Phone-a-friend: Midwest Diva Power Hour with Katie Blair

Published July 8, 2016.

Ann: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.

Aminatou: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.

Ann: I'm Ann Friedman.

Aminatou: And I'm Aminatou Sow.

Ann: Every other week we'll be bringing you a special phone-a-friend episode between either Amina or me and one of our rad pals.

Aminatou: Who are you talking to this week, Ann?

Ann: Ugh. I talked to friend of the podcast Katie Blair who is a pal of mine.

Aminatou: Oh my god!

Ann: I know. Who is a force of nature, who is a mortal woman but manages to be so much more. She is a lifelong grassroots activist. She has a master's in public health. She's worked in reproductive health and politics but also for the ACLU and has done a ton of democratic political organizing almost exclusively in the Midwest. She's based in Indiana right now. So I cannot wait for you to hear our conversation about her doing what she does in the place where she does it.

Aminatou: I imagine Katie talking to you wearing some sort of animal print caftan and drinking a wine spritzer.

Ann: Oh my god, completely. Before we even got on the phone together she sent me a link -- just to set my mental image -- of all of the leggings that she'd ordered to wear to the DNC because she's a delegate.

Aminatou: Of course. Of course.

Ann: Yeah. There were basically several varieties of all-over Hillary print leggings.

Aminatou: Ugh, this makes me so happy. I can't wait to hear it.

[Theme Song]


[Interview Starts]

Ann: Katie, thank you for being on the podcast.

Katie: Thank you so much for having me! It's great to get to talk.

Ann: Oh, okay, so for people who have not been privileged to be one of your besties for more than a decade -- which is the case for us, it's very exciting -- maybe you can talk a little bit about your career and what you do not only for a living but because you are a passionate, important, wonderful woman.

Katie: Thank you, yes. So how I met you was through activism at the University of Missouri. I was just thinking about this today actually. So I worked at the MU women's center and I did that all through college so that's kind of how I got my start into feminism. And, yeah, I met Ann Friedman. Do you remember we started a girl gang called The Cunts?

Ann: I honestly do not remember that but it sounds like it fits. Please remind me.

Katie: It happened. It was after the March for Women's Lives, so take yourself back to 2004. So I did that and then I got my master's from the University of Missouri in public health and took that right on to Planned Parenthood of Indiana, and now it's Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. I started out really wanting to do sex ed. until I realized I had to teach dudes how to put condoms on their junk and that really grossed me out.

Ann: [Laughs]

Katie: I was right there for politics. Never mind. Although you deal with enough dudes and their junks I guess in politics too. But from Planned Parenthood I worked hard and for the first two years I was a statewide organizer and by my second year we were one of the first Planned Parenthoods in the nation to be de-funded back in 2010 before it was really popular. So the Midwest isn't always the first in trends but we were in 2010, and I did a good enough job that I got to be the director of activism which is the coolest title I've ever had.


And then I went on to do an effort to get Democratic women to vote in 2012. I was the executive director of an organization called The 51% Club which it was really cool. I got to go all around the state of Indiana and try to get women to the poles. All different walks of life here in Indiana. It was really fun. That kind of gave me my first deep look into the Democratic Party and Democratic politics, and mostly I work with issue advocacy which I'll talk about later. So yeah, now I'm the director of advocacy at the ACLU of Indiana. A lot of my work has been with our LGBT organization Freedom Indiana. I was lucky enough to be the campaign manager of Freedom Indiana when Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act dropped in my lap. Since then I've been really, while doing the ACLU's other numerous issues, I've also been doing advocacy mainly around LGBT rights. So yeah, that was a really long description of what I do.

Ann: Ugh. Well, and talk to me about . . . because obviously you have chosen to live in states where people who care about the issues that you care about maybe don't always cluster. I mean not to say there aren't awesome pro-choice people or people who are super into LGBT rights or whatever. Like we know the Midwest is full of the raddest activists ever. But by the numbers you're in kind of a tough place.

Katie: Yeah. Well, I think some of that stems from -- and I think we have this in common -- kind of growing up in really . . . I don't know. I grew up in a small town in Illiopolis, Illinois, population 950. Very fancy. But growing up in a place that was really conservative, it kind of made my radical values grow. I kind of liked stirring shit and fighting and winning, and so that's been kind of what's formed what my career -- I get a lot of pleasure. My best day is making an asshole's day really bad.

