V Interesting

Trans Resistance & Pride with Rep. Zooey Zephyr and Erin Reed, Abortion AF, Nap Activism

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V shines a spotlight on four of their favorite nonprofits, from a comedy troupe of abortion activists to a theologian holding community naps as a form of resistance. Then, V chats with Montana State Representative Zooey Zephyr and journalist Erin Reed about their recent engagement and ongoing quest to protect trans rights.

Follow Zooey @zoandbehold on Twitter and TikTok and Erin @erininthemorn on Twitter and @ErinInTheMorning on TikTok.

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Erin, Zooey, V Spehar

V Spehar  00:00

Hey, friends, it’s June 2, 2023. Welcome to V INTERESTING, where we break down the viral and very interesting news you may have missed. I’m V Spehar. And today, we’re going to step away from the News for the week and spotlight for nonprofit organizations doing amazing things like illuminated a woman led group that’s challenging the narrative around native peoples and rainbow families, which supports LGBTQ plus families, parents and those hoping to have kids one day plus state rep. Zooey Zephyr of Montana is here with her fiance, activist Erin Reed will talk about how it felt to get barred from speaking on the chamber floor, their recent engagement and what people can do today to protect queer joy. All that more on today’s be interesting from lemon Automedia. Let’s be smart together.

V Spehar  02:15

Okay, if like I said at the top, we’re going to be stepping away from the headlines this week to do something a little different, but I think it’s going to be good for our souls. I want to talk about a few of my favorite organizations that are doing just incredible work right now. And it was hard to pick just four. But I chose these four because these are folks that I personally work with. I know them I know their leadership. And with the exception of the nap ministry, who we’ll talk about later, that’s a group that I’m just like obsessed with and been a longtime follower of these are the people that I love and interact with the most in my daily life. And I want you to get to know them too. Let’s start with abortion access front or abortion as if you prefer and get this. They make the abortion fight. Kind of fun and kind of funny. Comedian Lizz Winstead started this organization in 2015. If you don’t know the name, you definitely know her work. First. She was on our show back in January. So if you missed that episode, go and search for it and listen, she helped create the Daily Show where she served as one of the original writers and correspondents. Just like The Daily Show abortion AF uses humor to open people’s eyes and shine a light on all the bullshit we’re hearing these days. Liz says what this movement needs is a jolt of fun and proactive messaging to quote, expose weird ass self appointed vaginal crossing guards. I just love her for that. And I could not have said that better myself. Liz teamed up with other comedians like Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho and Helen Hong, as well as musicians and actors to create content that exposes the pro lifers, politicians and fake clinics hurting Americans right to reproductive health. And she equally support small clinics and everyday activists fighting for the right to choose, like one of their latest campaigns send in the gowns, where people across the country called politicians to make OBGYN appointments in order to point out the hilarity of politicians trying to play doctor. Some people even showed up at their Statehouse offices wearing hospital gowns demanding vaginal care. Abortion AF also tours across America. Their live performances harken back to the USO days when performers would visit military bases to boost morale for soldiers. But this time celebrities perform for abortion providers and their communities. And I’m just saying if you guys ever need someone to like sing show tunes or tap dance, but like make it OBGYN themed, I can do that. Sign me up for that. Celebrities and other volunteers then spend time helping the clinics by planting trees painting murals and acting as clinic escorts. Liz says it’s their mission to get people involved put bullshit on blast and reframe abortion into its proper place. A dignified moral choice. If you want to kick ass take names To expose sexist shitheads their words not mine, head to aafront.org

