Thursday, June 30, 2016

US Trans Military Service Ban Repealed!

"Effective immediately, transgender Americans can serve openly, and they no longer can be discharged...just for being transgender.”
Defense Secretary Ash Carter

After a year of study, a historic moment for American trans people happened today as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced moments ago that the longstanding DOD policy ban on trans people serving openly in the biggest baddest military force on our planet has been repealed.

Of course we will hear the conservafool movement freak out about the military not being 'a place for social engineering', but they said the same thing back in 1947 after Harry Truman desegregated the military and in the aftermath of DADT repeal in 2010.

This announcement by Sec. Carter comes as a major relief to the estimated 15,500 trans people currently serving in our armed forces. It also allows trans people who wish to join and serve in our military to be able to do so.

Capt. Jennifer Peace
There are 18 nations, including several NATO allies like Great Britain that have allowed trans people to openly serve in their nation's military forces without incident, and Canada has allowed it for over 20 years.

"Americans who want to serve and meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to do so," said Secretary Carter. "Implementation will begin today."

That implementation of the policy will take place over the next year, and it is a day that we in Trans World who have served, are serving or wish to serve in our nation's military have been awaiting for a while..

President Obama's Speech To Canadian Parliament

President Obama took a quick trip north of the border to Ottawa to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto for a trilateral meeting,

He then spoke to the Canadian Parliament yesterday in the wake of that North American Leader's Summit meeting.

Here's the video of the speech.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Congrats Leslie Herod!

There are people who you cross paths with at times in your life that when you meet them, you can sense they are destined for greatness.

One of those people for me was Leslie Herod, and I first met her back in 2013 during one of my Washington DC trips when she was working for the Gill Foundation. She just impressed me at the time and I made a mental note to keep an eye on this rising star in our ranks.  Wasn't surprised when she ended up as one of the four co-chairs of Creating Change when it was held in Denver last year, and enjoy talking to her when I get some quality time with her when our paths cross.

Been aware she was running for the Colorado House in Denver's HD-8.  The incumbent state rep for the district in Beth McCann decided not to run for reelection, and Leslie's candidacy, even though I'm 1000 miles away from her, is one I've been enthusiastic about and keeping up with as it has progressed.

Leslie HerodLast night I discovered she handily won her Democratic primary race for the HD-8 seat with 60% of the 9399 votes cast over Aaron Goldhamer,   Since that district and its demographics lean heavily Democratic, it's looking good for her to be the person taking the oath of office when the next session of the Colorado legislature kicks off on January 12, 2017.

But before she gets to that point, there's the matter of the general election on November 8 and getting past her Republican opponent for the HD-8 seat in Evan Vanderpool.

So congrats on getting another step closer to becoming Rep-elect Leslie Herod!  I know that the residents of HD 8, your supporters, and your campaign team are doing everything possible to ensure that you'll be their representative at the statehouse.

And I couldn't be prouder of you as I watch you accomplish that goal..

Is Open Trans Hate Becoming A Political Liability?

Another piece of political news I was gleefully doing the happy dance about was hearing about two trans hating Republican politicians in Colorado and South Carolina losing their reelection bids.

Colorado state Rep. and faux faith based transphobe Gordon Klingenschmitt lost his reelection bid for a third term last night in the GOP primary.   He was blown out by his primary challenger Bob Gardner, a former state representative who won with 62% of vote to represent Colorado Springs in the state Senate.

Gardner is considered more moderate than 'Dr. Chaps', who will not be missed in the state senate, especially by the Colorado TBLG community.

He wasn't alone in tasting electoral defeat last night. South Carolina state senator Lee Bright, who sponsored the failed anti-trans legislation in the Palmetto State, lost his bid for a third term as a South Carolina senator.

He lost his runoff race to former state Rep. Scott Talley, a candidate backed by SC Gov. Nikki Haley (R) who once again, was considered more moderate than Bright..

With Sen. Ted Cruz attempting to deploy transphobia in his last ditch effort to keep Donald Trump from becoming the GOP nominee, spectacularly failing in the Indiana primary and dropping out of the presidential race the next day, are the losses of anti-trans politicians a coincidence or a sign that open hatred of transgender people is a political liability?

Both Klingenschmitt and Bright were unpopular and had committed other unforgivable sins in their party besides being unrepentant transphobes that led to their political demise, but I sure hope so.

As I have pointed out, trans people are at least 1% to 3% of our population, and we are just as diverse as the US population.

