6 Episode results for "Leila Alcorn"
"Before we get into this week's episode I WANNA. Let you know that it evolves themes around suicide in self harm. If you're worried about yourself or somebody that you love please please please reach out to the national suicide prevention hotline that number is one, eight, hundred, two, seven, three, eight, two, five, five South Carolina everything. This is going through it a show about women who found themselves in situations where they said no no thanks. I'll have nine and they made a decision to make a change in turn something around. I'm your host, Tracy, Clayton? They're all of these like successful algae. Hugh plus folks Thank it gets better. It gets amazing. All these different things and the truth is for a lot of people that doesn't get better. That's Racquel Willis. Today Racquel is a writer editor and transgender rights activist. She's done organizing work at the transgender law center and she was executive editor for out magazine. Big things big things happen. But at this point of her story, she was just trying to get a footing. So my relationship to Queer and Trans Activism prior to Leila Alcorn stuff. was kind of non existent I also had been in the closet. Gender identity working, and almost the middle of Georgia. My first job as a newspaper reporter picture of. The year is twenty fourteen. You cannot get rails happy out of your head and you also cannot stay off tumbler because tumbler was it. It was the place to be. It was so revolutionary because people there were using their own voices to talk about themselves learn about their own realities and there was a fourteen year old trans girl from. Lee alcorn that Raquel became aware of who did just that she used the platform to discuss and process her life. So Leela alcorn with a Yang Trans girl who really had learned so much about her identity she was active online as of millennials she became known in our community when she wrote a suicide letter that was set to publish on Tumbler after she had died by suicide Leila had battling both depression and parents that she felt were really unsupportive. It was kind of that bizarre instance of using technology to kind of say you know what you were. Going through and then to also have this translates youth telling the world that she was GonNa die because she couldn't a future for herself. When I sat with Racquel, she read the part of Leila's suicide note that resonated with her the most when I was fourteen I learned what transgender meant and I cried of happiness after ten years of confusion I finally understood who I was I'm mmediately told my mom and she reacted extremely negatively telling me that it was a phase that I would never truly be a girl that God doesn't make mistakes that I am wrong. If you're reading this parents, please don't tell us here kids even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don't ever say that to someone especially your kid. There was so much of Leila that Racquel on herself even reading this now I'm like, yeah, this was like me at the age came out of fourteen out gay I didn't have the language of transgender and I grew up in a very catholic environment. So the idea of like charts turning back on you and your parents choosing their faith of our farming you was was an imminent threat I. Always when we're cal I read Leila's note she felt so many fill in all at once I bar since it's here's just as I read more and more about her and I don't something just compelled me to do something different and not care about being. Silent anymore and I stagger these boxes on my like little rinky-dink coffee table and I put my laptop up they are and I recorded myself and I I made this short video where I'm dislike crying you know about this that feeling of helplessness like as a Black Trans Woman and the South I knew what that felt like Racquel hill posted a video to youtube not sure what kind of response she was going to get it got picked up by. BBC They saw it and they asked me to be on this radio show Racquel knew that this opportunity with the BBC could really open up the conversation about Black Trans Women that nobody at the time was having. She had just one little problem. I wasn't out at this now, second job that I was I was like, what's the point of being out? You know let me just like navigate as seamlessly as possible like I did in my last job but killed knew that in order to speak on Trans Women issues in the importance of their voices, she had to use her as I. I really only had like a day to kind of thinking through and I told my immediate boss was woman. Yeah was trans and that I was going to be talking about my experiences on BBC and then she talked to her boss who is like the the of like entire company. Who was a straight man? And I was Oh, how could this go but he also was like very supportive of and they were like you should do it by your voice is necessary inside did speaking on the BBC was a huge turning point racquel found her voice and now she was not afraid to use it. Soon she grew huge following on twitter and before you know it, she became somebody that folks looks who regarding issues facing the Trans Community I think the situations around Leela and subsequently being on the BBC just made me felt like I could be a mirror for other. Trans People. Now I sit down with Kale right as the pandemic it but it was also before the tragic murder of George Floyd. So we didn't get into questions around the protests that followed that. It was also before the historic historic March for black translates in Brooklyn at sixteen thousand folks showed up in the middle of pandemic mind you were cal was there she spoke and when I tell you that everybody felt it then and we still feel it today. Amazing. And Black France. Tower. Is going through. Before you stepped into your full role as an activism, Mike realizes the importance. Did you ever have moments of fresh when you were like? Oh, I just wish that there was somebody around that I knew of I look to or somebody who could speak for me or somebody like in the media that I just like look to forgotten about all the shit this happening around me lake. It's so interesting but I think before. Reading that letter from Leila. I had gotten so used to not sing myself and media and seeing myself around me. And I didn't know other Black Trans people before I. Left College. That's also the really sad thing is that I I literally grew up pretty much isolated from other transpeople. I wasn't in a big city so. It's not like I knew people who were out or I would even see people out in the bow. So that idea of having possibility model. Wasn't even fathomable to me. I will say that I did always know that I had a story I knew that as the as a child that I had a story that I was different. And then I was going to have to say something one day and it might not go well but that the clock was ticking and I needed to make sure that I was strong enough to make it through. Why did this become the beginning of your activism work? Like what was it about this moment? Honestly I think that Leila's death and the media rounded coincided with a time of my life where I finally was finding community. That looked like me with finding black. Hugh Fox in Atlanta and that I felt a little bit freer to say the things I really felt and advocate for the things that I knew our community deserved because I wasn't end small town Georgia anymore. I just had such a fear before moving to Atlanta for my life and my safety for my survival that I will lose my job and then have to go back to Augusta and I sure as hell not trying to. Do that no. So you to Augusta and this just all kind of coincide together because it wasn't the first and sense of Anti Trans Violence that I knew about I knew about what happens Ilan nettles and twenty thirteen I knew about the story of Gwen Arrojo mostly through the lifetime movie you know because my mom watched lifetime so I saw that movie but this was a time where it just foul. So concrete in terms of me. Visualizing what I was capable of doing now that I had a certain amount of safety myself So you decide okay music my voice things are happening this impactful. I'm going to step up my game. What's the first step? Where do you start? How did you learn like what is in the activist starter pack or what was in yours? It's funny. You ask that because I feel like a lot of happen organically I will say, I think the starter pack is. First of all, figuring out your own story. Okay. You know what are what are the things that you need to hill from? What are the of your story that are empowering? What are the parts of the story that you think can be used empower others? And then I think it's about finding. Community finding other people who may share similar stories right figuring out what they are ways of working through their own traumas as as a relates to what binds you together are a and then I think it's about putting it all into action right so a big part of the word activist is the word act what we're like your actual actions like did you go to rallies? Did you tweet about it more? Did you? stage. One person protests Dow mainstream like what was the What was your particular action? So it was a lot of things. I definitely tweeted a lot about what was going on and the Movement for black lives what was happening around the lives of Black Trans, women and Trans Women of Color I was doing work canvassing and doing survey. Data collection with Solution Punishments Collaborative Snap Co, and I also had a moment that was very powerful to me was our transliteration Tuesday action and Atlanta. So I really kind of spearheaded that brought folks together for that, and so it was a huge community effort we gathered. Upwards of one hundred plus folks would I think at that point if it hasn't been eclipse now was one of the biggest rallies specifically around Trans lives in Atlanta you are a journalist and activist and know that capital J. Journalism at least supposed to be objective like you have to like write the story facts only like leave yourself out of it but activism requires a lot of feeling how do you reconcile the two and does it ever create any tension there? Do those two identities ever bump heads so honing the identity of journalists and then also the identity of activists doesn't cost tension for me anymore. Early on yeah because I did go to journalism school. So I, remember you know those lessons around objectivity. No editorializing exactly. But the problem with that is that. There's no one's arrogation of the fact that the people who have overwhelmingly made those rules, the people that it was so easy for them to see themselves outside of the rest of the world. Had the most privilege on then were white cisgender heterosexual man with a certain amount of class privilege. Probably Christian all of these different things and Alba Black Trans woman from the South I. learned that I didn't really have that luxury to see myself outside of the story, right especially as the Movement for black lives was popping off. It just felt ridiculous to me. It's to pretend like. I was talking about something that didn't. Play a role and how I navigate the world. Yeah. Now like when I'm talking about Black Trans woman being murdered, I have those stories the right billing like my life with endanger. Yeah. When I'm talking about interactions with the police, I have those stories or my let me on the other way because this could go down in a number of different outcome. Yeah and you can't like leave that part of yourself out of it because it impacts the way that you see everything that you come across in the world. That's a really good point and also I would imagine that once people who are not. And started getting hired. They didn't want to hear how we felt about certain things because it was probably this is racist sexist. This is trash. So there's like an added stake in the NBA like you know what? Leave your thousand feelings out of it just the facts Ma'am just the facts exactly and it it Selah Romania. I, mean, there are so many different types of journalists So yeah. If you're doing straight reporting and doing a news hit you, you're just gonNA scribble down the facts. Right? We also forget that objectivity and a lot of instances it's kind of impossible. I mean there's bias and even what we choose a subject that is deemed worthy of being covered. There's bias and what we're going to present to an editor and what they care about. Absolutely. No there's by dealt with the bias of working at a newspaper that wouldn't let me frame arguments. The way I wanted to in my opinion columns because it was too progressive for the community. Unity I'll. Yeah. I I will get even for the things that I would write I would get hate mail about being too naive or needed to watch my back all that kind of stuff I got an email once saying that I needed to watch my back because the KKK was alive and well in this area. Wow. What area in Georgia. Georgia I thought you meant in New York. City for a second now was just like number one I'm not surprised. We can't see because they don't have them there. I can't imagine. The weight of all the work that you do, which is so important but very heavy, very, very heavy. Please them. You got a good their fist. How are you taking care of yourself do you? Bet Vase means. A look I am in truth. And This is safe face. I. Actually feel like I'm going through a really bad therapists breakups. Nine now way but I had a phenomenal. They are pissed when I was still living in Oakland about a year and a half ago. Best, they're pissing my life like I know the one that got away. All no black and queer and a woman and Corn exactly and then I moved here. Any even I felt like I definitely need they're more you know living in New York list. I just was so drained because I had finally found her found the one, and now I just don't even want to play the. Phil. Go through that Labor because overwhelmingly my therapist experiences have not been great like I think a lot of folks right and I'll be very clear I. don't want another white therapists Y- nor should you have to have would I want a male therapist and if they can't be Queer I guess we'll work it out but I wouldn't prefer not have a straight therapist. So that's what's difficult for me. I also have much about healthcare when I was in California to be so frank, this sounds like a forgivable situation I got. A good their fifth straight now but I mean like, how do you take care of yourself like what things do you do to keep yourself from just being Mike? The world. Awful. There's no hope lake is all just trash whereas the media until the hurry up when I had that other therapist, I was able to kind of carve out what care looked like to me. Okay. So self care from me believe it or not as like planting. Planting plan plans. Thought I have like a bunch of plants in my players. I particularly have a fondness for Sake Lance. They forced me to open my. Cartons and let sunshine. Wash. So that's the thing I also say now a Lotta Times you know I kind of put it simplistically that my sisters are my self care. but it extends much more than that. So I try to make Sharma no regular schedules talking to my mom. It's not like oh it's Thursday. Let me talk to her. It's like a just a feeling. I haven't talked to my mom east I feel like a little Liz around. Right. and. I I try to talk to my friends more I go in and out like how I am of like, I'll be talking to them like all the time and then I fall off anything sometimes you just don't get it it is. So. I have a question. This is not about me says about my friend. Stacy the first question So. We're going to start the interview now. Question number. One So I have this friend named Stacy and stacy in spite of being kind Mouth sort of in like she knows how to use her voice, but she is very paranoid about sometimes because she's she's also a black woman and. She was just what a train you know that like. Women who's begun black women in particular. The like it's just a thing that you should do because didn't your your needy, your high maintenance, your annoying. You're winding. You're making a big deal out of nothing you're reliability nobody's going to hire you. Go through her head right but she knows what is right and what's wrong. She knows that the things that she speaks up about are worth speaking up about it's just like this paranoia about how she'll be perceived I guess. Do you. have any advice for my good friend Stacy who has not me at all? Well stay saying. What is there was do we like? Everybody. You know I always think the most important thing in any in answering any kind of question like this to make sure that you let people know that how they're feeling as valid because a lot of times. Especially I'm black community. If you'd be like all, don't be worrying about bad all that kind of seven and it's like, Whoa, no, I'm already worrying about it. So it's too late day nowadays, you know it's like if I can't speak up for myself and certain moment I, I don't beat myself up over it. I just try and look at what the conditions were giving myself benefit of the Dow. And then just try an pomace myself to to do better. Next time you know every day is different our energy levels fluctuate all the time but it's about US standing that we're a dynamic where human homeo-, stasis is the thing for a reason. Oh my gosh, I'm going. And like we have to understand that we're not going to always feel empowered. But it's about having faith you can feel empowered again. So as about being nice to yourself as sounds like, yeah being always the answer to all of these deep sold virgin. Be Nicey, appointees you know. Having grazed having these conversation we process as we're talking to other foul, absolutely all the gas in the world you just know somebody like. This is real right like is this is a big and you have you have helped my friend stacy tremendous out. Is actually going to be. Okay. I. Loved it. I just wake up. Like. I don't know I don't know it. I WANNA take it back a little bit where we started with. Leela and her letter in twenty fourteen. She gave a call to action on how to make the world a better place for Trans People. How do you think she would react to the world today? Wow I hope that she would seem. More ourself in the media and the world. Now, we obviously have posed and a lot of brilliant folks on they aren't. Folks like India more folks like Angelic Hurrah. Them say Rogatory guys Dominate Jacksonville Florida you know folks who are. Not, only living these fabulous lives, right. But continuing to champion their stories individually I think about the Janet mock who are creating more spaces and opportunities for folks. To elevate their stories and and obviously you know the Lombardo Kochta's. But I also think about you know the Andrea Jenkins. You know the people who are running for public office. A black. Trans. Woman on the first Black Trans woman to be elected to city council and so the work she does I think about my friends are doing so much. Work Ahead. Tell. Tell Him. And Snow doing powerful work. She's now the solutions not punishments collaborative. Side. Think about all of that. You know I think about the voice of that. We have now and it doesn't feel like. We're so isolated anymore like in those days in two thousand fourteen and I also will say no more and more folks are understanding the complexity of gender in the babies the bay and are leading day. Are I think about? And I think that's true where we're already on the path, we've just got to lean into it. Talking with Racquel really put so many things in perspective for me and you know I just had to ask my girls what they thought. So because of social distancing in the time of the coronavirus me and my girls got together and had a virtual dinner party to talk about what activism looks like me. Are we activists. Cheers everybody here. Technology. I think would struggle to consider myself an activist. But in the same vein, I feel like everyone has the opportunity to be one think for me. Often. I. Get caught up in it looking like things that I post on twitter instagram and like being aware of other prominent activists on social media. But really I think it's Smaller than. Chris. Sure. I sent struggle is calling myself an activist as well, and then I was like wait that's what their presser wants me to do. They want me Lake Creole small and feel like. Power at all absolutely I think like for me. Obviously, I'm a black person and like I feel like naturally that is like just an activism like Jimmy being a black person in a lot of white spaces being a black woman like there's just so much against you. So naturally, there's that yeah I've had like old roommates or friends you know. White people in my past like message me on facebook years later and be like. Oh, my God I learned so much from you which on the one hand is like. You know but also like a Lotta Times I don't even remember what they're talking about and so it seems like what you're saying it's just like Oh. You just realize that I was a person and in that was. Helpful to you in some way. It's weird too because like I feel like sometimes I have to advocate for high blackness even in block circles leuze more. Like In a way that. People will say things that are inherently anti-black that they don't realize like making fun of someone with Nappy here might making fun of someone like Bell Pepper knows whatever their somebody's name yeah or someone's name and it's like. Even in your circles, you have to be like so dedicated to what you're the mission which is seeing that everyone is equal everyone has valid and everyone deserves to have space here on earth. There are so many times that like even with dealing with like other black men apt to be like. What you're saying right now is so anti-black. What you're saying right now is so black woman. You can't really call your. So an activist for black people when you're continually talking bad about black woman. I feel like I mean humans instinctively want to be like homies tasteless we want to be in a warm. Environment that's comfortable and it just sucks sometimes when you go outside your home and the people that look like you're not providing knock. You gotta like problem like this is. Like check your saw him. I write family and friends. Thank you so much for tuning in. Yet again, going through it is an original podcast created in partnership with Malcolm Pineapple Street Studios, executive producers for going through. It are Geno wise Berman Max, Linski and Garish a great shout out to the producers of going through it. Our lead producer is Josh Gwynne production by just Jupiter Emmanuel HAP- system now Anderson and production support by. Alexis. More. There she is editor and her name is Leila. Day. Also, thanks to the voices of the folks you heard sound off in this episode you know what I need I need to hear those. Makila. I'm Maya Original Music. Is Bad. Anthony. Our engineer is Hannah's Brown special. Thanks to Eleanor Kagan for being the Alpha MB originator of this hope. Stay intact family on instagram effort party. We sell all your friends about the show enemies to make sure rating subscribes with going through apple podcasts spotify. PODCASTS I sold. Out Gel, that's it come back next week I'll be so sad.
