Equality Arizona
The Arizona Equals Conversation
Arizona Equals Jeanne
0:00
-59:32

Arizona Equals Jeanne

The podcast host becomes the guest on this week's episode of the Arizona Equals Conversation

On today’s episode of the Arizona Equals Conversation, our very first guest, Geoff Love, turns the microphone on Jeanne Woodbury to record her story.

Links & Context

Full Transcript

00;00;00;13 - 00;00;28;14

Jeanne

From Equality Arizona, you're listening to the Arizona Equals Conversation. I'm Jeanne Woodbury. I'm the interim executive director of Equality Arizona, and normally I'm the host of this podcast. The idea for today's episode started with a text from Geoff Love, one of our wonderful volunteers and actually my very first guest on the podcast. He reached out and said, Let's turn the microphone around and record an episode about you.

00;00;29;18 - 00;00;55;25

Jeanne

That's about me! I thought this would be a really fun idea. And we sat down. We recorded it. I even left in a little bit of our conversation planning for the interview, because I just thought it was so fun. I'm recording this intro on day ten of a pretty terrible cold, so I'm going to keep it short, but towards the end, we talk a little bit about some of the events that Equality Arizona is putting on.

00;00;56;13 - 00;01;23;10

Jeanne

And we recorded this before the election. So a lot of it's out of date. But I want to extend a special invitation to everyone listening right now to come to our holiday bash on December 14th. You can find more information about that on our events calendar soon at EqualityArizona.org/Events. So thanks so much for listening and thanks to Geoff for being my first guest and for being the host of today's podcast.

00;01;23;24 - 00;01;38;24

Jeanne

Let's roll the tape.

00;01;43;22 - 00;01;59;15

Geoff

So I was thinking, especially with your new role, that would be something great to touch on, but also a little bit more about why you got into the role in the first place. When I look at your blurb online, it tells a little bit, but there's not really much. You don't really have an online presence that I could find.

00;02;00;09 - 00;02;19;10

Jeanne

Oh yeah.

Geoff

So there's not much research, so when people look you up. So, you know, this might be kind of a way to explain a little bit where you come from, you know, what you want to do, maybe in your current role, what you are doing in your current role, and then maybe how you want to take the organization forward. I don't know if you wanted to focus more on Equality Arizona or on yourself or a combination of both.

00;02;19;11 - 00;02;21;09

Geoff

What, what is your goal, I guess?

00;02;22;00 - 00;02;39;14

Jeanne

Well, when I was writing that blurb, there's a little section at the end where it's like, Wait, who is Jeanne Woodbury anyway? And originally in my draft, I just titled that, Wait, who the fuck is Jeanne Woodbury? Because I think, you know, people don't know who I am, right?

Geoff

Right.

Jeanne

So I think it'd be cool to talk a little bit about like the organization and what I'm doing there.

00;02;39;14 - 00;02;46;05

Jeanne

But I think it also would just be nice to do kind of the standard like, well, who am I as a person, storytelling thing.

00;02;46;05 - 00;03;00;07

Geoff

And then I figure at the end, you know, it would be a good kind of way to, you know, pivot to what you know, you're doing with your organization, maybe what your plans are, especially right now, I mean, the midterms are in like 12 days and you're a political organization. That's a huge —

00;03;00;07 - 00;03;00;17

Jeanne

Yeah. Yeah.

00;03;00;27 - 00;03;02;11

Geoff

You know, something to talk about, so.

00;03;02;11 - 00;03;03;18

Jeanne

Definitely something to talk about.

00;03;03;18 - 00;03;23;22

Geoff

But I would think, at least for me, when I listen to them, it's more interesting when I hear where people come from, you know, what are their background stories.

Jeanne

Yeah.

Geoff

It's like where, you know, maybe you grew up. I know you grew up over here, but, you know, also whatever you're comfortable with talking about, I didn't want to, you know, put you on the spot on the recording while we're going, you know, oh! And then you're like, Silence.

00;03;24;10 - 00;03;29;17

Jeanne

Yeah, no, I mean, I can always just edit it. I have the final edit power so I can just —

00;03;29;17 - 00;03;30;03

Geoff

Okay, alright.

00;03;30;03 - 00;03;50;12

Jeanne

If we get somewhere and I don't have a good answer, I could just kind of eliminate that. But, I mean, really, like, you can push it as an interviewer, like you can take the conversation wherever your curiosity leads. And if I don't have a good answer, that's kind of my fault. But I don't want to prejudice the conversation in terms of where we can go.

00;03;50;14 - 00;03;58;03

Geoff

Okay, alright. And I do want that more of a focus on you. I want to do as little talking as possible.

Jeanne

Okay.

Geoff

So that's my goal.

Jeanne

Cool.

Geoff

So are you ready to…? [clicks three times].

00;03;58;04 - 00;03;59;11

Jeanne

Yeah! Okay, let's get into it.

00;03;59;26 - 00;04;02;00

Geoff

All right. So I guess, are we, are we recording?

00;04;02;01 - 00;04;04;05

Jeanne

Oh, yeah. We've already been recording.

00;04;04;17 - 00;04;24;25

Geoff

Well, first I want to say, Jeanne, it might be a little strange for you to be on the other side of the mic today, but thank you for joining the Equality Arizona podcast. My name is Geoff Love. I am currently a volunteer with Equality Arizona. Jeanne, if you would just, I guess, I know you always tell us a little bit about yourself, but kind of well, maybe expand a little bit more.

00;04;24;26 - 00;04;28;15

Geoff

Tell us a little bit about yourself, what you're doing right now, and then we can go from there.

00;04;28;16 - 00;04;57;19

Jeanne

Yeah, for sure. So I'm Jeanne Woodbury. I guess something that I've been thinking about since you asked me to flip the microphone a little bit is that I actually kind of hate talking about myself. And it's funny because I bring people in and I'm like, you know, I'm going to ask you all these questions about who you are that actually just make me nervous a little bit because it's weird to talk about myself and now I'm going to do that.

00;04;57;19 - 00;05;32;23

Jeanne

So I think, you know, I like to talk about what I do instead of like, who I am. And right now what I'm doing is I am taking on this new role as interim executive director at Equality Arizona, which is just so exciting in a real way. Like I have always been so fascinated by corporate governance and management styles.

00;05;32;23 - 00;06;18;20

Jeanne

Just the idea of, how do you build an effective team? How do you distribute decision making in a way that is equitable and efficient and results in really good products? Right? And, you know, this is a nonprofit. So when I talk about product, it's not something we're selling, right? But I think all the same ways people talk about how to create a good, responsible, sustainable, for profit business do apply in the abstract to nonprofits, you know, and one of those things is that product, how do you make like a really good… how do you deliver good value to your, you know, quote, customers, which, that gets really complicated.

00;06;18;20 - 00;06;40;14

Jeanne

Who is your customer when you're a nonprofit organization? And that gets really away from me. You can see I'm already like not talking about myself, but it's fun to be in this role because I get to think about those things and direct them towards doing really interesting things that I care about in the community and in politics.

