Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TransTech's First Orientation

There have been some amazing things going on in Trans World lately, and what transpired in Chicago on Sunday is just the latest example. 

TransTech Social Enterprises (TTSE), announced the launch of their tech ­focused training and apprenticeship program for the LGBT community with a focus on trans identified individuals.

The Trans Tech leadership team is Founding Executive Director/CEO Angelica Ross, Board President Precious Davis and Communications and Operations Director Joey Grant

The TTSE venture will have two components: the Training Academy with workshops focusing on professional development and the TransTech Apprenticeship Program which is a creative design firm that offers a graphic design and web development apprenticeship.

"At TransTech, our programs aim to equip people with a technical skill set for survival," says CEO Angelica Ross. " We start with entry level skills and build on those to increase an individuals experience and proficiency in an increasingly technological job market."

This past Sunday TransTech hosted a free orientation at the Center on Halsted to introduce their program to the local community.  The orientation simulated a model workshop following their TTSE signature e3 structure of empowerment, education, and employment for the 40 people who signed up to attend and learn more about it. .

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fallon's Fun With Flawed TERF Sports Thinking

TransGriot Note: Been a while since I had a guest post up from my sis Fallon Fox and one slamming the TERF's. 

I get to gleefully do both at the same time with this guest post in which Fallon takes aim at the TERF's who are loud, wrong and scientifically illiterate while attacking trans women who participate in sports. 

TERFs. Every single time they have made, and will continue to make themselves look rather silly when they open their mouths against transgender women.

This reality struck me more than it has in the past with this recent small time WordPress blog from Culturally Bound Gender entitled "All the things you can't deny: Title IX, trans women, and the reality of neutrality.".

The article focused primarily on the physical height that some transgender athletes may have as a result of a likely ratio of taller transgender women in sports, and society in general. The moment I stumbled across this despicable piece of paranoid delusional drivel, I knew that it would be great idea to knock the dunce hat from atop it, grab it by the ear, drag it from obscurity, and pull it directly to the front of the room for the whole class to see. Pretty much the ones still actively promoting the ridiculous notion that trans women as a whole have 'unfair' advantages because of skeletal related 'advantages' are bigots, misinformed individuals, and TERFs also known as Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.

The latter is an unfortunate offshoot of the feminist movement that most feminists (including the one writing this) tend to steer clear of because of their blatant hatred for men in general, and their day to day straw man attacks against transgender women. TERFs tend to see transgender women as men. A mindset that could not be farther from the actual truth, and actually goes against the documented peer reviewed findings and collective consensus of those in the fields of psychology and medical fields.

Because of not having the power to hurt men in any meaningful way out of spite for the wrongs inflicted on them by the hands of some, they seek to harm what they view as the next best thing - transgender women. They are so blindsided, so hate filled, so bitter about by their hatred of men, that they refuse to deeply fathom the reality that some women were unfortunately born with male genitalia, yet have female brains. 

A reality that has been stated repeatedly and accompanied by peer reviewed testing within the scientific and medical communities that study transgender women's brains. . This reluctance by TERFs to embrace the medical and scientific reality make me ponder if I should attempt to contact Lisa Vogel - the owner of the deeply transphobic Michigan Womyn's Music Festival  and propose that they build a gigantic mountain in the center of Michfest.    Then they could hold that shindig in the middle of winter with a womyn atop that mountain spraying it down with a fire hose just so that a small percentage of the participants who are against trans women's participation can have practice with ice skating uphill.

They'll need the ice skating practice.  Because as the months and years pass by, we learn more and more about transgender women's brains and bodies, especially when it comes to a sports setting.   Fighting the gravity of those findings is something they really need to get used to. On one hand, it hurts me to see someone so lost that they lash out on the innocent.

Because, it is truly tragic that TERFs are the way they are because of despicable misogyny against women. But, that's how many hate groups have been formed throughout history. And I almost think that it is a good thing that the TERF's continue to print and promote such rhetoric as what gets posted now and then on WordPress sites that not many within their right minds agree with.

Those irrelevant articles TERFs tend to write give those of us on the right side of history something to point at and say, "Now, look at the utter ridiculousness of what they are saying. Go ask those in the medical communities who actually study transgender bodies on a day to day basis the reality of trans women's bodies. Go ask the psychologist who actually work with transgender women on a day to day basis. They will disagree with these insane statements."

I learned a mindset within the martial art of jiu jitsu a long time ago. The thought process is, it is highly beneficial for one to sometimes use the energy and momentum of the attacks against oneself as momentum for ones own attack. This concept can be used in many situations. So that's part of the reason why, when I look at the forest before the trees, those articles that caused me to lose sleep in the past when I first came out as a transgender athlete are now the articles that cause me to sleep more soundly.

There's a shift that's been happening, a momentum for widespread understanding of transgender people and their bodies that has taken off within the last year. There is no doubt opposition to the shift. But the more the opposition flails, the more they fight, the more they sink into the quicksand of their own hatred and bigotry.

There's even beginning to be a shift within government  and businesses around transgender equality. And let's just face it one of the major reasons why TERFs and the religious right are clinging to trans participation in sport is because if we're involved in sports in any meaningful number, that will speak to the "person on the street" in a way that sports personalities reach their fan base.

If society were to see a trans woman on the Olympic team, who won for the USA, as an example, that would send a shockwave through the right. Who would they have to hate if what some consider sports to be is the last bastion for equality of humans? What straw man could they erect for Americans to hate then?

