Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Acoff Murder Updates

As I continue to get details about this senseless killing from people in the area, I'll post them to the blog.

Thanks to several readers, have discovered that the femme name for our fallen Cleveland sister that will be used in TransGriot stories from now on was Cemia Dove.  Cemia was also called Ce Ce by her friends and the people whose lives she touched in her all to brief 20 years on this planet.

Cleveland DJ Zoe Renee Lapin (and girl like us) was in the process organizing a rally in memory of Ce Ce.   The rally will be tomorrow May 1 at Willard Park in Cleveland at 3 PM EDT, so for any further details about this event get in contact with Zoe. 

I'm asking if anyone has nice pictures of Ce Ce, please send them to me or post them somewhere like Facebook so we trans bloggers can use something other than a mug shot for her.   That article was bad enough.   I don't want to participate (and neither do my fellow trans bloggers) in indirectly heaping more disprect on her by having the only photo of her be a fracking mug shot.

And for you peeps in the Cleveland area still pissed about not only the murder but the journalistic hate crime that happened after it, what you may wish to do is what the New York and Los Angeles trans communities did after their papers of record printed jacked up articles about deceased transpeople and refused or were recalcitrant about retracting or correcting them.

New York and Los Angeles are media centers that have GLAAD offices in both cities, so meetings were set up with their local papers of record to express their displeasure with their trans news coverage in New York and Los Angeles and suggest concrete steps to correct them.  

My suggestion to you trans peeps and allies in the Cleveland area since you don't have a GLAAD office there like the New York and LA trans communities did to help coordinate the meetings is you get in contact with your local and statewide TBLG orgs, the local NAACP chapter, your Cleveland city councilmembers, Ohio state reps and Ohio state senators, US Congressmember Marcia Fudge (D), your US Senator Sherrod Brown (D) over Ce Ce's murder and have them help you get that meeting with the Plain Dealer.  

plain dealer building.JPGOnce you get the meeting to discuss with the Plain Dealer's managers, editors and the stenographers Caniglia and Corrigan the horrible coverage of the Ce Ce Acoff story, you point out the problems and how hurtful and triggering it was to the local, national and international trans community. 

You also get the Plain Dealer to commit to from this day forward to making immediate and long term corrections in the way they write trans stories up to and including hiring an openly trans reporter.  

Following the AP Stylebook guidelines on covering transpeople would be a mandatory minimum standard so that journalistic hate crimes like the Acoff story don't happen again to another Cleveland area trans person.  

That would be one way to honor Ce Ce's memory and ensure something positive comes out of this for the Cleveland area and Ohio trans community.

Brandy Martell Memorial Vigil Held In Oakland

Brandy Martell was fatally shot in downtown Oakland on April 29, 2012. A vigil marking the one-year anniversary of her death was held on Monday at Franklin and 13th, the scene of the crime.

As I mentioned in one of my posts, a memorial candlelight vigil was held in Oakland to mark the one year anniversary of the date that Brandy Martell was killed.   The 37 year old Martell was fatally shot while sitting in her car through the door an window of it at the corner of 13th and Franklin Streets.

Martell was a peer advocate for TransVision, a Fremont, CA based organization for trans women. Martell worked there from February 2007 to November 2011, offering health information and outreach to other transgender women.

Last night Brandy's friends and colleagues gathered at that location to remember her and also point out the perpetrator of this crime has yet to be brought to justice.  They lit candle and movingly spoke of her TransVision work  

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan was also there urging folks with information on this case to come forward and help OPD solve the crime.

Anyone with information on Brandy Martell’s murder can send the Oakland Police Department tips anonymously by texting TIP OAKLANDPD to 888777, calling the toll-free hotline at (855) 847-7247, or by calling (510) 535-4867.

“If you saw something, say something,” said Police Chief Howard Jordan at the vigil. “We know there were a lot of people out there that night who saw what happened. Don’t let Brandy’s death go in vain.”

Don't let the wastes of DNA who committed that crime go free.   If they killed Brandy so callously, they could possibly kill someone else you're acquainted with, too.

They need to be rotting in jail.  Let's do what we can to ensure the crime gets solved and Brandy can rest in peace.

Three More April African-American Transwomen Deaths

April 2013 calendar
I'm beyond sick and tired of being sick and tired of the near genocidal levels of anti-trans violence that are taking away far too many under 30 transwomen of color before they've had a chance to live their lives.  We are not only losing them, but their potential contributions and talents toward building all the communities we intersect and interact with.   TransGriot  April 5, 2013

29 year old Kelly Young, 30 year old Ashley Sinclair and 20 year old Ce Ce Acoff until this month were living their trans lives.  Now they are all dead because they were fighting the just battle for self determination of their own identities.

Translation from Jordana's eloquent quote: they died because somebody hated the fact they were trans and arrogantly presumed they had the power to erase them from this plane of existence. 

Kelly died on April 3 in Baltimore, MD.  48 hours later Ashley was killed in Orlando, FL and now we discover that Ce Ce Acoff's body was found with multiple stab wounds on April 17.

Right now I'm angry, and it's not just because of the jacked up Cleveland Plain Dealer article in Ms. Acoff's case. I'm pissed off because this is the third African-American transwoman we have lost this month

What's making me even more upset right now is the latest girl like us to die was only 20 years old. 

I hear the news about this latest April 2013 death on the very night in Oakland they are having a memorial candlelight vigil for Brandy Martell who was killed one year ago today.

The three deja vu trans deaths of April 2013 eerily replicates the deadly trifecta of African American trans murders that happened just 12 months ago last April.  So you can understand why I went nuclear over that transphobic Acoff article and mad that history repeated itself . 

The painful reality we're dealing with is that three more African-American transwomen will never reach their 40th birthdays.   In Ce Ce Acoff's case,she like Chicago's Paige Clay will never see her 30th, much less her 25th birthday.  It's three more names we will have to read through blurry, tear soaked eyes on November 20 on a Transgender Day of Remembrance list that will probably be adding more names to it before the cutoff date for the 2013 TDOR memorials take place all over the world.

A TDOR names list that once again will be overflowing with the names of Black and Latina transwomen.    

Once again I'll be headed to another birthday thinking about the transwomen that won't get the opportunity to grow a year older and celebrate it like I'll hopefully be doing on Saturday.  

TransGriot Update:  Thanks to tips from readers Lilith and Jahaira discovered Ms Acoff's femme name is Cemia Dove.  Her friends called her Ce Ce.

Another Black Transwoman Dies In Ohio And Is Disrespected In The Local Media

First the details of the third African-American transwoman this month to die too soon at the hands of a murderer, then I go Maya Wilkes concerning the over the top transphobic 'reporting' of  Cleveland Plain Dealer stenographers (they don't deserve the title of reporter) John Caniglia and Jo Ellen Corrigan

20 year old C. Acoff (I refuse to use the old name because this sistah has been disrespected enough) from Cleveland was found April 17 in a retention pond on MacKenzie Road, north of Cook Road, in Olmsted Township, OH nude from the waist down.  She was stabbed multiple times tied with a rope to a block of concrete

The body was found at 3:30 PM EDT by a renter living in an apartment building on the 20 acre property in the township. Acoff had been missing since March 27 and the body did match a previously filed missing person's report with the Cleveland Police Department.on April 19. 

