Thursday, December 31, 2015

H-town Takeover Completed With 38-24 Peach Bowl Win

Houston Cougars head coach Tom Herman poses for a photos with his team after the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in Atlanta. Houston beat Florida State University 38-24. Photo: Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / © 2015 Houston Chronicle

The H-town Takeover, as this 2015 UH Cougar season was dubbed, has so far been a smashing success in coach Tom Herman's first season.   The Coogs opened up 12-0, with the only blemish being a 20-17 loss in with all everything quarterback Greg Ward, Jr didn't play because of an injury.

They eventually captured the 2015 American Athletic Conference with a hard fought win over Navy, and claimed their first major bowl invite since the 1985 Cotton Bowl.

The H-town takeover was taking its show to the Georgia Dome in the ATL and their first ever Peach Bowl.  But their opponent in this first ever Peach Bowl trip was the 9th ranked Florida State Seminoles.

The Cougars took full advantage of being in the national spotlight by racing to a 21-3 halftime lead as the Seminole offense sputtered in the first half with four punts, a fumble and a intersection thanks to the stifling  Cougar defense as they bottled up FSU's Dalvin Cook .  

University of Houston team celebrates their 38-24 win over Florida State University  in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in Atlanta. Photo: Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / © 2015 Houston ChronicleFlorida State hadn't given up more than 25 points the entire year, and when they closed the gap to 24-17, the Cougars offense got it back in gear, scored 17 fourth quarter points to sprint to a 38-24 win to claim a signature Peach Bowl win and finish 13-1 for the second time in four years.  .  

The win over FSU was their first over a Top Ten program since 1979, and their third this season over a Power 5 conference school (Louisville (ACC), Vanderbilt (SEC) were the others).  

It should also do wonderful things for their recruiting, and will be interesting to see where they start off in the rankings in 2016.

So what you waiting for Big XII?  Do u and yourselves a favor and extend an invite to UH.  


The 2015 Shut Up Fool Of The Year Is...

Well, I know y'all want to get to the partying, so let's get to who got selected as this year's TransGriot Shut Up Fool Of The Year.

I started doing the Shut Up Fool of the Year Award in 2009 as a logical extension of the weekly Shut Up Fool Awards.  It is one of my TransGriot New Year's Eve traditions in which on December 31,  I take the time to honor the person, persons or group who had a year's worth of WTF moments.

The initial honoree in 2009 was the RNC Chair
 Michael Steele   He was followed by Sarah Palin in 2010.  In 2011 Herman Cain snagged the honor over some stiff competition followed by runaway 2012 winner Mitt Romney. 
The 2013 winner was the junior senator from Alberta, Ted Cruz with a late run of idiocy to snag the 2013 Shut Up Fool of The Year honors.

In 2014 the Shut Up Fool of the Year award stayed in Texas with Rep Louie Gohmert getting it over some stiff competition.

And now, the envelope please as I announce this year's Shut Up Fool Of The Year winner.

The landslide 2015 Shut Up Fool of the Year winner is Donald Trump.   The only other persons who were even close were 2013 winner Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson.
It was a well deserved award when you consider Trump was given the 2015 Lie of the Year Award by PolitiFact, white supremacists and Russian President Vladimir Putin are endorsing your GOP POTUS campaign, he has said nasty things about Latinos, Muslims, African-Americans, and women, mocked a disabled reporter, and made dangerous comments about shooting reporters.

There is no other fool, er person that deserves the Shut Up Fool of The Year award more than the Trumpenfuhrer.

Congratulations and Shut Up Fool!

Top 5 Texas Trans Moments of 2015

One of the things that irritates me about Top Five or Top Ten lists for trans issues is that far too often, they ignore stuff that doesn't happen on I-5, I-95 or inside I-495.  FYI to the rest of the country, liberal progressive people do exist here inside the borders of the Lone Star State and some of the 35 million people who live here inside my bigger than France state are trans people.

I need to remind you once again that Texas, and especially Houston based trans activists have helped spur much of the progress of the modern trans rights movement, and far too often we get ignored for doing so.

