Christina Kann 00:23
Welcome to The Restricted Section, where we love our trans friends!
Charlie Mack 00:31
I feel so loved.
Christina Kann 00:34
I am very excited to be joined today by my beloved friend, Grace. Say hello to the listeners, Grace.
Grace Ball 00:39
Christina Kann 00:41
How have you been, Grace?
Grace Ball 00:42
Oh guys, not great. I am a little bit under the weather today, but being here with you is making it all better. So thank you so much for having me today.
Christina Kann 00:54
Yeah, I just wanted to give you the opportunity to to explain why your voice is like this. Better to just get out of the way at the beginning so people aren't wondering if Grace is okay.
Grace Ball 01:05
For the record, I am okay.
Christina Kann 01:08
And, of course, we are so excited to be joined today by our friend, Charlie! Say hello to the listeners, Charlie.
Charlie Mack 01:14
Hello to the listeners, Charlie.
Christina Kann 01:17
Recently, on our Patreon bonus feed, I said I was going to stop introducing you, but I think that you deserve an introduction right now because you are one of the co-hosts of Of the Eldest Gods! You want to tell everyone what changes are happening over there right now?
Charlie Mack 01:34
Oh, yeah! Well, one: we're starting a new book finally. Season three! And I got a new co-host for the podcast finally.
Christina Kann 01:46
Tell us about them.
Charlie Mack 01:48
Raye is wonderful. I met them through stalking their Barbie podcast, Barbie Movies Slap. It's a fun time. Very good shit. And we just we just became friends through other Barbie podcasts.
Christina Kann 02:05
Yes! Internet friends are the best!
Charlie Mack 02:11
They actually approached me. That's the fun thing about this. I posted, "Oh, yeah, I'm still looking for a new co-host for the pod!" and then they were like, "I might possibly be interested in that. Let me let me figure out some schedule things, but yeah, I'd probably be down."
Christina Kann 02:35
Yeah, and we love Raye so much, so I'm very excited to hear the start of the new season.
Grace Ball 02:40
Welcome to the family, Raye!
Christina Kann 02:42
Yeah, and we miss Taylor, but not really because I still talk to her every day.
Charlie Mack 02:48
Taylor is wonderful. She's still around.
Christina Kann 02:52
Her her main role in the network now is pod mom. "What do you need, honey?"
Charlie Mack 02:56
She's the SecreTaylor.
Christina Kann 03:02
I think we call them Administrative-Assist-Taylors now.
Charlie Mack 03:07
No, that's her nickname the discord. Raye, Taylor, and I literally coined that in the episode we all did together.
Christina Kann 03:18
And I love that y'all had an episode where Taylor got the opportunity to pass the torch along to Raye. That's very cute and symbolic. You know I love some symbolism.
Charlie Mack 03:26
It was very good and fun.
Christina Kann 03:29
And I'm sure you'll hear Taylor's dulcet tones all over this network for the rest of time.
Charlie Mack 03:39
We already saved an episode for her for Titan's Curse.
Christina Kann 03:48
I did a bad job of doing this in our last episode, but Happy Pride everyone! Very exciting. A personality trait about myself is that I'm a bragger, and when I do anything, I love to tell everyone I know about it. So I bought my first bi pride shirt this year, and I'm very excited about that.
Grace Ball 04:13
Charlie Mack 04:14
I love that for you.
Christina Kann 04:15
Thank you so much.
Grace Ball 04:17
I can't wait to see it!
Charlie Mack 04:18
Someday you'll catch up to the amount of pride things I have.
Christina Kann 04:21
I actually feel like one is enough.
Christina Kann 04:25
I have my inclusive pride flag in my home, and then I made myself a bi pride necklace, like a friendship bracelet situation, and I bought this t-shirts, so I actually have three things now.
Charlie Mack 04:25
Charlie Mack 05:03
I think I have like 100 things.
Christina Kann 05:09
Well, I bought the flag because I had parties at my house and stuff, so new people coming to my house kind of frequently, and I just want everyone to know, "You're in a safe place." I don't want that to be up for debate. We posted that on the wall.
Christina Kann 06:51
So I we're here today to talk about "Sorted: Growing Up, Coming Out, and Finding My Place," a transgender memoir by Jackson Bird. And I first heard about this book from from Charlie, weird. Charlie, can you tell us a little bit about Sorted and how you found out about it and why you recommended it to me?
Charlie Mack 07:19
Well, you know, it's about this very special boy named Jackson Bird
Christina Kann 07:26
*scatching* Jackson Bird was a very special boy!
Charlie Mack 07:33
Well, it's a trans memoir. You know, it's his story of how he figured out -- throughout his entire life -- just all the little things that were like "This kind of gave me little inklings that I was different.' And like, as it goes on, he's like, "Yeah, I realized I was trans." And then it takes you through his transition a little bit until a certain point. I like it. It's very fun.
Christina Kann 08:04
So why is it called Sorted?
Charlie Mack 08:06
Well, that's the reason why I told you we should cover this on The Restricted Section. Because yes, I mean, for some reason, my brain was like, "Oh, yeah, there's like a lot of Harry Potter in it." There is, but there isn't.
Christina Kann 08:22
For much of the book, he works and/or volunteers for what was formerly the Harry Potter Alliance. So there's a lot of Harry Potter discourse in the background of this book.
Charlie Mack 08:34
Yeah, sometimes there's a picture in the book where it's like, I'm cosplaying Sirius Black here.
Christina Kann 08:40
Oh my god. There's some great pictures in this book.
Charlie Mack 08:43
There are. I love the pictures. It's always talking about, "Oh, yeah, I was this nerd who just really liked Harry Potter." It's Sorted because -- God, the front cover is like the best part of this book. Grace, have you seen the front cover?
Grace Ball 09:02
I have. I did listen to the audiobook, but I was able to see the front cover.
Charlie Mack 09:07
I love the front cover because it's has the check marks for male, female, and if you've got it, you just want to brush off the little eraser marks on the "female."
Christina Kann 09:20
I definitely tried to brush them off more than once.
Charlie Mack 09:24
It's so funny to me, because I always want to do it too. "You know, we sort too soon," as one might say.
Christina Kann 09:34
It says it on the back cover.
Charlie Mack 09:36
It does, in fact.
Grace Ball 09:39
As the back cover might say...
Charlie Mack 09:42
As Albus Dumbledore himself might say...
Christina Kann 09:45
How did you learn about this book, Charlie?
Charlie Mack 09:48
Because I follow Jackson Bird.
Christina Kann 09:52
Grace Ball 09:53
That's cool. Did you watch a lot of Jackson's YouTube videos and stuff?
Charlie Mack 09:58
Yeah. So not before-transition things. If you don't know -- Hi, I'm trans masc and nonbinary.
Christina Kann 10:10
Oh my god, I can't believe it.
Charlie Mack 10:12
Yeah. So I kind of fell into a lot of trans guy stuff on YouTube. It started being recommended to me, and I started watching stuff. So I follow people like Jackson and there's also like Jamie Dodger, who does cool stuff. Just a lot of trans stuff, so I could get tips and tricks on binders and other sorts of things.
Grace Ball 10:43
That's an awesome resource.
Christina Kann 10:45
Did you follow Alex Bertie by any chance?
Charlie Mack 10:49
Christina Kann 10:50
He's another trans YouTuber whomst's memoir I read. It's called Trans Mission.
Charlie Mack 11:02
That's a podcast that Jackson had.
Christina Kann 11:08
And now I'm wondering if Alex Bertie talked about Jackson Bird and maybe that wordplay in his memoir, but I didn't know who Jackson was at the time.
Charlie Mack 11:18
I did, in fact, meet Jackson, at LeakyCon a couple years back, and I got him to sign my book because I'm a huge-ass nerd. And I was dressed up as young Harry in the oversized plaid shirt.
Grace Ball 11:37
That's a good one.
Christina Kann 11:39
You're like, "Joke's on you. I'm actually in my pajamas."
Charlie Mack 11:42
It's a fun outfit, because I just get to wear oversized clothing.
Christina Kann 11:52
So Grace, you listen to this on audiobook?
Grace Ball 11:54
Christina Kann 11:55
But Charlie, you read the print, right?
