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 your trans, and in a small town without other transfolks to talk with, it can connect you to a 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 four shows every FTM podcast fan should have in their playlist queue...
YouTube watchers will already be familiar with Chase Ross, also known as Uppercase Chase, and his best friend Aaron Ansuini. You're So Brave is the duo's joint radio show and is easily one of the best podcasts out there for FTMs. Both hosts are incredibly charming and they play off each other like a seasoned duo with quick-witted banter and inside jokes aplenty. In fact, Chase and Aaron have developed a language of their own - one that you'll want to learn so you can join the fun. I WISH I WAS A LIME! 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. While the hosts lose the topic from time to time, the conversational nature of the podcast allows them to delve more deeply into issues than they are able to when filming solo. What's more, they're also clearly having a great time and enjoy each other's company - and the sense of fun is infectious.
While You're So Brave is primarily a podcast, it's also recorded on YouTube for folks who prefer to watch their radio. And while that doesn't work for me and my daily commute, I wouldn't blame you if that's your preference, especially as Aaron and Chase are unreasonably cute. (Or as Chase would say, "Hunti!") This episode featuring Jason Ballard, founder of FTM Magazine is a particularly fun one.
Next up Kameron Trumbo, host of Trans S.W.A.G. is relatively new the world of podcasting, but what we're seeing already has great promise. The S.W.A.G in the show's title stands for "Show With Awesome Guys" and thus far the podcast is living 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 one of my favorite episodes from Season Two of Trans S.W.A.G. - Kameron's interview with Cody Harmon about his road to recovery after phalloplasty:
3. GENDER BLENDER
Once I found this podcast, I was so bummed to discover that they don't regularly record new shows. However, Gender Blender still earns a spot in the top 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).
Last, but not least, is Transpantastic "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. Thier 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.