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Angelo: Interview Transcript

Levi  0:00  

Okay interview with Angelo in Riverside Park. July – no, August 19th. 


Angelo  0:10  



Levi  0:11  

2022. Normally you clap for like syncing audios.


Angelo  0:17  

I can't [Levi claps] because it'd be really loud. 


Levi  0:19  

Yeah. Okay.


Angelo  0:20  

You can clap. 


Levi  0:21  

I did. Okay, so starting question. What is your name?


Angelo  0:28  

Angelo. Spoiler alert. [REDACTED], if that matters? 


Levi  0:34  

Yeah you don't have to say your full name.


Angelo  0:35  

Well, I did.


Levi  0:36  

Okay. And what is your age?


Angelo  0:39  

20 years old.


Levi  0:42  

What is something that brings you joy?


Angelo  0:45  

Animals. I immediately thought of that because we've seen so many dogs today.


Levi  0:51  

And where is a place that holds meaning for you?


Angelo  0:55  

Um, I guess just the city in general, because, I don't know. 20 years later, and this still seems to be the only place that um, has any semblance of urban planning. That makes sense for human beings to live in. 


Levi  1:12  



Angelo  1:13  

So that's, yeah, I like it here. It's nice.


Levi  1:17  

I'm gonna turn off the screen. Like, the screen turning off.


Angelo  1:24  

Yeah. All right.


Levi  1:30  

Okay. So starting off with life experience.


Angelo  1:35  

I do a little experiencing. I'm familiar. 


Levi  1:38  

Yeah. Can you describe your early childhood?


Angelo  1:42  

Um, how early, like pre 10 ish? 


Levi  1:48  



Angelo  1:49  

Like, early early? Um, well, I used to live in the suburbs, fun fact. In like Connecticut. And I was pretty, I was a pretty normal child. It's awesome. Oh, yeah. Good idea. I was a pretty normal child. And, you know, I was just a happy little kid who had lots of friends. I was pretty athletic. Strangely enough. Yeah, I liked to run around. I'd like to be silly with my friends. But there were still, you know, little bits and pieces of not cis that jumped out here and there. I don't know if that is like stuff I should include, or if it's just like, generally.


Levi  2:38  

Yeah, I mean, the next question kind of goes into that. It's like, how did you experience – Also, I'm curious, when did you move from the suburbs?


Angelo  2:48  

Like permanently when I was like, 11, or 12, because it was like post parent, parents divorce. That's like the next arc – that's like, post – or not early childhood that's like regular childhood is the parental divorce arc, and my dad moved back to New York. Like we would only go – we'd only come here for visits. But he moved back to New York, after my parents got divorced. And then I moved in with him some time later. So then I moved back. Or well I moved here. 


Levi  3:23  

And where were you in the suburbs? 


Angelo  3:25  

Connecticut. Yeah. So like, still northeast. I wasn't like in the Midwest or whatever. Thank God. But I mean, it all sucks. So. All the suburbs suck. So yeah.


Levi  3:40  

So you moved here around – What did you say? 12? 


Angelo  3:43  

12. Yeah, I was like, 12.


Levi  3:46  

What was it like growing up here?


Angelo  3:48  

Better than growing up in the suburbs. Yeah, no, it was – I feel like I had a lot more independence than I would have if I lived in the suburbs. Because like, if you go to school in the city, like you go to school by yourself, like you either walk or you take the train, there's not really that many buses, like school buses, like in the suburban setting, like so you're kind of just used to going out and about and like doing stuff. Where in the suburbs, you need to get like driven around and you're not really like your own person until you're 16 and you get a license. Or at least that's like the impression I get. I technically wouldn't really know. But yeah, I've I've heard about how letting your kids go to school on their own, like, teaches them independence and stuff. So I figured I'd bring that up.


Levi  4:43  

So how did you experience gender roles, or gender identity as a child?


Angelo  4:51  

Oh my god. It's funny because even when I was really little, it was like that textbook. That textbook trans story of like – I didn't like wearing dresses or anything. I didn't like wearing skirts. I'd be like "Ew" like, "pink is a girl color." Like, oh my god, I remember being in literally like kindergarten and being like, "Dora the Explorer is lame. I only like Go Diego Go." Like, like that is some non cisgender, child activities and behaviors I would say. Like when you're a kid, you don't really like, know what gender is, like, in depth, you kind of just have those surface level associations of like, pink and blue and Dora and Go Diego Go, it's like, stupid shit like that. Yeah, it wasn't until like puberty, that the bad, like gender roles started to go into play because like, pre puberty, like in childhood, it's like, I just had friends who were guys. And it's like, sexual dimorphism isn't really a thing until you're older. And I was athletic, like I said, so I was like a sporty like, Tomboy kind of thing. And that's just what I was for a while. But I didn't know that like being trans was like a thing that happens or that you could be, I was just like, yeah, I guess my gender is my body. And my brain is a little bit not the same. I don't know. It's like, like I said, it's – kids don't really know what gender is. So that was the extent of that.


Levi  6:41  

When do you feel like things shifted?


Angelo  6:43  

Puberty for many reasons. Because that was around the time my parents got divorced. So it was like, that was a mental journey in and of itself. A lot of what's the word like, withdrawing inward. Not for – not for like good reasons. But it's like, you know, once you're there, it's like, you sort of do a lot of reflection and like, finding, that's when I was like – I've always been an internet kid. But it's like, that's when I started discovering, like, LGBT stuff on the internet. And that was probably when like, dysphoria first happened, like the first dysphoric experiences started to happen. Because like, like I said, you go through puberty, and it's like, oh, I am different. And I don't like it. Like, this is not what I wanted to happen kind of thing. It's like, you don't know that when you're a kid. But yeah, that's when the dark ages occurred. The Dark Ages, the bad times.


Levi  7:46  

Mhm. Do you have – I know you gave a couple. But do you have any like specific other memories or like moments from your childhood that like, illustrate gender, gender identity, or the way you were experiencing it?


