Thursday, April 30, 2015

BTAC 2015-Day 2

Still in Dallas at the Doubletree Campbell Center for the Black Trans Advocacy Conference for my second full day here.

The highlights today will be the keynote speeches by Tiq Milan and Miss major Griffin Gracy.
|The Black Trans Interrnational Pageants will happen later tonight, and many of the seminaras have a health and wellness theme such as Healthcare Hallelujah Trans* Health And The Affordable Care Act  to 'Exploring HIV Health Risks Among Transmen'

I'm also having a blast getting to spend quality time with the trans brothers and the trans sisters I know and geeting acquainted with the trans brothers and trans sisters I'm just meeting for the first time

And love seeing my Dallas fam in Rafael McDonnell and Nell Gaither.

I still find it ironic that Diamond Stylz and I live less than 5 miles from each other in Houston, buit i have to bring my butt to BTAC or some other conference to spend quality time with her.

But she knows I love her to death.   And if you feeling down, you won't be after getting hugged by our BTAC First Lady Espy Brown.

There were some amazing conversations taking place here yesterday in our seminars, at dinner and in the hotel lobby.  

And definitely need to step away from the front desk and those sinfully delicious cookies.

Need More TBLG Cultural Competency On HBCU Campuses

Last Thursday night I got a chance to cross something else off my activist bucket list.

I got the opportunity to do a panel discussion on an HBCU campus.  The fact it was Texas Southern University, where I have extensive family ties, made it even more special.

It's the beginning of an ongoing conversation on trans and SGL issues that needed to happen.

And in the wake of the Jenner 20/20 interview, one of the things that I've was pondering on the way to Dallas for BTAC is what can we do in Black Trans World to get our people to realize we Black trans folks are part of the Black community, and our issues are Black community issues.

TSU is one of 106 HBCU campuses in the United States, and sadly only 21% of them have full time LGBTQ organizations on campus.  Only three have gender identity and expression in their non discrimination statements.   Only three (Bowie State, North Carolina Central and Fayetteville State ) have  LGBT centers on their campuses.  

HBCU's better recognize that LGBT African-Americans are not only aren't going away, when it's time for us to choose a college to matriculate at, we are going to look at attending HBCU's to further our collegiate education.  But in order to do so, HBCU campuses are going to have to become more culturally competent in order to get Black trans, bi and SGL students to consider matriculating there.

If they don't start considering doing that or refuse to do so, being a HBCU will not be enough to draw them away from other college campuses that do make their campuses safe for trans. bi and SGL students to matriculate on and proudly promote it..

It's past time for HBCU's to start having those conversations, and if it is BTMI, BTWI and TPOCC that facilitates those conversations on the HBCU campuses around the nation, then that's all good, too

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Happy 80th Birthday April Ashley!

Across The Pond today is the milestone birthday of one of our trans community icons.  Today April Ashley, MBE was born on this date 80 years ago in Liverpool, England.  

No wonder I love her.   She's a fellow Taurus!

She had a challenging childhood and grew up to become one of the first people in Great Britain to undergo SRS with Dr. Georges Bourou in Casablanca, Morocco in 1960.

VariousShe was a Vogue fashion model, worked at the famed LeCarrousel trans club in Paris in which she rubbed elbows with Ernest Hemingway, Jean Paul Sartre and Bob Hope, was an actress, and enjoyed the romantic attention of actor Peter O'Toole and famed painters Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso.

She has also worked tirelessly to advance the human rights of trans people in Great Britain and awarded her MBE in 2012.

In September 2013 the year long April Ashley: Portrait of A Lady exhibit opened at the Museum of Liverpool focused on her amazing life.

Ashley received a Lifetime Achievement honor during the 2014 European Diversity Awards.

Happy 80th birthday, April!   To me. April Ashley's life is a testament to living well being your best revenge as a trans person.  

And living long enough to celebrate eight decades on this planet definitely qualifies as living well.

BTAC 2015-Day 1

It's actually the third full day of the fourth annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference, but my first full one after my travel day from H-town.

I've always wnted to learn how to do grant writing, and one of the sessions I'll definitely be planning to attend is one entitled 'The Grant Development Process'.

There's also a social media one I'm interested in as I peruse the program offerings for today, Tiq Milan's 'Trans Advocacy Media Training', the Black Trans Community Summit and the TransManifest Open Mic to close out Wednesday's programming.

I wonder who I'll run into today?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Dallas For BTAC 2015

I've finally made it to the other end of I-45 in Dallas for the 2015 edition of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference.

It's not only one of my fave conference because it happens to fall around my Cuatro de Mayo birthday, I'm also here on business.

I'm chilling in my 18th floor room with a beautiful view of downtown Dallas.