We are winning, and I'm quite sure that behind closed doors they are whining to each other and responding within their group like bunch of near death Darth Vaders. They look to each other and say, "Our arguments are dying!". The response back is heavily breathed response, "Nothing... can stop that now."

Except I highly doubt that there will a redemptive move on their part that the audience of the world will applaud in the end. Yes, on a long enough timeline the TERFs are political toast. I say that not to encourage complacency. Actually, I propose the opposite. I suggest those of us on the more rational and all around more empathetic end of spectrum shine an even bigger light in their hateful ideals as much as possible. I think it's time to lay waste to that antiquated framing that bone structure in a minority group should be cause for concern within sports.

It's about time that we poke fun and at the hate groups who stand against transgender people like we do the other hate groups that attack other minorities and seek to exclude them. Then again, it's not like I even have to wish or call for it. It's already beginning to happen in some progressive circles outside of the transgender collective.

So, let's have a little fun with them shall we? Let's examine the TERFs claims. Gather round y'all, it's fun for the whole family. Let's examine the "All the things you can't deny: Title IX, trans women, and the reality of neutrality." nonsense.

Let's observe the height of Gabrielle Ludwig, the college basketball player the blog attempts to attack. Then, let's compare that height to the best WNBA player on the planet. Gabrielle Ludwig's height is 6' 6". Wouldn't you know it? The blog was correct! That's incredibly tall for an average woman in the United States, that is for certain, no?

Then we have Britney Griner, a cisgender woman who stands at a whopping 6' 8". Two inches taller than her transgender competitor.

Only, she's not Gabrielle's competitor.  Britney Griner is a WNBA player and one of best in the world.  Her skill level would likely crush our transgender college player if they played one on one.  That's not to say Ludwig is not talented. She is!  It's just - well, like other women, some can be more talented, or have a higher skill level than others.

If we think about the blog's perspective, that when certain minority groups have populations that happen to be taller than others, we should separate those groups in competitions all by themselves, we naturally have to consider what that would mean for minorities across the board.

See, what slipped by the TERFs is that height disparities among other minorities happen all of the time in sports. Take the Dinkans for example. Dinkans like model Atong Arjok are statistically the tallest group of humans on planet Earth. Yet nobody in their right mind would question their participation in the height category.

If you have a basketball player who happens to be of Dinkan ancestry, it's likely that they will be hella tall! Now, do we say that because of this, we ban all Dinkan people from basketball as we must look out for the interest of Asian people who may be at a disadvantage in the height department?

No, we don't. Because we realize doing so would be racist as hell. Not to mention that not all Dinkan people will be tall, and not all Asian people short. And what if all Dinkan people happened to be over 6' tall? Do we then say that no Dinkans can participate in basketball? No, we don't.

As I mentioned earlier. Asians are the shortest ethnicity by ratio. Almost everyone knows that this is a fact. You will rarely see a tall Asian in basketball within the United States, although it does happen. I only have to mention the names  Zheng Haixia or Yao Ming to illustrate my point.

Remember Manute Bol ? All 7' 7" of him? Remember how he was actually celebrated for his height? What a marvel! What a player we'd like to have on our team! What a hero! He had Dinkan ancestry yet nobody says a damn thing about banning Dinkans from basketball. Know why? Because being against Manute Bol's participation in basketball because of his height would be racist.

Guess what? Being against Gabrielle Ludwig's participation in basketball because of her height would be (and is) transphobic. Of course, it's quite obvious what is going on here. We happen to live at the time in our American history where we are at the tipping point where transgender people are beginning to gain rights, and the bigotry of years past is starting to fade a little bit as more correct information is getting out there, and people are starting to see us as fellow human beings.

And have we all noticed noticed how opponents of trans participation in sports have been laying off of the whole strength advantage nonsense lately because the correct medical authorities who were in the know, exposed their pseudoscientific ignorance within this last year?  Those who were more sane and educated beat the opposition back, and held a light to their bigotry. All of this happened because some had the audacity to actually stand up and fight for themselves, and their allies heard the drum beats of those calling for promotion of the truth, and took the initiative to stand with them. We will beat them back on this height and bone structure nonsense also. It's the last thing that they have to cling on to, and their grip is slipping quickly.

So, TERFs, I know that you're out there dabbing the sweat from your foreheads as you click and type away from your keyboards. My message to you is bring it! Give us more and more fuel to politically dump over your bigoted mindsets that are already going up in flames. This is comedy at this point. And I'm loving every moment of it. Please write more. We will be waiting.

TSA Travel Tips For Transpeeps

I recently heard about one of my transsisters having a less than pleasant experience going through TSA security on a recent flight up to being ridiculed and then subsequently searched by a male TSA officer.

Both actions are against TSA rules.

Since many of us will be traveling by air in the near or not too distant future and the TSA ain't going away any time soon,  time for the Air Marshal (my old activist nickname) to remind you about what your rights are as a trans air traveler  

*Private Screening: Screening can be conducted in a private screening area with a witness or companion of the traveler’s choosing. A traveler may request private screening or to speak with a supervisor at any time during the screening process.

*Travel Document Checker: The traveler will show their government-issued identification and boarding pass to an officer to ensure the identification and boarding pass are authentic and match. Transgender travelers are encouraged to book their reservations such that they match the gender and name data indicated on the government-issued ID.

