Rebels & Counterculture in the Trans Community
Hold my Drink Podcast Blog, Episode 52
After all the hoopla in the media over Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy show, The Closer, I finally sat down to watch it. I did the ugly snort laugh most of the way through, until my heart sank with his story of his trans friend, Daphne.
The response from the trans community, meant to strong-arm Netflix to taking it down, was monolithic. In this current cultural moment, we’ve lost not only humor, but also the sense of pluralism that defines both the trans community, and the world at large.
Dave Chapelle engages in equal opportunity discrimination. And it’s hilarious. His roasts of white people usually have me doubled over in stitches. Our focus on putting people into categories has come at a great expense to both a sense of humor, and more importantly to our plurality.
This week, we speak to Zander Keig (trans man) and Debbie Hayton (trans woman), and it is beautiful (and Debbie’s reference to a ketchup bottle still has me laughing). They share with us their personal stories of transition, their socialization pre-transition, and their lives today. Honest hurt, honest humor, and honest heterogeneity. They are not monolithic, and, in their individuality, they are even countercultural.
This assumes that culture today bends to an overarching narrative, and I believe it does. Too often the dominant culture imposes an authoritarian acceptance of group identity. In many ways, today’s trans is yesterday’s goth. Dye your hair and paint your fingernails black in solidarity, or you risk being rejected from the Marilyn Manson fan club.
Counterculture today is a fervent adherence to our pluralistic individuality, and Zander and Debbie are rebels.
They are rebels not only because they don’t conform to the narrative, but also because they have the moral courage to share their stories even in the face of condemnation. Sadly, this condemnation comes not just from the truly transphobic, but from within their own trans community.
But they won’t be silenced.
And together we laugh. Not as a Jew, a white chick, a Latino, and a Brit, but as friends. We lean into each other to see ourselves, and to see ourselves in each other.
This is the Blessed Community. Join us.
In the final episode of Season One of Hold my Drink — navigating culture with a chaser of civility, and Counterweightpodcast, Episode 52, we speak with Zander Keig and Debbie Hayton. Zander (FTM) and Debbie (MTF) share with us their different experiences with transition, the socialization of different genders, their thoughts on the current debate on puberty blockers, questions on gender dysphoria, autogynephilia and their fierce commitment to living their authentic lives. All with a chaser of civility, of course, and a lot of coffee.
Hold my Drink welcomes all people with all kinds of beverages to join us as we explore the truths of a chaotic and beautiful world, together.
What Zander is reading
Joint Letter from USPATH and WPATH (regarding Abigail Shrier’s article — link in Jen’s resources)
What Debbie is listening to
Nolan Investigates, BBC series on the influence of Stonewall
Katie Herzog & Jamie Kirchick On Pride And The Alphabet People, Dishcast Podcast
Top Trans Doctors Blow the Whistle on ‘Sloppy’ Care, Common Sense with Bari Weiss, Abigail Shrier
The Truth about Autogynephilia, Quillette, Helen Joyce
Dave Chapelle isn’t ‘transphobic’, The Spectator, Debbie Hayton
Zander Keig is a proud Coast Guard Veteran and an award-winning Social Worker, Educator, and Public Speaker with subject-matter knowledge and experience in developing LGBT diversity and inclusion programs, interpersonal and organizational conflict management training, clinical peer consultation and mentorship, and corporate mental wellness program development. He has served in various capacities: clinician, trainer, speaker, consultant, coach, advisor, facilitator, mentor, networker, educator, leader, and community builder.
2020 WPATH Harry Benjamin Distinguished Education Award | 2020 NASW National Social Worker of the Year | 2020 WPATH Certified Gender Specialist | 2018 NASW CA Social Worker of the Year | 2014 San Francisco CARES Social Worker of the Year
Debbie Hayton is a high school teacher and trade union officer. She teaches science to 11–18-year-olds at a school in central England. As a transgender person, she has written extensively about what it means to be trans and how trans people can be included in society without compromising the rights of other vulnerable groups. Her work can be read in publications from across the political spectrum, where rational scientific debate is allowed and encouraged. You can read more about her and her transition on her page: https://debbiehayton.com/ Follow her on Twitter @DebbieHayton