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office positively identified through DNA on Monday

Police are looking for the wastes of DNA who committed the crime.

Now that I've gotten the basics out of the way, lets talk about the journalistic hate crime that was just committed against Ms. Acoff.  Caniglia and Corrigan must have read this TransGriot post because this is the worst piece of alleged reporting on a trans murder I've seen in a while.  

Misgender the person at every opportunity?  Check
Use police mugshot?  Check
Drag old criminal record into the story?  Check
'Deception meme' injected into story?    Check
'Tragic transsexual' meme injected into this story?   Check
Use salacious and sensationalist headlines?  Check
Not give a rats anus about the victim's dignity and their femme presentation?  Check
Disrespecting another African-American transwoman?   Check.

I am so fracking sick of African-American transwomen who have unfortunately been killed repeatedly being disrespected by predominately white reporters.  Would you have done a story on a white cis female murder victim that way?   Would you have used a mug shot or plastered her criminal record all through a story reporting on her death?

No John Caniglia and Jo Ellen Corrigan, you damned sure would not have disrespected a white cis female murder victim that way even if she had a criminal record.  You probably would have left it out of the story or your editor would have done so before publication.

But you (and your editor) felt it was okay to disrespect Ms Acoff  in that jacked up manner. Is it because you and your editor actually hate transwomen?   If you don't, the two articles you wrote sure do leave readers (especially in the trans community) with the impression that you don't care about or think transwomen, and especially African-American transwomen don't deserve dignity even in death.

You damned sure left no room for doubt to local, national and international trans readers and our allies how you felt or whether you even cared about the victim.   It's also apparent you weren't concerned how these stories would be perceived by a community who is beyond sick and tired of being sick and tired of being dissed in the media.  

I'm even more pissed off about this journalistic hate crime because this is the third African-American transwoman who has been killed this month and the second who was disrespected by her local media outlet.

It's obvious you haven't heard of the AP Stylebook guidelines on how to RESPECTFULLY report on transgender people, so let's go over them shall we?

Transgender: Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.   

If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.
These guidelines have been in effect since 2001, so I'd love to hear your excuses for how not one but TWO transphobic stories you signed your name to (and your editor allowed) got published. 

Better yet, talk to GLAAD about why you did it.  I'm sure they'll be calling soon to ask why.

TransGriot Update.  Thanks to TransGriot readers Jahaira, Zoe and Lilith found out Ms Acoff's femme name is Cemia Dove.  Friends called her Ce Ce.   Found the new picture of Ce Ce gracing this article on Ce Ce's Facebook page.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tamala Jones Comes Out As An Ally

I've always loved Tamala Jones as a actress.   She has an extensive body of work and has played characters in many of my fave movies and television series over the years from The Wood to Two Can Play That Game and The Brothers.  

She now has a role on the ABC series Castle as medical examiner Dr. Lanie Parish..

But Tamala is coming out of the closet.  

She's part of a GLAAD PSA series entitled 'Coming Out for Equality’.  It features a diverse group of straight celebrities and athletes “coming out of the closet” as supporters of equality and calling for others to speak out in favor of the issues of human rights for TBLG people

The campaign also includes PSA's from L Word actress Sarah Shahi, Kristen Johnson and actor Jackie Chan.   

H/T Elixher

Ask A Trans Attracted Man Latest Video

Troy's latest video in the Ask A Trans Attracted Man series.   In this fifth video in the series Troy touches on people not loving themselves on either the trans attracted male end or the trans woman end can lead to negative consequences.

Love yourself first before you put yourself out there to love somebody else. 

Being Trans Affects Everything

Photo: www.facebook.com/ImTransAndProud
It's not a lifestyle (and I hate that conservaterm).  When you swallow those hormones or take those first shots of testosterone or estrogen, it causes seismic shifts in your life that mere cis people can't begin to comprehend.

But if we're going to gain trans human rights coverage and make transphobia as unpalatable as racism, homophobia or sexism are, we're going to have to do our best to make them understand.

The day I swallowed my first hormone I no longer had access to male privilege contrary to the ignorant lie the white privileged TERF's try to pimp.  Once my body morphed into the feminine form I will have for the rest of my life, I not only had to get used to navigating the world in it, I had to get used to becoming a moving target for sexual assault, sexism, and all the other not so fun crap aimed at women in our society. 

And I also had to get used to doing so as a Black woman, which has its own set of challenges in addition to the girl like us issues.

As Jamison Green's quote states, being trans affects everything.  It affects the paper trails in our lives.  It affects familial relationships. It affect romantic relationships.  It has a ripple effect on your friendships that you established prior to transition.  It affects your health and wellness and how you approach it.  It affects how you look at your body.  It even affects your politics and the trajectory of your own life depending on when you transition.  

While being trans hasn't been good for my bank account and purse at times, in terms of the quality of my life it has vastly improved.

There's no way in Hades I'd go back to being 'The Twin' as I call the old me.  

I have an exciting life in which I get to do public speaking, panel discussions at various conferences and colleges across the nation, radio and podcast interviews and hope to one day do international trans conferences.

I'm looked at as a respected role model and leader for this community.  I was honored with inclusion on the inaugural Trans 100 list.  I have an award winning blog that is read internationally, is considered an authoritative source of info I'm working hard to keep that way and has attracted over 4.8 million hits.

I'm way happier and more comfortable in my skin being Moni and the folks who knew me prior to 1994 can tell you the same thing. The only thing I'd change about my life is starting transition earlier. 

Being trans does affect everything, and there is more upside to that change than there is a negative downside.  And I like being a constantly evolving girl like me.

Brandy Martell Candlelight Vigil Tonight

A reminder for those of you in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area of the candlelight vigil being held tonight to commemorate the one year anniversary of Brandy Martell's April 29 death.  

It will take place at the Franklin and 13th St. corner in Downtown Oakland where she was fatally shot from 7-8:30 PM PDT.   If you need further information about it you can e-mail her at twoods@tri-city health.org or call her at 510-456-3521

Hope there is a large turnout for this memorial vigil.  I also hope that the waste of DNA who killed her will soon be brought to justice to pay for his crime.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Does It Really Get Better?

There was a video I posted from a biracial transwoman back in February 2010 in which she launched a blistering takedown of white transsexuals who had the bigoted cojones (pun intended) to call Black transwomen ugly.

Well, she's back on these TransGriot pages, (and this time I subscribed to her YouTube feed so I can check out more of her videos) because she damned sure needs to be signal boosted.

In this October 2010 video she comments on the 'It Gets Better' campaign and her frustration with LGB folks dismissing or belittling trans folks.