Charlie Mack 11:57
Christina Kann 11:59
I read the print as well. Did Jackson narrate the audiobook?
Grace Ball 12:03
Jackson did narrate the audiobook, which I thought was very awesome.
Christina Kann 12:07
I think that's really the only way to go with memoirs.
Grace Ball 12:10
Christina Kann 12:10
How do you not do that?
Charlie Mack 12:13
Who would you have narrate your memoir?
Grace Ball 12:15
Right? You can't hire an actor to narrate.
Charlie Mack 12:20
I just can't like ask Morgan Freeman to narrate my memoir. That's not how it works.
Christina Kann 12:26
Wait, Charlie, I think you're on to something.
Grace Ball 12:29
Yeah, actually I take back everything I just said.
Christina Kann 12:31
Write that down for later.
Charlie Mack 12:33
I definitely heard Jackson's voice in my head just because I know it well enough.
Christina Kann 12:42
So Grace, did you listen to this at work while you were taking? I did. Yeah, I don't know if I've told you that recently, I got a new job at a brewery maybe like a mile from my house, and I walked to work, and every day I get to walk past Grace's work, and I see her little ponytail and her little icing hands, and I never say hi, because I'm like, "Oh, that looks like she's dealing with something. My little girl," and I keep walking.
Grace Ball 13:11
You should always just do a little tap.
Christina Kann 13:14
I check every time. I'm like, "She's really concentrating on whatever that is."
Grace Ball 13:20
Well, I feel your presence.
Christina Kann 13:24
Next time I tap, don't come outside. Just wave. We'll just wave.
Grace Ball 13:27
Okay, we'll just do a wave. It doesn't have to be an ordeal.
Christina Kann 13:31
So how was the narration? Do you feel like it added to the memoir, the fact that was being read to you by the author?
Grace Ball 13:39
Yeah, I definitely do. I think that Jackson did an awesome job narrating the audiobook. I mean, obviously, he has a lot of speaking experience, which I'm sure it came in handy. But yeah, it was delivered very well, and it made me feel like an already personal story was made even more personal. So I definitely recommend recommend the audiobook if you haven't listened to it.
Christina Kann 14:07
It's like you're just buddying up with a pal and you're like, "Tell me about your life."
Charlie Mack 14:13
I don't listen to audiobooks, but I feel like I definitely would for something like this.
Christina Kann 14:19
Some books I've come across in my life are much better as audiobooks, especially memoirs.
Christina Kann 14:25
I am sad, though, because it sounds like the book has a lot of images and stuff like that.
Christina Kann 14:28
Grace, when I see you next, we can just flip through it.
Grace Ball 14:42
Yeah, I definitely want to.
Christina Kann 14:43
I mean, in the beginning of the book, a lot of the pictures are like, "See, look at me. I was a girl, and it was fucking weird," basically. But once it gets into the middle, when he's in college and he's doing fun stuff, some of the pictures are pretty funny like that. All of the cosplay's very fun. He always contextualizes the photos, too, which is helpful. He's like, "Oh, I actually felt pretty cute on this day," or he's like, "This was a nightmare photo." Oh my god or that one photo of his dad's wedding when there was like a wildfire. "Metaphor like my life that summer?" And then I wonder, Grace -- in the print book, there are some sections that are set out, excerpts from Jackson's journal, in this handwriting font and sometimes they were on little separate piece of paper, you know, like little separate sections. Did he just read them? Was he like, "This is a note now."
Grace Ball 15:47
I don't remember if that was just like part of the regular text.
Christina Kann 15:52
That means they did it good, if she doesn't even remember how they did it.
Grace Ball 15:54
Exactly. Seamless. Really good. I think it was sort of just read as part of the text. Maybe there was like a short line that was like, "From my journal" or "from this time" or something like that. But yeah, it wasn't weird or anything. It wasn't weird.
Charlie Mack 16:13
And then there are those blocks of the gray text that explain stuff.
Christina Kann 16:19
Memoirs are written kind of like novels. They're narrative. Occasionally there's dialogue, and all of the dialogue is assumed to be paraphrasing. And then Sorted had, as I mentioned, set aside little journal excerpts from Jackson, sometimes with photos sometimes by themselves. And then yeah, like Charlie said, there were also textbooky, but in like a cute way, sections set aside to delve into a trans concept that you might not be familiar with. And that was so cool.
Grace Ball 16:55
Yeah. And did y'all start out with definitions?
Charlie Mack 16:59
Yes. It's like the first thing in there, isn't it?
Christina Kann 17:06
Yeah, it's very cool. It also comes with a disclaimer. Jackson is like, "A lot of this language means different things to different people. Here are some general definitions, but also don't assume anything. "There's a lot of complexity and variance to each term and to the relationship between it and each individual it may apply to. The more research you do, and the more willing you are to listen to new information, the better." That's the thesis statement of life, I guess.
Christina Kann 17:43
I've read a couple books like this. They're almost like beginners level transgender memoirs, where the intended audience is kids who are looking for resources as they're questioning their gender, and adults who are dealing with their trans children to learn and get a firsthand experience and try to understand better. It's almost like"So you want to learn about trans stuff." You know what I'm saying? I think it's so cool that these books exist. And I've read a couple. I read Alex Birdy's Trans Mission and a couple others before that. It is very cool the way it's like, "A lot of this can be confusing. So let me just like explain the whole thing to you."
Grace Ball 18:38
Yeah, I thought the educational element was very cool. I think it read is very endearing and welcoming. It felt very non-judgmental. No matter who is reading this book, no matter what your understanding is, it sort of met you where you were. I found that to be just so nice the whole time.
Christina Kann 19:16
He goes through a lot of shit when he is questioning his gender and trying to figure it out, but in the back of your head, you're like, "Well, he figures it out. You know he's gonna be okay."
Grace Ball 19:42
It's gonna be all right.
Charlie Mack 19:43
It gets better!
Christina Kann 19:44
I have a lot of queer friends and I work in language as a living, so a lot of the terminology -- "here's your little introduction of what this word means" -- a lot of it I knew already, but I think it's cool to also get the added context for every subject that he brought up. He's like, "Here's my take on it. Here's like my understanding of the community's take on it. Here's the technical definition." It does kind of give you all the information you need.
Charlie Mack 20:13
On this reread, I will say, I definitely skipped most of the gray things just because I was like, "Yeah, at this point, I know what's going on."
Christina Kann 20:21
Charlie's like "Let me read this definition of nonbinary. According to Webster's Dictionary..."
Grace Ball 20:27
Yeah. It's there if you need it, and if you don't need it, just move right along.
Christina Kann 20:34
The first half of this book is Jackson's childhood, and the second half of it is college and just the very beginning of after college.
Charlie Mack 20:48
Yeah, 25 is when he comes out, it says here.
Christina Kann 20:54
So a lot of the first half was about his childhood not feeling quite right and things coming up that were like, "Why is this an issue?" Like the dresses thing. "This is a fucking issue for me." And the mom just being like, "Why? Why are you like this?"
Charlie Mack 21:16
Some kids just are, man.
Christina Kann 21:18
That's the thing! Some kids are like this, and some kids are questioning their gender. And that's why it's good to have open communication and resources like this.
Grace Ball 21:30
There were some cool moments where his mom had, you know, sewn him a dress, and very clearly he was not cool with that.
Christina Kann 21:42
I think it was an Easter dress, right? The worst kind of dress.
Christina Kann 21:47
Christina Kann 21:47
For someone who doesn't like dresses, it's the worst.
Grace Ball 21:51
Just the frilliest kind. But then after that, his mom started sewing little waistcoats.
Charlie Mack 21:56
I'm jealous. I'm like legit jealous. The fact that he got to swap two waistcoats instead of dresses.
Christina Kann 22:09
I think we should shout out Jackson's mom, whose name I don't remember, because she really tries her best in this memorial. She keeps a listening ear. She like does her best not to judge. I think she says a couple things in passing when he's really young that she probably wasn't thinking too hard about. But generally, when it comes to it, she's like, "I support your choices. I will make you waistcoats. I will listen to you try to come out to me as trans for like three hours," which is such a cute scene.