Some of those adult trans folks are not only Republican, but some of our trans kids have parents who are members of that party like Debi Jackson, Kimberly Shappley and Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) .

Those parents and their allies are increasingly becoming fed up with the demonization of their children and trans family members and seeing member of the party they support propose legislation and dehumanizing policies to make their kids third class citizens and are retaliating at the polls..

We'll find out if the nascent political hypothesis I'm pondering about transphobia for fun and GOP political gain becoming a liability is valid if North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) falls on November 8 to his Democratic gubernatorial challenger Roy Cooper  

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott and AG Ken Paxton, assuming he isn't convicted or in jail by then we won't find out about until they face the voters in 2018.

Hopefully by that time the Texas voter suppression law will be dead.

But I'm hopeful that the pattern of politicians gleefully and openly hating trans people for political gain goes the way of hanging chads on punchcard ballots.

Trans Candidates Notch Historic Wins In US Senate And US House Primaries!

The cool thing about being a trans person in this amazing moment in time is that if every day you wake up and simply do your best to be the best person you can be and live your life, you may find yourself making history as a result.

I've been asking in the wake of Geraldine Roman's historic win in the Philippines as their first trans congress member when we were going to see it happen in the United States?  

Well, the answer to my question is it may be as soon as November 8.

On that day, trans voters in Utah and neighboring Colorado will have candidates like us in Misty K. Snow and Misty Plowright on their ballots in this critical national election for the US House and the US Senate.

Last night in a historic upset, 30 year old Utah native Misty K. Snow made some trans political history by handily beating her heavily favored Democratic opponent Jonathan Swinton 59.5%-40.5%.

Snow jumped into the race just before the deadline, wishing to offer an alternative to the center-right leaning Swinton.  At the Utah Democratic Convention Swinton had earned 55% of the delegates votes to Snow's 45%, but she got enough support at the convention to force the runoff, then built on that by aggressively campaigning throughout the Beehive State by touting her working class background and being an unabashed progressive Democrat.

It wasn't close.  Snow garnered in unofficial returns 26,668 votes to just 18,182 for Swinton with all counties reporting..

"Today we have scored a major victory, We have shown that voters will turn out in numbers to support progressive candidates that take strong stands on issues," said Snow in a press release.

"I want to thank all the wonderful people of Utah who supported me in the Democratic primary; without your support none of this would be possible," she added..  

The upset win made Snow the first ever out trans person to earn a major party nomination for the US Senate, and earned her a shot against her as she called him 'loathsome' incumbent Republican senator Mike Lee.    Lee is one of the most conservative senators in the nation and was unopposed in the Utah Republican primary for his second six year term.

As of right now, she's trailing 51%-37% to Lee, but she feels she's in a great starting position seeing that most voters don't know her yet and she has time to introduce herself to the Beehive State's electorate.  If Snow's campaign catches fire, there's the possibility that the DSCC will kick some funds to her if she gets within striking distance of knocking him off in a year in a presidential election year in which bright red leaning Utah might be in play.

Misty Plowright was also forecast to win the Democratic nomination for Colorado's 5th district seat in the House of Representatives.
Next door in Colorado, more trans political history was being made in another Democratic primary race, this time for a US House seat.   In the 5th Congressional District Democratic primary, 33 year old  Misty Plowright won her primary race to face off in the fall against Rep. Doug Lamborn (R), who is running for his sixth term in Congress.

Rep. Lamborn was forced into a runoff against Calandra Vargas, who beat him at the Republican assembly.  Lamborn flipped the results to beat her 68.3%-31.7% in the primary.

Plowright's primary race wasn't close either.  With one county (El Paso) still out according to the Colorado Secretary of State website, she was beating Donald Martinez by 16 points, 58%-42% in her historic primary win,  Plowright garnered 13.373 votes to Martinez's 9,639 and local media is calling the race for her.

Plowright also faces an uphill challenge because her central Colorado district south of Denver is considered one of the most conservative in the state.  It encompasses the city of Colorado Springs and its suburbs, Cimarron Hills and Fort Carson.  Since its creation in 1973, the district has never been represented by a Democrat, although El Paso County's increasingly diversifying population gives Democrats hope they can change that dismal electoral history.

