Sunday, May 31, 2015

2015 Williams Watch-The French Open Starts

Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka: Score and Reaction from 2015 French OpenThe second major of the 2015 international tennis calendar is here in the French Open. It started on May 23 and will run until June 7, and is being contested on the clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris.

Once again my fave tennis playing siblings are in France to handle their tennis business.  

Serena came in holding the world number one ranking and the number one seeding.  She came to Roland Garros looking for her third French Open title,  her 20th overall and keep a calendar year Grand Slam alive, but was battling an elbow injury.

Meanwhile big sis Venus was seeded 17th and facing a tough opening round match with Sloane Stephens. Venus' tournament stay was unfortunately a short one as she was ousted in the first round by Stephens 6-7 (5-7) 1-6.

As most people in the tennis world know, clay is not one of Serena's fave surfaces, and if you ant to knock her out of a tournament, you have to catch her early in the first week of a tourney before she gets on one of those rolls that ends with her waving to the crowd and holding up another championship trophy.

Meanwhile Little Sis got her opening week at Roland Garros off to a good start with a straight set 6-2, 6-3 win over Andrea Hlavackova.   

But her second round match with Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam was a little more difficult.   She dropped the first set 5-7, but roared back to take the second and third sets 6-3, 6-3  to move on to a third round battle with Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka took advantage of another slow start out of the gate by Serena to take the first set 3-6..  Azarenka was up 4-2 in the second set until Serena woke up and took the next four games to take the second set 6-4 to even the match.  A pissed off Azarenka jumped out to a 0-2 lead in the third, but Serena raised her game another level, took the next five games to put herself firmly in control and sen Azarenka packing with a 6-3 third set win and punch her fourth round ticket.

Serena's fourth round opponent is the same Sloane Stephens who knocked her big sis out of this tournament tomorrow, with a quarterfinal berth on the line 

Winner gets the winner of the Sara Errani-Julia Gorges match.

TransGriot Update.  Serena knocked off Sloane Stephens 1-6, 7-5, 6-3  and will face Sara Errani in the French Open quarterfinals.

2015 TBLGQ Pride Month Proclamation

The first TBLGQ Pride Month Proclamation was issued by President Bill Clinton in 1999 and in 2000 before he left office in January 2001.   George W Bush NEVER issued one during his entire misguided White House tenure.

President Barack Obama has issued one every year since he took office in 2009, and here is the the text of the 2015 proclamation declaring June as Pride Month.


From the moment our Nation first came together to declare the fundamental truth that all men are created equal, courageous and dedicated patriots have fought to refine our founding promise and broaden democracy’s reach. Over the course of more than two centuries of striving and sacrifice, our country has expanded civil rights and enshrined equal protections into our Constitution. Through struggle and setback, we see a common trajectory toward a more free and just society. But we are also reminded that we are not truly equal until every person is afforded the same rights and opportunities — that when one of us experiences discrimination, it affects all of us — and that our journey is not complete until our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.

Across our Nation, tremendous progress has been won by determined individuals who stood up, spoke out, and shared their stories. Earlier this year, because of my landmark Executive Order on LGBT workplace discrimination, protections for Federal contractors went into effect, guarding against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Federal Government is now leading by example, ensuring that our employees and contractors are judged by the quality of their work, not by who they love. And I will keep calling on the Congress to pass legislation so that all Americans are covered by these protections, no matter where they work.

In communities throughout the country, barriers that limit the potential of LGBT Americans have been torn down, but too many individuals continue to encounter discrimination and unfair treatment. My Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors because the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that it can cause substantial harm. We understand the unique challenges faced by sexual and gender minorities — especially transgender and gender non-conforming individuals — and are taking steps to address them. And we recognize that families come in many shapes and sizes. Whether biological, foster, or adoptive, family acceptance is an important protective factor against suicide and harm for LGBTQ youth, and mental health experts have created resources to support family communication and involvement.

For countless young people, it is not enough to simply say it gets better; we must take action too. We continue to address bullying and harassment in our classrooms, ensuring every student has a nurturing environment in which to learn and grow. Across the Federal Government, we are working every day to unlock the opportunities all LGBT individuals deserve and the resources and care they need. Too many LGBTQ youth face homelessness and too many older individuals struggle to find welcoming and affordable housing; that is why my Administration is striving to ensure they have equal access to safe and supportive housing throughout life. We are updating our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to better address the disproportionate burden HIV has on communities of gay and bisexual men and transgender women. We continue to extend family and spousal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. And because we know LGBT rights are human rights, we are championing protections and support for LGBT persons around the world.

All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, we celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2015 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Louisiana Girl Scout Council Bans Trans Feminine Kids

One of the reasons I love the Girl Scouts USA is that they not only have an amazing organization that for over a century has excelled in developing the leadership skills of girls and young women, they have continued to do so while under continued conservafool assault.

The conservafools have hated on the Girl Scouts because unlike the Boy Scouts, they failed in their attempt to take them over.  Ever since them different conservative pundits and politicians have attacked them for their progressive stances.

They have even taken their off the charts hatred of the Girl Scouts to the extreme level of attacking the Girl Scouts annual cookie drives (which is why I buy mass quantities of them every year) to forming their own conservative alternative to Girl Scouts USA called the American Heritage Girls. 

Now that the conservative movement is shifting their energy and attention to attacking transgender people, the American Fascist Family Association on May 13 created a transphobic petition that gained the signatures of 38,000 people demanding the Girl Scouts USA rescind the policy allowing trans feminine participation in Girl Scouts.

The next day Girl Scouts USA put out a statement authored by Andrea Bastiani Archibald that reiterated their support for the trans inclusive policy.

"If a girl is recognized by her family, school and community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.\ Inclusion of transgender girls is handled at a council level on a case by case basis, with the welfare and best interests of all members as a top priority."

