There’s no-one on the planet like my awesome friend Dr Lindo Bacon! It’s been more than 4 years since we got to hang out drinking wine in a hot tub in the Napa Valley, and even though we can’t see each other in person, I am SO HAPPY to kick off the new year and a new season of the All Fired Up podcast with them! Do not miss this fiercely loving wisdom from Lindo, who has NAILED the problem with self-love and is calling for a revolution – not of self-care but of BELONGING! We don’t need to fall in love with our bodies – we need to work on healing our entire society, we need radical change – EQUALITY, and JUSTICE, and we need to ALLOW DIVERSITY! Basically, if all humans are welcome – if all humans belong – we can heal. Lindo has come a long way since their first book Health At Every Size, and we had an awesome conversation about how their perspective has changed – and all about their fabulous new book “Radical Belonging: How to Survive and Thrive in an Unjust World (While Transforming it for the Better). This is a not-to-be-missed episode!!
LOUISE: Thank you so much for coming on the show, Lindo. Welcome.
LINDO: Oh, I’ve always wanted to do this, Louise. It’s always such a pleasure to hang out with you.
LOUISE: I know!
LINDO: So, I can’t believe we haven’t done this sooner.
LOUISE: I can’t believe it either, but I’m so excited we’re talking about your new book as the reason to have you here. But I’m just…I’ve got so much to say and talk about, but it is so awesome to get to chat to you. But, you know, before we kick off…it’s been like over four years since…because we hung out in like, live, when I came in 2016 which was just before Trump got elected.
LINDO: Oh, is that the timing? Yeah?
LOUISE: Yeah! And now I’m talking to you just a couple of days after that whole period’s ended and we’ve got a new president. Isn’t that weird?
LINDO: It is. I remember just relaxing in a hot tub with you in the Napa Valley, which is wine country in California, talking about the election.
LOUISE: I know, I know, right? What a wild memory now, thinking of…the fact that I can’t even get on a plane.
LINDO: Yeah, so…present tense, what are we talking about today?
LOUISE: Yes, so I want to know what is firing you up at the moment?
LINDO: What’s firing me up…lately I’ve been listening to all this ‘body positivity’ and what’s getting me is that everybody is preaching this ‘self-love’ message. And self-love, yeah, it’s a gorgeous thing and I wish it for everybody. But there’s this idea that that’s what’s going to save us, and we have to do all the internal work on ourselves. And it makes the whole ‘body liberation’ journey very individual. And that’s not what it’s about, because we can love ourselves fully and completely, and then we walk into a world where people tell us there’s something wrong with us. Whether it’s that we’re too fat, or we’re denied an opportunity because of our skin colour. So, I want people to know that as beautiful as self-love is, it’s not enough to save us. We also have to be working on social change. Because we’re individuals in a context, and if we forget the context then we end up blaming ourselves that we can’t love ourselves, and then it becomes problematic. But it’s hard to love ourselves in a culture that doesn’t support us.
LINDO: That’s what’s on my mind right now.
LOUISE: Yeah, this is so absolutely necessary, and this is very much your book.
LINDO: Can I tell you a very funny thing? I was very proud to see that Radical Belonging, my book, is selling well. And it’s jumped up on Amazon’s best seller list.
LINDO: Yeah, it’s near the top of Amazon’s vest seller list. But here’s the thing, it’s the self-help best seller list. And I explicitly have a chapter in there that’s titled something like ‘why self-help is not enough’. You know? Just trying to get away from that. But it makes me laugh, I’ll take it, you know? I’m glad the book is getting around, and I’m glad the book is getting around to people who are interested in self-help. So that it can help to expand their horizons a bit.
LOUISE: It helps them hopefully to abandon self-help and start changing the world. Oh wow. You have led this whole…I wouldn’t say body positivity, I’d talk about Health at Every Size®, HAES®. You’ve done three books, you’ve done ‘Health at Every Size’, which a lot of people refer to as one of the original textbooks of HAES®. And you did Body Respect, which was co-authored with Lucy Aphramor, and then Radical Belonging is your third book. And like all of us, it’s such a process, this HAES® perspective. I’m interested to ask you how things have changed for you since you first wrote HAES®, up until now. That’s a big question.