The city of Colorado Springs is the county seat of El Paso County and the home of the anti-TBLG organization Focus on the Family and hate pastor James Dobson.  It would be oh so sweet if she upset Lamborn and give Dobson a coronary if she ended up representing the 5th Congressional District

We'll see what happens in November.  If the Mistys both shock the political world once again and make it to Washington DC to get inaugurated on January 3, 2017 for the start of the 115th US Congress, they will have earned those seats.

In the meantime, you may want to chip in some t-bills to help both Misty's campaigns get to the House and Senate.

TransGriot Note.  Plowright is not the first out trans person to get a major party nomination in a US House race.  That distinction goes to the late Karen Kerin, who in 2000 ran and lost as a Republican in Vermont to Bernie Sanders.

Plowright still made history as the first in the Democratic Party, and the first in Colorado. 

Countdown To 2016 TTNS in Killeen, TX
We are now a month away from the eighth annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit, and this year the TTNS will be held on the Texas A&M-Central Texas campus in Killeen, TX.

The TTNS was started by its founding chair Josephine Tittsworth in 2009 with the mission of doing education geared toward initiating policy changes for transgender students, faculty and staff at Texas colleges and universities.

“The purpose of our organization is to not only educate people, but also to provide support and resources to people on school campuses all over Texas so they can engage professionally and respectfully with administration to get policies changed to be inclusive to transgender faculty, staff and students.”  Tittsworth said in an interview with the Killeen Daily News.

The initial TTNS was held on the University of Houston campus in 2009 and drew 25 attendees, and has been the only one I've missed because I was living in Louisville at the time.   The first one I attended was the second TTNS hosted by Rice University in 2010 mere weeks after I moved back home in May, followed by the 2011 TTNS at the University of Houston, the 2012 TTNS at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and UH again in 2013.

Texas State University in San Marcos was the first campus outside the Houston metro area to host the TTNS in 2014, followed by last year's TTNS on the UT Dallas campus in Richardson, TX.

The 2015 TTNS at UT Dallas holds the attendance record so far with 75 attendees, and they are anticipating breaking that record at Texas A&M-CT with 100 attendees.  

Some award winning blogger y'all know will not only be teaching a seminar during this year's event, but I get the honor of being one of the 2016 TTNS keynote speakers along with the legendary godmother of the trans rights movement in Judge Phyllis Frye.  We'll also have another outstanding lineup of presenters at this year's TTNS on the Texas A&M Central Texas campus.

As a result of the TTNS, the number of Texas colleges and universities with trans inclusive policies for students, faculty and staff has grown from just three to currently 38.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in the Killeen area in a few weeks on the Texas A&M- Central Texas, and hope the TTNS exceeds the expected attendance this year..      

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2016 ESPN The Body Issue Includes A Trans Athlete

The ESPN The Magazine's The Body Issue has been featuring since 2009 nude and semi nude photos of elite athletes for several years now

The 2016 edition is due out next month, and when it does hit the newsstands it will feature a little trans history.   Chris Mosier is a trailblazing duathlete, advocate for trans athletes and the first out trans athlete to qualify for a US national team,

Now he is also the first out trans athlete to appear in the pages of the ESPN The Body Issue.

Mosier said in an interview with ESPN's Christina Kahrl that he has wanted to be in that issue for over a year, and now he has accomplished that goal.

"There are a lot of people making history right now, and they just may not be as public as I am,"said Mosier.

'I think the reason I felt so inspired to do it is because I'm finally at a place that i fell very comfortable with my body. And as a trans person, being in a body that really didn't fit me for 29 years, now I feel very comfortable in my own skin," he added.

You can look for the 2016 The Body Issue featuring Chris and other elite athletes starting on July 8  

BBC Free Speech 'Things Not To Say To A Trans Person' Video

On BBC Free Speech, several of our British trans siblings, Paris Lees, Fox Fisher, Veronica Blades, Adeleh Sasansara, Munroe Bergdorf, Dani Gibbinson and Harry Taylor were asked to randomly pick out of a bowl some questions they and by extension many trans people are asked. .  

Here's the results.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Moni Finally Walks The Houston Pride Parade

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Photos from the Houston Pride Festival and Parade, Saturday, June 25, 2016 (David Mackey)</span></div>
I have attended Houston Pride Parades going back to the time when they were held in Montrose in daylight on sweltering Houston summer days, but until Saturday night I'd never participated in one

My participation in in came for several reasons.  I believed that in the wake of the Orlando Pride attack I needed to do so as a community leader to support the event in the wake of a threat being called in to the parade. The video I and other Houston community leaders taped in the runup to it was just  part of that.

