Tuesday, March 31, 2020

DNC Statement on Transgender Day of Visibility

DNC Chair Tom Perez, DNC LGBTQ Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes, and DNC Member Dr. Marisa Richmond released the following joint statement on International Transgender Day of Visibility:


“Today, we celebrate and honor transgender and non-binary people and the contributions they have made and continue to make to our country and the world – from Stonewall to the halls of public service. We celebrate artists and entrepreneurs, scientists and athletes, authors and activists. We admire all members of the transgender and non-binary community for their bravery and strength. And we remember all those who have lost their lives to tragic acts of transphobic violence.

“While we celebrate the lives of so many transgender leaders and heroes, we also recognize the significant legal, financial, and social barriers transgender and gender non-conforming people face on a daily basis and recommit to fighting all forms of discrimination through the statehouse, courthouse, White House, Capitol, school board, and town hall. Sadly, we don’t have to look far for examples of such injustice. Just yesterday, Republican Idaho Governor Brad Little signed two anti-transgender laws.

“Democrats stand with trans people in their push for full equity. We will not allow Trump and the Republican Party to drag us backward to a world that is less tolerant, less inclusive, and less just. House Democrats unanimously passed the Equality Act last year, and we look forward to a Democratic president signing it into law next year and undoing Trump’s historic record of anti-trans actions. While we still have a long road ahead to achieve full equality, we will never stop fighting.”

TDOV 2020-The Trend Line Is Positive

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This particular TDOV was already guaranteed because of the COVID-19 crisis to be an unusual one.

We have William Barr, the current US Attorney General, using debunked junk science to argue that transgender girls and women are NOT women in a federal lawsuit filed to deny transgender women the right to compete in women's sports.

On the eve of TDOV we lost longtime trans advocate Lorena Borjas in New York to the virus that morning.  Later in the day, Idaho governor Brad Little (R) decided to embrace his trans oppressor gene and  signed two unjust anti-trans bills into law.

Trans Activist Lorena Borjas Dies After Being Diagnosed With COVID-19
Rest in power and peace Lorena.   You will be missed by the Latinx trans community and all who loved you.

And yes, it goes without saying we've already had five murders and counting of trans folks from Puerto Rico to OKC to NYC.

So yes, while TDOV 2020 is getting off to a crappy start, we still have to remember why this March 31 day was founded by Rachel Crandall back in 2009.

TDOV is to not only recognize our existence to society, it is to also celebrate our success. And over the past year we've had a lot to celebrate. 

Janet Mock Makes History, Becomes First Trans WOC to Write and ...
The FX show POSE is not only getting excellent ratings with its trans cast, there are also trans folks like Janet Mock making history behind the camera writing, directing and producing the show.

Virginia's History-Making New Delegate Prepares to Tackle Down-to ...
VA Del Danica Roem (D) got reelected to her Virginia House seat for another two year term, and in the process became the first out trans person REELECTED to her political seat. 

Hopefully the same thing will happen for CO state Rep Brianna Titone (D) later this year.
Sarah McBride earns Victory Fund endorsement in State Senate ...
Sarah McBride is also running for office in DE, hoping to become the first out trans person ever elected to a state senate seat.

Our fourth out trans judge was just elected to office in Illinois in Judge Jill Rose Quinn.

As transgender candidates make history in Minneapolis, some see ...
In Minnesota, Council members Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham are still on the job and serving together on the Minneapolis City Council.

How to Do Dewy, Rose Gold Makeup: Maybelline Viewer's Verdict ...
I'm also proud of my Houston homegirl Jessica Zyrie, who continues to rip NY Fashion Week runways and make history on the Project Runway show.

Marsha's Plate Serves it Up – OutSmart Magazine
And I can't forget my Houston homies Diamond Stylz, Mia Mix and Zee, who continue to drop knowledge on one of my fave podcasts in Marsha's Plate.

That's before I talk about you peeps who are MVT's (Most Valuable Transpeeps) for just having the courage to step out of your doors, walk down the street and commit the revolutionary act of unapologetically living your daily lives.

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And time for a well deserved shout out aimed at my trans younglings.  Whether you're in elementary, middle school, high school or college, you continue to make me proud just by being your fabulous selves.

We have some talented, smart, beautiful, handsome and amazing people in our trans community.
Miss International Queen 2020 crowned in Pattaya at the Miss ...
As I like to constantly remind y'all, your family expands, not contracts after your transition, and it crosses international borders on top of that.

