Monday, April 29, 2019

Moni's Back In Austin Again!

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While BTAC 2019 concluded yesterday, still couldn't go home just yet.   I hopped a Megabus from Dallas down I-35 to come to Austin for the fifth time this session.

An opportunity presented itself to go on legislative offense for a change when I was notified that HB 1513 was scheduled for a hearing in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee today.

HB 1513 would add gender identity and expression to the Texas James Byrd Hate Crimes Law, and it is something that is long overdue.

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It's authored by Rep Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) with Reps Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), Jessica Gonzalez (D-Dallas) and Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City)  signing on as co-authors

I came to the ATX after BTAC ended because there's a 9 AM CDT press conference being held by Rep Coleman that I'm speaking at this morning.    I'll also be signing up to testify in favor of the bill when it has its scheduled hearing at 2 PM in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

The committee is chaired by Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Ft Worth) with her Vice Chair being Rep Bill Zedler (R-Arlington)

The members of House Jurisprudence are Reps Keith Bell (R-Forney), Jessica Gonzalez (D-Dallas), Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), Phil King (R-Weatherford), Joe Moody (D-El Paso), Andrew Murr (R-Junction), and Rep. Leo Pacheco  (D-San Antonio)   

You may wish to call their offices and politely ask them to vote in favor of HB 1513.    I'll do my best to make the case when the hearing starts at 2 PM CDT in room E2.112 why they should do so.

That hearing will be broadcast, and you can check it out on the Texas House legislative website

Friday, April 26, 2019

Zeta Phi Beta Goes Transphobe

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We need you Divine Nine sororities to state one way or the other that either yes, we recognize trans women as the women you are and would love to have you join us if you qualify for membership or no, we don't want you even if you do qualify so we know where you stand.-TransGriot 
'Do You Want Trans Women In Your Ranks Or Not, Divine Nine Sororities?'
July 7, 2017

Been saying for a while that Black Greek Letter Organizations need to step up and decide  once and for all what their policies will be when it comes to transgender people, and we now know which way Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc was leaning.

They decided to roll with transphobia.

Back on January 12 according to reporting by the Washington Blade, the sorority's International Executive Board adopted a 'diversity statement' that states a prospective member 'must be a cisgender woman' to join the organization.   

Translation:  No trans women need apply to join Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

It then hypocritically says that Zeta Phi Beta 'values all people, regardless of race, age, gender, gender expression, ability, disability, creed, religion or walk of life'.

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This problematic move comes as more HBCU's are making positive changes to their enrollment policies to accommodate transgender students.

So we now know where Zeta Phi Beta stands when it comes to trans women potentially becoming members of their sorority, and it's their loss. 

As I have said repeatedly, trans women aren't going away or back in the closet.   The 'finer womanhood' you claim you wish to build also includes trans women who may be down with the mission of Zeta Phi Beta.

But you'll never know that, because you've barred tras women from joining.    That's not only not cool, but it reinforces to the world once again the false narrative that Black people are 'more transphobic '

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

BTMI Press Release Concerning The Keir Rice Hate Attack

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April  24, 2019
Contact: Monica Roberts BTAC Media Chair 346-310-0824
Trenton Johnson BTMI President 

855-255-8636  Ext 11

Black Trans Advocacy Coalition (BTAC) and Black Transmen Inc.(BTMI) once again has to raise its collective voice to condemn another attack upon a Black trans Texan, this time in Killeen, TX .

On April 19 Keir Rice was attacked by Garfield David Hicks, the owner of the barbershop when he worked with a child client in his chair.  He suffered a concussion, bruised ribs and a damaged shoulder. 

Rice was also quoted in a KWTX-TV news report that Hicks discriminated against TBLGQ customers, misgendered and deadnamed him repeatedly, and touched him inappropriately.

This is unacceptable on multiple levels.   We also condemn what happened to Mr. Rice in the strongest possible terms would like to see justice served in this case.

If Mr Rice is able to do so, we would love to extend an invitation for him to join us at the Black Trans Advocacy Conference currently talking place in Dallas until April 28.

