Dr. Julianna Allen

Julianna Allen, she/her,, @embracepelvicPT

Katie: Hi, welcome!

Julianna: Thank you so much.

Katie: Just to jump into it, could you tell me a little bit about you, who you are and your practice?

Julianna: Absolutely, so my name is Dr. Julianna Allen, I am a pelvic health physical therapist. I own Embrace Physical Therapy and Wellness, which is an inclusive pelvic health practice aimed at really people of all genders, and while I work a lot in the pregnancy and postpartum space, I also treat people through a vast variety of different pelvic health conditions. Including going through gender-affirming surgery, using dilators and binding safety. Of course, also all of the pelvic floor and physical things people go through – through and after gestation?

Katie: Awesome, and what are you queering right now?

Julianna: What am I queering… well, I try to queer a lot of things. I really am celebrating learning more and taking more courses in trans health specifically. Because, I really love helping people through that process and so, that would be kind of my biggest connection to queering things right now. 

Katie: That’s awesome, it’s so important. What inspired you to do the work that you do?

Julianna: I love this question, because I’m not a “traditional”… traditionally, maybe you go get a bachelors’ degree and you go straight to graduate school. I took some time off – I got my bachelors degree, and took some time off. Actually worked in mental health and in an eating disorder facility for a while.. Going back to when I was getting my bachelors degree, I took some, y’know, at that point they were called “women’s studies” classes, and I just was so overcome with the inequities in healthcare, and the inequity of everything around, especially at that point – people who were women. I thought, y’know what? I want to do something with my life that really helps with that and that the time I was exploring my queer identity. But at that point, I didn’t know what I was going to do – so fast forward, working in a facility for people with eating disorders and I really loved it when we did treatments that we were exposing people and their bodies to different sensations. I realized, I’ve always loved physical things. I’ve always loved looking at movement patterns and everything like that. So, I thought, I’ll go to physical therapy school. In order to go to physical therapy school, I worked in an office, a physical therapy office. I actually found out, unlike many people who go to PT school, I found out about pelvic health and I thought y’know what? That sounds really cool and interesting. I’ve always thought it’s fun to learn about and talk about intimacy and sex. So why not try that? I went to PT school and I was super, super lucky in that I got to work in pelvic health during my graduate degree – while I was getting my doctorate. It was mind blowing how many specific things birthing people’s bodies that go through that aren’t then addressed. That people just accept as parts of being a birthing person, being a mom, being a parent. Just astounding – all of the pain, pain with feeding, pain with intercourse afterward, and I just was.. My mind was blown, and I was like, it’s crazy cause it’s a whole different thing. We can actually help a lot of these things, cause there’s physical therapy FOR the pelvic floor, and for the hips and back. I was immediately struck by how cool it was to learn how to work with someone’s body like that. 

Katie: How would you describe your support philosophy or your philosophy toward pelvic health physical therapy?

Julianna: I love the idea of being a guide. There is so much unknown about the pelvis, about the pelvic floor, about how bodies change during gestation and what is necessary and what is common but not normal. So, I love guiding people through what.. How their body’s going to change, and what might be something that is expected (but maybe isn’t the most desirable thing) and then teaching them how we can actually both accept what has to change, but also really provide preparation and healing afterward. I would say, I’m a big fan of teaching and guiding because I teach a lot about the body and places that we just don’t know how our bladders function, how our abdominal wall is affected by gestation, how our pelvic floor is affected. And really, how we can prevent a lot of that and heal it afterward. I’m a big fan of guiding people through that experience. 

Katie: That’s such important knowledge, right? Those are all parts of our bodies that we don’t get a lot of information about at any point in our lives except for, perhaps if you find yourself seeking physical therapy around the experience of pregnancy. 

