Luar Adonis Wolf, they/she, ella/elle, Little Moonlight Doula
Katie: Alright, thank you so much. It’s so exciting to talk to you. To just get right into it, could you tell us a little bit about you and your practice?
Luar: Sure. So, my name is Luar Adonis Wolf, my pronouns are they/them, she/hers, and in Spanish I also go by ella and elle – the feminine and gender neutral pronouns in Spanish. I’m 29 years old, and I live in New York City on occupied Lenape Haki-nk land, and I’m also intersex, queer, nonbinary. Also identify as trans, and I am a non-Black person of color, specifically Dominican and Puerto Rican. Wooh! A multitude of identities that are just part of my every day my lived experience.
In terms of my practice, my practice/my business, whatever I’m gonna call it – is called Little Moonlight Doula and the reason why it’s called Little Moonlight Doula, is because it’s actually named after my first name. My first name means Luar, which is Portuguese for moonlight. So, in Portuguese, little moonlight would be luarzinho – it was a nickname given to me by some of my Brazilian friends. And my first birth is actually a moon-named baby, after Jupiter’s moon Isle. SO, putting those one and one together, I have Little Moonlight Doula, so a moon helping bring a moon earthside (laughs). What also makes the name unique is that my first birth was a Black nonbinary person, giving birth to a moon-named baby. So, that is where the name of my practice comes from, and I think I’m just gonna keep it forever cause it literally marks who I am.
My practice is basically a full-spectrum reproductive service. I do birth and postpartum, I also do the full-spectrum of doula services. I’m also a reproductive care worker, aka “essential healthcare worker.” I work with Planned Parenthood currently, and I also am part of other full-spectrum doula collectives. And my practice is very rooted in being gender inclusive and queer/trans, gender non-conforming and nonbinary affirming, especially for queer/trans BIPOC people. It’s also rooted in reproductive justice, in decolonization, and so many different types of frameworks that I try to continue striving, not only in my work, but in myself and in my communities. I think that can sum the logistics of my practice. Oh- and I’m also a Certified Bodyfeeding Counselor and a Certified Childbirth Educator. That’s it! (laughs) It’s really hard to name every specific of what you do, because you’re like, “Oh, I gotta throw this, I gotta throw this…” so, I’m just a multitude of things that I can actually use to give back to my community and uplift my community and give my community access to specific things that they don’t generally get access to.
Katie: Yeah, absolutely, I totally hear how tricky it is to try to put all of the things you do into boxes, when you are someone who is serving your community in ways that may not actually fit into any those roles, or exclusively into any of those roles.
Luar: Yes, I’d rather put it on paper rather than speaking about it because I’m like, “Oh! I forgot about pointing out that specific thing and that identity” so I try to put it all out there. But yeah, that’s what my practice does. My practice is just me, myself and I, so it’s just very solo work, and doing everything (laughs)
Katie: The little moon helping other moons!!!
Katie: I love it so much. It’s also one of the queerest things I’ve ever heard.
Luar: I had to. I had to do it. I had to make it queer as fuck.
Katie: You did, and it is! Ughhh, and on that note, what are you queering right now? Or what are some of the things you’re queering right now?
Luar: So, in general I queer everything that I touch, and step on. Whether it was the spaces that were designed for me, I’m going to queer it and (trans)cend it. Putting the parentheses around (trans) around transcending, with a little wordplay there. I touch everything and my intention is to make sure that queer people and trans people and trans people and everyone with a gender expansive identity can exist in spaces safely. And specifically now, I am queering what doula means, in terms of the full-spectrum to include and re-define the doula role to do gender affirming support. Specifically, gender affirming surgeries and hormone care and how we can be a doula for that. Especially for a community that goes through these things alone and have no support and no care and very isolated. And the support that they technically do get is literally the closest other trans friends and chosen family. I think those types of surgeries, especially in the recovery period, they need a lot of support. They need support that is intimate, they need support that comes from loved ones and chosen family, and they also need support that comes from a professional role. In terms of like, “What can I do for you? How can I help in your recovery? How can I show up for you to make sure you’re being advocated for and taken care of in the hospital, during the surgery and after surgery?” How do we turn this role to show up for members of our community that literally go through these things the majority of the time alone?
Katie: Fuck yeah, oh that’s so important. What inspired you to get into reproductive support work?