Beyond Trans Visibility with Raquel Willis
"Dame products founded company making toys for sex developed and tested by real people with volvos engineered to bring your solo and coupled play to new heights. They're making the world a better place. One vulva at a time to dame products dot com slash lady. Like today and get ten percent off with code unladylike again. That's dame products dot com slash unladylike to get ten percents off with the code unladylike. We have been told that we are not enough zoo. Parents sue family soom soon soon soon. Vase sans stallworth. Our government's to the did is now. We're more than enough bird right now. He all and welcome to unladylike. Kristen i'm caroline and y'all just heard. Today's guest raquel willis speaking at the brooklyn liberation march. Last june felts like the air was like electric like something new was happening here. We were entering a new era by day. Raquel communications director for the ms foundation for women but for the past five years she has been working twenty four seven on the front lines of the trans rights movement last summer as historic numbers of protesters flooded the streets and response to george floyd murder a group of multiracial gender expansive activists including raquel organized the brooklyn liberation march. They wanted to call attention to the fact. That police brutality. Disproportionately harms black. Trans people the march was quite possibly the largest protest for black trans lives ever the bigger estimates around twenty thousand folks which is shoes we thought. Okay we'll maybe we'll get you know a few hundred folks maybe a few thousand folks but you know when we were speaking at the brooklyn museum and we were kind of on the balcony level. The dress code was to wear white and it was a nod to asylum parade that the nwa c. p. had in the early Twentieth century focus on the victims of lynching and so that was kind of like our aesthetic nod and when you looked out from that balcony it did look a sea of white you know and people came in in their entire and it was. It was a powerful day. Can you describe standing up there and and talking to the crowd. What what did that feel like for you. It felt powerful but it. It also felt like i was really the vessel and it was one of those moments where fight not worried about how my voice founded you know. I think that's what trans woman that is a very common experience with like having all of these second guesses about. How do i found feminine enough. Do i sound like a woman. You know like those are real insecurities i carry around as transpire fan and to speak to tens of thousands of folks as my authentic self open as a trans woman. Not being worried about what it meant for anyone to read me. Trans not necessarily filling unsafe in that moment was a powerful experience. And now when i had had before that moment today on unladylike it's the making of a modern day movement leader i. We're following rebels path to the brooklyn museum balcony and the pivotal events that awakened her activism. Then we're digging deeper into transgender inclusion in feminism the weaponization of womanhood and the onslaught of anti trans laws that are sweeping the nation. Okay so back before you're out here. Leading a movement we actually all work together That is how raquel you mean. Carolina all met. I think it was around twenty fourteen. So we were all working for how stuff works in atlanta. Which is now. I heart podcasts. So how would you compare the raquel. We met back then to kill. Yeah wow just a little question to kick things off. Yeah rock hill. Twenty fourteen was a much different person. So i was definitely Coming to terms with what it meant to be open in my career as a transgender woman Interestingly enough when i started at then how stuff works. I wasn't how you know. I hadn't had any conversations with any of my colleagues at that point nine sworn to myself that if the need arose i would come out but i was still kind of navigating him what we consider be like style. So that means kind of you know people not saying you're tran. You're not saying you're trans there. But like you know you're kind of flying under the radar or in the closet as i think most people know it to be. I actually came out december of that year just a few days after the holidays The death of leila born yang transgender girls who seventeen years old. She died by suicide after being estranged from her family and community and sense conversion therapy. Lay there there was so much that went on in her life and she set her suicide letters published on tumbler after committing the act and i remember reading her letter and she just talked about how she didn't see a future for herself that she wished that society would be fixed that somebody needs to fix that in that really just kind of tore down my thoughts around staying south in my journalism and online media career. And so it's it's interesting. I posted a video on youtube. Got like four thousand views. Which at that time was like. Oh my god. Is this viral. Four trillion views early viral shouts little bags. So it's like it was it was resetting for me because it really put in perspective the importance of everyone and i didn't have a platform at that time right so it was really mean raquel as like the person who was going to work everyday and and trying to figure out herself in the world who had to decide it's going to take some risks and put some things on a on the line because they are trans you who are out here. Don't see a future for themselves. So at what point did you start to get interested in using your voice in activism and organizing everything kind of started to coalesce After learning about leila's leila alcorn death. The young girl the backdrop for those years leading up to it was kind of the emergence of the movement for black lives I had known about the death of or the really. The murder of a black trans woman named john nettles and twenty thirteen. So this social justice space with kind of emerging particularly for young black millennials and atlanta was such a part of that. Even though i don't think a lot of people know that but the shutting down of the highways after moments of police brutality the community organizing that went into different direct actions that was the landscape of atlanta. That i became a part of right at that time that i came out professionally as trans so it was kind of natural to kind of fall in line. They're recall grew up in augusta georgia amid sized city a few hours from atlanta. I mean it was an experience of just filling very isolated. I always had this idea that there was something greater in a more metropolitan area riot. The as i was coming into my identity as a queer person have language around what it meant to be transgender. I don't think most people at that time in the in the nineties and early two. Bowden's but i knew i was different and i knew that largely from how i was being bullied. How you know. My peers approached me. The fact that i was always kind of in these get goals of of girls like all of my best friends for the longest time. We're really just girls and for me. It wasn't about my sexual orientation i it was. There was a part of me that knew that i was a girl and there was something imported about my femininity. That was strong that that i really needed to kind of figure out but i put it on hold. Because of the language i had at the time was gay because i was all i was ever called. Well how did those those. Dan dynamics and especially like growing up in the south. How did that shape. Sort of the path you ended up taking. You know. I think that being southern. And i only know this now because i live in brooklyn i think being southern it. It truly did give me a different type of character. There's something about growing up in space and knowing that that space isn't the center of the world that i think gives you a new lands and so in all of my work that i've done here in new york. It's always been important to clarify that. Yes you know. Some of these. Bigger cities are bubble right and there are a lot of about the experiences of people outside of them. And so this this idea that we can kind of paint Huge off of this country particularly united states with a kind of ignorant brush. Stroke is unfair. It's so interesting politically. So th the all of this like hoopla around georgia and georgia mean so much. The election it really is contingent on. What happens in georgia. And you know everyone can sing. The praises of someone. Like a stacey. Abrams now but we forget nationally that we have thrown so much shade at the south and forgotten that all of our deepest organizing histories and activism histories were rooted in the south. You can't talk about social justice in the united states without talking about what enslaved men in the south right. You can't talk about the civil rights movement without thinking about selma birmingham and atlanta and all of these different spaces there's just so much richness they are and we ignore that when we active of these systems of oppression like white supremacy and the patriarchy only exists in exerted. Their power in the south after high school raquel went to the university of georgia where she started taking women's studies. Those classes gave her a lot of language and contacts for her own personal gender awakening and then tragedy struck when you were nineteen. Your dad died unexpectedly from a stroke. What effect did that have on you at the time. Yeah losing my father had a profound effect on me. That experience i think was interesting and it really kind of forced me to think about what a mental live my life on my own terms without these restrictions expectations and i was morning my father but i was also realizing oh but you know we had a complicated relationship. He loved me. I love him dearly. And there are really gray parts of our relationship. And he didn't fully understand my clearness. And definitely i think it would have been a struggle on the genders heavens. I think his passing freed me up to kind of break down some of those expectations. That i think i had inherited from his own kind of dreams of who. I was supposed to be when we come back. Raquel takes the stage at the twenty seventeen women's march in dc as a black trans woman addressing a sea of pink pussy hats were. Kelly felt she had to choose her words for that occasion very carefully that story and rebels relationship with feminism. After a quick break. 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We're back with trans activists and writer raquel willis. I see the work that i do now. Even though i use the term activists particularly like my bio. I see the work that i do as cultural organizing. 'cause i you know. I'm trying to shift our culture arts more of farming of the trans experience but to also be about protecting our rights just like we need to protect the rights of any other marginalized group one of the most challenging spaces to shift cultural ideas about the trans experience and need for inclusion has been within mainstream. Feminism transphobia has dogged feminist organizing for decades within the women's liberation movement of in one thousand. Nine hundred seventy s. Some feminists were openly hostile towards trans women and painted them as dangerous interlopers. Some even believed they were government agents in disguise to destroy the feminist movement from within even in two thousand seventeen at the women's march the pink pussy hats symbolism restricted the trans and nonbinary exclusions still happening within feminist culture. Because you know having a pussy doesn't make you a woman. Not all policies are pink. Here's raquel telling us about your experience. Speaking at that women's march there was something about that march. That i felt like i had to generalize so much of what i wanted to say and so in a way it kept me from just being very clear and concise and specific about what it meant to be a black woman in america at that time. Black women women of color where women trans women abled women muslim women and so many others are still asking. Many of y'all ain't. I think also that time it was about so much about. I'm a woman just like you. you know. it was very like there. I had to put so much energy into trying to hold the mostly ciswomen leaders accountable for making trans women in particular an afterthought that i couldn't even completely put energy into holidaying. Donald trump and the people that supported him accountable. You know weird it was like my energy was stifled in that fight because there was a smaller fight that was happening within women's movement for me. my microphone was cut and the process of me speaking so as we commit to build this movement of resistance and liberation no one can be an afterthought anymore we might hold his and love and accountability. I never guides any kind of Followup from any of the organizers about it afterwards right it felt like i was. I had my voice clips and the scarlata why why was your might cut a lot of the earlier. Speakers didn't adhere to their time restraints. But they also added. I think celebrities into the lineup. At least that's some of the knowledge that i heard after the fact and so that meant that a lot of the activists and organizers who were in the last have got the short end of the steak. I really already only had like three minutes. So so i had time the speech and everything together and it was. Yeah it was very disheartening. Damn i didn't think i knew that. Raquel yeah so. It actually was a very interesting experience. Because i know so. Many folks left that day filling so empowered most and let's be clear mostly white cisgenders straight women. I think left that a privilege right like class privileged women left that day feeling some type of energy or empowerment. I didn't as an individual leave at that day. And i don't think that a lot of women of color left that day feeling that way. I don't think a lot of clearing trans women left that day. Feeling that way speaking to those hats but amongst other things we learn some valuable lessons that day about what intersex analogy truly looks like and also less clear intersection analogy would still on. Its way to becoming a buzz word at that time. So the concept of of thinking about patriarchy right beside white supremacy was not there. It just was not there yet. I think we as a nation had to go through some things unfortunately so really start having a a true or conversation around what intersex analogy is. Yeah i think that the the overwhelming wideness and sis the pink pussy out of it all Of that moment also seems like it. I don't know i feel like it. Also helped catalyze the conversations that have been happening over the past year around white feminism and really holding holding that movement more to account than it had been and really kind of forcing more More introspection reckoning within the so-called feminists tent. It's almost like an effort to you. Know i think the for weil. A lot of people were like. Why do i have to be called like. I'm not speaking from this experience. I think when it comes to feminism it does feel weird for a lot of white women who consider yeah. I'm a feminist. But i am a feminist and that has played a role in how i've spoken about things thought about things and navigated the world in accordance to says some of these systems right and that's a hard pill for anyone to swallow right. We all have to grapple with the fact that we all have some type of privilege and that we are all oppressed in some way. And i think the harder pill for a lot of people is the privilege fees. It just simply is how. How has your relationship to feminism evil. You know i. I'm still a feminist. You know i believe. There's still a lot of work that we can do in the name of feminism. I've moved beyond a time. When i felt like i had to defer to ciswomen and a particular way and wink. Wink nod nod. I'm just like you right. You know like we are women by we are just the like and that is fine. You know so music trans woman saying you know the the were different i. I'm not saying that that means go off onto this by biological essentially tip right and you and you to make really damaging statements about trans woman and our bodies. But that doesn't mean that there aren't commonalities around what bodily autonomy man's right because there is a connection there around conservative lawmakers trying to restrict me from having access to that surgery and trying to restrict to you from having an abortion right and having access to that right there trying to police are reproductive systems. So i think we've got to get marks pensive about how we think about these connections and not try to restrict people based on their identity is the move. The mainstream movement at this point think wiser than it was in regard to inclusion and identity. I think i am hopeful right. That there are more feminine Who are with the trans community than who are against the trans community or at least are curious about what being with the community. Looks like. I do think that we are on time when we can have more nuanced conversations. Unfortunately i think the world needed to see what it looks like to have lawmakers and particularly a president specifically go after the trans community understand how discriminates for our society is towards transpeople. Where i i think that We can fight for reproductive justice and understand that we don't have to fuel that fight with these kind of sensuous idea of of womanhood. You know. I think that there's so much space here for us to be invested in our fight against the hetero patriarchy and not fight each other. Because that's really. I think what the conservative data is abou is it's about turning would be allies against each other there. There is a concerted effort to so that division because they know that if all of these people who understand how bullshit the patriarchy has come together. They're going to be in a fix. And i think what you see now as well across the board on the conservative side of they know that they have to tap into some type of identity when it comes to their fight or they're gonna get left behind. They're going to continue to lose as big as they've been doing. And so you see the weaponising of womanhood. Why womanhood in particular ryan. So if you look at miss staying who was just Appointed to the supreme court aiming counting barrett. She in some ways is being used by conservative agenda to kind of wipe away in critiques. Anyone what have about them being patriarchal ray or or catering to why it says hat man. So we've gotta get smarter and more in tuned with how identity can be weaponized against us. We're going to take a quick break and up next raquel walks us through the tidal wave of anti trans laws. That states are trying to pass and why they're dangerous for all of us stick around mother's day is coming up and the maternal figures in your life deserve a little love now more than ever. Urban stems delivers modern bouquets and stylish plants next day nationwide every delivery includes a personalized note to your recipient thoughtfully designed packaging and a one hundred percent happiness guarantee urban stems bouquets range flower variety from seasonal favorites like peonies and tulips to the go-to favorites like roses and renown culas carolina. I can personally attest how gorgeous of a gift urban stems is to get in the mail. They are beautifully package and the flowers inside our stunning. I received the manhattan bouquet. And it's a blend of carnations many calories snapdragon garden roses. It was supposed sophisticated but also the perfect pop of spring color shop at urban stems dot com using code unladylike. Fifteen for fifteen percent off your purchase. Plus free shipping. That's you are an s. T. e. m. s. dot com and use code unladylike. Fifteen fifteen percent off plus free shipping. We're back with raquel willis the day before we interviewed her recap l. had been on. Tv discussing the news out of arkansas. That state had just enacted a law making it the first in the country to ban gender affirming healthcare for trans kids. There have been so many anti trans laws being proposed on the state and federal level. This year it's hard to keep track of them. All most would either restrict healthcare access for trans youth or banned trans girls from school sports but conservative lawmakers are spinning them as pro women and girls by calling these bills. Things like the fairness in women's sports act and the protection of women and girls in sports act how chivalrous i mean that doublespeak infuriates me to no end but if anyone knows how to effectively respond to it it's raquel raquel how do we counteract that bullshit language of like. Oh we're not bigots. We're just trying to protect our girls. It's hard we are in a year. We're not even halfway through the year. Right we're we're about a quarter through the year just a little more than that. We have had insurrection at the capital. We have had mass shootings one of which largely targeted asian women in atlanta and the focus of these lawmakers on on trans people and the few trans youth in particular who want to access sports and deserve to access playing the sports the the fulfill them and trans people accessing healthcare. The priorities are all out of whack. People lake seriously if they really cared about anybody's lives. You would see them having real conversations on gun control or having real real conversations about how their mess. In disinformation efforts have increased the amount of violence that we see particularly socially against groups on the martin but also against the lawmakers who are supposed to be showing up for us. So it's ridiculous so like you mentioned. We are barely quarter through the year. And it's also. I believe already a a record year. In terms of justice sheer volume of transphobic legislation that has been introduced on the state level just dozens and dozens and dozens of bills. And there's so much it's moving so fast. What are the top line. Things that that you really want. Ladies to know you know. I think the biggest thing is this here. you're right. We're seeing more than ninety piece of of anti trans legislation which does not include companion bills which is above one hundred now. This is an evolution from a few years ago when there was all the hoopla about the bathroom bills right. And i and i believe that they saw that they couldn't get a foothold with those and obviously the fight around. Hp to in north carolina which had a devastating economic impact on the state as brands and corporations pulled out of that state kind of silence that a bit but they have come back and are kind of more laser focused on largely trans youth. The conservative agenda against trans folks. And and i think conservative. But they're also places like in south. Carolina will wanna wear one of the people pushing. The bill is a democratic person. It's abou exploiting the ignorance of the general public. They know that they're still large part of the united states Or a large part of americans who say that. They don't know a trans person. And when you don't know a person the you can become victims all sorts of misinformation about them but i think the other thing that people don't often know is that there has been a long history of criminalising gender non conforming people. You know trans people. Even though we weren't necessarily using the term trance throughout history have always been under attack. You know this is just the evolution of like. I said those bathroom bills from a few years ago. But also a lot of the anti dressing laws from decades ago would enlarge our lead so the stonewall riots and that uprising during the late sixties and other ones as well. So it's always been here. I think you know the conservative agenda is about kind of rehashing these fights. It's about continuing the policing of communities on the margins is it. Is it possible to to stop this tidal wave. Kristen said it does feel like it's just coming so fast like a fire hose is it. Is it possible to to stop this. I think that our biggest effort in kind of heading off some of it is by continuing to educate ourselves continuing the have conversations like this right and not just on trans day visibility or trans. They have remembrance or pride month but all the time you know when i think about some say it's you know some of the legislation that they're pushing is to create registries that has a nat information about all of their athletes. Which is weird. Right is such a weird invasion of people's privacy and their bodies that won't just impact trans people that will impact sister athletes as well in those states. you know. so we're we're all at risk. My thing. these days is is that. I want us to get to a point where we understand that everybody is some kind of gender non conforming you will never be the perfect ideal version of masculinity and manhood. Right you will never be the perfect. Ideal version of femininity and womanhood. We all deal with this kind of restrictive idea of who were supposed to be. You know the boys and the men who are told. They can't cry and have have a well. Rounded emotional experience are losing out on a part of humanity. The the women and the girls who were told that they can't be strong. Brilliant creative capable leaders are missing out on a part of their humanity and the folks who were dealing with all of that at once the transgender non conforming. Folks are missing out on it as well. So we've gotta fight this now before it gets worse so big question. What does a world where trans identity is not only tolerated and accepted but completely normalized like what. What does that world look like. Well you know. I don't know if the goal is to be normalized right or or assimilation necessarily right. I think the goal is the is de-stigmatising for sure that world looks like wine. Way are we don't build expectations for other people particularly children and when they don't fit online with those patients we chastise them in are violent towards them. because of it. i wanted to ask you. You know i think it is so crucial to continue to highlight the violence and the danger. That trans folks face. You know you you had the trans obituaries project that you started. And i think it's important to get to know the names and stories behind the statistics that we hear. But how do you balance the importance of talking about that. The violence with the joy of celebrating trans lives and stories and experiences. Yeah i you know. i think you're right. There is a balance that we have to hit with telling the real kind of gritty Experiences of trans But i think that just means that we have more stories. I don't think that that means we silence the hard things because if we don't talk about the hard things and those things don't get addressed and changed you know when i think about the trans obituaries. Projects it wasn't just to talk about the epidemic of violence. Though was the main thing the my aim without was never to do a wo- is is is kind of experience or or contribute to a tragic narrative it was to give those trans women of color. Twenty nineteen the obituaries that they deserved and it was just as much about shining light on the academic of violence as was about celebrating their lives in a way that our media landscape largely still isn't equipped to do it was also about bringing some bit of catharsis to the people left behind. You know. i think that that is a stronger story. People have got to know that trans people aren't just floating in air solitary right like we have loved ones we fall in love. We break up with people you know we have full lives you know. I have a mom who loves me and have evolved with me on this journey. We're very close. And she worries about my life and she celebrates me. I have good friends. That i can talk about all types of things. I'm not always or even largely about being a trans right just about connecting each other as human beings. But i got my girls my black trans gaggle and the guy you know gaggle the folks who were not black fans but who are all varying types of experiences right and i love them dearly. I have a sister. A brother got nieces and nephews who loved to squeal my name on right. And i want love you know and i want to continue to tell stories and dream. And that's what we've gotta get to for. Everyone particularly for trans people. Is that where human you can follow her cal on. Twitter at raquel willis underscore or on instagram. At raquel underscore willis and y'all can find us on instagram facebook and twitter. At unladylike media you can also support kristen and me by joining our patron. You will get weekly ad free. Bonus episodes full of listener advice pop culture and history plus our undying love at patriotair dot com slash unladylike media nor richie is a senior producer of unladylike. John palmer is our story editor. Shuki murata transcribes are tape. Our music is by flamingo. shadow may cohen and sarah. Hudson mixing is by andy. Kristen's sound design. Additional is by. Casey holford and andy kristen's executive producers or peter. Cloudy daisy rosario and unladylike media this podcast was created by your hosts carolina irvine in kristen conger of unladylike media. Next week i was on the floor of the of the senate not too long ago i was talking with dick durbin and i had a. We were coming up in the judiciary committee on a bill. That i wanted to was my bill and we were going to mark it up in committee and he said that the republicans are going to have all kinds of of amendments. And what do i want to do with them. And i said you know. Under normal circumstances we would try and work it out. And and but i said these are not almost Circumstances so fuck them and said i hate it. When you use technical terms that i have to look up we're talking to maisy hirono. The f-bomb dropping senator from hawaii about leading the charge for api inclusion in the biden cabinet. And why she's finally getting angry. Y'all don't wanna miss this episode. Make sure you are subscribed to unladylike. You can find us in stitcher spotify apple podcasts. Or wherever you like to listen and remember got a problem get unladylike. Sorry i was burping. God i just for some reason might lintel. Soup is just like not sitting right. Sorry bird lentil soup.