That local case by case basis part of the statement leaves a problematic loophole big enough to drive a Mack truck through it.   And as any marginalized group is keenly aware of, if you give transphobes an inch, they'll go the transphobic mile.

While I have yet to hear what the local Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (Houston area) stance is on transgender scouts, I'm aware of the Girl Scouts of Colorado supported a trans kid that wished to join one of their troops, and know the Kentuckiana Council just reaffirmed their support of the national policy, that wasn't the case of the Girl Scouts Louisiana East Council that covers Baton Rouge, New Orleans and the eastern parishes of the state.

The Girl Scouts Louisiana East Council since November 2011 has proudly had a policy in place barring trans feminine kids.

“We recognize that girls benefit most from a program designed specifically for them and delivered in an all-girl setting. We affirm that our council’s programming is for girls only, and has not been designed to meet the specific needs of boys or transgendered youth.”

They doubled down on it in the wake of the AFA attack on the National GSA with a transphobic dog whistle included in their May 20 memo claiming "the health and safety of our girls is our number one priority."
As Baton Rouge parent of a Brownie Mary Ellen Slayter told | The Times-Picayune, "I don't feel like the presence of a transgender child poses any threat to my daughter. We are talking about children here. If they're questioning their gender identity, I would want the Girl Scouts to be a safe place for them to explore that and be in the company of adults who could help them through that... These kids are far more likely to be harmed by other people than to cause harm."

Louisiana East Council, you may wish to join Ms. Slayter and the rest of us in the 21st century, and stop the problematic pimping of the lie that trans kids are a threat to cisgender girls.

H/T Lexie Cannes

Friday, May 29, 2015

Shut Up Fool Awards-Happy Birthday Laverne Edition!

Today is the birthday of my fab sister Laverne Cox, and hope she's not only having a fabulous, blessings filled day, but she gets to celebrate many more of them far into the future.

But as you TransGriot readers know, it's also Friday, and y'all know what I get to do on this day without fail for your reading pleasure.

I get the fun of calling out the fool, fools or group of fools who exhibit over the top hypocrisy, mind blowing ignorance and stupidity, and just do and say stuff that make you say WTF?

It's time for the latest edition of the TransGriot Shut Up Fool Awards.

Honorable mention number one is Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (R), who thinks mandatory ultrasounds 'are a cool thing' for women hoping to get abortions.

Really?   How the hell would you know?   I think you and all your conservafool masculine friends who believe that BS should have forced prostate exams with a frozen aluminum bat shoved up your anus.  

But keep talking Scott.  The more you do, the more you prove you're unfit to be POTUS.

Honorable mention number two is Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state who in the wake of Roman Catholic Ireland voting overwhelmingly (62% YES) to allow same sex marriage, the vote was a 'defeat for humanity.'

Honorable mention number three is Joseph Hayon.   The former leader in the Brooklyn Tea Party who ran on a 2012 pledge to protect children was arrested on child porn possession charges.

So tell me once again conservafools, who are the child predators we need to be looking out for?

Honorable mention number four is the Indian social media campaign that seeks to have women thank men for not sexually assaulting them.

Seriously?  How about you not acting like a horny caveman? You don't deserve a fracking cookie for the minimum expectation in a civilized society of keeping your hands and penis to yourself.

Honorable mention number five is Pat Robertson, who crawled out of the bowels of his crypt to say on the 666 700 Club that gay men are 'pedophiles who want to recruit your sons.'

Honorable mention number six is Nevada Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore, who in the middle of a debate about a racist voter ID law the GOP controlled legislature called a Black legislator 'colored' after trying to deny racism doesn't exist in the USA.

This week's winner is the junior senator from Alberta, Ted Cruz.   Remember when Teabagger Ted criticized and voted against funding for Hurricane Sandy victims? Well, seems like he's against ANY emergency relief unless it is going to Texas.

"Today, Texans are hurting. They're hurting here in San Marcos. They're hurting in Wimberley. They're hurting in Houston. They're hurting across the state.

"Democrats and Republicans in the congressional delegation will stand as one in support of the federal government meeting its statutory obligations to provide the relief to help the Texans who are hurting."

But when it was the northeastern US that needed the help, Comrade Ted was singing a different song before he voted against that emergency assistance.

"This bill is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington—an addiction to spending money we do not have. The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt."

Once upon a time Texas sent people to Washington DC like LBJ, Ralph Yarborough, John Tower, Sam Rayburn, Barbara Jordan, and Mickey Leland just to name a few who were respected and visionary national and international leaders.

Now we have leaders going to Washington representing my birth state that are running comedic jokes.

Ted Cruz, shut the HELL up fool!.

Happy Birthday Laverne!

It;s time for another TransGriot birthday shoutout, and today's recipient of it is my amazing sis Laverne Cox, who was born on this date in Mobile, Alabama along with her twin brother Lamar.

I have much love and respect for her, and I forgot to ask her the last time I talked to her who is the eldest sibling.

She continues to make history.  In addition to her role on Orange Is The New Black, she will get to play an Ivy League lawyer on a upcoming CBS legal series called Doubt that I'm looking forward to the premiere of.

Laverne also continues to be a lovely and thoughtful ambassador for our community as she travels the country speaking at various events and colleges.

Happy birthday Laverne!  May you continue to have much success with your acting career and get the roles that are not only challenging for you but expand opportunities for other trans actors following in your footsteps.   

May your birthday be filled with abundant blessings, and you be granted the time to celebrate many more of them.

Musing About The Trans People Of The African Diaspora

One of the things that has been an ongoing mission of this blog is to highlight what's happening for trans people of African descent across the Diaspora from the Americas to the Caribbean to the Mother Continent itself.

I have been fortunate in my time as a trans activist and blogger to be able to talk to other African descended trans people from Brazil, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Kenya, Panama, South Africa and Nigeria just for starters.

Oh yeah, happy belated birthday to my Brazilian sis Dora who I got to meet and room with during BTAC.   You get the hug when you get back to UT in the fall.

