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Wisconsin TikTok star 'Trans Handy Ma'am' offers home repair tips for renters

Mercury Stardust, The Handy Ma'am
Mercury Stardust aka Trans Handy Ma'am."

TikTok may be better known for its dances and lip-syncing, but the platform has also become a haven for DIYers. There are videos on everything from crafting and recipes to gardening and home repair. That's where Mercury Stardust comes in. The Wisconsin TikToker is known as the "Trans Handy Ma'am,"and her platform both helps people learn how to fix up their homes and highlights issues important to the trans community.

Stardust is releasing a book later this year, called Safe & Sound: A Renter-Friendly Guide to Home Repair. And, it all started with a simple video.

While doing her burlesque dancing in Madison, Stardust began making videos on TikTok for fun and came across someone who needed help using ratchet straps. She responded to the user with a ratchet strap tutorial video of her own.

"So, all I did was post a video in response trying to help them in a way that I would have wanted someone help me when I was younger. And it really seemed to resonate with people. And I really enjoyed helping one person. So, I kept on doing it and then it just kept on going," says Stardust.

After getting famous on TikTok, Stardust began using her platform to make a difference. She turned her attention to providing handy tips for people who are renting. "In order to help one marginalized group of people, you have to help the people who are the most vulnerable. So, we often talk about the Black trans community being the community we want to help the most," says Stardust. "If you can help a renter, you can typically sometimes, most of the time help the homeowner. Most homeowners have been renters in their life, but most renters will never be a homeowner."

Stardust encourages women to pursue the field of handiwork despite it being mostly male-dominated. "Don't allow other people's perception of you to be your reality," says Stardust.


Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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