Considering I was dreading the start of 2017 because Dear Cheeto Leader was about to desecrate the White House and we were starting a Texas Legislative session in which the number one priority of the lieutenant governor was to oppress Texas trans people, it turned out better than I thought.
It was also a year in which I did more travel to events inside the Lone Star State than outside of it.
My first event of the year was a panel for Leadership Houston in which I got to talk about the Houston and Texas trans community and the potential devastating impact of SB 6 on us and the state if it got passed.
My first out of state trip in 2017 was one to Philadelphia for Creating Change. There was also a Trans United Fund board meeting and fundraising event at Philadelphia City Hall I was scheduled to speak at.
I noted the irony of #CC17 starting during the final days of the Obama administration and the beginning of the Trump one, and I was happy that the TUF board meeting happened on Friday during Dear Cheeto Leader’s inauguration so I didn’t have to see that train wreck .
One of the instate events I attended was in February. I traveled to Irving in the DFW ‘burbs for the Equality Texas sponsored Texas Transgender Leadership Institute. Once again I got to hang out with many of the DFW area Mama Bears, my BTAC family and other Texas trans leaders and allies from across the states for two days It was also the one in which I met the lovely Jessica Zyrie and Corpus Christi’s Kitana Sanchez for the first time, and got to spend some quality time with Rev. Angie Shannon.
Then there was the several moths long long all hands on deck fight to kill SB 6 that lasted through the regular and Special Oppression Session I made 8 total trips to Austin along with the Texas trans community and our allies to help kill that human rights abomination of a bill.
One of the 8 trips was in late February to finally get my gender marker changed thanks to Nikki Araguz Loyd and Trans National Alliance
I’ll show up from time to time for a street protest in solidarity with other groups. Was there at an ambush protest of Dan Patrick when he tried to sneak into Houston for the Houston Crime Stoppers dedication of the Dave Ward Building
On one of the Austin trips I went on offense and spoke at a hearing in favor of a Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) authored bill that would add gender identity and sexual orientation language to the Texas housing discrimination bill. Unfortunately that bill died during the regular session.
But y’all know I was there in the ATX giving Lois Kolkhorst and her GOP senate colleagues hell for attempting to pass this unjust bill. I had to sit in the Capitol a little over eleven hours tht day before I got my chance to chew on the Republican dominated panel, so I had more than enough time to figure out what I wanted to say.to the Texas GOP oppressors
Got a chance to spend some quality time with my TBLGQ journalist friends in Orlando in March for this year’s LGBT Media Journalist Convening. While we were there we took a trip to the Pulse nightclub to pay our respects to the 49 people who lost their lives in the mass shooting that happened here.
This year LGBTMedia17 was expanded to two days of workshops, and not only did I enjoy the extra day I got to spend with my LGBTMedia fam, I fell in love with the Rosen Center Hotel, especially since it was a block from a 7 Eleven.
I was also given the honor by the coalition of Latinx groups fighting the anti-immigrant SB 4 to speak that their Memorial Day rally at the state capitol to protest this unjust bill.
Thankfully it is tied up in the federal courts and here’s hoping that discriminatory and unjust piece of legislative refuse never sees the light of day.
One of my goals in 2017 was to be better at role modeling intersectionality. I wanted to build connections this year with not only the Houston Black lesbian community, but build and strengthen my relationships within the trans Latinx community.
I got plenty of opportunities to do so in 2017, and one of them was when the Transgender Law Center brought their Latino Leadership Institute to Houston, and I spent much of the day hanging out with Jennicet Gutierrez and many of the Latinx peeps from around the country who were in attendance.
I was invited by BLMHOU to speak at their rally condemning the Spirit of the Confederacy statue standing for now in Sam Houston Park downtown that unfortunately didn’t get swept away in the Hurricane Harvey caused flooding of Buffalo Bayou.
Was there along with BLMHOU and our allies to successfully help get Wesley Muhammad’s transphobic and homophobic ‘Chemical Femininity’ lecture moved from SHAPE Community Center. and was invited to speak at a #MeToo rally in downtown Houston organized by Kandice Webber
I did receive another award this year and it came from a surprising place in the Human Rights Campaign.
HRC Houston honored me on April 1 with their John Walzel Equality Award for my nearly 20 years of human rights activism on behalf of the community. Still have it on my shelf, so it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke knowing the long contentious history I had with HRC in the past.
But things didn’t all go my way in the awards department this year. Was nominated for my second GLAAD Media Award for Best Blog. That went to Alvin McEwen’s Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters.. Was nominated for a F.A.C.E. and OutSmart Gayest and Greatest Awards in several categories but this wasn’t my year for them either.. .
My bid to become the first ever trans woman of color named Houston Pride Parade Female Grand Marshal didn’t go my way this time either.
But it’s nice just to have people, and especially people in your hometown and birth state recognize your work. I did get to carry the trans pride flag as part of the color guard for this year’s Houston Pride parade.
Also got an opportunity to go to Netroots Nation again, which was being held in the ATL. It was my third Netroots Nation event (2012, 2016, 2017) and the first time I’d ever attended back to back ones.
I also happened to be in the ATL as the local trans community was holding a memorial service for their slain trans sister Tee Tee Dangerfield. I was just planning on attending and showing my support to the local community, but was asked by the organizers to represent the national trans community and speak .
While I was attending Netroots Nation, I was a participant in two panels. As the 2016 Netroots Nation Pundit Cup Champion, I was also a judge for the championship round and yep, it fell on me to cast the deciding vote. I passed the title on to my successor, 2017 Netroots Nation Pundit Cup Champion Tenaja Jordan. That made three straight years that the Pundit Cup Champ has been a Black woman, and two straight years the finalists had been people of color.
Should be interesting to see how the 2018 Pundit Cup competition shakes out in NOLA August 2-4.
Speaking of interesting, for the first time ever I got to attend San Diego Comic Con, and it was for a panel. After the panel Faith Cheltenham and I ended up called out a white woman dressed as Whoopi Goldberg’s Star Trek Next Gen character Guinan for wearing Blackface.
Reminder people, Blackface is not apropos anywhere for any reason, even at Comic Con. If you try it, you will get called out for it. I got to spend the next few days wandering around the convention center checking out the event as the Texas Senate held their second SB 6 hearing while i was out of the state.
There were radio and television interviews, panel discussions and Trans 101 class conversations at universities, showing up at Houston City Council a few times to speak and me teaching Texas Trans History at the TTNS in Nacogdoches and a few months later at Gender Infinity on the UH campus.
One of the last events I participated in for 2017 was a somber one. The vigil that was held at Houston City Hall to honor the 24th victim of anti-trans violence and the fourth in Texas this year in Brandi Seals. There are some issues that cropped up we will be dealing with in 2018
Guess I was little busier than I presumed I had been in 2017. With 2018 being an election year and this being my 20th anniversary year of trans and human rights activism, looks like I’m in for more of the same .