Grounded Futures Show

1. Sweetness in the Everyday - Kian Cham

The Grounded Futures hosts are in conversation with community organizer Kian Cham. Youth hosts Liam Joy and Joey ask Kian about finding ways to thrive as a trans youth and adult under capitalism. Kian talks about turning to street culture and martial arts as a teen, the role of mentorship in his journey, and what it means to be an anticapitalist working towards a decolonial future. He also shares how he has been finding those moments of sweetness in the everyday during the COVID-19 pandemic, and why this time of huge collective uprising gives him hope.

Bio

Kian is a queer and trans community organizer of Chinese and Irish ancestry working toward connecting urban and rural culture through arts and nature. Kian is a martial artist, and a dreamer. He loves connecting martial arts principles to grow politically, personally and spiritually. He is particularly interested in learning-by-doing and intergenerational connections.

About the Grounded Futures Show:

Our team work alongside youth to co-produce episodes on topics ranging from climate change to identity to how youth can gain new skills to engage meaningfully with current world events. The show will take a deep dive on these issues, and be in conversations with incredible guests! The hosts are Liam Joy, Joey, Jamie-Leigh Gonzales, and carla bergman.

More episodes

Episode Transcript

[Music]

Liam  
Welcome to the Grounded Futures podcast.

Joey  
This is a show where adults and youth co produce episodes on topics ranging from climate change to identity… 

Liam  
…to how youth can gain skills to thrive amid current and ongoing disasters that we are collectively facing.

Jamie-Leigh  
We are your hosts, Jamie-Leigh 

Joey  
Joey,

carla  
carla, 

Liam  
and Liam 

Jamie-Leigh  
Grounded Futures is produced on Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh lands, but our guests are from all around the world. Today we’re talking with Kian Cham. Kian is a queer and trans community organizer of Chinese and Irish ancestry working toward connecting urban and rural culture through arts and nature. Kian is a martial artist and a dreamer. He loves connecting martial arts principles to growing politically, personally and spiritually. He’s particularly interested in learning by doing and intergenerational connections. Thank you for joining us today, Kian.

Kian  
Thanks for having me, everyone. I’m excited. 

carla  
Hi Kian!

Kian  
Can I just acknowledge the territories that I’m on? 

carla  
Please! 

Jamie-Leigh  
Yeah, please do. 

Kian  
Sure. I’m just sitting in my home, or my parents’ home with my dog on Kwikwetlem, Qayqayt, Kwantlen, and Katzie territories, also known as Surrey, BC. 

carla  
Welcome! So I’m just gonna, this is carla, and Kian, it’s so exciting to have you on the show. For our listeners, I wanted to share that I’ve known Kian for I think eight years and a big part of our community and friends and family. And a former project that I launched in 2015, with Corin Browne, called EMMA Talks, Kian launched that with us. And it just feels really special that you’re kind of launching Grounded Futures with us. So thank you so much for being here. 

Kian  
Thanks for always including me in these amazing projects. I always, I don’t know, I’m nervous right now. Just want to say but um, yeah, I’m really excited to be part of this. And when I read what the project was about, I was like, this is impeccable timing for me personally. So I’m excited to connect with specifically Joey and Liam. Yeah, I’m excited to have this conversation.

carla  
So for transparency, like we like to do on the show, as we said in our intro, this is about intergenerational youth and adults, busting some age binaries and barriers. And we’d like to be public about our process. So this show, Joey and Liam have asked to really lead it and anchor it by asking the questions. And I’ve asked Jamie and I to be here, just to bolster them, support them if something comes up. Part of our aim on this project is to share this process with our listeners and with people so that they know. They don’t think that something weird behind the scene is going on. This is all, yeah, we’re following Liam and Joey’s lead and learning while doing, as Kian said, this is what we’re doing. We’re learning while doing, learning from each other, mentorship going both ways, figuring it out as we go, encouraging mistakes, and finding some thriving in the everyday. So with that, I’m gonna, I think it’s over to Joey.

