I first met Femmily at Clarisse Thorn’s SEX+++ documentary series, and again at Slut Walk Chicago last summer. She is a truly inspiring human being who works with at-risk youth as a full time career, is an activist promoting consent education as a means of ending rape, and still has time to throw body-positive dance parties, and rock her unique brand of style through many fierce “lqqks.” Read on…
Location: Ukrainian Village, Chicago
I try to help facilitate the things that help people feel good and liberated from the systems and assumptions that harm us. Whether that means talking about the hard things like violence or trauma, or exploring safer ways to do the fun stuff like sex & play time, I am into it. I’ve been doing variations of this for a few years.
What was your first job?
What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
I worked in a call center that scheduled golf tee times all around the country 24/hrs a day. It was very weird. I had to pretend I was at golf courses in Hawaii, Georgia, and all over. Talk about a lack of transparency!
I have experienced violence.. My family has… Friends… The list goes on. These things can be devastating. I’ve also been part of beautiful moments of sitting with the harm, excitement, fear, doubt, trauma, with folks and those moments have brought me ripple effects of newfound, self determined pleasure & healing. Those moments inspire me to do the work.
I had access to college and internships in Chicago. I got bachelors degrees, worked in research settings, done state trainings on domestic & sexual violence, participated in community based healing circles, collective based skill shares, workshops around alternatives to policing and state violence, justice, oppression, privilege, sexuality, and more.
Heavy rotation is a 3rd wed of the month dance party at Parlour on Clark all about celebrating bodies. It was created by queers thinking about how racism, fat phobia, trans phobia, classism, and more oppression affect us and how we’ve got to get liberated from it all. It’s lots of fun and people bring lqqk realness! I organize for this party.
I am a youth worker right now and work with many queer young people experiencing homelessness. I do HIV and STD testing with them and facilitate support groups. It’s all so super cute.
I love to feel good. My looks are all about embracing my shapes and giving my beauty to the world. I am interested in celebrating bodies, and people can do this in so many personal and public ways. My looks are very public and visible ways for me to say no to the harmful beauty standards. Wearing clothes that are considered “too small” in particular is really exciting for me- my belly hangs out, my rolls are visible, my asymmetry is visible, and it’s liberating. I am always told to hide these things, and right now I do what I want with them.
As for gender non confirming femme style, to me it means that I create my own version of femininity. It feels more complicated, fluid, and consensual than the versions imposed upon me and that I’ve internalized. I hold my masculine layers, feminine layers, and the rest all at once. I try not to shame myself. My gender feels different from that assigned to me at birth, and i explore that with the things I put on my body.
I am most proud of learning and growing from my mistakes. I’ve said and done some offensive things and people have pointed them out to me. Those moments are really important to own and learn from.
I love building relationships with young people. We share moments and get to talk about things that we like, love, don’t like about sex, relationships, gender, sexuality, and more. It’s a privilege to hear them share their frustrations and dreams and be part of their journeys.
What do you dislike?
I don’t like the urge to never stop working. It’s a struggle to find a sustainable balance.
I have a beautiful family (of choice) I’ve created, that I spend time with. We kick it at our homes, dinners, beaches, or wherever. I love to dance! I write stories and poetry. SNACKS. Sex and power play is everything. Crying is important.
What are some of the most memorable moments with your work?
It’s always amazing when a young person wears a look they want to, uses a name they identify with, or work towards a goal they dream of, and share these moments with me.
What triumphs and challenges have you faced as in your career, and what advice would you give to others pursuing a career off the beaten path?
It’s a struggle every day. Finding those people that can hold those moments with me and support me is super important. It feels really exciting when I take care of myself, probably one of the most radical parts of the work. I suppose my advice is to love yourself in whatever way that means to you.
I’d like to find a way for the work I do now to be sustainable. I’ve also been dreaming about mortuary school. A bike tour would be fun!