GBTB - DFY Ash Hall | Texas House Bill 25

Is Gender Identity Part Of A ‘Woke Agenda’? Ash Hall Educates Us, Part 2 (Culture Wars)


Attention Mentions:

Ash: Texas Book Festival

Claire: God Forbid on Hulu

Nichole: The Problem with Jon Stewart, season 2, episode 1 called ‘The War Over Gender’

We continue our conversation with Ash Hall (they/them) this week and focus on Texas. We learn that House Bill 25 is the only current law on the books though the Texas Legislature has considered many anti-trans policies recently. HB25 bans transgender athletes from participating on athletic teams that do not match the sex listed on their original birth certificate. In addition, Governor Abbott issued an executive directive in February of 2022 that directs the Department of Family Protective Services to investigate families that provide gender-affirming care as child abuse. We learn that this directive led to an exodus of many families from Texas and created terror among the families who still reside here. Ash educates us on the myth of gender mutilation being practiced on gender-nonconforming children and teens and teaches us what it actually is. We discuss why there is so much resistance to affirming gender nonconformity, and Ash points out that gender nonconformity has always existed, but we are in an age when the language and visibility of it are more developed, which challenges power structures. Ash points out that culture and policy interact all the time and it’s critical that we focus on making schools safe spaces for all children and families. We know this can be a challenging issue, and we thank you for joining us on this double episode. We really hope you’ll get in touch with any questions or comments you have.

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Is Gender Identity Part Of A ‘Woke Agenda’? Ash Hall Educates Us, Part 2 (Culture Wars)

This is part two episode of our conversation with Ash Hall. He came and spoke with Nichole and me about gender identity and gender ideology. He helped us understand the difference between those two things and shared great information about what is happening in Texas. In this part two episode, we dig into the Texas part of things and the bills that were passed in the last legislative session that impacted transgender Texans.

He also shared with us this mandate that Governor Greg Abbott put forth, which called for CPS to investigate families with transgender children. There has been a lot of fallout from that mandate and a lot of debate about if that was even permissible but it was interesting hearing the perspective of Ash about what the fallout has been, what these families have been experiencing and all the negative impact.

It was a great continuation of our talk. There is a lot of information here for us to learn. I realize how many blinders I have and how much I want to know so that I can speak well about this and challenge a lot of the assumptions that I have. Thank you for joining us. We hope you enjoy the conversation with Ash, me and Nichole.

We got to bring it home to Texas. For people who aren’t aware, what is enshrined in policy here in Texas? I will let you start with that because we want to understand the legislature coming into session in January 2023. What to be on the lookout for?

The one thing that is truly explicitly anti-trans that is state law at this point is the anti-trans student-athlete bill. If you are a trans student at the least in a public school or playing in a public school in a sports program like UYL, you do not get to play on the team that matches your gender identity. It is explicitly about what sex you have or what gender is on your original birth certificate as you can get that changed.

What is dangerous for a lot of trans people is the Republican party saying, “We don’t care what you change it to it. The original is the only thing that matters.” It takes away some of the rights and flexibility legally that we have been afforded by being able to change our documents. That is the only thing that is on the books. It is terrible because being able to engage in an athletic activity is linked to better mental health outcomes and trans students by virtue of being discriminated against already struggle a lot with anxiety and depression. We are saying, “You cannot participate in competitive sports teams if you are trans.” Good luck with all of that. That is the only thing that is explicitly anti-trans that is on the books.

Can I do a little quick shout-out or personal testimonial moment here? My youngest is in middle school and wants to play volleyball. He did play volleyball and it was a fantastic experience. This is my not-so-athletically inclined child but desperately and they got to be a part of the volleyball team. They do go to a private school. I asked him, “Do you want to sign up for basketball?” My tone is like, “It is a personal testimonial about the value and the need for kids to have access to sports.” It is super important and it goes way beyond athletics. That is probably the least benefit for my particular kiddo. It is about camaraderie and being a part of a team.

