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 the most important relationship there is—with the self.

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 the most important relationship there is—with the self.


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


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:


AJ (they/he) is a Black non-binary queer multidisciplinary artist, and founder of ‘Beat For The Gxds’—a creative make-up space for Black non-binary people. Instagram/Soundcloud: @Non_binoiry


ZAND (they/them) is a non-binary recording artist and producer. Their Ugly Pop EP is available for streaming across Spotify, iTunes, and more. Instagram: @ihatezand


Instagrams of visual artists mentioned: @vinksart, @mypinkyourpink, @nancy_boy_erotica 


Produced by Arden Fitzroy (they/them) @ArdenFitzroy
The RISE Collective 
Twitter: @RiseAmplify 
Instagram: @therisecollectiveuk
Music: Pembroke

(Intro music plays, soft and jazzy)

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  0:58  
Hi, I'm Pete, I use he/him pronouns.

Kenya Sterling  1:00  
 Hi, I'm Kenya. I also use he/him pronouns. 

Pete MacHale  1:03  
And this is our segment of the rise amplify podcast. And today we're bringing you a cool good trans sexy podcast… 

Kenya Sterling  1:11  
Called Stitched and Strapped! 

Pete MacHale  1:13  
Yeah! So on this episode, which is our first episode, we're looking at "the self" as in yourself, feel yourself, love thyself, the one to one, the solo experience. 

Kenya Sterling  1:24  
And in this episode, we're going to be talking about our trans bodies and our relationships to them. 

Pete MacHale  1:30  
Yeah, so we're gonna be talking about things like masturbation. toys, pornography, which reminds me Kenya, we do have a content warning. 

Kenya Sterling  1:37  
Oh, yeah, we do. So we want this to be like informative and feel accessible, but we're talking about sex. And there might be some potentially graphic content since it's sex. So just a heads up with all that I'm not looking to get a phone call from anyone's mom and dad, because-

Pete MacHale  1:56  
I'm not trying to get a phone call from anyone's mom and dad, Unless, unless it's a hot dad, in which case, please tell your dad my number and tell them to give me a call.

Kenya Sterling  2:05  
Moving on! Much as we want this podcast to kind of like be for all trans people. And we're going to try and make it as inclusive as possible with the resources and topics but we the host both identify as trans mascs so. 

Pete MacHale  2:18  
Yeah, so our personal knowledge and insight based on our experiences will probably lean towards the trans masculine camp. In this episode, we'll be highlighting some great trans creatives, discussing some art sharing some poetry, and then we'll be finishing off with a sexy trantham to send you all off into the night! But before we get into all that good stuff, Kenya, why are we doing this? Why is this podcast important? 

Kenya Sterling  2:43  
Basically, I didn't have it, you know, and sex is confusing for cis people. For that it's important to have these resources and this information out there so that it can help to empower yourself, as trans people. You know, a lot of the trans narrative, it's not negative, but like, we often see trans people being told the sexy so I kind of want to change that.

Pete MacHale  3:01  
As well, I think as a general populace, as the human race has started to work past the stigma around things like sex and masturbation, you know, all the resources that I've seen for those things, they never seem to be trans friendly. But trans people are sexy, too. We like having sex too. We fart during sex to know those other things. 

Kenya Sterling  3:22  
Just you're on that one mate, just you.

Pete MacHale  3:24  
YEAH OKAY, What I'm trying to say is trans people deserve sex positivity, it's really hard sometimes to feel like you can engage with, generally, sex positivity, when all of the people leading those conversations don't look like you or live like you or talk about the body parts that you have. So this is trans sex 

Kenya Sterling  3:43  
By the trans,

Pete MacHale  3:44  
For the trans, all trans all good all go! Okay, so the first thing I think that we were going to talk about in this podcast is we just kind of wanted to set the tone with a bit of a chat about our relationships to our bodies, and whether that has kind of changed throughout transition. I don't know about you, Kenya, but I feel like my relationship to my body kind of pre medical transition was a pretty classic trans trope of... I hated it?! Um, I don't think connecting with my body was something I was very interested in prior to having access to things like hormones and surgery. The kind of simple answer to the question like, has my relationship to my body changed throughout transition would be ah-yes. Yes, as much better. I think, as my body gets closer to aligning with the way that I saw myself in my head through things like hormones and surgery, it feels a lot better, feels a lot easier to be able to go like, this is my body. This is the body that I have and feel comfortable with and want to explore. Rather than like, it's this alien thing my brain is stuck in and I don't want to like you know, I don't want to get to know it? I'm not gonna walk around, like, empty spooky spaceship, that's not mine?! But what about you? 