Luar: So before I even knew the word existed, it’s always been there in my heart and in my waves and in my mind. I can trace it all the way back to when I was a little adolescent. I was spending a week with my aunt and she was actually going through a divorce and she also had gotten pregnant at that time. It was a very complicated situation without going into much detail. And for some reason, my aunt was going into the hospital really late at night, trying to evade the family from knowing so she was just making sure that me, my brother, my little cousins were all in bed and we were taken care of, so that she could sneak out and go to the hospital. But I was up, and I was hyper-aware, I was like a little adult. I was like, “Where are you going?” and she was like, “I’m going to the hospital” and I was like, “Nobody should go to the hospital by themselves!” So even as a little kid, I was already speaking from a doula intentions and doula heart. I was like, “you shouldn’t go to the hospital by yourself, let me come with you” she said, no, and I said, “Nobody should have to go to the hospital by themselves, you need someone to be with you.” I was very adamant that she ended up taking me. And the memories that I have are very vivid and clear, which was just me being there with her, when we got called into the OR she was just lying in this weird examination room and we were literally in there for hours. Hours. And it was overnight, so I told my aunt, “I’m going to turn off the light and you just get some sleep that you can,” and I just stayed vigil(?) over her until the doctors came so she could get some rest. And then there was a part where I couldn’t go with her. Then, hours later, by myself I was in the waiting room, she finally comes back and she had her own room and they had put a bed for me. And years later, when I have a conversation with her about that, especially getting into this role, and learning about miscarriages and abortions, I have a conversation with her, I’m like, “Did I support… did I help you? Did I give you support through something no one else knew at the time?” and she said, “Yes, I was having a miscarriage, I had to do a D&C.” and that just blew my mind, I was like, “oh my god I’ve been an abortion doula all my life.” So, when I look back at that memory, everything just touches, like, oh my gosh, she was going through an abortion and she was going to do that with the intention of doing that by herself. I was just like, “No, you shouldn’t go by yourself, you need help, you need support, let me go with you.” So that was my first memory of getting into this work and beyond that, I was present for many of my cousins’ births or postpartum. Watching bodyfeeding and pumping and all this stuff, so I’ve been around all this, especially in a family that’s majority single mothers and just women, women of colors, so I was very raised around that matriarch energy. And witnessing the matriarch give birth to the next generation of me and my cousins and witnessing that as an older person compared to the other cousins. Then, fast forwarding, just specifically the actions brought me to work is.. I got into doula work in an “nontraditional” “nontypical” way which is through abortion. Most of the doulas I meet usually do birth and postpartum certifications first, and that’s usually what you hear the doula role for. I actually started as an abortion doula, leading into the rest. I remember my first day of being accepted into The Doula Project, and being trained and I was like, “This is amazing, this is so needed” and also in collaboration with actually starting to work for Planned Parenthood. Just exposing myself to the reproductive healthcare space and how important it is to have access to abrotions. Making sure that everybody, and not just ciswomen, but everybody across the gender expansive identities have that same access to these services. So that’s what brought me to my journey today!
Kaite: I love little baby Luar as an abortion support person, this is – ohh its so beautiful! I also got my start in doing support work in abortion support…
Luar: Yes. You did the backward route.
Katie: I feel like, I honestly forget that’s not how a lot of people do it. (laughs) It just made a lot of sense to me at the time. And maybe you’ve already answered this question in your story of like no one should have to go to the hospital alone, but um – How do you describe your support philosophy?
Luar: It’s weird, because I don’t ascribe to forming core values, or missions and stuff like that because I see that a lot with nonprofits and a lot with capitalist spaces where they just make these philosophies and missions and values and it’s just for marketing and branding and there’s not acutely heart to it. My support philosophy is simple, everybody needs support. Everybody across the gender spectrum needs support. Everybody in a violent oppressive marginalized system needs support. So, just give it. Give it freely, openly, and make sure everyone has access to support. So that’s why a lot of my work, as much as I want to create something that’s “profitable” or sustainable – that’s the better way, sustainable. I was raised in and come from a background and a culture that is very community centered, and if I go back into that: we were not really concerned about “how much money I can make by supporting you as a community member?” Yes, be sustainable for yourself, but at the end of the day: one of the ways we dismantle white supremacy is by returning back to our communities and uplifting and centering our communities and giving them access to things that they typically don’t get, which is support. So that is literally my philosophy if you want to call it that, but it’s just like.. Give support. Don’t try to commercialize support. Don’t try to commodify support. Don’t try to capitalize support. Support is something that we as human beings should be doing for other human beings, and showing up for other human beings. And that is the way we are allies, essentially to other community members.
