This week we're joined by transgender rights activist and YouTube sensation Kat Blaque. We talk about outness and visibility, handling criticism and backlash online, worthiness in relationships, and navigating polyamorous dating while trans and black. You can find Kat's youtube channel at youtube.com/katblaque and her new blog on polyamory at agirlnamedkathryn.com.
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Kat: When I was younger my whole thing was men would give me a list of things they wanted out of a woman. If I didn't have some of those things then they could justify not taking me on a regular date. The biggest one for me, when I was younger, was whether or not I looked like a conventionally this gendered woman.
Emily: If you're happy with the same old ways of dating.
Dedeker: If you enjoy sucking at communication.
Emily: You have no desire to improve your romantic life then our podcast might not be for you.
Dedeker: If you want some out of the box ideas to deepen your current relationships.
Emily: Broaden your sexual horizons.
Dedeker: Develop a better understanding of yourself.
Emily: Or learn more about non-monogamy.
Jase: Then you've come to the right place, I'm Jase.
Emily: I'm Emily.
Dedeker: I'm Dedeker.
Jase: This is the Multiamory podcast.
Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast we're talking with YouTube's star Kat Blaque. Kat Blaque is an American YouTube personality and transgender rights, activist. She has contributed to websites such as everyday feminism and the Huffington Post black voices section. Kat Blaque participated in a panel on writing transgender characters at Sandiego Comicon in 2015 and was a keynote speaker at the University of Toledo LGBTQA history month celebration and we're super excited to have her here this week with us. All right, Kat thank you so much for joining us today.
Kat Blaque: Thanks for having me.
Jase: Could you give our listeners a quick introduction of who you are and what is it that you do?
Kat: I'm usually bad at describing myself but I'll give it a try. I'm a speaker, writer, illustrator an animator and I've been making YouTube videos for over 10 years. Right now my main focus is creating content that is educational and uplifting but also critical. It's a firm hand but it's still very like, hey here's the information if you need it. That's what I do and I currently just started writing again about dating relationships polyamory, racism, sexism all that fun stuff.
Dedeker: Yes, all that fun stuff but you've been making YouTube videos for 10 years since-
Kat: Yes, wow YouTube occurred.
Dedeker: Since YouTube first occurred oh my goodness.
Kat: I literally started in 2005.
Dedeker: Wow, you must have been pretty young when you started.
Kat: I was 15. [laughs]
Dedeker: Oh my goodness.
Emily: Oh my gosh. You were the pioneer for all of the little something.
Kat: I don't even know.
Dedeker: Jane who wanted to be a YouTube star, that's so interesting.
Kat: YouTube was so different, it wasn't anywhere near what it is today. YouTube was where you put the video you took at the lake with your cousin where you pushed him in the lake.
Kat: Five people would watch it and that's it. There was no being a YouTuber. The idea was very outlandish and not thought of. It's really surreal that it's my job now.
Dedeker: Yes, seriously.
Emily: That's awesome.
Dedeker: It's so funny that its viral content was this very accidental thing that you happen to put up a somewhat mildly funny video of your dog and enough people just happen to share it and then that was it. It was pretty days they were, maybe more recent times I don't know.
Kat: It was so much more innocent. I do sometimes miss when YouTube was just cats and polite disagreements.
Jase: Right. Can you tell us at what point was it that you transitioned from just making whatever videos to finding a bit of a focus or a message and what was that?
Kat: Well it's strangely topical. I started my YouTube in a very-- Coming to my computer after school, turning my camera on and talking about my life sort of thing. I was a really huge fan of journaling and I've loved journaling because you can write something about Monday and if you're writing every day for a week you got a story. Always the way my channel was, was just this very real me talking about my daily life which was mostly related to dating and my growth as a trans-person. Then I reached a point in transition where there is nothing to talk about. Then I got into this really long-term monogamous relationship with someone and it was what I'm I going to do? Make adorable videos of me and my boyfriend being quaint?
There's nothing to talk about anymore. Around this time was when a lot of stuff with my Mike Brown was happening, Black Lives Matter was happening and I had this realization of where things really were because I grew up interestingly enough in a very-- I grew up in the suburbs that was a very person of color suburb. I hadn't really dealt with a lot of white supremacy or anti-blackness and just being aware of that. It was very easy for me to look at my child and be like, "Look we're all diverse and this, and this and that." Then of course going to college it was like--
I went to Pal arts in Valencia that is where I was the first time experience being in a very deep mostly white area. There was a person who was running for open office in-- I don't know if it was Valencia or the place or that it was an open white supremacist.
Dedeker: Oh my goodness.
Kat: I had never dealt with that sort of thing. There was a veil that was lifted of the world and when I saw specifically the reaction to my crowd and I saw some of my friends say things that were pretty anti-blacks that I wasn't expecting to hear from them, it was this awakening moment for me of shit needs to change and we're not where we need to be. To be honest a lot of my education based stuff honestly comes from me getting into a shitload of Facebook arguments where I just would stock my entire day up not only just writing stuff but also researching things to write. I've always been a person who I like to put my energy into some creative thing.
This time also coincided when around the time where I got into the animation industry. I hated it, but I started working on my blog more because it was a thing to do. I realized I could use all of my talents from college to also make these videos that are easy to understand. That are basically saying all these things they say in Facebook arguments that simpler and I can just post the video and go on with my day. That's how it started.
Dedeker: It's like taking more of that empowerment in that situation, that makes sense. You've been creating content for a long time. You're definitely old hat at this particular scene and you also just launched a particularly new blog or as you refer to it online diary which will include a link to in our show, for this episode.
Kat: It's so great, I loved tweeting. I really spent last night very late reading a bunch of your post and they're phenom
Dedeker: Yes. just a side note, just to say, and I'm sorry to sound really gushy but it's honestly if you're listening to this episode right now, go watch Kat Blacks videos and go read the blog because it's just really amazing and really talented and really quality content and definitely really appreciate that.
Kat: I'm blushing.
Dedeker: To get back to it I really want to talk about-- You've been making content for so long and not only have you been making content, you've been making content that is to a lot of people controversial. You haven't been afraid to like you said use a firm hand and be very upfront and not sugar coating your opinion, your thoughts around things like racism, sexism, transphobia all these questions.
