Verizon is committed to helping the nearly one in four women, one in seven men and more than 3 million children in the United States affected by domestic violence. We're doing our part to end this epidemic by collecting no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories and turning them into support for domestic violence organizations nationwide. Through HopeLine, we've donated hundreds of thousands of phones and awarded millions of dollars in cash grants to our partner agencies.

Wireless phones and technology serve as a vital link for all of us. They're also an especially safe and reliable way for domestic violence victims and survivors to reach emergency or support services in times of crisis and stay connected with employers, family and friends. 
  
Download the HopeLine Press Kit PDF (291 KB)

 

learn more at:

http://www.verizonwireless.com/aboutus/hopeline/index.html

  

 

 

 

 

 

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Chloie Jonnson is a transgender female and CrossFit athlete fighting for her rights to compete as a female in the CrossFit Games. CrossFit has issued a statement explaining why they denied Chloie the right to compete as female but gave her the option to compete as male competitor. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has agreed that Chloie Jonsson meets all requirements to compete as a female athlete but CrossFit denies her that right as a female athlete. Chloie has filed a lawsuit for $2.5 million against CrossFit for violating her civil rights and she is represented by attorney Waukeen McCoy.

Chloie and I talk in a live conversation about transgender equality, acceptance, tolerance and respect. Our discussion is about why mainstream America continues to deny transgenders equality. The lack of understanding of the transgender people seems to be the main driving force behind the discrimination, disrespect and intolerance. One of the most important reasons I wrote the memoir, I Rise, was to enlighten and educate people about who transgenders are and to give visibility to a small community most often forgotten and lost in our society.

Chloie was very honest and candid about her desire to be treated fairly and equally without special consideration. Both the state of California and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognize Chloie as a female in all rights and privileges. So the real question becomes why does CrossFit deny her the right to compete as a female? We both agreed that mainstream America has a lack of understanding of transgenders in perspective to their day-to-day lives.

Transgenders are only being authentic to who they really are and living life in the most authentic way they can possibly do. Transgenders bleed red, cry when hurt, long for acceptance and love and only desires to be treated fairly and equally. Both Chloie and I agree if given the opportunity we are just like every other American living life the best way we can. The misconceptions about transgenders and their life causes transphobia and discrimination based off the lack of knowledge, and we all know knowledge is power.

To listen to the live conversation between Chloie Jonsson and I, go here.

Chloie and I encourage transgender youth and transgender athletes to not be afraid or scared to be who you are and we encourage and stand with you. We support you and your right to be your authentic self. Do not be controlled by the fear or shame for being the real person within your very being. We are all God's children and we (everyone of us) is equal under his eyes. Tolerance, respect and acceptance are the key to treating everyone equally (including transgenders). I leave for those who continue to hate and be transphobic against my transgender brothers and sisters, these words from my favorite poet, Dr. Maya Angelou (Reynolds Professor of Wake Forest University):

Excerpt from Dr. Angelou's poem, I Rise

"You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise."

I RISE

Follow Toni Newman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tonidnewman

I met Daniel Sobieray almost a year ago through the casting of the LGBT feature film Heart of a Woman, based on my memoir I Rise. Daniel was auditioning for producer/screenwriter Alton Demore, British director Keith Holland and casting director Dea Vise for the lead male role of Derrick, a male escort for pay who is trying to achieve success as an actor in Hollywood. Daniel was selected for the role of Derrick because of his openness to be enlightened and educated about people different from himself. The cast of Heart of a Woman also includes transgender actress Angelica Ross, Rachel Sterling, Elisabeth Rohm and Leslie Jones.

Daniel was an all-American high school hockey athlete from Colorado and received a hockey scholarship at the University of Michigan, graduating with degree in finance. Daniel is a former Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss model who worked the runways in Europe from 2006 to 2009. In 2010, Daniel appeared on the soap All My Children, and he is currently on the soap Days of Our Lives.

I have been speaking to groups for the past four years about being an African-American transgender woman and what it means to have been born male and to have transitioned to the female gender. I have found that the perceptions of mainstream America stem from fear and the lack of knowledge about transgender people. Daniel shares his viewpoint as a heterosexual male athlete from the Midwest who had no knowledge of transgender people in his high school, his community or his church. His background is typical of most Americans who have no direct knowledge or interaction with transgender persons.

