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tv   Trystan Reese How We Do Family  CSPAN  August 10, 2022 3:25pm-4:26pm EDT

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i encourage everyone to read this book . it's so thorough. it goes over so much ground and as you started talking about some of the most hidden and neglected members of society you for bringing it to life. thank you for coming. >> book tv features authors discussing their latest nonfiction books. at 3:30 eastern thomas fisher gives insight into providing patient care during the covid-19 pandemic and challenges navigating the american healthcare system with his book the emergency, i year of healing and heartbreak in the chicago er and afghanistan war veteran jason kander shares his book invisible storm describing living with ptsd and how it
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affected his run for mayor of kansas city in 2018. watch book tv every sunday on c-span2 and find a full schedule on your program guide or watch online anytime at >> tonight we are thrilled to welcome trystan reese and andrew solomon. trystan reese launched into the public eye as the pregnant man in 2017's story of his family's uniquejourney gained international media attention . he was invited to give performances in portland, albuquerque and brooklyn and a video of the brooklyn event garner 2.5 million views. as interest in his family story group, tristan partnered with outlook putting cnn, people and buzzfeed . trystan is an educator focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion and the founder of his ownconsulting form ,
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collaborative consulting where trystan provides training for individuals, organizations and communities interested in asocial justice. when trystan was a year into his relationship the couple learned that his niece and nephew were about to be removed from their home by child protective services. immediately trystan took in one year haley becoming the caregivers to two tiny survivors of abuseand neglect . from the surprising start tristan built a loving marriage and happy home learning to parent on the e job. they adopted haley and lucas and soon decided to grow their families into the child that tristan was transgender. tristan groundbreaking pregnancy attracted media fanfare and the family welcomed baby leo in 2017. in his book how the week family from adoption to transparency what we learned about love and the lgbt queue parenthood trystan share
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their unique story and what he's learned about being the best parents partner and personally can be. joining tristan in conversation is andrew solomon, he is a professor of political psychology at columbia university in and past president of pan-american center for writer and lecturer on psychology politics and art and an activist in ndlgbtq rights in the arts. his 2012 book far from the tree parents children and the search for identity won the national book critics circle award for nonfiction and was chosen as one of the new york times 10 best books of 2012. far and away: how travel can change the world was published in 2016 and was a new york times notable book. he wrote some depression which won the 2001 national book award and was a pulitzer prize finalist. most recently he made an
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award-winning film of far from the tree available on who. this evening's event will include an audience to and asa use the q and a button at the bottom of the screen if you'd like to ask a question and if someone has typed a question you'd like to know the answer to these folks that question by clicking the thumbs up button . most importantly please consider supporting trystan and pals by purchasing a copy of his book from us. a link to buy how "how we do family: from adoption to trans pregnancy, what we learned about love and lgbtq parenthood" will be shared this evening. the release date of trystan's book was moved to june 29 so the order you placed the ship at the end of the month ., trystan and andrew we are pleased to have you joining us tonight and thanks for being here. >> what a pleasure and an honor to be here. trystan and i have known each other for many years and i followed your journey with great engagement and interest
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and i would like to say even if you think you know what trystan's journey entailed and think you understand what the story is, you have to buy and read this book because it's so moving. it's so funny. it's so warm and it's so profound about what family is about what love is and about how against all odds you can manage to find the glories of intimacy in places where they tiwere necessarily fully to be assumed a wonderful read. you'll spend the afternoon with and know 1 million things you didn't know before so rightto be here with you . >> it's so scary and exciting to be right on the precipice of releasing my fourth baby into the world. i'm not sure how you've done it as many times as you have. it's just more terrifying than i would've expected.