Angelo  8:02  

Yeah, no, I mean, like, going further into my like, friend group and stuff is like, I was super tomboyish and I hung out with like, exclusively guys, I had like a couple, like, friends who were girls who were like, also sporty. But I didn't really do that many like girl things. Like the sleepovers I had were like sleepovers with guys. And it was very much a sort of like one of the boys thing at the moment. But in hindsight, it's – I wasn't one of the boys, I was the boys. Like we – I was the boys. I wasn't just one of them. I was them. [LAUGHS].


Levi  8:45  

[LAUGHS] What?


Angelo  8:47  

You've never heard like, about the girl who's like one of the boys. 


Levi  8:52  

Yeah, yeah.


Angelo  8:52  

Yeah, it's like, I thought I was that. But I am the boys [OVERLAPPING: Right] that the girls are one of, you know. [OVERLAPPING: Right] Which is funny because I'm still in touch with a friend from that group, who is trans femme. And at the time, she was the boys and I was one of the boys. And now we're like, reversed. And she's one of the boys and I'm the boys. It's very funny. 


Levi  9:19  

Oh my god.


Angelo  9:20  

Oh, yeah, I love it.


Levi  9:21  

Yeah. Did your friend group like change after puberty hit?


Angelo  9:27  



Levi  9:28  

Like do you feel like people became less accep – like the boys quote unquote, became less accepting?


Angelo  9:33  

No, not really. I became less accepting of my place and if anything, I became more uncomfortable with the differences I guess. And also just like, you know, there was some – I don't know. Like cis men be acting strange. So there were just some – like I stopped being friends with those people eventually just because you know, moving and also finding like better people I guess. It was like, those are my friends that I had when I was young, and eventually just moved on to other people. But I wouldn't say they changed that much. Because of puberty. I think the changes were more like, for me. And like inward.


Levi  10:19  

So the next question is just, same as like the first general question, but can you describe like your late teenage? Or like young adult era?


Angelo  10:30  

Yeah, no. Um, should that include like, like, the whole adolescence arc? 


Levi  10:38  



Angelo  10:39  

Because like, we stopped at puberty. 


Levi  10:40  



Angelo  10:41  

So like puberty into teenager hood. Okay. Yeah. Um, well, then we get into the whole, like, questioning part. Because.


Levi  10:50  

Yeah, cause the, so the questions are like, can you describe your late teenage /  young adult life and when did you realize you were trans?


Angelo  10:58  



Levi  10:59  

Or just like what has been your journey with it? 


Angelo  11:00  

Okay. Okay. 


Levi  11:01  

I think childhood is just a very general like –


Angelo  11:03  

Okay, so answer this one into a way that can like segue into the next.  I mean, if I didn't have like that online, community and sense of self that I could express online, and exclusively online, and all the connections that I've made exclusively online, that would not have been possible without the internet, like, I could be fucking dead. It could have could have gotten to be too much for me, and I could have fucking killed myself, you know, like, it's morbid, but it's true. And, I mean, that's just a very, very personal experience. But I really do feel like the internet itself is a valuable tool. And a tool can be misused, just like any other tool, you know, like, a knife can make a delicious meal, or it can stab someone to death. You know, it's like, people make choices. And life is complicated. And there's no such thing as good and bad. Everything's relative. So that's how I feel about it. It was so bad. I hate middle schoolers. I hate high schoolers still. Not in a way that I like fault them. It's like they're they're children. And I would prefer not to interact with you, kind of way. So that being said, I was very closed off in school, but I was sort of building my own like, internet self, I guess, like the internet is where I was more comfortable expressing myself and like, I was on like, online communities of shared interests on like, Instagram, Tumblr, stuff like that. Some of those experiences were good. Some of them were not so good. But I was definitely more free to just express myself as like a person and find new interests, like back then – like now in the year 2022 anime is like mainstream back then it was like, so weird. It was such a weirdo interest to be like into anime. So like finding a whole community of people who like like the same media as mean, the same art, the same games. It was something I definitely needed in that time. And I mean, it was hard. Being a teenager, but it made me into the person I am now. So that's pretty good. I'm over it. It's over now. We got over it. We survived. 


Levi  14:04  

And then – 


Angelo  14:07  

Is that satisfactory? 


Levi  14:09  

Yeah no –


Angelo  14:09  



Levi  14:09  

I'm curious more about like how transness like, came into the picture at that age?


Angelo  14:16  

Okay. Because it was sort of like... like a... a process.


Levi  14:24  



Angelo  14:24  

Like an identity metamorphosis, because first, being exposed to LGBT stuff. I mean, funny enough, like the first real exposure you are to any sort of LGBT shit as a child is homophobia. Like the first experience you have hearing about gay people, chances are is gay people being referred to as a bad thing. Hopefully that'll change for the kids like growing up now. But back then for sure, it was like, I was like, 10 years old saying "That's gay" as an insult, like, I didn't fucking know what that means. It was just what my friend said. But, you know, going – the internet is was mainly my avenue for becoming more open minded in some ways, in other ways, it was very detrimental, but whatever. And I started out thinking that I was like, a bi girl. I was like, "Oh, you can be attracted to other people. Well, girls are cute." And then I thought I was just straight up a lesbian. Cuz...Lord knows why. Because, like, I'm not, but I don't know, I think it was just the, the nonconformity and the discomfort aspect, the whole like, I am not in my own skin, and trying to navigate that. And then it was – it was like romantic attraction first and then gender. Because that – once I had, like, sort of explored the whole spectrum of attraction was when I was like, well, I don't really feel like me. Like, I was already – well back then and even now it's like stranger danger. Like you're being taught about internet safety. Like don't use your real name online. So my, my online names, my online persona, if you will, like the names I wanted to choose, were not like feminine, like at the very minimum, they were neutral. So I – I was – it went from like, I don't know like Demi girl like, I guess I'm a female but not really, to like, they/them. Some they/them slay slayage. Like I thought I was like agender and then like, and then we start going towards like Demi boy like non binary but masc leaning. And here we are. I'm just a guy. I straight up –


Levi  17:07  

Just a dude. 


Angelo  17:08  

Just some dude now. Literally just some guy.


Levi  17:13  

I'm curious, like more about how your artwork shapes your identity. Um–


Angelo  17:20  

Oh, yeah. Cuz like –


Levi  17:21  

If you could talk more about like, your persona.


