TRANSCRIPT: TransLash Podcast Episode 32, ‘Healthcare Open Season for Trans People’

Imara Jones: Hi, fam. It’s Imara. Welcome to the TransLash Podcast. A show where we tell trans stories to save trans lives. Well, it’s officially that season of the year. No, we’re not talking about the holidays, but healthcare open season, the time of the year when health plans, both public and private, open up to new members and new customers.

Now, for most people, choosing the right provider is incredibly stressful. It wouldn’t have to be that way if we had a single-payer system. I’m just saying. But for trans people, that’s even doubly so. Whether it’s hormones and surgeries, or something completely unrelated like a basic checkup, transgender people face so many barriers and finding competent, affirming care.

We have to be educators and advocates, as well as patients. It’s a lie. The good news is that there are more and more options becoming available to us, but there are always complexities and trade-offs. That’s why today, we’re talking with 2 trans medical professionals, who’ve taken very different approaches to expanding health care options for trans people outside of traditional medical institutions.

First, we have Dr. Jerrica Kirkley. She’s a co-founder of Plume, a startup. It’s a company that offers access to hormone replacement therapy for a flat monthly fee. 

Jerrica Kirkley: Can we ever just completely walk away from the institutions that exist? Whether that’s the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance industry, maybe not.

Imara: Then we talked to Dallas Ducar. She’s the CEO of Transhealth Northampton, a clinic in rural Massachusetts that provides comprehensive health care for trans and gender-diverse people.

Dallas Ducar: I’m really happy that there are organizations out there that are doing the work of expanding gender-affirming care, whether they are an app or a brick-and-mortar clinic. But what I am a little concerned about is the growing number of spaces that are only offering private pay versus working with insurers.

Imara: But before we get started, let’s celebrate some trans joy. ‘Tis the season.

Imara: Why we fight for broad systemic change? There are so many trans people who still have unmet health care needs and something that brings me joy is seeing people in our community take action. That’s why I want to highlight the work of the Transformative Freedom Fund. It’s a grassroots organization in Colorado helping trans people access transition-related care through fundraising. Since 2017, they’ve raised nearly $150,000 which has helped 53 people in Colorado get care. 

Marvyn Allen is a co-founder of the Transformative Freedom Fund that remember how powerful it was to hear about the impact the fund was having and one of the group’s first fundraisers.

Marvyn Allen: Our second fundraiser in 2018 was our first fundraiser where we had fund recipients there at the… at the fundraiser, and we had reached out to fund recipients asking if anyone would be interested in sharing their story as part of the event. And I think we had one person, but then, while they were sharing their story, many other folks were like, “Oh, I wanna share mine now too.”

And so our amazing, uh, emcee, she was running around, getting a little bit of a bio from the folks who we hadn’t planned on sharing their story so she could introduce them. And as she was introducing one of our fund recipients, she ended it a future business owner. That really struck me because I felt like that’s a lot of what our work is about, is enabling folks to get this life-changing, life-saving care so that they can think about what’s next for me.

Imara: Marvyn, you and the organizers of the Transformative Freedom Fund, are trans’ joy. Now, to the heart of the program.

Today, I’m joined by Dr. Jerrica Kirkley, the co-founder of Plume. Dr. Kirkley is a queer trans woman, doctor and startup founder based in Denver, Colorado. Her company is one of a few relatively new telehealth startups aimed at providing gender-affirming care for trans people.

Once in 2019, Plume is available in 33 states. They offer a monthly subscription that gives access to a doctor who can prescribe hormone therapy medications. Dr. Kirkley, thank you so much for joining me.

Jerrica: Yeah. Thanks, Imara. I’m really happy and honored to be here. I appreciate you having me on. 

Imara: Thank you. So we’re doing this program as a part of our recognition that it’s healthcare open season for people, and people are out there making a lot of choices. So that’s kind of the background for our conversation. But before we get into that, I wanted to just ask you, what was the intersection for you and realizing that you were trans and had a medical dream and how that eventually led to you being an entrepreneur in the healthcare space?

