Saturday, February 23, 2019

Trans Girl Gets Callback For Miss Puerto Rico Universe Pageant!

Daniela Arroyo: first trans woman to receive a call back for Miss Universe Puerto Rico
A few weeks ago my sis Joanna Cifredo and I were on the phone catching up with each other about the events that had transpired in our lives since our last conversation.   She recently moved back to Puerto Rico  to start a youth centered organization there, and after finding out how that was going, our conversation turned to beauty pageants.

It happened in the wake of Angela Ponce's historic week in Bangkok as the first out trans contestant at Miss Universe, and we talked about the Miss Puerto Rico Universe pageant opening their doors to trans participation. 

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We wondered aloud about the odds that the next girl like us to be a Miss Universe trans contestant could possibly come from Puerto Rico. 

We knew Denise Quinones,  the 2001 Miss Universe winner and new national director of Miss Universe Puerto Rico, has been vocally supportive of trans women competing in the Miss Universe pageant system

But we wondered if she was serious about taking the next step and actually making space for Puerto Rican trans girls to compete for this title.

Apparently, Quinones wasn't kidding, and our conversation put some positive vibes in the air for it to happen. .


University of Puerto Rico journalism student Daniela Victoria Arroyo announced on her Instagram page that she'd received a  call back for the second round of the Miss Puerto Rico Universe pageant contestant search.

What's the significance of that callback?   Puerto Rico is considered one of the Miss Universe pageant superpowers in  the long history of this contest. . 

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A Miss Puerto Rico has won the Miss Universe title five times  (1970, 1985, 2001, 2003, 2006) ,but its last win came in 2006 when Zulekya Rivera captured the crown. 

Rivera is also supportive of trans women being able to compete for the Miss Universe crown.

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Quinones wants to change that, and she wants another Puerto Rican Miss Universe titleholder as soon as possible under her watch as the pageant national director.

Arroyo has already made Puerto Rican history.  She was part of the group of trans feminine plaintiffs that successfully sued the Puerto Rican government in 2017 for the right to change their names on their birth certificates.   

In addition to her university studies, she has also been a fierce advocate for the rights of Puerto Rican trans people. 

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The question we're all asking is will Daniela Arroyo get that opportunity to compete for Miss Puerto Rico?   If she does, can she win the crown on May 26 and make it to the 2019 Miss Universe stage as Puerto Rico's representative?

Congratulations Daniela!   Hope you get a shot at making more history.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Trans Soul Singer Jackie Shane Joins The Ancestors

Sad to hear the news via her record company that Grammy nominated trans soul singer Jackie Shane has passed away at age 78.

Shane was born in Nashville in 1940, but spent much of her life in Canada, specifically in Montreal and Toronto,  rising to prominence in the local Toronto R&B music scene centered on Yonge Street.   She and her band toured Canada and the US until she returned to the United States in 1971.

She turned down an offer from George Clinton to join Funkadelic (I would have loved that as a hardcore Funkateer ) to take care of an aunt and returned to Nashville in 1996.   

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A CBC documentary brought her out of obscurity and gave us a chance to learn about our pioneering transcestor.   A collection of her music entitled Any Other Way, was nominated for a Grammy this year/ 

Rest in power and peace, Jackie.   You paved the way for the next generation of trans singers like Shea Diamond, and we're happy as a community we got to give you your flowers in the time that we got to know about you.

Now it's up to our trans musicians to pick up the torch you have left behind and hold it up for the next generation.

NC Trans Inmate Denied Housing Transfer To A Female Prison

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37 year old Kanautica Zayre-Brown acknowledges she broke the law, and as a consequence of it is now serving a nearly ten year sentence after being convicted of insurance fraud.

But despite being a post-operative trans person, having her name legally changed before starting her sentence, why am I not surprised that North Carolina keeps violating the 8th Amendment by refusing to recognize her as female and housing her in a male prison.

Zayre-Brown was imprisoned back in 2017, and is currently at the medium security Hartnett Correctional Institution in Lillington, NC, serving a nine year and 11 month sentence. 