Angelo  17:25  

Yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah. Oh my god. No, it's actually, it's so cute in hindsight that I have the same little guy that I did when I was like, 14, but he's changed like with me, because um, I was into art. And I started out only drawing like cats because I was really into Warrior Cats. And like, I was – I was what they call a wolf girl. Back in the day. Yeah, and there's like this meme where it's like, "All the quote unquote wolf girls back in elementary school. Did you take your T-shot this week?" I was like, no, there's no way that is too much. But anyway. So eventually, I like got into like anime and stuff and wanted to learn how to draw people and learning how to draw people became an outlet for expressing a me who is not real, almost like, you know, projecting an image of yourself that exists in your mind and making it real. And that was a very large part of like, gender identity in the sense that I could physically draw what I wish I looked like, I guess, and um, my art's always had a lot of like anime influences. And I mentioned at the beginning that I really love – I love animals, animals are – it was like the first thing that came to mind of like, what makes me happy. So my persona ever since I was really young has been this cat boy named Jin or at least that's the name that I came up with and kept for him for a long long time. Nowadays, I just call him my Cat Boy. And I toy with possible names for him like Angel and Lalo but mostly I just call him my Cat Boy. And, yeah, no, he shaped my self image a lot. At least mentally, like in some ways, it was like – not necessarily – sort of perpetuating dysphoria in a way because it was like, it highlighted the differences between my actual self and my ideal self which can be really painful when you are so far away from it. And there's nothing you can do about it. Um, and my my Cat Boy, he started out pretty masc. He started out really different, like I said, like really different to what I actually am. And something that's nice that I've noticed is that over the years, he's gotten closer and closer to me. I don't like, I guess like mentally mentally like metaphorically but also like, in resemblance like physical resemblance like, especially like body type wise like, I used to have him physically be, like I said a lot more masc, I imagined him as a cis male. And he was like, taller, like, I'm like, short, but he was like, what, like five foot eight. He wasn't like super tall because he was like, a short guy. But, you know, I was still insecure about being too short of a guy, like too short to be a guy because I still thought that like dysphoria and gender were like, they had to coexist – like physical dysphoria rather. Nowadays, I definitely think that gender is more of a social phenomenon and dysphoria, even physical dysphoria is rooted in like social principles. And with that, his physical appearance has changed a lot. He's more feminine now. He is trans as well, like we're both trans, king, good for him. And like he doesn't even – it – it depen – sometimes I draw him flat chested, sometimes I don't, it just depends on the mood. But um, my art has definitely gotten a lot less like – it's gotten more expressive in a way that's just less sad I guess. It's like, I'd always used it as an outlet of expression. But I was expressing some like darker emotions back when I was like, less happy evidently. And over the years sort of reflected my like, journey of self discovery. It's very cool. It's like a little artistic time capsule almost. So yeah, that's the like gist of it.


Levi  22:04  

Yeah. I can't get over the fucking wolf girl thing because I was such a wolf girl.


Angelo  22:09  

It's so much isn't it? It's like the biggest call out of all time. Like whoever wrote that post needs to get out of my brain.


Levi  22:16  

Like I literally wanted to, like, go run into the forest and be like transf –


Angelo  22:19  

I would howl. I howled.


Levi  22:22  



Angelo  22:23  

Yeah. No, we, we like, and like I had a best friend in like third grade who was like the vampire girl. And I was the wolf girl. It was so much. No, it was. It was amazing. 


Levi  22:33  

No I think I tried to transform at one point.


Angelo  22:35  

Yeah, me too. 


Levi  22:36  

On the internet, yeah.


Angelo  22:37  

Yeah, it was like how to become a wolf or whatever. Like, yeah, no, I had all the wolf books. [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] Like it was. It was really something


Levi  22:44  

Oh my god. So funny. 


Angelo  22:46



Levi  22:47

Because I never thought about that as trans, but like when you said that I was just like, oh my god. 


Angelo  22:52  

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah, I don't know. Shout out to all the wolf girls take your T shot.



[OVERLAPPING] Yeah. Take it this week. 


Angelo  22:57  

Yeah. Take your T shot.


Levi  23:00

Okay, um, okay, so that's the life experience section.


Angelo  23:04  

Wow, that's my whole life. 


Levi  23:06  

That's your whole life.


Angelo  23:06  

I didn't know that. Thank you. I guess it kind of is.


Levi  23:10  

A little bit. I mean, is there anything else you want to talk about from like childhood or early life or self discovery? There's other questions that will tap into it, but yeah.


Angelo  23:21  

Um, yeah, I guess I should talk about the video game part because there's like the two halves, it's like the video games and the art. Because those are two very, there's a chasm between those two communities in the like demographic, because you will find if you play online multiplayer video games, gamers are fucking deranged, they are twisted, especially in terms of like, gender shit, and like, there's a lot of very bigoted gamers out there. And it was quite humorous, you know, quite unpleasant at times, well, oftentimes humorous, because, like, one of two things would happen, it would be like – in terms of negative experiences, like a lot – sometimes people were just normal, especially like in a video game setting like, sometimes. And now hear me out sometimes people just play the game and work together. It's crazy. I know. But sometimes they have a lapse in judgment and I don't know like get personal for whatever fucking reason like people who are angry do not think normally and you know, their their true colors come out. And one of two things will happen when people try to berate you and you are a untransitioned trans person who, you know, and like growing up I was a pretty like picture picturesque like, trans man like archetype in that I was – I never really identified with like girls stuff, quote, unquote. So a lot of the a lot of my inflection was already pretty male, I would say is the best way to put it and…


Levi  25:05



Angelo  25:10  

He's chillin. Okay, I got – oh my god. He's literally a baby. Okay, okay, I'm so sorry.


Levi  25:28  

[OVERLAPPING] I was gonna ask, were you on like headsets with these people so like you could hear their voices.


Angelo  25:33  

Yeah, yeah. 


Levi  25:33  

Oh, okay.


