Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Shut Up Fool Of The Year

In what has become an eagerly awaited by my readers New Year's Eve tradition, on December 31 I take the time to honor the person, persons or group who had a year's worth of WTF moments with the TransGriot Shut Up Fool of the Year Award.

It grew out of my weekly Shut Up Fool Awards that I started in 2009 to honor the people or groups of people who have exhibited mind blowing ignorance, stupidity, hypocrisy and cluelessness over that week

The Shut Up Fool Of The Year covers the entire calendar year from January 1 until today

To remind you of the people who have previously snagged this Shut Up Fool of the Year honor, one was 2012 winner Mitt Romney.    The previous winners were then RNC chair Michael Steele in 2009 who captured the inaugural one,  Sarah Palin in 2010 and in 2011 Herman Cain snagged the honor over some stiff competition.   

During the midyear review for the Shut Up Fool of The Year which I just inaugurated this year and will continue into the future, it was Rep Louie Gohmert (R-TX) who had the runaway lead at that point.

But what a difference six months makes.

Enough jibber-jabber, I'm going to get right to naming the 2013 Shut Up Fool Of The Year so you can go into your New Year's Eve partying secure in the knowledge you know who won it.

But first, before I announce the winner, the runners-up for this year's honor.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (Teapublican-TX),  failed (thank God) Virginia Lt Governor candidate EW Jackson, Erik Rush, Rep Steve Stockman (Teapublican-TX), The GOP (group nomination), TX Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), FOX Noise (group nomination) , Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, The Tea Klux Klan (group nomination), Rafael Cruz, Sr., Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and making a late charge for it, Bryan Fischer, Scott Lively, Megyn Kelly and Sarah Palin. 

The envelope please...

Ted Cruz, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpgThis year's 2013 Shut Up Fool of the Year is Sen. Ted Cruz  (Teabagger-TX) 

Whether it was him making an ass out of himself with his ridiculous statements, reading Green Eggs and Ham during his faux filibuster, loudly proclaiming he was going to renounce his Canadian citizenship and shill having it as of today, insulting Sybrina Fulton and the African-American community during a Senate hearing by claiming 'Stand Your Ground' laws are good for us, cheerleading the government shut down and now subsequently trying to two step away from it later, the junior senator from Alberta not only was an embarrassment to himself, but for the state of Texas.

And unfortunately we're stuck with his behind until 2018.   

On behalf of all liberal progressive Texans, Mr T says it best for all of us and what we as his unfortunate constituents would like to say to our 2013 SUF of the Year honoree to his face. 

Take it away Mr. T

Now you can go party later tonight secure in the knowledge that you are aware of who joined our illustrious list of winners of the Shut Up Fool of The Year award.   Check back here on New Year's Eve 2014 to discover who will receive our honor next year.   Because I can promise you with 2014 being a midterm election year, I'll have plenty of candidates for it.

Happy New Year 2014*!

It's New Year's Eve on my side of the International Date Line, but for all of you west of it you are already into the first day of 2014.

I appreciate the valuable time you spent in the year that just moved on to our history books surfing the Net and landing at my cyberhome.   Thanks for you love, support and even news tips as I sought to cover trans issues not only in my own nation and the African Diaspora, but include relevant content about your corner of the globe as well.  

2013 was an interesting year for us internationally, and I hope that as 2014 unfolds it is a wonderful and fantastic year not only for the international trans community as a whole, but for all of you in your respective nations and personally.

Happy New Year, TransGriot readers!    I'll be able to join y'all in about 24 hours.

Brandon Teena Murder 20th Anniversary

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of  transman Brandon Teena along with Lisa Lambert and Phillip DeVine in Humboldt, NE in the early morning hours of December 31, 1993.

As many of you know this incident was the subject of a 1998 documentary and was covered a year later in the 1999 biopic Boys Don't Cry.

At the time of this heinous murder I was less than four months from starting my own transition.  It affected me and many other trans advocates of the time, and was another one of those seminal community moments.   The shock and anger of us over what happened to Teena galvanized the trans community into action.  We not only wanted to enure that John Lotter and Tom Nissen, the perpetrators of this crime were punished for it.