While the North Carolina Department of Public Safety recently adopted a policy that entitles transgender inmates to services including gender appropriate housing, they have repeatedly denied Zayre-Brown's requests to be moved to a women's prison.

They also refuse to give her feminine items as well

That forces her to shower in front of male inmates, and she fears that she will be sexually assaulted it that continues.   Housing a trans woman with men is also a violation of the cruel and unusual punishment portion of the 8th Amendment, and I'm surprised they haven't been sued for it yet..

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Zayre-Brown says that all she wants is fairness and a transfer to a women's prison.   The NC DPS claims they are reviewing the case again.

I will be watching to see what happens in this case.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Martina Navratilova Comes Out As A Transphobe

Martina Navratilova has been criticized for her article on transgender athletes.
As you longtime TransGriot readers are aware of, I am a huge tennis fan and played on my high school's varsity tennis team.

I not only followed Renee Richards emerging story back then, but her ultimately successful federal civil rights lawsuit against the US Open in 1977 that allowed her to play professional tennis a s a trans women

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I also remember when Martina Navratilova came out in 1981, and endured homophobic abuse and misgendering shade thrown at her as she became with Renee Richards' help as her coach, one of the all time tennis greats with 18 Grand Slam title wins to her credit.

She has also been an advocate for lesbian and gay rights.   Not so much when it comes to the 'T' in TBLGQ.

Navratilova solidified her status as a transphobe when she penned a transphobic and TERFy sounding article in the Sunday Times of London that stated trans women competing in women's sports is 'insane' and is 'cheating'

“It’s insane and it’s cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair,” wrote Navratilova in that article.

Naw you hypocrite.  What's insane is your comment.  I also note that you didn't complain or have a problem when you beat Renee Richards three times when you played her, so have several sections of seats at Arthur Ashe Stadium on that one.

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This also comes in the wake of transphobic comments Navratilova made back in December in which she slammed Dr Rachel McKinnon, who became the first out trans feminine athlete to win a track cycling world title back in October .

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Naw Martina, you do not get to get to hold Renee Richards up as a human shield to deflect the justified comments we have for you making your loud, wrong and transphobic statements, especially in light of the fact that Republican controlled states like South Dakota are trying to pass laws banning trans youth from competing in sports.

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.I find it interesting that cis feminine people like yourself as long as you're beating trans feminine athletes have no problem with competing against us in the women's sporting ranks.but the nanosecond we trans women start winning events,  all of a sudden it's 'unfair'.

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Miss me with that transphobic noise.   That BS laden argument about trans women dominating cis women in competition hasn't happened yet anywhere on the planet.

Know how many Grand Slam titles your homegirl Renee Richards won during her playing career?   Same as Anna Kournikova...ZERO   Know how many trans Olympic athletes we have had since we've been allowed by the IOC to compete?  ZERO

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The only trans feminine person that has even made an appearance at the Olympics was model Lea T, and she was one of the national placard models during the Rio Games opening ceremonies.

It is an argument that is also insulting and disrespectful to cis feminine athletes, and one we're tired of hearing in Trans World.

And you damned right we trans advocates, parents of trans kids, and our accomplices are going to swiftly call out and snatch the wigs of you or anyone else making loud and wrong transphobic claims about our community and think we're just going to let that crap stand.

You can be mad and stay mad about that.

Oh, one more thing.  How about you read a book or two along with the science backing up the IOC policy that allows trans feminine athletes to compete in  sports as is our right to do so.

House Armed Forces Committee Hearing On Trump Trans Troop Ban Happening Soon

This is why elections matter.

When the Democrats got control of the US House, what that also meant is that when this session of the 116th Congress started, every committee got a new chairperson that is a Democratic Party member, with the Republicans sliding into the Ranking Member seat. 

It also goes without saying that Democratic majorities, like the House, .are ensconced in every committee and subcommittee.

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Rep Jackie Speier (D-CA) is the new head of the House Armed Services Committee Military Personnel Subcommittee.