Of course, to put out any kind of opinion like that on the internet means they have to deal with some response back. A very response often a vitriolic response. I'm wondering after 10 years of doing this what have you learned about maintaining your personal mental and emotional health while also expressing yourself online?
Kat: I have so much to say about it.
It's so weird for me because honestly making videos for me for a really long time was incredibly pathetic. When I started making videos it was really just about that. It was, I was going through a lot of stuff in school and I really didn't feel like I had anyone to really talk to. My blogs started because I was writing a blog on Blogger where people were like, "Hey, there is this YouTube thing. You should do it," and I was like, "Sure."
That was such a small group of people but they're a really passionate group of people and those were the people who I made videos for, who watched me come home and make these really pathetic videos where I was talking about how my day went good or bad and they were giving me advice or they were being critical but helpful. That's what I really enjoyed doing for while and of course you end up getting people commenting on there who you don't expect to comment like my funny story about my YouTube channel is I've been sabotaging it for a very long time because I really, really didn't like the idea of anyone actually knowing that I had a YouTube channel. When I had a YouTube channel in high school I thought no one watched it. I thought no one knew anything about it. I went to a weird school where the jokes were not cool but the people who were really good in school those were the cool kids.
Emily: Absolutely awesome.
Kat: Yes, it was every nerd's dream. I noticed that I was popular and I was in the theater so it made sense. I had a lot of solos and things I assumed that when I walked around campus and people knew my name, it was that reason but it turned out that literally everyone watched my YouTube channel and it was so mortifying because I was just talking about my day which was talking in a way where you don't expect anyone to hear it. It's like if I had an issue with a girl at school I was like, “Oh my God this girl”, 20-minute video complaining about this person and I didn't know people were watching my shit until literally the day before graduation.
Emily: Oh my God.
Jase: Really, wow.
Kat: I was like that's why because it made so much sense because I would make a video about someone and I would notice if they were saltier at me than I thought that they were and I realized, “They've been watching these videos." I was in such my own world though because I wanted to go because that was all I wanted to do. From the comments that I would get early on my YouTube channel were things like kill yourself, stuff that really at the time deeply, deeply hurt me.
Dedeker: Because you were a teenager. [crosstalk]
Kat: Yes, and all that stuff hearing someone say that's you especially when you're already depressed and you're feeling like you don't really have a future, it's rough. I had some people at a certain point as some of my videos got a little bit of traction, I had these dedicated channels who would make all of these videos where they would take my face and they would put it on different things and it was really scary for me because I was teenager, I was young. I had a lot of that sort of stuff really early on that was really terrifying.
I would never want anyone to go through anything that I've gone through in terms of harassment online but I'll be honest and say that it's definitely made me have a very different reaction to that sort of stuff than a lot of my friends do, because when you deal with it so much, when you've dealt with it so intensely you can know at certain point what more can you really do. I became super aware of the fact that when these people did this stuff when these people would harass me or would say really, really mean things because I'm totally okay for the most part with criticism. I definitely differentiate between people criticizing my ideas and then people attacking me.
Unfortunately, a lot of the people do both and you can't criticize me without attacking me and I've learned that often times when people do stuff like that they're relying on you being a very insecure person who upon seeing this is going to feel like, "I should stop. It would just be better for me to just stop doing this and just not do it." Their goal is to get you to shut up and if there's anything I hate to know about myself is that I'm incredibly determined and I continuously even if something feels bad I continue to do it anyway if it makes me happy. YouTube has always been that thing for me.
I actually made a video recently where I was like, "Look I've been doing this for 10 years," it's a habit of mine it's a compulsion almost, if you're going to come on here and call me all these slurs and all these different things and think that I'm going to for a second be like, “Shit I guess I'll stop making videos”, you're really talking to the wrong person. Unfortunately in that for me, the worst stuff that's happened to me happened way before my YouTube channel was as modicumly successful as it is now. A lot of people didn't see the result of a lot of this scary harassment.
I had a lot of moments of being scared and then, yes deleting stuff or not posting for a while, but now I feel really confident. In terms of dealing with that I'll say that one of the things that people in my vertical in YouTube end up doing a lot is feeling like they have to interact with other YouTubers who are very outright or are very openly racist, very openly white nationalists because they'll always make videos about us.
There was a time where I got really whipped up and wanting to do videos that responded to that. I felt that way until I actually saw them in person because a bunch of them came to VidCon last year and tried to intimidate different feminist YouTubers who happen to be working at the convention.
Kat: Yes, I won't put peoples names out there even though people will figure it out, but there is a feminist who is very well known for being harassed online who was at a panel and some of the main people who harassed her, of course, she knows their faces decided to sit in the front row of her talk and they all held up cameras and held up their phones and stuff live streaming her, trying to get her to respond. For me, some people have different reading of this but she did actually at a certain point responded basically said, "Fuck all of you in the front row",[laughs] way more polite than that. That's what she said.
Kat: A lot of people reacted to it and made videos about it for weeks and for me being that because these are people who flew from often like the UK to come to the convention just sit in the front row of a person and try to embarrass them. When you really look at the optics of that-
Dedeker: Right, seriously.
Kat: -it's hard for me to not find it funny and pathetic and think something I shouldn't really worry about. When it comes to some of that stuff the way I've been able to deal with it is honestly just not being as plugged in with that stuff as I used to be. Moving to LA has made me really want to go out and not be around my phone a lot. That I know has made it so that I can still create content despite whatever people on the internet are saying.
Emily: That's great.
Jase: That's great.
Dedeker: Right, I think that makes total sense of striking that balance between because sometimes when you're creating content you feel like you have no choice but to be plugged in all the time and I think we get that message a lot, but I think being able to strike that balance of being plugged in enough to still keep your stuff going and still maintain what you got going on and still express yourself the way that you want to but also not be just whipped in every single other direction by your reactions to it that's great.
Jase: I don't think that's specific to creating content at all, anyone who has a Facebook page or twitter is creating content of some kind.
