Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Trans Kids Go To Austin With Equality Texas To Fight GOP Transphobia

Texas trans kids and their parents head to our state capitol in Austin to put a face on the kids our Republican leaders want to demonize and discriminate against for their own political gain.

Gov. Greg Abbott, L. Governor Dan Patrick and our indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton are pushing another doomed to failure lawsuit against the federal government in response to the Obama Administration issuing guidelines on May 13 that the human rights of all trans students be respected.

Equality Texas today went to our state capitol with parents of trans children to talk about their lives and urge our GOP controlled government to cease and desist from the discriminatory anti-trans course they seem hellbent on engaging in when the legislature kicks off its 85th session in January.

“It is the responsibility of all of us to educate ourselves so these false attacks can be exposed for what they are, a solution where there is no problem in order to perpetuate discrimination against LGBT Texans,” said Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas.  “Lt Governor Patrick appeals to the worst chapters of our history, in which discrimination runs rampant and understanding and compassion are absent.  Transgender students, like transgender adults, don’t want to cause any problems.  They simply want to use the bathroom when the need arises.  The lt. governor’s proposal would cause Texas to put billions of dollars of federal school funding at risk and threaten the Texas economy.”

It's past time to also acknowledge this is not just about bathrooms, this is a human rights fight. This about the Texas Republican Party wanting to whip up hatred of transgender Texans to keep their political based riled up and voting for them.


This is also all about the Texas Republican Party despicably wanting to distract the media and their voters from examining the piss poor job of governance they have done while in control of the governor's mansion and the state legislature.

'Assigned Male' - A Trans Themed Comic Of Our Own

You TransGriot readers are aware of how much i love comics, and while surfing the Net one afternoon I stumbled across he delightful webcomic entitled Assigned Male, created by French-Canadian comic artist Sophie Labelle.
Assigned Male follows the adventures of Stephanie, a young 11 year trans girl who is making her way through early transition, school and her interesting life that includes cis and trans friends, activism, and her amazing parents.

Assigned Male is quickly becoming a favorite for kids who are in early transition and even trans adults like myself who identify with many of the situations that Steph deals with such as anti-trans bullying, insensitive comments, invalidation of who she is as a trans girl, and balancing activism with having as normal a life for a kid as she can.

And as you probably guessed, transphobic haters are coming for this comic as it gets increasing well deserved attention and popularity..
Assigned Male creator Labelle has made it clear that this comic is a transcentric FUBU production, but if cis people get joy out of it and learn something about what our trans community and trans kids deal with, that's cool, too.  .

The online Hateraid that our trans sibling Labelle is getting in some quarters of the Net for her trans positive comic that has now reached 220 issues and counting  is why I'm writing this post about Assigned Male.

It not only deserves to be celebrated in our community, we also need to recognize how important it is for trans kids to see themselves and their lives reflected in popular culture in a world that tries on an almost daily basis to viciously erase their existence.
.
Assigned Male updates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and you can find it at www.assignedmale.com or on Facebook to check out the latest issue of it..

Monday, May 30, 2016

TransMilitary Project Documentary Kickstarter Campaign

TransMilitary: Ending the ban on transgender service project video thumbnail
As many of you TransGriot readers are aware of, I am a big supporter of open trans military service for many reasons.   It not only needs to happen for the over 15,000 trans people already serving in the US armed forces, but it honors those trans vets who have served our country.   It also will allow our trans kids growing up who wish to do so an option to serve as themselves.

The TransMilitary Project is a documentary film directed by Gabe Silverman and produced by Fiona Dawson  and Jamie Coughlin that seeks to tell the stories of the courageous trans folks in the US Armed Forces that have risked their military careers to push for open trans military service.

They are seeking to raise $89,500 to produce this documentary in this Kickstarter campaign that has 24 days to go.

The documentary will highlight what it means to be trans in our military and illuminate the discrimination they face in their military and civilian lives.

While the ban on transgender military service was supposed to end this month, it is getting transphobic resistance inside the military despite the fact that 18 nations and many of our NATO allies allow their transgender citizens to serve in their military.

So if you can contribute to making this documentary happen, please do.

Absolut Vodka #AbsolutNights 'Darla' Trans Themed Commercial

As our visibility and acceptance increases, popular culture and media will positively reflect that.paradigm shift.  And it stands to reason that advertisers will take notice of that pro-trans cultural shift.

