Gayish: 308 Unemployment (w/ Sarah Ray)

Capitalism, productivity, and self-worth. Sarah joins as a guest co-host to talk with Kyle about LGBTQ+ unemployment and our personal experiences being out of work.

In this episode: News- 5:29 || Main Topic (Unemployment)- 24:06 || Gayest & Straightest- 1:23:40

Find all about Sarah and the work she does at www.callmesarah.com. Also, take a listen to her podcasts, SarahTalk and Humanist Trek.

On the bonus segment, Sarah and Kyle commiserate on the topic of “productivity guilt,” and Kyle helps Sarah get deep into some feels. Get bonus segments every Friday and loads more bonus content by joining at the $5+/mo here on Patreon.

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

INTRO MUSIC [MIKE JOHNSON SINGING]

When you know that you are queer but your favorite drink is beer, that’s Gayish. You can bottom without stopping but you can’t stand going shopping, that’s Gayish. Oh, Gayish. You’re probably Gayish. Oh life’s just too short for narrow stereotypes. Oh, it’s Gayish. We’re all so Gayish. It’s Gayish with Mike and Kyle.

KYLE GETZ  

Hello everyone in the podcast universe. This is Gayish, the podcast that asks “Bro…” [chuckles] I’m Kyle Getz and I’m here to bridge the gap between sexuality and actuality. And, as you’ve already seen, it is me here. Mike is off; his birthday was Monday earlier this week. His birthday’s November 14 if anyone wants to wish him a belated happy birthday. He is also in a different country for work, so all of these things add together to be that Mike is not here. But, that doesn’t mean I’m alone. That means we have a super special guest co-host today, and that is Sarah Ray. Hi, Sarah.

SARAH RAY  

Hey, how’s it going?

KYLE GETZ  

Great! I’m so excited you’re here.

SARAH RAY  

I’m so excited to be playing the role of Mike Johnson today.

KYLE GETZ  

I’m excited to see how much you are like him, [Sarah laughs] how different you are from him, and if you have an entire segment on history that will last 20 minutes.

SARAH RAY

So, Star Trek.

KYLE GETZ

[laughing] Star Tre- Okay, yep, that worked, now we’re back. Sarah is the host of the SarahTalk Podcast and the new Humanist Trek podcast. She is also the VP of The Humanist Society. She is a humanist celebrant. She is an atheist. She’s a- uh, I guess not-so-recent-anymore Coloradan, and friend of the show, more so than maybe anyone that we’ve had on as a guest before. [chuckles]

SARAH RAY

[chuckles] We go way back.

KYLE GETZ

We go way back!

SARAH RAY

We do, yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah! So, we’re gonna do all the normal things, except I have to pretend that I care about the news [Sarah laughs] is basically the biggest difference. Okay, today we’re talking about unemployment specifically. Sarah, we are both [sighs] kind of in a similar spot in life right now.

SARAH RAY

Yeah. Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

But we’ll come back to that. We have a couple things to do first. So- But first, but first, [Sarah chuckles] we do have 100 words. In honor of Mike I am going to read the email leading up to the 100 words, even though that’s the dumbest structure [Sarah laughs] for what we set up. And, also, thank you to Tessa727 who sent this in, because we had been delaying a whole bunch on it. And finally, here it is. So, “Hello, Gayish team! Love the podcast. It’s one of my favorite podcasts out there for while I do my chores. I’m ADHD and autistic, so having you guys talking in my ears – be it silly or serious – really helps me get through what I need to do.” That’s very sweet, thank you. “So far, everyone who’s submitted 100 words had heartfelt and warming pieces. However, I’m in the mood for some harmless chaos. I would like to say I’m sorry, but I’m laughing too much even typing this to make that lie work. 100 words attached. If possible, can Mike first see it at time of recording? Read dramatically.” “From Tessa727.” I don’t know that we’ve gotten notes [both laugh] on how to read the 100 words in the past, but-

SARAH RAY  

I can’t wait to see what chaos this is!

KYLE GETZ  

-it’s- Okay. So- Because- Even though Mike is off, he’s still doing this dramatic reading, so I’m gonna go ahead and play that here. 

[MIKE JOHNSON]

Read dramatically!

Lizard!

Lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard.

Lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard.

Lizard????

Lizard lizard!

Lizard, lizard lizard lizard, lizard – lizard lizard lizard.

Lizard. Lizard lizard lizard.

Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! Lizard!

Lizard lizard lizard.

♫ Lizaaaaaarrrdddd. Lizard liiiiizzzaaaarrrddd. Lizard lizard -lizard lizard lizard -lizard liz -liz -lizard ♫

(halfway done!)

Lizard!

Lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard.

Lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard lizard.

LIZARD LIZARD LIZARD LIZARD LIZARD LIZARD LIZARD!!!!!!!!

Lizard lizard lizard?

lizard lizard lizard.

Lizard – “Lizard! Lizard lizard lizard! Lizard?!?!?”

Lizard, lizard – “ Lizard lizard”

Lizard, liz lizard lizard.

Lizard.

(Fin)

KYLE GETZ

So, okay, thank you for that I think. I think thank you for those 100 words. Uhh- [chuckles] You know, we said you can use it for anything you want, and you- you did that. You successfully achieved that. Congrats. If you want to send us 100 words, and you have that level benefit at $15 and up on Patreon, I mean… test our- test our boundaries, baby. Okay, now on to the news… There’s a news theme song that plays here…

SARAH RAY  

[whispered, faint] Shut your mouth hole… [Kyle laughs] time for your ear… news, news, news. [speaking normally] I’m gonna get the guitar.

KYLE GETZ

[hushed] Oh my god, the acoustic version!

[News segment intro plays, sung by MIKE JOHNSON]

Shut your mouth hole it’s time for your ear holes, news, news, news.

KYLE GETZ  

Okay, so, news the first: – and I’m really excited you’re here for this Sarah – we just had in the US our midterm election.

SARAH RAY

We did.

KYLE GETZ

And, because we’re- We’re recording this at a time where at least we know that the Democrats are holding on to the Senate. So, before I get into anything more on my side, how are you feeling about the midterm elections and what happened?

SARAH RAY  

I don’t feel like- I don’t feel like I paid as close attention to the election this year as maybe I had planned to or should. Like, we’ve got a lot of stuff going on, you know, in our lives. And kids are in school in a brand new school district, and like, there’s just a lot of things going on. But there were a few things that, like, really stuck out to me from this particular election. And the first of that is the youth vote.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah.

SARAH RAY

Like- So NPR noted that 27% of voters between 18 and 29 cast a ballot this year in the midterm, and that 2022 is the second highest voter turnout among young voters, uh, voters under 30, at least in the past three decades, and 2018 was highest.

KYLE GETZ

Wow.

SARAH RAY

So like- It seems like, if I’m trying to find hope in this mess, it seems like we’re trending towards the youth being much more engaged in politics. And that’s a thing that, like- The youth of everything is a thing that we’re all trying to figure out, like if you run any kind of political thing, or a nonprofit or a community organization. Like, we all sit around in rooms and talk about “How do we get young people more involved in the X,” you know?

KYLE GETZ

Mhm, mhm, mhm.

SARAH RAY

Which is funny as a Gen Xer, you know, coming from the we did absolutely nothing with our- [both chuckle] with my youth. We listened to Green Day, and got high, and that’s- that was our involvement. [smacks lips] Ummm…

KYLE GETZ  

I- But- Okay, I think if everyone just listened to Green Day and got high for a bit, like- You know?

SARAH RAY  

Life would be- The world would be a better place.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah, absolutely!

SARAH RAY

I agree.

KYLE GETZ  

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think we- Like, we- I remember, I’m a millennial, I’m an elder millennial, which I recently learned was a thing. Because they were like, “Oh, thanks…” – you know – “…Gen Z and millennials under 30.” And I was like [gasp] I almost made the thanks, [Sarah scoffs] but then I didn’t. And I was like, “I should make the cut for the youth vote, I’m 36.” That’s fine, and I’ve accepted that I’m no longer the youth, and, you know, I’m over it, clearly.

SARAH RAY

Right.

KYLE GETZ

But, I think we had the big MTV campaigns of like, “Get out the vote-”

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

-and like P Diddy did a PSA or something, of like- So, I think- I think we were trying to be what Gen Z is now. I think we were trying to get the push to participate in the way that Gen Z is. So.

SARAH RAY  

And even with that though, still, it’s only 27%, right? Like, that’s still not a great number to be- We shouldn’t be proud of that. 27% is not enough.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. It’s- It’s that, and the reason I believe behind it, or what – you know – Gen Z is talking a lot about, is this is the generation that had to go through active shooter drills, or had been in active shooter situations. Like, that being an instigator to go vote, it sucks that that would be one of the big catalysts for it. So there’s a lot of shitty things happening-

SARAH RAY

That’s true.

KYLE GETZ

-even though we’re trying to celebrate the Gen Z vote. Something else to celebrate is, there was not a red wave as expected.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

I saw a bunch of people saying like, “We need to learn how to poll people that’s not calling them on the fucking phone.” [laughs]

SARAH RAY  

[laughs] Right! Right. Because- First of all, I don’t have a home phone, right? So if you’re sourcing numbers that way, you’re gonna get the octogenarian audience [both chuckle] that you’re gonna get. And, uhm, if you call me on my cell phone, I’m not gonna answer it!

KYLE GETZ  

No fucking way- Like, that, to me, I was like, “If you think that’s a youth thing, then you haven’t been paying attention for a very- It’s just now impacting your numbers enough that you’re rethinking it.” Like, I have not answered my phone for decades. [laughs]

SARAH RAY  

I trust, like, YouGov polling. I don’t know if you’re familiar with YouGov.

KYLE GETZ

No.

SARAH RAY

You can download this app on your phone and participate in some of the polling that they do, and some of them are paid, and some of them aren’t. You know, you can make like five cents for filling out a survey or whatever. But when you look at those in the news articles, and look at the source for a lot of their data, YouGov comes up in a lot of that. So I feel like I’m- I’m getting my voice out a little bit, in some of that polling, when I use that app instead of like- There are some that have figured out “Here’s how we reach the people,” and it’s not calling them on the phone, it’s “Here’s an app you can sign up for.”

