Gender Stories

Becoming visible to ourselves

April 02, 2019 Season 2 Episode 17
Gender Stories
Becoming visible to ourselves
Chapters
Gender Stories
Becoming visible to ourselves
Apr 02, 2019 Season 2 Episode 17
Alex Iantaffi
On Trans Day of Visibility, Alex Iantaffi talks to Root Holden, a trans masculine, nonbinary person, about isibility across gender, geographical location, at work and as a pagan. Root talks about the process of becoming more visible to themselves in their own gender journey and how this impacted them.
Show Notes Transcript

On Trans Day of Visibility, Alex Iantaffi talks to Root Holden, a trans masculine, nonbinary person living on Anishinaabe territory, currently known as Minneapolis. They are a Reclaiming witch, podcast producer (for this podcast!), and have twenty years of experience in the tech industry. They talk about visibility across gender, geographical location, at work and as a pagan. Root talks about the process of becoming more visible to themselves in their own gender journey and how this impacted them. 

Speaker 1:
0:02
I want to tell him
Speaker 2:
0:32
everyone has a relationship with gender. What's your story? Hello and welcome to gender stories with your host, Dr Alex and Taffy.
Speaker 3:
0:43
Hello and welcome to another episode of gender stories with your host Alex and Taffy. Um, my voice might sound a little different today because that just have bad the periodontal surgery, but that will not stop me from taping. Another episode for you. Wonderful listeners today as we're taping is transgender day of visibility. And I'm interviewing my wonderful producer and partner route told in about what does like to be visible as a trans person and as a pagan. Hi and welcome on the show root. Thanks Alex. You've listened to pretty much every episode given the, you actually produce this podcast. And um, what would you like to say about, um, what's it like to actually be on the show rather than just producing it? Yeah,
Speaker 4:
1:31
I'm realizing just how much more nervous I am on a microphone has put in front of me. But in my day job I do webinars and things like that. So it's not too different. I just usually have not seen by the people I'm talking to. Fair.
Speaker 3:
1:46
Um, I want to talk to you about so many things. One of the things that, um, but let's start with the fact that is transgender day of visibility and visibility I think is such a complex construct because who are we visible for and why? Eno doesn't get a choice on whether we're visible or not. [inaudible] and also who is safer in terms of visibility and was not, for example, you know, um, we talked about, I think I've talked about this on the show before, that um, non binary but for a lot of black and brown non binary folks in might not be as safe to be kind of more visibly, um, gender expansive then for white talks for example. But what does visibility mean to you in particular as a trans person?
Speaker 4:
2:35
Good question. So for the listeners sake, um, I am a white privileged nonbinary person. I did quote unquote pass if you want to use the term pass as male. So typically if I go to a restaurant or something, I'm getting served and all of that kind of stuff without question. Um, and so for me, especially living in an area like South Minneapolis and having come from the bay area, my wasn't, didn't put me in danger, you know, me being like I was able to be out because, you know, quote unquote, the worst thing some of them witnessed big mistake me for it was a woman, which is not a terrible thing honestly. Um, but for me visibility is about being able to be seen. Um, and how people listen to me and know that, that my voice is valuable. Um, the problem with the way that I know I look at it is that I want it to be valuable to other people first because then it makes it valuable to me. And so I know for a lot of folks, being visible is about other people seeing them. But honestly for me, it needs to be like, I know I need to look at like, how am I, how am, how am I allowing myself to see myself?
Speaker 3:
3:50
So, right when I get a little bit personal, and you talked about how important it is for you to be visible to yourself and one of the things that has become increasingly visible to yourself. Is there a non binary binarys because in my understanding when you first come out, you identified more as a trans man, but increasingly you have been more comfortable with feeling um, feeling into a non binary identity for want of a better word. And so what's it like to become more visible to yourself as a non binary trans?