Angelo  25:34  

No, there's like, there's like in-game comms and stuff. And that's the thing. That is, that is where the magic happens, so to speak. Yeah. And it's like people would hear my voice and oh my god, if I had $1 for every time some weirdo asked me if I'm a boy or a girl, I would like actually get guillotined for being a class trader, because I would have so much money. And I don't know, it's just so – it's so – it's such a weird question like, who the fuck cares, first of all. Like, that question in and of itself is already rooted in misogyny. And that's the most tame one. Like, like, we're playing a video game. On the internet. We have ingame avatars, like, we're in the future. Like, we are making pixels move on our screen that are associated with 3d models that are like fucking like, articulated, and have hitboxes and interact with an in-game world. And you care about my fucking gender in real life? Like, get a grip, get into it. It's so strange. And like I said, That's the tamest interaction possible. Because then from that we get into like, weird shit. Like, people being like, straight up, misogynistic, or like, berating you. Like there – every so often. People would. I mean, it was pretty frequent. It was like 50/50. It was either like blatant misogyny or like people saying, I was like, a little little boy past his bedtime, or some shit like that. You know what I mean? Like, people just thought I was like, a 12 year old when I was just like, 16 or 15. Like, at one – at one point I was 12, but I wasn't really into games when I was that young. It was more like, middle adolescence, like 14, 15, 16, 17 onward. So people thought I was like, 12, like, prepubescent boy or a woman. And if you're a woman, that's like, the worst thing you can be on the internet, or, especially in video games that are blatantly misogynist spaces like that. And honestly, being trans has given me a lot of insight as to, like the video game market and like, how closed minded and like ignorant – not even like, their own fault a lot of the time, like gamers are – like, have you ever heard – have you ever heard someone say that girls don't play video games? Yeah, right? 


Levi  28:09  



Angelo  28:10  

And it's like, the that view is perpetuated in gaming spaces, less so now than it used to thank God. But it was like girls don't play games. And to this day, a lot of people say that the girls who do play games are bad at them. Like they're not – like girls aren't good at video games. And it's so stupid because it like fuels their misogyny, their like views on men somehow being – well quote unquote men – somehow being biologically better at some things than women are. But it's all social conditioning. Like my friends when I was younger, my male friend group that I talked about in elementary school, like they were – they played like Call of Duty and shit. And it's like that stuff, especially when they're when you're that young and your view on gender is so like narrow and based on, you know, social conditioning and material objects and things that are perceived in the real world. Like, kids, like girls play with Barbies, and boys play with Hot Wheels. Like that's how it was. And you don't think about it any more than that. And, you know, being the girl that played with Hot Wheels, so to speak, you sort of realize that it's like girls are not bad at video games. Girls were not marketed video games as children, and don't have years and years and years of pretending to commit war crimes on a screen. They were doing heinous women activities like brushing hair on a doll, you know, like, and that's not their fault. It doesn't speak to their character nor their skill set. It speaks to their social environment. And I didn't realize that this wasn't common knowledge. I thought that men knew – like cis men knew this, like cis gamers knew this and just chose to ignore it and be misogynist anyway. But I remember having a conversation. I don't even remember who it was. One of my very good gamer friends, I guess. And it wasn't that long ago. [UNINTELLIGIBLE] Like, two, three years ago, maybe max. One of my male friends might have might have been my boyfriend, honestly. I just remember talking about how like growing up even though I play games now, like, I'm trans, so that just wasn't marketed to me. And they were like, really? I was like, you don't know that? Like, why do you think girls don't play video games? Like why do you think people think girls are bad at video games? It's not that they're bad at them. It's just that they don't play them until much later and they realize that they can do what they want and that they're their own their own person and they can have their own interests on their own volition. And like – look at that fucking spider. Oh my god.


Levi  31:05

[OVERLAPPING] Oh my god. Also there’s a bug on your neck.


Angelo  31:10

Get rid of it. 


Levi  31:10

It’s not a big one it’s not – 


Angelo  31:10

Get rid of it.


Levi  31:11

Okay. Okay it’s off.


Angelo  31:12

Okay. Dude that is the biggest spider I’ve ever seen.


Levi  31:18

It’s got something in its web.


Angelo  31:20

Yeah, can we intermission? I need to like, videota – video this 


Levi  31:24

Say something. 


Angelo  31:25



Levi  31:27



Angelo  31:30

Yeah, I think it's good. 


Levi  31:32

Say something again. 


Angelo  31:33



Levi 31:34  

Hi. Do you think it's working? 


Angelo  31:36 

Yeah. [CLAPS] Yeah, it's good. 


Levi  31:43  



Angelo  31:44



Levi  31:45

I'm just nervous. 


Angelo  31:46  

Okay, what's next? 


Levi  31:48  

Is it working?


Angelo  31:50  

Hello. It's definitely working.


Levi  31:53 

You think?


Angelo  31:53  

[OVERLAPPING] It's definitely – Look at this. Hello. It's definitely working.


Levi  31:57

[OVERLAPPING] Hello. Okay, yeah it is. [LAUGHS] Okay. You were talking fuck you were talking about gaming?


Angelo  31:05   

Oh, yeah. No, I was talking about. No, yeah. Like, it really did not occur to me how it was not common knowledge that the reason there's more boys who get into video games than girls is because that is how capitalism works and that's how marketing just is. And still is. It's like guns and killing and, and camouflage and war and the army. It's like, of course that's going to be marketed towards, like, men quote unquote, like women are still like, women couldn't fucking be in the army until like, 50 fucking years ago, like, of course, you know. But yeah, that is just yet another way that consumerism and gendered marketing has perpetuated misogyny in the modern world. And I thought that was just a cool little nugget of insight that I would not have had if I was not in this specific situation of being a trans guy.


Levi  33:12  

I honestly thought that like. ‘Cause like, what were they thinking? That they had better fingers? Like thumbs? 


Angelo  33:22 

No, right?


Levi  33:22  

Like, I just –


Angelo  33:23  

Well, I think it's the hand eye coordination thing. 


Levi  33:25  



Angelo  33:26 

Yeah. Like, oh, like, women can't play sports because they're, like, inferior kind of thing. [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] I think it's like the same line of thinking. Like, it's all bullshit. But, um, for video games it's even dumber. 


Levi  33:41

Yeah, no, because like, you're just sitting.


