104: Advancing and Empowering the Lives of LGBTQIA+ Students w/ Keenan Crow


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Podcast available here.

0:00:00.0 Keenan Crow: Any talk of competition between these institutions and public institutions isn't a competition at all, because we're not talking about institutions that are playing by the same set of rules. We're talking about one set of institutions that gets to do damn near anything it wants and another set of institutions that is prohibited from discriminating by law against not just LGBTQ kids, but kids with disabilities, kids with different religious views, kids with... You name it. Any protected class in the Civil Rights Act, for the most part, does not have to be observed by these private institutions. And that's just one thing that doesn't even go for the transparency that's required for public institutions versus private institutions, all of these other things. Again, it's just not an even playing field, and so talking about choice is totally dishonest.

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0:00:50.4 Nick Covington: Hello and welcome to Episode 104 of our podcast at the Human Restoration Project. My name is Nick Covington, and I am a social studies teacher from Ankeny, Iowa. Before we get started, I wanted to let you know that this is brought to you by our supporters, three of whom are Simeon Frang, Gamal Sherif, and Kimberly Baker. Thank you for your ongoing support. You can learn more about the Human Restoration Project on our website, humanrestorationproject.org, or find us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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0:01:21.8 NC: My guest today is Keenan Crow. Keenan Crow is the Director of Policy and Advocacy for One Iowa, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to advance in power and improve the lives of LGBTQ Iowans through education, advocacy and collaboration. Keenan has been active in Iowa politics since 2010 when they interned with Chris Halls campaign for Iowa State Representative, and since then they have been involved with several non-profit organizations, including Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Cedar Valley Citizens for undoing racism. They were also involved in One Iowa Campus Group at the University of Northern Iowa where they obtained a BA in Political Communications and a Master's in public policy.

0:02:02.8 NC: The campus at U and I is also where I met Keenan now, well over a decade ago. You can find One Iowa at oneiowa.org and on Twitter @OneIowa. And you can follow Keenan directly at KF_Crow. In this episode, I talk to Keenan about their work at One Iowa Action and how listeners can get involved in supporting similar groups around the country, current challenges that LGBTQ youth are facing from book banning to bathroom bills and what allyship looks like, especially for teachers in 2022. How can we make our schools and classrooms safe and welcoming places for LGBTQ students? I hope you enjoy the episode.

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0:02:51.3 KC: Yeah, so for those of you who don't know, One Iowa started out in 2005, primarily as a marriage equality organization. Now, Iowans got marriage equality in 2009 through the Varnum v. Brien decision, and then full federal benefits through Windsor on June 26th of 2013. I actually signed my contract with One Iowa on June 27th of 2013, [chuckle] knowing kind of that we would be shifting away from marriage. At that point, the organization was really in a pivotal time and we had a choice of, do we pack up shop and say, "Great job, we did it, we got marriage equality, everything is good." Or do we start to look at other issues that impact LGBTQ equality?

0:03:38.4 KC: And in my opinion, are in some ways more significant than marriage to people's day-to-day lives. The ability to get a credit card without being discriminated against. The ability to rent an apartment without being discriminated against. [laughter] All these different things that are not quite as sexy as marriage equality, but are no less important to the overall goal of equal treatment for LGBTQ folks.

0:04:05.8 KC: So obviously, I'm still working for them, so we still exist. We didn't choose to pivot and to go into a more multi-issue advocacy space. And so now our mandate is not marriage equality, it is anything that disproportionately impacts LGBTQ Iowans. And so that's a very broad mandate. It goes from healthcare, to employment, to criminal justice, to education, really kind of everything, because LGBTQ people are everywhere. They are a part of almost every family. They are our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends. And so anything that kind of impacts anyone is subject to have a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ Iowans depending on how we construct that policy.

0:04:52.5 NC: I was wondering maybe if you could speak a little bit more about the organizational structure of One Iowa. Because I'd imagine some listeners probably aren't in Iowa, but if they wanna get involved with similar organizations, is One Iowa kind of its own thing? Is it connected to any national chapter that people could find if I'm in Indiana or Arizona?

0:05:12.0 NC: So One Iowa is its own thing. We don't actually have anybody above us or anything like that. We do have, I think technically three organizations, just based on IRS codes and what we can do in each one of those organizations. So we have a 501 c3, a of 501 c4 in a PAC... But the PAC is pretty much dormant at the moment. So One Iowa is the 501 c3. One Iowa Action is the 501 c4. And that's really where a lot of my work is kind of happening is in the 501 c4 area, because that's where a lot of our policy and electoral work happens.

0:05:48.7 KC: If somebody wanted to go and find a great place to find their local or their statewide equality organization though, we are part of a loose federation of organizations that don't technically have anybody over them, but we're all joined together to share resources and to share information. And this organization also has wonderful organizers and folks that help us with our day-to-day operations, and that's called the Equality Federation. So if you go to equalityfederation.org, and then go to the map, you can find whatever state-wide organization is part of the Equality Federation. And that's probably going to be your state-wide advocacy organization.

[chuckle]

0:06:28.1 KC: Most of them are like quality state name. So like Equality Texas, Equality Illinois, etcetera. There are some that are not at all like that, like Promo in Missouri or One Iowa, and then One Colorado, which was founded by a former staff member of One Iowa. So [laughter] it just kind of depends, but there's only two One Organizations and then most of them are Equality State name.

0:06:55.2 NC: It makes a lot of sense then if people wanna, after this conversation or beyond, get more involved, check out that equality... The Federated States of Equality there.

[laughter]

0:07:04.5 NC: So, I'm glad you brought up the 501 C4, the One Iowa action, because a lot of the conversations that we have like on social media really pop up around this time of year when the Iowa Legislative Session gables in. I don't know if you wanna speak a little bit more specific to that kind of work that you actually do there, 'cause we talk about just the nitty gritty, the details of how the legislation gets made and the back room deals, [chuckle] I suppose. Maybe then we can shift from talking to like what it is that you do? 'Cause I imagine a lot of people might have some interest in following that work as well, and then maybe we can shift to start talking about issues and especially with this legislative session in Iowa and generalize from there.

0:07:53.0 KC: I actually started as a Community Organizer at this organization, but for the last six years, I've been lobbying full-time for the organization. Now, that means that I do some other stuff when the legislature is not in session, so for those of you who don't know the Iowa Legislature is a citizen Legislature. They don't operate year-round by any means, they normally operate four to six months out of the year depending on how the session is constructed and depending on how long they're willing to go without their per diem expenses, [chuckle] because eventually those run out. There's not a technical end date, but there is an end date for the per diem expenses, and that sometimes motivates them to get done a little bit more quickly. [laughter]

0:08:30.5 NC: And to our benefit if I may add.

