Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Heading Back To Texas

After spending a wonderful few days in Louisville with friends and adopted family for the first time since I moved away from here, it's time to head back to my life in Houston.

As much as I love H-town and I'm a proud Texan, I'll admit that overall, the nearly nine years  I spent in Louisville were enjoyable,  I grew to like the city, and those years were important to my development as a person and an activist..

It was wonderful getting the chance to see many of the people that became my friends and adopted family up here despite it being a holiday weekend.  For those of you I missed, I'll catch y'all next time.

Just hope it won't take me four years to come back

Monday, September 01, 2014

Happy Labor Day 2014!

Happy Labor Day people!   Hope it's a good one for you whether you are celebrating it from the cozy confines of your backward around the barbecue pit or enjoying it from some vacation spot of  significance to you like I am.

In the United States and Canada, this is a day to celebrate workers.  But what I have not been happy about as someone who grew up in a union household is seeing the conservafool assault on union and people foolishly believing the right wing propaganda that unions are evil.

People not getting a living wage and having to get public assistance while corporations make obscene profits is what is evil.   It's past time the minimum wage was raised in the US from the pathetic $7.25 it sits at right now.

For those of you who are engaged in searching for work, may those job searches be swiftly successful and you find employment that allows you to grow with the company.

For you entrepreneurs out there, may your businesses continue to grow and be successful    Speaking of  successful, may we continue to have success passing gender identity inclusive non-discrimination laws that will lead to increased employment for talented trans people.

And since we are rapidly approaching another crucial midterm election November 4, one of the questions you need to be asking your state and federal legislative candidates is where they stand on raising the minimum wage, passing legislation to eviscerate Citizens United and that bull feces corporatist assertion that corporations are people.

Yeah, I'll believe that crap when Texas executes one.

Happy Labor Day people!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Moni's Vacation Musing

There are just times when I just get into deep introspective mode, and it can happen for me at any time.    I do enjoy engaging in what Dr. King called 'hard, solid thinking' .

One of those times I get to do that is when I'm traveling or on vacation like I am right now.

So what am I musing about?   Much of it has been centered on the fact I'm now 20 years into transition and my ongoing evolution as Moni.   There are times I count my blessings like friends and family who love me and the people I have encountered due to the activist portion of my life that do have much respect for me, what I do and more importantly what I stand for.

I think about the fact those friends, extended family and brothers and sisters in the human rights struggle extend around the world.

I think about the amazing progress that has been made in getting the public to see the humanity of trans people and especially trans people of color, but realize that we have much work to accomplish on that front.

I think about what I can do to continue striving toward my goal of being a quality Black woman and being the best person I can be.

And as a leader in this community, I do think about because I'm a Kennedy baby what kind of legacy I will leave for the people who follow in my footsteps.  Am I doing my utmost to be the best 'possibility model' I can be?

I have the rest of today, tomorrow, and the plane rides home to ponder those questions and whatever other queries pop up in my mind.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shut Up Fool Awards- Moni's Back In Da Ville Edition

Yep, it's true.  I'm back inside Jefferson County visiting Da Ville for the first time since I left 4 years ago to move back home to Texas .

And yeah, this is also a pleasure trip.  Not up here for a conference, panel discussion or speaking engagement (yet) but just chilling. 

It's been wonderful so far to see many of my friends here and I'm trying to catch up with as many folks here inside I-265 until I leave to return back to Texas Tuesday

And before I do that, a trip to Impellizzeri's Pizza is a must. 

But today is also Friday, and y'all know what that means.  It;s time to handle our usual Friday 'bidness' of exposing what fool, fools or group of fools I just had to take time out of my whirlwind trip up here to Bluegrass country to call out.

Honorable mention number one is a joint award for ESPN and reporter Josina Anderson for that fracked up homophobic 'report' focusing on Michael Sam and the shower.    They apologzied for it, but WTF were y'all thinking?

Honorable mention number two goes to Dallas PD Assistant chief Malik Aziz for parting his lips on FOX Noise to say that police departments aren't overmilitarized and the solution to negating that perception is painting the tanks blue.

