• Maverick Lumen

On Why I Use Sliding Scale

Sliding scale is an important part of many service providers' measures for equity. I use it because I realize the range of people who access my services. There are those who have financial privilege, steady well-paying jobs, or loved ones who can afford the service for them. There are also those who are paying for Peer Support or Readings out of pocket, who are living paycheck to paycheck, and this puts strain on their resources. I want people to be able to access healing services regardless of finances, AND I want people who have the financial stability to be a part of everyone accessing these services. Especially if they are cis and allohet. People who aren't even in my demographic, but experience cis allohet guilt. Who want to make reparations towards queer people, and specifically support their healing.

So, I've split this article on my sliding scale into two parts.

  1. For people accessing my services and need help figuring out which price they should choose.

  2. For people who aren't accessing these services who want to pay reparations.

A rainbow banner is flying across the green leaves of the trees above. The sunlight is peering through in a way that obscures some of the image in an amber glow.
Photo taken by Cody Chan. Found on Unsplash.

How do I know which price (A, B, C) is right for me?

Please consider where the line between a willing sacrifice and needless suffering is for you. A sacrifice would be you can afford this higher price, but you might need to cut back on other extraneous purchases or tap into money set aside to afford it. You are willing to cut back on these other extraneous purchases because you realize how important accessing this service is for you. Suffering would be where going higher than what you have chosen/can afford would mean being unable to pay for your basic needs. Where basic needs are things like housing, food, healthcare, education (if you are a student), and similar stressors on finances. Here are some questions to reflect on to help you find the right fit for our session fee. The prices listed on the respective services pages under A, B, and C, are guidelines and suggestions for my sliding scale. You might answer questions of different categories with yes, thus finding yourself in-between categories. At the end of the day, however, you know your financial situation best and should be the one to choose.

Amongst a raspberry bush there are six drachma (ancient Greek coins).
Six of Coins from the Botanica Tarot by Kevin Jay Stanton.

NOTE: I've included the Six of Coins here because to me it can speak to the

redistribution of our wealth and resources. Where we organize together to give back to our communities with both our time and our money. Using the stability we have found and achieved due to the combination of our work and privilege to uplift those who need it. Instead of maintaining systems and confining us to these roles we've been assigned, let's sow seeds of wealth and reparations in our peers. Let it run wild like the raspberry bush that spreads as it pleases.

A - My full/going rate for each offering. Things to consider:

  • Are you meeting all your basic needs on a regular basis &/or with ease?

  • Are you able to pay your bills/rent on time?

  • Do you have savings or extra income?

  • Do you take trips or vacations without burden?

  • Are you able to consider this offering without needing to consult your budget or finances?

NOTE: If you find yourself in the A category, consider also contributing to equity by adding a fee of your choosing on top of your session fee. More on this in the next section.

B - My mid-range offering. Things to consider:

  • Do you stress about meeting your basic needs and are still meeting them a majority of the time?

  • Do you have stable housing and/or a personal vehicle?

  • Do you have debt and are able to make the payments?

  • Do you buy items new & used when needed?

  • Are you able to take trips or vacations if you plan for them in advance?

C - My lowest-priced offering. Things to consider:

  • Do you struggle to meet your basic needs?

  • Do you have instability in your housing or rent a low-end property?

  • Are you unemployed or using government assistance to meet needs (EI, disability, etc.)?

  • Do you rarely buy items new?

  • Are you unable to take trips, vacations, or time off due to your financial situation?

  • Would you be unable to access this offering without this fee available to you?

How can I sponsor the people you work with who access your services at a low cost?

If you are someone who sees me of financial means/privilege feel free to inquire about sponsoring another person I work with who is currently accessing lower-cost services. This means that in addition to paying my full rate, you would pay an extra amount of your choosing. This amount can change session-to-session, or stay a fixed donation amount per session you have. It is always an open conversation, as I recognize that anyone's financial situation can change drastically at any moment.

If I do not currently have someone who is accessing my services at a reduced cost or on my waitlist whom I can take, I will post to my social media that I have space. Of course, you will not be named as the sponsor in this post for your confidentiality by default and to avoid creating power dynamics between you and any potential folks interested in working with me.

NOTE: This does not mean you will be privy to any of their session information or what they are working on with me, their sessions are completely confidential between myself and them. It is just a method of equity that I have in place so that I can continue to offer sessions to folks who cannot afford the cost.

A sign reading "Queer Liberation, not rainbow capitalism" is viewed through a sea of people.
Photo by Delia Giandeini. Found on Unsplash

If you are not someone I work with but would still like to sponsor someone and/or the work I do, you can donate either a one-time amount of your choosing on my Ko-Fi. Or Contact me to set up monthly sponsorship. If I have enough people who want to donate regularly I will get Ko-Fi Gold to allow for monthly donations through the platform (it's $6 USD/month).

In the end, we all live in a capitalist & white supremacist system that wants to keep us from achieving true equity.

One that doesn't see the value in uplifting marginalized peoples and their needs in tangible ways. We can all actively fight against that by participating in mutual aid, in the redistribution of wealth, and thinking critically about where our finances are going. I make a point of allocating funds towards different fundraisers each month.

A cutout drawing depicting Maverick with square glasses, pierced ears, and a shaved head.

Maverick Lumen (they/them) is a Peer Support Worker & Tarot Reader who is passionate about seeing queer, trans, and non-binary clients receive the welcoming and understanding support they deserve. Their practice is founded on lived experience and anti-oppression, all while examining how the body and mind can be connected to uncover the stories that we have heard about and have told ourselves.

#queer #peersupport #tarotreadings #onlineservices #lgbtq2s #lgbtq #lgbt #transgender #nonbinary #slidingscale #feestructure


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