Friday, September 04, 2015

Nikki Araguz Loyd Gets Another Legal Win At SCOTX!

It's another great day for Nikki Araguz Loyd in a Texas courtroom as the Texas Supreme Court in Austin ruled in her favor in her ongoing case to reinstate her marriage to her late husband Thomas Araguz III.

In the last update, she had a big win at the Texas 13th Appeal Court level in Corpus Christi that not only reversed Judge Randy Clapp's (R) unjust order that invalidated her marriage, but struck a what may be fatal blow to the Littleton v Prange case.

It also sent the case back to Judge Clapp's court where we hope the arc of the moral and legal universe will continue bending toward justice for her and the Texas trans community.

The case was appealed to the all GOP dominated Texas Supreme Court by the Delgado legal team, and in a ruling that came back today that was a wonderful surprise for her and the Texas trans community , the SCOTX without comment denied hearing their petition.

Translation, the ruling of the Texas 13th Court of Appeals stands.

Of course, when I talked to an obviously happy Nikki Araguz Loyd about her latest legal win, she said, "I'm elated that the Texas Supreme Court saw fit to do the right thing in my case.   It gets us past another major  hurdle and one step closer to the Lone Star State recognizing the transitioned gender identity of trans people."

I hope and pray that is the case as well.

Shut Up Fool Awards-2015 Labor Day Weekend Edition

It's Labor Day weekend, and it's considered the last weekend of the summer season.  People are getting their last trips in to the beach or wherever they wish to travel before the weather starts turning cooler.

For those peeps in the pageant world, Labor Day weekend means the annual pilgrimage to Chicago for the Miss Continental pageant.

But what this day is for in the United States and Canada is to celebrate workers.

For those of you who are on the job either serving the public, building things, repairing and maintaining our infrastructure or are running mom and pop businesses or startups, this day to to recognize and celebrate you.

And hopefully we will see more progress in the coming year to raising the minimum wage to $15 an the US.

Speaking of labor, time to get to my usual Friday labor of love in which I get to call out what fool, fools or groups of fools get this week's Shut Up Fool honors.

Honorable mention number one is Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who is named for a double dip of idiocy.   First, he was quoted during a campaign stop as saying that 'people with jobs don't do heroin'

Oh really?   The employed not only can do heroin, but get coke, weed, get the drift.

Then he said that lack of assimilation was the problem of native Americans .   Gee that's mighty white of you to say, Rand.

Honorable mention number two is Michael Whaley, the latest kneegrow to go on FOX Noise and coon it up for the conservafools.  They brought his azz on to attack Black Lives Matter..

Honorable mention number three is Raymond Mott who provides more evidence that the po-po's are contaminated with white supremacists, and gives us Black peeps even more ammo to be wary of them.

he denied he was a member of the KKK, then came clean, refused to resign and claimed that 'he'd been baptized.'  

Baptized by who?   Tell us who he's been baptized by; Church Lady.

Honorable mention number four is a joint award for Minnesota Teapublican state reps Tim Kelly and Tara Mack, who both got caught with their pants down in a park by a Dakota County police officer while their married to other people azzes were making out with each other.

Reps Kelly and Mack compounded their multiple violations of the Ten Commandments by calling the officer who wrote them public nuisance citations a liar.

There's those hypocritical GOP family values for you.   And note they love the po-po's until they start enforcing the laws on their vanillacentric privileged behinds

Honorable mention number five is Bristol Palin, who proved once again she's her mother's daughter with an ignorant facts free anti-Obama rant

Honorable mention number six is Mike Huckabee, who got called out on MSNBC's Morning Joe for his hypocrisy in calling Hillary Clinton a 'lawbreaker', but supports lawbreakers Kim Davis and Josh Duggar.

Honorable mention number seven is Anthony Horowitz, who opened his mouth to say that actor Idris Elba was 'too street' to play James Bond and then apologized after his ass got justifiably called out on it.

This week's Shut Up Fool loser winner is Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman (R), for that jacked up press conference last Saturday in which he blamed Black Lives Matter for the fatal shooting of one of his deputies, when even the detectives working the case don't know the cause of the Goforth killing yet.

His problematic and racist comments have had the ripple effect of triggering a conservative attack aimed at the Black Lives Movement that FOX Noise has eagerly egged on.

Ron Hickman, shut up fool!

OUT On the Hill 2015 Later This Month

It's one of my fave conferences, and there's a possibility I might be back for it after a three year absence from the event.

The National Black Justice Coalition's (NBJC) 6th annual OUT on the Hill is rapidly approaching on September 16-20 in Washington DC

The last time I was in the OOTH house in 2012, I was honored to participate in this groundbreaking Black trans feminine panel with Danielle King, Rev. Carmarion Anderson, and Valerie Spence moderated by Laverne Cox.


 I also got to participate in an amazing blogger's panel with LZ Granderson, Danielle Moodie-Mills, and the Anti-Intellect,

This year's theme is We Are Family: Building Stronger Roots Together, and that's what OUT on the Hill has been like to me in the times I have had the opportunity to attend in 2011 and 2012, one big family reunion in which we get to build a stronger Black LGBT community,

It has led to me meeting some amazing Black TBLG leaders , elders and emerging young Black LGBT leaders who are doing and will do some amazing things for our community, two trips to the White House for policy briefings, and getting an opportunity to go to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference that takes place at the same time at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and meet more engaged Black folks, CBC congressmembers and leaders from around the country.