Ann: [Laughs]


Katie: That's my favorite day.

Ann: Ugh. I mean, yeah. So you and I have definitely talked also about the ways that people who live outside the Midwest or outside maybe the south -- I'm talking about my California-dwelling or maybe New York-dwelling people who even when they're well-meaning maybe sometimes don't get why politics are the way they are in the rest of the country. And I'm wondering if you are at this point in your career super kind of locally focused, like what's possible here without comparing to what's happening elsewhere in the country, or if you're just like . . . I don't know. I'm curious how you feel in that sense. Not that everything has to compare to what's happening on the coast, but I wonder if it even factors in for you.

Katie: Not really. I mean I'm thinking more of really whenever I do my work I think more of red states or even purple states because there's just no comparison to the coasts, especially with my work around LGBT issues. There is no comparison. I really compare myself to other shitty states and kind of work on that. It's kind of interesting always working for national organizations who have hubs on the coasts and I've been lucky enough to work with really great people but sometimes there is a disconnect of what's happening in Indiana. You know, one woman was like "Why can't you find a gay farmer who wants to be on our website?" What?

Ann: Wow. I mean . . .


Katie: Which is great but I mean that's just -- you know, that's a pretty tall ask in Indiana.

Ann: Maybe this is just me thinking about my Midwest family which is sort of studiously apolitical that even if there is a gay farmer, the fact that he would want to sort of politicize himself or throw himself into that role seems to me like a harder sale for cultural reasons in the Midwest too.

Katie: Absolutely. Part of my job doing the Freedom Indiana campaign has been traveling around the state and getting people with different stories, sometimes different backgrounds, like the grandma of a transgender kid or transgender veterans or gay business owners. And it's always -- you know, it's something that you are really delicate with because you know once it happens you're never going back. I've dealt with people who have -- city counselors who come out in support of human rights ordinances in their city who then their kid doesn't get to play soccer next week, is benched the whole time, because the soccer coach disbelieves with his beliefs.

Ann: Wow.

Katie: In the same city we had people have to get restraining orders on people just for coming out in support of a human rights ordinance, and that would cover sexual orientation, LGBT, or gay folks. So it's tough and it's tough to ask someone to do that and to tell their story so boldly, especially here where you can get fired for being gay, you can be denied housing, you can be denied employment. So doing that you really are putting a target on your back in a lot of ways.

Ann: Yeah. And do you feel like fundamentally the kind of . . . the activist work that you do, given the way the state legislature leans so Republican, how do you do your work differently than maybe you would if you were exclusively in a college town or in one of those places where the politics aren't the same at all?


Katie: [Laughs] I was just in Bloomington, Indiana, which is like the Columbia of Indiana and I breathed the air, it was so good. I had something with tofu in it and I was with my people. So how I do things differently in Indiana is we have a supermajority in the house and like a super duper majority in the Senate with only ten Democrat senators, so we have to work across the aisle. You just can't get around it. Little fact about me is that my fiancée is actually a Republican. I met her working on an LGBT campaign and so she's into political activism on the Republican side and I'm the Democrat bleeding heart liberal. And so it's kind of interesting how we both grapple with getting stuff passed. We've been able to honestly help each other out a lot, and through my relationship honestly I've grown a lot as an activist and have learned that I have to go outside my comfort zones and make friends with that slicked-back hair lobbyist. I mean picture American Psycho. I've made friends with that.

Ann: [Laughs] The Indiana version of American Psycho.

Katie: Yeah.

Ann: Has there been a time when you've been like "Boo, how do I deal with this Republican on this?" Or has she helped you kind of formulate the way you speak to those people who maybe fundamentally disagree?

Katie: Absolutely. Kind of the coolest thing about my relationship is that our mornings are me putting on some dramatic eyeliner in the bathroom, her standing out taking care of our dogs, and us talking about our day and what conversations we're going to be having during the day. And I'm talking to her about trying to get some LGBT activists engaged in some stuff that she's trying to do as a Republican and she's talking to me as, you know, trying to get some Republicans to, I don't know, care about something.