Joey  
Yeah. All right. So jumping right in. Could you share with us and our listeners about your teen years and what do you do to survive and maybe even find moments to thrive?

Kian  
Oh, that’s a very good question. It’s also very funny because like I said, I’m at my parents house. So I’ve been kind of like, just like walking around being like, this is a lot like when I was a teenager, but then also completely different. So yeah, when I was a teenager, actually, I was talking my dad a little bit and he was like, you were kind of unhappy. He said that about me as a teen. And then he was kind of like, well, you guys are all kind of unhappy. We must have been bad parents, actually. And I was like, no, that’s literally not what it was. But yeah, I would say that when I was a teen, well, I was a closeted trans kid. I, at 12, realized that I wasn’t gonna have the puberty that I wanted. And I had started facing like, kind of a lot of I started getting into altercations with boys specifically, that would run into, that I didn’t know, who just like saw that I looked different and didn’t look right. And I realized that if I didn’t learn how to be a girl, then I would be, like ostracized and probably like beat up a lot. So my teen years was like me trying to learn how to be a girl, which made me really unhappy. And so I turned, I also was a martial artist at the time, and I think that helped me a lot. I competed, I got really into competition. So that helped me and then also, when that wasn’t kind of like helping anymore, I, unfortunately, or like, I don’t know, this was by my experience, but I definitely like turned to drugs and alcohol, which was like a different learning experience. And I don’t regret, but yeah, it would have been nice to have some, some, like older people that I could have found more guidance from. But yeah, is that a survival technique?

Liam  
I mean, coping?

Kian  
Coping. Yeah, but I think I was very lucky with the combination of having like really amazing coaches in karate. With yeah, just like also like I would say the major driver of getting into like that kind of like street culture world was like an outlet for me to rebel. Like, I was always told this is how you have to live life in high school, ask to go to the bathroom, walk down the halls, be at these places at these times, and basically skipping school and like learning like, yeah, like learning about the streets was my way of like, figuring out that there are worlds outside of that.

Liam  
Right? Yeah. Did you have any key mentors that supported you through those years?

Kian  
Yeah, for sure. I mean, I can think of, like I said, My karate coaches, Marshall, Dr. Marshall Cheng and Rassamee Ling. They were awesome. They, as a teenager, like I said, it was very competitive. And they, like with no extra charges or anything like that, they just they just supported my growth in martial arts. So like every weekend I would go over to their house and train with each of them in their basement for like an hour each. They were just incredibly supportive. They never asked questions. Obviously I was going through a hard time but they never judged me. And even now like I still am in contact with them, they’ve like completely welcomed me. They like never question my name change or like my. They’ve just been like super supportive of my journey. And another person is another martial artists that I grew up training with named Sota Yuyama. He, he was he’s about like, 10 years older than me. And he came to Canada from Japan as a teenager. He was kind of like his, his parents were teachers, but he never did well in school. So we kind of bonded a lot over, yeah, just kind of how we were misfits. Um, but him being a little bit older. He he kind of just I see him as like my, like older brother kinda. And yeah, he’s just like, helped me out a lot and been there. How it opened doors for me all the time. Yeah, actually his kid, he had a kid when I was 18 that I used to babysit and he came out as trans too a couple years ago. So, yeah, it’s nice to be like available to my mentors and their kids in this particular way.

Liam  
Mm hmm. 

Jamie-Leigh  
Um, can I ask Liam, how having Kian in your life has helped you, for how that like mentorship has worked for you?

Liam  
Yeah, because I mean, I’ve had a lot of like, trans friends and stuff like that, but I guess Kian’s kind of like the older, oldest one out of all my trans people I know. And, definitely having someone who has already gone through a lot of changes and stuff like that similar things, some, some not at all has been really helpful. I think it’s like, nice to see especially since you know, you didn’t thrive much growing up, but now you’re able to pass down your stuff and all that, you know, like your changes and all that kind of stuff to like help people thrive at a younger age. And I think that’s been a big thing. And it yeah, helped me get on testosterone really fast instead of waiting longer, and stuff like that. So it’s been…

carla  
Yeah, and that’s just like a concrete connection with a rad nurse that you knew and yeah, I get it was very, yeah, very concrete support. 