LINDO: It is. I’ll keep it short, because there’s a short and easy narrative that ties the three books. And that’s that…first of, you didn’t imply this, but I want to just announce it for the audience because there’s a big misunderstanding that people tend to think that I started the Health at Every Size® movement, and I did not. Health at Every Size® was around long before I had ever entered the scene. And my book, I think, helped to popularise it quite a bit. And so, that’s probably why I got that reputation. Anyway, that first ‘Health at Every Size’ book, I’m still proud of it. I think it’s an important book and I get a lot of feedback that it’s changed people’s lives and given professionals a totally new framework for approaching weight. So, I am still proud of it. But in retrospect, what I see is that it was very much a self-help book. It really put the emphasis on individual change. And all that stuff is valuable, but there are also a lot of limitations to it. I mean, one is that it means it’s a very privileged book because there are a lot of people that just don’t have access to being able to eat nutritiously and eat the foods that they want when they want, and they might have a job that doesn’t give them food breaks except during prescribed times so they can’t really respond to body cues, or they’ve got to learn how to make adjustments to that. Or, you know, they might be living in poverty and have difficulty taking care of themselves in that way. So anyway, there’s a lot of class privilege that’s involved in being able to make individual choices. Another problem is that we know that that stuff doesn’t play that huge of a role in our health anyway. I’m not going to deny that eating nd exercise don’t play some role in our health, they do. But research shows that all of our health behaviours combined probably only play 25% of the role in our health.
LOUISE: And that’s mind-blowing.
LINDO: It is. And the really big thing about your health is about how you’re treated in the world. You know? What we call the social determinants of health. So, I regret in some ways that I wrote a book that was so catered to privileged people without knowing it, and put the emphasis on things…well, I mean, it is helpful for people to learn the skills and strategies of self-help if they can, but not to put that stuff in context also means that there’ll be a lot of self-blame when people don’t get all the health results that they’re hoping for.
LOUISE: Yeah, so if you can’t do it, then that’s your fault?
LINDO: And if you don’t get a result…
LOUISE: If you’re health’s not improving you must be doing something wrong.
LINDO: Yeah. I mean, if you still have diabetes after changing your diet and exercising, you’re doing something wrong. Or even if you get, you have diabetes and you’re not eating so nutritious, right? I still don’t think there should be self-blame. Anyway, that’s why I was really happy to have the opportunity to kind of approach it again. And the second time I worked with Lucy Aphramor and we made all those connections, and we started talking about the interplay between the social determinants of health – things like racism, and sexism, and ablism, and how they intersect with our health and our opportunities to change our life.
LOUISE: Yeah, that was an incredible book and an incredible change in emphasis from the first, because I came to your training in Seattle…
LINDO: Yeah, I remember that. It was the first time we met.
LOUISE: Yeah. It was like, five days of diving into all of that, the social determinants of health and thinking about oppression and thinking about stuff I had never thought about. And when I came home from that trip…I had an online program at the time, like a…to help people, based on HAES® principles. And when I came home from that trip, I literally took the whole thing down and shredded it and did it again. And came up with Untrapped, which was a co-work with all of the other people who helped, because of that, that shift in emphasis…and it was mind-blowing, and just phenomenal.
LINDO: It’s interesting too how much it resonates with people, because you’re telling them ‘your story mattes’. Who you are plays a role, like, your history and what’s happened to you plays a huge role in your attitudes towards exercise, your attitudes towards your body, and how you’re treated in the world is just so, so important. Once people start to see that they’re seen, it opens up possibilities for them to come up with an individualised approach to how they want to live their life, right? Rather than following somebody else’s rules.
LOUISE: Yeah, and it also sort of opens the door for social justice and really sort of taking seriously things like inequity and oppression and trauma. Here in Australia, the Aboriginal population have diabetes rates much, much higher than the white population, and of course the weight science researchers like to talk about ‘that’s because of the size of our Aboriginal population, we need to make everyone lose weight and it’s going to go away, it’ll be magic”. It’s just such bullshit to think of things that…
LINDO: That’s the first thing they say, is they blame it on weight. And then the second thing they tell people to do is to diet and exercise. Even that has been shown to have limited effect on changing diabetes outcomes. But you know, what the real research is showing is provide people with more opportunity, so they have higher paying jobs, so they’re not so stressed out. Treat them better. Stop oppression. That’s how we make a dent in diabetes.
LOUISE: Yeah, right? So, what a huge realisation that maybe the solution here isn’t with individual behaviour but with social change.
