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This is the transcript for the 5th episode of the Love Advice Segment Podcast - it was automatically generated so please get in touch if there are any bad typos!

Hello, and welcome to the love advice segment, the podcast where I answer all your questions about queer love, dating, friendship, family, and community. Send in your woes, and I will try and bring some clarity to the situation.

Hey, this is Editing Kim. So before everything gets started, I just wanted to do a quick plug for an event that's happening on Wednesday. So the 23rd of February at the Amersham arms in southeast London. It's called Speed mates and dates. And it's an event that I am collaborating with queer off, they organised it and they just kind of like helped come up with the whole speed dating concept that isn't too stressful. So the speed dating part is going to be everybody gets introduced to each other in like a speed, date style, but then all of the getting to know each other and conversations that happen afterwards will be a bit more chill. And yeah, not timed or anything. And there's going to be some amazing music and the cocktail destroyers will be there as well. So head to queer off London. That's queer off LDN on Instagram to get your ticket, and I'll see you there.

Okay. Hello, hello. Hello. Welcome back. So the love advice segment. And this episode is amazing. There's like a whole there was a whole ordeal with getting it edited. So it's been a long time in the making. I won't go into full details on the podcast. I'm gonna write a bit about it on the blog if you're interested.

But basically, I spoke to Santi from gender swap, which is really exciting. We had a really good conversation about dressing for dates and appearance, presentation and style aesthetic and queer dating.

But I only have one mic at home. So I booked in at glass house to record glass houses amazing. It's like a queer community hub in Shoreditch. And one of the things they have as well as a cafe, a bookshop, a bar and event space is podcast studios. As it turned out, however, the audio quality was too high. And it crashed my laptop, and the files kept corrupting. And my usual audio software wouldn't work with it. So yeah, I like I tried to borrow my sister's laptop. I tried to download audition and Audacity and it wasn't working. Anyway, long story short, I ended up editing the podcast two months later in a music studio. So thank you, Dan, for letting me come and edit in your studio. I was absolutely spoiled by the fancy programmes and the endless memory. And the massive screen. Oh my God, it was amazing. And I've actually uploaded some photos and videos of that process, as I like slowly went out of my mind editing this podcast. So you can find them on Instagram and also on the blog.

So yeah, finally it's done. If you're listening to this, that means it's out. It was it's such an amazing conversation. And I know that it's going to bring a lot of insight to a lot of people. So enjoy, and go and check out gender swap on Instagram.

Okay, here we go, guys. So I actually first the first question I have is, I'm not exactly sure how to title this, because I was thinking gender presentation and dating. But then I was also thinking maybe that's a bit too, too specific. Because sometimes your presentation is like, devoid of gender, you know? Yeah. So how would you describe that?

I mean, to tie it in with gender swap, I guess like gender swaps, I guess, like tagline is be whoever, where whatever. It's all about, like, be who you want, express yourself as you wish. And like create spaces in which people feel free to do so. And I thought that in terms of dating, it was like, kind of a cool sort of like catchphrase to say something like, where whatever date, whoever. Because there's this kind of thing again, and something I've experienced a lot that there have been people that I wouldn't approach to go on a date because I wasn't sure if they'd like my expression or like be be into that. So I think that the phrase is quite freeing in a sense that like, yeah, there's ways to navigate how to dress and like how to maybe dress like, quote unquote, appropriately for certain events and things like that. But at the end of the day, I think that if you sort of yeah, if you feel Free to wear whatever you will attract. Inevitably, whoever's sort of meant for you.

I love that that's that you're right. It is very freeing way to think about it. Yeah. So I want to introduce you. Well, I suppose kind of let you introduce yourself. So this episode, I'm speaking to Santi.

So well, as you know, my name is Santi, my pronouns are they he, I'm the founder and I guess creative director of gender swap, and gender swaps the first clothing outreach organisation based in the UK that supports trans and gender nonconforming people to access clothes, and to find community. So my whole mission is to make style resources and style overall, more accessible to the trans community and wider LGBTQ plus community primarily because, yeah, the fashion world is not really catered to us. So yeah, gender swap, I started in 2017, as a clothing swap initiative. And based on the work requests and needs of the community, I expanded that to include a whole array of initiatives that, you know, go from makeup and style tutorials, creating digital resources, I collaborate with a lot of folks in and out of the community to deliver outreach programmes and services. Yeah, to make trans and GNC folks feel like their best selves, and to create spaces in which they can do so

lovely. It really does take so many forms, like, I don't know, just just from seeing your Instagram. You said, I have quite a busy November, and you have quite busy every week,

every day, actually. I mean, yeah, I think it's interesting, right? Because we talk about gender identity being so complex, and of Korean and gender identity, of course, like encompasses a whole lot of things. I think gender expression, a lot of the times gets missed, I think, primarily because a lot of people feel a bit sort of tentative or awkward speaking about style and fashion, because it may be come across as superficial thing. There's also, you know, obviously, the argument or the conversation that what you wear doesn't determine your gender, and it doesn't, but it plays a big role in how you experience public space and how people experience you. And so as a result, gender swap is quite complex, and in its initiatives and the things that it delivers, because there's just so many things to tackle hair and makeup accessories, dressing, the way you walk, the way you move, the way you know, so I can go on and on. But that's a snippet of it.

