Ugla in Icelandic, Owl in English (I prefer the name Ugla, I relish their Icelandic-ness) has given me, a trans warrior from way back, fresh insights into who and what I am. Our deep and sweet friendship transcends – as they say in our conversation – the great age difference between us, and with that there is a lesson for all of us, a reminder for me, that the aim of the game is to get past the smaller, shifting identities such as age, or gender, and go to the heart of who and what we are. In the end it’s all about love, folks, which begins with loving ourselves for who we are, which then turns outwards to the rest of the world.

At the end of our conversation they say ‘the future is trans’, with some humour, but also a foundation of truth. I am profoundly aware, being trans myself, of the created gender distinctions which work to diminish and deny on one hand, and bestow dubious privilege on the other. The boxes work for no-one when we look deeply The tide may be turning, with the sparks of fire that are gathering now, to transcend this smallness and move on into the reality of our common heart.

Ugla gives me great hope for the future, along with wonderful non-binary people I’ve been meeting recently, from Macedonia, India and the USA. After dithering for some time, I’ve joined them. The future is trans, transcendent.

For some years now I’ve been listening to and reading the virtuoso words of Eric Page, ever since I came to live here in Brighton. Eric. How could I miss sharing this great champion of gay, lesbian, bi, trans and anyone else’s rights and safety that needed protecting? What would he come up with if I let him off the leash and tempted him with an audience?

It’s done and recorded, after we ate the lovely cakes he brought up to my little flat, my eagle’s nest high above the city, and I feel privileged. The unexpected bonus to making this podcast is spending powerful and intimate time with the remarkable people who give colour to my world. It’s an excuse to go deep and then deeper, to the places where the gold lies. As I once said recently, my friends are my treasure, and Eric’s one of them.

We began by talking of language itself, the nuances of the ways of speaking we learned as kids, Eric in South Wales, me in Liverpool, and how we shifted our accents and ways of speaking to merge with the duller but safer ways English is spoke in this South East of England where we live. It’s one way we create our masks to fit in with the masqued ball of the world. Then we moved on to other insights and wisdom, which is what this podcast is all about, the light the outsiders shine on the insider’s worlds.

Mariam is a bright spark of individual life, quirky, fast and sharp with a high femme presentation and a logical, some may say masculine mind within it. To me she is yet another way of expressing the power that comes with combining the two primal aspects of humanity in one person, the contradictions that make us who we are.

I am very much at home with this merging of the masculine and feminine. It’s something we all do; in the Jungian sense of every woman having their animus, every man having his anima, but some perform this essence of human existence more openly than others. Maybe that’s why Mariam and myself are such good friends.

But, of course, gender is just a part of any of us, and on top of this primal identity are all the rest of the identities we assemble to live our lives. Mariam talks about gender, race, power which affects countless millions around this human world, and so much more from her wide life, so she talks for many.