Join Janet Mock, Me and Other Trans Women Writers


Janet Mock, trans activist and author of the New York Times bestselling book Redefining Realness has gathered up a great group of trans women writers to celebrate Women’s History Month, talk about our craft, and interact with all of you this Wednesday, March 26! In on this conversation will be Toni Newman, Ryka Aoki, Janet Mock and me! It’s such a great honor for me to be included along with these great trans women authors. This is going to be a great way to learn more about trans women writers and get to know us better. Or, as the event page puts it:

Join #RedefiningRealness author +Janet Mock for a live, intimate conversation with some of her favorite trans women writers in celebration of Women’s History Month. They’ll be on-air discussing their books, writing and craft. Watch live and join the Q&A via Google Hangouts and broadcast on YouTube.

RedefiningRealness Conversations with Janet Mock - March 26 2014

If you’ve been reading Autostraddle for a little while, you’re probably already familiar with Janet Mock. She’s an activist, speaker, author and Piers Morgan slayer. Aoki is a “writer, performer, and educator who… was  honored as a member of the “Trans 100” list as one of 100 groundbreaking trans advocates from around the country, and named as one of “11 Trans Artists of Color You Should Know in 2013” by the Huffington Post.” Newman is the author of I Rise: The Transformation of Toni Newman, which is the first memoir written by an African American trans woman. This is an amazing bunch of talented and inspirational women that will each bring their own unique flawlessness to the table.

i.10.58 FLAWLESS

The chat is happening this Wednesday, March 26 at 8pm Eastern and you can either join in on the Google Hangout, or you can watch it later on Youtube. This is going to be a great conversation, complete with readings from the writers and discussion and questions submitted by viewers. Plus, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home. Make sure you check out the event page, RSVP and submit your questions!

You might remember a previous chat that she hosted back when her book first came out and landed on the bestseller list. If you enjoyed that chat, enjoyed reading Redefining Realness or enjoy the work of any of the other trans women writers involved (including me!), this is the perfect event for you. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to have your questions answered by some truly talented trans women!


Again, this conversation will be happening live at 8pm Eastern on March 26 via Google Hangouts. So get out your laptops and join in. This will be my first time doing something like this, so I’d love to see a bunch of friendly Autostraddle faces joining in the conversation!


John O'Connor, Director of Equality California, on the Future of Full LGBT Equality (AUDIO)

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.

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 or contact Communications Director Jesse Melgar at




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:


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.

Not All Memoirs Are Created Equal: The Gatekeeping of Trans Women of Color’s Stories

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.

Toni Newman & Kye Allums Honored


WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina – Wake Forest University will honor basketball stand-out Kye Allums and Wake Forest alumni, author Toni Newman among others as part of the University’s 50th anniversary celebration featuring “Faces of Courage,” on Thursday, Nov. 8th, 8-9:30 p.m. at the Annenberg Forum.

Kye Allums, the first openly trans NCAA Division I athlete, will speak about his experiences followed by an event slated to honor Toni Newman of Wake Forest’s class of 1985. The event is sponsored by Wake Forest’s LGBTQ Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and OUTLaw.

Watch a 2010 video of Allum’s ‘coming out’ press conference below. And visit Ms. Newman’s writing on WG, here. 


New Allegations That Mauricio is Cheating on Kyle Richards

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!


See Which Real Housewives Came Out to Support Kyle Richards

Read Mauricio’s Denial Here

Toni Newman

2012-10-18-101012fashionandbeautymichellebarackobamaebonycovermagazine.jpgIn the November 2012 issue of Ebony, which features President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on the cover, there is an article under the Spirit Quest section called "Transgender and God's Child," written by Michelle Burford, founding senior editor of O, The Oprah Magazine. Ms. Burford interviewed me about how I overcame homelessness, poverty and constant rejection and despair while transitioning from male to female with no support at all. The simple answer is my strong, deep faith in God and my ability to realize that if God is for me, anything is possible. The conversation between Michelle Burford and me was a very intense discussion of faith, religion and God. Can one be transgender and loved by God? The answer is yes, but it took me almost 20 years to find happiness, joy, self-love and the love of God as an African-American transgender woman.

Members of minority transgender communities, so stricken by drug abuse, sexual exploitation, explosive suicide rates, high rates of homelessness and a lack of access to education, all because of despair and rejection, are in need of some higher power just to sustain themselves in all the darkness. Once I began my transition and realized that I was all alone in my pursuit of my true gender identity and my happiness, things became very dark all around me. I lost my friends and family and all those I believed loved me unconditionally and truthfully. While in the darkness, I was tempted to overindulge in alcohol and drugs to make myself feel happier for the moment, but my constant faith kept me strong and moving forward. Faith is a firm trust in and loyalty to God or some higher spiritual being.

I have traveled all over the United States, and I have realized that all that transgender people of color need is a chance to be, and chance to find themselves an opportunity to move forward in society. Finding opportunity in the darkness of transition was my greatest obstacle. I believe that education and finding your spirit quest are the keys to survival for transgender people of color. I wrote my memoir, I Rise: The Transformation of Toni Newman, to enlighten and educate the world about what it is to be an African-American transgender woman.

Here are ten helpful guidelines for transgender people, especially my minority sisters and brothers:

  1. Finish high school or get your GED.
  2. Always be independent and the captain of your ship.
  3. Don't let others define who you are or pressure you into doing things that you are uncomfortable with.
  4. Follow your journey wherever it may take you.
  5. Stimulate your mind, whether it be through vocational or technical training or community college or university.
  6. Find strength within yourself through whatever you believe in as a higher power or spiritual being.
  7. Consult with a trusted physician or health-care professional about drugs for your transition process.
  8. Research thoroughly and carefully the drugs you'll need to take to transition from one gender to another.
  9. Don't depend on others, or on drugs or alcohol, to make you feel better, validate you or give you happiness.
  10. God is love, and love is for everyone. Love yourself for who you are, and always, always demand respect from your partner and associates. Remember that true love does not cause pain, humiliation or degradation.

