Note to Self: “No Filter: Trace Lysette”
Why You Should Be Listening…
When you hear people talk about street harassment, how often do you just think about cis women having to deal with crude comments and nonconsensual touching? What about when you talk about body image and social media and how scrolling through Instagram can sometimes make you feel completely inadequate because your hips don’t do this or your hair doesn’t do that? I’ll be the first to admit — when I talk about these issues, my first instinct is to speak in terms of cis gender. I identify more quickly with other women that identify the same way, because I can more intimately know that experience. It certainly can cause me to miss out on the layers that must exist in these conversations, and so I’m doing my best to learn and educate myself.
It’s part of the reason why I loved this Note to Self interview with Trace Lysette, a white trans woman and American actor, whose identity is key to the knowledge she drops in this episode. Interviewer Manoush Zomorodi dives in with direct questions that guide Trace’s identity growth in relation to social media. The whole podcast itself focuses on how technology impacts life, and the “No Filter” episodes specifically highlight women and their relationship with social media. I love Manoush’s interview style because you can tell she is not afraid to ask difficult questions or challenge an interviewee to go deeper. Thanks to that and Trace’s candor, we get to spend 20 minutes enthralled.
If any of you have seen Transparent then you will know Trace Lysette well. You might also be familiar with her because as the #metoo movement gained traction, she was one of the individuals that led the sexual misconduct accusations against Jeffrey Tambor, another actor on the show (hell yeah, Trace, for speaking up). But, as she says, this is just one part of her story, not the main thing. That was another reason I loved hearing her speak. She weaves in and out of street harassment to #metoo to acting to social media and back, like roots intertwined.
One topic from this interview that I kept coming back to was their discussion of safety. Manoush points out that Trace speaks often of it, and as a survivor myself, I instantly connected. I have PTSD, and I struggle with feeling an incessant lack of safety. Not just when I’m walking down the street late at night, but when I’m doing mundane tasks and hyper-vigilance sneaks up and tells me to question whether I can trust the people I’m close to or even myself. I’m in awe of Trace because on top of her own experiences with sexual assault, she refuses to be anything but herself, despite the layered danger that may come along with that.
She leaves us with powerful inspiration for any survivor of abuse or any member of a marginalized group. Especially for those a part of these communities who may not be “out” just yet. If you’re looking for some motivation this Tuesday, here it is.
Quotes You’ll Want To Write Down