Jerrica: Early on, I had been thinking about a career in medicine when I was in high school and, and I love the, the service aspect of it, uh, you know, helping people in my community. But in college, I really began to see medicine as a vehicle for social justice and change, and that, sort of, set my trajectory. Of course, I had no idea I’d be doing this now [laughs] 10 or 15 years ago, but I knew I always wanted to find ways to uplift the community around me.

So that became the, the driver for me from a healthcare standpoint. And you know that intersection personally is, is interesting because, you know, I came out a little bit later when I was going through my residency as a physician. It’s the first time I really was able to provide gender-affirming care, and there was a, a lack of, uh, gender-affirming care access in the clinic I was in as there were in many places, and so built out a curriculum to teach residents and, and other faculty, and train physicians how to provide gender-affirming care.

We started doing that and a lot of people started coming in to the clinic. And being a part of that care process was so powerful. And I was not out at that time and still going through my own journey and process. But I think being a part of that journey with other people, with other trans folks over a period of the next, you know, 7 to 10 years really helped me find myself, I think, in a lot of ways even though I wasn’t consciously thinking about it at that time. And then when that moment did arrive for me, of course, there is this huge personal and professional alignment that sort of was there.

Imara: Things can occur later in life. So, you didn’t decide to become a doctor until you’re in college, which is fascinating, because most people have medical dreams early on. You also transitioned while you were in medical school, or begin to think about it in medical school. And so I’m wondering if you can just talk about that aspect of your journey and the ability to grow into yourself beyond the parameters that we normally can find.

Jerrica: Yeah. Mi-might be a little bit later than some people and, you know, honestly, I-I still feel this way. Like, th-there are all these things that I want to do in life, right? [laughs] And I probably have, like, 10 or 15 careers that I, I wanna do at some point. So I started to transition even later than that. It was when I was in practice as a physician and, you know, I’ve been at this one clinic, a community health center for, uh, about 5 years and so I had relationships with patients for years. And then I was coming out, you know, like 25 times a day every day for the next 6 months. You know, coming out, a-a-again was this sort of culmination of a lot of things. Like, I had certainly repressed a lot of things for a long time.

There was this huge liberatory aspect of it where I just instantly had this massive weight taken off my shoulders. Now with that, there were challenges, of course. There were, you know, losses that I experienced as a result of coming out. But at the same time, personally, I was in a, a better place than I’d ever been in my life and, and it was really amazing to be able to share that with my patients. And so I come out and have that moment where I could share that with them was, was really special as well.

Imara: So, what is Plume? And why did you create it? 

Jerrica: Yeah. So plume is a virtual gender-affirming, uh, health care service. And so we provide holistic gender-affirming care support for trans folks in a, a virtual first environment, meaning that you can log on your phone or computer and learn about us, learn about what we offer and be seen by a clinician and have your follow-up care done entirely virtually. It was really born out of, you know, both my personal and professional experiences as well as my co-founder, Matthew. W-we went to medical school together, and we have a deep long-lasting friendship. But I was a family medicine physician by training, he was an ER physician.

On one level, we just saw how broken the health care system was for everybody, right? That there were just a lot of people falling through the cracks, and both of us seeing the end result of a healthcare system that was not taking care of people. And so that’s where it came from.

But what I was seeing on a very personal level with my patients was that it was really hard to get into care, that there were not many people providing, or just had knowledge, you know, of the trans experience. People were driving 5 to 6 hours — of course, this still happens a lot — um, just to see me.

People were, you know, because of these, these weird situations that come up with insurance where they don’t have health insurance, but they don’t qualify for a sliding scale, they don’t qualify for Medicaid, yet they’re still don’t have, you know, very robust income, yet they’re having to pay hundreds of dollars just for a medical visit or a lab visit. 

Imara: And so on this idea of accessibility, who are the people that are able to access Plume right now who are trans and say, what is your patient profile essentially look like?

Jerrica: It really spans the spectrum quite a bit. There has to be, uh, you know, certainly a level of, of financial accessibility. It’s a monthly membership model that’s $99 a month. We picked that price, uh, of something that would help sustain the business and help pay, um, a lot of amazing trans people who are doing this work but also, uh, be a point of access.