Liam 
Yeah, exactly.

Kian  
It’s really, really nice to hear. I actually have a tear in my eye. Oh, yeah, no, and I think that’s… I’m really grateful to have made that contact because it took me, like carla knows, it took me years to get on testosterone, because I didn’t know how to navigate the healthcare system.

Liam  
Right, Yeah. My goal is to be someone who can have go through something, you know, not as the easy life of someone, or go through a really thriving life. And when I finally get that thrive that I want, pass it down to people who aren’t thriving as much. And I think like it’s big, also having other people like you in my life who did the same thing to me, and I want to do that for other people and all that kind of stuff.

Joey  
Yeah, I guess shifting the conversation a little bit. How have you gone about supporting yourself under capitalism?

Kian  
That’s such a good question. I mean, it’s kind of a, yeah, like supporting myself under capitalism. I feel like this has been a huge journey. I mean, it definitely stems from like, a very young age. As a teenager, like I said, a lot of my rebellion was like, kind of recognizing the world around me. I remember I used to write poems. Like one was called the board game and it was like B-O-R-E-D, Bored Game. But it was about like, no matter if you like, you’re like, you have to walk on the sidewalks like, no matter what, if you like veer away from the sidewalks and you get sent to jail, it’s like, you can’t you have to you have to obey or, and I just remember being very resentful that like this, everything in our lives was like already pre-paved for us. But like life is infinite and like beautiful and why are we only able to explore in this like one very concrete path, like pavement path? I just…

carla  
Can I just intersect and say that’d be a great board game to make.

Kian  
The board game yeah, I was just like, it’s boring. It’s like we already know what happened. Right? Most of not all the time. But so yeah, I mean, yeah, as like a kid I just thought a lot about about stuff. Like as a teenager, I thought about a lot of stuff and I would write about it. And then, uh, and then yeah, would try to explore like what you could call alternative economies as a teenager. Um, so yeah, trying to figure out like how to get by without having to do like, like I did work jobs, but I try to figure out how to make money in other ways. And then when I got involved in my early 20s at the Purple Thistle, um, I don’t know if we introduced that, but the like, it’s a youth-run, artist centre, or was, and I think in in this space, I started really learning more about like decolonialism and colonization in general. And I remember one of the things I really tried to do, because I was like, capitalism is just, we have to, we have to not only dismantle it, we have to create something new. So I did this thing where I just decided I was going to boycott the economy. And I didn’t spend money on anything other than rent, I think for about five months. And had to learn how to, like if I wanted to take the bus I would have to like negotiate and trade. And if I wanted to go, yeah, like I would have to figure out how to do do life but without monetary transactions. And I did this for about five months. And then I realized that the, my like, boycotting of like two grand a month at most not that ever made that much. But I was like the most I can make is two grand. So, that being removed from this huge economy, like economic system doesn’t make a difference. So then I started thinking more on like, a collective level. And I think that’s kind of where I’m at now is like, how can we challenge. I mean, we’re all figuring it out. And this time that we’re in right now is like, really amazing because there’s so many amazing minds who are working together to try to figure out how to do something different that is anticapitalist and more on a collective level. We see mutual aid, we see all these different things popping up. And it’s, yeah, I’m more like how can we see ourselves as part of a system? How can we be like capitalist traders? And yeah, just kind of just trying to figure it out. Does that answer the question? 

Liam  
Yeah, I think that does.

carla  
Basically, you’re just you’re, you’re not you’re not gonna buy in to capitalism as a done deal.

Kian  
No, definitely not. We know where it’s taking us. Why would you, there’s like one known answer, and then like, an infinite amount of unknown answers, but we know that the one known answers the wrong answer is going to lead to like, ultimate death. Like, just because we know that that’s the where it leads us to, why would we take it? You know, what I mean.

