Chase Strangio on the New Frontier of Attacks on Trans Youth (ep. 120)

September 24, 2020
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September is in full swing, and millions of students across the US are returning to school, though for many, this year looks like none other. As school districts across the country grapple with how to resume classes during a pandemic, many districts and their trans students are facing additional hurdles. 

The Department of Education is now threatening to withhold funding from Connecticut schools that allow trans girls to compete on girls sports teams. Elsewhere, in spite of recent high profile victories affirming trans students’ right to use restrooms that match their gender, attacks on this right continue. And in state legislatures across the U.S., we’ve seen an alarming spate of bills attacking the rights of trans youth.

Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice for the ACLU’s LGBT Project, last joined us on At Liberty back in June, after a historic Supreme Court victory affirmed that employers cannot fire or discriminate against someone simply because they are LGBTQ. A few months later, that victory and his amazing career fighting for trans rights have landed him on TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2020. 

Now, with students heading back to school — whatever that looks like — Chase joins us to talk about the battle for trans rights in and out of schools. 

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MOLLY KAPLAN
From the ACLU, this is At Liberty. I’m Molly Kaplan, your host.

September is in full swing, and millions of students across the US are returning to school, though for many, this year looks like none other. As school districts across the country grapple with how to resume classes during a pandemic, many districts and their trans students are facing additional hurdles.

The Department of Education is now threatening to withhold funding from Connecticut schools that allow trans girls to compete on girls sports teams. Elsewhere, in spite of recent high profile victories affirming trans students’ right to use bathrooms that match their gender, attacks on this right continue. And in state legislatures across the U.S., we’ve seen an alarming spate of bills attacking the rights of trans youth.

Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice for the ACLU’s LGBT Project, last joined us on At Liberty back in June, after a historic Supreme Court victory affirmed that employers cannot fire or discriminate against someone simply because they are LGBTQ. A few months later, that victory and his amazing career fighting for trans rights have landed him on TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2020.

Now, with students heading back to school — whatever that looks like — Chase joins us to talk about the battle for trans rights in and out of schools. Welcome back to the podcast Chase, and congratulations!

CHASE STRANGIO
[00:01:39] Thank you, Molly. It's great to be here. It's great to be chatting with you.

MOLLY
[00:01:43] I want to start with a little bit of the context of what we're looking at in this 2020 legislative season. What this legislation looks like, where is it, how much is there?

CHASE
[00:01:55] Yeah. So I think to really understand what's going on in the national attacks on trans youth, we have to go back a few years to look at the aftermath of the Supreme Court victory in the marriage equality cases. Because what happened was, is you had this incredible victory in 2015 where the Supreme Court strikes down remaining bans on marriage equality for same sex couples. But what ensues after that is an immediate backlash targeting trans people.
And so one of the things that happens is in 2016, when states convene their legislative sessions, you have this proliferation of anti trans bills. This was the year of the anti trans bathroom bill, the infamous HB2 in North Carolina. And so for 2016, 2017, and really2018, we saw the sort of movement against LGBT equality, really zero in on ways to expel trans people, particularly trans students from spaces like restrooms and locker rooms. After 2018, What we saw was they were largely unsuccessful. So where they were able to pass bills, North Carolina being the most famous, they were struck down or repealed when they tried to put these anti trans bathroom policies on the ballot for voters, by 2018, they were defeated almost universally, and the conversation had really shifted in favor of people being more accepting of the idea that trans people that we can just go to the bathroom. And it's actually not a big affront to the rights of others.