0:08:33.7 KC: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I wish there was a hard stop date 'cause then we could actually run out the clock on some of those bad stuff, but unfortunately they can extend that indefinitely however they need to to get what they want done, done. That work basically looks like reading almost at least the summary of every single bill that comes out, probably the explanation on it, and even going into probably a quarter of them, I read the entire bill just to make sure that they're not sneaking anything in. Now we do have a one-subject rule, but we've also been involved in litigation on what's called log rolling claims, which is trying to get around the one-subject rule and judges are never willing to take us up on it, so there's kind of, in name, only one subject rule thing that goes on, unfortunately. [chuckle]

0:09:22.5 KC: So we do have to watch rather closely, even though we have the one subject rule, there are sometimes still more than one thing involved in a piece of legislation, and so I'm going through... I'm probably not reading the Ag Committee's bills, I'm probably not reading most of the bills that come out of Ways and Means and things like that, but in terms of Judiciary, Education, Commerce, Human Resources, those are all things, all areas where we could be disproportionately impacted, just depending on what happens. And sometimes it's not even necessarily obvious how it's going to impact LGBTQ folks. One kind of interesting example is, last year, there was a Sex Offender Registry Bill, and the basic premise of that bill was if somebody moves from a different state that isn't Iowa into Iowa, and they are required to register in their state on the Sex Offender Registry, then once they get to Iowa, they will also have to register under whatever those terms were, or whatever the strictest term was.

0:10:29.4 KC: If Iowa has a stricter term and they have to deal with that, if their state had a stricter term then they have to go with that. That doesn't seem like it's gonna impact LGBTQ people, that just seems like, "Oh well, we're trying to make sure that sex offenders don't come to Iowa or whatever else." But here is the problem. So back in 2014-2015, we overhauled our state HIV criminalization statute. So they used to be here in Iowa, that if you could not prove that you had disclosed your HIV status to a partner before engaging in sexual contact, then you were on the hook for 25 years in prison and a lifetime on the Sex Offender Registry. Now again, you can't prove that you had disclosed it, so all sorts of people were abusing it. People in domestic violence situations, people in all sorts of other situations that were being manipulated and didn't have any written proof or anything that they had disclosed their status were being prosecuted under this law.

0:11:32.4 KC: Now, the new law isn't perfect, it's definitely better. It changes into a tiered system where you have to prove intent to transmit or actual transmission, for instance, that it didn't require that you actually transmitted the virus, it just required that you couldn't prove that you disclosed it, right? So we overhauled that, and it is now a much better law. The problem is that a lot of states around us, for instance, South Dakota still have this law on the books in a very similar way. They have an HIV non-disclosure statute, and that requires Sex Offender Registry requirements, and so we end up in this weird situation where somebody moving to Iowa from South Dakota could be on the Sex Offender Registry for life for something that is not even a crime in the State of Iowa, and that is bizarre. That's not okay.

0:12:19.0 KC: Unfortunately, that law advanced and we couldn't stop it because it's very unpopular to say, "Hey, I want to make things a little easier on sex offenders," even if it's completely rational and reasonable argument of, "This isn't even a crime." Or the other example was a different age of consent laws between states, one state has a different age of consent law, so you get in trouble for it, but in that other state wouldn't even be a deal. So it sometimes takes a little digging to come out with what the differential impact is gonna be, and in that case, it's on people living with HIV, which are disproportionately represented in LGBT communities.

0:12:57.8 NC: And it also seems too, if you just think about the history of that kind of legislation, the LGBTQ community has been directly targeted by those things in the past, so...

0:13:09.0 KC: Yeah, those laws were created for LGBTQ people basically, because everybody assumed that it was a gay disease, essentially. [laughter] This is what the US government thought it was, four Hs, heroin users, Haitians, homosexuals, and I can't even remember what the other H was off the top of my head.

0:13:29.1 NC: Let's put the slur in there somewhere, yeah.

0:13:31.0 KC: Hemophiliacs, that's not technically a slur, but...

0:13:32.5 NC: Oh, okay. The battles that you think that you fought and are done... We've kind of learned are just never... You've never finished fighting those things.

0:13:42.8 KC: And those HIV criminalization statutes just don't make anybody safer because the vast majority of folks who are on appropriate medications are down to what we would consider an undetectable level... Which means when you measure the amount of particles of virus in their blood, the machine can no longer measure it because it's level is so low. Now that doesn't mean you don't have HIV anymore. You have to continue taking those medications for the rest of your life. So having HIV is not fun, but it's also not a death sentence. When you are undetectable you're also un-transmissible. There's never been a case of somebody with an undetectable viral load transmitting the virus to another person in all of medical history. It's just not possible.

0:14:20.8 KC: So criminalizing people who are undetectable for "putting people at risk for transmitting the virus" is nonsense. It has no basis, in literally anything. It is just a fear response. And the way that you can get around that law is by just not testing yourself. If you don't know your HIV status, you can't be prosecuted. So it was causing people not to get tested. It was causing people to have this false sense of security around whether or not they needed to get tested because they assumed, "Well, hey, it's a crime to transfer the virus to me so therefore I am safe." It just had all sorts of really awful negative impacts, across the board.

0:14:58.9 NC: It is very difficult sometimes to wrap your head around like those downstream effects of legislation. And I think we're fortunate in the case that we have folks like yourself bringing those questions to bear on these kinds of issues. So I wonder too... We're an education podcast, I suppose, and we've chatted a little bit about the education bills that have not just targeted LGBTQ youth, but around the issues of books, but in athletics and elsewhere. We can start with that Iowa context with what are some of the challenges that you've seen facing LGBTQ youth in Iowa? And I don't know, maybe we can draw some bigger context from that too.

0:15:40.9 KC: So Iowa is kind of one of the worst offenders in this regard, at least, in terms of the volume of legislation that is being released right now. We're currently tracking 23 anti-LGBTQ Bills here in the state. And that's just the ones that I believe are directly targeted. So our inclusion criteria for that list are things that specifically name LGBTQ people, things that would have a primary impact on LGBTQ people... Not like a secondary differential impact. Or things that were clearly motivated by stories or myths about LGBTQ people.

