Aquaman Does More Than Talk to Fish! With Michael Hamm
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 3 years ago

Aquaman Does More Than Talk to Fish! With Michael Hamm

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Even though you might not be a cosplayer yourself, we all dress up and play make-believe, whether it’s doing drag or just dressing up for a party or even pretending you’re going to yoga on your Instagram story when really you’re going to Denny’s for Moons Over My-Hammy. Speaking of Hammy … My guest today designs, creates and dresses up in costumes professionally. In the past, he’s transformed into Robin, Aquaman, Gambit from the X-Men, the Green Lantern, and Captain America. The list goes on and on. But even though it sounds like all fun and games, traveling the world dressing up as your favorite superheroes isn’t always a dream. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s usually a dream. Stick around, and we’ll hear all about the ups and downs of being a pro cosplayer in the age of Instagram and Patreon. Be sure to follow Michael on IG. Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Sebastian Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

STRAWUT media. Even though you might not be a cosplayer yourself, we all dress up and playmate believe, whether it's doing drag or just dressing up for a party, or even pretending you're going to yog on your instagram story when really you're going to denny's for moons over my Hammy. Speaking of Hammy, my guest today designs, creates and dresses up in costumes professionally. In the past he's transformed into Robin Aquaman, Gambit from the X men, the green lantern and Captain America. The list goes on and on. But even though it sounds like all fun and games, traveling the world dressing up is your favorite superheroes isn't always a dream. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's usually a dream. Stick around and we'll hear all about the ups and downs of being a pro cosplayer in the age of instagram and Patreon. I'M LEA by Chambers, and this is pride. It's not every day you meet someone young, Queer, super funny, super athletic and attractive, into cats and also a total nerd and honestly, if any country is going to give us a person like that, it's going to be Canada? Yeah, sure, my name is Michael Ham and I'm a Canadian based COSPLAYER, model, social media influencers type things, I guess. You know, Geek, nerd, loser, whatever word you want to use, and I feel like I'd be letting everyone down not to also mention that I'm a huge cat enthusiast. So that's that's who I am. When he's not posting about his cats on his instagram, Michael is traveling the world, attending conventions and creating costumes. For Michael, dressing up has always been a big part of his life, basically for as long as he can remember. Throughout his childhood, he jumped on any and all opportunities to dress up. Halloween was like the best time of my life, but even that was never enough. I would find literally any excuse I could dress up. So if it was like Pajama Day at school, I wouldn't just wear like flannel pajamas, I would wear basically spider man pants and then a spider man shirt and feel like I was spider man. We would even have like these student like student assemblies, and I would try and find excuses to wear costumes to them. So I would buy costumes from like thrift stores of like Batman and just wear them to the assembly and just be kind of a goof. I remember actually I went when I was in high school. I joined Student Council because I knew that would allow me to have a lot more opportunities to dress up, because I would be the one in charge of running all of the student assemblies and running all of the Pajama days and like taking care of all of that stuff. But even then like that was just me and a costume. I didn't know what cosplay was and I've been going to conventions for about ten years now, but it wasn't until two thousand and three that I finally got the nerve to coseplay. I had seen people in costumes everywhere. I had, you know, been going to these conventions for years and I really loved the idea of Cosplay, even if I didn't know that there was a word for it, because just the the idea of seeing these superheroes doing the most mundane things was so hilarious to me. But I never had the nerve to do it because, going back to the high school stuff, like I did, get made fun of a lot when I dressed up in these costumes, but I knew I was always in a safe space and I was on student council and I had all my friends around me, but the idea of doing this in a place where I didn't know anyone was terrifying. So I just avoided it for years and years and years, and then one day I was at a Halloween Party and a costume that I made and there was someone there who caused played professionally and he...

