Category: financial

Signal Boost: Trans Funding Project Grants

By , January 4, 2016 12:56 pm

Applications are now open for Trans Justice Funding Project’s 2016 grants!

TJFP is a community-led funding initiative founded in 2012 to support grassroots, trans justice groups run by and for trans people. We make grants annually by bringing together a panel of six trans justice activists from around the country to carefully review every application we receive.

Go to to apply online.

You do not need to be a 501c3 non-profit or have a fiscal sponsor to apply!

The psychology of emails

By , July 8, 2014 12:43 pm

A big part of how I book gigs at colleges and universities is through cold-emailing. That is, I find people’s contact info on school websites – emails for student groups, faculty, and professors – and email them info about my workshops and performances.* There’s a general pattern to how these emails go, assuming there’s any sort of response at all:

  1. I send an initial email
  2. They express interest
  3. I email more info
  4. We email back and forth about details and specifics
  5. We schedule a gig and sign a contract

Of course, there’s a big percentage drop-off at each step of the way. I don’t have the exact numbers but I’d ballpark it that, of the ~10,000 emails I’ve sent in the past few years, I’ve received perhaps 50 gigs. (That’s 0.5%, which is still impressively high for cold-calling/emailing. Of course, I’m still in steps 3 and 4 perhaps a hundred different people from that list of 10,000, hoping to move them to step 5.)

Continue reading 'The psychology of emails'»

Giving back to the trans community

By , February 10, 2014 2:17 pm

Starting this year, I’ll be donating a portion of my touring income to organizations that do substantive work for the trans community. It’ll only be about 5% – a couple hundred dollars a year – but I think it’s important to create a community of mutual support. In addition, I want to be mindful of the limits of my own work, and able to support other organizations that fill other needs in our community. Here’s where I’ll be donating, to start:

Project Fierce Chicago is a grassroots initiative to create transitional housing for homeless LGBTQ youth. Learn more about us or get involved on our site!”

“The Transgender Oral History Project is a community-driven effort to collect, preserve and share a diversity range of stories from within the transgender and gender variant communities. We accomplish this by promoting grassroots media projects, documenting trans people’s experiences, and teaching media production skills.”

Anyone have a good ‘temp’ pun?

By , January 4, 2011 2:04 pm

This morning, I went to interview with a temping agency in Chicago, to get my resume and info on file for possible temp jobs in the future. This wasn’t something I was excited about doing, but I’m trying to leave myself open to all possibilities for earning money without returning to a fulltime job. I really love the flexibility and creative time I have (for example, I’m currently writing this in a Starbucks, having just come from a yoga class at my gym) but want to be back on slightly firmer financial footing.

The interview process was a new experience for me, coming as I have from primarily non-profit and arts organizations. I was warned beforehand by friends about the ‘proficiency tests’ but they’re really more ridiculous than I expected. MS Word, Excel, and Powerpoint mockups, with different tasks like “Open file X” or “Set the template for this document to Y.” Unfortunately, you only had two tries for each instruction, meaning some things I’m sure I could have figured out I still ‘failed’ because I didn’t get them right immediately. Even so, I got 86% right on Powerpoint, 96% right on Word, and 97% right on Excel. That last one, according to the woman who interviewed me, “never happens,” so that felt nice! I also got “really high” typing scores of just around 100 WPM for straight typing, and “very good” and “excellent” typing scores for alphanumeric data entry and pure numerical data entry, respectively.

That said, because I’m teaching Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the temp agency said I might have trouble getting assignments, as there aren’t a ton of one-day assignments these days. But we’ll see!

Continue reading 'Anyone have a good ‘temp’ pun?'»

Tough financial decisions

By , August 10, 2010 1:18 pm
Tough financial decisions

Everyone making financial decisions looks like this

My brother and I had a long chat earlier this week about finances, freelancing, and money management. He opened his own climbing and guiding business a few years ago, Kling Mountain Guides, so had a very up-to-date take on running your own business. (If you’re in Colorado and looking to go climbing, or looking to book a trip guide for an international climb, definitely look him up!)

I do think there are some significant differences between what he did/is facing and what I’m getting myself into. First and foremost, I have minimal up-front costs. I don’t need a storefront, I don’t need stock, and I don’t need licenses or permits. I do need publicity material – my website, business cards, promotional flyers to send to schools and conferences – but that’s in the order of hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars, rather than the tens of thousands I know my brother has had to put into his business.

At the same time, I’m facing some tough financial decisions.

Continue reading 'Tough financial decisions'»


By , March 10, 2010 12:46 am

My taxes were a bit more complicated this year than last, what with my solo show, so I let my dad talk me into passing them off to a friend of his. I just heard from him, and he said that I should be getting about $300 from the feds (woo!) and owe the State of Illinois $3. Really, Illinois? $3?

Please Donate!

By , September 21, 2009 11:03 pm

As some of you may have noticed, a “Donate” link appeared a few weeks ago along the top of The Thang Blog. From that page:

Donations – of any amount – are always appreciated. But, you may ask, what would your donations be going towards?

In addition to being a blogger (a hopefully interesting blogger at that!) I am a performance artist. My most recent piece, Ares and Aphrodite, was featured this past November at Links Hall in Chicago as part of a larger mentorship program I was involved in, led by the fabulous Tim Miller. The piece was an exploration of my experiences growing up and living as a transgender woman, and was very well-received. The script is available here, with video of the performance itself here and here.

I’m currently working on expanding that twenty minute piece into a full hour of theatre, and I’m fortunate enough to be returning to Links Hall this December to share my expanded work. Every penny you donate will go toward that end, helping me cover the $1,550 in space rental fees, printing costs, technical contractors, and the many other costs associated with producing innovative and exciting theatre.

