On this episode we hear JS Fields’s Coming Out Story. They talk about being gay, being intersex and being gender queer.
This podcast series airs every October to celebrate coming out month. As LGBTQIA people we are often seen as different and wrong. By celebrating our coming out stories we see that we are part of something bigger and that there is hope.
Listen to this episode here.
JS Fields’ first novel
Ardulum First Don
Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.
Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport Mercy’s Pledge and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by – but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that long ago visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with them agriculture, art, interstellar technology…and then disappeared without a trace, leaving Neek’s people to worship them as gods.
Neek does not believe – and has paid dearly for it with an exile from her home for her heretical views. Yet when the crew stumbles into an armed confrontation between the sheriffs of the Charted Systems and an unknown species, fate deals Neek an unexpected hand in the form of a slave girl – a child whose ability to telepathically manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of that of an Ardulan god. Forced to reconcile her beliefs, Neek chooses to protect her, but is the child the key to her salvation, or will she lead them all to their deaths?
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Transcript for today’s show
Please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect.
coming out stories is a short run podcast exclusive to the lesbian talk show the goal of this podcast is to share real stories from real people in the LGBTQIA community because this is such a personal journey I ask that if you do comments on these shows then please do so positively the more we stand together and embrace our diversity the stronger we get as a community welcome to coming-out stories I’m Sheena and I’m joined today by the fabulous author James fields who’s going to see their coming-out story with us thank you for joining us today J’s thanks for having me back it’s always a pleasure all right so tennis well first we kind of have to decide what coming-out story we want to go with you know a lot of people in the queer community have intersecting identities and I have thought three of them technically so you know where do you want to start started meeting at the beginning oh wow okay part of being intersex for some people because there are lots of different intersex types can be very strange puberty strange different whatever you want to whatever you want to call it and so I went through puberty twice and the first time was very sort of traditional female puberty which you know came with the standard breasts grow you get to period all of those kinds of things but I didn’t really get any real like no sexual attraction really came along with that which was fine you know cuz I was young and who really cares and I just assumed eventually there would be some guy who would you know look attractive I do remember when my friends a lot of whom were female especially in junior high school we’re talking about boys and they’d say okay but which one do you like and I very liked it looking back on this now I always went for the one with the longest hair and the most like thin willowy frame and to just be like yeah yeah probably him he seems nice I don’t know you know I grew up in a small with Midwest town I didn’t even know that lesbianism was a thing which is funny because I grew up in the 80s and you think that it would be more pervasive than that I knew you could be gay like you could be a gay man I was aware of that but I didn’t know like I had no clue what the word lesbian was I did not know that that was even on the table and then at 15 I went through puberty again male puberty this time and actually my breasts shrunk and my period stopped and my voice deepened and I shot up a bunch that I hadn’t by the height that I hadn’t really gotten in junior high and I started I remember this very clearly I was sitting in chemistry class so my sophomore year of high school just up and diagonal from me was a cheerleader that’s very quintessential like yeah moment here he was wearing you know it was the mid-90s so one of those like fairly tight like sort of like babydoll shirts that like and the so I could only really see the side of her and I just I remember just first admiring her shirt because I would never I was not wearing clothes like that um and I was thinking oh you know that’s a pretty cool shirt it wouldn’t wear it but then then I just remember seeing her breasts and going why it really forms real well to the side of her breasts doesn’t it that’s some that and then the thoughts just sort of spooled out from there and it took me the rest of chemistry class and then a little bit after in lunch to sit and go oh that dumb hmm that’s probably not quite right I don’t actually know what that means so and I remember that very clearly because it was the first time I really really thought about having sex with someone and it was very powerful cuz I was like oh this I think this is what I’m supposed to think about boys but that’s disgusting and I have no that’s just not ever happening mm-hmm not but it took a while I didn’t I had to really work through it and it took a friend of mine I maybe about a year later showing me some Japanese anime oddly Sailor Moon but japanese version that hadn’t been sterilized and seeing Haruka and Mishra who are the two lesbian Sailor Scouts and seeing them and watching it in this cartoon and going whoa this this um this thing here it’s real thing and then like learning more about lesbianism and things like that and I I think it was my who it’s probably late in my junior year when I told my mom we needed to talk and we she like put me in