Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Trans National Holiday 2017

There's a reason why I call October 31 the Trans National Holiday. 

It's one of the few times in our binary culture (Mardi Gras, appearing in a film or play, drag in the gayborhood or female mimics clubs are the other moments) in which cisgender men can put on the clothes of the opposite gender and not get crucified for it.

Now if you do it any other time, outside of a female illusionist club or outside the gayborhood, then you are castigated for it.

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It's also one of the times that if you are in the questioning phase of your gender identity,  Halloween became the day that you basically ventured out of the closet to make that test drive foray into the world dressed as your true self.

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It's why before I transitioned I circled October 31 on the calendar and planned my en femme forays into Montrose with the precision of the D-Day invasion.

Image result for finnie's drag ballsThen as the 80's progressed and I became more certain that it 'wasn't a phase' but an intrinsic part of who I am, I stopped just limiting myself to Halloween.

Halloween was also the time that the elaborate drag balls like Finnie's Ball in Chicago and the ones in New York dating back to the Harlem Renaissance happened that drew thousands of people.

It's why there is some truth to the joke that we tell in trans groups and at our conferences that today's crossdresser is tomorrow's trans woman booking a flight to Bangkok for her SRS.

One of the things that surprised me when I first typed in 'transsexual' just to see what happened in Google Books and all these digitized EBONY and JET magazine archived trans themed stories popped up, is my astonishment ho well in many cases EBONY and JET actually covered those issues up to and including the correct pronouns.

Through much of the 50's and 60's JET would post a short story with pics in one of their November issues of the drag queen and later drag king winners of Finnie's Ball

I was also fascinated by those pics from the New York and Chicago drag balls in a 1953 EBONY issue and how much glitz and glamor surrounded those events and the cash prizes paid to the winners.

The Incredible Coccinelle
There were also the Paris female illusionist cabarets of the late 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's like Madam Arthur, Le Carrousel and Cabaret Michou in which April Ashley, Coccinelle, Bambi, Amanda Lear and even a young Caroline Cossey performed.

While the glamorous Harlem Renaissance era balls of the 20's and 30's gave way to the ballroom community, the traditions are still there in terms of people competing to see who can looking flawlessly feminine and who can be on point masculine.

Related imageTrans themed pageants serve that purpose today along with the ballroom community.  The capital of the trans cabaret world long ago shifted from France to Thailand, home to Tiffany's and the Alcazar in the seaside resort city of Pattaya.

But on this 2017 edition of the Trans National Holiday, we do so as the dark cloud of the Trump Administration casts a shadow upon our country chock full of people hostile to the trans community.  Fundamentalists Christians and Muslims and Republican legislators attack our communities.   Even Pope Francis has violated his 'who am I to judge' statement by judging the international transgender community.

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It's why just being a girl or guy like us is a revolutionary act, and I salute all you peeps who are venturing out later on this Halloween evening and using it to take your first steps toward becoming your true selves.

Girl Becomes First Trans Cheerleader At Her School

Was wondering when I would get to post some positive news on TransGriot concerning the trans Class of 2018 and what trails they blaze at their respective schools, and here is a story straight out of California as usual.

When we transfols have the opportunity to become our true selves, once the gender issue is out of the way, we can focus our attention and awesomeness into fulfilling whatever we wish to do.

In Denair High School senior Amy Fuentes' case it was to become the first ever trans cheerleader at her school. 

"When I was first trying out for the cheer squad, it wasn't like I'm going to be the first transgender girl," Fuentes said in a PEOPLE magazine interview.  "I was just trying out because I wanted to be a cheerleader, and I wanted to dance and cheer."

Amy knew coming into high school that she wasn't one of the guys, and first came out as gay during her freshman year.   But after doing more research in her junior year, had the epiphany she was transgender.

While she has been accepted as the girl she is by her classmates and the cheer squad, she had a rougher road to acceptance with her mother.   She ended up moving in with another cheerleader because of that lack of maternal acceptance.

But the good news is that she and her mother have been resolving their differences, and she plans to move back home soon. 

Congrats Amy!   Hope your senior year is one that continues to be blessings filled for you and continued good luck in your life journey. 

Hard Hitting Ad Deployed In VA Governor's Race

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The Virginia governor's race has gotten nasty as Democratic candidate Ralph Northam has pulled ahead in a recent poll over former GOP chair Ed Gillespie to a 17 point lead in his race.