I’ve already raised over half the money I need for this performance. Unfortunately, I’ve already spent even more. Please donate today!

  • Donate One Dollar to pay for the printing cost of a single  poster
  • Donate Five Dollars to pay for show makeup
  • Donate Twenty-Five Dollars to pay for props
  • Donate Fifty Dollars to pay for a lighting designer
  • Donate One Hundred Dollars to pay for poster design costs
  • Donate Two Hundred Dollars to pay for a photographer
  • Donate Eight Hundred Dollars to pay for space rental for the show

As of September 1, 2009, I have received support from the following generous donors and organizations:

Any amount will be greatly appreciated.

Help support my art!
I’m just over 50% toward the $1,550 I need to finance my December performance


By , March 20, 2009 9:31 am

A friend of mine recently posted about giving to charaties and I wanted to weigh in with my agreement. In the same way that calling/writing your elected officials is important (as, aside from ellections every few years, that’s the only way they’ll know what you think!) donating to organizations you value is also really important.

I donate to three organizations right now, in automatic giving plans of $10/month for each:

  • Chicago Public Radio – I’ve become an NPR junkie, listening to little else in my car, and really value the work that they’re doing. This ranges from ‘entertainment’ like This American Life and Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me (both of which can also be educational) to their excellent news coverage. As a bonus, at the $10/month level, I got a member card that gives deals at certain restaurants and arts orgs, which is great. I haven’t used it a ton, but it’s been nice to have when I’ve been able to use it.
  • ACLU – The American Civil Liberties Union is out their fighting for our rights! As someone who is very conscious of government encroachment of civil liberties, having an organization fighting for rights of free speech, privacy, and so on is really valuable. (Even if our current president isn’t quite as ridiculously horrible as our last one…) That said, I don’t really agree with their position on the Second Amendment, as “the people” is used everywhere else in the Constitution to mean just that…It seems somewhat of a cop-out to say having the word “militia” suddenly changes the use of a phrase which is pretty well established elsewhere in the same document.
  • EFF – The Electronic Frontier Foundation is similar to the ACLU, in that it’s an advocacy group fighting for people’s rights. The difference is their focus is specifically on copyright and technology rights. If you’ve ever downloaded music or movies in violation of the wishes of their copyright holders, or think that ‘life of the author plus 70 years’ is an absurd copyright length, you should check out the EFF.

I also have some organizations I’m trying to donate to on a less-regular basis, and some I’d like to look at donating to in the future.

Continue reading 'Philanthropy'»

Every time it gets a little easier…

By , February 26, 2009 9:12 pm

I went in yesterday for another round of laser hair removal. This is the 3rd round of the 6 I paid (well, went into debt for) for back in August. I did my chest, stomach, and arms, so I still have to go back for my legs next Wednesday. I guess it’s more like part 5 of 12… I’m also going to do a facial touch up next Wednesday, because some pesky hairs can’t take a hint.

I’m all prickly and red now, though, which is obnoxious. It usually fades away in a day or two. I should rub hydrocortisone on the parts that are really itchy.

In more exciting news, I’ve almost saved enough to pay off the hair removal. When I signed on the dotted line in August, I was committing to pay $4,390 by the end of August, 2009, or start facing interest charges. I’ve been saving money in an interest-bearing ING account, and plan to pay them off in mid-August to get as much interest money as possible. Although interest rates have been dropping, a little ‘free’ money is better than none! (If you want an ING referral, let me know! If you join with something like $200 in a savings account, I get $10 and you get $25!)

So yeah. I have something like $4200 in the bank right now, and I figured if I get around $4300, most of the remaining will be made as interest. With my next paycheck, next week, I should have that off my back!

Which is good, because this weekend I am going shopping! I sent out an email to some girl friends asking for help to find me a wardrobe. I have, like, four pairs of pants and five tops that I’m just cycling through, and it’s getting ridiculous… So, as much as it pains whatever testosterone that’s left in my system to do it, I’m going on a shopping spree! Round 1 is tomorrow, with NP (and possibly a friend from work), and I might be doing more on Saturday and/or Sunday.



Stressor like a dresser

By , January 27, 2009 11:49 am

Sorry for the title, but I couldn’t come up with a good rhyme… Although suggests ‘lesser,’ ‘professor,’ ‘successor,’ and ‘air compressor’ as possible alternatives… (Also, sorry for being remiss in posting. I think the big reason for that is all the stuff listed below.)

Anyway, I’ve been stressing: having trouble getting to sleep, feeling nervous and panic-y, all the stuff I was talking about in early December.

I realized one of the things that helped me then was listing all the stressors, so I figured I’d try that again now:

  • Relationship/transitioning issues with G
  • Feeling like I don’t have enough time for all the things in my life and for myself. ‘All the things in my life’ includes:
    • Monday: Therapy
    • Tuesday: Workshop rehearsal for the piece I’m directing (and now, conflicting, a weekly theatre thing with friends)
    • Wednesday: Trans youth group
    • Thursday: Workshop class I’m teaching (starts next week)
    • Friday: Blissfully nothing, and the stress of using downtime ‘well’
    • Saturday: A class I’m taking; more Workshop rehearsal
    • Sunday: Rehearsal for a friend’s recital piece that I don’t really want to do but am doing as a favor to her
    • (And, of course, a full-time job)
  • Money, specifically paying off hair removal (3/4 of the way there, but I want it off my back)
  • Buying a new wardrobe (partially linked to ‘money’; I have, like, six or seven tops that I can reasonably wear to work that I just keep cycling through)
  • Feeling insecure in the transition (to be the subject of a longer post, one of these days)

Boo! Stress, stress, go away, and don’t come back another day!


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