Physical exercise is a piece of it because that helps with different regulatory systems in your body. It is camaraderie, friendships, learning teamwork and how to make the best out of a loss. The fact that we are depriving one of the most vulnerable groups of kids in the entire state of those benefits, to me, is insidious. It tells me that these elected leaders do not care about our kids.

That is the only one that is on the books. That is what makes what isn’t on the books but is happening anyway. It is interesting. Even though this is not on the books, it is not a law or anything like that. In addition to that, Greg Abbott also mandated that the Department of Family and Protective Services should start investigating accepting families with trans kids and have CPS look into these families, investigate them and determine if there is any child abuse happening.

He was able to do this on his own. He didn’t need other elected officials to back him up. It was an executive order. He was like, “I decided this was happening.” Is that how that worked?

Yes and no. That is how he attempted to do it, whether or not it is legal. That has been an interesting fight in the courts. Ultimately, the courts determined that he was not allowed to mandate that of the agency because the legislature didn’t pass anything saying that was the law. However, the agency has chosen to go ahead and do this anyway. Several families have been terrorized by this. We are talking about small children ages 5 to 8 crying and thinking that their families are going to be ripped apart and it is all their fault because a group of adults has decided that this is appropriate behavior for them to take.

A number of families have been terrorized by Texas House Bill 25. Small children (ages 5 to 8) are crying and thinking that their families are going to be ripped apart and it's all their fault because a group of adults has decided that this is… Click To Tweet

The result has been a mass exodus out of Texas by a number of these families, which is extremely painful to watch. We have young kids saying goodbye to their friends, families and the places where they grew up and having to be reassured by everyone in their life that it is not their fault. I do believe that as they grow older, they will understand that but now, I imagine it is hard for a lot of them not to feel this is their fault and if only they weren’t trans.

It is another insidious action by our state government. That has been the result. The families that have stuck around. It has been a lot of counseling, crying, talking to lawyers, leaning on the community and trying to keep a low profile. A number of us have been showing up at the department hearings and speaking out against this. We got told most that it is not a big deal. It is only thirteen families. That is thirteen families. It is too many. If it is not a “big deal,” you should stop the investigations.

Let’s talk about the chilling effect. I can share my experience, which is that it scared the ever-loving out of us. There is a scramble for how we secure our safety as a family. I always get super emotional about this. It was scary. I’m lucky I get to speak from a place of privilege on this. My kids do go to a private school that is incredibly accepting. I felt confident that I could immediately and I did email the school and said, “Can you please reassure me that if somebody shows up to campus, you will not allow them to interview my children.” Immediately they said, “Of course.” I knew I had a shield in that space.

I have the privilege of being able to send my kids to private school and that is unbelievably lucky and privileged. I can only imagine the terror and fear that other people feel. It is real. Even if it is not your particular family that is being investigated, you feel what we are meant to feel, which is incredibly fearful.

First of all, I’m sorry that you have had to go through this. This is exactly why we fought hard against this so you and your family would not have to go through this. Second, it is state-sanctioned terrorism. It is designed to terrify families, keep kids in the closet and keep families from letting their kids be who they are. It is exactly designed to have a killing effect. Your options are to move or go back in the closet and hope that doesn’t kill you and that is not okay.

GBTB - DFY Ash Hall | Texas House Bill 25
Texas House Bill 25: It’s basically state sanction terrorism designed to terrify families, keep kids in the closet, keep families, from letting their kids be who they are. It is exactly designed to have a killing effect.

These thirteen families that are being investigated, what has looked like for them? What has that experience been like? Are they showing up at their schools and interviewing the kids? What is this?

I don’t know as much about them showing up at the schools. I assume that has probably happened or at the very least, phone calls have been made. Most of the stories that I hear about is it depends on the CPS case worker. The more aggressive ones are the ones I’m most concerned about. Those are folks that keep making phone calls, knocking on doors and demanding to speak to the kid. It is harassment.