The T in the LGBT family is the smallest group of them all. Since the population of transgender people is low, we are rarely visible in day-to-day life, so many Americans form their perceptions out of fear and a lack of knowledge, I understand the rationale behind the fear but do not understand hatred and discrimination and violence against another human being of any kind. Transgender people across the world only seek fairness, justice and equal rights, like any other human being on the planet.

Daniel said that all human beings should be judged on character, not race, sex or gender. He stated that his parents taught him at an early age that everybody is equal and the same and should only be judged by how they treat others, not by physical characteristics. He stated that kids who are transgender should have right to use the bathroom without humiliation and have the right to play sports, if they are athletically qualified, on the teams that match their gender identity. The acceptance of all human beings regardless of race, sex and gender must begin in the home. Hatred, discrimination and violence against any transgender person has no place in an equal society of fair-minded people.

I challenge every American to give every transgender boy or girl, woman or man, a chance at fairness. Transgender people are not seeking special consideration, just equal rights, so that they can be their authentic self. I don't ask you to agree with my choice of transitioning; that was my personal journey, and it's between me and God. I just ask for fair opportunity to be who I am without violence and discrimination.

For more information on Daniel Sobieray and his career, visit his IMDb page.

2013-09-29-Dr.KortneyRZiegler.jpgDr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler is a writer, filmmaker, producer, artist and activist fighting for social justice in the trans community. In 2013 he was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Blog; he was the first African-American trans man to be nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. He is the founder of Who We Know, a paid fellowship focused on creating products and developing initiatives that economically empower the transgender community of color.

Dr. Ziegler is being honored with the Authentic Life Award by the Transgender Law Center, the largest transgender advocacy organization in the U.S., at their 2013 Spark! event on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel's Empire Ballroom in San Francisco.

My interview with Dr. Ziegler discusses race, gender, the fight for equality and the empowerment of the transgender community.

Toni Newman: What is your background?

Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler: I was born and raised in Compton, Calif., and I now live in Oakland, Calif. I am a writer, producer, filmmaker, entrepreneur and use tools and social media for social justice.

Newman: What is your educational background?

Ziegler: I completed a Ph.D. in African-American studies from Northwestern University, and I was the first graduate to complete this program, as well as the first African American. I have a master's in African-American studies, and a master's in ethnic studies, and a B.A. in film and digital media.

Newman: Why do you think education is so important to people of color, especially trans people of color?

Ziegler: Education is a way of social and cultural capital. Most people I meet are surprised that I have a Ph.D., and education gives me validity. I believe holding institutional degrees are a way to be very mobile socially, and seen as a way of being legitimate.

Newman: What is the purpose of your writings?

Ziegler: To express the humanity of people of color. I believe black trans people are so marginalized. I write to be visible as someone, as an intellectual, and show our humanity as people, to show what my experiences are as a black man and how my journey has changed in the last five years. I believe hearing other people's triumphs and struggles makes us more wholesome people. I also write to get things out of me and express my thoughts and feelings. I wrote a lot about my mother and her struggles with mental illness, and about my self-esteem when I don't feel so hot. I show people my soul with my writings and full expressions of myself.

Newman: What is your most cherished work?

Ziegler: Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen, done in 2008, is the most recognized and viewed work I have done.

Newman: Why do you think most trans people of color live below the poverty level?

Ziegler: We must figure out ways to redistribute money back to our community and empower one another and support one another. We must support others' ideals and say, "I love you, and I believe in you, and let's do this." I almost lost my home and car myself, so we should reach out for help and not be ashamed to ask for help if we need it.

Dr. Ziegler gave the keynote address at the Trans March 2013 in San Francisco, and it was truly moving. You can read it here.

To find out more about Dr. Ziegler, please go to kortneyrziegler.net.

John O'Connor, Executive Director of Equality California (EQCA), the largest statewide LGBT advocacy organization fighting for full equality for LGBT persons in California, appeared on my radio show to discuss LGBT equality after the victory for same-sex marriage in California, as well as important issues for LGBT equality in 2013 and the future.

