Monday, July 24, 2017

Why The Erasure of Black Texans Voices In SB 3 Coverage?

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One of the things I thought about on the plane ride home and has been bothering me as I observe the media coverage in this fight to kill SB 3 is that as of yet, I have not seen ANY media outlet attempt to talk to Texas Black trans people, the Dallas based Black Trans Advocacy or even Black legislators in Austin concerning their thoughts about this unjust legislation.

And why is that Texas media?   Have you bought into the myth that the only time mine or the opinions of Black trans people are valid is when we are murdered, and that only white TBLGQ people or leaders of white led organizations are qualified to talk about pending legislation?

As Kandice Webber, a BLM-Houston organizer said to me in a recent conversation about the start of the Special Oppression Session and the anti-trans legislation, "I am not surprised at all. They create these horrible bills that rip our lives apart and then talk to everyone but us about it." "They talk around us as if our blackness doesn't matter. Black trans women are under full scale attack by Dan Patrick. SB3 threatens black lives too but all we see is white trans women I've never heard of and the occasional Latino person. This state constantly reinforces what we already know. They do not care about Black people. That's why it's so important for us to care about ourselves and stand together against this legislative oppression, " she continued.


And yes, Texas media, did you also not consider or even think about the fact that 18 members of the Texas Legislature share my ethnic heritage?  


The Texas Legislative Black Caucus, chaired by Rep Helen Giddings, (D-Dallas) is comprised of 16 members of the Texas House representing Austin, Beaumont, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, and two senators in Royce West (D-Dallas) and Borris Miles (D-Houston)

The Texas Legislative Black Caucus also has the longest serving member of the Texas House in Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) as a member, and TLBC chair Rep Helen Giddings is vice chair of the House State Affairs Committee, where SB 3 will probably land once it has cleared the Texas Senate.

Translation:  Many of these Texas Black legislators are or will be key players in this special session.

So yes,  as a fourth generation transgender Texan, I'd like to know and believe Texans would like to know where the Texas Black community's legislative representatives in Austin stand, and what their thoughts and opinions are concerning SB 3.

We damned sure hear far too much from Dan Patrick, his assorted white evangelical haters and any unknown kneegrow sellout Black minister that agrees with them  

How about the novel approach of actually talking to Texas Black trans people like myself?  How about talking to our Black Texas state reps and senators?   How about interviewing the parents of Black trans children, the people of Black Transmen, Inc (BTMI) and Black Transwomen, Inc. (BTWI) who are in the crosshairs of this oppressive legislation?  

Last tome I checked, BTMI and BTWI were based in Dallas, and have an annual convention every April in Dallas.

How about ending the media erasure of Black Texans voices concerning this unjust legislation period?

Moni's Commentary On The SB 3 Hearing

Citizens line up to testify during a July 21, 2017 Senate State Affairs Committee hearing where Senators will take up Senate Bill 3, the so-called "bathroom bill."
As you TransGriot readers know I was in San Diego handling some business and taking a mental health break at Comic Con while the Senate State Affairs Committee hearings were happening in Austin on Friday.

With only 48 hours notice, we had even more people show up and comment than we did back in March in front of this same Republican dominated committee.

And I was sitting in my hotel room in the early AM Pacific time watching them online until I had to bounce for my SDCC business and a podcast interview.

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By a 12 to 1 margin, the NO's and people standing up to oppose this unjust bill outnumbered the oppressors.  (738 against compared to only 59 people for the unjust bill).   There was also a rally help in which transgender Texans and our allies spoke out against this bill.

After ten hours of testimony on Friday. the transphobic bill authored by Lois 'I'm a transphobe' Kolkhorst was voted out of committee by the same 8-1 deja vu vote.  That reprehensible DINO Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr  (DINO-Brownsville) once again joined the all white GOP oppressors, while Sen.Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), as she did back in March, voted NO.  

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SB 91, Lois Kolkhorst's other anti-trans legislative abomination, was left 'pending' in committee.