V Spehar  05:11

Now, I believe that everyone should have the right to choose whether or not they’d like to start a family no matter what they look like where they live or who they love. And that’s why one of my favorite other organizations is Rainbow families. This volunteer led nonprofit offers education and support to LGBTQ plus families, parents and those even just thinking about having children. Sadly, lots of queer people have a hard time becoming a parent for a bunch of reasons. Even though the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015. Those changes did not extend to other rights, like adoption and surrogacy. roadblocks, like social stigma, discriminatory adoption laws and legal concerns can make an already difficult decision even harder. And that’s where rainbow families comes in. The organization reaches an average of 10,000 people each month through educational classes, support groups and live gatherings. It was born out of dozens of movements that came before it, like the gay father’s coalition of the 1970s, the maybe baby classes of the 1980s and the family equality Council of the early aughts, the maybe baby groups are still going strong. The course is designed for prospective parents and covers topics like infant adoption, the foster care system, and the joys and challenges of being queer parents. In addition to the maybe baby classes, pen pal clubs and play groups. The nonprofit holds an annual in person conference that includes workshops, a kid’s camp and a vendor fair. They just celebrated their 20th anniversary at their live event in Maryland last month. I am so close to this organization, in fact that I call their executive director Darren dad because he really is just like a dad to all of us. If you are a queer person interested in starting a family or learning more about what the process looks like, you can find them at Rainbow families.org. Let’s now turn to an organization trying to change the narrative around another disenfranchised group. Did you know that 78% of Americans know little to nothing about Native peoples. That’s more than three and four Americans. This level of invisibility fuels toxic misconceptions and perpetuate stereotypes inequity and injustice. illuminative is trying to change that. Their mission is to build power for native peoples by amplifying contemporary voices, re educating Americans and mobilizing public support for key Native issues. The organization was founded in 2018 After the First Nations Development Institute sponsored the largest public opinion research project ever compiled about Native peoples. That’s where the 78% stat came from. The data also found that pop culture, media and public education drives and perpetuates negative stereotypes. Five years later, illuminated has already done so much to change the narrative. they’ve teamed up with Netflix to fast track TV shows and films created by indigenous producers. They’ve created lesson plans that communities can use to advocate for and celebrate indigenous peoples day. And they’re putting pressure on sports leagues and schools to stop using native mascots. And if you’re a fan of true crime, check out their podcast American genocide, which tells the painful story of Catholic Indian boarding schools through the eyes of a native investigator and activist in South Dakota. We covered American genocide on tick tock last month. And as we keep eyes on the Supreme Court waiting on the opinion that could end the Indian Child Welfare Act. I’ll be following illuminated for guidance on how to best support native people and their stories. Check out all of their amazing work for yourself at illuminate iv.org activism can be rejuvenating, but it can also be exhausting. Especially if you personally belong to a marginalized group. It can be easy to get burnt out and I even feel it at times. Trisha Hirsi feels it too. She’s the black artist and theologian known for her New York Times best seller. Rest is resistance a manifesto Tricia started an organization called the nap ministry in 2016. It grew out of an art performance where she explored reparations resistance, black liberation theology, and the spiritual practice of rest. That performance led her to want to create more sacred spaces where people can rest and rejuvenate. She believes that daydreaming is part of the resistance that sleep can interrupt brutal power structures, and that collective napping can turn into collective action. At the nap ministry she organizes retreats, writing workshops, lectures and art installations that center around rest work. Her book helps explain the work it’s a call to action she says. For those who are sleep deprived, searching for justice and longing to be liberated from the oppressive grip of grind culture, as a black woman, Tricia wants to push back on a legacy of exhaustion that her ancestors endured and teach other people, especially people of color to do the same. While many of us recently started using terms like quiet quitting burnout and self care, Trisha has spent years working in this space. Her online platform is growing and she gives talks across the country to people looking to get off the hamster wheel of capitalism and productivity. You can learn more about the nap ministry at the nap ministries.com And if you’re ever in Atlanta, check out their new event space dubbed the rest temple, Tricia will be hosting collective napping, daydreaming and spiritual coaching sessions Sign me up. Okay, now that we’re all in a restful headspace and successfully escaped the headlines, get ready for one of the most joyous conversations of your life. We have on the show today. Montana’s first transgender legislator representative Zooey Zephyr. I can hear the cheers from here. Everybody loves Zoey. Right. Zoey made national headlines this year after being silenced by the statehouse. And yes, we’re going to talk about that. But I also wanted to talk about all the other facets of Zoe’s life, including her recent engagement. Love is certainly in the air for this episode because though we will be joined by her fiance, activist and writer Erin Reed Reed. I mean, these two people on their own are absolute powerhouses. But together, I was just completely overcome by joy and optimism. Stick around. We’ll be right back with Zooey and Erin after this break.

V Spehar  11:50

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Zooey  15:30

I’m feeling great. I feel busy, super busy. But I feel like in the work, just I feel like we’re doing what we should be doing right now.

Erin  15:40

I concur. I you know, it feels like the work never stops. That’s for sure. It feels like every single time, I think there’s going to be a pause in legislation or news or cultural environments that are going on, we enter into a new phase, and we’re going into pride. So like, that’s a good thing.

