TRANSCRIPT: TransLash Podcast Episode 54, ‘Angelica Ross on Broadway’

[Halloween music]

Imara Jones: Hey there. It’s Imara. Welcome to the TransLash Podcast, a show where we tell trans stories to save trans lives.

Well, we are in the midst of Halloween, that season where everyone is dressing up and trick-or-treating and doing all things related to horror and things that are scary, and also a lot of parties. And this is generally a really important time of the year for trans people. It’s the time when so many of us growing up had the ability to be able to transform our gender, or even as we were getting older, to be able to embody different versions of ourselves to see what felt right, the ability to be able to be ourselves fully without anyone questioning it.

And there’s nothing that embodies all of that like Broadway, which is sort of Halloween, every single night. So, it was an absolute treat for me recently to be able to go see Angelica Ross and her amazing role as Roxie on Broadway, actually, the first trans person to play a lead role in a major legacy musical. And so, we’ll talk to Angelica about what it’s like to embody this character night after night and what playing this role has meant for her, and what she thinks it means for our community.

Angelica Ross: You know, I was being told, “Girl, I mean, as a trans woman, that’s about as good as you can get,” and I had the audacity to feel like I wanted more.

Imara: But before we get to that interview where we actually pull back the curtain on some really important realities, let’s celebrate some trans joy.

[Halloween music]

Hi there. Yep. It’s still me, Imara, but I’m coming to you in the middle of this program with a really important message about a vital effort that we’re undertaking this month at TransLash. While we’re on the subject of bringing who we are fully into the world, a key part of that is, of course, control over our bodies. Being able to decide how we present them, what we do with them, and whatever we need to do to feel whole, that’s the power that we need in our lives. That’s why beginning on October 15th, we’re going to launch the second phase of our year-long narrative effort, “Trans Bodies Trans Choices”, with an array of TransLash content from October 15th through the middle of November. We will be rolling out a zine, animated films, a special area on our website with important resources that pertain to body autonomy, reproductive justice and health care, and, of course, abortion, as well. We will be dropping a bonus episode of the TransLash podcast, and we’ll be rolling out new content on our writing platform, TransLash News and Narrative, to extend this conversation even further.

So, I hope that beginning on October 15th, you’ll visit us at Excited for our newsletter. You’ll be getting this content automatically. Follow us on social media @TransLashMedia, that’s why we hope that you’ll be joining us on this journey to follow all of the powerful stories and insights that you will be getting and that we’ll be presenting with Trans Bodies, Trans Choices.

[Halloween music]

There’s a long history of connections between trans-ness and horror. From Psycho to Silence of the Lambs, the genre has often demonized any kind of deviance from gender norms. But monsters like vampires and werewolves have also been ways for trans people to explore experiences of dysphoria and otherness.

Today, I’m excited to highlight someone who is doing just that, Isaac Fellman. Isaac is the author of the novel, Dead Collections, a love story involving an archivist named Sol, who must grapple with transphobia and a strange illness. Here’s Isaac to tell us more.

Isaac Fellman: Sol, the main character of my book, really experiences being a vampire as a medical problem rather than as something that is particularly fun or romantic, although he learns to fight his vampiric trans body, uh, joyous and interesting and sexy in ways that, uh, surprise him.

My own transition was, you know, it was intensely literary. When I started taking testosterone, I literally recognized a different feeling in my skin. The ground under my feet felt different. So, I wouldn’t have been able to recognize these feelings if other writers hadn’t conceived of them for me and told me about them and showing them to me. So, I am very thrilled to have become a part, in a small way, of that lineage or, less pompously, family of trans writers and readers.

Imara: Isaac Fellman, you are trans joy.

[Halloween music]

Today, I am beyond thrilled to talk with this stunningly talented actress, advocate, and entrepreneur, Angelica Ross. I’m sure you all know Angelica from her role as Candy in the award-winning, groundbreaking TV show, Pose. Her presence is also  at great shows like American Horror Story, Transparent, and other award-winning projects like the Her Story web series. Angelica also notably won a GLAAD Media Award for her interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Most recently, however, right now, actually, Angelica is the first openly trans woman to play the leading role of Roxie Hart in the Broadway hit, Chicago. Now, I have the tremendous pleasure of seeing this just the other day, and honestly, I can tell you unreservedly to run, not walk, to see this show for yourself. She’s incredible.

