Ep.25 - Transgender Visibility: Beyond Adjectives | Rachel Kaufman — In a very special episode, and in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility, Candice sits down with her dear friend, Rachel Kaufman. Rachel speaks about how the pandemic impacted her work as a massage therapist and reflects on what it’s like to live as a trans woman during this time of unprecedented political backlash. She generously shares about why she decided to come out as a trans woman, and the many challenges she has faced along the way. She tells us how therapy and a strong support network carried her through her journey of transitioning and speaks to why, as a binary trans woman, she personally yearns to be received plain and simply as a woman, without all the awkwardness and adjectives. Candice digs into why it is we so often inaccurately conflate cognitive dissonance with safety concerns, and the two discuss healthy alternatives to transphobic projections. They explore how misogyny and internalized homophobia so often lead to violence and pathological enforcement of gender norms, and how legislation (even the bills that fail to pass) are actively endangering LGBTQ+ individuals as we speak. Rachel shares tangible examples of how cis gender folks often do harm by treating trans people differently, and she offers some practical tips for self-awareness in an effort to help cis folks up-level their support - from hollow promises of allyship toward meaningful action.

Rachel Kaufman is a neurodivergent transgender woman. She was born and raised in the metro area of Portland, OR and currently resides there with her two sweet puppies and bajillion plant babies. As a queer, polyamorous, sex positive and staunchly feminist person, she holds little space for ideals that seek to dehumanize, alienate, invalidate or otherwise harm the people of her community and beyond. She has been a practicing massage therapist since 2011 and owns Thrive Therapeutic Massage in Oregon City, OR. She is passionate about providing a safe, accepting, healing space for all people, all identities, and all bodies.

Insta: @thrivetherapeuticmassage and @rache_againstthemachine


Ep.25 - Transgender Visibility: Beyond Adjectives | Rachel Kaufman

Welcome to The Deeper Pulse. This is Candice Schutter.

This week I sit down for an important, and rather timely conversation with a very dear friend. I can't wait to share our talk with you. But before I do, a quick story.

When I was 25, I developed a friendship with a fellow dancer at the movement studio where I was taking classes a few times a week. She and I would often have lunch together, and then we'd jump into her red Volkswagen Golf and traipse around the city of Boulder, picking up dogs from their respective homes to take them out for long walks through the winding hiking trails surrounding the Flatirons.

She and I became very close, and I developed strong romantic feelings for her. I did my best to fight against my feelings, but they were too strong. Eventually, I ended the three-year relationship I'd been in with my college sweetheart; and my friend and I began to explore our emotional and physical connection. She and I ended up being together for the next two years.

It was while I was in that relationship that I developed an intimate understanding of the fluidity of both gender and sexuality, as well as how these two things are so often conflated. My partner socially identified as a woman, but revealed to me behind closed doors that they'd never really felt comfortable using binary gender labels.

Now, this was more than two decades ago. And there was, at the time, little to no talk of alternative pronouns and non-binary gender presentation. So my partner, in an effort to self-express, identified as ambigenderous, and very much presented as such.

During our time together, I witnessed an ongoing daily struggle. My partner continually feeling anguish and frustration by the everyday burden of having one's gender policed by misogynistic standards that felt short-sighted, simplistic, dismissive, and soul shattering. I remember them telling me stories of indigenous tribes that celebrated what they called two-spirited humans. My partner's longing to be seen and accepted was palpable. They wanted what we all want, to be honored for who we are. To not be forced to adhere to social expectations that fail to take our unique needs into account.

At the time, my personal challenges paled in comparison. Even so, I was struggling with my own sense of identity, battling with internalized homophobia, and continually fielding endless queries from loved ones regarding my sexual orientation. It was as if suddenly everyone had an urgent need to properly label me and my experience.

"So I don't get it. Are you a lesbian now?" I was honestly never sure how to answer the question. Not only because my partner's gender identity was a vaguery, sort of existing in this gray area, but also because I wasn't sure what it would mean, or I guess maybe it's more honest to say that I was pretty sure what it would mean if I shifted my sexual identity and painted in broad strokes. I was terrified of saying yes, because homophobia. And also I was confused by my previous and very genuine attractions to the men I had been with.

You see, my experience was that I had fallen in love with a person, not a gender, and I didn't have easy answers to any of these questions. So I would answer best I could, shrug, squirm, and quickly change the subject. I was young. I was confused. I was afraid. And I had the privilege of being able to change the subject.

My queer relationship was life-changing, and like any intimate relationship, it was rich with challenge, deep love, and learning. My subsequent primary partnerships have been with men. And this really due to circumstance rather than some decisive hard line regarding my sexuality. Yet, even so I could actively feel the majority of my friends and family relax when I returned to the orientation that they themselves felt most comfortable inhabiting. I was once again, able to speak openly about my relationship and my choices without the same earlier tension that had been present when I was with my former partner. Life got easier for me.

But for millions of humans around the world, conforming to gender conventions and or to heteronormative expressions of love and longing, it's unbearable. Because it means living a lie. The cost to body, heart and soul is too great a price to pay. In such moments, our LGBTQ+ friends and loved ones are forced to choose between other people's comfort and their own deepest truth. They're often marginalized, punished, murdered even for their most authentic self-expression.

It is every soul's right to belong to itself. Nevertheless states across the nation are attempting to pass legislation that strips LGBTQ+ individuals of their rights. This episode will release just a few days after it was recorded, and on the day before Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual event dedicated to transgender people all around the world, designed to raise awareness of discrimination and celebrate their contributions to society. Today it is my honor to sit down with one such human.

Rachel Kaufman is one of the kindest, bravest, wholehearted women that I know. She is a dear friend and a gifted therapeutic massage therapist. She's a truth teller. She's a way-shower. And she is a woman, who also happens to be trans. She and I met in 2018, when I was living in Portland. We were both in the same business networking group. And since then, we've maintained a friendship despite a pandemic and the geographic distance between us. In light of current events, namely the unprecedented number of attacks on trans rights, I asked if she might sit down and talk with me. I'm so thrilled and honored that she agreed.

Rachel shares her story openly and together we get a little fired up about all things feminist, and rightfully so. Please keep in mind, especially if you have little ones around, that this episode features a bit of profanity here and there. But that's what happens when you get two women together to discuss their rights and the challenges of keeping it real in a culture where bodily autonomy is denied to so many. It's a powerful discussion.

And spending this time with Rachel, it changed me. I hope it speaks to your heart as well. Let's jump in. Thank you for doing this.

Rachel Kaufman: 6:55
Of course. Thank you for inviting me.

