Monday, November 28, 2016

Transgender Day of Remembrance Draws 200

Event Honors 26 U.S. Victims of Anti-Transgender Hate Crimes


Copyright © 2016 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

Nicolette Ybarra and Connor Maddocks

Nicolette (right) with Jolene (left) and Dee (center)

Marchers near the Pride Flag

Sierra Bush

On Thursday, November 17 I went to the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center for the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. I’ve been to these events before and found them profound and moving, even though at the start of the last one I told one person there I looked forward to the day when we don’t have to have them anymore. For the Transgender Day of Remembrance is just what its name implies: a memorial ceremony in which the victims of anti-Trans violence in the United States and elsewhere in the world are honored and acknowledged.
The event was advertised as lasting from 6 to 9 p.m., but it began with an assembly outside the Center and a march through the heart of Hillcrest, with people bearing candles to honor the Transgender victims of hate crimes. One woman who saw the march later joined it, followed it into the Center and became one of the volunteers who read the names of victims. She called the event “awesome” and told the audience at the program, which started at 7 p.m. in the Center’s big hall, that she had been moved to join in and read a name.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1998 by Gwendolyn Anne Smith to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a Transwoman who was killed that year. It has grown into an elaborate commemoration put on in various cities across the U.S. and elsewhere. The names of the victims, along with whatever is known about them — their ages, where and how they were killed, and some personal information to put a face on each one — are posted to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD) Web site at, and groups in various cities download this information and use it as the basis for their own event.
This year the official GLAAD site listed 15 U.S. victims of Trans-related murders, though as more information came in about additional incidents the list was expanded to include 26 names. Unlike in previous years, the 2016 San Diego Transgender Day of Remembrance included only Trans people killed in the United States, though the organizers were well aware of incidents in other countries. Indeed, though the GLAAD list contained just one victim from Mexico, the San Diego organizers knew of at least 10 and decided to honor them by having two featured speakers from the Trans community in Tijuana.
“In Mexico, the country of my parents and my grandparents, the country with whom many of us have a connection either to its people or its culture, the country right next door, there has been since September of this year a wave of Transphobic hate crimes, with many of these actually leading to murder against persons of our community, the Transgender community,” said activist Nicolette Ybarra. “And I say our community, because regardless of this or that border, we are to be found everywhere. For we are truly a worldwide community, and the welfare of our Trans brothers and sisters over there, as well as elsewhere, is also of concern to many of us here.”
According to Ybarra, at least 10 Trans people were killed in Mexico in the 2 ½ months preceding the event, even though the GLAAD Web site listed just one Mexican victim for all of 2016. She said that would be proportionate to 30 Trans murders in the U.S., a country with three times Mexico’s population.
Ybarra compared her status as Transgender with her activism in the U.S. and Mexico, and said that in both she crosses arbitrary “border” lines. “I have always had a relationship with the border,” she explained. “Or, rather, with many borders. With the border between male and female; with the border between just simply ‘infected’ with HIV and actually living with the disease and the stigma; the border between Spanish and English; and of course, in geographical terms, the border between the United States and Mexico.
“My position relative to the border has varied over the years,” she added.” Sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, and sometimes on both, it would seem, concurrently. Now I’m sure this sounds complex, but I’m also sure that this is something that we as Trans folks can more readily understand, because it is within our own individual journeys as we transition, we face and deal with multiple issues, often all at the same time. These different states of being along the journey of my life have led me to become aware of and concerned with various communities and issues, in particular that of the Transgender community, both here and also beyond the border.”
