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Request[AMA Request] Adam Ellis, cartoonist who was hated by reddit until he quit buzzfeed and is now loved by all.

Apr 13th 2018 by TiredEyes_ • 18 Questions • 49 Points

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the proposed ban on open military service by transgender people in August 2017, following President Trump’s tweets in July announcing imposition of the ban, and, in late August, issuance of a proposed implementation plan.

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN represent nine individual plaintiffs who are all transgender – six currently serving members of the U.S. Armed Services and three individuals who wish to enlist – and three organizational plaintiffs, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Seattle-based Gender Justice League, and American Military Partner Association (AMPA). The State of Washington joined the lawsuit last November.

proof: https://imgur.com/a/4hm0S

EDIT: Thanks everyone for your thoughtful questions and support! It's now 2:15PM and we're signing off. Keep up on the case updates at Lambda Legal's Twitter: @lambdalegal

Q:

What's a part of your job that people don't know about?

A:

I remember hearing a segment of something similar to this on an NPR radio station on my commute to work. I bet the feeling of having to be a part of a big case, who's ultimate decision could impact millions of other transgendered individuals who either serve or want to serve, is probably really daunting.

1.) My first question is; what do you really feel about going against something as enormous as this? Is it more of a "how did i even get here?" Type of feeling or has this shocked you in anyway?

2.) What type of publicity has this accumulated towards you (for lack of a better way to phrase this question). Given how national, or even global, this story has become ;; Has there been anything that someone has said to you or done to you that really impacted how you feel and such?

3.) This question is more for your legal team (since the majority of case AmA's have to be censored and questions cherry picked by the law firm so it doesn't back fire later);; how are you guys dealing with this? As a firm dealing with something this large, i bet the front desk gets loaded with phone calls for one. Do you feel prepared or stressed from the enormity of all this?

Hope this AmA can be verified soon

Thank you for your service and i wish you the best of luck.


Q:

I put on my own makeup at 4 in the morning. I'm not good at it

A:
  1. Sometimes I have that "how did I get here" feeling. Looking back, though, I don't think I can identify any one point in this whole process where I made the wrong choice. I definitely didn't expect the sum of those choices to lead me here, though.
  2. There are others in the trans military community who have received far more publicity than I, and I don't envy them that at all. So far, I haven't had anybody recognize me on the street or anything, and I'm perfectly happy with that.
  3. From a lawyer: "Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest nonprofit legal group advocating for the full rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV in the United States. We feel confident in our abilities to handle cases of this magnitude. We're honored to have Staff Sergeant Schmid as a client."

Q:

At the bottom of your post right after you said "yes I really do eat oreos like that" and then your next line under that was "proof" I was really hoping to see 8 double stuffed oreos in a glass of milk. Great pic of you, but I was kinda disappointed not gonna lie. Anyway we could see that pls?

A:

How does the transition between genders affect your deployment status? Are you still able to deploy while undergoing gender reassignment?


Q:

I would but I'm stuck in a car for foreseeable future. I'll pitch a story on Oreo consumption at the next editorial meeting

A:

This is a really big misconception. Anybody who starts a new medication (including hormones) is non-deployable for 90 days. After that, you go back to deployable status.

If you have any type of surgery, then your non-deployable time depends on how long it takes you to recover from your surgery, and what your doctor recommends.

In short, it isn't as big a deal as people make it out to be.


Q:

My new fetish will then forever be the bad boy of local news eating a soggy slop of double stuff Oreos out of a glass

A:
  1. How often do people misgender you?
  2. Have you experienced any hazing? Sexual harassment?
  3. Have you developed any valuable friendships?
  4. How old were you when you decided you wanted to join the military? Why did you?

*Thank you for posting this, I can already see you enduring a lot of terrible comments here. You are very thick-skinned to endure that with the positivity you have.


Q:

New?

A:
  1. Not often, honestly.
  2. At first, before we had equal opportunity protections, I received a lot of undue scrutiny. Since the 2016 policy change, it's been a lot better.
  3. Absolutely. Both with my fellow transgender service members and with the other women in my unit.
  4. My dad was in the Air Force, so it was always kind of a thing. And why did I? Because college didn't work out and I needed a career.