V Spehar  15:59

I know. Are you guys big Pride Month, folks? Because I, I sometimes get a little scared around pride time. I have like a lot of insecurity. Do you ever do you feel really confident always with pride?

Erin  16:10

I love pride, I think for me, the way in which I get refilled. And like the way in which I get rejuvenated is being around other queer people partaking in queer joy. And so you know, like the work gets hard. And there’s a lot of reporting on really bad legislation all the time. But it’s whenever I can then go and see all of the people that are like listening in on this and that are fighting and that are also enjoying themselves and doing amazing things in and of themselves that I just started get refueled. And so pride is like the ultimate culmination of that. That’s where like, I get all of that energy.

Zooey  16:45

When I gave a speech last year, at my hometown, Missoula pride, I the speech I gave, I said, pride is two things. Pride is sanctuary, and pride is protest. And to me, as we see the escalating attacks, it becomes more and more important to recognize both aspects of those things. So do I care a ton about a corporate float or sponsors or excetera? Not really. But what I care about is that the community comes together. And both shelters, everyone from some of the attacks that we’re seeing provides that sanctuary. And also people leave pride ready, ready to go on and face the attacks that our community is under and do something about it. And that to me, pride will always have a place.

V Spehar  17:32

See, this is why I love you guys. Because you guys can be on the front line. And I have literally such a coward. I’m under my desk. And we got to give it up for the shy gays to during Pride it pride is something that you feel anxious or nervous about, you know, participate in the way that makes you feel most comfortable. Because after all, it is celebration about you about your queerness in whatever way that manifests for you in your life. And before we get more into all of these issues that are facing trans folks, y’all got engaged recently. There it is, there’s the ring for people who are listening. Tell me, Zooey, you proposed at queer prom and event in Missoula. Back in May. Can you paint the scene of how the proposal went down? And why it was important to do it at queer prom?

Zooey  18:15

Yeah, you know, Erin and I had talked that a proposal was coming. The plan was later this summer. And then the ring actually showed up two days before the legislature concluded in Montana. And I remember, you know, Erin and I both feeling in the midst of all of that feeling a desire to be close to one another through what was a difficult time. And when the rain came in, I felt like okay, I don’t think I’m going to make it to July. What’s what’s coming up and someone reached out and was like, Will you speak at queer prom? And I went, Yes. And do you want to help me do a thing? And one of the organizers of queer prom said, Oh, my gosh, absolutely. And so once the legislature ended, Erin flew out, along with their son, to be in Montana with me. And when prom came up, it felt like the perfect time to be surrounded by again that queer joy, and also to really plant the flag of queer joy and say, Listen, there are these harmful bills coming there are attacks on our communities. But you cannot take queer love. You cannot take queer joy away. And that is something I feel deep in my heart and I feel plus to share in that.

V Spehar  19:34

Were you surprised Erin?

Erin  19:35

It was a big surprise. And it was a wonderful surprise. I you know. I said I think the first thing that I said to her was You tricked me and kissed her and hugged her and told me that she tricked me and then I told her that I loved her and obviously yes and all the fun things. It was it was very joyful moment and I am really glad that like we got to share it with a lot of people Who knows how to hurt here in Montana, Montana, Montana has had a rough year and to be able to like share a lot of joy with everybody was I think just what just what we needed.

V Spehar  20:11

I agree after the prom. So we I think it was you that said it was vital to uplift and cherish queer joy. What does that mean to you?

Zooey  20:19

Queer joy, queer love, queer community is in my heart, the reason we’re going to win these fights in the end. Because we know what we are centering. We know what our lives are about. And in, in the face of all of those attacks. If we hold on to that both at the personal level and the interpersonal level, that will be what gets us through the storm. And as we grow, to be, as people recognize us, as part of their communities, and see and share in that love and joy. The appetite for this kind of hateful legislation has to diminish.

V Spehar  20:54

You know, so often when we’re talking about the hateful legislation, there’s this term that seems to have been coined this year, which is parental rights. And those rights apparently only belong to sis heterosexual conservative parents often, but in fact, you, Erin has a child and Zooey, you’re about to become a stepmother. How does that feel? Have you guys talked about what parental rights will mean to you?