00;06;41;02 - 00;06;59;12

Geoff

Well, I know you don't really like to talk about yourself, but I find that so often that it's where we come from and who we are usually dictates what we're doing with our lives. So I guess just, you know, maybe start, you know, when you started, you know, kind of deciding that this is something you wanted to get into.

00;06;59;12 - 00;07;11;16

Geoff

I mean, it doesn't have to be the most recent, it could be you know, childhood experiences that, you know, you thought of or, you know, something that you saw and you're like, you know what? That's not quite right. And, you know, I want to kind of change the narrative maybe a little bit.

00;07;11;16 - 00;07;34;00

Jeanne

Yeah. And I mean, that's an interesting way to talk about it. Like, how can I change the narrative, or what problem am I identifying that I want to get involved in. I think on some level I just wanted to do this work. I remember, you know, the first kind of political work I got involved in; It was something my sister invited me to.

00;07;34;07 - 00;08;05;17

Jeanne

And one of my friends who I wasn’t super close with yet at the time, but one of my friends was organizing it and I thought, Yeah, I'll go to this. Maybe it'll be important. I don't know. And I went to it and I thought, okay, yeah, this is interesting and I like the way we're doing things. I like that it's very discussion based and collaborative, and I think there's really interesting stuff we could do here, but I actually wasn't super convinced by the issue.

00;08;05;20 - 00;08;23;12

Jeanne

Right? It was not an issue driven thing for me at the start, and it took a while for them to persuade me, Oh yeah, this actually is the thing we should be focusing on as compared to, you know, whatever other political issue. This was back in like 2009, Obama had just been elected.

00;08;23;17 - 00;08;24;18

Geoff

Oh, the golden years.

00;08;26;10 - 00;08;47;08

[Both laugh]

Jeanne

Golden years. Yeah, in a real way. And I think, you know, I was, what, 15 or something? And at that moment in politics in the country and that moment in my life, it was kind of like, what do I want to do? Which political area is interesting? I'm not sure yet, but I know I want to do this work and I want to work with these people.

00;08;47;22 - 00;08;50;22

Jeanne

And so that was kind of what pushed me into that.

00;08;51;00 - 00;08;54;20

Geoff

And at 15 you were already interested in politics or thinking about politics?

00;08;54;20 - 00;09;15;10

Jeanne

I guess, yeah, politics or just teamwork like, like having a cool team of people who are collaborating on something interesting — which was political, but. Politics is one of those areas where you're kind of constantly in a startup mode. And the idea of a startup is just massively compelling to me.

00;09;15;22 - 00;09;33;22

Geoff

Well, every cycle it changes, right? I mean, especially I'm sure you know that right now with Equality Arizona. You know, it's you know, every two years, you know, the landscape changes. And it's really changed rapidly right now. I guess, how have you kind of… I mean, you were so young, you know, when all of these changes really happened. I mean, Obama was eight years.

00;09;33;22 - 00;09;40;15

Geoff

And then, of course, the Trump years happened during your formative time, too. How did that kind of impact your work or did it impact your work?

00;09;41;04 - 00;10;08;03

Jeanne

Well, honestly, what impacted my work, what like kind of drove my course through things, wasn't the actual political landscape. I talk to a lot of people and they're really influenced to get into politics by some kind of specific moment in politics. Trump is really often that, that driving moment.

Geoff

Oh yeah.

Jeanne

2016 happens and they say, oh wait, where do I actually want to be?

00;10;08;09 - 00;10;29;17

Jeanne

This is a new kind of politics from what I'm used to, and I think I need to get involved.

Geoff

Angry politics.

Jeanne

Angry politics and just, you know, clearer battle lines. Right? And then some muddier battle lines that people didn't think of before, whether that's like inside the Republican Party or whatever. And I talk to people who have very different political opinions.

00;10;29;17 - 00;10;55;00

Jeanne

And for a lot of them, that's kind of the moment. But for me, that wasn't the case. There wasn't sort of a, Oh this thing happened and it made me change things, or influenced my decisions. I mean, when I got into politics, I was in the camp of all the people that I work against right now. And there was a moment where I came out and thought, okay I'm going to keep doing this.

00;10;55;12 - 00;11;05;19

Jeanne

It'll just be interesting to have this perspective of being a queer person doing this kind of political, social work. And they decided they didn't want that. That kind of…

00;11;05;20 - 00;11;06;23

Geoff

They as in your family?

00;11;06;27 - 00;11;34;01

Jeanne

No, no, no. They as in like, you know when I'm talking about, the people that I'm kind of working against now a lot of the time. I wasn't getting direct messages from them, but I remember the friend I mentioned earlier who was kind of leading that group of people really directly communicated to me like, hey, it's getting harder to work with this, you know, group of political power makers because you're out and you won't shut up about it.

00;11;34;21 - 00;11;36;21

Jeanne

So I need you to shut up about it a little.

00;11;36;21 - 00;11;39;26

Geoff

So you're getting pushback from your own, basically, peers?

00;11;39;26 - 00;11;40;07

Jeanne

Yeah.

00;11;40;21 - 00;11;41;06

Geoff

Okay.

00;11;41;19 - 00;11;43;27

Jeanne

And it was indirect, right? But it was…

00;11;44;04 - 00;11;44;20

Geoff

Still.

00;11;45;04 - 00;12;11;00

Jeanne

Yeah. And so I said, actually, you know what? I'm not going to shut up about it. So I'm out. So after that, I didn't immediately shift to like, okay, here's my new politics, but I just started to think about, well, why is it that people who have this kind of conservative opinion also have to be anti-gay? What links these ideas?

00;12;11;00 - 00;12;46;03

Jeanne

I couldn't see it for a long time. Like what was actually driving their political philosophy to be something that had to exclude me? And the more I thought about it, the more I realized where they were actually coming from. And it made me uncomfortable with how I was aligned with them politically. And I had to just spend a lot of time thinking through, what are my actual core values as a person, and then how does that affect how I want to engage with politics and what my, you know, policy positions are going to be and really separating all those things out from each other.

00;12;46;23 - 00;13;06;25

Jeanne

And it was really interesting and instructive. But during this whole period, I wasn't doing political work. I was just doing other things. I was going to college, I was traveling, I was going to grad school, I was doing other kind of work. And it was only recently that I got back into politics through Equality Arizona actually, in 2020.

00;13;07;07 - 00;13;14;12

Jeanne

So I had a real wilderness period, I guess, where I had to spend a lot of time reevaluating things.

00;13;14;26 - 00;13;32;17

Geoff

So I guess talk a little bit about that because something, you know, sometimes those, you know, journeys actually do, you know, kind of, they're going to impact what you're like right now. So what did you do in the wilderness times? You know, college, grad school. I mean, were there classes that you took or professors, mentors that you kind of met that shaped your views now?