But in addition to her impressive acting career, Angelica has worked behind the camera. She executive produced the Emmy-nominated web series, King Ester, among others, and she’s also a musical artist. Angelica released her debut music video and single, Only You, just this past Summer.

If all of that wasn’t enough, she’s also the founder of TransTech Social Enterprises. It’s a technical training and economic empowerment program for Black and queer trans people, which we highlighted during our recent episode on cybersecurity. 

Angelica, thank you so much for joining me in the midst of your back-breaking, truly back-breaking schedule.

Angelica: Yes. Thank you so much. And thank you so much for coming to the show the other day. It meant so much to have you in the audience.

Imara: Oh, it was wonderful. It was an absolute thrill. But before I fangirl all over your performance, I just wanted to know how you’re doing. I think most people don’t understand the schedule that Broadway actors undertake, so I’m wondering if you can just tell us how you’re doing with, I think it’s five times a week and then several matinees on top. How are you holding up?

Angelica: Well, yes. It’s- it’s eight shows a week, which is, uh, it’s a five-show weekend. Most Broadway shows, the actors they have, the cast that, you know, they’re off on Mondays, so we usually have a pretty big crowd on Mondays because most shows are closed. We’re open. So, my day off is actually on a Wednesday, which means that I go Friday show, two shows on Saturday, two

shows on Sundays, and then another show on Monday and Tuesday before I actually get a break. So, it’s very grueling. A lot of days, I- [sighs] I am sometimes on the verge of calling out, you know, because I’m just so fatigued. But what I’ve been learning about my body and my voice, even though I’ve been fatigued, and yes, you should rest, and yes, you should take care of your body, and maybe I should [chuckles] do a better job at that, but I do realize by the time we come around to a curtain call, you know, for me to, uh, actually go on stage, I’m ready. Every day, I kind of like am surprised at myself at how much energy I still have or how much voice I still have left over from doing eight shows a week, but I’m doing it. [chuckles]

Imara: Yeah. You certainly are doing it. And I’m glad that we started there because so often, people only see what they perceive to be the glamour of show business, right? [crosstalk] Red carpets, magazine spreads, all of the things that we associate with the things that are “easy” about being a celebrity, or in this case, an actor, but when I am happy about is giving us a little insight into just how much work it is and how much it takes out of you and what you have to give to it in order to make it seem flawless, which I think is an important reality.

Angelica: Before I started Roxie, I, uhm, started with like, sort of, a chanting goal[?] because I chant. I’m a Buddhist, chant “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō”, and so one of the things that I was chanting for was to be able to manifest and become whoever, whatever type of person I needed to become to be great at this. So, if that means, you know, certain amount of rehearsals, if that means vocal coaching, if that means vocal rest, if that means living like a nun or a monk and not partying, and not, you know, being able to hang out and do things for a little bit, having a discipline, and I realized that even the Broadway, my co-stars that have been there for ten plus years and the lives that they dedicate to this, it’s a sacrifice. And- and I’m sure they found some balance of, you know, once you have been doing it for so long, but it’s still… I know one of the girls in the chorus was telling me, she does a full ballet class every day before the show, as well. So, it’s like, it’s not just the show. It’s not just the hour and a half before the show where I’m doing my hair and make-up. It’s the vocal training, it’s the stretching, it’s the exercise, it’s all of it to keep you in tip-top condition. And it just really reminds me about what it would take from other people to whether it’s Broadway or something else. Whatever your dreams are, don’t think you’re going to get there, dragging your feet.

Imara: One of the things that I think is so remarkable about your performance, and I really do think that it is truly remarkable, as I said, I went with a friend of mine who is a Chicago aficionado, I mean, able to sing along with all the songs. And…

Angelica: [chuckles]

Imara: … That person said to me afterwards that you were the best Roxie that they’d ever seen.