Grace Ball 22:42
Christina Kann 22:46
The dad's not as much in the picture. I think after Jackson moves away to college, his parents got divorced.
Grace Ball 22:54
Yes, and then the mom moved to New Mexico.
Christina Kann 22:58
Oh, yeah. Go visit your mom in the mountains of New Mexico. Whenever my friends are trying to move away, I'm like, "I will miss you so much. But you should go, and I will come there. I will visit you." I even tried to get to convince Sean to take a road trip up through Boston to Canada this summer, but he said we're doing Nashville instead. So that's fine.
Charlie Mack 23:23
*from the Boston area* Well, ah, Sean, how fucking dare you?
Christina Kann 23:28
Sean's ex-girlfriend is from Canada, and her name was also Christina. She was my same height, and she broke up with him for being too short, so you could say I'm a good person.
Charlie Mack 23:40
Oh, fuck her for that.
Grace Ball 23:43
Christina Kann 23:44
So I think Sean's like, "I can't take this Christina to Canada. That doesn't add up."
Christina Kann 23:52
So one thing I thought was really cool: In the beginning, Jackson talks about how he used acting as a way of exploring not only gender, but also personality expression at large. And I thought that was so cool.
Charlie Mack 24:10
I also was an actor at some points in my childhood.
Christina Kann 24:17
Charlie Mack 24:17
It didn't last for very long. When I was like 13, I think, my mom and I really hated the fact that my teacher basically gave me hooker makeup for my last play. So we're just like, "We're gonna stop doing that program." And then I never got into it at school because I hated auditions.
Christina Kann 24:45
I just thought of that Dolly Parton quote where she's like, "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap."
Grace Ball 24:52
I love Dolly. Oh my gosh.
Christina Kann 24:58
So you did acting too! Grace, do you have any like theater experience?
Grace Ball 25:01
Absolutely not. That is my worst nightmare. Being on a stage in front of people? I cannot think of anything worse.
Charlie Mack 25:14
Some of my plays at this program were filmed -- we still have those -- my mom distinctly remembers how I used to basically memorize the entire script, and when I wasn't the one speaking, I would mouth what everybody else had to say, while they were saying it. And we have photographic evidence.
Christina Kann 25:40
That reminds me that I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Andrew the other day, and it was his birthday, so I told him that he was allowed to quote every single line, and he did!
Grace Ball 25:50
What a gift.
Christina Kann 25:52
Him and Haley were reciting the whole thing.
Charlie Mack 25:57
I wouldn't study the script until way later. I'm a procrastinator. You know this about me. But then I would finally learn it, and then I would know all of it.
Christina Kann 26:17
I did theater in high school. I like took it as a credited course, and I did after-school theater.
Charlie Mack 26:26
I didn't take theater in college, but I did take playwriting courses.
Christina Kann 26:34
Do you like playwriting?
Charlie Mack 26:36
Playwriting is actually pretty good. I prefer prose, but I liked playwriting because I love dialogue.
Christina Kann 26:46
I like that playwriting forces you to have good dialogue. There's nothing else. Man, we should make our authors do that as an exercise, Grace.
Grace Ball 26:57
That is so true. Like a little playwriting prompt.
Charlie Mack 27:02
I prefer dialogue.
Christina Kann 27:03
I was not a very good actor. I did a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff. And I think that I was not a very good actor because personally, I have a problem where I am a super transparent person. I'm always the exact same person. It's very hard for me to be professional for work. It's very hard for me to not swear in front of babies. I'm not very good at becoming a different person. I would be like Nicolas Cage if I were an actor. You can have Nicolas Cage in your movie if you want this person, who is Nicolas Cage, to be the character in your movie. There's not a lot of wiggle room.
Grace Ball 27:42
You're just so unabashedly authentically yourself, and I respect the hell out it.
Christina Kann 27:47
Me and Nic, baby. So I'm really bad at acting, because I'm always just kind of like laughing and screaming at people.
Grace Ball 27:54
Did you win an award for like set design or something?
Christina Kann 27:58
Oh, my God, Grace. Thank you so much for bringing it up. I would love to brag about the one award I ever won in my life. Yes, when I was in 11th grade, I did win a Cappy's Award, which is the DC metro high school theater competition for the set decoration of The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, which is a great play that involved hidden bookcases and trapdoors and stuff. It was a very cool set that I loved a lot. It's the best thing I've ever done.
Grace Ball 28:38
You should brag about that!
Christina Kann 28:38
How did we get here?
Grace Ball 28:40
I don't know.
Christina Kann 28:42
I can't really relate to the concept of using acting as a way to exploring being another person. I think that's so cool -- first of all, that people can act, and that Jackson found an outlet through it as a kid.
Grace Ball 28:56
Yeah, I mean, it makes a lot of sense.
Charlie Mack 28:58
Yeah. If I could compare my journey to that, I definitely use cosplay a bit more for that kind of stuff. Like, yes, acting was a thing, but I was not really at that level. I wasn't mentally thinking about gender in terms of acting. I was just like, "I'm just a character."
Christina Kann 29:22
People are people.
Charlie Mack 29:23
Mentally, I wasn't super into that part of it. But when I started like trying to cosplay, you know, I wanted to be a lot of guys because they have comfortable outfits more than girls.
Christina Kann 29:38
Oh, yeah, it's true.
Grace Ball 29:40
Christina Kann 29:41
My little wish list for Halloween costumes -- you know, I'm like, "What am I going to be for Halloween in like four months?" -- I do have a couple guys on there because the billowy shirt game is strong. I guess they're both pirates or something.
Charlie Mack 29:56
Pirates are great, though. Pirates are awesome. Pirates are also queer. Regardless of Our Flag Means Death.
Christina Kann 30:07
Charlie, you probably also really upgraded your pocket space when you started wearing masc clothes for cosplay purposes.
Charlie Mack 30:13
Yeah, because I also just started wearing men's jeans in general.
Christina Kann 30:20
They're just built different.
Charlie Mack 30:22
My mom is just like, "Why don't you wear this old pair of my jeans?" and I'm like, "Your jeans don't have pockets. I can't put my phone in there." And she's like, "I have back pockets." I don't want to put my phone in my back pocket!
Christina Kann 30:35
Oh, I do. I sit on it a LOT, but I have a really squishy butt.
Charlie Mack 30:38
I'll sit on my wallet. Not my phone. I don't know.
Christina Kann 30:42
That is a very masc energy. I would never sit on my wallet. My wallet's a fatty right now. I think that's maybe my problem, that I tote things.
Grace Ball 30:54
You tote things?
Christina Kann 30:55
Yeah, I stay totin. So no pocket will ever suffice.
Grace Ball 30:59
Yeah, you need a whole bag.
Christina Kann 31:01
I wrote down Chapter Six was called The Transmasculine Invisibility Cloak. That's like a great example of how Harry Potter is built into the worlds of this memoir.
Charlie Mack 31:15
I also just, I was reading I don't so much.
Grace Ball 31:18
Yeah, the chapter titles are very fun. I don't know if this is exactly right, so if y'all know, please correct me. But I think they came up with the title kind of late. I think the book was pretty close to being published before they actually named it. Man, I wish I still had a pulled up. Jackson and a group of people had gone through a number of kind of funny titles. A lot of them were like bird puns, which I thought was funny. And then, and then someone had mentioned Sorted, and he kind of brushed it off as cheesy or corny or whatever, and then like later revisited it. I think he had been hesitant because there originally wasn't as much Harry Potter content in the book. I think he was sort of resistant to admitting exactly how much Harry Potter had impacted his whole journey. They must have gone back and sort of baked in some of this Harry Potter stuff that we see now -- at least more of it. I thought that was really interesting. It totally read like the title was the first thing that they started with.
Charlie Mack 32:59
I do see in the acknowledgments it says, "Thank you Katie Riley for originally come out with the title this book, but mostly for feeding me while I wrote it."
Grace Ball 33:09
There you go.
Charlie Mack 33:11
I want to say that's probably his roommate maybe.
Christina Kann 33:16
Even in like a pre-JK-Rowling-is-a-TERF phase of the fandom, it still is a really strong personality choice to be like "Harry Potter is the whole story. Harry Potter means this much to me." I totally understand Jackson getting a real book deal and being like, "Okay, I have to take this seriously. I can't just be gushing about Harry Potter the whole time."