Since Dee Dee was going, I rolled with her to initially join the Houston Transgender Unity Committee (HTUC) trans contingent of the parade but ran into the trans Latinas of Organizacion Latinas de Trans en Texas (OLTT) who were ahead of them in the parade lineup area on Allen Parkway.   Since I'd been promising to hang out with them and missed a few events they have put on locally because of all my jetsetting,  when they asked me and Dee Dee to carry the trans pride flag as part of their group I accepted along with her.

I also felt that since the TBLG Latinx community was the one disproportionately affected by the Pulse attack, it was apropos for me to march in my first Houston pride parade in solidarity with my trans Latina sisters.

When the parade finally started moving from the Allen Parkway assembly area towards downtown and the parade route, it was impressive taking a sneak peek behind me and watching the OLTT color guard with their trans pride flags flapping in the slight breeze smartly marching in formation and looking good doing it.

But one thing I thought about at that moment was that I would like to see more Black trans participation in this parade and next year's Juneteenth parade.  We'll see if it happens.

Then we hit the starting point of the parade at Lamar and Smith Streets and heard the cheers coming from the crowds stacked five deep on both sides of the parade route.

It was fun watching OLTT founder Ana Andrea Molina running around holding her own trans pride flag and giving high fives to the crowd and checking on our OLTT contingent to make sure we didn't get too strung out as we marched down the parade route.

And just as quickly as it started, it was rapidly over once we got to Milam and Jefferson Streets, to be greeted by some fool doing some Bible belting.  I threw some shots in to get under his skin and bring some truth to his proselytizing for Conservagod before heading back home.  .

So will I do the parade next year?  Depends on whether I'm in the Houston area for it and don't get invited to do somebody else's parade that happens to fall on the same 2017 date.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Remembering The Harris County Impact Of The Obergefell SCOTUS Ruling

One year ago the landmark Obergefell v Hodges case ruling was issued by the Supreme Court that made marriage equality legal in all 50 states despite the best efforts of right wing haters to enact marriage bans in many state constitutions.

It was a amazing day last year watching that history unfold as Nikki Araguz Loyd, Will Loyd, Ashton Woods, Brandon Mack, Ray Hill, Alene Levy and I sat in the office of attorney John Nechman and Mitchell Katine munching on Shipley's donuts, kolaches and sipping orange juice while await the landmark ruling that was about to drop at 9 AM our time.

When it did, I remember John looking stunned for a moment, and a wide smile subsequently breaking over his face as he announced to us that the SCOTUS had sided with Obergefell.

Since the Araguz v Delgado trans marriage case was at the Texas Supreme Court level at the time, Nikki asked what that meant for her case, and was told that it meant that she was going to win it since the opposition had based their entire case on being a replay of Littleton v Prange.

That's when I realized that the Obergefell ruling was also going to positively affect the ability of trans people to get married.   I heard a few hours later about other cis-trans couples also getting married either on that day or getting their licenses so they could do so later.

After celebrating at Nechman's office, Nikki, Will and I decided to head over to the Harris County Courthouse to see if our Republican county clerk Stan Stanart was going to  let the marriages happen or would they would try some last ditch massive resistance to delay things.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was already trying to lay the groundwork for him and other oppressive county clerks to do just that.  As we arrived at the Harris County Courthouse at 12:30 PM there were already six people in line waiting to get their marriage licenses and get married.

As Nikki and Will got in line to get their marriage license, I kicked into reporter mode and started tweeting and posting Facebook statuses on the drama that was beginning to unfold at the Harris County Courthouse as Stanart tried stalling tactic after stalling tactic designed to not issue marriage licenses to same gender couples.

The legal hammers started coming down around 1 PM from Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan (D) and one representing a couple who was at the head of the line waiting to get their license.

As we watched and waited for that legal drama to play out, Judge Kyle Carter (D) announced to the folks waiting in line that he would waive the usual 72 hour waiting period and marry coupes in his chambers.

At 2 PM Stanart capitulated and started issuing marriage licenses to the growing line of couples, and Nikki and Will got their license and renewed their vows in Judge Carter's chambers    I also got to witness a few friends in the community like Daniel Williams and his spouse Jason do the same thing before departing for home.

That June 26 day was not only one for the history books, it was one in which I found myself in the interesting position of being able to watch how it unfolded in Harris County.

