Sunday, July 31, 2016

Rev Dr William Barber's DNC 2016 Speech

Another one of the outstanding speeches of this just concluded DNC convention in Philly was delivered by a man that I had the pleasure of meeting while I was living in Louisville, and got reconnected with him during the 2015 LGBT Media Journalists Convening when he was our keynote speaker for the event.

I'm talking about the Rev Dr. William Barber II, the president of the North Carolina NAACP and a fierce social justice warrior.  Thursday night America got to witness what many of us who have had the opportunity to hear him speak already know.  This is a man who is an unapologetic truth teller who has no problem speaking truth to power and tellin' it like it T-I-S is.

I was handling some TTNS business and unfortunately missed it live, but when I found out he had spoken to the DNC, when I got some downtime I checked it out.

Here's Dr. Barber's DNC speech for those of you who missed it.

Houston Texans Open 2016 NFL Training Camp Today

In a sure sign that the start of the NFL football season is rapidly approaching, training camp for my fave NFL ballers the Houston Texans starts today at the Houston Methodist Training Center across the street from NRG Stadium.

Rookies reported on July 25, and the veterans had until July 30 to report.    There's an open practice today, and others are scheduled for August 2, 3, 7, 8 and 18.  The Texans are scheduled to travel to Santa Clara, CA for joint practices with the San Francisco 49ers August 11-13 in advance of their August 15 preseason game at Levi's Stadium, and have another joint practice in Houston with the New Orleans Saints on August 18 in advance of their August 22 home preseason game with the Saints.

The Texans will also face the Arizona Cardinals at NRG Stadium on August 28 before taking on in their final preseason game the hated Arlington Cowchips at the Jerrydome on September 2.

There's a cautiously optimistic air for Texans fans like moi as this season approaches and the clock ticks down to their September 11 home opener at NRG Stadium with the Chicago Bears.

The defending AFC South Division champs will have a new quarterback in Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller at running back instead of the departed Arian Foster.

There's something else the Texans have desperately needed in more speed on the offensive side of the ball and WR help for Deandre Hopkins that they hope rookie wideouts Braxton Miller and Will Fuller will provide to satisfy both needs in addition to consistent play at quarterback.

The Super Bowl will be played at NRG Stadium this season.  The Texans have a championship level defense anchored by All-everything JJ Watt.  Did they make enough moves in the offseason to improve the offense enough to get them there?  

We'll see.

Friday, July 29, 2016

TTNS 2016 Keynote Address

This is the text of the keynote address I delivered at the 2016 Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit in Killeen, TX.                                               

Good afternoon to TTNS founding executive director Josephine Tittsworth, our mistress of ceremonies Jenifer Rene Pool, TTNS executive and advisory board members, TTNS attendees, Texas A&M Central Texas faculty and students, TTNS volunteers, my trans siblings, honored guests, allies and friends.

I am pleased, honored and proud to have been asked to deliver your keynote address today at this 8th annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit.  
I also found it apropos this 2016 edition of the TTNS is being held on this college campus in the shadow of Fort Hood mere weeks after the groundbreaking July 1 open trans military service announcement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that allows my trans siblings to openly serve in our nation’s armed forces.

I mention that factoid because a quick perusal of modern trans history will reveal that many of our past and present leaders in this movement, including our TTNS founding director and tomorrow’s keynote speaker Phyllis Frye, have the common thread of military service as part of their activist resumes.

I was told prior to taking this podium that this Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit in Killeen is now the new record holder in terms of registration and attendance for it, so please give yourselves a hand for being part of this evolving TTNS history.

So why is the Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit so important to me? 

The TTNS mission was similar to a 2007 effort I was involved with in Louisville. KY to enact trans inclusive policies for students, faculty and staff in the Jefferson County Public Schools.  We were only able to my frustration get sexual orientation coverage only in JCPS, but after I left Da Ville JCPS finally added gender identity to that policy we passed under contentious circumstances in 2015.

When the 2009 TTNS event was held at the University of Houston, I was 1000 miles away in Kentucky and bummed about not being there for it.  Well, as Josephine, Jenifer. the TTNS executive and advisory board members and other people who have longtime connections to this event can tell you, haven’t missed one since I returned to Texas from Louisville in May 2010.

This is now the seventh consecutive summit that I have attended, and the TTNS is special to me because the second TTNS held at Rice University was the first activism event I had a chance to participate in mere weeks after returning to my hometown.

The TTNS event at Rice allowed me to quickly reestablish my connections with old and new Houston area advocates that I’d lost in the eight years I was away from Texas and introduce me to people I didn’t know or were new to me, but had gotten involved in Houston and Texas activist work while in was in Kentucky. 