Kenya Sterling  4:55  
Um, to be fair, like, I think you know, that's the difference between is you're quite... Later on in your in your transition where as I'm still... I'm a baby, you know, I think I came into the conclusion quite not late, I always knew there was something wasn't quite right. But I couldn't put my finger on it. And I think for me as well because as a person, I don't mind the sliding scale of femininity and masculinity, my relationship has changed since being on hormones in terms of like, my voice has gotten deeper, which actually makes me a lot more comfortable with the femininity that my body still has. Because I'm so earlier now I guess that makes sense.

Pete MacHale  5:32  

Kenya Sterling  5:33  
So I'm more like, like-

Pete MacHale  5:35  
It feels more like this, maybe this sounds really stupid, but it feels more comfortable enjoying the feminine aspects of yourself because they don't feel any more like they contradict your identity. Because you're like, well, there's other parts of my body that align with my masculinity so I can enjoy the feminine parts and it doesn't change that. 

Kenya Sterling  5:53  
Yeah, absolutely. As well like as a person like I've, I've always been like really sporty and stuff anyway, so my figure has always been more quote unquote, masculine -

Pete MacHale  6:03  
Kenya's always been RIPPED! is what he's saying.

Kenya Sterling  6:06  
I'm not I'm not saying that I'm not you know, we're not going on the vanity train! That's not where I was going. Love yourself. You know, I mean love yourself!

Pete MacHale  6:14  
Yeah love thyself, love thyself. In the context in the context of the episode, I think the kind of more direct question is, has your relationship with self pleasure, and like, interactions with your own body changed during transition? Has it changed for like, the better for worse? Has it just changed? 

Kenya Sterling  6:30  
It's changed for the better in terms of like, I feel like personally, like there's a lot of toys prior, but I wouldn't have looked at because I get dysphoric sometimes about like, the lower area, but then there's stuff that for like bottom growth, which if you don't know what that is, you go get a little peepee essentially,

Pete MacHale  6:52  
Hormones, testosterone treatment make makes you grow little penis...

Kenya Sterling  6:58  
Just little one. So it's, it's been kind of empowering to just have that and be like, wow, okay, like, this is a cool change. I enjoyed this. There's toys that I can use for this. So yeah. What about you?

Pete MacHale  7:10  
I mean, in alignment to what I said earlier, because I was so- I felt my own body was like so inhos- inhospitable in every way. Yes, is like the relationship with with myself and self pleasure has improved, because like, my ability to connect with my own body at all has improved and become like a positive thing. Although I would say there's still a whole, like maybe some internalised transphobia issues around my own body, which is kind of frustrating. Sometimes there's like, still some stuff I'm processing but certainly having, in the times where I do feel uncomfortable about my body, having some more like, obviously masculine elements that align with my masculine identity to kind of like connect to like, if I'm like, Oh, ahh, ew, eguh, having a vagina eugh! I can go Oh, you know, look at these other more masculine parts of myself, and I can kind of, I guess, yeah, like, I guess I can like romanticise and sexualize those parts of my body as bits that I enjoy and connect to. And you can focus on the idea of self pleasure being pleasure within the self, rather than just explicitly having to engage with self pleasure as in touching yourself. Does that make sense? 

Kenya Sterling  8:16  
Yeah, yeah, no, it does. Absolutely. I think, as a general thing, like, we have this idea of self pleasure just being like, yeah, I'm just gonna do things to my, you know, like- 

Pete MacHale  8:26  
Yeah, I'm just gonna ram something in there! And it's like, nooo-

Kenya Sterling  8:29  
Yeah its like! So aggressive! like you have a whole body to kind of like work with and I think being on hormones, or having access to those surgeries can sometimes make that body like more accessible than what like, "Wow, look at all these-" like you were saying, you know, "all these different features that I can touch and be happy with", I guess.

Pete MacHale  8:47  
I guess, in a way as well, like having that experience, like making that physical journey opened me up psychologically, to the idea that like self pleasure can be something that goes beyond the realm of like, just stereotypical, like genital only masturbation, you know? I don't think I would have thought of finding pleasure in the rest of my body and being able to enjoy myself as a sexual entity rather than only something that can be sexual with other people there to play off? So... thanks testosterone for making me hot.

Kenya Sterling  9:17  
HAHAHAHA! I mean, that that is the true secret. That's why that's.... That's the whole point.

Pete MacHale  9:23  
That's the only reason! 

Kenya Sterling  9:24  
It's not, I promise. 