Julianna: I think it’s quite sad in some ways, because in some countries, like in France, every birthing person gets sent to pelvic floor physical therapy – no questions asked, right afterward. Actually, the United Kingdom has just adopted that and is putting that into practice as well. I think it’s fantastic that pelvic floor therapy is becoming more and more known here, but it’s really interesting that you say that around going to physical therapy, going around gestation… because there are so many times that I see people who are not just around that period, too, and I have so many people as questions about – “oh, isn’t that just for people who are going through pregnancy?” And really that’s not true. I see people for pelvic floor issues around lots of different things – just people who’ve never had children often have urinary urgency or have issues with overactive or tight muscles and it’s often something that’s worth thinking about even before pregnancy, but of course, also, during and after. I just love that you brought that up because everyone has a pelvic floor, and while not everybody needs therapy for their pelvic floor, it’s something to know that it’s always there. 

Katie: Yeah, absolutely, I think that’s such an important point. So often we think that this is just … if people think about it at all, it is just around these times of a very dramatic transition, but that’s just not true. 

Julianna: Absolutely, and I mean, y’know what? You always have your pelvic floor, and your pelvic floor is going through this dramatic transition and going through covid times and going through everything. Our bodies, y’know, a lot of people get stress in certain areas of their bodies with all of the stress of this situation, and the pelvic floor can show that as well. It’s worth knowing that it’s not just a forgotten part of your body, even if we don’t think about it every day. 

Katie: Absolutely, so I’ve asked you about your natal work, now I wanna know about your natal chart. What’s your sun, moon, rising?

Julianna: So, I am a libra, proud libra, love that balance or at least that I like to say that I like thinking about it, cause sometimes I feel like I’m not always the most calm, fair, balanced person. I love thinking, “Nope, I’m a libra, I’m gonna bring some of that in.” My moon is a Capricorn, and rising is Virgo. 

Katie: Awesome! And what’s your favorite thing about being a queer support person, or working with queer and trans folks?

Julianna: I love talking about, specifically, I love talking about how queer people interact with one another, even when I’m with, for instance, people who are not part of the queer community. One of the big things I address is intercourse and intimacy after a birth, postpartum, and that can be a really different experience for various – both biological and emotional things, reasons. One of the big things I say to people is “queer up your sex life” if they haven’t heard that before, because, a lot of people, for a lot of people not in the queer community, it’s all about PIV penetration, and that’s the pinnacle, and I really think that, in the queer community, we just have a head start on that. I love bringing my queer knowledge into –OK, well, maybe you’re not ready to have intercourse, even if you’ve hit your 6-week check up and everything’s ok. That doesn’t mean that you’re ready. That means that your body is healing, but you’re not ready, so I often am talking through intimacy in different ways to approach that. Very much come from a lot of research that I’ve read and courses I’ve taken but also just my experience in the queer community and knowing what we’re like. I just love supporting queer and trans families, because y’know, it’s such a special thing coming to creating a family when we’ve had the opportunity, in many cases, to create our own chosen families, but to also have the opportunity to bring a biological child into such a warm and wonderful community. It’s just so happy for me because I find that there’s so much support, often when I am not in the queer community, working with birth, it’s sometimes just the wife coming to me, just the birthing person coming to me, and I love how when I work in the queer community it’s like – OK, let’s talk about your pelvic floor, but with everybody else, and everyone else is gonna be involved in your rehab and that’s just so built in and I love that. 

Katie: I really love the idea that people are coming to see you and the advice that they’re getting is to queer up their sex lives, what a dream. 

Julianna: Yup. I would say I use those words a fair amount, sometimes I don’t depending on, y’know, you have to read the person you’re talking to. It’s just so true, there’s just a built in… y’know, the walls of building queer relationships and queer family are so different than the hetereonormative standards, so just brining a little bit of that in, that innovation and lack of expectation is such an important thing. 

Katie: And if you could improve one thing about the experience of pregnancy, birth, postpartum recovery for queer and trans families, what would it be?

Julianna: Is it a cheat to say, “See a pelvic therapist?”

Katie: No, it is not!

