AMPLIFY | The Podcast

Resources for sex education and positivity often leave trans people out of the conversation, so let’s have a chat amongst ourselves! Stitched and strapped: sex, pleasure, and trans joy. Here we focus on relationships with others.

Show Notes

Resources for sex education and positivity often leave trans people out of the conversation, so let’s have a chat amongst ourselves! Stitched and strapped: sex, pleasure, and trans joy. Here we focus on relationships with others.


Please note this episode contains discussions of sex and masturbation, mentions of transphobia, discussion of medical transition,  and mention of drug use.


Host bios:


Pete MacHale (he/him) is a creative from Bristol, based in London. He trained at the AUB, and acts and writes for stage and screen. Recent credits include Dungarees (2019), Gangs of London (2020) and his debut solo show Dear Young Monster,  currently in development with The Queer House. Instagram: @peteyparty_


Kenya Sterling (he/him) is an actor and creative, studying at Rose Bruford. He has experience with the Royal Exchange Young Company and ALT Actors. Recent credits include ‘Liam’ in TUC’s trans awareness film, and I AM at Ovalhouse. His debut poetry collection ‘19 Years Of Skin’ is out now. Instagram: @abstractkid_


Guest bios:


Gabriella Davies (she/her) is a 29 year old artist. She has been published by Montez Press and was a recipient for the Montez Press Writers Grant 2020, and was selected for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2020. Instagram: @gobby.divvies 
Felix Mufti-Wright (he/him) is a British-Maltese activist, performer, and writer. He co-founded Transcend Theatre. He is an organiser for Trans Pride Liverpool, and Transgender Day of Remembrance. Instagram: @felixmufti
Campbell King is a musician and writer. Campbell King is published with RAISE Zine, and is behind the “If I was your boyfriend” Zine, both published through Fem Zine London. Instagram: @campbell_king_ Bandcamp:

Produced by Arden Fitzroy (they/them) @ArdenFitzroy
The RISE Collective 
Twitter: @RiseAmplify 
Instagram: @therisecollectiveuk
Music: Pembroke
Intro music 0:00  
MUSICAL INTRO (soft jazzy music, Arden speaks over the top)

Arden Fitzroy  0:09  
Everybody welcome! You’re listening to the AMPLIFY podcast, brought to you by The RISE Collective. We champion creatives and build collectives at the forefront of social change.
I’m Arden Fitzroy, Lead Producer, and this is Queer Joy, the second series of AMPLIFY.
This series was created by the next generation of creative leaders and changemakers. 
These are our own stories, on our own terms.

Pete MacHale  1:05  
Hi, I'm Pete, I use he/him pronouns. 

Kenya Sterling  1:07  
And I'm Kenya I also use he him pronouns.

Pete MacHale  1:10  
And this is Episode Two of our segment of the RISE: Amplify podcast

Kenya Sterling  1:14  
Stitched and Strapped!

Pete MacHale  1:16  
Hello to all of the new listeners. And hello again, to those of you who heard episode one and came back for seconds.

Kenya Sterling  1:21  
So last time, we looked at the self, but today, the theme of our episode is "others."

Pete MacHale  1:27  
Yeah, so yourself and others, sexy, sexy others, which reminds me Kenya, once again, we have a content warning.

Kenya Sterling  1:35  
Yep, of course. So you know, we always want this information to feel accessible, but we need to give you all like a heads up. So we're talking about sex, and there might be some potentially graphic content.

Pete MacHale  1:46  
Yeah, and just like Episode One, as much as we want this podcast to be for all trans people, and we will try to ensure that we're being inclusive in the topics and resources that we cover, please know that we both the host identify as trans masc-

Kenya Sterling  1:58  
so our personal knowledge and insight will probably lean a bit more towards that camp.

Pete MacHale  2:02  
Yeah! So for this episode, we are going to be talking about what it's like to be a trans person navigating sex in all its glory, in all sorts with others. 

Kenya Sterling  2:12  
So we've got hookups relationships first times and all that other stuff. We'll be discussing the theme throughout the episode, as well as showing work from amazing trans creatives, our poetry and then this week sexy Tranthem to send you off into the night.

Pete MacHale  2:26  
Great. So he is stitched and strapped, episode two, others. And once again, it's trans sex-

Kenya Sterling  2:33  
By the trans-

Pete MacHale  2:34  
for the trans all trans, all good, all go! 

Music  2:39  
MUSICAL TRANSITION (soft jazzy music)

Pete MacHale  2:42  
So we are talking about sex with other people in this episode. I feel like it might be good to break the ice with something funny to do with sex, because everyone always gets a bit awkward about talking about sex. And you know, like, obviously, we did episode one. And it was I mean, wanking, which... usually people are more open about that! But I just think it's good to break the ice with something funny. So Kenya, do you have a funny sexy story? 