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>> it is terrifying and you'll notice i read a book about depression so if that's the answer to your question. i think you said you were going aito read a little passage. why don't we do that. it would be great for people to know your voice before we getgoing with the question . >>i didn't know i was going to ido that . my copy came from the publisher today so here it is in my hand i've been in denial about it but now i can no longer be indenial . so i'm going to tell i believe a heretofore unknown story in terms of me doing podcasts or whatever. and it takes us to december of 2012. about a third of the way in. it was december 2012 when allegheny jay had a concert at a performance venue in silver rock. i emailed called and texted to let them know about the proposal. my request his parents came down with a kindle to watch
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haley and lucas. in my pocket i could feel the e heavy weight of the titanium ring i had custom-made for the occasion . the jeweler agreed to let me purchase it. we parked the car and held hands. as we sat down our friends were in the audience. i didn't know he was into her . yes, just so i agreed trying to sound casual. kiki and then he was there and so was my boss with a relationship blossoming as work half dozenof his friends from a social group you ran . our lady j emerged into the spotlight and began enchanting stories about her life and childhood along with dolly parton covers original songs . her feet pounded the pedals as i began to play and then
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she said the praise i had been waiting for. do we have any lovers in the audience today is to mark a smattering ofhands went up . she anlooked around pretending to notice me. is that trystan out there? come on up you guys. i grabbed beth's hand and we made our way down the aisle and onto the stage. they handed me the microphone and i took deep breaths. confused cash felt onto the audience and strangers try to figure out what was happening. as you know i love you very much and i never want to be without you. i love getting to know you and i promise you if you say yes, i pulled out the ring. i will give you all a lifetime of energy. shaking and sweating i got down on one knee.
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a collective gasp shook the room as everyone suddenly understood what was happening . will you marry me ? his face registered complete shock as he took the ring and stared blankly at the spotlight had made it hard to see him clearly but i knew he had an answer. time slowed to a crawl. what if he said number in front of all these people, what was he thinking. why couldn't i let a good thing be. why did i need to complicate everything. ishrugged my shoulders trying to stay silent . he shook his head slightly as if to wake himself out of the trance and explain yes, of course. i set out to kiss him and the audience went into tears. jay began to play the next song and i returned to the microphone. his face was going in a way i have not seen before. we settled back in our seats.
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was it a real surprise? i had no idea. i told him your mom too, i've been working for months. he smiled and squeezed my hand. i love you . i love you i replied. and then the crowd began applauding. >> it's a great scene to read and it's a great seem to hear and i want to share with the audience that tristan told me he's recording the audiobook so if you love the sound of tristan's words and voice that's a pleasure that lies there. i'm torn between wanting to ask the totally obvious question that i imagine you've been asked 1 million times because i don't know how many of the people in the audience know you and know your whole story and wanting to ask sort of stranger and subtler and more remote
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question but i guess i would start with the basic question of did you when you understood that you were trans think that you would have a family in one way or another? how did you come to the point at which you felt likeyes, i'm ready to be a dad ? >> i'm still not there so let's just put that somewhere else . even as my mom can attest, even as a kid i never wanted to be a parent. inever wanted to grow up . the book of peter pan was always to me analogous of the perfect life just to be with the lost boys and living never never landand not have responsibilities . it sounded right to me and as it unfolded that was right in line with that approach. the idea that in fact we couldn't have those things many of us anyway which is great because we didn't want them so it all became reinforced over time and it just never occurred to me
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that i could be a parent. i did love kids and eventually i said i guess i'd like to settle down with somebody orsome people at some point but really , i never did and when i was told by my doctor when i first started transitioning that the treatment would likely make meái'll i truly did not give it any thought. he didn't know he was incorrect and even if he had been correct i would have signed it away and really it wasn't until it started to occur to me that is a door that i thought had been closed was unlocked and i could open it and walk right through. it wasn't until much later. >> tell me about how the two experiences differ.
