Loving Yourself, Mental Health, Starting a Business
We all have things we hide about ourselves. Things we might be scared of sharing, or worried about, or unsure of. Things we need to ‘come out’ about. But why are we hiding them? Learning to love yourself is a process, and for Mason Aid, it began when they came out as gender queer.
Mason grew up in rural northeast Missouri, where identifying as LGBTQ is not widely accepted. At 17, they were in the hospital for self-harm and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It took Mason many years to begin working on self-acceptance—and it’s still a work in progress. But now they are an LGBTQ advocate, building a startup that supports businesses in embracing inclusion.
Today, Mason shares their parenting journey, explaining how they had given up on becoming a parent until meeting their wife Hillary. Mason discusses their business, describing how their work with LGBTQ teens led to the consulting firm they refer to as ‘your business’ gay best friend.’ I ask Mason what they do to take care of their mental health, and we talk about insights around using inclusive language to recognize and respect the non-binary members of our audience. Listen in to understand how Mason is strategically building a business while working 30 hours a week and learn how companies can prepare for the next generation of consumers and employees.
The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #078
Some quotes from the episode
- “Kids don’t have the emotional weight on stuff that we do. Kids don’t see it as a big deal unless we make it a big deal. Yeah, Ashby has two mommies. Whatever.”
- “Things finally settled down once I came out because I learned to love myself and stopped hating who I am, but I had given up on ever having kids because I have bipolar disorder and couldn’t have them myself—and because I’m queer so that’s not an option.”
- “I came out, and I started to give myself permission to work on accepting who I am.”
- “[My wife] has shown me a love that has taught me how to love myself in a way that I didn’t think was possible. Her belief in me has helped me to grow as a person. I wouldn’t be doing the work I’m doing today if it weren’t for her.”
- “The wedding is a … commitment between the two of us that grants us some legal rights. But I want to have a party!”
- “Maybe I don’t have to ask permission to be an expert. Maybe I am an expert because I’m gender queer and have lived this life.”
- “I didn’t believe in myself. I always saw myself as an idea person—someone who had the ideas but not the follow through.”
- “You have to have a target market and know who you’re talking to, but you also have to embrace that there are going to be outliers and that non-binary people do exist.”
- “Changing the language you use is not always super-easy. It takes some effort. It takes some brain work. It takes practice. But it makes a world of difference.”
- “One of the biggest revelations I’ve had in the last three years is that my parents have to come out too, and I have to give them permission to choose how and when to come out as the parents of a queer child.”
- “Coming out is crucial to the LGBT story, and I don’t want to take away that experience. But we’re all in a closet in some way.”
- “It’s about owning who you are and all the facets of yourself, and we all have things we hide. But why are we hiding them?”
- “I am meant to do work in educating people about the LGBT community. I am meant to do this work. I have to do this work. I am compelled to do this work, and I’m going to do it no matter what it looks like. I’m just going to try and find a way to get paid to do it so that I can eat!”
- “What are we, as business owners, doing to be prepared for this next generation of consumers and employees?”
LEARN MORE ABOUT MASON AID
Mason Aid is an LGBTQ educator and advocate focused on helping business owners be inclusive in their language and processes. Based in Columbia, Missouri, Mason got their start working with LGBTQ teens and discovered a passion for activism. This led to volunteer opportunities training educators and social service providers, and Mason has grown those opportunities into a business. Today, Mason helps entrepreneurs avoid ‘accidental asshole moments’ and supports business owners in embracing diversity and inclusion. Mason is also the host of the new podcast, All the Letters.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Mason’s Blog
- Generation Z Marketing Study
EPISODE SPONSOR & SPECIAL OFFER
Thank you to the sponsor of this episode: Aeroflow Breastpumps. They are dedicated to making the hassle of getting your breast pump a little bit easier—actually, a lot easier! Head to www.aeroflowbreastpumps.com/startup to have them help you qualify for a free breast pump through insurance.
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