Airport TSA security
*New Advanced Imaging Technology Software: TSA has upgraded all millimeter wave advanced imaging technology units with new software called Automated Target Recognition to further enhance privacy protections by eliminating the image of an actual traveler and replacing it with a generic outline of a person.

*Pat-Down: A pat-down may be performed if there is an alarm of the metal detector, if an anomaly is detected using advanced imaging technology, if an officer determines that the traveler is wearing non-form fitting clothing, or on a random basis. If a pat-down is chosen or otherwise necessary, private screening may be requested. Pat-downs are conducted by an officer of the same gender as presented by the individual at the checkpoint. 

Travelers who believe they have experienced unprofessional conduct at a security checkpoint are encouraged to request a supervisor at the checkpoint to discuss the matter immediately or to submit a concern to TSA’s Contact Center at:

Travelers who believe they have experienced discriminatory conduct because of a protected basis may file a concern with TSA’s Office of Civil Rights & Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement at: Civil Rights for Travelers.

Travelers may also file discrimination concerns with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

The Transportation Safety Administration are there in the nation's airports to keep us safer when we fly, not to dehumanize transpeople as we simply try to get from Point A to Point B by airplane across this country and around the world.
So if you experience less than professional treatment from a TSA agent when you fly, report it. 

Help Addie Get To DC For Her Internship

Addie Vincent is one of our Left Coast girls like us who has earned an exciting opportunity to intern with the Victory Fund in our nation's capital

While I have my issues with the Victory Fund concerning their lack of endorsements for viable trans candidates, this is still an opportunity I'd love to see Addie have happen for her. 

She's trying to raise the funds to get there, and it's crunch time for her.   The internship starts in less than a week and she's only halfway to her goal of $900. 

Here's Addie:
I'm writing this because I need your help: I've been offered an exciting opportunity to intern with the Victory Fund, an amazing organization in DC that endorses queer and Trans candidates for office!! I hope to do wonderful things with them and create much needed change for our community, but I need help getting there!
The internship begins in just under a week, and I'm only halfway to my goal. There's a chance that if I don't get even close to my goal, I won't be able to afford going at all.

And that would be a shame if she can't take advantage of what this internship with the Victory Fund can do for her if lack of funds derails her from getting to Washington DC in the first place.

Here's the link to Addie's gofundme page.   Let's see if we can help her meet or exceed her modest goal of $900

A Baltimore Trans Woman Speaks

Dane EdidiTransGriot Note: Our guest poster Lady Dane Edidi is a Baltimore native and a girl like us who resides in Washington DC.   She's a performance artist, writer and author of the novel Yemaya's Daughter that is currently available at Casa Ruby, here at her website and hopefully soon at a bookstore near you. 


When you love a trans woman you have to understand that every day she makes it home safe is a miracle. We not only have to fight against historical erasure but we have to fight in our neighborhoods often for survival. I live close to where some of my trans sisters have died in Baltimore . This is not a joke for me, it is not a game; it is not a matter of simply "complaining" too much, it is not a matter of not having enough faith; what it is is a matter of life and death.

Every day we are fighting against life and death. Some of us don't have any privilege.  We do not have the convenience of letting our voices be heard on Huffington Post, or the Advocate or Logo.  Some of us simply don't wanna die even when many of us have been told death is the only option.  Many of us are told this by our education system, our artistic communities, our familial systems, our neighbors and those who choose not to care or include trans women's voices in any decision made regarding trans women.

When I say to anyone check your privilege at the door just like you would your shoes; this is not a silencing of your voice, this is a call to empathetic, sympathetic and compassionate living. This is a call to hear and not simply react. This is a call to get out of your feelings and get into what really will facilitate healing which the start is to know your privilege does not make you evil, but your privilege can make you blind.

Every day a trans woman makes it home safe and lives another day is a miracle.  Think before you speak because this is not a joke, a comedy show, a Lifetime movie, a game.   This is real life with real people, with real struggles, with real lives, dreams, aspirations and desires.

Every day a trans woman makes it home safe and lives to breathe, laugh, cry, speak, and teach another day is a miracle.

NBJC Statement Concerning The TBLG Executive Order

As you TransGriot readers are aware of, yesterday morning President Barack Obama signed executive orders banning federal contractors from discriminating in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.   The executive order also expanded a 1998 Clinton executive order that banned discrimination in federal employment based on gender identity.

The National Black Justice Coalition was pleased with yesterday's event and had this to say about it.  While this is wonderful news, NBJC cautions us that the fight is far from over when it comes to expanding equality and opportunity for all.


“President Obama’s decision to protect LGBT workers contracting with the federal government is a powerful sign that our nation continues to make progress on expanding equality and opportunity to all. But the fight on this issue is far from over,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and CEO. “It’s beyond troubling that more states permit marriage equality than prohibit LGBT discrimination in the workplace. What sense does it make to be able to marry, but have to live in fear of losing your job simply because of who you are or who you love? This injustice must be made right by Congress passing nondiscrimination protections for all of our nation’s workers, no matter their backgrounds."

For forty years, Congress has debated several pieces of legislation meant to address LGBT workplace equality with no success achieved. This lack of advancement has had a devastating impact on LGBT workers of color. NBJC’s co-authored report, A Broken Bargain For LGBT Workers of Color, illustrates how LGBT workers who live at the intersections of race and both gender identity and sexual orientation face tremendous odds when trying to secure and maintain employment. For example, national surveys of Black LGBT people put rates of employment discrimination near 50 percent.

