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Monica Roberts, TransGriot Creator and Pioneer in Trans News, Has Died

Monica Roberts of Trans Griot has died.

According to social media chatter, journalist and TransGriot creator Monica Roberts has passed. Imara Jones, an activist and producer, was the first to tweet the news.

"I'm shocked at the sudden loss of [Monica Roberts,]" she wrote. "For trans journalists she was a pioneer and an essential North Star. I know so many of us will be deeply saddened by her passing."

Roberts is the founder of the GLAAD Media Award-winning blog which has been covering trans issues since 2006. Prior to mainstream outlets beginning to cover violence against, and the accomplishments of the trans community, Roberts was doing so. That work lived not only on her blog but in her writing for publications like EbonyThe Advocate, The Dallas Voice, and OutSmart Magazine. She told Out in 2019 that she "took up the mantle" simply because “nobody else was doing it." 

“My blog is of vital importance, not just to me but to this entire community,” she said at the time. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into some trans millennial who tells me that my blog inspired them to do this or inspired them to do that. At least five people have told me that reading my blog posts is what kept them from committing suicide. So every time I sit down and start writing a post, I keep that in mind — that what I’m writing may inspire someone who does not want to persevere.”

And it's true: not only has TransGriot constantly been used as a resource to confirm or fact-check information about the trans community, but Roberts has served as an inspiration herself. 

"Saddened to hear the news that Ms. Monica Roberts passed this week," Raquel Willis, director of communications for the Ms Foundation, tweeted of the news. "She was such a powerful force for Black trans journalism and I was honored to feature her expertise in last year's [Trans Obituaries Project.] Her work and brilliance live on through us."

When Willis was the Executive Editor of Out she spearheaded the Trans Obituaries Project which ran in our Out100 2019 issue. For it, Roberts spoke to how we could end the violence against trans women of color.

“One of the reasons that I started [reporting on our] trans siblings being murdered was because I was tired of the poor reporting on it,” she said then. As a result, she pushed for overall media competency in coverage of trans folks, something she arguably has set the standard on.

The details of Roberts' death have not been announced. 

"As I type this, tears are filling my eyes, my best friend my sister, my role dog Monica Roberts was called home to glory on Monday," Dee Dee Watters wrote to Facebook, breaking the news there. "I'll provide details soon! Just please check on each other and please don't ask me what happened!"

Many have spoken out on social media about Roberts as not only an inspiration and standard setter, but as a friend, valued community member, activist, and personal mentor open to having a conversation with any one who was willing to have one. She served as both initator of the rallying cry, a quiet support system, and valued den mother.

May her legacy live on.

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