Michelle Burford is currently co-writing 2012 Olympic champion Gabby Douglas' autobiography, Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith: The Gabrielle Douglas Story, due Dec. 4, 2012 and available for pre-order on



Follow Toni Newman on Twitter: Interviews Transgender Author Toni Newman

I Rise: The Transformation of Toni Newman, Available Now On Amazon

Published on October 9, 2012 by


Available now on Amazon, I Rise: The Transformation of Toni Newman; this is the first memoir written in America by a member of the African American transgender community. It is gut-wrenchingly honest, factually supported, and well written.  Dr. Marc Weiss Ph.D., Former Associate Professor of Urban Development, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University wrote the foreword to this memoir, is a best-selling author, and a former member of the Clinton administration.  The editor to the book is Kevin Hogan, Former Assistant Professor and Graduate of Boston College with Masters Degree in English Literature.


I Rise is the true story of Toni Newman’s transformation from an internally conflicted male to a proud, pre-operative transsexual. Born the eldest son into a strict Christian family, Toni admits knowing from her earliest days that she “was a different bird born in the wrong body.” With laser-guided sincerity, curiosity, and above all, humor and compassion, Toni tells her story of being a “sissy boy,” a scholarship student, a business professional, an escort, a drag queen, a NYC prostitute, an LA dominatrix, and finally, a transsexual attending law school in order to help her transsexual sisters in need.


From cross-dressing and Bible Study classes in Jacksonville, North Carolina, to writing and studying while tending to the fetish fantasies of Hollywood’s A-list, I Rise is far from a tale of fitting in. It is instead a unique and mesmerizing study of finding oneself in a world where gender and beauty can be hard fought for and earned. And Toni Newman, more than anyone else I know, deserves to be proud of her identity. Through the complete loss of friends, family support, employment and shelter, Toni was never deterred from seeking the path that was right for her.


When a minority community so stricken by drug abuse, sexual exploitation, explosive suicide rates, and lack of education, has a voice rise out of it as courageous and profound as Toni Newman’s, you do everything you can to make sure it’s a home run heard the world over.


Order your copy today:



Chapter 7 (The Erotic Professionals) within book I Rise has been turned into Feature film:  Heart of a Woman ( Directed by British Film Director Keith Holland starring Angelica Ross, Rachel Sterling, Daniel Sobieray, Elisabeth Rohm, Aerin O’Connell, and Leslie Jones.


Memoir I Rise:The Transformation of Toni Newman has been nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards in categories of Memoirs and Transgender Nonfiction.  This is the 24th annual Lambda Literary Awards.  The Lambda Literary Foundation Celebrates Excellence in LGBT Literature since 1989. …


Memoir I Rise makes the All Time Top 25 Best Transgender People Biographies List at #24. …

Heart of a Woman: The Transgender Female Journey

The male-to-female transformation is one that begins very early for most transgender people, with a feeling in the heart and the soul. The common thread I have found among most male-to-female transgender people is that they felt different ("I am in the wrong gender") from their very earliest memories. From my earliest memories, I remember my heart and soul beating to a different drummer and feeling that I was a different bird. "Heart of a woman" adequately describes what transgender women experience internally and the emotions and feelings that go along with that experience. It is such a natural transistion once the individual decides to walk this difficult journey. I applaud Matrix co-director Lana Wachowski for being true to herself no matter the obstacles. The difficulty comes in accepting the call of gender identity and being honest to oneself. The biggest obstacle is finally making that transistion and telling the public (family, friends, coworkers) the decision to change genders.

Having been raised in the Deep South in a Christian tradition, I am very aware of the teachings of the Bible and the strict values that are taught as being necessary for good Christians to uphold. I have studied the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, and consider it a source of encouragement and guidance. But I am so amazed by the major controversy over comments made by Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy regarding his stance on gay marriage. First and foremost, Mr. Cathy has a constitutional right to believe what he wants, and to state his beliefs. His beliefs do not have to coincide with mine, but as a business owner, I am baffled that a businessman would speak for his whole company, which is made up of individuals of various belief systems, sexual orientations, and gender identities.

In a July 19 blog for the Washington Post, Gregory Thomas writes:

[A]ccording to an interview published Monday in the Baptist Press ... Cathy says his Atlanta-based company is "very much supporting of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit."

Cathy also said on Ken Coleman's radio show in June that people advocating for same-sex marriage are "inviting God's judgment on our nation."

"As it relates to society in general I think we're inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake out fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" Cathy said. "And I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about."

As humans on the planet, and as people, we should always seek love and acceptance of one another. I respect Christian beliefs, but there is seldom respect for my beliefs. Must we all believe the same thing and do the same thing to be accepted and loved? There is not enough room for difference and individuality. I am an individual first, with my own beliefs and thoughts, and should be accepted for my originality. It baffles me how so many claim to speak for God and spread hate and discord under the banner of Christianity. God is love, and the best description of love that I have found is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

Tolerance and acceptance are what we need as a country and as people on this Earth. I have lived on this Earth as an African-American male, as a gay African-American male, and as a transgender African-American woman, and I am happiest now, with my heart full of love -- my heart of a woman.

Let's all love one another and treat each other with love, as God has instructed us all to do while living on this Earth.

My memoir, I Rise, has been adapted by British director Keith Holland and writer Alton Demore into a feature film called Heart of a Woman, with actors Elisabeth Rohm, Rachel Sterling, Daniel Sobieray, Angelica Ross, Aerin O'Connell, and Leslie Jones. For more information, visit



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Hip Hop Weekly Magazine Features LL Cool J and Transgender Author Toni Newman on LL Cool Gay Cover

Celebrity Gossip Journalist Jacky Jasper Interviewed Transgender Author Toni Newman about Her New Book I Rise and Celebrities LL Cool J, Eddie Murphy and NYC Hot 97 DJ Mister Cee she met as a Transgender Street Prostitute and Homeless a Decade ago.
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PRLog (Press Release) - Aug 08, 2011 - Hip Hop Weekly Magazine featured rapper/actor LL Cool J and Transgender Author Toni Newman on the cover titled LL COOL GAY?  The article was written by  Journalist/Celebrity Blogger Jacky Jasper of and features celebrities LL Cool J, Eddie Murphy and NYC Hot 97 DJ Mister Cee and their involvement with Transgender Toni Newman while she was a street prostitute and homeless over a decado ago.  Toni Newman in her book I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman discusses her  transformation from male to female and her struggles in beginning her transformation with no support.  Toni Newman is a 1985 graduate of Wake Forest University with BA degree and currently studying Law.  Before beginning her transformation Toni was a male fitness model who appeared in fitness magazines, male calendars, Playgirl Magazine and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

To Read the Entire Article In Hip Hop Weekly magazine go to :

Here is an excerpt from the article LL Cool Gay?
“LL Cool J was a onetime encounter and very enjoyable.”

