April 28th, 2017

Posted by Monica Roberts

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As you loyal TransGriot readers are already aware of, been here in Dallas for the sixth annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference.    I sit on the board of BTWI and act as its media chair, so this has basically been a working vacation turned pre birthday week celebration.

And I'm enjoying every minute of it seeing my BTAC fam from around the country and increasingly, the world.

Image result for TSU board of regentsHad to step into my room for a minute and handle my Shut Up Fool business, so this is going to be a quick one in which I just announce the winner.

This week's SUF winners are a group award for the Texas Southern University Board of Regents and TSU's president .
The HBCU based in Houston extended a head scratching invitation to speak at their upcoming May 13 convocation to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) which is not sitting well with students and faculty on campus.

Our senior US senator is a man that is hostile to our community policy wise, has an 'F' score on the NAACP Congressional Report Card, and claimed in 2015 that racial tensions are 'phony narratives'.

And you wonder why TSU's 2017 don't want him desecrating their campus.

TSU board of regents, shut up fools!  

posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00am on 2017-04-28

Posted by Monica Roberts

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Congratulations to our new BTIPS pageant royalty in Mr. Black Transman Trenton Johnson of Dallas and Ms. Black Transwoman Tiffany Starr of Atlanta who were crowned during our pageant last night..

Hey at least we kept one of the titles in Texas.

It's Friday, Day 4 of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference, and the featured event for tonight is the Awards Gala hosted by Merrick Moses and Jade Lenore that will start at 7 PM tonight.

We also have a 12 noon press conference scheduled to discuss some issues of importance to the Black trans community along with our final day of seminars.

I'm definitely going to be interested to see who will be getting the Monica Roberts Advocacy Award that I'll be presenting tonight

Yep peeps, one of the foundation awards being presented tonight is named after me..  The other awards being presented tonight in the foundation category are the Louis Mitchell Empowerment Award, The Kortney Ryan Ziegler Awareness Award, the Kylar Broadus Equality Award and the Lawrence T. Richardson Humanitarian Award.

The Black Transmen, Inc. Man of the Year Award and the Black Transwomen, Inc. Woman of the Year Award will also be given out this evening.

There are four awards in the Community Choice category.  The Rising Star, the Trailblazers, the Ally and the Youth Leadership Awards

In the Community Advocate Category, there's the Trans Alliance, the Faith Based Alliance, Black Pride Alliance and the Black Trans International Ball/Pageant Alliance Awards

Congrats to all the award nominees and good luck to you.
April 27th, 2017

Posted by Monica Roberts

Pride Houston, Inc.
As y'all loyal TransGriot readers know, I'm 262 miles north on the other end of I-45 for the Black Trans Advocacy Conference handling my BTWI board and conference related business.

This was planned before I agreed to run for Houston Pride Parade female Grand Marshal.  What I didn't anticipate was all the subsequent political mess of this current 85th Texas Legislative session causing me to spend more time where I was needed in Austin.

Tonight at Pearl Bar is the 2017 Houston Pride Kickoff Party that starts at 7:30 PM, and the pride Grand marshals will be announced during it.

I'm poised to make a little Houston Pride parade history if they call my name for female Grand Marshal.  I would be only the third African American woman after the Rev. Carolyn Mobley (1993) and Fran Watson (2016), the third trans feminine one after Phyllis Frye (2006) and Jenifer Rene Pool (2012) and the first Black trans feminine one ever.

If they call Lou Weaver's name as the male grand marshal, he would not only become the first ever trans masculine grand marshal, we would make history together as the first out pair of trans grand marshals serving together at a pride parade in the same parade year.

If it happens, yay moi and yay Lou and y'all have some drinks for me.

TransGriot Update:  Lou made Houston Pride parade history, but I didn't  

Posted by Monica Roberts

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We're passing the halfway mark of the BTAC 2017 conference, and in addition to yours truly doing my part to ensure it is an informative and enjoyable conference for all our attendees, I am enjoying my extended birthday week celebration.

It is my fave conference, and increasingly we have people attending from different parts of the world. Our brother Neish is back from Jamaica, Dora is repping Brazil, and Neo is repping The Congo.

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That perspective is important for those of us African descended people who grew up here in the States, and helps give us visual evidence and proof that we are part of the African Diaspora.

One of the other things that takes place during BTAC 2017 that is important is all the networking and information sharing that happens in conversations large and small.

We have two more days of panels, with today's panels being focused on health and wellness issues

The other thing that is also important when we gather at BTAC is seeing old friends, meeting new ones from around the country and the world, and just getting to know people on a personal level you may have only regular connections with previously via Facebook or other social media.

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There's also meetings with people from other organizations who wish to seriously engage with our Black trans community as we are gathered here in Dallas, and me handling my business as BTAC's Media Chair.

My BTAC siblings, like myself are taking time to have some fun.  It's not all serious business.  BTAC is at a basic level, a big family reunion and one of the few Afrocentric trans themed conferences in the US.

It's a time where I get to laugh and get loved on by my trans fam that looks like me and shares my ethnic background.

When you have a bunch of Black trans women gathered at a conference, it's gonna be a fashion show.  Mama Moni is damned sure ready and able to handle her fashion business in that department with several days of clothes and three pairs of shoes in her two suitcases.

I'm also enjoying the fact that in addition the record attendance we are having this year, we have a large contingent of trans women to go along with our trans brothers.   We also have a lot of first time BTAC attendees this year, and it makes me pleased and proud to see this happening.

You can keep up with the BTAC happenings at the #BTAC2017 hashtag.   We also have people doing Facebook Live events and I'm tweeting at my TransGriot Twitter handle when I'm not taking part in an event..

posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00am on 2017-04-27

Posted by Monica Roberts

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It's Day 3 of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference, after an amazing TransManifest Live!  talent show last night and a substantive Black Trans Community Summit conversation .

And as you probably guessed, I was busy with a Black Trans Summit panel discussion and a 'Beyond SB 6' one in conjunction with Trans United Fund.