That's That's really interesting. I love the fact that you're kind of like delving into the complexities of something that's seen as very superficial when it's, it's not at all. Yeah, it's kind of like everything that we create of our how we Adonis, obviously no, yeah, absolutely. What has been the most exciting thing that's happened with gender swap?

I mean, I think the most exciting thing recently, and also simultaneously controversial, I suppose, is the binder Outreach Programme, and being able to work with GCB, which is a company based in the states that provides chess binders, basically. And we've had a partnership where I'm able to kind of support trans folks all across the UK and Europe. So that's been really exciting. And I'm trying to think of what else like recently, I think, just, you know, I got funding at the beginning of the year from comic relief to deliver like a five month long series of supportive like online workshops, style workshops, and self care workshops. And that was super exciting, because I got to work with so many different activists and organisations and different like businesses that I wouldn't have ever kind of come across if it wasn't for the need for that online connection that we were now sort of worse to have, you know. So I think that's like one of the most exciting things of like, 2021, for sure. Yeah.

Yeah. To be able to have that kind of impact and reach. Yeah, absolutely. Nice. And what is coming up that you're excited about?

What's coming up my tour, I think, like, I have 10,000, I'm like, this is kind of, I guess, it's it's an expansion of the gender shop, which is an online shop that I run on the gender swap website, I've always upcycled clothes, and, you know, done all of that, but never really kind of put it anywhere, kind of like displayed anywhere. And actually, I'm opening up like a section on the gender shop, which is going to be thrifted upcycled, gender nonconforming, like clothing line. And that's really exciting because, you know, gender swap provides style resources and ways, you know, like, I guess equips you with the skills to be able to do little sewing alterations and things like that. And sometimes people just actually just want to buy like cool clothes. Yeah, affordable, right? And so generous. Bob's going to do that. So that's next on the list. Oh,

no. When's that? When's that coming up in the new year, so

that'll be most likely then. Yeah,

because I think I remember maybe one of the first things I saw from gender swap was like a tutorial of how to upcycle something. And I was like this. This is the shit that I love to do. But yeah, that that stuff is so nice because it's so accessible. The ability to find the clothing that suits you. And like you said, an industry that doesn't cater to you. Yeah, yeah, for sure. Nice.

I guess I could also well, there's Tanzania. Yeah, we'll start with, we'll just do one. Because if not, I'll be like, and this and this, and this.

Okay, well, if maybe we have time at the end, you can tell?

Yeah, I'll give you some plugs.

So this episode, we're talking about aesthetics, gender, presentation, self expression and dating. So I guess where whatever date, whoever, like you said. So I think I might just go straight into the questions. I am gender fluid, on a first date, how do I dress how I want versus just dressing how they might expect me to? This is coming from somebody I had a conversation with in person. They were saying like, yeah, because also maybe they asked me out on a day when I'm just a certain way. And then I'm not feeling that way when the date comes around. And so should I just dress how they've seen me before? Or how do I balance that, basically? So do you want to stop?

Yeah, I mean, it's such a difficult thing, isn't it? Because I've definitely been in that position where I feel like I have to project a certain image, you know, and sort of match, so to speak, the image that someone's seen me as, I think that ultimately, there's this kind of pressure that happens in dating, and I think a lot of it is based on aesthetics. And I think, especially with like, swipe culture, so to say, you know, like, everything's online and swipe, swipe right or left, depending on like how much you'd like the photo and someone's face and how they dress. And I think, as cheesy as it sounds, I think it really has to start with you, like what feels gender affirming for you in that moment, you know, I think I really, truly believe and it's happened to me before that, when I don't dress how I feel on the day for the date, I end up like not delivering my best self. Because I'm so self conscious and like uncomfortable and adjusting myself. And even the way in which I sit or the way that I'm delivering information just doesn't feel like very natural, I'd say that, ultimately, you're dressing for you and not your date. And it's really important to have to wear what you want. And I know that sounds easier said than done. I think that there are certain ways if you do feel really nervous, and you really are having a difficult time, you could deliver that information, you could even be open about it, like look, you know, I'm I'm gender fluid, you've seen me, you've come across me at a time that I was dressed as x, I just wanted to let you know that my expression does change a lot. And you know, you may not see me as as you did in this photo. And that's kind of scary. That's sort of revealing. And I know that's quite that could be TMI for some people. But I think that like delivering that information and being open about it is is kind of like the best way forward. Or even if you've got an online dating profile to actually put that in the description.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I definitely think that the hardest part about dating is that the whole point is to kind of like put yourself across and be like, Yeah, but you can't do that if you're not willing to be vulnerable. And if there is a person and you go on a date with them, and they're not down with your fluidity, then it's never gonna work between the two of you. Yeah, Agreed. Agreed. But that's why I think it's such a good idea to put it in a dating profile. And even like, with the pictures that you choose, showing kind of like, okay, so sometimes I dress like this, and sometimes a dress like this, and you're gonna have to be down with all of it, because it's all me, you know?