0:16:13.4 KC: So things like the banned book stuff, etcetera. And I don't even have that one on the list yet, so that would be number 24, technically. There are all sorts of other things like vouchers or some of this obscenity stuff that don't necessarily directly target LGBTQ people, but are gonna have a disproportionate impact. But I'm not even talking about that stuff in my list of 23. [chuckle] I'm talking about stuff that is directly targeted squarely at LGBTQ people for the purpose of discriminating against them in some way, shape or form.

0:16:50.2 KC: And a lot of them have to do with youth, about half of them are targeted squarely at transgender children. Like a very, very specific marginalized community of kids who have basically no political power and no ability to fight back against those things. And unfortunately that mirrors national trends as well. We've seen an absolute explosion in anti-transgender legislation over the past few years. If you look at 2019, you see 35 different anti-transgender bills introduced in state legislatures across the country. If you go to 2020, that number jumps to 100. If you go to 2021, that number jumps to 180.

0:17:30.5 KC: So it's just like an exponential growth in this kind of legislation because it's been identified as the new wedge issue that people can motivate voters with. And again, because these kids really have no political power, no ability to fight back, if you're trying to score political points against folks, that's one way to do it in a very cynical way... Is to take a community that absolutely does not have the numbers to vote against you. And then sometimes is just so scared to speak out because of their own health and safety that they won't do it. It's a really nefarious, honestly, a strategy. And unfortunately, in some cases, it is starting to work in some regards.

0:18:12.9 KC: I don't think that this is a sustainable trajectory. I think eventually people are gonna get wise to it. Right now, the problem is that our opponents can hit people in the intuition, in about 10 seconds, and it takes us about five minutes to unpack all of those assumptions that are laden into their statements. And that makes it really hard when the average sound bite is six to eight seconds, depending on what you are looking at in the media. They can communicate a lot because of all of the societal biases surrounding gender, surrounding transgender people, etcetera. It's easy to pack those things in because the assumptions are unfortunately, right now on their side.

0:18:55.0 KC: Again, I think as time goes by, that is going to be less and less an effective mode of operation. The other thing to think about is, a lot of this stuff is not new in any way. We used to try to ban gay men from restrooms and from locker rooms because people were like, "Oh, they're gonna gawk at us, Oh, they're gonna do all these things." Basically, the exact same arguments that they're making about transgender people now are all arguments that they made about gay people 20 to 30 years ago, and so we know this playbook, we know how this works, and unfortunately, one of the only things that we can do about it is keep communicating what's wrong with these messages and time will eventually catch up here, and eventually the assumptions are not going to be as stacked against us as they are now, but it's about kind of limiting the amount of harm that they can do in the time being because right now they have, especially in the Iowa legislature where they have a trifecta, a whole lot of power and we can't do a whole lot about it in those instances aside from annoy them.

0:20:04.4 NC: Is there any way in which laws say like the device of concepts, law so-called that was passed, signed into the legislature last June in Iowa, is there any way that that has impacted the work that, one, Iowa has done in schools or with schools, 'cause that's not one that would necessarily be targeted in your targeted list of LGBTQ bills, but I could imagine that schools might be a little bit more shy to enlist the help of a knowledgeable organization like that, seeing, not wanting to face the backlash of of bringing you into the issue.

0:20:39.4 KC: Yeah, they wanna review the slides, they wanna see exactly what we're talking about before we talk about it and make sure that we don't cross into any territory that they might deem is somehow violating that law. Now, kind of the interesting thing about that law and about its intersection with LGBTQ activism is that that specific law is basically a carbon copy of an executive order issued by the Trump administration a couple of years into office, and that executive order was actually invalidated because of a number of LGBTQ organizations that said, "Look, this is unconstitutionally vague and we'll restrict our ability to conduct our trainings." So that was already struck down by the work of LGBTQ organizations, and now it is coming back in state format to try to do this now that's a much narrower construction, than the Trump executive order in that they have kind of restricted the amount of venues that it applies to, the reason that those LGBTQ orgs were able to successfully sue against the Executive Order version is because that applied to anybody who is receiving state funding at all and that included a whole bunch of non-profit organizations, etcetera.

0:21:48.0 KC: So we are not necessarily directly impacted in our ability to conduct any training. I can go and say whatever I want to any non-governmental organization, it is when I start talking to a state agency or a school or something else like that, that is when then I have to observe those restrictions, and so it's not nearly as linear of a way to kind of litigate against it, it's a little bit more difficult, but I think we have some good ammunition in terms of why it's bad and why it doesn't work. When we look at the ruling in that executive order to say, literally verbatim, "It's unconstitutionally vague," and therefore hard to determine what you're actually allowed to say or not say.

0:22:31.5 NC: And what we end up having to do then is... So the federal executive order gets struck down, but then it's like playing whack-a-mole with 50 state legislatures, not 50, but you got half to stay legislatures who are then gonna try to pass their own version and then go through the regional state supreme courts and then District Courts and then take it all the way up to the Supreme Court.

0:22:53.5 KC: You're going with yeah state constitutions versus the federal constitution in some cases, obviously, you could still bring a federal case against it... Yeah, it's a less clear path toward invalidating it, and of course, every construction of it is different, they change words here and there, and they try to specify certain things that maybe the previous court ruling said that they ask explicitly couldn't say. And so they'll tame it down in that one specific way and try to salvage the other 90% of it or whatever.

0:23:23.5 NC: And you mentioned that vouchers... Again, wouldn't even make it onto that list of 22 to 24 explicitly LGBT targeted pieces of legislation, but can you speak to like the rhetoric around that kind of seems like rock solid from one perspective, you're gonna give parents the choice for their kid to be able to attend the private or public school of their choice, so why would we deny the parents or students this choice, just give kids, the money, and let them take it into that space, how could that be... How could that possibly be construed as being anti-LGBTQ?

0:24:01.2 KC: Yeah, and I've heard people legitimately say like, "Oh well, you would want this option if your kid was bullied or you'd want this option if you were an LGBTQ kid and you needed to go to a different space or whatever," right? And I think the problem lies in the fact that we don't treat these organizations similarly under the law, and so any discussion about choice is at best a misunderstanding and at worst, an intentional misrepresentation of the situation. [chuckle]

0:24:29.6 KC: So we actually... Last year, when the vouchers were going through, myself and the interns looked up every non-public school policy that we can find, there are 181 accredited non-public schools in the state of Iowa. We found 176 policies, so about 97% of them, that was a lot, we went through them line by line to see what they said about LGBTQ people, 75% of them indicated in some way that they would be willing to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and that was either in an explicit statement saying that they wouldn't allow LGBTQ children or the children of LGBTQ parents to attend, or in more subtle ways by saying that sexual immorality wouldn't be permitted, and then on some other page, defining sexual immorality in a way that matches LGBTQ identities. [chuckle] Or some just reserved the right to discriminate in the future, that was kind of the most common way that the Catholic Diocese was doing it was essentially saying.

