Saturday, August 29, 2015

Our Black Trans Lives And Human Rights Matter

TransGriot Note:  I wrote this post for Equality Texas.

Ever since the conservative moment lost their culture war to stop marriage equality from happening in Texas and across this nation, they have been increasingly shifting their attacks to demonizing the trans community.  That increased anti-trans rhetoric and attempts in several states including Texas to criminalize trans peoples lives has had deleterious effects on trans women of color and especially the African-American trans community.

While the 2011 Injustice At Every Turn survey revealed the extent of the problems that trans America faces, that inaugural survey also pointed out Black Trans World is catching hell.  In addition to 26% unemployment, 41% of the respondents reporting experiencing homelessness, 21% reporting discrimination in health care, 20% reporting being HIV+ and 34% of the respondents reporting a household income of less than $10,000.

Another area we're catching hell at is the unacceptable level of anti-trans murders disproportionately affecting Black trans women  Since Islan Nettles was murdered in August 2013, we have had 25 trans women killed (and counting) with the overwhelming majority of them being Black trans women.

I believe the increased anti-trans rhetoric may be a factor in the unprecedented numbers of trans women of color being murdered in 2015.  As of this writing 17 trans women have been killed across the United States in which 12 have been Black, and another Black trans woman is in critical condition in a Philadelphia hospital after being savagely attacked on August 20.

Sadly two of the lives lost, Ty Underwood of North Tyler and Shade Schuler of Dallas are Texans. The other pattern that is alarming me is that many of the trans women who have lost their lives this year have been under 40.  While we haven't lost any trans Houstonians yet, I fear it's just a matter of time with this current battle over HERO all the hateful anti-trans rhetoric that has been uttered by our opponents focused on their despicable strategy of bearing false witness against and demonizing the trans community.

What is infuriating to me as a proud African-American native Houstonian who fought hard with a group of my fellow Houstonians to pass the HERO was seeing a cadre of African-American ministers joining with out of town conservative gaybaiters to spread debunked anti-trans lies to hoodwink and bamboozle people into voting against their own human rights.

Contrary to these modern day Pharisees loud and wrong opinions, trans African Americans have been part of the of the kente cloth fabric of Black life for several decades.

When will our lives matter not only to my people, but to our fellow human beings as well who assert they are our allies?   One of the things allies can do to show support for us is helping a Fran Watson created We The People White House petition get to 100K signatures by its September 10 deadline.  It calls for a federal investigation into the causes of anti-transgender violence but unfortunately has only 4,663 signatures at the time of this writing.

It's past time for our Black lives to not only matter to people inside and outside our community, but have our allies fight just as hard to make our human rights a reality as Marsha, Sylvia and countless other trans women have done for yours.

Ask A`Trans Attracted Man: Trans Murders Part 2

This is Part 2 of Troy's thoughts about the epidemic of anti-trans murders aimed disproportionately at Black trans women.

If you wish to check out Part 1 of Troy's commentary, you can do so by clicking on the link 

Katrina 10th Anniversary

Today is the tenth anniversary of the devastating 2005 landfall of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area.   It would turn out to be the fifth deadliest storm to ever hit the United States and caused the reported deaths of 1,833 people   It also resulted in once the levees failed in 80% of New Orleans being flooded and major damage to the roof of the Superdome.

It also had far reaching effects post landfall in forcing the largest movement of African-Americans since The Great Migration of the early 20th century and affecting the politics of the states of Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.

Because of Katrina evacuees, the population of Houston grew by 35,000 people, and enough stayed to where we ended up expanding City Council after the 2010 census. Georgia picked up a congressional seat and Texas picked up four congressional seats.

Conversely, New Orleans lost half its pre-storm population and the state of Louisiana lost 4.8% of its pre-Katrina population and a congressional seat. Louisiana also went from being a swing state to a reliably Republican voting one.

And yes, Katrina also affected the lives of our trans family who lived there.