the car and we took a long car ride and she was so white in the face like she it turns out I thought I was gonna tell her I was pregnant and so was having like that and so at the time I wasn’t even though I knew I didn’t like men I wasn’t really willing to commit to the whole lesbian thing all the way because I figured you know maybe I just it’s it’s Midtown America I mean the KKK handed out pamphlets in my town for years like we’re like there was a bus that had pictures of a board of fetuses on it that would drive around the grade school like this is not the most liberal of areas and so it’s really hard it was really hard to mentally sort of work through homosexuality and so we’re in the car and I told my mom I’m bisexual and I just remembered the relief on her face when she went and you’re not pregnant and I was like uh-uh what no what why why would that no hmm because that would involve penis that’s really not happening my mom was really I mean when she was relieved but she was also confused because she grew up in that same town and she didn’t really know what lesbianism was either and so I remember the world’s most awkward conversation then with my mother where she just sort of like kept driving and occasionally looking over at me and going so you wanna like touch women and me being what 16 was like yes and and then I’ll never forget this moment my mom said um I mean but do you do just like breasts because you know I like breasts they’re nice and I’m going do you know yeah it’s just like you know if you just like breasts but I don’t think that means you’re a lesbian you know you may be just like breasts like um well I think I’m like more than breasts also my cup questions yes can we just rewind for a second I can’t set so you you started with the m26 thing and then you VA dolphins together how did you know you answer six well that part has to come later because I didn’t know okay no you’re fine so that was kind of where it’s at you know we went home and just didn’t really talk about it again and then it took me going off to college and getting my first girlfriend like almost right away it was probably two months into college where I was like okay we’re just gonna do this now and then I wrote because I’m a giant lesbian like a five page manifesto about being a lesbian and look how important it was to my development and then like email it to every single person I knew you’d remember that I went to college at 17 so I was just a very young and just really gay and just it was it was a moment so and it went actually over fine when I came home that first summer I was really you know kind of trying to understand what being a lesbian really meant listening to game music oh my gosh and and that kind of stuff and it was hard my dad did not care at all like not even remotely my mom had a harder time I remember there being like do you have to listen to that like gay music all the time and do you have to tell people like that you’re gay like you know it’s hard on your semesters five years younger and I hadn’t left the town yet and so it was still kind of we get along great now but she was still very immersed in the town’s politics at the time and she was upset because people found out I was a lesbian and then they were you know making fun of her and my mom had a lot of you know why don’t you think about other people why do you always have to think about yourself with like telling people that you’re gonna be a soap I mean it was coming from a place of growing up in that town and not knowing she started going to PFLAG the next year and and things got better and and she was fine with it so it’s not like I didn’t get kicked out of the house or anything but it was still uh you know it’s always stressful so that was you know it was it was it was okay I have one amusing story I can share though related to that if you if you want to hear it of course okay so my first girlfriend and I dated for three years I think and we actually got engaged because you’re an idiot when you’re 17 to 19 basically and you know it’s your first girlfriend and I was her first girlfriend and you know it’s that it was that whole Russia oh my god gay so the sticking point to this relationship was that she was Irish and lived in Ireland so it occurred to me at one point mmm I think my sophomore year Christmas of my sophomore year that she didn’t just have to come over here like I I was an adult I was finally 18 at that point to like I could go travel to Ireland I could do this because I was an adult and and I you know I had I worked in college and I had saved up money and a flight two round-trip ticket at that point Ireland cost $400 and I definitely had $400 in my savings account just you know that’s a very reasonable price ticket so I here came home for a Christmas break and I was like okay like the day after Christmas I’m gonna go to Ireland and and see my girlfriend and my dad was like yeah get it and my mom my mom she couldn’t I thought she knew she’d been going to people I get to been doing okay but this was sort of like a point for her that she couldn’t mentally get past because and she she was just like oh you’re just you’re just going over there to have sex to which to which I responded well yes the the answer to that is yes but you know she was raised very conservatively and and so she was like but you shouldn’t you shouldn’t have sex until marriage like this really really bothered her and I remember that eventually like my dad had to sit her down and go our child is 18 you literally can’t you like you can’t say no to just go anymore which was really hard on my mom and she really didn’t want me to go and so I went of course because I’m 18 and I have an amazing time yeah and I come home and my mom like I remember coming back from the airport and my dad my mom picked me up from the airport and my dad’s in the car he’s like so how was it I was like