Sunday, August 31, 2014

Moni's Vacation Musing

There are just times when I just get into deep introspective mode, and it can happen for me at any time.    I do enjoy engaging in what Dr. King called 'hard, solid thinking' .

One of those times I get to do that is when I'm traveling or on vacation like I am right now.

So what am I musing about?   Much of it has been centered on the fact I'm now 20 years into transition and my ongoing evolution as Moni.   There are times I count my blessings like friends and family who love me and the people I have encountered due to the activist portion of my life that do have much respect for me, what I do and more importantly what I stand for.

I think about the fact those friends, extended family and brothers and sisters in the human rights struggle extend around the world.

I think about the amazing progress that has been made in getting the public to see the humanity of trans people and especially trans people of color, but realize that we have much work to accomplish on that front.

I think about what I can do to continue striving toward my goal of being a quality Black woman and being the best person I can be.

And as a leader in this community, I do think about because I'm a Kennedy baby what kind of legacy I will leave for the people who follow in my footsteps.  Am I doing my utmost to be the best 'possibility model' I can be?

I have the rest of today, tomorrow, and the plane rides home to ponder those questions and whatever other queries pop up in my mind.

Happy Milestone Birthday, Caroline!

Tula3Today is the milestone 60th birthday of model, trans advocate and Bond Girl Caroline Cossey who was born on this date in the UK in 1954.

She was one of the more well known trans women of the 80's and 90's and has a variant of the intersex condition Klinefelter's Syndrome in which instead of the XXY pattern that many people with the condition usually have, she was born XXXY.

Cossey broke ground as a fashion model under her stage name Tula, authored two autobiographical books published in 1982 and 1991, was a Bond Girl in the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only, and a September 1991 Playboy magazine centerfold.  

She also fought for trans marriage rights in Great Britain.   She won her European Court of Human in 1989 and lost it on British government appeal in September 1990.

Since 1992 she has been married and living in the ATL metro area with her husband David Finch.

Happy milestone birthday to one of our transfeminine pioneers who helped push the knowledge envelope abut us during the 80's and 90's.   May you have many more.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shut Up Fool Awards- Moni's Back In Da Ville Edition

Yep, it's true.  I'm back inside Jefferson County visiting Da Ville for the first time since I left 4 years ago to move back home to Texas .

And yeah, this is also a pleasure trip.  Not up here for a conference, panel discussion or speaking engagement (yet) but just chilling. 

It's been wonderful so far to see many of my friends here and I'm trying to catch up with as many folks here inside I-265 until I leave to return back to Texas Tuesday

And before I do that, a trip to Impellizzeri's Pizza is a must. 

But today is also Friday, and y'all know what that means.  It;s time to handle our usual Friday 'bidness' of exposing what fool, fools or group of fools I just had to take time out of my whirlwind trip up here to Bluegrass country to call out.

Honorable mention number one is a joint award for ESPN and reporter Josina Anderson for that fracked up homophobic 'report' focusing on Michael Sam and the shower.    They apologzied for it, but WTF were y'all thinking?

Honorable mention number two goes to Dallas PD Assistant chief Malik Aziz for parting his lips on FOX Noise to say that police departments aren't overmilitarized and the solution to negating that perception is painting the tanks blue.

Seriously?  You need to have several seats at Jerryworld for saying something that stupid.

Honorable mention number three is CNN host Ana Cabrera, who was upset that in the 6.1 quake that struck the Napa, CA area, she was heartbroken over the hundreds of broken wine bottles?

And that sums up in a nutshell why CNN's ratings are plummeting.

Honorable mention number four is Craig James.   The failed Texas US Senate candidate probably slept through his history classes at Stratford HS and SMU because he parted his lips on behalf of his new employers in the Family Fascism Research Council demanding judges rule by 'Biblical law'.

Christopimping ain't easy, huh Craig?

Honorable mention number five goes to Pat Robertson, for his double dip of stupidity.   First he tried to claim that single motherhood leads to male kids becoming gay, and then on the 666 700 Club opened his mouth to say Robin Williams killed himself because he was a heathen who didn't worship Jesus.

I need a full post to properly eviscerate this faith-based fool

Honorable mention number six goes to Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX).   Gov Goodhair continues to let his mouth overload his anus in this developing scandal that has resulted in two abuse of power federal  indictments for him.   He thinks Texas taxpayers should have picked up his legal tab for the trouble he got himself in, but is now paying for his legal team out of his campaign fund because people 'complained about it.

Folks, if you're wondring why we Texans never elected an Aggie governor until Perry, now you know.  

Pastor Michael V. Williams (YouTube)This week's Shut Up Fool winner is hate preacher Michael V. Williams.   He believes that a constitutional amendment should be passed that mandates that homosexuality should be a felony crime punishable by a sentence of 10 years hard labor.

And y'all thought I was being alarmist when I stated a while back the wet dream of the Christofascists was to pass versions of the anti-gay laws enacted in Uganda, Nigeria and Russia here.

Michael V Williams, shut up fool


Moni's Back In Da Ville!

Yep people, if you wanted to know what my double secret destination was this time, it is Louisville. 

I'm in Jefferson County for the first time since I pointed the moving van south on I-65 toward Nashville on May 8, 2010 with the final destination being Houston.

Dawn wanted to keep it a surprise, and y'all know how well I can keep my lip zipped when it comes to keeping stuff radio silent. 

Anyway, I'm here through Labor Day weekend  and looking forward to not only destroying some Impelizzeri's pizza, but seeing as many peeps as I can before I head back home Tuesday. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Starts Saturday

The tournament has been rebranded and the next one won't be played until 2019 so it doesn't conflict with the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, but the FIBA Basketball World Cup tips off Saturday and runs through September 14. .

Many basketball fans in the USA don't consider it as important as the Olympics, but for the rest of the planet and the 23 other nations playing in it, this FIBA Basketball World Cup is a BFD. 

And yeah, USA b-ball fans, you need to be paying attention, because the winner of this FIBA tournament and the women's FIBA one that gets started September 27 in Turkey gets an automatic bid to the 2016 Rio Olympic basketball tournament. 