0:25:27.4 KC: "Well, we probably won't do this, but if we want to, we legally can, so just so you know, you have no legal recourse in that situation, if we change our mind." Only 15% of them affirmatively said that they would not discriminate against LGBTQ people in any way, shape or form, 15% of those 181 schools. So Iowa non-public schools have told us loud and clear what they're going to do if they're permitted to discriminate, right? 15% have protection. So any talk of competition between these institutions and public institutions is into competition at all, because we're not talking about institutions that are playing by the same set of rules, we're talking about one set of institutions that gets to do damn near anything it wants, and another set of institutions that is prohibited from discriminating by a law against not just LGBTQ kids, but kids with disabilities, kids with different religious views, kids with... You name it, any protected class in the Civil Rights Act, for the most part, does not have to be observed by these private institutions.

0:26:30.4 KC: And that's just one thing that doesn't even go for the transparency that's required for public institutions versus private institutions. All of these other things, again, it's just not an even playing field, and so talking about choice is totally dishonest.

0:26:45.6 NC: I think that is something that is just so lost in this conversations, nobody asks choice for whom.

0:26:52.4 KC: Right.

0:26:52.5 NC: They're just so caught up in that market logic and that's gonna solve all these problems, like failing to realize the folks that the market is going to be allowed to actively discriminate against... Now, when you say discriminate against like the... I'm trying to do the quick math here for the 85% that say they can do that, what would be a concrete example of like, "Hey, I'm a parent, my child is openly gay, I'm trying to go get them enrolled in this private school for whatever reason." On what basis do they have to either admit my kid later on to find out they're gay and expel them or just to prohibit them from applying in the first place? What are the hurdles that those folks run into?

0:27:34.3 KC: I mean It's all of the above, a lot of them just have initial contracts that you have to sign essentially saying that you're not going to be gay or transgender, there's literal contracts in there that have it all spelled out in terms of, "I will not engage in any sort of gender fluidity or transgender-ism, which is not a word," but they say stuff like that all the time, or "I will not engage in sex outside of marriage," and then there's a little asterisk and then you go read, marriage is between one man and one woman. And all this other stuff. So it's... Sometimes it's that, sometimes it's just in the school policies, and so if they find out later after the fact, you're going to not be allowed to attend, sometimes it's based on membership in a specific church, you have to go to specific churches in order to attend and those churches are anti-LGBTQ, and so they're not gonna be a member, and therefore you're not gonna be able to go to that school, [chuckle] it's just... It's a lot of different ways, which is why we had to make the criteria so broad to even study this issue in the first place, 'cause there are so many different mechanisms they're using.

0:28:45.3 KC: Because again, they have extremely wide latitude to discriminate in these ways, they can say pretty much anything they want in terms of who can and can't attend their private institution, they're allowed to do that by law.

0:28:57.3 NC: And turning, I guess the conversation from the Voucher Programs specifically maybe just to education generally, teachers listening to this who want to be able to support students who are in the difficult situation of not necessarily being comfortable being out at school or those who are open to identifying, say, as transgender students in suburban rural Iowa, How can teachers better navigate those spaces for these kids? And... The conversation I remember 10 or 15 years ago, right? Was around that concept of allyship and has that concept changed at all, what can teachers do to be better allies for LGBTQ kids?

0:29:44.6 KC: I don't think the concept has changed, I think our understanding about what support looks like for these kids may be changed a little bit, but for the most part, a lot of it's very similar, like number one, you need to be supportive of those kids, but also you need to be visibly supportive in some way, otherwise they don't know that you're supportive, [laughter] and that means doing whatever your district allows you to do in order to be visible, whether that's having a Pride flag in your classroom or having a rainbow sticker on the outside of your door or wearing an LGBTQ inclusive pin on your lapel, or... There's all sorts of ways that you can kind of hint that you're a safe person to have a conversation with, but if nobody knows that, [chuckle] they can approach you, then they're not going to, right? These are kids who are not gonna go out on a limb and trust some random adult with that information, if they think A, it's gonna get back to unsupportive parents or it's gonna get out to their peers, or you're going to view them in some sort of negative way.

0:30:48.9 KC: They're only gonna go to those trusted few first when that coming out process starts, 'cause that's how it works with pretty much all of us, we go to a few, a handful of folks who we think are going to receive us well, and we share that information with them and we kinda see how they react, and then we kind of use that reaction to snowball and think, Well, okay, maybe this other person and maybe this other person, and maybe they can help you with this person, and then at least you've got a couple of people to talk to you in confidence.

0:31:21.1 KC: And one of the few things that I think a lot of people don't know is that in terms of evaluating suicide risk, one of the things that we see is just having one supportive adult in your life can half your risk of attempting suicide in the Future. A 50% reduction, that is massive. And so just being that one person for that kid can literally save lives, it sounds hyperbolic, but honestly, it isn't. The data backs this position up, that just being that person that they can come to you and talk to in confidence, that has a huge impact on a kid who maybe has nobody in their life aside from you, that they can come and talk to you about this because they're struggling, 'cause maybe every other adult in their life is telling them messages about how awful it is to be LGBTQ or how awful it is to be trans, and maybe those messages aren't even explicit, maybe they're implicit messages that they're getting from the way adults talk about LGBTQ people that they see in the media or the jokes that they make, or whatever else, or they could even be just inferring statements from things that they don't fully understand.

0:32:39.3 KC: So just in my own personal life, the first thing my father said to me when I was born was, "You can be anything you want, except gay," literally verbatim, that is what he said. And I had heard that story for years and years and had always kind of understood it to mean gay people are bad, and he doesn't like gay people, right? It actually turned out that the reason was he had a really good friend while he was in the military who was murdered for being gay, and he was terrified that that would happen to someone else in his life that he loved, and so that was kind of the impetus for making that statement, but when you're a kid you don't know to, [chuckle] any further, you just assume that the message that you're hearing is the message that it's spatially communicating, right?

0:33:21.9 KC: So, you mean imagine a kid like me who is receiving those messages and who might think that they're gay, and even though their family isn't unsupportive, 'cause my family was not unsupportive when I came out at all.

