Melanie: Welcome to The Resist Bot
Podcast, hosted by me, Melanie Dione.
Join me this week and every week
as I chat with the advocates and
activists in your neighborhood at the
intersection where policy meets people.
Now, let's start the.
Hello, hello, and once again, it
is Time for the Resist bot Podcast.
I'm your host, Melanie Dione.
I hope that wherever you are, whenever
you are, whether it's morning, noon, or
night, you are taking care of yourself.
We are dealing with an onslaught
of S legislatures that have been
working over time on anti-trans.
Right now there are approximately 440
active pieces of anti-trans legislation
floating around in the ether that
makes it almost impossible to keep up.
The other day, I was watching a hearing
in Georgia, and right after that
there was a janky hearing in Kentucky.
This is nonstop, and even though it's
almost impossible to keep up, our guest
this week is an independent journal.
Who just routinely gives of herself
to make sure that not only she's
keeping up, but she's helping us
stay up to date on things as well.
She's an independent journalist.
Her name is Erin Reed.
Let's cut to the chase and listen
to what Erin has to say and
it's my pleasure to introduce.
Our guest this week, Erin Reed.
Thank you for having me.
Thank you so much for joining.
Huge fan . I mean, I hate to use
the word fan, but, or huge admirer.
Let's, let's say it like that.
I feel like Fan maybe
reduces it a little bit.
Can you first of all introduce
yourself to our audience and talk
a little bit about what you do?
Erin Reed: Of course.
Uh, my name is Erin Reid.
I am an independent reporter and activist
tracking LGBTQ legislation, in particular
trans legislation that moves around the
United States and even around the world.
I have done things such as making
a, a map of informed consent medical
clinics for transgender youth, uh, and
for transgender adults, uh, so that
they can seek gender affirming care.
I also, track all the hearings.
I write about them in my
newsletter, Erin, in the morning.
Uh, on subs as well as report on them
on TikTok and on Twitter in a variety
of formats so that people can understand
what legislation is moving through their
own homesteads and what good testimony
against this legislation looks like
and what good activism looks like.
Melanie: I appreciate that.
I am a subscriber to your
newsletter and you are tireless.
I feel like that's the,
um, maybe not tireless.
You are relentless.
In chasing down all these laws because
we're at a time right now where
there is, where it's, it's twofold.
We have to deal with the national
conversation of course, but
there's also this state by
state conversation that can be.
So with you being one person who can only
occupy one state, let's start first in
with how you got here, because I know
when we, when we exist in certain, you
know, points of the margins, you know,
whether it's, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm
a black woman, you're a trans woman.
It, it's almost incumbent upon
us that we become some sort.
There's, there's advocacy,
Just in our existence, just
in, in getting the basics.
So can you talk about how you
took that to the next step?
Because this is, there's, there's a
basic advocacy that we have to do for
ourselves, and there's what you are doing.
Can you talk about how you got into that?
Erin Reed: Absolutely.
And I'm actually really glad that
you started with that because it does
kind of map onto my own experiences.
You seem early in my transition,
finding a gender framing care
clinic was difficult Four years ago.
There were no maps around informed consent
clinics and how to access hormone therapy.
And knowing that such clinics
existed made it easier for me to
transition whenever I was able to
find the one that was local to me.
And so I realized that this
resource could help other people.
So I created this.
And it, it blew up.
I started getting people to
message me about like, you've,
there's this clinic right here.
Um, this clinic is closed down.
You can add this note to this clinic.
You, you might wanna be careful going
to this clinic because the doctor
there is a little bit gatekeeping,
so you might wanna write a note
letting trans people know that.
And so I, I did that and as
a result, it's been used like
four and a half million times.
And I get messages every single.
From trans people that tell me that
they were really glad to have that
resource cuz it helped them transition.
The, the reason I wanna tie that into
what you had just said is because
there, there was nobody doing this,
like there was nobody mapping this out.
A lot of times people on the margins
are, are forced to navigate systems
that were not designed for them.
In ways that can be very confusing and
complex, making it difficult to navigate.
And it was in doing that, that I
started gaining people that would
follow me for these changes in clinics.
And people started letting me know
the laws that were targeting those
clinics, the legislation that
was moving through legislatures.
And so I very naturally pivoted
from not just tracking the
clinics, but also tracking the
laws that target the community.
