Tuesday, August 23, 2016

2016 Presidential Debate Schedule

After Labor Day passes, we will be in the critical homestretch phase of the 2016 presidential campaign.  Many folks who have been either casually following it or tuned it our completely, will with the November 8 election day looming on the horizon, start paying attention to the election and the candidates.

The presidential and vice presidential debates organized by the nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates will be one of the ways that still undecided voters get the information that will help them decide who will be taking the oath of office to become our 45th president on January 20.

There will be three presidential debates between Democratic nominee Sec. Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump and one vice presidential debate between Sen Tim Kaine (D) and Gov. Mike Pence (R).

As for third party candidates, they will have to meet certain predetermined criteria as set out by the CPD before they will be allowed to participate.

The debates will last 90 minutes, and moderators will be selected soon. We already know the debate sites and formats, and here they are.

The first debate between Clinton and Trump is scheduled to take place on September 26 on the Hofstra University campus in Hempstead, NY.

That will be followed by the only vice presidential debate on October 4 on the Longwood University campus in Farmville, VA.

The second presidential debate will take place October 9 on the Washington University campus in St Louis, and will be a town hall format.

The final presidential debate will take place on October 19 on the University of Nevada- Las Vegas campus in las Vegas, NV

The designated backup site for the 2016 presidential debates is Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

One thing I do hope the the CPD does take into consideration is to have someone other than white male or female journalists as debate moderators.  There are plenty of non-white journalists who can handle debate moderation, and it's past time that Black and Latino journalists had the opportunity to do so.

The last Black person to moderate a presidential debate was Carole Simpson back in 1992.  Yes Gwen Ifill has moderated two debates in 2004 and 2008, but they were vice presidential ones.

It is past time to give a non white journalist the opportunity to moderate a presidential debate, and that needs to happen this year.

Historic US Senate Election In California

When California voters go to the polls on November 8, they will have to choose a successor for the retiring senator Barbara Boxer (D).  They will also have the pleasure of choosing between two candidates who are not only seeing to succeed Sen. Boxer, but make some electoral history themselves.

Thanks to California's jungle primary system, the top two candidates, regardless of party move on to the general election.  After the votes were counted on June 7, two Democratic women ended up in the top two slots for the open California US senate seat.

California voters will get to choose between their current attorney general Kamala Harris or Rep. Loretta Sanchez.  

Rep Sanchez is seeking to become the first Latina ever elected to the US Senate, while Attorney General Harris is seeking to become only the second African-American woman and first woman of south Asian heritage to be elected to the US Senate.

It's also a battle of northern Cali vs southern Cali. Harris was born in Oakland, grew up in Berkeley, was a deputy district attorney for Alameda County, the district attorney for the City and County of San Francisco before becoming California's Attorney General in 2011.

And as the child and sibling of AKA's I'm happy to point out she's a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Sanchez was born in Lynwood, and has since 2003 represented the Orange County centered 47th Congressional District.

This is going to be a fascinating campaign to watch.  While it is wonderful that another accomplished woman will succeed the beloved Sen. Boxer, we are going to have when this election is over one community disappointed because one of these eminently qualified women didn't get into the US Senate.

Whichever one of these women wins, they will inherit by default a national women of color constituency that extends far beyond the borders of the state of California.

May the best US Senate candidate win, and represent the state of California, our communities and the nation as well.

Monday, August 22, 2016

PFLAG Statement on Unjust Texas vs. United States Case

PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby has issued the following statement concerning the unjust injunction issued by GW Bush appointed US District Judge Reed O'Connor in the Texas vs United States case..

The injunction issued today by US District Judge Reed O'Connor in Texas v. United States puts transgender students even further in harm's way.  Thousands of PFLAG families across the country are already having to navigate school environments that marginalize their trans kids; this ruling only adds fuel to the discriminatory fire.  
 The unfounded fears of a few should not and must not outweigh the safety and dignity of transgender students, who simply want to learn in a secure and welcoming environment, as all students do.
School administrators have a responsibility to create such an environment for all students who walk through their doors, and this injunction does not bar them from implementing inclusive policies to do so.  

