Steve October 9, 2020
monica-roberts,-trailblazing-black-transgender-activist,-dies-at-58
Monica Roberts, speaks at a rally against transphobic violence at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Dallas on Jan. 16, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the National LGBTQ Task Force)

Monica Roberts, a trailblazing Black transgender activist and journalist, died this week at the age of 58.

Roberts’
friend, Dee Dee Waters, in a
video she posted to her Facebook page
on Thursday confirmed Roberts passed
away on Monday. A cause of death has not been made public.

“Monica was such an amazing person,” said Waters in the video.

Roberts,
58, was born and raised in Houston.

Roberts was
the founding editor of TransGriot, a blog that highlighted trans-specific
issues. Roberts was also an outspoken activist who, among other things, sharply
criticized the Trump administration’s transphobic policies and condemned
violence against trans women of color.

The
National LGBTQ Task Force in January honored
Roberts at its annual Creating Change conference that took place in Dallas.

TransGriot
in 2018 received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Blog. The organization
two years earlier honored Roberts with its Special Recognition Award.

NLGJA: The
Association of LGBTQ Journalists on Sept. 28 announced Roberts had
been named
to its national board of directors.

“The passing of Monica Roberts is a tremendous loss,” said Ina Fried, the organization’s former vice president of print, in a statement. “Monica has been a tireless voice for the trans community, in particular the Black trans community. Countless stories, otherwise untold, were heard because of her strong, unwavering voice.”

The Trans Journalists Association also mourned Roberts.

“Today we are devastated to learn of the passing of Monica Roberts (@TransGriot), a pioneering trans journalist who dedicated her life to lifting the voices of Black trans lives,” said the organization in a tweet. “Her exemplary work as a reporter shows the necessity of trans people writing our own stories.”

The Harris
County Democratic Party in Texas is among the other groups that have honored
Roberts for her activism.

“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,” said Task
Force Executive Director Rea Carey in a statement. “She was a mother,
sister, aunt, friend, protector and voice for the voiceless.”

Equality Texas and the Victory
Fund of which former Houston Mayor Annise Parker is president and CEO are among
the other LGBTQ advocacy groups that mourned Roberts’ death.

“Monica Roberts was a dear friend, trailblazer and a tireless advocate for trans rights,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who represents Houston.

“Although she was known nationally, she never failed to lend her platform to support those in need,” added the Houston Democrat. “She was our shero.”

Monica Roberts was a dear friend, trailblazer and a tireless advocate for Trans-rights. She was founding editor of #TransGriot, the nation’s first blog focusing on issues pertaining to trans women, particularly of color. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/kIAr68Qe3A

— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) October 8, 2020

Although she was known nationally, she never failed to lend her platform to support those in need. She was our shero. Rest in power, my prayers go out to her family, friends and to all who knew her. 3/3

— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) October 8, 2020

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