This year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance was also held under the long shadow of Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the U.S. Presidential election just nine days before. In a November 15 column in the British newspaper The Guardian (, Jacqueline Rose wrote that, among other things, Trump’s supporters boldly asserted an old-fashioned definition of masculinity that regarded Trump’s insults towards women, and his claim that he could sexually assault them with impunity, as sources of pride, not shame. Trump, Rose wrote, “tapped into the deepest, most disturbing strata of the human mind. And men, as well as women, will be the casualties.”
A New York Times Web post on Rose’s article ( quoted a specifically anti-Trans tweet by Joe Walsh, a former Congressmember from Illinois and now a Right-wing talk radio host. “If you want a country with 63 different genders, vote Hillary,” Walsh tweeted on November 6, two days before the election. “If you want a country where men are men and women are women, vote Trump.”
Many members of the audience at the Transgender Day of Remembrance expressed fear of what a Trump Presidency could do to the status of Trans people in the U.S. But there was also a spirit of defiance, as if they were there to show the nation and the world that even the election of a President based on openly racist, sexist, homophobic and Transphobic appeals would not deter them from speaking out and saying that Trans lives matter.
Connor Maddocks, Center staff member and a key organizer of the event, used the threat of Trump’s presidency to call for unity within the Queer community. “With this election that we’ve just had, with the way things are going in our world, more than ever we all need to be together and work together,” he said. “And we need to stop tearing each other apart within our community. We have got to stop putting each other down and tearing each other apart and saying things about each other on Facebook that are not nice. How can we expect the rest of the world to stand with us and respect us if we don’t do it in our own community?”
The highlight of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, as usual, was the solemn ceremony of the reading of the names of the victims. Each name was followed by the lighting of a candle and the sounding of a bell. The people reading the names were asked to do so in the first person, as if they themselves were the victims. They eloquently turned the bare facts listed on the cards with the information about each victim into moving human stories, emphasizing the tragedy that prejudice and hatred had snuffed out these lives too soon.
At least four of the information cards indicated that the victims had been “misgendered” — meaning that media reports had referred to them by their birth sex rather than the gender they preferred or were presenting as when they were killed. Nicolette Ybarra had mentioned this in her speech as well. “In the reports of some major media outlets,” she said, “when a Transwoman is murdered, she is labeled as a man; or, more salaciously, as ‘a man in a dress.’ In death, as in life, she is still a man in the eyes of many. And in addition to this Transphobic attitude about our existence, our sexuality, and our identity, the fact is that there is no trustworthy central database to keep track of Transphobic and homophobic hate crimes, which can feed into our being mischaracterized, misunderstood and mistreated, in life as well as in death.”
The name I was given to read was that of Sierra Bush, a.k.a. Simon Bush, from Boise County, Idaho. The card I was given gave their age at 18 and said they were “gender non-conforming” (which is why I’m referring to Sierra with the plural pronoun), though a report on their memorial service I later found online ( gave their name as Sierra and identified them as “she.” Sierra’s body was found near Idaho City, Idaho on October 22, 2016, though they had been missing for over a month. Sierra’s parents told police they thought Sierra had been kidnapped.
The online report on Sierra Bush’s death, written by Alexia Fernandez and published October 28, contained a comment from Boise Police Sergeant Justin Kendall. “Sierra’s disappearance  has been suspicious from the beginning and this is a tragic discovery for everyone who knows her,”  Kendall said in his statement. “Every missing person’s case is initially investigated as being suspicious, and Sierra was not the type to disappear without telling anyone. For weeks, our detectives have been following up on leads and our investigation is ongoing.”
The story also filled out more details on Sierra Bush’s life than I had been given in the card from which I read. It said that they were a freshman student at Boise State University, studying engineering in the Honors College and participating in a wide range of school activities. Sierra’s memorial at the Boise State campus was so well attended, Fernandez wrote, that the organizers had to bring in extra chairs to accommodate the large crowd. The story also contained quotes from Sierra’s friends that fleshed out their portrait and showed how inspirational they had been.