Candice Schutter: 6:58
Of course, I'm just really touched that you said yes. And I'm excited because I really wanted to see you when I came into Portland in the fall and it didn't work out. And also I really wanted a massage, because I love your work so much. So that we have this excuse to connect is just such a thrill.

Rachel Kaufman: 7:18
Yeah, it's pretty cool. Pretty cool. How are you?

Candice Schutter: 7:22
I am good. I just went to a swimming pool just so I could use the shower. Cause we haven't had water at our house for this is day five.

Rachel Kaufman: 7:29
Right. How are you doing with that?.

Candice Schutter: 7:32
I'm good. I mean all in all it sucks because we have to replace all the plumbing in the house. So it's probably going to be at least another week.

Rachel Kaufman: 7:38
All the plumbing?

Candice Schutter: 7:40
All the plumbing. Yeah. So they're going to cut holes in our walls in all the rooms and re pipe everything.

Rachel Kaufman: 7:47
That is wild.

Candice Schutter: 7:49
It's crazy. But you know, we're really privileged because we're in a position where we have the time and bandwidth to do this and we live in a development where there's a pool and a shower, and we have really great neighbors. We go over there every few hours and fill up gallon jugs of water so we can flush our toilets. And for now I just keep saying to myself, it's like camping.

Rachel Kaufman: 8:10
Sure, it's like camping. Yeah. Cool.

Candice Schutter: 8:14
I'm boiling water on the stove, it's like camping, just to wash my face. So yeah, I have a pretty good attitude. That's

Rachel Kaufman: 8:21
Good. I, well, I'm glad you can find some fucking humor in it, right? Yeah.

Candice Schutter: 8:26
Exactly. Well, you have to, you have to. Yeah, exactly. So, so here we are with our lives. Life just keeps lifing at us nonstop. And, you know, I just want to say before we dive in that I don't have an agenda for this. I just want to do this with you.

Rachel Kaufman: 8:45
Right. Right.

Candice Schutter: 8:46
So wherever we end up going is just right.

Rachel Kaufman: 8:49
Cool. I appreciate that.

Candice Schutter: 8:51
As I mentioned, I just love the work that you do, so how did the pandemic impact your business?

Rachel Kaufman: 8:57
Really significantly. So because of the nature of my work, I work with a lot of people who have a lot of comorbidities, right. So it would be especially impactful for them if they were to get COVID. And so that had to be, like, a really big part of how I conducted things moving forward. So obviously, I got shut down from about March until June. So I was out for three months. I was able to apply for unemployment during that period. So that kind of covered my expenses for everything, but like, it didn't really leave anything leftover. And then, when I went back to work, I just kind of had to slowly rebuild my clients again. A lot of my clients weren't ready to come back, and a lot of my clients never did come back. I think a lot of things changed for a lot of people, obviously. Um, but yeah, so I decided to limit the number of people that I was seeing in a day. I decided to limit the length of time that I was spending with people. So I stopped doing longer sessions. Initially I think I was only seeing up to eight clients in a week. And then, you know, as things started to kind of look like they were calming down and kind of normalizing, then I opened up my schedule a little bit more. And then I really had to think about like, you know, cause everybody we're wearing masks through the whole session and everything. And like, you know, I'm wiping down every single surface that I can wipe down and everything. Cause like at that point we were just like, we don't know how this thing spreads. Right. And so it was just like, going further than was probably necessary, but that was fine. Right. Cause like my safety, my client's safety was top priority. And it just, not being able to see people's faces. Cause you know, you've seen me, like we sit down and we talk. Yeah. We kind of check in and see where things are and I need that visual feedback. Right. And, to be missing like half of somebody's face, it was a hard adjustment to make.

Candice Schutter: 11:17
Especially when people are, I mean, I've sat with you in a session in your massage room and the way that you listen, when you ask, you know, what's going on and I can feel you reading much more than my words in terms of how to treat me. Cause you're very empathic as a practitioner. And there's a lot of information that, you're right, I hadn't really thought of it that way, but there's a lot of information that you were missing in terms of feedback, even in there laying on the table. You can read, you know, their body language and you're very good at that. And also you're missing all of this pertinent information. It was, yeah, it was weird to adjust to. And I'm, I have adjusted to it. We're still wearing masks even though Oregon has lifted the mask mandate. Like I said, because of the nature of the types of clients that I work with. They're the people that I need to be concerned about, right? So everybody has to comply with that. Um. mmhmm, yeah.

Rachel Kaufman: 12:11
So yeah, it took about a year to, like, rebuild. and I'm still rebuilding, but I feel like things are kind of back to a normal flow. And, um, yeah, it's just been wild. It's been a wild ride.

Candice Schutter: 12:32
Yeah. Well, all the more so I would imagine. You said that you decided to transition in January.

Rachel Kaufman: 12:40
I decided to come out. Yeah, so I... I came to the realization that I was trans in August of 2019. Um, and, you know, that was a couple of years of processing and, like, just learning how to even approach that, was just a lot, a large part of that process. Like learning that, this is my truth and this is what I have to face, and this is what I have to learn to accept about myself. And that, that took a lot. And then, in August, it all just kind of came to a head and, you know, of course, because life is life. Like I was dealing with a lot of heavy things, not just that, you know, not just a gender transition, my mom was in hospice. And yeah, I had been dealing with a lot of things. And so, I had actually come out, initially, to mutual friend of ours. I had met them for coffee and I was like, you know, at this point I had that like grand revelation of like, this is my reality. This is who I am. And then I have to figure out what to do with that. And so I had the coffee appointment and, I sent her a text beforehand and I was like, okay, so I've been going through some things and I need you to know blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And what that means is I'm going to be showing up in a dress. And she was like, cool, I got you. Yeah.

Candice Schutter: 14:15
Good for her.

Rachel Kaufman: 14:16
And you know...

Candice Schutter: 14:18
I know who you're speaking of. Bless her.

Rachel Kaufman: 14:20
I love her so much.

Candice Schutter: 14:22
Yeah. She's a wonderful human.

Rachel Kaufman: 14:24
And she met me at the door and she gave me a giant hug. And from that point I was like, I'm going to be okay. I know I have good people. I know I have people who are going to hold me, and they did, and I'm here. But I really had to consider how that was going to impact my business. I really had to consider like, you know, being a self-employed woman is hard enough as it is to be a self-employed trans woman is like, I don't know how to do this. I don't know how people are going to respond to me, especially in the type of work that I do, you know, massage therapy you're being very intimate in a closed space with people who are very vulnerable. And when I was presenting more masculine, like that was challenging enough, right. Because people come with default safety concerns. And then, at that time there was a lot of turmoil like, I think the whole trans bathroom bill thing was trying to go around. And so it's like, you know, from the media standpoint, like you have this narrative that we're threatening. And so that's playing in the background while I'm like, how am I even going to do this? And so I was just kind of like switching between modes. Like I'd go to work and present masculine. I'd get off work. I'd come home, I'd present more feminine. And, I did that for awhile.

