ALI VELSHI (HOST): The State Senator Megan Hunt of Nebraska joins me now. Senator, thank you for being with us. I mean, there's a piece of me that wants to talk to you as a legislator, but mostly I want to talk to you as a mom of a trans son, because these laws affect somebody's children, and you’ve asked people to think about it that way. This is your child, it is not a choice you made or they made, this is your child and you would like your child to be treated as normally as anyone else's child.
MEGAN HUNT (STATE SENATOR, NEBRASKA): That's exactly right, you know, thank you so much for having me on here to talk about this. What's so disappointing about this happening in Nebraska is that we have had this amazing nonpartisan unicameral for over 100 years in Nebraska, and we have a strong tradition of non-partisanship and of collaboration and compromise. We also have the smallest legislature in the country with just 49 members. So, all of these people I work with, they know me, they know my kid, they've traveled with us to conferences, they have babysat him, they helped me with him. Yet, still, at the end of the day, they didn’t use their minds and their heads to think independently about who they're actually harming. And that, to me, is like the most depressing thing. I just don't know how we come back from that, actually.
VELSHI: Tell me what this is then, is that real fear of transgender children? Or is it just a really good political point that you can score, that you know, you can run up the scoreboard on?
HUNT: I think it's completely political. These people just literally don't know what they're talking about, they don't know what they're talking about and they're legislating like somebody who's never met a trans person in their life. Somebody who is swallowing all of the propaganda and stereotypes, the false information and misinformation that we hear on, like, far right-wing, you know, media sources. None of it has anything to do with reality. If they weren't ignorant and they knew what it's like to have a trans kid, to be trans, if they educated themselves about what gender-affirming care actually is and how it actually works, instead of letting themselves be scared and letting themselves be bullied by the executive branch, by our governor, into supporting this bill, we would never be here today.
VELSHI: Can you tell me about that? You said they don't know what it's like to be the parents of a trans kid or to be a trans kid, tell us in basic terms what is that like?
HUNT: Well, I mean, you know, it's not a monolith, I'm sure it's different for everybody, but for me, when my kid came out to me is trans a couple years ago, and kind of the journey we've been on with our family, as a family, to me, that was the greatest blessing, that was the greatest gift, to find out that I had a son. Because that tells me that my son is comfortable telling me that. My son knows he is being raised in a safe and loving home and that no matter who he is or how he identifies, or how he discovers himself as he grows up — as we all do, whether we're trans or cisgender, that's what growing up is about, discovering who you are. The fact he is discovering who he is and feels safe and loved enough to share that with me, is, you know, the biggest blessing I could ever have in my life.
One thing I'll say, I'm not an optimist, honestly, this is not a good quality that I have. But I do think that the world in general is not this hateful. It’s just lawmakers, it's just legislators. I asked my son, like, at school, do you get bullied, are your teachers doing okay? You know, do you experience a lot of discrimination? He says, no, only from the people you work with. So, I think that that is a common experience. The world at large is not as hateful as our legislatures make them look.
VELSHI: I heard this from two other parents of a trans child the other day who said the biggest bullies in our state are state legislatures, the actual state’s the bully at this point, not people in the state.