Lotter and Nissen were indeed convicted and sentenced in separate 1995 trials for the rape and murder of Teena.   Nissen, in exchange for a reduced sentence testified against Lotter, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the crime and is still on Nebraska's death row.   Lotter escaped the death penalty, but is still doing time for his part in the New Year's Eve triple slaying.  

In the wake of Teena's death, the trans community not only accelerated the process of raising our collective voices about the issues that affected us, we added the passage of trans inclusive hate crimes legislation to the human rights to-do list for our community.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Latin@ Trans Year In Review

Bamby-SalcedoTransGriot Note: I was hoping that someone from the Latino/a trans community or an ally would step up to compile a Latin@ Trans Year In Review post.  But after one didn't materialize, I received a few requests from my Latin@ readers to do so. I'm flattered that you have expressed confidence in me to write it, and I'm doing so with input from members of the Latin@ trans community.

The Latin@ Trans community, like their African American counterparts, also experienced a year.in which they received increasing attention, faced daunting challenges and expressed optimistic hope for the future

When the inaugural Trans 100 List was released, there were ten Latin@ trans persons, Alexis Martinez, Andre Perez, Bamby Salcedo, Diego Sanchez, Drago Renteria, Harmony Santana, Ignacio Rivera, Monika MHz, Ruby Corado and Yosenio V. Lewis recognized for their contributions to the community at large.      

41-listThe Latin@ community oriented Honor 41 List created by Alberto Mendoza to bring visibility to and highlight the accomplishments of Latina and Latino LGBT people made its debut with 5 total trans persons on it.   Salcedo made that inaugural list, along with Arianna Inurritegui Lint, Maria Roman, Danielle Castro and transman Isaac Gomez.   The 2014 edition of the Honor 41 list will be accepting nominations soon

One of those persons emerging as a major community leader this year was Bamby Salcedo, the founding president of the Trans Latin@ Coalition.   In addition to leading this growing organization, she helped focus attention on immigration issues and how they affect the Latina immigrant community. 

Ruby Corado, Casa Ruby, gay news, Washington BladeRuby Corado continued to build her Washington DC based Casa Ruby Multicultural Center into one that while founded to primarily serve the Latin@ trans community, serves the entire DC community and region.  That expansive vision became even more important when the THE Center that had been open since 2004 closed its doors in October due to fiscal trouble.  Casa Ruby was also recently awarded a $25,000 one year grant in November by the DC Council of Latino Affairs.

Casa Ruby also received a visit from Cuban trans activist Wendy Iriepa Diaz and her husband Ignacio Estrada Cepero on July 26 during the Washington part of their three month visit to the United States.  While in DC the Cuban couple also took a trip to Capitol Hill to visit Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) before flying back to Miami and eventually returning home to Cuba. 

Arianna Inurritegui LintAnother trans Latina getting national attention besides Salcedo and Corado as a national leader was Arianna Inurritegui Lint.   She is becoming a frequent presence on Spanish language media as the Eastern co-chair of the Trans Latin@ Coalition when they discuss trans issues.

Like Bamby, she was also presenting at major conferences and conventions discussing the immigration issue and other relevant ones to trans Latinas.  Arianna just recently became a Managing Director at SunServe overseeing their Transgender Services Department.     

Trans Latin@s were making their voices heard in media outlets besides print and television.  Consuella Lopez, whose lovely face you see on the Washington DC anti-trans discrimination posters, was part of a team of trans people hosting InsighT, a trans talk radio show.    Longtime advocate, musician and actor  Mark Angelo Cummings' Transistion Radio show is getting increased attention as well.

Carmen Carrera signed a modeling contract with Elite models and in addition to sashaying down fashion runways made it clear she'd like to be a Victoria's Secret Angel.   Her fans created a Change.org petition that amassed over 36,000 signatures in an attempt to make that happen.     

El/La Para TransLatinas is San Francisco was the recipient of $200,000 in anti-violence funding to address that issue in the San Francisco Latina community.  

