Coffee Chats with Trans Chaps featuring Lewin Wild

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Coffee Chats with Trans Chaps is a new Naarm (Melbourne) based podcast that’s about celebrating the lives and experiences of trans masculine people, letting people tell their story, telling our own stories, and having a laugh. Your hosts are Tas and Ren, two trans masculine people, and each episode we’re interviewing a trans person about their lives and passions.

In this special episode with thanks to Darebin Council, we’re interviewing Lewin Wild, a non-binary trans guy based on Wurundjeri Country. He’s an illustrator, designer, songwriter and musician, who hopes to help dream up a better, kinder world with his art.

You can find more podcast from Coffee Chats with Trans Chaps here: https://transchaps.transistor.fm/

TRANSCRIPT of Podcast

Tas  0:10 

Hello, and welcome to coffee chats with trans chaps. It’s the podcast where we celebrate the amazing and diverse world of trans masculine people, including non binary folk or embrace a trans masc identity.

Ren  0:24 

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we make and record this podcast the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. We recognise their strength and resilience and pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. We also pay our respects to any indigenous and First Nations listeners from around the world.

Tas  0:48 

This is our first episode, we should introduce ourselves. I’m Tas: plant dad, wearer of loud shirts and persistent optimist. I’m a proud trans guy. And my dream is to help create a kinder, inclusive world where everyone has the chance to shine.

Ren  1:04 

Hey, there friends, I’m Ren and I’m a radically anti gender parent of three amazing young kids. I’m an educator who’s passionate about justice, equity and the future of this brave world. I’m also a consummate nerd. If you ever meet me on the street, feel free to ask me whether Star Wars or Star Trek is the best franchise. So I know what the listeners out there thinking, what is this podcast? And what can they expect? Well, Taz, what do you reckon?

Tas  1:31 

Well, we’re going to be chatting with real people about life, passions, and who we all are as human beings. In Season One, we’ll be talking to eight different trans masculine people who are living, loving and thriving in this wild, wild world.

Ren  1:46 

I’m so excited about the range of experiences that we’re going to be covering everything from fitness coaches, to Union organisers, and artists, that’s just to begin.

Tas  1:56 

So if you’re listening to the show, we hope that you get to experience a sense of connection and pride by learning more about real people who are just like you. We’re celebrating success and getting inspired.  Well, this is a very special episode of Coffee chats with trans chaps. We’d like to thank the Spark grants from the Victorian Government in partnership with Transgender Victoria, and The Shed transmasculine peer support, for auspicing us to do this podcast.

Ren  2:29 

So we’re actually both members of the organising community for The Shed. Just so you all know, it’s run completely by volunteers. So if you want to come and volunteer with us, we would love to have you. We’re now running everything via zoom, so you don’t even have to be in Melbourne to come and help out. We’d also like to thank Darebin City Council for sponsoring this episode, where we’re interviewing a Darebin resident, and artist Lewin Wild. We’ve also got heaps of great resources for trans and gender diverse people in the Darebin area that we’ve gathered together, we’ll list them all out at the end of the interview, and make sure you listen all the way to the end, because we’ve got a special treat right after we run through all of those great resources.

Tas  3:11 

So let me introduce Lewin, our guest he likes to create. He’s an illustrator, designer, songwriter, and musician based on Wurundjeri country in Melbourne. He’s also a non binary trans guy, and is bi / omnisexual. He hopes to help dream up a better, kinder  world with his art. Well, thank you for joining us on the podcast. It’s great to have you here.

Lewin  3:35 

Thanks for having me. Great to be here.

Tas  3:39 

So let’s dive right in. I’m actually really dying to hear about how you’re learning to tattoo and that’s in Heidelberg, right?

Lewin  3:48 

Yeah, I mean, I am not currently learning to tattoo because lockdown. Generally, yes. When when Miss Coronavirus allows. Yes. Yeah, and I think it’s Heidelberg, West. I’m learning mostly how to sanitise things at the moment, like they know that I can draw and I’m not up to hopefully not stuffing up anyone’s skin. It’s mostly been a lot of spraying things, wiping down things. Throwing out a whole lot of like, rubber gloves. I think I’ve used way more like glad wrap there than I have in like, I don’t know, five years, just in life, which kills me a little bit but like, that’s mostly what I’ve been doing just like learning how to keep an area sterile and how to pack it up and make it sterile again. But yeah, it’s exciting. It’s definitely something that I have wanted for a while.

Ren  4:58 

Do you, Do you feel like, you know, the tattooists that the thing maybe that draws them in is like being able to be that kind of working artist?

Lewin  5:11 

I mean, I think it’s definitely a plus. Like, I think that one thing that people will pay for the moment, is tattoos whereas, I think it’s like, not so much of a culture of like, I’m gonna buy that painting. Yeah, so I think that’s definitely true. I mean, there are ways you can try and make money through art, but that would be part of it. For me as well.

