The Independent Artist Podcast

TRANSformation/ Randy Thomae and Cammy Rahore

January 22, 2024 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong/ Randy Thomae Season 4 Episode 1
TRANSformation/ Randy Thomae and Cammy Rahore
The Independent Artist Podcast
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The Independent Artist Podcast
TRANSformation/ Randy Thomae and Cammy Rahore
Jan 22, 2024 Season 4 Episode 1
Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong/ Randy Thomae

Working Artists! You are not alone! Listen to these entertaining and inspirational podcast conversations with working artists.

Randy Thomae has embarked on a journey that has resulted in a radical realignment in their quest to be their best self. At first, Cammy Rahore was their alter ego, a persona and drag name they adopted as they traveled the country in pursuit of their art career. Once they embraced that being trans was indeed their superpower, Cammy's ultimate goals have shifted to include saving the lives of trans people through their artwork and as a role model by being their most authentic self.  A powerful conversation that will inspire you to be a kind human and an ally to anyone struggling to be their best self. Follow their story on Instagram and help spread the visual virus of love and understanding. 

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong co-host and discuss topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest artist who shares their unique experiences as an independent professional artist.


Mailing List

PLEASE RATE US AND REVIEW US.......... and SUBSCRIBE to the pod on your favorite streaming app.

VENMO/ username @independentartistpodcast or through PAYPAL.ME by clicking on this link

Email us at with conversation topics, your feedback, or sponsorship inquiries.

The National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA).

Music  "Walking" by Oliver Lear
Business inquiries at

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Working Artists! You are not alone! Listen to these entertaining and inspirational podcast conversations with working artists.

Randy Thomae has embarked on a journey that has resulted in a radical realignment in their quest to be their best self. At first, Cammy Rahore was their alter ego, a persona and drag name they adopted as they traveled the country in pursuit of their art career. Once they embraced that being trans was indeed their superpower, Cammy's ultimate goals have shifted to include saving the lives of trans people through their artwork and as a role model by being their most authentic self.  A powerful conversation that will inspire you to be a kind human and an ally to anyone struggling to be their best self. Follow their story on Instagram and help spread the visual virus of love and understanding. 

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong co-host and discuss topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest artist who shares their unique experiences as an independent professional artist.


Mailing List

PLEASE RATE US AND REVIEW US.......... and SUBSCRIBE to the pod on your favorite streaming app.

VENMO/ username @independentartistpodcast or through PAYPAL.ME by clicking on this link

Email us at with conversation topics, your feedback, or sponsorship inquiries.

The National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA).

Music  "Walking" by Oliver Lear
Business inquiries at

Support the Show.

Douglas Sigwarth: [00:00:00] Is there anything any of us want to say before we start our conversation? Nah, I like it raw. Get out there. I know you do. I know you

Randy Thomae: do. You better buckle up buttercup because I'm a little bit different than your other guests. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Welcome to the Independent Artist Podcast sponsored by the National Association.


Randy Thomae: independent artists also sponsored 

Will Armstrong: by Zapplication. I'm Will Armstrong and I'm a mixed media 

Randy Thomae: artist. I'm Douglas 

Douglas Sigwarth: Sigworth, glassblower. Join our conversations with professional working 

Randy Thomae: artists. 

Will Armstrong: Welcome back to the podcast, everybody. Here we are in week two of the new year. So happy new year still applies to everybody.

You'll recognize another voice. In the room here with Douglas and I, 

Douglas Sigwarth: yeah, that's right. We're starting right off at the get go with inviting our guests right up front here. So this is a new thing for us. 

Will Armstrong: Exactly. So let's, uh, go ahead and welcome Randy. Uh, or Cammie let's introduce yourself. How about 

Randy Thomae: that?

Sounds great. [00:01:00] I'm really honored to be on the show. I listen to you guys constantly, especially while I'm driving all over the country. It's really amazing to have people would get my situation anyway. So I am Cammie Rahore. Which, uh, started out as a drag name, so it's Camera Whore. Uh, everything about drag is fun, it turns out.

And you take photographs, right? I am a photographer, yes. And so, uh, I am the artist, formerly and still on the road, known as Randy Tomac. Alright. I'm actually a, uh, trans artivist now, where my new work is dedicated to saving trans lives. And the work that I tour with that you saw is landscape photography that are abstracts that I made quite a while ago at this 

Douglas Sigwarth: point.

And we met back in La Quinta just a couple months ago. 

Randy Thomae: Yeah, we ran into each other there. 

Will Armstrong: So I'd never done La Quinta. I'm an East Coast guy and I've been wanting to do the show forever and And I'm like, I'm pushing my, my first load into the park, this beautiful setting. And, and I look up and there's this, uh, I, you know, I, I've never asked a [00:02:00] guest this before, but how big a human are you?

You're pretty tall, right? You're coming in at like, 

Randy Thomae: you're over six feet. I'm going to stand back so you guys can see me right now. Yeah, i'm gonna stand way back because i'm i'm six foot seven right now Okay, there you go. See this is what I saw. So I don't know if you can see but these are six inch platforms All right You are on 

Will Armstrong: platforms on a ladder.

Your booth is tall. You've got legs up to here It's like i'm just gonna go right up to this human and say hey, come on the podcast just based on these platforms but then As it's kind of getting on and like, uh, we're into the show and you are holding court over near my booth and the artists are coming over and it's just flies to honey baby.

It is just on and you are holding court. I mean, you have like 810 artists eating out of the palm of your hand. And I'm like, Oh, yeah, this this is this is happening. We got to get we got to get this person on the podcast. So, [00:03:00] uh, welcome We're happy to have you very 

Randy Thomae: happy. Yeah, I was so thrilled a lot of times now the way my life works My whole life I was swimming upstream And uh, it's like all of a sudden I could see ways I got the current goes the other way Yeah.

And now that I go downstream, things like this just fall into place. Nice. You know, it's like I'm in the right place, right time. Well, when we first met, 

Douglas Sigwarth: you talked about how the 

Randy Thomae: past few years have been 

Douglas Sigwarth: a radical realignment for you. So can we start there? Can we talk about that transformation you've been going through?

Randy Thomae: A hundred percent. So, um, I introduced the work that I'm traveling with now, The Fragile Nature of Hope. In Ann Arbor, Michigan in July of 21. And before that time I'd never done national shows. I was a Colorado artist. Hit the road really hard. So the first year I drove 40, 000 miles in 2022 at 189 hotel nights.

Basically, I can't do filler shows because my work is AP wide and I need people who can buy my work and have big spaces. It's like a [00:04:00] drive a lot to do a few shows. You're shooting for those big fish. Yeah. So a show for me, I'm trying to make three sales and get 400 notes typically in a normal show. So it's a little bit different.

Yeah. So when I first started touring, initially I felt like I was kind of pretending. Who I was in the booth and that kind of developed into like this really unique personal style Uh, like wearing ascots and things and then I turned into as soon as I would roll out of the driveway Which was a lot of the time I would be pretending who I was And then it started to be when I wasn't on the road I would get really sick and I started thinking I was allergic to my house Maybe I had mold or something.

Oh really and then After about a year and a half of all this It started to kind of come to a head all of a sudden I kind of had a bunch of realizations kind of gel for me The first was I was an extreme extrovert like off the chart, which most of my life I've been alone So that was kind of shocking to learn but the most important thing that I realized was that the person in the booth Was actually who I [00:05:00] am was my best self and i've been pretending my whole life who I was.

