Pride Panel 2022



UX Nights June 14, 2022

Pride Panel

Learn about the journey of three amazing design leaders and their experiences within the creative industry.

Video Transcript

Steven Wakabayashi: Really excited to introduce all of the amazingness for this panel this evening, we got together as a group to chat a little bit about the topics that we want to talk about.

And it really was around the season pride, authenticity, how to show up in the workplace, how to navigate through organizations, whether equitable or inequitable. And also lastly, the topic around just celebrating our joy and celebrating ourselves and our health and mental wellbeing within the workplace.

Getting into the design and creative industry

Steven Wakabayashi: And so one topic that we love to start off this space with is just knowing about everyone here and your story into the design and creative industry. And so the further question is. How did you even get into this industry and space? What piqued your interest if you’ve pivoted, what made you even want pivot and to do the work that you’re doing today.

And so with that,

Why don’t we have Nikita, you wanna start off?

Nikita Washington: Sure.

So before transitioning into UX design, I was an educator, so I taught middle school and high school and adults English for about seven to eight years. And during that time I had a nonlinear type of journey into UX because. Every three years, it seemed like I was leaving the education field to go work in tech and just nothing really ever panned out the way that I wanted.

Like I did a cent at capital records. It was crazy as hell. You know, and a few other ed tech companies. And I’m just like, no, thank you. So during the onset of the pandemic, a lot of people really reflected on their current situation and where they wanted to be in the future. And I knew I always wanted to be in tech, but I felt that I wasn’t able to be successful because I didn’t really learn a skill that was really gonna be able to take me to where I needed to be.

So I did some research and I found something called instructional design, but it was too closely aligned with education. And I knew I completely wanted to remove myself from education. So I stumbled upon UX design, did some thorough research. And I realized that this really spoke to me. I’m someone who really loved speaking to users.

A lot of people designers tend not to really well. The designers that I know they, the research phase is really not their That’s not the one. They like the most I love it. So I was like, Ooh, I would, I really wanna do more of this. And so I found a boot camp, completed it within a year went into career services and I found my job at ally as a UX designer within three months.

So that’s pretty much my story into this particular field

Steven Wakabayashi: that is awesome. And quite a shift during the pandemic. Right. that is awesome. And with that also, Trevor, do you wanna do a quick intro?

Treavor Wagoner: Yeah, sure, definitely. So yeah also a nonlinear transition into, actually it wasn’t so much a transition. It was kind of like a falling into UX.

I’ve been in the I’ve been working as a designer. In the industry as for like 20 years or almost 20 years, it’ll be 20 in 2024. Yes. And I was always a creative person, but also very logical minded. And so I. Was always hanging out online when I was a teenager. And so one way that I found solace growing up in rural Texas was through the internet.

And I was just journaling on this random site. I’ll just mention it. It doesn’t exist anymore, but journal space and I would create I would create blog blog themes for people for bloggers. And so that led me, me to learning HTL CSS creating my own hacky images or graphics on whatever random free software that existed at the time.

And then I went off to college and that’s where I kind of just like many people fell grew into myself. I begged my way into my first web design gig on campus working for the rec center there and putting their website. . And then I decided that I wanted to actually, you know, study design and so fast forward I graduated not with a design degree, but with a writing degree, hence the, the book that I just posted in the, in the chat.

And but my first gig outside of working on campus was a web design gig. So at the time UX was not a household name. Wasn’t really talked about much. This was like 2010. And it became a buzzword and I was like, oh, I do that. . So I started calling myself a UX designer, getting UX design gigs and then found myself kind of brushing up against at the time.

The discussion of like UX versus UI, which one are you? And I found myself being like, I’m both. And then, you know, growing up in Texas, we didn’t have terms like product designer. And once I figured out what those were, I was like, oh, I do that. So , so which encompasses UX and UI. So there you go. And that’s how I’m here.

Eventually I found design systems and so that’s my niche within product design that I really love. So I’m very grateful to have come upon. So that’s me.

You, I thought you were gonna say either live journal or Zenga

competitors, there were competitors that was more the obscure side.

Steven Wakabayashi: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. And gonna hop it over to Micah. Do a quick little story time.

Micah Rivera: Yeah, sure. So like the folks on the panel with me, I think I came from different sort of trajectory. I think it makes sense to go back a little bit further. I am a former foster youth former incarcerated youth and I’m also a second generation Mexican American.

And I was incarcerated when I was younger and I learned how to letter with big pens in juvenile hall. And I got really good at lettering and I thought I would be a tattoo artist for a very long time fast forward many, many years as a former foster youth, I didn’t necessarily graduate college with, or a high school with a high school diploma.

I got a CHSPE, which is the California high school proficiency exam ex it’s an exit exam. And then I worked wage jobs thinking maybe one day I’d be a tattooer for many years. (Redacted adult toys job) I got fired [from my job at the time] and I was like, wow, this is fucking rock bottom. I should probably see if I could go to school. Like what, what is it that I want to do? Right. And someone said, you know, you really like to illustrate, like, maybe you can turn that into career. Have we ever heard of design started looking into it, started going to city college, studying graphic design, ended up going to CCA with a full ride, cuz my broke gonna be able to afford it.

Got a, you know degree in graphic design. And that was right at the beginning of interaction design, like the, I think the budding that was 2000 tens and a little bit beyond that interaction, field, product design field. In hindsight, I wish that I had studied more on the product side than I did on the brand side, but I, I came out of college, got a fellowship at Chronicle books as a book designer, really like sort of paper, like tangible design.

And I really loved that. I got my first job at fuse project with Eve Baha as a brand designer and got to work on some really incredible stuff. And then I met Steven working at a different spot and that’s where I got my feet wet for the first time on product. My first product, I think that I worked on was the Sephora virtual artist app.

And that was super fun and I realized that I totally loved it. And I wanted to pivot completely away from the more brand design or the more what I think is like kind of skin surfaces, like UI and right into product. It was most recently at alters as the principle product designer. And I was very lucky to join that team working on an app that helped people in the workplace report, harassment discrimination, anonymously and then just before I left, I just wrapped up ANP for a product that helps students find lower cost course equivalent offered a community colleges near them in order to reduce the cost of a four year degree by 40%.

I tend to love products that have some kind of intersectional or social impact sort of need that. I love impact projects. If nonprofit work could, could make money and I could just serve nonprofits, I would be doing that probably for the rest of my life. Yeah. So that’s my story. In a nutshell.

(Redacted adult toys / sex industry – might not make sense in context)

Authenticity

Steven Wakabayashi: And so this takes us to the first topic of this evening, which is on the topic of authenticity.

And so as we were chatting earlier, lots of different topics and thoughts coming up for folks. But just wanna start with the open question just in terms of authenticity and maybe around, how do you personally show up authentically within your workplace and what does that mean for you?

