Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ashton Speaks At #MillionsMarchTexas

One of our fave local activists here in the Houston area, Ashton Woods was asked to speak at the recent #MillionsMarchTexas event in our state capital of Austin.

Here's what he had to say on the subject of intersectional justice.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

RIP Bianca Baxter

Community Mourns Loss of Ballroom Star Bianca Baxter aka Barbie MizrahiSad news from the ballroom community courtesy of ELIXHER. 

On December 21 the House of Mizrahi suffered the untimely loss of their House Mother Bianca Baxter, known in the Ballroom world as Barbie Mizrahi.

The cause of death of the actress and model from Charlottesville, VA  hasn't been confirmed, but she was a popular and well loved figure in the ballroom world.

Every trans woman in the ballroom and pageant community is my sister, too. We have much to learn and teach each other, and need to do a better job in 2015 of connecting and working to solve our common problems together.  
And while  I'm saddened to hear about Bianca leaving us far too soon, the cool thing is there is plenty of video of our ballroom sister, and you can check it out here.

Know Your Rights With The Police Event At Resurrection MCC Today

The latest Know Your Rights With The Police event will be taking place at Resurrection MCC at 12:30 PM CST.

It is organized and presented by Ashton Woods, with the #KYRWTP  training taught by former Houston city councilmember and longtime 20 year attorney Jolanda Jones,

It is designed to give you an overview of what your constitutional rights are if you get pulled over in a traffic stop, or live in a home or apartment.   Knowing those rights can head off potential police harassment that could escalate into something more serious.   They could be the difference between life or death or proving who's telling the truth between you and the police in a court of law

So check out this free event at The Gathering Place on the Resurrection MCC campus.  The address is 202 W.11th St  in Houston, and the METRO 40 Pecore/Ella line runs past the church for you public transportation peeps.

Gratis refreshments are also being provided starting at 12:15 for attendees. 

Hope to see you there.

High School Students Call Out FOX Noise

"Based on our studies about the field of journalism, we have determined that you're not practicing journalism. You're practicing rank propaganda." [...]
"By watching Fox News, we have learned buckets about journalism - what to do and, more importantly, what never to do. It is our hope that Fox News can learn the very same from watching us."
Mount Anthony Union HS, Bennington VT

Too bad the people watching that alleged network don't get that point that the students of Mount Anthony Union High School learned while studying journalism. 

But I'll let you watch their video and let them tell you themselves..

Also points out why the Republicans hate public schools.  They teach kids to critically think, and that's bad news for conservatism, that requires lots of bamboozled voters to keep them in power.

But the Mount Anthony high school students are far more optimistic about FOX than the rest of us are about the lying news leopard changing its spots.  

It won't.  It is a political arm of the Republican Party and the conservafool movement.  If you didn't know that already, the kids at Mount Anthony just helped 'ejumacate' you to that.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Shut Up Fool Awards-Chain Of Fools Edition

If the title of this week's Shut Up Fool Awards sounds familiar, it's borrowed from a classic Grammy Award winning Aretha Franklin song that was released in November 1967.   

Chain of Fools went number one on the R&B chart for four weeks and hit number two on the pop chart in January 1968 for two weeks.   It later won the Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

So let's get to our usual Friday business of calling out a seemingly unbroken chain of fools for this week's awards.

Honorable Mention number one is Sen. Joni Ernst (Teabagger-IA).  She claimed during her State of the Union rebuttal speech infomercial that she grew up poor, but family got over $460K in federal farm subsidies.

Honorable mention number two  is our fave Oklahoma homobigot in state Rep. Sally Kern.    She's Exhibit A of my repeated statement that most dangerous bigot is the one with the power to write legislation. 

Sally's in the news again by pushing a trio of bills that would make it extremely difficult for LGBT people to live in Oklahoma.   Never mind the fact the hypocrite has a gay son and was officially rebuked by her House colleagues for uttering racist and misogynistic remarks..

Still haven't given up on your dream of making Oklahoma LGBT free, eh Frau Kern?

Honorable Mention number three is Patsy Keever.   She's running for the chair of the NC Democratic Party along with trans candidate Janice Covington Allison, and let loose an anti-trans insult at a candidate forum in Gastonia, NC on Tuesday.

Transphobia is never a good look on the campaign trail, boo

Honorable mention number four is Hugh Taylor, the superintendent (R) of the DeKalb County AL schools who refused to let high school classes see the movie Selma because 'it's full of filthy language'.