This year #OOTH2015 will also focus on health and wellness on our community.

Every time I get the opportunity to go to OUT on the Hill, I come back to Houston refreshed, renewed and ready to tackle the ongoing job of uplifting the trans end of the Black LGBT community while reminding the Black community at large that you can't spell Black Lives Ma__er without the two T's.  

There's still time for you to register for this event and hope to see y'all there at #OOTH2015.

2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament Comes To Texas!

The venues for the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament being hosted in the USA were announced on August 12, and both are in the Lone Star State!

CONCACAF announced that BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX will be the venues hosting the eight team tournament February 10-21 that determines which two teams from CONCACAF will be playing in the Rio Olympics in a few months.

Toyota Stadium will host the Group A matches from February 10-15, and BBVA Compass Stadium will host the Group B matches from February 11-16, the semifinal match on February 19 and final match on February 21.

The USA as the host nation has already qualified, and the world champs will be in Group A.  Canada and Mexico have also qualified, but their groups and which end of I-45 they will be playing on will be determined when the tournament draw happens

The other five nations competing will be determined by the results in the Central American and Caribbean Zone tournaments   Two will come from the Central American Zone tournament that runs September 30-October 4  and three from the Caribbean Zone. 

The Caribbean Zone tournament started August 21 and will be completed October 4.  Puerto Rico, Guyana and Jamaica are three of the four finalists in the knockout round as of this writing with the fourth finalist to be determined from a group that is composed of Antigua and Barbuda, Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and host Saint Lucia.

Only two CONCACAF  teams will be left at BBVA Compass Stadium when it is over and it will be interesting to see which two teams will be punching their tickets to go to Brazil.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Deadline Approaching For The WH Trans Petition

When the Fran Watson created petition asking for the federal government to investigate the causes of the violence leading to the murders of tans women of color went up on August 10, it was with hopeful optimism after it was posted and I signed it that we would hit that 100K signature target in a very short time.

I saw this as an easy way to show support for the trans communities of color in the wake of us having a murderous month of July, and I remembered how fast the Leelah Alcorn one hit its target in mere days..  

We are now six days from the September 10 deadline to get those signatures, and we're not even over 10,000 signatures yet,  

Guess not all trans lives matter as much.  

We have six days to get over 95,000 signatures to get a White House response to this petition.  If you have already signed it like I have, I thank you on behalf of my community and the trans women we have lost this year.   If you haven't, here's the link to it.

Here's hoping that more people sign it, share it and we at least get to 10,000 signatures for it.

Maya and Rick's Bold And Beautiful Wedding

While I was working on escaping from Casa de Slumlord, I didn't have cable during that time period, and I missed some of the groundbreaking episodes in the Rick and Maya trans story line on the Bold and the Beautiful leading up to their wedding.

While that was going on, Maya was trying to repair the relationship between herself and her father Julius Avant that had become contentious between them when she transitioned in her teen years .

First her younger sister Nicole, and now her mother Vivienne relationships with Maya have been improving to the point that Nicole accepts and loves her unconditionally as her big sister, and the relationship between her and her mother Vivienne was improving during that time period she was visiting her in LA.

But Julius is still transphobically unrepentant concerning his feelings for Maya, she overheard him during the run up to the wedding, and it came to a head as Maya was about to get married to Rick Forrester

This is a groundbreaking story line that not only features a major character who is trans, but that character also happens to be African-American.

This wedding may also be the first for a soap opera in terms of it involving a trans feminine character marrying a cisgender male.

It has also been groundbreaking (and emotional at times for me) to see how the issues surrounding Maya's transition have played out in an African-American family

Well, speaking of those episodes, here they are for your perusal TransGriot readers.

Parents Try Suing To Stop Adult Child From Having SRS

Christine Kitzler, a transgender woman from Myrtle Beach, SC, speaks with reporters Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Doylestown, Pa. A judge has temporarily blocked Kitzler’s gender-reassignment surgery while he considers her parents’ request she be declared incompetent.
In our WTF news of the day, was alerted to a situation in which the parents of Christine Kitzler tried to sue in a last ditch attempt by them to stop their 48 year grown azz child from undergoing SRS

Kitzler was in Pennsylvania from her home in South Carolina to get the gender confirmation surgery done after 16 months of pre-operative preparation, the prerequisite psychological clearances and a 24 hour fast before the scheduled Tuesday procedure was halted by her parents lawsuit.

Angela Giampolo, Christine's attorney said she had never seen competency invoked in order to block a gender reassignment surgery, and that Kitzler's parents were trying to prevent Christine from living an authentic life .

"This isn't a competency hearing.  This isn't a guardianship hearing. This is a difference of opinion,." said the prominent Philadelphia based TBLG rights attorney.  

Judge C.Theodore Fritsch agreed and denied their request, saying Klaus and Ingrid Kitzler had failed to provide clear and convincing evidence that guardianship was necessary.  Judge Fritsch also denied their motion for an independent medical exam.