I also read two of my poems during TransManifest Live!

This year's BTAC keynote luncheon will feature our 2017 speakers Vann Millhouse and Dee Dee Watters at 12 noon CDT.

We will also have our State of the Black Trans Union  town hall conversation at 2 PM.

The featured evening event will be the Mr. and Miss Black Trans International Pageant which for the first time will feature regional winners from different parts of the country competing for the title.

The pageant will take place starting at 8 PM
April 26th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 08:00pm on 2017-04-26

Posted by Monica Roberts

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An MKR Poem

Texas GOP
Why you hatin' on trans me?
Wasting valuable legislative time
Trying the pass an unjust HB 2899

Is it because you wanna be?
Oppressors like your grandpappy?
Because you want to dictate to me
The bathroom that I get to poop and pee?

What up with that Texas GOP?
Wanting to secure a primary election victory
By attacking my humanity
That don't sit too well with me

The Texas Trans community
Just wants the opportunity
To be fabulous and free
And that sentiment is expressed unanimously

So I'll fight you incessantly
To kill this legislative insanity
Until you back up off my community
And let us be

So to Austin I'll zoom
And sit for hours in a hearing room
So it's way past time
To kill HB 2899
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00am on 2017-04-26

Posted by Monica Roberts

Trans Manifest Live Web
We're continuing to gather in Dallas for the 6th annual Black Trans Advocacy Conference,  and the first day of i t was a busy one for me.   In addition to a radio interview on KERA, I also was asked to take part in the opening interfaith service. and was part of a mazing AYOMBI conversation with my trans sisters from around the country until a little after 10 PM CDT that continued into the early morning hours.

Today is the second full day of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference here at the Dallas/Addison Marriott a the Galleria.  In addition to our second day of panel discussions starting at 9:45 AM CDT, we will have starting at 2 PM our annual Black Trans Community Summit

The featured BTAC event tonight is the TransManifest Live! open mic show that starts at 8 PM hosted by Taliyah Cassadine and  TJ Johnson

And as is the case at any conference , if you see me in the halls, don't be shy, say hi.

I'm I'm not involved in the event, I'll also be tweeting and talking about it at the #BTAC2017 hashtag along with my BTAC fam.
April 25th, 2017

Posted by Monica Roberts

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When the LGBT Media Journalists Convening happened in Philadelphia in 2014, the host hotel for it was right across the street from a trans historical site in Dewey's Lunch Counter.

52 years ago today a successful sit in a protest jumped off by African-American gender variant teens who were told they would be refused service if they were not in gender appropriate attire happened here.

This happened a year before Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco and four years before Stonewall. The Deweys protest was also another instance of a trans themed protest happening in the US and one that we know of with significant African-American involvement.

Since 1978 a 24 hour eatery has been open in the former Dewey's space called Little Pete's.  I'd eaten there with a strange sense of deja vu not long after I arrived in Philly and got settled into my #LGBTMedia14 hotel room.   I spotted it while gazing out the window of my room, was still hungry from my travel day, and just decided to check it out and grab something to eat there since it was close.

I was told a few hours later at the opening LGBT Media mixer event by a Philadelphia attendee who knows my love of history that we were across the street from the old Dewey's, and subsequently told all the trans journalists we were right across the street from a trans historical site.

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During a break in Saturday's LGBT Media programming, all the trans journalists in attendance,  myself, Gwen Smith, Dawn Ennis, Gretchen Hammond, Jos Truitt, Cristan Williams and Becky Juro along with NLGJA executive director Adam Pawlus walked across the street to take a photo in front of Little Pete's and pay respects to our sadly unknown elders who participated in that trans humanity centric protest.

Well peeps, if you wish to replicate that photo, better do it soon because the sad news I'm hearing is that Little Pete's will be permanently closing next month,   Its last day of business will be May 29, and after that it has a date with a wrecking ball to make room for a Hyatt Centric hotel.

It's always sad to me when a historic site closes,   Here's hoping that someone in the Philly LGBT community will work to have a historical marker placed at that spot where Black trans history was made once the new hotel is completed.
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00am on 2017-04-25

Posted by Monica Roberts

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My behind is hopefully in bed as you read this instead of running my mouth, but this is what's on the agenda for the first day of BTAC 2017 from our host hotel, the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria.

So looking forward to Day 1 of the 2017 edition of BTAC.  The theme for this year's conference is Loving Ourselves Through Ultimate Service (LOTUS).  That's important in a time in which we have a hostile federal government and many of us live in states that are hostile to trans people as well.

On the agenda at 1 PM CDT is the BTAC Conference Welcome and Orientation along with the first two sessions of BTAC 2017.

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At 7 PM the BTAC Interfaith Welcome Interfaith Service takes place followed by at 8:30 PM the AKANNI trans masculine support group meeting, the AYOMBI trans feminine support meeting and a new event this year, the ANCHORS cisgender women's support group.

We have always had cis women in our BTAC family who are either dating or married to trans men   This year we'll have a conference programming track set up to support them.

These women have also been invaluable in terms of breaking down to their trans feminine sisters what it's like and what the societal and community expectations are for being a Black woman as a person who has had to deal with those issues from birth.

Those conversations are vital to us building sisterhood not only in the BTAC and BTA ranks, but over time in the Black community as a whole.


April 24th, 2017

Posted by Monica Roberts

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While I was traveling to Dallas, the Great Day Houston show on KHOU-TV focused on transgender issues happened.  I knew it was going to talk place today and was asked to be there for it, but I'd already committed to traveling that day, and my bus was scheduled to leave an hour before I was supposed to be at the KHOU-TV studios.

Those studios are also just west of downtown.  

Oh well, can't be at everything.  But the cool thing about being an advocate during this time period i that we have more people stepping up to be voices for our community.  


Here's the video of the segment of Michael Hughes and Jessica Zyrie discussing the bathroom issue.  