But if that high school history teacher had requested to see Birth Of A Nation, you be all in for that huh?

Honorable mention number five is Mike Huckabee, for his racist hatin' on Bey Bey and other crimes against common sense..

Honorable mention number six is Dave Wilson, who is trying to get an anti-trans Houston City Charter amendment on the ballot that would fix gender identity at birth based on genitalia despite all the modern scientific evidence to the contrary.

And I had to have somebody from Texas on the list this week.

Rep. Tom McClintock (C-SPAN)This week's Shut Up Fool award winner is Rep Tom McClintock (R-CA)

In another sterling  example of why the most dangerous bigot is the one with the power to write legislation, this TeapubliKKKan parted his lips on C-SPAN to say that the minimum wage should be kept at $7 a hour for minorities because 'they aren't worth more than that.'

And racist conservative white male Republican congressmembers aren't worth the $175K in taypayer dollars we pay y'all, and I hope and pray the minority voters unfortunate enough to live in your congressional district vote your azz out next year.

The folks in Seattle have just blown up all your GOP arguments for not raising the minimum wage, because business is booming in that city because workers have money in their pockets. 

Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt back in 1936 knew what the key to a booming American economy was (and still is) and you Republicans are too stupid to realize it. 

Give American workers a living wage that allows them to pay their bills, save and have some extra disposable income to spend and they will put it back in the American economy.
'It is to the real advantage of every producer, every manufacturer and every merchant to cooperate in the improvement of working conditions, because the best customer of American industry is the well-paid worker'
President Franklin D Roosevelt, October 16, 1936.
Rep. Tom McClintock, shut up racist fool.

Rest In Peace, Lamia Beard!

Lamia BeardWell, didn't take long for me to have to write my first post of 2015 memorializing one of our fallen African-American trans sisters.

This happened in Norfolk, VA, her name was Lamia Beard, and she was 30 years old.

Lamia was found just before 4 AM EST on January 17 suffering from a gunshot wound in the 700 block of E. 25th Street.   She was taken to Norfolk General Hospital where she later died.

And as you probably guessed when it comes to media people covering the murders of our sisters, it came with another heaping helping of disrespect.   She was not only misgendered in the Scott Daugherty Virginian-Pilot article, her past arrest record was injected into the story.


For those of you in the Norfolk area who wish to pay your last respects to Lamia, the viewing will be held on January 25, with the funeral service to take place at 11 AM on  Monday, January 26, 2015at the Metropolitan Funeral Service, Berkley Avenue Chapel

Address is 120 W. Berkley Avenue, Norfolk, VA.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Norfolk Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

Rest in power Lamia!   We won't rest as a community until your killer is found and brought to justice.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dave Wilson Proposes Anti-Trans Houston Charter Amendment

I've been aware since Thanksgiving he's been up to this shady unconstitutional BS for a while since my mom and sister got those transphobic hate pieces in the mail.|

Now it's starting to get more media coverage

Longtime Houston TBLG hater Dave Wilson wants to make Houston trans people permanent third class citizens.

In this blatant attack on Houston trans people, Wilson wants to have this language added to the City of Houston charter

"Except as required by State or Federal law, the City of Houston shall only define 'Gender Identity' as an Individual's Innate Identification, as either male or female, which Is assigned at birth. Perceived gender identification Is not allowed In defining 'Gender Identity.' Furthermore, the City of Houston shall require entities doing business with the city to adopt the same definition of 'Gender Identity.'"

Not no but hell no.  Besides, why would we trust a guy who deliberately misrepresented himself as Black to get elected to the Houston Community College system board? 

Wilson would need to collect 20,000 signatures to place his anti-trans amendment on the 2015 city ballot.

Seeing that they just failed to collect enough signatures to get HERO on this year's ballot, I would hope they would have even more trouble putting something even more extreme, discriminatory and anti-human rights in front of City of Houston voters.

And there is no fracking way I will sit idly by and allow this piece of anti-trans crap to desecrate the City of Houston's charter.

I will fight that with every fiber of my trans being to ensure the Wilson Anti-Trans Hate Amendment  dies a public and painful death.

As a matter of fact, I think it's past time that we TBLG folks and our human rights loving allies push a charter amendment of our own  that seeks to ban the use of the charter amendment process to roll back the human rights of marginalized groups.

And this is also one more glaring example of why the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance needs to be implemented without delay.

Why Does This Pattern Keep Happening In Jenifer's Council Races?

You long time TransGriot readers have seen my posts since 2011 documenting the efforts of Jenifer Rene Pool to become the first out transperson elected to Houston City Council.