Trans people in advertising around the world isn't a new phenomenon, but it has been all over the map.  Some attempts at trans themed advertising have been positive, while others have been massive fails that I've had to call out more than a few times on these electronic pages.

One of the latest attempts by advertisers and companies to go with a trans themed ad is Absolut Vodka, which has always had a pro-LGBT reputation.  With the increase in trans acceptance in various parts of the world and trans rights being increasingly recognized as a human rights issue, has now created an ad featuring a trans storyline.

Here's their 'Darla' #ABSOLUTNIGHTS ad, presented to you TransGriot readers without editorial comment.



 

Memorial Day 2016

Memorial Day is the day we take time to remember the people who lost their lives either on battlefields around the world or after succumbing to wounds received on those battlefields while serving in our nation's armed forces.

The presidential proclamation has already been released for this year's Memorial Day observances, and the annual ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will take place at Arlington National Cemetery in a few hours.

It's interesting to note as we go into Memorial Day 2016 the increasing calls for open trans military service. We have a long proud history of trans people who have stepped up to serve our country, and I don't doubt that we had some gender variant peeps who joined our military service to quote unquote 'make men and women out of them' many have possibly perished before they had a chance to be their true selves.

I'll take another day to argue the merits of trans military service later.  

Today we'll spend it remembering all our people who served in our military and paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

2016 Williams Watch-Rolling To The Fourth Round

My fave tennis playing sisters are having a marvelous business trip to Paris so far as we cruise into the second week of the French Open.

Serena is chasing history and another French Open title as usual, while Venus is striving to get back to the elite level of tennis she was playing before she was diagnosed with the autoimmune ailment that has sidetracked her for several years.

This 2016 French Open women's tournament has already witnessed nine seeded players fall in the first round, two in the second and another nine in the third round.   But two of the ten seeded players still left in this 2016 edition of the French Open women's tourney have the last name Williams, and eight of them are bumping heads in the fourth round.

Serena, the tournament's number one and still world number one ranked player is handling her French Open business, and so far hasn't dropped a set on the way to the fourth round and hopefully her fourth French Open title.

She took out Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets 6-2, 6-0 in her opening round match,  Brazil's Teliana Pereira 6-2, 6-1, and 26th seeded French homegirl Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 7-6 (12-10). She will face 18th seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in her fourth round match.  .

Should she get past Svitolina, she would face in the quarters the winner of the match between 12th seeded Carla Suarez-Navarro of Spain and Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva.

Ninth seeded Venus is trying to win her first ever French Open title in her illustrious career.  But her road to that first title and the fourth round has been tougher.  Big Sis has had to play several tiebreakers on the way to her fourth round match with number eight seeded Swiss miss Timea Bacsinszky.

She played a tough opening round match with Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, prevailing in straight sets 7-6 (7-5),7-6 (7-4).   Big Sis then sent fellow American qualifier Louisa Chirico to the sidelines by beating her in straight sets 6-2 , 6-1.

In the third round, like Little Sis, she faced a French homegirl in Alize Cornet.   But unlike Serena, it took her three sets to win this match.

Venus captured the first set 7-6 (7-5), dropped the second set 1-6, and blitzed Cornet in the third set 6-0 to punch her ticket to the fourth round match with Bacsinszky.

Should Venus survive this match, she would take on in the quarters the winner of the match between the Netherlands Kiki Bertens and 15th seeded Madison (I'm not Black) Keys

Should my fave tennis playing sibling survive their quarterfinal matches, they would play each other in the semifinals..

The Williams sisters were also entered in the French Open doubles this year, but were knocked out in the third round of the doubles tournament by Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson in straight sets 3-6, 3-6.

Oh well, there's always the 'Williams'-don doubles in a few weeks. .

We'll see how this second week of their Paris business trip plays out and if one of them is holding the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen on Saturday.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

President Obama's Hiroshima Speech

White House Instagram
On May 27 President Obama made more history in an already historic presidency.   He because the first sitting US president to travel to Hiroshima, where the first atomic bomb was droppedon August 6, 1945.

Ten other US presidents had declined to do so, but President Obama didn't.

While the right wingers here in the US have predictably gone off the deep end about it, the rest of the world and reality based America have praised him doing so and the speech he gave in front of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial marking the Ground Zero spot above where the bomb exploded..