Ann: [Laughs]


Katie: So we're able to kind of prep each other for the day and map things out and I think that's my favorite part of our relationship. I go to a lot of events, I mean just like dinner with all of her friends who are lovely people but we do have disagreements a lot of the time. But usually, yeah, a lot of times we're on the same point in key issues. We just get to them in different ways. Also like Fireball.

Ann: [Laughs] Whiskey helps soothe over a lot of disagreements I feel. Well, so what's an example of that where you're like oh, we both agree this is the right thing to do or this is important but you come at it so differently?

Katie: Okay, so like reproductive rights. We had a really, really shitty bill called HB-1337 pass and we're about to get the ruling on that actually. The ACLU filed a case, and knock on wood, I think it's going to be deemed unconstitutional. It was a prohibition on abortion based on race, sex, and a fetal anomaly, like if the baby was going to have any kind of disability. If it was going to come out and be alive for just one day it would be prohibited.

Ann: Wow.

Katie: There would be a prohibition on that. And then also you'd have to give it a full burial situation, so it's just completely crazy. So that bill happened, and of course I'm stomping through the streets ordering a thousand rally signs and organizing -- you know, doing my community organizing kind of stuff, crafting messaging, and just doing that work. While on her side what people didn't notice is that when this bill was jammed through four Republican women stood up, walked out, and left because they were so offended by the bill. And so what she's doing on her end is she's calling up those women and offering up her support and thanking them. We're working together to make sure that those women are being thanked in the right way and that activists are calling out all Republicans, that they're actually giving thanks to these women, these super-brave ladies.


Ann: Who opposed the bill actively.

Katie: Actively, yes. There were tears. There was stomping and they were awesome. They were so brave in the face of people who just jammed this thing through. They didn't give a shit. So that was kind of a way we tackled it. I was working on the boots on the ground and she was behind the scenes kind of ushering in the minority of Republicans that were supportive of reproductive rights.

Ann: Yeah. I mean it's funny because listening to you talk about that, it's like I understand intellectually that not everyone who is a Republican is a monster who disagrees with everything that I believe. You know what I mean? I understand that. But there's also . . . like we're living in a time that is -- I don't want to use dumb catchphrases, but it is really . . . it does feel super divided. It's like you only see shit on Facebook that you already agree with and you talk to people who are all shocked and appalled by the same stuff that you are shocked and appalled by. I think about you a lot as someone who lives in a world where you probably have to confront difference a lot more than I do.

Katie: Yes. [Laughs]

Ann: Yeah. And so I'm curious if it feels the same way to you, you know? Where people are just like we can't figure out where all these Trump supporters are coming from and they seem like this other species. We're just like what is even happening to the country? There's like this feeling of chaotic confusion among people who I think have never spoken to anyone who's ever . . .

Katie: Yeah.

Ann: I don't know. That's not a question; I'm just talking to you.


Katie: [Laughs] Well, number one, my Facebook feed is perfectly curated so I do still live in my bubble and none of Megan's friends that I know of that have added themselves to me are Donald Trump supporters. So I've got that going in my corner just in my immediate life. I don't have to freak out there. People haven't really been that out and proud for Donald, at least around me. I mean of course not; I'm a big old liberal.

But I do have to deal with . . . and just like the everyday things and the comments. Like I'm really, really psyched about Hillary Clinton and whenever I'm hanging out with my girlfriend's friends it's like eyeroll and "Oh, I remember back in the '90s and I hated her then and I hate her now." So I have to engage in those conversations quite often. This weekend I'm going on a trip to Wisconsin to see two Dave Matthews performances because my boo loves Dave Matthews and so do her Republican friends.

Ann: This is the true route of the weirdness of your relationship. It's not that one of you is a Democrat and one's a Republican; it's that one is a Dave Matthews band fan.

Katie: It's the worst. And they're like . . . so I have to see two of them because Dave plays two nights in a row usually, and do you know who opens for Dave Matthews?

Ann: Jack Johnson?

Katie: No, Dave Matthews.

Ann: [Laughs]

Katie: Dave Matthews opens for Dave Matthews. It's like six hours long. If it was Jack Johnson I'd be happy. At least he has those early 2000s hits that were kind of okay, but this, I can't.