The  subsequent TTNS events provided me opportunities to network and conme to continue to expand on those networking make connections with other advocates in Houston, Texas and from around the country that have remained useful to this day.

Because of attending TTNS, I’ve gained knowledge on a wide variety of issues that have helped me not only in my ongoing advocacy work, but help provide a base level of knowledge that I can subsequently talk about and expand on in my TransGriot articles.

And yeah, it’s been fun to see different parts of this beautiful state with people I love, respect and admire and spend quality time with you as I do so. 
Finally, why the Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit is important to me is because I come from a family of educators.  My late great grandmother Jane Davis was a teacher.  My mother in addition to being a historian, is a retired HISD teacher.    My late godmother Pearl Suel, who along with my mother instilled my love of history in me, taught at the high school and collegiate levels.   I also have cousins and people in my circle of friends who are educators that I admire and deeply respect.

I know the importance for people, and especially marginalized people to have a quality education.  As one of my sheroes Barbara Jordan has said and I quote her, ‘Education remains the key to both economic and political empowerment.’ 

It is a lesson that my people have taken to heart ever since that June 19, 1865 day when Union General Gordon Granger read Order Number 3 from the balcony of Galveston’s Aston Villa and declared that all Texas slaves were free people.

Education is the gateway to a quality life.   A quality education is something the folks that wish to oppress us can never take away.   A quality education also makes us better citizens, and allows us to do our part to make our beloved state and our union better.

And in the words of former State Senator Wendy Davis, ‘Real Texans want their kids to have the best education possible, not the one politicians looking to brag about budget cuts have left us with’.

That is the TTNS mission in a nutshell.   We are gathering here on this campus for the next two days, and have done so other Texas colleges and universities over the last eight years with one mission in mind, so that our kids and we trans people accessing that education system at all levels can have the best education system possible. 

When TTNS started in 2009, only three Texas colleges and universities
had trans inclusive nondiscrimination policies.  As of this eighth TTNS event, that number is up to over 30 colleges and universities, and also includes some of the largest ISD’s in our state in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and El Paso.  

It’s also interesting to note that as part of the Obama Administration having the trans community’s backs, a Dear Colleague Letter jointly issued by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice that to sum it up, says that you must treat transgender students with the same dignity and respect in school settings as you do for cisgender ones, and give them the same access to a quality education that you demand for cisgender children.

If that is all the DOE/DOJ Dear Colleague Letter is stating, why is the conservative movement tripping about it to the point that Texas and 12 other states have entered into an unholy alliance to fight a battle they are doomed to lose by filing an unjust lawsuit to justify discrimination against transgender students?

Why is Gov. Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and my indicted attorney gender Ken Paxton to paraphrase the eloquent words of Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston, attempting to spread the hellfire flames of transphobic bigotry and aiming it at Texas transgender students?

Why has their party made it their mission to make the lives of trans Texans and trans students in this state more difficult than they need to be?

Much of it is because they hate President Obama and still massively resist any policy initiative he likes.   Another piece of that transphobic puzzle is because in the wake of their loss last year on marriage equality, they needed a new group to hate, and unfortunately have settled on attacking trans kids as their new targets to show their base they are doing something to oppose a POTUS they foaming at the mouth hate.

But I and other trans elders, my trans siblings and our allies in the human rights struggle have a major problem with that   As someone whose formal education in this state started in a segregated elementary school in 1967, I have a major problem with this remixed Jim Crow bull feces you are aiming at our trans kids.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting trans kids here in Texas and their amazing parents.  All these parents want is the best education possible for their kids who are now matriculating in Texas schools and universities without unnecessary drama

All these trans kids want to do is go to school, get their education, make friends, blend in and live their lives as their true selves without being singled out for bullying by their peers, willfully ignorant adults or misguided politicians 

It’s why it’s our duty to ensure that we do the work here in the Lone Star State to continue to expand the numbers of colleges, universities and school districts that have trans inclusive policies for students, faculty and employees and feel empowered to unapologetically defend them from attack.

It is our duty to ensure that the Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit has the resources and funding it needs to survive and thrive as continues its ongoing mission of being a strong education advocate and voice for our kids.

If you have the ability to drop some contributions in TTNS’ direction on a regular basis, please do so.   You’d be amazed to learn how far $5, $10, $20 or more if you’re feeling generous can go.

It is our duty to increase the number of Texas ISD’s that have these inclusive policies to include all of the over 1000 ISD’s that are in the borders of our massive state. 

It is our duty to dispel the disinformation and outright lies that our not so esteemed opposition, misguided political leaders and the media is spreading concerning these trans inclusive policies and the DOE/DOJ letter.

It is our duty. because your human rights are inextricably tied to the human rights of transgender Texans, to fight for a world in which our humanity is respected and protected just as yours is.