Angelica: That’s an honor. [chuckles]

Imara: And I think one of the things that blows me away, and this goes to what we were just talking about, just the amount of energy and time and dedication and heart you have to put into this, because, you know, theater is a way of life, right?

Angelica: Oh, yes.

Imara: Every theater person I know, it is a total [chuckles] way of life…

Angelica: Mm-hmm.

Imara: … For them is just how physical your performance is, you know, just how embodied the Roxie character is that you portray. And I am wondering, when you got the call to do this, did you have any sense of what was going to be required of you in this role?

Angelica I thought maybe I had a sense, but…

Imara: [chuckles]

Angelica: … Kind of realized that I was not even close. You know, I knew that I would have to sing and I knew that there would be some dancing because, you know, even from just remembering clips from, like, the movie and things like that, like, I used to be obsessed with the movie, and knowing that Velma and Roxie, at one… at some point at the end, you know, dance together. But I associated a lot of the movement with Velma and the chorus, you know, with All That Jazz and everything else, and didn’t realize just how physical the role of Roxie was. So, when I got to New York and saw the show again with Charlotte as Roxie, Charlotte d’Amboise, seeing her be up on this ladder and then, like, go up and drop down and go back up on the ladder, and then all of the different physicality and taking up space on that stage, I started to quickly understand just how physically demanding this would be. I’ve been prepared for some of this, like doing shows like American Horror Story. When I did 1984, uhm, we were in the woods and I did some of my own stunts and realized how physical it is. Like, acting, sometimes, it’s not just standing in a room, having a conversation. Sometimes, it’s running. Sometimes it’s jumping over barriers, or sometimes, it’s dancing or singing. So, really, I had a clue, but I also knew that I was in a space where I was ready to push myself to that limit.

Imara: Yeah. I mean, one of the things that struck me is that from the moment that you come on stage, it’s hard to take your eyes off you. Even that first part when you come on stage, you’re actually not actually saying anything, kind of on st…

Angelica: Yeah.

Imara: … The stage right. And from that moment, there’s this electricity about you that pulls everyone’s attention towards you, even though most of the action is still going on on stage.

Angelica: Yeah.

Imara: I mean, there’s so many amazing numbers, but as we chatted briefly afterwards, the number, which is, we both went for the gun where you essentially become a marionette in the story…

Angelica: [chuckles]

Imara: … Was just pure genius. It was- it was really something to see. And I’m wondering how you went from that, “Oh, I don’t really know how much physical this is,” to being able to embody those moments. What was that, like, transformation? Because what shocked me is that you’ve actually never seen yourself do any of this? [crosstalk] It’s only you, looking out. So, you haven’t had the ability to adjust. It’s just other people telling you. So, I’m wondering how you went from, “Oh, you know, yeah, it’s going to be some physicality to being able to do these incredible stage moments.”

Angelica: Yeah. I mean, I have to give props to Greg Butler, uhm, one of the choreographers that has been with the show for a very long time. He worked with me for, I think, four weeks, three or four weeks in, uh, L- Los Angeles before I got to New York. And just going over these Fosse moves, they’re so precise and you have to know what every piece of your body is doing. So, a lot of our warm-ups that we did with Greg, wow. I mean, I was sweating sometimes because… I mean, sometimes. I’m sweating all the time, but I was sweating, uhm, sometimes from the simple fact of what we call isolation. And in that isolation, I could be, like, standing upright, and he’s like, “Okay. Move your- you know, your head or your neck from left to right. Okay. Now, just move your shoulders. Okay. Now, just move your rib cage.” And there would be these moments where I have to try to not move anything else on my body except for that area. So, all you’re looking at is that my- my rib cage, going side to side, not my shoulders, not anything else.

Imara: Mm-hmm.