LINDO: Right. Which again, si not to suggest that individual behvaiour change doesn’t do anything. It does. But to change the emphasis a little bit, to give people more agency in the world.
LOUISE: Yeah, and more respect.
LOUISE: Which was the name of the book, Body Respect.
LINDO: Yeah. So, it was really fun to have the opportunity to write that book with Lucy Aphramor. That book was meant to be short, to the point, very concise to that people could really see the arguments clearly. And we didn’t do nearly as much storytelling as I did in my first book. This was a very different book. It was meant to really sell to people this idea of what we called in the book ‘Health at Every Size’. I think there’s still some debate as to whether that’s what people were calling Health at Every Size® at the time, or whether that was just ideas that we wanted to be Health at Every Size®.
LINDO: But anyway. I’m not so sure about that. But regardless, the book to me was a really important transition, and much of what’s in the book, believe it or not, I’m still very much behind. You know? I think it really…it’s last…maybe four or five years since we’ve published it. I think we’ve really grown into the ideas in Body Respect more.
LOUISE: Yeah. As a HAES® community, you mean?
LINDO: Yes. Exactly. And then the progression as far as the third book goes, there’s very little emphasis on…I don’t use the term Health at Every Size® often.
LOUISE: Yeah, I’ve noticed.
LINDO: And in part that’s because…I think there’s so many other people right now who are helping to define and grow Health at Every Size®, and I want to step back a little bit and let other people…or not ‘let’, but so that other people can emerge and there can be wider perspective. And I also don’t feel like I want to be responsible for a movement. Like, I’d rather just talk about what’s important to me and not be so closely assigned responsibility around something that is so much bigger than me and is not me.
LOUISE: Yeah, there’s so many voices and so many people and so many perspectives that need to be heard.
LINDO: Right. And Health at Every Size® is a community idea. And also, I’m not so interested in physical health as much.
LINDO: Like, yeah, I think it’s important, but it’s not my focus. My focus is more on love and community. Maybe I should have said that in terms of what’s firing me up. I think we’re recognising more than ever how much we need each other, and that’s what I want to do. I want to forge those bonds. I find that the more that I connect with my vulnerability and expose myself in the world, the more I get seen by everyone and I can find my pockets where I get respected and valued, and that’s what feeds me. Having that kind of support, of unity. And it’s not so much that I get seen, but the richness of seeing other people too, in all their uniqueness.
LOUISE: All of their states of health. Yeah.
LINDO: So, belonging seems to be the thing that’s captured me more, and why I wrote about that in my last book.
LOUISE: Yeah, belonging. And it’s such a beautiful word.
LINDO: It is.
LOUISE: What’s…what does it mean to you? What does belonging mean?
LINDO: Belonging to me is about that unconditional love. It meant that I can expose the stuff that I might not be so proud of in myself, and yet I’m still loved and validated and seen and appreciated, and people will sit with me through that, right? And that gives me opportunity to make change, or not. But that’s a very different idea to what our culture offers up to people. Like, it says…it kind of sets normal standards and it tells you that you belong if you match up with that. If you’re thin enough, for example, you belong. If you’re cisgender, you belong. And so many people feel that they don’t have the same ability or opportunity ot be appreciated in the world.
LOUISE: So, it’s like diet culture would say there’s conditional belonging.
LINDO: Right, right.
LOUISE: And you’re saying radical belonging, we all belong.
LINDO: Right, radical.
LOUISE: Radical, meaning like, we don’t need to fit into boxes.
LINDO: Right. So, it’s two things there. It’s about not needing to fit into boxes. What that means is we take on social justice issues, because we have to value everybody in this world. And then the second thing is just recognising that humans are vulnerable, we get scared, we make mistakes and inviting all of that humanity into the picture too.
LOUISE: Yeah, welcoming that.
LOUISE: It is, it’s so beautiful. This book is so beautiful. It sort of fills you up. I’m interested, what led you to write Radical Belonging?
LINDO: When I started writing it, it wasn’t because I had this idea in mind of a book I wanted to get out. In fact, it actually started just as a personal journal. And at first, I was basically just writing my gender identity, and looking at the obstacles over the years, how I overcame them. And I’d say that that first writing was something that was very painful, and it certainly wasn’t something that I wanted exposed to the world, because it was all about my pain. But when I looked at it, I also realised that I’ve developed to much resilience over the years. The stuff that I got japed for when I was a kid…my parents hated that I liked to wear clothes that were meant for boys, they wanted me to wear dresses. When I wore dresses, I always just felt like I was doing drag, right? My parents always just shamed me for that, saw it as something that was really wrong. Never could I go out in public dressed the way I wanted to dress.