“One of my favorite quotes from her is, ‘If I can be as weird as I am, you can be as you as you are,’” Sierra’s friend Samantha McGraw told local TV news station KTVB. McGraw said she and Sierra’s other friends are committed to carrying on her legacy, which McGraw described as “loving yourself, being what you want to be and not letting anybody stand in the way of your dreams.”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Make Pride a Membership Organization

by Mark Gabrish Conlan

Originally presented at the community meeting November 13, 2016 at the Joyce Beers Community Center to discuss the future of San Diego’s Pride events and the apparently arbitrary and cause-less firing of Pride’s executive director by the current board.

I’ve been part of San Diego’s Queer (a term I use inclusively because I can’t stand the initials “LGBTQ” or whatever they are this week) community for an awfully long time, ever since I came out definitively as a cisgender Gay man in 1982. I have been part of every Pride event since 1983 and briefly served on one of the Pride boards in the 1980’s.
During that time I’ve seen repeated meltdowns in the administration of Pride. There were at least two in the 1980’s and there have been others since. Pride will always be a source of contention because it is the biggest public event our community puts on, the event that most strongly and vividly defines us to the broader community.
And the various Pride organizations that have come and gone in San Diego have not helped their cause by running themselves more like private for-profit corporations than community organizations. Over and over again we’ve seen Pride secretly — and legally — taken over by people unknown to the bulk of the Queer community and its activists, people most of us in the community have never even heard of until they screw up and their screw-ups hit the media.
The current administrative model for Pride — a nonprofit corporation with a self-perpetuating board of directors — makes it all too easy for disastrous administrative mistakes to happen and to get covered up. It is that model, not any specific board or staff members, that needs to change. To that end, I propose:

Make Pride a membership organization. Pride should be reorganized so that individuals can become members by paying dues and/or contributing volunteer time to the events, and it will be the members — not the board — that elects the board annually. This creates a constituency to which the board members would have to answer instead of secretly and unaccountably doing whatever they want with the organization.
Hold Pride’s annual meeting after the events. The annual meeting of Pride’s members would take place in August (or, if the Pride events are rescheduled, about one month after they take place). At that meeting all parties involved — Pride board, staff, members and the community at large — would have a chance to discuss that year’s events, both what went well and what didn’t, and then the membership would elect the Pride board for next year.
The Pride board. All Pride board members would serve a one-year term; they could run for re-election, though the Pride bylaws could include a limit on how many consecutive terms one individual could serve. The bylaws should be crafted to ensure that all segments of our community — Lesbians, Gay men, Bisexuals, Transgender people and non-Queer allies — are represented fairly.
Pride should be run openly and transparently. Though California law no longer requires private nonprofit corporations to run under the same openness rules as governmental bodies, it should still be a good idea. All Pride board meetings should be open to the public except when they discuss personnel issues or pending litigation, and the agendas should begin with public-commentary periods in which any individual can address the board.

Afterthoughts: Some issues were raised at the November 13 meeting which need to be considered seriously if this proposal is implemented, among them ensuring representation for communities of color on future Pride boards, making membership affordable for people with limited income (either by allowing them to join at a lower rate or having their volunteer hours counted in lieu of a dues payment), and cultivating a culture of mutual respect among the individuals working on and for Pride.
A membership organization structure for Pride will not solve all its problems. The new bylaws that make the change will have to be very carefully crafted to avoid the possibility of a certain group “packing” the membership and staging a hostile takeover. But many of the people involved in Pride have had experience in membership organizations, from the San Diego Democrats for Equality to the American Civil Liberties Union, and can use that experience to craft bylaws that can ensure organizational democracy and control the potential to abuse a membership structure.
The point isn’t that converting the Pride corporation from a self-perpetuating board to a membership structure will solve all its problems overnight. What it will do is end this abominable Catch-22 the community members who are concerned about Pride’s current direction find themselves in, in which they have absolutely no recourse against the existing board except to boycott the events altogether, which would threaten their very existence. The first thing we need to go forward with a positive future for Pride is a way to hold the board accountable. A membership structure is a well-established, well-proven way of doing just that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