POTUS Remarks At 2013 WH Correspondents Dinner

The 2013 edition of what's called 'Nerd Prom' in Washington DC, the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Issak Gets To Go To His Prom With His Date

Photo: Issak and Taylor weekend prom pic

The Red Lion Area Senior High School prom in Red Lion, PA was last night, and senior Issak Oliver Wolfe was in attendance with his date Taylor Thomas last night.

The reason we're aware this happened is because of the transphobic events leading up to last night's prom that prompted the ACLU to get involved.

Issak has been transitioning since ninth grade even though his paper trail hasn't yet caught up to where he is in his physical transformation.

But a nasty cup of transphobia was dipped in his transition Kool-Aid by Red Lion High School principal Mark Shue when he listed Issak as a candidate on the prom queen side under his old name because he was 'uncomfortable'.  

Never mind the fact that Issak was running for prom king.

When a stunned Issak went to find out why, Shue and his assistant principals were conveniently out of the building for a meeting.   Then Shue continued to dig the transphobic hole he was in by barring Wolfe's 19 year old girlfreind from being able to attend the prom with him because she exercised her First Amendment rights and called out Red Lion High School on a Facebook page.

The ACLU got involved at this point and threatened a lawsuit if Shue not only didn't cease and desist with the prom shenanigans, but allow Issak to wear the black cap and gown male Red Lion students wear.on May 3.  Why they don't have all students wear the school color cap and gowns is a mystery, but back to the story.

.The ACLU is also demanding an apology from Shue for the hurt and unnecessary drama he caused Wolfe with his initial transphobic stunt.

Will keep you updated as to if it happens.       

#BlackPrivilege Twitter Hashtag Going Viral



A few gems from the #BlackPrivilege tag on twitter.

Wow, white folks take notes. 

It started as a Black Twitter smackdown to a racist Tumblr page, but has raged on Twitter since Friday night and gone viral.   It was at one point a trending Twitter hashtag

It's the #BlackPrivilege Twitter hashtag, and it has struck a nerve on many levels with Black Tweeps including Toure of MSNBC's 'The Cycle'.

You know I had to jump in on this and was happy to see some of my comments have been retweeted.  We also had some peeps try to derail the feed as many Black Tweeps predicted would happen and claim the racism is a figment of our imaginations or we're 'perpetuating it' by talking about it.

The #BlackPrivilege hashtag is now going global with respondents from other parts of the African Diaspora such as Canada and Great Britain starting to check in.

It'll be interesting to see how long the momentum continues with this and if it even gets any mainstream media coverage.

Somehow I doubt that it will. 

More Than Just XX Or XY Chromosomes

One of the things that makes me laugh my butt off whenever I see it in a comments section I decide to peruse to gauge the ignorance in is when the scientifically illiterate trans bigots start braying that 'XX chromosomes equals female' and 'XY equals male'.

I'm hearing trans bigots spew that far too often in their attacks on Fallon Fox (and other trans women) and I'm sick of it.

FYI trans bigots.  As we transpeople are a living testament to, Mother Nature doesn't like nice neat gender binaries.   She likes to throw you curve balls, which is why I like to constantly remind people who spout that ignorant jibber-jabber that transpeople are part of the diverse mosaic of human life.

It's why we transwomen can come out of the womb with a masculine body and a female mind and gender ID.  The reverse is true for our trans brothers who have the masculine mind and gender ID but the body stayed female.

But back to the chromosome issue I wanted to shed some light on. 

There's XO, Turner Syndrome in which a female has only one X chromosome. A female bodied person can also be XY due to Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS).  Men can have an extra X chromosome due to Klinefelter's syndrome, which means they have an XXY.   

There are also some of you alleged cismasculine he-man transwoman haters who are walking around this planet with XX chromosomes.  There's also XXX, XYY, XXXX, XXYY....

Are your heads spinning yet?   Oh yeah, the only way you are going to find out what somebody's chromosomal makeup is damned sure not by looking at their outward gender presentation or the genitalia between their legs and making loud and wrong assumptions about it.   It requires you to do lab testing to find out for certain. 

Human beings are far more complex than the gender binary allows.  The existence of humans in all their biodiverse configurations is making that crystal clear as the mounting scientific research continues to point out. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Love Is All You Need?

This is a short film in which the societal script is flipped and being gay or lesbian is considered the norm and heterosexuality is seen as 'sinful' or 'awful'.  It focuses on a young teen named Ashley who is growing up in that world as hetero and is being verbally and physically bullied for it. 

The film has won 19 film festival awards(and counting)  

There are some graphic scenes in this short film and trigger alerts, but it realistically simulates what gay and trans kids go through in terms of dealing with a world they are at odds with and feeling alone and unsupported in it.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

Seven Transphobic Tropes Debunked

I've discussed in the over 6500 posts on this blog (and had fun eviscerating ) these seven transphobic tropes that seem to constantly pop into articles about this community and radfem hate screeds.

Questioning Transphobia has a excellent series of articles that eviscerate the seven most common anti-trans arguments.  And you know as a TransGriot public service I'm going to make it easy for you to find them.

Thanks to Questioning Transphobia's Queen Emily and Lisa Harney for the hard solid thinking and work that went into this series of articles.

Trope 1 – “Really” a Man / Woman
Trope 2 – “Patriarchal Privilege”
Trope 3 – “Reifying Gender”
Trope 4 – “My Theories Are More Important Than Your Experience”
Trope 5 – The “Man in a Dress” / “Deceiver” Double Bind
Trope 6 – Mutilation
Trope 7 – Socialization As A Child

Shut Up Fool Awards-2013 NFL Draft Weekend Edition

NFL Draft 2013 Logo.jpgThe 2013 NFL Draft started last night in New York and will continue later tonight with Rounds 2 and 3 and Rounds 4-7 on  Saturday. 

The 1st round of this years NFL Draft was one in which teams loaded up on offensive and defensive line players and defensive backs.  My Texans grabbed DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson, the receiver they needed at number 27

I was also happy to see UH corner DJ Hayden make it from a near fatal practice injury last November to being drafted by the Oakland Raiders.

The Texans have eight more selections, and we'll see who else my fave NFL ballers and two time defending AFC South champs get tonight and tomorrow.

But I know today is Friday, the last one of this month.  Y'all surfed over here to find out who was the first round draft choice for stupidity and ignorance this week or what off the radar prospects turned themselves into first round draft choices capable of winning our weekly Shut Up Fool Award.

But I do need to find out who drafted who and what cut players ended up in new NFL homes. I plan on defending my NFL prognostication title this year.  But instead of just competing with Mike Watts, I also have new competition in blogger Eli Blake to contend with in 2013 as well.

Anybody else want some of this NFL prognostication fun, let me, Mike or Eli know now

Okay,okay.  I'll tear myself away from ESPN and the NFL and get to my usual Friday business.

As always, there are a few free agents that played their way into SUF contention. 