It's business and pleasure.  I not only get an opportunity to get my learn on, I get to present the Monica Roberts Advocacy Award to this year's winner of it on May 1 as i creep closer to my birthday.

For those of you who couldn't make it, you can check out the BTAC action  on Twiiter via the #BTAC2015 hashtag.

I did get the chance to witness the beautiful opening ceremony for BTAC which included a libation ceremony in which we honored the ancestors inside and outside the trans community

And yes, so happy te Rockets handled their NBA business back home and beat the Mavericks, so I get to gloat for a moment while I'm inside the Dallas city limints.

Time for me to get ome beauty sleep and get ready for my first full day at BTAC 2015.

Rolling Toward Dallas For BTAC 2015

After attempting another day trip to Austin to handle some lobbying business, I'm boarding a Megabus in 45 minutes for the four hour trip up I-45 to Dallas for the 2015 edition of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference.

I love this fourth annual conference for multiple reasons.   It's one that takes place in my home state and in the city where my mom grew up.  It's one in which trans men from around the country are gathered.

And the best part is that it happens around my birthday, and I get spoiled by the trans brothers.

If this bus pulls out of here on time at 1:15 PM , I'll be getting to Dallas just in time for rush hour at 5:20 PM and my train ride to the convention hotel.

See y'all in a few hours BTAC family.

White People, Before You Start Throwing Racist Stones Over Baltimore, Check Yourselves

"It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard."
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,  'The Other America' , March 14, 1968

Yesterday afternoon the anger of the April 19 death of 25 year old Freddie Gray, who suffered a spinal cord injury while in Baltimore police custody exploded into a riot after his funeral.

As the rebellion played out on the nation's TV screens, a 10 PM-5 AM EST curfew was announced by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a state of emergency was declared by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) and the Maryland National Guard was deployed, once again there were some white folks determined to show their Archie Bunker sides on social media.

I know you mofos ain't trying to talk trash about Black folks in Baltimore who are as Dr King pointed out in that 1968  'The Other America' speech mere weeks before his assassination,  are in violent rebellion mode once again because of being sick and tired of watching Black people die at the hands of predominately white police forces and them getting away with it, and feeling powerless to the point they feel this is the only way they can get attention.

And FOX Noise won't tell you this because they were busy race baiting as usual, but there was another march going on in West Baltimore yesterday that involved a group of local clergy.

Yeah, can you hear us now?   Baltimore has a history of police brutality aimed at communities of color to the point the city is paying thousands of dollars in settlements to the victims of it, a man had his spinal cord severed while in police custody back on April 12 and people are supposed to sing kumbaya about that?   If you're more concerned about property damage than non-white people being killed by police without retribution, then your moral compass needs some serious recalibration.

And I don't want to hear one syllable on social media or the media attacking the Black community for this when white people have rioted because their favorite sports teams won or lost and you are never called by society to take personal responsibility for your own fracked up behavior.

What is pissing me off is the racist invective getting launched in social media by smirking white folks drunk on vanillacentric privilege and ignorant of their own people's riot filled history.

So before you even think about hurling racist invective at Black people in rebellion over something that has been building for years in Baltimore , have a seat.

Happy Birthday Leiomy!

It's time to give a TransGriot birthday shout out to another fellow Taurus and one who I'm looking forward to meeting one day.

Happy birthday to Leiomy Maldonado, who if you'll turn the clock back to 2009, this #GirlLikeUs was making news back in the day as the leader of the Vogue Evolution team on the MTV show  America's Best Dance Crew.
Leiomy and Vogue Evolution were in the news as they made a five week run to capture the title on that show in its fourth season and the $100,000 prize that went with it.

Unfortunately Leiomy and the Vogue Evolution crew fell short of the final dance, but represented our community and the New York ballroom scene well.

Hope you have an amazing, blessings filled birthday Leiomy, and you get to celebrate many more of them..

Monday, April 27, 2015

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch Sworn In!

America, we finally have a United States Attorney General!

She had to wait over 160 days for it,  but Loretta E. Lynch is now officially the second woman, second African American and first African-American woman to become Attorney General.

She was sworn in earlier today, and here's that historic moment.

Janet To Be Interviewed By Oprah May 3

Embedded image permalink
One of the things I've asked for on this blog in two open letters in 2007 and 2010 was for Oprah to interview a Black trans person on her show.  

Her talk show ended before that happened, but now it looks like that is finally going to happen.

Janet Mock will be on the May 3 episode of Oprah's Super Soul Sunday being interviewed about her New York Times best selling book Redefining Realness.

Better late than never, but so happy for my sis Janet.   It's also interesting the timing of this broadcast, since it comes a week after the Jenner interview that drew 19 million people to view it.

Super Soul Sunday is broadcast on OWN  at 11 AM, and I'll be tuned in for it.