Talking to the trans peeps of the Diaspora has given me an insight as an American with African heritage into what's happening not only in those nations, but also just how interconnected we are here in the States with the rest of the African Diaspora. 

It has reinforced my pride in my African heritage and being trans, and reminds me on two levels that my brothers and sisters in my extended family extend across planet Earth.

And sadly, it has also confirmed for me just how much Blackness is hated not only in my own country, but across the planet.   It's been eye opening to see that some of the issues I and other North American based trans people deal with are sadly prevalent in other parts of the world.

There are also situations in which my trans brothers and sisters in different parts of the Diaspora have been fighting tooth and nail just to get basic human rights recognition, as Audrey Mbugua has been doing for herself and Kenyan trans people for years.  Others are in the situation of moving from their native lands that were hostile to trans people and blossoming in countries more accepting of it. 

Some are in different nations just to further their education or to begin the process of morphing their bodies to be the men and women they know they are.  I'm also inspired to fight as hard as I do for trans human rights here in the States by watching my trans brothers and trans sisters in far more hostile territory in Uganda fight for their basic human right to exist.

But no matter the situation, despite the language differences and different nations we grew up in, we are all connected across the oceans and continents because of our African heritage and our trans status. 

 I'm looking forward to and welcome more of those conversations from trans masculine and trans feminine people across the Diaspora so that I can intelligently talk about those experiences.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

What's Wrong With A Trans Woman Being A Stay At Home Mom?

Stevie Wonder and Karyn White sang decades apart about superwomen from their masculine and feminine perspectives.   While we have some amazing girls like us representing our community, one of the insults we trans women get hurled at us from the TERFs who hate us is that we trans women are 'reinforcing gender stereotypes'.

But one of the beautiful things about femininity and especially the trans version of it is that there is no specific way of being a trans woman. 

It is as multidimensional as the women we are, just like it is for our cis counterparts.   For every time Laverne Cox rocks a red carpet, Geena Rocero travels the globe advancing our human rights, Arianna Lint appears on Spanish language television to talk about trans human rights issues from a Latina perspective, or yours truly bouncing from one convention to the next around the country, there are some of our trans sisters whose biggest transition dream was not only morphing their bodies to match the persons they always knew they were, but also seeing themselves with a husband, 2.5 kids and a house with a white picket fence.

I ain't mad at my sisters who chose that path, and neither should you be.   I also know some trans women who are working moms with kids.  One I know was named 'Working Mother of the Year' in 2014.

I had a conversation recently with a trans woman who is one of those trans moms raising kids.  Her face lit up when she talked about how this was her dream when she transitioned in her teens, and the reality of living her dream and having a husband, kids and family has made her exceedingly happy. 

Heard the same sentiments from even those trans women I know who are working mothers, and truth be told, sometimes I'm a little envious of them.

Being an either stay at home or working mom while trans is just as much a revolutionary act as me and everyone else bouncing up to the state capitol or Washington DC to fight for our human rights.  The more that society sees trans people doing mundane, everyday things that are beautifully human, the better.

So what's wrong with a trans woman being a stay at home mom?   Absolutely nothing.

Happy Birthday HERO!

On this day last year, after a long combined Houston City Council meeting that saw over 200 speakers spend one minute each pro and con debating it, on an 11-6 vote the HERO was passed to the joyous cries and cheers of all of us who busted our butts to make this day happen.

And yeah, as you know, a certain blogger had been hounding Houston City Council since January to make sure her hometown human rights ordinance was trans inclusive.

Our HERO covers 15 categories, but the HERO Haters were only concerned about two, sexual orientation and gender identity, and demonized trans folks in the month long contentious debate to passage.

We didn't get to celebrate our 30 years in the making win for long, because we immediately had to shift to defend it mode.   Thanks to unbridled arrogance, fraud and stupidity on the haters side as they collected the recall petitions, they discovered on August 4 didn't gather enough signatures to force it on the 2014 ballot for a recall.

The HERO Haters kept trying, and tried to get in the courts what they failed to get in the petition process they screwed up, and still lost twice in a jury trial and with the judge..

They just recently had another motion denied in which they tried to get an expedited trial in the 14th Texas Court of Appeals.   In order to get a HERO repeal on the ballot, they have to get a ruling overturning Judge Schaffer's decision before the August deadline to get ballots for November 2015  elections in Texas printed.

Tick, tick, tick , tick...

Meanwhile the HERO is in effect and being implemented by the city of Houston, so for the first time in Houston history we have a local remedy for discrimination that happens in the Houston city limits.

But what I was most proud of as a native Houstonian was that we sent the message to the state, the nation and the world that discrimination's time had expired in the fourth largest city in America.

So happy birthday HERO!   May you be around to celebrate many more!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Houston Floods, I'm Okay And Dry!

As many of you TransGriot readers are aware of, the Houston area got hit with 8-12 inches of rain in a six hour period from 9 PM Monday night to early Tuesday morning from an intense line of storms that brewed up on Memorial Day and extended from San Antonio to the Texas-Oklahoma border.

While the northern end of that line quickly blew through the Dallas-Ft Worth area, the southern end took its sweet time passing though our metro area which has had more than our fair share of rain over the last several weeks.

It didn't help that much of the rain hitting central Texas flows through Houston and its network of bayous on its way to emptying out into Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

The southwest side got the bulk of the rain, with 11.5 inches falling on that side of town.  I live on the northwest side, and while we got 8 to 9.5 inches, we were spared the flooding that whacked Meyerland and other affected parts of Southwest Houston.

There were 200 folks stuck at Toyota Center downtown after the Warriors-Rockets playoff game until early Tuesday morning because they couldn't get back home our out of the downtown area.

It got bad around 1 AM when Buffalo, White Oak, Keegan's and Brays Bayous went over their banks and caused major flooding on I-45 where it crosses White Oak Bayou at the junction with I-10 near downtown, and TX 288 flooded as usual between where it splits south of downtown from US 59 and 610 South and crosses Brays Bayou near the Med Center..