it was great I definitely had sex because I have no filter and he was like yeah and so we had this like moment in the car and my mom is just like sheet white again sort of like the first time I told her I was gay and she would didn’t really talk to me for a little bit for a few days and then eventually we went shopping together and we just we’ve had this moment in the parking lot where she was just really upset and she was like I just I just don’t think like anyone should have sex before marriage like gay-straight anything like that and so I was really kind of tired of that line because it was it felt like a way to get around dealing with me being gay like it’s okay to be it’s okay for me to be gay but not okay for me to practice being gay is a lot of what it felt like which was varied like Christianity at the time as well like be gay just don’t ever enjoy it and and so we’re sitting there in a parking lot and I was like well mom what is sex really like because I need to get her off this I need like her to like mentally wrap her head better this and and she was like well you know sex and I was like okay so why do you not like the idea of premarital sex because she was not Christian so I was confused because it could it wasn’t like a like you know don’t break your hymen thing and so I was like so what is the problem and she was like well you know there’s always you know unintended pregnancy and I was and I said but okay so I can’t get pregnant you’re aware of that that this is a non pregnancy situation she was like yeah but you know what about you know there could be like diseases and stuff and so then we had to have like a conversation about how it’s not impossible but it is somewhat difficult especially when you’re 18 and really have no idea what you’re doing so there probably aren’t a lot of like toys sharing things involved like how hard it is to really like transfer stuff and and then in my this came back to bite me just like several months ago I want to point out this is this groundwork that I laid at this point in eighteen and I said well look if I was like in a car with a boy and he fingered me would that be sex and she said well no of course not that wouldn’t be sex and I was like great then I definitely haven’t had sex and she sat there and she thought about it and she was like you’re right and I was like you can’t have a double standard that’s not fair my equality quality it’s what were it’s what we’re here for and she was like oh my gosh you know you’re right it wouldn’t be like that would it like and I was like okay so see now we’re fine we’re fine aren’t we I definitely did not have sex when I went to Ireland she was like you’re right okay it’s yeah no I get it and so that’s fine and we were fine for a really long time until about two months ago when I just very recently so I’m in a polyamorous relationship which is a whole different conversation and I very recently got a girlfriend which is great and I’m elated and and so I was telling my mom about it and she because I was working through like the logistics with my partner because it’s important like if you’re gonna be in a polyamorous relationship like everything has to be very clearly communicated and you know everyone has to be on board with it there’s a lot of stuff involved and and my mom was having a hard time with why we needed like why my partner and I needed to talk about it and she said well but you know but you know you’re you’re you’re friends with and then she named my my best friend and she was like and that’s been fine and I was like mom hi my best friend is straight and we just hey you’re I’m confused now you know that we just like hang out and watch movies and do like friend thing because she was like yeah but you know the way you talk about her and I was like and then she said but he’s in that why your could I just went to Ireland again for Worldcon to you know see friends and she said but you know you’re going to Ireland again and aren’t you gonna go you have that author friend you’re gonna go see I thought that’s why you were you were going over and I said mom that author friend of mine lives the next state over if I wanted to have sex with her I wouldn’t do it in Ireland and then she just sort of started going through basically every woman that I know asking um and that was when I realized that my mother thinks I sleep with every woman I meet because her definition of lesbian sex is now so loose that it apparently involves eye contact and cuddling I don’t think you have helped you motherlode was Junie very well you know I saved my ass at 18 and was a really long winded back to bite me in the ass on the plus side she must think I have incredible game because that’s that’s just impressive you’re listening to talkshow the lesbians or choke on your hub of podcast information okay so for this your story okay well that’s so that’s sort of the last bit of the lesbian part you know I’m I’m non-binary which is a you know a gender where you know you you’d aren’t a man or a woman you’re you know there’s a whole bunch of different options not binary is under the trans umbrella and then within the non-binary umbrella there are lots of different genders a gender gender fluid all of those um I just used straight-up non-binary and my gender is pretty stable has it changed it’s just not man or woman and I didn’t come out as non-binary really until maybe two years ago and so that was a much easier thing because I’m an adult you know I’m a professor I’m in an academic institution in the West so in Oregon it’s much more liberal out here in terms of and just certainly in terms of racism it’s still just as racist here as it is in the Midwest but it’s a lot more liberal in terms of homosexuality and general queerness and so that was that was more of just having to go around and correct people’s pronouns a lot and say hey I’m non-binary I’m gonna be