Yeah. And like clothes are so important. Obviously, that's why we're sitting here today. But I also think that if someone is sitting across from you, and all they care about is what you're wearing is not a date you want to be on anyway, there's so you know, we are our identities are so much there's we contain multitudes. And it's not just like the shirt we're wearing, you know. So I guess keeping that in mind is really important. Yeah.

And something that I don't know, I think I might be labour on this a bit too hard. But I think it's very important to also forgive yourself for having this confusion. Because, I don't know it's, it's very easy to be like, Oh, I should know I should be able to connect with exactly how I want to dress and I should be defiant and just just how I want and fuck them if they don't like it. But we live in a society. We live in a society that pushes upon us like these ideas of self worth being connected. to how we dress and which people approve of us. So be kind to yourself around this question as well. I mean, we're really set up to be mean to ourselves. So rebel against that? Yeah, definitely. Okay. The next question is, I suppose it's kind of quite similar to the last one. But maybe we can go into more detail, how to address the fact that the way I look at the first date won't be how I always look, I might switch from very firm to very mask. So you said it's important to bring that across and even talk about feeling uncomfortable with them knowing that, but how would you say it's a good idea to approach it?

I'd say actually, just opening up the conversation, like, I find that in a lot of dating experiences, even recently with dates, like, sometimes the conversation really leans that way, like there is this topic that comes up of like, Oh, what do you like? What kind of people have you dated in the past? Like, you know, how do you feel about this, and I think that like bringing it up in a really kind of, like, wholesome, I guess, also, casual conversation is totally okay, saying something like, look, you know, I'm feeling this kind of way. And I wanted to get your thoughts on it, or like, sort of, what is your, your thoughts on this? And do you generally find yourself attracted to or, you know, like, kind of, yeah, because that's also part of knowing someone like, those are things you'd want to know about someone, irrespective of whether you have this kind of concern or not, it is kind of things that I I asked someone? Yeah, so I think even like guiding the conversation, that way to get more answers is a good way to start.

Yeah. So it's kind of like a conversation about the topic of presentation and dress and like masculinity and femininity is rather than like all about you, because that can feel much more vulnerable. Whereas if you're saying, like, how do you feel about dressing for a day? How do you feel about like preventing quit, like, it becomes more of a topic rather than you're sharing your personal feelings?

Yeah. And a way of also asking people about them, when they think like, that's like, that is a massive tick box, right? Like, you also don't want to kind of, yeah, they might have some worries, and some concerns that they haven't vocalised. But you're then opening that space for them to talk about it as well. Yeah,

I mean, we also said that it's good to have it on visible on the dating app, if it's something you want people to know. And then also, I have definitely been in situations where it's been left unsaid, and you can just kind of like, play with it. So you don't have to talk about it. But you can kind of show up how you want to look that day and gauge their reaction. If they're not into it again, it's better that you know, now, if they're cool about it, then that's great. You guys can move forwards.

I mean, and also, I mean, we'll probably get to this later. But I also think it's really important to kind of like engage in like your own sort of like acts of like self care, and like, have your own kind of rituals that you do before going on a date or even like going out to be social, like things that feel uplifting and gender affirming in your own space. And I feel like that sort of grounds you before you kind of go out and tackle that with someone else, you know, but I yeah, we can elaborate later. We can love right now. Yeah. Yeah, no, I, for me, personally, especially when I'm going on a date. It's not just oh, I'm going on this date now. And I'm going to get ready in 10 minutes, I'm gearing up towards the date dates booked on a Friday, I've known about this since last Sunday, I'm already thinking about maybe what I want to wear things that I want to do. Like I'll put a face mask on, I'll take photos of myself and like certain outfits that I feel good in. I do things that make me feel good and make me feel affirmed beforehand. And I think oftentimes, especially when we talk about dating, we're talking about, okay, how do we impress the other person? How do we come across like this? What do we talk about on a date, you know, all of these things? But like, also, what are you doing for yourself on the daily? What are you doing beforehand that kind of celebrates yourself despite what this person may think of you? I think it's really important to kind of have your own like self check in. I love that, you know,

yeah, that's such good advice to kind of like have some private, personal affirming time with yourself to kind of, like preparation is it's kind of a bit like dating yourself as well like reminding yourself of what the purpose of it all is, and that your self worth is defined by you and celebrated by you. And you're looking to this person to see if there's a connection and nothing else. Yeah, you know, not for any confirmation of your worthiness to exist. Exactly. So I want to talk about like the fear of them rejecting you. And I think that this this like predate ritual is like really good armour against that you're not building up a wall between your vulnerability and another person. You're building up your resilience against rejection and knowing that if somebody says this isn't working This isn't gonna be a match that it's just just means that they're not your cup of tea. And that's it. It doesn't mean anything about who you are or the way that you are at all. It's fun to talk about it. This is nice to have. Yeah, I

love this topic.

