Saturday, April 25, 2015

Moni's Thoughts On The 20/20 Jenner Interview

I turned it off a Houston Rockets playoff game against the Dallas NBA franchise (that they won) at 8 PM CDT to do what 17 million other Americans did and watched the Bruce Jenner interview.

I had reservations along with many people in Trans World because of the hype and past media fumbles when it comes to covering trans issues how this was going to turn out.  

But as the interview played out over then next two hours with me flipping to the Rockets playoff game during commercial breaks, outside of a few WTF moments, the interview was handled by Diane Sawyer quite well.  

If I had to grade it, I'd give it a B+.   They did a great job of letting Jenner tell her personal story and mixing it with stats and other interviews that  point out just how tough it is to be trans in America.

When it was over, we had an interview on KTRK-TV (ABC13, my local ABC affiliate station) with trans woman Veronika Simms..   Yep I know her, she is one intelligent and obviously attractive woman, and have much love and respect for her.  

While it was an excellent interview, I was bothered by the focus on surgery.  Not everyone can afford $60K in facial feminization surgery or much less GRS.   Some trans women don't feel it's necessary to have genital surgery or can't for medical or fiscal reasons, and that needs to be talked about at some point.

Trans women are women.  Trans men are men.   Gender identity and expression of it is between your ears, not your legs.  We also  need to deal with the realities of trans life like the GOP pushing anti-trans legislation to criminalize our lives, and in 32 states we have no discrimination protections  

That's the reality that many trans women of color deal with, and I hope that while we're in this moment in which America is celebrating Jenner's coming our, the reality is much different for TWOC.

50th Anniversary Of Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit In

50 years ago today an event took place in Philadelphia that was not only a protest that was focused on gender variant issues, it was one kicked off by African-American gender variant people.

The flashpoint of this protest that took place starting today and through May 1965 was a 24 hour Philadelphia diner and coffee shop called Dewey's Lunch Counter.  (now Little Pete's)

In 1965 the Dewey's location on S. 17th St. across the street from our hotel that me and several friends took the picture in front of during the recent LGBT Media Journalists Convening back in March was a popular late night hangout for the African American gender variant teens who hung out in the nearby Philadelphia gay clubs. 

The ownership of Dewey's, transphobically concerned the predominately LGBT clientele at this location were driving away straight customers, declared that people not in gender appropriate attire would not be served.

This happening during the middle of African-American civil rights movement meant it was on like Donkey Kong, and on April 25, 1965, more than 150 kids showed up at Dewey's in 'non conformist clothing ' in protest of the transphobic policy..  

They were denied service by Dewey's management,  and two male and one female teen refused to leave Dewey's after being denied service.   They were arrested by Philadelphia police officers along with a gay activist advising them of their legal rights, charged and later found guilty of misdemeanor disorderly conduct..

That jumped off a sit in and informational picket of Dewey's that lasted until the second sit in on May 2.   Following that second sit in protest, the Dewey's management backed down and began an immediate cessation of indiscriminate denials of service.

I've had to fight tooth and nail the attempted gaywashing and whitewashing of this predominately gender variant African-American protest that occurred four years before Stonewall, organized on 1960's Civil Rights Movement principles, and one of the examples of a protest organized about and centered on transgender issues.

These are the people whose shoulders I stand on as a proud African-American trans person, and it was wonderful to know this is part of our history that I get to share with others.

And I hope that the city of Philadelphia will be celebrating what happened at that location today.

TransGriot Note:  Been notified by Christopher Bartlett there  will be a 50th anniversary commemoration of the sit in at 10:30 PM EDT ay Little Pete's (the current incarnation of Dewey's Lunch Counter)   Location is 219 S. 17th Street in Philadelphia.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Jenner 20/20 Interview

Bruce JennerMy rule has been in these situations that if a person hasn't declared they are trans, I consider them cisgender until that declaration happens.   Until Bruce has that press conference, rumors about a Jenner transition are just that, rumors.
TransGriot,  February 2, 2015
''Moni's Take On The Bruce Jenner Situation'

That's what I said two months ago about the developing media hype fest around Bruce Jenner. 

Tonight that hype has been turbocharged by the start of yesterday's May ratings sweeps month and speculation fueled by Jenner's silence on the subject until the exclusive Diane Sawyer interview that will happen on ABC's 20/20 at 9 PM EDT.

I think much of the ambivalence I and a lot of the trans community is feeling right now is because of the way this situation has been handled. 

While I and every other transperson is happy any time someone decided to come out and embrace their trans truth, it's just the level of hype and media overkill that has been injected into this one that has turned off some folks in the community

It also has many of us nervous, at a time when we have unprecedented attention to trans issues and right ling legislative attacks on us  about how this interview will turn out.