John has been Executive Director of Equality California since January 2013. Before coming to EQCA, his experience included serving as Executive Director of the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, Program Director of the David Geffen Foundation, and National Director of the Gill Foundation, and working with former California First Lady Maria Shriver at the California Museum. O'Connor is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Together with its allies, Equality California has successfully sponsored more than 91 pieces of pro-LGBT legislation. The latest focus of Equality California is on improving the lives of LGBT Californians by fighting for LGBT youth, fighting against youth suicides, bullying, and anti-transgender harassment and discrimination, and protecting LGBT elders against abuse in nursing homes. The "T" in "LGBT" has sometimes been forgotten in the fight for full LGBT equality, and as an African-American transgender woman, I know how important equality is for my transgender brothers and sisters (especially the youth) trying to survive and live in the United States.

In 2013 Equality California has co-sponsored Assembly Bill 1266, the School Success and Opportunity Act. According to the Transgender Law Center, another co-sponsor of the bill:

AB 1266 will ensure that California public schools understand their responsibility for the success and well-being of all students, including transgender students, and will allow transgender students to fully participate in all school activities, sports teams, programs, and facilities in accordance with their gender identity. ...

California law already prohibits discrimination in education, but transgender students are often still unfairly excluded from physical education, athletic teams, and other school activities and facilities because of who they are. This exclusion negatively impacts students' ability to succeed in school and graduate with their class. For example, physical education classes help students develop healthy fitness habits and teach values like teamwork and fair competition - and P.E. credits are required, so students cannot graduate without them.

The Transgender Law Center further explains:

Co-authored by Senators Mark Leno and Ricardo Lara and Assemblymember Toni Atkins, the bill is backed by a coalition of leading organizations, including Transgender Law Center, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Gender Spectrum, Equality California, ACLU of California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, statewide teacher and parent organizations, and dozens of other organizations.

A.B. 1266 successfully passed both houses of the California state legislature and was just signed into law today, Aug. 12, by Gov. Jerry Brown. By signing this law, Gov. Brown continues his leadership on issues of equality and support for transgender students in their efforts to succeed in school and graduate on time.

With a brand-new physical location for Equality California, John O'Connor and his new management team (Deputy Director Jack Lorentz, Chief Administrative Officer Rikimah Glymph, Chief of Staff Tony Huang, and Communications Director Jesse Melgar) are marching forward to create a strong California and defending LGBT rights and protections, especially transgender rights.

In our interview, John O'Connor talks about his vision for the future of Equality California and the continued fight for full LGBT equality. He states that the mission is full equality for all LGBT persons and nothing less.

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Equality California phone team warriors (photo by Josh Steichmann)


Listen to the live interview with John O'Connor:

 

To all my transgender brothers and sisters: Stay encouraged, and remember that there are a lot of people fighting for your equality and rights and protections. We are God's children, created by Him, and we deserve fairness and equality, just like any other American citizen, and nothing less.

To find out more about Equality California, please go to eqca.org or contact Communications Director Jesse Melgar at jesse@eqca.org.

 

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As Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center, Masen Davis brings over two decades of leadership and activism in the movement toward LGBT equality. Since beginning this role in 2007, Davis has expanded the Transgender Law Center's annual operating budget from $385,000 to $1.4 million, thereby increasing the richness and expanding the impact of the organization's multidisciplinary programs. Masen received his B.A. from Northwestern University and his M.S.W. from UCLA.

Now that Proposition 8 and DOMA have been overturned, the LGBT community has claimed a big victory, but the fight for full LGBT equality moves forward. We have youth suicides, bullying, transgender discrimination and high rates of unemployment among transgender people, especially transgender people of color. Our fight for full equality within the LGBT community is far from over. My conversation with Masen Davis is important because we must not forget our transgender brothers and sisters trying to live authentic lives. The Transgender Law Center's motto is "making authentic lives possible."

Toni Newman: Who is Masen Davis? Where are you from? Give us a little bit of your background.

Masen Davis: Well, I'm originally from the Midwest. I grew up in a family with a Methodist minister for a father and grew up all over Missouri as we moved around to different churches, and then went off to school in Chicago before coming out to California in the mid-'90s and have been between Los Angeles and San Francisco ever since. I came out into the LGBT community about 20, 25 years ago at this point (though it's hard for me to imagine sometimes!) and then came out as transgender in my mid-20s and have been active in the community ever since. That's been about 16 years now, and it has been a real honor and joy to be able to be an activist full-time over the last six years while I've been at Transgender Law Center. I just can't imagine a better way to spend my time on this Earth, and I'm really appreciative of everybody who is able to be out as themselves as a transgender person, and those like yourself who are really bringing voice to the issues that so many of us face.