Julianna: I think it’s such an overlooked thing, and I think it’s hard because there aren’t that many of us but just having been in this profession, there are just exponentially more and more and people like me who are focusing on certain communities and who are able to provide you with care that’s going to really resonate with you. I think it’s so important. I like to say, and many people say, prevention – seeing someone during their gestation is really helpful, and that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong if you don’t, but I love the idea of preparing. The way I teach, say, learning how to open your pelvic floor muscles for birth is going to be different from someone else. I can actually feel, a pelvic therapist can feel those muscles opening and that’s such a magical thing about preparing yourself for birth. Of course, seeing a pelvic health therapist afterward can be really helpful in terms of getting your abdominals and your pelvic floor starting to work again. They’ve been so distended, which is a beautiful part of pregnancy, but they’ve been so distended, they may have been pushed wide open with delivery and having those muscles that are such a critical part of your core, getting them back online is really helpful, so I would say a) see a pelvic floor therapist, or b) give yourself the grace and time, but also the attention to your body, especially in those parts that were very drastically changed for a very short period of time. 

Katie: What piece of advice do you have for new or aspiring queer / trans pelvic health physical therapist, birth workers in general?

Julianna: Sighs. I mean, I think it’s so fantastic that you might be considering this field, I think it’s so needed and so rewarding. My advice is, push through your insecurities. Speaking from my own personal experience about coming into my own as a doctor of physical therapy but also how much do I promote or am out about my queerness in the space of pelvic health, because, y’know, who knows how people will take that? Just be brave, but let yourself be yourself in these situations because I think your clients will get so much more out of it and you will get so much more out of it if you’re able to take that step and be there to help families in the way that you individually can. 

Katie: That’s so important, those reminders I think are so helpful in these fields that so frequently are .. and fields where there’s so much emphasis on having your own practice and your own business and marketing yourselves in ways that are like, where you’re selling yourself to some abstract general pregnant person. That reminder about authenticity is always so necessary. Are there any projects that you have going on that you want help cross pollinating with other folks in birth world?

Julianna: So, I have my own practice, for sure, which I always love people to talk about, comment on, let me know what their thoughts are. But I’m also, I currently have a postpartum virtual education program that is specifically aimed at not just the queer community – it’s for anyone who wants it, but we did really spend a lot of time trying to make sure that it is appropriate for people, and the language is worded for people who are queer, trans, just anywhere along our rainbow because I think that’s so important. It’s not exactly an ongoing project, but I do love talking about how… another pelvic health physical therapist and I created this program that’s really aimed at how to both help your body directly after a labor and delivery in terms of taking your first poop and pee postpartum, I hope it’s OK to say that on here –

Katie: Oh, absolutely, yeah!

Julianna: y’know, how to support your core when you’re just rolling out of bed after say, having delivered by cesarean. All the way to reconnecting with your core and pelvic floor, to having intercourse postpartum, as well as how to stop leaking and how to improve your bowel function. I definitely would love to hear and see queer people in our community about that – we have a facebook group, for what that’s worth, called Healthy Pelvis Healthy Postpartum that we are always trying to get together community around. 

Katie: Awesome, and what’s something not natal related, pelvic related about you and your life that you wanna share?

Julianna: That’s a great question. Well, you and I talked about this a little earlier, but I’m actually in a queer feminist wrestling league so if anybody wants to look into that, it’s BLOWW (the Boston League of Wicked Wrestlers) and that’s not natal, but is very much in this community. Feel free to look us up, we’re on all the socials, we have our own website. Check us out, cause let me tell you – it’s really, really fun. 

Katie: That is… that’s such a vitally important fun fact, and like, wow. What a service to the community (laughs). 

Julianna: I just, y’know, if there’s one thing you take away from this, obviously everyone watching, I want you to learn about pelvic health and learn about all the thing that a pelvic health therapist can help you with, or you can become someone like me… but… if you take one thing away, look up the Boston League of Wicked Wrestlers. You won’t regret it. 

Katie: Top tips. Top tips: look up the Boston League of Wicked Wrestlers, see a pelvic floor PT, queer up your sex life. 

Julianna: If I could tell you one thing about your pelvic floor, relax your pelvic floor.. and go see the Boston League of Wicked Wrestlers. Very related. 

