Support LGBTQ Youth: The Raquel Willis and Lindsay Amer Interview


They! Welcomed and gasoline nation I'm Andrea Chalupa, a journalist and filmmaker and the writer and producer of the journalistic thriller Mr Jones available now. We're grateful and honored to welcome in the show to inspiring experts will be sharing their advice and insights for both lgbtq youth, and their families stuck at home together during this pandemic, and how to help navigate this difficult time and build a more inclusive and safe environment. Our guests are Raquel. Raquel Willis a black transgender activist, writer and media strategist dedicated to elevating the dignity of marginalized people, particularly black transgender people. She is the former executive editor of out magazine and a former national organizer for transgender law center TLC in two thousand eighteen. She founded Black Trans Circles, a project of TLC focused on developing the leadership of Black Trans Women in the South and Midwest by creating healing justice spaces to work through. Based Trauma and incubating community, organizing efforts to address anti trans murder and violence. During her time out magazine, she published the Trans, obituaries project to highlight the epidemic of violence, against Trans Women of Color and developed a community sourced thirteen point framework to end the epidemic. This project was nominated for glad media Ward Raquel as a thought leader on gender, race and intersection -ality. She'll be releasing her book the risk it took to bloom her debut essay collection about her coming of identity and activism with Saint Martin's press and twenty twenty one. Our other guests is Lindsay. Lindsay Lynn's Aimar. WHO CREATES A D.? Q. And social justice media for kids and families, Lynn's writes produces and co hosts queer kid stuff, an original lgbtq educational web series for ages three and up. They also produce and host a brand new family friendly podcast called activists you where they explore social justice topics through interviews with kid and youth activists, they are the founder and CEO of Queer Kid Studios, a multimedia production company based in Portland Maine. Making Queer focused intersectional. All Ages media before we start the interviews. We're going to play a clip from Lindsey. Ten TOC and also a clip from where cal Willis speaking at the black. Trans Lives Matter Rally in Brooklyn in June will link to both videos and our show notes for this episode. Lesbian Gay and bisexual teens are more than three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers and transgender teens are almost six times more likely. According to one study, roughly one third of homeless youth identify as Lesbian Gay, bisexual or questioning, and about four percent of homeless youth identify as transgender compared with one percent of the general youth population surveyed. According to the Human Rights Campaign. There have been one hundred and twenty eight killings of Trans People. In eighty seven cities across thirty two states since twenty thirteen and those are only the reported cases. And eighty percent of those killings. Were of Trans Women of Color. Situation is. bleak. To say the least. Alexa. This UNLV downs. We make. Race comedies. Figure right they build out infrastructure. Organ face in on their foundation. They've had my says. A are sometimes right. People in meet ourselves. You know I might get some trouble for saying that. And yes, the legislation manner by. Whites! Bits of worry about legislation Bob lack of this. So I am here with two greats for lgbtq rights, limbs, Aamer and Raquel Willis, thank you so much for coming on gasoline nation today so the purpose of today's discussion is to reach out to our Q. Friends out there listening and their families and friends, whoever they may be sheltering in place with during the Zombie apocalypse with no end in sight, and just to say that we see you, we love you. We support you. You are not in this alone, and we especially want to talk to young people. Because high school has been disrupted junior. Junior. High has been disrupted Going off to college has been disrupted, and those are times where people find themselves, and you find yourself through your friends through your heartache through your boyfriend girlfriend, who your loves, and you come out you come out of the closet you find yourself and so for youth stuck at home. Today may be in in homes. That may not fully understand you. You don't feel safe in. We WanNA. Talk to you. We want to reach out to you and we're GONNA do that with this conversation with his two amazing experts who? Are Remarkable in their work for human rights and inclusiveness and equality, and we're so grateful for all that you do, and so we want to just start by asking you both what advice and we'll start with Lens and then we'll we'll go to. The were cal, so Lindsey headed vice. Do you have for a young person who wants to come out of the closet, but doesn't know how. Yeah I think it's tough because of the Times that we're living in right now and everything going on in particular with quarantine. Because we're stuck at home in homes, it might not be supported so I think that the first kind of step in that is making sure that you'll save in your environment to come out in and that you have kind of an adult support so having someone who can back you. You up in and be that person who can support you through that coming out process when you know and if it might get difficult so I think that asks us. The most important is to feel safe and comfortable in your space, and finding the places, even if they're not inside your household where you feel comfortable, expressing yourself, so yeah comfort is a big part of that and navigating that quarantine. rievaulx complicated obviously. Recall. What are your? What's your advice on? This safety and comfort is important I believe you know especially if you're in the fate of where you're trying to figure out how to come out, really like be strategic anesthetics. That safety in that comfort that lends was the thing. You Know I. think that they're such cultural. Push of course around everyone being out, and of course the world that we want to live in, but we also know the sometimes folks don't respond well to you living in your amazingness, brilliance so that means you have to do what is best for you sometimes just to simply survive on when I was growing up