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M: Interview Transcript


Levi  0:01  

Can you say something? 


M  0:02  

Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello.


Levi  0:04  

Okay. Yeah. Okay. Wait say something again.


M  0:09  

Hey. My name is M, I guess.


Levi  0:13  

Hello Hello? Hello Hello? Hello Hello. Okay, I'm just looking at the waveline.


M  0:21  



Levi  0:21  

We're here at Riverside Park with M, age 24 on August 24, 2022 Okay. I think we're good. Okay. What is your name?


M  0:45  

My name is M.


Levi  0:47  

What is your age? 


M  0:48  



Levi  0:51  

These are just like, starter questions.


M  0:53  

Yeah [LAUGHS] 


Levi  0:54  

What is something that brings you joy?


M  0:56  

Oh. A lot of things, a lot of things bring me joy. I like I really like learning something new, or like diving into like a task that's like really complex. I like like a lot of little details about stuff that like I'm probably never going to use. But yeah, that – pizza too. Pizza brings me joy.


Levi  1:20  

Where is a place that holds meaning to you?


M  1:23  

Mm. A place that holds meaning to me. I would say there's a spot that like I  – that like I rest a lot. That holds meaning to me. DR holds meaning to me. But you know not necessarily like in the same way like very different ways that it holds meaning to me. Yeah.


Levi  1:59  

Ready for life, life experience. 


M  2:01  

Uh huh.


Levi  2:02  

Okay. Can you describe your early childhood in whatever way you please. However much detail you please.


M  2:11  

Okay. My early childhood, I grew up in the Bronx. And I would say. My early childhood, I struggled a little bit in school. I felt like when I came into school, I didn't really know that much English. And it was definitely like it felt like a struggle a little bit learning at first. And then later on, I like started to do pretty well in school. And it was like, I was I was pretty much, I was mostly an introvert I guess. Yeah, I was like, I was like the shy kid. But also very nerdy, I'd say.


Levi  3:13  

So these questions can kind of be asked together. But it's really a question about like, what gender was like, when you were a kid or like how it was presented to you. So how – there's a few questions that go with it. But like, how did you – you can answer, How did you experience the gender binary? Or lack thereof? What did it mean to be a man quote unquote, or a woman? Or like what expectations were placed upon you as like a young person assigned male at birth?


M  3:42  

Yeah. Like the gender binary, the way I felt when I was growing up as a kid was like, at least for men that it was supposed to be like, men are very stoic. Men are like, confident and competent. Right? And like, they don't really need help. And they're not really supposed to show emotion. Right? That was like, a lot of what I kind of had instilled as a kid. And, also, there was a lot of, strangely, a lot of homophobia surrounding being a man at the time as well. Like, I remember, like, one experience I had too, like, when I was younger was, like, really young, like, I think, like, five years old or something, or, yeah, like when I'm five years old, somebody asked if I was gay, or if I like, or if I like, liked another kid. And I was like, yeah, I like them and they were like, oh, no, he's, you know, they were, they were like, so uh – they were, they were making a big deal out of it. So it was like, very early on, I was kind of like, okay, now I realize that like, this is not socially acceptable. And then even that, you know, that extended to much later as well. Right? Like growing up, like, you were very, like, it was very socially stigmatized, at least in my neighborhood around where I, where I lived. It was like, I knew people that were just, like, suspected to be gay, and they had no friends. And, you know, people didn't even want to touch them. You know what I mean? It's like, it was extremely ostracizing. Being trans didn't really seem like, like it was on the table. Yeah.


Levi  5:47  

Do you have any other memories about gender when you were a child?


M  5:55  

Yeah, like, a lot of it, I guess, is like, related to my sister too actually and what she told – what she used – would tell me about, you know, gender and how she perceived it, which was kind of like, you know, things that I was allowed to do, she wasn't, right? Because my parents didn't think it would be safe for her. But they felt like it would be fine for me just because I was a boy. You know, mostly related to like hanging out with friends or certain stuff like that. Yeah.


Levi  6:36  

How did you know. How did you know that, you were not like, quote unquote, a man.


M  6:48  

Yeah, I think that was like, around 13/14 ish. I just, I was like, very frustrated at the time with the concept of like, masculinity, or like, what it meant to be a man. You know, and, like, just so many associations that come along with it, right. It didn't feel like it fit me. And, you know, it's around that time that I was kind of like, why, you know, why am I trying to, like fit myself into this box that I don't think fits me. I'd rather just, you know, be myself. And if that happens to lineup. Cool. If it doesn't, that's completely fine, too. And I don't want to, like, match anyone's image of what a man is. There's so many like archetypes of it too. And if you know if somebody feels like I'm not a man, that's that's fine. Right? It's like, that's completely fine. I don't want to be.


Levi  8:03  

Did you come to that conclusion, like on your own terms, or did you consume any media? 


M  8:08  



Levi  8:08  

Or it was really just a feeling?


M  8:10  

Yeah, I think I actually came to that mostly on my own terms actually. It was like just frustrating growing up like the concept of masculinity, like like, you know, like not showing many – much emotion, of like always being like confident and everything or like you know, not needing help stuff like that. And you know, to some degree, it's like... yeah, I'm sure like I felt like you know, I was influenced of course by like media and stuff growing up or like depictions of a man that I didn't feel quite fit me. That was definitely part of the frustration but I never really had like media growing up that was like okay, well if you're not a man you can be something else right? That was that was very much like nowhere in my sphere at the time.


Levi  9:13  

Sorry, I'm like literally eating this up. 


M  9:17  

[LAUGHING] It looks good. 