using them pronouns from now on I know it’s gonna be a little rough it’s fine if you slip up um you know and I’ll just kind of keep reminding you and you’ll get there the worst part about that was the name change because if you’re in academia you published under one name and I definitely I hated my my old name I hated basically since birth and I’ve tried my whole life to get people to call me something else and I finally went and just legally changed it at the courthouse a few years back but even after it was legally changed getting people to stop using it and call me um you know my my new legal name was was actually a bigger hurdle than honestly the pronouns which was really fascinating and people would get frustrated and just be like ah you know I just it’s too hard I don’t I don’t what I deal with it and having to you know because you know you don’t want them to just completely stop tryin having to be calm and go okay well you know appreciate it if you keep trying I realize this is hard for you sitting there in your head thinking it’s harder for me but you know and just having to gently point out to people that you know if if a guy named Richard asks you to call him dick one day you generally do like you’re pretty most people are like oh okay you know Jimmy’s grown up and wants to be called James yeah we can do that but you know when it has to do with your gender all of a sudden it’s it’s some insurmountable thing that you can’t handle and so trying to help people gently see you know the kind of the homophobia in in their statements when they say that because they think oh you know it’s it’s just hard and then you’re like but would it be if you know I was you know my name is Rebecca and I was just like call me Becky now and that wouldn’t be hard for you but that wasn’t that wasn’t super difficult non-binary is a increasingly prevalent in students a lot of younger people are coming out as non-binary and so a lot of the professor’s around um you know had already had to deal with it with students it’s sometimes I mean it was a little bit tricky at home but you know I’ve never never really fit within a standard gender label to begin with and so it really was just one conversation with my partner really about hey I think I’m gonna change over my pronouns and I’m changing my name but I’m still the same person and you know just having sort about yeah okay that sounds good but always a little bit of awkwardness they’re probably the hardest part at home is my daughter my five year old daughter is I just autistic and also gender fluid and so she has a speech delay and so pronouns are really hard for her she’s never quite really grasped what they mean to begin with and so we actually had to keep my pronouns she her at home up until very recently just because she just she couldn’t grasp he versus she much less he she they she was actually fine with it when she was younger and then at her daycare she went through a group of children who gendered everything he liked in objects and that kind of stuff which is you know sort of happens in our culture and it really screwed her up because she took it very literally instead of you know how most kids use he is a throwaway gender modifier like oh look at that skunk he might spray the car she she literally thought it meant that everything was he and so we have been trying to sort of unspool that for about the past year and only recently have we added they/them pronouns back in for me more so too because she has remained gender fluid and so we’ve had to work with the school to deal with that sort of thing and they’ve been trying to figure out how to use pronouns with her when she doesn’t really understand pronouns herself so yeah that’s been a lot of fun I think it’s hard enough having kids never mind all the other layers yeah and there’s you know there’s always there’s always so many intersectionalities with all of these things you know you’re queer but you’re a couple flavours of queer you’re autistic and you have sensory processing disorder or you have you’re autistic and you’re gay like and they all they all play into each other because being gender fluid I imagine I’m not gender fluid is kind of a mind trip in itself because of the constantly changing gender and so for my kids to try and navigate that plus not having the language to discuss it is you know has to be incredibly frustrating okay but you didn’t tell us the part of the story where you when you were talking about your your two puberty’s yeah a year over a year and a half ago about I needed to get a hysterectomy and so this sort of ties back into growing up in the Midwest I am you know I didn’t make maybe three periods a year all my life and I could never even this is gonna get for your listeners this is gonna get a little anatomically graphic because we’re gonna have to talk about Anatomy it’s never able to do things like use a tampon could never use a tampon and just had a real aversion to anything being inserted and you know I even went to a gynecologist back in high school when I was like I can’t I can’t get like I can’t use what is going on and actually the it was a man I think at the time was like oh you have a particularly thick hymen and so he like clipped it back in order for it to have like a larger a larger opening but I still couldn’t like I still couldn’t use anything was incredibly uncomfortable and like very painful this was never a pressing issue because I didn’t want to have sex with penis so you know whatever but I had a problem even with with fingers really but you know I didn’t really think about it I got myself pregnant with a you know baby medicine dropper so you know there wasn’t really any need to deal with that but um all my life I’ve gone to OB jo-ann’s and Gynaecologists and all those things and explained this because I’ll ask you know every doctor I’ll guess what is the date of your last period