Treavor Wagoner: I was gonna jump in there too. So yeah, I think I’m not sure if it was like around 2020 or no, it was definitely not 2020. I think it might have been. Actually it was 20, 20 early 2020 when I just decided that I’m gonna own all of my identity. You know, I, like I mentioned, I’ve been in the industry for 20 years where I was when I was coming up and I probably mentioned this and like my, my panel discussion with UX stem up too.

But I, I was in, I was in a time when, you know, this was before we had marriage rights before in coming up in Texas where discrimination was cool. My first job out of college, I was fired for being gay. So you know, with that situation, like the company fought me on dis not disability, but unemployment rights.

And you know, I went through arbitration and. Ironically, the state of Texas favored me. So so I, I won my, my unemployment and I used it to travel around the world. But you know, I won and that, I think that, you know, emboldened me to I think that validated me to being what I already felt, which was to be 100% myself as much as possible, even if it meant harm.

And I’ve, I’ve definitely had my fair share of being professionally beaten up in, in the corporate space, corporate N tech space not only being a queer person, but a black queer person. So I’ve been fired or bullied out of a job for being black or, you know, participating in ERGs supporting them, having be more vocal, doing my job correctly.

And every step of the way I was 100% myself. And at the end of the day, like I don’t have any regrets on how I, how I did my job. Cause I did it the right way. And I was also myself. So I now on my resume on my website on anything I always lead with, my name is Trevor Wagner. My pronouns. Are he him?

I’m a black queer designer.

There you go. that’s me in a nutshell. So always be authentically yourself. It has worked out for me, definitely had some bumps and bruises, but in this industry and honestly, any industry where you’re trying to be authentic, you’re gonna get pushed around. It’s just part of it. I

Steven Wakabayashi: love that. Just learning to be unapologetically yourself and really putting forth. And one, I think it’s very unfortunate that you have to go through all of that legal proceeding to just stand up for yourself. But two, I’m glad that you got through. And the positive side, and I’ve been able to use that to empower and really take back the time back that they inflicted upon you.

And as a part of also showing up authentically I wanna hop off it in Nikita, on your LinkedIn at the very top. You’re also very unapologetically and bold as well. And so yeah, I just wanna create space and just ask you, how do you show up authentically and what does that for you?

Nikita Washington: So ever since I was younger, I always understood that I was different and other people around me understood that as well.

And I wasn’t, I could not hide it. So it was just kinda like out there. And I had to embrace that at the very young age that I was extremely feminine. I had a high pitch voice, just all these different things. And I truly embraced that. And I did not care what anybody around me had to think about it. Now. I was fortunate that people around me really embraced me.

Of course there were some individuals who didn’t, but as far as like causing any physical harm, things about that nature that was never really a part of my story. And when I was the male version of myself I was very just. Kind of going through the motions, doing what I was doing. I don’t know. I was listening to Trevor and I was like, I don’t know how I made it as a teacher because I was always being told on. I remember I slapped my hip one time when I was trying to get my students attention. And they went back and told their parents that Mr.

Washington slapped his butt and in like, cause such this uproar of well you’re sexualizing and all that type of stuff. And I was like, girl, please. So it, it just, it really bothered me. And when I started my transition last year in March, I was like, look, I am 33 years old. I don’t give a hot damn what anybody has to say about me truly being my authentic self.

So I really embraced that. And when I got my job it wasn’t until maybe a month or so, where I really started to put myself more out there and make myself more visible. So like what Steven was referring to when you go to my LinkedIn LinkedIn, you’ll see, as my banner is black trans and a designer. . I want people to know that I am a trans woman, because that is a part of my identity.

I don’t utilize that as a way to get or seek attention, you know, or please work with me only because I’m trans. No, it’s because I do want to be visible because there are so many other trans individuals, especially black and brown trans folk who do not see themselves in these particular types of positions.

A recent study that was conducted in 2020 found that there was an unemployment rate of 26% for black and brown trans folk. And I think that was double just overall trans individuals. So it’s really important for me to be visible because so many. Trans people have reached out to me by LinkedIn, just saying, thank you.

And how did you do it? And we’re glad that we know that we can achieve this beat. And that’s really important to me to just really put myself out there and be authentic because you’re gonna get what you’re gonna get and if you don’t want it, I can leave. So yeah.

Steven Wakabayashi: Yes. I think the last part was very powerful. It’s listening, hearing, going with the flow where people are embracing you and I think it’s just Yeah. It’s people still have a lot of work to do to, we have to open their eyes, hearts and souls to sometimes the identities we bring to the table and also wanna create space for Micah as for you.

What does authenticity mean for you and how do you show up for yourself?

Micah Rivera: Oh, I mean, I, I think I could echo Nikita’s experience as someone as in the trans-masculine experience that was never able to hide my queerness. It’s one of those things that I also put on my LinkedIn, it’s not something that I’m able to take off in any space that I operate, whether it’s as a partner or a parent, a, a colleague, a designer.

I, I feel like my identity is, you know, something that I can’t take off like a shirt. I think there was one point in time where I was able to maybe be a little bit more under the right radar because I was scared. And through my transition at work, I think we had this conversation, you know, last week about what that looked like and.

Doing gender confirming surgeries and going to work with my chest still stapled close five days after getting off an operating table because I was too scared to say it. And then realizing, like, I feel like I, I, I was gifted power by the people that I could see in disability. Right. And it’s not just the people that you think, you know are queer and queer space, but also those people that might not have come to terms with identities.

How do you, I think I, I like to use the term snowplow, like you and your identity. You’re moving things out of the way. So the people behind you, aren’t having to interact with the same kind of tensions, hostilities, like toxic environments, et cetera. So just using that visibility as a platform or a microphone to kind of move things out of the way for other people has been really important to me.

So I’m very, very out in my workspace and have been probably for the last, I’d say like six or seven years. Definitely since hero. And that has gotten me into a lot of trouble too. There’s definitely the squeaky wheel syndrome that happens when you’re in queer identity, but also in any other kind of marginalized identity, whether that’s a racial identity or difference in abilities, learning abilities, cognitive abilities, et cetera.

And so I think it’s really important to recognize and notice that you need to make space for a lot of different intersectional identities. Queerness is just one of the ones that I think people are more open to listening to in order to make space for and pass the mic to the left, to those people that aren’t sort of being centered or out dare I say, like outright excluded I think particularly conversations around accessibility, et cetera.

So, yeah, that’s, that’s how I show up as my authentic self, a little bit of a bull in a China shock as they say, but I think it’s really important to work, so, yeah.

Squeaky Wheel Syndrome

Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah. There’s a quick question. Squeaky wheel syndrome. What does that mean?