In the wake of the SCOTUS unjust ruling  lifting two of the three injunctions blocking implementation of the odious Trump trans military ban, a hearing of this subcommittee has been scheduled for February 27 to discuss it according to reporting by Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade.

The hearing on 'Transgender Service Policy' will feature transgender member of our armed services along with  Trump administration officials.

Set to testify on that date at 2 PM EST are Army Captain Alivia Stehlik, Army Captain Jennifer Peace, Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King, Navy Corpsman and Petty Officer 3rd Class Patricia King  Navy Lt. Commander Blake Dremann and Navy Hospital Corpsman and Petty Officer 3rd Class Akira Wyatt

Peace and Dremann were some of the trans service members invited to attend the recent State of the Union message.

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Jesse Ehrenfeld MD, who is now at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, is also set to testify as a combat veteran deployed to Afghanistan.

The Trump administration people invited to testify are James Stewart, who is performing the duties of the undersecretary of readiness and defense, and Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, who heads the Defense Health Agency.

Some of the Democratic legislators that sit on that subcommittee are Rep Deb Haaland (D-NM)

The hearing will take place in Room 2118 of the Rayburn House Office Building, so if you wish to go as community members to support our trans troops and live in the DC area, I hope that you can do so.



Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Blog Was Deleted, Now It's Back Up

As many of you TransGriot readers are aware of by now, a few hours ago this blog was deleted for some still as unknown reason by Google/Blogger mere hours after this profile post of me appeared at  The Daily Beast

And yeah, I'm still pissed about it.   

I was also in that moment feeling the pain Diamond Stylz must have felt last year when her decade old video blog was taken down

TransGriot is back up because of the efforts of many of you peeps who called and raised holy hell to make sure that happened.   Still haven't as of yet received an explanation or apology from Google about what happened to my 13 year old GLAAD Media Award winning and four time nominated blog.

We'll see if I get that explanation over the next few days and it matches with what I suspect happened. 

But in the meantime, I do want to thank everyone who went to bat for me and offered to help get it restored and back in operation should the worst case scenario occurred. 

I'm quite aware of what TransGriot means to this community, its place in chronicling trans history, and being a news source for my fellow journalists and members of all the communities I interact with.

If you appreciate what I do here, you can always hit that TransGriot Tip jar in the upper left hand side of the blog or my PayPal at paypal.me/TransGriot

Once again, thank you for you support and help in getting this important community resource back in operation.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Thai Trans Businesswoman Running To Become Thailand's Prime Minister

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Been saying for a while that trans people in the US needed to run for public office so that we help craft the laws that govern us.

Out trans cousins around the world are adopting the same attitude, and since 1999 in six nations, New Zealand (Georgina Beyer), Italy (Vladimir Luxuria), Uruguay (Michelle Suarez) , Poland (Anna Grodzka), Venezuela (Tamara Adrian)  and the Philippines (Geraldine Roman), trans people have managed to get themselves elected to their national legislatures with others falling short of doing so. 

Now comes word from Thailand that a trans person is aiming to lead their national government..

Pauline Ngarmpring, left, a transgender person and a prime minister candidate, and Namklenginarin, right, also a candidate, both representing Mahachon Party for upcoming Thai general election, campaign in Bangkok, Feb. 13, 2019.
Before she transitioned, 52 year old Pauline Ngarmpring was a corporate CEO, parent  and a sports promoter who was well known in the world of Thai soccer.  Now she finds herself on the verge of being a potential trans political history maker, and she's eagerly accepting that challenge. 

Ngarmpring wants to bring hope to the transgender and other marginalized communities of Thailand and pave the way for the next generation of trans and same gender loving politicians in the Land of Smiles.

She's fine if she doesn't win, because in her words, "she was the first one who dares enough to announce 'hey, we can do this'."

"We are not saying we are better than male or female," says Ngarmpring. "We are just want to say we are equal ."

Pauline Ngarmpring, LGBT candidate for Thai PM
She is one of three candidates put forward by the Mahachon Party for prime minister in the upcoming March 24 general elections despite only having been a member of it since November

The Mahachon Party hopes its human rights platform that includes legalizing prostitution,  will appeal to Thailand's large TBLGQ and sex worker population .

