Leo interviews LGBTQ+ Educator and Small Business Owner Chris Angel Murphy about their experience being nonbinary in a binary-centric society. They also discuss the process of distinguishing personal identity from childhood trauma as well as when to prioritize your safety vs. others'.
By: Leo Yockey
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Leo Yockey Show, the show where I Leo Yockey interview guests about their unique life paths. How's it going? How were the last couple of weeks, it felt weird. Not having an episode to work on last week. But it was good, because as you heard, I was very sick. And this gave me a chance to recover. Anyway. I know I say this every week. But I'm really excited about this guest. And I know I say this every week too. But I'm really excited for this guest. My guest today is Criss Angel Murphy, and LGBTQ plus educator and a small business owner. I met them through a mutual friend Jacob, shout out to Jacob, who was aware of the work that both Criss Angel and I were doing, and thought that we would be good guests for each other's podcasts. And Jacob was right. I was just on Chris angels podcast last week. Actually, Ally ship is a verb, there's a link in the show notes. Definitely check it out. It's a great podcast, I would be saying that even if I wasn't a guest. But you know, now that I'm a guest, I especially think that I asked all of my guests off Off mic, if there's anything that they want me to cut or leave out, I'm not here trying to do any gotcha type shit. If someone doesn't feel good about something that they said, I want them to have the chance to cut it, I want them to be able to feel safe in expressing themselves authentically. And that's a part of that, for me is allowing things to be removed after the fact. So I had messaged Criss Angel, and I said, Hey, you know, is there is there anything that you want me to cut, especially because as you'll see, you know, we get into some personal topics today. And they didn't really have anything that they want to cut. But they were worried about the episode being a little bit too heavy. I want to address that. Because we are going to cover some heavy topics. And I'll allow this to be the content warning, you know, we're going to be talking about homophobia and transphobia. Sexual Abuse, like all those kinds of things. You know, when I first met Chris Angel, we ended up having about an hour and a half conversation on Zoom. And we talked about some really deep topics. Criss Angel is like me trans masculine. And a lot of what we talked about came from that shared experience. I talk a lot about joy. And I you know, living a life of joy is really important to me. But what I don't want is for joy to be confused with toxic positivity. I'm not joyful, because I think that my life is somehow void of bad experiences. I'm joyful because the dark experiences are so ever present that at any moment of light that I'm able to grasp on to, I'm going to cherish and in speaking about those dark moments and sharing it with another person making that shame decrease in size. Because I feel like we all feel a lot of shame when it comes to the dark parts of our lives. It makes it easier to feel joy in during the bright spots. Being a human being is complex. Having a large capacity for love usually comes at this kind of price. It's important to me that we value and honor these parts of us and allow space for them to be. So I really appreciate Criss Angel for opening up to me and allowing a safe space for me to open up to them, especially on their podcast again, you know, please check, please check out ally ship is a verb. And you know, this is what season two of the Leo Yockey show is all about. I want people to be able to feel like they can be a fly on the wall for conversations that they wouldn't normally be privy to. This is this tends to be a pretty common theme with a lot of trans people in my life is you know, we talk about really heavy topics because they're a part of our lives and they're a part of our story. And we don't see that being discussed in the mainstream so we have to discuss it with each other. So I really hope that you enjoy this episode as much as we enjoyed recording it. And without further ado, here is Chris Angel Murphy All right, Criss Angel. I don't know how this is gonna go. We both have had interesting days but I'm I'm happy to have you here. How are you doing? You know, I'm doing okay, how about yourself? I am, I'm doing much better now I can feel both sides of my mouth. I had dental work done today, but I'm feeling I'm feeling better. Still a little bit of pain. So I'm glad that we're doing my show, not your show, because my guests end up doing more talking than I do, which is ideal for me right now. Right? Oh, totally. It's funny. Cuz then when I think about dental work, now I have the like, I can't feel my face when I'm with you, like line of a song stuck in my head. Right? And I wonder if anyone's ever like having that motor moment from what is it like 16 candles or something where they have like the boom box, and they're like, blasting that while they're in their dental appointment or something thinking they're cute. I don't know, I don't know why my mind just went there. But that's what I was thinking of just now. So this is gonna be an interesting conversation. I'm loving it already. You say that. And my mind goes to the next tick tock trick is I was thinking while I was sitting there in the dentist's chair, I'm like, I'm having a blast. Just sitting there with my thoughts is kind of meditative. But I'm also aware that a lot of people struggle with that they struggle with going that long without being on their phone. I mean, this procedure took like an hour. And and so now I'm thinking that there's going to be a trend where teenagers record themselves at the dentist, with that song playing like that, that song will be the sound for the TIC tock trend. And it's just like, record yourself at the Just kidding. Novocaine when I love the unintentional pun of when you're talking about them like blasting. So good job, they're well done. Well