Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Turkey Day 2017

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Well, the planet is still here for now and we've made it to Thanksgiving 2017 despite 45.

One thing we can definitely give thanks for is that Trump hasn't blown the planet up yet as he continues to piss off Kim Jong Fool and the Iranians

For those of you breaking break with your families, be they your blood or chosen family members,  consider yourself blessed in that regard. 

I'm also thankful that I have a few options on the table in terms of choosing where I get to eat today.  I'm also thinking about the people who don't.   If you can, open your dinner table to someone who will probably be alone on this day.

Going to take a well deserved chill out day.  If something inspires me to write that I must put up as a post, you'll probably see it.   But more likely I'll be back to doing my normal posting schedule tomorrow. 

If you are traveling either a short distance or across the country for that Thanksgiving dinner, may the dinner be  tasty, you company be enjoyable, and you have safe travels to and from your final destination.

TransGriot 2017 NFL Picks -Week 12

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It's Turkey Day, and in addition to us getting our grub on with friends and family in a few hours, we get to watch NFL football.  Still on track to threepeat after Mr Watts and I tied after the Week 11 games were contested.

Since there are three games tomorrow with one kicking off early in the morning, this prognostication post is going up way earlier than my usual noon CST.

So time to get busy either building on or maintaining my lead.  As usual, my Week 12 picks are in bold print with home teams in CAPS.   Mike's Turkey Day weekend picks are here.

Gobble, gobble y'all and Happy Turkey Day!   

Week 11 Results                                                                  2017 NFL Season 
TransGriot     9-5                                                                 TransGriot   102-58
Mike              9-5                                                                  Mike             97-61

Thanksgiving Day Games
Vikings over LIONS
COWBOYS over Chargers
WASHINGTON over Giants

Sunday Early Games
BENGALS over Browns
Panthers over JETS
Titans over COLTS
FALCONS over Buccaneers
PATRIOTS over Dolphins
EAGLES over Beans
Bills over CHIEFS

Sunday Afternoon Games
Seahawks over 49ERS
RAIDERS over Broncos
Saints over RAMS

Sunday Night Game
STEELERS over Packers

Monday Night Game
Texans over RAVENS

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Trans Man Named As A Rhodes Scholar!

Calvin Runnels
If you are named as a Rhodes Scholar, you have achieved something academically that few people in this country and around the world accomplish in getting one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world/

Only 32 American college students every year are named to receive a Rhodes scholarship, which covers all expenses for two to three years of study at Oxford University in England starting next fall..

The US 2018 Rhodes Scholars awardees were named recently and for the first time in the US, an out trans man was among the 32 people named to receive one.  There were also ten African Americans named, the most in a Rhodes Scholar class ever.

Thanks to Marisa Richmond for alerting me to this latest amazing nugget of trans history and sterling example of #TransExcellence.

Image result for Rhodes scholarsCalvin Runnels is a senior biochemistry major at Georgia Tech University from Baton Rouge, LA.  He is not only is maintaining a 4.0 GPA, but has also become the second out trans person ever to be named a Rhodes Scholar. 

"I was absolutely floored when they called my name," Runnels said in a Georgia Voice interview.  "I had been steeling myself to congratulate two of my new friends from the other 13 finalists --— all of whom, I think, would have been exceptionally deserving of the scholarship.  Most of all, I'm excited to get to know the other 31 Rhodes scholar-elects who received the good news yesterday, as well as all the other scholars from around the glob; I think we all have an incredible amount to learn from each other."

Pema McLaughlin was the first out US trans person to become a Rhodes scholar, and that happened according to the Rhodes Trust in 2016.  Other famous American Rhodes scholars are former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), former UN Ambassador Susan Rice,  ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos, singer Kris Kristofferson and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

Runnels is not only a well rounded student at Georgia Tech, he's also keeping being named a Rhodes Scholar in perspective.

“What I think it means, and the way I’m trying to frame it in my mind, is that I don’t want to view getting this scholarship as my peak accomplishment of my life,” he said. “I want to think of it as an affirmation of the things I have done so far and also as a call to duty to make a difference in the world and try to do great things from here on.”

Runnels is planning to study for a doctorate in biochemistry, and it will be interesting to see what transpires in his life post Oxford..