In those elections 200 of the 500 seats in the Thai House of Representatives are being contested by the party, and 20 of the candidates it has put forward are openly part of the TBLGQ community.

Ngarmpring since her transition three years ago has taken on the personal mission of educating Thai society.   But there are people who view TBLGQ rights and her candidacy with skepticism.

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Sometimes political fortune and history favors those who are bold enough to act.   We'll see if Pauline Ngarmpring makes history next month. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Colin Kaepernick To Get Settlement In NFL Collusion Case

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Had a feeling when the arbitrator ruled in Kaepernick's favor last August against the NFL's attempt to get summary judgement on this case, this was inevitably going to happen.

The NFL and Kaepernick announced that they have reached a settlement in his lawsuit against the NFL for blackballing him for two season over the NFL anthem protests.

Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reed, who joined Kaepernick in the initial take a knee protests when both were San Francisco 49ers teammates, also settled out of court with the league for an undisclosed amount.

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Even though Reed ended up with the Panthers, there was still the issue that cropped up during the 2018 season of him shadily being 'randomly' drug tested nine times.

While the terms of the settlement for both players were not revealed, and they are subject to a confidentiality agreement, it is speculated that Kaepernick is being paid by the NFL owners somewhere in the $60 to $80 million dollar range.

The NFL Players Association also issued a statement in the wake of the announced settlements for both players.

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 "We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support the decision by the players and their counsel," it read. "We continuously supported Colin and Eric from the start of their protests, participated with their lawyers throughout their legal proceedings, and were prepared to participate in the upcoming trial in pursuit of both truth and justice for what we believe the NFL and its clubs did to them. We are glad that Eric has earned a job and a new contract, and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well." 

Congratulation to both players.   Justice was served in this case.   Hopefully we'll see Colin on an NFL gridiron soon.

Payless Shoe Source To Permanently Close

Report: Payless ShoeSource closing all stores after filing for bankruptcy
Payless Shoe Source for trans women has been for years one of the go to places to find nice fashion forward shoes, boots and sandals in our double digit sizes at a reasonable price.

They went through a bankruptcy in April 2017 in which they closed over 500 stores in the US and emerged from bankruptcy protection 18 moths ago.

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But when the Topeka, KS based Payless Shoe Source files for bankruptcy this time, it will close all 2300 remaining stores in the US and liquidate its inventory.

That's bad news for cis and trans women who wear hard to find sizes on the low and high end of the shoe size scale.   Payless shoes can start as small as a size 5 and go up to a size 13 and they do so at reasonable prices. 

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Over the last few years they have stepped up the quality of those shoes, with Christian Siriano and Martha Stewart being two of the big names that have deals to sell their shoes lines there..

Payless will unfortunately become another of the big name brick and mortar store chains to die.  Sears is on life support ,and Toys R Us and The Bon-Ton Stores are retailers that have shuttered their doors in the last 12 months.

Looks like when they start the going out of business sale, need to be at my fave locations when the door opens because those 12's and 13's will be going fast.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day 2019

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Today is Valentine's Day.  As has been the case for the last decade, I bought my own candy, have a bottle of wine and have a stack of DVD romantic comedies to watch to get me through this day.

I'm not mad at you peeps who are booed up and are spending this day being wined, dined, spoiled rotten and having flowers sent to your homes or jobs.   It just hasn't happened for me.

One of the things I did some hard solid thinking about before I made the decision 25 years ago to handle my transition business involved relationships.   In fact I'd just come out of a three year one, and was getting interest from another cis woman at the time I transitioned.

I knew that if I transitioned, there was the possibility that I would never get into another relationship ever again.   But the need to be authentic me trumped that.  I also started transition in 1994 with the plan to have at least a five year moratorium on any romantic entanglements until I got used to comfortably living life in a feminine body. 

Little did I anticipate that the five year relationship moratorium would stretch out to now 25 years.   It also didn't help that during this dating hiatus I was a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding in 2004.
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As I like to say about my dating hiatus, I've been wandering the dating Sinai for so long that the booed up couples on their way to the dating Promised Land shake their head at me as they pass me by.  It's not that I intended to be single for this long.   Just haven't found the right person for me combined with other complications compounding it. 