And then I also put this in, if you are worried that somebody is going to have a scary reaction to you dressing in a different way, then that is a big sign that you shouldn't be going on a date with them at all. Yeah, like that's, that's a big red flag. And

yeah, and I think maybe it'd be more specific. Like, I think that oftentimes we seek people that make us feel safe, and that are also like relatable territory, and like things that you can talk openly about, you know, I feel like every time I go on a date, we're always talking about our queerness. Like, for like a good 80% of it. I don't know, I think that the lack of relatability, I suppose, is also something to consider.

Yeah, cuz you want to be able to share some references and some culture with them as well, of like, the experiences that you've had, but also like the, the things that make you feel seen, because that's, that's kind of like important for showing them how you can feel seen and for communicating that to them. Yeah, if you have like, different points of reference, that's more difficult.

Yeah, definitely. And I guess I kind of wanted to go back to your, to your earlier point about like, I guess, the topic of rejection, and like not taking it personally and things like that. I think, also, it's important to kind of keep an open mind in terms of like, what the outcomes of the date could be, you know, obviously, there was probably a mutual seeking of like, a romantic connection, you never know, sort of like what connection you can have to that person in a way, whether it be creative, or just social or like, I don't know, like, work related, like you just never know, you know, like, it can be in connection itself. And I think kind of keeping an open mind about that is important. It's so

true. I think it's something that queer people may be better at doing. I saw a post the other day that was like, where did you meet your friend is like, we went to lesbian Tinder together. Be prepared to like, Sidestep into friendship, or like you said, like a creative connection, because sometimes that can be just like the perfect vibe between the two of you. And you don't have to shut it off just because it's not romantic. Yeah. Okay, this is a question that we, it took a bit more thinking, okay. I'm a guy who presents Femme and I tend to always date by girls. I look out for it on dating apps, because I feel like I'm more likely to be understood and accepted by them versus straight girls. Is it bad for me to have this preference?

Do you think?

Well, um, I think it's quite common for queer people who could date stray people to exclusively date other queer people. And it's kind of like what you were saying about having a relatability and having like, a common ground. So I think it's completely valid for queer people to exclusively date, other queer people. The only problem is if there's kind of like a fetishization happening there. And you will know, if that's what's happening with you. If if you're dating them, because they're buying the fact that they're buyers, what makes you excited about them, rather than who they are as a person, then that's something that maybe you need to look into and address within yourself. If what you're seeking is like a sense of safety even and relatability. I think that's totally valid.

Yeah. What do you think? I mean, I agree with that. I think also, and I know this, again, this is something that you you don't know, until you kind of do it, but you never know how someone will like take in and react to your expression. And I do think there's a lot of like, people out there, although maybe more difficult to find that like would be open to the way you dress and I would say like Don't, don't be reductive in your, in your approach to dating. I know we have a long way to go and like things are not as far along as I would like. But I do think that we are living in a time where more visibility of gender nonconformity is kind of increasing. There, there's a lot more sort of like no gender bendy references and like advertising and all of that out there. Like, I don't know, I think that potentially, you could kind of open that up because there are more people that are accepting and open. And also a lot of people outside of the queer community who are also experimenting more with their expression. Definitely there's a whole other podcast. I'm not even gonna dip into that because you In saying that there's like so many sides I take on that. But like, ultimately, yeah, that's it's very tricky. Yeah. And I don't even know where to start with that. But I think there is more of an awareness and an openness and yeah, try not to kind of like, confine yourself to a specific demographic, I

guess. Yeah, definitely. And also, there's, there could be people who want to explore, like gender expression, or they want to explore their sexuality. And maybe that's why they're drawn to you, even though they are straight. That they see you as maybe more of a safe person to be with, while they want to explore. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And you can be open to that. That could be a really beautiful relationship, like, some nice growth for both of you. Yeah,

totally. And I think like expanding from what was what you've said, I think, think of yourself as like inspiring. Change, you know, and like inspiring change and other people have for myself personally, like, sometimes if I'm getting stared at or I'm wearing something weird. I'm kind of like, good, because there's this kind of like, Haha, look at this. Yes, you can do this to kind of thing like, you know, it's kind of like maybe sparking something in someone and you just never know how you can. I don't know, like, impact someone's life and just the way that you're, you're expressing yourself.

I love that. That's so what a way to start the day with like, thinking, what am I inspiring other people just by the way, I look and my laptop ran out of battery. Oh, so I'm going to want to get it. Okay, so this won't take too long to reboot. But while it does, what I've noticed in every sort of queer related endeavour that I've taken, is that the takeaways or the biggest joys from it have been kind of unexpected. So I set up a feminist network in my uni town, which was like a small Dutch town like fraternities, sororities. And Groningen. Oh, yeah. That's not smart. That's not super small. It's mostly visible.

I used to live in the Netherlands. Oh, my. Yeah. How long? For three years? I studied at Leiden University. Oh, but I lived in The Hague.

Okay. Yeah. The Higgs quite nice. Yeah. It's a few times.

Yeah. It's yeah, but yeah, yeah.

