Max

If you’ve listened to this podcast for a little while, it may end up looking and sounding a little different, because I’m trying a new editing platform that allows for something I’ve wanted to set up for a while: transcripts! The edits may be a little off as I adapt, but if this works out, it may be good in the long run. Of course, because this is a real, human conversation, and real humans don’t always have conversations in structured, proper syntax, the transcript reads a little off at times. I thought it was important to capture the real conversation, though, for people who work with transcripts to have their best podcasting experience. Of course, I’m evolving as a podcaster just as I’m evolving as a human, so if anyone who relies on these has any feedback, please let me know!

This week, I’m talking with Max, a friend who currently identifies as a transgender expansive, genderfluid, asexual, aromantic, mad poly queer, demisexual gender traveler who enjoys rope play, daddy boy play, impact play, edging, and other play of various kinds. We had a great conversation talking about their constantly evolving identity, how important their life as a young girl is to their identity, working in the mental health industry, navigating therapy, the “time travel mechanism” of ADHD, how language affects us, and so much more.

Enjoy the conversation!

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] 

[00:00:15]Mike: If you’ve listened to this podcast for a little while. It may end up looking and sounding a little different because I’m trying a new editing platform that allows for something I wanted to set up for a while: transcripts! The edits may be a little off as I adapt, but if this works out, it may be good in the long run. And of course, because this is a real human conversation, and real humans don’t always have conversations in structured, proper syntax transcript reads a little off at times. 

[00:00:42] I thought it was important, though, to capture the real conversation for people who work with transcripts to have their best podcasting experience. Now, of course I’m evolving as a podcast or just as I’m evolving as a human, so if anyone who relies on these as any feedback, please let me know. Now, this week, I’m talking with Max, [00:01:00] a friend who currently identifies as a transgender expansive, gender fluid, 

[00:01:04] asexual, aromantic, mad poly queer, demisexual gender traveler who enjoys rope play, daddy boy play, impact play, edging and other play of various kinds. We had a great conversation talking about their constantly evolving identity, how important their life as a young girl is to their identity. Working in the mental health industry, navigating therapy, 

[00:01:28] the time travel mechanism of ADHD, how language affects us and so much more. So let’s get to the conversation.   

[00:01:36] 

[00:01:36]Max, Max, you and I go back a ways actually to,

[00:01:52] I don’t know, it’s been a few years. We first met in your skate shop in Columbus, so, 

[00:02:00] [00:02:00] Max: and then that’s like five it’s like what? Five years? Probably. 

[00:02:05] Mike: At least five or six back. Yeah. So it’s been a little bit and, and it’s been really neat because I’ve gotten to watch you change and evolve into yourself since I’ve gotten to know you.

[00:02:19] Um, and I know like you still filled out my little form and you’ve got on your identities. Let me go through them. This list here, transgender expansive, asexual, aromantic. Uh, enjoy rope play daddy boy play as a bottom or a sub, impact play, edging, long, drawn out sexy sensory play of various kinds, mad poly queer, demisexual, gender traveler, trans person with interests in rope play, impact play, and age play.

[00:02:58] Max: Yeah, actually I think I filled that out [00:03:00] twice, so yeah, 

[00:03:01] Mike: there’s a little overlap, but 

[00:03:02] Max: then also, I don’t know. My identity is changed every day, kind of, not always, but I feel like at different times in different days I feel that’s the whole sort of gender travel thing for me is like, I feel like a lot of people use like gender fluid to describe that.

[00:03:20] But for me, I’m like, it feels more like a journey than anything. It feels like a journey from day to day than anything. I mean, fluidity is one thing, but for me, it, it still feels like I’m sort of on this. Yeah, journey to sort of exploring all of the different facets of like my own gender. And it also does change day to day and sodas, like the things I’m interested in, um, you know, sexually and otherwise.

[00:03:49] Yeah, yeah. 

[00:03:53] Mike: Hmm. No, I was going to ask you about the gender traveler. I like that. So, 

[00:03:59] Max: yeah, I mean, and [00:04:00] I think, you know, in terms of like the trans identity, it’s interesting because now it is, there seems to be a distinction between like trans and non-binary, um, like a lot of times people will say trans and non-binary people trying to sort of include the two.

[00:04:17] Whereas for me, I’ve always seen my non binary identity as a transgender identity. If that makes sense. Um, but I’m, I’m noticing and seeing that as language evolves and as the communities evolve, those things are not always the same, um, or not always described as the same, but for me, they very much are.

[00:04:37] And I think a lot of times, like, especially in the last like two years, and especially in New York city, I’ve noticed that like, when I say like, Oh, I’m non-binary or when I say I use, they, them pronouns people will mis-gender me as he/ him, which makes sense. That’s how I appear. I think in many ways, like I can pass quote unquote [00:05:00] pass.

[00:05:00] Right. Um, but I had an interesting conversation with a trans woman at work, um, when I was interning and as a mental health counselor, and she was like,  I think we were talking about like, like bottom surgery or something. And she was like, she was like, Oh, and she’s like, Oh, I like fully thought that you were like assigned male at birth and just like use they them pronouns.

[00:05:25] And so, and I realized actually how much that bothered me, um, and how much my like, assigned like my history of like being assigned female at birth. And my history actually of like growing up as a young girl, like matters to me and how like, you know, my, my trans identity is not limited to, like, I’ve always been trans, I’ve always been non binary.

[00:05:52] I’ve always been a trans man. You know, like I think some people sort of retroactively applied the identity to [00:06:00] themselves and they’re like, well, really I was like a young trans person and like, I was a young trans person, but I was also for all intents and purposes, like the young girl. And even though, as I grew, it didn’t fit.

[00:06:11] There was a time in my life when it didn’t matter as much, you know, but then like puberty happened and then it did start to matter to me. And I think like, it’s not that I haven’t always been a trans person, but it’s just that I didn’t, it’s just that my, yeah, my experience as like a young girl matters a lot to me.

[00:06:28] And so I have been trying to find ways to use and find a language to be able to like, explain that to people. When I explain my identity, instead of just saying like I’m non binary and I use like, they them pronouns or like I’m gender fluid and I use they them pronouns. Um, cause I want to be able to say like, I’m a fab transgender and I’m binary and I use they them pronouns.

[00:06:51] But you know, when you’re new to doing like a quick intro, it can be difficult. And then also at that can, I don’t know, you know, it’s kind of hyper-specific, [00:07:00] but those, all of those things make me who I am and inform my experiences with like how I see the world. And I think, yeah, I think it can be like easy.

[00:07:11] I think there are. And like when, and I think, and I know that even in the trans community, this is something that is highly contested at different times, but like, I do think there are differences between people who are socialized as young women and people who are socialized as young men, even if you’re, even if both of those people are trans as children, you know, like I know that like there are differences in how you’re socialized and, and, and I know that that is something, and I’m happy to talk to people more about that.

[00:07:38] Cause I know that different people have different ideas about what it means to be like socialized quote unquote, you know, and, and not everyone agrees with what I’m saying right now in the trans community. But I do feel like there are differences, you know, and like the way that I was treated as like a young girl growing up would have been different than like how I was treated.

[00:07:55] Like if I was a young boy growing up. By like my peers, you know, [00:08:00] by the people who bullied me by my brother, by my family, like all of those things would’ve been different. And they, those things did make me who I was, especially when it comes to some of my like complex trauma experiences, you know? So it’s, yeah.

