In this week’s episode, I’m speaking with Tristan Katz about how we can be more inclusive and accessible in our marketing for our businesses.

We touch on how we can do better at including trans and nonbinary people and people from marginalized communities in various aspects of our business, and why it’s important to actually uphold these values instead of being performative.
We talk about how power relates to our marketing, and how we can begin to UNLEARN, as well as how we can use our marketing to create meaningful change, equity, and justice WHILE having a profitable business.

If you’re looking to do better at creating safe and welcoming spaces for everyone, this episode is a must-listen.

More about Tristan Katz:
Tristan Katz (they/he) is a writer, educator, digital strategist, and equity-inclusion facilitator. They offer training and consulting on gender equity, trans inclusion, queer competency, and justice-focused marketing practices. Tristan’s intention is to share this work with an anti-oppression and intersectional lens. He was named one of Yoga Journal’s 2021 Game Changers and is proud to serve on the Board of Directors at Accessible Yoga. 

Read the full transcript

Tristan Katz 0:00
I personally don’t think we can talk about marketing and taking up space to grow our work in the world without understanding privilege and power and how it functions in the marketing space.

Meg Casebolt 0:12
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lipsync send a cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started. Hello, and welcome to the social slowdown podcast. I am your host, Meg Casebolt. I am here today with Tristan Capps thank you for being here. Tristan,

Tristan Katz 1:07
thank you for having me, Mike, it’s really great to be here.

Meg Casebolt 1:09
I am so excited to have this conversation. I have like 20 million things I want to ask you about. But before I get there, if you just want to give us a quick, you know, who are you? How do you work with your clients? sort of overview of your background? Cool.

Tristan Katz 1:23
Um, so Tristan cats, that’s my name. My pronouns are they and he, and I do my work is really focused on two different things in the world. One is marketing, through I usually say through like a social justice and equity focused lens, then we can talk about what I what I mean by that. And then the other thing I do is I teach trans and gender equity and inclusion work. Yeah, teaching people how to how to how to make more inclusive spaces, how to be more trans affirming, and how to be a part of creating change in their work. And in the larger culture. Yeah.

Meg Casebolt 2:02
So let’s dig in. Because you said let’s go talk about that. Let’s talk about first the social justice piece as it relates to online marketing.

Tristan Katz 2:10
Yeah, I so here’s what I think I and I feel like this became increasingly clear to me in 2020, but I wish I had noticed it sooner. I don’t I personally don’t think we can talk about marketing and taking up space to grow our work in the world without understanding privilege and power, and how it functions in the marketing space. And so part of that is like simple things like understanding accessibility considerations. But it’s also about understanding, like how to be sensitive to moments of collective trauma, when the world is on fire, like, what kind of space do we take up? And how do our identities particularly our privileged identities impact the people we’re trying to reach? Right? And so if we’re trying to reach people with our message about our work, because capitalism, but we’re doing it in a way that is harmful? Furthering oppressive dynamics, furthering white supremacy, racism, transphobia, ableism, etc, then are we really going to make meaningful change in our in our work? Are we really going to make an impact? Are we really going to connect with people? Or are we just going to like, create more of a massive more harm. So that is, there are lots of different ways we could explore that conversation further, which I do when I teach on the topic. But that’s kind of a brief overview of of how I approach marketing through a justice and equity lens. I love that

Meg Casebolt 3:31
because I feel like for so long, this space was just like, hey, look at all these white cisgendered, middle middle aged middle class married and heterosexual relationships, men who have come from the corporate background, you know, they all look like Lewis Howes. And they are, you know, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna name drop all of them. But like, there’s this rags to riches. I worked so hard. I slept on my sister’s couch. And now I’m a millionaire. And you can do it too. And like, a little maybe, yeah, maybe you did have some hard times, but like, you were not up against the same societal, oppressive systems that many of us are up against. And I say that as, you know, a cisgendered white woman in a heterosexual relationship, like I have lots of privilege and I still feel like there are times that the world is against me. Because that’s just that’s, that’s capitalism. That’s

