Here’s the very simple truth – we do not have enough money to keep this blog and the related projects going for much longer. So I am reaching out to ask those of you who value the work and can afford to do so, to make a donation.
Twelve years ago, this was a hobby. I had a fulltime job and occasional side gigs. My partner Ledcat worked fulltime (and still does.) In 2010, I had to leave the paid workforce because of my disability and have been relying on SSDI to supplement Laura’s income. For the most part, that worked with the typical expenses of webhosting and wifi and such. But do the math – two women earn less than a household with one woman and one man. Factor in disability payments as a percentage of my income after 20 years in the human services field. So it has always been tight to have a ‘hobby’ that involves so many expenses.
But lately, it is really tight. The projects have consumed every speck of extra income and then some. We’ve also had personal expenses caring for our ailing rescued animals. And suddenly there are hard choices to be made. I don’t want to mislead you – our day-to-day expenses are met and I am grateful. But we cannot sustain my blogging and organizing full-time without compensation for the expenses. We aren’t looking to finance anything but keeping on keeping on.
I struggle to understand how I can raise tens of thousands for food pantries, vigils, funeral expenses, and so forth but not be able to raise enough money to keep the lights on for the blog. I blame myself for asking in the first place even though it is quite reasonable to ask people to pay me for the work that I do if they find value in it.
The blog is an extension of my social work identity and no one ever pays social workers to go over and above. Laura is a lawyer; when people ask her for help, they understand there’s a limit to how much free advice she will give them. Same is true of my doctor friend and my accountant friend. But ask a social worker and they will be on board for the duration. And that’s fine if you have a primary source of income.
Our efforts to sustain both the blog and the AMPLIFY project have hit some snafus. The tee shirt sales were lackluster. Our grant writing efforts need more time. I’ve asked people to help us raise funds, but haven’t really generated much of a response.
So we have some plans that will make the blog more sustainable, but they will take some time (and cash) to launch. We have a new larger collaborative project that we have laid the groundwork to fund. That funding would allow me to work on the usual things without anxiety creeping down my neck. And begging people for money all of the time. I hate doing that, you hate me doing that.
You may have noticed the lights were out here at PghLesbian over the weekend. That was a conscious decision on my part because I was (am) exhausted and overwhelmed when I log in to see so much intense work needing attention around very big issues – life or death pretty much. In a week’s time, I’ve had five different people contact me to request that I cover a certain topic they feel is being ignored by the mainstream media. That’s very atypical – usually it is once a week and mostly event promotion which is not very hard for me to manage. Blogging about misgendering around community protests and arrests in support of the inmates of the ACJ is a different matter.
I don’t object to people asking, but I also know that what’s required to blog at this level requires a lot of time precisely because it matters.
I am going to keep going, but I have already had to close some resources such as my social media scheduling software tools because I can’t afford the monthly fees right now. That means much, much less visibility for me on Twitter and Facebook and less visibility for the content you appreciate. We will not be tabling events, we will not be sponsoring pride activities, we will not be attending many events in general.
AMPLIFY will continue, but there is no funding to actively seek new contributions from the community. As they come in, we will publish and continue to work behind the scenes on the archiving readiness tasks. The rally kit is available when we get a suitcase.
If you want to support AMPLIFY, please donate here. (Crowdrise) You can also send donations to our fiscal sponsor, Persad Center, with AMPLIFY in the memo line. Donations through Persad are tax deductible as permitted by the IRS.
5301 Butler Street Pittsburgh, PA 15201
If you want to support this broader type of work, please donate here. (Paypal)
- Crowdfunding $1100 to support the April 2 Pittsburgh Vigil for Trans Women
- Building a LGBTQ competency media training series in partnership with a local communications firm that will include two panels and be replicable in other media markets in Western and Central Pennsylvania & will compensate the panelists.
- Fielding phone calls from media outlets looking for me or someone in the community to comment on stories. Most recently, we helped connect WTAE with local sex-positive activist Alistair McQueen to talk about dating app safety.
- Blogging about and supporting a crowdfunding effort by GSA students at Perry High School to open a school-based food pantry for other students. In addition to the blog post, I connected the students with the openly gay director of the food pantry serving their region and multiple AMPLIFY alumni of Perry who want to get back involved. The story is also being republished in Central PA Voices. I also redirected about 400 reusable bags to the project to help students pack the groceries this distribute.
- Crowdfunding to renovate the food pantry in my Northside neighborhood and then organizing a last-minute holiday food drive when supplies ran low to the tune of more than $30,000. Hunger is a queer issue.
- Volunteering as a moderator on multiple Facebook feminist groups to stay informed, but also stay on top of problematic threads that do not use an intersectional approach to the feminism most respectful of the LGBTQ community. This is a commitment that several of my black and people of color friends asked me to tackle.
- Endless pitches to the media about LGBTQ stories – releases, emails, phone calls – suggesting stories that are often overlooked.
And then there is actual blogging.
If you are in a position to make a recurring donation, we’d appreciate that commitment. I just can’t continue as is even with a long-term plan in place. And I understand that you may not be able to make a financial commitment. This is just a big helpful reminder to those who can to please consider stepping in.
If we can get through the next quarter or so, I hope our sustainability plans will prove successful.
Thanks for reading and for all that you do to support us!