They keep showing up and being threatening. They try to look into personal data for each member of the family and try to see if they can twist that into a way to force the kid to talk to them. Other caseworkers know that this whole thing is ridiculous and they strongly disagree with it. They chose to do it because they felt it was better that they do it than one of the more aggressive people. They will do the investigation and talk to the parents. They will be incredibly apologetic. They may do a little bit of observation and make notes in the case that looks to be a normal, healthy, functional family and ideal for other families and kids.

The problem is that these cases stay open no matter what the caseworkers want. The agency is being pushed by the governor to keep these cases open because it looks better for him politically. Meanwhile, many caseworkers have been offended by this entire mess that a lot of them have left. We have a department that was already in a lot of trouble because they could barely take care of the foster kids that they were supposed to help. They don’t even have a bunch of CPS caseworkers. It is a system that was already in big trouble. It is falling apart even more needlessly because of one man’s hate-mongering campaign to make him seem like more of a conservative.

I keep thinking to myself, how do you connect those dots with people who do? It might be for Abbott but I still have a lot of compassion for children and families. Do you understand what is happening in your name when you vote for folks that push forward these agendas? You are breaking the CPS system, which is there to support foster children. We will have more foster children as more women can’t access abortions. It is connected. I don’t know how you help take off those blinders.

Part of the problem is when you first try to explain this to somebody who has been listening to Abbott and the greater Republican machine about this. They say, “That is what is supposed to happen because these kids are being abused. Nevermind.” We have so much data from many different predated medical agencies that show that kids who have supportive families are way more likely to have better mental health outcomes than those that don’t.

Having even one supportive adult in their life reduces the risk of a suicide attempt by 41%. Generally, trans people are a lot happier and report lower rates of anxiety and depression when they are surrounded by supportive loved ones and have a chance to start to transition. Even if that transition is as simple as a name change, new pronouns and a new outfit, which for a lot of our younger members, is what transition looks like. It is discussing gender identity with a therapist, a new wardrobe, a haircut, different pronouns and maybe a different name. It depends.

Ash, can you talk about how gender mutilation does not belong in this discussion?

One of the most outrageous lies of all is the genital mutilation piece of this. That is not a thing. There is not a doctor in this nation that would do that for anybody, with two notable exceptions. One is circumcision. Somehow we are not raising a big stink about that but two and this is wild because in every anti-trans healthcare bill we introduced, there is this exception in place. We are cool with doctors mutilating genitalia on infants if they are intersex and they can’t consent to that. Later on, we find most intersex folks are traumatized to learn what has happened to them. There is a big movement to stop doing that to intersex infants.

Can you explain to our readers who don’t know what intersex is?

Intersex is when your genetic material itself suggests that you are not a man or a woman. You have a mix of both primary and secondary sex characteristics. An example may be, externally, it may appear that you have a vulva but internally you may have testes. That is one example of many different kinds of intersex or options that exist.

It is extremely common in the United States. You are as likely to be looking at a person who is intersex as you are to see a person with red hair. It is an extremely common variation but when it comes to these genital mutilation scares that the Republican party is trying to bring up, we aren’t doing that to transgender youth. Medical transition is a long process. It takes years and there are a lot of steps taken to ensure that somebody is emotionally and developmentally ready for any surgery to happen. You are not going to see anything like that until the teenage years at the youngest. However, it isn’t. We need to say that.

The destination is not always surgery. That also needs to be clear. That is an option. It is on the table but that is not the destination for everyone.

There are several different ways that trans people transition and find joy in their bodies and genders. Surgery is not always what the answer ends up being for folks. It is an option and answers for some folks but it is not for everybody. It is wild to me that we are accused of this. In these same bills that purport to ban gender genital mutilation, there is an exception in there for surgery on intersex infants, which tells you that cruelty is the point.

GBTB - DFY Ash Hall | Texas House Bill 25
Texas House Bill 25: There’s a number of different ways that trans people transition and find joy in their own bodies and their own genders. Surgery is not always what the answer ends up being for folks

What are their thoughts about intersex folks?