Katie: Yeah, ugh! The privatization of care just feels like one of the biggest scams to communities from the settler colonial state.
Luar: Exactly! Honestly, like, in a better and more perfect world we wouldn’t need doulas. If medical racism didn’t exist, or the violation of so many peoples’ bodies and consent and bodily autonomy didn’t exist, doulas wouldn’t be here. Because of what they have done to support and what they have done to care.
Katie: Yeah, oh, preach it, oh! So, I’ve asked you about your natal work, I also need to know about your natal chart. What’s your sun/moon/rising, and whatever else I need to know?
Luar: The number one queer question, it’s like the first date question when you date other queers and trans folks, right? My sun is in Aries, I was born on April 7th. My rising is Leo, and my moon is in Capricorn. I (laughs), so everybody’s always asking me, “Oh my god” because of me being a doula, “I need to know your chart so I can know what made you a doula!” It’s more like the fiery, passionate, impulsive nature of showing up for people from my Aries and my Leo. There’s a reason why I became a doula, and that’s my activism energy which pours down into my doula. I think, what maybe essentially touches my doula in my chart is my Venus is in Taurus cause a lot of people that I have in my life that are Taurus, they are very caregiving, loving, showing up for everyone around them (besides themselves). So I would give credit to the Venus in Taurus for being the reason why I’m a doula.
Katie: Oh, love, I love that. And, not to turn this into an astrology interview, but I feel like that Venus/Taurus energy’s so beautiful, when I think about both that very giving, very caring but like, it’s an earth sign, it’s a very grounded, – it’s not just a like “I’m just giving of myself without knowing who I am or what I’m doing” It’s not that savior complex mindset, there is that real groundedness of “this is coming from who I am.”
Luar: So many of my – one of my best friends is a Taurus. Even a lot of Taurus like a call, so they’re like “What do you need, Luar? You want something? What can I do for you?” Like, y’all just live for caring!
Katie: And what’s your favorite thing about being a queer support person or about working with queer and trans folks and families?
Luar: There’s so many things. The one thing I can really touch upon is being in space with people like me, or people that belong in the same spectrum of gender expansive identities like me. We don’t get that. When you talk to a lot of queer/trans or gender non-conforming and nonbinary people, we’re very isolated. Or we’re in very small communities that for me is not enough. Ideally, I want a community in terms of- arms distance, the way we can touch things. But one of my favorite things about doing this work, in terms of me being a queer, nonbinary femme, is showing up for others that are like me. It’s such a different feeling because we can actually take a lot of burden off our shoulders. We can take down that thick skin that we put up to protect ourselves in a lot of cis spaces. Seeing that easy breath, that fresh air that goes into our lungs when we’re in good space and community with others like ourselves is one of those things that just brings me joy. Even outside of reproductive spaces, when I show up in very sacred safe space with my trans besties or other trans kin, it’s just amazing, being in community. Actual, authentic community. Not just a community that is just built on trauma bonding– yes, cause it’s a lot of that! As a community, I don’t want that. I don’t want our community to be built on trauma bonding or oppression olympics and titles and this and that. When we get together and find others like ourselves, it’s just the authentic and unconditional love and support that we give to each other is just amazing. That is just one of my favorite things, seeing, when I as a full-spectrum worker show up with somebody or a client that has those same identities, they’re like “Oh my god, I don’t have to educate you. I don’t have to explain what a pronoun is. I don’t have to do this free labor. I can just exist and be me and I don’t have to explain myself.” That’s just one of the most beautiful things to see, because I can take that off your shoulder and do that for you. I think that’s one of the things that keeps me going – just the amount of queer/trans, gender nonconforming, gender non-binary people that exist that are giving birth, that are just getting surgeries, or doing hormone support just need community members to show up for them for care. It’s just beautiful to witness and experience and be able to offer that so that is one of my favorite things – among so many reasons.
Katie: That good queer and trans magic.
Luar: Yes. Hella. Queer. Trans magic.
Katie: If you could improve one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth for queer and trans folks, what’s one thing that you would want to see?
Luar: Sigh. Everything, everything! I just want to see us enter medical spaces or healthcare spaces and not having to experience transphobia from its individual to its systemic levels. Seeing that, for our communities – for them to just enter healthcare and not worry about being misgendered or using the wrong pronouns or being dead-named. Actually just giving them care that they have a right to and deserve and is centered in their identities is something that I wish to see. If that answers the question.