Candice Schutter: 15:51
That must've been so exhausting.

Rachel Kaufman: 15:52
Yeah, it was, it was. Cause you're like, you're stuck in between these two different lives. Like, one foot in this life that you know, isn't... it doesn't belong to you, right? And the other foot is in this life that like, you know, is yours and you want to start moving in that direction and you need to start moving in that direction, but there's all this fear. There's all this unknown. There's all this like, what am I going to lose in this? And can I lose that? And like, honestly, that's what keeps people in the closet... is that fear of loss. And that fear of safety.

Candice Schutter: 16:32

Rachel Kaufman: 16:34
Or rather fear for safety. And then it just got to a point where, like, the pain and the discomfort of not being who I am wholly and completely outweighed the discomfort of the fear. And it just, it came to a head and I was like, I can't do this anymore. I can't keep living this duality that isn't me, right? And you know, that's my experience. That's not every trans person's experience. And, gender identity is this ocean of experience. But that was, that was my experience, right? I am a binary trans woman. I identify like solidly female. And, so for me like that in-between space was pretty, pretty unbearable.

Candice Schutter: 17:27
At what point did you seek the support of a therapist to help you with all this?

Rachel Kaufman: 17:31
So, I had been seeing a therapist for a couple of years at that point. I started seeing a therapist after my dad passed away in 2015. And honestly, I think that played a large role in, like, the realization of who I am. Um, cause it...

Candice Schutter: 17:52
Your father's passing?

Rachel Kaufman: 17:53

Candice Schutter: 17:55
Therapy, okay.

Rachel Kaufman: 17:56
Um, also my father's passing. I forget that sometimes, like there's, there's a big role in that, that like pushed me in the closet at a much younger age. But I'm not going to get into that right now. So yeah, I had started seeing a therapist and, you know, just the work that you do in therapy, you're opening those boxes, right? Like you're opening boxes and you're going through them. And you're taking inventory of what's in there and what you need to process and what you need to feel and experience. And that work, I think is ultimately what led me to the path of like, here's the big, scary box that's in the back of your mind. Right? Like that thing that has chains around it, we should probably open that up and figure out what the hell is in there. Um.

Candice Schutter: 18:47

Rachel Kaufman: 18:47
And so, I was seeing counseling interns through William Temple House, which is a nonprofit organization here. They provide sliding scale counseling services. The catch is that you're only working with your therapist for about a year. And then there's a lag period until the new school year starts and you have the new set of interns that come in. And so there was typically about a three-ish months period in between where you would be waiting to be assigned a therapist. The therapist that I had been seeing prior to my transition had moved to Australia halfway through our year. And then they were like, well, we're going to reassign you a new therapist and they never did. So, in the course of that, like the meltdown happened and I had to white knuckle a lot of that. Um, and it was scary. It was scary. And I almost didn't make it through that. And fortunately I have really, really amazing people in my life who were open and who I could talk to and kind of share some of that uncertainty with. I knew without a doubt, I don't have to worry about judgment or what my friends are going to think of me, because I will say that I've done a really good job of cultivating amazing people in my life. Um,

Candice Schutter: 20:14
Like attracts like.

Rachel Kaufman: 20:15

Candice Schutter: 20:16
Mmhmm. Yeah.

Rachel Kaufman: 20:19
If, yes. Thank you.

Candice Schutter: 20:21
It's true. It's the truth. I know your heart. Your heart is very present in the way that you interact. So it would make sense that you would attract relationships where... like I feel when I'm with you, I feel very much your presence and I feel very much seen. And so for you to have people in your life who see you, that's what I mean, like attracts like. You give that very abundantly, so... and I'm relieved and grateful that you had that during that particularly during that time in your life. It's huge.

Rachel Kaufman: 20:53
It was necessary. And yeah, I, I wouldn't have been able to do it without that.

Candice Schutter: 20:59

Rachel Kaufman: 21:00
So I started transitioning at the end of August, and by like mid September, they had assigned me a new therapist who I still see today. They are fantastic. Initially, I was like, I don't know about this person. And my dead name was in my file. Like, it had happened so quickly. There was no updating it. And, you know, I was seeing the therapist for the first time and you can't really get in touch with them directly. There wasn't an opportunity to really prepare them for what was going on. And I was like, you know what, I'm just going to go as me, and see how this goes.

Candice Schutter: 21:35

Rachel Kaufman: 21:36
And they just, they just held me. They held space, and they were a huge integral part to helping me navigate the early parts of my transition. I'm so grateful for them. Yeah.

Candice Schutter: 21:51
And you're letting yourself feel all of it. I mean that's so healthy. Yeah. Yeah. Did that used to be hard for you to feel your feelings like, that openly in front of people?

Rachel Kaufman: 22:05
It's always been hard to, to just let things be right. Like, especially before my transition. There was just like a lot of managing. Like, I have to, you know, keep compartmentalizing, right? Keep this in its little place and keep this in its little place. Nobody can interact with each other. Cause like there was a lot that I was trying to hold at bay. And then I stopped trying to hold it all at bay and I just let it come. And now we're here.

Candice Schutter: 22:38
Yes, we are. Thank heavens.

Rachel Kaufman: 22:42
Yes, exactly. Oh my God. It's harder in a lot of ways, but I, um, I feel more at home in myself, in my body, in my mind, in my experience, like I just get to experience myself now, instead of trying to compartmentalize everything. And so, um, here's to that.

Candice Schutter: 23:07
Yeah. How are you now?

Rachel Kaufman: 23:10
How am I now? Um, I'm still learning. The focus has changed. The uncertainty has changed. Like, I feel very secure in my identity and very secure in my understanding of myself as a person. But I also know that like, you're never done, you're never done growing. You're never done learning about yourself. We always surprise ourselves. Um, and so now that's like, the majority of my journey is just like, kind of back to where I was before, but different. You know?

Candice Schutter: 23:49
Yeah. What would you say is the most significant difference for you internally now that you've transitioned? How do you feel that that has impacted your life?