Episode 402: Raquel Willis with Patrice Peck
"Welcome to the long-term cast. This is Patrice Patrice. Welcome back, welcome, Patrice. L.. Patricia! You've been busy. Yeah. She's yet another piece in the New York. TIMES SELF CARE for black journalists willing to in the show notes. You gotTA. Keep coming, thank you. And thank you for returning to the show this week. Who did you set up an interview? This, week I spoke with cal. She is a Black Trans woman. Journalist activists national organizer She wears many many hats. She actually got her start after going to the University of Georgia off, I'm getting a degree in journalism. She started in local news in Georgia. And eventually she went to the transgender law center where she did some really great work in eventually became executive editor of out magazine. She's really amazing I'm sure with dynamic group of people while they're and now she's currently the director of Communications for the Foundation for women. Is She so interesting because you see her quoted as an expert or an advocate, but also uc or byline still doing journalism? Yeah, there's a there's an incredible part of this interview towards the end where she talks about. How for a while those labels were? Tough to navigate you know like whether she was a journalist or an activist or an organizer, and now she just sort of doesn't care like she's. She's just doing her work. And it encompasses all of those things which is pretty powerful. Before get to the interview I. Just wanted to point out you know again. I am a follower listener of the long form podcasts in I can't recall listened to an interview with a trans journalists who is out at especially not a lack journalists end ice thought that it would be very very important to include a voice like Racal's. That has this intersectional perspective included in the long form archives? Thank you for that addition to the ever swelling long-form our cash, of course, of course we're. We're thrilled to have her on the show in thrilled to have you hosted? Speaking of the swelling archive of long foreign podcast episodes are all brought to you with the support of mail chimp, who make this whole thing possible and have for many years. Thanks to melt him. Now here's Patrice with Rico Willis. Whoever cal thank you so much for joining us on long term podcast. I've been dying to get your here. Yes, hi, for traces so great, so be are. So. Let. The people know where you're from where we're cal grew up so I consider myself a southern girl through and through, even though I live in Brooklyn. Now I am forever from a gusty Georgia still not Atlanta Georgia Augusta get. Get right its own specific flavor, and I really care those stubborn roots with me everywhere I go I grew up in a fairly traditional black southern family. We were also Catholics. So there were layers of traditional layers of respectability in some ways so obviously growing up of a blacked budding here later to understand herself as transgender Parson. Yeah it was a it was a bit of a journey. To say the least and so, what drew you to journalism? So I! Loved. Riding like? Different things growing up I wasn't one of those people who likes insist that with it I'm a typical German I in that way. But then when I got to be I, don't know maybe about thirteen or fourteen I started writing song, and so I actually have been a big music fan of big fan of lyricism for most of my life, and I envisioned myself at one point as being a songwriter, so so that was kind of the organic star then when I got to. The later years of high school I was the yearbook nerd. You know I went to a fine arts high school, and so everyone had their thing, and my interest really went into your bug. I was so. And so the idea of creating this like objects that cap sure. A, year in our lives, you know like that was so interesting to me, and I didn't understand why other people didn't think that that was interesting, but in the same way, and eventually I was the editor in chief my senior year, so it was a fun experience, and it was nice managing a team collaborating with folks, and I was like well I guess I like this like I'm not going to be this doctor that my grandma always telling me I'm going to be. And so so it was like well. How do I do that? And so? I ended up going to the University of Georgia and I started out. Double majoring in graphic design and magazines journalism, specifically because I was still interested in the visual elements in conjunction with the verbal elements, and so yeah, so that was kind of the origin story of the journalism career got it got it than so. What year did you graduate and I? Ask because. I'm thirty. Two and I graduated from Undergrad in two thousand nine, and that was like during the last recession, and it was hell difficult to get a magazine job, and so yeah, what year did you Graduate College? And what were your career aspirations as like a graduating senior? Yes, I drive college twenty thirteen don't what's his kind of wild, so think about because it hasn't even been. You know a full ten years of a proper career. Obviously journalism faults deal. Before they even get out of school, but you know. My senior year was interesting because I was trying to finish my degree of course I had dropped graphic design, because I was it. Just wasn't as great of technical artists focused on the journalism degree, but I also picked up a minor in women's studies now. Folks, Gender Studies Women's studies, and that really shifted a lot of things for me as well because when I started the gender studies courses, and started learning about systems of oppression and finding language Arou- my own identity of trans her sign in College. It opened my eyes to the ways that these systems of oppression so. Color art experience in. Journalism Ryan you know the idea of objectively you know more people talk about that now. Then I was very hyper, aware of the fact that I was being in many ways to strip myself of my blackness of my womanhood of mind, fairness Trans Ness. So be seen as unbiased. which is cute and you know that is a particular way of rioting by. I'm not unbiased. You Know I. Believe in Black Power I believe in the power of Trans People in clear people I am a feminist. And I knew I was going to have a career at some point that touched on those things now. I had like many folks huge aspiration. I'M GONNA go to new. York right away I'm GonNa have this fabulous job like willingness later in ugly Betty. Working at a magazine, yes, I think the kind of assumption would be particularly as a woman, and has a clear person that I would want to work at somewhere like vulgar working a fashion space, but you know my favorite magazine in high school was actually wired yes. Sue Wired and obviously like the visual components of it, and just like the stories were always like cutting edge. Mean they're still doing great stuff. Why doesn't get enough love? To this day. To this day. So, so yes I had these dreams of going to New York, and my sister at that time lived in New York, so I went to visit her for like two weeks right after my senior year completed and I WENT To interview and you know you don't know anything about trying to find a job, you know most people don't. It? Maybe that's because I was black Clarence Trans and like I didn't have typical kind of men's worship. But I was interviewing you know. And I interviewed at this place, and it was definitely a pyramid scam. It was supposed to be about marketing. Okay well maybe I'll open myself up to that. But. It definitely was not a real thing. It was wild. I interviewed the small Boutique Hair company I was like okay well. Maybe I'll do marketing like get some social media chops with them. Didn't get any of those. It was just I was looking on craigslist. You know like all of the places that I applied probably to. You know one thousand places. Through that last semester of my college experience and nowhere was binding part of. It was because I was I didn't live already in New York. I have focused on China Get New York and I. Understand those dynamics that they wanted to live there already. So I freelanced for I came back to Georgia I was lucky that I had a friend who allow me to stay with them, so I didn't have to go back to Augusta. Georgia was if go back to Augusta I'M GONNA get sucked into the war attack day and be a hometown hero, which of great you know, but I knew I didn't want to be in Augusta I knew that there was more any to do so eventually I guy my. I. What I consider rail job as a news reporter in Monroe Georgia. The, Watson beyond. Amazing so you know that's. The journey you just described as like a rising senior, and then a graduate is senior recent college Grad rather who was looking to get into journalism career at like I. think that is very familiar. Especially in New York, city and as we have mentioned. That's you know coming from the south. That's not discussed enough. Sort of how this industry is really seemingly dominated by. Coastal region, folks and yeah, that journey just described like Hella familiar and you said he graduated twenty thirteen. It's funny. Thirteen Zoll at that point that industry was all ready in that volatile state of trying to figure out what the business models are like. A lot of publications are folding like what any of that addressed in your. College education in terms of the state of journalism industry now I mean. I know obviously that we were in the afterglow in some ways of. The downturn in two thousand eight in I, knew Boeing in college, because I graduated high school in two thousand nine. The something was going on Ryan but I. You know I. think that I I mean I came from middle class background my. Had you know degrees on degrees like my mom had a doctorate in education so I. was privileged. A sense of like I was like. Oh, I'll be fine. You know like by the time I get out of college. It'll be fine and. It wasn't you know so. They didn't really address the economics of the journalism industry when I was in school I. Don't feel like I had as much support as I need a in college, and obviously like there were organizations like in a Bj Ryan the National Association of by journalists, but so be honest. I was a trans woman. You know very early in my transition. I didn't see that as an outlet you know in was, and still is a very respectable space as most black institutions still are unfortunately though. I didn't necessarily see as A space that I could like find support. I always felt like I had to figure it out on my home. Less get into your. Your entry level your first journalism job. Talk to me about the in Monroe Georgia. Georgia style I remember so vividly going to interview for that job. I obviously had like my little. You know physical copy of my resume. My little folder I was dressed up in a very like traditionally feminine way you know at least by southern standards. I have full on phase yet. My hair was curled at that point. It was still relaxed. Okay, I am Han on like a stirred and like this like Joel towns top, okay and hills you know again. It was like. A, different part on my transition where I felt like I had to fit more of these stereotypical ideas of femininity, but I also knew. That I was GONNA have to go back and so the classic so I went and talked to the guy who become you know. My editor emboss got the job and I was not out as queer or trans the home Gotcha. I don't want to be presumptuous than say. No one knew but like I. Really Don't think people knew that I was trans because. There are just little things that I. Picked up, you just little things they would say you know one time. There was a woman who came in who had a pretty deep voice and the women on the staffer like Catalan making. About I was like our. Wow, okay, this is what happens behind the scenes when y'all think the a transverse around comments from. A male editor made a joke about the t slur about trannies and all of this stuff and I was like Oh. This is how it goes behind the fans so I saw the transphobia. From. Styles, perspective or I was you know not out about my identity? That's what we would call south in our community, so that was interesting to say the least. It was a very conservative environment and has even imagine so this was the proto trump era of the tea party Republicans so the Inbetween Sarah Palin and trump that kind of like outrageous. SUPREMACISTS conservative mindset was being stoved in I witnessed a lot of that in small town. Georgia Azza was happening. I had a weekly column. I would try darndest to. Talk About Social Justice Issues I was hitting them with different things each sweet. I wrote a column inspired in some part by Shimon the DIGI. Put, that out there guy, you know. Hey, letters saying that I was young and naive and bringing my liberal colleagues. Talked to the town, I were right. Some about the early iteration of the Black Lives Matter Movement Movement for black. Lives Ward about LGBTQ issue. And! This was all in twenty third hand. Ryan Braun. That's. Interesting to me because I went back and read some of those things recently and I was like. Wow you know like I, guess for those days. I was considered radical in that spe. I was considered radical. And now everyone is well right the back band even just a few years ago. It'd be like what y'all West, what's wrong with you Why are you saying all this? You know it seems so French. Yeah, THA! How were you feeling around that plane? Because like I, said. You know that's your first job. Did you feel like there was a lot of representation that you can sort of model yourself after within the newsroom like you sound like you were just a very bold courageous. Lists I felt very isolated You know I. I didn't really have many folks that I looked up to. That point as like an example. Because again I. Think Journalism was still such a space of. The old guard of the. Archaic Idea of objectivity of You know it was by understanding. You know that many black artists didn't want to write about blackness because they didn't want to be seen as less than a real journalist, because there's this idea that you your inherently going to be biased or basically be an activist. Experiences too close to your own. You know I think maybe people were just starting to write things like personal essays. Regularly, but the law of the land was not as particularly on the Internet was first essays. Yet you know, and then particularly as a trans journalists. You Know Janet. Mock had just. been. Open about her experience and Marie Claire. Around, I would say maybe twenty, twelve, twenty thirty, and so like I, was in the midst of my journalism as a case and yeah, so that was eye opening of course, but she didn't have the career, but she would go on to have yet so grateful and Early Period for trans representation on anything like Orange is the new black came out. The week that I one of the week that I was in New York John Search. Okay and I remember I started binge-watching watching that week. That I was on my job starch so it it was also new and I think what's interesting is people because I'm so young? People don't realize that I actually was starting my career. Before this bubble head. Yes, okay Oh. So there's a way that I think. A lot of experience as a folks gets a raised. Because you know that's the way the visibility works as it eclipses. The struggles the experiences that are already happening in a way and so. While I look up, so you know there was also like so much that I was doing on my own that I was seeking and finding my own before. They brought the cultural relevance that our community needed. So when exactly? Efficiently, and what was that lake interviewing in terms of like nervous and you know 'cause I noticed. You mentioned like you remember specifically like how your Hair Zan. Like what Alpha you're wearing and so let us into your shoes real quick. So you know I to be honest. I think that this is often. Be Imagination for a lot of systems where people move but I feel like. I was transitioning innocence pretty much. My life like I never kinda fit. These restrictive ideas of who I was supposed to be to live. In terms of. A social transition for me. I started my. Transition and college you know in a formal Stan right where I was like coming out, so be blessed. And I knew that I needed to have a certain part of my transition done before I was on the market because I just knew that that was going to be near impossible, so my last year was really spent getting. Documents chance to make sure they reflected my name engender experience and identity it was. Starting a medical transition and Yes, I mean it really was in those years of college that I was. In some ways fast tracking it so that I could survive after I graduated and I I won't say fast track right like I said time like Winston therapy like a lot of people do pat a lot of our conversation with family. All of that stuff, but I was trying to have a bulk of that out of the way so that I could actually have a career. Yeah, because that that takes that is your job. You know a lot of trans people trying to secure access to transition in the ways they may want to. isn't a job. so I was privileged in a lot of ways to be able to. Go about my transition in that way and planet and a sense so that I could just work afterwards. Wow, okay, so we are! In a row and What was your position while you were there in that newsroom, I was a staff reporter staff reporter. Okay, so you said you had your column. Did you also have to do like any local beats national So the breakdown of the editorial staff. I was the only woman. I was the only person of color, and it was the staff and editorial staff at least a four. My boss was the editor there was another. Staff reporter, and there was a sports editor hands. They were all white men. I will say I think my editor. Sawed the importance of having me and in that space I will say that he was a great editor. He pushed me I learned a lot from him. But I I will say I don't think that the culture that point understood the importance of diversifying the newsroom. And so I still in some ways foul disposable. And then the women who worked at the newspaper. Were all in marketing Wow, are in circulation and so. You know I will say I think I got love from the women in the marketing team. Because I think it was interesting to them, F- to see how a woman can also be. A rider and like create the content and like people would listen to her voice. And I was actually taps, and my last few months to help develop the county's first women's. Magazine we're going to be like a quarterly women like you know magazine. It was like I was going to be on newspaper, but it was going to be one of those like really just delving answer women's experiences the county. Because you know as open as a feminist so like that was the thing every now and then there will be women who had come up different events and be like you're so brave. Thank you for saying what you said I. Mean why women? Yes lay. It was so interesting, and Ben. We ended up getting a new publisher. Through the course of US starting the developing of that magazine. And they brought in a man who scrapped. And Rats the newspaper and was. It's called sports rapper, so he completely debts that projects and then decided we were going to center sports, and that really was my. Douse the final Straw and I was like I got out of the space. I gotta be in a space where I can be my full south yeah. And so that was what eventually push me some useful Atlanta. So he moved to Atlanta did you? Did you get a new job like what happened? I when I moved Atlanta I actually stayed with an aunt. Great and I got a job at how stuff works. Dot Com would. Then was starting I build kind of this podcast empire lay. They already had a bunch of podcasts like they saw the potential podcasting early. And investment in it. I was not a podcast. I was a digital publisher are worked on the website on really kind of publishing content I, wrote maybe one or two things while I was there, but it was mostly like publishing content while I was there. There was the death by suicide of Leila Alcorn Yang Trans Girl who? Ended up publishing a ladder about. How she'd been at the future for herself transport them. And she added to be published on Tumbler after she. died not like one of those by the time you read this yeah kind of experiences that. Broke something in me. And also just reminded me of the death of Ilan. A Black Trans woman at the hands of a black sister, man and twenty thirteen. I believe if I'm I'm remembering the years correctly. and. I was just realizing that. Oh you know like I was seeing the pattern of violence. Yeah, from all ends right like the psychological violence, the social violence, the physical violence, the State Violence that Trans folks of color were experienced same. And when Lela died, that was kind of like the final thing and. I was teary-eyed. I publish this on Youtube Video. The site talking about how we need folks to be better, you know we need folks to move up and. Fight on behalf of Trans people because we can't do this alone and no child should feel like they can't find. How clear in our society, I was still style. You know so like I was still in this mode of will I'll stay on the clause a, but I wasn't as like. Stringent about it and this new job I was like well. If it comes to a point where it has to come out I will, we'll just let the chips fall where they may. Publish that video. It went. I guess viral. It was like four thousand views. Was You know barometer of Var Rally at that time was so much smaller than it is now like people jet like millions of miles of us, but so that was the thing and BBC picked it out. Okay, and they were like. We want to interview you for this global radio show. And I was like. I wasn't really like excited. I was scared. Because I knew. I was going to do it partly because. One of the things I said in the video was like I, couldn't be silent anymore so I knew I had to hold myself accountable so that, but I was frightened. I told my sister WHO's Al-Barid. She was like. That's exciting. So when are you gonNa tell your boss. And I was like. She was like yeah. Okay so I told my boss then she told her boss. And they were on board with their like you definitely have to do. It was not an issue that I was trans. We didn't even. Go into any more detail. They didn't ask any like wild. Question was what it was. So I did their interview and then from there I would just became more outspoken on social media I was starting to tap and more to community organizing. Not As journalists. Really. Literally joining the efforts because I felt like I needed we putting my energy and the movement. To keep us alive and I knew there were many folks fighting for. Black Trans folks in the south you know. or at least I did I wasn't connected to the larger network that I am now. And then I test this podcast to. The folks they are and. was like we need to be having a conversation about what's happening and the Movement for black lives. What's happening in terms of LGBTQ, issue? I would love to do a podcast on these things now granted I will say. Maybe, I didn't articulate the vision while enough, but one of the things that I was told by a black woman who was my supervisor was A. we've already got. A FEMINIST PODCAST! They're already talking about things. and I was like you have, and this is no shades them 'cause they did great were. And still do great work. They had a podcast that was hosted by two white women, and No shade, but they weren't. Going to be able to carry a conversation around race. and Algae Cube plus issues and and different things like that and the way that I. It was very disheartening to have. My black supervisor squash that a Nazi the importance of having those conversations. So that was one shot in the next Straw was the death of another black person. At. The hands of the police are member just light trending on sweater. Were a you know how it is for folks like we have this kind of mass mourning when that happened, yes. Than as we work enacting new ways via social media. And I just remember going to are. Surrounded. Most of people were there. There was that by black supervisor. Nobody was phased It was business as usual, and I'm over here I can't think about anything. Yeah, by are people being killed by police? Yeah. And I was like Oh, I gotta get Outta here yeah. I've gotta be a putting my energy and every part of my energy and to. What's happening on the ground? So I started applying to as secure plus organizations I didn't even. Envision I guess mostly black organizations being ready. To hire me as a trans woman, yeah, so the lgbtq plus kind of non profit industrial complex. Seems like the Fed I applied to. All types of places I won't name them, but I will say that. I was applying for like. Calm, positions, press, secretary, position, and types of. Storytelling positions. And I was just getting met with resistance. You know by these very white spaces. Yeah they're national LGBTQ plus organizations that turned me down and a so interesting now because. These are now the same who wanNA. Pick my brain on. Everything still won't pay me. From my label right, but they want to take my brain. And then I found Trans Law Center. TRANSGENDER law center. which was based on the West Coast and I came in the COBB's associate. And I moved from Atlanta. To Oakland California. My first time living outside of Georgia twenty five years old. And that was on, and so you know had of their formative experience. They are as well during that time. Thousand I spoke at the National Women's March continuing to be outspoken on social media I shifted from the Com- space, which I felt like I was being blocked from doing more. And to NASA national organizing spe okay. Sorry was a national organizer for the organization but I was still. Freelance writing, doing like George you know press and all types of things you know in in a sense you know though I was never acknowledged as this or compensated as this I was in some ways a spokesperson for the organization And it's so interesting because I feel like I'm at a point in my career now where I can make. Say these. Yes, like this is the Labor that I was doing the Black Trans. Woman s that you weren't fully acknowledged. Yes, they were benefiting from and this is in these various spaces, but you weren't acknowledging before this kind of era of rocketing. Talking about systems of oppression. So while I was a TLC I pitched. This project adds focused on the healing justice a Black Trans Women in the south and focused on how we can kind of alleviate some of the problems of these murderers and various community, so it was really based on political. Education leadership building and healing justice for black transplant, and so that was a powerful experience. Just connecting with other black, translating LaSalle in deeper way and honoring black trams power. You know like I think that was kind of the start of me. Seeing our power in a different way. Yeah, not seeing our power something that needs to be given to us by people. But seeing it as something that we need to foster within ourselves. While I was there I got proposition to be the executive editor of out magazine. Yes yes. By. Philip Cardi of Who is a dear friend now and such a source of encouragement and such a model of like Wyatt Allies should be you know what it means to be. A why I wanted to be assists gay man who's an allied to. You know a black trans. Woman and so he asked me you know what I do this and I was like I gotta think about it. And I thought about it at that point, I got a fellowship with the jags Jones. Literary Arts folks based on La Under Chima. John's WHO's phenomenal and I had like two weeks. You know that I was starting to work on my book and a deeper way. That I have been working on on. And then I was okay. Yeah. I guess I'm doing this so I moved from Oakland California to New, York and December twenty, eight eighteen, and there was all man sorry I had this job. This leader so pressure adds a legacy lgbtq plus publication that had historically ban white cisgender day man. Again Bourgeois wealthy you know. Had, a certain particular body had a limited worldview. And I was. There to support Philip Cardi and this new team. Of folks of all different backgrounds racially ethnically gender wise sexuality wise on giving this magazine the faceless Anita. We, just we had a great time by the end. The first issue that are really gonNA work on the. Mothers and daughters of the movement cover story had. Land who the world is really starting to recognize now who we've known in community for so long I mean she really can be credited with. Pushing the culture sue pivot around censoring black and Brown. Trans women like she dead a lot of that historian work around Barshop. and Sylvia Rivera that uncovering of that work and their lives before was like