Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Another Busy H-town Moni Day

Senator Sylvia R. Garcia
As you're reading this I'm sitting down in a meeting with Texas state senator Sylvia Garcia and her staff at her East End district office to discuss the state of Texas trans folks and specifically Texas trans people of color.

While this is some of the important business of the day, just as important to me is supporting my friends and the people I care about at their events when possible....

I'm following Dee Dee to the Sam Houston State University campus in Huntsville.   She gets the honor and pleasure of addressing SHSU's TBLGQ fall graduates at their Lavender Graduation ceremony.

The best part is I do get a short road trip out of it with her since Huntsville is about 70 miles north of Houston on I-45  and we'd been talking about doing a road trip together.

It's going  to make for a long day for me, but that's part of life as a community advocate

And I'm not complaining...

Sarah McBride Honored With Delaware Order Of The First State


'The last six months have reinforced my belief that government can be a force for good and that reason and compassion will win the day.'-Sarah McBride, 2013

Keep telling y'all that Sarah McBride is going to do some amazing things and make some history for our community before she's done.

The native of Delaware was recently honored by Gov.Jack Markell (D) with the Order of the First State   It is the highest honor the governor can bestow, and recognizes Delawareans who have made a significant impact upon the state.

McBride Family
McBride received the award for her pivotal role in getting the Gender Identity Non Discrimination Act passed back in 2013 in her home state and her ongoing efforts to push for TBLGQ equality and human rights as a board member of Equality Delaware.

Congrats Sarah!  This award was well deserved, and can't wait to see what happens for you next.


Freedom Is a Just Cause

TransGriot Note: This is an op-ed from Josephine Tittsworth, the founding executive director of the Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit.
***
As a natural born Texan, I find it very difficult to understand how people can condone discrimination. Texas was founded on freedom not discrimination. The Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics all fought together to gain freedom from tyranny. At this time in our great history slavery was outlawed by the Mexican government yet that very government persecuted the pioneers who came to seek their fortunes, family security, and a place in history. William Travis came to Texas from Alabama where he fled from debts and his wife. James Bowie came to Texas to further his fraudulent land deals and gain wealth in land grants. David Crockett came to Texas to get away from the outrageous politics in the United States. These three men are embedded into our history as great men. These were the undesirables from the United States yet they understood the importance of Freedom. As a Texan we are deeply influenced by these three men. They sacrificed their lives so that we could live as respected humans. We all remember the phrase “Remember the Alamo.”

Today too many politicians are garnering forces to create a society of hate through discrimination. Enlightened people in Texas have made great advances to ensure Texans a safe and respectful future. Current legislative efforts to curtail freedom through discriminatory laws are an insult to the history of our great State of Texas. Instead of working towards freedom and respect for all Texans our political leaders are openly defying the dignity of a select minority group; Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders, Intersex people, and our Allies. We as citizens of this great state need to make our voices heard loud and clear. Stop the hate and endorse love should be our anthem for freedom under these circumstances.

We can find common ground to work through our differences. No matter how impossible everything may seem to be when faced with an impenetrable barrier of religious beliefs, personal commitments, freedoms, class status, socioeconomic status, or family standards we can overcome our differences. That barrier, regardless of its basis, can be torn down just as the Berlin Wall was torn down after decades of righteous social justice attacks against inhuman rights. We as Texans are strong and willing to claim our rights to freedom and justice. We are a very proud people, justly earned.

Our legislative session in Texas begins in January 2017. Legislators have submitted numerous bills to curtail the rights of Texans. Even though only minorities are primarily impacted directly with discriminatory legislation, eventually all Texans will carry the burden of wrongly persecuting small groups of people for personal prejudices and discrimination. We encourage all people to step forward and let your voices for social justice be heard loudly and clearly. Today we fight for “Freedom Cause” against myths, stereotyping, misinformation, unfounded propaganda, and any form of injustice that hurts our neighbors and neighborhoods. The Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit (501c3) stands for justice along with the National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter and Equality Texas.
Josephine P. Tittsworth, ABD, LMSW, BSW, AA
P. O. Box 1095
Baytown, Texas 77522-1095
info@txtns.org  

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Phillipe Is Running For Minneapolis City Council

Op-ed: The Black Gay Trans Man at Minneapolis City Hall
If we are ever going to get that trans congress member or senator, we are going to have to get to the point in which we elect trans people to large city councils on a regular basis.

We do a good job getting people elected to smaller city councils, but congressional candidates are selected by the major parties from people who have won state judgeships, large city council elections, state legislative and state senate races just for starters.

