Q: Tell me about growing up in Utah, the Provo Valley and your conncection with the Mormon culture.
A: Okay, well I definitely was consumed by Mormon culture growing up here. All of my friends were Mormons. In this very neighborhood there were about nine girls my age, who we all grew up together, went to church together, and went to school together. So, I always felt like there was a strong sense of community and support. Both with neighbors and within my own family. We went to church every Sunday, we did things at church, did things during the week, lots of activities. And I remember thinking, wondering what it was like for people who weren't Mormon. Like what their lives were like. You really don't know until you move away and meeting different people. I'v always done what everybody else did. I went to school. I went to church and I was happy here. I definitely felt as though there were always people who loved me and cared about me, and were supportive of me. That was always really nice to have.
Q: Sounds like it was a pretty happy upbringing.
A: Yeah, it was. It was definitely.
Q: Before you came out did you struggle at all with your sexual identity?
A: I don't think I was aware enough, while I was here or before my brother came out, of what was going on with me. I actually had moments after my brother came out, where my Dad would even say to me, "Now, do you think you might be,lesbian?" and I'd say no, no, no. I was sure that I wan't. I think I had to move away and be out of this space in order to let myself even think about it or discover it. So, you know, I can always think back and say, that makes a lot of sense. In retrospect, it seems like I should've known. But I certainly didn't feel very aware of my sexuality as a kid, not until I went to college.
Q: Explain a little bit, where you liked to go and who you like to hang out with.
A:Well, gosh I don't know, it's hard to explain. I mean, I definitely felt somewhat different from my friends as a kid. Especially as we got older: in middle school, and high school. The other girls were a lot more into make-up and boys, whereas I was more into studying and playing tennis.
We just had different interest that I didn't you know at the time registered to my sexuality. But thinking back, it makes sense. That is, we were doing different things and wanting to do different things. But, I didn't attribute that to sexuality at all.
Q: So, you weren't really interested in boys?
A: Well, I was to some degree but not as much as my other friends. I had a boyfriend in high school, and I went to BYU for a year and was dating him them. And it was as much an interest of mine as my other friends.
And throughout high school I had wanted to go away to college. That was something I wanted to do that was different from my friends, who, at least most of them planned on going to BYU and staying here. So, that was a big difference. I don't know what the cause of that was. But I think part of it was knowing that I needed to get away to figure things out. And to find, you know, my interests and what I wanted to do.
Q: So, I'm curious. Will people say "Oh, you were influenced by the fact that your brother came out" along with the fact that your Dad and Mom took a high profile and became activists around your brother's coming out. Can you comment on that. Did that make a difference?
A: It's hard to say. I definitely get asked that a lot. You know people say to me, "Do you think you would have come out if Craig hadn't?" You know, if your brother hadn't come out first." And I honestly don't think I know the answer. Because it was important in a lot of ways. Because when Craig came out, I started questioning a lot of things about Mormonism and about living in Utah. And it was in a big way part of the reason that I felt like I wanted to leave. I had sort of decided that I was going to stay.
You know, there were some people who were very supportive and understanding. And that was really important because I don't think I would have been ready to come out. You know, I don't know if that meant I would never have come out. And part of me thinks that maybe, that would have happened. There are a lot of gay Mormons who don't ever come out or they come out after they've been married and sort of have gone through what Mormons do, you know as far as going to school, getting married, having a family. It's ten years down the line that they start to realize that something not clicking.
So, I mean that could've happen to me I think sometimes if Craig hadn't come out first. And if I hadn't sensed the support that I would get. So, it's a hard question to answer because in a way, yeah maybe I was influenced by that and it did lay some important ground work for me so I was able to come out. But I don't think it made me lesbian. You know, my being lesbian is something that I feel is a real true part of me. That no one else can control.
Q: That would be my next question. There are those people who believe that homosexuality is not biological and that it is a choice. They would say, Oh, she was influenced.
A: Right. Well, I think there are, there's a constant debate about whether sexuality is biological or it's your environment or it's a choice. While I think it's not clear cut, I do think there's definitely a mixture of biology and environment going on.