Pete MacHale  9:26  
Okay, cool! So our next section is an ambient sound piece of work from AJ. I've got a bio here that AJ was kind enough to send me through and I should read it for you now. So AJ, who uses they/them pronouns is a black, non binary, queer, multidisciplinary artist and the founder of beat for the gxds, which is a creative makeup space for black non binary people. Their current creative work centres on the healing nature of self love and its potential to facilitate growth and joy. And you can find their work on Instagram and SoundCloud, both of which the links to I will add at the end of this episode. But now we have to share with you their piece of work untangled earphones:

Untangled Earphones  10:34  
(Untangle Earphones is an ambient piece of audio art, humming and resonant vocal sounds overlap in a slow and emotional soundscape. Aj Awak-Essien, the artist, speaks lyrical prose over the top:

“We curl up into a ball waiting to go back into the womb clutching onto our sheets as tight as possible. This isn't how mother wants to hold you tonight. Not just tonight. But you're feeling small insides and you want your outside to match, feel these knots writhing turning inside your guts, twisting pulling, in your stomach and your heart...the pit so deep and empty, and yet so full. But this isn't how mother wants to feel you tonight. Let go of the tension. Let go of your sheets. Calm your body. Give your feelings space to be. Sometimes I like to hum deep into my chest. Sometimes I hum deep into my belly to feel a little bit more whole. I focus on and feel the vibrations coursing through me. How does your body feel the vibrations? It's about working that out and feeling it out, and let the vibrations untangle the knots within you, with each deep breath, with each deep hum, one loop knotted earphones, untangled, one loop.” )

Kenya Sterling  13:22  
Wow. Oh, that was really amazing. I'm not I mean, yeah, it was just beautiful. And like it was so, like, visually stimulating. Like, I could see like, lots of things whilst I was listening to it and like the descriptions that they were giving. 

Pete MacHale  13:40  

Kenya Sterling  13:41  
I can see those and I could see myself in those moments (-yeah... really good.)

Pete MacHale  13:45  
Yeah. See, I was really, I really, like, when I came across the piece. I think what I really loved for me what felt like, it really connected to like, the theme of this episode was AJ added in the caption. When sharing the piece of work on Instagram, they kind of been exploring, keeping track of their voice through changes on testosterone, by like, creating work and exploring things like breath and like, vocal tones. And I actually heard the piece before I read that, and that feeling of connecting to your body and exploring, like new parts of yourself... For me, they just, it felt like the piece of work has such a strong resonance of like pushing into your own voice exploring your own voice exploring your own breath feeling present within your body within yourself. And obviously some of the, some of the words - Firstly, the words are just really beautiful. I think they're really amazing. But some of the kind of phrases and the ideas that the words get across it kind of really conjured this feeling in me of like holding yourself as a trans masculine person and like being there with your body. That's Yeah, I thought it was great. I thought it was brilliant. 

Kenya Sterling  14:58  
Yeah, yeah yeah! I think that you know going off the being there for your body, but also like this idea of, like, holding space for yourself, you know, and, and holding space for this new body and this new space and this new voice like that's like developing I think, especially for me like, because I'm so early on of the transition if I just want to see changes really quickly, but it's like this piece for me feels like a slowing down and an appreciation even for the small changes that are happening and like breathing in, you know? 

Pete MacHale  15:30  
Yeah, like finding joy in the process, I guess. And, and also maybe, you know, maybe there's a question of like, with this podcast being geared towards like, things of a sexual angle, like, you can maybe argue like, does this piece of work necessarily have a sexual weight? And for me, like the crossover is that feeling of like, really connecting to your own body holding space for your body feeling engaged and like present within your body? It kind of overlaps with what we were talking about, of through self discovery and, and transition and aligning yourself more with, with your body. That's kind of where those two things overlap for me, like, does that all make sense? 

Kenya Sterling  16:07  
Yeah, absolutely does. 

Pete MacHale  16:09  
So that's Aj's great piece of work untangled earphones. And like I said, we'll add all of Aj's links to their socials and his SoundCloud, Instagram, all of that will be at the end of the podcast. So leading on from that kind of very wholesome discussion about presence in bodies, etc. To get more explicitly sexual. You know, we've been talking about connecting with your body and not having a sexual power to it. So to be more blunt, I think it's a good time to talk about whether masturbation itself has been like a dysphoric, or euphoric part of transition. And I mean, I kind of, as I alluded to, earlier on, when we were talking for me prior to kind of medical intervention, which is, you know, MY path for transition, it was obviously a really dysphoric activity, it was not something I was comfortable with. And I think I see like a lot of narratives of people, as they get to grips with feeling comfortable in their bodies, they find masturbation to be like a euphoric experience, or at least at least the experience of exploring how they get to that euphoric point to be in and of itself, part of gender euphoria, but from what we spoke about earlier, I think I'm still in a place where masturbation still feels dysphoric? Which given the stage that I'm at in my medical transition, and kind of how long I've been out and kind of comfortable with my identity, like, I really would have hoped I would've passed that by now. But no! You know, it's still something that I feel like I struggle with, which is really frustrating. What about you? 