“Mister Cee picked me up and many others for the sole purpose of receiving oral sex. Mister Cee was obsessive about receiving good head, and he was very verbal and very generous if you performed up to his expectations.”

“I never had an encounter with Eddie Murphy, but he was visiting 14th Street late at night. I know at least five transgender who did have sex with Eddie Murphy. He was interested in the girl with the biggest male genitalia.”

The book I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman is available on Amazon and Kindle now.  Here is the link to purchase the book. ...

To read more about Transgender Author Toni Newman and her Book I Rise go to and for PR media contact Kayo Anderson at  310-405-9839.

Transgender Author Toni Newman Opposes Dr. Keith Albow position That Transgenderism is Similar to Heroin Addiction


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Dr. Keith Albow has described Transgenderism to being addicted to heroin or being a drug addict.  I recently met Transgender Author Toni Newman who just recently wrote a memoir called I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman. Her book talks about a 20 year journey of transforming from male to female.  Toni Newman is the first African American Transgender to write a memoir in the United States.

I Rise, is the true story of Toni Newman's transformation from an effeminate, conflicted male to a proud, educated transsexual. You will follow Toni on her rise from a "sissy boy," a scholarship student, a business professional, an escort, a drag queen, a NYC prostitute, an LA dominatrix, and finally, a transsexual attending law school in order to help her transsexual sisters in need. Along Toni's journey you will see the highs and lows, as well as life-long quest for self-acceptance".

Toni addresses the comment of transgenderism as being addicted to heroin by saying "I lived on  the streets as homeless person of New York City for two years and I have lived with drug addicted people in a crack hotel and from time to time I ate from restaurant trash cans, but not once did I partake in any type of drugs or become addicted to heroin or any type of drugs.  I had no support from family or friends during my initial transformation which left me in a really bad situation.  I lived in a drug environment for two years and I never became a drug addict. 
My focus was transforming from male to female and being true to myself.  I can assure you kids reading a transgender book or watching a transgender on television will not desire to change to the opposite sex.  Transforming comes from deep deep within and one does not take that journey unless they are convinced within that they were born in the wrong body.  It took me almost ten years of soul searching after graduating from Wake Forest University to begin my personal transformation from male to female.  I know heroin addicts and I can assure you being transgender is not like a heroin addict."

Dr. John Oldham, M.D. (President, American Psychiatric Association) wrote:  "The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes gender identity disorder (GID) as a psychiatric disorder that involves significant distress or impairment in functioning.  The APA supports access to appropriate diagnosis and treatment for persons with GID and recognizes that the decision to undergo gender transition is a deeply personal one.  The APA opposes all forms of discrimination against persons with GID.  There is no evidence that viewing a television show with a transgender contestant or reading a book by a transgender would induce Gender Identity Disorder in young people."

We are all just trying to be true to ourselves no matter who we are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Toni can be found on myspace, twitter and facebook at tonidnewman. Her webpage is  

Did LL Cool J Pay a Tranny for Sex?


The Ladies might Love Cool James, but does LL Cool J love them back?

No, according to Toni Newman, a former transsexual prostitute who writes in a new book, excerpted in the latest issue of Hip Hop Weekly, that the rapper/NCIS: Los Angeles star was once his client!

Is LL Cool J Gay?

"I had sex with LL Cool J," Newman claims in his memoir. "For a street prostitute doing fifty-dollar blow jobs and hundred dollar hotel dates, he gave me five times more that I had already made... I wasn't aware until we got into the encounter and the glasses came off that he was in fact LL Cool J. We were a versatile group, and when I say versatile, that means the other person gives and receives."

We wonder how LL will respond to this allegation. If he takes the advice of his Mama, Newman will soon be knocked out.

Whoa! Transsexual "Memoirist" Claims To Having An Affair With LL Cool J!


If you haven't gotten your latest copy of Hip Hop Weekly in the mail yet, you're missing their biggest story to date. The mag has an exclusive interview with one Miz Toni Newman, who until recently, worked NYC's "Tranny Row" for years, but now considers herself a "memoirist." She has a new book out that documents her time as a prostitute and within the pages, she details the, um, services she provided to some of her more profitable clients…like LL!

In her interview, she revealed:

"I had sex with LL Cool J. At that point, he had been one of the top five dates I ever had. I made over five-hundred dollars. For a street prostitute doing fifty-dollar blow jobs and hundred dollar hotel dates, he gave me five times more that I had already made…I wasn't aware until we got into the encounter and the glasses came off that he was in fact LL Cool J. We were a versatile group, and when I say versatile, that means the other person gives and receives."

Share, share! That's fair! LOLZ!

We find this really hard to believe, considering the source and the subject, but we have to admit, stranger things have happened.

No doubt LL will have something to say about this. Just chose your words carefully!

Do U think LL was involved in something this scandalous???

Ex PlayGirl magazine model and male fitness model turned transgender author Toni Newman called into the TT Torrez show to chit chat with TT about the hardships of transforming from a southern boy to a woman, his book I Rise and whether or not she slept with LL Cool J.

Check it out:


On his book I Rise:

The book is about his 25-year journey from going from a southern North Carolina boy to a full fledge transgender in 2011. It took him 25 years to transform himself from a male to a female.

The book will be in stores on June 1st but you can get the e-book on

On his background:

He was born in the south in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He realized at the age of 8 that something was different about him and he would be called a “sissy boy” by family members.

He said he had his first sexual experience with another male in high school.  He didn’t immediately come out because he was bought up as a Christian and his family wouldn’t have accepted that. He didn’t come out until he went off to college.

On his previous success:

He was an ex-play girl magazine model. He said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to transform and become transgendered because back then after doing research he found that many transgenders didn’t have a real job and was prostituting.

He decided to go against how he was feeling and started bodybuilding but he would still “drag” at night.

