Stella Maxwell
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Monica Roberts, Pioneering, Acclaimed TransGriot Blogger, Has Died

Monica Roberts

Monica Roberts, the activist and blogger behind TransGriot, has died, according to multiple sources on social media.

“It is with great sadness that the BTAC family has received notice of the passing of Monica Roberts, our sister, aunt, and friend,” the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition posted Thursday on Facebook. “We should have a well elaborated post about this, but at the moment we just need to notify the public and begin processing our grief and loss at this time. Please keep Monica's soul, friends and family in your prayers that they all may find comfort and peace at this time of separation. We love you Monica. Fly high, angel.”

Roberts’s close friend Dee Dee Watters also broke the news, posting on Facebook that Roberts “was called home to glory on Monday.” Watters, who said she would provide details later, called Roberts her best friend, sister, and “role dog.”

Roberts, who was based in Houston, founded TransGriot 15 years ago. “No reporter this year has covered the breadth of Black trans women’s lives — and very often, deaths — the way this journalist has,” Pride Media CEO Diane Anderson-Minshall wrote in The Advocate earlier this year, when Roberts was named one of the magazine’s Women of the Year.

She had received numerous awards for her work, including the Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement at Creating Change this year, the Human Rights Campaign’s John Walzel Equality Award in 2017, and a special recognition award for her blog at the 2016 GLAAD Media Awards.

LGBTQ+ leaders issued statements mourning her. “This week, the LGBTQ+ community lost one of our fiercest voices in Monica Roberts, an activist who not only lifted up the stories of trans people and inspired generations of countless transgender and non-binary people but all those who knew her. She was a mother, sister, aunt, friend, protector and voice for the voiceless. Her journalism was groundbreaking, her advocacy impactful and her spirit and passion limitless. There are people — especially trans members of our community — who are alive and thriving today because of her work,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force.

“Monica was part of the Task Force family; just this year we recognized her at our Creating Change Conference with the Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement. She spoke powerfully at a rally decrying the epidemic of violence against the trans community at the same 2020 conference, which she meticulously reported on, often providing support to local communities and families, while holding the media and law enforcement accountable and seeking justice for her trans siblings. One could not be in her presence without being inspired to be a better activist — including me. Our hearts are with her family, her innumerable friends and colleagues and especially the trans community, which has lost an elder, a pioneer and an extraordinary human being.”

"The loss of Monica Roberts is devastating. She was an unstoppable advocate and a powerful voice, always speaking up for justice and uplifting the trans community," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "Part of her advocacy was work creating her own media stories, and fighting to change and shape mainstream media’s coverage of trans people. She told the stories about Black trans people that weren’t told elsewhere. Her legacy will live on in all of the trans advocates she empowered through her own community work, and through her revolutionary TransGriot blog which preserves trans history and provides an in-depth portrait of the fierce, funny, brilliant, incisive woman who created it."

“Monica Roberts was an icon and a trailblazing voice for transgender rights, both in her home state of Texas and around the country,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “We are deeply saddened to learn of her passing, and offer our most heartfelt condolences to her friends, family, and loved ones. For decades, Monica has been a fierce leader — bringing light to the injustice transgender people face, especially Black transgender women. She leaves behind a strong, and vital legacy — one that every LGBTQ person and ally should work to honor and advance. Rest in power, Monica, and thank you.”

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