00;13;33;21 - 00;13;58;01

Jeanne

Yeah, definitely. I mean, that moment I was describing where it was like, hey, this isn't going to be okay for you to be out in this way. I hadn't come out as trans. I had just come out as bisexual. I was still figuring things out for myself and this was during college. So I was in college at this point and trying to figure this stuff out.

00;13;58;01 - 00;14;29;28

Jeanne

I didn't feel like I had a real community around me that I could figure out my queer identities with. Most of my community was tied up in that conservative world. And so I remember just getting to that point in my life and then experiencing the sudden vacuum of community connection. And I didn't really reestablish that in a real way for maybe a couple of years.

00;14;29;28 - 00;14;53;28

Jeanne

I'm not sure. It was difficult going through the last couple of years of college for me, but I had a friend who I, you know, I'm still in touch with. She moved out of state, but I have gone and visited her. It was challenging because she moved pretty much right before the pandemic started, but we met through a scholarship program we were both in, and she actually went to the University of Arizona.

00;14;53;28 - 00;15;13;21

Jeanne

I went to ASU, but we started this article club thing together, which is like a book club, but for people who don't want to put all the time in to read a book every month, and it was actually really delightful. And occasionally we did pick books instead of articles, but it ended up being really like a political salon, right?

00;15;13;26 - 00;15;35;20

Jeanne

Come and discuss these political ideas with people who are actually, you know, coming from a lot of different places politically. And it was… well, there were a lot more queer people in that space than I had been around before. And that was fantastic for me.

Geoff

At ASU.

Jeanne

Well, at this article club, which was just… my friend hosted at her home in Tucson.

00;15;35;20 - 00;16;00;17

Jeanne

So I would… every month I would drive down to Tucson for this article club, and I'd come with my list of discussion questions and we'd have some fun with it. And we'd drink some wine and then after about an hour of talking about the actual article, we would just talk about politics in general. And that was just like this sourdough starter culture thing for me, to just like really digest the sugars into different molecules, right?

00;16;00;17 - 00;16;08;25

Jeanne

In a healthy and interesting way. And that that was where I was really able to find some community again at that point.

00;16;09;04 - 00;16;27;19

Geoff

It's just amazing that politics played such a role so early. I mean, for many young people, I don't think, you know, especially in my generation, I'm in my forties and that… politics never entered my mind when I was in my twenties. But now I find more of your, you know, those in your generation, you know, just to kind of give that dividing line, are really more involved.

00;16;27;19 - 00;16;45;09

Geoff

They're more attuned, I think, to what's happening in this country. Did you find that was something that you just kind of gravitated towards people that were more politically aligned? Or was it, you know, something that you always were interested in? Because politics, you know, I'd honestly say for the most part, it's not something that most twenty year olds are excited about.

00;16;46;06 - 00;17;11;01

Jeanne

Yeah, I guess that's a good point. I mean, you're right that maybe there's more people who are young now who are interested in politics than in previous decades. But at the same time, I think that ebbs and flows, you know? Right. I think it's pretty easy to go back to some other generations and see really young people really engaged in the political process.

00;17;11;08 - 00;17;12;05

Geoff

Like the civil rights era, the 70's.

00;17;12;12 - 00;17;17;29

Jeanne

During the civil rights era, the 70's, during the AIDS crisis, obviously, a lot of very young people.

00;17;17;29 - 00;17;19;11

Geoff

The 90's, when I grew up.

00;17;19;13 - 00;17;43;15

Jeanne

Yeah. So that's a, that's a thing that ebbs and flows, but it also is just really hyperlocal to different communities, right. Like who gets fired up about it and who doesn't? It's not really uniform, I think. At least in my experience, from what I'm able to see. And I think partly I mean, so I was homeschooled. I was homeschooled all the way from birth until I went to college.

00;17;43;28 - 00;18;12;11

Jeanne

And being homeschooled, a lot of people will think, okay, well, what about socialization? Who are you around? Are you ever seeing anyone outside of your family? And the answer is, yeah, you're around people all the time because there's networks of homeschooling families. But then of course, for some people, the experience is really different, because the quality of your education really depends on the choices your parents make and the resources they're able to provide and to connect you to as a kid.

00;18;13;08 - 00;19;05;26

Jeanne

And so when you're in that network of homeschooling families as a kid, the people you have access to make friends with are other homeschooled kids. And I think naturally you'll gravitate towards people who you can relate to. And so I think that, you know, homeschooling is this inherently politicized form of education. And if your parents include you in that part of your education, not just teaching you, but including you as an active participant and partner in the education process, you're going to be politicized from a really young age, like not politicized so much as a, as a figure, but activated politically because it's your life and the kids that you're going to find commonality with…

00;19;05;26 - 00;19;41;21

Jeanne

…are the other kids who are really activated politically through their homeschooling experience and activated intellectually and academically. And those are the people who get into politics at a young age. So I think it's just sort of a naturally occurring phenomenon for kids who are homeschooled, is that if you're in that potentially lucky, I don't know if that's always lucky for everyone, but if you're in that group of people who have that experience, you're going to find yourself in community with kids who have that same experience, and that can be really incredible, honestly.

00;19;42;15 - 00;19;56;02

Jeanne

But I don't think it's a universal experience for people my age or for people who were homeschooled when I was homeschooled, that they're all going to be fired up politically. I think it's just sort of a self-selecting process.

00;19;56;23 - 00;20;16;13

Geoff

So is it more the experience of homeschooling where you are more… and I've never been homeschooled, so I'm curious, is it more that you get to choose what you learn and you find those interests that really resonate with you? Or was it, did your parents decided homeschooling for a certain reason? I guess, what was the reason behind it? Usually it's a it's a tough thing for parents.

00;20;16;13 - 00;20;19;07

Geoff

I mean, I imagine it takes a huge toll to home school.

00;20;19;26 - 00;20;46;16

Jeanne

Well, it can be expensive. And I think that's something that's really important to note. Some families homeschool for very different reasons than other families do. And, you know, ultimately, I think my parents initially made the decision to homeschool with my oldest sister when she was maybe around four or five.

Geoff

That's very young.

Jeanne

And some of this is just sort of an accident of fate.

00;20;46;21 - 00;21;09;14

Jeanne

But she has a November birthday and she's also very, very, very bright and was very precocious when it came to things like reading. And so when she was very young, I think at least at the latest by the age of four, she was already reading very proficiently. And with the November birthday, she was going to be held back quite a bit to start kindergarten.

00;21;10;01 - 00;21;19;12

Jeanne

And my parents were like, but she already knows everything she's going to learn in kindergarten, and they won't even let her start yet. That doesn't work for us.

00;21;19;21 - 00;21;20;00

Geoff

Right.

00;21;20;14 - 00;21;40;13

Jeanne

They've told me that around this time — this was in Pennsylvania, I don't know if I mentioned that — but around that time, they they became aware of a group in Pennsylvania that provided resources for homeschooling families. And they said, oh, this is interesting, let's give it a try. And I guess they liked it, because they kept doing it for the next, I don't know, 20 years.