[00:08:15] That’s the long answer of my like gender idea. Oh 

[00:08:18] Mike: no, that’s cool. Cause I’ve, I’ve seen that too. And like, I remember the first time someone said something like, well non-binary is not trans. And I was like, what? Because yeah. And it’s just, I guess it’s an evolving description, but, you know yeah. And I mean, yeah, we’re all socialized into, unless you happen to live in a society that has some kind of perfect, figured out,

[00:08:48] gender identity. We’ve all been socialized, not only in the in our own assigned sex, but in what the other genders [00:09:00] are like, you, you know, I grew up with a man, is this, a woman is this, a trans person is this, you know? And, uh, okay. It’s cool though. I mean, I thought your description was pretty, pretty good of who you are, but, uh, I guess it takes a minute to, to get through that.

[00:09:21]Yeah, I think it’s really cool that you’re able to kind of, not necessarily like, cause I, I know like some of your story from growing up and stuff from some of the trauma you had and some of the difficulties you had before, you really understood your identity, but yeah.

[00:09:38] Sounds like you’re still holding onto some of those things that are like, they’re, they’re part of who you are. You can still, you can still be that person who was a girl and, and that’s okay, because that’s who you were and who you, you know, that was your identity at the time. And that was a valuable part of your, your [00:10:00] experience.

[00:10:02] Max: Yeah, definitely. You know, and I think, especially when we’re talking like complex trauma or more specifically like developmental trauma, right? Like the ways that developmental trauma actually does impact and affect the brain and the way that the brain develops, you know, it’s like some of these things were happening when my brain was still developing.

[00:10:19] And when I was, again, for all intents and purposes, like very much seen as like a young girl, um, in the world. And just what you’re saying it is, it’s like, I think some of those things happened to me. Some of the things were done. To me, or I was treated a specific way because I was that thing, like, for instance, like when I developed anorexia, when I was 13 and it was pretty life-threatening, you know, um, that was something that, because I was like a young girl to everyone around me.

[00:10:54] Right. Um, I was, that was treated at a very specific [00:11:00] way. And

[00:11:07] I could have, we Brently or maybe would have been diagnosed differently if I was not as like a young girl. 

[00:11:16] Mike: Hmm.

[00:11:22] Because they just tend to, well, I know, like they talk about mental health a lot of times in sex. Like you’re like girls have ADHD differently than boys have ADHD, those kinds of things. Right.

[00:11:52] Max: wasn’t until I was an adult that I got like a more comprehensive, like ADHD [00:12:00] diagnosis. Um, and we started talking about, and considering like, could I be on the spectrum? You know? And that was something that just was really completely overlooked when I was younger. And there’s always, especially with anorexia, there’s kind of this specific profile that people that when I say, I guess not people, but like mental health clinicians, think of when they think young girl with anorexia, right.

[00:12:22] They’re like perfectionism anxiety, most, most, you know, like there’s specific things that they’re sort of looking for that. Automatically sort of sets you up to be in this position to be diagnosed in a specific way, especially if you present in with any of those symptoms right there. They’re sort of like, like, I think a lot of times, at least what I’ve experienced in the mental health field, both as a consumer and as a clinician now is like a lot it’s, it’s just so muddy.

[00:12:54] Like the, as we were sort of saying earlier, before we started recording, like there’s so much overlap between symptoms and what [00:13:00] happens is a lot of, first of all, a lot of times when you’re seen and that you have to get a diagnosis right away so that insurance can be billed. So they take whatever symptoms they’re seeing.

[00:13:13] And diagnose based on that without getting a full, complete picture of what’s actually going on. And if it’s someone who’s always diagnosing the same three things, because they work at an eating disorder center or something, right. They’re going to look for those symptoms of that, those three things. And that’s probably the diagnosis that you’re going to get, even if it’s more complicated than that, even if some of those symptoms.

[00:13:34] These are coming from something else. Right. Right. And what we found over time is like my, a lot of my anxiety symptoms and even my eating disorder stuff was really stemming from like the discomfort that I felt socially. Um, the struggles that I had to like connect to the kids around me, um, how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin.

[00:13:54] Right. Like really, like, it was like puberty hit. And I was like, Oh my God, I’m not turning into my brother. [00:14:00] I’m turning into something else. You know, like this is a weird, um, you know, I’m feeling really uncomfortable with that. And part of like the trauma that I was experiencing of just like living in a household that wasn’t taking into account, like.

[00:14:14] My sensitivity, my sensory needs the different things that I, that I needed, you know, uh, emotionally. Um, and so definitely there was a certain element of like, this is a way that I can have something that’s all mine. This is a control thing, right. This is a perfectionism thing, but there was more to it than that, but that was never explored because I, that was not the typical profile of the people who were be true, who were being treated at that, that specific center.

[00:14:38] Right. So that’s the thing that gets so tricky about mental health care in the first place is that there’s like this. I can’t think of the word for it. I know there’s a word for it, but it’s like, it’s like kind of like confirmation bias, right? Like it’s like, Oh, I would expect this person to present with these things when, if it’s this specific thing.

[00:14:58] Right. And then that person presents with [00:15:00] some of those things. And so the clinician is just like, Oh, this is definitely what they have. But then what happens is you stop asking questions about other areas. And that’s a big thing that I see a lot of clinicians doing is they’re not exp. And if you’re not asking your clients.

[00:15:14] Questions specific to certain things. They might not ever bring it up on their own. You know? So like for instance, trauma, like trauma stuff, like PTSD is overlooked a lot in treatment because first of all, it’s dif difficult to build rapport with clients, especially if you’re in a community setting where there’s high turnover of clinicians or clients, aren’t seeing people for a long time are not coming consistently.

[00:15:37] So it’s hard to build a good relationship. So you can’t really ask about that stuff because you don’t have a strong relationship and to ask about it when you don’t have a strong relationship could actually hurt the relationship. And then the client might not come or they might not feel comfortable.

[00:15:49] But then at the same time, it’s like, if you’re not asking about it, you might not ever know, you know, on some level or if you don’t know how to ask the right questions.  So that’s, that’s, that’s the [00:16:00] long answer, I guess, in some ways for me, right. Is it’s like, it’s just really complicated and it’s more complicated than I think our mental health system wants to believe that it is, and more complicated than most clinicians believe that it can be . 

[00:16:15] Mike: Yeah. You know, it’s funny, a lot of things in life in general, I’ve over the last several years, I’ve started just saying it’s more complicated than that. And. Like it’s, it’s so many things that we just try to put it in a light like that. Let’s, let’s put our mental health diagnosis into this neat little box.

[00:16:34] Let’s put her gender into this neat little box. Let’s put our, you know, whatever it is. Let’s put our politics into this neat little box. It’s like, it’s not, it’s just, we’re not there. That’s simple. And you would think in a field where they study the human brain, which is one of the most complex things on earth.

[00:16:57] Um, [00:17:00] I mean, it’s, it’s odd to me that, that a field that’s that involved in that would be that. I mean, I get it. I guess you get into everyone gets into, you know, we, we like to put things into boxes to be able to process information, but yeah. Um, it’s interesting to me. , 

[00:17:18] Max: I mean it is, you know, it is super complicated. And I think like, especially back in the time when I was initially hospitalized, you know, that was like early two thousands. And even though. It’s funny, right. Again, it is more complicated because like we are, I think advancing.

[00:17:35] Yeah. Especially right now, the field of mental health care at a really quick pace. Um, but it’s just, you know, it’s that doesn’t negate all of the history of damage that has been done within the mental health care field. And I think that a lot of people don’t want to look the other way. You know, even when I was in classes for training, [00:18:00] for being a mental health clinician, there’s just no context.

[00:18:03] There’s no groundwork laid there’s no. So I’ve, I’ve done training for both mental health counseling and peer support. For instance, in one of the first classes you can do for your peer support training, at least in New York state talks about literally that history of peer support and the history of psychiatry and psychology.