So if our star spangled men's b-ballers want to be dribbling Molten basketballs on the Rio Olympic Arena courts in two years and avoid playing in the FIBA Tournament of the Americas to qualify for the Olympics, failure to win this tournament in Spain is not an option.

The 2014 (and 2016 Olympic) Team USA squad will once again be coached by Mike Krzyzewski, who has a 64-1 record in FIBA internatioanl play. 

And despite Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin pulling out and Paul George's horrific injury during Team USA training camp that will sideline him for this tournament and the 2014-15 NBA season, you international peeps better not sleep on this squad we are sending to defend our FIBA men's title.. 

James Harden, Kenneth FariedIn addition to my Houston Rockets homie James Harden, the 2014 Team USA FIBA World Cup squad includes DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento); Stephen Curry (Golden State); Anthony Davis (New Orleans); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto); Andre Drummond (Detroit); Kenneth Faried (Denver); Rudy Gay (Sacramento);  Kyrie Irving (Cleveland); Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn); Derrick Rose (Chicago) and Klay Thompson (Golden State).

This 2014 squad is also attempting to do something a USA men's squad has never done in the history of this tournament, and that's repeat as FIBA World Cup tourney champions. 

But there are several teams that want to make sure we don't end up playing in the championship game in Madrid, starting with the host Spaniards.   They are still smarting from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic final losses pinned on them by the USA ballers and being upset in the 2010 FIBA tournament knockout round by Serbia. The Gasol brothers, Serge Ibaka and company are determined to not let it happen on home soil.

The Lithuanians are always dangerous, along with the Brazilians, the Argentinians even without Manu Ginobili and Greece.  If you're laughing about Greece, ask Coach K or LeBron James about that.  They are the team in the 2006 FIBA world semis in Japan that handed Coach K his lone FIBA b-ball loss.

James HardenTeam USA is in Group C in Bilbao's Barakaldo Arena, and start FIBA Worlds play August 30 against Finland.  The next day they get a 2010 FIBA finals rematch against Turkey before they get a day off.  The USA ballers resume group play on September 2 against New Zealand, play the Dominican Republic on September 3 before completing pool play on September 4 against Ukraine.  

Pretty much a winnable group for Team USA while the Spaniards are slugging it out in the Group A 'Group of Death' in Granada with France, Serbia, Brazil, Egypt and Iran.  

Should be fun to see how this plays out over the next few weeks.

Air Marshal Taking Mystery Trip

Box cutter found aboard Southwest Airlines flight at Hobby AirportThe Air Marshal is taking a flight again, and this time it's for a pleasure trip to a double secret destination. 

I'll have to connect through Chicago Midway to get there, and hopefully I won't have the drama I had when I flew through there earlier this month.

I'll be getting to my destination in the Eastern time zone around 12:55 PM assuming everything is on schedule.

This trip is happening because not only do i need to get out of H-town or a few days, I had a voucher in my possession I needed to use and complete travel for by mid September before it expired, and I wasn't letting a $525 one go to waste. 

My host asked me to keep the destination a secret so when I started showing up at places after I arrive in that final destination, It'll be a surprise at least until the word gets out on social media I'm there..

But looking forward to going there.  See y'all in a few hours mystery city denizens.

DART Orange Line To DFW Opens

A DART light rail vehicle breaks a ribbon as it enters DFW Airport StationAs you TransGriot readers know, I'm an unabashed mass transit supporter, especially when that transit system in question contains a rail component.

Normally as a proud Houstonian, I'm usually hating on anything Dallas related with a passion, but for once you're going to see me write something that praises Dallas. 

And naw, hell ain't freezing over and we aren't experiencing blizzard conditions in H-town right now . 
While former congresscritter Tom Delay, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), and the Harris County Republican Party have been fighting METRO tooth and nail to keep them from getting the federal funding to build light rail here in Houston,  DART has been gleefully taking the federal money METRO hasn't been able to and began getting busy assembling the largest light-rail network in the United States with 90 miles (137 km) of track, a commuter rail line that terminates in Denton, TX with another rail line to Ft Worth .

As a matter of fact, to build the initial 7.5 mile segment of the METRORail Red Line that opened ten years ago, METRO had to use its own money to do so

I finally got a chance to ride the DART Orange and Red Line trains during the recent Black Trans Advocacy Conference back in late April and May.   The Doubletree Campbell Center hotel that hosts BTAC is near the Lovers Lane station on the northern end of the Orange and Red Lines.  

When I get off the Megabus from H-town at the DART East Olive Street transit center downtown, I'm a short two block walk from the St. Paul and Pearl Arts Stations.   Those stations are on that Bryan Avenue-Pacific St corridor in which all four DART light rail lines currently converge in their run through downtown Dallas.

Even better, the St Paul station has a 7-Eleven nearby so I can get my Slurpee fix before I shell out the $2.50 for my northbound DART train ticket to Lovers Lane.        

I was well aware of DART's Orange Line being extended toward DFW Airport through Irving.  Construction had started on the DFW Airport station that was scheduled to open in November.  

In my conversations with this year's BTAC attendees, they lamented the fact it wasn't open, and were hopeful that when they returned to Dallas for the 2015 edition of the conference, the DART light rail line would be open for revenue service from DFW.    

Well peeps, you got your wish.  The extension and the DFW Airport Station in Terminal A was finally completed four months early and under budget.   It opened for revenue service on August 18.  

That's great news for all the peeps who travel to Dallas to attend conferences.  It also makes me hopeful that with our own METRORail Purple Line being just 5.5 miles from its current Palm Center termination point to Hobby Airport, funding can be found (hint hint) to extend it and connect at least one of our airports to the rail system like Dallas has done for DFW. 

But nice to know that the next time I fly into DFW, I can take the train into downtown and anywhere else along the DART Rail network .