This transphobic attack upon Mr Rice sadly is more concrete evidence it is past time for the Lone Star State to add Texas transgender people to the James Byrd Hate Crimes Law. 

These attacks are why BTAC enthusiastically supports Rep. Garnet Coleman's HB 1513 that would add gender identity to that existing law.

If there is any community that we Black trans people should feel safe in, it should be the African American one.   Texas Black trans people in the last ten days have unfortunately received the message with the assaults on Mulaysia Booker and now Keir Rice that we are hated by our own people.   

That needs to change, starting today.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

BTWI Board Welcome For BTAC 2019

The BTAC conference welcome from the BTWI board....

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See y'all tomorrow.

Monday, April 22, 2019

BTAC Is Back!

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You long time readers know I like to write poetry when the mood hits me, and for the last 36 hours I've had the BTAC themed poem running through my head that I finally got a chance to sit down and write.

BTAC Is Back! An MKR Poem

BTAC is back
And unapologetically Black
We’re handling our business here in Big D
Tapping into our Afrocentric ancestry

Peeps who are trans and GNC
From sea to shining sea
Gather in Texas to build family
And become the best people they can be

The BTIPS pageant, awards gala, and Transmanifest Live
Showing the world that we will thrive
The Community Summit and empowerment sessions
Teaching us all important life lessons

The Anchors, BTMX and our Golden Flames
Putting more respect on our BTAC name
The distinguished brothers of BTMI
Are the apple of every sister’s eye

Gotta drop this knowledge
Y’all know this ain’t no lie
Have mad love for my sisters

Our BTMX siblings
The new kids on the block
But you already know
Black GNC people rock  

Our Golden Flames paved the way
They’re our elders who still have much to say
They have wisdom and knowledge that just needs to be tapped
Note to you BTAC younglings: they have our back  

Our BTIPS pageant royalty
Reigning with grace and humility
Time once again in this Lone Star scene
To choose a new BTIPS king and queen
On Family Day
Y’all know this ain’t no fable
Some behinds are getting beat
At the spades and dominoes tables

The online trash talk
Has already begun
About last year’s kickball game
So tell me, who won?

On Saturday night
Ain’t no mystery to y'all
We’ll be looking for tens
At the Black Diamond Ball

On Sunday we say goodbye to this BTAC endeavor
Having made friends we hope will last forever
Once the hugs are over and we part ways  
Start the countdown to the next BTAC in 365 days

My BTAC fam is amazing
That’s an undeniable fact
Can’t wait until the next time
I can say BTAC is Back!

Enjoy it.

Mister Brown Goes To Washington!

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Back on April 2 BTAC Founding CEO Carter Brown traveled to Washington DC as part of an event sponsored by HRC. He recorded a video telling his story, and while there got the opportunity to make history.

He ended up in front of the House Judiciary Committee testifying in favor of the Equality Act. 

He also became by doing so the first Black trans Texan to testify in from of any Congressional committee 

Congrats Carter for not only making that history, but telling a story that's familiar to far too many people in Trans World. 

Looking forward to hearing about your trip to Washington DC during BTAC.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Miss and Mr OLTT 2019

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I mentioned I had a late Friday night that saw me getting back home at 3:30 AM, only to bounce right back out the door 2.5 hours later to go to Dallas. 

But it was well worth the sleep it cost me to see and talk to Jennicet Gutierrez, Sara Ramirez, Bamby Salcedo and Ruby Corado in one shot here in my hometown along with many of our Houston area advocates and allies.

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And oh yeah, a pageant broke out while I was there.

It was the second annual Mr and Miss Trans OLTT pageant at Club Crysta in southwest Houston. It would not only choose the new OLTT royalty was that would represent the organization during their reign, but served as a fundraiser for the organization.  All the tips for the performers were also donated,

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As for the pageant business at hand, the new Miss Trans OLTT is Catalina Ramos, with the Mr Trans OLTT crown going to Fabian Echeverria.   