Micah Rivera: Yeah. So there’s the saying, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. That is someone’s.

That is a squeaky wheel. And I think in the tech jargon landscape means that you’re squeaking. You’re raising red flags. You are speaking to management, you are reporting things that don’t feel right. You are kind of demanding accountability from your leadership team. So that’s what we would call squeaky wheel.

And the squeaky wheel syndrome is like, wow, this person do protests too much. You know? Oh, you’re saying too much. It might be because you’re the only right. No, none of us wanna be the only of some kind of identity in the workplace. And oftentimes we aren’t, but I think particularly working with white people you get to be the only, because you’re not gonna get a lot of allyship speaking it behind you.

So unfortunately the labor goes on to a lot of POC or a lot of queer folks, regardless of their other marginalized identity. So squeaky wheel syndrome as being like, oh, we have identified you as the squeaking wheel. And we’re gonna treat you slightly differently. It’s differential treatment. So that’s a real thing that comes up in where places, I think, particularly with white folks and particularly set white folks.

Oh. And able bodied folks just kind of across the board. So

Steven Wakabayashi: yeah. Trevor, you wanna add on that?

Treavor Wagoner: No, just yeah. I, I mean, you’re basically putting a term to some of my experience, you know, being in tech as the only, the only black person in the room, sometimes up until lately the only queer person in the room So, yeah.

And then also just can’t shut my mouth. when I see, when I see shit that is, is not going right. I just be like, no, you’re not doing it. Right. Yeah, it’s the Virgo Beyonce syndrome put term at a term there. So not an actual syndrome. But yeah. Yeah. Whenever I see like someone not in the room that should be in the room, I call it out.

And I think, you know, people appease me, you know, when I try to make things equitable or right. But I think, you know, when I say it maybe too much or too often, it does put a target on my back. So, and I know that now being in the industry for a while and I just, I just go with it. I’m just like, you know, after I say like maybe the fifth thing, I’m just like, Okay.

Gonna put me outta here. Yeah, I’m fine with it.

Micah Rivera: I feel like Trevor, I’m not fine with it. And I wanna make spaces for us to be bringing these kinds of things up and not having to move on. Like we shouldn’t have to leave because other people are uncomfortable. I will just say I was in very recently a meeting with someone and talking to them about trying to hold a leadership team accountable for lack of diversity.

And that person told me I can tell you’re gonna be really challenging to me and started offering to connect me to other teams outside of teams that I was working on. So like, when I say like, you make people uncomfortable and they want you to love a team, that’s not the answer. The answer is accountability.

That’s like bilateral, it’s directional. It’s you know? Oh yeah. Making space for us. Yeah. And bringing more folks with identities like ours, sort of to the table.

Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah. And also the lack of consent there. Right. You didn’t ask for that. And so people offering these solutions that we didn’t ask for, it’s like, no, we wanted that.

Yeah. I was just gonna say Trevor Virgo, I feel like I learned a lot about people with horoscopes. goes yes. what our,

Nikita Washington: from the background

Working in systems that were not built for us

Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah. But I, you know, I think a lot of us resonate with that, right? Where it’s, it feels like you have to be the squeaky wheel just to almost breathe within the workplace and get yourself heard. And to your point, Trevor, it puts such a big target on your back. And I think sometimes the way that Oh, Geminis represent.

I mean, if everyone just wants to drop your horoscopes too, we’ll learn so much more about each other. I’m in Aries. TAs TA . Thank you. You’re Gemini. Yeah, I love it. But it’s also this theory that we, as part of standing up for our work, right. We have to put ourselves out there on the front lines. And unfortunately what ends up happening is when we come head to head with a lot of inequitable forces, inequitable leaders, inequitable systems, we end up get.

Getting chops. We end up getting reprimanded. We ended up getting slapped on the hand and whatever else happens. And so I think what’s really amazing also is just shifting kind of that narrative. And I just wanted to also kind of put this question back to you all as a follow up question is around shifting the narrative.

Right. Of just, how do you work with these systems that were frankly not meant for us to start off with,

Micah Rivera: right.

Nikita Washington: Yeah. I was just gonna say quickly that one way in which you really work within these systems, of course, challenge them, challenge them. But also it’s unfortunate to say this, but sometimes they just really have to see that we can do it. And understand that, oh, she’s a human too, even though she’s of trans experience. And even though she’s black and she’s this and all of that.

And I think that when people, especially as UX designers, we understand the importance of empathy when we do have empathy with each other. We do understand that at the end of the day, we all go through these particular types of Feelings emotions. And we all deserve a seat at the table. Now that does not mean that if someone is doing you wrong, that you just simply let it go.

No, you definitely challenge them. And you go to the necessary individual to get them reprimanded. If that is the case, because one thing that you definitely should not have to deal with at your job or anywhere in life is being uncomfortable for being your authentic self. Everybody else that you work with who is quote unquote to them normal.

Can be their authentic self and they don’t have to worry about being reprimanded for loving who they love their gender expression, things of that nature. And we shouldn’t have to feel that way either.

Micah Rivera: Nikita, I wanted to follow up with something that you had actually just previously said that resonated with me.

And that was about putting yourself out there. So the people that are seeing that already understand and respect and sort of embrace your authentic self. And I wanna plus one that and say that, that I feel like is really important because why waste time on people who are going to make you do a lot of labor in order to understand you?

And I just thought it was really beautifully said and like, I just wanted to plus one that and use that as also to validate some of the things that you were just saying, particularly around being authentic and making sure that people know who you are. But I think there’s something to also not settling for people that will make you do immense labor in order to understand who you are.

So something about being very upfront about who you are is that you don’t have to interface with that right away. If someone’s interacting with you or coming to you, that’s already and understood, it’s normalized. It’s agreed upon, it’s sort of like, you know, off, off the table and then you can interface as yourself as a UX designer or yourself as a product designer.

And I just thought that was really lovely the way that you had said that.

Nikita Washington: Yeah. And I just wanna add one additional thing, because I know that we did speak about this during our Friday, call that with what Trevor was saying that is on his resume LinkedIn, when he speaks to recruiters, people, things of that nature.

And then what is on my LinkedIn? I wanted it to be known to be out there that this is what you are going to get. And I was nervous in the beginning when I did it, please please know that because my manager follows me. And when I hit posts, I knew that he was going to see it. And I did not want him to treat me any differently than my colleagues, simply because of a post that I posted on LinkedIn, simply giving of myself so that others can really see.

And moving forward. It did not keep anyone from my understanding from reaching out to me. I still have people, you know, in my DMS recruiters, things of that nature, wanting to speak to me. And I just wanted to say that because I think that some of us, myself included when I did it was really nervous about what, what is going to happen.