Wow Right. Yeah, so is this kind of like mind 

Will Armstrong: fuck you're playing a character almost like when you get out there on the road I mean you're you're I mean because a lot of that's 

Randy Thomae: what I do at first, right? Right. Exactly That's exactly that's we all do right? Yeah, don't persona Which is you slip into exactly 

Will Armstrong: right.

Like when you're jumping back to like our talk with Dole and Gaiman, I mean, he's, he kind of puts on cool clothes that make him feel comfortable. And it's, I mean, it's a similar type of thing, right? I mean, he's, he's kind of like, I'm not, I'm not happy unless I've got my cowboy hat on and he's legit. But it's also kind of like, he's like a hidden introvert.

I think I can be okay, you know, putting, putting words out of his mouth, but yeah, but it's like, I've got to put on this character in order to be 

Randy Thomae: comfortable. That's how it started for me. Right. And so that's what I meant. That surprised 

Douglas Sigwarth: you that you were an extrovert. Like you, you didn't realize that that was kind of like a discovery of who you are.

Randy Thomae: It was shocking, shocking. Yeah. And so for me, [00:06:00] it's like a nuclear power source. When I'm around people, it's insane. I've got massive health challenges. I've got chronic fatigue syndrome, which means I should never be able to even get off my couch. And I can go clubbing until two in the morning, multiple times a week.

No problem because there's thousands of people around me. And so for me, it's just like this insane power 

Will Armstrong: source. Yeah. Picking up on that energy. Is that the same type of thing for shows? Can you do the same thing or do you get done with the show and you're, you're sapped 

Randy Thomae: when I'm with people, then it's like that power source, right?

It is challenging to do my life. But it's, you know, I'm grateful for it because it's how I became an artist and my work is fundamentally. All about finding joy through darkness, which I call hope. And so I think that's kind of a universal human condition is that everyone struggles with things And so for each person it's it's a significant struggle no matter, you know, what the scale is compared to someone else And so I think everyone can kind of fundamentally on a human level relate to my work that way That it's [00:07:00] about darkness and light and finding joy.

So actually a lot of people walk into my booth and we'll just start crying without me saying anything, which is powerful. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Hey, so why don't you tell us a little bit about 

Randy Thomae: your work and how you got into it? I'm in Colorado. My kids started skiing at one and I got them into ski racing really early and I got a camera to take pictures of them ski racing and it would stay in my ski coat all summer long, right?

And then I would get on the Hill. I would put my hands on pockets like, Oh yeah, I take pictures. And then, um, at some point. I realized, let me take it on a hike. And from that point on, I was like shooting every single day. I was that parent who's too into stuff and ruins it for the kid. That was me. And so I ruined it for Allie, which is my eternal, you know, regret because she was incredible at it.

So anyway, so she retired and I was Devastating. This was our life. I mean, she had like 120 days on snow that year. Wow. So I was thinking, well, how can I take this thing that's [00:08:00] turned into this giant negative and make it a positive? Like, what would be the opposite of this? I was thinking, well, the kind of biggest realization of this would be if I could actually shoot the World Cup on course.

Oh, wow. And 

Will Armstrong: like, what ages are we talking about as far as World 

Randy Thomae: Cup of? No, no, no. World Cup is it. So that's the top level. So that's it. You know, internationally famous ski racers, the world cup travels around the world and they're, you know, in venues all around the world and they do the downhill stuff in the Olympics, all that stuff.

And now the thing about ski racing is it's very dangerous. The photographer can die and they can kill the skier. And so it's really hard to get onto the course. Like the speed events, they have what's called A net and B net. A net is so that an unconscious body bouncing down the course at 90 miles an hour.

Go into the trees. So like you bounce into the net and get thrown back on the ground. Yeah. That's how dangerous it's, right, right. And the airbags are like 10, 10 feet, 20 feet deep. Mm-Hmm. . Like, that's how big an airbag you need in case a skier runs into where you're [00:09:00] positioned. Right. It's intense. Yeah.

Which I'm very intense, so it's perfect for me. So anyway, um, I put together a portfolio, uh, from my, you know, 13, 14 girls to the World Cup, and they're like, yeah. We'd like to take a look. So I went up and met with Francois Bonpare, who is the photo chief. The photo chief is responsible to make sure photographers don't die or kill people.

So I met with him and ended up shooting the world cup. Yeah. Yeah, it was incredible. But anyway, so that's how I started with photography. When you get a 

Will Armstrong: permit for something like that, do you then have the right to? A pass. But then you'd have the right to. Sell those photos. That's how you make a living, make money.

So it's not like you have a contract with a magazine. You, you go in, okay, now you get to go sell 

Randy Thomae: them. Well, okay. So yes. So I, if I wasn't an American, I would just be doing that now in Europe. They're insane about sports and still woke up. And so [00:10:00] most of the photographers are either with like the AP and Getty.

We're covering it for all the news organizations. Uh, and so for me, I'm an American, I'm not working for Getty or AP. And so I was, you know, hustling like we do, right? So I ended up selling those pictures to Ski Magazine, which paid for the trip. 

Douglas Sigwarth: So is the nature of like discovering your work, because your work is impressionist abstract photographs.

So with shooting the skiers, was that kind of like a surprise that you were getting that Effect from the speed of the racers going by you and trying to capture 

Randy Thomae: their images. Yeah, it's really interesting because most fine artists don't start with ski racing, right? Or even sports photography. And so it really gave me a very different perspective.

I see the world through little vignettes because my favorite lens is a 100 400 lens. Okay. So it's like looking through a telescope all the time. And so the way that I see involves that usually my favorite lens is a long lens. I [00:11:00] had to take hundreds of thousands of photos. The volume of photos in ski racing is massive.

So if you're going fast, it doesn't matter what the speed, but let's say downhill, it's easier to understand like 90 miles an hour, but like a normal shutter speed for ski racing via 2000th of a second. So if I shoot you at 2000th of a second, it doesn't matter how fast you're going. It will be in focus and crisp and clean.

Now, the thing is though, it's stop motion. So it doesn't really communicate how fast you're going. At all like you're just frozen on the side of the mountain, right? You have no idea if they're going 15 miles an hour or 90 miles an hour Okay, but if if I can match my camera speed to your speed exactly Then I can use any shutter speed I want so For panning in ski racing, you would use a 30th of a second.

So you can imagine it's very difficult. So you went from 2000th of a second to a 30th of a second, right? It's almost a hundred times slower. So you have to exactly match their speed. So as they're going by you are, and it's hard because you're in [00:12:00] a parabola, right? And they're going straight. And so that's kind of the great skill that you learn.

So anyway, I learned that and that affects my drag work now So this is how you 

Will Armstrong: got started as far as photography goes But then tell us a little bit about how you you got into the body of work that that got you into the art show circuit So onto the hamster wheel the grind in 

Randy Thomae: this. Yeah, totally in the summers.

I started shooting landscapes Uh, initially I was doing what I called emotional landscapes and people just didn't get it and then one day By accident, I took my first abstract photo. So when you shoot foliage in Colorado, it's a little bit, I'm from New England. So foliage, there's every color in Colorado, it's yellow and maybe occasionally an orange or red.

So it's a lot harder to get really awesome foliage in Colorado than it is in New England. It's just a different sport. 