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ricky Smiley Morning Show Transphobia

Rickey SmileyThe war against media transphobia aimed at trans women of color seems like it's a never ending one.    Here's a FB commentary from TransGriot reader Sasha concerning the transphobic comments she heard aimed at Laverne Cox during one of the Rickey Smiley Morning Show segments yesterday.


Photo: Our Angel at the 2014  Emmy Awards  Laverne Cox star of Orange Is the New Black on the carpet in a caped, white gown by one her favorite designers, Marc Bouwer. Fred Leighton diamonds were sewn into the dress that sported a chest-baring neckline. If you're a member of the #LaverneHive you know that she wont be bringing home an Emmy this time but she's clearly still WINNING! Shout Out to the style team Deja Smith, Ursula Stephen and Christina PacelliLast night my sisters and I were watching Dish Nation/Rickey Smiley Morning Show. Laverne Cox was declared as one of the Emmy show's  best dressed women which I though was AMAZING...until one of the hosts yells "that's a man!"and they slightly go into the infamous shock factor, making her identity the center of a joke.

Gary and one of the shows guests, a cis woman of color, then came to Laverne's defense by stating her accomplishment and how major it is for the Transgender community. The young lady also corrected the misgendering and made sure she addressed the Laverne as a WOMAN.

I've been listening to Rickey Smiley Morning Show for YEARS, I'm a fan of the show but I think it's time to call the RSMS out on their consistent ignorance and insensitivity towards the trans community.

This is NOT the first time I've encountered this type of madness from them. Not too long ago they were throwing shade towards Cee Lo after his affair with a transwoman. Not to mention the jokes that very often seem to revolve around #GirlsLikeUs.
We need to hold them accountable.  It is not the guest's job to educate them LIVE on the radio about transgender terminology. As much as they talk and joke about us, they should be well informed on the issue. Rickey Smiley has a huge platform in the black community and instead of all the shade, he could be using that platform for the good of ALL as well as being held accountable for repetitive transphobia.

It's time to call them out!


I agree, Sasha . GLAAD and NGLJA Rapid Response team, it's time to handle your media business. 

Transgender Faith and Action Network Conference Starts Friday

Unfortunately won't be there in Charlotte for this year's event after keynoting what was then known as the TransFaith in Color Conference in 2012. 

It has a new name, the Transgender Faith and Action Network Conference, but it is the same North Carolina based event I had the pleasure of attending two years ago. 

This year's TFAAN event will kick off Friday in the Queen City and run through August 31.. 

This year's keynote speaker will be longtime advocate and my Left Coast sis Valerie Spencer, and it's too bad I'm going to miss hearing it.  

But back to focusing on the 2014 edition of the TFAAN Conference.   For those of you that make it to the University Hilton house, you're about to enjoy an event that will live up to this year's theme of 'Education That Leads To Success'.   Best of all, the TFAAN Conference is free.  All you need to do is just  register for it in order to check out these informative seminars, panel discussions and events.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29th   (all times EST)

8:30a - 9:00a Interfaith Prayer/Opening Remarks
Moderator: Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Freedom Center
For Social Justice

9:00a - 10:30a
Opening Plenary Panel:
How Welcoming Are We Really?
Moderator: Asher Kolieboi, Vanderbilt Seminary
Panelists: OmiSade Ali, Ordained Orisha Priest, Chris Paige, TransFaith and Jacob Hero, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)

10:45a - Noon

Block 1 Clergy in Specialized Fields
Presenters: Minister Louis Mitchell, TransFaith

Block 2 Trans* 101 for Allies
Presenters: Rev. Dawn Flynn, New Life MCC and Parker T. Hurley, Transgender People of Color
Coalition (TPOCC)

Block 3 Changing Policy in a Changing World
Moderator: J Mase
Presenters: Sharon Groves, HRC; Kylar W. Broadus, The Task Force (NGLTF) and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, National Black Justice Coalition

Noon - 1:30p
Opening Lunch
Keynote Speaker: Angel Collie, Metropolitan Community Church

1:45p - 3:00p
Block 1 The Transitions Within the Transition
Moderator: Randall Suah
Presenters: Andraya Williams, Justine Matlock and Achim Howard

Block 2 Your Health: The Mind and the Body
Presenters: Dr. Lisa Griffin, Dr. Rhett Brown, Dr. Jocie Sweeney

Block 3 Aging: Let Me Tell You A Story
Presenters: Serena Worthington, Services Advocacy for GLBT Elders and Barbara Satin, NGLTF - Practice Spirit, Do Justice Program

3:15p - 4:30p
Block 1
Trans* Youth in Schools: Multiple Perspectives
Moderator: Todd Rosendahl, Time Out Youth
Panelists: Scout Rosen, Central Piedmont Community College student; Lux Cuellar, UNCC student; Blake Brockington, UNCC student and Matthew Rice, Charlotte School System teacher

Block 2 Our Special Walk: Partners of Trans* People
Presenters: Sandra Whittington-Boone, Mel Goodwin, Marage Blakeney, Ray Austin and Diane Coe

Block 3 Know Your Rights
Presenters: Kelly Durden and Sarah Demarest, Freedom Center for Social Justice LGBTQ
Law Center; Mariana Toledo-Hernandez, Immigration Attorney; Stacy King, Mecklenburg County Public Defender's Office

5:00p - 7p
Opening Reception
Special Guest Musical Performance

7:00p - 8:30p
Young Folk Gathering (Ages 16-30)
Coordinated by Sponsored by Campus Pride


8:30a - 10:00a
2014 TFAAN Awards Breakfast

Keynote Speaker: Valerie Spencer, Antioch University
Pioneer Award: Andrea Jenkins and Louis Mitchell
Rising Star Award: Michael David Battle
Ally Award: Rev. Dr. William Barber, President of the NC NAACP and Heath Morrison, Superintendent, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
Youth Award: Blake Brockington and Andraya Williams
Bobbie Jean Baker Award: Ms. Tracee McDaniels

10:15a - 11:30a
Block 1 Name and Gender Marker Changes in NC and Beyond
Presenter: The Freedom Center for Social Justice LGBTQ Law Center