in. Augusta Georgia have a teenager trying to figure out how I was GONNA. Come out. I felt very isolated, and that was probably most Stating part of that experience was feeling. No one understood felling like no one talked to and different things at that time we did obviously have forums on the Internet and I found folks connect to who were a similar age having similar experiences and found community in that sense, even though I didn't really have folks in Earth. and then I also just kind of. On my own kind of experiments with finding support in the form of an adult in my life, whether it was like trying to talk to a guidance counselor or a teacher, who I felt like would be a farming and I found a few votes. You know who are supportive of me before. I was able to kind of fully come out to my parents So that was helpful I. Think the other thing, too. You know now there's obviously so many TV shows and so many like musicians who are out. So that's a great outlet for me, it was books you know so. I remember reading these very cheesy like books about queered life being gay. And that point there weren't really many books about the complexity of gender or being trans or non binary, but media was also outlets. I think you know finding that support whether it's any real life or online in terms of community finding. Adult senior life who can be a support to you as you navigate, and then also finding the media that kind of expresses the lie that you're currently living the life that you want to live and I think those things can be very helpful. So I WANNA talk about gender as a journey and exploring gender and gender fluidity I. Think some of us in the West may have a tendency to think okay. This is new. I don't understand it, is it? A trend is a media concoction, and so I think people have to understand how terrible this idea of gender fluidity is in how it's always been with us, but we're finally at a point to. have greater visibility greater understanding of it, and that's why we're. We're hearing about it more. We've denied it for so long as a country. Now it's out and we're talking about it and we need to for the safety of transgender men and women. And so could you talk a little bit about that? You know people the children that were born a boy or born a girl, but as they got older and got to know themselves, they felt this isn't who I am. I was born a girl, but I'm really a boy I feel natural the skin of a boy. I want to dress and talk and be like a boy. Could you talk a little bit about you know for children listening for teenagers? Teenagers Listening like what that journey means how to navigate that you know when I was really figuring out how to even articulate minds vendor because I felt like I was always on the gender. Journey is just that I always have the language to talk about what I was going through our community to lean on and much of that then come. Unfortunately, that was like in college, but one thing that in hindsight I wish I had had mormon understanding of us that. We are Fed so many. Cookie Cutter Narratives of what it means to be any identity, and but particularly being trans or gender, non conforming or even non binary, and the truth is is that we all have unique experience. It's important for you to find ways to understand your experience expressed your south on your own terms I reject this idea that we all have to fill a certain way to be trans, you know there are plenty of trans people who are comfortable with their bodies, as they are and I think that we do a disservice when we don't allow is space for data experience as well I think the other thing too, is I internalize a lot of the slurs and the things that I was called growing up, and it's really important especially when you're end those early stages of figuring out your gender identity To find spaces and people that are affirming of your experience, the other you. Because of your experience or make you feel less than our shame around your experience. Obviously, we don't need a yes person for everything that we do you need to. You need to like friends and folks who will like hold you accountable and all that good stuff, but when it comes to identity anyone who is trying to make you fell less than because of your trans. Or gender non conforming experience or non binary experiments, probably someone. He needs to figure out how to get away from her. Or out of your life, I think the other thing, too is patients is so key. Unfortunately we live in a society where most folks are. Exposed to authentic experiences of Trans People, they are polls that say that most people say that they don't even know and hands arson in their life. The ask the end fortunately reality, and think that often carry the burden of being an educator being sometimes they are pests for the people in our lives, but you have agency and deciding how much you want to hold someone's hand Reu, understanding your experience in general, and so I think holding that as well as Barium ornette. 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A fact that I give them my tedtalk I love kind of like saying over, and over again is that there's a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics that says that most children have a solid understanding of their gender identity by the. And you know that's not true for every transit. We're in non binary person, but looking back in my life when I was four years old. At sometimes, no antics gender identity when I hit you know kind of channel eleven twelve, those early and informative years. That's what my hit kind of gender roles, and to the strict stereotypes of what gender identity looks like, and that's when I grew my hair out. Let's make years because I was getting MIS gendered so much. Much as a jobless kind of like tomboys, kid and I got yelled at wants to bring into the bathroom because she people watch his her son in there. When I was day camp when I was little, the nail counselor brought me to the voice changing Nutri by swimsuit for less so like there were all these experiences that kind of combined to tell me that I was expressing. My authentic gender identity didn't have support in the world, and it took almost. Almost, a decade of kind of looking through that struggle to understand and come to a point wreck start thinking about myself as non binary and I didn't comes not binary insert using the then pronounced, until I was twenty five, and