[00:03:24] But, you know, sort of ever-nimble and well resourced, our opponents shifted from focusing on restrooms and locker rooms to zeroing in on athletics. And so in 2019, we really see the conversation around trans people as a threat and trans people's bodies as a threat to others moving from the restroom to sports, and I think it's important trace that history, because we're not talking about groups of people who care about sports or care about women's rights and particularly don't care about women's sports. We're talking about people who are opportunistically looking for sites to attack trans people. And you can trace the progression from the restroom to the locker room, to the track, to the sports field. And that's sort of what we saw in 2019, where you have these groups, Alliance Defending Freedom, Heritage Foundation, aligning themselves with the Trump administration, where they have many allies, start to build momentum around this narrative that trans girls in particular are a threat to the survival of women's sports.

And then when the 2020 legislative session started, there were these model bills that were introduced in about 17 states across the country that not only serve to ban trans student athletes from athletics that their peers are able to participate in, but also entrench this incredibly retrograde notion of sex verification into law. Now the 2020 legislative sessions also lined up with the rise of the COVID pandemic in the United States and around the world. And so while these bills were pending, many states ended up adjourning their sessions early and didn't pass them. So we're in a situation where we expect many of them will re-emerge in 2021. Unfortunately, in the midst of the pandemic, Idaho stayed in session in order to pass a sweeping ban on trans participation in sports.

MOLLY
[00:05:13] So priorities, really had the priorities straight.

CHASE
[00:05:16] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was like people are dying, nobody's in school, so let's be sure to stop trans people from participating in sports. Notably, they couldn't name one trans athlete in the entire state. But yet, here we are. And we immediately sued over HB500, which was Idaho's bill. And that was last -- in August. That was enjoined by the district court in Idaho.

MOLLY
[00:05:39] So right now, it's not in effect?

CHASE
[00:05:40] Right now, it is not in effect. So that was an incredible victory, especially moving into, now we're in September moving into 2021 where we expect to see these bills reemerge. We have an incredible precedent to rely on, not to mention the Supreme Court's decision in Bostock, outlining that it's sex discrimination to discriminate against people for being transgender. We have an incredibly robust legal arsenal to move into 2021 to the extent these lawmakers care about what the law says, that’s, you know, a big question mark.

MOLLY
[00:06:10] Right. And even before we hit the 2021 legislative session, there is also an election happening. And it seems like this is also playing out on the election field, like there's been ads, placed that are driving this issue home. I read one article that said that in Kentucky there was polling that showed that this is something that really seems to play with conservative Democrats and independents. Do you have any grasp of why that is the case? Why from bathrooms to sports?

CHASE
[00:06:43] I think it's important to remember that we're just earlier in the conversation. Like when the bathroom conversation first started, there was also a sort of reflexive sense, even among people who thought of themselves as liberal or identified as conservative or even moderate Democrats, that they were like, well, that I'm a little uncomfortable with this. So our sort of collective response to that which is unfamiliar is often the resistance to it. And that's always true. And so I think with the conversation about sports, it's just partly it's a newer conversation and it's more located on the body. And I think one of the things that happened in the restroom conversation is we spent a lot of time talking about how, oh, don't worry, you won't see anyone naked in the restroom. But it also then sort of pushed off the conversation to another day about, well, what do we do with the fact that sometimes our bodies are different?

[00:07:33] And so if we're talking about sites in which the body is more salient, which includes a locker room and sports, I think then there's more work to do to overcome people's deeply entrenched thinking about sort of what is the sexed body and is it binary and how can we sort of protect this long-held view that we get when we were infants, essentially, through life, that you can easily divide people into categories based on physiological characteristics. And so that's the work in the sports conversation.

I also think that, again, our opponents are incredibly good at distorting the conversation, spreading misinformation. And so people are imagining something that just isn't true. This idea--

MOLLY
[00:08:18] Right, as I understand it, there's no science to back up these claims.

CHASE
[00:08:22] Yeah, I mean, there's no science to back up the idea that there's gonna be some sort of trans dominance in sports at all. There's also just like the practical realities that it hasn't happened.