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I Told Y'all Ferengi = Republican

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If you are so desperate to claim a Star Trek character,  if anything, the Ferengi are the peeps you Republicans are most like in the Star Trek universe.
-TransGriot  March 1, 2015

Back in 2015 I wrote a post shredding an Oregon Republican who dared to try to make the laughable claim on my watch that the late Leonard Nimoy was a Republican and so was Spock.

That claim didn't take me long to eviscerate. 

There is however at least one group in the Star Trek universe who perfectly mirrors the Republican Party and the conservative movement:  The Ferengi.   That's even more pronounced since 45 occupied the White House became Grand Nagus.

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Think I'm kidding or off base with the comparison?   Let me count the ways and the multiple examples in the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition in which the Ferengi are just like the Republican Party.

Like the Ferengi, the GOP wants their women barefoot, naked, birthing babies and having no rights .
The both love 'greed is good capitalism with no rules and will do anything in the pursuit of profit  including screw their own family members.

Even many of the 285 Rules of Acquisition sound like they were  plucked straight from the Republican party platform   

Rule 34: War is good for business.
Rule 35: Peace is good for business   
Rule 63:  Power without profit is like a ship without an engine.
Rule 106:  There is no honor in poverty 
Rule 125:  A lie isn't a lie until; someone knows the truth
Rule 126:  A lie isn't a lie, it's the truth seen from a different perspective
Rule 128:  Ferengi are not responsible for the stupidity of other races
Rule 188:  Never bet on a race you haven't fixed

So yeah, when it comes to the Star Trek universe, the Ferengi are the GOP's doppelgangers.

A Ten Point Post TDOR Plan

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TDOR 2017 is over.  The memorials are done and the last tear has been shed.  The sun is shining on this November 21st day.  So what do we do over the next 365 days to not only help decrease the number of names we read at the 20th anniversary edition of TDOR in 2018, but make the world better for Trans kind?

You just knew I'd have a few suggestions for the question I just asked.   It's not just a few suggestions, either.  It's  a Ten Point Post-TDOR Plan.

First one is collective community self defense.   By that I mean not just self defense courses or arming yourselves with guns or tasers, but employing the buddy system whenever possible.  Have one when walking in neighborhoods, or when going to our cars or public transit stops in the wake of leaving clubs or our community events.  Let trusted people know where and when you're headed out and make it a point to call certain people on a regular basis.

The second one is working with the media and the police to get them to understand that deadnaming our fallen people is not acceptable.   Doing so whether by accident or accidentally on purpose to trans murder victims delays their ability to apprehend the perpetrators of those crimes and get justice for the victims.   Many times we don't know or don't care what the person's deadname was, so if you come to us citing that deadname, we'll look at you with blank stares. 

We also know that the most critical time to solving a crime in in the first 48 hours of it.

Third is continuing the ongoing education of the moveable middle toward unconditional acceptance of our humanity as trans people.  We're not going to flip hardcore Trump voters or doctrinaire Republicans.  But we do have a large population of people who wish to be on the right side of history and do what's decent for trans people.   Let's get to work converting them to supporters of our community.

Fourth is punishing our enemies at the ballot box, rewarding our friends, and running our damned selves for public office.   You gleefully sponsor an anti-trans ballot measure or unjust law aimed at us and out kids, expect swift retaliation at the ballot box in the next cycle.  You work hard to defend our community, expect to reap the earned political reward of unwavering community support.   And if a cis candidate doesn't step forward to take on the transphobe, we do the job. 

If a qualified trans person is running for office help them get elected.

Voting is a trans revolutionary act, and we must do so strategically as trans people in every election cycle. We cannot afford to be politically aloof or ignorant.

Fifth is pushing back hard against people who wish to disseminate anti-trans propaganda like TERF's, fundamentalist 'christians', the Republican Party and any assorted hater by not allowing any anti-trans speech or facts free comment to go unchallenged.  Ignoring them and their hate speech is not an option.  It must be challenged, and we don't have to be nice when we do it either..

Sixth is ensuring our trans kids grow up with healthy self esteem by not only making them aware of the history that people like them helped make, but working with the Mama and Papa Bears to ensure they can just focus on their educations as we battle with the transphobic teachers and administrators to ensure our kids are treated with the dignity and respect in the educational setting

Seventh is ensuring that we trans adults love ourselves.  We need to role model that sixth point I made in our own lives by looking in the mirror and repeatedly telling ourselves that we ARE the amazing men and women we see staring back at us.

