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00:00:01 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Adriana Sisko and I am at 389 Waller Avenue, the Pride Center in Lexington, and I'm sitting here with Theo Meacham.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham briefly introduces himself as a theater artist, a father, and husband.

Keywords: Bowling Green (Ky.); Fathers; Husbands; Partners; Wives

Subjects: Children; Grandchildren; Lexington (Ky.).; Theater

00:00:52 - Childhood in Bowling Green, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Now, let's go back to Bowling Green first.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham describes his upbringing in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He reminiscences about a happy childhood, talking about his parents and, particularly, his older brother. While Meacham describes his home life as happy and standard, he describes school differently.

Keywords: Bowling Green (Ky.); Brothers; Family; Grades; Middle class; Parents; Siblings; Tomboys; Troublemaking

Subjects: Bullying; Bullying in schools; Childhood; Families.; Marriage

00:02:34 - Awareness of LGBTQ people during school / Awareness of terminology surrounding gender and sexual identity

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Partial Transcript: Uh, how about your awareness of LGBT people when you were in school?

Segment Synopsis: Meacham discusses his lack of awareness of out LGBTQ people and LGBTQ terminology as a child, chalking it up to the unspoken nature of those topics when he was young. Meacham also discusses his initial coming out at age ten as a lesbian, and his simultaneous knowledge, from the beginning, that he was a boy, and the conflict that presented as he frequented female-exclusive spaces such as the Girl Scouts and an all-female college. Meacham talks about discovering the word 'transgender' at a later date, and the ways he was able to express his boyhood by playing army with his brother, as well as his brother's and his parents' reactions when he eventually came out as a transgender man.

Keywords: "Dyke community"; Acceptance; Attitudes; Aunts; Boyhood; Boys; Closet; Coming out (Gender identity); Discovering; Ellen DeGeneres; Examples; Family; Gender roles; Girls; LGBTQ family; LGBTQ family members; Labels; Lilith Fair; Packing; Parents; Questioning; Reactions; Schools; Stuffing; Truth; Unspoken; Visibility; Women-only spaces

Subjects: Childhood; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Families.; Gender identity; Girl Scouts; Lesbians--Identity; Mass media and gays; Single-sex schools; Transgender identity; Transgender people; Transgender people--Identity; Transgender youth.

00:07:58 - Experiencing boyhood as a child and as a teenager

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Partial Transcript: You told, you know, an anecdote about, um, how you experienced your boyhood through playing--

Segment Synopsis: Meacham discusses the various ways he expressed and experienced his boyhood throughout his childhood and teenage years. Primarily, Meacham focuses on the games he and his brother would play, including dressing up as pool sharks in fedoras. Meacham also talks about 'butching it up' with more masculine individuals (one who later ended up coming out as a transgender man) at the all-women's college he attended.

Keywords: All girls schools; Butch up; Dress up; Dress-up; Gender expression; Girls' schools; Older brothers; Playing; Trans masculinity; Trans men; Transgender men; Women's colleges; Younger brothers

Subjects: Butch and femme (Lesbian culture); Education, Higher; Gender identity; Lesbians--Identity; Masculinity; Single-sex schools; Transgender people; Transgender people--Identity

00:09:55 - Going to college at fifteen

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Partial Transcript: And you--I wanna loop back to--you mentioned going to college at fifteen.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about attending college at fifteen through a gifted program. Meacham discusses being a teenager in a relatively free college setting. Additionally, he also discusses the misguided ways that the college, at the time, dealt with disciplinary issues among students.

Keywords: All girls schools; Alternative programs; Discipline; Dorms; Gifted students; Girls schools; Kicked out; Mary Baldwin College; Mary Baldwin University; Program for the Exceptionally Gifted; Training; Trauma; Women's colleges

Subjects: Bachelor of arts degree; Bullying; Bullying in schools; College; Education, Higher; High school; Single-sex schools; Teenagers; Undergraduates

00:13:08 - Post-undergrad search for work / What drew him to English and theater as majors

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Partial Transcript: What happened--what was the next step?