Tristan Katz 4:30
totally that’s the nature of being alive at this moment in time. How do we challenge dominant I mean, part of the work I do in the in through the marketing, Justice equity, you know, combination is also an understanding that we can use our marketing as places to or as ways to platforms to challenge dominant culture and use our marketing in a form of activism if we like. It’s almost like we have to take a step back and think it’s okay, so maybe it’s not about me like My work is about me, my marketing is about me, but it’s also about the people I’m serving. So how can I be of service to them? And if I’m constantly making it about me, or I’m not thinking about what other people might be experiencing in a particular moment in particular, like political social context, then how am I actually going to reach them? Right. And I think that we kind of like, isolate ourselves into bubbles of, of echo chambers, and particularly when it comes to our privileged identities. And I just think part of the part of the conversation that I want to have about marketing is using our marketing as a way to create meaningful change. Like, I think we can grow our work in the world and create culture shift and create more justice and create more equity and focus on more equity, but and be profitable,

Meg Casebolt 5:49
and have businesses that are reaching the right people and support our lives and our families in doing so like, I came from a nonprofit background. So there’s that part of me that’s like, you know, money doesn’t matter. But then I’m like, well, but I still have a mortgage to pay, right? Like, we can do all those things we can we can shift culture, we can react against the dominant narratives and still be in a capitalist culture, making money without harming

Tristan Katz 6:17
people. Yes. I mean, I think we can do less harm.

Meg Casebolt 6:21
Maybe that’s what it is. It’s not do no harm, it’s do less harm. Exactly. Yeah. So much for what Hippocratic Oath. Thankfully, we don’t have to take that as marketers. I mean, I really

Tristan Katz 6:33
I wish we could talk to doctors about this seriously, I think that they can do no harm. I think they can do less harm for sure.

Meg Casebolt 6:40
But the intention is good to do. Right? Yeah. Yeah. So what does that actually look like in a practical format, you know, so like, For context, when I’m right after, right after George Floyd was murdered, I remember having a conversation with my friend, Andrea Jones, who is a black woman in the marketing space, and she was like, I have so many requests for speaking. I don’t have time to do them all. Everybody wants me to come into their communities, but nobody’s giving me any money for it, you know? And she’s like, how do I politely say, no, like, I don’t want to give you more free labor, because you want to look good in your social. And I hopefully she’s okay with me sharing that? Because I know it was a very difficult thing for her at the time, but like, how can we amplify the voices of those who have different experiences and hold space for those who have diverse experiences and create these inclusive communities without seeming like we are taking advantage of people?

Tristan Katz 7:39
Yeah, I think the first part I think of this answer is it starts with us. Like it starts with us turning inward and doing our own work to understand how we ourselves ourselves are subject to biases subject to phobias, you know, racism, all the isms? How are we operating from those dominant narratives of power and oppression? How are we upholding them? How are we not recognizing the ways that we are benefiting from certain systems? How are we like it really, it’s like internal, when we start to recognize, oh, look like white supremacy operates in all of these forms. Yes, like racism is an overt form of white supremacy. But white supremacy is also operating through this culture, in which whiteness, and everything associated with whiteness is upheld as the norm. And the better, right, and through that, it’s like urgency and perfectionism. And so what I hear, I mean, among many other characteristics, and I’m not just like making this up out of nowhere, there’s research around like, what it means to have to live in a white supremacy culture. And the when I think about 2020, and all these folks, particularly black, indigenous, and people of color, getting these, like last minute hurried requests for speaking engagements, and I myself sometimes get those two as a trans person, particularly around Pride Month, or trans Awareness Week or transport. It’s like, suddenly, everybody wants to talk to me, but it’s only because of these outward ally ship moments and

Meg Casebolt 9:19
Trans Day of visibility, and then they’re gonna ignore you the other 364 days.

Tristan Katz 9:24
What are you doing beyond the day, right? And if you’re emailing me with a last minute request, and you’re like, Oh, can you put this like social media posts together for us so that we look good, you know, on this one day, but they’re doing it last minute, they’re not offering me compensation? There’s a sense of urgency, there’s a sense of upholding power, they’re just simply inviting me in and taking like,

Meg Casebolt 9:47
well, we have the stage so we’re blessing you with it. It’s almost like when designers are like, well do it for the people to see it for the visibility and you’re like No, but that’s time that I’m spending on it, you know?