Ren  5:39 

Yeah. Is that what is what that what drew you into the idea of being a tattoo artist?

Lewin  5:47 

I mean, I think like, I’ve always been like, my favourite thing to draw is like faces and bodies and people. And then I did face paints for a while, like I was a professional face and body painter, mostly for like kids and stuff at a market. And that was really fun. But I had to learn how to do that in two to five minutes. It’s not a lot of time. But on slow days, I’d practice on myself on my arm and look up like tattoo inspiration for body paint. And I way more enjoyed, like, the things that I can take my time on. And also, another part of it is like, I find it difficult to actually get to painting. And also, yeah, so like, if someone’s there to get tattooed, then I have to do it. They’re paying me they’re not gonna like wait around while I first did that, well, I mean, hopefully. But hopefully, there’ll be less fussing and more like, this immediately has to be done, this person is in pain, let’s get on with it. So there’s that. And also, I studied graphic design and illustration, and I’m far more into the illustration side. And I don’t really want to use my art to sell products that I don’t believe need to exist. That there are plenty of things that I can promote and plan to with those skills. But I’d much rather focus on making, like, giving people something that they have sentimental value for for like individual humans, rather than working for companies to sell stuff.

Ren  7:40 

Yeah, that totally makes sense. They’re kind of like, yeah, individualism instead of mass production. You know, I think it fits in. Well, with your kind of overall ethos. Yeah.

Lewin  7:54 

It was gonna be comics also. And then I realised I don’t actually like spending that long in a room by myself. So

Ren  8:02 

I guess that’s the other cool thing about tattooing, you know, is that, you know, you are an artist and you are doing the work, but you do have to work with people, like, not just the person who you’re tattooing on, but the other, you know, artists in the shop, or, you know, whatever. Yeah, you know, you have them to kind of work with and bounce off potentially, as well.

Lewin  8:26 

Yeah. And I really missed that I was like, doing a process with when I was doing some training in teaching witchcraft last weekend. And someone else was leading us through a process that they were trying out on us, it’s like us being students, and I just kind of through that remembered being at school, and one of my favourite parts of high school was that I got to go to a special art programme, which meant that I was no longer the best kid at my school. I mean, that’s very subjective. But you know, people admired me and I enjoyed it. And I was very focused on it. And then there’s all these other people who are equally like, passionate and more skilled. And being in that environment was so much fun being able to, like, bounce off each other and have that community and yeah, that’s definitely something that draws me to tattoo, as well. Not that there aren’t people who just like, do it out of their home studios or something.

Tas  9:29 

Do you find this quite an inclusive space in terms of you know, gender diversity and identity and that sort of thing.

Lewin  9:39 

I think it entirely depends on the tattoo shop. I definitely had that in mind being like, where would I like to do my apprenticeship? Where would I like to work eventually. I do think that tattooing. I mean, I want to know more about the history of tattooing. I don’t know as much as they’d like, but it isn’t something that’s like in the centre of like, conservative values. So I think that like, it could be a place where outcasts feel more at home, because it’s like, that sort of space and that kind of history. But there’s also like, I don’t know, I’ve been into tattoo shops that are like, this feels kind of bro-y. And there’s a lot of just like, presumably straight white cis men here, and I am leaving bye!

Tas  10:40 

Lewin out.

Lewin  10:43 

But also, could you give me some feedback on my portfolio?

Tas  10:48 

So, how do you think that your local place and local environment influences your work and your life?

Lewin  10:57 

Um, well, to know, it’s a good question. I have been living in this share house for about four years now. Like over four years, which is a long haul in any share house.

Ren  11:14 

I you like the only person left from when you first moved in? Is it that kind of share house?

Lewin  11:19 

Ah, well, there’s one person who is sometimes in Tasmania. And they have been around longer, but not as continuously as me. So I mean, the cat. The cat has seen yeah. He was a stray who a house mate just like slowly befriended. And now he lives here. Although we suspect that he schmoozes up to other houses for extra food. Yeah, but I think like in lockdown. It’s been interesting, just going and walking along the river. And for a while, I was doing that pretty much every day. And it was really beautiful, seeing all the wattle trees come out. And for a while it was covered in yellow. And I went for a walk down there, like, on the weekend and was like, Oh, no, all the wattle’s gone. It’s really sad. But I think like, it’s an interesting what’s the word like tension in that? On one hand, the longer I live here, the longer I’m like, Okay, this is like part of me now. And this is where I reside and like I painted my mum’s CD cover based on like, near the Fairfield boathouse. And I like, like the misty land here. And I’m sure that it influences like, how I think in my art, and like, now we’re getting to the season where I’m like, Oh, it’s like, it’s warmer, and I kind of feel better in my body. And I just remember all the other times where like, the weather felt like this, and it’s like a different state of mind. And I continue to try and figure out my relationship with living on stolen land, and living on land, that is not my ancestors’, and what I can do in that position, and how I feel about being a white person being here. So that definitely influenced my life and how I think of myself.