On transitioning into a woman:

7 years after he graduated from college he became a full-fledged drag queen. He “dragged” for 4 years. Then in 97-98 he began taking hormonal pills and getting “pumped” with silicone in his chest, face and buttocks. In 99-2000 he went full-fledged transgender (meaning going out in the daytime). He said he resembles a woman and doesn’t deny he was born a man.  At this point, he has not had his penis removed and doesn’t plan on it.

On having an encounter with a woman:

Toni said she tried to have sex with a female one drunken night but she “never got up.”

On “his fall from grace”:

Toni has a degree from Wake Forest University; she was the CEO of MPI Productions, and producer of male/female fitness calendars. She began accepting money from people to see her body (as a male body builder) and that’s the beginning stages leading her into prostitution.

On if he slept with LL Cool J:

Toni said she DID sleep with LL Cool J as a street prostitute one time. She said LL was one of hundreds during that time. She said there are so many other names but she doesn’t name them in his book. She said LL was a ONE time encounter.

Toni signed a contract with The National Enquirer and took a lie detector test to prove that she did have sex with LL. Later, The National Enquirer contacted Toni and said they were not going to run the story and she was released from his contract. She said she has taken another polygraph with another magazine with the same 9 questions.

On Eddie Murphy, DJ Mister Cee and rappers:

Toni said Eddie Murphy was caught with a transgendered prostitute. She said she’s never had an encounter with Eddie Murphy but she knows at least 5-10 transgenders who has been with him, some more then once.

Toni said DJ Mister Cee was caught two times previously before his latest arrest with a transgender. She said this is his 3rd arrest for picking up a transgendered prostitute. She said she has many encounters with Mister Cee on more then 10 occasions. No sex, just oral. She said he will treat you well financially and will give you an extra $20-$40 if he enjoyed it.

She admits to having sex with rappers as well and will take a polygraph test to prove it verses just going around saying she slept with this person and that person.

On the transgendered community dealing with downlow men:

Toni said she has always used condoms but a lot of these downlow men want it “raw and bare” and will pay that extra money to get it. Toni said these men get down and then go back to their girlfriends and wives.

Toni said that there are many trangenders who DON’T have a job, so how are these people surviving if no one is supporting them? You don’t see them in professional settings and in your Starbucks, so how are they surviving?

On why she hasn’t named any names in her book:

At the beginning she said she was going to name names but she got up to 38 names. Toni’s editor said she shouldn’t out anyone because it would get her into a world of trouble.

On celebs being bisexual:

Toni said there are many men on the downlow who are celebrities, politicians, etc. She said these men would not consider themselves bisexual or gay because “she” has breast. She said that they are blindsided by the glitz and glamour. She said if it’s happening and these transgenders have proof, then why should they have to keep quiet about it?

On if all the men she’s slept with knew she was born a man, including LL Cool J:
She said when she is naked she has male genitalia between her legs. Whether she tells them or not, it’s a little hard to hide so they know!

LL Cool J Rep Denies Transexual Encounter

The Internet went crazy today (May 6) when a transexual named Toni Newman, claimed that she had sex with rap legend LL Cool J. [Listen above] The hip-hop veteran’s manager, Claudine Joseph, vehemently denied the accusations to, calling them “pure comedy.”

Newman recently appeared on Santillian and the Wild Out Wake-Up Show on 102-Jamz in Greensboro, North Carolina. During the 15-minute interview, Newman, a woman that was born a man, said that she had sexual relations with Cool J.

“I was a street prostitute and LL picked me up, back as a street prostitute walking the block what we called trannie now,” she alleged. “There were lots of trannies walking that block, late at night back in the days. That’s how we all made our money….that was in the late ’90s, so about 13 years ago.”

Newman went on to say that LL was aware that she was a man, and they had sex. She claimed the former Def Jam MC paid her $500.

Along with Cool J, Newman writes about her experiences with several other famous figures like Hot 97 DJ, Mister Cee (who was recently arrested for indecent exposure with a drag queen in New York City), Eddie Murphy and others. Her book, I Rise: The Transformation of Toni Newman, is currently on stands. —Elan Mancini

3.0 out of 5 stars Repriced appropriately. Short, but good reading, May 5, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

After being the first to write a review questioning the $45.00 price tag that originally accompanied this book, I felt almost compelled to purchase it the moment I noticed the author seemingly had heeded my advice (and that of all the "seconds" by other interested folks) and repriced it at my suggested purchase point of $9.99. For the most part, although it was rather short in length and sometimes a bit repetitious, I wasn't sorry I did so.

The author's account held my interest as she described her gradual, impactful and almost inexorable march toward gender transition. This autobiographical narrative was a very moving, graphical and seemingly honest presentation of the author's journey from a male gender role to a female one. Along with her transformation, the author vividly describes the struggles of being transsexual in the context of the enhanced hardships she endured, just by virtue of being an African American transsexual, an exceptionally rare bird indeed. Her viewpoint, as a person of color, provides the reader with a much different and very unique perspective.

I found the account of the author's transition to be quite a refreshing change from the more common, almost cookie-cutter narratives of the similar journeys of white, middle class types, not that those transitions weren't unique and fraught with their own particular issues, it's just that no other account I've read about previously was by a black transgender person, and very few memoirs or autobiographies reveal such intimate details of what many would consider to be a rather sordid side of life. The author, who lived for many years on the "Wild Side," has obviously come through her experience in great emotional shape, keeping that part of her existence in complete prospective as being necessary for her survival at the time. Other memoirs, "I'm Not Myself These Days," by Josh Kilmer, or, "The Champagne Slipper" by Joann Layne, come to mind as being comparable in this sense.

Just a couple of concerns I wanted to express. First, in terms of the writing, which on the whole is excellent, I want to point out that being "transgender" or "transsexual" is described on several occasions as a "life style," when, in reality, it isn't that at all, but as much a part of a person as their arm. I know the author realizes this, but I think this idea is expressed incorrectly a few times, including in the forward, written by a learned individual.

In addition, I felt the author did quite a bit of gratuitous "name-dropping," particularly in the first half, that wasn't really necessary to the cause of the book. It seems that there wasn't much connection with the celebrities she encountered at that time, other than simply crossing paths with them. Later on, the author relates that she interacted, rather intimately it seems, with some other famous individuals, but doesn't mention their names, obviously not to embarrass them. However, one can determine who they were by doing a search of the author's name on Google, as the author apparently did eventually disclose their identities in interviews she did.