Of course Christine was happy with the decision rendered by the court and is moving forward with the planned procedure.  

Good luck with your SRS Christine and may you have a speedy and complication free recovery from it.

Roland S. Martin Drops The Mic On Bill O'Reilly

NewsOne host Roland S. Martin responds to Bill O'Reilly on Sept. 2, 2015. [NewsOne]
Roland S. Martin tore Bill O'Reilly a new anus after O'Reilly used his Fox Noise show to bash #BlackLivesMatter, call them 'a hate group'  and vow in his white supremacist arrogance he was going to ' put Black Lives Matter out of business.'

And yeah, my fellow Houstonian let him have it .

I agree with Roland.  Until you, O'Reilly, are calling out the police with the same venom you spewed at Black Lives Matter, and by the way, I met the founders of the BLM movement in February, you do need to shut your racist, vanillacentric privileged ass up.

2015 Williams Watch-On To The US Open Third Round

After getting past Kiki Bertens 7-6 (5) 6-3 at the U.S. Open, Serena Williams needs five more wins to achieve the rare calendar-year grand slam.

The world is watching the US Open to see if Serena Williams can win her fourth straight title and in the process, complete the first calendar year Grand Slam since 1988.  

One of the things we Serena fans know and worry about is that if she's going to get upset, it's going to happen early in the first week.  Once she gets zoned in and gets over her early round nervousness, she's tough to stop.

And in a US Open tournament that has seen ten seeded players exit the tournament in the first round, another in Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova get beat in straight sets in the second round, and Maria Sharapova withdraw before the tournament even started because of a leg injury, Little Sis as the world's number one ranked player and number one tournament seed is a prohibitive favorite to capture this final grand Slam tournament of the season.

Serena's opponent in this second round match at Arthur Ashe Stadium was Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, and in the first set Bertens gave an admittedly nervous Serena a stiff challenge that belied her number 110 world ranking.

Bertens promptly broke Serena's serve, and was serving for the set at 5-4 before Serena came back to force a tiebreaker.  Unfazed, the 23 year old Bertens sprinted to a 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker before Serena showed that heart of a champion once again,  She rallied to tie it at 4-4 with some self destructive help from Bertens, and eventually won  to steal the first set.

After that first set escape in which she had eight double faults, Serena took command of the match when she broke Bertens for a 3-2 lead and closed it out for the 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 straight set win.  

Two match wins down, five to go for the calendar year Grand Slam.

Next up for Serena will be Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who knocked off Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets after she upset Sloane Stephens in the first round.  In case you're wondering what Serena's record is against Mattek-Sands this year:  2-0

Meanwhile, Venus was playing fellow American Irina Falconi under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights , and it looked like Big Sis was going to romp to victory in straight sets.   But that disturbing tendency of Venus not closing out matches reared its ugly head again.   Up 5-3 and serving for the match, it started going  sideways for Big Sis as Falconi raised her game up another level, and broke Venus' serve twice to force a tiebreaker, then kept her momentum going to take the second set.

The reason for the up and down performance?  35 winners offset by 47 unforced errors for Big Sis. She recorded six aces against five double faults.

Big Sis regrouped, got off to a fast start and rolled to a 4-1 lead before Falconi recovered to close to 4-2.  After holding serve, she broke Falconi one last time to close out the match and get a hard fought 6-3. 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 win and punch her ticket to the third round.        

She will face Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, the 18 year old protege of Martina Hingis who was nearly ousted from the tournament by Misaki Doi of Japan in a drama filled three set match    Venus will attempt to get past the third round of the US Open for the first time since 2010.

But the question is will the oldest player in the tournament field (35), have enough to get past the precocious 12th seeded Bencic, and get one step closer to a possible quarterfinal match with her sister for the second straight Grand Slam tournament?

And will Serena keep rolling to tennis history? 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

We're Still Winning, But Have Much Work To Do

"We will lose more transgender people to violence. The Remembering Our Dead list will get longer. The anti-transgender rhetoric coming from their acolytes will get nastier and more hateful. They will try to spin and twist Bible verses to favor their immoral positions. But in the end the result will still be the same and the neo-fascists will lose. "
TransGriot  June 14,2007, 'We're Winning

I wrote those words eight years ago, and they are as applicable today as when I penned them after returning back to Louisville from having spent several days lobbying in Washington DC.

It's a best of times and worst of times scenario for us.  We have unprecedented visibility with multiple cable TV shows and movies being released with trans characters, documentaries being produced that focus on our trans elders like Miss Major and Marsha P. Johnson, and trans people walking fashion runways.

We have people seeking to learn more about our trans lives.  We have ongoing scholarly research being conducted that helps add to the increasing data and knowledge we have concerning transsexualtiy.  More jurisdictions are passing laws to protect our human rights.  Schools and colleges are enacting policies that help facilitate us getting our educations.  Even the US armed forces are planning to remove the ban on open trans military service.  We have even shown up and shown out in the White House halls to own our power.