[00:18:23] And what they talk about is like, here are all of the ways that like a lot of the stuff is tied to eugenics. Here are the ways that like, people were really poorly treated in like mental health asylums, quote, unquote, you know, like, like asylums that people have, like that were basically just like, it was just like another carceral system, you know, for mentally ill people.

[00:18:45] And not even sometimes like there, there are these two specific stuff I know of, of women who just like wanted to divorce their husbands and their husbands were like, no, you’re insane. And I’m going to like take you to this asylum. And then those women lived out like the rest of their lives. And those asylums, even though [00:19:00] there was like, Essentially nothing going on for them other than like, they just didn’t want to be with her husband, you know, but it was like, they were a woman until like the husband had ultimate say and could be like, this is what happens.

[00:19:11] Right. And like queer people that were put there because, you know, and then like essentially forcibly sterilized, because like, They weren’t allowed to reproduce or people. The big thing is like, quote unquote. Feeblemindedness right. So there was a whole time when it was like, Oh, people, people who are feeble-minded get put in here and then like, we don’t want you to reproduce because we don’t want you to like, create more people like you, that we’re going to have to then put into this system again.

[00:19:33] Right. So like that’s taught in peer support, but in the mental health counseling field, they’re like, Freud was like, great. And like, here’s all these other clinicians that are like, great. And like here’s all these ways that we think about and conceptualize, like diagnosing people without giving you like, and like, some of that is true, right?

[00:19:49] Like there are many people that over time have informed the way that we understand mental health. And that’s like really great, but there’s no context for like, where did this all come from? And how is it all still perpetuated today? And the [00:20:00] systems that we actually work in with our clients, you know, and like even the fact that most clinicians use the word patient, but like, we are not doctors.

[00:20:08] We are not doctors. We do not have patients. We have clients who have agency. Who come to see us who like we need to be collaborating with, but I think it’s really easy for people to be like, well, you can, you can diagnose something from the DSM. So this is your patient. And you’re going to like, quote unquote, cure them.

[00:20:26] But that’s just not how mental health works. Like I’ve I hate the word patient. I will never call. First of all, I don’t want to be called a patient by my mental health clinician. And second of all, I’m never going to call anyone that I work with my patient because I’m not a doctor and mental health extends beyond biological circumstances.

[00:20:42] Like mental health is impacted by so many things. And it isn’t just, I think it’s, I think like, There is this like bio psychological model that we can lean on around this idea of like, you know, what I was taught growing up is like, it’s just a chemical imbalance in your brain and that’s why you’re depressed.

[00:20:56] And I’m like, no, I’m depressed because this world is a terrible place [00:21:00] and it’s not built for me. And the people around me don’t understand me and I don’t understand myself. And so I don’t have a good sense of self. And so, yeah, I’m depressed, but like, and maybe that over time has created a chemical imbalance in my brain, but there are so many other things that also impact me that caused me to feel this way in the world.

[00:21:18] And if we just say it’s a chemical imbalance in my brain where essentially stripping me of all of my agency and personhood to decide what’s best for me, because that’s essentially saying I don’t have control over my own biology. And therefore I don’t have control over my own emotions and feelings, right.

[00:21:34] Or this idea then that I can be cured. But the truth is that like, I’ve been going to therapy since I was 13 and I’ve never once been cured. 

[00:21:41] Mike: Yeah, no, you know, I think it’s so funny. Cause it’s like, If cause if you start saying I’m going to cure whatever is in the quote, chemical imbalance in your brain, what are you curing? Because a lot of times it’s just a diversity.

[00:21:58] It’s a neurodivergent [00:22:00] thing. It’s, I’m like I’ve got dia-, I’m diagnosed with ADHD and it’s not, I actually hate the second D of that because to me, actually, both of these, cause it’s not necessarily a deficit or a disorder, it’s a, just a different way. My brain processes information and the same thing. Yes, my psychiatrist, I’m his patient.

[00:22:23] He’s the one that prescribes my medication to help with some of the chemical processes that are out of balance brain. But the day I got the diagnosis, the, the, the woman who diagnosed me, the first thing she said to me after was, okay, you have this, you now have the medication to help your brain function.

[00:22:42] In a more positive way now you have to change the way you operate and the habits that you’ve developed over 40, some odd years of living with it and compensating that now you need to also make those changes. And that’s not something you can get in a pill or, or a [00:23:00] cure or even, and there’s some aspects of it that I don’t want to change or lose.

[00:23:04] So 

[00:23:06] Max: yeah, exactly. You know, and that’s the same thing, like over in the UK now they started saying autism spectrum condition. Because again, it’s like, are we really going to call autism like a disorder or are we going to just, you know, are we gonna encompass it in all that we know human diversity to be, which is incredibly broad ranges of difference.

[00:23:24] Right. And so I think similarly, I would like to see that change when it comes to like this ADHD idea. And for me, like, I like to use the word time traveler instead of. ADHD. Oh, I love it. Cause I’m like, cause I’m just like, I don’t know. I don’t perceive time in any normative way at all whatsoever. You’re going to ask me how long it’s going to take me to do you do something and I’m going to tell you, and it’s going to be completely wrong because I just have no idea how time works.

[00:23:54] And also like maybe I saw you six months ago, but to me it feels like I saw you a week ago. And so it’s not a big deal that we didn’t see each other [00:24:00] for six months. But if you’re someone who works on a more normative timeline, it might feel like a long time for you and you might actually feel upset with me, but I didn’t reach out to you sooner.

[00:24:08] But to me, I can’t tell the difference, like literally at all. So like my best friendships are the ones where people just like, don’t get upset with me that like, I don’t talk. I’m not going to text someone every day. Like it’s just overwhelming phones have like, no for me, no real sense of, and computers either have like no real sense of organization that like works for me.

[00:24:29] So I get incredibly overwhelmed on technology. Or you have to pay for like getting applications or things you can use that help you organize. And like, I don’t have money. So like, I just, I like this idea of time travel because I’m just like, I don’t experience time in any really like, linear sense that seems to match up with like most of the people around me.

[00:24:49] But a lot of other people I know with ADHD, we just like all get it sorta like I do like, Oh yeah, I know time is not, first of all, not real. And second of all, like does not actually exist in a [00:25:00] linear way, but I feel it, like, I feel it in my body. Um, it’s not just a concept in my mind that I can sort of understand and think about it’s something that like I know inside of my body, like in a very embodied way.

[00:25:10] And I think that also extends to like my trauma, right. And like, part of that overlap for me is like the depersonalization derealization stuff that I experienced. And some of the like dissociation that I experienced that also causes time to feel just different, you know, but time traveler to me is like a much more fun way of explaining it and makes me feel more like.

[00:25:30] Empowered and like more like, you know, I don’t know, like, I don’t know, just less, like it’s a deficit less, like it’s something that is a disorder or something that like people are going to be poking and prodding at me about, you know, and being like, what’s wrong with you? You know, it’s like, no, I’m, I’m actually an advanced, uh,

[00:25:47]like sometimes my time travel mechanism breaks and then I, and then I like can’t finish things on time or like, or I just like, forget, like sometimes I’m just like, Oh, no, sorry. Like my, I just, I couldn’t get back at my, I [00:26:00] couldn’t get back in time to like, have this project done for you. Give me like another week.

[00:26:03] Sorry. 

[00:26:06] Mike: Oh my God. That’s amazing. I love it. Oh, that fits. 

[00:26:12] Max: Yeah. I’m really very interested in like, how do we reframe these things? You know? And if, if it’s in ways that are just like a little more fun, like whatever. Yeah. 

[00:26:21] Mike: That’s why I do like the, the neuro divergent. Term that’s being used now, because that, that kind of says, you know, okay, you’ve got neuro-typical, which is just what the majority of people operate under.