Angelica: And so, when you start paying that high-level attention to detail with what each part of your body is doing, like, when we both reached for the gun, you know, we worked really hard on… from everything from my- how my eyes were going to be set, to my hands, uh, and just… it’s very precise work. Every night, of course, it’s- it’s live theater so every night is slightly different, but, uhm, you know, it- it truly is fun because my Executive Director at TransTech, I was just doing, uh, an interview with him with GLAAD, and- and they asked him what his favorite number was, and he said that one, as well, and he just said… basically have the same response of- of like how it seemed like I was so embodied as this marionette. So, that’s really great to hear from various different people. Uhm, it just means that the work that we put in ahead of time, really, is paying off.

Imara: I’m wondering how you see Roxie in relationship to trans-ness at all. Do you see Roxie as a cis-woman? Do you see Roxie as trans? Even if she is cis, are there parts of trans-ness that you think accentuate her character at all? I’m wondering, this relationship between who you are and your character, kind of, what you’ve been able to bring to her and if trans-ness is a part, if their trans experience is a part of that.

Angelica: We know it’s interesting because I never really thought about it like that, but I… like, thinking about it this way, you know how being trans, but like most people have had this experience but I could be wrong, but as trans people, you’re living your life and there’s these moments when you completely forget that you’re trans.

Imara: Mm-hmm.

Angelica: Meaning, like, you’re just living your life. You’re a woman in the world, you’re a man in the world, whatever, wherever you lie, non-binary in the world, you’re just a person who- you know, who’s just living your life, and, you know, especially as a trans woman, being a woman in this environment, when I walk out the door, I’m read as such, as a woman, I’m treated as such, uhm, as a Black woman, and so, kind of similarly playing Roxie, I pretty much see the role as like a cis role and less of that and more, so it’s like really intersection[?] with how I see myself. And it’s- it’s not that I see myself as cis, but it’s that I see myself in that main narrative, only until something in the story reminds me that I’m trans. Say, for instance, when after she sings My Own Best Friend and she pretends to pass out and kind of quickly comes up with this idea that she’s pregnant…

Imara: Mm-hmm. [chuckles]

Angelica: … I always take… have a look, certain look in my eye when I look towards the audience, like, “I know y’all know I’m bullshit.” You know what I’m saying? But like… and it’s just this thing of me being trans and, you know, me, as a trans woman, not being able to have a child, but… or during Roxie, when I say, “And now, I got me a world full of yes.” Instead of saying yes, I’m like, “Yes,” you know, and- and using those moments to kind of nod to the culture. For me, it’s really reflective of just, uh, the normal experience that we’re more alike than we are different, but there’s also nothing wrong with calling back to and giving a nod to the culture and communities you come from.

Imara: Yeah. And I think the ultimate thing that I [scoffs] get from Roxie’s character is that, you know, she’s ultimately a survivor, like even though she makes terrible mistakes, [crosstalk] right, and has made terrible mistakes, I think even her marriage, for her, probably, was an act of survival. Everything that [crosstalk] she is able to do, every household that she comes up with, every idea, everything that she does behind bars, incarceration, like, she’s ultimately a survivor. She’s ultimately a hustler. And that’s one of the things that- that really strikes me about her character.

Angelica: I mean, think about it culturally. Like, throughout history, there have been different cultures who have either arranged marriages or even sold off their daughters…

Imara: Mm-hmm.

Angelica: … In ways that we’re supposed to take care of them, instead of the father being the responsibility now and they’re some man’s responsibility or what have you, and it’s just odd, I think, to be in a world and society that, kind of, supports controlling women in that way, but then when women take the control and try to make themselves safe and make these decisions of being with men for more reasons than that- you know, that they’re attractive or that, you know, for survival, like, again, you know, the passion, unfortunately, was not there between Roxie and Amos, you know. And you can feel this- this- this element of settling for the best that you think it can get. And when I know it comes to a lot of trans women, I’ve been there before myself, engaged in a relationship where, you know, I was being told, “Well, girl, I mean, as a trans woman, that’s about as good as you can get,” and I had the audacity to feel like I wanted more and to leave that situation and say that I deserved more, I deserve someone who is able to love me in the broad daylight, which, I mean, to be fair, I was being loved in broad daylight, but I had sisters who’ve been privileged so people didn’t know I was trans in the environments that I was in, so I was, in essence, living in stealth, but I deserved to be loved and celebrated for exactly who I am, which is the experience I have today.