This anti-trans intolerance will not be tolerated by the Texas trans community, parents of trans kids, and our allies.  Their attempts to justify human rights oppression aimed at the Texas transgender community it will be resisted with every fiber of our beings. 

So yep, I’ll be making as many trips from Houston to our state capital in Austin as necessary and my schedule permits when that 2017 legislative session kicks off down I-35 south in January.  I hope others across the Lone Star State join us when we make those trips to the state capital to kill whatever oppressive anti- trans legislation they attempt to pass.

Our legislators must get the message that we are Texans whose human rights matter, not a wedge issue or punching bags for you to score political points with your base for.   Neither we allow your misguided hatred of trans people to mess with our state’s economy.   If you don’t wish to receive or you willfully ignore that message, we’ll send another via the ballot box on Election Day to remove you from elective office. 

TTNS is one of the trans led organizations in this state positioned at this crucial time in our history to do the education and policy work that will lead to affirmative education policies that benefit all Texas students.

Those of you in this Texas A&M Central Texas campus space attending this TTNS event will spend today and tomorrow acquiring the information and tactics necessary that allows you to help promote and enact good policies, and kill the bad ones when you return home to your various corners of the Lone Star State.

It’s a war we didn’t ask for, but it’s one that we must fight and win for all those trans kids across the state of Texas.   They are counting on us, their trans elders and allies to ensure that all they have to do is go to school, get excellent grades, dream big dreams about what they wish to accomplish in their adult lives, and get the quality education they need to make those dreams become a reality.

TTNS 2016 Starts Today At Texas A&M Central Texas

The 8th annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit kicks off today, and this is the seventh (and seventh consecutive one) I have attended.  

Ever since I attended my first TTNS held on the Rice University campus mere weeks after I returned home from Louisville, I have had the pleasure of watching this event grow.  I've not only taught seminars at it, this year I was asked to be one of the two keynote speakers for 2016.

My activist mentor Judge Phyllis Frye will be the other TTNS 2016 keynoter.

The summit has grown so much that this year's TTNS event will break the record set last year at UT-Dallas.  For those of you in the Centex area, you have time to roll up or down I-35 and join us on the Texas A&m Central Texas campus in Killeen

It's a testament to the vision of its founding executive director Josephine Tittsworth that it has grown from a Houston centric event to one that for the last several years is eagerly courted by colleges and universities across the Lone Star State.and has been held in San Marcos, Dallas, Killeen this year and next year on the Stephen F. Austin University campus in Nacogdoches.

The TTNS has had a major impact on education in Texas.   We have gone from three colleges and universities that have trans friendly nondiscrimination policies to over 30.

Several Texas school districts also have trans friendly policies as a result of Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit's attendees taking the lessons they learned here and making those changes happen in the own parts of the Lone Star State.

And it's also interesting to note that it is happening at a time when the Obama Administration has emphatically stated that we have the human rights back of transgender people and issued a DOE/DOJ Dear Colleague Letter that dovetails nicely into the work TTNS has been doing since 2009.

And TTNS is proud to play its part in doing the Lone Star State.

I'm also looking forward to doing my part to help that education process along, starting today.

Sarah McBride's Historic DNC Speech

Hillary Clinton wasn't the only woman making history last night at the Wells Fargo Center . When Sarah McBride stepped to the podium on the DNC convention stage, she became the first out trans person to deliver a speech at a major party political convention

It's apropos that she is making this history as we showed up at #DNCinPhilly with a record trans contingent of 28 people..

Srah standing on that stage helped fulfill something I was hoping along with the rest of the American trans community would happen, and emphatically points out that the Democratic party is the one what supports the humanity and human rights of trans Americans.

Here's Sarah's DNC speech..

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Moni's In The TTNS 2016 House!

Well people, after a 200 mile one way bus trip that was scheduled to start at 8:15 AM CDT from Houston's Greyhound station through Austin with a bus transfer, I've finally arrived at my hotel in Killeen, called Mom and Dee Dee, and settled into my hotel room to do some prep for my speech tomorrow

It wouldn't be one of my road trips without some issue or drama.  The bus from Austin to Killeen had no working air conditioning.  Hello, this is Texas in the summer.  Ac is a basic requirement for travel satisfaction.   Wasn't Greyhound's fault, it was a regional carrier.

Called myself trying to get some sleep before this trip, but that didn't happen especially since I had to get up and this was one of those my butt needs to be at the Greyhound terminal on time and early to catch that 8:15 AM bus out of here.

The Texas A&M University-Central Texas is one of the newer schools in the Texas A&M University system, and the campus is in the shadow of Fort Hood, one of the largest military bases in the US.

