April 2021 Update: We’re Launching Group Sessions!

A collage of eight photos of individual people beautifully showcasing a range of gender expressions.

There’s this thing I do with Internet projects: I create something small and focused to meet my own needs, and then I turn my back for like, one minute and suddenly it has expanded way, way, way beyond my original scope. 

In college, I started a website to showcase my own poetry because I wanted to inspire my writing practice. Within two months it had expanded into a literary magazine for the whole university, and then transformed into an online writing workshop that served 5,000 people. In 2007, I created Genderfork.com as a photo-a-day blog to explore androgyny—because I was curious about my own fashion sense, and had difficulty finding it represented on other sites. In a flash, it had become a volunteer-run transgender and nonbinary community expression project that represented thousands of people and was really active for more than a decade (The lovely collage above highlights a few submitted images). Every time this happens, my project begins as a dance with curiosity and inspiration, and evolves into a rich sense of purpose, creativity, and service. I do this. It turns out that I’m never the only person who wants the thing that I’m currently making, and it’s so deeply important to me that whatever I do serves as many people as possible. 

But I really thought it would be a while before we’d get there with Queer ADHD.

The imposter syndrome was strong: I’m new. I’m in training. I’m coming from a different industry. All of the work I’ve done in the past to coach, mentor, support, guide, strategize, help others, and focus on my own growth has been in different contexts, so it will take a while to translate it. I felt that I needed at least a year of formal experience before I could offer something for groups or community. I was wrong, and I learned this in two ways:

First, through providing coaching to individual clients, and realizing that it could be very successful with what I already know. I’ve had strongly positive feedback from my early clients, and have been celebrating their progress, growth, and victories with them. I’ve gained confidence in what I am able to offer, and I am humbled by the truth that coaching is a partnership and growth is truly self-directed. I don’t need to be an expert with decades of experience to be of service today, in this moment. I do, however, need to bring my ADHD knowledge to the table—and recognize how comprehensive it already is thanks to the amazing education I’m getting through ADDCA—because education is such a big part of this role. However, the actual work—the perspective shifts, the testing, and the growth—this all comes from my clients. I am here to witness, to hold space, to recognize, to support, to guide, and to help unlock. But I am not the center of the story, and that has been freeing for me to understand.

While equally exciting, the second part of my realization came through a somewhat more logistical path: my waitlist is full. I intentionally limited my early clients to a fairly small number so that I could also focus on infrastructure, education, and ensuring that I was giving each client enough personal attention. When I hit that limit, I took my offer of individual coaching off the website and posted a waiting list signup form. What I didn’t anticipate was that even before I had a social media presence or a newsletter, new people would sign up for my waiting list. Every. Single. Week. Even knowing how new I was to my work, and even knowing that I couldn’t be available to them right away, people have been signing up consistently. This blew my mind. It was both affirming and alarming. I understood early on that the queer community is underserved in ADHD coaching and that there would be no shortage of potential clients. But I didn’t fully grasp what I was walking into until I saw those waiting list sign ups start rolling in.

So we’re doing this. Now. Queer ADHD is officially offering Group Sessions, and they’ll begin in May. I’ve designed this program so that it can immediately help people exactly where they are, while also helping them build a body of knowledge and skills over time. And most importantly, the program provides community—something that we, as queer folks, rely on heavily in order to recognize ourselves and not feel alone. A deeper experience of community is something that individual coaching cannot offer, and I’m excited about that. I’ve also designed this program so that its size doesn’t need to be limited by my own hours. I will at some point max out on how many sessions I can handle myself, but I’m crafting this so that I can bring in other coaches to help. It’s exciting to imagine the work opportunities this will create that will truly align with the right team members’ passions. There’s built-in flexibility—I’m certain our sessions will look different in six months, and I’m honestly excited to see how they change. We’re going to evolve this program together, with input from everyone we serve and collaborate with. If you are seeking support for ADHD and would appreciate a queer community atmosphere, please take a look at what Group Sessions offer. I’d love to see you there. 

Community is a core value in my work at Queer ADHD. I don’t want to be the loudest or biggest voice in this space—I want to strengthen the existing ecosystem, add to it, lift up other resources, and build more connections across the board.

Wherever you are in this ecosystem, I’m glad that you’re here with me, and that we’re building this together.

Photo is a collage of content from Genderfork.com submitted by (top left to bottom right) Jo, Annica, Vita E, Emily, Skye, Sage, Chris, and Mae

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