Seriously?  You need to have several seats at Jerryworld for saying something that stupid.

Honorable mention number three is CNN host Ana Cabrera, who was upset that in the 6.1 quake that struck the Napa, CA area, she was heartbroken over the hundreds of broken wine bottles?

And that sums up in a nutshell why CNN's ratings are plummeting.

Honorable mention number four is Craig James.   The failed Texas US Senate candidate probably slept through his history classes at Stratford HS and SMU because he parted his lips on behalf of his new employers in the Family Fascism Research Council demanding judges rule by 'Biblical law'.

Christopimping ain't easy, huh Craig?

Honorable mention number five goes to Pat Robertson, for his double dip of stupidity.   First he tried to claim that single motherhood leads to male kids becoming gay, and then on the 666 700 Club opened his mouth to say Robin Williams killed himself because he was a heathen who didn't worship Jesus.

I need a full post to properly eviscerate this faith-based fool

Honorable mention number six goes to Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX).   Gov Goodhair continues to let his mouth overload his anus in this developing scandal that has resulted in two abuse of power federal  indictments for him.   He thinks Texas taxpayers should have picked up his legal tab for the trouble he got himself in, but is now paying for his legal team out of his campaign fund because people 'complained about it.

Folks, if you're wondring why we Texans never elected an Aggie governor until Perry, now you know.  

Pastor Michael V. Williams (YouTube)This week's Shut Up Fool winner is hate preacher Michael V. Williams.   He believes that a constitutional amendment should be passed that mandates that homosexuality should be a felony crime punishable by a sentence of 10 years hard labor.

And y'all thought I was being alarmist when I stated a while back the wet dream of the Christofascists was to pass versions of the anti-gay laws enacted in Uganda, Nigeria and Russia here.

Michael V Williams, shut up fool


Moni's Back In Da Ville!

Yep people, if you wanted to know what my double secret destination was this time, it is Louisville. 

I'm in Jefferson County for the first time since I pointed the moving van south on I-65 toward Nashville on May 8, 2010 with the final destination being Houston.

Dawn wanted to keep it a surprise, and y'all know how well I can keep my lip zipped when it comes to keeping stuff radio silent. 

Anyway, I'm here through Labor Day weekend  and looking forward to not only destroying some Impelizzeri's pizza, but seeing as many peeps as I can before I head back home Tuesday. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Starts Saturday

The tournament has been rebranded and the next one won't be played until 2019 so it doesn't conflict with the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, but the FIBA Basketball World Cup tips off Saturday and runs through September 14. .

Many basketball fans in the USA don't consider it as important as the Olympics, but for the rest of the planet and the 23 other nations playing in it, this FIBA Basketball World Cup is a BFD. 

And yeah, USA b-ball fans, you need to be paying attention, because the winner of this FIBA tournament and the women's FIBA one that gets started September 27 in Turkey gets an automatic bid to the 2016 Rio Olympic basketball tournament. 

So if our star spangled men's b-ballers want to be dribbling Molten basketballs on the Rio Olympic Arena courts in two years and avoid playing in the FIBA Tournament of the Americas to qualify for the Olympics, failure to win this tournament in Spain is not an option.

The 2014 (and 2016 Olympic) Team USA squad will once again be coached by Mike Krzyzewski, who has a 64-1 record in FIBA internatioanl play. 

And despite Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin pulling out and Paul George's horrific injury during Team USA training camp that will sideline him for this tournament and the 2014-15 NBA season, you international peeps better not sleep on this squad we are sending to defend our FIBA men's title.. 

James Harden, Kenneth FariedIn addition to my Houston Rockets homie James Harden, the 2014 Team USA FIBA World Cup squad includes DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento); Stephen Curry (Golden State); Anthony Davis (New Orleans); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto); Andre Drummond (Detroit); Kenneth Faried (Denver); Rudy Gay (Sacramento);  Kyrie Irving (Cleveland); Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn); Derrick Rose (Chicago) and Klay Thompson (Golden State).

