Saturday, May 31, 2014

Perps Busted In ATL MARTA Trans Hate Attack

The two wastes of DNA who were caught on video attacking two African-American trans women on a MARTA train in Atlanta as people cheered and did nothing to halt it have been arrested.

34 year old Luther L. Thomas and 35 year old Frederick L. Missick have been arrested by MARTA police, charged with disorderly conduct (you're kidding, right?) and are chilling in the Fulton County Jail on $2,500 bonds apiece for attacking Janell Crosby and Tyra Woods.   

Both perps were Atlanta residents.  Thomas was arrested on Thursday while Missick was picked up by MARTA police yesterday.

The May 20 incident started when Crosby and Woods were walking to the Five Points MARTA station in downtown Atlanta to catch a southbound train to Oakland City Station.  They were confronted by a group of men, harassed, and had photos taken of them while enduring homophobic and transphobic slurs..   

Thomas and Missick persisted in continuing the abuse during the train ride as Crosby repeatedly told them to stop.   Thomas then physically attacked Crosby as Missick attacked Woods, who was trying to help her friend and stripped her of her clothing.

Thomas and Missick have also been suspended from riding MARTA.   

The ugly incident has incensed the ATL trans community and our local allies, and Mayor Kasim Reed through spokesperson Melissa Mullinax had this to say about it on Thursday.

"The mayor condemns hate crimes of any kind and is committed to the equal rights and equal treatment of Atlanta’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents, workers and visitors. The City’s non-discrimination laws were recently amended with the Mayor’s full support to include gender identity as a protected class," said Mullinax.

"The incident on the MARTA train is disturbing. We understand that MARTA is conducting a thorough investigation and we look forward to the authorities bringing those accountable to justice," she adds.

Two town halls are planned in the Atlanta area to discuss the incident.  One town hall is being facilitated by the group Solutions Not Punishment Coalition on June 3 at the Phillip Rush Center that will start at 5:30 PM EDT.   The second will be facilitated by Restoration Inclusive Ministries at its Decatur, GA church on June 4 and start at 7:30 PM

In the meantime, as justice is being sought in this case, Crosby decided to move back to New York as a result of this incident and Woods is staying with relatives in Cleveland, OH.

As to what outcome Crosby wants to see from this case, she replied, “I really want an apology from them and I really want the law put on them.”      

And your transsisters around the ATL, the nation and the world want the same just outcome.

Kortney's Going To The White House!

Kortney ZieglerI have yet to have this happen for me, but so happy to hear that it has for someone I know.   Dr. Kortney Ziegler is headed to DC for the LGBT Pride Reception at the White House in June 30.

Congratulations Kortney!  Well deserved honor after all your efforts to see Trans*H4CK grow and become a national and one day international event and movement. 

And yes bro, deeply appreciate you being a strong, unapologetic voice for the Black trans community.

We can always use more people willing to stand on truth, tell it like it T-I-S is and ensure our voices are heard.  

2014 WH Proclamation For LGBT Pride Month

Obama speaks about the sequester in Washington
May 30, 2014


As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect -- our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.

Last year, supporters of equality celebrated the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling which, at long last, gave loving, committed families the respect and legal protections they deserve. In keeping with this decision, my Administration is extending family and spousal benefits -- from immigration benefits to military family benefits -- to legally married same-sex couples.

My Administration proudly stands alongside all those who fight for LGBT rights. Here at home, we have strengthened laws against violence toward LGBT Americans, taken action to prevent bullying and harassment, and prohibited discrimination in housing and hospitals. Despite this progress, LGBT workers in too many States can be fired just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; I continue to call on the Congress to correct this injustice by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And in the years ahead, we will remain dedicated to addressing health disparities within the LGBT community by implementing the Affordable Care Act and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy -- which focuses on improving care while decreasing HIV transmission rates among communities most at risk.

Our commitment to advancing equality for the LGBT community extends far beyond our borders. In many places around the globe, LGBT people face persecution, arrest, or even state-sponsored execution. This is unacceptable. The United States calls on every nation to join us in defending the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.

This month, as we mark 45 years since the patrons of the Stonewall Inn defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement, let us honor every brave leader who stood up, sat in, and came out, as well as the allies who supported them along the way. Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity -- because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.


Told Y'all Our HERO Opponents Are Haters

When I conducted an interview in the wake of the HERO vote delay back on May 14, I called the opponents 'haters'.  

I obviously struck a nerve with the faith-based Forces of Intolerance.   In a Thursday interview on KTRK-TV, one of their pastors defensively said 'we're not haters' before launching into the usual lies about the HERO. .    

Well, y'all keep proving what I have to say about you Houston Forces of Intolerance, because KPRC-TV2 is reporting that Mayor Parker has been receiving alleged death threats since the ordinance passed Wednesday night  serious enough to warrant police security posted outside her home.

As the late Maya Angelou once said,  'When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.' 

With every passing day, you faith-based haters in the anti-HERO camp show us who you are.  And it ain't pretty 

It isn't Christian love either.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Shut Up Fool Awards-Houston, We Have Human Rights Liftoff Edition

As the whole world knows by now, my hometown finally passed the Houston Equal Rights ordinance on an 11-6 vote on Wednesday and is now in effect.. 