00;21;40;15 - 00;21;40;28

Geoff

Wow.

00;21;42;22 - 00;21;48;10

Geoff

So that's a lot, definitely, and I don't know, so, when did you, I guess, move from Pennsylvania to Arizona?

00;21;49;07 - 00;22;11;20

Jeanne

So it would have been just a couple years after that, when I was a baby, which means I don't have any of those Pennsylvania memories. But we did stay connected to that group in Pennsylvania, the homeschooling support group, because they have some great online resources and everything. But, you know, ultimately the legal reality of homeschooling in Pennsylvania is very different from the legal reality of homeschooling in Arizona.

00;22;12;16 - 00;22;38;02

Jeanne

And moving between those different worlds gets you thinking about the politics of your life in a really unique way, because it's not like you're being oppressed. I think there are people who will try to construe their experience as homeschoolers as some form of totalitarian state oppression. That's not what's happening. And so it's different than being someone who's oppressed by the state from an early age, and how that can influence a political journey.

00;22;38;10 - 00;22;52;10

Jeanne

It's just like, Oh, I have to think about the legal realities of my life in a unique way, and that's a different kind of political engagement. But it does happen pretty much right away if you're made aware of it.

00;22;52;10 - 00;23;09;23

Geoff

Right. So really it was I would say, you know, if I understand correctly, it shaped a lot of your childhood experiences, just the political I mean, not just political, but, you know, being able to learn on your own is much different than learning in a public school or even a charter school where you're around other students forced to learn the same thing at the same pace.

00;23;09;23 - 00;23;32;12

Jeanne

Yes, 100%. Absolutely different. I didn't learn things at the same pace as my sisters. I didn't learn the same things as my sisters, both of whom are older than me, because we're different people. And I think that was nice. It's not to say that it's the right path for everyone. I think far from it, but it's an experience that I think can be really interesting.

00;23;32;12 - 00;23;44;09

Jeanne

And obviously anyone's educational experience is going to really shape their life. And when you have a very nontraditional experience that's going to shape your life in a way that's unfamiliar to people who didn't have that experience.

00;23;44;25 - 00;23;51;07

Geoff

Now, are you still in touch with a lot of people that you homeschooled with? I know you had a group that you kind of worked with. Is that still part of your life now?

00;23;51;07 - 00;24;12;22

Jeanne

No, I'm not. I'm not in touch with any of those people, actually. Well, not really. There's, there's a couple of other people from that circle who have since come out and are also, you know, in a different place in their lives now. And I've been in touch with them a little bit, but it's not very frequent.

00;24;13;04 - 00;24;18;05

Jeanne

But yeah, every now and then I talk to people from that, from that world, I guess.

00;24;18;05 - 00;24;22;22

Geoff

Do you find that it's a different world. Or does your identity kind of change the…?

00;24;22;22 - 00;24;34;21

Jeanne

Oh it's a different world, yeah. From what I can tell, most people who are homeschooled experience dramatic changes in their lives when they stop being homeschooled. You know, if you're homeschooled all the way through high school and then you go off to college, or whatever.

00;24;35;02 - 00;24;35;18

Geoff

Like you did.

00;24;35;18 - 00;24;40;14

Jeanne

Like I did, that forces you to go through some really quick changes.

00;24;40;14 - 00;24;46;18

Geoff

Which it seems like you did well. I mean, you went to, I mean, you were driving to Tucson for people that you met from a different school.

00;24;46;18 - 00;25;09;22

Jeanne

Yeah for sure, and I mean, I did that because, you know, I didn't really have a lot of connections in town anymore. That was something that was exciting for me. But also it was like the thing I had, so of course I'm going to put a lot of energy into it. I don't think I handled the transition from pre-university to university very well at all.

00;25;09;22 - 00;25;32;04

Jeanne

And it's strange because I had been taking a lot of community college classes. I was basically a full time community college student in the last two years of high school. And then I went off to ASU and I figured, well, I'm fine academically. I know how college works. College is something that can feel similar to being homeschooled because it's sort of an a la carte education.

00;25;33;03 - 00;25;45;13

Jeanne

But then I got to ASU and it's 100 times bigger than the community college, and I wasn't prepared. It was the first time living away from home for me. I lived in the dorms my first year

00;25;45;13 - 00;25;47;29

Geoff

So you were in person?

00;25;48;06 - 00;25;56;07

Jeanne

Yeah, and it was just not something I think I could have been ready for. And it did not go super well.

00;25;57;10 - 00;26;04;22

Geoff

So now, were you out I suppose, say when you were in college, or was that something that you kind of progressed towards later on?

00;26;04;26 - 00;26;39;01

Jeanne

I came out in college. I didn't come out as trans until basically the very end of my time at ASU. So it wasn't a big thing about my experience in college. I wasn't connected to LGBT groups on campus. I didn't feel like I was connecting with other students as a queer person. I felt like actually very alienated from myself because I didn't know how to relate to people as the kind of person I was supposed to be at that time, right?

00;26;39;02 - 00;26;57;11

Jeanne

Theoretically straight and cis. I couldn't figure out how to relate to people on that level, and I hadn't figured things out yet for myself. And then when I did, it was just so late in my college experience that I didn't know how to get restarted. I didn't know how to reboot that for myself.

00;26;57;11 - 00;27;05;15

Geoff

Especially for the community there. You know, cause I imagine ASU has a large, I would assume, accepting community even for a red state.

00;27;05;15 - 00;27;32;20

Jeanne

Yeah, there were groups. I remember trying to look at like the club list and just feeling kind of overwhelmed. I didn't know what I would connect with. And honestly, I mean, this was right before the marriage equality decision. There were definitely groups there, but it's not the same kind of scene that it is now. You know, I think there's just more of a proliferation of different groups with different interests.

00;27;33;11 - 00;27;55;06

Jeanne

There's like an LGBT stem student group at ASU now. I went to the Rainbow Welcome the other day, and it was interesting because it was like, Oh, here's this alternate version of what I could have had. And it wasn't, it wasn't what I had. I could have! I could have just chosen that, but I didn't because I maybe wasn't ready yet.

00;27;55;06 - 00;27;55;20

Jeanne

I don't know.

00;27;56;08 - 00;28;08;28

Geoff

Well, I guess let me ask, what were you going to school for in college, you know, if that wasn't, you know, politics. That was at least part of your life. Was that something that you were interested in when you were going to school, or do you mind asking what, what did you actually go to school for?

00;28;09;18 - 00;28;33;15

Jeanne

Yeah, well, I was very interested in politics, and I think I took the stance that, I'm already doing communications, I'm already doing politics at a pseudo-professional level, not that I know everything, but I don't want to spend my time in college doing a communications degree or a poli-sci degree. I want to study something else. I thought I wanted to work in tech or as an engineer.