done. Thank you. I do and I can. Before before we get too much further, I do want to give you a chance. So peek behind the curtain for the listeners, Criss Angel, and I just recently met virtually because I was sad to hear that you were in Denver now. But now I have someone to visit in Denver. Denver is a city I've always wanted to visit. So you know. There's a bright side of silver lining there. But a mutual friend introduced us and said, Hey, you have a podcast, you have a podcast, you could probably be on each other's podcast. Ready? Go. Right. So we met and we chatted for what like an hour and a half the other day. It was great. And now we're friends. And I hope I'm not being too far by saying that we're friends. Great. You're shaking your head. No, great. No, isn't I'm not being too far. Just to clarify. Yeah, we know we're friends. Now. That happened. Great. So. So all that being said, I just like to give you a chance to kind of plug your podcast right at the top, just to kind of and because I think that's also a very good introduction into just what you do when you're not chilling in a zoom with me. Yeah, is most of your time. We'll see. We'll see. Yeah, well, my podcast is called ally ship as a verb. And it's about exploring LGBTQ plus ally ship, and also being intersectional about it. So people with many different lived experiences, I'm trying to get like a whole range going of different experiences, because it's still fresh. I barely just started it in August of 2021. So I mean, it's it's super fresh, but it's just a chance to talk about concrete tips. So each guest talks through at least one ally ship tip. I also try to ask them about a time maybe they missed the mark in what they would do differently to just sort of humanize it. Because I think sometimes folks can be afraid of saying the wrong thing or not being sure what questions they can ask. So I'm trying to solve for that through this podcast and not be the only voice. And I think it's a good experience so far. We'll see just trying to make it through that first year, because I know so many podcasts fade out over time. But yeah, it's it's a passion of mine, for sure. And it's one of my new favorite things that I do. So yeah, and I will say quickly to that. What's interesting is most of my listeners are queer and trans. So it's not even just for people outside of the LGBTQ plus community, because part of how I see ally ship is that we can also be allies to each other and even in certain episodes. People talk about being an ally to themselves and what that means for them. And so I think there's all these interesting layers that I wasn't even thinking through when I started this podcast because it's also new but Yeah, that's my baby right now. And I'm loving it. That's cool. Congratulations on the new baby. My My baby is also relatively young. I started this podcast, I'm already on season two yet, but I started in May. Because I remember there was a whole thing with my first guest about neither of us like Star Wars. And yet, the first episode was coming out on May the fourth so you know, but I love what I love that your podcast focuses on intersectionality I love that it's evolved already, just since starting it because mine kind of did the same thing. I was like, Alright, I know where I'm going with this. But let's see, that's kind of the reason why I started the second season, I didn't go in with a preconceived idea of how many episodes I wanted to do, it just kind of ended up, you know, that the theme was changing so rapidly that I want to like kind of end the season and go in a very deliberate, new direction. But yeah, I love that the focus on intersectionality. I don't I don't know if you feel comfortable sharing your gender and your sexuality here on this podcast for context for the listeners? Sure, yeah. I think some important things to know about me are I'm white, I'm disabled. I'm queer, and trans and non binary, and my pronouns are they them? Awesome. Thank you for sharing that. And I think what's what's so interesting to me, is, you know, you're talking about intersectionality, and you have all these different identities. And former guests of the show, Ali Santos, we were talking a lot about, you know, we, we've been told, you know, you can't judge a book by its cover. And yet, that's all we ever do. And, you know, when someone looks at me now, all they would see is a black man. And they marinate, they may or may not know that I'm also half white, they definitely wouldn't be able to guess just by looking at me that I'm first gen, they wouldn't be able to guess just by looking at me that I'm trans. And so there's all of these different intersections that you just don't see. And so in your experience, you know, you identify as, as non binary, you go by they them pronouns, but a passerby on the street, if they see you are probably going to read you as a sis, white man, which is a very loaded identity to be to be recognized as in this day and age. And I would just love to kind of have a conversation about like, what, what that's even been like, it's almost like, Man, this isn't going to be the right word to use, but it is almost like, it's like you have like, you've taken on the like, appearance of like, the enemy, so to speak. You know what I mean? Yeah, like you're still struggling with some of the pain and harm that comes from white supremacy that stems from toxic masculinity. And yet, people who see you on the street would just assume that you're quote, part of the problem like, has that created some any kind of like, cognitive dissonance for you? Yeah, it messes with me a lot, because it hasn't been my lived experience. And so the other part of that, too, that feels important to acknowledge is that most of the time, especially if I start speaking, or if I get comfortable at all, then people will assume I'm a gay man, which adds another complexity to that. So sometimes that part, if someone's perceiving me to also be a gay man, on top of all those other things that they're believing or trying to read about me, sometimes that might make them more