Levi  9:17  

I'm like licking my lips.


M  9:18  

It's – no you're good.


Levi  9:22  



M  9:22  

I have to get that one next time. 


Levi  9:23  

I was afraid this would happen if I got boba so it's fine, I'm just – as long as I don't make a lot of noise. Okay. 


M  9:31  



Levi  9:31  

Okay, again like through as much detail as you want, can you describe your like late like going into adolescence, young adulthood, that area of your life? Like set a scene?


M  9:45  

Yeah. Yeah, at that at that time. And I think I think at that time, too it's like when you kind of noticed that like a lot of masculinity is like rooted in anti femininity, you know what I mean? Yeah, or it's very much like, bad to be perceived as feminine bad to be perceived as you know, like whatever we identify as a woman. And also where that has like a weird association. Like a very weird connection to being gay, right? Even though there's like, plenty of gay men that are very masculine. You know, the, it was always like, to anyone around at that time, it was like, very, like intricately connected, right? Like, if you were feminine, you had to be gay. Because how many people like men obviously? You know. Yeah. Sorry what was the question again?


Levi  10:58  

Just like, describing –


M  11:00  

My adolescent –


Levi  11:00  

Your young adult 


M  11:00  



Levi  11:00  

Or, late teenage, young adult...?


M  11:00  

Oh, okay. Yeah, young adult, too was actually, when things that ended up changing a lot actually, like, around 16/17 ish is when I felt like things change a lot regarding culture. And you know, when people started talking about being gay more and stopped having negative connotations attached to it. That's where it was, like, more okay, for us to be like, okay, well, obviously, there's more than one type of gay man. And femininity is not necessarily attached to being gay and also femininity? Not a bad thing. [LAUGHING]


Levi  11:49  

Super crazy observation. 


M  11:51  

Crazy. Crazy. Like, who woulda thunk? I don't know. Yeah, so that's, and I mean, it's not necessarily that like, the, like, the where I grew up was, like, completely changing after, you know, gay marriage was legalized and stuff. But that was a big shift. Actually, that was like a really, really big shift. Not necessarily in terms of like, understanding gender, but definitely in terms of like separating gender from sexuality, and being not so homophobic and transphobic actually. Yeah.


Levi  12:45  

When did you start, like, when did you start exploring, like trans identity? And I guess, what has been your journey with that?


M  12:56  

Mmm. Yeah, so I guess. Like, I didn't realize I was trans or at least I didn't identify as trans until like, like a year ago. Even though for like, 10 years, I had pretty much felt non binary. And I mean, I really only had started identifying as non binary, like, a few years ago. You know, like, before that I just, you know both didn't really have the words for it, or at least didn't like realize that like, I could identify as non binary and like, be taken seriously. In a community where that's like, very, not okay, in general. Yeah, it took me a while to find community where I could feel comfortable and safe. Yeah. Sorry, I feel like I missed the question again.


Levi  14:02  

It's okay. When did you realize you were trans?


M  14:06  

Yes. Like a year ago, like around a year ago is when I realized I was trans but in reality, I've been like, having those feelings for 10 years. But it took me, it really, it really took me a while to understand what that meant fully.


Levi  14:24  

What do you think like it took for you to to reach that point of understanding – like more community or more knowledge or both?


M  14:32  

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Both. It took me like, it took – a lot of it was the community a lot of it was like, meeting other people who are trans right and hearing their experiences and you know, learning about what it means to be cis versus what it means to be trans and like understanding that like, just not being cis is being trans Um, yeah, that that was if I if I hadn't like had community and hadn't met people who already had solidified these concepts. I don't know how long it would have taken to be honest.


Levi  15:13  

Where did you find that community?


M  15:16  

I mostly found it in kink spaces originally, and even now actually still mostly in kink spaces as well. Because there are a lot of people in those spaces that are trans and that was where, like, you know, a lot of acceptance – it's where I found a lot of acceptance, and also where I found, like a lot of understanding of like consent and what that means and like, you know, I guess just like basic not making like assumptions about people. Yeah, that's where I found that. 


Levi  16:00  

[OTHER PEOPLE TALKING] Every bitch is out here right now. Okay, I'll get back to that when we talk about community. But yeah, so what terminology, if any, do you identify with?


M  16:17  



Levi  16:25  

We can wait. [PAUSE] And also, let me know – Oh, is there anything else like in life experience that you want to talk about? That we didn't?


M  16:43

Oh, I guess, like, regarding gender identity? Hm.



It's really just like a, in this category –


M  16:55  

Yeah. Regarding life experiences, gender identity?


Levi  16:57  

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah. We can also take a break, if you want to think about it.


M  17:08  

Yeah, I guess like. Yeah, I mean, I guess it's kind of a big thing. But, um, like, when I think of like, early childhood, or like, young, or like, teen, like, late teens. Like a lot of my lot of my experiences regarding gender identity and messing around with that has been recently. So I don't know if you want to talk about that now. Or like later.


Levi  17:37  



M  17:39  



Levi  17:39  

Wait – what is – talking about what, like –


M  17:42  

Me, like messing with gender. Is that like, just early childhood experience? Or like, just later on?


Levi  17:50  

Oh, you mean, because it happens later in your life? [OVERLAPPING: Mhm] I think, I mean, do you think these questions cover it? Like – this is talking about identity terms. So like, what do you identify with? Why? What are your feelings around gender identity? Talking about like gender abolitionist… How do you define gender? Like those kinds of things.


M  18:13  



Levi  18:14  

Or are you thinking about something? Or are you thinking about like, um.


M  18:19  

I can probably like bring it up in that conversation. Yeah.