Tristan Katz 9:58
Yeah, so I really want us To understand, first how we are perpetuating certain systems of power, so that we can then, like do the work to reflect on it, and shift how we approach these moments how we approach these relationships, these relationships are, I want us to understand how to center like genuinely inaction, those who are more impacted by oppression. And when we center their needs and their experiences, we are more able to hold space for them and operate from a place of like, really, really trying to understand trying to empathize and trying to create meaningful change, not just outwardly in these relationships, but also within ourselves. And to me, this is a big part of the conversation around like, for example, accessibility, which I know I mentioned at the top of the episode, but a lot of us on social media are just assuming that everybody’s engaging with Instagram, for example, through the same way, right visually with our ears, etc. But what about folks who are blind or low vision? Or who are deaf? Or have hearing loss? Like, how are we considering their needs, and I mean, clearly COVID and the pandemic has, has highlighted this conversation too, but when we don’t consider their needs, again, we’re just perpetuating ableism and potentially reaching less people in the process and furthering furthering the systems that are in place that other some right that that deny the existence or the right to exist of some and and that I myself am benefiting from. But if I don’t recognize that I’m betting benefiting from it, and that I have a responsibility to interrupt it, then what kind of change Am I actually a part of, and one of the reasons I started my business was to be a part of change. And again, I think that we can do that and pay our bills. And it’s complex, right? Like, I was just listening to somebody talking yesterday about how we can’t have anti capitalist businesses, because the two things like you, like, it’s a

Meg Casebolt 12:03
juxtaposition, like, the business needs to have profit, but you can have compassion, not like, oh, no, no, no, just I feel like no, I’m just sounding like George W. Bush mean, like compassionate Christianity, you know. But, you know, I think that there is a sense of, like, anti capitalism in business can’t really exist in the same space, but you can also have empathy. Yeah. And operate from a place of wanting to to support others and have impact without being, you know, problematic. Yeah. manipulative, and so much to it.

Tristan Katz 12:43
Yes. Like, why does our marketing have to feel so icky? Or narcissistic or self involved? Or gross? Like, I believe that we can actually approach our marketing from a place of like, humaneness? Right, yeah. And authenticity. And part of that is having empathy, and understanding other people’s lived experiences that are different from our own. And part of it is also understanding what we ourselves might be experiencing, like, I am going to show up to, quote, market something better if I’m resourced. And if I’m inspired, if I’m connected to my work, and I can’t do that get resourced, inspired and connected, if I’m overworking, right. Which capitalism wants me to do? Like, capitalism wants me to overwork and not take breaks and not rest to just like, work as if it’s everything in my life. And I started my business so that I could have freedom in my schedule and rest if I need to. So how do I remember to do those things and know that rest is going to help me be more efficient and effective? You know?

Meg Casebolt 13:45
Yeah, totally. I mean, I even told you this morning, I took the day off unexpectedly, because I had a migraine. And I was like, Well, I can either like push through the migraine, or I can just take the morning off, and I’ll feel better that much faster. But there was that part of me that was like, oh, but my to do list is like really long right now. Yeah. And if I don’t do it now, then I have to like work this weekend. And maybe I should and then I’m like, Well, there it is. Yeah, you know, I was just looking for, oh, here we go. My new favorite book rest is resistance. I needed this reminder that I need to have it on my shelf and in my hands of just and this is the for I think you’re familiar with it already Tristan, but like, this is the person who started the nap Ministry of like the fact that we need to take these risks we need to build them into our lives. And it’s yes, it’s more important for some populations in some communities than others. You know, if you have chronic illness and you need to manage your spoons, then rest is a part of your overall strategy. But that doesn’t only have to be for those populations. It doesn’t just have to be for those who are most like the things that you’re talking about the awareness of not being manipulative of being supportive to all communities of being accessible. Also people who may have different needs than us. Like, that’s not exclusively for those communities. It helps all

Tristan Katz 15:07
of us, all of us. Absolutely. Like I think about video captions all the time. Like, I don’t just want to put video or ask people to put video captions on their social media content to reach folks who can’t hear, I won’t even put captions because I don’t want to listen with

Meg Casebolt 15:24
listening to stories. I hate it like this. And this is part of me being like, a parent, who if I do my very rarely log on to any social media anymore, but if I do, I might have a kid in the room if there’s a sound there right next to me. And I’m like, Okay, well, there goes my my private time that I had to myself, but also as a neurodivergent. person. I have ADHD, and my version of ADHD has some auditory processing issues. So if you’re talking to me, I either have to be like, watching your lips move and really focusing, which is hard for me, or I have to take a moment to breathe through it or write it down, like because my working memory isn’t great. So even those people who can hear it doesn’t mean they want to listen to you talk exactly. Which is strange to say on a podcast, but I do provide a transcript damnit.

