BTWI Statement Concerning The Barrin Murder

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June 27, 2017
Contact Monica Roberts BTWI Media Chair
Carmarion D. Anderson  BTWI  Founding Executive Director
855-255-8636 Ext 11

Black Transwomen, Inc. is saddened that we must comment on the death of another trans woman of color in Ava Le'Ray Barrin.
What saddens and infuriates us as an organization that seeks to represent and empower Black trans women is that Ava was just 17 years old and hadn't even had a chance to follow her dreams yet.

And as usual, the Atlanta and Athens, GA media outlets reporting on the story once again played into the infuriating pattern of disrespectfully misgendering a Black trans woman in death.  

On Sunday June 25 Athens-Clarke County police responded to an 11:45 AM EDT call concerning an argument taking place in the Rivercrest Apartments on 1020 College Ave.   When they arrived they found Barrin lying in the parking lot of the complex suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest.

She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead at 12:45 PM EDT.

Ava has become not only the 14th trans woman murdered in the US in 2017, she unfortunately is now the youngest one killed this year.   She is also the 12th African American trans person killed this year.

All 14 of the murdered US trans women are women of color, with two of them being Native American and Latina.    What also is distressing to us is that eleven of the 14 people we have lost this year are under age 40.

21 year old Jalen Brown is in custody in the Athens Clark County Jail without bail, and has been charged with murder and aggravated assault in this case.

A candlelight memorial service was held for Barrin Monday night, and funeral arrangements are pending at this time.  BTWI's Dee Dee Watters will be doing a Facebook Live moment of silence in Ava's honor starting at 9 PM CDT.

BTWI, our brother organization Black Transmen, Inc, the BTMI Atlanta Chapter, the Black Trans International Pageantry System, and Black Trans Advocacy joins your family and all who loved you in expressing our condolences for your far too soon death.

Rest in power and peace, Ava.


Black Transwomen,  Inc  is a national not for profit organization based in Dallas TX  that is part of the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition,  a social justice alliance of the Black Transmen Inc, Black Transwomen Inc & Black Trans International Pageantry System organizations. BTA is committed to the advancement of black and trans people and the liberation of all disenfranchised people by working collaboratively to help end race and gender inequalities  

Number 14- Rest In Power and Peace Ava Le'Ray Barrin

It's my sad duty to report that another trans sister has been lost to anti-trans violence, this time in Athens, Georgia.

The latest addition to our sadly lengthening 2017 list of trans women who are being killed is 17 year old Ava Le'Ray Barrin.  As usual, a Black trans woman was misgendered by the local media.

According to reports from the Athens Banner- Herald and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, for still unknown reasons a fight broke out in the parking lot of the Riverview apartment complex in Athens early Sunday morning between Barrin and 21 year old Jalen Breon Brown .

The two knew each other, according to Athens Clarke County PD spokesperson Epifanio Rodriguez.

When Athens-Clarke County PD responded to the 11:45 AM EDT report of the altercation, when they arrived at the apartment complex at 1020 College Ave, they found Barrin lying in the parking lot of the complex not breathing and suffering from a gunshot would to the left side of her chest.

 Ava was taken to a nearby Athens hospital where she was pronounced dead at 12:45 PM EDT

Witnesses told the arriving officers that Barrin was shot by Brown, who was still in the complex.  Despite claims of self defense, Brown was arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault, and is currently in the Athens-Clarke County jail with no bond.  .
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A candlelight memorial service for Barrin was held in Athens at 7:00 PM EDT Monday evening,at the complex, and her funeral arrangements are still pending.

Ava LeRay Barrin is not only the 14th trans person killed this year, she is now the youngest trans woman to die in the US at age 17.   All 14 trans women murdered in the US this year have been trans women of color, with 12 of the 14 being Black   One person, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow was Native American, and we recently lost our first Latina in Josie Berrios.

Rest in power and peace Ava.  You were just beginning to live your life as your true self, and were taken from us way too soon before you even had a chance to make your dreams become a reality.

