Season 1 - Episode 2: In Sacramento, the SWGL crew put their new listening skills to use with Konnor, a transgender man of color.  Passionate and charming, Konnor challenges Graham's thinking on race and gender identity.

For the full conversation, listen to the podcasts below:


Graham: Today we're going to talk to Konnor. He's a transgender man. Looking forward to hearing what he has to say. There's a lot of different subjects that he's lived through, and he has a whole life experience that's different than my own and most people. I'm hoping to make the conversations easier to have, to put the conversation at the forefront. Just going to be a straight white guy listening.

Graham: Hey Konnor.  

Konnor: Hey Graham.

Graham: What's up, man? Thanks for doing this. 

Konnor: No problem. Come on in.

Graham: So. When did you become Konnor. Or when did you start seeing Konnor as your identity.

Konnor: I became Konnor just before I think to I got to age 30 and 30 was like not quite a death toll but I didn't expect to be alive that long. I at some point I thought it would commit suicide or die of a heart attack or something. I didn't I wasn't planning on it but somehow. Here I am at 41 I'm still alive. So I hit 30 I was like I guess that's a milestone age to be so I said let me do something. Let me. I mean I'm sleeping on my life. 

Graham: What was growing up like for you?

Konnor: Clearly I think I learned early on that I was very different from other kids. I remember a very short period going through multiple identity crisis. Like I wanna be called by a different name and it was always a male name. It was never like I am I want to be Tabitha that there was always a masculine name and then I think once I got into like junior high high school I started learning more about my sexuality and how I tried to identify or at least try to, I guess, fit in. And then after high school I went into the military and after the military started once I got a more established understanding of myself from where I was coming from, I started transitioning.

Graham: So it seems like a pretty big decision to go into the military. Was there any reason that brought you to the military? College.

Konnor: I wanted to go to college. I wanted to educate myself. That's the only way I could pay for. And I went in the military like out. But I used the time when I when military was like 94 and it was witch hunt central for gays and lesbians. So I made up this fake girlfriend like so that no one would be bother. No one would be threatened or whatever but people always people always were they didn't matter.

Graham: Being a trans man you have a very, you're very masculine in a way and I'm kind of curious about if these are traits that you already had of you the way you carry yourself for this is because I mean you just have a very, like, very dude ish. Dude ish.

Konnor: Yeah I try not to be a douche bro. I really try hard not to. But yeah I mean I've. Well before I transitioned I was very I was very butch lesbian. Like a stud like and then. So it's kind of it my masculinity is you see it's very innate. It's always been there. I'm just expressing it in different shell. I've always been masculine as far as I can remember. I even when I lived as a lesbian it was still kind of knocking. The longer I didn't do anything about it I guess the longer I didn't listen the more I ignored it it just got to the point where I couldn't ignore it anymore. I hit 30 I was like a life or death. Now or never. I started transitioning 2008. When I started taking hormones it was frustrating that it didn't happen overnight but once it did happen it was like that quick. It took about a month or two three months of taking hormones every two weeks for anything actually change physically. I think I remember I was like looking at myself in the shower in the apartment I lived was a light in the shower so I can see the hair grow in but it was growing and blonde just treat myself like oh my god it's. Like this the chest hair is blonde. And then the next day it's black.

Graham: So I think some of the anxiety of the cis gender all that stuff is what do we say. How do we say it. And labels and that kind of thing. I mean is there a way to educate yourself or do you just like be ok like be educated or.

Konnor: That's the same as asking a black person how to interact with other black people or you just ask the person how do you how you feel. How do you identify as Graham would you like to be called you like because he they. Then I call you he.

Konnor: It's that freakin simple. You ask somebody. Yeah. Then just ask the general Oracle to give me all the ways of how to treat trans people or how to treat them. It's very different.

Graham: So it sounds like you're saying like all these are the personal preferences of the people and just engage each person as such.

Konnor:  Respectfully. Treat people like human beings.

Graham: The other side of that someone that is thinking about coming out or transitioning someone that's in a hard place right now can you impart any wisdom?

Konnor: No one is going to live your life but you, in my experience so if you don't do it now. You're never gonna do it. Because you're going to find any excuse possible in the book to not do it. Life is short so you only have so much time. I could die tomorrow. I mean if I die today I'm confident. Yeah I'm pretty good. But if you ask me this like 10 plus years ago it wouldn't be the same way so I do. I made steps in my life to make sure I don't put myself in that place again. Again because rather than wanting to die opposite of wanting to die is wanting to live. So you found out like how you want to live. Sounds like. Even if I died today I'm living the best possible me I can be right now.

Graham: So what does the future look like for Konnor?

Konnor: I mean I don't know. I'm getting real little sketchy about the gray hairs I'm getting now I'm like. And I just try to shave off real quick so I don't see them again. So I don't know. You know hopefully I'll still be married to my wife and we'll both be living happy and fat and making enough money to afford a house. Doing the things I want to do. I want to make sure she's happy. And then I get to make sure I take care of her. Five 10 years from now. I'm still going to be Konnor. I may be a little fatter. Maybe maybe a little grayer. Maybe a lot more balder I'm still going to be me though.

This interview was transcribed using a third-party service. Please excuse any errors.