A trans review of 2017: the year of transgender moral panic
We are everywhere and in every profession.  We are your sons, daughters, siblings, uncles, aunts and neighbors.  All we want is the opportunity to contribute our talents to society without being harassed or jacked with.  We are not going to be erased from society, and if you trans oppressors try it, we will fight you tooth and nail ever millimeter of the way.

Amazon.com: My Sister: How One Sibling's Transition Changed Us ...
One of the other positive developments on this TDOV 2020 that needs to be discussed is increasing support from cisgender peeps who unapologetically embrace us.

Some of them are high profile Hollywood stars like Selenis Leyva, who supports the community and her trans sister Marizol. 

Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union's daughter Zaya makes red carpet debut
Others are athletes like Dwyane Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union, who have made it clear they support their child Zaya's transition, and pushed back against the vitriol coming from ignorant Black community transphobes about it.

And yes, there are cis politicians out there at all levels of government who unlike Republicans, are willing to stand up and defend our humanity and human rights instead of gleefully attacking them.

Trans amorous men are starting to come out of the shadows and openly declare they love trans women, you can chill with the attempts to shame them about it, and there's nothing you haters can do or say that will deter them from pursuing the women they love. .

So that's where we stand as this TDOV 2020 happens during the middle of a pandemic.   While we've had some setbacks, the overall trend line is one of positive growth and recognition that trans people exist, and we aren't going away.

Happy TDOV 2020 everybody!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Idaho Governor Signs Trans Oppressive Bills Into Law

File:Flag-map of Idaho.svg - Wikimedia Commons
The Republican controlled Idaho Legislature hasn't addressed the COVID-19 crisis, but had time to shepherd two bills through their legislature aimed at oppressing trans people.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little holds a press conference at the headquarters of the Idaho Army National Guard in Boise on March 25, 2020.
On the eve of the Transgender Day of Visibility,  Idaho's Gov Brad Little (R) signed two unjust bills designed to oppress trans people in that state.

And consistent with the pattern in other parts of the country when it comes to the anti-trans bills, they used Republican women legislators as the front people to do their transphobic dirty work.

Ehardt to introduce bill banning transgender women from women's ...
House Bill 500, sponsored by Rep Barbara Ehardt (R) forbids transgender girls from competing in sports against cisgender girls, and applies to all teams at the high school, public college and university level.

It also contains a provision in which if  a high school or college female competitor is suspected of being trans, the school is allowed to conduct a physical genital exam on that person in addition to doing blood and chromosomal testing.

Even the International Olympic Committee (IOC) doesn't go there now after doing something similar since the 1964 Tokyo Games.   The sex tests the IOC administered until 2000 were often inconclusive in addition to being invasive and  dehumanizing.

Then again, since when did the Republican Party at any level of government ever miss an opportunity to gleefully legislate oppressive laws against women, be they cis or transgender?

The other bill Little signed into law. House Bill 509, prevents trans people from changing the gender marker listed on their birth certificates. 

That one is probably headed to court, because in 2018 Idaho lost a court case in which they were ordered to allow Idaho trans people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

The Idaho ACLU was quick to condemn Little's actions.

ACLU of Idaho

"The ACLU of Idaho condemns Gov Brad Little's decision to sign discriminatory, unconstitutional, and deeply hurtful anti-transgender bills into law. 
"Leaders from the business, faith, medical, education and athletics communities will not forget this decision or what it says about the governor's priorities during a global pandemic," said the ACLU in a statement. "The ACLU will see the governor in court. We encourage all Idahoans to email, call, and tweet Gov. Little to express outrage and disappointment at wasting precious taxpayer resources on blatantly anti-transgender bills at a time when we should be coming together for the health and wellbeing of our people." 

The ACLU encourages Idahoans to email the governor at governor@gov.idaho.gov and call him at 208-334-2100 and tweet him @GovernorLittle to express their disappointment. 
All trans people want to do is be able to compete in sports, and using BS excuses dating back to the Jim Crow sports segregation days repurposed to discriminate against trans feminine athletes will not be tolerated by our community. 

We'll see you in court on both of these unjust bills.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Book Review- 'My Sister'

Amazon.com: My Sister: How One Sibling's Transition Changed Us ...
One of the things I love to do is grab a good book and take the time to read it.   But because of my busy schedule I haven't to my chagrin been doing much of that lately.

