Monday, January 23, 2017

2017 Williams Watch- Rolling To The Quarterfinals

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I was a little busy handling some movement business over the last few days in Philly, so I haven't had the chance to sit down and watch much of the Australian Open's first week

The seeds are falling, including the world number one ranked and number one seed Angelique Kerber, who was beaten by Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets.

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But I am happy to hear that my fave tennis playing siblings are still kicking butt and taking names on their Melbourne business trip.

When I last checked in number 13 seeded Venus and number 2 seeded Serena had just advanced to Australian Open second round singles matches against Stefanie Vogele and Lucie Safarova, and were waiting to play their first Aussie Open doubles match versus Timea Babos and Anastasia Pavlyuchenko    They withdrew from the doubles to focus on the singles tournament which so far looks like it was a wise decision.

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Big Sis sent Vogele packing in straight sets 6-3, 6-2  to set up her third round match versus China's Duan Yingying.   That was also another straight set 6-1, 6-0 victory to propel her into the fourth round against German qualifier Mona Barthel, who knocked off Rio Olympic singles champion and 29th seeded Monica Puig.  

Venus prevailed 6-3, 7-5  to punch her ticket to the quarterfinals against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova  for a spot in the semis against the Muguruza-Vandeweghe winner

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Little Sis was also holding it down on her side of the Australian Open bracket.   After sending Safarova to the sidelines with a straight set 6-3, 6-4  victory, she beat fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-3 to advance to a fourth round match against 16th seed Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.

Serena dispatched Strycova 7-5, 6-4 after a tough match to set up her quarterfinal match with Great Britain's Johanna Konta.

Image result for Venus and Serena 2003 Australian open finalIf the Williams Sisters win their next two matches, they will face each other in the Australian Open finals for the first time since 2003.  Serena also has an opportunity because of the Kerber loss to regain the world number one ranking if she wins the tournament.

Oh yeah, it would also be her 23rd Grand Slam singles title and seventh Australian Open after losing to Kerber last year.

And who won that 2003 Australian Open finals clash?   Serena did 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4 over her big sister.   That was also the only time Venus has reached the Australian Open final.

They still have some work to do Down Under to make that all Williams final happen.    

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Janet Mock's DC Women's March Speech

Our approach to freedom need not be identical but it must be intersectional and inclusive
-Janet Mack, January 21, 2017

While I wasn't there at the DC Women's March and was 139 miles up I-95 away from it in Philadelphia, we did have some trans participation there at it.  

I know Nikki Araguz Loyd attended it along with 500,000 other peeps, and the reports are still coming in from people there and around the country in Trans World who were in attendance or participating in their local events.

Here;s the video and the text of Janet's speech.

So we are here. We are here not merely to gather but to move, right? And our movements, our movements require us to do more than just show up and say the right words. It requires us to break out of our comfort zones and be confrontational. It requires us to defend one another when it is difficult and dangerous. It requires us to truly see ourselves and one another.
 I stand here today as the daughter of a native Hawaiian woman and a black veteran from Texas. I stand here as the first person in my family to go to college. I stand here as someone who has written herself onto this stage to unapologetically proclaim that I am a trans woman-writer-activist-revolutionary of color. And I stand here today because of the work of my forebears, from Sojourner to Sylvia, from Ella to Audre, from Harriet to Marsha.
I stand here today most of all because I am my sister’s keeper. My sisters and siblings are being beaten and brutalized, neglected and invisibilizied, extinguished and exiled. My sisters and siblings have been pushed out of hostel homes and intolerant schools. My sisters and siblings have been forced into detention facilities and prisons and deeper into poverty. And I hold these harsh truths close. They enrage me and fuel me. But I cannot survive on righteous anger alone. Today, by being here, it is my commitment to getting us free that keeps me marching.
Our approach to freedom need not be identical but it must be intersectional and inclusive. It must extend beyond ourselves. I know with surpassing certainty that my liberation is directly linked to the liberation of the undocumented trans Latina yearning for refuge. The disabled student seeking unequivocal access. The sex worker fighting to make her living safely.
Collective liberation and solidarity is difficult work, it is work that will find us struggling together and struggling with one another. Just because we are oppressed does not mean that we do not ourselves fall victim to enacting the same unconscious policing, shaming, and erasing. We must return to one another with greater accountability and commitment to the work today.
By being here you are making a commitment to this work. Together we are creating a resounding statement, a statement that stakes a claim on our lives and our loves, our bodies and our babies, our identities and our ideals. But a movement – a movement is so much more than a march. A movement is that difficult space between our reality and our vision. Our liberation depends on all of us, all of us returning to our homes and using this experience and all the experiences that have shaped us to act, to organize, to resist. Thank you.