[00:26:36] And there’s those of us that our brains are just a little bit different and that’s diversion, but not D uh, uh, disability. It’s still a little bit off. Cause I don’t know if typical versus diversion is a great way of putting it, but it’s still better than just saying you have some kind of disorder. 

[00:27:00] [00:27:00] Max: Right.

[00:27:01] And some people use the terminology neuro emergent now as well. Right? Like there are different ways to that people are trying to reframe even that, that concept because it does, it creates this dichotomy right. Of like us versus them. Right. And it also this dichotomy that still can be very much seen as like.

[00:27:16] Different and normal. Right. And that’s, that’s always the problem, I think, in, in most situations where you are like, yeah, I mean, I don’t operate like the norm, you know? Um, but again, that has roots to in, in psychology, right? Like again, even like queer people and like some of the diagnoses that were put on queer people over time, the diagnoses that were put on people who are trans, right.

[00:27:38] Like quote unquote transvestic fetishism, right. Was like one of the DSM diagnoses for trans people. But really all it was doing is it was like relegating trans women to like this like sexual fetish rather than like self-knowing women that they are, you know, like it’s such a problem, but it’s just a way for people to be like, well, you’re different and you don’t operate like the rest of us.

[00:28:00] [00:27:59] And so here’s this way that we’re going to like categorize that. But it is, it’s very, it turns people into a monolith. And I think like, that’s just not how much like this conversation has gone. It’s just not how the world works. It’s like much more complicated than that. Um, And it’s like, okay, I don’t know, pathologize, like the normative, like neuro-typical people that just like, can’t seem to stop hoarding money, like percent.

[00:28:24] I’m like, what’s wrong with you that you can’t seem to stop like hoarding, like incredible amounts of wealth that like, who, how, how, how, like what, how, what, like, yeah. Like what is it about you that causes you to like, have to like, you know, and not to say that some of those people maybe don’t have certain mental illnesses or whatever, like maybe I’m also in this way treating them as a monolith too, but it’s just like, I think like a lot of the people that we see as like more normative or that operate in more normative ways, like they also have like their shit too is really all, but I’m saying, you know, and like, why isn’t that pathologize?

[00:28:57] Well, it’s not pathologize because they’ve been in positions of power over [00:29:00] time. They have been the ones that are the doctors who get to decide what are the diagnoses essentially. Um, yeah, so it’s, you know, it’s tricky. And I think that’s part of why I went into the mental health field to be like, you know, I’m.

[00:29:14] In some ways, how can I get into a position where I’m able to start having these conversations and making these changes more in favor of people who over time have been sort of stripped of their agency and their ability to identify without being pathologized? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think that’s where, you know, Oh, sorry, go ahead.

[00:29:34] No, go, go, go please. Uh, I was just going to say, I think that’s where, you know, like for me, like I definitely identify as mad, right? Like as like, like I’m, I’m a big proponent of like the X patient mood and the mad, mad pride movement. And that for me has been really empowering. And that that’s, that was one of the identities that I have listed that you had mentioned earlier.

[00:29:54] Right? It’s what does it mean to just be mad in the world? 

[00:29:58] Mike: Say more about it? I [00:30:00] hadn’t heard of that as a thing. Like, I mean, I know what mad means. I know what pride means, but like as a movement, like. Yeah. 

[00:30:09] Max: Um, yeah, definitely. So it’s, I think it looks so interesting. And similarly to like some of the disability justice movements, it’s one of the ones that people are less familiar with.

[00:30:18] Right. Limit. Like even within BLM stuff that’s going on. It’s something that like a lot of people in some of my circles are like, yes, yes, yes. BLM great. Like, yes, yes, absolutely. And like, what are we doing to say like all black lives matter, meaning like disabled, black lives matter and like mentally ill black lives matter.

[00:30:37] Right. And like that conversation is a conversation that like white people can not,

[00:30:52] it is a conversation worth having. And so when we talk about the mad movement, when we talk about the X patient. [00:31:00] And survivor movement. Um, that started in like the seventies basically. And it was a time of folks who had been institutionalized to have been hospitalized, who had lived in asylums or, or, um, sort of the different types of hospitals that came afterwards and particularly queer white people where some of the people who were, who were sort of leading some of these movements and women, um, these were, this was a movement to say like, look like we need reform in the mental health world because what’s happening is people are not being treated well.

[00:31:35] People are being treated poorly. People are being institutionalized for long periods of time and their rights are being stripped away from them. People are being forcibly hospitalized, and then they’re not allowed to leave when they are hospitalized. They’re not allowed to access their community.

[00:31:50] They’re not allowed to access, um, the parts of their identity that would make them. Um, help essentially help them heal. Right. That would be, that would make them [00:32:00] feel more connected to themselves. Right. And what, what was being found and what is still the case, which was very much the case for me when I was 13, 14 was that these institutions are actually further traumatizing people.

[00:32:12] So you’re having people who are, who are traumatized by the world in various way. Um, or maybe who never had been traumatized before, but who are living in marginalized positions who then are institutionalized, but then are harmed by the quote unquote helpers. Right. And so what they were finding is like, you know what, like this actually isn’t helping at all.

[00:32:30] It’s making things worse that I’m being like forcibly put into the hospital. I’m being forcibly put on medication, which was the other really big piece. Like a lot of medication had been weaponized against people to make them compliant. So there’s a whole nother piece of like, are you a compliant patient or are you.

[00:32:46] A non-compliant patient. And if you’re a non-compliant patient that might get you a whole nother set of diagnoses, such as like oppositional defiant disorder or BPD, right? Like BPD is a big one that a lot of clinicians love to be like, well, that person’s difficult. They must [00:33:00] have BPD. And it’s like, no, that’s not how it works.

[00:33:02] You know? But again, it’s like, unless you’ve experienced some of these things, I think it’s just so hard to know and conceptualize. So the X patient survivor move, Penn survivor movement really came out of some, some reform stuff in the seventies and then onward. But all of this stuff had been happening all through the 17, 18 and early 19 hundreds, you know, over time.

[00:33:23] And there have been peer quote, unquote, peer support people and like ex patients mobilizing around a lot of these issues since the 18 hundreds there was, there was, um, yeah, there was like this whole like, like, like independent publication. And I forget I’m not going to remembering details, but I forget exactly where it came up, but it was just all like.

[00:33:46] Like Drake institution and they just made this public aid together and it lasted, I think for like 10 years and they just self published it. And it was just like about some of the stuff they experienced there. It was about their experiences as like mentally ill people. Um, I think one of the [00:34:00] people that led the paper was like schizophrenia, sick.

[00:34:02] Um, yeah, so this, I mean, it’s, it’s like a whole sort of thing, but I just don’t think that like people in dominant culture know much about it or hear much about it. Um, but now it’s sort of evolved and sort of merged with the disability justice movement and the transformative justice movement. Um, because more people are seeing psychiatric institutionalization as, as a carceral system, which oftentimes is and can be, um, or can lead to, um, imprisonment.

[00:34:28] And, and in fact, right, like I think many people have learned during this time that many, many people who have been shot and killed by police or just killed by police, um, Are actually also disabled, um, or have some sort of psychiatric disability going on. Right. And so these connections are starting to be made now, especially in light of some of the uprising stuff, the BLM movement, the more that people are going there.

[00:34:49] I think the more that people are starting to be like, yes, yes. Okay. Like we need to make these connections. We need to make them faster and we need to be mobilizing around it, um, in a more interdisciplinary way. Right? 

[00:35:00] [00:35:00] Mike: Yeah. Cause I mean, I heard someone say recently on a webinar, I was in that like, and you know, obviously right now racism is, is in the forefront of everyone’s mind because of what’s going on.