Ever since then, um, I, I've noted
that you know people, no, no major
news reporters, no, no major news
stations report on all of these laws.
They haven't for the last
three, three or four years.
Only recently are we starting to see
it even somewhat timely penetrate
the mainstream attention span.
So knowing that I am a trans person who.
Cares about these things very personally.
I took it upon myself to start
reporting on it, you know, on Twitter
originally, but then on TikTok to reach
a younger audience of people who are
not getting this information whatsoever.
And, and then eventually
writing my own newsletter.
You know, I started, uh, my newsletter
Erin in the morning specifically
because I wanted to be able to get
all of the information that I had out
there to my audience in a more long
form fashion where they can then rely.
To make decisions and to learn
what the landscape is looking like.
And it's been, you know, it's,
it's been a, a wild ride.
I've been involved in a lot of very big
things, and I'm happy to be able to make
this like the, the central organizing
feature of my work and to be able to
dedicate my full-time attention on this.
Um, you know, I, I, I don't think
that that anybody should be forced,
you know, any, any marginalized
person should be forced to become an
advocate or an activist, but I, I know
that for, for my own personal life.
For, for my own personal wellbeing,
it was important to me because I saw
what kind of a difference letting this
information out there makes in the
When you're doing this work, how do
you push past the, um, people who,
I'll put it in quotes, want to learn,
but the, the conversation almost comes
to justifying existence, justifying.
Well, you have this, why
do you want this as well?
How do you push past that and make
sure that you get the message that
you know is more important out?
Because I think pushing past that
noise is an important part of this.
So do you have any, any tips
for how you, how you do that?
Erin Reed: Of course.
So the compliment that I seem to
receive a lot, and I think I'm realizing
now that it really ties into this,
is that the information that I put
out there is extremely digestible,
and I do try to make it that way.
And the reason why I say this in
answer to this question is because
a lot of times the people that are
saying those kinds of things are just.
They're, they're missing some
of the basic puzzle pieces.
They're missing some of like the
building blocks that are required to,
to fully understand and comprehend
and grasp some of the issues that
even us trans people can find hard
to grasp and fully comprehend because
we're living it and we've still
gone through the same upbringing
where trans people and transgender.
Issues were not, you know, um,
given any sort of coverage.
And so what I do in even the most
complex reporting, even delving into
the deepest bills, even talking about,
you know, theory and stuff like that.
Is, I always, always, always realize
that the people that I want to
reach the most are those people.
The people that I want to, to speak to
are the ones that perhaps are missing
a few of the puzzle pieces, but could
be brought to understand some things.
And so I will always include in
my newsletters, in my Twitter
threads, like I'm not gonna
assume that people know things.
I'm gonna, I'm gonna say
the basics every time.
Uh, you'll, if I ever talk about
a medical ban, uh, I'll talk.
You know, the suicide rate of transgender
people and the way that gender affirming
care reduces it, even though I know
that most people that are involved in
this work know that already, because
we've lived it and we've seen it.
I wanna make sure that, you know, if
you're just stumbling upon my article
for the first time, or if you're
stumbling upon my tweet thread for the
first time, you're not gonna feel like
you're wandering into some, into the
middle of something that's confusing
and that you have no perspective of it.
So I try to, I try to always do.
Melanie: You said something that stuck
with me in one of your interviews, and
you may have said it more than once,
but you talked about the heightening
of gates and the narrowing of doorways.
In this time where the conversation
is more in the mainstream, not so
much the, the, the actual being,
but the conversation because it's
become a, um, an issue where everyone
has to put in their 2 cents when
you deal with actually living this.
Can you talk a bit about, you
talk about the heightening of.
And the narrowing of
doorways as a reality.
Can you talk about what that,
what that actually means and what
that looks like for the day-to-day
person who's just trying to live?
Erin Reed: And I can actually drop
on my personal life on this, um, 20.
Five years ago for me,
I'm gonna date myself.
I first realized that I was trans
and I was nine or 10 years old.
It was impossible to transition
to rural Louisiana as a nine or
10 year old in the late 1990s.
But I did know who I was and, and
I, I, I found that out through.
You know, my own introspection as a
kid, like I knowing who I was inside,
and then eventually finding, whenever I
became a teenager, uh, 12, 13, 14 years
old, finding community online and very
early days of like dial up internet.
