C Is For Community
Here are a few online communities I joined in 2021 and some that I hope to join in 2022.
Community is so important. Without it, we can feel lost, alone, and have our self doubt grow. When we find our community, it can give us life, friends, opportunities, but perhaps most important of all — understanding and acceptance.
In 2021, I was fortunate to join a few new communities that were very important to my growth, happiness, and confidence, and I hope that 2022 leads me to other new communities that are also relevant to me.
I’m a curator and I like to share the gems I find and share my experiences where I feel they’ll be relevant and useful for others.
While some of the communities listed will be somewhat more applicable to Toronto based folks, I will try to keep them as generally applicable as I can. They are all online based (except for a couple) for what that is worth.
This blog is a companion piece of sorts to my V Is For Vulnerability post.
So with that, let’s talk about some communities!
Community for Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners
This is a type of community I had needed for years. I only finally made a concerted effort to find it this year.
The Center for Social Innovation
I made my first foray into freelancing in 2015 — quitting my day job while keeping a couple of smaller side gigs and planning to supplement the rest of my income from my own work.
In many senses I didn’t properly know what I was looking for, or what I needed just yet, but one ‘solution’ that was available was the Center for Social Innovation (CSI) here in Toronto, which I joined for a year or two. It was close to what I needed, but that was more of a ‘loose community’ (less guidance, more self-direction needed).
CSI had an internal mailing list of opportunities or requests for help, as well as events and other things. But as I said, you had to be more proactive (and confident) to really make the most of it. You could ask for help and guidance, though they didn’t have the time and capacity to hold your hand a ton. Of course, 6+ years later, perhaps that has changed and there is more structure now? I should check back into that.
Make Lemonade & The Get S#!t Done Club
So you took the leap. You quit your full-time job, said goodbye to stuffy blazers and meetings that should’ve been an email. You dove head first into starting your very. own. business. Yay you! One major hiccup: things aren’t exactly going according to plan. That transition from side-hustle to full-time hustle has been a mission. The Get Sh*t Done Club is a 12-month business foundations community supporting new business owners to hustle less and grow more. Troubleshoot roadblocks with entrepreneurs who just “get it.” Gain the business foundations every business requires. Meet coworkers who will hold you accountable.
In June of 2021, I was put into contact with Rachel Kelly, who founded and runs Make Lemonade (and the “Get S#!t Done Club”) which started as a brick and mortar coworking space and then converted to an online community due to covid. Make Lemonade is predominantly composed of women entrepreneurs and business owners, but is not purely exclusive to women. Members are largely from the Greater Toronto Area, but also hail from the US, UK, and other places sometimes.
ML and the GSDC have been a boon for me. When I first joined I totally felt like an imposter and since many of the members of the club already run their own businesses full time and I still have a day job, I felt like I was out of my depth. But everyone is so supportive and you quickly learn that even the most seemingly successful people have bad days, insecurities, and very human moments. And I have found that I am in fact able to contribute to the group, despite being less ‘far along’ than many of the other members.
The club is structured such that if you’re not already totally confident in yourself and what you’re doing, it’s OK. You can just show up to pre-scheduled meetings and interact in the private Slack community as you build your confidence and get your bearings. And everyone really is very nice and supportive.
I have heard of other similar communities, including ones for artists, though I haven’t yet had a chance to test drive them.
Community for Polymaths, Dilettantes, Scanners, Renaissance Souls, Multipotentialites (and creatives with ADHD!)
What the heck do these terms mean? Well, they all relate to people who tend to have a wide variety of interests and/or skills. In other words, the Anti-Specialist. The struggle is real living in a society that tries to boil people down to ‘so what do you do?’ (which really means ‘what singular task or role have you saddled yourself with to contribute to capitalism and pay your rent?’).
For artists and people with ADHD, it can often be next to impossible for us to be content or satisfied with having to do One Thing (TM) for 40 hours a week and have precious little time left for the myriad of other things our brains desire to try or explore.
Finding community around this allowed me to learn some tips, tricks, hacks, etc to help me maximize my time more, to learn to weed out the weaker ideas from the stronger ones, and move closer to finding a way to turn one of my passion projects into the thing that I do 40 hrs a week and pay my rent with. That’s the dream.
There are a couple of communities that I’m aware of for this.
When the whole world is stuck in this specialist mentality, where do you go for support and guidance? How do you pull all of your interests together to build a sustainable, beautiful, multifaceted life? How do you actually make a living while doing EVERYTHING you love? The Puttyverse is a space for multipotentialites of all ages, cultures, locations, and levels. We brainstorm, help each other with our many projects, collaborate, co-work, and learn from one another. It’s a really warm place, where everyone understands “what you’re up to” when you have a dozen projects or jump from passion to passion. We’re a truly global community of over 600 multipotentialites and we’d love for you to join us!