...asked me if I caused played and I said no, I was too scared, and he essentially took me under his wing, help me make like an entire set of armor and then drag me to our local convention and I wore what is the sensibly a cosplay for the first time in front of strangers and I absolutely fell in love with it almost immediately. The most agreed upon origin story of the word cosplay is that the term was coined by Japanese director and producer no but Yuki Takahashi af he attended the one thousand nine hundred and eighty four world science fiction convention in Los Angeles. Later he wrote about the elaborate costumes that fans wore at the convention in an article for the Japanese magazine my anime. He couldn't find a word that accurately described what he saw there, especially one that would work in English and in Japanese, so he made up a new one. The word cosplay is Portmanteau of costume and play. In Japanese the word is ghost put a. One of the most significant differences between North American cosplay and Japanese cosplay is the performance aspect. Michael finds opportunities for both. It depends on the character and it depends on the situation. So, for example, if I'm getting photos taken, I love to sort of embody the character just because it helps me hit the poses that I need to pote like, hit the poses I need to be in to create like a dynamic photo. But when I'm just walking around, I'm not in character the whole time. If I'm Robin, I'm not, you know, asking where Batman is two strangers. I'm trying to just be myself as much as I can. But then there are other situations where, if there are kids around or kids are asking for a photo, I love to sort of get into character. So the exact example, you know, if a kid comes up to me, I'm just as Robin. I might you know. I'm more apt to want to ask, have you seen Batman anywhere? Like we need to go get him. We got to watch out for the joker and really like in body that character. So it depends on the situation. I I like to be me because I like to be me, but sometimes it's fun to sort of get lost in the character and and really step into the role playing part of cosplay. So why do you think? I mean there's a lot of lgbtq people who are drawn to cosplay. Why do you think that is? I think anime is also really popular within the queer community. Yeah, I mean it's a pretty great community, both the LGBTQ and the cosplay community. I don't know. For me, I think the idea of like hiding is something that's sort of ingrained in the queer community and cosplay for me is like a really great escaped sort of step out of who I am, and you know, that was that was one thing. So at my first convention, I, you know, I wasn't me, I was Robin. I wasn't Mike, I was robin and I you know, people were going hey, robin, he can I get a picture, and I was. I got to step into this escape and I think escapism is something that, especially when you're younger you're coming to terms with who you are, is something that can be very enticing. It's a community made up of Geeks who feel marginalized and I think that that makes it feel a bit more like a safe space, almost the opposite, I guess, to what I was saying earlier, like how it allows you to sort of escape. I think it also lets members of the lgbtq truly the kind of like find themselves. So men can dresses women, women can dresses, men, we can all dress as aliens. Gender and and skin color and things that sort of make us feel marginalized tend to fade away in the cosplay community. We all just kind of become ourselves and I guess we also become the characters, but it it's a really safe place to go and sort of dip your toes into a world and become comfortable with who you are. Do you consider cosplay a form of drag?...

HMM, this is I've definitely thought about this way too much. It's a really confusing situation. I think there's a lot in common. Both are transformations. Both can include, you know, becoming a character, over the top wigs. Both have outfits that are a bit intense. Both can involve makeup. Like there's there's a lot of cross over there, but I just feel like drag is more someone in drag is this is their other persona, as opposed to maybe a character, and then that persona could cause play if they choose to write. Like I guess the best example I have is Fifi O'Hara from rupaul's drag race. She's this really well known drag queen who also cause plays. She's done the joker Jesse for pokemon. I think he's done like a few rug rats and and a ton more. But fiefy as as a man out of drags, name is Jeremy. So I don't know if I would say that Jeremy Cause plays as much as fee feet cosplays. That said, I think cosplay can also be drag. So if I decide I want to be wonder woman, I can either do a masculine male version of wonder woman or I can sort of go all out and I can go with the heels, in the wig, in the makeup and you know, at that point it my couslay has turned into drag. It's I don't know, it's a pretty confusing topic because again, I think cosplay can be whatever you want it to be. So, like, I even feel weird telling like saying that maybe fee fee isn't cause or Jeremy isn't cause playing in Fifi's cosplaying, because it's not up to me what their style of cosplay is or when they feel that they're cause playing. But I think there's an incredible amount of crossover. It's kind of undeniable. I just think that they're definitely distinct entities that sort of venn diagram themselves, if that makes any sense. Cosplay offers people the ability to explore who they are without bounds, especially as it relates to gender. But no surprise, comic book conventions are still a haven for straights, just gender white dudes. There's a lot of Uber Masculinity in the air. A few years ago, Michael waited in line for a photo with Stephen Emel, the Canadian actor who played Green Arrow on the CW superhero series Arrow. When he got to the front, he he asked even if they could take a picture holding hands. Well, I think what's interesting is I think as as welcoming as the cosplay community is and as well come as the Geek community is, I think it's important to recognize that a majority of the Geek community is still sort of sis gendered white men, like sis gendered straight white men. It makes up such a huge part of the Geek community that it'll never be without this sort of negative aspect to it. Like, of course, I think there are people in line who were probably when I was getting my photo of even a mail who were laughing at me as opposed to with me at kind of the joke. And you know, there's even some sort of toxic masculinity in the idea of when I asked him to hold hands, he wanted to do it in like a tough kind of way right, like he he wasn't comfortable enough to like hold my hand in a cute, fun way, and I don't know if that's just I I don't know, maybe I'm jumping the gun here, but like I feel like there are moments where I can be very butch and look very masculine and he sort of sussed out the situation and thought, well, you know, this guy probably wants to like look tough, like he looks like a tough guy, and that wasn't my idea. But that sort of transcends into geek culture, the idea of like, you know, even when it comes to costumes and like maybe fitness, like working out and stuff like that, like you have to be tough, you have to be strong, you have to be whatever. And Yeah, I think there's definitely, like I said, there's definitely home of...