and I’d be like I have no goddamn idea I just don’t know and they’d be like oh why don’t you know and I’d say oh you know I only meant straight like three times a year four times like maybe I had four that year and they’d say oh you need to go on birth control I’d been on birth control and it made me deeply suicidal like to the point of like actually attempting to commit suicide several times no matter what kind I tried I reacted terribly to it and and so eventually you know I had a kid and I went to go see my ob/gyn and that particular year it was November and I had had two periods so I went in and most doctors had told me if you don’t have at least three you know go see go see someone and so I was like I don’t know if I’m gonna hit three this year so you know I doing what I’m supposed to do and I’m telling you and this is out in Oregon now and the look of horror on that woman’s face when I said that she said who told you that you only have to have three periods here and I said I every doctor in the Midwest that I’ve ever seen and she said it’s really dangerous like if something’s wrong think like we need to figure it out you know also you you have to go on birth control because until we figure it out I said no I can’t we can’t go on birth control Ben we tried to explain the whole rigmarole and then she explained to me that not like every time your body skips a period something like builds up and I don’t remember cuz I’m not a medical doctor exactly what it is but your chances for cancer like exponentially increase fundamentally like every time you skip a period I’ve been skipping periods like my entire life and she was like you we have to do something about it and and I said well you know I’m not gonna have any more kids so how about a hysterectomy just take it all out I’m done with it it’s fine and well I really like this OBGYN a lot you know she laughed like she just laughed at me and said well that’s very extreme you can just go on birth control and I was like well no if I go on birth control all die so how about the hysterectomy but she wouldn’t she wouldn’t take me seriously about it and so I ended up calling my friend who’s a trans man and I was like I think I need to talk to someone who’s willing to have a conversation with me about a hysterectomy without being weird about it and so he recommended his ob/gyn and I went up to see her and that was great oh my god hysterectomy scheduled but one of the things that we talked about that was that was the first time that a medical practitioner had ever sat down and talked to me about stuff you know we you know had a little look under the hood if you will you know found out that first of all I had given birth and yet I still had part of a hymen I would like to point out which is a small miracle because it wasn’t a hymen it was actually skin because part of being intersex is you have hormonal differences but you also have anatomical differences and a lot of my anatomical differences were interior so even though I had had a I don’t know a whole mess of people up inside me between birth and my whole life getting pap smears and stuff everyone had seen these differences and knew about the hormones and no one either was educated enough to know what they were looking at or just didn’t say anything and not saying anything is very very common in the intersex community of people being lied to by their medical practitioners the doctor in particular who clipped my hymen should have known what was going on that it wasn’t you know a membrane and every person that I ever talked to you about you know intense pain with it having to put anything up there the Midwife who decided to give me a transvaginal ultrasound because she didn’t believe my am like sort of a date of inception of pregnancy and I mean basically raped me with that thing because I had never had anything up inside me before and she’s like oh it’ll be fine and just you know kind of that wand up in there and I started screaming and that was a delight to wit she looked and she went oh you still have your hymen a ring how did that happen even though all my paperwork I told her that I was a lesbian and you know inseminated myself and all of those types of deals but eventually it came down to was I had all of you know I meet all the criteria the there are lots of different types of intersex you know I have a preliminary diagnosis of one type and I was offered the chance to get full testing to figure out exactly you know what type it was and you know what my hormones were doing and those kinds of things and I thought about it for a while and talked about it with my partner and I ended up declining because you know I had my uterus removed at that point so you know the medical complications of the hormone imbalance wherein I have too much testosterone not enough estrogen and they cycle which has always been particularly fun in fact I just it’s a shame we didn’t do this last month because I my testosterone is particularly high and when that happens my voice deepens quite a bit and sometimes I sound like James Earl Jones which is a pretty fantastic and in my breast shrink and I lose a bunch of weight and my fat redistributes and it’s a very interesting cycle um and so I I had that information and I sat on it for a while because you know being non-binary is one thing because it’s a gender and it’s something that much like being a lesbian being on binary is something that I feel completely comfortable sharing but having your sex be different than what you were told is a very fundamentally different thing or at least it was for me especially not having a category you know in a lot of forms you have to fill out it’ll it’ll say you know what’s your gender but it’ll still say male or female which is inherently asking you about your sex and so while I hate those binary forms you know I still understand their purpose but when you’re