Thanks Jody and PFLAG for having the trans community's backs as standup allies even when it wasn't the cool thing to do, and while this ruling stinks, knowing that our allies are standing with us to help us fight it on behalf of our trans kids is comforting to us as trans elders and parents of trans kids.

Unjust Injunction Granted In Texas vs United States Trans Rights Case

The transphobic oppressors won a round in federal district court as US District Judge Reed O'Connor, a known anti-LGBT rights oppressor and GW Bush judicial appointee issued a preliminary nationwide injunction Sunday against the federal government's DOE/DOJ guidance to public schools regarding their legal responsibility to allow transgender students to use the same restrooms as other cisgender students.

Translation: the current jacked up status quo is in place until the lawsuit flied by my indicted attorney general works its way through the federal court system.  The federal government can appeal the injunction and request a stay of it if they wish to the appellate court or the SCOTUS.

All elections at every level of government matter.  Presidential elections matter because they get to select SCOTUS and federal judges.  If you're pissed off about this ruling, keep that in mind on November 8.

Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Texas, the Transgender Law Center, the GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) and National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) had submitted a joint friend of the court amicus brief in the lawsuit by Texas and 10 other Republican controlled states subsequently joined by two others against the United States, the Departments of Education, Justice and Labor and several federal officials

Those organizations issued a joint statement shortly after Judge O'Connor's unjust ruling.:
A ruling by a single judge in one circuit cannot and does not undo the years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination. This unfortunate and premature ruling may, however, confuse school districts that are simply trying to support their students, including their transgender students.
 So let us make it clear to those districts: your obligations under the law have not changed, and you are still not only allowed but required to treat transgender students fairly.
The scope of this injunction has no effect on the ability of other courts or lawyers representing transgender people to continue to rely on the federal government’s interpretations of Title IX or on prior decisions that have reached similar conclusions about the scope of federal sex discrimination laws. 
The court’s misguided decision targets a small, vulnerable group of young people – transgender elementary and high school students – for potential continued harassment, stigma and abuse.
Those five civil rights organizations pointed out that Judge O'Connor failed to consider the interests of the transgender students the federal laws sought to protect,  and pledged "We will continue to file lawsuits representing transgender students and litigate them to the fullest extent of the law-regardless of what happens with this particular federal guidance."

Chuck Smith, the CEO of Equality Texas also expressed his organization's disappointed over the unjust ruling.

We are disappointed by the ruling, but despite this setback, we are hopeful and know that the civil rights of all students will ultimately prevail. 
Transgender Texans, and in particular transgender kids, must be afforded the most basic dignity to use the restroom. Paxton’s actions seek to punish and harm transgender students who have done nothing wrong. 
We will continue to fight with the parents of these children until “ALL” children do not face discrimination and are treated equally under the law.
An injunction doesn't change what existing law is. It would only apply to the DOJ's issuance of its interpretation. So schools still need to comply with the law. Title IX and VII still prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.
This decision does nothing to prevent school districts to work with parents on an individual basis to ensure they are protected in school and do not face bullying, alienation or discrimination.
In the ruling, Judge O’Conner said, “the difficult policy issue is not a subject of his order.” We believe this civil rights issue will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The band of trans oppressor states joining together to gleefully oppress trans students in addition to my home state of Texas, includes Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky (through its GOP Gov. Matt Bevin) Louisiana, Mississippi, (through its GOP Gov. Phil Bryant ), Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.   Other plaintiffs seeking to oppress trans students are the  Arizona Department of Education, the Heber-Overgaard Unified School District in Arizona, Harrold ISD in Texas and Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R)

The good news is that many of these plaintiffs are in the Fourth, Sixth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits which have already issued binding appellate rulings that are consistent with the guidance of the federal agencies.

This is just the opening rounds of this court battle.  I'm positive there is going to be a day coming soon that I will have good news to report when it comes to this Texas v United States case and common sense and justice will prevail.

Happy 2016-17 School Year To My Trans And LGB Siblings

HISD and other school districts in the Houston area started classes today, and I'm thinking about this in the wake of my niece Kacielyn and one of the many transkids I know like Kai starting kindergarten today.