Here's the video of that historic speech




HERO Passage 2nd Anniversary

It may have been one small step in the human rights evolution for many cis and straight Houstonians, but for those of us in LGBT Houston, it was a giant leap in our human rights 30 years in the making.
-TransGriot, May 28, 2014 'Houston, We Have HERO Passage'

Today is going to be a bittersweet day for me and everyone in Houston who busted our behinds, sat through three contentious marathon city council meetings and a contentious committee hearing to pass the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.(HERO)


On that May 28 evening, I was so proud of my hometown and being part of the team that had helped passed this human rights law that covered 15 categories for our community.  That night I'd also accomplished a longtime personal activism dream of ensuring that we not only passed HERO, but it was trans inclusive.   .

At the time we passed it on that 11-6 council vote, I and everyone who fought tooth and nail for HERO's passage knew that night was the easy part.   Keeping it would be our task from that moment on.

But I and my fellow Houstonians who helped passed this much needed ordinance were bursting at the seams proud to have sent the message to the city, Texas, the nation and the world that discrimination's time in Houston had expired.

But as we celebrated the hard fought win, the Axis of Intolerance, led by the Harris County and Texas Republicans Party, longtime gaybaiters Steven Hotze, Dave Wilson and Dave Welch, and a cadre of sellout Houston ministers led by Rev. Max Miller were plotting to kill HERO..

They tied up its implementation in court as they collected petition signatures for a recall vote.  The rife with fraud petitions were found not valid in August 2014, and that set up another lawsuit that the HERO haters lost in January 2015 that led to it immediately being implemented..


HERO was still in effect at the time we celebrated its first birthday, but the haters had appealed to the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, who unjustly forced it onto the ballot in an August 2015 ruling and set up the now infamous repeal campaign in which the HERO haters successfully deployed the anti-trans bathroom meme to kill it in November 2015.

We have a new mayor in Sylvester Turner and several new council members sitting around 'The Horseshoe' in those nice leather chairs.

Even more crucial to our efforts to pass a new H-town human rights ordinance, we still maintain a liberal-progressive majority on council.  


But with Mayor Turner early in his first term, not likely he'll be pushing to spend his hard won political capital on passing HERO 2.0 right now even though it is needed and necessary.  Mayor Turner is going to focus on getting his agenda he ran on passed, and can't blame him for that.  He got his first budget passed (which did on a unanimous 17-0 vote), he's dealing with infrastructure issues, and working on solving the city retirement pension funding crisis..

That meas that we are 
unfortunately we are back to where we started human rights wise in my hometown as this second anniversary of HERO's passage is upon us.  The positive PR we gained from passing HERO took a hit as we frustratingly watched the Republican Party and conservative anti-human rights activists replicate the tactics they used to kill HERO to either kill attempts to pass trans inclusive rights laws in other cities or enact unjust statewide laws like North Carolina's HB2 as Jared Woodfill and his merry band of GOP haters mugged for the cameras and bragged about doing so..

Are we upset about that in Houston?  Yeah, we are upset not only about losing a crucial human rights battle, but how it happened, and no one is taking that loss harder than me and my Houston trans siblings. 




We aren't giving up on the fight to ensure that the human rights of all Houstonians are respected and protected.  It's just unfortunately delayed for now as we absorb the lessons on what went wrong, what we did right and come up with strategies to ensure our success when we finally attempt to push for HERO 2.0 or whatever the new ordinance will be called. 

But we will do our utmost to win the fight to get an inclusive human rights law with public accommodations protections
passed in my hometown. And you can be damned sure I'm going to be doing my part to ensure it not only passes, but watching to ensure that trans Houstonians aren't cut out of it.


But here's hoping that within the next few years, we will have another trans inclusive human rights law added to the Houston Code of Ordinances and that we finally get to proudly send the message once again that discrimination's time in Houston has expired. .


Friday, May 27, 2016

Shut Up Fool Awards- Memorial Day Weekend 2016 Edition

Timo Kohlenberg/Flickr
Memorial Day is Monday, and it is the day that we remember the people who lost their lives while serving in our country's armed forces.  In addition, it has increasingly been considered the unofficial start of the summer season here in the States, even though many of us who don't reject science know that summer doesn't start until June 21

It's also one of the busier travel weekends in the States outside of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.

Well, it's Friday, so it's time to see what fool, fools or group of fools made the cut for this week's Shut Up Fool Awards

Honorable mention number one is a group award for all 11 states that followed Texas in joining a lawsuit to continue discrimination against trans students.

Honorable mention number two is Waukesha County, Wisconsin clerk Kathleen Novack (R), who testified in federal court in support of the voter suppression restrictions enacted between 2011-2015 hat early voting on weekends needs to end because 'urban areas have too much access to voting'

The GOP isn't even trying to hide heir bigotry any more.  