BTAC 2015 Starts Today!

I won't be there until tomorrow evening, but today happens to be the start of the fourth annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference in Dallas!

Looking forward to this fourth annual gathering in which I get to spend some quality time with the trans brother, their significant others and allies of the community as we  spend a few days learning, laughing, honing our message and building community as we seek to become the change we wish to see in the world.

 BTAC being an easy run from Houston in addition to being scheduled close to my birthday is a bonus.

And yes, got to see who is going to win the award named after a certain blogger y'all know.

This conference is also coming at an interesting time in the wake of the Jenner interview, and gives us a chance to discuss trans issues from a Black transmasculine perspective.

It is a perspective that we really need to hear more of, and we'll have several days at the Doubletree Campbell Center to do just that.  

See y'all tomorrow, BTAC peeps!.

Transgender Lobby Day In Austin Today

Heading back to my state capitol for an unprecedented for me third time this session to do what I can to help kill some bad anti-trans bills (HB 2801, HB 2802, HB 1748, HB 1749) and drum up support for the good bills like Rep. Garnet Coleman's HB 2058 

This effort is so important that I'm delaying my trip to Dallas for the BTAC Conference by 24 hours so I can participate.  Last night there was a caucus held in Austin to discuss issues of importance to the Texas transgender community.

In a few hours we hit the Capitol to lobby against the unjust bills by the Discrimination Duo of Pena and Riddle, and for Rep. Coleman's bill that will streamline the process for changing gender markers.

All of the bills in question are in the State Affairs Committee, and for those of you who can't make it to Austin, you can still be agents of your own trans liberation and make calls to your state legislators.

TransGriot Update:  Was trying to fit this Austin lobby trip in before I left for Dallas, and thought the shuttle was leaving from the Montrose Center at 6 AM.    I arrived at the Montrose Center at 5:40 AM.  When I didn't see anyone arrive by 6:30 AM headed to Austin left and returned home.   The shuttle left at 7 AM while I was enroute back home.

Oh well, little upset I'm not in Austin, but did my part to ensure I could be there to represent my community.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

POTUS Remarks At 2015 WH Correspondent's Dinner

The 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner, AKA 'Nerd Prom' took place last night.  For those of you who missed it, here's the video from C-SPAN.

PBS-The Quiet Trans Revolution

More evidence that trans human rights and the transgender tipping point talked about in the Time magazine story is happening.

This PBS story interviewing Alex Myers, who transitioned in the mid 90's and became the first trans graduate of Harvard

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Moni's Thoughts On The 20/20 Jenner Interview

I turned it off a Houston Rockets playoff game against the Dallas NBA franchise (that they won) at 8 PM CDT to do what 17 million other Americans did and watched the Bruce Jenner interview.

I had reservations along with many people in Trans World because of the hype and past media fumbles when it comes to covering trans issues how this was going to turn out.  

But as the interview played out over then next two hours with me flipping to the Rockets playoff game during commercial breaks, outside of a few WTF moments, the interview was handled by Diane Sawyer quite well.  

If I had to grade it, I'd give it a B+.   They did a great job of letting Jenner tell her personal story and mixing it with stats and other interviews that  point out just how tough it is to be trans in America.

When it was over, we had an interview on KTRK-TV (ABC13, my local ABC affiliate station) with trans woman Veronika Simms..   Yep I know her, she is one intelligent and obviously attractive woman, and have much love and respect for her.  

While it was an excellent interview, I was bothered by the focus on surgery.  Not everyone can afford $60K in facial feminization surgery or much less GRS.   Some trans women don't feel it's necessary to have genital surgery or can't for medical or fiscal reasons, and that needs to be talked about at some point.

Trans women are women.  Trans men are men.   Gender identity and expression of it is between your ears, not your legs.  We also  need to deal with the realities of trans life like the GOP pushing anti-trans legislation to criminalize our lives, and in 32 states we have no discrimination protections  

That's the reality that many trans women of color deal with, and I hope that while we're in this moment in which America is celebrating Jenner's coming our, the reality is much different for TWOC.

50th Anniversary Of Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit In

50 years ago today an event took place in Philadelphia that was not only a protest that was focused on gender variant issues, it was one kicked off by African-American gender variant people.

The flashpoint of this protest that took place starting today and through May 1965 was a 24 hour Philadelphia diner and coffee shop called Dewey's Lunch Counter.  (now Little Pete's)

In 1965 the Dewey's location on S. 17th St. across the street from our hotel that me and several friends took the picture in front of during the recent LGBT Media Journalists Convening back in March was a popular late night hangout for the African American gender variant teens who hung out in the nearby Philadelphia gay clubs. 

