TRANSCRIPT: TransLash Podcast Episode 37, ‘The Anti-Trans Hate Machine Rolls On’

Imara Jones: Hey, Fam. It’s Imara. Welcome to the TransLash Podcast, a show where we tell trans stories to save trans’ lives. Today, we’re bringing you a heavy show, but it’s a really important one. I’m going to dive back into the Anti-Trans Hate Machine to take a look at the ever-escalating attacks on trans youth all across the country.

As we reported last year on the Anti-Trans Hate Machine, a plot against equality, what we’re seeing today as part of a coordinated effort to establish “God’s Kingdom” on Earth and to end democracy. The astounding fact for these extremists is that they’re willing to sacrifice the well-being of trans kids to accomplish all of their goals. To be clear, this anti-trans push across the States is not a grassroots movement. It is not something Americans want. It is something that powerful billionaires and right-wing leaders have put at the center of their agenda, and they have enough power to make us all deal with it. The sad truth is that they seem to have no limits, no low that they won’t sink to.

The recent move by Governor Greg Abbott of Texas to separate trans kids from parents who affirm them is a page that is ripped right out of the worst of America’s, and even the world’s, past. It is why the Anti-Trans Hate Machine is likely to exceed last year’s record of 198 pieces of anti-trans legislation.

Our team did extensive reporting on the slate of anti-trans legislation last year. If you want to listen to that, you can find the Anti-Trans Hate Machine wherever you listen to podcasts, and make sure you subscribe because we’ve got another season coming out later this year.

But because this story is not static, today, we’re giving you the latest. First up is Lizette Trujillo, a mom fighting for her trans son in Arizona…

Lizette Trujillo: This idea of you raising trans people from public spaces isn’t new, but they’re going to greater lengths to ensure that they scare families out of supporting their kids.

Imara: … And Vivian Topping, who’s supporting local efforts to fight against this legislation all across the country.

Vivian Topping: When we think about these bills, I mean, they’re not just going for kids, they’re starting here. This is the bottom for what they want to do.

Imara: But now, more than ever, it’s important to hold on to some bright spots that’s why we’re going to start out, like always, by bringing you some trans joy.

We talk a lot on the show about the importance of the political process for our communities, and so it brings me joy when I see one of us running for office. That’s why I wanted to talk to Bentley Hudgins, who is non-binary. They’re an Asian-American union member, community organizer, advocate, and now, candidate for Georgia House District 90. Bentley decided to run for office, not in spite of, but because of the current political climate against trans people, but they took the time to remind us that that’s not all there is. There’s more.

Bentley Hudgins: I think a lot of times, people can get intimidated by the sheer amount of things that we need to fix, and that’s understandable. Sometimes, a solution is the simplest one. There’s a lot of opportunities and policy advocacy. There’s a lot of opportunities in building political power. There’s also a lot of opportunities right around us. I think that sometimes, we get lost in the grand size and the sheer, you know, weight of the world around us, but a lot of times, to help yourself get out of that place, I’ll, like- sometimes, I’ll call it analysis paralysis. The easiest thing to do is just reach out to the next person and ask how, you know, you can move through this world together.

Imara: Bentley, you and others who jump in to take action, whether it’s for your neighbors, your community, or the world, are trans joy.

Today, we’re going to hear from a parent, fighting for her trans child on the ground in Arizona. With 12 Anti-Trans bills this year, so far, Arizona is one of the many States where Republican lawmakers are trying to advance legislation that will severely harm trans kids, including a ban on their equal access to health care. Lizette Trujillo and her family have made the trip from their home to the State Capitol five times this year to speak out against these bills. As a member of the HRC Foundation’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council, she’s also part of a nationwide effort to support trans kids and their family. In her own community, she facilitates a support group for families of trans and gender non-conforming youth. Lizette is a graduate of the University of Arizona Tucson, and when she’s not fighting for trans rights, she’s running a small business.

Lizette, thank you for taking the time to talk to us during this extremely stressful time.

Lizette: Thank you so much for having me and for highlighting what is happening to our kids this year and for the past three years.

Imara: I’m wondering if you could just start out in a happy place and tell us about your trans child. Generally, what kind of kid are they?