Kai's mom Kimberly Shappley has been fighting a battle with the Pearland ISD to get then to see the error of their transphobic ways and not discriminate against her daughter.

They are taking their lead from their transphobic superintendent Dr John Kelly and being obstinate about forcing a trans feminine child into bathrooms with cisgender boys, so Shappley may have to escalate the fight for her daughter's freedom, liberty and human rights to the legal system.

It's also a reminder of the DOE/DOJ Dear Colleague letter that is being contested in federal court by a group of ten states led by my indicted GOP Texas attorney general who is indulging his oppressor gene.

Back to this school year post.

While this school year is already shaping up to be a contentious one for trans kind, it's also one of great possibilities for you as well.  In addition to kids like Kai starting their school years in kindergarten, some are making the jump to middle school.  Others of you are starting high school or heading into your senior year, and some of you are heading off to college or into your last year of college.

And major props to those of you who are in grad school or law school.

Landon after being named Homecoming Queen Saturday. (Grady Reid/KCTV)Some of you before this year is over may have the opportunity to make some trans history along the way and become your school's (or your state's) first ever trans masculine or trans feminine homecoming kings or queens, or winning prom king or queen.

Some of you may choose to excel or compete in sports or other activities as your true selves, while others of you will be more concerned with simply handling your academic business and making friends along the way.

Whatever way you choose to handle your school business, know that your trans elders support you, and stand ready along with several organizations like Lambda Legal, the ACLU, GLSEN, GLAD and the Department of Justice to ensure your Title IX human rights are covered.

Best of luck to all of you and hope this is a successful 2016-17 academic year for all of you.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Racist White Supremacists Show Up At Houston NAACP HQ

White Lives Matter protested in front of the NAACP office in Third Ward on Sunday. Photo: Darla Guillen/Houston Chronicle
While many of us were at church or chilling out today, the local area white supremacists, feeling froggy because their man Donald Trump is running for president, decided to leap out of their suburban 'hoods and desecrate Third Ward with their presence.  

They showed up in front of the Houston NAACP headquarters on Wheeler Ave bearing guns, Confederate flags and White Lives Matter signs for a Sunday afternoon protest

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.35.05 PMThey claimed they weren't racist (dead giveaway) and weren't there to instigate or cause trouble, but the Confederate flag, guns and 'White Lives Matter' signs in addition to showing up in front of NAACP headquarters in the heart of the predominately Black Third Ward on a Sunday said otherwise.

They also spouted the laughably usual right wing bull feces claiming that Black Lives Matter is 'a terrorist organization' while wearing Trump 2016 t-shirts and hats.

They were also carrying a '14 Words' sign, which is a dog whistle to other white supremacists.

So what are those '14 Words'?

Fourteen Words is a reference to the white supremacist slogan: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

It also can refer to a different 14-word slogan in white supremacist circles that states "Because the beauty of the White Aryan woman must not perish from the earth."

NAACP president Cornell Brooks tweeted that 'We an not intimidated' by White Lives Matter' protesters.  And how ironic the white supremacist ignorati are protesting a human rights organization in the NAACP that was founded predominately by white people in 1909?

The Houston Black Lives Matter Chapter said in an official statement concerning the protest:

It came to our attention earlier this week that there would be a "White Lives Matter" protest today. While it is always tempting to go and challenge those White people who come out and attack our movement, it is more important that we teach Black people that ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬. People like these White supremacists are a waste of space and time, their minds are already made up and so are ours, What would we need to discuss with them?
 The hard truth is that the Houston Police Department has been waiting to pounce on us. The situation would have endangered us in a way that dishonors why one would die for the liberation of Black bodies. The moment we would have arrived, they would have protected those white folks who came to a Black community to protest not just BLM but all Black people and perpetuate the racism that has always been part of their ideology.
Hate is a powerful thing, but only IF you give it power and narrative.  

This mess today is why Trump, the GOP and the white supremacists who support him must suffer an utterly crushing electoral defeat on November 8.

2016 Olympics Watch- Darn, It's Over

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games are coming to a close today, and far from Donald Trump's loud and wrong assertion that the USA doesn't win anymore, that's all Team USA in all its diverse glory has been doing since the Games kicked off August 6 .