Free agent number one is Fox Noise fembot Katie Pavlich  continuing the conservafoool War on the Poor.   She thinks that all welfare recipients names should be publicized because they are getting tax dollars for it.    Well, using that specious line of reasoning, we should know the names of all CIA operatives, everyone who receives federal student aid, every business owned that receives any federal contract or grant.....

Free agent number two is Fox Noise...for their Islamic bashing, trying to spin Junior's disastrous presidency in the wake of the opening of his presidential library on the SMU campus, their hate on Obama rhetoric.

Free Agent number three is .a group award for the Republican Party and their hijinks this week of Sen. Rand Paul (Teabagger-KY) contradicting himself on drones, Sen. Lindsey Graham say they should be allowed on US soil and other GOP fails too numerous to list in this post..

But this week's winner is Dean Saxton, or 'Brother Dean' as he's know on the University of Arizona campus.   This knuckle-dragging embarrassment to manhood who has a future in the Arizona Republican Party pissed off people on the picturesque UA campus earlier this week by holding up a sign espousing the jacked up view that women deserve to be raped. 

Saxton also has a Twitter page in which he regularly tweets insults about feminists, Islam, and the LGBT community.   And unless Saxton violates UA student policy, he has a First Amendment right to be an azzhole.    But we also have the same Fist Amendment right to tell this fool what we think about his jacked up views. 

Dean Saxton, Shut up Fool! 

The Battle For Self Determination Of One's Own Identity Is A Just One

I'm blessed to have some pretty smart people around me as you can tell by some of the conversations that get started on my Facebook page.  

Sometimes those profound conversations get cranked up by some post I've written.  There are times it happens because either I or somebody else starts doing some hard solid thinking about whatever subject we were tackling at the moment and a comment jump starts a thoughtful conversation.

I wrote a post about a Houston area trans community issue that has a pleasant conclusion in Toni Zamazul getting to be herself  for her upcoming May 11 prom.  

So as the comments started flowing  Jordana LeSesne (yes the same Jordana that challenged me to start TransGriot in the first place) had this to say about it.  

No fight is more just than the battle for self determination of one's own identity. 

And she's absolutely right about that.   When it comes to fighting for your right to self determine your own identity, it is not only a just battle, but it is one that must be waged.  

Only you should have the power to determine your self identity and you must zealously defend it. When others do it for you either because they did so by force or you ceded that power to do so willingly, you not only aren't going to like what they come up with, but you don't have the power to control and define your own humanity. 

It's why I refuse to allow anyone to define for me who I am as an African descended girl like us.   I am a New Black Transwoman whose femininity and womanhood is just as valid as someone who was fortunate to be born into a feminine body. 

My transbrothers are also becoming (or already are) more vocal not only in terms of how they define trans masculinity, but are doing hard solid thinking about masculinity in general and their roles in redefining it so it fits for them and their ongoing battle for self determination of their identity

We have made remarkable progress in terms of advancing trans human rights in our various locales.  We have begun to do the hard work of shifting the conversations about trans people into more positive territory.  We have even begun the herculean task of getting our stories told in a more positive way in the media.   

But we can't forget the work we still need to do between our ears to permanently banish the unholy trinity of shame, guilt and fear from our lives.   That starts with us never forgetting that we must fight and decisively win the battle for self determination of our own identity and remember as we engage in that just battle, we have the moral high ground when we do so.

Jazz At The GLAAD Media Awards

Photo: (Getty)

Shoot, Jazz is piling up more frequent flyer miles than I am so far this year.   If I can get to Philly from here for the upcoming Philadelphia Trans Health Conference I'll finally get an opportunity to meet her and her mom sionce they are scheduled to do a panel discussion there and I'm penciled in for one on Saturday.

Jazz's latest trip was to Los Angeles for the GLAAD Media Awards.   While she was on stage she made the call for Hollywood to do a better job of trans representation on the large and small screens.

She also had this MTV interview about her recent experience.

But back to riffing on the lack of trans visibility on the big and small screens.   Lord knows I've talked about that subject on the blog a few times and especially lack of realistic trans POC characters. 

There's also the irritating tendency of Hollywood producers to cast cis women or gay men to play trans women when there are trans women of all ethnic backgrounds and age ranges working in Hollywood and eager to play some realistic trans roles.

If y'all can't come up with them, e-mail me and I'll come up with some ideas for you to build realistic trans characters for a 10% cut of the profits for starters.   And with the reality that transkids are transitioning as early as 5 and 6 or in their early teen years, that adds more chances to tell trans stories. 

Jazz's mom Jeannette recently sent me a tweet congratulating me for being named to the inaugural Trans100 list and being an inspiration to many people.  I thanked her and noted that Jazz is one my inspirations and thanked her and jazz for being role models for trans teens and transkids that don't have a voice yet.  

The transkids and transteens are one of the reasons I continue to fight for trans human rights coverage here and around the world. 

It's really about the kids like Jazz.  We trans adults and our allies not only need to be good role models for our trans younglings, we need to be fighting tooth and nail with every fiber of our beings to do what we can to leave a better world for them. 

Moni's stepping off her electronic soapbox now.   Enjoy the video

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Toni Gets To Wear Her Prom Dress

As if there was going to be any doubt this was not going to happen, especially in light of the fact this same issue cropped up in the Waller ISD last year    

It seems like every year since I started TransGriot in 2006 this issue has cropped up over the last two decades.  Even if the students lose a round with school administrators, the court system (when it goes that far) usually rules in favor of the trans student.

When I stopped in last night to visit my homegirl Vanity (who owns a transformation studio inside the Loop) and attend her weekly Wednesday meet up I hadn't been to in a while, I walked in on Toni Zamazal and her family selecting her dress for the event and getting a makeover for the upcoming May 11 prom.

If you haven't heard, Toni is the trans student whose request to wear a dress at her Spring High School prom was initially rebuffed by an assistant principal and was told she must wear a tuxedo.   That was until the ACLU, her family and the angelic troublemakers in the Houston area trans community got involved. 

Spring High principal Donna Ullrich stated in a Houston Chronicle interview that she did not object to the request, but she needed to ask the school board because it was a "community decision."

After the ACLU sent a letter explaining the assistant principal's decision was unconstitutional, the Spring ISD attorney hammered out a deal with the ACLU and sent a March 26 letter to Zamazal stating she must meet the standards of the prom dress code for females, including dresses that reach at least mid-thigh and neatly kept hair.

I don't think that will be a problem.   Zamazal said in a statement she wanted to wear a dress to prom "because I wouldn't have felt comfortable at all showing up in a tux. I'm so grateful that my school has agreed to let me be myself on such an important night."

So are we Toni.. I noticed how happy you were last night as Vanity was applying and finally finished your makeup. You looked beautiful when she was done and I hope you have a fun and memorable prom night.

I know you will because you'll get to be yourself on May 11.  As for what color her dress is?  All I'm going to say is that Toni has narrowed it down to two tasteful selections that I'm going to keep a secret until she unveils them for you on prom night. 

But Toni will look gorgeous in either one of the tasteful dresses she selected.