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your first two children came to you very suddenly and without your having much time and it involves a great deal of uncertainty and paperwork and everything in order to make them fully legally at least part of your family and a lot of work even to be emotionally part of your family because it was also. not that the love wasn't there but it was a process what was different from the process with leo which was one that i think more of the media attention because he's the one who actually carried a pregnant person but tell me about how you felt in those two differentsituations and how they contrasted to each other . >> i hate to say this and anybody was given birth to a child will resent me for saying this . it's so much easier to carry and give birth to and then care for a newborn and it was to go from 0 to 2 children overnight as a
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twentysomething completely unprepared and that's really the biggestdifference . because it was more straightforward which again i know sounds completely counterintuitive to be a man but it really was as was i think not the depths or the passionof love but just the journey of getting there . it's different to really form love fover a longer time and because things are hard that kind of brought me closer i think to lucas and haley than it would have otherwise if it had been a longer plan that situation and it caught me by surprise i can remember the first time i was walking down the sidewalk and polly was with lucas who was sort of a car comes up and it's allowed car and without even thinking
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about it i nexthim up in my arms . those little moments for me were the times of i threw myself in front of a bus for this kid. i would do anything for him. there are parts of my aancestral brain at work that just you know, when we lived in new york city and one time in the subway the doors opened up and he steps right off the subway and without even realizing he's done it before i can even say anything my hand goes out, claps his buddy and pours them back inand the door is closed . the tribal parts of my brain, they're not any part of our conscious thinking so it's in those moments that i am a parent and i love him with a deep passion and almost. that is scary sometimes. as opposed to leo who showed up in the world all innocence
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and purity and it was easy. it was just much easier than this other situation. just the pathway i guess there. >> tell me about your decision to be open in public about your pregnancy and about the structure of boyour family. it earned you a lot of love. it seemed to also have heard you a lot of hate but that i think you had to deal with. you must have known and have time that you would get some of each. you may not have known how much or how it would feel but tell me about that decision which is i think it's great efflorescence in this book in which you finally speak entirely in your own voice about cebeing mediated by the sources reporting on your story. >> the conversation happened
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in this room and i was even thinking andrew, you're talking about giving advice of reading my own audiobook and i can remember the airplane on a long flight. you were in my life and i don't know that we had even met. it's like those places and this place where i literally came up the stairs having watched on facebook or youtube somewhere an interview with janet mauch or some other really incredible really and bold, brave black trans woman being unknowingly , unconsciously eviscerated by some well-meaning journalists. ngand it being so patient and kind and loving andgracious . just sharing i'm going to point out to you why that
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isn't the best question to ask given far more grace than everyone deserves grace of course but more than i would think that they deserve. and i just had a lightbulb go off in my head and i walked up the stairs and said we have to tell our story. and this was like, why would k we ever do that ? look what happens to people who do that. and i just explained i watched this interview and i don't think it's fair. i don't think it's fair for myself as a white binary transfers and living in portland oregon who has every privilege that anyone could ever hope for as a transfers and read there's one thing hollywood couple that has the transcript, maybe that transfers and has more polygyny but other than that i'm surrounded by layers of safety . and i just don't think it's
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right to put all of that work on them and it was done intentionally for many years and you know this because you come from the movement that was intentional. transgender men agreed verbally out loud at conferences, we agreed if we get handed a microphone if you can find a black trans woman you can do to her. we did that and then it just like at this point we may have overcorrected and put too much responsibly on them and now that there is more conversation maybe there's a chance to take some of the weight off of them and then that leads to the question of what people say because how could you ever possibly know. was it worth it to have told your story and that's a question i may never have answered to. i don't think i will ever get as a result of this.
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and that was not something i counted on. >> i think you will actually have the answer tothat question . my situation was somewhat less radical than yours but i put the story of my family out into the world or many of the same reasons through in the sense that i had obligations and privileges and i probably wouldn't tell the story but i've ended up with so many people who said reading your work helped me decide to have a family and when you think that there are these relationships y.with people that been found great joy in being parents and boy, your book is so courageous and so straightforward and so generous i think it will give people an ability, a wish and understanding of a capacity to be parents with a wouldn't otherwise have had all of that and i think it will change people's lives and i think of a city you did around what happened even though i know some of it was very traumatic ultimately is going to serve that function so that's what ithink .