I met Phillipe Cunningham during the recent LGBT Pride Reception, but I'd been keeping an eye on him as a rising star in our ranks for several years prior to our June meeting as an aide to current Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges.

Now Phillipe is going to take the political plunge and run for the Minneapolis City Council and I couldn't be happier for him.   If he succeeds in doing so, he would not only become the first out Black transmasculine person elected to any political office in the United States , he would also become the first transperson period in the US elected to a city council in a city with more than 250,000 people. (Minneapolis FYI has 416,000 people and climbing)

Here's his campaign announcement.   If you can contribute something to his campaign, please do so.

Now more than ever we need to be building trans community political power, and the more people we get elected to public office from our community, the better.

***



I'm proud to announce my candidacy for Minneapolis City Council to represent the 4th Ward in North Minneapolis!

North Minneapolis is my home, and I am tired of seeing us excluded and ignored in too many policy discussions at City Hall. We need a voice in these discussions, and I intend to lift everyone up in our community through just and inclusive policy-making.

With the persistent racial disparities we face as a community, we need to completely rethink how City Hall governs and serves diverse communities.

I see the potential for what is possible in my neighborhood given all the strengths our community brings to the table, but we are not given the space, resources, or power to realize our community's true greatness.

Since the Mayor appointed me to work on on education, youth success and civil rights, I have seen the decision-making process in action at City Hall and how often those currently in office block progress for the Northside.

I am running to fight this injustice and improve conditions in my neighborhood. It's time for major change in North Minneapolis, and I bring a fresh perspective and innovation to working through the challenges our community faces.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me in getting ready for this journey. We deserve a strong voice on city council, and we will have it when we show our power as a community this coming year.

Please check out my website and like my Facebook page to start spreading the word:
www.CunninghamMPLS.orgwww.facebook.com/PhillipeCunninghamMPLS

Good luck Phillipe!   Hope I get to witness you making some history next year!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Down Goes The NC Gubernatorial Transphobe!

Image result for Pat mcCrory
Doing the happy dance here in H-town after hearing that transphobic NC Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) after stalling for over a month, finally conceded that he lost the North Carolina governor's race to  his Democratic challenger in NC Atty. General Roy Cooper.

McCrory made history by becoming the first North Carolina governor to lose a reelection bid.

Roll that beautiful footage.



It was well deserved after pushing the unjust HB 2 that caused $500 million (and counting) of economic damage to his state and saw sporting events, jobs, concerts and conventions leave the state.

Note to my Texas GOP idiots.  Don't go down that road.  

Congrats to all the people in North Carolina who worked hard to oust him from the governor's mansion and giving Democrats and the TBLGQ community something to cheer. in Governor -elect Roy Cooper who will become the 75th governor of the state..  

Eden Lane, Marlo Bernier and Bianca Leigh To Appear In ART at Harvard Play 'Trans Scripts, Part 1'

The momentum that trans people have been building in the arts and entertainment world is still moving forward despite the disgusting election results.

I was pleased to hear that my homegirl Eden Lane will be for a change on the theater stage instead of her award winning self reporting on the news coming from the theater world as she has done for nearly a decade with her Colorado Public Television based show InFocus With Eden Lane.

The play that Eden will be participating in is being produced by the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University under the leadership of Artistic Director Diane Paulus and Executive Director Diane Quinn  The play is entitled Trans Scripts, Part I:  The Women, and is written by Paul Lucas and directed by Jo Bonney.

TransScripts, Part 1: The Women is an original play crafted by Lucas from from interviews with 75 diverse people from six continents around the world who identify as trans.   Those 75 trans people varied in age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational level  and age at transition.

The play is told through the voices of six trans women.

Image result for Marlo Bernier
In addition to Eden, the play also stars two other people I'm familiar with in Marlo Bernier and Bianca Leigh.

Matthew Hancock, MJ Rodriguez, Rebecca Root and Jack Wetherall round out the cast for TransScripts that will start rehearsals in New York City after Christmas,

Performances are scheduled to begin on January 19 at the Loeb Drama Center, located at 64 Brattle St. in Cambridge, MA, and will run through February 5

Woman with hands in the air

Break a leg Eden and all your TransScripts castmates.   Hope y'all sell the theater out,  and may this play be a megasuccessful blockbuster one with rave reviews!

Miss Me With That 'Black Men Are Killing Us ' Line In Black Trans World

Image result for crime scene chalk line graphic
One of the problematic lines I have been seeing on The Net lately is this comment that is percolating in Black Trans Feminine World that Black men are killing us and white men are nicer to Black trans women.