Levi  18:24  

And I mean, you can also talk about it now. 


M  18:28  

Yeah, I guess just like, I guess like, recent experiences, more recent experiences with gender have been like, me buying like, femme clothes, right? And like, wearing femme clothes and being with my partner wearing femme clothes, and like having them be totally okay with that. Right. And they're non binary, too. And when they address me, they address me with they/them pronouns, right? Stuff like that has been like, just really. Like, it meant so much to me. Because I had, I was really not expecting that to be. You know, like, if you had told me like, 10 years ago, that that was gonna happen. I would have not believed you. Right. I would have been like, there's like, first of all, I can't imagine that that's going to be okay. But second of all, I can't imagine that like, like, why would I even want to wear femme clothes? Sometimes, but, you know, ended up being like, sometimes it's just kind of nice to take a break from presenting masc. And like feeling like I always have to present masc. But I didn't really have that like self awareness at the time to realize that. Yeah. I mean, I could talk about that more later. So.


Levi  20:01  

Honestly it's I feel like the first time that I stepped into like transness lowkey was when I met my partner. 


M  20:08  



Levi  20:09  

Because they – I didn't have any non binary or trans friends. 


M  20:14  



Levi  20:14  

Then I met them and they're non binary and trans.


M  20:17  



Levi  20:17  

And being referred to as –  I used any pronouns. 


M  20:20  

Yes. Yes. 


Levi  20:20  

Being referred to as they/them or even he/him.


M  20:24  



Levi  20:24  

I was like "Oh!" 


M  20:26  

[LAUGHING] Yeah. Yeah.


Levi  20:27  

Well you're doing it like maybe I can too, you know.


M  20:30  

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah. Yeah. Yes –


Levi  20:32  

Or like yeah anytime I explore something like with like clothing presentation or even like sexually it's just like with them so it feels very much like it's really nice to have a person to be like vulnerable in that way – like test trial things.


M  20:49  

Right yes to be vulnerable with and also to have them like mirror you know like what your – your view on yourself right? And so you're not like the only one thinking like that you're non binary there's also somebody who's like confirming yes you are right. Yeah like the same thing for me is like I go by any [pronouns] but present like very masc and so people pretty much everyone uses he/him pronouns. And so my partner was just like they or you know, addresses me they/them it's like oh, that's really that's really nice, thank you. It's like it's like a reminder every time you know you hear it. Like yeah, that's valid. Or like, sometimes like I have my hair up or something or and somebody like approaches me from behind and they're like, “Oh ma'am oh, sorry, sir.” And it's just like oh nice. This is a [LAUGHs] yeah. It's like a nice moment of like, okay, cool, I don't always like seem super masc or anything.


Levi  22:08  

I'm looking at this microphone.


Levi  22:11  

Okay, you ready for identity? 


M  22:14  



Levi  22:15  

Okay, so what terminology, if any, do you identify with?


M  22:19  

Oh, yeah. Yeah, so I identify as –


Levi  22:24  

I guess you can also include your pronouns in this since it's relevant.


M  22:26  

Yeah, so I identify as queer non binary. And I go by any pronouns. Yeah.


Levi  22:34  

Why do you self identify as said things?


M  22:41  

Yeah, like non binary because I don't feel like I really belong particularly to either of the like two mainstream kind of, you know, gender identities. I don't really feel like I particularly identify well with any concept of gender. But I'm queer as well just because it feels kind of like, like, I don't know it's like somebody recently, just like, I've been seeing more and more people recently identify as queer. And I'm like, yeah, that feels like it kind of fits me actually. Like, like, not quite in that in a like, specific bucket of like hetero or cis. Queer feels like that other bucket. And awesome too, because like, growing up, it was derogatory used used in a derogatory way, it was a slur. And I'm like, I do like the idea of like, using it in a positive way. And using it as like, I'm gonna identify as this and it's no longer like, the word doesn't have like teeth to it. Like, like it used to. It's like a sense of pride to be queer. I do like that. Taking it back.


Levi  24:19  

What are your thoughts in general about like, identity terminology? 


M  24:25

Mm. About identity terminology, like, like in what sense I guess?


Levi  24:34

Honestly, you could take this in any direction, like, the way that I think about it, often is like, the way that I think about it is often the way in which identity can – identity terminology can be narrowing. So like, when I was younger, I felt really, really, like pressed to define what my sexuality was, and leading into that, like, bigger conversations about like, who created like, LGBT and like, what those identity terms like, mean here, what they mean elsewhere? Like, how like, I don't know, like, to me, I think about like identity terminology can be helpful for community and for finding a sense of peace, but it can also like, kind of erase gender diversity. 


M  25:25  

Yeah. Yeah. 


Levi  25:27

Or like erase, like, the ability to be ambiguous and open. 


M  25:31  



Levi  25:34 

That's kind of like my thoughts on it. But – 


M  25:35  

Yeah, yeah, no, I definitely, I definitely get that, I agree that, like, it's, I like it when it's used in a way that helps, to like, I'm not sure if I have the right words for it, but like, describe, like, a possibility. Or right, like, describe something that like, may fit you like, you know, descriptive, rather than, like, prescriptive, I guess, whereas like not saying like, this is what it means to be a man, this is what it means to be a woman. This is what it means to be blank. Or it's just like, you know, people who identify as a man might identify with this. Right? That's just like, that's not saying like, you need to do this to be a man. It's just that like, a lot of men enjoy this. A lot of women enjoy that. A lot of people who are non binary feel this way. Right? There might be other ways too, because humans are like more than one thing, right? But yeah, I do like it when it's like, instead of like, providing like some kind of like – really, it's like a moral thing, right? It's like you – the right way to do it is this and the wrong way to do it is that. This like, you know, identity description is best when it doesn't throw that into the mix, I feel. Right like, I'm actually really grateful that like, people do identify as non binary, because it helped me understand more about myself, right? But if it was like, well non binary people necessarily have to never identify with any kind of gender at all, or, you know, reject all gender norms entirely right, regardless of – you know, that and then that would feel, like, very restricting, and it would feel like, okay, why did I like leave being cis, if this was just gonna be where I landed. So I'm really grateful it's not that.