They won’t even talk about it. We have called them out on it many times and they have nothing. They won’t tell us anything. That is because cruelty is the point. If they try to justify it for even a second, it becomes clear this is an anti-LGBTQ bill and the I for intersex is included in our community. This is part of how they punch down at us.

I want to take a quick step back because I even realize my blinders and what I don’t know. When you say trans, it sounds like that is a spectrum. Can you define transgender for me? That would help.

It is an umbrella term. The simplest definition I have for it is somebody whose gender identity does not match what is indicated on their birth certificate. That is the simplest definition I got. With that being said, it is an umbrella term. It includes people who are trans men. That is folks who transition from female to male. Transwomen are folks who transition from male to female. It includes people who are non-binary. It includes people who are two-spirit, which is a Native American gender identity. That is somewhat similar to folks who might be non-binary or bi-gender in the sense that they feel that they have an identity that is inclusive of both male and female.

Transgender is an umbrella term. The simplest definition for it is somebody whose gender identity does not match what is indicated on their birth certificate. Click To Tweet

Some folks are bi-gender. Some folks are A-gender and feel they don’t have a gender at all. Many identities fall into that category. Some fall into this more Venn diagram range, like the non-binary identity, where some folks feel that they are non-binary and trans. Some folks feel that they are non-binary but wouldn’t say that they are trans. It is a fascinating umbrella. Some people are directly under it and some people are outside of it or partially in, partially out.

Do you think part of the backlash is that we are finally naming these things and recognizing them? People are like, “This is too much. I can’t keep up with this. I don’t want to change.”

We have been naming a lot of these things for years and that has always come with backlash. I don’t know if it is less that people can’t keep up so much as they don’t want to and they don’t want to complicate their worldviews.

It sounds like the symptom but the actual illness is not wanting anything to be different or to change even though it always exists. The awareness and the need to acknowledge is what feels different.

What offends people more than the fact that the terms exist is that the terms are more widespread. That is what makes this whole effort to shut us down and make us invisible interesting. It is not like these terms are going to magically go away because you pass some laws that make it harder to experience being trans safely in public. The internet will always exist, presumably. These terms will continue to grow and evolve. We will always be here.

I mentioned before that Nazi Germany attempted to erase a lot of our history. They also attempted to erase us. We were one of the groups that were rounded up, put into camps and annihilated. We still keep popping up in cultures and countries all over the world. We’ve always been here and we are going to keep appearing in the world. I don’t know what the meaning of life is. I don’t know why trans people exist or don’t. I’m happy that we have so much variation in our cute little human species because there is a lot that we can learn from each other and these differences are something that we can celebrate. There needs to be a lot more celebrating around difference as opposed to being freaked out by it.

It is like the go-to is freak out.

There doesn’t need to be. One of the easiest examples I have for this, maybe allegorically, is the fiesta in San Antonio. That is an event that celebrates everything like Latina and Hispanic. The community relationship between Texas and Mexico. The grand majority of people I see there belong in those communities.

You also see people of different races, cultures and ethnicities there. Everyone is welcome there to participate, celebrate and have a good time because that is an event where difference is celebrated. This isn’t about that White norm that a lot of the conservatives are obsessed with. We are focusing on this particular culture. Come celebrate the difference. Have some good food and listen to some good music. It could be that easy.

GBTB - DFY Ash Hall | Texas House Bill 25
Texas House Bill 25: We’re focusing on this particular culture today of, “come celebrate the difference, have some good food, listen to some good music.” It really could be that easy.

I like that hopeful note. It could be that easy.

Culturally, it could be. There are still issues to figure out around systems, privilege and power but in terms of our culture, it could be that easy.

I’m wondering. What is the message or what do you wish for people who maybe identify as LGBTQIA+ or allies who are sitting on the sidelines? I don’t know how this impacts me. What is the message to them?