Thanks to everyone who busted their behinds (and still are) on Team HERO to make this historic day happen.

It's now up to the faith based haters to decide whether they will try to collect the signatures to try to repeal it, but in the interim Team HERO will be working to shore up support, strengthen our coalition and do the Trans 101 education to eradicate the anti-trans lies they put out there.

And since it's Friday, y'all know what that means.  It's time to revel what fool, fools or group of fools deserve to get called out and recognized for their hypocrisy, their jaw dropping ignorance and general WTF actions in this week's edition of the TransGriot Shut Up Fool Awards. 

Honorable Mention number one is a joint award for Houston councilmembers Dwight Boykins and Jack Christie.  Both indicated when they were seeking the LGBT Caucus endorsement and our votes they would support a HERO like ordinance.  But when push came to shove May 28, both voted NO.

Good luck trying to get Caucus endorsement when you both run next year

Honorable Mention number two goes to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) , who is in the Senate race of his political life with his high stakes battle with Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes.  He got caught lying about the popular KYNECT health care program that has enrolled over 400K people and saying that killing the ACA wouldn't affect it.   Gov. Steve Beshear (D) called his azz on it. 
Honorable Mention number three is Earl Cheney, the owner of Big Earl's BBQ and Bait House in Pittsburg, TX that served up homophobia on the menu to a gay couple.  .

With a last name like Cheney, which should I not be surprised? 

Honorable Mention number four goes to RuPaul's Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio for letting his transphobia fly and attacking Carmen Carrera for justifiably putting RuPaul on blast for his continued attempts to try to justify using a slur words.

This is another example of gay men letting their vicious transphobia fly when all we're asking for is the same humanity and respect they demand for themselves .

ken-blackwell-frc.jpgThis week's Shut Up Fool Winner is Ken Blackwell.   I have long despised this cookie chomping kneegrow for his actions to depress Black turnout in Ohio during the 2004 presidential election, and now he adds to his disgusting legacy by trying to blame gays for the UCSB mass shootings.

Naw Ken, let's be real for a minute.  The fault lies with your fetishistic gun worshiping buds in the NRA.   They refuse to allow any reasonable gun control legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of disturbed individuals, despite the rising frequency and body counts of mass shootings.

Take it away Mr. T.  I'm too tired and disgusted to type it in this case

H-town, It's Decline To Sign Time!

The HERO has been passed and autographed by Mayor Parker, and predictably the faith-based haters are starting to fan out and make a cosmetic attempt to gather signatures in different parts of the city so they aren't all coming from the  Second Baptist and Grace KKKommunity Church hate megachurches.

Received some anecdotal reports this morning about people being spotted yesterday in the 'hood trying to collect signatures to force a repeal vote on the HERO. 

Fortunately in both reported cases to me, we had HERO supporters that explained to people in the vicinity of the attempted signature gathering that the HERO passage on May 28 benefited them.  They were advised that if they signed those petitions, they were in effect signing to take away human rights from themselves

Needless to say the petition gatherers in those cases went away empty handed. 

The faith-based haters have 30 days to try to collect over 25,000 signatures in order to force the repeal vote.   So if someone approaches you over the next 30 days trying to get you to sign a petition, politely decline to do so.

The petition gatherers knoweth not the HERO benefits them, and have been hoodwinked and bamboozled into doing Dave Welch and Dave Wilson's dirty work.   

So assume that any petition being presented to you over the next 30 days that you are being asked to sign is a bait and switch one related to repealing the HERO and refuse to do so.    Every day they don't hit their signature targets is one day closer they come to failing to get enough qualified signatures to place a repeal effort on the November ballot.  

If they get their signatures, they get them.  But let's make them work as hard as possible in this humid Houston air to do so.    

2014 Williams Watch-Sidelined In Second Round

A punchless Serena Williams is out of the French Open in the second round. (AP Photo/Darko VojinovicAs many of you TransGriot readers are aware of, I've been a little busy with Houston human rights business, but not so much as to not have an eye turned toward Paris, the French Open and see how my fave tennis playing siblings are doing. 

In our last Williams siblings update, both sisters easily dispatched their first round opponents.

If they handled their second round tennis playing business and got past their respective second round opponents Garbine Muguruza of Spain and Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia, a tantalizing and eagerly anticipated third round battle against each other would be their reward.   

A third round French Open Sister-Sister matchup that's shockingly not gonna happen.

Clay has always been like Kryptonite to both Williams sisters, and out of all the majors, the red clay courts at Stade Roland Garros have not been kind to them.    And with top seeds falling in this edition of the French Open, the upset bug claimed two more seeds. 

Number one seed and defending French Open champ Serena was not on her A game and upset in straight sets by Muguruza 2-6, 2-6 in a error plagued 64 minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen .  

It was earlier in the day on Court Philippe Chatrier, but Venus was also sent packing by Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 4-6. 

Big Sis won the first set and was up an early break in the second set before Schmiedlova responded by winning eight of the next nine games and taking control of the match.

And yeah, cue the gleeful racist vitriol in the Internet comment threads aimed at Serena once it ended.   All I have to say to you bigoted haters is 'Williams'-don is coming June 23-July 6.

