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June 3, 2024 55 mins

Mia talks with trans policy expert Corinne Green about Biden's regulatory rollback of Obama era protections for trans healthcare and how institutional capture of queer orgs has led to disaster in the South.

@gaynarcan

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Also media, Welcome to ikidefen here a podcast being recorded
something like nineteen hours into bargaining with managements, thus at
the peak of maximal derangements, and also about an hour
after former President Donald John Trump was convicted of thirty
four felon accounts of falsifying business records for his election.

Speaker 2 (00:22):
Time payoff of Stormy Daniels. We can only hope that
this will bring voting race to the long suffering felons
of Florida, And realizing that kind of sounds like a joke,
it's actually not. It is in fact, really messed up
that you can just disenfranchise an entire class of people
and maybe the law hurting someone famous will do something good. Now,
that's all the time we have to talk about Trump

(00:42):
right now. If you want, if you want to hear
more about that, you can go to literally everyone who's
ever done any media related thing. Ever, however, we now
have to talk about the other candidate in the twenty
twenty four election, Joe Biden, which means, this is all
the fun you're getting for this episode. It is now
time for you to suffer and with me to talk

(01:02):
about suffering, and specifically the suffering of my well, I
was gonna say, my people, like one of my people's
question work, I don't know. Identity is complicated. Sometimes you're
more than one thing at a time. Is Karin Green,
who's part of a Southern transfem collective launching a very
long list of projects that you will be hearing you
out very shortly. She also used to be a work

(01:23):
on policy for the Equality Federation and for the Transientered
Law Center. Yeah, Karinn, welcome to the show.

Speaker 3 (01:28):
Thank you so much, happy to be here, and yeah,
I'm excited to get the opportunity to kind of talk
about maybe what is behind some of the press releases
and the HRC list of accomplishments that gets hosted on
me all the time when I complain about lack of
action on trans policy.

Speaker 2 (01:44):
You know, I really should have looked this up the forehead.
But I once one of my friends dragged me in
college to a queer movie screening that I went to
because I hadn't eaten all day and they had food,
but ended up being this this really great little kind
of I think it's like an Indian movie thing that's
about this group of queers robbing stealing a blood diamond
from the from the HRC great movie ten out of ten.

(02:07):
I wish I remember what it was called.

Speaker 3 (02:09):
In the movement at the time, we all joked that
HRC stood for peculiar ron of Glinton rather than because
of how the tank they were.

Speaker 2 (02:16):
So yeah, So, as as the listener may may have guests,
we need to talk about Joe Biden's quite frankly, really
terrible record on trans writes. And to do that, we
need to talk a little bit about where the power
of the president comes from. Because, you know, the sort
of traditional liberal wonk theories of the president tend to

(02:39):
either focus on like this discursive effects of what the
president says, or like the president's ability to like negotiate
with Congress to get bills passed. But this largely is
not where the president's power comes from. The president's power
comes from I guess three things, two of which are
very similar. One is, you know, I mean just literally
the command of the military, right the president sense since

(02:59):
Barack Obama, although Bush was doing similar things, has claimed
the legal authority to kill any man, woman, or child
the moment they leave us or regardless of his citizenship status.
This is, this is the legal foundation of the drone
program and it is still in place to this day.
You know, the second one, I'm talking a lot about
Obama here because Obama weirdly established a lot of these
kind of legal frameworks. But you know, the second one

(03:20):
has to do with their ability to control the nation's
intelligence services. You know, I mean, one of the things
that Obama did was like personally coordinate the mess like
multi agency crackdown on occupy. And then the third thing,
and this is where really most of the power is
is through the unbelievably massive federal bureaucracy. So like I

(03:43):
do kind of get assessed to this and anytime you
hear the words the Department of that is the thing
the president has the ability to do shit with. That
is that is a very simplified version of it. But yeah,
you know, when you're dealing with an officeho's power is
largely bureaucratic. It means that if you want to figure
out what they're actually doing, you have to dig really

(04:04):
deep into the depths of the American bureaucracy. So okay,
let's let's let's do that. And yeah, first I want
to ask you about PPACA one five five seven, which
is a part of the the Affordable Care Act. Otherwise
is it still better known as Obamacare? Do the kidsacre?

Speaker 4 (04:26):
Yeah?

Speaker 3 (04:26):
They reclaimed it. I think the lips took it back
I had.

Speaker 2 (04:30):
I've been having this realization that people don't remember Obama
era stuff. Is why I'm saying. Oh, like I said,
I started saying Ferguson to people and they had no
idea what I was talking about. And I was like,
oh no, we ventored the k we ventured the disaster era.
So yeah, can you can you talk about what that
is and what what what it sort of says about
what the Biden administration isn't isn't doing.

Speaker 4 (04:51):
Yeah?

Speaker 3 (04:52):
Absolutely so, as you mentioned, it's part of the Affordable
Care Act, and so Section fifteen fifty seven is the
regulatory implementation of the non discrimination.

Speaker 4 (05:02):
Parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Speaker 3 (05:04):
Back in the day when we were fighting to prevent
Trump from rolling back some fifteen fifty seven protections, we
actually are comf people came up with a much sexier
name than Section fifteen fifty seven, but it never took
off with any of the policy people. So I don't
even remember what I'm supposed to be calling it. I
never hear people say section fifteen fifty seven. What they're

(05:26):
referencing is basically the non discrimination part of the Affordable
Care Act. And so the Affordable Care Act, as people
have probably noticed by now, touches practically all of the
US healthcare system and has extended, especially through Medicaid expansion,
federal dollars into healthcare even more than they had been

(05:46):
previously with the supplants for insurance through Medicaid expansion and
those kinds of things, And so there's actually a lot
of control that the Department of Health or Health in
Human Services and associated other parts of bureaucracy like Center
for Medicaid, Medicare Services, those kinds of things have over implementation.

