Monica Roberts: A Pioneering Voice for the Transgender Community

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Monica Roberts, a pioneering blogger who started TransGriot, died earlier this week, prompting an outpouring of remembrances from Texas and around the country. Roberts had been hailed as a pioneer for covering the trans community, and won numerous accolades for her contributions to the LGBTQ+ community.

Earlier this year, Roberts was named one of Advocate’s “Women of the Year.” In the article that accompanied the issue, Roberts legacy as a trans blogger was celebrated. “No reporter this year has covered the breadth of Black trans women’s lives – and very often, deaths – the way this journalist has been since her blog, TransGriot, was launched 15 years ago,” wrote Diane Anderson-Minshall.

Roberts was born in Houston in 1962. She graduated from the University of Houston in 1984. Over twenty years, Roberts wrote for numerous publications including The Huffington Post, Transadvocate, Ebony.com, and Global Comment. She started TransGriot as a column in 2004, before taking it to a full blog in 2006.

As violence against the transgender community and particularly for black trans women has increased, TransGriot played a pivotal role in covering the tragedies. In January, Roberts appeared on MSNBC to discuss the role of anti-trans rhetoric and how it contributes to violence towards the trans community.

Roberts received the John Walzel Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in 2017, and the Outstanding Blog Award at the GLAAD Media Awards in 2018. Janet Mock, a writer, director, author, and trans activist, celebrated Roberts’s legacy on Twitter, and called her a “big sister.”

In Texas, state Rep. Jessica González offered her condolences on Twitter. González is a founding member of the state house’s LGBT caucus.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo also shared her sadness at the loss of Roberts, and called her a “bright light and relentless champion for what is right.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also remembered Roberts, one of the original board members of the Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board. “Our city continues to embrace everyone no matter where they come from, their background, and continues to be a place of hope and opportunity. I extend my condolences to those close to Monica and we will continue to march, fight, and speak up for equal rights for all,” wrote Turner.

KPRC 2 from Houston reported the cause of death might have been a hit-and-run, though that has yet to be confirmed from the Medical Examiner. 

Photo: Kimberly White/Getty Images for GLAAD

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