The ownership of Dewey's, transphobically concerned the predominately LGBT clientele at this location were driving away straight customers, declared that people not in gender appropriate attire would not be served.

This happening during the middle of African-American civil rights movement meant it was on like Donkey Kong, and on April 25, 1965, more than 150 kids showed up at Dewey's in 'non conformist clothing ' in protest of the transphobic policy..  

They were denied service by Dewey's management,  and two male and one female teen refused to leave Dewey's after being denied service.   They were arrested by Philadelphia police officers along with a gay activist advising them of their legal rights, charged and later found guilty of misdemeanor disorderly conduct..

That jumped off a sit in and informational picket of Dewey's that lasted until the second sit in on May 2.   Following that second sit in protest, the Dewey's management backed down and began an immediate cessation of indiscriminate denials of service.

I've had to fight tooth and nail the attempted gaywashing and whitewashing of this predominately gender variant African-American protest that occurred four years before Stonewall, organized on 1960's Civil Rights Movement principles, and one of the examples of a protest organized about and centered on transgender issues.

These are the people whose shoulders I stand on as a proud African-American trans person, and it was wonderful to know this is part of our history that I get to share with others.

And I hope that the city of Philadelphia will be celebrating what happened at that location today.

TransGriot Note:  Been notified by Christopher Bartlett there  will be a 50th anniversary commemoration of the sit in at 10:30 PM EDT ay Little Pete's (the current incarnation of Dewey's Lunch Counter)   Location is 219 S. 17th Street in Philadelphia.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Jenner 20/20 Interview

Bruce JennerMy rule has been in these situations that if a person hasn't declared they are trans, I consider them cisgender until that declaration happens.   Until Bruce has that press conference, rumors about a Jenner transition are just that, rumors.
TransGriot,  February 2, 2015
''Moni's Take On The Bruce Jenner Situation'

That's what I said two months ago about the developing media hype fest around Bruce Jenner. 

Tonight that hype has been turbocharged by the start of yesterday's May ratings sweeps month and speculation fueled by Jenner's silence on the subject until the exclusive Diane Sawyer interview that will happen on ABC's 20/20 at 9 PM EDT.

I think much of the ambivalence I and a lot of the trans community is feeling right now is because of the way this situation has been handled. 

While I and every other transperson is happy any time someone decided to come out and embrace their trans truth, it's just the level of hype and media overkill that has been injected into this one that has turned off some folks in the community

It also has many of us nervous, at a time when we have unprecedented attention to trans issues and right ling legislative attacks on us  about how this interview will turn out.

But with that perceived negative has come some positives.  We have had trans advocates in communities across the country get called by their local stations and networks (nope, my phone hasn't rung yet) for interviews and commentary about this and other subjects of importance to the community.

Now if it turns out the Jenner interview confirms what is being speculated and gets some positive reviews, Trans World will breathe a big sigh of relief.

BTAC's First Couple On Cover Of Dallas Voice

Was ecstatic to see in the run up to the start of the fourth annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference on Monday, the First Couple of BTAC, Carter and Espy Brown being featured on the cover of the Dallas Voice.

There's also a nice article about them as well entitled 'A Typical American Couple', and here's an excerpt from it.

By 2011, Carter could clearly see need for a group specific to the community of black transmen. He had looked diligently and was unable to find a group like that anywhere — either online or off. When he realized nothing like that existed, Carter decided he would create the first one.

What followed, he says, was “a wave of men.”

When Carter staged the first conference for black transmen that year, hundreds attended from around the country. The conference is now an annual event that has grown every year.

Common concerns, special issues

Espy says all LGBT people share some common concerns, on issues like coming out and family acceptance. And some issues, she adds, are common to all transpeople, like the cost of transitioning and learning to present.

But there are other issues that are very specific to black transmen, and some issues that black transmen have in common with cisgender black men

You can read the rest of it by clicking on this link.

Shut Up Fool Awards- Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit In 50th Anniversary Weekend Edition

Tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit In that hopefully the city of Philadelphia's LGBT community will be recognizing 

On April 25, 1965, 150 African-American kids in non conforming apparel staged a sit in to protest the denial of service by Dewey's owners to gender variant people because they were afraid they would drive away the business of cisgender peeps.

It took until May 2, but the Dewey's management after several arrests, two sit in and an informational picket eventually dropped the transphobic policy.

So in honor of those African-Americans whose shoulders I stand on as an activist, this call out of fools is for you.

Honorable mention number one is Creflo Dollar.   Dollar Bill complained during a recent televised service about all the peeps who blocked his dream of cruising America's skies in his own $65 million G650 paid for by all his suckers sheeple parishioners.

And who else did he blame,  Church Lady

Buy your own plane with your own damned money since you have enough to buy you and Taffi those designer suits.