Levi  27:53  

I feel like it's the same. Like, for me, I'm grateful that like trans identity is less and less so like, you have to, quote unquote, like, fully medically transition. [OVERLAPPING: Right, yeah.] And it's like, there's a wide, like, being trans is just not identifying with your assigned gender. Right. [OVERLAPPING: Right] Which could mean, you don't have to identify with another one. [OVERLAPPING: Right, right] Or you could. Yeah. I feel similar to you that way. And I also like queer, so I feel like it encompasses this broader spectrum [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] of like gender and sexuality. [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] That's not like, I don't know. Like, not necessarily co opted by anything.


M  28:35  

Yeah. Like, yes, exactly. Like I like it when it's like, good for explaining to other people how I am, not like, explaining to other people what I should be. Yeah.


Levi  28:50  

That's a good way of putting it. So I'm curious about like, your identity, as like a gender abolitionist. [OVERLAPPING: Mhm] And what that means for you. Yeah.


M  29:05 

Yeah. Yeah, for me, that feels like a lot of seeing, like, kind of like the negative effects like gender norms have had on a lot of people. Feeling like, they're limited, because of the expectations that other people have of them. Right? Like, especially like growing up too, like, I know, like, older people who. Like, oh, God, this gets into, like, so much actually. [LAUGHS] But just like, you know, my own parents, right, where it's like, my mom had like, very traditional ideas of like, what a woman was supposed to be like, and a woman's role in like, you know, cooking and cleaning, not not that they never like, not that she never, you know, did other things or like that... my parents never like, my parents were like, super, super strict on that. But that was definitely there. Right? And it was definitely, like, limiting in her perception of herself. Because, you know, it's not like she – like, she felt like she didn't have a choice, right? And I hate that. I hate people, when people feel like they either can't do something or that it's like not – that they're not that they're not capable of something, you know, that that is like, that really hurts to see that, actually, for me. Yeah, like, I don't know, I remember, in school, it's like somebody told me to like – that I was lucky that I did well on a test or something, because they couldn't do well on a test. Right? And that was like, ooh, like, I was – that hurt me a lot to hear, like, to hear somebody be like, I can't learn this. Right? Like, I'm incapable, that – that has nothing to do with – that had nothing to do with gender. But that was just like, you know, to kind of, like, piggyback off of that feeling. That's like, that's how, you know, I feel like hurt too, when other people are, like, you know, because of my gender, I can't – I can't do whatever, right? I can't not have a kid like I have to have a kid because of my gender. Or I can't, you know, dress femme or have emotion or I can't do this or that because it wouldn't be right of me to do it. Right? And it's like, this literally – this hurts literally no one, right? So like the fact that like, you know, you feel like you can't, that like is really hurtful, and that's why – sorry – [UNINTELLIGIBLE] a long, long detour [OVERLAPPING: You're good] to like gender abolitionism but like that's  why, right? It's like that feeling of like, like, wow, like this is like really hurting people. Right? And we should really – I would love it, right, if it was like, oh, but we can just have like positive associations with your gender, you know, positive associations with gender norms, and then like, cut out the negative. Right, like I had, I knew a teacher who, whenever she wrote her name in her papers, she wrote it as a man's name, like, a male version of her name, because she didn't want to get discriminated against right? You know, when she was writing her papers growing up, and that's like, that's wild to me. And it's true, it's like, that's still going on. Really, there's still discrimination in regard – in that field, and in all fields really, but I don't know, if we're gonna be able to cut the negative and keep the positive, you know, the positive being people identifying with their gender bringing them some sort of euphoria, or I think I think we can, but, you know, for me gender abolitionism – I don't, I don't want like, there to be no gender for anyone, because a lot of people really actually do enjoy identifying as a gender or like archetypes that are associated with the gender. So I don't really, really want like, no gender allowed. [LAUGHS] But I do want to, like, take a drastic, like, sort of axe to the to gender as we know it. In gender norms, gender expectations, as we know it. Yeah.


Levi  34:17  

How do you define or understand gender for yourself? Like –


M  34:22 



Levi  34:23  

To - you know, in your like relearning of all of this.


M  34:26

Yeah. For me, I don't really feel like particularly to any gender, right, I don't feel like any particular side. But I do like, you know, occasionally, like the feeling that comes with like dressing femme or like, being identified as femme. Or, or sometimes, like, you know, even masc stuff, sometimes. Very rarely. [LAUGHS] But, you know, once in a blue moon. But yeah I don't, for the most part I don't like identifying with either gender or like being perceived, especially being perceived as a – by other people as a man. And all those expectations that come with it. 


Levi  35:28 

So this question, sorry, go ahead.


M  35:30  

Oh yeah, sorry, if like, some of these answers are too long, too, I'm like.


Levi  35:33

No no they're not, they're not. That's like the point. 


M  35:34  

OK. Cool.


Levi  35:35  

Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so this question, and you also don't have to – this appeals to some people and doesn't appeal to others. But like, this is a string of questions, you can answer any one of them or none. So it's like, what is your gender – It's kind of like a little activity. It's like, what does your gender sound like or taste like or look like? Or? 