[00:35:16] And it’s very, you know, it’s, it’s a very racist thing, but they’re like, basically if you’re, when you’re addressing racism, if you’re not addressing LGBTQ issues, if you’re not addressing mental health issues, if you’re not, uh, Uh, addressing gender discrimination. You’re not going to deal with racism effectively because it’s all intersectional.

[00:35:37] And I don’t know what you just told me though. It feels like, um, a comparison to the first time I learned about Tulsa. Um, because what do you mean? This is part of our history that I just never knew about, you know, like, and it’s the same. I didn’t know that there was this much. I [00:36:00] knew that the mental health, I mean, I live in the town where one of the major mental health institutions was, um, you know, the, um, the ridges and I’ve been up to the graveyard up there and Sohn the unmarked graves.

[00:36:16] And eventually they put number, you know, they started with numbers and then eventually they put names and then put, you know, as, as healthcare, as mental health care evolved into. You know, something where they were put away versus they were treated like people, but I didn’t know that this went that far back.

[00:36:31] That is amazing. And like the intersection, like, you know, the, the intersections between mental health and you know, how people of color are, um, more or are worse in those institutions and probably sent to them more for not good reasons. And also the intersection with gender, like, um, I think I even sent you the text when I found out after, uh, uh, another interview.

[00:36:58] I did that, um, [00:37:00] people that identify, you know, people with trans identities are, I believe six times more likely to be diagnosed on the autism spectrum and the intersectionality of that, which almost kind of makes sense to me because you have a way of thinking differently about yourself in the world that you can actually recognize.

[00:37:24] The non-binary nature of sex and gender easier then. Yeah. You know, I mean, 

[00:37:31] Max: it’s, it’s like the fluid nature of existence and also, yeah. I mean, there’s so much to it, you know, and, and just to touch back to you on your point, like, you know, one big piece of this is that there were segregated wards and segregated buildings too, even within this complex.

[00:37:45] So there was a thing where yes, many black people were institutionalized and actually stayed separately than the white people in the institution and were treated poorly. Right. Just as poorly as if not worse. And of course, like fucking asshole, like [00:38:00] Cartwright, Samuel, a Cartwright or whatever. Not even probably worth mentioning his name, but he came up with like drape it to mania.

[00:38:06] And um, this other word that I can never actually say, but it’s like a dysesthesia, which is basically like, he was like, Oh, like enslaved people that are trying to run away. I’m going to diagnose them with drapetomania, which is like this desire to like, get away from like having to work or whatever, you know, and really it’s like, now these people are just trying to get away from these like horrid, horrid, horrid conditions that they’re being subjected to, like, which any probably like nor quote unquote normal person would want to do, you know?

[00:38:33] But it was something that was pathologized, you know? And then of course like, um, schizophrenia. Oh, there’s also like a whole there’s um, there’s a paper called, um, I think like how schizophrenia became. A black disease. I think that’s what it’s called. I can try to get it for you. It’s either a paper or a book or a paper that turned into a book, but it’s also about like how schizophrenia has been like weaponized against like black folks and other folks with color as well.

[00:38:57] Um, and that’s, you know, that’s, [00:39:00] that’s, that’s also a big part. Yeah. And the history, um, is the pathologizing of, of blackness as well as identity, certainly. Um, um, but yeah, to touch on your other point, honestly, like I think autistic people are like the smartest people on the planet. And, uh, I also think that, you know, when you sent me that text, I was like, yeah, actually, like, what I’ve heard is just that there are like that autistic people are more likely to identify as trans or non-binary.

[00:39:30] And that has certainly been my experience and yeah. A couple of years ago when I started thinking about it more and learning about it more, I was like, Oh, that’s what I want my dissertation to be on. If I ever go get a PhD, like I want to do a bunch of qualitative interviews or try to figure out a way to do multiple types of interviews.

[00:39:46] But I love qualitative research, um, to talk with people about how they experience gender or as, uh, um, someone on the spectrum of essentially. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those people have to [00:40:00] identify as transgender that I interview. But I’m just curious, how do other autistic people experience gender?

[00:40:08] Because I have a strong feeling that my experience of my gender is very colored by my positionality on different. Aspects of the spectrum, if you will, if that’s what we’re going to keep calling it, the other piece is like common language, right? Like I just think like a lot of people, the way that I understand certain terminology is not the same way that a lot of other people in the world understand certain terminology.

[00:40:31] And so I think there needs to be a way for people to get more on the same page about like what these things mean. Um, and that’s also just a theme that I see in my life all the time with many things. Right. But especially

[00:40:48] no how as decarceration abolition, um, there’s a lot of language that I think is easy for people to think it means one thing, but really it means something else because of its historical [00:41:00] context. 

[00:41:00] Mike: Right? Yeah. Cause I mean, The evolution of little, like we said, the words, you know, trans and non-binary have changed in the last few years, the words like words, evil language evolves.

[00:41:15] Um, and I’m saying this is a reformed member of the grammar police. Um, you know, like, like I read a thing about in someone, it was a, it was someone who was a dictionary editor, like, you know, their job lexicographer. I believe that’s the way you say that their job was their, their, their career and life and expertise was words and what they mean and writing dictionary in the dictionary.

[00:41:44] And they were like, I like the invention of the dictionary changed the way language worked because the dictionary was supposed to be is, is, and it’s edited still as a descriptive. You know, [00:42:00] it’s, this is how the word is being used, but people have started now it’s shifted to now it’s being prescriptive.

[00:42:07] Like this is how you’re supposed to say it. Um, and it’s interesting, you know, our language has changed. The words that we use today are, you know, are nothing like the words we use a hundred years ago, you know, you know, so, or nowadays five years ago. But, um, yeah, it’s, it’s really interesting the way we, I, it goes back to, we just try to keep everything in.

[00:42:35] Nice, neat boxes, I guess, but yeah. No. 

[00:42:40] Max: Oh God. Yeah. I still struggle with the grammar policing only because, uh, an aspect of my personality is that I prefer hyper specificity when it comes to like, uh, certain things, you know? So when I’m like, and it’s not that I’m like, you’re using that word wrong. It’s that?

[00:42:56] I’m like, okay. But do you understand all of the context of that word? Let me, let [00:43:00] me fill you in on the context of that word. I’m like what you’re actually saying and why it’s loaded and like why it actually means like way more than what you think it means. And then people are like, max, please, please, please stop.

[00:43:09] Please stop, please. What’s true. But actually here, here’s all historical context. Let me tell you, let me tell you, 

[00:43:15] Mike: Oh man, I’ve had to deal with that in my own. Like in my job doing computer stuff, like the fact that this year. Is the first time I learned what the word grandfather clause meant. Oh man, I got to get rid of that out of my language.

[00:43:30] And in programming we use, um, you know, in version control, you always have the, the master branch and slave branches. And we’re like, yeah. And we’re actually like, there’s a move in, in, uh, to all credit to the, the website, get hub. They have made that change and they’re actually transitioning to use Maine instead of master.

[00:43:53] And it’s just one of those things that’s like, it’s so ingrained in your [00:44:00] language that until someone even pointed it out, it didn’t even Dawn on me. That that was a problematic. And obviously, you know, I’m not, I, I have an understanding of, of how problematic that term is, but it just was never connected.

[00:44:15] Max: So we got to get plugged that into. Yeah. And you know, and we can plug that into BDSM too, because there is like master. And save play, you know, and I think a lot about like, where did that come from? And like, why, and like, why this, why to people like that, that, and I’m not wanting to kink shame, you know?