“Black LGBT people are significantly disadvantaged when they lack nondiscrimination protections in the workplace. NBJC will not rest until all qualified American workers, including our Black LGBT brothers and sisters, have the ability to secure a good, quality job to take care of themselves and their families,” added Lettman-Hicks.

With the signing of today’s Executive Order, President Obama builds upon his Administration’s stellar record of improving the lives of LGBT people. The Obama Administration’s LGBT victories include: signing a federal hate crimes law; repealing the military’s discriminatory policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell;” the Department of Justice’s move to stop defending the “Defense of Marriage Act;” and the expansion of health care coverage to the LGBT community, with an emphasis on addressing LGBT health care disparities.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Leticia Van de Putte Convention Videos

As I keep pointing out, Wendy Davis isn't the only woman running at the top of the Texas Democratic party ticket this fall.   Longtime state senator Leticia San Miguel Van De Putte from the San Antonio area is running for lieutenant governor.

And yeah, she can also use some fundraising love, too

In Texas, the lieutenant governor's chair is a far more powerful one that controls the Senate's agenda, its committee structure, its rules, as well as playing a major role in crafting the state budget.

The Texas senate has historically been an institution where compromise and consensus are the norm and legislation is often passed by a center-right Democratic-Republican alliance.

That governing consensus is in danger if the hyperpartisan teabagger Dan Patrick gets the lieutenant governor's chair.   You know the Texas Repugs as exhibited by the junior senator from Alberta and their jacked up party platforms need to have a Jerrydome level of seats, and that off the charts Texas right wing lunacy is starting to go national.  

Patrick also made some racist, anti-Latino comments in his GOP lieutenant governor primary that will probably cost him in November.   With the opportunity to elect this wise Latina and longtime senator to become the state's lieutenant governor., the state's Latin@ is excited and motivated to make it happen.  

Senator Van de Putte has not only outraised Teapublican nominee Dan Patrick, she has the quiet support of many moderate Republicans (yeah, they still exist) who can't stand Patrick.  

Here's a double dip of LVP video.   First one is the humorous one of her intro to the recent Texas Democratic party convention in Dallas, and the next one is the speech she gave to the TDP convention.

The TDP Convention speech

HERO Civil Rights Strategy Meeting Thursday

On Thursday July 24 there will be a HERO Civil Rights Strategy Meeting held at Resurrection MCC Church starting at 7 PM.

One of the things i and many other people in Houston trans and SGL world have been pissed off about are not only the cadre of sellout ministers bearing false witness against the trans community, but the erasure of Black LGBT people from the HERO conversation as if we don't exist. 

Some of the topics that will be discussed is the history behind the HERO, the 15 classes the nearly two month old ordinance covers, what we need to do to counter the lies of Max Miller and his sellout ministers, blowing up the anti-transgender lies,  and coalition building and coming to the table in a community with a leadership diversity issue.

We'll also be discussing the upcoming August 4 Forward Times HERO forum.

This is just the first of many strategy meetings the Houston SGL and trans community will schedule, and it would be nice if people do show up for it. 

POTUS To Sign Exec Orders Banning TBLG Workplace Discrimination Today

Happening in mere moments from the White House will be President Obama signing two executive orders 11246 and 11478 that ban workplace discrimination in federal contracting for LGBT employees and federal workplace discrimination against transgender ones

Glad that Mia Macy is in the house to witness it along with Faith Cheltenham and Kylar Broadus..  I'll find out later who else was at the White House to watch that history happen.   Her Macy vs Holder EEOC case has opened the doors for us to be able to go to the EEOC to fight anti-trans discrimination.

Once President Obama signs the new executive orders, TBLG employees who work for federal contractors will be protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, bias against federal employees based on gender identity will be prohibited.

Sexual orientation been protected from bias discrimination since President Clinton’s signed his executive order doing so in 1998.   It was past time it happened for the trans community.

TransGriot Note:  When the video is posted on White for the ceremony, I'll update the post.

Post Number 8000

You're looking at post number 8000 since I started the blog on January 1, 2006.

As y'all know, that's a lot of writing and a lot of posts about a lot of subjects over the nearly nine years I've had this award winning and GLAAD award nominated blog in operation.

I do thank you loyal readers for reading those TransGriot posts, commenting on them, sharing them and forwarding those posts to the people in your influence circles.

And for those of you who don't like what I have to say on various subjects, the fact this blog is unapologetically Afrocentric and looks at trans and other issues that pique my interest from that perspective, tough because I'm going to continue to tell it like it T-I-S is.

That truth telling aspect of this blog is needed in a world that wants to deny that race doesn't matter, denies white privilege exists and it doesn't deleteriously affect non-white people inside and outside the LGBT community. 

Truth telling is also needed when we are trying to advance our human rights struggle.  

I'm unapologetically Black and trans, and will continue to talk about the stories that affect my community because Black trans issues are Black community issues and vice versa.  

Hmm, only 2000 more posts to write to get to the 10,000 post mark.   It's an election year, so I'll knock some of that out this year.   As I find nuggets of Black trans history, I'll continue posting them on these electronic pages. 

