NAME: Irwin Krieger
LOCATION: Ashford, CT
I am a retired clinical social worker and the author of two books: Helping Your Transgender Teen: A Guide for Parents; and Counseling Transgender and Non-Binary Youth: The Essential Guide. My partner, John, and I have two children who we co-parented with a lesbian couple. Our kids are now in their 20s, living elsewhere and thriving. John and I enjoy living a quiet life in rural northeastern Connecticut.
What's your connection to LGBTQ+ justice work?
When I came out in the 1970s there were no LGBTQ civil rights laws. For many years I lobbied in Connecticut at the State Capitol for the passage of a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. At the time we were, sadly, not focused on transgender civil rights so laws protecting against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in CT came much later.
What is your volunteer role(s) at NEAT? What inspired you to get involved?
Living in a solidly Democratic state, I have long seen phone canvassing as a way to influence outcomes in other parts of the country. Our secret weapon in the fight for LGBTQ Civil Rights has always been that We are Everywhere! I first volunteered with NEAT making calls to encourage LGBTQ people to participate in the 2020 census. In the months before the 2020 elections I canvassed with other groups to get out the vote in a number of swing states. Currently I am volunteering weekly with NEAT making calls to ask supportive individuals in other states to contact their senators and ask them to support the Equality Act.
Share a memory from volunteering that sticks out in your mind.
Since I call in the evening I sometimes reach someone who is cooking dinner. In one case a young teenager answered the phone, asked what I was calling about, and then went on to encourage her Mom (who was cooking dinner) to make the call. It was sweet to hear how strongly this young person believed in LGBTQ civil rights. I continue to be inspired by the wide embrace of our young people.
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering with NEAT?
It’s a great way to expand your impact beyond your state borders. It’s easier than other kinds of canvassing because with NEAT we are calling an already supportive list of people. You would be surprised at how many people have thanked me for calling them and making it easy for them to voice their support by transferring them directly to their senator’s office. It’s also a good feeling to be part of a group effort by LGBTQ people and our allies from all over the country.