NAME: Zack Lyons
LOCATION: Paris, France
I'm a cliché: an American in Paris! After 16 years in San Francisco and 4 years in Washington, DC, I jumped across the Atlantic for love and education. I'm finishing an international relations graduate program at Sciences Po in a few short months, with a concentration on human rights and humanitarian action. I'm also happily building a new expat life here with a French and Moroccan gent that keeps me on my toes. Otherwise, I love being outdoors cycling, hiking, or just taking a stroll, so I look forward to the vaccinations taking hold soon.
What's your connection to LGBTQ+ justice work?
Nearly a decade ago, I told a friend that I wanted to get arrested for marriage equality as my birthday present. And he made it happen--we shut down the Clerk's Office at San Francisco City Hall! I was truly terrified and anxious during most of the experience, but in the end it was easy to become an activist--I just had to take that step outside of my comfort zone. I'm so grateful that I did (and to all of the support that got me there).
What is your role(s) at NEAT? What inspired you to get involved?
I'm the Policy Director for NEAT. After meeting Brian Silva and collaborating with him through Marriage Equality USA, I have always appreciated that he has an eye on intersectionality and supporting human rights for everyone. I am not surprised at the grassroots success of NEAT and its inclusive activism and I'm proud to be part of it.
Share a memory from your work with NEAT that sticks out in your mind.
A lot of my position involves opposing problematic policy or political decisions, so it makes the wins all that much more satisfying! Recently, I took a few moments to appreciate the historic importance of President Biden’s appointment of Dr. Rachel Levine as the first openly transgender federal official for consideration by the US Senate. I am so proud of NEAT's endorsement of Dr. Levine as the nominee for Assistant Secretary of Health & Human Services and look forward to tracking her nomination and hopefully her confirmation by the Senate soon.
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering with NEAT?
Take that step outside of your comfort zone! I promise it is much worse in your head than in reality and you'll become part of an army of peaceful warriors helping to bend the arc of justice.