So, for example, trans athletes have been able to compete in the Olympics and all international elite competition, as well as the NCAA for many, many years. And going back to 2011 or in the Olympics, even into the 1990s. And we've literally never had a trans person qualified for the Olympics and we have no examples of trans dominance in any elite sport anywhere in the world, despite policies that allow for participation. So we're obviously not responding to a practical reality. We're responding to fear and misinformation, which is often true when it comes to trans people and policymaking in the United States and around the world.

So it's incredibly painful to think in the few instances where trans athletes find a home in sport, excel in some way and feel joy, then the government comes in and tries to crush that. I think that feels like just one of the cruelest aspects of this, because one thing about sport that can be so important for young people is that it's a place to find a sense of family and camaraderie.

MOLLY
[00:09:30] and also feel into your body--

CHASE
[00:09:32] Yes!

MOLLY
[00:09:32] experience your body as a place of pleasure and success rather than shame.

CHASE
[00:09:35] Yes, exactly.

MOLLY
[00:09:36] And you did a short film called Joy Run. It was made in partnership with Reebok by filmmaker, activist, writer Tourmaline. And in that film, there's a real acknowledgment that sports can be a gender-inclusive space and affirming space. It does not have to look like these binaries that don't actually reward us.

CHASE
[00:09:56] Yeah they don't serve us at all. Yeah, t it was done with Chromat and Reebok and Tourmaline directed it. And it was such a beautiful intervention because it was it was imagining engaging with sport from the entry point of a real trans-centered experience where it's about embracing the body and feeling what the body can do, which is what we love about sport, both as participants and as spectators. We're not like watching and being like, oh, look at that person with those characteristics on their body that we think of as female, we're like, wow, look at what that person's body can do. And then when you're the athlete, it's, wow, I am going to experience embodiment in a new and exciting way and challenge myself to be alive and feel joy, fear and excitement and competitiveness.

And so if people find a place where they feel connected to their body, enjoy the idea that the weight of the federal government will come in to try to squander that is just, that is just beyond illegal. It's just absolutely--

MOLLY
[00:10:54] It's unthinkable.

CHASE
[00:09:55] It's unthinkable.

MOLLY
[00:09:57] And let's let's go in a little deeper on the weight of the federal government. The Department of Education, headed up by Betsy DeVos, has announced that they’ll move to withhold up to $18 million intended to help schools desegregate if they continue with their sort of gender-inclusive athletic policies. Can we just pause for a minute? They will withhold money if a school continues not to discriminate. And that money was earmarked to help with desegregation. Like--

CHASE
[00:11:25] It’s perverse.

MOLLY
[00:11:25] Can you help me with this?

CHASE
[00:11:26] I mean--

MOLLY
[00:11:26] I'm like, I'm having trouble.

CHASE
[00:11:27] And also it's through the Office for Civil Rights. So it's -- there are so many levels.

MOLLY
[00:11:31] Oh my--

CHASE
[00:11:31] It's like a grant administered and overseen by the Office for Civil Rights that was designated for school integration, for desegregation efforts, that goes, therefore, to certain districts. And in the case of Connecticut, predominantly districts with Black and brown students and Black and brown faculty and staff.

And so here we are in a moment where schools are in crisis, completely underfunded, needing to staff up to deal with the demands of remote learning and blended learning and all the models that we're expecting educators to come up with in the midst of complete chaos for everyone. So we have schools already in crisis. We have the federal government coming in through its Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, in this moment -- when they have, by the way, done absolutely nothing to assist people in in, you know, in opening schools safely and supporting families and children -- saying out of nowhere and completely out of process, we have direct control over this this grant money. And we have decided that you have 48 hours to decide if you're going to discriminate against trans students. If you do not, we will withhold this money by the end of the fiscal year, which is at the end of September, the start of school. And it's just so egregious on so many levels, this idea that the civil rights position of this federal government, of this administration is a position that you must discriminate against trans students in order to receive absolutely essential services for the school districts that need the money the most. I mean, we are living in truly dystopian times.