Grace Ball 33:45
Yeah, tone it down.
Charlie Mack 33:46
Imagine if my trans memoir was "Claimed" for Percy Jackson.
Christina Kann 33:52
Oh, my God.
Grace Ball 33:59
When Jackson was thinking about different possible names, his mom had said, "Oh, well, I was originally going to name you, if you're a boy, Harrison." Which, of course, shortened to Harry, and Jackson was like, "I could never! People are gonna think I am losing it!"
Christina Kann 34:21
That's very funny. I'm in a Facebook group called Your Children Are Not Billboards for Your Fandoms, and it's a name shaming group. People are like, "My friend straight-up named her baby Khaleesi, can you believe it?" So many children are named Khaleesi. That's not even her name!
Grace Ball 34:41
Oh no. Yikes.
Charlie Mack 34:45
I have personal things about the whole naming situation. I don't want to like make this all about my trans experience because we're talking about Jackson.
Christina Kann 35:05
Grace Ball 35:05
Christina Kann 35:06
Grace and I don't have trans experience.
Charlie Mack 35:08
I know you don't. I just relate to some of this stuff in here, where he's like, "Oh yeah, I came up with the whole Jack name because of this Mary Sue character that I made up," and I'm just like, "Bro, bro, why are you stealing my experience?" That's kind of where Charlie came from.
Christina Kann 35:33
I love that.
Charlie Mack 35:35
I had a Mary Sue self insert character that I made of myself, and at some point I was like, "Yeah, I guess this character could change gender, I guess that'd be a cool thing I could do." This is before I realized -- this is before I knew nonbinary was a thing, actually. And then I was like, "I guess the masculine version would be Charlie, I guess? I'll go with that." And then that just like, became my name.
Christina Kann 36:05
I think Charlie and Jackson are both excellent names in that they're so mild, you know? They're so classic. They're very pleasant names, both of them.
Charlie Mack 36:17
At least it's not the trope of nonbinary people being named after objects, which I love. But at least, you know, it's just Jackson Bird.
Grace Ball 36:30
It's a very nice, strong name.
Christina Kann 36:36
And that whole naming worry is is like one of those things that I just am so grateful that he wrote this so frankly. I really appreciate the gift of getting to look a little bit into that experience. Because names are so important, and how stressful to have to do it for yourself!
Grace Ball 37:02
I know. One thing I thought was very cool about Jackson's approach to the naming thing is how involved he wanted his mom to be. I thought that was so nice.
Christina Kann 37:19
"This is a lot of parents' jobs, and so I want you to be on the board."
Charlie Mack 37:27
Yeah, I didn't necessarily ask my mom for anything. My middle name is Ryan, and that's what I would have been named if I had been born a boy. I liked that, but I didn't want it to be my first name. I was like, "It's gender neutral enough. Let's go with that for my middle name."
Christina Kann 37:54
My mom asked me for the first time in my life like two days ago if I like my name.
Christina Kann 37:58
Christina Kann 37:59
I was like, "Mom, the word 'Christ' is more than half of my name. I don't like love it but it's definitely my name."
Charlie Mack 38:10
Grace Ball 38:11
Was that just out of nowhere?
Christina Kann 38:14
I feel like it was only medium out of nowhere, not completely out of nowhere. I'm trying to remember. We were sitting in her apartments' leasing office and for some reason it just came up.
Charlie Mack 38:25
Do you want us to call you Christ-tina now?
Christina Kann 38:29
Hard no. But that's probably why I've been introducing myself more and more as Tina lately.
Grace Ball 38:34
Just ditch the rest. Fair enough.
Christina Kann 38:37
Grace, do you like your name? You also have a weirdly Christian name.
Grace Ball 38:40
Yeah, um, I don't know. It's fine.
Christina Kann 38:45
I'm actually gonna talk about your name right now. The funny thing about having a friend named Grace is... My grandma lives in a Catholic retirement home, so I see a lot of like language about grace, prayers for grace or like, whatever they do there. And we've also encountered a lot of grace books, like religious books.
Grace Ball 39:12
Christina Kann 39:13
I swear to god I've encountered a book -- correct me if I'm wrong, but I swear to god this happened -- called Thirsting for Grace.
Grace Ball 39:19
Christina Kann 39:23
Is it Jesus or is it smut?
Grace Ball 39:28
I can't tell!
Charlie Mack 39:33
I love that. That's just great.
Grace Ball 39:35
Yeah, that's real. That's a little too real. Yeah, so my name is pretty versatile, you could say.
Charlie Mack 39:48
I've probably told you all about this, but my mom nicknamed me Chuckie Cheese now; that's what she calls me.
Grace Ball 39:57
Is that because you're cheesin' all the time?
Charlie Mack 40:00
Because I like Cheez-its like a lot, okay?
Christina Kann 40:06
Grace Ball 40:07
Christina Kann 40:09
I only took three notes for this. So I'm gonna read that. In Chapter Six, The Transmasculine Invisibility Cloak, Jackson talks a lot about how god awful the queer and especially trans representation was in childhood in Texas -- in middle of nowhere, Texas, I assume; everywhere in Texas is the middle of nowhere. It's just something I suspect about Texas. He talks about how most of his queer exposure as a kid were really larger than life people. He specifically mentions David Bowie, Dr. Frank-N-further, and Eddie Izzard, who are three of the most theatrical people. So over the top.
Charlie Mack 40:56
Christina Kann 40:57
And this is also he talks briefly about TERFdom in this chapter, which we're not gonna talk about on this chapter, but it does get mentioned. It's a subject appropriate concept to introduce. This is my last note, and then I'll just start scrolling through our reading guide questions. But I also wrote down that he was taught that bisexuality was a myth as a kid and that bi people simply had to choose one, and I take so much offense to that.
Grace Ball 41:24
Yeah, in his AP bio class or something, right?
Christina Kann 41:30
Oh, my God, you're right about that. Yes.
Grace Ball 41:33
Insane. And then also that like, bi people are more susceptible to the flu?
Charlie Mack 41:40
I have questions.
Christina Kann 41:41
It's because they're making out with twice as many people.
Grace Ball 41:45
Oh my god.
Charlie Mack 41:50
A lot of things, when I learned them, I just have no memory of them. I blame the ADHD for why I just don't remember when I learned what bisexuality was or what transgender was, but I remember in high school having a similar experience to Jackson there. "Oh, yeah, I like guys, so I can't be gay. So I guess I'm straight." And that was it for like, a couple years. And then I was like, "Oh, I guess -- bisexual -- I can like both? Okay, sure." I don't remember how I happened upon the term or that I could like both, but eventually, I figured that out. And then all my friends were also like, "Yeah, I'm also bi."
Christina Kann 42:41
It's pretty easy to be bi. Let me tell ya.
Charlie Mack 42:44
I went to Catholic school, too. At a fucking Catholic school, all the queers hung out. We all hung out by the chapel waiting for our rides at the end of the day.
Grace Ball 42:54
You found each other.
Christina Kann 42:55
Yeah, and let me tell you: if bisexual people could choose one, I think a lot of the time it would just be women, right?
Grace Ball 43:05
I mean, that would make sense.
Charlie Mack 43:08
I think that's the correct choice? I could be wrong.
Grace Ball 43:10
I'm pretty sure.
Christina Kann 43:14
I told my mom I was bisexual when I was 15 because I was mad at her and I was trying to upset her and it was a straight up lie. When I said it, it was just a straight-up lie. I was like, "How can I make her as upset as possible right now?" And joke's on me! Oh my God, it was true.
Charlie Mack 43:29
Joke's on you.
Christina Kann 43:36
The book comes with reading guide questions in the back of it, and it's definitely geared toward a classroom, and it's adorable. "Before the beginning of the book, lead a general discussion about gender." I love it. I really hope that there are a lot of teachers out there teaching this book.
Grace Ball 43:54
Me too. I was wondering about that.
Christina Kann 43:56
I think it'd be appropriate in a high school English class, you know?
Grace Ball 44:00
Yeah, I even think in a college gender study class, this book has a place.