Thank you Janet for the speech and repping us well (as usual) from the speaker's podium of this historic event.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

2016-17 NFL Playoffs -Championship Sunday

We've now reached Championship Sunday, and the last four teams standing with a chance to get to Houston to play in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium will be colliding.

I've gone 7-1 in these playoffs picking games with my only wrong one being the Pittsburgh-Kansas City one that was decided by a holding call and failed two point conversion.

Two teams will move on to play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy while the other two will see their season come to a bitter end,

So let's get to it.

NFC Championship

#4 Green Bay Packers (11-7)  vs  #2 Atlanta Falcons  (12-5)  at 2:05 PM CST on FOX

This is a rematch of a Week 8 October 30 class at the Georgia Dome in which the Falcons scored late  on a Matt Ryan to Mohammed Sanu TD pass to edge the Packers 33-32.

The Falcons are coming off their 36-20 playoff demolition of the Seattle Seahawks in which their number one ranked offense shredded the vaunted ;Legion of Boom; while the Packers after building an 18 point lead, needed a clutch throw from Aaron Rodgers and a 51 yard Mason Crosby field goal with 3 seconds left in the game to escape with a 34-31 win over the Cowboys.

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The Falcons defense has stepped it up another level, while the Green Bay defense has lost some key players to injury.. This is the last NFL game in the Georgia Dome, and it should be a fun one to watch with two of the best quarterbacks in the conference in Rodgers and Ryan slinging balls all over the field.

But as the saying goes, it's defense that wins championships, and Atlanta's is slightly better than the Packers right now.  Been a wonderful ride for the Pack, but the Falcons are going to close out the Georgia Dome in style.

Falcons to win the George Halas Trophy when this game concludes.  

AFC Championship 

#3 Pittsburgh Steelers (13-5) vs  #1 New England Patriots (15-2) at 5:40 PM CST on CBS

The Steelers didn't score an offense touchdown in their playoff game against the Chiefs, but still won 18-16 thanks to an NFL playoff record six field goals by Chris Boswell.  The Steelers became the first NFL team since the 2006 Super Bowl XLI champion Indianapolis Colts to win a playoff game without scoring a touchdown.

The Patriots got an unexpected challenge from the Houston Texans, whose number one ranked defense hit Brady early and often and only trailed by 8 points going into the fourth quarter until Brock Osweiler became Bad Brock and started throwing interceptions to the Patriots and threw away their chance at a huge upset as the Patriots rolled to a 34-16 Divisional Round victory. .

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This AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium is also a rematch of a Week 7 game in which the Patriots marched into Heinz Field and marched out with a 27-16 win.

The Steelers committed ten penalties in that October 23 game, and one of them wiped out a second quarter TD pass from Landry Jones to Darius Heyward-Bey .They were also missing Ben Roethlisberger in that one to a knee injury as well

He's back for this one , but it probably won't make a difference, especially if the Steeler offense doesn't find the end zone early and often this week.  

Patriots to win this game and the Lamar Hunt Trophy.

Friday, January 20, 2017

America Is Going To Miss You

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Goodbye Mr. President and Madame First Lady

Darkness descends upon this land at 12:01 PM EST

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Last Full Day Of The Obama Adminstration

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Note I didn't say 'potentially'. I have the confidence to say that he WILL be a great president. If we were going to have a first Black president I like my African descended brothers and sisters wanted him or her to be the best and brightest member of our community. Hopefully at the end of his second term, the nation will be lamenting the fact that we couldn't elect him to a third term.-TransGriot  February 28, 2009 'Why Barack Obama Will Be A Great President 

It doesn't end until 12:01 PM EST tomorrow, but today sadly is the last day of the historic administration of President Barack Hussein Obama.