Gillespie went to the Republican race-baiting playbook and unleashed an ad insinuating Northam has ties to the MS-13 street gang in a desperate and despicable attempt to try to cut into that lead.

It's about time that the Democrats hit back against this BS, and they went WWE (hallelujah) with their own ad paid for by the Eva Longoria founded Latino Victory Project (told y'all don't sleep on this Tejana) .

And Eva, please consider coming back home to Texas and running for the US Senate

It hits the GOP where it hurts, in their bigoted base.   It shows kids of color dreaming about being chased by a man in a truck with Confederate flags and a Gillespie bumper sticker on it.  Just as the kids are cornered and about to be run over they wake up as the announcer asks the question, "Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American Dream?"

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We'll see what transpires on November 7. 

Killer Of Monica Loera Facing Trial Today

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Monica Loera of Austin was the first of a record 27 trans people murdered in the United States in 2016.   Thanks to a tip from one of my TransGriot readers Lana Hunter, I've been made aware that the person accused of murdering her, JonCasey William Rowell, is about to go on trial for Loera's murder.

Yesterday Rowell was in court as a jury was empaneled in the 299th District Criminal Court in Austin for the trial that starts tomorrow.

Rowell was charged with first degree murder in this case.

Have a few Austin trans community members planning on checking out the proceedings in the trial in the hopes that our sister receives justice in this case.   We'll also be watching to see if the defense attorney for Rowell attempts to use the trans panic defense which sadly is still legal to use in the Lone Star State.

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You know I'll be keeping an eye on what transpires in that Travis County courtroom.  I sincerely hope that justice in served on behalf of Monica and all the people who loved her.

Monday, October 30, 2017

TNA Halloween Fundraising Party At Hamburger Mary's Tomorrow

For those of you who don't want to watch Game 6 of the World Series and wish to break out your costumes  why not head over to Hamburger Mary's and do so for a good cause?

The Transgender National Alliance helps low income trans people get name and gender marker changes.  TNA helped me get mine back in February, so I got to see firsthand the work they do

Image result for hamburger mary houstonTNA is hosting a fundraiser there tomorrow night that will be emceed by Lady Shamu and  Veronica Strutts.   In addition to the Zombies of Mary's, they'll have candy, games and a raffle with prizes that include original art, jewelry, champagne and whiskey .

$20 entry fee that includes the games, $5 for the raffle tickets. 

The TNA Halloween party benefits the Transgender National Alliance and Transgender Women of Color United for Change, and will run from 6-10 PM.

If you're interested, you can call Hamburger Mary's at 713-677-0674 to reserve your table.  Hamburger Mary's Houston is located in the heart of the gayborhood at 2409 Grant Street. 

Astros One Win Away From Earning World Series History

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I was up late along with much of Houston watching that World Series record five hour extra inning game that put my fave baseball team one win away from capturing our first World Series title,

And it wouldn't be true to the nature of a Houston sports team if it didn't come with a heaping helping of nerve wracking tension.

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The Astros fell behind 4-0 in the first inning to the LA Dodgers and their ace Clayton Kershaw who shut them out for three innings until their bats woke up in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

And then it got crazy.   Yuli Gurriel smacked a three run homer that tied the game in the bottom of the fourth at 4-4, only to have  the Dodgers go back in front in the top of the fifth after Bellinger hit a three run homer to put the Dodgers back up 7-4.

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The Astros, as has been their pattern all season came back and tied it on he'd better be AL MVP Jose Altuve's three run shot in the boom of the fifth to knot the game at 7-7 and knock Kershaw out of the game.

The Dodger went back up 8-7 in the top of the seventh after George Springer's diving attempt at a sinking line drive by Bellinger got past him for a triple that scored Kiki Hernandez from first base.

World Series Game 5
Springer atoned for his fielding error by smashing a massive homer that tied the game at 8-8, which was followed up by a Bregman single, a double by Altuve that scored Bregman, and a two run homer from Carlos Correa to push the Astros to a 11-8 lead.

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The craziest game in World Series history finally ended when Alex Bregman got the walk off hit that allowed pinch runner Derek Fisher to score from second base for the 13-12 Astros win that gave them a 3-2 series lead, closed out their home playoff run with a stellar 8-1 record and put them one win away from earning the franchise's first ever World Series title.

Can't wait to see if Game 6 in Los Angeles will be a trick or a treat Astros fans have been waiting for since 1962.  I like our chances with Justin Verlander pitching for us and the best offense in baseball now awake at the right time.