Ren  13:33 

Yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, you know, from conversations that we’ve had in the past and so forth, that, you know, activism is really kind of a core of who you are and what you do. So, can you tell us a bit about, you know, things that you’ve been active with, particularly obviously, pre lockdown? You know, what sort of things have drawn you to feel empowered and like you can kind of work in that space.

Lewin  14:04 

I mean, I think like, growing up Nyoongar country and now living on Wurundgeri country. I don’t know I think I, I wonder whether to call myself an activist. I don’t actually do a lot of yelling in the street style activism. I find it quite overwhelming. I think a lot of people do, but I always go well. I don’t know. I think since I moved here, I’ve gone to the invasion day rally. And I if I go to one protest a year at least make sure that I go to that one. And it’s really great to see more and more people there every year. So many that I can’t see them all at one time anymore. I was involved with the red rebels and XR for a while, which was really great. The red rebels are like, kind of performance troop. And, and they, yeah, XR is the like environment and trying to it’s mostly put pressure on government to create like stops or trying to stop climate change and the red rebels are a group that we use like physical theatre and all move really slowly in unison and do so by like, keeping an eye on what everyone’s doing usually like this, someone, at least in the groups that I was working with the one at the front would be the one who keep an eye on and you go through all these different poses. And actually being in there, it feels really peaceful. Like I studied visible theatre with Enzo in Brisbane. I’m not sure Meanjin, I think is the indigenous name. And one of our pieces of homework was to do something really slowly that evening. And I happen to be going to no lights no lycra, which is a dance party with the lights turned off so you don’t feel self conscious about your body. And so I just danced in slow motion with everyone around me dancing really fast. And it’s really peaceful, like being in the eye of the storm. And that’s kind of how it feels being with the red rebels, I think and especially because there’s more of us doing it. And so it feels like this really peaceful. Eye of the Storm at protests.

Ren  16:56 

Yeah, that’s really cool. Yeah.

Lewin  17:01 

And we’re all like, dressed entirely in red, and have our faces painted white.

Tas  17:07 

Yeah, I think I remember seeing you one time off the back of performance. That’s right.

Lewin  17:12 

Yeah. Like a sheds committee meeting or something with my face on. Yeah. Yeah, I did the red rebels in like, a bathroom. In I forget, it was just like, some, I forget what we even call these things now haven’t been to one for so long – Shopping Centre for me. Thank god. [laughter]. QV, that’s right in the city, I got changed at the bathroom there. Because as soon as I split off from the group of red rebels, like people like Wow, what’s going on here, let’s like take photos, and they try and talk to you. And we’re not meant to speak. It’s part of like, the performance. So you’re just like, hand them a flyer or like a flower or smile, like the Mona Lisa or something. And as soon as they separated from the group, someone like, I don’t know, yelled something, someone else took a photo. And I was like, this is a very different vibe. I’m getting out of this outfit.

Ren  18:14 

Yeah, fair.

So I guess, you know, for people who don’t know you very well, well, it might be a little bit surprising that, you know, you’re talking about, you know, physical performance and drama, and tattooing. And they may not know that you also are an amazing musician, too. So you’re very multifaceted. So I guess we wanted to kind of know a little bit more about, you know, why you choose, you know, one particular medium over another when you might be inspired to create art, like, what, what do you think kind of influences that or what, you know, draws you in one direction or another

Lewin  19:01 

Good question. Um, yeah, I guess I like creating in lots of different ways. I also have just given up on other parts of life, like let’s just not assume a team sport or something. Let’s just do all of the arts. And I think that often, I mean, honestly, I’ve still I’m trying to get back into a good relationship with doing illustration for fun. Often now it’s more for a particular purpose or a client or something. Staying up super late. During uni studying illustration, not knowing that I had ADHD and only managing the like impetus to motivate myself to do the assignments, not that long before they were due and not sleeping was just like, a really great way to make me not like it as much But I just did a portrait of Aphrodite. And that was fun. And that was for fun. So that’s a good start. I think, for music. I started songwriting as a teenager to do with, like teenage angst mostly about love.

Tas  20:15 

Relatable.

Lewin  20:21 

Did you do that too, Tas?

Tas  20:23 

I did. No doubt much, much worse.

Lewin  20:27 

Everyone starts somewhere I just kept doing.

Tas  20:32 

I don’t think it’s any great loss that I stopped.

