Fox is a film-maker, an artist and a relentless advocate for trans and non binary people everywhere. It’s a tough game they play, one that I have played myself so I know how hard it can be.

In this recording Fox and I talked of being between two identities, such as gender and race, and the word that emerged more than once was gift, in terms of both what we receive and what we have to give. Within this idea is the essence of The Masks of Gender; behind the roles we play, which always diminish, is a wonder, something privileged we receive and then give. Then, towards the end of our conversation they came up with the considered words the lighter self which is, to me, a beautiful way of stating what we become, we trans people of the world. So there’s the title of the episode.

The point we are trying to put over is not that it is just people like us who have the gift, that something special within us, it’s everyone, and it lies deep within the heart of us all, behind all the limiting masks we wear.

Sam’s story of his inner transformation on undergoing his gender transition to the man he always knew was his truth, was one of the inspirations for starting this podcast. Listen everybody! What we do is not a game, it’s profound and wonderful, considered, intelligent, risky and brings benefits, to ourselves and others around us. Look at Sam with his unfolded compassion, his change in how he works as a doctor and compare it with Tina, Christian priest in a previous episode. Such a transition as we make only makes real sense as a spiritual experience.

Sam Hall is one of the inspirations of the Masks of Gender podcast. Last year I began to take photos of inspiring trans people; I was so tired of the vitriol being poured on our vulnerable and highly self aware, profoundly conscious community that I wanted to show what we really are by showing their eyes, and with it their hearts and souls, to the world.

In time my aim changed from a photo with a little card of words telling us about them to a little photo and their own living words. When I took the picture of Sam which is on this page, we talked, and he told me of the shift that had taken place in his medical career, or vocation. In his previous persona, labouring under the gender mask of the feminine, he was a consultant anaesthetist, with limited relations with patients. After his transition he re-trained as a general practitioner, face to face with patients, as an expression of his expanded compassion.

When I went to his house the other week to record the wonderful words of this man, this human, this good heart, this Catholic, I had the chance to delve deeper into his observations, his insights and wisdom. Listen, everyone, here is yet another great trans heart and intelligence. What wonderful people we are, I thought as I listened to it, what a privilege to belong to this extraordinary sector of humanity.

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.