[00:12:59] Thankfully -- or not not, I don't even know if there is a “thankful” here. The school districts, I think in accordance with federal law and state law and principals said, no, we're absolutely not going to discriminate against trans students. And if we have to, we will litigate over this issue. But that also takes resources. So here we have schools trying to manage and support their students caught up dealing with this completely out of process and illegal action from the Trump administration. And even if we could ultimately prevail in court, the process itself is taking away vital resources from students, school districts, school boards, and sending an absolutely horrible message to trans students that the position of the federal government is not just that you're not protected, it's that it's illegal to protect you.

MOLLY
[00:13:45] And that if we protect you, then you don't, then other people will suffer as a result.

CHASE
[00:13:49] Correct.

MOLLY
[00:13:50] And actually, this brings up an interesting point, which is sort of the always present intersectionality of LGBTQ issues with all groups who are vulnerable or discriminated against. And I just wanted to pause there because they've done something that is just the most egregious way to highlight that point.

CHASE
[00:14:08] Yeah. I mean, there's so many ways to understand just sort of how aggressively harmful the Education Department and the entire administration are being. I mean, they're taking just such dangerous positions in the context of school discipline, immigrant students' education about the history of racism in the United States. I mean, the list goes on, and I think when we're looking at sort of what they're doing right now at the Connecticut schools and the withholding of funding, there's so many ways to understand an intervention in the service of white supremacy. They're targeting students of color deliberately. They're targeting students of color in a conversation about trans issues, which is part of this mentality of divide and conquer, which has the impact of acting as though people can disentangle their identities. There are LGBTQ students of color in all of these school districts. You know, these aren't separate issues. These are people's lives in which there's compounding discrimination from the federal government. And, you know, who knows what their intention is overall? I think it's probably just to punish everyone.

[00:15:08] But the other thing that I think is really important to remember here, when we're talking about sport in particular, and I alluded to this earlier, is that the way in which sport is regulated through these ideas of sex verification and sex policing has always been part of the way in which particularly Black and brown women athletes have been targeted in sport. There's a long history of, you know, Black athletes in particular being challenged around their gender, you know, being said, oh, you're really a man. We have to do extensive gender verification because the gender binary itself serves, you know, has deeply colonial and white supremacist histories. And so the way in which these mechanisms of control ultimately come in is to police certain bodies more than others, which is always true in the United States in particular, where globally as well. But here we know that the more you increase government surveillance and control over people's bodies, the more Black people and brown people are harmed. And that's just always gonna be true.

And so when you have the federal government saying we are going to enforce these ideas of sex and we're going to do it in the context of sport, that that's going to bleed out into other areas of law where we start to see people regulated out of categories for the purpose of excluding them from participation.

MOLLY
[00:16:27] And I think understanding the history here is really important. You alluded to the colonial roots of a lot of what we're seeing in that, this legislative session, this focus on sports is nothing new. It's part of a much larger endeavor and actually reminds me of the movie Disclosure, Sam Feder’s movie that premiered at Sundance that you are in. But in that movie, he does a really good job of showing sort of the history of, for example, The Birth of a Nation. Right? The director for that, D.W. Griffith, did another movie, I think it's called Judith of Bethulia. And in that, also explores these incredibly transphobic issues. But this is somebody who had, you know, two sort of parallel agendas of discrimination and I think really highlighted so beautifully that representation over history has always had these crossovers between race and and transphobic representations.

And actually, it brings up a larger point about representation. You know, Sam Feder when he was talking about why he made the film, he was talking about seeing this sort of paradox where really affirming representation of transgender people in government, in film was sort of exploding -- Laverne Cox on the cover of Time magazine. But at the same time, seeing a rise in violence against trans people. And I'm sort of curious how you experience that paradox, like how that is a lived thing. I mean, you in the last year have won an Emmy, have gone to the Emmys, have been in two Sundance Film Festival films. You are about to receive the acknowledgment from the Time's 100 most influential people. So there's all this affirmation for you and for others as well. But then at the same time, constantly fighting these battles every single year, Chase. It's the same thing. Exhaustion at just having to wage a war every single year. And also just watching the violence continue. And I'm wondering how you reconcile that.