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>> i think it's that back and forth i feel. even if it was a gift and has served the world, what could possibly come out for me and what i have left what i thought were the best parts of myself and this says i love you way more than i ever did before. you with the more realistic or nuanced mature view of who you truly are is preferable. and i like course you the cynic would say that.i grew up thinking people were inherently good and if you told your story with enough compassion and intentionality people would be like you're right, this is awesome. i missed that version of me, i like that version of me. >> i was with someone years ago had become an activist but who sent me i actually preferred being frivolous and i always thought that was the
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take to not that you were frivolous but there's an element of innocence that is definitely thought of. tell the story because we're this and about the bad pr. tell me the story or tell our viewers the story of haley and of the experience when she has to whether anyone had had these mean things to say to you which you and the book with but it's so exquisite andit's worth repeating . >> that was part of the the part of the book that came back with no edits. at that point it was like number one of those things in the moment as it was happening there it is. there's a button. i get it. i was traveling so much for work and i held back about battling with three kids and i regretted i was missing to their childhood and so i started to arrange this that
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i could bring one child with me on these trips so i got to have that one-on-one time and spend time in whatever city i wasin . i tack a couple daysonto the work trip . i was in san francisco with lucas or chicago or any of those places so i took haley down to la and we got stuck in traffic as is wont to happen. and we're just in the rental car with that new rental car smell and i don't even know what made her think of it . she just asked the people say mean things about you when you told our story and in the news and stuff did people say mean things about you. i try really hard to be both honest with the kids but also mindful of what is appropriate and my mom will often correct me when i have gone too far rein the honesty realm and say isn't that a
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little bit much to ask them? and i'm usually defensive in the moment but i'm like you're right so at the time i decided i'd be honest and new she was going to ask what they said and i said tell me what they were and i said no, i'm not goingto tell you . you're too little. it's not appropriate for you to hear some of the worst things people would say but even though i didn't tell her what those things were she just started crying because like me emotions are this close to the surface all the time . she starts crying and asked if i ever cried and i saidyes . that kind of cracked open some kind of liminal space between us where i knew i could ask whatever i wanted and i could get this whole perfect your truth and i said did you ever wish we were different, that we were more
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like other families? she didn't even have to think about it, she said no. never in 1 million billion years. and that's how we close up the book in my little magical moments stuck in this. >> you never know when the magic is going to come. >> i heard some male feminists many years ago give a speech at some university or something and he said you know a lot of people talk about quality t'time but there's something to be said for quantity time and that's why i like to travel with the kids because it is in a space where you don't have to be something doing something and you could just be sitting in traffic andcommit to being in the moment . >> for me with my kids i have the great gift of the
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pandemic. the pandemic was very hard on kids for a lot of reasons . like kids of 12 and 13 face challenges in this regard but boy, the time that we spent together was so transformative for me and i think transformative for them in ways that are not entirely halegible but will be in time. something that struck me a lot as i was reading the book was that my experience of you i seldom see you when you weren't smiling and you always have happy-go-lucky and air about you and the first time we met was i think it was before party in la and i remember talking to you on some tariff or something. but i think it was either shortly before or shortly after the lucas and haley came into your household but i don't remember what year that would make it but anyway, you had that sort of approach and yet in the book seyou describe all these moments ofhesitancy and anxiety . your sort of uncertainty
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about whether this could ever possibly be interested in you or would even return your calls, your uncertainty about whether what you should do by way of proposal and how we had suggested to people using a hot air balloon to propose all of these other things and you're feeling that you hadto build this whole thing up and you're worried about whether you were doing it . and then especially the scene which i think is one of those most poignant in the book when you're out at a camp or something, i can't quite remember but you are getting ready to say what would you of having a baby and you begin by suggesting what the three repurposed our guest room into that just of it and tell me e about those moments of uncertainty and tell me about the ways in which you think they represent anything that is and then to clear life or whether you think they're the same for everyone and also kinds of ways. >> as usual you post a very