KYLE GETZ  

It’s also interesting, that part of using your voice – we know that voting is not the only way nor should it be, but, it’s interesting – polls in prediction of how voting is going to happen, that’s a different way you can use your voice, is by voting on those things.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

So, that’s a weird- I didn’t even think about that as an option. Like, when people see, like, a crushing red wave is gonna hit us it kind of makes you feel defeated, and you might not vote because you think it’s just a done deal, and it clearly wasn’t.

SARAH RAY  

Yeah. Right. And, [scoffs] like, just broadly, the midterms and the way they tend to go – Right? – usually the minority party cleans up in the midterms. They attack whatever the majority party president and Congress have been doing, and that usually swells them up, and we just- we didn’t have that this year. And I think there’s a lot of factors at play, but one of the big ones is, like, if you look at some of the candidates who didn’t do well, a lot of them were like election denier, Jan. 6 Trumpers.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah.

SARAH RAY

And they- A lot of them won, yes. Like, many did, but, it seemed like the Trump endorsement didn’t pay off positively in a lot of races like one might have expected.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. We are no longer- or- They are no longer fawning over him and “Everything he says is gospel, and we’ll do it no matter what or how crazy.”

SARAH RAY  

Right. One of the most delicious losses for me though was that dickbag fuckface Dr. Oz.

KYLE GETZ

Yesss!

SARAH RAY

I am so glad he lost, but even then it was like a five point margin. Like- [nervously sighs]

KYLE GETZ  

Oh my god, it was way too close to, like, rest easy and be like, “Ooo, we’ve done it-”

SARAH RAY

Right?

KYLE GETZ

-but I was so glad about that one, absolutely. Another major takeaway that we are seeing from this midway is – The Victory Fund, which is a pack dedicated to getting openly LGBTQ officials elected in the US – they noted that at least 436 LGBTQ candidates won, which is 100 more than 2020.

SARAH RAY

That’s amazing. Amazing.

KYLE GETZ

So- That’s such a big number. Like, with all that’s going on- I mean, I even think of- I’ve been thinking about school boards recently, because of book bans and schools becoming a target for anti-LGBT-speech, people, hate. Um, but, getting people voted in across the country – LGBTQ people voted in across the country – is just such a huge way to make a change. There are so many firsts, that the one- I’ll just read a few. We had our first lesbian governor elected, which ended up being our two first lesbian governors elected because we ended up getting two at the same time. We have the first trans man elected to a state legislature. We had our first openly gay immigrant that was elected. So, among this big sea of LGBTQ people, also a lot of firsts are coming along with that. So that’s something else that we can – not necessarily rest easy, but – enjoy and appreciate that there was, what the Victory Fund called, a “Rainbow Wave.”

SARAH RAY  

Absolutely. [huffs]

KYLE GETZ

Alright, new-

SARAH RAY

Let me finish on this thought, though.

KYLE GETZ

Please.

SARAH RAY

And that is: While we’re- I’m the pessimist of the group, [Kyle giggles] and while we’re celebrating our wins – Right? – like, slavery was on the ballot in five states and won in four, and the fifth one was kind of a sketchy reason why they kicked that down. So like, that’s another victory to talk about. There were a lot of great things, but at the end of it all I still kind of walked away going like, “It’s hard to find hope,” still, even with all of those wins. Like, there is no question we are a nation divided on many different lines, and like my mom always says, “It’ll probably get worse before it gets better.” So I think there’s a lot of, like, good positives to take away from the midterms, but also I don’t think that’s like the bell cry for “Great things are coming.” I think we still have to be cautious.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. So moving on to news the second: I wanted to talk a little bit about the – fuck, I didn’t practice this name. [Sarah laughs] This is… well, you expect it now at this point, so, sorry everyone – the Mahsa Amini protests that are going on right now in Iran. This is something that I’ve just been personally paying close attention to, and because I’m running the news I get to fucking talk about it. It’s not inherently gay, but I think human rights, human liberation, women’s rights, all of that, ties very closely into LGBT rights, and if you don’t see the connection I would urge you to look more into the history of where our oppression comes from. So that’s the connection, but, the background is: back in September, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested for not following hijab laws. Police beat her, and, as everything – you know – is couching their bets, but I don’t have to because no one gives a fuck about this podcast [Sarah laughs] so I could just say- Basically, it is presumed- like, the police killed her, which they deny. That sparked the protests. Since then, women have been protesting the mandatory hijab laws, and of course it’s gotten bigger than that, protesting some of the – I forget what they’re called. Just, like, there are certain ways you’re supposed to act and behave. It’s basically the government is telling you exactly what you can- – um, morality laws that are there.

SARAH RAY

Right.

KYLE GETZ

So, it has become a big movement for women’s rights, and I just don’t- I feel like I have to seek out information on this rather than it always being front and center, especially now that it’s – you know – it’s been a couple of months and there’s fatigue there. Guess that’s part of the reason I wanted to bring it up.

SARAH RAY  

Yeah, there is something to – I think, in the West – to really be paying attention to here, and that is, like, you know, one of the things that I’m always engaged in, something related to the separation of church and state. And like, these are great examples of “Here’s what happens when we let religion and government commingle: crazy shit like this.” Like, these ridiculous morality laws get put into place, and, you know, harm people; take people’s rights away. And there is a movement in our country to, you know, install Christian nationalism. And don’t be surprised if you start seeing some of that same kind of stuff happening, if we allow that to happen.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. You- Before we started, you were talking about, [Kyle chuckles] if you look yourself up, one of the first things was [Sarah laughs] – what did you read?

SARAH RAY  

Yeah. If you Google me, there’s- Most of what comes up is like atheist activism, right? And so, one of them was: I gave a- Uh, there was a City Commission in Florida that allowed Christian pastors to give a prayer before their meetings – Right? – to deliver an invocation. But like, 99 times out of 100, those invocations – or even 100, out of 100 – those invocations were a Christian preacher. And so I tested their policies on equality and signed up to give an invocation. And the – you know – the people in the office handling that request knew that they couldn’t deny this to me, that that would be very bad for them legally, so they had to let me do it. And then, as like I came and gave an invocation – and a secular invocation is very much like, “You were all elected to do this job for whatever special, you know, skills and knowledge that you have. Let’s come together, and put aside our differences, and get to doing the work of governing the people.” – right? That is basically a secular invocation.

KYLE GETZ  

[sarcastically] So offens- That’s offensive! That’s mean and offensive, Sarah. [laughs]

SARAH RAY  

Tsk. Was it- Two or three of them got up and walked out during my invocation. One of them left a bible on the dais, in protest. It was great! So that’s the kind of stuff you find when you start Googling me. [laughs]

KYLE GETZ  

[laughs] And, I think one of the reasons to note that is: I think we can, with our xenophobic attitudes in the US, look at other countries and say, “Oh, that’s just that- Iran. That’s just them, that could never happen to us.” And it’s like, shit, like, that does happen, you know?

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Like, I want to talk about how we are unfortunately connected and related in these struggles together. So, recent goings-on for these protests: the protests have continued; they have arrested 14,000 protesters so far; there have been hundreds of protesters killed by the authorities. Of course, they would give you different numbers, but, you know, international rights groups and watchdog groups have said that there are probably hundreds of- or, no, there are hundreds of people that have been killed. The fear is that, of those- with those 14,000 protesters, that they will be executed for violating some of these vague like, morality laws, or hijab laws, or what have you. Amnesty International put together a petition that is now closed but had a million signatures to call for an investigation into these. And, just one action item if you want to stay involved or learn more: I like the Instagram handle @middleeastmatters that has been covering this protest, and does also cover other things. Some of the other accounts that have been recommended are very graphic and violent. So, there are others that are useful, but that one: that’s a good kind of way to get in and at least start following this.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Last news story is actually an update- Oh fuck, “News the last.” I don’t know how much I want to be Mike. I’m trying to replicate his- [Sarah laughs] I’m stealing his new segment and trying to replicate it, but I- Okay. News the last: I’m Mike, this is all fun, I loooove talking about the news! Um, this is an update on Brittney Griner. So, we’ve given I think maybe a couple updates or so by now, but another major development, just quick update. She’s a WNBA player and an Olympic gold medalist who was, earlier this year, detained by- in Russians- uh, by Russian customs for cartridges with less than a gram of cannabis oil. That was apparently offensive enough that she was sentenced to nine years in prison. The update: she is being transferred to a prison camp, or, also known as a penal colony, which is what you might hear people refer to it in the news. At this point, I don’t know what- You know, it might actually- By the time this comes out we may know more, but, it is unknown where she’s going. People are not, like her family or lawyers, are not told until they arrive in the penal colony, and apparently penal colonies have pretty grim conditions. Um, I see you’re shaking your head Sarah. Have you- have you seen or read much about the situation?

SARAH RAY  

I’ve read that- Yeah, I’ve read that a lot of them are like former gulags from Soviet era, and they’re like falling apart, and they crowd a bunch of people in there, and like it’s just- the conditions are just terrible.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah, [sighs] yeah. So, before now, before this point, she’s been in a pretrial detention center in Moscow. So that’s why she – now that she’s been sentenced – is being moved. And, just earlier this month, one action item that I wanted to share, is that her wife Cherelle Griner encouraged people to write letters to her. I think, again, just like the Iranian protests, after a couple months of being in the news it kind of stops making front page news. So, the fear is that- I think she might have said that Brittney Griner thinks people have just kind of forgotten about her. You can actually write a letter and send to her, and you can go to “we are bg .org” – as in her initials, Brittney Griner – wearebg.org, and you can write a letter. And, given that was the call from her wife, from her own family, that this is something that would be useful, I think, remind- it sounds like such a little thing in the context of what’s going on, but, reminding her that “We haven’t forgotten about you, we’re thinking about you, we know this is still a fucked up situa-” Or- I don’t know. Say whatever you- [Sarah chuckles] I won’t tell you how to write your letter, you do that. God damn people, do your own- Um, so you can go there, find out how to write letter, and find out – you know – if there are any other actions you want to take.

SARAH RAY  

It’s heartbreaking to think of being in that position. Just-

KYLE GETZ  

This is something I think about, and I just- I could not- I just- I’d be like, “This one tiny thing I did has fucked me over in so many-“ It is a nothing charge. It means nothing. It was-

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

I don’t know. I can’t get over just that the- ugh. Like, this is scary. Like, it’s scary and horrible.

