TransGriot Notes: These are the remarks I prepared for delivery as I accept this Special Recognition award at tonight’s GLAAD Gala San Francisco.
You can check out the @GLAAD Twitter feed and the hashtag #glaadgala for it.
2016 GLAAD Gala SF Remarks
Thank you Angelica for that wonderful introduction. and thank you GLAAD for this unexpected but deeply appreciated honor. On behalf of the community and myself, I humbly accept this award.
When blogging began to go mainstream in 2004, I was writing a column for a local monthly LGBTQ paper in Louisville. Trans oriented blogs addressing the issues germane to the trans community existed, but the common thread was that none of those early trans blogs were discussing issues important to trans people of color. Neither were they discussing trans issues and the news of the day from our perspective.
After prodding by my friends in Louisville and around the country, predominately led by Jordana LeSesne and my own observations that a POC oriented blog was necessary for the growth and maturation of our Black trans community ranks, at midnight EST on January 1, 2006, the first post went up at TransGriot.
It’s now been a decade, 6.4 million viewers and nearly 10,000 posts later, and TransGriot is still telling it like it T-I-S is on behalf of my community from an unapologetically Black perspective and documenting its history. It is probably the oldest continuously published blog founded and run by an African-American trans person and I’m exceedingly proud of that fact.
And thanks to the Trans National Alliance, Trans United Fund and assorted individuals who have contributed money and technology to help me keep TransGriot alive and operating for the last decade
While what I write at TransGriot is focused on and for Black trans people, over time those posts have also touched people around the world. TransGriot is also unique in the fact it is written by a person who has been a trans human rights advocate for 18 years and counting, and has had a ringside seat to much of the LGBTQ community’s history since 1994.
It has also grown beyond its original mission to talk about the issues that affect all LGBTQ people.
The power of a blog to shape events is mighty. It’s even more potent when walk the walk and back up your words with deeds. I get up from behind my keyboard and lobby legislators, educating people at panel discussions and community forums, and engage in public speaking in order to make that positive change I advocate for via my writing happen.
And thank you GLAAD for standing up for our human rights and pushing for accurate portrayals of my trans siblings across the media spectrum. Accuracy in media stories about trans people matters.
TransGriot has shed light and spoken truth to power on the issues that impact trans people of color such as anti-trans violence, HIV-AIDS and anti-trans bigotry inside and outside the LGBTQ community. Posts I wrote helped push for passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in May 2014, and sounded the alarm when the defense campaign for it was going off the rails. I have urged LGBTQ people to vote and called out disrespectful reporting on trans people of color.
And sadly, over the last decade I’ve had to document far too many murders of trans women of color.
Some of my TransGriot writing is designed to build community and pride in being an unapologetically Black trans person. I wrote an open letter post last month that inspired a young Black trans feminine kid to see that she too can be a leader in our community and that she has a proud legacy and history of Black trans leaders to emulate. As her mother told me in an e-mail two days ago, Trini told her, “Ms. Monica showed me my history. Now I’m gonna make my own.”
And I will be pleased and proud to watch you make that history Trini on our behalf.
I’m proud that TransGriot in its ten years of existence has led the way in sending the messages that LGBTQ rights are international human rights, we trans people exist we are part of the diverse mosaic of human life, and we will not be dehumanized or disrespected by friend, foe or frenemy.
Once again. I thank you for this award, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next decade holds in store for TransGriot and the TBLGQ community I serve.