Newman: What is the Trangender Law Center, and what is your core purpose?

Davis: Well, the Transgender Law Center is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender and gender-nonconforming people throughout the United States. We started off as a project of the National Center for Lesbian Rights back in 2002, and we were focused on addressing the discrimination that transgender people faced in almost every institution in California at the time. And since then, we've been able to pass and help pass a whole slate of really strong laws in California and decided a couple of years ago to extend our work nationwide. So we now hear from about 2,500 transgender people across the country each year who are contacting us to get support for the challenges that they are facing, anywhere from issues impacting the ability to be themselves and to have the correct gender marker on their identity documents. We get a lot of calls about employment discrimination, a lot of calls about health care access, and a lot of people contacting us about issues in schools and in their families. Our motto is to "make authentic lives possible." We really believe that all of us as transgender people deserve to be fully ourselves in whatever way that manifests, and our goal is to help make it a little easier for all of us to just be who we are. We've mostly focused on creating law, so through policy work and legislation, and forcing law through our legal services, and then we also work on making laws really real in the lives of transgender people by creating groundbreaking and kind of pilot projects like the Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative, a jobs program in San Francisco, and Project H.E.A.L.T.H., increasing access to community health services for low-income folks. So we've been quiet in San Francisco for a number of years. I think that we've been a lot more visible in the last few as we've been doing more public work at the national level, and we're very proud at this point, I believe, to be the largest transgender advocacy organization in the United States and continue to gear up to, you know, keep pushing things forward.

Newman: Now, what laws are you sponsoring in 2013 that you think are the most beneficial to transgender people in California as well as the nation?

Davis: In California we have three bills that we've been doing some work on that I think are really important. One is A.B. 1121, which would make it a lot easier for transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate. To be honest, we've done a number of tweaks to this over the years, but in California you still have to get a court-ordered gender change in order to change your birth certificate, and then publish that in the newspaper. And as you know, Toni, that can be really expensive and challenging for a lot of transgender people to accomplish, so the new bill that we've put up now would create an alternate process, so people don't have to go through the court system, and to end the process where people have to pay oftentimes a lot of money to publish their name change in a newspaper. This one's been really important to me, just because I see how hard it is for low-income trans folks to go through the court process, and I really hope this makes it a lot more affordable and easier for everyone to have an ID document that matches who we really are.

The second law is one that is the first time that this kind of law has been introduced, I believe, in the United States, and it is A.B. 1266, the School Success and Opportunity Act, and this is one I'm pretty excited about at this point. We hear from transgender students around the country who say that they are having a hard time making it through high school, because they don't have a bathroom they can use safely, or they can't attend and prepare for gym class, and as a result they're getting health problems and oftentimes not getting the credits they need to graduate on time. So the School Success and Opportunity Act is designed to ensure that in California, transgender students have access to the facilities and the activities that correspond with their gender identity, so that would mean that, basically, transgender girls in school are treated like other girls, transgender boys are treated like other boys, and they'd have access to gym class and restrooms that reflect the way they're going to school in the school day. This has been the first time we've seen this kind of bill go forward in the United States. We've been really impressed by how much success it has, in large part because of the parents and the trans youth who are speaking up for themselves and sharing their stories. That's made a really big difference. Both of these bills have passed the Assembly in California, and now we're on to the Senate, and we're really hopeful that they'll be passed and signed into law by the end of the year.

So the third one is one that we are not sponsoring at this point but we're supporting and I really want to encourage people in California to really speak out for, and that is A.B. 332, which would order police and prosecutors to stop using condoms as evidence of sex work. I don't know about you, but I know especially in some areas like Los Angeles, as I talk to trans women, especially transgender women of color, so many are harassed by police and, if they're actually carrying condoms, accused of being involved in sex work, merely because they want to protect themselves. And this is, one, just part of the overpolicing of transgender people that we've got to stop to begin with, but, two, it's is just really unhealthy to create any incentive for transgender people to not practice safe sex by having condoms. So I think this is a really important [bill], to stop this practice of using condoms as evidence of sex work, so that we can actually take care of ourselves and our partners.