Christina Kann 44:08
Yeah, for sure. Okay, so we have actually had a lot of conversations about gender because I'm close friends with Grace and Charlie. So I'm just gonna scroll to the next question.
Charlie Mack 44:15
Gender is fake.
Christina Kann 44:16
This one's good because it talks about sorting. "In the introduction to Sorted, the author writes 'Growing up as someone who felt different but didn't have the words to describe or understand that difference, I was drawn to labels that could define me in other ways.' What does it mean to be given or to take on a label? How is labeling a form of sorting? Are these labels helpful or important, or as the author writes, 'oppressive and limiting'?"
Christina Kann 44:17
I mean, I feel like they can be both.
Christina Kann 44:25
Yeah, why not both?
Christina Kann 44:26
Why not both?
Charlie Mack 44:28
It's like the whole trope of like, you know, like, middle grade young adult books where it's like, you got the divergents, the Hogwarts, the Percy Jackson. You got the whole "This is your thing," "You're this kind of person."
Christina Kann 45:14
This is our house, where we are nice and dumb!
Charlie Mack 45:17
You have this personality trait, and that's your thing.
Christina Kann 45:22
That's literally the plot of Divergent, and she's like, "What if I could have three personality traits?" She's so cool because of that.
Charlie Mack 45:31
Guess what? Everyone's fucking divergent!
Grace Ball 45:35
Christina Kann 45:38
That premise of dystopian fiction is dumb, and that's why that trend ended. It trended and then it ended.
Charlie Mack 45:49
Labels are helpful in certain contexts. In certain contexts, they are oppressive and limiting. But if you're just trying to say in 10 words or less who you are as a person, labels can be helpful.
Christina Kann 46:07
Like my Instagram bio is like "Hufflepuff, hiker, she/her/hers."
Charlie Mack 46:12
If you're trying to write a bio, labels are like actually helpful.
Christina Kann 46:18
Yeah, you're right about that. That's an interesting perspective. Kind of a lot of my friends are turning 30 and being like, "Well, it's probably about time I get that ADHD diagnosis." And I think labels like that can be helpful because it's like, "Okay, let's try like treatment. And then maybe try some meds." You can only do that with this label.
Charlie Mack 46:39
Bro, I got diagnosed at, like, age six.
Christina Kann 46:44
Good for you! I'm really happy for you.
Grace Ball 46:45
Yeah, that's really good.
Christina Kann 46:47
Yeah. And then sometimes I'm like, "Do I have an anxiety disorder or just regular anxiety?" And in the end, does that matter? Because it's not gonna change anything.
Grace Ball 46:57
Yeah, I still feel the way I feel.
Christina Kann 47:01
I went to like, five therapy sessions to be like, "I think I have anxiety disorder." And she was like, "No, just regular. That's just regular life anxiety." And I was like, "Cool. Okay, glad to know we're all like this."
Grace Ball 47:13
Oh, my gosh. Wow.
Christina Kann 47:18
Obviously, this is a Harry Potter podcast, so this doesn't happen a lot. But every once in a while, I ask a guest, "What is your Hogwarts house?" And they say, "I don't fucking know," or, "I don't care." And that's really valid. I think most recently it was Zac from Belated Binge, where he was like, "I'm a Ravenclaw," let's say, and I was like, "Oh, do you feel like a Ravenclaw?" And he was like, "I don't fucking care." Wow, that's really a valid answer to that. Back in fucking 2020 we had a guest named Claire Haley, who I asked what Hogwarts house they were, and they like invented a new one. It was called Grumblepaw or something.
Grace Ball 48:01
I know naps were involved.
Christina Kann 48:03
Yeah, naps were involved for sure.
Charlie Mack 48:07
Have I ever told y'all that at one point I identified as a Slytherdor because I really wanted to be edgy?
Grace Ball 48:15
Wow. The edgiest combo.
Charlie Mack 48:21
Am I at all a Slytherin?
Christina Kann 48:24
Does it matter? Ugh, labels, am I right? I recently posted -- maybe like two years ago recently -- on my Facebook. I was like, "Wait, guys, am I a Gryffindor?" A lot of people -- not a lot, but definitely some people -- were like, "Oh, it's just whatever you feel in your heart." And definitely my one friend was like, "Who cares? It doesn't matter."
Charlie Mack 48:46
You present yourself as a Gryffindor, but you're not.
Christina Kann 48:49
I'm a Hufflepuff and a Gryffindor rising.
Charlie Mack 48:52
Grace Ball 48:53
Yeah. I thought Jackson's point about labels was a good one. I think he said something like, Labels are meant to help our language be more representative and more... What was the actual word? Accurate. They're not intended to make things more confusing.
Christina Kann 49:16
Grace Ball 49:18
I feel like if people can find comfort in a label that they identify with, I think that's great.
Christina Kann 49:26
Yeah, and that's what it comes down to: the self-sorting aspect of labels. With a couple exclusions, you shouldn't have anyone impose a label on you. Maybe okay, like "felon," that's one that somebody else imposes on you.
Grace Ball 49:58
We'll allow that one.
Christina Kann 49:59
But with identity questions, it doesn't matter what you think at all. Just ask people what they are and believe them when they tell you.
Grace Ball 50:09
Yeah, like, it just does not have to be more complicated than that.
Charlie Mack 50:14
My mom and I have the conversation about labels quite often. When I'm like, "Oh, yeah, this person identifies this way," she's like, "Why are there so many labels? Can't y'all just exist?" And I'm like, "Bro, it's how you can explain yourself to people." Once you know what all the words mean, it's a lot easier.
Christina Kann 50:38
Exactly, exactly. You have to like rewire your brain to incorporate this as part of the many million things that you know how to do.
Charlie Mack 50:46
It's just adding a new word to your dictionary. That's all it is. Just add that word. And you're like, "Cool, I got it."
Christina Kann 50:53
And I think a lot of people probably are afraid of failing, afraid of like getting it wrong. You just have to always be trying, you know, and then messing up doesn't matter as much.
Charlie Mack 51:10
I can understand that. When you're in the middle of questioning yourself, you're just like, "I don't want to identify in one way or the other, because what if I'm incorrect and then I changed my mind?"
Christina Kann 51:21
There's a lot of that in this book.
Charlie Mack 51:24
People do that! It happens all the time. It's scary to change your label. Hey, guess what? I changed my name. That was fucking terrifying. So yeah. Imagine if I had been wrong and been like, "Nah, I'm gonna change it again." There are people who do that.
Christina Kann 51:45
Okay, here's a good discussion question. Thanks for letting me just read the questions at the back of this book. You know, it's my summer vacation. I'm not doing a ton of extra work. I read a book for this.
Charlie Mack 51:58
This is your summer reading.
Christina Kann 52:03
Oh, and it's not too late to get this book and read it for Pride Month or just for any whole month. I'll link to it in the show notes.
Grace Ball 52:11
Christina Kann 52:12
Okay. So I'll paraphrase: When Jackson talks about his decision to "give being a proper girl a shot," how did family and societal pressures and shame and the desire to be perceived as normal contribute to the author's prepubescent phase of presenting as a girl? So I think, more broadly, where does this gender pressure come from? Like, what are we doing to our children?
Charlie Mack 52:42
Like -- God...
Christina Kann 52:45
Part of it is probably God's fault. You're right about that.
Charlie Mack 52:47
I mean, there was a lot about church. "Oh, you got to wear this stuff to church." I don't know if I necessarily said those same things, but I can so relate to what Jackson said as a small child.
Christina Kann 53:04
This book made Charlie feel seen.
Charlie Mack 53:05
It does, it really does. And I'm not even a trans guy, but I very much understand it. I think it's just being an AFAB person. I get it. I get it so hard.
Christina Kann 53:18
Like we mentioned, almost all of this book is Jackson, pre-transition, you know? Pre coming out. So it's mostly just like the feeling that the female assignment is like, not working out, you know what I mean?
Charlie Mack 53:35
I definitely want to hear somebody who's trans femme reading this and seeing how they felt about it, or if they got anything at all out of it. Because I would assume similar things, but also way different, because it's a different set of societal norms they're going with, but it's also still the same. Like, "I feel weird about things. I don't know what I am." You know?