Thank Y'all For The HERO Love

It's been a little more than 24 hours since the historic vote happened on the HERO, and I do thank everyone from around the world for the congratulations, well wishes and love you have sent my way concerning this historic human rights win for my hometown.

Y'all know as a proud Houstonian I have been gleefully celebrating the fact that my hometown is now listed in the over 180 jurisdictions, 17 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia which protect the human rights of all their citizens

While I appreciate the love, the media shout outs, and the thanks from all of you inside and outside Beltway 8 for standing up for all Houstonians human rights against the faith based haters, the fact remains I was just one of many Houstonians working together as part of a multicultural Team HERO to get it passed.  

This HERO passage was a personal dream of mine I have pondered ever since I took that first plane ride to Washington DC nearly 16 years ago to participate in my first GenderPac Lobby Day.   My activism is also based on the deceptively simple principle of leaving all the communities I intersect and interact with better than when I initially encountered them. 

Fighting for passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was also the right and morally correct thing to do.  Once that long awaited opportunity presented itself, I was going all out to make it a reality, even if that meant starting to appear in front of City Council to urge passage of a comprehensive human rights ordinance back in January before it was even introduced.  

Discrimination's time in H-town has expired and I want to keep it that way.   As of May 28, 2014 we have a non-discrimination ordinance that protects the human rights of all Houstonians, and I'm exceedingly proud to say I played a role in making it happen.  

How much I'll leave to future historians to judge, but I will be able to proudly tell my nieces and my H-town trans brothers and transsisters I put my butt on the line and fought hard for them to have their human rights covered in their hometown. 

So thank y'all for the HERO love. 

The struggle for Houston human rights continues.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

HERO Updates, Notes and News-May 29

H-town discrimination, I'm sorry, but your time has expired.

The marathon May 28 combined 11 hour council session ended with the 11-6 vote passing the HERO and unbridled celebration of it going well into the night.

It was a great and historic day for LGBT Houston and everyone else inside Beltway 8 who value the human rights of all who call this 628 square miles of Texas territory home.

While much of Team HERO was celebrating at the Guava Lamp and other places last night while Mayor Parker was signing it into law, I took my behind home.  I called Mom, chatted with her about the events of the day, watched the local news reports, and finished the initial post concerning my first impressions of an emotional day I've been waiting to arrive for nearly 16 years of activism and 30 years of my life.

And what do you do when a long time activism goal of yours finally becomes a reality?  I cried for a minute, processed the thought that Houston is now on the list of cities that protect the human rights of everyone, profusely thanked all the councilmembers who voted for it, talked to some that didn't, and then proceeded to hug everyone in sight. 

Now let's move on to post-HERO vote business.   This is how the historic 11-6 council vote broke down last night.  :

Mayor Annise Parker- YES

A. Stardig             NO
B  Davis                YES
C  Cohen               YES
Boykins            NO
E   Martin             NO
F   Nguyen             YES
G   Pennington      NO
H.  Gonzales          YES
I     Gallegos          YES
J.    Laster             YES
K.   Green             YES

1.  Costello             YES
2.  Robinson            YES
3.  Kubosh               NO
4.  Bradford             YES
5.  Christie               NO

Council Member Jack ChristieSurprise and angering NO votes to LGBT Houston were CM Christie and CM Boykins.  Both did indicate to the LGBT caucus in the 2013 cycle when they were seeking the community's endorsement they would vote YES should this ordinance pop up. 

CM Christie shouldn't have really been a surprise to throw us under the human rights bus.  He knocked more community friendly former CM Jolanda Jones out of her at large council seat in 2011 and has raised some red flags by being anti-vaccine.

Council Member Dwight BoykinsCM Dwight Boykins' NO vote really disappointed and pissed me and a lot of Black LGBT Houston off, his publicly expressed exasperation with the process and Mayor Parker notwithstanding.    

As one of the council newbies (and my councilmember) the sellout Houston pastors in the Baptist Ministers Association of Houston and Vicinity focused much of their browbeating on him and it worked.  

Like you personally Dwight, but dude, you're going down in the Houston history books as having voted against a human rights ordinance that BENEFITS our entire Houston community.    

And your statement that District D is conservative?  You're kidding, right?   Um, no.  You have two universities in TSU and UH in your district, the peeps who can't afford to live in the Montrose gayborhood and folks who aren't followers of the sellout Baptist minster kneegrows that were browbeating you  

We are liberal-progressive in District D and proud of it.  And as you probably noted a Republican doesn't stand a chance of getting elected in District D unless he lies about it or keeps it on the down low. 

As for CM Kubosh, when he made his comment at the Grace KKKommunity Church Hate Rally, he became a target the day he made that problematic 'God put me on council to oppose the HERO' comment.

And yes Councilmember Kubosh, you don't think we didn't have some of our peeps and allies in the crowd at the Hate on the HERO event reporting back to us? 

As to what the Daves and the faith-based haters will do.  As I said in a previous post, if they want to commit political suicide and boost Democratic turnout in Harris County by attempting to roll the HERO back via a referendum, make mine, Battleground Texas and the Harris County Democratic Party's political day.

As to what I wrote back on May 23:.

Houston and Harris County provide 16% of the statewide votes in an election cycle.  Are the conservafools that pissed off about the HERO passing they would go there and give our liberal progressive voters another valid reason to bumrush the polls this November, especially in an election cycle in which Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte sit at the top of our statewide Democratic ticket?  