that was still a long road that I'm trying to figure out and figuring out my relationship to like my sis, passing privilege, and also at wear, I feel right in the Trans Community in in the non community and you know it's. It's tough, and it's a very personal journey and different stages of it. Come at different times for me in was pronounced for someone else might be how you express yourself and allow yourself to kind of explore those those different modes of gender expression I mean if you're a writer, your creator of any kind expressing your gender and figuring out your entrance rule, whatever format makes the most sense for union I think that allowing a little bit of solidity within that. There's so much emphasis on my taking something in choosing something and landing on an identity, and I think that that perpetuates the rigidity of the systems that we're trying to kind of figure out who we are then. This is what I love about talking to early elementary school kids about gender identity is that there's so much scaffolding within their lives at that age to be exploring every aspect of life, and I think that gender should be included. So for the children listening for the teenagers listening. That are on this journey of self discovery that may have certain feelings and they don't know this is are these feelings that I'm having those feelings just exploring or am I gay? Could you share a little bit about your journey for advice for others who may need to hear it? And how did you find out you're gay? How did you know? Yeah it's. It's a long process. I mean I definitely knew. I was different from young age. watch Disney movies I would and project myself onto the male characters that was confusing for a lot of different reasons. But just knowing that there was something that didn't quite. With, the stories as soon information that I had access to a young person in you back to like no the lightbulb moment. For pretty much every person I am about to generalize. I think there's usually like light old moment and for Meat House the first time accused of girl. That was you know when I was a teenager and it finally kind of clicked in like all this disjointed nece that I've been feeling like up until that moment and then something kind of clicked in like. Oh, okay, gay. Of, and then I didn't get to explore that, in kind of like a purposeful thought, processing times in college, Mister to gender studies, sauces, and really kind of starting to understand what the word queer means, how that kind of integrated into land entities while and takes I on I. Think you know it's the same gender. You have to have patients I think for me. It was a little bit easier for me to cut my sexuality than it was put my gender. It's different for every person. Sometimes your gender identity comes first and sexuality comes later. Finding community is the most important are I. Mean I did the whole fall in love. My best friend thing when I was a teenager has a lot of us. Probably have and I was definitely a struggle someone who was there for me in that difficult part of my life and. I'm endlessly grateful for someone who was supporting e through that so I. Think a lot of what we're talking about is throughout all this. In finding those people who support you and finding those outlets for exploration and of creativity in Grad Denby. My journey know I. Think I, said a little bit about the second album by a lot of it was internalizing what I was being called by peers. I was ostracized for and bullied for everything from being too feminine. You know they would say things by Oh. You're gay and you know we are really using terms like transgender. At that time there were others firms of people are using, and so you know it was really. That I at the label on. For a lot of my child. Even though I will be sitting up at night like praying out of growth in the Catholic family, so that's a whole nother story, but pray that I would just wake up at the girl, and things would just make more sense, and they'd be so much more align for me and I wouldn't be dealing with all this bullying, and obviously that's very naive idea of what it means. They even have your agenda experience. Align with what everyone else see is. Because we know that girls in women don't really have anything easier, but at the time. That was you know what I was thinking in my head. Yet, so it really wasn't until after I came out Dan high school that I was in college I mother transplant. All all types of people people using like gender clear France arms. And I found that affects of my identity that I had been forced to neglect for so long really more around gender and so that was where I of found language gender studies courses, and when I was in college was when Janet mock came out. You know and so Sohar in media saw. Lavar in a few years later, so so that was all kind of happening at the same time, and it's weird. You knock him out and was living in that kind of period. Right before this like trans visibility periods so in some ways. I felt like I had. A variety of experiences around just being a black transform America. In those things are. Important to my identity, but I will say I think. I didn't really get a true grasp by think of what it was like particularly a Black Trans woman until after college and I was in kind of world, and you know we are in a time. Unfortunately we are. There is a lot of hateful rhetoric around being trans. You know we see at from JK Raleigh and we see it from many conservative politicians. We see it also from the president of the United States now. And then, of course, there's also this ongoing epidemic of violence. That's plaguing particularly Black Trans by trans men and so. One of the missteps that will have rioters that we share all of this like great anecdotes around what it means to come into identity, but we don't actually like prepare our youth to understand that they're actually some really fortunate things happening in this time, even beyond the covid nineteen pandemic. In having that real conversation, I think the other piece of it is that there are people who are fighting for you, you know there are activists and organizers and adults who are trying to make this world catch up to your brilliance and see your beauty and your power. And we have been fighting or decades for generations you. Our history is so rich as queer and Trans Non Binary people, you know we have