Friday, November 15, 2019

Headed To Austin Again!

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Well, for once I'm doing an ATX trip that doesn't involve me spending most of my day at the Pink Dome.   But it's a little unique in how I'm getting there.

For the first time in 20 years, back in my Air Marshal days, I'm flying to Austin for an event.   It's also the first time I will fly into Austin Bergstrom Airport, which opened back in May 1999 and has been expanded since then to house 34 gates. 

It used to be Bergstrom Air Force Base until it closed in 1993.  Austin's tiny local airport on the north side of town was generating increasing citizen noise complaints, and the city asked to Air Force to consider making Bergstrom a joint civilian-military field.  Those requests were rejected until the base closed. 

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Bergstrom was also where Air Force One repeatedly flew into from Washington DC when Lyndon B. Johnson was president and enjoying time on his nearby LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, TX.

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The city of Austin eventually acquired it, demolished all the old base structures except the runway and the circular 12th Air Force HQ building that got converted into a hotel. 

The main terminal at the ABIA airport is named after trailblazing Texas legislator Barbara Jordan, and there's a statue of her in it. 

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Most of the time when I go to Austin from Houston I'm rolling past the airport on TX 71 either as a bus or car passenger.   But since I was in a United hub city in San Francisco and I needed to be in the ATX, decided to save myself a trip and just fly nonstop to Austin instead of flying back home to IAH,  heading to downtown Houston, then taking a nearly 2 hour bus ride back to the ATX.

It was going to be a 'Bougie bus', AKA a Vonlane, but still, why do that to myself?

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I will be taking the bus back home to Houston when I'm done up here

What is that business?   I'm here for the 30th anniversary gala for Equality Texas that's happening on Saturday night, and they're giving me an award.

And yes, I will have room on my trophy shelf for it.

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That 30th anniversary gala will happen at the AT&T Conference Center in downtown Austin on Saturday night, and looking forward to seeing and spending some time with my ATX family 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

2019 TransGriot NFL Picks -Week 11

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The 1972 Miami Dolphins are popping champagne corks because Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks took down the last unbeaten team in the 2019 NFL overtime.

That game in a Week 10 full of upsets also capped the worst week I've had in years of NFL prognostication and my first sub-500 one of this 2019 NFL season . 

Ugh.  I want to make sure this is my LAST sub .500 week of the 2019 NFL season.

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The Texans come out of their bye week and start their brutal stretch of games that see them playing the Ravens in Baltimore, a must win against their AFC South rivals the Colts and the New England Cheatriots Patriots at NRG Stadium over the next three weeks.   At the end of it, we'll know if this Texans team is a contender or a pretender.

Let's get to Week 11.  The Seahawks, Giants, Titans and Packers are on their bye week, so only 14 games to pick.   My picks will be in bold red print with home team in CAPS.   Mike's Week 11 picks will be at this link.

Week 10 Results                                2019 NFL Season Results 
TransGriot  3-10                                 TransGriot  89-58-1
Mike           4-9                                   Mike           85-61-1

Thursday Night Game
Steelers over BROWNS

Sunday Early Games
RAVENS over Texans
PANTHERS over Falcons
Cowboys over LIONS
Jaguars over COLTS
Bills over DOLPHINS
VIKINGS over Broncos
Saints over BUCCANEERS

Sunday Afternoon Games
49ERS over Cardinals
RAIDERS over Bengals
Patriots over EAGLES

Sunday Night Game 
RAMS over Bears

Monday Night Game
Chiefs over CHARGERS (Mexico City)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

I'm Chilling In San Francisco!

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After a crowded flight, I'm now in my hotel and chilling as I get ready for my TDOR event tomorrow.

The interesting thing about San Francisco is that it has a lot of small hotels sprinkled throughout its downtown area, and I'm staying at one called the Herbert Hotel.
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It opened in 1909, and definitely has been renovated since then with a flat screen TV in my room and comp WiFi.