Erin  21:18

So it’s kind of hilarious, because my son is seven years old. And you know, he was really excited whenever he saw that we were getting engaged. And you know, we had talked about the potential of that in the future. And he, you know, he kind of understands the idea that like, stepmom is a thing, but here’s what he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand that. It’s like, when you get married, she becomes stepmom. So she’s, he’s already calling her now. Like, yeah, she’s already she’s already stuck on now. Like, he says it he, it’s, it’s wonderful. It’s so innocent and gorgeous on screen to see her. She is so amazing with him. You know, I think that being trans and having a kid and being able to be his mom, and that’s the way that he relates me and interacts with me and this, use that word for me. And for like four years now. It’s been a very loving experience. For me, it’s been a wonderful experience. For me, there is no person on this earth that has been a more fierce defender of mine than my seven year old kid. He is there for me 24/7 He, you know, he saw He saw Zooey in Montana doing her thing. And he was cheering her on it was kind of it was really, really wonderful. I call I took a picture of him watching her give her speech. And like send it to her afterwards. And you can see him just lit up.

V Spehar  22:35

How does it feel for you to be walking into a family right now like all of a sudden, you’re going to have a seven year old child Zooey. There’s a lot of women right now listening who are like, Oh my gosh, I remember when I you know, got into a blended family and probably have a lot of tips for you. Is there anything you’ve done to prepare for motherhood?

Zooey  22:53

When Erin and I first were chatting, and we were getting serious about our relationship, I told her that I wanted to love that felt like home. And when I visited in December of last year, which was the first time I got to meet Andy, I was only supposed to be here for like, three days, and I was only gonna get one night with with Erin. And on the night before I was supposed to leave, we’re hanging out with Andy and he goes out want Zooey to go. And I went downstairs and I changed my ticket to be two weeks later. And I spent the next two weeks with them. And I left knowing that, that this is where I want it to be that this is a family that I felt welcomed into and blessed to be a part of Sunday.

Erin  23:47

And we’ve been great to have her and she’s been an enormous help and a wonderful person. And it’s so nice to have another person in the house. And he loves her and she loves him.

V Spehar  23:56

You’ve been single mom and for a while this must be quite the relief, somebody else can help.

Erin  24:02

I know, like I have and like, you know, it’s it’s hard to do the work that I needed to do any work really. And I mean, like I think that there are a lot of single moms out there that would probably understand the idea of, you know, being the sole provider while also building a career and, and, and in my case working on like activism and stuff like that, like I’ve had to balance a lot and she understands you know, she knows what that life is like, but it’s also really nice to see. You know, I told her that what was key is like, I fell in love with her and like I knew that I was in love with her. But I told her that like, you know, my son has to as well and it’s really important that like a relationship that my son is like, is in this and and he I mean he is just he sees her as just the light of the world. It’s great. I love it.

Zooey  24:53

Yeah, brush your teeth when Erin says that it’s no but when Zooey says it’s interesting

Erin  25:00

Oh, my God enjoying that well at last.

V Spehar  26:37

The work that the two of you do is so incredibly emotionally laborious, not to mention the education that you’ve had to give yourselves legislature lawmaking, constitutional law, all the different things. And it feels like this came on so quickly this like heavy attack on trans people, and on the silencing of trans people. Erin, how did you prepare to begin this work on Tik Tok? And just to give folks a little background if you’re if you’re not aware, Erin is Erin in the morning. And basically is the the go to source for all things happening for trans people as far as like laws across the nation. And reports, sometimes three and four times a day on different things that are happening. How did you prepare yourself? When did you feel called to be that person?

Erin  28:03

Four years ago, I made a map of healthcare clinics for trans people. And it was because I even living in like a very liberal state of Maryland, I would have to drive a six hour round trip into Pennsylvania to get my medical care, my gender affirming care. And I had heard that there were these things called informed consent clinics that I could go and get care easily at. The thing is, is that all the information about these clinics are disjointed all over the internet. And so I gathered them all together, put them in one map, like went to all the Planned Parenthood’s and mapped out where you can get your care, released it to the general public, and it ended up getting, you know, viewed like 5 million times. Now what happened as a result of that was over time, I started getting emails, you know, DMS about laws that threaten that care. And I learned how to effectively just read these laws work with actors on the ground, got to know the organizations and started reporting in the legislation. Originally, this is all done on Twitter. And I did it on Twitter for a long time. But that wasn’t like I wasn’t reaching all the audiences that I needed to reach. So whenever Elon Musk had stated that he was going to buy Twitter, I knew that that was going to be potentially like a dangerous zone. And so I had to change my platform. I wanted to learn how to use new platforms. And so I got some lights. I put like some green and multicolored background lights and started posting on Tik Tok. And it just it took off because I think I was reaching an audience my average reaching an audience that isn’t as used to getting all this information.