And yep, I'll have plenty of things to say about many issue concerns and continue to call out fools.

Yay me for hitting the 8000 post milestone.    On to the next one.

NBJC Emancipation Campaign

You know that I have been down with the mission of the National Black Justice Coalition throughout the life of this blog and have much love for the organization.. 

I have met and talked with Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks on different occasions, met with many of the NBJC board members past and present, had the pleasure of attending, chronicling   and taking part in the 2011 and 2012 OUT on the Hill events and was honored to be a participant in their all day NBJC Black Institute at this year's Creating Change Conference in my hometown. 

And I'm hoping I can make it back to DC for this year's 5th annual edition of OUT on the Hill September 24-27

Now that NBJC is moving into its second decade of service to our community since its 2003 founding, it is seeking to become more self sufficient and rely more on the people they serve to fund it instead of foundations.

The NBJC Emancipation Campaign is seeking to raise $500,000 in order to do precisely that.

While they will continue to seek out grants, NBJC believes that in order to truly own our power and emancipate ourselves, the organization needs to be funded predominately by the African-American LGBT people and allies it serves, with the grants acting as supplements to the money they raise from the community and supporters.. 

NBJC in the last ten plus years has been on Capitol Hill and in movement leadership circles serving our Black LGBTQ/SGL community. 

They are unapologetically pointing out because of the way the forces of bias based on race, sexual orientation, and gender identity intersect in our community, it makes Black LGBTQ/SGL people and their families one of the most marginalized groups in America.

NBJC has been grooming our emerging LGBT leaders, pushing economic empowerment issues and laser focused on issues from our perspective such as HIV/AIDS, employment non-discrimination, safe and inclusive schools, transgender equality, Don't Ask Don't Tell, HBCU's and marriage equality

And NBJC has not hesitated to call out injustice aimed at our Black TBLGQ/SGL community

As far as the transgender equality portion of their mission goes, NBJC has been one of the few inside the beltway organizations to capitalize the 'T and seek our input on the issues and problems that plague our community.

The NBJC is worth the investment, and I hope you believe in their work as much as I do to invest in it as I will happily do once again because I want and would like for this Emancipation Campaign to be successful. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Photo: Kim was the promoted to Assistant Director last night for the telecast.  Here is her POV.As many of you readers may be aware of, I was invited to participate in a televised discussion concerning the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) with Christina Gorczynski, Daniel Williams and Noel Freeman. 

It was hosted by Fran Watson and Durrel Douglas on Houston Media Source TV, our local municipal access cable channel.

The first half of the show was us proving information about our nearly two month old ordinance, the 15 categories it covers, and doing some mythbusting about it. 

The second half of the show featured me and Christina facing off against two HERO opponents, who turned out to be King HERO Hater Dave Welch and Kathy Blueford-Daniels.


45th Anniversary Of Apollo 11 Moon Landing

After blasting off from Pad 39A in Florida and a three day journey to enter lunar orbit, the world is waiting as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin leave Columbia pilot Michael Collins behind to orbit the Moon as they climb into the lunar module Eagle.

It's on them to fulfill the challenge that President John F. Kennedy laid down to the nation and Congress in 1961 of landing on the moon and safely returning to earth .

As the Eagle descends toward its landing area in the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong has to improvise to manually pilot the ship past an area of rocky boulders with the Eagle's onboard computers signaling alarms as he's doing so. 

Finally at 3:18 PM CDT  the lunar module is on the surface of the moon with 30 seconds of fuel left and Armstrong radios, "Houston, Tranquility Base here,  The Eagle has landed." as cheers and the tension breaks in Mission Control. 
Replica of Apollo 11 plaque

At 9:56 PM CDT Armstrong is ready to begin the EVA and plant his foot on the lunar surface as half a billion people watch on television screens around the globe.   As he climbs down the ladder from Eagle and steps onto the surface he proclaims: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." (› Play Audio)

He's joined by Aldrin as the duo explore the lunar surface for two and a half hours.  They collect rock samples, take photographs, and leave behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew members, leave their footprints in the lunar soil and a plaque on one of Eagle's legs before blasting off to dock with Collins in Columbia and head back to Earth.   

With the splashdown in the North Pacific on July 24, President Kennedy's challenge to the nation had been successfully fulfilled.  

Over the next three and a half years I'd get to witness ten more Americans land on the moon and safely return.  

I'd also in April 1970 agonize and pray with the rest of the world for the safe return of the Apollo 13 astronauts after a service module oxygen tank explosion enroute to the moon cancelled the landing at Fra Mauro and they had the use the lunar module Aquarius as a 'lifeboat' to get home.

Gene Cernan, commander of the Apollo 17 said as the Challenger prepared to leave the lunar surface on the final Apollo lunar mission in December 1972,"We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace, and hope for all mankind."

It's past time this nation did so.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Belgium Has A Transgender Parliamentarian!

Professor Petra De Sutter has become Belgian's first openly trans Member of Parliament.University of Ghent professor Petra De Sutter has become the second serving trans parlimentarian in Europe after recent elections in her nation. 

The head of the Reproductive Medicine Department at the University Hospital Ghent and associate professor of gynecology at the university ran for a European Parliament seat as a member of the Belgian Groen (Green) Party because she wanted to fight “for a more social and fairer Europe, where everyone feels at home” and against “an unpleasant mentality of everyone for themselves”.