A Test of Faith segment with Kimberly Shappley




Parenting Transgender Children with Dr. Joanna Smith



Transgender Rights with Dr. Colt Keo-Meier, Dr. Joanna Smith and Mitchell Katine



Transgender Q&A



Final Thoughts

posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 05:00pm on 2017-04-24

Posted by Monica Roberts

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I'm finally in my room at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria, and ready to handle my BTAC business here as a board member and the Media chair for Black Transwomen, Inc.

This Megabus trip up left Houston 18 minutes late, and we got here to my stop at the DART Downtown Transit Center 20 minutes late.  

But I forgot that quickly as Rachel Gonzales scooped me up and we killed some time before i headed to the host hotel..

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And yes, since I'm treating BTAC as the start of my extended birthday celebration week, I'm going to take a little time to have some fun while I'm here as well.

There's a 7 Eleven around the corner in walking distance from the hotel, and they will be seeing me frequently destroying Slurpees this week.  Only four away from another free one.

I will be taking the time to write and tweet about what's happening here, and as a reminder, you can check out the #BTAC2017 hashtag on Twitter and Facebook to see what everyone's up to.

On that note, time to check the hotel lobby again and see who has arrived.  
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00am on 2017-04-24

Posted by Monica Roberts

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Yes, I was just on a Megabus last week headed to Austin on Easter Sunday no less to do battle with the Texas Forces of Trans Intolerance desecrating our state capitol.

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Now that I've done my part to help fight the attempt to pass the unjust HB 2899, this time I get to do something that is fun for me in terms of getting on a Megabus rolling north on I-45 to go to Dallas for BTAC 2017.

The Black Trans Advocacy Conference is not only my favorite conference, it's a unique one in the trans conference ranks.  For five days, it's one that unapologetically centers Black trans people and the issues that impact our community while serving as a family reunion style gathering. 

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We also get to inform, educate and network with each other while building that extended family with life changing results.  Once you attend BTAC once, you'll never be the same person again.

It's even therapeutic in some ways.  I came up during the 2014 BTAC a day after enduring a 14 hour marathon HERO committee hearing in which I heard far too much dehumanizing anti-trans language from the opposition.  By the time I'd gone through the remaining days of BTAC enveloped in the love of my community, I was refreshed and ready to go back to Houston to take the HERO haters on
 
The planning committee enjoys putting it together, and they are shooting for another record attendance year for 
BTAC.  You can also follow the action on social media at the #BTAC2017 hashtag.

What will be weighing on our all our minds is Chay Reed, the young trans sister we just lost this weekend in Miami.  Here's hoping they catch the waste of DNA who killed her.

During this BTAC week that starts today, we'll have the blessing of getting together to make another year of memories, laugh, cry, learn from each other, hug old friends, meet new ones, thank our allies and sponsors for their support and just gather together as a extended family once again.
     

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In addition to the BTIPS pageant, the TransManifest  Live open mic talent show, the awards gala, the State of the Black Trans Community Town hall and Saturday's Family Fun Day, it's going to be another informative and fun week.  

Yeah, I spent much of the last few days since I returned from Austin catching up on my sleep since I know I have a few long nights ahead of me.  That's before I factor in all the folks in the DFW area who want to see and chat with me while I'm here. .   

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This is the sixth annual incarnation of it, and as a member of the BTWI board, I also get to do my part in helping the convention trains run on time.   It's also the kickoff to my extended birthday week celebration.    

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This BTAC 2017 week that we've all in the BTA family impatiently waited for since the close of last year's conference will sadly be complete when we reach Sunday, April 30.

And it's still not too late for you to join us.  See y'all in a few hours.
April 23rd, 2017

This sermon was written for the #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn and delivered on April 23, 2017, by Rev. Lyn Cox

When I was a kid, every summer morning, Monday through Saturday, seven a.m., June to August, I was at the municipal swimming pool. I wasn’t a great athlete, but I was able to contribute in my small way to the team.

The year I turned fourteen, my coach asked me to swim backstroke in the divisional meet at the end of the season. This was very exciting, because it meant that I was invited to the end-of-season high school youth dinner party. We all dressed up in fancy clothes, ate dinner at a table with a tablecloth and candles and real silverware, and tried to be civilized.

The city where our public pool was based was fairly racially diverse, and the public school we all attended was even more diverse. There were some families of color involved in our swim team, but swim team was not quite as diverse as our city.

I remember sitting at the youth dinner party, in my nice dress, trying to act as grownup as possible. That’s when the oldest boy on the team, the tall one with blond hair and broad shoulders who reminded me of Fred Jones from the Scooby-Doo cartoon, asked a question. He pointed out that all of us at the table were white, and wondered why that was. He connected that with wondering about racism in general.

I just froze. The last thing I wanted to do was to talk about racism. The older boy asked me directly what I thought. I haltingly said something about how I didn’t think I was qualified to talk about race. He disagreed. I was so shocked at the idea of racism as polite conversation that I don’t think I said anything at all after that.

Now I know he was right. Racism is a cancer that negatively affects all of us, with the most life-threatening damage to our friends and family who are People of Color. White people can and should talk with each other about racism, and about what we can do to dismantle racism in society and within ourselves.

What most of the youth at that table probably didn’t know at the time was that racism has a particular history in the sport of swimming. Desegregating swimming pools took longer even than desegregating schools. When municipal pools were forced to integrate, it led almost instantly to growth in exclusive, private swim clubs, and to a sudden decrease in the willingness of governments to provide adequate funding for public pools. Even today, black youth at many swimming pools are vulnerable to harassment from both patrons and police. When Simone Manuel won an individual gold medal in swimming at the Rio Olympics last year, many of us following the news had an opportunity to learn or review the especially virulent strain of racism that has affected swimming as sport and recreation.

This is part of how I know that, growing up, I was soaked in the culture of white supremacy. That I didn’t think to wonder what could be keeping People of Color from joining or staying on our swim team; that I didn’t know that the sport had been so deeply affected by intentional, government sponsored discrimination; and that I was totally committed to silence on the issue of race, being more shocked by what I thought of as a breach in etiquette than I was by the reality of racism. These are just a few of the things that speak to the way white supremacy affected that one moment.