This 2014 squad is also attempting to do something a USA men's squad has never done in the history of this tournament, and that's repeat as FIBA World Cup tourney champions. 

But there are several teams that want to make sure we don't end up playing in the championship game in Madrid, starting with the host Spaniards.   They are still smarting from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic final losses pinned on them by the USA ballers and being upset in the 2010 FIBA tournament knockout round by Serbia. The Gasol brothers, Serge Ibaka and company are determined to not let it happen on home soil.

The Lithuanians are always dangerous, along with the Brazilians, the Argentinians even without Manu Ginobili and Greece.  If you're laughing about Greece, ask Coach K or LeBron James about that.  They are the team in the 2006 FIBA world semis in Japan that handed Coach K his lone FIBA b-ball loss.

James HardenTeam USA is in Group C in Barakaldo, and start FIBA Worlds play August 30 against Finland.  The next day they get a 2010 FIBA finals rematch against Turkey before they get a day off.  The resume group play on September 2 against New Zealand, play the Dominican Republic on September 3 before completing pool play on September 4 against Ukraine.  

Pretty much a winnable group for Team USA while the Spaniards are slugging it out in the Group A 'Group of Death' in Granada with France, Serbia, Brazil, Egypt and Iran.  

Should be fun to see how this plays out over the next few weeks.

Air Marshal Taking Mystery Trip

Box cutter found aboard Southwest Airlines flight at Hobby AirportThe Air Marshal is taking a flight again, and this time it's for a pleasure trip to a double secret destination. 

I'll have to connect through Chicago Midway to get there, and hopefully I won't have the drama I had when I flew through there earlier this month.

I'll be getting to my destination in the Eastern time zone around 12:55 PM assuming everything is on schedule.

This trip is happening because not only do i need to get out of H-town or a few days, I had a voucher in my possession I needed to use and complete travel for by mid September before it expired, and I wasn't letting a $525 one go to waste. 

My host asked me to keep the destination a secret so when I started showing up at places after I arrive in that final destination, It'll be a surprise at least until the word gets out on social media I'm there..

But looking forward to going there.  See y'all in a few hours mystery city denizens.

DART Orange Line To DFW Opens

A DART light rail vehicle breaks a ribbon as it enters DFW Airport StationAs you TransGriot readers know, I'm an unabashed mass transit supporter, especially when that transit system in question contains a rail component.

Normally as a proud Houstonian, I'm usually hating on anything Dallas related with a passion, but for once you're going to see me write something that praises Dallas. 

And naw, hell ain't freezing over and we aren't experiencing blizzard conditions in H-town right now . 
While former congresscritter Tom Delay, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), and the Harris County Republican Party have been fighting METRO tooth and nail to keep them from getting the federal funding to build light rail here in Houston,  DART has been gleefully taking the federal money METRO hasn't been able to and began getting busy assembling the largest light-rail network in the United States with 90 miles (137 km) of track, a commuter rail line that terminates in Denton, TX with another rail line to Ft Worth .

As a matter of fact, to build the initial 7.5 mile segment of the METRORail Red Line that opened ten years ago, METRO had to use its own money to do so

I finally got a chance to ride the DART Orange and Red Line trains during the recent Black Trans Advocacy Conference back in late April and May.   The Doubletree Campbell Center hotel that hosts BTAC is near the Lovers Lane station on the northern end of the Orange and Red Lines.  

When I get off the Megabus from H-town at the DART East Olive Street transit center downtown, I'm a short two block walk from the St. Paul and Pearl Arts Stations.   Those stations are on that Bryan Avenue-Pacific St corridor in which all four DART light rail lines currently converge in their run through downtown Dallas.

Even better, the St Paul station has a 7-Eleven nearby so I can get my Slurpee fix before I shell out the $2.50 for my northbound DART train ticket to Lovers Lane.        

I was well aware of DART's Orange Line being extended toward DFW Airport through Irving.  Construction had started on the DFW Airport station that was scheduled to open in November.  