The Buffalo Bayou flooding also affected Memorial Dr. and Allen Parkway, which are major routes into downtown Houston from the west side of town.

There was also street flooding in various parts of town since Houston streets are designed to hold it, then feed it to the drains that lead to the bayous.  We had many of the underpasses hit with so much water it overwhelmed the pumps that keep them dry.

We also had a lightning caused fire at an apartment complex in the area near NRG Stadium that left 16 people homeless.

Sadly, we have had 5 deaths from the flooding, mainly drivers who realized too late the water they were driving in during the late night-early AM hours was rising too fast and quickly became too deep for them to act quickly.  They are also at this writing still searching for two senior citizens who were swept away down Brays Bayou after a boat that was rescuing them Tuesday capsized.

Houston caught a little break because the sun was out most of the day yesterday, and gave the swollen and affected bayous a chance to send that excess water to Galveston Bay.  

As of yet, haven't heard if any of our community peeps or allies being negatively affected, but know that if I do, I'll pass that information on to you as I receive it.

However, we are expecting more heavy rain later this week, so we'll be casting a nervous eye to the skies over the next few days and paying more attention than usual to the weather forecasts..

Monday, May 25, 2015

Congrats Nicole Maines!

Jazz Jennings wasn't the only amazing trans teen I got the opportunity to meet during last year's Philly Trans Health Conference.  I also got to meet Nicole Maines and her amazing father Wayne. 

Nicole is the trans teen who was transphobically discriminated against by the Orono, ME school district as a fifth grader when they tried to ban her from using the girls restroom.  Her precedent setting case eventually made it to the Maine Supreme Court when she won in early 2014 and the Orono schools had to pay the trans young lady.

She also helped kill one of the first anti-trans bathroom bills in LD 1046 back in 2011, has been on Maine public radio and in other venues doing education about trans issues, been an Equality Maine volunteer and is a role model for other trans teens/

The now 17 year old high school senior has been getting numerous deserved awards lately.  Glamour magazine last year named her  one of their 50 Amazing Women Who Are Making A Difference.

She has also won the Hardy Girls Healthy Women’s Community Organizing Award and the Maine Women's Fund honored her earlier this month with the Samantha Smith Award

And she's even appearing on an episode of USA Network's Royal Pains   

Nicole will be attending the University of Maine in the fall, and megacongrats to the well deserved accolades.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

ConGRADulations UHD Gators!

As many of you long time readers are aware of, ever since I came back home in May 2010, I've been blessed to interact and work with some amazing student leaders at UH, Rice, TSU, HCC-Southeast and UH-Downtown on various projects.

Many of them were freshmen and sophomores at their respective institutions at the time I encountered them or we started talking and staying in contact after I did panel discussions on those respective campuses.

But as y'all are all keenly aware of and was reinforced today, time marches on.  Those collegiate freshmen and sophomores I met have become seniors about to say goodbye to their college years and hello to their post-graduation lives.

So once again I was taking some time out on a Saturday to check out another collegiate graduation.  Today I was at Minute Maid Park to watch four Gator student leaders, Sarah Syed, LaTrina Carter, Tarah Taylor and Kristopher Sharp step across the stage and graduate from UHD with their various degrees.

It started at 9:15 AM with the graduates marching from their staging area down along the left field side stands around home plate to their blocked off area along the right field stands where the stage was set up,  After hanging out near the student seating and waving at Trina and Sarah, I decided to get some seats behind home plate so I could see the massive Jumbotron board which was in operation and get a better view of the ceremony.

It was also amusing to me that while I was there to support these student leaders on their special day, several people and UHD students who walked past my seat in Section 118 recognized and thanked me for coming to UHD to do those various panels.

I also had a fascinating conversation with another woman who was watching the UHD one, and then hit the road at 11 AM to go to the UT-Austin one to see another relative graduate today.

But today was all about the UHD Class of 2015, and I was honored to get an invitation to witness your special day.

ConGRADulations Sarah, Tarah, Kristopher and Trina! You are all amazing young leaders who accomplished much in your time at 1 Main Street.   I salute you for achieving a personal life goal, and I have no doubts that you will continue to do great things for our community, our state and our country.

METRORail Green and Purple Lines FINALLY Open Today

You long time readers know that I am a rail enthusiast, and one of the things I was happy to see was METRO build a rail component to our transit system that started construction with a 7.5 mile (12.1 km) segment that opened for service in January 2004.

The METRORail Red Line has been wildly successful, with ridership projections four years ahead of schedule.  After a successful  2003 referendum to expand the system to four lines, construction on the 5.3 mile (8.5 km) Red Line North Extension, the 3.3 mile (5.3 km) Green and (6.6 mile (10.6 km) Purple Lines began in 2009 with an original target date of 2012 completion for the Red Line extension and 2014 for the Green and Purple Lines.

But while the North Extension opened early in December 2013, construction delays, rolling stock procurement issues, and other problems caused by non-METRO construction projects pushed the opening of the Green and Purple Lines back to 2014, and eventually to today's opening date.

Harrisburg Overpass Bridge concept drawingThe Harrisburg bridge that will carry the Green Line over freight rail tracks and to the Magnolia Transit Center just broke ground in March and won't be completed until 2016.

The Gold Line through the Galleria area is being built initially as a bus rapid transit lane which will be able to be easily converted to light rail service in the future.   That will allow it to be operational in 2017, while the needed east west University Line is on hold pending funding.

But the long awaited day is here, and METRO is celebrating with a free Railfest concert at BBVA Compass Stadium featuring Ne-Yo Frankie J and a fireworks finale.    BBVA Compass Stadium sits at the junction between the Green and Purple Lines. 

And just as was done when the North extention opened, rides on the rail system will be free all day.