Lewin  20:38 

Yeah, so I guess like, often if I’m dealing with some sort of emotional issue, or feel like, I’m expressing myself in a cathartic way, or getting my thoughts in order and trying to figure out how I feel or think about something, especially to do with relationships, then often I write a song. Or also, if I just feel a bit stuck in myself, and want to work through something from like an emotional place, then maybe I’ll write a song. Although in recent years, I’ve also been doing less of that I’ve come back to it now, I think, but I was like, instead, let’s try going to therapy. And it yeah, but at the moment, I’m really enjoying video. And then I end up putting everything together. Like recently, I did a video on how to mix colours with guache and testing out guache that I bought. And then I use graphic design to figure out the titles and like I did a little snippet video of me learning to skate and then put music underneath that I’ve been using, like working on for a cover a Sam Smith cover and like, it’s a good way of putting all those things together.

Tas  22:00 

Do you do videos like out and about as well? Or just kind of instructional stuff?

Lewin  22:06 

Well, I think that’s probably the first instructional video I’ve ever made. I, well, what do I do? Mostly what I’ve done so far is videos of music. And often it’s quite expensive to professionally record music. So instead, I’ve done like live takes and video at the same time and put them on YouTube, like every few years. But I want to start branching out into different things too. Recently, I recorded my hair routine and how to make DIY Flexi gel partly cuz I well, it’s from the curly girl method. And I figure that myself included, maybe some trans masculine people would be uncomfortable looking that stuff up and being in Facebook groups called like the curtly girl method, and I’m like, screw you. I’m not a girl.

Ren  23:05 

Oh, my goodness. So I recently started growing out my beard and its curly. And there are no good like instructionals for taking care of the curly beard.

Lewin  23:18 

Oh, really?

Ren  23:19 

Other than the curly girl method.

Lewin  23:23 

That’s so funny.

Ren  23:27 

So, yeah, I will definitely be looking up your instructionals because it will help.

Lewin  23:35 

But yeah, at the moment, I’m just having fun. And I’m gonna do basically everything except reviews and see where I land on. I, I recently did a video of like me dancing around with flowers and my beard and first talked about like, gender and being feminine, even though I’m a trans guy. And hopefully tomorrow, but I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.  I might do a like, tutorial, but I don’t really know what I’m doing. We’ll see how I go style video of making some pride flags. The back patches. Yeah.

Tas  24:14 

That sounds pretty fun.

Lewin  24:16 

I hope so.

Ren  24:17 

So you kind of you know, you mentioned already about, you know, recently discovering that you have ADHD. Do you think that that kind of ties into this cornucopia of art that you’re kind of doing like that? You know, is it that classic ADHD? I can’t do one thing I must do 50 or is that Lewin?

Lewin  24:45 

Well, it’s funny, I’ll say learning more about the traits of ADHD. I’m like, Am I anything like is my personality anything beyond my diagnoses? But um, yeah, I think that there’s definitely like, oh, a new thing of ADHD. And it’s actually being kind of helpful to realise. And it’s part of why I bought a new video camera being like, that’s something new, maybe we’ll get excited about. But I found that novelty really helps me feel like excited about life, which is great in lockdown. Hence learning to skateboard. But I try to circle around back to my interests eventually, and one day, they’ll look new and shiny again. And so at least if I have a few things, then I can cycle

Ren  25:40 

Do you think that, um, you know, you have all of these different kinds of art that you’re doing and you know, you’re cycling and doing new things, it kind of overall building an aesthetic or our way of looking at the world that is you and yours that’s going to translate through these different kinds of art?

Lewin  26:00 

Hmm, interesting question. Um, I mean, I’ve always, well not always but for a long time, thought that really, I want something that’s in between all of them, while that combines them all in a seamless kind of way. And I’d love to, well, I think, as far as aesthetic, and point of view, I find like learning about witchcraft, and really useful because at least like, I really like old things, maybe because also, I grew up on this continent, in like, a colonial setting and feel kind of disconnected from like, a lineage of culture or something, and also don’t want to culturally appropriate things that I’m not meant to. So drawing, unlike European witch crafts, and translating that through, like where I am in modern day, and what I believe in, I think is like a unifying thread and something I find inspiring. And I’d also love the, like, in rituals, in reclaiming tradition, which I’ve been involved in, there’s like, it’s a lot of fun, it kind of reminds me of my mum’s music and movement classes, from when I was a kid, like lots of singing and dancing and ecstatic stuff. And it kind of feels like a rock concert. But I’d love one day to make gigs that are also ritual. So there’s no audience, everyone’s a participant. And, and I kind of love going to music festivals that haven’t in years, partially because I always want to be on the stage. And I find it kind of sad just to be an audience member, whereas going to witch camps, like, well, one, I can play violin and ritual, if I organise that, but also, regardless, I’m always a participant. So finding a way to like, marry those worlds, and some others, like physical theatre or circus, or illustration and dance like, and put that in a pot in a way that is really fun is definitely a long term goal of mine.

