“Audio storytelling is unmatched in its ability to reach the heart and soul of an audience”

“Audio storytelling is unmatched in its ability to reach the heart and soul of an audience”

Written by By Imara Jones2021.06.30

Award-winning journalist Imara Jones explains the motivation behind new podcast The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality

The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality is a new limited-series podcast and is part of the Acast Creator Network. Here, award-winning journalist, executive producer and host Imara Jones explains why the series has been launched, why podcasting was the perfect format, and the important questions the show aims to answer.

Imara Jones

Over the past year as a black trans woman I have been trying to answer a very simple question: “who’s behind the over 120 anti-trans bills in 36 states?”

That question came to me last year when I saw the second anti-trans bill pop in Idaho, after the first one I noticed in South Dakota the year before that. Through the pandemic and the historic marches for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death, my curiosity never abated. I was obsessed with discovering who was behind the anti-trans hate machine.

For me, finding an answer was a matter of life and death for our community. Throughout the Trump administration, I observed how policies which target transgender people — alongside the loose talk of government officials — combined to create an ever rising environment for hate and violence.

In fact, as the Trump administration worked to erase us from public life, deaths of trans women reached historic highs. 2020 was the deadliest year for trans women on record, with Black trans women bearing the brunt of this hate violence.

I couldn’t rest until I knew who was behind the latest anti-trans wave brewing in the States, because lives could be on the line.

That’s why I built a team of producers, researchers, and fact checkers to begin digging. And the scale and scope of what we found astonished each of us. The only way we could describe the network of organizations, people, dark money, radical politicians and extreme religious groups working together on this is as a machine — an anti-trans machine, to be precise.

What we found out is the basis for my new podcast, The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality.

Over the course of the four episodes, I and the rest of my team at TransLash Media lay out the answers to the questions I began with last year: who and/or what is driving the explosion in anti-trans bills which has occurred in just two years.

But we don’t just focus on the darkness. What is most important in this story is the light. The trans people — especially trans youth — who are standing up and fighting back against this machine are the hope. We center their stories in this series.

A podcast is the medium for a project like this. The depth and the intimacy of serialized, audio storytelling is unmatched in its ability to reach the heart and soul of an audience. And that’s why we chose it to unspool the complexity of what’s happening through podcasting.

We don’t want you to only know what’s going but to understand it. Podcasting helps us answer the questions at the heart of this project in profound ways. I hope you will listen.

The past year of work has underscored for me something I have believed for a while. That as creators, questions drive us. Curiosity is at the heart of what we do. We will devote significant parts of our life working to figure out why something is the way that it is. And we feel compelled to find the answer no matter what.

We should always follow this quest to understand. Doing so is how we can create meaning from the chaos, and lay the foundation for a world where each of us can thrive.

And that’s why we made The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality. Because we at TransLash want to live in a world which sees trans people for who we are: human beings.

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