The opening of the Green and Purple lines means that as of today, METRORail is not just one rail line, but a system spanning much of my hometown, with hopefully future expansion to Hobby and Intercontinental airports and the addition of a commuter rail component.

But until then, I'll take advantage of my free rides that start up in a few hours..

Friday, May 22, 2015

LA State Senator Rips Jindal A New One

In 2005, after the Texas Legislature passed that unjust constitutional marriage ban, Texas State Rep Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) let loose with a memorable floor speech excoriating it.

Ten years later, east of the Sabine River in Baton Rouge, State Senator Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans)  took to the Louisiana Senate floor to rip Governor Bobby Jindal (R) for his unjust executive order intended to do an end run around the Louisiana Legislature to institute HB 707, a 'right to discriminate' law the Legislature rejected and the Louisiana business community didn't want.

But since Piyush is running for president on the GOP side, in his attempt to pander to Iowa social conservafool voters, he decided to unilaterally issue this executive order.that all the states competing with Louisiana for Super Bowls, Final Fours and other convention business are saying thank you very much for your stupidity.

Here's Senator Peterson's floor speech.

Shut Up Fool Awards-I Pity The Post Birthday Fools Edition

Mr. T's 63rd birthday was yesterday and we're going to celebrate it properly by doing what we normally do on this blog every Friday without fail.

It's time to call out the fool, fools or group of fools that exhibit mind numbing stupidity, immense levels of ignorance, horrific levels of hubris, and off the chain levels of arrogance.

Yep, it's time for the post-Mr T birthday edition of this week's Shut Up Fool Awards.

Honorable mention number one is a joint one for  the entire GOP clown car, er' 2016 GOP presidential candidate field. Just pick a way too numerous moment this week in which they all said something incredibly stupid.

Honorable mention number two is Maine Gov Paul LePage (R) in the latest GOP War on the Poor move, wants to kick convicted felons off of TANF and SNAP even if they have kids and have turned their lives around.

And y'all wanna know why I hate these evil Teapublicans

Honorable mention number three is Rep Louie Gohmert (R-TX) m who actually parted his lips (surprise surprise) to say that Dubya would have rethought the Iraq War if he'd known that President Obama would have followed him into office.

Still trying to blame the Black Democratic POTUS for the white GOP POTUS' screw ups.

Honorable mention number four is Rep David Brat (R-VA) who is a living example of the be careful what you wish for in political circles.   Brat replaced Eric Cantor, and is far worse than the guy he replaced.   He recently said that DREAMers in the military will lead to the 'decline of Western Civilization'.

Yo David, your white sheet is showing.

Honorable mention number five also goes to someone else whose white sheet was showing in Dork Duke University professor Jerry Hough, who parted his lips to say some racist crap in the local media concerning the Baltimore Rebellion.

Honorable mention number six is Peter Brimelow, who forgot the Civil War ended 150 years and said a white nationalists supremacists conference that stats should consider secession from the US for the protection of 'white rights'.

Dude you have an entire political party and two political movements in conservatism and libertarianism that seek to do precisely that.

And news flash, y'all lost the War To Preserve Slavery, get over it.

This week's Shut Up Fool awards winner  is a joint award for Josh Duggar and his mother Michelle Duggar.    Josh and his mother have spent a lot of time demonizing TBLG people and Josh worked for the Family Fascist Research Council until he had to resign after revelations broke that Duggar molested several teenage girls, including his own sisters.

Michelle slimed trans women calling us predators on behalf of the right wing efforts to kill trans inclusive human rights laws while basking in the hypocritical knowledge that the real sexual predator was her own son, and she helped keep it quiet.

19 Molestations and Counting needs to be cancelled

I takes some serious cojones for you to project your own reprehensible molestation behavior on someone else for your own personal and political gain.

It's even more reprehensible when some of the victims of it are your own sisters and mommy and daddy cover it up.

Josh and Michelle Duggar, shut up fools!.

Andrea Jenkins Gets Added To The Congressional Record!

You know I have much love and respect for my sis Andrea Jenkins, who I met and roomed with during the TransFaith in Color Conference in Charlotte back in 2012 and is a trailblazing girl like us and advocate in her own right up in Minneapolis.

Jenkins recently received two honors that need and deserve to be signal boosted.   She was named as the Grand Marshal for the upcoming Twin Cities Pride Parade.  She is the second trans person to receive that honor.(Debbie Davis in 2000) third African-American after Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus and her fiance LaTaya Varner in 2012 and first ever African-American trans person to do so.

Andrea on May 20 had her name added to the Congressional Record for the 114th Congress by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), whose 5th Congressional District covers that area.

So what's the Congressional Record you ask?  It is the official record of proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, and from time to time congressmembers will take a moment to use some of their time to do floor speech that recognizes people and organizations in their home districts.

Those speeches, because they happen on the House floor, get recorded, published and at the end of the 114th Congress in 2017 will be placed in bound volumes enshrined permanently in the Library of Congress and online via THOMAS.

Translation, this is a Big Fracking Deal, and so proud of Andrea for getting this well deserved recognition for the work she's done in the Twin Cities.  

She was a longtime policy aide for 12 years on the Minneapolis City Council for Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden where she initiated and helped develop the the Minneapolis Transgender Issues Work Group and produced the first Transgender Summit in the city.

Jenkins also a published poet, serves on numerous boards and is now with the University of Minnesota as the curator for their Transgender Oral History Project

I hear Andrea plays a mean game of tennis, so I'll have to remember to bring my racquet when I get the opportunity to visit her and the rest of the Twin Cities trans fam.

Congratulations Andrea for a well deserved honor!

Here We Go Again With Internet Blocking Of TransGriot

One of the things I get tired of and pissed off about is the blanket blocking of trans themed sites because of the erroneous assumption that all that deal with trans subjects are porn related.