Emily: It's the world in which we live now.
Jase: Even if it's just your own personal whatever the same thing of-- That it's okay to disconnect from all that and that you don't have to let that become your focus that's great.
Kat: Yes, I will say I do think there is something about the fact that once you have so many years of experience doing this and I love that you said that for you to like, this is a habit now. This isn't going away. I definitely found at least for myself that it gets to a certain point where there is no insult I haven't heard, there is not criticism I haven't heard, there's no attack I haven't heard. Now it does get to a point of where I'm hoping someone comes up with a new insult so I can at least be like, “That's a new one”, [crosstalk]
Dedeker: That's what I thought.
Kat: My whole thing is people have said shitty things to me my entire life and I can remember the ones that hurt but calling me a racial slur or calling me a man and purposely misgendering me, are you kidding that's entry-level man, you think that's going to get me I've been doing this for 10 years, you think you're the first person to do that shit. I really do actually sometimes want for people to give me good insults or things that make me be like, yes that is true because that's-- because I have been in situations where people have said things to me and they weren't even trying to be mean to me but they said something then I'm like wow that's through and I'm now insulted or hurt.
That's why it was so hurtful because they weren't trying. I wish sometimes people get that when you're a very public person specifically if you're a woman and you're saying honestly anything. You could be making videos about DIY crafts and you're still going to get trapped. You've heard it all. You've heard everything. There's no new insult, really, and if they-- Because you have these fortunes saying, sometimes like, you've seen it, after you see those a couple of times, it becomes old already. Even if it's technically new, it's like, "I've already been called this by White Knight 25. I already know that that's a thing you say. What else?" Gosh.
Dedeker: I'm going to pivot a little bit and I want to talk about some of the stuff that you've been writing about on your recently launched blog that's more specifically about dating, your experience exploring polyamory things like that. You wrote this really amazing post about the topic of worthiness and specifically the journey into realizing that you are worthy of good relationships, of being with good people, of not dating people who want to hide you or are ashamed of you or who treat you poorly.
It really resonated with me because I feel like I've met so many people and I've been this person, also, who is willing to stay in a really bad relationship for so long or willing to tolerate a partner who treats them like trash for so long, often because they don't quite-- It's a weird thing because it's not like any-- It's not like feeling like I don't deserve better, but it's just feeling like this is as good as I can get and so I need to cherish that.
I want to talk a little bit about that journey and I want to talk about for you specifically when thinking about worthiness when it comes to relationships, what have been the major turning points for you on that journey?
Kat: It's funny because one thing I'm recognizing in this particular point of life I am in is that I still have a lot of that journey to still go on.
Emily: Don't we all?
Kat: There's a lot of moments that I still have, especially when it comes to-- I'm dealing with a whole different kind of men in Los Angeles. It's a whole different type of person.
Emily: I bet.
Dedeker: Oh, boy.
Kat: It's like there's stuff that I later have-- Like things I've done relationship-wise, I've later looked back and been like, "Wow, you know what? I should have seen that. I should have at that moment been like, "I don't deserve this,'" and walked away. Unfortunately, I'm the sort of person, I try really hard to see the best in people and, often, to my detriment, but I definitely am in a very different place than I used to be because as a trans person, you're very used to having people who say that they aren't going to be comfortable with people knowing that they're dealing with you.
When I was younger, my whole thing was men would give me a list of the things that they wanted out of a woman and if I didn't have some of those things, then they could justify not taking me on a regular date. The biggest one for me, when I was younger, was whether or not I looked like a conventionally this gendered woman. You'd have these men-- Because my personal situation is when I was a teenager and not even solidly identifying as just a woman, people always read me that way and that was always a really frustrating thing for me because I'd always be like, "No, it's not the case."
Men often would gaslight me into feeling like I looked completely the opposite of what I look like. They would use that as like, "That's why I can't take you on a regular date, because if you looked like this, da-da-da-da. If you did that, I would treat you like that, but I can't do that, because you're not like that." You get all these little messages where men would just gaslight you into feeling like you're not worth it. It really took me--
The story you read about on my blog is I had this guy who I had met online and we had planned to go on a real date--
Dedeker: Gosh, this story.
Emily: Yes, it was fascinating and awful too.
Kat: Yes, I read about that, because I know that some people have those experiences and sometimes need to hear it from someone else, too. I met a guy. We're supposed to go on a date and he's driving me-- I remember he's got a red pick up truck, right, and he's driving me to where we're supposed to go on our date and he pulls into a neighborhood instead. He tells me that I need to get on the floor on the back of truck. Now, you can only imagine the pickup truck. There's not a lot of these cars, they don't have a lot of space back there. I'm 5'10". It wasn't the easiest thing to do, which is probably why I remember it so specifically.
I got on the floor of it and he wanted me to get down there, because he didn't want anyone in the neighborhood even seeing that he was spending time with me. That moment for me was one where I felt so incredibly low, because I had, like literally and figuratively-- Because I'd had men do things like that, I've had men be like, "You know what, yes, I want to take you out on a date," and then maybe they'll come over to my place and then maybe they'll have sex with me. Then, "Wow. I have to go do this thing," and then we won't do the date and I'm thinking, "Shoot, if I had sex with this guy, of course--"
It's like backwards thinking because that's what you feel sometimes that you deserve. In that moment, I really just recognized that I deserve so much fucking more than that. I don't deserve to be someone's secret. Sometimes when you tell yourself things like that, you have that voice in the back of your head that's still saying to you, "Girl, stop. Come on. You? You think you're worth more than that? Like, okay."
Initially, it felt like I was telling myself a lie. I was like, "You deserve to be-- Someone take you to a dinner and movies. You deserve that." It felt like a lie for a while until I recognized that when I set that standard for myself, the men who I actually did spend time with were just of better quality. I recognized that for some men- I can't say all men-- Some men will literally deal with you the way that you allow yourself to be dealt with and if I allowed myself to settle for sneaking into someone's trailer and making sure that their neighbors don't see, is because they're so ashamed, if I settle for that, that's probably what I'm going to get.