Both statements are problematic even before you start breaking them down and discussing the issues that led to them being said.

Yes it's definitely true that in recent years, the majority of Black trans women who have died due to anti-trans violence have done so because of Black males perpetrating the hate crimes against us.

The reality is that when crimes are committed, they are far more likely to be intraracial, not interracial   So yeah, you can bet that if a white trans woman is murdered, the odds are that the perpetrator will probably be a white male.   If that trans woman happens to be a Latina, the odds are that if she's killed, the perp will probably be Latino.

But make no mistake about it, white men have killed trans women of all ethnic backgrounds and gotten a slap on the wrist for it in more than a few cases.  If you think I'm kidding about that, Google William Palmer's name, the killer of Chanelle Pickett .

But the comment I'm hearing far too often in Black Transfeminine World that white men are 'nicer to us' because they open their wallets or are willing to be in open long term relationships with us is glaringly problematic in the face of the undeniable evidence that our legislative oppressors are overwhelmingly white men

Image resultThey don't have to get in your face to kill you when they can stir up anti-trans animus on their conservative talk radio shows, from their megachurch pulpits and legislate anti-trans hatred that will embolden some angry waste of DNA to actually do the deed.  

And yeah, let's not dismiss the fact there are Black trans attracted men who are willing to take you home to their families and friends, proudly state that you are their girlfriend and treat you as the Nubian queen you are.  .

That line is also disrespectful to the Black trans men who are willing to date you as well..

So chill with that BS, okay?

Houston LGBT Legislative Community Forum On December 14

In the 2015 Texas Legislative session we faced 24 anti-TBLGQ bills, with four of them specifically targeting the Texas trans community.   People outside our state thought we had zero chance of stopping those bills but we proved them wrong.  

We rolled up our sleeves, got to work and thanks to a collaborative community effort all those unjust bills failed to pass.

In a few weeks the Texas Legislature will be gaveled into session in Austin, and we will once again face a renewed anti-TBLGQ legislative assault from January until June from our Texas Republican majority seeking to pass unjust bills aimed at our community into oppressive laws.

That's why on December 14 the Houston LGBT Caucus and Legacy Health Services are cosponsoring a LGBT Legislative Community Forum.

The forum will feature our state legislators discussing their thoughts about the issues that affect out TBLGQ community, discuss what we can do as a community and at the grassroots level in terms of fighting this unjust hate legislation, and discuss what you can do to help kill the bad bills and advance the positive legislation.

The LGBT Legislative Community Forum will take place from 6:30- 8:30 PM and will take place at the Council on Recovery-Houston building.  The address is 303 Jackson Hill St in Houston, and the zip is 77007.

If you have questions about what needs to happen in Austin starting in January to protect our human rights, this is the forum you need to attend to ask those questions.

Hope to see you at this important community event.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Going To Miss You, Rev. Lura!

Was sad to hear just before Thanksgiving that at the end of this month Houston is going to lose another member of our progressive faith community in Rev. Lura Groen.

She and Jess are moving to Maryland before the end of the month so that she can get back into congregational life and also write a book.

I first met Lura during our fight to pass HERO in 2014, and while she was the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church attended a few services there.  One thing I loved about her sermons is that she not only is an unapologetic truth teller, but they are thought provoking as well.

She has been a blessing to our progressive faith community here in Houston, and we are going to miss her.   I have been blessed to have you in my life Lura, and will miss you as well.

Megablessings to you and Jess and safe travels to your new home.  May you have much success in the next chapter of your life.  Hopefully our paths will cross again, and with the way I travel, we probably will.

HBO's The Trans List Airs Tomorrow

Image result for the trans list hbo
For those of you who have HBO as part of your cable TV package, this is another instance of Must See Trans TV you may wish to ensure you don't miss.

It's the debut of the HBO documentary The Trans List, and it features a nice balanced mix of trans folks in terms of age, ethnicity and transition time in a series of five minute vignettes that capture the essence of the hours of interviews they conducted with each participant for this documentary.

And I'm pleased and proud to note I know some of those folks personally.  Hey that's one of the perks of being in the community for 22 years and counting.

 .

The people tapped for this documentary are Kylar Broadus, Caroline Cossey, Laverne Cox, Shane Ortega, Nicole Maines, MIss Major, Buck Angel, Amos Mac, Bamby Salcedo, Caitlyn Jenner and Alok Vaid-Menon that is produced by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and features interviews by Janet Mock, who is also one of the producers of this documentary.