But with that perceived negative has come some positives.  We have had trans advocates in communities across the country get called by their local stations and networks (nope, my phone hasn't rung yet) for interviews and commentary about this and other subjects of importance to the community.

Now if it turns out the Jenner interview confirms what is being speculated and gets some positive reviews, Trans World will breathe a big sigh of relief.

BTAC's First Couple On Cover Of Dallas Voice

Was ecstatic to see in the run up to the start of the fourth annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference on Monday, the First Couple of BTAC, Carter and Espy Brown being featured on the cover of the Dallas Voice.

There's also a nice article about them as well entitled 'A Typical American Couple', and here's an excerpt from it.

By 2011, Carter could clearly see need for a group specific to the community of black transmen. He had looked diligently and was unable to find a group like that anywhere — either online or off. When he realized nothing like that existed, Carter decided he would create the first one.

What followed, he says, was “a wave of men.”

When Carter staged the first conference for black transmen that year, hundreds attended from around the country. The conference is now an annual event that has grown every year.

Common concerns, special issues

Espy says all LGBT people share some common concerns, on issues like coming out and family acceptance. And some issues, she adds, are common to all transpeople, like the cost of transitioning and learning to present.

But there are other issues that are very specific to black transmen, and some issues that black transmen have in common with cisgender black men

You can read the rest of it by clicking on this link.

Shut Up Fool Awards- Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit In 50th Anniversary Weekend Edition

Tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit In that hopefully the city of Philadelphia's LGBT community will be recognizing 

On April 25, 1965, 150 African-American kids in non conforming apparel staged a sit in to protest the denial of service by Dewey's owners to gender variant people because they were afraid they would drive away the business of cisgender peeps.

It took until May 2, but the Dewey's management after several arrests, two sit in and an informational picket eventually dropped the transphobic policy.

So in honor of those African-Americans whose shoulders I stand on as an activist, this call out of fools is for you.

Honorable mention number one is Creflo Dollar.   Dollar Bill complained during a recent televised service about all the peeps who blocked his dream of cruising America's skies in his own $65 million G650 paid for by all his suckers sheeple parishioners.

And who else did he blame,  Church Lady

Buy your own plane with your own damned money since you have enough to buy you and Taffi those designer suits.

Honorable mention number two is Zoey Tur, who wrote this Bruce Jenner piece the Washington Post published about a transition that one, hasn't even been announced, and has the pungent whiff of sour grapes.

Honorable mention number three is Acra Lee Turner.  This oppressor is the useful fool and  spokeskneegrow being used to attack an inclusive non discrimination law in Eureka Springs, AR.

Was revealed by the Arkansas Times that while using the predator meme to attack the LGBT community, Rev. Turner was actually convicted in 1977 and served jail time in Oklahoma for being a convicted rapist.

Can you say hypocrite boys and girls?  Thought you could.

Honorable mention number four is Allen West, who parted his lips to say that if kids were forced to pray in school, there would be less football head injuries

Forced to pray to what God?   Conservagod?  Baal?  Ronald Reagan? Ayn Rand?   

And how many times did you play football without a helmet to say something that clueless?

Honorable mention number five goes to Tammy Bruce.  The lesbian auditioned for TERF status and tried to fit in with the FOX Noise fembots and attack transkids on the GOP Propaganda Network.

Honorable mention number six is Cheryl Rios, who opened her mouth and let something else stupid come out of it by saying that God wants women to serve food, not run for public office.

A woman's place is in the House,, the Senate, the Governor's mansion, City hall, the county courthouse,  the State Legislature, and the Oval Office.

This week's Shut Up Fool is San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor.   She was appointed to the position by the San Antonio City Council to fill the remaining term of Julian Castro, who was appointed HUD secretary over the objections of the San Antonio LGBT community and allies.

Since them Poison Ivy as she's been sarcastically nicknamed, has repeatedly dissed and pissed them off by  no-showing a March 22 Stonewall candidate forum,  called the San Antonio NDO 'a political stunt, frustrated her own LGBT Advisory Committee appointed in October by refusing to meet with them until recently,  found herself being booed at another forum after blaming advocates of the NDO for not leading efforts to propose enforcement mechanisms. and called the San Antonio NDO 'A waste of time'.   She also reneged on her promise made when appointed to the seat to not run for it.

May 9 will be here soon enough San Antonio for y'all to vote her out of office.

And oh yeah, Mayor Ivy Taylor, shut up fool.

Successful TSU 50 Shades Of Me Panel

Last night I was honored to participate on a panel discussion that discussed mental health and the trans community

The panel was entitled 50 Shades Of Me: Mental Health And The Transgender Community and took place in the Jordan-Leland Public Affairs Building on the Texas Southern University campus.