I had this issue with Uniguest until they finally saw the light and recognized my GLAAD Media Award nominated blog is exactly that, an information site that happens to tackle trans topics, and looks like I'm going to have to bitch and yell until Megabus (or whoever is managing their Wifi for them) gets that message as well.

On my last trip to Dallas from Houston a few weeks ago, since I had four hours until I arrived there, I wanted to write some posts for my blog, but the Megabus WiFi wouldn't allow me access to do that, much less see if the auto posts I'd set before leaving actually went up on the blog because its filter assumed it was porn related.

And you know what has been said about when you assume...

Now I've had the same crap happen on my Houston-Austin run, and I'm beyond pissed off about it.

Hey Megabus, news flash for you:  There are transgender themed blogs that are legitimate news sites.   Some of your passengers also happen to be trans people who spend our hard earned T-bills to use your double decker buses for inexpensive intercity travel from one place to another like I and others do inside the borders of the Lone Star State.

I'd like to have the ability when I'm traveling to Dallas, Austin, San Antonio or in the future to New Orleans and other Megabus destinations, to have the ability to not only work on my blog that has garnered 6 million hits since its 2006 founding, but also read other trans themed sites that cover the new that pertains to my community.

Can we make that expeditiously happen Megabus?  Sure hope so.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Headed Home To H-town

I've done the speech, it was well received and I enjoyed my all too brief time in Austin and on the UT-Austin campus.

Now it's time for me to go back to Houston and deal with my life back home.

Thanks to  Melinda Bogdanovich and her family for allowing me to hang out in their home while I was here in the ATX, and to Liz Elsen for making this event a smooth one logistically for me.

Thanks to all you students, faculty and allies for expressing your appreciation for the speech.  As long as y'all liked it and especially the graduates, I'm happy.

Enjoyed coming to Austin to do something besides running up to our state capitol to lobby for a change.

Where's Moni headed next?   Hopefully to Philly for the PTHC.  But some things have to happen for me to be writing posts from the City of Brotherly Love again.

Anyway, hope the wifi is working on this bus.

Happy 63rd Birthday, Mr T!

You longtime TransGriot readers know that my inspiration for my Friday Shut Up Fool Awards is a certain 1980's tough guy, and today is Mr.T's birthday.

But before he was named to the WWE Hall of Fame and had roles on The A-Team and Rocky III, Mr. T was born 63 years ago today in Chicago.

His heyday was the 80's in which he won the World's Toughest Bouncer competition twice in addition to his acting roles and advocacy for kids.

So yep I have much love for him, and hope he continues to celebrate many more birthdays to come.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 UT-Austin Lavender Graduation Speech

This is the text of the speech I'm delivering at UT-Austin's Lavender Graduation.

Good afternoon to the UT-Austin faculty, alumni, students, guests, friends and the UT-Austin Class of 2015.

If UT alum Matthew McConnaughey can speak to the graduating class at my alma mater UH as he did last Friday, I guess y'all can indulge having this Cougar speak to you today.

I am honored to be here as your keynote speaker for this 8th annual Lavender Graduation that is co--hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Center and the UT Queer Students Alliance (QSA).    The Gender and Sexuality Center is celebrating its 10th anniversary of service to UT campus community, and I salute the wonderful work that they do in providing opportunities for all members of the UT Austin community to explore, organize, and promote learning around issues of gender and sexuality.

The center also facilitates a greater responsiveness to the needs of women and the LGBTQ communities through education, outreach, and advocacy, and I thank Liz Elsen for the opportunity to address you today.

I also thank Melinda Bogdanovich for being here with me today and opening her home to me while I am here in the ATX.  I spent a long enjoyable night catching up with her, and so looking forward to the next time I get to spend some quality time with her and he family.

It's also an anniversary for myself in that 35 years ago today I was in the Astroarena back in Houston graduating from high school and preparing to take that next step and get my college education.   But I was also dealing with wrestling with a word that I'd heard just five years earlier that perfectly encapsulated what I was struggling with.


In Houston until 1980 we had an anti-crossdressing ordinance on the books that criminalized people wearing opposite gender clothing, and it was used at times by HPD to harass the Houston LGBT community.   A trans woman by the name of Toni Mayes was being messed with by HPD to the point that every time she used a female restroom consistent with her gender presentation, she was arrested,   She got tired of it, sued, and won her case.

Then Renee Richards transition and her legal case in which she sued for the right to play in the US Open as a woman blew up in the news less than a year later.   A soon to be high school age TransGriot was contemplating the fact that what seemed to be impossible was a very doable thing in terms of being her true self.

It took me almost two decades and a few twists and turns to get to that point when I summoned the courage to take that next step, but here I am, a proud, internationally recognized unapologetic Black trans woman.

But enough about me.   This Lavender Graduation is  about you, the Class of 2015. about to step out into the world as your true selves armed with not only the knowledge you gained as you walked across the UT-Austin campus, but the life skills and acquired knowledge you gained just by living your out and proud lives.

And as one of your trans elders, time for Moni to arm you with more of your history before you leave this campus with those hard won diplomas.

As we are quite aware of, it has become fashionable in liberal-progressive circles to beat up on Texas because of our conservative leaning government that believes in oppressing people rather than investing in people.

I know you're tired of it and so am I of being told by people on the coasts for us to leave our beloved state and come to the so called liberal oases that in some ways  may seem to be better, but have their own problems and issues.

But hear me now East and West Coasts.  You got the opportunity of passing your LGBT friendly legislation in an era that was less politically partisan.  We here in Texas and the rest of what you derisively call 'flyover country' have to fight tooth and nail for whatever progress we get.   

And yeah  we  heard the sneers that we wouldn't be able to stop those 18 anti-LGBT bills, but  we did. it because we're Texans and it's in our DNA to do what's considered the impossible.

Now we'll have to be vigilant until June 1 to ensure those bills stay dead, but tom line is we did what the rest of the country thought we couldn't do.