Honorable mention number three Is all the North Carolina kneegrow (they don't deserve to be called Black) pastors who channeled their inner Uncle Ruckuses and held a rally in support of HB2 probably at the behest of their GOP paymasters.

They recited the same tired line that LGBT rights aren't civil rights.  Naw fools, they are.  And what's even more problematic is you sellouts haven't sopped to consider that HB2 wipes out ALL human rights law in North Carolina, not just 'the gays and t******s"'
.
Honorable mention number four is Rep Louie Gohmert (R-TX)  who continues to ensure not only that he is the undisputed champion of GOP idiots, he never fails to miss an opportunity to embarrass Texas on the national stage.   Here's his latest unhinged rant that states his opposition to homosexuality because gay astronauts can't reproduce in space.

Hey, I'm just reporting it...




Honorable mention number five is Gail Heriot, the member of the US Commission on Civil Rights who got called out for her transphobia by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

It's sad that this transphobe is sitting on the US Commission on Civil Rights in the first place.


Ken PaxtonThis week's fool is indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), for not only filing the unjust lawsuit that he doesn't have standing to file BTW, but doubling down on the Texas GOP peddling of transphobia by refusing to answer the question if trans children exist.

Really?   I guess Jazz Jennings and all the trans kids in Texas and around the country are just figments of a liberal-progressive's imagination?

You and the Texas Republican party are why our proud state can't even go a day without some idiot from your party embarrassing us simply by opening your mouths every time a camera is rolling.

And BTW AG Paxton, shut up fool! .

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rep. Lofgren Calls Out A Transphobe

For us to eventually win World War T, we will need to have the help of allies who abhor oppression as much as those of us who are experiencing it firsthand.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee. called out a transphobic witness during the committee meeting.  That transphobe, Gail Heriot, unfortunately sits on the US Commission of Civil Rights and Rep. Lofgren took exception to her problematic testimony   .

This was the section of Ms. Heriot's testimony that Rep. Lofgren objected to and read aloud during the Judiciary Committee meeting.

"If I believe that I am a Russian princess, that doesn’t make me a Russian princess, even if my friends and acquaintances are willing to indulge my fantasy. Nor am I a Great Horned Owl just because — as I have been told — I happen to share some personality traits with those feathered creatures"
-Gail Heriot

Rep. Lofgren made it clear that she couldn't let that comment be entered into the record without being challenged and told committee chair Rep. Steve King (R-IA) that very point.

"I’ve got to say, I found this rather offensive," Lofgren announced after reading Heriot's transphobic statement. "It says to me that the witness really doesn’t know anything and probably has never met a transgender child who is going through, in almost every case, a very difficult experience finding themselves."

And here's the video of that exchange. with Heriot and Rep. King..

.


Jessica Shuts Down A Transphobic Bigot

This happened on a March episode of CNN's  Dr Drew, but take notes peeps.   This is how you blow up and shut down transphobic bigotry.  None of that 'acknowledge the fear' bullshyt we tried and failed to defend HERO with, it's time to gut punch these fake faith based idiots and make them engage in sputtering defenses of their transphobia.

The best way to shut them down is to interrupt their ability to spout their well rehearsed talking points.  Gotta throw them out of their comfort zone, and having to try to spin anti-trans lies in front of a person your unjust policy negatively affects and is calling you and your org out about it is nerve wracking for them.  

Jessica Taylor does a fantastic job of it here.  I' m looking forward to the day when I get and other non white trans people get our opportunity to do so because it's just a matter of time before I right wing enemies deploy the kneegrow sellout pastors and we are the best equipped people to take them on.

But enjoy Jessica taking on the FRC's Peter Sprigg.

 

Historical Trans Firsts Are Important To Note For Our Community

Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history."--Dr. Carter G. Woodson


I was in a Facebook discussion talking about the historic Philippine election win of Geraldine Roman to the Philippine Congress when someone went on a rant about not caring about what she called 'fake firsts'.

This white trans person then continued to say it was a waste of time to talk about who was the first trans person to do X thing, and you know I had to call that crap out quickly.

Knowing your history is never a 'waste of time' as this person put it.  It is a vital component of not only building community, but building pride in being a trans person and tracking the progress of our movement in changing the culture..