(06:09):
And so one of the ways of this works is
when legislators write a law, they don't go into all
the details. They just pass a law, right, And so
most times, especially at the federal level, after a law
has passed, the relevant agencies that are going to be
dealing with that part of the law work on and
issue rules or regulations. You might hear them called either thing,

(06:30):
but they mean the same thing, right. So it's basically
the additional agency policies and procedures that they issue through
the formal process governed by the Administrative Procedures Act. Very exciting.
I know this is going to be like just bombshell episode.

Speaker 2 (06:43):
Terrible stuff is coming. Don't worry, you got a whold lot.
It's going to get really bad.

Speaker 3 (06:48):
I'm giving you the foundation to make sure you can
get maximally angry along with me. And so they create
the rest of the implementation of the laws at that Congress, right.
And so in this particular case, for section fifteen to
fifty seven, it deals specifically with non discrimination, So it
deals with race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, any equality can

(07:10):
you can you would typically find in federal non discrimination
laws actually in fifteen fifty seven. And so it's obviously
been kind of going back and forth as a political
football between the Obama administration and then the Trump administration,
and then I don't even know if I'm going to
give Biden credit for treating it as a football. And

(07:30):
so there's this regulatory process that has been going forward
and been rolled back and going forward and been rolled back.
And then simultaneously there are several I don't know the
current number, but several court cases over fifteen to fifty
seven from various era as like I think there's still
at least one case ongoing from the Obama era fifteen

(07:53):
fifty seven rag, there's some ongoing from the Trump rag.
And then obviously folks might have seen in the news
that states like mine Louisiana that have a governor and
attorney general super focused on raising their own profile have
already filed suit against the recently issued Biden era Section
fifteen fifty seven regulation, And so there is a lot

(08:14):
of fighting around trans people specifically.

Speaker 4 (08:17):
Go figure.

Speaker 3 (08:18):
It has been We've been hot right now for the
last four years or so. It's not been a super
exciting time, and it has actually impacted, if you know
how to read the policy tea leaves, it has actually
impacted what we have gotten out of the Biden administration
in terms of actual trans policy. And I've been doing

(08:39):
trans policy for a very long time, start at the
state level in Louisiana. You can't get paid to do
a queer policy in Louisiana. So I moved out to
Oakland to work for ternsit Or Law Center for a while,
and that was actually where I created the joint Protect
Trans Health campaign. It was actually the first ever coordinated
collaboration between the National Center for TANSU Quality and Transgeneral

(09:01):
Law Center, they had never formerly worked together on something before.
But for trans policy folks Section fifty and most of
the country, frankly, obviously, healthcare is like the thing right.
It's always been really terrible in this country, no matter what,
and so taking care of people's which should be a

(09:24):
right to access healthcare has been really really important. I
kind of considered it since twenty seventeen the most important
trans policy issue to work on. And so this is
definitely kind of to the sense that you are a
nerd like me and you have, you know, headline regulatory
actions that you're looking out for and hoping to influence

(09:46):
and doing things around. This is kind of the premiere
regulatory action in my opinion, in the trans policy space,
trying to what it should ideally do is safeguard and
guarantee trans people's access to healthcare, including gender affirming care.
It does not if you actually read the five hundred

(10:06):
and fifty eight page final Rule, but if you just
read like the press releases and the quotes that the
head of Human Rights Campaign give, you might have a
different understanding currently, and that's what I'm hoping we can
kind of get into today.

Speaker 2 (10:20):
Yeah, and unfortunately before we get into that, we have
to do one of the other things that is required
of trans people, which is promoting capitalism if you want
to have a job. So here are some ads. God,
we're going to end up with like some kept paid
ad from Aluisi at our rep or something.

Speaker 3 (10:42):
Oh, they don't even need they have a superjara that
they've been flex and muscle on.

Speaker 4 (10:45):
They don't need to.

Speaker 5 (10:46):
They're fine, And.

Speaker 2 (10:58):
We are back with some cheaing. So yeah, let's talk
about what has been happening and what was actually in
the rules that no one who's not a bureaucrat or
a policy activist has actually read.

Speaker 3 (11:12):
Yeah, so I think a little more background will will
help you get just as angry as I need you
to be, which is you know, So the administration is large.
There are a lot of people that work in the
executive branch, and a lot of them have, especially with
this administration, where a lot of folks actually did come
kind of directly from the Obama administration. They have relationships

(11:33):
with issue advocacy organizations. So most of the nationals, the
queer national organizations, advoccine nonprofits have relationships with executive branch folks,
and so when an executive branch agency like HHS is
working on a regulation that involves queer trans people the

(11:53):
way it worked in the Obama administration, there was actually
very close collaboration between for example, the National Center Foratureer
Quality and the administration in the writing issuance of the
first Obama era fifteen to fifty seven productive regulation. And
so before the election and then during transition, the Biden

(12:14):
administration was obviously in contact back and forth with all
kinds of issue of se groups, not just the queer movement,
but everybody, and they made commitments to the queer movement
that you know, it would be a fairly smooth transition
to working with them like we had worked with the

(12:35):
Obama administration. If you think back a little while, that
was before the kind of current fascist humanization campaign had
really kicked off. And so these commitments were made kind
of in the Overton window from before the last four
years of hell or three years of how however you
want to time it. When they decided to come after

(12:58):
trans people so hard.

Speaker 2 (13:00):
This was back in the kind of housey in days.
I don't even know if people remember this right now,
but like it used to be a thing where democratic
like presidential candidates would attack each other for not being
radical enough on trans healthcare. That was the thing that
happened on the debate stage in like twenty nineteen. It
feels like seven lifetimes ago.

Speaker 6 (13:17):
Now.