Katie: It seems like that would help you relax your pelvic floor. 

Julianna: Yeah. Definitely. Definitely. It’s very relaxing (shakes head)

Katie: And finally, where can people find you on the internet?

Julianna: So you can find me, my website is, y’know, if you search my name Julianna Allen, you’ll probably get there. My Instagram is @embracepelvicPT, and then I have a Facebook page and everything. So feel free to check me out there. I always love questions, I try to answer them on lives and with posts because I want to know what your questions are about the pelvic floor, about how your body changes and y’know, honestly about your hips and everything else that works really hard to support you during gestation.

Katie: Awesome, thank you so much, this was such a blast!

Julianna: Thank you for inviting me, I am so excited that something like this exists and I really hope that everyone watching in terms of their own career choices, that you do join us in queer birth work, because it’s such a wonderful and rewarding place to be.


Lucia the Doula (& Future Midwife!)

Lucia the Doula. they/she, @LuciaTheDoula, Not All Pregnant People Are Women.

Katie: Alright, well thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. Just to dive right in, can you tell us a little bit about you and your practice?

Lucia: Yeah, my name is Lucia. My pronouns right now, I just use my name, Lucia and Lucia’s. I am currently in nurse midwifery school but I come to the work through the lens of a doula. So, I’ve been a full-spectrum doula for three years this month, actually. Full-spectrum: I support people through abortion, loss, pregnancy and postpartum. I did a lot of work, mostly in New York and the New York-metro area. Supporting people in their homes, inside the medicalized industrial complex and birthing centers, in Planned Parenthoods, all over the place. I center, in my life, and in my practice, queer people, queer liberation, Black queer folks. I think that we are not an extracurricular, that inclusivity should just be the baseline, that it’s not hard to figure out pronouns. That it’s not weird to be like, “Ugh, I forget, I should just say ‘pregnant people’” – it’s just like no, just say it. So we can just all come to the table and we can all be included and all have resources. And I hope to imbue my future midwifery practices with that as well. My dream is to live in a town where everyone’s like, all the queers go to her. So everyone just comes to my big gay birthing center, and I give help to everyone who has internal genetalia, and that’s my dream. 

Katie: I want your big gay birthing center! 

Lucia: Just flags everywhere. All the flags. Every one of the flags, just waving in the wind (laughs).

Katie: So beautiful. And that might be the answer to this question but maybe you have another answer to: What are you queering right now?

Lucia: Right now, in this moment, it feels like I’m queering a very straight educational experience. I am blowing people’s minds with inclusive language – people are like, “whatttt?? Not everyone’s a woman that gives birth?” It’s not something people can wrap their heads around. So right now, it feels like I’m back to step one of basic queering language in and around reproductive health. I don’t think the major women’s health nurse practitioner should exist. I think it should be called something else, but that’s not my major so that’s someone else’s battle. Especially in nursing and just talking about… there’s a lot of things that we learn that are like, “Oh, well, in men it’s thi number, and in women it’s this number.” and I’m always like, “Srrrrkk. Hi, hello. What does that mean? Are we talking about testosterone or are we talking about body fat percentage to muscle….?” Cause we just can’t say that anymore. We gotta dig deeper, we can’t just be lazy and we have to be expansive. So right now, I feel like I’m queering my school. In the south. 

Katie: Necessary! And really hard work. Your line of “we are not extracurriculars” feels so central and is both about the structure of a curriculum and also the way knowledge is passed down in ways that are both perpetuating these power systems and are just not fully accurate. 

Lucia: Also that! It’s just not correct. I can call five people as, y’know, “people in a study that we could do.” I have examples – it’s not that hard. Y’know? It’s a lot easier than some folks think it is to just be kind and inclusive and expansive than what you were taught. Just this idea that what you learned 20 years ago might have evolved to present day really blows peoples’ minds as well. 

Katie: Yeah. And what inspired you to get into this work?

