TRANSCRIPT: TransLash Podcast Episode 42, ‘Summer of Trans Sex’

Imara Jones: Hey, Fam. It’s Imara. Welcome to the TransLash Podcast, a show where we tell trans’ stories to save trans’ lives. Well, there is nothing more essential to our lives than sex. That’s right, S-E-X. As a matter of fact, it’s kind of essential to all life or mostly all life. And as we come up on the Summer, we know that many of you will transform this one, like last year, into a Summer of sex, that time when you can act upon all of the things that you’ve been thinking about during the worst of the Winter and the Omicron wave, and all of the other things that come along with being cooped up. Even though that we’re in a pandemic, we know that people are still gonna stretch their legs, let’s just say, and find a way to engage in sexual exploration and expression. So we wanted to devote an entire episode to that.

Since the beginning of our community, sex, for us, is a political act. It’s not only physical or even emotional or spiritual, but it is also political; and therefore, is inherently tied to our liberation. That’s going to be the prism through which we examine it today, which is really exciting for me. I know that personally speaking, sex changed as I transitioned, as I’ve said on this podcast before, and was really essential to my coming into myself. And that’s true for so many people who are trans, and we are excited.

Now, I have to say that this has been one of the hardest episodes for our team to produce. It’s taken us months to find the right mix of people and people who wanted to come on, but we’ve gotten there, that’s why we’re thrilled to present our conversation with ZR, who is a BDSM expert practitioner and educator.

ZR: We need to find ways to detox. We need to find ways to deprogram from all of the mess that has- has, kind of, controlled how we think about ourselves.

Imara: But first up, even though this is the sex episode and that should be joy enough, we’re going to start like always, with Trans Joy.

Something that always brings me joy is seeing trans people celebrate pleasure, but does it get a kick out of that? We live in a world that’s so influenced by puritanical ideas of sex and sexuality, so the pressure to hide our embrace of sex and sexual pleasure is real, all the way real. But a company that’s doing their best to help trans folks experience pleasure and have fun in their bodies is Cute Little Fuckers. Cute Little Fuckers is a sex toy company that makes shame-free, gender-inclusive, vibrating sex toys shaped like adorable little monsters. Step Tranovich, the founder of Cute Little Fuckers, really wanted something that would bring lightness and fun and joy into the sexual experience for our community. Here’s what they had to say about it.

Step Tranovich: All of our toys have their own names and pronouns, and dislikes. For example, our first toy is Princette Puppypus, pronouns are they, them, or the royal we. Their favorite things are pizza and butt stuff. [laughs] Very relatable. Very relatable. And yeah, so they all have their own personalities. They are all these own cute characters. I want people, when they’re going to a store and trying to get their first toy, you know, they see so many toys. They’re like, “Oh, that’s a little too intense. I don’t know what to do with that,” and just feeling that emotional baggage, and they see Cute Little Fuckers, smiling at them, and they go, “I can do that. That’s not intimidating. That’s fun. I could take this home. This can be my little friend, and we can explore together. And that’s not just okay. Suddenly, I’m not thinking about my shame and how I need to overcome it. I’m just thinking about how cute and fun this thing is.”

Imara: Step, you are Trans Joy.

Today, I’m joined by ZR, a BDSM instructor, with knowledge and expertise on the kinkier side of sexuality, but the commitment to sexual liberation. Ze’s heavily involved in building community and sharing knowledge through their work as Vice President at Kink Out, a space for performance, art collaboration, BDSM events, and more. Moreover, they’re actively fighting to defend and expand the rights of sex workers as the Director of Communications at the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center. They also have worked for the LGBTQ Center in New York City, among other organizations. And if that wasn’t enough, ze teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University.

Z, I’m thrilled to welcome you to our sex episode. Thank you for joining us.

ZR: Thank you, Imara. I really appreciate you taking the time to allow me to amplify my voice.

Imara: Of course. Of course. So before we get into some more specifics, I would love for you to define what kink and BDSM is, because there’s a wide range of perception about what those terms mean. So can you just describe for us what that is?