it vogue to do that. And we had major. We have Barbara Smith legendary black feminist had charlene carruthers and emerging legend in her own right, who? Was the first Edo B. Y. P.. One hundred. Okay, and we had at least the bars. No, Yup, one of the. Of the Movement for black lives. Dot was our first issue I remember that that was written and photographed and style. By women and Binary FABS. Ever in the history of the publications. And the cover was shot by Mick the lanes Hamas. Janet mock was the guest editor honey I mean. It was stat yeah. And it was just such a powerful experience, one of my favorite issues to this day, and so that kind of set the tone for the next year. You know we explore beauty in a different way we explored are. In a different way. And then the cover story that I worked on deeply was the trans obituaries objects. Yes, which was we? Dowd to the story of Lali, politico was killed and rikers custody. While died and rikers custody I should say and. Really sparks. A new move bad around ending solitaire confinement, which we just learned this week New York moving forward with. A solitary confinement that with a large part. Due to her family, her sister Malania. Who has spoken out so beautifully ED become a great advocate for the Trans. Community and then I was so blessed to be able to. Capture it and give an investigative deep dive for the Trans Been Serious projects, and I coupled it with a second car. That was the obituaries that all the trans. Women of Color and black transplant who? In Twenty nineteen deserve after interviewing upwards of forty folks who knew them closely, which was not an easy experience I mean there are many times. I was crying on the foul on. You know trying to put on my best journalists had and continue the interview and I couldn't set off. The people that I was interviewing. Sensitive to. Being that strong voice that they could. Share, these ideas And then the third part was a thirteen point frame word on how we can end the epidemic violence community sourced from experts. Who are black and Brown Schranz and clear folks. So that was. By proudest moment Al was being able to give the translators projects created, and we you know are dominated for a glad media awards, so everyone kid cross their fingers on tells the. Maybe we'll get some good news, but. I. Throughout my career It's been important for me to. Bring my community with me. Elevate my schmunity with me. Yes I'm an activist. Yes, I'm a journalist. Yes, I'm a writer. Yes, I'm a storyteller. I guess I'm an editor I don't care anymore. None of those things are at odds with each other. And particularly when I think about our legacy as black writers and editors and journalists. When. I think about this epidemic. Of Violence Against Black Trans Women. And the importance of shining light on it I see it. And similar way to how idol be well here Ya was shining a light on the lynchings of black people in the sow and the United States. You know more than a century ago. Arabs. As part of my legacy. You know or or I'm a part of our legacy. I should say Angela Davis shining the light on these systems of oppression. I stabbed Patricia Ho collards people like Barbara, Smith Barnes V so that journalistic scholarly. Part of my spiritual ancestry as they are. In organizing history. You Know Marsha p Dong? Sun Wasn't a writer as far as we know, but that's why I lean on. Sylvia Rivera wasn't a writer as far as we know, but that's why lean on miss major is to arlene on you know, and that all informs my work, and I have no qualms at this point in my career about owning that admitting that. definitely. So. It's interesting. Because The New York Times I think they haven't ongoing obituary project called overlooked where you know. They're going back to all those people whose lives were overlooked by the obituary section in this. Household legacy publication. And so talk to me a bit about. The Of obituaries particularly. In regards to the Black Trans Community. Yeah so. Already you know I, think obituaries and particularly for the black community. It's like your love ladder to. The person that has gone. Yet now I. Have? Experience the writing of obituaries for my father for. My grandmother for her I. And I don't take that process lightly I. Mean those are pieces written with so much intentionally typically and so much love and vulnerability, and possibly the most vulnerable say it's the people riding them have never been. So. It's important and the unfortunate truth. Is that so many trans people, but particularly blocked Trans People. Aren't loved respected. After death and particularly during that process. In the last two weeks there have been reports and media, and from community of at least six trans, women. WHO had been murdered? and. Most of them were initially mis gendered meaning, they were identified as male. By police a media. Many of them were called. What we call a that name, which is you know or their birth name the name that they did actually choose for themselves. And, so that kind of disrespect, even after experiencing some of the most brutal of violence, a person can experience Is Demoralizing you know so. I wanted to talk with people who knew. These women closely. Wanted to ask questions. Abou- what their dreams and aspirations are what their lights than hobbies were. What brought them joy? What made them smile over their favourite songs The joyful things and I heard tower full. Testimonies I heard from. A man who had just gotten day. It's to one of the women about a month before she was murdered. They had been together for a few years. Loved each other deeply. They had a dog together. And you know. She was martyred. His fiancee was murdered. That's a love story I heard about a mob. Who Sheild with murdered and a different state and You know how she missed their last laughter and. Wants to see you know what they were going to becoming life. Yeah, there was another young woman named. Bailey reads who. was. I believe seventeen years all. She was just about to off to college. He was killed. So. I talked with her sister. And her husband about. You know her vibrant personality in house. You shot a figure out what she was going to do with rely so these are not stories that we hear about Black Trans People. And with the obituaries are both wanted to honor. Their humanity. But I also wanted to signal. Sue other Black Trans people that. They does our respects. That their stories matter no matter what happens. And that there will be people fighting. For you. No matter what happens. And then I also just wanted to signal to the rest of the world that. You're missing our stories and shouldn't be. After our death that you hear those stories you should be honoring our power now. thank you. Well I love that project personally okay. Interesting that you're saying you are. You're a multi hyphen. Because especially now today we're seeing these conversations crop up around objectivity in how that's you know has always been a main tenant of wisdom in journalism as we all know. The Industry today was established by predominantly white male people and institutions right but the black press. which came up in the early eighteen hundreds that came up directly as a response to. The lack of inclusion of black stories in news in historically white media, and as a way to counter the few times we were covered. To counter those negative stereotypes right so there has always been this. Sort of mission to uplift black communities I. Think you know in the of black journalists in in this country right and you had said in an interview that you had at one point. You're using objectivity as a mask to not be yourself. You talk a little bit about that moment when you were using it as to mask yourself objectivity. Yeah, I think that. When I was in journalism school. You now, this tenant of objectivity reigns supreme. And in many ways it was a warning. To not be too black, an IB too much of a woman's not beat clear. It's not be too low incomes be. Too much of anything, because then that will compromise your ability to tell. An unbiased story. But the flaw in that? One of the fathers is that? Our? Industry is not unbiased. Just as you said. It is a white supremacist industry. It was started in large fired. You know and I. I'm hyper aware of this as a black journalist who came from the south. Who went to an institution that is named after an unabashed white? Supremacist. The they molded this in this way. And it's easy for. A person who has the dominant experience dominant adds to think that anything else deviates from that is. Being extra or a being French, and so we have to grapple with that in our industry that the white supremacy the respectability. The ALITA is a problem. The other thing too is. I don't buy that me owning my marginalized experiences. Every move that I made or in every story that are riots makes me necessarily biased. Because, in fact, black people have always had out more facts than white people to survive clear people have always has more facts than straight people to survive in our everyday lives, and particularly when we're making case, says about what's happening in our communities and the people that we know and we're familiar with. We know that we have to have more facts than the average person say even be taken seriously to even be hard, but also because our people's lives are on the line. So I don't buy. The me owning all of my experiences in my identities as journalists and as a writer. Means that I'm not invested in facts because we see. What a fact lists! You know news ecosystem. Can Do to wreak havoc. And white supremacy. And! Classism and homophobia and the Patriarchy allowed. People who claim to be stating facts? To make it to the White, house. To make it to the highest positions in the land without checking down. Because they gave them a benefit the Dow. Because these unchecked systems of oppression and so now a lot of these institutions are playing. Catch up because they weren't listening, so the voices of marginalized, she bought all along the way who has to have more facts, and under stood and had the. forethought the DAX had happened. Yes, and it's just pointed out like IDA B wells. She created a lot of techniques that are used in investigative journalism today. It doesn't get more journalistic than that. You know what I'm saying. And Ida B wells was. Clearly an abolitionist on those time and A suffered. US I mean smooth very involved with the early feminist movement. I mean there was no way for her to not be. She could vote Ryan. Our people have been property. Yeah! So. How dare I sit up in journalism class? As a Black Queer Trans woman being told by mostly white, says hat man with means. The my identity. Should not be central Tamar work. Get Out of here. bad day is over. So. What. What do you want to say to like your journalism? Peers who are listening right now a and B. Would you like to say to any? Black! Journalists or spiring journalists listening. To. Buy here's. I would just say that we have to. Rethink our idea of leadership. Rethink our idea of storytelling. You know as a media. We shouldn't be seeing ourselves of the owners and the gatekeepers of people stories. We actually need so be democratizing this experience sharing. Storytelling without a folks, folks are hungry. You know to tell their own stories and may not always have the tools, but we see it on social media everyday you know folks will share the raw style. Is All shot weird. Typos Galore but it resonates because it's real authentic and accountable, and it's coming from the source, and so we've got to. Eliminate as many intermediaries as possible I get to the source and support the source. When it comes to Black Trans People. And advocating particularly for us I think that. We need to be investing. And blacks rounds. Storytellers. Writers than editor then. For Tiger for some bibliographer. stylist all types of things you know we're everywhere. And you need us in your space us. Our perspectives and you need to be in conversation with black. Trans people before you share our stories or call yourself sharing our stories because. There are so many journalists who. Don't know you know that there's a problem with how they frame our stories. There's a problem with only focusing on the tragic mayor does there's a problem with only speaking about us? In terms of like how police reports about US presume where bartered are experiencing violence. You know not tatum dead. They were gender somebody, but as you're not having regular communication with black transpeople yet you're not GonNa do that so figure that out for Black Trans folks. Lean on other. White Trans folks. And other folks did you know understand our experiences in our lands and our humanity? There plenty of journalists. That are so lauded by folks who? Never speak on clearness trans. They'll speak on everything else especially. Blagdarni. Yes, yes, that's real. You know you can't do any projects about blackness and not talk about black learned trans people especially in this time. You can't be having these magazine covers. That's about the victims of police brutality and not talk about Sony. mcdade and other black transfer. Sue Ben yes, there by police. And blacks us, people have done that. Recently Multiple magazine covers the give names and don't say anything about transpeople. So. That's kind of my light charge of that. We invest and. Black translators and Black Shan storytellers and writers, and we extend opportunities, so folks who are on the come up. Because I. I want to leave the door open for. The Knights people I don't want to continue to be a first or only. That's not one of our most powerful, most awful when lamenting. The, thank you so much account. This has been. Amazing. Yes, thank you. This is great. Thanks for listening long form I'm Patrice pet. The show is hosted by Aaron Lammert Evan ratliff and Max Linski Geno Pifer is the editor and Julianne Parker is the intern. Thanks to mail them for sponsoring the Shell and thanks so much to recount Lewis. You are truly an inspiration.
#148 Curating Black Trans Power feat @RaquelWillis_
"Hey, what's up? This is your girl diamond styles and I am the master chef cooking you up something succulent and. Issue Boys, here we are serving hot talk and cool I see. His set the tone and make sure the mood is writing come on in and get comfortable. Chair have the seat you can even take issues are way not if you're. Welcome. China thrown. To be you. No more running around. It thought from the. threat. A Your Own. ooh. PLO join. The conversation has tagged marshes played. I'll instagram facebook and twitter. We want to hear what you guys have to say. You could also help us bill community by becoming a patron on a Patriot dot com slash Mars played by contributing to this podcast. You help us continue our power for work to change culture one episode at a time. So let's get started. Hey. y'All this Chicago diamond I am here with the Amazing Rock Hill willits if you don't know who she is. She is I would shoot. Activists a writer and currently she is the director of Communications, for MS, Foundation for women which was founded in nineteen seventy three and it was founded by a group of women but most notable is Gloria Steinem. Hugh. I when I heard that you have got the position I was like God this. Perfect. For our Ko because. You just you know they have this long history and. Before we get into that kind WanNa side of something like some people might be. Maybe. superficial. By this important to ask US obviously about black woman this political I wanna talk about hairs recently. You have been donning La Welcome. I know you're. Let's go down the bed in that tiny. While logo. Welcome. Thank you were coming in and being a part of. You have been rocking. This folly and I'm really fucking feel especially when I saw you. At the protests talking about Black Trans Power and you know here's always political black woman and For me it just seemed you talk and being a grew it was which off raw it does my own business. I guess though when I watched it, it was amazing. Didn't tell me a little bit of bow your relationship which are hair through the lens of your translates. Yeah. So it's so funny that you know we're talking about hair and obviously you know I got malone yelled. Oh. Yes I, am mutual friend. Eat out sandwiches US causing a Gilda. But yeah I mean, my hair journey has been so tied to. Gender, Arnie. Coerce. So. I had my natural hair throughout quarantine him. So I actually I had to do a photo shoot like a week ago and so they. It was a moment. So they you know rate in my stuff now and Okay well, I guess I'll rock away for a little while it's like now because I can't break my hair that's just not. A skill that I think a lot of the girls that I know. That we were we had a chance to like Lena to growing up right 'cause I will so reserved I think in a lot of ways for little sister gender girls right. and so I didn't get that scale unfortunately maybe one day So yeah. So I mean I love my natural hair like I don't think I will our. Hermit process it ever again, I also. Am Not even interested in like coloring like I don't. Know when I wear my natural hair out like I don't want it really be affected in any way. And I had a natural hair style in. Highschool. Made too late to the first decade of the seat bow vines and haven't natural hair back man was not. Like owns the land I got bullied for having this big Afro at that point. So I remember before everyone was like my natural hair. The black power. Numb. We didn't have like really products like that like ten or so years ago had no damn Florio's that you can look you. Know Child Blake I would make sense you know up in their cooking up some with a style so much petroleum all these leg. Ingredients that we didn't really talk about being not great for your hair being drying, using that like pink chain. gridlocked. The Lotion Sue and Always left us like Asti cast on my hair but it just was what we had. Remember. Actually. Tell my dad when I was about well versed though that I did it and want to get my haircut anymore and part of it was lake. I really want my hair to belong. In some way I hate having to cut it and adding that lake stereotypical alike black boy cut. The bill right to me but I also wanted to bypass the barbershop because that was a face. It just felt Hella uncomfortable to me. Remember when I was younger, he's about to the Barclays job. They used to have the most and appropriate misogynous to converse agent and I didn't have that kind of Analysis but eight did feel uncomfortable like talking about my mother Y'all talking about my aunties talking about women and family guy talking about black girls in a way that feels really even at the time when you know I was a young little boy. I you this early? So this is probably like swell and I'll be like these conversations are weird. Go home on my mom and our my momma g will go up there. I don't need to be having these conversations in front of these young little boy. Way. And NC I felt like I if I if I even said anything about being uncomfortable implicates. Says, my I mean a new my dad. So it was. I would be on with my dad and. Lady also just watching my dad, you know perform masculinity in a way. was off though I opening to me what is the? What does do you realize like you're? Playing a role right now at you got a script to that you're following is not me like all of Y'all really yeah. I like I vividly remember seeing the difference in how Boys and girls retreat. And I remember feeling like. So. With like I could just like never catch out so being. What I was supposed to be by everyone else's standards didn't have language for obviously like who? But I knew something was off I just I was like. I don't know how to put this in words. And I'm afraid to. Right especially in in in that time. So. How did you? So for me I remember the Youtube. Cranes harder to happen with the natural hair thing and look I think I cut all my hair I need a big top in two thousand ten. and. That was like in the League get that really when it was beginning to them on Youtube and people were I remember for Howe's was I, couldn't seal I if I even felt like a ripple of a nap or Kerr I was immediately. Putting the cream crack on there. It was just from the top. especially coming from the background I came from a family that. colorized of deepening embedded in Colorado. In in what good hair come from family from the south so they was very, it was very good here bad here, and you knew exactly what they were talking about when they go there and you knew exactly what they were talking about saying bad here and and. So getting a relaxer was literally embedded in all from all, this is women getting going to be a girl. Relaxes how? That's what it was and so once, I started growing my hair out when I was younger. Thinking of getting getting a relaxer was almost thinking about similar to thinking. Like not. Like, the air will be so out of character that I would like you got to have a relaxed. So break in that mode for myself. And accepting my own hair was literally a journey for me. How did you come about accepting your hair as is his natural state? Yeah I mean. It's interesting. So when I got to my aunt. Senior High School. I got my braces off I. was like I'm just I'm just do it all I'm just change it all up and I cut my hair off. and. I really felt like cutting my hair off was like Part of time period where I was trying to figure out how was the bland enough to survive in you know and I I remember you know like getting a lot of compliments for cutting my hair off like there was so much that I didn't. Anti blackness then by just like a lot of anti blackness around the natural texture were and even even when I was wearing my hair natural in high school like. I had to wear a particular way like my dad was like in my grandma was like this we need is got to be the right shave. You'll have to pick it out and padded down until the rice shave every day like there wasn't the flag letter natural curl. Pattern. Out Right. So I was really rocking of if I was living in the seventies, which was you know it was cute what it was. When I? Would I got to college I started growing it out more finally was an adult I was like playing around more with bike Mohawks and high-top Fayez and. She Rock and right now it looks here. And different colors sounds like doing like. I think I did like a Magenta like a bright red almost like Riano read. And I did like a little fade up and so that caller I did like a purple blue at a moment when I was like really start to figure out my gender and then I started growing my hair all natural, my senior year off alleged back in late twenty. Twelve twenty thirteen and I was going out with the purpose department. So because I was like, well, I gotTA figure out how I'm going to survive in. You know the possibility conversation was real. I mean I still Israel for a lot of the rule. And sounds like why got a relaxed my hair over? It's me a while to get back to the natural numb and really been the last. I would say the last like three or four years that I've really been back on my phone natural stuff I wear you know where protective hairstyles now like I really wish I have my like braves. But obviously, with Calvin nineteen like. Whatever I can do to not be under somebody's breath. I'm trying to do that. But Yeah I mean I love my natural hair even now I the last few days I've been Larry Okay girl like I'm ready to to bring her back now but I always miss it. You know I'm always like even when I had my natural hair out, I'm missing the leg the Gilda moments. Athletic you. You just have to make a choice and then living at for a little bit and then come back around. Yeah. He's always like for me which you know when I'm with my naturalists. Okay I'm feeling I'm feeling you know however round fill I feel in this moment and then I'm like, Oh, I want to hear and I want to feel that wind blowing out Da da and I kind of go back and forth too. So I told you You listen to Houston's own impenetrable trams one. Know that what Basic Trans One one for me. The beginning. You'll. And ME. Could. Be. Again. I laugh. Moment that you've been told should not enough. Word. And bring the in housing and health. Mentioned not word means UPA leader. Vive organizations that means both are. Avid. People. Harsh On this tennis though they never talked about how? Her what. Magazine. I can't tell you how many of these mostly. Organizations. Air. Graham. Key. Shrine and be respectable. Trying, to? Be. Talent. and. In. DOWN THE RIGHT WAY ON What I am right now. I'm. A. If you have an organization that have no black friends. If you have an organization, no specific black friends. Or? You. Salinas. Not. Real. Voice if you not serving the. And are sex workers and. got. God I want to thank all of our new patrons this week. Thank you. Thank you. So. Not only are you helping to sustain this particular podcast? You know I also donate to other podcasts out donate to organize nations I have my Finger on the pulse of the community and I know a lot of grassroots organizations that are doing great workout here. So you're not only helping to sustain us, you're helping to sustain other people in a community. Because I put my money where my mouth is. You know just kinda amp community is. So thank you I really really appreciate you if you have not become a patron, why have you not? You can donate as low as a dollar a month. It doesn't matter anything else. Please do have to play Sir McLaughlin and show you puppies. What do I have to do to resort to what people do to get you to give them money? All, right. Anyway. Thank you and the Patriots and papal about him back to the show. Talk about myths style being the director of communications they have a history of. Just really supporting grassroots, women's organizations so. Running a trans woman in this position to me in this era is a power move from success to me for them to do it how important he talked about the significance of we in this position at this organization that has a legacy like almost fifty year old. Woman or? Yeah is a big deal. I think I'm still. Lit realizing that more and more every day when I think about the mess foundation I think about it as a fate really grew and evolved alongside the feminist movement. Absolutely. articularly, you know the second way of M. be I, and so you know there's no running away from the history honey was founded by. Mostly why women? and. It has been. Evolving alongside the rest of society. In terms of figuring out how to meet the moment of feminism of women's power, and really I believe you know there's there's a more expansive gender justice conversations the have beyond obviously these by aries. And so that that's some of the work I helped the continue to sides in that space. But I you know I think that it's so important for us to really have more say and more presents and more power and spaces are. The capitalism moving and flowing. And eat obviously I know how precarious capitalism is I know how devastating it is it's history particularly for black folks around the world by particularly how it perpetuates so many other systems of oppression. And I realized that you know that is the system, the economic system we have right currently, and so we while we're figuring out new alternatives beyond it. or to transcend it, we also have to figure out how we're going to survive within it. and. So it's it's been important for me to really. Start having more an analysis on building economic power particularly for Trans. Folks. because I really think that that is one our biggest shots in shifting a lot of conditions. You know we're seeing every day you know our our people alike Bob these. These folks who are the powerbrokers in the lgbtq community bumped Levi blacks this folks who don't really have about us where we're going to find our own way then. So we're seeing success with like crowdfunding obviously groups like Glitz, INC, and House of to love our new car or things y'all on our full thing down there in. Dallas. With by Trans Advocacy, and so it's just it's important. I. Think also as we look at this phone, philanthropic space. That our voices are in the room and not just in the room, but that we are leading. The narrative building work. I what is the story that goes along with? A fem an intersectional feminist strategy. And that that analysis? Is Not going to exist without us. Out when people talk about black wear ineffectual and feminist lands. That doesn't necessarily tell me that you have particularly a black trans feminism lands coupling with that. and. So that's really important for me and some also just doing a lot of DOT leadership were with other Black Trans women like Tony. Michelle Williams is very interested in US continuing to build out Black Trans feminist frameworks. With