Emilie Wapnick’s ‘Puttyverse’ is the first one that comes to mind as it is a much more formally organized community (I was a member of it for about a year roughly around 2015/2016).
Similarly to Make Lemonade it was an online chat forum that had some group video calls. It was a very supportive group, and I am looking into rejoining it. Emilie has a book that is about how to cross reference your skills and interests to real-life jobs (or get creative and invent your own) and build it into something you can live off of.
Barbara Sher’s Facebook group for “Scanners and Renaissance Souls”
The other community is Barbara Sher’s Facebook group for “Scanners and Renaissance Souls” (named after her book “Refuse to Choose” about that type of person). In both cases, the idea is a community for people with multiple interests who can’t (or don’t want to) choose just one thing. It’s a similar sentiment to Emilie’s book, but from what I recall, it was more focused on presenting a wide variety of job types and listening what skills or interests are involved so you can try to find what might fit for you. A bit of a different approach but it still works. And I’m sure others have also written books or started online communities, but these are the ones I know of.
Communities for Your Sexuality, Kinks & Fetishes
Here is where I talk briefly about the fun chain of events that led me to the revelation that gave birth to this blog post.
I was turned onto Make Lemonade first, it was the first new dedicated community related to one of my goals or needs that I had joined since the pandemic began. Rachel at Make Lemonade told me about Katrina Marie’s People for Pleasure (PFP) when I was lamenting how hard intimacy has been to access during this pandemic. From the very start PFP had been a great fit, very much the sort of community I needed at this point in my life. And through one of Katrina’s Instagram stories, I learned of the FCSC (see below), which has also been a very positive and promising community to be a part of.
People for Pleasure
“People for Pleasure is an online community space to practice pleasure together. There will be lots of live practices. Think slow, sensual stretch classes, dancing and sound baths. There will be room for conversation. Let’s talk about things like dating, healing our attachment wounds and having hotter sex. There will also be tons of resources so you can understand the why and how of pleasure. It is open to all genders and is pay what you can.”
So far I have only attended the “Queer Women’s Full Moon Circle” zoom calls, but they have been like the most amazing group therapy sessions of my life (certainly in regards to sorting out sexuality and seeking intimacy and knowing I’m not alone).
Katrina is very active on Instagram, and has created and fostered a wonderful group of passionate, authentic women. If you are willing/able to show up authentically, you will be embraced and supported. Katrina is based in Montreal, Canada, and the community features members from around Southern Ontario as well as the US (I’m not sure about elsewhere as of this moment).
In the near future, there will be a chat forum coming to the PFP website so that members can more easily interact and connect with each other. But at the end of the Full Moon Circle calls, people often exchange their IG handles. Once the chat forum gets up and running, between that and the zoom calls I could easily see this community bustling farther and wider.
UPDATE: Sadly as of Jan 24th, 2022, it was announced by Katrina that People For Pleasure was being discontinued at the end of Feb 2022 due to time requirements to run it. She said that the full moon women’s circle would be continuing on a pay-per-use basis, but sadly the promise of a dedicated online chat forum/community for members is not to be. This is disappointing but not a total loss. Hopefully I can find something similar somewhere else as finding positive, healthy, trans-welcoming sexuality spaces can be a real challenge.
F*ck Comphet Support Club (FCSC)
Welcome to the club!! This is your ticket to F*ck Comp Het Support Club monthly Zoom Meetings! These meetings are magical places where a bunch of amazing 2SLGBTQIA+ people get together to talk about our identity & experiences, laugh A WHOLE BUNCH, build connection, and support each other in unlearning comp het! You also get access to the exclusive F*ck Comp Het Support Club discord! Join us for sharing queer memes, cheerleading, and even more solidarity and community!
Compulsory Heterosexuality is the idea that bi or pansexual women should ultimately date/be in relationships with men, and bi/pan men with women. I should clarify that Comphet is not something that affects me very much.
But for many queer, bi, and pansexual women or non-binary folx, societal pressures and expectations do seem to end up landing them in ‘hetero passing relationships’ even if this isn’t necessarily what they want or what is best for them.
Several members of the group have talked about spending years being in relationships with men and feeling like they ‘lost’ that time, and it held them back from some really crucial personal growth.
As of this writing I only joined the FCSC a few days ago but the founders (and other members) have already been super welcoming and lovely. I can easily see this discord exploding in popularity and activity in the coming months. The founders are Toronto based but since this is an online community, you can join from anywhere and participate on discord or on the zoom calls.