But it has also been a violent year in which we have lost 17 trans women, with the majority of them being trans women of color.   We still are dealing with crushing unemployment and underemployment.   HIV infection rates amongst us are still too high as we fight to get the agencies that help us cope with the HIV/AIDS epidemic to recognize our humanity statistically and as a fact.

But despite all of that mixed news, were winning.   Understanding of trans issues is exponentially increasing.   We have allies who do get the point that trans women are women and trans men are men.  We have more families in our ranks who wish to love their trans kids instead of throw them out of their homes.

But we still have far too many people wallowing in willful faith based ignorance about our trans lives.   Far too many HBCUs do not have trans friendly policies and support for us when we hit their campuses.   We have far too many Black ministers working to condemn us instead of role modeling unconditional love for us.

And yes, we have ongoing work to do internally in terms of building sisterhood in our chocolate trans ranks. We need to continue to build working partnerships with our trans brothers and our cis allies.  We`also have some cis women who adamantly refuse to recognize our womanhood, and they need to recognize we don't want to fight with you, we want to unite to tackle the problems that affect all women cis and trams

And we trans peeps still have to fight to get people to recognize that our Black trans lives matter, too.  Every breath a trans person takes is a revolutionary act, and it is past time for our fellow African-Americans to realize that we didn't forfeit our Black Cards when we transitioned.   Being Black and trans are not mutually exclusive, and those Black Cards are still valid even after we transition.   .

We're winning, but the work to make trans human rights a reality and to have our humanity respected and protected in the laws of this nation is ongoing.

Texas Trans Latinas Own Their Power

Back in January, a group of Houston Latina trans women were out enjoying each others company when they ran into the ugly face of transphobic discrimination. They were disrespected, denied access to a restroom, and told they were not women.

This was the breaking point moment for these trans Latinas, and it was that negative experience encountering anti-trans discrimination that drove Houston based trans activist Ana Andrea Molina to found the Organizacion Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT).

The group was founded to support, protect and advocate for the trans Latina community in Houston and the state of Texas, and OLTT is a group that was sorely needed in our Houston progressive activist ranks.

"We are a vulnerable community," Molina said in an OutSmart interview.  "Living in the state of Texas, we are dealing not only with transphobia, but with racism. The macho culture and social stigma of our countries of origin also impacts our members.  It doesn't just affect homosexual men, but us trans women as well,"

It was also a group that was quickly and eagerly embraced by the local trans Latina community. When the group held their inaugural meeting two months later at Resurrection MCC in the Heights, they were astounded and pleased to have 50 trans women attend the initial meeting from all over the Houston metro area.  Some came from as far away as Bryan, College Station, Cleveland, Conroe, Galveston, Katy, Pearland, Galena Park, and Channelview to participate.

In addition to having buffet style meals and guest speakers at their monthly meetings, they offer conversational English language classes and help on other issues like finding culturally competent healthcare, HIV prevention, getting name changes on documents, and help with immigration issues.

The OLTT also marched in this year's Pride parade, and have been visible at other Houston area TBLG community events since their founding.

I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with Ana and other OLTT members on various projects this year, and it has been wonderful to also see them stand up for their human rights as she and several OLTT members went to City Hall last month to speak in favor of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).

They are not only seeking to ally themselves with trans Latina nationally and internationally, but also get 501(c)(3) status. They are also seeking to raise funds to acquire a permanent meeting place for the OLTT group.

As their trans sister and an ally, I'm pleased and proud to see them own their power. 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Jordana LeSesne Named As One Of 20 Women Who Shaped Dance Music

Y'all know how much I love my little sis by another mother Jordana LeSesne, my amazing music producing sis with the mad DJ skills to pay her bills.  She's also responsible for pushing and gently prodding yours truly into making TransGriot a reality 10 years ago.

Will tell that story about how it happened as we get closer to my TransGriot 10th anniversary on January 1, but this post is about an amazing honor she has received.

Jordana was recently named by MixMag, the Bible of the dance music industry as one of 20 Women Who Shaped the History Of Dance Music

Just in case you don't know who Jordana LeSesne is, quick trans history moment.   In 1998 Jordana not only transitioned, but subsequently blew up as a African-American dance music producer and DJ to the point where her music was featured on VH1  She survived a 2000 transphobic hate attack and has become an advocate and possibility model for many people inside and outside of the dance music world.

Of course,  Jordana was excited about this honor that was bestowed upon her. 

"I feel SO HONORED right now to be mentioned along legends like Missy Elliot, Kemistry; Storm, Miss DJAX and Heather Heart! All of whom I was either influenced by or looked up to!"  Jordana wrote on her Facebook page.  "Just goes to show that if we believe in ourselves, ‪#‎girlslikeus‬ can do anything!"

Yes ma'am we can!  And to echo what you said Sis, if we are given the chance to do what we love, we girls like us will handle our business and excel at it. She's currently working on a few music projects to be announced soon.

Congrats Jordana on being named one of 20 Women Who Shaped Dance Music.   It is a well deserved honor.

2015 Williams Watch- On To The US Open Second Round

It was a straightforward start for Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. The world No. 1 was up 6-0 2-0 when her first round opponent Vitalia Diatchenko was forced to retire hurt. Williams is bidding to complete the "calendar slam" by winning all four grand slam titles in one year.
The first day of the US Open was a successful one for both Serena and Venus Williams as they handled their tennis business and got past their respective opponents to the second round.

number on seeded Serena kicked off the night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium by winning the first eight games of her match with Vitalia Diatchenko before the Russian retired due to injury 30 minutes later.  