the activists like Marsha p Johnson and Sillier avair. We have an forming folks like stormy the library we have missed major. Who is still with us today so many other. Who Love You. Who loved you before? You were even world at? ALL THAT RIDICULOUS OF HAPPENING! We are in a moment. Your Generation GonNa area so much of this power for just get ready. The best you can do right now is a take care of your cell surround yourself with people who care about you and a you and figure out the ways that you want to contribute to this movie, and so this world so beautiful so obviously growing up with the same friends and you WANNA come out to them a. what advice do you have about coming out to your friends in? How did your friends react? Okay. I I've had a couple of coming out in Queer and Trans a lot of your life is moments of coming out big and small The teenager and I came out as day like fifteen I came out to a few my close friends. They were all like Oh. Wow, you know. It was like it was really just shocking at that on. Anybody would an own that they were queer or anything. This is like you know the. Thousands of late two thousand, but like first aid, and then I had another friend who I knew how to big mouth tiny, and I was like you know what you're going to do. All the work May. Come out to you. And then it just spread I since there was just her, but that was kind of my like mindset and telling her when it came succumbing out as Trans I was in college, a different experience I was an adult so really. The conversation I was having with my family. Was You know I came with my like guard of had my shelled? Shelled on and I was prepared for the worst, because coming out as gay is like a completely different story than coming out as Trans and bike look. I'm an adult now so imbued. Don't affirm the experience of my like. There's no debate about it. It is what it is. You have a choice. You can firmness experience, respect it or not, and if you don't then. Happy in my life, which is not an easy thing to say an easy conversation with by. Luckily, my mom was. Like this actually makes a lot more sense than you just being gay, so that was really like a powerful experience and and then my brother and sister. You know were farming to different degrees. My sister was a farm and she was like okay. This is just a lot of new information. My brother, it is still a journey with him as often with this gender heterosexual men. Unfortunately but That was kind of my experience and I. Think what helped me was. You know I did a variety of things I focused on telling one time instead of selling a million people in general and then also you know when it came to coming out as Trans I. E mailed letters to my family like individual ladders, instead of having the on the phone conversation, because I didn't WanNa be instructed and I didn't want so backtrack under the pressure and helped me as well I think it's about being also just been creative Abou-. What you need in terms of accompanying out experience, because it's really you, it's really for you more so than anyone else. Her sharing your information with. I think that friendships and and figuring out WHO and my family most comfortable with. Has Been. A huge part of the journey of coming out. It's the same thing it's. It's not just one coming out. It's it's a many house once you figure it out, and you can't come out to yourself, and you decide to express up to the world. It does off. I mean initially came out as bisexual, and when I came out small of very close friends in high school, and when I came incidents bisexual, they were pretty supportive, and they surprise. Surprise later ended up being. Which is? Something that I happens. To kind of a close friend that I've heard this experience, the people that you know people. They were close with them high slow end up, also coming out on leader, and you know that being you know coming out being pardoned. They're coming up journey this That's like interesting thing that ends up happening small circles I came out to my at the time was I m. she was awesome. We're on and I. think that what was more difficult. I think his family and for me I didn't come my family really until I for Straw friend in use that as an excuse to come out eventually and that kind of. Relationship gave me is the ability to like Saddam, my sister Overti- food, and say I have a girlfriend and not necessarily having to say. Hi and Twain Joey. Because I think, that's a lot of what coming out was down tunes revealing. What your preferences are and sometimes that's not something you want to talk about. You know. The assumption is about heterosexuality in having to disrupt that assumption for other people, so I think that for me. It was his family that was kind of the tough thing, and what ended up happening for me, was no I ended up coming out, but it was. It was less an actual coming out than it was a decision to stop lying. Because, there was so much as doing up until that point to cover my clearness and make sure that people wouldn't find out and figure out was in Hawaii identified, and there was just a point where I got to steal like bats. What was the bird? It was the lying. That was the burning. Mussa hiding myself. That was the burden, and I, just decided you know I felt comfortable enough with that point to the okay I'm just GonNa. Stop Lying. It's not necessarily like a big Thanksgiving dinner where I come out. It's you know where I decide. No, I'm going to. Address people can assume whatever they want about me. If they have questions, you know that's a discussion that we can open up, but this is something. That's very personalty, so that was kind of my. Journey and coming out space. Trying to figure that out, but friendships through all of that were spur important McMahon mature that you know these are people that I wanted in my life and my partner was. You know really a huge part of me out somebody She's the first person I ask. Sir Using pronouns for me, and that was really part of searing outline off I, news is just hearing someone pronounce for me and kind of that that feeling of also gender euphoria in just hearing the right pronounce. That's a really interesting part of this. Is this new? Visibility around gender pronouns, do you Wanna be called her or him or they them and so, what is sort of a good way of parents talking to their youth or youth? Working out for support is it's sort of you