LOUISE: That’s awful.
LINDO: Right. And I have to realise that I got through all of that stuff, you know? Maybe, sure I had to develop an eating disorder to figure out how to…you know, food got me through some of those difficult times.
LOUISE: But that’s coping strategy, right? It did get you through.
LINDO: Exactly, right. So, I was able to kind of rewrite the book and look at how I saved myself, and not just through the eating disorder but how I learned other skills to kind of manage discomfort, so I no longer needed the eating disorder or the substance abuse that I also went through when I was younger. And recognising that I had developed so many skills to kind of transform the challenges that I was given. And then I went back, and I looked at the book, and was able to look at it through my scientific lens. To recognise that hey, there’s a biological reason why I was reaching for food. And I could recognise the way that trauma kind of lodges in your body, or in my body. You know? And how that participated in a distrust of other people, and hypervigilance that I kind of carried with me in adulthood and kind of a…
LOUISE: That’s the legacy of trauma, that hypervigilance. That fracturing of trust.
LINDO: And that inability to kind of sit with discomfort. So, I could kind of put the science to it and show how trauma played out physically in my body and resulted in a lot of behaviours. And then I could also look at the part two to that, how I developed strategies that kind of rewired my brain so that I got better at tolerating things, and didn’t have to jump to coping behaviours. And I could fill in all of the science for what you can do to kind of save yourself.
LOUISE: Yeah, that’s what I love about the title. It’s ‘how to survive and thrive in an unjust world’. So, not just survival.
LINDO: Right, and come out happy and having fun. You have difficult times too, but learning how to just accept them and get through them.
LOUISE: Resilience is a remarkable thing. Humans are like, we’re pretty tough.
LINDO: We can be. But you can always keep getting better at it.
LOUISE: Yeah, and that’s what this book is all about. It’ like, how to do that.
LINDO: And then the big recognition that I had through all of that is one of the reasons why we develop all of the coping challenges is because we really want to be loved and appreciated by other people. And when we get rejected, it hurts. And so it makes sense that we develop an inauthentic self to kind of protect ourselves in the world. It makes sense that we kind of run away from relationships and get scared. But once you recognise that it’s all about fear of connection, because connection is what saves us. Right? I mean, that’s the irony. We’re scared of something because if we don’t get it, we can’t survive. Right? So the more you can develop the courage to kind of jump into relationships, and be with people, and be vulnerable…
LOUISE: And authentic.
LOUISE: And that’s what you’ve done! By writing the book and putting it out there, that’s the ultimate of what you’ve done.
LINDO: Yeah, I put myself out there. I showed the world who I was and asked to be seen in the way that I haven’t been seen previously.
LOUISE: And I think that’s one of the loveliest things about this book, is that we get to meet you.
LINDO: Thanks, that’s sweet.
LOUISE: Alongside the science. But the ‘you’, the human, everything that you’ve been through was…
LINDO: Thank you for that. And I think that the storytelling in the book and the vulnerability does make it a lot more readable and fun. I think too that one of the things that I was really looking for was using myself so that other people could see themselves, too. And I was really proud when Ijeoma Oluo who wrote the introduction to the book…she was a stranger to me and I just sent her the book and asked her if she’d read it, and it just moved her. And I asked her to write the foreword and…she’s a black woman, she’s an activist and what she said was that in every chapter she was able to see herself. To me, that just made me cry. That was what I was shooting for in the book, to use myself to open up the possibility that other people can see themselves and think about similar stories. And I write other people’s stories into the book too, to help that process along. But it was really beautiful, because Ijeoma had so many different social identities than I do, and yet she saw herself so profoundly there.
LOUISE: That’s extraordinary.
LINDO: That to me was a marker of success, you know? That I’d been able to somewhat universalise this book across our different social identities.
LOUISE: Yeah, you do. And you also speak about so many just human things that we don’t really think about. Like, how much avoidance we engage in, for example. Like, if we’re feeling shame about friends, or things that are going on socially, how much we hide. There’s so many little snippets in the book that you can relate to, like “oh, I’ve done that! I’ve done that” and we don’t really hear about this. It’s really human.