In addition to some blogger y'all know about, the panel included Atlantis Capri, Marie Angel Hernandez, Jude Feng, and Dr. Natalie Walker, and moderated by Dr. Dominique Broussard, one of the organizers of it along with Dr Andrea Shelton.

It was also the first panel I've done on a HBCU campus, and it was gratifying to me it happened on a campus in which I have deep familial ties.

The 50 Shades Of Me panel was a two hour event in which after a greeting by Dr Broussard and an opening statement by Jarvis Calhoun, there was a video played about a young trans kid named Ryland before we dove into the moderated topic of mental health and the trans community.

We discussed the impact of society, the microaggressions and macroaggressions, our personal recollections about it, and other issues that transpeople face that affect them mental health wise. 

It was also enlightening to have J Feng there to not only represent the transmasculine end of it, but talk about trans issues from an Asian-American perspective.

It was also nice to have Dr Walker there to talk about it as a cis feminine therapist who has trans clients perspective.

A pleasant surprise was Dee Dee Watters showing up in the auditorium with roses to present to the panelists. 

The panel's last 30 minutes was opened to audience Q&A before it wrapped up at 8 PM.

This was the first in a series of conversations involving the trans community that will take place on the TSU campus, and Dr Shelton and Dr.Broussard are committed to keeping this dialogue going because it needs to happen.

This was just the beginning of an ongoing conversation, and looking forward to the next one that happens.

NOLA Trans March Later Today

Was advised by Milan Nicole Sherry that later today in New Orleans a trans themed march and community gathering will take place starting at 3:30 PM CDT.

It is being organized by BreakOUT, a local organization that seeks to end the criminalization of LGBTQI youth in the city in order to build a safer and more just New Orleans.

The NOLA Trans March will start and end at the corner of Ursulines and N. Claiborne Ave, and once it is completed will be followed by a press conference.

The march is open to all, and if you wish to take part in it, you are asked to show up at 3:15 PM.

Best of luck and hope it is a megasuccessful event.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Eden's On CNN Tonight!

Been telling y'all for years how amazing my Denver media maven homegirl is.  Looks like the rest of the world is finally paying attention.

Got home just in time from my TSU panel discussion to see Eden Lane's appearance on CNN.

After being named the best non-network personality in Denver, she was invited to appear on CNN Tonight for a segment discussing the upcoming interview of Bruce Jenner tomorrow night on ABC's 20//20 with Diane Sawyer in which a possible trans declaration may happen.

As soon as I find the video, I'll post it.

One Month To The METRORail Green And Purple Lines Opening

The long awaited opening of revenue service on the METRORail Green and Purple lines has been reset several times for different reasons, many of them not in METRO's control.  First there was a strike at the factory building the H3 rail cars needed for the expanded service.   Then there was a new downtown hotel construction accident that punctured a chilled water line underneath the Green and Purple line shared tracks that forced the ripping up of several hundred feet of track to deal with it,, the replacement of that track along with the fiber optics for the signals..  

There were also problems with the axle counters that help METRO Rail Operations keep track of where the trains are, and the delay in getting the bypass past the Union Pacific tracks built to connect the Magnolia Transit Center and Cesar Chavez stations with the rest of the Green Line because of contaminated soil..

But despite all that, we are just a month away from getting revenue service cranked up on those new rail lines.   We Houstonians are beginning to see rail cars doing test runs on the Green and Purple lines, and the new H3 rail cars entering service on the existing Red Line.

The Green and Purple Lines once opened will allow Houstonians to use rail to get to the Theater District, the George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, Minute Maid Park, BBVA Compass Stadium, the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, TDECU Stadium, MacGregor Park and the east and southeast sides of town.

Local political leaders were recently given a ride on the new rail lines, and construction has started on the new overpass bridge that will carry Harrisburg Blvd and the Green Line over the Union Pacific rail tracks toward those two orphan stations and complete the rest of the line.

Hopefully one of the things that was discussed by METRO officials and our political leaders was getting the funding to extend our rail system which is four years ahead of ridership projections to Hobby and Dallas and Denver have done with their rail systems.

I'm just hoping that this May 23 revenue service start date sticks, and one month from now I get to ride two new rail lines headed toward east and southeast Houston.


SA Mayor Ivy Taylor Thinks LGBT Protections Are 'A Waste Of Time'

Taylor"Councilmember Taylor, you are a coward who gave in to fear and prejudice, and your NO vote is irrefutable evidence of that.  You let 'fear and smear' tactics deter you from being a drum majorette for justice. "
TransGriot, June 22, 2014

Remember when I was worried about Ivy Taylor getting a shot at the San Antonio mayor's chair in the wake of Mayor Julian Castro's appointment to become HUD Secretary?

