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International Transgender Day of Visibility: Audio Q&A with Luka Keating

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Inspired by International Transgender Day of Visibility and the need for transgender equality and awareness within the business community, Cpl’s BeProud committee introduces a two-part series on the many different aspects of the transgender journey.

The challenges and discussions that have taken place have led way to many online resources being made available. Considering this we have decided to delve deeper for a better understanding and to develop a stronger framework to discuss from a real-life human perspective. This will be a two-part series on many different aspects of the transgender journey.

Firstly, we will speak with Luka Keating, producer, director, writer, artist, and transgender activist.

Luka will talk us through the journey and explore some of the most basic questions to help give a better understanding and foundation for further conversations.

Through this personal journey and experiences, Luka has developed a greater depth of understanding on the subject.

Luka is writer, director, and producer of “The Gender Code”, a documentary exploring transgender history, the journey and what the future could hold for the community.

Alongside professional and activist life, Luka is a talented and gifted human being, who better to kick start the series with. Luka will discuss ways we can all respect each other as people, respond to those who need education and answer questions that maybe you were too shy to ask.

Listen in full below or scroll further to read the interview transcription.

Transgender, what does this term mean?

Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe anyone who feels their gender, (meaning how they express, whether that be more feminine, masculine or both) does not match the persons sex, (male or female), however we are evolving to learn that a person’s sex does not always define their gender expression. A lot more people are experimenting with possibilities today more than ever.

What is the difference between trans, transgender and transexual?

Trans and Transgender is the same meaning just shortened. Transexual can describe someone who has altered their body in some way to match the sex they feel they are, i.e a boob job or full sexual reassignment surgery, where as "transgender" does not always equal surgery. A person can feel and be trans for years or a lifetime without having surgery. 

What are the things that are inappropriate to ask a transgender person? For example, would someone ask another if they are transgender?

For me, Its normal to ask questions and to learn, I personally wouldn't take offense as long as I sensed that it was said with genuine good intentions and a curiosity to learn.  I do not want people feeling they need to tip toe around me. What makes me feel uncomfortable is the undertone of people focusing all their time and energy based on my transition, I am a pretty fun and exciting person beyond my transition, and I would like people to focus on that and not solely on me having to be trans. 

Why is there so much focus on the transgender community recently?

I think there is so much focus on the transgender community recently because there is more information available due to social media the rise of the internet, YouTube, vlogs, TikTok, Instagram Facebook etc. Information and examples are being set rapidly, more than they could ever have been in the past, in new and exciting ways.

What is the best way to ask about pronouns?

"What is your preferred pronoun? "  

Increased risk of suicide, violence and discrimination are all common threats faced by the trans community, what are some others?

Loneliness, isolation, killer of experiences, friendships and maybe even love and ignorance / being afraid to include trans people because of their own self-imposed ideas that there is difference. For example, at a festival a group of guys might get chatting to trans girl then subconsciously not make effort to converse due to worrying about what others might think.

As an ally what can one do to make a difference? For example, what would an ally say to someone who “just doesn’t get it”?

Just be kind and treat others how you wish to be treated. There is no "it" to "get" there's unity and universal language of respect and it all comes down to self-love. If you know and love yourself as RuPaul says, you can love anyone else. 

What can we do as a society to make a difference? What are some of the changes we can make in our daily lives that will make an impact?

I would say, just be aware, educate yourself as much as you can, be open minded to the patterns of discrimination throughout history and how the same things repeat themselves in different ways.  Be aware of these patterns and combat them before they begin for example, it was once "race" then "gay" now "trans". We are all human.

There is increased visibility for the trans community in the media but what are some of the misconceptions being portrayed at present?

I think a lot of trans people are still learning themselves, let alone the public! I think there are definitive lines between genuine trans people and then fetishists, or maybe even predatory males posing as trans which is rare.

However, people’s darkest fears will always surface in moments of transformation and evolution. Most trans people just want acceptance and visibility like anyone. Simple. Love and let be, and learning comes with hands on experience, being around trans people you'll find theirs little mental difference - you might just make a bestie! LOL

What are some media references that get it right and might be a good place for people to refer to in order to get a better understanding?

MY documentary! The Gender Code!! 

So, if you haven’t already, check out “The Gender Code”, steaming on YouTube and go forward with open conversation and respect. Thanks for listening.