The POTUS had his final press conference yesterday which i didn't get to see because i was traveling, but it probably was a blessing in disguise because I probably would have started crying during it.

He talks about the role of the press and the Chelsea Manning pardon among other subjects, and for those of you who have asked me about my feelings about Manning, I'm pondering it and you'll see it in a later TransGriot post.

Back to this one.   I'm going to miss this president for a lot of reasons, but the most important one was here was a man who was born nine months before I was, shares my African heritage, and excelled in the office despite many challenges and a Republican Party unified in racist opposition to him that gleefully wanted him to fail.

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This is also a man who had a scandal free administration, and made me feel as though my country was in good hands with him in the Oval Office.   He also made me feel for the first time in my life unabashedly proud of my president and this country.

He has also been the best president ever when it comes to not only acknowledging we trans folks exist, but expanding and defending our human rights.

I'm also going to miss our lovely FLOTUS, who Michelle, who made history of her own in becoming the first African-American woman ever to be the First Lady, and did so with style, dignity and class even as people irrationally hated on her.

We also go the pleasure of watching your your daughters Sasha and Malia grow up into amazing young women.

Mr. President, thanks for eight amazing years, and wish it could have been longer.  I confidently wrote eight years ago that you would be an outstanding president and you have made me look like a genius for saying it.

Mr. President, thanks for eight wonderful years that have flown by.  Unfortunately some idiot that claims he's going to Make America Great Hate Again takes over at 12:01 PM tomorrow

#CC17 Day One

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Good morning from the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection as they love to say about Philadelphia!  I'm back here again inside its city limits to attend another major TBLGQ community event in Creating Change and while I handle my business, I'm also going to be in reporter mode for it for those of you who either chose not to or couldn't come to #CC17.

It officially started yesterday, but there have been pre conference events since Monday

Philadelphia downtown hotel entrance
Today's big happenings at #CC17 and the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown are the day long institutes on various topic taking place in the host hotel.  There are also many TBLGQ organizations who are taking advantage of the fact that many of our leaders are gathered here to have their organizational board meetings

As for what I'm up to today besides being in reporter mode and just talking to various peeps I know in BTLGQ World, In addition to speaking at the Trans United Fund event later tonight at Philadelphia City Hall,  I'm also taking part in the National Black Justice Coalition's The Black Institute during its 10:00 AM EST programming block

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But the highlight of the night will be the opening Creating Change plenary session from 8-10 PM that features NC NAACP President Rev Dr. William Barber II and his eagerly anticipated keynote address.

Bet you wish you'd come now.

You can follow the #CC17 hashtag on Twiiter, this blog or my TransGriot Twitter handle to check out my commentary about all the CC17 happenings while I'm here.

You can also check out the Creating Change website for various highlighted videos and

Trans United Fund Is In The #CC17 House!

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One of the major reasons I'm up in Philadelphia for this year's edition of Creating Change is because I'm on the leadership team for the Trans United Fund.   It's a now year old multicultural trans led organization that seeks to borrow my sister in the movement Sharon Lettman Hicks of NBJC's words, Own Our Power.

That's vital at a pivotal moment in our trans movement's history in which we not only are the focus of coordinated attacks upon our humanity and human rights by the Republican Party the conservative movement, the TERF's and fundamentalists, we have predominately gay run orgs that are not responding well to this coordinated attack.   Frankly one of the reasons they haven't is because they don't have a large enough cadre of trans people, and especially trans people of color sitting at the leadership tables of their orgs to help them coordinate the strategies that will be successful in beating the right wingers.

It's past time that we had a diverse, multicultural national trans run and trans led organization like NTAC was when I was part of its founding leadership group in 1999.  It's a leadership vacuum in our rainbow TBLGQ ranks that TUF seeks to fill by working collectively to develop trans leadership at a national and grassroots level so that we can thrive as a community, not just survive.

Later tonight the TransUnited Fund is hosting from 6:30-8:00 PM  at Philadelphia City Hall in which Andrea Jenkins, Danni Askini Sharron Cooks, DeShanna and Trinity Neal, and some award winning blogger y'all know along with our Emmy Award nominated MC Angelica Ross will be at the United.  Undaunted. Unstoppable  Fight Back 2017!  fundraiser event.