The COVID-19 social distancing and sheltering in place has given me an opportunity to sit down and wade through that pile of trans themed books on my to read list.

Just in time for Transgender Day Of Visibility (TDOV) on March 31 is the release of the book by Selenis and Marizol Leyva entitled  My Sister- How One Sibling's Transition Changed Us Both.  

Orange is the New Black: Transgender Sister | Time
I finally received my copy yesterday and read the book in five hours.   Yes peeps I can actually read that fast.  It's a trait I inherited from my mom.

Also didn't hurt that there's not much to watch on TV these days.

The 248 page book is broken up into three sections, in which Part One focuses on Selenis' and Marizol's life before transition.  Part Two, as she transitioned, and Part Three life as Marizol's true self, told in alternating .chapters by Selenis and Marizol.

There are times when their life journeys were similar as a cis and a trans woman, and times where there were challenges unique to both.

Selenis Leyva's Clean Slate - The New York Times
In Selenis' case, she had to deal with the internalized issues of not being seen as pretty because of her Afro-Latinx heritage by extended family members and society.  The challenges of fitting in as a high school student at the famed La Guardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

Her struggle to make her acting career work before she blew up with her award winning role as Gloria Mendoza on Orange Is The New Black.  Dealing with marriage and motherhood and at times depression.

Selena Leyva
Selenis is now on the Disney Plus show Diary Of A Future President, playing the single attorney mom of two kids, one who grows up to become the POTUS. 

As Selenis was dealing with all of this challenging stuff going on in her own life,, she was also concerned about the baby sister she loved in Marizol.  Being annoyed at times when her clothes and shoe closet got raided by Marizol who was exploring her femininity

And grieving the loss of her baby brother while getting adjusted to Marizol being in her world

Selenis is also an ally to our trans and SGL community.

Marizol' had some challenges similar to her elder sister in terms of trying to fit in, but others that were all too familiar to those of us who are transgender.   The frustration of being in a body that wasn't congruent to the person on the inside.  The bullying not only at school but outside of it by society

Selenis Leyva on Twitter: "#TransDayOfVisibility2018 my sister ...
Learning that there was a term that described that disconnect.   Finding other trans people and hanging out in New York's TBLGQ plus community.

And there was the ugly side of it.  Marizol talks about being in an abusive relationship.  Dealing with the fallout from being molested as a child by her birth father.  Overcoming depression, alcohol and drug abuse.  Navigating the challenges that come with a social and physical transition.

Why Selenis Leyva won't stay silent about violence against the ...
She talks about her time living at the Ali Forney Center,  and eventually getting comfortable in her own skin while being supported and loved by Selenis .

She also talks about the challenges of being trans and Latinx

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and getting some insight on both Selenis' and Marizol's lives.
I'm looking forward to eventually meeting them and one day getting this book autographed.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Shut Up Fool Awards- Dealing With The 'Rona Edition

Like many of you I'm chilling in my crib now experiencing the third day of Houston's 'Stay Home Work Safe' shelter in place order.   It's basically my life, so for now I'm good.

Amd since it's Friday, let me get to this week's fools.

If The Election Is A Referendum On Trump, Then America's ...
Honorable mention number one is Lügenpräsident, AKA Donald Trump.   Just pick a lie he's told this week.   FYI:  Lügenpräsident means in German, 'lying president'.
Honorable meeting number two is FOX Noise for enabling his lying azz.

Honorable mention number three is Jerry Falwell Jr, who still seems to think (do evilgelicals every think?) that COVID-19 is a joke.

View image on Twitter
Honorable mention number four is Texas Lt Governor Dan Patrick.    Potty Dan went on FOX Noise and basically stated that your elderly relatives should be willing to die to save our economy.

Image may contain: ‎possible text that says '‎TEXAS REPUBLICANS DAYS WITHOUT BEING A NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT bcbrmse !פשרי‎'‎
Naw Potty Dan.  How about you and ever other Republican lead by example.

Traveling musical minister from Gretna who died from COVID-19 ...
This week's Shut Up Fool winner is the late Landon Spradlin.

He was the evilgelical COVID 19 denier who claimed the virus was a hoax, and put out a misleading meme on March 13 claiming the media was 'using COVID 19 to hurt Trump'.

Gee, where have I heard that propaganda line before?