Tristan Katz 16:15
All of our nervous systems are so messed up by social media, you know, so how can we be oriented towards caring for our own nervous systems and potentially caring for other people’s nervous systems to while also still getting it done? Right?

Meg Casebolt 16:28
Yes, yeah, yes. And I mean, like, the fact that we have social media, without even any of this conversation around what’s going into the social media that like, constant pinging iteration of the notifications coming in all the time, and the dopamine and like, the need to feel like you’re on every single moment of the day? Because what if somebody needs you? Or what if you miss out on something like the FOMO, the anxiety that there’s so much that, that messes with all of our, our brains, and our, you know, polyvagal system, like, there’s so much happening in our bodies that isn’t just, oh, I need to post about my business six times a day. Like it’s hard.

Tristan Katz 17:10
So please don’t post about your

Meg Casebolt 17:13
day to read it. Even on Twitter when Twitter before Twitter was completely burned out. Given that nobody wants to read that much

Tristan Katz 17:22
capacity, like what are you? Are you eating? Are you getting outside? Are you taking care of yourself? Like,

Meg Casebolt 17:28
are you just creating reels for all like, look, here’s me, here’s me eating my lunch.

Tristan Katz 17:34
Just a content creator? Are you an actual human, and when I noticed that my brain is more oriented towards content creation than it is towards being present in my life. I know that there’s a sign that I need to take a moment and pause my relationship to social media, I really noticed like, it wants to win, right? Like it’s designed to win. It is designed to get us addicted. It is designed to change our brain chemistry and the way our whole, like function of humaneness works. So my my thought is, how can I be on it and still have my own autonomy and agency, right? Like, how can I use it as a means to an end, but not let it take over me? Going practice,

Meg Casebolt 18:20
coming back to this feeling of not only the nervous system components, but the societal expectations who provide unpaid labor for somebody else’s gain. Especially those of us who are socialized, as women coming from marginalized communities, we are expected to give more and to hold fewer boundaries. And when it comes to social media, we are rewarded for creating things for free for somebody else.

Tristan Katz 18:48
Yeah. And I always think, like, personally, and people ask me this all the time, like, why would I give it away for free? Don’t I want people to pay me to get that thing that I’m giving away on social media? And I think, yeah, I hear you. And you always have more to give, like, first of all, like if you put some sort of like valuable nugget on Instagram or whatever platform it is, and it’s something you offered, let’s say in a one on one session with a consulting client or something like I’m sure that one on one session included a lot more value than just that one nugget, right? Yes. But that one nugget really landed with that person or is something you realize you share and say to clients all the time. So what like why would you hold back from just putting the one nugget on social media to me, when we offer service and value and education on social media or in our marketing in general? We are going to build more meaningful relationships. We’re going to help people understand the value of what we do. I don’t think we can just post like, hire me. Wouldn’t it be great if it worked? But that’s not the marketplace we live in right. Created So we need to stand out, we need to show why people might benefit from working with us and the best true to actually be of service to people.

Meg Casebolt 20:10
Yeah, I had a YouTube channel for many years. And I’m on break from it right now both for energy and financial and return on investment reasons which I can talk about if people are actually curious about that. But one of the things that I found with YouTube is that the pushback I would get from people is like, Well, why would I hire you if I can learn everything that I can from you on your YouTube channel? Because I was giving away a lot of, you know, search tutorials. And here’s what you need to think about? And the answer I always came up with is like, those are best practices, right? But I’m teaching but if you work with me, if you get on a call with me, if you get on a group coaching session with me, if you come through my programs, and you get feedback from me, like that’s going to be personalized, there’s that and I say to people regularly, like, don’t bother with it. Like, I know you saw that video, don’t bother with that that’s not relevant to your business. And the customization and the personalization is what you get when you invest. Yep. Otherwise, you get best practices.