Newman: The Transgender Law Center has joined with Equality California and its new executive director, John O'Connor, in sponsoring several bills here in California. Equality California is the largest statewide LGBT advocacy organization in California working to secure full and lasting equality for and acceptance of LGBT people. How did that come about, these two organizations coming together to co-sponsor bills that are beneficial mainly to transgender people?

Davis: We've actually had a pretty good relationship with Equality California over the years. It's interesting: If I look at what's going on in other states, oftentimes there are challenges getting the state equality groups, which are predominantly, or at least historically have been predominantly, gay and lesbian, it's been hard to get a lot of them to really take on some bigger transgender projects. I will say I feel really fortunate in California that our state equality group here, Equality California, has been generally very receptive to introducing transgender-specific legislation. I think part of that is because they've actually had transgender people on their board, and their leadership has specifically had relationships with transgender people. That's really helped them to understand how important this issue is. So we've partnered with Equality California now for a number of years on different pieces of transgender legislation, which is one of the reasons we have really good protections now, at least on paper, when it comes to transgender people at work, at school, in housing, and even in our insurance coverage. So it's been neat to work with John as the new leadership of Equality California, and to see that they are continuing this history of support for the transgender community. I think they see that while we've had a lot of progress around gay and lesbian rights, equality for transgender people still lags behind, and that we just have to work together to change that. What I really hope is that this kind of model can be increasingly replicated in other parts of the country, because we have so many states that have almost no protection throughout the U.S., and I do think if the LGB(-and-sometimes-small-T) groups worked more intensely with the transgender-specific groups that we would move that forward a lot more quickly.

Newman: Why do you think so many trans women, especially trans women of color, live below the poverty level and have high rates of unemployment?

Davis: I think there are a lot of reasons, Toni, and I'd be interested to kind of get your own perception of that. It is interesting. You talked about coming out about 15 years ago, and I came out around that time period, and at the time, I think so many -- almost all -- of us who were transgender assumed that we would lose our jobs and might not do very well once we came out as transgender. And I do think that that's improved for a lot of transgender people. ... But we know from some of the research that's been done both in California and nationwide that while transgender people in general are twice as likely to be unemployed, twice as likely to live under the poverty line, when it comes to transgender people of color, they are four times as likely to be living under the poverty line, so that the intersection of transphobia and racism is just really deadly, and we've got to figure out, how do we make sure that all of us are able to take care of ourselves and our families? If you look at what African Americans and Latinos in general in California face because of racism, I believe there are a lot of barriers still to employment, and way-too-high poverty levels. When you add that to somebody being transgender, it can just be really challenging. I think, though, at the same time that there's a lot of resiliency I see, especially in African-American and Latino trans communities, having come up in L.A. myself, seeing how tight people are and how much support. I think that there's a lot of folks who are beating the odds and are really working to change things. And I've been really impressed by some of the work that's happened. For example, I think about some of the activists like Bamby Salcedo in L.A., who went back to school and has talked publicly about the experience of getting a bachelor's degree and what that has been like. I think it creates a new role model for other trans women to see that there are a lot of options, and that there are opportunities to get an education and to get into the workplace and to stand up and fight for all that we need as a people.

Newman: So do you believe that education could turn the poverty and high rates of employment around for transgender people?

Davis: I think there are three things that I think that are especially important, and one is family acceptance, because we know for any of our trans youth, if they have families that accept them as they are, whether or not they agree or understand, if they can actually accept their kids, and our youth are able to stay in their homes when they're young, that makes such a big difference. And then education. We did a survey on the state of transgender California a few years ago, and we found out that what seemed to make a big difference about how somebody was doing economically was whether or not they had two years of college. So they didn't necessarily need to have a bachelor's degree, but if someone had basically an AA degree or two years of community college, their financial status was so much better in the long run. So if somebody can get a GED or graduate, get into college, even a couple of years, and then get some support to get into the workforce, which is, I guess, my third thing... I do think workforce programs that help trans people navigate some of the barriers we face, whether that's just the fact that sometimes we have to come out to our employers, we have to learn what to do when somebody might harass us at work or we deal with somebody who is bigoted or biased, I think the help getting into the workforce and navigating those challenges can be really helpful. In L.A. you've got at the [L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center] the TEEP that Drian Juarez runs, the Transgender Economic Empowerment Project; I think [that] can be really be helpful once somebody gets their foot in the door. But we've got to have family support, we've got to get some education, and we need to at least get into the door to get our first job and stay there for a while so we get something on the résumé. And I think if we could do those things, things are better.