And certainly there are important choices that have to be made as far as what you're going to do about it. You know, you can you could say it's biological and some people don't ever choose to accept it. That's how I see it. I think that it's something that's deeper in me that's a part of who I am, but there were important choices as far as what I was going to do with those feelings. You know, am I going to accept this or not?. And those choices become really critical, in so far as how you decide to live your life and what you're going to do with these feelings you're experiencing. And I think that can always be viewed by others as choices rather than something that's really a part of you. But, I think there's a mix of both. That's important to understand.
Q: I spoke with some gentlemen from the LDS church, particularly one from the church Social Services. We discussed the Church's stance on homosexuality and what you're saying kind of brings up some of the things they said. Their point of view is yeah, it's a mixture, however it is as a moral decision. In other words, you may be born with certain tendencies, such as alcoholism, but its how you choose to live your life, what you choose to do with what you're born with. What's your comment about that?
A: Well, I think that the way you choose your life is always a moral decision. And choosing to come out and to be comfortable with that is the right moral decision to me because it's being honest with myself and with other people. And it's not trying to hide an essential part of me. I feel like it would be immoral to do that, because it would be denying important feelings that I have and lying to important people in my life. And it would force me to try to live a life that doesn't make sense for who I am. You know, that doesn't feel right or bring the same kind of happiness that I can have if I'm honest and open.
So, it definitely can be viewed as a as a moral choice and you certainly get into all that when you try to differentiate between what it mean to be a sexual lesbian and an asexual lesbian? There are all kinds of questions that come up around that, and I feel like the church sometimes even says, It's okay to be gay as long as you don't have sex. And as long as you don't talk about it. As long as you wish you weren't. I feel like sometimes even Mormons who are somewhat sympathetic, a lot of times it's talked about like, we'll accept you as a lesbian because we know you can't help it. And, you know, we know that if you could change you would. You know, there's and a lot of people who make that argument who also make the biological argument.
I've sort of evolved more into an understanding of how that doesn't help people live happily. It's hard to explain. But living honestly and open it so important to your self-esteem, self-worth, and developing who you are. It just seems critical to be able to do that and part of that I think is being honest about your feelings and exploring them. And finding relationships that are valuable and important to you. And not being afraid of that.
Q: You spoke so fondly of your childhood growing up in the church, parents who loved you, feeling supported by community and family. Has it been difficult or hurtful for you to move away from the church?
A: It was really hard to leave. Especially, initially and it was very transitional for me. It came slowly. You know I left Provo and I went away to school and being away at school, a very liberal school, very different from BYU where I think there was one other Mormon on campus of about 1200 students, impacted me. I still went to church. You know, I found myself thinking that maybe it's different outside of Utah. Just because there is more interaction with people who aren't Mormon and who are different. Maybe Mormons outside of Utah will be different somehow, less judgmental, or maybe I'll feel more comfortable with them.
So, I went to church for about a year outside of Utah. And it was different to a degree but I still felt like I couldn't tell anybody about what was going on with my feelings or about what I was thinking. I wasn't comfortable criticizing anything; it was my second year at college and all these thoughts were buzzing around in my head. And thinking more critically about the church and the structure of the church and starting to see other problems in the church--all these things started happening and the thing that was scariest for me about leaving was that I worried that I wouldn't be able to find the support and the network that I received from the church. And I think I had to realize that I could find that in other ways, in other places before I felt comfortable enough to leave.
So, even after I stopped going to church for another year, my name was still on the records. I still almost felt like it was a back-up plan, that is if it doesn't work out, then it does make sense to go back to the church and get from it what I need. But, having the chance to be in other places, and to interact with non-Mormons allowed me to realize that these are good people too. And they have very different ideas and very different ways of living, but I can find a space here. And I can find support here.
Q: So, your decision to leave the church wasn't based just on your sexuality.
A: No, not at all. In fact, people ask me, "If the church came out with a proclamation, let's say, that same sex marriage is okay now." That wouldn't be enough for me to come back. I feel like being raised in the church left a lot of baggage in me--stuff that I wasn't aware of, like I learned to be afraid of different ideas and of people who were different from me.
And I was definitely taught not to question much, especially authority, which I've found since then is critical to development. It's questioning things continuously and looking for answers to questions on your own and not just getting them from somewhere else. And I think Mormonism, to some extent, teaches that people need to make their own decisions and seek out truth for themselves. But, there's such a rigid formula that tells us what we're expected to do and how we were expected to live.