Tristan Katz 21:01
Totally. And the best practices aren’t going to resonate with everybody. Right? They’re

Meg Casebolt 21:05
best practices. They’re not every practice. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Excellent. So talk to me a little bit about transit inclusivity, in particular, because I know that that’s sort of what your you know, your Trans Day of visibility is apparently today, whatever. Talk to me about how, because I think that, especially 2022 More people were learning about anti racism, and are 2020 rather, and then I think that more accessibility, these conversations are coming up, but really talking about trans inclusivity, as something that you’re familiar with, talk to me about how we can be more aware of that in our marketing.

Tristan Katz 21:43
Yeah, I think first of all, I hear a lot of the time, like a lot of people in the business space, or like I work with women, you know, I serve women, I’m working with women entrepreneurs, or women creatives. And I’m just wondering, like, I don’t know, that’s not for me, I’m not a woman, like people might think I’m a woman, but I’m not. So like, is your work for me? And who are we leaving out when we specify who we’re serving? Right?

Meg Casebolt 22:10
I mean, there are times where I just want to say I want to work with anybody who isn’t. Right, like, oh, very entitled, like, do you have all the privileges that I’m not for you, but there’s like no easy shorthand for that. You know, and I think that that’s something that you and I have already talked about this at length privately. But just like, you know, what is there’s no shorthand for it. And, and this is me coming to you as a search consultant. Like, I can tell you that in my marketing, I like to say like, I work with women, and people from marginalized communities. And I want to call those out, but also like, you have a limited amount of space that you can do that with. And then I go and look at the search terms. And my website ranks number 20, for woman, women owned SEO agency, and it ranks number 18, for SEO for female entrepreneurs. And I like as the third person that I can say, I know people are looking for that. And I don’t want to lose the traffic from the women just because I want to be more inclusive, because I want to work with more than just and so it’s, it’s, it’s hard.

Tristan Katz 23:15
Yeah, it is hard. I think we’re at a really interesting moment where we don’t have shorthand language that, that I mean, to me, the word women is inclusive of both trans women and sis women. But our culture doesn’t see it that way. Generally speaking, right, like right now we’re at a point where trans women are, are completely separate from the word women, which is a complete, like aggression against. And this goes back to understanding how power is functioning and the way power relates to our marketing. But I think in general, if you’ve, if you’ve figured out the key, then the search word is which clearly you have, you’ve like, you’ve nailed the terms, you’re you’re making it into the top results, then the next move would probably be to make sure that it’s clear on your website in the copy that you don’t just work with women, right? Or that you are that you recognize that trans women are women, or that you seek to serve people who are experiencing more marginalization based on their gender like, to me, I don’t think we need to specify the gender of our ideal client, I think our ideal client will know they will connect with us through how we show up through our copy through our marketing, and if it happens to be a sis dude and you don’t want to work with him, then you can say I’m sorry. Somebody else who’s a better fit for you because I’m not but like, many students are actually going to be like, Wait, Meg, is this for me? Like no Would you believe that they

Meg Casebolt 24:42
do? Would you believe that they will reach out to me and be like, will you still work with me? And I’m like the fact that you are respectful enough to ask me that is a yes that you don’t that you but there I’ve had people walk away from my website and be like, Well, I’m not for her. I can’t believe that. She’s leaving me out of it. And I’m like, well, good. Okay, are you gonna I’ve done a one thing in your life. All right?

Tristan Katz 25:01
Yeah. I’m sorry. But like, who else are we leaving out? Right? Like, I feel left out all the time as a trans, non binary person. And I feel I feel not just left out, I feel harmed all the time, by the way, people are marketing their work, I, you know, I started a lot of my marketing work in the yoga space. And the yoga space is like, really dominated by heteronormativity and sis heteronormativity. And it feels at this point, like, it’s not for me, because people don’t understand that I exist, and that I want to practice yoga too. And so when we don’t understand this exact thing that we’re talking about, we’re essentially just upholding the very systems I hope we’re all trying to get critical about, right. And so like, part of this is a language thing in our conversation, like we do need to understand language and how it operates and how we can use language to either uphold power, or challenge power, but it’s also about so much more than language, right? Because when people come into our work and engage with us and the work that we’re doing in the world, we need to be able to show up for them in a meaningful way, which is going to require more than language, we need to be able to see people when they tell us who they are. So if you’ve got trans folks in your space, you need to believe them when they say they’re trans, and you need to know how to affirm them, how to interrupt other people who might say some garbagey gender, so many different things we need to understand beyond language. And again, that goes back to like, how are you yourself still enacting from a transphobic perspective? Because it is in the air in the water? Like we’ve all been indoctrinated with transphobia and sis heteronormativity, you can’t escape it. So how are you yourself dismantling that within you so that you can show up more meaningfully meaningfully for others? And that’s going to require a lot more than the right words? Right?