May 1 Teach-In At Smith College

If you oppose discrimination and would like Smith College to admit trans women as undergraduate students, please come to this event. Bet Power will be speaking, and trans community members and allies are very much needed in this effort to press Smith College for change.

And if you haven't done so yet, here's the petition asking Smith to change its policies and admit qualified transwomen who wish to attend the school.

Smith Q & A (Queers & Alliez) is hosting a Teach-In next Wednesday, May 1 at 6:30-7:30 PM. EDT, outside the Smith Campus Center, in response to the issue of trans women's exclusion from Smith. It is an opportunity for coalition work between the larger queer community and Smith, as well as an opportunity for us to do education work around transmisogyny. It is not a protest, or a violent space -- but rather, a space to continue educating our communities.

Come learn about how and why excluding trans women from Smith is inexcusable, works against the mission of Smith as a women's college, and is not a Title IX issue. Hear students, faculty, and Northampton community members speak about historic exclusion of trans women, and the odds that trans women face trying to gain access to higher education.

The Smith College Campus Center is located at 100 Elm Street, Northampton, MA.

I'll repeat and expand on what I said in the Smith trans hypocrisy post.   This
issue isn't going away because trans people now transition as early as ages 5 and 6.  More are transitioning in their teens.  Those 5 and 6 year old trans kids will grow up to become trans teens who one day will be looking to earn a degree on someone's college campus. 

Some of those trans teens will be trans feminine students who could be prospective students wishing to attend your campus.   You already allow transmasculine students on your campus after they transition, so why the problem with having transfeminine students on campus?  

Transfeminine students would not only benefit from
matriculating at an all women's college with Smith's academic reputation, but we would bring something to the table in terms of educating you on our issues and having your students get to know the trans women who get to attend the school.
Hope you can attend, because Bet is an amazing speaker and you don't want to miss it.

TransGriot Nuke A Troll 31- Troll Nuking A Lone Star Teabagger

Another day. another cruise of the USS Monica out of port.  Our ongoing mission is to cruise the cyberseas and drop 50 megatons of knowledge on poor deluded souls who step to me and show their anus and monumental stupidity in TransGriot comment threads.

When they don't get caught in my spam filter.

Today it's Lynn Barton who is about to get blasted for her idiocy. 

She commented yesterday on a post I wrote in October 2010 about my state Rep Garnet Coleman and Texas state Rep Jessica Farrar refiling the Dignity For All Students Act back before the 2011 Texas Legislative session.

This is Endoctrine of students against their Parents! Also there was a New Class of students that came to visit a school program, girls separated from boys. One of the girls was told to kiss another girl and to hold her hand! ((((ARE YOU KIDDING ME?))) *****PARENTS BETTER KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON****
I would NEVER --EVER CONDONE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5...4...3...2...1  Launch.

Lynn, Lynn, Lynn.    This is what happens when you combine ignrance with an overreliance on right wing talk radio and reading Teapublican websites for your information.   The end result is you look ill informed and stupid, and that's not a quality any woman wants to walk around this planet with. 

But then again, that make you a prime catch in Teabagger circles.

First up, I believe the word you were trying to use in your opening sentence was indoctrination.

1: to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach
2: to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

Sorta like what you just demonstrated in your comment.  You have been indoctrinated with a right wing point of view that you're now trying to project in my comment section. 

Playtime is over.  Now it's time to 'ejumacate' you since that didn't happen for you during your formative years.  As the post you obviously didn't read stated, the Dignity For All Students Act has been filed by Rep Coleman in every Texas legislative session since 2003, and this is what it would do.

The Dignity for All Students Act would prohibit discrimination and harassment in public schools on the basis of ethnicity, color, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, religion or national origin.  It would also prohibit discrimination based on association with a person, and protects both the parents of students and whistleblowers who may report incidents of discrimination or harassment.

And as Rep Farrar said about the bill:

'There are too many painful stories and tragic endings," said Rep. Farrar. "When schools turn a blind eye towards discrimination and harassment, we have failed.  The Dignity For All Students Act will help set a tone in Texas that no type of discrimination will be tolerated in this state.  
So how is creating a tone in Texas public schools in which discrimination against anyone is not tolerated become 'indoctrination against their parents'? 

I guess when the parents are raving bigots, transphobes and homophobes, you would consider that indoctrination, huh?

Are you kidding me about your allegation that a female student was told to kiss another student and hold her hand?  

Prove this anecdotal story that I find as the child of a retired award winning Texas educator hard to believe. 

Links to a credible news source not named Fox News, the Drudge Report, WingNutDaily WorldNewsDaily or some other KKKhristian anti-GLBT hate site will be required to prove the veracity of your story which I doubt ever happened. 

Your last statement tells me all I need to know about you in terms of being a too easily swayed, spelling challenged indoctrinated GOP voting homobigot.

Duck and cover fool, and don't look at the troll nuke when it explodes. 

Is Marvel FINALLY Going To Greenlight The Black Panther Movie?

Rumors have been hot and heavy over the last year amongst Marvel comics fans about whether the film about their first African descended superhero, T'Challa, the Black Panther will finally be greenlighted and shown at a multiplex near you.

He's the Oxford PhD holding king of the mythical and technologically superior African nation of Wakanda, the only source of the world's vibranium.  He's also the husband of Storm, who is also of continental African heritage.

Black Panther does the superhero thang as a hobby because he's got enough haters trying to separate him from the Wakandan throne in addition to Western powers plotting to destabilize his never conquered nation to grab its vibranium supply, disease cures, and superior technology. 

So if the Black Panther movie does happen in the next two years, there will have to be a movie or a scene in it which Halle Berry, who plays Storm, hooks up with her hubby T'Challa or does a cameo.  

Damned skippy I'll be in line for it if it happens and especially if the rumor that Morris Chestnut is playing him turns out to be true.  I've always liked Morris Chestnut as an actor, and this tweet from him is being interpreted by peeps to indicate he got the part.

"It's time to get familiar with the Black Panther character!"

Chestnut does have the action movie chops to pull this off, and there were some folks suggesting that a continental African actor such as Djimon Hounsou, Brits Idris Elba or Chiwetel Ejiofor also be considered for the part.   

Bottom line is it's past time for an African descended Marvel superhero to hit the silver screen, and hope that the increasing chatter about a Black Panther movie is more than just jibber-jabber.

I hope to be seeing trailers for it and get a date I can cirle on the calendar to see it.

TERF"s RadFem Hatefest Booted From Another Venue

Ever wondered what would happen if you tried to hold an international trans hate conference and nobody wanted to host it?  

Ask the Trans Exterminationalist Radical Feminazis Feminists how that feels after they got rebuffed for the second consecutive year   

Our least favorite trans oppressors had planned on using the London Irish Centre to host their RadFem 2013 hate event.   The 2012 edition got cancelled from Conway Hall last year (snicker, snicker).

The 2013 event is on track to suffer the same ignominious fate because they got derailed by their own hate scribblings and the potential venue, The London Irish Centre did their due diligence and researched the movement on their own after complaints from our transpeeps. 