I tell you this story by way of saying that I have always struggled with facing up to white supremacy. Even though I came up through diverse public schools, even when I have hoped to be on the side of justice throughout my life, even when I keep going to anti-racism training, I still struggle. I make mistakes. I get embarrassed. I find myself reacting out of my anxiety and discomfort instead of moving toward learning and accountability. At the same time, I find that confronting white supremacy means wearing down my own perfectionism, overturning my own sense of helplessness, and bringing me into greater alignment with my values. Most things worth doing are not easy. I would like to invite you to join me in this uncomfortable and spiritually fulfilling journey.

Confronting the white supremacy that is woven throughout American culture and history is awkward and difficult. For those of us who are white, this work is guaranteed to make our ignorance and other less attractive character traits obvious to others. We are called to do it anyway. A faith that holds, as its first principle, “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” can do no other than to commit to confronting and dismantling white supremacy in our hearts, in our congregations, and in society at large.

Those of us who are white have a greater responsibility to work on unmasking and disrupting white supremacy. I’m not suggesting that we should feel guilty for being white. I’m saying that most of us who are white have been shielded from the realities of white supremacy, and we have years of learning to catch up on. I’m also saying that the people who have the most power in any oppressive system have a duty to work on restructuring the system toward liberation for all. Even when we have disadvantages in terms of gender, class, disability, sexual orientation, or some other axis, when we have white privilege we have benefits and leverage that we did not earn that can be put to use in creating justice.

The term “white supremacy” may be jarring for some, and that’s one of the reasons I’m using it. Business as usual is hurting our loved ones, including loved ones in this congregation. We need to awaken from the haze of the way things have always been done, and the term, “white supremacy,” helps us to pay attention. Another reason is because it reminds us that the purpose of racism as a system is to benefit some groups of people to the detriment of others. With this clarification in mind, we don’t waste as much time arguing about individual acts or about personal biases that are not tied to greater oppressive trends in history and institutional practice.

At the workshop on April 12, we talked about the culture of white supremacy. I can email the notes to anyone who missed it. We learned from the characteristics of white supremacy as they were described by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun in a resource called Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups. There’s a lot more to discuss than we can get into within the length of a worship service, but there are two characteristics that I’d like to lift up briefly: fear of open conflict and perfectionism.

White supremacy thrives in an atmosphere where there is a fear of open conflict. Conflict can be healthy and productive, especially when we manage it with covenantal behavior and a commitment to love and justice. Love means we tell each other the truth, compassionately, yet directly. Love means we listen when people share their personal experiences. When we fear conflict–even in its loving, productive forms–things that are harmful can never be challenged. In that kind of culture, those who object to being hurt are punished for rudely bringing up conflict. When healthy conflict is allowed, hurts can be addressed and rectified.  

Back at my swim team dinner, I was terrified of the possibility of a conflict over the topic of racism. Enforcing silence through etiquette and social conventions is part of how oppression operates.

As this congregation continues to work on living your covenant, you will create more openings for difficult and necessary conversations that lead to greater liberation from white supremacy and other forms of oppression. Preparing for productive and loving conflict is always ongoing work, it is not a project you complete and put in a drawer.

Another characteristic of white supremacy is perfectionism. I preached on perfectionism not that long ago, so I’ll just review briefly. One way perfectionism manifests is through an attitude of despair, the feeling that facing and dismantling oppression is not worth doing if it can’t be done perfectly and completed within a foreseeable time frame.

In addition, perfectionism leads to an idea that people are fused with their mistakes, that mistakes become our entire being. An individual who has made a mistake might overly identify with it and let shame keep them from taking their learning into the future. Even a liberation-minded, well-meaning person can do something racist. What makes the difference is being able to admit our mistakes. Maladaptive behaviors can be un-learned. Congregations can fight perfectionism by cultivating a culture of appreciation and by building structures that support learning from experience.

As a 14-year-old, I worried that I was not “qualified” to discuss racism. I thought that I had to be instantly competent with something, right out of the gate, before I could engage with it. That’s perfectionism talking. People and congregations sometimes have to try something and not be good at it immediately before we can learn how to do it better. Now I know I will never be a perfect anti-racist ally. With practice, I can perpetuate less harm than I used to, and I can assist with confronting and disrupting white supremacy in new ways as I learn more.

Unitarian Universalism as a faith movement is engaging in a national conversation on white supremacy. I believe we have more strength now for facing our shortcomings and increasing our accountability than we have had in decades. This is an opportunity. The Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism organizing collective asked all UU congregations to consider changing their worship and religious education plans to make room for a white supremacy teach-in in the next few weeks. Almost 500 have said yes. If you are going to post to social media about today’s service, you can use the hashtag #WhiteSupremacyTeachIn or #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn to join that conversation.

In leading up to the white supremacy teach-in, some white UU’s have expressed concern about losing momentum for efforts such as women’s health or transgender equality. I believe that our beloveds are sincere in their commitment to justice, and yet I also believe that these are false dichotomies. We can talk about more than one thing at a time. Talking about white supremacy does not preclude talking about how sexism or homophobia or cissexism or ableism or any other oppression is compounded by racism.

This being the weekend of Earth Day, one of the issues that might be on your mind is the condition of the planet we share, the only home we know of that can sustain life like ours. I would invite us to consider how white supremacy has contributed to ecological destruction. Examples of environmental racism can be found in Black and Latino neighborhoods all over the country.

Most of us have heard about the situation in Flint, Michigan, where a racist state law allowed the Governor to override the elected governments of majority-Black cities, ending up with a non-elected city manager making a decision that ended up poisoning the municipal water supply in order to save money. We can decry the city manager’s decision, but we also need to be vigilant about these paternalistic takeover schemes in the first place. When local communities, especially poor communities of color, do not have a voice or political power to protect the soil, water, and air where they live, the result is that we have more pollution and less accountability for polluters.