Lastly, this book is a very short and disappointing four-hour length, as a Kindle text-to-speech experience, but let me take the high road here and just say that I'm pleased the author repriced it and that, although short and sweet, I really enjoyed it.

Transgender Woman Outs Celebs in Her New Tell-All Book

Author Toni Newman makes claims that put LL Cool J, Eddie Murphy and DJ Mister Cee on blast.

Posted: 05/04/2011 10:27 AM EDT

(Photo: CreateSpace)

Move over Superhead! There’s a new girl in town, and she’s claiming to have some juicy details about big names in the entertainment industry. In the tell-all book I Rise, The Transformation of Toni Newman, which is currently available for purchase, Newman talks about the journey from being born a little boy in North Carolina to working the New York streets as a “lady of the night.” During her days as a prostitute, Newman details alleged encounters with rapper LL Cool J, comedian Eddie Murphy and Hot 97 DJ Mister Cee.



Here are excerpts from Toni’s book:  


“LL Cool J was a onetime encounter and very enjoyable.”


“Mister Cee picked me up and many others for the sole purpose of receiving oral sex. Mister Cee was obsessive about receiving good head, and he was very verbal and very generous if you performed up to his expectations.”


“I never had an encounter with Eddie Murphy, but he was visiting 14th Street late at night. I know at least five transgender who did have sex with Eddie Murphy. He was interested in the girl with the biggest male genitalia.”


So much for client confidentiality! If the tales are true, of course.

Toni Newman Interview with DJ Baker about LL Cool J and Eddie Murphy and other Celebrity Clients

Taken during MyCokeFest at Centennial Olympic ...

Image via Wikipedia

DJ Baker interviewed Toni Newman today on his 900th show, the Da Doo-Dirty Show. The Da Doo-Dirty Show is the longest running LGBT urban daily syndicated radio program on the internet. In the interview Toni Discusses her life on the street in Harlem and many of the clients she had as a transgendered prostitute including LL Cool J, the smooth rapper, known for licking his lips during concerts and interviews.

Click on the link below to hear the interview. The link goes to Podomatic.

The Da Doo-Dirty Show is an hour long. To skip to Newman’s interview scroll to 56:40 mark or listen to the whole Da Doo-Dirty show. In the show DJ Baker discusses:

  • Celebrity Apprentice and who goes home
  • Who’s joining the X Factor
  • Will Smith playing a slave in a Quentin Tarantino “Spaghetti Western
  • Oprah’s OWN Network
  • 50 Cent canceling his headphone line
  • Gay-bashing outside a Texas Gay Club
  • And out music news

Toni Newman Interview Discussing LL Cool J, Eddie Murphy, Brian McKnight, and many others (This is the interview link)

If you like DJ’s radio show  also check out his late night show below.

This year has seen a big push for equality and equal rights for all LGBT Americans, including for the transgender community. As an African-American transgender woman, I have faced much discrimination and injustice in my life. Transgender people of color continue to fight for basic human rights in the justice system, but today we have achieved broader awareness and understanding of our issues. I believe equality is a right for all American citizens regardless of economic status, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

As young kids, we all learned about the Declaration of Independence in history class. I believe our founding fathers spoke to equality and human rights in the very beginning while establishing our country. The United States' Declaration of Independence, adopted in 1776 by Congress, speaks to the equal rights of all humans by saying, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This statement became the foundation and the underlying principle that the United States was to strive for and stand for.

In no particular order, here are five organizations pushing for equality and human rights for all LGBT people:

  • The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), led by Mara Keisling, achieved four major results for transgender equality in 2012: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the end of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in all public or public-funded housing programs and homeless shelters; prison regulations included better recommendations for treatment of trans prisoners; the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) updated its medical requirements to reduce the burden on trans pilots; and the TONI project, a resource for trans students to connect, share information and organize for trans equality on college campuses, was released.
  • Equality California, the largest statewide LGBT advocacy organization in California, is working to secure long-lasting equality for LGBT people. The new executive director, John O'Connor, is pusing for the equality of all LGBT persons. Equality California has successfully passed more than 90 pieces of civil rights legislation for the LGBT community and six bills in 2012.
  • releases the first issue of Proud to be Out: The Magazine on Jan. 2, 2013. The magazine, founded by Theresa Goss, will speak to the happiness and equality of the LGBT community, especially those sometimes forgotten even by many within the LGBT community. The goal is communicating that finding truth in oneself can bring happiness and self-esteem. Speaking the truth will indeed set you free and put you on a course that leads to happiness and freedom.
  • The Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC), led by transgender attorney and activist Kylar Broadus, seeks to break the cycle of discrimination "and empower our community by building a pipeline of activists and advocates to engage and connect with one another to create a holistic movement of support, resources, and education by and for transpeople of color." The Trans People of Color Coalition is the only national social justice organization that promotes the interests of trans people of color.
  • The National Black Justice Coaltion (NBJC), led by Executive Director Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, is a civil rights organization "dedicated to empowering black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people." NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia. NBJC is focused on federal public policy and striving for racial justice and LGBT equality.

As 2013 approaches, we must all accept each other's differences and learn from one another. Hate and discrimination eat away at human rights and equality and hurt our society. Education and knowledge always fight discrimination and homophobia. I firmly believe that if we continue to educate and inform each other, we can achieve equality and human rights for all persons regardless of economic status, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. God has made us all equal beings, each with our own will, so let's end discrimination, homophobia and transphobia by choosing to love, not hate.

Happy holidays, and God bless you all in 2013.



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Bestselling LGBT Author Lee Hayes Talks About His New Novel

by ToniNewman

Listen to internet radio with ToniNewman on Blog Talk Radio
Lee Hayes is the bestselling LGBT author of the novels Passion Marks, A Deeper Blue: Passion Marks II, The Messiah, The Bad Seed and editor of the erotic anthology, Flesh to Flesh.  His latest novel, The First Male, was released in September 2012 and is available wherever books are sold. 
The first male born of the first born Thibodeaux male has been prophesied to become the destroyer of worlds. Adelaide Thibodeaux, the Priestess Supreme of the Sister-Clan, has a sworn duty to protect the world, even against her own flesh and blood. Her powerful magic has kept the first maleher grandchildhidden from everyone, including herself.  
Lee is a southern native, born and raised in Texas.  He graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and received his Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from The Bernard M. Baruch College, City University of New York in 2005.
Lee currently resides in the Washington, DC metro area. He can be reached via his website at

23 Inspiring Women Who Are Blazing Trails for the LGBT Community

I'm inspired almost daily, either by a song that I hear, an article that I read, a film that I see or even a tweet that I stumble upon. No matter the medium, it's always refreshing to see people hone their crafts, especially while living openly and authentically.