comfortable, or it can backfire and make me feel incredibly unsafe. Yeah. Because I just have such deep rooted fears around hate crimes, like I'm worried that's how my story is going to end. Yeah. And so that's why it's tricky for me. So I mean, I'll just say it. I feel like now that people perceive me this way. I have upgraded in certain ways, and I think that's really messed up because not much about me has changed. I'm a little bit more comfortable in my skin. I feel like I'm living more authentically, but I didn't do anything To deserve having my word carry more weight and conversations, or just certain other things that happen, you know, or, you know, even if I'm out with a friend, or on a date with someone, that would be considered to be the opposite gender, and I'm gonna use quotes there with that. But what will happen is they, you know, four out Yeah, four out for a meal or something, they'll pass me the bill, or just weird little things like that that happen all the time. And then the person I'm with, will usually have a good laugh about it. But that's just a way of coping, because it's just really painful that we keep upholding these standards. And so I think what's been interesting about the pandemic is I've lost my callus to the world. And what I mean by that is, I am so much more hurt now by being misgendered all the time. So every time I have to call someplace, and they call me, sir, every time I maybe go swing by to a coffee shop, and they said, Mr. Or Boss, what the hell is boss? Yeah, I can't tell you. And like, I think what makes me the most uncomfortable about that is it's usually a person of color. Who's calling me boss. I'm like, No, this is some weird like, this feels even extra gross with our history of slavery and everything. And knowing that that's still very real to this day. Like, please, that's the last thing I want to be called. And so it's just created all of these interesting conversations, because I think I don't want to just say that every single transversion person is going to have this experience. But having, yeah, again, just move to this, this different way of being read, I just am treated so much more differently. And it feels gross, I don't like it, because I'm still not being honored for who I am. But it does create interesting conversations with friends, it does create interesting conversations when I'm educating people or I'm training or I'm speaking or something like that, because I also do a lot of LGBTQ on a one or trans one on one or foundational stuff for companies and things like that. So it just gives me this unique opportunity to talk about why I missed the women's restroom, you know, and how that felt so much safer. And it's just like everything I do now, though, doesn't feel like it's about my safety, it feels like it's about other people's safety. I think a really good example of that, that we were discussing when we first met was that, especially when I was going to school, in my Bachelor's, but definitely by my masters when I was in a social work program, and it's predominantly women. And so as I was medically transitioning, and I'm careful to talk about that, because like, if I choose to talk about it, it's one thing but I do want to remind folks listening, don't just like ask me about it, because it's going to catch me off guard, and I'm going to shut down. Because it's not what I want to talk about. There's so many other unique aspects to me, but I will talk about it now. But when I was medically transitioning, and people started reading me more as male, or as a man, it just, I wasn't prepared for that. And so at night, in particular, when I would have some late night classes, you know, I'd be walking to my car or something. I noticed that people I perceived to be women, because I don't know, it's an assumption I'm making. They would click clutch their purse and walk a lot faster away from me, I didn't realize, Oh, I'm like this threat now. Like you don't, I can't like shut out No, it's okay. I'm a teddy bear. Like, I'm not gonna steal your phone or something worse, right. And so, I can't do that all I can do is be. And this This feels gross in certain ways for me, because again, it's, I'm, I'm not being seen for me, but all I can do is just be like, another example of them being safe, you know, and it feels like this huge responsibility I have. But I also deal with a lot of anxiety. And so even if I'm in like a spin class or something like that, and usually they'll have mirrors. I don't feel comfortable being behind people, again, that I perceive to be perhaps women, because I don't want them to think of staring at their butt, you know, and I'm trying not to, like, make eye contact with them because I don't want to make them uncomfortable. And I think what messes with my mind the most to is that it could easily fall to the other side of oh, I don't feel safe. Can you walk me to my car and that has happened to me before where someone's asked that. It's like, I don't feel much safer than you do. I'm not going to tell you that because it's gonna make make you uncomfortable probably but I just I feel like even going to the men's room, I just I go to the men's room because, frankly, there aren't a lot of gender neutral restrooms or family restrooms or feel safe or comfortable to go to. I mean, some of the bigger stores, bigger chain stores will have those. And it's great when I can go into those not worry about people being like, what are you doing going in there or something, but it just it comes with a lot. It messes with my head a lot. I don't feel like there's a lot of people I can talk to about it. Because it's like, part of it's just like, oh, boohoo you've upgraded in the world how sad for you. But like it's a super. It's there's just like all these mind games for me. And I still haven't really quite processed it. Because this just hasn't been my experience. And I was socialized to fear the very person that I now look like, yeah, and I can't control especially when I'm taking testosterone, I can't pick and choose what that looks like. You know, I sprouted like a chia pet my