Kenya Sterling  17:39  
I think, I think when I kind of realised what was going on, my brain was like, oh, okay, so we don't have a penis. So. How are we? How are we going to do the- feel okay with that now? Yeah. I was like, wow, I don't have a penis. That's, that's a shame! But, basically, I think, for me, it was kind of about discovering, again, kind of things that's not inherently like, "let's get straight into it!" And kind of making masturbation more of a whole process and ritual? Obviously, not all the time, but to learn to love where you are in my transition, and to alleviate the dysphoria. It's kind of been a journey of, Okay, let's make this like a whole thing about, you know, self care and holding space for my body. It's getting better. 

Pete MacHale  18:28  
Yeah. And I mean, to, to explore that angle of finding euphoria, within the process, like, have there been any, like super positive experiences you've had? Or even any things that you were like, that's a thing that I really struggle with negatively?

Kenya Sterling  18:43  
Um, I did notice, and it's something I'm still working on, is the ability to see my body whilst I'm doing it. So like, I tend to close my eyes, which I don't know if that's like a necessarily like a bad thing, or it's just like a habit, but it kind of becomes a thing of, if I close my eyes, I'm not, I'm just focusing on what I'm feeling and don't have to see anything or like, interact with my body in that way. So that was interesting to kind of discover. Have you heard anything that was like, similar? Or like, anything that's been empowering or? 

Pete MacHale  19:16  
Yeah, for sure. I mean, like, prior to top surgery, like 100%, I just didn't want to see my body like at all. And I mean, obviously, the the easiest method of dealing with that is like I had my binder on most of the time, but also, you know, sometimes sometimes you'll be in bed, and it'd be, it'd be nighttime and.... you wouldn't have clothes on -BECAUSE YOU SHOULDN'T BE SLEEPING IN A BINDER! And that, it's one of those things where you're you're lying in bed and you're just like, hmmm maybe I could get, get it on with myself, but you can't because you're, you know, you've already taken your binder off for the night and it's really inconvenient! Like what do I do, get out of bed and put the binder back on. That's like the least sexy I can think of in the moment! But um, since having had top surgery, the kind of next thing I had to face was (obviously not wearing a binder anymore,) but I've got these two big scars on my chest and obviously now it's been like a few years of healing and like, I love my scars. I'm so comfortable with them. This is not me saying that anyone should feel uncomfortable about their scars, but specifically right after surgery, like... they're pretty gory, you know? Like, I like, it's not it's not like a super sexy feeling. Or at least it wasn't for me to be lying in bed and be like, oh, wow, there's like crusty... Hahaha!

Kenya Sterling  20:36  
Wow- Lovely!

Pete MacHale  20:39  
So that, was that was something I didn't think about at all, like you think about surgery coming up for so long when you're so excited. And then it happens. You're like, yes, yes. Yeah, like I'm binderless, I'm free. I can be shirtless. And you're like, I'm gonna I'm gonna have a WANK and I'm gonna be SHIRTLESS cause I can! And then you like... you lying down in bed? You're like, Oh, god, it's like, my nipples are brown and the scars-. So you know, I didn't I didn't anticipate that being a problem. But there we are. 

Kenya Sterling  21:05  
Brilliant. I hope that no one’s eating their tea whilst listening to this. 

Pete MacHale  21:11  
We gave a warning! that's what the warning was for-

Kenya Sterling  21:13  
We did! Yeah, True. True.

Pete MacHale  21:14  
Um, Off the back of that, off the back of things like the negatives, the positives, if people are looking for advice, what have been some ways that you found to navigate dealing with dysphoria while exploring masturbation? Because, you know, I think there is some, something to be said for like when exploring general sex and dealing with dysphoria. One thing that we don't think about very often is if you're having sex with somebody else, they're there to help you like they're there to support you if you're struggling. And when you're dealing with dysphoria and masturbation. Like you're, you're on your own, you're on your own baby!

Kenya Sterling  21:45  

Pete MacHale  21:46  
What do you do? How do you validate yourself? 

Kenya Sterling  21:49  
I'd say this kind of potentially could come across as cringy. But I'm gonna say anyway, and this kind of goes for anyone that's pre t on T wherever you're at in your journey. Put on something that makes you feel good, and makes you feel hot, I think 

Pete MacHale  22:02  
Is that music, or clothes?

Kenya Sterling  22:04  
Both? I wasn't even thinking of music. But yeah, both why not invest in things that you know, clothes that are gonna make you feel hot, or like if you can't invest, what I found really useful. And this is like, really, it's a really small things, but I basically had a T-shirt, and I cut it, and I made it into a crop top. And I'd wear that with my binder. And I'd be like, wow, this is a game changer! I was like, who, you know, who is this?  Yeah Yeah, so it doesn't have to be super expensive. Just a little thing like cutting up a top making into a crop top. Wearing boxes, you don't have to be like naked for this stuff.