De Sutter finished second in the May 25 balloting with 47,000 votes.   But the Greens were only able to secure one seat, and that went to current MEP Bart Staes.

Following reforms in Belgium this year, the 60 members of the Belgian Senate, the upper house of the Belgian federal Parliament are no longer elected but appointed.  50 of them come from regional and community parliaments, and the final ten are appointed by their political peers. 

De Sutter was sworn in July 10, and her appointment makes her not only the first transgender parliamentarian in Belgium, but the second currently serving one along with Anna Grodzka of Poland, the third overall in Europe, and the fourth ever internationally..  

Hopefully there will be more to come.

WMATA Will Finally Open Silver Line July 26

Commemorative SmarTrip Card/Credit: MetroWhen I was up in DC for the LGBT Innovation Summit and took the Metrorail train to Capitol Hill, one of the things I noted was the directional signage in the existing stations adding information for the Silver Line.

After construction delays that have caused WMATA to postpone the start of Silver Line service several times, after five years of construction, the initial 11.7 mile $2.9 billion segment of the line from the Orange Line's East Falls Church station to the Wiehle Ave-East Reston station will open next Saturday, July 26.  Four of the five new Silver Line stations will be in Tysons Corner, VA with the other in Reston, VA. where the westbound Silver Line will terminate until Phase 2 expansion of the line is completed. 

After a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 AM EDT for the line which will have Gov Terry McAuliffe (D) and other local officials, the first revenue service Silver Line train will roll eastward from the Wiehle Ave-East Reston station at 12 noon EDT.  

In preparation for the long awaited day in northern Virginia, WMATA will be running test trains and simulated service starting tomorrow along the entire length of the Silver Line to familiarize Washington Metro employees with the new route and finalize the train schedules under real time conditions.

Those Silver Line simulation trains going eastbound from the Wiehle-Reston East station until noon on July 26 will be marked as Orange Line trains with a destination of either East Falls Church or Largo Town Center.  They won't carry or pick up passengers from the six new stations until they reach the East Falls Church one that begins the portion of the Silver Line shared with the tracks of the existing Orange and Blue lines.

The Silver Line westbound simulation trains headed in the direction of Wiehle-Reston East once they reach East Falls Church station will offload all passengers, then continue on the new Silver Line tracks in Fairfax County, VA without passengers toward that new station.

As for what's transpiring with the Phase 2 construction of the Silver Line which will extend it from the Wiehle-Reston East station another 11.5 miles to Dulles airport (hallelujah) and eastern Loudoun County with six new stations, construction has already started on it with an estimated completion in 2018.

People in the DC metro area and visitors after next Saturday's opening will be one step closer to being able to ride Metrorail to Washington Dulles airport and Fairfax County.   Let's just hope Phase 2 of this massive public works project is built and opened on time..

Friday, July 18, 2014

Houston LGBT Community Needs To Be BETTER Black Community Allies

Photo: Kim was the promoted to Assistant Director last night for the telecast.  Here is her POV.''Failure to engage my community means failure to win at the ballot box.' 
-TransGriot., March 23, 2009  Black People More Homophobic, You're Kidding, Right?

As many of you are aware, I spent an hour on Houston Media Source TV last night discussing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance with show hosts Fran Watson and Durrell Douglas .

At least the first 30 minutes with Christina Gorczynski, Daniel Williams, and Noel Freeman were enjoyable.   The next thirty was a battle with King Hater Dave Welch and HERO opponent Kathy Blueford-Daniels, who shares my ethnic heritage.   

When it was over, he ran like Usain Bolt out of that studio because after the tag team demolition of him by me and Christina and the daggers I stared into him, he didn't want to hang around to see what was coming next from me.  I probably made it clear from the side eye I gave him off air that I have zero respect for him because he is a human rights oppressor.        

But Kathy and Christina struck up a conversation which I joined because she and the other woman there with her wanted to know more about the trans community.    

After I gave her some Trans 101, the four of us as women of color moved on to some other issues of discussion.   Kathy didn't like my calling the anti-HERO folks haters, and  my response to that was if you are in a coalition with people who want to roll back my human rights, you're a hater.   If you lie down with right wing dogs, don't get mad when their fleas bite you and I call you on it.

Kathy explained the reason she is part of the anti-HERO coalition is because she is part of the section of the African-American community that gets bent out of shape with any mention by white LGBT peeps that LGBT rights are a civil rights issue.  In her mind and the minds of a segment of our community, when you say that, you are conflating the African-American civil rights movement with the LGBT one.  

No matter how many historical examples I gave her that Black LGBT peeps like Lorraine Hansberry, Bayard Rustin, and James Baldwin were indeed part of the Civil Rights movement and as fellow African Americans I and other Black LGBT people can make that claim because it is part of our shared heritage, she wouldn't budge from that ossified in her mind perception.   

And she was very pissed off when Mayor Parker stated the HERO was a civil rights ordinance.  It most certainly is.  But in her mind and the mind of like minded African-American Houstonians they had a major problem with her saying it.

Kathy is active in many issues in the Houston African-American community and is a super neighborhood leader.  One thing she asked me was where was the Houston LGBT community when it came to fighting for issues besides marriage and their own human rights ones?

Hey, she's not the only person who has asked me that question.  So have other leaders in the African-American community.   I've asked the same question myself about the.repeated failures in the TBLG ranks to spell the word intersectionality..