With March being Women's History Month, I wanted to pay homage to a myriad of women whom I've been inspired by, some in more ways than one. From Liz Carmouche to Laverne Cox to Cynthia Nixton to Wanda Sykes, there are countless visible queer women who are painting the world with their bravery, boldness and tenacity. Obviously this list doesn't nearly cover every woman who is making strides, but these are some of the ones who have been the most inspiring for me. Who's your favorite? Sound off in the comments section below.


Get It Straight, Heteros


Millenials are championing distinctions in the LGBT community, but heterosexuals are confused over how everyone should be labeled. It's time to set the record straight.

Setting The Record 'Straight' Over Distinctions And Language Within The LGBTQ Community

LGBTQ. The letters stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. While many millenials are championing distinctions within the LGBT community, for many heterosexuals, these letters only spell "confusion."

HuffPost Live's Alicia Menendez asked LGBT members whether it was time to unify under a common term in hopes of a double-pronged solution that would rally power and clear up misconceptions.

"The labeling is strategic. It's not static. Yes, it may be overwhelming. And, yes, you may not understand it. But, you have to understand that this could be because you may be coming from a place of privilege. You may not have had to understand," University of New Hampire Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics Holly Cashman said.

HuffPost Live Producer Mitchell Williams agreed.

"I don't think we should oversimplfy the term. I think there is strength in idenifying as different groups," he said. "We need to ask: Does looping someone like Toni in help or hinder the cause? Is it easier to simplify now and then explain later."

Toni Newman, a transgender woman and Executive Producer of the comedy webisode "Douche Bros" claimed, "There is power in numbers. The 'T' is a part of the LGBT. It gives us more political power to stand with this group. If you take the 'T' out of the LGB, then we would be poorly received because there are fewer of us. We would have little political power."

Noah Michelson reminded the group that there are people whose gender identity and sexual orientation are not so clear-cut and even within parts of the community that may seem well-defined there are gray areas.

"There are some transgender people who do not feel like they were born in the wrong body," he said. "They just don't identify with either gender on the spectrum."

That's where the 'Q' comes in.

Cornell University Law School Student Ash McGovern identifies as 'gender queer' and explained that the word queer is a non-binary term with infinite possibilities for inclusion.

"Genderqueer is both outside and a combination of categories and queer is the same thing for sexual orientation."

Watch the discussion above and let us know what you think about terms used to identify the LGBTQ community in the comments section below.

Former Transgender Escort Outs More Celebrities


In part two of our interview with former transgender escort and author Toni Newman we not only get more juicy details about big name celebrities who are living life on the down low but also we get Toni’s view on the racial and sociology-economic issues that leads transsexuals into the world of prostitution.

Tony reveals that Will Smith is indeed in an open bi-sexual relationship with wife Jada Pinkett and the boom of all is that the celebrity that she and her escort counterpart, Miss Carmine was having an affair with that she couldn’t mention at the time of the interview due to contractual reasons was Mauricio Umansky husband of Beverly Hills Housewives fame, Kyle Richards.

Check out more details to Toni’s affair with reality star via the latest issue of Star.


Anyhow, peep the interview in the player above. It’s honestly a bit touchy at one point learning that most minority transgender are forced to prostitute themselves as they have no other way to survive.

Toni is currently in Los Angeles working for Equality California and as Community Editor for Proud To Be Out digital magazine and will be also turning her book I Rise into a film called Heart of a Woman, later this year.

I wonder who is going to play LL?

You can stay in contact with Toni Newman and learn more about her projects via the link below. Peep out more magazine covers from Toni’s feature in Star.



Real Housewives star Kyle Richards hit by claims her husband cheated with a female prostitute and transsexual escort

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.

108: Trans Voices

August 24, 2015

It’s August 2015, and transgender people are finally winning recognition in pop culture and government. But at the same time, transphobic violence is reaching alarming levels, and trans voices continue to be shouted down. Are we making progress?

This week, we hear reflections on gender identity, love, and power from people who identify as trans. The episode includes poetry from Darkmatter and interviews with author-activist Toni Newman and tech employee Brook Shelley.


Guest notes:

You can learn more about Toni and Brook’s experiences through their writing. Toni’s memoir is entitled “I Rise,” and Brook was recently published in the essay collection “Lean Out.”

For more Darkmatter poetry, visit their website or Facebook page. You can also donate to support Alok and Janani’s work.



We said that seventeen trans women had been killed in the U.S. so far this year. Here are the names of the first sixteen. Here is an early report on the death of Tamara Dominguez, who is the seventeenth.

Toni said that trans people of color were twice as likely to suffer violence as other LGBT people. The real number is probably higher. A report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that two-thirds of all LGBT and HIV-affected homicide victims in 2013 were trans women of color, despite making up a small fraction of the overall LGBT population.

Toni also said that many people charged with murdering trans victims pleaded out to lesser crimes such as manslaughter. We could not find any data to indicate such a trend, but we did uncover two examples of such plea bargains being offered.

Lastly, Toni mentioned that trans people are likely to be unemployed or employed as sex workers. The National Center for Transgender Equality reports that due to “extreme levels of unemployment and poverty,” a disproportionate number of trans people - one in eight - resort to “underground economies” such as sex and drug work to make ends meet.


Music and audio clips:

In order of appearance, this episode featured “Stars are Out” by Podington Bear; “Candlepower,” “Undercover Vampire Policeman,” and “What, True Self? Feels Bogus, Let’s Watch Jason X” by Chris Zabriskie; “Good Times” and “Guestlist” by Podington Bear; “Summer Days” by Kai Engel; “Prelude No. 21” by Chris Zabriskie; and “Afterglow” and “Starling” by Podington Bear.

The news clips in the introduction came from Katie Couric, The Golden Globes, ABC News, ABC7 WJLA, and The Wall Street Journal.