It impacts you more than you think. If it doesn’t yet, it will. There is an Ann Richards quote that I think about all the time because the first time I heard it, I got happy chills. It is, “Why should your life be about you?” I love that quote. I do mention the first two points because what we have been finding for quite some time is when we start to attack trans people and try to make these rules about who belongs on what sports team or what qualifies as a man enough or woman enough.

Some of the first people who get implicated in that mistakenly are Black cisgender women. We have seen this many times over looking at sports requirements. Some of the first people who are accused of being “too man” to participate in women’s athletics are Black women, especially when they start accomplishing and achieving a lot. White women start placing 2nd, 3rd and 4th in comparison. That is one of the first racialized gender identities here. That gets turned on when we start using these transphobic ways of boxing people in.

We have seen that with the William Sisters, Caster Semenya and several Olympians. It is interesting in a bad way. As the trans sports band takes effect in these school years and people are told what they can and can’t do, trans people will be the first to feel the brunt of it. It is a matter of time before there is a Black female student who sits and starts excelling at track meets, basketball or volleyball, you name it and there is a White parent from the other team who decides that woman can’t possibly be a woman. That is probably a man. That is how it starts.

What happens? What is happening? Are they like, “You have to go to the doctor? The doctor has to check.” What does that look like?

We are going to find out. It is ridiculous. This should not be happening.

I love what you are saying because what seems almost casual, I can’t think of a better way to put it, how much that seeps into the culture and my little testimonial moment here was in 2021 when my daughter was playing soccer and I explained she is male presenting. She is on a girl’s team. She is a girl. The point is somebody yelled out from the other team, “This is girls’ soccer.”

When they saw her as the goalkeeper, the coaches blessed them and quickly shut it down. They went, “We know. We got it.” They wouldn’t entertain trying to defend anything, which I was grateful for. That is awful for my daughter to have to hear somebody yell that out as if they have the right to question anything. They felt empowered and as if they did have that right. That is scarring to a child. That is that thing that you remember forever. That writes on your heart and soul.

Beyond all the big things that we are talking about, there are also those little moments when people feel empowered to step outside of the bounds of respectability and kindness. They feel all right to do it. I would imagine that those people won’t even think twice about that thing that they yelled out so casually. That is the stuff that, for kids, is deeply scarring. This is real and important. It is what I want to underline. Everybody plays a part. We all have a role to play in shutting this stuff down.

Policy and culture interact all the time. It is something I want to study more. A lot of what happens in the pink dome ends up determining how we get treated out in the rest of the world. That example is exactly it. Trans people are on everybody’s radar in this scrutinized negative way. All these people feel empowered to make these rude, bold, damaging comments to kids.

Can we point that out?

They don’t think twice about it. Your comment may be what is echoing around in a kid’s head as they spiral from being in a relatively good place, mental health-wise, to developing an anxiety disorder. You have options with how you respond to this stuff. People don’t even think about it. We all have to take responsibility and try to be that positive force that shuts this down but also actively affirms all the kids around us, no matter what they look like. That is going to be part of how we win. Ultimately, we create the culture that we want to see and be part of.

Ultimately, we create the culture that we want to see and be a part of. Click To Tweet

I have one more question and we will move on to our last part. There are many areas. Many times in this show, I’m like, “Nichole, there is so much to fix.” Where do you think we should most focus our attention to make sure Texas is an inclusive place that is welcoming for all Texans?

It has to be in schools in part because that is what our opponents are focusing on. That is part of why I spent a lot of time this past election cycle focusing on school boards. We had a lot of people trying to get on these school boards with an agenda to make it harder to be a kid that has any identity that is seen as outside of that White cisgender heterosexual norm weirdly. Our opponents are putting so much pressure on schools to each inaccurate US history to be terrible at trans kids, assert what bathrooms people can use, what sports teams people can be on and what books we read.

That is going to have to be where we focus and that is going to be complicated because our public schools, in particular, are underfunded. Our teachers don’t have the resources they need to even teach their classes the way that they would like to, much less receive the support that they need to live their lives comfortably.