Katie: Oh, yeah, it sure does. Yeah.
Luar: Because it’s really hard to pinpoint one exact thing, when the future that most of us see for ourselves and for our community is EVERYTHING. Everything. If I have to do one specific thing: end all corrective surgeries for intersex children and babies. That its not the first thought for a medical doctor or MD to be like, “We need to correct this.” That would be one thing, as a start – end corrective surgeries for intersex babies.
Katie: Yes! And on the flip side of that, what’s a pice of advice you have for aspiring queer and trans birth workers?
Luar: I think you’ve heard this before, and a lot of others who know me have heard me say: Fuck imposter syndrome. Besdies dysphoria for those of us who expreiene dysphoria, the other next thing would be fuck imposter syndrome. Don’t doubt. Don’t question. It’s hard – but the moment we allow confidence to take hold of us in this specific work, in this specific space, by just repeating that mantra and having others who instill confidence into you and support and just inject that into you. That’s gonna be my mantra for new folks: fuck imposter syndrome. We can do this work, we have a right to do this work, we have the right to stand up for ourselves and others who are like us so we can show up for those people, too. Don’t question your ability. A certification or a training does not give you the doula title – that’s always been inside of us. As human beings, as people that have come from a community centered background and cultures and traditions (laughs) Nothing can give you the doula heart, nothing can give you the doula role. No training or certification is gonna give you that. Because that’s not something they can instill, that’s something that’s always existed. It’s just being awakened through a training. And you can exist totally outside of that, but don’t expect that a training or certification is gonna give you what you’re looking for. It’s just going to give you the tools and the resources and the foundations for doing the work. The role and the work itself has always existed inside of you because it’s essentially and fundamentally: You as a human being showing up for another human being.
Katie: Oh! So good. So good. I also, I want a classic looking cross stitch that I can frame somewhere that says, “Fuck imposter syndrome”
Luar: I need something like that, or I need a t-shirt. (laughs) With a big ole trans flag on it.
Katie: Ahhh, I love, I love. Wow. Aside from making that t shirt, are there any projects that you want help cross pollinating with others in the community: stuff you’re thinking about stuff youre building?
Luar: Yes, so: one of the main things I haven’t announced yet… I’m working quietly behind the scenes on creating something, a support circle, called The Lavender Tent. It’s basically sacred safe space for queer, trans, gender nonconfirming, gender nonbinary people to come together to do sacred story telling. Basically share our lived experiences, like through different parts of our transition. Whether it’s just medically or non-medically. An example like that would be having one of those spaces, one of the modules or coming together or getting onto the Zoom call virtual space will be talking about metaphorical death. That’s an example, coming together as queer/trans people to talk about metaphorical death and the multiple metaphorical deaths we go through. What does honoring and grieving and mourning, individually and collectively, over our past self- our former selves, our former selves, our former dead names, look like? How do we give a personal eulogy for that? How do we just go through the process of grieving and mourning, that so we can make space for the new and affirming identities in order to root ourselves within ourselves? Honoring the decay. So that’s an example of one of the support circles – it’s going to be called The Lavender Tent and I’m going to announce, hopefully soon, in terms of getting sacred safe space for us as a community to come together as a community to talk about stuff like that, through sacred storytelling.
Katie: Ohh, so amazing. So important. So needed. Ohh, I love that so much. And what’s something that’s not reproductive related about you and your life that you want to share?
Luar: One of the things about me is my practices in Afro-caribbean traditions that I’m a part of. I’m also a witch, I practice witchcraft so those are very fundamental in terms of medicine for being medicine for me, its also cultural and ancestral for me. Keeps me together and sane. Outside of that, I also do spoken word and I do a lot of writings and poems. I’m also an artist but I keep my artwork to myself because I’m very weird and sensitive with showing my artwork. Outside of reproductive healthcare spaces, those are a lot of the big parts of me that others might not know about.
Katie: Finally, where can people find you on the internet?
Luar: Everywhere! (laughs) I’m on Facebook as Little Moonlight Doula, I’m also on Instagram as Little Moonlight Doula. I also have a website: Little Moonlight Doula dot com! I made sure that name was grabbed across the spectrum of social media platforms – so facebook, instagram and my website is literally just Little Moonlight Doula!
Katie: Awesome, thank you so much, this has been a treat!
Luar: Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, I appreciate it!