Call me a nerd, but there are few things better than a good podcast. I live in Brooklyn and commute to Manhattan every day, which takes forty-five minutes on a good day and up to an hour and a half when I've done something to warrant the malice of the subway gods. Like a little piece of rainbow on a rainy day, a compelling podcast can make the drudgery of my daily commute turn into something a little more lovely. More than just making the time pass, a good podcast can also teach, ignite and inspire. It can connect you with people and places you wouldn't normally have access to. Or if you're trans, and in a small town without other trans folks to talk to, it can connect you to much-needed community. I listen to podcasts literally any time that I'm doing anything that doesn't require the use of my brain cells - cleaning, laundry, walking around the city.
So without further ado, here are five shows every FTM podcast fan should have in their playlist queue...
**UPDATED APRIL 2019**
2. THEY & THEM
You can tell when I'm listening to the latest episode of They & Them because I generally have a huge smile plastered across my face. Listening to this podcast is sort of like hanging out with your two best, very-funny, whip-smart, and charming, genderqueer friends. The conversations are both intimate and easy - even when discussing more serious topics. Chicago-based duo Devlyn Camp and Sal Gado cover LGBTQ news, music, pop culture, and politics, and they do so with utmost style. Both hosts identify as non-binary and their witty banter touches on every topic under the queer sun.
It's worth noting that Camp also produces another great podcast focusing on queer history called Mattachine.
If you're looking for a good place to dive in, I recommend starting with their recent interview with author Jacob Tobia talking about their fantastic memoir Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story.
Ever feel like you're the only trans person in the history of the universe? Well then, this is the podcast for you. One From the Vaults (OFTV) is a trans history podcast hosted by trans writer, Morgan M Page. As Page accurately puts it, this podcast "brings you all the dirt, gossip, and glamour from trans history." It also readily combats the notion that trans people are a modern day phenomenon. From bad boy Harry Allen Livingston to 19th Century Hungarian Count, Sandor Vay, Page details the stories of trans people from decades past and proves that trans people have been around since the beginning of recorded history.
The story-telling in this series is fantastic and the short episodes are easily digestible. I honestly can't recommend this podcast enough, especially if you are a history buff or have been aching for stories of our trans ancestors. As an extra bonus, OFTV includes some truly great musical interludes.
4. MASC UNDONE
Relatively new on the podcasting scene, Masc Undone is co-hosted by Tiq Milan and Aydian Dowling - two names that will be familiar to anyone keeping up with trans-masculine culture in the last decade. For those of you who have been living under rocks, Tiq Milan is a writer and activist, who after spending years fighting for better trans representation in the media, is now working on his own book, Man of My Design. He also tours the country speaking on a variety of trans-related topics. Tiq's co-host Aydian Dowling is one of the most popular trans masculine YouTubers of our time and is also the founder of Point of Pride - an organization that "works to benefit trans people in need through gender-affirming support programs that empower them to live more authentically."
The Masc Undone podcast covers everything from current events to racism to fatherhood (both hosts are recent parents). A main focus of the show is the hosts' processes on how to be better masculine role models - for the community, for their children, and for the world. Super relatable, I highly recommend this podcast for any trans-masculine person who is grappling with what it means to be a masculine person in these turbulent times.
Transpantastic is "a podcast about gender, identity, orientation, and the life that happens between them." In this podcast, George - a transman - and his partner Jess - who identifies as pansexual - talk very candidly about their lives, work, and community. Their frank conversations about the challenges of raising children, their complicated relationship/family structure, and George's struggles with depression are invaluable.
While the candid banter really gives a generously close look inside the couple's lives, the most compelling episodes tend to be the ones in which they bring on outside guests and friends - as they did in episodes #234 and #235 with indigenous transman of color and activist, Z. Z talks about his incredibly unlikely journey from the Marine Core to full-time activist. His journey is deeply moving and his resilience is inspiring.
Want more ???? These podcasts are no longer putting out new content, but are worth a listen nonetheless.
Avid YouTube watchers will likely already be familiar with Chase Ross and Aaron Ansuini. You're So Brave is the duo's joint radio show and when this podcast was active, it was easily one of the most entertaining podcasts out there for FTMs. We were heartbroken when this show was canceled, and even more so when allegations of abuse surfaced regarding the duo's relationship. (If you want to read more about this, you can check out this article here.)
Even though our feelings about the show are now tinged with sadness, this show is worth mentioning for the wealth of information it contains. The show covers subjects from the casual and light (eg. RuPaul's Drag Race, Harry Potter) to the more serious such as dysphoria, medical incompetence, and anxiety.
This episode featuring Jason Ballard, founder of FTM Magazine is a particularly good one.
Host Kameron Trumbo stopped recording the audio-only version of his show in Fall of 2018. However, for YouTube watchers, you can still catch up with him and his adventures on the video sharing platform.
The S.W.A.G in the show's title stands for "Show With Awesome Guys" and the show absolutely lived up to its name. In the first season, Kameron talks mostly of his own journey with his transition - how he came out, his road to chest surgery etc. For season two, Kam broadens the scope a bit and brings on other transguys to talk about their experiences.
More than anything, Kameron's enthusiasm and positive energy are what make this show so good. He also has that rare knack of asking the right questions to bring out the most interesting stories from his guests. Kam started his podcast because podcasts from other transguys helped him on his personal journey and thought his unique story as a guy transitioning later in life had the potential of helping others. Now Kam is helping other transguys in more ways than one. The show hosts regular giveaways and uses the proceeds from merchandise sold at transswagstore.com to help transguys who cannot afford packers and binders.
To get you started, here's a recording of the awesome time I got to be a guest on Kam's show!
Once I found this podcast, I was so bummed to discover that they don't regularly record new shows. However, Gender Blender is worth checking out because the voices the podcast highlights are voices that need to be heard. It's the only show I've found that regularly features trans and gender non-conforming folks of color and the conversations are both rich and powerful. The episode in which host Tai Jacob interviews filmmaker and intersex activist, Pidgeon Pagonis, was no exception. In this episode - which can be listened to here - Pidgeon talks about the medical industrial complex's treatment of intersex people and the place of intersex folks in the LGBTQI umbrella. There's also a brief, but mind-expanding segment with Dr. Cary Costello, intersex trans man and Associate Professor at the University of Milwaukee. Learning about the term "ipso gender" alone made this podcast a worthwhile listen. (Trigger Warning: this episode also contains talk of violence, nonconsensual medically unnecessary surgeries, trauma, and suicide).