Speaker 3 (13:18):
Yeah, And keep in mind that Biden, you know, every
six months he tweets that he has our back or whatever,
and then he's also called us the civil rights issue
of our time. So you know, there are some opportunities
to question that and see if he stacks up. And
my personal and professional opinion, this is what I do,

(13:39):
is that he absolutely doesn't right. And so one of
the things that you would really really want out of
a section fifteen to fifty seven regulation in a context
where states have been passing trans healthcare bands, is that
you would want a section fifteen fifty seven regulation that
deals with preventing transcrimination healthcare. You would want that to

(14:02):
strongly and efficiently preempt state bands against trans care as
violating a federal rule against non discrimination. And because these
things are you have to follow the Administrative Procedures Act
when you're issuing regulations as a federal agency, and most
states actually have the same a similar kind of process,

(14:23):
and so you kind of have to The agencies have
to show how they got to the final rule. So
they issue a draft rule, invite comment. There's a comment
period that you might have seen organizations asking you to
submit comments for before, and then they're actually required to
read and respond to all those comments. And so if

(14:44):
you actually pull up the fifteen fifty seven final rule,
it's actually one of it sounds like even wonkier than
for example, looking at a bill, But because of the
Administrative Procedures Act in the way they have to respond
to comments, there's actually a lot more kind of conversational
pro are not conversational, but you know, regular ask pros
and not terrifying legal language in this stuff. That is

(15:05):
them directly addressing comments people organizations have made and explaining
their reason. And so one of the things that I
think is most kind of emblematic of how we've been
failed and thrown under the bus is because of this
process where they have to kind of show you how
the sausage is made. You can look up in this

(15:26):
regulation and see that for some initial conduct, we were
promised this would come out year one, and then we
were promised it would come out year two and then
year three, and then I have actually heard that they
were trying to push it past the election, and we
kind of forced their hand on it. So you can
tell that they initially wrote the first draft in this

(15:48):
regulation to kill healthcare bands, to federally preempt healthcare bands.
There's actually I did a Twitter thread on this about
how one sentence that was that existed in the draft
version of the fifteen to fifty seven role that one
sentence alone could take down. I think the one I
used for an example was Arkansas's trans healthcare band or

(16:12):
Missouri's actually potentially, because what that sentence did is it
laid out very very clearly that a determination that trans
healthcare is never helpful or useful and can never be
provided does not meet the bar for considered medical reasoning, right,

(16:33):
and so states just can't do it. And that's fantastic
because that is functionally what these healthcare bands do, right,
and many of them, I think the one I used
as an example even actually have include in the non
effective text kind of the whereas preamble section of their bands.
They can't help themselves. They go into all this flowery
language about how trans care is never good and it's

(16:54):
always harmful in all this stuff right in garbage. And
this sentence spoke directly to those trans healthcare bands, and
it made a firm commitment to address them as a
whole as they were happening right at the federal government
to state level. And if you read the final rule,

(17:16):
you will get to see them strike that sentence out
and read their reasoning for striking that out. And so
you actually had this language that was very clear and
very strong, written very relatively early on in his term,
when at the time there were only a handful of
trans healthcare bands that had passed, right, and so it

(17:40):
didn't And so now I'm just offering conjectures and form conjecture,
conjecture informed by reading.

Speaker 4 (17:46):
Policy te leaves.

Speaker 3 (17:48):
But it is my suspicion that at that time, because
there weren't that many trans healthcare bands to preempt, they
were more than willing to maintain, you know, to fulfill
their commitment to us and to issue the kind of
regulation that we had talked about. But as time went
on and the fascist humanization campaign started and ramped up,

(18:10):
and healthcare bands rapidly spread throughout the country. I've been
doing this for a decade and I've never seen anything
like this in any area of policy before, all of
a sudden, if you're holding a card that nuke's health
state healthcare bans, when you wrote it, that card was
only going to nuke a few two or three trans

(18:32):
healthcare bands, right, And if you're the federal government, you
know you can expect to steamrolls and just a handful
of states like that. But then later on, at this point,
I forget the exact number, but it's something like twenty
twenty to twenty three states have healthcare bans implemented.

Speaker 4 (18:49):
And now if.

Speaker 3 (18:52):
You're holding a card that nuke's healthcare bands, you don't
really get to pick and choose which healthcare bands you're
going to. Now you're going to you have to commit.
It's a new goal of them if you play that card.
And that just was not something that they seemed willing
to do when it was going to make the waves
that it would make with twenty to twenty three or
whatever states being pretting empted and required to make sure

(19:14):
that trans people have.

Speaker 4 (19:15):
Health care access.

Speaker 3 (19:16):
And keep in mind that during this period, not just
did more states past these healthcare bands, but the kind
of national discussion and focus on trans people deteriorated horrifically, right,
And so not only were the stakes higher in terms
of the kind of policy confidence in projecting your politics,

(19:37):
but also there was just I assume those lanyards run
horrible polls all the time, right, and saw that we
were losing points in terms of how the public views
transpeople because there's a lot of money being poured into this,
and just made the horrible unethical and moral calculations that

(19:59):
Democrats make, decided that trans people weren't worth it. And
so you can see them cross that strike that part
out of the final fifteen to fifty seven rule, and
it no longer contains any language even approaching that that
is written to address states as a whole, and it
is mostly what is in there at this point is

(20:20):
the same thing that they've been telling us to do
for the last over a decade, which is individual trans
people who just happen to encounter discrimination and healthcare you
to submit an OCR complaint, an HHSOCR complaint. OCR stands
for Office Civil Rights, So you would think an Office
of Civil Rights could maybe be proactive. And notice that

(20:41):
a state that has banned trans healthcare and some places
even criminalized it might be ready for some enforcement, some
broad enforcement. And yet they have maintained in this final
rule that they expect individual trans people to file individual
OCR complaints every time and that they will address each
one on a case by case basis. They reiterate this

(21:03):
at least a dozen times. It is one of the
most offensive parts of all this, right because that's the
only thing that aj just has ever told us about this, Yeah.

