Keelan’s story

Before our group began, Katherine reached out to have a conversation and let me know that despite her best efforts to reach out to various marginalized folks, I’d likely be the only trans person in the group. She took time to have a conversation with me and ask if there was anything she could do to make the space more supportive. No one has ever done that before.

In that conversation, Katherine let me know that she’d invite cohort members to share their pronouns and that I was free to do so if that felt comfortable to me. At the beginning of each group, she reminded the group of the request to share pronouns. Often, I’d be the last to remember, and it felt fun to see all the cis people’s pronouns on the screen.

Because I knew Katherine’s personal story—that she had lived experience growing a business as a single mom on food stamps and understood the intricacies of the poverty hustle—she wasn’t going to be one of those toxic positivity coaches who wouldn’t be sensitive to my family’s needs for survival.

Even within an economically diverse cohort, I felt comfortable being transparent around the various public assistance I was receiving and exploring the details of what I could earn before transitioning out of those programs.

The sliding scale went beyond just making the work accessible to me. The care that she put into creating that structure was obvious and demonstrated that she was actually looking to make her work accessible to folks from various economic backgrounds.

When challenging feelings around my trans identity surfaced in relation to the group’s dynamics or my journey growing my business, I reached out to Katherine, and I always felt supported by our conversations, our plan of action, and Katherine’s follow-through.

The support from Katherine and cohorts helped me refocus when I encountered transphobic treatment while growing my business. Rather than feeling defeated or throwing in the towel—which I believe I would have done if I’d been on my own—the support helped me see that moment as a bump in the road, use it as an opportunity to discern what I really wanted, and keep going.

I found my dream gig, and still six months later, doors just keep opening. The possibilities feel endless.

Keelan Malone

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