She was an unapologetic Black trans woman who educated countless through her activism.

Monica Roberts died of natural causes on Oct. 6 in Houston, according to OutSmart Magazine.

She was 58.

In a statement, NLGJA: the Association of LGBTQ Journalists called Roberts a tireless voice for the trans community.

“She opened so many eyes — including my own — not just to the harsh realities faced by so many in the Black and brown trans community, but also to the richness of their beautiful and courageous lives,” said former NLGJA Vice President Ina Fried. “Monica also pushed the media, LGBTQ media and mainstream journalists alike, encouraging all of us to do better.”

Roberts authored the TransGriot blog, its title a reference to West African storytelling. She used the platform to shine light on trans lives lost to violence.

“Frankly, I got tired of Black trans women being disrespected by the media,” Roberts told CNN in 2019. 

Aryah Lester, deputy director for the Transgender Strategy Center, called Roberts a legend and icon.

“She was a testament of living history, survival and resilience,” Lester posted on Facebook. “As our ancestors guide your way, we will remember, uphold and cherish your legacy my dear sister.”

Roberts’ work was recognized by GLAAD in 2016 and upon receiving her award she spoke of the power writing can have on shaping events.

“It’s even more potent when you walk the walk and back up your words with deeds,” she said.


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