Speaker 2 (21:13):
Which is just nuts, Like that's not an actual systemic
way of addressing this. Can you imagine if they had
done this with like literally any other kind of civil
rights issue, like you know, okay, we get we get
we get a state banned on gay marriage, and the
Department is like, yeah, you have to submit a complaint
to us individually. Like that's absolutely nuts, or are you or.

Speaker 3 (21:37):
Of like states were banned insulin or something, you know, right,
like any other facet of healthcare, Just nobody would take that. Yeah,
everyone to expect, Yes, the federal government will come in
to make sure that people in Louisiana can still access insulin.

Speaker 2 (21:52):
Yeah, and in staid, you have this just you know,
I mean a complete abrogation of any like not just
any responsibility, but I mean any attempt to actually not
even like any attempt to do anything to stop any
of these bands that are going to kill a like
not insignificant number of people like me.

Speaker 3 (22:12):
Yeah, And one of the things I'd like to quins
is one of the benefits of you know, the photogram
having to follow the Administrative Procedures Act is they have
to talk about the previous rules in this space, and
so you also get really, I was gonna say funny,
but they're not funny. They're they're deeply depressing paragraphs about
how their final rule is worse than Obama's final rule.

(22:37):
Right they have and they have to explain it. And
one of one of the things that I'll reference here
is that Obama's final rule, I believe, involved directing the
Office of All Rights to conduct a disparate impact analysis
on you know, marginalized populations to determine if there were
discriminatory outcomes in healthcare access kind of even as a
closed system, so they can look in from the outside

(22:59):
and be like, oh, okay, all the transmubl in the
state can't access X, Y and z, so whether that
whether there is a discriminatory you know, law or not
there is a disparate impact on this population, and that
means we need to take enforcement action. And you get
to read the Biden HHS right about how they're not
going to do that.

Speaker 2 (23:19):
Actually, no, no, don't, please please do please do not
do any analysis to see how trans people are being oppressed.
This would look really bad for us. Yeah, speaking speaking
of looking bad for us, you know, you know what
won't look bad. It's if you buy these products and
services from this ad that hopefully isn't I don't know.

(23:42):
I feel I feel like we're kind of running. We've
run through the cycle of the terrible ads, so I
feel like we're about we're on the precipice of there
being another bunch of ads they put on the show
without telling us that we can complain about. But for
now these ones and we are back. Yeah. And I

(24:11):
think this is something that I don't know. I think
most people do not know this. I don't I think
most people do not understand that not only use a
Biden administration not being proactive, it's like they're actively rolling
back protections, and they're actively rolling back things that the
agency used to do under Obama, which was you know,
in most other respects. I don't know. Again, I don't

(24:32):
really like, can I expect the people who listened to
the show to remember the Obama administration? Now, I don't know.

Speaker 3 (24:37):
I mean, I was one of the people who came
of aged off my parents' healthcare plan kind of exactly
right before kind of primary PPACA productions kicked in, right,
and so I had a several month period where they
could still deny you health insurance using homeward being trained

(25:00):
as a pre existing condition, as they don't God, and
so that that actually did happen to me. I applied
for health insurance and they sent me a letter that said,
you have your trends, that's a pre existing condition. We're
not going to health and so I so I actually
did several months later, you know, those protections kicked in,
and the Obama administration actually did do some kind of
proactive work to make sure that those were spread around

(25:22):
the country.

Speaker 4 (25:23):
Like it's not nowhere never has been as guys, good
and throw as it should be.

Speaker 3 (25:28):
But it worked for me here because then when I
implied again, I was not denied for being tranced.

Speaker 2 (25:32):
So yeah, I mean, I think that's the kind of
general thing I want to say about that too, is like,
you know, there were things where like on these kinds
of issues where the obomdministration was a lot better broadly
if you look at the rest of their policy, it
was like significantly further right in the Biden administration like Obama.
Obama tried to tried to like put up grand bargain

(25:54):
together to destroy Medicaid, Medicare, social Security, like he tried
to do that. He was stopped by the Republicans. Right,
It was like, I need to give people a sense
of like how far right Obama was even compared to Biden,
and yet the REGs are getting worse, which.

Speaker 3 (26:12):
Is on our issues, he was fairly fairly good, right, Yeah,
And one thing that I think contributes to people not
you know, I can't blame folks for not understanding this
is happening because the queer advocacy orgs are not talking
about things this way, right, And I think possibly one
of the most illustrative things I can point out is

(26:34):
when the first title nine in pr M drops. So
in PRM stands for Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. So if
I drop that again, it's a screw up on my part.
I don't mean to use the dragon. But so that's
why when they issue their first draft of a regulation
and invite comment in a comment period follows.

Speaker 4 (26:50):
Right, So the the.

Speaker 3 (26:52):
Title nine in PRM that they release around trans students'
access to sports programs and education. If you read it
the language of the actual draft policy, not the press
releases people put out about it, it is functionally states
rights for athlete fans.

Speaker 7 (27:11):
Right.

Speaker 3 (27:11):
It gives the states' rights to come up with a
justification that involves fairness and safety, and then they will
have deference to pursue or whatever, which is not just
that some of the ways they've done fifty fifty seven
as well.

Speaker 2 (27:29):
Yeah, well, and like to make it, make it explicitly clear.
What they're saying is that if you, as a stake
can come up with a good enough reason, you were
allowed to discriminate against trans people and prevent them exactly
doing sports, which is like, again, it is a vert
discrimination based on gender, which you should not be able
to do legally. However, the absolute cowardly shits at the

(27:51):
Biden administration, We're like, no, you could actually do this,
go ahead to have fun fascist humanization marks.

Speaker 3 (27:59):
And so if you remember back to that time, all
of the the national queer organizations put out these glowing
press release. So I'm on the policy side, right, I'm
not on the comp side. I readanalyzed the policy, I
tell them what it means, and then it's most it's
unfortunately out of my hands at that point, right, and
the national queer organizations have been messaging basically all of

(28:20):
these things as great wins moving things forward.