One of the interesting tidbits I discovered while doing some research for my speech is that Tia and Tamera Mowry spent some time here in Killeen because their Army parents were stationed here for several years  Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III also lived near here and went to high school in Copperas Cove, TX before heading off to Baylor.   Elvis Presley was also stationed here at Fort Hood during his time in the Army along with major league ballplayer and humanitarian Jackie Robinson.

Will probably take a break to watch Hillary Clinton's historic Democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech and the one by Sarah McBride for #DNCinPhilly, but really looking forward to once again being at the Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit.

For those of you in Central Texas, you still have time to join us tomorrow on the Texas A&M Central Texas campus for not only my Friday keynote and Judge Phyllis Frye's keynote on Saturday, but for all the informative seminars that will be taking place both days,


2016 DNC Convention Day 3 Recap

President Barack Obama hugs Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after addressing the delegates during the third day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
We're now past Day 1 and Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as we rush toward the historic Thursday night that Sec Hillary Clinton will make her acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination.   But before we get to that historic day, we have to get through Day 3 of the #DNCinPhilly

Day 3 kicked off with now 14 year old Sebastien De La Cruz singing the national anthem to start the #DNCinPhilly proceedings day. If you don't remember my fellow Texan, several years ago during the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat his then 11 year old self got hated on by bigoted ignorati on Twitter after singing the national anthem.  It prompted the Spurs to issue another invitation for the 'Little Mariachi' to sing the national anthem during the Finals.

Since then De La Cruz has appeared in an episode of Telenovela, since Eva Longoria is a big fan of his along with President Obama,  Longoria also produced the documentary for ESPN about the incident.  He sang his way into the semifinals of America's Got Talent, and back in March sang the national anthem before the Clinton-Sanders debate in Miami.  

The big business of the day was the vice presidential nomination, which was formally done by acclamation  for Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) which he accepted in his speech later that evening.

The Democratic vice presidential nominee showed off his Spanish language skills as he whacked Trump on his fitness for office..

There was also the enjoyable takedown of the Trumpenfuhrer by former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who called him out as a 'dangerous demagogue' and on his shady business practices.

It was also nice to see Vice President Joe Biden's speech tonight   He reminded everyone of the stakes in this election and also talked about our presidential nominee in comparison to the opposition..

Texas bragging moment alert.  We're showing up and showing out at this DNC event. Eva Longoria, Sebastien De La Cruz,  Cecile Richards, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Ilyse Hogue...

And that's before I start talking about my fellow Texans who are there repping the Lone Star State in the Texas DNC delegation like Ashton Woods, Melissa Vivanco, Kim Frederick, Lou Weaver, Brad Pritchett and countless others.   Also cool to know that my H-town homegirl Yesenia Chavez, who is working down I-95 in our nation's capital is in the DNC house  

I'm enjoying your FB and other photos your're posting of the convention action and the celebs you're running into.  Makes me feel less bummed about being there.

I enjoyed seeing the various Democratic legislative leadership caucuses like the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific Islander Caucus on stage reminding people that we not only have some amazing leaders in our party, but some up and coming young ones like Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon.

As each of those groups took the DNC stage, they reminded everyone to not stop at the top of the ticket, but finish the job and vote for every race on your November 8 ballot .   We have a great shot of flipping the US Senate back to Democratic control, and a longer one at getting control of the US House back

But the big speech of Day 3 was given by President Obama.   Kinda obvious he's the second best speechmaker in that family, but he succinctly laid out the case for supporting Sec Hillary Clinton and making sure she's taking the oath of office January 20 as our 45th president.

Arrest Made In Dee Wigham Case

Dwanya Hickerson, 20, is led into the Jackson County jail on Monday, July 25, 2016. Dickerson is accused of robbing and killing Dee Whigham, a 25-year-old transgender woman who was visiting the Coast for Black Rodeo.
I'm happy to report for you TransGriot readers that an arrest has been madee in the Dee Whigham case.   She's the latest one of our sisters to be unfortunately taken from us in 2016.

The 25 year old Whigham was found stabbed to death in her St. Martin, MS hotel room on Saturday after traveling there with a group of friends from the Hattiesburg, MS area to attend the Gulf Coast Black Rodeo in Biloxi, MS.

20 year old Navy seaman Dwanya Hickerson of New Orleans, who was stationed at nearby Keesler AFB for training was arrested Monday morning and charged with capital murder     He got charged with capital murder because he was trying to rob Whigham.

Hickerson was the man spotted on the hotel surveillance cameras leaving Whigham's room, and a tip led investigators to Keesler AFB armed with a with a search warrant.  Hickerson had been there at Keesler since April for training.

The case is an ongoing investigation, and as I get more developments I'll pass them along to you TransGriot readers.  

Justice For Mercedes Williamson! Vallum Found Guilty!