ZR: Yes. BDSM stands for bondage discipline sadomasochism. And I know that most people know about S&M, but they don’t know as much about BDSM. So the reason why I am involved in BDSM is because it doesn’t just involve this, kind of, hierarchical way of dealing with people, like you’re either a dom or you’re either a sub. It’s, like, everything, also, in between and also involves switching, but what it also does is really help people become more creative when it comes to how they connect to others sexually, and that involves many different types of fetish. Specifically, what I love to do is spank therapy, for example, which opens up the root chakra, and actually is a practice that helps people to get more into their body, and also if they do feel like they’re, kind of, detached from their sexuality and their root chakra center, it helps open that up.

Of course, I also like to be spanked, so that’s why [chuckles] I have to do it, then know how it feels. So, that’s more of an exchange that I like to have in community with folks, so it’s just not just always me. And also with discipline and bondage, like, I really love to do bondage with chains, specifically, and I actually had experience of doing that at, uh, Rome Bondage Week when I was living in Europe and I really enjoyed and learned so much about how bondage is not just about what we, unfortunately, correlate to slavery. It’s also about just sensory deprivation and trust. And also, sometimes, you know, erratically, you don’t have to do anything. [chuckles] So when people like to be tied up, it’s something that actually helps them receive more pleasure and get out of their head.

But then, the sadomasochism piece, of course, still exists. So, you know, some people like to be flogged, they like to receive pain, and others like giving pain to those who want that consensually, and it’s a way to take your power back, also, if you’ve experienced a lot of trauma. So, I see it all more as a healing connector to how I can experience life, and that’s why I call it BDSM therapy. [chuckles]

Imara: So, I think that that’s really interesting because, of course, the stereotype is that the sexual practices are about, uhm, either punishment or pain, uh, in a negative way, or some type of- of disorders, right? A lot of times…

ZR: Mm-hmm.

Imara: … In movies and that sort of thing, when people engage in BDSM, it’s always a part of their being a psychopath or some sort of really negative connotation associated with these sexual practices. But one of the things that you do through your term, BDSM therapy, is centered fact that for a lot of people, and I have to say, I have heard this from so many people, that their BDSM practices actually are a form of therapy and it helps them to release and move through trauma. So, can you just talk about that particular piece of this sexual experience of BDSM as therapy?

ZR: Yes, and I’ll just give you a little bit more background, too, because I learned more about BDSM when I lived in Berlin. And what I realized is like, “Wow. It’s so different to learn about yourself when it comes to sex and sexuality in a consent-based culture,” because that is the key word, “consent’. So that is how, uhm, I was able to change my perspective around what S&M was about, and then open my role to what BDSM was. So, I just wanted to put that out there as something more historical because I didn’t actually know, myself. My first exposures were also, uhm, like, 9 1/2 Weeks and like, 50 Shades of Grey. I mean, that actually was… those were very White-centered ways of thinking about, uhm, kink. And so, for me, as a BIPOC genderqueer person, I want to see myself more in BDSM and really express who I am as a kinkster. And the therapeutic part for me was also just realizing, like, “I don’t need to be shamed for this,” uhm, because before I moved to Amsterdam, I’ve definitely felt like I had to hide all of the kinky feelings I had. I didn’t feel like I had a community. I was married at the time, too, to someone who actually changed me. They called me hypersexual, for example, and that was something I have to get rid of when I moved to Europe because I realized, like, I was brainwashed. [chuckles]

People called the States a rape-based culture for a reason because people are used to violation and trauma when it comes to sex and sexuality, and also people just taking sex and not wanting to pay for it. So, really, a lot of the learning was me leaving this environment and realizing who I am as a kinkster, and that was very healing in itself, and then also, understanding that, actually, taking your power back has to do with: (A) Consenting, uhm, all the time, having really clear boundaries and agreements with folks, and also realizing that everything that’s being done is with care.

Imara: What makes it therapeutic for people, and what are some examples, either for yourself or others, that you’ve come across, where this type of sexual practice has been therapeutic for people and liberatory?