Lizette: Oh, he’s funny. Right now, he’s very excited about going to high school, and he just got accepted to the jazz combo band at school, and having fun with his friends and doing all the normal things that a 14-year-old does right now. He’s on the phone all the time, and also tells me that the experience that we’re having with the legislature really doesn’t translate to what he experiences day in and day out in his community and at school, and with his loved ones, and so I think it’s confusing, but he’s incredible and funny, and I just love him so much.

Imara: Is your biggest argument with him about the phone?

Lizette: Yeah, and cleaning his room. I mean… [chuckles]

Imara: Oh, yeah. Well, he’s a teenage boy, so there you go.

Lizette: Yeah, just clothes everywhere.

Imara: It’s interesting that you say that your family is living in this world of disconnect between what you experience in your local community, what he’s experiencing around him, and what’s happening at the State? And I think that disconnect is not uncommon in lots of different parts of the country. And so, I’m wondering, consequently, why you all have decided to be so public in fighting these bills when you could easily stay, kind of, within the community and the place that you have created for yourself and live a life outside of a- a- a massive political fight.

Lizette: I ask myself the same question. I am first generation Latinx. My parents immigrated with my grandparents to the United States when they were 3 and 5, and growing up, my father, he never graduated high school and he started a business on his own and has created success for himself, something that I’ve always admired and looked up to him for. Growing up, he would always talk to me about all the sacrifices he made so that I would be the first in my family to go to college. Every generation was going to do everything they could to make it better for the generation that followed.

When our son was two and a half, we started to see gender non-conforming behavior, and when he was 8, he finally told us that he was a boy, and I immediately knew that my child, in terms of protections, was like 10 steps behind me, and that he, as a legacy or a generation, wouldn’t be better off because of the sacrifices that my father made or my grandparents made, or sacrifices, even, that I made would be needing to make for him. And so, I felt it was really important, as his mother, to do everything in my power to pave a way forward, where he could thrive and succeed and achieve everything that he’s dreamed of. Like, thinking that my child had more barriers to face than my father was heartbreaking.

Imara: That is heartbreaking. This is now, essentially, the third year of the onslaught of these bills. Every year gets more intense, with no signs of things stopping. And I’m wondering how you, as a parent, in a State with these bills being introduced, how you are managing to keep going and how you’re managing to still provide this living environment for your child and your family, overall.

Lizette: Yeah. Yesterday was really hard, Imara. I’m not going to lie, I’ve cried a lot. Seeing what families and Texas are going through, it’s really scary. People don’t really understand what is actually happening at the ground level. The idea of losing your child because you love and support them and you’ve given them every resource you can to make sure that they are healthy, happy, and thriving, and having that be seen as child abuse and face the threat of being labeled a child abuser, possibly going to jail, having your child taken away from you, is terrifying. And it- it makes one angry. I also think that it proves that parents showing up to the legislature and speaking out in support of our children and the visibility has helped create levels of progress. And so, obviously, these lawmakers see that progress, and what are they doing? They’re trying to silence the voices of the very people who are showing up as allies and pushing this fight forward.

Imara: What’s scary about the Texas move is that amongst the right, these things are never one-offs. They usually replicate very quickly across the country, and so I can understand why you and other parents are terrified. And it is also the case that you continue to be engaged in this fight very publicly, going up to the State legislature, five times, so far, this year. Five times.

I’m wondering if you could just tell us what the environment is when you go up there and when you are sharing your story, and you are appearing before these committees to share why it’s important that your kid be able to be treated like all other kids.