Kenya Sterling  3:08  
Um, so it's not like a funny sexy story. But I constantly have this thing where I'm perceived as a bit of a catfish. Like, I look, I'm pretty sure I look the same as in my pictures. But people see my images on Instagram. And they think I'm like really confident really sexually forward really like Yeah, let's do this. And they meet me in person. I'm actually like, incredibly awkward. To the point where I'm like, I ask, like, Can I kiss you? Can I do this? And the persons just like-

Pete MacHale  3:40  
I wouldn't say that awkward. I think that's just polite. I think that's nice-

Kenya Sterling  3:45  
The other person is always like, Oh, I thought you were going to be really forward and I'm just like, simping and, and trying to, you know, do the most,

Pete MacHale  3:53  
I suppose the other thing is as well as like, you're like, You're like a handsome, handsome young man. 

Kenya Sterling  3:58  
Thank you!

Pete MacHale  3:58  
Welcome. And obviously, like you're quite good at taking like a nice photo of yourself. So I can definitely see people like seeing your dating profile, or like seeing your photos and apps or whatever and being like, oh, surely not gonna be not gonna be as good in real life?

Kenya Sterling  4:16  
Yeah, literally.

Pete MacHale  4:17  
But you are!

Kenya Sterling  4:18  
I'm just I'm just so goofy like I am, you know, like, I look the same, but I think my personality doesn't match quote, unquote, what people perceive it to be, which is always jarring for them for some reason. Yeah, but what about you?

Pete MacHale  4:28  
Fair enough. So it's less of like a singular like one off story. And moreover, like my foray into... my foray into casual sex. Um, before I started sleeping with people casually I'd only slept with one person. And the first few people who I slept with I'd say probably the first, I'm going to betray myself here, the first like five people? I slept with casually they all had really massive penises like 

Kenya Sterling  4:51  

Pete MacHale  4:52  
Very big 

Kenya Sterling  4:52  
That's a lot to deal with. For anybody.

Pete MacHale  4:54  
The problem was, because that I had no frame of reference. So I just was like, Is this how big All penises have been the whole time? And I just was, I don't know, low balling for lack of a better word. How big I thought they might be over like a significant amount of time. I was like, wow, dicks are huge. They're just massive. Maybe I'm really small? I don't know. 

Kenya Sterling  5:17  
God, I love that.

Pete MacHale  5:18  
Yeah, then I like had some, I had a dalliance with somebody have kind of like average size. And I was like, AH! AH! 

Kenya Sterling  5:27  
So this is what they're like?

Pete MacHale  5:28  
This is- may be, is this what people were talking about? I don't know. That's less a funny story about like sex and more just like me being stupid, but I thought it was a bit of a lol

Kenya Sterling  5:36  
I mean, honestly, I feel like it's a shocker. You know, it can be an intimidating moment, if it's quite big. And you're like, Oh, okay. 

Pete MacHale  5:44  
Yeah, I do think there's a lot of talk about, like, people wanting someone to be big dancers. But I am a firm believer in the boyfriend dick, which is just right! You know? 

Kenya Sterling  5:54  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I get you.

Pete MacHale  5:55  
I think that, um, but I mean, like, off off the back of that, that was clearly something I didn't know, going into navigating casual sex. Is there anything that you wish that you'd known? I mean, navigating sex as a trans person? Is there anything that you know now, that you wish baby Kenya had known when you first started sleeping with other people as a trans, as a trans identified person?

Kenya Sterling  5:56  
I think the first thing that I wish I would have known is that, like, T4T, is like a big thing, which is like- 

Pete MacHale  6:15  

Kenya Sterling  6:15  
Trans for trans. And I feel like that would have been a lot of smoother, you know, introduction to kind of like, the casual scene, because in my experiences, there's been a lot more care in those situations, not - you know, credit to cis guys or whatever. Like, some of them have been really caring as well?

Pete MacHale  6:45  
Credit to some cis guys, you aren't shit.

Kenya Sterling  6:47  
Yeah! You know, but I think like, knowing that was a whole thing, which I could have dived into straight away and figured out and, and quote, unquote, made mistakes. But yeah, no, oh, my God, I didn't. I knew what douching was. Okay. 

Pete MacHale  7:02  

Kenya Sterling  7:02  
I knew this, right. So the first time I did anal was with like, my first boyfriend. And I didn't. Because I didn't know but obviously later down the line, I've learned that it's a thing, but I was like, wow, I really gonna have to do this. How do people do the you know, the one night stand that I wish I knew how people did that. I think I don't know. Still.

Pete MacHale  7:24  
I, to be candid, I certainly went through a period of time where I was like... God, this is so stupid. I used to just be so scared about it. I was like, I'm just not gonna eat anything for the entire day before.

Kenya Sterling  7:38  
Oh my go- (wheezing). No, genuinely, I get that. I literally get that because-

Pete MacHale  7:41  
I was scared! 

Kenya Sterling  7:43  
No, absolutely. I've been to people's houses before. And it's been for that reason. We might be friends, but we know that kind of like THAT might happen. And it's been like, they've been like, do you want food? And I'm like, No, I'm okay. I'm good. Like, just completely- 

Pete MacHale  7:54  
No. No.

Kenya Sterling  7:55  
Like, no, I'm, I'm- 

Pete MacHale  7:56  
What did you think was gonna happen? No.

Unknown Speaker  7:58  
Yeah! So I that's understandable. But yeah, what do you wish you would have known? 