In my conversations with this year's BTAC attendees, they lamented the fact it wasn't open, and were hopeful that when they returned to Dallas for the 2015 edition of the conference, the DART light rail line would be open for revenue service from DFW.    

Well peeps, you got your wish.  The extension and the DFW Airport Station in Terminal A was finally completed four months early and under budget.   It opened for revenue service on August 18.  

That's great news for all the peeps who travel to Dallas to attend conferences.  It also makes me hopeful that with our own METRORail Purple Line being just 5.5 miles from its current Palm Center termination point to Hobby Airport, funding can be found (hint hint) to extend it and connect at least one of our airports to the rail system like Dallas has done for DFW. 

But nice to know that the next time I fly into DFW, I can take the train into downtown and anywhere else along the DART Rail network .

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ricky Smiley Morning Show Transphobia

Rickey SmileyThe war against media transphobia aimed at trans women of color seems like it's a never ending one.    Here's a FB commentary from TransGriot reader Sasha concerning the transphobic comments she heard aimed at Laverne Cox during one of the Rickey Smiley Morning Show segments yesterday.


Photo: Our Angel at the 2014  Emmy Awards  Laverne Cox star of Orange Is the New Black on the carpet in a caped, white gown by one her favorite designers, Marc Bouwer. Fred Leighton diamonds were sewn into the dress that sported a chest-baring neckline. If you're a member of the #LaverneHive you know that she wont be bringing home an Emmy this time but she's clearly still WINNING! Shout Out to the style team Deja Smith, Ursula Stephen and Christina PacelliLast night my sisters and I were watching Dish Nation/Rickey Smiley Morning Show. Laverne Cox was declared as one of the Emmy show's  best dressed women which I though was AMAZING...until one of the hosts yells "that's a man!"and they slightly go into the infamous shock factor, making her identity the center of a joke.

Gary and one of the shows guests, a cis woman of color, then came to Laverne's defense by stating her accomplishment and how major it is for the Transgender community. The young lady also corrected the misgendering and made sure she addressed the Laverne as a WOMAN.

I've been listening to Rickey Smiley Morning Show for YEARS, I'm a fan of the show but I think it's time to call the RSMS out on their consistent ignorance and insensitivity towards the trans community.

This is NOT the first time I've encountered this type of madness from them. Not too long ago they were throwing shade towards Cee Lo after his affair with a transwoman. Not to mention the jokes that very often seem to revolve around #GirlsLikeUs.
We need to hold them accountable.  It is not the guest's job to educate them LIVE on the radio about transgender terminology. As much as they talk and joke about us, they should be well informed on the issue. Rickey Smiley has a huge platform in the black community and instead of all the shade, he could be using that platform for the good of ALL as well as being held accountable for repetitive transphobia.

It's time to call them out!


I agree, Sasha . GLAAD and NGLJA Rapid Response team, it's time to handle your media business. 

Transgender Faith and Action Network Conference Starts Friday

Unfortunately won't be there in Charlotte for this year's event after keynoting what was then known as the TransFaith in Color Conference in 2012. 

It has a new name, the Transgender Faith and Action Network Conference, but it is the same North Carolina based event I had the pleasure of attending two years ago. 

This year's TFAAN event will kick off Friday in the Queen City and run through August 31.. 

This year's keynote speaker will be longtime advocate and my Left Coast sis Valerie Spencer, and it's too bad I'm going to miss hearing it.  

But back to focusing on the 2014 edition of the TFAAN Conference.   For those of you that make it to the University Hilton house, you're about to enjoy an event that will live up to this year's theme of 'Education That Leads To Success'.   Best of all, the TFAAN Conference is free.  All you need to do is just  register for it in order to check out these informative seminars, panel discussions and events.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29th   (all times EST)

8:30a - 9:00a Interfaith Prayer/Opening Remarks
Moderator: Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Freedom Center
For Social Justice

9:00a - 10:30a
Opening Plenary Panel:
How Welcoming Are We Really?
Moderator: Asher Kolieboi, Vanderbilt Seminary
Panelists: OmiSade Ali, Ordained Orisha Priest, Chris Paige, TransFaith and Jacob Hero, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)