...phobia that comes from outside, I think the cosplay community that still exists in the Geek community. I mean talking about Star Wars. Look at how when the PO and thin stuff was coming out and everyone was shipping them, there was this huge backlash of people who were like that's ridiculous, like stopped trying to push your gay agenda on the Star Wars movie, as if these people who live thousands of years in the future could not possibly be a gay couple. So yeah, there's there's still a lot of that, but I do tend to push it off and brush it off and not really care. I was happy that he even said yes, because he could have said now totally. When I saw that photo I thought that too. But I agree with you on you know that he was like, let's do it in a tough way. And it's interesting coming from Stephen because one of his first acting roles was on Dante's cove, where he I think he did I think he was naked in some of those scenes, and it's a super gay show. So I did find that a little bit interesting because it's like well, now, back then he was fine being naked, but now he's a superhero, it's a little different. So I agree with you because I could kind of see that too. But it is a great photo and I could see why. I, like you said, seeing you, he's like, Oh, this dude wants to do like a you know, we're heroes together kind of photo. Right, right, let's hold hands like Superhero let's do it like superheroes, not like boyfriends. It's no, no, no, no, God, no, was it? How did what made you want to do that photo and how did it go? You asked him like did you just walk up there and be like can we hold hands? I mean yes, actually, I have like pretty intense anxiety, so whenever I have a photo with a celebrity, I'm planning for like days before what I'm going to say to them, how I'm going to act what type of photo I want, and I just wanted something a little silly because I think he's such the character he plays on the show on Arrow is such the STOIC, strong masculine man. I thought it would be really funny to have just like a little cute moment. I was very nervous about doing this, so I just approached and I was like high and nice to meet you. I know this sounds strange, but would you mind if we just held hands for the picture? And he was like, Oh yeah, like totally, like we can like hold hands and we'll just like looked like flex and look tough, and I was like yeah, yeah, that exactly. Let's do that. And then the picture happened. When you do these photops, you get like four seconds, right, they pull you in, they go three, two, one, take the picture, next, two, one, take the picture next. So once he I don't even I probably blacked out, but once he suggested something different, I just said yes because I was like I'm not going to say no and try and fix this. Yeah, it would have been hard and it split second to be like actually, let me set the scene for you. We're on our way back from getting rice cream it's a very room. Were actually on a board Wot, it's dark. Yeah, it would have been tough. Yeah, but and honestly, I don't know if maybe in a different circumstance he wouldn't have done that, you know, because I'm sure there is some level of he has to take photos with hundreds of people that day and most of them are SIS, gender straight white dudes who want to look cool and tough, right, and I actually remember, like I remember watching all the people going before me and there's all these dudes and they like they're all like, you know, doing the the handshakere like hold hands up and you're like flexed, or like the finger points to each other or the like. You know, all these like grow really foolish poses. Yeah, and so I was like, I can't do this, I can't, I can't, and I don't know, I think you might have found it refreshing, honestly, or at least that's the story I tell myself in my head after we got off the boardwalk. Over the years, Michael built a strong fan base on Patreon. If you're not familiar, patreon is a website where...