Speaker 4:
4:19
Definitely. That's a great question. So when I first came out about four or five years ago, I actually came out first to my spiritual community, which is a pagan community. And in the pagan community we do have a lot of folks that are, um, I thought it was like boundary list, but they are the edge walkers. They are the people that do live on the edge of the boundaries of society. There's a lot of folks that are disabled. There's a lot of folks that are, um, you know, nonbinary or transgender, a lot of folks obviously that are following different spiritual traditions. Then we find in sort of standard society in American society specifically. Um, so for me, when I first came out, I came in out of that community and I came out with they them pronouns. Um, because the people I was coming out to, we're specifically a, uh, and gendered group of witchy practitioners.
Speaker 4:
5:09
It was specifically a group that was created, um, to be genderless because a lot of times in pagan practice there's like the men's group and there's the women's group, there's the family group if you need, I need to be able to bring your kids. But this, um, this group of people had actually created a space for, you know everybody yet everybody else will start. People of all genders. Exactly. You know, and it was, it was definitely like a nice, nice group to be able to come out to and feel comfortable because it was, there were other people, you know, there were met agender folks that were non binary people. There were trans men and Trans Women. I mean it was the whole, you know, the whole spectrum was represented and it was a fairly small group of people. Um, so when I first came out, you know, I came out and use bait them.
Speaker 4:
5:51
Um, but then I s I had some self hatred with myself about that being able to, well, like I'm sort of in the middle, like I don't identify one way or the other. Um, and I went like full, so I'm assigned female at birth and I went like fully one, you know, to that other end of the binary. I was like masculine. I was, you know, I went and got a bunch of plaid shirts and jeans and boots and like keep in mind like in high school, like if you could see what I'm wearing right now, I'm basically wearing the same stuff that were in high school. It's like a black tee shirt, maybe a Hoodie, jeans, boots. Um, and when I was attempting to meet this like female identity thing that I was trying, you know, that I had for a long time, you know, I was trying so hard to like wear makeup and stuff like that and I always felt like I was in drag.
Speaker 4:
6:35
Hmm. It always felt like dragged to me to do makeup or a skirt or anything like that. So I come out and I go fully into the other end of the spectrum. I'm like, you know, no makeup, no nail Polish, anything like that. Um, and I was using he him pronouns and we finally characterized it as my like angry white dad identity because it was just like, it was, you know, I was calm, but it was because I was shut down like I was nonemotional because the testosterone did kind of like die on me down a little bit on emotional expression in the beginning, you know, in a lot of, that's probably more psychological effects of, you know, going through that kind of transition. So it's sort of like I went all the way down to one side and you know, over the last couple of years as I've been around again, you know, moved to Minneapolis and around a lot more like non binary folks, um, and many, many more gender expansive folks that are seeing in the bay area, which like sounds amazing for the bay, but I was in the North Bay, which is a lot more conservative.
Speaker 4:
7:36
Um, and I particularly was living in a suburb where it was a lot of CIS Hetero families. So let's just try to fit in. But now it's like I'm living in a community where it's like I go to, you know, a couple of restaurants right around here that are in walking distance of the house. How signs up that say please don't refer to your servers as he, him, we use gender extensive pronouns. Are they them for all of our workers here and people's genders. Yeah. Fantastic. And it's just like, oh, and I can actually, you know, it's really easy for me to apply that to somebody else. But then to apply it back to myself was like, oh, uh, okay. Like now I feel more comfortable and to be able to like, you know, go without a binder. I'm like, I used to bind every day. I haven't worn a binder in months, actually probably close to a year at this point. It's amazing being able to just be okay with the body that I have and know that even if it doesn't mid meet, you know, one of these binary ideals that I'm still valid.
Speaker 3:
8:34
And so it sounds like becoming more visible to yourself has kind of led to some more kind of freedom for you to express yourself in a way that's more comfortable. I you didn't, you did mention paganism and hour many pagan traditions can still be fairly binary, non all of them, but there is still this idea of cisgender genderism. So the inherent reality of, um,
Speaker 3:
8:58
this idea that there is an inherent reality of like two genders and this completion of sex in gender, in paganism. And we do come from a tradition, the reclaiming tradition that used to be called the goddess tradition and then change its principles of unity to reflect the fact that many transgender or nonbinary folks are also part of the tradition and the NF been part of the tradition from the beginning. Um, what was it like to, and I believe you are also part of the sister of how alone, right? What was it like to kind of come out, um, in the context of the spiritual tradition that really values kind of sisterhood and the divine feminine and to come out kind of more towards the Trans Masculine end of the spectrum?