What is going to be the reaction. Once I post this and people see it, are people going to shun me? Am I going to have a drop in connections? People who knew the old me, are they then gonna be like, oh no, we’re not dealing with you anymore. And you know, it may happen. But don’t necessarily be afraid to let your true color show simply because you’re afraid that people are not going to accept you.

And that’s just something that we’re all gonna have to deal with at our own time, but just know that when you’re ready, just go full steam ahead. I’m

Treavor Wagoner: gonna plus one that I think that, I mean, even though you plus one me, I’m gonna plus one . I, you know, when I lead with my identity fully. It, I mean, this is a happy accident, but it takes me from coming out, which, you know, I was listening to I forgot who it was, but they were saying that they have to come out everywhere they go. And I, I just thought to myself and I was like, do I have to do that? And I’m like, no, I don’t. Cuz I refuse I’m like, this is who you are. I mean, this is who I am, this is what you’re gonna get. And I think that’s, I mean also what you were saying to what you were saying Nikita, when recruiters reach out to me and they’re like, you know, they see black queer designer in my bio.

They, some of them have applauded me and said, you know, thank you for, for, for being, I guess, brave or forthcoming with your identity. I’m gonna do the same going forward. And so it’s a wave whenever we show up as ourself, it’s a wave. It allows other people to also be authentic and present themselves.

Yeah. So even though we’re the leaders and we start the wave, it’s scary. As Steven just mentioned you know, others will join us. So, and then we start a community and it becomes all love all family. Not to get too hippy, but yeah.

Steven Wakabayashi: Hippy it’s. Yeah, it’s, it’s beautiful to embrace yourself, but it’s just, it’s just so crazy that we still have to come out right. As a part of all of our identity all the time and how some people from the dominant culture feel as though they have the right to inquire or to know some of these things sometimes.

And so let’s maybe pivot this a little bit into maybe the flip side of when our identities get over indexed when they get tokenized. Right. And I mean, just like invisible raise of hands, like how many of you have, right. Like felt tokenized within the workplace or within the spaces you’ve taken space of, and just wanted to open up the question for our group is one if you’ve had experiences being tokenized in the past, Whether it’s within the workplace, whether it’s with your identity.

Yeah. I see a little head nodding, Micah, you know, start us off.

Micah Rivera: I was just reading some of these chats.. So it looks like Willie, Willie was posting something about minorities having to do so much labor already. And then Jamie was saying they, they have definitely been tokenized as well. I think there’s this fine line.

And we’re kind of like dancing around it because it’s both like, these are the things that we want. And also don’t, you dare tokenize me like respect who I am and don’t make me do the labor because I’m the only person. That’s, what’s up for me when, when thinking about this question is like, you know, we have employee run groups there’s often DNI practices or some kind of initiative.

And in my experience I’ve seen a lot, especially I think around pride or Juneteenth, particularly around Juneteenth is that black colleagues are forced to do the labor for white folks. But also there’s the flip side of that is like, Trevor, I think, or maybe it was Nikita that was like, I don’t want to hear a white person talk, talk to me about Juneteenth.

Right? So like, how do we support initiatives internally? Where recognizing like, of course we wouldn’t want to be like hearing white people go on and on, or sort of like take the mic from black folks. But on the other hand, like how do we support that labor? With compensation with, with actual like resourcing or help.

And then around pride too, I think every one of us is probably asked to be part of a pride initiative. I definitely know that you yourselves even asked me to be part of pride initiatives and it’s like, of course we, we band together in workplaces, right. We’re family and we’re community. But when you look around what are we doing?

We’re making the company look really great with some DNI initiatives, but how do they support us in that labor? And often it goes uncompensated, or it’s not something that we get to sort of talk about outside of the workplace. So I will pass the mic and ask also Trevor and Nikita, you know, how’s that been for you?

That’s my experience.

Treavor Wagoner: I was just thinking about when Steven posed a question I was thinking about when I was tokenized, I’m usually the only black person in the room. You know, my current company that I work at I’ve. I’m actually in the virtual room with other black designers, which is unheard of in my experience.

Steven Wakabayashi: (Redacted portion about tokenization at previous company) Thanks. Sharing. How about you

Nikita Washington: Nikita? In

my current role, no, as a trans woman. No, but definitely when I identified as a gay male yes. Especially in education. So there was like two sides of the coin. We either wanted you to be yourself or we. Didn’t want you to be yourself. And it was kind of confusing a lot of the times because I always had to be the face or one of the faces because it was like, Hmm, we got a black person and you know, he’s in, in feminine gay male.

So we gonna put him out there so that people can see, look, we got a little bit of diversity. You know, we hired people who can really resonate with these kids and things of that nature. So Nikita, we need for you to go out there and do your thing and let the people know that we love you and all that type of stuff.

And I’m just like really it was really infuriating a lot of the time because I just wanted to go under the radar. I just wanted to live my life, teach my kids, instill the knowledge that I wanted to instill in them and just go on about my business. Now I have been asked to speak at a lot of events, you know, over the past couple of months, but they have been the people who have reached out to me have been within my community.

So I know that they’re coming with the right intent, you know, for the most part. And I definitely do not have a problem in speaking, being more visible, things of that nature. I’m just always leery because I do want. Cisgender heterosexual individuals to know that one we exist. We are here to say, we are not going anywhere.

No matter what they try to do. We are going to be visible. We’re going to be loud and proud, and we are going to show that we are worthy to be in any position, job, so on and so forth that we choose to go after. But it’s also exhausting, but this goes back to what Micah was stating when we were all on the call on Friday, because I don’t want no white person talking to me about Juneteenth.

No so I, but at the same time you know, us as black folks, as the LGBTQ plus community, we tied. So it, it is hard y’all and that’s all I gotta say. it’s hard.

Treavor Wagoner: Y’all I mean, I I’ve been trying to hold my tongue on a certain situation cuz I’ve had a rough day today. But it’s just really crazy to me that, oh, throw some shade. It’s gonna happen. That, you know, you have a white gay leader speaking on Juneteenth in a video the day before you let one of your black, one of the very few black members of your team go especially one who’s providing a lot of value to your team.

So it’s really crazy to me that you are a white person speaking on Juneteenth.

Micah Rivera: Yeah. Don’t trademark Juneteenth. Walmart. I think we talked a lot about that.

Treavor Wagoner: We did talk a lot about that

Micah Rivera: goes without saying

Steven Wakabayashi: corporate Reed and white people.

Were you gonna say Nikita?

It’s just so much to unpack there. It’s just, why is this white person taking him space on June team? It’s just.

So embarrassing. It’s really embarrassing. Sure. All of the shade, all the shade. And I, I just wanna touch on like some of the comments that have been coming up, but to, you know, just I’m feeling also a collective exhaustion, right. That we all have to do so much of this labor. And it just seems like when pride rolls around, everyone’s just like, who’s queer, , who’s trans, who’s gay, who’s lesbian, like stand up, do this work, you know?