know. Should young people say hey? I feel more comfortable with them because I'm still figuring things out, so could you both touch on why gender pronouns and making sure you understand the right one to use with this specific person? What those are and why is it so important? I mean you did touch on that, but I think it's worth sort of staying here for a moment because it is new, we're seeing more and more of this The discussion around is important. So I work with pretty young children for the most part I work with most mostly elementary school ages around my work is all ages, but it's nearly for like three to like six or seven year olds and discussions around gender identity with kids. That age is a little bit different, because you're just introducing Yankee of what Pronoun is that as they're kind of figuring out what the world is a process that, and then how to internalize it and figure out how they self identify with in all of that information, so that's kind of like A. Cognitive Development, it's really important to not be scared of those conversations. I think that that's what really gets in the way of educating young people around clearness, granddaddy and transis and trump firing this. Is this this idea that it's taboo topic and it's something that I'm not an expert in. It's something that I shouldn't talk about all and I think that that is way more restrictive, too young person than having a conversation, maybe fumbling through a little bit and being transparent that maybe you're not expert and you know. Why don't we on the Stream you're discovering? Discovering what this is together and being able to have those conversations in a way that is vulnerable as a run-up doesn't necessarily know everything because we're foul to, and we need kids to understand that ups or not the end all y'all of this information, so I think that it's really important as terrorists come back and say you know I don't know everything and. and. We're GONNA figure this out together and being supported in those spaces as well and and providing kind of a positive comforting space to have those conversations because i. mean my my parents, you know. I grew up in New York City. Very liberal space is you know seemingly one of the most diverse places in the world and my family's very open. Know Quote Unquote accepting, but you know I was still they were all street. People people who didn't understand the struggle. I was going through and didn't understand the mental health around this well I. Think bit that was definitely hard for me up in figuring that out on my own, and if I. You know my family to was willing to go on that journey with me I. think that one is made things a little bit different end you know, I see that happening a lot in the invoke to watch my work in who age of me in that way is parents who are really excited to kind of understand gender new way for their kids and that's something. I think lens sum that up very well I also think that can I be frank? Young of course. I'm kind of. Drained and exhausted and aggravated that we often as particularly transgender non-conforming people are. Forced to support, folks in. The basic ways that they can just respect us right like I actually think that the Pronoun Conversation is in many ways a cloud over some of the other more tangible ways that folk should be supporting trans and gender non conforming people. You know I think as a star to obviously like call people by their names I think even throwing out the language of shell within like this is just my name. Call me my name. The name that I told you to call me I think even throwing out words and terms like preferred now. These are my pro now. Just call me my pronoun. You're saying that this is my preference. But This is just my pronoun. This is how you engage me in respect my humanity. It's not really a choice. It's not really up for debate, but I think the other work that needs to be happening. It's folks needs to be holding other accountable right, so it's not just enough to hold yourself accountable to getting pronouns correct getting names correct, but it's also a value particularly for the allies or people who want to call them allies on comrades or co, conspirators. To hold other people accountable who are harming translates into non-conforming people, because we can't be the only ones teaching and advocating for ourselves, we need other people to also be in on this fight. And the institutions that were part of whether it's like your school or your university or your doctor's office or your community organization, not enough people who aren't trans and gender non conforming are speaking up about the way is that we are often absent from larger conversations around how to make these spaces assessable whether it's access to. The restaurants that we need to use like any other human being whether it's access to even just being a part of how roles are set in a particular playas so. You're in the classroom. It's not enough to just ask what a not for mean child's name is. What are the other ways that they need to be supported and that space? How are you going to show up for them? When hold these other children are youth accountable when those moments happen. How are you also going to have real conversations with parents who may not be affirming of their child's experience and you may. May Be the only one in their life. Who is right, and so how are you going to help that child strategy is on relationship with their parents or with their family that may not be for me, so I think there are a lot of conversations that we need to be having as well the Pronoun and and Name Conversation John is just one part of it and we don't get to those other pieces. Also on everyone to make sure that they are also transforming the relationships in the families that they are part of so when you go home down, just leaving the fact that you need to respect me at this time when we're together, you need to be making sure that Tran than inaugural forming folks are respected even when we're not even in the room. Are you having those conversations with your grandma with? Your siblings with maybe even your partner, or maybe even your own children who don't quite understand why they need. It'd be respecting transgender non conforming people. This is a creative endeavor. Right by transforming the world is a creative endeavor, and so it takes a lot of insight to assess where