We have our work cut out for us but it is going to have to be schools. We decide to be the parents that are affirming and accepting around everyone’s kids and also around parents who are trans or LGBTQIA+. We are going to have to fight to make sure that there is a variety of books that are available to our kids and that our teachers know that not every parent thinks that they are terrible. A lot of us think they are doing a great job. We are going to have to show up to school board meetings and voice that, which is a surprisingly effective tactic.

When parents show up at school board meetings where there are people ready to scream about teachers, they go in there instead and talk about how great everything is, how great the teachers are and the school board, the schools and all that, it messes them up because they are going to look like jerks if they scream, shout and sound terrible. It changes their tenor. I strongly recommend that move. We are going to have to focus on schools because that is what is coming under fire the most and it is the starting point for most of us. We learn who we are. We get socialized. We learn a lot of our values in school. I would look there.

For me, a lot of it comes back to public education. This is an institution. We typically all tend to agree they deserve funding and support. It is still a public good. We have to make sure that it is getting the funding, the support it needs and the positive messages. We are invested there. I love that answer. If your child goes to a local ISD, there is a portion of the meetings, which are normally monthly, for public comment. You can say, “My child’s teacher is incredible. I want to take a moment to brag on them.” I’m sure that would be incredible for them to hear. Maybe take the piss out of people who are there to complain. That is a great idea. Nichole, any last thoughts before we move on to our last part of the show?

Quick shout-out to public schools. I revealed that my kids go to private school but I was a public school teacher. I went to public schools my whole life. I am a supporter.

I’m not saying everyone has to go to a public school. There are some great private schools out there too. Some are not great but there are plenty that is great. That is awesome. Kudos to you for being a public school teacher. It is one of the greatest things you can do for our society. Thank you.

You are welcome.

We love our educators. This was a lot of great information. There are many things to touch on, think about and discuss.

Ash, thank you for sitting with us for so long. Goodness, gracious. We have gone so far over time.

It is okay. I hope I’m not rambling too much or anything. I have many thoughts in my brain all the time.

The more we get into this, the more we realize the interconnectedness of everything. To talk about this, you have to back up and talk about this. That is how it is. The more we can piece it together, the more the new picture becomes clear. I like this version of reality over this version that we are living in. We will fix it. For our last part, before we let our guests go, we like to do our attention mentions where we mention something that has our attention. A lot of times, for me, it is a TV show but it can be a book, an article or something that happened that was quite memorable.

I have mine.

Nichole, what do you got?

I prepared as we were talking. I was like, “This is something for sure that I have seen that I can recommend.” It is The Problem With Jon Stewart. Many of the clips are available on YouTube but it is on Apple TV+. Season 2, episode 1, is called The War Over Gender. He has this amazing conversation with the Attorney General of Arkansas that displays all of the hypocrisy of so much of the legislation that is trying to legislate the bodies of transgender people. The Problem with Jon Stewart season 2, episode 1, The War Over Gender, is a good primer after you read this for letting everything sink in.

My favorite part of that episode was when he was interviewing his round table. There was a parent who talked about the experience of having their child come out as trans. This was a person who was in a conservative community and a church environment. This isn’t great but this is a story about how abandoned that person was by their community. I was like, “Are you kidding me?”

Jon Stewart asked, “Did this experience that you went through change anyone’s mind around you?” The parent was like, “Sadly, no.” I was like, “When you see someone that you care about go through this, that has to have an impact.” Maybe it did to those around who were quiet about it. The thing I hope we get some movement on is these people who are nearby starting to wake up and say, “A person is hurting and I have to help them be a support system.”

That is not a downer. It is an interesting lesson in making sure the community that you are in is the right community for you and is going to support you no matter what happens.

Do you have anything, Ash? I figured it out.