Aria Sigh of Co ours our dear friend. And so many other files right like I. The lake, the work you do as a part of the emerging black trans feminists cannon right. It's a part of. You know our. Way Forward. And so whatever I can do, whatever space I'm and to. Build containers. US. To. Discuss the elevate incubates solutions. That's what I WANNA do and I appreciate Mez because. It has been. particularly in the leader. So of our currency yellen presidents. Younger made an intentional strategic pivot. Shoe censoring women and girls, of color. Line. So that is bill and to our strategy where and I'm already seeing you know. A province. Around. Trans Feminist. Ideologies and wave the game like recently we funded A couple of different black trans groups, including solutions, not punishments collaborative including. Black, trans. Media in addition to other women and girls led organizations and so I think was powerful I'll miss not to go on too long but with powerful about measures that I see it really is like a hub the glue between so many different movements and so what are the things that black SCHRANZ leaders can learn from the work of indigenous folks on the ground woods we also find or expanding the reproductive justice conversation which we also find or expanding the conversation on defunding and abolition which we also find. So there's there's so many connections immigration were you know? We I think have a foundation can be at the center of bringing together. Another amazing thing that is a part of your particular legacy I talk about legacy you joining olf but you're making moves and you're doing things that are changing the culture and so one of those things that you were one of the first trans buffers to me that I know of Trans Executive, editor of a magazine. So it out. Madison so for me. that. moved to meet was also a great pivot for that organization and I couldn't the. Of, course that was the big thing was when you for me was when you put all those trans leaders of the movement on the page with we talk about settling crowder's Barbara. Smith that. Mid Majors and terminally already your name terminally. When I saw that I was like this is exactly what I expected from. Like the what what when when you got when you like it because you've always been so generous in. You just really intentional about what you the work that you put out and so seeing him do that I was telling you I was sitting in a umbrella Danza was like. That was a fucking moment because like why else would they hired you in this position it you if they weren't GonNa let you do this. You know what I'm saying I was like Oh, my God it was amazing. So can you tell me? It was a powerful moment for me and so can you tell me how? That came about you doing that there. Yeah I think I like from me I think on the outside maybe to other folks the different types of work I've done throughout my. Career. Again, I'm not really still so young but. Types of that, I've done around my career may look disconnected by it isn't to me I feel like I've always been invested and cultural or is ing and Cultural Building Um whether that the nonprofit communications or in traditional. Journalism. Lan. and so that's always been important to me. So when I got out It was important for me to bring all of those lessons that I learned on the ground all of those folks that I had met on the ground. All of those values that I had deep end on the ground with so much. Thanks. A lot of the Black Schranz folks were particularly Black Trans Women and the different circles. I've Venit with me. You know because the win of really for me at the end of the day you know like it's great to be. A I I got I'm grateful. I think for those opportunities, but it's not lost on me that. With those opportunities, it's also a statement of the amount of boxes that I've had the checkoff say even may get to that point and for me, it's always about leaving the door open for the next person or raw that comes through to not have to check off those boxes like I. Don't want the next person's have to look like me. Think like me necessarily speak like. Have had the same access that I've had. Because that's that's not actually the work the work of actually breaking down those boundaries barriers so out like. I was ready to be clear clear clearness Trans Ness as black. It's disabled it's it's it's full of Wa- men womanish. The. Nation's is full of femininity is full of gender nonconformity. It's it's not binary. It's. So many different things that we just were not being in that. Magazine that was it was before it was very suit y. I ever. Much blackness being showcased. Yeah I mean I know it with powerful. I was also important to continue to deepen that like. You know by the time we got to the end of the year for me. I knew that I was I wanted to figure out how to have some kind of like large showcased of. Or an activists and organized on the ground and the thing that sets of course, you know I every conversation I was having olive like trying to like make that happen, and then of course, you know you get hit with the the need and desire of balance from like advertise urban all types of folks. But I knew what the out one hundred, which is each year this like huge showcase of the most powerful influential trans. As the sided typically by. A very. Small Group of folks with typically very small land the. That I wanted to really do a showcase. On. A different way of looking at influence. You know the folks who influenced me the mouse. Are Black. SCHRANZ. The folks who influenced the culture who influence this movement who built this movement? Are Black, transient in an informant fellows and. Each year. There is not enough. Acknowledgments of the influence. Of The folks moving more on the ground, but also the folks that we lose. and. So with the aries project, it was kind of upending now idea. Of what impact means and I am so deeply impacted everytime we lose another black transom black transplant and I mean we lost. Three. In the last few days that we know of you know, and so I really wanted to figure out how to get something to some of the songs that we lost since nineteen in the form of the obituaries that they always are. and then also use that to go into detail about. The Story of Lean Longo Extravaganza and how she in her death has rallied A. Community. Rallied her family to fight for blacks, Randall and literally. Impact of of that fight his shift at legislation here in new. York. You know literally the movements who have solitaire Have was emboldened by what happened to lay Liam. A on a personal level for me. As Executive Director of organized in. We have been trying to get funded a bailout initiative to get transplant out of jail here and he started because here in. Texas because. We have incidents likely and G farmer. Who are in those same kinds of situations here, and recently because of her case, we got funded to be able to get trans women out of jail we just general lots. Lots the initiative and so yes, Adele has impacted from from New York all the way down here. Right. and. That's that's the thing like. You know there's so much devastation in our communities and. I think the we don't have to just live and then tragedy by we can continue to figure out ways to. Make the lessons we unfortunately learn. Mean something greater. And I, and that's really what I wanted to do with that were and with other Work Ryan I. Think There's so many folks do that you do that they annandale now. So yeah. So I mean and that's really how I look at all of my work right? Like it's it's really all the same. Work at the court from me as always censoring. Black Trans folks. And then if things can reverberate outside of other groups great, you know we they usually do. Yeah. Speaking of your other work. So let's go. Back in out, let's talk about editor Lawson. So when you were the national orbit organizers of bear, you started a group use you lost a project called black transsexuals is that right? And it's about building leadership in Trans Women in the South and the Midwest and to create kind of community solutions in prevention feeling resilience and you know specific. Responses to violence, and so that would you just said as a perfect segue into that because I'm all about. 'cause what I'm what I'm kind of annoyed and seeing I honestly annoyed that. I'm annoyed and seen that people are more moved when we are being beat rate and kill to actually. So season to US give our finances given funding when we really when we are trying to do preventive programming and we call for people to find us, it's kind of like it's not nobody is moving but soon as somebody oh can I donate and so for me, this was a powerful legacy of yours after transgender. Law Center to have something like relax and circles she build that kind of leadership is so we can prevent us from dying and we can yield us and we can talk about and Bill the infrastructure to make us. So. Can you talk about that program? Yeah. So. When I got to Tlc, I actually came in and a communication associate role. So I wasn't initially in a national organizing role which I don't know if people outside of that space now and then it just became. A parent I think the need for. More. Substantial. War Happening Around Trans Trans folks of color and particularly blacks around fouts. Now, I also noticed while I was there. And this was like before. His project we were we were both in completely different departments. We came into the program saying and I have always given out to allow five A. I starting emp the blackout. DVD class migrant project. And really leading the charge in a way. For specific programming around being black hands and. ADDS must've everyone talks about how we need to be supporting unprotected black trans files right now. It was a completely different story just a few years ago just eight years ago a year ago to be. month ago. So it was really. A struggle to make the case. For. What we need it as Black Trans people and so when I started developing Black Trans circles I knew I wanted to. FIGURE OUT HOW TO ALLEVIATE The wreckage that is laughing communities when a black trans killed. And there, there's a lot of different types of wreckage. There's the wreckage of. The The horrible like conscience of SIS folks who are not invested in making action around ending the epidemic of violence right. There's the wreckage of the folks who have the power in the resources to actually move but they sit on their asses and don't actually do anything to keep us alive. And then there's the records that most of these other groups don't even consider of. Our. Resolve in our wheel to continue as Black Trans people and it was that space that I really wanted to see. Okay. Well, what, what are the things that can support? These areas we need more black SCHRANZ leaders to be empowered. We need. An analysis of healing justice to understand the trauma that we already with by Trans folks that is deep end when the violence happens but then we also need to be building networks amongst each other. So that, we can continue to incubate solutions. and. So we started and New Orleans Twenty seventeen thousand essentially ground zero for violent in let's like unfortunately again. It is the year that trying to get some ours, right Gab Sanjay. Aquarius Holland. and. See Era Mick Galvin. In Louisiana and it was like within what weeks of each other. And now, right it's like now Texas Dallas and. It's weird baton. Rouge neck and neck this year. You know we just learned about Keesa. In. Baton Rouge. Who is the third woman in? Louisiana in the Latte literally in like About a mind. And then, of course, all of the murders that have been happening particularly in Dallas. and so. So it was important to go to those specific areas to see how to bolster the effort. Now I knew I didn't want to go in. Working for this National Organization saying that I had the answers I don't have the answer. y'All have even how the Black Trans Woman I don't have the answer I'm not from New Orleans. I'm not from Louisiana I'm from Georgia, a southern woman, but it's a completely different context and nobody knows better than the per people legal who are actually like resident there. But it was about US having these resources that we could at least build a space for folks that come together to delve and political education. What are these systems of oppression plaguing at 'cause I believe that I believe political education. Okay. But also what are the ways that people are figuring out how to survive and how can we share those ways with each other and then what are the products y'all work in currently the GIACOBBE supporting each other better I am and so out of that space, of course, like house of to love now. A, you know a couple of things went. So making half to love the success that it is right now. But part of it was some of those initial connections happening with like Mariah more and McCall. Milan Nicole, sairy right and also supporting Wendy Cooper another local advocate a new orleans. Legend in your alleged. Yes. Who Was Leading the cans can't stand campaign and so that space in a way. Broad I think more of the the girls and to her orbit. So it was. And also, just ahead, just the chance for for folks break bread with each other to love on each other if the hard conversation that you know when the girl need to have with somebody else you know. In that save space and then go out and do the work ones that weekend summit with over. And so I was so grateful to be able to found and build the initial framework for it with authorities equality. Fellowship. And then be able to really. Gifted and a sense to some of the other powerful black organizers who made the the later iterations, possible Maki Bradford, and Atlanta we away back and of course, Mariah more and Kayla Gore now. So so it lives on at. Teahouse. I think it. Would Their Trans Agenda that I was introduced to? In Creating chains I hear the voice that coming up and they were talking about how you know the work that she was doing world has really led to the you know the shift in culture. In regards to what they will focus on and so I think that's beautiful. I think that we all are doing that culture ticking. And you know I just wanted to highlight that. You started off before that you started off as a rioted and you are writer, but you know that was your. Your Your. Needs. Correct me if I'm wrong into movement work riding, right Well kind of it's a complicated story. So so yeah I, before I winced TLC I was working in the media industry but I was working on things that are completely unrelated in general science graduated from College I. I actually freelance for bed. It was kind of difficult to find because I was black on. Yeah. I had a college degree but I had no connection right now and so I freelance for bed. Move that is really important people people. All over people's air so much. Agree just having all these things we have to have connections with people. When we go out here and we try to make stuff happen if we don't have the connections, we don't have them and they're not going to happen that's part of. Like, you make the make connection. Thought you are looking into this and you have connections and you see Black Trans Women out. You're trying to do the work because I know as an executive director Joe is some things I'm like I happy selection to make this happen. You're asking me why I've been this. Why didn't do that and it's like, I didn't have a connection I I couldn't get the invite. I couldn't get the invites the this this dacians that'll will by only or to do the work that I know is important over year we didn't have the match and so it's really really important. That both the Mexicans are important and if you have them. Help US maker, yeah it's true. You know and I, and so I didn't have professional connections but I also was leaving an environment where. I was the only openly Black Trans Women on campus. I did not know another actions woman. Who with open about her identity? Rarely before. Before I moved to Atlanta. At twenty. Three twenty four. You know. So I also have community connection side and even. Even I didn't even look at the nonprofit world is option until I. Made It. So Atlanta and so. I worked at this small newspaper where I actually would like Staus for like a about a year and a half almost. was out as clear with night outage Tran. And was working on a very small how a conservative town I mean that's like. The our life pre trump. Palin. Hunting they in the back yard. Toss enough hammers to knock a nail into a wooden. Like, that the kind of like college and first job experience I had. and. So when I? Left that space 'cause. I just it felt like this. It also felt like something was getting closer and closer to me way I was going to be ousted like something was going to happen and I also just got really weird message does sometimes one-timer Guy Guy Fan I know your secret don't worry I won't tell anyone but it's like. Okay but why are you telling me how this Mesa you know like it's like that kind of weirdness style that was happening while the Movement for Black Lives was really starring popoff. And I, wrote. I roll the things that I wouldn't right but I had to write them as they didn't implicate me. Especially, the LGBTQ issues saw I mean I can't even say I was a feminist in that space without getting hate mail. So. Yes. That long story short. So that was my first job experience and then. I started working at how stuff works, which was a media company, but it was an Atlanta based than it wasn't. It wasn't really conservative, but the work that they were doing wasn't connected to any of the movement stuff that I was starting to to be more and more interested in and see myself and. and I just remembered there was. The death of Leila alcorn there with the death of another. Another Black Schramm I've black man black seth man at the hands of police don't even remember who because there was so many during that time period and I went to work the each of those days and it was just business as usual and I was like I cannot be in spaces where. This y'all get to operate of doesn't matter. And Yeah and then I started doing more work with. Community Tony Michelle. Williams was leading this entire program at snap cow and so I went in as an entire like while I had my day job out get off and then they'll be an internist APCOA and that kind of. Brought me more fully in some movement was that when our you where you doing when I'm actually An. Anti Right. The we mean. We met at Trans are fit car. Oh no actually maybe yeah. Actually. That was like twenty fifteen years. Yeah. Yeah. Actually. Yeah I it was you and Mickey be out had. We we had. We were. Present time, which was a bodybuilding competition for. Trans men that neo founded in I was part of the organised or organizing that particular year and we had We were doing a show and want the the models didn't show up and you making. Matt and Basically. That's how I met both the out. And I house staying yeah y'all okay. I'm remembering this now. Yeah. I was but I also was the organizer to. Endow. We were some babies that we our house. died in clashes. Like we. Do not. have. Battle. K. and I was like, oh It was like Oh. Yes. Thank you. So regarding writing, but you always have been to me apart from when I when I, read the writing. Articles that you were featured in like. Oh. You both lead and you know for. Like when I when I read around you always speaking to me to power you always are shining I want erase voices and perspectives all the time. How has your passion for lighting matured? My Passion for rioting however shore and. I would say. I think it's always an evolution. Because you just I think as you write more, you read more read more write more hopefully and. I just feel like I have a larger library of references now. This is like a portion of my bugs, but it's like they're so much support from. and. I think Black Trans folks like that's part of the beauty of arts variance writers like I feel like I'm in the lineage of. The item be wells right particularly with victories project I. Feel like I'm in the lineage of. Angela Davis and her her critiques. Around. So many of these systems including capitalism I felt like I'm in the lineage of the Barbara Smith and the Barbara Ranch views and. But also I think What's also beautiful is looking at a lineage that isn't necessarily scholarly or literary absolutely by being in the League Linnea of Marsha p Johnson Sylvia Rivera all the way back to like Mary Jones and Francis Thompson and so many folks. Crystal Beija. Also. Means that I approach. These tax and different way with the different land. Line. So you just mentioned that you will from ago some lighter you just mentioned that you from Roy, that you are a southern bail. Out. And now sometimes sometimes. And clearly, you are beautiful woman. Tell me this. Is your newfound ability opened up more dating opportunity. Ability in terms of. Newfound League new. Now. Rarely. Honestly no you know and I think it's like interesting because. It's like having the. All the issue that I think like. Black says women were considered successful have right where it's like specially of you're interested in having A. A black. Man or masculine partner it's like. There's an intimidation factor. Being. Seen as successful, visible or whatever. That we don't. We don't even get a chance to talk about I think by Trans. Men. I'm bringing it up because. I. Think. A lot of people would look at you and say, Oh, she got her going on which you do. But I'm thinking like how? I know somebody could look it'd be like. Are there universal translating walls that be still dealing with? Did it eliminate some shit and basically you saying now? You know it's hard to say because there's so many things that are moving right. So it's like it's that piece of a variety of like the work that I do in my presences intimidating and I guess my life platform visibility but it's also like if you dame, it's also different tune because like if you date me particularly the black man like. The you know this is like extra but it's like the world knows right are like hell of phones now, thousands of people will know right and so there's a certain commitment. That you have to become an at me with that is invested end blacks, rams liberation. I can't just have any old person right without me. All right I think the other thing too is. Even I think even in like community. Because I do I consider my thought Cleveland I mostly data man and masculine folks and data transmission, but it's like. Also. I think. Trans Community. Is like. There's a different type of intimidation factor. because. Being public senior. Queer and Trans Community, if I oh, you're V Rock Hill Willis. That's not accede a man like. I want you to know my power and my brilliant of my word but like. Don It's like a different type dehumanizing. You know it's almost like superwoman strobe or whatever where it's like. You're dehumanized in the sense of like. Them Failing Don, never. Be Worthy for you. Yeah I. I don't know I don't know I don't and it's hard to articulate those things I think. Are you know who articulated beautifully tyra banks. There was an interview that she had where she was like she will go on dates with dues and she was like I know the type of negative is because he was said, he would always say you're tyra banks it wouldn't be tyra just a regular He would always address our as first and last name because that meant something to him and. She and she was like I, it triggered the her brain like our radar go off that this dude is not dating IRA, he's trying to date be IRA. He's not seeing me as a fully a fully actual human needs stand whoever that that being in his mind? Is that Iran's So. Yeah. I. Totally get that I. Think I don't experience it on your level ought. But I've experienced some level because you know, I do have a name for myself to and Dale's Ahmed. They'll come at me on some weird. Like Weird. Shit I'm like, oh I need to bow down how? Hot some me like shed. I'd like. to be approached. Lack the human that I am. Acquaintance a human right. You know, why don't you ain't gotta do all the extra stuff and I? That bothers me a lot. And also, you know the other thing too with like, yeah I mean look you know if I wanted a jump off like most any other. Trans woman or Trans. Feminine. Arson like shore by I've done that. I've had that experience you know and I. It doesn't actually leave me feeling filled where I don't even the Energy Asthma Synergy and so that type of experience anymore are you boycotting video me? And my boycotting deal bed. Already doing that in a sense but. I did see some of the critiques of the boycott, the Al Man you like the car of the campaign like who started it And Get A. I know for me in dating also get. Get I'm to Walt for people like I'm too especially in regards to. You know h e Arche and Shit like that like I'm. You know I'm I. It's hard to find men who are invested in equal in a relationship is hard to find men who you know who are not really invested in the. Bat. Bat On ownership and possession, and you know that kind of thing who? Can't find men. When I back in the day when I was in my twenties and I was looking for that suzy homemaker. Related Stare. It worked but. Yeah, how's life it it? It would work but now that my I'm well read and I've you know evolve. Took, it took me out of brackets of people feel that. Oh Yeah. Oh Yeah I mean I I am not interested in being with anyone who makes me feel guilty for thinking At all. Period so. A Lug so that just tells me you ain't thinking enough. AMBAE had like I. Just I don't know how energy for that BS anymore and I. I just I. Agree so much. You know almost like especially being a black shrouds woman. With a certain I think amount of or at least failing like you have a certain amount of awareness. It does it often feels like you're. Decades. Remove. If. Not Centuries removed from world that could even like. Produce the type of partner those worthy of you were wall. Unfortunately I against the world where creating. Away will world we're creating is GONNA be the girls coming up but we not going to be able to enjoy the food labor. MAKE SOME SACRIFICES OFF I don't say that because it's a discount like anybody's experience I think. I have nothing. But love and Kudos for the the girls who have figured it out found the wines that worked for them. and I have a little hope but I'm not like wasting sleep over right now. You know I'm loving solitude. I'm loving King somebody out. I'm loving my own spe. Mound. Yeah and I think that's where I'm at. Now I'm where I'm I'm enjoying I mean like you said I'm enjoying my own space and I'm enjoying the power of. When I want the comforts of man, I can have it. And I don't have to deal with the extra staff and if you're not stepping up in the way that I want you to step up I, can I don't back in the day I thought that it was it was. I thought the having a man was. Apart of one of the it was that you needed if you wanted to be validated to women because that's what the women in my family why they had husbands, they had me and they were with for years of Laso. I thought that that was part somebody sues in you was of your validation of. And so I've gotten to the point where it is no longer a part of the validation and I enjoy the freedom from that. Yeah. And with all that said honey, if you finding, you want to highlight honey on my aunt. Well I think that I think that that we talked about so much and I so appreciate you being on the show Can you tell them where they can find you? Yeah. So you can definitely find my work at rock hill, Willis Dot COM R. A. Q. U. E. L. W. i. l. l. i. s. I'm on all platforms twitter facebook I G as Racquel Willis And and if you WANNA find out more about the foundation, you can check out four women dot work. F. O. R. W. O. M. E. N. DOT ORG And I will put all the links down in the bottom. So you can check out and check out what work that she has. She has always been been generous platforms he is always innovating and creating something new so. Definitely a thought leader in our community that I am so proud to know. I. Am Proud to see your glow up because I met you as a baby as. Your glow up and grow into the woman that you have become. It is so beautiful. So proud of you thank you will be an Oncho. Thank you and I'm so proud of you holding down all the time I'm glad I got to get online marshalls play Nikon. I gotTa talk to the to the floor crew. We definitely excited with they they so busy working and doing only fans. Okay. Well. I'm mad at you know it is beautiful. So they do they say. Are Right, now thank you for listening and. Yeah. Well. That's it. Thank you for comment and getting a taste of Martius play. You can listen to us on itunes and soundcloud makes you leave a review 'cause we really need those five saw. Like our facebook page leave some comment won't be posting exclusive content every Thursday you definitely don't want to miss out you can also follow us on twitter and any of the social media site at marshes plate if you like to donate or advertise with us, hit us up at diamond styles at GMAIL DOT COM. That's diamond S. T Y L Z. Dot Com, and that's it for us y'all by. Oh