This isn't to say that bad things like that don't happen regardless of the way that you carry yourself. Like street harassment's something I deal with all the time because I don't drive, which is also probably why I love Los Angeles, what's in their conversation, but I know that regardless of what I wear, street harassment's going to happen and that's not my fault and it's not because of how I'm dressed or anything like that.
People will still treat you poorly but sometimes when you do set those boundaries and those standards, you can only get positive return. That's really been the thing I'm still telling myself is like, "You deserve more than to settle for something that isn't actually going to feed you at the end of the day."
Dedeker: Right. Gosh, it's so amazing how prolific and it feels universal that I think a lot of women have that voice in their head, telling them like, "You're overreacting. You're being ridiculous."
Emily: Yes, both of us are like, yes.
Dedeker: Yes. "You're being irrational. You are blowing this way out of proportion. You need to just be cool. You need to just roll with it. You need to be chill." It's just like, "No."
Dedeker: That's not your actual voice. That's a voice from outside of you that's been so culturized and socialized into us for so many years, but it's like a kind of thing where I've felt like-- In my experience, it's felt like, I feel like I'm gas lighting myself right now into thinking that I'm not worthy or that I need to avoid rejection or I need to avoid pain. Actually, that's something that you cover a lot on your Youtube channel is this idea that it's better to have more people reject you upfront because that's going to bring you more of actual quality people into your life.
We stress that a lot on this podcast, particularly when it comes to people who specifically want to date non-monogamously or want to date polyamorously because a lot of people struggle with that. A lot of people struggle with this idea of like, "If I'm super upfront with people about my identity or my relationship, everyone's going to reject me," and trying to get across that message that that's not necessarily a bad thing, actually, because you really don't want to be with those people anyway is so important, I feel.
Kat: Yes, I don't get it. For me, it's always-- It's funny to me because I'm super upfront and I think it's because I've lived this life where I very openly spoken about myself for so long that I find that I'm more willing to say, "Look, here is everything you have to deal with if you want to deal with me. You can either take that or leave it but either way, I have other people I could talk to if it's not your thing."
No, I won't say that, because that's mean, but that's what's in the back of my head. It's like, "Here's my stuff." My profile is such a- on dating sites, is such a Virgo's profile. I have an Instagram account that I've specifically created to have like--
Emily: Yes, both of you are Virgos.
Kat: Images-- [laughs]
Dedeker: Yes, to Virgo love, yes.
Kat: I literally have an extended profile attached to my Tinder profile that is pictures that are also like paragraphs on paragraphs of writing for like, "If you want to know more--"
Dedeker: Oh, my goodness.
Kat: Because it's like I know there's so much to me and it could be confusing and I want to make sure the trans thing is clear, the polyamorous thing is clear so that when you contact me, you know what you're dealing with. In my real life, I've noticed like when it comes to poly especially, I think sometimes I'm in a weird bubble because I know some many poly people. I recognize that when I talk about my dating life it's weird to a lot of people because most people aren't polyamorous and when I mentioned partners or my partner here and my partner they're like, "What? Do you have more or do they know about it?" They're confused. People know because I just talk about it.
It's not a thing I have to hide but I've talked to men, I've argued with men that contact me specifically on dating profiles and they're like, "I'm super poly, da da da," I'm like, "It doesn't say anything like that on your profile. How do you expect that to work out for you?"
Dedeker: Prove it.
Kat: Yes, seriously. Well that's another thing. I wrote a whole post about married men.
Emily: I literally just going to start talking to you about that post.
Kat: I have a lot to say.
Emily: It was amazing. I loved it and we talk a lot about hierarchy on this show and how it's not necessarily a thing that we're very into at least like as we're not necessarily pro hierarchy on the show and we are really interested in relationship anarchy and stuff like that. I was interested in have you changed from maybe being polyamorous and being monogamous first and then going into your journey of polyamory and now it sounds like well, I'm not into dating married men and people who are very pro one person hierarchy and then that changes the scope of your relationship with them potentially. What's changed or is this a thing that you've found just through your polyamorous journey? Can you talk a little bit about what you wrote in that amazing article that you did?
Kat: I have so much to say because this is a thing that I'm currently discovering and figuring out. Right now the theme of where I am in life is I am trying to figure out my boundaries and my limitations and what I'm not going to do and what I'm okay with doing. Right now I've recognized that for me personally where I am, after having my life bound to someone for like five years especially in a monogamous context, I'm really not eager to jump into being at a position where I'm anyone's primary.
At the same time I've also recognized that I do desire a more-- I don't know like my big thing right now that I've been saying to everyone is consistency. Like consistency, I'd like to be able to be in a space where I'm seeing people not every two weeks. I find that when I date men who are married or are attached, that's not really a thing I could have.
This is new because I didn't write about this in the blog because this didn't happen yet. I was dating this guy for a while, married guy thought he was a really, really great guy, unfortunately, he was just like- if you could like best practice this when I'm physically attracted to you, he was all of those things. I've always had issues with maybe being a little too crazy when I'm in situations like that. I did a lot of things with him quickly that I wouldn't have necessarily done but I really liked him but his whole situation was he's married. His wife was the person who was more poly than him. She was poly when they met but it wasn't really his thing but he's come to at this point have it be his thing.
We went on a lot of very intense dates and it was super unique because for me at least because I was really used to doing the Dutch thing on dates and he was like, "No, I'm going pay for everything and not only that we're going to go really nice restaurants." I was like, "Wow, if this is one of the benefits of patriarchy, I'll take it, if it's free drinks I'll take it." I had really fun dates but the problem that we had was-- Because him and his wife both owned a business and were very, very busy her rule was that she didn't really want anyone who took up too much of his time. She wanted basically for him to see me every two weeks and that was the limitation.
Every two weeks you can have a night with Catherine and that’s that. When I heard that, it was almost a red flag to me but I've been-- We're talking about gaslighting yourself earlier and this is one of the things I've been doing a lot to myself is, when I have situations like that, there's one side of me that initially is like, "That doesn't fucking work. That doesn't work. That seems like your wife isn't fair. I don't like that. That seems like it's a bad story." No one can make me feel anything but I'm going to say this i how I've been made to feel dating a lot of polyamorous men that I feel like, "Well, you should just be open mind. Maybe this isn't exactly what you want but keep what if he ends up being really cool? What if it ends up being really, really worth it and what if he turns out to be someone who you end up seeing for a while?" All this stuff and so I'm like, "Well let's just see how it goes."