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It's on Powell Street, overlooking Union Square and two blocks from the turnaround for the San Francisco cable car line.   The Powell Street BART station is two blocks from here, which was definitely a blessing that meant I didn't have to schlep my bag too far from the subway station to the hotel 

Since I arrived a little after noon Pacific time, have the rest of the day and evening to hang out, and that's the plan so far.

Going To Miss You, Nikki Araguz Loyd

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Ironic that  I find myself on the day that we're having the viewing of  Nikki's body back home, I am in San Francisco, 122 miles from where she was born in Carmel, CA.

The viewing of her body is happening today, with the service happening tomorrow at the Humble Civic Center.   And I'm a little bummed that due to a previous commitment I must miss it.

Our Houston community woke up a week ago to the shocking news that Nikki Araguz Loyd had passed away at age 44.   We still as of yet don't know the cause of death, but what I can tell you is that even a week later, it is still sending shockwaves through me and everyone else in the Houston activist community who knew her.

I got to meet her in July 2010, not long after I moved back to Houston and the media firestorm around her marriage case was blowing up.  We became friends after a road trip I took with her to the northern Houston 'burbs. a month later

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As I watched her ultimately successful precedent setting marriage case unfold, our friendship grew.

She knew I tended to be a loner at times, so she would unexpectedly show up at my place to pull my behind away from my computer and out of the apartment to do road trips with her and her bestie Meagan.   She took me out for my birthday one year, and I was also present for an epic Thanksgiving dinner in 2015 and more of her epic parties..

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When I had drama in my life,  she was there helping me navigate through it.  I was also in her attorney's office when she won her case, and we subsequently rolled over to the Harris County Civil Courthouse to watch the now fired Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart try a last ditch resistance of the Obergefell ruling.

She was also there to put her size 9 foot up my behind when I needed a motivational kick in the butt.

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I got to meet many of the people in her circles like Meagan Gillett, Bryanna Cox, Denisse Acha, Cressandra Thibodeaux  and countless others.   There were local trans advocates she also facilitated meetings with, supported and connected to each other.  She was connected to many national trans peeps as well like Jeanette and Jazz Jennings,  Joanna Cifredo de Fellman, Angelica Ross and Geena Rocero just to name a few.

She was connected not only to our trans community,  but the HIV/AIDS one, and the Houston arts community.

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Because Nikki transitioned in her teens, she was seen as a role model and shero to our trans kids, and she loved them back.

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While she will always be remembered for the landmark 2015 trans marriage equality Araguz v Delgado case that took down the 2001 anti-trans Littleton v Prange precedent, she also helped us pass HERO in May 2014 by revealing a painful event in her own life. 

She helped people get their name and gender marker changes.  When we were spending all day at the Pink Dome waiting to testify against SB 6 in 2017, she and Will walked into the Texas Capitol building with 20 large pizzas to feed us.

Interestingly enough that while she was a kick butt advocate, she told me during a birthday dinner for me a few years ago that her goal after she transitioned was to simply be a wife and mother.

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And she relished that role as well.   So well that she got elected as the PTA president at her daughter's school.

Nikki's life was short and way too brief for us, but it was one lived fabulously and well.  She always loved a good party, and is probably organizing a few of them with our transcestors now.

And yes diva, I'm going to miss you.

Leaving On A Jet Plane To: SFO

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If my flight left on time, I should be as you're reading this airborne and headed toward San Francisco and a TDOR event taking place on Thursday thanks to United.

This time I had to go to the big airport as we refer to IAH down here because the org sponsoring the trip had United vouchers for me to travel on, and United has a hub at IAH.

And yes, I love it any time I get to see my former coworkers that are still working at IAH and counting the days to retirement in some cases.

But traveling on United also means it's necessary for me to get there an hour to two hours earlier than I normally would for a flight because I still know half the airport.  I'm stopping every five to ten minutes running into Houston based flight attendants, coworkers, and even the shoe shine guys on my way to my departure gates in either Terminal C or Terminal E.

It's also a deja vu experience because I transitioned in that building.  While the south side of Terminal C is basically the same as when I was working there, the renovations they have done since I left in 2001 have also made it look vastly different from the Terminal C I used to know.