ZR: Well, initially, it was just play, like, I really learned the most about spanking at play parties in Amsterdam, and then I was told I was really good at spanking. And then when I thought about it, I was like, “Okay. Well, what does this involving when I- when I have my first client?” They were like, “You know, I’ve been so [clicks tongue] sexually detached from myself, that I don’t even feel erotic. When I’m having sex, I’m not even feeling myself. I’m feeling like, I’m just providing a service for someone else,” and this is somebody who wasn’t a sex worker. But, we can do that, actually, as a sex worker because you are, kind of, separating yourself sometimes from your client; you’re just doing a job and you’re not actually trying to feel yourself. But when people want to feel themselves and they might hire you to do so, they will ask, for example, to escalate the spanking. And, you know, the thinking process, of course, has to do with them, giving me safe words, too, like, “Tell me when you feel like this is too much, too little. Do you want more? Do you want less?” Again, they’re guiding what their desire is from me so they are telling me what they want. So that, already, is dealing and empowering because a lot of people, even in their “normal sex lives” have a hard time creating boundaries or telling somebody what they want in the moment because they think it’s going to ruin it, where in BDSM therapy, there’s nothing that’s ever going to ruin that if you’re wanting to have something done to you and you’re asking either a sex worker, another kinkster to do it, it’s all about you, taking your power and letting them know what you desire first. It’s the other way around.

So, first of all, that part is healing, but once people get more into their bodies, I’ll use the spanking one again, because a lot of times people experienced trauma to spanking, like they’re in trouble, they got their… like, especially from childhood, sometimes, people have been abused physically, but the thing that reverses that is that asking somebody to do this for you so that you can have a different experience with it really can turn around that trauma and really take you out of just this idea that the spanking means that you’re a bad person. The spanking can also means you have a nice ass, it can mean that it helps you feel more eroticized when you’re having sex, some people spank while do having sex, and the vibration of spanking is, itself, very therapeutic. So, there’s both the relationship building, which is healing and therapeutic, and then there’s the feeling on the body that becomes therapeutic, especially when someone’s starting to feel eroticized again when they weren’t before.

Imara: Yeah, and I think that that’s a really important point that you are bringing up, which is that these are embodiments and ways of being that people are requesting and that they are taking control, regardless of what they’re engaged in, through BDSM or kink…

ZR: Mm-hmm.

Imara: … And that, in and of itself, is empowering.

ZR: Mm-hmm.

Imara: And I wanted to just get your perspective from you, as someone who is non-binary, and for many of us who are a part of the trans community, the disembodiment from our bodies is a hallmark of our experience, right…

ZR: Yeah.

Imara: … And living in a world that has tried to erase us and erase our body presence, but BDSM is doing the exact opposite. So, can you just talk about, for you, how this work may be healing in, uh, special ways in which BDSM or sexual embodiment can- can be for us, how important it is?

ZR: It’s really important because first of all, like, there’s so much more you can do besides missionary sex, and that includes doggy style, that includes all the different positions that you might see in the Kama Sutra book. There’s other parts of your body that you can experience. There’s other holes in the body, there’s your mouth, there’s your ears, [chuckles] there’s your nose, and a lot of times, people don’t understand that unless they learn BDSM because it actually is something you need to learn, as well. I will say that I learned more when I was in Amsterdam because I was able to finally just be in a circumstance where I can just be purely myself without any judgment. No one knew me when I moved there, and I remember I asked this one transwoman who’s a dom, really amazing dom, I was like, “I saw the way you were flogging. Can you just flog me also? I want to- I want to feel that on my back,” and she’s like, “In what way would you like me to do it?” So, we had a little conversation and then she asked me my safe words, and then flogged me for about 30 minutes, and I felt, like, such a titillating energy in my whole body because I felt like I just regained some of the- the erotic energy that I wanted to experience that I’ve never experienced before. And that was just through the flogging, without anything else happening. So, I was like, “Wow. I feel really, like, wet,” literally. [chuckles]