Segment Synopsis: Although he obtained his bachelor's degree at a young age, Meacham says he was not work place ready. Meacham discusses his eventual search for professional theater work in stage managing after taking a post-college break and doing some freelance theater work. Meacham also explains what drew him to taking on an English and theater double major for his bachelor's degree.

Keywords: Careers; College majors; Employment; English majors; Freelance theater; Jobs; Majors; Minors; Poetry; Stage managing; Stagecraft; Theater gigs; Theater major; Theaters; Workplace ready

Subjects: College; College theater; Stage managers; Teenagers; Theater; Theater programs; Undergraduate students

00:15:51 - LGBTQ presence and awareness at college / First transgender person he knew

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Partial Transcript: What was the, um, I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this, but what was the LGBT distribution in your college in terms of like prevalence and awareness?

Segment Synopsis: Meacham discusses the LGBTQ distribution at his college, and the prevalence of lesbian and bisexual women students and professors at his college. Meacham also talks about the first transgender people he knew, including his aunt, and a transgender man (who only came out later on as transgender) he met in the midst of an abusive situation with an ex-girlfriend.

Keywords: Abuse; All girls school; Attitudes; Aunts; Awareness; Boyfriends; Dating; Faculty; Family; Friends; Girlfriends; Girls' schools; LGBTQ family; LGBTQ family members; Mary Baldwin College; Mary Baldwin University; Misgendering; Professors; Reactions; Relationships; Trans male friendship; Trans men; Trans women; Transgender men; Transgender women; Women's colleges

Subjects: Abusive lesbian partners; Abusive women; Bisexual women; Coming out (Gender identity); Coming out (Sexual orientation); Families.; Friendship; Lesbians; Sexual harassment of women; Single-sex schools; Transgender college students; Transgender people

00:24:16 - Social circles / Relationship with the LGBTQ community

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Partial Transcript: Um, well now that we're talking about, you know, social circles, I, I'm gonna skip ahead to that question.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham describes his social circles including his friends from the theater ensemble he currently runs (Company Q), other theater friends, friends from the fostering and adopting community, and lesbian parents. Meacham also characterizes his relationship with the LGBTQ community.

Keywords: Adopting community; Childrearing; Company Q; Ensemble theater; Fathers; Fostering community; Friends; LGBTQ community; LGBTQ kids; LGBTQ youth

Subjects: Adoptive parents; Children; Children's theater; College; Foster parents; Gay youth; Lesbian couples as parents; Sexual minority parents.; Sexual minority youth; Theater; Transgender people; Transgender youth.

00:26:36 - Tokenization as a transgender man

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Partial Transcript: We were talking even before we started the interview about the tokenization thing.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham shares his feelings on being tokenized as a transgender man, and describes how often it takes place. Meacham speculates as to the intentions behind that focus, and shares his stance on so often being the 'token trans guy' in the workplace.

Keywords: Career; Corporate job; Desk work; Employment; Exhausting; Explanations; Female-bodied; LGBTQ representation; Orlando nightclub shooting; Pulse nightclub shooting; Questions; Tokenism; Tokenization; Tokenizing; Tokens

Subjects: Transgender people; Transgender people--Identity

00:29:48 - Social justice work

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Partial Transcript: How long have you been working at the, the corporate finance job?

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about his social justice work, particularly at his place of employment in regard to systemic racism.

Keywords: Careers; Childhood; Corporate; Employment; Jobs; Leadership positions; Parents; People of color; Racial justice; Social justice; Systemic racism

Subjects: Discrimination in employment.; Race discrimination.; Race relations; Racism

00:32:53 - Coming out as transgender

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Partial Transcript: So we already talked about your, um, first coming out when you were much younger.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about his process of coming out as a transgender man, and why he waited so long because he did not want to be a bother to his loved ones, partly because of his Southern mentality. He talks about the people he told first and their reactions, and talks about his wife's initial reaction. He talks about how they define their relationship today, and speaks on the distinction for him between cisgender men and himself as a trans man. He talks more about his Southern mentality.