CHASE
[00:18:22] Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, and I actually say this in the film Disclosure, which is that we have to be sort of ever vigilant about how we contend with representation and visibility. It is absolutely and can be a life saving tool. You know you know, growing up, it's you are feeling so alienated from the world and from your own body, it can be incredibly affirming to see people who, you know, look like you or look like a possibility of what you might want your life to be when you're feeling like there is no way for you to have a path to survival, and that, I don't want to take away the power of that.

I also think that the risk is, are there are many, I mean, one is we have these highly curated narratives and images of trans experience and those get elevated into the public sphere and popular discourse, which both can distort the national sense of the material realities of trans people's lives, particularly when you still have about eight out of 10 people saying they've never knowingly met a trans person. The only reference they have is what they see on TV, and it's a glamorized not realistic representation of even those people's lives. You know, you get the urgency then fades because people aren't experiencing the material conditions and connecting with them that most trans people are living under.

[00:19:44] It also, I think has this consequence of almost like if you get inundated with images and ideas in the popular consciousness and yet we're not doing the work to support trans lives on the ground, you end up placing precariously situated trans people in the path of more violence. And so what I mean by that is if we have so much reflexive fear of transness and this idea that gender transgression is something to be punished either through the state or through individuals. And we have sort of all of these public conversations playing out in bits and pieces. And yet we have these people living incredibly precarious, uncertain and unsupported lives. They’re on the street, experiencing the consequences of people's discomfort and anger that they're seeing on the big screen or on the news. And then the sort of person who is just trying to survive becomes the target of the violence. And so I think when we're looking at ways in which public and popular discourse explodes a certain narrative before the material conditions catch up to it, that we have a lot of work to do to recognize that people are going to be in more danger when there's that large disconnect. And I think that's what's happening with the trans community right now. Which then demands of us to do that much more work to ensure that every moment of big visibility comes with it a demand for materially redistribution of goods.

So if we are going to elevate me and Laverne at the Emmys -- obviously that was in the service of our conversation about the Supreme Court case -- but we also have to use that movement to lift up the organizations that are actually feeding, housing, caring for trans people, because those are the trans people that are going to have the backlash from the people who see me and Laverne and want to punish us but don't have access to us.

MOLLY
[00:21:29] Interesting. I also want to acknowledge that even in the course of your career, that there has been huge movement, that there has been, it feels like kernels of hope in the midst of a lot of darkness. And just want to acknowledge that not only was there the Supreme Court win in June, but that Supreme Court win affected another win in a case that you and others on the team are involved in, and that's Gavin Grimm. And this case has been going on for a long time. Can you say something about the Gavin Grimm case, where it is and also whether this and the Supreme Court case, and also the win in Idaho, are kernels of hope that there is, even though it feels like Groundhog Day of just re-fighting the legislative battles. Do you see movement?

CHASE
[00:22:12] Yeah, no, I do see movement. And so, Gavin's case is a case that was brought by my colleague Josh Block in 2015 when Gavin was still in high school. He is no longer in high school. But the case is about whether or not it was illegal for his high school to bar him from the boys bathroom because he's trans. And that case has gone through obviously multiple presidential administrations, many years, many courts. And you can see sort of in the progression of the litigation how the judges are seeing the issues differently, how the world is seeing the issues differently. And Gavin himself is such an incredible advocate and spokesperson that the more that he was out there talking about his experience in the world, I think the more people connected with him.