Liam  
I guess starting from the last question with everything, the changes and stuff like that. Given all of them in the past decade, especially through activist work by folks like yourself, you know that the work you’ve done at the Thistle and all that kind of stuff. Now transport yourself to being 17 under the same schooling slash family life you had, would you find it easier or more challenging now to take the path you took.

carla  
Just a little question.

Kian  
I yeah, that’s a really good question. I think I would feel more supported. Because I feel as a 17 year old, I didn’t have as many resources as what you have access to now. Um, but one thing that I felt all the time was like very isolated and alone. So I feel like now with Black Lives Matter, with I mean, in the past decade, there’s been like, I don’t know more Wet’suwet’en solidarity. There’s been like a huge surge of, and like all of the youth, youth are what’s always in like, there’s like a million different pockets and like ripple effects of all of this different ways that people are rising up. I would have loved to participate in that as a young person. And yeah, like I said the only thing that I could figure out how to rebel was by doing what I was told not to do. So like don’t do drugs, don’t steal, don’t do these things. Don’t fight. That was like my, that was the only thing I could really see as a way to resist and challenge, whereas now I feel like with all of the uprising that’s happening on collective levels and globally, even. Yeah, I think I could have just been like, felt like I was part of something. 

Liam  
All right.

Joey  
Cool. Yeah, there definitely is a lot of like, activism stuff going on currently that youth are really part of. It’s really cool to see. For sure. Okay, shifting back to the present once again, how has your life changed during COVID-19?

Kian  
I am a very goal-oriented person and I like to have a plan. Like I’ve always been like this. Likely related to being like a very competitive person and always having like, yeah, like, as a young person, I was like, I want to win nationals. So then I learned how to make goals to make that happen. And that’s kind of how I’ve always lived my life. And in March, just before COVID I had a very clear plan of what my year is going to look like. Clearly that had to change and yeah, I was pretty… I didn’t know how to deal with that very well. I didn’t know how to not have a plan, essentially. But what COVID has allowed for, because I got laid off very immediately from my job. It’s allowed for a lot of time to think and a lot of time to just be present in my relationships and to think about what’s really important to me. And I think that a lot of people have recognized this as well is that like COVID-19 has kind of shed a light on all of the gaps and harms of capitalism and colonialism. So like, you see spikes in the fentanyl overdoses, like historical records of overdoses and fatal overdoses. And you see like, like homeless populations being ignored and you see shelters closing and you see women’s shelters closing and you see, like all of these, these ways in which like, capitalism is already failing people. Or like, not failing, because they were never trying to like support those people, but the ways in which they oppress people and oppress certain lives has been enhanced, or like really accentuated. And I’ve had a lot of time to learn more about my relationship to capitalism, where I place faith in capitalism and the state and what it means to be anticapitalist and also being anticapitalist, what am I then? Like asking myself that question like, okay, we are imagining, like dismantling capitalism, we know that that’s necessary. But what does anticapitalism actually look like without centering capitalism?

Liam  
Do you feel at all hopeful for I guess the future, even after all the stuff you just talked about?

Kian
Yeah, I mean, okay, so obviously, things are in crisis. And like, obviously, like, I have days where I’m like, this is all shit. Like, I, obviously we’re doomed, like, Look what’s happening. And, but then also I look around and I’m like, it’s how you look at it because I’m like, actually, we’re not doomed because what we’re seeing we are seeing a lot of violence and we’re seeing a lot of conflicts. But it’s not because people are giving up. It’s because people are fighting back and they’re resisting and they’re fighting for change, and on a scale that I have never seen in my life before. Like, I’m watching the the news with my parents, which I don’t ever watch the news because I don’t have cable TV, but I’m watching like Global News, very mainstream media, and they’ve got they’ve got shots of people talking about abolishing the police. And I’m like, this is what most people are watching that aren’t on the radical left, or like, you kno, these are very like conservative, Liberal people watching others talk about abolishing the police. That’s amazing.

Liam  
Yeah, it’s really exciting, actually.