And also, I- I have to say, like, I do porn, as well, and so I’m doing porn, I decided, like, “Oh, I don’t see anybody that looks like me in any of these films.” Even when I went to Amsterdam and went to the Porn Library, you know, Amsterdam is like the Sex Work Capital because people know about the red light district all around the world, so you can see live sex performances, to going to shops and seeing, like, a really wide range of porn, right? All types. But the Black section is usually just the same: Black ass and Black pussy. Nothing else was there, really. So I was like, “I need to figure out how to see myself more in film,” so I started doing film for that reason. I wanted to show different bodies, I wanted to be a part of porn companies that actually wanted to show different BIPOC bodies that are genderqueer, and, like, even… I started working with AORTA here, which is another company that’s actually in the States, that shows a more diverse set of what we call “genderqueer fuckery”.

So, I feel like it’s really progressive to be able to, again, be in your own body and understand you’re unique and you don’t need to be like anybody else and your body does not need to look like anybody else’s bodies, and that takes me out of this, kind of, binary paradigm where you need to either have hips in a certain way if- if you’re femme or you need to look a certain way as a butch. I don’t really have those kind of dichotomies. I feel like I have all of that and- and then some. [chuckles] And I like to explore in connecting with other folks and kink community, like all the different aspects of their cells in their bodies that are beautiful. And I like to also amplify that and also use words of affirmation towards that so that people can feel more empowered.

Imara: Can you just talk a little bit about what the perception was of your life and your body before you began to engage in BDSM, and then afterwards? That is, to say, how has your experience and practice change you as a person?

ZR: Well, initially, before I moved out of the States, I was married and I was in what I call a homo-normative dynamic, where my ex-wife was really wanting a high femme partner. I was serving this high femme role at the time, and I thought like, “Okay. I’m going to try this out. It’s not really fully me, but this is what I’m going to do right now.” And then, I wanted to really explore my eroticism more, and the thing that was here for me at that time was burlesque. When I started doing burlesque, it was a more high femme, like, definitely wearing more heels, doing more pole work, all these things I love to do and I still think that there were good skills, but there are things I thought I had to do in order to explore my sexuality. And burlesque, at that time, for me, was still pretty limited because I did feel like there weren’t a lot of genderqueers in my burlesque thing, which was called Brown Girls for Less, and I was like, “I don’t actually identify necessarily as a girl or a femme, but I can start that role.” [chuckles] So, I did serve that role and I had fun doing it for a little bit, and then I start feeling like, really, kind of, depleted, like, “I’m just performing for others and this is not feeding me,” like, “I’m not feeling like I’m getting what I need back, this type of performance.”

So, I feel like exploring more when I left that scene, really helped me to understand, like, “It’s okay. I can be hard and it doesn’t mean that- that I’mma have to be butch.” Like, “I still don’t need to serve a specific role. I can just explore these different aspects of myself.” And, you know, some things, I might have to explore that I like and other things I didn’t like. For example, I do like bondage with chains, but I would not like a White person to bond me because I still feel this dynamic.

When I was in Rome, for example, the thing that was really interesting there was, like, I was asked to be part of Rome Bondage Week. I was the only person teaching bondage with chains. I was only the Black genderqueer person also in what they call “the domming position”, and they asked me who my submissive would be. And I said, “Well, definitely, I would like to explore other Black people within the scene,” which are not that many, but I was able to work with Ambrito Sunshine, who is an Italian woman, who is this, but she’s from Sierra Leone, so she’s African-Italian woman. And I feel like our dynamic was very different than the rest of the dynamics because it wasn’t this hierarchical thing. It was more like, I asked her what does she want, and I offered it to her. And she would give me a meow if she likes it, [chuckles] and then we start to learn more about what each other likes. And I actually love to see someone receive pleasure.

So, that was really eye-opening for me because it’s the first time I actually felt like, “Okay. I’m working with another BIPOC person on something that we normally have issues with.” Anything with chains and bondage is really, really a sensitive topic for a lot of BIPOC folks for a good reason, right?