As kids, I remember having lessons about marriage and going to the temple. It was a given that what we were to want is marriage and family and kids. You just become indoctrinated and you feel like, "Oh, this is what I have to do." It took me stepping outside of that to realize that there were other choices and other ways to do things that were different but equally valid. And important.
Q: You don't have to answer this if it's too personal but, do you still feel you have a belief in a higher power or in a God, or has that changed?
A: It's hard to say if I believe in God, largely because when I hear the word God what pops into my mind is the God I was always taught about. The white man with a long beard. That's not a God that I feel comfortable believing in anymore. This is largely because of what happened with me in the church, and feeling that the church doesn't necessarily practice what it preaches in a way. I felt that as a kid, I was always taught to love other people and to be respectful of other people, and I feel like the church in its doctrine and in its practices has so much that's exclusionary and hurtful. And sometimes this is very subtle messages concerning people who were different from me. That doesn't seem to match the doctrine and what I was taught to do.
And so, that makes it hard to think that the God that's the head of all of this is the one I want to believe in and follow. I definitely have been looking for other ways to have spirituality in my life. I have looked other churches a little bit.
I went to the Unitarian church when I lived in Louisiana, which I really liked because it was based on this principle it's okay to believe what you believe and to question things. And to always be looking for more information and more truth. That's something that I really appreciated, just that there was such a diversity of beliefs. And that was respected and valued rather than silenced or criticized. So, I'm still looking, I am always looking at how to have spirituality in my life. But, God I don't necessarily see anymore as a being. That's definitely been a big change.
Q: Were there any repercussions from the church? I've heard from people that try to rescind their membership that they feel an enormous amount of pressure and then that part of it is very different. Has there been any in your experience?
A: It was definitely a little scary. When I first decided, okay, I think I want to officially take my name off the church records. And I talked to my parents about it, and they put me into contact with Levian Fielding Anderson. We began communicating by e-mail since I was living in Louisiana at the time. She basically said to me, this is the best way to do it in order to avoid having to attend a church court. So, I basically wrote a letter explaining some of the reasons that I didn't want to be a part of the church anymore. And it's like what you said earlier. It wasn't just because I was a lesbian. I talked about about the sexism I saw in the church and some racism that I felt existed in the church. I mailed that in and got a letter back. It had a picture of Jesus, I remember, with his arms open, and a caption that read, "Come back" or something. And you know, to get that at first it was kind of jarring.
They also requested that I meet with a local bishop which I was not willing to do. I hadn't been to church at all in Louisiana. I didn't want to talk with a stranger about why I felt like I was leaving. I was pretty comfortable with the decision. It had taken me a long time to make the decision, and I had sort of gone back and forth for a while. So I just wrote back again and said I didn't want to do that and requested that my name be taken off.
And I got a letter back a few weeks later, saying that that had been done. So, it wasn't as difficult as it's been for a lot of people. And you know, there were only a few moments when I feared that that might happen. You know, my brother had to sit and talk about his life with strangers. And when I got the first letter asking if I would meet with a local leader, I thought, "Oh, I don't want to have to do what he had to do."
So I just sent another letter in, which I felt safe doing from Louisiana. I think that made a big difference, for if I had been here, there would have been neighbors and local leaders who I know who I grew up with. I would have felt a lot more pressure to not officially take my name off.
Q: What about your family? What impact has your coming out had on your family, your parents, the core of your family?
A: Well, I can't say that just my coming out has done it. I feel like our family has been through a major transformation. That started really after my brother was excommunicated. Not even when he first came out. Because when he first came out, we all knew, but we didn't talk about it. It was very hushed. And it sort of felt like this was the deep dark secret of the Watts family that we weren't going to tell anybody about. And for a couple of years that was the case. We didn't talk about it with each other.
It wasn't until my brother was excommunicated and suddenly there was some hurt and some pain that things started changing and we started talking more. And my parents started getting active. And finding other people to get support from after their system of support in the church sort of collapsed on them. They found friends and support in other ways; we all did that to some extent too. But I feel like as a family, it made us a lot more emotionally honest, because suddenly there was something hurtful and painful to talk about. Which has been really amazing for our family, for I feel we are much more willing to express love for each other now, than before.
I think we need each other more and only realized that when other systems of support fell down. And certainly my coming out changed things a little bit, but not much. I definitely came out feeling strongly that my family would be there for me and support me, which has been wonderful. It is something that not enough gay and lesbian people get, particularly in communities that are religious.