And it’s just so exhausting sometimes to have to be put in the position to first, not. All the rights afforded, but also not able to just like Nikita, you mentioned just like sit back and do the work. Right. I’m not gonna speak on behalf of other experiences of, of folks I’ve chatted with, but you know, I’ve heard countless time and time again, that there are some people who just really don’t have the energy to do extra.

And especially as we think about our white counterparts and how they’re paid the same as us, but then all the Biles queer folks are all in every single ERG doing the most right to not just create space for ourselves, but for other people within our community and still paid the same, you know we’re not paid extra for all of this labor.

And also it seems like there’s a comment also when people ask us, they want more of us. And when we show up being asked to tone ourselves down a bit, Yeah. And it’s just this concept and Keith writes, they want the idea of you, but don’t want you, I feel like really resonates.

Micah Rivera: Yeah. They want the idea of you, but they don’t want to feel bad about themselves.

It’s what I would say. It’s not really, even about you. It’s about the accountability that you’re requesting that you’re requiring in order for them to have you and your practice and your talent near them or around them, but also working with the new team. I just wanna say that, like, it’s not, it’s not a, I have been through so many situations where, you know, the tone down conversation or the like, you know, we love how brave you are, but like, wow, there’s a lot of accountability you’re asking for.

And I just wanna say for anyone that’s ever struggled with that, and I definitely have struggled with that for like decades now is that it’s not about you. And then like, plus two, again, to what Nikita said, it’s like, If you can and have the space within your life to be upfront about who you are, then finding people that you don’t have to fight with about that that are already okay with you

Nikita Washington: is important.

And I just, and I just wanna also add a couple of things to what Micah was stating. As a plus one, I have been told so many times throughout my life to tone it down. You’re just a little too much. You’re too effeminate things of that nature. And that really got to me a lot of the times, because I was like, I’m not putting on an act or show her anything.

I’m just simply being myself. So a lot of the things that you’re noticing are things that I don’t even. Notice because I’m just doing it. It’s just me. And I’ve always done this. I’ve always been very I’ve always exaggerated a lot. I’ve always been one to kind of give facial expressions and things of that nature.

That’s just been me. So part of the reason why I wanted to get into tech, and I’m kind of curious about Trevor and Micah about this, and even you Steven, part of the reason why I wanted to get into tech is because when I was working in ed tech and I would see some of the true tech people, I would tech, they were able to be.

Themselves, from what I saw from afar, they were able to dress a particular way. They were able to let themselves be known and I was like, Hmm, I need to get into tech so I can do that. But of course, now that I’ve been in tech, I am noticing that there is still that gate keeping about, well, yeah, but only to a certain extent, because even when I’m in meetings and I’m kind of letting some of my authentic self out the way in which I’m speaking to all of you, it’s kind of like, if you all were in the call, you would get it.

But the other people in the call they’re like, Really , you know, or can you tone it down a little bit? So I just wanted to mention that because I, I do understand what it feels like to be told on a consistent basis, tone it down. We don’t need all of that, but yet you want me to do X, Y, and Z. You want to put me out there to be seen and you want me to be myself, but when it comes to certain situations, no, don’t, don’t give us too much.

So it’s, it’s really confusing and stupid.

Treavor Wagoner: When you saw those people in tech that were, were being themselves, what did they look like in terms of skin color?

Nikita Washington: You got me there cause they wasn’t looking like me. So yeah. Mm-hmm they didn’t look like me.

Treavor Wagoner: Yeah. So there you go.

I would do this thing where I, I would look at the other black people that work in this company to see it, how they move, how they interact, things like that.

And one good test. I’m probably telling too much, but whatever is to try to talk to a black person in a, in a public setting like around other, in a common area. And I remember in the kitchen, I was trying to go up to this woman who was black. And I said, hi. And she had her food in her, her, in her plate.

And she just kind of like. Gave me the look like mm-hmm no, you no, no. And that’s, that’s a pretty common thing. So that, let me know that, oh, this is not a safe space for me. Being a black person now being a queer person in that setting at that particular job was fine. Cause they, I mean, what I, what I found was my, so it’s so odd to have like half of me being accepted, but the other half not that is both of them are typically not accepted in, in any capacity in Texas in particular, but like my queerness was celebrated, but my blackness was shunned.

So yeah. But black and queer is one thing for me is one experience. So it’s just. It was an odd experience. So when you’re black and you’re queer and you live in the south in particular and it’s probably the case in other areas of the country you do have that experience where half of you that is typically not accepted is celebrated.

And then the other half is, you know, they want to boot it outta you. So, yeah,

Nikita Washington: so

Steven Wakabayashi: I love that advice though. Trevor is just, you know, Talking with people talking with community and seeing how they react. What I will say to yeah. Yeah. And what I will say with, I mean, this is the like identities are so complex and it’s just one part of the queer identity that it has a, like a propensity of proximity to whiteness that it has, that also gives it power beyond blackness, right?

Like blackness has like no propensity to whiteness in the white dominant culture. And so it’s just one of those unfortunate things where what we experience, especially with these identities. And so many varying levels of privilege is also due to all of the intersectional identities that they encompass too.

Yeah, I think that was a lot of great advice and also wanted to create space for Micah, with the work that you had done previously in terms of also understanding tokenism and also tokenism that might not be right. And that people can actually take action on, wanted to ask, if you could share a little bit of insights that came out of your previous project if people are experiencing tokenism, maybe what steps can they take?

Micah Rivera: Yeah, I think we had a long, a little bit of a conversation around what tokenism really means in the workplace. And the previous project that you’re speaking to is the spot, the anti harassment and discrimination. And I think the thing that we fail to realize is, is the rights that we have in different areas of the workplace and how tokenism is a form of harassment and discrimination.

So if you’re being asked to do something because of this intersection identity, whether that is you are a woman, or whether that is you are a black person, or whether that is you are a queer person, a non-binary person, a trans person, if you’re being tokenized, especially without your consent in the workplace, you have a lot of rights there.

I think it’s contingent on the way that it makes you feel if it in any way, as soon as your workplace into a hostile environment or a toxic environment. My suggestions to folks is to document the shit out of that. Especially if you’re a Virgo, it’s like Trevor, you do a great job if that was happening in God forbid you ever need that.

But my advice would be to document the situation and then Send some written communication with HR and also document those things, but also look for resources. If you think it’s been particularly heinous or pervasive contacting employment lawyers in your area, I would recommend people that are themselves QTPOC.

Yeah, I will say lastly, like thank you for holding space for me and, and this experience, but I definitely wanna make sure that Trevor and Nikita get a lot of space here, because what we’re talking about, I think is more pervasive for black people. I think my proximity to whiteness as someone that is a white skinned Mexican person means that I get to fly under the radar.