Speaker 4 (28:23):
Biden truly the first.

Speaker 3 (28:25):
Trans president, We love him, stuff like that, right, And
so they did that for that title nine in PRM.

Speaker 4 (28:31):
And then.

Speaker 3 (28:33):
Several days later, Representative Zoe Zephyr, a trans represented state
representative from Montana, organized the out trans state trans and
non binary state legislators from around the country to release
an open letter which you know, condemned the title nine

(28:53):
n PRM for being dog shit. And so that's that's
I think maybe the one and only kind of crack
in the in the facade that has gotten through over
the past couple of years is when you know, this
thing came out after the policy people said this is
how did this happen?

Speaker 4 (29:09):
What the hell?

Speaker 3 (29:10):
And then the comms came out and they were great, glowing,
you know, he love trans people, and then you know
the state trans elected is actually said no, this this
fucking socks actually, right, Yeah, but that has not really
happened for anything else because they're you know, most of
the people who do what I do, they're you know,
specialized in each and there aren't many jobs for it.

(29:32):
And you could, I could speak at length about how
you don't get to speak your mind if you want
to continue to stay with kind of movement employment in
this sector. And so in terms of publicly being able
to speak about how we're being thrown under the bus currently,
there are not many folks with the expertise who are

(29:54):
free to do that.

Speaker 7 (29:55):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (29:56):
I mean I remember, like I'm not a policy person,
right like I have I have you know, part I,
part this is an analytical thing, right Like I bailed
out of going to law school because I had to
read that. I had to read the Clean Air Act,
and I was like, I will literally die if I
have to do this for a living. But you know,
I remember when when the sort of Title nine stuff
came out, and when I remember trying to talk about it,

(30:18):
I remember like the pushback that I got for being like, wait,
this sucks. It was enormous. It was this like incredible
sort of broad front PR campaign from just so many
different and not even just you know, it had filtered
down to the point where like it wasn't just like
these rigs. It was like just like like the random
people on Twitter who's supposed to follow policy stuff were

(30:38):
falling in line. It was like everyone was coming in
and it was just this like absolutely terrifying, like kind
of closing.

Speaker 4 (30:45):
Those don't actually read policy. That's the thing. Policy reporters
don't write.

Speaker 2 (30:50):
Yeah, so many such cases, and.

Speaker 3 (30:56):
So most people who report on policy or or kind
of our follow policy do tend to kind of stick
in the realm of those press releases and initial initial
articles based on press releases. And so if there is
not kind of sincerity and truthfulness on the part of

(31:16):
the orgs that are the trusted, you know, speakers in
this space, then this stuff gets successfully laundered. And I
think it's intentional. I think that it, on one hand,
is an intentional move to prevent and stemy actual grassroots
organizing around sincere and real and pressing trans needs. Because

(31:41):
if you're trying to get a lot of people fired
up about trans healthcare is like on fire, and half
the like half the trans kids in the country don't
have we have to like, this is act up shit time.

Speaker 4 (31:51):
Right.

Speaker 3 (31:52):
But if everybody that you know is on your email list,
if most of them have seen HRC and NCT and
all these places put out these glowing press releases, people
are like, you're crazy. If things are fine, Jo's moving
things forward, We're good. And then also I think they
have kind of backed themselves into a corner in terms

(32:12):
of how a lot of Libs have had backed themselves
into a corner at this point. Right, they know that
Trump is worse on policy, even if Biden has done
barely anything, Trump is obviously worse for trans people. And
so they're allowing electoral weirdness to control actual kind of

(32:33):
policy comms in a way that I find really really frustrating,
and I think is not doing trans people, especially in
the South. It's not treating them with the respect that
they deserve from the organizations that claim to represent them.

Speaker 2 (32:48):
Yeah, and this is a thing that Okay, this is
going to sound like a weird sidebar, but I promise
if you follow this train of logical deay, this is
something you actually this is a debate. You get a
lot more clearly in Latin American social movements, where because
because their social movements are significantly stronger from the social
movements in the US, right, they are their own sort

(33:09):
of coherent like political basis.

Speaker 4 (33:12):
You get this question a labor movement.

Speaker 2 (33:15):
Yeah, yeah, well, I mean, like you know that this
is the thing about the labor movement. Like you know,
if if you look at for example, Bolivia, which has
very very strong social movements or like has traditionally had
very strong labor movements and a lot of social movements
in the last twenty thirty years, right, I mean, like
their labor movement throws dynamite at bosses, right, like you know,
so like they have they have a very strong movement.
And but one of the questions of these movements, and
this is something that has just torn apart the m

(33:38):
as they're they're sort of like supposedly movement political party,
is this question of to what extent should you should
you integrate your social movement with the state. And you know,
and then this is a long this is a long
running debate in budg of social movements. Various movements have
picked different directions. Some of them have become very unfolded
in the States, some of them have resisted it. And

(33:59):
there are you know there there are benefits and problems
with both. But one of the big issues with trying
to sort of incorporate yourself into the state is that
the state isn't just a kind of neutral body. It
will you know, it's it's not just that you're working
with the state. The state is also working with you,
and it will attempt to and in its political parties,
will attempt to seize control of your organization and turn

(34:22):
your organization into just a sort of into you know,
into basically a pr outlet for whatever thing it's doing.
And this becomes a real problem when you're you know,
your your party is trying to screw you. Yeah, I
mean this came to ahead in twenty twelve where there
was a huge fight in Bolivia over a plan by
the MS to build a highway through a bunch of
indigenous land. And this this basically split the base of

(34:45):
the party right because the MAS had been sort of
an indigenous socialist movement, and it got split between the
people who supported building this growth of the people who didn't.
And so like even Morales has riot police stormed the
offices of one of the of one of the indigenous federations,
and like replaces them, like replaces their leadership with guys
who are loyal to him, who will push this thing through, right.

