Over the last few months I’ve heard Jane speak more than once with clear intelligence, wisdom and wit that I just knew she was prime for this podcast. How right I was. She’s clear, very smart, informed and is full of informed insight. And, as she said, far too clever when she was a girl.

She has a name in Brighton for her oral histories of older lesbian women, her own kind, which are truly fascinating, particularly in terms of the lives these woman led when they lived that infamous closet. As I’m round her age, I know from my own experience what a different world we live in, as society shifts and changes round us. Where are we going next?

So here, with me in my studio bedroom, where sound is pretty good (large bed, thick carpet, curtains and open wardrobe to cut sound bounce), we talked as two older women with our own perspectives on identity, gender, this shifting world, our chemical selves, the safety of the closet and more.

Jane is a gem, and I’m delighted to help give voice to her valuable contribution to this podcast. The wisdom of the elder. You know what? I’m getting to love doing this, deep talking and sharing the depths of great people with you.

This conversation was recorded at a friend’s house, a fine Edwardian pile between the New Forest and the sea. It was a second go – our first conversation was at the RSA iin London and I made a technical error with my little recorder. It was a good excuse to spend more time with Ayla, her beauty, sharp wisdom, good nature and truthfulness.

We looked out of a bedroom over the splendid garden, bursting with flowers, and went deeper and deeper into ourselves, ending up in a very sweet state of being indeed. It’s all here with you in this conversation, which fulfils a major aim of this podcast – to introduce anyone and everyone to the fine, profound people we trans folk are.

So many times I wonder, as I am recording another of these fine conversations that are this podcast, if this person I am talking to is just the best of all. This happened a couple of days ago when I spoke to Jess and was confirmed when I listened to it before I give it out to the world. I just loved talking to Jess in this deep way, penetrating into the heart of our experience, and me having the joy of learning from her insights.

I feel that here we have true wisdom, profundity of awareness, practised over years into a compassionate maturity, working with young people, and the young person we all still are – as she does. Here is evidence of the wisdom that lies within all of us, when we have the good fortune to live from Presence.

What more can I write? It’s all in what has been spoken. This, folks, is what The Masks of Gender is all about. How deep can we go? Who knows, I’ve only just begun.

?You can see more of the remarkable Jess, more about the artist, the painter, at jesswoodpainter.co.uk

This was supposed to be the first episode, in which I gave some idea of what The Masks of Gender podcast was all about. Claire Doran came to ask me some questions to get the show on the road, and added to the whole thing with her clear mind, her own identity issues – which box do I tick when none of them are me? – her easy understanding of the complexities and realities of gender identities, and more. I think I hesitated to post this episode because I quickly found that this whole concept was far deeper and wider than I imagined, so I left it to see what I said still made sense some time later. It does, so here it is.

Molly describes herself as being a mother, a lawyer, a feminist and an Irish musician. The essence of our conversation was around her trans son, around 11 at this time, and what she learned about gender, identity, truth and more from what her son has taught her. The line in the title – the love cuts through – came from her mouth, and is of the essence of the masks of gender; cut through them to the truth of our essential identity, our reality who we really are.

Just before I started to publish this podcast, The Masks of Gender, I thought it might be useful to begin with me talking to someone who knew me well, asking me about my intentions, my inspirations, my hopes and dreams, what I value, what are my ways of seeing, and so on.

Fortune favoured me; Claire Doran agreed to be that person who held the conversation with me that inspired me to tell it all, or as much as I knew at the time. She works for the RSA, the Royal Society of Arts, of which I am a fellow, and she supports this podcast both personally and professionally, which I feel privileged to receive.

For reasons I’m unsure of, I didn’t put it up first, even though in the beginning of the recording I lead with a welcome to the whole series. Perhaps I wondered if I had to create some conversations before I really knew what I was doing. In fact, when I listened to it again, and although I’ve definitely learned a lot about my podcast game, the content holds up well, and I think it’s a good time to post it.

Claire really is a wonder; clear, open, sharp, with a wonderful background to bring her own particular insights into identity, gender and more. She agreed to be the contributor to her own episode, it’s in the recording, and I am going to chase her to talk to us all soon.

I don’t have the right picture of Claire as yet. When I do I’ll insert it. The image shown is of a small part of a garden sculpture I made some years ago, when I was a garden designer and maker. Another identity which has come and gone, as they do. Podcaster; there’s another.