Angelo  33:43  

You're just sitting on your ass with your hands on a mouse and keyboard. Like, you are actually below me for that. I'm gonna be real.


Levi  33:52  

Did you co – Like when people asked "Are you a boy or girl?" would you answer?


Angelo  33:57  

Sometimes, but I learned over the years that there is no right answer. 


Levi  34:02  



Angelo  34:02

It's like, they're just figuring out how to harass you. They're just figuring out whether to be misogynistic or not. They're still going to berate you. I just stopped answering at one point. But yeah, I used to. And now nowadays, like if, I mean, I don't get asked anymore, like, my voice passes. But like, in the like, ladder phase of that era, let's call it that. I would like be funny about it. I'd be like, I'd be like, "Whatever you want. Whatever you want me to be." Or like, I'd be like, "Ask your father he'll know." Shit like that. [OVERLAPPING: Oh my god] Because, like, there's no right answer. [LAUGHS] Like these people will not – they do not actually care. 


Levi  34:46  

Ask your father.


Angelo  34:48 

Or some shit like "Depends on the mood," like, and sometimes I'd straight up be like, "Who cares play the game," you know, if I just wasn't having it. But sometimes, I'll do a little trolling. But yeah, that's how I would deal with that. 


Levi  35:03 



Angelo  35:04  

Yeah that’s kind of funny. Oh shit, I should [UNINTELLIGIBLE]


Levi  35:06  

No you're good. Okay. So, in terms of – the next one is talking about like identity. So, first question is like what terminology if any, do you identify with?


Angelo  35:20 

Trans masc, trans guy, trans man, guy, boy. Male individual, human of the male gender, etc, etc. Creature definitely a little creature. [LAUGHS]


Levi  35:39

You def are.


Angelo  35:40 

Yeah, I identify as a creature. Oh, no, they're gonna get her web. Okay, keep going.


Levi  35:46  

And why do you self identify as said [UNINTELLIGIBLE] –


Angelo  35:50  

Um, because that's what I am. Yeah. Like I don't know. I've like thoroughly deconstructed gender as the societal and biological concept over the past what 10 years? Like, um, like I've you know, I've I feel like I've gone through the whole spectrum of being trans medicalist and being completely separate from trans as a physical – like I've gone from you don't have trans – your – you don't have to, fuck oh my god, you're not trans if you don't have dysphoria, I've gone from that extreme to like physical, like physical dysphoria has nothing to do with transness. And I've sort of navigated my way into a healthy middle ground of acknowledging all of the components of gender, the biological aspect, the social aspect, the physiological stuff, like the hormonal stuff, it's like, it all creates a picture. And that picture says, do whatever the fuck you want. Gender is whatever the hell you decide it is, because there's people who just listen to what they think gender, no, they are told what gender is, and they just believe it and don't think anything else about it. And then they get uncomfortable when they have to think about what it is. And that's the basis of transphobia. Because if someone else is confident in their gender, but their gender is not what you think it is, then that means there might be something wrong with you, and how you think, and that is not something that people like, that is – the subconscious is very conservative, and very self interested in a way that is not really that constructive. So people would rather cocoon themselves in their own harmful beliefs than bother to deconstruct them and argue with themselves, so to speak. Because that's what's safe and comfortable. But, um, I guess to loop it back to the question, I self identify as a transmasc guy, because that is what I am. And that is what my social, biological physiological experience reflects about me.


Levi  38:16

So you kind of touched on this, but like, what are your feelings around identity terms? And I guess, like the weight that they can carry?


Angelo  37:26  

Yeah, no, I think they're good. Um, I think self identifying is good. I think labeling other people is just a product of the ego and the subconscious and the way we develop our world, as we grow up. I mentioned the subconscious is very conservative and and concerned with its own self interest, and does not like to be uncomfortable. So people will have a tendency to label people based on preconceptions, and that's when the bad part of quote unquote bad part of labeling comes in. Because when people self identifying with labels, no matter what they are, no matter from what angle they come from, even harmful even like TERF-y stuff, like people identifying themselves as like, women with like a y or like an [UNINTELLIGIBLE], like uterus havers, it's like, even shit like that. It's like you're trying to understand yourself, you're trying to understand the world, you're trying to understand what you believe in. And even if you're misguided, it's like that's just a part of being human. And I think, to label, no pun intended, those terms as wrong or incorrect, is invalidating someone else's experience. And if you're invalidating someone else's truth, then you cannot really formulate your own truth. Like you need to understand other people, in order to be honest with yourself, I think. That's how I feel.


Levi  40:20

How do you define gender for yourself?


Angelo  40:24

Um, oh, man, that's the fucking million dollar question ain't it. I think gender, okay, for everyone else, I guess it's whatever the hell you want. For me, gender is the combination of – it's the combination of socialization, physicality, and your own psychological experience within those social norms and within your physical body. It's like all three of those things together. So for me, gender has been about – again, to have like a concrete example – it's like I was born with this body. I grew up believing certain things. And psychologically, it created, there was some sort of dissonance there. Um, and the – my gender experience has primarily been finding harmony between social expectations and actual earthly material things. And a lot of that is very abstract. You know, it's like, that's why people can get away with believing that gender is purely biological is because when people don't understand things, especially high concept like abstract ideas, they'll default to these really stiff and strict mechanistic principles of existence, like biology and science, but not science in like a pre-enlightenment sense of like, correspondence, but rather, in a causal, a causal way, a very, one plus one equals two way. And if you think otherwise, you're breaking a rule. There's a lot of rules. And it's very limited and restrictive. I feel like identity and gender for me, has been at its best when all these like complicated things sort of are allowed to flow into each other and sort of not being at either extreme. I'm not like – your body – you need to do XYZ to to be trans, you need to hate these things by your body to be trans. But I'm also like, I'm not like, sex is a social construct. Like, we have genitals, we have – biological sex is it's not a binary, but it's like, there's two binary norms, I guess. And it's like, you can't pretend that's not the case. But you can navigate around that in a way that's very fluid. So I guess that's what gender is, to me, overall, is a fluidity of experience. And it's very much a structure. It's not – it's multifaceted, for sure.


Levi  43:34

What would you say that your gender? Okay, so I have like, kind of a string of questions. 