And with that juiced up Harris County turnout showing up and showing out, we'd urge those same progressive voters to handle their electoral business and cast ballots for every Democrat in down ballot race like the judicial ones.  

So please, be that politically stupid and go there.   Make my political day. 

While the HERO is law and there will be many happy celebrations of that fact at Houston Pride next month, we still have much human rights work to do in H-town. 

Passing HERO was the easy part.  We still have work to do to defend it while simultaneously implementing it   There was far too much toxic anti-trans disinformation put out there Houston trans people and our allies will have to clean up. 

The offer I made to do the Trans 101 education still stands.

LGBT Houston, we have to do a much better job of showing up and showing out for human rights fights that aren't predominately our own battles from this May 28 day forward because the H-town human rights struggle still continues.

But last night's successful HERO vote ensured that we woke up this morning to a changed Houston human rights landscape.  And I damned sure am going to do my part to fight to keep it that way. 

Well Duh, Trans Rights Are International Human Rights

Embedded image permalink
Loving this TIME cover photo of birthday girl Laverne Cox gracing articles discussing whether this is a tipping point moment for trans rights.

Well, duh.  Trans rights are nternational human rights.    

Look no farther for evidence of that salient point in last night's culmination of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance battle.   In 1984 the Houston trans community was disrespectfully told to sit down and shut up by then GL leaders as a gay only ordinance was passed by Houston City Council in June 1984 and subsequently recalled in an ugly and disastrous election in 1985.

Thirty years later it was a multicultural team of Houston trans leaders fearlessly spearheading the passage of a comprehensive HERO.

Trans rights are international human rights, and it is a fact Geena Rocero and Gender Proud puts an exclamation point on as she works along with local transpinay organizations along with friendly legislators to get things done and do the education in her native Philippines.

We have 17 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that also protect the human rights of trans people.  Argentina has groundbreaking trans human rights policies that next door neighbor Chile is seeking to emulate.   And it seems like on an almost monthly basis we have cities as large as Houston and as small as Vicco, KY passing laws to protect their trans citizens.

So have we reached a tipping point yet for trans human rights?   Maybe.   We still have much work to do, but for the first time since I boarded a flight to Washington Dc nearly 16 years ago to lobby for trans inclusion in ENDA, I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Maya Angelou Meets The Ancestors

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
-Maya Angelou

One of the things I was saddened to hear about as we settled into City Hall to deal with a long day of HERO testimony was finding out that award-winning author, renowned poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou passed away at age 86 after a brief illness.

It was especially sad for us in Houston because she was scheduled to come here to accept an award Saturday.  

Her trailblazing life was an inspiration to me as well as several generations of women.   I have a Phenomenal Transwoman poem I wrote in the early days of TransGriot inspired by her Phenomenal Woman one, and I do from time to time draw upon her inspiring quotes, wisdom and words, do some hard solid thing about them to serve as inspiration for my own writing.

She made us all feel human anytime we were in her presence.  And that's why we will never forget her. 

Rest in power, Sister Maya!  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Houston, We Have HERO Passage!

By a 11-6 margin, Houston City Council passed the Equal Rights Ordinance after a month of contentious hearings and a marathon session that included public comments from over 200 citizens pro and con and  many of the councilmembers.

It may have been one small step in the human rights evolution for many cis and straight Houstonians, but for those of us in LGBT Houston, it was a giant leap in our human rights 30 years in the making.

And as you TransGriot readers have noted, I've done my part for Team Pass The HERO and put the sweat equity in to make it happen. 

I am so proud of my hometown today and all the people who put in the work to make this day a reality. 

Despite the nonstop anti-trans attacks, jaw dropping ignorance and straight up lies peddled by the faith-based haters, reason and logic prevailed.

And yeah, it was personal.

The best part of this whole day is my hometown is no longer on the list of cities that don't protect the human rights of their citizens.

And I have a smile as wide as the Lone Star State about that.

HERO Updates, Notes and News-May 28

It's the big day in H-town, and I'm in City Council chambers awaiting my turn to speak and waiting to see if my beloved hometown joins the rest of the cities of Texas in passing a non-discrimination ordinance that protects all her citizens.

I've been up since 6 AM to make sure I was in line when City Hall opened at 8 AM to get my visitor's badge and a seat in the council chambers.

Besides waiting to see how this HERO vote and wading through all the one minute public comment speeches pro and con,  the ACLU of Texas legal and policy director Rebecca Robertson weighed in on this HERO battle with an op-ed in the Sunday Houston Chronicle and here were the money quotes in it.

But a law that conflicts with a personal religious belief, no matter how deeply held, is not a violation of religious liberty. Nothing in our Constitution gives people of faith a special exemption from following laws meant to protect everyone. Nor could it. In a country with as many diverse religious traditions as ours, imagine what would happen if each of us could choose, according to our individual beliefs, which laws to follow and which to ignore.
The proposed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance creates no conflict between equality and religious liberty. The ordinance claims no power to compel any of us to relinquish a sincerely held religious belief, to endorse something we believe profoundly to be immoral or to offer services of which we disapprove. That is not the province of law.