(35:06):
And you know, I mean the reason I'm talking about
this is the kind of social movement stuff I studied
in college, right, And it's like, and now in the US,
we are like kind of starting to get to the
point where we have real social moments, right, and we've
seen sort of like blm, you know, we we sort
of have something that is a curve movement and we're
running into exactly the same thing where yeah, like if
you you know, this is the thing you can talk
about moretifically in the US. But it's like, yeah, like

(35:27):
these orgs are on are are in the middle of
this sort of state capture process, right, And this has
having really really dogshit effects on queer people because when
when these organizations are you know, become becomes sort of
media arms or becomes sort of political arms of these
party apparatuses, they're not representing you, They're representing the party.

Speaker 3 (35:51):
And I think that one one of the easiest places
to kind of see the dynamic that you and I
are talking about in current US politics is in the
discourse around palace and any liberation. Right, Yeah, if you
try to talk with anybody about palastinity liberation, you get
beset upon on all sides by people saying, well, do
you want Trump to win? You think Trump's can be better?

(36:12):
This like electoral project takes precedence over you know, politics
guided by core values so quickly and so overwhelmingly.

Speaker 2 (36:23):
Yeah, And I mean, and it's it's accelerated to a point.
I mean, this is something I remember in during the
Trump years, we would we would joke about this about
sort of the spinelessness of liberalism. Like it used to
be a joke that like if the Democratic president did
a genocide, people would go, oh, well, you still have
to support them because the other guy's Trump. And now
it's literally happening.

Speaker 4 (36:41):
Yeah, you know.

Speaker 3 (36:42):
I mean, well, so I actually started working at Nationals.
I took the drop at Transfer Law Center right after
Trump took office, and so my, you know, it was
very easy for me to especially as someone who you know,
had never worked at large avaccine nonprofits before, because go figure,
there's no money in doing transwork in the South that

(37:04):
was scrappy and under resource as fuck. I got to
delude myself, I think, because you know, Trump is such
a uniquely dangerous force that a lot of people alongside
me and the movement were had the same shared the
values with me, because I could see them being equally
strident and vocal on kind of all the bad things

(37:27):
that were happening. And then you know, it's almost it's
a tire joke at this point, but you know, Biden
took over and the kids were still in cages, and
everybody else shut up, and I looked around and I'm like, wait, I'm.

Speaker 4 (37:36):
Still I still okay, Yeah, the hell where'd y'all go?

Speaker 2 (37:39):
Like I want to yell about that for a second,
because like so I kind of like this, this was
like my sort of well, I mean, I guess my
technical origin story. There's a slight longer thing this, but
like my me being a person that any would listen
to was a product of being involved in Occupy Ice
and like, you know, going out and finding like you know,
I mean, the sort of horror of that, like you
can fucking hear people yelling from the inside of these

(38:01):
buildings that they're being fucking held in and now you know,
Biden like, well, we'll do a longer thing about this
at some point, But like Biden. Is you know that
that fucking bill that they were trying to pass, like
absolutely unbelievably fascist one saying that the president has the
right to close the border. She's trying to just fucking
do it anyways.

Speaker 3 (38:19):
Yeah, And and they're still doing cons hits about it
making them they think it makes them look good.

Speaker 2 (38:25):
No, it's it's like it's they're they're they're doing just
pure evil. Like again, like literally, without like James and
his friends, there would be pile like there still are
corpses floating up in the fucking rivers on the border,
but there would be fucking like there would be stacked
like mounds of corpses of people who fucking starved or died.
Like if literally James and his friends weren't down there
on the border right now, that and and you know,

(38:46):
and yeah, like it's it's the thing you're talking about.
It's like I remember all these people in the streets
for this. I was like I was there, I was
fucking helping to organize this stuff, and then like you
watch them walk away.

Speaker 4 (38:59):
Yeah, it's terrible.

Speaker 3 (39:02):
And I want to make clearer that you know, you're
talking about kind of the pressure that a party in
power can can apply and the way in which these
organizations can be captured, especially just due to how nonprofit
funding is a whole clusterfuck and how it works.

Speaker 5 (39:17):
Here in the US.

Speaker 3 (39:18):
But I so, I actually a White House staffer called
my executive director within an hour of my boss forwarding
the White House an analysis of mine that I'd written
for a state without reading it herself at all. And
in this analysis I included a dismal assessment of the

(39:40):
likelihood that the federal government would use its power to
prevent implementation that solve this was this was a healthcare band,
that a novel healthcare band that the state wanted to
quick turn around one. And so my boss direct boss
forwarded it to the White House, who had asked for
analysis on it without reading it at all. And within
an hour of my boss forwarding it to the White
House House, the White House had called our executive director

(40:04):
to complain about me, and I got written up for it.
That is the fastest turnaround on anything trans that anybody
has gotten out of this White House. And it was
it was getting me me disciplined for in a in
an analysis that was not for them not being super
impressed with their with their trans policy. And I and
I have heard, I have you know, a lot of

(40:24):
colleagues in the movement, folks I trust completely on trans policy.
And I know for a fact that I am not
the only person that has had a situation like that occur.
And so there they are applying pressure and even in
the most direct ways to you know, the advocacy organizations.

Speaker 4 (40:47):
So it is happening.