Imara: Mm-hmm. Yeah, amazing. And that… Yeah, and- and you’re right. She didn’t have that as- as an option, and that was one of the things that- that comes out and that you can bring to that role.

In seeing this, I mean, theater is the ultimate test for actors and I think that it’s undeniable, your gift and the power of your ability, it really shines through in this role, I think.

Angelica: Thank you.

Imara: What television and movies do is that that editor has control over how you’re seen, right? But what’s great about theater is that you’re in total control about how you’re seen all the time. And I think that what comes across in that is the sheer power that you have [crosstalk] of embodiment. And I just wanted to say that, and to say that that’s a reason why everyone should go see this role, because it is craft in motion.

Angelica: Thank you so much.

Imara: And it’s really a joy to see. Kind of along that line, I’m wondering if what being on Broadway, maybe even what being a part of Pose, has taught you about the power of possibility. You know, I think that so often, our society gets us to think about our lives in very limited ways, and I don’t only mean the trans people, but I mean, re- largely, but especially for trans people, that if you’re just able to, uhm, survive and then have your life in danger, then you’re succeeding. But one of the things that’s really clear about your life is how groundbreaking it is and how, in so many ways, you’ve taken every step and expanded it to create even more possibility for yourself. And so, I’m wondering if your time on Broadway has contributed to that. That is, say, what do you feel is different about how you see yourself now versus when you started in this role?

Angelica: You know, I think about a quote from, uhm, Pose. And it was really from Helena, the dance teacher, who was really kind of almost chastising [chuckles] Damon because he was showing up late to rehearsals and stuff like that. And so, you know, she talked about how when in being an artist and the process of being an artist involves a little bit of pain, you know. It’s almost like… it’s blood, sweat, and tears almost literally, especially for dancers who end up having different scars and things on their feet and things from the actual process. But what I understand is that when you’re going after your dreams and when you are activating yourself and your body, there’s a little pain involved, and it’s the type of pain… it’s both, sometimes, emotional pain of feeling the difference and the tension between where you are and where you want to be. It is also the physical pain of your body, but what happens is it gets you to pay attention. I believe in a spiritual sense that that’s what a lot of pain gets you to do, is to pay attention to- to not neglect, uhm, a certain area that is saying, “Pay attention to this spot.” So, whether it is a cramp in my leg or, uh, my muscles, or whether it is, you know, my voice, I’m realizing that I am one person completely made up of muscles and that the voice is a muscle, and so that it all can be strengthened. Your voice can be strengthened. Your body and your ability, to some degree, I know for other folks, have, you know, different, uh, abilities, but still, wherever you’re coming from, that you can condition yourself and your muscles to be prepared for whatever challenge that you’re faced with.

So, I know so many people have, sort of, like a, maybe, fatalistic or pessimistic, sort of, outlook on life and- and, you know, and I- I know there’s some people are probably overly optimistic or kind of like are wearing rose-colored glasses about things, but I will say the middle ground with that, the actual proof of that is the actual process of allowing yourself to be strengthened. It doesn’t happen by osmosis. It doesn’t happen, you know, sitting back, smoking weed, watching TV. Like, it just doesn’t. Shout out… you know, great for folks when they need to, like, have these moments and do whatever, but like, I don’t care if- if something comes up in your mind. And I think about Candy. I think about Candy from Pose. I think about… even for Roxie. It’s not all, you know, I have these silly dreams or have this silly want to be a- a model or to do this, and that’s just impossible. Well, it’s impossible if you’re not going to do anything to start making steps in that direction. So, it’s really from the Candys to the Roxies, what I’m trying to reflect and what’s been reflected to me, is that you can achieve anything that you’re willing to work at.

Imara: Well, and, uhm, endure for.

Angelica: Endure. Uh, and endure. My goodness, and endure. And in my Buddhist practice, they say, “To start is easy. To continue is difficult.”