Newman: Do you have anything else to say before I let you go?

Davis: The last thing I will say is one thing that many people don't realize is that a legal case was settled last year that resulted in transgender people being covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and what that means now is that transgender people anywhere in the United States, even if they are in a state that's not very supportive, can now file a complaint with their local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office if they're discriminated against at work. We have to get the word out that we actually do have basic protections, and that employers are on the hook for treating us well.

* * * * *

Equality in the LGBT community has advanced so much over the years, but our fight is not over. As long as there is discrimination in the LGBT community, the fight must move on, and we cannot forget our transgender brother and sisters. I applaud so many trans men and trans women for lifting their voices and being visible in 2013, but we must continue to fight and eradicate discrimination and transphobia.

For all the trans people of color, we are here and fighting to make things better for us all. God loves us all, and you are entitled to an authentic life full of love, peace and joy.

 
 
 

 

Follow Toni Newman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tonidnewman

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Toni Newman is a 1985 graduate of Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She is currently studying law with plans of becoming a lawyer defending the Transgenders and their rights. For the last twenty years, Toni has been making Male-to-Female (MTF) transformation. For ten years, she worked as a professional mistress with a female mistress and male master. They were known as THE EROTIC PROFESSIONALS with celebrity clients. Together with her business partner, Alton Willoughby, Toni has written a teleplay and screenplay about the trio's escapades as escorts. It would be her greatest wish to be the first African American Transgender to have her script made successfully into a feature film.

June 5, 2013

It’s no secret that the queer and LGBT community often only speaks trans women of color’s names after our sisters are long gone. Often times, we know nothing about these women, holding them up as martyrs/symbols to fight for stronger hate crime legislation (although most TWoC murders are unsolved, from Marsha P. Johnson and Brandy Martell to Lorena Escalera) and gain empathy, resources and fundraising that’s funneled into the further mainstreaming of this movement.

When I walk into queer and gender studies spaces on campuses across the country, I’ve witnessed people theorize about these women’s lives. But we often know nothing about their lived experiences, about how these women survived and loved and gave and fought this racist, classist, misogynistic and femme-phobic world.

We need to begin giving these women the space and resources during their survival, during their active lives, to tell their stories, to share their insights, to speak up for themselves. Reading their names once a year is not enough.

That’s why I am so grateful that Lovemme Corazón, a 19-year-old trans woman of color, wrote her memoir Trauma Queenwhich was released this week by the trans woman of color focused publisher, biyuti publishing.

“I’m really happy that this is concrete, tangible evidence that I have lived and what I have survived,” Lovemme says in a video on her tumblr page.

Lovemme discusses depression, child sexual abuse, rape, violence and sex work. This is her lived experience, one that mirrors that of many of my sisters, the sisters who are overwhelmingly represented in reports like the one released this week from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which shows that trans women of color are yet again the most vulnerable to survere violence and murder (with trans women of color homicides rising 13% from last year’s report).

The topics Lovemme is vulnerable and strong enough to share with us are difficult to hear. It’s even more difficult to experience, feel, internalize and then go out in the world and share while still in the midst of survival. Our community also shames trans women of color into silence in a myriad of ways, one of which involves systematic exclusion and an overwhelming lack of representation.

Last year, I attended a panel discussion at Barnard College on trans women’s literature and stood witness as folks in the space, mostly white, basically dismissed the genre of trans memoir, as if it were so 2000 and late.  As a lover of literature, of books and a writer who is working on a memoir that would be categorized as “trans memoir,” I was twitching in my seat hearing these shortsighted comments.

What seemed to be glaringly missing from these comments was the fact that trans memoir has been dominated by a certain story, that of an older white trans person. From the 30-plus books I have on my self that would be categorized as trans memoir, only four of them are from trans women of color:

After that panel, I sought counsel from my dear sister reina gossett, who moderated the discussion and highlighted the workings of white supremacy and the fact that not all people, specifically trans women of color, are granted equal access to write, share and publish their stories. This unequal access to publishing has left a gaping hole in this genre and the imaginings of what we say is possible for trans people on the margins.