intersex and you’re not male or female and that’s actually medically important to understand because if you’re filling out a form and you’re going into a doctor’s office they need to know because my hormone profile won’t look right and if they get you know too far under the hood things are gonna look different and so they actually need to know that there may be a chromosomal difference there are hormonal differences there are things that are happening that part is very deeply personal and so for me the hardest coming out was coming out as intersex and trying to explain to people who had very recently had to deal with me being on binary what the differences were and that I wasn’t just like seeking attention and you know grabbing a few more letters out of the LGBT soup that was it was a really hard thing for a lot of people to understand and the questions that come with it even even to this day because it’s one of those things that you just have to I my hair is longer now and while I used to be quite thin before I had a child and was very sort of gender androgynous looking I’m not anymore I’m having a kid I had to have sustained estrogen for quite a while my body shape changed and now I look very feminine and so the number of people who you know when you’re talking about being intersex and it come or it comes up and they’ll say oh my god but like do you have a penis like it’s such an invasive question it just especially to have to put in you aliy just look at them ago do you think that’s appropriate to ask at all like what do you have a penis I don’t care like this is not does this have any unless you are getting ready to sleep with me the answer to this question should not concern you absolutely so you have quite a fundamental understanding of the differences between gender and sex and sexuality right yeah I’m on all three because of your personal journey right mhm I was trying to explain to somebody the other day in the book club like the difference between the three but I don’t I don’t have that very fundamental thing because pretty much I identify as a such lesbian woman and so I’ve never really had to question all of its rights but you came to the rescue so a quick shorthand for for listeners who still don’t quite get it would you help us out yeah sure so I think the easiest place to start is sexuality because I think if your listeners are pretty familiar with their sexuality at this stage so your sexuality is who you are sexually and sometimes it gets bundled in with romantically but not all the time those can be broken out pretty easily but for the ease of this podcast we will bundle romance and sexuality together so my apologies to the asexual and aromantic people I understand they’re different but your sexuality is who you’re attracted to and that you know lesbian gay it has it has to do with you have to have sort of a gender / sex to begin with and then you are attracted to certain gender / sexes as well and so I think a lot of your listeners are probably bisexual pansexual lesbian although you may have some gay men I’m not sure and so that’s it’s about attraction as long as we’re here you know some people are attracted to gender and some people are attracted to biological sex and you know it’s worth noting that those are two very different types of attraction so if you have ever seen any of those videos where people are saying you know if you’re not attracted if you say you’re attracted to women but you wouldn’t date a trans woman that’s horrible and wrong I mean yes of course but also there’s sort of a fundamental difference between some people really only want vulva to sleep with and some people are attracted to the gender of women and so there’s a there’s some differences in there it can get a little sticky as you look at it but in general sexuality is who you’re attracted to your gender is what your brain says you are a woman a man gender fluid something along those lines that’s your brain and your brain is responsible for gender and so this is something that most people come to terms with at some point in their lives most children are fairly gender fluid until about three and then they pick and if you’ve ever raised a child or been around a child during a time of them picking their gender it’s a very distinct and it’s in you know you can child development books we’ll talk about it that there’s a place in a child’s life usually around three sometimes four if you’ll notice they get hyper gendered for a while they go hardcore truck make a hardcore princess there every time like you know you talk to them they say I’m a girl like they get really in your face about it and part of that is that that psychological development of their brain has come down somewhere in that spectrum and and they need you to know and that’s very normal and healthy and you know of course for some kids it’s not boy or girl they come down you know a gender or somewhere in the non-binary spectrum or you know they look anatomically male but they actually say they’re a girl which would be trans so that’s gender and you know what can change over your life just because you’re a girl at five doesn’t mean you’re gonna be a woman gender again because brain and and your brain changes and hormones affect your brain things happen so gender is not immutable gender gender can be fluid gender can stay the same it very much depends on what your brain says and the brain is backed up by science there are plenty of scans you can look at in scientific literature that show that you know you can look at the scans of a trans woman and her brain is shows similar patterns to that assist woman like that’s it’s people seem to think that it’s something you can just that you just decide one day you wake up and you say okay I’m a man but really your brain decides and you just here for the ride sex is immutable sex is is what you were born with sex is your