How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
I strive to live my life authentically and openly so that others can see it is okay to be themselves. I have worked both inside and outside the political system for change and have taught in university to pass along what I know. These days, I work to bring stories to large audiences about people who have made changes themselves.
Who or what was a catalyst for you?
When I was 11 I watched the Mayor of Castro Street for the first time. I realized that many people had gone before me to blaze a trail so my own fight would be less. Milk did it knowing he would pay a grave personal cost. I figure I owe it to the folks who came before me to continue the fight so that the generations which follow me will have an easier path.
What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?
In my lifetime the ability for people to live a little more openly and increasing the vocabulary we have to discuss sexuality has improved. When I was dealing with gender dysphoria and not being able to connect with being a “woman” there wasn’t event a word for what I was. It took another 20 years for people to start using the terms “agender” and “genderqueer.”
What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today?
In the United States we still live in a society where very few people have control over their bodies. We control access to birth control, health care, and even things like food for poor people. Until we can get to a point where we recognize all people have the right to control their body, we can’t change the core of rape culture.
Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?
I have spent most of my career looking for ways to give voice to marginalized people. Trans women have risen in visibility in the past two years. With that has come a barrage of attacks, not only from anti-queer folks and conservative factions but from women calling themselves feminists. I hadn’t seen a solid response to many of the attacks, in part because trans women were being excluded from the conversation. I wanted to create a forum where women from different backgrounds could respond to the critiques without coming under attack from TERFs.
Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself.
The report about the needs of women veterans I wrote in 2012 is referred as “the Bible” at the U.S. Department of Labor.