Boom., time to remind 'errbody' where we are outside of Beltway 8 in this process.  Takes nine votes to pass anything on our 16 member city council and Mayor Parker gets a vote for a total of 17 votes..

As far as the HERO whip count goes, we already have three declared solid NO votes in CM Stardig, Kubosh and Pennington.

Rumors are Kubosh may be on the Leaning NO fence, but I doubt that after his appearance at the Grace KKKommunity Church hate rally.  

Leaning NO is CM Boykins.

The solid YES votes are Mayor Parker and CM Cohen, Gallegos, Gonzales, Laster and Robinson
Leaning YES are CM Bradford, Christie, Costello, Davis, Green, and Nguyen,
Undecided is CM Martin

CM Martin has the Grace KKKommunity Church haters in his backyard.  Boykins has me (that's my council member) and the liberal progressive community leaning on him on one side and Rev. Miller and his sellout haters on the other.  Hope he chooses wisely because Moni has a long memory and won't forget in November 2015. .

We'll find out how the votes shake out in this HERO battle in a few hours..

The Historic Houston HERO Hearing And Vote

The combined city council meeting today starts in mere moments with the HERO on the agenda.   There will be a public comment session followed by a Houston City Council vote. 

It takes nine votes to pass anything on our 16 member city council, and Mayor Parker also gets a vote in our strong-mayor system.  Since there are over 100 plus speakers signed up (and the TransGriot is one of them) it's going to be a long time before we get to the actual vote.

We've outgunned them 247-78 in terms of pro-HERO speakers vs the anti-HERO speakers, out pastored them by a 2-1 margin and we are determined to maintain those advantages in addition to packing our art-deco era council chambers with red clad supporters. 

I'm not usually a morning person, but in order to accomplish our Houston human rights goals for today I'll do whatever is necessary to make HERO passage happen.   If it means I get my behind up at 4 AM CDT like I did this morning, so be it.   

It'll be a story I can tell my soon to be three year old niece when she asks me what I did to protect and expand her human rights.    We'll also need your prayers, wam thoughts and best wishes because the hate will be flowing from the anti-HERO side.   We will have counselors  standing by to deal with that issue and doughnuts (Shipley's of course) lunch and dinner for the marathon session to come. .

But if you peeps inside and outside Beltway 8, around the Internet and the world want to check in and see what's transpiring, you can watch the proceedings at this link     We will also be Tweeting updates at #HERO and #HOUequality.  I'll also be bringing my laptop today.    

Whip counts are leaning our way, so we should have good news to report later this afternoon or evening.

We're looking forward to saying this afternoon or evening, Discrimination, I'm sorry, but your time has expired.

OUT On The Hill 2014 Dates Set

I've had the opportunity to go and participate as a panelist during the 2011 and 2012 editions of the National Black Justice Coalition's OUT on the Hill conference, and we're now less than four months away from the 2014 edition of it.

OUT on the Hill is NBJC's annual leadership conference.  It gives us a chance in the Black LGBT community to come to Washington DC for several days of networking, lobbying, meetings and learning best how to Own Our Power

This year's 5th annual event is set for September 24-27, and if you're interested in attending you can e-mail

2014 Williams Watch-On To The Second Round

Serena WilliamsThe 2014 edition of the French Open is underway, and there's good news and bad news for my fave tennis playing siblings at Stade Roland Garros.

The good news is that Big and Little Sis are through to the second round of the women's singles.  Number one seeded Serena took 79 minutes to spank French homegirl Alize Lim 6-2, 6-1 in straight sets and move on to play Spain's Garbine Muguruza.

Number 29 seeded Venus took less time (77 minutes) to beat Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.6-4, 6-1 in straight sets, and will play Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia in the second round.

Now comes the bad news.  Should both advance to the third round, their next opponents will be each other.

It would be the first time since the 2002 French Open final the Williams sisters have played against each other with Little Sis holding a 14-10 edge in those matchups.

Who fell asleep during the women's singles draw setup last Friday to let that happen?  

Serena is playing for the repeat and tying Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for fourth on the all time Grand Slam titles list, while Venus is playing for her first ever French Open singles title.

Good luck in the second round ladies.

'Hit The Floor' Season 2 Premiere

Photo: LIKE if you're watching the SEASON PREMIERE of #HitTheFloor RIGHT NOW on VH1!Took a writing break Monday night to watch the Season 2 premiere of VH1's addictive scripted series Hit The Floor.  

I was drawn to it initially last season because Kimberly Elise, Dean Cain and Rick Fox were in it and it focused on a dance team for the fictional Los Angeles Devils pro basketball team called the Devil Girls.

But I quickly fell in love with the charmingly sweet Ahsha Hayes played by Taylour Paige, Raquel Saldana, the drama plague single mom who moves from the Devil Girls to managing the Devil's Playground lounge played by Valery Ortiz and Jelena Howard, the shadily evil captain of the Devil Girls played by Logan Browning.

And y'all know I love well written, scripted series.  Hit The Floor delivers the goods.

HIT-THE-FLOOR.jpgIn the Season 2 premiere Hit The Floor picked up where it left off in the Season One finale with Sloane Hayes taking over as the new director of the Devil Girls, but the rift remains with her and Ahsha for now.  German gets hired as a Devils assistant coach after Pete clears it with Ahsha, and Ahsha ramps up her relationship with Derek.  Jelena is already working to try to get Sloane fired as Devil Girls director, and make Terrence jealous by accepting a date with new Devil Zero.