M  35:56  

Oh, yeah.


Levi  35:57  

Another example is, like, if you could evoke it through something non human, like, how would you describe it?


M  36:03 

Oh, yeah. Yeah, lacking gender? Is uh... I do like those, like, those memes where it's like, oh, here are my non binary friends: A cat, an angel, a demon from the void, [LAUGHS] and you know, like, stuff like that, like, I do like, or like a fairy tale, you know? [LAUGHS] I do like those memes. Like that's a – because in a sense it's like, you know, my gender, at least for me, my gender is like, not there. And so it's nice to be like, just like gender being synonymous with like expression, like self expression. Yeah, so like, I guess it feels sort of like being free to be myself and not really too concerned about what expectations people have of me regarding like, the genitals I was born with. 


Levi  37:20  

So this question was kind of getting at some stuff you talked about before. And you can answer it in any way you choose. But it's about aesthetics and presentation and how they've impacted your experience. I was curious about like, we talked before about just feeling like sometimes like you're perceived by like even close friends or people like just because you don't present aesthetically a certain way all the time. But you could also talk about like when you do, present in non conforming ways


M  37:50  



Levi  37:57  



M  37:59  

Crickets – oh it's like cutting me off at certain points. Or?


Levi  38:02  

Speak again.


M  38:02  



Levi  38:02  

Hello. Hello, hello.


M  38:11  

[OVERLAPPING] Hello, hello. Hello.


Levi  38:13  

Hello. Hello. Okay, now it's working. 


M  38:15  

Okay, awesome.


Levi  38:15  

Okay. Because it's like, it shouldn't be showing my voice as louder than yours. [UNINTELLIGIBLE]


M  38:20  

Oh. Oh, maybe because I'm like not pointed down. Oh okay.


Levi  38:24  

No, no no. You're good. 


M  38:24  

Okay, cool. 


Levi  38:25  

It's just the mic was off. 


M  38:26



Levi  38:27  

We're back. Okay, so if you could answer that question from beginning about how has aesthetics and presentation...?


M  38:32  

Yeah. Oh, wow, yeah. Right how it's like, it's still a lot of like situations where I don't feel comfortable presenting gender nonconforming. Yeah, I just don't feel like you know a lot environments that are really safe or welcoming. Or, you know, I mean, or like, the environment might be, but like, you know, my home is not necessarily and so it's like, it would be difficult for me to do so like, you know, be it, a while ago, like me and my sister were buying makeup in a store. And some guy came in like ranting about, like drag queens and like a bunch of transphobic stuff. And yeah, now that experience was just like, well, I'm glad I came here with my sister. Because if I come on my own, I don't know, like, how that would have went down. Right? Or, you know, so it's just, it's very difficult to feel comfortable when people are, like, still ready to be like, violent. And harassing. You know, just for being trans, right? Just for like, not conforming, people are literally ready to be violent. Yeah. [LAUGHS] Sorry what was – what was the question?


Levi  40:18  

The question is about like – 


M  40:20  

Oh, impacted my experience. Yeah.


Levi  40:21  



M  40:23  

[LAUGHS] Yeah, but so in the moments that I have, this kind of goes into the next question, actually, as well, where it's like, it's kind of been like really... yeah, it has been like euphoric, when I can be gender non conforming, right, like be identified as such, or, you know, sometimes present as femme. I'm not sure if it's like I just sometimes like that, or if it's just a break from presenting masc that's really, really amazing for me. Because, yeah, that – it is it is amazing to like, not have to pretend, I guess, you know, not have to like mask as masc. [LAUGHS] Yeah.


Levi  41:14  

And I'm curious if you could talk more about like, pronouns and like, feeling – like using any pronouns, [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] and having – or like how you feel like you're perceived. I remember, like, last time we were talking about, like, even like friends who have – who will – who you feel like still see you [OVERLAPPING: Right] – like, even though they know that you're non binary, [OVERLAPPING: Right right] like because of what they see or what they can, like, refer to you as? [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] You feel like they don't necessarily believe it? I don't know.


M  41:43 

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, recently, I had a friend like. And I know, they were just joking. But it was like, in a way that I wasn't comfortable with where, you know, they were like, you know, "if you do if you do, if you don't do this, then you're like a man, you're acting like a man." Right? And it's like that, you know, maybe to some people like that I'm comfortable with that joke, but with that specific person I was like, no [UNINTELLIGIBLE] no, we're not, we're not going to do that. Right? Because it's like, like, I need you to know that, like, I really don't identify as a man not like, you know, I know I go by any pronouns, but I really, really don't identify as a man and we're not gonna see me as a man, right? Like that needs to be made clear. And, you know, like I wasn't entirely convinced that they didn't see me as a man right? If I if I felt like completely secure in that, then that joke probably would have been fine. But you know, I wasn't completely secure in that and that's why I felt like a little rough. Yeah, and you know, to, like, have a lot of friends like I grew up with, that are still like, figuring out that non binary is a valid thing that exists. And, you know, I still love them, but like, you know, to what extent they're, you know, fully realized that I'm not even sure. Right in some cases. Yeah. Sorry I forgot again where I was. But yeah, right and so any pronouns, right. And so like, the reason I identify with any pronouns is because it really doesn't matter to me like, like, you know, man, woman, or neither, like, it doesn't, I don't feel like I'm on. I don't feel like I'm leaning more towards one or the other. And, you know, I consider using they/them, you know, if I don't use "any" [pronouns] in the future, I'll probably be using they/them. But for right now, I feel like "any" [pronouns] is a good way of me saying like, like, hey, I don't feel particularly masculine or feminine. So you can use – if you feel like, you see me, non binary, go ahead, say whatever. But if you feel like you see me femme go ahead, say whatever. Right? Like I don't, it doesn't. It doesn't matter to me, as long as you know that how I identify and you respect that, right. Yeah, so like, as long as you understand that I'm non binary. And that's the way I feel. You know, I don't care. Like if, in a conversation, you occasionally say like, he she or they, right. It doesn't matter to me.