I’m having trouble thinking of a specific show or anything. I went to the Texas Book Festival. I want to give that event a shout-out. If you are a Texan and you have never been, you should try to go. It is every fall in Austin at the capital and around the capital. You get to meet authors and hear them speak. There are books for sale and free everywhere. A lot of people bring dogs for you to pet. There are food trucks. It is a gorgeous little event. It is neat to be surrounded by many different people who are all there because they are interested in learning. They are curious about the world and the people around them. What is on my mind is how much I love that event and how I wish everyone could go at least once.

One of my closest friends, growing up, her parents, that was their yearly couple trip. They would come to Austin for the Texas Book Festival. I can even still see the La Quinta in my mind, where they stayed downtown to go to the festival.

I have no excuse. I have never been but I will go. I make sure because I live in Austin. How much easier could it be? Sign me up. I love free books. My mention is this documentary I saw on Hulu called God Forbid: The Sex Scandal that Brought Down a Dynasty. I saw this and I was like, “This story is messy.” A quick little recap for you all not familiar. It follows the sex scandal of the Falwell couple. Becki and Jerry Falwell Jr had a years-long relationship with this young man in Miami. Yet, they were saying in public, “Marriage is between a man and a woman. Don’t have premarital sex. Don’t have affairs and all this stuff.”

Jerry Falwell Jr, for those who don’t know, is a President of Liberty University. His father, Jerry Falwell, created their religious right, the Moral Majority. He activated that voting block. The documentary starts and it is a salacious sex scandal. It goes into the story of the rise of the religious right and it exposes the hypocrisy there. I thought this was well done

That ties to Trump. I watched it. That was interesting to see how the political machinery was all up in it.

I have read reviews and comments about the documentary, like, “It was great, “until it got political. I was like, “The point was that these people are political. You have to tell that part of the story to make it whole and to understand why this sex scandal matters to us.”

Otherwise, it is unimportant. That is a marriage story.

It is their life. Who cares?

It sounds like they didn’t read the previews or anything. We are ready to judge some people.

You all should check it out and let us know what you think because that was an interesting narrative that they put together. Thank you again, Ash. You are an incredible guest. We appreciate the work you do. I love your story about how you are studying therapy. It sounds like it is so much helped inform the way that you can communicate about gender issues and policy and put pieces together for people in a way that, hopefully, they hear and become part of that coalition and make things better.

That is the goal. Thank you for the support and the love on that. I am gearing up for what is probably going to be a very busy legislative session. Thanks for your show. I have learned that I have made more inroads with some of the moderate Republicans than I originally thought. I’m going to keep trying to use these skills to reach people whom a lot of people might deem unreachable and see if I can get them to be helpful.

Thanks for your willingness to do that.

It is easy to be like, “No one can be moved.” We are still people at the end of the day. There is always hope. Clinging onto and, as we say in the show, “Offering hope in these challenging times because people can surprise you in pleasant ways.” That is what we put out into the universe. Thanks again. This was great.

Thank you.

Thank you for joining us. Hopefully, we demystified some little portion of Texas politics and we hope that you will do more with us. Check out our website at, where you all find links to all of our social media and you will find our community. Let’s join together and do more. We hope you will let us know what is working and you will join us next episode. Thanks, everybody. Have a good one.


Important Links

About Ash Hall

GBTB – DFU Ash Hall | Gender IdentityAsh sums it up best when they quote Governor Ann Richards, ‘Why should your life be just about you?’
Guest 1 Bio: Ash Hall (they/them) became involved in social justice advocacy in Texas over a decade ago, after discovering their own queer identities and finding community with others facing oppression. They have worked on numerous campaigns and nonprofits dedicated to civil rights and achieving equity for LGBTQIA+ Americans. Today Ash serves as a precinct chair, member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, School Board Organizing Director of Texas Blue Action Democrats, co-founder of New Endeavor Texas, Chair of the Travis County Democratic Party’s Legislative Task Force, and founder of Justice Strategies. Ash is committed to reaching justice for all marginalized communities and changing cultural norms in favor of compassion and equity.

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