That issue of violence directed at Latina trans women is not one limited to the San Francisco area.  The crushing unemployment-
unemployment and lack of opportunities that plague Latina trans women drives high percentages to resort to survival sex work.   Because of the perception or actual belief they are undocumented leads to high levels of abuse at the hands of customers and the police. 

Like their African-American sisters, trans Latinas are also suffering from unacceptable levels of anti-trans murders directed at them, with the worst spots for it being in Mexico, Brazil, the US, and various countries across Latin America.  

This year marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Angie Zapata at the hands of Allen Andrade, who was convicted of her murder and is rotting in a Colorado jail cell.  The waste of DNA who killed Lorena Escalera is unfortunately still at large.  But when these people are captured and prosecuted, as did happen in the Zapata case, the perpetrators of these murders are finding that they are getting convicted and going to jail for them.  

That was evidenced when Rasheen Everett was convicted and sentenced December 5 to 29 years to life for killing Amanda Gonzalez Andujar back in 2010.   That was in spite of his defense attorney John Scarpa despicably arguing that her life wasn't as valuable as others.   Fortunately the judge said otherwise.

One of the law enforcement issues affecting the Latina trans community was stop and frisk.  87% of the stops by NYPD targeted non-white people, and in that 87% stat of targeted people were trans Latinas.   They were part of the multiethnic coalition of groups in New York who protested and spoke out against the unjust policy  .        

A Latin@ Trans Year In Review wouldn't be complete without discussion of the cruel and unjust treatment of Latina trans immigrants in ICE detention centers across the country.   They are being held up to 6-9 months on average in solitary confinement, have hormone replacement therapy (HRT) withheld from them and in many cases if they haven't had genital surgery are being confined with cisgender men.with sometimes disastrous results.

Lack of access to appropriate healthcare or healthcare at all in most low cost federal accredited health Latino centers across this country drives thousands of Latino trans people to access dangerous black market treatments for transition related and primary healthcare

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSQajVxX_AwqhVObfiiKh4EeRChdMbtZOKa2791ZuUpiC2zyo6OSo yes, it has been a mixed bag year for the Latin@ trans community.  While they face some serious challenges, there are transmasculine and transfeminine leaders either already there or emerging from their ranks who are gaining a national platform to address them.

As part of our nation's fastest growing minority community, I hope their cisgender brothers and sisters recognize that my trans Latino brothers and sisters are integral parts of their community.  

While some issues are unique to the Latino trans community that need to be resolved as expeditiously as possible, there are others they share with the Latino community at large

We also hope that 2014 is also a much brighter year for the Latin@ trans community.

Mexican Trans Woman Being Denied Opportunity To Play Soccer

Miranda, la transexual expulsada del futbol mexicanoSoccer (or football to the rest of the world) is the world's most popular sport and is called 'the beautiful game' by its fans. 

But what is happening to 44 year old Mexican transwoman Miranda Itzayana is anything but beautiful.

Prior to transition, she played for the first division Mexican League team Pumas and others from 1985-1992.   She wanted to play the sport again and in June 2012 after showing documentation verifying her feminine identity, Itzayana joined the Mexican Women's League team Jaguars Aldana.  

Initially she was told there was no problem with her playing in the league, but pressure mounted as opposing teams wanted her thrown out of the league for 'playing like a man'.  Itzayana was also subjected to homophobic and transphobic slurs while playing matches.  

In February during a Mexican Women's League meeting the league and her team bowed to pressure and baseless accusations from opposing teams by not allowing Itzayana to play.  The league after that meeting subsequently enacted a 'women born women' policy to keep her out in violation of the IOC Stockholm Accords that FIFA and national soccer federations follow that allow trans athletes to compete.  

Jaguars Aldana, fearing being barred from the Mexican Women's League, threatened to expel Itzayana from the team if she complained publicly about her unjust treatment.    Upset about the discriminatory treatment she was receiving, she decided to take her case to the Council for the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination in Mexico City (COPRED).

