Howdy! It’s been a while, I know. Don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but there’s a bill that’s just been introduced in the Utah state legislature that would codify trans erasure into law – HB153 would, among other things, use some really ‘eew eew body parts gross, i am a shrinking violet’ language to state that as far as the state of Utah is concerned, trans people do not exist, and you are the gender you are assigned at birth. It was introduced by Rep. Merrill Nelson and Sen. Ralph Okerlund, who absolutely sound like the sort of guys – why is it always guys – who care what’s going on in someone’s underpants a little too much. I could just drop their email addresses in here and tell y’all to go bonkers with the messages, but I decided to flex just a bit.
I’m going to put you in touch with their campaign contributors.
This should go without saying, but as an ass-covering measure, please don’t say anything to these people that’ll get you banned from Facebook or whatever. Don’t make threats, don’t be abusive, explain your issue and move on. If you’re interested, you’ll find sample communications at the bottom of the article which you are completely free to use and modify as you see fit, but you’re on your own if you get screamed at. You might also note that I’ve not included links for private individuals who have donated – personally, I think it’s more useful to focus on organizations who donate as I feel (perhaps incorrectly) that there’s a greater expectation of awareness of a business or organization as far as exactly what their donation will be used for as opposed to a private individual, so if you want to yell at an individual person, you’ll have to hunt them up yourselves.
First let’s take a look at Merrill Nelson’s contributions, all data from disclosures.utah.gov:
19 JAN 2018: PacifiCorp, $500 (Five hundred dollars doesn’t sound like much, but you might be interested to know that PacifiCorp is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which if you hadn’t heard, is run by Warren Buffett (twitter)- one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in America, remarkably progressive by the standards of rich white dudes, and not exactly a fan of people using his money for knucklehead stuff.)
19 JAN 2018: Parsons Biehle & Latimer (fb), $200
18 MAY 2018: Utah Rural Telecom Association , $500
21 MAY 2018: AGPAC (fb) (tw), $2,000 <– wowie zowie, biggest individual contribution right here
08 JUN 2018: R. Chet Loftis (previous candidate for Utah House, lawyer for health insurance companies) $100
18 JUN 2018: WCF Insurance (fb) (tw), $250
31 AUG 2018: Utah Public Power PAC (fb) (tw), $200
31 AUG 2018: Home Builders Ass’n of Utah PAC (fb) (tw), $300
31 AUG 2018: Utah Ass’n for Justice PAC (fb) (tw), $250
07 SEP 2018: Zions Bancorporation (fb) (tw), $300
07 SEP 2018: Reagan Outdoor Advertising (fb) (tw), $700
26 SEP 2018: Utah HOSPAC (tw), $600
26 SEP 2018: Utah Bankers Ass’n State PAC (fb) (tw), $500
26 SEP 2018: Utah Ass’n of Realtors PAC (fb) (insta), $1000 <– our only other four-figure contributor
26 SEP 2018: 1-800 Contacts, Inc. (fb) (tw), $250
12 OCT 2018: Utah Rural Electric PAC (entity listing), $750 <– who doesn’t even have a website in this day and age
12 OCT 2018: Friends of Art Works for Kids (fb) (insta), $500
12 OCT 2018: U-Car PAC (fb), $751 <– this was the most obnoxious to track down because they gave three different addresses to three different candidates they gave three different donations to, each of which was an increment of $50 plus one dollar. Weirdly disorganized paperwork for car dealers, but what are you gonna do.
12 OCT 2018: Utah County Republican Party (fb) (tw), $200
12 OCT 2018: UMW Recycling, Inc. (fb) (tw), $300
16 OCT 2018: Citizen Action by Public Employees (fb) (tw), $300
24 OCT 2018: Political Action Trust (fb) (tw) (insta), $500 <– Intentionally vague name that the Dairy Farmers of America (based in Kansas) operate under in the state of Utah for some unknowable reason.
24 OCT 2018: Farmers Employee & Agent PAC of Utah, $500 <– This is interesting! According to the financial disclosure, this line item is “10/24/2018 Farmers Employee & Agent PAC of Utah no address, Tooele, UT 84074 $500.00”. There IS a Farmers Employee & Agent PAC, but it’s based out of Ogden, and didn’t make any donations to ANYBODY on October 24. It made a $5,000 donation to the Northern Utah Legislative PAC on 10 OCT 2018, but they didn’t report it to the state of Utah until 9 JAN 2019. Looking over at NUPAC’s financials, they show receipt of the donation on 24 OCT 2018, but the only outgoing funds on 24 OCT 2018 was reimbursement of fundraising costs and food to a guy named Kyle Palmer, who is apparently from the Tooele area. The most logical explanation is that Palmer took five hundred out of the reimbursed costs he was given, handed it to Nelson, told him it was from FEAPAC but gave only his own city, not the city the PAC is registered in, as the address. That’s – interesting, to say the least. It couldn’t be that FEAPAC wanted to give money to Nelson without their name on the check, because whoever put the check in Nelson’s hand straight up told him it was from FEAPAC. But why the incomplete address that’s just Tooele, UT? Nelson’s accountant should have caught that and sorted it out when they were processing the end-of-year report for financial disclosures. This is gonna bug me until I figure it out, so I’ll add it to my to-do list. Five hundred bucks isn’t exactly ‘forget you saw this rolled up rug with feet sticking out of it’ money, though, so it’s most likely just some crossed wires.
24 OCT 2018: Ash Grove Cement Co. (tw) , $250
05 NOV 2018: Comcast Financial Agency Corp. (fb) (tw), $500
05 NOV 2018: Tourism Works PAC (fb) (tw), $200 <– Appears to be a side gig of a business called Orchid Events, as they share a physical address including suite number.