Democracy Now! 2021-03-31 Wednesday
"From new york this is democracy now getting back to go back whole. We don't get in the resistance to the military coup in verma continues despite a bloody crackdown. More than five hundred people have been killed during two months of protests including the deadliest day saturday alone when soldiers opened fire killing one hundred forty people including more children. We'll get an update from burmese student. Then today is international trans day. Visibility will look the wave of anti trans laws being enacted across the country the easy for transgender individuals to have the health care that they need which is what we want is gives a freedom of choice and service for those that might have a A conflict because of conscience to the very notion that transient vanity is going to be recognized. And one way that that is. Manifesting are in dozens of bills across the country that would banned trans young people from sports and health. Care for. We'll speak with trans activists chase strain. Gio and rock hell willis who say visibility alone will not keep transgender youth safe and we'll look at. How many states have excluded incarcerated people from light saving covid nineteen vaccines now. A new york. Judge has ruled. This is unfair and unjust for people held one of the largest correctional systems in the country. All that and more coming up. Welcome to democracy now democracy now dot org the quarantine report. I made me goodman the trial of former minneapolis. Police officer derek. Chauvin is entering its third day. Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter. Charges for killing. George floyd last may by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes and twenty nine seconds on tuesday jurors her chilling testimony from witnesses including darnell frazier. Who is just seventeen years old when you used her cell phone to film the killing of floyd her image was not broadcast on the court television feed because she was a minor at the time of his death. When i look at george floyd luke. My brother cousin uncle because they are all plaque. I have black brother have friends. And i look at that and i look at how that could have been one of them been nice. I stated apologizing for not doing more and these interacting in his life. It's not what absolute he's now eighteen year old daughter. Neyla frazier testifying at the trial of derek chauvin. Who she says should have saved. George floyd life the next martial artists donald williams who also witnessed floyd's death told prosecutor matthew frank. He called nine one one. After seeing chauvin put floyd and what williams had earlier called a blood choke at some point. Did you make a nine one one. Call that is correct Why did you do that. Because i believe i witness a murder and so are you felt the need to call the lawyers for officer. Derek chauvin attempted to counter the moving accounts by portraying the eye witnesses to george. Floyd death is being part of an angry mob but another one of the eye. Witnesses was an off duty firefighter. Emt genevieve hansen told prosecutor michael frank. She urged the police officers to check. George floyd pulses. He lay motionless on the ground. I also offered in my memory. I offered to walk. Walk them through it or them. If he doesn't have a pulse you need to start compressions and that wasn't done either. This are these things that you wanted to do. It would what. I would have done for anybody when you couldn't do that. How did that make you feel totally distress. Frustrated minneapolis fighter fire and ems genevieve. Hanson broke down in tears as she recalled. Seeing george floyd die and being prevented from helping him visit democracy now dot org to see all of our coverage on the police killing of george. Floyd brazil is facing mounting public health and political crisis on tuesday brazil recorded nearly thirty eight hundred new covid nineteen deaths its highest daily death toll yet. Meanwhile the heads of brazil's army navy and airforce all quit in an unprecedented move a day. After brazil's far-right presidential bolsonaro ousted his defense minister. As part of a broader cabinet shakeup developments. Have alarmed many in brazil. Who believed bolsonaro. Who is a former army. Captain will install ultra loyalist to the military post to consolidate his power at of next year's election when he's expected to be challenged by former president. Louis in osceola to silva the us covid nineteen death. Toll has topped five hundred fifty thousand by far the highest in the world. The true figure is likely far higher. A new study in american journal of public health suggests florida's undercounted. The number of cova deaths by thousands. This comes as arkansas has become the latest state to lift. Its statewide mask. Mandate ignoring calls by president biden for states to keep restrictions in places. Cova cases are rising and twenty six states in vaccine news. Pfizer has announced clinical trials. Show its covid. Nineteen vaccine is a hundred percent effective for youths between the ages of twelve and fifteen. Meanwhile the new york times has revealed. Nyu langone health. A major hospital system in new york city has set aside cova vaccine solely for employees of bloomberg. Which is run by the billionaire. Former mayor of new york mike bloomberg. The news comes just weeks after bloomberg philanthropies gave another part of nyu. That's new york university. A twenty five million dollar donation. In international news palestinian authorities have received one hundred thousand vaccine doses from china. In a boost to efforts to vaccinate the three million palestinians living in the west spank while vaccinated more than half of its population. It has largely refused to vaccinate palestinians. Except for some who work in israel. Or in the illegal settlements. The white house has unveiled a two trillion dollar jobs plan to help address the nation's deteriorating infrastructure it includes over six hundred fifty billion dollars for roads bridges railways and ports over three hundred billion dollars for housing infrastructure three hundred billion dollars for domestic manufacturing and billions for modernizing the electric power grid expanding broadband and eliminating lead pipes and drinking water systems to pay for the plan. President biden wants to increase the corporate tax rate from twenty one to twenty eight percent. Federal tax breaks for fossil fuel companies and crackdown on corporate tax attorney. Since a grand jury in texas is indicted. Two former police deputies on second degree manslaughter. Charges for killing javier ambler forty year. Old african american man. Ambler tasers to death in austin in march of two thousand and nineteen after being pulled over for not dimming his headlights for oncoming traffic as he was dying ambler said quote. I have congestive heart failure. And i can't breathe. Bail has been set at one hundred fifty thousand dollars for the two deputies. James johnson and zachary camden to police officers. The capital who were injured in the january six insurrection have sued former president trump for inciting and directing the right wing rioters. Meanwhile republicans are continuing to embrace backers of the violent insurrection. Videos emerged showing stewart roads. The founder of the far right group oath keepers spoken an official republican event in texas march. Twenty six in the border town of laredo. Other speakers at the event included texas republican party. Chairman alan west over a dozen members of the oath keepers have been charged with conspiracy for attacking the us capitol a warning to our audience. The following story includes graphic description video of a hate crime. new york. Police have arrested a man who viciously attacked a sixty five year old filipino. Woman near times square as she was walking to church on monday video footage shows the men kick the woman in her stomach and then repeatedly stomped on her face while reportedly laying anti asian slurs. The assailant walked away. Bystanders including security guards had luxury apartment. Building did nothing in response. New york mayor candidate entry yang condemned the attack and elderly asian woman. Walking the streets of hell's kitchen could easily then my mother because that's where we live And so when. I saw this video. That is who i thought of. My children are actually playing that playground across the street from that apartment building Regularly so seeing this happened in my neighborhood hit very close to home. Us attorney general merrick garland has ordered the justice department to conduct a thirty day review of what he called a disturbing trend of hate. Crimes targeting ericans in news from mali. United nations investigation has determined french warplanes bombed a wedding party in january killing nine thousand nine hundred civilians. The mass killing prompted protests and mali. Where france has deployed five thousand troops. France rejected the findings of the un report claiming all the victims were slavic militants. The biden administration's finally allowed some journalists inside a temporary customs and border protection jail in donna. Texas over forty one hundred asylum seekers including thirty four hundred unaccompanied children are being held at the site which has an official capacity of just two hundred fifty due to the pandemic children were seen crying as they lay on floor mats up being covered by foil blankets one. Cbs reporter counted six hundred fifteen children. In a plastic walled pod designed to hold just thirty two people. During the pandemic lawmakers in washington state have passed a bill banning four prophet prisons and immigrant detention facilities in a move that could result in the eventual shutdown of the northwest detention center in tacoma washington. Which is run by the geo group during the pandemic many asylum seekers imprisoned northwest launched several hunger strikes protesting the squalid dangerous conditions inside the ice jail. The bill now heads to governor jay inslee as desk. The new york state legislature has voted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults into expunge. The records of people previously convicted of possession of small amounts of marijuana governor. Andrew cuomo has vowed to sign the legislation. Florida republican congressman matt gates is facing a department of justice probe into whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws by having a sexual relationship with a seventeen year old paying for her to travel with him gates has denied the reports and claims. He's the victim of criminal. Extortion the probe grew out of an investigation of one of gates. His political allies joel greenberg who is indicted last year for sex trafficking of a child among other charges in two thousand nine hundred nine gates and greenberg visited the white house together. The expose was in the new york times and the notorious republican operative g. Gordon liddy has died at the age of ninety liddy spent four and a half years in jail for his role in the one thousand nine hundred seventy two break in of the democratic party national headquarters at the watergate complex which led to the downfall of richard nixon. He also wants admitted to making plans to kill. The investigative journalist. Jack anderson and romain chip fitzgerald has died in prison after being locked up for over fifty one years in california. He was the youngest imprisoned member of the black panther party for decades authorities in california who refused to grant him parole even after he had a stroke and was forced to use a wheelchair or walker. Chip fitzgerald was seventy one years old and those are some of the headlines assist democracy now democracy now dot org the quarantine report. I'm amy goodman in new york joined by democracy now co host one gonzales new brunswick new jersey high juan. Hi amy and welcome to our listeners. New viewers across the country and around the world. Well we begin. Today's show in burma. Where more than five hundred people have been killed. During protests against the february first military coup that toppled burma's democratically elected civilian government. At least one hundred forty. One people were killed on saturday alone in the bloodiest day. So far as soldiers opened fire on civilians demonstrating against military rule in dozens in cities and towns across the country. Children were among the dead including five year old boy. According to amnesty international and a thirteen year old girl on sunday burmese troops fired on a funeral service for twenty year. old student. Protester killed near the commercial capital rangoon. The attacks drew condemnation from the european union. United states uk germany with the u n special rapporteur for burma accusing the military regime of mass murder on tuesday. Us secretary of state. Tony blinken condemned the crackdown and called for international companies to consider cutting ties to enterprises that support burma's military. The people of burma are speaking clearly. They don't wanna live under military rule and that is evident from what we're seeing and hearing and witnessing and continue to call on the military regime to release all those people who've been unjustly detained stop its attacks on civil society members journalists labor unionists halt the killings by security forces and returned to power the democratically elected government. The united states is committed to working with its allies and partners to hold the perpetrators of these acts accountable. This comes as human rights. Activists are calling an international energy companies like chevron to withhold revenues from natural gas projects. They operate in burma from the hunter controlled government. Meanwhile an estimated three thousand people have fled southeastern burma into thailand. After the burmese military bombed areas controlled by the karen ethnic minority group. At least four hundred fifty nine people including at least thirty five children have been killed since the start of the protests according to rights groups burma is also known as myanmar military leaders changed the name to myanmar in one thousand nine hundred eighty nine after brutally. Suppressing a pro-democracy uprising. For more. we're joined by our and he is from rangoon. The former capital of burma formerly known that is now called yang-gon. He came to the us to attend college and a senior at the new york institute of technology. His recent for the colleges newspaper called the manhattan globe is headlined misogyny silenced. Feminism amplified welcome to democracy. Now it's great to have you with us. And first of all. I want to say you're incredibly brave to come on this broadcast to show your face and i'm wondering if you can talk about what's happening in your home country talk about your family and why you've chosen to do this first broadcast interview of your life. I'm so as we all know. On figure i the military took over as a coup in my country And ever since that it's been almost over two months now So many people have died so far like you said there's have there have been partnered fifty debts and that's just an estimate With a seven year old girl being one of the youngest victims of five year old boy recently And the situation by call does not seem to be getting any better. We have there. There's some days where like you know. People have a little more hope but they are most days. It's more gloomy Many of us abroad Were very worried about people back home. We wake up to more bad news every morning. More debts. It's just been chaotic. Everyone's really worried for my family Our families but My family calm. They're saying safe at home staying indoors during our best during the tough times. And i'm wondering if you could talk. You mentioned your family your parents themselves. Have they talked to you about their participation ago in in the nineteen eighties in the democracy movement. Then what's different about this movement versus the The up the uprising of of young people. Back then right. So my i know. I know that my parents had they were a part of the ninety eight revolution As people so many people Marched the streets back then They've told me stories about their crackdowns by ben but the thing is on the also said that the protests back then they lasted for only about two months because there was a huge miliket military crackdown. But the difference. Is that back then. They didn't have telecommunications and the internet like we do nowadays were also connected of. There's a lot of young people who are also technologically more on smart That are like now that we have a better sense of like sharing information on know what to do like if we're planning to do a certain protests today are happening unlike back then when they had no internet connections or phone calls so they had to just hide it homes and like surrendered to the coup. But what's different about this This time is we're also connected and everyone's very angry where gonna stop protesting. We're not gonna Submit to this military regime. It's time that the and step down. And i wanted to ask you a little bit in terms of the history of burma because the military has dominated the life of of the country ever since it became independent but it was for one hundred and twenty years. A colony of the british empire and the burmese army was in essence sort of create. Wasn't it during the japanese occupation during world war. Two by the the japanese fascists. I'm wondering what's the responsibility of countries like the uk and the rest of the world as you are battling to reestablish democracy right so the military edge very deep rooted in our history of like you said it was formed during the japanese takeover in our country back then and basically they rose into power when we Quote unquote won independence from a from the british So what happened was after we received a dependence of our of father of independence Will johnson he was assassinated and the country kind of went into turmoil. There was no rulers so the military stood up and like they took over and they have not like given back the power to the people sense So it's very deep-rooted and i believe that Countries like the united The united kingdom and like japan all these countries like They do have a sense. They do have a sense of responsibility to appoint that. Are you know this is a very deep rooted issue and they should be supporting the people In this modern world that we live in today your piece in the manhattan globe. The new york technology newspaper begins. I remember as a young boy sitting in restaurants and neighborhood teashops hearing sh- amongst the voices of conversations and the clinking chaos of spoons and ceramic cups when police or soldiers presence was detected. People would stop talking and try to ignore these men in uniform but the intimidated by them. Talk about growing up there and what your parents would say to you about what could be talked about. And now as you desperately tried to reach your parents on the phone Yes so. I grew up under the military regime Basically born into a and the world was just thinking about it. it was a scarier time But then as a kid. I didn't understand anything right because we will be out in public on. Everyone's scared of soldiers. I was just. I just thought soldiers to someone to be scared of on not loved or appreciated like in other countries like the united states. Where marines and soldiers are like you know like congratulated and like everyone is like everyone even when you see military bug marines on the streets people say. Thank you for your service. But that's not the experience that i had in my country instead we were taught to fear them Democracy is definitely not a word back. Then when i was growing up to be talked about dawn sensor g like we couldn't talk about her. We couldn't bring up her name anywhere in public because you never know who's listening Back then undercover cops were huge thing so even in lake teashops in restaurants getting breakfast. it's a huge. It's a huge culture my country to go to teashops in the morning to catch up and talk about the daily news and stuff so they purposely would place these undercover cops in these teashops and restaurants so that they can listen to the citizens conversations Prosecute them at will if they may Yeah so it was very interesting growing up experience. If i look back to it now you also write about. The women led revolution which i don't think people hear so much about in burma. You talked about dogs song. You talked about on sun. Suci who was detained by the military on february first at the time of the military coup but the significance of. Who's in the streets right now. Erin yeah so a few weeks ago. We had the two main revolution to main as like a salon or a skirt by traditional sarong one by the women of mar and Our country has deep-rooted like misogyny Just culture wise We have this idea called pony. Which is a the topic that i talked about in the second article that i wrote for school poem which is like it's the idea that men have higher aura or like physical just like look right Ben women so this idea had been ingrained in all of us But than this has nothing to do with religion or anything. It's just a cultural thing where we've been rates but with this revolution. A few weeks ago women stood up to the front lines and women have been standing up in this this revolution women have been on the front lines on. They've been showing men have been proving all these misogynistic men that they have the power they have like. They can do what these men are doing. and so they started going out on the protests that went out on the streets tied their sarongs to sticks and wave them. Slacks proudly up in the air They started tying the their loan. Jeez and their undergarments on the street. Polls because it's also a belief that Men are about to walk under underneath these skirts women's clothing items and stuff like that so these soldiers were actually hesitant to cross these lines because they were women's undergarments that were blocking away so they had to spend time taking them down which protesters time to run away from them. Hide from them So i'm just I just so happy with people's creativity. he's back home in the way with sweet protests. And how we do it so seamlessly peacefully an aaron about that issue of the a peaceful protests have long been a ethnic groups in different parts of the country that have resisted the the control of the central government and back into british colonial period the british actually pitted different ethnic groups within burma against each other. I'm wondering how use your sense. The the potential for these the armed groups of the the ethnic minorities to unite with the broader peaceful movement that has developed in the cities against the dictatorships correct Growing up We were all taught a we were all like the news media portrayed these ethnic on military groups as rebel groups right so until honestly up until the of the coup I also believe that to be true. I just thought that They had these rebel military groups Little did we know now that we're there speaking up about it on the now on there. Now we find out that this military like ethnic cleansing has been going on for way too long and the people of burma were unaware of it in the major cities but All they were trying to do is to protect their own people from the military And now all the So-called rebel groups but they are no longer rebel groups. They are fighting for us. They're fighting for the people of mir mar They have been joining together to form our military to serve under the crp. H which is the committee representing with. Look which is the democratic government. group that we the people of miramar elected in twenty twenty elections That happened over finally. Are you afraid for your family back in burma berry like i would. I would like to think that they'd be safe inside their own homes up until recently but just seeing videos and news of them just barging into people's houses with no respect for human life. It's just honestly like you'd never know what they will do. they're targeting any activists Any anyone honestly late who who would go into a house to murder seven year old child you know. Well i wanna thank you for being with us and for your bravery and speaking out burmese student. Who's come to the. Us for college is a senior. At the new york institute of technology we will link to your pieces in the manhattan globe among them misogyny silenced. Feminism amplified next up. Today is international trans day. Visibility will look at the wave of anti trans laws that are being enacted across the country. Stay with us here. Conman us with ma chong in so miss yang So far you faced and who am. They're being no to mom. Now by celeste. This is democracy now. Democracy now dot org the quarantine report. I mean goodman. Is we turn now to look at a wave of anti trans laws being enacted across the united states with dozens more anti trans bills making their way through state legislatures. this week. The arkansas senate approved one of the most harmful bands on access to healthcare for transgender youth. The measure would prohibit the use of gender affirming care including hormones in puberty blockers. Care that has been lifesaving unless republican governor ace hutchinson vetoes. The bill are console will become the first state to ban gender. Affirming care to trans-youth earlier. This month arkansas tennessee and mississippi enacted new laws aimed at banning trans athletes from joining sports teams in tennessee. The legislation forces trans students to show legal documents revealing the sex. They were assigned at birth in order to participate in middle and high school. Sports and in south dakota republican governor christie gnome issued two executive orders monday banning trans women and girls from playing school sports as attacks against the trans community intensify so has their resistance with trans-youth leading the fight against violence and discrimination trans seventh grader. Chris wilkinson who plays football for north middle school and harrisburg south dakota. His last score refused to let him. It's team because he's trans. Wilco said football has saved. His life did not exist. I don't think i would be here. Respect the person next to you in the person behind you just let them live their life the way they want to and makes them feel accepted. Because that's all anyone ever wants. Today is international trans day visibility which this year was marked with a week of action urging people to be active in the fight against antitrust legislation violence and discrimination joining us. Now a rocco willis activists award winning writer former executive editor of out magazine and former national organizer for transgender law center. And chase strange. You the deputy director for transgender justice with the lgbt an hiv project. Raquel and chase cole road. A new piece in the nation titled visibility alone will not keep transgender youth safe. We welcome you both packed a democracy. Now chase strange. Let's begin with you. Can you review for us. The laws that are being voted on a cross country store with the latest arkansas. We are truly witnessing and escalation of attacks on trans people. Unlike anything i've ever seen in government this week the arkansas senate passed. hp fifteen seventy a sweeping bill that would strip young people of healthcare that we know they need to survive. It is going to the governor's desk. We only have four more days for him to veto. This bill and young people and their families across arkansas are already planning for the worst. People are considering fleeing their homes. Having to relocate to other states. Young people are in sheer panic. We have to understand. This is medically supported care approved by every major medical association. That people need to stay well to stay alive and we were on the verge of having that stripped away from hundreds of people across the state of arkansas and unfortunately there are similar bills pending currently in alabama and tennessee part of this wave of anti trans legislation that started at the beginning of twenty twenty one and has escalated throughout the state legislative sessions and chase to. What do you attribute this sudden wave of legislation and all various states across the country. I mean you know. This year is particularly egregious and sweeping. But this is something that is been the