10:45a - Noon

Block 1 Clergy in Specialized Fields
Presenters: Minister Louis Mitchell, TransFaith

Block 2 Trans* 101 for Allies
Presenters: Rev. Dawn Flynn, New Life MCC and Parker T. Hurley, Transgender People of Color
Coalition (TPOCC)

Block 3 Changing Policy in a Changing World
Moderator: J Mase
Presenters: Sharon Groves, HRC; Kylar W. Broadus, The Task Force (NGLTF) and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, National Black Justice Coalition

Noon - 1:30p
Opening Lunch
Keynote Speaker: Angel Collie, Metropolitan Community Church

1:45p - 3:00p
Block 1 The Transitions Within the Transition
Moderator: Randall Suah
Presenters: Andraya Williams, Justine Matlock and Achim Howard

Block 2 Your Health: The Mind and the Body
Presenters: Dr. Lisa Griffin, Dr. Rhett Brown, Dr. Jocie Sweeney

Block 3 Aging: Let Me Tell You A Story
Presenters: Serena Worthington, Services Advocacy for GLBT Elders and Barbara Satin, NGLTF - Practice Spirit, Do Justice Program

3:15p - 4:30p
Block 1
Trans* Youth in Schools: Multiple Perspectives
Moderator: Todd Rosendahl, Time Out Youth
Panelists: Scout Rosen, Central Piedmont Community College student; Lux Cuellar, UNCC student; Blake Brockington, UNCC student and Matthew Rice, Charlotte School System teacher

Block 2 Our Special Walk: Partners of Trans* People
Presenters: Sandra Whittington-Boone, Mel Goodwin, Marage Blakeney, Ray Austin and Diane Coe

Block 3 Know Your Rights
Presenters: Kelly Durden and Sarah Demarest, Freedom Center for Social Justice LGBTQ
Law Center; Mariana Toledo-Hernandez, Immigration Attorney; Stacy King, Mecklenburg County Public Defender's Office

5:00p - 7p
Opening Reception
Special Guest Musical Performance

7:00p - 8:30p
Young Folk Gathering (Ages 16-30)
Coordinated by Sponsored by Campus Pride


8:30a - 10:00a
2014 TFAAN Awards Breakfast

Keynote Speaker: Valerie Spencer, Antioch University
Pioneer Award: Andrea Jenkins and Louis Mitchell
Rising Star Award: Michael David Battle
Ally Award: Rev. Dr. William Barber, President of the NC NAACP and Heath Morrison, Superintendent, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
Youth Award: Blake Brockington and Andraya Williams
Bobbie Jean Baker Award: Ms. Tracee McDaniels

10:15a - 11:30a
Block 1 Name and Gender Marker Changes in NC and Beyond
Presenter: The Freedom Center for Social Justice LGBTQ Law Center

Block 2 What's Moving The Landscape?
Presenter: Cecilia Chung, The Transgender Law Center

Block 3 Trans* Youth In Action
Facilitator: Sarah Alwran, Time Out Youth
Panelists: Parker Smith, President of TransAction at Appalachian State University, Pam Smith,
mother of Parker Smith, Trans* Activist, AJ Willis, University of North Carolina, Charlotte student, President of Transport at UNCC, Scout Rosen, CPCC Student, President of SPECTRUM

Noon - 1:30p
Lunch on your Own

1:30p - 2:45p
Block 1 Trans* Employment: Old Challenges and New Opportunities

Block 2 The Power of Trans* History
Presenters: Andrea Jenkins, Artist, Poet and Activist; Allyson Robinson, Warrior Poet Strategies

Block 3 HIV and the Trans* Community
Presenters: Achim Howard, Unity Fellowship Church, Jermaine Nakia Lee, Powerhouse Project, and Chelsea White, RAIN

3:00p - 4:30p
Block 1 LGBT and the Bible
Presenter: Rev. Cedric Harmon, Many Voices