Meanwhile SB 3 heads to the Senate floor for a possible vote later today.

I wasn't surprised at the Senate State Affairs Committee outcome.  It was always going to be an uphill battle in Potty Dan's overwhelmingly white male Senate legislative playground.   The Senate State Affairs committee is also overwhelmingly white and male like the Texas Senate is.

The GOP Texas Senate leadership is also blitzkrieging all the oppression legislation through, and there's not much the Democratic minority can do besides offer a lot of amendments to bills or filibuster them.

Our best shot for stopping it and saving Texas from North Carolina's fate is the Texas House, which is far more diverse and has more moderate business oriented Republicans instead of the teabaggers that pollute the Texas Senate.

We have already lost according to the testimony from convention groups in Houston, Dallas, Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio $66 million worth of convention business.  

Mayor Sylvester Turner in his letter expressing opposition to SB 3 stated that Houston has already lost a convention worth $11 million dollars, and stands to lose my mom's sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha) convention next year worth $15 million if SB 3 becomes law.

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Texas House Speaker  Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) has made it clear he's not in favor of the bill. His city also stands to lose an estimated $40 million in convention business should SB 3 pass.

The House is not playing the Senate's speedball game.   They are only working on the must pass sunset legislation, and taking their sweet time doing so as the clock mercifully and inexorably ticks down to the end of this 30 day Special Oppression Session.

And there isn't a damned thing Gov. Abbott or Potty Dan can do about it.

So stay tuned, we only lost a legislative battle.  The war to stop SB 3 from passing ain't over yet.    

And win this fight we must for our trans kids.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

TransGriot Perv Watch - KY GOP County Chair Busted In Bathroom

It's becoming increasingly clear who the perverts are that the Republicans are talking about when they holler about 'no men in women's restrooms'.

Themselves.

Meet 54 year old dentist David Narramore, the now former chair of the Letcher County Republican Party. Dave got busted for doing his Larry Craig impression in a Kingsport, TN Belk store.

Narramore is accused of rubbing his foot up against the foot of a Belk store employee in the next stall, then exposing himself.   That employee happened to be a loss prevention officer, and he was hauled into the store's  office by security personnel and detained until the po-po arrived.

Narramore then tried to resist arrest, got tasered for trying to do so and was taken to the Kingsport city jail.   Note that Narramore also wasn't wearing a dress when he was taken to jail or when he engaged in his behavior that got him busted..

He resigned his position as party chair following his arrest and according to a Kentucky GOP spokesperson his no longer affiliated with the Republican Party of Kentucky

Don't worry boo.  maybe GOProud or the Log Cabin Republicans will offer you a membership..

 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cosplaying Sistahs Exist At Comic Con

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A mere hour after the conclusion of the panel I was on at Comic Con discussed TBLGQ visibility in the comic and sci-fi fantasy world, Faith Cheltenham and I ran into a woman and her husband doing a blackface version of Star Trek's Guinan and two Klingons.

And yeah we called them out for it.

One of the bull feces laden excuses she tried to deploy with both of us was that she was 'honoring Black women' because 'there weren't any Black people' at Comic Con.

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While Comic Com is an event that is predominately white, Black folks and other people of color do show up at Comic Con and are part of the cosplaying world.

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I saw many brothers and sisters walking around the San Diego Convention Center and the nearby Gaslight District cosplaying as their fave characters from the sci-fi and comics worlds this year.

I had enjoyable conversations with many of them as I wandered the San Diego Comic Con halls, and they laughed and rolled their eyes when I told them about my encounter with the blackface Guinan and the ridiculous comments she made trying to justify her mess..

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These cosplaying sisters have also been handling their business at previous Comic Cons and even regional comic conventions.

Cosplaying sistahs exist, so spare me the bald faced lie that they don't.

What If Betty Married Veronica?

This was a created cover that hasn't been published (yet), but borrow on the Archie storylines in which he visualized what his life be like if he got married to Veronica or Betty.   There was a subsequent storyline in which Valerie took the walk down Memory Lane not long after she and her family moves to Riverdale and imagines her life as Archie's spouse.