Lizette: Right. I think it’s really important to highlight the families who’ve been showing up alongside us. Being there, together, and seeing our kids be there together has been a game changer. Community is healing and necessary, and so in those moments, it’s so important to be with each other and to have the common goal, being the safety and well-being of our trans loved ones. That has, kind of, buffered some of the things that we might have experienced, had we been there alone. What’s really hard is having our kids sit through, like, three hours plus of really hard testimony of people saying falsehoods about trans people. And a lot of our kids get misgendered and their names are set incorrectly, either purposefully or not, but either way, it’s a microaggression that hurts. And so, that’s where that disconnect that you talked about is really important because these are authority figures. These are lawmakers. Our children are learning about the political process and also understanding on a deep, personal level of the harm of that when it is turned on you and used as a weapon against you just because of who you are. I keep showing up because I want my son to not lose hope. I want him to see that someone fought for him. And so, I think that that’s why a lot of parents keep showing up because we recognize that it’s our responsibility to take care of our children, to protect them, and to make the world a better place for them. I can tell you that there hasn’t been a time when we haven’t left that hearing room after a long day that my kid hasn’t given me a huge hug and told me that he loves me. Right? Like, those are the moments I want him to remember, is that we didn’t leave him to do this work alone, because at the end of the day, what people might not understand is that I’m a cis-straight person living in Arizona. I am Latinx, so I’m a person of color. My husband is an immigrant who naturalized and became a US citizen four years ago, but we get to dip in and out of my child’s experience. He lives at these intersections, day in and day out, right? He is transgender everywhere he goes. And so if we’re not doing everything in our power to make this world safer for him, then who will? And so, that’s the thing that keeps me going. I know when I have private conversations with families, that’s what keeps them going, even though it’s scary, and it’s scarier for our trans loved ones. And this is the least that we can do to show up and to keep fighting, and to keep pushing forward.

Imara: Do you find that the State legislators that you talked to, who are pushing these bills or that when you hear them in these hearings, are they respectful of you all? Are they acknowledging of who you are and the fact that you all are loving and supporting families? I’m wondering if there’s even a basic acknowledgement of your humanity, because it’s really hard for me to think that they can see you all as human beings and still move forward with these bills. And I’m just wondering, as a person who has spent a lot of time with lawmakers, what your perception of that is.

Lizette: Imara, their cruelty is purposeful. I lost my mind in the best way when you released the Trans Hate Machine because I’ve been working with families on a national level to see where these bills are coming from, who are- who is behind them. I mean, in Arizona, we’re like the happy home of the Alliance Defending Freedom, right? They are an hour and forty-five minutes away from me. They have their talking points. They’ve been trained, and they are prepared to talk about
about this issue using language that they know will misinform and cause fear to people who have not had the opportunity to get to know trans people in their communities. And so, they do very disrespectful things like refuse to use the word, “transgender”, right? If you don’t use that term, you completely dehumanize someone by taking away the identity that they carry with them. Bringing forth a medical bill or a sports bill year after year is very purposeful because if you talk about sports, you have to talk about how people use their bodies to play the sport. And if you talk about medical care, you have to talk about what has to happen to the body or what could happen to the body, should there be medical intervention. And so you get to reduce people to just their body parts, and when you reduce them to just their body parts, you get to dehumanize them. They’re no longer a whole human being. This is cruel, and it’s purposeful and it’s discriminatory. People need to be aware of what is happening and who is behind it, because it’s about elections. It’s about funding cycles, and it has nothing to do with our families or our children.

I also look at, like, this bigger, more nefarious, kind of, movement behind it, which is to erase trans people. If more and more families support their trans youth in their homes and they do everything in their power to make neighborhood schools, school districts safer for their children, they create network systems in terms of, like, camps and after-school programs and sports. You’re creating proximity to a community that they don’t want to be close to, and when people are in proximity to people who are different than them, you create progress because you’re breaking down bias every day. And so this idea of you raising trans people from public spaces isn’t new, but they’re going to greater lengths to ensure that they scare families out of supporting their kids.

And the reality is, is that parents who are actually supporting their trans youth are a small population. There’s still a lot of kids who are not safe in their own homes. And so, it’s a real effort to continue to marginalize and to harm a population that’s already vulnerable.

Imara: I think that your point about this language in these bills, putting kids who are not in living environments like the one you’ve created, or who are with parents who are slightly confused and then pushed over the edge into hostility, possibly, by the arguments made around these bills, I think, is a really important one and one that I don’t think is talked about enough.

In the State of the Union speech recently, President Biden condemned the actions in Texas, said that actually parents like you are doing the best for their kids because those kids are made in the eyes of God, and reiterated that the administration has the back of trans people. And I’m wondering if you feel like even as important and powerful as that is in an address to the nation, the largest audience that a President ever gets all year long, I’m wondering if you feel like there’s more that people could be doing, overall, and if so, what that is.