Speaker 4:
9:46
Thanks. So this is her hood of Avalon was a tradition that um, I was a part of for a couple of years and um, you know, I went to one of their retreats and I was still, um, as identifying female at that point, I hadn't come out. Like I was definitely like sort of in my head and knowing the things I was interested in wearing and stuff like that. But, um, the women in the tradition were really sweet and accepting. Like, honestly, it's, um, I didn't, I only came out to a couple of people there, um, because I actually just, I was already working within the reclaiming tradition, you know, it's already had a solid spiritual practice there. And then I had been working with, um, Kayak Congregational, but that's where the like gender expansive circle had come from. Um, and so this is the root of Avalon was, um, was lovely and it was providing a lot of similar tools.
Speaker 4:
10:35
That's to what I already had, you know, Moon practices and things like that. Um, but towards the end of my work with them, um, you know, I didn't talk to a couple of the folks that were on, I can't remember what they call it. I think it's like the, you know, essentially like they're board or something like that. Um, and I was just like, so, hey, you know, I really appreciate the work you're doing here and I am curious to see, you know, do you, you know, if you do accept trans women or people who identify as female and they're like, yes, of course, you know? And so that, that wasn't even a question thing, which is lovely given the last couple of years and how um, trans exclusionary stuff has been coming up a lot in pagan traditions and coming out, I should say not coming up. But yeah,
Speaker 3:
11:16
and I think it's really great that you asked whether it trans women were accepted because I don't know about you, but one of the experiences I've had in pagan circles is like, because I was assigned female at birth, it was basically like, oh no, you're fine. You have the genitals that we would consider. Okay. Right. And for the divine feminine. So we're going to erase your identity and kind of welcome you into the circle. But Trans women are not fine because there is still this kind of a centralist gender idea. So I guess that's why it was important for you to ask about Trans Women specifically because they might've been okay with you but then might not have been okay with trans women as happens in many traditions.
Speaker 4:
11:55
Right? Yeah. And they were there. Yes. The mindset there is very expensive in the work that they're doing is really lovely. And I highly recommend if you are interested in, in a women's tradition or a spiritual circle like that, they do a lot of work online too, which is lovely for people. Especially if you're like, you know, kind of out middle of nowhere and don't have access to face to face circles. I highly recommend them and they're always at like began ICAN and um, Cathy ICAN, you know, with like a sweet huh. Okay.
Speaker 3:
12:24
So what's it like though to be a more kind of non binary trans person in paganism given that often it is kind of daughters and sons of something, you know, sisters and brothers. So, you know, the, you know, the Lord and lady in a lot of tradition, you know, that kind of binary gets some, um, reinforced constantly and often even when it's challenge. I've had people tell me, oh, but it's okay because sometimes we have two people of the same gender be high priest where I presses or kind of swap gender around without understanding, they're still talking about just two genders, which is still not really inclusive on non binary folks.
Speaker 4:
13:03
Yeah, absolutely. Um, it's always been kind of an interesting because it's like when I, when I look at, you know, like when I look at Nina, the big blue, but Braman Buckley's, um, you know, book of witchcraft, you know, I'm reading and it's talking about the Lord or the high priest or whoever and then talk about the other. And it's like I could see myself in either role, you know, and I always could have seen myself in either of those roles. And in my head it's like a lot of times like, um, I'm trying to think, cause it like Meg John Barker talks about the plural self and like that's kind of how I would roll. It was just like, you know, a lot of times like I was a solitary practitioner for a very long time, so I was just like, alright, I can do this high priest stuff, I can do this high priestess stuff.