In many cases, they were historic wins in several sports like our first ever medals in the triathlon, or first medals of of any color in many sports in decades.

Team USA led all nations with 121 medals won, and 46 of them were gold.  The rest of the top five nations in the 2016 Rio Olympic medal count were Great Britain  (27 golds, 67 medals). China (26 golds, 70 medals) , Russia (19 golds, 56 total), and Germany (17 golds, 42 medals).

The closing ceremonies will happen starting at 7 PM CDT, and Simone Biles will be leading Team USA into the Maracana stadium as our flag bearer.  She's the first gymnast to be given that honor.

But after watching the competition in Rio play out over the last two weeks, I'm always sad when I see the Olympic flag come down from the flagpole where it has proudly flapped during the Games, get marched out of the stadium and the Olympic flame get extinguished.

This was also an interesting Olympics for me because I was in Washington DC when the opening ceremonies happened, watching some events from Chautauqua, and now back home in Houston for the closing ceremonies.

Fortunately because since 1992 the winter and summer Games are no longer contested in the same year, won't have to wait too long until Olympic sporting action happens again in just two short years in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The next summer games are in Tokyo, and will be interesting to see what happens for the Team USA Olympians that gather to compete four years from now in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

2016 Olympics Watch-Semenya Wins Gold!

Caster Semenya celebrates his gold medal run
Well haters, Caster Semenya handled her Olympic business and won the 800m gold that eluded her in London.  

Semenya won her race in a personal best time of 1:55:28, which is not only the best time run in the world in the 800m this year, it was also a South African national record.

What was even more delicious for me was that the silver and bronze medalists who finished behind the Olympic champion were also continental Africans.  Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba captured the silver and Kenya's Margaret Wambui took the bronze/

.And unfortunately, the same innuendo that has dogged Semenya since 2009 has popped up in Rio to shadow the silver and bronze medalists.

Niyonsaba took the lead in the race with 300m to go but Semenya unleashed her finishing kick with 150m left in the race to win

The haters can keep on pouting in the corner and trying to throw shade at the now 25 year old Semenya.  The 800m gold medal is still going back to South Africa with Caster,  

Congratulations, and see you in 2020 sis as you defend your title in Tokyo.

Playing A Transsexual In A Bad Movie Doesn't Make You An Expert On Our Sporting Lives

One of the things I and many trans persons get sick of is people who don't live our trans lives making loud and wrong commentary about them that is detrimental to our humanity as trans people and our international human rights cause.

The latest person to fall into that trap of flapping their loud and wrong gums about our lives is actress Michelle Rodriguez.  She's already catching flak from our community concerning an upcoming movie in which she plays a doublecrossed male assassin that gets kidnapped and given SRS against his will in a movie originally called Tomboy but has now been renamed (re)Assignment.

Still not going to deflect from the fact this looming transphobic trope filled disaster of a movie will be desecrating multiplexes soon, and Trans World will still be calling out the problems in it.

Michelle Rodriguez tweet on Caster Semenya
I'll deal with that transphobic trainwreck of a movie in another post.  What I need to do right now is address the WTF tweet that Rodriguez sent calling for a transgender category in the Olympic Games that was aimed at South African 800m runner Caster Semenya, who goes for gold later tonight.

The first problem with this tweet is it's conflating the issues of transgender participation in sports with the issue of hyperandrogenism, and is spreading misinformation to do so.

Let me state for the record Ms. Rodriguez since you obviously aren't aware of this fact, but the IOC since 2004 has allowed trans people to compete in the Olympic Games after consulting with medical experts from around the world familiar with transgender medical issues and transgender inclusion in world sport.    

The International Olympic Committee was obviously satisfied enough about what they  heard from the IOC Medical Commission concerning transgender sporting participation in the Games to issue the Stockholm Consensus that many international sporting federations use as their guidelines for transgender sporting participation in the sporting competitions they oversee.

The International Olympic Committee also in November 2015 refined those procedures and policies in the wake of the IOC Meeting On Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism.

The NCAA also allows transgender athletes to participate in collegiate sports, and those rules are mirrored by 34 state high school sporting associations and counting.