James Comey’s Dirty Tricks


Copyright © 2016 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since 2013, really, really, really doesn’t want Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the next President of the United States. And he’s going to use all the powers of his office to prevent it.
That’s the inescapable conclusion from the events of the last four days, ever since Comey released a letter he wrote to the Republicans in Congress in charge of the committees that oversee his agency saying there were “new developments” in the investigation of Clinton for allegedly jeopardizing national security by using a private server to handle her e-mails during her term as U.S. Secretary of State. The “new developments” were that the FBI had seized a laptop computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Huma Abedin, a Clinton adviser so personally close to her she’s been referred to as “Hillary’s other daughter.”
Just about everybody who’s heard of Anthony Weiner (whose last name would usually be pronounced “Whiner,” but given what he’s most famous for “Wiener” has become irresistible to TV reporters) knows that he lost his seat in the U.S. Congress and was forced from political life in disgrace over inappropriate text messages he sent women, including women he barely knew. The FBI got involved in Weiner’s case because one of his alleged “sexting” targets was a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. So they sought a court order to seize his laptop, and when they got it they found a number of messages from or to Abedin as well.
On October 28 Comey sent his letter and publicly released its contents. His letter didn’t say, or even hint at, what was in Abedin’s e-mails because he didn’t know, and neither did anyone else at the FBI. Comey didn’t obtain the necessary court order to read them until October 30. There’s still no evidence that any of the e-mails on the Weiner/Abedin laptop were sent either by or to Hillary Clinton, and it’s not known how many of them are “duplicates” of e-mails the FBI already has because Clinton turned them over last year in response to a subpoena.
In short, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, “there is no ‘there’ there” — and there won’t be without months of further investigation to determine whether there’s anything new relating to Clinton on Abedin’s hard drive, whether any of it contains classified information, and whether any of it warrants reversing Comey’s original judgment last July that, though Clinton and her staff had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information, there wasn’t enough evidence to charge her with a crime.
Ordinarily, neither the FBI nor any other law enforcement agency would release this kind of information against a candidate for public office less than two weeks before an election. As New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer wrote on the magazine’s Web site October 29 ( “Comey’s decision is a striking break with the policies of the Department of Justice, according to current and former federal legal officials. Comey, who is a Republican appointee of President Obama, has a reputation for integrity and independence, but his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections.”
At first a lot of Washington commentators were willing to give Comey the benefit of the doubt and assume that he had just made a horrendous mistake. Then more information turned up. It seems that Comey had declined to answer questions about whether the FBI was investigating possibly illegal connections between Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Clinton’s opponent Donald Trump, and the pro-Russian officials of Ukraine for whom Manafort used to work as a lobbyist. Comey had also refused to talk about whether the FBI was investigating allegations that Russia was behind the wholesale hacking and unauthorized release of the Democratic Party’s internal e-mails via WikiLeaks, which has led to several embarrassing stories about Clinton.
Why hadn’t Comey been willing to talk about these politically charged and sensitive allegations? Because, he said, he didn’t want to risk influencing the outcome of the election. But he had no compunction about embarrassing Clinton by writing a letter to Republican Congressmembers about the possibility that Anthony Weiner’s laptop just might contain e-mails that might bolster a criminal case against Hillary Clinton.