SB 4 Federal Court Hearing Today

Protestors gather in front of the Federal Courthouse in San Antonio to voice their opposition to SB 4, on Monday June 26, 2017. Photo: Bob Owen, San Antonio Express-News / San Antonio Express-News
The first round of federal court hearing in the fight to kill the unjust and racist SB 4 law before it takes effect September 1 is happening in San Antonio.

The hearing on whether to grant a preliminary injunction preventing SB 4 from taking effect while the court case plays out starting at 9:30 AM with over 1000 people from Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and other parts of the state gathering to protest it.

The case will be heard over the next two days in Chief District Judge Orlando Garcia's court ( Clinton appointee), and the Department of (in) Justice has already filed a brief supporting the unjust law.

Elections matter people.

Now we have to wait and see how the legal arguments play out and what happens over the next few days in San Antonio.     

Loving 'Riverdale'

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As you long time TransGriot readers know I'm a huge fan of the Archie comics, and have written several posts about some interesting gender related developments in that iconic cartoon universe.

I was intrigued when the CW broadcast its first season of Riverdale, based on the iconic characters back in January.   But because I was busy with a lot of community events and fighting the GOP flavored transphobic evil emanating out of Austin I didn't get to watch the initial 13 episode run.

Riverdale hit Netflix on May 18, but I finally got a chance to binge watch it this weekend, and I can see now why it got rave reviews from television critics.

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This is definitely not your parents and grandparents Archie cartoon.  It basically shook up and blew up the classic love triangle between Archie, Betty and Veronica and in many cases everything you know from Archie canon about the characters.

The show starts with Archie getting busy with Geraldine Grundy, the school's music teacher during the summer.  Yeah, they went there.   Archie is also seen dating Valerie Brown and escorting Cheryl Blossom to one of her family events before he eventually starts the relationship with Veronica,

Girl next door Betty is not only shown to have a dark side and dates Jughead, Veronica in this show is moving to Riverdale from New York and is trying to be less mean girl than she was.

In addition to focusing the Season One storyline on who killed Riverdale queen bee Cheryl Blossom's twin brother Jason, the show is set in a contemporary time period.

Many of the beloved Archie characters you know are part of this show like Kevin Keller, Chuck Clayton, Moose Mason, and Ethel Muggs  The characters also all have deep secrets and backstories that get revealed as the show moves through those thirteen episodes that lead to a shocking whodunit.

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They also flipped the casting script on many of those beloved characters.   Veronica Lodge and her family are Latinx.   Josie and the Pussycats are not only all African American, but Josie's mother Sierra McCoy is the mayor of Riverdale played by Robin Givens.

Pops Tate, the owner of the town's 24 hour diner Pop's Chok'lit Shoppe and RHS principal Mr. Weatherbee are also African American.  Reggie Mantle and Dilton Doiley are Asian.

Geraldine Grundy also became a yoder woman instead of a senior.

Since I mentioned Robin Givens is in it, other recognizable actors you'll see in it are Luke Perry playing Archie's father Fred Andrews, Madchen Amick playing Alice Cooper, and Molly Ringwald playing Mary Andrews.

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Riverdale has already been renewed for a second season slated to start on the CW in October, and in Season 2 we'll not only see Sabrina Spellman enter this show, but also Hiram Lodge, played by Mark Consuelos.

The show also ended with a cliffhanger that if you haven't seen it, I'll let you head to Netflix to watch and won't spoil it for you

Leiomy's Nike 'Be True' Commercial

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Was happy to hear about and see the Nike commercial that vogue icon and dancer Leiomy Maldonado recently was featured in

The Bronx native is so well known in the dance world there's a signature dance move she created called the Leiomy Lolly that both Beyonce and Willow Smith have borrowed for their videos.

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The 'Wonder Woman of Vogue' has stayed busy since that appearance as the leader of the Vogue Evolution team on the America's Best Dance Crew show back in 2009.

In addition to this Nike commercial, she's was also recently featured in this high energy one for Kimpton Hotels and their 'Let's Never Stop Dancing' campaign.