Ramos was the favorite going into the event, and she proved why in dominating fashion, capturing five category awards on her way to the Miss Trans OLTT crown and the $500 first place prize.

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Congrats to Catalina and Fabian!   I know we'll be seeing them at many of the Houston area community events representing OLTT and the Latinx trans community.

And congrats to Kassandra and Mo for their trailblazing reigns as the first Mr and Miss Trans OLTT.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Getting On The Bus Early To BTAC 2019

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Been waiting for this day ever since I sadly said goodbye to my BTAC family at the closing brunch last year and headed to the DART Downtown Transit Center to return home to Houston. 

This time I get to go much earlier than I usually do.   

It's time for me to be with my BTAC family again.  It's time for the eighth annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference that starts April 23 and runs until April 28.  It also serves as the kickoff to my extended birthday week celebration.   BTAC 2019 is already according to Espy Brown poised to smash last year's attendance record.

It's still not too late for y'all who are thinking about coming to join us at the Wyndham Dallas Suites-Park Central host hotel for what promises to be an empowering and life changing event..

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And yeah, some of y'all need to be very afraid when Family Fun Day comes, because the BTAC Bonemaster is coming to take her dominoes title back from Kayla Gore.

But before we get to me administering domino beatdowns next Saturday and throughout BTAC week, I have a 4 hour bus trip ahead of me up I-45.   I also have the week of sessions, Trans Manifest Live, the keynote luncheon and the  Awards Gala to get through before we get to Family Fun Day. 

The reason I'm leaving today and not on the Monday before like I normally do is because my presence was requested for a Muhlaysia Booker rally happening later today.   I didn't see the logic in rolling up to Dallas, attending a rally doing th 4 hour trip back home and then repeating it 24 hours later when i could just simply stay in Big D a few extra days. 

Sure will be glad when Texas Central Railways FINALLY starts construction on the Houston-Dallas bullet train and that four hour nonstop bus trip turns into a 90 minute Shinkansen train ride.

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But that 90 minute bullet train trip is in the near future.  Right now I have to make sure my statuesque behind gets to the downtown Houston MegaBus station in time for my departure to North Texas, especially after the late night I had with my OLTT fam.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

One Week To BTAC 2019

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It's T-7 days and counting until the 8th annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference takes place in Dallas April 23-28, and I can't wait.   It is shaping up to be our biggest and best ever, with the Friday awards gala already being sold out.

The best part of BTAC for me in addition to the fact that this conference centers Black trans and GNC people,  is that y'all get to come to my Texas turf and hang out for a week. 

Level UP-Elevate The Revolution is the theme for this years conference, and it will be an empowering and interesting week in Dallas for everyone in attendance.

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And yes, I get to see you peeps from around the country.   I also get the pleasure of administering dominoes beatdowns at the  Family Fun Day on Saturday.and during the week in the hospitality suite. at the host hotel.

You have been warned.

But on a serious note, we are gathering in Dallas literally days after the horrific hate attack on our sibling Muhlaysia Booker, and there will be some discussion about that at our community summit along with other topics.

I am so ready for this week to be over with so I can witness what's happening at this 8th annual edition of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference..

Monday, April 15, 2019

One Week To San Antonio Municipal Election Early Voting

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We're one week away from the start of early voting for San Antonio's municipal election and the possibility of trans history being made.

No out Texas trans person has ever been elected to public office.  While trans masculine and trans feminine people have won Democratic Party primaries, we still are waiting to break through that concrete ceiling and see a trans person win elective office in the Lone Star State. 

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Frankie Gonzales Wolfe is running for the District 8 city council seat in northwest San Antonio against an unpopular incumbent.   The significance of this seat is that it not only sits in one of the most diverse areas of San Antonio, it has produced its share of people who have gone to enhanced leadership roles in Texas and the city of San Antonio.

Current mayor Ron Nirenberg once represented the district.   Now Gonzales-Wolfe seeks to do so as her campaign continues to build momentum toward the May 4 election day .