Levi  44:53 

Cool. And, any other – wait let's see –


M  44:56 

Yeah, sorry. I’m all over the place. 


Levi  44:58

No you're good. Yeah. So – oh you answered the gender euphoria? And what is, I guess, yeah. What do you hope for yourself in the future? [OVERLAPPING: Um] In regards to gender?


M  45:12  

Yeah, like, I don't know. Like, I'm wondering, like, I've been considering taking HRT, so I might do that at some point. I definitely want to be involved in like, more community events and stuff with other trans people, other queer people. Yeah, that – those are – I think those are the two main things, this is what I'm looking forward to in the future.


Levi  45:42  

We can go into the community and come back to the generation.


M  45:45  



Levi  45:47 

 So I remember we've talked about a couple of things before, but just how has the kink community like influenced your gender identity? [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] And also another thing I'm curious about is just how the kink community and gender identity overlap in general.


M  46:04

Yeah, like, majorly, really.


Levi  46:07

Yeah. Okay, yeah. Wait. [PAUSE] Wait. It's on. 


M  46:23  



Levi  46:23  

Say Hello.


M & Levi 46:24  

[OVERLAPPING] Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello, hello. Hello. Hello. 


Levi  46:35  

Speak again.


M  46:36  

Speaking again.


Levi  46:38  

Speaking again. Okay. Yeah, it's working. Sorry I'm just paranoid because I'm like – [UNINTELLIGIBLE]


M  46:42  

[OVERLAPPING] No that's okay. Yeah, no, I feel you because yes, no, I absolutely feel that. [OVERLAPPING: Okay. Okay] It's never the same the second time you do it so. Anyway. [LAUGHS]


Levi  46:48  

Yeah. Okay so kink community. [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] And also I remember you mentioning wrestling. If you want to talk about that.


M  46:53  

Yeah. Yeah, that's like, it's been massively influential, actually, on my conception of like, gender and my understanding of gender. Just because I guess like, partially too, because I'm like, I'm not really super into social media. And so I'm not like seeing all the different conversations and stuff that people have on there, you know, regarding gender. And so a lot of it is like, shaped by like, person to person interactions. And that's like, the first place I was in that was like, yeah, you can just be non binary, right? 


Levi  47:33  

The kink community or wrestling?


M  47:35  

Wrestling, but it was like, actually part of the kink community, like wrestling event part of the kink – anyway. Yeah. And then later on, also, actually, I mean, you know, my local, local [REDACTED] has like, a bunch of trans people and you know, a lot of non binary people as well actually and that was the – I'm not sure which event I went to first. But I think I went like in close succession. That's another place where I was like, okay, yeah, this – everybody here is... so that's cool. But yeah, that that was like, the wrestling event was the first event where I went to and then they just went around and did pronouns. That was that was a thing too, like just doing pronouns was like, oh, okay, cool. And one person was like, yeah, they/them. And I was like, Oh, I can, you can do that. Okay, cool. Like I was like, okay, next time fuck he/him. I'm gonna figure out what I want to say that's not he/him. Because it's – I definitely don't identify as he/him. And I didn't know that it was okay to not identify I he/him. [LAUGHS] Yeah, so that was, it was massively, because that was just like, the first place where there was acceptance. Even though like, I know, there was like, acceptance in other communities. You know, I'm sure, like, if I found like, a space for people who were LGBTQ, I would have found acceptance there as well. I mean, in high school, the closest thing was a gay straight alliance. Which I'm not sure. [LAUGHS] Yeah, I don't think – I don't know if I would have found acceptance as a non binary person at the time. But probably in college, you know. But, you know, at the time, you know, I didn't even really know, understand fully, like, non binary was a thing. Like, I knew trans people were a thing, but I didn't know that like, there was like, a whole separate thing as well. Where you could just be neither. And that was okay. Yeah, so it took me it took me a while to realize that I was non binary, and also that I was trans. Because I had to, like, actually be in person with people and talk to them and realize that they were too.


Levi  50:05  

Yeah, so I mean, I guess you've talked a little bit about this but where has – or where, yeah, where else do you seek, like, care and community as a trans person? Or is it mainly the kink scene?


M  50:19  

Yeah, honestly, it's just mainly the kink scene that's like, it's, I also would not have expected that [LAUGHS] like growing up, but that is mainly where I find it. There are occasionally times though, like, we're like, through other people that I've met in the kink scene, they have friends that are, you know, non binary, and like, I find in community through them, or like, you know, weirdly enough sometimes, like on dating apps, I find people that are like, non binary, and then, you know, they're not into kink. And I'm like, whoa, and then I mean, some of them have gotten into kink since then. But you know, that's not the point. That's not the point. But like sometimes, you know, I do find some community like, without that, but I guess also, like, sometimes art scenes, yeah, like community like art events and stuff, I see people that are non binary, a decent amount of time, or, like, just trans in general, a decent amount of the time. Like, you know, drink and draws and stuff like that.


Levi  51:29  

What do you think is the overlap between like, the kink community and gender non conformity?