Image result for Leiomy NikeSo I was exceedingly pleased and proud to see her in this Nike commercial to promote their Be True' line in which she was not only recognized as the legendary trailblazing talent she is, but also as an athlete.

Because lets be real, you have to be in serious shape to do the things she does on a dance floor and look good as she does doing it.

I'm also proud of seeing a trans woman of color and trans Latina featured in this Nike commercial, and I'm so looking forward to meeting this legendary woman someday.

Enough jibber jabber from me, here's the ad.

Dallas Cowboys Chances Of Hosting 2018 NFL Draft In Possible Jeopardy If TX Trans Hate Bill Passes

AT&T Stadium is shown before an NFL divisional playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
If the Texas GOP transphobes are successful during the upcoming Special Oppression Session in passing HB 2899, their Trans Hate Bill, one of the first casualties of that legislation may be the Dallas Cowboys chances of hosting the 2018 NFL Draft.

After 50 years of hosting the NFL Draft in New York, the NFL decided to start moving it around again to different cities.  Chicago hosted it in 2015 and 2016, and it was Philadelphia's turn to do so back in April.

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There were 22 teams and cities including Canton, OH interested in hosting the 2018 NFL Draft, which is scheduled to happen April 26-28.

Sixteen of them sent representatives to observe the draft happenings in Philadelphia and get a fell for how the event is run, with several subsequently putting in bids with the league for the event/

But Dallas is considered the frontrunner when the NFL makes its decision in August.

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The Cowboys made their pitch to the NFL back in April to host the draft at two sites.  AT&T Stadium for the first two days and at The Star, their new $1.5 billion corporate headquarters and practice facility currently being built in suburban Frisco, TX for the last day of it.  

But the Cowboys are now casting a nervous eye down I-35 south toward Austin as the July 18 Special Oppression Session date gets closer.  

The NFL made it clear in comments it made during the regular session a few months ago that if Texas passed the anti-trans SB 6, it would impact the state's two NFL franchises in the Cowboys and the Houston Texans ability to host future Super Bowls or other league events.

That prompted a retaliatory salvo aimed at the NFL from a pissed off Gov. Abbott (R), so as of now the NFL and the Cowboys have been silent about their thoughts as the calendar draws closer to the start date of the special session.

But we'll see in a few weeks if the Texas Republican Party is willing and stupid enough to piss off the NFL and Jerry Jones to pass HB 2899 and if they go there, what the NFL (and Jerry Jones) will do in response.

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I would rather have the opportunity to check out some of the NFL Draft related activities during next year's BTAC, but whether that happens depends on what the Texas GOP majority does..

I Am Jazz Season 3 Starts June 28

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.Well, y';all know how much I love Jazz Jennings and her mom Jeanette, and had the pleasure of meeting the entire family with the exception of her dad back in 2012.

While I'm not a big fan of reality TV shows, I An Jazz is one of the few that I will watch, and Season 3 of this two time GLAAD Award winning show gets cranked up on June 28.

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Our fave trans teen gets to go on dates, is shown dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a teen, turning 16 and is seen on The Blaze studio set taking on conservative Tomi Lahren.

She also gets some unexpected transition related news that you'll get to see during this season.

So it's almost time to watch all the interesting twists and turns of Jazz's amazing life and it all starts on TLC on June 28  

I'll Be At The 2017 Houston Pride Parade, But...

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It wasn't quite was I was hoping for when I decided to run for the Houston Pride Parade female Grand Marshal.   When our nighttime Pride parade kicks off on Saturday I'll be in it at the start of it as one of the pride parade flag bearers.

As to why we have our parade at night?   It does get a little warm here in late June.

Been asked by a few people since we are now in the middle of Pride Week in H-town am I disappointed I wasn't elected grand marshal this year?  

Do the Astros have the best record in the major leagues?  

And let's be real, I've been blessed with a nice run lately in scooping up awards and honors, and BTAC gives out an award named for me.  Can't win them all.  

And not making that Houston Pride history this year means I have something to shoot for later.