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public in question. and i remember that parents in la and that's one of the things i miss about being in the nonprofit movement is getting to see some of the truly beautiful ways that we ruare people in particular are able to fashion their homes and lives. mark sexton is on this call and i've been in asimilar terrace looking out over downtown portland . ido miss those moments . and you know, i think a lot of people i think often on misconception about me is i'm always testy. the thing that comes to mind is one of the best things for me about think it's is introduced into the world. especially leo was almost 4, he asks about everything so he wants to know why does that one leads to to you when
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you walk by it so i talked to him often about how different things evolve to survive and some things are ready and that's how they survive. people like them. other things keep people away to protect sthem. it's different ways of surviving and i'm not sure how or when or why or if it's natural or any of that . it's just how i've made it through to the world is to be someone that is alike. it's got me out of a lot of tough situations and it's got me into a lot of situations and i think that's just how i found for people to navigate it which is i think not unlike the best of day gauge trumps that we are like your best friend from theater. that's how we are seen a lot. we meet people like us. they felt bad for us and when something bad happened and wanted to come to our aid and when we told them to do
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something differently they followed and that's where i fit in the game multi-verse, the clear multi-verse and i don't know if other people have the same levels of doubt or discomfort or anxiety or fear and probably it's two sides of the same coin. if i have stick so much on people liking me then the fear is what if they don't? what if this has all been a grand performance or something and there's still moments. it's been 11 years and there's still moments last week as a person in this life that he spending a lot of time with for work things and i had to say just a little bit of reassurance that there's a little bit of work there. it's a very attractive person, certainly younger than me, had never had a baby so even now i think i'm
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better just saying i'm feeling insecure and need a little reassurance liinstead of doing a passive aggressive thing. >> it's striking in the book that you don't talk about your own transition. you don't talk about that whole earlier chapter of your life in either the present tense or really in any significant way and how you came to the you are. but it would be interesting to hear you talk about the way that that was, the words all seem so loaded but that decision to change gender and then that decision in effect to do something that is mostly associated with the gender with which you no longer how does that all balance out and how did you get it to balance out and how much did all of what you went through in your mind the difficulties
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you would experience in transitioning. maybe there weren't any but i doubt it. >> if my editor is here with us that's how it got all balanced out. i wrote those chapters and i really did. i will coming out story, the realizing that for myself, finding faith in community but only not and coming up to my parents . that's in a file somewhere. and i'm really lucky because i just it helped me so much to figure out what is the story. this doesn't have to be all the stories. what is the story and there are other places where there's other stories. like i had a dream about an actual memoir. great, that in the book to. but i just have that area of focus that is less teaching, less path and more this. it was really the focus that she brought that i feel is
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such a gift and of course it's hard in the beginning to have someone cutting back. but looking at it now this is neat. this is fine. this is good. but it's nice to focus on a couple of hard things, the thing that you can get anywhere. anyone can tell you a hard coming out story whether it's a 13-year-old or someone older or someone transfer does exist. this doesn't exist as much. so that's how that happened and i like that it's not there. that's what you expect.wh >> when you were pregnant with leo you talk in the book about the issues that came up because of the publicity you've done but did you in if your own life encounter people either at friends or other queer people who felt betrayed by your decision to be pregnant or people on the
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street who gave you strength strange looks or how did any of that go down. >> i know the joke i often say is i expect women to be mad at me because i'm the one who stormed out on the lady party 20 years ago, slammed the door in their faces and never be back i get it . now i'm, can you let me back in. that i totally get. and for the truly the biggest fear that i had going into telling our story publicly, i was worried about the lack of passion within the trans community because i expect other people to do what other people do. i expected that but for me, this me telling my story was my own way of a gift to my community for both past present and future. that was the goal of it. they're not the audience for the book. my story is not exciting for most trans people. i get it, it's been happening
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for 20 years. the book isfor other people but the present , the reason i did it is there's this community so to worry which i did that people were going to say you're making it harder for people to accept us. we justgot them to see us as men, now you're going and they're messing everything up . that was my worst fear. and so i think i saw that once in comment thread. before i stopped reading comments. >> ..