And you can start to see these shifts. And I absolutely have seen incredible change. You know, I started at the ACLU in 2013 at a time when we were doing a lot of trans work and trans litigation, way less than we're doing now. But we were not talking about it and we were afraid to tell trans stories publicly. I think what we're seeing is an absolute willingness to sort of, as we should, center trans people and our expertise of our own experience, really push the conversation in ways that allows us to not only sort of seek inclusion within the sort of frameworks that exist, but ask us all to question like, which of these frameworks do we really need? Sort of, how much does the gender binary serve us and how much does it do a disservice not just to trans and non binary people, but really to everyone. And I think, you know, over the past year and a half, as I have been working on the Title VII cases at the Supreme Court and fighting the latest legislative battles, and working on the Idaho litigation and supporting Josh's litigation in Gavin's case, it has been amazing this past summer to have these incredible wins in Bostock at the Supreme Court, and Hecox in Idaho, and then Gavin Grimm’s case which resulted in incredible victory at the federal appeals court.

[00:24:05] And all of these wins to me were unimaginable a few years ago. And frankly, like, anyone who’s following me knows I was not optimistic about the Supreme Court situation and the Title VII cases. And so to have these moments where we're getting these unequivocal wins that really just contend with our humanity in really nuanced and important ways. I definitely draw hope from that.

I will say that, I do worry that sometimes when you do this work for a long time, you sort of get overly celebratory about the floor. It's like, oh, they treated us like humans, let's celebrate that. And I think we have to be careful. I think the law is a dangerous tool and that it can lull you into celebrating that which should be a given. Because when you're litigating to hold the line, you sometimes forget that you actually want and should demand a much more beautiful and fulfilling vision of justice, not just we're gonna potentially stop hurting you for a short period of time.

MOLLY
[00:26:05] In this one particular space.

CHASE
[00:26:07] In this one particular space, and we might overturn it on appeal in a few months, you know? And so I think, yes, we need that. We need these wins, we're holding onto and we worked so hard for them, and they are not enough. And it's important that we remind ourselves that every single day.

MOLLY
[00:25:20] And I think one other really heartening part of this litigation, at least as an outsider, has been watching our plaintiffs who have been incredibly young and brave. I mean, Lindsey in Idaho, Terry and Andrea in Connecticut over the trans athlete cases, Gavin Grimm for many years. I mean, these voices are remarkable and it's unfair that it has fallen on the shoulders of our young people to be the voice of reason and inclusivity and equality. But it's also incredibly inspiring. And I'm wondering if you have seen sort of a trickle up, like if our youth can do it, then we can maybe we can all help.

CHASE
[00:26:02] Obviously, like, the most incredible part of the work is working with our clients. They j are taking on so much and are so incredibly, just so fierce in their advocacy for themselves by the time they even reach us often, because it takes so much to even stay in it, to stay in school. So many trans youth are pushed out of school altogether. So many people are livingin ways that are totally unsustainable, where they couldn't take on litigation, which is why we work with people who have the resources, whether they're family resources, financial resources or others, because so many can't take on those fights for so many reasons.

But it is incredible to sort of see these young people at a time in high school -- I mean, I could not even advocate myself out of my own room, into my clothes, like to think about putting yourself out there in these deeply personal ways while the world is attacking you and your government is attacking you--

MOLLY
[00:26:52] And attacking your body, it’s so intimate.

CHASE
[00:26:55] It's just so I mean, right. And talking about your genitals and talking about your chromosomes. It's like it's so incredibly deep about the ways in which they're attacked. And yet they find this sort of ability to sustain their sense of joy and push forward and show people a path, which is just, it's truly incredible. And I also think it's a reminder that trans people can lead the way. These young people have had to contend with so much just to understand who they are, and that is an incredible emotional insight to have at a young age. And there is a way where that breeds a certain type of leadership and transformative energy. Our kids and the people that we care for have an incredible amount of insight into the world, and that the more expansive we make it for them, the more transformative they will make it for us. And so we don't need so many rigid categories.
And that's why we're seeing so many more young people identify as nonbinary and identify as bi- and pansexual because the binaries that we were utilizing made no sense for people’s human experience in a lot of ways. And that the more that we give people the space to experience possibility without preordained structures of how things have to be the more we're gonna see people creating new and less binary structures, it's just inevitable. And I know that really scares people, which is why we see such a backlash against that, which is seen as gender transgressive. We bring these cases. We challenge the discrimination that trans people are facing in the workplace, in prisons and jails, in schools, inhealth care, because there is so much of it.