Meg Casebolt 26:52
Right, the right words are fine. But if then, let’s say that you have a website that is very, you know, inclusive, and its language choices to both the trans population and other marginalized communities. And then people join your program, and they still feel others and they still feel left out then that the what’s the point of doing all that work to make your language inclusive, if you don’t know how to hold the container in which those, those people will feel comfortable?

Tristan Katz 27:17
If we’re just focusing on language, then it’s performative, and it’s meaningless. And it’s actually probably going to cause more harm. Yep.

Meg Casebolt 27:25
And there’s so much performative, just behavior around us there is that I, and as again, as a sis hat, white, there’s this point in my life where I’m like, holding the space to have this conversation with you is important. But also like, Am I able to speak about this in a way that is advancing things without me also stepping in a pile of shit? And if I step in a pile of shit, I hope that you tell me Nope. Right? But, but, but it’s my job to figure out where those piles of shit.

Tristan Katz 28:03
I mean, I think about all the podcasts, like all the marketing podcasts, and the business podcasts that are out there that are still centered around cisgender individuals and how trans folks they have on these on these, like, Episode guests lineups, right, or the conferences and the events like where are the where’s the trans representation? And when I look at that stuff and think, Well, maybe I want to like go on this person’s podcast, or maybe I want to speak at this event. Are there any trans people included there? Oh, they’re not? Well, then I’m going to assume that this person isn’t ready for me, right? Yeah. He’s just further othering and excluding me and essentially saying that I don’t deserve to exist as the human that I am. But I know when I enter into a relationship in a conversation with someone, is this person actually interested in seeing me for who I am in holding meaningful space for me? Are they going to be respectful? Are they going to hold themselves accountable or be willing to be held accountable if they step in shit? Or are they just using me to tick a box like now they’ve included one trans person on the lineup? And then

Meg Casebolt 29:10
they go through they put in the pronouns, so that way everyone knows, right? Like, how much of it is inclusion, and how much of it is performance? And as the person who is stepping into that space, how do you help? How can you know how

Tristan Katz 29:24
quickly I mean, there’s little things that that tell me a lot, right? When I get into a zoom call with somebody and there are no pronouns in their username. That’s usually like a sign that I might be questioning the relationship. I’m not saying that seemed pronouns and a zoom username and mediately mean, oh, I’m in good hands, because

Meg Casebolt 29:42
that’s, I think, years ago would have been I think it’s not anymore. Well, I feel like

Tristan Katz 29:46
you know, all of this stuff, pronouns and sharing can also be performative. Like, what else are we doing beyond sharing pronouns? So just because Slack has a location for

Meg Casebolt 29:57
it doesn’t mean but you’re an ally. Yeah,

Tristan Katz 30:01
exactly. So to me when I do see pronouns and people’s, and I’m not just saying zoom usernames, email signatures, like social media bios, everything I it does say to me, this person might see me more, I might be held more meaningfully with this person. But I also know when I get on the calls with people very quickly, just from the vibe from the energy from the language that’s being used, I get all kinds of weird funky questions like, Oh, your name is Tristan, I was expecting you to be a boy. And I’m like, what does that mean? What if I am a boy, like, actually, I do feel like a boy, but you don’t see me as one. And you just told me that like your words, which means you’re telling me that the way you see my identity in relationship to my gender is what you take as true, but like surprise, that’s not how gender actually works. Like we’ve all been taught, like, very subtly and very overtly, that we can read people’s gender by looking at them, which means we can assume what’s in their frickin pants. And I want us to stop getting so obsessed with genitalia and start understanding that gender isn’t something you can necessarily know by looking at someone, sometimes what you assume to be one’s gender identity is accurate. But that assumption can get really dangerous, and is actually life threatening for many of us is in the trans community.

