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Trans Actor Sets Record Straight on Hate

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Actor Laith Ashley explains how his Dominican mom prepared him for dealing with anti-LGBTQ+ hate.
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The Washington Post reported a bombshell story this week that finds states with laws targeting LGBTQ people have seen school hate crimes quadruple. Using data from the FBI, reporters found a surge of violence as well as an increase...
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Show transcript
00:00
Bullying and attacks against LGBT Q kids are up across the country
00:05
Experts say it's coming from politics with laws going after trans
00:10
kids and adults. Well,
00:12
today we have Artist Lathe Ashley to talk about his experience.
00:18
Hi Lee. Hey,
00:20
how are you? Thank you for having yourself.
00:23
I'm doing well. I'm you know,
00:24
trying to do the best I can with like what like
00:27
Mariah Carey said with what I got.
00:30
There you go. Same on this end.
00:33
So we wanted to talk to you about what's going on
00:37
The Washington Post found that hate crimes against LGBT Q
00:41
have quadrupled in high schools.
00:44
Does this sound familiar?
00:47
It's not surprising at all.
00:49
If you look at you mentioned politics,
00:52
if you look at what a lot of politicians are saying about
00:54
the trans community, of course,
00:56
it's going to incite violence.
00:57
I think that parents want the best for their Children.
01:02
But when they're constantly being bombarded with a negative commentary about
01:07
trans people in the trans community and the safety of their Children
01:10
which is, which was what they're saying is a,
01:12
is a complete lie.
01:15
it's going to incite violence,
01:16
it's going to make it so that our visibility is,
01:21
it becomes kind of a catch 22 where we're told,
01:27
for example, if I'm doing an interview or if I'm being
01:30
called to do something for the trans community,
01:32
for example, for trans visibility,
01:34
that's at the end of this month,
01:35
you're told you, you're brave,
01:37
you're resilient for being visible for being who I am.
01:41
But we've always been here.
01:44
It's our erasure that's made us have to be visible in
01:47
the first place and then it causes,
01:50
it's kind of a ripple effect.
01:51
It causes trans people being more visible to lead to violence against
01:55
us with no institutional support and nothing to protect us.
01:59
Have, have you felt that getting worse recently?
02:03
I mean, look at all the bills that are
02:06
are are attempting,
02:08
they're attempting to pass over 400 anti trans bills which again initially
02:13
started with protecting the kids.
02:15
But it's now moved into blocking trans adults from accessing health
02:19
care. So it was always about moving an already marginalized group
02:24
further into invisibility if you will to ostracize us to keep us
02:29
from existing within the social realm.
02:33
What do you think it will take to for things to get
02:36
better? I have no idea,
02:38
to be honest. I mean,
02:40
the internet has done so much for us.
02:41
We're able to have this conversation right now.
02:43
We're able to post our ideas and our thoughts on social media
02:47
But I don't,
02:48
I don't think that social media is going to be the thing
02:50
that brings people together.
02:51
I think that having real personal conversations is the only
02:58
way where people can see each other's humanity.
03:01
And I know we've been throwing those words around,
03:04
throwing around humanity, dignity,
03:06
nuance, empathy togetherness.
03:08
And I don't think a lot of people actually understand what
03:10
those words mean. because it may start that way,
03:14
but I don't think anyone is really listening to each other and
03:16
what ends up happening is bickering again,
03:18
online violence, anger resentment,
03:21
and that's what we're seeing now manifest in real life.
03:24
And I mean, what would you say to the kids in
03:27
school? Dealing with the bullying?
03:29
I don't know if you want me to say what I would
03:31
say to them. I mean,
03:33
look, I'm Dominican,
03:35
my mother taught me like to stand up for myself and I
03:38
know that everyone is different and I know that depending on where
03:42
you are in the world,
03:43
you're not going to have the same resources or the or the
03:45
ability to do so especially in a school like next
03:52
Benedict's school where as we saw that no support and even the
03:58
the politicians there saying that we there was no remorse,
04:02
there was no empathy for this child's life that was lost
04:07
It was just like,
04:07
oh we have to get rid of this gross thing that's happening
04:11
in our society. So I don't have the answers.