Tas  28:17 

You’re also telling us the other day that you had some opportunities to do some gender related performances at some of those camps?

Lewin  28:24 

Yeah. And there’s a fun night called Bartik night, at least that’s what it’s called. In so called Australia, I think they have different names for it in US reclaiming, but it’s basically like an open mic where anything goes, but you only have two minutes.

Tas  28:47 

A speedy performance!

Lewin  28:48 

Yeah, so it means that singing and playing guitar is like hard to fit into two minutes.

Ren  28:56 

Or you can face paint,

Lewin  28:57 

I could face paint, it’s true. I’ve done it that quickly in a while, but um, I also it’s quite a supportive environment and, and supportive of like growing your edges, like doing stuff that isn’t super comfortable for you. And that’s partially why I’ve chosen to do a dance performance. And then like, kind of like seeing in theatre performance. I tried to get the audience to also be my backing choir. And yeah, that’s really, really good. At cloud catcher last year, which is up far north, like in Queensland, or New South Wales anyway, somewhere around there. I did

Tas  29:53 

Somewhere north of the border?

Lewin  29:56 

It’s like near the border of the two, yes. That’s why I’m confused. But yeah, I I mostly like I grew up in like, Perth, what is all of this east side stuff? Yeah, but at that camp, I did a performance in a giant blue skirt. And it was kind of like I conceptualised around. I mean, it’s kind of hard to explain in a nutshell. But there’s a myth. And one of the versions of it, there’s a, like two non binary beings, called kodra. And Gallatin, and another version the’re one, and it’s as eunomia. And in this story, that character is like, someone who kind of saves the day and also is like, in one of the versions of the story, like super hot, and one of the goddesses is like, Oh, my God, what a hottie, I’ll give you whatever. And that’s how they like, managed to get the water of life to revive the like, fallen goddess, and then escape, so, like, a really like hero, character who’s like kind of non binary in this story. So I did a dance based on that with like, fairy lights around my chest. So that was awesome. And then there’s also traditionally been some magic around like, I don’t know, I think this is just like, what was going on in the like, 70s 80s 90s of and still now it’s like, good for some people, but a lot of stuff around like maternal lineages and women’s empowerment and wombs and periods and stuff. And sometimes I’ve noticed people, well, I don’t know, I think they just don’t think or aren’t aware of trans men in some ways. And so talk about those things and equate them with womanhood. And so I made a song about father’s blood, and covered myself in red paint and sang a song.

Tas  32:16 

The wilting flower in the corner that is Lewin.

Lewin  32:20 

yeah, I also used to teach ASL. And when teaching the word introvert was like, I’m actually an introvert and people like, what? Teacher?

Tas  32:32 

I love that you said that you took that opportunity for, in those performances, the purpose of them is kind of to try out something that you wouldn’t normally do. And I love that you’ve taken that to push yourself and kind of expand your boundaries and take that as a growth opportunity. That’s really cool.

Lewin  32:52 

Thanks. Yeah, I mean, it’s not exciting unless I’m a little bit scared, what’s a performance without stage fright?

Ren  32:59 

Yeah. Do you think that that’s part of making an important piece of work? Like, you know, when do you feel like when you’re kind of pushing things, that’s when, you know, things that are important happen, or things that are going to influence others maybe.

Lewin  33:23 

I think that working slowly towards things that I really want to do. But maybe feel afraid to like, as I take each step I feel maybe, like, more fulfilled and excited. And I think that people respond to that energy. If I am doing a performance or an illustration, or whatever, and I’m not excited by it, then I think that people are also less excited by it, especially in live performance, I think. Although I think it’s really good to feel confident and comfortable, and like on the stage and be really present than also, if I’m bored by what I’m doing, then. It’s hard to convince people that it’s not boring, you know? Yeah.

Ren  34:18 

So what do you what do you kind of want to do with your art? What do you feel like your art is able to do in the world and especially kind of thinking about your vision for the future? Um, you know, what is Lewin gonna do to the world with art?

Lewin  34:40 

Yeah, I mean, I think about this. I, I would I have some ideas? How much they’ll do, but I have some things I want to try. I think that I’d really love to touch people’s lives. and empower them to like, have, I don’t know, whatever that piece is around why they got a tattoo. And being able to share that with people, if they want to commemorate something, if they want a reminder to do something, or if they just want something beautiful on them, and therefore feel like, or in their power or whatever. Then I hope that that can like, touch people’s lives in a meaningful way. And also, give me money so I can spend other time doing other things. I would love for, I guess my vision for like gigs times rituals would be, I’d love to learn, like, take what I’ve learned and what I will learn in the future about relationships and how to relate to each other and ourselves, and bring people through that journey through music and performance. And therefore, like, I love the quote, I don’t know who by but art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.