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She has my TransGriot endorsement, and hope that you can contribute to her historic campaign.

For those of you in the Alamo City, early voting for the civic elections starts on April 22 and runs until April 30.  May 4 is election day.   Make sure you're registered so you can participate in making your voice heard at the ballot box.

Arrest Made In Dallas Trans Hate Attack

Gotta love the Dallas Police Department swiftly handling their business and catching one of the perps involved in the Muhlaysia Booker hate attack.

29 year old Edward Thomas was arrested last night by DPD.   They are continuing to canvass the Oak Cliff neighborhood for other participants and witnesses to the hate crime that happened on Friday.

Meanwhile Booker is recovering at home from her injuries suffered in the attack.   She was knocked unconscious during the assault and was dragged to safety by several cis women.

Muhlaysia's father Peirre Booker spoke to a local Dallas television station about how upset and angry he was about what happened to his daughter.

Here's hoping that the Dallas Police Department not only finds all of the wastes of DNA involved, but the Dallas County DA prosecutes them to the fullest extent of the law to send a message that violence aimed at trans people will not be tolerated.

Past Time To Add Trans Texans To The James Byrd Hate Crimes Law

Back during my first Texas trans lobby day 20 years ago, one of the twin ;legislative goals for that effort was not only to pass a Texas Gender Advocacy Information network (TGAIN) sponsored bill to streamline the name change process, but to make sure we stayed in the proposed James Byrd Hate Crimes Bill.

We intrepid trans citizen lobbyists arrived in Austin to discover that we'd been cut from that bill by the Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby (LGRL) so that the sexual orientation language could survive.   It had already been sent out of committee and to the then Democratically controlled Texas House floor for a vote, and it was too late to amend the bill to add us back into it.

Dianne Hardy-Garcia, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas
And yeah, I'm still pissed at Dianne Hardy Garcia for that shady legislative BS.

Karma surfaced swiftly because while the trans-free bill passed the Democratic controlled House, it ran into the headwinds of 2000 presidential politics.  It died in committee in the Republican controlled Texas senate.

We got cut out of the Byrd Hate Crimes bill again during the 2001 Texas legislative session, and unfortunately this time it passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry (R)

In the 2002 midterm election the Democrats lost control of the Texas House, and we Texas transfolks are still waiting to get added to the James Byrd Hate Crimes Law.

I bring that sorry legislative history up to point out why the Byrd Hate Crimes law doesn't cover trans Texans.   It's way past time that it does since we are the peeps being attacked and killed as Muhlaysia Booker's case painfully pointed out.

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Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) has been trying since 2007 to get trans Texans added to the Byrd Hate Crimes Law, but with Republicans in control of all three branches of Texas government it has been a tough slog to do so. 

Nevertheless, he keeps trying, and has filed HB 1513 in this session in order to do that. 

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HB 1513 is sitting in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee chaired by Rep Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth) and is still awaiting a hearing as of this writing. 

But the clock is ticking toward the Memorial Day end of the session.  It would be nice if HB 1513 could finally get a hearing and at least start the process of righting a wrong that was perpetrated on the Texas trans community 20 years ago.   

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Tiger Woods Is Once Again The Master of The Masters!

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It took Tiger Woods 14 years, several surgeries and a lot of work, but the world's former number one golfer has finally come all the way back.

Tiger won his fifth Masters title, his first since 2005 and his first golf major title since 2008 after some agonizing near misses last year.   It is also the 15th Grand Slam major golf title he has won, putting him now only three wins away from catching golf legend Jack Nicklaus.   

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Tiger after shooting a 67 in the third round to get him to -11 for the tournament, entered today's final round two strokes behind the leader Francesco Molinari.  It also put him in the final threesome of golfers with Molinari and Tony Finau who was also at -11 with him for the first time since 2007.

He and the remaining golfers because of the threat of bad weather at Augusta National, teed off early starting at 7:30 AM EDT in an ultimately successful attempt to get the final round in and avoid playing on Monday.  Tiger's group teed off at 9:20 AM.