04:14
I just hope that people really open their eyes and see that
04:17
these are, these are people,
04:20
they have families that care about them.
04:22
Is there anything your mom would tell you to tell these bullies
04:25
Like I'm Dominican as well.
04:27
So you already know my mom,
04:28
my mom was mama said,
04:31
knock you out. But a again,
04:35
again, not everyone has the capacity to do to do to
04:38
do that. So I'm,
04:39
I'm speaking, this is what for myself.
04:41
I didn't stand for bullying.
04:42
In fact, anyone would try to bully me.
04:45
I would stand up my stand up to myself and they would
04:48
back off and I would usually be the one defending any
04:51
other kids that were getting,
04:53
that were getting bullied for being different.
04:55
I've always, I don't like injustice.
04:57
I don't like when a group attacks a smaller minority or
05:04
a group that's, or a person and an individual that's,
05:07
that doesn't have a way to defend themselves.
05:09
I don't like injustice on a macro level.
05:11
It kind of, it can weigh on you and it makes
05:13
you sick and you,
05:14
you, you wonder how do we get here and how do
05:17
we move forward? I think ultimately,
05:20
if there's going to be any change,
05:21
we have to move past the binary systems that we live in
05:24
and really take time to listen and get to know one another
05:27
Like I said before,
05:28
ultimately, what I'm saying is to care about people and try
05:32
to have an understanding that's like bigger,
05:37
see the bigger picture.
05:38
Not just, you know,
05:39
here people put blinders on and they're like,
05:42
these are my beliefs and I'm not changing my beliefs and I'm
05:45
just like, everything is changeable.
05:47
Things are constantly changing.
05:48
They say change is the only constant.
05:50
So when you discover something new,
05:53
it's ok to change your mind and you're going to continue to
05:55
discover something new because that is life.
05:57
I wish for the best.
05:59
I want people to be able to live and be themselves to
06:03
make, you can make mistakes and then learn from them.
06:07
That's, again,
06:08
that's the beauty of being here and being alive.
06:11
I agree 100%. We just want to thank you so much
06:14
for your time for speaking with us.
06:17
I know you're exhausted.
06:18
So it really means I wish I almost was like,
06:21
I rolled out of bed.
06:22
I was like, oh my,
06:22
I have to get cute for this and I'm like,
06:24
I don't have this.
06:27
You look great, you look great.
06:29
Well, before we go,
06:30
we wanted to ask,
06:31
is there anything big coming up?
06:33
And where can people follow you?
06:36
So you can follow me on,
06:38
you know, all social media platforms at Lathe underscore Ashley.
06:42
and things coming up.
06:43
I don't know if I'm supposed to talk about this yet,
06:45
but I'm going to say it anyway.
06:46
I'm,, the thing,
06:47
the project that I'm working on here in Atlanta is called,
06:50
Wicked City.
06:51
there, we're filming season three right now.
06:53
So I'm one of the new cast members,
06:55
which is really exciting.
06:56
It's,, it's kind of kind of witches in,
06:59
in Atlanta, in the Atlanta area and kind of how they
07:03
they,,
07:03
it's almost, I hate to say this but it's like they
07:06
say it's like a black charmed.
07:09
but yeah,
07:09
I, I don't want to give too much away.
07:11
It's on, it's on the all black network and,
07:14
yeah, the cast has been amazing.
07:16
The crew has been so cool.
07:18
It's been a lot of work,
07:19
but I think it will be,
07:21
it will be worth it.
07:22
Oh, yeah, I'm so excited for that.
07:23
That's awesome. That's so cool.
07:25
Congrats on that. LA,
07:27
appreciate it. Thank you so much.
07:29
We appreciate it again.
07:30
Have a good one.
07:31
Take care, take care,
07:32
take care.