After making a bunch of promises, including not running for the seat and not repealing the hard won  LGBT protective ordinance passed back in September 2013 of which she was  one of the NO votes, she was appointed by council over the objections of San Antonio's TBLG community and our allies to fill Mayor Castro's unexpired term.   In the process, she became the first African-American mayor of San Antonio.   

It also turned out the reservations of the San Antonio LGBT community, their allies and yours truly had were justified.    She's reneged on the promise of running for the mayor's chair, and has caused a political firestorm in the Alamo City by saying at a April 20 candidate forum that the LGBT protections she voted NO against are 'a waste of time'

Taylor said at the Cornerstone Church forum she voted with her conscience , and  year and a half later, still stands by her loud and wrong decision.

Ivy R. Taylor and City Seal“I did not feel we should have even been debating that issue,” she said. “I thought it was a waste of time.

Seriously?  Did you even pay attention in history class?  Human rights legislation is never 'a waste of time', and any African-American politician stupid enough to say that doesn't deserve to be in elective office.

She has also repeatedly pissed off the San Antonio BTLG community by no-showing a March 22 Stonewall candidate forum,  called the San Antonio NDO 'a political stunt, frustrated her own LGBT Advisory Committee appointed in October by refusing to meet with them until recently, and found herself being booed at another forum after blaming advocates of the NDO for not leading efforts to propose enforcement mechanisms

The San Antonio mayoral election is on May 9,  and has LGBT community allies and former state Senator Leticia Van de Putte and former state rep Mike Villarreal in the race.

But in a city that is heavily Latino, with two popular Latino candidates in Van de Putte and Villarreal splitting votes, even though  Taylor has been pissing people off in the Alamo City, don't be surprised if she gets enough votes from Anglos and the 7% African-American population to get her to a runoff.  

But if she doesn't make the mayoral runoff,she'll be gone from the mayor's chair and city council, and it can't happen fast enough for the San Antonio TBLG community and our allies.

It's Sweeps Month-Brace Yourselves For The Trans Themed Programming

When I was in trans info collection mode, my VCR was taping as much trans themed programming as I could find in the run up to my eventual 1994 physical transition.

One of the things I noticed as I taped those talk shows, documentaries and other programs of interest is that they always seemed to pop up during February, May, June and the November  sweeps months.

So what's the 'sweeps months'?   It refers to the Nielsen television ratings system that has dictated whether your fave programs stay on the air or are cancelled.

The sweeps term dates back from 1954, when Nielsen would collect the paper diaries sent to selected homes in the eastern US first, then 'sweep across the country toward the west coast.   The diaries are then aggregated to get the ratings that television programs scheduling decisions and advertising dollars for local television stations, cable systems, and advertisers.  

The November, February and May sweeps months are considered important for programming, while the July sweeps tend to be important for personnel decisions.

The May 2015 sweeps month is starting today, and will run until May 20,   The July sweeps period will be from July 2-29 and the October one will commence on October 29 and run through November 25.

It's probably why ABC's 20/20 scheduled the Bruce Jenner interview for Friday, and you've had interviews all week on MSNBC of trans kids.   While I was flipping channels last night I stumbled across a MTV Catfish show that involved a Houston area trans woman.

And naw, I haven't met the Houston trans woman featured in that show (yet).

And yes, it's always the time when the talk show circuit would schedule their trans themed programming.   Maury would run his infamous Man Or Woman shows during sweeps periods, and Jerry Springer would stick the outrageous trans themed topics on during that time as well..

And when the public is getting most of the news and information about trans people from television, and sweeps month sees higher levels of trans themed programming good, bad or indifferent, it''s always a concern that the programming in question if it's good gets praised by us, and the bad stuff gets called out. 

HERO Updates, Notes And News-April 24

“The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance protects all Houstonians and with the favorable outcome of this trial, the City of Houston is now in the position to increase protections against discrimination for its residents. As members of a community that face ongoing discrimination based on race, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, we welcome a local mechanism to protect all Houstonians from facing further discrimination based on their identities.”

Brandon Mack, Co-Chair, Houston Civil Rights Strategy Group

Aww yeah, my hometown FINALLY has a HERO!   Thanks to Judge Shafer's ruling last Friday, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is now in effect, and the city is taking steps to enforce it.

Yes, those of us in H-town who have fought tooth and nail to get this ordinance implemented are very happy that the too long and frustrating wait to get a human rights ordinance enacted has resulted in another victory for our side.

But as you know conservaevil never sleeps.

In addition to making their usual threats to knock Judge Shafer (who is a Democrat) off the Harris County bench,  they are desperately judge shopping so they can get an appeals trial started and completed before the August Texas Secretary of State deadline to print ballots for the November 2015 elections.  

If they miss that deadline, wouldn't be on the ballot until 2016.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

South Carolina Transteen Dissed By DMV Reaches Settlement

Chase Culpepper
TransGriot Note:  At the time Chase was discriminated against and I wrote about it last September, Chase identified as gender nonconforming.  Now she identifies as trans.