Lizette: I think the most important work that I think about all the time and often don’t have capacity to do is coalition build. There’s a reason why CRT bans are being filed in different States across the country because they’re being weaponized to silence the harms that happen to Black communities day in and day out, to BIPOC communities, and also being used to silence uh, trans youth in the classroom by saying, “You can’t talk about sexual identity or gender identity in the classroom. You can’t ask about pronouns.” Like, all of our movements are tied together, and so when we don’t look at ourselves as an entire collective, as a collective of human beings who’ve been hurt by a larger system, we can’t truly affect change. Like, when people tell me, “I don’t understand why gender markers are such a thing.” I want to say, “Let’s have a deeper conversation about the carceral system. Let’s talk about why gender markers are necessary because if you get pulled over, they’re trying to figure out what jail to send you to or prison.” When you’re working with systems, you’re looking at the impacts, as a whole, and sometimes, people have a hard time connecting those dots. There’s so many fires, so how do we connect with each other’s movements? How do we cross coalition bills? How do we stop centering White Christian nationalists? And how do we create systems that include all people? It’s a large job, and it’s the one thing I wish people understood and could see for themselves.

Imara: Lastly, I’m wondering, as a parent who is engaged in this work, if you could be in a room with the people that are driving this anti-trans hate movement, if you could be in a room with the head of The Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council and ATF, and Betsy DeVos and the National Christian Foundation, what would you say to them?

Lizette: My love is stronger than your hate, and I’m not going to give up fighting for my child and- and our community.

Imara: That’s as powerful a way, I think, to end this as anything I could imagine. Lizette, thank you so much for coming on today. Your son is so lucky to have you as a parent. You are an inspiration to so many of the people that know you directly and the people who will come to know you through this podcast, and I’m just thrilled that you were able to take the time to join us. Thank you so much.

Lizette: Imara, I cannot thank you enough for all of your advocacy, and I know that this is so tiresome to talk about all the time, but I just, like- I value your voice and I’m just so grateful for you. So thank you for allowing space to have this conversation today.

Imara: Thank you. I appreciate that. My entire team appreciates that, as well.

That was Lizette Trujillo, who is a member of the HRC Foundation’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council and advocate for trans youth in Arizona.

When we decided to do a show on the escalation of anti-trans attacks in State Houses this year, I knew that I needed to talk to Vivian Topping, that’s because she’s one of the experts on what’s going on all over the country. Vivian’s the Director of Advocacy and Civic Engagement for the Equality Federation. It’s a network of State-based advocacy organizations, fighting the onslaught of trans hate at the State level. This independent network of members is on the front lines of taking on this Anti-Trans Hate Machine with comparatively few resources. That’s why Vivian’s deep understanding of how to run successful local campaigns to advance trans civil rights is so important right now. She’s worked on State-level advocacy campaigns all over the country, and was the Field Director for the groundbreaking Yes on 3 campaign in Massachusetts, the first ever State-wide referendum on trans discrimination protections. It put advocates on the doorsteps of over 100,000 voters, passing with overwhelming support.

Vivian, thank you so much for joining me.

Vivian: Yeah, of course. Thanks, Imara, for having me.

Imara: Right now, we seem to be on track to exceed last year’s record of 198 anti-trans bills. We are not even at the point where most State legislatures are in session yet, and already, there’s been a tremendous onslaught with some measures that are laws and administrative actions, like that of Governor Abbott in Texas, going far beyond what was done even last year, in terms of the scope. And a lot of this work falls disproportionately on the affiliates in your organization, that are on the front lines of this fight, and State Houses all across the country. And I’m wondering if you can just give us a snapshot of the Equality Federation and just the sheer challenge that you face right now in trying to respond through these local affiliates all across the country.