She remembered me after I told her I have been involved in fighting against the closure of Black schools in HISD for two years now.  I spoke to the HISD school board in 2013 and back in March about those issues in addition to speaking in favor of the TBLG friendly HISD non discrimination policy.    I was also front and center last July speaking at a Trayvon Martin protest rally at City Hall.  

That's what I have done, mainly because I have consistently preached that Black trans issues are Black community issues and vice versa.  Dee Dee Watters' has an annual toy drive she holds every Christmas as her way of giving back to the Houston Black community.  Other Black LGBT people do their part to give back to our community in myriad ways.   . 

But Kathy's question is a valid one.  When has the Houston TBLG community stood up and played a visible, vocal or fiscally supportive role when it comes to the issue concerns of other ethnic groups here in Houston?    Where is the Houston LGBT community when it comes to other issue concerns besides marriage and other LGBT oriented ones? 

African-American Houstonians ask where was the Houston GLBT Caucus voice when we were complaining about and fighting those HISD school closures?  The Houston Latin@ and Asian communities ask where are you when it comes to immigration issues that don't involve bi-national same sex married couples or other issues specific to their community? 

And all of us non white H-town peeps ask, where were you LGBT community when our voting rights were being attacked by the Texas GOP?

As Kathy stated to me, if that intersectional cooperation had been happening in H-town prior to May 28, we would have had additional support from the Black community for HERO, and Dave Welch and his hater collective's attempts to collect signatures would have been a non-starter.

But these HERO opponents see a predominately monoracial Houston GLBT community leadership.  They don't see people who look like them highlighted as leaders in it and one glaring example of that is Houston Pride.   There has to my knowledge NEVER been in the history of the Houston pride parade an African-American male or female grand marshal.  Don't think that hasn't been noticed by our straight and SGL African-American brothers and sisters.

There also the myth that wealthy white gays are trying to 'piggyback on OUR civil rights movement' that Welch, Miller and their cadre of his hate ministers are gleefully exploiting.   The perception the Houston LGBT community is selfish and pushed this ordinance when we have pressing needs of fixing potholes and streets is another factor fueling elements of the anti-HERO opposition. 

And yeah, let's be real, a major chunk of this is homophobia and transphobia.  

Many of these POC peeps are quite aware that Dave Welch and his pastors are Teapublican  homophobes and are being played as 'useful fools', but don't care as long as they can stick it to the LGBT community.

Even if it takes down a HERO ordinance that benefits them.

So what can we do to change this perception?

Short term, use the term 'human rights' or 'international human rights' Councilmember C.O Bradford did to describe the HERO and make it clear this ordinance protects 13 other characteristics besides sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Other things on the to-do list will have to be long term ones like highlighting and elevating BTLG leaders of color in our Houston LGBT leadership ranks.  Being a supportive ally and showing up when there are issue concerns for other Houston ethnic and constituent groups.  

But what needs to happen starting today is the Houston LGBT community needs to get busy doing a better job of working intersectionally with all communities, especially the African-American one.   

Shut Up Fool Awards-Stupidity Is Too Damn High Edition

It's Friday, and you know what that means TransGriot readers.  Time to call out this week's fool, fools or group of fools for this week's TransGriot Shut Up Fool Awards.

Every week I shine the TransGriot spotlight on the people or groups that exhibit outrageous hypocrisy, mind numbing stupidity, overbearing arrogance, and   jaw dropping ignorance for your perusal. 

And now, let's get busy revealing this week's fools.

Honorable mention number one we go across The Pond for in British TERF Julie Bindel who asserted being gay is a choice.  I know more than a few peeps in the GL end of the community who have some elegant and not so elegant things to say to her behind on that topic, so I'll let them call her out..   I'll have fun with her the next time she says something transphobic.

Honorable mention number two is a favorite for this year's Shut Up Fool of the Year Award in Rep. Louie Gohmert. (R-TX).  Gohmert Pyle racistly opened his mouth to charge that the POTUS would protect women from 'hundreds of thousands of immigrant rapists'

Who is going to protect us from your hundreds of thousands of hours of clueless and racist jibber-jabber?  

Honorable mention number three is Rep Renee Ellmers (R-NC) for her idiotic comment about men needing to bring policy discussion down 'to a woman's level'

hmm, methinks you've had too many washes, sets, and cranial rinses at the GOP Stepford Salon.
Honorable mention number four is ExxonMobil, who got busted by HRC for lying about their non discrimination policies.  

Honorable mention number five is the National Library of Singapore, which announced they would be destroying all pro-LGBT books    Still won't change the fact that TBLG people exist in your nation and everywhere else around the world.

Honorable mention number six is Thomas Thorpe, who is facing first degree murder charges in Florida, refused help from the public defender assigned to him because the public defender in question is African-American.

scottpicThis week's Shut Up Fool winner is Tea Klux Klan member Scott Esk, who is running for the Oklahoma legislature as a Teapublican and had comments resurface this week that gays should be stoned to death.  .

Instead of criticizing him, we should be thanking him for being candid enough to reveal he's a homophobic bigot.   He also proves once again why I loathe libertarians even more than I do Republicans.

Election Day is rapidly approaching.  handle your business people. 

And oh yeah, Scott Esk, shut up fool!