South Carolina trans teen Chase Culpepper took and passed her driving test at a DMV location in Anderson, SC in March 2014.

Instead of allowing the now 17 year old trans feminine teen to take her picture in the makeup she wore on a regular basis, she was told by the DMV employee to 'look male' and remove her makeup because of an alleged policy that bans license photos when someone is purposefully altering his or her appearance and refused to take her photo and provide her the license she'd earned until she did so.

After several attempts, Culpepper's makeup was removed to the DMV employees satisfaction in a process that was called degrading and humiliating.

In September 2014 Culpepper filed a federal lawsuit with the help of the New York based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF).   The suit asked the court to rule that denying Chase the freedom to wear her everyday makeup in her license photo constituted sex discrimination and violated her right to free speech and expression under the United States Constitution. It also sought a ruling under the U.S. and South Carolina Constitutions that the DMV’s former photo policy was unconstitutionally vague, too broad, and allowed DMV employees to arbitrarily decide how a driver's license applicant should look, including based on unconstitutional gender stereotypes. 

Under the terms of the settlement announced today, the South Carolina DMV will (1) change its photo policy to allow license applicants to be photographed the way they appear regularly, even when their hair, makeup or clothing doesn’t match the DMV’s expectations of how a man or a woman should look; (2) implement training for DMV employees that addresses the new policy and the professional treatment of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals; (3) allow Chase to return to the DMV to get her license photograph taken wearing makeup; and (4) apologize to Chase for how she was treated at the DMV.

“I am thrilled with the outcome of my lawsuit,” said Culpepper. “My clothing and makeup reflect who I am. From day one, all I wanted was to get a driver’s license that looks like me. Now I will be able to do that. It was hurtful to be singled out for being transgender and made to feel that somehow I wasn’t good enough. With this settlement, the DMV can no longer force transgender people to look like someone they’re not. I’m so glad that I stood up for what’s right and helped make positive change for transgender and gender nonconforming people.”

“This settlement agreement sends a strong message about equal rights,” said TLDEF Staff Attorney Ethan Rice. “Transgender and gender nonconforming people are entitled to be themselves without interference from the DMV. It is not the role of the DMV or its employees to decide how men and women should look. People should be able to get a driver’s license without being subjected to sex discrimination. The policy changes and training that the DMV will implement in response to Chase’s lawsuit will help all transgender and gender nonconforming South Carolina residents in the future.”

Nevada Unjust Anti-Trans Bill Dies!

AB 375 the GOP dominated Nevada legislature's attempt to attack trans kids failed Monday night on a mainly party line vote.

Five Republicans, Pat Hickey, Derek Armstrong, Glenn Trowbridge, Robin Titus and Melissa Woodbury voted with the all the Nevada Assembly Democrats to kill the unjust bill on a 22-20 vote.

The transphobic measure, sponsored by Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)  would have required students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that corresponded to their genitalia, as well as require schools to provide separate facilities for transgender and intersex students.

Opponents said the bill would lead to additional bullying and targeting of trans students in Nevada schools.

"This bill flies in the face of everything this Legislature should stand for, and it harkens back to a time when telling people they were different was accepted," Democratic Assemblywoman Heidi Swank said.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) spokeswoman Mari St. Martin said earlier that the governor was closely monitoring the bill and had strong concerns with legislation that "targets students based on their gender expression, or potentially sanctions discrimination."

Tuesday was the deadline for bills to pass out of their house of origin, so that means AB 375 is dead for this session.  

But as you know, vanillacentric privileged GOP oppressor never give up when it comes to exercising their oppressor gene, and he wishes to try to make this issue a ballot initiative or tlke it to the local level.

So great work Nevada trans community and allies.   Celebrate your win, and prepare for the next round.

Arkansas Anti-TBLG Rights Spokesperson Turns Out To Be Sexual Predator

One of the tactics in the opposition tool box is what is called projection.   You take an undesirable behavior of yours and project it onto your opponent whether they are guilty of it or not.

One of the things our right wing opponents have been beating like a drum in the opposition to LGBT inclusive human rights laws is the widely discredited trans bathroom predator meme, when the reality is the bathroom predators predominately are white males who aren't getting dressed in drag to enter bathrooms to prey upon women.    The conservafools doing the loudest squawking about it usually are the ones engaged in the predatory behavior they ascribe to others.

We have our latest example of right wing projection tactics blowing up in their face in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.     Eureka Springs on February 9 passed a non discrimination law covering BTLG people that a coalition of conservative businessmen and pastors are trying to overturn in a May 12 referendum , and they are employing heaping helpings of lies and faith based transphobia to do so.