0:33:31.9 KC: They were very supportive, and I should have realized that sooner, but again, these implicit messages can stack up in ways that you can't necessarily predict, so even with a family that would be nominally supportive if they came out, it's really important for you to still be there to support those kids and to confer explicit messages of support so that they can start unpacking maybe what's going on in their own life.

0:33:58.6 NC: I actually had a colleague of mine who sent out a survey, he wanted to gather some data about how LGBTQIA students felt in our school, and the biggest piece of feedback that we got about specific behaviors from staff that actually make them feel comfortable and safe, were having pride flags, trans flags, just having like that physical representation in the actual physical space that's visible to other students, and especially using correct pronouns, asking about that, using them, even just using the correct name often, and those to me seem like the lowest hanging fruit in terms of treating students with basic human dignity is greeting them with the names that they prefer and the pronouns that they're gonna use, so I would say a lot of that, what you just said is born out by the survey data that I hold up here right in front of me.

0:34:56.4 KC: Right, which is unsurprising, just like getting somebody's name right is a basic respect thing. If you've ever been on a call where somebody keeps using the wrong name for you, you know how infuriating that can be and how quickly it can just get under your skin, [laughter] and that goes triple or quadruple for LGBTQ folks, [laughter] because oftentimes we're getting mi-gendered 10 to 20 times a day, right? And so I do hear and I understand, especially folks who... Maybe this is new for them. It's a habit like anything else. If you start brushing your teeth with a different hand than you normally use, it's gonna be frustrating for the first couple of weeks that you do it, and these are linguistic habits.

0:35:37.4 KC: They're things that we've done over and over and over again. And so it's gonna take a little practice to do something else, but I do hear folks that are saying things like, Oh, it's just so frustrating, like I screw up once and they just explode at me or whatever, it's not just that you screwed up once, it's like you're the 25th person to do it that day, and they're just like overwhelmed and sick of it at the end of the day, as somebody who personally uses they and them pronouns, it is very frustrating to just get mis-gendered 20 to 25 times a day. If you're going out in public all the time, it feels like it's fairly isolating and it feels like your identity is coming across as something that it's not.

0:36:25.4 KC: Which obviously it is otherwise those people wouldn't be doing that. [laughter] So it's just a very disorienting experience if you've never had it happen to you, obviously, it's hard to kind of communicate how that feels, and I understand that, again, it can be hard to even wrap your head around at some level, if you've never had that experience, but just imagine that whenever you go out in public, people are calling you the wrong name every single time, and you can't figure out why, and you've told them repeatedly that that's not your name, and they just keep doing it, it would just be so confusing and frustrating, just try to imagine it happening to you and you can maybe start to get a grasp of what happens to these kids kind of every single day and a lot of interactions that they're having and...

0:37:15.9 KC: Yes, I can understand that that would not be a fun place to be when you're the person that gets blown up at for doing it once, but I think you also have to extend some empathy to them and say, they're not really just mad at you, they're mad at the situation that they're in and you're just the straw that kind of broke the camel's back in that particular situation, so yes, it's extremely important to get people's names right, and I think that one is maybe a little bit more obvious, it is also very important to get people's pronouns right though too, because oftentimes, when you're talking about somebody, you're using their pronouns more than you're using their name, if I'm talking about about Nick, I'm gonna say, Nick went to the store, he got some groceries, those groceries or his groceries. I've already used your pronouns twice and I've only use your name once, so it does become kind of important to get those things right, and I understand it can be frustrating and I understand it can be confusing, but just try to think of it from the other end.

0:38:19.2 KC: Try to think of like, This is how you're trying to represent yourself and other just aren't getting it and they aren't getting it in some of the most fundamental ways, because they're talking about you and they're not talking about you in the way that you would talk about you, that's kind of frustrating.

0:38:29.0 NC: Yeah, I've always kind of just aired on the side of humility and understanding, I'm just gonna just fess up, okay, sorry about that, I'm gonna do better next time, but then work to actually do better, you know?

0:38:42.8 KC: Right. Yeah, sometimes it takes practice, sometimes you have to sit down and just say it a few times. Again, just to build that habit, because some of this is even... It's not technically muscle memory, but it feels a lot like muscle memory. I know you played guitar before I played a lot of guitar, and there's just certain things that you can't do until you've done them 20 times in a row, it just doesn't click with your hand, your hand just won't do it, but then that 21st your time your hand just does it. You don't even have to think about it, and that's what we're talking about here, is just building up that kind of familiarity with that, so that eventually you don't even have to think about it, it just happens.

0:39:23.0 NC: And I think maybe I could add for the benefit of listeners too, I think a pretty common practice for teachers at the beginning of a semester, at the beginning of the year is roll call.

0:39:31.2 KC: Yeah.

0:39:34.0 NC: And I can't imagine that... I already get stressed about that as a person on the receiving end of that, like you're just waiting to hear your name, you're waiting to say here, etcetera, but then for a student that doesn't go by that name on that roster, the first conversation, the first interaction they have to have is that like, "Hey, I go by this," or risk like outing themselves to their classmates, and then they become the center of attention there too, and that was a lesson that I had to learn the hard way several years ago, and I know that my practice has changed, we're on day one, I don't do the big role call anymore, I let kids that where they're gonna sit for that first day and I letters go around with my clipboard and I have students introduce themselves, and so I just sit with them at the table, it takes a minute for table, I'm like, I'm like, "Hey, good to meet you.

0:40:20.7 NC: Who are you? I'm Mr. Covington, and they just say their name, so if it's different than what it is on the roster, "I'm like, Hey, nice to meet you, so and so," and then I write down that name, ask them about any spellings, and then I'm moving on to the next thing, so that way it's not an issue. They get to introduce themselves as they perceive themselves, and there's an issue... There's a comfort in a relationship-building thing that begin from day one on that, and then to your comment about using your other hand for the toothbrush there, then when I see... 'Cause I'll use the name that they refer to themselves and that's who they are, and then when I go say like enter grades on Infinite Campus or whatever, I'll see a name in there that I have never, Once refer to the student as and I have to sit and think, "Okay, who is this person? Oh yeah, that's so and so. Okay." So then I go through that way, but I will say it's been absolutely incredible to see too just how responsive and kind and humane high schoolers are about these things today.

0:41:22.8 NC: I have transgender students who... They are who they are to their classmates, and that was not an experience that I had growing up in Iowa in the 90s, in the early 2000s, and...

0:41:32.7 KC: Indeed. Years, years.

0:41:36.9 NC: Yeah, I don't know where this comes from, but the kids are just tolerant and accepting as hell, and I just loved... I loved to see it, it's the adults in the buildings who have the catching up to do oftentimes.