And Comey’s motives seemed even more questionable on November 1, when the Washington Post reported ( about a “surprise tweet from a little-used FBI account … announcing that the agency had published on its Web site 129 pages of internal documents related to a years-old investigation into former President Bill Clinton’s pardon of a fugitive Democratic donor.” The donor was Marc Rich, a well-heeled and well-connected Clinton supporter whose pardon was announced in the final days of Bill Clinton’s presidency in 2001.
“For the second time in five days, the FBI had moved exactly to the place the nation’s chief law enforcement agency usually strives to avoid: smack in the middle of partisan fighting over a national election, just days before the vote,” Post reporters Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Sari Horwitz wrote. “The publication of the files related to the Marc Rich pardon inquiry, which agency officials said was posted automatically in response to pending public records requests, came as the Clinton campaign and Democratic lawmakers continued to fume over FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision with less than two weeks before the election to announce that he was effectively resuming a review of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail practices.”
Though FBI spokespeople said the timing of the release of the Rich documents was purely coincidental — it was, they said, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and came through a Web site that had been down for months and was only recently fixed — it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that James Comey is willfully and consciously attempting to influence the outcome of the November 8 election and make it more likely that Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton, will be the next President.
It’s not a new thing for the FBI director to try to influence a Presidential election. As historian Jeff Kisselhoff reported on the Web site of The Nation October 31 (, J. Edgar Hoover routinely manipulated the system to keep Presidents and Attorneys General beholden to him so he could keep his job for 48 years, from his initial appointment in 1924 to his death in 1972.
But even Hoover never interfered with a Presidential election so blatantly and publicly as Comey has this year. Hoover preferred to work in the shadows, assigning FBI agents to dig up derogatory information on Presidential candidates and anyone they might appoint as Attorney General so he could essentially blackmail them into letting him keep his job. “He’s got a file on everybody,” then-President Richard Nixon famously complained about Hoover on one of the White House tapes. Hoover was too street-smart and too good a bureaucratic infighter to risk pissing off a potential President by going public with derogatory information or unfounded allegations against them. But Comey has.
Comey’s actions just show how deep-seated the hatred of Hillary Clinton is in virtually all sectors of the Republican Party. Another Nation reporter, Joan Walsh, posted an article to the Nation site October 31 ( alleged that Jason Chaffetz, head of the House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee, may have had a behind-the-scenes role in Comey’s decision to go public with the latest development in the Clinton investigation.
“Two days before Comey released his letter,” Walsh wrote, “Chaffetz was boasting about the treasure trove of Clinton documents he already controlled and promising more investigations after the election, telling The Washington Post’s David Weigel: ‘Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.’ That same day, Chaffetz reversed his decision not to vote for Donald Trump.” Walsh said that when Comey made his announcement last July that he wouldn’t recommend Clinton’s prosecution, Chaffetz “hauled him before Congress … to interrogate him about his failure to recommend charges against Clinton and even managed to get the FBI director to hand over his team’s investigative files, including notes from the bureau’s interview with Clinton herself.”
The Post article exposing the FBI’s release of the Rich documents also noted that another powerful Republican Congressmember, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina), is just waiting to get his hands on more derogatory information about Clinton so he can continue to investigate her. Gowdy led the multiple investigations into Clinton’s alleged role in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya in 2011, which turned up absolutely nothing incriminating but have become such a talking point among Republicans that at this year’s GOP convention, the widow of one of the four U.S. officials killed in the attack said, “Hillary Clinton, how could you do this to my husband?” If you didn’t know the story you could have been forgiven for thinking Clinton had shot her husband personally.