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The bars and shops in there now remind me of a shopping mall.   Even the food courts and what they offer are light years different from when I was working there.    When I was working there, we had more locally based chains contracted to be in our airport terminals.

The new Terminal C north side gates are close enough now to Terminal B that you can walk to them from the north side C gates.

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That's especially true when I have a flight out of the north side of Terminal C, which is not even close to the one I used to work in.  The massive Terminal E, which connects to the south side of Terminal C and Terminal D (AKA the International Arrivals Building) on its north side, didn't even exist when I was there,

But back to discussing my trip.   Destination this time is San Francisco, and this will be the first time I've been back since 2016, when I attended the GLAAD Gala San Francisco, picked up an award and made a little speech at it.

Thus time I along with Toni Newman will be speaking at a Commonwealth Club of California, Gilead Sciences and SFPride sponsored TDOR event taking place on November 14.

looking forward to spending some time in the Bay Area, and hope i get to see some of my trans fam living here while I'm in San Francisco.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Harris County Commissioners Court Issues TDOR Resolution

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Blue elections have positive consequences, and one of those happy consequences was after over a decade of GOP control, we finally flipped the Harris County Commissioners Court, our county's governing body to blue with the elections of Lina Hidalgo as our first Latina county judge and Adrian Garcia in the heavily Latinx Precinct 2.

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Earlier at today's Commissioners Court meeting, Commissioner Adrian Garcia offered and got passed a resolution noting that this was the 20th anniversary year of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

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It was signed by the Democratic members of Commissioners Court in Commissioners Garcia and Rodney Ellis and County Judge Lina Hidalgo.  As you probably guessed, the signatures that were noticeably absent from the resolution were those of Republican commissioners R. Jack Cagle and Steve Radack. 

Radack is unfortunately my commissioner (for now), and has been on Commissioners Court since 1980.   He is thankfully up for reelection next year.   Cagle barely survived a challenge from Penny Morales Shaw for his seat in 2018.

Looking forward to firing Radack's disco era azz

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Thanks to Judge Hidalgo, and Commissioners Garcia and Ellis for recognizing trans Harris County residents and the importance of TDOR to us.

No White Supremacists On My City Council

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Our Houston municipal elections back on November 5 led to the mayoral race and several city council  races going into runoffs.

One of those races going into a runoff is the At Large 4 city council race in which Anthony Dolcefino,  son of former ABC 13 investigative reporter Wayne Dolecefino, is in against Dr Letitia Plummer.

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This is the seat that CM Amanda Edwards held and was expected to win reelection to before she surprisingly decided to jump into the 2020 US Senate race.

I wasn't a fan of young Dolecefino in large part because of what his father pulled back in 1991.

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Wayne Dolcefino aired that libelous hit piece on Sylvester Turner mere days before that 1991 mayoral runoff that cost him the chance to become Houston's first Black mayor and cost Dolecefino his ABC13 reporting gig. 

He's been hatin' on ABC 13 and Mayor Turner ever since, and is a frequent conservafool fixture on FOX 26.

It seems that young Anthony has a troubling history of palling around with White supremacists that goes back to his days at UT.   I also find it interesting that the Houston Firefighters endorsed Dolcefino.

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We don't need someone like that on our Houston City Council, and I urge you to vote for Dr Letitia Plummer next month when early voting starts to make sure that happens.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Nikki Araguz Loyd Celebration Of Life Service Dates

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For those of you who haven't heard the news yet, Nikki Araguz Loyd passed away on November 6 at he suburban Houston home.  William Loyd and the family have announced when the services will happen.

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On Wednesday November 13, the public viewing for Nikki Araguz Loyd will be held at Rosewood Funeral Home in Atascocita, TX from 5- 8 PM CST. 

The funeral home is located at 17404 W Lake Houston Pkwy in Atascocita.

The Celebration of Life Ceremony will take place on Thursday November 14 at the Humble Civic Center from 1-4 PM CST.   The Humble Civic Center is located at 8233 Will Clayton Pkwy in Humble, TX, 77338
Since Nikki always loved a good party, after the services there will be a fabulous Nikki style BYOB🍾 PARTY🍾 at Nectar.   There will be an open mic available to speak and allow you to share your best Nikki memories.