Block 2 Embracing Paradox: Gender, Sexuality, Spirituality
Presenters: Pacific School of Religion, TFAAN and NGLTF

Block 3 The Power of the Vote
Presenter: The Moral Freedom Summer Campaign

5:00p - 7:00p
Dinner On Your Own and Networking

8:00p - Midnight
Music, Lite Delectables and an Incredible Time
Guest DJ: Buddy Love
Location: The Venue, 1801 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC


8:30 - 9:30am
Closing Interfaith Service
Preaching  Rev. Brendan Whittington-Boone
Musical Guest: Sacred Souls Community Church Choir

NOTE: Schedule subject to moderate change.

For those of you in Charlotte for the Trans Faith And Action Network Conference, hope you have a wildly successful and wonderful event, and hope I'm blessed to be with you next year as an attendee or participant.   

Paula Sophia Falls Short In Oklahoma Legislative Runoff

Paula Sophia, gay news, Washington BladeAll 12 precincts have reported in the Oklahoma House District 88 runoff race between Paula Sophia and Jason Dunnington and the winner and new representative of that OKC area legislative seat is:

Jason Dunnington.

In a razor thin race, Dunnington garnered 990 votes to Sophia's 968.  An agonizing 23 votes separated her from the win and trans political history.

According to Sophia's Twitter feed, she will ask for a recount and for the provisional ballots to be counted as well. 

If that doesn't cut into the narrow 22 vote margin of Dunnington, he will be the representative-elect for House District 88 since no Republican filed in this race..

Will keep y'all posted.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Educating Us About Us Forum

One of the things the fight to pass the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance exposed is just how much education needs to be done about the various letters in our own chocolate Houston SGL trans and bi ranks.

Trans 101 is particularly needed, especially when we discovered in the repeal petition checking process some of our own LGBT people signed them or swallowed the lies Max Miller and company repetitively at the behest of their puppet master Dave Welch told about the trans community due to lack of knowledge about us. 

Now that we not facing in Houston the imminent threat of a referendum this November, are awaiting the January 19, 2015 trial date, and have some time to do some 'ejumacation', we are dong just that and holding community conversations that we'll eventually expand to the straight African-American community. 

Last Sunday (August 24) I took part in a forum held at the Montrose Center moderated by Austin D. Williams entitled Educating Us about Us.

 It started at 3:30 PM and featured some real talk about the HERO by Ashton Woods.    He talked about the fifteen categories it covers, busted the lies the faith-based haters have been saying about it, and it was a nice segue into my portion of the event  discussing Trans 101 and some of the historical background.

We spent about an hour and a half in spirited discussion talking about the trans community since that's where much of the educating needed to be done.  We eventually moved from talking about the 'T' and busting myths to the portions of the facilitated discussion about the other letters in our SGL community.   We broke down some of the myths about lesbians, gay Republicans, gay Christians, gay men and finally the DL peeps that cause dissension and drama.. 

6:30 PM came way too soon, and a group of us decided to take the discussion to the Midtown Grill, a nearby Montrose area restaurant on West Gray where that SGL community centered discussion continued over a meal and spilled out into the parking lot for a little while longer.

But it was clear to many of the passionate and intelligent folks in that room that more of these H-town community building conversations need to (and will) happen.   And when the next one is scheduled, I'll let you know on these TransGriot electronic pages when it does.

Laverne's On The Cover Of ESSENCE

To understand the significance of this ESSENCE magazine cover, I have to take you back to the late 80's

Tracy Africa Norman was in the process of shooting her sixth ESSENCE magazine cover for an upcoming Christmas issue.  At the time Tracy worked for the third largest modeling agency in New York, and she was a hot model with major contracts like Avon, Ultra Sheen and Clairol.

But Tracy was also an undisclosed transwoman, and her cover was about to be blown to ESSENCE editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor by a shady individual from Tracy's old neighborhood who recognized her.

Tracy was outed, and the sixth cover shoot abruptly ended along with much of Tracy's US modeling career.  

