Yesterday at lunch a friend kindly asked, “How is your business going?” My eyes slowly widened as my gaze drifted off into the distance past the pecan trees over her shoulder and my mouth said, “Uhhhhhhhaaahhhhhhh…” for an uncomfortably long time. Sensing she had unwittingly stumbled into a quagmire, she graciously navigated the conversation elsewhere.
But I’m re-entering the “how is my business doing” quagmire here! IN PUBLIC! Because I want all of you to know how my business is actually doing.
Consider this the State of Democrasexy address.
I officially filed paperwork to establish Democrasexy as an LLC in August of 2021, so she is about 1 year and 9 months old now. Sweet li’l bebe.
Sometimes people assume Democrasexy is a not-for-profit entity because the work I do is for the social good, but in reality she is (so far) a not-for-very-much-profit traditional company. (If you keep reading I will tell you how much I actually made last year.)
I chose to go the LLC route because 501c3 nonprofits have to be nonpartisan, and you may have noticed I have some partisan things to say. Also, if you run a nonprofit you have to assemble a board of directors and do a bunch of reporting and frankly I just did not have the patience to try and figure all that out on my own. I just wanted to do good work, not a bunch of paperwork.
I did not go to business school and I never really figured out how to write a business plan that was more complicated than “don’t spend more than you bring in.” (I know capitalism and patriarchy would like me to be embarrassed about this fact. But some of the women in business I most admire never had a business plan, either. Like the inventor of Spanx, Sara Blakely, who is now worth $1.1 billion! WITH A B! dollars! So I feel justified.)
If I had to sum up the official Democrasexy business plan to this point, it has been perpetually asking myself this:
What does loving my community look like today?
Living out the many answers to that question has filled me with a purpose and a joy I have never known elsewhere.
When the 6-week abortion ban went into effect in Texas back in September of 2021, the answer to what does loving my community look like today? was Texorcism. We dressed up like witches, we were inspired by a tarot reading for Texas from the incomparable Sister Temperance, we raised money for BIPOC/women-led organizations fighting for abortion access and gender equity. We also had a hell of a good time.
Whenever there is an election I ask, “What does loving my community look like today?” One answer is, “take as much time and stress out of the voting process as possible.” So I spend dozens of hours researching the propositions and candidates, and then I write ballot guides recommending choices I believe are most likely to promote equity and progress. I consistently get comments like, “You somehow made it fun to learn what all the elected offices do??” and “I printed out copies for everyone I know!!”
Even though there’s not a direct dollar amount attached to it, a vote is one of the most valuable forms of currency that we have in our society. When people trust my opinion enough to use my recommendation as their vote I consider that an incredible value exchange that our capitalist system simply doesn’t account for. At least 5,000 people used my 2022 ballot guide—imagine if everyone paid $10 for it!! That would be $50,000! Yowza!
Sometimes loving my community looks like working as an election judge so I can be sure that people who come in to my polling place feel loved while they are voting. When a first-time voter comes into my polling place, I rally all the other election workers to cheer for them as they cast their first ballot. Just before we open the polls on Election Day, I gather my poll workers around and tell them, “Today you are in customer service for democracy. Your job today is to make sure people have a good experience here so that they become repeat customers.”
Then I took everything I’d learned working elections and talking to people about voting and compiled tips and tricks to make voting easier for Texans. Those tips and tricks have been shared more than 7,000 times on Instagram.
During the 2021 Texas legislative session I went to the Capitol to testify against the bill that would ban transgender children from playing sports in school. As I sat for hours waiting for my turn, I noticed that most of the people signed up to testify against the bill were either transgender adults or the parents of transgender children or others who would somehow be directly impacted. I got a pit in my stomach at the realization that if more allies didn’t stand up for the trans and intersex community, that community would not have the people-power on their own to fight back against state-sponsored bullying.
In that moment when I asked, “What does loving my community look like today?” the answer was Y’allentines Day. We showered trans and intersex Texans with love and built a bridge between them and those who hadn’t previously known how to show up for them. We recruited allies. We dressed up in ‘90s clothes, danced to Whitney Houston, cheered for drag queens, drank out of hypercolor cups, and learned about gender expansiveness and how to free ourselves from binary thinking.
Other answers to “What does loving my community look like today?” have included:
“Tex Support,” a literal support group for Texans who are being harmed by our state’s politics
Tours at the Texas State Cemetery to honor the Texas women who paved the way for us
Responding to DMs from people who have questions about voting or advocating
“Dates with politicians” videos that make it fun to learn about our elected officials
“Tarot for America” readings like this one to help us find healing on the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection
Inventing a mystical election ritual to help people use practical magic to manifest the Texas they want to see
Creating “Not Church” — a space of healing for other queers who grew up with religious homophobic indoctrination
Rallying folks to show up for trans kids again and again
Another Texorcism to fortify us in the fight for abortion rights after Roe was overturned
So many other things! I can’t possibly list them all here!
Asking me to put a dollar value on the work I do at Democrasexy is like asking, “What is your love worth?”
I hate operating under capitalism and having to quantify my value with dollars. I hope one day we come up with a better system.
But for now, here are my cold, hard numbers:
In 2022, Democrasexy made a profit of about $19,000 after expenses.
I am incredibly proud of that because I see every dollar that’s come my way as a token of love from my community for the work that I do on our behalf. Every penny is a vote of confidence in what I am building here. Every dime is a symbol of optimism for a better Texas. It makes me emotional to think about.
While I am privileged to have been able to make an annual salary of $19,000 last year and have it be enough, my circumstances are different now.
One reason is the multiple sclerosis diagnosis I received last summer. On my current healthcare plan, I will spend a minimum of $15,000 per year to ensure that my MS remains well-managed and I don’t become debilitated. Obviously the remaining $4,000 is not enough to cover all the other things that life requires for one human, let alone a partner or my two littles.
So today as I was reflecting on the New Moon in Taurus which falls in my 8th house of other people’s resources and collaborations, I had a realization.
I need to add a new, crucial piece to my business plan. I need to ask:
“What does my community loving me look like today?”
Let’s collaborate on the answers, yeah? I’ll go first with some ideas but I sincerely hope you will send me your ideas, too.
Maybe my community loving me looks like:
Hiring me to consult on communications, events, and political organizing
Hiring me for paid speaking gigs
Considering me for full-time, salaried positions doing the kind of work I’ve done at Democrasexy (more about my full background here)
Connecting me with a more established organization that would like to bring Democrasexy into its fold in a mutually beneficial way
Helping me figure out how to sell more merch
Becoming a paid subscriber
Helping me figure out whether it makes sense to create a 501c4 arm and how to get c4 funding
Telling other people about my work in case someone who’s never heard of Democrasexy would like to support it
Mentorship and/or investment to execute an idea I have to create a paid online program on how to joyfully transform yourself and the world around you
Helping me find an agent for the book I want to write
Other really cool ideas from your awesome brain that would never have occurred to me!
In conclusion, the State of Democrasexy is strong.
But the future of Democrasexy is something I need your help to figure out.
Love you. Mean it.
Always your #1 fan, Becky. (I probably share that title with a lot of people.) THANK YOU for this transparency, THANK YOU for being a community organizer, and THANK YOU generally for being a quality human.