There will be no news briefs on Friday as this blog will be celebrating the life of Monica Roberts.
I first met Monica Roberts in 2011. It was during Netroots Nation held in Minnesota. It was an interesting time for me and my blog because it was the first time I met other LGBTQ bloggers. I was very nervous as it was and being invited to participate in a panel discussion didn't exactly help me calm my nerves.
I don't remember what I said exactly. Most likely it was about myself and how my blog was created to expose religious right lies about LGBTQ people. It was all a jumble. But what I do remember was the voice in the audience which rang through the room like a one-person amen corner during my verbal introduction.
"Tell the truth and shame the devil."
I looked to see where the voice was coming from and that's when I first saw Monica sitting upright in her chair in the middle of the room like a queen holding court. Tall and seemingly imposing but not too imposing as she smiled at me like we were old friends. And it felt that way to me, too.
I had heard about her because she was already a legend in the transgender community and the LGBTQ community at large. She at times had gotten people angry at her. But a lot of those people had it coming. Other folks who had gotten angry at her quickly understood where she was coming from and became her friends.
I was never had an angry word for her and she never had one for me. The times we met at conferences like Netroots was always a gathering of not just old friends, but family. Monica always felt like a family member to me. An older sister who you admired for her drive, the power of her words, how she always had something going on to change the world, and most of all the fire that drove her.
That's what Monica Roberts was to me. Fire. Bright and magnificent. Power personified but always warming and welcoming. Confident in who she was, not just as a transgender woman, but a black transgender woman. She never diluted any part of who she was and she never played games with you.
She was everything I wanted to be as an LGBTQ person and as an activist - loud when needed be, outspoken and articulate, and always having her hand in several projects to make our community safer and more complete.
I knew her mostly by her GLAAD award-winning blog Transgriot but she was involved in so many other issues and projects having to do with the trans community and LGBTQ people in general. She wore so many hats and with style. Most of all, she never forgot that it was about all of us.
She's gone now. Off to a better world and I hope a rich reward for her service. Tributes are beginning to roll in and Monica deserves all of them.
For now, my world is emptier and sadder with her not in it. But the LGBTQ community and the world in general is in a much better state because of the time she was in it.
Monica brought the fire. Let's never forget that. And even in our sadness, let's never forget to carry that fire.Related post - Monica Roberts, Pioneering, Acclaimed TransGriot Blogger, Has Died