Pete MacHale  8:04  
Um, I guess it's like less something I wish I'd known and more like, if I could go back and tell myself something... I mean, for myself, like the specifically like, male/male world of casual sex, was... I'd say a baptism by fire! (Laughing)

Kenya Sterling  8:18  
Fucking hell.

Pete MacHale  8:19  
And also like, you know, I went in with the expectation that there were certainly going to be some people who weren't interested in me because I was trans, which like, to be honest, I was kind of more fine with that, because I was like, Well, whatever. I'm just looking for a hookup here. I'm not gonna like sit down and profitise and moralise somebody on a random hookup app anonymously. I can't be bothered. But what I kind of didn't expect so much was people who are going to... I mean, I knew there was going to be people who had fetishized me as well. 

Kenya Sterling  8:46  

Pete MacHale  8:46  
But I didn't expect the people who were kind of would fetishize on a more casual level. So like, I knew there'd be people who were like, "oh i'm into trans people", but I didn't expect that to be gay men who, who would want to sleep with me, and then would expect me to allow them to do certain things with my body because I was trans. You know?

Kenya Sterling  9:02  
That's weird.

Pete MacHale  9:03  
There was like an expectation that because they were sleeping with me, and my body was different, that was why they were sleeping with me. Like it was very, like, what can I offer you? Because my body is not cis. And I wish I could like go back to baby Pete, and be like, you do not have to do that. Like-

Kenya Sterling  9:20  

Pete MacHale  9:20  
Which sounds really sad. But like, I was really desperate for like, some validation in that moment. And-

Kenya Sterling  9:25  
Oh no, absolutely, 

Pete MacHale  9:26  
Yeah. Maybe it's not a problem for all trans people. But I felt like it was definitely intrinsic to my trans experience that I was really desperate for validation from like, cisgender gay man for a period of time. We don't need that like... T4T!

Kenya Sterling  9:38  
Yeah, literally, I do get that and I think it comes from like, also like a sense of belonging and kind of like averageness, quote, unquote, whether the fuck that means but you know, like a sense of -

Pete MacHale  9:50  
Well normality. 

Kenya Sterling  9:51  
Yeah! Normality, like a sense of mundaneness to a situation and I can totally relate to that. Like I have a whole complex about it but that would be an hour long of just me ranting.

Pete MacHale  10:03  
Yeah. Well This is all very doom and gloom. Just quickly, I think before we jump on to our first sharing of some, some arts, some creativity, if you'd be so bold Kenya, could you for for the young transes who are out there thinking it's never gonna happen, I'm never gonna have a good time. Could you speak briefly on time where you really genuinely enjoyed yourself? We've spoken about like self love, and I want people to hear about like people... about situations where a partner can contribute to that like act of self love during sex.

Kenya Sterling  10:35  
So it was like my, one of my first casual situations, and it was like a T4T situation. So this person is non binary, and I just went round to their house and I, we talked about everything, and like, what we liked what we didn't like, which was like, just fucking great like to start with, because, you know, it just stops any miscommunication going forward, Kind of like we explored, like kind of like dom/sub dynamic, but they were like, a soft, dominant kind of person. And like, it was just filled with like, a lot of care and a lot of validation in terms of my own gender, like a lot of gendered praise, which I actually personally really enjoy. I know it's literally not for everybody, but I think in that situation, it was right and coming from the right person, it was right. I feel like sometimes when I've slept with cis people, I felt like this thing where it's like, somebody has to come. You know? This really weird pressure that's just in the space for some reason, but there just wasn't any of that.

Pete MacHale  11:41  
Especially when you're sleeping with a cis man. And you're like somebody who has potentially been raised female, there's a lot of like, kind of subliminal messaging of like, YOU MUST LET-THE MAN MUST COME.

Kenya Sterling  11:52  
Yeah, yeah. And it was just none of that expectation. Lasted for ages. And it was great. 

Pete MacHale  11:58  
Great! I'm glad!

Kenya Sterling  11:59  
Yeah, good time, good times! What about you?

Pete MacHale  12:03  
I think I'm gonna like pick like one moment. I had a casual situation, a casual hookup with somebody one time- to contrast what I was previously talking about, like, it was just a situation where I kind of was going in with that mentality of like, Oh, I'm going to be asked or expected to do certain things, because I'm trans. And if I don't give this guy that, then I'm going to, like. We're not going to have sex, and then I'm going to feel like, I'm going to feel crummy about myself, or like going and hooking up with somebody and then not having fun. And also, he's gonna like be pissed off because like, we didn't have sex - nyehh. But then like meeting this guy, he was just, he was very, very specific about like, both asking for permission to do like, every kind of separate thing he did. And also double checked the language he could use about my body whenever he was asking to do those things. 

Kenya Sterling  12:55  

Pete MacHale  12:56  
I think he had slept with another trans person before. So maybe that kind of informed it. But it was like nice that he was like establishing a language for us to use even in this kind of like one off scenario. It felt very, like thoughtful. So that made me feel really nice and comfortable to enjoy the few hours that we spent together.