Keywords: Attitudes; Authenticity; Birth names; Bother; Cis men; Cisgender men; Crying; Death; Difficult; Distinctions; Established; Fathers; Friends; Grandmothers; Hospitality; Hosts; Lesbians; Married; Political activism; Processing; Pronouns; Queer; Reactions; Relationships; Responsibility; Southern; Southern mentality; Therapy; Trans men; Transgender men; Truth; Wife; Wives

Subjects: Coming out (Gender identity); Gender identity.; Transgender identity; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people.

00:43:07 - Perpetual coming out and the danger involved

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Partial Transcript: Do you find yourself coming out still?

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about having to come out continuously, because of assumptions people make based on his appearance. He talks about his awareness of the danger of being out, and describes some of the threats and harassment he or his friends have experienced.

Keywords: Acceptance; Assumptions; Bodies; Choices; Colleges; Correcting; Dangers; Death threats; Deaths; Fears; Harassment; High schools; Public; Safety; Sons; Wife; Wives

Subjects: Coming out (Gender identity); Gender identity.; Transgender identity; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people--Violence against; Transgender people.

00:46:06 - Wife and adopting LGBTQ children

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Partial Transcript: So your son is trans?

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about how he and his wife met and describes their relationship. He talks about wanting children and the decisions he and his wife made about how to have them. He talks about how they came to adopt their first son and briefly mentions some of the trauma their son went through before being adopted. He talks about how they came to have a second son, and their son's gender identity. He talks about the relationship between his sons, and talks about how he came to be a grandfather. He talks about why it is important to him to adopt LGBTQ youth.

Keywords: Adoption; Biological children; Childbirth; Children; Engagements; Family; Foster care; Foster children; Foster parents; Grandchildren; Internet; Kicked out; LGBTQ kids; LGBTQ youth; Married; Meeting; Neighbors; Online dating; Pronouns; Trauma; Wife; Wives

Subjects: Coming out (Gender identity); Gay teenagers.; Gay youth; Gender identity.; Sexual minority parents.; Sexual minority youth; Transgender identity; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people--Violence against; Transgender people.; Transgender youth.

00:58:06 - Role of religion in his life

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned the subject of religiosity.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about the role of religion in his life, beginning during childhood. He says his family attended church every Sunday. He talks about why he stopped attending church services and describes his current religious beliefs.

Keywords: Bowling Green (Ky.); Bullying; Churches; College students; Colleges; Lutheran; Ministers; Open-minded; Pastors; Quakers; Religious beliefs

Subjects: Childhood; Religion

01:00:42 - Regional differences

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Partial Transcript: Uh, this was, you know, several minutes ago but you had mentioned that you had done some traveling because of your theater work.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about the various places he has lived and how his life experiences differed in each place. He talks about the Florida lesbian community, the dynamics in Washington, D.C., and why he enjoys living in Lexington, Kentucky.

Keywords: Ages; Alcohol; Bowling Green (Ky.); Dating; Differences; Dynamics; Environments; Florida; International; Kentucky; LGBTQ community; Leaving; Lesbian communities; Lexington (Ky.); Relationships; Returning; Stereotypes (Social psychology); Theater; Travel; Washington (D.C.)

Subjects: Gay community; Gender identity.; Lesbian community; Sexual minorities.; Transgender identity; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people.

01:04:36 - Queer community

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Partial Transcript: How would you characterize your relationship with--and it depends on where you're at because there's, you know, the issue of regional identities...

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about the problems he sees with the LGBT community, and why he prefers the queer community. He talks about what the queer community means to him, what it means to 'queer spaces' as a verb, and how the meaning of the word 'queer' has changed over time. He talks about why he identifies as queer.