So, for me, it was also healing. We were able to heal together. Ambrito was like, “Thank you so much,” at the end of it because she was like, “The people who are bonding me are White Italians, normally White and cis-men.” So, even just being in that scene with somebody different and feeling, like, confident in who I am, it was really empowering, not just for me, but for others who… Or a couple other Black people also, they were like, “Oh, my God. I’m so glad that you’re here.” It was really more poignant than I even understood it would be when I first entered the scene, because there’s just not many of us.

Imara: Do you remember talking about, kind of, the progression where at first you were in this homo-normative relationship and gender roles and high gemme, and then you started to do… then you started to do burlesque and started to understand that, “Oh, well, maybe my gender identity is different.”? I’m just wondering if you can just pick up that progression from, like, doing burlesque now, like, how engaging in different practices shifted your own sense of- of who you were and brought you closer to yourself. Can you just pick up, kind of, that thread?

ZR: Yeah. I was only able to feel like I was exploring the femme side of myself or what I would call the Yin, and I really want to get more into my Yang, so- [chuckles] so, I feel like the thing that helped me, uhm, get more into the Yang side of myself, I got divorced. I realized my ex-wife at the time wanted me to play a certain role all the time and did not like my yang side, so it was like, “I cannot be in this situation where I’m feeling trapped,” and then I started to break out the- the mental prison of gender. [scoffs] I actually just broke out of the shell of what people thought I should be based on burlesque, and as a performer, I also stopped performing in my relationship. So, that helped me start to realize more of who I am as an individual and that I do not feel like I need to serve a gender role. I feel like my sexiness has continuously evolved as an energy because it’s not actually about any type of gendering, it’s about real connection. Those connections have to do with something beyond gender, for me and whoever I’m with, and I feel like that is why I go more into the therapeutic realm of why I do erotic work.

Imara: There are a lot of people in our community, who, as a part of gender and our gendered journeys have engaged in kink and BDSM. And what do you think, at the core, is this connection between embodiment and kink? Like, what’s at the core of this practice that is a part of bringing people more into the present and more into themselves? Because that’s what it really seems like you’re talking about happens.

ZR: Yeah. It’s really getting more into your spirit, which is stronger than the body. It’s not- it’s not as superficial when you’re actually connecting with someone around what you want and what you desire, because it’s not based on society. It’s not based on what other people think of you. It’s based on what you actually want. And I think, as a person who definitely loves beyond gender, I mean, I am not going after anybody based on gender. I’m not connecting to people based on gender. I really feel like within the kink community, there’s just more folks that are more about that. They’re more about, like, how are you feeling internally, what is it that you’re getting out of this, like, having those conversations, actually, as part of the practice versus, like, “We’re just going to fuck.” I think that for me, as a genderqueer person, I like more depth and I like to get deeper into how to feeling internally and not think about my external appearance. And I like to help other people do that, too, through sensory deprivation, like, blindfolding is a thing that really helps because when you blindfold someone, you can really start to see how they’re reacting without having to look, which is different. It’s like you’re going inside instead of being outside of yourself. [chuckles] So, we are all… of course, I feel like I was trans and [inaudible] folks, so we often are, like, realizing that people are seeing us on the outside and they’re making assumptions, and they think that they know who we are. And in fetish and BDSM work, it’s not about your external appearance as much as about your internal feeling.

Imara: Super powerful. One of the things you’re talking about is through this experience, understanding that our spirit is bigger than our body, so we’re actually breaking boundaries, like, there’s nothing more trans than that. So…

ZR: Mm-hmm.

Imara: … It’s just a really powerful notion. But in this idea of breaking boundaries, there are other ways in which expanding beyond limitations to see new things, you’ve incorporated beyond your sex work…

ZR: Mm-hmm.

Imara: … Such as your work in John Jay in teaching Criminal Justice. And what has your experience with BDSM… how’s it influence the way in which you see the world and the way that you teach other people about breaking limitations that are imposed on us through all the isms, that is, to say, destroying other isms so that we can actually be who we are as humans? That’s also a part of your work, so how has that influence that piece of you?