SARAH RAY

For sure.

KYLE GETZ

Well, that’s the news, [chuckles] Mike. Now I see why Mike tries to end on a happy one, because, I don’t know, we don’t have to be happy all the time. We can just be bleh. Um, people who are not bleh are the following Patreon members: Peter Altier… [TN: pronounced like “teardrop”] Peter Altier [TN: in a French way] I’m gonna guess?

SARAH RAY

Nailed it.

KYLE GETZ

Um. [chuckles] Nailed it. Uh, I’m gonna get this one: Matt. Appreciate you Matt.

SARAH RAY

Well done!

KYLE GETZ

Thank you. [laughs] Oh sorry, there are two Ts! Ma-t-t. Thank you Ma-t-t… Logan Cheshire, and TheOnlyShaun. That’s gotta- It’s not- Shaun, not Shawn. [TN: like the “wn” in “shown”] Shaun. Shawn.

SARAH RAY

What?

KYLE GETZ

Shaun.

SARAH RAY

What?

KYLE GETZ

S-H-A-U-N, that’s just Shaun still, right?

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

We still do Shaun for that. TheOnlyShaun, all one word if that makes a difference to you. Uh, thank you so much to our Patreon members. If you want me to take a swing at your name, or make up a name that then I have to try for – that’s my version of the 100 words, is make me try to say your name – go to patreon.com/gayishpodcast. Alright, do you, Sarah, want to talk about unemployment?

SARAH RAY  

I do want to talk about unemployment. And since I’m playing the role of Mike today, I’d like to talk about the history of unemployment.

KYLE GETZ  

[laughs] If you do, I- you might be hosting this, because I might leave.

SARAH RAY  

[laughs] Well, it turns out there’s not a lot of recorded history about unemployment as, like, a condition of being. So, what I started with was sort of-

KYLE GETZ

Oh my god, are you- Wait, you’re serious?! Are you really-

SARAH RAY

Yeah, of course I have a history of unemployment. [Kyle chuckles] So what I started with was the history of employment, and then I kind of extrapolated out from there, right? So-

KYLE GETZ  

Oh my god! [laughs] Sure. I- Wow. Okay, sure. Yeah.

SARAH RAY  

I’m nailing this interview. Okay, so, this-

KYLE GETZ  

I know, sorry! I need to get- [Sarah laughs] I need to like- I need to go along with you, and I’m happy to, I just- I didn’t- It’s just not- I didn’t expect this. Okay-

SARAH RAY

I love surprising you. There you go.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah! Wow, it worked. I- Okay.

SARAH RAY

So-

KYLE GETZ

So.

SARAH RAY  

So essentially, as, like, as a society grows, and starts to organize, then these systems of power grow from it: organized work being one of them, right? So think of like, small, collaborative, tribal sort of structure, right? Where the group is so small, everybody has a role to play, and they’re like basic things like gathering-hunting food, tending to children, creating shelter, like the necessities of life, right? But also – and I hope I’m not romanticizing this too much – individuals in those smaller groups also seem to be valued on more than just what they can produce.

KYLE GETZ  

Mm.

SARAH RAY

But-

KYLE GETZ

That seems like a key, that we need to hold on to that idea and see if and-

SARAH RAY

[talking over] IIIIII feel like we need to come back to that, how do we- Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah yeah, yeah.

SARAH RAY  

So, when those societies start to grow, and get bigger, and spread out in territory, that’s when you really start to see like divisions: in age, and gender, and skill, and class. So as those systems scale up, workers become a commodity and are a market of their own, and then from like the basic life-sustaining work tasks like finding food and creating shelter, through the Industrial Revolution, through into the information age, work continues to get more and more specialized, and simply not everyone is going to fit into one of those specialized things.

KYLE GETZ  

There’s part of what you’re describing that seems valuable, of us understanding we each have different skills that we divide up, and start – you know – specializing in our things.

SARAH RAY

Right.

KYLE GETZ

But also, the way you’re describing it, it seems like it also goes hand in hand with – then you mentioned – the commodification of workers. Like-

SARAH RAY

Right.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah. Do those things just go hand in hand?

SARAH RAY  

And what do we do with the generalists, who don’t snap into the specialized jobs?

KYLE GETZ

Right. Right.

SARAH RAY

And I’m foreshadowing here, because this is- [Kyle chuckles] a lot of my story is wrapped into this, but- So then there’s a connected history of unemployment as like a kind of welfare benefit. So we know that those structures existed in ancient Egypt, and we have English laws going back to the 1500s creating public works programs, and punishments for the willfully unemployed. Pause there, because we want to draw the attention to, like, at least they had a little bit of compassion to exclude people who couldn’t work for whatever reason – right? – and targeted those who were, quote unquote, “Able bodied and able to work,” but for some reason were not working. In the US we probably think of things like World War I, the Great Depression, and the New Deal: Job-creating programs from the New Deal. When we think about labor, and shortages, and unemployment levels, I think America kind of goes- That’s where we think of. And I think it’s interesting to look at that approach, because like, while in arguably it did a lot of good, it further entrenched our belief that welfare – and by that I mean, like, the wellbeing of citizens – has to be tied into what they can produce. Ah, capitalism.

KYLE GETZ

[chuckles] Yeah.

SARAH RAY

And so, that’s why I like ideas like universal basic income so much, because it separates away the… “How many widgets can you make” from your value and it values us all as people, that we’re- we’re all humans, and we all exist in this space and time, and for that we should have value for each other, regardless of how many widgets you can make.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. I’m blown away that- you mentioned even back to the 1500s, that there was some kind of, you know, collective “We need to support people who don’t have jobs,” and that sounds like a nice way of framing, like- but it’s based on productivity. We all need to get together to like, make sure those people aren’t punished for it, or are able to at least survive for a little bit.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

That’s why- I didn’t- I didn’t expect this concept to have been around for so long.

SARAH RAY  

Yeah. Well, and then here in the States – right? – we have this [huffs] deep-rooted negative view of the unemployed, right?

KYLE GETZ

Mhm.

SARAH RAY

Like, we just idolize hard work so much as an ideal to strive for. And it’s just- It’s horseshit, as far as I’m concerned. Like, it’s just stupid. But, so anyway, I think what I would take from that is: you know, as we talk about unemployment, it’s easy to talk about it like a monolith, but we want to think about how people who are unemployed further breaks down into things like people who want to work but can’t for whatever reason, and people who want to work but they can’t find a job in their field, or people who want to create and give to society in a way that’s different from the capitalist job machine.

KYLE GETZ  

Wow! I’m, like- I’m blown away by both the content and that you did this at all, so-

SARAH RAY  

[laughs] It’s one thing I prepared for today, so, enjoy.

KYLE GETZ  

I- I’m- [laughs] Okay, okay. We’re going downhill- Well, then I have to do my segment, so we’re going downhill. This is like Julia Louis Dreyfus in Veep, where I’m like “Oh, my VP pick was so good. I did this! I- Everything you say, I did it, because I picked!” [Sarah laughs] No, um- I- The last part, where you mentioned people that create things or work in a way that is not valued within this society: I think back to, in the past, artists. A lot of the famous artists that we have, and put their put their work on literal pedestals, are people who were supported by patrons that- Like, an entire family would be like, “We have so much fucking money, we’re gonna give to artists because- so that they can create.”

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

And I don’t know if I’m just romanticizing that concept that they did, and maybe it’s harder than I imagined, but I just thought that – even, like, when you think about philosophers, that you look back – like, there’s no way that made fucking money in our sense of the- Like, do we have philosophers today? Like, you have to be an academic and figure out other ways to do things and contribute. And so, to me, I remember learning about all these types of – I even hate calling it a profession, but like – all these types of people that did this stuff that we look back and value and teach in history, but I don’t know that you can be just a philosopher today. Like…

SARAH RAY  

Well think about raising kids, right? There’s a thing that should be a job that comes with an income. [Kyle chuckles] I mean, we’re talking about people who are literally raising, like, the next generation of people. And, what have we done? We have, over time, created a system where a single-income household isn’t going to cut it anymore, right? Both- Ostensibly, we’re talking there’s, you know, two parents, or two adults, or whatever, that have to go out to make an income. And we’re relying more on organized school and childcare systems than we are, like, the family structure. And like, lots of things have changed in a short amount of time with the way America and the workforce kind of work together, and not in the best of ways, I don’t think.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. Yeah, and it’s interesting, because that also- Part of the root of that: there is value and progress in women’s movement, of “We deserve to work if we want, how we want.”

SARAY RAY

Right.

KYLE GETZ

And that’s hugely valuable, but also that has contributed to exactly what you’re describing. So it’s like, you can seek a thing that then has unintended repercussions. And I don’t know that we could have looked back and been like- You- What would you do, say “No, women, don’t fight for this right”? Like, you know, what else are you gonna do? Like-

SARAH RAY  

[huffs] I think- I think the lesson to take from that is: when we are in those moments now, we should be looking back to that and going, “Okay, how are the oligarchs and the rich – you know, the oil barons – going to use this against us, in the way that they used women entering the workforce in a way that changed our economy that then required them to stay, and – quote – ‘both parents’ work in the workforce?”

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah, yeah. I maybe should have started with some kind of, like- I think, based on just what I’ve seen, in both our conversations, your podcast, things you’ve posted on Facebook, I think we are in a similar place in terms of just either unemployment or beliefs.

SARAH RAY

Mhm.

KYLE GETZ

And so, there are a lot of people out there who – especially because a lot of our audience is in the US – this is a good example of, like: you have deep seated beliefs that, even if you don’t agree with what you’re saying, just, I would encourage you to just be open to what of your beliefs are based on an inherent truth about life, and what is based on “This is what I was trained to do,” because I think we’re gonna have conversations that, for some people, they’re just going to be like, “Absolutely not, these are dumb idiots who are too liberal to know what’s actually happening.”