culmination of work from an anti trans anti lgbtq lobby for the past at least seven years and of course we can trace this history going back much much longer we can look at the moral panic of anita bryant of phyllis schlafly and even just looking in one hundred years in the past and the ways in which colonial powers used regulation and control over upset bodies to exert power. So there's a long history here. I think what we're seeing today in state. Legislatures is a particular effort to pivot from the anti trans restroom bills into a new form of regulation of trans young people and trans bodies and they have seen an opening because they built alliances even with some people who consider themselves liberals and progressives who have either remained relatively complacent or who have joined forces and the attacks on trans young people. So right now. We're seeing an escalation in super majority republican legislatures where we are not countering that escalation with the appropriate level of resistance given the magnitude of harm that is going to result to bring into the conversation. Rocco you tweeted the quote. The gop continues to terrorize communities on the margins. All across this country. This is why we must come together on these fights as a black trans woman from georgia. It's not lost on me of these fights against people of color and lgbt lgbtq. Folks are connected. Can you elaborate on that absolutely. Yeah you know. i'm from georgia. And when i think about my life all of my identities have played a role in in the way that i've navigated society and of course the way that i have been made a target and so when i think about the recent passage of voter voter restriction back in Georgia i think about the wave and woods. It's all about policing communities of color and and that is completely tied to this fight and this onslaught against trans people. It's about policing our bodies right. And so this is about us interrogating what power looks like and how it is wielded within our society it makes absolutely no sense for these people to be trying to control the lives of vulnerable communities. And when i think about trans children is so horrible how they are being stripped of their childhood and not even look out the humans that they are. I wanted to ask chase about one of the. Aclu's clients dry a year would black trans student athlete. Andre is a recent high school graduate. Who ran on our schools. Girls track team. Let's go to her in her own words. One of the issues Our community is facing. It hasn't been facing for while is misinformation in general who we are in our community stands for in our community is and wanting to combat that is education more more education within our school system. So that people don't say oh that's a man or woman miss gender education very important in having to understand what we as a community. What gets you will stand for chase. Can you tell us about intra. Yeah so i just want to start by saying under a year. Would and terry miller too young trans athletes from connecticut to young black women who have endured so many attacks simply for existing and participating in school sports alongside their peers. As they have every right to do andrea is young person who graduated from high school. She was a track athlete. She trained every day for four hours. Worked so hard loved the sport. And how is she rewarded for that. She is the centerpiece of attack campaign with pieces on fox. News targeting her a lawsuit brought by alliance defending freedom on behalf of sis gender athletes trying to block her from running in her senior year which ultimately all of their senior seasons were cancelled because of covid but the lawsuit continues even though she has quit the sport altogether due to the ongoing harassment that she experienced the lawsuit is continuing because they are trying to strip her and terry of their past titles and any win that they have achieved. They're trying to get it. You raised from records even records that are hanging in their individual high schools. They have been the subject of so much misinformation and assault and claims that they have displaced this gender athletes when all they were doing was running consistent with their rights under state and federal law winning sometimes they lost this gender athletes. And i think an important clarification point here is that there are claims that gender athletes are going to be somehow displaced in scholarships by transgender athletes. No trent out. Transgender woman are athlete from high school has ever achieved or received athletic scholarship to compete in flex at the collegiate level. Because there is so much discrimination. Terry and andrea never once got a recruitment call even though all of this gender athletes who are trying to block them from participating are currently on athletic scholarship in division one schools. We have a serious conversation to have about. How much discrimination trans people are facing and yet they're still escalating attacks if you can also elaborate on that raquel and talk about the peace. The two of you co authored for the nation visibility alone will not keep transgender youth safe. What will rock cal. Yeah i mean. I think a big part of the work that safe and i have been partnering on over this last week. As we've expanded trans day visibility into trance week of visibility and action is really getting people to be about that action. And so that means we can't just rest on some of the social strides that we've made whether it's in hollywood or on different screens and these different sector. Those things are powerful and great and we definitely need to see more of our stories in media in the way but we also need to be using that action. Such chains are material reality and protect our right and so this week has rarely been for us all about getting people mobilize so that they can contact makers let them know that trans people have a whole group. Folks who support us are behind us who love us and wanted to see us. Safe and protected when i think about Trans you i think about two trans youth who actually really inspired me because of the way that their lives ended just a few years ago so within months of each other leila alcorn young trans girl and blake rocking sending young trans boy die by suicide right and we know based on the things that they said and the people who knew them and of course a suicide letter leila had published online after she pads is that they felt like they were not being supported that there was no future for them out openly trans youth. And i'm afraid that if we don't get involved and be active we're gonna see that trend continue and chase. Give us a quick shake on her. How you see the biden administration of the actions. It's taken on behalf of the trans community in three first three months of the presidency. I think we've seen some important federal executive actions coming down from this administration. And i hope to see way. More aggressive and robust actions from this administration enforcing federal civil rights laws. I also you know as we think about what today represents i also want to hold the fact that the law alone isn't isn't gonna save us that we are ultimately going to have to energize and mobilize and build power for our. If i think of the two things to central things for me as a trans person that saved my life or sports and health care and those are things that are being stripped away from our young people and yes we already have the legal rights. It's all of these bills are illegal. They violate title nine. They violate the constitution. But we need mass mobilization resources to our translate organizations and support for our communities materially beyond what visibility can afford. And even beyond what the law can afford chase. You spoke to joanna brand the mother of a fifteen year old trends boy ahead of arkansas state. Senate vote earlier this month. This is joanna speaking about the importance of gender. Affirming care for her son dylan today. After two years of therapy doctors visits and almost eighteen months gender affirming hormone therapy and don is happy. Healthy confident and hopeful for his future is outside now. Mattress deals on the inside and his support to other. Lgbt kids tramps Trans girls our girls in trans boys. Our boys denying access to gender affirming. Healthcare is denying the right to be themselves. My son will be devastated if he is forced to stop his hormone treatment. All of the progress that he has made all the plans to be able to graduate from high school and go off to college presenting outwardly. In the full expression of how does the insider would come to a screeching halt. It would be heartbreaking. Not only for him but for all the other trans youth in arkansas. That depend on this care chase strange you. It looks like the governor is going to sign this legislation. is that right. I am hopeful that we can mobilize for. Vito and i think everyone should take action. We have a few days. Tell him tell him to veto it because it will send a message to trans young people and even if he does be to it. It's a simple majority override in the state legislature so we are preparing litigation because we want trans people to know that we will defend their ability to access us life. Saving care through any possible tool that we have in our toolbox and your final comments on this day of trans visibility racquel willis. Yes i mean. I think that we have to continue to have a nuance discussion about what visibility mean there are so many great strides that come from it but it also makes our community more of a target and the other thing i wanna say is that it's important for us along with being in contact with lawmakers to make sure. We're supporting the organizers and organizations who are on the front lines and lift every day so donate support their work. And we'll continue to move. Forward racquel willis leading transgender activists We will link to your and chase strangers. Peace in the nation headline visibility alone will not keep transgender youth safe chase stranger deputy director for transgender justice with the aclu next up state so excluding incarcerated people from saving covid nineteen. Vaccines will look at. How a new york judge has ruled this unfair and unjust stay with us report. The theme song took threatening weather. This is democracy now democracy now dot org the quarantine report. I'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. If you'd like to get our daily digest the headlines of the day our stories and also news alerts you can sign up at democracy now dot org or text the word democracy now one word to six six eight six six. Well we end today's show. At how many states have excluded people hold in prisons and jails from lifesaving. Covid nineteen vaccine rollouts. Now in new york. Judge has ruled this as unjust and unfair for people held and one of the largest correctional systems in the country in a strongly worded decision. Monday new york state supreme court justice alison to it ordered the state to immediately vaccinate incarcerated people and said officials quote irrationally distinguish between incarcerated people and people living in every other type of adult congregate facility at great risk to incarcerated people's lives during this pandemic. This comes as people who work in. New york's prisons in jails became eligible to receive the vaccine in january justice to its decision also came as governor cuomo announced only yorkers over the age of thirty canal access. The vaccine she ruled incarcerated people. Even younger than thirty should also be offered the vaccinations now. The lawsuit was filed behalf of two people. Held a new york city's rikers island jail. Twenty four year. Old obama free us and fifty two year old charles holden who lives in a dorm with forty eight of fifty beds filled with the beds inches apart the complaint says he shares quote eating spaces. Toilets sinks showers televisions telephones and recreational spaces of other incarcerated. Men at mealtime eats a communal table surrounded by other incarcerated. People cannot wear masks while they eat in short quote every aspect of daily life is communal. He's not able to practice social distancing unquote currently about ten percent of people held at rikers have covid nineteen new york. Jails about thirty four thousand people only about thirteen hundred prisoners who were senior citizens or have pre existing conditions have already been fully vaccinated for more we go to sophie elisha the executive director of the alliance of families for justice which supports people impacted by the criminal justice system. She's also an attorney who's represented many political prisoners. Some of whom are now in their sixties seventies and eighties and contract covert. So feel we'll will come back to democracy. Now talk about the significance of this court. Ruling to its decision was extremely significant. Families advocates have been begging pleading and trying to prod department of corrections. Our community sue the vision and governor cuomo since the beginning of the pandemic to prioritize the health and safety of incarcerated people and all of our efforts seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. It's unfortunate that it took court intervention in order to make the state do what it's supposed to do and we applaud the courage of to it and issuing this very important decision. I'm wondering if you could talk about. The population and in new york state cleared the prison system of new york. State has had a sharp drop in the number of incarcerated people but also those incarcerated have grown increasingly having the the the The number or percentage of the inmates who are in the most vulnerable population yes. The median age of the prison population. Not only in new york but across the country has increased. that's due in part to harsh sentences have been handed down for decades in our country and in this state and the people who are incarcerated. Who are older are at greater risk and because of their health conditions so we have a virtual ticking time bomb with respect to the health of incarcerated people in older incarcerated people and he took a very long time for new york state to finally even offered testing to the incarcerated population. Any longer to offer vaccinations for the incarcerated population. I wanted to ask you about a bill. That was passed by the new york state. Lawmakers that would end the excessive use of solitary confinement governor. Cuomo has less than twenty four hours to sign the bill and the albany times union editorial of this week called for a halt to this prison torture. Could you talk about the prospects of the governor's signing this bill. We certainly support signing the bill. I think all informed advocates and well meaning people understand that the use of solitary confinement is torture. Shame that it's taken this long for this issue to rise to the level now where it's sitting on the governor's desk whether or not the governor is going to sign. It still remains to be seen. Certainly he ought to advocates gearing up to today to increase the pressure on him to sign. This bill doesn't sign. The bill is basically Signing off on an agreed to torture inside prisons and jails in the state on sufi elijah. I wanted to ask you about two people still in person mumia abu-jamal and the former member of the black panther party. Cindy atta coli. Who's now eighty four years old has been in prison new jersey for nearly half a century. Even though he's been eligible for parole for almost three decades he was denied. Parole again in february. In fact an appeals court said he should be freed. You've supported a coli for decades last year. He contracted covid nineteen and was hospitalized. He reportedly as early stage dementia. You think live long enough to appear before the parole board again and describe what could happen when his case is reviewed later this year by new jersey's supreme court and then talk about mumia abu-jamal and he also contracted Covid nineteen in a pennsylvania. Prison yes thank you cindy outta has been denied parole six times by the new jersey parole board each time. They claim that he's a risk to public safety. He's eighty four years old and in since nineteen seventy nine. He's been held in federal facilities and his last job in the federal facility where he's held now before the pandemic was to teach a course called avoiding criminal thinking which he was tapped to to teach by the bureau of prisons to incarcerated men so that they could avoid recidivism when he when they return to society so clearly he presents no risk in eighty four years old with dementia. It is. it's just unfounded. That they should continue to deny him. His current hit before the parole board which means how old he would have to be before he could return is ninety three and he is waiting now to see how much more time the parole board is going to tack onto that before he should be eligible to return to the parole so basically they are hoping and trying to make sure that he dies in prison. It's important to understand that in new jersey there is a presumption of a right to parole so when someone serves the minimum sentence than they should be eligible for parole unless they are disciplinary record indicates otherwise so the oughta has had a completely disciplined free record for the past twenty seven years so he's been more than eligible for release this fall. The new jersey supreme court will hear the appeal of his denial of his fourth appearance before the parole board and we are hopeful that this will be successful in the courts in new jersey and we just twenty seconds sophia. The latest. i'm amelia buccio. Who cova also contract. Covert nineteen inside the prison and it's a clear. Indication is talked about earlier about the lack of social distancing in the lack of adequate healthcare for incarcerated people an hoping pregnant when the a surprise so feel launch. I want to thank you so much for being with us. Executive director of the alliance of families for justice. That does it for show a very happy birthday to mike. Burke and a fun farewell to libby rainy our producer who have traveled all over from the firefighting prison prisoner prison camps in northern california to the border to those long train rides between washington. Dc at the last minute in new york and wherever a un climate summit is in the world your compassion. Your humor and your intelligence will be missed and fond farewell and best of luck in law. School i mean he goodman with juan gonzalez. Thanks so much for joining us.
33. Rethinking Gender With Raquel Willis
"Hello dear listeners. It's Gabby done of bad with money. Our world has been totally rough with corona virus pandemic. And right now I really WANNA get personal. All of this going on. I want to explore. What an unexpected global health crisis does to our spending and how we see ourselves when the future feels more and more uncertain batted. Money is back for an all new season. Now listen in stitcher apple podcasts. Wherever you get your podcasts. Hi I'm Linden. I'm hosting the new podcast pandemic economics from stitcher. And the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics the Kobe. Nineteen pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis. We're here to help you navigate this moment. I'll be joined by my co host New York Times reporter. Eduardo Porter will be interviewing top scholars from the University of Chicago on a wide range of topics from global markets. To how this will change the nature of work new episodes every Thursday pandemic economics. Listen on stitcher. I'm at a point where I I really want us to think about a radical shift and our understanding of gender really. Everyone is to knock them forming in in some way and with the history that we have particularly here in the United States being black as inherently gender not conforming so when we try to divide ourselves around. Transit beef aren't really by near experiences. And I think within a generation's time we we will start to have a deeper understanding of that. This is the secret lives of black women. I'm SHARLA and I'm Laurin and today we're talking about LGBTQ politics. I'm really looking forward to talking about this. And I'm excited to talk about this because I feel like as we think about the presidential election and politics like so often when we think of black issues we compartmentalize and just think of blackness as like. Oh it's just it's just this issue but black issues are LGBTQ issues and we have to bring those to the forefront to and our thoughts and our minds is like if our sisters are dying like that should affect you. You should care and be like rallied up to be like who's talking about this and I think a lot of us are talking about it. I think we've had such strides socially in making these issues. Everyone's issues and making them black issues. At least as far as I'm concerned you know if everybody free none of us free so none of us. None of us. So I'm very excited. I think we have absolutely the best person to chat about these issues. We're chatting with Raquel Willis. Raquel is a writer journalist feminist leader and transgender liberation activists. She founded an initiative at the transgender law center called Black Trans circles which creates space for Trans People in the South and Midwest to heal from oppressive traumas and at the time of this interview. Raquel was the executive editor about magazine. She spoke at the inaugural women's March back in two thousand seventeen and her writing has appeared everywhere from essence device. Bitch magazine Buzzfeed and Huffington Post. I am so excited to meet rebel and to get this conversation started. So let's just jump right in. Let's do it. We are here with you. Know Media Racquel Willis. I'll lotion our hands as we just discussed the fear of Ash. Yes no one wants to be ashy and these street literally. Everyone at this table right now is rubbing lotion into their hands. I'm like I had enough that I'm like bring it up my forearms arms because I'm just my body's part just really feels like the blackest thing we've ever done on this show. I love black lady moment of all of us just like going with the low. Yeah itself care itself. Payer Sodas not about motion repel you and then episode is about you. I'm like there's so many things that I want to talk to you about. I like am wondering where to begin. I mean I think we start at the beginning. I mean you are a transgender rights activists your writer and I WanNa know. How did you get started with this? Work it actually is really weird to me to consider that my career right because I think the a lot of times activism has become something that people latch onto for visibility right or latch onto Avalaible for cloud or whatever you can think of right and I think there's there's something that rubs me the wrong way about thinking of my career's activism. I think in my career as a time and nonprofits as a time in media as an editor now at out magazine Executive Editor But it's weird to think of my activism as my career. I don't know I don't know what the line it's like tied to it right because I think that activism is so expansive like I think we get into this idea that it is something so limited it is just being on the streets into a bullhorn. You Know Martin With Stop. And all of that is beautiful and powerful and important and we've seen through history. How those kinds of direct actions have shifted Culture Right Society but activism is so many different things organizing can come in so many different forms my thing. Israeli people need to find what their passion is and Organiz within it right. So if you're a writer. Are you writing about things that can liberate other folks? You know if you are a teacher. Are you teaching things that can liberate other folks right? Are you using your curriculum with these lessons of social justice these lessons around elevating blackness and Brown and Queer and and different types of bodies and disability all of these different things? So you're trans. Yes yet and I mean is it okay by ask about the beginnings of you deciding to go on this journey. Yeah I mean I appreciate this question. I think that Like your gender isn't really the choice right or your identity isn't really the choice. The choice is whether you're gonNA live in it and for me. I mean I grew up in a very traditional southern family and the judge and went to college college enjoyed. I spent the first twenty five years of my life in Georgia. You know and so I really see my suther ness of a strong important part of my identity and I was raised Catholic right so there are so many layers I mean and then you talk about being a young black person born to pretty traditional parents who were middle class. I mean you know I I joke about being you know. The huxtables by some standards. Right my mom was a had a doctrine of an education and and you know advocated adults for thirty or so years. My Dad was a professional as well and later went back to get his masters. Then become a professor as well so I had that kind of background where I had privileges and I also had you know obviously those levels of repression. I mean being black right being a budding queer and Trans Person So it took me a while to get to that point where I was like. Oh No you know. There's something else going on over here. It's not just that you know. I'm a feminine would call me or that. I was gay right even though I knew I was attracted to men. No there was something fundamentally different about my experience in gender and when I got to college and found the language and found other people Who had similar experiences. It was on like it was time for me to like figure out where I fit on the gender spectrum figure out of I could even see a future right because there were a lot of decisions I had to make You know when I was in college and trying to come into my identity because I also did not have visions of a trans person who had a professional life right or who had a family and who was loving right had a partner and had these healthy experiences. We just. We're not seeing that. Yeah what age did you start expressing your gender identity? So it's funny you ask that because I felt like I was unintentionally expressing my foods ender throughout my entire life right like I think we get so hung up on what people wear. If someone's face is down which you know of course. It's so much more than that. I felt like mind. Gender was so tired and how I was expressing myself And that's why people would call me a feminine or call me slurs and I just can never hide it right like you know we hear about these folks who are like yeah I was. I was pushing it up and and really deepen than closet like no people knew something was going on with me. We didn't quite know what was different about My experience and I didn't know but I I felt like I was always kind of living my gender even when I wasn't trying to And I will say when I got to college. That's when I got the education around. What are the options medically right? What are things that I actually want to do for myself? physically right whether it be you know a hormonal journey or surgical journey. Yea I I. It's been beautiful to kind of witness Our expansion and understanding on gender and and our sexual identity. When you question asks one in a minute I wondering when you enter your career in journalism because I'm reading about you so that your father staff really was a catalyst for your transition but also your career and were you thinking of you know you mentioned earlier which is so powerful for me of like how you didn't imagine a possibility of like some like in the world and that impact like a not only my going to be journalists as I'm dealing with this transition but I'm going to cover issues that spread awareness about my experience so other people are informed and no. Yeah I mean I was committed. You know I came in to college experience knowing that I wanted to deepen my understanding of of storytelling and use the media Asa Tool to make things a little bit better for people who are like me who grew up isolated grow up in New York or Atlanta for that matter. I grew up in Augusta Georgia and and although there are a solid amount of folks they are. I mean that's the has the second largest population in the state there. It's still felt like a smaller southern experience so I didn't know other algae Q. Folks for the most part there are a few obviously like teachers that people speculated about but they were never going to say anything because they might lose their jobs and so when I graduated from college I did not find any job prospects in New York. I tried and I found myself working in a very small newspaper in an even smaller town in Georgia called Monroe Georgia and I was in the cloth You know so all that