Janet was also interviewed by Time magazine to discuss The Trans List..

I'm looking forward to seeing it, and it starts tomorrow night on HBO

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Thanks For A Wonderful Miss Trans Universo 2015 Reign, Aleika!


One of the things I like to point out is that your family expands, not contracts after you transition, and in many cases those family members you gain are your trans siblings around the world.

One of those people I've had the pleasure of getting to know is my Brazilian sis Aleikasandria Barros. Since her reign as Miss Trans Universo 2015 is coming to an end and she'll have to return to Italy to crown her successor, I wanted to take a moment to give her a TransGriot shoutout.

Thanks Aleika for representing yourself, your nation and our community while wearing the Miss Trans Universo crown.



The Miss Trans Universo pageant is taking place on December 10, and it's on that night in Perugia, Italy she will crown her successor.



I've had the pleasure of getting to know Aleika for the last few years, and I've had some interesting conversations with her about a variety of subjects along the way.

In addition to being involved in the pageant world, she's passionate about causes near and dear to all of our hearts around the world in the eradication of transphobia, educating about our lives, the expansion of our human rights and building sisterhood in our ranks.

I have much admiration and pride for my sisters who compete in the pageant world.  They are not only my sisters, they also have an important role to play in the advancement of our community's human rights in our various nations and around the world.

I've seen that firsthand since I have been in the position a few times of being a trans pageant judge. My pageant sisters at times are also advocates.  They are not only serving as community ambassadors facilitating conversations between the cis and trans communities, there are qualities and things that you learn while competing in pageants that also translate to life outside the pageant world.

I'm eagerly looking forward to the day, like I am with all my international sisters, that I finally get to meet Aleika in person.

Congrats on your amazing year as Miss Trans Universo Aleika!  May the blessings continue to flow for you in 2017 and beyond.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Shut Up Fool Awards- First Friday Of December Edition

Image result for December 2016
It's the first Friday of the last month of the year, and that means we're less than 30 days from starting 2017.   While Christmas Day is circled on many people's calendars, so is December 19, the day the electors meet in state capitols across the country and execute the final act of the 2016 election cycle.

Just a reminder of where I stand on Dear Cheeto Leader,  he's still #notmypresident

Anyway,  let's get to this week's Shut Up Fool Awards

Honorable mention number one is Tomi Lahren, who shows that she's still clueless about a lot of subjects in this Daily Show interview.

Honorable mention number two is Scarlett Johansson, who called for people to keep pushing for diversity in Hollywood while getting paid for whitewashing a Japanese cyborg cop in the big screen adaptation of the anime classic Ghost In The Shell.

Can you say hypocrisy people?  

Honorable mention number three is Dear Cheeto Leader, AKA Donald Trump, just pick a jacked up comment this week./

Honorable mention number four is Aym Icon, the CEO of Transcendence Icon Company for this problematic comment about Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson




Not even close to being humorous.

Honorable mention number five is North Carolina's one term governor Pat McCrory, who in the wake of losing on November 8 is acting like Gollom from the Lord of the Rings in terms of giving up the governor's chair.

Hey Pat, your transphobic azz lost.  The majority of NC citizens fired your behind.  Get over it and vacate the governor's chair.

This week's shut up fool  loser is Kellyanne Conway.

Kellyanne Conway speaks to CNN (screen grab)She's still bitter that her boy is not only reviled by 63 million Americans and counting, she's still deliberately forgetting that he's not only supported by white supremacists, they used racism to get Trump elected and he appointed one as his White House advisor

So she can attempt to spin that all she wants, those of us who watched that campaign and are grounded in reality know better.

Yeah yeah, you won.   But you did so by stoking racism, and you'll go down in history for that.   I'm not forgetting or forgiving that you and your campaign team stoked hatred of non white Americans in order to get your candidate elected, and there's no coming back or normalizing that with me, non white Americans and Clinton supporters.

It's also why we're not going to get over November 8 ,2016 and why a majority of Americans aren't looking forward to January 20.

Kellyanne Conway, shut up  fool!.

25 Things I Miss About Louisville

TransGriot's early years were focused on my Texan in Exile life in Louisville, and while living there and feeling homesick in 2007,  I wrote a post about the 25 things I missed about Houston.  

From time to time I've written about how much I miss Louisville, and certain events and dates will trigger another flood of memories of life in as the right wing haters call it, 'Sodom on the Ohio'.