Now, of course, that’s not financially feasible for everybody, but again, depending on the situation, it actually can end up being hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more affordable than paying out of pocket, having health insurance plans with really high premiums and deductibles and co-pays, etc. We see people from everywhere, from the rural communities, to urban communities, all demographics, identities spread across the country. And, you know, I think, uh, certainly excuse a little bit younger as a lot of these conversations are probably happening a bit more frequently in younger communities, you know, that 18 to sort of 35 to 40 crowd. But, but yeah, we have folks of all ages.

Imara: I mean, as you say, the $99 can be much less than, you know, the upwards of $4,500 that people can end up paying out of pocket for access to hormones and for the test that you need in order to be able to stay on them. But I’m wondering what you’re thinking is about the way in which something like Plume, even as it makes it accessible to part of our community if you have health insurance, or if you’re at that marginal place where you can pay $99 a month but for people who might be on Medicaid or not have access in that way, and we know that there’s this substantial part of our community that relies on Medicaid in order to do that. So, I’m wondering what is the thinking that you have around making Plume more accessible? And what are some of the other ways that you work to make Plume financially accessible to those who can’t pay the $99 a month?

Jerrica: Yeah, it’s an excellent question. Been working in the community health center and, you know, really free clinic model all my career really even since college volunteering. And I knew that that is the environment that I wanted to be. And I wanted to be in a place where I could help contribute to points of access for folks.

With Plume, you know, the cash-only option that we started with was really just the beginning, just the entry point, and has actually, you know, created access for a lot of people who wouldn’t have had it otherwise. But like you noted, there are, of course, a significant number of folks who do rely on Medicaid and other safety net options.

And for us, that’s the next chapter, is to figure that out. And the challenge is being able to do that and still create that beautiful, joyful, affirming environment that everybody deserves. And what we’ve seen in the legacy health care system is that unfortunately, oftentimes things like health insurance, um, or even Medicaid can be extremely dysphoric and gatekeeping and limit access. There are 12 states in this country whose Medicaid plans actually prohibit the coverage of trans-related services.

So it’s, it’s not a panacea. It’s not a catch-all, but it definitely will open up access to, to a lot of other folks. What are we doing right now? You know, from the very beginning, when we first started, we created this access fund. And this was a partnership with Point of Pride, and in Point of Pride, you know, a trans-founded organization by Aydian Dowling, who’s had a surgery fund for a long time to help pay for surgery, uh, gender-affirming surgeries for trans folks.

And so we created a partnership with them to create the first hormone fund that they had, um, and we’ve been doing that now for almost a year now, which has been amazing to see, you know, and we’ve provided care for, I think, upwards of 50 folks which is free care for a year. And within that, we do a lot of work with the individuals and, of course, setting up a plan for the end of that year so that they’re successfully able to continue on their journey on hormones if that’s what they choose to do. But I-I think things like that can be so much bigger, right? There’s just… Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Imara: So, what happens when, let’s say you’re prescribing hormones, someone comes back with the labs and the lab indicates… I don’t know if this would ever happen but maybe it indicates that they have diabetes or iron deficiency or something like that. I’m wondering what that happens to the health care for that person? Do you give them the information and they have to then figure out a way to resolve it? Is there network that you’re a part of, I’m just curious how those other needs are met?

Jerrica: Yeah, that’s a good example. Maybe somebody, um, comes in and we notice a, a really high blood sugar on their regular, you know, routine monitoring labs for hormone therapy, and so the next steps would be looking at where they live, the state, the city, going to our resource list and seeing what’s available. And we have an entire care coordinator team that helps with that.

Imara: Your company and others are seeing cracks in the healthcare system and working to solve them through these very specific answers instead of us working to figure out how to make the healthcare system function better, there’s a lot of energy and a lot of money that’s going into smart ventures like yours that are like this group of people is having this problem with the health care system, let’s figure out a way to address that so that they don’t really have to deal with this larger thing. And I’m wondering what your thoughts are about that?