So yeah, it was it was pretty, you already know, it's like very much tolerance, but not acceptance. And there was quite a lot of like, sexism and race, a lot of racism. And there was no kind of like space to discuss any of this. And so I set it up. And I was like, Okay, I just want somewhere that we can all discuss the things that are going on, and like maybe make some kind of a difference or provide a safer space for people to come. And I totally didn't expect to create, like, an amazing community of queer people, and let them all meet each other and date each other. And so now, I'm doing that on purpose. But I was wondering, what has come out of gender swap that you didn't expect, that has been like a big joy.

I've made tonnes of new friends. I think community building, I mean, obviously, community building is like a main part of gender swap. But I didn't expect to just like come out of it with so many friends and people that I could like trust, and not only work with creatively, but also like, confide in. And I think like, also being able to learn more about myself in relation to the people that I met, has also been like, something that's that I didn't necessarily expect. When I first started gender swap, I was having a tough time because I was struggling with my gender, and how I wanted to present according to those feelings, and it was difficult to like, find people to talk to and like find those spaces to kind of do my thing. I mean, I've always thrifted I've always kind of put together my own outfits and done stuff. But I've never really like talked to other people or learned from other people in terms of like, how they navigated all of that. And also, like, I feel like from doing gender swap and working with people and meeting people, I've learned more about myself and more about like, how I want to identify and present as well. So that's been like something really unexpected. I don't know, I was like struggling with what pronouns and like what, you know, how do I want to identify him, you know, and it's like, it's changed so much, but I also think it's changed because I've like, met so many people. I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I know this. Oh, yeah, though, this feels like I relate to this. I see myself in this person. Oh, we're having this chat about like, I don't know, like physique and like muscles and like wearing shirts. And I'm like, oh, I want to I want to do that. And then not only do I do it for myself, I incorporate it into like, the resources that gender swap gives out and just this mutual exchange and this like, these friendships that I did necessarily expect to come out of it was, I think like, it's been a really euphoric aspect of gender swap, I would say.

That's amazing. Yeah, I think that that's so often the case where you, you think of a project and you think of like doing it as like, like, it's sims or something like, I'm just gonna make it happen. And you forget that you're also going to be involved in it. And yeah, I'm gonna, like change and grow from it as well. But yeah, that that's so beautiful. I'm very happy that that was your experience as well, like, that's, that's something that I think everybody deserves to experience through life. And it's funny, because that's kind of like exactly what you needed. When you started it. It was that was that was what you were looking for. And you didn't expect to find it. So

yeah, I mean, it's just unbelievable. And like, I know, it's kind of cheesy to say, and I know a lot of people say this, but I didn't expect I never saw that this is where I'd be doing all these things like, I don't know, I like it started as a small little clothing swap thing. And then I kept meeting people and talking to people and just like this, but I've like just as much as gender swaps grown like so have I? Yeah. And I just I didn't I didn't foresee that, you know? Yeah, yeah. So it's just wild.

Beautiful. Okay. This is the last question. I think it is. Oh, second to last. Yeah. Last question. And then more of a exploration. So this is a question I got through Instagram. What do you do when you fancy someone when they present a certain way, but are put off when they present differently? Well, I think that you don't really can't see them. Yeah.

I had to pause there because I was like, huh, yeah, I think questioning like what, what your fencing in that moment? And like how far that could go? Right? I think that it would be definitely a situation where I'd probably leave it yet act on it.

Exactly. Maybe, maybe take some alone time. And think, think it through, think about that. And think about why the same person and different clothes is a different experience for you. Yeah, you're just, you're just attracted to the image of them presenting in a certain way and like, maybe know them, and maybe that's part of it, or maybe you don't really know them, and you're just projecting some idea onto them onto this one image of them. But either way, if you're if you find yourself in a situation, and you need to kind of like end it with someone, if you feel like there is a friendship connection there, I would sidestep into friendship because obviously there's something about them that you've you've connected with, just not in a physical, romantic or sexual way. Or maybe if you really don't know them, and it's just kind of like this person that you've projected on to this one Instagram photo of them. Then it's there's, there's, there's not really anything that you have connected with really other than this image. And either way, make sure that you don't kind of like make them feel bad about it. I don't know if this is, this is advice, I need to give people be nice to each other. Make sure that you, you have really looked into the reason why you're it's not going to work between the two of you. And it's not because that they dress a certain way on one day, it's because you cannot accept their whole person in terms of your romantic and sexual attraction to them. Is that is the fact that you that they are not your cup of tea.

Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think for a more, I guess, more like, practically speaking and maybe like something that I can see here, like maybe an opportunity for, like self exploration and self growth, I guess, is is to kind of look inwards and sort of maybe even, like write down or think about like, what in their aesthetic or in their way of being or like moving like you fancy and then kind of take that as like guiding points for like your dating endeavours. But I think definitely and like what you said and kind of saying, you know, kind of expanding on from that, like, I'd be very like careful about imposing like a specific personality type on like someone's photo or video and there's just so much more that goes into a person and to also think about the fact that like, you could fancy that person and then get talking to them and not at all like that's happened to me so many times that I find someone really attractive. And then like we get talking or meeting and I'm like actually no not at all. So also Yeah, I I wouldn't say don't like my initial thing I already said it is Don't pursue anything but if you do end up sort of chatting with this person and going on a date. You have to accept all aspects of them. And if you can't, then that's a no. Yeah. Yes.