Note to those haters:  don't diss the town that provides much of your state's tax revenue when people come to visit it and Lexington for starters and not your backwoods idiocy.  

I'm now approaching the same six year period it has been since I drove the moving van onto I-65 south four days after my birthday in May 2010 and headed back to the Lone Star State.

In the nearly nine years I lived there, Da Ville grew on me to the point where I not only made friends there in addition to the ones I had who lived there prior to my September 2001 move, but I grew to appreciate some of Kentucky's charms.

Bardstown Road Aglow happening tomorrow is also triggering I miss Da Ville memories for me as well, so I decided to write a post similar to the 2007 one I wrote, but this time focusing on Louisville.

Here are the 25 things I miss about Louisville besides my chosen family up there.

1.  Dawne Gee

Dawne Gee is a native Louisvillian who is one of the 5 and 7 PM newscast anchors at WAVE-3 TV.   WAVE 3 is the NBC affiliate there and it became one of my local news stations I frequently watched thanks to large part to meeting her.

Image result for Dawne Gee WAVE 3 news
I met her when I was working at Macy's and she was looking for Christmas gifts for her son Alex. We kept bumping into each other either at the store or at local charity events like the AIDS Walk or others around town and became friends as a result.

You have to also admire someone like Dawne who has two degrees (in communications and biology), applied three times at WAVE-3 before she finally got that job there in 1994 and quickly ascended to anchoring their local newscasts , beat cancer and just survived an on air stroke.

Speedy healing and recovery, Dawne.

And yeah, I also love her because she's a Taurus and our birthdays are just four days apart.

1A.  Angie Fenton

I'd actually run into Angie before I finally met her.  I was attending a local TBLGQ Derby Party at The Olmstead in 2003 that she was covering for the Courier-Journal while stylishly dressed in a pink skirted suit with matching pumps and a pink Derby hat.

We didn't meet that day, but our paths would eventually cross again.


She's also a local media icon in print and television, does segments on WHAS-TV's Great Day Live in addition to being editor in chief at Extol magazine,  a motivational speaker, and mom to her daughter Olive..  

So how did I meet this amazing woman?  It was in 2005 when she wrote a Courier-Journal article about the local trans community that featured me and Dawn Wilson in it.   Both of us moved to Da Ville from other places, so we had that in common along with our mutual love of writing.

2. Impellizzeri's Pizza

One of the Louisville specific food outlets that I got introduced to before I moved there.  Love their pizza and especially their breadsticks and the garlic butter you can dip them in.

3.  'Niece and Nephew'

AKA Dr. Kaila Story-Jackson and Jaison Gardiner, the broadcast team at WFPL-FM's. Strange Fruit radio show.   In her day job Kaila is the Audre Lorde Chair in Race, Class Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Louisville and teaches women and gender and Pan-African studies there.

I've spent more than a few times while I lived there as a panelist in Kaila's class or at other events coordinated by her on the U of L campus when I lived there talking about trans issues from a POC perspective.

Jaison I met as part of the Fairness Campaign crew, and he's involved in Black Lives Matter and other progressive causes.

Jaison is also the one who started calling me Auntie Monica, so I used to call him Nephew in response.   When he and Kaila started doing Strange Fruit, she became Niece

Image result for Jason gardiner and Kaila Story louisville


4.   Indi's

Image result for Indi's fast food louisville
Every city has a local food chain that is unique to it, and in Louisville, that is Indi' s.  

There are only three Indi's locations in Da Ville, so that meant I had to drive to get to them since the closest location to my east side Crescent Hill neighborhood was in the West End on Broadway just west of downtown.   But the food was worth the trip

It is quintessentially Louisville and quickly became one of my fave places.  I loved their monster potato wedges and chicken, and would happily devour their wings.. Their spicy recipe one will definitely make someone from New Orleans happy and they have a wide variety of side dishes  

The prices you pay for that food isn't bad either, but they only accept cash for it.

5.  Louisville Fencing Center

Image result for Maestro Les Stawicki
When Dawn began to get involved in competitive fencing, that's when much of the fencing world entered my life, including Maestro Les Stawicki, the legendary fencing coach who not only was the Polish national and Olympic coach from 1972-1990, but trains the US Paralympic Games fencers.

I got to meet many of the wonderful people connected to LFC and other fencing salles in the Louisville and Kentucky region along with many of the Veteran fencers, referees and others in the USFA Great Lakes Region .  It's also how I met Olympian Lee Kiefer and her family.  Ken and Angela Hagen, Linda Dunn, Tom Monarch, 'The Baby Vets'  AKA the Vet 40 fencers, The Senior Mamas' AKA the Vet 50 fencers and Lou Felty just to name a few.