Honorable mention number two is Zoey Tur, who wrote this Bruce Jenner piece the Washington Post published about a transition that one, hasn't even been announced, and has the pungent whiff of sour grapes.

Honorable mention number three is Acra Lee Turner.  This oppressor is the useful fool and  spokeskneegrow being used to attack an inclusive non discrimination law in Eureka Springs, AR.

Was revealed by the Arkansas Times that while using the predator meme to attack the LGBT community, Rev. Turner was actually convicted in 1977 and served jail time in Oklahoma for being a convicted rapist.

Can you say hypocrite boys and girls?  Thought you could.

Honorable mention number four is Allen West, who parted his lips to say that if kids were forced to pray in school, there would be less football head injuries

Forced to pray to what God?   Conservagod?  Baal?  Ronald Reagan? Ayn Rand?   

And how many times did you play football without a helmet to say something that clueless?

Honorable mention number five goes to Tammy Bruce.  The lesbian auditioned for TERF status and tried to fit in with the FOX Noise fembots and attack transkids on the GOP Propaganda Network.

Honorable mention number six is Cheryl Rios, who opened her mouth and let something else stupid come out of it by saying that God wants women to serve food, not run for public office.

A woman's place is in the House,, the Senate, the Governor's mansion, City hall, the county courthouse,  the State Legislature, and the Oval Office.

This week's Shut Up Fool is San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor.   She was appointed to the position by the San Antonio City Council to fill the remaining term of Julian Castro, who was appointed HUD secretary over the objections of the San Antonio LGBT community and allies.

Since them Poison Ivy as she's been sarcastically nicknamed, has repeatedly dissed and pissed them off by  no-showing a March 22 Stonewall candidate forum,  called the San Antonio NDO 'a political stunt, frustrated her own LGBT Advisory Committee appointed in October by refusing to meet with them until recently,  found herself being booed at another forum after blaming advocates of the NDO for not leading efforts to propose enforcement mechanisms. and called the San Antonio NDO 'A waste of time'.   She also reneged on her promise made when appointed to the seat to not run for it.

May 9 will be here soon enough San Antonio for y'all to vote her out of office.

And oh yeah, Mayor Ivy Taylor, shut up fool.

Successful TSU 50 Shades Of Me Panel

Last night I was honored to participate on a panel discussion that discussed mental health and the trans community

The panel was entitled 50 Shades Of Me: Mental Health And The Transgender Community and took place in the Jordan-Leland Public Affairs Building on the Texas Southern University campus.

In addition to some blogger y'all know about, the panel included Atlantis Capri, Marie Angel Hernandez, Jude Feng, and Dr. Natalie Walker, and moderated by Dr. Dominique Broussard, one of the organizers of it along with Dr Andrea Shelton.

It was also the first panel I've done on a HBCU campus, and it was gratifying to me it happened on a campus in which I have deep familial ties.

The 50 Shades Of Me panel was a two hour event in which after a greeting by Dr Broussard and an opening statement by Jarvis Calhoun, there was a video played about a young trans kid named Ryland before we dove into the moderated topic of mental health and the trans community.

We discussed the impact of society, the microaggressions and macroaggressions, our personal recollections about it, and other issues that transpeople face that affect them mental health wise. 

It was also enlightening to have J Feng there to not only represent the transmasculine end of it, but talk about trans issues from an Asian-American perspective.

It was also nice to have Dr Walker there to talk about it as a cis feminine therapist who has trans clients perspective.

A pleasant surprise was Dee Dee Watters showing up in the auditorium with roses to present to the panelists. 

The panel's last 30 minutes was opened to audience Q&A before it wrapped up at 8 PM.

This was the first in a series of conversations involving the trans community that will take place on the TSU campus, and Dr Shelton and Dr.Broussard are committed to keeping this dialogue going because it needs to happen.

This was just the beginning of an ongoing conversation, and looking forward to the next one that happens.

NOLA Trans March Later Today

Was advised by Milan Nicole Sherry that later today in New Orleans a trans themed march and community gathering will take place starting at 3:30 PM CDT.

It is being organized by BreakOUT, a local organization that seeks to end the criminalization of LGBTQI youth in the city in order to build a safer and more just New Orleans.

The NOLA Trans March will start and end at the corner of Ursulines and N. Claiborne Ave, and once it is completed will be followed by a press conference.

The march is open to all, and if you wish to take part in it, you are asked to show up at 3:15 PM.

Best of luck and hope it is a megasuccessful event.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Eden's On CNN Tonight!

Been telling y'all for years how amazing my Denver media maven homegirl is.  Looks like the rest of the world is finally paying attention.

Got home just in time from my TSU panel discussion to see Eden Lane's appearance on CNN.