Q:

What do your co-workers think of the video going viral?

A:

I have read the policy letter from the end of March. I'm a little confused because there had been no guidance. Has the ban changed anything yet?


Q:

Every time they see me they say "oh look who it is, the bad boy of local news". It's terrible

A:

No. The ban hasn't changed anything. Papers have been shuffled several times, but nothing has changed since the initial tweets.


Q:

Come and hang out at /r/nba you hot little slut

A:

What would you most like to tell us that no one has asked about?


Q:

I already do. Did you mean to post this in the Steve Kerr AMA?

A:

David Gerrold promised us a fourth book in the Chtorr series and hasn't delivered.


Q:

So how do you see this Blazers-Pels series shaking out?

A:

How do other soldiers (I know you cannot speak for all of them) perceive your service, as opposed to those at the top?


Q:

Blazers in 7, Lillard and Anthony Davis both go for 45 in the deciding game

A:

My service, I think, speaks for itself. When other soldiers are looking at me, they're not seeing "a trans soldier", they're seeing a Staff Sergeant. And that's really what matters.


Q:

What is the context for that suspicious rock?

A:

Do you plan to stay in the military long term or (if not)what do your future plans look like outside the military?


Q:

We were transitioning to weather out of a story about an increase in shark sightings on the Oregon coast. I thought that rock was suspiciously fin-like

A:

I have another 7 years left until retirement. After that, who knows.


Q:

Where are you going on your road trip?

A:

Why do you think so many people in the thread are trying to conflate the issue of the military paying for transition-related medical costs with the competency of transgender people being able to perform military duties?

It seems to me that these are entirely separate issues, and that others are incorrectly dismissing your ability to perform your duties purely because they don't want their tax dollars being spent on transitions. What would your response to these people be?


Q:

Vancouver! We have nothing planned, what should we do?

A:

It's called "moving the goalposts". They make the accusation that it's prohibitively expensive, then when they're shown it's not, they make the accusation that I'm incapable of my duties. Then, when they're shown I'm not, they move back to the spending argument.


Q:

Do you have any funny stories from Vikings training camp?

A:
  1. Thank you for your service.

  2. What would you say is the biggest misconception about transgendered service members?


Q:

It was in lovely Mankato, Minnesota, and I got there before camp and had time to kill. One night I went to a townie bar and joined a trivia team, and we ended up winning the prize. Which was.... Adult-themed. And designed for men. I took it back to my hotel room and threw it in the trash. The next morning the person who cleaned my room must have assumed I made a mistake, and took the "prize" out of the trash and placed it on the table

A:

There are several. Look at this thread. 😜

  1. That we're mentally unstable.
  2. That it's a cosmetic thing and not medically-necessary.
  3. That we're unsure of who we "really" are.
  4. That being trans at all impacts our ability to do our jobs.

Q:

Can your apartment building survive nuclear fallout?

A:

Not trying to be a dick here, but how is getting transgender surgery considered medically necessary?


Q:

Management said they'd get back to me


Q:

They just want to give a thorough answer. Don't let them forget!

A:

Vets and trans are the two most likely groups to commit suicide what are your thoughts on allowing someone to be both?


Q:

I can't believe my comments have their own in-jokes. This whole thing is surreal

A:

The reality is these aren't two different groups. There are already transgender service members and transgender veterans. The question is if we're really going to leave them out to dry.


Q:

You seem like a fun person to work with! Do you guys need a meteorologist?

A:

Thank you for your service. However do you think your presence and lawsuit compromises unit cohesion? For instance do fellow soldiers roll their eyes when teased by others for being part of “that persons” platoon...company...even battalion?


Q:

We actually are hiring for the morning meteorologist

A:

The biggest response I've gotten from other soldiers specifically asking about the lawsuit is "Wait, can you do that?" (Spoiler alert: Yes.)

I know my first Sergeant has rolled his eyes a couple of times. But the fact that this is going on doesn't make me a "problem soldier". And I think that's what most everybody is concerned about. The first question is "can you do that?" and the second question is "well, is she still doing her job?" (Spoiler alert: Yes.)