It also taught me a lesson in first impressions.  I didn't think I had an impact on anyone since I was there simply to support my friend, but others disagreed.   There was also a junior tournament that was held in Louisville while I was there in which I served as the MC of it.  Some of the parents and kids who were in attendance or participated in it still ask about me years later.

When I went to visit LFC, I also got a big hug from Maestro Stawicki ,Tom and everyone who remembered me

6.  Edenside Christian Church


I definitely missed 'slllliiiiiiiiding into Edenside' after I left, because it was my open and affirming church home during my time in Da Ville,   It was part of the Disciples of Christ denomination, and it was one of the places in which I first started to meet people after I moved there.

I loved its social justice mission, the AIDS services, participating as a worship leader, being part of Bardstown Road Aglow, the jazz concerts and it being a century old.  One of the first events I participated in mere days after I moved there was an AIDS Walk

Sadly it closed after 106 years of service to the Highland community, and I couldn't make it up there for the final service in that building..

7.  Rev. Sally McClain 

Rev Sally was one of the first people I met after I arrived in Louisville, and you have to love a minter who not only has a gregarious personality, it's combined with a formidable intellect and a wicked sense of humor.

Her male theological counterparts on The Moral Side Of the News show that she was a panelist on found out quickly about that formidable intellect.

I loved the stuffed Cartman doll on her church office bookshelf, and I also love the fact that Rev. Sally's sermons were to the point. She could say in 10 to 15 minutes what would take the average Baptist preacher hours to do.

She's now retired, but is still a panelist on The Moral Side of the News giving the boys fits.

8.  Fairness Campaign

Image result for fairness campaign louisville
That building on Frankfort Avenue which is the home of Louisville and Kentucky's premier TBLGQ organization was the epicenter of my Louisville activism.   I did phone banks in it. taught Lobbying 101 to rookie activists, did candidate screenings there  and attended many meetings in its walls when I served on the Fairness Campaign board and its C-FAIR PAC board as its secretary

I also was a finalist to become the head of the Fairness Campaign, which unfortunately I didn't get.

The time I spent with Fairness folks was instrumental in me becoming and being a better advocate when I returned home, and still have much love for the Fairness peeps I met there.

9.  The Cards vs Cats hatefest
Image result for Cats vs cardinals Louisville House divided
One of the questions I was asked that I deflected with the comment "I like both" until I pointed the moving van south was which one of Kentucky's universities was I a fan of in either the Louisville Cardinals or the Kentucky Wildcats.

The Cards-Cats hatefest is the University of Texas-Texas A&M rivalry on steroids.   The schools are only 60 miles apart on I-64 in Louisville and Lexington, play in different conferences  (SEC and ACC), but they reflect the culture of their cities and their rabid fan bases.

I used to get a chuckle out of watching peeps on both sides try to repeatedly recruit me to Cats or Cards Nation as they threw shady insults at each other.   I had friends in both Cats and Cards Nation, and it was entertaining to me watching their reactions when UK and U of L played each other.

You can bet that no matter what sport they play, the game, especially if it's their annual post-Christmas basketball showdown, will be sold out at either The Yum Center or Rupp Arena and the trash talking will go on until next year's game, at family picnics and other events..
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10,  The drives to nearby cities

One of the benefits of living in Louisville was because of its geographic location on the Ohio River on the Indiana-Kentucky border and sitting at the junction of I-64, I-65 and I-71, I gained the ability to do road trips to nearby cities in the Midwest, South and East Coast from there  

Louisville was only an hour from Lexington, 1.5 hours from Indianapolis and Cincinnati, 2 hours from Nashville, 3 hours from Columbus and St Louis, 5 hours from Memphis and Chicago, 6 hours from Atlanta, 7 hours to Charlotte, Cleveland ,and Milwaukee. and 10 hours to Washington DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia

There were more than a few road trips I took with Dawn, Polar and other folks, some of which I talked about on the blog

11.  KingFish

Image result for Kingfish Louisville


Another one of my fave places to eat in Louisville that was unique to the city.  It's a seafood restaurant, and I used to love the location on River Road that had views of the Ohio River from its dining room and the barges gliding by as you dined

12.  Derby Week

In the runup to the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby, there is a multiweek festival chock full of events that is kicked off by the massive Thunder over Louisville fireworks show and a military airshow during the day over the river.

