The Color of Numbers

We are in Week 19 of the year 2017 and in that time twelve transpersons of color has been murdered in the United States.

Last Thursday Brenda Bostick, a 59-year-old Black transgender woman, died from an attack on Tuesday April 25th in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. She is at least the twelfth trans person murdered this year in this country alone – all of them women of color, one Native and eleven Black. The others are Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, JoJo Striker, Tiara Richmond, Keke Collier, Chyna Gibson, Ciara McElveen, Jaquarrius Holland, Alphonza Watson, Symone Marie Jones and Chayviss Reed.

Think about it: That is roughly every 10 days. Let me repeat that – Every. 10. Days. We are not even at the halfway point of this year. What does that portend?

According to the Human Rights Campaign there were at least 21 deaths in 2015 and 27 deaths in 2016 of transgender people due to fatal violence.  Bostwick was attacked on April 25th, today is May 9th, fifteen days. By this unfortunate barometer, someone has been attacked – the question is how soon will we be reading – watching – hearing about the murder of yet another transperson of color?

Please note the use of “at least” in all of the numbers given, for they only represent the murders against transpersons that we know of for a certainty. Only the heavens know how many other murders, which have slipped under the radar, have actually occurred.

The victims of this violence are overwhelmingly transgender women of color, who live at the dangerous crossroads of transphobia, racism and sexism which often lead to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. And some of these homicides have not yet been identified as hate crimes due to lack of information about the perpetrators or motives.

It has been reported that LGBT+ people are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other minority group, and within that group the percentage of these crimes of misogyny, racism and LGBT+ against trans-people are higher and rising.

It is an ironic dichotomy that while this country has becomes more openly accepting, it has undeniably also become more openly hateful and worse more openly violent in its hate.

Are crimes against people of color, women, gays and/or trans new? Of course not. What is news is even with the documented increase of violence against transgender people at an all-time high and potentially rising, national media coverage is severely lacking. I’m minded of the song “Small Circle of Friends”.

“Oh look outside the window, there’s a woman being grabbed
They’ve dragged her to the bushes and now she’s being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun, I’d hate to blow the game
And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends”

While the protest song covered several events as commentary on human apathy, it song was inspired by the case of a woman who was stabbed to death outside her home in Queens, New York, while dozens of her neighbors reportedly ignored her cries for help. That the woman then was presumably CIS and the women now are trans make no damn difference.

The point of it being if it’s not in our own back yard many don’t want/care/are afraid to acknowledge it. I live in NYC, where there is a heavy LGBT+ influence. These deaths were of note here before Brenda Bostick’s murder in Chelsea, a neighborhood of New York City, placed her in our proverbial, if not literal, backyard. That these murders happen anywhere is horrific enough, having one happen here in the city of The Stone Wall Riots, a place pretty much considered the birthplace of gay liberation and LGBT+ rights, it seems especially galling.

In a sequitur/non-sequitur Sunday was the MTV Movie & TV Awards. In an unprecedented move MTV removed genders from all of their categories. Men, Women and Non-Binaries competed against each other for the honors. I’m waiting for the day when the news reports on a male, female or non-binary event it will be reported without the “trans” modifier. Not because I do not want to talk about transgender, but because what happens to a man, a woman, or a non-binary, that the person is also transgender should not matter.

It is an unfortunate fact that stigma based on sexual orientation is still widespread. I know there are documents, commentary etc. covering the myriad psychologies of those who commit these types of crimes.  None of it excuses it. Preaching to the choir, hiding it from the news, not talking about it and/or outright dismissing it, will make these murders go away. Public education, policy change and community efforts are needed to address this. Overcoming these prejudices will take a lot of work. A LOT of work.


Let’s see how others are slicing it up this week:

Slice of Life logo

Slice of Life Writing Tuesday Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 19

A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.


MLMM Wordle 147: Pride Love Letter

My Darling Vita,

I who would paint iridescent murals, pen epic tomes, sing the most tear-inducing of arias, for its sheer beauty, all in tribute of you, had I the talents for such, know that there is no earthly media truly worthy of encompassing that magical core that is you. All the hoardings of my imagination I have laid bare to you. So forgiveness is begged sorely as I attempt, still, to do such with this lowly pen and ink.

You are my Sol, and I a mere human heliotrope whose face, legs, arms, oh my entire being ever gravitate towards your light, your heat. My passion for your most beautiful mind burned long before you levitated in the chambers of this once hollow heart, now made hallowed by your presence within.  And once introduced to that flashover of heart, body, and soul – the harmonious ballet – of the grace of our physical expressions? Oh! Even when apart I am inseparable from you for there is not a recess in my being into which you haven’t penetrated wholly.  It is the impetuous which spurs me to beg of your return to my side as quickly as the gods allow.