Q:

Okay, that video was pretty funny. Serious question though: do you see yourself as an entertainer, a journalist, or both? Do you ever feel like you have a duty or responsibility to provide more enriching news content to viewers (rather than the tired local news tropes: sports, crime, and personal interest)?

A:

[deleted]


Q:

Good and important question: 99% journalist, 1% dude on tv. If your only experience with me is that video, it would be easy to assume I'm just goofing off all the time. But that montage was two minutes out of hundreds of hours of work, the vast majority of the time I'm being serious because I'm talking about serious things. If I did nothing but say dumb things I'd be insufferable to work with. However whenever we have a moment where I can be silly while it's still tactful, or say something that will throw off my coworkers, I try to take it.

A:

Any medical care I receive, whether it's transition-related or not, is part of what I earn by being a service member, just like any other service member.


Q:

Super excited because I grew up in Portland and this is the first AMA that wasn’t posted hours ago.

Question: what’s the oddest report you had to make and did you enjoy reporting it or not?

A:

If it requires medical treatment, why isn't it perceived as a pre-existing medical condition?


Q:

Last year a barn in rural Oregon burned down. I was interviewing the neighbor who saw it, and it was fairly standard. We conclude every interview the same way: "Is there anything I haven't asked you about that's interesting?" The guy says a bunch of people had been at the barn lately because of some video game. As it turned out, this was the height of Pokemon Go, and that barn was a gym. So I then had to go up to the Fire Chief on scene and ask him, seriously, "Is this fire Pokemon Go related?" It was met with one of the more aggressive eye rolls I've seen.

I don't think it ended up being Pokemon Go related

A:

A medical condition is only prohibitive if it's duty-limiting. It's not comparable to diabetes or flat feet, it's more comparable to a cisgender service member who develops low-testosterone, or menopause. You take a couple pills and drive on.


Q:

"I have many many questions, but I also don't really want to talk to anyone." is my new favorite quote. Context?

A:

What would you say has been the biggest challenge of being a trans woman in the military that the majority might not face or understand?

And as someone who does not live in the U.S., how can I help from afar?


Q:

This was about flat earthers, I think because rapper B.O.B. said he was one. One of the anchors asked how anybody could think that. In context my sentence ended with "who believes the earth is flat"

A:

The words "tremendous burden" from the initial tweet still ring in my ears. The weight of knowing that attitude is so persistent is, well, tremendous.


Q:

How do you feel about the role of local news in the wake of the Sinclair revelations of late? What do you think we (and you) can do to make sure that the populace receives factual reporting when megacorporations can come through, buy up the licenses and talent, and decree from on high what they think the people should know?

(Also if I had to wake up that early, I'd want some jocularity with my morning coffee, so keep being awesome)

A:

What's been one of the biggest challenges you've faced while being a beacon of hope for so many of us transgender service members? Have you faced any difficulties that you did not expect to face?


Q:

I'm going to answer this-- but I want to be thorough. I'm gonna answer some shorter ones and come back to it.

Nobody let me forget!

Edit: I've talked this over with my coworker Cole Miller, an outstanding reporter who is driving me right now, and we think our best answer is to keep pressing and hold your local journalists accountable. Accurate, thorough reporting should be demanded. And I hope people realize that with local news organizations, your voice really matters. We don't have millions of followers. We read what you say, and if you make good, rational points, it will affect decisions moving forward. Maybe don't write us a thesis, but definitely write us. And let people know when you think they've done a good job, too. Also definitely don't ever comment on what the women reporters are wearing.

Regarding corporatization, I think people would be surprised at how little corporate influence there is in our coverage. Of course I can't speak for Sinclair stations, but i personally have never had management at any level try to alter the tone or direction of my political reporting. Reporters at the Sinclair station in town have told me the same thing. Having said that, I personally think requiring stations to run commentary across the country with a definitive political slant has no place in journalism and I don't know a single journalist who disagrees with me.

Ultimately, everybody should double check where they're getting their information. Read things from all news levels, and read things from sources with stances you don't agree with. I think the beauty of the internet is that it allows you to learn from places and people you would have never previously experienced. I'm a much more empathetic person because of places like Reddit. But there's also so much media from so many different perspectives that if you aren't careful, you'll fall into a trap of simply seeking confirmation bias. Always be on guard against that. Just read a bunch. You'll be better for it.