There is already a gay male character in the Archie comics universe in Kevin Keller, so it stands to reason that we could play the 'what if' scenario with these iconic characters in Betty and Veronica.

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Betty and Veronica, despite being rivals for Archie's indecisive romantic attention and wandering eye, have been best friends ever since Veronica and her family moved to Riverdale.

Image result for betty and veronica kissSo it's not inconceivable to envision a scenario in which both of them get together one night and have the epiphany that their friendship has a deep romantic component to it that eventually leads to them kicking Archie to the curb and exclusively dating and marrying each other.

It would be interesting to see how both Betty and Veronica's families handle their relationship and eventual marriage,   It would also be cool to see how they handle being a married couple in Riverdale and the ripple effects from it.

And yes, while Betty is and can be as glamorous as Veronica, Betty does know what tools are for and has a demonstrated ability to work on cars.

GIRLS-ARCHIE, March 2014.
The initial one is that Archie now has to choose between Valerie and Cheryl Blossom as future romantic partners, or someone else currently not in the picture since Veronica and Betty would no longer be romantically available to him, and they could only be just friends..

There would also be other ripple effect that would be revealed as their interesting 'what if' relationship progressed and developed.

And as a longtime Archie Comics fan I'd love to see someone tackle it.


Dee Whigham Killer Sentenced To 40 Years

Here's an update in the Dee Whigham case.

Just to refresh your memories since we lost far too many sisters in 2016,  Whigham was the 25 year old trans woman killed in a St. Martin, MS hotel room on July 23 of last year by 2 year old Dwayna Hickerson, a US Navy sailor based at the nearby Keesler Air Force Base.  

An autopsy revealed 25-year-old Dee Whigham was stabbed 119 times. (Photo source: Facebook)
After corresponding for months, she and Hickerson had a sexual encounter that resulted in her brutal murder at the hands of Hickerson   She had been stabbed 119 times and had her throat slashed three times, , with many of the stab wounds being to Whigham's face.

Hickerson on Thursday accepted a plea deal in which he  pled guilty in a Jackson County court to second degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison for it.   Hickeson also got 15 years for robbery, for stealing Whigham's purse and cell phone.

He was set to go to trial for Whigham's murder on August 14 on a capital murder charge,  and was facing the death penalty in this case.

Hickerson will have to serve 35 of the 40 years assigned for the second degree murder charge, and 8 of the fifteen years he received for the robbery charge.

Friday, July 21, 2017

IBM's Message To Its Employees

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Diane Gherson, IBM's Senor Vice President for Human Resources recently posted this message to all IBM employees outline their opposition to the anti-trans legislation that the Texas GOP is trying to pass during the Special Oppression Session.

July 17, 2017
IBM Community,
This week, I’ll be traveling to Austin, Texas with IBM Chief Diversity Officer Lindsay-Rae McIntyre and nearly 20 IBM leaders—the majority of whom are Texans–to voice IBM’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
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Logo showing IBM’s commitment to diversity and equality.
Why Texas? And why now? On July 18th, the Texas legislature will start a thirty-day special session, where it is likely some will try to advance a discriminatory “bathroom bill” similar to the one that passed in North Carolina last year.
It is our goal to convince Texas elected officials to abandon these efforts.
IBM wrote its first Equal Opportunity policy in 1953—a decade before the Civil Rights Act was enacted. We were one of the first companies to include sexual orientation in that policy over thirty years ago, and have stood up to ensure that LGBT IBMers across the globe can live and work free from discrimination in any form.
A Texas bathroom bill stands squarely against these deep-rooted IBM values.
A bathroom bill like the one in Texas sends a message that it is okay to discriminate against someone just for being who they are. It threatens IBM’s ability to bring the best and brightest to our Texas workforce—a community that is now over 10,000 strong and represents a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences.
This bathroom bill also undermines IBM’s goal of bringing more people into New Collar job opportunities—a top company priority. Through partnerships with local high schools and community colleges, we’ve been able to support over 100 P-TECH schools that have created 21st century skills education programs. In May, Texas signed on as the latest state to fund its own P-TECH program.
A bathroom bill could target LGBT youth and students attending such schools—and every other public educational institution across Texas. We will strongly oppose legislation that would marginalize any current or future IBMer.
That’s why we are heading to Texas to engage directly with government officials on this bill.
I am proud of IBM’s leadership in the push for diversity and inclusion and thank all of you in the IBM community for living these values each and every day.
I look forward to reporting back on our work in Texas and on our broader efforts to ensure that diversity remains central to IBM’s company values and culture.
Sincerely,
Diane Gherson
Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Thanks IBM for being on the correct side of history.  