Let me also point out for you as well Ms. Rodriguez and any other peeps believing the fallacy, that trans women after a year on estrogen and testosterone suppression hormone protocols lose whatever strength and endurance advantage stemming from going through a masculine puberty.

I played varsity tennis in high school and still play from time to time, and I noticed I lost speed on my serve as a result of being on hormones since 1994,

The fallacy that because I or any trans feminine athlete went through a masculine puberty I could go out and for example join the women's professional tennis tour and dominate it is ludicrous at best and would be demolished the nanosecond I stood on a tennis court with Serena Williams on the other side of it and had to face her 120 mph serve she would blast past me with boring regularity.

And with trans feminine kids transitioning at earlier ages, they will be going through FEMALE puberty, not a masculine one.  It's also a disservice and an insult to cisgender female athletes everywhere to falsely claim that a trans feminine athlete would simply take over their sport just because we transitioned.

I'm also disappointed Ms. Rodriguez as a fan of your acting career, a fellow woman of color and BTLG community member that you resorted to attacking Caster Semenya as your vehicle to slam trans Olympic participation.  

I'm tired of seeing the racist attacks on Semenya from white women mad that Semenya has run the fifth fastest time ever in the 800m, and alarmed about the perceived threat in their minds that she presents to their hold on a track event they have recently dominated.

The fact that Semenya was 18 and from South Africa when she ran that 1:55:49 time at the 2009 world championships, and would only get better with time and training has really 'scurred' them into action to stop her since they feared they couldn't beat her on the track.

The ongoing attacks since 2009 on Semenya's femininity and gender presentation also plays into the racist 'unwoman' trope that has plagued African descended women across the African Diaspora since slavery, and has been exacerbated by the fact she is in a same sex relationship..

Looks like Mariya Savinova, the Russian woman who won the gold in London in 2012 had to allegedly get her better athletic performance through chemistry to beat Semenya.

But back to talking about trans people and their Olympic Games participation.

The IOC has made it clear in 2004 and again in 2015 that I or any trans person who puts in the work in their chosen sport, meets the criteria from their international sporting body and their national Olympic Committee to qualify for their national Olympic team in their chosen sport will be allowed to participate in the Olympic Games.

I want to see trans women do more in the Olympics than just be part of the opening ceremonies, I want to see a trans women one day standing on a medal platform and competing and winning in their chosen sports.  The trans kids growing up today also need to see that happen in a future winter or summer games and I hope they do in the rest of my remaining time on Planet Earth.

Ms. Rodriguez, being a cisgender person playing a transsexual in a bad transsexual trope filled movie doesn't make you an expert on our sporting lives.

Being a trans person or trans ally that is cognizant of the issues that impact our lives, and has either the lived experience or has done the research to intelligently talk about it does.

2016 Olympic Watch- Going For The Sixpeat!

The five time defending Olympic champion USA women's basketball team has been marching toward this hopefully golden moment ever since they opened the Games on August 7 with a 121-56 blowout win in Group B play with Senegal.

The Team USA women then smashed Spain 103-63, Serbia 110-84, Canada 81-51, and China 102-65 to exit Group B play with a 5-0 record.

They then entered the knockout rounds and rolled to a 110-64 win over Japan on August 16 and punched their ticket to the gold medal game with an 86-67 win over FIBA number four ranked France to get to the Olympic basketball final for the sixth time since 1996.

This matchup for the gold medal is with a familiar foe in Spain. In addition to Team USA taking them down in the group stage, they vanquished the Spanish women in the 2014 FIBA World Championship final.

So how impressive and dominant is this 2016 Olympic version of Team USA?  

*They set the all time USA women point record (121) in the Senegal win.
*Set the US record for largest point differential in a game with the 65 point win over Senegal
*They became the first women's Olympic squad to score 100 points in three straight games.
*Set a new Olympic record of 40 assists in one game after tying the Olympic record of 36 assists set by the Soviet Union back in 1976.
* Have beaten their Rio Olympic competition by an average of 38.4 points

A lot is on the line for the Team USA women in addition to capturing their sixth consecutive gold medal since the 1996 Atlanta Games.  Also on the line is continued women's worldwide basketball supremacy, the FIBA number one ranking and auto qualifying spot in the 2019 FIBA championships, and their Olympic winning streak that has now reached 48 straight games since they won the bronze medal in Barcelona in 1992.