legs, my arms are hairy. I couldn't control that. That wasn't something I was looking forward to really. And, you know, I've learned to love that about myself. But there's just something around, I'm still figuring out how to just be authentically me. Not worried about how people are perceiving me, but I do take it seriously. At the same time, the safety component as far as how I'm taking up space, and if I'm unintentionally making someone else feel unsafe, that that's not cool to me. So I do want to be privy to that and be alert to that. But I just Yeah, it's like I'm constantly going against this assumption. It just and I hate it. I hate it. That's a strong word. But I genuinely do. Because yeah. I don't know why I just do I just Yeah, I just people aren't seeing me for me. And I don't want to have to wear like pronoun pins on my shirt every day saying they them pronouns or constantly have to say, Oh, actually, I'm non binary, which I've been starting to do and trying to be more comfortable with that. But it's really hard, especially being someone who's trying to get out of people pleasing. So it's just a mess. It's a hot mess. Yeah. I mean, that's this is the stuff you got to like, work out in therapy. Right. So. But I think it's also important to be able to talk about it with other people. Um, but yeah, this has been my experience so far. Absolutely think thank you so much for sharing all that. And, and you're right, it's something that, you know, theoretically, we should discuss in therapy. But I think that there's so much, there's so much value in having these conversations with someone who gets it, the reality is that most therapists are going to be cisgendered, you know, and the more the more that I hear you talk, and just listening to your story. And, you know, I resonate with a lot of different aspects of it. Because, you know, it's, it's the same thing for me where it's like, all of a sudden, I'm expected to be the tough guy in some situations, and it's like, I've never been in a fight in my life with anyone of any gender, like, I'm not going to be able to protect anyone get out of here, you know, right. And, but but so much of what I'm hearing is, our, our perceptions, when we go out into the world are so limited, so lazy, really, when you get down to it, because I've, I've also had experiences where people assume that I'm gay, because of the way that I talk, or because of a lot of my friends or cisgendered women, or because I know a lot about gay culture. And the fact that our expectations of what a man is and what a man looks like, and how a man acts in our society is so limited. It is kind of pathetic. I mean, I watched this video, I wish I remember this guy's name, but it was a video done by a trans guy. And he, he said that our perception of gender has we learned about gender when we're like, five, when we're in kindergarten, it's like, boys are over here, and girls are over here. And we're different. And that's that, and then we don't really explore that at all ever for the rest of our lives. Because we, we we encounter someone and we go into all these different assumptions about, oh, maybe you're gay, or maybe you're this nuclear that we're not even thinking about the spectrum of gender. We're still thinking in this binary way. And there's just the box that men are in is so tiny, and then the idea that anyone can even exist Just outside of either the box of what it means to be a man or the box of being a man at all, in your case, just doesn't even enter people's minds. And, you know, and I, and I think that, I think that, you know, it, it's like your, your, that that's what makes it so tricky because you're, I think you're on the right track. Prioritizing other people's safety, but it's also bad is another binary way of thinking, I'm so frustrated by how often the way that we view things in our society is so binary. And I attribute a lot of that to Christianity, really, because I think Christianity as a belief system is very binary. And it's baked into a lot of the way that we think. And, you know, it's like, you're either you're either the threat or you're being threatened, like, there's no, there's no in between where it's like, Hey, we're all kind of feeling uncomfortable here, like let's talk about, or let's create spaces for everybody to be able to talk about it, because it's not always going to be appropriate for everybody of all identities and all backgrounds to come together and talk about these things. Right. But it's, it's so weird. And it all comes back to toxic masculinity. It's, it's man, you touched on a lot of interesting stuff, just with sharing your story. So I really appreciate that. Yeah. And I think an interesting way that I can talk about it just to take it a little bit further as let's talk about the restrooms. When I would go to the women's restroom, I felt a lot safer. But the problem was is that has my features became what we would call more masculine. there started to be a point where it wasn't safe for me to go anymore. Because I started getting dagger eyes are people saying you're in the wrong restroom or doing the double take? Making sure they were in the right restroom? I mean, there's the whole gamut. Yeah. And you know, I It's weird because it, it's not like I have a card that says I belong here or something, you know, but there was this very distinct moment where I knew it wasn't safe to do that anymore. But I had no idea what the men's room was like. So that was scary to me. To this day. just fast forward as a spoiler alert. I still plan my days around the restroom. In terms of like, yeah, where I'm going to go where it's going to be safe. Asleep. It Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That I'll leave it at that. Yeah. And that's another way that I missed the women's restroom. It's been a lot cleaner in my experience. But yeah, I, I feel like I have to like bloodshot up. I feel like I've got to puff up. I've got a I've got to do that. And because I very quickly learned no one taught me this directly. I just figured it out by going into the restroom. I figured out very