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Legendary Black Trans Journalist Monica Roberts Dies At 58

Monica Roberts
Photo credit: Samantha Schmidt

The trans community is currently mourning the loss of another black trans activist. Monica Roberts, the creator of TransGrio blog, passed away on Monday. Her sudden death was announced on Thursday from a Facebook post by Dee Dee Watters, a friend and fellow transgender activist. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences confirmed Ms. Roberts’s passing on Friday but the cause of death is not yet determined.

According to KTRK TV , Family and Friends believed that Roberts death was due to a natural cause of Covid-19. Roberts spoke with her mother on Friday and "was not feeling well in recent days... Roberts had been short of breath, but brushed off serious health concerns." she told KTRK TV. She was later encouraged to get tested but they're uncertain if that happened before her accident.

Her death was investigated as a hit-and-run, but authorities did not find signs of trauma to her body. According to Washington Post, Jodie Silva, a spokeswoman for the Houston Police Department says, "she was found outside of her apartment." Brittney Jeffers, a Houston reporter, confirmed the details on KPRC 2 News.

"The woman was hit in the parking lot in the back of this apartment complex (Villas Del Paseo 1 Apartments). I checked in with HPD (Houston Police Department) and they tell me right now they don't have any surveillance video and the person who hit her drove off...sometime between 9:00 and midnight a woman was struck." Brittney Jeffers Via KPRC 2 News

Photo Credit: Villas Del Paseo 1 Apartments
Photo credit: Facebook/@DeeDeeWatters

De-Neisa Siler, Roberts' neighbor, witnessed the aftermath of Roberts' lying in an apartment complex parking lot, 3000 block of Elmside Drive. and "was surprised" to see crime scene tape when she pulled up to her home.

"I live in the area where the trash can is, which is where the body was, you can tell by the way that the stuff was spread out that she was hit by something. It is just mind-boggling to know that you could do something as simple as trying to take out the trash and never make it back home. It is sad and senseless” Siler Via HoustonClick

As the investigation continues on what really happened to this trans activist, the community will remember her in a positive light. Through her work with her award-winning blog TransGriot, Roberts provided the only source from 2004 for black trans people. She spoke highly of all Black trans women and men in their life achievements and mourned them in their deaths, which were often unreported by the media.

According to TransAdvocate, her compassion later won her the IFGE Trinity Award in 2006 for meritorious service to the transgender community. Then In 2015, Roberts received the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award, making her the 1st black and openly trans to be honored. Soon after, Roberts received recognition from GLAAD and won the "Call Of Service" Award in 2016. The following year, Roberts received the HRC John Walzel Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign in 2017. She was also given the Susan J Hyde Award in 2020 for longevity in a movement, making her entire community proud.

Photo Credit: Houston Public Media

Reminiscing over two decades of transgender activism, Robert told DailyBest in 2019 how grateful it was to have been a 20th century foremother for this movement.

“I happened to be born at the time that I needed to be born in order to kind of set the table for the advances that we’re making...Our rights movement is like a relay race. The torch got handed to me at a certain point and when it’s time for me to pass it on, I’m just going to turn around and hand that torch back to the next generation for y’all to advance—and then hand it to the trans kids behind you. Our goal is to never let the flame go out.” - Monica Roberts Via DailyBest.

Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David marked Roberts time as "an icon and a trailblazing voice for transgender rights."


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