LINDO: Right, right.
LOUISE: What was it like to come out at trans in the book? Because, you know, in your community everybody knows you and knows you as Lindo for a long time. But this book’s just come out. What’s that been like from that perspective?
LINDO: Well, it’s a huge relief. It’s interesting to use the word ‘come out’, because…
LOUISE: I wasn’t sure what to say.
LINDO: I know, and I’m never sure what to say either. Because I’m not sure that my gender identity has ever changed since birth. I think most people are much more gender fluid than I, they’re much more playful about it. But my gender identity has been the same. So, it’s not like there was a ‘coming out’ period, or a change that happened. I think the problem is though that we live in this world where people just assume a gender binary. And so, everybody has tried to put me into this package that was never ‘me’, and except for in childhood when I really tried to be feminine because my parents, it was important to my parents, I never was ‘woman’ that people saw me as. And being genderqueer, it’s not an easy box for people to put you into. People see me and they just make an assumption about who I am. And I think that shifted over time, physically I look a lot different now, but not enough to always push me out of the like, like what people think of in terms of gender presentation. Not enough to necessarily push me out of a category where people are making the assumption…like, making the assumption that I’m a woman. For example, if you’re hearing audio right now and my voice is definitely what most people attribute to ‘woman’, and so on the phone everybody just misgenders me automatically. But anyway. Having this book out, I’m telling people ‘don’t do that’. So, before it made sense to me that people would make the wrong assumption, but now I’m not allowing for that anymore. Like, I’m just out there and asserting myself. So, I guess that just, might feel different.
LOUISE: Yeah, and that’s what you’re talking about in the book as well. Not just the act of self-love but acts of social justice and sticking up for yourself. You’ve got many examples in the book of when you’ve tried to do that and make changes, and that’s part of body liberation, right?
LINDO: Sure, yeah.
LOUISE: Super cool. So, one of the really fascinating bits of the book, from the science perspective, is when you start talking about the brain on trauma, and how experiences of oppression and exclusion particularly actually impacts our brain. Can you talk a bit about that?
LINDO: Sure. It was totally fascinating to me to learn that when you experience rejection, that it’s the same areas in your brain light up as when you experience physical pain.
LINDO: Yeah. All these times socially we’re excluded, we’re told we’re not enough, we’re told there’s something wrong with us, we’re told we’re too fat, all of these things lodge in our brain and after a while the brain changes and adapts to this. We call this ‘high allostatic load’, when you’ve had repeated experiences of…I’ll call it trauma, or…actually, why don’t we call it microaggressions. You can read the book to come up with distinctions there. But repeated experiences of microaggressions add up to trauma in your brain, and after a while your body comes to expect all of these things. And what that means is that you’re going to have a higher level of anxiety, be more fearful when you go into different circumstances, because you have experiences of rejection in the past. And people develop a hypervigilance, get depressed, we talked about this a little bit earlier. Your body adapts and this becomes your go-to response, this kind of fear being in the world. And it also contributes to things like Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease risk. Which explains why marginalised people are much more likely to get many chronic diseases and to die earlier than people who are given more social and economic privilege in the world.
LOUISE: Yeah, that is so important and so overlooked.
LINDO: Right, and it’s interesting to see how physical and biological it is. That it’s not that the individual isn’t trying hard enough in the world, it’s that the world is trying to…
LOUISE: The world is being hard for the individual.
LINDO: I think we’re always kind of focused on the negative stuff, but the amazing thing is that we always have the opportunity to rewire our brain so that we don’t have to be as hypervigilant in the world and distrustful. There are plenty of strategies we can employ that are going to help our brain to sit with discomfort more readily, and to tolerate not knowing things and going into unfamiliar environments, etc. There are a lot of things we can develop, and probably one of the most beautiful and most powerful is that our friendships can help us to develop a physical resilience that’s going to make us more able to handle life when it gets hard, and more happy in the world.
LOUISE: So interesting, so connection can help.
LINDO: Yeah, connection is probably one of the most important things, and it can help you to feel more safe in the world, so that you’re more able to kind of venture out and take risks.
LOUISE: So, it’s really important to find your people.