...creators of all kinds can set up sort of a membership system with their fans. In exchange for a monthly subscription, fans get access to exclusive content, gifts and anything else the artist decides. It's a platform focused on helping creators keep on creating. Now Michael has more than nine hundred people supporting him every month through Patreon. I think the the highest moment for me in sort of my cosplay career was when I started my patreon, honestly, because it was this new platform that I had never heard of and I didn't know what it was and it was essentially something that I was I assumed I would have failed miserably at. I thought, you know, why would anyone want to pay money to see my costumes or to see what I do or to get sneak peeks at anything? But I was I was, I don't know, feeling myself. So I decided to set one up and I just remember the first day setting one up, that like ten people signed up for it and I was like, Oh my God, these people. You know, even at two dollars, people are paying two dollars a month to get sneak peeks at my costumes and over that month it grew and it grew in a crew and there was like a hundred people and I couldn't believe that anyone in the world would want to do this and I was continually getting reassured the people did. And after a month I realized that I couldn't do it, I. I I couldn't give the people what they wanted and I was letting everyone down. So I wrote a big post that was basically like hey, I don't think this is going to work out. Thank you so much, everybody, and all of these messages just came pouring in about how they were here to support me and they were here to support my art and, you know, even if I didn't have anything immediately to give them like, they would stand to buy me and this sort of, I don't know, love and compassion from strangers pushed me to try harder and inevitably I actually ended up quitting my job so that I would have time to make costumes and to create content for, you know, Patreon and instagram and facebook and all of that. And I think the moment where I quit my job and said to my boss, no, I can't work here anymore, I'm going to dress up in costumes full time was the highest, if not just like the craziest moment of my life. Realizing that this was something I could do full time changed my life. It's it's helped me come out of my shell, it's helped me be more creative, it's helped me see a different side of myself and of my friends and of my family that I just never expected. So I don't know, taking this plunge was was such a huge moment for me, and that was two thousand and fifteen and I've been doing this full time ever since and I just I don't know, every every day I wake up and I still see that there are people out there supporting me. I just sort of shake my head and still don't understand it, but I'm very thankful. Yeah, because at that point right it's like I just looked at your patreon. It's not about whether they give you two dollars or four hundred dollars or what. It is, it's that you can see six hundred people who believe in whatever it is you create and are willing to support you doing it. That is kind of magical when you think about at it it is, and I say that to people you know, people who are even on there already and they're just sort of like hey, I can't support anymore, like at whatever level I'm at, like I wish you all the best and I just say you can, you can make up your own donation amount and I tell them, I say even just change it to to one cent, change it to ten cents. It's not about your money, it's about the fact that you're here. It's about the fact that, like, I'm creating this content for people. I want this content to be seen. So just knowing that you are supporting...