He fell ill while returning from a trip to NOLA on March 17, and during his time there initially tested negative for COVID-19 in New Orleans.   He was ill with bronchitis and pneumonia, and Spradlin's pneumonia got worse during the drive back home to Virginia.

During a stop in Concord, NC, he wasn't breathing as his wife Jean struggled to pull him out of the car.  In the NC hospital he tested positive for COVID-19, and also had double pneumonia.

Trump supporting Christian pastor Landon Spradlin, who thought ...
He died on Wednesday from the virus he claimed was a hoax.  Spradlin's wife Jean is still hospitalized

As my Birthday Twin Deirdre Square said on my Facebook page, "Ignorance will get you killed. Believing a liar’s lies will get you killed."
And to piggyback off what she said, not taking COVID 19 seriously will also get you killed.

Don't be a fool.  Listen to what the experts are telling you.   Stay safe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Feeling Angst For The Class of 2020

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We are a few hours from me and other Houston-Harris County residents having to deal with a stay at home order starting at 11:59 PM CDT tonight. 

But instead of thinking about that, I find myself thinking about the younglings. The ones I'm specifically thinking about are the ones in the Class of 2020.

Image result for TransGriot Jesse H Jones
My own high school graduation was 40 years ago, and assuming the COVID-19 crisis has calmed down by the second week of October, I'm eagerly anticipating getting together with my JJ classmates for our 40th high school reunion.

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Hollywood has frequently produced over the last few decades movies from The Breakfast Club to Cooley High to Fast Times at Ridgemont High and TV shows like Boy Meets World and Saved By The Bell that all have high school as a backdrop or as a major part of the story. 

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So when you finally do get old enough to enter high school yourself, you have because of all those different depictions of high school life Hollywood style, all these heightened expectations as a high school freshman or sophomore because of it. 

On top of that is your parents reminiscing about their high school days as you begin to tackle navigating that new world and figuring out your place in it.

But back to talking about the class of 2020.

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The reason I'm feeling some angst for them is because I remember what it was like to go through my own senior year and my excitement when the 1980 calendar page turned to May.  While I had my own challenges graduating while trans, I and my Class With Class schoolmates had waited three years for our turn to go through Senior Week after watching the Classes of 1978 and 1979 do so.

And it's why I feel sad for the Class of 2020.

Their senior year just abruptly ended with no Senior Week, no Senior Skip Day, no prom, and no graduation commencement ceremony with all their friends and extended family in attendance.

The Class of 2020 also gets no last day of high school to add an exclamation point to the reality that ready or not, a chapter of your life is closing, a new one is beginning, and you've  just gone through a rite of passage into young adulthood from your teen years.

Duncanville guard Deja Kelly #25 celebrates with the rest of the team in a 6A final on  Saturday, March 7, 2020 at the Alamodome.
For those Class of 2020 seniors involved in spring sports like basketball, baseball, track and field, tennis, wrestling and soccer, the pain is particularly acute.

While in Texas the girls managed to get their full state basketball tournament schedule done in San Antonio and crown champions from Class A to 6A, because the boys tournament happens a week later, that wasn't the case for them.

The boys got to play and complete one 3A semifinal game in San Antonio's Alamodome before the UIL made the reluctant call to shut down the rest of the boys state tournament.

Imagine how the 2020 senior kids feel who participate in spring sports that didn't get a chance to progress to state championships, or who may have been working on historic seasons for their schools when things were shut down.

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If I was in a Class of 2020 member's shoes, I'd feel a little cheated, frustrated and mildly pissed off about how my senior year ended.

Deep down, my rational thinking self would note the fact we're in the
uncharted territory of a worldwide pandemic, but my thoughts would still go back to we'd waited three to four years for our turn to bask in the glow of Senior Week, and now that's been shut down and ripped away from us. 

The gut punch to all of this is that you only go through high school once, and once this moment in time passes, that;s it.  It's gone as soon as you step off that high school campus for the last time. .

So yes Class of 2020,  I do feel your pain right now

Friday, March 20, 2020

Shut Up Fool Awards- First Day Of Spring Edition

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Today is the first full day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.   The birds are singing, the temps are getting warmer ,and unfortunately more peeps in the US are testing positive for COVID-19.

If they can even get a test.    But that's a rant for later.