Q: When Craig was excommunicated, you were one of the first people he talked to. Your father read his journal passage. Tell me about the impact that call had on you.
A: It was horrible. Craig called and he was crying. I was in high school I think, and I asked him what was wrong, and he didn't want to tell me. He was worried about telling me. He wanted to talk to Mom or to Dad. And they were out of town. And he didn't realize that when he had called. But I knew, I felt this sense of dread like I can't let him hang up the phone, because I knew he was not okay.
And so, I just sort of waited and gave him time. He cried more, and I asked him what happened. And I can't even remember the exact words or how he explained it, but I definitely remember how hurt he was, you could just sense it in his voice. And he was so far away. And he felt so far away. He was in Japan, and I remember feeling so frustrated that there was that distance there.
So he called my parents and I don't even remember if I talked with them afterwards. I definitely remember them coming home and my Dad being so angry. And my Mom being so hurt. And that was when things started to change. And it was slow, you know it was still slow at first. But, we started to find ways to talk to other people and to talk about what had happened.
Q: So, to dig down and tell me what Craig told you on the telephone and the aftermath of that, how did you, yourself, feel?
A: I think more than anything, I felt angry but also really hurt. The one thing I do remember saying to him was that it wasn't fair. And I remember him saying something about how they can't take this away from me. I definitely felt afraid and scared that something could be taken from someone like that. And it seems like it had happened in such a brutal way, which made it even worse. And the fact that he was far away I felt like I wanted to be there and couldn't be.
And it also it made me so mad. Before this I had been a student at BYU actually I think when he called. And it was close to the famous September Six excommunication that happened, I don't remember the year, but when a couple of professors at BYU had been fired and people were getting excommunicated. And this happened right around the same time that Craig was. I remember just thinking that I have got to get out of here. Like, this is not okay what's going on. It was people who I respected, who seem to be getting cut down, which really made me scared and nervous about what that would mean for me. Because it was people who I respected and thought I wanted to be like.
In a way, you know
people at BYU and Craig have always been sort of a role model for me,
especially as far as school goes. He even helped me pick a college. He
helped do all these things, and seeing him hurt was really hard and really
Q: In his journal, Craig also wrote, and I'm paraphrasing here, that no one can tell him he's not a Mormon. You know, his ancestors were Mormon, and it's in every fiber of his self, part of his culture. No one can take it away. Do you feel the same way?
A: I feel
similar in that Mormonism will always be an important part of my history.
I definitely feel that being raised Mormon is something that is unique
outside of Utah. And people are always sort of intrigued by it. Whenever
I say I grew up in Utah, the next question is always, "Are you Mormon?"
I answer now, "I was raised Mormon."
Q: With all the current events happening in Utah, the gay clubs, Wendy Weaver etc., the people whom I talk to always bring it back to religion. The religion that is unique to Utah. What are the messages Mormons send out, and how do you see those affecting people's lives? That is, the Mormons' saying that it is just immoral, maybe not on the surface, but if you "choose" to live in a loving relationship as a homosexual--that's immoral. Also, a woman whom I interviewed the other day said, "It just strikes at the very fiber of the family. And it's against family values." She doesn't want her children hearing about it and so on. Messages against same sex marriages, against acting on sexual urges outside of marriage, it's a sin. And then there's the infamous "We love the sinner, but we hate the sin." So, how do you feel about this whole attitude?
A: I think Mormonism is so based on the family unit and on the traditional family; it seems to be the core of the religion, and the heart of it. And that is so rare, it's so unique to this country. I mean that once you leave Utah you don't find very many families that fit that traditional model anymore. You know, there are a lot of single parents, there a lot of alternative families, there are a lot of single people, and there are a lot of people who are living their lives differently.
And I think that because the Mormon church idealizes this unit and teaches as really that it's the only reasonable choice, the only way to get to the Celestial Kingdom. I remember, as a kid, feeling sorry for people who were single, those who hadn't met somebody. I thought, that it's not really fair that these people can't get up to the highest kingdom because they're not married.