'Williams-don' 2016 Starts Tomorrow

The Championships, AKA Wimbledon are starting tomorrow in London.  I call this third Grand Slam tournament of the tennis season 'Williams'-don because Serena and Venus Williams have turned the All England lawn Tennis & Croquet Club into their personal playground with a combined 11 titles since 2000.   .

Venus won her five titles in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 while Serena won hers in 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015)   She was upset in the 2004 finals by Maria Sharapova, the 4th round in 2013, and the third round in 2014.

Serena is also trying to tie Steffi Graf for career Grand Slam championships, but has been upset in the semifinals of the 2015 US Open and upset in the finals of the 2016 Australian Open and the 2016 French Open.

Venus is seeded number 8 and will face Donna Vekic of Croatia in her opening round match as she seeks to win her sixth Wimbledon title.

So while Little Sis still holds the world number one ranking and once again is the number one seeded player in this tournament and has been dominant here at the All England Club, the recent finals losses has people thinking she's vulnerable.

We'll see starting tomorrow as she opens her quest for her seventh 'Williams'-don title with her first round match against Swiss qualifier Amra Sadikovic

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Two Trans Presidential Electors For The 2016 Cycle!

Jack Schuler poses with both Sanders and Clinton signs.
I keep pointing out the fact that trans people are integrated into the fabric of American society, despite the best efforts of our right wing opponents to demonize and falsely claim we aren't.

One of the ways that we trans people are part of the greater society is in terms of our participation in politics. During the upcoming Democratic National Convention we'll have so far 24 trans people from across the country who will be participating at the convention in Philadelphia, including two of my fellow Texans.

And I've been pleased and happy to discover that when the presidential electors handle the business in December of picking our next president after the November 8 election, if their states go blue, we will have the historic moment as a trans community of having two out trans people doing that job.

One of the 2016 trans electors is Jack Schuler of Iowa, who was chosen as an elector last month at the Iowa Democratic convention..   He is the first out trans elector in Iowa and in the nation.

"I really didn't realize in the moment how much attention I would be getting  I still kind of overwhelmed,"said Schuler.  "As surreal as some of this feels, I think it's a great opportunity for me to represent, and also a huge responsibility  I feel like now I can be someone who can be a representative of the trans community."

The second trans elector is from deep in the heart of Texas. (stop hating).

She's Joy Eleanor Parks, and became the elector for Senate District 16 after Katherine Savers McGovern, one of two people along with Zach Rudner who ran and won at the recent Texas Democratic Convention in San Antonio for an elector spot in SD16, was also selected as a delegate for the 2016 DNC convention.

McGovern decided to take the delegate spot to the DNC convention, and since Parks finished third in that elector voting, she got moved up to replace McGovern as an elector for SD 16.  By moving up to replace McGovern in that elector spot, Parks became the first out trans Texan and probably the first out trans feminine person nationally to be a presidential elector.

Since she's one of my FB friends, I asked Joy what her thoughts were about this trans history making moment.

"It's very humbling being the first. I wouldn't be where I am without trailblazers like yourself and Melanie Pruitt who helped mentor me when I was young enough for YFT,"said Parks. "I'm overwhelmed with the outpouring of support I received from those who voted for me as well as those who congratulated me. The video Omar Narvaez Adam Medrano and Philip Kingston made to congratulate me was especially touching. They were at the MLK memorial when they did it,

"I'm overwhelmed by the amount of support I've received from not only young people and activists but local elected officials as well like them," Parks added

The caveat for both trans electors is they get to fulfill their duty in December in Des Moines and Austin only if their respective states turn blue in the election November 8

While that's a plausible possibility for Jack in Iowa, which has gone blue in the last two election cycles, has leaned Democratic since 1988 and is a battleground state, Texas on the other hand hasn't gone blue for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter did so in 1976.  But with Donald Trump only polling in the single digits here, this may be the year it happens.  Joy is certainly hoping that it does so she can make that trip to Austin and make some more history.

Congratulations to Jack and Joy, and here's hoping they are both casting electoral votes in December

Stonewall Inn Declared National Monument

History was made yesterday as New York's Stonewall Inn was declared a national monument by President Obama days before the 47th anniversary of the June 28, 1969 Stonewall rebellion that was the spark for the modern TBLG rights movement.

The new national monument would encompass the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park and the surrounding streets and sidewalks in the area   It is the first ever specifically LGBT historical site to be given national monument status and something that is long overdue.  