Ann: Have you ever been seduced to crash into me?

Katie: [Laughs] Thank god, no.

Ann: Okay, good. I was like how bad is it? How bad is it? [Laughs] Oh my god, true love that you're going to that.


Katie: I mean I will really drink several ounces of limeritas.

Ann: Yes.

Katie: Several ounces.

Ann: Ugh. Oh my god, so the other thing on my list that I totally want to talk about is just what it means to be a Midwest diva.

Katie: Oh, girl. Yeah, I mean I love being a Midwest diva. Currently, like I said, I love Hillary. I'm going to the Democratic National Convention. I was appointed at-large delegate alternate. Whatever. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride.

Ann: [Laughs]

Katie: But I still get to go and it's wonderful. It's a great honor. But I'm being nice and I'll talk to you offline about it. So bringing my Midwest divaness to the national stage if you will, I've been doing a lot of work finding different leggings that have Hillary's face on them or any Elizabeth Warren and Hillary . . . just bringing the spandex to the Democratic National Convention.

Ann: It's true. I do feel that clothing that stretches is a core Midwest diva value.

Katie: So core. [Laughs] I'm in it right now.

Ann: Yeah. So just for people who are not you and me and not familiar, Midwest Diva is the name of a song by a little known but should be wider-known Iowa born and bred artist named Leslie Hall who frequently tours/toured under the name Leslie and the Lys who for a while had her own brand of leggings and other spandex items called Midwest Diva.

Katie: And you got me a pair!

Ann: I mean you have to support the originator of this important concept. Like we knew what it meant but she put a name to it and I think there's something about owning your fabulousness in this specific regional way. Like, you know, you kind of know what a wealthy east coast woman is like and you know what a southern woman is like. The Midwest as a region has kind of been without gender-specific pride, you know? For a while. There's something that I kind of like about claiming it.


Katie: I do too. I love . . . so we're in the Midwest. I don't know if you remember or were one of these people where growing up I couldn't get any fabulous clothes here. I mean there were just no good stores, so I would just always page through the Delia's catalog on the phone with my best friend fighting over who was going to get what sparkly scratch-and-sniff unicorn shirt or whatever. So it's like, you know, kind of slim pickings and then just getting really frosty with your lipstick and your eye shadow and leaning in.

Ann: I mean I also feel that a stacked bob is a real Midwest diva hallmark.

Katie: [Laughs]

Ann: I have a haircut right now that if I sleep on it a certain way/style it a certain way could be read as a stacked bob and I'm trying to embrace it. [Laughs]

Katie: I know, there are so many wonderful fashions. Wearing lots of mesh and wearing lots of attitude.

Ann: Simultaneously.

Katie: Always together. A heavy perfume. Heavy. Usually from about five years ago or something. Like right now I'm rocking some J.Lo.

Ann: Which one?

Katie: I'm joking. I don't have any. [Laughs]

Ann: Glow? I'm like . . .

Katie: I'm going to tell you, Britney Spears' Curious is not to be fucked with. It is not that bad.

Ann: Okay. Okay.

Katie: I got it as a white elephant stocking stuffer and was like this is okay. It passes.

[Music and Ads]


Ann: So wait, so tell me more about the convention, like what are you going to do there? What are your duties? What are you hoping this experience is like?

Katie: Well as an alternative I have very little duties which is great. [Laughs] So this is what happens. I didn't even know. So first off I ran for delegate. First I had to run for state delegate, name on the ballot, everything in the primary. Luckily I was unopposed. Obviously they were scared of my name and just backed off. Then you have to run for national delegate and there were some really wonderful women in my category. I sent out a mailer of all glamour shots of myself doing things and wrote this very great case. And as a Midwest diva I hand-addressed every single one and wrote a nice little note on the corner. 250. My mom taught me. It's what you've got to do. And I got my Angelou stamps for all of them.


Ann: Yeah, you did. I was just at the post office today and was admiring those stamps, like ugh.

Katie: If I could've kissed the side of it I would've. It was outrageous. I didn't do scented paper but I would've.

Ann: So you sent it to people who were voting on who the delegate from Indiana would be?