...me in any way and that you still want to be a part of this, this family is is really important to me. So, yeah, it's it's really not about the money. It's about seeing how many people are like here to help you reach your dreams. Essentially, the other side of having nearly a thousand supporters on Patreon and doing cosplay as a career is that inevitably the thing you love becomes your job and the stress of continually performing for people and delivering what they're paying for is a lot of pressure. It's just this this nagging anxiety that, by causeplaying full time, I'm going to fall out of love with it, and there are moments where it creeps into my head and I sort of give up on everything and I get very, very down on myself and I go into these deark holes of self loathing and thinking that nothing I do is good enough and thinking that, you know, people don't actually care about my cost hums. All they care about is is my body, and thinking that people don't care about my body anymore, thinking that I'm getting older and that this isn't going to work out. And Yeah, it's it's this idea of always just I'm waiting for the end. I always tell people, oh, by this time next year I won't be causplaying anymore, so it doesn't matter. And it's just this feeling that sits there and it's not one low. It's a low that comes back all the time and I'm trying to find ways to combat it. I'm trying to surround myself with positive people. I'm trying to sort of become more confident in who I am as a person as opposed to maybe a brand, you know, coming to love Mike rather than trying to love Michael. But it's something that never goes away, ever since I started doing this full time. Even looking around my room and seeing unfinished projects, they just Nag and they pick away you and they tell you that you're not good enough and I throw parts of costumes in the garbage because I don't think they're good enough. But other people would probably, you know, pay money to have these costume parts and it's something that I'm yeah, I'm it's it's something that I'm getting over slowly, but I'm also very realistic in the fact that it won't last forever. What is it that makes you go now? I'm not giving up. I'm going to keep going, keep making stuff, keep doing it. Honestly, it's my friends. I surround myself with likeminded people. My best friends are cosplayers and photographers and they are always there for me. They're always motivating me to keep going. My friend Sean is is like my rock. You know, anytime I hate my body or I hate a costume, he's always there to tell me that it you know, I only hate it because it's me. I only hate it because it's a thing I put effort into and everyone else is going to love it. And he's always pushing me to come into the studio and shoot things and he's always pushing me to get new costumes done and have new content and you know my friends Dan, courtn and Kyle. They are all couse players and they're always wanting to go to conventions and when you go to conventions you need new costumes and they're always motivating me and pushing me to step out of my comfort zone. You know, I'm I'm learning to sew in different ways that I wasn't sewing before because of them. I'm learning better tips and tricks with foam and I just try and surround myself with these incredible people and just remember that, like it's not just me I'm letting down, but I'm letting down all of my friends as well, right, and so I use that I use that energy. Friendship is indispensable. When you're down or when you don't feel good about yourself, remember that your friends think you're really cool...

...and they love you. When we come back, we'll talk with Michael About Instagram, sex, aquaman and a bunch of other random stuff. Maybe it's obvious to you that Michael Ham is not really nightwing, even though he looks exactly like him. But in addition to the make believe and dress up of cosplay, there's a lot of performance on Instagram, even without the costumes and it's important for Michael to remind his followers every now and then that instagram isn't exactly real life. I think there's a there's a mix there of, you know, being goofy, being funny, but also being proud of the hard work you've put into your costume or being proud of the hard work that you've put into shaping your body and into being healthy or to trying a new diet or lifestyle. But I just don't feel like I just don't feel like I'm being true to myself all the time. So when I do post things on Instagram, I've done a couple posts, whether they be unedited selfies or, you know, true looks at what my body looks like when I'm not a couple weeks out from a photo shoot, where I just want to make make it known that what you see on Instagram isn't at all real and there's thing wrong with that. Like, I'm not here to knock people who use face tune or people who photoshop XYZ. Sure there's an argument to be made that like your kind of promoting a negative culture around body image, but I think as long as you're open and honest about it, then it's it's much less of a deal because, I don't know, people are allowed to look how they want to look. So if someone wants to go get breasts implants, they're allowed to go get breast implants and we can't just tell them that by them getting breast implants they're contributing to a negative stereotype of women's bodies. And I feel the SA way about photoshop and fasting. So I'm not trying to knock those things per se, but I think you do need to be real with people and and let them know that, like the way I look in these photos is not achievable every day. You just you can't. You can't just be I mean you can, but it's probably not a healthy way to live. And so it's very important to me that people realize that this is part of my job, is is to look like this. I love going to the gym. It's sort of like my happy place. Putting my headphones in for an hour and a half and listening to great music and and doing something I enjoy is is a great like it's the best time of my day. But that's not why I cause play right. That's I don't or that's not I don't go to the gym so that I can cosplay. I don't go to the gyms that I can be a thirst trap, although in all honesty, they do sort of circle around each other. Right. I recognize that I wouldn't have this career if I wasn't as fit as I was, and I'm very thankful that I have this career. But I'm smart enough to recognize that, like a large part of that is my appearance in these costumes and out of these costumes, because so much of Michael's content is shirtless selfies, not that anyone is complaining. He gets a lot of offers from underwear subscription services and brands like Andrew Christian asking him to promote their products. One of the things I make sure to do is I always go through their instagram and then I have this sort of copy and pasted email response that I send to them that's basically like hi, thank you so much for your interest. I've noticed that on your instagram account, the majority of your models are fit white. You know, whatever, if I'd love to work with you,...