V Spehar  29:32

Yeah, for me, it was truly like, rendered me speechless when I started watching your content, because I saw you a couple times and I was like, Oh, that’s interesting. Maybe like once a week, she’ll have a little update and it’s like, oh, no, this is for trans folks making up such a small percentage of the overall population. The amount of legislation that is coming at them, it far out sizes, any other population. I mean, it’s truly next level. Obsessive If I would call it, Zooey, when did you decide to run for elected office? Did it have to do with these attacks on trans folks? Or was it for another reason?

Zooey  30:10

Yeah, so I had been doing activism behind the scenes in Montana in a variety of capacities from helping people file anti discrimination claims, to helping draft policy for the city of Missoula, where I’m from, to doing de escalation work at my tracking armed counter protesters at the George Floyd protest to make sure that they would leave protesters alone. And that kind of work. And then from that work, I got invited to testify at the legislature and meet with the governor’s office on the anti trans bills of 2021, including the sports ban. I was a high level athlete prior to my transition, and was able to come in there and speak about the importance of sports, what it means etc. And I watched them both in those hearings, feeling like I was speaking to an audience who did not want to hear and then watch several pieces of legislation passed by one vote. And I remember thinking to myself, if we’re going to change hearts and minds, we need to be in that room. And so I made some posts that day that said, we need trans representation in government, I’m going to get in that room. And then I did what any, you know, person who’s really serious about this work does, because I have my 100 cups of coffee with politicians, activists organized just across the state. And they said, Is this a room where my voice can do good in and over and over again, I heard not only is it a room, it’s the room you need to be in right now.

V Spehar  31:47

And about two months into you one click, which was great. You and Montana has a non binary representative as well, the very first non binary representative for the state. And then we’ve got two representatives who don’t subscribe to the gender binary and their Montana has a very short legislative session, and you’ll only meet like every two years or something. Right?

Zooey  32:08

Yeah. Montana’s legislature is unique in that we meet for 90 days, well, maximum 90 working days, every two years. So we have a 2021 session 2325. And so our sessions tend to run from January 2 to early May, late April, depending on how many Saturdays we work.

V Spehar  32:31

And you were there for about two months before you raised your hand, we saw that iconic photo of you with the microphone in the air. And you were protesting some anti trans legislation that was happening. And this is when the Montana legislature decided that in fact, they were going to silence and shut down and a duly elected representative. Can you talk about that day?

Zooey  32:51

Yeah, so it’s important to note that that moment with the microphone raised above my head, was already partway through the silencing. So I spoke out against the governor’s amendments to Senate Bill 99, which is a bill that banned gender affirming care across a spectrum of care. And in his letter, he used cruel language like he called gender affirming, care, quote, Orwellian newspeak. In his letter where he was removing care from trans people, he called for, you know, compassionate to, you know, kindness towards trans people. And in my speech, I said, we don’t need your words of kindness, we need the care that lets us live happy, fulfilling lives. And at the end of that speech, I said that legislators who voted for that legislation would have blood on their hands, speaking about very real harm that had come to my community, including stories of suicide attempts that we had in direct response to the bills that came forward. And after that, the Speaker of the House said, I’m not going to allow you to speak on any legislation going forward. They kept doing that for a handful of days. And that’s when people came to the Capitol to rally in support of me and stood watching the events and watching the hearings that wait for two hours until I punched in on a bill. And when I did and wasn’t allowed to speak. That’s when they stood up peacefully and chanted let her speak. That’s what I raised my microphone. After which Republicans banned me from the House.

V Spehar  34:26

Was your heart just racing out of your chest at that point, or what did it feel like?

Zooey  34:30

It felt like I was doing a moral and justice thing. Someone said, you know, people say I took so much courage, it took so much bravery. And to me, it was so clear that what we had been seeing was stripping away the very first principles of our country, like if we do not have representative democracy if our citizens do not get their representatives, elected to the House to speak on their behalf. We are on a fast track to authoritarianism. And so in that moment seeing my community of Montana’s stand up in defense of democracy, it was the easiest decision that I made. And I felt a sense of calmness and a sense of rightness in the moment.