Imara: I’m wondering, where are the mountains that you want to climb, sticking with this theme of the things that are causing you discomfort or the things that are on your heart to do? What are the mountains that you want to climb for yourself that are in front of you?

Angelica: [sighs] You know, I want to be free of White supremacy. I want to be able to move at a pace that is respectful to my body, that is respectful to my value and my time. When I choose to speak up and advocate, when I choose to perform, when I’m doing anything that there’s a space imbalance to things that makes me feel like I can both enjoy rest, as well as the race. So many times, it feels like all or nothing, and so many times, it feels like… you know, I know for myself that I have been able to make opportunities happen and manifest things, but, you know, I still am not powerful enough or I don’t know what I focus enough for what, I don’t know, but I’m still not haven’t figured out how to balance it all, how to do it all, and to still pay the bills. We’re all living under a capitalistic society, and the biggest thing that I’m doing to overturn the wave is to reject these narratives that say, “You have to do this in order to be successful.” That’s why I bought my house in Atlanta because I want to build my world in a place that is not about the Hollywood fake-ness, that is not about being, sort of, beholden to a yes from a casting director.

Imara: When you say that you want to be free of White supremacy, are you saying that you want to be free of the limitations that White supremacy imposes on you as an actor in terms of… and as a Black trans woman actor, in terms of what it thinks that you should do? Are you saying you want to be free of it from the capitalistic standpoint that you have to, like, you know, work twice as hard, be twice as good, and run yourself into the ground? Can you just unpack a little bit about the way that you… way it plays out in your life? Because again, I think that on this theme that we’ve kind of touched upon about, kind of, behind there is an entire world that demands a lot of us in you. So, when you mentioned, like, you want to be free of White supremacy, in what way is it showing up for you that you feel that it’s constraining and a burden?

Angelica: People know me as someone who’s very transparent and authentic, and all those things, and the way the capitalism works, whether it’s in the corporate world or whether it’s in show business, it’s silences you in- in moments. And the reality is, I can’t fully talk about my experience. I can give you the highlights, but that’s why I’m working so hard to create a space where I’m the boss and where I can say no when I really want to say no, but there’s just certain dynamics about this business that the reality is- is that I really wish that my fan base and people who support me, love me, follow me, the one thing I want them to do is just understand I don’t have all the privilege you think I have. I’ve always been very transparent about what I can do. So, you see, I’m starring on Broadway and yet the Tamron Hall show is the only show that’s invited me on. Do you understand what I’m saying? Like, I haven’t been on any of the late shows. I haven’t been on the morning shows. I haven’t done any of that, and it’s not because I’ve said no, it’s because I haven’t been invited. It’s because certain press or PR people reach out to them, they’re not interested, or, you know, they know what I stand for and know that I make the most out of any media opportunity to advocate and to, you know, deliver a message. So authenticity, sometimes, comes at a cost.

Imara: Well, what’s shocking is that I can’t imagine that anyone who meets you, that doesn’t realize you’re the boss, that’s news to me. [chuckles]

Angelica: [chuckles]

Imara: That’s a huge shock. Yeah. You come across as a person who is very self-assessed, you know exactly what you wanted, and also, I think what’s so powerful about our conversation and what I’m getting from it, and I’m sure everybody listening is getting from it is this incredible tension between this amazing possibility and the amazing life that you are living as an actor and as a creator, and then at the same time, the tremendous weight and undertow that you feel, still, by a system which is limiting you in so many ways. And the ways that you’re trying to balance that and create freedom for yourself and other people is what you’re holding, and I think that that is just so real in terms of the moment that we’re living right now.

Angelica: Yes. Yeah. I think that a lot of people probably are feeling that tension. You know, I’m a grassroots organizer and activist, and so, you know, I just see so many things, whether it’s from comedy to entertainment spaces, where people want to be able to be problematic. They want to be able to, “Oh, we’re just having fun,” or, you know, “[inaudible] Oh, can you not mention White supremacy for like five minutes?”, you know, and I get that. You know, I do- I do get that, but [sighs] it- it’s hard to pick and choose your battles. And that’s what I also want to share is that, like, you absolutely are going to have to pick and choose your battles. And I say that because you’re a human being so you cannot battle all the time, girl. You cannot fight the whole time. You will be fatigued. You will wear yourself out. So, you are going to have to get, as my ex used to tell me, uh, “work smarter, not harder”, and you’re going to have to pick your battles.