Eight is build your expanded family.  If you still have loving and supportive blood family members, that is a bonus in this case.   If you don't have blood family, create one.  While they won't help you totally alleviate the pain of being separated from blood family,  they can go a long way toward helping you fill that vacancy where your blood family once was. 

Nine is get involved in building our community.   Whether it's attending a monthly trans group organizational meeting, getting involved with a non -trans specific cause you support,  or just going out on a regular basis with people you love and care about cis or trans, just do it.

Ten is love one another.   We trans folks are all we've got in many cases.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Major! Documentary Screening And Panel Tonight At UH

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I enjoy the opportunities I get to walk the grounds of my collegiate alma mater, and what's bringing me back to UH again  is a screen of the documentary Major followed by a trans rights panel discussion with my fellow panelists Jessica Zyrie and Reagan White

Since I was on the advisory board for the movie,  I've already seen it.   But for those of you who haven't, you'll definitely want to roll by the UH campus to see this documentary about one of our amazing trans elders who in her words is 'still f*****g here. 

It'll be running from 6-9 PM  at Agnes Arnold Hall Auditorium 2, and hope to see you there.

Take A Knee Protest At NRG Stadium

Protesters kneel to show their support to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on social issues and condemn Houston Texans owner Bob McNair for his "inmates" remark at NRG Parkway and Kirby Drive outside of NRG Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle ) Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle / © 2017  Houston Chronicle
If Bob McNair thought that the passage of time and ignoring it would eliminate the anger myself and many people had at him about his racist 'inmates running the prison' comment,, no it hasn't.

During the Texans game at NRG Stadium yesterday with the Arizona Cardinals, several groups led by the ACLU and the Texas Organizing Project 'took a knee' in solidarity with Houston Texans and other NFL players who continue to take a knee during the national anthem to protest injustice aimed at Black Americans.

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The Texans were intially refraining from joining the protest out of respect for McNair, but once news of his infamous NFL meeting comments got out. took a knee before their October 29 game with the Seattle Seahawks..

Three buses full of protesters showed up yesterday actross the street from NRG Stadium to call on McNair to either step down as the Texans owner or make meaningful progress on his stated position of making progress on social,justice issues 

Some also called out his participation in the blackballing of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick in light of the fact Texans starter Deshaun Watson has been lost for the season with a knee injury.

<div class='meta'><div class='origin-logo' data-origin='AP'></div><span class='caption-text' data-credit='AP'>Houston Texans players kneel and stand during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)</span></div>
There was also a call during yesterday's rally for McNair and other NFL owners to respect the ability of players to exercise their First Amendment rights.   They also pushed back against the right wing lie that the NFL player protests were 'disrespecting the flag'  or 'disrespecting veterans'

The press conference was followed by a short march that ended with the protesters taking a knee in the right lane of Kirby Drive.

Moni's 2017 TDOR Thoughts

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Today we mourn the people we lost.   Tomorrow we prepare to do what we always do and fight for our very humanity.   And yes, we will win.  Yeah I know I said that in 2007, but I believe it, and I'm going to speak it into existence today.
-Monica Roberts, Moni's 2016 TDOR Thoughts

Another 365 days have passed since last year's commemoration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and this one is quite different from the TDOR we observed last year.

This 19th annual observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance has some elements of it that are depressingly familiar to it.   Once again we are reading off a list of names of the people who were taken from us due to anti-trans violence that is overwhelmingly Black and Latinx.. We lights candles in their memory    Once again many of the people we lost are under 40.   When we not how they died, we are aware of the fact that many of them experienced 
horrific violence in their last moments on the planet.   And we sadly note that Brazil led the pack in terms of being the most violent nation for trans people 

What's different is that we went from an administration that was unapologetically on our side in fighting for justice for trans people to an unjust one hellbent on oppressing us.

But what these misguided people and transphobes fail to understand is that when you are a people who have to fight tooth and 
nail just to exist, we're going to fight oppression aimed at us even more tenaciously because it is literally a life or death situation for us. 

In that stark scenario with those kind of stakes for the trans community, we have no other option but to prevail mo matter what kind of challenges are presented to us.

In Texas, we killed the odious SB6/SB3 twice in a regular and a special oppression session.  The attempt to ban us from the US military is being fought out in the federal court system. 