Erin  35:17

My heart was racing because I was covering it. I was watching the woman that I love, you know, and all of that happening. I was, but I was proud of her. Again, like my son, you know, was was watching and it was like, clapping. And

Zooey  35:31

I will say the one moment, you know, where my heart actually began racing. And I think you see from a raised microphone, at one point, I outstretched your hand at another point. And in that moment, it was when the riot police baton and someone who was sitting in their chair, that seeing that happen, it was it made me worried for the safety of the people who were when we were up there and we’re being hit by police,

Erin  35:58

I cried, I knew that I cried watching her, you know, and it was it was, it was crying just out of just the sheer emotion of it all because there was so much that I knew she had been going through our community has been going through so much of her constituents have been going through. And and just to see like that all come to head it was it was a very moving moment. I was so proud of her I, you know, I was I am so proud of her I always will be

V Spehar  36:24

What do you think makes people so afraid of gender affirming care? I mean, this is something that’s been going on for so many years. And now we’re seeing people, you know, like you said, riot police coming in, and literally beating people because they’re standing up saying that we need gender affirming care. We’re seeing this foaming at the mouth, like completely out of their minds rage towards trans people who are simply saying like, This doesn’t concern you I need to be able to get the care that I need to be the person I am. And yet, folks are coming so incredibly strongly with such like chaotic hate.

Erin  37:01

You know, I want to before I like completely answer that question. I want to point out that like this is part of a thread that has run through American history for a long time. And we’ve seen this come bubbling up to the surface a few times in the past. I mean, even world history, you can go back to 1932, when the very first book burnings were happening in Germany at the Institute of sexology, which was a Institute where the first transgender research was conducted for 30 years. And in 1969, Stonewall, you know, the, the use of drag vans that in three articles of clothing laws to target gay people and LGBT people in their, in their clubs and in their places that they held dear. And you know, we’re seeing the revival of drag bands today. The 80s in the AIDS crisis, where people had to stand in front of churches and yell in the app up era, you know, to say we are worth researching, protecting, defending caring for the 90s in the early 2000s, where we saw 32 states passed constitutional amendments against gay marriage, it looked just as bleak then, as it looks now. And yes, it’s coming on hard and strong and trans people are the target the main target of this particular iteration of this long standing history of targeting the LGBTQ community and demonizing us and calling us unsafe to be around kids. You know, I think that there’s been a fear campaign that’s been waged by some of the same people that played in some of those previous incidents, and if not, they are the ideological inheritors, of that regressive ideology. And to be frank, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of information out there about the orcs that do this, the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Policy Alliance, that are trying to bring about Christian nationalism, like a society where we are living in a theocratic society where the laws that their interpretation of the Christian God are the things that are in effect in America. This is something that’s existed for a long time, the use of sort of this sort of religious justification in order to attack the LGBTQ community, and to bring Americans and society to what they feel was an idealized past where we were no longer allowed to be out in public.

Zooey  39:11

I say about this, it’s important what they’re trying to do when they go in with a bathroom and when they go in with a sportsman is they’re trying to get you to accept an asterisk on trans women’s womanhood. They’re saying, Yeah, trans women are women, except for in this instance of sports, except when it comes to bathrooms except for when they’re 16 or 17. Maybe if we get you to accept estrus after asterisk, ultimately, they can get you to remove care and remove trans people entirely. And that’s why we guard so carefully against all the attacks across the spectrum. We’re talking about the attacks on trans rights and the attacks on LGBTQ people more broadly. But we’re also seeing this across marginalized groups. This is one instance in which we have very specific lenses. But these attacks anytime a marginalized community has risen up and said, Hey, actually, you’re getting our community killed or hurt with these laws, whether that’s abortion rights, whether that’s talks about, you know, indigenous rights, whether it’s talks about the impact of police brutality on black communities. There was, you know, around Coronavirus, we talked about API and like the struggles that their committees were facing, every time a group rises up and says, Hey, these policies get us hurt. There’s a faction that looks to other them and use them as a victimhood to accelerate harmful policies across the gambit.

V Spehar  40:38

Yeah, it’s always the boogeyman, right? Like when, when I talked to my parents retirement community in Florida about these types of things, there’s always this idea of like, Yeah, but men are stronger than women. So I think in the sports thing, you know, that’s kind of unfair. I’m like, Who are you picturing right now, you’re picturing a person that doesn’t exist, you’re not picturing the factual folks within these circumstances. You know, the way that the the right and oftentimes paints who a trans athlete is they’re picking like, the most possible brute of a man who’s going to like, trick everybody into being on the girls swim team. And it’s like, that is not what’s happening, y’all. And that’s what is making people feel like they’re protecting women and for women to be a class of folks who for so long had been begging for protection. Oftentimes, I feel like they’re getting tricked into thinking, well, if I align with men on this particular issue, maybe they’ll protect me on a different issue. And the fact is, they will not love you, they will not protect you, this is one leads to the next to the next to the next. And they end up taking all of us under.