Turns out that one of their spokeskneegrows, 60 year old pastor Acra Lee Turner, who has been loudly bearing false witness against the local LGBT community, is living in a glass house of his own.

AGAINST CIVIL RIGHTS ORDINANCE IN EUREKA SPRINGS: Pastor convicted of multiple counts of rape.Turner, who since April 15 has been pastor of Penn Memorial Baptist Church in Eureka Springs,  was revealed by the Arkansas Times to be a convicted sex offender. 

As a 22 year old, the was convicted in 1977 of sexual assault in Stephens County, Oklahoma and sentenced to three concurrent sentences of 30-60 for three counts of rape.   One of the people he sexually assaulted was an 80 year old woman who was beaten so badly she was almost unrecognizable.

He was paroled in August 2000 over the objections of the families who were victimized by Turner.  His crimes also predate the establishment of the Oklahoma State Sex Offender Registry.

Turner has also been pimping the lie the anti-HERO ministers tried to push here in Houston until I and other Black LGBT Houstonians gleefully had fun destroying it in several hearings, that  LGBT civil rights are not a human rights issue.

No LGBT person says Turner, "has been lynched, no one has to sit on the back of the bus. It's not a human rights issue, it's a human behavior issue."

Two words for you homes on the LGBT human rights issue:  Bayard Rustin.   Coretta Scott King also has stated numerous times along with countless others in our community including myself and the federal government that LGBT rights ARE an international human rights issue. 

And you're the last one that needs to be talking about human behavioral issues.

As for the tired lynching line, try telling that BS talking point to Matthew Shepard's family.  Or reciting it to Paul Broussard's family.  Or try uttering it to the families of the hundreds of transpeople who have been murdered because of the anti-trans hate you and your TERF allies have been spreading.  

While the haters haven't been hanging LGBT peeps from trees, far too many of us are getting murdered, and when it comes to trans people, they disproportionately look like us.. Bottom line is that you are hypocritically being played by white conservatives who don't give a rats anus about your Black convicted sexual predator behind to oppose a human rights law.

And you and your friends aren't Christians, you're the purveyors of the 'dry as dust' religion that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr warned us about.

MichFest Dead After This 40th Anniversary Year

I'm one of the peeps in Trans World who could care less about the cesspool of transphobia known as the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, but I do support the people in our community who would like to have a chance to go to MichFest if the hypocritically transphobic 'womyn born womyn' policy weren't in effect.

The so called 'unofficial' policy allows trans men on 'The Land', but trans women aren't welcome.

But MichFest was co-founded and is owned by one of the trans community's long time oppressors in Lisa Vogel, a TERF who was one of the peeps who signed the 1977 Olivia Records Letter demanding the ouster of Sandy Stone from that feminist record label.

A petition initiated by Equality Michigan has called for a boycott of the festival until they end the policy, and artists such as the Indigo Girls and Nona Hendryx have joined that boycott.

The Equality Michigan petition contains these bullet points:
1. Demanding you end the "womyn-born-womyn" intention at Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.
2. Request that Lisa Vogel, as co-founder and owner, meet with leaders of the transgender community and enter the space with an open mind to the notion that transgender womyn are womyn too, and have shared in their experiences.
3. Asking artists, attendees, and vendors to act in harmony with their equal rights values and NOT attend the festival until the transgender discrimination ends, and instead support other women's events which are creating a safe space for transgender women so they can join as well.
4. Requesting that any artists participating this year speak against the policy while on stage.
One of the organizations that stepped up to call for MichFest to end their transphobic ways was the National Black Justice Coalition.
“Our transgender sisters are simply women and deserve to be treated as such. It is baffling that at MWMF -- an event organized by and built exclusively for women -- imposes such blatant discrimination against one of the most marginalized groups of women in our society,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and CEO. “NBJC joins with Equality Michigan and the host of other advocacy organizations calling on the organizers of MWMF to immediately end their policy of not welcoming transgender women. This unjust policy only perpetuates hate and stigma, and has no place in a space meant to empower women.”
The MichFest is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and Lisa Vogel has announced this year will be the last

"I am writing to tell you that the 40th Festival will be the last Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. The spirit of this community will live on forever, the friends and family we have found on the Land are eternal. Everything we have created together will feed the inspiration for what comes next. It’s possible that I will come back with something else, or that other sisters will take the inspiration of the Michigan community and create the next expression of our Amazon culture. What is true for me is that now is the time to bring this 40-year cycle to a close, stepping out on joy at our most incredible anniversary celebration."

Yep, 40 years of anti-trans discrimination on 'The Land'.  Whoopee.  Good riddance.

The TERF's can whine the boycott killed MichFest all they want, but that would be a lie like everything else they have said about trans people since the 1970's has been. 