And far from eviscerating us from everyday life and force us back into a closeted existence as our opposition is trying to do,  we are
becoming even more visible and more of an integral part of it from media to politics.   We will also have when 2018 dawns trans folks repping their constituents and out community in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Minneapolis City Council. 

So yes, while we trans people, our families, friends and allies on this day think about the over 275 people around the world we lost to anti-trans violence, TDOR is a day more so for those of us who mourn them.   Once we leave the various venues holding the memorial services around the world, we steel ourselves for the challenging at times task of fighting for the humanity and human rights of the people who to borrow the words of Miss Major, are still f*****g here.

The best way we can honor those we lost is to fix society to the point that we make the TDOR obsolete.   We aren't there yet and may not get there in my remaining lifetime on this planet.   But we still have to keep fighting to reduce the number of anti-trans murders in the US and around the world, and ensure that the perpetrators of them do hard time when they are caught..

How fast will that day happens?   Good question.  But I can guarantee that won't happen fast enough to keep me from writing another TDOR post 365 days from now.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 Transgender Day Of Resources and Healthy Living

Hanging out at the Montrose Center checking out the 2017 edition of the Transgender Day of Resources and Healthy Living.

Dee Dee Watters organizes this event  which merges seminars with vendors providing healthcare related services, representatives of various Houston orgs like Organization Latina de Trans in Texas, Save our Sisters United, Inc, Lesbian Health Initiative, Kinship Care, Baylor College of Medicine, the Gender Infinity Conference, the Houston Intersex Society, PRIDE Portraits and Rice University to the Houston Trans community and our allies.

One of the reasons I'm writing about it is because the inaugural event in 2014 probably saved my life.  I hadn't been to the doctor in a while, and there were some TSU medical students there looking to do some testing on people.   I let them run some tests on me, and they determined that my blood pressure was elevated to the point that had it not been addressed. it could have led to me having a stroke.

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Some of the workshops are covering topics like self defense< media training and voice training just to name a few.

This years event is running from 10-2 PM at the Montrose Center and hope you can come and check it out.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Special PISD Board Meeting Today

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Today at noon the Pearland ISD is having a special board meeting. 

In the special board meeting announcement it says one of the issues being covered is 'to deliberate the duties of the Superintendent of Schools.'  Looks like they are probably going to be discussing the interesting revelations that surfaced last week concerning Pearland ISD superintendent John Kelly's son Patrick.

Patrick's now taken down Facebook page was a hot racist mess of white supremacist negativity aimed not only at various ethnic groups, but the transgender community as well.

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Dr. Kelly, while screeching about 'parental responsibility' on his PISD website blogs, has also made some homophobic and transphobic remarks, and was also in Austin back in March gleefully testifying in favor of an SB 6 bill that would oppress many of his students in the rapidly diversifying city and school district.

While Dr. Kelly has been loud and proud about demonizing Kai Shappley and the TBLGQ community, he's been cricket chirping silent about the allegations concerning his own white supremacist son as PISD parents increasingly want to know what is going on with the man tasked to oversee the district in which their children are being educated.

Pearland Independent School District
So it's going to be interesting to see what transpires at the end of this special school board meeting and if some statement comes out of 1928 N. Main St.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Memorial Hermann Has A Medical Transphobia Problem

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Went to visit my friend Samantha yesterday who was taken to Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center after having several grand mal seizures on Tuesday morning.

And I was not happy to find out when I arrived late Wednesday morning that what she has experience runs counter to what Memorial Hermann posts

Image result for medical transphobiaOne of the fears we have in Trans World is when we must access the medical establishment while trans is being mistreated

We trans peeps have to access the medical world for things besides transition related health care for things such as flu shots, general healthcare exams, mammograms and pap smears   Some of us have had to access emergency health care as well for broken bones or other issues.

Some of us have experienced everything from being repeatedly misgendered by hospital personnel to being hit with outright refusals of doctors and other medical personnel to treat us based on their faux faith based prejudices. 

Medical transphobia can have deadly consequences for us as we transpeeps and our allies are all acutely aware of and has been documented in the 2015 US Transgender Survey.

23% of the respondents in the USTS survey have declined to see a doctor or seek medical treatment because of the fear of being mistreated as a transgender person.