Mississippi Trans Teen's Murderer May Face Hate Crime Charges
There's updated news in the Mercedes Williamson case.  Josh Vallum, the waste of DNA who killed Williamson has pled guilty to her murder, and was sentenced to life in prison!

The 28 year old Vallum was a member of the Latin Kings street gang, and he stabbed and beat to death 17 year old Williamson back on May 30, 2015 at his father's home in George County, MS and buried her on the property.

Vallum was indicted for the murder of Williamson on July 29, 2015 and pled guilty to the heinous crime.  

Vallum will be eligible for parole when he hits age 65, which won't be until 2053.

But we can now note that another murderer of a trans woman is locked up behind bars, and we'll be watching and waiting 3 years from now to ensure you stay there.

Continue to rest in power and peace, Mercedes.

Headed To Killeen, TX For The TTNS

Today begins three consecutive weeks of travel for events that will see me going to Killeen, TX for the 8th annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit as its  keynote speaker and to teach a Texas Trans 101 seminar, Washington DC for the joint NABJ-NAHJ convention, August 3-7 and to Chautauqua, NY for an August 11 interview with Janet Mock from their historic amphitheater stage as part of their Pushing Our Bodies Limits summer lecture series.

But before I pile up the frequent flyer miles, it's off to central Texas by Greyhound via Austin to my final destination of Killeen and the Texas A&M -Central Texas campus in the shadow of Fort Hood for the TTNS.

And yep, already enrolled in Greyhound's frequent mileage program.

This is the eighth annual edition of the TTNS, and when i step on campus it will officially be the  seventh consecutive TTNS I have attended.   This one is special because it will be my first TTNS I get the honor and opportunity to deliver a keynote address for it, and I'm excited about that.

I'm also looking forward to seeing old and new friends on the Texas A&M Central Texas campus for this growing  conference, and see y'all in a few hours..

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BTAC 2017 Keynote Speaker Nominations

BTAC 2017 will be here before we know it, and one of the cool things about this conference is there is space made for community input for some of the events like the Awards Gala and the keynote speakers.

The nominations for 2017 keynote speakers have opened, and BTAC is looking for trans masculine and trans feminine nominees to do their keynotes for the conference that is set to happen April 24-30.

Who Will Be Your Next Keynote Speaker? BTAC 2017 National Keynote Speaker Nominations NOW OPEN for trans, transmen, transwomen!!!
If you or someone you know would be a great candidate for this opportunity, please nominate them today. The deadline to submit keynote speaker nominations is October 30, 2016.
Here's the link to nominate your candidates for BTAC 2017 keynotes.

2016 DNC Convention Day 2 Recap

Day 1 of #DNCinPhilly was contentious at times, but this was the day that eluded Hillary Clinton eight years ago and that sound you heard was the glass ceiling finally shattering.  

Move over boys, Hillary Clinton has now made history as the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party .  It was a long road to get to this point in American history with many women trying to do so but ultimately falling short of making that history.

Somewhere Ann Richards, Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan are smiling because that glass ceiling she put 16 million cracks in back in 2008 has finally been broken.  

After Hillary Clinton narrowly missed the big prize in 2008, she finally made it happen in 2016.   Now if we can just get her to the point in November of calling her 'Madame President' instead of 'Madame Secretary'.

The LGBT Caucus happened today, and one of the highlights of it was Barbra casbar Siperstein presenting the Jane Fee Award to Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA).

While some of the Bernie Sanders supporters are still upset about the fact that you can officially stop calling Clinton the presumptive nominee, the efforts continue in this convention space and beyond to get those folks who see the big picture of what needs to happen on November 8 to be totally on board with her instead of 'I guess I'm with her.'

Some of the highlights of Day Two of the DNC besides the Roll Call of the States were speeches by the Mothers of the Movement  to the shouts in the Wells Fargo Center hall of 'Black Lives Matter'

They pointed out that they trust Hillary Clinton , not Donald Trump to reduce racial tensions between police and the Black community because of her longtime commitment to social justice and urged people to vote for her.,

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also took the stage to point out Trump's problematic fawning over authoritarian leaders like Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong-un, who recently endorsed him.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) also repeated something I've been concerned about as a Kennedy baby who grew up during the Cold War and had to do duck and cover nuke attack drills in elementary school until 3rd grade.

 I don't want Donald Trump's paws and thin skinned behind near the US nuclear launch codes, and McAuliffe echoed my thoughts in terms of cautioning the nation about giving control of the nuclear launch codes to a man who praises Putin and Saddam Hussein

The speech by former Attorney General Eric Holder debunked the lies that Trump has been telling, and pointed out that violent crime has gone down since President Obama took office.