If she succeeds in doing so this November, she would also become the first out trans person elected to a major city council in a city with 1 million or more population.

One of the things that has bothered me while watching Jen try to make this history and get that seat in the Horseshoe for the Houston trans community is the appearance to those of us in the trans world and our allies that elements of the lesbian and gay community are actively working to keep that history from happening.

During the 2011 cycle, it was newly out Bo Fraga suddenly deciding to run for city council in that same crowded Position 2 at large race that Jenifer had declared for.   There was also the whisper campaign started that Pool 'wasn't a viable candidate' that were allegedly spread all the way to the Victory Foundation.

Jenifer despite all that drama, finished sixth in that crowded race.

Then in 2013 when she ran for the Position 3 At Large seat, there was an allegation a group of gay delegates walked out of a meeting room just before a vote that cost her a critical endorsement.

Despite the fact that she was once LGBT Caucus President, has been a longtime host of the KPFT-FM Queer Voices radio show, and was a 2012 Pride Parade Grand Marshal, the lukewarm support from the LG community also caused her to miss the runoff in the Position 3 race against Michael Kubosh by a little over 1000 votes.

That bit the Houston LGBT community in the political behind a few months later during the HERO fight.  Councilmember Kubosh, after claiming at an April 27 town hall in Montrose he was 'against discrimination', voted against the HERO a month later and proclaimed at the Riggle hate rally masquerading as a church service in June that that "God put him on City Council to oppose the HERO."

Now Jenifer is gearing up for a third run for city council.   She is running for the at Large Position 1 seat, and we in Houston Trans World were stunned to hear that Lane Lewis, the openly gay chair of the Harris County Democratic Party,  decided to make his second run for City Council, and it ain't for the soon to be open At  Large Position 4 seat.

I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but I have to ask the question what's up with this when you know the Houston trans community has been trying to get representation on council since 1991, the Houston gay and lesbian community has had it for over two decades, .and we get elements of the Houston lesbian and gay community continuing to frustrate the efforts of Jenifer and the Houston trans community to get our first ever rep on City Council.

And don't think the Houston trans community has forgotten the calls by some peeps in LG Houston to 'dump the trannies' and pass an LG only HERO when the debate over the gender identity category got loud, transphobic, and contentious.

Hey I have much love and respect for Lane Lewis.  If  he's elected ,I have no doubt he'll make a fine city council member.   But hey, I have to ask this question.

Is it just coincidence that gay males have twice decided to jump into races for the same seat Jen has announced she's running for?   Is it personal animus toward her?  Or is it as some people suspect, there's other transphobic motivation for this pattern to repeatedly keep happening?

I have no problem with the job that gay and lesbian Houstonians have done so far in their time on council and in other city positions.   But transpeople also live inside the 700 square miles of Texas soil we call Houston, and it's past time one of us was sitting in one of those nice green leather chairs helping to shape civic policy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

'Boy Meets Girl' Has A Trans Actress...

Playing a trans woman..

This indie romantic comedy directed by Eric Schaeffer is the story of Ricky, a young Southern trans girl who deals with friendship, romance, transphobic hate, and all the other gray area issues that trans peeps have to navigate while working to get accepted at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

It stars Michelle Hendley in the role of Ricky, and she had an interesting route she took to get this role.  Schaeffer found her courtesy of her YouTube video, and OUT magazine interviewed them both in this article..  

Boy Meets Girl will be in limited release in February, and hopefully I'll get to see it.

Speaking of seeing things, here's the trailer

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

President Obama Says The 'T' Word In His 2015 SOTU Speech!

"That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender."
--President Barack Obama, January 20, 2015

The 2015 State of the Union speech was broadcast to our nation earlier tonight.

While there was a lot to like in President Obama's speech, one of the things that has electrified Trans Nation was the fact that he made a little history by mentioning us in it.

While cynics will say that the POTUS uttering the word 'transgender' in the State of the Union speech won't magically change the lives of trans people in the United States, it still matters to every trans person inside the borders of this country.  

What it does do is act as a shot of inspirational self esteem to a downtrodden and maligned community that damned sure can use it.  At a time when the Religious Right and the conservative movement is increasingly attacking us with falsehoods and lies, it makes us feel included in the life of this country.

We'll also be standing a little bit taller in the morning with wider smiles on our faces. 

It's wonderful when the leader we trans peeps elected with our votes twice in 2008 and 2012 recognizes us with the nation's and the world's television cameras on him.