Speaker 4:
13:40
Like I'll just do all these pieces. And it was really easy to sort of make myself fit into those roles. Um, but yeah, the hearing, the plural self idea like really does bring to mind how I kind of, how I am now. Like there's mornings where I wake up and I don't, you know, gender doesn't really play a role. There's some days where I wake up and I'm like, oh, like I want like a pretty broad, but it's like my, you know, my tiny, like if I get inside that is like, I want to like a really pretty like lacy bra to get to wear around. Um, you know, and it's those different parts of me kind of wake up and have their time and do whatever work they need to do and then, you know, go back to sleep or kind of hang out and have coffee with the SIBS. Well, well somebody else comes out to play the next day.
Speaker 3:
14:26
So you said in many ways too are kind of adapting things that were meant for more binary gender to your own practice because you felt more fluid. Now. What about finding a practice that was more expansive and why you could be all of yourself rather than having to fit yourself into kind of more binary belief system or practices?
Speaker 4:
14:55
Yeah. Um, good question. So I think a lot of my work within the reclaiming tradition has really fed into that because it's nonhierarchical and also theirs, it's not divided by gender. Like, even to the point that we do degender our bathrooms at events and things like that. Um, because part of her claiming is that it is a tradition that comes from the activist community as well. And so, you know, it's not uncommon for people to be like gender activists and things like that within that space. Um, and so a lot of times with, you know, like if I had a ritual role, it didn't matter what my genitals were for it, you know, even if there is a role where something was going to be in the nude, which, you know, sometimes in covens are in pagan practice, that's a thing that comes up. Um, I did have people checking in with me of like, Hey, this is potentially a part of this thing.
Speaker 4:
15:46
Would you be okay with it? Um, and so, and it wasn't just because I was trans, it was one of those things where they would ask anybody that question and no one was expected to do something. They felt uncomfortable with it. As long as there's this, you know, the, the, the running phrase was you are your own spiritual authority grounded in community. And so if something didn't feel right to me, whether it was my gender or because of trauma that I had in my past or anything like that, you could just say, well no, I don't feel comfortable with this and figure it out, you know, talk to someone and figure out a different way to do something or you know, if someone else needed to step into a role or something like that. It was something that we did, you know, fairly easily.
Speaker 3:
16:22
So it sounds like in a way there was a catch Bob kind of yes. Around Rachel roles, which did include gender but was not limited just to gender. Absolutely. Which in some ways pills probably more inclusive I would say. At least that's my experience.
Speaker 4:
16:40
Definitely. I would agree with that. Yeah. That's my experience as well.
Speaker 3:
16:44
So you also talked a little bit about, you know, moving from, um, the North Bay to Minneapolis and an order originally you're from West Virginia. So what, what's it like to be visible in this different geographical regions? So you still go back, put example to California because you're coparent is there and so you can have fly back and forth with your Kiddo and you still have family in West Virginia and you've made kind of Deco and Anishinaabi territory, currently known as Minneapolis, uh, your home. Um, so what's it like to be visible in this different geographical contexts?
Speaker 4:
17:22
Um, it kind of ranges from totally fine to kind of scary honestly. Um, I'll, I'll start with Minneapolis and sort of work their way back, send Minneapolis 90% of that actually like 99% of the time. I feel fine with how I'm being perceived. I feel safe, you know, and all that. I'm going back to California and honestly I love it actually is like dealing with flights and things like that can be tricky because, um, if I'm looking for men's room, most of the time it's totally fine if I'm in the men's room and my little human, you know, it needs me for something, you know, he, he usually calls me mom and actually he's reverted now to calling me, um, by essentially by my legal name because that's, you know, that's most comfortable for him. Um, so I don't get, I don't get called mom or dad or anything like that.
Speaker 4:
18:13
I'm just route essentially. And so traveling can be a little bit tricky. Um, in California I fit in fairly well. Like this school that my Kiddo is, that was, I worked from home most of the time. And so like, honestly I'm just not around people a lot. The place I'm mostly around other people is like going to my kids' school, joining a PTO stuff and all that. Um, pagans do Pto, you know, that's, that's one of those things are like we're everywhere and Trans people and Trans people too. It's so funny, like the Times that I'll go to meetings and have like that little head nod with other people and be like, oh, hey, I know you from the Trans community or I know you from the pagan community or I know you're from the school community. And like we're both at a ritual like PDO is parent teacher organizations or parent teacher associations for listeners who are not in the u s thank you very much.