Knowing who was the first documented trans person to be elected to a state legislature (Althea Garrison, 1992), or the first out trans person to have a New York Times best selling memoir (Janet Mock) is important not only  for trans elders to know, but to inspire our trans kids.

When you have elements of society trying to erase your very humanity, eviscerate your civil rights and violently erase your existence, you much do everything to build self esteem and pride in your trans youth so they don't lose hope and start feeling that their only way our is to commit suicide

Knowing that we have trans people who have and are making history, are making positive contributions to society and are doing so today  is critical.in building the self esteem and pride that not only builds community, it is a factor in helping reduce suicide rates.

So yes, historical trans firsts are important and necessary to track and remember not only here in the US, but around the world.
.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lambda Legal Statement On Texas Anti-Trans Lawsuit

Lambda Legal Home Page
The statement from Lambda Legal concerning the unjust lawsuit filed by Texas and 10 other states over the Obama Administration guidelines reminding them that federal law protects transgender students.

***

Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Texas and other states and officials have filed a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s recently released guidance to schools across the country clarifying that federal law already prohibits discrimination against students based on gender identity. Paul D. Castillo, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s South Central Regional Office in Dallas, issued the following statement:
 “By attacking laws that protect transgender people in schools and at work these state officials are determined to perpetuate fear, enshrine discrimination and endanger transgender people—and  students in particular. The suit filed today by Texas Attorney General Paxton completely and willfully misunderstands who transgender people are and the challenges they face in life. We are already in discussions with our partners here in Texas and elsewhere on next steps, and will move quickly to fight this attempt to turn back the clock. It is as true today as it has always been in the fight for civil rights: the discomfort of some can never be used to justify the discriminatory treatment of others.
“Across the country, including here in Texas, school districts have implemented without incident fair and inclusive policies that respect the rights and dignity of transgender students. In fact, accompanying the federal guidance issued two weeks ago was abundant documentation from school districts nationwide demonstrating successful implementation of these policies and the improved outcomes such respectful policies produce for all.
“Singling out transgender students for separate and unequal treatment is demeaning and harmful, and compelling them to use bathrooms that don’t correspond with their gender identity subjects them to potential abuse and harassment. All students deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in school, free of harassment, discriminatory treatment and the threat of violence.”

***

Texas GOP Files Lawsuit Against Trans Student Directive


There are many times when I'm traveling around the country to various conferences and conventions repping my hometown and home state, I get people who have a reflexive hatred of the Lone Star State asking me and other Texans why we want to live here.

My reply back is, "Because I want my home state of Texas to have the same first class human rights as you do in this so-called blue liberal-progressive oasis."

The other standard reply is, ' Love my state, hate my GOP government messing it up."

Today I was not surprised to see the Texas Republican Party continue down the destructive path of demonizing the humanity of trans Texans by filing a federal lawsuit along with 10 other states over the recent DOE/DOJ directive on how to treat transgender students.

I can always count on the Texas GOP and my governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general to stand tall for injustice and oppression  

Damn, can we get one day in the Lone Star State in which some Texas Republican isn't saying something idiotic, bigoted, homophobic, transphobic or racist?

Can I also have one day in which a Texas Republican isn't standing in front of a microphone or a television camera gleefully showing off their desire to tap into their inner transphobe?.

Oppressing a group of Texans for your own nefarious political purposes once again shows the bankruptcy of conservatism and its ongoing historic pattern of opposing human rights for anyone that isn't a straight, white, heterosexual GOP voting male..

And yeah, Texas Republican Party, #TransTexansVotesMatter.   You'll find that out in 2016, 2018 and future elections..

Judging by the recent losing track record of Texas attorney generals in federal court lately, I'm confident that once again human rights common sense will prevail and we transgender Americans will come out the winners.
.

Secretary Clinton, Where You At On Trans United Fund's Trans Issues Survey?

Back in February I wrote a post in which I proudly stood up and endorsed Sec. Hillary Clinton for president in advance of the March 1 Texas presidential primary.

I did so because I believed and still believe that she is the best qualified person left in the running for the most important office in our country.   It is also because of some actions done for trans people while she was Secretary of State in terms of the June 2010 policy change that allows trans people to get US passports with a correct gender marker and without genital surgery.   I also believed she would be the best person left in the race to continue President Obama's legacy as the best president ever when it comes to trans rights issues.

I took a lot of intense criticism from Sanders supporters for that endorsement, but  as a longtime trans community leader, I'm not afraid to make unpopular calls when they are in the best interests of my community.  