Erin  41:36

It’s clear that like, they don’t truly pretend like care about protecting women, if they did, they would pass so many other sorts of policies, if they cared about women’s sports, you know, they would, they would fix the criminal pay gap in women’s sports, the criminal none of investments that we have just give us some high school and collegiate level Exactly. Like, if they cared about protecting women, they wouldn’t be passing all of these regressive abortion laws, anti abortion laws, if they cared about protecting kids, they would outlaw child poverty and not gender affirming care, right.

Zooey  42:08

We also have, you know, you look at sports, you look at sort of scandals within the US women’s gymnastics team and the abuse that they face. You look at also, I just want to call out, it’s important to note that the people saying, you know, if you go through if you’re a trans woman, and you went through a male puberty, or forever to XY, or Z to compete in women’s sports, are the same people banning gender affirming care for people, they’re saying, we’re going to force you to go through that puberty and then we’re going to use the fact that you went through that puberty to deny you access to things like sports. It’s also worth noting that there are only 35 Trans athletes to the NCAA, they’re vastly underrepresented. If trans people were represented proportionally, we would see many, many more instances where trans people have been successful. You think you mentioned swimming, you think Lea Thomas, Her record was broken the next year. But importantly, even if it wasn’t, I want to celebrate athletes who work hard and sis athletes, trans athletes. I know. So as someone who was a five time state wrestling champion in my youth, like I know what it takes to be successful as an athlete to work hard and know the lessons you learn. And I know the hardships and struggles that come with, I want to celebrate athletes at every stage of their career, whether they’re playing in the peewee League, or whether they’re an NCAA or Olympic athlete.

V Spehar  43:35

So there’s folks, you know, at home right now who are trying to think of like, How can I support trans people? How can I support trans youth? A lot of my audience isn’t even queer. I have like, a pretty heavily conservative audience out there. And this is what I call my common sense, conservatives, folks who really get it they can see big picture. They maybe were legacy raised Republican or conservative, but they don’t subscribe to all of the ideology. And they’re honestly many of them waking up to the fact that the party that they felt aligned with no longer aligns with who they are as people now, especially after social media after Tik Tok, when a lot of folks who just grew up in communities where there wasn’t any diversity. Now live such diverse lives. Have you had the opportunity to meet folks like yourself and people outside of what they grew up with? And they’re wondering, like, what can I do? What are maybe three direct actions that the average person can do to support trans folks and youth?

Zooey  44:27

I think once you have to do is you have to have the courage to stand up in whatever rooms you are in. I’m standing up in the legislature errands, tracking this stuff, and posting thing on things on socials. But if you’re in your work, if you’re in the coffee line, if you’re at an awkward dinner conversation, find the spaces that you’re in that maybe our community isn’t there in that moment, and stand up for what’s right. It just takes a little bit of courage.

Erin  44:54

I want to add to since you’re speaking to a broad audience that might be at various different phases. In learning about trans people, where people like how they relate to them politically, how they relate to them socially, culturally, is that the biggest step for I think everybody, for myself included, like, as a trans person, but also for the many allies and to be allies that are out there is to include more LGBTQ people in your media diet. And I think that this is your, your audience is going to have a good leg up on this. But the idea is that a lot of the way in which we conceptualize trans people, or queer people, comes from the movies and the songs and the readings that we were brought up with, as children and as, as teens and young adults. And if you go back to before 2011, and you watch just about any comedy out there, trans people were either the butt of a joke, or the victim or perpetrator of a crime. And so, you know, it’s no wonder that whenever we see the political body being discussing trans people right now, that, you know, this goes into trans people are dangerous. And there’s, there’s so much at work there with our media diet that feeds into that. And thankfully, you know, in recent years, there have been more opportunities to, to engage in learning more from LGBTQ content creators, actors, writers, the books are out there, the movies are out there that TV shows are out there, whether it be Jeopardy and watching Amy Schneider rack up the high score, or whether you know, you’re watching Laverne Cox, I mean, there are there’s you can listen to Kim Petrus, you know, like there are so many content creators, writers, actors, singers that are out there that are doing good work. And as well as getting to know trans people in your daily life. I think that, you know, it’s something like 45% of people know, a trans person directly, which is a good number, that’s about almost half the country knows NATO’s trans border everywhere, like that number needs to be even higher, get to know somebody as a person, not just for their transits or the queerness. Because you’ll find that like a lot of trans people are also just regular human beings that have their own really fun interests. You know, Zoeey, Zooey is trans. She’s in politics, all that stuff. And you know what, she’s also really good at a Rubik’s Cube.