[00:44:32] But like, let’s just think about it, you know? Like let’s just think about it a little bit. Let’s think about like, what was this handed down from, you know, and what are the historical context of this? And then, you know, certainly people can go look it up, but like, that was real, like forcing enslaved people to like reproduce, um, having people who did own enslaved people, you know, sexually assaulting them, raping them, um, to have them reproduce like, or [00:45:00] not just for pleasure, just because they liked inflicting pain.

[00:45:02] Right. Like for all of these different reasons. And then it’s like, like, yeah, like, well, what does it say that now there’s like these like white people that are like, I love like master and like slave play. And it’s like, that’s disgusting, honestly. But like also, like I get it like, okay, it’s one thing to be like, I like Dom sub play.

[00:45:16] Okay. But like, what’s the language that we’re using. I’m like, why do you know what I mean? Yeah. 

[00:45:22] Mike: For, um, power exchange now being used a lot. Right. Which I think is, is, um, it, from the people I’ve talked to in power exchange relationships, it feels very much the same dynamic without the problematic language of yeah.

[00:45:40] Yeah. Because yeah, that, I mean kinks or kinks, I think there’s nothing as long as what you’re doing doesn’t cause nonconsensual harm. Um, I’m not really right, but I [00:46:00] have to say yeah, because I’ve had to

[00:46:04] harm might be okay. But if, if that’s what you’re looking for, but. 

[00:46:10] Max: Definitely. Yeah. You know, and again, it’s, I really don’t, it’s, I’m not interested in kink shaming, but I am interested in thinking about how are we describing it. Right. And how is what’s the language we’re using and who gets to use that language and who feels comfortable with that language and why?

[00:46:22] Um, I think that’s a meaningful conversation, but certainly yeah, whatever, like high closed doors, if you’re both into it, or if not just both, if all of you are into it, whoever you may be, uh, you know, go for it. But 

[00:46:35] Mike: yeah, it’s true. They kink itself in the things you’re doing. It’s just the descriptive, like almost like, like our language is evolving or people are complex or things that I’ve heard somewhere.

[00:46:46] I don’t know. Certainly. So cool. Well, you know, it’s so funny because, um, yeah, we, we, we tried this a few years ago and my complete lack [00:47:00] of knowing how to work our recording, we didn’t actually get to do it, but it’s fun because. I remember the conversation we had and the, just the difference ways you’re describing yourself today, versus the way you’re describing yourself back then.

[00:47:18] And I remember during that time, I was like, wow, this person really understands themselves and has really evolved and grown and knows a lot. And

[00:47:30] like, you know, even more about yourself in your life, just the ability to, to grow and develop and learn about yourself and be able to be like, that’s okay. That’s who I was then. And this is who I am now is, is really, really pretty amazing. Like,

[00:47:56] I’m sure you said something really awesome. Right? Just now. 

[00:48:02] [00:48:00] Max: Uh, yeah, it’s been a process and a process. It’s the process? It is, um, I feel like one of my, one of my like kinks, if you will, is like a never-ending quest for knowledge. Like, I just feel like, I don’t know if it’s like a neurodivergent thing or if it’s just like a lifelong learner thing.

[00:48:21] I think it’s a little bit of both because I get on these like tears where I just like will spend hours on the computer reading articles about like a super specific thing. Um, I have to say having access to an academic, uh, like database for articles and stuff is like one of my life’s greatest pleasures.

[00:48:40] Um, I really enjoy it. And that’s like, just what I like to do. Like I was telling my therapist the other day, like he was, we were trying to, I was trying to explain to him why, like, relationships can feel hard for me sometimes. And I was explaining that like, I feel more connected to knowledge and information a lot of the times than I do too [00:49:00] people.

[00:49:01] And I don’t know, I don’t know where that comes from necessarily. I’m still learning about it and trying to figure it out a little bit and also just like accepting it for what it is, but I just really love to learn. And of course, like, I love to learn about the things that are impactful in my own life, but that certainly that extends to me understanding just the communities that I live in or that I’m a part of, whether it’s the queer community, the trans community, um, the autistic community.

[00:49:28] Um, and then certainly by extension, like the world around me rash. Um, but I just see it from these sort of intersectional places. And I think I do attribute like that certainly to sort of the ways that I progressed throughout the world is because I’m just always like seeking information. Like I love information.

[00:49:48] I really love information. Um, And I love being able to make my own decision about information. So I do oftentimes also look up articles that are maybe like against the thing that I’m interested in, or that are like, [00:50:00] here’s why diagnosing people with this thing is like the greatest thing ever. And here’s why this like, terrible evidence-based treatment is like the greatest thing ever.

[00:50:06] And then I read it and I’m usually like, no, I disagree, but I can understand why they feel this way, but here. But like, you know, I don’t necessarily, but I, I do find it meaningful to get information from lots of different sources. And I, I do enjoy doing that to a certain extent. Um, so I don’t know for what it’s worth, that’s how I like to move through the world.

[00:50:28] Maybe I should add something about information to my list of identities.

[00:50:35] Mike: You mean just the kink is collecting information, not necessarily 

[00:50:40] Max: a data seeker. 

[00:50:42] Mike: I love it because I was wondering, cause I actually interviewed a kink collector once and. She was kind of like that, but specifically for kinks.

[00:50:54] Max: What does that mean? Like they just like, try it out.   

[00:50:57] Mike: I mean, her identity was, uh, having her a [00:51:00] lot of hers was around. Um, if it brings you pleasure I’m I, it brings me pleasure and, but she was like, yeah, I’ve tried this, I tried this, I tried this didn’t like this didn’t like that love that, you know, and just like all the things.

[00:51:15] And it was like, A seeker of information. Like, I mean, it was literally like, like you just described, but specifically about kinks, like I just want to learn what it is by trying it out and, 

[00:51:25] Max: and also trying versus intellectualizing because I hate trying new things. Can I, I hate, I hate change. I hate, uh, transitioning to different spaces.

[00:51:36] I hate transitioning to different activities. Um, but I like learning different things all the time, but I don’t like doing different things all the time. 

[00:51:45] Mike: Just soaking up all the information and learning basically sense. Yeah. That makes sense. Wow. That’s the one, that’s the one. So this conversation went in no [00:52:00] way, like I thought it was going to, and it was amazing.

[00:52:04] It is amazing. So thank you very much. This is really cool. Um, we’ve hit a lot. Uh, was there anything else I know, like. You’re kind of in a, in a space of working to build your own, um, career and obviously still evolving and stuff. Was there anything in there that we didn’t talk about that you want to talk about?

[00:52:31] Or, 

[00:52:33] Max: um, I mean, I guess just for like listeners’ sake, like I didn’t, I’ve never really talked about like what I do, quote unquote, um, which is many, many things. And, um, I. You know, right now I work at a skate shop, um, which like, I love to build rollerskates and that’s, I’m like kind of the main skate tech there at five stride here in Brooklyn.

[00:52:56] And that’s like been really fun and I owned a skate shop before, but I hate retail and [00:53:00] I hate capitalism. So it’s a little complicated, it’s a complicated relationship. Um, but I also do, as I do consulting work, um, and I do like workshops and educational work, and then I’m trying to build a career. I don’t even know what a career is, so I’m not going to use that word.

[00:53:17] I’m trying to find some work and do some things for like some longterm type of market work, um, as a therapist. So, um, right now, like I’m in the process of a contract with like a school district here in New York, under a program at NYU called the nest program. And it’s like an inclusive education program.

[00:53:36] It’s a neuro-diversity education. Program, essentially where each school has, like, um, what are they called? They’re called like a master of inclusive education or whatever. Um, I think that’s what they’re called. Um, and they consult with like the teachers at the school and they work like one-on-one with students who are on the spectrum to like help basically ensure like success with [00:54:00] our education, but also to sort of incorporate like their special interests and their strengths and their skills.