SARAH RAY

[laughs] Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

And I don’t- I’m not- I don’t want- I’m not trying to say you have to believe all of this, I just want you to open up, and maybe at least reflect on it. I was a business major; I did that because I think I knew that that would help me make money. I graduated and then started working for [company name bleeped]- Ooh, I don’t know if I should bleep that out, [Sarah laughs] [chuckles] because that is important. I worked for a major tech company here in Seattle. My belief was that the invisible hand of the market should guide things that the market would regulate, – help regulate – that just- that just kind of trusting the market. Boy, I was- That was also when I was a Republican. So, I have- I am not coming to this saying that I have always believed these things. This is something that I have been on, probably, the side of someone that if I were listening to myself – you know – even 10 years ago, I would be like, “That’s a dumb, dumb idiot that doesn’t know anything about economics.” So-

SARAH RAY  

I don’t know about you, but like, these- those ideas were things that I was raised with, right? I grew up hearing that kind of stuff, like “The free market will even itself out,” and, you know, “Everything’s just going to be hunky dory.”

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah, yeah.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

I think- And- But, what I did at least learn in economics class that played a role in my deconstruction of that idea in the real world, is that the free market, when you learn that in an economics class, that is devoid of so many- that is, in a vacuum, the market will handle things. So you have to remember all the things that, like- that we cannot exist in that vacuum, and if you’re expecting that to work in the real world, in our world, in a world where we have so many other factors at play, like, that’s just not how it works. So-

SARAH RAY  

Correct. Yeah, that’s the economic philosophy of it.

KYLE GETZ

Exactly.

SARAH RAY

That’s not the reality of it.

KYLE GETZ  

Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay, I do want to talk a little bit about some gay-ta, [laughs] and part of this is what I want to talk about: LGBTQ people and employment, because there are a lot of challenges out there. I’m gonna talk about some of my personal challenges, some of my beliefs. I also want to acknowledge that, in talking about unemployment, I have a lot of privilege in the- in being unemployed, even. I have enough money to live, and I am still comfortable enough in my unemployment that- Not- So we’re talking about a very specific – at least for me – a very specific privileged place that that my unemployment is coming from, and that is not representative of everyone, especially LGBTQ people’s challenges with unemployment. So, I want to talk a little bit more about that piece.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

So this is from Investopedia, an article [TN: titled “Despite progress, LGBTQ+ communities continue to face disparities”] by Daniel Thomas Mollenkamp, who pulled in- seemed to pull in several different studies and kind of assessing the current state of employment with LGBTQ people. There is an LGBTQ pay gap. That is not too surprising to me, but it did outline the “wage hierarchy” as they called it, which- in terms of like, who makes the most money. So it goes: heterosexual men receive the most pay…

SARAH RAY

Sure.

KYLE GETZ

Hi. Surprise. Wow. [Sarah laughs] …Then gay men, then lesbian women…

SARAH RAY

Really?

KYLE GETZ

Yeah, in what they described as the “lesbian wage premium.”

SARAH RAY

[chuckling] Okay.

KYLE GETZ

Okay, we’ll come back to that. …Then heterosexual women, and then bisexuals. Bisexuals make less than gay or straight people.

SARAH RAY

[quietly] Wow.

KYLE GETZ

And that’s- We talked a little bit about that on the last episode about hairdressers, but that is a thing that I did not realize and understand: that bisexuals, just time and time again, have this unique challenge of discrimination, and this is one of these ways that I’m seeing it show up.

SARAH RAY  

Yeah, it’s really weird, like, I would think of- in terms of like, the gender gap driving, you know, a lot of those differences. That’s something that we know very well. So it’s interesting to see how that breaks down with sexuality mixed in.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Why- You scoffed at the lesbian wage premium.

SARAH RAY  

[laughing] I’ve just never heard that before. I think that’s a fantastic phrase.

KYLE GETZ  

[laughs] To me, it’s- Agreed. To me, I’m also like, that helps inform “Where’s this coming from?” And it’s coming from a place of “We-“ Boy, I don’t know. I’m bringing in the stereotypes of what it means to be a lesbian, but we- we reward anything that appears masculine. To me, that- Like, the patriarchy is really driving who makes the most money here.

SARAH RAY  

Right. And how much of that is also affected by – you know – what jobs you’re allowed to have?

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So, the Williams Institute survey has said that 16% of LGBTQ-… No, sorry, not trans. Trans’s separate. …So LGBQ people have lost a job because of discrimination. So, discrimination plays a role in- Like, that study – or, a lot of studies – are trying to compare the wage gap. Studies are trying to say “Okay, given equal education, employment, industry, all this stuff, given everything else equal, what is the pay difference?” And that’s useful to know. It’s also useful to know: things aren’t actually equal, so let’s pretend we are in the real world that we exist in. What’s the inequality? So, it is important to know that one of the causes that builds on that then is 16% of people have lost their job because of discrimination. Trans people experienced lower employment, higher rates of harassment – oh, “high rates.” It didn’t even say “higher” rates, it just said “high,” so it’s like, comparison, sure “higher” rates, but “high” rates of harassment – high rates of unemployment. A couple different studies, the SF LGBT Center in San Francisco and the Williams Institute both found that around 50% of people said they were unfairly fired or denied employment for being trans. So we’re gonna come back and talk a little bit more about your personal experiences with interviewing and employment, but we’ll- I’ll put a butt plug in that real quick. [chuckles]

SARAH RAY

As a- I also feel like… I haven’t experienced a ton of harassment in the workplace or out of the workplace, and I don’t know if- how much of that is- And I lived in a really red rural area in Florida, and I expected it there, you know?

KYLE GETZ

Yeah, yeah.

SARAH RAY

So, like, I do recognize that – like you said in your unemployment – I have a lot of privilege in the workplace, in the experiences that I’ve had, at least. Even – and we’ll come back to this, but – even in interviewing, I feel like I hear so many stories from my trans friends about these terrible experiences that they have, and I don’t have them to near the degree that I hear a lot of people in the community having them. And, like, on one hand, I- There’s a guilt that comes with that. Like, on one hand, I’m like “Phew, thank God it wasn’t me,” like “I’m, I’m doing okay here,” but also there’s so much out there that shouldn’t be happening, and I don’t want it to be happening to my trans siblings either.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. That’s interesting- Is there- Is that like a survivor’s guilt kind of thing?

SARAH RAY

Maybe, yeah. Maybe.

KYLE GETZ

That’s- It’s interesting, because that’s the thing about those statistics: like 50% have experienced discrimination. Well, that means 50% haven’t, and to set up people for expecting that kind of discrimination, there is still a burden that is being placed on you, that regardless of whether it actually happens, it’s like.. man, you know- this is a very real tangible chance. Surely that contributes to…? Well, I guess I’ll let you say. Like, that has to be a challenging situation to face, whether it comes to fruition or not.

SARAH RAY  

For sure. And hearing about it so much in the community puts that in your brain too, right? Like, so anytime you go into one of these situations, despite the fact that I feel, and see, and acknowledge my own privilege and I haven’t had issues like this before, you still walk into every situation feeling like “Oh God, this is gonna go- this is gonna go sideways,” and “Am I ready for that?” And then- But I’m also- Again, I’m the perpetual negative Nancy. Like, I have all those fears in my mind everywhere I go, like I worry about stuff. The anxiety is just so high.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. But- And I wonder how much of those go hand in hand, the anxiety that has been forced upon you.

SARAH RAY

For sure.

KYLE GETZ

Interviews in general, and just worried about how you will be treated – yeah – causes just generalized anxiety beyond that.

SARAH RAY  

Yeah. I mean, I’ve been through, like, several different transitions [laughs cheekily] in like – you know – in the workplace. Like, I was at a company when I came out and said “Hey, I’m going to transition. Like, you guys need to figure out how to talk about this to the staff, because they’re gonna need to know.” And then I left that job, and we moved across the country, and I started a new job, and I was – you know – going through that whole experience of being in a new place, and meeting new people, and starting a new job, and that I eventually quit because it sucked, and that’s why I’m unemployed. [Kyle chuckles] But yeah, every step of the way there is that, like, “Oh, God, how are people going to react to just the simpleness of me being trans?”

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whew. Um, so data, more data. All of this will further be compounded, so things like pay gap or discrimination will be compounded by intersecting identities like race and ethnicity. COVID definitely made things worse, and particularly LGBTQ people of color and trans people, it was particularly challenging for those parts of our community. Unfortunately the government doesn’t have sexual orientation or gender identity measures when they do their reviews of COVID 19, or surveys, so we don’t know- We have to rely on outside surveys, or outside studies, or – you know – just individual people just expressing some of these things. So there is a general need just for our government to acknowledge and measure our experiences. The last thing I’ll mention – not necessarily data, but related to all this – is: I did not realize in 2020 there was a Supreme Court case, Bostock v. Clayton County, and that said that our Title VII nondiscrimination, which those laws protect things like sex/race discrimination, it said that the sex discrimination that is already included in Title VII does apply, does mean that we are protected based on sexual orientation and gender identity. So there was a Supreme Court case that said, “No, you are federally protected in employment.”

SARAH RAY  

[huffs] I feel like there was a call to a previous case, a citation. There was a schoolteacher in Indiana that was ultimately fired, or chased out of her job, but it all started when, like, her wife dropped her off, or her girlfriend, or whoever, dropped her off and they kissed in the parking lot at the school, and – you know – everybody clutched their pearls and got their panties in a bunch, [Kyle chuckles] and so, well we just can’t have that. And so, like, job opportunities that should have probably come her way were denied to her, and she started being treated differently, and I wish I could remember that case because that was one of the holdings that came from that, was like: you would have- or, one of the arguments at least was that if my husband had dropped me off and kissed me goodbye, “Have a great day at work, honey,” you wouldn’t have a problem with it, but because of sex, because of the sex of the person, you have a problem with it. So it had nothing to do with- It did have to do with sexual orientation, but their argument was – because our civil rights laws don’t have sexual orientation and gender identity written into them at the national level – the argument was: “It’s discrimination based on sex, because this was a woman. If it- Had it been a man, it would have been fine.”

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And that’s- I thought, like, “Okay, we’ve been fighting for the Equality Act, maybe, like, got one-“ I mean, there’s plenty more in the Equality Act that would help ensure things like housing, or getting provided goods and services just in general. So there’s lots of that needs to happen regardless, but exactly- Like, the point they’re making is like, “Well, these days, we don’t know what kind of Supreme Court decisions get to be held up [chuckles] [Sarah huffs] and what doesn’t, so that’s not a guarantee.” But also, yeah, it is based on- It makes- The logic makes absolute sense to me, but it is not codified that sexual orientation or gender identity are like, written in there real clear, so…

SARAH RAY  

Right. And if the argument is that, “Well, the framers didn’t write sexual orientation and gender identity, so it doesn’t count.” Cool story, bro, let’s go write it then.