I had one guy who was interested in me, but the price I would have paid to be in that relationship was too high for me.  I would have had to pull out of all activism and have zero contact with the trans community as long as we were together because he was on the trans dating down low. 

Y'all know what my two word answer to that request was.

There was also the brother when I lived in Louisville who was interested, but I discovered he was married.  Naw player, I'm a first round draft choice.   I'm nobody's sloppy seconds or undrafted free agent.  Neither am I going to be the side piece breaking up somebody's marriage and inviting that negative karma into whatever potential relationship I ended up in.

I thought about expanding my dating horizons, and have had two women so far approach me.  But as of yet, no one of any gender has stepped into my life that has rocked my world to the point I was head over heels in love with them.   Conversely, the people I have been interested in also turned out to already be taken or just not into me beyond friendship.

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Yeah, I have relationship requirements.  Number one is no trans attracted men need apply who want to keep me as their secret lover.  You must be as unapologetic about dating trans women as I am about living my life.   If you're ashamed to show me off to your boys or your family, step.

I like going to restaurants, getting flowers and chocolate and to be spoiled on my Cuatro de Mayo birthday.   I like doing public stuff that requires you taking me out in daylight and early evening hours. 

I like going to sporting events. movies and museums.  I like bowling, miniature golf and shooting pool.  And yes, while I'm at those sporting events, if the ref makes a lousy call, they will hear it from me.

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As an advocate, there will be times you will be a plus one for the community events, galas and fundraisers I get invited to.   I'm also a nationally and internationally recognized trans advocate.  If you can't handle the level of attention I get while I'm out and about, then maybe you should rethink stepping to me.

In a nutshell, I'm looking for quality, not quantity.  It's the way I've always ran my dating life, and transition didn't change that aspect of my personality.   But the reality is now I'm looking for love in a smaller dating pool, and as I get older, that pool continues to shrink.

If it happens for me, cool.  If it doesn't, I'll just continue focusing on making the world a better place for all the trans peeps behind me and rooting for you as you find your forever loves.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rest In Power Sarah DePalma

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We in the Houston trans community knew this day was coming because she had been valiantly battling Parkinson's Disease since 2006, but it still hurts to write this post announcing the death of one of our pioneering trans leaders in Sarah DePalma.

DePalma passed away Sunday night, and the woman I call 'Mommy Sarah' was another one of our Houston based kick butt trans advocates who also had trailblazing national and statewide reach. 

She and another Houston trans trailblazer in Phyllis Frye met in the late 1980's, and the two Aggies formed a lasting friendship as a result.   By 1993 DePalma was upping her own activism game and heading to Austin to push for changes in our state laws that would benefit transgender people.

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She was also giving the lesbian and gay community in Houston and nationally hell for their exclusionary anti-trans attitudes in the 90's and early 2000's.  We successfully fought a pitched battle for inclusion in the Houston GLBT caucus during that time while calling HRC out for their anti-trans stances.

DePalma was the founder of and Executive Director of It's Time Texas, which later became TGAIN (Transgender Advocacy Information Network) and is now TENT (Transgender Education Network of Texas)  She also led It's Time America, one of the early trans advocacy groups formed in the 1990's.

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My first Texas Lobby day was in 1999, but she was already a veteran lobbyist at the state and national level by the time I met her.   Where Sarah and I connected in addition to her being one of my early trans advocacy mentors was as the co-host of KPFT-FM's After Hours show with the late Jimmy Carper.   

She leaves behind her longtime partner Lori, and a host of people who loved her.   As of yet don't know when her memorial service is going to happen, but will definitely be there to pay my last respects to her.

We've lost another of our trans pioneers.  Rest in power and peace, Sarah. .

Monday, February 11, 2019

Rest In Power and Peace Miriam Rivera

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2019 is already turning into a less than stellar year for the House of Xtravaganza. 