When all of that fails I recommend you take 8 double stuf Oreos, put 'em in a glass, fill it up with milk and eat it with a spoon

A:

The biggest challenge and the one I least expected is that there would be so much of the military trying to distract me from my job of soldiering, by focusing on my status as trans, instead of just letting it be.

Everybody seems to think that it's a distraction, when in reality the conversation about whether I'm distracted from my duties is what is distracting.


Q:

Is it true that reporter Cole Miller and yourself have a longstanding rivalry?

A:

Do you have a favorite self-care activity that you find affirming? Thank you for your service. I grew up in a military town and worked on a military base for years and I appreciate it! 💜 queer femme


Q:

Cole Miller is a scoundrel and I will not rest until he admits I have better hair.

He's also doing a great job driving us in the rain right now

A:

I like to cook. And honestly, putting on the uniform is affirming.


Q:

How early do you have to get up in the morning?

A:

Who is your favorite Kpop idol? Mine's Momo. This week anyway.


Q:

The alarm goes off at 3:15

A:

EXO! They're adorable, I can't help it.


Q:

What time do you go to sleep at night then?

A:

I try to get in bed by 8:30. I fail pretty frequently


Q:

A couple questions from a colleague of mine named M. Scott:

  1. Who do you think you are?

  2. What gives you the right?

A:

Brb moving to Costa Rica


Q:

Portland native here.

What’s your favorite food/drink spot that’s off the beaten path or not that popular?

A:

It's a legendary Portland spot but I love the fried chicken at Reel M Inn. It's the grungiest dive bar and they only ever have one person working, so even if you're the only customer your food is gonna take 45 minutes to make. When I'm there I feel like I have to drink bottled Budweiser just because it fits the vibe


Q:

Are you single? My boyfriend and I have a crush on you.

A:

I'm in a committed relationship with a person named The Viewer


Q:

Is he French or something?

A:

You're thinking of Le Viewer


Q:

Are you originally from Oregon? I feel like most people I know that ended up reporting the news had to move cities and often moved states.

A:

This is the weirdest answer-- my hometown is Oregon, Ohio. Spelled the same, pronounced the way people mispronounce the state. Or-ee-gahn. Then I moved to Or-again


Q:

When did you first try eating Oreos that way? Can we see a video of you eating Oreos?

A:

My favorite part of the comments was the analysis of the Oreo technique. My brother and I used to eat them with a spoon in a giant mug filled with milk, we came up with the clever title of "Oreo cookies chopped in milk". I would do that literally every day after school. One commenter said they called it Oreo Sludge, I really like that


Q:

Have any of the higher ups given you shit for making jokes? Loved the video must be a very relaxed workplace!

A:

They've all been great, I've never been told to tone it down. It is a pretty relaxed place. I get along with all my coworkers, which I think is pretty rare


Q:

What is the most awkward thing that's happened to you on air? Have you ever had to stammer through a newscast like that Boom Goes The Dynamite guy because you didn't know what was going on?

A:

I have stammered a bunch, I've called people I was interviewing the wrong name, and an Atlas Moth laid an egg on my face live on the air: https://youtu.be/s4S-05ad7VY


Q:

Have you ever tried stand up? I used to work with a couple reporters who were constantly cracking me up. I thought they would be perfect on SNL.

A:

I havent, but I'm a huge comedy fan. If I had a regular person's schedule I would definitely try improv because a lot of my job is ad libbing. My friend who posted the video is an outstanding improviser and I get green with jealous rage watching him perform


Q:

Who are your top 3 stand up comedians?

A:

John Mulaney, Rory Scovel, Norm MacDonald


Q:

Favorite kind of ketchup?

A:

Blended with hot sauce


Q:

Are you a weather guy? A sports guy? Why are you mostly standing when doing your repartee?