6-0, 2-0 was the score at the time of her opponent's retirement, and Little Sis is now six more match wins away from tennis history and her seventh US Open title as she heads to the second round in an unexpected way.

Serena's opponent will be the Netherlands Kiki Bertens   If Serena handles her second round match business she would face the winner of the Bethanie Mattek-Sands - Coco Vandeweghe match.

Venus Williams was embroiled in a slugfest, blowing match points in a second set before seeing off Monica Puig in three.
23rd seeded Venus' day started a little earlier on the Arthur Ashe stadium courts as she faced Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.   She ended up in a three set slugfest with Puig, who fought off four match points to extend the match into a deciding third set before Venus turned it up another notch to get the 6-4, 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 win

Big Sis is trying to capture her third US Open title and her first since she beat Serena in straight sets in 2001 to get it.  Venus will face in the second round Irina Falconi, and should she get past her would face the winner of the Belinda Bencic- Misaki Doi match

It's possible that if both sisters keep winning in their sections of the draw, they would meet in the US Open quarterfinals.

Will be watching my fave tennis playing siblings to see how things progress at Flushing Meadow.

Happy Birthday Governor Ann!

'We're not going to have the America that we want until we elect leaders who are going to tell the truth - not most days, but every day.'-Ann Richards
September 1 happens to be the birthday of the best Texas governor in my lifetime so far in Ann Richards who was born on this date in 1933.

She would have been 82 today, and no one will ever forget her classic line at the 1988 Democratic National Convention when during her nationally televised speech,  she said about then President George Herbert Walker Bush in that consummate Texas drawl, “Poor George, he can’t help it, He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” 

I was proud to vote for her three times, once as our state treasurer, and twice as our governor.  When she took office as our governor in 1991, under her leadership our state went from having a $6 billion deficit to a $2.5 billion surplus.  Her cabinet looked like Texas in terms of the talented people she chose for it and the diversity of the people on it.    

And we were proud to have her representing our state as our 45th governor, the second woman to hold that position and the first to be elected into the position on her own merits.

She sadly has been the last Texas Democrat to hold the position

We lost her on September 13, 2006 to esophageal cancer, but she has inspired a legion of young women in Texas and beyond to consider careers in public service. 
And she is sorely missed.

The Fight To Keep HERO-September 1

The calendar page flips to September, and this month promises to be just as contentious politically as August turned out to be as the fight to keep the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance played out at City Hall and in the courts

Since we have twelve weeks to go until November 3, just thought I would direct this post at the peeps who are being either hoodwinked and bamboozled by sellout ministers to vote against their own human rights or those who just straight up hate the Houston TBLG community.  

If you smugly think that voting against the HERO is sticking it to the Houston trans, bi and SGL community with zero consequences for yourself, here's some food for thought on that issue.

For those of you considering voting against the HERO because of your dislike of LGBT people, ask yourself this question.  Do you hate the Houston LGBT community so much that you are willing to give up the 2016 Men's Final Four, the 2017 Super Bowl, future convention business and potential corporate relocations to satisfy that hatred with a NO vote to kill the HERO?

If your answer to that question is yes, you're a fool.   You may get the short term psychic satisfaction of believing you've stuck it to Mayor Parker and 'The Gay Agenda', but the reality will be is that what you have done is screwed yourself by voting against your OWN human rights and screwing our city for years to come on top of it.

Far from being a gay rights ordinance as the sellout ministers and their suburban out of town white conservative controllers are telling you, the HERO provides discrimination protection in housing, employment and public accommodations.  It covers 15 categories, including sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, familial status, marital status, military status, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information and pregnancy.
In the post HERO passage period from May 28, 2014 to January 15, 2015, 54% of the complaints reported to the City of Houston Office of the Inspector General were for RACIAL discrimination. 17% of the OIG received complaints were for gender discrimination, 15% were for age discrimination and only 4% of the OIG received complaints were for gender identity and sexual orientation.

Until the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance passed, there was NO local remedy for H-town discrimination. Contrary to the lies the opposition are telling you, the state of Texas doesn't have an anti-discrimination law that covers anyone.  With GOP control of our legislature and a GOP governor, we're not getting one anytime soon.

The LGBT community is NOT covered by any federal human rights legislation yet.   it has been introduced, but it is just an introduced bill   And once again, with GOP control of the House and Senate, it is going nowhere.

But the need for human rights protection is still there.

And note to Steve and Becky Riggle.  It's over a year later, and we still haven't had any bakers forced to make swastika cakes inside the Houston city limits.   Neither have we had in Houston an off the charts jump in crossdressed bathroom predators. 

The NCAA and the NFL are not playing when it comes to their signature events.  Both sporting organizations have policies that bar cities and states with discriminatory policies from hosting their championships. 