[00:28:22] Early in the conversation, you alluded to the multiple ways that trans people are being attacked in state legislatures. And one of the other really scary ways is that we're seeing bills that are purporting to criminalize the provision of healthcare to trans minors. And so this looks like efforts to make it, and in some cases a felony, for a doctor or other provider, and in some cases the parent, provide medical care to trans youth. Medical care, by the way, that is deemed medically necessary by both the provider and every major medical association in the United States, a felony. In one or two of the bills, those were punishable by up to life in prison. And so, you can see that we're not just seeing efforts to exclude trans people from space or efforts to bar nondiscrimination protections. We're actually seeing efforts to criminalize trans existence at a young age. And this is a real escalation that we saw in 2020. And none of those passed, again, in part because legislatures adjourned prematurely because of the pandemic. So I think we can expect in ‘21 to see these bills come back. And we're really going to have to be aggressive in fighting them, because not only would they cut off people's existing care putting their lives in jeopardy, but they would take away the possibility of care for any trans young person in the state. And so that would just be a situation with which people would not -- people who didn't have the means to leave the state would just absolutely not be able to survive.

MOLLY
[00:29:40] Also, criminalizing someone for doing their job, it's really hard to fight that as an individual. That's your livelihood. That's your family. That's another level. And I'm curious, as we gear up for the 2020 election, as we gear up for what could be a really challenging 2021 legislative session. What can our listeners do? What can people on the ground, individuals do when they're not already part of the ACLU or other amazing grassroots organizations doing so much good work?

CHASE
[00:30:08] I mean, yes, so I think on every level there are things to do. So it's if we're looking at the presidential campaigns and the senate races, you know, look at the candidates, look at their records, engage, you know, in some places the people are strategically using ads to try to get people to vote for candidates that are anti trans. You know, Michigan is the prime example of the Senate race there, there are ads running. And so get involved and create a counter narrative and support candidates that support trans people.

And so I think, you know, as the election looms, the fate of so many communities is really in the balance as there are -- we're not talking about policies that are on the margins, we're talking about some people who actually want policies that will facilitate the death of trans people, and I don't say that lightly. But when you start to criminalize people's healthcare, when you start to bring the federal government in to ensure that schools are discriminating, people can't survive that, particularly not young people without some massive uprising in support of them. I also think, pay attention to what's going on in your, your -- not just the federal elections, in your state elections. Texas is a hotbed of anti trans and anti civil rights and civil liberties legislation. They're in session every other year. There's tons of state level races in Texas in which the candidates have hugely differing views about things like trans rights. And so paying attention to those races and making sure people are getting the information that they need and then being able to vote safely and get to the voting booth if they're voting in person or have the information they need if they're not.

MOLLY
[00:31:38] Well, Chase, thank you so much. And such a huge congratulations for all the good things. Time 100, Sundance films, it’s so much and you deserve every last bit of it. So congratulations.

CHASE
[00:31:50] Thank you, Molly. And, you know, it's always good to chat with you.

MOLLY
[00:31:59] Thanks so much for listening. We’ve got some exciting news here at At Liberty: We’ve launched a special 2020 voting series called At The Polls. This will be in addition to our normal At Liberty episodes. Each week, we’re answering a new question about voting rights in the lead up to the Presidential election. If you have a question you’d like us to answer, call us and leave a message at (212) 549-2558 or email podcast@aclu.org. We so look forward to hearing from you. And until next time, stay strong.

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