Katie: Yes, and in my district it was like 250ish. It was quite an undertaking of white wine and Bravo TV shows but I got through it. And so now I get to go. I'm going to ride over with some buddies and it's in Philadelphia and we stay in a block, a hotel that is just delegated for Indiana delegates. And so we stay all with them. We will be comingled with Bernie delegates so that will be really exciting and interesting and then every day apparently you wake up at 7:30 and you have to be up at 7:30 and you go down for breakfast where you get your credentials for the day. Then you can go do sightseeing or whatever, and then there's like a cocktail hour, then they bus you over to the speeches that start at like 8. But the parties don't get over until like 4 in the morning so you just like every day -- I'm going to be in a stupor. I'm going to take a nap, but you have to be at breakfast at 7:30 or you don't get in the next day. It's a very strict rule.

Ann: It's an endurance test it sounds like.

Katie: But I've got the leggings. I can do it. I can just sleep in it. I'm not afraid to wear a sports bra in public, or no bra. Screw it.

Ann: I mean I love the idea of you free-boobing at the convention.

Katie: [Laughs] Hillary would want it that way. I think she would.

Ann: I read -- oh my god, yeah. Why not, right? So talk to me about Hills because I'm someone who is like . . . I was on Team Hills from the beginning but I have a lot of reservations about her. I'm on her team because I'm like no one is ever perfect. I also understand the temptation to try to make your female candidates even more perfect than you would expect a male candidate to be. But at the end of the day there's just some shit about her that disappoints me.


Katie: Yeah. Well, and honestly Ann that kind of gets to my root of why I do issue politics because there's never a candidate that is just going to be perfect for me.

Ann: Right, right.

Katie: Or up to my standards. And so that's why I do the issues that I do, because I can't even handle the candidate aspect of it. But for Hillary I just . . . I mean she's just the only person I believe in the US qualified to run our country. I mean the girl walked out of the womb and was like "I'm going to be president" and has planned for it her whole entire life. And just something very Capricorn about me just loves that. And, yeah, there's some shit in her past and there's some stuff that people say that she's not genuine or that she is overbearing or just like straight-up lying and I think that any candidate is going to get that. And she gets it harder because she is a woman. And watching the shit that she's had to endure, god, Ann since I could watch TV she's been on the news. She's been the First Lady, and so just kind of watching her endurance through the years is something that really inspires me. And honestly it's kind of framed a lot of the work -- you know, I work in the trenches and I take a lot of shit all the time, and kind of watching her go through the Benghazi hearings and get skewered by Donald Trump, it's inspiring to me and it makes me want to work harder. And I'm not voting for her just because she's a woman, but hell yeah she's a woman. Let's do this.


Ann: Right. And so I'm curious too, do you think that there are people who are not maybe traditional Democratic voters who just because Hillary has been in the news for so long and has all the shit you talk about, like has built up, and just stuck to her, I feel like she has this pig pin like cloud that she can't control that's shit from just being in the public eye for decades. Do you think there are people who are kind of like gettable voters who can see through that and see her now?

Katie: So there's her as a candidate and then there's her versus Donald Trump. And so I mean I think a lot of people, especially Republicans, are going to vote for her because they're scared shitless of Donald Trump. I think that's how she's going to get a lot of voters. Let's be real.

But I do think that now that her campaign is . . . it's no longer about taking Bernie and taking Trump down and that it is really more just her standing on her own two feet as a candidate, I think people are being able to see through a lot of that crap. I mean you couldn't watch her speech after she became the nominee-elect for the Democratic Party. I'm sorry, across whatever party line you are, whatever kind of hater, you watch that speech and tell me you didn't cry or didn't grab your daughter and make sure that she was watching. I grabbed my two lady dogs and watched in tears. But I mean say what you will, the fact is she's really damn inspiring. I don't know, I think so.

Ann: Yeah. And so tell me, are you on the street team for Hills?

Katie: [Laughs] Yeah. I'm actually -- yes. One of my besties here actually was her political director during the Indiana primary. I got to be his chauffer up to the Chicago suburbs in Indiana and got to go to a behind-the-scenes hang time with Hillary. And whenever I say hang time it was 90 seconds but I felt it.