Oh my love! What cost, on the pricelessness of us, can be latched? This war proves it is far too much and far too little all the same, but pay it gladly I will, when I know it garners this magic which is us. Upon my return, I pray that you hold as much fervor to endure its costs with me. Forever…

…and ever yours,


In the early 1900s, in an era long before LGBTQA pride, but before LGBTQA shaming somehow became the societal de rigueur, English author Vita Sackville-West fell in love with writer and socialite Violet Keppel. The two embarked upon one of the most notorious love affairs in LGBTQA history. This affair is especially noted for Violet’s most beautiful, yet heartbreaking and poignant love letters to Vita. The above is my take on such a letter had gay pride and marriage equality existed in their day.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and Wordle: Week 147 graphic

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and Wordle: 147

Latch, Ballet, Levitate, Heliotrope, Iridescence, Media, Passion, Harmony, Inseparable, Legs, Heat, Flashover

Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem. The words can appear in an alternate form.

I Fell In Love With You Again Today

Braden Summers - Gay Couple

Braden Summers Photography
(Click for full size)

I fell in love with you again today

The good times that made us friends
Between the breaths of mine you took away
How the simple thought of you
Kept playing over and over in my mind

Remembering the day that we met
The emotions that had no words yet

I fell in love with you again today

The hard times that made us strong
The way I made you smile to learn
You were the shoulder when I need to lean
The ear when I need one to bend

There was that magic in the past
That makes our love today still last

I fell in love with you again today

The sweet times that made us lovers
And I smile remembering
Those first fears, the arguments
Yes, even the break-up and reconciliation

For in your smile I still find peace
In your arms I still find release

I fell in love with you again today

The best times that made us spouses
And all of those old feelings
Came rushing back on fresh wings
Once again brand shiny new

For after all our time together
I still believe this is forever

And I fell in love with you again today

I actually had an entirely different poem in the queue setup for today. Then a friend posted a link to the Braden Summers collection on Buzzfeed that contains the above photograph. I, and apparently my muse, was enamored of this image, the last one of the set shown on the website. This is an image of a mature love, but clearly a still very happy and giving love. Whether a real couple -oh I hope, they look so happy together!- or merely models, I felt the couple looked like new lovers and the write you see above was born.

dVerse ~ Poets Pub | OpenLinkNight : Week 133

It’s Big Fat Flea Time!

It’s Big! It’s Fat! It’s Fabulous!

Okay, what on earth is Raivenne raving about you ask? Why I’m so glad you did!

On Sunday, May 13, 2012, The Big Fat Flea will be holding its rummage sale!

The Big Fat whatchootalkinbout Willis?

The Big Fat Flea (formerly The Fat Girl Flea Market), is an amazing all-gender inclusive fatshion rummage sale that just happens to also be an amazing fundraiser for NOLOSE.   This event is NOLOSE‘s biggest fundraiser, with all proceeds directly benefiting their work to end body oppression. Plus sizes of all genders get to shop fabulous items for a bargain and get to do a little philanthropy in the process.

It’s a win/win!

What kind of bargains you ask? Oh please, let me show you!

Yes, this is what I look like after molting (click for full size).

These two dresses were originally from Igigicom.  Igigi has fabulous clothes for us big gals, but they are not exactly on the cheap side. Each gown retailed for nearly $200 on the website. I purchased each maxi at the Flea for  – hold on to your girdles girlies – $10 each! Yes, ten dollars – each.  I also purchased really some cute tops/skirts and accessories at the Flea. And because I could I also bought the most God-awful, beaded monstrosity of a sweater for no other reason to have it for the next “ugly sweater” contest. Essentially, I easily bought close to $600 worth of clothing (retail), for barely $100. Now that, my dear people IS A BARGAIN!

I have participated with the Big Fat Flea in the past, simply as a shopper. Last year, I went a step further and volunteered to help organize/prepare for the event.  I had such a fabulous experience and met some amazing people in the process. I loved it so much that I wanted to cry when I thought I might miss the chance to do so this year, but I am happy to say the philanthropic (and shopping), deities have smiled upon me and I will donating my time, energy to help out again this year.

Unlike before when it was The Fat Girl Flea Market, available only to the ladies, this year it is opened to all genders. Thus the name change to Big Fat Flea because After all, no matter how we identify, we all want to look good and to be able do so at a bargain is just icing on the cake.

I’m guessing right about now some of you are at the point of – yeah well that’s all nice for you and all, but how do “I” get in on all this fatshion goodness?

Here’s the nitty-gritty :

  • Be in New York City next weekend.
  • Have cash – the Big Fat Flea does not take credit cards.
  • Show up Sunday, May 13th from 12pm-7:30pm at the NYC LGBT Community Center- 208 West 13th Street, NYC on the 3rd floor. There are elevators and the space is wheelchair accessible.
  • Pay a $10 entrance fee (remember, this is a fundraiser after all).
  • SHOP!

But wait there’s more!