Will Armstrong: It's also I mean on a jury, it's also kind of a cliche, you know, you can you can do the fall The leaves in a puddle is like, oh 

Randy Thomae: my god Yeah, like how [00:13:00] many different shots of yellow aspens can you make right?

So anyway, I was a good landscape photographer. And so I mean like a like well behaved Landscape, fireprints. So I knew during foliage, my responsibility to go shooting every day. Colorado has massive elevation changes and weather changes. So I, um, I had hiked into a location called Caribou Ranch in Netherland, Colorado, they recorded a bunch of famous albums in the seventies there.

So some super rich person bought this massive spread of land. And then I think when they passed away, they donated to this, to Boulder. I have a painting in 

Will Armstrong: that place. Oh, is that right? I do. Yeah, he bought a big painting from for me. There was a triptych that he bought from um in cherry creek that that I was I was i'm a big music nerd and Had just geeked out about and that's the name of an elton john record that I love too.

So caribou ranch So anyway, sorry, I just had a connection had to had to throw that in there. No, you're 

Randy Thomae: awesome so the thing is like you got to hike in about two miles and During foliage season in Colorado, you learn, especially when [00:14:00] you start shooting it and you're trying to make a good picture, there's like a peak hour to foliage in each location.

It's different in each spot because of the radical elevation changes and each valley has its own weather. So anyway, I hike in and I carry a lot of gear because the way I do my work is insane. And so, um, I get there and the leaves have already fallen. And I'm like, oh man, I'm already here, right? I totally blew it.

And so I set up my stuff and took some pictures. And then I left. And then, you know, foliage season, I'm shooting so many images, so many days. I didn't even look at those pictures for a while because I knew that day, I screwed up. Leaves weren't on the trees. And so, much later, I'm on my computer, and I come across this image.

And I'm like, whoa, what the fuck is that? And I loved it, but I had no idea how it could be on my camera. So, I boxed up all my stuff. I sent it to Sony. And I said, Hey, it's broken. I'm in this pro support program. So you can do that. They checked it out. They sent it back like two days [00:15:00] later. They said it's a hundred percent of specification.

So I'm like, Oh, that doesn't make any sense. Like how the hell could this happen? So I spent six months shooting full time trying to do it again. Okay. And then something amazing happened. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Yeah. Do you have a question? Oh yeah. Sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to pull up the image that he's talking. Oh, I'm sorry.

I, that is, that is really something I am afraid about is saying wrong words. I don't mean them that way. It is just very, 

Randy Thomae: it's hard. You know, let's talk about this. This is a really important thing that all people deal with. It, it's hard to understand trans, even for people who are trans. And I think people, especially people who, whose heart is in the right place, it makes you really nervous.

You don't want to. hurt their feelings by accident, right? And so, the important thing to understand is that trans people, like, if we look at the news and stuff, it seems like everyone hates us. And so, you just self correcting shows so much care. [00:16:00] So, that more than undoes the negative of misgendering someone.

Do you see what I'm saying? Absolutely. To indicate that you understand that it's important. So, you know, we talk to so many thousands of people across the country. And so I try to take each person I talk to and leave them a little bit better for the next trans person they encounter. And so I have some, I have a, like two little tiny things to prepare anyone to encounter a trans person in the future.

Okay. That kind of makes it exciting 

Will Armstrong: instead of scary. I'm excited about this. Thank you for, for doing this. And I, and we didn't really set it up. I should have asked this at the very beginning, but what are your pronouns? 

Randy Thomae: Well, and here's the thing that's mind blowing, it never ceases to amaze me how good it feels to be asked that.

Okay. Like, I would never think of it until it happens, and every time it's like, wow, that just feels so amazing. Okay. So, thank you for asking. My pronouns are she, they. Okay. Those are the pronouns 

Douglas Sigwarth: that I use. My 20 year old actually had a conversation with me that, thus Gen Xers, we do [00:17:00] assign gender just because, I don't know, that's just been the way history has been.

My daughter has says it is very presumptuous, no matter how somebody presents themselves to 

Will Armstrong: assume. And I've also talked to other people who are like, you know, cisgendered, straight folks, they get insulted. We're like, isn't it obvious? I'm a fucking man. Look at me. And then they get insulted. Whereas it's like, okay, talking to you kind of breaks down some of these walls and maybe we can, can educate a little bit on why 

Randy Thomae: that's not.

And good news. I'm tough as fuck. So I like to make a safe space, so don't treat. Person you don't know who may be trans the way that you can treat me But I like to make a safe space for everyone to ask anything they want without worrying about hurting my feelings My feelings are not hurtable So ask away anything you want as we're going forward feel like i would love to help and in fact Any artists out there if there are [00:18:00] artists who are curious and you see me in a show and i'm not with a customer I love to help people understand and communicate with people and give you, you know, a good role model of what a trans person would be like.

So I'd like to send that to anyone. Yeah, 

Will Armstrong: that's really, really generous of you. That's, I don't know that I necessarily, you know, I, I do have people come up and just asking about show stuff just because of the, the position that Douglas and I have with the show. And I try to be super generous, but that's, that's really, really generous of your 

Randy Thomae: time.

Well, my life is about saving trans lives. And so anyone who's curious that I can provide information, that's going to help so many other trans people, the amount of leverage. And so I'm doing 

Will Armstrong: it selfishly. Yeah, that's amazing. It's like travel is the cure for racism, you know, and maybe we can be, we can be the cure for, for some of the transphobia and things that exist even in our own community, which I feel like it's pretty, pretty damn open.

This episode of the Independent Artist Podcast is brought to you by [00:19:00] ZAP, the digital application service where artists and art festivals connect. Well, 

Douglas Sigwarth: here we are on. Season 4 of the Independent Artist Podcast, and we want to say thank you to Zap for sponsoring our little podcast that 

Will Armstrong: could. You know, Douglas, when we took this podcast on, it started out as a replacement for the NAIA's newsletter and quickly morphed into something else.

It sure has. 

Douglas Sigwarth: It's turned into a place where we can share our experiences and give voice to the professional working artists. You know, when we first 

Will Armstrong: took this project on, it was a pretty small potatoes kind of thing. And as it has grown, it has grown some serious expenses. So thank you to Zapp for helping us take a lot of those on and get these voices heard.

Thank you, 

Douglas Sigwarth: Zapp, for your support of this show and for the support of the artist community. 

Randy Thomae: We should come back to that because I've got a story about that exact thing that I want to share. That I was so 

Will Armstrong: shocked. Well, uh, no time like the present. Let's tell the story 

Randy Thomae: right now. So I was in Breckenridge at a show.

There was an artist. We started talking and I [00:20:00] just assume the best of everyone all the time. Like I don't even, you know, go into it. Whereas I'm in some trans support groups and I get a lot out of it, but I also really like to reflect back. All the positive vibes that I get being trans because the trans experience can be really really bleak Really hard.

Anyway, I just assume the best but most trans people because of the politics and everything you hear You turn to anything assume the worst and rightly so I mean you have to be careful You're not going to die like it's hurt because there's so much violence against trans people So I was like it took me a second to realize that this person was transphobic because they're an artist, you know I'm so used to having everything in common with artists on at the shows that it caught me off guard And so they said well, you know what?