TUF is building trans political power and is needed and necessary at this time and has set a goal of raising $5000 for its needed and increasingly necessary work

Suggested donation is $10, but we'd definitely love to meet you and see as many folks in Room 201 that can attend.   If you can't you can always take a moment to support Trans United Fund's work to build trans political power.

Many of us TUF leaders will be out and about during #CC17 to take part in various Creating Change panel discussions and seminars.

Trans United Fund is in the #CC17 house, and we're glad to be here on behalf of our trans siblings who can't..

Moni's In The #CC17 House!

After a relatively uneventful trip for me on Delta from Houston through their mother hub of Atlanta to Philadelphia, and a 30 minute train ride from the airport to Center City,  I finally arrived in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection to take part in #CC17 and see if I can get a freebie Slurpee via my 7 Eleven app before I leave Saturday.

On the ATL-PHL leg when I boarded thought I saw longtime Atlanta trans advocate Dee Dee Chamblee.   It turned out when I finally got to the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown for that Trans United Fund meeting with Angelica Ross and Nikki Araguz Loyd that indeed it was her.

And yes, it was also great to see Arianna Lint, Bamby Salcedo, Ruby Corado, Jada Mercedes Cardona, Andrea Jenkins, Becky Juro, Kayley Whalen and Hayden Mora again.

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When our TUF meeting was over, I ran into Sunnivie Brydum as Nikki, Angelica and I were searching for a nearby restroom to commit the revolutionary act of peeing and pooping in before we took that group photo.  

After having a 20 minute convo with her and being introduced to her friend, we found it, handled our business, too a group photo, and then set off to go back to the DoubleTree where they were staying to retrieve my bags and get me set up in my hotel room at a different hotel for the night.

While passing the bar area, we ran into Cecilia Chung.  While talking to her, I got separated from Angelica and Nikki, so I made a beeline for the front door to try to catch up with them ,

That game plan took a detour when I ran into Ashton Woods, Geneva Musgrave, Omar Narvaez and finally met one of my longtime FB friends in Yunus Coldman while trying and spectacularly failing to tip out the front door of the Marriott undetected.    While I was talking to them, Hannah Simpson rolled up with Tamara Jeanne, followed by Crispin Torres and a friend of his and Bishop Allyson Abrams .

I finally break away from all those folks only to run into Isaiah Wilson from NBJC 100 feet from the Market Street door..  We start talking about the Black Institute and my part in it, and Curtis Lipscomb, another of our NBJC family members, walks in.

So I finally finish those hugs and convos, get out of the hotel, get to the 7 Eleven that's on the way back to the DoubleTree, procure and destroy my first Slurpee of this #CC17 run, and finally make it to the DoubleTree..

Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City Hotel, PA - Hotel Exterior Day
After spending some girl time with Nikki and Angelica in their room, I left with bags in tow but there was a snafu with my reservation at the Hilton Gardens that had to be cleared up before I could check in.  While waiting for Ruby, Louis Mitchell walks by the hotel while I'm sitting in the lobby after snagging a late night meal and heading back to his Air BNB spot    He keeps me company until Ruby arrives with Elle Hearns in tow.

So how did your day go?   This also points out just how many people I do know in this community.

And remember peeps, this is just Day 1 for me.   Time to get some sleep so I can be fab for the busy day ahead of me and all the peeps I have yet to see who are here at #CC17  


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Moni's Leaving On A Jet Plane -To Philadelphia

Philadelphia downtown hotel entrance
This is my first trip of 2017, and I'll be heading to a place that I've gone to since 2012 almost as much as Washington DC in Philadelphia.

This time I'll be headed back to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection for this year's edition of Creating Change, and as I talked about in last week's post about me going to #CC17, I was actually looking at not going this year after having attended three straight ones since we hosted Creating Change in Houston  in 2014.  

But here I am once again getting ready to board a plane bound for a Creating Change host city for the fourth straight year.  This time I'm on Delta, and will be going through Atlanta to get there.