V Spehar  47:10

I saw it. And that’s what I that’s what I love about you, girls. And that lesson is, your activism as a person can be just as simple as somebody’s talking poorly about trans people or saying something awful, you could go I’m sick of hearing about that. I don’t know, why do we even talk like that anymore? You could be just that level, it could be shutting down conversation, you don’t have to be on the front lines, the most exactly, perfectly politically correct person, it could be as simple as saying I don’t like when you talk like that, or that’s not funny to me, or I don’t want to hear about it anymore. Shutting down this obsession with trans people in conversation. And like you said, getting to know trans folks play some video games, watch some anime, like do some, we do all the stuff that you like to do we play disc golf, we do everything. Thank you both so much for being here. Is there anything we didn’t get to talk about that you really wanted folks to know, before we leave? You know?

Zooey  47:57

The only thing I think I would touch on is towards the end of your previous question. You talked about it can be as simple as you know, shutting down a conversation. And I want people to like parallel I draw there’s when I stepped into the legislature, when I said my goal was was to try to move the needle. And there are 150 different legislators that you’re trying to move the needle on some of those were in my party making sure that they understood the issues and could speak eloquently on them in committee and on the floor. Other times, you know, I got I flipped some votes from yes to No. But sometimes it was someone who may be a session ago stood up and said something really harmful. This time they stayed down. And that’s one thing that a community did not have to hear did not have to listen to, even though they still voted yes, there is some harm reduction there. And you the harm comes now to our communities. And so we feel the sense of urgency. I know Erin and I both feel that daily, but also moving the needle takes time. And so just making sure that you are perpetually working on moving that needle. If you’re doing the work in the rooms you’re in and we’re doing the work and the rooms are in. That’s how ultimately, we get bills like these to go away and we let our community live happy lives and have that pursuit of happiness. We’re all chasing.

V Spehar  49:19

Erin, final thought?

Erin  49:21

I just you know, I’m so glad to be able to be at her side and do the work that I do with her. I think we are so good for each other and I’m really thankful that you’ve had us on today.

V Spehar  49:34

I’m really grateful that you girls we’re here today to I appreciate you both so much. I love watching y’all everywhere. Tell people where they can find you.

Erin  49:43

Erininthemorning.com or at @Erininthemorning on Twitter and Tiktok and Instagram where I cover all the LGBT legislation that’s out there.

Zooey  49:52

I am at the @zoeholt. Twitter, Tiktok, Insta, @blueskyifyougotit

V Spehar  50:00

Thank you all for being here so much. I appreciate you keep up the great work we’ll keep following and supporting you are welcome back here. Anytime you have anything at all you want to say just jump on in and we’ll be here for you. Happy Pride and we will I’m sure see a bunch of pride content from you as well. Absolutely Have a good one. Take care. Bye. It was so amazing to speak with Zooey and Erin their love for each other and the work they do just shines through in such a genuine way. And I’m such a sap when it comes to love. So now I have to go cry to my wife about how much I love her. I hope you get to cry to somebody about how much you love them too. This is the way that we go strong into Pride Month. Be sure to tune into next week’s episode where we dig into the headlines you may have missed. Leave us a five star rating on whatever platform you’re listening to. It really helps people find the show. Follow me at under the desk news on tick tock Instagram and YouTube. And guess what friends? There is even more be interesting with laminata Premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content. Like former Miss Tennessee tele Bevis talking about competing during COVID Her pageant besties and judging a tablescaping competition at the county fair subscribe now in Apple podcasts.

V Spehar  51:19

V Interesting is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producers are Kryssy Pease, Kathryn Barnes and Martin Macias. Our VP of weekly programming is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittles Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Mix and scoring is by James Farber. Music by Seth Applebaum. Please help others find the show by reading and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @VitusSpehar, @underthedesknews and @LemonadaMedia. If you want more V Interesting. Subscribe to Lemonada Premium only on Apple podcasts and follow the show where ever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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