first job I was in the closet about being queer about being trans And you know I maybe. People had assumptions or whatever they never brought sumptious to me. My understanding was like no one really knew partly because you know there are so many ways in which you have to comport your salve to be at that point what we're calling being passable right so that people wouldn't try and clock you're Trans Ness But then also I just felt like people. There is a certain level of ignorance. That was blissful right even for me like people weren't as verse and Trans Identity and Trans folks and so it was a little bit easier to navigate in some regards but it was hurting me on the inside. It right as deeply as I wanted to. About Social Justice Issues. I even had an editor who he was my boss who you know would basically try and steer me to write less liberal right or less progressive and that hurt you know it was hard. I couldn't really be my full south in that meant that I was only telling part of my story but I could only tell parts of the stories that I was interested in as well. What help push you through that moment to live in the fullness of your truth both journalistically and personally a few things so a personal moment I was asked to cover the first drag show that they had in that county and I actually. I mean I knew the whole community like in that kind of I Guess Tri County Radius. And I really had to pretend like I didn't really know what was going on. Draft show asking. I'm like drag was fabulous and so I had to do that. And so I'm like interviewing these folks that I totally know girl because I mean you like. They didn't know that I had to do that. And and anyway I mean I think even when I was my career being fresh out of journalism school this whole idea of objectivity right and not inserting yourself into the story. That was a mask for me to not really be my full south and so still. That was one experience right. The kind of you know bringing off fraudulent And then I would say the large are calling came from what was happening in the movement. You know this was a time you know. When the murder of people like Trayvon Martin were happening? Mike Brown People were shutting down highways Atlanta and other places. This is very recent RECCO. It's yes it's still pretty recent right. It felt like a lifetime ago. I think to some people but particularly for black folks like that was yesterday You know just yesterday and so that was That was what I was was witnessing but again I mean also wasn't just yesterday because this was what twenty thirteen two thousand fourteen so even now I mean thinking about it I was what like six years ago Six or so years ago so I mean I I was seeing that and I was like how in the World Am. I wasting my energy trying to fit into another grabs for these people to keep my job and survive. It's bigger than that. It's bigger than me and the semblance of survival and so what also happened was I am at this point. I had I was a few months in a new job in Atlanta as a media publisher for A website called. How stuff works again. Not Related to any of the liberation work that I was really interested in. But it kept me afloat And I also Read about the death of Leila alcorn. Who was a young trans girl who died by suicide And this was two thousand fourteen and so she. It was interesting because with her case she had written suicide note and she had Scheduled to be published on Tumbler pads after her. Death happened and so it was so interesting. Because you know I think there a report reports about it and then the note came out right and so everyone could read what she had written and she basically said how she couldn't see a future for herself after Trans Person and so. I did a video on Youtube when I ran and I was like ugly crying about what had happened to Leela what was happening period because there was the death of. Alon nettles had happened about a year before that another while. She's a Black Trans woman. Who was murdered and so all of that was happening and I was like. I have to be present and fully in this moment so I don't look back years from now wondering why I wasn't using my energy for what I knew to be right. This is so powerful. We have to take a break but when we come back. I really want to ask you because your transition to living your expressing yourself fully has been so recent. I Really WanNa know what it's been like for you since so we'll talk about that more when we come back you know sexual assault and sexual abuse are constantly discussed in the news media. But we're taking a moment acknowledged survivors. Who are sometimes overlooked in the public dialogue. Those who experienced sexual abuse as children. The Unique Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Whose mission is to inspire hope and healing in women who were sexually abused as children or adolescents. They offer a variety of free resources to survivors including an educational retreat online articles and survivor led support groups around the world. If you're a survivor of child sexual abuse the unique foundation wants you to know you are not alone. Hope in healing are possible. One in four women in the United States is a survivor of child. Sexual Abuse. Chances are someone you love. Is there survivor? Who needs your support? The unique foundation is not asking for your money or resources. This sexual assault awareness month. They want to offer support. If you or someone you know is an adult survivor child. Sexual Abuse Tech secret lies three one nine nine six to receive free online resources. If you're using the resources for yourself know that you are deserving of healing if you're texting on behalf of someone you love. Thank you for doing your part in supporting survivors. How would my or your life be fundamentally different? If you knew you were going to live forever. How far would you go for your dog? Do you have any advice for people to feel better about being alone in public? I'm Angela Duckworth but I'm Steven Dubner. I'm a psychologist at Penn. And I run an educational nonprofit called character lab. You also wrote the Book Grit. Yes and I am a writer and host a podcast called freakonomics radio and you wrote the book freakonomics. Among quite a few others did and unite became friends. We did and we discovered that both of us really like to ask each other questions. And there's only one rule the rule is there are no stupid questions. I think it's incredibly hard to predict success. Do you agree. I want to know whether you are a maximize her or satisfy sir in. Why what is your biggest regret as a parent? No stupid questions. Premiers may eighteenth subscribe. Now Apple podcasts. Wherever you listen and you can listen to the show ad free by subscribing distance your premium and we're back so raquel. Yeah so can you tell us more about what this experience of expressing yourself fully since it's so recent? What's that been like for you? Yeah I mean you know. It doesn't feel recent some me itself. Funny I talk about this with my Momma La were very close and you know and sometimes loads us. There have been a few moments of silence particularly recently where you know we were just like hanging out and stuff and I'm like you know what's weird. And then one time she she finished. The bottom was like yeah. Your life of. It's wild that you've done so much right since college writings and since even coming out our family and everything like there was never an assumption on my end the I'll be able to have the career that I have particularly in writing and a media but also to be able to accomplish the things around organizing and building with the the communities that I'm a part of their I just did not even think that far ahead because everything was just one moment one second at a time. But you're right. I mean I think in some ways it is recited right like I. I'm not thirty yet so I'm not rubbing not in anyone's face because I'm in my thousands retiring tiny in its accomplish as a moment right but I'm thankful and grateful for what I've been able to accomplish. And the people that I've met met some of my best friends and movement and our relationships of transcended the Movement Space. I because I didn't know any other Black Trans Woman Really before I left college so that scene Georgia that drag scene was white for the most part. Yeah or if there were black folks. They weren't trans. They relax this man for the most part Maybe gender fluid people weren't really using terms like non binary out imagine you know. There are a lot more performers who may be identify more on gender spectrum but yeah I mean I knew a lot of Trans Masculine folks. Many of them were white. Trans Masculine folks. But I didn't really know any other Black Trans Women. What was it like to come into community with like other black? Trans woman was an automatic. Feeling of like I don't need to explain myself. I feel understood. No I mean in some ways. Yeah to Black Trans. The will have completely different experiences around gender but it really was particularly when I met my friend. Tony Michelle Williams In Atlanta Georgia. Who really deepened a lot of my analysis on a Lotta things particularly like sex work and Incarceration it was really being confronted with my privileges. But Yeah I'm a woman by hours able to go to college I have been able to you know have access to a job pretty consistently since college I had a family who I was able to get to a point where you know they understood my identity and and we're in a you know we've been in a sweet spot where those questions aren't there. Isn't there anymore. You know so to have even that support and then to come from a middle class background and then of course a two parent household like all of these different things our privileges even as a Black Trans Woman I have those and it's on me to always hold the duality of my experience. And that's what everyone needs to be able to do. What is it that we still get wrong as a society about this movement or about this community? A lot of Duff neethling gotten better in some regards bright yeah. It's great people have more language than ever before to work with. But that doesn't mean that that has translated into fundamental chefs right and I am for a long time for me and I think for a lot of people. There was this desire to kind of hold people's hands and just the SABs the scraps of affirmation that people would give us. You know but I'm at a point where I really want us to think about a radical shift in our understanding of gender so when we talk about being trans we talk about transpeople as of we are the only ones that whole gender identities people have gender identity right. I mean just like white people have a race. You know. People have gender identities as well and so they also fall on the spectrum so not every woman is the same do you think about the ways that being a racialist woman impacts how your gender scene and respected him and validated or not validated. We have to talk about that and particularly for black folks. It is important for us. Understand that in this context and with the history that we have particularly here in the United States being black is inherently gender non conforming interest is so being. A black woman is a very different experience than being a white woman. Yeah and there is a layer of gender and access that we will never be able to to live in because we aren't white women and so when we try to divide ourselves around Trans and says these aren't really by near experiences and I think within a generation's time we we will start to have a deeper understanding of that That it's really not just argue trans or are you says and I think that that's where we kind of get this conversation wrong. I think also I want us to talk Abou Masculinity they need to figure out what healthy masculinity looks like because as much as we get dog as black women or I get dog as a Black Trans woman. These men and masculine folks dog in themselves and they don't even know it. They don't even know that they are. They have put themselves in these boxes where they can even have a full range of human emotion and empathy. So that's what I also WANNA see mass folks Coming and to a healthier and we don't have to demonize masculinity writ large for that to happen okay and then the last thing you keep talking when a going back to this idea of a radical shift around how we think about gender it goes beyond you know pronouns conversation You know I think everyone is like okay. Well what we can do as we can respect pronouns and if you can get that down then you're radical you've got no late. That's that's really it? Really? The floor is basement. No I mean I think we think about radically Shifting our thoughts on gender. What does it mean to bring children into a world and not put our expectations on them around gender from conception to them you know becoming their own adult right? What does that look like? You know it looks like us. Having more flexibility in our households you know where children can play and and experience things that interest them rather than US throwing. You know are masculine standards. That kids we WANNA call a boys or are feminine standards that kids. We want to call girls right. Everyone is really. Everyone has done to non-conforming in some way. And so if we can expand that we can stop putting these restrictions on folks save your money with these. Gender Ville flight then. We will really shift these things. I think we'll see more people because you just saying that about kids was sort of like a light going off in my head of. I feel like so much of my work. As an adult is like undoing. All people told me about myself and the negative attributes. And it's like the first box people put you in is gendered and it's just like well that's not little girls. Don't do that little girls. Don't play outside and then you're one of the first things you're told about yourself. How you WanNa live is wrong. Even if it's something as simple as like I want to play in the dirt like your natural instincts are being told that you're wrong and I think once we get to the place where we just allow kids and people to be will raise much healthier people because they'll love themselves and won't be told that everything about their natural instincts wrong like we've been talking a lot personally recently about like learning to trust our own intuition and how you have to like whole mets skill when all of your natural instincts for so long. We've been trying to fit in these boxes in these modes to be in society and be perfect black women or whatever ideas are playing it in your head a kid and how that's the shit that fucks you up and the near like I need to figure out in my thirties. Who the fuck I am Outside of all this baggage how powerful it would be if he just let people be but the other thing about just letting people be like look at how dangerous it is when you don't you know like when people feel like they have to hide when people feel like they can't be themselves like they won't be accepted like it's so it's such a tragedy. Every time I hear about something like this but I feel like a lot of that comes from the fear that families have when they see their little girl playing in the dirt. Will she like they immediately? Start to project what this might mean for their kid in that. Kid's life and I feel like we should all remember that those fears lead to either violence or tragedy. You know it makes unsafe world. It makes me like very sad. Yeah absolutely I mean I think the fear aspect is it is. It's a huge part of it and a lot of the ways that we are police or police other because we all do it we do in some way is a lot of it has to deal with our own trauma and our own. Need for self-preservation right and so when I think about parents. I think about like my dad. You know when I when I thought I was. You know my identity was gay. You know there were times when I would be able to break the veneer of like what was really his issue with my identity right. What was he really so worried about? And I think at the end of the day it was less about me right I. I think they can get past this idea of of a reductive idea around. Oh you can't have kids. We know folks can adopt you know like. Oh you're going to hell. Well you know if I am. That's my like those things are fine. Whatever but it was about him being fearful in a lot of ways for my life you know what I mean. You are already black right at that point you know. He thought I was a boy right. And so what does it mean say even be a black masculine presence in the context of United States and the south right and a medium sized town. And so then you're also queer. What path do you have? Who isn't going to want to target you and so you know as I've gotten older and I can understand that nuance I get it right. Like that's fear but then what what it also means is that there was also a fair. I think for him around what it meant for him so then have a queer child. What does that mean about his man and has capability or culpability and producing the clearness. I WanNa talk a little bit about your work as executive editor at out magazine because out magazine is just a legendary literary institution in your work. Do you feel like a pressure. An urgency especially now and this moment to like just get as many things out as possible to make people aware of the real issues that people are facing lake. I think I'm thinking about the election coming up and how the murder of Black Trans woman is a national issue. And no one's talking about it is they're pressuring your function as an editor in chief of being like. How do we put like fire under these candidates and get people this national conversation you know? I don't know of. It fills particularly urgent now. You know when I think about it. The deaths that have been happening in our community. There's a sense of urgency for for me and all of the people that I know for a long time I think about when I wrote a cover story on Sylvia Rivera for our pride as she back last June and it was the fiftieth anniversary since the stonewall riots and I did a lot of research for that cover story and learn so much more about Soviet than I actually knew right I think in some ways people like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha p Johnson Trans folks of color from yesteryear who have been lionised and their deaths right and recent years of them. We don't even actually know what they stand for is almost like mlk. Right Martin. Luther King Junior Lake and I mean Sylvia was organizing around the death of a Black Trans woman named Amanda Milan in two thousand and she was calling out Large LGBTQ nonprofits like the Human Rights Campaign for not Rallying behind justice for her death. She was calling out the LGBTQ center here in New York For not prioritizing the lives of Trans Women of Color and Trans folks. So it's been urgent for a long time and when I think specifically about my work I'm one of those people that you know. I deal with some intense imposter syndrome like pretty much everyone else. I now particularly the black woman I know and for me. I'm like girl to do what I need to do before the door gets locked before I get pushed out and the doors locked. You know we don't often have the grace of just waiting and sitting and waiting for someone to do their duck duck goose and give our chance you know to go. No when I get into a place I'll you know. Assess the landscape but at a certain point you just have to go right and the most that a person can say as now the most of the institution can say is no and then you at least know where you stand there and you can assess whether you can get what you need to get done there or not. Even when I worked at my second job how stuff works. I- pits the idea of a podcast on social justice On you know what was happening and the Movement for Black Lives Algebra secure issues. They wouldn't give me a podcast because they said that Well we already have a feminism. Podcasts THERE WAS. You know two white women who were you know? Very sweet and gracious to me very knowledgeable if very different but very different. They couldn't even see me outside of that space right and they couldn't see me as a host of my own show and and respect me and what I actually want to do so I realized that worth. I'm going to be able to do what I needed to do. To elevate stories I wanted to and then I want transgender law center and I had a great experience. You know amazing relationships and connections there and and got to point where I had to have a conversation about how our programming wasn't really touching black. Trans Women directly right after. I had that conversation. Luckily I. It was received well and and I presented a proposal in design a program on my own for the first time in my life. They received it well and then so. I built out a program called Black Trans circles which focuses on the survival of Black Trans woman and the south amid west from a hill injustice lands And that program lives on even though I'm not you know at the organization anymore and so that was there and when I came out it was the same thing and so luckily when I got out you know there was already space to push for a deeper. I think version of clearness entrance. Notice your under thirty. You've accomplished so much yet. You still mention you have imposter syndrome. And I'm wondering how you combat that to keep accomplishing all the things that you've done. A lot of. It is reminding myself that I'm under thirty but I think even that right like I think we need to shove the conversation on that because there will be a point where I can't use that as like my calming mechanism and it's not fair to the brilliant Black Women and other folks. I know who you know didn't really gets to do the things that they wanted to do. Until after you know it happens at so many different points in our lives and so we've got to get out of that age just kind of calming discussion for folks But it's it's talking to my mom you know talking to my sister and my good. Judy's my best friends you know. Most of whom are other Black Trans Women and Black Trans folks about what I'm going through and I'm I'm got so point where I'm a little less guarded about the hard things that I go through because for a long time I just would not speak to those things. I thought I had to to be the least massive version of myself but honestly the best things come out of you know my method. We like to end every episode by asking our guest. What is your secret? My secret is that you know myself care is love myself. Care isn't tangible things. It's not even though I love my plants too so I mean the feds in there too but it's the people that I surround myself with. My inner circle is myself. Care Right and they're okay with that and so when I talk about my sisters being myself care my best friends and US chatting Revitalizes me to go out and fight another fight and you know letting the people that I love. Put me in check right me. Putting them in check and kind of holding each each other together And so we don't have those circles. I think you know it's about acknowledging that Yes love is. Labor is not easy. We like to think of this. Just go and warm. But it's the hard moment sue if the cold moments it's the Awkward Silences. It's the ups me off. Not GonNa talk for we. 'cause I need to calm down if you can really see that as your your Revitalizing source I think. You've gotta May and so. My Love is labor. Thank you so much for joining us. This has just been well love Labor. Yeah I'M GONNA put that on posted on my fridge. Thank you so much for lifting up you know black women and I have to go all right. We just finished our interview with Racquel Willis and I mean I have so many note so many just words. Yeah feeling so informed that inspired. And just this is another instance of wishing that you guys could see the interviews because like Raquel Glue all right. I feel like we're doing a disservice by being like. Oh my God. You guys can't see how awesome these people and it's like post. Pick Mu puzzle but this should be a visual. Podcast should be a TV show now. Just a true. Ara An one of the things that she said. I'm just GONNA go. Yeah right into the word of the week is she said. Love is Labor circled Laura. I circled that leg. Will you that when she said that? My mind just was like I shea and exploding yeah. Love is labor and I think they did. It applies to so much not just like our interpersonal relationships but also like what we want like to me one of the most inspiring things about how she's just super living her dreams and her truth to the fullest extent and capacity. And it's just like also recognizing that that is a journey that has not been easy and that's like Labor to I'm in those one of those moments right now where I'm just kind of like leading everything wash over. You know when you have to sit with something for a second because love Labor absolutely haven't circled and then she also said something that hit me hard. She said being black is inherently gender non conforming. I was like okay. All right you want to say a word Raquel okay. It's one of those moments where I was just like man. She's really laying on a lot of revelations that wow okay. They never looked at it so true. It's so true like literally when she said that I thought of Michelle Obama being compared to a horse while she compared to know that was Serena Williams and then compared to grow or whatever and I was just like yeah. There is this inherent aspect to blackness. That makes it. I guess that makes you. I guess abnormal or something in the eyes of Whiteness. I mean yeah a lot of things to sit with but you know love is labor is like one of the things that I think. I'll carry with me for a very long time. Also she. I mean this is another episode. Just like there's so many things. Lovers Labor is definitely my word of the week but she also said myself care is love. Yes and it's like not facemask. It's not this. It's low yeah I mean I'm just I'm I'm truly just so full from episode and then just I can't wait to get home and I always like I write stuff on posted and I will either like put it on my mirror on my fridge so that. Yeah if it's like a message something that I'm looking at as like a mantra. Something to remind me through the day Mike Love is Labor is going on the bathroom mirror absolutely. I definitely feel like this episode has. It's it's been a meditation on love and love of Sal love of cell of of community. You like absolutely in all of its forms love and all of its forms. Because like I really feel like this interview with Raquel. Really embodies that the becoming yourself and people accepting you and loving you in the relationship. She has with her mother in the relationship in their community. And the place that she's from. All of those things are a part of her narrative and a part of her love story. You know so I'm just like I really feel like this is one of those episodes. That's GonNa make meditate on my love story from myself. Oh my life saying you know and I'm just like we hope that you guys listen. Just sit back to just go home and meditate on. What did you you said it. So I'll store your story. You know 'cause I I really feel like Rico's unlucky one right like not all of us get that acceptance in that love of self of community but from family from family but I I do feel like it's worth it to seek it at least in ourselves because that is what we have control over. You know how we see ourselves how we speak to ourselves how we consider ourselves. You know that self-care is love is a really important one and we talk about it on this show a lot because as black women. I feel like we're always number one. You know we internalize the hatred of the outside and we turned into against ourselves. And it's like I feel like especially me in my life. I don't have room for that anymore like truly I don't have the mental energy to hate myself and our anymore. I don't I just don't have the energy so this is it. So let's do a meditation on our love story or loving ourselves on loving the people in our lives on Seeing them fully as themselves so that they can beat themselves. Because what's the point? If you can't be yourself you know. Yeah I have nothing else to say. That was a word. Let's do that and I didn't even give a word of the week. Got Away with it. several words. Thank you guys for listening as usual as always meditate on your love story and we will see you next week by the secret lives of black women. Production of stitcher. Where your host Shiloh liars and lauren domino our producers Taylor asking our senior producer. Is Stephanie Carew? Yu-gi-oh our editor is John Palmer. Special thanks to our chief content officer Chris Bannon and our recording and mixing engineer. Andy Kirsten's make sure to follow us on instagram and twitter at the SOB W later.