Ahh! I Love The Smell Of Indictments In The Morning

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Well, the day the Trump Misadministration has been dreading finally happened

The Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign collusion with Russia in last year's election has finally dropped its first indictments, and I couldn't be happier that the prosecution party has started.

Paul Manafort, who was the campaign manager for Trump 2016 has been indicted on 12 counts of conspiracy against the United States. conspiracy to ;launder money, acting as a unregistered against of the Ukrainian government, false and misleading statements, and failure to file reports of foreign an bank accounts.

Paul Gates, Manafort's business partner, was indicted on 8 charges   Of course, Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to all the charges they are both facing.

George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, in a separate action has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his meeting s in March and April 2016 with a Russsian agent who promised 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton.

This is probably just the first of many indictments to come in the swamp that is the Trump administration, and I'll be eagerly cheering Robert Mueller III on as he continues his investigation.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Number 21- RIP Stephanie Montez

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We have lost our 21st trans person to anti-trans violence and the third in Texas this year in 47 year old Stephanie Montez.  She's also the second trans Latina we have lost in 2017 to anti-trans violence.

And yes Dan Patrick, Greg Abbott, Lois Kolkhorst and Texas Republican Party, her blood is on your hands.

She was found in a field off County Road 61 near Robstown, TX on October 21 with multiple gunshot wounds in the chest, abdomen and shoulders.   The reason I'm just finding out about this a week later is because the Nueces County Sheriff's Department misgendered and deadnamed her.

If it weren't for a Planet Transgender story  and her longtime friend Brittany Ramirez  speaking up and talking about her life in a Corpus Christi Caller Times interview , we wouldn't have known about this latest Lone Star State trans murder and the 21st in 2017 

PFLAG Corpus Christ is organizing a Trans Rights Rally in her memory on November 4. 

The Nueces County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the murder, and if you have any information on this case, you are urged to call the Nueces County Sheriff's Department or Crime Stoppers at 361-888-TIPS (8477)

I'll also be keeping track of this case until justice is served.

Rest in power and peace, Stephanie.

Happy 14th Birthday, Trinity!

Today is the 14th birthday of one of our amazing trans kids and budding advocates in Trinity Neal.

I've had the pleasure of meeting and spending quality time with both Trini and her mom DeShanna, and Trini is one impressive young lady.   When I last saw her in Philly during a Trans United Fund event I was part of during Creating Change, she was playing with a game app on her phone that she'd designed and coded herself.

The other special thing about her birthday is that she has been her true self for a decade.

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Too bad I couldn't be there in person for they party your mom is throwing that I'm sure is going to be one amazing event, but know I have much love and admiration for you.  .

If you're having a Sweet Sixteen party, maybe I'll be blessed to be in attendance for that one .

Also know Trini that anytime you need advice, to know your history or just vent, I'll drop whatever i'm doing to take that call. 

Happy birthday, Trini!   May you have and celebrate many more of them!

Get Your Early Vote On Texas!

We have a year until the 2018 elections happen in Texas, so get you practice in for that critical election cycle by getting your early vote on for November 7. 

Early voting in Texas started on October 23 and is running until November 3.  So if all that chatter in the wake of the appalling 2016 election about resistance  wasn't you sellin' woof tickets, prove it by getting up off the couch and heading to your fave early voting location to handle your democracy business.

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There are seven proposed Texas constitutional amendments on the ballot awaiting your YES or NO vote.  In Houston we not only have five propositions on the ballot, we also have people running for the HiSD school board in Districts I, III, and VIII, but an HCC trustee election in District IV.

And in HISD, the largest district in the state of Texas, there are six school board seats up for grabs .  Due to the death of District III trustee Manuel Rodriguez, Jr with two years left on his four year term, a special election is being held to fill the remaining time on his term.  Four candidates, Sergio Lira, Carlos Perrett,  Rodolfo Reyes and Jesse Rodriguez have filed to fill that seat

Houston ISD seal.gifIncumbent trustees in Districts I (Anna Eastman) and V (Michael Lunceford) opted not to seek re election.   Three candidates, Gretchen Himsl, Monica Richart and Elizabeth Santos filed for the District 1 seat.   Four candidates, Kara DeRocha, Sean Cheben, Sue Deigaard and Susan Shafer    filed for the District V seat.

