staff spotlight: a conversation with Dustin Kight

At Family Pride, we like to think of our team – the staff, the
volunteers, the board members and our many supporters – as one big
family. Today you’ll get to know Dustin Kight, one of our Program
and Education Associates. Many of you may already know Dustin from
our many OUTSpoken Trainings throughout the country. I was able to
steal Dustin away from his very busy schedule to ask him some
questions about the important work he does.

Dave: What regions do you coordinate—and who do you work
with in these areas?

Dustin: I work with folks in the South and Northeast. I’ve got
states as far west as Oklahoma, all the way down to Florida and up
to Maine! It’s exciting to connect with such regionally distinct
places. I’ve also spent most of my life in these areas. I grew up
in South Carolina and Georgia (in Augusta, the home of golf and
James Brown). And I went to school in the Hudson Valley, in New
York State. (Some will call this area “Upstate,” but really,
that’s just because they’re from NYC.) In these vast regions, I
work with local parents group leaders, OUTSpoken families, local
and state organizers, and allies to the cause.

Dave: What are some of the biggest successes so

Dustin: That depends on how you measure success. In the last six
months we’ve placed a gay family on Oprah and made the radical
right look nasty and brutish around Mary Cheney’s pregnancy.
Those were big media moments, good for visibility for our families.
But we’ve also begun to reach out to LGBTQ parents and their
allies in ways we haven’t done before, reaching many more people
than we have before. In my time here we’ve trained, for instance,
more than 400 people in person to become OUTSpoken and in our
recent Kevin Bacon campaign brought many new supporters to the
organization. That’s huge! I know I sound kind of mouthpiece-y in
this moment, but it’s all true. I’m very proud of the work
we’ve done and the work we continue to do.

Dave: What’s your favorite story?

Dustin: We are a loving, dedicated staff—to each other and to the
people for whom we work. In the year I’ve been with Family Pride,
there are already so many memories, so many stories I could share.
The first that comes to mind, honestly, hails from Family Week in
Provincetown, this past summer. I volunteered my station wagon as a
way to get materials and people from DC to PTown. (Never again….)
And at the request of our lovely executive director, Jennifer
Chrisler, we made sure we had a bouncy house delivered to Bas
Relief Park for the little ones to play in.

Well, this one time, we thought it a good idea to transport the
bouncy house from the park to Town Hall, for the kids carnival.
Hey, what’s the best way to get a hundreds of pounds,
morning-dew-wet, deflated bouncy house from Point A to Point B?
Hoist it on top of my car and secret-service-style walk it down the
street, of course! Oh, it was so ridiculous! The five or six of us
literally couldn’t pick it up off the ground and we were blocking
traffic. So this kind, ridiculously buff guy gets out of his car
and uses his magical strength to help us lift. And then as we
walked we got to enjoy rain water, grass and sludge from the bouncy
house drip off onto our clothes and feet. But once we finally got
it in town hall (another story completely) the kids loved it. And
that’s what really counts!

Dave: What is the biggest challenge?

Dustin: The biggest challenge in regional work is not getting to
meet people face to face as often as I’d like. Making and
maintaining personal relationships with the people you work with,
especially in a social justice movement, especially when most of
these people are dedicated, war-weary volunteers, is very
important. I relish the work I do on the ground—training for
OUTSpoken, meeting local parents group leaders, helping to organize
lobby days, hanging with the kids. It’s the best and most
important part!

Dave: What do you like the most about your

Meeting fantastic people and knowing that what motivates them is so
pure—for the love of families, to protect and care for them.
There’s nothing more inspiring on earth.

Dave: What’s next?

Dustin: I traveled for work 16 out of 31 days in March—to Texas,
New York, Florida and beyond. So while I’m resting up the next
few months in the Family Pride office, I’ll be revising the
OUTSpoken toolkit—a major feat in itself. We’re always invested
in making our tools and resources better for the people who use
them. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback in the first year and a half
of OUTSpoken. I’m geared up to put that feedback to work!