KYLE GETZ

[chuckles] Yeah.

SARAH RAY

Like, and do you know what we need to in order to be able to do that? Lots more seats in Congress. So vote, dammit. Back to the beginning.

KYLE GETZ  

Back to the beginning. God, what a good connection, I wish we stopped there. [Sarah laughs] No, I don’t wish we stopped there.

SARAH RAY

[laughing] I have so much more to talk about!

KYLE GETZ

We have so much more to talk about! Yeah, absolutely. I- I have gotten so annoyed at, like, whatever the fuckin’ [in a mocking, nerdy tone] “Framers of the Constitution,” or “The Founding Fathers,” like-

SARAH RAY

Oh, I don’t care.

KYLE GETZ

-I don’t- I don’t care! Well, okay. One, I don’t care. Two, if you’re someone who cares, I believe their intention was – it’s, like, every 18 years or something – their intention was that a government needs to refigure its shit out, like, very often.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Like, the- If you care about their intention, their intention was not this.

SARAH RAY  

Right, for sure. But, then if you look at like, what are the processes to – you know – add an amendment, like, the number of states that have to come together and say yes, and that whole process wasn’t a very achievable, or, I don’t know what the word is, but it- they didn’t- the foresight that they had on a lot of things did not extend to that one particular thing, I don’t think. [chuckles]

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah, yeah, the barrier is so high, and the idea of everyone coming together behind these ideas is- [chuckles] Like, those two pieces, like, we are not in a place where that’s happening.

SARAH RAY  

Oh, bless your hearts, you really thought this was gonna go well, huh?

KYLE GETZ  

[chuckles] Yeah, yeah. Yep. The last data point that we will then move back over to talking more about, your experiences Sarah: uh, trans people. The day- I seem to find a consistently- In terms of unemployment, specifically, trans people tend to have three- two to three times the unemployment rates of non-LGBTQ people. So, I think gay people, it said – the numbers didn’t add up to me totally, so – it said that they were the double, around double the average. It looked to me more like one and a half times, and I don’t totally get it. So- But, things consistently reported LGBT- or, trans people having two to three times the unemployment.

SARAH RAY  

So, I can see things like, [sighs] because being trans for a lot of us is not something that we can hide – right? – it’s not something that I can put on my straight hat and just don’t talk about my – you know – my relationships or whatever at work, and kind of, you know, go under the radar and not be out in that environment. I am who I am, and I walk in the door, and there is no one that goes, “Nope, that’s a cis person.” [Kyle chuckles] Like, everybody knows I’m a trans person walking in the door, and, like, on a lot of levels I’m okay with that, right? Again, like, trying to use the privilege that I do have to go into those spaces and be like “You’re going to reckon with us, and who we are, and if I’m the one that has to sit here and do it, cool.” Um, but also, yeah, sure, there are times that I would just like to- You know, it’s that passing privilege and all that bullshit of like… [sighs] I just want to exist in the world without having to be an activist for my thing. Like, I dunno, It’s tough.

KYLE GETZ  

So much of people will call someone an activist, and it’s like, are they an activist? Are they working towards that? Are they being an activist? Or are they being themselves in public? [chuckles]

SARAH RAY

Right, yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Like, they might not want to be an activist. They might not want to be the person trying to revolutionize this thing. Maybe they’re just trying to exist, and you think that their existence means they’re activists?

SARAH RAY  

Yeah, yeah. So-

KYLE GETZ  

Would you- I would consider you an activist, because of the work that you do to help, especially in the humanist/atheist communities.

SARAH RAY

Right.

KYLE GETZ

Do you call yourself an activist, or would you?

SARAH RAY

Yeah. Yeah, I would. Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Okay. Okay.

SARAH RAY  

I mean, I’ve been on hold the last – you know – year and a half or two because of moving and whatnot, but, like, I’m excited to get into that again, because it is something that I’m passionate about. And that ties into my employment journey in a way that, like- So, my goal, if you were to, like, “Sarah, what position – you know – what would you want to be doing with your life?” I want to be engaged with a freethought humanist, atheist, whatever, church-state separation organization that’s working on those issues. I feel like where my bread and butter is- is like, on-the-ground community organizing, helping communities come together in local areas, and then all of the techie stuff that I do, right? Like, there’s no reason why American Atheists or the American Humanist Association shouldn’t have their own media – you know – conglomeration podcasts, and YouTube shows, and all of that stuff. And that’s a-

KYLE GETZ  

Is that something they’re behind on? Like, do they not have…?

SARAH RAY  

American Atheists used to have a YouTube show, like back when YouTube was new, and, uh, [chuckles] and it fizzled out for whatever reason. But yeah, there’s a lot of new media that- There are a lot of podcasts and YouTube shows and such in the movement, in the community, but the national organizations don’t seem to all be a part of that. And so that’s something I would like to – you know – get my hands into and get involved with too. Here’s the thing: these organizations run on like 13 employees, right? Like, it’s not- When you think “Ooo, American Atheists, aah, American Humanist Association,” nah man, it’s a nonprofit, like, they don’t have a huge staff. And so, like, I’m trying to get myself into the door to these organizations, in a way that I can continue doing the activist work that I enjoy and love and feel like I’m making a difference in the world, but also be able to pay the bills and eat food, which is kind of an important thing.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah.

SARAH RAY

And so, it’s- what I found was – you know – when last we spoke, I think I was working third shift at Disney’s government: the Reedy Creek Improvement District. And trying to be like a day person while you’re working overnights, and trying to- even just trying to do the things while you’re holding down a full time job, it really does not leave you the amount of time that I think many of us want to do the things we care about, right? We’re working because we have to, we’re working because that’s what pays the bills. But then there are these other things that are our passion projects or things that we’re interested in, that we don’t get to put our whole selves into because of the time commitment, or the lack of resources, or whatever it is. So I’m just trying to find a way to- You know, they tell you “Do the thing you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Trying to do that.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah, till- But till you get to that point- Like, you do have to work otherwise to get to that. Like, yeah.

SARAH RAY  

Right. So there’s a lot of- there’s a lot of components in my personal, like, being unemployed journey. So, when we first moved, we moved from Florida to Colorado like a year and a half ago.

KYLE GETZ  

That- Okay, I know this is not what this is about, but can we take a brief sidestep to-

SARAH RAY

Of course.

KYLE GETZ

To- You left Florida- Well, I mean, if people don’t know: you were in Florida.

SARAH RAY

Have you seen Florida?

KYLE GETZ

[laughs] Yeah. Did you leave because of the political and shittiness, or was that just a good benefit that you got to leave there? [laughs]

SARAH RAY  

It was part of it.

KYLE GETZ

Okay.

SARAH RAY

So, when I was a kid, my parents brought me out to Colorado, and we did all the touristy things, and I, just- I fell in love. And then, when our kids got to be a little older – this was like 2017, I think? – then I brought my wife and kids out here and we did, like, recreated my childhood vacation for them, and they all fell in love. And so, we all have this kind of like, “Well, one of these days, we’ll – you know – we’ll move west,” and – you know – Washington, Oregon, Colorado, were kind of the top three we were on the- looking at. And then – this was, like, you know, mid-COVID – Governor DeSantis decided that schools could not require kids to wear masks. However, it’s time to send your kids back to school now. And so, we- This was the thing that was holding us to Florida: we loved to the school that our kids were in, it was like an arts magnet choice school, you had to go into a lottery to – you know – get your kid into. Really great school, really great teachers. And we- we didn’t want to lose that. And also, like, I didn’t want my kids to have to go through that move across the country, or the new kid. Kids are dicks; they bully each other. Like, I didn’t want them to have to go through that, because they had good friends back in Florida. We didn’t want to lose all that. But when the governor was like “Yeah, so um, no mask- you can’t force kids to wear masks,” we were like “Cool. You know it’s still spiking, right? The pandemic isn’t over,” you know?

KYLE GETZ  

[chuckles] Yeah. Yeah, you’re bringing me back to, like- Oh my God. The idea of “You can’t force them”- 

SARAH RAY

Yeah

KYLE GETZ

-I don’t know. Just this revolt against the best thing to do for your health is- it was gross. I mean, it still is, it’s disgusting.

SARAH RAY  

Yeah. So our solution was, “Well I guess I’m not sending my kids back to that school then.” So we unenrolled them, and put them in Florida Virtual, and did that for a little while, and then – you know – we got to the point where like, “Why are we still here?” Like, why- We- There was really nothing holding us down, like, “We miss our friends,” “Kids miss their friends,” like- but at the end of the day there was- it wasn’t like- my dream job wasn’t there, it was just time to go. And the benefit of that is: holy cow, have you seen Florida? [Kyle chuckles] And I don’t miss it, at all.

KYLE GETZ  

At what point was the Don’t Say Gay bill?

SARAH RAY  

Yeah, I think that was after we left, maybe, or, while we were in- Like, we had made the decision, and, you know, started working towards that. In fact, that’s the first milestone on the unemployment story. So, when I was working in Florida, I tried to do the right thing. Don’t ever do that. Uh- [Kyle laughs] [chuckles] Here’s some practical advice from Sarah: never trust HR. HR’s business is to protect the company. You need a union, not HR. Okay. So, I- The boss that I was working with, I had worked with at Disney many years prior. So we knew each other, like, we were friendly, and I wouldn’t say we were friends. We weren’t like “hanging outside of work” people. And so, I did – you know – an honorable and noble thing, and I said “Hey, I just want to give you a heads up; I don’t have any timeline, there are no dates, but we’re going to be moving to Colorado at some point. I’m looking for a job, we don’t have a place to live, but it’s going to be coming. Just wanted to give you that heads up.” Don’t do that. That was the first mistake. So this guy goes to HR and says, “Hey, so, Sarah said she’s probably going to be leaving soon. Can we go ahead and just open up the posting for that position, so that we can get a pool of candidates, so that when she does leave we have our candidates in hand and we can just- it won’t take so long to go through the process,” right? I understand where he was coming from, in his role, was “HR takes a month and a half to get someone hired, I wanted- I want to do this quicker.” So HR heard “Sarah’s leaving,” and said, “You need to go back to Sarah and get that in writing, with an end date.” And I said “I can’t do that, I don’t have a job, I don’t have a place to live, there’s no timeline,” right? I was just trying to be nice. And- So, the end of that story is that HR came back and said that based on the conversations that I had had with my boss and his boss, they were taking that to be my verbal resignation, and that my last day would be on the 15th.