[00:54:05] And what I am doing is once a month, I meet with all of those master. Um, and like educate like inclusive education specialists, um, through the nest program. And so I’m sort of consulting with all of them. Um, I’m this is the first time I’ve really done it. I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to evolve, but I imagine it’ll, it will also mean that I’m meeting one-on-one with some of them over time to support them as needed.

[00:54:29] Um, and I do some like research stuff, which is on hold right now because COVID has been kind of weird, but I, I do like research around autism and right now we’re finishing up a paper on like special interests in the classroom. So like, how do teachers utilize autistic special interest in the classroom, if at all?

[00:54:47] And how do they view them? Like, what are their attitudes towards them essentially? You know? And of course we’re finding that most teachers attitudes are that they’re like problematic. Like, like for instance, for me, like mental health is certainly one of my special interests. I think about it all the time.

[00:55:00] [00:54:59] I talk about it all the time. I read about it all the time. Um, so I went to a program about it, but if I were in another program, I would want to work it into a lot of stuff. But a lot of teachers, especially in elementary school, find that to be very distracting, very difficult, very, um, problematic. And so we’re basically making a case that like, it’s actually not, and it could create, create career opportunities for these students further down the line.

[00:55:23] Um, so some research stuff, qualitative, we have mostly, and then, um, like independent workshops and stuff. So I just get hired

[00:55:36] or groups of people who want me to come speak about stuff that we spoke about today. So, um, the history of psychiatry, psychiatry, and psychology, um, the history of, of sort of disabilities. So sort of from like the rights model to the social model, to the disability justice model, breaking, talking about some of that talking about also like I just did a really cool workshop about disability and able [00:56:00] as in sports.

[00:56:01] Um, so working with sports organizations to be more inclusive, especially of people with different learning styles, um, different styles of interacting with people. Um, and then, yeah, I’m looking for work right now, basically with my limited permit as like a mental health counselor, um, particularly areas of like sexuality and gender and disability.

[00:56:23] Um, so it’s a lot I like to do. I’d like to do many, I like to have sort of many pots on the stove that are all related to my various sort of specific interests as much as I can. But, um, yeah. So, and I just, I don’t like to always be like doing like the same task every single day, but I like to keep it within my wheelhouse, if that makes sense.

[00:56:44] So this idea that like, I don’t like to do different stuff necessarily, but I like the opportunity to like, you know, Do all of the things that I like to do over time as I can. 

[00:56:55] Mike: I like that. That’s amazing. 

[00:57:00] [00:56:59] Max: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t even really know. I don’t know what a career is because I feel like I just work jobs all the time, you know, I just like, um, yeah.

[00:57:08] Market work. I don’t know. It’s weird. 

[00:57:11] Mike: Yeah. Yeah. You gotta right now to survive. Cause that’s the way we’re set up. But I mean, it’s cool that you’re getting to do things. You’re getting to do some things that are like, they’re interesting to you and you’re making a difference in the world with them. So whether you’re doing it, 

[00:57:32] Max: I mean they’re all really needed.

[00:57:34] Yeah. 

[00:57:36] Mike: That’s cool. That is very cool. 

[00:57:39] Max: Yeah. I hope to eventually be able to put out some more independent research. There’s definitely a hole, but I have like a whole list of research projects I’m interested in. I just got to. The whole planning, the whole ADHD and like planning thing. Like, I’m just like, I don’t know where to start.

[00:57:52] I don’t know what to do. I am not even sure I’d be able to finish it, but I have ideas I am. And I’m an idea person, you know, I have lots of [00:58:00] ideas for qualitative stuff. I’d love to do. I just got to figure out like, do I want to do it through a PhD program? Do I need to just get plugged in with someone who works somewhere and they want to have me work under them and they’ll bring me on as like an assistant, you know, Sure pie or something like that.

[00:58:16] I don’t know. We’ll see. Yeah. We’ll see where life takes me, I guess. 

[00:58:20] Mike: Well, if someone wants to do that, it’s just going to get ahold of you or how can I 

[00:58:25] Max: get up? Yeah. Ah, yeah. I mean, sure. Yeah. Bring me on, I’ll do research for you. I don’t care. I just, I just want a place to do it. I don’t even care how much you pay me really.

[00:58:32] I mean, money does that needs the other big thing. I’m like time and money don’t make sense to me, but fine. Um, also I am bad at retail and owning a business, which is why I don’t know the skate shop anymore because I just was getting literally everyone discounts all the time. It didn’t work out, but, um, but yeah.

[00:58:49] Mike: As in the foundation you laid there, I literally just bought a pair of skates from that very skate shop that you started. Yeah. 

[00:58:57] Max: Oh 

[00:58:57] Mike: yeah. Yeah. [00:59:00] It gets sometimes you just start cool things and then someone else runs with the cool part, the rest of it. And that’s, 

[00:59:06] Max: that’s just that maybe that’s my. Maybe that’s my life’s mission.

[00:59:11] Just starting electrical stuff, never finishing any of it, but starting it. Um, but yeah, I mean, if people, if folks want to get in touch, I guess, um, I haven’t been on social media for like, can you hear that? 

[00:59:23] Mike: There’s a siren, it’s New York, you know,

[00:59:29] Max: want to get ahold of me? Um, I haven’t been on social media and I really in like probably the last month. Um, I have, I don’t know, I hate social media for the most part, but I am pretty much only on Instagram. Uh, I’ll probably get back on at some point. I don’t know when, so if you’re reaching out to me, like immediately, I don’t, I, you know, I’ll try my best.

[00:59:47] Um, but it’s at max Welp, like Welp throwing my hands up in the air. I don’t know. Um, but it’s at, and then M a X, w H E L P and then probably the [01:00:00] best email that I use mostly for like stuff related to this is my NYU email, which is M S. Like max Schneider, one, one, two, four, two@nyu.edu. Um, that’s where I do most of my like consulting and workshoppy businessy stuff.

[01:00:20] Um, and I check that email more regularly than some of my others, so yeah. Yeah.

[01:00:29] Eventually maybe I’ll have a website I’ve started like three different websites, but 

[01:00:34] Mike: yeah, me too.

[01:00:36]Max: Cool. I many websites never finished them and they’re back to a place where I felt like they worked. You know, 

[01:00:44] Mike: I do understand that maybe someday. Cool. Well, thank you max. For this. It’s been awesome. And, uh, we’ll have to do this again sometime. Maybe we’ll try again in a couple of years. 

[01:00:58] Max: Yeah, sure. I [01:01:00] mean, thanks for having me.

[01:01:00] I didn’t really, I mean, I went more of the mental health route than like the kink and sexuality routes. That is absolutely fine. 

[01:01:08] Mike: It is it’s cause I mean, it’s part of who you are as a human. And like I said, I think it informs your identity. Um, it’s really cool. And it’s, it’s something that in the, um, LGBT community is a big thing right now, like mental health care for LGBTQ people, something to talk about.

[01:01:34] So, absolutely. No, it’s

[01:01:40] Max: definitely cool. Well, thank you. And for your flexibility, you know, I know my life’s been kind of wild lately, so 

[01:01:47] Mike: it’s all good. It’s fun 

[01:01:49] Max: to do. I’ve been able to reschedule. 

[01:01:51] Mike: Yeah. Yeah. It’s good.

[01:01:55][01:02:00] 

[01:02:43]

Clive and Julianna

It’s been a while! Running a podcast in your spare time can be a challenge sometimes, and work and life commitments got in the way for a bit, but the guests I interviewed still deserve to be heard!

