Kavin Haldo is an advocate.
The High School North junior, a queer non-binary person, uses his voice to speak up on behalf of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. Now, he’s doing that on a larger scale.
Last year, Haldo launched “Queerocracy: the Politics of Being Queer,” a podcast that works to examine the intersection of politics and the queer community through local, national and international analysis.
It’s the perfect combination of Haldo’s interests, he said. He hopes to attend law school in the future and is passionate about public policy—anything to make the “world a better place,” he said.
“The podcast was started because I personally am a very big advocate for equality,” he said. “I’m involved in a lot of different activities—Black Lives Matter, advocacy for people of color. Me being a queer individual living in a town that is not very accepting is very difficult, and I thought that by starting this podcast and being open about my sexuality, it would get more folks in the LGBTQ+ community here, and in others that aren’t very accepting, to come out and talk about their experiences.”
Haldo has a list of topics that he feels are especially prominent, like pieces of legislation. He runs episode ideas by a friend, and the two of them decide on what they think would make for a good interview.
“I’m targeting that bridge between politics and sexuality,” he said. “We’ll reach out to people to interview for the podcast. If an interview doesn’t happen, I’ll do a lot of background research to find statistics and details to talk about. A lot of hard work and heart goes into the podcast.
So far on this season of Queerocracy, Haldo has done episodes on Supreme Court justice Amy Coney Barrett’s LGBTQ+ record, gender dysphoria and being non-binary, coming out, legislation and Black Lives Matter. He hopes to continue in the same vein for the second season.
The episode on Black Lives Matter is one of her favorites, he said.
“I interviewed Liz, a graduate of my school,” he said. “We talked about Black Lives Matter and the connections between that movement and Stonewall. It was interesting talking to someone who is African American and part of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Haldo said some teachers have reached out to him about the podcast—they had heard about it through some of their peers and were interested in Haldo’s work. He’s also been in touch with HiTOPS Princeton, an organization that aims to provide inclusive and youth-informed sex education and LGBTQ+ support for young people throughout the state.
That partnership, Haldo said, is especially meaningful.
“It made me feel amazing,” he said. “That’s my local LGBTQ+ organization. It’s great to talk to other individuals who are like me. It helped me realize that I am normal, and that everyone around me has their own differences. HiTOPS has a bunch of youth groups, and I’m a part of some of those. They’re very interesting, too.”
And that’s part of what Haldo hopes to foster with the podcast.
“The main goal behind Queerocracy is to bridge the divide between LGBTQ+ youth and the political realm,” he said. “Our community is being more open in the present day, and I think it’s important that we shift from hiding to talking about our beliefs. A lot of what I talk about on the podcast affects LGBTQ+ youth and connects to politics. I want us to recognize the problems affecting our communities and start addressing them as we get older.”
Some of Haldo’s inspiration comes from other queer media, like Queerology, a podcast that unpacks bias in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I feel like it’s important to recognize that even within such a broad minority group like this, there are aspects of racism within it, which is just really toxic.”
Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay public official elected to office, is another figure he admires.
“As someone who aspires to explore the law and political world as a career in the future, his story sticks to my mind,” he said.
He’s also inspired by queer fiction and nonfiction, like Am I Blue? Coming Out From the Silence, a collection of short stories for young adults with different connections to the LGBTQ+ community.
One of his biggest inspirations, though, is Marsha P. Johnson, a prominent gay liberation activist and drag queen who played a massive role in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.
“Being a person of color and in the LGBTQ+ community, it was definitely comforting to know that Stonewall was brought to life with the help of someone like me,” Haldo said.
Haldo has a few dream guests—Ellen DeGeneres, Troye Sivan, Halsey. He’s especially interested in figures who have been out throughout the course of their careers.
For now, though, his focus is local.
“In terms of our community, we really need to be more accepting, but also more open to talking about other minority groups,” he said. “That’s something I’m trying to unpack here. Roundtable discussions about different beliefs are important, and we should all be open to hearing different ideas.”