The credits featured an original cover of “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment.

Our theme song is Fireworks by Jahzzar.

Radar Productions Presents Transgender Author Toni Newman Reading Memoir "I Rise" at The San Francisco Public Library on Tuesday, December 8 at 6pm

Radar Productions Presents Transgender Author Toni Newman reading from her memoir "I Rise - The Transformation of Toni Newman" at the San Francisco Public Library (Latino/Hispanic Room - basement level) on Tuesday, December 8, at 6pm and Hosted by Juliana Delgado Lopera.


SAN FRANCISCO - Nov. 13, 2015 - Amzeal -- Radar Productions presents Transgender Author Toni Newman reading from her memoir "I Rise - The Transformation of Toni Newman" on Tuesday, December 8, at 6pm at the San Francisco Public Library (Latino/Hispanic room - basement level), 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. The host for the evening is Juliana Delgado Lopera. There will be 3 other artists on the panel and they are Mahader Tesfai, Molly McCoy, and Celeste Chan.

The memoir "I Rise - The Transformation of Toni Newman" details her 25-year transition from M2F and her ability to survive and overcome. She graduated from Wake Forest University in 1985 with a BA in Sociology, has completed her MBA and is now a 2nd year law-student in a JD program. The late Dr. Maya Angelou inspired Toni while a student at Wake Forest University. Her memoir was nominated for 2 Lambda Literary awards and celebrated by the Maynard Institute of Journalism. She was honored in 2012 as one of Wake Forest University Faces of Courage. In 2015, Toni was one of the Trans 100.
Toni is currently the Development Manager for Maitri Compassionate Care in San Francisco. Maitri is the only AIDS-specific residential care facility in California focusing on the underserved community of those dying of or severely debilitated by AIDS. She works with Executive Director Michael Smithmick for the development and marketing of Maitri.

Her publicist is Kayo Anderson of Kayo Anderson Media. Her website is To find out more about Radar Productions and the reading series, go to



The Fight in 2016 for Those with HIV/AIDS




Maitri Compassionate Care in San Francisco is celebrating its 29th year of service to the underpriviledged with advanced AIDS. Maitri is the only AIDS-specific residential care facility in California focusing on the underserved community of those dying of or severely debilitated by AIDS. Fourteen of the 15 beds are reserved for HUD-defined low-income people and represent 90% of San Francisco’s non-institutional hospice beds. Since opening in 1987, Maitri has been the final home for more than 1000 people who lived with AIDS.

According to, It has been more than 30 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the U.S. HIV is still a reality for more than a million Americans in 2016. The stigma associated with HIV remains extremely high and fear of discrimination causes some Americans to avoid learning their HIV status, disclosing their status, or accessing medical care. Here are some facts about HIV/AIDS in 2016 according to

1) African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV in the United States.
2) Gay and bisexual men account for more than half of estimated new HIV diagnoses among African Americans.
3) The number of HIV diagnoses among African American women has declined, though it is still high compared to women of other races/ethnicities.
4) African Americans have the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Compared with other races and ethnicities, African Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses, those living with HIV, and those ever diagnosed with AIDS.

HIV/AIDS is still very relevant in 2016 and the fight for those with HIV/AIDS is absolute necessary. Until there is a cure for HIV/AIDS, there must be continued support for those with HIV/AIDS. The Executive Director at Maitri, Michael Smithwick, truly believes in the Maitri mission statement that no one should have to suffer or die alone.

On Sunday, May 1, at the Mission Bay Conference Center-UCSF in San Francisco, Maitri will be having their Bliss 2016 Gala and Auction hosted by the Emmy-award winning comedian/actor Leslie Jordan with performances by Oakland Jazz Vocalist Branice McKenzie, Man Dance Ballet Company and Guitarist Andre Morgan.

An Interview With Author And Activist Toni Newman

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Toni Newman is an organizer for the fundraiser Maitri’s Bliss and the author of the book, I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman; here is a link to her website:



Q:  What is Maitri’s Bliss


A: Maitri is the only AIDS-specific residential care facility in California since 1987 focusing on the underserved community of those dying of or severely debilitated by AIDS. Each year Maitri holds annual fundraiser called Bliss Gala and Auction. This year Maitri is celebrating 29 years of service to the underserved with AIDS in San Francisco. The proceeds from the Bliss gala goes to the direct medical care of the residents of Maitri. For more information about Bliss 2016, please go to


“Maitri is like sitting on a lotus flower, which to me, is very warm, beautiful and compassionate.” Before arriving at Maitri, Sorrita had been living in San …



Q:  How did you become involved with the event?


A: In July 2015, Executive Director Michael Smithwick hired me as the new Development Manager of Maitri. As the Development Manager, I am working with the Development Chair and Development Committee to oversee the details for Bliss 2016 on May 1 at the Mission Bay Conference Center-UCSF.


Q:  How did you get  Leslie Jordan  to host?


A: I attended one of Leslie Jordan’s comedy shows in San Francisco and he was just hilarious. We thought he would make an excellent MC/Host for Bliss 2016. We reached out to his management team, Reactions Productions, and they were very gracious in assisting us to get Leslie Jordan to host the event. Leslie has had lots of friends to succomb to this disease and he was very open to helping us make this event a success.


Q:  How has the life of the average AIDS patient changed over the years?


A: Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the epidemic’s beginning, and that disparity has deepened over time.  Blacks account for more new HIV infections, people estimated to be living with HIV disease, and HIV-related deaths than any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S.  The epidemic has also had a disproportionate impact on Black women, youth, and gay and bisexual men, and its impact varies across the country. Moreover, a number of challenges contribute to the epidemic among Blacks, including poverty, lack of access to health care, higher rates of some sexually transmitted infections, lack of awareness of HIV status, and stigma. Despite this impact, recent data indicate some encouraging trends, including declining new HIV infections among Black women. However, given the epidemic’s continued and disproportionate impact among Blacks, a continued focus is critical to addressing HIV in the United States. These are facts obtained from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).


Q:  What are some common  misconceptions about AIDS?


A: 1)I am HIV positive, my life is over.

In the early years of the disease epidemic, the death rate from AIDS was extremely high. But today, antiretroviral drugs allow HIV-positive people — and even those with AIDS — to live much longer, normal, and productive lives.