Grace Ball 54:12
And I think Jackson talked kind of a lot about the fact that he did have a lot of internalized transphobia just as a product of where he grew up.
Christina Kann 54:27
I can't imagine this kind of culture. You know, we live in the south, but it's not like that here. I wonder if things would have been different for him just growing up in or near a city.
Charlie Mack 54:45
I definitely didn't feel it as strongly as he did with some of those things going on. I was still definitely allowed to like wear pants or a blazer or something to an event.
Christina Kann 55:01
Blazers are so sharp on everyone.
Charlie Mack 55:04
There were times when I had feminine suits kind of going on. Have I told you all how at my middle school graduation, I showed up wearing a dress with Converse? That was like my thing. I did that.
Christina Kann 55:26
That's what fucking Bella Swan wears to prom at the end of Twilight.
Charlie Mack 55:31
Yeah, it is. It was. It was also right near the Twilight phase too. I don't think it was inspired by her. I think it was more inspired by the Demi Lovato song. "I can still wear converse with my dress." That's a line in that song.
Christina Kann 55:54
Sometimes I'm just like, "Oh, yeah, I'm a couple years older than them, and like, I can feel it." You know?
Grace Ball 55:59
Christina Kann 56:00
Demi Lovato is just a little behind my time.
Charlie Mack 56:03
I'm gonna cry a little, it's fine.
Christina Kann 56:05
I feel like that's what Jackson wore to all of these terrible dances that he kept going to. That was the motif of this story, that he like kept coming back to this one dance. Does anyone remember what it was called? It was named after somebody.
Charlie Mack 56:21
Were you talking about the Harry Potter LeakyCon dance? I went to that, in fact, because I went to LeakyCon. That's the dance in LeakyCon. I met a couple Harry Potter nerds at it.
Christina Kann 56:38
Charlie Mack 56:39
--Who were younger than me, making friends. Some people dress up, some people don't. I just wore like jeans and a sweatshirt because I was a dumbass. And I was like dying.
Christina Kann 56:55
I respect that phrasing.
Charlie Mack 56:57
I wore like a binder, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt, and I was dying.
Grace Ball 57:02
Christina Kann 57:04
You needed a blazer in that moment.
Charlie Mack 57:07
I don't think I had anything that was dressy, per se, for the occasion. I didn't feel the same pressure that he did for certain events to dress up in dresses. I feel like that ended pretty early on for me, like maybe around middle school. I stopped caring about dresses. It was like, "I'm just gonna wear nice pants and a blouse." I hated the flats. The shoes? The shoes? God, I hate dress shoes. I don't know how y'all feel about things.
Christina Kann 57:48
Grace? This bitch can rock a heel.
Grace Ball 57:52
I love to rock a heel, I gotta say.
Christina Kann 57:53
Grace can wear heels like it's no big deal for so long. It's incredibly impressive.
Grace Ball 58:00
I'm dying inside.
Charlie Mack 58:02
The only heels I've worn are boots.
Christina Kann 58:05
Boot heels is the secret.
Grace Ball 58:07
I do like those.
Christina Kann 58:09
That's when they're not that bad. I'm a tall person, and I weigh a lot. So I've learned to wear a chunky heel. Gotta keep my truck, the base of the trunk of my tree, sturdy. Big old chunky heel.
Christina Kann 58:26
I just flipped open to the page where Jackson was doing an exchange or whatever, and he's questioning his gender, and he asked his roommate, "'Hey, have you heard of--' I squinted back down at the webpage I was reading from. 'GLBT?' She stared at me, probably trying to decide how to patiently respond to my utter lack of knowledge. 'Yes, but I usually call it LGBT.'" And I love that so much. I love that she was like, "Are you fucking kidding me?" And then was like, "Respond respectfully."
Charlie Mack 59:04
Have you not heard of Gay Lettuce Bacon Tomato?
Christina Kann 59:13
Man, question five asks about bras.
Charlie Mack 59:18
Yeah, those are a thing.
Christina Kann 59:22
Wow, we should maybe have like a proper bra wearer on this, because I wear training bras.
Grace Ball 59:30
I certainly don't need anything very serious.
Christina Kann 59:34
There are some people in our friend group who, let's just say, need a bra for like health purposes.
Charlie Mack 59:43
Yeah, bras are a thing that exists.
Christina Kann 59:47
"How did wearing a bra make Jackson feel marked as one of the girls?" There's that bit where they're hanging with a bunch of friends and one of the dudes is like, looking at him, you know, like checking him out?
Charlie Mack 1:00:06
The tank top.
Christina Kann 1:00:10
Fuck that feeling, for starters. "Great, we were friends, and now I'm just a sexual object to you."
Charlie Mack 1:00:18
I don't know if I just don't notice these things, but I just don't notice when people check me out. Maybe that's just like me not wanting to notice, or me just being oblivious.
Christina Kann 1:00:28
I just make a lot of noise, so people are always looking at me, and I'm like, "Look at all these people checking me out!"
Charlie Mack 1:00:38
At some point in my life, I was like, "Yeah, I want to have okay boobs." And now I'm just like, "Nope."
Christina Kann 1:00:59
I have heard that they're a lot to deal with. "On page 50, Jackson says, 'I want to believe that kids are born without judgment and that gender variance seems natural to them, but I suppose the prejudice of the world can seep in at a very early age.' What are examples of prejudices and attitudes that seep into children as they develop?" I feel like I actually already asked this question, but it's worded differently here.
Charlie Mack 1:01:26
Oh, just because this question is reminding me of a situation. I used to work at the movie theater, and I got a couple of different kids who asked me, "Are you a boy or girl?" And I just responded, "Does it matter?"
Christina Kann 1:01:44
Both? Both. Why not both?
Charlie Mack 1:01:47
I don't know if they heard me or if their parents heard me, but they left.
Christina Kann 1:01:54
Charlie Mack 1:01:57
Just was ignored. My answer was ignored.
Christina Kann 1:02:01
It doesn't fucking matter. It doesn't. And that's the truth of it. Grace and I run into this sometimes when we're editing books: a lot of the times authors are like, "In this car there's a driver, and then in the next car, it's a female driver." All the time.
Christina Kann 1:02:20
It happens literally all the time. It's never like, "And behind that one, a male driver." No, especially if you're doing something masc coded. "There was two fishermans and then a lady fisher." Obviously, that's not working for anyone. They'll always tell you if they're in books! "Five guards ran in; two of them were women." You know what you call a female guard?
Grace Ball 1:02:20
Christina Kann 1:02:53
You call her a guard.
Christina Kann 1:02:54
You call them a guard! The fact that she's female in this moment where the king is being held at swordpoint does not matter.
Grace Ball 1:03:02
Could not matter less.
Christina Kann 1:03:06
If you just use the right pronouns, like them, like fine, you're fine.
Grace Ball 1:03:10
It doesn't have to be explicitly pointed out. I don't understand. It does happen so consistently. What is that about? Why is that the instinct?
Charlie Mack 1:03:24
Gender, man. Why?
Christina Kann 1:03:29
This is why it can be harmful to only assign classic books to kids, because of the way they use language. If you talk about more contemporary books with your students or your kids or whatever, then you're exposing them to our more up-to-date and inclusive and understanding way of using language as a whole, you know? Back in like Agatha Christie books, you better believe if one of the guards is female, we need to talk about that.
Grace Ball 1:04:03
Yeah, that's true.
Christina Kann 1:04:05
Let's talk about how Jackson came out like so slowly over the second half of the book.
Grace Ball 1:04:13
Christina Kann 1:04:14
I feel like so much of it is him, first of all, trying to figure it out himself, trying to come out to himself. I was thinking about how we talk about how Ron Weasley is always the last one to know what he's going through. And I kind of felt that same energy with Jackson, at least from this perspective, where we know he's trans all along. So much of it, I was like, "Just try it! Like, just try it out. I think you'd really like it."
Charlie Mack 1:04:44
Try it. You'll like it.
Grace Ball 1:04:49
Yeah, I thought that Jackson's situation was obviously unique in that he had this YouTube platform. I think that made the coming out process a little more complicated, because it's not like he had a choice. He already had this following, and it's not like he could just transition without any explanation.