Block 2 What's Moving The Landscape?
Presenter: Cecilia Chung, The Transgender Law Center

Block 3 Trans* Youth In Action
Facilitator: Sarah Alwran, Time Out Youth
Panelists: Parker Smith, President of TransAction at Appalachian State University, Pam Smith,
mother of Parker Smith, Trans* Activist, AJ Willis, University of North Carolina, Charlotte student, President of Transport at UNCC, Scout Rosen, CPCC Student, President of SPECTRUM

Noon - 1:30p
Lunch on your Own

1:30p - 2:45p
Block 1 Trans* Employment: Old Challenges and New Opportunities

Block 2 The Power of Trans* History
Presenters: Andrea Jenkins, Artist, Poet and Activist; Allyson Robinson, Warrior Poet Strategies

Block 3 HIV and the Trans* Community
Presenters: Achim Howard, Unity Fellowship Church, Jermaine Nakia Lee, Powerhouse Project, and Chelsea White, RAIN

3:00p - 4:30p
Block 1 LGBT and the Bible
Presenter: Rev. Cedric Harmon, Many Voices

Block 2 Embracing Paradox: Gender, Sexuality, Spirituality
Presenters: Pacific School of Religion, TFAAN and NGLTF

Block 3 The Power of the Vote
Presenter: The Moral Freedom Summer Campaign

5:00p - 7:00p
Dinner On Your Own and Networking

8:00p - Midnight
Music, Lite Delectables and an Incredible Time
Guest DJ: Buddy Love
Location: The Venue, 1801 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC


8:30 - 9:30am
Closing Interfaith Service
Preaching  Rev. Brendan Whittington-Boone
Musical Guest: Sacred Souls Community Church Choir

NOTE: Schedule subject to moderate change.

For those of you in Charlotte for the Trans Faith And Action Network Conference, hope you have a wildly successful and wonderful event, and hope I'm blessed to be with you next year as an attendee or participant.   

Paula Sophia Falls Short In Oklahoma Legislative Runoff

Paula Sophia, gay news, Washington BladeAll 12 precincts have reported in the Oklahoma House District 88 runoff race between Paula Sophia and Jason Dunnington and the winner and new representative of that OKC area legislative seat is:

Jason Dunnington.

In a razor thin race, Dunnington garnered 990 votes to Sophia's 968.  An agonizing 23 votes separated her from the win and trans political history.

According to Sophia's Twitter feed, she will ask for a recount and for the provisional ballots to be counted as well. 

If that doesn't cut into the narrow 22 vote margin of Dunnington, he will be the representative-elect for House District 88 since no Republican filed in this race..

Will keep y'all posted.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Educating Us About Us Forum

One of the things the fight to pass the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance exposed is just how much education needs to be done about the various letters in our own chocolate Houston SGL trans and bi ranks.

Trans 101 is particularly needed, especially when we discovered in the repeal petition checking process some of our own LGBT people signed them or swallowed the lies Max Miller and company repetitively at the behest of their puppet master Dave Welch told about the trans community due to lack of knowledge about us. 

Now that we not facing in Houston the imminent threat of a referendum this November, are awaiting the January 19, 2015 trial date, and have some time to do some 'ejumacation', we are dong just that and holding community conversations that we'll eventually expand to the straight African-American community. 

Last Sunday (August 24) I took part in a forum held at the Montrose Center moderated by Austin D. Williams entitled Educating Us about Us.

 It started at 3:30 PM and featured some real talk about the HERO by Ashton Woods.    He talked about the fifteen categories it covers, busted the lies the faith-based haters have been saying about it, and it was a nice segue into my portion of the event  discussing Trans 101 and some of the historical background.

We spent about an hour and a half in spirited discussion talking about the trans community since that's where much of the educating needed to be done.  We eventually moved from talking about the 'T' and busting myths to the portions of the facilitated discussion about the other letters in our SGL community.   We broke down some of the myths about lesbians, gay Republicans, gay Christians, gay men and finally the DL peeps that cause dissension and drama.. 

6:30 PM came way too soon, and a group of us decided to take the discussion to the Midtown Grill, a nearby Montrose area restaurant on West Gray where that SGL community centered discussion continued over a meal and spilled out into the parking lot for a little while longer.

But it was clear to many of the passionate and intelligent folks in that room that more of these H-town community building conversations need to (and will) happen.   And when the next one is scheduled, I'll let you know on these TransGriot electronic pages when it does.

Laverne's On The Cover Of ESSENCE

To understand the significance of this ESSENCE magazine cover, I have to take you back to the late 80's

Tracy Africa Norman was in the process of shooting her sixth ESSENCE magazine cover for an upcoming Christmas issue.  At the time Tracy worked for the third largest modeling agency in New York, and she was a hot model with major contracts like Avon, Ultra Sheen and Clairol.

But Tracy was also an undisclosed transwoman, and her cover was about to be blown to ESSENCE editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor by a shady individual from Tracy's old neighborhood who recognized her.

Tracy was outed, and the sixth cover shoot abruptly ended along with much of Tracy's US modeling career.  

So you can imagine my surprise when knowing this history, I saw this ESSENCE cover of Laverne with Alfre Woodard, Nicole Bahari and Dinai Gurira.   I'll have to admit I did shed a tear or two when I saw the cover because I thought about what happened to Tracy and just how far the African-American transfeminine ranks have come since then.  

But congratulations Laverne.   Looking forward to the day that ESSENCE gives a trans woman a solo cover be it you, Ines Rau or some other trans woman or trans model. 

Looks like that day may be coming sooner than I thought it would.  

2014 Williams Watch-US Open Party Getting Started

Serena Williams
The last Grand Slam of the 2014 tennis season cranked up in New York yesterday, and the question the tennis world is asking is will Serena break out of her Grand Slam mini-slump and finally win one this year and win her 18th to tie Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on the all time list?

We'll find out the answer to that question later today when number one seeded and world Number one ranked Little Sis takes to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court to begin defense of her US Open singles crown against Zina Garrison coached 18 year old Taylor Townsend.