Pete MacHale  22:39  
Obviously, like, it's easier to be like, Oh, I'm going to be naked, naked and have a wank! but like, that's something to be said for like, feeling sexy in clothes, like clothing can be sexy, like make it a part of the routine. And that can be sexy, too. You don't have to be "Oh, I'm in a binder and have to wear a binder when I'm getting down or dirty by myself-" or even not a binder! Like for anyone, anyone who is wearing some kind of like gender affirmative piece of underwear or or like body... Body... A gender body sock?! Whatever, whatever kind of like, whatever you do to affirm your gender, those things don't have to be... featured...? I don't know where I'm going with this, sorry!

Kenya Sterling  23:15  
Yeah, no, I think it's just about finding what works for you. You can make it into a whole ritual, a whole routine. You can use things which kind of distract from your body, if that makes sense. So things like candles and scented candles and making it like a whole mood as opposed to just being like, I'm gonna do this thing. And my body is here AHHH! you know, like you can do things to make your surroundings make you feel more calm and more relaxed as well. So in turn, you can treat your body with the same kindness. 

Pete MacHale  23:46  
Yeah, I think that's a good way to put it. That's some good advice. Great advice. 

Kenya Sterling  23:50  

Pete MacHale  23:50  
From our amazing podcast, which everyone should- hahaha!

Kenya Sterling  23:55  
Haha. Yeah, cool. 

Pete MacHale  23:57  
Okay, so next up, we're gonna bring you some work from our very own Kenya!  Kenya, I'm gonna give you a bit of an introduction! Kenya is a queer, black writer, actor and creative. He's very good. He's my friend. I can confirm it. Kenya is currently studying on the European Theatre Arts course at Rose Bruford. He's got two years of experience with the world exchange young company, as well as training with ELT actors. Can you do want to tell us a bit about yourself too? 

Kenya Sterling  24:23  
Yeah, I think I'm quite proud of, you know, my most recent work playing the character Liam in TUC’s trans awareness short film, and I did a verbatim piece called I Am at the oval house where I basically multi rolled alongside Saffia Kavas. It was my first two hander, so I was very, very proud of it. I also released my debut poetry collection, called 19 years of skin. So that's exciting. So yeah, so today, I'm going to basically be sharing a poem with you and it's called Breastplate:

 ...Today it's strong, really strong. The feeling of wanting a flat chest and a dick, To fill my chest pressure against some of the guys to be part of that world. That culture. To be seen as male. Today it's strong and I don't know what to do with it. I'm scared and I feel sick all at the same time. I don't know who to tell. I'm sick and I'm swaying. Is it worth telling? Sometimes I feel free in my own skin. And other days I feel bound. I want you to see me as male feel me as male touch me as male on some days more than others. Today especially. How do you know if it's fluidity that you're more? How the fuck are you supposed to know? I feel sick and I'm so scared. I'm so scared and I feel like I need to explore this further. I don't know how, and then there's that thing that gender, it's it's not a proper thing is it? I feel uncomfortable in this body and I want a male's body I'd prefer a male body. There's an appeal there's strength as a flat chest a deeper voice guys fucking guys getting with guys twink culture and jockstraps male erotic dancing and fetishizing revealing that gay and trans is beautiful, skin to skin. Is it beautiful? Are you beautiful? I want to walk on the beach, my top off and swim in the ocean freely. Feeling the cool waters caressing my naked chest. But my flesh suit says otherwise. Curves in all the wrong places. A voice that was never mine. Today, it's a lot. Today it's a lot and it's heavy and crushing and burning and itching. I don't know what to do, or who to tell or what's right or wrong or anything. Confusion is the worst state, the worst place to be. A heavy burden in my chest. A heavy burden in my chest plate and foggy mass in the brain. A smudge of makeup on the face. A stain.

Pete MacHale  26:59  

Kenya Sterling  27:04  
Thank you I'm, I'm here all week. 

Pete MacHale  27:06  
Yeah, that's sick man. Thank you so much for sharing! Honestly, I don't know if this is just because I have such like a weird nostalgia based ffffffetish-no jk it's not a fetish! I used to like only I used to be obsessed with listening to like audio books on tape when I was a kid to get me to sleep. And I think there's something really special about like hearing a writers own work in their own voice. I don't know I just whenever you can hear a poet or an author's work in their own voice. I think it brings something really special to it. So thank you so much for sharing. 

Kenya Sterling  27:34  
No worries, no worries. I have some upcoming work you can actually look out for?

Pete MacHale  27:38  
Yes, tell the people!

Kenya Sterling  27:40  
So my poem breastplate features in manifesto for queer resistance with carnitas collective made in collaboration with North London creative resistance, and Gareth Pugh. I also recently performed a monologue to camera called "Dear tomorrow, hope from home," and the piece was written by Nemo Martin working with Northern stage. So...

Pete MacHale  28:00  
SICK! And again, I cannot gas you up enough? Everyone do go and check out Kenya's work. He's fantastic. And it's got some very special things in the works.