I mean a trans person. I have to assume they're probably a pedophile And I was like what? And he's like i'm like why and he's like well I saw a video once on youtube and I said Do you want to listen to what you just said? Like are you comfortable with putting that out there? [00:21:00] You saw one video once on youtube You don't even know what it was and now you think everyone you meet might be a pedophile So now that i'm trans i'm always riding that line of how authentic I can be Because I need to make sales.

This is how I make a living right? And so the insidious thing about bigotry Is that you're never 100 right? You can't be sure That you got passed over because of this or you didn't make a sale because of that Especially with my numbers where I have to make three sales and get 400 nos So if I make two sales, that's problematic if I make one sale, that's a big problem if I make zero It's a disaster.

And so I was talking about that with the artists and so this person In the same sentence as telling me I was probably a pedophile said it was ridiculous to think that that could be affecting my sales. What the hell? If you think I'm a pedophile, why would you ever buy art for me? 


Douglas Sigwarth: so they basically outed their flawed argument right there, right?

I mean, they shared inherent bias right up front and then couldn't believe that inherent bias actually happens. So that was the irony 

Randy Thomae: of the whole thing. Or that it makes [00:22:00] a difference. Right. Right, that there's any impact of that. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Right. And on top of that, you have to spend so much of your life, I'm assuming, hypervigilant against bigotry and being 

Randy Thomae: safe.

Oh yeah. And I've got stories about that, like in Utah, like Salt Lake City, I almost got jumped, but out of that came this incredibly beautiful experience with the Salt Lake City police force. I'm in a very unique situation. My life is very unique, which hopefully we can communicate to people where I've gotten so much positive reinforcement that it kept pushing me to be more and more authentic.

Now I, Kami Rahore is, is this surreal adventure that my internals can't even catch up to because it's so wild. Like I'm becoming like an icon. So that's really hard to wrap your brain around like if that happens overnight and then just accelerates it's accelerated Is 

Will Armstrong: that kind of your goal too? Is that kind of your goal to become kind of an icon?

Randy Thomae: Well, yeah, so in in the service of my real goal My real goal is saving trans lives the way I conceive of the new [00:23:00] work and this is the highest purpose I think of visual arts is that at the highest level? You're creating work that will be seen by millions of people and they can't unsee stuff that comes in their eyes So you don't get to pick right you don't get to filter and say do I want to see that?

No, I didn't want to see that once it's in there. It's in there, right? And so i'm making a visual virus that goes in through your eye holes and infects you with love and understanding for trans people And so I need millions of people to see that. It's not as commercially successful, like if you come to a show and you walk within like, I don't know, a couple hundred yards of my booth, you're gonna see my work.

And if you've got multiple big walls and lots of money, there's a pretty good chance, if you talk to me, you're gonna buy one of my pieces. Like, everyone likes it. It's not offensive in any way, right? They're landscapes, they would be awesome in corporate lobbies, they're, you know, very commercially appealing, my current work that I travel with.

The new work, not so much. And so the only way I can figure out to make the new work work is for camming. To kind of blow up and become [00:24:00] this icon. There's a tremendous amount of gatekeeping because I'm trying to now become a blue chip artist. And in the fine art world, even like women artists, it's still a huge thing.

Like the bias against just being a CIS female. So imagine a trans. Artists there are a few but it's like a handful of internationally famous trans artists a handful You know and and probably not that many more famous women artists, right, which is insane What 

Will Armstrong: do you think the path is to to become that kind of iconic?

Or to become that icon. It's just happening. Is that kind of uh, it's just happening Do you feel like there's a place for that at art shows to to be that? And and to sell the work and to to represent and and to to place your pieces or is it? Are you gonna have to find, you know, go the museum route and gallery route where you have an interpretation, somebody else, a gallery owner, a worker can interpret you to the crowd.

I mean, I, I myself, uh, after having sold in some a In some galleries find it to be pretty interesting. [00:25:00] The interpretation of me as an artist is a lot cooler than I am in person. And it's like, you go into the gallery, like, Oh my God, here comes Will 

Randy Thomae: Armstrong. I'm like, okay. So, so my work has always been hard to sell.

Yeah, I I love explain my work and and I think that's a strong aspect of me as an artist is I'm an experience and also my work is very unique and i'm the best suited to explain it because it's so unique Uh, but the path that i'm looking at is I would like to hang at art puzzle in miami I think that is where I need to be and freeze and paris photo and that level of international art fair People at that level don't even know that we exist So there is a huge disconnect between our art world and the fine art 

Will Armstrong: world.

We're pretty middle class. I mean, this is a very middle class way to do it. Yeah. Yeah, 

Randy Thomae: exactly. We're middle class artists, which offends us, right? I mean, it's our life's work. That's offensive. I like it. But yeah, but it's like being [00:26:00] hipsters. We're hipsters, you know, like, well, there is not wearing shoes and like living in Detroit and work on bikes or something.

Well, there is an 

Douglas Sigwarth: element of high end fine art where The artist's persona, the, the, the, the ego, the whatever, that character that they are, that's the essence of the work. I mean, the work is desired and whatever, but then behind that is usually that big persona. And that seems to be what you're stepping into with your radical transformation that you've been experiencing 


Randy Thomae: So, I've been touring for Almost two years, and I had realized that I'd been pretending my whole life who I was, and that the person that was in the booth was actually my best self. I'd heard about Art Basel, I'd known about it for a long time, and I was like, well, let me just go to Miami Art Week and just see what it's all about, just so I understand, like, where's the end point, right, that any artist could hope to be.

And so, I planned this trip and I was thinking, well, just as an experiment, what if I tried being, because I only have [00:27:00] my best self while working in my booth, but I was like, well, what if I just pretended I was in my booth for the whole week, just to see what it was like to be this person, this persona that we pretend to be in the booth.

I end up having the best week of my life By far that's incredible. It was incredible and it was surreal And that's where this jumping off came when I split from reality when 

Will Armstrong: you showed up there were you did you go full? Character, I mean, did you go full cammy? 

Randy Thomae: Well, so cammy didn't cammy didn't exist yet.

Okay And I didn't know I was trans. 

Will Armstrong: How fabulous were you, is what we're, I'm trying to get at that, 

Randy Thomae: like. So, okay, so yeah, great question, let's check in, because we should, it's like a graph. Yeah. At this point, I just had a very unique, um, Masco style that people were flipping out about, but it was not, you know, compared to where I am now, it was a two out of 10 where now, like when I go out, I'm like at a nine, like at Art Basel, I was at a nine.

It was insane. I was being photographed for a fashion blog from Brazil on the style of Art Basel. That's awesome. So that was my, like, [00:28:00] first day of the first week, I was being my best self. Yeah. That 

Douglas Sigwarth: reaction that you got was an indicator that you had stepped into your authentic self. The fact that people were attracted by what you were putting out there meant that you were in sync with that inner 

Randy Thomae: side of yourself.

I'm really glad that you brought that up. Um, I'm still trying to wrap my brain around how this is working and why it's happening. And I think authenticity is so important to this whole thing. Um, and I, I think. There's like this really bizarre thing that we can get into where I just have this insane, like super deep connection with people instantly.

We're connecting on such a human level and even people who I don't talk to, they just see me and by seeing me, it changes them. I mean, it's kind of like waking up in a movie. I'm in wonder and awe about it. Like, how the fuck is this happening? 

Douglas Sigwarth: It's a really good feeling when, you know, you're on the right path or you're, you're being your authentic self.