And what the Center saw of the TERF"s they didn't like.
Quite a few of the complaints were from the transgender community and then a men’s group cam along the other day a hand out leaflets about why the event shouldn’t be held here.
We did some research into RadFem and discovered certain language was used and some statements were made about transgender people that would go against our equalities and diversity policy.
- David Barlow, Director of The Irish Centre

FYI TERF's, in Britain there's a law on the books called the 2010 Equality Act of which transpeeps are a protected class.  

Translation: You can't discriminate or hate on us across The Pond like you can get away with over in parts of the United States without repercussions.  Good luck finding a venue that's willing to violate the Equality Act..

Of course, the TERF's are crying White Women's Tears about being 'oppressed', but naw, you're just mad because you can't show your azzes, parade Sheila Jeffreys transphobic behind on stage, are still searching for a conference venue across The Pond and won't be able to express your trans hate to a disco beat.for the second straight year.   

Job 4:8 - Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

And you TERF's have been plowing iniquity and sowing wickedness for over four decades, and it's past time you reaped a bumper crop harvest of what you planted back in the 70's and 80's.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

KOKUMO Performing This Weekend

TransGriot Note:  Photo of KOKUMO by Andy Karol

For you peeps in the Chicago area looking for something to do, y'all get the opportunity to check out a KOKUMO performance this weekend. 

Hot on the stiletto heels of the release of her debut EP, the 'artivist' KOKUMO will have her debut performance at Parlour On Clark.  KOKUMO LIVE is a benefit for T.G.I.F., the second annual Trans Intersex Gender Non-Conforming Freedom Rally and Picnic. 

$3 donation at the door will go towards defraying the costs associated with putting together the T.G.I.F. event.   The address of the venue is 6341 N. Clark St, Chicago IL, 60660

Also performing will be Mister Junior, Kiam Marcelo Junio and the N
orthern Lights Go-Go Gothic Dancers.
Your host for this night of entertainment for a good cause will be Andy Siharath with DJ Erik Roldan on the wheels of steel

The performance starts at 11:00 PM CDT at
Parlour on Clark, so here's an opportunity for you to see my fellow Trans 100 list sis, get a night of entertainment at a reasonable cost and support a good cause at the same time. 

The K-11 Issues Are Still The Same...

That still doesn't change the fact that once again you had ciswomen playing what is ostensibly a trans role. 
Even with different casting.   

When I first wrote about the movie in 2009,  Nikki Reed and Kristen Stewart were set to play the lead roles in the movie K-11.   But as can happen with movies in development, scheduling conflicts can arise or other issues occur that force announced actors to pull out of a project.  

Kristen Stewart was forced due to a scheduling conflict to pull out of this film her mother Jules Stewart was producing.   She still has a small voice cameo in it and the role of Butterfly she was supposed to play was given to Portia Doubleday.   The Mousey role, the queen bee of the K-11 dorm went to veteran Latina actress Kate del Castillo after Nikki Reed dropped out of it.

Granted Calpernia Addams and Andrea James served as coaches for del Castillo, she embraced the challenge of it, and I'm not saying ciswomen can't or shouldn't play transwomen if they are offered the part.  Felicity Huffman, Kerry Washington, Rebecca Romijn, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Chloe Sevigny come to mind as ciswomen who have pulled it off successfully and to rave reviews in various movie and television projects.

But ciswomen are offered those roles far too often, especially when you have transwomen who are acting in Hollywood such as Laverne Cox, Jamie Clayton, Calpernia Addams, Candis Cayne, Alexandra Billings, Aleshia Brevard, and others who are striving to get the level of recognition these ladies have.

It would be nice for them to get paid and get a shot at a role they have some intimate familiarity with like transwomen in other countries get a chance to do more frequently than their American counterparts..

And I also have to agree with Gina Morvay of the Skip The Makeup blog and this comment she left on the original K-11 post that is still valid.

As you've pointed out, in many other countries trans people have played trans people... and, surprise, it comes out a lot more moving and full blooded than having someone like Nicole Kidman or Nikki Reed do their actor schtick and pretending it's accurate. And the biggest joke is, people would be more interested to see a film with real trans actresses or actors than seeing yet another Nicole Kidman bomb or Nikki Reed vehicle (anyone remember '13'?).

I know just like you, I'd be quite interested in seeing a movie or television series in which trans women play realistic trans characters.   I'm not holding my breath on that happening any time soon.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rest In Peace, Shakira

Received the shocking news that one of my trans sisters, writer Shakira Daneshia Gordon Garr passed away today due to complications from childhood heart issues that started asserting themselves on April 7. 

I met her in 2011 through an online Facebook group I'm a part of and we'd gotten to know each other over the last year and a half.  The Jackson, MS native lived in the Los Angeles area and was the author of two books, 'The Downfall Of An Arrogant DL Brother' and "Roderick-The Emancipation of a Young Black Serial Killer' and was working on more.  

During one of our conversations she confided in me tht it was her fondest wish to have one of them turned into a screenplay.   We also had another long conversation in which we talked about trans human rights and the media images of trans people of color needing to change. 

She was spiritual, thoughtful, positive, had a big heart, was supportive and had kind words for everyone that got to know her.  She was one of the first people in the community who called me when my father passed away last month. 

It's just a huge shock for me and everyone else who loved her to hear that she's singing with the angels now.  It is a reminder to all of us still here on this space rock to tell the people who are important to you in your lives how much you love and appreciate them.   Once they are gone from this plane of existence it's too late. 

Rest in peace, Shakira.   Will definitely be rereading the novel you sent me in your memory.

Good Luck Kris!

SharpOne of the new folks I met on the UH-Downtown campus when I participated in their panel discussion last week was Kris Sharp, the UHD student body vice presidential candidate and junior social work student who was targeted by homobigots.

Somebody who has a future in Republican politics in this state or nationally (assuming they don't get arrested for the theft and misuse of Kris' medical information) created flyers with Sharp's medical information and HIV status

Of course, Sharp was flabbergasted this happened but doesn't want to prosecute this fool.

Sharp told the Houston Press, "There's a culture at UHD that is somewhat less accepting of LGBT youth, but something of this magnitude is completely mind-blowing. I knew, going into the election, that I could possibly be targeted because of my sexuality -- but I had no idea that it would go to this level."

The person then followed up their initial criminally shady behavior by impersonating Sharp online and claiming in an e-mail they sent to the Houston Press there would be a campus rally on April 3 to protest what happened.  Since 2009 impersonation of someone on the Net in Texas is a third class felony, so if it's the same fool, he's in even deeper trouble. 

But more on this developing situation later.   It's election week on the UHD campus which started yesterday and runs through the 26th.   Time to cast votes for the Valdez-Sharp ticket if you are a UHD student.  This is one in which I hope the karmic wheel moves swiftly on two fronts and the perpetrator is caught.

Good luck Kris and hope you and Isaac Valdez overcome the haters and you emerge victorious.