After being named the best non-network personality in Denver, she was invited to appear on CNN Tonight for a segment discussing the upcoming interview of Bruce Jenner tomorrow night on ABC's 20//20 with Diane Sawyer in which a possible trans declaration may happen.

As soon as I find the video, I'll post it.

One Month To The METRORail Green And Purple Lines Opening

The long awaited opening of revenue service on the METRORail Green and Purple lines has been reset several times for different reasons, many of them not in METRO's control.  First there was a strike at the factory building the H3 rail cars needed for the expanded service.   Then there was a new downtown hotel construction accident that punctured a chilled water line underneath the Green and Purple line shared tracks that forced the ripping up of several hundred feet of track to deal with it,, the replacement of that track along with the fiber optics for the signals..  

There were also problems with the axle counters that help METRO Rail Operations keep track of where the trains are, and the delay in getting the bypass past the Union Pacific tracks built to connect the Magnolia Transit Center and Cesar Chavez stations with the rest of the Green Line because of contaminated soil..

But despite all that, we are just a month away from getting revenue service cranked up on those new rail lines.   We Houstonians are beginning to see rail cars doing test runs on the Green and Purple lines, and the new H3 rail cars entering service on the existing Red Line.

The Green and Purple Lines once opened will allow Houstonians to use rail to get to the Theater District, the George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, Minute Maid Park, BBVA Compass Stadium, the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, TDECU Stadium, MacGregor Park and the east and southeast sides of town.

Local political leaders were recently given a ride on the new rail lines, and construction has started on the new overpass bridge that will carry Harrisburg Blvd and the Green Line over the Union Pacific rail tracks toward those two orphan stations and complete the rest of the line.

Hopefully one of the things that was discussed by METRO officials and our political leaders was getting the funding to extend our rail system which is four years ahead of ridership projections to Hobby and Dallas and Denver have done with their rail systems.

I'm just hoping that this May 23 revenue service start date sticks, and one month from now I get to ride two new rail lines headed toward east and southeast Houston.


SA Mayor Ivy Taylor Thinks LGBT Protections Are 'A Waste Of Time'

Taylor"Councilmember Taylor, you are a coward who gave in to fear and prejudice, and your NO vote is irrefutable evidence of that.  You let 'fear and smear' tactics deter you from being a drum majorette for justice. "
TransGriot, June 22, 2014

Remember when I was worried about Ivy Taylor getting a shot at the San Antonio mayor's chair in the wake of Mayor Julian Castro's appointment to become HUD Secretary?

After making a bunch of promises, including not running for the seat and not repealing the hard won  LGBT protective ordinance passed back in September 2013 of which she was  one of the NO votes, she was appointed by council over the objections of San Antonio's TBLG community and our allies to fill Mayor Castro's unexpired term.   In the process, she became the first African-American mayor of San Antonio.   

It also turned out the reservations of the San Antonio LGBT community, their allies and yours truly had were justified.    She's reneged on the promise of running for the mayor's chair, and has caused a political firestorm in the Alamo City by saying at a April 20 candidate forum that the LGBT protections she voted NO against are 'a waste of time'

Taylor said at the Cornerstone Church forum she voted with her conscience , and  year and a half later, still stands by her loud and wrong decision.

Ivy R. Taylor and City Seal“I did not feel we should have even been debating that issue,” she said. “I thought it was a waste of time.

Seriously?  Did you even pay attention in history class?  Human rights legislation is never 'a waste of time', and any African-American politician stupid enough to say that doesn't deserve to be in elective office.

She has also repeatedly pissed off the San Antonio BTLG community by no-showing a March 22 Stonewall candidate forum,  called the San Antonio NDO 'a political stunt, frustrated her own LGBT Advisory Committee appointed in October by refusing to meet with them until recently, and found herself being booed at another forum after blaming advocates of the NDO for not leading efforts to propose enforcement mechanisms

The San Antonio mayoral election is on May 9,  and has LGBT community allies and former state Senator Leticia Van de Putte and former state rep Mike Villarreal in the race.

But in a city that is heavily Latino, with two popular Latino candidates in Van de Putte and Villarreal splitting votes, even though  Taylor has been pissing people off in the Alamo City, don't be surprised if she gets enough votes from Anglos and the 7% African-American population to get her to a runoff.  

But if she doesn't make the mayoral runoff,she'll be gone from the mayor's chair and city council, and it can't happen fast enough for the San Antonio TBLG community and our allies.

It's Sweeps Month-Brace Yourselves For The Trans Themed Programming

When I was in trans info collection mode, my VCR was taping as much trans themed programming as I could find in the run up to my eventual 1994 physical transition.

One of the things I noticed as I taped those talk shows, documentaries and other programs of interest is that they always seemed to pop up during February, May, June and the November  sweeps months.