Christina Kann 1:05:29
He had to collaborate with a social media planner to make it right.
Grace Ball 1:05:36
Which is, like, really interesting. But I also think that it was very cool, because I think that, that probably helped a lot of people, the fact that they were able to watch his video, and see that. So I think it was good. But I can't imagine how difficult that was, though.
Christina Kann 1:05:59
Yeah. He made a spreadsheet with who he was coming out to when.
Grace Ball 1:06:07
And didn't he also have like a packet that he distributed?
Christina Kann 1:06:12
Wait, I respect it.
Grace Ball 1:06:13
I respect that too. I'm sure you're answering so many of the same baseline questions with every person you talk to,
Christina Kann 1:06:23
Grace, that's why I'm writing this book about publishing right now, so we can just stop repeating ourselves. I'm gonna write it down one time really good, and you guys are gonna stop asking me!
Grace Ball 1:06:32
It's gonna I save us so much time.
Christina Kann 1:06:36
So I respect the hell out of a packet. This is your intake paperwork.
Charlie Mack 1:06:41
I wish I'd had stuff like that. I'm jealous of the spreadsheet, especially. "I gotta tell these people before I put it on social media and shit."
Grace Ball 1:06:56
I'm an overthinker, too, and Jackson is admittedly an overthinker.
Christina Kann 1:07:00
Grace Ball 1:07:04
He really thought a lot about the ripple effect of coming out and how it was gonna affect the people that he went to high school with, and the people that he interacted with: family members, friends, whatever, whatever. And so, the fact that he went about it so methodically, that is that is the strategy that I can relate to so much to get through something like that, to have like a system. I thought that was like so relatable.
Christina Kann 1:07:39
Honestly, this is just a great example of a creator taking their platform really responsibly too. He really thought about, like you mentioned, how it affects everyone, his big network and his following online. He was like, "Here's some resources," and it's just nice. I love seeing responsible use of platform.
Grace Ball 1:08:02
Me too. I love to see it.
Charlie Mack 1:08:06
Just like the way that he thought about all these little things, how it would affect his family and all of these little dynamics -- I thought about that a little bit, and then I was just like, "Yeah, I don't really care enough. Honestly, I just want to exist as me at this point." I just like stopped caring about that.
Grace Ball 1:08:30
I think that's good, though. Because you simply cannot go around caring that much all the time.
Charlie Mack 1:08:39
I cared when I was telling I think my parents and a little bit with my grandparents, and then I just like slowly cared less less about what people thought.
Christina Kann 1:08:55
Everything that you care about, you will eventually slowly care less.
Charlie Mack 1:09:01
This doesn't aeffect shit, but also the fact that y'all are just gonna keep deadnaming slashed dead-- I was about to say "deadpronouning." That's not a thing.
Christina Kann 1:09:14
Wait, I feel like it should be.
Charlie Mack 1:09:15
It should be.
Christina Kann 1:09:17
Oh, it's misgendering.
Charlie Mack 1:09:23
I failed at being transgender this one time.
Christina Kann 1:09:25
I think it's funny that Jackson talked about how his one coming out fuckup was just sending a very casual email to his brother. And his brother was like, "I'm flying down there." But even that was still pleasant, because it was like, "Yeah, we bonded. I explained it, and he felt better."
Grace Ball 1:09:45
Didn't his brother like, wildly misinterpret?
Charlie Mack 1:09:49
It was weird how his brother misinterpreted it.
Christina Kann 1:09:53
I think he was just like, "Whoa, you need to explain yourself."
Charlie Mack 1:09:58
Because he was like, "Why can't you just express yourself like these other people? Why do you have to go all out and change everything?"
Grace Ball 1:10:06
Yeah, he just kind of misunderstood the whole thing. Yeah, but it sounded like that ended up being a really good experience in the end.
Christina Kann 1:10:17
I feel like Jackson was just like, "Trust me when I say that =I've really thought about this, and I'm very sure about this, and I just need your support."
Charlie Mack 1:10:29
I like that his family was all good about things. I liked that.
Christina Kann 1:10:35
Pretty much. And how about those friends who helped him get his first short haircut?
Grace Ball 1:10:42
I think that was my favorite part of the book. We haven't talked about our favorite parts, but I love that. Laurie and Matt, or Lauren and Matt or something? They were so nice.
Charlie Mack 1:10:52
Lauren is also a Harry Potter creator who I saw at LeakyCon. Lauren Fairweather. She does YouTube videos.
Christina Kann 1:10:53
I'm going to be linking a bunch of stuff in the blog post that I'm gonna put in the show notes for this episode, including that creator and anything we've talked about today, any of the resources we've used. And I also want to include a couple of resources. We were talking about the packet that Jackson came out with and stuff like that, and I know there's resources like that online, so I'll link some of those.
Charlie Mack 1:11:33
There are also several links in his book, where he's just like, "Hey, if you want more information on this, here's where I got stuff. Look up this." The fact that he cites sources in the fucking book.
Christina Kann 1:11:43
I respect it.
Charlie Mack 1:11:44
Christina Kann 1:11:46
He must be Ravenclaw, right?
Charlie Mack 1:11:47
He's a Gryffindor.
Grace Ball 1:11:51
Charlie Mack 1:11:52
He was like, "Oh, I'm a Ravenclaw" when he was a kid, and then he was like, "Nah, apparently, I'm a Gryffindor."
Christina Kann 1:11:58
Everyone thinks they're a Ravenclaw, I feel like, at the beginning.
Charlie Mack 1:12:00
I've never, never thought I was a Ravenclaw.
Christina Kann 1:12:04
Well, that's because you don't have enough self confidence. When I was in high school, I was like, "I'm the smartest person here and I'm definitely a Ravenclaw," and even had a shirt. But I'm not a Ravenclaw.
Grace Ball 1:12:18
There's some Ravenclaw there.
Charlie Mack 1:12:20
See, I'm the person who will "um actually" you, but I also don't have the self confidence to be like, "I know better." What were we talking about before?
Christina Kann 1:12:35
I found the name of it! It's the Esther Earl Charity Ball.
Charlie Mack 1:12:39
Christina Kann 1:12:42
That's what we were talking about probably 20 minutes ago.
Charlie Mack 1:12:44
Yeah. Oh, about the hair cut. I love that. I also went through a hair journey. I'm just gonna keep bringing up my stuff.
Grace Ball 1:12:56
Do it do it do it.
Christina Kann 1:12:56
Bring up all your stuff.
Charlie Mack 1:12:58
This is this is actually the Charlie's Trans Experience episode, if you didn't realize.
Christina Kann 1:13:02
Sorted: Charlie's Trans Experience.
Charlie Mack 1:13:06
So I used to have my hair all the way down to like my butt crack.
Grace Ball 1:13:10
Charlie Mack 1:13:10
It was like, long shit. You see how short it is now?
Christina Kann 1:13:18
I could have done such a good braid on it.
Charlie Mack 1:13:20
I've never known how to braid. My mom didn't know how to braid. I don't know how to braid. It was not well taken care of. I didn't know what to do with it.
Grace Ball 1:13:30
When did you chop it?
Charlie Mack 1:13:31
In middle school I started doing Locks of Love, where I would cut it down to my shoulders, and then it would make some wigs, and then I would grow it back out again. And I did that a couple times over. And then in college, I started experimenting with different haircuts because I was like, "I want to try something out different." I got a little bit shorter, a little bit more layered. And then it slowly just kept getting shorter and shorter as I started to figure out gender things. I did not think I would ever get to be this short. When I first got this haircut, it was almost down to the skin.
Christina Kann 1:14:15
It's a high and tight. Is that what they're called? Did I make that up? Is that real?
Charlie Mack 1:14:24
I don't know. It's a fade. That's what I got. It's a fade.
Christina Kann 1:14:28
It looks great. I love it a lot. It has a lot of character.
Charlie Mack 1:14:31
So do I.
Grace Ball 1:14:34
I did think it was interesting, Jackson's experience getting the haircut. Obviously he traveled to go to someone who would actually do what he wanted because all these hairdressers are like, "You don't really want that."
Charlie Mack 1:14:51
Christina Kann 1:14:51
I love that so much.
