Sunday, April 30, 2017

BTAC 2017- Day 6 Schedule

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and indoorThe final day and official event of BTAC 2017 takes place with the closing interfaith service starting at 11 AM followed by our traditional brunch at Blue Mesa.

We've had a record turnout of BTAC attendees, and many of them were first timers.  We've had folks come from Alabama to Jamaica    We've learned, laughed, networked and loved on each other, and witnessed the passing of the BTIPS crowns to a new king and queen.  

But now it's time for us to say so long to Dallas and head back to our home areas to implement the things we learned here.  It time for us to wish each other safe travels to our final destinations to do the work of building family and Black trans community power until we gather in Dallas next April for #BTAC2018

It's going to be a long 365 days until we're back together again.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Happy 82nd Birthday, April Ashley!

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Today is the 82 birthday of British trans icon and pioneer April Ashley.  She has led an amazing life as a Vogue model, received an MBE back in 2012 and was a plaintiff in Corbett v Corbett, a 1970 marriage case that went the wrong way for her and trans folks in Great Britain of which the repercussions of it didn't get cleaned up until the Gender Recognition Act was passed.

But by living her life, she inspired others in Great Britain to live as their true selves, and she deserves much credit and praise for that.

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Happy birthday April!   Thank you for being that trans pioneer that we all needed, for the wonderful trailblazing life that you have lived up to this point, the honors that you have received, and may you be blessed to see many more

Here's two clips of her 2015 interview on the British TV show Loose Women


A film that documented April's visit to her hometown of Liverpool for her 80th birthday to receive an Honour of the City.

100 Days Of Trump

I've been here with my BTAC family focused on talking to all of my friends and the amazing leaders in the  community, so it slipped my mind that that travesty of a presidency we're enduring has now entered its 100th day.

This 'Make White America Great Again' exercise in white male fragility and mediocrity has exposed for the whole world to see just how incompetent not only Trump is, but the whole premise of conservative white male leadership.  

They have to lie, cheat and steal to accomplish anything, and Trump is a sterling example of it.  He's only in it for himself and his 1% buddies.   It also exposes to the world just how morally bankrupt conservatism is.

The cluelessness of the peeps who voted for this clown was brought home to me a few weeks ago when I was hanging out with several cis girlfriends in the Galleria area.   We were having a great time at Panera Bread enjoying each others company and minding our own business when this elderly white woman walked yup to our table and inserted herself into our conversation.

When she found out I was a blogger , she asked me my opinion of Dear Cheeto Leader, and I let her have it.

I called him the worst POTUS of my life since Nixon. decried the racism that got him elected, and pointed out Trump was not qualified for or had the temperament to be president.

And then I went back to finishing my meal and conversation with my company that included two college professors and a banker.

Yeah Bernie or Busters and Stein and Johnson voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania,  Ohio and Florida, I'm still pissed at you for your November 8 decision that greased the skids for this disastrous mispresidency.

I'm even more pissed off at all you trans peeps that voted for Orange Julius.

November 3, 2020 can't get there fast enough for me

BTAC 2017 -Day 5 Schedule

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Thanks to all the winners who were honored at our awards gala last night.

When the sun rises in the Texas sky in a few hours, we'll be bouncing from the host hotel to take part in Black Trans Family Fun Day at the nearby Circle R Ranch in Flower Mound, TX.

It's a few hours of fun barbecue and Moni dishing out domino lessors to all who dare to cross her path.   Since these peeps are visiting my home state, I'll be nice and won't make them sign the score sheet once I'm finished giving that domino lesson.

And yeah, I still chuckle about the trash talking Syria was doing when she and her partner were at an adjacent table playing spades.

Once we return from the Circle R Ranch to the hotel, it's Black Diamond Ball time and then we'll probably be hanging out late in lobby or in our rooms as this BTAC 2017 week comes to a close. .

Friday, April 28, 2017

Shut Up Fool Awards- Moni's At BTAC 2017 Edition

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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!

BTAC 2017-Day 4 Schedule

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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.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I Find Out If I Make Houston Pride Parade History In A Few Hours

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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  

Learning, Networking and Having Fun At BTAC 2017

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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..

BTAC 2017- Day 3 Schedule

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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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

HB 2899

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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

BTAC 2017- Day 2 Schedule

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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.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Historic Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit In Site Permanently Closing

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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.

BTAC 2017- Day 1 Schedule

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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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

'Great Day Houston' Transgender Issues Show

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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

Moni's In The Middle Of BTAC 2017!

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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.  

BTAC 2017 Bound!

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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.