The COPRED commissioner ruled in her favor and ordered that Itzayana be reinstated, allowed to play in the next tounament and the discriminatory league rule be changed to allow her participation. 

FIFA has had an ongoing 'Say No To Racism' campaign in which we see the banner held up by players of both teams during every World Cup Men's and Women's tournament and other major confederation tournaments in international soccer.  We'll see it again later this summer in Brazil. 

But as I wrote back in 2011 and Jazz, Aeris Houlihan and Miranda Itzayana can tell you from painful experience, FIFA needs to immediately embark upon a campaign to eradicate transphobia and homophobia
from the sport, too.

Trans Namibians Facing Documentation Problems

I keep pointing out that trans human rights issues are worldwide issues, and it is very interesting to note that no matter what country we reside in, some of our problems are the same.

One of those trans problems that crosses international borders is documentation.

It shouldn't be, but as my now 8 months and counting drama just to get a Texas drivers license is an example of and Valentina Verbal of Chile being forced to drop out of a race for a seat in her national legislature because of it, we go through a lot of drama as transpeople because of mismatched identification. 

That being said, let's move to Namibia, where some of our transpeeps living in that nation like 24 year old Mercedez von Cloete are receiving resistance when it comes to acquiring documentation that accurately reflects who they are now.

Article 13 of the UN Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
According to an article in The Namibian, despite being able to transition and have SRS be legal in that nation, Namibian trans people like Cloete are being shown the door when they attempt to get the documentation that they need to travel in and out of the country.

Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration head Jacobius van de Westhuizen says this shouldn't be happening and no Namibian should be denied the right to identification documents.

But the reality for Mercedez and other Namibian transpeople is quite different.  Cloete applied for a new passport photo in June 2012.  The application was not only turned down, but she didn't find out about the denial despite checking multiple times until a year later.

In the meantime, that puts Cloete in the situation every time she travels to South Africa of being subjected to lengthy questioning and delays by both Namibian and South African customs officials because her old passport photo looks nothing like the woman she is now.

We shouldn't have to go through lengthy bureaucratic delays and unnecessary drama just to get documentation that matches the people we are now.  


It's Tona's Birthday Today

And I wasn't letting this day pass without at least giving her a TransGriot blog shoutout.

Tona Brown continues to be an inspiration to not only her generation of trans people, but mine as well.  Her talents as a classically trained professional musician and vocalist have given her a career spanning North America and Europe.   In 2011 this Virginia native became the first trans person to sing for a sitting US president.  I hope one day she realizes one of her big dreams of singing in a major concert hall. 

She's the founder of the AIDA String Ensemble, is a motivational speaker and host of the YouTube show 'Conversations With Tona Brown', of which from time to time I post her videos here. 

And the cool thing Tona is you made it through another busy year!

Happy birthday Sis!   May your birthday be filled with abundant blessings, smiles as wide as Texas and 2014 see every dream you've ever had realized.  

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The 2013 NFL Prognostication Contest Winner Is..

Arrgh.  Like my fave NFL team, too little and way too late to defend my prognostication title.  That title is going to Arizona unless Eli has a horribly bad week 17 and Mike conversely has a monster good one.
--TransGriot, December 27, 2013

After 256 regular season NFL games, our season long prognostication battle between defending 2012 champion moi, rookie Eli Blake, and 2011 co-champ Mike Watts has been decided.

Our champion for the 2013.NFL season is Eli, but not before Mike had that monster week I talked about..

While I closed with a 23-9 late season sprint and had an excellent Week 17, had too much of a hole to climb out of.   Mike also went 23-9 in the last two weeks and won this week with a stellar 14-2 record while Eli was 21-11 to give Mike a shot at overtaking him.

If Mike had gotten the Miami-NY Jets and Minnesota-Detroit games right, he would have had a perfect week and taken the title.  Congrats to Eli, our 2013 NFL prognostication champ and Mike for another fantastic finishing kick that came up just short. 