Kenya Sterling  13:12  
Yeah, I think I think just to kind of wrap it up. I think that's really like important to have the language, uh, I think it comes under the same umbrella is just being prepared. Like as in like condoms, lube. Like that kind of stuff. I think that comes under the same umbrella.

Pete MacHale  13:27  
Yeah, especially when, with trans bodies being so diverse, like literally from person to person like identity to identity, you might have two people who have like exactly the same body who use totally different words about their body because their identities might vary. Or they might have had surgery or hormones that have changed the way their body is and then they'd still might use a whole new set of words or whatever. And I think Yeah, you're right. It's, it's a mark of respect for that person's body that they're sharing with you. 

Kenya Sterling  13:55  

Pete MacHale  13:55  
But you're also right again, like it should be as common as like respecting someone's use of something as simple as like, using using lube and condoms. Which uhhh, also to anyone who's listening:  if anyone ever tells you that they "don't use condoms", or they "don't use lube". If you want to, if you want to do, fucking leave. You can totally walk away. 

Kenya Sterling  14:14  

Pete MacHale  14:15  
Uh, know your rights. (Laughing)

Kenya Sterling  14:18  
Know your rights.

Pete MacHale  14:19  
Know your rights.

Cool. So the first bit of art, creative stuff that we're going to be looking at is some wonderful work from Felix Mufti-Wright, who uses he him pronouns. He is an activist, performer and writer. He co founded Transcend Theatre, where he writes plays about authentic stories within transgender community. He is signed with the queer house London and is an organiser for Trans Pride Liverpool, and Transgender Day of Remembrance. So yeah, here we go.

Felix Mufti-Wright  15:00  
keep my wings in a drawstring diesel bag
 valiums in the uber
 valiums on the street corner when there’s none in the area.
 discreet lads on too much lem
 keeping my clothes on even when am fucking sweating
 running out of washing powder
 running out of socks without holes in
 running out of underwear thats nice enough for hookups to see
 running out of tshirts that are baggy round my chest
 running out of discreet lads on too much lem
 i facetime u
 ur pupils dark
 eyes wide
 say ur fucking off it u
 but its fine, i dont mind
 so am i
 u tell me u dont usually do this
 i say me neither
 at least one of us is lying
 ur house is like an ikea display
 everything has a place
 except me
 u ask me what i like
 i dont know
 u ask me what im like
 i dont know
 u ask me why im here
 i dont know
 i got scared by the rustle of my hood before
 had to move my neck in the same way to check thats what made the sound
 had to unlearn things about myself that other people thought they’d found
 but i love it when how u talk to me when no ones around
 ull probably block me after this,
 wanna block out the taste of my lips,
 wanna block out the feeling of the soft hair on my jawline
 you felt as we kissed
 u just wanna get to know me body
 not get to know someone u could miss
 i check the time on my phone
 and say i should probably leave
 i go to book an uber
 but u remember u said ud get one for me
 then u stop, stutter and sigh
 ‘i just-’
 what is it?
 ‘its just-’
 what is it?
 ‘i dont want them to tell u my name’
 i understand 
 and leave
 take all parts of myself away with me
 my taxis not here yet
 but i was giving myself the ick lurking in the corner of ur room
 no ubers in the area
 more valium
 the suns starting to rise
 and the thought of seeing myself in the daylights
 knocking me sick
 u said its mad how i even got u excited
 usually impossible with lemd-
 i go to send u a message saying 
 ‘dont die xoxo’
 but its sent not delivered
 all this app’s shits just a game
 and all these discreet lads r just the same.

Kenya Sterling  17:04  
Um, first of all, I am a number one fan of the Liverpool accent.

Pete MacHale  17:09  
I know is it not so cuuute.

Kenya Sterling  17:12  
I literally love it. And so that just made it for me as well. But I think it was so like gritty, but also beautiful. And I think the repetition of kind of talking about the valium because I've (laughs) taken valium before don't do it, it's not good for you kids. So that was like a hard relate and I don't know kind of - the pace of it as well kind of reminded me of like what hook up culture can kind of feel like, especially like when you're on apps. And I think he kind of he just managed to encapsulate everything that is hookup culture, and then navigating that as a trans person. 

Pete MacHale  17:50  
Yeah, I think obviously, like there's some very explicit references to like transness like... I just I love that line, where he kind of like has the idea of like having a nice enough boxes to like wear to a hookup and then also not having a shirt that will cover your chest. I don't know it like pings off that like exact feeling in my head of like, I've got to get like I'm going to hook up and I've got to have nice enough pants and, lalala. And also like an intrinsic transness to that thought process with like "and I also need a shirt." And I also- Yeah, like you said, I don't know if like gritty is the word that comes to mind so much as like it has this real bluntness to the language? but like- 

Kenya Sterling  18:27  
Mhm, yeah. 

Pete MacHale  18:28  
The bluntness comes across to me as like really sincere. And then when he has those moments of like, short lines will be something more descriptive woven into it, it feels like it really kind of rides and mingles with the sincerity and the bluntness of the rest of the language. And that feels really powerful. But yeah, you're right. I think it totally captures the headspace of like yeah, just... what it is like to be like a transmasc person like trying to navigate hooking up and the discreet lads.