There is concern in the Team USA camp with point guard Sue Bird being day to day with a sprained knee suffered in the second quarter of the Japan game, but they are determined to complete their mission of being on the top step of the Olympic platform when this game is over.

If by some miracle Spain wins this game, it would be the biggest upset in Olympic basketball history and rank with the 1972 Munich gold medal game versus the Soviet Union the USA men had stolen from them in the final seconds.

Don't think this gold medal game with Spain will be that close, seeing that Team USA beat Spain by 40 points in pool play and the closest anyone has been to them was France in the semifinal, and they beat France by 19 points without Sue Bird in the lineup.

But Spain won't be rolling over for them either, and have some game film to study as a result of that pool play game. Game film cuts both ways, and we have Geno Auriemma on our bench and they don't.

We'll see if Team USA can win number 49 in a row today and their sixth straight gold medal at 1:30 PM CDT.

Friday, August 19, 2016

2016 Olympics Watch- Caster Semenya To 800m Final

Caster Semenya of South Africa competes during the
I was happy to see Caster Semenya of South Africa after all the drama she has been through since bursting into the world's consciousness at age 18 during the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin by running and winning the 800m in the fifth fastest time ever run by a woman.

She went through Hades after that because it is assumed she has a condition called hyperandrogenism, that naturally produces more testosterone in her body than the average female athlete, and some peeps are complaining that isn't fair to other female competitors.

Nobody complains about Michael Phelps feet acting like dolphin flippers when he's swimming. Nobody complains about Usain Bolt's 6'5" frame and long stride that allows him to effortlessly run away from his competition in the second half of 100m and 200m races.

What they do is just deal with the fact they are born with some competitive advantages, train harder and do their best to beat him.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

Gold medalist Mariya Savinova (L) of Russia celebrates with bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova after the Women's 800m Final at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
But the fact Semenya is a continental African running in an athletics race that has been one that white female athletes have until recently dominated is probably one of the reasons I believe why she's gotten so much unwarranted crap and scrutiny.

It's one of the many reasons why I'm rooting for Semenya to win the gold medal she ironically lost out on in London to an allegedly steroid fueled Russian competitor in Mariya Savinova four years ago.

She won her 800m semifinal heat in 1:58.15 to get her to the finals with the best time.

Semenya is considered the favorite to be standing atop the medal podium hearing the South African national anthem after taking a silver medal in London.

And I'm going to have fun hopefully watching her do so.  

2016 Olympics Watch- Watching Legends Win

I've been watching the Olympics since the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City, and have been fortunate to be around to see some legendary athletes and performances on the Olympic stage along with all the drama as well.

From Jim Hines breaking the 10 second barrier in the 100m to Edwin Moses dominating the 400m hurdles in 1976, (1980 we boycotted the Moscow Games) 1984 and winning 122 straight international races along the way to Flo Jo in 1988, I've gotten to see some amazing legendary athletes in not just athletics (track and field to us Americans) but across all sports.

The Rio Games hasn't been any different, because we have gotten to witness Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all time with threepeats in the 100m, 200m and can tonight with a threepeat win in the 4x100m relay to capture his ninth gold medal since his world record setting 2008 Olympic debut in Beijing.

Michael Phelps has done the same thing in the pool by bumping up his gold medal total to an incredible 23 golds (3 silvers, 2 bronze medals) 28 medals won over an Olympic career that started with him winning zero medals in Sydney in 2000 but being they youngest qualifier for an Olympic team at age 15 in 68 years.

He is now the most decorated Olympic athlete ever, and one of the greatest US swimmers since Mark Spitz in 1972.

There is also the sustained excellence of the USA women in basketball, who are FIBA's number one ranked squad and the defending world and Olympic champions.  

The Team USA women ballers have won five straight gold medals since the 1996 Atlanta Games and will play for their sixth consecutive gold medal tomorrow against a Spanish team they demolished in pool play 103-63.