"I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country -- the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us, that we are stronger together," said President Obama.

And with this happening a week after the attack on the Pulse club in Orlando on the club's Latino Night that took 49 lives and wounded another 53 people, it's even more important for people outside our trans, bi and SGL community to recognize that TBLG history is also American history.

Friday, June 24, 2016

End Of Trans Military Service Ban Coming?

Transgender military
Good news finally for the estimated 15,500 trans people serving in our country's military.

According to a USA Today report, the Pentagon is ready to announce on July 1 that the ban on open military service for trans Americans will be lifted

It will end nearly a year of internal military forces bickering concerning how the various branches of our armed forces would implement open military service..

 Top military officials re planning to meet on Monday to finalize details of the open trans military service plan, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work could sign off on that plan as early as Wednesday, with final approval coming from defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Once that happens, the various armed service branches would have up to a year to implement policies that affect recruiting, housing, and uniforms for trans service members.

We'll see if it happens next week, but if it does, it would be another positive milestone for US trans people, and would add the United States to the list of 18 nations that allow their trans citizens to serve their country.

Shut Up Fool Awards- Happy Pride 2016 Edition

Our Houston Pride parade is tomorrow, and because we had some folks nervous about whether to attend it or not in the wake of a online threat made to the parade that turned out to be a false one, a video was made by HOU Equality featuring local LGBT community leaders encouraging people to do so.

We are close to the anniversary of the June 28, 1969 Stonewall Rebellion that kicked off the modern TBLG rights movement, which is what the pride parade is supposed to be celebrating.

Let's just hope and pray that this weekend's round of pride parades here and around the country are drama and incident free.

Now with that jibber-jabber out of the way, let's get y'al to what you surfed over here to find out in the first place in terms of what fool, fools or group of fools after a packed news week is Moni going to call out.

Honorable mention number one is a group award for the Republican Party, who basically demonstrated to the world that they are kissing the NRA's rumps so hard that when Wayne LaPierre farts, they can tell you what he ate for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Honorable mention number two is Donald Trump for being in Scotland just as a historic moment is happening there, getting it wrong about how Scotland voted in terms of #Brexit and talking ad nauseum about his golf course and how the cratering of the British pound means increased business for his golf course.

Honorable mention number three is Rep Mark Walker (R-NC) who made an ass out of himself while trying to throw shade at civil rights legend and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) for the House sit in.

Honorable mention number four is Rep. Louie Gohmert for embarrassing the Lone Star State once again by jumping in Rep Corrine Brown's (D-FL) face and incoherently rambling about 'radical Islamic terrorism' killing her Orlando Pulse constituents.

Her fellow Dems should have let her slap the shit out of him.  We would have cheered her in liberal progressive Texas for doing so

Honrable mention number five is #BeckyWithTheBadGrades, AKA Abigail Fisher, who lost another round at the SCOTUS trying to kill all affirmative action programs that white women like her are the prime beneficiaries of because she was mad she didn't get into UT.

And Black Twitter properly dragged her ass for it.  #StayMadAbby

Honorable mention number six is Roland Emmerich for once again on the eve of another anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, claiming in an interview 'it was a white event'.

Let it go Roland, you film bombed because of your attempt to whitewash history.

Honorable mention number seven for Rupert Everett, who opened his loud and wrong mouth and took a potshot at trans kids and their parents. Seen this far too often with gay men attacking trans people
Honorable mention number eight we go across The Pond for in Brexit face and UKIP leader Nigel Farage   In the wake of the shocking victory, claimed that the Brexit had be accomplished without a shot being fired, said it was a win for all the 'decent people' and then admitted in an interview this morning that a Brexit campaign claim was a lie.

I guess your slimy behind forgot about MP Jo Cox, who was assassinated days before the election while on her way to a constituent event to exhort her constituents to vote to remain in the EU.

Stacey Dash appears on Fox News (screen grab)This week's Shut Up Fool loser winner is Stacey Dash, who obvious had another wash, set and GOP cranial rinse at the FOX Noise Fembot Salon  when she called the House sit in for gun control legislation 'uncivilized'

If it wren't for John Lewis and countless other civil rights warriors conducting those as you disrespectfully put it 'uncivilized' sit ins across the country, your azz would not only not have had as an option an acting career in Hollywood, you wouldn't be sitting on that FOX Noise couch parroting right wing drivel for pay.

#ByeStacey  and shut up fool!