The winner of this opening round match will move on to the US Open singles second round face the winner of the Vania King-Francesca Schavione match.

Big Sis won her first round match with Kimiko Date-Krumm at Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday, but not without a struggle.   Venus had a rough first set as Date-Krumm kept her off balance with her repertoire of spins to take the first set 2-6.   Venus roared back to take the second set 6-3 and rolled to a 5-0 third set lead before Date-Krumm fought back to snatch the next three games and have two game points to chop Big Sis' once seemingly insurmountable lead to 5-4. 

No. 19 seed Venus Williams returns a shot in her first-round victory over Kimiko Date-Krumm at the U.S. Open. Williams will play unseeded Timea Bacsinszky in the second round. Photo: Don Emmert, AFP/Getty ImagesBut Venus recovered to stave off the two game points and eventually take the hard earned match 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.  It extended her career record in first round match wins at the US Open to an impressive 16-0.

Big Sis will face in the second round the winner of the Kiki Bertens-Timea Bacsinszky match, but before she does so, she may wish to cut down on those 36 unforced errors.

My fave tennis playing siblings are entered in the US Open Women's doubles tournament, with them having an opening round match with the seventh seeded team of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic 

Best of luck ladies, and hope you have a long successful run in this tournament and piss off your haters.

Will Oklahoma Electoral History Be Made Today?

Paula Sophia Photo: Liz Burleson / Red Dirt ReportIn a few hours when the polls open in Oklahoma, Paula Sophia gets an opportunity to make some modern transgender history.

She is in a runoff for the Oklahoma House District 88 seat in central Oklahoma City that as an OKC police officer the Desert Storm vet used to patrol until she retired earlier this year to run for office.

It was a crowded field in this race to replace openly lesbian state Rep Kay Floyd (D-Oklahoma City), who formerly held the seat to run for the state Senate.   The state senate 46 seat she ran for and won the Democratic primary for on June 24 was the one formerly held by openly gay state Sen. Al McAffrey  (D-Oklahoma City)

That senate seat opened up for Floyd when McAffrey announced his intention to run for the open Oklahoma 5th Congressional District seat of Rep. James Lankford (R).    Lankford decided to move up the political food chain and run for the US Senate seat of the retiring Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK) .   Lankford successfully won the Republican US senate nomination for Coburn's seat.

Now that we've sorted through the fascinating Oklahoma political musical chairs that set up this opportunity, back to the post. 

Sophia polled enough votes in that crowded June 24 primary field to end up in a runoff against Democratic front runner Jason Dunnington. 

With no Republican filed to run in that race in November, winner of the runoff election today becomes the new representative for Oklahoma House District 88. 

Paula Sophia, gay news, Washington BladeIf it is Sophia, she becomes the first open transgender candidate elected to the Oklahoma legislature, and the first transperson elected to a state legislative office since Althea Garrison did so in Massachusetts in 1992. 

Best of luck Paula, and hope it's a wonderful night for you when the polls close later today.   If you live in OKC or the state of Oklahoma, hope you're considering handling your electoral business and participating in your runoff election.   

Monday, August 25, 2014

Michael Brown Funeral Eulogy

Michael Brown, whose cause of death in Ferguson, NO was assassination by po-po, was buried today.

The funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church was attended by thousands of people including Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).  It was paid for by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and featured a fiery eulogy by MSNBC talk show host and longtime activist Rev. Al Sharpton.

Here's the video of it for those of you who missed it.

Sarah McBride Becomes A Bride

Photo: So proud of Sarah for being an LGBT advocacy and leadership powerhouse. Love you, Bean.
You long time TransGriot readers know I have much love for Sarah McBride, the Delaware girl like us who I met during the National Black Justice Coalition's 2012 OUT on the Hill event when she was a White House intern and I was there for the NBJC sponsored policy briefing. 

Sarah has gone on to do some wonderful things since I met her in that Eisenhower Executive Office building auditorium nearly two years ago.   She graduated from college and was part of the team that got a statewide transgender non-discrimination law passed in her home state.  She has at times lent her beautiful face and voice to eloquently talk about our issues in various venues.  

And she's made a few high profile friends along the way like President Obama, Vice President Biden and Delaware governor Jack Markell just to name a few of them.

In addition to being one of our outstanding trans human rights advocates, this busy lady has also been in a relationship with a wonderful guy that has blossomed into a marriage.

Yesterday in Washington DC Sarah got married to her boyfriend Andrew in a ceremony attended by many of her friends and family.

What was even cooler about it was that it was officiated by none other than Bishop Gene Robinson.

Y'all thought I was selling y'all woof tickets on the high profile friends. Um, no, Sarah really does have it going on like that..

Back to the post.

Congratulations to Sarah and Andrew! 

May you both have the long, healthy and happy life together you so richly deserve.

Have A Wonderful 2014-15 School Year

The 2014-15 school year gets started today in HISD, many of the surrounding suburban school districts and our local colleges and universities UH, UHD, TSU, Rice and HCC.  

For all the teachers, TA's and professors I proudly count amongst my friends and loyal readers, hope you have a wonderful, relatively stress free academic year as well. 

It has already gotten off to a successful start for Rachel Pepe in New Jersey.   After a short fight with her local school district, she will now be attending school as her true self. 

Rice University starts this academic year proudly popping their collars as the only school in Texas that made the Princeton Review's Top 20 Most Friendly LGBT Colleges list..  They are determined to improve on their number 20 ranking.

Seems like every school year I have to write stories about school districts reluctant to let trans students run for homecoming king or queen, run for prom king or queen, prom dress code kerfluffles, potty wars, cap and gown graduation battles, or just simply getting ID to match who they are now. 

I expect this school year won't be any different.  But as this 2014-15 school year transpires, there will probably be trans history made in some locales before the academic year has come to a close.    

For all my trans younglings, in the Class of 2015, hope this is one magical year that you will fondly remember for the rest of your lives that serves as a springboard to a successful college experience. 

For you college seniors, hope this senior year is a low stress educationally stimulating year that sets you up for successful lives as you prepare to leave your college campuses for that different world off of it. 