The badly botched government response by the Bush Administration was probably a factor in the Democrats getting control of the US House and the Senate in the 2006 midterms the next year.

New Orleans and the area has bounced back ten years later,  Many of the people who left the city in the wake of Katrina have returned.   The Superdome reopened, and the levees and highways damaged by the storm have been rebuilt.  President Obama visited the city earlier this week, spoke with residents and Mayor Mitch Landrieu and gave this speech.

There will also be commemorative events across the area today as people remember the folks that were lost in that devastating storm.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Shut Up Fool Awards-Blue Bell's Back Edition

Image result for blue bell ice cream returnsThe Great Blue Bell Famine of 2015 is about to end in the Houston area! 

After the Alabama production plant was cleared to resume making the Best Ice Cream In The Country, it is making four flavors, homemade vanilla,  Dutch chocolate, cookies and cream and The Great Divide (chocolate and homemade vanilla combined) until they can get back up to full production.

It will start hitting Houston store shelves on August 31, but after I get reacquainted with one half gallon of the returning flavors, will have to wait until the diet stuff hits the grocer's freezers.

Enough jibber jabber about my favorite ice cream, it's time to start calling out fools.  

Honorable mention number one to Donald Trump for being a racist azzhole.and getting us a step closer to that permanent political allegiance switch of Latinos to the Democratic Party happening by kicking Jorge Ramos out of an Iowa press conference.   He also let another sexist comment fly at Megyn Kelly among his other WTFery on the GOP campaign trail this week.

Keep it up Donald.  Your Latino community poll numbers are probably lower than Yolanda Saldivar's now.

Honorable mention number two is Megyn Kelly, for putting her pumps in her conservafool mouth and demanding that Dr Cornel West explain why #BlackLivesMatter hasn't in her words discussed lack-on black violence, and he schooled her azz.

Honorable mention number three is the now suspended ODU Sigma Nu chapter for hanging some offensive signs at their frat house over the weekend.  Semester hasn't even stared and they have already earned an 'F' in treating women with dignity and respect.

Honorable mention number four is SD state rep Roger Hunt, (R) who is proposing genital inspections of transgender athletes because he's pissed off about the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s recent adoption of a trans equality policy.

Figures it would be a GOP legislative pervert proposing this latest attack on trans kids

Honorable mention number five is Michael Brown, who is still trying to spin a decade later the 'heck of a job' he did as head of FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

 Dude, stop trying to spin you way out of the abysmal job you did.  History and the videotape don't lie.

Honorable mention number six is the FOX Noise kneegrow fembot Harris Faulkner,  who parted her lips to say that parents need to keep their daughters in the kitchen to prevent fraternity rapes.

And when did you have that wash, set and GOP cranial rinse?

This week's Shut Up Fool winner is Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.   The word got leaked they are pitching a new reality TV show in which they counsel the victims of sexual abuse.

Really?  The peeps who failed their own daughters miserably on that subject now want a TV show to counsel somebody else's childrenwho have fallen victim/to people ilke the predator son they protetced?

What next?  A show featuring Jared Fogle talking about how to avoid online child molesters?   Bernie Madoff giving investment advice?

Jim Bob and Michelle, your 15 minutes is up, and I need to say this razorback style:  Woo pig sooie, PHOOEY! 

Translation:  Shut up fools!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tired Of The Black Cis Community Denying Our Humanity

"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity."
Nelson Mandela

One of the things I'm really getting sick of is people who share my ethnic heritage reciting right wing anti-trans talking points.

The latest example of that comes from the head of the Houston Black Area Democrats (HBAD), Edward Pollard, who is catching heat for their endorsement of HERO hatin' Council Member Michael Kubosh.

I woke up this morning thinking about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) and was wondering if gender identity is protected as a class, why isn't age identity or race identity protected as well. If a person was was 50 but identified themself as 21 and put that on her job app, shouldn't she be protected too from discrimination? Or what about a college kid who got a scholarship to a public school for being Asian but was really Hispanic, shouldn't he be protected too? What are your thoughts on age and race identity? ‪#‎mondaymorningthoughts‬

WTF?  Let me spell this out for you.  HERO protects from discrimination in 15 categories that include , race , sex, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, and pregnancy.