Jerrica: We have to remember that, you know, this is a health care system that for a very long time, we’re talking about a century, if not more, has been a one-size-fits-none solution. The, the structures in the systems that have been built or very much built with a particular community in mind oftentimes, you know, white, heterosexual, cisgender men, but even for those individuals, it’s not good.

We’re not truly centering patients and their health care teams and their clinicians that take care of them. And for us, that’s where this goes and that’s how I think you really start to revolutionize the system, is that you have to center those two most important stakeholders in everything that you do, and we have to acknowledge people’s backgrounds and their individual experiences and how that starts to intersect with healthcare.

So what comes of, like you said, okay, so we have, like, you know, 50 to 100, you know, virtual direct-to-consumer companies, all kind of isolating out maybe different conditions, you know. It’s hair loss. It’s acne. It’s, you know, erectile function, thyroid, you know, list goes on. But what happens next?

And so the next chapter for us is like, how do you take that concept and start to piece it all together? Can we ever just completely walk away from the institutions that exist? Whether that’s the pharmaceutical industry? The health insurance industry? Maybe not. The wind really comes in if you actually can take these big large systems and actually start to change the way they do business. And that’s happening and it’s exciting thing.

I think if you look at it in isolation, to your point, it’s like, oh, you know, okay, this is great for, for this one person or this one subset of the community, but what does it mean for everybody else? And so, for me, that’s what it means and it’s gonna take some work to really connect it back, um, but at least for me, Matthew and, and Plume, that’s, uh, that’s where we see this going.

Imara: As the leader of a trans organization myself, I can certainly appreciate and understand everything that you’re saying. And I just want to thank you for your creativity and your Innovation and your devotion to help expand the health care choices that our community has and the ways that you continue to think about how to make that even better. So, I really appreciate you taking the time, and thank you so much.

Jerrica: Yeah, thank you, Imara. I, I really appreciate you as well. Of course, everything that, that you do and your team does. And yeah, as you know, it’s not easy work, and there’s no one solution, and there’s a lot of work to be done but I’m very excited to, to take that on however we can.

Imara: That’s exactly right. That was Dr. Jerrica Kirkley, co-founder of Plume.

Imara: We’re here with visionary, Dallas Ducar, a person who is working to bring the best of community-based healthcare and new technology. Dallas is the CEO of Transhealth Northampton, a gender-affirming care clinic in rural Massachusetts that opened up in May of this year. Transhealth Northampton was founded to help close the gap in health care access for rural trans people throughout New England and an area that’s called the catchments.

What are they catching? They offer both in-person visits and telehealth appointments. Their team of almost entirely trans and queer clinicians provides primary care, mental health support, and transition-related services. In addition to her work for Transhealth Northampton, Dallas is the vice chair of the Primary Care Alliance and is a faculty member at Northeastern University, the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Nursing, and Columbia University.

Dallas, thank you so much for joining me.

Dallas: Thank you so much for having me, Imara.

Imara: So, I think one of the questions that everybody will have is Massachusetts, a Northeastern state, a state traditionally associated with democrats and liberals and progressives, why does Massachusetts need a trans health care clinic? It would seem to be that a place like Massachusetts is overindexed. It has more trans health care than it might need and definitely more than some other states.

Dallas: Sure. Well, we started this project with the Community Needs Assessment that was called the path report. And we found that there were about 20,000 trans and gender-diverse individuals in the catchment area at Transhealth Northampton. And there were a lot of barriers that we had out in Northampton that other individuals didn’t have in places like Boston, for example. And really, our catchment area includes not only Massachusetts, but Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Upstate New York, Vermont.

What we really found in this more rural area out in Western Massachusetts was that there were distinct needs surrounding race and ethnicity, language, transportation, socioeconomic status. You know, people had to just take off a day of work to be able to get gender-affirming care which many people couldn’t do, or there weren’t bus routes that were able to get through some of these rural areas.

And, you know, we also found that a lot of folks as, as we know in the trans community had to teach their providers about care, had to ensure that they could find a competent provider through different trans networks. The results of the needs assessment we’re surprising, but it also demonstrated that there was a lot more work to do even in a place like Western Massachusetts providing this in a more rural setting and especially expanding our catchment area across state lines, means that we can also provide rural health care for folks in places like Vermont, for example, or New Hampshire, or Maine where many are also without care to.