He went on to passionately endorse Hillary Clinton for president.,

The big speech of the night was given by our Democratic presidential nominees' husband, who happens to have been the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

Bill talked about his wife, how they met and her lifetime of fighting for liberal progressive causes as his daughter Chelsea looked on from the arena box seats.

It was a side of her that many people, haven't heard in terms of her undercover work in Alabama on behalf of Marian Wright Edelman to spike the tax exemptions for the racist private academies that sprang up across the South in order for white parents to avoid sending their kids to integrated schools.

It was nice hearing from Bill about how they got married before he launched into his case as to why she should become our 45th president.


And yeah, not only has the music been better at this convention, ,so has the star power.  

Day 2 of #DNCinPhilly completed, on to Day 3.

British Columbia Finally Passes Trans Human Rights Law!

Provincial trans rights laws in Canada have been on the fast track since 2012, with seven Canadian provinces, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Alberta  plus the Northwest Territories being ones that have laws that explicitly protect  transgender people from discrimination..

New Brunswick, Quebec, Nunavut Territory and Yukon Territory don't have explicit language in their human rights acs, but interpret the current laws in ways that imply trans human rights are covered in those areas

We are also awaiting action on C-16, the federal trans rights bill that has been tabled by the Liberal federal majority and has passed its first reading.

Thirteen-year-old Tru Wilson, on right, with parents and brother at the B.C. Legislature Monday. Tru, who was born a boy, fought her school to be treated as a girl, the gender she identifies with.On Monday British Columbia finally joined that list of provinces that protect the rights of their trans citizens thanks to the passage of Bill 27, a bill that was fast tracked through the legislature in one day as transgender BC residents like Tru Wilson, her family and others came to Victoria to lobby for its passage
NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert has been trying for five years to get four different private members trans right bills through the BC Legislature without success, so it was a surprise that the BC Liberal majority finally decided on July 25 to table and pass in all three readings Bill 27.

Bill 27 is now awaiting royal assent by BC's lieutenant governor, and adds explicit trans rights protection to the BC Human Rights Code.  Gender identity and expression are now listed as protected classes, and BC trans folks can no longer be fired, lose housing or face discrimination just for being their trans selves.

While Bill 27 was passed unanimously,  there was opposition from one of the ruling Liberal Party MLA's in Laurie Throness.  He cited the usual anti-trans BS to justify his opposition to the bill, called it 'unnecessary', but abstained from voting against it.,

Well peeps, if you live in the Chilliwack-Hope provincial riding, y'all know what to do in the next provincial election.   Vote this transphobic bigot out of office.

Congrats British Columbia for finally recognizing that trans rights are human rights, and doing the right thing in protecting the human rights of BC residents.

Meet Our DNC 2016 Black Trans Delegates

Trans people have been part of the DNC convention landscape since 2000, but it wasn't until 2008 that we African American trans folks got our first out trans delegate  in Tennessee's Marisa Richmond.  She was in the Mile High City for that historic convention that Sen. Barack Obama was nominated at, and eventually won the presidency while carrying our party's label a few months later.
In 2012 Richmond was joined in Charlotte by another person used to making history.   Trailblazing trans leader Kylar Broadus of Missouri became our first out Black trans masculine delegate.

This year in Philadelphia we have a record contingent of 27 trans people in the Wells Fargo Center house and attending the various events and panels  Marisa Richmond is attending her third consecutive DNC convention, but this time she is making history again by serving as the DNC convention's official timekeeper.

But fear not dear readers.  Just as in 2012, the #DNCinPhilly event will have Black trans masculine and Black trans feminine delegate representation in the house for the second consecutive event as part of this record trans DNC contingent thanks to Pennsylvania homegirl Sharron Cooks and Merrick Moses of Maryland.

Both Cooks and Moses will be attending their first DNC convention, and both of our trans siblings are excited to be at another historic Democratic convention as we nominate Sec. Hillary Clinton for president.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the democratic electoral political process. I am so excited and thrilled to be a first time delegate for Pennsylvania Congressional District 1 especially since Philadelphia is the DNC host city," Cooks said.

She's also proud to be representing the Black trans feminine community here at #DNCinPhilly, and is cognizant of the importance of being here.

"This experience is so humbling, educational and is an amazing opportunity to network with lobbyists and legislators, which I believe is very valuable, because as a community organizer, advocate and activist; it helps when it comes to securing the rights and protections for the LGBTQ community," she added.

Merrick Moses echoed Cooks' excitement about being at his first convention/  He felt honored to be there in Philadelphia and part of the record trans DNC contingent and the Maryland delegation..  He's proud of representing the Black trans community and the state of Maryland. He also been pleased about the diversity being showcased to America an the world at this #DNCinPhilly event. "We have a large number of LGBT delegates, and I am so happy the party has been intentional about showing our diversity." he said. "It's been interesting, I'm loving the experience and hope that more Black trans folks join us in 2020."
Well, I'm working on it.