So in order to address that bi- coastal and inside the beltway imbalance, I'm going to do a 2015 Top 5 trans moments list with a Texas twang to it.

1.  All four anti-trans bathroom bills die in the Texas Legislature.

As part as a major attack on the human rights of Texas TBLG people, the hatemongers in the GOP controlled Texas Legislature rolled out a slate of 20 unjust bills.   Four of those bills (HB 1748, 1749, 2801 and 2802 targeted the Texas trans community.

These bathroom bills sought to not only criminalize being trans for adult trans Texans, but attack our trans kids matriculating in Texas schools.  

HB 1748 and HB 1749 were filed by suburban Houston Republicans Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball and would have made it a misdemeanor crime punishable by fines and jail time for Moni and every trans Texan to poop and pee in public restrooms. HB 2080 and 2082, filed by Rep. Gilbert Pena of Pasadena, targeted Texas trans kids.  It incentivized snitching on and bullying trans kids for using the potty for cash.

We were given little to no chance by outside of Texas groups to kill any of that negative legislation, but that's exactly what happened.   Trans Texans in conjunction with our allies got mad, rolled up our sleeves, and showed up in Austin for three lobby days.   We talked to our legislators under the Pink Dome, lobbied and denounced the unjust bills and successfully got them killed.

But you can bet that when the 2017 session starts, we will once again need to be ready to roll to Austin to defend our human rights again.  

2.  HERO Repealed

You've seen a lot of posts on this blog about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and the fight in 2014 to pass it.  Passing the law was the easy part.  The hard part as we knew when we started this human rights battle was going to be being able to keep it in the City Code of Ordinances.

Due to a massive disinformation campaign, a devastatingly effective ad, Houston media not doing their job combined with a mistake ridden HERO defense campaign, the Forces of Intolerance led primarily by out of town anti-LGBT activists and the Texas GOP, the Forces of Intolerance won by a 61-39% margin.

And yeah, I had a lot to say about the failure of the Houston Unites campaign to defend the HERO against this debunked trans predator meme and recycled Jim Crow talking points.

3.  Dallas strengthens trans protections

As we were suffering a devastating human rights defeat on our end of I-45 and getting pilloried in the national media for it, on the northern end of it in Dallas they were strengthening their trans protections.

One week after the HERO repeal, the Texas Values haters, fresh off their victory in Houston, tried to replicate what they had done in Dallas.

They failed as the Dallas City Council by a unanimous vote clarified their trans human rights protections that had been on the books since 2002 and the Dallas media tore their spokeshaters to shreds.

This is one time I can't (cough, cough) hate on Dallas.

4. Nikki Araguz Loyd wins her trans marriage case

After a nearly six year battle to do so, Nikki Araguz Loyd finally prevailed in the Delgado v. Araguz  trans marriage legal fight that killed the odious 1999 Littleton v Prange trans marriage case.

It not only reinstated her marriage to the late Capt. Thomas Araguz III and gave her the recognition back as his widow, it set a positive precedent for trans marriage rights in the Lone Star State

And how apropos the final ruling in the case happened on November 20, and the transphobic judge Randy Clapp (R)  that ruled the wrong way back in 2010, was the one that had to sign the order reversing his incorrect one.

5. Texas loses two trans women.

Unfortunately two of the record 20 trans women murdered in 2015 were Lone Star State residents in 24 year old Ty Underwood and 20 year old  Shade Schuler.

24 year old Ty Underwood was killed in Tyler, Texas in January by her boyfriend Carlton Ray Champion, who was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison after bragging he'd be back on the streets on the day he was convicted.

shade schuler
The other trans woman we lost was in Dallas.   The decomposing body of 22 year old Shade Schuler was found on July 29 in a field near the Dallas medical district.

Unfortunately her killer has yet to be found and justice has yet to be served in this case, but it's hopeful that it will happen for her, her family and all who love her in 2016.

A reminder to the rest of the country.  We have some kick butt trans activists here in the Lone Star Sate who despite what y'all think on the coasts, are making stuff happen that benefits trans kind.