So when you were saying about like, maybe write down or explore the things that you find attractive about them as research for future dating. Maybe also think about the things that, like, why it is that this person that you're so attracted to, you're suddenly not attracted to in a certain light? And like, maybe explore those feelings and see why that is like, is this maybe a societal influence on that, and maybe something that you've learnt to associate with being an attractive? Or is it kind of like very inherent to you try and explore that a little bit and see where it's coming from? Because we can have a lot of like, snap reactions to things that we've been taught by society, and it hides from us our actual attraction. So as well as looking into the things that you found attractive about them. Also question like, if there's this person, and we've connected, and there seems to be something nice going between us, and I'm attracted to them, when adjusting this other way, why is this suddenly not viable anymore? So yeah, I would examine that for yourself. Amen. Yeah. Yeah. Journaling is a good way to do that. I was talking to someone actually, who really doesn't like writing and finds it very laborious. And I think maybe, like an audio ternal would be a good idea. Oh, yeah, that's

a great idea.

Sometimes it's easy to even to think through things out loud.

Or, like, even just like, I don't know, phone note, Apple notes or whatever, like, I don't know.

Okay. So then I wanted to ask you some tips for putting together an affirming date outfit. So this is your area of expertise. Yeah.

I mean, I actually wanted to give a really cheesy plug. Sorry to do this right now. For anyone who kind of like, yeah, need something a bit more? What sort if you if you want to go over this information, again, you can actually go on to the gender swap YouTube channel. And I have a episode on 10 ways to like disc to find a gender affirming wardrobe, or to put together a gender affirming wardrobe. So a lot of the tips come from there, but there's like a few more in there. So yeah, for anyone who's interested,

not easy plug at all. Okay, useful.

Stay tuned for tic TOCs, I guess. Um, yeah, I mean, I think it's really important to start off with, I guess, like, we talked about journaling, or even like a mood board, like pre a pre date mood board. And that could be like Pinterest board that could just be writing that could be collaging. I also think that like, kind of getting a feel for what you think you might want to wear, prior to the date, not like a couple hours before, but I'm talking like a week in advance. A lot of the times, and I don't know if any of you can relate, but I get this like, I only can wear what I feel like I want to wear like there's a certain colour and I only feel like I want to wear like blue. Like today was like blue and grey or like silver, you know, and I'll wear like a whole monochromatic outfit of like that colour that I really feel. And kind of Yeah, I guess just kind of getting a feel for like, what mood you're in that week, you know, or that day, and picking out some main pieces and kind of wearing them or just putting them to the side and kind of mixing and matching, I think sort of like doing any sort of like pre organising or like mood boarding I guess or like brainstorming. Yeah, yeah, definitely. And if you want to expand on that I find I've personally find journaling, quite helpful. But these are like some of the questions that I've asked myself, and I think ones that are really helpful. What words would you use to like describe your gender in that point in time, or like your gender experience? Like what's inspiring you? Like? Do you have like an archive of images on Instagram you really like and you kind of want to pull from that? What body part? Do you want to emphasise? Like, what do you want to dress up? You know, what do you feel like you want to show off that day? You know only for you though not because like you're trying to guide like what you think the other person wants? You're like, what are you feeling? You know? And like what shapes Do you want to create? And then like thinking about Yeah, like what colours you're really attracted to in that time. And also like, like textures and things like that, too. Like sometimes I'm like, Oh, I just want to dress up all in like full corduroy for that. Yeah, like I'm just like, or like fake fur or like, Oh, I just want to wear like, pleather from like top to bottom or like, you know, I always get into a mood like that. So like, think about that, and kind of integrate that, like I said earlier into kind of your self care ritual, you know? So like taking pampering yourself beforehand, listening to your favourite song having a dance in your room, trying on what feels good and like you will you'll put on that outfit. You'll be like yes, I feel good in this. You know and like, and I would say actually, like, almost stay off of social media in the sense of like, I and I'm saying this because I do it sometimes like stalking the person you like, or the person you're going on a day with or like, trying to gauge like what you think you should wear based, like, just forget it. It's like all about you, you know? Exactly. Um, so I feel like those are some good sort of, like ways to start off to. Yeah, feel, I guess affirmed. I think probably the question that's coming up now is like, Yeah, but like, we're going mini golfing, or like, we're going to a theatre, or we're off to like a bookstore. Like, I don't know how to dress appropriately. And I like Sorry, this is coming from like, I just have no rules when it comes to dress. Like, if you want to wear a full ball gown to the like the coffee shop. I think you should. Yeah, please do. Yeah. I think I just like really strongly believes that. You know, if you're really kind of comfortable in your more casual wear, and maybe you're going for a dinner or somewhere like a little bit more kind of dressed up. A good place to start is experimenting with maybe different hairstyles. Makeup, if that's something that feels true to you, or accessories. jewellery, like something that kind of just adds a splash of something different is always like, I don't know, a good way to go.