In the cased of discrimination reported to the City of Houston from May 28. 2014 until January 15, 2015, 54% of the complaints were based on race.  17% were gender, 15% age, 4% for disability and national origin,, and 2% veteran's status.  

Where did sexual orientation and gender ID complaints rank?   4% of the complaints the OIG's office received cited that as a factor.

But let's get back to what I really wanted to gripe about in terms of elements of the so call Black community leadership denying the humanity of Black trans Houstonians

But first, need to do a little Trans 101 and explain the concept of gender identity to you, The short version is it's a person's inner sense of being male or female and how they project and express that to the world.   If your gender identity happens to line up neatly with the body you are walking Planet Earth on, and that makes you cisgender.   Mine didn't, and that makes me transgender.  

Gender identity is not, Edward, that jacked up convoluted crap you regurgitated on Monday. 

I'm beyond sick and tired along with Black trans Houstonians of Black cis people reciting a long go debunked right wing talking point.  If you want to know what it's like to walk in my pumps or my Black trans brother's shoes, then ASK us.

Bottom line is for you to stop lying about our lives, and stop denying our humanity.   You can't spell Black lives matter without the 'T', and I and Black trans people around the country are not going to let you forget it.

Houston Trans Vigil

Was honored to participate in a vigil at Hermann Park honoring the lives of the 17 trans women we have lost in 2015.   The vigil was organized by Ashton Woods and in addition to myself being one of the speakers, Dee Dee Watters and Brenda Langer also said a few words along with Woods to close out the event that started at 6 PM and was covered by one local news station.

You can't spell #BlackLivesMatter without the 'T", and my short speech was geared toward  reminding people about that simple fact.   I also reminded people that those who wish to deny our human rights, like our HERO hatin' opponents, are denying our very humanity.

I also called out the Houston media for lying about transpeople and peddling that debunked bathroom lie and expressed my fears  that the anti-trans negativity being sowed by the faith based oppressors may manifest itself into anti-trans violence aimed at Houston trans people

I also reminded people that we are still trying to get a WH petition calling for a federal investigation of the anti-trans violence leading to our murders to the 100K mark.  It is as of this writing well short of the 100K signatures it needs by September 9, and this is a short term way to show support for the trans communities of color..

We closed it out by saying the names of the 17 trans women murdered before going back to our lives and hoping that our allies in attendance do their part to help squash anti-trans rhetoric and disinformation in their influence circles. .

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Maybe If...

Guest Post by Vanessa Victoria.   This was originally on her Facebook page, and it needed to be shared and signal boosted.

Maybe if…
Maybe if every man who has ever hired a trans escort, if every boy who has ever beat off to trans porn, if the millions who fetishize our bodies, who press us against hotel windows, who lay with us in our beds, if the men who adore me and my sisters, but only behind closed doors, would STAND THE FUCK UP AND SPEAK OUT…maybe 17 Transgender Women, wouldn't have gotten murdered in 2015.
Maybe if all of you who read this, our allies and friends and colleagues and family, would call out when others make jokes at our expense, even when we’re not around, if you’d tell advertisers and producers and journalists and writers and comics that you’re not okay with them making trans women nothing but the punchline of jokes or tragic tossaways, that you know us, that we’re not disposable….maybe groups of people would stop feeling so free to harass me and my sisters, maybe crowds wouldn’t just laugh when a man spits at me, or just watch when two young men chase me down the street yelling “shemale”…maybe if you ALL stood up and said enough, maybe a young woman just being herself wouldn’t be beat to death in the streets of the supposedly best place on earth to just be yourself.