Nectar is located at 7560 FM 1960, in Humble, TX 77346

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If you are thinking about flying into Houston for the viewing and service, IAH is the closest airport to that side of town where the events will take place, and there are plenty of hotels in the Humble-IAH area .

If you can attend,  please do so and say goodbye to a revered and iconic member of our community.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

2019 TransGriot NFL Picks - Week 10

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I went from having my best week of the season to in Week 9, sweating out the Cowboys-Giants Monday night game to break even at 7-7 after all the upsets.

Then again, Mike also went 7-7, so the net result is I still have a lead going into the first NFL games of November.   

We're getting into the part of the season where each game matters for playoff seeding and positioning for the teams in the hunt for the playoffs.   it also matters in me and Mr watts season long chase for an NFL prognostication title

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The Texans business trip to London was a successful one.  They not only achieved the season sweep of the Jags, we received an early Christmas present from the Pittsburgh Steelers after they knocked off the Indianapolis Colts to put the Texans back on top of the AFC South.

The games also matter to the teams down in the NFL dumps slouching toward the number one pick in the 2020 NFL draft like the Bengals.  Miami upset the Jets for their first win of the season, and hope they can get another one against the Colts.

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And yes, Patriot haters everywhere rejoiced when the Ravens beat the Cheatriots Patriots 37-20 and knocked them from the ranks of the unbeaten.   That leaves the 49ers as the only unbeaten team left in the NFL.

Time to get to this week's picks.   Only 13 games to pick because six teams, the Texans, Jaguars, Patriots, Broncos, Eagles and the Washington NFL franchise are on their bye week, so less margin for error this week.  .

Teams I choose to win will be in bold red print with the home team in CAPS.  Mike's Week 10 picks will be  here at this link.

Week 9 Results                               2019 NFL Season Record 
TransGriot   7-7                              TransGriot  86-48-1
Mike            7-7                               Mike          81-53-1

Thursday Night Game
Chargers over RAIDERS

Sunday Early Games
Ravens over BENGALS
Bills over BROWNS
Lions over BEARS
Giants over JETS
Chiefs over TITANS
BUCCANEERS over Cardinals
SAINTS over Falcons

Sunday Afternoon Games
COLTS over Dolphins
Rams over STEELERS
PACKERS over Panthers

Sunday Night Game 
COWBOYS over Vikings

Monday Night Game 
49ERS over Seahawks

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Many H-Town Races Going To Runoffs

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No thanks to a last minute jacked up ruling from the Republican Texas Secretary of State Ruth R Hughs, the election results in Harris County and our Houston municipal election were delayed until well after midnight.

Mayor Sylvester Turner was comfortably ahead for most of the night, but unfortunately will be in a runoff against Trumper Tony 'I Don't Need To Be Mayor' Buzbee.

Mayor Turner released a statement early this morning once the runoff was assured.

"To those who voted for me, thank you. To those who did not, I will work hard to earn your votes 
"The good news about this runoff is that Houstonians have a very simple and very clear choice for mayor: An experienced leader who has been delivering for Houston for more than 30 years? Or a Donald Trump imitator who has no experience, no ideas and will say anything, do anything or spend anything to get elected? 
"I trust Houstonians to make the right decision for our city.

Controller Chris Brown won reelection to a second term, beating Orlando Sanchez.

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In the City Council races, incumbent councilmembers Dave Martin (District E), Greg Travis (District G), Robert Gallegos (District I) and Martha Castex Tatum (District K) .

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Castex Tatum won election for a full four year term of her own after succeeding the late councilmember Larry Green in May 2018 and finishing the remaining time on his term..

In an interesting development, all five of the at large council seats are going to runoffs.