The wisdom of that endorsement was validated as she overwhelmingly won Texas, swept the South and other diverse states in our country and garnered over 11 million votes of Democrats while doing so.

.I'd like to point out, as you probably aware of because of the Trans United For Hillary group and this section of your campaign website, that some of those 11 million people who proudly voted for you are transgender Americans.

Secretary Clinton is on the verge of making history as the first female candidate to clinch the Democratic nomination and become a major party candidate for president, and I congratulate her and the campaign staff for that historic accomplishment.

But what I am concerned about is why her campaign, as it shifts to what is certain to be a hard fought fall campaign against Donald Trump (ewwh), has been reluctant to fill out the Trans United Fund survey as the Sanders campaign did. . We know why Donald Trump won't do so

We are in a moment in which the Republican Party, fundamentalists, conservative organizations and even the Ku Klux Klan are making it clear for various reasons they oppose civil rights for trans people, and are gleefully attacking transgender people's humanity as they do so.

It is also the time in American history in which a diverse group of trans Americans have visibility at levels we haven't seen since Christine Jorgensen stepped off the plane at JFK from Denmark in February 1953.

This is a time of heightened interest and support for trans people, and I appreciate the fact the Secretary has mentioned transgender Americans in some of her stump speeches.  But what we need to know as we approach a high stakes election in November is will Secretary Clinton's deeds for trans Americans match or exceed her words?

That's why Trans United Fund sent that survey, because we need an honest answer to that question that we can tell our trans constituency we are charged with representing on the national political stage.

We trans people of color also need to know that answer, because the quality of our lives for the next four years literally hangs on whether you or Donald Trump succeed the best president ever on trans issues on January 20.

As a unapologetically Black trans person who lives in Texas, The TUF survey is information I and others will consider vital when it is time for us to ponder who to vote for in the remaining primaries and the fall election.   Since this survey was put together by a diverse group of trans people, it will help us determine where you stand on a broad range of issues that affect our diverse trans community.

So please take the time out of your busy schedule to complete the TUF Presidential Candidate Survey

I live in a Republican run Texas that seems to be hellbent in becoming the undisputed champion of peddling anti-trans hatred.  Our GOP dominated legislature being out of session until January is probably the only thing that kept them from following North Carolina down the foolish path of enacting unjust HB2 style legislation that will ruin my home state's economy.

I and my trans siblings need to unequivocally know that a President Hillary Clinton will have my back, especially since I'm painfully aware that my GOP governor, lieutenant governor, my US senators and attorney general have made it clear they won't.  I need to know Secretary Clinton, that should you become the next president of the United States, that you will be a drum majorette for justice.

I need to hear your voice Secretary Clinton on the issues of importance to my trans siblings. Our trans parents and our allies need to hear your voice on the human rights issue of our time, and where you stand on the civil rights of transgender Americans.

And we need to know via the Trans United Fund survey, what you will do to protect and defend those human rights..

The 'Venus Envy' Village Voice Article

By the time I was in the late 80's I was becoming more cognizant of the fact that I wasn't happy not living as my true self, I was starting to come to the conclusion I was trans, and being in the frustrating position of not having the info readily available to make informed decisions on how to transition was becoming a heavy psychic burden on my soul

So because this was the pre-Internet days, news about trans issues and people was hard to find and come by, and when i stumbled across an article about a trans person openly living their life, it was like a a life preserver being thrown to a person drowning in misery.  Seeing those articles also gave me hope that it would one day happen for me.

I was perusing magazines at a newsstand one day back in May 1988 and noted that month's issue of the Village Voice had an article about the New York ballroom community that featured Carmen Xtravaganza.

The article was entitled 'Venus Envy: The Drag Balls Of Harlem' by Donald Snuggs.  It was the first mainstream publication article about the Harlem based ballroom community and featured Carmen in the interview.   It was also several years before the Paris Is Burning documentary would take movie theaters by storm and become an iconic film for our community.

I was fascinated by Sylvia Plachy's photo's of my trans sisters and the ballroom action, and bought it.

I was now 13 months into my airline career and had the ability to jet off anywhere in the US at that time. Fascinated by what I'd just read in that Village voice article, I resolved to go see a ball and meet Carmen one day.

After several moves I lost the magazine and the manila folder that had my trans news story clippings, so I'm happy to see this article in digital form.

While one part of that resolution came true in terms of meeting Carmen, doing a TransGriot Ten Questions interview with her and getting to chat with her from time to time, still have yet to see a New York ball.