Handling Texas Trans Community Business At The TLI

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As you loyal TransGriot readers know, Mama Moni has been in Dallas getting her learn on at the Transgender Leadership Institute sponsored by Equality Texas and Freedom For All Americans

In light of what going on down I-35 south in terms of our 85th Texas Legislative session in Austin and the repressive Republican regime in Washington DC, this TLI gathering in the Dallas suburban city of Irving was taking place at a crucial time in our history as 60 of us gathered at the DoubleTree DFW North for the all day training yesterday.

Friday night was a networking event in which we got to meet and greet our fellow TLI participants from across the Lone Star State. While many of us have come from Houston, the host city of Dallas and the Austin-San Antonio area, one person has come from El Paso, and another drove six hours from Corpus Christi to be here,

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I had the pleasure of finally meeting Rev. Angie Shannon and having that long in person conversation we’ve both been looking forward to having that was joined by Gail Barnett and a few other attendees from time to time.   It was also nice getting to meet some more of my Black trans fam from Houston,

I also enjoyed my conversations with Gail and the other Mama Bears in attendance at the TLI.


Saturday we got down to TLI business after breakfast at 7:30 AM and the welcome at 8:30 AM by Lou, Chuck and Katie.

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The initial TLI segment was an intersectionality conversation moderated by Lou Weaver and Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen.    After a break, we moved into talking about racial justice and the issue of immigration with many of us in the room keenly aware that ICE raids were taking place in much of the state.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people sittingDuring lunch we received a briefing from Chuck Smith on the current state of the Texas Legislative session that because it discussed some confidential things like the response strategy around SB 6, The Transgender Oppression Bill and other anti-TBLGQ bills I can’t divulge because the right wing haters read TransGriot just like y’all do.

After lunch came a discussion about messaging that started at 1:30 PM and sparked some lively conversations and commentary until our next break came at 2:30 PM.

We segued into Rebecca Kling’s conversation about storytelling and its importance to our movement.

In her presentation she pointed out how being able to tell your personal story and doing it consistently can not only move legislators, but move persuadable people in your everyday life that you have one on one conversations with about our trans lives.

After some activities focused on developing the skills necessary to do so and honing telling your story in two minutes or less, several people volunteered to read the two minute stories they wrote and get feedback on it, we ended the first day of training.

Photos were taken of the allies and trans parents, trans peeps in attendance and a group picture of all the TLI attendees before we retired to our rooms for a break before dinner.at 6 PM

The hour break also gave me an opportunity to recharge the electronic devices, chuck those 4 inch heels and business attire I was rocking and change into my flats for the rest of the evening.

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The dinner conversations that had their genesis in the TLI training sessions continued in the bar and lobby areas and various people’s rooms until the wee hours of the morning.

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I ended up in a long one with Rodrigo and several other attendees, got a chance to talk to Carter, JB and Trey from my BTAC Dallas fam before they bounced from the hotel to continue the planning for the upcoming BTAC 2017 conference in April.  

I got to shift into Secretary of Education (Monica Helms’ new nickname for me) mode, do some mentoring and passing down of some history to the next generation of trans peeps until I finally called it a night.    

Hey, it IS Black History Month.   Trans folks made some of that history, too and are STILL making it.

We will have the concluding group activity of the TLI starting at 9:30 AM before we adjourn and head back to our various corners of the Lone Star State better informed and better prepared to fight for our Texas Values of inclusion, intersectionality and human rights for all.

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