Speaker 4:
19:02
Um, but yeah, so being in California, northern California, the areas I was in where like Sacramento and I'm like Rohnert Park Santa Rosa and those are fine. Those are areas where I'm definitely, this is one of those horrible things, right? That comes with, with privilege of I'm safe because I look like a dude. I sound like a dude. I dress like a dude. Like, and you'd look like a white dude and I looked at it extra safe. Exactly. Um, and, you know, the, the, the way that I talk and the fact that you know, that I can pull up my debit card and pay for anything, you know, whatever I need and all that kind of stuff. Like, yeah, I'm safe because I pass and because I have the those privileges. Um, but I know that friends of color, even friends of color that aren't trans, that are just slightly a feminine aren't safe in those areas.
Speaker 4:
19:52
You know, um, in West Virginia it's a lot trickier and there's a lot of stuff around it that I don't necessarily want to want to talk about in broadcast. Um, even before I came out as trans, being in West Virginia and just being myself is a tricky business. Um, I was a goth kid in high school, you know, like we're all black now. I still occasionally like wear all black and have tattoos and all that. Um, I was out to breakfast one time with my dad. My Dad is just, you know, very standard. Like, it's this white dude. And I thought to breakfast with him and his wife and I was getting stared at because I had visible tattoos. I had like a black light kind of lacy shirt on because I was going, I was basically flying back to California that night and going to a metal concert.
Speaker 4:
20:41
And so I was kind of dressed works. I knew as soon as I got to the airport on the other side, I was going straight to it. And so I was out to with my dad like that. And Yeah. So I was definitely getting stared out and that was still when I was mostly assigned female, female pregnant female presenting. Yeah. Um, being there now, you know, when I, when I do just kind of looking very duty, I do feel myself go into like, there's like a shutdown that happens emotionally. I'm much more interested in sports and cars. Um, and yeah, it's, I dropped into this conversations, I dropped into a different way of speaking. Like, I can hear the acts like the way I'm speaking right now because I'm comfortable and feel safe is much more how I actually talk. It's like I do have a little bit of like the quote unquote like stereotypical like bay area, like a gay inflection and the way that I talk.
Speaker 4:
21:31
Um, but when I'm back there, it's, it's different. I even actually start getting a little bit of an accent, um, just because like the area I grew up in, it is a little more blue collar. And so yeah, I, I automatically start doing, but I need to to drop in and be safe and it's not things I'm choosing to do. Even even there. I would be safer than, you know, friends that I've got that are living there still that um, you know, are people of color are pagan, are, you know, anything outside of like the standard cis white, Hetero.
Speaker 3:
22:05
But it sounds like it's almost like a body automatic trauma response for survival to just kind of fall into that. A type of masculinity that you know, it's going to be accepted around you.
Speaker 4:
22:17
Definitely. And it's, I know a lot of folks that don't behave that way there a lot of like assigned male at birth folks that are, you know, very expensive with their feelings and things like that. And I see them do it too. Honestly with like the right company, it's, you know, it's just what you do to be safe.
Speaker 3:
22:34
Basically code switching, which has marginalized folks have been doing that for forever. Probably. I do not have scientific data on this, but my guess is that the survival instinct kicks in and that code switching as part of that survival. Yeah. And, and talking of which not only have you kind of, um, experience being yourself and being visible in different geographical area, but also you're talking about work and working from home. You work in tech, which is traditionally it can have a male dominated environment. And when you started working in pack, you were a female presenting and identified and then transition. What's that visibility first as a more female identified and present in person and Ben as a trans person we'd like for you in the tech world.