Lisa Vogel's stubborn insistence to cling to disco era racist and transphobic TERF hatred of trans women in a world that is rapidly evolving toward acceptance of trans women, is the reason MichFest is dying and will soon be on the ash heap of history.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sis To Cis Washington DC Conversation Tomorrow

One of the things that has needed to happen for a long time is for trans women and cis women to have conversations in which we talk about our respective issues, share stories, and facilitate the building of sisterhood and working partnerships with each other.  

We've had one of those cis and trans women conversations I've outlined in Houston, and are planning more of them.

Tomorrow night in Washington DC, one of those conversations will take place at Busboys & Poets organized and hosted by Joanna Cifredo.

The presents SIS to CIS: Modern Day Women Deconstructing the Ideals of Womanhood is the first in a series of planned conversations between trans women and cis women of color to discuss womanhood, feminism, relationships, representation, the body, intersectionality and what it means to be a woman at the margins of today's society.  

Cifredo is the founder of the FireBreathingTGirl blog, will co host along with Tyisha Jones, and is the first of the Sis to Cis conversations which have the goal of
modeling a dialogue about the acceptance and inclusion of transgender women of color into spaces and conversation traditionally reserved for cisgender women; by creating a common understanding about the shared experiences around our lives as marginalized women with a history of resilience.

The panelists for this inaugural DC dialogue are Dr. Juliana Martinez, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, Alexa Elizabeth Maclovia Rodriguez, and June Crenshaw.

If you're interested in attending, the address for the Busboys & Poets location hosting this conversation open to all  is 1025 5th St NW, and it will start at 6 PM EDT.

US Trans Survey Coming This Summer

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey that was conducted in 2010 as a joint project of the Task Force and NCTE it the largest survey ever conducted on transgender discrimination,

It was subsequently released in the 2011 Injustice At Every Turn report was not only groundbreaking, it has been the gift that keeps on giving in terms of trans advocacy work.

There were 6450 respondents that took part in the original survey, and the link to the 2011 survey on the Task Force website has been accessed more than 15,000 times by advocates, academics, media and policymakers.   It has been broken down into 24 state profiles, including Texas. I've referred to those stats generated in the 2011 report in numerous blog posts and when doing lobbying or advocacy on behalf of the community.

It was also great to know that enough trans people of color took the NTDS to come up with statistical breakdowns in the African-American, Latin@, Asian-Pacific Islander communities.

And now, renamed the US Trans Survey, will be conducted during the summer of 2015 and subsequently every five years to take the pulse of the trans community.   

And when it happens, we need in Trans World to double the over 6450 respondents that took part in the original survey and get enough participation so we can get statewide data for all 50 states..

We also need to make sure we get increased participation from trans communities of color so we get even better statistics that we can use for the next five years.

Monday, April 20, 2015

'50 Shades Of Me' Panel At TSU This Thursday

This Thursday April 23, I'll be taking part in a panel discussion on the Texas Southern University campus entitled 50 Shades of Me: Mental Health And The Transgender Community.

The scheduled panelists are J. Feng, Marie Angel Hernandez and  Atlantis Capri in addition to myself, and will take place starting at 6 PM.

I thank Dr. Dominique Broussard and Dr. Andrea Shelton for the invitation to participate in this panel discussion.

I'm looking forward to this panel because it has some personal significance to me.  It will be the first time ever I've done a panel on an HBCU campus, and it's apropos it happens to be on an HBCU campus in my hometown that I have deep family ties to. 

My mother, brother and sister all earned their degrees from TSU, and my late father was a play by play announcer for TSU football and basketball games in the 70's and 80's in addition to running KTSU-FM for five years as its general manager.

The panel will take place in the Leland-Jordan Public Affairs Building on the Tierwester and Cleburne St. side of the campus.   There is parking across the street from the PAC, and hope you'll join us for this upcoming discussion,

A Modest Proposal For Solving The Houston Pride Grand Marshal Diversity Problem

I was in the house Thursday when the problematic unveiling of this year's Houston Pride Grand Marshals happened, and expressed myself (and as I've been hearing privately) and the sentiments of much of Black LGBT Houston and our allies in a post.

Some of y'all can roll your eyes all you wish, but we have a problem when in this diverse city, it has been 22 years since the last African-American female was elected Houston Pride Grand Marshal on the feminine side in Rev. Carolyn Mobley, and I'll have to go through the historical record to find out when the last African-American male was elected.

So since I brought up the fact we have a problem, I'm going to suggest a possible solution for it.

For starters, you have to bear in mind that not everyone in LGBT Houston lives in Montrose.   If you're publicizing it in the traditional gay print media sources like OutSmart, the Montrose Gem, et cetera, those don't get distributed to neighborhoods of color.  

You also have to take into account not everyone goes to a gay club or the Montrose Center, where those gay print publications are accessible for pickup.