Maybe if all the gay men who act as if equality means marriage, if all the white feminists who only serve those that look like them, if all the queers who drop “TWOC” like a shibboleth but don’t know or talk to or walk beside any actual trans women of color…maybe if all of you saw what was happening here and how your actions allow it, how every moment of silence, of waiting for people of color to start the conversation about race …maybe these women could have enjoyed a few more years of being beautiful among us.
It happened because our men won’t admit they love us, because our friends aren’t speaking out against the thousand little dehumanizing actions of others, because our own “LGBT” community isn’t comfortable talking about race and class.

Ask A Trans Attracted Man: Trans Murders

Been a while since I've had a video up from Troy, and in this one he's commenting on the far too frequent murders of Black trans women.

You can check out Troy's other videos on his YouTube channel.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Upcoming Must See Trans TV- The 'Transgender In America' Show On HLN

I'd talked about it in terms of the O'Bannon women being on this show, and now the preview videos are finally coming out.

On August 26 and 27 HLN's  Dr Drew show will be broadcasting over two nights a Transgender In America show in front of an all-trans audience starting at 8 PM CDT.

You may wish to set your DVR's for this one, and here's the preview video of the upcoming broacast .

Once again, the Transgender In America show will be broadcast on HLN, and I'm looking forward to seeing what people I know show up not only as the guests on the show, but in the studio audience.,

Why Is This Trans WH Petition Lagging In Getting The Necessary 100K Signatures?

When a White House petition posted on January 3 in honor of the departed Leelah Alcorn called for the passage of Leelah's Law to ban all conversion therapy aimed at TBLG Americans, it easily garnered its over 100,000 signatures, and got a WH response from Valerie Jarrett

Now we have a Fran Watson created White House petition posted on August 10 calling for the federal government to investigate the anti-trans violence that leads to the unacceptable slaughter of trans women of color.  

And how close are we to hitting that 100,000 signature threshold that we need to reach by September 10?   As of this writing, it has only 4735 signatures, well short of the number needed.

Ii this signature rate doesn't ramp up soon, we are probably NOT going to hit that 100,000 signature target required by September 10 to get an official White House response on this .

 And that's irritating and depressing to the trans communities of color reeling from the off the charts murders and anti-trans rhetoric being aimed at us.   I have no doubts if the racial composition of the trans murder victims was switched, and it was overwhelmingly white trans women under 30 being eviscerated, this would be 'State of Emergency' news and we would have already hit that signature target.

But since its predominately Black and Latina trans women, note it's now August 25 and we haven't even gotten to 50,000 signatures, much less 10,000.

This disappointing response is sending us in Trans POC World and our allies the unmistakable impression that All Trans Lives Don't Matter, and that the lives of the 17 murdered trans women of color we've lost in 2015 don't matter as much as one non-POC teen that committed suicide.  

The differing signature rates between the WH Leelah's Law petition and the current one aimed at trying to get action on a trans issue that overwhelmingly affects trans women of color is striking and a problematic look.  

So come on trans community and allies.  How about you showing as much love for murdered non-white trans women as you did for Leelah Alcorn earlier this year?  Black Lives Matter, how about you 
encouraging people to sign this WH petition?    Where you at NAACP?  Congressional Black Caucus?

Sign it and share it...Talk this petition up and also get people to understand why this is important to get 100K signatures for it so we can hit and exceed the signature target before that September 10 deadline. 

The clock's ticking.

JCPS Finally Passes Trans Policy Expansion!

Last night some old Louisville human rights business I'd been working on since 2007 and had to unhappily leave undone when I moved in 2010 was finally completed!

By a nearly unanimous 6-1 vote, the Jefferson County Public School Board in Louisville voted to expand the JCPS  anti-harassment and non discrimination policies to includes  added gender identity and expression to the district's non discrimination and anti-bullying policies.

And the wonderful Bluegrass State news news had me doing the happy dance deep in the heart of Southeast Texas.

