Wednesday Podcast: Jesse Alexander

Jesse is a transgender guy who recently changed his name and pronoun. I know Jesse because he plays drums with Tom Fort in a Chicago band I love called Cobalt and the Hired Guns. We talk about identity, changing names and the gender as a continuum.

"To use the word switching is to imply that you are one or the other."


  1. Fascinating interview. Glad Jesse has found their stride and that folks have been supportive. I get how switching genders may not necessarily be the case for this person as they already self-identified as something other than what their sex dictated. I'm not so sure I agree with the assertion that there is no male/female (perhaps I misunderstood the point of the no 1 or 0 portion of the interview). To me it seems readily apparent that there are folks out there that encompass a realm more complicated than just male or female, but I don't know that that necessarily invalidates the gender roles in which the rest of us may find ourselves comfortably ensconced.

  2. Glad you liked the interview Charles. Jesse is a really interesting dude and if you ever get a chance to talk to him after a Cobalt show or meet him in your travels in Chicago you should. But I think I'm unclear if it sounds like I think there are no genders. I would say (and I think Jesse would agree) that there are more genders, the problem is we only think of their being two. One part of this interview that got cut is a piece where we talk about there being a scale of genders or a variety of genders. This isn't an argument to get rid of the traditional gender roles, its an argument to make room for nuance. Does that clarify the idea any? Or, does it still sound like I am trying to throw men and women under the gender bus?

  3. To put it another way, invalidating how someone deals with their own gender is the last thing I want to do. Enjoy your enconsedness -- I know I do.

  4. hahah, very nice. See, I kind of got the vibe that's what you were saying, but after a couple listens I wasn't sure if Jesse was trying to negate the validity of the current roles, knowhatimean? I remember when I was younger and in college I'd encounter folks that would be staunchly against homosexuality trying to pretend like it's this freakish and rare disorder. In my day to day I met so many gay folks that I knew it wasn't nearly as rare as some folks pretended it was, nor wrong. However, some of the gay folks I'd met I think in a reactionary way would try to argue that "we're all a little gay" to which I say "um, no...I'm pretty confident in who I am just as you are in who you are."

    I'd definitely agree to the idea that there's more out there than just male/female in the realm of gender roles. Hope I'm not being persnickety, I find the whole conversation intellectually interesting.

  5. Cool blog, casey. I'm not a believer in changing gender identities, simply because it's a biological reproductive anatomical impossibility. But I'm a HUGE believer in of course, changing the country and religion in which you were "born into".

    But congrats on the appearance/verisimillitude of transformation or what-have-you!!

    Great blog. Also, unless tom changed his last name, I don' think it's Forth?"

    Cool blog man, I linked this onto my site.

    This is a great way to stay in touch with old chicago LP scene news. Cheers ,casey.

  6. I have to say I agree with the idea that no one is entirely one gender or the other. There are times when I feel very girly and feel the need to be with women and there are times when I feel like I don't fit in with other women at all. I don't like having to fit into the gender stereotype that are laid out for women and the more someone tries to put me in that box the more I feel I rebel.

    Also as someone who works with language, it was nice to get reminded about how gender divided English is when compared to other languages - something I had not really thought about!




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