Confronting and dismantling white supremacy will result in greater liberation for the people who are most immediately impacted by ecological destruction, and that will result in unleashing energy for healing the planet. White supremacy enforces silence. It keeps communities apart and convinced that their struggles are separate. It forces People of Color to do extra work before white people can be persuaded that their direct experience of something like poisoned soil or water is valid. Disrupting white supremacy is not a distraction from fighting climate change, it is essential to ecological justice. Those of us in majority-white institutions need to learn to listen to and follow leaders from the communities most deeply impacted by environmental destruction.

Learning to listen and to follow brings me to my last point for today, and that is honoring the leadership of the rising generation. Earlier, Molly read from an essay by a UU Young Adult named Nic Cable, who writes, “We have faith in a world that celebrates the diversity and sacredness of life and works ­toward the liberation and happiness of all.”

Just as UU congregations need to work to overcome our cultural conditioning so that we can be better listeners to UU’s who are People of Color, we also can do some work on listening to the wisdom of young people. These things are related. In many UU congregations, programs for children and youth are more racially diverse than the adult population. When we cultivate multigenerational unity in our congregations, that is likely to bring us face-to-face with racial and cultural differences as well. Unlearning the habits of white supremacy is a necessary part of creating faith communities that are vibrant, relevant, and sustainable for future generations.

Furthermore, UU youth of all races are often more experienced than their elders at navigating a multicultural world. Those of us who are beyond the youth and young adult age demographic may be able to learn some cultural competency from younger UU’s. As our Bridgers, Mia and David, join the larger circle of Unitarian Universalism, I pray that their talents and leadership will continue to help our faith to change and grow, and that the rest of us will listen to what they have to teach.

Building a new way will involve heeding more voices and learning new disciplines of followership. Building a new way may lead to changes in how we worship, where we locate our ministries, how we understand membership, how we develop lay leaders, or how we partner with other institutions in the community. All of these are outward forms. The core of our faith movement is still committed to collective liberation, deep and truthful learning, and connecting with the sources that sustain us and bring us together. May we move ever closer to right relationship with each other, with the planet, and with the Spirit of Life.

So be it. Blessed be. Amen.

Posted by Monica Roberts

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One of the things I've been pondering in the run up to the start of BTAC 2017 in Dallas is the recent incident with a Black trans woman with a large YouTube media following in TS Madison Hinton having a trainwreck of an interview with a person who misgendered and disrespected trans men by calling them lesbians.

Note to that person, trans men are men.

That interview justifiably pissed off my trans brothers, and to TS Madison's credit, she wants to clean up the media mess she helped create and have a trans man on her channel who actually knows something about and can expertly talk about being a Black man of trans experience.

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But that incident drives me to make this point.  Our social media platforms, whether they are on blogs or video channels, are powerful informational tools that are not to be played with.  When you have a large media following, great responsibility comes with that social media platform, and what you say and how you say it matters.

When you put something out there on your social media platforms, especially as a Black trans person, it needs to be accurate and on point.because you don't get to make mistakes.  Neither should you be putting alt-facts out there either.

Not everyone is qualified to talk about trans issues, especially if you aren't living our trans lives.   There are also some folks in Black Trans and SGL World who need basic Trans 101 'ejumacation' themselves.

We already have the burden in Black Trans World of overcoming the myth with cis Black people fed by right wing kneegrow sellout preachers cooning it up for white fundie pastors that being trans is a 'white thang'.   There's also that myth in LGBTQ World that Black people are 'more homophobic' that needs to die as well.  

We Black trans peeps are far too often invisible to the media except when they want to cover another Black trans woman being murdered, and still screw it up.  

That media invisibility is even more pronounced for Black trans men, who get little to no coverage about the issues of importance to them   Neither do Black trans kids or their supportive parents.

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It's rare where we are shown in the media speaking intelligently about TBLGQ politics and other issues beyond the 'tragic transsexual' meme, so when we get those media moments as Black trans people, they are priceless educational opportunities to be used wisely.

That also includes our blogs and video platforms.  It takes a long time to build them up as credible sources, and it only takes one of two egregiously bad mistakes to ruin the years of hard work put in to get them to that point.

We also must remember that some of the peeps we need to educate on what ails the Black trans community are in our own cis Black community.   We must also be cognizant of the fact that with this ongoing national Republican push to pass unjust anti-trans laws, some of the legislators who will be voting YES or NO on those unjust bills share our ethnic heritage and are being lobbied by those misguided sellout pastors spouting facts free lies about us.

So facts about our Black trans lives matter.  Accurate telling of our Black trans stories matter.   Factually accurate discussions about our Black trans lives is mandatory, especially when you have a camera or a microphone in your face.

It's why we don't need nor should we tolerate any alt-facts about Black trans people in our Black trans community.
.    
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00am on 2017-04-23

Posted by Monica Roberts

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He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both [are] abomination to the LORD.   Proverbs 17:15

One of the things that bothers me as a Christian is when our right wing pseudo faith based opposition tries to hide behind Scripture and use it to justify their bigotry and hatred.

It is a centuries old tactic for conservatives to try to use the Bible as a shield in their attempts to other and demonize people, and now they are attempting to do so against transgender people.

The Southern Baptist denomination made it the official policy of their church in 2014 to hate trans people, following the Roman Catholic Church in doing so.

One of the basic commandments of our faith is to love thy neighbor as you love yourself.  It's obvious these faux faith based so called 'christians' hate themselves since they are so busy spending their time and hate orgs money bearing false witness against transgender people.

And the most odious part of their transphobic hate rants is that they are aiming them at transgender kids and their parents

I have a major problem with that.   My pissivity about it is heightened even further when you try to claim that God is on your side when you spout your loud and wrong facts free anti trans comments

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God hates injustice and the people who push it.  It's even more odious when you pastors are getting paid to push anti-trans hatred for your personal and political gain at trans kids and their parents who unconditionally love them.

Hate is not a Texas value, much less a value in our Christian faith tradition.  Love is.

