Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy to give keynote at Asterisk Trans* Conference

Miss Major
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, an activist and advocate for her community over 40 years, will provide the keynote address at the Asterisk Trans* Conference hosted by UC Riverside in February 2015.

Miss Major is a black, formerly incarcerated, transgender elder. She was at the Stonewall uprising in 1969, became politicized at Attica, was an original member of the first all-transgender gospel choir, and is a father, mother, grandmother, and grandfather to her own children, and to many in the transgender community.

Currently, Miss Major is the Executive Director of the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project, where she instills hope and a belief in a better future to the women that are currently incarcerated and those coming home.

Named as a San Francisco LGBT Pride Grand Marshal this past June, Miss Major has fought on the front lines of resistance from the 1969 Stonewall Riots to the 1971 Attica State Prison upraising to the early AIDS crisis in the 1980s. She's brought attention to violence against trans women of color and continues to advocate for the survival of her community.

Miss Major spoke to the Bay Area Reporter about the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots, in which the trans women of color who had visibly resisted police harassment were later silenced at primarily white gay rights rallies. 

"After the raid happened, I remember Sylvia Rivera and I going to a gay rally in Central Park," Griffin-Gracy said, referring to the late trans activist who died in 2002. "Sylvia went up to speak and they booed her offstage. We were so heartbroken; I cried for days. There was this sea of white people and they had the audacity to do that. The thing is, this disconnect is still happening. I saw a movie last year about Stonewall and didn't see one transwoman of color in the whole film."
Miss Major will be joined at the Asterisk Trans* Conference by performers and speakers such as poet/activist Ollie Schminkey, community leader Bamby Salcedo, actor and writer D'Lo, advocate parent Marsha Aizumi, and sociologist  Dr. Tey Meadow. UC Riverside hosts the conference February 27-28, 2015. People of all gender identities and expressions are invited to register online starting October 24th.