Lucia: Well birth, I moved to Brooklyn – well, to New York, with a musical theatre degree, with a BFA. So I was doing the grind, I was doing shows all over New York, I moved to Paris and all over the country. So my day job was babysitting, and I started really enjoying doing infants and newborns. I had a part-time job as a babysitter for a 1.5 year old, but his mom was about to have a baby, so she was like, “I just need an extra set of hands in this transition.” We basically had a month, the three of us together – I guess the four of us, cause the little babe was inside. Just getting to know the house, getting to know the flow of things. Then she went to her scheduled cesarean, three days later she came home, I was there, her husband like dropped the bag at the doors and was like, “Alright babe, I’m going back to work” left, and she just sort of just held herself and wobbled back to her bedroom with this baby and just sat there and stared at the wall. Her 2 year old was like, “Mommy, mommy, up up, can you pick me up?” I was like 24 or something, and was just like, “Something’s afoot. Something’s off. Why is she so sad?” We’re told that you have a baby and everything’s great and it’s not that hard and you just breastfeed and chestfeed and it’s easy! And everything happens! I just got a very real look into how unhealthy the lack of support around reproductive health is. That was the first nudge and then I met a doula and the chips sort of stumbled from there. I started to get into the work more full-time and it has taken over my life. 

Katie: What brought you to this shift from doula work to midwifery?

Lucia: I enjoy the time and the emotional connection of doula work. I think.. we’ll get into this later, but I’m a Pisces sun, so it’s very, y’know feelings. Walking into a room and being like, “Oh god, what happened?” before anyone even says anything. That serves me well in the doula space, but I wanted more of a hands-on interaction and also approach to truly having an impact on people’s healthcare. As a doula, there’s only so much I can do, so much I can control, so much I can shield people from – say, the hospital system, if that’s where they choose to give birth. Or if that’s where they choose to miscarry, or to abort. There’s only so much I could do as a doula. So much, legally, I was allowed to do. It just feels like I’ll have more of a positive impact on people’s full health. Not just talking about people getting pregnant and giving birth, but the full health of the whole family – well, not the whole family, some of the people in the family. But really being more of a holistic provider and having that power in the room to change birthing outcomes and health outcomes. 

Katie: Absolutely, and I think that answers a lot of the next question, but just to give you a chance to say it specifically – how do you describe your support philosophy? Your approach to the work that you’re doing in all of these roles?

Lucia: I think, in general, my support philosophy is that if you have to interact with the medical system in any way, you need a doula in the room. I don’t care if that’s for you to have your blood drawn or you’re just going for your routine checkup or if you just need to go get antibiotics for strep throat. You need someone in the room whose job it is to look after your emotional health and to check in with you and to just take a second – and the doula can be like Are you ok? Did you understand everything that was just said?” Because providers are given ten minutes, and that’s because of insurance companies, whoever they work for, blah di blah. My support philosophy is deep, emotionally connected support. Support in many ways – support in whatever people want for their bodies and what they want for their lives. Non-judgmental support is something that is a foundation of doula work or what I think all doula work should be, is some of the stuff that I’m gonna be bringing into my practice. If you choose to do this with your birth – that’s your choice, that has nothing to do with me, I will keep you safe and make sure you know all of the options around that choice and then I’m gonna honor you as you make that choice for your body and your family. I think that’s what comes to mind is deep support, I’m seeing this image of just roots growing. Just bring in the plants! 

Katie: We’re all about bringing the plants!

Lucia: Exactly, it’s just like deep roots that wrap around each other in some ways and just branch off from each other in other ways that like, I know and even just as a doula, I’m a part of many peoples’ lives for like the rest of their life. And then as a midwife, I hope to be the same way, just have some more branches and roots interacting. And feeding off of each other, taking care of each other. 