Rachel Kaufman: 23:59
That's a really hard question to answer. I would say that, internally, things feel more free. Like I allow myself to express myself in the way that I had always wanted to. I don't have to mask that anymore, right? Like I don't have to feel embarrassed when I like something that I like. And that, you know, obviously that was like... okay, you want to talk about internally? It was shocking to discover how much internalized transphobia and how much internalized misogyny was just like there. When I started to really look at things, and that was a big part of the processing was, you know, why is this my narrative? Why is it okay for other people to have this experience, but it's not okay for me to have this experience? And ultimately, the answer to that was I didn't want to be viewed as less-than. Like my view of being a woman meant that I was less than being a man. And, like that one hit me really hard. Cause it's like, even before transitioning, I was a staunch feminist, and I am still a staunch feminist. Um, and so to find that was like, just really appalling. But that message just permeates everything in our society.

Candice Schutter: 25:35
Yes, it does.

Rachel Kaufman: 25:36
Um, and so it was understanding that and knowing that like, okay, this is here and this is something that I need to address and let go of, and rewrite that narrative. So many narratives that like just needed to be rewritten and still needed to be rewritten. Um,

Candice Schutter: 25:57

Rachel Kaufman: 25:58
It feels good to be rid of that, but also it reminds me that there is just so much more that just needs to change externally, right? In our environment and how we socialize with each other, how we view each other. Like we have so far to go.

Candice Schutter: 26:19
We do. We really do. So much of the stigma being projected onto trans women is really symptomatic of this internalized misogyny that...

Rachel Kaufman: 26:31

Candice Schutter: 26:33
It's like, we don't know the water we swim in. It's like, there's this permeating message that all things feminine are, as you said, less than. Are weak. Um, are, I mean, we could go on and on and on. And so I think that a lot of that internalized anxiety, I mean, you see it even happening among women who claim to be "feminist," towards trans women. It's so clearly this internalized sexism. It's pretending to be something else, but it is this... it's about as antithetical to feminism, as you can possibly get to diminish any woman for her choices. And yet it's, like I was listening to a conversation. Dr. Karen Franklin was being interviewed and she's a forensic specialist and she's studied violence against people of different sexual orientations and marginalized people, according to their gender identity and all of this. And she's, she's found all of these things, but the sort of through line underneath the underneath, talk about the deeper pulse of it all, is that this aggression is about enforcing these gender norms often. And that if you peel back the labels that the person who's being aggressive uses to justify their actions, and you look at the undercurrent underneath it, it's like the violence is against femininity itself.

Rachel Kaufman: 27:52
It is.

Candice Schutter: 27:54
However, it presents. In pretty much every instance. And it's not about trans woman. It's not about lesbian. It's not about gay man. That it's about femininity. And part of why I felt so passionately called for us to have this conversation is that as women, we need to come together and speak to that real issue. And I don't know, I don't know what the fuck to do exactly... quite honestly, but I know that we need to do something, even though we don't know what the fuck to do. But, but having these conversations and really stopping the... and you spoke to this a little bit when we spoke before about having this talk, and I want you to speak to this, if you would, like you were talking about compartmentalizing within yourself, but even societaly among women, this compartmentalization that we do. And then we have these conversations around like trans women. We have these conversations around people who identify as lesbian or people who identify cis and, and all these different kinds of violence. And they all need to be had in their proper context. Each of those conversations, don't get me wrong. And yet this continual thread, which is around bodily autonomy, and it being denied per the socialization. Per this toxic masculine, misogynistic, patriarchal culture that we live in. These are the types of conversations I think are so important because if we don't talk about the socialization, then we're just putting a band-aid on this massive wound. That again, I don't know how to address exactly, but I know that centering voices that are often marginalized and labeled as other is a big part of it.

Rachel Kaufman: 29:32
And listening to those voices, right? Like you can...

Candice Schutter: 29:36
Yes, yes.

Rachel Kaufman: 29:37
You can center those voices all day long, but if that voice comes back to you and that. Hey, this thing that you're doing this way, that you're interacting with me is hurtful and it's harmful. And it's dangerous. If you're not willing to hear that message, centering marginalized voices doesn't mean anything at all. And you know that, we saw that with the Black Lives Matter movement. Where'd that go? It's still there. We're just not paying attention to it anymore. We were like, we want to hear your story. And then when they told their story, that was too fucking real for us to hear. And so we just, okay, cool. Like, hey I'm your ally, but I'm not actually going to do anything to actually dismantle that system because it's our system.

Candice Schutter: 30:32
Yeah. That we're benefiting from, per privilege. And so we would have to be uncomfortable in order to do something about it. And people aren't willing to be uncomfortable, myself included, you know, I'm not, I'm not putting myself on any sort of high horse. That's the mirror we have to look in.

Rachel Kaufman: 30:49
And that's hard mirror to look in, right? It's hard to come to that realization that, holy shit, this is something that is in congruent with who I am and the core of my being. But I have to acknowledge that because if I don't, I can't change it. And if somebody is telling me that the way that I am interacting with them is harmful, it's their experience. I can't be the one who says it is or isn't. Right. As the oppressor, we don't get to decide what oppression looks like. And so, when we want to hear from marginalized voices, we actually have to listen. We actually have to hear what they say. And if it matters to you that something be different than it has to change, right? Like it has to start internally, and then you have to be willing to fucking speak up. When people claim allyship without action, it's meaningless. And that, you know, that applies to trans people that applies to everyone in the LGBT+ community, but it also applies to anyone who's marginalized. Right. Um, The fixation around like the threat of trans people, but trans women specifically right now is absurd. Like it's ridiculous. And I kind of went on a rant about this yesterday, that it's, it's not about women's sports. You don't care about women's sports. You didn't before.

Candice Schutter: 32:29

Rachel Kaufman: 32:30
Right? Like you don't care about that. Let's be real. It's not about protecting children from making wrong decisions, because our country doesn't protect children. It's about erasing trans people. It's about being so uncomfortable with the idea that the thing that you thought was set in stone, the thing that was black and white, the thing that was easy, isn't as easy as you think it is. And that makes you uncomfortable. And because you are uncomfortable, you have to squash that discomfort. And by doing that, you are squashing us. You have to snuff us out of existence in any way that you can. And a lot of times like that's through political means, a lot of times that's through physical violence. There are 23 states in America... this is amazing, this is, I was blown away to learn this. There are 23 states where it's still acceptable to proclaim gay panic as your defense against murdering somebody of the LGBT community. Because you were afraid for your sexuality. Like, oh, I found out she has a penis. I get to murder her. Right. Because, because why, because you were so distraught over that fact that you lost all sense of ability to control yourself and you murdered someone and that's okay. Like that's okay.

