In this recording of a public conversation, Andrea and I talk about her experience of following a hint I once gave her, in one of my ‘Salons’, as how to make her voice heard in a management meeting in Sussex University, dominated by, guess who, middle aged white guys in suits. What I suggested worked, amazingly well, and it came from the unique trans, outsider’s perspective on gender and power.

This recording comes from an RSA (Royal Society of Arts) sponsored event in November 2017. It’s one of the inspirations for the podcast. As this track was plucked out from the whole evening, it starts and finishes a little abruptly, but it’s OK, the essence of the Conversation is clear.

Andrea Cornwall was, at the time, the head of the International Development School at the University of Sussex. She was, in essence, an anthropologist who had been involved over time with women in developing countries. And when she heard my trans insights into gender, the outsider’s view which had been honed and developed over many years of meditation and awareness training, her ears pricked up.

This conversation, in front of an audience, was unrehearsed and unplanned. I am, however, pleased to this day with the sequence that evolved. It’s about power, feminine power in essence, and how it can be developed. More than once I’ve talked to trans women friends about our perception of women unconsciously denying themselves power in this male dominated world. It’s explained in this way. A woman once said to me that she thought I had personal power, even though I’d not only transitioned into being a woman to the world, but I was trans as well, another assumption of powerlessness. Was it because I was brought up a boy? The strange assumption was that my lost place in the power hierarchy was maintained despite it being lost. No, I told her: it’s because I wasn’t brought up a girl. I hadn’t learned to deny myself in that particular way. I’d found ways of my own.