And I’ll give you an antidotal story. Steven was asking us for head shots and was about to use my headshot off LinkedIn. And then he was like, oh, I’m so glad, you know, this, that definitely doesn’t show off your best side. And I was like, yeah, you know, If I could write a book in the future, I would write it as when I was a white man.

That’s something that is nonbinary, but transmasculine. And then non-binary, I tried to operate in spaces and like, I think particularly in San Francisco’s tech culture where the tech pros and like the lumberjack, she, and like flying under the radar in that way, made me fly into the radar in a way that was, I was unseen to me was comfortable at that time because it meant that I was a little bit more stealth and it was something that was on center stage for me, but like that happened.

And so I feel like I must acknowledge the privilege that I have being able to like take off a lot of identities and kind of just like hide behind a really shitty beard and kind of sink into the background. I think I have the, the ability to do that as a light skinned Latine person. A lot of people are confused about what my racial identity is.

So I just wanna acknowledge that I have a lot of privilege in that, and that has gotten me, I think Into safe spaces very quickly. Whereas I feel definitely Trevor and Nikita are not able to take off the racial identity at the very least, but also the queer identity. So just wanna give more space to you and pass the mic back.

Treavor Wagoner: Thank you for acknowledging that. And honestly, honestly, as a CIS male, I was going to just pass the mic to you and Nikita because you know, trans people are are, well, I’m not gonna I was gonna play, who’s been dis who’s, who’s been disrespected most. But like, yeah. It’s, it’s not fair what’s happening to trans people or what has been happening to trans people.

So yeah, I we’re all here. I guess we can all share the mic together. But thank you very much for acknowledging that.

Micah Rivera: And that’s not a requirement that anyone needs to catch the mic that I’m tossing. I just wanna provide more space for folks if they feel like talking about it. For sure. And I.

Steven Wakabayashi: And I would just plus one up like Micah had mentioned some of the legal resources legal fees can also be covered by nonprofit organizations too. And so I think that’s one thing that a lot of people just scare, especially our communities into is just the cost of just really standing up for yourself.

And oftentimes we can just pitch some of our cases with lawyers and just see the reaction. And there are lawyers who actually provide resources or just cover it. And that even in certain instances, if you don’t win the case that their firm or their organization will cover the costs. And so I’ve been really adamant, at least myself in sharing that with our community members.

Micah Rivera: As a resource. Yeah. I’ll, I’ll add that. Oftentimes consultations are free to talk to lawyers, if you feel like you’ve been discriminated in any way they’re almost 100% free and then they’ll be able to evaluate cases. But before that, I’ll share a link in the chat. But if you want to use a free, completely anonymous tool to report, to record or report harassment and discrimination you replace I definitely would recommend using the product that I help build called spot.

The URL is talk to spot.com. It’s just a quick chat bot that acts as a third party between you and your business. So they never have to know your identity. You can make a report and keep information that would identify you to yourself if you, if you’d like, but it also sends you the timestamps document that you could use if you needed to litigate.

I’ll type that out here in the, the chat. But if you, if y’all are, you know, even if you don’t wanna talk to something like a chat bot around an experience, even keeping a text, edit document or emailing yourself about an incident that’s happened is usually enough.

Steven Wakabayashi: Thank you, Micah. And aria mentioned also being bisexual, CIS black woman, not often visibly queer but always black, even though the color is favors as someone who is light skinned, absolutely colorism. Yeah. And also, I totally recognize also my privilege as well as a cisgender east Asian person. Although I’m queer in many spaces, especially in tech, there’s a overrepresentation of certain Asian demographics as well.

And so sometimes I’d be able to hide in certain spaces, but myself, my experience is a little bit different where I’m at the level of working primarily with executives. And usually I’m, if not the only bipo person in the room the only queer person and it’s. It’s it’s they always say it’s like, you’re hitting the ceiling, you know?

And sometimes I just have to, at least what keeps me going is a reminder of the work, a reminder of the community, a reminder of the people putting in together, the work. And it’s not in a way that I’m trying to shield anyone or any community, but sometimes what I try to remind myself is, is that the politics of the work or the politics of the people who are just struggling to figure shit out themselves, that’s not on us to own that’s on us to prove by any means.

And so at least the little Quip out ad is for the longest time. I had operated in the lens. I have to try to make everyone happy with this presentation, every single presentation I was like, I have to figure out how to, you know, do this perfectly, but then you realize that to a certain extent, there’s just some people who will not accept it.

Like you can do the best presentation in the world designed the best product, but they just won’t be able to see past you. And I feel like I got a second wind when I was able to let some of that go and, you know, I’ve acknowledged that. Sure. You know, it might reduce some of the work, some of the places that I can enter, but it feels so much better to not have to fight against and try to prove yourself to people who just won’t give you the time and attention.

And so at least now when I show up in like presentation, I’m just like, this is me. Like take it or leave it, you know? And if you wanna leave it, here’s the door. Like show yourself vow. It just like. That’s been the, one of the biggest healing thing is that just not taking the space to do the work on behalf of people that that’s for them to own that’s for them to keep and it’s our job to give that work back to them to do.

Yeah.

Nikita Washington: Yeah.

Treavor Wagoner: Yeah. I was just gonna say something that you said Steven was just resonated with me just now. When you said that, you know when basically I’m reinterpreting you said that you had like really great ideas or What have you and people weren’t able to see past you? Yeah. As somebody who, you know, specializes in design systems, which is very niche mark and very niche I guess area product design.

I’m one of the few people in the room who has shipped a design system and because I’m a black queer person, I find people don’t listen. Even if I have done what they’re trying to figure out. And design system’s work is even though it’s a growing respect it, there are a lot of the same problems.

there’s a system to creating a system, basically surprised. And yet, you know, people don’t want to hear it, even though you’ve like, I’ve figured out the problem I’ve already solved that I can help you. I can also help you keep your job also.

Okay. You’re not gonna okay. Well, in six months, we’ll see as a job. So , it’s not a competition, but basically, you know, with design system, I’m getting into the weeds with design system work, but design systems is an area where you have to prove like, even more than product design, how to demonstrate value to a company.

And if you don’t do that, like very quickly. You’re out

Steven Wakabayashi: Trevor for people who may be new to design systems. Good. Can you explain a little bit about maybe what that is? Oh my gosh.

Treavor Wagoner: You’re opening a can of worms cause I’m very passionate about design systems. So design systems what I always say to like people who are not even in tech I say, well basically whenever you open an app, it is made up of leg.

And I, I am basically like the maker of those Legos. I make sure that those Legos are well cared for and well fed , watered and walked. And then I also mentor other designers on how to use a design system. So basically a design system is meant to reduce developer debt as well as design debt.