Kian  
Yeah, it is and like to hear, like COVID-19 to like, we are also seeing what the governments globally are capable of, if they want to do something. My dad says something like, it’s too bad that they’re putting all this money into a pandemic, when like, climate change is a crisis that we really need to be responding to you. Yeah. And like it is too bad. But then also we can see how quickly they can respond. Yeah, and what kind of resources are available to respond and how on a collective level from the bottom up. So like, people like us, are able to collectively respond for each other. For the safety of each other. That is amazing. To me, so yeah, I feel like obviously, it’s, we’re in a unknown crossroads. But at the same time, we don’t know what’s gonna happen. And there’s a lot of people who want something better. Yeah, I do feel hopeful about that.

Liam  
That’s nice to hear. 

Joey  
Yeah, it really does show like what everyone really is capable of, when we all put our minds to it, and when we’re, I guess, sort of forced to work together. Because, you know, safety of others and keeping ourselves safe. Of course, there are gonna be some people who don’t want to work together, but I mean, what are you gonna do?

Liam  
Yeah. Individuals.

Kian  
Yeah. And also remembering like people who don’t want to work together like or maybe they only want to work together with a very specific type of person. I mean, this is a conversation that I’ve had with carla a lot, which is like, in especially in the activist world, there’s like a lot of what carla was calling ‘sad militancy.’ I don’t know, Joey and Liam, if you’ve heard that term. My interpretation without a definition, like I’m not very good at definitions is what I’m trying to say. Yeah. What I what I witnessed sometimes is like, people being like, what I’m noticing a lot, and this is very controversial. So you can include this or not, if, if you want in your podcast, but like, essentially, I see a lot of, especially in the queer community, and like as a QT BIPOC person in that umbrella, as someone who’s like queer and racialized as a mixed race person. I, yeah, I see a lot of young, young queers and young queers of colour kind of doing this thing. That’s like, hey, if you’re not, if you’re a white person and you want to be an ally, you need to show up in this kind of way. And if you don’t, then you’re bad. Kind of this, that’s a very simplified like version. And, you know, a lot of me feels really sad and sometimes frustrated when I see that kind of response in an activist setting. Yeah, because I can see it as very divisive and very rigid. And it’s clearly not about building connection, it’s very closed off. But then we have to understand like, okay, like, for me, why is it that why do I get defensive or why do I want to disconnect? And it’s often because I feel hurt. And when people, in some senses if they don’t want to work together, or they only want to work together in a very, like specific way or conditional way, often it’s because there’s a lack of trust. And often there’s a lack of trust because of a history of trauma. And what I try to remember is that like, you know, every single one of us has trillions of cells of DNA, and our cells contain memory from our ancestors. And in that memory, there’s a lot of really amazing stuff, a lot of spiritual connection, a lot of stories, and also there’s a lot of hurt and trauma. And sometimes our ancestors can be in conflict with each other, even if me and that person in front of me are not. Yeah, so that’s definitely something I’ve been thinking a lot of right now, with COVID and with all the uprisings that are happening all over the world and with the storms and all that is just what does it mean to like heal, so that we can move forward together?

carla  
And it’s also about drawing lines in the sand because yes, you know, as a white settler, like, you know, hegemonic whiteness is the problem, right? 

Kian  
Yes. 

carla  
And it does need to be dismantled. And part of that dismantling has to come from white people. So it’s, yeah, I love the fact that that you bring up intergenerational trauma because particularly when you think about, I can’t speak of it personally, but queer communities because, you know, I’ve been talking to my friends who are older, like around my age and older and how COVID has brought up a lot of PTSD around AIDS and what it did to their communities and there’s like, there’s a direct connection, right? A lived, in your body connection. That’s real. That’s, you know, traumatizing.

[Music]

Liam  
You’re listening to the Grounded Futures podcast. You can keep updated about our show at groundedfutures.com or our Instagram @groundedfutures. 

Joey  
This is an ad free show. So if you want to donate, we would happily welcome that. You can support us over at the groundedfutures.com website. Now back to the show.

[Music]

Joey  
What are some of the ways that you personally cultivate thriving in the everyday?