I remember speaking to other trans
people way back then and the regime
of, of gender affirming care in
the late nineties, the early 2000.
Was extremely gate count.
So we want to talk about the
heightening of, of these gates and
the, the narrowing of doorways.
They were so narrow back then.
You would have to present yourself
for two years before you would allow,
be allowed gender affirming care.
And so often, like, you know, you
couldn't start hormone therapy
until you've presented as.
In my case, a woman for two years,
and that, that, that made it extremely
difficult for people, especially people
that didn't have, you know, any sort of,
that whose features were, were remarkable.
And who would have difficulty
existing as a woman in society back
then without gender affirming care?
You know, realizing that like
these, these, the gatekeepers
back then, they would stop you
if you were trans-masculine.
They would stop you if
you were non-binary.
They would stop you if your sexual
attraction wasn't the, wasn't
towards the people that they thought.
Uh, reasonable to be
sexually attracted to.
So for instance, if you're a transgender
woman and you loved other women, they
would stop you from transition back then.
And over time, that lesson.
But what we're seeing now is
this attempt to bring things
back there and even further, and
we're seeing these attempts to.
To essentially make transition
an impossible thing.
We're seeing an attempt to bring back old
anti-D drag laws that were in effect in
the 1970s, you know, the, in the 1960s.
The, the things that brought us pride,
the things that brought us Stonewall are
coming back and a lot of this legislation.
And so, you know, I think
that they are trying to.
Narrow these doorways, and I
think that they're trying to
slam the door and lock it.
And I, I do think that that's the
ultimate goal, and that's what I've seen.
Melanie: And it's, it's, it's blatant.
I mean, we, we just had the, the statement
the other day where, Uh, gentlemen.
Huh, gentlemen, I'm not gonna be nice.
Uh, I, I won't say the word that I
wanna say, but the person who, who
talked about eradicating transgenderism
and then what comes, what, what, what
follows it is the sort of explaining,
oh, no, well, he didn't mean that.
It didn't, it doesn't matter.
You know, what the message is going to be.
The, going back to when, when you
talk about pushing us back to the
sixties, the seventies, it almost
feels as though it's the point.
The studies are.
gender affirming care, especially when
we're talking about young children.
I mean, you said you were nine or 10.
This is crucial to the development.
This contributes to a reduction of
depression, a reduction of of suicide.
The frustrating thing, from my standpoint,
seems to be that's what angers the
people in the opposite side of.
That there is no longer shame
in being, in, being transgender.
There is no longer shame in being queer.
So we gotta stomp that out.
Erin Reed: I agree.
And, and I think that, you
know, this legislation is not
coming because people hate us.
This legislation is actually
coming because they're upset that
people love us and that we are
more able to be ourselves and free.
And so that, that are fl maps
onto everything that I've seen.
And, and you know, I, I
saw Michael Null's speech.
Eradication and a lot of us have been
sounding this alarm for a long time, that
this is the, that this was the end goal.
And it's hard, you know, it's hard as
a transgender person to speak about
things like eradication and like the
attempts to eliminate transgendered
people without sounding unhinged.
But then, We see it.
We know it, and then we
finally have them say it.
And it felt like a, honestly, for me,
it was cathartic to hear them actually
say it because we've been calling it
out so often and, and a lot of times
we get ignored for calling it out.
And whenever it's finally said
on stage, it's like, I told you.
, cathartic and also frustrating
because you heard it and people
will still tell you that you didn't
Erin Reed: hear.
And that is frustrating.
Melanie: I appreciate you being here and
I absolutely would love to have you back.
But until then, can you talk
about how folks can support
you, where they can follow you.
Where they can find you?
journalists are so important.
Erin Reed: Thank you.
So Erin, in the morning on, you can just
Google Erin in the morning and it'll
probably take you directly to my page.
I track anti-trans legislation and,
and talk about all these issues in
depth, but I also understand that
people have their own platforms that
they depend upon information for.
And I've tried to get this
information out on all of the
platforms that I'm active on.
So if you search Erin in the morning on
Twitter, TikTok, or on, um, on Instagram.
I get all of my information in digestible
formats on those mediums as well.
I try to make sure that you have
up-to-date information on the
ways in which, um, transgender
people are being targeted and
even protected in some states.
Melanie: Thank you.
Thank you so much for your time, Erin.
We're gonna have you back.