Imara: We don’t often think of one. There’s an entire rural part of Massachusetts that isn’t served by traditional places that serve LGBTQ people. And secondly, that there are entire rural areas of, as you say, all of the neighboring states — Vermont, New Hampshire Eastern, New York — that are also equally rural and kind of outside of the service area of the cities which get so much attention in terms of trans health care particularly in the Northeast. I’m wondering if you can tell us… You told us about the needs, but I’m wondering if you can tell us what is rural Massachusetts like, in rural Vermont, in rural Eastern New York? What are those places like?

Dallas: There is definitely less ethnic and racial diversity in a place like Western Massachusetts. But there’s also a lot of rural poverty and a lot of… especially outside of spaces like Northampton, you can find a lot of people that might really just be struggling to get basic needs and basic care. And unfortunately, as you go more north to places like New Hampshire, we are starting to see more conservative movements that are actually proposing legislation that are looking to do things like ban gender-affirming care.

So, people may think of the Northeast in general as a very progressive place, but there are conservative pockets in many rural areas that can really be harmful to trans folks and also to gender-affirming care.

Imara: Right. And also, I think rural communities are an unexpected source of demand for trans health care, but I’m wondering if you can just tell us about that because as you say, you’re responding to a-a demand.

Dallas: I will say that when we opened our doors, we have not spent $1 on advertising because word of mouth is so strong and because the need was so prevalent. And within 6 months, we have had over 500 patients now for primary care, psychiatry, mental health therapy, community services. And I think that really demonstrates the need more than anything. You know, we really continue to hire for our, our front desk and our registration to try to get patients in as quickly as we possibly can. And we are also hiring more quickly than we ever expected because the need is so profound.

I think people often times associate the trans community with places like New York City or San Francisco because that’s where the media tends to focus and that’s where the, the national imagery tends to come from. Um, but I have lived in many rural spaces around the country, and I can surely say that trans people are everywhere. And these rural communities, specifically, people need help and people are responding really struggling just find a place where they can feel safe, right? It’s not just things like hormones, right? Which are life-saving, or surgical referrals which are life-saving, but comprehensive primary care, good mental health care, a-a place where you can go and learn to do makeup or weightlifting or learn to do your taxes, right? Like, I think what we’re really trying to create here is a home.

Imara: One of the things that you focus on meeting the needs of your community through this community-based model, locating yourself in a rural part of the state and making sure that you understand what trans people there require, but one of the things that you are doing is integrating technology into what you do. And I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit about that because there are now these two different ways that trans health care is ultimately being delivered.

There is a community-based model that is traditional that is also overwhelmed because of the demand in urban areas. And now, there are these new apps and providers of trans telemedicine often restricted to hormones. But you’re a model where you’re trying to bring these two things together. So, what is the technology piece that you’re introducing, and how are you integrating that in a traditional care model?

Dallas: At the beginning of the pandemic, at least in Massachusetts and in many other states, there was an emergency order that allowed essentially health care providers to practice across state lines without getting in trouble by the government, something that they’re not allowed to do now. And that allowed us to see folks in Vermont and New Hampshire and Maine, right? Because health care is health care.

We expanded gender-affirming care a tremendous amount and then as the executive order was rescinded, we actually could not provide care in those states anymore, which made it so much more difficult to access those states and those people. And so now, we’re actually going through the process of preparing to license and credential our clinicians to… in different states to ensure that they can then practice in those spaces and provide care in those spaces so that we can expand telehealth care.

But what we strive to do by leveraging that innovation with that technology is to be able to allow you to see your provider, your therapist, your psychiatric prescriber in the comfort of your own home or in a space that feels safe to you, whether that’s coming into the clinic because that might be the only space to feel safe to you. And I just think that this model allows us to really foster that community while at the same time, be able to deliver on our pledge to improve access through telehealth.