So in order for us to get the human rights in our red state that you enjoy in your blue states, we have to stand and fight for them.  Changing Texas for the better and making its laws and policies more TBLG accepting cannot be done from New York or San Francisco. 

But what many people also fail to realize outside of the borders of the Lone Star state is that much of the modern LGBT human rights movement has a Texas twang to it.

Ray Hill, who is a legendary activist in the Houston area, was a key player in the early national LGBT ranks that included Harvey Milk and Frank Kameny.  

And without Texans such as Phyllis Frye, Sarah De Palma, Tere Prasse, Jane Ellen Fairfax, and Dee McKellar, the modern trans rights movement would have taken a lot longer to get organized, get its messaging on point, and even do lobbying at the local, state and federal levels.

That organizing happened at the ICTLEP conferences held in Houston starting in 1992 through 1996., and were responsible for not only putting out an International Bill of Transgender Rights, but focusing our early direction of passing an inclusive ENDA, passage of the hate crimes bill and passing local trans inclusive ordinances.

Just down I-35 in San Antonio,  Linda and Cynthia Phillips were busy not only running a trans group called the Boulton and Park Society, but what would eventually become the largest trans gathering in the country until Southern Comfort overtook it in the Texas T Party.

The T was for transsexual, not teabagger.

Even two critical trans marriage law cases, the Littleton v Prange one and the ongoing Araguz v Delgado one both involve plaintiffs from the Lone Star state.

And yeah, there some award winning African-American trans blogger from Houston y'all might have heard about who helped organize a muticultural trans rights org called NTAC in 1999 and has a blog with 6 million hits as of yesterday nobody reads.

That legacy of pioneering Texas trans leaders that we proudly uphold also extends to people like Carter Brown, Lou Weaver, Katy Stewart, Dr Oliver Blumer, Lauryn Farris and Dee Dee Watters just to name a few on the trans Texan end of the LGBT leadership scale.

There are also outstanding Texas leaders who are also proud members of our community like Rep Mary Gonzales,  Rep. Celia Israel, Omar Narvaez, Rafael McDonnell and countless others all over the 268, 820 sq miles of Planet Earth we call home who are doing that they can in their own way large and small to make their communities and Texas a better place for all of us.

Yes graduates, you have a proud history, and you'll hopefully get an opportunity to put your stamp on that history.   I have no doubt that some of you sitting here today will go on to do great things and I hope I'm around to see you accomplish them.

But your biggest accomplishment will be to simply become the best human beings you can be.

The best thing you can do is live your life boldly and proudly as the wonderful people we know you are and are evolving to become.   Know that you are not alone in this quest.   In addition to family members, and family in this instance doesn't necessarily mean the people related to you by blood, but chosen family.    You also have friends, allies, your BTLG elders and other interested parties who will be invaluable to you as you continue on this path to being the best persons you can be.

In closing, I want to once again say congratulations to the UT-Austin Lavender Graduation Class of 2015.  As you step off Forty Acres and the world know that we love you, we're proud of you, and as you fulfill your lifelong dreams in whatever field you choose on behalf of our LGBT community and yourselves, I;ll be eagerly watching for it to unfold and write it down.

Congratulations graduates!

Getting Your Education While Trans Is A Revolutionary Act

It's May, and in addition to it being prom season, we also have people walking across stages across the country to receive their diplomas.

The topic is on my mind because I'm about to deliver a keynote speech on the UT-Austin campus in a few hours for their lavender graduation ceremony, and witnessed a trans feminine friend of mine get her degree from Prairie View Saturday.

I love being on a college campus whether it is a ginormous one like the UT-Austin one is or as small as the HCC-Southeast one that I've had the honor to do numerous events and panel discussions.

The common thread with both is those campuses are in the important business of educating our next generation of citizens and future leaders

And some of the citizens being educated on our college campuses in Texas and around the country are transgender ones who either transitioned in their teens or on those campuses.

Trans people go through hell and if they manage to get their high school and collegiate diplomas, they have beaten the odds that see 71% of them drop out before finishing high school.

If they managed to beat those odds and graduate, then its getting through college while trans, which can be a feat in itself in addition to just dealing with collegiate classwork.

And a trans person getting their education while trans is a revolutionary act.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Moni's Getting On The Bus-To Austin Again!

Another month, another trip, and I'm headed back to the ATX, but not for lobbying purposes.  Now if something blows up while I'm in the Austin city limits, I won't be too far away from the capitol building to handle lobbying business if I get the phone call.

I'm heading there because I was asked to be the keynote speaker for UT's Lavender Graduation.

It's happening May 20, and is co-hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Center and the UT Queer Students Alliance (QSA).  The goal of the Lavender Graduation is to provide a venue to demonstrate the success of our community members in a personal, entertaining and celebratory way. The Lavender Graduation will take place at the Student Activity Center starting at 4 PM CDT on the UT-Austin campus at Speedway and 21st Streets.  

Hope to see you there!.

But first
, my Megabus needs to get me to Austin, and in addition to hoping we leave on  time at 1:30 PM, hope the wifi is working.   We'll see if I can access TransGriot since it was blocked the last time I traveled on Megabus, and I was not a happy camper about that.  

See y'all in a few hours, ATX and UT-Austin..

6 Million Hits!

Another day, another amazing milestone at TransGriot as my 6 millionth visitor graced my electronic pages at approximately 11:59 AM CDT

A little apropos it happened on Malcolm X's birthday and also on a day in which I'm traveling to Austin to deliver a keynote speech on the UT-Austin campus.

6 million hits in 9 years.   Can't thank you TransGriot readers enough for not only taking time out of your busy day to read the posts I've compiled, but share them and tell your friends about the blog.

I also thank those of you who from time to time drop some change in the TransGriot tip jar.   It helps me pay for Internet access, build up a repair fund when I need to repair a computer, or save for the day when I need to replace one.

Thanks once again for helping me reach 6 million visitors!  On to the next milestone.