KYLE GETZ

What?! What? How did- I mean-

SARAH RAY

That was it, and that- There was no arguing to them. Like, they had lawyers involved. There was no- So it was like, “Oh shit, we gotta find a job and a place to live, quick,” because, at the time, I was the only one making any income, right? Becca was taking care of the kids, and the house, and dealing with all of that. The kids being at home, homeschooling, was just- you know, she had to be a teacher too. So that was our only income, and it wouldn’t be long before, like, any savings that we’d had built up was going to be gone paying off the mortgage in – you know – months. We don’t have a savings, we have kids. [Kyle laughs] So, we scurried out quickly out of the state of Florida, and I took a job. [huffs] Let me stop here to say, like, I interviewed for a lot of jobs, right? So when I talked earlier about the generalists and the specialists… I tried three times to go to college; failed at all three. We had three very – you know – love-hate relationships. I went for a music education. I went for broadcasting because I was working in radio at the time, and when I left that I opened my own business doing computer repair, and website design, and all of that stuff. And so I thought “I’ll go back to school for that,” and college and I just didn’t get along, for a lot of reasons, and, like, one of the biggest ones is – you know – I knew what I wanted. And that didn’t involve years of math, right? [Kyle chuckles] If I’m gonna take computers apart, and put them back together again, and make them work, I really don’t need, like, algebra, and physics, and shit, for that.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah, yeah.

SARAH RAY

Like- So there’s a- I don’t feel like our education system has gotten its head around to this generalist versus specialist thing either.

KYLE GETZ  

Aren’t there like, programs that you could go to that would just focus on that aspect?

SARAH RAY  

Yeah, I’m trying to think of what that’s called now. It was, um, like a trade school. Yeah, that’s what it is.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

SARAH RAY

Yeah yeah. So, those really weren’t options when I was going through it though, because I’m so old, you know, so. [Kyle laughs] It was- Then it was, you go to a four year school and you get your degree, or if you’re maybe lower income you go to a two year school first – a community college – and then jump over. But we were taught, growing up, you will be a failure in life if you don’t have a college education. 

KYLE GETZ  

Oh, absolutely.

SARAH RAY  

Preached to us.

KYLE GETZ  

And college was seen as the golden ticket that once you do that, you will be given everything.

SARAH RAY  

Set for life, yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah.

SARAH RAY

And that turned out not to be the case. Like, think of all of the people you know who have degrees, who are not working in their field of study.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah.

SARAH RAY

You want to have a medical degree to do medical things? Absolutely. You need a law degree to practice law? Sure. Like, there are some really good specialist things that require a degree, but I worked at Disney for [huffs] – I don’t even remember how long it was now – a decade, and there were these kids that would come through on the college program, you know, doing their hospitality degrees, and I’m like, “Sweetheart, come work here for six months, you don’t need that degree. You’ll learn it here in the fire, like, within a few months”

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. I remember- So when I graduated, I went to work in paid digital marketing, which, I majored in marketing, so that was close enough. But then I went through an entire month and a half of learning- We didn’t learn about digital marketing, much less like the paid aspect of that, like, I remember being in one of my marketing classes, and one of the students raised his hand and talked about what Google AdWords was, because the teacher didn’t know, and that was the closest I got to a conversation that related to my specialty.

SARAH RAY

Wow. Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

There was one time during the training, there’s one time where I was like: “The four Ps,” and I knew that and was like, “Cool.” Like, that- Okay, that played- During my training I got to like brag that I knew one acronym from marketing, but you didn’t need to know- you didn’t need a marketing degree, you could be a human that kind of thinks through things and knows how to get tasks done, and can sit in a training. Like, that- My job does not require a four-year college degree, and so many times it is- Okay, wait. Now I’m realizing, like, we’re on the, like, we’re talking about employment, and we’re talking about college, but those things are, to me, like very clearly connected, but help break down, like- Why is that so connected to a discussion about employment, or the- or unemployment?

SARAH RAY  

Unemployment, right. So, as an unemployed person, there are two forks to this, I guess, and one of them is, like, there’s a part of me that, I don’t want to work. [Kyle chuckles] And people are gonna feel some type of way about that, and that’s fine. But, like, I want to create meaning in the world, right? I want to do things that are helpful to society in a way, but that doesn’t necessarily mean work as we sort of traditionally understand it. In the meantime, the mortgage is due. I need to work.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah, yeah.

SARAH RAY

So, I’m like, out, you know, trying to become gainfully employed again. And, the most recent, and the one that I would- It’s kind of hanging out there in the air, that I would really like, and this is the most – I don’t know – unusual job hiring experience I may have ever had: It’s for a job that I am, like, if I were in their position, I would go “Sarah, you’re not highly qualified for this position, we can find someone who comes in the door with this knowledge.” Uhhh, Yeah. So I’m up in my head about that kind of stuff. And it is a lot of, kind of what you were just saying about, like, if you’re familiar with digital organizer as a function of like the nonprofit world. So when you get those emails that say, “There’s some issue happening in your state, click here to tell your lawmaker how they should…” – you know – “…how you think, as a secular constituent, you should vote for this or that,” they’re the ones that really kind of put together those campaigns, and manage the digital assets and all of that stuff. And while I probably have the individual skill set to do each of those things, when I received the skills test for this position, I was like, shut-me-down-for-48-hours overwhelmed by it, because it used all of this jargon and industry buzzword stuff that I wasn’t trained into. So I’m like, God, I don’t know if this is for me. Like, can I do this? And I feel a lot of that comes from not being formally educated in a thing. I feel like I missed that because I didn’t go through the – you know – the system and jump through the hoops. So, it makes finding work hard when you’re unemployed, and, you know, could I go get a job at, you know, Target shocking- stocking shelves or whatever? Yes, I could; probably not for the pay that I need, and that I- You know, Disney trained me as a people leader, so when I think of, like, what my bread and butter is, where my training lies, is being a people leader. And that translates to all different kinds of work environments, but you have the Disney mindset of like: you can take a good leader, and teach them how to do the janitorial stuff, but you can’t necessarily take a good janitor, and make them into a good custodial leader, right?

KYLE GETZ  

You reminded me of like my journey. You mentioned, like, you can- a lot of unemployed people could take jobs in, you know, generally in the service field that are unrelated to their specialty, or what have you. My- I’ve been unemployed a couple times in my life, sometimes because I was laid off, sometimes because I quit. I quit basically due to having really bad mental health. I ended up quitting my job in December 2019, and I thought I was going to take a couple months off, and then right around March 2020, pandemic; no way I’m gonna find a job now. So that was, like, I- I mean, I know this pandemic was a surprise to anyone, but my- I did- I- There’s- I thought- I work in Seattle, in, like, in tech.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Like, there’s going to be tech jobs, there’s always gonna be tech jobs. Whether it’s the level I want, or the pay I want, whatever, there’s always going to be jobs. So that was a huge surprise, so I did not work during the pandemic, and then finally when I did get a job it was vaguely related to my field, but literally less than half the pay that I was used to, and, you know, we always say “Oh, you can always do that,” like, one of the downsides is, like, when I go to a job, when I’m applying to a job, and “What salary are you expecting?” so much of it is based on what was your previous experience?

SARAH RAY

Right

KYLE GETZ

Like, am I limiting my future earnings by taking a lower paying job? And so much of this is like, I think people have such a narrow scope of- Like, you’re describing what are the skills you need? Or, how do we base your compensation? Or like, so much of it is based on these rules that we have. If you look back in the last year of my life and say “What have you earned?” or, “Your last job, what have you earned? So, that’s your expectation,” It’d be like, no, like, let’s look back two years. Like, the job I got during the pandemic was just, I needed something, so let’s look back two years and realize that I actually do have far more of the skills than you realize. And we just have a lot of really specific, calculated rules in corporate America that doesn’t always make sense.

SARAH RAY  

Yeah. Well, when we moved out here to Colorado I took a job that was in my wheelhouse, but it was a step down and a pay cut, and I knew that going in, but we were moving across the country and these assholes fired me; basically, essentially, pushed me out. [Kyle huffs] These assholes pushed me out – right? – so I had to have something to get us out here, and that was our “something to get us out here” job. And then, thankfully, you know, Becca got a job with the American Humanist Association, which is great and she’s doing a phenomenal job with that, and so, we were okay with that pay cut. And then, I think I thought things were going to work out a whole lot better than they ended up working out, right? I thought “Oh, it’s a step down and a pay cut, but I can handle that.” And as it turns out, like, the person that they hired to oversee me had a lot less experience, and looked at the management position as a dictatorial one, of “I’m the boss and I tell you what to do, and you go do it, and that’s how we do this.” And I come from Egalitarian Land, where like, it takes all of us to make this thing happen, and we all have different titles, and we make different money, but one of us is gone it doesn’t work. You know, we all have to- we’re all kind of valued, from a leadership perspective, together. And I lead the team below me that way, and then that created a lot of conflict between my boss and I, as we had very different leadership styles of the team below us, and the team liked mine better, [Kyle laughs] sooo… that caused a lot of conflict, and it just fizzled to a point where like my mental health was so bad I just didn’t want to go into this place again. I don’t want to get up and have to go in and deal with this drama, this nonsense, again. It could be a great place to work, it could have been, and probably still could be.

KYLE GETZ  

Something that is jumping to mind, especially in this, is there are a lot of people that would say “A lot of us don’t want to go into work, that’s just what you have to deal with. A lot of people have to deal with drama at work, and that’s just we have to deal with. If you if you need money, you got to put up with that,” and as a-

SARAH RAY  

What are you, my dad in 1954 or something? [Kyle laughs] Because that’s what that sounds like to me.