Speaker 4:
23:18
Gotcha. Um hmm. One. So something I've identified over time, we'll start with that is that I started doing tech support and being on the phone, like doing soft work, you software questions and things like that. Um, when I was about 17, which is way too young for anyone to be on the phone, getting yelled at by people for a living. Um, so ways that I handled it were included, you know, I did like not taking anything personally. So there's a lot of shutting down of emotion. There's a lot of, you know, not allowing things to bother me. There is a lot of like, there was a lot of duding. I mean, I hate to put it that way, but it's, yeah, like I would go kind of do dish just to
Speaker 3:
24:01
get, sounds like a lot of toxic masculinity because it's ingrained in the culture and that's how you're taught. Absolutely survive. Yes.
Speaker 4:
24:08
Yeah, exactly. And it's like the first company I worked for, the only women there were the secretary and the HR person. That was it. Everyone else was a dude or assigned male at birth. And then the other companies I've been at like at, um, both up in northern California and then, um, another company that I work with, it's actually from overseas. They have much more expansive cultures, you know, they're much more family oriented and um, slightly more diverse but not very much. Like I'm still not seeing a lot of women and you know, leading teams and things like that.
Speaker 3:
24:43
Has it been easier in some way to be in tech, kind of with the kind of male being may, more male presenting now could be with a male sounding name for it, which is different for your work. Um, have you noticed a difference in the way that the public relates to you or your
Speaker 4:
25:02
I do. I do. Um, emails are so much more blunt than they used to be, which is a really interesting thing from the same people. I'm not from the same people. Oftentimes it's from people from different people like, um, because the people who knew me, so the company I worked for, I'm not going to name it, but they're amazing. Like, I basically talked to my CEO and my direct boss in the world and you know, a couple of years ago and I was just like, so, Hey, I've been working for you for like a couple of years and I'm transgender. Um, and I would like to change my email address and change the name. People refer to me by, and the CEO said, okay, what else do you need us to do to support you? Like we can get you to business cards. Um, my immediate boss actually took on the work of contacting the people that I was in contact with on a daily basis because I basically was dealing with about 60 different companies.
Speaker 4:
25:49
He took on reaching out to them and being like, hey, this person has changed their name and change their pronouns. Um, that's great. It was amazing. It was a really amazing thing. Um, I had no idea. Like, I knew that my immediate team would be supportive. I had no idea, like the steps that they would take for me. It was amazing. And yeah, they're still amazing. Um, but yeah, and you know, the reception I've had, people have been fine. Like nobody, I haven't had, I've had a couple people reach out and be like, Hey, I'm really proud of you. Like I'm glad to hear it. Um, you know, let us know if we can do anything to support you, which is really sweet because there's some folks that have been working with, it's, it's a sort of a niche industry. And so there's people who have been working with for over a decade, even though we've been, you know, both in different, in different, in different companies and things like that.
Speaker 4:
26:35
Um, but yeah, so, but one piece is that the, the area of tech that I'm in, I'm actually more in the more like support and services side. Um, and the training side and the training side does tend to be more, uh, there's a lot more women. It's a lot more women lead. Um, and it is just like this weird kind of gross divide where it's like the men are, you know, building the software and the women are treating training people on how to use it. And it's such a weird thing, but you're wanting to people to train people how to use it. And now people will reach out and it's like, Hey, this is rude and I'm going to train you on how to do this thing. And like, you know, when I get super excited, it used to bother me cause my voice gets a lot higher.