I Repeat: We Didn't Start The Rad Fem War On Trans Women

You TERF's don't get to play that game in which you gleefully oppress and attack trans women's humanity and then climb on your white femininity pedestal and claim you're being 'bullied' or 'attacked'. You're getting called on your transphobic crap and if you don't like it, tough.
TransGriot, July 10, 2013

And yeah, I have no problem calling your asses out.

Had a female activist friend in Louisville who asked about the TERF designation, felt it was a slur and who didn't understand why there is major animus between the trans feminine community and our TERF oppressors.

Well, here's my response to her, and it's one I need to share with you readers as well.

TERF, Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist is NOT a slur. It is a term to accurately describe them that was created by other feminists because they were sick and tired of being lumped in with those racist and transphobic fauxminists who really need to be declared a hate group.

Dr.+Janice+Raymond.gifAnd no, they have had a 40 year run to demonize trans women. Too bad if they don't like being called out on their BS.  New century, new decade, new rules.  

They started the anti-trans attacks back in 1973, gleefully worked in their words 'to morally legislate us out of existence', worked to get trans medical care excluded from insurance coverage, called for our extermination, and as part of the senior leadership of LGB organizations gleefully worked (and still are working) to cut us out of human rights legislation or fight our addition to it.

What made them think in their vanillacentic privileged minds that trans feminine women weren't going to get sick and tired of being attacked and wouldn't respond to their repeated provocations?

And now TERF's are attacking our trans kids in conjunction at times with right-wing hate groups, it's on like Donkey Kong.

The TERF War On Trans Women, their stirring up of animus toward trans women, and the deliberate oppression of us has had a negative effect on trans women of color.  So when a group of predominately white alleged feminists have taken a long, documented series of actions dating back to 1973 that have had disproportionate negative effects on POC trans women, and they are now attacking trans kids, that doesn't engender warm and fuzzy feelings toward them.

And as part of the group of trans women who have been disproportionately harmed by their racist rhetoric and actions, I'm not (and neither is the trans community) going to twiddle my thumbs as they continue to peddle their anti-trans hate speech.   I give zero fucks when I see the TERFs play the game of crying white women's tears when we justifiably react to counter their nekulturny behavior and call them out for their reprehensible actions they refuse to take responsibility for.

I'm glad you went to MichFest and had a positive experience there.  That's not the case for many trans women who were booted off The Land

People evolve over time.
  However, it seems that the TERF's have refused to evolve since 1973, so until they realize that trans women ARE women, their efforts over the last 40 years have caused real harm to us, and they respect our humanity, we have noting to discuss with them.

The bedrock position we have as trans women is that our humanity is non-negotiable, and until TERF's respect our lived experiences and our femininity as just as valid as their own, there's no point in having a dialogue with a group of people that don't respect us.

We didn't start the Rad Fem War On Trans Women.  But if the TERF's want to keep it going, for our survival we have no choice but to finish it.

Can The Rick and Maya B&B Relationship Lead To An Enlightened Attitude Toward Trans Relationships?

Yesterday Maya Avant told her boyfriend Rick Forrester on the CBS soap 'The Bold and the Beautiful that she is trans.

Rick didn't take the news well initially, but when Maya was about to walk out of the door of that Big Bear cabin and out of his life forever with her heart breaking in the process, Rick once again declared his love for her.

We'll see how the rest of their relationship transpires, especially as media mogul Bill Spencer is about to blast Maya's trans business all over the tabloids in upcoming episodes along with the various reactions of the B&B characters to that news..

But the happy tears I was shedding as this episode transpired led to me doing some hard solid thinking in the wake of it.   I know that many relationships in which a cis man dates a trans woman don't survive her telling her partner, and in far too many instances, the trans woman faces the risk of intimate partner violence when she does disclose her status.

But the other question I pondered in the wake of this broadcast is will the broadcast of the Maya and Rick romance finally lead to a honest discussion about the stigma and attacks on their masculinity that cis men like Rick endure for dating a trans woman they love and the attacks on the femininity of the trans women that are the objects of their affection?

While we have instances in our community in which you have couples like Myles and Precious who are trans masculine and trans feminine people who love each other enough they are engaged to be married, far more prevalent are hetero normative relationships in which a trans man is coupled with a cis feminine partner and a cis man is coupled with a trans feminine partner.

It's been happening ever since Christine Jorgensen stepped off the airplane from Denmark in 1953 and Cupid's arrows stared targeting their hearts.  

Pioneering French trans woman Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy married her first husband at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral in 1960.

But that was in an era before the TERF's started attacking the femininity of trans women in the early 70's, and the rise of the gay rights movement led to a social conservative backlash and attack on the human rights of LGBT people.

The bottom line is that trans men are MEN, and trans women are WOMEN, but for far too long cis men who love us enough to pursue us and put a ring on our fingers have had their masculinity questioned.  

Some of those cis men have even experienced the discrimination their trans partners get as the trans women, especially if their trans partner was low or no disclosure until yanked into the spotlight.   And as Mister Cee discovered, your masculinity, especially when it is revealed that you like trans women, is rigidly and at times viciously policed.

That scrutiny and hostility is magnified if you are a cis man who admits that you like and prefer dating trans women as my brother Troy has pointed out to me in numerous conversations over the years.

Even Hollywood has demonized trans women and the men who love us.  The movie Ted 2 has a scene in which derogatory comments are made by the teddy bear when he finds out his friend has trans porn on his computer.

We need to have an ongoing conversation about our relationships in which the baseline for having it is that our femininity as trans women is not erased and the cis men who prefer us as their partners are not demonized for doing so. 

The cis men who love us are going to have to step up and meet us trans women halfway.  They are going to have to come out of the shadows and say in no uncertain terms they love us, we are the women they want to marry, and to kiss their behinds if you don't like it.  

If a soap opera storyline can lead to an enlightened conversation about a real world issue, then by all means lets get that conversation started.