It’s, it’s meant to make it easier for product feature teams to create products. So that, you know, you’re not having to reinvent the wheel or redevelop a button when you can just have the same button and just pop it in to your feature. So, yes, we

Micah Rivera: love, I explained to my partner who is not in the design discipline in anyway, they’re an opera singer.

What a design system was cause they were watching me do it. And I explained it as like a sticker. Or a stamp set, you know, this is, you’ve got a sticker sheet to pull from and you can just grab this sticker and throw it where you need it. You know, obviously it’s much more involved in that, but I like using that metaphor.

Understanding your worth

Nikita Washington: (Redacted portion on recording interactions) yeah. Can

Treavor Wagoner: I just wanna know, oh, go ahead.

I was actually

Nikita Washington: point, I was just going to say something that trevor said that resonated with me and it basically I wanted to share this just quickly. I’m not too sure how many of you are coming or excuse me. I don’t know how many of you are actually in tech right now versus trying to break into tech.

But what I definitely wanna say is that. We all have a unique background experience. We all have particular skills that we know how to really leverage. And we have our personalities that really help to guide us as we, you know, go from job to job. And the point that I’m trying to make is continue to understand your worth and what you bring forth to the table, because so many times, and, and this was kind of going back to, you know, feeling different because you identify a particular way, things of that nature, the conversation that was just being had a little bit earlier

Micah Rivera: I also wanna say Nikita that resonates with me on the feminine side of my experience is that. Working with men, CIS men they tend to rush or they want things quicker and they don’t want elaboration. And I, I just wanna say like that experience to me resonates in sexism and misogyny which I think is prevalent.

So if there are any CIS men on this call, just remember to decolonize the way that you’re even consuming information that is being brought to the table, like make space and keep your ears open and close your mouth and let people share. But I think particularly people in feminine experience women, and I think, especially making sure that you’re like, yeah, putting things down and, and, and hearing what’s being said and not just trying to rush through it.

So just wanted to plus five.

Nikita Washington: And I think too, that. I remember this, when I used to live in LA, I met this wonderful lady. We attended the glad media training or something of that nature. So, you know, we met up afterwards and she told me she was like, honey, I like you. So I’m gonna tell you this, but you speak too damn slow.

And I was like, what? Now I am from the south. I’m from North Carolina. And I really like to think about what I’m saying, and that’s no shade to anybody who, you know speaks fast things of that nature. But sometimes I do speak a little slow. And I think that people just simply have to understand that that’s a part of that person as well.

And that’s what I wanted to plus one with what you stated Micah, because as a gay male, I felt that it was more just the fact that I was soft spoken. That’s kind of what was like, mm. We don’t really wanna hear what you got to say or we’re really not gonna pay attention. We’re not gonna listen to your ideas, even though we know that they’re good.

And then we come up with it or we say, we came up with it like two to three months later and it’s like, I just talked girl. Okay. Whatever, you know, like I’m just not even gonna do that for y’all’s. And definitely as a woman, like I said, when that person told me that it just, it really, it really bothered me y’all because.

I’m like I’m 30 something years old. I have a master’s degree. I have a plethora of experience, things of that nature. So why would you feel like didn’t I present to you during the interview process? Clearly I’m here. Why do you think I would not be able to do that with others? It it’s just, it, it Bo it’s bothersome.

And I just wanted to let you all know that because I I’m pretty sure a lot of us were dealing with that. So just be conscientious of it. Do what it is that you gotta do to make your worth and your value known and let people know that they should not really doubt you in your experiences simply because of whatever they got going on in their head and what they see and project onto year.

Micah Rivera: I wanna, I wanna see your podcast. I wanna listen to your podcast. exactly. I love you speaking voice and yeah, I love you’re a storyteller and I can tell that I think maybe that’s from your education background, but I think it’s very lovely. And this you, so

Nikita Washington: you,

Treavor Wagoner: I thank you. I mean, I may be unbiased cause I’m from Texas, but I mean, I feel like you speak well very eloquently, so I don’t know where the slowness is coming from, but just me.

Nikita Washington: You never know what these people say.

Joy and Wellbeing

Steven Wakabayashi: yeah. We are at 25 minutes in, but we have one more topic that we wanna chat about, which is going back to joy, going back to our wellbeing. And so a little bit of pivot and just asking ourselves, you know, amid all this chaos, all this stuff that we’re dealing with, right. How are you all creating space of wellness, wellbeing, and joy within your work and your day to day?

Nikita Washington: Well, I, I’m gonna, I’m gonna go first. It’s real out here and you know it’s so stressful, it’s like so much going on.

Just things in the news, looking at, you know, the crazy orange man doing all that he was doing and getting away with it. But if it was somebody like us, you know, claim, claim you know, the trigger, warning, the murders, that’s just going on, things of that nature. Seeing what the. People in Idaho were trying to do.

I think it was Idaho at the pride festival and yeah, just things of that nature. And then to have to, especially when you’re working in corporate really. Dealing with just like the fast pace of it all feeling as if you cannot fail and especially being, I think out of all of us, I have the least amount of experience in, you know direct UX design, because it will be four months for me in my first role ever as a UX designer this month.

So I, I’m still, you know, I’m dealing with imposter syndrome, things of that nature that really can really suppress your creativity and really keep you from blooming. Of course I take walks.

Daily, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, I just take a walk. I listen to music that really just kind of allows me to be more free. I eat Twizzlers, the cherry con the thick ones, because that just gives me a sense of calm. And of course I try to take vacations and things of that nature. Listen in the podcast.

And I read, I know that some of those things may not be of interest to everybody on this call, but definitely find little ways and pockets of joy, even if it is just turning off that computer for five to 10 minutes, sitting in silence and just being happy that you are present, that you are here. And just things of that nature because it, it really is hard out here.

Y’all.

Treavor Wagoner: It is, I was gonna mention like the microaggressions that you deal with in, in tech, working in tech can, I mean, that’s how microaggressions are designed. They’re designed to like chip away until you just explode and die. Kind of exaggerating, actually being real for in black people’s case.

But how I find joy is, you know, I’m truly grateful to my job. And also my manager at the time for allowing me to do something that I’ve always wanted to do in my career. And I just had to wait for a pandemic to happen. Basically working on the road, I love to travel. I’m a solo traveler.

I have, I like, I’m basically a mini REI. I have so much gear that doesn’t get used because I’m working from a desk. And you know, last year I took a seven, seven month road trip and I just relied on my survival instincts to, to navigate not only a viral pandemic, but also just the, the normal or the typical things that you face while being on the road.