0:41:46.6 KC: Yeah, I totally agree. And the other thing that I think is kind of fascinating to think about is I think a lot of folks just assume that this method of using personal pronouns that we do here in English is the only way that people do it, and the more exposure that I have to different languages across the world. The more I understand that. That is just simply not the case. [laughter] So I visited Thailand to do some activism over there with trans and HIV positive folks back in... Oh man, was in 2018? And one of the most fascinating things that I found while I was over there is you don't really use pronouns for other people, you use them for yourself, so when you say, thank you, there is a masculine way to say thank you that identifies you as masculine, and a feminine way to say, thank you identified you as feminine. So you are the only person in control of information about your gender in terms of social interactions in that specific linguistic context, and then there are other languages like Persian that there are no gendered personal pronouns at all, [laughter] It's just all gender-neutral.

0:42:54.7 KC: So it's kind of fascinating when I hear people say things like, "Oh, the singular they is grammatically incorrect, which first of all, it's not a dictionary, it's an APA style books, is like in every mode that you would think of in terms of grammatic, going to a style book and saying, Is this grammatically correct? Yes, it is, but second language is a tool and words don't have definitions, they have usages. I am totally not a linguistic prescriptive as, and I don't think people should be, I think it's a big misunderstanding of how language is used and how political it is, and just assuming that this is the only way and locking non-binary folks out of the conversation in terms of how they want to be defined, I think is a big mistake, I think that's a total misunderstanding of how language even works, and it's honestly kind of offensive in certain ways, it's just saying, "No, this is the dominant understanding and we're going to keep doing it this way,'cause it's more convenient for me," pass.

0:43:54.7 NC: That's exactly it. I think the takeaway for listeners will be here that you're like a happy warrior on this, despite... Like you said, that we are seeing just an avalanche, unprecedented numbers of particularly anti-trans bills, not just in Iowa but around the country. When you hit the legislative session, Your hair's gotta be on fire because there's always something that you're chasing or something someone's trying to introduce, etcetera, and yet you seem tireless. [chuckle] I know that's probably not true.

0:44:20.3 KC: That's not true.

[laughter]

0:44:29.2 NC: 'Cause you're human after all. But again, it's your laugh, it's the smile on your face, and I don't think there's a better person to be in the position that you're in. A couple of things, what keeps you going in the face of just the constant drum beat in the barrage of these things? And then just to end, how can we listeners teachers, just people, citizens generally support our LGBTQ community, how can we support the work that you're doing, how can we help marginalized folks generally?

0:45:03.1 KC: One of the thing that I don't think activists maybe talk enough about is how motivating annoyance can be, [laughter] to be completely honest with you, there is a certain level of irritation that my system cannot deal with in terms of people just making bad arguments and relying on certain assumptions that, we can pretty much demonstrate are not true, and my opponents, are gage of that quite a bit, [laughter] and so there is some motivation that comes out of just like being so frustrated with those bad arguments that you can't help but get up the next day and say, "No, that's still bad, that's still not right. Like, How can you not see that? And if you can't see that, I will help everybody around you see it in some capacity, so that maybe eventually this stings in." Honestly, my entire philosophy is just kind of around harm reduction, and that's been around a lot of the work that I've done, not just with One Iowa, but I was on the Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition board of directors for a while. I've done a whole lot of work in specifically labeled Harm Reduction spaces, but also I think a lot of this stuff is itself.

0:46:16.6 KC: Harm reduction strategies in the current context, I don't think we can probably prevent all the harm to LGBTQ folks, there's just so many different bills and so much power behind some of the people that are promoting those, and so I try not to get discouraged when one of them almost inevitably makes it across the finish line because I don't see it as something that I'm even capable of doing of stopping...

0:46:46.1 KC: Some of the avalanche of bad stuff that's happening, so my job is really to analyze where we can best intervene? How we can best intervene? And how we can make some of the truly awful stuff into stuff that doesn't impact as many people? We know that these are eventually going to end up killing folks, I can't be any gentler on that, this stuff is not something to mess around with, it is not something that we can just dust our hands off and go home and feel okay about what's happening because, I know people personally who have not made it through this fight, and I will continue to know folks who have not made it through as time goes on, and there will be a lot of kids that are caught in the cross-fire as well, but ultimately, we can only do what we can do. There are only so many things and ways to intervene that I can personally consider myself responsible for, that you could personally consider yourself responsible for, but we have to hold ourselves to those things, and I think that's really what I try to communicate in these conversations is, "Yes, maybe you can't stop that particular bill, but maybe you can make one less person vote for it, or maybe you can change somebody else's mind on the school board so that when it's implemented something else bad doesn't happen." Because when we all just dust our hands and go home, this bad stuff cascades and it can cascade out of control because there are steps along the process and each individual step, you can...

0:48:31.2 KC: If you're a part of that step, you can intervene and you can engage in that harm reduction and you can make things a little less bad, you can maybe save one person's life rather than just not doing anything, right? And so that's what I would impose on folks is try to figure out where you can be most effective in these processes, maybe you don't have control over what passes in the legislature, but maybe you can stop some bit of implementation that makes something marginally better for those kids in that school, that's ultimately kind of my takeaway of my part in this process is, I know exactly what kind of impact I can have on this process, I know when to interject, I know how to make a bad bill better or to leave it as bad as possible so that it eventually gets struck down for being so unpopular, and you all can do that too, it's not just a thing that lobbyists engage in, it's not just a thing that policy professionals engage in, it's something that we all engage in literally every single day. There are countless different opportunities to nudge things into a slightly better position, and when we all do that, when we all kind of know our role in the process and know where we can nudge those things, things are markedly better, again, there's a trajectory to it...

0:49:57.1 KC: Right. And so we have to be nudging these things constantly, otherwise our opponents are going to be doing their part and they're going to be judging things in the opposite direction, and if we don't assume those tiny responsibilities, I'm not even talking about earth-shattering things, but just like you said having a different process in terms of letting your students identify themselves rather than you identifying them.