LINDO: It is. And it’s really important to learn how to do vulnerability, right? Sometimes you need to be protected in the world, and that makes sense because the world isn’t safe. But if you can find safe places where you can truly be yourself and you can get appreciation for that, and love for that, the more you can develop that, the more it can give you a sense of peace that’s going to allow you to move more freely and happily through the world.
LOUISE: Yeah. And it’s those people, like I’m thinking of…you’re an example of someone who has that. Connection, community, support. And with that resilience, you can write books like you’re written and put them out there and have these conversations.
LINDO: I know, and I appreciate that. I know a lot of people couldn’t put this kind of vulnerability out, that it would be too threatening to them.
LOUISE: Yeah, if they don’t have a community or a connection.
LINDO: I appreciate that I am so bolstered by other people that it allows me…it protects me, it allows me to do this. And I think in some sense that’s why I feel a responsibility to do the kind of work that I do, because I have so much privilege and…
LOUISE: But also, in your bubble…not bubble, but in your community, it’s an inclusive community too, right? There’s attention to Black Lives Matter, there’s gender diversity, there’s all those kinds of things. I’m not at all saying that social justice is working over where you live, but there’s efforts and there’s attention and there’s a sense of preparation, and that social change is important as well.
LINDO: Right. I mean, my world would be so boring and unimaginative if everybody looked like me and acted like me. And the way we get excitement in your life is having that kind of exposure to people in all their glorious uniqueness.
LOUISE: Yeah, we need to build that.
LINDO: And it’s interesting, because I wish the larger corporations would recognise how much creativity they’re losing out on by only hiring certain people who fit a certain mould. You know? Like, you can recognise for example that people who are neurodiverse and might…that everybody sees the problem through a different lens that’s going to allow them to have some kind of unique perspective. And I think that corporations would benefit from like, having so many different perspectives to find what really works well in the world, you know? You think about, if you’re not going to hire fat applicants you have so many fewer applicants to choose from. You’re not going to find the best people.
LOUISE: Yeah. You’ll probably some very hungry people if they’re dieting, too!
LINDO: Yeah, so the more we open up to all the different expressions of humanity, it only benefits us.
LOUISE: It really does, and that’s such a lovely way of looking at it. We need to be really welcoming diversity in all areas, in all walks of life. It’s a totally different way of thinking.
LINDO: And we do it not because it’s the right thing to do, but because there’s also…we benefit from it. It’s not that we’re helping other people…
LOUISE: Yeah. It’s like, it’s evolution too, isn’t it? I few get rid of diversity in any ecosystem, it suffers.
LOUISE: Bring in the glorious diversity and see what can happen. Can you tell us the story, because there’s this awesome story you tell in the book about the gym?
LINDO: About the gym. Sure. You know, I haven’t read the book in a while, so I’m going to have to remember which of many stories…but I think it was going into the gym on a day that I was feeling particularly irritable. And there was a new guy that was checking everybody in. so, I do my fingerprint ID, I don’t know, maybe it was a phone ID…I don’t remember. Anyway, I guess my name pops up on the screen and he says, “have a good workout, Miss Bacon”. And it just bummed me out. Like, I had…I was going to the gym to kind of get in a better space. And to be hit right away with being misgendered, it just hit me hard and I kind of snapped at him. I don’t remember what I said. And he got all defensive and said, “that’s what the computer told him” and he was blaming it on the computer.
LOUISE: The computer!
LINDO: And also he couldn’t quite understand, like I looked like a woman to him, he didn’t understand wht he had gotten wrong. And unfortunately, we’re having this dispute and another worker walked up and was more sensitive, and was able to kind of get the guy to back down and explain that you can’t always know somebody’s gender identity by looking at them and we need to be open minded, and helped me through it. But then while I was working out at the gym, I was just obsessing on it. Iw as just so angry. This was just one more time when…
LOUISE: it’s not the only thing, it’s another pain.
LINDO: Exactly. Like, he triggered a lifetime of feeling misgendered. And it meant that I couldn’t let go of that, and it kind of spun out into somewhat of an anxiety attack. And anyway, I learned form that, right? And one of the ways I took back my power was by complaining at the gym and my…the end result of that was that they actually changed some of their policies, and that helped me to feel more empowered and respected. The fact that people adapt and change…
LOUISE: That’s awesome, that’s such a massive change if out of one panic attack that message of pain in your body drove you into action.
LINDO: Right. And another funny part of that story is that at first, just me protesting wasn’t getting far enough. So I just got together a few friends and we just made up a fake organisation. We called ourselves something like ‘Social Justice Advocacy Corps’ or something.