Trump Surges Ahead in Latest Poll

The allegations against Clinton and the public splash with which Comey released his intention to investigate them further have had exactly the effect Comey seems to have wanted. On November 1 the Washington Post and ABC News released a new national poll that showed the race essentially dead even — Trump at 46 percent, Clinton at 45 — just 10 days after the same poll showed Clinton with a 12-point lead.
Comey’s action, as New York Daily News reporters Meg Wagner and Cameron Joseph acknowledged (, “hasn’t fully been accounted for in recent polling, as it takes people a few days to digest news and polling is a lagging indicator of how voters are feeling. But it came at the end of one of the rougher weeks for Clinton in months, with news of Obamacare rate spikes, new questions from WikiLeaks-released hacked e-mails of her top campaign staffer about how the Clinton Foundation operated all dogging her campaign.”
The news wasn’t all bad for Clinton, since even if she’s falling behind in the national poll she’s still leading in a number of the key “swing states” that, according to our creaky system for electing our national leader, could determine the outcome. The name of the game is the Electoral College, whose votes are allocated on a state-by-state basis, and it still remains entirely possible that Trump could win the popular vote but Clinton could win enough states to gain the needed Electoral College majority of 270 votes or more. (It could also happen the other way, too; election guru Nate Silver of the Web site says it’s actually more likely that Clinton could win the popular vote and Trump could win the election:
But an election in which Trump wins the popular vote but Clinton becomes President would be almost as dangerous for the future of American democracy than one Trump wins outright. The reason: unlike the last Presidential candidate who won the popular vote but lost the election, Al Gore, Donald Trump is not about to go gentle into that good night. He’ll offer the split result as proof that the election was rigged, as he’s said all along it would be — and he’ll have a point. There’s no doubt that a defeated Donald Trump will see it as his bounden duty to keep faith with his supporters and use all his considerable influence to make sure that, though Hillary Clinton may become President, she won’t be able to accomplish anything.
And he’ll have powerful allies in that: virtually the entire Republican delegation in both houses of Congress. As David Atkins reported on the American Prospect Web site October 25 (, “House Republicans long ago made clear that, should Hillary Clinton win the Oval Office, she would not enjoy the “honeymoon” period that Congress traditionally offers incoming presidents. If anything, GOP lawmakers seem determined to create a more hostile environment for a new administration than any in recent memory. … Given the anti-Clinton acrimony that Donald Trump has ginned up among increasingly extremist GOP base voters, coupled with his unsubstantiated claims of a ‘rigged’ election, Clinton will likely be welcomed to Washington with calls for her impeachment or even imprisonment.”
If the 2016 election ends with Republicans keeping control of both the House and the Senate, Clinton will not only be unlikely to get any major legislation through Congress — like President Obama, she’ll have her hands full just keeping the government up and running — she’ll also be unlikely to get major appointments approved, especially to the U.S. Supreme Court. Congressional Republicans already have pulled off an unprecedented coup in denying President Obama’s choice to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, Merrick Garland, even a hearing before the Senate. The Constitution says that the Senate shall “advise and consent” to Supreme Court appointments, but historically that’s meant either “advise and consent” or “advise and not consent” — not “don’t advise, and thereby keep the Court short-handed.”
A number of Republican Senators — John McCain of Arizona, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — have gone beyond the argument Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell used to justify not holding hearings on Garland, which was that the next President should be allowed to pick Scalia’s replacement. They’ve said they will not allow a confirmation vote on any Clinton nominee, essentially saying that they want the next Republican President to appoint the next Supreme Court justices. Whether the next Republican President takes office in 2017, 2021 or some time in the near or distant future, Republican Senators are content to wait to avoid “flipping” the Court from the 5-4 Right-wing majority it had when Scalia was alive to the 5-4 progressive majority that might result from an Obama or Clinton appointment.
The increasingly hard line Republican Senators are taking against any Democratic president making appointments to the Supreme Court is ironic when you realize Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both appointed relatively moderate justices. The most recent Republican Presidents, Ronald Reagan and both Bushes, mostly appointed hard-core reactionaries like Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. There were partial exceptions: after the Senate voted down Right-wing extremist Robert Bork, Reagan appointed Anthony Kennedy, who’s mostly been a hard-line Right-winger — he wrote the loathsome Citizens United decision — but went off the reservation on two major issues, juvenile justice and Queer rights. And the first Bush appointed David Souter, a moderate who significantly disappointed the Republican base.
One thing the Comey announcements make more likely is that Republican House members may vote to impeach Hillary Clinton and remove her from the Presidency in her first few days in office. The fervor with which delegates to the Republican convention chanted “Lock her up!” just about every time Clinton’s name was mentioned — a cry Trump has stoked in his general-election rallies — Trump’s promise to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and bring charges against her, and his snippy comment to her during one of the debates that if he gets elected “you’ll be in jail,” all indicate a desire for legalistic vengeance that, as a number of commentators have noted, seems to belong more to a banana republic or a long-term dictatorship than a country that prides itself on 240 years of being a representative republic.

“She won’t get impeached, but I can see a lot of pressure to appoint a special prosecutor for several matters half the country feels have gone unaddressed,” Ali Akbar, editorial director of the Right-wing Web site, told Atkins in his American Prospect article. Though Clinton’s impeachment and removal from office would still leave a Democrat in the White House, Atkins wrote, “Fueling GOP pro-impeachment sentiment is that many Republicans see potential Vice-President Tim Kaine preferable to Clinton, whom they revile. In Akbar’s words, ‘we would see the devil better for the country than Hillary Clinton. Tim Kaine would be a huge relief.’”