Candice Schutter: 34:03
Yeah. Severely fucked up. Yeah.

Rachel Kaufman: 34:07
The attack against trans people, it's never about the issue. It wasn't about bathrooms. It's not about women's sports. It's not about kids making decisions that are irreversible, because guess what? Generally speaking, they just go on puberty blockers, which is like nothing. It literally just stops you from having puberty and then once you stop them, you start going through puberty, whatever that looks like for you. Right.

Candice Schutter: 34:34
Right. It's not about, it's not about protecting children.

Rachel Kaufman: 34:37
It's not about protecting those people. It's about asking us to not exist and demanding that we don't exist.

Candice Schutter: 34:47
The danger aside from just the understandable disgust at these, these bills from all these different states all over the nation. It's so important to really underscore the impact that even if, and in many cases, in some states these bills are passing, which is just frightening; even if, just the propaganda of the bill itself put so many people in danger. If you look back in the days of lynching, and when lynchings went up was when political soundbites were getting thrown out and when policies were put into place and people who have this fear of feeling this discomfort, and it comes out in expressions of violence. They feel emboldened when they hear a politician.

Rachel Kaufman: 35:32
They do. They really do.

Candice Schutter: 35:33
Say certain things. And it literally translates statistically into violence against marginalized people, whomever they may be. And it's so imperative that we understand that it's not as simple as, yes, we need to make sure that these bills don't pass. And the fact that they're even being talked about is a huge problem. It's a danger and it's literally increasing rates of violence because people feel emboldened.

Rachel Kaufman: 35:57
It is a privilege to not have your existence debated.

Candice Schutter: 36:02
Say that again. That's really important.

Rachel Kaufman: 36:04
It's a privilege to not have your existence debated. And the worst part is, we don't really have a voice in it... in that debate. We don't get to defend ourselves because this is happening at such a high level that it's, we just get to sit back and watch and see what the result is. And like you said, whether or not a bill passes when you give hate footing, people who hold those beliefs feel emboldened.

Candice Schutter: 36:36
Yeah. I mean, we see that with the expressions of white supremacy, especially through the Trump administration.

Rachel Kaufman: 36:41

Candice Schutter: 36:42
Perfect example.

Rachel Kaufman: 36:43
It's okay for me to express my disdain for these people. And there is this belief that's going around, and it's been going on for a while and it really came up with the Trump administration. People who spew hatred, like to turn that narrative around. You know, well, this is, this is my identity. This is who I get to be. And it's like, the difference between my identity and your identity is mine is within myself, right? This is my expression of myself. Your identity is actually harming other people. Your identity is wrapped up in dehumanizing other people and taking away their power, and demanding that they don't exist. Those are two very different things. Asking people to be accepting is not infringing on your identity, except when your identity is wrapped up in harming other people.

Candice Schutter: 37:45
Exactly. Yeah. I just want to pause here, because this is really important in terms of self-awareness. Whatever kind of privilege we have when we suddenly feel invested in how and if, and when someone's expressing themselves in the world, we know that we are identifying with some sort of social conditioning. Because ultimately it should and is none of our business in every sense of the phrase.

Rachel Kaufman: 38:13
Literally, none of our business.

Candice Schutter: 38:15
And when we feel a charge around someone else's choice and that choice is in no way infringing upon our rights or impacting us directly, then you can be sure that you're up against an implicit bias that's operating and guiding your actions, your judgments. I spoke to you about an interview that I heard Laverne Cox do with Brene Brown, and they were talking about the bathroom bill at the time. And Laverne made such a wonderful point in terms of the way she encapsulated it. So if a trans woman walks into the women's restroom and a CIS woman has an emotional response, because for whatever reason she perceives that this is a trans woman and the discomfort is there's someone in the room that is presenting different than the gender norm that I'm accustomed to. And the point that Laverne was making that I think is so critical for all of us to be aware of, myself included, is that when we feel uncomfortable, and when I say uncomfortable, I mean, this is different, it's just what happens in the mind and the body. Cognitive dissonance is a very real thing, like, I don't know how to negotiate this. This is different.

Rachel Kaufman: 39:19
When I see something unusual and it makes me uncomfortable, because it's not familiar.

Candice Schutter: 39:24
Right, exactly. Just in normal human response. That discomfort unfortunately, is often... and we see this a lot with Karen's calling the police, right? Like, that discomfort is my discomfort and it does not equate to being unsafe.

Rachel Kaufman: 39:41

Candice Schutter: 39:42
And that critical awareness, if enough people could develop enough self-awareness to notice just because I'm uncomfortable, doesn't mean that I'm unsafe. That my discomfort is not something that I need to project onto another person and decide that because I feel something, they're the source of this feeling. And therefore I need... that's privilege at work. That's entitlement at work. I'm uncomfortable, I need you to be different so that I can be comfortable. It's ingrained in all of us for whatever kind of privilege we have. And we have to check that shit.

Rachel Kaufman: 40:14
You had mentioned, you know, a trans woman goes into a bathroom. And, maybe she doesn't present as what a person might expect, atypical cis woman to present to as. And for those who are listening, I want to address cis gender real quick. Cause I feel like there's been some conflation with like, oh, don't call me a cis woman because that's a slur or something. All cis gender means is that you identify with the gender that you were assigned at your birth. That's all, that means. Literally, all that means. So when we're talking about cisgender women, we're talking about people who identify as the gender they were assigned when they were born. Um, it's an adjective. So this person doesn't present in the way that you would expect a cis woman to present as. And it makes this person have that, like, huh, response, right? That response is ultimately what we need to address. That response is coming from something. That response is coming from a narrative that has been written over and over and over again, which is that men are predators. Which, men can be predators, and usually when there is an assault of a predatory nature, that women fear, it is being conducted by men. That is valid. That is a concern to have. However, if your concern with a man presenting as a woman to attack women is the whole reason behind your argument for preventing trans women from using the bathroom that fits their gender identity, your issue isn't with trans women, your issue is with predatory men.

Candice Schutter: 42:05
Amen. Yes, yes, yes.

Rachel Kaufman: 42:07
In addition to that, not all CIS women present in the way that you expect cis woman to present. Some cis woman present very masculinely, some cis women go through a very different puberty. Not everyone is the same. And so when you start to assign a visual appearance of what a trans person looks like, you are going to lump other people in who are not trans people. You are going to lump in cis-gender people because they don't present in the way that you expect them. And so your idea of how a woman is supposed to present is rooted in misogyny. And it is rooted in white supremacy. And it is rooted in colonialism. Women and men, humans, in general, come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes.