Ren  36:17 

Yeah, that’s a good one.

Lewin  36:19 

It’s a great one. Yeah. So like people who are having a hard time or in the middle of that, or whatever I can feel seen. And then I think that, although I’m like, want to focus on, like ending white supremacy, or like, maybe a different, like system of that humans can use to make things kinder and fairer and better distributed resources. Then I think that how we relate to each other, is really important in that. And finding like, knowledge and causes that I believe in and promoting them with my art. That was another great quote, I looked up who it was by just before this, but I forget of the role of the artists. Oh, where is that? Yeah, it is the role of the artist to make the revolution irresistible. Yeah, Toni Cade Cambarayou? Honestly, I don’t know much about, but I know worked towards like African American actiovism. Yeah, so I dunno I’m not, like completely sold in a revolution, but something some sort of change. So I see my role there as well.

Ren  37:52 

Um, do you think you know, thinking about change? How much of the world do you think does need to change? Like? Do we are we kind of living at the beginning of some thing, you know, amazing and tumultuous? That’s going to be the future? Or do you feel like people are kind of people and we’re going to tinker around the edges? And kind of muddle our way forward a little bit, maybe? Or maybe you have a totally different idea, but I kind of feel like I, I guess Okay, so coming from my perspective, when I was younger, I felt like, you know, things were kind of settled, and maybe we would tinker around the edges of things. But, you know, well kind of the world was okay. But as I’ve gotten older, it’s sort of that reverse of what people are supposed to do, like, the young people are supposed to be the activists, the old people are supposed to feel settled and able to go on. But as I get older, I’m completely the opposite. And I feel like so many things really need to change in the world, that have not changed up to this point, you know, in terms of gender, and race and capitalism. And also, just the way like you said, relationships and the way that people relate to each other. There’s so much room for improvement there. That we could, you know, have massive changes in the world, I think. But then maybe that’s not so hopeful in terms of thinking that people are fundamentally okay. Maybe people aren’t fundamentally okay.

Lewin  39:45 

I think that I kind of believe that people are fundamentally okay. But I think that a lot of people on the planet on kind of well, I think that resources is a big issue. And like, of course, if a group or just an individual or whatever, don’t have the resources that they really need, then of course, like they’re going to try and get it however they can or there’s going to be issues like crime, or homelessness, maybe you should just give people houses.

Ren  40:21 

It’s definitely the best way.

Lewin  40:24 

Totally!  How do we end it, hmm? But, yeah, I think about people getting, like, potentially more conservative as they get older, I saw a meme on Facebook about it, I can’t quite remember. But there was like, I think that often, if you have enough resources, or you look around, and you’re like, okay, my friends are doing fine. I’m doing fine. I have my white picket fence, and 2.5 kids and enough money, like to be not super stressed about it, then maybe you would become more conservative like that.

Ren  41:03 

See, the problem with that is I have 2.5 kids and enough money to be okay. And a lot of my friends are pretty much fine, but still, I think some well, I shouldn’t say a lot of my friends are fine. Some of my friends are fine. But a lot of people I know, aren’t

Lewin  41:21 

Totally. Yeah. And I think also like, hanging out at the shed, you might see that too,

Tas  41:28 

Having that connection to that, it’s a pretty diverse community. And I think there’s probably not a lot of groups of people where you would have such a broad range of people kind of coming together on a topic that you’ve all got in common. And yet, you’re also completely different. But you still see that diverse range that you probably wouldn’t get just through a friendship group or work. You know, colleagues, or

Lewin  41:54 

yeah. is yes. A bunch of people? A lot. Yeah. A bunch of people who happen not to be cis. Yeah, totally. So I think that I hope things change. And especially with like, climate change, like things got to change somehow. Pretty soon, not sure how they’re going to get there. But I hope so. Yeah.

Tas  42:22 

So if there was someone that wanted to comfort, the disturbed and disturb the comfortable, and bring more art into their lives or create more art, what what would you kind of tell people to do to get involved in some more artistic pursuits?

Lewin  42:44 

Ah, um, I think like, I guess just try and follow whatever you find joy in or are drawn to, or that thing that you always wanted to do, but don’t feel like you’re good at. And I think that often, in capitalism, if you’re like, ah, like, it’s too late for me to make money out of it, oh, that’s not going to make money. Then people tend not to pursue it. And also fair enough, cuz, like, we need to survive. But um, yeah, I think that, like making room and making more of a priority for pleasure, and really asking yourself what it is you want to do, and then investing a little bit of money in it as well being like, Alright, let’s buy some half decent paints. Or, like, I always wanted to, and like, get lessons. Or just experiment, look up YouTube tutorials, whatever. There’s many ways but I found that like, especially with instruments, like people, like wow, you’re so talented, you can play all these things. And I’m like, yeah, my mum put me in a like violin lessons for eight years, and I practice every day and now I can play a violin. And, yeah, like, I think that putting, like giving yourself a good shot, like being like, okay, imagine I was someone else, and I really wanted to learn this thing. What would I tell them to do? And if I was like, Oh, no, I can’t buy lessons like, I mean, maybe you can’t actually find a teacher or whatever. And that’s totally legit. But like, if you actually can but find it hard to allow yourself to go there or just even the time then I just be like, well, what would you tell someone else would you be like, that’s not valid? Your joy isn’t valid? You don’t deserve it? Probably not.