It was a process that Mike Slaton and I along with a team of people had been fighting for back in 2007, and I was bitterly disappointed when the gender identity and expression language was cut in favor of adding sexual orientation only

JCPS is Kentucky's largest school district, with 101,000+ students, 172 schools, and 6,400+ teachers, With this near unanimous vote, JCPS becomes only the second school district in the state to add gender identity to its non-discrimination and bullying and harassment policies.

The Fayette County Public School Board in Lexington approved a similar policy in July 2012.

As Metro Louisville Human Relations Commissioner Dawn Wilson said in a statement on her Facebook page," Tonight, the ghost of 2007 was finally laid to rest.  No outside opposition. Room supportive. As the education chair of the Louisville Human Relations Commission I applaud the JCPS board for passing 6-1 gender ID and expression to the school policy!

The chair of GLSEN Bluegrass was also pleased with what transpired at the Van Hoose Education Center last night.
“We are pleased to see JCPS pass this policy and join Fayette County as the only two school districts in the state with fully inclusive policies that protect students regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Zoey Peach, chair of GLSEN Bluegrass. “With the knowledge that they are protected from bullying and discrimination, these policies will ensure a safe and affirming school climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in these schools.” 

And I'm happy for the trans JCPS students and employees the expansion of this policy will protect. . 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Trans Class of 2016, Have A Wonderful School Year!

Seeing the pictures of my niece and other kids dressed for school on my Facebook feed reminded me that the 2015-16 school year has started.   Students across the country have either started their schooling like my niece, are moving to the next levels like middle school, high school or college or in grad schools.

Among the students headed to our nation's schools, colleges and universities are trans students.  

As always, if peeps try to give you problems about your trans status in the school setting, there are organizations like GLSEN, Lambda Legal and the ACLU will be standing by along with local activists to ensure  your right to be you, participate in school activities and events while working toward completing your education.

I and your trans elders are proud of you members of the Trans Class of 2016, and know that over time, you will do amazing things that will continue to justify our faith in investing in your success.  

I know there are some of you who will make some trans history along the way, while others will impress and inspire us with your determination to fight for your human rights.

Hope you will have a wonderful, drama free school year and have the opportunity to have fun, make new friends and get your learn on.

TransGriot Note: Young lady in the photo is Canadian trans kid Tracey Wilson 

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Logo Revealed

2020 Summer Olympics logo.svg
While we are still counting down toward the start of the 2016 Rio Games next year, we already know what city will be hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics.

It's Tokyo, and the Games of the XXXII Olympiad will take place from July 24 to August 9

The countdown to the 2020 Games will begin when Rio's mayor during the closing ceremonies  for next yer's games hands off the Antwerp Olympic flag to Tokyo's mayor, and in preparation for hosting the games for the second time since 1964, the 2020 games logo has been released

It was created by award winning designer Kenjiro Sato with the goal of symbolizing the unifying power of the Games.   It is based on a stylized letter ;T', which is the first letter in the words, Tokyo, Tomorrow and Team.

The black color of the central column of the stylized 'T' represents diversity.  The red color in the circle represents the power of every beating heart, in addition to representing the rising sun at the center of the Japanese national flag.

While the emblem has gotten some mixed reviews since it was unveiled at a public event in Tokyo on July 24, five years before the date of the opening ceremonies of the Games.  While some have criticized it, others have praised it, and the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee likes it.

But the logo unveiling is just another reminder that we'll soon be enjoying Summer Olympics action on less than a year, and the chatter about Rio Olympic favorites will only get louder over the next few months.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Moving Again.....

Survey for Women – My Escape from Blackistan
Moni's in the process of moving to a new place this weekend, so I'll probably be offline for most of the weekend.

Since I never really unpacked most of my stuff from the last move July 1,  shouldn't take me as long to get set up in the new place.   Once I get my computer access back up, I can start posting thing with the goal of having everything back to normal by Monday.

See y'all on the 24th unless we have something happening this  weekend that compels me to whip out the tablet and compile a quick post commenting on it.