It says to us trans folks, we matter.   It also mattered that our trans kids got to hear their president say 'transgender' tonight along with their trans elders.
Yeah, we in Trans America know we have a lot of work ahead of us until trans human rights are a reality across this nation.  But hey, let us trans peeps revel in our historic moment.

This is one State of the Union speech we'll never forget.

CeCe McDonald To Receive The Paul A. Anderson Youth Award At CC15!

The 2015 edition of Creating Change is rapidly approaching, and one of the things the Task Force does during this event is present awards to honor the people involved in our human rights movement.

So happy to discover that the person who will receive the Paul A Anderson Youth Award is none other than CeCe McDonald.  

Since being released last January after 17 months of unjust incarceration for defending herself against a July 2010 racist and tranphobic assault aimed at her and some friends in Minneapolis, CeCe quickly became a leading and outspoken fighter in the movements for LGBTQ liberation, prison abolition, and racial justice.

She is currently working on a forthcoming documentary with actress Laverne Cox on her case entitled Free CeCe. Since being released, CeCe has spoken across the nation: she served as the Grand Marshall of Seattle Pride, received the Bayard Rustin Civil Rights award, was featured in an article published by Rolling Stone Magazine, and has appeared on Democracy Now!, MSNBC, and in various other media outlets.

And I'll finally get the chance to meet her!  Looking forward to giving her a big hug when that happens and hearing her acceptance speech.

Sorry Ashley, Rev Al IS A Black Leader With A Big Voice

Over at Kulture Kritic there is a post by Ashley Naples that caught my attention.   It is basically critical of the Rev Al Sharpton and legacy orgs like the NAACP.

Personally, I like The Rev for his tell it like it is style and his willingness over several decades to speak truth to power.  I also disagree with her assessment of The Rev and here's why.

My first point is that if Rev Al Sharpton isn't considered a Black leader, why does FOX Noise, right wing talk radio  and the conservafool movement spend every waking moment demonizing him as a 'racist'?  If the conservafools are demonizing him and spending their valuable propaganda air time doing so, they obviously fear him and consider him important enough to make the effort to slime him.

Naples asserted in the article that she aimed at White America that his 'popularity is quickly waning'.  By what metric are you judging that?   Rev. Al's Politics Nation MSNBC show is second in popularity only to whatever waste of programming FOX Noise is broadcasting in that 6 PM ET time slot.   The protest march that he called for in the wake of the Garner non indictment in New York back in December drew thousands and national news coverage.

Speaking of that MSNBC show, the fact that it is on five days a week, he has a daily and Sunday syndicated radio programs means that he has the ability to reach far more people than all those social media bloggers that Naples touted but never named in her piece.

While Ms Naples may sneer at his access to President Obama, I'm willing to bet she hasn't come close to signing her name in or running the White House security gauntlet for a meeting with the POTUS or his advisory team as Rev Al has done multiple times.

And you never diss or dismiss anyone who has access to the President of the United States, much less got an invite to his second inauguration..

You may be sick of hearing that Rev Al is a leader, but there are other African-Americans who are glad that he is one of the people speaking for our community.

And right now, he is a Black leader with a big voice.

T Minus 2 Weeks To CC15

This time last year it was those of us on the Houston Host Committee for Creating Change 2014 who were checking and rechecking our plans, nervously looking at the long range weather forecasts, and giddy with excitement that we were about to roll out the rainbow carpet to the community for our first ever Creating Change that we intentionally set the bar high for and smashed records in conducting it.

And yes National LGBTQ Task Force, we look forward in H-town to having the opportunity to host Creating Change again.

Now it's Denver's turn.   And we can feel the Denver Host Committee's excitement and nervousness all the way here in Texas.

You can exhale CC15 Host Committee because the nine months of planning meetings are over.  All you're doing at this point is dealing with last minute issues that crop up.  Your four CC15 conference co-chairs are doing their local media blitz and checking with the chairs and co-chairs of the committees they are responsible for to make sure everything is running smoothly.   
In just two weeks LGBT World will be gathering at the 5,280 altitude of Denver, Colorado for Creating Change 2015 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown and all the other nearby overflow hotels for the expected 3500 attendees.

cc15preheaderbordered640x100And for those of us coming from Houston, we'll be interested to see if they back up the smack talk some loose lipped Coloradans allegedly uttered at the Hilton Americas bar during CC14 that they would smash all our CC all time records we'd just set.

