Partner Highlight: Izzy Milch (Forward Montana)

Pride Month is here and we couldn’t be more excited to highlight Izzy Milch from Forward Montana – an incredible advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in Montana and throughout the country. As a former SLSV Advisory Board member, we’ve seen first hand the passion and hard work they put in to pursue a more equitable and accessible democracy for all. Izzy caught up with us on everything from what inspires them to do this work to the different types of veggies they’re growing in their garden!

What’s your favorite part of your job? The most challenging?

My favorite part of my job is absolutely the opportunities it’s given me to connect with queer and trans youth across Montana. There’s nothing quite like interacting with a kid and watching it click for them, often for the first time, that they can have a future here– that trans people can live happy, fulfilling lives in our state. The most challenging part is that those in power in Montana don’t understand that magic, and are doing their best to create a future where queer and trans youth don’t have a safe home here.

What are some of your personal inspirations? It can be a person, an organization, an idea, a mantra etc.

I’m inspired by the young people in Montana who wake up every day and refuse to be anything but exactly who they are. I’m inspired by elected officials who refuse to engage with a political system that attacks the humanity of trans youth. It’s also, of course, pretty much impossible to do this work in Montana and not be inspired by some of my state’s representatives who are working every day to change the way we talk about trans people in this state. Finally, I’m inspired by nature; the way all living things are constantly changing, growing, and adapting to the world around them.

Have you read any books lately? What are you doing when you’re not working?

Lately, I’ve been recovering from the legislative session by spending all my spare time in my garden. I’m growing all kinds of things– beans, radishes, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, and so much more– and it brings me an unbelievable amount of joy to see their progress every day! If I’m not in the garden, I’m probably watching reality TV (queer season of the Ultimatum is BONKERS!).

Have you read any books lately? What are you doing when you’re not working?

I started reading an amazing book called “Permission to Come Home” by Dr. Jenny T. Wang that connects the AAPI community and mental health in a way that has never been seen before. Above all, she offers permission to return closer to home, a place of acceptance, belonging, healing, and freedom.

Finish this sentence: In a perfect democracy…

every person’s voice is heard, respected, and reflected in the policies that affect their lives.

The SLSV Coalition is the national hub and largest nonpartisan network in the United States dedicated to increasing college student voter participation. The Coalition convenes and connects partners, campuses, and students with each other and with resources and programming towards achieving a vision of ensuring that every student has easy and equal access to participate in every election. They use data, relationships, celebration, and easy-to-follow planning structures, to help campus and local leaders register and turnout more student voters every year. The SLSV Coalition is a project of NEO Philanthropy. NEO Philanthropy is strictly nonpartisan, and does not support or oppose any candidate or party.