A:

My regular job is as the "breaking news anchor", we have our two anchors Jenny and Ken and I'm running around the studio with whatever is new. On lighter stories the producer will put "3 shot ad lib" at the end of the script, which is the shot featured the most in the video, and I have the green light to say whatever I want. The rest of my day I head out to report, but I also fill in as anchor, or traffic, or sports, or weather. That's why there's so many different looks


Q:

If you’re running around with whatever is new, wouldn’t that mean you’ve got all of the news?

A:

I've made that argument to management and it fell on deaf ears


Q:

Does Ken ever get tired of your shit? Like the matching tattoos comment. I thought the video was awesome wish we had more news personality like you keep on keeping on

A:

Ken is great, he's one of the easiest laughs in the building. He's great to play off of because he's such a traditional news anchor, it balances me out


Q:

All I can think when I watch your video is that you're secretly Jim from the Office. Are you secretly John Krasinski?

A:

I've gotten this a few times and it is incredibly flattering. But I'm not John Krasinski, I don't have that much nuance in my facial expressions


Q:

What do you think of your sister's boyfriend?

A:

I think he's a fool for revealing his Reddit username to his girlfriend's older brother


Q:

Most of anything I post is pretty pg, or else my name wouldn't be on here.

A:

Same tbh


Q:

Hello from Portland! I love what's going on at Koin 6! But now the important question: What's your favorite flavor of oreos?

A:

Double Stuf are the only kind that matter imo


Q:

Hey Trevor! I’m interviewing to be a news producer after I graduate. From your perspective, what are some things producers do for you that help or hinder you while doing your job?

A:

My most important tip is to own your mistakes. You are going to make a bunch of them, everybody does, especially me. And it's hard for a producer, because when you mess up, the on-air people are the ones that look bad. And some on-air people will react poorly to that. So know that it will be infinitely better for you and your co-workers if you let them know you know you messed up, you're sorry, and it won't happen again. (It will happen again, but they won't be as mad for a while)


Q:

You seem really young, how did you get the job?

A:

I think news in general is skewing younger these days, for a number of reasons (more work, stagnant wages). It's easier to climb when you do mornings, just because very few people want to wake up at 3 am. Part of my hiring was for versatility, I can bounce between the on-air roles. Having said that, I've also been told I look a lot younger that I actually am


Q:

How long did it take you to make the video?

A:

I had the idea about a year ago and would save anything where I said something weird, it's been a steady build


Q:

Hey Trevor! I'm a digital news producer in a 130s DMA. What would your advice be for moving into a larger market?

A:

Apply everywhere all the time, even in jobs that you think you aren't qualified for, or for jobs that other people say you aren't qualified for. It only takes one person saying yes to move up


Q:

Hey Trevor, /r/Portland mod here. Do you lurk on your hometown subreddit? What do you think of our wonderful, snarky, sometimes-dysfunctional-but-always-entertaining sub?

A:

I believe everybody in Portland news lurks the subreddit, I definitely do. I even got an interview from a Reddit PM once. I like the sub, but as a Midwestern transplant who moved here two years ago they might partly blame me for destroying the culture


Q:

I’m a production assistant for a CBS/NBC affiliate down in Northern California, I’m curious: what does the talent really think of PA’s?

A:

As long as you're not sleeping, you're fine. Any "talent" (I hate that term) that's rude to the PAs doesn't deserve their job. We have automated cameras here at KOIN, I really miss having people in the studio behind the scenes. It's easier to have energy when they're there


Q:

Some words about RAJNEESHPURAM ?

A:

I haven't watched Wild Wild Country yet but I'm planning on it. There are a bunch of clips of my anchor Ken Boddie reporting on it when it happened, he's rocking a great moustache. And my friend's Dad was a prosecutor in the case, he's in it too. What I'm saying is I'm a bad coworker and friend for not watching it yet


Q:

Why is the Sub Pop logo on your desk upside down? Also, what is your favourite band?

A:

I'll have to ask my producer Amanda, that's her desk. I think I'd give the favorite band title to The National, I'll be seeing them for the first time at their Homecoming festival in Cincinnati in a couple weeks, then again at Sasquatch

(Shout-out to /r/indieheads, that's one of my favorite subreddits)


Q:

What ever happened with that car?

A:

Sources confirm it's still blowing through stop signs to this day