Shut Up Fool Awards- Comic Con 2017 Edition

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As y'all know I'm out here in San Diego for my first ever Comic Con, and what a way to kick off your first ever visit to this megaconvention by doing a panel discussion.

The plan was for me not to think about or discuss Texas politics while I was out here, but that died the nanosecond the GOP controlled Texas Senate decided to have their hearings on their unjust anti-trans bills.

So I going to enjoy the conference and the weather, and handle my Friday business of calling some fools out before I hop on the shuttle bus o take me to the Convention Center from the hotel.

It's time for this week's Shut Up Fool Awards!

Honorable mention number one is  a group award for Cheetolini and the Trump misadministration for pick an outrage  

Honorable mention number two is the Texas GOP for trying to ram discrimination down the Texas trans community's throats.

Honorable mention number three is the woman that Faith and I encountered at SDCC yesterday we caught in blackface, accompanied by Klingons in blackface.  She tried goalpost shifting justifications that ranged from being a fan of Star Trek, of Whoopi Goldberg, claiming she was 'representing and honoring Black women' because we weren't here at Comic Con, and a few other BS reasons I'll talk about in a later post.

Honorable mention number four is Sean Spicer, who is resigning today as WH press secretary

Honorable mention number five is Texas senator Lois Kolkhorst, the go to trans oppressor

This week's Shut Up Fool winner is Caitlyn Jenner.

This week she claimed she had the ear of the Trump misadministration on trans issues, and is now contemplating a run for the US senate against Sen. Dianne Feinstein..  

But what's got a lot of people fired up is her posing with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and joking that 'she's working on a duet with him' to sing the transphobic song 'Dude Looks Like A Lady' and calling it her theme song.

Really?

Caitlyn, Caitlyn Caitlyn....I just can't with you this week.  I have real transphobic oppression to fight in Texas    Shut up Fool


Special Oppression Session Anti-Trans Bills Have Senate Hearings Today

It figures that while I'm in San Diego for Comic Con that the Texas GOP Senate transphobes would not only file two anti-trans bills  (SB 3 and SB 91) authored by Lois Kolkhorst, but hold a hearing on them that starts at 9 AM CDT

Texas trans folks will be in the ATX to oppose them when that Senate State Affairs Committee takes place.  .So go get 'em Texas trans folks.  Let our GOP oppressors know that these unjust bills are bad for Texas and bad for us.

Send them the message we are wide awke and cognizant of what they are trying to do.

You can sign up to testify against them starting at the Texas state capitol at 7 AM. We also need people and our allies calling these senators and asking them to oppose SB 3 and SB 91.

Call the members of the Senate State Affairs Committee too while you're at it..

TransGriot Update:  After 10 hours of hearings, it was deja vu all over again.  An 8-1 vote (7 Republicans, 1 DINO)  sent this legislative abomination to the Senate floor.

Thank Sen. Judith Zaffirini for voting NO once again as she did back in March, and let's redouble our efforts to make Eddie Lucio, Jr an ex-senator 

What If Wonder Woman Was Trans Feminine ?

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There's this interesting creatively altered segment of a Wonder Woman comic book in which the dialogue seems to suggest that Diana and half of the women on Themyscira are trans.