Kian  
This is honestly one of the things I feel like I’ve learned the most through this experience so far, is I’ve like really learned to let go of expectations. Which has allowed me room to find joy and fulfillment in like, very tiny, everyday things. So like, every day because I don’t have, well basically like, every day I wake up and I’m like, I’m excited to make my coffee this morning and like, take my dog out for a walk. And then I’m excited to make my breakfast. And I’m even like looking forward to like seeing the people that I work with or like doing this job and like helping someone out as my form of work. Like I just I do odd jobs sometimes. And I like help predominantly like older people, like do yard work. And before I feel like what I was, I would feel like I’m just wasting my time and I have to participate in capitalism in this way that makes me like have to have this job that is stupid and doesn’t do anything. Whereas now I think I’m like changing my personal relationship to my day-to-day to find joy in the basic things and like changing my relationship to like what it means to go to work. And like what that work has to look like. If that makes sense. I’m like, okay, like yeah, it’s actually sweet. I’m young and able-bodied. I can go and like clear a bunch of invasives out of this like person’s yard so that his horses don’t die from them or whatever. That’s kind of I’m trying to like shift my mentality and like how I see things. And yeah, just like honestly find like, pleasures in like tiny little things like yeah, my coffee, and cream in my coffee and just like these little little things that I think I took for granted before.

carla  
I like that. I had a friend say to me the other day, or a couple weeks ago or something about you know, recognize the sweetness in your day. And I I always use thriving obviously, but I really, really like that frame. So now that’s like my go to ask. I ask everybody that in emails, I hope you’re finding sweetness in the everyday, because you know and it for me it’s like the smelling my rose.

Liam  
I’ve used that actually that word stuff for a lot of my internet friends when they’re going through like a really hard, you know of like to take their lives or something like that. I always bring up the small things. If you’re out on a walk, you know? Yeah, smell flowers, like you said or, like when I’m on a walk I get really excited seeing literally a squirrel. Yeah, something like that. You know, like I just like small things then

Joey  
I think in like, not really the height of the pandemic, but when it was like, you could go on walks once in a while and it was fine. I think I was just having a really tough time. And on my walk, I found a really nice blue feather. And it just like, made my day. Put it on my bedside table was like yeah.

Liam  
Exactly, yeah.

carla  
That is beautiful.

Kian  
It is so beautiful. And I’m like, I think for me, like, at least when I have moments like this, I, I am like, I am reminded that I am like part of this world where there’s like, yeah, just like infinite ways that I can be in relationship. So you’re like, I found this feather from this bird that is alive. And like has its own like, daily process and like flies around and experiences things totally differently, but like, there’s just like, moment of connection that you can have. And I think that that is something that I can easily take for granted. Um, but yeah, I think COVID has been actually helpful for me to, to change that.

Liam  
Hmm, definitely. Yeah. Yeah, I guess from there, we can lean to the last question, which is a another one of the questions we kind of ask every time. What book or comic or movie, or even podcast, would you recommend to read to help youth find their path? Feel free to name a few.

Kian  
I find this one so challenging because I don’t actually, I don’t read or listen to podcasts that much. I really like seeing my friends’ stuff. I don’t know like, I just I mean zines. I love zines as, as you all know. But I feel like, I remember the the one like kind of zine book that I felt really, really connected to you and I was a teenager, it was called “No More Prisons.” And the reason why, my sister gave it to me actually, and I think it came from the Purple Thistle because she actually was introduced to that space before I was. It was this guy who dropped out of school. I’m pretty sure High School. And he, I think he was a white guy, but he basically learned that there were more prisons being built. And this was like in the early 2000s. Yeah, there is like more prisons being built than schools in California where he lived. And not only that, but like schools were shutting down. And I read this like book zine. And he had, he would talk about how he would write about all these things. And then he would just, like, print out a bunch of these zines and go to a subway station and like, read out passages from his book, or zine, to people randomly, just on the street, like kind of like a busker to try to raise awareness. And that was for me, I was like, oh my god, like you can live. Like that book. I just was inspired by that zine. I was inspired to change, like, to have faith in a different path, essentially. Because this guy was like, I’m gonna quit school and actually try to do something that changes people’s lives, even on this like little little scale. Even with like little little thoughts. I don’t know. I just thought I was very inspired by that. “No More Prisons.” I can’t remember who wrote it. Also, I read that when I was like, like 20 years ago or whatever. Like Yeah, so it’s gonna I’m not gonna say that it’s politically like on point anymore, but it might be.

