Plume People is our employee spotlight series featuring stories by the passionate team bringing gender-affirming care to you.
Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that I am writing from stolen land which is the traditional, ancestral land of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Ogala Sioux). This is a call to discover the ancestral people of the land you are on and support Indigenous organization and grassroots movements.
I am nervous and excited to share my Plume love story with you! The quick and dirty of my childhood is that I was born on a farm in Utah to a radical feminist that embraced my queerness from a young age. She encouraged me to explore gender and defy gender roles. Being unapologetically out and loud was my style. As much as that drew judgement and rejection, it helped me find my allies and community.
I ran away from home when I was 16 to San Francisco, California. I was searching for the classic Pet Shop Boys opportunity to go West to queerer shores. I was quickly scooped up by the leather daddies and bears in the South of Market district. They guided me through my queer youth. I still have my first chest harness from my first Folsom Street Fair almost 20 years ago!
I moved to Denver in my 20s and by the time I came out as nonbinary in 2012, I was already a part of an amazing, radical, creative, queer community. I struggled to come out to my family and in workplaces. I was more afraid to come out as an adult than I was when I was younger. Somehow the risk felt higher. I felt the strain and challenge of not being able to live as my full self in certain spaces, so I built the world I felt safe(r) in. I started to throw dance parties, social events, and joined a queer arts collective called Secret Love. I wanted to create spaces and experiences that emboldened, resonated with, and celebrated the queer and trans experience.
My gender journey continues to unfold. I begin microdosing T this week! My body and mind are filled with champagne bubbles, butterflies, waves of calm, and occasional anxiety. I am incredibly grateful to my care team at Plume for guiding and supporting me through this exploration of hormone alchemy.
In my 30s, I studied UX design (User Experience design) to infiltrate tech and make it more accessible and affirming in an intersectional way. When I saw a post about Plume in my local queer FB group, I knew I needed to support in any way I could. Jerrica (our Chief Medical Officer and cofounder) took me up on my offer. I volunteered my time and insights. I was wildly lucky to meet with Jerrica on the day Plume received funding. That’s when she offered me a job. Um, yes, obviously! I took a role as a Product Designer.
Plume is a small company, so my role has been dynamic. Currently, I focus on maintaining and upgrading everything that happens after you download the app. The what, when, why, and how of the medical intake process and communication with our wonderful care team. Most recently, I am working on the process to deliver medicine to our members. This takes a lot of logistical coordination with our partner pharmacy, clinical team, and patients.
Trans-affirming design is more than just including a comprehensive list of genders for folks to choose from, it’s about understanding, empathising, and striving to incorporate the needs and feedback of the trans community.
It’s a bit of magic. I cast the intention and spells of affirmation in all I design. There’s something so personal and humbling about designing for my community. I know we have a ways to go to improve the design and the trans experience within Plume. I know there are always ways Plume can grow and be better, and I promise, I won’t stop designing with that in mind.
“Our radical imagination is a tool for decolonization, for reclaiming our right to shape our lived reality.” ― Adrienne Maree Brown, Pleasure Activism
- You are loved
- BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER
- We’re in this together