About the project

When the Fifty Shades of Grey book was all the rage, a variety of ‘Fifty Shades’ projects started to emerge.

We (Esther and Katy) had an idea of our own.

Let’s create a book with fifty stories of local gender non-conforming people, to show how much diversity there is in just one place!

At the time, we wanted to call it Fifty Shades of Trans – until a friend suggested we call it Fifty Shades of Gender instead. When we got over the fact that we wanted it to be one syllable (because we’re pedants), we agreed that they had a point 🙂

Now, don’t make assumptions based on the ‘Fifty Shades’ bit. This is not going to be a book full of whips and sex and red rooms of pain – unless that is part of someone’s story.

What it IS going to be is a collection of stories from people in various places in their gender journey and their experiences with family, relationships, mental health, work, and life in general.

After starting the interviews, Esther thought, why not use the audios rather than just have them transcribed for the book? And so, the idea for the podcast was born.

It’s been a while in coming… The first conversation took place in late 2018. It has been picking up momentum, and the podcast went live in July 2020. (The book? That is still gently marinading in Esther’s head. Turns out, it’s not as simple as just transcribing conversations… But she thinks it will exist – one day.)

We hope you’ll join us on this amazing journey!

About the people behind the project

Picture of Esther drinking a cup of tea out of a mug with Metatron's Cube on it (her design)

Esther Lemmens


Project Co-creator.
Podcast Founder & Host.
Graphic that reads 'congratulations Esther Lemmens, you have been nominated for the 2021 Positive Role Model Award for the National Diversity Awards (in the LGBT+ category, which is not on the graphic)
I was honoured to be nominated for the 2021 Positive Role Model Award in the LGBT+ category of the National Diversity Awards

Hello! I’m Esther, Queer Mystic – a creator, artist, budding writer, podcaster, gentle activist, truth seeker, and all-round magical creature. Generally non-conforming, I love to refer to myself as a ‘rebel with a cause’.

My motto is “do YOUR thing, YOUR way”, and I passionately believe that authentic, unapologetic and at times radical self-expression is the most important gift we can give to ourselves – and to the world.

I’m also (cis)queer, pansexual, non-monogamous, neurodivergent, and dedicated to being the best gender-diverse ally I can be.

I used to say “I don’t do politics.” What I mean by that is that as a highly sensitive person and empath, I didn’t know HOW to ‘do’ politics in a way that didn’t affect my wellbeing in a negative way.

I can only describe politics in the media as a tennis match of hate. I don’t even want to be in the audience, let alone take part in the game. And as an introvert, being on the front lines, going to demos etc, isn’t my bag, either.

Then I realised, it’s ok to find my own way. We’re not all meant to be on the front lines. We need people in other places too. In ALL places. And no matter how many rallies we go to, if we don’t stand up for ourselves and others in day-to-day situations, it doesn’t mean much anyway.

So this is MY way of ‘doing politics’ in a positive and empowering way that feels aligned to me.

I don’t believe in “giving people a voice.” Most people already have a voice. But I do believe in providing a platform for authentic, unapologetic – and even radical – self-expression.

I want to make those voices heard as far and wide as possible.

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

Albert Camus


We all have opinions about gender. But there is a time to talk, and a time to hand over the mic. Listening to people telling their stories has been eye-opening as well as heart-opening for me, and I hope it will be for you, too. I never thought I’d be an activist after all.

Everything is political. Authentic self-expression is radical. Let’s start a revolution.

On 22 April 2022, I became a published – and best-selling! – author 🙂

Image of the Sacred Redesign book cover and a picture of Esther, with the text 'Sacred Redesign' and 'available on Amazon now'

In my chapter, I share how conversations with trans, non-binary and other gender-diverse folks has really opened my eyes to see the assumptions that we make about ourselves as well as other people, and it has helped me rediscover who I really am and now I feel like I can’t wait to enter this next phase of my life more empowered than ever before.

Sacred Redesign: How to free yourself from society’s standards and create heaven on earth is available on Amazon as an ebook and paperback now.

Get it here: US | UK | AU | CA | DE | FR | ES | IT | NL | JP | BR | MX | IN

Picture of Katy Jon Went on a rainbow background

Katy Jon Went


Project Co-creator.
Project Consultant.
Podcast Guest Host.

Katy is a public speaker and educator on gender, identity, sexuality, mental health, human rights, diversity and inclusion. They have taught on the history and variety of gender expression as a guest lecturer at various universities. They’ve been the subject of BBC and independent documentaries and interviews and have spoken at arts and WOW festivals, and TEDx.

They were part of the Queer Britain TV series and have been filmed for the Queer Britain Museum project. For many years they served on their local Norwich Pride committee, LGBT History Month, and were part of Stonewall’s engagement with identities beyond LGB.

For many years via GenderAgenda they have trained on gender diversity and founded support groups for trans and non-binary people and their families.

They are the UK Coordinator of the Human Library which creates safe spaces to ask curious and engaging questions of diverse people and they chair the Respectful Conversations series on toxic and taboo topics (gender, Brexit, free speech, the planet, representation etc) and try to keep an even hand moderating panels and difficult discussions.

Support us

Your gifts and donations help us keep this podcast going, keep it advert free, create more resources for learning (like courses and workshops), and pay for subscriptions, transcripts, and many other things we need. Thank you!

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