Many trans folks have been able to hear their story told through other trans folk in literature who have represented them and resonated in some way. Yet the stories that have dominated this genre have nothing to do with me. I, a young, poor-raised, multi-racial trans women, did not have access to stories because the stories I craved did not exist, and the ones that did exist are consistently being erased. And because I didn’t have examples of women like me who made it through it was difficult to imagine a future beyond what I was living.

When we discuss resources (sitting space and time, pen, paper, computers, wifi, internet, editors, publishers), we must realize that everyone doesn’t have equal access to those resources.

Some of our stories have yet to be told. Some of our stories aren’t just about gender. Some of our stories are about the shaming of our color, about the way the world views us as less valuable, about how we’re told to pull ourselves up and when we resort to the necessary acts of  survival, we’re told to be quiet. Some of our stories are about how even in spaces of community we’re silenced.

I have hope that access will slowly change this paradigm, that smaller publishers like biyuti publishing, the Red Umbrella Project and Topside Press (which is publishing the incomparable Ryka Aoki’s upcoming novel) will help add more diverse trans voices to our bookshelves. I personally can’t wait to add Lovemme’s book to mine. I hope you add it as well.

Kyle RIchards and Mauricio Umansky

The heartbreak continues for Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kyle RichardsYet another woman has come forward saying she’s had sexual relations with Kyle’s husband Mauricio Umansky, and these claims might just be the most shocking yet!

Transgender stripper Toni Newman claimed to Star that she and her escort partner engaged in a wild sex romp with Mauricio. “We had many high-end clients between 2003 and 2005, Mauricio being one of them” Toni said.

Although both Kyle and Mauricio have continuously denied that he’s a cheater, and Mauricio has denied Newman’s claim, the details Toni shares with Star sure do raise a lot of questions. Find out all the specifics in the latest issue of Star, on newsstands now!

MORE LINKS

See Which Real Housewives Came Out to Support Kyle Richards

Read Mauricio’s Denial Here

Kyle Richards nearly quit The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills over allegations that her husband Mauricio Umansky cheated on her and now faces new claims he was involved in a kinky threesome.

The 44-year-old reality TV star was talked out of leaving last month by the show's producers, but new revelations of an alleged threesome involving her husband, a female escort and a transsexual prostitute have surfaced.

Kyle and 42-year-old Mauricio have been married for 17 years and have three daughters together, Alexia, Sophia and Portia.

Cheating allegations: Mauricio Umansky, shown in March with wife Kyle Richards in Las Vegas, has been dogged with another allegation of philandering

Cheating allegations: Mauricio Umansky, shown in March with wife Kyle Richards in Las Vegas, has been dogged with another allegation of philandering

Mauricio has been the subject of philandering rumours and Star magazine this week added fuel with its report of a wild sex threesome.

The magazine interviewed a transgender former prostitute who claimed that her female escort partner brought Mauricio back to their home after picking him up at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

 

Toni Newman, a transsexual known as Mistress Terri, said she and her escort partner Mistress Carmen, 29, ran their sex business out of their apartment in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles.

Longtime marriage: Kyle and Mauricio, shown last month in Beverly Hills, California, have been married for 17 years and have three daughters together

Longtime marriage: Kyle and Mauricio, shown last month in Beverly Hills, California, have been married for 17 years and have three daughters together

'We had many high-end clients between 2003 and 2005, Mauricio being one of them,' said the 50-year-old Newman, who recently released the memoir I Rise detailing her life as a prostitute,

Newman said the duo worked by having Mistress Carmen take men into her room where she would offer them the option of having her transsexual partner come in.

'Mauricio went for the threesome option and in a kinky twist asked both of them to dress up as police officers, Newman said.

Season four: Kyle recently dealt with allegations that Mauricio was cheating on her from her reality show cast mates
Season four: Kyle recently dealt with allegations that Mauricio was cheating on her from her reality show cast mates

Season four: Kyle recently dealt with allegations that Mauricio was cheating on her from her reality show cast mates

Mauricio has denied the claims by Newman and Mistress Carmen, calling them 'false' and 'utterly ridiculous.'

Kyle, who is the aunt of Paris Hilton, was confronted last month by co-stars Brandi Glanville and Lisa Vanderpump over Mauricio's alleged infidelities.

She reportedly refused to listen to them and was so upset she called producers to quit the show, but was talked out of it.

Kyle also has a daughter Farrah, 24, from her first marriage to Guraish Aldjufrie in 1988.

The fourth season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is set to premiere in the fall.

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