So while I'm at #CC17, as always I'll be tweeting and writing about what I see, hear and experience while I'm in the #CC17 host hotel.

See y'all in a few hours.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Loving The Netflix 'One Day At A Time' Reboot

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I watched the Norman Lear produced CBS show One Day At A Time back during my teen years which aired from 1975-1984.   When I heard the show was coming back on Netflix with an interesting rebooted twist and Lear down with it, I was intrigued

I was even more ecstatic about it when I heard that Rita Moreno was one of the cast members and the revamped theme song 'This Is It' was being sung by Gloria Estefan to reflect the fact the family in this version is Cuban-American.

The Netflix version of this classic Norman Lear show debuted January 6 and features Justina Machado playing Penelope Alvarez, a nurse, Afghan War vet and single mom separated from her husband who left the Army, but is doing private security there.   Penelope is raising two teenage kids with the help and sometimes hindrance of her mother Lydia, played by Moreno..

It is set in Los Angeles now instead of Indianapolis like the original show, and the separated Penelope is raising a tween son and a feminist teenage daughter in another change from the original show instead of two teen girls .  

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 And yes, Dwayne Schneider, the building superintendent is in this version as well, played in hipster style by Todd Grinnell   Mackenzie Phillips from the original show makes a cameo appearance in one episode.

In addition to showcasing the dynamic of three generations living under one roof, the rebooted One Day At A Time also tackles issues in this first season such as immigration and deportation, religion, PTSD, the issues unique to female vets like Penelope, dealing with the VA bureaucracy, dating,.sex and a coming out story all with an unmistakable Latinx flavor.

The writing in this show is also up to the performances of this wonderful cast.

So if you're looking for something on Netflix to binge watch, check out the 13 episode first season of One Day At A Time.  You'll be happy you did.. .   .

Happy 53rd Birthday To Our Fab FLOTUS

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Today is the 53rd birthday of our fabulous FLOTUS Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, who was born on this January date in Chicago in 1964.

This is (sniff sniff) the last birthday she will celebrate as our amazing First Lady, and I'm definitely not looking forward to seeing her go back to her civilian life this Friday after eight fabulous history making years

Like the POTUS said doing his farewell speech, you have represented our nation with dignity and class despite all the haters and the racist, misogynist and transmisogynist hatred thrown your way,.

You have been a wonderful possibility model for not only our youth, but myself/  We also deeply appreciate and love you in TBLGQ world for being an ally for our community..

Happy birthday Madame First Lady!   Looking forward to seeing what the next chapter in your life brings.
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2017 Williams Watch - The Australian Open Starts

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As you longtime TransGriot readers know, I'm a big tennis fan, and two of my fave players are the fabulous Williams Sisters

The first Grand Slam of the 2017 tennis season is already upon us in the Australian Open in Melbourne, and this will be an interesting one.

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It will run until January 29 in Melbourne and for the first time in several years, Serena Williams is not going to be the world's number one ranked player in the world going into a Grand Slam after tying Steffi Graf's record of holding it for 186 consecutive weeks.

That's Angelique Kerber (for now), the defending Australian Open champ who is also the number one seed in this 2017 edition of the Aussie Open. Serena is now number two in the world and also and the number two seed while Venus starts this Australian Open as the number 13 seed.

Opening round play got underway yesterday and both my fave tennis playing siblings got through it to the second round.

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Venus had a tough opening round match with Ukraine's Kateryna Kozlova, but she prevailed for a 7-6 (7-5) and 7-5 straight set win   She's in the same half of the bracket as Kerber, so there's a possible clash brewing with Kerber should both keep winning.

Big Sis faces qualifier Stefanie Vogele of Switzerland, who upset Kurumi Nara of Japan, in the second round.
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Speaking of winning, second seed Serena started with a tough opening round match with Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.   Little Sis prevailed in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 and will face the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova.

Are the Williams Sisters playing doubles in this Grand Slam?  Yes they are, and they are seeded 15th in the Australian Open doubles tournament    They will face the doubles duo of Timea Babos of Hungary and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia  ,

Can they take some more Grand Slam singles and doubles titles back home when their business trip to Melbourne is over?   We'll  see.