Meg Casebolt 31:20
Who Absolutely, so how can we learn more about this without, without taking advantage of the trans people in the trans community, like you who are educators, and expecting you to give free, you know, one to one support in the DMS all the time? Because, oh, I don’t understand this. Can you explain it to me? I love it. Can you take time out of your life? To educate me? Because I don’t want to go do the work?

Tristan Katz 31:50
Exactly. Well, normally, I would say like, Hey, start with the Google search. But I don’t trust Google anymore, right? Like, garbage on the internet.

Meg Casebolt 31:58
Alright, maybe you and I need to have a conversation offline, where I can tell you what to write. So that way, the information from your website is accurate. But you and I can have that link.

Tristan Katz 32:08
What I mean, I don’t mean like, I don’t trust people’s websites, though, sometimes that’s true. But I don’t trust a lot of the information that’s out there about gender and transness. Because the internet is populated by a lot of trans folks and anti trans bias, right. So I think getting critical with our sources, when we seek to learn more is really important. I think listening to people who are actually living trans identity and experiences is going to be the most important that’s like, you know, action number one, actually listen to the people who are trans on this. What a wild idea. I know. I mean, it is looking at what’s happening in our legislators leisure, you know? Yeah, unfortunately, it is kind of wild. But you know, read the books, find the podcast, there’s so much information out there. Now, if you start looking for it, I do think like, follow me on social media, I share this stuff all the time for free, it is a good way to learn. And then you know, find a way to engage with folks and pay them for their labor, whether it’s mine or somebody else’s, I don’t care if I’m the person you learn from, I just want you to do the learning if this is new to you. And there are a lot of educators out there who are offering like one on one seminars, you know, and then like going deeper trainings. And I’ll just mention the transgender Training Institute as a great place to start. But of course, I’m offering public workshops and trainings on this throughout the year online all the time. It’s really important to me to train as many people as I can to be more inclusive, not so that we can get more trans people into your businesses and have more trans but so we can make meaningful change for the world to be safer for trans people to exist.

Meg Casebolt 33:54
Exactly. This isn’t self serving. This isn’t Oh, let me go to some sort of trans education seminar so that way I can say that I have been through it so that way people will be more likely to purchase from me

Tristan Katz 34:07
Yeah, this isn’t about you making more money and making money off trans people surprise we don’t really have that much money generally speaking. What should I laugh about? I feel like I shouldn’t but with like tongue in cheek like, personally, I’m doing okay, I’m a white person. I’ve largely speaking able bodied I’m middle class, like I’m doing fine. You know, as much as the rest of us are, but generally speaking trans people are are disproportionately impacted right by systems of oppression by capitalism by inequity. So the point isn’t get more trans people into your work and your client base. The point is, how are you a part of this change? Or how are you getting left behind because we’re at a moment where like, stuffs changing, so you can either like do the work to catch up to the reality of gender and and shift your perspective and shift your under Standing and what you were taught. I think about this a lot too in relationship to like, the US history books that I grew up with as a kid in the 80s. And 90s taught me that the folks who are on this land first the indigenous folks broke bread with the quote unquote pilgrims and had a celebratory dinner when this land was conquered. That was a lie. Like, it was a blatant lie that I was bet so many times that it took me almost 20 years or more to question it. Well, the the gender story that I was fed was also a lie. So like, now’s the time to question it, y’all. We need it, we need you to question we need you to understand how this is. This is separating us more in terms of power in terms of who has the right to exist just exist, right? And all these conversations about bathrooms and sports, it’s all like, it’s like smoke and mirrors. And all of it makes us many of us feel a will trans people really aren’t dangerous. We are not. We’re not dangerous, like what news stories? Do you hear about trans people causing danger or causing threat? Right? The threat is against us. And we are being told that we don’t have the right to exist. So how can you get on board with making change?

Meg Casebolt 36:14
Gender Based Violence is not the marginalized and oppressed genders like fighting against the white, the big, bulky white men? Like that’s not what gender based violence is.

Tristan Katz 36:26
Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Women as much as they are more proximal to power are also experiencing marginalization to in different ways. Patriarchy is a thing sexism, misogyny, we know, we know that this is a thing. So the more we, you know, connect an ally meaningfully not just in verb not I mean, excuse me, not just in language with one another, the more we can create change for all of us. Yes, yeah.