quickly, you don't look at each other. You don't talk to each other. You don't pee next to each other. Even if you're in a stall, and you're like added toilet paper or something. I don't know what to tell you. Like, you still don't talk to people. Whereas in the women's restroom again, my experience was that, you know, oh, hey, your shirt tags sticking out. I got you let me help you out. Or, you know, oh, hey, I need a few sheets of toilet paper, which, obviously, you need, like more than few sheets, but Right. Like you'd ask for that. And it'd be fine. I mean, shoot, some people would have like the Mary Poppins bag and be like, are you lighter, heavy? I got you if you're on your period. But you know, it was just it was it was so much better. But again, that was when I was being read at least anywhere near as a woman. But the tricky part is, is it's just it's always been a little bit tough for me, because the closest language I had when I was growing up was tomboy. Yeah, that was that was all I had, because we weren't teaching about gender and sexuality really in schools other than that very binary thinking that you were talking about. And so that was the closest language I had. So I latched on to it. But what what was interesting is that when I was younger, and I mean like elementary school, it was praised that I was a tomboy. It was cool. It was like I was straddling both worlds of, you know, man and woman. Because again, limited thinking limited, you know, language and all of that. But especially as I got to like middle school, it wasn't praised anymore. It was actually seen as a very negative thing because I wasn't being lazy like, Yeah, and so, honestly, it's like, I just don't get a break because the gender police are always going to come at me. Whether it's sis people, trans people. I mean, I've heard all sorts of things in my life. I've had therapists tell me that I wasn't really, at one point when I was identifying as genderqueer. I had a therapist told me who was a trans woman, by the way, that it wasn't really gender queer. I was hiding behind that identity because I wanted a harder life. And that messed me up so bad. I remember cuz I was riding a motorcycle, those those days, it took me like 10 minutes to calm down enough to be able to ride my bike home. And I never saw her again. But that's when I realized that was one of those shifts, right. And for me, this was around like, 2008 or so that was one of those shifts where I was like, wow, our community doesn't always get along. archaeon community, the larger LGBTQ plus community can be gatekeeping as well. And so like, you know, friends even would fight with me like, well, you can be gender queer again, when I first came out as gender queer background, Lync 2007 Or so they were like, oh, you know, you can be gender queer, but I don't feel comfortable with you exploring medical transition. You know, I don't, I don't feel comfortable with the idea of you getting surgeries and stuff. And it's like, well, it's not for you to agree on. I'm asking for your support. I'm asking you to say like, cool, I love you. I'm here for you. What can I do to support you? You know, I'm not asking for validation. And so that was really hard. And, you know, I've lost a lot of friends too, because one of the other identities I carried for a while because, quote, unquote, friends bullied me into it was, I did identify as a butch lesbian for a period of time. But it didn't resonate. I knew it didn't resonate. But there was so much by phobia, that when I was coming out there, just like, that's, that's not possible. You just switch lesbian get over it. And so I just, I feel like I just don't make anyone happy. Because then even if I say, Okay, well today, today, the language that resonates the most is, like I mentioned earlier, queer, trans and non binary, they're like, Yeah, but you have a beard. Or and she's supposed to be like androgynous? And it's like, no, like, no that, like, I can express that however I like. Yeah. I don't know if I want to be like, take after like, Mr. Potato Head or something. Just change it up. Like, just let me do that. Let me be happy. That's what I wanted to I don't know. So yeah, I mean, back to what you were talking about as a Christianity like, what is it? I mean, I think there's a lot of institutions, we could sit there and point at and name and at the end of the day, I'm just trying to live my life, I don't want to have to be hyper vigilant and wonder and worry if I'm making people of particular genders uncomfortable with my presence. I don't want to worry if I'm glitch enough to survive an interaction with people. I mean, heck, you know, and this is really hard to say. But sometimes I've struggled with wondering if I'm karma of my dad's choices he had made in his life, because especially before I came out to him, and this was around high school time now for me, I remember hearing about how, like, sometimes gay men would hit on him or something. And I don't know all the specifics. I just know that if he felt they weren't leaving him alone, when he said no, and I'm just going off of what he shared with me. If they didn't end there, he would go and beat them up. And, and the other part that was hard to hear too, was from another person. My mom who I don't speak to anymore, but she had told me that he had also had trans panic on someone before he'd never shared that story with me. So to hear that from my mom was horrifying. And yeah, it's a lot to process. And so yeah, apparently he was on a date with a woman didn't know that she was trans. So he freaked out, beat her up and left. And I'm just like, wow, so I'm his kid. And I'm supposed to come out to him. Right? Like, I kept thinking that I'm in and again, at the point of hearing that story about the trans panic defense, which isn't a thing. You can't be violent with someone in that way. It just Yeah, I don't know. It's just a lot, a lot to process. And I just feel like there's a lot there, because I'm ashamed. And toxic masculinity just feels so gross to me. And so anytime I'm associated with that, that's hard. And