Yes, you could go to TBLG friendly sites like Project Q and TransGriot, KPFT-FM, post it on the Pride Facebook page, Twitter feed and other social media outlets, but once again, not everyone is on the Net, or in many cases aware of what's happening in Houston's LGBT community for a variety of reasons.

Now here's my suggested proposal, and it's an idea that JD Doyle and I were discussing a few days ago. 

First order of business is that the Pride Committee must become more diverse, not only ethically, but class wise as well.   It's a red flag when Houston Pride is cricket chirping silent about a human rights ordinance (HERO) that will benefit the entire Houston trans, bi and SGL community.

The male and female Grand Marshal can remain a Houston areawide election process, but steps have to be taken to ensure that LGBT communities of color have a fair shot in selecting them.   Use the newly created Diversity Committee to select elective marshal candidates from across our diverse Houston BTLG community, and give the Diversity Committee the power and responsibility of adding two to four marshals from communities of color when the elective process fails.

Once those Grand Marshal candidates are selected, announce those elective candidates and the voting period dates at a Pride Perspective community meeting, on social media, and on KPFT-FM's Queer Voices

That's my suggestions on the subject, and here's hoping that Pride Houston will engage in some hard solid thinking on the subject that will result next year in a more diverse group of Pride Parade Grand Marshals.

Texas Trans Lobby Day Next Week

Trans Texans and our allies will be headed to Austin next Monday for the TransTexas Caucus and Lobby Day to combat four unjust anti-trans bills.  

Two bills by Rep Gilbert Pena (R-Pasadena) seek to not only incentivize kids snitching on and bullying their trans classmates for using the restroom (HB 2801 and 2802), we also have to combat Debbie Does Discrimination Riddle's (R-Tomball) HB 1748 and HB 1749 that seek to criminalize the existence of transpeople in Texas by not only making it a crime for Moni and every trans Texan to go to the restroom, it will penalize organizations and companies that allow us to do so.

This is unacceptable, and all four of those unjust anti-trans bills need to die, especially since they were written in retaliation for Houston and Plano's passage of human rights legislation that protects trans Texans.

There is also a trans bill we can support, and that is Rep. Garnet Coleman's HB 2058. If passed, it would create a statewide standard process for correct gender markers across the Lone Star State.

Rep. Coleman's bill is also in the State Affairs committee.

That's why on Sunday April 26, there will be a caucus held in Austin prior to us hitting the state capitol to discuss issues of importance to the Texas transgender community.  The next day, April 27, we will head to the Pink Dome to lobby against those bills and tell our state legislators why it is a horrible idea and bad for business to legislate discrimination against trans Texans.

You can sign up for the caucus, lobby day or to attend both by clicking this link.

We will also be telling our state legislators why standardizing the process for changing gender markers as HB 2058 would do is good for all Texans.

All four of the anti-trans bills have been assigned to the State Affairs Committee, and HB 2801 has  an upcoming hearing on April 22 before we get to Austin.

So please take a moment to be an agent of our transkids liberation and call your state legislators to urge them to oppose HB 2801 and all the anti-trans bills by Pena and Riddle, and support Rep Coleman's HB 2058.

The lobby day is being organized by the Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) and is being co-sponsored by Equality Texas, the Texas Freedom Network, the Transgender Law Center, HRC and several other orgs.

It is so important to me I'm delaying my trip to BTAC by a day so I can attend the lobby day. 

I will be in Austin for the third time this session to stand up for my human rights as a proud trans Texan.  If you can do so, I hope you will join me.   For those of you who live too far away in our ginormous state to make that trip, you can support us by calling or e-mailing your state legislator.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Houston Dash Are Undefeated!

The Houston Dash, our women's soccer team that is the sister club of the Houston Dynamo, started their second NWSL season back on April 10.

This is a 2015 season in which all the NWSL clubs will play only 20 games instead of 24 matches because of the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada this June.

One goal of the 2015 Dash was to improve on the 5-16-3 last place finish during their maiden NWSL campaign, in which an expansion team put together in only 90 days was competitive in many of the matches they eventually lost.

Another goal of the Dash was to improve the quality of players on the team.  They added Team USA veteran Carli Lloyd along with Morgan Brian and Irish national team forward Stephanie Roche in the off season to their retooled lineup that also includes Canadian national team members Erin McLeod and Lauren Sesselmann

They opened at BBVA Compass Stadium with a 2-0 win over the Washington Spirit, who were a 2014 NWSL playoff team.  Carli Lloyd didn't waste any time in her Dash debut, scoring the team's opening goal in first half extra time in the win over the Spirit.

They traveled to New Jersey to take on Sky Blue FC and came from behind to get a 1-1 draw.  

This season is off to a great start, and let's hope they can keep it up when they travel to Boston on April 26 to take on the Breakers.