🎉 Celebrating trans joy 🏳️⚧️ and intersectional health reporting with H Conley
Sounds Like Impact: A newsletter for audio and action - Vol. 11
Welcome to Volume 11 of Sounds Like Impact!
This edition is about celebrating transgender people finding joy and we have an interview with journalist H Conley!
But before we get into all of that, I want to point out two things:
Last week after sending out the newsletter, I added the podcast Braaains to the post, a show from #SoundsLikeImpact community members—and sisters—Heather and Sarah Taylor. What can I say, I love entertainment podcasts and this one focuses on how the inner workings of our brains are portrayed on TV!
I believe that Juneteenth is already going the way of MLK Day. By that I mean it is a significant holiday where there is a lack of understanding or interest in why we are observing, and what we can learn from it. So, I want to highlight this recommended reading about Juneteenth list over on. The holiday may have passed, but doesn’t mean you can’t still learn about it!
Announcements: The entry deadline for the 2nd Annual Signal Awards is June 30th. If you are a podcaster, make sure to get your materials in! P.S. Check out the Podcasting, Seriously Award fund to see if you can get support for this, or other award shows.
The early entry deadline for the 3rd Annual Anthem Awards is July 28th, so if you touch the social impact space in some way, apply!
🙌 Keeping the faith: ICWA was upheld! ICWA, or the Indian Child Welfare Act, is an important law that essentially safeguards tribal sovereignty. This Land (season 2) is the perfect podcast to learn about how ICWA came to be challenged in the first place. However, if you don’t have the time, listen to this Strict Scrutiny episode featuring the creator of This Land, Rebecca Nagle, breaking down the ruling.
Or read more from The Guardian.
🎧 #AudioForAction Theme of the Week
Making space for trans joy
Let’s start with some good news. Yesterday, ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio shared “the court permanently blocked Arkansas’s ban on gender affirming care for trans adolescents.” This is good news, even if all stories are not ending this way when it comes to legislation restricting the rights of transgender adults, children and their parents. This is primarily what we are hearing about in the media, in addition to a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be trans* and what trans people need to be safe, affirmed and happy.
But legislation is not the focus of this curation. The focus is on joy: cultivating it through creativity, affirmations of identity, community and love. This is not to say that there won’t be moments where instances of distress and trauma slip in, but the vibe is more about the journey to self-acceptance and celebration of what one has overcome. For example, stories like this one “Mexican Transgender Abuelas Celebrate the Quinceañera They Never Had” our essential for the journey toward liberation. Everyone deserves to be happy, healthy and safe. If you have any related podcasts or stories to share, please leave a comment; we like joy!
As for the calls-to-actions that you’ll see, the next best thing you can do—outside of standing against harmful legislation—is give trans people and creators money. Therefore, you will see me pointing to opportunities to do just that.
*GLAAD has a glossary of terms if you need to brush up.
Allyship is a Verb, Queer, Trans and Gender Expansive Joy in the Workplace feat. Rex Wilde
I love that they are defining what joy and gender euphoria means to them and how to be a supportive ally in the workplace.
TransLash Podcast with Imara Jones, Black Trans Femme Artistic Legacies
Each episode of TransLash starts with sharing “Trans joy.” But this episode is particularly highlighted because the dance and music culture that Black Trans people have created is so invaluable. That culture is quite literally why Beyoncé is able to tour Renaissance right now.
Sounds Gay, Melanie Speaks
This episode gives new meaning to finding your voice.
Queer Collective Podcast, The Black Trans Experience & Trans Joy With Ms. Myles
In addition to being nice to hear about Ms. Myles journey, this episode was great for helping me to expand my idea of gender-affirming care. Without giving too much away, were you thinking about a 5’8 cis-man getting a height procedure to become 6’ as gender-affirming care? Or a breast-enhancement on a cis-woman as gender-affirming care? Probably not, but now are you?
BEING Trans, Let’s Get This Out of the Way
This episode is from a 6-part reality audio series (+ reunion special) from Lemonada Media. I think this format is an interesting way to present multiple days in the life of the individuals the series seeks to document. It’s a little confusing to find because it’s in the BEING Golden feed, but searching ‘BEING Trans’ (outside of clicking on the links I provide) should help you find it.