I think of that with the podcast, for example, there'll be times that Will and I are just up to our [00:29:00] eyeballs with so much going on. And somebody will walk in at a show and tell us how important this is for them to hear. The experiences from other artists and what that means to them. So I could see that in your situation, it might be very similar for maybe those people who, you know, are trans, maybe need a trans role model.

It's a 

Randy Thomae: hundred percent. And you guys have helped me that way so many times as I'm driving all over the fricking country for so much fucking time, listening to you guys on podcast. That's sweet. 

Will Armstrong: It's it's a big country. It is a big country. And there's I mean our community. It's it's interesting to run across I mean, there's thousands of artists out there that we could talk to and you know We love getting that connection with different voices and that's why we wanted to have you on Okay, you have this body of work.

That's abstract photography that that translates to Big homes and uh the rich folks and that's your bread and butter that that can get you but your Your honest body of work that you really want to get out [00:30:00] there now this and it's still abstract but it's more telling stories about trans lives and and some of the drag shows and Can I say it's just a drag show, right?

Is that 

Randy Thomae: can I say that? Yeah, so i'm shooting live drag So i'm at a drag show i'm in the audience as like everyone else and i'm in drag So I'm shooting live drag in drag to save trans lives. So that's kind of the highest level explanation of the new work. 

Douglas Sigwarth: And this body of work has not been released yet, right?

It's still Right. It's still So nobody can find it at this point in time. Is it a 

Randy Thomae: matter 

Will Armstrong: of the work not being ready? Are you not being ready to show it? Or is it, is it like a courage thing? Are you building yourself up? Because you seem like you've got all of the absolute courage in 

Randy Thomae: the world. Yeah, I'm fearless.

I'm threading a needle. with the launch of this work. My current work is very commercially viable. In fact, I, I'm in a really hot area of Denver. It's really cool. It's called Rhino. Oh, it's the arts district. Cool. There's 10 brand new buildings within a [00:31:00] block of me. Amazing. And they all could use my work.

They could use my current league touring work because their landscapes, they're not offensive to anyone with the new work. It's not commercially appealing to most people. And so this is the purpose of the fine art world. If Instagram had been around forever, then we would not have Picasso. We wouldn't have cubism.

We wouldn't have all of the major advances in art where people at the time were like, what the fuck is wrong with that guy or woman? Right. Although mostly in history, it's been guys that got recognized. Do you see what I'm saying? And so that's where the fine art world steps in. It's like the Guggenheim is like, hey, this is art, and people need to see it.

And a lot of people need to see it. And so the Guggenheim 

Will Armstrong: makes a statement. Yeah, Mapplethorpe isn't hanging on somebody's wall. I mean, they are. 

Randy Thomae: Exactly. Mapplethorpe 

Will Armstrong: is a perfect example. Right. Not necessarily, I don't know that Mapplethorpe exists without galleries and without museums. I mean, like, I can go and enjoy the show, but I don't know that I want it on 

Randy Thomae: the wall.

Right. And Mapplethorpe is famous. Right. So there's [00:32:00] like this thing that has to happen. And a lot of times that happens after you're dead. If you're doing something that's not generally acceptable, that's not popular on Instagram, for instance. Well, 

Douglas Sigwarth: our conversation that we had at the end of last season with F.

Lone Clark, his controversial themes related to like lynchings, for example, he creates separate bodies of work, some for out on the road, which, you know, doesn't offend, is a little more palatable. And then he's got the more controversial work that he can have for galleries and shows. And those venues, it kind of sounds like you're delineating different bodies of work for different venues or avenues to show 

Randy Thomae: what I'm trying to do is actually jump horses, you know, on the road, I started to build this really unique style.

And for a while, it was really helping me make sales, right? It was getting more and more charismatic and more and more masculine, really kind of defining this unique masculine style. However, once the radical realignment happened and I started doing drag a lot. Pretty soon [00:33:00] after I started to kind of combine things from male and female and realize I was non binary And that's not palatable to most people.

It's Affecting my sales massively and so I have to walk this weird line of how authentic can I be? So it's a major handicap to go from like taking a superpower and turning into like a super Disaster and so I'm trying to figure out how to make this leap now You guys know the touring world we have to apply so far in advance So it's like a huge oil tanker, right?

Yeah, I thought I was going to be able to pull it off by this past puzzle And so I stopped applying to shows and then I had a bad show as my last show and so now i'm in a hole Oh, man, and the thing is like the new work in my lifestyle takes a lot of time And so it's really difficult right now to figure out how am I gonna I gotta reboot the touring thing Because that's how I pay for the bills and i've got to figure out how to do that inauthentically Because I have to make sales while also trying to become famous Which is the only way I can see to make the new work work and also [00:34:00] having this lifestyle, which also keeps a lot of people alive.

So it's a lot right now. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Those are lofty goals for sure. It's not just about sustenance, making enough money to live on, you know, it sounds to me like your goals go far beyond that, which is saving people's lives. I mean, that's a pretty big deal all while trying to be authentic and discovering yourself.

So that does sound like a pretty big chunk to be all dealing 

Randy Thomae: with at once. It is. And the other thing, like, I don't know if we've. If you guys are aware, but, um, take a guess what the suicide rate is among trans people. I'm glad 

Will Armstrong: you're bringing this up, because, you know, I, I, I'm sorry, I'm not, I'm answering your question by not answering it, but I'm glad you're bringing this up, because I know we have listeners out there who are like, What, uh, what's, what is Kami doing saving lives?

How is this saving lives? And this is, this is exactly where it is. And there's a whole generation coming up that is a lot more fluid and that, that a lot of the folks out there don't necessarily understand. I see it in my 13 year old kid. [00:35:00] Uh, all of their friends are kind of changing their names and it's, it's a very fluid thing.


Douglas Sigwarth: My kids too though, they'll talk to me about friends that they knew from grade school. And they will have different names and different pronouns and that too. I believe the younger generation is on board with this. And I think it's us folks that need to get us older folks that need to get with the program and figure this out because it's important.

Randy Thomae: Here's the thing is that there's a genocide happening right now to trans people. There may not be trans people left By the time that politicians are, you know, sense in the laws are more aligned with how young people feel. It's a wipe right now. That's shocking. My body of work is about, that's the point of the new work.

Mm-Hmm. is like a wake up call. So it's meant to be visually disturbing, visually engaging. There's also a tremendous amount of joy from these performers, which doesn't make sense because many of them have been thrown away by their family. I mean, imagine you're an adolescent, so it's [00:36:00] already hard, but then you're starting to question your identity.

Like who, who even am I? You had your parents your whole life. You would never conceive of them not loving you. So imagine they then throw you out on the lawn. Right, and that's it. You just lost your whole family. You're 13 Or 15 or whatever. What are you gonna do? You've never had to feed yourself now.

You're 15. You're homeless. You have no money So you're gonna go into sex work. I mean, there's nothing else you can do. Yeah, how's a 15 year old gonna make money? Okay, so then take this person, fast forward, now they're 21, their life is hard. One of the ways that they get relief and have a fun thing to do is they've gotten involved with drag.

You can get a drag house where you join a house and they teach you how to do it, help you with your costumes, help you get performances, and then that becomes your family. Those are the people that I'm shooting, a lot of them. Not, not everyone has been in sex work. Sure. But some of the people, yeah. So 

Will Armstrong: what's a drag?

