on substack

and this newsletter's future

hello, friends. it’s been a tough week, and it’s also only wednesday. if you’re having a hard time, i’ve got a new community tarot reading up, have some old spreads that may be helpful, and also have a voice to say: it’s okay to rest. really, truly. it’s okay.

if you follow me on twitter or are active on social media yourself, you may have seen jude ellison s. doyle’s thread on their ongoing conversations with substack. a lot of writers that i respect have done their own informative posts and explanations, including britni de la cretez, emily vanderwerff, malinda lo, and jeanna kadlec. i highly recommend reading these posts first, as they dig deeper into these issues than i will here - but the short version is that substack is paying a few of its writers, some of whom are known to be loudly and actively anti-trans, and it’s unclear about where the funds for those payments are coming from. substack has said in their most recent blog post that their pro program is self-sustaining, that these anti-trans writers are not being funded with the percentage cuts that substack takes from writers like me. but in the same post they continue to refuse to publish the list of writers who benefit from this program, making it impossible to know what kind of work they are directly funding. this in turn makes it impossible for me, and other marginalized writers, to know if we are inadvertently contributing to anti-trans rhetoric and hate speech.

i’ll be honest - i haven’t paid a lot of attention to substack as a company until now. when i made the decision to switch from patreon to substack last year, it was due to my desire to transition my work to something that felt more sustainable for me long-term, on a platform that was more suited to the kind of writing i do. as a queer, disabled creative professional who has lost most forms of income due to the pandemic (i also work as an events and restaurant photographer, and as a production assistant, both of which become non-existent in the face of covid-19), i hoped that substack would become a larger source of income for me.

but a few months after that shift, i also began the process of getting a divorce. and with my ongoing struggle to find more work, and my financial future becoming more precarious by the minute, my options are very limited. i don’t make enough money on this newsletter to fully support me (i have around 50 paid subscribers, to whom i say: thank you so very much!), but i also cannot afford to lose this income stream.

and yet. the idea of even a single dollar that i may have generated for substack going into the pockets of professional transphobes is completely horrifying. after tweeting my support for jude last week, a few trolls found this substack and sent me so many hateful comments in such rapid succession that i was forced to shut down commenting completely on this platform, which breaks my heart. i refuse to be quiet about this, and it’s important to me that when i’m in a position to make a meaningful change, that i do it.

with that said, i am still exploring my options. i’m unfortunately not in a financial position to completely suspend payments as some others have, but i do want to share that i’m looking into alternatives, specifically platforms that would allow me to transfer both subscribers and archives without any disruptions. i want to be thoughtful about this process, and to be transparent. this is not a decision that i am making lightly, and is one that i will research thoroughly before making any kind of shift.

if you are concerned about this issue with substack and feel the need to suspend or cancel your subscription here, i absolutely understand. this situation is murky, and complicated, and puts both writers and subscribers in a difficult position.

to all of you that have sent me your support, that have offered tips and thoughtful comments, that subscribe in any capacity, that follow me on social, that share your love and kindness with this community - from the bottom of my heart, thank you. this last year has been impossible, and i know i’m not the only one struggling and suffering. since i’ve had to suspend comments for the time being, if you need to get in touch with me for questions or anything else, you can email me at 3am.tarot @ gmail.

i will share another update as soon as i can. in the meantime, be safe, and be kind to yourselves. i’m so grateful that you’re here.