At Large 1 incumbent Mike Knox will face Raj Salhotra. 
At Large 2 incumbent David Robinson will face off against HERO hating pastor Willie Davis. 
At Large 3 incumbent Michael Kubosh, who voted against HERO, will be challenged by Janaeya Carmouche. 
At Large 4 Anthony Dolcefino will square off against Dr Letitia Plummer for the seat being vacated by CM Amanda Edwards, who is running for the US Senate. 
At Large 5, Sallie Alcorn will battle Eric Dick for the seat being vacated by Jack Christie .

These Houston City Council district races are going to runoffs.

District A, Amy Peck will take on George Zoes in the battle to replace term limited councilmember Brenda Stardig. 
District B will feature a runoff contest between Tarsha Jackson and Cynthia Bailey 
District C will feature the expected runoff between Abbie Kaman and Shelley Kennedy
District D in a shocker, will have Carolyn Evans-Shabazz taking on Brad 'Scarface' Jordan from the rap group the Geto Boys to determine who replaces Dwight Boykins, who decided to run for mayor..
District F, Tiffany Thomas will face Van Huynh to replace incumbent Steve Le, who decided not to run for reelection. 
District H  incumbent Karla Cisneros will face Isabel Longoria, 
District J Sandra Rodriguez will face Edward Pollard

In the HCCS races, in District I Monica Flores Richart fell just short of winning the seat outright, and will face longtime homophobe and transphobe Dave Wilson.

In HCCS District II- Rhonda Skillern Jones will face Kathy Lynch-Gunter 

In the HISD races, incumbents Sergio Lira (Position 3) and Board president Diana Davila (Position 8) were ousted by their challengers Dani Hernandez and Judith Cruz   

Position 2 will be decided in a runoff between Kathy Bluefield Daniels and John Curtis Gibbs.
Position 4 will be decided in a runoff between Patricia Allen and Matt Barnes.   Patrica is the daughter of TX state Rep Alma Allen and sister of SBOE member Lawrence Allen 

But will it be enough to preempt a threatened state takeover of HISD?

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In HD 148, the battle to replace retiring state rep Jessica Farrar will be between Democrat Anna Eastman and Republican Luis La Rotta

Down in Fort Bend County, in a closely watched special election race in HD 28,  Eliz Markowitz and perennial candidate Gary Gates will face off to determine who will replace the retired John Zerwas.

Texas House District 28 candidates Democrat Elizabeth “Eliz” Markowitz and Republican Gary Gates are the top contenders in the race to replace former state Rep. John Zerwas.
It is one of the nine seats Texas Democrats must flip in order to seize control of the Texas house for the first time since 2002   Markowitz was the lone Democrat running against five republicans for this seat.  and led for much of the night .

We'll see if she can capture the seat in a Fort Bend County that is turning purple.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Dave Wilson Runs For HCC Board, But Can't Spell

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You longtime TransGriot readers have read my rants about Dave Wilson, who is a longtime transphobe and homophobe who has been responsible for helping spike two attempts at Houston passing inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in 1985 and 2015.

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When he's not busy trying to get transphobic BS inserted into the Houston City Charter, Wilson has been keeping himself busy doing his hatemongering as a member of the Houston Community College board. 

Saying in that misspelled flyer that he has 'uncompromising integrity' is a crock, being that he passed himself off as Black to narrowly win the HCC District II seat by 24 votes and knock off a 24 year African American incumbent board trustee in the process. 

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He has been censured and reprimanded by his fellow board members for his antics.  When Rhonda Skillern Jones stepped up to challenge him for his HCC District II seat, he resigned, then filed to run in the HCC District I seat race against attorney Monica Flores Richart.

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Needless to say I want his azz (and so does everyone at HCC) gone, and it's a major reason why I not only endorsed Monica Flores Richart in this race, I hope she is successful in taking his reprehensible behind out.    I love watching trans oppressors like Wilson get beaten at the ballot box.

I also found it interesting that a candidate trying to get back on the board of a community college, pays so little attention to his campaign material that he let a spelling error slide by.

What is it about transphobes and their propensity for spelling errors? .

But here's hoping that we're calling Monica Flores Richart 'trustee-elect' at the end of the night

TransGriot Update:  Monica Flores Richart is in a runoff against that hatemonger