Tell me what's a drag house again like is, oh yeah. So is there kinda like a [00:37:00] club or is it like a, you know, this is where people 

Randy Thomae: live. No, so lemme yeah. So there'll be a drag queen normally. Now there's, I wanna be careful with that because that's my gender challenge is that drag kings is a big thing and one of the most talented drag performers I know as a drag king Katie v shout out, uh, here in Denver.

So anyway, there'll be a, a royal, I'm gonna call them a drag royal. to indicate king or queen who's achieved some success. So here, the house is called All Night. There's a performer who hosts at Hamburger Mary's, which is a national chain. Everyone, if you want to just check out drag show, that's a great way to go.

It's not offensive. You can take your colleagues from work. It's really fun. And so there's someone called Betty Swallows. So this is their name. Drag names are all hilarious, okay? Yeah. So Betty Swallows hosts this event. They joined the house of All Night a long time ago. So betty's full name now is betty swallows all night [00:38:00] amazing Good person to know.

Yeah Anyway, that's kind of how it works now when she joins the house It's like a, it's a, like an honor and then a lot of benefits come with being a part of that house of all night where you're going to have access to being in shows and, you know, the resources of the house and then also it's a community.

So, you know, you're going to see if they get, if they like each other, you know, and if they bond and then they become like 

Douglas Sigwarth: family. That's kind of like what the Billy Porter series. Is that what, is that similar? I don't know. The Billy Porter series pose, I 

Randy Thomae: think it is. Oh, yeah. Pose. Yeah. Yes. Well, suppose is about ballroom.

Is this what you're describing? It's similar. So ballroom is hard to explain, but basically it's like a, like a runway, like a fashion runway where you're being judged very, very harshly, intensely live with two people battling with epic music and like a live rap explaining what's going on. Wow. Yeah.

Interesting. [00:39:00] It's incredible. If you ever get a chance to go to ballroom, It's really hard to find unless you're like in New York or somewhere. It started out in the 70s as where almost everyone was a sex worker and really having a hard time. And it was basically what I was saying about drag except it was ballroom.

There's an incredible documentary called Paris is Burning that you can stream. Which is an incredible from the 70s from New York explains how it all started But yes, those are also houses and that that's for voting. This is how 

Douglas Sigwarth: people might find the family of choice Versus the family that they're born into that might not 

Randy Thomae: be Support.

Yeah. Yeah, exactly and post post does a really good job that show. I think it's on HBO. I'm not sure But they do a good job of showing that like homeless teens. I've been shooting drag and drag for over a year now. I've taken 15, 000 images in that body of work and I've shot, I don't know, maybe 50 performances like that.

I'm still at every show. I'm not every show, but I'm still meeting new drag queens and I'm in [00:40:00] Denver. Yeah. I'm not in New York city. So there's just so many drag queens now. And so a lot of them are just, you know, from suburbia or whatever, you know, it's not, not everyone is thrown out of their family, but people are, and we should come back now to the suicide question.

Please that's where this started. And will you were giving us the world's longest answer. Although I I'm competitive on that front, you know, I just 

Will Armstrong: wanted to know like, okay, you know, it's almost like the old Seinfeld bit when you know, Jerry's like, uh, you're not saving lives. You're a pimple popper. You know, it's like, well, how are you saving lives?

You know, it's like, okay, you're just 100 percent dressing up in a dress and being fabulous. 

Randy Thomae: So what do you think the 

Will Armstrong: suicide rate? Yes, thank you. I appreciate it. I can't imagine. 

Randy Thomae: It's up there, I'm sure. So the numbers I've heard are 40 to 50. I'm sure there's different ways to slice it. But if you imagine like, like how many trans people do you know?

You know me? Do you know another one? I do. If you know two trans people, there's a good chance one of them will be dead by suicide. So is it going to be me or the other person you know? You don't know. [00:41:00] So and even for me where I'm having this incredible life and it's super surreal and I get to help so many people and all these things are happening.

It's still hard to be trans. It's just really hard. That's an 

Will Armstrong: incredible point. I just find it really moving I mean, it's is it me or is it the other person, you know, you know, that's important to just repeat I 

Randy Thomae: think And see this comes back to like the pronouns affecting pronouns I didn't pick the they them thing.

Like, that was a bad marketing decision. And so if people want to get into that with me, like, well, you know, and I didn't pick it. Yeah. You don't need to be an asshole. Like, there's a 50 percent chance I might die by suicide. Mm hmm. Couldn't you just be nice? 

Will Armstrong: It doesn't 

Randy Thomae: take much. How about don't say anything?

Don't fucking say anything. Or if you're gonna say something, then here's what you do. You say, if you recognize that, hey, this is a person who might be trans. Do not say, Oh, are you trans? Because a lot of people, they are a woman. They identify as a woman. And if you ask that's dysmorphic, it takes them out of that.

[00:42:00] Instead, you can say, Hey, my name is Will. I use he, him pronouns. What about you? Now they're right. That's a reason to stay alive, right? I'm assuming all these people. hate me and want me to die. And a lot of people actually want me to die because of my identity. In fact, I, I drive all over the country like you do.

Imagine if half the states, because this is reality, half the states I go to, technically I'm not allowed to use the bathroom. Right. That's like saying you 

Douglas Sigwarth: don't have a right to exist. I mean, at its 

Randy Thomae: core. And that's what the laws are saying now. And that's why there's a genocide happening, which is the importance of the new work and why I need to find a way to make it work.

And that's why this super audacious thing of becoming famous. Just needs to be accomplished because that's the only way I can think of to save all these lives that need to be saved. There's genocide fucking happening and we need to do something about it. And so I'm doing something about it. And so the path that I've constructed requires me to be famous, so I've got to figure that out.

I think 

Douglas Sigwarth: across all marginalized groups, this happens when somebody stands up to tell you their experience, and somebody who doesn't come from that [00:43:00] experience wants to say, you don't have that experience. Everyone needs to shut up and listen to that person's experience, and allow that to be The truth, not whether or not you can understand what that other person is going through.

That's not important. What you think is important, what that person is experiencing, that's important. 

Randy Thomae: And that is true. It's such an incredible point. The world is so fucked up now that most of us need to just put our head in the sand to survive. Like you just can't take it all in. There's just so many awful things happening all the time that seem unsolvable.

And so we just keep our blinders on to the part that we can handle just to get through the day. And, and we're busy, right? It's hard to be able to, like, a touring artist like we are. If everyone would just be a little bit better of a human. And it starts with, just be kind to strangers. Like, you have no idea.

It's not just trans people, like, You have no idea what's going on with people like all of us deal with stuff That's hard and you don't know the person you've encountered what they're dealing with. So just give them a benefit of [00:44:00] doubt They're human like you are. Mm hmm. Let's just be better humans.

That's my message ultimately and I think that's why it's resonating so much yeah, we can't fix these huge problems ourselves, but if everyone if you could just be kind and Douglas could just be kind. I know that's a stretch, but he's kind of, you know, like, right. Everyone could just be kind. That would be a massive 

Will Armstrong: improvement in the world.

It costs nothing. It's really not that much effort. 

Randy Thomae: It costs nothing. That's such a great point. None of this costs anything. You be a good human. You know what I mean? Yes. That's all it costs. Absolutely. 

Will Armstrong: Be a good human. Be a good 

Randy Thomae: human. So this is an incredible conversation right now. This is exactly what it's all about.