If you think I'm selling you woof tickets on that, the NFL yanked a Super Bowl from Arizona  in 1990 they were scheduled to host in 1993 for refusing to make the Rev. Dr MLK Jr's birthday a state holiday.  Arizona nearly repeated the legislative stupidity in 2014 when the GOP controlled Arizona legislature passed a right to discriminate law that only then Gov. Jan Brewer's (R) veto of the unjust legislation kept the NFL from making it happen again. 

J. Kent Friedman, the chair of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, already warned the conservative hardheads on City Council last month that if the HERO is struck down, based on what happened in Arizona in the 90's, and the NCAA threatened to do to Indiana in the wake of the March passage of their discriminatory RFRA, the 2017 Super Bowl and next year's NCAA Men's Final Four at NRG Stadium could be in jeopardy.  And that's before we even start talking about the potential convention business we will lose along with corporate relocations.

So if I were you, I'd be voting to keep the HERO, and telling your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Ashton's Open Letter To HPD Police Chief McClelland

In light of deputy's murder, HPD chief gets frank about state of country, crime
About the same time I was unleashing my post blasting Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman (R) for his problematic comments in the wake of the Deputy Darren Goforth murder, HPD chief Charles McClelland was making some problematic comments of his own that Ashton Woods called him out about at his Strength In Numbers blog.

Here's a taste of what Ashton had to say in his open letter to Chief McClelland.

t is sad that many people who look like us share the same same sentiments, until it happens to them. The reason why the phrase "all lives matter" is such a triggering flash point is that it is born out of racism. WE say BLACK LIVES MATTER because we live in a legal system designed for, around and to benefit WHITE PEOPLE. The critical infrastructure that supports all levels of government is inherently RACIST.  You, of all people should know this, but I cannot assume that this is part of your thought process. We will say all lives matter when the systems of institutional and systemic racism, classism, and economic discrimination comes to a full and complete halt. 

If you wish to read the full letter, click the link here.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sheriff Hickman, Stop Blaming Black Lives Matter For A Problem White Dominated Police Forces Created

As many of you TransGriot readers are aware of, we had a Harris County sheriff's deputy named Darren Goforth murdered as he pumped gas in his police cruiser Friday night.   Shannon Miles, the suspect in the killing was captured Saturday, charged with capital murder, and arraigned in court this morning

But what has pissed me and many folks in H-town off was our appointed Republican sheriff Ron Hickman using his Saturday press conference about the Goforth killing to attack Black Lives Matter.

The motive for the killing has not even been established by detectives investigating the murder of Deputy Goforth, but Hickman was quick to blame the Black Lives Matter movement and suggest Shannon Miles did so in retaliation for unpunished death by po-po killings of African-Americans around the country..

Hickman claimed the "dangerous rhetoric" against law enforcement has "gotten out of control," and went another step too far . "Cops' lives matter, too," Hickman said, "So why don't we drop the qualifier and say lives matter."

Because as far as you and your fellow white conservatives are concerned Sheriff Hickman, white lives are the only ones that matter, which is what you demonstrated when you selected an all male predominately white command staff mere weeks into taking over for former Sheriff Adrian Garcia.(D).  

It's why we Black folks have to remind your asses constantly about our humanity.  It wouldn't be necessary to quantify that Black Lives Matter if your fellow police officers around the country didn't show so much contempt for those Black citizen lives of all ages and genders they are supposed to protect and serve.

Sheriff Hickman, since you`re decrying inflammatory rhetoric, how about you start in your own vanillacentric law enforcement house?   How about you calling on your brothers in blue to chill with the racist rhetoric they spew every time they mount over the top defenses of those predominately white `bad apple` police officers that get away with killing civilians that far too often share my ethnic heritage?

And how about taking the step of ending the practice of being Officer Friendly in white areas of town but Officer Oppressor in mine and other non-white neighborhoods?   Black Lives Matter is not anti-police as far too many white GOP voting law enforcement people and FOX Noise has tried to paint them.   They are anti police abuse and want accountability and transparency in police policies, practices and punishment for rogue officers.

That's a problem that has existed well before the formation of Black Lives Matter.  This negativity between Black people and the police didn't just pop up since Ferguson, it has historic roots that predate it, and you need to get out of your vanillacentric privileged bubble along with DA Devon Anderson and recognize that.

So Sheriff Hickman,  how about you recognize the fact that Black Lives Matter didn't create the problem that white dominated police forces have created.for over a century and demonstrating the leadership you so far haven't done so to help solve it? 

The Fight To Keep HERO-August 31

Labor Day is the traditional start for Houston civic campaigns, but this 2015 election cycle is not any normal electoral cycle.  The politics have been as hot as the August weather, and it revolves around the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.   

Since I`m getting e-mails and phone calls from around the country and my friends around the world concerning whats happening in our Houston human rights fight to keep the HERO, it`s time to start doing regular update posts from now until November 3.

We H-town trans peeps and our allies can breathe one sigh of relief in that Dave Wilson`s odious attempts to enshrine anti-trans bigotry into the Houston City Charter has failed.and will not be on the ballot.


However, no thanks to partisan Texas (Republican), Supreme Court rulings, the HERO is on the ballot as Proposition 1, and the final ballot language now sets it up as a simple YES or NO vote.