Molinari led much of the day until double bogeys on holes 12 and 15 opened a window for Tiger to snatch the lead, and he pounced on it like back in the day Tiger.

Woods birdied the par 5 hole 13, the par 5 15th hole, and nearly got a hole in one on the par 3 16th hole for another birdie to build a two stroke lead with two holes to play on Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.   After Koepka missed a birdie putt on 18 that would have put pressure on Woods to at least par the hole, Woods tapped a short putt in for a bogey that clinched his fifth green jacket.

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He is now only one Masters win from tying Jack Nicklaus, and three Grand Slam titles away from tying Nicklaus for all time major titles with 18.

And it was a long time in coming.

BTAC Press Release Concerning Muhlaysia Booker Hate Attack

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April  14, 2019
Contact: Monica Roberts BTWI Media Chair 346-310-0824
Dee Dee Watters  BTWI President

855-255-8636  Ext 11

Black Trans Advocacy Coalition (BTAC) and Black Transwomen Inc (BTWI) as a Dallas based organization is dismayed and angered to hear about the despicable hate attack that happened to our sibling Muhlaysia Booker on Friday.morning.

Booker was involved in a minor traffic accident at the Royal Crest Apartments located at 3558 Wilhurt Ave at 11:25 AM CDT.   Booker then found herself being assaulted by several people in an incident that has been videotaped and circulated on social media.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms our disgust at what happened to Ms Booker.  We call upon the Dallas Police Department to swiftly arrest the perpetrators of this attack and charge them with a hate crime.

In addition, we at BTAC and BTWI would love to extend an invitation to Ms Booker to attend our upcoming Black Trans Advocacy Conference scheduled to take place at the Wyndham Dallas Suites Park Hotel April 23-28.  

While we at BTAC and BTWI agree with Mayor Rawlings that the perpetrators of this hate attack do not reflect the feelings that many Dallasites have about our TBLGQ community, we are still angry that it happened to Ms Booker. 

We are beyond sick and tired of some misguided people in the Black community 
believing they have a green light to assault and kill Black trans people. 

Black trans people are Black people, and we are an intertwined part of the Black community here in Dallas, the state of Texas, the nation and across the African Diaspora.  This malignant hatred toward Black trans people, and particularly Black trans women needs to end today..

Our Black trans lives matter as much as yours do.  It's past time that the Black community, our community and political leaders, and our legacy organizations recognize that reality.

Marisa Richmond To Receive Fan Fair's Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award!

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"While I may be the first African-American trans person honored with this Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award, I emphatically believe I won't be the last one to be so honored. 

We have some people who have been and still are trailblazing African-American leaders such as Marisa Richmond, Kylar Broadus, Dawn Wilson, Miss Major and Louis Mitchell just to name a few who could have easily been standing here today instead of me."
Monica Roberts,
Virginia Price Transgender Pioneer Award Acceptance Speech 

October, 2015 

In 2015 I became the first African American trans person to receive the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award from Fantasia Fair as Marisa Richmond congratulated me for doing so.

Now, four years later, Marisa Richmond will become the second African American trans person to win this prestigious award when Fantasia Fair kicks off in Provincetown. MA October 20-27.

And I couldn't be happier for her.   She has been blazing trails in our trans rights movement since 1992, and I'm pleased and proud to call her a friend.

In 1992 she founded the Tennessee Vals gender group that is still in existence.  She was a board member of NTAC, AEGIS and NCTE.   She founded the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition.  In 2008 she became the first African American trans delegate to the Democratic National Convention that was held in Denver.  In 2008 she also became the first openly trans person to win an election in Tennessee when she was elected to the Davidson County Democratic Party Executive Committee. 

Marisa was also the 2016 Democratic National Convention's official timekeeper
She is also a sought after speaker on trans issues in addition to being a college history professor

Congratulations Marisa!   It's well deserved, and hopefully I can get to FanFair 2019 and be in the room when she accepts her award

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Morehouse College Opens Its Doors To Trans Masculine Students

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Morehouse College in Atlanta since 1867 has been the only all male college dedicated to the education of African American men.  It has a long distinguished list of alumni that include the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Spike Lee,  Samuel L Jackson, ATL Mayor Maynard Jackson, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson,  Julian Bond, and NFL referee Jerome Boger just to name a few.