ZR: When I was teach, I’ve always been thinking of the things that I didn’t learn, the lecturing style. I really ask, uhm, my students to think critically and to be honest, and I think that’s the only way you can learn from others. So, I’m also very open about being a sex worker in my class, which is not something most teachers do. So, even when I’m talking about, you know, different genders constructs and- and when I talk about constructions of difference, I also bring in sex work. Uhm, I bring in sex and sexuality and how we’ve been influenced to think a certain way about those things without actually getting to know ourselves. So, I really try to take all of the brainwash that I experienced in my life and flip that on its head, and also allow an open-minded, critical thinking safe space, uhm, when I’m teaching so that people can really be honest about their own process, because we’re all on our own journey. There’s no right or wrong answer, right or wrong way. It’s more like, “Where are you with yourself? And who are you separate from what you thought you were supposed to be?” Like, when we’re born, for example, you know, we’re born in- in a very intuitive, I feel, like… and maybe this is the Buddhist stance, as well, but it’s like, once you are… you come out of the womb, you then become infiltrated by other people’s thoughts. It’s not your own. It’s like you get further and further away from your intuition. You get further and further away from your spirit because you think, like, first of all, somebody says you’re a boy or a girl, somebody already told you that. You didn’t even get to decide who you were at all. [chuckles] And then from there, your family, your environment, and then society, you’ve infiltrated with all this information that’s telling you who you should be, instead of who you really are.

So, I feel like I really try to help people understand that they should try to separate from, like, who are they separate from their family, their… and what they’re told to be based on their family and cultural, uhm, communities, sometimes, too? Because, you know, we also… in my colorism class, we talked about cultural constructs and how within colorism, we are our own worst enemy. We are telling each other who’s better within our own communities based on skin color, which is all a construct. So, I really try to help people realize that their unique cells is the most important to explore, not just what other people think of them, and even though we’re all going to be under the influence, we need to find ways to detox. We need to find ways to deprogram from all of the myths that has- has, kind of, controlled how we think about ourselves, because it really does create a lot of depression in our community, a lot of suicidal ideation. So, with teaching, that’s where I go with them.

Imara: Super powerful. And my- my last question is, in this Summer, where we might get a chance to return to a more normal way of sexual being, in terms of people being able to meet people that they don’t know and to have experiences with them, what do you say to people who want to begin to explore new ways of sexual embodiment or BDSM, but might be worried because of the limitations that society put on them? What advice do you give to people who want to be in to explore but may fear for a number of reasons?

ZR: I actually tell them about Kink Out because that’s actually been my saving grace since I’ve been back in New York. I was like, “The Kink Out community is clear, it’s diverse, culturally diverse, and we have skill-sharing. We teach each other things.” And nobody is expected to go into a play party with Kink Out and be like, “I have to have sex,” or, “I have to do this thing,” or, “I have to…” No, you don’t have to do anything but be yourself. So that’s the first thing. And then after that, you would have conversations with people. You might just get to know folks in the scene. There’s no pressure to do anything you never want to do. I feel like it’s kind of hard to find because of our limitations in the States, specifically. I think that sometimes, when people ask for advice online, I actually sometimes send them some information about BIPOC-focused events and within the queer community because there’s usually like one or two, but if you don’t know, then you might just feel isolated. I think it’s about building those communities out even more, and that’s what I’m aiming to do through Kink Out.

And also, a part of the Sex Workers Liberation Project with Black and Pink right now, too, and we’re doing, [clicks tongue] uh, like, a retreat in Atlanta next month to really talk about how can we create more safer BIPOC kink spaces because we, kind of, have to learn how to embrace ourselves more. You don’t really just go into scenes, knowing and feeling.

Like, I, initially, too, when I was going into play party and kink scenes, I was like really the… one of the only BIPOC genderqueer person who’s Black and there’s a lot of fetishe- fetishes in there and a lot of exoticists in there, so I would like to just continue to help people by creating spaces that are safer for us, that we can explore within.