So what's the 'sweeps months'?   It refers to the Nielsen television ratings system that has dictated whether your fave programs stay on the air or are cancelled.

The sweeps term dates back from 1954, when Nielsen would collect the paper diaries sent to selected homes in the eastern US first, then 'sweep across the country toward the west coast.   The diaries are then aggregated to get the ratings that television programs scheduling decisions and advertising dollars for local television stations, cable systems, and advertisers.  

The November, February and May sweeps months are considered important for programming, while the July sweeps tend to be important for personnel decisions.

The May 2015 sweeps month is starting today, and will run until May 20,   The July sweeps period will be from July 2-29 and the October one will commence on October 29 and run through November 25.

It's probably why ABC's 20/20 scheduled the Bruce Jenner interview for Friday, and you've had interviews all week on MSNBC of trans kids.   While I was flipping channels last night I stumbled across a MTV Catfish show that involved a Houston area trans woman.

And naw, I haven't met the Houston trans woman featured in that show (yet).

And yes, it's always the time when the talk show circuit would schedule their trans themed programming.   Maury would run his infamous Man Or Woman shows during sweeps periods, and Jerry Springer would stick the outrageous trans themed topics on during that time as well..

And when the public is getting most of the news and information about trans people from television, and sweeps month sees higher levels of trans themed programming good, bad or indifferent, it''s always a concern that the programming in question if it's good gets praised by us, and the bad stuff gets called out. 

HERO Updates, Notes And News-April 24

“The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance protects all Houstonians and with the favorable outcome of this trial, the City of Houston is now in the position to increase protections against discrimination for its residents. As members of a community that face ongoing discrimination based on race, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, we welcome a local mechanism to protect all Houstonians from facing further discrimination based on their identities.”

Brandon Mack, Co-Chair, Houston Civil Rights Strategy Group

Aww yeah, my hometown FINALLY has a HERO!   Thanks to Judge Shafer's ruling last Friday, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is now in effect, and the city is taking steps to enforce it.

Yes, those of us in H-town who have fought tooth and nail to get this ordinance implemented are very happy that the too long and frustrating wait to get a human rights ordinance enacted has resulted in another victory for our side.

But as you know conservaevil never sleeps.

In addition to making their usual threats to knock Judge Shafer (who is a Democrat) off the Harris County bench,  they are desperately judge shopping so they can get an appeals trial started and completed before the August Texas Secretary of State deadline to print ballots for the November 2015 elections.  

If they miss that deadline, wouldn't be on the ballot until 2016.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

South Carolina Transteen Dissed By DMV Reaches Settlement

Chase Culpepper
TransGriot Note:  At the time Chase was discriminated against and I wrote about it last September, Chase identified as gender nonconforming.  Now she identifies as trans.

South Carolina trans teen Chase Culpepper took and passed her driving test at a DMV location in Anderson, SC in March 2014.

Instead of allowing the now 17 year old trans feminine teen to take her picture in the makeup she wore on a regular basis, she was told by the DMV employee to 'look male' and remove her makeup because of an alleged policy that bans license photos when someone is purposefully altering his or her appearance and refused to take her photo and provide her the license she'd earned until she did so.

After several attempts, Culpepper's makeup was removed to the DMV employees satisfaction in a process that was called degrading and humiliating.

In September 2014 Culpepper filed a federal lawsuit with the help of the New York based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF).   The suit asked the court to rule that denying Chase the freedom to wear her everyday makeup in her license photo constituted sex discrimination and violated her right to free speech and expression under the United States Constitution. It also sought a ruling under the U.S. and South Carolina Constitutions that the DMV’s former photo policy was unconstitutionally vague, too broad, and allowed DMV employees to arbitrarily decide how a driver's license applicant should look, including based on unconstitutional gender stereotypes. 

Under the terms of the settlement announced today, the South Carolina DMV will (1) change its photo policy to allow license applicants to be photographed the way they appear regularly, even when their hair, makeup or clothing doesn’t match the DMV’s expectations of how a man or a woman should look; (2) implement training for DMV employees that addresses the new policy and the professional treatment of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals; (3) allow Chase to return to the DMV to get her license photograph taken wearing makeup; and (4) apologize to Chase for how she was treated at the DMV.

“I am thrilled with the outcome of my lawsuit,” said Culpepper. “My clothing and makeup reflect who I am. From day one, all I wanted was to get a driver’s license that looks like me. Now I will be able to do that. It was hurtful to be singled out for being transgender and made to feel that somehow I wasn’t good enough. With this settlement, the DMV can no longer force transgender people to look like someone they’re not. I’m so glad that I stood up for what’s right and helped make positive change for transgender and gender nonconforming people.”