Along with the technological component, there’s also the issue of private pay. And I’m really happy that there are organizations out there that are doing the work of expanding gender-affirming care, whether they are an app or a brick-and-mortar clinic. But what I am a little concerned about is the growing number of spaces that are only offering private pay versus working with insurers, because this can create a bit of a disparity in the type of care that people can access, especially if a place does not accept Medicare or Medicaid. And so, that was one of our primary priorities of Transhealth, is to make sure that we accepted any insurance that we could, Medicare and Medicaid, and not just deliver on providing hormones, but really comprehensive care. Anything that you need that you would find in any other health care clinic and more, you’ll be able to find trans health.

Imara: This episode is focusing on health care open season for trans people. You are a trans woman, you are a nurse practitioner, you are a person who decided to open a trans health care clinic. What is the advice you would have to trans people during this health care open season in the best way to find insurers that provide gender-affirming care and the right physicians who can do the same.

Dallas: I would say that, you know, number one, i-insurance will be different within different states. And so, it’s really important to really dig into the restrictions or the regulations in different states. Some states mandate providing gender-affirming care like Massachusetts, and other states do not. Also, if you’re a Medicare or Medicaid, really also going to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Know Your Rights on Medicare and Medicaid page. They have a-a great page there that can help you understand what you have access to. And some Medicaid programs also will provide transition-related care, um, and so it’s important to really look into that.

Uh, HRC also has a great map of different state laws on transgender health care and specific policies. So, that’s really important too, because we really do live in u-unfortunately a divided bunch of states when it comes to health care. But what I can say is call the insurer if you have an option and, you know, ask them… just do a cold call and ask them about their non-discrimination statement, see if gender is included in there. And so, when finding a-a competent provider, uh, really looking for someone who has some experience in providing gender-affirming care and prescribing hormones but knowing that you don’t have to actually go to an endocrinologist.

It is important to know that insurance companies themselves… There was a recent report from the Center for American Progress which showed that there, uh, unfortunately still are very high rates of discrimination, uh, against trans people and also, uh, really high rates of insurers denying care to. So, one of the best pieces of advice I always tell folks is, you know, go to your trusted networks of other trans folks, go to people who have actually been to those providers or those health care organizations before and really, um, you know, try to feel that out in the network.

Imara: Thank you for that. And thank you for those, um, those resources, and we’ll also be sure to post all of those in our show description and show notes so that people will be able to see those.

Lastly, one of the things that’s interesting to me is that you are a person who saw the need to create a trans rural health care service with aspects of this technology at a time and in a place where, as you noted, can be a lot of conservative elements.

And we know that increasingly, sadly, like in the abortion movement, people who provide gender-affirming care are increasingly coming under scrutiny and increasingly, the focus of all types of attacks and abuse, demonstrations, etc., that can be intimidating. And I’m wondering how you think about providing gender -affirming care in this fraught moment and in spaces that may not always be totally supportive and friendly towards what you’re doing?

Dallas: Yeah, that’s a really important question. First and foremost, this type of care is starting a conversation and giving a person the chance to get to know themselves better. But in terms of the safety concerns, from day one, we were having conversations about safety within the clinic. That includes having all staff pagers to immediately notify people, that means scrubbing the internet of our address and not listing it on things like Google Maps. It means actually having our organization in a building with other organizations so that people really don’t get outed by coming into our space, or also, people don’t know where the organization may necessarily be.

And also, at the very beginning of this entire endeavor, we had important and vital conversations about what our relationship was with local law enforcement too, and if law enforcement was gonna be someone that we actually called, especially being mandated reporters by the state and also knowing that there is violence that is perpetuated by law enforcement across the country against trans individuals.

And so, these were conversations that we had and continue to have. And there were many different policies and procedures that we really locked into place to actually act like an abortion clinic in a way in terms of our own safety and to really make sure that we put the safety of our patients and our staff before anything else, so that we could then create a space where people can be able to feel that trust and be able to breathe easy. 

You know, we really wanna be loud and proud about who we are and really be the best advocates that we can for this life-saving health care and at the same time, really ensure a safe, trusting and compassionate experience for every single individual, and balancing those two things is not always easy, but I really believe that this is an opportunity to really advance a new form of care. And I believe that the victories that lie ahead, big or small, will not just be about trans rights, but about advancing human rights and put simply, just fighting for the rights of all people to simply be.