Incumbent members Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca (District VI) , Anne Sung (District  VII) and Wanda Adams (District IX) have challengers   Vilaseca has two challengers in Daniel Albert and Robert Lundin. Sung is being challenged by John  Luman, and Adams by Karla Brown and Gerry Monroe 

Houston is not the only spot in the Lone Star State with November 7 elections.  There are other people running across the Lone Star State for public office who would love to have your votes

Since this will sadly be a low turnout election given the stakes, every vote matters.   Your vote may also be the difference in you candidate either winning or making a runoff.

So go handle your election business,..

Friday, October 27, 2017

Shut Up Fool Awards- Happy Halloween Weekend 2017 Edition

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It's Halloween weekend!   Even though it doesn't happen until Tuesday, there will be a lot of peeps celebrating it all weekend by hitting a costume party near them of taking the kids out in search of Halloween candy

This halloween we got a months long trick in the White House in terms of two time SUF Fool of the Year Donald Trump along with his real life horror movie of an administration.

I'm getting depressed just writing about about it. 

Anyway, time to handle my Friday business of calling out ghouls, er  fools who tell frightful lies, have a scary lack of regard for the truth, and suck the life out of decency and honor

It's time to do our Halloween version of the TransGriot Shut Up Fool Awards..

Thi week's fool is Houston Texans owner Bob McNair. 

He let his inner slaveowner loose during a closed door session between the owners and team executives during the recent NFL meetings discussing the ongoing take a knee protests that are still happening and pissing off conservafools like him and Jerry Jones. 

He made the jaw droppingly racist comment "we can't have the inmates running the prison" in referring to the #TakeAKnee protest now spreading to other leagues like the NHL, Major League Baseball, and crossing The Pond to the Bundesliga that incensed NFL executive and former player Troy Vincent.

He release the statement apologizing for his now gone viral comments, but I'm pissed about them along with every other social justice minded Texan fan.

Bob McNair, shut up fool


Thursday, October 26, 2017

TransGriot 2017 NFL Picks -Week 8

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After my first sub 500 week ince 2015, I definitely did not want to repeat that in Week 7 (or for the rest of the season). and rebounded nicely from that with a 10-5 record.

However, so did Mike Watts,   We ended up tied because I correctly picked the Bills and Jaguars games and he got the Dolphins and Broncos games correct.  The Week 7 tie means I still have a three game lead on him.

We are now at the midpoint of the NFL season, and I'm still on track to threepeat.   My fave NFL ballers come out of the bye week with the tough assignment of facing the Seattle Seahawks in CenturyLink Field.

So far our rookie QB is on pace to break the rookie TD record set by the quarterback he's playing Sunday in Russell Wilson, and it should be a fun game.

Speaking of fun, let's get to this week's picks.    Six teams, the Cardinals, Packers, Giants, Rams, Titans and Jaguars all are on their bye week, so only 13 games to select winners from.

My picks to win this week's games are in bold print with home team in CAPS.  Mike's Week 8 picks are here.

Week 7 Results                                                                             2017 NFL Season
TransGriot   10-5                                                                          TransGriot   64-42
Mike            10-5                                                                           Mike           61-45

Thursday Night Game
Dolphins over RAVENS

Sunday London Game
Vikings over BROWNS

Sunday Early Games
PATRIOTS over Chargers
SAINTS over Bears
Panthers over BUCCANEERS
BENGALS over Colts
Raiders over BILLS
EAGLES over 49ers
Falcons over JETS

Sunday Afternoon Games
SEAHAWKS over Texans
Cowboys over WASHINGTON

Sunday Night Game
Steelers over LIONS

Monday Night Game
CHIEFS over Broncos

Happy Milestone Birthday, Hillary Clinton

Had one of my posts from last year pop up to remind me once again how badly this country was screwed when the Orange Moron got elected

Today is Hillary Clinton's birthday, and she was born on this date 70 years ago in Chicago.   Would've been wonderful for our nation if she was celebrating this 70th birthday from the White House.as POTUS

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And yeah, I'm not going to let you far left wing Hillary haters forget how you shortsighted animus for this accomplished woman and you letting your hurt fee fees over her beating St Bernard of Sanders led to this nightmare of a presidency were going to have to spend years cleaning up the mess from.

Happy milestone birthday Madame President Secretary!   Thank you for the years you have served our country as our First lady, a senator and the previous Secretary of State.when we had a coherent goals oriented foreign policy.

.We could've had another intelligent, well prepared person in the Oval Office, but now we have a petulant man baby(emphasis on baby) with his tiny hands on the nuke launch codes.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

FRC Is Deploying The Kneegrow Sellouts Against You What's Your Response TBLGQ Community?