M  51:35  

It's, I feel, for me, at least, it feels pretty high. It feels like pretty, very strong, though, you know, I think that's just because that's like my bubble, right? It's like, that's the bubble that I've seen. Like, very often, because that's like, the groups that I feel comfortable with, and you said like to be a part of. But it's definitely much, much, much, much, much, much higher than I've seen, like, in a lot of other vanilla groups. So like, I've, you know, been to like events where it's just like, everyone, there is queer, everyone, there is trans. And there's like, 40 plus people there or something, you know. Or it's like, oh okay, cool, this is like a whole, like, a whole thing.


Levi  52:18 

I guess I'm like, Why do you like what do you think is like the value or like cultural overlap there?


M  52:24  

Yeah, I'm not sure. 


Levi  52:27 

If there is one.


M  52:28  

I'm not sure. Like, honestly, because there's like, a lot of kinky people are also like nerdy and like to play like D&D. Stuff like that. And I'm like, no idea why, to be honest, I could not tell you. But I mean, kink scene does involve a lot of consent and communication. So that might be part of it, where it's like, hey, we should communicate about just how we feel in general, right, and how we feel in regards to a scene. And, you know, it's like pretty, I don't know, it's good for people who, you know, maybe want to be referred to a certain way, right? You know, if you're trans, then maybe you prefer certain terms for your body or you prefer certain terms in general for yourself, pronouns, right? It's like that – those are things that like, they just ask about and they just communicate on, right. And so it's like, okay, cool. This is like, way better than just winging it and like, having, like, my feelings hurt. And then like, you know, not figuring out like, how to talk about it, because we weren't supposed to talk about it. Because whatever norms outside of that, you know, it's like, yeah, like, I like talking about it beforehand. And like making sure we communicate boundaries and stuff. And that might be part of it.


Levi  53:52  

Yeah. Yeah, I was thinking like, I'm not even part of this community so this is [UNINTELLIGIBLE] But I don't know I was just thinking about like, people who I guess. I feel like it's like, once you step outside of like, one expected box, [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] it's easier to [OVERLAPPING: Oh true] to explore more. [OVERLAPPING: True true true] So like once I identified as queer, like, more doors opened for me [OVERLAPPING: Yeah] in terms of gender because it's like, you're already not conforming in one way.


M  54:21  

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah, no, that's so true. That's so true.


Levi  54:23  

So it's like, okay, well, I'm already like, not accepted. societally so like. You know, like, why not look into the other options?


M  54:33  

No, yeah, that's yeah, like, that's so true in the sense of like, I feel like in the sense of, like, yeah, like, I'm already like, non conforming in the sense of like, gender. And it's like, this is like non conforming, in terms of like sexuality, right. Yeah, I think it's – I think that – I think that makes a lot of sense, actually. Yeah, I could definitely see that.


Levi  55:00  

Mhm. How has like wrestling the wrestling community influenced your life, I guess or like finding – or like, is that like, a safe space for you?


M  55:09  

For me? Yeah, for me. And I'm not even sure if it's like, I mean, wrestling group that, like, I'm, like, a part of, you know, used to do like queer practices, and they still do actually do queer practices. And that's really cool. Just the idea that like, like, hey, this is a space that's, like, safe for people who might not feel comfortable in a gym, right? Like, just because like, of other people that are like, cis/het, you know, the certain expectations certain feelings, or, like, you know, they might feel uncomfortable. You know, if they don't want to encounter people who are necessarily like transphobic while they're trying, just trying to like live their life and like, learn something fun and cool. So yeah, it's like, that's been a pretty nice safe space for me, actually. And like, I actually meet like, a bunch of people who are like, queer from there. And it's always nice to just like, you know before we like wrestle, like, ask them their pronouns. They'll be like, something, whatever it is, and I'll be like, oh, yeah, cool. They'll ask me, and I'm like, any and I'm like, okay, cool. This is like, you know, if I say like, oh, whatever move they did on me. He she, you know, and like it's not even like it comes up like super often. It's just like, nice to like, know, this is like a safe space. Yeah.


Levi  56:41 

And like, what does it feel like or look like to like, be in a space where you feel like in community?


M  56:48  

Oh. It's really relieving. I would say. Yeah, really just, like, I feel I feel this with [REDACTED] too where it's like, just very, like, okay, I can, I can breathe. I'm not like, I don't have to worry about if I'm meeting somebody's expectation, if I'm going to be harassed. Right? If... yeah, I can just, it's like another layer that kind of comes off. Right? I don't know there's like a lot of layers sometimes that you put on to like fit within other people's view. And that's like, okay, this is like a layer I can shed and it's a pretty heavy layer. Right. So I really, really appreciate having that space.


Levi  57:53  

Similar question, but just how has your community impacted you? 


M  57:56  

Yeah. I feel like it's definitely like made me more thoughtful. Made me more considerate. You know, I really appreciate like it expanding my worldview and perspective and like, making me think and question myself and how I feel how I identify how other people feel and identify. You know, and in taking something that like, you know, questioning like what's valid? Yeah. Realizing, yeah, it is valid to feel and identify this way. I'm like really, really grateful for that actually. Yeah, and I hope it keeps challenging my worldview, and it keeps making me better. I really appreciate that. Yeah.


Levi  58:54

Anything else about community or I realized I didn't stop after identity? 


M  58:58  

Oh, okay.


Levi  58:58  

That you feel like you didn't, that you want to talk about that you didn't? [OVERLAPPING: Mmm] Community and identity terms.


M  59:11  

Yeah, anything more about community that I want to talk about?


Levi  59:15  

Or also like the identity section, too. 


M  59:18  

Oh, right. 