Candice Schutter: 43:02
And might I add, there's not the same obsession with policing men's bodies. It's as if we just pretend that that straight up glaring difference doesn't exist.

Rachel Kaufman: 43:14
In some cases there is policing of bodies, right? Obviously.

Candice Schutter: 43:18
Of course, there's always exceptions.

Rachel Kaufman: 43:19

Candice Schutter: 43:20
Never always, yes.

Rachel Kaufman: 43:21
When it comes to fertility, especially, like, you know. So before I realized that I was a trans woman, one thing that I did know was that I did not want to have kids. Absolutely did not want to have kids. I knew that from like eight years old. And I was 34 when I finally had insurance that I could use to take care of that. And so, I asked to have a vasectomy. And they said, okay.

Candice Schutter: 43:54
No problem. Yes, sir.

Rachel Kaufman: 43:56
And here's why this is remarkable because every single woman that I know who has had any kind of surgical intervention for fertility has had to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop after hoop, just to get to the point where the doctor says, okay, maybe we can consider tying your tubes or, you know, whatever that looks like. Right. I knew that I didn't want to have kids. They never questioned that. They never questioned, well, maybe one day, you will want to have kids. Right? That's always, always the narrative. You may want to have kids one day because that's your job, your baby makers, right? Like that's why you were put here. And I've been with partners through that experience. I've watched it. I have literally had to stop myself from punching a doctor. Because she has a uterus and a vagina, she doesn't get to decide whether or not she wants to go through that process. Like, excuse me. I literally, hey, can I get a referral for a vasectomy? And they're like right on it within a week,

Candice Schutter: 45:09
Yeah. What a unique perspective to be able to have, that you've presented as both man and woman, and you get to see and experience firsthand the difference in terms of how you're treated.

Rachel Kaufman: 45:22
And there is a difference. There's a big difference and women know this. There is a narrative that like sexism doesn't exist. Sexism is made up. We're all treated as equals and that's not true. I've been on both sides of that. I've seen both sides of it. Um, the gatekeeping around bodily autonomy for trans people is absurd. It is ridiculous. So remember that story that I told you about coming to the realization that I was trans. Remember how I said that that took like a couple of years to actually come to. Yeah. Yeah. I'd been thinking about this for years. And so when I say I want this procedure because it will help me better feel at home in my body. I mean that. It's not something that I just woke up one morning and said, do you know what would be really cool? Not having testicles. I think I'm going to do that, right? Nobody does that. Nobody does that.

Candice Schutter: 46:23

Rachel Kaufman: 46:24
This is something that we have sat with and thought through over and over and over in our heads, like I have rolled this over in my brain a million times. This is not something that I'm doing on a whim. And yet I have to talk with several psychiatric personnel, have them write me a letter that saying, yes, I'm trans enough. Um, and then have exceptionally long wait periods between the time that I get that referral, and to when I have that consultation, and to when I have that surgery. Because you need more time just in case you want to change your mind. And I get it. Some people do change their mind. But the assumption is coming from a place that we haven't given it enough thought. That this is just something that we woke up one morning and decided we were going to do.

Candice Schutter: 47:17
Well, and the implication also can't be ignored that there's something wrong about the choice, so you really should sleep on it.

Rachel Kaufman: 47:23
Yeah. Yeah.

Candice Schutter: 47:24
You should sleep on it a little longer. Like, I can't even name all of the different like internalized fuck-up-eries that are interacting there. But it's coming out as projection.

Rachel Kaufman: 47:34
Can I steal that? I wanna steal that. Internalized fuck-up-eries.

Candice Schutter: 47:37
It's true. Yeah. Cause there's... it's like the whole thing is so complicated and yet it's not in terms of what it stems from. Like the patriarchy and the white supremacy blah-la-la-la we have all these words. It's all built this big knot of internalized sexism, like just so many things. And this is what I would imagine would be really infuriating. I know it's infuriating just trying to do things with my own body as a cis woman, even more so as a trans woman attempting to do right by yourself with gender affirming care. And it's infuriating when it's this gaslighting. Like, oh, it's you, who needs to think a little bit on this. Oh, it's you, who's making the improper decision here. And this lack of accountability of like, you're trying to get me to do something different because of you. This has nothing to do with me.

Rachel Kaufman: 48:28
And to be clear, I'm not advocating that when you're considering making a permanent life-changing decision, that you shouldn't talk to somebody about it, but it's the assumption that we haven't talked to somebody about it. It's the assumption that we haven't given it, the consideration that we should be giving it. Right.

Candice Schutter: 48:50
And the default to the gender norm, just like the default to white supremacy. This is the very thing that we hear Black and Brown folks talking about all the time. It's just, what is the default and how that just becomes normalized to such a degree that it seems "healthy" to project this default onto other people.

Rachel Kaufman: 49:07
And it's not. It's the default, because it's easy. It's the default, because well, that's just the way that we've always done things. How many times have you found yourself in a job, and you're like, why do you do things this way? This is ridiculous. And they're like, well, that's just the way we do things, right?

Candice Schutter: 49:24
Yeah. Or in a family dynamic, you know, like, you're your own nuclear family. It's like, what are we even doing? And you don't realize until you leave your family and then you realize that shit was batshit crazy.

Rachel Kaufman: 49:34
Default is not always the best option.

Candice Schutter: 49:38
No, most certainly not.

Rachel Kaufman: 49:39
Often it's not the best option.

Candice Schutter: 49:42
Yeah. Often it's not. The default is often dishonest because the default is not connected to what is in the moment. And what's real and alive. The default is just simply a default and it negates people and needs and bodies.

Rachel Kaufman: 49:55
So the default in trans medicine is that those decisions are made by cisgender people. That's fucking irony right there. Right?

Candice Schutter: 50:05
Just like decisions about women's reproductive rights are made by a bunch of white men in suits.

Rachel Kaufman: 50:10
At least the people who are making decisions about the course of transgender medicine are actually doctors.

Candice Schutter: 50:16
It's true.

Rachel Kaufman: 50:17
That's the one-upside.

Candice Schutter: 50:18
This is true. Way to find the silver lining there.

Rachel Kaufman: 50:23
Seriously though. Your body is being governed by people who one don't have a uterus and think they know best. Politicians.

Candice Schutter: 50:33
Who are, as we speak, attempting to govern your body in the same exact way, yet different. I mean, that's really kind of, one of the takeaways I want to come from our conversation is it's the same.

Rachel Kaufman: 50:44
It's the same fight.