Jamie-Leigh  
Okay. I got I think I have the author just to put it in the…

carla
Okay, who is it? I’m just curious. 

Jamie-Leigh  
Oh, William Upski Wimsatt? 

Kian  
Yeah, totally. Yeah. Oh, and there’s another one actually, I’m going to say is “Blueprint for the Revolution.” Which I like because it’s simpler to read. And it’s basically like a book about, well it is what it is. “Blueprint for the Revolution” is basically like a bunch of different like strategies and tactics to build up movement power, but like, in a way that’s really creative and artistic and funny. So like they do things, like someone will get a pickup truck and then get like a punk band and they’ll just like have a show literally on the streets. Like the punk punk band like playing in the back of the pickup truck. And like just like trying to be like shit disturbers. And like, in a way that can be like comedic or funny or like pranking cops and stuff like that. 

Liam  
Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I love that. 

Kian  
Yeah, it’s like using humor to get people to come together because we can all like you can see it in comedy, right? Like, getting people to identify with like, a political idea, but like through comedy, so it’s light and you can laugh about it.

Liam  
That’s kind of been a way of getting people to watch and read a lot of things through the years comedy. Yeah, really dark humor. It’s how you get people.

Kian  
Totally. And then turning that into direct action. So like turning it into like pranks. Like that is so sweet. 

carla  
Neat. 

Liam  
Nice.

carla  
Is there anything else you all want to talk about? Or do you feel like? I don’t know. I mean, I partly like, think about the young people who are, you know, really, I just keep thinking, it must be terrible to be a young person during COVID. If you’re in a home life that’s not particularly thriving or last thing you want to do is spend all the extra time with your family like what like… Yeah, I think like, do you have any words of hope or inspiration that you could throw their way? 

Kian  
I mean, yeah, thank you for bringing that up. Because actually one of the people I’ve been hanging out with most since the beginning of COVID is a 12 year-old kid. Like really is a kid I’ve known since he was five. And his mom is immunocompromised and he has asthma so they’ve been really on lockdown. And I’ve just, ever seen the beginning, like man, this must feel like it must feel like you’re in this like it’s extended summer, which should be amazing, but you’re grounded the whole time. And so yeah.

carla  
Oh man. I was grounded a whole summer once.

Kian  
My brother was grounded a whole summer. Oh man, sorry my phone is going off. Yeah, my brother was grounded a whole summer and I just was like, man, it’s reminds me of when Sean sat in his room for a whole summer. Yeah, I think with him. Yeah, I would I would just come over and like go box. I got like I got him a boxing, a punching bag. 

carla  
Nice 

Kian  
And like just trying to figure out like ways to, that we could like socially distance, hang out and also get some energy out. And I mean, it’s really it’s hard. I don’t I think that the the thing especially that young, I’m like it’s really hard and you’re in a house with your family. That is gonna be tense, possibly a lot of the time. And, you know, it’s hard to remember to, like, go out and move. But I think that it’s the same thing. Like, we have a lot of access to technology we can. I mean, a lot of people have access to technology where you can, like, connect with your friends. And so he started doing more connecting with friends online. And then also just, like, maybe figure out ways to have a routine where you go outside every day and remember, like just play games, like imagine like playing in the forest. You know, like, using your imagination and feeling present outside. I feel like that is the only thing, ’cause I mean, that kid I have, like, I have a close relationship with this kid and he says a lot of things to me. One of the things he said to me was that he’s pretty sure that he’s not going to live to see him and his friends are going to live to see 20 because of climate change. And hit me, that was before COVID. He said in last February, I believe. And so yeah, for me, I mean, like, I do my best personally. And I try to encourage people around me who are around my age to engage as much as possible with young people. And it’s our responsibility, I think, like to just demonstrate that we are in this together, and that we’re available to be there for them and be part of their growth. Because like, if you don’t have that, like, if you can’t be available to that and you’re talking about anticapitalism, and you’re talking about anti-colonialism, then I don’t know how you’re doing. Yeah, like as a teenager too, like, I remember being in my later teens hanging out with you like younger kids. And yeah. Like I coached basketball when I was 17 to like 12 year-olds. And I know that like I was impacting those kids lives and I think it’s remembering like, it’s intergenerational relationships on many, many different scales.