Ann: [Laughs]


Katie: And it was a closed-door speech at a plant and there were very few people there. I mean I was a punk rock kid and I stood on that line holding the line like I was going to get crushed or something but there was no one behind me. I was just like cheesing out. So yeah, I've done some of that stuff and then I go over there to phone bank.

My father is a Trump supporter and my dad is just like a hillbilly from Illiopolis, Illinois, a farmer just like bro. Gun-toting, you name it, he loves it. And he called me while I was over phone banking. And so when dad calls I always answer. He was like "What are you doing, Kate?" I was like "Oh, I'm actually phone banking for Hillary." And he goes "You're kidding me." "No, dad, I am." And he's like "Are they at least paying you? God, you've got to be kidding me, Kate." And I was like "No, dad, I support Hillary Clinton." He's like "Ugh, how could you? Donald Trump is just a straight shooter." I'm just kind of like what about my career or my existence did you think I was going to be a Donald Trump supporter? And also I love to phone bank. I give good phone.

Ann: I love that I can hear the ice in your cocktail clinking when you tell me that, because when you were recounting that story I was just slowly putting my forehead against the wall.

Katie: Oh no. [Laughs] That someone would phone bank for free was shocking. "Are you kidding me?"

Ann: Right. But so do you feel like the pressure to try to convert him at all? Or are you just like whatever?

Katie: I'm 32. Not anymore.

Ann: Right.

Katie: Back in 2008, that tore me apart when my dad supported McCain and -- oh, god, why am I forgetting her name? She's terrible.

Ann: Sarah Palin.

Katie: Palin. And that was during a time honestly where I was grappling with the fact that I had been sexually assaulted and the big thing with Sarah Palin is she passed legislation that would make a woman pay for her own rape kit. And so that put a lot of my heart and soul into it and it was a very fresh time for me. And to get into it like that with my dad, I didn't talk to him for like three months.

Ann: Wow.


Katie: But then, you know, Obama won and I spread it all over the place. But this year for Father's Day I got him a framed picture of me with Hillary.

Ann: [Laughs]

Katie: Yeah. And the biggest bottle of Grey Goose vodka you've ever seen.

Ann: Oh my god, hillbilly dad likes Grey Goose vodka?

Katie: Of course. Only the finer things for a Blair.

Ann: Oh my god, I love it. It's so funny, vodka mystifies me.

Katie: It does something very exciting to me as well.

Ann: Oh my god, okay. Well, I don't know. What else should we talk about? We have a few minutes left.

Katie: Oh, great.

Ann: We don't have to . . . I mean what are you . . .

Katie: I've got a Midwest diva thing now.

Ann: Please.

Katie: So I'm getting married like I said and my mother is throwing me a shower in Illiopolis, Illinois. And she asked me what I wanted to be served at my shower, and god I love my mom, but like the ultimate Midwest diva. Been wearing stretchy denim since I was just a wee one.

Ann: So before they were called jeggings?

Katie: [Laughs] I know. So she is planning this event -- well, this shower -- and she asked me what I wanted to be served. And she was like "Okay, well we could go to this one place and we could do burgers and chicken sandwiches, and girl you know there's never a vegetarian option. So that, or we could go to this other place and they'll do a horseshoe buffet." Now for you coast ladies, a horseshoe is an open -- it's basically an open-faced sandwich. Stay with me here. There's a piece of Texas toast and then on that Texas toast there's any kind of meat of your choosing. Some people do a hamburger, sliced hotdog, chicken fingers, buffalo chicken fingers. So place that on top. Then you put a layer of fries, crinkled cut or regular cut -- never a steak fry -- and then on top of that some kind of homemade cheese sauce that should have two kinds of beer on it just on the top. And that is a horseshoe. So basically I grew up on it and it's delicious and my mom asked me "Do you want this?" She's on the phone with all of her girlfriends. Well, all of her girlfriends were behind her. I don't know what they were doing. You know, going for cocktails or something. And I said "Mom, how dare you have the fucking audacity to ask me if I wanted liquid cheese for a dry burger? Ugh. Always liquid cheese."


Ann: Forever. Why would you need to ask? Also . . .

Katie: Why would you -- does she even know me?

Ann: Now I'm filled with love and regional pride. That's all I have to say.

Katie: Well, I mean, you just wait. I don't think we'll serve any of those at my wedding, but you know.