So you can imagine my surprise when knowing this history, I saw this ESSENCE cover of Laverne with Alfre Woodard, Nicole Bahari and Dinai Gurira.   I'll have to admit I did shed a tear or two when I saw the cover because I thought about what happened to Tracy and just how far the African-American transfeminine ranks have come since then.  

But congratulations Laverne.   Looking forward to the day that ESSENCE gives a trans woman a solo cover be it you, Ines Rau or some other trans woman or trans model. 

Looks like that day may be coming sooner than I thought it would.  

2014 Williams Watch-US Open Party Getting Started

Serena Williams
The last Grand Slam of the 2014 tennis season cranked up in New York yesterday, and the question the tennis world is asking is will Serena break out of her Grand Slam mini-slump and finally win one this year and win her 18th to tie Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on the all time list?

We'll find out the answer to that question later today when number one seeded and world Number one ranked Little Sis takes to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court to begin defense of her US Open singles crown against Zina Garrison coached 16 year old Taylor Townsend.

The winner of this opening round match will move on to the US Open singles second round face the winner of the Vania King-Francesca Schavione match.

Big Sis won her first round match with Kimiko Date-Krumm at Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday, but not without a struggle.   Venus had a rough first set as Date-Krumm kept her off balance with her repertoire of spins to take the first set 2-6.   Venus roared back to take the second set 6-3 and rolled to a 5-0 third set lead before Date-Krumm fought back to snatch the next three games and have two game points to chop Big Sis' once seemingly insurmountable lead to 5-4. 

No. 19 seed Venus Williams returns a shot in her first-round victory over Kimiko Date-Krumm at the U.S. Open. Williams will play unseeded Timea Bacsinszky in the second round. Photo: Don Emmert, AFP/Getty ImagesBut Venus recovered to stave off the two game points and eventually take the hard earned match 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.  It extended her career record in first round match wins at the US Open to an impressive 16-0.

Big Sis will face in the second round the winner of the Kiki Bertens-Timea Bacsinszky match, but before she does so, she may wish to cut down on those 36 unforced errors.

My fave tennis playing siblings are entered in the US Open Women's doubles tournament, with them having an opening round match with the seventh seeded team of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic 

Best of luck ladies, and hope you have a long successful run in this tournament and piss off your haters.

Will Oklahoma Electoral History Be Made Today?

Paula Sophia Photo: Liz Burleson / Red Dirt ReportIn a few hours when the polls open in Oklahoma, Paula Sophia gets an opportunity to make some modern transgender history.

She is in a runoff for the Oklahoma House District 88 seat in central Oklahoma City that as an OKC police officer the Desert Storm vet used to patrol until she retired earlier this year to run for office.

It was a crowded field in this race to replace openly lesbian state Rep Kay Floyd (D-Oklahoma City), who formerly held the seat to run for the state Senate.   The state senate 46 seat she ran for and won the Democratic primary for on June 24 was the one formerly held by openly gay state Sen. Al McAffrey  (D-Oklahoma City)

That senate seat opened up for Floyd when McAffrey announced his intention to run for the open Oklahoma 5th Congressional District seat of Rep. James Lankford (R).    Lankford decided to move up the political food chain and run for the US Senate seat of the retiring Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK) .   Lankford successfully won the Republican US senate nomination for Coburn's seat.

Now that we've sorted through the fascinating Oklahoma political musical chairs that set up this opportunity, back to the post. 

Sophia polled enough votes in that crowded June 24 primary field to end up in a runoff against Democratic front runner Jason Dunnington. 

With no Republican filed to run in that race in November, winner of the runoff election today becomes the new representative for Oklahoma House District 88. 

Paula Sophia, gay news, Washington BladeIf it is Sophia, she becomes the first open transgender candidate elected to the Oklahoma legislature, and the first transperson elected to a state legislative office since Althea Garrison did so in Massachusetts in 1992. 

Best of luck Paula, and hope it's a wonderful night for you when the polls close later today.   If you live in OKC or the state of Oklahoma, hope you're considering handling your electoral business and participating in your runoff election.