Angelo  43:40

That's okay. 


Levi  43:40

That like might be silly for some people and like really deep for others.


Angelo  43:43

No, let's get into it. 


Levi  43:44



Angelo  43:45  

[OVERLAPPING] Let's get into it. 


Levi  43:46

Like, so. The string of questions is like, what does your gender look like, taste like, if you could evoke it through something non human, how would you describe it?


Angelo  43:55

I love it. [LAUGHS] No, I love it. Okay. What's it look like?


Levi  44:00

You can answer any of these.


Angelo  43:03

Okay, I think [OVERLAPPING: Let me see] okay, no, I think I'm going to just answer it like, all at once. 


Levi  44:10 

All at once. Yeah.


Angelo  41:10

Yeah, gender. 


Levi  44:11

That's kinda how it – yeah.


Angelo  44:12  

My gender is like, I would just put a picture of like, My Cat Boy, you know, it's like, it's, it's fun, and it's silly. And it doesn't care what other people think. It's like, it smells like the fruitiest soap in the men's in the men's like, hygiene section. It's like, it's, it's like there's all these if – my gender is like you're going through the like, the cologne section, and it's all like, timberwood and like, gasoline, and like mine is the one that's like the beach. [LAUGHS] That's my gender. Um, so yeah, it's very silly. If it was an animal, it would be a cat because I like cats. But it's like a, like a live cat like a slink – he's slinking around. But he's also fluffy. Just like insert picture of my cat boy. That's – that's, that's a gender.


Levi  45:18

I will. Okay. Yeah, I don't know how I would answer this question. Honestly. [LAUGHS]


Angelo  45:26 

No, it's fun. Because those sorts of questions make you think about how gender really is nothing. 


Levi  45:32  



Angelo  45:32

Like you look at something that is like – like, not even human. And you're like, wow, that's such a gender right there. You know what I mean? It's like, I see a dog. Like people see dogs and associate them with masculinity. And they associate cats with femininity. Like I wasn't even thinking about that. But that's something that like, cis people do, you know? So it's like people already associate gender with non human objects. So. And I think it's a totally valid question to ask. I think it's, um, it's just telling to how nonconformist someone's view of gender is based on how they answer that question. I think it's a good question.


Levi  46:11 

The next question is kind of similar. But it's like what does transness mean to you, right now, I guess, like aesthetically?


Angelo  46:19



Levi  46:20 



Angelo  46:20  

Um, I guess it would be expressing yourself outside of what's expected, specifically for your gender. I think transness can sort of, I don't know, because like the LGBT experience is very much interrelated. And it's like, there are plenty of butch women who even use like he/him pronouns, but they still identify as female, but they're not trans, but I would sort of factor their experience into something to consider in terms of the trans experience. You know, like things like pronouns are not gendered are really hard for people to wrap their head around. But I sort of look at it like in the same way that colors are non gendered. And yet we still associate them with gender, like, pink is not a gendered color, but we are still socialized to believe that it is, and those two facts can coexist. Same with pronouns. So I think transness, to me, is just a umbrella term for gender nonconformity. And gender nonconformity is expressing yourself and your gender in a way that was not taught when you were raised to be the norm. And thankfully, those norms are getting less and less restrictive over time. And I sort of have this like, belief that if we didn't have these social norms, like people wouldn't even have to identify as trans because it wouldn't be so black and white as to what being a man is and what being a woman is, like you wouldn't have to distinguish that. But that's just my theory. I'll be dead before we see a world like that. But that's okay.


Levi  48:18

And I was curious, like, how transness has like changed for you going on HRT the last year?


Angelo  48:31 

Hm – that's


Levi  48:32  

Like anything.


Angelo  48:33

Yeah. Because…


Levi  48:34 

I remember you just have talked about it a little bit.


Angelo  48:36  

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah. So on HRT transness itself has not changed, because I sort of came to peace with gender, and how it co coincides with, you know, social norms, like I was saying, before I went on HRT, because I sort of had to deal with the reality that I couldn't transition for a long time when I was a lot younger. And I came to peace with the fact that I could still be male in a body that was very traditionally feminine. Like, it's very much a choice to open yourself up to that that view. But going on HRT allowed me to express my views more, because it's like, I have believed for a while that feminine men, especially feminine trans men, are just as, like valid and necessary to have out in this world being themselves as any other man. But dysphoria is still very much a thing and like, not aligning myself, like the just the idea that it's easier to perceive me as female, even if I know that I'm not, it's like, it brings discomfort, regardless of, of whether or not you believe other people's perspectives to be valid, it's like they're still there. And that's sort of what I mean about you need to understand other people in order to understand yourself, because you can't discredit the concept of gender dysphoria, if you don't understand why it exists. And with that being said, actually transitioning has allowed me to, you know, dress more femininely. I've been, I feel more comfortable, like, being fruity on the internet, especially because once I stopped being mistaken for a girl, like ever, then I can start yassifiyng you know, like, like, be like getting a little fruity with it. Because I don't have to worry about being coded as female, which happens a lot in gamer circles. Um, it's very much a like the socialization part that has changed the most from HRT, I would say.


Levi  51:08  

So you feel like you were trying to present more like, masculine [UNINTELLIGIBLE]


Angelo  51:11

[OVERLAPPING] Like yeah, before Yeah, yeah, yeah. Or I just like wouldn't care. Because one of my one of my ways of coping for not being able to express myself the way I was was to just not express myself at all. You know, it's just like, wear the most like plain clothes and like, well, I can't pull off what I want to pull off anyway, so I'll just wear whatever the fuck kind of thing. So straying away from that and you know paying more – like listening to my heart a little more and being like, oh, I like this, and I'm just gonna wear it because I like it. And not because it's gendered or whatever kind of thing. So that's cool.


Levi  51:52

Oh, and the last question of this section is what is something that gives you gender euphoria?


Angelo  52:03

That's a good one. 