Emily: Let's give it a try.
Dedeker: Like the open-minded thing like the hair on the back of my neck stood up, when I heard that I was like.
Emily: Let's keep an open mind, we've all said that to ourselves.
Kat: Yes. I've always felt that for men but in poly communities, I feel it a lot because maybe there are like initial reactions you have the things that you're like, "That's not the right reaction I should have to that. I’m poly why does this bother me? Da da da." I'm spending time with myself and trying to figure out what those reactions are but anyway so he went on this trip to Michigan. This happen to be on the week where we were supposed to hang out and I texted him and I was like, "Hey, this is the week, do you have time to hang out this week?"
I didn’t hear from him for a while. I try not to do the text a lot, call a lot, leave you messages a lot kind of thing because I know that that seems really intense to some people but I was like, "We went on these really great dates, what's going on?" I eventually reach a point where I waited so long that I was like, "Look man, I had a good time, it was fun for what it was but this is it." Then of course, I got like a text back pretty immediately, "I was in Michigan. I was in West bumblefuck and have reception, da da da," and me still saying to myself, "Keep an open mind, nothing happened." I was like, "All right, maybe that's what happened, I believe." We go on a couple more dates in there but they're intense, they're very, very, very intense. Then it's another one of those. It's a week where I'm supposed to see you and I don't hear from him.
I know he's not taking a trip in West bumblefuck this week. I text them on Monday and I don't hear from him by Wednesday and then next week comes, and next week comes and I just don't hear from him complete silence. It really bothered me because the last time we saw each other we were going into this bar that he described as a place where he knew a lot of people potentially and because I'm the first person he dated outside of his wife, there was like questions of how to talk about that. Being very like confident besides me that he would describe me as one of his partners and I was like, okay.
I hadn't necessarily gotten there with him where I thought we were partners but it was nice to hear that maybe that's how he was thinking about it. For him to go radio silence was aggravating me in a way because of course, we all say polyamory is about communication. I'm sure as we all know people sometimes really struggle to communicate. I did this thing that-- This makes me feel crazy but I was like, "I'm going to do this because I want a fucking answer." I had a Google Voice number and I said, "I'm going to call him on Google Voice," and I call him up and he answers immediately which was shocking because I'd call them so many times and never had an answer from him.
I was like, "Hi," and he was like, "Hi, who's this?" I'm like, "It's Catherine?" He's like, "Oh," I just went into like, "Hey look, I know that we're probably not doing this anymore but I just wanted to know why. What happened because we went from one extreme to nothing at all and that's really strange."
He told me that apparently when him and his wife went on this trip and they got into this really intense argument and he concluded that he needed to work things out with his wife and maybe he didn't have the time for a second relationship right now.
Emily: You couldn't at all tell you that.
Kat: You couldn't. What was so aggravating to me was you could have just said that because especially with where I was, if you said to me, "Look Katherine, I'm having a really, really great time with you but I need some time right now to figure stuff out with my wife. This is not helping," whatever I would have been bummed but I would have gotten over it. I have other partners like hello. I'm not going to be crying about this person who I know we have good times with just needs to figure their shit out. I hate that. I do. I don't like the primary partner has the say at the end of the day kind of thing.
I am always very respectful of what people have. If you're married with kids and you've got all these. I know that when you've been married for decades with a lot of poly couples I've discovered are. I'm not going to walk into here expecting that I'm going to take up as much time as your kids or your wife that you live. I'm realistic about that but I've learned that from me, I don't really work well when I don't know whether or not the partner or the person that I'm dating is actually on board because what I've discovered time and time and time again is that a lot of these men that I've dated that are polyamorous, it's a thing they present to their wives who often will be like, "Sure, I'm totally cool with that," and they're not. Sometimes it takes a while for people to figure that out.
I had this guy who I dated for a while. I dated him for a while. We went on four really good dates but by the fourth-- First date he had an OkCupid profile and his wife had an OkCupid profile and she was totally trying the poly thing out too and it's really exciting. Really great and they're doing all these things and then by the fourth week the poly thing that she tried to do didn't work out. Now she's realizing that she actually really doesn't want to be with other people and also she's really uncomfortable with him being with other people and also he hasn't told her-- On the first date we went on we kissed each other and he said to me immediately and it should've been a red flag. It was one of those like, "I should have seen this." When I kissed him he was like [crosstalk]
It's so clear in hindsight. Hindsight it starts 20/20. He said to me, "I'm going to have to tell my wife about this." I was like, "Your wife knows you're on a date, right? What does she expect you're going to do on a date?" Kissing to me is like the most innocent thing you can do on a date. We went on four dates and to this day he's still not told his wife that we've kissed. By the fourth date it was super clear she's not poly and it sucked because we got along really well and if I go on four dates on you I'd probably want to have sex with you and that's definitely where we were but there's no communication.
Then he had the audacity to offer his wife was over at the Staples Center which was close to where we were and she was at a concert and he was like, "She's open to joining us after." I'm like, "You haven't told your wife that we've kissed and you want me to sit across from her and act like we haven't sex texted each other and made out a bunch different times and done all these very intimate things that you want?" I don't understand the process and his whole thing right now is like, "I don't want to lose her. I don't want to break up with her. I'm poly and that's who I am but I don't want to divorce my wife."
I don't envy people in that scenario but I don't get it. I told him, "Your wife is still very young. She has a lot of time to find someone out there who's going to really love her monogamously." I think sometimes when you fall in love with a monogamous person and you know that you're not going to reconcile your polyamory part of loving them is being like, "Look, I want you to have the life that you want and you're not going to have a life that you want with me." That's why I broke up with my ex is because I really recognized that I was polyamorous.