I think that that approach can be really damaging in the way you interact with people who are living their lives differently and who are making different choices. And I think that Utah certainly becomes this microcosm where you don't see what else is out there. It's like what I was saying before, when I was here I sort of wondered how the rest of the world functioned and if the rest of the people out there were okay. And whether they were as happy as we were, because they don't have these ideas and this model. And I think that not having the chance to meet different people and hear different ideas can be really damaging. Having different experiences and seeing the different ways people live is wonderful and unique.
It all comes down to the fact that homosexuality is seen as so anti-family. It's seen that way by more than just Mormons. And it's a huge problem and a major misperception. There are so many gay and lesbian people who are in committed relationships and are responsible about their choices and about how they lead their lives. Many people think that we can be threatening and scary, but the fact is that we're not causing anybody any harm.
You know, there are a lot of amazing people doing good things for the world who are often written off. You know, to say that someone's immoral because of their sexuality seems pretty sad and ridiculous to me. And then there's always the love the sinner, hate the sin argument--the cross to bear argument. I admit that when my brother first came out, I was in the "cross to bear" camp. I knew that it was going to be hard for him, but he just needed to be celibate. He needed to make good choices, and then it would all be okay. It would hard, but it would be okay.
But since then, seeing what that does to people I need to put it away. I need to put this part of me up on a shelf and not let anybody see it. Maybe I ought to get married, maybe just pretend it's not there. Maybe just be alone. I realized that people can't be happy that way, I don't think. At least not as happy as when you're open and honest, feeling free to find people to love. And also to spend your time with and your life with. So, I I don't think it can be done. I don't think you can love the sinner and hate the sin, because if you hate the sin, you can't be supportive of the sinner's choices.
First of all, it's hard to say what that the sin is. Do they just mean that it's a sin if I'm having sex or is it a sin if I'm in love with somebody or is it a sin because I make choices based on my sexuality. My sexuality made me think about things differently. I mean that being lesbian is a lot more than having sex; it definitely influences a lot of the thoughts and decisions that I make. So, depending of course on how they would define the actual sin here, it's hard for them to be supportive of me and my choices. That is, if they are trying to love me but hate the sin. You know it would be hard for someone to meet my girlfriend say, if she was the cause of my sin. And for them to be able to accept and love her seems impossible. Therefore, I think it's impossible to love the sinner and hate the sin.
Q: How do you feel about your parents' activist stance? I mean, do you consider yourself an activist?
A: I am less so now then I used to be. When I was in college I did a lot of activist work. I did a lot of organizing. I was the Queer Alliance Chairperson at my college. So, I did a lot more in college than I do now. I definitely feel lucky that my parents are so committed and so involved and to know that they've probably helped thousand of people by now. And it's always amazing to hear them describe the people that they've met and spoken to that week. It's clear that they're filling a need here that's really important.
Q: In summary, let's talk about California. Is it very different being away. Do you experience prejudice in California? More so or less so than you would here? Compare that and what do you think the future is for the gay and lesbian movement, and for your life in general.
A: It's hard to compare life here with life other places, because when I was here, I wasn't out. It's hard for me to imagine what it would look like if I moved back to Utah. And part of me thinks that it would be fine, and that I would be able to find community within smaller circles. Certainly, I feel like living outside of Utah has given me important chances to interact with people who are different from me, which I don't think would have happened had I stayed here.
Q: What do you think the future will be? Address the visibility of the gay and lesbian community in general.
A: I was going to say something about the fact that there is prejudice even in San Francisco. You know, it stills happens. It's just not as prevalent. But, just about three weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were yelled at from a truck, which was in San Francisco in our own neighborhood that is very gay friendly. For a minute, I was like, wait a minute what's going on here? This is San Francisco, this where it's supposed to be okay. And realizing that it's not, that can be really scary and hurtful.
But, I do feel hopeful about change, and I feel that in a lot of places in the country there is a lot more acceptance and understanding of what it means to be gay or lesbian. I see so much potential for change, and for progress.
Again in San Francisco, I was part of a training program for all the elementary school teachers which all the teachers were trained in how to give lessons about gay and lesbian families to kids, to kindergartners and first graders. And they got books to use, and videos they can use with their kids. That to me is so wonderful and amazing. And it makes me feel that there is a lot of change happening despite the fact that there's still a lot of violence and still a lot of hate crimes. But, I think, we're definitely moving forward and that's refreshing.
Q: Utah is a long way off from that progressive change in school curriculum.