Vivian: Our members are really at the forefront of this. Many of our members focus on legislative session as their main thing around this time of year, and not necessarily because they want to, but because they have to. We have so many anti-transgender bills that have been introduced across the country. And even in States that aren’t in session, like Texas, we have, still, constant attacks on transgender kids. And I think this year, the big thing that I’m noticing is that even though we aren’t at the exact same amount so far this year of anti-transgender bills, they’re moving faster. I mean, we’ve already had South Dakota pass an athlete ban this year, and we have even more bills moving across the country right now. And so I think for our advocates on the ground, they are exhausted and they are working hard every, single day. I think that folks need to remember it, too, that when we look at these bills, each one of these bills represents hours and hours and hours of work that our advocate folks are doing on the ground to try to fight against them.

Imara: I would love to talk more about that particular place where you landed, which is on the exhaustion. You’re facing highly organized movement, as we described in the Anti-Trans Hate Machine Podcast, where some of the organizations have hundreds of millions of dollars that they’re using to help fuel this anti-trans push. There’s just this massive disconnect between resources of your members and what they’re facing. I’m wondering if you have any insights as to why resources have not flowed to this fight, in a way that are as significant to match the challenge of the moment.

Vivian: That is such a wonderful question to think about right now. Right now, folks are realizing just what the post-marriage movement, and I say that with air quotes, the “post-marriage movement”, needs to be. Once marriage equality was secure and once folks felt comfortable and felt good about marriage equality, we lost a lot of support. I mean, we lost a lot of money. A lot of supporters moved on to other causes, to other issues, and focused elsewhere. We really thought that we could go straight to passing non-discrimination in the States and nationally, and once we got marriage, great. The Equality Act, the Non-Discrimination Law could happen really quickly, but that’s not what happened. We went right to defense mode. Your question about why are we at the point where we are, what’s going on with that, I think that’s the reason. Folks were caught unaware and thinking about what was going to be the moment, and now we’ve ended up in this defensive mode.

I also do want to say, too, that when we think about exhaustion in folks doing the work, there’s exhaustion from States. There’s also exhaustion from the national staff who are doing this work. And so, I know, looking at all of our coalition partners that have been doing this work, that folks at each LGBTQ Organization, no matter who they are, are working every day around the State legislative session and trying to defend against these bills. And I think the problem is, there is not as much financial support from folks in it within their own community, and I’m thinking of
frankly, like, well-off, gay, White men, who are cisgender, are- do not focus as much on this and they did not think about trans people in this moment. We have had times where we need to bring along people in our own community, and I think we are realizing just how much of that we need to do around trans issues, that while it may have been fine for folks to generally support trans people beforehand, once we start thinking about the details and once they start hearing what our opposition has to say, it triggers something in their brain because they may not feel comfortable enough with trans people.

Imara: Yeah, I- I think- I think that’s exactly right. And I think one of the things that is really clear to me is for everyone else in the LGBTQ movement, even in the larger political establishment, the conversation around trans rights is a marginal one, and it’s; therefore, treated as an insignificant one, whereas for the right, it’s a central issue. It is a central issue for them. They are going to use it as a bridge to hold their coalition together in the way that they used abortion rights before, right? It’s going to be the new thing that is a linchpin in their identity as a movement and as a party. That’s why the resources are there on their side that match that seriousness and that focus and that strategy. And as long as progressives and even people within the LGBTQ community and donors, and all the rest of it don’t match that, it’s gonna continue to be very, very, very difficult to hold back this onslaught. And by the way, they’re focused on it because they believe that rolling back trans rights and erasing trans people is just a wedge for them to isolate the entire LGBTQ community, as a whole. It’s just the beginning. And I- I just- I don’t think people understand the depth of thinking in strategy on the extreme right behind what they’re doing.

Vivian: The people who are pushing these bills are people who do not want trans people to exist in public life. The thing that is constantly in the back of my head, as a trans person doing this work, as a trans woman who is accessing gender-affirming care is, “Okay. They’re doing this to kids right now. What’s stopping them from coming for me? What’s stopping them from coming for trans adults?” I look at bills, like the bill that is uhm, moving in Alabama right now, which is a medical care ban, and that bill bans care for up to age 19. And so when we think about these bills, I mean, they’re not just going for kids. They’re starting here. This is the bottom floor of what they want to do, and it’s wrapped up in this concept of parental rights that includes things like the Anti-Critical Race Theory bills, these bills that want to censor our teachers from teaching the truth and make it so that kids are being surveilled constantly in their own schools by their teachers for any kind of sense of gender nonconformity.