again, I just all I can do is just, even though it's not my gender, just be another example of not being that jerk. You know, and I mean, I've done those rideshare things before where I was the driver, and I'd have you know, a few guys drunk My car sang Oh, I can't believe you like that song that's so gay and did whatever to each other. I know that it would be expected of me to check them on that, but they're drunk, there's three of them. I've got to feel safe to. So yeah, that's just like this awkward dance I'm trying to do for the rest of my life basically, is just figure out. What do I do with all of this? Yeah, and, and I would argue in in those kinds of situations, it should not be the expectation that you that you educate them, because you're right, you don't know what they're going to do. This isn't, you know, this isn't education corner, this is I'm doing my job, and I got to get home safely. But I think that that's, that's so interesting, you hit on a couple of really interesting things, you know, talking about your dad, and I appreciate you sharing that that history. You know, I have just had a camera view here, I have some pictures, old pictures of family members, including my grandfather. And the reality is that I really don't know how my grandfather would have taken me, you know, he died when I was about one year old. So we never had the chance to develop a relationship. But I know that he was a World War Two that I know he's from that generation. I know that. I don't know if he had anger problems, but I know he kind of emotionally abused his kids, I know that he stopped having a relationship with my mom for a while when she chose to marry a black man, aka my dad. And he, they came back around when she got pregnant with my older brother. But and it sounds like they did have a good relationship up until the end there. But I really don't know how he would have reacted to my sexuality, which developed into my gender identity. But at the same time, I can recognize that his his reactions to things in the way that he acted. It, it's such a fine line, you know, excusing that behavior. And not, of course, you know, something like that happening today would be considered inexcusable. But the idea that this man would have had access to the information and experience required to know better, is not really fair for me to expect of this man who was born in 1922, and died in 1993, as a white man, World War Two that you know what I mean. And, you know, there was no Internet, there was no being able to meet people from other cultures, there was no going to therapy, like, there wasn't any of that. And I think, you know, that. So that's kind of something that I try to think about, in my experience, to kind of like, wrap my brain around all that, and I keep this picture of still, because I do think that it's important for me to remember that that history is in my blood is in my veins, because the reality is that, you know, none of us are too far removed from other people, something that one human is capable of, we're all capable of, and I, I like having that reminder of, like, I need to continue to surround myself, around people with whom I can I can learn from, and, you know, to constantly move that needle towards progress in our society, because it's, I could just as easily slip back into those old ways of thinking. But also with with the, you know, with the policing that came from both as a kid when you came out as bi and your friends are like, No, you're a butch lesbian. And people even, you know, trying to police your gender identity. Now, as a non binary person, I feel like that's kind of the same, the same thing, we have a lot more access to knowing better now. And the, the amount that this is acceptable is going down, but I can see how much things have even changed just from like, when we were kids, you know, like I being trans is so much more in the lexicon now than it was even 15 years ago when I was in middle school. And, you know, who knows if I would have ever had that I'm a lesbian phase if I was in middle school today, versus back then. But I think that one thing that I try to remind myself and I hope it's something that the listeners think about if they have ever found themselves assuming that a non binary person has dislike androgynous look or feel to them is when we start to think in that term, it's still very binary, it by design, you know, it's technically not because it's more than two but you're basically just assuming a fully fledged out third gender there's, there is man, there is woman and there is non binary, which is an exact right in the middle and it's like it. It's, it's, it's better than thinking that there's only man and there's only woman in the room we just live in these binaries, but it's still, it's still not it's still missing the mark and it's really not understanding the spirit behind, you know, breaking down the gender binary it's not just about oh, I identify with a little bit of both or neither. It's it. You know what I mean, this. And I mean, for some people that is their experience. I mean, certainly, one I used to speak on PFLAG panels and things like that. I even oddly enough, I used to have a column in lesbian news magazine that was called Life as a spork. So when I was identifying as genderqueer, for me, my definition of that meant that I was tapping into those energies, but to various degrees. And so I would tell people, imagine a spork. Right. And that was my whole thing. And I literally and I still have them to this day, for nostalgia purposes. I had this titanium spork, I had it in my pocket ready to go? Right when I was about to say that line, and just whip it out of my pocket. And like, you know, it was the whole thing. And it was a branding. And there was a point where that didn't feel right anymore. And so that's, that's the thing is, when people want to create the argument of Well, well, if we teach it in the schools, then it's just going to be rampant. And it's like, no, because you've been trying to shove straight down my throat and sis down my throat. And that hasn't been