Candice Schutter: 50:44
We're fighting for the same. It's the same fight. Absolutely. And it's obviously different in important ways that we need to talk about. And it's essentially, if you're not pissed off about what's happening to trans folks, and you're pissed off about...

Rachel Kaufman: 50:59
Roe vs. Wade being questioned. How's that?

Candice Schutter: 51:02
Roe vs. Wade. Exactly. It's like, you haven't peeled back enough layers to really understand what the fight is about.

Rachel Kaufman: 51:10
Because what it comes down to is our identities, our autonomy as human beings and our ability to make choices for ourselves.

Candice Schutter: 51:21
I wonder if you want to circle back to the conversation about adjectives.

Rachel Kaufman: 51:26
I do, thank you. So, going back to adjectives, especially since we're talking about your fight for your autonomy, my fight for my autonomy. And I'm going to preface this with the statement that I don't speak for all trans people. I am one individual trans person who has had their experience with the world. And while it reflects an experience and ideals of many people, I don't speak for everyone. Um, amongst binary, trans people, be that binary trans women, binary trans men, there is that distinction, right? "Trans" that, that adjective in the front. And as I said earlier, when we say cis women, we mean somebody who identifies as their gender assigned at birth, when we say trans, we mean somebody who doesn't, that's what that means. At the end of the day, I am a woman. And there will be people out there who debate that. And again, it's a privilege to not have your existence debated. But what I know for myself is that I am a woman. And trans men are men. And I would love to experience a day where that adjective just doesn't exist. Right. I am a woman just as you are a woman. But unfortunately, I have that adjective. And unfortunately, what that means is that I get treated differently because of that adjective. And anyone who is listening to this, and if you have a trans person in your life, this is really important for you to sit down and chew on and consider. Because what I notice is that the way that I am spoken to, the way that I am interacted with, is different than how people would interact with cis women. I'm not saying all the time, you know, there are those relationships in my life where people who are close to me, they don't treat me differently. And that's amazing. And I love that because that's, that's the point, right.

Candice Schutter: 53:39

Rachel Kaufman: 53:40
Is to be me and be treated as such, and be respected as such. Um, you and I had talked, when we had that first conversation, one of the things that I brought up was talking about medical transition with trans people. And what I think is really, really important that people understand is that is a conversation that you let trans people bring up. And this is one of the distinctions of what I'm referring to when I say drop the fucking adjective. You don't walk up to your cis friends and say, hey, how's that vagina of yours? What are you doing with that? That's not a question that ever comes across your mind.

Candice Schutter: 54:26
No, no.

Rachel Kaufman: 54:30
Leave it alone. Just leave it alone. If a person wants to have that conversation with you, awesome. Because that means they trust you, and they feel safe enough to have that conversation with you. Um, for many of us, that's a very, very personal thing.

Candice Schutter: 54:44

Rachel Kaufman: 54:45
If they don't, don't ask. Like, please don't ask.

Candice Schutter: 54:51
You know, one of the things that I'm really committed to in this podcast is how do we develop self-awareness around things? Self-awareness.

Rachel Kaufman: 54:57

Candice Schutter: 54:59
Self. Awareness. And so, when I hear you describing this desire to be treated as the woman that you are without the adjective being sort of tethered to every interaction, aside from people, very intrusively asking about a trans person's private medical history. What are some other ways that you notice when you say I notice that I'm treated different than a cis woman, is it more like a feeling or is there anything else that you notice around that?

Rachel Kaufman: 55:33
So part of it is a feeling, right? You get that sense of when somebody is like effortfully addressing you versus just casually addressing you. Does it feel effortful?... would be one form of self-awareness? Does my interaction with how I refer to this person, how I interact with this person feel effortful? That being said, when it comes to people who knew me before my transition, um, I actually had this happen with me, to me. Somebody was recounting a story of some interaction that we had many, many years ago. And she said, you know, when you were dead name. So deadname is what we refer to the name that we carried before our transition. So she was like, you know, when you were dead name, and I'm like, no, no. And I get that can be, how do you talk about somebody prior to their transition? And you can literally just say that, you know, before you transitioned, remember this time. But the chances are, you probably don't even need to point that out.

Candice Schutter: 56:45
How is that relevant to the story, right, right. So that's a revealing in itself, right? I did know you before you transitioned.

Rachel Kaufman: 56:57
Yes, you did.

Candice Schutter: 56:58
And I learned about your transition on Facebook. You, sharing your process and... not that it's about me. I know that sounds absurd to even say, but I just think there's such a tendency to speak so much about how we feel about other people's choices when it's fucking irrelevant.

Rachel Kaufman: 57:16
That's a big one. That's a really big one. Yes, yes.

Candice Schutter: 57:20
Yeah. I just really want to name that.

Rachel Kaufman: 57:21
Consider how it makes me feel. It's like, well, it's not about. I'm sorry. It's not about you.

Candice Schutter: 57:28
Which I think is another point to your, I guess sort of that sense of objectification and dehumanizing. And things that you would never do in any other interaction with your cis friends. So I think it's worth naming.

Rachel Kaufman: 57:43
A gender transition is a unique experience. You're probably not going to experience that with your cis friends, but yes, at the end of the day, I'm the one who has to live in this body. I'm the one who has to experience this existence. So it's absolutely not about you and what makes you feel comfortable.

Candice Schutter: 58:05

Rachel Kaufman: 58:07
It's about me.

Candice Schutter: 58:08
Yeah exactly.

Rachel Kaufman: 58:12

Candice Schutter: 58:14
The piece I wanted to share with you just in terms of your work was for me as somebody who, I just find this part fascinating, so if this sounds fucked up, then you can just tell me, but like my experience of you as a woman is like, it just makes so much sense to me. And one of the reasons is because when you were doing bodywork on me, I'm a sexual trauma survivor. And I remember coming home and telling Chris, cause you did deep work on my psoas. I mean, we were doing some really intimate stuff, connected to trauma. I mean, it was deep. I feel teary even thinking about it. It was deep work. And I remember just being sort of flabbergasted that my body allowed you to touch me and heal me that way. And it makes it made sense to my body immediately when you transitioned, because my body trusted you as another woman, the only way it had ever trusted a woman and never a "male", a man, I should say a man presenting therapist. So I wanted to share that. Not because it's about me, but because I think if we can relax and just be with each other body to body, like our bodies know who we are and who the other is.

Rachel Kaufman: 59:32
If we allow ourselves to listen. And that's the hardest part is allowing yourself to listen.

Candice Schutter: 59:38
It is.