00;28;33;15 - 00;28;37;14

Geoff

As an engineer. So that's completely different from the advocacy work that you're doing right now.

00;28;37;14 - 00;29;10;04

Jeanne

Yeah. And so I started out pursuing an electrical engineering and computer science double major.

Geoff

Oh, wow.

Jeanne

I abandoned electrical engineering very quickly and was looking at computer science and math as a double major. And then I abandoned computer science and focused on math. And then I thought briefly, maybe I'll do a double major of math and economics, because that would appeal to the political side and the mathematics side in a really interesting way.

00;29;10;21 - 00;29;36;00

Jeanne

And looking back, that's the one thing I wish I had doubled down on, is the math and economics pairing. But the reality is I took my first macroeconomics course at ASU and I came out of that thinking like, This doesn't have any of the things I want from economics. It doesn't have a rigorous math foundation, and there's no actual examination of the political assumptions at the foundation of this.

00;29;36;10 - 00;30;06;16

Jeanne

So it just didn't have anything I wanted. It was just, memorize these formulas and apply them on a test. And so I looked at the major map for economics and said, it's going to take me two years to get to a class that sounds interesting? I don't want to do this. So then I was just a math major for a while, and then I added an English major and I added an anthropology major, and I had those three majors for a bit and I was going to be able to finish those…

00;30;06;16 - 00;30;33;06

Jeanne

…if I took like an extra semester. I had to take a semester off at one point. And then I just said, I'm tired, I'm not doing great as a person. I've just come through all of these different mental health traumas and identity traumas and community loss. And I don't want to spend more time in college. So I graduated with my math degree and just left.

00;30;33;26 - 00;30;45;28

Geoff

I see. Now, do you mind talking about kind of what you went through a little bit there? I know, maybe a lot of listeners or, you know, I mean, that's something a lot of people could probably relate to us, is you know, how did you go through that, or what help did you maybe find?

00;30;46;03 - 00;31;06;17

Jeanne

Well, and I was super open about it at the time. And I remember people saying, like, hey, this is cool that you're talking about it because a lot of people have this experience. So I'm always happy to talk about it, but I don't think I really fully understood it at the time. You know, some of it was me trying to figure out that I was queer and not wanting to figure it out initially.

00;31;06;27 - 00;31;08;13

Jeanne

Right? Because it's scary?

00;31;09;06 - 00;31;10;03

Geoff

Right. Arizona, too.

00;31;10;20 - 00;31;33;17

Jeanne

Yeah. And especially the part of Arizona that I was in socially, right. Not geographically, but just socially. And the other thing that I didn't realize until much, much more recently is that I think that was the beginning of well, I think that was the onset of bipolar symptoms for me, was right when I went to college, which is actually a really common age for that to happen.

00;31;33;23 - 00;32;02;01

Jeanne

And I didn't have all of the right diagnostic criteria to actually get a diagnosis of bipolar and get treatment for bipolar. And it wasn't until 2020 that I finally did get real treatment for bipolar. So that's about eight years where I was dealing with symptoms and not getting the right psychiatric care, before I actually finally did get the right treatment.

00;32;02;25 - 00;32;29;25

Jeanne

And during that time, you know, I was, I was diagnosed with a couple other things that are accurate. And I was able to get help for those. But the kind of underlying mood disorder that I had was mostly on unchecked for almost a decade, I guess, which is not great. That's very difficult to actually achieve all the things you want to achieve and engage with the things you want to engage with when that's the case.

00;32;30;17 - 00;32;53;25

Geoff

Especially you just left school, a homeschooling environment to a new environment with other students. You were also transitioning to what you actually are as a person, which is also a difficult time. Do you find that, I know I've heard the term before, masking. Was that what it was like, just a mental, you know, strain throughout that whole time.

00;32;53;25 - 00;33;01;17

Geoff

And how would you, you know, I guess what advice would you give maybe to your younger self? You know, during that time? Would you have changed anything?

00;33;02;10 - 00;33;29;10

Jeanne

Well, I would have changed things. But the problem is, I had the access to change things. I just wasn't ready for it. And so that's the problem is I, I did what I could do in the time I could do it. I made the decisions at the speed I could make the decisions. And so it's difficult. If I had gone back and told my younger self, this is what's going on, well, I think I kind of already knew.

00;33;30;03 - 00;34;09;20

Jeanne

And so being told it wouldn't have helped a whole lot for me to move through —

Jeanne and Geoff

[in unison] the process

Jeanne

— of actually accomplishing things. That being said, I think if I could have forced myself out of my shell a little bit to just be around other people more, that probably would have helped me on a lot of levels. I really only did that online, which was great for me and I learned a lot through that and I'm still connected to people that I found online, but it's not the same as like — knowing another trans person in person is a very different thing.

00;34;10;13 - 00;34;27;00

Jeanne

It's a very different thing. So I would have encouraged myself to get out more. At the same time, I was constantly telling myself I needed to do that anyway, and I wasn't doing that. So I don't think I, I don't think I'm any wiser now than I was then. And I don't think my advice would help me.

00;34;27;22 - 00;34;29;27

Geoff

But the journey still made you who you are today, which is…

00;34;29;27 - 00;34;30;11

Jeanne

Exactly

00;34;30;11 - 00;34;35;27

Geoff

I mean, if you wouldn't have went through it, you maybe you wouldn't be doing the same advocacy work that you're doing now either. So, I mean.

00;34;35;27 - 00;34;38;00

Jeanne

No, if I hadn't gone through that process, I mean.

00;34;38;07 - 00;34;40;18

Geoff

You'd be a triple major in economics and…

00;34;41;17 - 00;35;04;16

Jeanne

No, but I mean, that was the process. Like I, I wasn't going to get that triple major. I wasn't going to get any of it. I was going to probably just crash and burn. I don't think there was a good outcome besides the outcome I pursued, even though it wasn't everything I could have wanted. I don't think there was really another thing that was going to work other than what did work.

00;35;04;19 - 00;35;12;11

Geoff

Now do you have more community now in the trans community or LGBTQ, I mean, your whole, where you work is, you know.

00;35;12;11 - 00;35;13;10

Jeanne

Yeah, exactly, it's kind of my professional life

00;35;13;10 - 00;35;19;02

Geoff

You know, maybe they kind of combined to help both you and you're helping them too, or I guess, how do you see that work?

00;35;19;07 - 00;35;40;00

Jeanne

I mean, I'd like to think that's the case. Ultimately, a lot of people I know, I just know through work, and I enjoy that. I get to meet so many cool people through work and it's the best part of my job. But you know, even personally, I'm connected to more people than I ever have been, and I mean connected to more trans people and queer people than I ever have been.

00;35;40;20 - 00;35;53;06

Jeanne

I met my best friend, actually, the day I started hormones. They're also trans. And that's been just kind of my closest and best relationship for the past four and a half years.