For my friends entering law or graduate school or just going back to school to finish what you started, handle your business and have a wonderful year.  For those of you entering high school, college or whatever grade level you're at, have a wonderful year and much success.  

Know that your trans elders and various organizations are standing by in case you have issues crop up related to your trans status that you need to resolve.   And know collegiate haters, I will not hesitate to call you out on the electronic pages concerning any transphobic crap that develops on your campuses. 

Have a wonderful 2014-15 school year.  Let the school bells ring across the country and the drama free education of our next generation begin.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

2014 US Little League World Series Champions!

 Jackie Robinson West represented Chicago in the Little League World Series. The Jackie Robinson West Little Leaguers from Chicago have been making history ever since their arrival in Williamsport for the 2014 edition of the Little League World Series.

They were the first team from the Jackie Robinson West LL to make it to Williamsport since 1983 and the first all black squad since the 2002 team from Harlem.

Yesterday they accomplished something those other two teams hadn't.  With their 7-5 win over the Mountain Ridge LL in the US Championship game, they became the first ever all Black Little League team to become the US World Series Champions

The Chicago based JRW squad avenged their lopsided 13-2 August 17 loss to the team from Las Vegas to advance to the 2 PM CDT title game against Seoul, South Korea, who smashed defending international champion Japan 12-3 in their rematch to take the International World Series Championship crown.     

Great Lakes Team
Best of luck to you Jackie Robinson West LL as you seek to make even more history later today and bring the Little League World Series Championship back to Chicago. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Conservafool Racism False Equivalency

Most of the time I love reading the iconic cartoon Peanuts and seeing the antics of Charlie Brown and friends.  But I'm not loving this hijacked one by our conservafool friends that once again exposes just how clueless they are when it comes to racism. 

Racism once again is prejudice/bigotry + systemic power.  It is a majority group turning its bigotry and prejudice against a minority group into societal policy that negatively impacts that minority group. 

Racism is the systematic discrimination, denial of rights and benefits by whites against non-whites in all areas of human activity.  (economics, education, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war).

For a group to be racist, they must have in order to practice it and make the results stick 
MORE POWER than the ethnic group targeted with the negative behavior to do so.  The only ethnic group that has had and still does possess that kind of power and control to make their bigotry and prejudices public policy are whites.

Racism is not what conservafools, FOX Noise, the Republican Party or right wing talk radio would have you believe.  It's not an epithet pissed off white people fling back at POC's who call them on their white privilege or racist behavior.   Nor is there any such thing as 'reverse racism'.

And I'm seeing this false equivalency injected in post-Ferguson online mixed race conversations far too often.

Non-white people pointing out the very screwed up ways in which whiteness, white supremacy and white privilege deleteriously affect their lives is not ' banging the race drum', 'race hustling', 'divisive' or whatever BS euphemism conservafools come up with these days to derail needed conversations on race.

And conservative (and liberal-progressive) whites trying to condescendingly say that being called out or accused of racist behavior is equivalent to the microaggressive and macroaggressive effects of racism in the daily lives of non-whites is not only insulting, but will at the least get you the side eye from that person of color or at the worst, cussed out.

The  repeated failure of white people to listen to non-whites tell those stories and blow them off instead of taking action to correct the problems is why you had the drama in Ferguson and sadly will have it in another yet to be named town in the near future.

Race matters and has on the North American continent even before there was a United States. Racism and slavery is this country's original sin, and many of the race relation problems we have in the USA flow from it. When you spend four centuries demonizing and dehumanizing African descended people, a 40 year Civil Rights movement and a 1963 'I Have A Dream Speech' by the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr didn't magically erase that four century dehumanization of African descended people.

Nor did the Civil Rights Movement erase those American racial fault lines or the gross inequality that is encoded into this country's DNA as a result of slavery and our country tortured racial history. 
We do not have in America an equitable merit based society or a colorblind one. Doesn't mean we should stop working toward it. But the heavy lifting of this effort to build that beloved community that Dr. King talked about isn't as my homegirl Alexis Martinez called it a 'Starbucks Revolution'.  

An important part of that building process is listening.   You can't stick your fingers in your ears and go "Lalalalala can't hear you' when POC's start talking about the America they experience that is remarkably different from the one you grew up with.  It can't be just non-white Americans who are negatively impacted by the current status quo doing the heavy lifting while others sip their lattes and tweet messages on their smartphones about how awful the situation is in Ferguson. 

It is incumbent upon liberal-progressive white folks and all who believe in Dr. King's dream to do their fair share of the heavy lifting work to help us build an America we can all be proud of. 

Houston Dash End Tough Inaugural Season

We Houston women's soccer fans were thrilled to discover a few months ago that we'd been able thanks to the Houston Dynamo to get an expansion franchise in the National Women's Soccer League that is supported by the United States, Canadian and Mexican soccer federations.

The Houston Dash on Wednesday ended that inaugural NWSL campaign with a 1-0 road loss in New Jersey to Sky Blue FC.

Houston DashThe Houston Dash were born in a frenetic dash (pun intended) of offseason activity starting in December 2013 when they became the first ever NWSL expansion club and the second owned and operated by an MLS parent club.   Retired Dynamo star Brian Ching was named as the club's managing director as he and team president Chis Canetti set about the task of building a club in the Houston Dynamo mold of being a scrappy, team oriented unit that could compete for a top four NWSL playoff spot immediately.

Randy Waldron was hired as the team's head coach January 3 and the Dash selected Kealia Ohai with the first pick in the NWSL draft as they built their inaugural team. 

When they took it to the defending league champion Portland Thorns in a 1-0 loss in their inaugural game at BBVA Compass Stadium in front of 8,097 people April 12 and had a tying goal in stoppage time disallowed, it looked like the Dash were on the right track to actually meeting that lofty goal of competing for a playoff spot in their inaugural season.    