Imara: Well, Dallas, thank you so much for joining us and for your vision and for your entrepreneurship and for your courage to do something at a time when the providing of health care for human beings is a controversy or even a radical act. I know that I speak for everyone listening when we thank you.

Dallas: Thank you so much. And I-I couldn’t do this without all of the communities that we are a part of, so I wanna thank them too.

Imara: That was Dallas Ducar, CEO of Transhealth Northampton.

Thank you for joining me on the TransLash Podcast. Now, listen all the way through to the end of the show for something extra. If you like what you heard, please go to Apple Podcasts to rate and review us. You can listen to TransLash wherever you get your podcast. Check us out on the web at Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @translashmedia. Like us on Facebook, and tell your friends and family, and we mean all them.

The TransLash Podcast is produced by TransLash Media. The TransLash team includes Oliver-Ash Kleine,  Callie Wright, Jaye McAuliffe, Montana Thomas and Yannick Eike Mirko. Our intern is Mirana Munson-Burke. Alexander Charles Adams does the sound editing for our show. Our digital strategy is handled by Daniela Capistrano. The music you heard was composed by Ben Draghi and also courtesy of ZZK Records. The TransLash Podcast is made possible by the support of the Heising-Simons Foundation and listeners like you. I stole that in PBS.

All right, TransLash fam, here’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to the launch of my weekly show on Twitter Spaces that’s called TransMic. Now, Twitter Spaces is kind of like Clubhouse on Twitter. Th-they die if they heard me say that but it’s true. But it’s actually just, you know, an audio space on Twitter and we have branded in and created a show. Now, it is a TransLash show, but we’re running it through my official Twitter page, @imarajones. So what you can do is just follow me on Twitter and find out whenever I’m doing it. 

We mostly do it in the middle of the week in the morning. So, Wednesday or Thursday in the morning, and unlike our regular podcast, it’s kind of more like this where we’re just talking loosely and regularly about things in a way that’s kind of shady, and funny, and cheeky, and not serious, but topics aren’t, um, as structured as we do on the show. We’re just kind of doing weekly topics, pop culture moments, all of that sort of thing. So, join us for a half an hour. Follow me on Twitter or on TransLash Media. They’ll tell you when they’re taking place. And it launched yesterday so, um, make sure that you check us out, and we catalog those programs, both, um, on our website, on our pages. So check out TransMic, our new Twitter Spaces show on Twitter. It’s fun. It’s a good time and, uh, and if you come, you guys can talk to me, uh, and we’ll have you in the room. And you can tell us what you think and, um, we’ll have a good time. So, TransMic on Twitter Spaces.

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TransLash tells trans stories to save trans lives. As a trusted source for journalists, thought-leaders, movement activists, researchers, and those wanting to know about trans people, we produce narratives about and for the trans community—accurately and reliably. At a time when disinformation about trans people is being used to undermine democracy and human rights, TransLash Media serves as a beacon of hope through the voices that we share with the world.



TransLash tells trans stories to save trans lives. As a trusted source for journalists, thought-leaders, movement activists, researchers, and those wanting to know about trans people, we produce narratives about and for the trans community—accurately and reliably. At a time when disinformation about trans people is being used to undermine democracy and human rights, TransLash Media serves as a beacon of hope through the voices that we share with the world.


Coming Soon

The Glow UP

At TransLash, change is constant. We embrace our own process of collective transformation, and we honor every step of the journey. We’re getting ready to celebrate a pivotal point in our story, and we’re inviting you to be a part of it! 

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We’ve been working behind the scenes to launch a new brand for TransLash—one that honors our roots, reflects our growth, and leaves room for what’s to come. Over the next few months, you’ll notice fresh visuals and content as we bring our “glow up” to life across our digital channels. This summer, we’ll celebrate the culmination of that work: our brand new website! We’re building a new home for the journalism you love and trust, grounded in our deep commitment to the trans community.

We’re stepping into our own transition, and we want to share it with you. Join us!

Be the first to know when we launch the new site!


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