Will Armstrong: Yeah. Thank you for, for being on here and letting us kind of get this out there and, you know, and, and I'm thinking about like the kindness that you mentioned, even on our, uh, It's not Zoom, but we're using a Zoom like, um, app. The fact that I didn't fill my pronouns in. You know, and I, [00:45:00] and maybe that's disrespectful, and that's not kind.

And I'll do it next time. Typically, if I'm doing that, then maybe I'll write something smart ass. Uh, just to make you laugh. And it's like, well, maybe that's picking fun at, at, at trans folks. At the 

Douglas Sigwarth: issue at its core. Right. Yeah. Like, I mean, I have been guilty of that. Of like, I've heard people make jokes of, I identify as this.

Or, you know what I mean? Right. With a punchline. And that really demeans your 

Randy Thomae: experience. A hundred percent. And so, and when I listen, so I hear those things, right? Like those are knife cuts. And so it's really dysmorphic. And we should talk about what that means. But when I, I listen to a lot of podcasts, I'm sure you guys do too, right?

Cause we drive so much. It's kind of a godsend for us. Yeah, totally. And so there'll be a show that I feel so connected with the host. And then they'll. Do that, like some throwaway comment making fun of trans people. And it just cuts me so deeply, especially if they're people like you guys who are so such incredible humans, you know, where you care so much about sharing stories and [00:46:00] things, then it cuts more deeply.

Definitely. Where, how, you know. Yeah. Have, 

Will Armstrong: have we, have we done something? Have, have I stepped on the, yeah. What have I, oh God, rewind 

Randy Thomae: the tape. Well, good news. I had chat GPT analyze everything you've ever said. Uh, 

Douglas Sigwarth: well, let me ask for those people who aren't as understanding of this issue. This is the thing that has, has come to mind for me.

When this came across my awareness, and that is people really struggle with the idea of gender and anatomy and they get hung up on that as opposed to gender being assigned in your brain, not by other parts of your body. I mean, is that where people should put their emphasis on? Is the aspect of our brains that tell us who we 

Randy Thomae: are?

Well, let me just, let me split that up a little bit. If you learn that someone's trans, your first curiosity is what's between their legs. It's not mine, but I 

Douglas Sigwarth: know that that's the trope. 

Randy Thomae: But that is, and actually, if you saw that piece I sent [00:47:00] called Grabbed, Grabbed is about that. Okay. That's the one where you, the only thing that's really clear is what looks like a hot pink clitoris.

Okay. Okay. And so it's really relevant. And it also is hands, what looks like. These huge abstract hands all over the body of this person. I 

Will Armstrong: love the new collection There's something about it that is and I think it's really I was I was on a plane You know, you're sitting next to a stranger or whatever and you know And and um, I had gotten the images and i'm flipping through and my immediate reaction was to take the phone and be like, oh Shit, and there's covered that up and like I yeah, I covered it up like, you know, like I shouldn't be looking at it But at the same time they are abstract But there still is, you've done a really nice job of capturing the sexuality of the pieces without them being overt or being pornographic or, uh, they just feel sexual if you look at, or if you just glance at it, 

Randy Thomae: they are sexual and a large part of this is sexual.

Like it's about sexuality [00:48:00] and gender is, is related to sex and we're in an over sexualized society. I'm not an expert in psychology or any of that stuff. I don't want to. Pretend I am, but it always blew my mind that the, the political scandals about like homophobia and queer stuff are always with people who are the most adamantly against those things, right?

Like the Republican old white cis male. versus having sex in airports, in bathroom stalls. I don't even know how you can have sex underneath the fucking bathroom stall. If you're 18, let alone 75, right? So there's this insane thing where the people who are actually maybe denying who they are, have the most hatred.

It triggers the strongest reaction. And so there's a picture I sent you called the apple. That's just all skin. It's this super beautiful woman But if you look closely you can see an adam's apple And so this is a really important piece and I looked at this with a mentor of mine who's cis male [00:49:00] And they had to go through that whole process of wow, this is hot i'm, really attracting this person and then slowly come to speed ways like this is someone who was born male.

Yeah. And how can I feel attracted to them? What does that mean about me? You know, and that's the whole thing, right? Yeah. And this is what needs to happen. People need to kind of go through those things and process it. And you know, the other thing too, is like, and this is the problem with the discourse in the country is it's, it's enabled people to just be total.

Inhuman, like not to act like human beings towards people where like, Oh, I'm trans. Okay. Different category. Now you can just say things and think about me in ways that you would never about a normal person. And it's a lot like the way the Nazis were with Jews. It's, it's a lot like that. And there's a genocide happening as trans people too.

The other thing though, too, is that I now view being trans is actually a superpower where it's like a superhero. Like, I don't look down on trans people. I actually. Look up to trans people. I think there are some of the most incredible humans on the face [00:50:00] of the earth is trans people and so imagine You're a teenager, right?

Dealing with just that, because that's so fucking hard. And then you decide to question exactly who the fuck you are, all the way to the point of what gender you are. Who does that? Like, what kind of bravery is that? And then, even though there might be a law against being who you are, and mass shootings all the time against those people, you decide to tell everyone, who might discard you, including your family, who that person is.

Who does that? This is superhero level shit. 

Will Armstrong: Yeah. 

Douglas Sigwarth: I saw an interview with Chaz Bono, and they said their mother didn't even get the whole trans thing for them. Oh, of course. And it was like, it's like, Mom, you are an LGBTQ icon, and even you, I mean, even Cher had trouble with that. So that is something 

Will Armstrong: that Cher If Cher doesn't get it, what hope do the rest of 

Randy Thomae: us have?

A hundred percent. Right, [00:51:00] which is why it's so hard to be trans Is even people who have the best intentions, you know aren't able to kind of make you feel good Yeah, you know or accidentally make you feel bad all the time. Yeah, 

Will Armstrong: but it's like you said earlier It's it's the thousand little cuts and that's where you where the kindness comes in I'm gonna be honest about the kindness too and just be like hey I'm gonna fuck up because this is my life all the way up to this point and I didn't know Before exactly 

Randy Thomae: and that's what I do.

I fuck it up all the time Yeah, I was just having coffee with two trans people And I misgendered them continuously in the conversation. And here I am, like, that's my life's purpose, Ray, is to save trans lives. And I was hurting everyone's. Okay. And so one of them in particular, I kept saying she when they're non binary.

So yeah, we all left feeling badly about it. And I haven't talked to them since. So yeah, you shouldn't feel bad, Will. And you know, like, life is hard for everyone. Just being human is hard. And then you add all these things on top of that. [00:52:00] They make it harder. Like being a touring artist is really hard. It is, you know, it is.

So this reminds me of this thing that kind of maybe explains why it's so hard to be authentic, like this challenge of whether I should be authentic or not. Like I was talking to a friend of mine, most of my friends are nationally turned artists. So I just run into around the corner at every show. And one of my closest friends, he's really understanding and amazing and supportive of this whole thing.

But he's like, you know, why don't you just, you know, during the show, just. Do we have to do to make the sales? Like if you have to dress a certain way or say certain things, that's what make a living, just do that. And the reason that's hard is because we're talking about life and death. And so like, I want to keep every trans person alive, you know, not just like a certain number of them or whatever.

And that's a higher goal, right? Then other things is that every time that I'm authentic, I get like 10 X reward. And so one of the things, especially as a transfer, so I was telling you, like, if you listen to the [00:53:00] media. You feel like everyone's out to get you, but I am always amazed at how many people actually are touched by this issue and actually are inspired by me.