Imara: In this constellation of the lack of resources is how much of this work is falling on a small group of people. And I’m wondering if you can just give us an insight as to what you think keeps them going.

Vivian: Each other, honestly. When we are dealing with these kinds of bills, you really need to have community supporting you because no one else understands the kind of work that you’re going to and the kind of lengths that you’re going to. I have a group text with three other people at different organizations that are all doing this work, and we check-in every single day and we support each other every single day, whether that’s sharing intel or sharing information, or if it’s just saying, “Hey, this is really hard, and today, I feel awful.” Me, personally, I have had that issue consistently throughout the session. You know, this is the hardest session that I have worked in this kind of, like, anti-transgender rhetoric. It gets in your head, and it hurts. And I think that the thing that keeps me going, that keeps other folks going, is just each other, those of us who are doing the work and linking us together and making sure that we are all supporting each other and lifting each other up.

Imara: Given where you sit and the fact that you’ve run successful campaigns before, and now, working in a vastly outmatched, under-resourced fight right now, I’m wondering if you can tell us what type of response and movement and organization would you create to match this moment. What does a successful response to you as a veteran organizer and advocate, what is the successful response that matches the right wing?

Vivian: So I think in terms of what I would want to see built and what I would want to see grow, the infrastructure is already there. It just needs to be funded. And I think that those of us who are in the nonprofit world need to remember that trans people have always built the systems that we need. We don’t need you to create other organizations. We need you to fund the work that we’re doing. It’s about making sure that everyone has the ability to either give their time. Everyone has the ability to have their talents used, and their talents used to the greatest effect, and they have the ability to support the organizations financially and to support folks financially.

The system that I would want to see is one that funds the organizations that are on the ground that have experience in policy and advocacy, and doesn’t put strings on their funding. And then, I think that there needs to be a national uprising, a national collective response to these bills. Every time these come up, the thing that a State will ask me for is, “Can you get more national attention than this? Can you get more national media?” And the fact is, our opposition gets more play in the media than we do. They are the ones who are constantly being talked about on Fox News. They’re the ones who are getting questions about their specific things, but we’re not talking about ways to uplift and support trans people. The organization everyone wants to see is one that funds and supports trans-led advocacy to fight against these bills.

Imara: What you’re describing is actually an effort that’s on the scale of what happened in marriage, right? Essentially, gay men, and specifically, Evan Wolfson, decided that this was going to be the fight, and then went out and raised an incredible amount of money to fund this nationwide grassroots movement that had all the elements that you speak about.

What can people do? You know, there will be people who will hear this and feel helpless, which always strikes me as strange, because there’s so much to do, that you can actually just pick one thing and do that, but that’s me.

Vivian: [chuckles]

Imara: But oftentimes, we need to have a list of things. So what would you advise that people do in this moment, help stand up against these bills, especially in light of the fact if the Democrats lose one or both of the Houses this year, that these bills are likely to be introduced at the national level, as well? Everything that’s happening in the State-level is just a preview. So what can people do?

Vivian: There are so many fights that if you just sat back and, just, you’re constantly taking all of that in, it gets hard to move. I know you mentioned that, like, you’re someone who like, “Okay. There’s so many things. I can just pick one.” I’m someone who, when I have so many options in front of me, I don’t know what to do, and I get paralyzed.

Imara: [chuckles]

Vivian: [chuckles] And so, like, I really emphasize that people who don’t know what to do in this moment because frankly, how would you? There’s so- such heavy emotions. And so I think, like, number one is forgive yourself and be kind to yourself and understand where you’re at.