The actual issue of Wonder Woman in which this panel was taken from and the dialogue changed doesn't say this, but it did jump start some hard solid thinking about the 'what if' Wonder Woman was trans feminine?

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We know from Greek mythology about hermaphrodites, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that in Wonder Woman's home society that didn't have men as part of it, if you free your minds to ponder that possibility, you would probably have girls like that as part of it.

So what is Wonder Woman was a girl like us?    What would change about her character? What parts wouldn't?

But it's definitely something interesting to ponder.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Moni's In The Middle Of Comic-Con!

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Well people, as I feared, my Spirit flight left late from IAH, and the Air Marshal ended up touching down in San Diego 45 minutes before the gratis hotel shuttle stopped running.  

And that was before I got misgendered twice when I called the Hilton San Diego Airport Harbor Island front desk and they couldn't find my name in the reservation system.  

He better be glad I was too tired and frustrated after a day that started for me at 7 AM Houston time moving to a new place and belongings in my storage space to cuss his azz out.:

I'm finally in my hotel room and ready to go to sleep so I can be on my A game in the AM and get adjusted to Pacific time as quickly as possible.

This is also the first trip I've done to the Left Coast since I flew into San Francisco last September to attend the GLAAD Gala San Francisco.

Image result for Comic Con San Diego Convention CenterThis time I'm in southern California to be at Comic Con, soak up all the ambiance of this giant convention and participate in a Comic Con panel.  

I'm also determined not to think about Lone Star State politics for a few days.

That panel will happen at 5 PM PDT today and it's entitled Moonlight and Magic, Black LGBT Contributions to Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics and Genre. moderated by Faith Cheltenham.

My fellow panelist are Viktor Kerney, Ajuan Mance, Sean Maker, William O Tyler, and Eliot Sutler.  While I've known Viktor for years going back to the 2012 Netroots Nation in Providence, everyone else I'll be meeting for the first time.

In a few hours I'll need to get up, head to the San Diego Convention Center and pop into that long line to pick up my badge.  

And nope, didn't do a costume.   This time.,

Leaving On A Jet Plane - To San Diego

Hilton San Diego Airport/harbor Island, Ca Hotel - Hotel And Harbor Area
Back when I was traveling to Tucson for their TDOR last year, my flight there went to San Diego and flew over Tucson along the way.   I got to spend two hours in the San Diego airport on a gorgeous fall day checking out the view of the airport area and saying that I'd love to come back and visit,

Well, guess I spoke that trip to San Diego into existence, and it couldn't have come at a better time for me.

After a trying few days that found me at Defcon 1 levels of stress bumping up against a July 15 deadline to move from my current place, find a storage spot, a new place to live with the date for the Texas Special Oppression Session also approaching along with my 9:18 PM departure from my old IAH airport stomping grounds, let's just say that I needed a trip out of Houston even if it is booked on (yuck) Spirit Airlines.

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I'm not happy about that because you have to pay for everything on Spirit including carry on bags, drinks and snacks, the seats don't recline, and you don't have WiFi.

The only redeeming features of this upcoming flight on Spirit is that they have new Airbus planes, I got TSA Pre on the San Diego bound leg and both legs are nonstop to and from IAH's Terminal A.

And I get to go to Comic Con!  

The other cool thing I get to do is that I finally get to meet another of my trans elders in Tracie Jada O'Brien, and on top of that I get to San Diego in time for her birthday on the 22nd.

So happy early birthday Mama Tracie!   Looking forward to finally meeting and spending a little quality time with you .

I'm also looking forward to not thinking about Texas politics for a few days either and enjoying my first trip to San Diego.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Texas Special Oppression Session Starts Today

Well peeps, this is the day we've been dreading across the Lone Star State in terms of the start of the Special Oppression Session called by Governor Greg Abbott (R) after being bullied into it by Lt Governor Dan Patrick (R) and the Texas Oppression Freedom Caucus.