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it's not a competition you can tdo transfer right, it's a competition toho see how many different ways we can do it and that was the thing for me like okay, good. i made it easier too whether the harder pieces but in person, virtually nothing. almost completely going to the coffee shop and the staff is like we saw your story, your breakfast is on us, more like that. it's true i'm connected to hundreds of trans people all over the world going through these processes, i know this is part of this level or even our
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kids going to school when our story went public, former neighbors sent a baby gift home twith their kids to give to our son to give to us wrote a card and said thank you for telling your story public, it was a reason to talk about my kids. that's how we got in and i'm very grateful because it could have gone differently. >> i was talking to my own kids today about experience and i have as trans child in the you like it opened as if it was attractive, shocking when renée richards a few years ago said god intended people to be men or women, not in between and i i thought okay, the idea that god is it's okay to be trans the way you are trans but not okay in these other ways, a closer dialogue with god on your part
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that i'm willing to go with, there's a lot of that, this is the way to be trans or gay or queer but this is the way to do things. did you always see yourself as someone who would have thought idea of what was possible or not what was possible, but the idea of how other people wanted to find you within your trans or queer or anything else? >> not at all, it was a process for me the same way it is for most people. it's a psychological process and there were many years i wanted nothing more than to not be trans and when i was working out every single day and drinking protein shakes and paying a personal trainer, trying as much is possible to appear like any other man who didn't happen to be trans, it wasn't until -- i
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don't think it wasn't until i found this that i found a new sense of yes, indifference and that's not just okay, it's actually great and again that's another joke i make, rupaul says how can you love somebody else until you y love yourself? for me, it was the opposite. i couldn't love myself until someone else left me, it wasn't until i saw myself reflected in him and i was like zero well, he's great. if he thinks i'm worthy of love, and maybebe he's on to somethin, you know next. [laughter] i don't think i got that level of confidence until then. >> tell for a f moment because e are being conceptual rather than anecdotal, the party where you met this and the way it all
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began. >> this is our 10-year-old favorite story. like once a week will be like remember when -- [laughter] statesville french we have these two lovely queer/trans friends who live in l.a. i met him at a campaign, one of them was an attorney and hard-core volunteer so we are spending a lot of time with each other and we became friends so they had a community brunch at their house and i went and two blocks from my house in hollywood, i was walking there still wearing my clothes from bartending's the night before because i had not gone to bed until maybe 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. i woke up and brushed my teeth and made a snack and then headed to the brunch and i said -- i saw him crossing the street clearly going to the same place i was in was completely smitten
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right away. he was just, you know, for me it's like you put on that shirt that feels comfy, just that feeling of like home and comfort, that's what i felt when i saw him and i said are you going to this thing? he said i am, so we walked in together and did a whole brunch what i was trying to flirt like with everything i had really the humors of a 26-year-old, just completely shameless and he was not in any way, shape or form interested. like there was nothing to indicate there is interest at all. then i went to the restroom and washed my hands and i looked in the mirror and i realized i had valid that i had as a snack lodged itself into one of my front teeth and my entire front
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tooth was covered with spinach and i later found out he thought i had a dead tooth, a whole black tooth. i left in shame and called my spend on the way home and said i met the man of my dreams i had something in my teeth when i did it and she said there's no coming back from this, you have to let it go, you cannot dwell on this. the bridge is burned, find someone new and i did not listen to her thank goodness. [laughter] but that's what they never show you. [laughter] totally humiliated, horrible. >> and get here we are however many years later and it all turned out just fine. >> a lot of work. [laughter] >> i'm going to keep asking
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questions but i want to say to the folks at home that we are happy to take your questions. you can put them in the queue and they cap tab at the bottom of your screen released online a tab from the right. we would love to hear from you if there are things you'd like to ask about his experience or identity or anything else. >> or a question you would like to ask andrew and i will ask them. that's my question for you, how have you survived? how have d you built up your resilience against inevitable onslaught that happens anytime one of your ted talks it's 1 million viewers or whatever it happens to beil. what's your castle, your moat? >> thank you for asking that. >> i need to know.
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>> it feels like -- not a sound like a copycat but it wasn't until i met john that i was ready to be an activist. i met john inoh my mid 30s, 20 years ago now. i remember three or four years ago -- before that, they were organizing a celebration at my high school, my high school was very loaded. i just thought i don't have a feeling of this being joyful and wonderful, i feel like it's something i'm coping with and i'm not going to get up in front of high school students and say if you're gay than in 15 years you will find you can do that. that didn't sound like a message of hope and i didn't feel like i belonged on that stage. then within a few years of meeting john, i was drawing my connection initially, i found myself joining the board in
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getting involved in activism, i had already written ady novel partly about being gay so i covered some of the questions that came up but the confidence i have which of course is inconsistent with the confidencs i have and resilience i haveie really came with the stability of that relationship and i don't at all suggest that that is the way to get there, i think when two people have confidence before they getetan into relationships and plenty of people who don't want to be in with insurance and great confidence and have meaning and other kinds of lives. but for me, the revelation that we should have a family because i spent years thinking if you were clear, and meant you couldn't have a family and i want to be true might self but also have kids and i felt like it was an impossible choice i was faced with so i would say
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that's the resilience, resilience has always been my mysubject they were resilient living in a regime and sent to prison camps. my mother's illness and death and she i managed to achieve grt dignity and that whole experience of having cancer so i felt like i circle back and people would say written about different subjects, i circle back to that over and over. when you were pregnant with leah, did you worry your relationship would upstage a relationship to luke and haley? >> they were certainly worried about that but i wasn't. i could never imagine anything happening that could get in the way this powerful connection i feel to both of them.
