25. Growing up trans with Kai Cheng Thom

How might schools support trans students to ensure that all young people can reach their fullest potential? Today Kai Cheng Thom sits down to discuss her work, journey through school, and hope—among other things.

Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performer, cultural worker, and speaker. She also just happened to work with my wife for several years, so I am lucky enough to have the privilege of knowing her as a friend and not only as a celebrated public figure. I asked Kai Cheng to join me on the podcast today because when she was young, she attended an all boys school where she was sent by her parents in an attempt to help her conform more her gender assigned at birth.

What you will quickly discover when listening to Kai Cheng speak is that she whip smart, she is a fierce advocate for young people, and she gives us all reasons to be brave for our students in our schools.

You might want to get a notebook out, as there are so many quotable sound bites in this episode that I’m sure will end up living on a sticky note and inspiring you in your practice.

One more thing before we jump in: we recorded this episode around my dinner table and my wife Leslie was with us while we recorded. While she never says anything and was not mic’d, you can hear her coughing and laughing a little in the background. I have made fun of her already for this and she apologizes—but just thought I’d clear that up in case it confused you.

A big thank you to Kai Cheng for opening up, sharing so thoughtfully, and providing so many resources and ideas that I know will benefit all teachers everywhere. This episode’s show notes (below) are chalked full of links, articles, and references for things mentioned in the show. We didn’t talk about it but my wife wants me to be sure that I include a link to Kai Cheng’s young adult novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars that, you know, Emma Watson warmly endorsed…so no big deal. What is a big deal is Kai Cheng’s current book tour. If she is coming to a city near you, you can find out through the link below and definitely go buy her latest book I Hope We Chose Love and watch her read. You do not want to miss getting to hang out with Kai Cheng in person.

Show Notes:

Kai Cheng Thom’s website
Kai Cheng on Twitter
Upcoming book readings on Kai Cheng’s book tour
Kai Cheng’s Winnipeg Stop
“Why are queer people so mean to each other” by Kai Cheng Thom
The Boy in the Bindi by Vivek Shraya
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg
BCTF LGBTQS+ Posters and resources
Gender Based Violence Prevention Office
Janet Mock


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