maryland Senate did:  Every Marylander deserves equal rights under the law.  We welcome the Governor's promised signature and the full and successful implementation of this bill," said Jenna Fischetti of TransMaryland, an MCTE coalition member.        

Congratulations Jenna, Maryland Coalition for Transgender Equality, the legislative sponsors, and everyone else in Maryland who busted their behinds to get this inclusive bill passed.   I couldn't be happier for you and all my trans family living there to see this day finally happen. 

Transgender Marylanders now have legal recourse if someone messes with their human rights in their home state.   Break out the crabcakes! 

The bill now heads to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) desk for his signature, and when he does sign it, Maryland will become the 18th state plus the District of Columbia in which the trans population of it will have full human rights coverage.   

The haters aren't going to give up, and will attempt to force a referendum by collecting enough signatures to place it on the November ballot for repeal.  The Maryland Coalition for Transgender Equality anticipated the Force of Intolerance, Maryland Division would go there.  They are already shifting to the next phase and preparing to defend this hard won human rights bill.

Congrats Queen Of Swords!

Our #girllikeus WMMA warrior handled her business last Friday night during her bout against the previously unbeaten Heather Bassett at UIC Arena in Chicago. 

Fallon won by submission 40 seconds into the second round of her match.  

 The Queen of Swords is now 4-1, and when I find some video of the match I'll put it on this post. 

But Congrats Fallon!  Looking forward to your next match.

Happy Birthday Mr. Brown!

It's TransGriot birthday shoutout time!

Today is the birthday of the founding CEO of Black Transmen, Inc and one of my fellow Lone Star State Trans 100 travelers in Carter Brown.   

I'll let him disclose how old he is, but it's undeniable he has been doing some amazing and groundbreaking work in not only leading BTMI, but shepherding the amazing growth of the upcoming Black Trans Advocacy Conference that will be in Dallas April 29-May 4.

Happy birthday Mister Brown!   Hope it is overflowing with love, smiles as wide as our state, abundant blessings and you continue to be blessed to have many more of them.

Trans*H4CK Pre Hackathon Workshop Today

Trans* H4CK Pre-Hackathon Workshop
Trans*H4CK and its founder Dr. Kortney R.Ziegler are in Chitown for the unveiling weekend of the Trans 100, and later tonight as a prelude to the Trans H4CKing that will be getting started in earnest tomorrow, there will be a Pre-Hackathon Workshop taking place from 5:30-8:30 PM CDT.

So what will you see if you go to the Pre-Hackathon workshop at Dev Bootcamp?

First up is you'll get to hear the Trans*H4CK founder, Dr. Kortney Ziegler, share some of his story and discuss the importance of transgender advocacy, technology and collaboration.

5:30pm - Kortney Ziegler gives a talk
6:15pm - Q&A with Kortney
6:30pm - Pre-hackathon Workshop

The Trans*H4CK Pre-Hackathon Workshop will include an overview of the weekend, as well as mini-workshops on tools and resources to help you build amazing and meaningful application prototypes.  Possible topics to be covered include:
  • What is a “web app”?
  • Intro to Design (HTML/CSS)
  • Intro to Programming (Ruby, Python, Javascript, etc)
  • Development environments (editors, testing, repositories, etc)
And no, you don't need to know how to code to participate in Trans*H4CK.  You may have expertise in other areas such as business, law, a subject matter expert that is critical to provide content to produce a successful app.    You may be a great writer, have business and marketing experience, et cetera.

It's a collaborative effort and fascinating to watch it come together.     

If you're in the Chicagoland area and you're interested, you may wish to head to 351 W. Hubbard St. Suite 700 and check out the fascinating Trans* H4CK happenings

The workshop happens tonight, the actual Trans*H4CKing tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Help Tona Get To Carnegie Hall

20140326102843-1948211_431387440329938_1542690033_nThere's an old joke that asks the question how do you get to New York's Carnegie Hall?

Practice, practice, practice.

Well, our sis Tona Brown has more than put in the practice time and paid her dues to perform there.

Now the founder of the Aida Strings needs an assist from the community to raise the funds for the deposit to make that Carnegie Hall performance she's dreamed about happen.   

Carnegie Hall is one of the most prestigious venues for classical and popular music artists in the United States.  This summer the historic venue is sponsoring their first ever LGBT Pride music event and invited her to participate.   Tona needs to raise $3,500 to make her part of it happen.

So here's the link to the indiegogo campaign so you can do your part to support a #girllikeus artist and make what promises to be amazing night of musical entertainment happen.   Even $1 will help get her closer to her goal, so please consider doing so.  

I'd love to see her standing on the stage of this historic concert venue that opened over a century ago in 1891 this summer performing, making history once again and representing our community well while doing so. 

Trans Pride Flag History

File:Transgender Pride flag.svg
One of my Facebook friends asked the question in one of our discussions, "Who came up with the design for the trans pride flag?"   She was referring to the pink, blue and white striped flag that has come into widespread adoption and usage by many trans communities around the world as a symbol of our community

Since it has been almost 15 years since its creation, and I know the person who created it, I thought this would be a great time for a history lesson on the trans pride flag.

That's your cue to have a seat, because TransGriot history class is now in session.   

The transgender pride flag was created in August 1999 by Monica Helms and has five horizontal stripes.  Two stripes are blue ones, two stripes are pink ones and a white center stripe.  

As for their meaning, Helms described it this way in an interview:  "The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives"

trans-flag-castro.jpgThe Helms trans pride flag was first publicly unfurled at a Phoenix, AZ pride parade in 2000.   It is not only the original flag, it is the one that is in widespread usage around the planet. 

When Equality House in Topeka, KS was painted in honor of TDOR last year, it was done in the colors of the Helms trans pride flag

A large version of it was recently unfurled and flown last year for the first time on the large public flagpole in San Francisco's Castro District for Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 19-20.

Trans pride flag variants have popped up in Ontario and in Israel, but the Helms trans pride flag was the first and is increasingly becoming the most widely used one around the world.

Trans*forming Communities Conference At CSU-Chico

Another day, another opportunity for those of you on the Left Coast to attend a trans conference

This one is taking place on the California State University-Chico campus and is sponsored by the Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center of CSU-Chico.

It is their first annual one, entitled TRANS*forming Communities and will be taking place on Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 12-5 PM PDT at the
Bell Memorial Union Auditorium.   The conference will include a keynote address by Eli Erlick (Executive Director and founder of Trans Student Equality Resources), workshops by Lexi Adsit, Lynn Breedlove, Isa Noyola, and Marisa Boyce, and everything else they can pack into a single Friday. 

RANS*forming Communities will consist of speakers, workshops, and panels dedicated to celebrating and honoring the diverse identities and experiences of trans* people. It will be a safe place for trans* people and allies to come together, share resources and knowledge, and create a community where people can flourish and live authentically. Anyone with a desire to learn and better our communities is welcome.

It's their first one, so show them some love if your schedule is free, you're in the Chico, CA and can attend and get your learn on.  Won't cost you anything since it's gratis and they're even feeding you lunch if you make the effort to show up and support the hardworking students who put this together. 

You can register for this free conference at this link:
If you need any further information about the inaugural TRANS*forming Communities Conference, you can check out the blog or give Sarena Kirk a call at (530)-898-5724