Bonus: The very excellent podcast Gender Reveal has starter packs—mini-curations—that you can check out. There is one on Comedy! Also, last week I shared that my act of joy was seeing Fast X because I’m a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. Well, guess who has developing a zine called “2 Trans 2 Furious”? Tuck Woodstuck, the creator and host of Gender Reveal! Talk about worlds colliding. They co-edited the zine, which features contributions from various trans writers and artists. This is not an ad, but it’s available for pre-order (yes, of course I bought a copy for myself and my F&F watch buddy). You can listen to an audio preview of an essay from the zine.
Get the podcast playlist on Podchaser for wherever you may listen.
🚨 Calls to Action
Subscribe: A lot of you are here because you appreciate audio. Podplane is a podcast-focused monthly newsletter that spotlights work by trans, nonbinary and non-cis creators. The newsletter is also free but could use your $ support. They do accept pitches if you are a creator from one of these groups.
Share: Uplifting messages from the It Gets Better Project (and support the organization if you can).
Give: This year’s writers have been selected for the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ+ Voices. It’s critical that we support their voices, and you can do so by giving to the aggregate fund or their individual fundraisers.
Our interviewee this week, H Conley, was selected for the program. Congratulations H and good luck! You can support their fundraiser here.
Learn: Ways to support Black Trans Femmes and Black Trans Women, who have some of the highest risks of experiencing state and interpersonal violence.
The Transgender Law Center—the org that put together the previous guide—also has #FundMeFriday on Twitter, sharing opportunities to financially support those in need.
Read: Two books have hit the shelves recently: Tre’vell Anderson’s We See Each Other: A Black Trans Journey Through TV and Film and Elliot Page’s Pageboy.
This LA Times profile of actor Elliot Page is likely paywalled, but if you haven’t clicked on an LA Times article yet, it’s worth trying to read. The journalist does talk about the joy that transition has brought Elliot, but I’m adding a TW for trauma and self-harm.
H Conley (they/them) is a journalist, audio maker and artist from New York City. They fell in love with radio while working in a creamery, and left their cheesemaking job to go to journalism school. They report on food, climate, trans health, and queer identity. Their personal essay I Realized I Was Trans While Making Cheese was featured in Bon Appétit’s first pride package. Their work has also been published in STAT News, The Guardian, Edible Manhattan, City Limits, Meat and Three from HRN, and the Embodied Podcast from WUNC.
When H first pitched their piece, “Refused: When You Are Too Fat For Top Surgery” to me, I knew I had to talk to them. The first newsletter for Sounds Like Impact was about weight stigma, but it had never crossed my mind that people could be denied an essential procedure because of stigma. I’m so excited for you to learn more about H and the intersectional lens they bring to reporting. Below is a snippet of our convo that aligns with the theme about finding joy (and protecting your peace).
Increasingly there has been more coverage of issues affecting trans people in the media, but unfortunately as it relates to harsh legislation being proposed or passed to restrict the rights of trans adults, children and their parents. Aside from yourself, would you like to recommend other reporters or podcasts that provide holistic coverage to cut above the sensationalization in mainstream media?
I followed the coverage closely in 2021 but I’ve been avoiding in depth coverage recently because it all feels too repetitively painful. But, I highly recommend Chala’s* recent appearance on The Black Kitchen Series and their story for Condé Nast Traveler about finding queer family in Costa Rica. These are stories of Black trans joy and euphoria, of food and family, and they’re the kind of positivity I’ve needed recently, and a lot of people need right now.
*Learn more about who Chala is to H through reading our interview.
⏭ Coming Up
Next week I have a very special interview with a recent audio awardee from the Tribeca Film Festival! 👀 I also share my version of a best of 2023 (so far) list. 🏅
🤗 An act of joy: This past week was full of so much joy, I can’t even contain it all to the newsletter or choose just one. I just want to say how grateful I am to spend time with friends, many of whom I met in the workplace. Even when times at those places I worked at were tough, I always had work buddies to keep me sane. Find your community and don’t let them go!
Take care of yourselves! And if you listen or take any actions, be sure to let me know in the comments or via email soundslikeimpact [at] unofficialsocialchair [dot] com.