Imara: Well, I know that we are all thrilled at the battle that you decided to take on was the role of Roxie because it is groundbreaking, you are amazing in it, and I am so hoping that you will be on Broadway countless times, that there is a Tony in your future.

Angelica: Thank you.

Imara: I would see you anytime I could, uhm, in anything, uh, because it was just that transformative of an experience to see you embody something that’s so powerful on the stage in the best tradition of the stage. And I just want to thank you for your work and for everything that you’re doing, and again, hope that everyone go see this and keep going.

Angelica: Three more weeks.

Imara: So, November 6th is the last day so go see Angelica as Roxie and-

Angelica: And you can get a discount on tickets. You can get a discount on tickets if you go on TransTech day, which is October 29th. There’s a discount code you can find if you go to You’ll see the flyer for that with a discount code and you can get discount on tickets, and be surrounded by community.

Imara: And we’ll be sure to put that in the show notes and in all social promotions so that people know that they can do that, as well. You are exhausted. You have a show tonight. We’re going to wrap, but I just want to express my appreciation to you again. Thank you so much, Angelica.

Angelica: Thank you so much, Imara.


Imara: Thank you for joining me on the TransLash Podcast and listening all the way through to the end of the show for something extra.

But first of all, special thanks to Aaron E. for giving us a five-star review on Apple Podcasts. Aaron says, “I can’t even express how much this episode means to me. Imara’s voice is so soothing, and the information is top tier. I’m always excited when there’s a new episode because I know I’m going to learn something new and important, heartwarming, and pertinent to trans’ lives. Thank you so much for existing in this space.” Aaron, thank you so much for your kind words, especially about my soothing voice.

And if you all want to help show support for the show and combat these trolls, go ahead and leave your own five-star review on Apple Podcasts and you might just hear me read it out on the show.

The TransLash Podcast is produced by TransLash Media. The TransLash team includes Oliver-Ash Klein and Aubrey Calloway. Our intern Mirana Munson-Burke. Xander Adams is a contributing producer to the show and our sound engineer. 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 foundations and listeners like you.


What I’m looking forward to is Trans Bodies, Trans Choices, which I spoke about in our mid-roll. We’ve been working so hard on it. Uh, this latest iteration is going to be a total exciting departure for us in terms of doing animation. We’ve been working with some amazing trans animators on that work that’s coming up. We’re going to have podcasts in the scene and a whole bunch of other really cool, innovative, uhm, things for us as a platform and an entity, but more important, we want to continue to drive the conversation. So, I’m truly excited about Trans Bodies, Trans Choices’ second wave of the campaign that we launched earlier this year. We’re going to be rolling out starting the week of October 31st, so just make sure that you are tuned into that.

And also, everybody, just make sure that you are really paying attention to everything in the run-up to this election not only for your Congressional and Senate races, but absolutely for your State races where so many of the issues around our bodies and our choices are being decided. It’s so important that you turn up for that. Even if you are kind of “eh” on the national stuff, what’s happening in your State legislatures and with your State legislators, as you all know, is having a huge impact on our ability to be who we are. And so, there’s almost not a State in this country that isn’t trying to push something that’s anti-trans. Uhm, more than 40 States, 300 bills introduced in those last year, and we know that so much of that is driven by what’s happening in State houses. So, please pay attention to what’s happening, uhm, and that relates to our campaign that we are putting out, so make sure that you just focus on all that.

We’ve all got a lot of stuff going on. It’s not been an easy two or three years. I know that we feel turned upside down, but… by everything that’s happened, but make sure that you look at Trans Bodies, Trans Choices. Hopefully that’s going to inspire you, and also, make sure to find out who’s running for your State legislatures and turn out and vote for who you want to see there, making decisions on behalf of you.



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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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