And Jelena is still hatin' and scheming on Ahsha.

I'll let y'all watch the rest of the Season 2 debut on VH1 to find out what else happened.  You can also tune into VH1 on Monday nights for the new episodes.  You won't be disappointed.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

HERO Updates, Notes and News-May 27

Brenda Stardig <>, Dwight Boykins <>, C.O. Bradford <>, Jack Christie <>

COPY THIS SAMPLE MESSAGE: "Please let the Council Member know that I support the Houston Equal Right Ordinance. I believe that discrimination has no place in Houston, as do most of my co-workers, neighbors, family, and friends. Please vote for this ordinance without delay. Thank you."

Be a #HERO!
Contact Houston City Council TODAY!
We are now 24 hours from what we hope will be a historic city council meeting in which Houston removes itself from the short list of cities that don't cover the human rights of all their citizens.

These HERO discussions are being held all over the city in groups large and small.   One of them took place in last weekend's Houston Oasis group meeting on May 25 in which activist Amanda Hernandez made this speech in favor of HERO passage.


The anti-HERO haters are working hard to try to address the fact that we have not only held the council chamber, we have outgunned them in pro-HERO speakers 247-78.     We have had pro-HERO ministers speaking in a 2-1 ratio vs anti-HERO ones.    Of the 78 anti-HERO speakers, hey have been predominately ministers beating the anti-trans talking points into hamburger.

We've already concocted our double secret plan to ensure that council chambers are a predominate sea of red tomorrow for the vote. 

We are also pushing back hard against the faith based anti-trans hate.

But one thing they have had an advantage in is the number of anti-HERO vs pro- HERO calls because they went national early, so we could use some help in that area.   Need y'all to call Councilmembers Brenda Stardig, Jack Christie, Dwight Boykins, and C.O. Bradford for us at the numbers listed in the infographic.

But to point out how out of step the haters are, here's a message from Bob Harvey, the president of the Greater Houston Partnership.  It's the influential 2000 member local business org that employs 20% of the Houston area's workforce, and they have sway over pro-business councilmembers.

"Houston is an extraordinarily welcoming city that embraces diversity and inclusivity – this was true even before this ordinance was conceived. We are certainly not a city that condones discrimination. We believe that a properly constructed ordinance that enshrines our values, protects the rights of our citizens, is fair in its treatment of businesses, and signals to the world that we are, indeed, a city that welcomes and respects diversity is a proper step at this time." -- Bob Harvey, President, Greater Houston Partnership.


And yes, going to bed early tonight.  It's going to be a long but hopefully positively historic day tomorrow. 

The struggle continues to pass the HERO.   

The Confederate Flag Is A Racist Flag

Over the weekend a discussion started on the Facebook page of a Latino friend in which he expressed his disgust at seeing a Confederate flag in his neighborhood

He commented on it, and a white ally chimed in that maybe this person wasn't racist, but was expressing their Southern pride. 

That comment innocent as it was, still pissed off many of the non-white peeps on that thread who have experienced discrimination and hatred aimed at them from people who had it on their vehicles or as jacket patches. 

It led to me compiling this post and making the following comment in the thread.


'The Confederate States of America existed for one purpose: They were traitors who fought an armed rebellion against the United States government for the purpose of keeping my ancestors enslaved for perpetuity. Had they won the Civil War, my grandparents, parents and yours truly would probably be working on plantations and in big houses across the Confederacy   Texas would be under that flag, not the Stars and Stripes. 

That flag is as offensive to me as the Nazi swastika flag is to our Jewish friends. And it isn't an accident that the segregationists used that same confederate flag to symbolize their opposition to the Civil Rights movement of the 50's and 60's and it's making a comeback at Tea Klux Klan rallies.

So no, there is nothing noble or warm and fuzzy about the CSA or that reprehensible flag.'


This blog wouldn't exist either had the Confederacy won.  

There was nothing noble about the Confederate States of America because they were on the wrong side of history and willing participants in a monstrous crime against my ancestor's humanity.  Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens clearly spells out what the main reason was for the secession and initiation of the War To Perpetuate Slavery was all about in his March 1861 'Cornerstone Speech'. 

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery -- subordination to the superior race -- is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

And yes, the CSA states seceded over slavery and started the Civil War to keep my ancestors enslaved.  The causes of secession for the states of Georgia, Mississippi and Texas along with the comments of Southern politicians of the time clearly point that out.  

And I'm tired of people wanting to regurgitate that Southern revisionist 'happy darkie' bull feces, the war was about tariffs, the North started it, 'heritage not hate', or the lie that 'thousands of Black soldiers' fought for the CSA.  It's even more important the Southern revisionist history crap be debunked, especially as the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War continues through the rest of this year and through the April 9, 2015 date I may have to throw a party on.