Going to be interesting to see what we accomplish in 2016.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Stop Killing Us, Po-Po's

In the wake of once again, another white district attorney failing to indict a white police officer in a death by po-po killing of a Black person, this time in the wake of killing Tamir Rice in Cleveland, I was asked what are my thoughts about what has been happening.

I'm tired of seeing the non-indictments happening and vanillacentric privileged people racistly trying to justify it.

I'm going to link to another post from Ashton Woods' Strength In Numbers' blog that says it more eloquently than i can right now about this subject.

Here's a taste of it:

The United States has always been a society that generally treats African Americans as less than second class citizens and often less than human. History is right now, MF! Any elementary level knowledge of and understanding about the historically white supremacist and violent culture of the United States of America would help the willfully ignorant get it, get it? Or are you suffering cognitive dissonance? That's it, but it makes you complicit if that ugly hat fits! Duck fat! Get your mind right and you don't have to wear it...

For the rest of the thought provoking post, click on the link..

Mayor Parker's Last Week

Her haters may be cheering, but for those of us who have either worked in or voted for her in her multiple campaigns for city council, controller and as the 61st mayor of Houston, it's a bittersweet week for us.

Mayor Annise Parker after six years is serving the last week of her term as our mayor, and closes out 18 years of service as a Houston elected official.

As for what she is going to do after Mayor-elect Sylvester Turner takes over on January 2 and sworn in on January 4, she says she has applied for a one semester fellowship at Harvard's Kenndy School of Government, but after that her plans are up in the air.

There are rumors however she might make a run for higher office in 2018.  

Which one we'll find out soon enough.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

So When Does it Become 'Offensive' For A Trans Woman To Bare Her Chest?

The message Courtney Demone received from Facebook Support.
Back in 2011 I wrote about the case of Andrea Jones, who bared her chest to protest Tennessee's refusal to change the gender marker on her driver's license despite despite having genital surgery and was arrested for indecent exposure despite the state of Tennessee's refusal to change the gender marker on her birth certificate.

The police report when Ms. Jones was arrested at the time misgendered her. “Mr. Jones continued to yell that he had the right to show his breasts in public,” it read, “and wanted to be recognized as a female.”
The issue also cropped up when supermodel Andreja Pejic, during the androgynous modeling phase of her career, was bare chested on a 2011 cover of Dossier magazine that Barnes & Noble stated they would only stock on its shelves if the magazine was in an opaque cover

Well, the passage of four years hasn't made the issue go away. It's a question that is being asked again because of that sexist double standard on Facebook and Instagram that allows men to bare their nippled chests but women cannot show theirs.

The exceptions to the policy are women breastfeeding, showing breasts with post mastectomy scarring, and sculptures and art featuring nude bodies

Courtney Demone, the trans woman who is challenging social network’s nudity policies.And it's being challenged by 24 year old Canadian trans woman Courtney Demone.   In a Guardian interview she asks, "So at what point in my breast development do I need to cover my nipples?  I already feel shameful about them being visible, but at what point does society say it's unacceptable for them to be out?"

The Facebook and Instagram community standards policy removes images of genitalia and of women's breasts, but not of bare chested men.

Demone campaign is another arm of the #FreeTheNipple movement started by actor and producer Lina Esco, that seeks to challenge societal and social media censorship of women's bodies and desexualize the portrayal of women's nipples in Western society.

It's a campaign that public figures such as Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, Cara Delevigne, Rumer Willis and Miley Cyrus have lent their support to.

For transkind, it's a question that goes to the core of our identities, and it is one that both trans men and trans women face.  At what point does it become acceptable for a trans man to bare his chest, and at what point does the societal script flip for trans women and it becomes unacceptable for us to not be able to?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Leelah Alcorn One Year Anniversary

Today is the sad day one year ago that 17 year old Leelah Alcorn stepped in front of an 18 wheeler truck near the South Lebanon, OH exit of I-71.  Two hours later her suicide note popped up on her Tumblr blog urging those of us who fight for the human rights of trans people to 'fix society'.