2) I could tell if my partner is HIV positive.

You can be HIV-positive and not have any symptoms for years. The only way for you or your partner to know if you’re HIV-positive is to get tested.

In the early years of the disease epidemic, the death rate from AIDS was extremely high. But today, antiretroviral drugs allow HIV-positive people — and even those with AIDS — to live much longer, normal, and productive lives.

3) I can get HIV from being around people who are HIV positive.

The evidence shows that HIV is not spread through touch, tears, sweat, or saliva. You cannot catch HIV by:

  • Breathing the same air as someone who is HIV-positive
  • Touching a toilet seat or doorknob handle after an HIV-positive person
  • Drinking from a water fountain
  • Hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with someone who is HIV-positive
  • Sharing eating utensils with an HIV-positive person
  • Using exercise equipmentat a gym


4)My partner and I are both HIV positive — there’s no reason for us to practice safer sex.

Practicing safer sex — wearing condoms or using dental dams — can protect you both from becoming exposed to other (potentially drug resistant) strains of HIV.



Q:  What is, I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman about?


A: The Memoir I Rise is about my 20 year transformation from M2F and the hardships I endured making that transistion with no friends, family or assistance. I wrote the memoir to give insight and educate others what it takes to transistion when there was very little help. I had not read a transgender memoir like mine when the memoir came out in April 2011. My partner and best friend, Alton Demore, encouraged me to write the book since he had not heard of any book like this. I discuss very openly and candidly my life from the beginning in rural North Carolina up to my days as a transgender mistress and escort. My whole purpose was/is to enlighten and educate others about transgenders and their life especially the minority transgender (most live below the poverty level even today).

  Toni D. Newman | Transgender Author Toni Newman | Home





Q:  How is it different from other books about transitioning?


A: The memoir I Rise is very candid and open. I discuss my thoughts, my fears and my actions about transistioning and what it took for me to survive and exist and to be who I am today. The most relevant theme in the book is being your authentic self against all odds. I knew the only way for me to be complete and whole was to be my authentic transgender self. The journey for me was not a pretty one but a journey full of stumbles, heartaches, agony and pain. But the goal is to show others I made it over and you can make it too. Do not give up but strive each and every day to be your authentic self.



Q:  What has been the most effective thing you have done to promote your work?


A: I have been asked to speak to many minority groups about transistioning and why I did it. To enlighten and educate others even if I only reach 1 person is fulfulling and rewarding for me. Changing one mind at a time.



Q:  What is the least effective thing you have done?


A: Being more active with transgender activist groups. And the reason for that is I do not see a lot of groups reaching out to the people of color. Transgenders of color are more likely to be homeless, living below the poverty level and unable to obtain gainful employment. My goal and desire is to help and assist the transgender of color since I know first hand the hardships they face daily and what it takes to overcome those obstacles and succeed.


Q:  What is your opinion of Caitlyn Jenner?


A: I believe Caitlyn has good intentions and is very fortunate to be financially able to make the transistion smoothly. But the reality is that most transgenders especially those of color are unemployed, homeless and living below the poverty level. I think Caitlyn has brought awareness to the transgender community and that is a wonderful thing. But the reality is that more than 75% of transgenders of color dont know how they are going to survive and exist on a day to day basis. So I applaud Caitlyn for standing in her truth, but most of my sisters are struggling daily to survive and stand in their truth.


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

Best Selling Author, Toni Newman Organizes AIDS Fundraiser With Maitri


Toni Newman is the best selling author of I Rise — The Transformation of Toni Newman. The book is her memoir where she discusses her 25-year difficult transition. It was nominated in 2012 in two categories for the Lambda Literary Awards, honored in 2012 by Wake Forest University for Faces of Courage, and has been featured in the AdvocateHuffington Post and Ebony Magazine. Most recently the memoir has been adapted into a screenplay called Heart of a Woman; to be directed by Keith Holland.


With a strong sense of compassion and advocacy, Toni serves as the Development Manager of Maitri Compassionate Carewhere they provide residential care to men and women in need of hospice or 24-hour care; in addition, cultivates the deepest respect and love for life among its residents and caregivers. Maitri is the only AIDS-specific residential care facility in California focusing on the underserved community of those dying of or severely debilitated by AIDS. Throughout 2016 Maitri will be celebrating 29 years of service to the San Francisco community.

On May 1st, 2016, Maitri, along with Toni Newman, will be hosting Bliss 2016 Signature Gala and Auction; an evening of celebration, fundraising, and AIDS awareness. The event will take place at the Mission Bay Conference Center-UCSF in San Francisco California, and will be presided over by Emmy award winning actor and comedian Leslie Jordan from the hit television show Will & Grace and Oscar nominated film, The Help.

For more information on Maitri and Toni Newman, please visit their website here.


Memoir I Rise by Trans Author Toni Newman turned into short film called Heart of a Woman


Memoir I Rise by trans author Toni Newman has been turned into short film called Heart of a Woman filming next week and directed by Keith Holland featuring Angelica Ross, Justin Berti and Rachel Sterling as the 3 lead actors. The film highlights the discrimination, violence and inequality transwoman of color face each day in the United States and abroad.
I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Aug. 17, 2016 - PRLog -- The Memoir I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman was published in 2011 and Dr. Marc Weiss Ph.D., Former Associate Professor of Urban Development, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University wrote the foreword to this memoir, is a best-selling author, and a former member of the Clinton administration. I Rise is the true story of Toni Newman's transformation from an internally conflicted male to a proud transgender woman of color. She tells a story about the trans community of color so stricken by drug abuse, sexual exploitation, explosive suicide rates, and lack of education,

The Heart of a Woman short film shoots August 24, 25 and 26 in Burbank California. The original writer and executive producer are Alton Demore. The director is Keith Holland joined by cinematagrapher LT Chang. The 3 lead actors are Angelica Ross, Justin Berti and Rachel Sterling joined by Jason Stuart with possible appearance by Isis King. The theme of the short film is Discrimination and Inequality are wrong regardless of race, sex and gender. We are all equal.

If you believe in equality for all please support Heart of a Woman short film campaign by going to:

Toni Newman will be one of the authors at the 2017 Literary Soul Symposium in Houston Texas on Sept. 22 - 24