LOUISE: Oh my God, that’s brilliant.
LINDO: And we kind of threatened a social media callout. And I think the fear of something bigger was really what motivated them to listen.
LOUISE: Really? Okay.
LINDO: So, I think that, that’s an important statement. Build communities so you can get support around this.
LOUISE: Yeah, create an organisation.
LINDO: Exactly, take it…if you can’t do it.
LOUISE: Lean in, get a bit of pressure on them, because people these days might not respond to one person, but if you are a representative of an organisation or if you have social media…
LINDO: And I think that more and more, they’re recognising that people are angry that trans folks don’t have equal rights. They’re angry at racism. So it now is a liability for a corporation to be seen in that light.
LOUISE: Isn’t that cool? It’s no longer cool to be exclusionary and it has to be attended to.
LINDO: So, we certainly have a long, long way of change ahead, but I think that the playing field’s a little bit different now.
LOUISE: Yeah, well there’s strength in numbers, as you’re saying, and there’s an increased recognition. Isn’t it incredible to think about what the world might look like in another generation with this kind of change? It’s incredibly hopeful.
LINDO: And I know that when I was a kid, I wasn’t even able to imagine ‘trans’ because I hadn’t ever seen a trans person that I was aware of. So, it didn’t even enter my mind as a possibility. But that’s not true of this next generation, at least the generation of kids that live in areas of the United Sates surrounded by that kind of imagery…
LOUISE: The inclusion, yeah.
LINDO: Kids are more able to find their gender identity and recognise it, it doesn’t have to be the one that was assigned to them at birth. There’s just a lot more creativity that’s possible.
LOUISE: I know, exactly. I totally agree with that. I think it’s going to be just this source, amazing source of creativity. If people’s brains aren’t always bound up with that trauma and that kind of confusion, trying to stick yourself in a box that doesn’t fit, there’s so much ability to create and evolve. Yeah. There’s going to be so many cool things come out of this. Thank you for a wonderful conversation. Where can we get the book? It’s here in Australia now, I think.
LINDO: Oh, it is? That’s exciting, because I think there was a little delay getting it to Australia.
LOUISE: Thanks, Covid.
LINDO: Covid-related problems. I’m pretty sure people can get it anywhere books are, these days.
LOUISE: Yeah. And there’s an Audible version?
LINDO: The Audible version comes out on February 15th, so it’s not out yet.
LOUISE: But that’s only a few weeks’ time. And are you reading the book?
LINDO: I am not.
LOUISE: You’re not reading the book, okay. That’s okay.
LINDO: But there is a really wonderful narrator, I spent days and days listening to people to come up with the perfect voice.
LOUISE: Oh, how did you come up with that? What was the perfect voice for the book?
LINDO: Oh, I wanted someone who could radiate compassion at the same time that they had passion, and really could find when to use one and when to use the other.
LINDO: Yeah, there’s someone that’s really amazing that did it, so I feel good about it.
LOUISE: That’s so good, I’m a big fan of Audible lately as reading in Covid for some reason has gotten really hard for lots of people.
LINDO: I’m the same way, and I’m out going for walks a lot, and I just listen to books.
LOUISE: This is a lovely book to listen to whilst walking, I’m definitely going to do that.
LINDO: Excellent. Enjoy. Lovely talking with you.
LOUISE: Thank you so much, you’re the best. Thanks. Well, I promised to give you an uplifting start to 2021, and there you are. You don’t get much more uplifting than Dr Lindo Bacon. Thank you so much, Lindo, for coming on and sharing your wonderful book and your vision of what we can achieve if we work together and work more on belonging and just how healing that is. Just a wonderful book, wonderful human. Go out and get it, everybody. And if you want to find out more about Lindo and all of the work they’re doing, head to lindobacon.com website or Instagram, @lindobacon, or on twitter @lindobacon. Some wonderful stuff that is coming out from Lindo, and some wonderful community work in relation to this book. So, go check out the website and find out more there. Okay, so we’re come to the end of the first podcast for 2021. I’m really enjoying myself talking to you, and I’m just really glad to be back. And I’m looking forward to our next episode, which will come out in a few weeks’ time. So, look after yourself, everyone. In the meantime, listen to your body. Think critically. Push back against diet culture. Untrap from the crap!