It doesn't just affect this thing, right? Like maybe you're closeted or something else. Maybe you're working on a new body of work and you're kind of scared of showing it to people. There's many different ways to be authentic or maybe you're in a marriage. That's not working, whatever it is. Right. Or maybe whatever it is.

And so me being authentic as a human being. We can connect on that level and you can kind of draw inspiration. And so when you meet me at setup, especially, and that's when you're describing me, that's when I can be super authentic without affecting sales. And it's still scary because this is a dirty secret, which you guys have probably talked about, but shows and jurying and all that, there is no perfect process, right?

So we know that the relationship with the director of a show matters. And that was one of the scariest things for me. It's my [00:54:00] livelihood and what if the director sees that i'm trans And half people hate that And I can't get in the show again What am I going to do? I can't get in my shows. Right. And I can't make a living.

But that's when I'm so blown away is when I'm authentic on set up days, then anyone who has a trans person that they really care about, like a child, family member, whatever, they come up to me and then I hear these stories and it helps them to see that I'm authentic. I'm able to be authentic, gives them hope for their kid.

And so actually I, that Ann Arbor show was actually really incredible this past year. I have a lot of stories about it. But one of them, um, was as a result of that, I don't want it, you know, I don't want to out people, but there was someone I have to set up early. If I can because I have a like a two day setup.

Yeah, we're most of like a four hour setup Which I know pisses off artists, but whatever[00:55:00] 

You can set up my double booth with four eight foot pieces 14 feet high And less time than great come on over and help but it takes me two days. And so I have to try to Beg, borrow, steal permission to start a little early. And so, a little nervous about asking for a favor and being super femme. Because when I'm driving, I have to go to truck stops.

I can't be femme and make it out alive, basically. Right. So I have to, I go more punk, because I'm also punk. I go very punk when I'm driving. That's interesting. When we're driving across the whole country, right? I mean, I have to go to Lowe's truck stops. That's my solution to being safe. What if I'm presenting mask all the time?

Because that's a whole discussion is how dangerous what we do is. But so I was really apprehensive, but I was like, well, I, I've been driving and it was a long trip. That's like a 15 day trip or something. Cause a couple of shows all over the country. And so I was like, this is my only chance to be femme.

I'm going super femme regardless, even though I'm scared. And the [00:56:00] person I was meeting from the show to let me in early and get me set up behind the barriers and stuff. They're like, Oh, you know, I have a trans son who I think would really be inspired, would be okay if I bring them by during the show. So I'm coming at it from a scared perspective.

I'm going to, I might lose this relationship. And instead I got an opportunity to help a young person who they have a much higher chance of not making it. So it was this huge. Dang. And not only that was so affirming and rewarding. And so anyway, they brought, I'll just use a different name, maybe, because this is a nationally listened to show, but let's say Sam, they brought Sam by the booth and, uh, when they came in, Sam, they were, they have, they're autistic, they have ADHD and they're trans mask, meaning that they were born female, which would be AFAB assigned female at birth, but they identify as male.

And [00:57:00] in their adolescent, in school, imagine how hard it is, they're about 15. It's a lot to deal with. Exactly, like just being a teenager is hard. Every joint in their body is bent to take up less space. So they come in my booth and they're just like taking as little space as possible. And I'd already been having these weird experiences I was telling you about earlier, where I would talk to people for five minutes and it would change their life.

Which is weird, but it just is what I experience as I go out in the world. And so I was thinking, well, I've never really wanted to help anyone more than Sam. And so I kind of paused for a minute and just kind of. Was thinking about how much I wanted to help Sam and I start crying So I looked up at Sam and I was like say, you know, you and I we have this we have a superpower together and this was so perfect because Teenagers, you know are in superhero movies.

I was like, you know if if we had a superpower where we could bend metal with our eyes [00:58:00] Then no one would know unless they saw us do it. You and I, we have a different kind of superpower that everyone can see. And our superpower is that we choose to live our lives without fear. And so that makes a lot of people really angry because they live their life in fear and they want us to also, but I meet a lot of people as I travel over the country and out of all of those thousands and thousands of people that I meet, the most impressive people that I meet.

Are trans people who grow into their superpower? So sam, I can't wait to see what you do with your superpower And Sam marched out of my booth with their shoulders back, perfectly aramrod straight to go do something with their superpower. 

Will Armstrong: Oh my God. That's amazing. Right? Yeah. What a responsibility too.

Like that's the, you, you have as far as, mean Well that's the opportunity 

Randy Thomae: cost. It is. Like if [00:59:00] I focus on myself and making money and, and Just dress up however I need to dress to make the sales. How many people am I missing like that? Maybe that person's not alive today. Right. 

Douglas Sigwarth: People are called role models for a reason.

As we're growing and developing, we need to look to somebody who we want to emulate, who resonates inside. Right. A path. Yeah. And if. If you hide you, then you don't show the path for somebody else that oh, that's a path that's authentic for me too. So that is, I mean, it's, when you say saving lives, it's not just in your work, which I know your work is going to do that on a large scale.

Just on a day to day basis, you make that opportunity for people. 

Will Armstrong: This has been such an amazing talk and it's it's an important talk so many of the different things that you've said Like I I have said as far as just talking to children but yours is like I I feel like no good can ever come from discouraging a child in the arts and your [01:00:00] Responsibility is so much bigger when you you meet somebody who is challenged With their own identity and they don't know where to take it, you know, all of our responsibility is just to be kind It's so goddamn easy for us as allies That should be that.

Um, maybe we can just be a little kinder going forward and I I cannot thank you enough From the bottom of my heart for coming on and sharing your, your story and, and your path just a little bit of it because I feel like we barely got a glimpse and I think you're going to get a lot of people coming in and talking to you this year.

Uh, so I, uh, apologies in advance for, for all the extra people that want to talk to you, um, going forward, but you're, you're an amazing human. Stay alive. Um, we love you. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Thank you. Thank you so much, Kami. This has been a really meaningful 

Randy Thomae: talk. Wow. Thank you so much. That means a lot to me. I do run on hugs, so if any artists on the trail see me, I'm always [01:01:00] up for a hug.

Awesome. Also, if anyone's able to follow my Instagram, it's very fun. Kami Rahor, C A M M Y R A H O R E. I am trying to spread that visual virus of love and understanding. And so occasionally, If I post a picture of the drag work, it'll say, help me spread the virus. You can share it to your story. That's kind of how 

Douglas Sigwarth: the virus spreads.

And we'll drop that link in the episode notes so you can find it easier. So there you go. Perfect. Wow. Well, all the best to you guys. Thank 

Randy Thomae: you. All right. Thanks guys. See you on the road. 

Will Armstrong: Can't wait to see you. We'll see you in La Quinta or no. 

Randy Thomae: Yeah, a hundred percent. I expect a hug. Absolutely. You'll get one.

All right. This podcast 

Will Armstrong: is brought to you by the National Association of Independent Artists. 

Randy Thomae: The website is NAIAartists. 

Will Armstrong: org. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Also sponsored by Zapplication. That's Zapplication. org. And while you're at it, find us on social media and engage in these 

Randy Thomae: conversations. Be sure to 

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Douglas Sigwarth: [01:02:00] Oh, and if you like the show, we'd love it if you would give us your five star rating and offer up your most creative review on your podcast streaming service. See 

Randy Thomae: you next time.