Time to handle this week's TransGriot Shut Up Fool Award business

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Let me just go straight to this week's winner in my home state's senior senator, John Cornyn (R)

Trying to defend Fearless Misleader for his Chinese virus comments, Cornyn let his pointed hood show and went on a rant that not only blamed china for COVID-19 and other pandemics that started

"China is to blame because they eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that, " said Cornyn.

He was not only put on blast by Rep Judy Chu (D-CA) the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, but a long list of liberal progressive voices and legislators.

Not only are you being put on blast for you loud and wrong comments, guess you forgot about the rattlesnake roundups they have in many West Texas towns in which they not only milk rattlesnake venom to produce an antidote for rattlesnake bites, they fry fresh rattlesnake meat for festival goers to eat. 

So glad your azz is on the ballot in November.  It's past time to make you an ex-senator

Oh yeah, Sen. John Cornyn, Shut Up Fool!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Say Hello To Judge Jill Rose Quinn!

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History was made during the Illinois Democratic primary Tuesday night as the state of Illinois saw its first ever out trans person elected to public office.

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65 year old attorney Jill Rose Quinn ran for a vacant seat on the Cook County Circuit Court.   There were two other candidates running for the Democratic Party nomination in the primary for that seat, and Quinn won big with over 65% of the vote.

"It’s not just a victory for me, it’s a victory for everybody out there who’s marginalized, everybody who’s different, everybody who’s trans,” said Quinn in an interview. 
Quinn was endorsed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), the Cook County Democratic Party and the LGBTQ Victory Fund.   She was also rated qualified by 13 different local bar agencies in addition to drawing the top position on the ballot.

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Mayor Lightfoot said in her endorsement of her,"Jill Rose Quinn has fought for fairness, equality and justice her entire life and her perspective and experience will be invaluable for our courts and our community.” 

So she had a few things going her way in the runup to Election Night. 

Because there was no Republican running in their primary for this seat, she will when the November 3 election happens be running unopposed for it and is assured of being elected.. 

On that night she will officially become the first out trans person elected to public office in the state of Illinois, only the fourth transgender judge in the nation, and the second elected one after Judge Vicky Kolakowski of California.

Judge-elect Quinn does recognize the importance of her win.   In an interview that was conducted before Election Day, she said this as she reflected on her campaign:

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“There are kids in this country killing themselves because they’re trans and they don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. They don’t see respect. They don’t see themselves portrayed as being people, not ordinary people, of course, because nobody’s ordinary, but they don’t see how great they can be," Quinn said. “So I think it’s important for them to see that you can survive, you can prosper, you can go to school, you can study hard. You can make your way, and you can be a judge."
Congratulations Judge Quinn for making history and being a possibility model to our kids.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Meet Diana Zurco- Argentinian Newscaster

Some good international news for transkind to report out of Argentina.

The Argentine trans community, like their Brazilian neighbors has been caching hell there to the point that the average age for an Argentinian trans woman to live to is 41.

This media trailblazer is beating the odds.

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Meet 40 year old Diana Zurco.   She made her debut recently as the first out trans newscaster on Argentinian television.

“We didn’t look for Diana because she was a trans announcer. We looked for her because she was a very good professional,” said Rosario Lufrano, president of Radio and Television Argentina. “The only way to get there is to have the doors opened for you. We all know how difficult it is for these women to win a spot.”
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She had a tough road to get there.   She was in a Catholic boys school until age 17 and made it clear she was trans.  She was expelled because she refused to cut her hair.   Zurco finished her studies at a public high school, and nearly ended up in sex work until she took a hairdressing course. 

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She worked in a salon and later an office job before she took the difficult exam along with 1500 applicants in 2012 to study for a career as an announcer.  After graduation she worked at Radio Cuidad before landing the job as the co-anchor of Argentina Public Television's prime time evening news program.

Trans women have appeared on Argentinian television, but they have predominately been on entertainment shows or soap operas.   Zurco is breaking ground as a newscaster.

She is quite aware her presence on this news show is not only groundbreaking and inspirational to the Argentinian trans community, it also sends a message to Argentinian society at large.   Zurco is also aware she has a platform that will be a catalyst for breaking down anti-trans prejudice.

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"My presence challenges society," Zurco said in an AP interview.  "It is an invitation to society that says: 'This is me'  behind me are more people like me who want to express themselves.  We are capable, we can study, we can train ourselves, we can communicate to you what is happening in our country., . .

She's another one of the growing ranks of trans media professionals, and I hope she has a along and successful media career.