Kenya Sterling  18:56  
That end line, yeah wow. Brilliant.

Pete MacHale  19:05  
So Kenya, the next part, the next thing that I want to throw at you... 

Kenya Sterling  19:09  

Pete MacHale  19:10  
Hookups versus relationships. Go. Which one?

Kenya Sterling  19:13  
Okay, so

Pete MacHale  19:14  
Go go go. Go! Ten, nine, eight-

Kenya Sterling  19:18  
God don't do that. So uhhh, a middle ground polyamory always. Ummm-

Pete MacHale  19:26  
That, that's rubbish. 

Kenya Sterling  19:27  
I'm sorry, look, we're just we're all liberals here-

Pete MacHale  19:29  
Polyamory is not rubbish, I just, I want an answer.

Kenya Sterling  19:31  
We're all liberals ,all liberals here. So I kind of like having a main partner and also being able to explore and fulfil all the needs that I can't get from my main partner, which I think is kind of how it should be anyway, just because I think especially with having borderline personality disorder, I have like a lot of feelings. And that can be a lot for one person. And I feel like as well like I just love meeting new people. Yeah. So I think For me, it's better to have the option to I don't know, kiss someone than be like, Oh, I really want to kiss you, but I'm doing a monogamous thing. Go.

Pete MacHale  19:38  
Go? Me?

Kenya Sterling  19:42  
Your turn. Yes.

Pete MacHale  20:11  
I think I am a relationship person. I'm imagining like kind of a similar boat to what you're describing, which is that I'm in an open relationship. I have like a primary partner who is my boyfriend. And then we are both comfortable with each other sleeping with other people casually. So I still like hook ups, like they're fun. But I definitely think like I am a person who does well in a relationship by like having another person who I feel like I can confined in so confined? Confide. So I think I'm relationship. Yeah. But I fucking hate dating.

Kenya Sterling  20:39  
Why do you hate dating?

Pete MacHale  20:40  
Um, so you know, I was saying earlier, like with hookups like you can kind of have that bluntness of like, you can be like, I'm trans, and then they can be like, anything like that. And you're like, Okay, well, I'm just trying to hook up with you. And it's not that deep. So bye! 

Kenya Sterling  20:50  

Pete MacHale  20:50  
I just feel like with dating, it feels like more of a big deal when you're like, trying to get to know somebody and like, being trans is a barrier is like more frustrating than, like, if you're just trying to bang. And someone into that, I'm like, whatever. You might not be into people with brown hair. But when it comes to dating, and someone's like, Oh, no, don't think I could, like form an emotional bond with a trans person. And I know it's probably not like that intense, but that's kind of what it feels like. And also I just like fucking hate those small talk and I hate going somewhere and spending money with somebody that I don't really know. And I'm just like, UUHHHH. 

Kenya Sterling  21:21  
Yeah, I got like, completely. I feel like I always say that from the off mark. I'm like, I don't have time for small talk. I literally say this to people.

Pete MacHale  21:29  
But you're, you're very good at like coming in hot, hot and fast with "let's talk about life!" And I'm like, Hi, my name is Pete, um... erhhehghgghhh... So if I go on a date, I'm like, small talk Central and it's fucking boring for everyone involved, and I can't be bothered. But it's fine, cuz I have a boyfriend. (Both laugh). So having spoken about hookups, sex and things, there's one thing that I think we haven't adequately discussed yet, which is sexual health and safety. Can you are you sexually healthy and safe? Yes.

Kenya Sterling  22:02  
Yeah, I guess. I mean, personally, I feel like we didn't get good sex ed anyway, so then-

Pete MacHale  22:08  

Kenya Sterling  22:08  
So being trans on top of it is just absolute shambles, sometimes.

Pete MacHale  22:12  
Yeah. I was gonna say, my house mates the other day, we're discussing the fact that they were like, "Oh, yeah. Did you see the feather video?" And I was like, the what? And they were like, when you had sex education at school? Like, did you guys have the feather video? 

Kenya Sterling  22:22  
What's that?

Pete MacHale  22:23  
Apparently some people had a video where it was a video to like, explain sex. And it was like some man like chasing a woman with a feather. Like my friend was saying, like, they were like, they mentioned that they were doing sex ed or something when they were a kid. And somebody was like, Oh, so what have you learned about sex? And they were like, Well, first, you get the Feather! That was like, how they were introduced to sex, which is fucking gnarly. Meanwhile - 

Kenya Sterling  22:46  
That is terrifying. 

Pete MacHale  22:47  
my sex education was like a birthing video. And then they told me what periods were but they told me like, you shed the lining. And so I thought that like you leak it through your belly button or something?

Kenya Sterling  22:56  
OH MY GOD (Wheezing)

Pete MacHale  22:57  
But seriously, like four years in my life, I was like, when's it gonna start me on my belly button? 

Kenya Sterling  23:02  
Oh, my God.

Pete MacHale  23:03  
Fuck that shit.

Kenya Sterling  23:03  
So yeah, we're here to set some of that straight.