you're coming from and what power and privilege you do actually hold to change things or the Trans and gender non conforming people who may or may not actually be in your life. Thank you both so much for that? And so for the young people listening just to sum it up? What advice do you have for them for how to come out? What is what is the best advice you've ever heard that you may have for them? As. They're thinking about coming out. What helped me again with such fi I was just like online you know and we weren't really using Be like that, but we had like these teen forums, and you could like pulse like whatever ridiculous sometimes embarrassing. But also like those were some of the spaces where I also saw the words of like other trans-youth, talking about coming out I. Think one thing is just don't feel rushed. You know like you are on your own. Timeframe with coming out now and again I think silencing. Those feelings of shame are so important because there is a reason you probably are out, and it's a lot of work that happened in the world's so that the next person can fill maybe more comfortable than you. That's how I approached it. You know some of it was obviously like coming out for myself, but it was also like. I know that there are other Queer and Trans folks, and maybe this can help them whether it's in the high school that I was in or the college I was in and I. Think now you know it's wild like a a global audience and some instances. But that is important, I think also jus-. Figuring out. The other pieces of your experience that you need support as well you know so the coming out pieces just the star so hopefully you now having that door open to dream and think ambitions. Beyond. The ways that you've had to be silent for so long, so there isn't exciting element to it that we don't talk about enough either right like beyond the the fear whatever the outcome is, your truth is out there, honey. So, what are you going to do next? You know like I. We don't often have enough space. To think about ourselves as clearance SCHRANZ, non binary people. In the terms that I think other people do right. It's like this is just one aspect of my identity, but I may be. A hell of a writer I may be. An amazing soccer player, words, cheerleader, or whatever and you deserve to also does. Not Solely, be defined by one experience in your life. You know you you get to have as expanse of an experience of anybody else and your clearness. business is not going to stand, and in the way of that at all. In fact is probably GonNa make you even more of a bad ass to be honest. Absolutely I, mean my advice to. It goes that I mean I think that it's about cultivating those pieces around you figuring out you know how to be filled even as a young person, even who's clear and Striving for Joy and talk about my work a lot south spreading, we're joy and I. think that it's important to understand that we ask people as transpeople at some finery, people have a full breadth of experiences emotions, and we need to honor as well as these specific parts identity that color at law of our experiences the world and you know when when I was a kid I, the forms to. Like a theatre, my refuge and theater performance, and that was a themed London's passionate about stories and street, telling and figuring out how restructuring works, and how I could be contributed that leader as an actor in leader writer announced producer Creator, and that has all been normal part of my journey as well with my to speak into that in into voice that I have now and you know it was equally as. As important for me to cultivate my creative journey, as it has been for me to understand my gender and my identity, so understanding ourselves as full whole, keep wool and nurturing that fullness is something that I. Think can get us through those times, so you know it may be. There's you know maybe your gender, or maybe your sexuality made our Earth things that also pain in something. You're struggling with right now and that. That is a valid space to be in and I think bet figuring out how to manage mental health around. That is really important skill to start honing as you're running in all of that, but also looking at these spaces the do bring you joy that are accessible for people not to love theater. You taking acting class. Go to the theater program in your school. figure out ways in your day to day life where? Where you can find that joy for yourself, reading books, reading media and finding spaces where there are, there is Queen's Representative I mean there's so much more now than there was when I was young, and I think a lot of what we are creators who are in those spaces of tower with platforms now is were making the work that we have when we were young I wish that I could gift my work to. Five year old me and the next best thing. Is it a five year old? Watches that and you know, the parent of that side watches my Tedtalk, so it's all about this kind of single major of how are giving ourselves content to make us feel better as community and I think that there's so much to detach into all of that, so yeah, it's about finding those escapes, but also things that make you well rounded person in the world, and what we can give to our community individuality. Two more questions for the kids. And then we'll end on the parents going through junior high high school college in going on this journey. How do you deal with bullying? What are some resources for kids dealing with bowling out there? Out Right now on the Trevor Project is incredible resource as a suicide hotline, but also digital community where young people can connect with each other. I league thirteen, and above to own being there on community, but that is definitely a space for young people to connect with each other I think fans are really great place for young people, particularly young people over kind of like different media that you're passionate about and translate fine is. Is the Trans on suicide hotline and has mental health resources. There are a lot of different organizations that have been popping over. Years are incredible organizations that are really supportive of on use in Tel Aviv and you're struggling. You're in a space that doesn't feel comfortable. Those are places you can reach out to. Those are some resources that I am aware of ensure are many many more that are easy to find a on that. I've also urged folks to all always