Je-Shawna's Last NBJC Day

When I attended the 2011 OUT on the Hill, one of the many awesome people I got to meet besides half of my fave DC power couple in Aisha Moodie-Mills, was an impressive Spelman College senior by the name of Je-Shawna Wholley.  

I wasn't surprised to discover later she'd been hired by the National Black Justice Coalition as a Senior Fellow, then moved on up to become a Programs Associate, and subsequently into her current position as the Programs Manager for the Emerging Leaders Institute.

We also got to spend some quality time together doing GLAAD POC Media Institute training in New York during the summer of 2012 and on some other NBJC projects.

Well, after two and a half years as part of the NBJC family, she's moving on to graduate school in Minnesota to pursue her masters degree in gender and women's studies, and her last day with NBJC is today.  . 

Congratulations Je-Shawna!  While I'm sorry to see you leave NBJC and will miss your smiling face the next time I'm blessed to take part in an NBJC event (and I'm aiming for this year's OUT on the Hill September 24-27), it was a sincere pleasure getting to meet you back in 2011 and see you grow and own your power as a leader in that organization.  

I wish you nothing but megasuccess in your future educational and other endeavors and will be an interested observer in what happens next for you.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Damn! Damn! Damn!

That famous Good Times scene in which the late Esther Rolle while playing the iconic Florida Evans, lets loose her anger, frustration and grief over the death of her husband James is what I feel every time I hear or have sent to me an e-mail that informs me of another murdered trans woman that I eventually have to disseminate to all of my TransGriot readers.

That anger and frustration hit me once again as I pondered the death of our sister Mia Henderson in Baltimore.  At the 5:57 AM EDT time her body was discovered by police, several of my trans brothers and sisters were in the process of returning to their homes after spending the last two days lobbying on Capitol Hill.  My peeps in Philadelphia and their allies were awaiting the start of a competency hearing to determine whether Charles Sargent, the alleged killer of Diamond Williams, would stand trial for his heinous crime. 
As of this writing, in the cases involving Kandy Hall, Zoraida Reyes, Yaz'min Shancez and Tiffany Edwards, the four transwomen killed last month, only Edwards' alleged killer is in jail right now facing charges for his crime.

Now we have Mia Henderson to mourn, light a candle for and read her name at this November's Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony.

I was asked by a trans ally a while back why is this happening to trans women of color?

It's a confluence of factors.  One is simply the fact that it is straight up dangerous to walk planet Earth in a feminine body.  It is unrealistic to think that if our newscasts are full of reports every day in which cis women of all ethnic backgrounds are being murdered for various reasons around the world, that trans women would escape that misogynistic pattern of violence.    

Another factor is that all trans women have been demonized and had their femininity and humanity questioned by friend, foe and frenemy.  That dehumanization only increases when you are a non-white transperson, and increases by a factor of ten when you combine the historic demonization of Black femininity with the devaluing of Black lives and off the charts demonization of transfeminine women.   

When the murderers of transpeople are either never caught, are freed after a trial, freed on legal technicalities,  receive ridiculously low sentences, or a defense attorney attempts to jaw droppingly argue that the killer of a transwoman he was defending didn't deserve a long sentence, the societal perception is set up that trans women's lives aren't as valuable to society as cis people's are, and murdering a transwoman is a crime the perpetrators can and should get away with committing..

It also doesn't help when the law enforcement personnel who are sworn to protect and serve us are seen more as oppressors and predators than protectors.

How many times can I say and write I'm beyond sick and tired of being sick and tired of seeing my transsisters killed?   When will the African-American  (and Latino/a ) cis community stop treating their trans sisters like pariahs and begin enveloping us with unconditional love? 

When will you realize Black cis community, Black politicians, Black clergy and Black legacy organizations that just because I or any other transperson transitions, we didn't forfeit our Black cards or our humanity?

I and my trans peeps are part of the diverse mosaic of human life.  We have made some tremendous strides in educating my community about exactly who we are and the talents we bring to our kente cloth covered family table.   All we want to do is live our lives to the best of our abilities and contribute our talents to the uplift and betterment of all the communities we intersect and interact with. 

I love my people and I'm proud to be a Black trans woman.   But you have to start unconditionally loving me and my trans sisters back.   And that starts with eliminating the thought from your mind that just because you have your hate on for a transwoman, you have a justified right to kill her. 

HMS-TV Talks About The HERO Tonight

For you peeps wanting more info about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and everything surrounding our nearly two month old law, I'll be part of a live local cable access show panel later tonight on Houston Media Source TV at 6:30 PM CDT. 

Besides your fave award winning blogger, the panelists will be Christina Gorczynski, Daniel Williams, Noel Freeman and HERO opponent Kathy Blueford-Daniels to discuss our Houston Equal Rights Ordinance hosted by Fran Watson and Durrell Douglas.

While our opposition will cite her concerns (or regurgitate the lies) about the law, I and my fellow panelists will be ready and waiting to point out the 15 classes of people the HERO protects in addition to gleefully doing mythbusting    

The HERO ordinance prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy.   It also provides for the first time a local recourse mechanism for Houstonians who believe they have been victims of intentional discrimination

Viewers will be invited to call in with questions and comments concerning the HERO and I hope that you'll be able to tune in on Comcast Channel 17 or AT&T Uverse Channel 99.   Those of you who live outside the Houston metro area who wish to check out the show can watch the livestream of it at     .

Should be fun and hope y'all get the opportunity to tune in.