Pete MacHale  23:06  

Kenya Sterling  23:08  
Yeah, it's not true. Don't worry. So yeah. I feel like not actually the expert, but basically, yeah, condoms getting STI checks. Um-

Pete MacHale  23:16  
Yeah, yeah. All this stuff I was saying earlier, which is like sexual health and safety is very much about comfort and being sensible as well, I think so like things like when I'm saying comfort, I mean, like, if something hurts, like, check it out, like don't just like soldier on! One thing, I think that is like really rarely discussed is a lot of trans masculine or not even trans masculine, but people who are on testosterone, who... I'm going to use, I guess, medical terminology about bodies. A vagina. And so people who have vaginas who are on testosterone, they can experience something called atrophying of the vagina because of the testosterone, which basically causes like dryness. And it means that the internal walls of the vagina can like tear really easily and hurt. So if you're having penetrative vaginal sex, like it can be quite painful. And you know, I've seen some people even come off of testosterone because of this being such an issue for them. I do know some people who've treated it by getting a topical oestrogen cream for the area. And like, that seems to have helped out a lot. But yeah, I just think it's really interesting that there's a real strong mentality for a lot of people I know who are like, Oh, yeah, of course, it really hurts. But you know, it's supposed to and I'm like, No, it's not supposed to!

Kenya Sterling  24:22  
No, absolutely not, if anyone- 

Pete MacHale  24:23  
Like, anything hurts, like more lube or go to the doctor, like, 

Kenya Sterling  24:26  
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. 

Pete MacHale  24:27  
No matter what your body is, no matter what part of your body is, like hurting when you're having sex like that. Unless, unless it's what you're into, because we don't kink shame. But also, like, you know, when I say "what you're into", I mean, like, if someone's spanking you, and you're like, I hurts, but I like it. That's fine. But if someone's like, fucking your and you're, and you're like, something's ripped, but it's fine, because I'm into it! Like, no, go to the doctor, please!

Kenya Sterling  24:45  
No, yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. How do we how do we access these, these services?

Pete MacHale  24:51  
So this is something that I've like found really helpful, especially because like the pandemic has been that you can actually get sexual health testing, so you can get like STD or STI home testing kits sent to your door. I use one which is sexual health London, which is SHL, but yeah they just deliver it free to your door and you can do at home, you do have to kind of collect blood, which can be a bit squeamish for some people and you know, there's 'swabs', and they do you know, they do the whole the whole smorgasbord of STI residue, HIV, chlamydia, all of that stuff. Yeah, that's totally free. And obviously it's at home. So it's like, you don't have to deal with doctors or anything. Um, but also like, do just talk to your doctor like... STDs, General discomfort during sex, like you're allowed to talk to your doctor about it. And I understand for some trans people, it can be really difficult because, you know, doctors aren't always equipped with the best knowledge about your body and things like that. But in those cases, I think go armed with a friend. Please look after yourselves. Like sex is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, pleasurable experience and if you're hurting or unwell like it's not, and you do need to talk to a doctor. So please, make sure you're looking after yourself. If you're worried about something and you don't want to go to a doctor face to face. You can always do something like call 111 as well. 

Kenya Sterling  26:03  

Pete MacHale  26:03  
Be safe, everyone!

Kenya Sterling  26:04  
Have fun. 

Pete MacHale  26:05  
Don't worry, be happy. Do condoms. I'm done now.

Music  26:11  
MUSICAL INTERLUDE (soft jazzy music.)

Pete MacHale  26:13  
So leading on quite well, from all of the medical thought we actually have a piece of writing next to share from Gabriella Davies. Gabi uses she/her and is a 29 year old artist who's run away from being poor and marginalised in Stoke to live the artists dream of being poor and marginalised in London. Previously described as a "reasonable balance of swearing and insight" and "chic and tacky all at the same time," she's a working class trans woman from the Midlands with an answer for everything. Known as the queen of one liners with a knack for killer titles. Gabi plays to her strengths taking class and gender and turning them on the world as her lens. And I'm sure you all be overjoyed to hear that I will be reading this piece of prose from Gabi today. So strap in. (Laughing) Stitched and strapped... strap in. Sorry, I'm gonna, okay I'm gonna read it now. 

So late last year, I had bottom surgery. Minor complications left me out here with an exposed and swollen clit while I wait for the relevant NHS body to approve funding for the corrections. Downside it's uncomfortable as fuck. And sex is mostly off the table for the foreseeable future, which is so frustrating, especially when you have a considerate and loving girlfriend who only wants to give you orgasms. upside: discomfort means sensation, and sensation means orgasm is possible. Anyway, the situation has left me with some serious sexual downtime in which I've got to thinking I've got this whole new piece of kit, no idea how I'm supposed to handle it, and an absolute fuck tonne of time on my hands. Since I can't go ahead and get stuck in and hands on I figured I might as well get fully read up on things with the aim of returning to sexual activity a veritable master of my own vagina, at least in theory, so I turned to the world's leading experts in sexual fulfilment, Cosmopolitan magazine! And whilst I definitely learned something, it wasn't exactly what I set out to. See the thing is there's this weird set of assumptions out there, that the cis (tm), have about trans people in sex that basically fall along the lines of the classic saint and sinner dichotomy. On the one hand, there's a view of trans people as hypersexual, fetishized or fetishists sinners. And on the other hand, there's a view that treats trans people as sexually neutral desexed, etc. Saints. And of course, actual trans individuals are often treated as being both simultaneously make it make sense. Either way, there's an underlying implication that trans people are one undesirable and two, sexually dissatisfied, which of course, has absolutely no basis in reality. What it all boils down to is this. Compared to sis people, trans people must have shit and non existent sex lives. Now, back to Cosmo, go to their website, and you'll find an endless stream of articles targeted at sis women, promising to improve their sex lives with classic titles such as eighteen sex positions to help you orgasm or 19 tips for unforgettable handjobs!!! Lists which can mostly be summed up as use lube, and by sex toys. All it took was for me to read a handful of these articles before I realised that truly nobody is more sexually unfulfilled than the streets.