carla
Yeah. And the future has not been written, so we need all of us to co-write it together.

Kian
Totally. That’s amazing. Can I ask you two a question? What was your intention with this podcast, exactly?

Joey
I thought it was really interesting because, my home life situation, I thought it would be nice to, you know, reach out to mentors and see how I can cultivate thriving in my own situation. Because I never really was taught to focus on that at all, coming from the school life, the family life that I’ve been in.

Liam
Yeah, it’s nice. It’s interesting I think, it’s nice having Joey on here, because you’re on like, the other spectrum of trans people, than my friends. 

carla
Do you want to say any more about how you exist as like, a trans masc in the world you’re in?

Joey
Yeah, so I, first of all I’m not out to my parents, because like, for me personally, I don’t feel safe doing that in the situation I’m in. And I’m also in an all-girls school, which sucks, as you can imagine. So yeah, I’m really on, obviously not like, that end of, I would be completely kicked out. It’s more that I’m in that situation where it’s like safe. So, obviously, I’m out to like carla and Liam and people who are not in my family life, because like obviously Liam is trans, so why wouldn’t I come out to him. Stuff like that. Yeah. I don’t know. It’s weird.

carla
Super brave of you.

Liam
It’s interesting, I think, having you on here, versus my other friends who are all, all my friends have kind of had this similar life as me. We’ve all kind of had minor support from out parents and all have been able to just be ourselves. Like actually having someone else on here, doing this stuff, who went through a different thing than us is actually a good balance. And like the conversation that we had with you today.

carla
Different perspectives.

Kian
Yeah, that’s really intense. And yeah, my experience is really different from yours, Joey. And in certain ways I relate. Like, I was closeted for a long time, and it took me a long time. I think that it’s really amazing that you’ve found supports that you can talk to. Because it’s going to be great. From my experience. I couldn’t even talk about gender until I was in my early, early, like until I was 24. Like, it would just make me mad when other people would talk about their gender. Like if they were nonbinary, they were talking about transitioning or something. I would get mad. Because, I couldn’t even. That was like the only way that I can deal with my gender is to not acknowledge that gender exists. So, it’s cool that you have people that you can talk to, in person.

Joey
Yeah, I think, definitely, when I started to have that outlet, things got a lot better for me, personally.

Liam
Yeah, definitely, you’ve been a lot more confident in yourself.

Kian
Yeah, you sound great. That’s awesome!

carla
Yeah, he’s a superstar. We’re like, how did we get Joey on our pod? We’re so lucky.

Liam
I met him through the internet, ‘cause of K-Pop and anime and all that.

carla
Right! See, subculture scenes.

Kian
Do you want to hear a fun fact about something I did with my sister.

Joey
Of course.

Kian
She wanted to do… She was in film school, or she was doing a film program and she wanted me to be in it. This was probably ten years ago. She was like, create a character. So I basically made myself G Dragon.

Liam
Yeah, yeah, I remember this.

Kian
And then, she took a picture of my face and pasted it on a K-Pop star’s body and then blew it up into life-size posters with G Dragon on it, and then posted them all over Montreal for this music video.

Joey
Oh my god.

Kian
It was very funny.

carla
Is that out there?

Liam
You mentioned that to me when I first started getting into all that stuff.

Kian
I’ll ask her if she still has it.

[Music]