In Conversation:

Trans* Creative Collective

by Julian Prentis, May Robson
23 May 2022

In the coming months Ten87 will be hosting an exciting series of events led by the newly formed Trans* Creative Collective - co-founded by studio favourite Charlie Deakin-Davies, record/mix engineer Max Blue Churchill, visual producer Nelly Rodrigues and music producer Jesley Faye.

All four have taken ownership of the need for better resources and representation for the trans, non-binary and LGBTQ+ community in their respective creative industries and established TCC as a safe space and platform for like-minded creatives to truly express themselves.

The TCC use the term Trans* as an umbrella term that refers to many identities within the gender identity spectrum, including, but not limited to non-binary people, trans women, trans men, gender fluid people, essentially anyone who identifies outside of being cis-gendered.

Ahead of their first live event, we sat down with Charlie, Max and Nelly to talk about what The TCC stands for, their journey so far, and the shape of things to come.

Jules:

Hey! Could you start by introducing yourselves?

Max:

My name's Max, my pronouns are he/him. I’m a recording and mix engineer, and co-founder of The TCC. Within The TCC I have been working on event ideas, connecting Trans* creators, and community outreach.

Nelly:

I'm Nelly, my pronouns are they/them. I’m a non-binary filmmaker, also working in radio. I focus on getting marginalized people involved with big names, because it's great to say, we support you and then it's another thing to actually do it. I focus on doing it.

Charlie:

I'm Charlie, my pronouns are they/them. I'm a record producer/writer and engineer as well, like Max. Within The TCC I’ve been involved in organising things generally - I collaborate with everyone and oversee what's happening to make sure our ideas get launched.

Jules: 

Can you tell us a bit about the collective, what does TCC stand for?

All:

Trans* Creative Collective!

Charlie: 

Last year during trans visibility, Max said “Charlie, it's Trans Day Of Visibility. We should do something”. I was like, “Why don't we do a documentary with Abbey road?" and then we did and it was amazing! We brought in a production crew, including Nelly and Jesley, and we filmed a documentary about trans visibility. From doing this, it sparked this whole other idea, and we suddenly realized there was a massive community that we didn't know was there, so we decided to do something about it. We spent about eight months developing the concept behind The TCC. A lot of really long zoom meetings! We ended up managing to launch this year.

What The TCC is to me, is a community of creative people who are often marginalised from certain groups and events - the goal is to create a totally accessible and welcoming space for our community. The collective is also very action based rather than just an online community, which is amazing. 

Nelly: 

All the conversations we were having when making the documentary played a major part in me coming out. From the moment I met you all I felt like I had a voice, I have a platform that you’ve brought me onto, which is now The TCC. And it's been a year since then! I feel like so much personal growth has happened.

Max:

As a trans guy who is trans masculine presenting, I went to a lot of events where I felt there wasn't enough trans representation. I remember saying to Charlie, “It would be really cool to see someone like us on panels” and then Charlie was like, “Max, I think it's gonna have to be you!”. The TCC is a space in which I feel I can be myself, and now I feel I can also inspire others, giving back to a place I've taken so much from.

Jules:

That’s so great. Do you feel like things are moving forward in terms of trans* inclusivity in the creative industry or do you feel it’s still an ongoing challenge? 

Nelly:

I can only talk from a video perspective, but it's a challenge. The company I work for is the biggest of its kind in Europe, and the LGBTQ+ people I come across, they all either work in makeup or talent - the more glam roles. When it comes to the production team, I am sometimes the only black person there, let alone the only non-binary person - hello, unicorn! I had this joke about it with the head of my company, where I said, “I'm a unicorn in this environment. I'm a black, asian, non binary child of a first generation immigrant”. But it feels very lonely in those spaces. 

Max: 

Having a network of trans* identifying people creates a safe space where you don't have to deal with issues of being misgendered - which is what happens a lot. Having this sort of community is also a really good way of getting people from the outside to understand, and for normalizing gendering people correctly, because it should be normal.

Jules: 

Can you talk about your upcoming events and what you hope will lead the change that needs to happen? 

Charlie: 

Women’s events tagging non-binary onto the end of the description is not enough. It's too much to assume that an all female led event will know enough about the requirements of the trans* community. So our events will exist as a celebration of the previous events that have come before us, such as 2% Rising and Redbull and NormalNotNovelty, but we’re creating a version that people in our community can come to in a space where they feel completely understood. With The TCC community you're not being misgendered or being grouped in as ‘ladies’. We want to educate people in the community too. If you want to run events that are trans* and non-binary inclusive, then here is a really good example of how to do it well, and we want to help.

Max:

It feels so vital that events for the LGBTQ+ community are hosted by people who have shared experience. The limitations sometimes encountered as a trans* identifying person are very specific. For example, there's been parts of my career that I've had to tweak because of surgeries. How do you navigate those things? It's just little conversations about things like this that will bring the community closer together. Since we launched The TCC, we’ve had many people reach out wanting to talk about their experiences, so by hosting events, this means that people have a place to talk openly about more sensitive topics in a safe space, as well as sharing in our creativity. 

Jules: 

What has the initial response been like? And what are you hoping to see happen in the future?

Charlie: 

The way we pitched it was that The TCC is a safe space for trans* creators and allies, and after we launched it was clear there was a demand for it. We now have a collection of other people that are keen to do anything they can to help The TCC grow. It’s overwhelming because we've all experienced lots of discrimination, all in different capacities. I remember we were talking about this - it was scary - the thought of doing the first launch and thinking, "are we going to get any backlash?" We didn't know if we were just suddenly gonna get an influx and all of our social accounts doxed - and that was just a risk that we agreed to take. 

Since then, we have only had positive responses, you know, tens of thousands of views on our first few posts! The only negative response was on TikTok - someone reported our video and our account got shadow banned - I got it appealed - but we’ve seen our views massively capped since then. 

Nelly: 

I have already been doxed for being black - being black and trans, I’m worried that could happen again, but I know that I have a good community behind me now. I’ve had to learn how to deal with discrimination myself, so I want people to have access to legal information to know what their rights are. There are trans* and trans* ally lawyers out there that want to support us.

Charlie: 

One of the core reasons why we launched The TCC is the directory. It’ll include producers, artists, solicitors, managers, A&R’S, and so on. It already exists, but it would be amazing to improve and expand it further, and basically create a green list for the music industry. People can go on this list, find trans* and trans* ally creators, who are skilled and understand what's going on creatively right now.

We are so excited here at Ten87 to be partnered with The TCC, and can’t wait for what the future holds. Thank you so much to Max, Nelly and Charlie for chatting with us about the project.

The Trans* Creative Collective's first showcase event is happening here at Ten87 on the 5th February, the event is free and tickets are available here. Until then go and check out their Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.