But season ending injuries to Lauren Sesselmann, Aya Sameshima and Brittany Bock.the 0-6-1 stretch between the April 20 comeback 3-2 first franchise win against Boston and the 2-1 May 31 win over Western New York, lack of team depth, international call-ups, and lack of experience playing together as a cohesive unit eventually doomed their chances to make the playoffs. 

The Dash finished last in the NWSL with a 5-18-3 record, but nine of those losses were one goal games, and that leads to hope of better results in 2015.   

The Dash also have a dedicated fan base.   Despite only winning twice at BBVA Compass stadium this season, the Dash's average attendance of 4,650 was second in the NWSL behind soccer mad Portland.

The ninth place finish means we'll have the number one overall draft pick in 2015, but it is hoped that with time to use the long offseason to improve the team and put them on the road to being consistent threats to compete for and win the NWSL title.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Shut Up Fool Awards-Aww Mo'Ne's Gone Edition

Was hoping I get to see the remarkable story of Mo'Ne Davis continue to play out in this year';s edition of the Little League World Series, but that was not to be.

Her Taney LL Dragons from Philly exited the LLWS one game short of the US Championship with a 6-5 elimination loss to the Jackie Robinson West LL team from Chicago.

It is they, and not Mo'Ne and company who will face the unbeaten squad from Las Vegas' Mountain Ridge LL for the US Championship.tomorrow.   The US winner will face the International Championship winner between South Korea and Japan.   

It's Friday, and y'all know what that means.  It's Shut Up Fool Awards day.    My fools once again runneth over this week, and it's time to determine who struck singles of outright lies, doubled up on the falsehoods, tripled on the jaw dropping ignorance, hit home runs of hypocrisy and struck out in common decency

Let's get started with this week's SUF Awards shall we? 

Honorable Mention number one is a group award to the Westboro Baptist Church .  They claim they're going to Iraq to protest ISIS.   Seriously?   After all the anti-Islamic things that the late Daddy Phred said?

I know these fools are selling woof tickets, but if they did, any bets on how long it would take for ISIS to snatch them off the Iraqi streets and behead them for crimes against Islam?

Honorable mention number two we'll stay international for in Spain's Senator Luz Elena Sanin, a member of the ruling Spanish conservafool party.   She opened mouth and inserted pumps to say that the reason for Spain's $1.3 trillion dollar debt is 'the gays'.   

Word of political advice for you Senator.   Trying to imitate soon to be ex-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is not a good look for you in Spain or internationally.
Honorable mention number three is the so far unknown TeaGOP staffer who wasted our time and tax dollars trolling Wikipedia to make transphobic edits of Laverne Cox's Wikipedia page and other transgender specific sites.

Another reason why the TeaGOP needs to lose control of the House November 4. Got too much time on their hands to hate.

Honorable mention number four is Mike Ditka.  Iron Mike parted his lips to level a conservablast at folks who want the racist nickname of the Washington NFL franchise changed by stating anyone who was in favor of that was a 'politically correct idiot.'

As one of my FB friends said on my page when they commented on it, maybe all of Mike Ditka's concussions are catching up to him.

Honorable mention number five is CNN's Rosemary Church, who did her best FAUX News fembot impression by asking why the oppressors  po-po's didn't use water cannons on the Ferguson, MO. protestors.

Birmingham, AL May 1963 ring a bell?    And you wonder why CNN's losing viewers.

Honorable mention number six is The Ferguson, MO PD for well, you know.......

Honorable mention number seven is Ferguson, MO mayor James Knowles, who claimed in an MSNBC interview with Tamron Hall there's no racial tensions in his city

Really?  When China, Egypt and the UN are calling your city out for its oppressive police tactics that have Palestinians tweeting tips to protestors on how to deal with tear gas and other tricks of the protest trade, you have a race problem.

Honorable mention number eight we stay in Missouri for in  Missouri RNC executive director Matt Wills.  He seems to think that the efforts to register Black voters in Ferguson are 'disgusting'  

Why Matt, that's mighty white of you and so typical of your party to oppose the efforts of registering new non-white don't want to compete for.

Honorable mention number nine is Michelle Duggar.  The reality TV show personality was pressed into service to cut spots opposing the Fayetteville, AR city council's attempt to pass a nondiscrimination law that covered sexual orientation and gender identity.   And what tired trope did they use out the oppression playbook in those spots?   If you said transgender bathroom predators, give yourself a hand.

Despite trying to slime the trans community, in these commercials, the trans oppressor failed.   Fayetteville, AR, the home of the University of Arkansas, passed its inclusive law after 10 hours of testimony Wednesday on a 6-2 vote   

That deserves a celebration Arkansas style.  Time to call those hogs!

Honorable mention number ten is for Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX).    Gov Goodhair got indicted

This week's Shut Up Fool winner is Missouri Lt. Gov Peter Kinder (R), who blew the GOP dog whistle on MSNBC's Ronan Farrow Daily show and stated we need Anglo-American justice' in Ferguson.

That racist 'Anglo-American justice' in this Michael Brown shooting and failure to arrest and prosecute Darren Wilson, the cop who executed Brown is why you have all the unrest and protests in Ferguson now.

Have several levels of seats in the TD Waterhouse Dome and shut the hell up, fool.


Read Your AP Stylebook, JIm Kiertzner And WXYZ-TV

When I took a trip up to Boston recently for the National Association of Black Journalists convention to discuss the coverage of Black transwomen, one of the things I implored them to do was make sure they got it right the first time because white run media consistently screws up when it coves to covering us.

And right on cue, thanks to Can We Talk 4 Real  podcast host 'Michelle Brown bringing it to my attention, here's another example of messed up media coverage courtesy of WXYZ-TV and reporter Jim Kiertzner..

In the process of reporting on a string of attacks on trans women in Detroit's Palmer Park, one fatal, Kiertzner got it horribly wrong.

Let me do your job for you and write the story properly before I put you on blast for failing to read your AP Stylebook.

(WXYZ) - Detroit Police say they are investigating three hate crimes that may be related.

All three targets were transgender men women. One was killed in Palmer Park last Friday.  In that case, the killer drove off, crashed into another car and ran away on foot, but a gun was left behind.