It is not godly to oppress trans people, and if you pseudo faith bathed oppressors keep pushing that bald faced lie, you will reap what you sow, and the trans folks you are trying to oppress will be standing tall as your efforts to oppress them continue to fail.
April 22nd, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] revlyncox_feed at 03:23pm on 2017-04-22

This homily was written for a multigenerational service and delivered on April 16, 2017, by Rev. Lyn Cox

I don’t know if the stories about Jesus being alive again happened exactly that way. I believe it’s true that his friends felt his impact when they were together after his death. I believe it’s true that he lived on in their lives when they did the things he taught them to do, like show kindness to strangers, and teach people about God, and bless and share bread, and speak up for what is right even when it’s dangerous. I believe it’s true that following Jesus gave his friends hope that there would be a world to come, a world when everything that is broken will be made whole and every hurt will be healed.

The stories about Jesus take place about two thousand years ago. Even to this day, there are people who never met him in his life on earth who hold Jesus in their minds and hearts when they show kindness, when they do justice, and when they volunteer for some greater purpose. Even to this day, Christians all over the world call his story to mind when they sit down together and bless their bread and drink in memory of Jesus.

When people gather to live out their values, study, and share, they may be remembering other loved ones as well, people they did know in earthly life. For Christians, they can hold their personal loved ones and their ideas about Jesus at the same time. For those who don’t consider themselves Christians, remembering human beings is meaningful enough. All of us can learn from the stories about the friends of Jesus how we might hold on to the memory and teachings of people we know who have died.

The women at the tomb were ready to face the reality of death. The same women had been with Jesus when he died, and they were at the tomb to prepare his body for a proper burial. One of the ways Love remembers is with courage. Having the courage to stick by our loved ones in pain, and having the courage to say goodbye are aspects of love. Grief hurts. That grief tells us how much of a difference our departed loved ones have made to us, and reminds us of our ability to know love. The women at the tomb show us that having the courage to experience our feelings and to be present with others who are experiencing pain are some of the ways that Love remembers.

The friends on the road to Emmaus did not know their fellow traveler right away. Walking together and intellectual debate engaged their minds and bodies, but they truly remembered Love when they offered hospitality to a stranger and when they honored him by asking that he bless the bread they shared. We may remember the compassionate example of loved ones who have died when we help feed the hungry, as those who donated canned goods for today have done. We may remember loved ones when we cook large amounts of food from an old family recipe and share the food with others. When someone who taught us about kindness is gone, Love remembers as we show kindness to others.

The disciples in the boat remembered Love when they allowed themselves to believe in abundance. The person on the shore suggested that they cast their nets out on the right side of the boat, maybe trying something different than what they had tried before, maybe trying something they had already tried many times. By working together in the spirit of their mission, the friends created a space for memory and hope. This is what religious communities can do. Cooperate, believe that by considering what the world needs you can accomplish astonishing things, dare to hope. Love remembers when we keep working on the mission we have accepted together, even when the world changes and the way we have to work on our mission changes with it.

I don’t know if Jesus rose again after he died and walked around in his physical body to visit his friends. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I believe it’s true that the people we love live on through our stories, through the things they taught us to do, through sharing food, and through all of the ways their love ripples outward in the world. Resurrection is a mystery. We may believe, we may wonder. We know that love remembers. What is remembered lives.

So be it. Blessed be. Amen.

Posted by Monica Roberts


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2017
Contact: Monica Roberts BTWI Media Chair
Carmarion Anderson  BTWI Founding National Director
855-255-8636 Ext 11
media@blacktranswomen.org

Black Transwomen, Inc is saddened and angered to hear about the loss of another precious life to anti-trans violence in the person of 28 year old Chayvis Darice 'Chay' Reed of Miami. FL.

We at Black Transwomen, Inc express our deepest condolences to Ms. Reed's family and all the people in her all too brief life who loved her.

According to a witness a group of people were walking up a sidewalk in the West Little River neighborhood near the intersections of Northwest 27th and Northwest 93rd Streets when one of them ran across Northwest 27th Street at approximately 5 AM EDT.   Six or seven shots subsequently rang out according to the witness and that person fell to the ground.

The shooter fled the scene and is being sought by Miami-Dade police.  The incident was captured by the home surveillance cameras of the witness, and the video is being reviewed by Miami-Dade police detectives.

We at BTWI are also upset and angered to note that once again, a deceased Black trans woman has been misgendered and disrespected in the local media.  

Reed is the ninth trans woman of color murdered in the US in 2017, and the eight African-American trans person killed  this year.   Out of those eight Black trans women we have lost this year, seven of them are under age 40.

If you have any information that will bring Chay's killer to justice, you are urged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305- 471-TIPS (8477)

Rest in power and peace, Chay.   Know that all who love you will not rest until justice is served in this case.
   

Posted by Monica Roberts

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We've lost another Black trans woman to anti-trans violence, and as you probably guessed, she  was misgendered by the media. 

The location for the ninth US trans murder this year is Miami, FL and it happened at approximately 5 AM EDT this morning according to a witness.  

28 year old Chayvis 'Chay' Darice Reed according to this witness was walking with a group along Northwest 27th Street and Northwest 93rd Street in the West Little River neighborhood.  The witness stated that one person ran across the street, six or seven gunshots subsequently rang out and a person fell to the ground.  

The shooter fled the scene and has not been located at this time.  The witness has home surveillance footage which is being reviewed by Miami-Dade police detectives. 

Chay is the ninth transperson of color killed in 2017, and the eighth Black trans woman this year.  
Of the eight Black trans women killed this year, sadly seven of them have been under age 40.

If you have information concerning Chay's murder that will help capture the perpetrator of it, you are urged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477)

If I hear of a memorial service for Chay, will pass along those detail as I receive them.

Dee Dee Watters will also be hosting a moment of silence in Chay's honor starting at 9 PM CDT this evening on her Facebook page.

Rest in power and peace, Chay.  Your trans family will not rest until the waste of DNA who killed you is rotting in a jail cell.
April 21st, 2017

Posted by Monica Roberts

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It's that time of year when I get to hang out for a week in Dallas at this year's edition of the Black Trans Advocacy Conference that runs from April 24-30.  It's a unique experience because it's one of the few that unapologetically focuses on the Black trans community with a family reunion feel.