Funnily enough being in a monogamous relationship really helped me understand that I was poly because people had told me that I was polyamorous before but I didn't believe them. I was like, "No, not me. It's great that that works for you guys but not for me." in college gave me a copy of the Ethical Slut because she saw how much I dated. I was like, "You're calling me a slut?" I've never read the book. Never read it.
Kat: I have the new version now which I'm reading through right now. I came to poly really and understanding that I was really comfortable my partner being with other people and then I also wanted to be with other people because my social circle expanded, my travel and stuff. It helped me to really understand that he was amazing and great but there were other people that also couldn't reach me in other ways. That was how I felt about dating in general.
Jase: Hearing that story I'm thinking back to what we were talking about earlier about worthiness and putting up with things that you don't actually want and I'm thinking about his wife in that situation. I bet she's wrestling with that. Looking at him he's wrestling with the same thing or feeling like, "I'm not worthy of having the actual type of--"
Jase: That everyone in all those positions can get caught in that feeling of like, "This is as good as it could get so I'm going to be a little sneaky or I'm going to be a little unhappy or it just sucks."
Kat: I don't want to live like that. So much of my life is really about I want to be happy. At the end of the day I want to be happy. I don't want to sit around and stomach something that I hate. Life is too short for that. Why put yourself in a situation where you're going to be perpetually hurt and upset and it's not going to be working for you? Some people they can't get themselves to the point where they recognize that they deserve more. Where they recognize that it's okay for you to have things. It's okay for you to be happy. Many people their view of what life should be is continuous misery and disappointment and sadness and that's supposed to be growth for you. It's part of it but it doesn't have to be all of it. You can be happy. That's okay.
Dedeker: All right you all we are taking a quick break from our interview with Kat Blaque to talk to you about Patreon and specifically I want to talk about our $7 Tier on Patreon. If you go to patreon.com/multiamory and if you pledge at the $7 Tier you get access to all kinds of things. First of all you get access to our private Facebook discussion group, our private discourse forum, our private discord chat. In addition to all that you get ad free episodes so if you are at the $7 Tier right now you would not be listening to us talk about it right now you'd be listening to the rest of the interview because this would be below you at this point. You get access to ad free episodes.
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Dedeker: Sexy christmas store. [crosstalk] Christmas time's coming up.
Emily: Yes, Christmas is coming the holidays. Jiā jié kuài lè. That's happy holidays in Mandarin. Sorry, I said it really poorly.
Dedeker: Did you just learn that?
Emily: Yes, Shèngdàn jié kuàilè that's Merry Christmas in Mandarin.
Emily: Those are some of the things I learned to say over here in this country but if you want some happiness in your holidays then go to Adam & Eve and use our promo code which is multi M-U-L-T-I at checkout and you get 50% off of almost any item, free shipping and a free gift. You can use that promo code as many times as you want. You can do all of your of holiday shopping on their. Yes definitely check it out because you might get a clip bumper and we all want one of those. Now back to Kat.
Kat: Well, that story reminds me of-- I've met a number of people who have said, "Now I'm only going to date people who already identify as polyamorous and already have a partner or partners," or whatever. There's people I know who are committed to that because I get it because they're like, "I'm tired of doing this labor of trying to convert people or trying to guide people through it like I get it, it definitely takes a lot of time and effort and labor to introduce someone new to this whole scene. However on the other hand, I've also learned that it's like just because someone identifies as polyamorous and just because someone has a partner does not mean that you're insulated from them being shady as fuck essentially.
Dedeker: I've learned that time and time again.
Kat: Unfortunately and that's the thing is I have a number of clients who run up against this of like, they try to date in the polyamorous community and they end up only dating people who are already married. Again, that same situation where it's like, we've been married monogamously for decades, and now we're just opening up and it's great that you're there in the dating pool. Also, it's this whole other kind of labor that I have to deal with of you navigating how this is going to look of me navigating my expectations of what I actually can or can't ask from you. It's just a whole other different kind of labor I found.
That's what I end up telling people that it's like, I think it's okay to make that kind of commitment to yourself with like, I'm only going to date people who identify this way or already have a partner but it's not necessarily going to be 100% the easier path than dating someone who's new-ish to this.
Dedeker: I'm continuously learning that even people who I know have been in the poly community for a very long time, and have done this for a very long time. They're still susceptible to be dishonest and misleading and manipulative and all these other things. Calling yourself polyamorous does not necessarily mean that you communicate. It should, but it often doesn't, because honestly, it's hard. It's hard to be honest with people and it's hard to communicate.
I've always referred to dating poly is like almost dating on speed because usually you're like half you, at a certain point, very quickly determine if you don't want to spend time with this person or this person isn't going to be good for you. There's only so much time in the day. My observation and this is maybe just the men that I deal with is just some men and I know women too, but I don't date women so I don't know, people just like to have a lot in their arsenal. They like to have a lot in their plate, so that they can pick from people whenever there's a free day. Some people haven't really gotten to the point where they're like, you know, what I can maybe handle two partners tops.
That's only as much as I can handle, but like three, four, five maybe that's just not really in the cards for me.
Emily: I just wanted to ask, we have asked this of other people who've come on the show recently as well but do you think the landscape is changing based on things like the Me Too Movement, and just like the current political climate in America and in the world? Hopefully, we're moving in the direction of better rights for trans people, for people of color for women. Do you think then that's the direction in which we're moving just from your foray into YouTube, and various online comments and all of that? Or do you think that we still obviously have a long way to go? Where do you think we are with that?
Kat: I have complex feelings on that because doing what I've done for so long, like, when it comes to trans stuff, I've seen a shift. I think that in many ways that that shift is positive and really, really great. Another way there are things that I'm having to worry about now that I never had to worry about before. Space purely on like the general ignorance people had about transgender people. For me, the bathroom conversation is baffling to me, because I've been using the word dress room.
Emily: Your Huffington Post article was amazing on that being trans while defecating it was great.
Kat: It's that to me, it's literally everyone regardless of your gender, hopefully everyone pisses and shit but we're making this such an intense political thing, when at the end of the day, you have to go to the goddamn bathroom. That's just how it is. If you want to leave the outside of the house your body is going to automatically say, "You know what? I got to go to that bathroom a certain point." For me I remember a time where people didn't have as much of an awareness of trans people and so there were people who were stuffing. I still have a friend right now who's a school teacher and no one knows of the situation that she's trans.
