Monica Roberts didn’t live here in Houston when I came out as trans, but she was soon headed back from her time away pursuing her career. Soon after her return, I was able to meet her and realized that in more ways than one, she was larger than life. Monica towered over me and wasn’t afraid to be a tall woman and take up all the space in the room.
Monica loved to share what she knew about our community: the history that she had researched, and the things that have been done in our name and by our ancestors. Monica was an amazing resource – both locally and to people globally. I don’t think people understood that for a long time.
I am embarrassed to admit that some of the lessons I didn’t learn right away. I remember one time, after being on the wrong side of a discussion, I saw Monica and she said: “Hello, Mr. Weaver.” I just smiled and nodded, “I’m glad we’re talking.” She said, “Of course we are. We’re on the same side and we need to be in this fight together.” Then she threw her arms around me and hugged me close. I smiled so big. I will never forget that moment.
Monica knew we were in for a long haul and that we would have to fight for many, many months. And she was ready for it.
She was the person we needed even though I am not sure we deserved her. The comments I heard from others about Monica were crouched in racism – not that I always realized it. It was like people couldn’t see her for who she was and what she was for our community.
She is and will be missed. She was gone far too soon. In some ways, I still can’t believe she’s gone.
I saw something on Facebook today about Ma Rainey and the new Netflix show. Ma was a Taurus – just like me and Monica. For a brief moment, I thought, “Oh my gosh, I need to share this with Monica”, and then I remembered…
Monica, you offered so much. So many lessons in history, activism, and anti-racism work. I thank you for that and I will keep learning, as I honor you as long as I possibly can.
Thanks for always giving us your best.