Rachel Kaufman: 59:39
It's funny, you mentioned that, because when I came out, now, this is different, but kind of same but different. When I came out to my two closest friends, so these are people that I've known for 20 plus years, both of them gave me the exact same response, which was it's about fucking time. These are people who knew me through my adolescence who saw, you know, that initial kind of tiptoe into those waters and that very quick retreat. So that's why I say different, but ultimately, like, we are way more common than people want to admit. And we're discovering that. As we become more visible, as care becomes more accessible, as it becomes more normalized, people are willing to step out of that discomfort and step into their identities. And the pandemic did a lot for that, right? Like, months and months and months of isolation and introspection will do that to a person. I know so many people who came out and started transitioning through the pandemic. I feel like within transphobic society, there's this idea that we are seducing people into gender transitions. We are trying to convince people to transition. And ultimately that is a ridiculous thought. You don't undergo a gender transition unless you feel deeply internally that that is who you are. That's not something you are convinced of. That is something that you come to terms with. In. Some ways, something you come to terms with. It would be cool if we didn't have to come to terms with it.

Candice Schutter: 1:01:31

Rachel Kaufman: 1:01:32
Like if it was just like, oh, this is who I am. And people are like, cool, I got you. Right.

Candice Schutter: 1:01:38
Right. Yeah.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:01:39
If that's how it was, this would be a different world. But I want to make the analogy of, you know, for a long, long time, left-handed people were forced into a right-handed world, and they were forced to mask their left-handedness. They had to conform and learn to use their right hand. And they did it. They didn't do it well, but they did it. So then there was a statistic around, well, this is how many left-handed people are in the world. And then they stopped forcing left-handed people to be right-handed. And that number of left-handed people who existed shot up, because they were suddenly allowed to use their left hand.

Candice Schutter: 1:02:23
Yes. It's a great analogy. Yeah.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:02:25
Um, that's where we are right now, is that people are being allowed to explore their identity and explore their expression and be authentic and be true to who they are. And as a result of that, we're seeing the spike because people are being allowed to do that. Um, and there are a lot of people who are in the closet. We're actually coming up on Transgender Day of Visibility few days from now, and there are still a lot of people who are still in the closet, because the loss would be too great. And my dream, my hope is that one day they won't have to do that. Reality is not so kind, but I hope that one day we can all just exist as who we are and be accepted and be treated with the same level of dignity and respect that other people are.

Candice Schutter: 1:03:27
And that we won't have to advocate for this label and that label. You know, there's people who say, you know, LGBTQAI+ like, why keep adding letters? It's like, because it's important that we have those lanes for people to move into. And ultimately, more letters because there are infinite numbers of, like you said, gender presentation has like an ocean with gajillions of drops.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:03:51
And sexual identity is an ocean, right?

Candice Schutter: 1:03:54

Rachel Kaufman: 1:03:56
Yeah, those letters exist, one, to be able to say, this is who I am, right. It's because it's not a wish, it's not a desire. This is simply who I am. And my choice is that I am going to embrace that. That's the only choice that I have, deny it or embrace it.

Candice Schutter: 1:04:13
And those letters save lives, just to be clear.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:04:16
Absolutely. But yeah, if we lived in a world where that was just accepted and normalized, like, yeah, we probably wouldn't need the rainbow. We probably wouldn't need the alphabet, but we don't live in that world. And that is the reality. We don't live in that world and we probably, very likely, never will. So we have those things because we need them, cause they're important. Denying the existence of marginalized groups does not make them go away. Saying that you're color blind does not make racism not happen. It's burying your head in the sand. We didn't solve racism. We didn't solve sexism. We didn't solve homophobia or transphobia or any of the other bigotries that are still deeply prevalent in our society. And by not acknowledging those differences, we just perpetuate that problem.

Candice Schutter: 1:05:13
I feel really honored that you took the time to talk with me about all of this and to share your heart so openly with me and with the listeners.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:05:23
And, and I think it's coming at a very, very appropriate time with everything that's going on politically right now. It seems like it kind of comes in waves, right? Like suddenly there's a big uproar and then things kind of calm down and then there's another uproar in the new legislative session and things calm down. And so I think it's really important this is coming out when it is.

Candice Schutter: 1:05:46
Yeah, I do, too.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:05:48
So thank you for giving me the opportunity and the platform to share my experience and what's important to me.

Candice Schutter: 1:05:57
Absolutely. It's important to me, too.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:06:00
Thank you, Candice.

Candice Schutter: 1:06:00
I am so grateful. And I can't wait to come to Oregon and get a massage!

Rachel Kaufman: 1:06:05
You should definitely, like, come up in the spring summer, when shit gets too hot down there, come on up here.

Candice Schutter: 1:06:11
And we're going to have a girl date and a massage.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:06:14
Let's do it.

Candice Schutter: 1:06:14
We have to. I would love it so much. Okay. I'll be in touch. Lots and lots of love.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:06:20
I love you.

Candice Schutter: 1:06:21
Love you.

Rachel Kaufman: 1:06:22

Candice Schutter: 1:06:23

Isn't she beautiful, y'all? I just loved having this conversation, and I sincerely hope it touched your heart and opened your mind as it did mine. Also, you heard me raving about Rachel as a massage therapist, and I am picky, let me tell ya. If you live in the Portland Metro area and you would like to experience Rachel's work firsthand, I encourage you to go to thrivetherapeuticmassage.com. And you can also join me in following her on Instagram @thrivetherapeuticmassage. As Rachel so eloquently reminded us, it is a privilege to not have your existence debated. May we allow her story, her words, into our bodies so that it might activate our hearts in awareness and right action. May we step forward during this time, stand in solidarity with trans folks and all people who are marginalized and take actions that insist upon the rights of those who refuse to abandon themselves. We can insist using our voices, using our choices, our resources and our willingness to show up for one another and do the hard thing. Take responsibility for our own discomfort and hold ourselves and one another accountable to the ways in which we unconsciously reinforce oppression and injustice. I'm including a few links in the show notes to some of many organizations that actively support transgender rights. And I also encourage you to join me, research local and state leadership in your area and use your vote in the upcoming midterm elections to vote down the ballot against any individual, regardless of political allegiance, who is denying civil rights to anyone due to race, gender orientation, or ability. There is simply no excuse for bigotry. We must address it within ourselves. We must make room for marginalized voices and teach ourselves how to listen. Thank you for tuning in today. As always, I appreciate the privilege of your attention. And I love you, exactly as you are, through and through. Until next time. Ciao.

© The Deeper Pulse, Candice Schutter