That fun for me starts on Monday.    But today is Friday, and it's time to call out some fools for their usual shenanigans and idiocy.

So let's this this Shut Up Fool Awards party started

Let's just jump straight to this week's winner in Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. our Confederate Attorney General who seems to have a problem with the concept of judicial review.  .

Sessions is 'amazed' that a judge in Hawaii can squash a presidential executive order.   But had Jee been paying attention to or even much less reading the Constitution, he wouldn't and shouldn't be surprised about that.

But he didn't have any problems with judicial review when it was working to shut down executive orders that POTUS 44 was writing.

Coretta was right.  You're not only not qualified to be a federal judge, you're unqualified to be Attorney General of the United States.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III,shut up fool!
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00am on 2017-04-21

Posted by Monica Roberts

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Since today is the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto that led to Texas' independence from Mexico,  I thought this would be an apropos day for this post.

I have been blessed to travel around much of the US, and much of my France sized home state.  I have done the long drive along 1-10 from Houston to LA twice, have visited the LBJ Ranch and his presidential library on the UT campus, and gone to Dallas so much I can drive around it without a map.   .

But there are still parts of the Lone Star State I haven't seen or visited.   Here's my Top 10 spots that I'd like to visit inside the Lone Star State

1. Corpus Christi

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It's Selena's hometown and the gateway to another spot I'd love to visit in Padre Island.   Would love to see the Selena Museum and some of the other sights of Corpus Christi before zooming across the Queen Isabella Causeway to Padre Island.

2.  Padre Island

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I was supposed to go there for a high school senior trip but didn't.   Even during my airline days I put it on the back burner of places to go see because I now had an expanded list of places and famous beaches to visit.   It's also home to Padre Island National Seashore, which protects 70 miles of the 113 mile long barrier island from the development that has turned South Padre Island iato a spring break destination.

3. The Rio Grande Valley

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It's considered to be the three counties along the southernmost tip of the Texas-Mexico border, Starr, Hidalgo, and Cameron counties plus Willacy County.   Despite having a lot of friends and people I know who grew up there, I've never been to 'The Valley', which is also predominately Latinx.

I would love to visit the cities of Harlingen, McAllen, Brownsville and check out its blended culture. They do host a gender conference at UT- Rio Grande Valley, so maybe that will happen for me sooner than I think.

4. Big Bend National Park

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While I'm not one of those girls who loves camping out, still have to check out Big Bend National Park and all it has to offer scenery wise.

It hugs much of the Texas-Mexico border in West Texas, and because it is sparsely populated and a long way from city lights, it is considered prime territory for star gazing and has the McDonald Observatory nearby.

Image result for amarillo tx5. The Panhandle

It consists of the northernmost 26 counties in the state and has Amarillo as its major city, connected to Lubbock by I-27.   It also has Palo Duro Canyon in the region just south of Amarillo, which is the second largest canyon in the United States .

Speaking of Amarillo, which is on I-40 and the fabled Route 66, it has some attractions of its own like the Cadillac Ranch sculpture and the Big Texan restaurant with it's 72 oz steak that free if you can complete its food challenge.

6/  Texarkana

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While I've driven through it twice in 2006 and stopped to get gas there on my way from Louisville to Dallas for my cousin's wedding, I'd still like to see State Line Drive and the Texarkana City Hall that straddles the border between Texas and Arkansas.

7. Lockhart

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In a state that is well known around the world for its barbecue, Lockhart is the mecca for it with four well known spots to pig out on it (pun intended)   And yes, this town has been on my radar for some time.

There's Smitty's,  Kreuz marker, Lockhart BBQ and Black's, and they all have people arguing constantly over which one serves the best barbecue.

Image result for fort worth water gardens8. Ft. Worth

While I have gone to Dallas frequently for a lot of reasons including family visits and the BTAC convention, that's not the case for its next door neighbor in Ft. Worth,

I've been there only once because I tagged along with my godbrother on a drive in 1981, and after Brent finished some TSTC school registration business in Waco, decided to head north on I-35 to visit his then girlfriend at TCU.

But there's a lot more to visit than the TCU campus, and that includes the Ft. Worth Stockyards, the Water Garden, the Ft Worth Zoo, and Billy Bob's Texas .

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9. Waco

The home of Baylor University and county seat of McLennan County is another place I haven't visited that does have some things to see besides the campus.  The Waco Suspension Bridge that was completed in 1870 and is open to foot traffic only, is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was the first bridge built across the Brazos River, and was used by people driving cattle along the Chisholm Trail.

And yes, just east of town was the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff.

10..Nacogdoches

It's considered the oldest town in Texas, being founded by the Spanish in 1716, two years before San Antonio was founded.

It is the home of Stephen F. Austin State University, where the Texas Transgender Non Discrimination Summit will be held this year..  It also hosts the Texas Blueberry Festival,

April 20th, 2017

Posted by Monica Roberts

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It was a long day and a late night for all of us justice loving people who were there from across the state of Texas to register our opposition to the unjust HB 2899.

Registration didn't start for oral testimony until 10 AM, but when it did I was one of the first peeps at the computer set up in our hospitality room to sign up to have my say.  I was surprised because my name got called a little early in the evening to testify, but once again, being in Austin for the last few days thanks to a major assist from my BTAC fam in Maddox and Rebecca Jackson made that possible.

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There were 389 people who registered to testify on HB 2899.  Of that number, the overwhelming majority of us were in opposition to its passage with only 18 people for it and 2 neutral.

And after a day that started for many of us a 7 AM CDT, the hearing finally got cranked up at 11:45 PM and went on until 4:40 AM.  

This committee was more diverse than the Senate one that couldn't hide their disdain for us a few weeks ago when we Texas trans folks, Mama and Papa Bears and our allies once again bumrushed our state capitol to express our opposition to the unjust SB 2899.

