Amanda Gavcovich: Let’s start with some background – where were you born, what was your family like, and where did you go to school?
Riley Horan: I was born in Sarasota, Florida and lived there my entire life with my mom, dad, and brother. Sarasota is a very old retirement community that is home to the number one beach in the continental U.S. and is now, to the dismay of locals, the location of MTV’s newest reality show, “Siesta Key.” I attended a very small, very nerdy school from third through twelfth grade and after my graduation in 2013 moved five hours away to Tallahassee, Florida to complete my undergraduate studies at Florida State University.
AG: What brought you into the fold of politics and activism?
RH: As a first-year student at Florida State University I was a biology major because I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. After a few fun science classes, I realized I was very wrong and in fact loathed hard sciences. I switched my major to psychology while simultaneously becoming more involved in campus activism. I quickly discovered my interest in politics and activism and began focusing my internships in women’s issues. The summer going into my senior year I took the LSAT and accepted an internship at Feminist Majority and spent it working in communications.
AG: Why do you see your work as an archivist as important?
RH: While I don’t believe that my work as an archivist made a huge impact, I did gain a whole lot of respect for the people who do it for a living. Especially in this current political climate, understanding and admitting to our past will help us prevent future errors. For example, history tells us maybe we shouldn’t start another cold war.
AG: What is your vision for the feminist movement, going forward? What do you want to see organizations like FM doing or doing better?
RH: In the future, I hope to see the movement and the organizations that make up the movement center the voices and leadership of queer and trans women of color. The work that the movement has done thus far has been phenomenal, and by centering the voices of those most vulnerable we can ensure that everyone finds justice and equality, not just those most privileged.
AG: Do you have any memorable or significant wins and losses from your work in the feminist movement, especially considering the current political climate?
RH: When I was an intern during the summer of 2015 we worked through Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision. I remember standing at the steps of the Supreme Court holding signs, sweating, and waiting for the final decision. When the final decision was announced we laughed danced and cried our way back to Arlington. While I was a staff member, there was nothing more rewarding than watching the final death of Trumpcare. We had spent so much time attending rallies, sending emails, making phone calls, and learning congressional procedure and to see it pay off showed what the resistance is truly capable of.
AG: What’s the next step in your work for the feminist movement or activist community?
RH: I’m in law school! I’m studying at American University Washington College of Law with a focus in gender and LGBT discrimination as well as government and election law. I hope to remain engaged in grassroots action throughout my schooling and once I receive my JD I plan on working on a 2020 campaign to get progressive women in office, specifically progressive women whose names rhyme with Shmamala Shmarris. After 2020, I hope to work on legal teams for reproductive health, rights, and justice non-profits.