Tas  45:02 

And if you would say that, maybe check that on yourself.

Lewin  45:05 

Maybe that’s something to look at. Yeah.

Tas  45:10 

I think that’s a really good point because people tend to be so much more forgiving and supportive of other people’s interests and endeavours and their own. So giving yourself that same space and freedom to pursue your joy.

Lewin  45:26 

Yeah, I’ve literally got like, calendar days that like at least one day a week that just say, pleasure. That day, I’m like, alright, what do we want to do?

Ren  45:39 

Nice.

Lewin  45:40 

Yeah. Which is like, Thank you Centrelink, [laughter]

Tas  45:50 

it sparks joy.

Lewin  45:52 

Well, it does not. But having enough food to live does. Yes. And I guess one more thing I’d say about pursuing art is some that, like the experience of it is important. And even if, like, hmm, how do I say this? Well, when you’re not learning something as a child, then your discernment and your ability often have a larger gap. Whereas the kid, Do you like colours? Yeah, it’s fine. Whatever. I’m so excited. Or, like, let’s play this instrument. Oh, let’s dance around, where as an adult, you’re like, I know what good dancing looks like, I know that this is not where I want to be. So I just like, be mindful of that. And try to not stop your knowledge of where you want to be or your knowledge of like, what’s good actually, just like, use your taste and use that as a tool that, yeah, just like there’s gonna be, like, a gap between what you imagine yourself doing and where you are. And like, making peace with that, I think is half the battle of learning something new.

Ren  47:10 

Yeah, and looking for the incremental changes, right, like, Look, this is the fifth in a row where I got that one bit, right. Like, that’s really cool. There’s nine bits wrong, but I got that one bit, right. Five times. There you go. Yeah.

Lewin  47:26 

Like I’m trying to get better at skateboarding and handstands and I’m like, I got up to handstand once it happened, or like I can stay on my skateboard for several metres now really slowly.

Tas  47:41 

Are there any clubs or groups that you’re part of for your art? Are there clubs?

Ren  47:51 

Is there a secret handshake?

Lewin  47:55 

Um, uh, I mean, I want more of that. Honestly. I would love to have more of a like strong artistic community of people doing similar stuff and like a studio space that I could afford and like being able to be around other people. There are definitely Facebook groups. I joined the illustration club at my uni when it formed, like in my last year, and I found that it was like a splinter group that still exists, but they’re Perth based. So it’s kind of fun hanging out on discord, but I can never actually go to the meetups. Recently, I’ve been looking at tattoo apprentice groups that give feedback to each other. And that can be nice. I’m excited to be involved in Berserk tattoo and in the group chat for that. And yeah, that’s nice to feel like a part of something. In reclaiming, there’s a group called The Agora, which we haven’t done a whole lot with yet but it’s like an Arts Collective. And and, and I mean, reclaiming witchcraft. Yeah, I didn’t know I mean, there’s like heaps of Facebook pages like Melbourne musicians or whatever, but I don’t know. Facebook groups?

Tas  49:27 

A necessary evil.

Lewin  49:30 

Yeah, I guess like I also find community like all they say um, women’s circus is had a trans oriented class for a while that I was going to and that was super cute. And there was just like, a bunch of trans people learning circus together. And a lot of people it was their first time and now I know people through that who like, like, that’s how I found out about campfire stories, which is cute and they play videos from different creators, and it’s like queer and trans. So I guess like going out into the world when we can, or showing up on zoom events, or I think or where else? I mean, Instagram is good for me to find people in my local area. And just zoom events at the moment being in lockdown getting involved in like, the bi plus community, or like the shed and stuff. Sometimes I meet creative people through that. But honestly, I’d love more. More people here that I mean, I have like a friend, Luca who is studying circus at NICA, and to I met through the shed, and that’s really fun and lovely to see him create, like, circus videos, and I’m creating like, whatever the hell videos. That’s nice. And we talked about maybe doing something together one day? So I guess it’s also important to me that I might get on or relate to the people in some other way, not just that we both make stuff. So I guess wherever and however, usually make friends usually creative people do that, too.

Ren  51:15 

So Lewin, who would you kind of want to point people towards. Who do you think that people should check out in the wide wide world?