Kenya Sterling  29:20  
She speaks some truth. Nobody is more sexually unfulfilled that the straight. That last line really got me. I-

Pete MacHale  29:27  
Do you think that like coming out as trans, or coming in to your trans identity, do you think that that affected your like, I guess sexual liberation or your relationship with - ?

Kenya Sterling  29:38  
Yeah! Yeah! Yes 

Pete MacHale  29:39  
Fuck, yes. 

Kenya Sterling 29:39  
Yes. Oh my god, like oh my god, so sorry. Let me talk about Gabi first, and then we get to that whole thing.

Pete MacHale  29:46  
Yeah of course.

Kenya Sterling  29:46  
But yeah, I loved the piece. I think it was fucking blunt. I think it was direct. I think it was vulnerable and sincere and funny as well, in a way like in a light hearted kind of way.

Pete MacHale  29:58  
Yeah. She has a great like. casual wit, to a kind of a bit of a shit situation. 

Kenya Sterling  30:03  

Pete MacHale  30:03  
I can't think of anything that must be more frustrating like she like she literally said like having just had a massive affirmative surgery only to be kind of stuck being like, Oh, I guess I'm in limbo for the foreseeable future because doctors need to get their act together and she's gone. Actually what I'm going to do is I'm going to fuck around and shit all over cosmo, soooo. I think that's really great. 

Kenya Sterling  30:23  
Absolutely. So powerful. so powerful. So yeah, anyway, liberation. 

Pete MacHale  30:28  

Kenya Sterling  30:28  
Ummm, yeah. So before this, I was very before it came out was very kind of like, not submissive. But it was actually like, Oh, I don't really know like, what I like? Like, I'm just doing the whole sex thing with cis straight guys. And then, like, I came into my transness, I was like, wow. Like, I can penetrate you? And I can do all this other stuff? And like, I can feel sexy in these clothes? Like, I can own my trans I really began to owner and I know that not everybody experiences Don't get me wrong. Like, I still have had moments where I've been quite dysphoric. But I think especially Initially, the newness of it, I was like, wow, like, this is cool.

Pete MacHale  31:11  
I think that's like, the key difference isn't it is like before, it's a feeling of maybe like repression or discomfort. But now even though there's moments of dysphoria, those moments about dysphoria, they don't inform your mentality around sex. It's just the way that you feel in that moment. Whereas like, I feel like prior to coming out, like yeah, I think... Oh, I don't know. I suppose I can't really talk about like, repression before and after, because I think I really struggled with being open to the idea of being able to have sex or allowed to have sex, with a trans body, like, even after I came out, because I was like, I had very much been fed the narrative from all around me, that like my body was undesirable, and unlovable. You know, maybe whatever sense of like repression around sex that I might have had prior to that got eaten up and was like, chewed up by the monster of self hatred. 

Kenya Sterling  32:01  

Pete MacHale  32:01  
But at the same time, like, I think the level of comfort that I've reached now, I would not have reached without coming to terms with my transness. Trans. And ready to fuck. (Laughs)

Kenya Sterling  32:12  
Yes, exactly. Exactly. I think that as well, though, I think, kind of going back to a bit of an early conversation is about that affirmations as well, that, you know, even if you do have dysphoric moments during if you can get that affirmation, you can still have a really euphoric experience.

Pete MacHale  32:28  
And to bring it back as well to connect it back to Gabi's writing, that brilliantly straightforward line of like, I've finally had this affirming surgery and I have a girlfriend, who all she wants to do is like, give me orgasms! And all I want right now it's to have this woman who cares for me be able to like affirm me with my affirmative surgery that like, big double MEGA ULTRA affirmation! That you're so desperate to have. It'll... It will come Gabi, you'll get your time. We'll all, we'll all get ours... we'll get revenge...on the straights (giggling). OK! The last segment we have to share with you tonight everyone is sexyyy.... Tranthem.....

Kenya Sterling  33:10  
It's sexy Trantham time! 

Pete MacHale  33:13  
So tonight's sexy Tranthem to send you all off into the night is a song from New indie pop artists from Northamptonshire, based in London, Campbell King! Campbell King is your junior school boyband crush ready to serenade you with their new tune - Different.