I also like the Kentucky Derby because every few years, it falls on my birthday.  It was apropos that the 2002 Derby, the first one I got to witness as a Louisville resident, also fell on my 40th birthday.

Image result for Kentucky Derby festival
In addition to the parades and balls, you had celebrities flying into town for the Oaks and Derby and all the parties and balls hosted by various people and organizations in venues all over Louisville..

One of the major ones happened mere blocks from where I used to live. Priscilla Barnstable Brown (one of the 1970's Doublemint gum twins who were both from Da Ville) hosts a Derby party that draws Hollywood celebrities and local celeb watchers

Even our local TBLGQ community had our own party that used to happen before and during the Derby, but got shifted to the later evening.

13.  Crescent Hill

It's the neighborhood I lived in from late 2003 until I moved back home, and I lived on Grinstead Drive across the street from the odious Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  

Besides the negative of waking up and flipping the finger at the transphobic seminary that was outside and across the street from my upstairs bedroom window, I was around the corner from the Crescent Hill Reservoir, the library, all those amazing restaurants, coffeehouses and shops on Frankfort Avenue.  I also had some cool neighbors like the Burchfield's.  The best part was I was in walking distance of a Walgreen's that sold Blue Bell.  

14.  Louisville Slugger Field

Louisville's Triple A baseball stadium that was on the river in the shadow of downtown and I-65 and the home of the Louisville Bats, the Cincinnati Reds farm club.  

Image result for Slugger FieldIt's named for the Louisville Slugger bat, which is manufactured a few blocks west of the ballpark.  It has an amazing museum and tour of the facility in which upon its conclusion you get a mini Slugger bat

But don't take that mini bat in your carryon luggage. It is considered a weapon and WILL get snatched by TSA security at the airport.

Went to a few Bats games while I lived there and did get to see Joey Votto and Aroldis Chapman play there before they headed up I-71 to play for the Reds.

Slugger Field will be the host of this year's (I consider 2017 this year) ACC Baseball tournament that got relocated because of HB 2.  Mayor Fischer and the city of Louisville thank you for that and all the bonus tax money they'll get for hosting it,  Pat McCrory.

Image result for Rep John Yarmuth15.  Rep. John Yarmuth

My congressman for the remaining time I lived in Da Ville who snatched the seat from Rep. Anne Throwup, Northup (R-KY).

Until 2006, Northup managed to keep her seat in heavily Democratic Louisville by hoodwinking and bamboozling fools at two Black megachurches (St Stephen and Canaan) and several sellout ministers into thinking she was a human rights warrior when that 'F' on her NAACP Congressional Report card said otherwise.  

Those hoodwinked Black voters were the difference in many of her wins in the 10 years she managed to hold that centered on Louisville congressional seat.

Yarmuth founded and owned the alternative weekly the Louisville Eccentric Observer, AKA the LEO, and was a relentless critic of Northrup before he ousted her from that congressional seat.
He donates his congressional salary to local liberal progressive organizations, and I had more than a few conversations and positive interactions with him before I came home

16.  The Highlands

The first Louisville neighborhood I lived in and loved because it was diverse and like Crescent Hill had a nice mix of shops and businesses.  I also loved the fact (but my waistline didn't) I had a Dairy Queen, KFC, Arby's, a 24 hour Mickey D's, Speedway and Buffalo Wild Wings and restaurants in walking distance of the old house.

17.  Bardstown Road Aglow 
Image result for bardstown road aglow 2016

The neighborhood festival along the Bardstown Road corridor in the Highlands that kicks off the Christmas season.  It happens the first Saturday of December rain. snow or shine.   Businesses, organizations and churches open their doors to the folks walking up and down the road as carolers and vendors handled their business.

What Edenside would do is open our door and offer hot cider, Christmas cookies and other snacks.
DJ Moni spinning Christmas tunes with soul came later.

18.  Kizito's Cookies

I got introduced to this delightful treat before I moved there in September 2001, and lived next door for two years to their creator in Ugandan born Elizabeth Kizito.  

'The Cookie Lady' as Kizito is known in Da Ville, came to the US in 1975 to attend school, and moved to Louisville in 1978.

In addition to this award winning businesswoman selling African crafts out of her Bardstown Road store that is also the bakery for their wide assortment of baked goods, she sold them at Slugger Field,  the St James Art Festival, the Derby Festival and other events around town while wearing a basket full of her delicious treats on her head.

She started the cookie business in 1987, and now 30 years later Kizito's treats are now sold in stores all over Louisville and online.