Lewin  51:26 

Well, besides myself, who should people check out? Well, another podcast that I really love is the Antipodean arts podcast. And if you’re interested in any of the witchy stuff that I’ve been talking about, it’s a good place to go. Theo who is one of the hosts on there, I also gave me a shout out. So returning the favour and because I did some flyers for them for their workshops. And I mentioned my friend, Luca who does circus and he has an Instagram, that’s great. And if you’re interested in circus stuff, then go have a look. He’s just started doing videos as well as images, which I think is cool. So that’s Luka dot Trim, trim dot Boli, and I’m sure that’ll be in the show notes. Also, I just remembered, um Kira, I will give these lovely folks the link for them. They makes the most fantastic memes and they’re also indigenous and trans. And based on Wurundjeri Country, I believe. I really get a lot out of their content. And for myself, Lewin underscore Wild is my Instagram if you want to look at what I’m up to in my life and see my selfies. And if you want to look at my illustration, thats Lewin underscore Wild underscore draws. And my website is Lewinwild.com, I am Lewin Wild on Facebook. I’m Lewin Wild on YouTube. And if you want to listen to my EP from before I took testosterone and had better control over my voice, that band camp dot whatever, Lewin Wild at bandcamp, the link will be in the show notes. And yeah, that was a fun EP all of the instruments including like violin and guitar and mandolin harmonies are all me.

Ren  53:53 

Yeah, very cool. And we are actually going to put one of your songs right at the end of this episode. So people if they want to listen to a whole Lewin song can listen out to the end and hear the whole thing.

Lewin  54:10 

Yeah.

Ren  54:13 

Very cool. Well, thank you so much for your time Lewin.

Sweet thanks fior having me!

Tas  54:19 

Thanks for having a coffee chat.

Lewin  54:23 

I don’t actually drink coffee. But yeah, so a protein shake.

Ren  54:29 

Yeah, I’ve got tea, so it’s fine. It’s just the idea of coffee.

Lewin  54:35 

Yeah, I understand. Thanks for having me.

Ren  54:46 

Don’t forget to stay to the end of this podcast for a treat for your ears a gift to you from Lewin. Before that though. We’re going to talk about the great resources for trans and gender diverse people in this Darebin area. Over to you Tas what’s the first thing?

Tas  55:03 

We have to mention the shed of course, we’re a Melbourne based peer support group for trans masculine people, including people who are non binary, and those who are questioning or exploring their gender. The shed’s purpose is to meet up to support each other and build resilience by sharing personal experiences of trans life. So you can find more details about the meetings and other resources at ftmshed.com.au.

Ren  55:27 

Okay, there’s also the Latrobe voice clinic. I haven’t accessed them personally but they do provide specialist voice services for trans and gender diverse folks. From their website, their services include individualised programmes of voice communication training for people wishing to explore the different ways they can use their voice and communication to express their gender. They work with anyone over the age of 16 years at any stage in transition, regardless of gender identity and gender presentation goals. To find out more, go to latrobe.edu.au and search for the voice clinic, or of course See the link in the show notes.

Tas  56:07 

There’s also a great service called your community health. They provide a huge range of services for trans and gender diverse people including peer navigation, which is where a trained trans person, your peer, helps you figure out what services you need, how to access them, as well as providing GP services, access to hormone therapy and endocrinology. They have mental health support and counselling. They can do referrals for you to social and peer support groups and specialists as well as allied health. So to find out more, go to yourcommunityhealth.org and you can search for trans health there, or of course, there’ll be a direct link in the show notes.

Ren  56:48 

And the Reservoir Leisure Centre occasionally has trans and gender diverse specific events. Probably not right now. But look for them again in the future. They’ll advertise on the Darebin City Council website, and the Reservoir Leisure Centre Facebook page. So just go to Facebook and search for Reservoir Leisure Centre, all one word.

Tas  57:10  

There’s also a Pony Club gym, which I haven’t been to personally but I have heard some really great reviews from other members of the trans and gender diverse community. They’re on High Street in Preston and you can find out more at Pony Club gym.com

Ren  57:23 

just a mere 200 metres outside of Darebin there’s North Side Clinic in Fitzroy North they provide a whole range of services including hormone therapy, hormone monitoring and sexual health services. Go to NorthSideclinic.net.au

Tas  57:41 

And now what you’ve all been waiting for. He is a song by Lewin Wild. As he said earlier this was recorded before he started taking T. It’s called Take Me Down – it is gorgeous. I love it. It’s from his EP and you can get the full EP from lewinwild.com/EP.

Ren  57:58 

He’s got a  pay what you can model so, please head on over there and support him as a working trans artist. Without further ado, here is Lewin Wild with Take Me Down.

Unknown Speaker  58:11 

[Lewin Wild’s Take Me Down]

Tas  1:01:08 

Thanks for listening everybody. We’ll catch you next time.

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