Katie: Some of those things where, there is the sense that even if …. I think we think of relationships in terms of how long they are, and we put the value of relationships in like, “Oh, you’ve been in a relationship with this person for so many years, and therefore it is a good strong relationship” But I know I’ve had experiences with doula clients for example where like, I support them through a pregnancy, a birth, y’know, maybe a few months postpartum. Maybe we don’t really stay in relationship and yet there is this sense of – I know I carry pieces of that relationship with me. I trust that they do, too – sometimes we run into each other at the farmers market like way down the line and it’s like, “Oh my gosh, hiiii.” There’s a sense, the depth of relationship is so meaningful and I think particularly in some of these heightened moments of a pregnancy or some of these big transitional times, those relationships can grow really deep really quickly. 

Lucia: I still have people that like, I spent 5 minutes inside of an exam room at Planned Parenthood, that I’m like, I don’t want to be creepy, but I’d really love to have their number just to check in on them! Just like, are you okay?

Katie: I think particularly in abortion work that deep immediate relationship building is really such a superpower. I think about in social work school, they gave us all these lectures about “how to build rapport with people” and “how to introduce yourself” and operationalized this way of being. And I’m like, “Oh… I’ve done shifts in abortion clinics…. We don’t need this.”

Lucia: Totally. Especially now, in the time of Covid, how, after meeting someone for a minute, I am like – holding their face, holding their hand, wiping away tears, and then they just get in an uber and I never see them again. But I do that like, ten times in a day. It’s just… that, for me, as a Pisces, that’s really where I thrived. Yeah, I haven’t thought of that in a while, cause they kicked doulas out of the clinics in New York because of Covid. Like, hard, fast, deep connections and support. Truly being like, “Hey, I’ve got your back. If you want me to stop the procedure.” Just really being empowered and “allowed” to just be support. No other tasks. Just make sure they’re okay. Make sure they get home okay. Just so quick, and so tender, necessary. 

Katie: So you previewed it for us a little bit.. I’ve asked you about your natal work, and now I want to know about more of your natal chart? So you’re a Pisces sun, what’s your moon and your rising?

Lucia: So I have a Leo moon, which is like my biggest shame and my rising is Taurus. So, just like, at home – feeling my feelings, but then every now and then I need to be the center of attention and go out, but then I need to come home…. (laughs)

Katie: Go out, do the thing, but like make sure there’s a bubble bath after. 

Lucia: Yeah. Absolutely!! Or like, making food before I go out – that was definitely my vibe back when going out was a thing. 

Katie: And what’s your favorite thing about being a queer person and becoming a queer provider or about working with queer and trans families? 

Lucia: I love being in a room with people, and supporting people where we can both relax. We can just be like, no one’s gonna say anything shady. No one’s gonna trip up. No one’s gonna be muscling their way through being inclusive or being expansive. It’s also, as someone who wants to have children eventually, it’s also like seeing the potential of what community and what having a family can look like. It’s also (and I hate this word) but I do love the resilience of people choosing and fighting for the life that sometimes, people as a child, never dream they could have. I love being able to support that and especially as a doula going to hospitals, being like, “I’m stopping everyone before they come in the door. We are going through pronouns. We are going through expansive language.” I enjoy being the padding around queer families and I am honored to do that. I really look forward to providing care that is welcoming for everyone and at a place where they can just come sit in the waiting room and look up and see pictures of pregnant people that look like them or look like their partner, or look like their sibling. That really excites me, to sort of build the community gathering place for folks who are like us. 

Katie: Ughh, the big gay birth center slash community gathering space!!!

Lucia: (laughs) This keeps getting bigger… Soon there’s gonna be some kind of like, sport gym, maybe some..

Katie: Like a good dance hall slash food bank probably (laughs)

Lucia: Yes, and!!

Katie: All of it. All of it. And if you could improve something about the experience of pregnancy and birth for queer and trans familiies what would it be? Or I guess another way of asking this question is, what is something that’s different in the future for queer and trans folks around pregnancy and birth? Aside from the big gay birth center / community event space / whatever / soccer field. 