Speaker 2 (40:50):
Yeah, And I think the thing I wanted to close
up was talking about a bit about like the consequences
of this, because what happens when this this is you know,
this is part of going back to me talking about Bolivia,
like this is part of how even Moralees got overthrown
in the coup, was that because the social movements, like
most of the like a lot of these social movements
have been sort of weakened to the point where they

(41:10):
know they no longer had you know, that they'd become
policy organs at the state and not actual like fighting
movements that could like effectively resist, you know, that that
could do a thing like for example, like you know,
if you look at the the the the original coup
against Hugo Chavez, right, like, the social movements were so
strong that even though the army literally did a coup,
they got fucking ran out by like several million uh

(41:33):
Venezuelans taking to the streets and just like overturning the coup, right,
and that I mean that happens later like in like
that there was you know, there there was there was
a second round of barricades that went up that got
basically no press attention in twenty twenty. You know, then
there's a whole comp I'll talk about that one day.
And how hilariously after getting bailed out, even Morallies pulled

(41:54):
his people off the barricades because they didn't actually want
to oversow the government. They just wanted an election, like well,
people off to keep the government intact long enough. He's
done this in many This is the second time he's
done this, by the way, has happened in the water
in the water wars uh in two and six. But uh,
you know, but but like in the initial period of
the coup, part of the reason this this was able
to happen again was because the capacity of these groups

(42:16):
to like overturn something like this had been so new,
or that they were able to sort of be defeated
in the streets and you know we are we are
watching our own version of this where, Yeah, like I
wanted to sort of talk to you about what's been happening,
the fucking hell escape that's been happening in Louisiana, as
you know, partially because of the sort of Republican's fascist turn,

(42:38):
but also because the resistance to them has been neutered
by the fact that they're you know, they have to
like defend this Biden policy shit.

Speaker 3 (42:46):
Right, And yeah, So one important point to make about
the federal the need for federal protections is that you know,
I live in Louisiana. Federal protections are all I'm ever
gonna have, yeah, right, And so if the federal protections
aren't there, and if there's not a federal government willing
to enforce them, I'm I'm in big trouble. Like I

(43:07):
would bet every single dollar I have, which is not many,
that my Medicaid will will not cover my hormones by
the end of the year. Right, And so what I think,
and I've highlighted kind of before when it was very
clear that Jeff Landry was going to become governor after
John Bell and actually did drug policy for John Bell
for a while, and a lot of trans people were

(43:27):
kind of quietly in his administration. I think that my
friend Tucker, aside from Rachel Levine, was probably the highest
ranked state executive branch transperson in history as deputy Press
secretary for a while. I'm yeah, I'm not to but yeah,
trans people busted ask to get John Bell elected. And
so we had held off a lot of this stuff

(43:47):
for a long time, not just through having a nominally
democratic governor, but through the organizing in the South that
that happens on no resources whatsoever is some of the
most broad based and inspiring kind of coalitional organizing that

(44:08):
I've ever seen, and I've done work all around the country,
and the way that people are able to organize kind
of cross issue here is phenomenal. But we are all
Jerry manderd to shit. We get no money, attention resources
from national groups off in the media, and especially here

(44:32):
in Louisiana and in much of the South, like we
are not an attractive place for impact litigation because we're
in the Fifth Circuit and all our state courts are shit,
and so we really kind of are on our own
here in a all of a sudden Republican super majority
legislature with an activist fascist governor and ag so, Jeff

(44:54):
Jeff Blandery is very much in the model of the
disantis or an abbot in terms of what he is
hoping to do in Louisiana and what he's hoping to
get out of it in terms of his own personal
profile and ambitions. And there's so much we could talk
about in terms of what's going on here, but I
want to highlight specifically a s B two seventy six,
which is the bill you may have seen headlines about.

(45:15):
It's the bill that adds mith pristone and muspristall to
the State Schedule for Controlled Substances Act.

Speaker 2 (45:22):
And can you can you explain what that what that
actually means for people who.

Speaker 3 (45:26):
Do Yeah, so, myth and MISO are used for a
lot of a lot of healthcare in terms of, for example,
miscarriage management inducing labor in a hospital, but that they
can also be used for self managed medication abortion. And
so this has not been done anywhere else in the
in the country where the leading the charge here. No

(45:48):
other state has ever added drugs like this to their
controlled Substances long And so what that means is that
those drugs are now going to be going through the
Prescription Monitoring Program the PMP, which has a lot more
controls and surveillance than non controlled substances. Right, So the

(46:09):
Board of Medicine, the Board Pharmacy, and I'm trying, I'm
trying to do a survey now to figure out which
state agents specifically have like automatic inherent access to that
PMP database. But it makes it a lot more traceable
and trackable, which is which is really scary for anybody
trying to access reproductive and abortion healthcare in a place

(46:29):
like Louisiana. And then the other thing it does is
it raises the stakes phenomenally for the people doing the
kind of and I'm going to speak, I'm going to
try to speak very carefully, or the people doing the
kind of direct practical support work to work with underserved
populations to make sure that they can access healthcare services

(46:52):
that they need.

Speaker 7 (46:53):
Right.

Speaker 3 (46:54):
And it is just a it is a fact of
life that you know, just like in the harm production movement,
there are a lot of people on the ground busting
ass to get people what they need. And you know,
for a lot of times for abortion funds, it's organizing
money and transportation and hotels to get people out of state.
Right since the Florida abortion van, we can't send people

(47:14):
there anymore. We have to send people to Illinois, which
is more expensive further way. And it's those people who
are at risk, the people doing the work like the
backbone of the on the ground grassroots practical support mutual
aid work that are risking. I think it's you know,

(47:35):
five to ten years per pill if they are you know,
providing them to someone else. It's terrifying, and there's no
we don't know what we're going to do about it yet.
It's going to call last night kind of like what
are we going to do about this? We don't know
because it's scary. And then jumping back to kind of

(47:56):
the problem with how not problem nonprofit and advocacy funding
works in this country. There are a lot of restrictions
that come that are you know that organizations who are
funded that way have to live with, Like especially I'll
speak to the harm reduction world. For example, you'll get
a grant at your syringe exchange and they're like, here's
ten thousand dollars, but you can't spend any of it
on needles, and you're like, that's my biggest expense. That's

(48:18):
what I was good as you know, And so it's
the same kind of thing. The more that this kind
of work gets criminalized and pushed to the edge, the
fewer resourced organizations are able to work on it, have
the money that we're going it but be just there
legal teams. The chilling effects of this stuff are massive,

(48:39):
and so it just falls more and more on the
backs of kind of the grassroots folks who have always
been making this happen for community to the extent that
they can under the harshest of circumstances. And you know,
it's people like that who are who are going to
have to make some really tough decisions going forward.