I know I want to do this again next season, and if any of you other bloggers want in on this prognostication battle, let me know before August 2014

Week 17 Results
TransGriot        12-4
Eli Blake           13-3
Mike Watts       14-2

Final 2013 Season Record
TransGriot      144-111-1
Eli                  163-92-1
Mike              160-95-1

FREE CeCe! Documentary Being Filmed

One of my fave peeps in the trans community is busy producing a documentary about our unjustly incarcerated sister entitled FREE CeCe!

The upcoming documentary is being co-produced by Laverne Cox and Jacqueline 'Jac' Gares.  

In addition to an interview with McDonald by Cox, it tells the story of the events of that June 2011 night, the role that race, class and gender played in this case, the issues of housing trans feminine people in male prisons and anti-trans violence.

Gares and Cox also talked about the documentary project in a recent Persephonemagazine.com interview.

The documentary's original genesis came from research Gares was doing when she was a Series Producer on the now cancelled show In The Life.   Gares and Cox both thought the story needed to be told, and looked into doing this as an independent documentary. 

Looking forward to seeing this when it is completed.

Ani DiFranco's Full Of Fail Feminist Plantation Retreat

4-1078-Rotunda-night-1000Another prime example of why I'm NOT a feminist is breaking out as I write this on the Net 

Ani DiFranco is planning what she calls The Righteous Retreat in The Big Easy.  It's 4 days of music, seminars and feminist conscious raising from June 25-29 in Louisiana.

Sounds like an interesting event. huh?   Just one problem.  It's not being held in the New Orleans city limits, it's being held on a plantation.  When Black women called that problematic point out, all hell broke loose.

When Black women expressed their concerns about having this event on ground where our foremothers were raped, tortured, had the children they bore sold from them, the response was predictable from vanillacentric privileged white women rushing to defend DiFranco and this jacked up event. 

Mandi Harrington took it a reprehensible step further and engaged in virtual blackface to defend the indefensible.

Now they have trotted Toshi Reagon out to make a statement in a predictable attempt to hide behind her skirts as a human shield, but it still doesn't change the fact you are having this event at a plantation and we're pissed off about it.  It's the equivalent of having an event at Auschwitz.  

RBR042 Ani by Danny Clinch 2I'll bet if Jewish women told you that hypothetical Auschwitz event was triggering,  you'd be changing that venue with the quickness.   And these repeated race fails and being disappointed by white feminists is why I am a womanist. 

What next Ani?  A cruise that simulates the Middle Passage?  Your silence Ani will not protect you from the seething anger that is building up over this BS.   Neither will your weak attempt to use Toshi Reagon as a human shield for your fauxgressive frack-up.

White women's tears start in 5...4...3...2...1...

Yeah, #BlackTwitter, it's time to do what we do best    #AniDiFrancoRetreatIdeas

TransGriot Update: DiFranco put out a non-apology statement written in lowercase cancelling the plantation retreat, and the Twitter hashtag is slowly gaining momentum.

Last Sunday of 2013

Today is the last Sunday of 2013.   We are still as individuals and a community contemplating our lives, the year that is about to become part of our history books and how the rapidly approaching 2014 will shake out for us.

I've been in that contemplation mode since just before Christmas, which caused one of my friends to send a worried note to my mom expressing concerns that I was in the throes of holiday depression.   While I'll admit I wasn't in a chipper mood before Christmas Day arrived, it actually turned out okay.  It wasn't the best Christmas I'd ever had, but neither was it a disastrous one either. 
As we all tend to do as New Year's Day approaches,.we look back at our successes, analyze our failures and resolve to use the fresh start that the flip of the calendar page gives us to resolve to do better.