They beat FIBA fourth ranked France in the semis 86-67 to advance to the gold medal match and win their 48th consecutive game in Olympic play since the 1992 Barcelona Games bronze medal game.

But since Team USA played Spain already in pool play and blew them out, I'm thinking that with much higher stakes in this match, Spain will step up their level of play.  Hopefully Sue Bird will be back in the Team USA lineup after missing the semifinal game with a strained knee

There was also a surprise medal from another legendary athlete in Venus Williams.  After shocking losses in the Rio Olympic singles and doubles tournament, Venus made it to the mixed doubles gold medal final with her partner Rajeev Ram, but fell to fellow Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock.

The silver medal she earned with Ram was Venus' fifth medal in Olympic tennis competition dating back to the 2000 Sydney Games.  Williams won gold in the singles and in the doubles competition with little sis Serena in Sydney, Beijing (2008) and in London (2012).  

But it's also a time to watch potential Olympic stars and legends emerge as well.  One of those is Ashton Eaton, who became the first man to repeat as the Olympic decathlon champion since Daley Thompson of Great Britain won back to back decathlons in 1980 and 1984.   Will he attempt the decathlon threepeat that no one has ever accomplished in Tokyo?

We'll have to wait until 2020 to find out.   But it sure has been fun to watch legends win.

Shut Up Fool Awards- Last Olympic Weekend In Rio Edition

The Rio Olympic Games are cruising to their final weekend of competition before the closing ceremonies happen on Sunday, and we have seen it all.

Teams and individuals favored for medals upset well before they get to the medal platform. Unheralded athletes having the meets of their lives to claim medals.  Legendary athletes cementing their place in Olympic and sporting history.  The unbridled joy of athletes winning first ever medals for their nations in their sporting disciplines.

As the TransGriot and the world have been watching the Olympic coverage, the world keeps turning, and the stupidity and ignorance still fills the news channels as I flip the channels away from the nonstop Olympic coverage, and I have got to call the fools out on their BS.

So here's this week's Shut Up Fool winners in Olympic style.

The SUF bronze medal goes to guess who?  The Republican presidential nominee for pick an offensive comment.

THe SUF silver medal comes to the Lone Stat State for in Austin City Councilmember Dan Zimmerman for his offensive comment he made to a largely Latinx audience during a city council meeting.

He has a long negative history of making offensive comments, and may he pay for it at the ballot box on November 8

This week's Shut Up Fool gold medal winner is a group award for US swimmer Ryan Lochte and his USA swimming teammates who created an international incident after getting drunk after an Olympic Village party, demolishing a gas station bathroom, getting detained, and then Lochte claiming they had been robbed.

The story fell apart after the media dug in and the Brazilian legal system got to work debunking it to the point where the USOC committee had to issue an apology for their behavior.

Lochte, who jumpstarted this mess, managed to get out of Brazil and back to the US along with Jonathan Feigen, ,but Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger weren't so fortunate.

The other thing that has pissed me off about this incident is peeps rushing to Lochte's defense claiming his 32 year old azz is 'just a kid' , but 12 year old Tamir Rice by contrast was a 'grown man' who police were justified in murdering for the 'crime' of playing with a BB gun in a public park.

But yeah, according to whiteness, Gabby Douglas not having her hand over her heart during an Olympic medal ceremony was more worthy of outrage than these fools destroying property in the Olympic host nation, making a false robbery accusation , and creating a multi day distraction from the positive coverage that all the Olympians deserved.

White privilege in action.  

Ryan Lochte and the USA swimmers who embarrased this country with your big lie, shut up fools!

Happy Transgender Pride Flag Day!

Happy Transgender Pride Flag Day!  

So why is today Transgender Pride Flag Day?   Time for another TransGriot trans history lesson concerning the Helms trans pride flag.

"August 19, 1999 is when I came up with the design and August 19, 2014 was when I donated it to the Smithsonian, " said Helms in a comment to me. "I'm humbled that it is being used all over the world. I thank the community for that."

The trans pride flag design that flag creator Monica Helms came up with was a light blue, pink and white striped flag that is designed so that even when turned upside down, the stripes are in the correct pattern.  