Campbell King - Different  33:45  

have i sobered up enough to go to work?
 am i drinking too much do you think?
 did i show enough love to her?
 my problem is i never think
 i'll say it one more time and then i'm guna stop
 is it late enough to have a drink?
 i want to talk to you let's meet up at our spot
 my problem is i never think
 do you think
 that we could try again?
 i'm pretty sure
 that it'd be different
 i'm sorry you got hurt for what it's worth
 am i sleeping enough do you think?
 i wasn't happy, now i'm even fuckin worse
 my problem is i never think
 i'll say it one more time and then im guna stop
 is it late enough to have a drink?
 i wanna talk to you, let's meet up at our spot
 my problem is i never think
 do you think
 that we could try again?
 im pretty sure
 that it'd be different

Pete MacHale  35:24  
Amazing! Thank you so much Campbell King for letting us use your sick tune! And with that, I'm afraid, that's all we've got time for tonight Lovely listeners. Thank you once again for sticking with me in Kenya while we got hot and bothered.

Kenya Sterling  35:37  
But before we end we're going to leave you today with something that makes each of us your sexy trans hosts feel sexy-

Pete MacHale  35:43  
Feel sexy! You went first last time, so I feel like I have to go first this time. I did not think of anything. Again. Brilliant. Oh, okay. No, do you know what I have something? Basically. I've just got a little like neck chain. And I just there's, I, there's something that I find that makes me it makes me feel really hot. Yeah, no, I literally I just think my little neck chain. Like being like shirtless with my little neck chain. It makes me feel like all the hot 19 year old boys I fancied when I was 15. (Laughing) 

Kenya Sterling  36:13  
(Laughing) Even better! 

Pete MacHale  36:16  
It just makes me think of that and it makes me feel it makes me feel cute. Makes me feel hot. What about you?

Kenya Sterling  36:22  
What makes me feel sexy? at the minute it's like a very specific like makeup look. So it's kind of like I do like face tattoos with like, my makeup. And it just makes me feel really powerful and like I can face the world and I know there's something about face tattoos and if you can pull them off right? is it's hot and it's like I'm ready to fuck shit up.

Pete MacHale  36:46  
I get you. I'm not gonna lie though. I know that you said face the world. It did sound like fist the world.

Kenya Sterling  36:50  
I mean that too. 

Pete MacHale  36:51  
I guess that's sexy too so-

Kenya Sterling  36:53  
Exactly. Everyone wants to fist the world. Why not?

Pete MacHale  36:56  
Yeah why not, that's our leaving statement. Fist the world. Great. 

Kenya Sterling  36:59  

Pete MacHale  36:59  
So this is goodbye for now everyone. Thank you so much to Rise for giving us a spot for stitched and strapped on Amplify: Queer Joy! 

Kenya Sterling  37:10  
And thank you to our amazing guests for letting us share their brilliant work. 

Pete MacHale  37:14  
You can find more Felix at @FelixMufti on Instagram, you can find Gabi at @Gobby.Divvies, that's g-o-b-b-y-.-d-i-v-v-i-e-s, and you can find more music from Campbell King on Campbell or follow @Campbell King, Campbell underscore King underscore on Instagram!

Kenya Sterling  37:33  
So this has been our second episode from queer joy, the second series in the rise collectives amplify podcast This episode is brought to you by me Kenya @abstract kid underscore on Instagram

Pete MacHale  37:44  
And me! Pete! @Peteyparty underscore on Instagram and we've had guidance from our lead producer Arden Fitzroy.

Kenya Sterling  37:51  
One last massive thank you to rise our guests and all of you for listening! 

Pete MacHale  37:55  
Thank you so much YAAAY! Hopefully this isn't going to be the last year we'll see or I guess hear from us. But have a great week everyone! I love you. BYE!!!!!

Kenya Sterling  38:03

Unknown Speaker  38:03  
MUSICAL OUTRO (soft jazzy music, Arden speaks over the top)

Arden Fitzroy  38:21  
This podcast was brought to you by the RISE Collective. Thank you to Mahla Axon, Amy Parkes, Kyle Blackburn, Sarisha Kumar, Max Sanderson, and Claude Barbé Brown. Music by Pembroke. We would also like to thank the Young Londoners Fund for making this series of AMPLIFY possible. If you’d like to find out more about RISE and support our work, visit our website, or follow us on Twitter @RiseAmplify or Instagram @therisecollectiveuk. See you next time on AMPLIFY.

What is AMPLIFY | The Podcast?

Welcome to AMPLIFY | The podcast,

This is a series of podcasts created by members of The RISE Collective, a youth organisation that uses creative arts and media to amplify the voices of young people. In each episode we aim to explore a different theme via the work of an array of emerging and established artists, curated for your listening pleasure.

Series 1: The Lockdown Sessions
Series 2: Queer Joy
Series 3: Emerging Futures

The RISE Collective was founded in 2016 in response to the marginalisation of many of our youth. Through creative and collaborative opportunities we use music, film, arts, media and technology to give silenced young people the knowledge, skills and drive to understand their power, amplify their voices and create their own futures. We deliver activities and initiatives by partnering with charities, arts organisations, music venues, local community groups, musicians and influencers and all our activities are co-designed with young people.