Saturday, May 23, 2015

METRORail Green and Purple Lines FINALLY Open Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 22, 2015

LA State Senator Rips Jindal A New One

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

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

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

Here's Senator Peterson's floor speech.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yo David, your white sheet is showing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 Molestations and Counting needs to be cancelled

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

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

Josh and Michelle Duggar, shut up fools!.

Andrea Jenkins Gets Added To The Congressional Record!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations Andrea for a well deserved honor!

Here We Go Again With Internet Blocking Of TransGriot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Headed Home To H-town

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, hope the wifi is working on this bus.

Happy 63rd Birthday, Mr T!

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 UT-Austin Lavender Graduation Speech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The T was for transsexual, not teabagger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations graduates!

Getting Your Education While Trans Is A Revolutionary Act

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!.

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

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

6 Million Hits!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 18, 2015

And Now There Are Eight...RIP London Chanel Allen

After the initial flurry of trans women that were killed in the first two months of 2015, things had gotten quiet on that front in the United States until today.

News stations in Philadelphia are reporting that 21 year old London Chanel Allen was stabbed tin the back and neck after a fight between her and her 31 year old attacker that occurred in an abandoned rowhouse on North Philadelphia at 12:40 AM EDT in the 2200 block of Ingersoll Street

She was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital where she was pronounced dead just after 1 AM., police said.

"My heart goes out to her family, friends and the community as we mourn her death," said Nellie Fitzpatrick, Director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia. “I know that the police department will work tirelessly to fully investigate the case."

Allen had a Texas connection.  She was born in Victoria, just 127 miles southwest of Houston and moved to Philadelphia several years ago.   She'd reconciled with her mother Veronica Allen, was in the process of getting her name change done and moving back to Texas when she was murdered

“She was going to go to court to change her name and then she was going to come home," Veronica Allen said. “That’s what we were working towards, but that man took it away from me."

A candlelight vigil is set to be held this Friday at that location, and a bank account has been set up to collect funds to pay to return  London's body back to Texas for burial

But once again, we sadly have another young trans woman of color dead before her 25th birthday.

RIP London

TransGriot Update:  31 year old Raheam Felton has been arrested and charged with London's murder.

Angelica Ross 2015 HRC Corporate Equality Index Keynote

Y'all know how much love and respect I have for Angelica Ross, the founding CEO of Trans Tech Social Services and She's one of the leaders in our national trans feminine community that people need to be paying attention to.

She was the keynote speaker at a March 31 event revealing the 2015 HRC' Corporate Equality Index Awards, and had some interesting things to say as she stylishly stood at that podium.

And now, here's Angelica.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

President Obama's IDAHOT 2015 Statement

Today I's the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, know as the IDAHOT for short.   It was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social justice movements, the media and the public to the violence and discrimination faced internationally by trans, bi, intersex and SGL people.

President Obama is marking this international human rights day with this statement

Michelle and I join our fellow Americans and others around the world in commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia tomorrow, May 17.  We take this opportunity to reaffirm that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are human rights, to celebrate the dignity of every person, and to underscore that all people deserve to live free from fear, violence, and discrimination, regardless of who they are or whom they love.
We work toward this goal every day. Here at home, we are working to end bias-motivated violence, combat discrimination in the workplace, and address the specific needs of transgender persons.  Overseas, I am proud of the steps that the United States has taken to prioritize the protection and promotion of LGBT rights in our diplomacy and global outreach.
There is much more to do, and this fight for equality will not be won in a day.  But we will keep working, at home and abroad, and we will keep fighting, for however long it takes until we are all able to live free and equal in dignity and rights.

Hope that day day happens within my lifetime.

Goodbye Marie Angel!

A few years ago I met this amazing and beautiful young Latina woman during a local event not long after I moved back to Houston from Louisville.

I watched her tell her story about growing up in Honduras as a young trans feminine woman who moved to the US to get her education and make her dreams come true, I was also impressed by her intellect. 

As I've gotten to know Marie Angel, I'm also been impressed by her determination and drive as she strove to balance her collegiate studies with her work and personal life.

She managed to at times add a little advocacy into her life equation.  She was part of the effort on the University of Houston Downtown campus to get gender neutral restrooms there last year, and was invaluable in explaining the issue to our local Spanish language media.

 I've also had the pleasure of doing a few panels at local schools here since that initial meeting, including last month's one of the TSU campus.   I've also had the pleasure of having some long conversations with her at times about a host of other issues.

Was experiencing mixed emotions when Marie told me after that TSU panel that she was now engaged, and will be getting married.  

While that is wonderful news and I'm deliriously happy for her. the bad news part of it is the man who was smart enough to put a ring on her finger lives in California, and she's moving there to be with him.

Thursday was the last day she spent here in H-town, and she's packed up the car and pointed it west toward California and a new chapter in her life.   While I'm going to miss being able to see her from time to time, I'm also happy that she has found someone to share her life with, even if it is on the West Coast.

Goodbye, Marie Angel!    All of us who love you in Houston will miss you, but wish you the best of luck and safe travels as you begin this new adventure and a new life