Pete MacHale  28:18  
So leading on from that poem, Kenya, which you shared with us, obviously, there's quite the kind of like, blunt confession line in the poem about just wanting a dick. And I think that leads us on really nicely to a conversation about the idea of toys, something very kind of common to use in, in, in self pleasure. But toys specifically for trans people as like, surrogates for body parts and sensations. I mean, I think the kind of immediate thing that comes to mind is the idea of like, the word Dildo. As a trans masc, how do you feel about that? Because I FUCKIN' hate it. I hate the word dildo so much y'know. I just, it makes my skin crawl! And I don't mean that like, about other people using it. I just when somebody talks about like, a prosthetic that I use, or like, there's like, Oh, do you use a dildo? I'm like, never, ever talk to me again.

Kenya Sterling  29:10  

Pete MacHale  29:10  
I just hated it. But I don't know what I think is going to have an association. So at the time when I was growing "up a dildo is something that women use." And so it's just in my head, there's like this connection between the word dildo and women... And if somebody says that, to me, I'm just like... no.

Kenya Sterling  29:27  
I think I can relate to like, I have two first experiences of the word dildo, and I'm just gonna briefly go into those. So the first experience was when I was younger, and I was staying at a friend's house, and my friend brought out their mum's dildo. 

Pete MacHale  29:41  
Oh my god.

Kenya Sterling  29:43  
Yeah, they were like, shake it around and be like, my mom's got this delta and it was pink. It was. It was the stereotype. And I was quite young, and I didn't really know what it was. But from that moment, I just assumed that that's what girls did. And it was really strange. 

Pete MacHale  29:59  
What wiggle them around at their friends? Hahaha!

Kenya Sterling  30:01  
Yeah! And it was really strange because even in that moment I separated myself from it. I was like, that's what girls did. I was like, that's not what I would do. That's what girls do. 

Pete MacHale  30:13  

Kenya Sterling  30:13  
And then the second instance, is in the classically horrendous film, white chicks. Where they're sat in the circle, I think it is I haven't seen in years, what was it the size of the circle, and they've got like dildos, and they're like talking about stuff, and they have to pass it around. So from that, as well -

Pete MacHale  30:29  
They pass around a dildo? I've definitely seen this film...

Kenya Sterling  30:32  
I'm sure there is, anyway, or maybe I'm making up maybe my brain just just made that maybe? 

Pete MacHale  30:37  
Maybe. Who knows. Maybe in white chicks,  there's a group of people and they're passing around a dildo.

Kenya Sterling  30:42  
Yeah! And they're all girls. So those are my two things. So I totally get where you're coming from, I don't know why it's associated with being female?

Pete MacHale  30:49  
I assume is because like when you first come into contact with the idea of that you're not really thinking about like- or when you're, when you're younger, there's maybe not a conversation around like the nuances of transness and sex and so the idea of a dildo is a "person without a penis", and when you're younger at the time, in your head, that's a girl before you can kind of like learn that that's not the case. By the way, I like to caveat this discussion with the fact that if you are a trans mask person, or anyone else on the trans spectrum, who uses something like this and call it a dildo, please don't feel like we're criticising the words that you use. I just think it's interesting that that's that kind of association in my head.

Kenya Sterling  31:22  
I think it's a fun word, though. 

Pete MacHale  31:24  
It is. It did, it did, when I was a kid. I used to really struggle to say some words. I just like they felt weird in my mouth. I didn't like the word flesh, and it didn't like the word Dodo. Maybe I just had a problem with the letter L?

Kenya Sterling  31:36  
Hahaha! Really discovering some things about Pete in this episode. 

Pete MacHale  31:42  

Kenya Sterling  31:42  
Some important important things. So kind of like going on from Mother Nature. What is your experience with pornography? Have you seen dildos in pornography? Have you seen trans people in pornography? You know, let's talk about that. 

Pete MacHale  31:56  
Yeah. So I mean, like, in consideration of the idea of pornography as something that is... I don't know, a weapon in your arsenal of some pleasure! I think the the conversation around trans representation in pornography or pornographic imagery, that we, we all... the images that we use privately, is almost, almost as important in some ways, I guess, as general representation? Like if you can't see yourself having sex, then how can you kind of contextualise yourself having sex and like, obviously, I know that it's a natural feeling. It's a natural sensation. We all know how to do it. But it does help! Like when you're struggling to picture your body as sexy. It helps to see other people who have your body being sexy in sexual contexts. And, I mean, for very good reason, most trans FRIENDLY and trans inclusive pornography is behind a paywall. So when you're like a young person, like exploring the internet, that's not something you come across like and - you know, elephant in the room, we all know that trans pornography is a fetish, subsection subcategory, which is really unpleasant. I think, actually, that might be the kind of way a lot of people first come across trans people, which is kind of disturbing, like as a fetish. And that's not gonna make anyone feel good about themselves. And also, you know, the majority, the unequivocal majority of that is trans femmes being fetishized, which must be really awful. But I will say that when you do come across that kind of like rare glimpse of pornography that does kind of hold the nuances of your specific gender identity and show it in a way that is both fun and sexy, but also feels like it's being respected as part of the pornographic work, that's to me, I mean, super empowering! What about you? 