like figure out. What senior community When I was in middle and high school, that was one dollars like I've said this already a lot, but I was on the Internet looking whatever I could find and you know there are a lot of smaller organizations. Many of them have a lot of us. Who are part of them that she may not know. That you can probably find in your local area. You know there are a lot of different smaller community groups that are doing really important work that we often don't even know the names of so I would urge you to do a search. Look online to find like a group. Bad specializes of algae bt, Q. issues. And experiences. You know what the bullying is like. It's so hard. I experienced out of bullying I felt like most people I know have a Lotta. Time doesn't even just clear and Trans people who experienced as well as just such a difficult age frame said be an, and then, of course we're in a time where even the adults are out here, acting wild y'all so sorry that we're having lived through that. But I I think I'm. Not Being. Afraid to speak up for yourself is so key and I know that's easy to say by their different ways to speak up for yourself, even if you can't speak up in the moment when someone says something to you or does something to you, it is still important for you to find out how to get accountability for what happened whether means going and talking to someone like a teacher or another adult in your lie, after the fact that some ordinary and We have the idea and adults having to write this idea of like well I shouldn't snatch. I shouldn't say anything because that's bad, but I actually think you know particularly when you're young, it's important to figure out how you can stand up for yourself in a way that will. Hold your bullies accountable and it's important for you to say you know if someone has harmed. You are not to be adults in your life, so the they can support you in figuring out what needs to happen, and honestly I remember worrying so much about turning somebody in or whatever when I was a kid, and honestly like people forget things I. Don't think that this idea that you're a snitch. View to try to get accountability for what happened to you is how you does are. Protected and respected. Great so to wrap up the conversation with any youth that needs to hear any of this I'm obviously you guys have given a lot of great resources for young people? Are there any other books films? Documentaries anything else you. WanNa turn people to young people that may need resources right now to navigate all this. It's a lot because I'm in the children's media space That's a long while I turn to in a lot of whatever convinced people there is only Unfortunately, we saw a lot of work to do in bringing weirdness the. Media Sheron Princess Power is a Netflix show redefining Stevenson also absolutely incredible is beautiful show danger eggs is also a series created shoddy petoskey. Trans Lemon and John and I mean that insulin gay show I've ever seen. The. The end the last episode on during a primary, so that's a wonderful wonderful resources can watch videos kid stuff you really want to. There's so much incredible media out there I mean. We're. Is Huge right now. We're graphic novels huge right now. I have case in calendars new book on my bookshelf right now, call fields that are I am stoked to read. That I, believe has I haven't really yet, but I believe at the main character is black and a entrance masculine, and I'm so said the to Rabat on rag terms. Grab novels. I mean Ordine is is part of it. something something something morning. just won an Eisner Award. That has a mean weird character and there's just so much. That's coming up right now. It's it's a really exciting time to be a person in media. And I think that you can find something for pretty much anyone at the slamming. There's obviously a lot of work to be done, but I mean things hose like the pusher boundary and. Reading beautiful beautiful work and disability flat transom in and and the beautiful history of we're all culture. to a mainstream audience is edible. There's so much. If, you're on social media, Finding Queer and Trans folks to follow were like Sharing Their Experiences Ism Ordinance. Social media is also like. Of empowerment or a lot of people, so that's the thing definitely agree I poured my heart and soul, and to getting books that reflected my experience Sneaking into like stars, unlike like trying to hide you know like little queer book thunder other buds, because it was just so stigmatize, and it was like you know you were afraid, but there's so much more understanding now. An access now so that's hardening and then also show right now. You know there are a few movie and showdown now about like teens who are out ubt Hugh was released we. All like you know finding movies and show about the. You experience Also, affirming while and Some of the biggest things again that you can do is fine of anywhere life in your community who you can look to us. Possibility models to support on your journey. Final advice and this time for the caregivers, the parents, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles the siblings. What advice do you have for the people around? Eligible youth today sheltering in place everybody getting on each other's nerves, gay or straight. We're living in this in this new. Weird normal, and then on top of that, we have to navigate conversations that may be new completely new for some people. So what advice do you have for helping? family support LGBT youth. I think it's definitely something we've been talking about for me. It's about you know you got. You gotTA. Just do it. You know it's not the burden of fear. People not the burn securely transpeople to tell you how to treat them. You have to figure it out for yourself and that's. Being Pretty Franken blunt about that, but you know it's. It's so necessary anemic you and it's not just about doing the work to teach yourself. You have to teach others to mean. It's not just about understanding quickness McQueen. Experience in the Trans Experience the non binary experience, it's also understanding you know others faces, bring health privilege. You know if you're someone who's able bodied. You need to understand the disability. If you're someone who is white, you have to understand you know. Begin practicing anti-racism it something you haven't been done before. You have to