Both Cooks and Moses have also expressed interest in wanting to meet each other, exchange information and take photos with each other before the convention closes Thursday

Thanks to you and Sharron for repping our community in Philadelphia and making a little Black trans history while doing so.

Thanks to both of you for not only being witnesses to American history being made at this DNC convention, but actually playing a part in making it happen on behalf of the people you're  representing  in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

TransGriot Update: Sharron and Merrick finally met on Wednesday ...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

2016 DNC LGBT Caucus Meeting

Yesterday in downtown Philadelphia the 2016 DNC LGBT Caucus meeting took place in a packed room at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

11.5% of the delegates here for the #DNCinPhilly are members of the LGBT community, which is an increase over the 7.5% of the delegates our community made up at the 2012 DNC in Charlotte.

While we're repping different letters of the alphabet and in some cases multiple intersectional identities, we are united in LGBT World in ensuring that Donald Trump goes down to crushing defeat on November 8 and ensuring our civil rights are protected.

During the LGBT Caucus event, that started at noon EDT, in addition to discussions about the Equality Act, HB2 and other issues of importance to the community, some of the 28 trans delegates in attendance at this event were introduced to the LGBT caucus crowd.

Barbra Casbar Siperstein, who is on the DNC Executive Committee and one of the two trans superdelegates, was also on hand to give out the Jane Fee Award, which is quadrennially given at the DNC convention and named for the Minnesotan who in 2000 became the first out trans delegate to attend a DNC convention..

It;s given to the trans ally within the Democratic Party who has stood up for and is supportive of trans rights issues within the party.

Mike Honda, Democratic National Convention, gay news, Washington Blade
The Jane Fee Award was given to Rep. Mike Honda, (D-CA) who has been openly supportive of his transgender grandchild and has been not only on an evolutionary journey to understand the terminology of our community, but has stepped up to become a trans supportive legislative champion..

First Lady Michelle Obama's DNC 2016 Speech

For those of you who didn't get to witness it live, First Lady Michelle Obama took to the DNC 2016 stage last night and delivered a speech for the ages that reminded me at times of the one her hubby dropped at the 2004 DNC event in Boston.

No wonder Melania Trump plagiarized the FLOTUS' 2008 DNC speech last week.

This #DNCinPhilly speech was so outstanding that when she was done she should have dropped the mic and walked off the stage when it was over.

But hey, judge for yourselves.   Here's the video of the DNC 2016 speech.

Marisa Richmond Named Official 2016 DNC Convention Timekeeper

This #DNCinPhilly convention is tuning out to be even more historic for trans kind than I anticipated.  In addition to having a record 27 trans delegates attending the event and the American trans community eagerly awaiting Sarah McBride's Thursday podium speech, there's more news cementing this Philadephia DNC convention as one of the most trans friendly events in American political history.

Longtime Nashville based trans advocate Marisa Richmond has been active in Democratic Party politics for years and has been a delegate to several DNC conventions including the 2008 one in which she witnessed history in then Sen. Barack Obama's historic nomination.

She'll have a lot closer seats than she did in 2008 to witness another historic nomination this time, like on the convention stage.

She was tapped to become the official timekeeper for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. This makes Richmond possibly the first out trans person to be named as a major party convention podium official, which is also a big deal.

Marisa's task as the convention's official timekeeper is to keep all the speakers on schedule and within their allotted time limits.  Through her roles with Trans United For Hillary and the Democratic Party's  LGBT advisory board she was contacted and subsequently offered the position.

"It's a personal honor and privilege to be up there on the stage," said Richmond in an interview with The Tennessean.  "I'll be just a few feet away from all of the speakers all four nights.  it's literally one of the best seats there."

Marisa Richmond at DNC with arrow.jpg"It shows that this is easily the most trans friendly convention ever, " she said.  "It shows that this party has really made progress in terms of inclusion and diversity."

Speaking of seats, if you're looking for her, during the television telecasts, where the arrow is in the photo by Mara Keisling is where Marisa will be sitting and doing her timekeeping duties during the convention.

The Tennessee Democratic Party was also pleased about Richmond being chosen as the 2016 DNC convention timekeeper, and Tennessee State Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini said she was thrilled by her selection.

Mancini noted that Richmond, the former chair of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, has been one of the strongest LGBTQ advocates in Tennessee and across the country for many years."

And yes, I'll definitely cosign that sentiment.  I've had the pleasure of knowing her trailblazing self since the late 90's, and I'm proud of her for getting this amazing honor.

