Speaking & Mentoring

I am available to speak to organizations and audiences on queer, trans, and LGBTQ+ topics, and other subject matter related to my work. Please contact me to discuss my speaker rate.

I am not able to take on new mentees at this time.

Read more about why it is important to compensate LGBTQ+ people for their time and expertise:

On Emotional Labor Strike

I will not speak on queer, trans, or LGBTQ+ issues for free. Here’s why. 

Often being the only trans woman in the room means I frequently get asked to provide information and sometimes literal care to others regarding LGBTQ+ issues. While I care deeply about queer and trans liberation—and as an author, activist, and educator I fight constantly for structural change and revolution—I find it emotionally and psychologically exhausting to *be a trans woman* within predominantly cishet (cisgender & heterosexual) spaces and institutions.

Sometimes trans women are hired explicitly to *be trans women* within these spaces and institutions—to do the messy work of leading diversity and inclusion efforts, to educate others on LGBTQ+ issues, to mentor other queer and trans people. And sometimes—as in my case—we aren’t hired to do that at all, yet we still find ourselves doing it. In either case, being a trans woman and performing our identities for others so that they can learn from us is tiring, often thankless, work. And it is work that needs to be compensated.

Here are some examples:

  • a colleague asks me to explain transgender issues to them. I spend an hour doing so. The whole time I am sitting there performing my own selfhood, trying to rationalize transness, to persuade them that trans people are just as qualified as cis people. I feel utterly exhausted.
  • queer and trans youth seek my mentorship & I give it to them, which helps them stay in school and increases retention rates, yet I am neither paid explicitly nor provided with the resources necessary to help them in this way. I pay out of my own pocket to take them to care appointments, and out to lunch in a moment of crisis. I decide I need to go to therapy to process all the trauma I am exposed to. I am told that the work I am doing is ‘important.’
  • A local hospital invites me to speak with medical students about ‘how to care for transgender patients.’ I explain that my only expertise in this matter is literally being a trans woman who engages with the medical-industrial complex for my own survival. I ask for a stipend for my time. Days go by and I don’t hear from them. Finally, I receive a curt reply that they ‘have found someone else.’

These are economical stories: they are about skilled labor, time, and resources. 

When we are asked to educate and mentor others based on our own personal identities and lived experiences, this is a type of emotional work that so often goes unnoticed and uncompensated. At best we are ‘thanked’ for being ourselves, for giving of ourselves in these ways, yet we are provided no further resources for managing the emotional and psychological toll of doing this work, or financially compensated for this skilled labor that few others can provide.

The emotional labor strike is simple: pay queer and trans people for sharing their lived experiences. Do not expect them to do this for free, or as a ‘labor of love.’ Hire queer and trans people specifically to do this work if it is needed, and provide them with the resources necessary for their emotional, psychological, and financial well-being. *Being trans* is care work, it’s trauma work, it’s hard work. Pay us.