Bermuda Marriage Equality Referendum Failing

I've been watching the elections returns coming out of Bermuda over their non-binding referendum on marriage equality in which there were two questions on the ballot as Bermudians went to the polls yesterday starting at 8 AM until 8 PM Bermuda time.

Are you in favour of same sex marriages in Bermuda?
Are you in favour of civil unions in Bermuda?

As I write this post at midnight CDT Houston time, both questions, with 41% of the vote counted, are losing badly by a nearly two to one margin.

On the same sex marriage question, there have been 12.670 NO votes cast versus 5797 YES votes.
Civil unions aren't fairing much better.  11,589 NO votes have been cast versus 6812 YES votes.

And the folks who are ecstatic about how the referendum is going are the Preserve Marriage peeps, who as you probably guessed, got an assist from US based haters meddling in Bermuda's electoral business and were pushing a NO NO vote with the usual gaybaiting and lies.

The Preserve Marriage opposition also stated that no matter the result, they would continue as an organization after this referendum.

Meanwhile Marriage Equality Bermuda was fighting not only the lies of their opponents, but to get their fellow Bermudians to do the right thing and vote YES YES.

No matter the result, I still have a problem with a majority group voting on the human rights of a marginalized minority group, and using deceptive tactics and outright lies to ensure victory at the ballot box in order to continue to oppress them.

TransGriot Update:  Final results are that both questions failed.   Same gender marriage by a 69% margin, civil unions by a 63% margin.  The good news was that the 44% turnout was under the 50% threshold needed to make the results binding.    

But the Bermudan government was planning on recognizing the results regardless of the outcome and reading it as 'the will of the people'.  So supporters will have an uphill climb to make it happen or will have to do it through the courts while being fought every step of the way by the Preserve Marriage haters.

And I have no doubts the Bermudians who are on the correct side of human rights history will prevail

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tamara Dominguez Murder Update

Tamara Dominguez
As you TransGriot readers know, we had a record number of trans women killed in 2015, with far too many of them being Black and Latina. Information about the state of their cases at times has either been slow in coming or I have been busy keeping up with other community news stories that have unfortunately resulted in me putting these cases on the back burner until new info pops up.

I now have some updated info for the Tamara Dominguez case.   You'll recall 36 year old Tamara was run over multiple times and left for dead in a Kansas City, MO church parking lot on August 15, 2015, and later succumbed to her injuries.

Dominguez's death was declared a homicide due to blunt force trauma.

And unfortunately, the pattern of disrespect in death continued.  Local KC media deadnamed her before correcting the story.  Her body was eventually shipped back to Mexico, where her brother refused to recognize her transition, deadnamed her, had a closed casket ceremony and refused to follow the Mexican feminine burial tradition of decorating the ceremony with red and white flowers.

The person accused of murdering her is 29 year old Luis M. Sanchez.  Surveillance video showed her getting into a black Chevy Avalanche SUV owned by Sanchez.  A witness saw her get out of it and slam the passenger side door before walking away.

The witness then observed Sanchez gun the SUV's engine as he ran over Dominguez with it several times before departing the scene and as we now know fleeing to Colorado after his vehicle was seized by authorities on August 21, 2015.

Sanchez was arrested in Lakewood, Colorado on May 3, and charged on Monday with first degree murder and armed criminal action according to Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker.

Prosecutors have requested a $250,000 bond for Sanchez as he awaits extradition back to Missouri to face the legal music for the murder of Tamara Dominguez.. That extradition hearing will take place in Jefferson County, CO on July 11.

Missouri also has a hate crimes law that covers gender identity, but so far the case is not being prosecuted by authorities as a hate crime.   Really?  A trans feminine person is run over with an SUV multiple times and it's NOT a hate crime?

Stay tuned as we see if Tamara receives justice and if Luis M. Sanchez pays for his crime.

Moni's First Gay Bar Experience

In the wake of the Pride Orlando shooting, we've had a few celebrity TBLG people talk about their first time visiting a gay bar in a New York Times article..  I thought that was a great story idea, so I'll talk about mine.

It was June 1980, a mere two weeks after I'd graduated from high school.   The pull to become me was becoming stronger but I was still living at my parents house and prepping to go to college.  I still had quietly put together a stash of femme clothing I kept hidden along with a growing collection of clipped Houston Chronicle and other newspaper articles about trans people I stuck in an unmarked manila envelope.