A: San Francisco is certainly way ahead of other places. But I feel like that's how change happens. There have to be models for what's working and why so that other places can eventually pick that up and understand the need for it. And I also think that it comes down to diversifying communities, because people will be homophobic as long as they view gay and lesbian people as these other people who don't live here. They certainly don't want to talk about it.
You know, it's not until you interact with people who are different from you, that you can alleviate any fear or questions that you have about who they are and what they're like. And it's like that with, with anybody who's different, with any difference I think.
Q: The woman I spoke with yesterday said, "I'm protecting my family so I don't want my kids learning that stuff in kindergarten or anywhere else. What about my civil rights? Gays and lesbians say it's their civil rights. But what about mine?"
A: Well, I think the question for her would be, "What are you protecting your kids from, and what is this scary thing that you don't want them to learn about?" We get the same response at these trainings that we're doing in San Francisco. There are people who think that it's not appropriate to talk about gay people with little kids. The way we've answered it in the training and the way we've thought about it is to say that what we're talking about is respecting people. You know you don't have to think that their choices are okay even, but you have to treat them with respect, give them their dignity, and provide public spaces that are safe for everybody.
And part of that is going to have to be to educate people, because tolerance doesn't come without education and without understanding. So, I mean there are definitely people who are a long way off from understanding that, especially when it comes down to respect for people. I think that even people who are very opposed to gay and lesbian issue or the rights of gays, they don't think that they would ever want their kids to hate gay people or call gay people names. We certainly don't want people doing that to each other. And so, I think at the very basic level, people have to at least allow people to be safe and respect that. You know, they don't have to say the choices are okay. But, we have to let each other live our lives.
Q: One last thing. Let's back up: How was it telling your parents? Your parents had indicated at one point they'd even given you advice about a relationship. Tell me about that, telling your Mom and Dad.
A: Well, when I first came out, to myself, it happened very suddenly and it scared me. You know, I had been so sure that I was straight. My Dad, as I mentioned before, would say to me, "Are you sure, are you sure you're straight? You know, it's okay if you're not." I think he sensed it more than I let myself. But I basically fell for a friend of mine in college and it got to the point where I couldn't be around her without just going crazy, and feeling like, oh, I've got to do something. And so, I actually sent her an e-mail, sort of explaining to this friend of mine that I'm having these feeling for her and I don't know what to do.
Next thing I knew, I was on an airplane. It was Thanksgiving break, and I, I sent the e-mail, but didn't talk to her, just got on a plane and went home. So, I came here and I was all jittery and nervous; my parents could tell something was going on. And I hadn't slept much the night before. They knew this friend too. So they maybe sensed that this was what was going on.
My Dad came down to my room the night that I got home. It was pretty late--he just wanted to say goodnight. And he sat down on my bed and we talked for probably three hours about what was going on. And he was, he was great. And I was pretty unsure. I wasn't sure what it meant, or if it was for real. Or what was going on. And you know, he basically said to me, you know you need to go back and you need to figure it out. And you need to let yourself explore this as a possibility and figure out if it's what will make you happy and what you want. And that's okay.
So, I talked to him that night and then to my Mom the next morning. And you know, they were very supportive, very calming, very loving. They convinced me that this is scary, but it was okay too. They said, you can make it work. So, that was all at the beginning. Well, I went back and my friend and I were together for two years after that. We started dating when I went back, and stayed together through college. So, yeah that was the very beginning of it all.
Q: Was she already out?
A: She was out. Yeah, she was out to me. And it was funny, because she was very interested in my background and in all the conflict that had gone on with my brother and with the church. So, we had had a lot of discussions about it, which made it really awkward to finally confess to her that I had feelings for her. But, itworked out and you know we had a great relationship for two years or so, before I moved away.
Q: That's great. Sounds like your parents were great.
A: They were. They really were. You know, I was pretty unsure. The one thing that was strange was that I felt like they were trying to say, well, you need to be sure before you tell anybody you know, because once you're out, you're out. Once you're out, there's no going back in. There's no going back to having a boyfriend or being straight again. Which I wasn't totally sure was true. And I needed to tell them. I was like dying inside, I was going crazy. And they were there and that was wonderful.
Q: Anything else you'd like to say?
A: I don't think so. I'm trying to think if there's anything I thought of, but I think we've covered it.