When you start with, like you said, like something that really feels true to you on that day. And then with accessories, hair and makeup, take it to a coffee shop or take it to fancy dinner. Yeah,

or to like a club setting. Yeah, like you could literally just put, I don't know, a chest harness or like a big like, Shane on top of a plain black T shirt. And you've got like your outfit. You know what I mean?

I wanted to also put in, I absolutely love asking myself questions of like, how, what words would I use to describe this, but I know that a lot of people don't love that. The idea of having music on like a song that you really feel connected to, that makes you feel very good and confident in that moment is a good idea. And then also like movies, or, or like TV shows or like scenes from them. I don't, I'm such I'm so influenced by that stuff. Like I watched, I went to see rubber ducks. And then the next day did like a full like leather jacket. Love. Like, I couldn't help it. It just is like sometimes when you see me, you'd be like, Wow, they must have really seen a film recently. So like any, any kind of thing that helps you feel connected to yourself on that day. Any kind of media is good, as well as words.

Yeah, definitely. And I think that like even if if words are not your thing, or you're finding it hard to brainstorm on paper, so to say like, I think that also things like wearing badges with like, I don't know, your favourite. Like slogan or like your pronoun badge or like something that means something to you something that kind of like, says something and like, says something to the other person, but also sort of like affirms you in that moment. And also another thing, and I know this is like slightly cringe, but I don't care like taking selfies, like for me was like a big one. And like taking like full length selfies of like how I look and like how, you know, just feeling myself in different like poses and things that just I'm just like, yeah, feeling good about myself, you know, because that emanates when you when you leave the house. Yeah, I think those are like, I think those are the main ones.

I think that's such a good idea.

Yeah, I think and those are all like, I guess they're all things in preparation of a date. But but most importantly, they're things that kind of, yeah, make you feel confident in yourself. Which is like the first thing that needs to happen before you can don't want to date you know, and just be unapologetic. Like, you rock up to a library and a miniskirt and that when that wasn't the dress code, you know, who cares? Just rock it. You don't need to reference it. You don't need to say anything. I think that's another thing is sometimes we have this thing of like, Oh ha I'm like overdressed or something like, you know, we tend to kind of want to say something. Or like, I have a thing where someone's like, Oh, I really like your shoes and I'm like, thanks. I got them like four to two pounds from this. And it's like I don't need to like tell people how cheap they were because I don't know. Yeah, like just be like Cool. Thanks. Yes,

it's such a British thing. I so ticked off about it's like yeah, I got it two years ago. I found it in a band. I hate it. I need new one.

I literally do that all the time. Thanks friends on the street. And I'm like no one needs to know the backstory unless that's the conversation topic at the time. You know? Exactly. Yeah,

like yes, it does look good. Yeah, I used to be really bad for that and then recently have been trying to like someone's Oh, you look really nice. Be like, yes, that was on purpose. Like I did it on purpose. Or like, Oh, I love how these guys because like, it was intentional. You're just acknowledging that you did it instead of having to say accept the compliment or not.

Yeah, it's a good that's a good thing. To practice to because it's like, again, easier said than done. Just say the compliment, you know? Yeah, yeah. But yeah, I guess like, ultimately, you're dressing for you not your date. You know, that's what we're all that's what we're talking about this whole episode anyways, it's

like, yeah, yeah, it will make the whole dating process a lot quicker as well, if you feel able to express yourself fully earlier on, then you can gauge whether it's gonna work between the two of you. And I think whether it's a first day or a couple of dates, or you guys have been messaging for a few months, finding out that it's not a good match is a gift. It's like such a, it's a good thing that's happened. And it can be painful, because you you might really like this person and wish that the connection was different. But it enables you to find what it is that you're looking for. And is another moment when you're not compromising what you're looking for. It's a moment of saying, Oh, someone doesn't totally appreciate the full spectrum of who I am. Great that I know that now I can find that because that's what I deserve. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So try. And it's hard when you're being rejected, because it feels so personal. But try and see it as a gift.

Yeah. And you're further along on a path, like on your path to finding the person that you're supposed to be with, right? Like, the person you're supposed to be with during that time. Because the thing is, is like, I think sometimes the rejection feels like, oh, there's gonna be like no one else or like, yeah, we kind of, I don't think it's important to see things in terms of like, abundance, and there's lots out there. And you know, and I think that like, sometimes we forget that,

because there was so many people, there's so many people that are looking for people. And yeah, there is an abundance of human beings and what you want, and what you're looking for isn't unreasonable. And you deserve it. Yeah. Okay, I've, we've kind of gotten to the end of it. Is there anything else that you want to talk about?