One day I stumbled across a Houston Defender newspaper with an article written about legendary female illusionist Tommie Ross, who would later become Miss Continental in 2000.  She was based in Houston at the time and performing at the only Black oriented gay club on Lower Westheimer at the time called Studio 13.

It probably got its name because of its address at 1318 Westheimer Rd, and I decided to check it out and the Sunday Studio 13 divas show that she was one of the performers for,

As I entered the split level converted house that Sunday night, it became the portal to another exciting and interesting world I would continue to visit until I moved to Louisville in 2001.

There was a sunken dance floor that led to the stage and dressing rooms in the back for the showgirls, along with two bars on the lower level and the DJ booth on the east side of the club where the DJ would spin his music. Upstairs was another bar and pool table, with windows facing the McDonalds next door and south to Westheimer. In the back there was a high walled patio with a hot tub, but it stayed covered, and especially after Houston started experiencing the first wave of AIDS deaths in 1981.

In the front on the Westheimer side of the club was an enclosed patio with a high fence so no vehicles passing by Studio 13 could spot you.  It allowed you to get away from the crowds and noise inside and enjoy a somewhat quiet conversation.  It became one of my fave spots when I got tired of the crowd inside.

But the thing that immediately caught my attention was all the female illusionists, drag queens and trans women who looked like me.

Some were early in their transitions, while others were drop dead gorgeous as they elegantly glided through the club.

I met one tall trans sister who I struck up a conversation with.  She introduced me to several people and put me so much at ease that I came back on Thursday for Studio 13's Talent Night amateur drag show and met Cookie LaCook, the 'Mouth of the South' and longtime emcee of that show until she passed away in 2007,

One of the reasons I love amaretto sours to this day is because she introduced me to them.

I eventually made my first public foray out en femme at Studio 13, and started hitting the other Montrose area trans friendly clubs like the Boobie Rock that later became Chances, EJ's, QT's, Cousins, and the gay owned 24 hour restaurant a few blocks up Westheimer close to Waugh Drive called Charlie's.

It was Studio 13 where I had some memorable times during the 80's and 90's.  It also brings a twinge of sadness when I think about it because many of the peeps I met during my first foray into Studio 13 would be dead by the end of the decade from AIDS.  Some of the peeps I met moved elsewhere because of the hostility that was stirred up by Steven Hotze and his evil minions in the wake of the vicious 1985 repeal of the Houston non discrimination ordinance that passed in August 1984 with sexual orientation only language in it.

Carla, one of my trans homegirls I met during those Studio 13 trips died in 1990 when she broke her neck after she was shoved down some apartment stairs during a heated argument with her boyfriend. She used to rub it in when we hung out about being a petite 5'2" size seven pump wearing sistah and used to tell me that I was going to transition.

Too bad she didn't get to see me do so.

Studio 13 allowed me to get comfortable being out and dressed in public as Moni, and I even met a few people that are still my friends to this day.  I discovered that me and Nikki Araguz Loyd's late teens-early 20's self actually crossed paths there since from time to time she would either do Talent Night or just hang out with a friend there.  I eventually met Tommie Ross, and discovered to my dismay one night she plays a mean game of pool.

Unfortunately in large part due to the gentrification of Montrose, many of those gay bars closed down or were bought out, and Studio 13 eventually became a casualty of that gentrification push.  Studio 13 became Rascals in the late 90's, and was eventually sold after I moved to Louisville in 2001 to become what is now the Royal Oak Bar and Grill.  

Studio 13 may be ancient Houston TBLG history, but I still have the memories from those times my twenty something-thirty something self wandered through its doors.

I'll always remember DJ Tony Powell spinning house music until the club closed.  Cookie LaCook hosting Talent Night and making her 'f*****g great audience' laugh.

I'll remember the pageants, the talent nights and the one Studio 13 Talent Night in which there were 12 contestants and eight of them performed to Anita Baker's 'No More Tears' to the point I hated that song for a while.

I still call that Anita Baker song to this day 'The Houston Drag Queen National Anthem'.

I'll remember hanging out in Studio 13's cramped parking lot after its 2 AM closing and watching peeps trying to pick somebody up to go home with.  The hilarious night in 1983 I watched the entertaining spectacle of some suburban jerk calling himself trying to do some trans bashing and unfortunately for him picking on a Latina trans girl who fought in Golden Gloves before transition. She whipped that jerk's azz while in heels and without breaking a nail as we stood by laughing.

But it all started because I wanted to see Tommie Ross perform.