Kenya Sterling  33:42  
I think? Yeah, I think for sure, I think the whole, like, the whole situation of representation in porn is like it's lacking, but also, part of me is kind of glad it's behind paywalls, because it's like, it's for the safety you know...

Pete MacHale  33:56  
Yeah? And also as well, I mean, it means the in terms of kind of like the rise of self promoted sites, like things like only fans, and people having their work on behind paywalls and then promoting their own work, it means that we know that like that money is going directly to a trans porn performer. 

Kenya Sterling  34:14  

Pete MacHale  34:14  
Rather than like a big company that might be using them for like fetishized content, which is, you know, that's a great, that's a great thing. Support- 

Kenya Sterling  34:20  

Pete MacHale  34:21  
Support your local trans sex workers everyone!

Kenya Sterling  34:23  
Yes, super important. superduper important. I think it's always good to know that trans people are, you know, able to, to kind of take it into their own and have that power. I think that's really, really great. Urm, I think the only instance where I have seen really good representation that's not behind a paywall was one instance, where it was a trans porn star, who, for the first time this is the first time I'd seen anything like this who took control. Who was you know, the DOM in the situation? 

Pete MacHale  34:53  
The "dom top" hahaha!

Kenya Sterling  34:54  
Yeah, no, honestly! Like he you know, he had all the power in the scene and I was like, wow! But in a, in a, in a way where its, you know, it wasn't like your usual aggressive dom was quite soft, but it was still in a way it was like I'm controlling this whole thing. Yeah. And I don't know, he just had a weird chemistry with the person on scene. And I was like, this is what it should be, you know.

Pete MacHale  35:13  
Those dynamics can be really, can be sexy, but also empowering in like, more ways than one, I think, all the time. 

Kenya Sterling  35:18  
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's getting better. But it's not where it needs to be. 

Pete MacHale  35:23  
Again to support your local trans sex worker, and hopefully, we'll see the representation we need to see in the world. Wink!

Kenya Sterling  35:29  

Pete MacHale  35:32  
So, obviously, we've just chatted about specifically pornography. But I think there are also other ways to kind of find sexy trans representation and kind of imagery and artwork specifically. So we did just want to kind of recommend some artists direct you towards some artists who create work in which we find sexy, positive, trans representation. So the first artist I wanted to flag up is @Vinksart on Instagram. I'd also like to say that we'll add all of these links to the description at the end of the podcast. But @Vinksart is on Instagram. They are a painter, and visual artists who create explicit sex scenes between trans people. And I also would like to direct people to @nativeboytoy also on Instagram, who is a photographer, and has specifically a series of work called "Venus in Pisces", which is a photo series which depicts trans people in intimate settings in the bathroom. 

Kenya Sterling  36:31  
I have, also, two recommendations. So my first one is @mypinkyourpink on Instagram. And they basically do digital art, but they do it in the forms of prints, stickers, pins, and other stuff. It depicts queer people and trans people. So it's kind of a range of bodies, and it's just really cool to have in your house. I just love having lots of queer art on my walls. My whole room is covered in queer art.

Pete MacHale  36:57  
Again! support your local queer artists. 

Kenya Sterling  37:00  
Yes, do it. And the second person that I want to recommend is @Nancy_boy_erotica. And so they made kind of like NSFW 18+ kind of... paintings I'd say. Some of it is kind of like digital drawings as well, but there's a lot of painting stuff. It's mainly between trans people yeah, and not just all loving themselves and having a great time and you need to see that you need that in your room. Do it buy it, 

Pete MacHale  37:27  
Buy it, do it, watch it, make it, bend it, break it, by the way, RIP. RIP Daft Punk.

Kenya Sterling  37:33  

Pete MacHale  37:33  
They broke up! 

Kenya Sterling  37:34  
Yeah, I know. But what they got to do with- 

Pete MacHale  37:36  
Cause I said buy it, break it, bend it, flip it-

Kenya Sterling  37:38  
I don't know what that reference is?

Pete MacHale  37:40  
That's one of their songs!


Pete MacHale  37:46  
So lastly, for you all, we now have 

Kenya Sterling  37:50  
Our... sexyyyy tranthem moment...

Pete MacHale  37:53  
Sexxxyyy..... tranthemmmm..Hahahaha! Our sexy tranthem for this episode is a song by the artists ZAND, that's capital Z A N D, they're a non binary artists who creates ugly pop! And tonight we're going to be playing for you Slut Money.