Unfortunately, Morehouse College was on the Princeton Review's dubious list of Top 20 transphobic and homophobic campuses, and had been on it since the 1990's.  Morehouse alums have also been vocal about wanting action taken to remove their school from that list.

I have long complained about the fact that HBCU's need to get busy making their campuses more welcoming to Black TBLGQ students or lose them to PWA's who are way ahead of them in doing so.

Looks like HBCU's are finally waking up to the reality that Black TBLGQ people exist and aren't going away or back in the closet. 

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Today the Morehouse College Board of Trustees approved a policy that would open its doors to trans masculine students beginning with the Fall 2020 semester.

“In a rapidly changing world that includes a better understanding of gender identity, we’re proud to expand our admissions policy to consider trans men who want to be part of an institution that has produced some of greatest leaders in social justice, politics, business and the arts for more than 150 years,” Terrance Dixon, the college’s vice president of Enrollment Management, said in a statement. 
 “The ratification of this policy affirms the College’s commitment to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service.” 

The currently enrolled 2200 students currently matriculating at 'The House' aren't affected by the new Gender Identity Admissions and Matriculation Policy.

Morehouse College President David Thomas took over in January 2018, and stated that he wanted to implement a formal policy covering transgender students.   The policy was developed after 15 months of community engagement that included faculty, staff, students and alumni as the result of a task force created by President Thomas.

Under the new policy, Morehouse's admissions doors are open to all persons who self identify as men, including trans masculine students. Trans women and people who identify as women are not eligible for admission to Morehouse.

If a person transitioned to female while enrolled at Morehouse, they are no longer eligible to study at The House.  Exemption to this rule must be granted by a three person panel appointed by Morehouse's president after an appeal by the affected student.

This policy is long overdue, and is welcome news for the trans community, Morehouse alums and our allies.  It's also a big step in recognizing the fact that Black trans people are Black people, and some of our Black trans masculine folks dream of matriculating at Morehouse College.

They made that dream a reality by approving this policy.

The Trans Military Service Ban Is Unjust

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While I was traveling back home to Houston yesterday from Minneapolis, it was keenly on my mind that oppression was being aimed once again by the Trump misadministration at the American trans community. 

Yesterday was the day that this malignant administration, egged on by Mike Pence, Tony Perkins and the white evilgelical wing of his party, banned transgender Americans from serving in the US military.

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The pic of Carla Lewis and her famous shirt stuck with me as I jetted back to Houston via Dallas Love Field, where in just 10 more days I'll join my Black trans family for this year's edition of BTAC.

Taryn Mclean
And note to the Black cis community, some of the transgender military peeps negatively affected by this ban are Black.

There are over 15,500 transgender people already serving in our military in all of its branches.  It is a bull feces laden excuse that it would 'cost too much' to cover trans medical care.  It costs $86 million annually to provide Viagra to the military.   Trans medical care would only cost $8 million.

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The military chiefs . the AMA and countless other organizations have unfailing pointed out that transgender people serving in the US military doesn't harm military cohesion or readiness. 

This is just once again Trump kowtowing to the white evilgelicals and pushing transphobia for his own short term political gain.

And as far as the other lie goes that transgender troops would affect the 'lethality' of our military, the Israeli Defense Forces, one of the best in the Middle East, haven't had that problem and have had transgender troops serving in the IDF for over a decade.    Many of our NATO allies allow their transgender citizens to serve and have done so for decades

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Didn't we already go through this BS with Jim Crow segregation that barred Black people from serving in combat roles?   The failed Don't Ask Don't Tell policy aimed at the LGB community?

The trans military ban is destined to go the same way.   But unfortunately a lot of people will be negatively affected by it before the unjust policy dies.