But back to talking about the parade.  I marched with the Organization Latinas de Trans en Texas last year  and when the call came on Sunday I was mulling over offers from three different groups to march with them in the upcoming parade.

So in this year's parade I;m one of the flag bearers.   As for next year, we'll see.

TransGriot Perv Watch- Guess Who Wasn't Caught In This Houston Area Child Predator Sting?

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Police and sheriff departments across the Houston area recently conducted an online sting operation that lasted two months,  netted sixteen arrests and was geared toward ferreting out child predators.

Police participating in 'Operation Broken Heart' arrested thirteen men who were busted as they attempted to have sex with children they met online.   Another three men were arrested and charged with state and federal crimes that included possession, distribution and promotion of child pornography.

Two of those 13 people busted included a now former Alief ISD police officer Robert Haney and Juan Pena, a registered sex offender.

So how many Houston area trans people were caught in that sting?    ZERO

An FYI Moment for you.  There have been far more Republican politicians and pastors busted in these stings across the country than there have been the trans folks they demonize.

Marinate on that point as we approach the upcoming Texas special oppression session and the GOP Noise Machine starts turning up the volume on the anti-trans hatred in their attempt to pass anti-trans legislation that failed in the regular session because it was a bad law..

And note that all these arrested menz were not only not in drag, but are #StillNotTrans.

Dear Transphobic People- Message To Transphobic Black Cis Women

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Dear Transphobic People:
Today I'm going  to have to call out some of the very women that I have spent years defending in Black cis women.   Specifically, the Black cis feminine transphobes in our midst.

Y'all are really feeling froggy lately.   First it was Chimamanda Adichie with her transphobic BS that she doubled down on that I and other trans women had to call out, and ,now we have Stacey Patton letting loose with her anti-trans screeds.

Let me repeat the words of Raquel Willis from her March 13, 2017 The Root  'Trans Women Are Women.  This Isn't A Debate'  article one more time loud enough for you chocolate transphobes to hear;

'Just as it was wrong for womanhood to be narrowly defined within the hegemonic white woman’s experience, so, too, is it wrong for womanhood to be defined as the hegemonic cisgender woman’s experience. Cis women may be the majority, but that hardly means their experience the only valid one.

And Moni approves of this message.  

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Black Trans women are women.  Black trans women intersectionally show up and show out for everyone's human rights struggles, but when it's your turn to show up for us, you're MIA or regurgitating the same disco era TERF crap created by white fauxminists.

Miss us with your chocolate flavored wannabe TERF intolerance.

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It's sad that some of you Black cis women give more respect and love to Tyler Perry dressed as Madea, up to and including using female pronouns for him while dressed in drag, than you do the Black trans women living in the same 'hood with you.
It's bad enough that we Black trans women are literally being slaughtered in the streets, white TERF's and fauxminists have been attacking our femininity and humanity since the 70's and you have been cricket chirping silent about that.

Black trans women are not your enemy Black cis feminine transphobes, and you need to check yourselves and recognize that.

We don't need you piling on and attacking our humanity.  We Black trans women have enough on our human rights plates right now dealing with people trying to kill us, the attacks on us coming from the conservative movement, Republican legislators, elements of the LG community, the TERF's, and the Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist and white evangelical churches.

We are struggling just to have our voices heard in Trans World since trans femininity has been discussed ever since Christine Jorgensen stepped off the plane in February 1953 from a white lens.

We Black trans women don't want and need that transphobic crap from y'all and we ain't having it.   Neither are we tolerating the knee -jerk transphobia coming from your ranks.

The bottom line that should concern you as it does us is that Black femininity has been under attack since our ancestors got that first unwanted free boat ride from Africa to what later became the United States in 1619.    We would rather be spending our valuable time building sisterhood with you, fighting all comers who dare attack and demonize Black femininity, and working together to solve the issues that plague all Black women.

Think about that before you part your lips to say transphobic crap or share a transphobic TERF post..

TransGriot Note: TERF is an acronym for Trans Exclusionary (or Exterminationalist) Radical Feminist.   Yeah, some of the predominately white TERF's have gone there and called for our genocidal extermination.