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When Samantha recounted to me what had transpired since she was admitted to Memorial Hermann, combined with the misgendering I personally witnessed,  pissed me off.  It also pissed off Kandice Webber, Mo Cortez, Ana Andrea Molina and a long list of people in the Houston advocacy community.

The fact this is happening during Trans Awareness Week in what is considered one of the best medical centers in the United States adds another level of pissivity to what is going on .

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Samantha has been repeatedly misgendered by doctors, nurses, and the staff.  The Patient Advocate, after being requested by Samantha Tuesday, wasn't grasping the gravity of the situation and didn't see her until Kandice, who when not doing activism is a supervisory nurse, put them on blast about their piss poor care of her. 

The question that is running through all of our minds as we battle for Sam to have the respectful trans competent healthcare she deserves is  how man other Houston area trans people have suffered through the same crap?

To borrow Kandice's words to the Patient Advocate and other as we witness continues screwup in relation to Samantha's care, "Don't apologize for your mistakes, do better!"

But it is blatantly obvious to me and everyone else who has visited Samantha that Memorial Hermann in the Texas Med Center has a serious case of virulent transphobia, and it's a problem that needs to be rectified immediately. 

TransGriot 2017 NFL Picks- Week 11

Been a crazy week in which I've been focused on stuff more important than the NFL right now.  But since this prognostication contest is part of my self care regimen and I do want to threepeat, that's why you see this post every Thursday. 

And yeah, still pissed at the owner of my local NFL franchise.

In a much better mood after Week 10's games went down.   I built my lead back in the 2017 prognostication up to five games after going 11-3  to end Mr. Watts's winning streak as he stumbled to a .500 week.

I'm ready to get to this week's NFL games.  This week features another international game, but this time in Mexico City instead of in Great Britain, a a clash between the New England Cheatriots Patriots and the Oakland Raiders.

Can I keep the positive momentum going toward the threepeat?    We're about to find out

Another 14 games with the Colts, 49ers, Jets and Panthers on their bye week.   My picks in bold print with the HOME team in caps.   Mike's Week 11 picks are here.

Week 10 Results                                                                2017 NFL Season 
TransGriot  11-3                                                                 TransGriot  93-53
Mike             7-7                                                                 Mike           88-56

Thursday Night Game 
STEELERS over Titans

Sunday Early Games
Cardinals over TEXANS
Jaguars over BROWNS
Buccaneers over DOLPHINS
PACKERS over Ravens
Lions over BEARS
Rams over VIKINGS
Chiefs over GIANTS
SAINTS over Washington

Sunday Afternoon Games
Bills over CHARGERS
Bengals over BRONCOS
Patriots over RAIDERS (Mexico City)

Sunday Night Game
Eagles over COWBOYS

Monday Night Game
Falcons over SEAHAWKS

2017 TDOR at the PODCC

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One of the things that has bothered me at times is that when we have TDOR events, the lists of the people who we memorialize are predominately Black and Latina, but the people speaking at and taking part in the memorial services have been predominately white.

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I shared that disconnect in a conversation with Dee Dee Watters not long after I met her in 2010, and it was one of the things that prompted her to organize a Black trans person centered TDOR event that for the last several years has been hosted by her radically inclusive church Progressive Open Door Christian Center. (PODCC) on the TSU campus.

I have had at this TDOR event the honor of being a keynote speaker, a name reader and for the last two years, as the community historian, talking about why the TDOR exists.

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Last night at PODCC the 2017 edition of the TDOR Dee Dee organizes was held.   In addition to yours truly breaking down the history behind the event, BLMHOU members Kandice Webber and Brandon Mack were there reading the list of names as event attendees lit candles in memory of the people we lost in 2017 to anti-trans violence .   

One of the moments at this TDOR that also drove home the point of how serious a problem anti-trans violence is was when Mia Lopez came from the audience and discussed an attack that happened to her on Halloween night in the Montrose area, the same night that Candace Towns was killed.

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PODCC Pastor Marvella Walker was also in the house to offer prayers, and Dee Dee did another one of her powerful dramatic pieces before the event concluded with the a capella singing of the Stevie Wonder classic song 'Love's In Need Of Love Today'

One of the things I would love to see for next year's PODCC TDOR is more public officials from our community in attendance for this. 

It would be nice to know that you stand for your trans constituents as well, especially in light of the fact that the names we read every year are overwhelmingly trans people of color.