House State Affair Chair Rep. Byron Cook (R) was making sure that he ran the proceedings in an evenhanded and fair manner.

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April 19th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00pm on 2017-04-19

Posted by Monica Roberts

Once again I'm hanging out with a few of my friends from across Texas waiting to testify against HB 2899.  It's a bill that will not only bar Texas cities from passing ne non discrimination laws, it would wipe out current passed non discrimination laws in Austin, Dallas, El Paso and San Antonio in addition to oppressing trans Texans.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, shoes and childRegistration opened up at 10 AM, and it is supposed to be taking place at the John H Reagan Building.  

It has been postponed a few times already, and we are prepared to be here for a while.

If you wish to register your opposition to HB 2899, you can do so at this link 

Check my Twitter page also for my running commentary about the hearing, or the hurry up and wait nature of this that seems to be what's going on right now.
April 18th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 09:30am on 2017-04-18

Posted by Monica Roberts

Image result for Black transwomen Inc logo
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April  18, 2017
Contact: Monica Roberts BTWI Media Chair
Carmarion Anderson  BTWI Founding President
855-255-8636  Ext 11
media@blacktranswomen.org

Black Trans Advocacy is pleased to announce our upcoming Black Trans Advocacy conference in Dallas that will be held from April 24-30 at the Dallas Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria.

This is the sixth annual BTAC conference with attendees from all over the United States gathering to discuss issues of importance to the Black trans community.

Black Trans Advocacy is also pleased and proud to be at this upcoming BTAC conference celebrating the fifth anniversary of the founding of Black Transwomen, Inc.

As a Texas headquartered organization, we are not only concerned about SB 6 and HB 2899 and vehemently oppose both pieces of unjust legislation, but also lament the loss of seven African American trans women this year to anti-trans violence,   We are also concerned about the disrespectful media coverage they have gotten when the media reports their deaths and the lack of funding that goes to Black trans led organizations. .

We will also be discussing at this April 28 press conference BTA's thoughts about the current state of Black trans America, our Black Trans Advocacy conference, and other issues of importance to our community.  
.

We are inviting members of the media to attend a press conference that will take place at the conference hotel starting at 12:30 PM CDT on Friday, April 28 at our conference host hotel, the Dallas Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria.

The hotel is located at 14901 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75204 and we at BTA look forward to seeing you there.    

  

***

Black Transwomen,  Inc  is a national not for profit organization based in Dallas TX  that is part of the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition,  a social justice alliance of the Black Transmen Inc, Black Transwomen Inc & Black Trans International Pageantry System organizations. BTA is committed to the advancement of black and trans people and the liberation of all disenfranchised people by working collaboratively to help end race and gender inequalities   

April 17th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00pm on 2017-04-17

Posted by Monica Roberts

I am an unapologetic Black trans woman. I cannot and will not be intimidated. I will fight for my humanity and my human rights, and I'm not going anywhere.
-Monica Roberts 


I have loved Rep. Maxine Waters ever since I briefly met her in her office during a 1999 GenderPac Lobby day.   I was looking at the quote she said in the wake of the attacks being aimed at her by the conservafools and I basically did a moni remix of it for myself and my Black trans sisters.

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We come from a long line of women who have been fighting for our humanity and human rights since that first involuntary boat ride from Africa.    I'm also part of a long line of Black trans feminine multitaskers who have not only fought for our right to exist, we have also fought tooth and nail to be recognized as the women we are while fighting for everybody's  human rights.

And nope, just because Republican legislators are trying to attack our humanity and human rights for their own electoral gain next year doesn't change that fact.

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We aren't going anywhere.  We are part of the diverse mosaic of human life.   We are part of the kente cloth fabric of the Black community.   We are wives, sisters, daughters, aunts, friends and beautifully human people who just want to be left alone from political attacks so that we can concentrate our intellect and talents on simply being able to do our part to contribute to society and looking fly while doing so.

It's past time Black community, that you recognize the fact that if our human rights as trans people aren't secure, yours aren't either.   I'm also tired of seeing ministers who look like me colluding with Republicans and white fundamentalist preachers to spread falsehoods about the trans community.

Black trans women like me exist here and across the African Diaspora.   Our lineage goes back to ancient Egypt.   We are beautiful.  We are talented.  We are intelligent.  We are girls like us who if just given the opportunity, can accomplish amazing things.

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And if you think we're Black T Girl Magic personified, wait until you see the next generation of Black trans women.

I am Black.   I am a woman of trans experience.   I am unapologetic about it,and will keep saying it until you peeps get the point.that trans women are women. .

posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 10:30am on 2017-04-17

Posted by Monica Roberts

Image result for GLAAD Texas SB 6 video
As many of you TransGriot readers are quite aware of, been in the fight to make sure that SB 6 and any other anti-trans discriminatory bills die.

SB 6 has gotten much of the attention, and while I was at the Capitol building back on March 20, I ran into on the south lawn the GLAAD film crew that had just come from the nearby University of Texas to talk to trans Longhorns about the unjust bill and heir thoughts about it.

The video is finally up, so check it out.

posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00am on 2017-04-17

Posted by Monica Roberts

Image result for austin tx skyline
The 85th Texas Legislative session doesn't end until May 29,  and that means until that sine die day our human rights and humanity will still be under attack by the Texas GOP majority in Austin literally until midnight CDT on that day.

So once again I'm up in Austin for a few days to support a good bill in HB 192 that prohibits housing discrimination in the Lone Star State on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and fight the odious HB 2899, the bill born out of GOP frustrations that SB 6 is stuck in committee.

HB 192 gets a hearing today in the House Business and Industry Committee,  so let the member know you support that bill.

HB 2899, the latest anti-trans hate bill will get its hearing on Wednesday so I expect to spend a long day at the Capitol for that one.   We also need y'all calling the members of the House State Affairs Committee to express your opposition (politely)  to the bill.

But while I'm in the ATX, I'll catch up with friends and chosen family until I head back to Houston on Thursday.


April 15th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] wapsisquare_feed at 03:20pm on 2017-04-15

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