Snohomish’s husband takes a cross-country trip to raise awareness of anti-LGBTQ bills

The lawmakers’ recent decisions, along with anti-LGBTQ+ bills popping up across the country, are prompting two 24-year-old Snohomish residents to begin a two-week trip across the country to raise awareness and learn from lawmakers.

Drake Wilson and Lily Stevens Barnsby take a trip across six states to pick the minds of lawmakers on their position as they delve into several anti-LGBTQ bills in Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Missouri, Tennessee and Florida.

“We’re just seeing how fragile these rights are and how and how slippery it can be, and so we’re really trying to keep this conversation going,” Wilson said.

Wilson is a gay man and Stephens Barnsby is a bisexual woman. Together, with the Lucky Moms Association, they search for answers.

“We’re just trying to understand where this is coming from, and why this is happening,” Wilson said.

They not only document what they call ‘The Queer Agenda: A Great American Road Trip’, they interview legislators, advocates and LGBT people, such as Ve’Ondre Mitchell, a transgender woman.

“Quite frankly, there’s a lot of discrimination just for feeling ostracized as a kid just for being,” Mitchell said during an interview with the duo.

Mitchell has been fighting and championing LGBTQ+ rights for years, sharing her own experiences and taking a stand against the national bathroom bill.

“It felt like a very powerful experience because I celebrated for the first time who I am as a person,” Mitchell said.

Wilson and Stephens Barnsby stopped in Boise, Idaho, as they research a bill that would ban gender affirmation sponsorship for transgender youth.

“It’s like recurring history,” Wilson said.

Next is the Utah moratorium, as the latest bill was vetoed by Governor Spencer Cox, but the legislature overrides the veto. The bill would ban transgender children from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity.

“As an ex-athlete, I love competition, so I didn’t really care who I was playing against,” Ann Molitor of the Lucky Moms Association said during an interview during their docuseries.

Another state on the list is Tennessee, where House Bill 800 seeks to ban books and educational materials that “promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or lifestyle issues.”

In response, Lucky Moms founder Joan Robin Wilson said, “What the hell is a gay lifestyle or a transgender lifestyle or a transgender lifestyle? It’s ridiculous.”

“Banning any books is intrinsically wrong,” Molitor said.

The two will end their trip in Florida for one specific reason: “We were deeply shocked by the ‘Don’t Say Gay Law’ specifically in Florida,” Stevens Barnsby said.

The bill, which has already been signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, bans teachers from speaking out about LGBTQ+ issues or issues.

“In this climate, with these bills so high, I’m afraid the kids have to stay in the closet because the national temperature around these issues is so hot,” Wilson said.

Their goal is to bridge the gap and highlight LGBT people and their stories.

“Reversal of long-standing rulings, such as Lawrence v. Texas, for example, would have a tremendous impact on real people and real relationships,” Stephens Barnsby said.

You can track their journeys and findings in a documentary series, The Queer Agenda: A Great American Road Trip.

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