00;35;53;06 - 00;35;54;09

Geoff

And that's when you started transitioning?

00;35;54;09 - 00;36;24;19

Jeanne

And that's when I started hormones, back in 2018.

Geoff

Wow.

Jeanne

And that's kind of a magical coincidence. But, you know, since I started hormones, I have been getting more and more connected to more and more trans people. And it's really probably the best thing about transition is to be able to be in community with the people you want to be in community with, not just the personal experience of being able to express yourself.

00;36;24;19 - 00;36;29;16

Jeanne

I think the relational aspect is really sometimes the most rewarding part.

00;36;29;27 - 00;36;47;10

Geoff

I think we all need those connections. I mean, people that are going to accept us for who we are, and that's usually what everybody's kind of looking for. You know, so I mean, you know, it's good that you're finding that. Are you, do you find that you are now, you know, seen more as maybe a mentor friend or are you a mentee from somebody else?

00;36;47;10 - 00;37;05;11

Geoff

I mean, how does that usually work? Because it's a huge step in anyone's life, you know, I mean, just going from a child to adult. But for you, you've taken a whole different approach to it, I guess. Do you have, you know, that kind of support or, you know, are you doing it on your own? How does that look?

00;37;07;09 - 00;37;08;29

Jeanne

Support for… for what?

00;37;09;06 - 00;37;16;06

Geoff

Just being a part of the community, the trans community. I mean, do you have trans people that you're kind of helping along the way or are there others that are helping you along the way?

00;37;16;15 - 00;37;46;28

Jeanne

That's definitely something that happens in like very rapid micro generations of trans people. As soon as you know how to get access to hormones, other trans people trying to figure out how to get access to hormones are going to turn to you to get help. The way a lot of the medical system has been set up around trans care means that there is just not a good diffusion of resources out into the general public.

00;37;47;15 - 00;38;16;15

Jeanne

And it becomes this like system of knowledge dispersal that's just kind of wild. If you really step back and think about it, where it's like, Ah, I found this provider, I found this doctor who's cool, I'm going to send you to that doctor. It's strange and there can be a lot of turnover in the field and really a lot of that's changing just just very recently, I think.

00;38;17;06 - 00;38;46;27

Jeanne

And as a consequence, maybe coming under a lot of political scrutiny. And so that's unfortunate. But it's definitely the case where very early on I had trans people who would help me with things like, Hey, here's the form you need to fill out with the county recorder to get your name change. And not just like, here's the form you need to fill out, but here's the sequence of events, because when you change your name, there's not like one place you go to.

00;38;47;20 - 00;39;18;12

Jeanne

You have to change your name separately with the Motor Vehicle Division. You have to change your name separately with Social Security, on your passport, with the county, and so it's a sequence of you need this one changed to change this one, to change this one. If you want to change your birth certificate, that might mean calling someone in a different state who's never talked to a trans person about changing their birth certificate before.

00;39;18;18 - 00;39;45;21

Jeanne

Most of the people in the system that I talked to are very helpful, but they don't always know their own policies because it's not that common to have to do. And so you have to call people and tell them, here's the form you need to get. And the only way I knew that was through other trans people who had already done it or could at least help me figure it out.

00;39;46;07 - 00;39;51;02

Geoff

Since there's not really a centralized location for everybody to go to and kind of access this information.

00;39;51;02 - 00;40;15;20

Jeanne

Yeah, there's not a real centralized location that can be all encompassing because it's so micro for a lot of things like especially health care. There's a couple of things that try to be centralized resources. So there's a good name change guide online that covers kind of state by state, Here's what you need to go through to change your name.

00;40;16;10 - 00;40;36;14

Jeanne

There's a map of informed consent clinics for HRT that's meant to be a national map that people can contribute to. But it's not comprehensive. I mean, I look at it sometimes and I can say, yeah, this doesn't actually cover everything, unfortunately, because you really can't make a comprehensive resource.

00;40;36;14 - 00;40;37;20

Geoff

For everybody's situation.

00;40;37;20 - 00;40;47;10

Jeanne

And it comes down to like sometimes being able to talk to someone who can say, oh, you have this insurance, here's a provider I can recommend.

00;40;47;10 - 00;41;05;28

Geoff

I see. Well, that also brings us up to what's coming up soon. And I know a lot of trans care is on the ballot basically right now. How is that impacting either you or even people you know? I mean, November 8th just feels stressful for me. And that's just as a gay, white, you know, I mean so.

00;41;06;02 - 00;41;21;09

Geoff

As anybody else, especially with the vilification of so many in our community, how do you see, you know, what you're doing now or the work you're doing now? You know, maybe progressing, especially after the eighth or beyond. Do you see any change or anything that you have planned or that you like to do?

00;41;22;03 - 00;41;45;02

Jeanne

Well, I think it's really challenging because there's really no status quo that's going be preserved no matter what the outcome of the election is. If we have exactly the same balance in the House and the Senate and a governor from the same party that we had the past two years, if we have that next year, it won't be the same as it's been the past two years because it's just literally different people.

00;41;45;02 - 00;42;02;26

Jeanne

Looking at like the party numbers or the party affiliation of the governor isn't enough. And that's really concerning because we've seen just every single year more and more legislation targeting queer people and especially trans kids.

00;42;03;02 - 00;42;12;09

Geoff

In medical care. That's when, you know, I was thinking about that when you brought medical care. I mean, you just navigate on your own is hard. They keep putting more roadblocks, you know, how do you.

00;42;12;27 - 00;42;42;15

Jeanne

Yeah, and that's a real concern. They tried to pass a few different laws this session that would have, you know, variously banned gender affirming care for people under 18, including therapy and puberty blockers, or even criminalized it or classified it as abuse. And one of those bills actually wasn't just about kids. It was also about people classified as vulnerable adults, which really just means adults with certain kinds of disabilities.

00;42;42;27 - 00;42;55;02

Jeanne

So not only limiting the autonomy of kids to make their own decisions, but adults with disabilities saying, Hey, oh, you've got a disability, well, we know better than you. You can't really be trans.

00;42;55;12 - 00;42;55;21

Geoff

Right.

00;42;56;16 - 00;43;23;18

Jeanne

And if anyone helps you to be trans, that's abuse and they're going to jail. So that's, I think, probably the start of what could be a trend. And we've seen nationally of people not just trying to ban transition care or gender affirming care for kids under the age of 18 — who aren't all kids, I mean — but people under the age of 18.

00;43;24;19 - 00;43;54;18

Jeanne

But actually quite a lot of people who are just adults. And I think it's a real thing we have to face that people might just try to ban gender affirming care in general for trans people. And that's terrifying. And it's a real thing that could happen next year in Arizona. You never know. And so it's really concerning looking ahead to see what we might be dealing with, but that might not be what we're dealing with.

00;43;55;23 - 00;44;29;07

Jeanne

If one of the chambers of the legislature shifts to have —

Geoff

This is national or…?