Myself and other Black TBLGQ people have been warning people in the white TBLGQ ranks for years that if you didn't start actually hiring Black TBLGQ people for your organizations, that one day the hatemongers would notice and exploit your willful racial blind spot to use against you.

That day has now come to pass.  In a Washington DC press conference held on the steps of the Supreme Court, the conservakneegrows were cooning it up for conservamassa in advance of the Masterpiece Cake 'religious liberty' SCOTUS case that will be argued in front of the SCOTUS on December 5.

Of course the conservakneegrows tried to once again push the tired line that the African American Civil Rights Movement and the TBLGQ rights movement aren't the same.

Well, duh conservafools, that's already a given because both have different goals. 

But there sure is a lot of overlap.  And while the movements are different, the oppression and the oppressors we face are the same, and they have been emboldened to act now that Trump is in office.

Where they are also similar is that we are fighting in Tony Perkins and his dishonorable friends the same white right wing Bible thumping fundamentalists who opposed Dr King then and currently oppose our 21st Century human rights fight as TBLGQ people.

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And to back up my point about who it is we're fighting, the person circled in red speaking at this  Louisiana Council of Conservative Citizens (the remixed White Citizens Councils) meeting that Dr King and others fought in the Civil Rights Movement days is none other than the FRC's Tony Perkins.

So naw, conservakneegrows, you are not 'standing up for you faith, you are traitorously colluding with our longtime human rights enemies and cosigning white supremacy if you have Jack's back.

To quote 1 Timothy 5:8   Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

And note to you useful fools: it has always been the coal of the conservative movement to drive a wedge between the Black and TBLGQ communities.  There are more similarities than differences in the two movements, and that's a point that civil rights warrior John Lewis made sometime ago but bears repeating.

Image result"I fought too long and too hard to end discrimination based on race and color, to not stand up against discrimination against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As your representative in Congress, I work daily to combat injustice and fight for equality.

Human rights, civil rights, these are issues of dignity. Every human being walking this Earth, whether gay, lesbian, straight, or transgender, is entitled to the same rights. It is in keeping with America’s promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Human rights, civil rights, these are issues of dignity. Every human being walking this Earth, whether gay, lesbian, straight, or transgender, is entitled to the same rights. It is in keeping with America’s promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Another civil rights warrior who also had something to say about the civil rights and TBLGQ rights movements is Coretta Scott King.

"I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.
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"My husband, Martin Luther King Jr., once said, 'We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny... an inescapable network of mutuality,... I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.' Therefore, I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people." 

Tony Perkins and his conservakneegrow auxiliaries want to quote the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr out of context and hoodwink and bamboozle you into forgetting this point, but duh, Black TBLGQ people exist.   And we are more than just backdrops for your fundraising photos for your predominately white and LG orgs to fundraise off of. 

Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry wee major though leaders and influencers for the Black civil rights movement.   Rustin and Baldwin were thought leaders for the TBLGQ one as well

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rd Rustin, James Baldwin, and Lorraine Hansberry were major thought leaders and influencers in the Black civil rights movement  who are also part of the TBLGQ community

Sadly, it seems as though our white TBLGQ siblings want to forget at times we exist, especially when it comes to getting paid for this community's human rights work or who is seen as spokespersons for it. 

But the reality is glaringly apparent that for our orgs to be at maximum effectiveness in fighting the right wing tyranny aimed at us by the Christohaters, they must be as diverse as this community in order to beat back these cynical attempts to play racial wedge politics that pit the Black and TBLGQ communities against each other.   


So what are you gonna do, now that the haters are deploying kneegrow sellouts against you?    


Happy 75th Birthday Miss Major! You're Still F*****g Here!

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Y'all know I have much love and respect for my trans elder Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, and pick up the phone to call and check in on her from time to time.  Sometimes she does the reverse and calls to check up on me. 

Today it was me calling her to wish her a happy 75th birthday, and was disappointed when I got her voice mail.  But I left a message and started writing this post.

Image result for Miss MajorHappy birthday Miss Major!  It's nice to see that your story is finally being told for posterity and the historical record.  Thank you and your generation of trans women for being out and proud in an era that seriously discouraged it with anti-crossdressing laws and anti-trans repression.

Thank you for being a mentor to my generation of trans kids, and telling us our history so we can pass it on to the next generation of trans kids.

Those kids are at this moment raising the expectation bar even higher on what it means to be an unapologetically Black trans person

And finally, thanks to the Creator for blessing you with the ability to still be f*****g here, gracing us with your presence, checking in on me and others from time to time, and telling your story.