Speaker 4:
27:12
Like even through the outthis interview, my voice, it's probably been getting a little bit higher. Um, and it used to really bother me if I'd like listen to a recording and realize that. But now, you know, that a couple of years ago it really bothered me and now I'm like, whatever. This is what I sound like. I'm excited about the thing and I just let myself around with it. Um, so it's been, it has been interesting to see how the is changed. But yeah, emails, people are a lot different. Like they used to be. I don't know. I don't know how it was. I don't even know what the wording would be to like give you an example. But emails are more blunt when people ask for things. It's a lot more like, hey, I need this. Rather than being like, hey, how are you doing? I could use this thing when you have some time. So it's been kind of a fascinating transition. Just the
Speaker 3:
27:53
still kind of really noticing how gender does modulate people's kind of expression even at work. Definitely. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And as it been kind of, have you noticed whether you're more automatically given up what already by people because of being male presenting or not as much? Cause that's one of the things that often comes up in the literature that's like man, you know, get listened to more than women when they're talking about tech stuff. So I was just curious whether you notice any difference from because of your job. Not really. Cause you've always been a trainer. So
Speaker 4:
28:24
yeah, it's always been a trainer. And when I drop into, uh, like management type roles, like I had to, you know, manage tech support team for a little while and stuff like that. Um, I haven't really noticed any changes, but to be perfectly honest, I have a really deep voice. Like, even for someone assigned female at birth. And so there are times that, I don't know if someone, you know, they might've thought my name was, you know, Cory rhymes with my, my original given name and it's like, you know, they might've thought that Corey could be a dude, you know, there is no way that they would have known necessarily. So that makes sense. So you might have benefited from some of that regardless, even before you transitioned. Exactly.
Speaker 3:
29:02
And like you said, you used to care a lot more like if your voice went up or what people thought and now you care less, which in some way we're kind of coming full circle to this idea of what you like to become visible to yourself. So not so much as visible to other people but visible to yourself. So as we're coming towards the end of this beautiful conversation about visibility, I wonder what words of advice you have, if any, for people who are also interested in exploring more and becoming more visible to themselves as themselves because they can be. So much pressure has explored in this podcast about gender in general. For everybody. Gotcha.
Speaker 4:
29:42
Um, one big thing honestly is fine. Supportive Trans community, you know, and that's not necessarily connected to your work, but um, you know, find other people that are maybe in the same boat. It could be through a spiritual community. It can be through meetup.com or something like that. Just whatever, you know, find, not necessarily mentors, but mentors and peers and the trans community have meant the world to me. Um, and there's a lot of people that if I hadn't seen a couple of friends actually that are in the tech field and are visible and our trans, and they went through that transition with, you know, the same coworkers before and after. If I hadn't seen them do it and know about their experience, I wouldn't have been able to do it.
Speaker 3:
30:22
It's in that way seeing them do it kind of gave you that confidence. Yeah. Their visibility without your visibility. Okay.
Speaker 4:
30:29
Exactly. So it's like if one person comes away from listening to this podcast and I was like, oh, maybe I can do this thing and be okay, that would be amazing.
Speaker 3:
30:38
Well, that's definitely always my goal is like if one gender story resonate with one listener and what makes them appeal slightly last alone and slightly more supported that my job is done right. That's kind of what we're here for so that we can connect who are agender stories and we can kind of find ways of supporting each other. Are there any resources that you would recommend today for people who want to explore that visibility for themselves first before
Speaker 4:
31:07
I'm sharing it with anybody else? Um, this is like such a hilarious plug, but your booklet
Speaker 3:
31:15
John. So it is, how do I understand your gender if practical guide for exploring where you are, which I swear I did not apply my partner with
Speaker 4:
31:24
to promote the Thai food was unrelated. Yes, it's a really good, it's a really good workbook to work through and actually just sit with them. I think that's actually a lot of, um, what's helped me to sit with them and be like, oh okay, these are, these are things that I'm like, yeah, I'm disconnecting. Like gender from sexuality was one huge thing. A lot of people go through like, Oh, am I gay? And it's like, oh no, I'm not gay, but I'm trans, you know. But the book kind of took it to that sort of like the one on one level of like coming out and figuring things out on that first level. The book helped me kind of dive deeper and go like, okay, like I don't have to be, there is not a one or the other that I need to check a box for, you know?
Speaker 4:
32:04
Um, so the book is a huge piece. Um, I'm trying to think of other good ones. There's a lot of good information out there. Um, if you are like queer in tech and looking for support, honestly like it, go search for it, look for groups. Um, I've found lots of things on meetup. I found a ton of Facebook groups for various things. Like there's, there's so many niche groups on there and you can find supportive people and kind of taking, taking a page from like the spiritual community. Um, you are your own spiritual authority, like grounding community. So if something does not feel right to you, if you don't feel safe coming out in your company, if you don't feel like you'll be supported coming out to like, you know, your religious group or something like that, there are people out there that will support you.