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i hoped under the parking spot in my heart would open up and it did. whatever you think got to the depths of the love you're capable of before it drops out, there's no another 40 below that. i think they were worried about, they had to switch into limited space butnt that's just not how love is, it just grows so i wasn't worried about that it does not have the same connection to leah and i have because i actually grew him but i did help with the. so i wasn't worried. >> we have our first question from the audience out there, someone wants to know how to the medical community react to youch
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when pregnant? >> the medical community is liks that's scary so what i should say specifically the providers i worked with, it was a mix -- they were already pretty ready, it doesn't happen by magic. there must've been a lot of work. kaiser in southwest washington, to get that ready to receive someone like me so they were pretty ready already and from my years of advocacy, it was like second nature for me to advertise for myself, call ahead and say i'm transgender, i want to work with a nurse midwife who's accomplished and worked with a lot of trans before and excited to work with me and you need to figure out who that person is and then come back when you know who it is and that
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kind of approach i took over and over, something happened that i didn't like and i said what happened, i didn't like it andik here's what i expect moving forward, can you do that? if you can't, can you find somebody who can? using canadian politeness/passive aggressiveness, that's how i did both so it's strongly saying here's what i expect, i know you can do it someone putting in a shout out to erin at kaiser, i'm sure there were multiple people at kaiser but i found everyone i could possibly find who did work at kaiser take is this you? thank you. i would say even more broadly, largely speaking now i still be reproductive medicine as well as being on the podcast and the american something something of
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gynecology, quite a bit of work with the t medical community because they care about the data and science and the data and science is clear, perfectly healthy for trans people to give birth. they want to know how we show up so surprisingly i think things were okay for me. >> one of thehe things that strikes me in the book to connect to that, you've done a lot of community building and a lot of the work in the nonprofit sector, something you powerfully did putting together the world of friends you described, amazing people, the ones there that day when you got up on the stage and proposed and i felt reading it when you described your medical provider even though he didn't go into huge detail, i thought you took a lot of focus and energy and determination and skill to find all of those people were pretty
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unconditionally on your side to all of this. not only on your side but on your side in unintimidated by it and didn't feel like i didn't know what to say or do, you are able to give here are the issues, where we go from here? to feel that was something you did consciously and continue to do? >> absolutely. some of it was unconscious. for example like sitting down with an ob/gyn to say the stenographer, the person who does the ultrasound thing, she used the wrong pronouns for me and here's why this is a problem and here's what i want different. having those corrective conversations whether i'm working good with white people are racist, they were done a little bit unconsciously but since then, can i teach such
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other trans people? but self advocating, advocating on my behalf and all of that is very conscious because i know it's so much harder on the other end was a provider has done or said something inappropriate, it's harder to correcto them and in the culture of medicine, it's very much, there's still quite a pitch better and telling someone i don't like that language saying i don't -- you are wrong. but here's what i need from here. if not, who canan? yes, it was intentional and conscious found anyone i didn't feel could show up in the way i needed, i found someone else. >> you mentioned canada which we have traveled all over the world to all kinds of strange places
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and we are going skiing in canada and flew into québec and we arrived and the person at passport control said where is this child's mother? is it he has two brothers, we are his parents, we are both here and she said every child has a mother and i said actually, he really doesn't have a mother, it turned into a big discussion and i was horrified and upset for myself because i felt like it was upfront to my parenthood but also horrified that was going on in front of my child and i traveled with his birth certificate and she finally stepped on and said okay and into canada we go but i was like wow in jordan and brazil, we didn't have this problem. i feel we could easily have had it coming through u.s. customs,
