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Living in this Queer Body, Asher

On her podcast, Living in this Queer Body, Asher dives deeply into topics that people usually shy away from — queerness, trauma, our bodies, and more. We were grateful to have had the opportunity to interview Asher, and we hope that it inspires you to listen to the podcast with an open mind that’s eager to learn.

Can you tell us about yourself and all about ‘Living In This Queer Body’?

I am a queer, white, non-binary (she/her/hers pronouns) parent. I am an art-maker, an activist, a psychotherapist, a podcaster, a group facilitator. I am someone living with auto-immune based chronic health issues. I am a scholar of critical, psychoanalytic and mindfulness based theories. I chase the sun whenever I can and have a small dog named Pickle. I currently reside on Lenape land in Brooklyn, NY and want to keep this in the front of my mind more often. 

I received a Masters of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies in 2007 and a Masters of Social Work from Smith College in 2013. In 2017, I completed a certificate program at The Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. Additionally, I served as the Program Director at Balance Eating Disorder treatment center and have years of experience working with issues related to trauma and its impact on the body. I have published on the topics of intergenerational trauma transmission, the treatment of eating disorders, sexual assault in the music industry and gender dysphoria. 

I want to offer our bodies space to talk about struggles with nourishment and disordered eating, dysphoria, racism, chronic pain/disability, transphobia, xenophobia, body changes in parenthood, intergenerational trauma, the medical/wellness/therapy industrial complex and its lack of inclusion of queer bodies and much more! The people I interview are embodiments of many of these struggles as well as inspirations. They remind us that in the alchemical process of touching in on our pain we can and often do generate so many beautiful and complex queer lives. 

I made this podcast to generate a space of recognition for our wounded parts.  While we talk about about serious topics like barriers to queer embodiment, there WILL be levity and joy alongside grief. 

What are you learning or experiencing by interviewing different people for the podcast? Do you have any interviewees in mind for fall 2020, when your podcast returns?

Each interview begins with the same question: “How did you come to know, at an early age, about what it meant to be in a body?”

My interviews have taught me how entirely commonplace experiences of dysphoria, grief, disembodiment and psychic alienation are for queerly bodied folks. Nearly every interviewee wants to go back to a younger version of themselves, myself included, to tell that young person that they matter, that their feelings matter, that their body and how they feel in it, matters.

Future interviewees might include: Me'shell ndegeocello, Qween Amor, Bunny Michaels, Tunde Olarian, Barbie Ferreira, Indya Moore and Andrew Gurza.

Have you heard anything about how the podcast is affecting its listeners? And, if so, is your audiences’ reaction what you were expecting? Can you share some of your podcast guests’ messages? Perhaps some that have impacted you in a positive way?

I love hearing from listeners! So many of the episodes are deeply personally moving. Folks talk about the body as a student and teacher, learning the body again and again, finding peace beneath the skin, finding ways to look for pleasure, challenging purity discourses in wellness and diet culture, moving towards more wildness inside oneself, provocation and the intimacy of healing, exploring barriers to nourishment, writing and curiosity as life-saving, the challenge of living in a chronically ill body and much more.  A couple of kind words from listeners:

“I am so grateful for this show in all its radical vulnerability.  It draws light towards the diversity of what it means to identify as living in a queer body.”

“One of your strengths as a podcast host is that you have planned questions and genuine curiosity and then you are so present for whatever conversion occurs between you and the guest. It feels very real, intimate and authentic for the listener.  Also it feels like you honestly admire and respect your guest and the questions are coming from this place.”

We heard you have an Instagram Live called “Eating support” on Fridays at 10 a.m. Can you tell us more about it? Who are you hoping will watch and/or participate?

@covid19eatingsupport is a Health At Every Size community for care and meal support.  It is basically live meal or snack support that runs around the clock on IGTV.  As a queer psychotherapist who specializes in working with ALL bodies that struggle with disordered eating behaviors or thoughts, I try to make my meal support time inclusive and helpful. You can be in any stage of recovery to attend. You attend if you are struggling with orthorexic thoughts or behaviors right now.  You can attend if you are experiencing dysphoria and need some perspective and a reminder that every body deserves nourishment, especially during this stressful pandemic time.

We love to ask this question because it can be very empowering.... what would you tell your younger self?

Without a doubt I would tell my younger self that she would eventually find people who understood her experience and valued it.  

What is giving you hope or inspiration for the future?

COVID-19 Mutual Aid efforts, poets, my podcast guests and listeners, my kid, the possibility that this pandemic will catalyze revolutionary change in our collective psyches and will transform fundamentally how we relate to one another. Parable of the Sower (the opera by Toshi Reagon).

Similarly, what are your future plans for Living in This Queer Body?

I hope to have 30+ more episodes recorded and released starting in Fall 2020. I hope to continue releasing Dispatches from our Queer Bodies in Pandemic Times mini-episodes in the meantime. I hope to grow my platform, listen to my audience and try my best to continue to be of service to the multiplicity of queer bodies who are reached by my work.

Photos by Asher and Jibz Cameron