Christina Kann 1:14:51
I love that he says, "If you have the choice between cunty Karen soccer mom or little boy, go for little boy."
Charlie Mack 1:14:55
That's just like really a thing with hairdressers. Y'all know how bad I am at talking to people. I'm a podcaster and I'm bad at talking to people. When I go to get my hair cut, I'm bad at being like, "No, I want it shorter."
Grace Ball 1:15:29
Christina Kann 1:15:31
God, even I'm bad at that. I'm bad at that. It's hard.
Grace Ball 1:15:34
It's one of the hardest ones.
Christina Kann 1:15:37
There's a Bob's Burgers bit about that, obviously.
Charlie Mack 1:15:41
My old coworker, who used to deliver pizzas with me, she's now a hairdresser, an actual official hairdresser. So I just say, "Hey, can you cut my hair?" And then I went over to her house at nine o'clock at night and she cut my hair.
Grace Ball 1:15:59
Awesome. That's really awesome.
Charlie Mack 1:16:01
Yeah. And then I can actually talk to someone about what I want.
Christina Kann 1:16:06
It's very important. I just cut my own bangs, so we figure it out together.
Grace Ball 1:16:11
You and your bangs?
Christina Kann 1:16:13
Yeah. So it's about time to wrap it on up. Before we go, I was wondering who was your favorite person in this book? Your favorite non-Jackson person?
Grace Ball 1:16:24
Oh, great question.
Charlie Mack 1:16:26
I need like a list of characters.
Grace Ball 1:16:29
Really good question. I'm gonna keep complimenting the question.
Christina Kann 1:16:34
There weren't a bunch of named extra characters. You get to know his family a little bit. The book ends with him going to his high school reunion, and being scared, and then being like, "I'm not going to be scared anymore." And he talks about how he had like a little support group of friends, and they all went together.
Charlie Mack 1:16:58
So which one of those friends is your favorite?
Christina Kann 1:17:01
No, they're all my favorite!
Charlie Mack 1:17:02
That doesn't count, Christina!
Christina Kann 1:17:04
He left his glasses in the car, and they walked back with him. They were like, "We're not leaving your side. We got you on this." And I just love all of them.
Charlie Mack 1:17:12
That's cheating your own question.
Christina Kann 1:17:14
The real answer to this question was the friends we made along the way?
Grace Ball 1:17:18
Charlie Mack 1:17:19
Maybe his roommate. I liked that she was supportive about things. She's just like, "No, I'm not gonna kick you out. I understand that you're like trans and all that. Like, it's cool. I'm gonna like help you figure some things out."
Christina Kann 1:17:34
How scary for Jackson that he even worried about that.
Grace Ball 1:17:38
I know. Yeah. I'll go with mom just because she was there from day one, and I felt like she had some missteps, but overall, I liked her.
Christina Kann 1:17:54
Yeah, she had a journey. The waistcoat thing does really tickle me.
Grace Ball 1:17:59
Christina Kann 1:18:00
I love the Jackson like came out to his mom -- they were Prosecco drunk together on the couch, and he kept trying to say it. I love it so much. It felt very like Gilmore Girls.
Grace Ball 1:18:15
Yeah, I see that.
Christina Kann 1:18:17
That's kind of the end of it. Do either of you have anything that you want to drive home or any any final thoughts about Sorted by Jackson Bird?
Grace Ball 1:18:26
I mean, I'm just gonna reiterate to listen to the audiobook. I think that it's really cool and special when authors narrate their own books. And I think this is a particularly good one to listen to. So if you haven't read it yet, or if you want to read it again in an audio form, do it!
Christina Kann 1:18:46
Hell yeah. Are we ready to move on to plugs?
Grace Ball 1:18:51
Christina Kann 1:18:53
I'm gonna make you do Pride Month plugs, so it's got to be some queer! Charlie, where can people listen to your dulcet tones?
Charlie Mack 1:19:02
Oh, well, thank you. As mentioned earlier, I have my podcast Of the Eldest Gods, which is Percy Jackson related shit. We're gonna be on Titan's Curse by the time this comes out. And then I also have my other podcast with my mom, Fandoms Gone Wrong, where we talk about media and things that we like. It's good shit. I'm @greenpixie12 most places, except for Twitter where I'm @greenpixie123. I have my drawing Instagram at @greenpixiedraws. And I have my YouTube as @charliemack.
Christina Kann 1:19:55
What's your Pride Month plug, baby?
Charlie Mack 1:19:59
I am technically not caught up yet, but I hopefully will be by the time this comes out. The Owl House had the season two finale recently. I might have looked up spoilers already. That's really good and that's pretty queer. It's got a fucking nonbinary character in it. And also the main character is bi, and her girlfriend is a lesbian. We got some good shit in there. You like magic shit? Wou like magical school shit, that also kind of blatantly makes fun of Harry Potter? Watch The Owl House. They have a sorting system, and they have a game that they play that's like Quidditch, but they make fun of the snitch. It's great.
Christina Kann 1:20:59
Thank you so much for that recommendation. Grace, where can people find you and/or maybe Wildling?
Grace Ball 1:21:07
Yes, whenever I plug anything, it's gonna be Wildling Press. Yeah, so follow Wildling Press @wildlingpress, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. LinkedIn?
Christina Kann 1:21:24
Grace Ball 1:21:27
Okay, sure. Anyway, connect with us. Come check us out. And I just want to note, if we ever have a book, like Sorted come across our desks, that will be the day. I would be so so happy.
Christina Kann 1:21:43
We would love to publish something like this.
Charlie Mack 1:21:45
I'll come out with my memoir next.
Grace Ball 1:21:51
Yeah! So if you're listening to this episode, obviously, you're interested in transgender memoirs. I have another one that I have read that I would like to recommend to you. It's by Janet Mock, and it's called Redefining Realness. It's been some time since I read it, but it was really informative for me, and I think it's a really good representation of a person of color's experience as a transgender woman. 'I definitely recommend it. So check it out.
Christina Kann 1:22:38
Awesome. Thank you. I'm your host, Christina. And you know where to find me; just click on my LinkTree thing. It's always in the show notes. I'm just gonna throw out some names of some of my favorite queer books I've read, I don't know, until I say too many books. Okay, I recently read The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Clune, which is very fun. That's like magic children in a little magic orphanage. And it's gay. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was very pleasant, very surprising. Scroll, scroll scroll. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao is a very cool sci-fi. I think a lot of people have plugged it on this podcast before. It's got some poly stuff. It's like a sci-fi Power Rangers Mulan situation. Right now I'm rereading Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, "a family tragiccomic." That one's a classic graphic novel; I pretty much recommend it to everyone. There's Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston, which is a very spicy little rom com. And then finally, I'm going to recommend Nimona by ND Stevenson. It's a another graphic novel. It's a cute little fantasy situation. It's hard to explain. Anyway, read all of those books and reach out if you want more queer lit recommendations for Pride Month because I got them.
Charlie Mack 1:24:11
We like that queer shit over here.
Christina Kann 1:24:14
I like that queer shit. I just read a lot, and I pretty much am not interested in books that don't have queer representation anymore.
Grace Ball 1:24:20
I think that's good.
Charlie Mack 1:24:21
Very valid. Love that.
Christina Kann 1:24:24
Yeah! Read new books, read new books by cool new authors. And that's the way the news goes. I don't know how to end episodes. Oh, wait! I forgot to say Charlie, thank you for coming on this episode. I appreciate you so much.
Charlie Mack 1:24:40
Thank you for letting me make you read a book.
Grace Ball 1:24:43
Yeah, thank you, Charlie, for bringing this book to us.
Christina Kann 1:24:47
Now you have to read Nimona, because that's the book I gave you.
Charlie Mack 1:24:50
I know. I know. We're gonna do a book club. You and me.
Christina Kann 1:24:54
And Grace, thank you for also reading a book for us.
Grace Ball 1:25:01
Man, I had so much fun.
Christina Kann 1:25:03
We always ask people to read books, but it's usually very slowly, one book over a whole year. So asking someone to read a book just for one day feels like a lot, so I appreciate you.
Grace Ball 1:25:12
Of course, any old time.
Christina Kann 1:25:13
And that's the way the news goes.