She wanted her death to mean something for trans civil rights movements.   While we have much work to do to get to that point where society will be safe for trans kind to navigate, the hard work is already being done to make that a reality.

So that we don't forget what happened on this day, here's the text of the note she posted on her blog a year ago.


If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in.

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.

I formed a sort of a “fuck you” attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.

So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a shit about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.


(Leelah) Josh Alcorn

Susan L. Taylor Comments On Tracey Norman

I'd talked about on these electronic pages the trailblazing modeling career of girl like us Tracey Africa Norman who was nondisclosed in the 70's to early 80's while doing so.

She had major print campaigns with Clairol, Avon, and Ultra Sheen in addition to shooting five ESSENCE covers.   Her career in the United States came to a screeching halt after she was outed as a trans woman during a sixth ESSENCE cover shoot in the early 1980's.

Tracey expanded on and told her story I initially talked about in 2011 during a recent interview with Jada Yuan, and discussed the fateful sixth ESSENCE cover shoot that outed her.

Because the initial Yuan article went viral, we now have another one in which Susan L Taylor has finally commented on the record about her recollections and thoughts about what happened to Norman during and after that fateful ESSENCE photo shoot that marked the end of her modeling career in the US.

Taylor claims in the interview that she suspected that Norman was trans but she accepted her for who she presented herself as at that time.

"So to have this be said about Essence at the time and me specifically is devastating. The truth that I want Tracey to know, and this is so important, is that she was totally safe with us at Essence. No one could have outed her to me. I always suspected she was genetically male. I accepted her as she presented herself, as an exquisitely beautiful black woman. Now, this is 40 years later, but I think someone that she went to school with in Newark told me that they knew her as a boy. I think."
--Susan L. Taylor

Well, I find it interesting to note that Tracey Norman's booming modeling career died immediately after she was outed during that ESSENCE magazine cover shoot and she never shot or appeared on another ESSENCE magazine cover.  

So color me skeptical about what Susan L. Taylor said because if she were sincere about it, Tracey would have appeared on a few more ESSENCE covers during the 80's.

Had her story come out at the time and ESSENCE backed her like Taylor claimed they would have, it would have been groundbreaking for me and other Black trans feminine kids of that time period to have her as someone we could have looked up to.

But it didn't happen that way.  Somebody, whether it was at ESSENCE or elsewhere called her now defunct Zoli agency,  and they suddenly had no work for her the day after that shoot.

The comments by Taylor sound not only disingenuous, but were delivered with much shade as well.

Upcoming 'The New Black' Screening And Panel Discussion

My first event of 2016 is going to be an interesting one.  It will be a January 14 screening of the Yoruba Richen documentary The New Black followed by a community panel discussion about the HERO and our way forward as a community.

I've seen the movie already, and it documents the marriage equality fight in Maryland and the successful ballot campaign to defend it in a state with a significant African-American population.

The movie had a few familiar faces in it for me like NBJC executive director and CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks and one of my activist homegirls in Samantha Master.

The panel after the movie will be moderated by Januari Leo, and be comprised of Fran Watson, Christina Gorczynski. Shekira Dennis and moi.

It is sponsored by the Iota chapter of Delta Phi Upsilon Fraternity, Inc and will take place at 14 Pews starting at 6 PM CST with a reception followed by the movie screening starting at 7 PM.

14 Pews is located at 800 Aurora St. in H-town, and hope to see you there .

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jazzmun Speaks About Transphobia

One of the people I finally had the pleasure of meeting in 2015 was Jazzmun.

You have seen this California native on television and the silver screen in numerous roles in movies like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Punks, and the documentary In Full Bloom.  I had a wonderful time getting to know our amazing sister earlier this year in Chicago and I hope 2016 is the year she gets the opportunity to really show Hollywood and the world what she can do as an actor.