And hope to see my Denver trans family in the CC15 house and all the rest of you peeps I know and love while I'm there.   Looking forward to meeting a few new friends as well.

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel - ExteriorDenver will be the center of LGBT World from February 3-8, and it'll be fun to see all my fave peeps in the community and report on the CC15 happenings, especially from the perspective of someone who is just a year removed from helping plan one.

I'm also excited because it's the first time ever I've been able to attend back to back Creating Change conferences and it's time for the Air Marshal to take flight again..

So see y'all in two weeks.   And yeah, I'll be bringing my Houston Texans sweatshirt with me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Anti-Trans Bathroom Bully Bill Filed In Kentucky

Bill targets transgender bathroomsTransGriot Note:  In the interest of journalistic integrity, I served on the boards of the Fairness Campaign and its C-FAIR political PAC from 2008-2010

When I lived in Kentucky, while it was 1000 miles away from my birth state, when it came to the politics, I noticed some similarities in terms of it having some politicians in its legislature that would make Louie Gohmert look like a Mensa candidate.

What that meant is that every session, we'd have some WTF bills filed that fortunately, because of the split control of the legislature (GOP Senate, Democratic House) didn't become law because they died in committee.

I was reminded of that aspect of Kentucky politics when I heard about Kentucky State Senator CB Embry(R) filing SB 76, the 'Bathroom Bully' Bill.

It would if passed not only force trans teens to use locker rooms and bathrooms that don't correspond to the person they are now, but would allow students who encounter a person of the opposite biological sex in a restroom, locker room or shower room to recover $2,500 damages for psychological, emotional and physical harm suffered and reasonable attorney fees and costs from the school if school personnel gave permission for the student encountered to use the facility or failed to take reasonable steps to prohibit the person encountered from using the facility.

It was in response to what happened at Louisville's Atherton HS that the hatemongering Kentucky 'Family Foundation tried to stick its transphobic nose in and failed.   They are now trying to get legislatively what they failed to do at the local level in Da Ville

Chris Hartman, director of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign, said the SB 76 bill that Embry has filed is 'a solution in search of a problem' at a time when the General Assembly has many more pressing issues to address.

“It’s sort of a fruitless effort to give him an opportunity to soapbox on something,” Hartman said.  The focus, instead should be on protecting marginalized students through an anti-bullying bill with a strong suicide prevention element, he said.

“We don’t see any reason to further mandate micromanage decisions being quite capably handled by each school,” he said.

Amen Chris.  I'm tired of white male conservatives reflexively spreading bathroom panic fears aimed at marginalized groups for their own political gain and to demonize or 'other' them.

SB 76 needs to die quick, fast and in a hurry because the commonwealth of Kentucky has far more pressing items on its plate than oppressing  trans kids

2015 Williams Watch-Australian Open 2015 Starts

One of the other things that is a regular feature of TransGriot is moi  tracking the tennis playing exploits of my fave kick butt tennis playing siblings in Venus and Serena Williams.  This feature got started because I was tired of the racist disrespect the Williams sisters received at times

With the first Grand Slam of the 2015 tennis season about to start Down Under, it's time for another year of Williams Watch posts.

In addition to Serena chasing history and trying to win her 19th career Grand Slam tournament, she's trying to win her sixth Australian Open and her first since 2010.

But before the number one overall seeded Little Sis even takes the court against Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, she will make tennis history.

She will become only the fourth player in the WTA rankings era to hold the Number 1 spot for at least 100 weeks.   She joins Chris Evert (113 straight weeks from May 10, 1976 to July 9, 1978), Martina Navratilova (156 straight weeks from June 14, 1982 to June 9, 1985) and Steffi Graf (186 straight weeks from August 17, 1987 to March 10, 1991) as the only players accomplishing that rare feat.

Serena has held the Number One ranking since February 13, 2013 and is guaranteed a 101st week through the second week of the Australian Open.  How long she holds that ranking beyond February 1 depends on how well she plays in this tournament.

Should she get through her opening round match, she would take on the winner of the Vera Zvonareva - Oris Jabeur match

Big Sis is here in Melbourne as well.  She's seeded 18th in this tournament, and she takes on Spain's Maria Torr-Flor inn her opening round match.   She would take on the winner of the Lauren Davis - Aleksandra Krunic match if she survives the opening round tilt.

They are also entered in the Australian Open doubles, and it will be interesting to see if they walk away with their first Australian Open doubles title since 2010.
Here's hoping you both have long successful runs in this 2015 edition of the Australian Open.