What's that day you ask?  The day the CSA surrendered to end the Civil War. 

tea-party-confederate-flag-rallyWhen I see the Confederate flag, I see the pain of 246 years of chattel slavery.  I see Jim Crow segregation.  I see a Freedom Rider bus burning.  I see the bombed 16th Street Baptist Church and four dead little girls who entered that building to attend church.  I see fire hoses and police dogs being unleashed on defenseless protestors in Birmingham.  I see 'Bloody Sunday' 

I see along with many African-Americans a racist flag from a failed nation state that fought a war to keep enslaving my ancestors, and there's no sanitizing that.   

Why The GOP Is 'Scurred' Of Losing Texas

One  thing I actually agree with Dan Patrick on.

And it's why the Teapublicans have been doing so much shady, illegal and unconstitutional stuff since 2000 to desperately try to keep this majority-minority population state in their red clutches. 

And it's why the DNC needs to be pumping more money into Texas to turn it blue or at least purple before 2020.

So think about that on your way to the polls for the runoff election here in the Lone Star State if you didn't do so during the early voting phase, and make sure you are ready to go in the general election on November 4.

Jahaira's Thoughts On The RuPaul Mess

I posted my latest comments on the RuPaul mess and that post not surprisingly is going viral.   Now the trans video bloggers are weighing in, and I'm happy to signal boost what they have to say.  . 

First up (or at least the first to get their video to me for signal boosting) is my hermana Jahaira DeAlto, of the Jahaira's Mission video blog.

She had much to say about it, and a few times she dropped some NSFW language.

So if you do listen to it there, make sure you have the ear buds on or wait until you get to da crib. 

'The New Black' H-town Screening Tomorrow

logoI have been waiting for this award winning documentary to come to Houston for months, and it is driving me crazy to discover that it is scheduled to be screened on the same day I'll be at City Council awaiting the HERO vote.

That film I've been anxious to see is Yoruba Richen's The New Black, which is being screened tomorrow at the Houston Public Library location downtown right across the street from City Hall at 6:00 PM.

The New Black details the successful 2012 marriage equality referendum fight to preserve it that happened in Maryland, and features two very familiar faces to me in Sharon Lettman-Hicks, the ED and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition and Samantha Master.   

The Houston Public Library downtown location address is 500 McKinney Street.  The screening is free and seating for it is first come first served.   I doubt that City Council will be finished with their HERO 'bidness' by the time this film starts, so I'd encourage those of you who can't be in council chambers to check it out.

But if by some miracle they are, it'll be a wonderful way for me to celebrate what I hope will be an H-town  human rights win.

Monday, May 26, 2014

HERO Updates, Notes and News-May 26

Happy Memorial Day people!   Today means we are now down to 48 hours before the historic Houston City Council session happens on Wednesday in which the HERO will be voted on

Yesterday the Houston Newsmakers show on KPRC-TV 2 that Amelia and I taped Thursday was broadcast Sunday morning.   We felt good about that show when we left the studios, and our optimism about it was justified.

Megathanks to host Khambrel Marshall for the invitation to appear on Houston Newsmakers.   It gave the Houston trans community for the first time in this HERO debate an opportunity for peeps like us to actually get a chance to talk about our issues untainted by lies from our not so esteemed opponents.

Haven't heard yet if the conservafool megachurches like Second Baptist and Grace KKKommunity fueling the opposition preached any anti-HERO hate sermons yesterday.   We did have some folks go to services at both to keep an eye on them and they haven't reported back yet.  .   

Or maybe the haters tried to keep their christopimpin' of anti-trans hate on the down low knowing that were getting close to May 28.

Speaking of someone who should have kept his loud and wrong ignorant HERO opposition on the down low but I'm glad he didn't, here's local activist Quanell X. 

He's another example of the cadre of Black people who fell for the white conservafool okey doke of anti-trans attitudes injected by the Daves (Dave Welch and Dave Wilson) into this HERO debate to bamboozle people into not supporting an ordinance that protects their own human rights.   

I find it mind boggling you and others who should know better, are kissing up to the same white conservatives in Dave Wilson and Dave Welch who are working diligently on the behalf of the Texas Republican Party to oppress our community and kill this much needed human rights ordinance. . 

FYI to you Quanell and anyone else who shares the ignorant opinions you spouted on FOX Noise 26:   I'm quite aware of who I am and damned sure ain't 'confused' about it.   I am an African-American transfeminine woman who is unapologetically Black, trans and proud.   The only thing I do in public bathrooms while out and about in H-town or wherever I roam in this country is poop, piss and wash my hands when I'm done. 

Quanell X, if you claim to love all African-American Houstonians, African-Americans also includes Trans, SGL and bi Houstonians, too

If you want to know what trans people actually do in the city of Houston, I suggest you hit Google or watch this TransGriot space.  I will also be happy to school you on basic Trans 101 so you never embarrass yourself like you did on the Houston television airwaves like you did that evening.  

button-hero.jpgI find it mind boggling, troubling and a problematic sign your cognitive abilities are questionable that you and the Baptist Ministers Association of Houston and Vicinity are kissing up to the same white conservatives in Dave Wilson and Dave Welch working diligently on the behalf of the Texas Republican Party to oppress our community. 

If you want a debate Quanell, we can make that happen, too.  But the one thing that is not subject to debate is the humanity of myself or my trans brothers and sisters.  

Every Houstonian living inside our expansive city limits deserves to be free from discrimination.  That also includes those of us in the Houston TBLG community ranks.  It's why the HERO needs to pass and if you claim to love human rights, then that includes everyone in the 628 square miles of Texas soil we call home. 