And I will say like, it just, it was the happiest time for me. I was very stinky. I missed a shower, but sometimes, but it was, it brought me a lot of joy. It was, it was the happiest time of my life. Since being back and being stationary, I will say what brings me joy is just going to the lake and watch and, and watching the sunset over the lake sometimes just really it is.

I just, I am, I’m such a romantic, so I apologize if I get a little weepy, but like it just caps it all off. It just makes me zoom out of all the bullshit that you deal with in corporate. And just makes me remind, or reminds me of there’s more to, to life than the technical ins and outs the political, this and that, you know, whatever agenda that people got doesn’t have anything to do with what I got going on over here in my life.

And. I’m just gonna re mention it again, but Mariah carry, fly like a bird when things get really hard. Listen to that,

Nikita Washington: especially when the chorus comes on too. Yes, that’s my

Treavor Wagoner: song. Yes,

Steven Wakabayashi: that’s amazing. Beautiful too. How about Micah?

Micah Rivera: I focus on the things outside of work to bring joy. I’ve I’m not sure what the demographic of are on you’re you’ve time

of feel like the deep, some of the deepest learnings that I have experienced in the last few years have come from black women of the friend of mine. Kathy told me a quote that I’ll never forget and it is to expect what you accept. Let me say that one more time to expect what you accept. And at a certain point, I think in the last year I stopped accepting things.

As status quo, I stopped accepting being station at Mary at my desk. I stopped accepting that my, my work was my only identity or the only thing that that brought value to my life. I’m a parent. I have a four year old. He brings me a lot of joy, a lot of heartache too. He just recently had discovered how to Sharpie all over my very expensive couch, but I try to find joy in one, on one, play with him where I put stuff down, or I’ve recently picked up tattooing the pandemic, brought me back full circle from where I started all the way to where I am now.

So I’ve been tattooing friends being really mindful about a non apprenticeship tattooing journey that takes me adjacent to design, but not completely away. I’ve also since being laid off, I’ve spent a lot of times with my friends. I’m a tourist. I love my bed. I love my partner and I don’t make my friends a super priority.

And they’re the things. I’ll use this metaphor about my son. There’s a book that he reads about filling others buckets. It’s when you do kind things for other people and you fill up this bucket instead of taking away from their bucket. So the things that fill my bucket are really in community and finding joy specifically.

QTBIPOC joy specifically in my community, connecting with people and doing things that are like outrageously queer, or make me feel really seen in my gender or make me feel good in my body that make me get out of my house and connect with people. The ways that I find joy right now are really through community loved ones, people that are directly connected with me, but also I’m.

I went to the beach for the like two times in a row in the last week, actually our call last Friday, I was in like a cutoff, cuz I just gotten off of the beach. I’m trying to enjoy. I live in the bay area. I never see the water when I’m working eight, 12 hours a day in a desk in a, in a, like a tiny little hole.

So going out and enjoying the places I’m around and really connecting has been. Very healing, but I will also say doing things like exactly this, what we’re doing right now, I, I crave and seek that like ability to interact directly with community where there are intersections and what we do professionally and our identities.

And I just wanna say thank you so much, Steven, for helping facilitate joy for me and hopefully for others.

Steven Wakabayashi: That’s we are family let’s do we are family. Exactly. And it looks like also people shared and the chat as well. Joy of birds, joy of cooking, joy of cleaning, mindfulness wellness. Joy, traveling, joy, cuddle breaks with dogs.

Micah Rivera: Let see Redhawk. I just got a big Hawk tattooed on my back. One thing I didn’t say was getting tattooed also brings integrate a shout, the made it pair in the

Steven Wakabayashi: awesome. And yeah, it’s just, thank you. I like the space. The concept of a space can only be as strong as the people who are in it, you know, and I just wanna give like props to all of us just really, it’s just showing up for tonight.

Also props to Trevor Nikita, Micah. We like literally found this in like a week. And so we usually do like a brainstorming session, like weeks out. We squeeze it in last Friday to show up today. And this is what family does, you know, family shows up for each other like this in the nip of time. And so speaking of we have about four, 14 minutes for questions, if.

Anybody on the audience here has anything that they’d love to ask. Keith requests folks’ IG in the chat. If people want to.

Micah Rivera: I also wanted to say shout out to Becks and the queer design club. Who’s also on the call right now. Those are one of those spaces that has been really important to me. So BES, I know I your face, but thank you for also holding adjacent space.

Treavor Wagoner: I wanna plus one that I’m so grateful to BES, like thank you so much. I had a goal of, of increasing my public speaking, cause I’m not very comfortable with that. And you have, thank you. You know what you’ve done? So thank you very much.

Nikita Washington: And I just wanna say I think I recently connected with Beck on LinkedIn, so.

We gonna make that connection that they both have as well. And I just also wanna say one last thing. If you can put a little bit of money aside to get a massage, do it, let somebody work their attention right on, up out your body and hopefully write on up out your soul. So that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Steven Wakabayashi: Well with that, we are at time, this has been such a healing talk. Thank you for Trevor Nikita, Micah for showing up in community today.

And before kind of we wrap up just wanted to create space for each of the speakers tonight of just like, what is your one takeaway and one thing you just wanna leave the audience with, and then we’ll close.

Micah Rivera: Okay. MYOB statement. Yeah, you are enough.

Treavor Wagoner: You are enough. Believe in you,

Nikita Washington: honey. Be a badass kick. All these people’s asses. Okay. That’s all I gotta say. Yes.

yes.

Steven Wakabayashi: Such a high note.

Nikita Washington: No. Are you gonna say Micah? I was gonna say ACAB. That’s

Micah Rivera: it?

Steven Wakabayashi: Yes. Mic drop.

Micah Rivera: Boom. Hey, so nice to see. Y’all nice to meet all y’all in the in the call.

Steven Wakabayashi: Awesome. Awesome. The space is now officially closed. Hope everyone has a good rest of your evening. And then until next time stay tuned

Transcription by Descript

Micah Rivera is a proud Latine/x non-binary Principal Product Designer and community organizer. Founder of Queer x Design, they are committed to using their skills and acquired privilege as a design leader to make products that help improve the lives of queer, disabled, BIPOC, underrepresented and marginalized communities.

Nikita Washington is a Black Trans UX Designer currently working at Ally, a leading digital financial services company. Transitioning from education to user experience design, Nikita highlights her personal experiences and the challenges she overcame in the hope that it will inspire folx from nontraditional backgrounds to pursue a career in tech.

Treavor Wagoner is a Black and queer designer, specializing in design systems. His nearly-two decade career has been a wild adventure full of working with great people, traveling to beautiful places, and experiencing amazing opportunities. He’s also a writer and published his first book in 2016. He recently co-led, Black UX Austin, an organization aiming to provide a safe and enriching experience for Black UX professionals in Austin. He supports the Trevor Project, RAINN, and Beach Please water cleanup in India.

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