Levi  52:04



Angelo  52:06 

Because there's so many things, you know, it's like I would say, nowadays, because it's like, there's a lot of like little things like there's a lot of things that are like rooted in traditional masculinity. It's like, wow, I finally can do this. It's like, I finally have like, scrappy chin hair, but it's like, that's not that's not like the pinnacle of gender. I guess just like, I don't know just, like be like walking out here here like wearing wearing this. Just like wearing cute clothes and knowing that I'm not wearing those clothes like a woman, I guess. It's like, just knowing that I'm operating outside of social norms is like gender euphoric for me. It's kind of crazy. It's funny. So yeah, that's like my broadest answer, I think. 


Levi  53:04

Okay, let's let's take a quick break.


Levi  53:09

Testing, testing


Angelo  53:12

You know, the old plug, unplug it, unplug it and plug it back in.


Levi  53:14

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah, no, literally, it's harder to tell out here because there's more like white noise like if you're inside.


Angelo  53:20 

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah, I'm a gamer so I can tell ya. 


Levi  53:27 

Okay, yeah, Okay, so. 


Angelo  53:29 

[OVERLAPPING] Penis. Hehehe. Okay.


Levi  53:31

Oh my god. [LAUGHS] That's gonna be the main line I'm gonna use for the poetry.


Angelo  53:36  

Thank you. Thank you. I'm here all night.


Levi  53:41

Okay, so the next one is about generational shifts. So how would you describe like, the generation that you are in? Honestly, I'm liking these questions – the generation part of this less and less. But I'm just gonna ask them anyways.


Angelo  53:52

No, I like it ‘cause I really identify with my generation. The Zoomers? Yeah, we're zoomers, get over it. No, I think I think our generation is super interesting because, um, you know, the first generation that grew up with technology. It's very reflective in our, like, culture and in like our sense of humor and stuff. And this is just in general, right. Not just like, in terms of the LGBT community. Just in general? Yeah. Okay.


Levi  54:29

Oh, you were asking? Sorry I thought you were saying.


Angelo  54:30

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah. No, I was asking. 


Levi  54:31 

Yeah, yeah just in general.


Angelo  54:32

Yeah no, we're very tech savvy. We are, I would say on average, more open minded. I feel like the non open minded Zoomers are – they to an extent close themselves off. Like bigoted Zoomers like have the access and the resources to understand that the way they think is not correct, and could be different and could change. But they kind of choose to ignore them. I don't know about you, but like, I have deconstructed like alt right arguments extensively, like not just looking at a straw man and laughing at them, you know, not just being like look at this idiot who thinks the world is flat kind of thing. Like being like – like going in like, why would someone believe this wholeheartedly? And how – what proves that the way I think is better kind of thing. What is the empirical evidence that there's more merit to my way of thinking – which there is, it's there. And it's not my fucking job to teach these people. So I sort of let them live their their quote, unquote, truth, if that's what they want to call it. Because I know, at the end of the day, I'm happier, you know, but thankfully, overall, I think our generation is pretty open minded and jaded, unfortunately, like, I feel like this is the first generation that grew up being like, so there's imminent doom on our entire planet. And we just have to live with that. And everyone is sort of like navigating that in their own in their own way. And it's very difficult, but we're still here, we're still kicking.


Levi  56:26  

Have you? How do you feel like your generation has sort of shaped like, queerness and gender? And do you think, like, have you seen things change over the course of your lifetime?


Angelo  56:37

Yes, yes. Yes. I literally, it's kind of like how I was talking about, like, how anime used to be really underground. So was LGBT, like, being LGBT and being open about it was like not common. It's gotten progressively more common, especially throughout the late 2010s and 2010s. Because of the, the internet boom, like, people had – there's – I mean, an alt right – alt right, people will use this as a derogatory word, but they have their safe spaces. You know? It's like, there are spaces on the internet and there will be spaces on the internet, full of like minded people who are like not afraid to be themselves because it's safe. Like, they don't have to worry about some random dickhead, like beating the shit out of them – for the most extreme example. And like, even in my lifetime, there has been a shift in like, how many people you just see, you know, identifying outside of the norm. And there's just more and more young, younger and younger people who are like not afraid to be themselves and that's like so awesome to me.


Lily  57:55

What do you hope is like the future for being trans?


Angelo  57:59

I hope it keeps going in the direction that I feel like it has been going in that. Like I said, people have been getting more and more open to these things. And it's been more and more normalized. And those roots of misogyny and homophobia and transphobia, they're still there, along with other arguably even more detrimental systems of oppression, like racism and classism. And I mean, intersectional, like oppression, is a whole other fucking can of worms. But the point is, like, at the very least, people nowadays are more aware of it. Like people who have been in their bubble for a long time, especially like past generations, before the internet didn't really have the means to access the vast expanse of experience, like human experience. And nowadays, like, there's more emphasis on like, diversity and like, appreciating culture, and just validating each other's experiences as humans. And it's like, I want that to continue. I really hope it does.


Levi  59:16

So are you like, pro the internet overall? [UNINTELLIGIBLE]


Angelo  59:20

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like, why why not? 


Levi  59:20

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah. I'm just curious. I'm just curious. I feel like a lot of people aren't. 


Angelo  59:26 

Yeah, but it's like, I think it's a choice to ignore the good that the internet has done. There's obviously a lot of things that are bad about the internet, the internet, just how it has allowed people to be more open minded, it has allowed some people to close themselves off from reality, like these alt right circles on the internet. It's like a fucking cult. It's like, there are people out there in these spaces who make it as difficult as possible – it's like a pipeline, it's like they're fed certain information, and they could – like the people being fed this information – could be none the wiser, that it's very much deliberate and sinister, and inhibits their understanding of the world. Because they are taught that other people's understandings of the world can be wrong, when the reality is that discrediting someone else's truth is discrediting a facet of your truth, because their experience is a part of yours, whether you like it or not. So that obviously is very bad. But it's an active and conscious choice to ignore the overwhelmingly positive things that the internet has done for so many people. I mean, if I didn't have like that online, community and sense of self that I could express online, and exclusively online, and all the connections that I've made exclusively online, that would not have been possible without the internet, like, I could be fucking dead. It could have could have gotten to be too much for me, and I could have fucking killed myself, you know, like, it's morbid, but it's true. And, I mean, that's just a very, very personal experience. But I really do feel like the internet itself is a valuable tool. And a tool can be misused, just like any other tool, you know, like, a knife can make a delicious meal, or it can stab someone to death. You know, it's like, people make choices. And life is complicated. And there's no such thing as good and bad. Everything's relative. So that's how I feel about it.