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Clive and Julianna, who wanted to have me as a guest on their podcast: Re-sex, where they discuss sexual experiences and kinks that they have changed their approach to. Of course, I said yes, and we had a great conversation. This is the discussion we had, which you can also hear on their podcast, along with other great interviews they’ve had. We talk about podcasting, life in and after the pandemic, and how we all have learned and evolved into the people we are today.

That conversation with Clive and Julianna inspired me to get back on track, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting catching up and posting interviews of the great people I talked to.

I sincerely apologize to my guests who I interviewed last year. The lateness of these posts is a reflection on my own time management and definitely not an indication of the value of your amazing conversations!

I hope everyone gets as much as I have out of these illuminating discussions.

Show Notes

Michael

In this episode, I’m catching up with Michael, who I talked to during my Intersections project. If you haven’t heard it yet, you can listen to that conversation in the From the Vault episode that was posted a couple weeks ago. Michael is a gay man who was married to a straight woman. They’re no longer married but still have a great family relationship. We had a great conversation about his journey of discovery as a gay man, gay culture versus being gay, the fascinating LGBTQ cultural history of Oklahoma City, and more.

This is the dissertation on Oklahoma City we talked about: Emergence and Evolution of the Gay and Bisexual Male Subculture in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1889–2005

I also wanted to share what Michael shared with me in a follow-up email:

I attached the dissertation that started my interest in local gay history.  I suspect that young historians in other small cities have dome similar but it is not like there is a good resource collecting all of them.  And if there isn’t maybe it is a jumping-off point for one of your listeners to dig for histories in their own city.  One thing I didn’t mention was that with this dissertation i worked up a tour of OKC and have taken a few friends on a good two-mile walk around downtown looking at where places used to be, and telling stories, some of which I admit to embellishing.

I think we all spend our lives thinking we are so unique, then we get older and realize that over the last ten or so thousand years that there have been others just like us but with vastly different societal pressures.  When I read the stories in that paper, or in some of the other resources I have collected, I can picture some dude trying to navigate his feelings, his wants, his desires, and thinking he was some kind of weirdo.  For me it is a great feeling to know that there are other weirdos out there, during all times, just stumbling around and doing their best.  In the end, we are crazy naked monkeys who have the fortune (or misfortune) to be self-aware.  Just crazy naked self-aware monkeys on a chaotic rock hurtling through space trying to make sense of the nonsensical.

From the Vault: Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espizona

Last week, you heard my conversation with Doctor Robyn. Today, we’re going back in the vault to hear the Intersections interview with them four years ago.

It was the second interview I’d ever done, so it was a little rough, but it was a thrill to talk with them and learn so much about gender and sexuality from someone with real professional and personal expertise.

Back then, Dr. Robyn was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethics at Pacific School of Religion and a published author in the fields of queer studies in religion, ethics, and Latin@ studies. They shared their life and views on gender, sexuality, marriage, and how race can inform sexuality. I was fascinated back then and I hope you will be just as fascinated today.

Dr. Robyn

I’m still working out some of the hiccups with the podcast posting to the cloud, but I had to make sure to get this episode out today: the day after National Coming Out Day.

That’s because I had a chance to catch up again with Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza. We talked four years ago during my Intersections project, which you can catch on the Intersections YouTube channel, or listen to it on this podcast later this week.

Doctor Robyn is a nonbinary, Latinx, deep switch, theological activist, and once again we had an amazing conversation. Yesterday, they came out in a new way on their own podcast with Rev Anna Gollady (Gall-a-DAY): the Activist Theology Podcast. If you listen to their podcast, you know about it, but if not, well — it’s pretty exciting.

Before that, though, we also talked about getting into their body, radical consent, prescriptive vs descriptive sexuality, the BDSM community, how they have learned more about their own kink identity, the importance of having a relationship with pleasure — whether eating, having sex, or living life, and so much more!

I think I’ve got the “kinks” worked out of the podcast, too, so you should see the rest of the season coming to your favorite podcast feed now. If not, please let me know!

We’re Back! What’s Next?

You may have noticed that the podcast hasn’t had a new episode in a couple weeks, because I was running into some technical issues with my feeds. Everything should be back up and running now, and hopefully you’ll start seeing new episodes start coming to your favorite podcast place real soon now!

I haven’t been idle, though! I’ve got a few new interviews ready to go, starting with Moniqa and Michael, who you heard in the September 11th From the Vault Episode. Eight more episodes in total, with awesome conversation with amazing humans, who you really need to hear from! Since we’ve queued up a little more than I planned, new episodes will be dropping twice a week until we’re caught up.

After that, who knows? I really want to hear from you and find out how this podcast is impacting you. I’d love to hear from you! Whether we chat over DM or on the podcast, this thing is all about starting conversations, so please join in! You can reach me here on the website, or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.

I’ve also been learning about a concept called “Learning in Public”. It comes from the programming world, but I think it’s a valuable concept for life in general, and I intend to do more of it in my life. So, you’ll see more posts about what I’m learning through this podcast and from living life in general. They’ll show up here and on my personal blog. A very wise person once told me that writers write, and I learn by writing, so hopefully over the next little while I release my inner writer again! And of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’re learning, too.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I catch up with Moniqa and find out the amazing things she’s been up to! Let’s keep the conversation going!

From the Vault: Moniqa and Michael

This week we’re going back in time again with two interviews I recorded for the Intersections Project — the predecessor to The Human Tapestry Podcast.

Our first from-the-vault Intersections interview was with Moniqa: a bisexual, demisexual and questioning demi/gray-romantic woman. Through our conversation, I learned how important the word “woman” is to her, and what it means to be demisexual.

Next is Michael: a gay married man who has remained married but separated. We discussed the effect of his identities on his family and life and some resources that have helped him through.

Episode 9: Peter

You may have noticed there wasn’t an episode last week. Unfortunately, since this is a labor of love and not income, my day job took precedence and I wasn’t able to get this out until now. The good news, though, is that we have several episodes coming up, with conversations with old friends and new!

This week, I’m talking with Peter, who you heard in Episode 7 about 3 weeks ago. We caught up on the last four years and talked more about his journey, as well as balancing relationships in this time of quarantine, different forms of intimacy, his work teaching students how to teach sexuality, intimacy, and relationships, and several other topics.

After the recorded interview, Peter and I had a deeper conversation about this podcast, and I realized just how much I’ve learned during the process of putting it together. He challenged me to start writing my thoughts and what I’ve learned from each episode, and I plan to start with this one. So, watch the Human Tapestry feeds for some deep thoughts.

Show Notes

Seth: “Put me in a box, but I won’t fit”

This week, I’m talking with Seth, a queer man whose identity is best defined as, “Put me in a box, but I won’t fit.” He also has a graduate-level education in theology and had some great thoughts about spirituality and identity. We had a great conversation talking about spirituality, gods, labels, drag, moving from tolerance to acceptance to celebration, and much more.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From the Vault: Intersections interview with Peter

This week we’re going back in time to 2016 and the first interview I recorded for the Intersections Project — the predecessor to The Human Tapestry Podcast. Peter is a gay, demisexual, man in a closed-loop relation with his wife and boyfriend. This being the first time I ever did something like this, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it ended up being a great conversation! We covered things like discovering your own sexuality, how living your true identity can literally save your life, finding support, and a host of other topics.

Peter and I met through the group HOW – which stands for Husbands Out to Wives. HOW is an international on-line support group for gay and bisexual men who are married to women and are out to (or working toward coming out to) our wives. Peter and I, along with hundreds of other men, found help and support as we redefined our relationships with our spouses, family members, friends, colleagues, while we learned to understand our own true selves. If you are or know a person who needs this kind of support, you can find out more and join at https://how-support.org.