Thank you for also being an inspiration to all of us and reminding us and the world that trans people didn't just pop up all of a sudden in the late 20th century.  We've always been f*****g here and part of the community.

Happy birthday Miss Major!  May you have many more of them!

TX Legislative Heroes Speaker Joe Straus, Rep Byron Cook Not Running For Re-Election

House Speaker Joe Straus gaveled in a special session of the 85th Legislature on July 18, 2017.
One of the major reasons that the transphobic Hate Bill 6/3 didn't become law was in large part because of the efforts of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and Rep Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), the chair of the House State Affairs Committee.

Image result for Texas House special session sine dieThey ensured that the unjust SB6/3 when it came to the House not only got bottled up, but never made it to the House floor when the regular session and the subsequent Special Oppression Session went sine die.

Now come the horrific news to those of us fighting the Texas Axis of Oppression that Speaker Straus and Rep. Cook within minutes of each other announced they were not seeking reelection to the Texas House in 2018.

Crap, that means the Texas Freedumb Caucus and all their Trumpian wingnuts won't have adult supervision when the next legislative session kicks off in 2019

Neither man has ruled out running for higher office.

Joe Straus, with his hand on the Bible, was sworn in as speaker of the Texas House in January.
"I believe that in a representative democracy, those who serve in public office should do so for a time, not a lifetime.   It's been decades since someone has left the Speaker's office on his own terms. But we have accomplished what I had hoped the House would accomplish when I first entered this office, and I am increasingly eager to contribute to our state in new and different ways," Straus said in a Facebook post announcing his decision.  

Of course, you know the Lone Star hatemongers like Jonathan Saenz are celebrating his decision and doing the happy dance.

Had Straus run and won in 2018, it would have been his record setting sixth term as Texas Speaker. 
Now he leaves office and the speaker's gavel behind, and the 2018 Texas election just got more serious to those of us that the Texas GOP majority wishes to oppress.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Brazilian Trans Community Embraces Hit Soap Opera 'Edge Of Desire'

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Here in the US, we not only get to see ourselves represented on screen, we are at the point that we have trans actors playing the trans roles we see on our broadcast networks.

Currently we get to see the lovely Amiyah Scott on the FOX show Star,  Laverne Cox in Orange Is The New Black and Doubt, Trace Lysette on Transparent, and Rain Valdez on Lopez.

Carol Duarte aparecerá cortando os fios em cena de 'A Força do Querer'
Down in Brazil, the embattled trans community turns their TV sets to the Globo network to watch the hit soap opera Edge Of Desire which features a lead trans character played by actress Carol Duarte named Ivana who is transitioning in the transmasculine direction to Ivan.

Image result for Carol Duarte as IvanSeveral of the Edge of Desire supporting characters are trans persons once they step out of the studio for taping. 

The soap has the most watched Brazilian newscast as a lead in, and is created and written by Gloria Perez. 

"The soap opera is a reflection of Brazilian society at any given moment," she said..  Perez also wanted to create a transgender character that viewers would feel empathy for and also start a conversation in a nation that had 144 trans murders last year.

"I thought it was time to talk about it," said Perez. 

Perez has succeeded in creating a character viewers have empathy for.  The Brazil trans community believes that this is the most accurate and nuanced fictional portrayal of their lives ever in Brazilian media.

And they along with the 50 million viewers watching the show have followed every moment of Ivan's transition from the conversation with her mother after Ivan cut his hair,  his increasingly tense home life to the employment discrimination and attacks from strangers he faced while out and about in Brazilian society.

Carol Duarte adota cabelo curto para fase como Ivan em 'A Força do Querer' em fotos divulgadas nesta quarta-feira, dia 23 de agosto de 2017
Carol Duarte felt the role was a daunting responsibility at first, but has been surprised by the positive reception for her character.  'But the reaction has been so warm and supportive.  People are cheering for Ivan to find his own happiness."

Here's hoping there's a dual happy ending not only for Ivan, but for the Brazilian trans community.

Sen. Jeff Flake's US Senate Floor Speech

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TransGriot Note: I'm not a fan of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) because far too often he has been on the wrong side of human rights and other issues I deem important as an unapologetic liberal Texas Democrat. 

But I do have to give him his props for rising on the floor of the US. Senate today and giving a speech calling out 45 that was needed and necessary for someone in his party to say and be heard by the entire nation. 

It would have been more impressive though if he were going to run for re-election next year. 

