• A Texas activist helped raise $2 million in abortion funds in response to comments from Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
  • Olivia Julianna told Insider she used the attention to promote voter registration and other fundraisers.
  • Julianna inspired an abortion fundraiser by a West Virginia activist who was also bullied by a male politician.

Olivia Julianna knows how to use the internet to get what she wants. 

The Houston-based activist and political strategist for Gen-Z for Change can often be found on social media, setting up campaigns to flood critical race theory tip lines with fake messages, ratioing anti-trans politicians like Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and even raising millions for a cause.

Julianna also turned the tables on Matt Gaetz. After the Florida representative body-shamed abortion rights activists at the Turning Point USA summit in Florida in July, the 19-year-old rallied her Twitter followers to pour money into an abortion fund that helps women in states with bans access the procedure.

It worked: Supporters donated more than $2 million over the course of a week to the Gen-Z for Choice Abortion Fund, which splits donations between 50 different abortion funds in states with abortion bans.

"I just think it's so funny because these little trolling-type counterattacks are something that the GOP has been using for like years," Julianna told Insider. "And I think it's funny because now they're finally starting to kind of get a taste of their own medicine."

In response to questions about the donations raised, a spokesperson for Gaetz previously told Insider that America was a "pro-life nation" and no "amount of solicitations will change that."

Julianna said she's been using the attention from her online statements to encourage voter registration and fundraise for organizations that help people get access to healthcare.

The abortion fundraiser specifically helped to "catapult" her political messaging, she said, and the attention has been "a bit of an adjustment." Her Twitter followers now number more than 342,000.

"My social media presence and platform are being translated into genuine on-the-ground, grassroots support for these candidates who are going up against these incumbents who are ruining our state," Julianna said. "So I would genuinely be concerned about their ability to stay in office because more and more people are getting involved."

Inspiring others to help their own communities

Ash Orr, a West Virginia political activist, raised over $25,000 for an abortion clinic in the state after being misgendered by State Sen. Mike Azinger in an email. 

During a five-day special session in the West Virginia legislature to decide the state's new abortion laws, Democrat State Sen. Mike Caputo read a statement Orr wrote about being raped twice at the age of 10, after which they were terrified they were pregnant.

Foto: Courtesy of Ash Orr

After the statement was read, Orr said Azinger insinuated that rape and incest victims should have to continue their pregnancies.

Orr, upset by his comments, emailed Azinger and accused him of not caring "for children or adults who are the victim of rape."

Azinger replied to Orr's email, calling their statement which was read by Caputo "pathetic" and telling Orr that they "always — always — will be a female."

"And you are the one who does not care about the victims of rape: if they get pregnant, you want them to kill their baby, which they'll live with for the rest of their life," the email reads.


Orr said following that email, Azinger never replied to them again. 

The original email exchange was reviewed by Insider and was sent from Azinger's Senate email. Azinger did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

Following the exchange, Orr told Insider they began "reliving that trauma" of their assault, but wanted to use the negative experience to help raise funds for the Women's Health Center of West Virginia.

Orr said they were partially inspired by Julianna's fundraising efforts.

"I knew that I needed to do something about this," Orr said. "And I wanted to do something that would not only you know, help me to heal, but also help my community."

'Flipping the script' on politicians who bully

Like Orr, Julianna said she speaks out to help her Texas community. She describes herself as "every one of the marginalized identities": a plus-sized, queer, disabled, Latinx woman. She previously told Insider she spent her childhood struggling with eating disorders and body image issues and was hospitalized because of it in 2021.

When she responds to politicians spouting homophobic or racist rhetoric, Julianna said, people who relate to her feel compelled to act. 

"It's kind of like a big 'flipping the script' on these specific politicians, who've been bullying people in my different communities for so long ," Julianna said, "and now they're borderline getting bullied by someone who is not anywhere near the position of power they are."

Read the original article on Business Insider