chromosomes and your Anatomy and and it I mean you can change your Anatomy obviously you can have surgery and there are a number of countries ours included that will allow you to change your sex marker if you do have sex reassignment surgery but sex is also fundamental to your chromosomes as well and this can’t be changed this is just you know the equipment that you were born with for the most part and so for a number of intersex people and I don’t actually want to get into the iterations of my own particular but you can very definitely bxy which is a male you know x-axis female XY is male you can be XY and look like me with breasts and a vulva and a functioning reproductive well-functioning we’re gonna use that term loosely semi-functioning reproductive system you are intersex if you are that you can have 3 x chromosomes you can have one x chromosome you can be x XY there just like how gender is fluid in terms of light there’s a huge spectrum of it sex actually has a huge spectrum as well but a lot of people are completely unaware of it because unless something goes wrong you don’t find out on the particularly like ones where you have genitalia that you can’t tell the difference like it could be male or it could be female those those babies get typed but for a lot of us that had changes that were internal that skated under the radar and whose hormone differences didn’t manifest until puberty and even then were ignored by medical professionals you know if I haven’t complained finally to someone who actually listened in my 36th year of life you know I would have gone under the radar for probably the rest of my life about being intersex there are some statistics that say that the intersex is almost as common as autism but we just don’t you know we just don’t know because a lot of people you know you don’t routinely get your chromosomes checked in your hormone levels checked so yeah sexuality is where you’re attracted to genders in your brain sex is what you’re born with and cannot readily be changed you can’t change your chromosomes you can change your body but you can’t change your chromosomes so I’m guessing based on the fact that I know that you’re like this hectic scientist smart smart person that you’ve actually done the research so you’re not talking just that to us here oh no no yeah yeah pretty familiar with the research I just wanted to clarify this for listeners because you know this is not just the author cup thing you’re actually like a really smart person with like the booze and stuff I have a PhD how exciting they be good it’s not insects but you also make what did you say was fun this woman’s I do I do I turn what color with fungus puke I make solar cells out of fungus puke and batteries okay if somebody’s going through a coming-out what is your advice this visit Oh so be prepared there’s even even now I’m the world’s gotten a lot more liberal which is great but so I think before you had to worry about overt bias now you have to worry about implicit bias which is a very different type of bias so I would say I don’t think you probably unless you’re you grew up in a conservative Christian household you probably don’t have to worry about being kicked out of a house these days so much you do have to worry about the constant wear and tear from the the little side comments the oh I’m just you know your pronouns are just hard I’m just not gonna try oh you know maybe you just haven’t read them met the right guy death by a thousand paper cuts is what you have to watch out for so taking care of your own mental health you know maybe you come out to people who you know will deal with it well first and then you sort of build build from there if you go straight for the big guns you know you’re gonna I think hit some walls that are gonna make it be a little demoralizing so maybe maybe start with those who you know will care if you have a partner who’s very supportive things like that and then and then move forward from there because it does it really hurts when people who care about you and who will probably be okay eventually get its shot and people have a right to be shocked because you know especially if you’re I mean your listeners are probably not 12 year olds so you know if you’re in your 20s or 30s or 40s and you’re coming out for the first time it can be a big shock to people around you and so you know giving them a little bit of time to mentally deal with it don’t expect them to like start wearing rainbows that day you know give them a little breathing space because they’ve had one image of you right or wrong and it’s now being forced to change and when you’re old change is hard that is wise words okay wait can people find you online if they want to connect and have thousands of questions we I’m on Twitter at galacto gluco man I also have a website J s fields books comm and I’m on I think most of the Facebook groups involved with the podcast so you can find me on there under my fake name jaden Sommerfeld okay links will be in the show notes thank you so much for joining me today thank you we thank our guests for sharing a very personal part of their lives with us and hope that you connected with their journey you can find our guests online check the show notes for links the Lisbon talk show is all about sharing love and connecting with one another and we hope that these stories help you do that because this is such a personal journey I ask that if you do comment on these shows then please do so positively the more we stand together and embrace our diversity the stronger we get as a community please know that you are under no obligation to come out it is a very personal journey and only you can know when you are ready and whether or not it is safe to come out if you enjoy these podcasts consider becoming a patron of the talk show the link is in the show notes I’m Sheena and this has been coming out stories