2016 DNC Convention- Day 1 Recap

What a first day for the #DNCinPhilly    Debbie Wasserman Schultz gets called out at the Florida delegation breakfast and subsequently resigns as chair of the DNC because of the drama stirred up by the Wikileaks hack.   Donna Brazile as a result becomes the interim chair of the DNC.

The Berners showing their assess in the Wells Fargo Center convention hall by booing Rep. Marcia Fudge, & Rep. Elijah Cummings, which isn't sitting too well right now with the Ohio and Maryland delegations and Black Democrats like myself, and only adds to the pissivity we feel about Sanders supporters.

The Sandernistas were ranting on social media (and probably still are) claiming that Bernie was cheated out of the Democratic presidential nomination because the process was 'rigged'.

Naw Bernie boo boo kitties, Hillary beat him, and he lost because he and his campaign team forgot that in Democratic Party primaries, #BlackVotersMatter.   Even your own peeps are admitting that the process wasn't rigged.

They got mad at me on social media because I called them out about the #DNCinPhilly bigotry eruptions aimed at women and POC speakers.  Don't care if you don't like it and my block game on Twitter is strong once I get tired of playing with y'all.   Not happy about you dissing Black Democrats as y'all have done during this entire Democratic primary process, and gonna call out the Green Tea Party bigotry when I see it.

As for what network I'm watching for my DNC coverage, I'm predominately watching C-SPAN.  I got tired of the incessant CNN and MSNBC chatter about e-mails and Hillary's 'likeability' and flipped it to C-SPAN at 3 PM CDT.  

They cover everything with no commercial interruptions and no talking heads commentary.

It was also cool seeing my New York homegirl Melissa Sklarz on stage with the rest of the New York delegation as they took to the stage to express their support for Sec. Clinton, who was their former junior US senator from 2001-2009

But once the speakers starting hitting the stage, the beautiful diversity of our party revealed itself.

We had more lesbian and gay peeps on stage in the first three hours of DNC 2016 once it was gaveled into session by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake than the Republicans had in their entire four day run in Cleveland.   We still have my trans sister Sarah McBride's historic speech coming on Thursday.  She been getting a lot of media attention as this profile story attests to.

Speaking of trans people making history, was pleased to hear one of my trans sisters in the struggle in Marisa Richmond is doing so by serving as the DNC's official convention timekeeper.

Congrats Marisa on this honor.  Will be paying closer attention to the podium for the rest of the DNC Convention

Loved the speech by my Texas homegirl Eva Longoria before she introduced Sen. Cory Booker to the stage.  

She is a longtime Democratic  Party activist, and was asked a few years ago to consider running for the US Senate in the Lone Star State which she declined for now.

Longoria had a few mic drop line of her own she talked about herself being a 9th generation Texan, and stated during her remarks 'we didn't cross the border, the border crossed us.'

#NoLieDetected in that comment.    Also keeping up with all my Texas homies and homettes via their Facebook pages concerning their experiences at #DNCinPhilly

Speaking of speeches, besides the FLOTUS, loved Sen. Elizabeth Warren's and Sen. Cory Booker's speeches despite the rude chanting by disgruntled Berners during them.

I also watched the Bernie Sanders speech waiting to see what he was going to say in support of Clinton.

Day One was one full of drama, and we'll see starting at 3 PM CDT what happens during Day Two of the #DNCinPhilly.

Monday, July 25, 2016

RIP Dee Whigham

Dee Whigham in a photo shared by a relative. Whigham was a registered nurse who worked at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg.
We've lost another trans sister to senseless violence, this time in Mississippi

Dee Whigham is her name, and the 25 year old registered nurse was found stabbed to death Saturday in a hotel room in St Martin. MS.   She was just starting her career in the medical field and worked for a hospital in Hattiesburg.

And once again, another Black trans woman who won't make it to her 30th birthday.

Whigham had traveled to the South Mississippi area with several friends in order to attend the Gulf Coast Black Rodeo in Biloxi, and she and her friends were staying in Room 127 at the Best Western Plus Cypress Creek Hotel just north of I-10 near the Ocean Springs exit

There is a person of interest in the murder that Jackson County sheriffs are looking for.   A man was spotted by the hotel security cameras around 8:35 PM wearing a green shirt and carrying a backpack, but at 8:58 PM showing the same man leaving with his shirt off and hanging around his neck.

Jackson County Sheriffs are looking for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the Whigham murder case, and if you do have information that will help solve it, call Detective Leo Allen at 228-875-0292, the Jackson County sheriff's dispatchers at 228-769-3060 or Crime Stoppers at 877-787-5898 or online at

Rest in power and peace sis.   We won't rest until your killer is brought to justice.

TransGriot Update: An arrest has been made in the Dee Whigham murder.   20 year old  Dwanya Hickerson has been charged with her murder.