It first flew at a pride parade in Phoenix, AZ in April 2000 as part of the color guard, and since that initial appearance, it appeared at protests, trans themed conferences and events across the United States including the recent White House LGBT Pride Reception.  

The Helms transgender pride flag quickly grew in popularity even as variant designs of trans pride flags popped up in Canada and Israel.   The Helms trans pride flag since it was the first one, has increasingly been adopted by trans communities in various nations around the world as an internationally recognized symbol of our community.

August 19, 2014 is also the date that the original trans pride flag was donated by Helms to the Smithsonian as part of their permanent LGBT history collection

So Happy Transgender Pride Flag Day!  Maybe I'll get some pink lemonade to celebrate this date in trans history.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Open Letter To My Young Trans Sister Trinity

How This Black Mom Is Making a Better World for Her Trans Daughter
Dear Trinity,
I had the pleasure of meeting you and your mother during the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference back in June.  She has expressed her concerns to me that you've been a little down lately because when you see these numerous social media lists compiled of transgender leaders, advocates and history makers, there are far too often those times when those lists don't have people on them who reflect your ethnic heritage.

Your mom is concerned that you have expressed the sentiment that if you wish to be an advocate for this community, you need to be a pretty white girl to do so.  That's alarming and a problem for me and every African-American trans person who has been on the front lines of this movement for decades to make the world better for you to grow up in just as it is a concern for your mother..

It's also one of the reasons why I founded TransGriot ten years ago so that young trans kids like yourself and our allies know beyond a shadow of a doubt that people like us were not only saying it loud we were Black and proud, we are also proud unapologetically Black trans people who made major contributions to building this trans movement and making trans history.

We Black trans people have been a major part of this trans rights movement ever since it kicked off with a Black trans woman by the name of Marsha P. Johnson throwing the shot glass that started the Stonewall Riots and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy being there as it happened.  Marsha stood side by side with Sylvia Rivera as early leaders standing up for the rights of trans people as that nascent TBLG rights movement took shape.

Just four years before that in April-May 1965, it was gender variant kids like you who told the owners of Dewey's Lunch Counter in Philly in a sit in and protest that lasted several days they wouldn't accept being treated like second class citizens.

One of the people who helped found GenderPac, that organized several Washington DC lobby days in the 90's was a Philadelphia based Black trans woman named Dionne Stallworth.   You have trailblazing Black trans feminine leaders who are history makers themselves in Dawn Wilson and Marisa Richmond based in Louisville and Nashville, and Lorrainne Sade Baskerville who was handling her human rights business on behalf of our community in Chicago.

And that's even before I talk about some of your trans masculine uncles who paved the way, blazed trails and helped pass trans rights legislation like Marcelle Cook-Daniels, Alexander John Goodrum, and Kylar Broadus.   Trans men are still making major contributions to our leadership ranks today like Carter Brown, Jevon Martin, Diwa Cain, Joshua Holiday, Vann Millhouse,  Mister Cris, BT in the Atlanta area, and Dr Kortney Ziegler just to name a few.

Even our trans cousins on the African continent and in the Caribbean like Audrey Mbugua of Kenya and Ashily Dior, and Tru Wilson in Canada have been fighting in their various nations across the Diaspora to advance the human rights of trans people in their respective nations and worldwide.

A certain blogger you met in Philadelphia also has done her share over the last 18 years to advance the human rights of our community in her home state of Texas and beyond, but that's a story I can tell you the next time we spend quality time together.

We also have some amazing Black trans people blazing trails today in various fields like Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Tona Brown ,Valerie Spencer. Tracee McDaniel, Andrea Jenkins, Kim Watson, Cheryl Courtney- Evans and emerging trans feminine leaders like Raquel Willis, Tiommi Luckett, Bryanna Jenkins, Elle Hearns, Sharron Cooks, La La Zannell, Monica Jones, CeCe McDonald, and Precious Brady Davis just to name a few.

So my dearest Trinity, if you are wishing to contribute to advancing the human rights of our community, know this from me and all your Black trans elders that you have a proud history and legacy of leadership to build upon, and plenty of trans aunts and uncles who stand ready to help you become the best advocate for our community you can be if that is what you wish to do.