Meg Casebolt 36:54
Okay, so if people want to work with you tell me specifically because I just signed up for this, this program that you’re running, not to toot my own horn. But just if people want to come join me and talk to me about this, while we’re going through trusens program together, I just signed up. For this program you have called creating safer spaces, I’m going to be in the August cohort. So if y’all want to come join me, and we will just learn from Tristan, but not expect Tristan to give us more information. Because we’ve had this conversation with them.

Tristan Katz 37:21
Talk about that specific training. Yeah, so I offer it usually about twice a year. It’s called creating safer spaces embodying your commitment to trans inclusion. It’s a 12 hour online program that we meet over six sessions, so that we can dive into like the things you and I have just talked about briefly, in much more detail. And we actually like do the uncomfortable work of having the hard conversations together. It’s a really powerful experience, and people get a lot out of it. I tend to think that if you’ve only got time and space for like a one hour workshop, or a two hour workshop, that is a good place to begin, there is nothing against taking like a little like a little taste like a little starting point, if this is new to you, and I offer one hour and two hour workshops on occasion too. But I just found that they weren’t they weren’t filling me up the way a long form program is because I feel like a lot of folks take the one or two hour thing and then they check the box and think they’re done. And then they go out and cause more harm. And so to me, my work in holding all of this responsibly is to understand that this has to be a long conversation that we commit to over and over and over again because unlearning requires we repeat things over and over and over again to challenge what has already been repeated, which wasn’t true, right? Back to the example I said about the US history. But

Meg Casebolt 38:44
if I’ve spent 39 years being told something, it’s not going to be unraveled in one hour, or a day or 12 weeks, even, you know,

Tristan Katz 38:52
hours. This program is still a starting point in many ways. But there’s also something really important and valuable about doing it with other people. Yeah, I find it like one on one work. First of all feels weird for me when it comes to trans inclusion. Like I hate having one on one consulting sessions, I will do them depending on the bill. I can

Meg Casebolt 39:12
see why though, because you want to be in relationship with other people in a conversation where you know, you and I are having this conversation, which sounds like oh, yeah, I understand everything you’re saying. But then to have someone else’s external perspective to have a group having a conversation about something to create, where you’re creating a safe space for people to say, Wow, I grew up with this. And other people are hearing that feedback is much more interesting to me than just, you know, oh, you tell me this, and I go try to do it myself.

Tristan Katz 39:40
Totally. Also, I think there’s something to be said about not knowing what questions we might have. And when you hear other people ask questions, it often helps us understand something too, right. And so I think this is really best done in a group learning environment, which is why I wanted to create a long form pro GRAEME That’s group centered. There’s a lot of space for conversation and like practicing things in this program. So I offer that on average twice a year, I will be teaching a couple in person retreats, excuse me this fall as well on the topic. So we can do it together in real time and in person. And, and yeah, and then I teach what I usually call conscious marketing or justice focused marketing. I teach programs around those topics, once or twice a year as well. And of course, I have like small little workshops here and there on many topics relating to all of this.

Meg Casebolt 40:35
So if people want to get to know you and follow you, it sounds like Instagram is the easiest place to connect, probably email to how can people find you and follow you? Well, obviously, we’ll put everything in the show notes, but sometimes it’s nice to hear it.

Tristan Katz 40:49
You hear it? Yeah. Thanks. Yeah, Instagram is great. I am still having fun with Instagram as much as it’s a dumpster fire.

Meg Casebolt 40:56
Everything’s a dumpster fire. Now. It’s 2020. We’re all jaded about everything. It’s fine.

Tristan Katz 41:04
But I am there. I am active on that platform. So you can find me there. It’s Tristan, cats creative. That’s T R I S T A Nka, tz creative. And I’m on there pretty regularly sharing lots of things. And then yeah, my website, cat stash You can contact me there through the Contact page, and see all of the events and trainings I’ve got coming up. I do offer organizational and corporate consulting and training on an as needed basis as well. So if you’re part of a team or a workplace, or an institution that needs this work, I’m also available for that conversation as well.

Meg Casebolt 41:42
All right, well, thank you so much for being here with me today. I really appreciate it.

Tristan Katz 41:45
I really appreciate it, man. Have a good one.

Meg Casebolt 41:49
Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social and sign up for our email list. You never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social Or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media. Talk to you then

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how to be more inclusive in your marketing