That reminds me, need to order some more snickerdoodles and chocolate chip ones.

19.  University of Louisville and the LGBT Center 

While I'm still waiting for that opportunity to be tapped as a keynote speaker for U of L's Pride Week (hint, hint), I did get a few opportunities to be either part of panels or attend events on their campus in the time I lived there.

Got to know Brian Buford, who is the head of the LGBT Center, law professor Sam Marcosson, who I had some interesting discussion with during my time there and actually did a panel with in the wake of the 2008 election.  Y'all already know I have much love and respect for Dr Story, and miss the late Dr. Blaine Hudson, who I loved as a historian and who got me up to speed on my Louisville Black history, I also got to witness while I was there U of L take the steps it did to become one of the most LGBTQ freindly campuses in the South and get much deserved recognition for it.

20.   The Louisville trans community

Some of you longtime TransGriot readers have seen my posts about my award winning roommate trans leader, and homegirl Dawn Wilson, who was responsible along with Polar for getting me to move there instead of the ATL and is now a human rights commissioner in the city.  

She and Polar also took time out of their lives to come to Houston and help me move there, and a contingent of Louisville community trans folks was there when I arrived to help me move into the old Grinstead house in the Cave Hill Cemetery curve and welcome me to the area.

Cave Hill Cemetery BTW, is where Colonel Harlan Sanders, the KFC founder was laid to rest.

But she was just one of the wonderful trans people I got to know once I moved there like Amirage Saling, Alana Montgomery,  LynAnne Evans, Erica, Shemiyia O'Bannon-Sweeney, Holly Knight, Cindy Lee and others who crossed my path during my time there.

Joshua Holiday also moved there for a while from New York . There were Sienna meetings I attended from time to time, and a memorable outing to a Halloween Rocky Horror screening weeks after I moved there.

Unfortunately one of the people I met there is no longer with us and is one of the people we memorialized during the 2008 TDOR in Nakhia Williams.  The waste of DNA who killed her is now rotting in jail.

21.   Halloween On Hillcrest Avenue

There was a cluster of homes on Hillcrest Ave between Frankfort Ave and Brownsboro Road that in the runup to Halloween would go all out in decorating for it.   Some of the decorations were political, which thrilled me even more besides my fave house on the street in Dante's Disco Inferno.


It got so popular that LMPD ended up blocking off Hillcrest on the Frankfort Ave and Brownsboro road ends of Hillcrest Avenue to accommodate all the people from around the area who wanted to see as I called it Nightmare on Hillcrest Avenue..

22. The Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

It's interesting to note that the LPTS and SBTS are less than a mile apart distance wise, but light years apart in terms of their acceptance of the humanity and human rights of trans people.  "The Good Seminary' as we call  LPTS, has been since 2002 the host of the Louisville TDOR events.

I was honored to be the keynote speaker for their inaugural TDOR in 2002 and again in 2003, the first one we held inside the Caldwell Chapel, part of the planning committee for a few of them, and on some Trans 101 panels on the LPTS campus.

23.   Horse country

Sometime when we would visit Dawn's relatives in Lexington or were there in the city for various events, we'd detour for a few miles before jumping back on I-64 to see the horse farms in the area.

It was fun not only looking at those farms but occasionally seeing the colts and fillies running through the grass or grazing

24.   Keeneland

Image result for keenelandSince Dawn grew up in Lexington, we would make a trip to Keeneland at the beginning of their fall racing season

The best part of going to Keeneland in the fall was checking out the fall foliage on the trees in the backside curve and people watching.

I used to love Keeneland's announcer.  On one of our trips a horse named Scripture stumbled out of the gate as the race started, and he said "Scripture kneels to pray at the start.'"

Turned out that stumble was more serious than it looked when the horse ambulance rolled over there to the starting gate area when the race was completed, and they had to euthanize him later because he broke both his front legs.

In addition to getting to hang out with my chosen family and getting to leave the city for a few hours, occasionally I won enough for dinner at Columbia Steak House after our day at the races.

25.  The Comfy Cow

Image result for the comfy cow


It opened not long after I left Louisville, but the concept for it was percolating in its founders minds while I lived here starting in 2007.  I got introduced to their ice cream during my 2014 visit.

The Comfy Cow was another mandatory Louisville foodie stop I had to make when I recently visited the city, and I destroyed some of their salted caramel ice cream.

Yep, they sell it online.   I may have to get some as a Christmas present or if somebody is feeling the holiday spirit,  they can ship me some.