The struggle to pass the HERO continues.

Memorial Day 2014

Today is Memorial Day, in which we remember the people who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in our military's armed forces on battlefields around the world.  

It's significant to note that momentum for allowing transpeople to openly serve in the US military ranks is growing at this time, and that we may actually see it happen before the end of this decade. 

In the meantime, let's shift this back to the people who deserve the focus on this date, the people we have lost while honorably serving our country. 

They fought and died so you can have the constitutional freedoms that far too many people take for granted or ignorantly want to deny to others. 

So at 12:01 PM, take a moment to think about those fallen warriors, and resolve to do a better job in your own ways of fighting for the human rights and freedoms of all.

Tona Brown's Carnegie Hall Gofundme Campaign

20140326102843-1948211_431387440329938_1542690033_nNow that Tona Brown has secured the date to play at Carnegie Hall, and the tickets have gone on sale for it, she still needs to raise the funds to make this historic concert a truly memorable first class event and pay the remainder of the hall rental fees.    

She''s had to do the Gofundme route because some of the funding for this historic June 25 night that was promised by organizations and corporations has yet to materialize.   She can't wait for these organizations to do the right thing and make good on their promises since the clock is ticking towards that date.

Here's the link to the Gofundme campaign in which Tona is trying to raise the $25,000 she'll need.

Imagine hearing this on the Weill Recital Hall stage in a sold out Carnegie Hall in less than 30 days.

So can you help a sistah out and drop a $1,5,10, 20 or whatever you feel you can afford to get her closer to her goal?    Every donation, no matter how small helps.    

Sunday, May 25, 2014

HERO Updates, Notes and News-May 25

We are in the middle of the Memorial Day weekend and counting down to that marathon May 28 council meeting that will hopefully result in us celebrating the addition of Houston to the long list of cities that protect the human rights of all their citizens.

The Houston Newsmakers show segment that Amelia and I taped Thursday aired this morning at 10 AM.   I'll post the video for it in a future HERO update when it becomes available. 

I took some time before the Trans Town Hall to go attend the Rev. Dr. MLK, Jr statue and plaza unveiling and dedication that started at 11 AM.   Unfortunately the speechifying dragged on so long that when I left a little after 1 PM civil rights warrior Rev Dr. Joseph Lowery was just getting to the mic.

In addition to Rev. Lowery, Martin Luther King III was there along with Houston based US Reps Sheila Jackson-Lee and Rep Al Green, Councilmembers C.O. Bradford, Dwight Boykins and Michael Kubosh, and local civil rights legend Rev William Lawson.   Many of us from Team Pass The HERO were there in full effect to watch the historic event.

With the unveiling of the statue, Houston is now one of three US cities (Atlanta and Washington DC are the others) with statues and plazas dedicated to the memory of the Rev. Dr. MLK, Jr. 

I ended up at Grace Lutheran Church a little before 3 PM for the town hall in which we were graced with the presence of Councilmember Ellen Cohen and Councilmember Dwight Boykins.   Both were given  standing ovations by those of us in attendance and given an opportunity to speak    

Councilmember Cohen had just finished speaking on MSNBC about the HERO and took time out of her busy day to check out our event before she had to leave for another one.  

Photo: Pleased that Council Members Dwight Boykins and Ellen Cohen attended, spoke, and answered questions at the HERO Trans Town Hall. #HEROCouncilmember Boykins answered the assembled crowd's questions and listened attentively to our concerns about the HERO.

We made the point that for the TBLG community, this is intensely personal and these are our very lives and human rights we are fighting for. 

I also let him know on behalf of the African-American community I was not happy about the continued demonization of trans people by Rev. Max Miller and friends that has now filtered down to street level.  I've also been bothered by the silence of many African-American leaders and the local NAACP about it. 

Since I mentioned it, here's the video of Councilmember Cohen's MSNBC appearance 

FYI  Councilmember Boykins, Houston NAACP and other African-American political/community leaders and institutions.  The offer I and others made to do Trans 101 for you and your orgs still stands.
The town hall was facilitated by Daniel Williams of Equality Texas and featured a trans historic first.  This town hall was the first event jointly sponsored by the Houston Chapters of Black Transmen, Inc and Black Transwomen, Inc  

And based on some of the chococentric anti-trans ignorance running rampant in the African-American community that was unleashed by the faith-based haters, BTMI-Houston and BTWI-Houston are going to be quite busy rolling it back and getting the truth of our trans lives out there..  

Speaking of chocolate flavored anti-trans ignorance, here's an example of the uphill battle that Tye and I as the chairs of the BTMI and BTWI Houston chapters will have combating the lies as we seek to build allies and educate our African-American community on trans issues.

Demetria Y. Smith for City Council - District DThis is a screenshot of a comment from Demetria Smith, who was one of the 12 candidates who ran in the recent 2013 city election cycle for the District D seat now occupied by Councilmember Boykins.    

Demetria, when you repeat ignorant statements that are proven transphobic lies about my trans community, that's a problem.    

Will be interesting to discover if we have more trans bigot eruptions and hate sermons epicentered on Second Baptist and Grace KKKomunity Church

The struggle the pass the HERO continues.