That was just what things-- That was more common for people to transition to disappear, and maybe to be able to disappear because people didn't have necessarily an awareness or an acute eye to trans stuff. Now, on one hand hyper-visibility, in my opinion, has been really, really amazing. I make the videos because a lot of my my stuff doesn't even talk about trans stuff, but I'm a visible person on the Internet, largely because when I was younger, I would close my eyes and think about what my future could be. I literally couldn't think of anything.
I had no examples of what being a trans adult could be. Now I'm 28 years old, I'm where little 16-year old me, but I would never be, ever. I thought I wouldn't even make it to this age. I thought something really scary and dire would happen to me because that was the narrative that was sold of like if you're a trans person you're probably going to end up selling your ass and overdosing and dying. That's the story.
Now I have this life where I've been doing something I'm passionate about, and it's become my career, and I'm beating myself from it and that's something that I know going back to the word what's this thing a lot of younger trans people can't even get themselves to the point where they say that that's a thing that's possible for them. I stay visible for that reason, because it's very encouraging to trans people. I think that we've expanded a lot of language and a lot of knowledge about trans identity and stuff because of visibility. I'm also not having have conversations about the fucking bathroom.
I'm not having conversations about trans people doing this and doing that and there's an awareness to the point where I've had these girl friends of mine, tell me that they've been asked if they're trans and if they're trying to trick someone. There's these women, they're not trans, but they've been asked if they're trans because there's this paranoia around trans women tricking men.
Emily: Definitely gotten us that so many times just from the way I sound.
Kat: That's so weird because I don't maybe, I don't know, maybe this is also I was younger, maybe I didn't see it, but we didn't have as much of that conversation not even five years ago. It's weird because on one hand, I think things are getting better but I'm also seeing a doubling down from people who probably didn't even know trans people really existed for real until recently, who are like, "Oh wow, we have to stop this. We have to make it harder for trans people." The fact that Trump is playing with the idea of genetically testing people and legally registering them as the gender that they genetically test as is to me some scary precursor to genocide day.
Emily: I haven't heard of that. Oh my god.
Dedeker: It's real bad news.
Kat: That to me it's really, really scary. I have this conversation with myself sometimes of like, is this the cost of visibility. Is the cost of visibility now that people are still aware of trans people that they're like, you know what we need to genetically register all of them. Which to me, that's not the way I was going with anything. There's always that kind of question I ask of myself because for me, my goal in life was to transition and then disappear. On my talks, I always tell the story of how people used to talk about trans people, how trans men used to tell their stories.
Which were very, like, I figured out that I was transgender. I started taking hormones on the streets, my body started changing. I started to want the surgery, and then I got the surgery, but I killed everyone that ever knew me before I transition moved to another state. Now I'm writing this to you on the front porch of my lawn, I'm married, I have 2.5 kids and a dog and everything's perfect. No one knows that I'm transgender. That was the story without the whole, killing people thing. That was the story.
Emily: I have to completely obliterate everything that I was before and no one can actually know in order for me to actually have a viable life.
Kat: Exactly. Literally that. For me that was my goal is I was like I'm going to ensure my paperwork is all changed, so that I never have to worry about people knowing that I'm trans. I changed it when I was young enough to where I don't have a paper trail and my dad name really. I didn't have a legitimate job until I had changed everything. It's weird because now we're the opposite in an age where being visible as a trans person it's more of an accepted thing but as we verge towards the time where people are genuinely speaking about we should genetically test trans people. We should prevent them from going into certain restrooms.
I'm like, well, maybe they were right. Maybe hiding if you could was just survival and that's why a lot of people did it, it was just survival. I go back and forth I think things are generally getting better but I think again the genetically testing trans people to determine their gender based on what their genetics say that's some scary shit that wasn't even on my mind of possibilities for where our country could go in terms of treatment of transgender people. When you have the Trump administration suggesting that the Obama administration unfairly extended civil rights to trans people who didn't really deserve them.
That to me, that's some scary heartless stuff and I wonder if we would have gotten there if we had less visibility if people knew in person that trans people existed but there weren't the Caitlyn Jenners, Laverne Coxes that are there, but at the same time I also know how revolutionary it is for people to see themselves reflected because that's what I do. It's in a way a double edge sword but I want to believe, I really, really want to believe that it's going to end up better than worse. I want to believe that by the time if I ever decide to adopt children because fuck having actual kids but this is a conversation.
[unintelligible 01:01:21] of adopting kids and they grow up. I want to believe that they're going to be at a point where trans people no big deal, it's nothing. I want to believe that. I do think in a lot of ways we're already seeing that with the young kids of today where they care a little less about their friends or whoever being trans.
Dedeker: It goes both ways, yes.
Dedeker: We can certainly hope so.
Emily: Yes, we wanted to leave you with one last question and that was if there was one thing that you can magically get everyone to understand to make the world a better place for trans people or polyamorous people what would it be?
Kat: Oh my God.
Emily: It's going an hour.
Kat: Just one thing?
Emily: Maybe you can do two. One for each category.
Kat: Well, here's my thing, the response people have had to my stuff is very interesting because I've had a lot of people from distinctly different types of ideologies and groups follow me and some of them will discover different things about me as they continue to watch my content, and sometimes that's very surprising to them and it makes them think differently. There are people who only watch my racism stuff and my feminism stuff and because they've only ever seen that and they've never had me talk about being trans they don't know that I'm trans. They may love my stuff but they haven't gotten to that point where they clicked over to the video where I'm talking about being transgender.
I've had the weird thing where people were like, "You know what I didn't really accept or understand transgender people and then I started watching your content and it was able to piece together so many things for me to make me understand that how I felt was wrong." I think generally speaking across the board people just need to be able to really listen to other people. It's so easy to-- Going back to the whole trans whether things are getting better for trans people thing, it's like you have now I've seen all of these conspiracy theories about who trans people are.