The ballot language for Proposition 1 was approved by Council last week, and it reads as follows:

"Are you in favor of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, Ord. No. 2014-530, which prohibits discrimination in city employment and city services, city contracts, public accommodations, private employment, and housing based on an individual's sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy?

For those of you in the Houston city limits,  voting YES on Proposition 1 keeps the HERO in effect, voting NO kills it and as the head of the Houston Sports Authority warned, potentially puts next year's Final Four, the 2017 Super Bowl and hosting future sports events, corporate relocations and convention business in jeopardy.

Question for you folks irrationally opposing the HERO because of two of the 15 categories it protects.  Is your hatred of LGBT Houstonians so strong you'd risk our city's economic future?

The Houston Unites coalition to keep the ordinance has already been busy along with HOUEquality and other groups with volunteer trainings, phone banks,  and canvassing over the last two weekends to get the truth out about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance protecting ALL Houstonians

And right on cue, the anti- HERO haters started running ads bringing up the discredited bathroom scaremongering on several radio stations including the conservative leaning talker.

Houston unites responded quickly with their own radio ad to counter the disinformation.

Speaking of radio, on Majic102.1  yesterday, HERO supporter Fran Watson jousted with HERO Ron Jackson and shut down the one trick pony lies on Sunday Morning Live.   Majic102.1 is one of the most listened to radio stations in the Houston African-American community, and this conversation is significant because during the fight to pass HERO last year, Majic102.1 was guilty of anti-HERO fearmongering..

On August 20 HERO supporter Ashton Woods went on FOX26's The Isiah Factor to confront anti-HERO Councilman Michael Kubosh, who declared last year at a Steve Riggle hate rally that 'God put me on City Council to oppose the HERO'

Here's the clip of that debate here.

But yet CM Kubosh laughingly tries to claim he's isn't in favor of discrimination.   Your multiple anti-HERO votes say otherwise.

The Houston Chronicle finally published a better late than never article that took on the bathroom predator meme.   They have also been guilty along with FOX26 of lazy, one sided transphobic reporting and it's about time they got the facts out there.

It's going to be a long contentious few weeks until November 3..  But it's a human rights fights we Houstonians who love our diverse city and value human rights for everyone must win.

2015 Williams Watch- All Eyes On Serena

The 135th edition of the US Open kicks off today and runs through September 13, and there's something new for this event.   As part of a $500 million renovation,  a roof is being constructed that will cover Arthur Ashe Stadium that is scheduled for completion in time for next year's open.

That's the future along with a planned roof for Louis Armstrong Stadium and a 8000 seat Grandstand Court, so now let's talk about the present and the historic opportunity that presents itself for her.

Serena walks onto the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center grounds in NYC as not only the world's number one ranked player and number one seed in this tournament, but a favorite to take the women's title.  Big Sis Venus is seeded 23rd.

If she does so, it will not only be her fourth straight US Open title, but her fifth straight Grand Slam and as every tennis fan on the planet knows, her first calendar year Grand Slam.  And oh yeah, she would tie Steffi Graf with 22 career Grand Slam tournament titles.

But the road to tennis history starts with this first round match against Vitalia Diatchenko while Venus faces off against Puerto Rico's Monica Puig.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Our Black Trans Lives And Human Rights Matter

TransGriot Note:  I wrote this post for Equality Texas.

Ever since the conservative moment lost their culture war to stop marriage equality from happening in Texas and across this nation, they have been increasingly shifting their attacks to demonizing the trans community.  That increased anti-trans rhetoric and attempts in several states including Texas to criminalize trans peoples lives has had deleterious effects on trans women of color and especially the African-American trans community.

While the 2011 Injustice At Every Turn survey revealed the extent of the problems that trans America faces, that inaugural survey also pointed out Black Trans World is catching hell.  In addition to 26% unemployment, 41% of the respondents reporting experiencing homelessness, 21% reporting discrimination in health care, 20% reporting being HIV+ and 34% of the respondents reporting a household income of less than $10,000.

Another area we're catching hell at is the unacceptable level of anti-trans murders disproportionately affecting Black trans women  Since Islan Nettles was murdered in August 2013, we have had 25 trans women killed (and counting) with the overwhelming majority of them being Black trans women.

I believe the increased anti-trans rhetoric may be a factor in the unprecedented numbers of trans women of color being murdered in 2015.  As of this writing 17 trans women have been killed across the United States in which 12 have been Black, and another Black trans woman is in critical condition in a Philadelphia hospital after being savagely attacked on August 20.

Sadly two of the lives lost, Ty Underwood of North Tyler and Shade Schuler of Dallas are Texans. The other pattern that is alarming me is that many of the trans women who have lost their lives this year have been under 40.  While we haven't lost any trans Houstonians yet, I fear it's just a matter of time with this current battle over HERO all the hateful anti-trans rhetoric that has been uttered by our opponents focused on their despicable strategy of bearing false witness against and demonizing the trans community.

What is infuriating to me as a proud African-American native Houstonian who fought hard with a group of my fellow Houstonians to pass the HERO was seeing a cadre of African-American ministers joining with out of town conservative gaybaiters to spread debunked anti-trans lies to hoodwink and bamboozle people into voting against their own human rights.