0:50:21.4 KC: That's one of those things that I'm talking about. You saw that and you were like, "Hey, that's one little thing that I can do to make these kids lives just a little bit better." If everybody is doing that, eventually we're going to get to a point where trans kids aren't dying at these astronomically terrible rates. I mean, that's ultimately the goal is to get to a place where these kids don't feel like their lives are so miserable that they are engaging in these kinds of behaviors to try to end their suffering because that's really what this is about. Trans kids don't commit suicide because they're trans, there's nothing about trans-ness that ups the suicide rate. It's because they're being discriminated against, every single day, in every single interaction that they're having, and eventually the gravity of that has a really negative psychological impact on them, and so if you can take one of those interactions that would otherwise be negative and turn it into a positive interaction, well that's a little bit less burden on that, and as time goes by, those burdens will be relieved by folks who care enough to take responsibility for their part in what is arguably a societally wide problem of discriminating against transgender folks. But we can do that if we just shrug it off and say, Oh, the legislature is gonna do whatever, and so everything's gonna be bad.

0:51:48.9 KC: Yeah, things are gonna not be great for the time being, we have to keep doing those little things though, and if we don't do those little things, things are going to be much, much worse. They're not just gonna be a little bit worse. They're going to be... Again, just having that one adult have the suicide risk, that's a big deal, 50% reduction in suicide risk is a massive number that you're not going to find in any other public health study, probably across the board, those are numbers that are unheard of, and that's just like a little thing you can do, you can just say, "Hey, I support you and I see you for who you see yourself as," that's not big, but the impact is. And so try to find those things in your life where you can intervene, just look for them, you have to keep your eyes open and you have to listen to those folks as well, because they're gonna tell you at some point that you screwed up in some way right, [laughter] like I screw up all the time, and it's literally my job to do these kinds of things, but we're also...

0:52:57.6 KC: Were in the process of understanding who these folks are in the first place, and we're understanding... In the process of understanding who we are in the first place as well. I'm still in the process of understanding my own concept of gender identity and where I fit in that, so don't be afraid of making a mistake, you can always apologize, you can do better the next time. If you don't try though, that is much worse than making a mistake, [laughter] you just can't... There's nothing worse than not trying, honestly.

0:53:33.6 KC: And kids can see it, they can see the difference between an adult who is trying and an adult who doesn't care, that's very apparent, even if the mistake is the same, there's just a valance behind it that is kind of hard to ignore, if you've ever been mis-gendered, somebody who just doesn't care at all versus somebody who's a little bit hurt that they themselves are responsible for it, [laughter].. It comes across very differently, so I guess my message to folks is just try to identify where those things can happen in your own life, whether it's conversations with co-workers or whether it's evaluating how you're gonna treat students in, in a class or evaluating what's gonna go up on your wall, or how you're going to respond to somebody that posted something on your Facebook, [laughter] or wherever else. You don't have to engage in every fight, but you do have to at least be thoughtful about why you are or are not engaging, and I think that's maybe what a lot of us don't do enough because our lives are busy, and a lot of the times we're just kind of on auto-pilot and we're trying to go for the path of least resistance.

0:54:43.3 KC: It's helpful though, to sometimes take a step back and think, Okay, well, am I not engaging in this situation because it's the most beneficial course of action? Or am I not engaging because I'm uncomfortable and it's easier to not engage? Actually think through why you're doing the things that you're doing, and especially when you're interacting with somebody like a trans or non-binary person that is maybe experiencing a lot of discrimination in their lives, I think you have to be extra thoughtful in those situations and really think through what is the impact here and how could I make things maybe just a little bit better, 'cause again, it's just the guilt and the feelings of helplessness can be paralyzing, and that's exactly what we want to avoid, if we get into this pear of despair, then we can no longer act, and that's probably the worst possible place to be, is to have that information and just be in a place where you're not even capable of acting on it, knowing things that are bad, but not able to take action, that's terrible. Yeah, that's a really long way, [laughter] of saying that even those little things that you're doing on a day-to-day basis matter and they might matter the most out of anything else.

0:56:07.8 NC: Again, in terms of not necessarily changing my thinking, But activating my thinking into that for being a passive... Having a passive role on that, to recognizing what you're saying that, something that might cost me nothing might make a world of difference to somebody else, or even it might be oblivious to the 99% of other people who walk by my school door and see a pride sticker that I've got in the window of my classroom, maybe 99% of kids walk by that and don't even see it, it's not even in their perception, but one kid sees that, right. And knows that could be a space where they can at least feel recognized and be safe or... Know that they have a competent adult in there too, and then maybe a matter of in your relative contacts in, of identifying what relative power and privilege in those positions that you have, this has been, again, kind of a learning journey for myself as the sixth hatman, I'm 6ft 4, I'm a big, tall giant white guy with a beard, and so it really has been a place to say like, "Damn, I'm in my 30s now, I have a lot of just implicit social capital, walking around, I have a lot of seniority in my building." And so, right, compared to...

0:57:20.9 KC: So, you using the correct pronoun for a trans kid, right. That is... Is kind of a relatively small thing on your part to get right every time. I mean, it might take a little bit of brain power or a little bit of practice and yeah, you might make a mistake here or there, but the way that that legitimizes that kid's sense of self, not just for that kid, but for everybody else that's around that kid, that heard you do it, that has a big impact on, not just how they see themselves, but how they're treated by their peers. Because if they see that it's not acceptable from authority figures to mis-gender that kid, they're gonna comport themselves, right? They don't wanna get in trouble, they also are gonna try to for the most part, kinda take the path of least resistance in a lot of situations. [chuckle] And if the path of least resistance is not mis-gendering that kid, wow, you've just like... You've solved [chuckle] a lot of the discrimination that that kid might experience on kind of a day-to-day inter-peer basis, just by taking the time to get that kid's pronouns right. I mean, like...

0:58:31.1 NC: Yeah.

0:58:31.2 KC: It's not like earth-shattering. You haven't done a 50-page thesis on why this is good, or expended hours of your life trying to make this kid's life better. You've expended maybe five to 10 minutes on practicing it or something else over the course of the entire semester, and yet, [laughter] for that kid, that's life-changing. I mean, just having the people that are around you respect you and kind of reflect how you see yourself, that is... It's night and day compared to the other situation, which is just like the pervasive ongoing discrimination and invalidation and the impact that that has of you seeing yourself in a very specific way and literally everybody else around you seeing you in a completely different way. It's like gas lighting, right? [chuckle] It's just this weird... You feel like a crazy person when everybody around you doesn't share your same sense of identity about who you are. It's just inexplicably one of the most frustrating things that you can go through. [laughter]

0:59:44.1 NC: Yeah, so I think there is like a sense of solidarity then, between adults, between students, between otherwise marginalized youth and mainstream normie adults in this case, especially in a public context. Because I think a teen who is already marginalized by society and things is gonna be a much easier target for people who are looking to intimidate or bully or isolate or put down, etcetera. And so even... And again, this is a lesson that I've had to learn is just putting myself up there in those situations, I can much more readily take those attacks without team brains work in different ways too.