Jeanne

In Arizona, if one of them shifts in Arizona to have more of an LGBTQ supportive majority, even just one chamber of the legislature would change the entire reality of how LGBT policy works and really how most policy and lawmaking works in Arizona. If you have to pass things always on a bipartisan basis, that really changes the game in the state capitol.

00;44;30;08 - 00;44;54;28

Jeanne

If we have a governor who's an LGBT ally, that really changes the game because it doesn't matter what the legislature passes, they could just criminalize being gay in public, and if the governor isn't into that, it won't become a law. But we can have a really supportive legislature and a governor who decides to use the power of state agencies to make de facto laws.

00;44;56;10 - 00;45;30;03

Jeanne

If she can't get the…

Geoff

By executive…

Jeanne

Yeah. If she can't get the legislature to do it, because we've seen that happen with like Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis where they just direct their state agencies to implement policies that aren't part of the law. There's a lot that could happen good and bad, next year and the year after that, leading up until 2024, which will be a very consequential election again. It's like the stakes just keep getting higher for politics.

00;45;30;28 - 00;46;01;28

Jeanne

And it's exhausting because there's actually just still very nuanced, small level political things that we have to engage with. And sometimes the, the noise of the conversation gets so loud that we can't even focus on the real things that are happening. It's just all, Here's this fake thing to be angry about. And then we're the people who suffer because of that and we have to try to find a way to push back on that, but also to bring down the temperature of the conversation.

00;46;02;18 - 00;46;08;04

Jeanne

And that's just a huge challenge, I think. And something that we always have to keep working on.

00;46;08;21 - 00;46;25;22

Geoff

Well, I know, especially in your role right now, you were, I mean, you are also a community director, but you're I mean, you're in charge of basically Equality Arizona's, you know what they say, you know, or, you know, you're trying to communicate your message out, you know, and things might especially change now that Twitter's changed owners, too.

00;46;25;22 - 00;46;44;27

Geoff

So that could also impact. So I guess, you know, I'm curious to see, how do you see your role moving forward, you know, trying to change that narrative, trying to, you know, communicate, you know, your message or the message you want to convey to Arizonans, you know, or even, you know, nationally. You know it's, you're in an important role, I guess.

00;46;44;27 - 00;46;46;27

Geoff

How do you see that, you know, taking shape?

00;46;47;08 - 00;46;54;23

Jeanne

Well, I don't want to talk too much about Twitter and Elon Musk. I mean, I do want to and I want to save time by not doing it.

00;46;54;23 - 00;46;55;16

Geoff

I don't blame you.

00;46;55;20 - 00;47;07;02

Jeanne

He said something really interesting about trying to prioritize enjoyment over engagement. And I think that one of the worst trends in social media has been the pursuit of engagement.

00;47;07;21 - 00;47;09;12

Geoff

That's the temperature you were talking about.

00;47;10;27 - 00;47;19;01

Jeanne

Yeah. There's a really fun quote. I think Kara Swisher maybe came up with, that's just enragement equals engagement.

00;47;19;23 - 00;47;20;10

Geoff

That is true.

00;47;20;10 - 00;47;52;08

Jeanne

And that's 100% what we've seen over the past decade on Facebook especially, but on Twitter certainly. And the reality is that moving past the really exciting political moment of Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, moving even just maybe a year or two after that, social media stopped being a place where real communication was happening. It's a place where a lot of interesting ideas are put out into the world.

00;47;52;19 - 00;48;15;06

Jeanne

But it's not a place where I think real communication is happening in the same way because there isn't a real shared context anymore with the way the feeds work and the way certain activities are incentivized and all of that. So it's really discouraging. But when I think about communication, yeah, you have to put stuff on social media, you have to be there.

00;48;16;08 - 00;48;34;17

Jeanne

But that's not where communication is happening and communication happens I think at this point, mostly just in person with people, and that changes how you have to think about the strategy. It can't just be digital organizing. It can't just be sending texts to voters, that we all hate, right?

00;48;34;23 - 00;48;36;28

Geoff

So community. So you're looking to community.

00;48;36;28 - 00;49;00;10

Jeanne

Actual community building, actual basebuilding and organizing, actually finding real ways be around people, right. You have to think about it the same way you would when you're making a new friend. When do you choose to interact with them? On what level? Right? You don't just automatically start spamming them about things you want them to do. Hey, can you give me 20 bucks? I just met you.

00;49;00;10 - 00;49;19;14

Jeanne

Right, like that's not really how it works to interact with people in your social life. And it can't be how it works to interact with people politically either. So we have to create spaces for real conversation and real community in order to have that real communication and messaging succeed.

00;49;20;04 - 00;49;35;21

Geoff

Well and I know a lot of what you do through Equality Arizona is community; so there's you know events that you hold. You know people can be a part of a talk. Did you find those are more engaging? Do you find that is helping maybe with voter turnout or just a conversation as a whole? How do you view those events?

00;49;36;04 - 00;49;57;25

Jeanne

You know, I think that whenever we do something as an organization I want it to be valuable in and of itself. I don't want to create things that exist just to further something else, right. So when we create those community spaces and events, I want that to specifically be valuable for people and not something that can flip them…

00;49;57;25 - 00;49;58;07

Geoff

Not an alternate agenda.

00;49;58;21 - 00;50;26;23

Jeanne

…to the next level of the sales pipeline, right? And so it's challenging because I think you have to set expectations really well of, hey, here's what we're actually here for. We're here for you. And getting people to come to events post COVID is an interesting challenge because on the one hand, there's a lot of demand for it, but on the other hand, people are very selective, right?

00;50;27;08 - 00;50;54;16

Jeanne

Because they know that, you know, they have real options. And there's also the really compelling option of staying at home, because we've all learned how to do that really well. And yeah, it takes some real, I think, design thinking to figure out the right way to do that. I think sometimes maybe what we need to be doing is going to where people already are instead of trying to bring them to us.

00;50;55;23 - 00;51;17;20

Jeanne

And I think when we do try to bring people to us, we need to offer them ownership over the experience. We need to offer them something real. And we're definitely always trying to improve our programing and to make sure that if we're asking people to come to something, it's something that shouldn't be a hard sell, right? It should be pretty automatically compelling.

00;51;19;06 - 00;51;41;11

Geoff

And for you personally, I know you come to a lot of the events, but do you also, I guess, outside of Equality Arizona, what is your motivation? I mean, you know, maybe it's not always work. Maybe it is always work. How do you view that? You know, especially in the community, you're now a face of, you know, an organization that's been around for, you know, 30 plus years, you know, that's not always the easiest thing.

00;51;41;11 - 00;51;44;25

Geoff

You know, how do you view your role, I suppose, within the community at large?

00;51;45;11 - 00;51;58;24

Jeanne

Oh, yeah. I'm the face of an organization that's two years older than I am. And I don't have a real issue with being a face. I think that…

00;51;58;24 - 00;52;01;11

Geoff

Do you feel the pressure? I suppose, or I guess.