Contrary to these modern day Pharisees loud and wrong opinions, trans African Americans have been part of the of the kente cloth fabric of Black life for several decades.

When will our lives matter not only to my people, but to our fellow human beings as well who assert they are our allies?   One of the things allies can do to show support for us is helping a Fran Watson created We The People White House petition get to 100K signatures by its September 10 deadline.  It calls for a federal investigation into the causes of anti-transgender violence but unfortunately has only 4,663 signatures at the time of this writing.

It's past time for our Black lives to not only matter to people inside and outside our community, but have our allies fight just as hard to make our human rights a reality as Marsha, Sylvia and countless other trans women have done for yours.

Ask A`Trans Attracted Man: Trans Murders Part 2

This is Part 2 of Troy's thoughts about the epidemic of anti-trans murders aimed disproportionately at Black trans women.

If you wish to check out Part 1 of Troy's commentary, you can do so by clicking on the link 

Katrina 10th Anniversary

Today is the tenth anniversary of the devastating 2005 landfall of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area.   It would turn out to be the fifth deadliest storm to ever hit the United States and caused the reported deaths of 1,833 people   It also resulted in once the levees failed in 80% of New Orleans being flooded and major damage to the roof of the Superdome.

It also had far reaching effects post landfall in forcing the largest movement of African-Americans since The Great Migration of the early 20th century and affecting the politics of the states of Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.

Because of Katrina evacuees, the population of Houston grew by 35,000 people, and enough stayed to where we ended up expanding City Council after the 2010 census. Georgia picked up a congressional seat and Texas picked up four congressional seats.

Conversely, New Orleans lost half its pre-storm population and the state of Louisiana lost 4.8% of its pre-Katrina population and a congressional seat. Louisiana also went from being a swing state to a reliably Republican voting one.

And yes, Katrina also affected the lives of our trans family who lived there.

The badly botched government response by the Bush Administration was probably a factor in the Democrats getting control of the US House and the Senate in the 2006 midterms the next year.

New Orleans and the area has bounced back ten years later,  Many of the people who left the city in the wake of Katrina have returned.   The Superdome reopened, and the levees and highways damaged by the storm have been rebuilt.  President Obama visited the city earlier this week, spoke with residents and Mayor Mitch Landrieu and gave this speech.

There will also be commemorative events across the area today as people remember the folks that were lost in that devastating storm.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Shut Up Fool Awards-Blue Bell's Back Edition

Image result for blue bell ice cream returnsThe Great Blue Bell Famine of 2015 is about to end in the Houston area! 

After the Alabama production plant was cleared to resume making the Best Ice Cream In The Country, it is making four flavors, homemade vanilla,  Dutch chocolate, cookies and cream and The Great Divide (chocolate and homemade vanilla combined) until they can get back up to full production.

It will start hitting Houston store shelves on August 31, but after I get reacquainted with one half gallon of the returning flavors, will have to wait until the diet stuff hits the grocer's freezers.

Enough jibber jabber about my favorite ice cream, it's time to start calling out fools.  

Honorable mention number one to Donald Trump for being a racist azzhole.and getting us a step closer to that permanent political allegiance switch of Latinos to the Democratic Party happening by kicking Jorge Ramos out of an Iowa press conference.   He also let another sexist comment fly at Megyn Kelly among his other WTFery on the GOP campaign trail this week.

Keep it up Donald.  Your Latino community poll numbers are probably lower than Yolanda Saldivar's now.

Honorable mention number two is Megyn Kelly, for putting her pumps in her conservafool mouth and demanding that Dr Cornel West explain why #BlackLivesMatter hasn't in her words discussed lack-on black violence, and he schooled her azz.

Honorable mention number three is the now suspended ODU Sigma Nu chapter for hanging some offensive signs at their frat house over the weekend.  Semester hasn't even stared and they have already earned an 'F' in treating women with dignity and respect.

Honorable mention number four is SD state rep Roger Hunt, (R) who is proposing genital inspections of transgender athletes because he's pissed off about the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s recent adoption of a trans equality policy.

Figures it would be a GOP legislative pervert proposing this latest attack on trans kids

Honorable mention number five is Michael Brown, who is still trying to spin a decade later the 'heck of a job' he did as head of FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

 Dude, stop trying to spin you way out of the abysmal job you did.  History and the videotape don't lie.

Honorable mention number six is the FOX Noise kneegrow fembot Harris Faulkner,  who parted her lips to say that parents need to keep their daughters in the kitchen to prevent fraternity rapes.

And when did you have that wash, set and GOP cranial rinse?

This week's Shut Up Fool winner is Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.   The word got leaked they are pitching a new reality TV show in which they counsel the victims of sexual abuse.

Really?  The peeps who failed their own daughters miserably on that subject now want a TV show to counsel somebody else's childrenwho have fallen victim/to people ilke the predator son they protetced?

What next?  A show featuring Jared Fogle talking about how to avoid online child molesters?   Bernie Madoff giving investment advice?

Jim Bob and Michelle, your 15 minutes is up, and I need to say this razorback style:  Woo pig sooie, PHOOEY! 

Translation:  Shut up fools!