The iconic New York ballroom community house has already lost one of their iconic founding members when Hector Xtravaganza passed away at age 60 in December.

Now they have lost another iconic member to an apparent suicide in Miriam Rivera.   If you recognize that name, you may not have been aware of the fact that our trailblazing sis was also a member of the House of Xtravaganza.

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Rivera was part of the 2004 British reality TV series There's Something About Miriam and the cast of Big Brother Australia.   She also survived a horrific attack and fall from a fifth story apartment back in February 2007

Miriam was living in Hermosillo, Mexico at the time of her death, and the Xtravaganzas and all who loved her are mourning her untimely passing.

As of yet haven't heard if there is going to be a memorial service for her in New York, but will pass that info along to you TransGriot readers as I receive it. 

Rest in power and peace Miriam. 



Thursday, February 07, 2019

Upcoming One Day Local Elections 101 Campaign School

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On February 16 I will be joining an amazing lineup of local party officials, former candidates, elected officials and campaign professionals as part of the One Day Campaign School Local Elections 101 event.

I'll probably be taking notes when I'm not on stage.

It's a discussion about how to run for public office for candidates and staff sponsored by Texas Victory Consulting that will break it down to the nuts and bolts of how to build your campaign.

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It's taking place from 8:30 AM-3:30 PM, and continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.   You have to register for it, and it's $50 for early bird registration.  The at the door cost will be $65 and you can do so at this link.

Location for this event will be the Buffalo Soldier Museum at 3816 Caroline Street.

Hope to see you there



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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Shea Diamond Nominated For A GLAAD Media Award!

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I'm not the only Black trans person who will be watching and waiting to see if I get a GLAAD Media Award when those shows happen in LA and New York.

My BTAC sister Shea Diamond has been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in the Best Music Artist category for her album Seen It All. |

Here's her website if you wish to check out her music.   Of course, Shea would also deeply appreciate it if you buy it as well and add it to your music collection.

My fave songs on the album are American Pie and I Am Her.



Just like my Outstanding Blogger category, it's a stacked field.   She is part of a ten person nominee field that includes another trans music artist in Kim Petras, Janelle Monae, Troye Sivan and Hayley Kiyoko just to name a few of the folks she's competing with for the honor..

Congrats Shea!   Here;'s hoping that you get to make some history of your own when they announce the winner of this highly competitive category. ,

Monday, February 04, 2019

A Trans Homecoming Queen Reigns In Forsyth County, GA

Charlie Baum with flowers after winning
Forsyth County, GA has a long, ugly history for the peeps in the ATL metro area of being a hotbed of racism and homophobia deep in the heart of Georgia Klan country.

It was a huge and delightful surprise when I learned that the latest trans homecoming queen lives there.

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17 year old Charlie Baum is a senior at Forsyth Central High School who has known she was a girl like us since childhood.  She has endured bullying and even death threats for much of her scholastic career.

She started wearing makeup and doing drag in high school, and that only intensified the transphobic and homophobic hatred and public bullying being aimed at her.

Trans homecoming queen Charlie Baum on the night she won the title on January 26 2019
Nevertheless she persisted, and started an Instagram page last June with thousands of followers that  serves as an outlet for her pro TBLGQ stances and thoughts.

She didn't come out as trans until December, and was just simply looking forward to graduating and leaving Forsyth County for a more welcoming environment and to be girl like us herself.

That was until two of her classmates, Midori and Nicole, nominated her for homecoming queen.

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At first her family feared that this was only a cruel joke being played on her, but once Baum was determined to be eligible for the honor, she went for it after realizing the potential historic nature of her winning the homecoming queen honor as a trans girl.

She discovered when she won, she had far more support at Forsyth Central High than she thought she had, and hopes her historic win helps normalize the lives of trans people.   She also hopes it helps trans kids to not be afraid to dream big.


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"I want trans individual stories to be heard, and visibility is everything.  I want to inspire other trans youth to know you can do it," said Baum.

"Break boundaries!  Make History!  Rock that sash!"|

Congratulations Charlie for making that history, in Forsyth County of all places.