In terms of what actionable steps that people can take, number one is making sure that your legislator knows who you are, your State legislators, your federal legislators, your local folks, like school board and city council, all those people across the board, and talking to them about why you support trans people, sharing your story with them if you are trans, and being able to talk about why we need those things and why we need support. The second piece is organizing other people to do that. The work can be so exhausting and can be so heavy, you can’t do it alone. I think that what people need to take from the things that old[?] organizers do is really understand that it’s not just about me, Vivian, saying, “Great. I’m going to call my legislator. I’m going to do this.” It is about me saying to my people and talking to them and saying, “Hey. This matters to me, and this is happening right now across the country. And I need you to call your legislator about this.” The next one is running for office at all levels, because we are seeing a consistent assault at the State- at the State legislative and the city and- council and school board level. Uhm, we need to make sure that there are folks on our school boards, on our city councils, who are able to speak up for trans people when these attacks come there, because it’s not an if, it’s a when. The last thing I would say is supporting trans Mutual Aid work. We need to remember as an or- as a community and as a movement that, again, we have built the systems that we need to survive and to thrive. Those systems need to be supported, and we’re never going to be free through our legislatures. Our legislatures are not going to be able to do this. I think that we are at the beginning of a really long fight about this. I think that trans people are going to be a target for a significant amount of time right now. That means that trans Mutual Aid work is even more important than it normally is. Supporting Mutual Aid work in your area, supporting trans, like, organizations in your area with money and with your time and with your talent, that’s the kind of thing that we need you to do.

And if you are trying to find an organization, folks can go to the Equality Federation and go to our website at and find a member organization in their State. And if you can’t find that person or not, my email is on there, too. Send me an email and I will find the right place for you.

Imara: Vivian, thank you so much, and thank you for the work of the Equality Federation. As you say, we’re at the very beginning of a long fight, and I want to thank you for taking the time to give us a snapshot of the toll on that of people who are on the front lines and just what these organizations are up against and how people can help. Thank you so much.

Vivian: Yeah, of course. Thank you for having me.

Imara: That was Vivian Topping, who’s the Director of Advocacy and Civic Engagement at the Equality Federation.

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The TransLash Podcast is produced by TransLash Media. The TransLash team includes Oliver-Ash Kleine and Callie Wright. Our intern is Mirana Munson-Burke. Alexander Charles Adams does the sound editing for our show. Our digital strategy is handled by Daniela Capistrano. The music you’ve heard was composed by Ben Draghi, and also courtesy of ZZK Records. TransLash Podcast is made possible by the support of the Ford Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Hey. So, I’m looking forward to a major activation that we’re doing at TransLash later this month. It launches on March the 14th, [inaudible] by a video series that we are calling “Trans Bodies, Trans Choices” to use trans [inaudible] of visibility, to highlight the invisibility of trans people in the discussion and the debate of reproductive justice. Trans people need access to the full range of reproductive justice uhm, tools, including abortion access, but not only that. And we’re going to highlight that throughout the month, not only with this video series, but also with a podcast uhm, later in the month, including not only a resource guide for people who need that, but also discussions on Twitter Spaces and on Instagram, and also a town hall with partners. So we hope that you’ll be engaging the hashtag all month, #transbodiestranschoices, and stay tuned. It’s going to be really powerful.

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TransLash tells trans stories to save trans lives. As a trusted source for journalists, thought-leaders, movement activists, researchers, and those wanting to know about trans people, we produce narratives about and for the trans community—accurately and reliably. At a time when disinformation about trans people is being used to undermine democracy and human rights, TransLash Media serves as a beacon of hope through the voices that we share with the world.



TransLash tells trans stories to save trans lives. As a trusted source for journalists, thought-leaders, movement activists, researchers, and those wanting to know about trans people, we produce narratives about and for the trans community—accurately and reliably. At a time when disinformation about trans people is being used to undermine democracy and human rights, TransLash Media serves as a beacon of hope through the voices that we share with the world.


Coming Soon

The Glow UP

At TransLash, change is constant. We embrace our own process of collective transformation, and we honor every step of the journey. We’re getting ready to celebrate a pivotal point in our story, and we’re inviting you to be a part of it! 

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We’ve been working behind the scenes to launch a new brand for TransLash—one that honors our roots, reflects our growth, and leaves room for what’s to come. Over the next few months, you’ll notice fresh visuals and content as we bring our “glow up” to life across our digital channels. This summer, we’ll celebrate the culmination of that work: our brand new website! We’re building a new home for the journalism you love and trust, grounded in our deep commitment to the trans community.

We’re stepping into our own transition, and we want to share it with you. Join us!

Be the first to know when we launch the new site!


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