July. Scorching heat. Queen Hatcher approached the door of a suburban Atlanta home, knocked, and took a deep breath. She had never in her life done something like this. She steeled her courage by thinking about trans women like her who led the way at Stonewall. The door opened and Queen started in on what would be a nerve wracking but rewarding conversation, the first of many during Equality Federation’s Summer of Action.

It is a truth universally acknowledged: everyone loves fairness. Poll after poll tells us that a supermajority of people support the
concept of nondiscrimination. But when it’s time to vote on it, they don’t vote yes. Why?

Unfortunately, our opponents have a winning message: bathrooms. That’s where Queen and hundreds of canvassers like her come in. Last summer they fanned out across four cities around the country to find out how to help voters understand transgender people and see the opposition’s message for what is it: false.

Four thousand conversations about bathrooms later, the great news is that Summer of Action was a success. Having one-on-one conversations with voters about transgender people, letting them know that it is already illegal to enter a restroom to harm someone, and talking through their confusion and concerns with them just plain works.

Now, as we move into potential ballot fights in Washington, Massachusetts, and Michigan, we can train our partners on how to use this model to win.

As a trans man, I too am tired of the bathroom conversation. It should not be up for debate where anyone uses the restroom. That’s why I believe in our organization. This is what Equality Federation does best: we use our expertise to train our members, and the movement, to win. Will you support us?

 

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Mel King

Mel King is the Development and Operations Manager for Equality Federation, the national strategic partner to state-based organizations working to win equality in the communities we call home. In this role, he manages the individual giving program and the donor database, as well as operations for the communications department and internal systems. He also serves as the board liaison.

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