I guess maybe like, again, a more sort of, because, you know, we've talked a lot about like style, and like finding a gender for a wardrobe and all that and how to navigate like, I don't know, what you're wearing on a day and all of that. And maybe for some people, I'm just thinking about the people who maybe want to dress in a certain way, or like wear a specific style, but they don't really have that yet in their wardrobe. And like where they can kind of access that. I don't know, I think that a long time ago, like in the past, in a very long time ago, like I used to, like go out and buy an expensive outfit for this date, and all of that. And I just wanted to like maybe encourage people to think of ways that they can like DIY the hell out of their wardrobe. And there's, you know, their outfit for the day, like, do you know sometimes before a date, I've literally gone ahead and just like taken a t shirt and chopped it and like cropped it and added like five safety pins into it. And then literally gone out with like wet jeans because I've like splattered some acrylic paint on them. And just, and I just, I just wanted to kind of send a message out there to like, get creative, and like to go out and you know, like thrift or like D popping or like swapping with your friends or like, if you can get to your friend's house and borrow something. Think of creative ways to express yourself that don't involve money. And don't also, I guess, like if it doesn't speak to you, like, do something that's very, like mainstream, or it connects to the mainstream. You know, like, I think there's so many different ways that you can get creative with your look. And I kind of just wanted to put that message out there because I know that some people were like, Yeah, but I don't have any money. I don't have any clothes. Like I don't even know what I'm sick of the same whatever. And it's like, grab an old pair of trousers that you barely wear anymore. Like cut a hole in them. I don't know add sometimes I literally add key chains to my to my necklaces until like my trousers and I'll just add a random chain around my you know what I mean? Just think of yeah, just anything anything, like add a sticker to your face? Like yeah, yeah. So I just I kind of just like, yeah, I wanted to, like send that message out there.

Yeah, it's so true. Yeah. Um, we have a little bit of time left. We were just very efficient, I think.

Yeah. I guess i i Only thing I want to do is like, give a plug about, like, all of the self care resources that you can find out. Sorry, I'm doing so many flowers.

No, consider this, like, all of your plugs.

I just like because I'm like, Oh my gosh, I feel like there's so much happening that sometimes people don't know where to find everything. But I just wanted it like on the topic of self care and like finding a style that suits you. You can go into the resource bank on the gender swap website. So gender or gender and click on Resources and you'll find a whole resource bank on how to like DIY your wardrobe, like how to do your makeup, all of that kind of stuff. And then also on Instagram, you can go over tick tock but on Instagram, you could go on to the reels and on IG TV and I've got tonnes of resources there to actually I'd love to do a little IG TV live with you. Yeah, yeah. On this topic. So yeah.

Nice. Cool. Yeah, there is. It's like a very rich like cornucopia of resources and support. So I think it deserves many plugs. I'm going to ask a question that I just like asking people anyway, this could be like within gender swap, or just in general in life, what's the next thing that's happening to you that you're excited about?

I think more generally, in life, I've just started my own, like upcycled clothing line. It's called pretty boys base. And, and basically, it's upcycled gender nonconforming, Garms, for like gender nonconforming people. And that's really exciting, because it's something I've wanted to do for a really long time. It's just starting, so I still have to like, yeah, so the first event I'm having is actually tonight, at repost, which is like a queer rave, techno rave, where they actually have like, stalls where queer people are selling things. So I'm going to be featuring some of my, like, upcycled Garms, there. And then there will be an online platform, which will connect to gender swap as well. And then hopefully, kind of doing more of a personal style series and journey and like clothing lines. So that's, that's exciting. Um, so it's

more of kind of like a separate creative endeavour of yours about like, the aesthetic that you want to create, rather than, like, the work that you're doing with gender swap.

Yeah, exactly. I think that like, also me as a person, I just have so many things that I want to like, do and explore that. I don't know, I just want to do like a separate thing.

Yeah, that's so exciting. Because I think often, when you're doing a project that kind of like really involves the community, and you're like, trying to tailor things to other people and like trying to create things for people, and then your own creativity kind of gets a little bit lost or stunted, or just like it's not needed really as much. So that's so amazing that you're doing something that is about you and your taste and your creativity. I'm excited to see it.

Thanks. Yeah, so stay tuned for pretty whitespace you can Yeah, you'll you'll see. I mean, yeah, I described my gender as pretty boy. And yeah, I think it took me a long time to like come to grips with the fact with that I'm like trans mask, but like hyper aware of the fact that I present quite like, more, I have a lot I like feminine stuff. And I thought that like the amalgamation of the two was kind of like a cool name. And also, like, Sporty Spice was my favourite Spice Girl growing up naturally, sorry, such as like a Nike thing. And do but you know, and I was like, Yeah, I just feel like pretty boy spice, just kind of, I don't know, encapsulates everything from like, my childhood till now that I enjoy in terms of a gender experience. So I hope that I can, like bring that to more people.

And let other people know that they can be pretty boys basis. Exactly. Don't just have to have sports is your favourite. Okay, I'm gonna do like a little outro, I guess. Thank you for speaking to me today. It's been so fun to do, like a more conversational thing. And yeah, thank you so much. Thanks for sharing yourself today.

It's been super fun. I just feel like we have so much more to talk about. Yeah. TBC.

Exactly. And I'm so glad that we could do it at glass house as well, because you hadn't been here and you're gonna have to come again because it's just such a nice, comfortable community feeling so yeah, thank you very much. Thank you. Yeah. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the podcast. If you did, please let me know on Instagram. If you have questions that you want to be featured in future podcasts, send men and if you want to hire me as your matchmaker, you can also find the link to my Instagram

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