This is her speaking on the issue of transphobia, and it's something that we need to leave behind in 2015 as we move to a new year this Friday.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Eyes On The 2016 White House Prize, People

In a few days we'll officially be in the year 2016 and the vote casting stretch of the presidential election will start.  The Iowa caucuses will happen February 1, followed by the New hampshire Primary on February 8

On the Democratic side of the contest to succeed President Barack Obama are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley.

As far as I'm concerned, any of these candidates would be ready to handle the nation's business on January 20, 2017 far moreso than any of the Cirque de GOP ones competing for their party's nomination.

And my vote, like the votes of many African-Americans are up for grabs in this 2016 Democratic Presidential primary after having our once in a lifetime pleasure of voting for a POTUS who looks like us twice and having our faith in his abilities rewarded.

In this 2016 cycle, I'm leaning toward Hillary Clinton.  I'm not feeling the Bern or sold on Bernie Sanders yet.   I still have questions about Martin O'Malley that many of the Maryland peeps who had him as their governor can answer for me.   But the bottom line is that push come to shove, I would rather have Clinton, Sanders or even O'Malley in the White House than ANY GOP anti-human rights chickenhawk warmonger.

So hearing you vanillacentric privileged Sanders peeps say like petulant children that you'll sit out the election if he doesn't get the nomination is not only childish, but mindbogglingly stupid and alarming to me as a non-white trans American.

The quality of my life for the next four years depends on a Democrat getting elected to succeed President Obama in November, and I really don't give a rat's anus which one it is.

It is non-white Americans whose human rights will take the brunt of the suffering if we have a GOP candidate get elected to POTUS in November 2016.   
You folks who benefit from white privilege can take the cavalier position of  'both parties are the same' (which is BS to any non-white person) because no matter what happens, the policies that come out of those administrations will primarily benefit you as white Americans.

But non-white Americans don't have that luxury.  We know the predominately conservative white male Republicans hate us and have been building their popularity in GOP primary circles by attacking and demonizing us.   We also realize that because of the 'hate on non-white Americans' rhetoric they are spewing, their policies will not benefit us or our communities, but be punitive towards us while continuing to enrich 
the 1% superbillionaires that fund their campaigns.  

So it's why we'll be voting for the Democratic presidential nominee and Democratic candidates on November 8 by a nearly 3-1 margin.

Y'all need to focus on the big picture and the White House prize.  The Republicans are desperate to win in 2016 because if they don't, they are staring at 12, and potentially 16 years of not having a Republican head the executive branch of government, and that is more than enough time for a President Clinton, Sanders or O'Malley to build on Obama's eight year legacy after cleaning up the mess that George W. Bush left domestically and internationally and continuing the liberal progressive policy shift at the executive branch level.      

The next president will select at least 4 Supreme Court justices and either continue the progress of cleaning up the federal judiciary started under President Obama or lock us into a 7-2 conservative majority that will make our lives miserable for the next 25-30 years.
I'm not down with the Supreme Court for the rest of my life being under a conservative majority so they can finish the job of eviscerating and rolling back all of the progressive legislation that was passed in the 20th century.  
I'd rather have a 6-3 or 7-2 LIBERAL SCOTUS majority, and that ain't happening under a President Trump.

It's not just the Supreme Court that is in the balance. We are on the verge of flipping many of the US circuit courts districts like the 5th Circuit to progressive control because the conservative judges appointed by Reagan and Daddy Bush are hitting retirement age.

That is critical to those of us stuck with oppressive GOP state governments and clueless Republican governors in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi and elsewhere in circuits covering other GOP ruled states to at least have the federal court system as a backstop to roll back their unjust, unconstitutional and fascist laws and executive orders. 

You want universal health care?  An end to the attacks on a woman's right to choose?  Election Day being a national holiday and the end of voter suppression laws?  More federal funding for public transit, rail and rebuilding our infrastructure?   Increased funding for STEM education and public schools?  That won't happen under a GOP administration.

And y'all need to realize you can't get liberal-progressive policies under a conservative government, so you need to vote for progressive candidates all the way to the end of the ballot.

So eyes on the big 2016 White House prize people.