Speaker 2 (48:57):
Yeah, and you know, like the it's never there's never
been a good or safe time to do stuff like this.
But you know, as as it gets increasingly dangerous, and
as you know, you get the sort of downstream effects
of both the sort of legal like but both the

(49:19):
sort of legal danger and the sort of like constricting
of movement space by by the sort of question of
these engios, things just get more and more dangerous in
a time where the people who need to be dangerous
is us, because otherwise we are going to die.

Speaker 3 (49:35):
Yeah, scary time, but yeah, you know, we keep us
fucking safe and yeah, always have and always will. And
it's going to be rough what we're heading into. But
you know, I again, the organizing in the South is
I've never seen anything that's made me so proud to

(49:58):
be an organizer and an actor as the work that
I see in the South. And so if there's anybody
who can lead the way on how to respond to
these things and how to take care of each other,
you know.

Speaker 4 (50:09):
It's it's our people. It's these people who've been doing
it forever.

Speaker 2 (50:12):
So yeah, And I think on that note, if people
want to find you and the people you've been working
with in the orgs that you're sort of working with,
nowhere where can they find that? On the Internet, where
I guess other places too. Are there other things that
are not the Internet at.

Speaker 3 (50:29):
This point, I'm not, I really don't. Yeah, So you
can find me on Twitter. I'm Gay Narcan on Twitter.

Speaker 5 (50:38):
That's that's me.

Speaker 3 (50:39):
And then if you are interested in supporting kind of
the work that my collective is doing, the probably the
best place to go for that right now is our
first launched project called trans Income Project it's trans Income
Project dot org and what that is is an organization
that is solely dedicated to doing direct cash transfers to

(50:59):
transsext words in Louisiana. We just had some of our
first listening sessions with folks and yeah, this is gonna
be so kick ass, So yeah, go go there for
that direct project. And then I would also encourage folks
to take a look at Louisiana Transadvocates. I used to
be president there and it's the state transavacy organization. We're actually

(51:20):
the state in the South that it has had the
longest consistent trans presence at the Capitol through Louisiana Transadvocates.
And we have no fucking money, so feel free to
so maybe toss something over there too.

Speaker 2 (51:32):
If you get tired. Yeah, I will say this, given
how fucking zero dollars every transperson has, like this is
one are the places where your individual dollar will go
the furthest because you're like your your ten dollars is
like a three hundred percent increase on like a total
funding of these works. All right, Well, thank you so

(51:52):
much for coming on and talking.

Speaker 4 (51:54):
About this, and thanks so much for having me.

Speaker 2 (51:57):
Yeah, and I guess by final, final, final message to listeners,
go fuck him up. You could do it too.

Speaker 4 (52:05):
Yeah, that I agreed completely. Quote LN.

Speaker 6 (52:13):
Hi everyone, it's me James, and I just wanted to
read you this today. We're going to put it in
our episode this week because it's a cause that's important
to us, and so we thought it would be something
that might be important to you too as well. On
the tenth of June twenty twenty four, Leonard Peltier, an
enrolled member of the Turtle Band of Chippewa of Lakota
and Ojibwei ancestry and the longest serving political prisoner in

(52:34):
the United States, will be appearing before the US Parole
Commission for the first time since two thousand and nine.
He faces staunch opposition from the FBI and other law
enforcement agencies due to having allegedly killed two FBI agents
in a firefight on the twenty sixth of June nineteen
seventy five, after the agents appeared on reservation land to
execute a pretextural warrant. The initial firefight occurred during the

(52:58):
quote reign of terror on Pine Ridge in the wake
of the occupation of Wounded Knee, a time of extreme
violence when federal law enforcement installed a puppet tribal chair
and was arming vigilantes who targeted Indigenous traditionalists. Every since
leading up to these events, as well as subsequent investigation
and mister Peltier's extradition, trial, conviction, and sentencing, were characterized

(53:21):
by gross misconduct on the part of law enforcement, the prosecution,
and the courts. Mister Peltier's co defendants were separately tried
and acquitted on grounds of self defense. Mister Peltier was railroaded,
and his case is tainted by discrimination at every level,
ranging from the withholding of exculpatory evidence to the torture
and coercion of extradition and trial witnesses, and from the

(53:42):
refusal of the judge to dismiss and vowedly racist Dura,
to the apologetic gymnastics of the courts affirming his convictions
in the face of meritorious legal challenges, had admitted evidence
of outrageous government misdeeds. Mister Peltier has been in prison
for more than forty eight years, and he's almost eighty
years old. He suffers from chronic and potentially lethal conditions

(54:05):
for which he receives insufficient and substandard medical care. If
you want to take action to hashtag free Leonard Peltier,
you can call the US Parole Commission at two zero
two three four six seven zero zero zero, and if
you'd like to find more information on how to support,
you can go to this r L it's h T

(54:26):
T P colon slash slash n d N C O
dot c C slash free Leonard Peltier.

Speaker 4 (54:37):
That's f ir.

Speaker 6 (54:38):
E E L E O n A r D P
E L t I E R, or you can follow
n d N Collective on social media for more ways
to support him. More information on Leonard Peltier, listen to
Margaret's podcast on the Lakota Nation, a read in the
Spirit of the Crazy Horse by Peter Mathewson.

Speaker 7 (55:03):
It Could Happen Here as a production of cool Zone Media.
For more podcasts from cool Zone Media, visit our website
coolzonemedia dot com or check us out on the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can
find sources for It Could Happen Here, updated monthly at
coolzonemedia dot com slash sources. Thanks for listening.

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