Kenya Sterling  38:11  

MUSIC  38:26  
(Slut Money by ZAND, lyrics below:

You think it's simple
Hosting a temple shaped like this? (yeah)
I got substantial
Converts and all of them submit
'Cause they can afford it
I don't owe nothing to no man (ha ha ha)
But I'm a hot bitch
So I capitalize on that
I wipe my tears up with my slut money
Why you complaining when it's not your body?
If you ain't paying don't expect shit from me
So why you say it like you own my body?
Fuck you, pay me
Slut money (slut money)
Slut money, slut money
Slut money, (slut money)
You do not own my body
Fuck you pay me
I can do what Sharon can do with that money
Nothing Darren pays me to do, fuckin' dummy
You think I'm easy
Posting my arse on Instagram? (yeah)
What was that, sweetie?
I didn't hear, was paying my rent with Onlyfans (cha ching)
And you think you're gonna please me, but you won't
If you think you're gonna squeeze it alright boy, don't
'Cause I guarantee I'll cut your hands off
Fuck you up
Just so you understand
And I wipe my tears up with my slut money
Why you complaining when it's not your body?
If you ain't paying don't expect shit from me
So why you say it like you own my body?
Fuck you, pay me
Slut money (slut money)
Slut money, slut money
Slut money, (slut money)
You do not own my body
Fuck you pay me
I can do what Sharon can do with that money
Nothing Darren pays me to do, fuckin' dummy
I can do what Karen can do with my money
Ya hubby sent me bank just to look at him funny
I find it hard to understand how such a little fucking man
Could be so damn entitled with his cock sticking out of his pants
Just 'cause of money in his hand, and everything he says to me
Just makes me wanna throw up 'cause he thinks he's having sex
If me and all my friends had a penny for every time
That we've been called a fucking slut just for doing what gets us by
Well then the stacks would be flying above the high horse you sit on
Acquired through working overtime at an office (more like a prison!)
And I bet when you get home you rinse that Pornhub subscription
But then complain when your poor wife don't want missionary position
Carry on with your mission to be the twat of the month
One day in pleasers you'd be chicken shit you rat looking cunt
Give me my slut money
Why you complaining when it's not your body?
If you ain't paying don't expect shit from me
So why you say it like you own my body?
Fuck you, pay me
Slut money (slut money)
Slut money, slut money
Slut money, (slut money)
You do not own my body
Fuck you pay me
I can do what Sharon can do with that money
Nothing Darren pays me to do, fuckin' dummy (yeah)
I can do what Karen can do with my money
Ya hubby sent me bank just to look at him, eurgh!)
Pete MacHale 41:48 
Amazing what an absolute banger! Thank you so much for ZAND for letting us use their great song. That is actually all we have time for lovely listeners. Um, thank you so much for sticking with us. Well we got all hot and bothered, wink!
Kenya Sterling  42:02  
But before we say goodbye we just like to leave you today with something that makes each of us your sexy trans hosts feel sexy!
Pete MacHale  42:11
Kenya, Kenya, what makes you feel sexy?
Kenya Sterling  42:16  
I'm gonna be really basic but like I just live my jockstrap fantasy. That's all I'm saying. 
Pete MacHale  42:26
Good, good honestly good I think fuckin cool as fuck. Um... You stole mine you fucking bitch. 
Kenya Sterling  42:30 
It's fine! You can have the same one, it's okay!
Pete MacHale  42:34 
Noooo, that's so rubbish. Oh my god no, do you know what I've thought of something that makes me feel sexy. This is so dumb, vapid vain, but I was going back through my camera roll of photos the other day to delete some stuff for videos filming and I came across a video of myself at pride, 2019 Manchester pride and it's me absolutely steaming drunk at one in the morning wearing white jeans and angel wings and I turned to the camera, and just do like Charlie's Angels finger guns! And I was looking like, cute and like, ripped at the time, or like, ripped for me, ripped for me! And I was like, do you know what? Good job Pete. Sexy. With that we must now say goodbye but also not before. Once again thanking our wonderful wonderful, amazing talented brilliant guests who will been so kind in letting us share their work. Like we said we'll include everyone's @'s and links in the description underneath the podcast but you can find Aj's work on his SoundCloud and Instagram which is under @non_binoiry. 
Kenya Sterling  43:49
And you can find ZAND at their Instagram @ihatezand, and you can find their new EP, Ugly Pop on Spotify and Apple Music as well as watch the music video for slut money on YouTube! 
Pete MacHale  43:59  
And if you want to support us too, you can find Kenya on his Instagram @abstractkid_ and myself on my Instagram @peteyparty_ 
Kenya Sterling  44:09
Cool! So yeah, huge thank you and live to rise for giving up the spot on amplify-
Pete MacHale  44:15
And also to all of you for listening to us! Have a great week. I LOVE YOU. 
Kenya Sterling  44:20
Pete MacHale  44:21 
Bye! Bye!
Arden Fitzroy  44:30
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.