Transparency is an upcoming YouTube series based in London hosted by transgender people featuring transgender guests. The show will tackle various controversial topics that aren’t often discussed openly.
I caught up with the show’s Co-Founder’s, Kenny Jones, to discuss his experiences and how he hopes the show will change people’s perceptions of the trans community.
Tell me about yourself.
I was 11 years old when I realised there was a diagnosis of how I felt, transgender. I went to an all-girls school and I was talking to a girl, you know, the first kind of experience. I remember being with her and not feeling like a girl, in terms of my sexual urges towards her and how I wanted other people to view our relationship. I did not see it as a girl and girl, I saw it as a girl and a boy. I went home and told my mum that I liked girls and she said that’s fine, you’re a lesbian but I told her that did not feel right. I told her that when people look at me they should see a guy so, she took me to a doctor. I went to a therapist at 11, diagnosed as transgender at 14, started blockers at 16, testosterone at 18 and top surgery at 19. I was lucky to have support and love from my mum.
What inspired you to create Transparency?
I never watch TV but one night I was watching a show called “Naked Attraction” and thought it was a good show and would be even better if the participants were transgender. Realistically I knew it wouldn’t happen due to comfortability when transitioning. I thought to myself, what else can I do? and I started to watch other shows and thought a talk show would be an even better idea.
There are a lot of YouTubers that talk about their transition and sometimes it can come across quite sad and depressing, I want Transparency to be fun and upbeat. Trans people go through some funny and weird situations and I want people to hear about them. There are a lot of topics that people do not speak about openly.
I approached Lili about getting involved because I wanted someone to be a representative for trans women which would make it more relatable. I did not know much about trans women transitioning experience before I started working on Transparency.
Why do you think you did not know more about trans women’s experiences before you started doing research for the show?
Because the process is different. I always assumed that everything was funded on their side like it is for trans men. Some of the stigmas that I have heard that trans women face have made me want to cry. I heard of an instance where a woman’s employer would not change her old name badge at work, even though she aesthetically looked like a woman. Quite a few trans women get into escorting because having a normal job can be quite difficult for them but as a trans guy you don’t really get that.
Do you think that trans men benefit from male privilege?
110%, I was so unaware of all the things trans women have to deal with, there is definitely a privilege for trans men although women have their benefits too.
Even thinking about people transitioning in other parts of the world who might not receive funding or live in a community that is not accepting. I feel quite lucky to be a trans man living in London that is aesthetically good looking and passable. If I did not look how I did would people still respect me? Probably not. It is sad to think that but it’s the truth and that is why we need Transparency to help individuals that are transitioning, especially in the beginning when your knowledge is little to nothing and your support system may not be there.
What type of feedback/interest have you received so far?
The feedback has been quite positive. We have already had 20 people from around the world, we have had interest from people based in the Czech Republic, Denmark and America.
How did you go about choosing your cast and crew?
People that are interested in being a part of the cast have to submit a 15-minute video answering a list of questions that relate to topics they will talk about on the show. We then filter topics that they are comfortable talking about and invite them to a casting or facetime call with someone on the team. We are looking for big personalities, not people that are going to sit there and be reserved.
The plan is to shoot the first series here and the second series in America. We want to go to America because of the personalities. 70% of the applicants live there and 80% of my followers are American. It will be great to ask the same questions in a different place to get another perspective.
Through modelling, I know a lot of photographers and people that work in media. I have contacted everyone and told them about Transparency. People that know me know that if I am doing something I am doing it 100%, all the way. People love that about me. I have a lot of people that want to get involved.
What is the most difficult part of bringing the show to life?
The planning, because, I am such a perfectionist. For instance, the advert that we are planning, I am going to oversee everything down to the last second.
Within the last few years, we’ve seen a lot more artistic and political representations of trans people. Is that because there is more general acceptance or do you think that it has become sensationalized?
I think that trans issues are trendy at the moment, 80% trendy and 20% acceptance. I say that because I have been in situations where people who identify as studs have told me that they want to transition because they think they’re trans. It makes me think, why is it now that people are only talking about this? I understand that people transition at different points in their life but it’s funny that now it has become a trend. For me, I just want to make sure people do the right thing. I think society is more informed but not accepting.
What do you think it will take for society to accept trans people?
More understanding of their lives and just understanding that we want to be happy with ourselves just like everybody else, nobody chooses to be transgender. That is why certain subjects we discuss on the show will make people think that we’re just like everyone else.
Is it important for you to try to tackle how complicit the LGB communities can be with transphobia?
When I think about LGBT, Trans people do and don’t fit into it. It’s like trans people are on their own little island inside of this other island. I have experienced transphobia from studs that have said things like “he’s still a girl” there is segregation in the community even though there shouldn’t be. It’s a weird one.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this series?
In all honesty, not being educated on this topic is pure ignorance. People will watch a reality TV show that talks about nonsense and this is going to bring something that really matters. Whether or not you agree or disagree in order to make a decision on an individual I believe you should know what they’ve been through first.
It’s a hard question to answer.
What is your desired impact?
I want to get charities involved, it is the number one thing on my list. I want to help trans people and make it easier for them to feel comfortable and start their journey. I did not know anyone that was trans when I was growing up, I didn’t have anyone to look up to. I am trying to help the trans community by using my platform.
If you were given an extra hour each day, what would you do?
Study anything that carries my interest, things like trading and sci-fi. Knowledge is power.
Watch the first episode of Transparency on 26th April – Thetranspararencyshow.com
Follow Kenny on Instagram