Here's the text of Sen/ Flake's speech as prepared for delivery.

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"Mr. President, I rise today to address a matter that has been much on my mind, at a moment when it seems that our democracy is more defined by our discord and our dysfunction than it is by our values and our principles. Let me begin by noting a somewhat obvious point that these offices that we hold are not ours to hold indefinitely. We are not here simply to mark time. Sustained incumbency is certainly not the point of seeking office. And there are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles.
Now is such a time.
It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret, because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our – all of our – complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.
In this century, a new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a new and undesirable order – that phrase being “the new normal.” But we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue – with the tone set at the top.
We must never regard as “normal” the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country - the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.
None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal.
Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it like it is,” when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.
And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength – because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.
It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that? When the next generation asks us, Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? -- what are we going to say?
Mr. President, I rise today to say: Enough. We must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes normal. With respect and humility, I must say that we have fooled ourselves for long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it. We know better than that. By now, we all know better than that.
Here, today, I stand to say that we would better serve the country and better fulfill our obligations under the constitution by adhering to our Article 1 “old normal” – Mr. Madison’s doctrine of the separation of powers. This genius innovation which affirms Madison’s status as a true visionary and for which Madison argued in Federalist 51 – held that the equal branches of our government would balance and counteract each other when necessary. “Ambition counteracts ambition,” he wrote.
But what happens if ambition fails to counteract ambition? What happens if stability fails to assert itself in the face of chaos and instability? If decency fails to call out indecency? Were the shoe on the other foot, would we Republicans meekly accept such behavior on display from dominant Democrats? Of course not, and we would be wrong if we did.
When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do – because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseum – when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations. Those things are far more important than politics.
Now, I am aware that more politically savvy people than I caution against such talk. I am aware that a segment of my party believes that anything short of complete and unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party is unacceptable and suspect.
If I have been critical, it not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States. If I have been critical, it is because I believe that it is my obligation to do so, as a matter of duty and conscience. The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters - the notion that one should say and do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.
A Republican president named Roosevelt had this to say about the president and a citizen’s relationship to the office:
“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.” President Roosevelt continued. “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
Acting on conscience and principle is the manner in which we express our moral selves, and as such, loyalty to conscience and principle should supersede loyalty to any man or party. We can all be forgiven for failing in that measure from time to time. I certainly put myself at the top of the list of those who fall short in that regard. I am holier-than-none. But too often, we rush not to salvage principle but to forgive and excuse our failures so that we might accommodate them and go right on failing—until the accommodation itself becomes our principle.
In that way and over time, we can justify almost any behavior and sacrifice almost any principle. I’m afraid that is where we now find ourselves.
When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to first look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops. Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly and debased appetites in us.
Leadership lives by the American creed: E Pluribus Unum. From many, one. American leadership looks to the world, and just as Lincoln did, sees the family of man. Humanity is not a zero-sum game. When we have been at our most prosperous, we have also been at our most principled. And when we do well, the rest of the world also does well.
These articles of civic faith have been central to the American identity for as long as we have all been alive. They are our birthright and our obligation. We must guard them jealously, and pass them on for as long as the calendar has days. To betray them, or to be unserious in their defense is a betrayal of the fundamental obligations of American leadership. And to behave as if they don’t matter is simply not who we are.
Now, the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question. When the United States emerged from World War II we contributed about half of the world’s economic activity. It would have been easy to secure our dominance, keeping the countries that had been defeated or greatly weakened during the war in their place. We didn’t do that. It would have been easy to focus inward. We resisted those impulses. Instead, we financed reconstruction of shattered countries and created international organizations and institutions that have helped provide security and foster prosperity around the world for more than 70 years.
Now, it seems that we, the architects of this visionary rules-based world order that has brought so much freedom and prosperity, are the ones most eager to abandon it.
The implications of this abandonment are profound. And the beneficiaries of this rather radical departure in the American approach to the world are the ideological enemies of our values. Despotism loves a vacuum. And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership. Why are they doing this? None of this is normal. And what do we as United States Senators have to say about it?
The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics. Because politics can make us silent when we should speak, and silence can equal complicity.
I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit.
I have decided that I will be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself from the political considerations that consume far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles.
To that end, I am announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019.
It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, and who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party – the party that for so long has defined itself by belief in those things. It is also clear to me for the moment we have given in or given up on those core principles in favor of the more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment. To be clear, the anger and resentment that the people feel at the royal mess we have created are justified. But anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.
There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal – but mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems and giving in to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people. In the case of the Republican party, those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking minority party.
We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake. And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are.
This spell will eventually break. That is my belief. We will return to ourselves once more, and I say the sooner the better. Because to have a healthy government we must have healthy and functioning parties. We must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared values, comity and good faith. We must argue our positions fervently, and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man, and always look for the good. Until that days comes, we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it. Because it does.
I plan to spend the remaining fourteen months of my senate term doing just that.
Mr. President, the graveyard is full of indispensable men and women -- none of us here is indispensable. Nor were even the great figures from history who toiled at these very desks in this very chamber to shape this country that we have inherited. What is indispensable are the values that they consecrated in Philadelphia and in this place, values which have endured and will endure for so long as men and women wish to remain free. What is indispensable is what we do here in defense of those values. A political career doesn’t mean much if we are complicit in undermining those values.
I thank my colleagues for indulging me here today, and will close by borrowing the words of President Lincoln, who knew more about healing enmity and preserving our founding values than any other American who has ever lived. His words from his first inaugural were a prayer in his time, and are no less so in ours:
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor."