understand the indigenous appearance. You have to understand the spaces where you have power to make real change, justify uplifting forces that are not your own who are more marginalized, and that's really internal journey of understanding and reckoning on privilege, and the way in which you can use that. To. Help give other people in uplift. Other people who need those spaces is filed, and in terms of specifically parents is not just about educating yourself. It's about educating your children, and you know making sure that you're really good. People and I think that who understand their understand where they are, and they can do and helps them make changes slowly because you know, young people literally manifest new world around them as they grow and develop, and you know we can't make a better world without young people after US executing that. And I think that it's so important that we keep doing that work every day. It's not something that you know you. Read about about age of your immediately racist. That's not how it works. It's it's the work of every day, and it's a work of understanding those larger concepts and pulling them in your day to day I mean. We sleep been touching on this whole interview I'm in you know women leads aces a lot, and it's just one ciswomen talked about opening up the language of that organization to non binary people I feel so much more comfortable in that space in all it would take is once this person to tell people to put their pronouns Jer, and it's that small thing that is you know about incremental change, and this is not something. That's GONNA. Help overnight something that happens with those baby. Steps the ban you know by the end of the decade girth top of the. The staircase me, so it's about collective action. And I think so much has to do with just putting in the work, and it is hard worker nothing alive, but you gotTA. Do it. Yeah I. Think obviously as adults often think we have the answers to everything, even when it comes to conversations with you, and it's not true where rolling evolving like anyone else, and actually you know there's so many things that we as adults can learn from the U. and especially if you have, you are having a different experience in you are Especially, they are clear SCHRANZ. It's important for you to understand that there are aspects of their identity and their experience that you may never completely get and that's okay. You know there's beauty and the differences you know. We live in a society that. tells us that we should all be one particular way. We should all like wine. Particular type of person John Move through the world a certain way, and that's just not true. We know that that's not true. What I experienced with my parents growing up was. If there's kind of this unspoken kind of shame or failings of you know, not being parents are all of these different issues, and you have to figure out how to work through that best part. Your child those expectations that you may have for your child. Just let them wash off. We are back because in really you shouldn't have put those extracts on your arse by. But this is the world that we're trying to build now that we know better and don't be afraid to ask for help as well badge child that needs support whether it's in the form of therapy or counseling or even finding community. You also need that so that you can. Support them as well so lean, and to figure out ways to also to support yourself in your journey and abolition. Thank you both so much. You provided a lot of invaluable insights. I asked you a lot of questions. Because I wanted to make sure we covered everything. This is such an important topic and conversation we. We all have to keep having I. WanNa ask finally. What is next for both of you with your projects? What are some things that we should look out for it in all the wonderful work that you do? alway is a lot of different things on flats. I'm working on a book the risk it takes to blow. Which? Will be out in twenty twenty one. I am the director of Communications for the mess. Foundation, so working on making the feminist movement more expansive, but also more accountable to a lot of the things that are going on in the met yeah, and just working with the Movement for black lives on some things so kind of doing a bunch of different things, and that's the way I like it. What's the name of your book again? The risk it takes to blown grades. Okay, we'll let us know when it's available. More. Share it on the show. Lynn's. What about you? What do you got going on next that we should look out for? Your your both always doing wonderful stuff. Yeah. Lot of different things same time, steadily the Mo.. Still working with your kids do performances all over the country bringing acquire joy to families FRESCA old lease. Mostly those are virtual now but I the libraries schools. New Senators at our. New bringing the material from your stuff into lives. And, trying to normalize fairness for young ages. I also do -freshing Workin. Speak About all that and I'm working on developing more educational resources around your kid stuff, so all even watch some zoom classes around social justice soon so there's a lot of stuff kind of coming up in that space I'm also a writer on a lot of concern work in development right now. Representation and characters to all ages media. There's a lot that's coming up so an watching space essentially. Great? Will Bank you both so much. This was incredibly inspiring interview. Host podcast. podcasting, okay, what's your podcast? Yes, sorry. I hosted podcast activists. You were interview inspirational kid in youth activists, so really kind of getting into the use after the scenes midday and interviewing now. System local activist you why? Wonderful will I can't thank you both enough. This was so interesting and inspiring, and I'm so grateful for all your insights, and for sharing your stories and your leadership, and the world is so lucky to have you and the work that you do and I. Apologize For the Internet connection. You both did a wonderful job. Does despite the quality of the connection, your answers came in through loud and clear, and we're really helpful and thank you. I can't I. Really can't thank you, Enough Anka. and. Our discussion continues, and you can get access to that up on our patron at the truth, teller, level or higher. 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