Indonesian Sisters Standing Up For Their Rights

It's old video from last year, but it makes the point I've been trying to drive home that trans rights are a world wide struggle.   This video comes from Indonesia and is a story about Yuli Rettoblaus trying to become a member of the Indonesian National Commission of Human Rights.

TransGriot Nuke A Troll 30-TERF Irradiation Time

Time to cruise the cyberseas again in fulfillment of our ongoing mission to drop 50 megatons of knowledge on another poor soul who stepped to me armed with stupidity in my comment threads.

Seems like my trolls runneth over this month, and this time I had Cathy Brennan Luc responding to a guest post from Annie Danger that almost three years old from July 2010 entitled Open letter To MichFest Attendees   Annie, if you want a piece of this troll, you have an open invitation to respond to this detractor.

Men who are surgically changed into a female is not a woman. No matter how you paint it, it is not the same.

For hundreds of years
  Doctors have mutilated womens bodies to play God and you have been an equal participant. WBW have a natural rights of passage through womanhood that you will never have all accept for the oppression you will get to experience in our society so welcome aboard.

As for Mich Fest, we ought to be allowed to have one week out of the year where we can join with our Sisters to celebrate our lives without being harassed..its a reunion. I would never impose myself on your family
reunions, so be respectful and go create your own gatherings.

You are not a woman..you are by artificial means made to appear as one.
Being born by natural birth is a true and authentic woman and never forget that. A rights of passage is our God given right. If you are choosing to change your sex then you will go through all the same oppression the rest of us have had to endure.  We have created a space for one week out of the year to celebrate our lives as WBW and its our reunion to bond with our Sisters...
Go create your own space and I promise i wont impose my life onto yours.


You're not in Radfem cyberspace anymore and you already imposed your life upon mine by taking the time to write this bull feces I'm going to have fun eviscerating.    And I'm going to go through this jibber-jabber in sections.
Men who are surgically changed into a female is not a woman. No matter how you paint it, it is not the same.

Oh really?  And no matter how much you try to deny it, all human life at conception is female or were you asleep in science class when they were teaching about the human reproductive system?  Mounting medical evidence, CAT scans of the BSTc region of the brain and dissections of deceased trans women are increasingly proving what we already know,  we are females who got a little too much testosterone to kickstart masculine body development but not our minds.   You TERF's can continue to deny the fact all you want that  transwomen's brains.are exactly like cis women's brains, but you can't fight science.

For hundreds of years  Doctors have mutilated womens bodies to play God and you have been an equal participant. WBW have a natural rights of passage through womanhood that you will never have all accept for the oppression you will get to experience in our society so welcome aboard.

Ho hum, more TERF drivel.... An equal participant in mutilating women's bodies?   What the hell are you babbling about?  Using your convoluted logic I can say that you were an equal participant in the hate murders of transwomen.

And what in Hades is a 'natural right of passage through womanhood?   Trans kids who are transitioning as early as age 5 and 6 already drive a Mack truck sized hole into this TERF jibber- jabber, so try again especially since people are trying to deny them the right to live their lives as who they are.  We transwomen are already experiencing added layers of oppression from you fools in addition to the ones we get from walking on this planet in a feminine body.

As for Mich Fest, we ought to be allowed to have one week out of the year where we can join with our Sisters to celebrate our lives without being harassed..its a reunion.

And who is harassing you and keeping you from enjoying your week where you get excessively drunk, high, walk around naked, swat mosquitoes and do God knows what else on The Land?   MichFest is a concert that sell tickets publically to anyone who wishes to attend it, unless you specifically state publically and in advance of the event that transwomen (or other groups) aren't allowed on The Land.     

But Lisa Vogel and company know that bigotry and transphobia is bad for 'bidness', so y'all are trying to do what you always do.  Keep your transphobia on the down low and cry white women's tears that you're being oppressed' when we all know you are the oppressors. 

I would never impose myself on your family reunions, so be respectful and go create your own gatherings.

Like you imposed your bigotry on my blog, so you lied there.   And oh yeah, guess you haven't heard about Southern Comfort, Be All, Colorado Gold Rush, The Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, ICTLEP, Texas 'T' Party, the Trans Faith In Color Conference, Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit...(shall I continue?) all open to anyone who wishes to attend them unlike your events.

And that's just the ones we transwomen have in the States.   I haven't even started naming the international ones or ones the transmen have created. 

Personally I could care less about MichFest.  I prefer my concerts indoors and with a better musical lineup.  But there are trans women who would like to attend it and I do have a major problem with them being discriminated against especially in light of the hypocritical fact you let trans men on The Land.

You are not a woman..you are by artificial means made to appear as one.
You don't get to make that call. You aren't walking around in mine or any transwoman's body nor have you walked amile in min or any transwoman's pumps.   And what, you jealous because some of us look better, perform femininity better (because no thanks to y'all we have to for our own survival) and have more class in our pinky fingers than you unkempt Birkenstock wearing Janice Raymond-Mary Daly acolytes?

Being born by natural birth is a true and authentic woman and never forget that

Uh what?  You're babbling here.  And question for you.  Are you saying to me that the only way you define your femininity is by what genitalia is ensconced between your legs?  

If that's the case or that's what you're insinuating here, you are one sad individual.   Genitalia does not equal gender identity.    Join the rest of us in the 21st century and get your mind out of the disco era and out of my panties.  

A rights of passage is our God given right. If you are choosing to change your sex then you will go through all the same oppression the rest of us have had to endure.

Ho hum...didn't you try to peddle this bull feces in an earlier paragraph, or did your handlers not give you more TERF talking points to cut and paste here?

We have created a space for one week out of the year to celebrate our lives as WBW and its our reunion to bond with our Sisters...

And also engage in Two Minute Hates on the transwomen across the road at Camp Trans and everywhere else in the country..

Go create your own space and I promise i wont impose my life onto yours.

You said that already.  Time to check and see if you have Borg implants.    Naah, I've wasted enough bandwith playing with you.  Next time tell your handlers to send you over here armed with better material or better yet, send their 'A' team of haters so i can eviscerate them properly.

Duck and cover fool, and don't look at the flash when the troll nuke explodes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

In The House At The 21st Annual Houston Unity Banquet

Photo: The Texas 'Trans 100' @ Houston Unity Banquet!

Myself, Monica Roberts, Katy Stewart, Judge Phyllis Frye...The 21st annual Houston Unity Banquet was held at the Sheraton Brookhollow Hotel April 20 to another diverse capacity crowd.

The program for the event featured Tye West doing a spoken word poem and Dr. Susan Stryker as the keynote speaker.

Had a nice mix of trans community members from here and around the state, our allies and politicians in the room this weekend breaking bread with the Houston trans community along with a nice goodie bag with the Houston trans community logo on it to take home. 

It was emceed this year by LA's and the Task Force's Trystan Reese, and Texas state rep Garnet Coleman was in the house to break down legislative developments in Austin.  We had HISD board member Juliet Stipeche, Houston City Councilmember Mike Laster and several judges in the room as well along with Equality Texas' Daniel Williams and Houston City Council candidate Jenifer Rene Pool.   