KYLE GETZ  

Sure. I have a cigar, “Sarah!”- and a whiskey, somehow doing both. [doing a silly impression] “Sarah! Here’s what I think-“

SARAH RAY  

You get a job at a factory- This is what my parents did; my dad got a job at a factory, and retired from that factory job many decades later.

KYLE GETZ

Mhm, wow.

SARAH GETZ

It’s not like that anymore. And so, this, like, “suck it up” mentality… I’m sorry, I’m just not there for that.

KYLE GETZ  

And, isn’t it- I mean, you talked about your mental health taking a hit, and, like, isn’t that so sad that we’re like- that that’s the expectation? Like, sacrifice your mental health?

SARAH RAY  

We don’t care if you’re happy, you just have to be employed, and that’s what’s important.

KYLE GETZ  

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah. And I was to the point, like, the- When I say I quit my job because of mental health, I could not get myself out of bed. This is not a general, “I don’t want to, but I kinda have to force myself because we all have to work to make money,” this is a, “I’m struggling to get up, I’m struggling to take a shower, I’m struggling to attend a meeting, because I am so nonfunctional,” and that then spiral- Like, and then- So I did poorly at my job, I quit. It was- It was… I don’t know, I was gonna say “better” for me to quit and not have the added burden of failing at a job, but then I continued this depression spiral that was really bad. And, it’s- I don’t know if it’s because of work, but that was- Work was a huge cause of that. I think we so easily dismiss mental health challenges as, “That’s just what happens when you work,” and that’s so gross. [chuckles]

SARAH RAY  

Well, and even just to care about each other’s mental health, or our own mental health, is sadly such a new thing in like, the great timeline of the cosmos or whatever, right? Like, again, when I talk about my parents era, that’s just what it was: you get a job, you have to do it. Whether you like it or not, who gives a shit? You have to do it. I’d like to see us get to the point where, like, we care about each other’s happiness, too.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I wanted- Speaking of your happiness at work, I want to hear a little bit more about – you did say you- like, you haven’t faced, kind of, the discrimination that you think other people have had, so tell me more – about what it is like to walk into an office or an interview being visibly trans.

SARAH RAY  

[sighing] Yeah. I mean, you carry so much into that room with you, despite not having experienced it firsthand. I should say, I do. So, I have interviewed for a couple of things since I walked from that last job. One of them was a store manager position for a sporting goods store. And, again, despite having no skill- This is one of those examples of like, “Well, this might have worked out, except they weren’t going to pay me enough,” where I have no- “Hi, I’m Sarah. Sportsball!” [Kyle laughs] Like, what do I know about sporting goods, right? But you walk into a room of, you know, it’s a sporting goods store, am I gonna get – you know – the good ole boy guy that works the gun counter?

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. That’s what I had in my mind just now. [chuckles]

SARAH RAY  

I don’t know. Like, holy shit, I don’t know how it’s gonna work!

KYLE GETZ

Yeah, yeah.

SARAH RAY

But also, I will say, that, like, Colorado seems to be a pretty progressive place, unless you go too far east and then, you know, you’re in the fields, but, the Denver area, even up in the mountains, very- you know, there’s a lot of progressive- When I worked for the Denver Zoo, on my first day, one of my staff members came in did orientation with me, together, and they are nonbinary and introduced themselves as such with they/them pronouns in the – you know – the “welcome to the zoo” class, or whatever they make you do. And then we were walking around the campus, and I saw all kinds of diversity, and I was just like, “Oh my God, these are my people!” [Kyle chuckles] and everything was great, with the exception of the management problems. But it seems like there are a lot more visibly open trans people here than I have experienced in a workplace before, and I think part of that is, like, because Disney has such strict rules on how you can look, I think that plays a big role into it. Like, all the colorful hair that I’ve got going on, you can’t have that at Disney. At the zoo is fine, right? So you can kind of spot your people a little easier too, because we’re, you know, [Kyle chuckles] we’re brightly colored. [Kyle laughs] One girl had a trans flag butterfly in her hair, and I was like “Oh my God, these are my people out here, this is great.” So, that gives you a little confidence walking into the next place going, you know, “Hey, I’m here to apply for a job.” And- But yeah, you just don’t know who you’re gonna bump into, and what kind of crap they’re bringing with them to the interview.

KYLE GETZ  

I- I mean, I know you mentioned some of the feelings of guilt around not having some of these experiences, or- It’s interesting, with- I think having a positive experience like the one you just described, where you can walk into a room and there can be lots of other trans or nonbinary people around, progressive people, people that will openly accept you, like, we- we also don’t want to walk around, say, “Life is all bad for trans people, sorry,” and then leave. Like, there are great experiences and good moments that I think are important to showcase, so I appreciate hearing some of the positive things as well. I think there’s value in that.

SARAH RAY  

No, there’s definitely value in that. Like I say often, when I was a kid going through this – right? – it was like the 90s, and Jerry Springer was where you saw trans people, right? [Kyle chuckles] And it was, [in a southern accent] “I didn’t know my wife was a man!” or whatever.

KYLE GETZ

Yep.

SARAH RAY

Like, it was not a positive projection of gender diverse people. And so, yes, we need to have those positive examples.

KYLE GETZ  

I will say, also, my exploration of gender, clothing, and even gender identity, has all happened since COVID.

SARAH RAY

Mhm.

KYLE GETZ

I have gotten- When I have depression- When I had particularly bad depression – or, most of my life – I’ve not thought about any of this stuff, because depression took up so much room in my brain. So getting treatment for some of the things I did, opened up me to- I still explore and work on depression and anxiety, but it opened up room in my brain to explore other things, which is great. The downside is: all of this has been happening with remote- during the pandemic with remote work, or not having a job, so as things- You know, they’re saying trends are- There’s less remote jobs, like, people may be starting to require more in the office, or, like, I don’t know where thing- how things are gonna even out. I have not explored any of this in the context of a workplace setting, so it is terrifying, and I’m in the early stages where I could very easily just wipe everything and show up like I used to show up, and things might actually be okay, because that’s what I’m used to.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

And it- But it also feels like taking so many steps back in this process that I’ve been on.

SARAH RAY  

Yeah. It can be very scary, for sure. And especially like, [huffs] when so much rides on employment, right?

KYLE GETZ

Yeah.

SARAH RAY

Like, it’s not just the mortgage, and eating so that you don’t die. Like, we- So, my wife works for national nonprofit now, and they are based in DC, so their insurance policies are DC-based, which means if you’re a remote worker, not in DC, none- none of your doctors are in-network, because it’s a DC policy.

KYLE GETZ

Mmm, yeah.

SARAH RAY

So, like, we took it for a year and it had like an insane, like $13,000 deductible, and it was just- it was the worst. Her medications, like, went up six times what we were paying for it. One of them was free, and they ended up wanting her to pay like $300 for it. We had been not paying for it under our insurance. So, we finally, like, are canceling her through the job group policy and purchasing insurance from the HealthCare.gov, whatever, network. It’s different for- Colorado has its own state-level marketplace, but like, never thought I’d be doing that! But because insurance is so typically tied to employment, and we’re in a position where we don’t have that, this is this is what we have to do. It’s where we’re at.

KYLE GETZ  

I- Absolutely. During my work during the pandemic, this is also when I was getting high cost treatment for depression that my insurance- It was a shitty contract job. It was- It was fine. Hi, Mark, you’re okay. [Sarah laughs] It was, just- I got no- It was not- None of my treatments are covered. This is where I come from a very privileged place, where then I paid for it out of pocket, and they charged me much less than they would have charged insurance because I was doing that, they knew. So, it worked that I could get this treatment. Like, being depressed is very expensive. 

SARAH RAY

Mhm.

KYLE GETZ

And, unfortunately, not having a job can be one of the ways that depression manifests. And so, it’s- There- You are right, there’s so much tied to employment that has nothing- that doesn’t even have to do with making money and eating food.

SARAH RAY

No.

KYLE GETZ

I think about going on dates, like, what, am I going to sit down- This is- My personal insecurities like, when I sit down and go on a date and they’re like, “Hey, what do you do?” and I have to be like… what’s my answer to that? Like, I don’t- And- I actually want to- During Patreon, we are going to talk about – what is the phrase? I have a right here. Everyone is fine, hold on, let’s get – uh, productivity guilt, where we’ll talk more about some of the guilt associated with not being productive.

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

So, unemployment. Any final words? Any parting thoughts before we take a break?

SARAH RAY  

[huffs] I don’t know. I feel like, in a lot of the topics that we’ve talked about from this stuff to the news, like, so much of what’s happening in our country, in our culture, specifically, I feel like comes back to a compassion problem. Like, compassion and empathy is a thing that we are just not doing real well right now. And so, when you think about people who are unemployed, I think we can all approach that, approach those people, with a whole lot more compassion, and empathy, and understanding than – you know – than we previously do where we detach the person from the problem, and, you know, [in a mocking accent] “Well, you’re just- There’s lots of jobs out there. The McDonald’s down the street is- never has full staff, go take that job,” right? Like, okay, but there’s a person in there too, and like, we should care about the person. And there’s probably a lot more going on to whatever that scenario is than you’re going to be aware of, and I just- I think we need to just be gracious with people, you know?

KYLE GETZ  

I- I don’t even like that I’m bringing this up. I think about when people celebrated the fact that Trump said “I use every legal loophole or advantage to my benefit,” and people cheered at that.

SARAH RAY

[sighs] Yeah. Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

People were so excited. But when a person is unemployed, and use the available legal advantage of even applying for unemployment, or now getting health care, we demean those people, and it’s often the right – it’s often the Republicans, the same people that celebrated for Trump – will shit on people that do the same thing on an individual level.

SARAH RAY

Right.

KYLE GETZ

And I think there’s such cognitive dissonance that exists, that, I agree; I think, coming from a place of compassion, coming from a place of “There’s a human behind that, who-” yeah. That would help so many of our issues today.

SARAH RAY  

And like I mentioned before, you know, our love of hard work, right? We also love this idea of rugged individualism, and that’s horseshit too. Like, I’d like- I’d love to see us move to a more collective sort of mindset – again – where, like, people are valued because they’re people, period. The end. Can we- Can we work towards that?

KYLE GETZ  

Collective humanist compassion, or something like that, would be-

SARAH RAY

Yeah.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah, I love that. Well, let’s talk- Let’s take a break and we’ll talk about productivity guilt.