“This settlement agreement sends a strong message about equal rights,” said TLDEF Staff Attorney Ethan Rice. “Transgender and gender nonconforming people are entitled to be themselves without interference from the DMV. It is not the role of the DMV or its employees to decide how men and women should look. People should be able to get a driver’s license without being subjected to sex discrimination. The policy changes and training that the DMV will implement in response to Chase’s lawsuit will help all transgender and gender nonconforming South Carolina residents in the future.”

Nevada Unjust Anti-Trans Bill Dies!

AB 375 the GOP dominated Nevada legislature's attempt to attack trans kids failed Monday night on a mainly party line vote.

Five Republicans, Pat Hickey, Derek Armstrong, Glenn Trowbridge, Robin Titus and Melissa Woodbury voted with the all the Nevada Assembly Democrats to kill the unjust bill on a 22-20 vote.

The transphobic measure, sponsored by Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)  would have required students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that corresponded to their genitalia, as well as require schools to provide separate facilities for transgender and intersex students.

Opponents said the bill would lead to additional bullying and targeting of trans students in Nevada schools.

"This bill flies in the face of everything this Legislature should stand for, and it harkens back to a time when telling people they were different was accepted," Democratic Assemblywoman Heidi Swank said.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) spokeswoman Mari St. Martin said earlier that the governor was closely monitoring the bill and had strong concerns with legislation that "targets students based on their gender expression, or potentially sanctions discrimination."

Tuesday was the deadline for bills to pass out of their house of origin, so that means AB 375 is dead for this session.  

But as you know, vanillacentric privileged GOP oppressor never give up when it comes to exercising their oppressor gene, and he wishes to try to make this issue a ballot initiative or tlke it to the local level.

So great work Nevada trans community and allies.   Celebrate your win, and prepare for the next round.

Arkansas Anti-TBLG Rights Spokesperson Turns Out To Be Sexual Predator

One of the tactics in the opposition tool box is what is called projection.   You take an undesirable behavior of yours and project it onto your opponent whether they are guilty of it or not.

One of the things our right wing opponents have been beating like a drum in the opposition to LGBT inclusive human rights laws is the widely discredited trans bathroom predator meme, when the reality is the bathroom predators predominately are white males who aren't getting dressed in drag to enter bathrooms to prey upon women.    The conservafools doing the loudest squawking about it usually are the ones engaged in the predatory behavior they ascribe to others.

We have our latest example of right wing projection tactics blowing up in their face in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.     Eureka Springs on February 9 passed a non discrimination law covering BTLG people that a coalition of conservative businessmen and pastors are trying to overturn in a May 12 referendum , and they are employing heaping helpings of lies and faith based transphobia to do so.

Turns out that one of their spokeskneegrows, 60 year old pastor Acra Lee Turner, who has been loudly bearing false witness against the local LGBT community, is living in a glass house of his own.

AGAINST CIVIL RIGHTS ORDINANCE IN EUREKA SPRINGS: Pastor convicted of multiple counts of rape.Turner, who since April 15 has been pastor of Penn Memorial Baptist Church in Eureka Springs,  was revealed by the Arkansas Times to be a convicted sex offender. 

As a 22 year old, the was convicted in 1977 of sexual assault in Stephens County, Oklahoma and sentenced to three concurrent sentences of 30-60 for three counts of rape.   One of the people he sexually assaulted was an 80 year old woman who was beaten so badly she was almost unrecognizable.

He was paroled in August 2000 over the objections of the families who were victimized by Turner.  His crimes also predate the establishment of the Oklahoma State Sex Offender Registry.

Turner has also been pimping the lie the anti-HERO ministers tried to push here in Houston until I and other Black LGBT Houstonians gleefully had fun destroying it in several hearings, that  LGBT civil rights are not a human rights issue.

No LGBT person says Turner, "has been lynched, no one has to sit on the back of the bus. It's not a human rights issue, it's a human behavior issue."

Two words for you homes on the LGBT human rights issue:  Bayard Rustin.   Coretta Scott King also has stated numerous times along with countless others in our community including myself and the federal government that LGBT rights ARE an international human rights issue. 

And you're the last one that needs to be talking about human behavioral issues.

As for the tired lynching line, try telling that BS talking point to Matthew Shepard's family.  Or reciting it to Paul Broussard's family.  Or try uttering it to the families of the hundreds of transpeople who have been murdered because of the anti-trans hate you and your TERF allies have been spreading.  

While the haters haven't been hanging LGBT peeps from trees, far too many of us are getting murdered, and when it comes to trans people, they disproportionately look like us.. Bottom line is that you are hypocritically being played by white conservatives who don't give a rats anus about your Black convicted sexual predator behind to oppose a human rights law.

And you and your friends aren't Christians, you're the purveyors of the 'dry as dust' religion that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr warned us about.