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i just feel like even in the country that seems to be the most evolved in canada in a lot of ways is even more evolved than the usa in this area you still encounter these where your sense of dignity are being challenged and you do need resilience to get through them and it's much more painful once you have kids, there's that wish to protect them from the anger and hatred in the world so one of the attendees has said prior to now, having written your own book, did you struggle with an ownership of your story? media outlets try to sensationalize you and your family? what helped anchor you? >> struggled with feeling ownership -- you know, very early on in the process, i decided really clearly i only wanted too work with those who are living to tell the truth and
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are not sensationalist. i have a lot of experience and storytelling and persuasion and how do we tell conjugated stories about family and sexuality and gender and really accessible ways? how can wee proactively address some of the most common questions and how can we use the media to do it? very early on i realized those media outlets really want to an interview with me and it was easy for me to say sure if you disable comments when you share on social media. if you include that i'm working with a medical team. if you don't call me anything ever. never do that. i said s clearly and i worked wh my friend to say what am iec talking points? t what are people coming in with that i can make cnn, fisa news
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and can say if you don't include these things inn will not give u an interview? every single one of them was like no problem, we'll do it. you know if we can do that and then i said great, let me know when you know and i'll decide if i can give you an interview. i don't know if we can disable comments. okay, me know when you find out. that's how i anchored myself, i was in control and whatever people come to me to be like you won't believe what the daily mail was sent and i said i won't believe and do not show me that, i want to know. do not send me the worst most awful things on memes you found and then be like don't worry, i said -- as don't send it to me, i don't need to see that so that's the other way, just being really clear, why would i want to see that? i don't care about that, keep it
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away. >> do you feel like your work for activist organizations -- we have to wrap up in a minute but activist organizations was very informed by the need to figure out your own identity or do you feel clarity was that you eventually figure out your own identity and power to be an activist? out of these things play back and forth with each other? >> does very specifically i chose to become an activist because i started to hate gay people very clearly. i was acting professionally and bartending in gay bars at night and being exposed to that many people who are drunk and insecure and mean and petty, nothing against gay people, straight people are, to. bars just bring out the worst in people, i felt my love and
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connection to and for the community started to get in turmoil. my friend said you do something gay, right? how to get in on that? field staff for the national lgbtq field staff and they said sure, come volunteer. this was notwa who i was, i just wanted to fallth back in love, proud to be clear to begin with. >> that is beautifully said. i sadly am not supposed to wrap things up and bring an end to what has been a fantastic stimulating inspiring and wonderful conversation. i want to do besides again all of you out there who have not yet had a chance to read this book, you have great joy ahead of you and as i was reading this book, i thought if i had been able to read that book when i was trying to get ready to come out just as gay, not a n complicated way perhaps at least at that time but when i was getting ready to come out, it
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would have given me so much and you are going to do that for a lot of people. >> thank you so much, it's a delight to be your friend and colleague. >> it was wonderful to host you both this evening and thanks to everyone who joined in tonight. please consider purchasing a copy of tristan's book by visiting us online. there is. check out online upcoming virtual event and look forward to seeing another at another event soon so thank you so much for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> good night, everyone. ♪♪ >> book tv every sunday on c-span2 features leading authors discussing the latest nonfiction books.
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3:30 p.m. eastern, emergency room doctor thomas fisher gives insight into providing patient care during the covid-19 pandemic. the challenges navigating the american healthcare system with his book, the emergency, a year of heartbreak in the chicago er. 8:00 p.m. eastern afghanistan war veteran jason shares his book, invisible storm describing living with ptsd and how it affected his run for mayor of kansas city in 2018. watch book tv every sunday on c-span2 and find a full schedule on your program guide or watch online anytime a ♪♪ >> bradford pearson is with us today courtesy of tom and margaret morris and john and deanna kinnaman. bradford pearson is an award-winning journalist whose workry examines everything from magicians to japanese-americans, incarceration to his own kidnapping. he's written for the new york times, time, men's health and philadelphia magazine


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