When I sat and listened to the recording of the conversation I had with Molly, in the library of the RSA in London, I thought: what a privilege to spend such an intimate and profound time of the heart with such a woman as this. In fact, this podcast project is a great way to do what I love; sharing a space of intimacy and heart with remarkable people, then sharing it with you.

Molly was introduced to me as she is the mother of a trans child, also a feminist, a lawyer and musician. Seems to me that she lives and expresses these diverset aspects of herself in a fine balance, to me a rare attainment in our world.

This is one of the longer conversations, and I didn’t want to miss a moment of it so cut nothing out at all. Her straightforward honesty, her eloquence, her recognition of the masculine in the deep identity of her dear child, and with that the encouragement for him to flourish, made me wish all trans kids have such a mother as this. Or maybe simply all kids; after all, every one of us needs recognition and the nourishment of love to become all we are and can be.

When I went to India, the state of West Bengal, the city of Kolkata, in January this year it was the first time I’d been back to that tumultuous country for almost 28 years. Before then I’d been all over the North, spending a lot of time in an ashram in the West, but never in the East.

Pawan Dhall was the first of the new Indian, Bengali friends that I met in Kolkata, or Calcutta as it is still called by many. Nothing in India is clearly bordered, everything is in flux with varied possibilities, so gender too has its complications and uniqueness in that country.

One aspect of society that exists in India as nowhere else I know is that of the caste system, the named and historic way of classifying people which goes way past the class system in the UK. After talking with Pawan, when he brought up the caste system and how it affects all aspects of Indian life, including, of course, gender, I decided to talk more with him, to mine some of his well worked wisdom.

This fresh angle on social class, privilege, power and so on shines a light on our own ways of division and hierarchies, the masks of gender we impose on others. And ourselves. The outsider from the comfort of our own little worlds has much to tell.

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.