00;52;02;03 - 00;52;24;09

Jeanne

I feel the pressure. But honestly, I think the right way to respond to the pressure is to not buy into the pressure, that if I can be less worried about how I'm a face, right, if I can be less worried about how people perceive me, that means I'm actually going to do a better job at being the public face of the organization.

00;52;24;09 - 00;53;01;01

Jeanne

Right? If it's not about being me and, I need to keep up my appearances, but just, yeah, I'm here. I'm a real person that people can talk to and get coffee with. And if they have a problem with, hopefully they can just come to me and say, Oh, here's the problem, because it actually happens quite a bit. And what's been amazing recently is that when people reach out and they say, Hey, here's this thing where I think you're not giving out enough value, half those people are saying either, I get it that you can't do everything, or, can I help you do it?

00;53;01;02 - 00;53;26;24

Jeanne

We've had some really amazing people reach out and say, Hey, you don't have enough guidance on the judicial picks on the website. And then they'll say, I'm doing this research anyway, can we collaborate on it? And it's like, Oh, sweet. Yes, of course, it's amazing. And so being the face of the organization means hopefully that I can make the organization more personal and more accessible.

00;53;26;24 - 00;53;39;29

Geoff

And I do feel like you've really expanded the organization, you know, compared to what I mean, I personally had never heard of it and I've been in Arizona for 12 years, you know, so it really has, you know, I think changed a lot, you know, from what I can tell, you know, it's…

00;53;40;09 - 00;53;55;26

Jeanne

Yeah, we're an organization that's gone through a lot of change in its 30 years of life, definitely multiple fallow periods where we've just been kind of dormant. And I'm hoping that this new era can be our best yet.

00;53;55;26 - 00;54;13;06

Geoff

Let me ask before you know, we're running out of time, it's getting pretty close, you know, what would you like to impart, I suppose, you know, maybe not even to the community at large, but just to yourself, you how would you talk to yourself? You know, as you know, this is what I want to do going forward or this is what I'm doing now and I love it.

00;54;13;06 - 00;54;37;29

Jeanne

I mean, I do love this. I think the key thing is that for this to work, I need people to buy into it, right? And if people are going to buy into it, it needs to be worthy of their time or their money or whatever it is. And that, that's definitely a big burden of responsibility, I think. It's not easy.

00;54;37;29 - 00;54;53;11

Jeanne

I don't think you can take any engagement from anyone for granted, right? People who are giving you their time or their money or their insight are doing something they absolutely have no obligation to do.

00;54;53;19 - 00;54;53;29

Geoff

Right.

00;54;54;10 - 00;55;17;03

Jeanne

And if they're doing that, it's incredible. And I really have to think, well, why? Why — what am I doing that lives up to this? Right? Even just getting one email from someone who says, like, I want to help you out with this thing. It's like, oh, my God, what, what? What can I do to actually be worthy of this? Right?

00;55;17;03 - 00;55;49;03

Jeanne

And thinking about, you know, where I want to go, I want more people to feel like that is worth their time or their knowledge or their money to do. Because I think we can do really interesting things and it's sort of a virtuous cycle. If we're doing really interesting valuable things, people will buy in, and the more people buy in, the more we can do.

00;55;49;22 - 00;56;15;10

Jeanne

I think that being an LGBTQ+ rights organization that's focused on actually building the political power of LGBT people is a good business model, not in terms of making money, but in terms of building a sustainable organization that can be really effective. The more we build people up, the more they can build us up. And that's where I want to focus.

00;56;16;13 - 00;56;30;29

Geoff

Well Jeanne, I definitely want to thank you for taking the time to be on the other side of the mic. Equality Arizona, of course, can be found online. You have all the socials, right. And then upcoming events. Any upcoming event you want to speak about before we go?

00;56;31;12 - 00;56;54;25

Jeanne

Well, I don't know when I'm going to publish this yet. I'm probably going to bury it on like Christmas week or something. [both laugh] So, you know, assuming I don't publish this right away, what we're looking at coming up soon is that after the elections, there's a couple of months until the state legislative session starts

Geoff

In January.

Jeanne

In January, near the beginning of January.

00;56;54;25 - 00;57;18;23

Jeanne

And when that happens, it's going to be all hands on deck. And so we're going to have some events and planning sessions and stuff leading up to that to really make it clear what you can do and how you can be a part of that work and why it's interesting and exciting and engaging and important to be a part of that work.

00;57;18;23 - 00;57;51;03

Jeanne

We're starting kind of a new monthly thing that's just like a civic advocacy jam, like a games jam, where it's not just about us telling you what's important and how to talk about it. It's you coming in and then going through a process of interpreting the systems in terms of design choices, identifying where those decisions are being made, and then intervening in that decision making process with real solutions.

00;57;51;24 - 00;58;12;16

Jeanne

So that's something that we're going to be doing on kind of a regular basis that I'm really excited about. And that'll start in November, November 19th, maybe when this comes out, it's already been November 19th, so there'll be one in December also and then into January we might have to do those more often because of the the nature of the legislative session.

00;58;12;16 - 00;58;14;14

Geoff

Giving people the tools they need really.

00;58;14;14 - 00;58;44;21

Jeanne

Yeah, giving the people the tools they need and also helping people with whatever problems it is that they're experiencing in society, right. If they're running into some kind of friction or whatever trying to interact with the world. Well, the reality is none of that is default. All of that is because people made design decisions. And if you can interpret it that way and you can identify where those decisions are being made, then you can intervene with real solutions.

00;58;44;21 - 00;58;51;24

Jeanne

And I want to be the organization that can help people do all three of those alliterative steps that I've named.

00;58;52;25 - 00;59;07;04

Geoff

Alright, well Jeanne, you've been doing a great job so far. I know there's a lot on your plate and even more is coming up in the next couple of months. You can be found, of course, online, maybe at a coffee shop. I won't, I guess, say Brick Road usually?

00;59;07;04 - 00;59;18;13

Jeanne

Brick Road. I put it in my email thing that I sent out. Definitely, if you want to get coffee, Brick Road is a fun place to get coffee, but I'll also drive if you're in Tucson. We can get coffee in Tucson or something.

00;59;19;19 - 00;59;29;15

Geoff

Oh perfect. Well, Jeanne, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. We learned quite a lot about you. So I wish you the best luck and I cannot wait to volunteer more in the future.

00;59;30;06 - 00;59;30;19

Jeanne

Thank you.

00;59;30;24 - 00;59;37;09

Geoff

All right. Thanks.

Equality Arizona
The Arizona Equals Conversation
Arizona Equals is a conversational interview podcast chronicling the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ Arizonans. Listen to new episodes weekly on Wednesdays, featuring conversations with queer people living in Arizona.
Listen on
Substack App
RSS Feed
Email mobile setup link
Recent Episodes
42:19
53:50
44:33
35:15
42:01
44:06
49:14
50:24