SARAH RAY

Let’s take a break!

KYLE GETZ

Let’s take a break!

[Break music plays, sung by MIKE JOHNSON, with an audio splice of KYLE GETZ, replacing Mike’s name with Sarah’s]

This is the part where Sarah and Kyle take a break!

KYLE GETZ

Are you… Do you need anything? Are you ready to just come back?

SARAH RAY

I’m good.

KYLE GETZ

Okay. Hoo, so, are we back?

SARAH RAY

We’re back!

KYLE GETZ

We’re back! We are going to do our Gayest & Straightest, but first, thank you so much Sarah, for being on and for stepping in from Mike, you did an amazing job.

SARAH RAY

Oh, thanks!

KYLE GETZ

Where can people learn more about you?

SARAH RAY  

Uh, you can find all of my projects at callmesarah.com, that’s kind of my main website, it has all my things on it. You can check out SarahTalk, is one of the podcasts that I do, at sarahtalk.com and @SarahTalk, or @SarahTalkPodcast, or something on all the socials. [TN: her Twitter handle is @SarahTalkRadio, and her Instagram handle is @sarahtalk] [Kyle giggles] We are still not consistently back with that yet since the move, but we’re getting there. And then, the new show that I’ve got going on with my friend Allie Ashmead from GO Humanity, is called Humanist Trek, and that’s a humanisttrek.com, and @ or / HumanistTrek on all the things, and we watch an episode of Star Trek each week, and then talk about the sort of humanist topics and implications that Gene Roddenberry baked into the series. Like, from jump, he was telling stories through the lens of humanism. And so, it’s great, because if you’re a Star Trek fan, Mike, you’ll find something there. If you’re not a Star Trek fan, we’re talking about themes- this humanist idea of taking care of each other, and, you know, there’s no one looking out for us, so we have to be there for each other. And-

KYLE GETZ

Yeah.

SARAH RAY

-telling those stories through the lens of sci fi is one of the best ways that we sneak those stories in. Gene was talking about, like, race and all- war, all kinds of issues that were going on, present day, through the lens of – you know – green aliens on a faraway planet. [Kyle chuckles] So, sci-fi has always been a good vessel to tell those stories in, and Star Trek’s kind of my fave.

KYLE GETZ  

It absolutely makes sense that those things are connected, and I’m so glad that you’re doing that. Humanist Trek is the podcast to listen to right after this one. Well, you can find us at gayishpodcast.com. Boy, I have to do all of this. Okay, uhh our-

SARAH RAY  

I have my lines ready to go.

KYLE GETZ  

Shut the fuck up, are you seriou- Okay. Okay! [laughs]

SARAH RAY  

Our website is gayishpodcast.com.

KYLE GETZ  

You are continuing to blow me away. Okay, we are on a bunch of socials, @gayishpodcast or you can join our communities on Discord, Spaces, or Facebook groups.

SARAH RAY  

Our hotline: you can send Mike and Kyle dick pics and Gayish fanfic [Kyle laughs] to 5855-GAYISH. That’s 585-542-9474. Standard rates apply.

KYLE GETZ  

Nailed it. Our email is gayishpodcast@gmail.com.

SARAH RAY  

And our physical mailing address is Post Office Box 19882, Seattle, Washington, 98109.

KYLE GETZ  

Mike, you- Did you just lose your job, Mike? I- Do- I might like Sarah better than you, so… I’m- We’ll open up the position to both internal and external applicants, [Sarah laughs and claps] this will make- you can reapply for your role, if you want to. I’ll consider your experience strongly when I make my final decision. Um, thank you Sarah. We are gonna do our Gayest & Straightest. Uh, Sarah, would you like to go first?

SARAH RAY  

Sure. So, I actually have three; I’m gonna give you a gayest, a straightest, and the transest.

KYLE GETZ

[gasps] Please do that.

SARAH RAY

So, I have been winterizing our house, and, moving from Florida up to the north, like, this is not a thing we had to do in Florida because it never got that cold. But so, now I’m doing all these, like, handyman around the house crap, like [Kyle laughs] closing up the air conditioning, and taking all the screens out, and blowing out the sprinklers, and that stuff feels very straight to me.

KYLE GETZ

[chuckles] Yep, yep.

SARAH RAY

Uh, my gayest is, I have- We are those people that take down Halloween on the 31st, and put up Christmas on November 1st. [Kyle chuckles] Don’t be a hater; let people enjoy things. Um, so- But we have probably spent- God, I’ve probably spent like $500 at Michaels already, [Kyle laughs] just on Christmas decorations. And I, like- [huffs] It’s a brand new house, we have to start all over. So I had to make all of the wreaths, and climb out on the roof, and hang them all up, and get them all perfect, and we have these- We’ve been crafting a lot – right? – so we made these giant bells that hang under the lights on our garage.

KYLE GETZ

Ooh.

SARAH RAY

So I’ve been doing lots of Michaels shopping and crafting.

KYLE GETZ  

That’s- [chuckling] Seems like the gayest thing someone can-

SARAH RAY  

Super. For sure. And then, my transest: as you may know, I was rear ended by a semi on my way to work at the zoo one day and my Jeep Gladiator was totaled, so now we’re down to one Jeep, and I feel some type of way about that too. Like, this is the first time since 1994 that I haven’t had, like, [emphasis] my Jeep.

KYLE GETZ

Oh, wow.

SARAH RAY

Anyway, this one has been needing service for a really, really, really long time. Like, all the lights on the dash were on, [chuckles] right? Like, it needed an oil change, and there was a tire- the pressure was low, and the brakes were really bad, so I sent my wife to take care of it. [Kyle laughs] Just avoiding stereotypically masc places – right? – like the mechanic shop, seems pretty transfem to me.

KYLE GETZ

Oh, my gosh.

SARAH RAY

Like, I- [Kyle chuckles] I don’t want to go sit at the repair shop for two hours while they do all this work. No thank you. So I sent- I sent Becca to do it.

KYLE GETZ  

[huffs] First, I love that, and I- but I was also gonna add: I think the transest thing you’ve done – maybe in your lifetime – is when you described that you were pursuing learning on your own computer programming. [both laughing] Don’t trans- Isn’t that a trans woman stereotype? Like, don’t-

SARAH RAY  

And probably that I love Star Trek, yeah. [Kyle laughing] Yeah those two things are probably- Yeah. Gave me away.

KYLE GETZ  

Well, okay, then I will do my Gayest, Straightest & Transest. [Sarah chuckles] My straightest is: I know I’ve been using- doing stuff around my home, and like, putting- assembling things as my straightest for a while, and I’m gonna keep doing that, because, it escalated when I had a friend over. I got a bunch of beer, and I got grease on my hands from doing something, so the fact that there was, like, grease on my hands was like, no, I’m gonna need to use this again because it continues to out-straight itself. My gayest- it’s actually my lesbianest, [Sarah chuckles] is that I went to Home Depot to buy the items needed to achieve said home project. [Sarah laughs] My transest is I’ve been growing out my hair.

SARAH RAY

I’ve heard about this.

KYLE GETZ

And, so my- My goal is longer hair, and I don’t know how long, but much longer, and so for the first time in my life I’ve been having to figure out things like hair clips and hair ties, and I don’t have them figured out. The first time I tried to use a hair clip, I put it the wrong way, and tried to clip it and it went up, and I was like “Wait,” [both chuckle] so I had to flip it around. The, uh, exploration of how to do hair long good is baffling me, and, I thought, my transest.

SARAH RAY  

Yeah. That’s the thing I think a lot of us trans women go through. Like, particularly if you’re not – you know – if you transition later in life, right? Like, I was socialized as a boy, so yeah I don’t- couldn’t sit around and braid each other’s hair, or, like, put on makeup or whatever. Like, I didn’t get to go through that, that awkward teenage time period where you get to explore and experiment with that stuff.

KYLE GETZ  

You know, I remember being in elementary, and ask the girl if I could braid her hair and she said “No.”

SARAH RAY

[gasps] Aww.

KYLE GETZ

I know. That’s okay. [chuckles] I’m gonna-

SARAH RAY

That bitch.

KYLE GETZ

That bitch. That third grade bitch. [Sarah laughs] Um, listeners, If you don’t know: every week, Derek, our production assistant, posts to Instagram to ask for your Gayest & Straightest, and then he posts some of the best answers, so, follow us on Instagram. But, I grabbed two of my favorites, so the straightest- and these are great, because they’re just- they’re just right to the point of what they are. The straightest: devouring ribs for dinner.

SARAH RAY

Yep. Uh-huh.

KYLE GETZ

Yeah, yeah. Yep. Uh, gayest: I love this one so much: cock ring all day. [chuckles]

SARAH RAY  

[laughs] Yes, absolutely.

KYLE GETZ  

So, nailed it in four words or less, both of those, so thank you to our listeners. Thank you much to Sarah, for not only joining but for cohosting and for stepping into Mike’s position in a way that has me rethinking [Sarah laughs] just who hosts this podcast in general. So, thank you for being here.

SARAH RAY  

And thanks for leaving Mike, happy birthday!

KYLE GETZ

Happy birthday, Mike.

SARAH RAY

I do miss you, and I give Mike plenty of crap for flying literally everywhere in the world except to Colorado to visit me, so, [Kyle laughs] he kind of has this coming.

KYLE GETZ  

Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I also want to thank our Super Gap Bridgers, our patrons at the highest level that have been that for a year or more. Thank you to Christopher Muntean, John Crawley, Stephen Portch, Joh Stoessel, Harry Staw- Shaw, Josh Copeland, – [huffs] sorry – Jonathan Montañez, Forrest Nail, Patrick Martin, James Barrow, Steve Douglas, Explosive Lasagna, Just Jamie, Kevin Henderson, Tomas B, DustySands, Chris Khachatourians, and Jerome York. So, from the Chris Khachatourians studio, that is it. I’m Kyle Getz. Until next week. Be butch, be fabulous, be you.

[Outro music plays, instrumental]

Oh, Mike’s gonna be back next week. [Sarah and Kyle chuckle] Kyle, put that earlier in the episode. Mike will be back. It’s gonna to be great. He’s gonna be home, and it’s going to be great.

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