This fight is not over.
I am honored that you came here
today to share with us and I look
forward to talking to you soon.
Thank you so much for having me on.
Thanks again, Erin, for being a
strong and knowledgeable voice in this
fight for human rights and equity.
One of the reasons Erin's voice is
so important is, besides the fact
that she knows her stuff, is that
the voices are, that are reporting on
anti-trans legislation and its impact.
They're mostly done by
people who are not trans.
So however, well meaning we might be, we
are lacking some of the crucial reference
points, the nuance needed to really add
true depth to the discussion, and it
just, it should go without saying that
on matters of trans issues, the voices
that are leading the conversation.
Should be trans.
We cannot keep letting the loudest
voices with all the airtime continue
to be the most ignorant voices.
So the next time you see something
transphobic on social media and you
wanna react to it, do me a favor
before you dunk, and I know it
feels wonderful to dunk on bigots,
it is so immediately gratifying.
Before you do that and give someone
who purchased a blue check, a bi bigger
audience than they deserve, find Erin.
Or another trans journalist
or advocate, amplify them.
Amplify mutual aid.
We know what the bigots are saying,
but engage the people who are acting in
good faith and speaking with knowledge
and a desire to have a decent society.
I'm not saying you have to
pretend like it's not happening.
I'm not saying you have to live in a
bubble, but we don't have to play their
game on their little nasty, muddy ground
either because their job isn't logic.
All they have to do is frustrate
and distract and overwhelm because
despite what conservative media wants
you to think, we're only talking
about 1.4% of the 13 or 17 year old
population and about 0.5% of the
adult population that are trans.
So in a country of over 300
million, we're actually talking
about roughly 1.6 million trans.
In the US bigots need
to be challenged, right?
But let's challenge
them in meaningful ways.
We don't have to get into
these little flame wars that
really unintentionally spread.
Just because it makes us feel
like a good person, let's find
ways to meaningfully do good.
In addition to some of the other
ways I mentioned, you can sign
one of these three petitions.
We actually have three
active petitions right now.
The first one is a national petition.
You can text P F J R N
H to petition Congress.
Its con Congress must urgently
protect transition care second.
P L C L D H.
The this one is for residents of
Missouri support gender affirming care in
Missouri, and this petition talks about
SB 49, SB 1 64, SB 2 36, the so-called
SAFE Act, and any similar legislation.
. And then we have Texas, because
we always have Texas P O S J A C,
vote no on SB 1 0 29, and this is
one banning insurance coverage.
That's the intention of SB 1 0 2 9.
And I think that p o s is a really
important first three letters for
how I feel about this legislation.
So, P O S J A C.
This is for residents of Texas and
keeping on the topic of doing good.
Another good thing that you can
do is become a monthly donor.
We just celebrated our sixth
anniversary and it's been an
absolute privilege to serve you.
It's been an absolute privilege to
watch people be engaged and not just
silently take the awful things that
people are trying to do sitting down.
But this is all made possible
petitions, all of it.
This is made possible by monthly
membership things as something as simple
as making this podcast available to
providing you with just a full toolbox for
civic engagement campaigns, voter drives,
and building a community that knows the
issues that matter to you and can join
you in, whether it's RA raising awareness
or pushing for the change you need.
So if you want to become a
monthly member, Text donate to 5
0 4 0 9 and follow the prompts.
It is as simple as that.
Also, if you sign these petitions
already, you can still promote them.
Just text promote in any of the call
signs to five zero four zero nine, and
that can help get the ball rolling.
Not necessarily people in your immediate
network, but people who are resist bot
users who want to receive messaging,
who would be interested in making
sure that legislation like this is
stopped, or at the very least, their
legislators know how they feel about it.
I wanna thank you all again.
I wanna thank Erin.
I absolutely e.
Everyone to follow Erin's
ck, subscribe to Erins ck.
It's Erin in the morning, dot ck.com.
She is on it, and I don't wanna use
the word tirelessly because I know
this work has to be very tiring.
So let's give Erin the support she
needs and let's make sure that we are
supporting independent faithful journal.
I wanna also thank you for joining me
this week for the Resist Bot Podcast.
We will be back next week with
Michelle Berg from one of my favorite
organizations, Lyft, Louisiana.
Thanks again for joining,
and I will see you next time.
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Thanks so much for joining.
And we'll see you next week.