working. It's not how I identify at all there. And there's been ample examples of that everywhere. Right? Even even today. So know that that's, that's not it. But what it would have done if we were better about teaching it in our schools, especially when it comes to sex ed being fact based, inclusive, and that's still not across the board the United States. There's very few states where that's even a thing. And even then it's up to that teacher to get it right. Yeah. So that being said, if I just had had the language sooner, if people allowed me to just like, mess around and find out and figure out what my gender was, and my sexuality, it would have saved me so much grief, but it did feel like this private thing. It did feel like something that I was doing that was wrong, because that was the reaction. So you know, you talk about this, like trans narrative, sometimes this arc that exists of, you know, okay, well, here are the toys I played with. And okay, I was bullied in this and that. I mean, a lot of my story does fit that. But it could have been so different. And yeah, I think what's interesting, too, is I have this I have roughly the same story with my grandfather, he passed away a month after I turned one. He was in the Korean War. And he's also one of my first memories, which is really trippy. I don't know if we'll have time for that today. But actually, I will talk about it because I think it's important. Yeah, I, I didn't idolize him, but I look to Him for safety. So I would describe myself as a spiritual person. And I think my first example of that was him. Because there was something about like, I'll just, I'll just say, because this isn't like the trauma vomit podcast, I'll just say like, I didn't have the best childhood, and all of the kinds of different abuse you could imagine were going on in my home. And I was shamed into, you know, the motto of the family was what happens in this house stays in this house. So I didn't dare say anything to anyone. And so, but one of my earliest memories was, you know, sometimes, like, when you're laying in bed at night, and maybe if you have your ear to the pillow in such a way you like, hear your own heartbeat. Yeah, I didn't know what that was when I was super young. I internalize that to be Oh, my grandfather's will taking steps toward me, and he's gonna protect me right now. Anytime that happened. I thought of him. And it took years and years and years to figure out later that I would finally hear more stories about him and what he was like, and so two things that stood out to me were number one, he was always holding me so no wonder I associate him with a heartbeat. Yeah, I probably heard his heartbeat when I was Yeah. When I was at Biddy, and number two, I just feel like, I wonder there's this fantasy I have, you know, sometimes I can get stuck in the past of what would my life have been like if he had been around a little bit longer? Because my mom used to tell me that, had he been around, a lot of those things that were happening to me in my youth wouldn't have happened because he wouldn't have let that fly. And so when you when you talked about wondering, like, what he would think of you today, I wonder the same thing about my grandpa? Because I just don't know. And why do I need that approval? I don't know. Because, I mean, I've got one blood related family member left that talks to me, because my dad and grandma have both passed away. And those are the people I grew up with. And so I didn't get their unconditional love until the very end, they literally had to both be on their respective deathbeds for that to happen. Yeah. And so I just wonder, did anyone love me unconditionally? You know, and so, yeah, sometimes it's just nice to fantasize and think that yeah, things could have been different. But that wasn't it. And I guess the only other thing I want to say to that too, just in case anyone else relates to this. Another misconception that I grew up thinking was that, oh, if you were sexually abused, and all this, and you're going to be gay. And so because that happened to me, it took me a long time to sit through the sexuality stuff, to sit through the gender stuff. And I didn't have anyone else to tell me otherwise. But I had to make peace with there was a little bit of overlap there in terms of needing to figure out my body and being safe with people, and that they weren't related. But they did cause some of the same experiences of me experiencing dysphoria, or wanting to be out of my body, or being ashamed of my body. And so reconciling that by myself, was incredibly difficult. But yeah, that, that experience those, those sexual experiences that happened to me that I had no control over. In my youth, were not what caused me to be who I am today, you know, that has nothing to do with my sexuality has nothing to do with my gender. And yeah, I just I think that was just like an added layer that I had to work through to find and understand that separation. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for sharing all that. And I think that that is such a powerful point, I think that, you know, inner intersecting experiences can lead to a lot to unpack. And I think that that is kind of the the unspoken Brightside are a positive aspect to to not living tend to not being cisgender is that we do have a little bit more of a requirement to really explore who we are and what all that means, and to have the opportunity to unpack and separate what happened to you as a child and how you identify today. I think that that's, that's really powerful. And I appreciate you sharing your experience with that. Man, I appreciate you sharing what you had to say about your grandfather too, because i i also have, you know, spirit, feelings, like I'm spiritually connected to this man. And some of it might just be a fantasy of like, hoping that this guy would be, you know, better than his generation or that I could, you know, if he was around, and he loves me that I could have changed his mind. Or maybe there is some connection to something. I mean, he is, you know, these people, they, you