[chuckle]

1:00:32.9 KC: Yeah.

1:00:33.0 NC: So, they might be spiraling on a comment that gets made that for the person who makes it is a throw away that's meant to hurt them in the moment, and they never think about it again, but if adults can kinda step up into those spaces and take the heat, we are hopefully mature enough to be able to weather those blows and help kind of stand up for... I mean, not just for kids, I'm always talking about my classroom context, but for those communities in general too, just that physical human solidarity, I have really have found has been a really powerful tool to again, leverage my social capital, my relative privilege in that context. So, it'd be a powerful thing to just unpack.

1:01:09.5 KC: Yeah, and I do wanna just like... I wanna clarify one thing, and I can already hear my opponents saying it, and that [laughter] is that validating those kids identities is not more likely to make them have one of those identities or to persist in it, right? So there's this weird like, what I call a hypodermic needle theory surrounding identity, and that is that, if you somehow expose kids to gay people or say that being gay is okay, that they're going to be gay or they're more likely to be gay somehow or more likely to be trans, and that's just... It couldn't be further from the truth. We don't actually know what causes people to be gay or trans, and I don't trust anybody that says they do, because there's not a clear understanding of that, but what we do understand is for instance that no environmental intervention that has thus far been attempted can change somebody's sexual orientation or gender identity.

1:02:07.7 KC: So literally nothing that we can do as people can change somebody's gender identity or sexual orientation, and it doesn't matter how long it happens, it doesn't matter how intense it is. I mean, this has been attempted for years through what is I think deceptively called Conversion Therapy, but it probably shouldn't be called that, 'cause it isn't a therapy at all. It's a dangerous discredited practice that is essentially amounts torturing people in order to try to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. And it simply doesn't work, and it doesn't work if it's voluntary, it doesn't work if it's extreme or if it involves physical, it just... Nothing can change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity. That doesn't mean that it's static, that doesn't necessarily mean that we know what causes it, but we do know what can't change it and what can't change it are things that people say to kids, books the kids read, attempted so-called therapies to try to alter these things, none of those things work.

1:03:09.1 KC: None of those things have an impact on what somebody's gender identity or sexual orientation are. It just doesn't happen. And so, the long and short of it is, we can either affirm those identities or we can put those kids in an additional risk for attempting suicide. Those are the only two choices. There aren't any others. I know folks would... My opponent side would say, "Oh, if we just insist that this trans-woman is a man or we just insist that this gay kid is straight, eventually they'll grow out of it," right? But that's not the case. If you insist on continuing to try to change your kid's gender identity, you're upping their suicide risk just by an astronomical amount, and it's not a responsible behavior to engage in. So, affirming those kids' identities is literally life-saving, there's nothing about it that makes them more likely to be trans.

1:04:04.7 KC: In fact, the folks that de-transition, which is another buzz word on the right, if you actually survey them about why they did it, they don't ever say because my identity changed, they don't. They all say because I was facing so much discrimination that it was just unbearable, and so I finally just decided that it wasn't worth trying to be who I was, that I was just going to conform, because it was exhausting, and that I couldn't take it anymore. And that's not how we treat people, [chuckle] I don't know how to communicate that otherwise, that affirming these kids' identities is not changing who they are, it's simply acknowledging who they are. Nothing, nothing you can do is gonna change their identity, it's not possible.

1:04:53.3 NC: Is there a place even where people can follow the work that you've been talking about, where they could go to learn more, to get more involved, to support One Iowa or One Iowa Action, or One Iowa PAC or any of the organizations that you work for here?

1:05:08.5 KC: Yeah, so if you're interested in the legislative work, definitely oneiowaaction.org, sign up for the action alerts. You can get all sorts of information about what legislation is moving forward. All of the different things that you can do to get involved. We've got easy ways to email your legislators, to call them, to identify when you can be best involved in the process. That's really kind of where lobbyists are most useful to everybody else is like, we can kind of tell you when you're going to have the most impact and then give you the tools to do that. And that's exactly what we try to do over at One Iowa Action is, we never wanna waste your time, we're never gonna send you an email if it's just something that... We don't swing at pitches in the dirt. That's what I like to say.

1:05:50.8 KC: We only try to give you tools that you can use that are actually going to have an impact. And again, we can't promise that your impact is gonna be, oh, now we stopped this bill in its entirety, but I can promise you that I will never send you an email to ask you to do something when I don't think we can't at least peel off one more vote. When I don't think we can't at least change the outcome of a committee hearing. When I think we can't at least have a different kind of conversation than the one that we're having right now and play the long game, because we can't win everything in the short term, but I do think we're setting ourselves up to over the long game, be successful and to ultimately make LGBTQ peoples' lives better. Maybe not tomorrow, but next year, and definitely in the next five years, and even more in the next 10 years, etcetera, etcetera.

1:06:45.1 KC: I think we've demonstrated that in the eight and a half years that I've been here. I think that the conversation is much different than if we would not have been here in a number of different ways. And I can point to all sorts of things that I've done or that other affiliated organizations have done, like Interfaith Alliance of Iowa or Planned Parenthood, or Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, I mean, there's a whole coalition of organizations that work toward making LGBTQ peoples' lives better. And again, it's just about harm reduction, [chuckle] trying to identify those ways and forms that we can all just make things a tiny bit better, a little bit at a time, because that's the only way that real change... Sustainable change actually happens. There are some times that everything lurches forward, but those times also seem to have the ability to quickly backlash as well, and our opponents can sometimes maximize on that.

1:07:49.2 KC: But when we're doing it incrementally, when we're doing it a little bit at a time, and just we keep on it constantly, constantly, constantly, those changes are much harder to roll back because those are much more enduring than the other kinds of change than the quick, rapid changes that we sometimes see the incremental changes just... They can't be rolled back in the same way. A thousand people taking a little bit of an action is much harder to roll back, than one person who takes a really big action. Then that can be rolled back by one other person, right? So, if you get a thousand people to do it, if you've got a community ready to take little actions here and there, that's impossible to fight. There's no way that you can roll back an entire community of people committed to making their community better. It's not possible. So, be part of that community.

[music]

1:08:49.1 NC: I thank you again for listening to Human Restoration Projects podcast. I hope this conversation leaves you inspired and ready to push the progressive envelope of education. You can learn more about progressive education, support our cause, and stay tuned to this podcast and other updates on our website at humanrestorationproject.org.

[music]

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