Another shooting on Sunday and another last week were not fatal, but the victims were also transgender men women. Police are not releasing any identities of the victims.  No one is in custody but police say they have a person of interest.

Palmer Park is located along Woodward Avenue between 6 and 7 Mile.    The area east to John R and up to 8 Mile is also a well known Detroit "red light" district.  Many in the LGBT community live here and some work the streets for sex.
For now, in this area, a killer is on the loose.

2013 coverNow, let's get to discussing the problematic August 20 video report.    Jim, a male to female transperson is a transgender woman, NOT a 'transgender man'.   You also use FEMININE pronouns when referring to that person.

And using 'lifestyle' in the context of a report on a transgender person is problematic and offensive.

But you would have known that Jim had you referred to the AP Stylebook, The National Gay And Lesbian Journalism Assn (NGLJA) guide or GLAAD's guides

The way this story was reported was not only confusing to those of us in the trans community and our allies, but has raised questions of just how committed you and your station are to respecting the humanity of transpeople and reporting accurately on our lives.

This won't be the first or last time you encounter trans people in the Detroit area.  Past time for WXYZ-TV and other Detroit media outlets to get it right in reporting on us.

TransGriot Update:  Looks like the story has been cleaned up to remove the misgendering language. 

History Repeating Itself In Chitown?

Chicago SkylineTransGriot Note: We African-American transwomen painfully remember that our sis CeCe McDonald spent 41 months in a Minnesota prison unjustly incarcerated after defending herself from an unprovoked racist attack by cisgender transphobic bigots.

Is the same thing about to happen to another African-American trans woman in Chicago?   This guest post by Channyn Parker suggests it's possible.

Self-Defense is Murder When You're A TWOC.

A Trans-Woman sits in Cook County Jail, Division 9, and there she awaits trial. Why?, because she refused to not defend herself.

While on the city of Chicago's West Side, she and a friend were accosted by a barrage of slurs and epithets at a near by gas station. Two neighborhood men, violently informed the young woman and company, that she was not welcome in her own community because she is transgender. Refusing to be berated, thus speaking up for herself, blows to the face were delivered by one of the men. She proceeded to fight back, the result; the accompanying man called for back up.

In an attempt to get away, the young woman and friend, got in the car, in an effort to drive off. By this time, another vehicle full of the assaulting individual's friends had pulled up, thus blocking her from behind. To the side of her, was the man now pulling at her door in an attempt to force her out of the car. In a panicked frenzy to get away, she ran her car into the man thus pinning his leg to the wall.

Amidst the chaos of the situation, the two women fled from the vehicle and hid from their attackers until she was met by safety.

At the urge of her mother, she eventually turned herself in. Here, she was to discover that her attacker was not only injured during her attempt to escape, but the injury cost him his leg. It had to be removed.

Now, a young woman trans woman sits; 26 years old, detained in the Cook County Jail, facing 10 years imprisonment for 1st degree attempted murder. Her crime; defending her life.

This crime comes on the heels of rampant violence against TWOC on our city's west-side. This travesty of justice proceeds the murder of Paige Clay and preceded the death of her friend that accompanied her that very day. Yes, she was later found murdered, her death goes unsolved.

So, here she is.... another victim of being fed up. Here she is, another victim of the devastating reality of the social injustice Trans-Women of Color face.

I could go on and on with all of the crushing details that this case entails. While sitting with this woman today, it took all that was within me not to cry. She holds fast to her innocence as her public defender offers little defense. Again community, I urge you to offer your support.

With her permission, I have offered to gather whatever resources I can to help her go public with this. All I know is that a trans-woman sits, eyes glazed with fear, uncertain of her future. As always, hold her in loving light and prayer. Write her, as your letters of support are welcome. Rally whomever and whatever support you can offer.

TransGriot Update: The transwoman in question's name is Eisha Love, and a #FreeEisha campaign has started complete with a petition requesting her freedom.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rest In Power, Kenishia Hubbard 1964-2014

Was stunned to hear that one of our transsisters, Left Coast advocates and my fellow Texan Kenishia Hubbard suddenly passed away at age 50 on Monday August 18 in San Diego, CA..

From Kenishia's daughter Nita Hubbard:  (multiple pronouns changed to avoid misgendering Kenishia and respect her life)
For those of you who are unaware my father suddenly passed away at the age of 50 years young yesterday afternoon. I am saddened and in shock but more importantly I want to make sure that everyone who knew Kenishia is aware of her death so they may join our family and friends in her home coming. Please spread the word.  I will keep everyone posted on the wake and funeral services. Rest in peace daddy, I love you. Kenishia "KiKi" Hubbard January 3, 1964 - August 18, 2014.

Kenishia was born in Fort Worth, graduated from Dunbar High, studied at Tarrant County Junior College and served our country proudly as a US Marine.   Kenishia was also a mentor to many transsisters in the San Diego area .

I had the pleasure of meeting her along with many of my BTAC family at the recent edition of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference in Dallas.

Kenishia was my roommate for the event and we spent a few long nights discussing our lives up to that point and her desire to expand her outreach wings in the San Diego and national trans community.   She had a heart as wide as our home state and never failed to put a smile on my face and everyone else who she came in contact with during the time we were together at BTAC 

And as I found out to my chagrin at the Saturday fun day, she plays a mean game of dominoes.

I made a friend during that weekend, and saddened I didn't get the opportunity to build on the connection we made during that weekend in Dallas like I wanted to do.    

A reminder to all of us.  Tell the people that you care about and who mean a lot to you how much you appreciate them while they are in this plane of existence to hear it..   Once they are gone, it's too late to do so. 

Services for Kenishia Hubbard are pending at this time, and as I get information about the homegoing service arrangements or any memorial services being planned in the San Diego area, I'll pass that info to you as soon as I receive it.

If you wish to send donations, flowers or cards, you can do so via Kenishia Hubbard's daughter Nita Hubbard.  Phone number is 972-750-1929 or you can call 619-506-7505.

Rest in power and peace Kenishia.  Until we meet again.