Trans people are these men who are going to pretend to be women to go into the restroom to possibly rape women and girls. That who trans people are, that is who trans people are to the people who don't know transgender people. To people who trans people are just like this concept, they're just like this idea that's who trans people are. Once they start to meet people who are trans, once they start to actually have friends that are trans you do get to a point where you're like, "Wait I can't think this way anymore because it's not true, it's not accurate for me to feel that trans people are these people who are preying on everyone because that's not what I've seen from my own observation."
People need to listen to people more. Right now I'm actually working on a series on my channel where I'm interviewing people about misconceptions about their lifestyles and their identities. A lot of that is done specifically because I want to create these videos where people are just telling their story and responding to misconceptions and really just saying it so that it can be heard and hopefully listened to because I really do believe that we really do get further when we listen to each other.
Some people you don't need to listen to, like I'm not listening to white supremacist about why I'm inferior. We're not going to do that, but maybe there is a person who reached a point of white supremacy from a point of ignorance of just not knowing any better and maybe that person is good to listen to because they're in a position where they just don't know.
Honestly, connecting this with poly because this was definitely true for me because growing up I definitely had a lot of my own reservations and ideas of what those poly people did. A lot of my reaching the conclusion of me being polyamorous was going to events and meeting people who are in functioning polyamorous relationships and just talking to them about how that works, and whether they have these issues or those issues. When you're raised not to think so monogamously you have such a hard- and we already know this, this is a hard time even conceiving how you could even really do that, how could love more than one person? How could you do these things with more than one person and not be a bad terrible person?
It's hard sometimes to get there but I had to really have conversations with poly people that humanize them and they realize like, “Oh yes I'm definitely one of you”, I had to do that. That's what I try to stress with everyone is that I'm still growing and I'm still learning and I'm still changing and stuff and I'm open to those conversations. A lot of the people I'm interviewing I might have passing disagreements, I'm an atheist, for example, and I've interviewed two people so far who have very strong religious beliefs one of them is a Christian the other who is a practicing witch.
I don't really believe in either of those things but speaking to those people and hearing why they revere those things helps me understand what it does for them and also how valid their practice is even if it's not something I participate in. I think that is important, I said this in a video that I just uploaded and it sounds really scary but this is honestly how I think. I feel like the world is ending soon and I don't want to feel that way but it's in my mind all the time. I watch way too much walking dead.
Emily: You did talk about post-apocalyptic stuff in some of your writings.
Kat: Yes, because it's a thing I genuinely think about and I'm honestly when I meet partners they're in the back of my mind I'm like if we're in a bunker-
-What were the useful skill-- What useful you'll be. I had a guy today come over and fix my computer and he's a guy who is a part of the poly community that I'm in and we're getting drinks after I do this interview. He came over to my computer and he's also a farmer and I'm like, "uhh." You're going to do so well.
I think really because I'm thinking about the end of the world a lot I'm honestly thinking what is going to happen when this shit hits the fan. I don't want for our biases or the amount of division that we've had among each other be the reason why we don't bind together and kill the zombies or the aliens or whoever. I want us to be able to survive as a human race. For me, this is so deep and I feel so paranoid saying it. It's really the underlying current to a lot of the work I'm doing now.
I want us to listen to each other and learn to empathize with each other and just learn to co fucking exist because that's what I want. I want us to all coexist as ideal liberalism ish as that sounds it's like that's what I want for us.
I don't want to be in a world where we're fighting so much. That's why my criticism in my stuff is always really stern, it's I'm not going to sugarcoat the history of racism for you because you need to know what this is so that we see it when it happens again. We know that we don't ever want to be like that ever again. To me, that is so important because I think we're destined to repeat former mistakes if we don't think about stuff in that way. Listening.
Jase: Thank you so much for joining us today, Kat.
Kat: Thank you for having me.
Jase: Can you please tell our listeners where they can find more of your stuff. Obviously, they search Kat Blaque on YouTube where else would you want them to go?
Kat: Well, this is not where I would promote but apparently people really like my twitter I don't get it but apparently people like my twitter.
Emily: You do have a nice twitter. It's very fun.
Kat: [laughs] Thank you.
Emily: It's very fun.
Kat: To me, it's where my content goes to die. It's the place I don't take seriously at all, it's mostly me talking about K pop and occasionally narrating
It's so random, but the stuff I'm most proud of would be in my YouTube channel youtube.com/katblaque. K-A-T B-L-A-Q-U-E because I don't like to spell things correctly or www.agirlnamedkathryn. Kathryn spelled K-A-T-H-R-Y-N. That's where I'm doing more my writing stuff. I'm really excited about doing that because that's really where I started. That's like, on blogger writing a very just that because the website is still the same too. It feels like I'm writing in 2005. I feel very nostalgic having a blog where I'm writing on again and I'm really, really excited about that because writing was what I was known for.
Then I started making videos and forgot that I wrote. I'm very proud of that and I'm very proud of my actual YouTube channel. That is why I'm here.
Jase: Great, and that new YouTube series that you talked about is that on your normal channel?
Kathryn: Yes, it's going to be on my normal channel. It's going to start posting videos in the beginning of next year. That is the goal and I've got a lot of really interesting stuff.
Dedeker: Yes, it's super exciting. Well, thank you so much for joining us.
Emily: Awesome, thank you.
Kathryn: Yes, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
Jase: Well, that was fantastic and we're excited to hear from all of you. What were your thoughts about this? What did it bring up for you? Did you have any experiences in your life that these things reminded you of? We would love to hear about that. We'd love to hear what you think about Kat's work. The best place to share your thoughts about this episode is with other listeners on this episode's discussion thread in our private Facebook or Discord or discourse forums. You can get access to these groups and join our exclusive community by going to patreon.com/multiamory.
In addition, you can share with us publicly on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a voicemail at 678MULTI05 or you can leave us a voice message on Facebook. Multiamory is created and produced by Emily Matlack, Dedeker Winston, and me, Jase Lindgren. Our episodes are edited by Mauricio Balvanera. Our social media wizard is Will McMillan. Our theme song is Forms I know I Did by Josh and Anand from the Fractal Cave EP. The full transcript is available on this episode page on multiamory.com.