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Celebrating Black History Month – Monica Roberts

Happy Black History Month!

We are celebrating all of February by showing appreciation to some of the many Black LGBTQ+ pioneers who have made historical changes for our community, whether in the distant past or in recent years.

Today, we are celebrating the life and legacy of Monica Roberts. As the founding editor of TransGriot, an online blog dedicated to the coverage of violence against Black trans women, Monica gained national recognition for her journalism and activism.

Monica was born and raised in segregated Houston, Texas on May 5, 1962. After beginning her gender transition in 1993, her activism carried her east to Virginia and then to Kentucky. In 2004, she coined “TransGriot”, a combination of trans and griot (gree · ow), a West African term meaning “storyteller”, for a Louisville-based newspaper column.

In 2006, the TransGriot newspaper column transitioned to an online blog. That same year, Monica became the first African-American Texan and the third African-American who is openly trans to win the International Foundation for Gender Education Trinity Award. Other merits include awards and recognition from GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Queerty, and the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Although we lost Monica on October 5, 2020, her legacy lives on through the awareness she raised through her blog, TransGriot. A memorial to Monica is located right here in LGBTQ Houston: a mural of her likeness can be found painted on an electrical enclosure at the intersection of Fairview St and Montrose Blvd.

Rest in Power, Monica! 🏳️‍⚧️

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