Some of the other notable faces in the banquet crowd were Precinct 1 constable Alan Rosen,  Ann Harris Bennett, Project GRAD's Ramiro Fonseca, and District 7 congressional candidate Lissa Squires.   

There were some nice door prizes donated such as tickets to the Houston symphony and ballet, men's and women's watches from I.W. Marks Jewelers and a dinner certificate at Niko Niko's just to name a few of the items that the winning ticket holders had a chance to choose from. 

And darn it, I was an agonizing three numbers away during one ticket drawing of claiming one of those prizes.

We also had the interesting occurrence of all four Texas members of the Trans 100 List in the same space since the list was unveiled back on March 31 and subsequently published..

In addition to dinner the Houston transgender community awards were handed out prior to Dr. Stryker's inspiring speech.

The Champion Award went to Becca Keo

Champions Award went to Lesbian Health Initiative

The Dee McKellar Award went to Katy Stewart

Horizon Award to Dana Hinton

The Brenda Thomas Award to Dallas' Carter Brown 

And this year's Lifetime Achievement Award (and a much deserved one) went to Judge Phyllis Frye.

An HTUC President's Award was given out this year to Monyque Starr.  

Congratulations to all the award winners.  I had a wonderful time meeting some of the new faces in the community, seeing old friends, talking to many of the local and statewide LGBT community leaders and allies, seeing Dr Stryker who made an exciting announcement during her speech that you peeps will hear about soon (and I'm sworn to secrecy on)  and having the honor and pleasure of sitting with the people of TENT (Transgender Education Network of Texas) during this event.

It was also nice seeing Kristopher Sharp, the UH-Downtown student government presidential candidate I met Wednesday during my panel discussion visit to the UHD campus.who was subjected to a vicious smear campaign.   I also enjoyed spending some quality time on this end of I-45 with Carter again.  

Photos will be going up on the Houston Transgender Unity Committee website at htuc.org as soon as they are available.  Congrats to the Unity Committee for putting on another successful Unity Banquet and hope it's even bigger and better next year.

Black Trans History-Philecia Barnes

[photo]Black transpeople aren't strangers in having to fight tooth and nail for our human rights.   We know from our history as African descendants in America we've had to rely on the courts at times to secure those human rights.   Some cases we've trans African-Americans have engaged in we've won, some we've lost.  But they have done their part to keep the momentum of trans human rights moving forward.

Here's another one of those cases from our history book, and this one takes place in Cincinnati, OH.   Philecia Barnes was a Cincinnati police officer for over two decades before beginning her gender transition and taking the sergeant's exam and passing it on July 13, 1998.    She placed 18th out of 105 candidates who took that examination.

You would think that having placed inside the Top 20 of people who took the exam she'd have a great chance at the promotion combined with her two decades of experience as a patrol officer.   But it was well known in the CPD that Barnes was transitioning and had notified CPD of her intention to do so well before taking that exam.   She was then subjected to a stressful three-month probationary period as a sergeant, during which time she was monitored on a daily basis, forced to wear a mike, and rated on a six-page form designed specifically for her. At the end, she failed because of what was termed a lack of 'command presence' and was demoted in June 1999 on the orders of then Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas Streicher.   

But Barnes also had warning signs that something shady was going on.   Col. Twitty told Barnes she did not appear to be “masculine,” and that she needed to stop wearing makeup and act more masculine prior to Barnes's promotion.  Col. Twitty stated the objective of such statements was to correct Barnes's “grooming deficiencies.”  Col. Twitty also claimed that the decision to fail Barnes from probation had nothing to do with Barnes's transsexual characteristics.  

However, Sergeant Ford warned Barnes that he heard rumors that Barnes was going to fail probation because Barnes had not been acting masculine enough.   It was also interesting to note that Barnes was the only officer to fail probation during the seven years from 1993 to 2000, according to court papers or be placed in a training program similar to what Barnes endured.   

So what happens when you feel you've been treated unjustly?   You sue, which Barnes did in October 2000.
At the heart of the Barnes case was the question of whether this country's main federal law against workplace discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, protects transgender workers (and tangentially, gay workers) against sex discrimination.  Neither "transgender" nor "sexual orientation" appears in the text of Title VII, which bars job bias because of religion, race, sex and other factors.

But in 1989, the Supreme Court in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins ruled that an employer who punishes a worker because he or she does not match gender stereotypes is guilty of sex discrimination under Title VII.   This case was being cited by more courts deferring to the Hopkins precedent in favor of gay and transgender plaintiffs.  It was cited in the 2012 Mia Macy v Holder EEOC case that ruled transgender discrimination is sex discrimination.

Barnes challenged her demotion from sergeant under Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause in a case she filed with the US District Court for Southern District of Ohio in addition to taking legal aim at the odious Article XII of the Cincinnati City Charter.  

Article XII was passed by voters in 1993 as a homobigoted reaction to the city’s human rights ordinance including sexual orientation as a protected class against discrimination in 1992.   Barnes and her attorney Al Gerhartstein asserted that Article XII was a factor in this case because its existence encouraged supervisors to discriminate against his client and others based on sexual orientation.

Barnes also told the judge during the district court trial that as long as Article XII existed, she and others would continue to face discrimination.

The City of Cincinnati filed a motion to dismiss and a motion for summary judgment, which were both denied by the district court.   The City argued that a legitimate reason, poor performance, justified the demotion in this case.   The claims were submitted to a district court jury, which returned a verdict in Barnes's favor.   The jury on February 23, 2003 awarded Barnes $150,000 in compensatory damages, $140,000 in front pay and $30,511 in back pay.   The City moved for judgment as a matter of law, which was also rejected by the district court.  The district court then awarded Barnes $527,888 in attorneys fees and $25,837 in costs on February 27, 2004.  

The city of Cincinnati promptly appealed the adverse district court rulings to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  It has the reputation of being the most conservative leaning federal judicial circuit in the nation, but Barnes' case was upheld on March 22, 2005.    The Sixth Circuit agreed that Barnes had a legitimate claim of sex discrimination under Title VII. It was the second such ruling out of the Sixth Circuit, where a transgender fire fighter won the right to sue under Title VII in the July 2004 Smith v. City of Salem case.

The City of Cincinnati then appealed the Barnes case to the US Supreme Court, but on November 7, 2005  they declined to review it, which meant the ruling in Barnes favor at the Sixth Circuit level stands.   

In March 2006, the City of Cincinnati repealed the discriminatory Article XII, then passed on an 8-1 vote an anti-discrimination ordinace that added sexual orientation and gender identity to it.

So you can thank Sgt Barnes on two levels.   You can thank her for standing up for her rights and as a result of her win establishing another trans employment friendly legal precedent that happened in a conservative federal circuit.   You can also thank her for striking the legal blow that took down Cincinnati's discriminatory Article XII.