Lucia: Yes, someone else will have to take care of the sports – that’s not my industry. What’s gonna be different in the future for queer folks and trans folks is… that care will not be so difficult to get. Good healthcare that isn’t “tolerant” but is deeply invested in who we are. Not in spite of, but celebrating IN. That the textbooks, the resources, the websites aren’t all like, “Momma, women” and like, “yoni” – we can all come to the table, we can all have this bounty and we can all be supported. I mean, that’s the future. It’s like, I want to get tattooed on my forehead, “Not all pregnant people are women” and just hopefully, slowly spread this gay agenda everywhere. I just hope that has more ease for people. Especially with some of the laws that have been passed – we can be refused care, just because of who we are now. In the future, that doesn’t exist. That wouldn’t even be a thought that people have. 

Katie: And what’s a piece of advice that you have for new and aspiring queer and trans birth workers?

Lucia: I would say, to protect the most tender parts of yourself. Not syphon them off, don’t put them behind like a metal door, but maybe… someone told me this at the Decolonizing Birth Conference last year: Put a screen over your heart, so that it can filter the good stuff and then everything else that you don’t need doesn’t come in. Because you’re going to bump into people who think that being inclusive is erasing their womanhood, or erasing this stronghold of “birth is for women and that’s it and that’s all.. This is our ONE thing that we have, please don’t’ take it away from me.” You’re gonna run into that. You’re gonna run into that, and there are gonna be incredible providers that you thought were really cool and then they’ll like, hit you with some sort of really homophobic transphobic jargon and it’ll hit you like a ton of bricks. But I’m hoping if you have this little screen around your tender parts that it won’t devastate you as much. Also, if you want to go into the educational industrialized complex, not everyone is a QTBIPOC person. Barely anyone is. So it’s tough to go to class and to not have your experience reflected back to you, especially because, as queer people, we create our environment so meticulously and with such care and with such intention that to then have to go to a school, like, I went to school when I was 30, so I had spent all these years creating my queer little bubble in Brooklyn and then I went to the South and I went to higher education. So just knowing that your experience won’t be reflected back to you, but you matter, you are valid, and once you get those really expensive pieces of paper that says you can do the thing that you want to do, you can then get back to what we do best, which is creating family and community where we are and finding each other and deeply supporting each other. And then, once you do graduate, that you have to do that for younger people. You have to look back and put your hand out and bring people with you.

Katie: So beautiful! The idea of one of the things that queer folks do best and all the time and have really honed it as a survival strategy is to so meticulously and intentionally create space and community. I just really resonate with the heartbreak of going into systems that don’t give a shit. 

Lucia: Yeah, like all we do is talk about our feelings at bars and then you have to go to this school and no one cares what you’re feeling! It’s hard! (laughs)

Katie: Yeah! And that there are people who have their hands out, waiting to help pull folks along and I think that that’s such a beautiful … what a beautiful gift that queer community has to offer – those holdfasts in the swirl of institutional bullshit. I could listen to you talk about all of your reproductive work all day forever, but what’s something not natal about you and your life that you want to share?

Lucia: This question is hard. There are two things that stand out, I’m gonna embarrass myself. I really love K-pop. Because of the way that gender is verrrry ..non-existent in this weird way. And I also really love graveyards. Greenwood cemetery up in Brooklyn: would highly recommend 10/10. We’ve got some cool decatur cemeteries down here, so I like to spend my time around dead folks.. listening to K-pop. 

Katie: As a fellow cemetery-wanderer, I really support that so hard! And, finally, if people aren’t gonna wander around cemeteries with you, where can they find you on the internet?

Lucia: The Instagram! I am LuciaTheDoula on Instagram. Usually calling out TERFS and SWERFS, y’know, really all about bumping up Black queer folks and yeah, just the usual shenanegans on there. You can connect with me via that, and we can sort of bump over to email or text or something like that. I provide sliding-scale services for queer and Black folks and right now, as a student, I’m really just happy to support people in any way that I can. So, if money’s an issue, shoot me a message. 

Katie: Amazing. Thank you so much, it was such a gift getting to talk with you!

Lucia: Thank you – this is such a lovely way to spend a weekday rather than on a Zoom class about something random (laughs).