Editor's Note: You've seen Steven Colbert's "Better Know a Lobbyist," but our version is so much gayer! Each weekend, we spotlight a different TBP contributor. In case you've missed any of our previous interviews, I've got links at the end of the post.
This weekend we're chatting with Dustin Kight. Dustin is a faithful employee of the Family Equality Council (formerly Family Pride). He works as an organizer, trainer and community builder, developing tools and resources to help LGBTQ parents and their allies get active for family equality. Dustin didn't let a cold stop him from telling us about his admiration for Harvey Milk and his predictions for November 5th.
1. How did you get involved with TBP?
A friend of mine read Bilerico regularly and suggested I do the same. I really liked the potluck feel of it with all the contributors and the analysis that went beyond the headlines. There are very few news sources, blog or otherwise, in the LGBT community that do that. So I wrote Bil and asked if I could contribute, both as a younger LGBT person working in the movement and as someone who represents LGBT families in the work I do.
2. What was your coming out experience like?
Depends on how you define coming out experience. As you and I both know we LGBT folks come out every day. To my family it was mostly fine. I was sixteen. I told my mother and sister first. My sister was more or less even about it. My mother was very sad. She forecast a life of let-downs and disease. She meant well and, frankly, didn't know any better. One of the most gratifying aspects about movement work is knowing I might ensure that mothers and fathers are more knowledgeable and understanding of LGBT people when their own children come out.
3. How did you get involved with Family Equality Council?
Three of my four years in college I worked at the LGBT student center, managing it my senior year. I very much wanted to continue working in the LGBT community after school. I was lucky enough to find a position open at Family Equality Council, although then we were still Family Pride. The organization seemed to have a lot of energy and purpose, fighting on two fronts, in a way. Family issues have long been second-tier in the LGBT movement (that's one front we fight on) and making sure LGBT-headed families are included and well served in family policy and in institutions that affect families, like schools, well, that's the other. I also very much want to be a parent someday. I like to think I'm making the world a better place for my future kids before they've even been born, sort of like starting a college savings fund before they've started to walk.
4. What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love working with people directly, which doesn't happen as much when you work at the national level. We have a couple of major events around the country each year -- Family Week in Provincetown being the largest. Even though it's stepping out of my usual job responsibilities, I love schlepping around PTown in the July heat making sure all these great families have the right kind of snack for beach time or the right DVD for movie night/pajama party.
5. If you could meet anyone, present, past, or future, who would it be and why?
That probably depends on the day you ask me. I know there's been a lot of hub-bub about him recently because of the upcoming film, but my first reaction was Harvey Milk. He was one of my early LGBT heroes when I first saw the documentary about him back in college. I think daring people like Milk don't come along that often, and I'd like to know what was going on in his head as he ran for office and navigated his short time as an elected official.
6. What's your prediction for the outcome of this election?
Well, since I'm not a politician, pundit or any other kind of person that might lose standing (or his job) for making the wrong prediction here or "jinxing" it, I'm going to read the writing on the wall and say Obama wins it and wins it big. Meanwhile, if I can beat this damn cold that's taken out half my office recently, I'll be in New Hampshire next weekend to do what I can to ensure that big victory. Passion and action got us this far. Passion and action are needed to wrap this thing up with a bow!
Check out previous interviews with TBP Contributors
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Rev. Irene Monroe