Noticed the words rummage and flea (as in market), being bandied about here? There’s a reason. Yes, plus-sized clothing stores and private plus-size designers donate items to the Big Fat Flea, but the bulk of the clothing comes from us the fat folk shoppers who know just how hard it is to find good stuff in our sizes. You bought those fabulous pants and without trying them on first, ripped the tags off because you know they’ll fit. Two weeks later you’re ready to wear them and only then do you realize they don’t fit they way you thought. Not that I would ever have personal knowledge of such a scenario (cough).  Naturally, the store won’t take them back and they’ve sat in your closet ever since. They are perfectly fine pants,  I -er- you just can’t wear them – donate them and make someone else who has coveted but couldn’t get to the store in time to purchase them happy! Have that fabulous dress you wore once or twice, but know you’re never wearing again – donate! Hey, it’s spring – now’s a good time to go through that closet and donate your clean clothing sizes Large and up to the cause and get some replacements at bargain prices.

For more information on shopping and donating at the Big Fat Flea check out their Facebook and FAQs pages.

And last, but not least – I’ll be working there – now how’s that for incentive?

Always Ready To Open

Here is the only important thing I know about closets…

When you’re the one who has trapped yourself inside,
there are only two ways out…

Having the door ripped from the handle
exposing all which you’ve tried contain
whether it’s ready to be seen or not
by the world.


By placing your hand on the handle
taking a deep breath and coming out
on your own terms, letting the world in
at your own pace

Because, whether you realize it or not,
the door is always ready to open
all you have to do is
handle it.

Who is a Man?

New York Times article “What is a Man”?

El’Jai Devoureau was not born a man, so fucking what? Look at him. Yes, I said “him”.  Because if I passed Devoureau on the street I would not have questioned his maleness.  I guarantee  none of the males utilizing the drug testing facilities questioned  it either.  They did what they had to do. Mr. Devoureau did his job and that was that.  No one had an issue with him doing his job on that first day until the employer made it one by firing him on the second day.

Devoureau’s employer “heard” he was transgendered and asked if he had surgery, because only “men” are allowed to perform this particular job.  WTF?!  Is she even allowed to ask such a question legally? If she had had not heard Devoureau was transgendered would she have asked? Was any previous male in that position asked to verify their manhood before taking the job? Or did she take their masculinity at face value? El’Jai rightfully declined to answer the question because it was a private matter (aka nunya effin’ bizness), and was fired for it.

The state of Georgia where he was born recognizes him as a man. The state of New Jersey where he lives and holds his driver’s license recognizes him as a man. Hell, the federal government via the Department of Social Security recognizes him as a man.  What is the issue here?

This is hardly the first time someone transgendered was fired from their employment because of their identity. Though apparently this the first time a case takes on the question of a transgendered person’s chosen sex. There are the rare discrimination cases out there, but most settle out of court and I can fully understand.  Why is it whenever anyone has to fight for their right to do (or in this case be) something in the courts of law they must have all of their personal business dragged through the public to do so?  Everything in such court cases places the person under a very hot spotlight and few want to go through that.

“They were judging me for who I am, not for the job I was being asked to do, and that’s wrong, and I was hurt,” he said. “I’m doing this so everyone knows it’s wrong, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

It’s a damn shame that even if he wins this case (which I think he will),and wins his job back at the drug testing facility  his fight is hardly over. You just know there are going to be the “uncomfortable” to the downright hateful who will do their damnedest to make his job miserable. Still, the fight has to start somewhere and I say bravo for Mr. El’Jai Devoureau for being willing to bring this out to verdict, knowing his privacy is soon going to become very public, and not settling out of court.

Who is a man? El’Jai Devoureau. Fight on dude.

I Imagine A Day


You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
“Imagine” – John Lennon/Imagine

We walk down these busy roads
Each step met with some disdain
Yet we move along through the goad
For we’re still walking harsh terrain
We’ve made a choice in this workload
Not for the grind of the office screamer
We work with those whose hands lay
In not hiding what is during the day
Some may say I’m a schemer,
You may say I’m a dreamer

I was once completely battered
By words that should have been balm
Stung as my feelings hardly mattered
And all along I felt as tender
As a crystal ready to be shattered
Feels like I’m living a life undone
Pieces of my soul I imagine crying
With the all senseless lying
Built upon the company jargon
But I’m not the only one

Feeling the need to get it in gear,
Tired of being the ones just waiting
Let us get a few things clear
It’s time for action, no more debating,
Who else has had it up to here?
What’s with our happiness being zealous?
Why can’t we spread word of our joy?
Just another face as love’s envoy?
Yes, we’re causing more than a fuss,
I hope someday you’ll join us

Even knowing it’s a hard road to tread
I rather be weary with the fight for reason
For the company line leaves me emotionally dead
And I just can’t live with the social treason,
So, tell me, where do you wish this world to head?
Someday we’ll walk in peace under the sun
When the seeds of tolerance to bloom into reality
And there is a fighting chance for us you’ll see
For only then we’ll say our work is done
And the world will be as one

(For those still afraid to open the closet door, have faith, we’re working on it )


dVerse ~ Poets Pub | Form for All: Paying Tribute, Page and the Glosa