Monday, October 23, 2017

You Are Beautiful, Black Trans Women

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'I defy any doctor in the world to prove that I am not a woman.  I have lived, dressed, acted just what I am, a woman.'-Lucy Hicks Anderson

One of the things that we all struggle with at times as Black trans women is dealing with the dysphoria that whacks us from time to time.

Yes, we know that we are women, too, but whether you're pre, post or non op, there are times the 'that;s a man' insults that seems to come at you from all directions stings harder on some days than others.

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And yes, we trans women can be some of our own harshest critics when it comes to scrutinizing ourselves and how we stack up with our trans sisters

You come in 24 different skin tones from light bright and damned near white to deepest darkest ebony.  Your fine brown frames come in all shapes and sizes.

It also doesn't help that we cis and trans Black women are also dealing with a beauty standard that never had us in mind when whiteness and white supremacy decided to elevate white women as the penultimate example of beauty, femininity and fertility that all women should aspire to. 

Deep breath, everyone.

I know it is a challenging time for us and the trans community.  We're under sustained attack by the Forces of Intolerance with a hostile Republican controlled federal government in place.   We have Black cis women in our own ranks sounding like white cis feminine TERF's.   You have days when your mood goes up and down with your hormones, and you feel like you can either conquer the world or wish you could just crawl back under the covers and not deal with crap today.

But remember, you are Black trans women.  You can accomplish anything you put your minds to.

You helped kick off a movement at Stonewall.  You stood up to oppression repeatedly at Compton's Cafeteria in 1966, Dewey's Lunch Counter in Philadelphia in 1965, and Cooper's Donuts in LA in 1959.  Sometimes you did it alone, sometime in coalition with others.

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You have Black trans women who blazed trails and defiantly fought for your right to exist from Mary Jones to  Lucy Hicks Anderson  to Marsha P. Johnson    My generation picked up that leadership torch from and are now carrying it for you until it is time for y'all to accept it from us.

One of us got elected to a state legislature in 1990.   One of us is about to be featured in Playboy as their first ever playmate.   You are cutting edge thinkers, leaders, educators and trailblazers in this movement.   You stylishly rock fashion runways and red carpet.   You write New York Times best selling books like Janet.  You slay pageants and balls.  You grace our television screens like Amiyah and Laverne and you sing like angels all the way to Carnegie Hall like Tona Brown.

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You have Black trans women who are not only running for office in Minneapolis, you are making trailblazing steps to shape the direction in which one of our major political parties will go as Marisa Richmond will do as a DNC member.   You are handling your business when it comes to getting your education, and you are desired and wanted as a life partner in a long term relationship.

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You are all that and ten bags of barbeque chips.   And our Black trans feminine teens like Trinity will do even more amazing things as they grow to adulthood and I hope I'm around to see it. 

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And yes, I need to say it, since Black trans women don't hear it enough.   You are beautiful, my Black trans sisters.   You are enough, to borrow your trans brother Kye Allums' words.

You are valid.  You are part of the diverse mosaic of human life.  You undeniably exist no matter how many times our right wing and TERF opposition try and fail to denigrate our humanity.

You are fabulous and you are my sister, no matter where you live across the Diaspora.  Whether you live in Brazil, the Caribbean, the USA, Europe, or on the African continent, we are connected through our DNA, history and being Black on a planet that universally reviles Blackness.

Never forget that.  Never forget  that you are beautiful, Black trans women.