I’m very excited to see this community grow through 2022 and beyond. I’m excited to be a cheerleader for it.
Fetlife is widely known as ‘Facebook but for Kinky People’. It works very similarly — you have a ‘news feed’ (which consists of a mixture of lewds/nudes, erotic notes, sexy status updates, group post comments, etc., from people you follow or are friends with. Every user has a profile where you can fill in some standard personal information (sub/switch/Dom, your gender identity, your orientation, what you’re looking for), as well as a bio where you can tell a little about yourself, your interests, desires, limits, etc.
A couple of heads ups:
Fetlife can be a great resource, but it can also be intimidating. For one thing, if you’re a woman (or someone with breasts or a vagina), the creepy, aggressive men do abound. You can fly under the radar, but if you really want to get the most out of the site you do need to be a little more active/proactive. Profiles are fully viewable by any other user by default but you can also lock down your profile to make it private if things get really overwhelming.
Even as someone who knows that I have a bit of kink in me, and I tend be the very enthusiastic about things I’m interested in, I’m not a super kinkster and Fetlife can be like drinking from a firehose. Most other users tend to seem 12 out of 10 for how passionate or eccentric they are. If you consider yourself more of a ‘casual kinkster’, you might find yourself feeling inferior (as I often have/do).
But as I said, it is the Facebook for kinky people and if you find a comfortable way to exist and interact on there, it can help you find local events, new friends, play partners, and just generally help you learn about yourself. There’s even a fun little inside joke about listing fetishes that aren’t clothing or apparel (for example you can have a fetish for ‘confidence’ and you enjoy ‘watching others wear’ it).
Also — always remember the mantra — ‘Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is Okay’ (YKINMKBYKIOK).
A group originating from Meetup.com for LGBTQ+ folks to get together at various events (both indoor and outdoor). Unfortunately the pandemic also served to stymie this group to an extent but I’ll be keeping an eye on it in 2022 summer time.
Community — Gender Identity
The Trans Peer Network (TPN)
TPN was created by Laur, a German transplant to the US by way of Canada. The TPN is a discord server with regular calls many days of the week (things like Jackbox games night, new member calls, over 30y/o calls, BIPOC calls, trans masc calls, a monthly ‘pride ball’, and more).
The TPN was at one point quite white femme dominated and instituted some policies to help achieve greater balance. I’m not as active there as I used to be because I haven’t needed as much support around my gender identity of late, but for ‘freshly cracked eggs’ or anyone questioning their identity, I certainly recommend it. Community at the beginning of gender transition is SO important!
The Transverse is a Discord server and Twitch channel, which founder Emily is trying to build into a media powerhouse and a great community. I also haven’t been as involved with the Transverse as I would like to be but again, if you are looking for community and support, it’s certainly worth checking out.
Sadly this community did not last, but it was so valuable for me in my first year of gender transition. While it’s not necessarily true in 100% of cases, neurodivergent people do tend to get along well with each other because we have similar quirks. And since society is largely built and maintained by neurotypical people, there aren’t many outlets built in for us, so we have to create our own clubs and communities.
I do know there are several groups on Facebook but I’m not terribly active there so I can’t speak to them as much. To a degree there is also trans and non-binary community on Twitter and Instagram but you have to go a little more out of your way for it. And of course there are several discords out there for queer folx in general.
Autistiqueers was for anyone who was Autistic and did not identify as straight/heterosexual.
Community — Neurodiversity (Autism/ADHD)
Autistiqueers fit into this category as well, but as above, the community didn’t survive.
I am on several discord servers that have channels dedicated to neurodiverse members.
This section is less populated because like with my gender identity, I’m fairly well past the point of needing community dedicated to this aspect of myself. I’m a “Veteren Autist” now, and I understand my ADHD well enough to manage it on my own. But if anyone reading this has found communities they really appreciate for their neurodiversity, feel free to send it along.
Communities I Would Still Like To Connect With:
A community for comedy and improvisation (performance and writing).
A community for filmmaking and media production. Could also include a community for Twitch/YouTube Live streamers.
A community for visual artists to collaborate and share work.
A community for writers/authors, and visual artists who have published zines or art books.
A community for poetry sharing. (I am currently in a small poetry sharing group but would be happy to connect with something larger).
A community for DIY musicians, especially ones who write more complex, layered, compositional pieces vs traditional verse/chorus songs.
A community for women and femme identifying hockey fans / casual players.
These are all things that I am or that I do, that I would enjoy having a little more connection and peers for.
LAST UPDATED 01/25/22