Levi  59:19  

But you can [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. Because the only other section we have left is the generational so we can just take a pause. Yeah.


M  59:28  

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah. Can we take a small pause?


Levi  59:30  



Levi  59:32

OK, try now. 


M  59:34  



Levi  59:35  



M  59:36  



Levi  59:36  

Okay yeah it's working.


M  59:37 



Levi  59:38  

Okay. [OVERLAPPING: Mm] How would you describe your generation? [OVERLAPPING: Uh] It's a lackluster question.


M  59:48  

[OVERLAPPING] [LAUGHS] Yeah. I guess I identify like, you know, kind of like with millennial. You know, it's hard. Like, in terms of like, in general, I guess my generation is like, dealing with a lot of just kind of, like, BS, like, you know, we're definitely like, realizing, in general how the system is like, the system, like of the country in general is like, very not for us, doesn't represent our values in a lot of ways. And so, we're seeking for, like, both societal change, like, in like culture, and like, to be represented, like, you know, better legally. Yeah, but like, yeah, so I think it's like, a lot of frustration, I guess of like, seeing how we want things to change and not feeling like we necessarily have the representation we need to make those changes. But like, being very aware, being very aware. 


Levi  1:01:05  

How has your generation shaped transness?


M  1:01:12  

Yeah, I think it's probably made it. Yeah, like, it's hard to say, I think with Gen Z as well, I feel like has also played a big part in this, but like, making it more socially acceptable making it, you know, obviously paved the way by the generation before by, you know, the trans community in the generation before, but like, I feel like, you know, this is like, the start of like, really growing. Really growing that it's like societally okay to be trans. It's societally like okay to be, you know, just gender non conforming or identifying as you know a gender that you weren't assigned at birth. Yeah, I think I think we're playing a big part of that right now. Through like social media and standards in the workplace and stuff like that.


Levi  1:02:32  

Have you seen societal conceptions of gender shift in your lifetime?


M  1:02:37  

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Definitely. Just, you know, just like, the concept of being okay with being trans or okay with being gender non conforming, having people like have their pronouns, right? Like, I go to like workspaces and you know, it's like, "okay, put your name and your pronouns and your, whatever your email, your whatever" it's like, you know, it's like little stuff like that that doesn't necessarily you know, it's not like it ma – it's not like the workplace is now trans friendly, right? Like that little corporate bullshit doesn't make a workplace trans friendly. But it gets it gets the conversation started, right. You know whereas prior to that, like I, you know, there would be like no chance of me like telling anyone I'm anything other than a man. It opens the door to like in some spaces I might be able to identify as non binary or with they/them pronouns, right? And actually, like you know, it opens the door. But there has to be obviously a lot of work done before before I'm really going to be comfortable, like, like the last job I was at, there was no way I was telling anyone I was trans, even though that was like something that you know, corporate was like, oh, yeah, you can, you can be trans you can be you know, put your pronouns down. You know, at my individual worksite, that was not happening. But – and I'm glad like I'm sure somebody at corporate could have done that. Right. And I'm sure like, it will open the door for people later on to do that.


Levi  1:04:40  

Similar question to what you hope for yourself, but like, what do you hope for the future for trans people?


M  1:04:46  

Oh, yeah, I mean, I hope like I hope it's just like a lot of people feel more comfortable


Levi  1:04:58  

[LAUGHS] It's okay, we'll hear you.


M 1:05:01  

Okay, yeah, I just hope a lot of people feel more [OVERLAPPING: Oh my God] [LAUGHS]. I hope a lot –


Levi  1:05:11  

Okay, maybe we’ll wait a second. [LAUGHS] Like it'll – because I can also edit it down, the background noise [UNINTELLIGIBLE] But you know –


M  1:05:20  

[OVERLAPPING] Yeah. I feel like that's more work for you though. 


Levi  1:05:25  

That's true.


M  1:05:31  

It's just it is pretty persistent. 


Levi  1:05:34  

Yeah. [PAUSE] Okay. 


M  1:05:46  



Levi  1:05:46  

That's enough.


M  1:05:47  

Yeah. Yeah, I do feel like yeah, I hope, what I hope for people?


Levi  1:05:55



M  1:05:55  

Yeah. I would become – just like, a lot more people feel comfortable identifying as trans if they feel trans, right. Like, that's, that's what I'm, like, hoping, and you know, like, trans kids, right, feel comfortable identifying as trans if they feel trans, that people won't be discriminated against when they decide to, like, express that they are trans, right? Because there's so much like just discrimination. So much like self denial, right? Like, so many people feel like, oh God, if I'm trans, if my brother or sister is trans, if you know, people start identifying as trans then you know, whatever catastrophizing they come up with, right? And it's like it's literally just the same as it ever was, right? It's literally the same, these people were already trans. They just didn't feel comfortable saying they were trans, nobody gets hurt because in fact, a lot of people get help, right? Because they start identifying as trans they can feel comfortable you know, identifying more with the gender that they feel is right for them or that they – or not identifying with gender that was given to them, right? Yeah, that's – finding acceptance and being comfortable in your skin is like it's gonna make me so happy when that – more and more people feel that way. Yeah.


Levi  1:07:46

Any closing thoughts? Anything else on your on your mind?


M  1:07:51

Yeah, thank you for doing this. 


Levi  1:07:53  



M  1:07:55  

Yeah, This – I've never been like a part of something like this and that was actually it's feeling really cool to kind of like express my feelings on this and it helps me actually to like think of like, how I feel about it and process that. So thank you a lot for doing this.


Levi 1:08:11

Yeah. Thank you for participating.


M 1:08:13



Levi 1:08:15


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