Monica Roberts

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Monica Roberts
ResidenceHouston, Texas
Known forTransgender advocacy
Home townHouston, Texas

Monica Roberts is an African-American blogger, writer, and transgender rights advocate. She is the founding editor of TransGriot, a blog focusing on issues pertaining to transgender women of color.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Roberts began her gender transition in 1993-94.[2][3] She was working in Houston as an airline gate agent at that time.[3] She had felt since she was five or six that "something was different about me", but didn't have access to black trans role models at that time (the 1970s); she felt that she would have transitioned earlier if she had.[2][4]


Roberts was a founding member of the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, and served as its Lobby Chair from 1999-2002.[1][5]

In Louisville, Kentucky, Roberts served on the board of the Fairness Campaign and its political action committee, C-FAIR. In 2005 and 2006, she organized the Transsistahs-Transbrothas Conference that took place in that city.[5] She began writing TransGriot in 2004 as a newspaper column for The Letter, a Louisville-based LGBT paper.[4][6] (The term "griot" refers to a storyteller from West Africa.[6])

Roberts founded the TransGriot blog in 2006.[1][2] Roberts was motivated by a lack of trans blogs focused on blacks and other people of color.[2][6] One of the missions of her blog is to "chronicle the history of Black transpeople".[5]

As a black trans woman, Roberts has explored the intersections of cissexism and racism in her writing. In a 2009 column, she stated that people who have a problem with the word cisgender "are wailing in unacknowledged cisgender privilege", and compared this criticism to white people that "call me 'racist' anytime I criticize the underlying structural assumptions that buttress whiteness".[7]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2006, Roberts won the IFGE Trinity Award for meritorious service to the transgender community; it was the transgender community's highest meritorious service award, and she was the first African-American Texan and the third African-American openly trans person to be given the award.[5]

In 2015, Roberts received the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award from Fantasia Fair, making her the first African-American openly trans person to be so honored.[1][8]

In 2016, Roberts received a Special Recognition Award from GLAAD in San Francisco.[9]

Also in 2016, Roberts became the first openly trans person to receive Phillips Brooks House Association's Robert Coles "Call of Service" Award; it was the 10th annual such award.[10][8]

In 2017, Roberts received the HRC John Walzel Equality Award.[8]

In 2018, she was named one of "8 Houston Women to Watch on Social Media" by Houstonia.[11]

Also in 2018, she won Outstanding Blog at the GLAAD Media Awards.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Steve Lee (July 13, 2015). "Monica Roberts recognized as transgender pioneer". San Diego LGBT Weekly. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Mari Haywood (February 28, 2013). "Filling a void in the blogsphere: Monica Roberts for Transgriot". GLAAD. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Shaquanda Brown (November 3, 2016). "Monica Roberts: Call of Service Lecture 2016". Phillips Brooks House Association. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Dennis R. Upkins (February 1, 2016). "How Has Transgender Activism Changed in the Past Decade?". Bitch Media. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "TransGriot Monica Roberts On Black Trans History". One+Love. February 20, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Rebekah Barnes (August 10, 2016). "Advocates Janet Mock, Monica Roberts Discuss Gender, Trans Rights". The Chautauquan Daily. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Anne Enke (May 4, 2012). Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies. Temple University Press. p. 211. ISBN 9781439907481. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "2017 Special Guests and Awards". HRC Houston. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  9. ^ "TransGriot's Monica Roberts to receive Special Recognition Award at GLAAD Gala San Francisco". GLAAD. September 2, 2016. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "10th Annual Robert Coles "Call of Service" Lecture and Award". Phillips Brooks House Association. October 28, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  11. ^ "8 Houston Women to Watch on Social Media | Houstonia". Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  12. ^ "GLAAD Media Awards: The Complete List of Winners 2018". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-04-15.

External links[edit]