Ann: But you'll get the horseshoe at the shower?

Katie: Yes.

Ann: Bless.

Katie: I have one more point that I want to make . . .

Ann: Hit me.

Katie: Before I leave. Okay, so now I'm going just pure wedding planning. So I'm in Indiana and I can get denied services for marrying a lady.

Ann: Right.

Katie: So first things first, every time I go to try on a dress or anything I have to out myself before I even get there. So on the phone, because you have to make appointments and shit. So I had a bunch of people from -- a bunch of my ladies from the tristate area come to Indie and we were going to drive another hour to go to this boutique that I wanted to go to, and I realized once I had gathered all of my friends that I hadn't outed myself to that boutique.

Ann: That's so fucking crazy.


Katie: And I had to drive the whole way and I didn't want to tell anyone because I was kind of freaking out. And so the whole time I was driving and just had sweaty palms that I was going to get turned away. So that's kind of -- that's the climate here. And then the other thing that we've been kind of faced with is whenever I'm looking for vendors like a photographer, a DJ, or whatever, and we tell them how we met which is doing LGBT politics, a lot of people have been overly self-congratulatory about serving gay people.

Ann: Oh god.

Katie: Like pat on the back. And so those people never get a job from me and I usually leave a shitty comment on their Yelp or whatever. So that's been something that's been really awful to deal with.

Ann: Ugh, straight shame. I have some straight shame feelings right now.

Katie: Oh no, don't. I mean I don't think you'd be like "I love gay people! I helped draft a lesbian wedding once. Are you going to wear a suit?"

Ann: Some of my best friends are lesbians.

Katie: I know. Oh my god. "So which is the boy and which is the girl?"

Ann: Oh my god, shoot me.

Katie: So the other thing -- actually this is one of the most romantic things that we've ever done. You're going to love it. I really love this one guestbook. I'm just going to call them out. This Kate Spade guestbook. It's really badass and I really want it. But unfortunately it says "Notes to the bride and groom" on top on it.

Ann: Rude.

Katie: But the rest is perfect. Everything is perfect. But it says "Notes to the bride and groom" and a lot of her stuff is not LGBT friendly or even gender neutral or anything. So this is the most romantic thing that's ever happened. I come home and I tell Megan -- I was like "You know, I just had it today and I wrote a strongly-worded email to Kate Spade." And she goes "Bill, I did that two weeks ago."

Ann: Aww.


Katie: "I knew how important it was to you."

Ann: Aww! Did Kate Spade repent? Because that's so fucked up.

Katie: I know. Well, you know, those emails are going to happen. I haven't done the harassing tweets yet but it's coming.

Ann: Well let me know if you need a signal boost on the harassing Kate Spade's gender normative wedding registry book.

Katie: [Laughs] Thank you. Maybe after the rest of this wine.

Ann: Yes, oh my god, please. Ugh, Katie, this has been such a joy. I'm so happy that you're doing what you do and doing it where you do it.

Katie: Well thank you. I love it. I wouldn't know what to do anywhere else. I really . . . I mean like I said I love to piss people off and to win and to rub it in their faces and that's what I get to do.

Ann: If people who are listening want to find the causes you support or the work you do what should they look up or where should they go on the Internet?

Katie: Well, just go to my Twitter. I'm @thekatieblair and I always have fun opportunities happening. Well, if you're in the Midwest I always have stuff that you can do for me for free.

Ann: [Laughs]

Katie: But, you know, also I like to talk shit so that's fun.

Ann: Ugh, you're the best.

Katie: You are!

Ann: Thank you for being on the podcast.

Katie: Thanks for having me! It was wonderful.

[Interview Ends]



Aminatou: We're doing a fun show in L.A. at The Ace Downtown.

Ann: Thursday, August 18th at 8 p.m. Even if you're listening to this not in Los Angeles you should really consider a bestie vacay and come to the show.

Aminatou: You really should. Tell all of your friends and come see us.

Ann: Links to tickets, etc., on

Aminatou: You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website, you can download us anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts, or on iTunes where we'd love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us at @callyrgf or even email us at You can also find us on Facebook -- you can look that link up yourself -- or on Instagram at callyrgf. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. This podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.