Keywords: Accepting; Activism; Authenticity; Childhood; Freedom; Intersectionality; Issues; LGBT community; LGBTQ community; Meanings; Misogyny; Power; Pride Youth Theater Alliance; Privilege; Problems; Pulse nightclub shooting; Queer community; Queering spaces; Racial justice; Racism; Radical love; Slurs; Social justice

Subjects: Coming out (Gender identity); Gay community; Gender identity.; Lesbian community; Sexual minorities.; Sexual minority community.; Transgender identity; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people.

01:12:02 - Work with a queer youth theater company

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Partial Transcript: We're gonna backtrack a little bit and go back to the subject of theater.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about how he came to work with a queer youth theater company, Company Q. He talks about what it is like to work with the kids, the shows they have put on, and some of the most rewarding experiences from his work with the kids.

Keywords: Audiences; Company Q; Gatekeeping; Harassment; Performances; Plays; Pride Community Services Organization (PCSO); Pride Youth Theater Alliance; Shows; Subjects; Suicide; Suicide notes; Teaching; Theater companies; Tokenism; Tokenization; Tokens; Topics; Writing; Youth-led

Subjects: Gay teenagers.; Gay youth; Gender identity.; Sexual minority youth; Transgender identity; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people.; Transgender youth.

01:19:03 - Welcoming spaces

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Partial Transcript: Uh, well actually this connects with, uh, what we were just talking about.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about spaces that have been welcoming to him, as well as what he does when a space is not welcoming. He talks at length about the importance of his experiences at Girl Scout Camp as a child and how they shaped his life.

Keywords: Bear Creek Aquatic Center; Bowling Green (Ky.); Bullying; Camp Pennyroyal; Camp counselors; Care; Children's Theater; Colleges; Comfortable; Experiences; Friend groups; Friends; Girl Scout Camp; International; Leaving; Lesbian mentors; Outdoor activities; Safe spaces

Subjects: Childhood; Gender identity.; Lesbian community; Sexual minority community.; Transgender identity; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people.

01:24:13 - His wedding

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about the wedding.

Segment Synopsis: Meacham describes his and his wife's wedding. He talks about why they insisted the word 'forever' not be included in their ceremony.

Keywords: Brothers; Clothes; Forever; Friends; Fun; Georgetown (Ky.); Married; Outfits; Queer weddings; Vows; Weddings; Wife; Wives

Subjects: Marriage

01:27:17 - Opinions on Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: We're gonna move a little big picture--

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks more about why he loves living in Lexington, Kentucky and describes how the area has changed since his childhood.

Keywords: Attitudes; Changes; Culture; Eastern Kentucky; Local pride; Progressiveness; Second sons; Settlement; Socially active; Socially aware; State pride; Stuffy; Virginia; Washington (D.C.)

Subjects: Childhood; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.).; Sexual minority community.; Transgender people.

01:30:50 - Hopes for the future

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Partial Transcript: Now a couple times in the interviews I've done, the subject of the future of this country...

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about his feelings regarding the political climate at the time of this interview. He talks about the importance of his work with the kids in his theater company as well as his own children, and talks about what he learns from the younger generation.

Keywords: Acceptance; Company Q; Future; Impact; LGBTQ children; LGBTQ kids; LGBTQ youth; Learning; Pronouns; Responsible; Terrifying; Uncertainty; Young people

Subjects: Gay teenagers.; Gay youth; Gender identity.; Politics and government; Sexual minority youth; Transgender identity; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people.; Transgender youth.

01:34:39 - Trans politics

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Partial Transcript: How has--this connects with what you just said. How have trans politics changed over time?

Segment Synopsis: Meacham talks about how trans politics have changed over time and talks about how he has been affected by bathroom bills and the danger of using public restrooms. He talks about the challenges he has faced in teaching his children about social justice. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Bathroom bills; Changes; Children; Dangers; Discussions; Easy; Fears; Privilege; Public restrooms; Racial justice; Racism; Safety; Scary; Social justice; Teaching; Uncomfortable; Visibility

Subjects: Gender identity.; Politics and government; Sexual minority parents.; Sexual minority youth; Transgender identity; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people--Violence against; Transgender people.; Transgender youth.