I'm also borrowing a paragraph that Pastor Lawrence T. Richardson wrote.a few months ago and having you commit that to memory for the 2K14.
My message to every trans and gender non-conforming person is this: "God is love and you were made in the image of perfect Love.  There is space for you in this world.  There is space at your church, in your desired career, in your family, on sports teams...and it is time to take your space.  Show up!  In large number or in small...your presence is valued and necessary.  So what, they stare or ask questions, answer them.   Look them in the eyes proudly with your beautiful, handsome, artsy, brilliant, capable, transgendered self.  Claim your space. Rearrange the seating to make room at the table.  Correct people when they use the wrong pronouns.  Hang up your own sign on the bathroom door.  Tell them who you are and who you are not. Be bold.  No one is going to understand what they cannot see, cannot hear or cannot know.   
He's right.  The first part of us Owning Our Power, which is the mantra of NBJC's dynamic CEO/ED Sharon Lettman-Hicks, is showing up.  

And we definitely much continue on the path of boldly claim our space and our seats at whatever tables we choose to sit at. 

White Perp Knocks Out The Racist 'Knockout Game' Narrative

Amazing how the appearance of one white male shuts down this whole racialized 'knockout game' media 'scurrfest' and 'urban predator' meme.  

Here in the Houston 'burbs, 27 year old Katy resident Conrad Barrett attacked a 79 year old African-American man while he was out for a November 24 walk in his Katy neighborhood.  

The vicious assault resulted in the man's jaw being fractured in two places and left him hospitalized for four days. 

Meanwhile the waste of DNA went to a bar in Fulshear, TX the same day and showed video of it to a person who was alleged to have been an off-duty police officer.  Barrett was arrested December 26, and a search of his phone not only revealed 10 more attacks,  but one of him making the alleged comment, "The plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?"

Duh, when you viciously attack an African-American senior citizen, you damned skippy it's going national and probably international.  It's also guaranteed to go national when you make racist comments and derogatory statements toward my people.

One of the gems of racist idiocy from this fool is one video in which he says that African-Americans "haven't fully experienced the blessing of evolution."   

Dude, the first human on this planet looked like me and originated in Africa.  Looks like the only person who hasn't 'fully experienced the blessing of evolution' is your wannabee white hood wearing behind. 

Barrett is being charged with one count of violating the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr Hate Crimes Act.  The criminal complaint was filed under seal December 24, 2013, and unsealed upon his December 26 arrest.   He has made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy and if he is convicted, he is facing a maximum of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

T-30 Days And Counting To Creating Change 2014

After the months of meetings, planning fundraisers, getting the word out, and other activities wrapped around it, we are now 30 tantalizing days away from Creating Change 2014 happening in my hometown January 29-Febuary 2.. 

Am I excited about it?    Is Annise Parker still my awesome mayor?

Yeah, me and our Creating Change team can't wait to roll out the rainbow carpet for you peeps who are traveling to H-town for this event. 

Looking forward to seeing the Hilton Americas Hotel swarming with our TBLG community members from around the country and the world as we plot, plan, learn from each other and strategize the next stages of our human rights movement. 

I'm looking forward to seeing and chatting with as many peeps during this conference as humanly possible while doing my part to make sure that things run smoothly in the Racial Diversity Suite.

But still have 30 days of work and nervous anticipation along with the rest of the Houston host committee before that happens.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

CeCe McDonald May Be Released Soon!

Looks like the early part of 2014 could possibly be a wonderful start to the year for our unjustly incarcerated sister CeCe McDonald.

According to information posted on the Minnesota Department of Corrections website,  CeCe McDonald has a projected release date of January 13, 2014 with another 13 months of supervised release.

That's good news in a case that dates back to a June 5, 2011 night in which she and her friends found themselves under assault after having racist and transphobic slurs uttered at them as the passed the Schooner Tavern on their way to a South Minneapolis store.  A fight instigated by Molly Shannon Flaherty resulted in the death of Dean Schmitz

McDonald ended up taking a plea deal when there was clear evidence of self defense, while Molly Flaherty, the person who instigated this drama, only served 180 days.

Hope it does happen on that date for our incarcerated sister, because she shouldn't have spent one second inside the walls of that prison. 

CeCe was recently interviewed by Laverne Cox as part of an upcoming documentary currently being produced about the case entitled FREE CeCe!

Will definitely be keeping an eye on this developing story as we get closer to the projected release date.  I hope I have more wonderful news to report on January 13.