...but before doing so I'd like to see a bit more diversity. If you can, you know, find a few more POC's or you can find, you know, some different body shapes. I would love to work with you guys, but until then I have to decline because I and then the bottom is like basically a really preachy like I don't want to contribute to blah blah, blah, blah, Blah Blah Blah. So it's something that's actually really, really important to me. It's just hard to work around when it's also your job. I suppose Michael Doesn't actually follow a lot of super sexy shirtless Selfie instagram accounts like his own, unless they're his friends. It may come as a surprise, but when he's out of character, he's not running around shirtless and snapping selfies. It's just part of the game. Cosplay and and sex are so deeply intertwined at this point where, unfortunately, the only way you can be a professional cause player is to have, you know, sex in some way intertwined into it. If you look at any of the top cause players, they all have their boudoir stuff, their lude stuff there whatever, and it just sucks because the only way that you can the only way that you can make a living out of it is to do that part and it's almost like I don't like being a thirst trap when I go to the gym, because I like going to the gym, but even when I go to like the beach, I wear a t shirt the entire time because I'm so embarrassed of having my shirt off like this all spurs from like when I was a kid and I was Chubby and whatever. But even now, like I don't take my shirt off when I'm at pools, I don't take my shirt off when I'm at the beach. It's not who I am. So having these like shirtless photos of me pretending that I'm sexy and trying to give bedroom eyes to a nonexistent person is so surreal to me and not at all who I am. But I know that it's it's part of the marketing. Like if I don't do it, then I don't get to cosplay full time, I don't get to do what I love, and so there's this idea of throwing away who you are so that you can kind of get the career that you want or continue following your passion. And that's not to say I'm not an overly sexual part well, I'm not. I'm not an overly sexual person. But you know, they're on every February on patreon. I do like a lude month and it really gives me a chance to sort of dabble in in my sex appeal and see if it's something I'm interested in and if it's, you know, if I feel any different than I did the previous year. But posting sexy photos and it's been making me feel a bit more confident. But yeah, that's it's basically like I don't like thirst traps. I just recognize it as part of the game and so I don't follow thirst traps. So let me gets. I know them personally. Okay, God, so let me know. Let me get this straight. So you're totally fine, like cosplaying as Aquaman, like totally shirtless coming out of the sea, but then you go to the pool and you put a shirt on and you get the water. Yeah, at one hundred percent, absolutely, because it is not Michael Ham walking around shirtless, it's Aquaman walking around shirtless. Michael Ham is embarrassed to walk around shirtless. Aquaman has no problem with it. I aquaman is probably the costume for me that I resignate the most with, just because aquaman himself as a character was, and you will probably know this, always the character getting like shit on the most for being the most useless character in the Justice League, like it was such a big joke, right, he could only talk to fish. Why is he in the Justice League with superband and Batman and wonder woman when all he can do is talk to fish? And that character always resonated with me. I always felt like...