And I’m going to have to add this part, too. Part of it has to do with accountability work, too, because unfortunately, sometimes in our smaller scenes, there’s always going to be somebody or something that’s happening, drama-based, that it makes somebody uncomfortable, usually, it seems, so I try to make sure that I recreate scenes that are drama-free. [scoffs] People have to feel like they’re not being judged and being gaslit and all these things in order to feel comfortable in space, so there’s that. And then there’s also just creating and expanding more BIPOC-only spaces within the kink scene because I do think that we need that. Similar to how sometimes we need to branch off and have our own discussions and own groups, in general, when we’re talking about our rights, the same thing within kink.

Imara: Well, thank you so much. This has been a really rich and wide-ranging conversation, and I just appreciate you for the broadness of your thought and the way in which you are tying the personal liberatory practice and practices that you’ve learned from BDSM and sexual embodiment to help to free others, both physically and mentally. I think it’s really powerful. And so, thank you.

ZR: Thank you, Imara. I really appreciate being here and having this conversation. Also, really appreciate the fact that y’all exist, the TransLash podcast, but also as an organization. I think it’s really important that- that we have more of these types of discussions.

Imara: Thank you so much for listening to the TransLash Podcast, and stick all the way to the end for something special. But before we move on, I want to give special thanks to slippers&tea for giving us a five-star review on Apple Podcast. Slippers&tea says, “Thank you, Imara, for the interview with Lizette Trujillo. I’m a middle school teacher, and my trans students are beautiful and joyful.” Yes, they are. “They are shining lights. And they talk openly about their concerns for other students in other States. I’m so proud of them and their advocacy for all kids. Thank you for all that you do.” Well, slippers&tea, thank you for all that you do. And if you like slippers&tea, wish to have your review shout out on the show, head over to Apple Podcast right now, right now, and leave us that five-star review. You just might hear it on the show.

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The TransLash Podcast is produced by TransLash Media. The TransLash team includes Oliver-Ash Kleine and Callie Wright. Our intern is Mirana Munson-Burke. Xander Adams is the Contributing Producer to the show, and our Digital Strategy is handled by Daniela Capistrano. The music you heard was composed by Ben Draghi and also courtesy of ZZK Records. TransLash Podcast is made possible by the support of foundations and listeners like you.

So this week, what am I looking forward to? Well, there are two things. I, first of all, have to shout out and say… before I say what I’m looking forward to, my sadness at the exit of one of the producers I just named, Callie Wright, from the TransLash Podcast. Callie Wright is also the person who helps me each week with this podcast, and they’re on, listening to this right now and had no idea that I was going to say this, but Callie has brought so much to our team from their ability to produce, to think through stories and storylines, and also their sheer prowess and their ability to audio produce. They started last year with Anti-Trans Hate Machine, and helped us make a success of that, and there are always so many people that work on these shows that make them possible and on every show that you listen to. And generally, the people that do that like being behind the scenes, although Callie also has their very successful own podcast, we never shout them out enough. And so, I just wanted to say thank you to Callie. You have undoubtedly enjoyed Callie’s work even though you may not be aware of them, and, uhm, our community is filled with bright, talented people from all walks of life, and I’m glad to have worked with Callie and glad that they are getting more and more opportunities to bring everything that they offer to the world, out into the world.

So, Callie, I’m going to miss you and I’m going to miss talking with you about Star Trek. You’re probably one of the most knowledgeable about Star Trek on the planet. So, I’m going to miss that. There’s nobody else on our team who really does that. It makes me terribly…. Oh- oh, we do have one more person, uh, but you know what I mean.

Uhm, and what I’m personally looking forward to after I mourn, uhm, Callie’s, uh, exit at the end of May from the TransLash Podcast, I’m looking forward to going to California over Memorial Day Weekend, Los Angeles, to see friends. I haven’t seen in years, uhm, due to the pandemic and other things, so that will bring me some joy at a time when the world is getting nuttier as we enter into Pride Month. I hope that you all will be thinking and prioritizing your safety, but also don’t forget to have a good time.

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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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