The Special Oppression Session is slated to last 30 days, and the initial call on June 9 is to have some must pass sunset legislation pass that reauthorizes several Texas governmental organizations, including the Texas Medical Board that licenses doctors across the Lone Star State.

As to what to expect in this special session, the legislative process is the same except for two key differences.  There's less time than in a 140 day regular session, and if a bill is filled that doesn't fit the governor's call, it is out of bound and can't be considered.

Bills could be filed 30 days before the special session started.

Just as in the regular sessions, bills have to be sent to a House committee, passed out of that committee, go to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled to the floor for a vote, then if it passes the process is repeated in the Senate. for it to be placed on the Senate Intent Calendar for a floor vote.

Image result for greg abbott special sessionOnce that sunset legislation passes. the governor added an additional 19 items that he wanted to see hit his desk including the anti-trans bills we killed in the regular session, but they can only be heard once the sunset bill passes. .  

HB 46 and HB 50 are the anti-trans bills filed that we'll be focusing our trans community attention on.along with SB 23, so keep lighting those GOP trans oppressors office phones up and urge your Texas state senator or House rep to oppose these unjust bills.

The resistance to this oppression starts on the south steps of the Pink Dome with an 11:00 AM rally calling out the unjust bills that the Texas GOP wishes to pass.

We have 30 days to kill these bills.   Let's get busy doing so

 

Monday, July 17, 2017

What's The National Trans Bar Association?

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I remember when the first International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy (ICTLEP) convention organized by Phyllis Frye happened in a southwest Houston Hilton hotel back in  August 1992.  

Those six ICTLEP conferences not only generated the International Bill of Gender Rights, laid the advocacy foundation for the modern trans rights movement and trained my generation of trans advocates, but also facilitated the coming out of many of our trans attorneys of the time and signaled the beginning of them being more open about who they are.

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Trans attorneys have played important roles in the National LGBT Bar Association and you can see many of our trans legal heroes and sheroes participating in panel discussions at the Lavender Law Conference and other events in the legal community.  Some have also been called by national networks to be pundits when legal cases involving our community are discussed.

I also know a few trans peeps who are currently enrolled in and excelling in law school right now.

And like Phyllis, Kylar Broadus, Shannon Minter, Jillian Weiss, Chase Strangio, Abby Jensen and Harper Jean Tobin just to name a few, many of them are trailblazers not only in the legal world, but trailblazing leaders in our community.

25 years have passed since that first ICTLEP conference happened, and we not only have a large, distinguished and growing cadre of trans attorneys, some of which I am proud to call my friends, I noticed that there's a new organization called the National Trans Bar Association

Related imageSo why is the founding of this organization important?  I note from my perusal of Black history that many of our human rights victories came via the court system and NAACP legal heroes and sheores like Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall, and Constance Baker Motley.

Our trans attorneys, like these trailblazing African American ones, have been successfully fighting in the court system for decades as advocates to advance our human rights.  Some are also working to provide the legal services our community needs.  The National Transgender Bar Association is a welcome addition to their ranks    .

The National Transgender Bar Association is based in Washington DC, and the mission of the NTBA is summed up in these four points:

*Recruiting, supporting, and developing the skills of trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) legal professionals and law school students.
*Increasing access to affordable, legally and culturally competent legal services for trans and gender nonconforming communities.
*Fostering bold, incisive and creative legal strategies to expand formal legal protections for trans and gender non conforming people and meaningfully address  issues of equity
*Elevate intersectional work and cross cultural collaborations.
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To fulfill this mission statement, in conjunction with the National LGBT Bar Association, the National Trans Bar Association will be hosting during the annual Lavender Law Conference set to take place in San Francisco August 2-4 a day long Transgender Law Institute on August 4

In light of the fact we have people in the Trump misadministration that are hostile to our human rights, this will be a timely and necessary institute.

I wish the NTBA great success and long life as an organization, and wish them even greater success in executing their mission and expanding our human rights.