10 DEC 2018: Utah Ass’n of Health Underwriters, $300
10 DEC 2018: NAIFA Utah IFAPAC, $300
Whew! Okay, now on to Ralph Okerlund. Interesting sidebar: This guy itemized every last cent he spent on anything. It is extremely important to Ralph Okerlund that you are aware that the transaction at Target on January 28, 2018 for $15.30 was for session SNACKS, not a session MEAL – the fact that trans youth is already at an increased risk of suicide and Utah in particular ranks sixth highest for national suicide rates, not so much. As before, all data from disclosures.utah.gov:
19 MAR 2018: UP Railroad (fb) (tw) (insta), $500
19 MAR 2018: Express Scripts, Inc. (fb) (tw), $500
19 MAR 2018: Parsons Biehle & Latimer (fb), $500 <– also donated to Nelson, but not as much. Maybe they have an accounting fetish? I can not properly express to you the degree of care Okerlund took with his financials here. They’re pristine.
19 MAR 2018: AT&T Services, Inc. (fb) (tw) (insta), $500
19 MAR 2018: AT&T Services, Inc. (fb) (tw) (insta) , $500 <– yes, again.
19 MAR 2018: Flash Technologies (fb) (tw) (insta), $200
29 NOV 2018: AT&T Services, Inc. (fb) (tw) (insta) , $500 <– threepeat
29 NOV 2018: Ash Grove Cement Co. (tw), $250 <– Donated same amount to Nelson. It’s important that the kids not have an excuse to think one’s your favorite.
29 NOV 2018: Education Direction (fb) (tw), $250
Ralph Okerlund would also like you to know that on December 13, 2018, he purchased a ‘SUU Meeting Travel Meal’ at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for $14.97. Wait, that’s – they don’t – YOU SIT ON A THRONE OF LIES, RALPH OKERLUND! ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHOCOLATE FACTORY DOES NOT SELL MEALS, THEY SELL SNACKS! HOW DARE YOU MAKE A MOCKERY OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURES! FOR HATE’S SAKE I SPIT MY LAST BREATH AT THi’m okay, i’m okay, i think i’ve been looking at weirdly meticulous financial disclosures a bit too long is all
Okay, the sample communications I promised you. These might seem softer than you’d expect, but please keep in mind that these people are not necessarily aware that the legislator they gave money to was going to sponsor this bill. For all they knew, they were backing a candidate who promised to fix potholes and promote the construction business. Be gentle. Replace bits in [bold italic brackets like this] as appropriate.
Sample email or facebook post:
Hi! I’m [your name here], and I’m contacting you because your organization gave $[dollar amount] to [Utah Rep. Merrill Nelson for entities from the first list, Utah Sen. Ralph Okerlund for entities from the second list] in 2018. I wanted to make sure you were aware what your money purchased. Along with [Utah Sen. Ralph Okerlund for entities from the first list, Utah Rep. Merrill Nelson for entities from the second list], he introduced HB 153, a bill that would eliminate the ability for transpeople to have their gender marker changed on their birth certificate after a court deems their “sex change” to be complete. In fact, it would effectively codify into law the idea that as far as the state of Utah is concerned, transpeople don’t exist. Utah has the sixth-highest rate of suicide at 22.7 deaths by suicide out of 100,000 total population, and although data on suicide among LGBTQ+ people is difficult to compile as not all LGBTQ+ people publicly identify as such, there are numerous studies available (which I will provide links to!) that strongly suggest that the suicide rate is between 1.5 to 3 times the rate of straight cisgender (identifying as the gender you were identified as at birth) people. The state of Utah cannot afford more suicide, the LGBTQ+ youth of Utah are already dying. This law will help none, and harm many. Just figured you should know what you were signing up for next time Nelson and Okerlund come calling for a donation.
Link to the bill: https://le.utah.gov/~2019/bills/static/HB0153.html
Link to an article containing several studies on LGBTQ+ youth suicide: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_among_LGBT_youth
[your name here]
FYI, @UtahReps Nelson and @RalphOkerlund filed a transphobic bill, and did so with your $ – you gave $dollar amount to [Nelson if to an entity on the first list, Okerlund if to an entity on the second list] in ’18. Figured you should know what’s what if they wanted more of your $. Here’s info about the bill: https://rewire.news/legislative-tracker/law/utah-vital-statistics-act-amendment-hb-153/
(The link automagically gets shortened by Twitter to 23 characters, so it’ll fit easy peasy in the 280 characters allotted, assuming you make the obvious contextual edits like the dollar amount and the name they donated to.)
If you’re one of the three people in America who actually prefer to use the phone to contact people anymore, first of all why, second of all here’s a sample script. Again, please remember that you are not (necessarily) talking to bad people. We don’t know the context of the donation, it could very well be that they donated to a candidate who wanted to support something they believe in and this will be a complete surprise to them.
“Hi, I won’t take up a lot of your time, but I wanted to let you know exactly how [Utah Rep. Merrill Nelson for entities from the first list, Utah Sen. Ralph Okerlund for entities from the second list] is using the money you donated back in 2018. He and [the other knucklehead] recently filed a new bill that, if it became law, would essentially erase trans people from the state of Utah by mandating that one’s gender is determined at birth, cannot be changed except in the case of error (like the doctor delivering the baby somehow not knowing what they’re looking at), and would remove the ability of a transperson to have their birth certificate changed to reflect the gender they, their healthcare professional, and their court order says they are. I’m happy to send you more information on the bill if you’d like, but mainly I just wanted you to know exactly what they are doing with your money so you can make an informed decision next time they call you for a donation.”