Levi  1:01:39

I feel like that kind of goes into the next section. But where do you or have you sought care and community as a trans person? 


Angelo  1:01:48  

Yeah, no, it does, it does connect to, to the last one, because the internet is like a huge place. And honestly, like, as a Zoomer, who was chronically online growing up, it's like, that was where most of the care came from, because you never know, in real life. Like, if you just drop that information, you don't know how they're gonna feel about it. Whereas on the internet, and especially with like profiles and stuff, it's like, that's prerequisite information. It's like you don't meet someone and then find out, it's like, you meet someone after you find out. Whereas like, you meet someone in real life, and it's like, you don't know anything except for what you see directly in front of you. You don't have the – the pronouns and bio I guess [LAUGHS] kind of thing. It's like on Twitter, you go online, you go on someone's bio, you go on their page, and you kind of get an immediate sense of who they are. And that brings – it definitely brings a sense of like security, because you know that you are among like minded people. And thankfully, because I live in the city, by chance, some of these people that I met online, I got to like meet in real life and we're like best friends you know. And I'm so grateful for that man. It's like I met, like, I had some of the best like summers of my entire life, like, being able to actually interact with these like minded people that I met on the internet. ‘Cause um, don't get me wrong, I was just saying how like, the internet and like, online interactions can do wonders for somebody, there really is no replacement for physical connection. Like, we're social animals, and we're programmed to get, like, fulfillment out of being together physically. Like, it goes back to when we were like chimpanzees, you know, like picking like bugs out of each other's fur and shit. You know, it's like, it's there, it's very real. And being able to experience that is super valuable to me. But I wouldn't have had that without the internet, to be fair. So luckily, I've been able to find community in both internet online spaces and my personal IRL spaces. But those two are very much like interconnected, I would say.


Levi  1:04:17 

How do you feel about like New York, as a grounding location or like a physical space or community?


Angelo  1:04:22

[OVERLAPPING] It is, it is the place, I think, if you're LGBT, New York is the place to be. Cities in general, are very, are very good, because more people naturally means different people. You know, it's like, we are recovering from a segregated world. And, to an extent, a lot of the country is still segregated, especially in suburbs, because suburbs were built for white people, there's no tiptoeing around that, that is a fact. And when that's the model for most of the country, it still has that sort of like, sanitized, like white, quote, unquote, clean, like, concealing something sinister vibe, and there's just less people there. So like, statistically, it's very, it's more likely that you're gonna have the same old, same old, whereas in these like densely populated areas, and some like fringe cases with like, little, like LGBT towns, like there's some very queer towns, but like cities, there's so many people that one of them's going to be gay, like, you put five people in a room, okay, maybe one of them is gay, you put 100 people in a room one of them is gay, you know, that kind of thing. So, New York in particular, is so like, dense and it's like, the Northeast has always been kind of progressive. So it's just like a catalyst for all things good, in my opinion. It's like, could be better, obviously, like, there's, I'm not saying it's a utopia, like New York has plenty of problems. But I think if you're LGBT in New York, that's one of the best places you can be in the country to be gay, or trans or anything in between.


Levi  1:06:26

Okay, next question is also kind of take it as you will. But like, what do like? So where you find care and community right? [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] So what do those like people spaces slash places look like and or feel like?


Angelo  1:06:40

It feels like, it feels like more organic, it feels like a place that you don't have to keep your shoes on. You know what I mean? It's like [LAUGHS] you – the way you like, nodded your head, I'm so glad that resonated with you. [LAUGHS] It's like the comfort that you feel when you're in a place that's clean and safe. And you can take off your fucking shoes and relax. It's like, you don't have to worry about putting on an image to impress people or please people. You know, it's like, a place where you can just unapologetically be yourself. That's what it feels like.


Levi  1:07:15

And how has your community impacted you?


Angelo  1:07:19

Well, yeah, no, because like, I want to be honest and give the full breadth of like, good and bad because there were times where I accidentally got myself into communities that harmed my my views of the world and made me really jaded and harsh towards people who thought different than me, you know, kind of like the transmedicalist [UNINTELLIGIBLE] like thing, like me for a while thinking that, I don't know like, just because you have community doesn't mean you've all got it like together. Like transmedicalists and people who think that gender and being trans is all about the physical and biological experiences are not only lying to themselves, but are basically just rewording cis rhetoric, you know, it's like, you're just conforming to a standard that has always and will always oppress you. And these standards are never ones that you're going to fit whether you like it or not, no matter how hard you try, you will never be cis. So instead of like lamenting that, why not embrace it, you know, like. And that's where community does good is finding like minded and open – more importantly, open minded people who are willing to hear your experiences and share layers and sort of widen your worldview. And that has, like, turned me into the person I am now. I feel like connection, like human connection even like, at my worst, most introverted times in my life, have been like, so important to just like my survival, you know, like, we're, we're social animals we’re monkeys, we're bald monkeys who can talk. And that will never change. And we – our – it's in our, like, genetic code to seek care from one another. And so in a way, like, the community and like the internet, and all the people I've met over the years have fulfilled like a biological, deep need and you know, it's like, a core part of my happiness, I guess. Very important to me. A little voice crack there [LAUGHS]


Levi  1:09:50

[LAUGHS] Okay, well, that's all the questions I wrote. Is there anything else you wanted to talk about? [OVERLAPPING: Um] We can draft any other questions together if you want to pause as well.


Angelo  1:10:00

No questions. But my my closing thoughts? 


Levi  1:10:02



Angelo  1:10:05

If you're not trans, you should be. [LAUGHS] Why not? Try it out? It's fun. No, just kidding.


Levi  1:10:15

That's your closing thoughts..


Angelo  1:10:16



Levi  1:10:16 



Angelo  1:10:18

Yeah, my closing thoughts are that trans people do it better. No, but maybe yeah. Think about it. [LAUGHS] Do with that what you will. 


Levi  1:10:30



Angelo  1:10:31



Levi  1:10:31

Do with that what you will.

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