Speaker 4:
32:51
It can be hard to find them, but please go and look for them and don't try and do this on your own. Um, part of my work in the world is that I'm also in recovery and in recovery. Um, one of the biggest tools we learn is that isolation is death. Isolation is the thing that's going to prevent you from being able to move on with your life and enjoy it. Um, so finding community is a huge piece. There were claiming tradition. You can find them online at [inaudible] dot org and you can find there's, there's lots of like local reclaiming groups all over the world. Um, and so they're a really good resource if you're looking for pagan spiritual practice potentially or classes or things like that. MMM. Yeah, those are the big ones I can think of off the top of my head.
Speaker 3:
33:42
Yeah. And I always ask this last question, which is, is there anything I haven't asked you about that you were hoping to kind of talk about? The, you were thinking, oh, I really wish, uh, Alex would ask me about that. Whatever that is. Gotcha.
Speaker 4:
33:59
MMM. I don't think there's anything additional for me right now. I am, um, putting together a little business aside from like doing podcasts production and aside from like my software training world, you mean the podcast production that you do freely from me? I also do transcriptions. I, it is totally a product, like a love project. I, it's the work that you're doing and the information you're getting out there. Like this is the stuff that I needed 15 to 20 years ago. This is the stuff that I'm very confused high school or would have been like, oh, I'm not gay. I'm trans. Like maybe also gay. And we only see why under the big game. Yeah. That's real talk. Real talk nine nonbinary all of the things binary, all of the things that matter. Okay. Me and my friend lives in. Yeah. Oh, Liz. Anna has this wonderful reclaiming, which has unfortunately passed away since we used to joke that we're polyamory thing, like we're like Paulie, you know, in terms of religion, in terms of you know, relationships and all that. And Pine like also poly gender and it was just kind of delightful. I don't know why, but
Speaker 3:
35:07
that's okay. Maybe you're just wanting it to have a moment of remembering connection with your friend. Yeah, she is.
Speaker 4:
35:14
She was hugely visible in the community as being queer and all that. So yeah, she's delightful.
Speaker 3:
35:19
So probably one of those other people who inspired you to embrace fully who you were because of her disability. Right. In kind of all of those different things in. Yeah. And I think that is amazing. How can we inspire each other to be more and more visible and how we keep each other safe. Yes. By being this boat to each other and also how important it is not to judge each each other when we can not be visible in different circumstances. Because our safety always needs to come first. And I love how you mentioned that. Yeah. Sometimes he would just do what you need to do to feel safe in different circumstances. We're in different geographical areas and that's okay. And some people might need to do that for different reasons in different areas of their life. And their code switching for survival is absolutely.
Speaker 3:
36:12
Um, while we do as kind of, um, minority groups, never apologize for not being visible. That's one thing that happened. Like when I first came out, people would be like, oh, why aren't you posting about Trans Day of visibility on your page or something like that. And it was like, it's not up to you says friend and supposedly ally to decide when I get to come out or when you think I'm going to be safe. So thank you for saying that. It's definitely, it is up to you to make sure that you are safe and do not apologize for what you need to do to keep yourself safe while kinky you so much for letting me interview you for this episode on recorded on the actual trans day of visibility. Um, and thank you so much for helping with this labor of love. That is gender stories and your listeners.
Speaker 3:
36:59
If you do want to support this labor of love, that you can go to my Patreon, which eventually I will get used to writing on. But for now you can plan their patron.com/gender stories. And of course you can make you as the of the wonderful resources that root mentioned. Now do understand your gender practical guide for exploring who you are and the new book that's coming out in May life isn't binary, which seems very relevant to this conversation in many ways. And um, until then, stay safe and whether you're visible or not in all your gender expansiveness, I hope they, you enjoy your gender no matter what.