know, DNA gets passed down trauma gets passed down your DNA, I mean, pieces of what they experience, not just eye color and hair type, the actual pieces of their soul do live in us. And so I think they were tapping into something real there. At least I like to think that that's the case. Absolutely. So that went by so quickly. Oh, my gosh, we'll definitely have to do some more later. We'd love to have you back on at some point. Before we wrap up, is there anything else that you feel like you'd be remiss if you if you left it out? I don't think so. I think other than I mean, these are parts of my story. I don't talk about a lot. It's not because I'm ashamed of them. I just want to be mindful too, because naturally this kind of stuff, especially in this day, He needs content and trigger warnings, right? Plenty of them throughout this episode. But yeah, I guess, you know, I made fun of, you know, a little bit of trauma vomit, but I guess I just I feel compelled to share my story because I know that sometimes people need to hear these kinds of things, because maybe it's something that they can relate to, or something that they've experienced. And maybe they can get some healing or from it, you know, even if it's a little bit or just knowing that they're not alone, because I think that can make a huge difference as well. So it's, you know, I'm doing the work to work through all of these things. And certainly, they'll absolutely impact me for the rest of my life. Because every time I feel like I've done some sort of deep work and resolved something, I'm like, Oh, nope, there's more trauma, there's to work through. It's not over, it's just taking a different form. But I don't know, I just, I guess my hope is that, you know, I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm not looking for like I've had life so hardships or something, it's more just that I just hope someone else can feel a little less alone. And I feel empowered now sharing this, these parts of my story, because I just don't want to feel guilt or shame around them. I don't want them to have that power over me. And I think it can take a long time to get to that point if someone chooses to do that kind of work. So I'm just proud that I can talk about it now. And I guess the only other thing I would want to say is, I appreciate you allowing me to have this conversation with you and creating a safer space so that I could go there. So thank you for that. Yeah, thank you, thank you so much for sharing, thank you for trusting me and and this podcast to be a place where you can share and I, I really appreciate everything that you've said about, you know, this being you know, you are choosing to share this here, this isn't an invitation to like, you know, come at you at your work or DM you and just start having a whole conversation about this, you know, and that's really, that is really what I'm trying to do this season is just allowing people to be kind of a fly on the wall for conversations that they're not usually privy to. So I really, I appreciate you going there with me. Now, I'm going to tell my listeners now promise that you're not going to ask anything inappropriate. But where can where can people find you? And what what, if anything, would you like to promote? Absolutely. So if you're interested in pursuing LGBTQ plus ally ship and getting some tips and listening to people's experiences around that, please go to allyship is a verb.com. And that's where you can find all of the links and full episode transcriptions and resources. And if you want to follow me on Instagram, and my awkward adventure there and whatever I post lots of informational stuff about the LGBTQ plus community, but also part of my story as well. You can find me on Instagram at gender sexuality info. Awesome. Criss Angel, thank you again for coming on. I am very grateful to know you. I think I mean, she's the two conversations that got so deep. I mean, this is very clearly the start of a wonderful friendship, I think and I look forward to the next time we get to chat. Likewise. Thank you so much, Leo. Appreciate it. Once again, that was Criss Angel Murphy. Criss Angel, thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you so much for your vulnerability. Thank you so much for being my new friend, is really refreshing to be able to have conversations with people who have been there, you know, and that that is honestly a hope that I have for a lot of my listeners is you know, whatever your unique life path is they you have a group or friends or a support system, whatever the case may be, that share that experience. We can all be allies and meet each other with compassion. But it's a whole different thing entirely when you when you can talk to someone who's been there. Speaking of which, shout out to anybody who's listening to this that found me on Tik Tok. I'm having a lot of fun on Tik Tok. If you're on Tik Tok, and you're not following me yet, please consider following me. I had one video that ended up getting a lot of views. And now all of a sudden, my follower list is a bunch of LGBTQ youth and I use the term youth a little bit broadly. It's like people under 25, right? Because when our brain stopped developing at 25, and I know in my life, there's a big difference between you know, pre 25 and post 25. And it's just it's really cool to be able to be Are the representation that we didn't have when I was a youth. Thank you again for listening and for being on this journey with me. If you liked what you heard, please consider giving us a five star rating review. Wherever you're listening to this podcast. Take a screenshot make your Instagram story, tag me at Leo Yockey l EOYOCKEY. Let your friends know that you're listening. I will be back in two weeks with my very dear friend Stephanie. Really, really excited for y'all to hear that one. Until then, stay safe out there. It's Scorpio season. The days are getting shorter. The holidays are approaching. Now I better get going. I've got a lot of stuff coming up in my world. I'll share about some of it in future episodes. But until then, stay evolving.