...the Aquaman in any group and it always felt like my duty, when cause playing Aquaman, to make him seem cool, to make him seem tough, to make people fall in love within and I think, actually I think the movie did a great job of that by using Jason Moa. But yeah, Aquaman is always been the character where I was like, Oh, you're the loser that no one believes in, but like, you are extremely powerful and and you are worthy to be in the Justice League. No one knows it yet, though. I mean they did give him like more. He has a lot like, yes, he talks to fish, but he's also like a Badass, like he jumps out of a plane and just rolls across the sand, you know what I mean, like I think they be bringing up a little bit. They did make him a lit I think well, that's exactly like they'd made him a little Douchey, but that's fine for me. Aquaman was. Yeah, he was just as loser and it was always like people didn't understand that. Like he could. He could kick super band's Ass, like his strength is incredible. And Yeah, anyway, I can do a whole podcast on just that. It's just just him, just Aquaman, just the whole Aquaman podcast. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on who you're talking to, pride isn't a podcast all about aquamant. It's a podcast about celebrating brilliant people in the Lgbtq plus community and I like to ask my guests about their coming out story. I mean, I don't really have a big coming out story honestly, like I've never even really come out in the traditional sense of coming out. You know, it's not that I think my queerness is something I hide, but it's never been something that I've sort of shouted from the rooftops. It's strange because it's it's not something that I wear on my sleeve very much because, well, I don't know, because the people I choose to love or find attractive doesn't really matter much to me. And like it doesn't really matter much to my identity. In all honesty, I think it matters much more to everyone else, like I know I feel. But there's this sort of insatiable thirst for people to shove you in a category, like they need to know if you're an L, you'RE A G, you'R be your tea. They need to put you in that box. But I guess also, like I guess, on the flip side, I do recognize the need for sort of queer visibility right like that's where I kind of get torn apart. My story is mine to l in the way that I choose to tell it. But as a person in a position of like in a privilege position and who, as an audience, is it is it my duty to share my sexuality with the world, you know, is it my duties share the sexuality with the world so that people will see me and feel more comfortable with themselves? Maybe, I don't know. I mean it's not like me telling the world that I'm gay would surprise many people, I feel. But yeah, some of my previous guests have said that coming out is sometimes more for everyone else than for yourself. You're kind of expected to choose a label and labels aren't for everyone. I asked my goal if he still identifies as gay and he said no, not exactly. It's difficult because there have been times in my life where I have been like one hundred percent certain I'm gay, but there have been times early on in my life where I was one hundred percent certain I was straight, and it always kind of went back and forth for me. But the majority of my life I've actually been rather confused myself about how I choose to identify. It's kind of sad to hear a grown man say that out loud, but you know, there was one point where for very long time I identified a sexually. Sex was just something I had absolutely no interest in and it felt kind of weird. I didn't really want people to know because, well, I don't know, I already felt like people only like me because of my body. So if they weren't...

...going to be able to sleep with me, I just felt like they would never want me at all. So keeping the ASEXUALITY a secret was important to me because I felt like it was the only way I would ever actually get into a relationship. But it was actually sort of during this time that I realized that you know, maybe gender didn't really matter to me, like if I wasn't fucking anyone, then what they had between their legs or in their pants didn't really matter. What I needed with some of that, you know, good old fashioned emotional connection. I wouldn't say that I still identify a sexually. So sorry, mom, I do have sex, but I would say that gender doesn't really play much of a role in my love life. I don't I don't really know what to call it. Is it pansexual? Is it bisexual? Is it demisexual? Should I just say that like I'm a four point five out of six on the Kinsey scale? I don't know. I guess that doesn't really answer the question, but I mean, I guess it kind of explains why I find it so much easier to just say nothing at all. I just kind of want someone in my life who will make me happy as she's as that sounds. And Yeah, whoever that is doesn't really matter to me. So sorry for the long winded answer. That doesn't really answer your question, but I feel like rather than saying one box I gave, I gave a few boxes that could be checked off and if anyone figures out, you know what I am. I would love to know so that I could I can finally tell myself how I feel. But yeah, so if you could hook up with one of your characters, which one would it be? Look, okay, this is an awkward answer because they're also a real person. So, Oh, I don't need any judgment. But the Blue Power Ranger, and I don't necessarily mean like the actor, but like the character. When I used to watch power rangers, I just like thought he was so amazing, and he was, I found out later, like he's just so my type, like he was nerdy, he had the glasses, he were the overalls, which are cool again, and I just I don't know, being a a young man and sort of seeing a teenager was always, you know, you felt a little it felt a little naughty, I suppose. Oh, this is the worst answer to this question. I'm so sorry. No, it's good, that's funny, it's but it's weird because, like it's weird because like now I'm not a teenager, like I'm a grownass man. He's still a teenager. So I feel like that shouldn't be the answer, because the blue power ranger will forever be a teenager. Yeah, I don't you're talking about Lel Lily right, is like that's the power range. Yeah, okay, yeah, billy the Blue Power Ranger. Yeah, sorry, to me there's only one blue power ranger. I know there's like nine, but when I was a kid on the playground I was always like I'm the pink ranger because Kimberly does ariels and backflips and has a lot of really great catch phrases, so I'll be that one. So that was always my Goto. I would let I mean looking actufy, cause played as the Pink Ranger, I would be a big ass kimberly because I'm like six feet tall, so I would be a massive kimberly. But still, it's fine. I actually have this embarrassing like story where I told the actor who plays the Blue Power Ranger that I always wanted to be the Red Power Ranger because I always wanted to get with the Blue Power Ranger, so I could never actually be the Blue Power Ranger. So got it. I mean that's funny. So when you're ever you're like playing, you're like, I'm the red one, and where's billy? Right, even though I identified with like the nerdy one, I was like, well, I can't be him, because then how will I be with him? It makes no...

