Update: as of April 13, we have received requests for 39 masks and identified five sewists and sources.
Update: as of April 11, we have processed requests for 17 masks, received another 9 requests and identified two sewists.
Laura and I were able to order masks last week through Operation Face Mask Pittsburgh. She has to go out in public to do some of her work tasks and I have compromised lungs due to asthma. We’ve already discovered that we really need two masks each to allow for the sanitizing/cleaning process, but it is something we can work around. The process, however, made me aware of some barriers.
Finding a mask can be difficult, requiring some mobility and perhaps some cash. Making a mask is possible for some but there are LGBTQ folks who do not have the necessary tools to do so.
There’s also a question of safety and dignity. Accessing resources vital to your health should not require you to put yourself in harm’s way or not know if your identity will be respected. So you couple all of these things and there can be true barriers for some folks, especially trans and queer, accessing masks they need for their personal welfare.
A friend of mine is a seamstress who is willing to make some masks to donate specifically to trans and queer folks so I set out to find a distribution point. There was none that I could find. So I approached Lyndsey Sickler of TransPride Pittsburgh and we decided to team up and create this distribution.
First, if you are a person who needs a mask (or masks for your household), you can complete a form to submit your request. This will help us assess need and try to find solutions. You can request a mask for each person in your household. We cannot guarantee style, material, size, etc. These are not medical grade masks. They are for the public.
Second, if you sell or distribute masks OR if you are willing to sew some for this particular need, we have another form for you to complete. It if absolutely fine if you are selling masks at a fair price and identify as a trans and queer affirming vendor. We have people who can afford to buy masks, but prefer to connect with a safe resource.
Finally, if you know someone who is willing to sew masks for others or someone who needs a mask, please share these links with them.
As we get a sense of the need and source solutions, we will share that information.
We will keep a running list of resources available here on this post.
Local Resources for Face Masks
List via New York Magazine
Very Local Pittsburgh Guide to Masks
This is a work in progress so please bear with us as we figure out the logistics.
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