Scottie Thomaston is ranked #47 of 111
Writer and activist, living in south Alabama, focusing on LGBT legal issues, disability rights, and criminal justice
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My political story
I became involved in politics in high school, shortly after 9/11. People started pushing the idea of going to war somewhere with someone over the attacks, and it seemed incredibly reactionary. Then our government tortured people and invaded Iraq under false pretenses, and I spoke out about it in high school. Shortly after high school, I got involved in LGBT activism, writing at Daily Kos (for a mostly straight audience) and eventually for other sites. I also contributed to a weekly series at Daily Kos that covered disability issues - I'm a paraplegic since age 15. For awhile I co-managed the group. I was invited to write at The Huffington Post's "Gay Voices" (back when it was invite-only.) I've contributed to a series called Criminal Injustice, for discussion of criminal justice and racial issues. I've tried to be active on a lot of issues, locally and nationally, and bring more attention to LGBT people in the South. I'm now an Editor at the Courage Campaign Institute's site EqualityOnTrial.com, covering (along with others) developments in LGBT legal cases. We write about marriage equality, the so called Defense of Marriage Act, and other aspects of LGBT legal equality.
Why I deserve a Netroots Nation Scholarship
A scholarship to attend Netroots Nation will afford me a rare opportunity to connect in person with other activists and attempt to work on new projects. With my background I have a unique voice and perspective that deserves to be heard by like-minded activists, not simply for my own sake but for others in my position who haven't had the opportunity to be as active or as open. We benefit when we get to hear from everyone, including those who might have limited resources or live far away from where activist conventions are held. I should be there because I've been a political activist for most of my life and deserve to share my perspective.
What first inspired me to get involved
I was always interested in political history, but was inspired to get involved in current events after 9/11 when government officials seemed determined to drag the country into a war, or several wars. It didn't seem right to me that thousands of people had just been killed and our response was to rush to war. It was frightening to hear the president at the time sounding so dedicated to war, and then after that, we seemed to rush to war in Iraq. That was what first made me realize the importance of being informed of current political events, instead of just history. After that, I became involved in LGBT issues when states started putting marriage on the ballot across the country to drive conservatives to the polls. I wasn't out to my family at the time, but when the issue started getting national attention, my family made a lot of comments supportive of the ban. That drove me to get more involved in LGBT issues, even before I was out to them.
The blog post I am most proud of
In January 2012, I wrote about an anti-transgender bill in Tennessee that legislators were introducing that day. The bill would have banned transgender people from using public restrooms, by requiring people to use the restroom associated with the gender on their birth certificate; another Tennessee law barred people from changing their assigned gender on their birth certificate. Hearing about it from friends in the state, I wrote about it at Huffington Post and DailyKos; others wrote about it that morning as well. The senate version of the bill was withdrawn on the same day, which effectively killed the bill.
Proudest Blog Url
More about my political involvement
I work for Courage Campaign, covering LGBT issues. Most recently we were in Washington DC, covering the oral arguments in the Supreme Court cases and handing out signs and other information during the pro-equality marches and events outside the Court.
How I've gotten others involved
I've been a political activist since high school, and a blogger since I joined Daily Kos in 2005. I've participated in campaigns and I've written about efforts to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, as well as more local efforts, like a bill proposed in Tennessee last year that would have effectively banned people who are transgender from using public restrooms in the state. I was hired by Courage Campaign last year to cover LGBT legal issues and I've focused on the Prop 8 case and all of the Defense of Marriage Act challenges in federal court; two of these are before the Supreme Court and we covered oral arguments in March from the court. Last year I got invited to an "Emerging LGBT Leaders" event at the White House and the Vice President's residence.
Why I think participation in the netroots is important
Participation in the netroots is especially important for someone like myself: someone who is disabled and living in the deep South, not very close to areas where I could be useful as an activist in person. I have quite a different perspective to share and online grassroots activism has allowed me to do that when I would otherwise have been shut out of the political conversation by distance or my disability.
My Twitter manifesto on online activism
Online activism allows people to stay connected and active even when they're in remote areas.
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