...sense. We did you tell the actor this because the actor is gay to yes, yeah, yeah, yeah, I did, how did it was real lock. Yeah, can you tell that? All of my celebrity encounters are wildly uncomfortable. Maybe they are just for you, because I'm sure there's they have worse encounters with. They're like, Holy Shit, I don't know what just happened, but that's not going to happen again, so I maybe it's just just think you got to shoot your shot. Yeah, you might as well just tell him, like, can I be the Red Ranger to your Blue Ranger? Right? Can I hold your hand? Michael Works on his costumes non stop. The Internet gets bored pretty quickly, so he feels like he has to have a new suit to share every single month. That means a lot of sewing, a lot of repurposing old attire and just a lot of work in general. Oh Boy, right now I am literally working on about seven different costumes, so physically I'm working on cyclops, beast boy, Danny, Phantom, spider man, fire from home. I'm working on a new green lantern, I'm working on a character named a Paulo. The list honestly keeps going on. But in a more general sense, I'm working on becoming much better at creating content and posting more often. It's kind of like a goal I have. So I because I don't enjoy, you know, that thirsty side. I'm trying to come to terms without a bit more, and that's my sort of cognitive what I'm working on versus my physical what I'm working on. You're just coming to terms with the first trap and either embracing it or hiding it under a costume with foam, one or one of the other. I feel like both are okay option. I think so. I it's always a mix of both. Like I would love to come to terms with the thirsttrap thing because I think it would cause a lot less cognitive dissonance and a lot less sort of mental turmoil. But one day at a time, one day at a time. If you like his work, make sure you support him on Patreon so you can get the inside scoop on all things Michael Ham. You can subscribe for two dollars per month at the Good Samaritan Tier and get access to his patreon feed, or you can go wild and give him a hundred dollars per month, you'll get a lot of stuff, like being entered into a monthly giveaway, access to his secret snapchat feed, a bunch of signed eight by ten prints, access to an even more exclusive patreon feed, and he'll even skype or facetime with you to answer questions and chat about new ideas for photoshoots, videos and costumes. You can find me on Patreon at www dot patreo NCOM, Michael Ham Ich Al Hmm, and you can follow him on Instagram at Hammy seventy three. Seventy three was the number given to me by hot mail when I was six years old and got an email and I've just used it ever since. That's it. I got an email when I was I like turn six and I got an email and it was Hammy, I think underscore seventy three or some bullshit like that, and I was like okay, I guess that's it. That's my number. It was my hockey number, it was my rugby number. I just kept it ever since then. Wait, you played rugby and hockey like two of the most like masculine, smash people into things. Games. I'm I'm Canadian, so you're forced to play rug or play hockey at birth. So that's not really a choice. And Yeah, I played rugby all through high school. It was like the okay, but like, can we? It's...

...an amazing sport. I love it. Yes, it's masculine. Yes, yes, yes, but it's just a bunch of dudes and very short shorts. Like football, you are completely covered. Hockey, you are completely covered. So don't go around acting like rugby is this tough matcho sport. So it was like you with a bunch of other guys in booty shorts, just like skipping across the you literally stick your head. You stick your head between each other's legs. Oh so that's why you want okay, I understand. Now, okay, that sounded romantic, but it's a very disgusting place to be during a rugby game. That's really no, I just gave up. What I think romances? Yeah, you just stick, you just put your heads between what does it say? Again, you just put your head between their legs and you're in love and that's romance. Thanks for listening. Pride is a production of Straw hut media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and a review on Apple podcast. Or spotify, or wherever you're tuning in from. Share us with your friends, subscribe and follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter. At Pride, yes, it's at pride. You can follow me Atle by chambers. Pride is produced by me, the by chambers, Maggie Bowls and Ryan Tillotson, edited by Sebastian. All calla let a couple candles, get some roses, head between the legs. Done.

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