And Then You Came For Me With Help and Support and Love

Content Note: mental health, childhood abuse, police encounter, 302 or civil commitment, anti-trans actions, support

support Sue Kerr crowdfund
Lilly has feelings about these turns of events.

Thank you for showing up for me during a really tough time.

How Your Support is Keeping Me Safe

With your help, I was able to pay the retainer for a great lawyer who has been helpful, kind, and pragmatic. It is going to be a long tangled road sorting out the various issues so the additional funds will help make sure I can keep my lawyer through the whole process.

I also bought a basic and simple mattress. My dear young nephew who graciously gave up his bed for me and slept on a floor mattress got ‘promoted’ to his brother’s room after brother moved to basement. So he’ll be needing his actual bed. When I return to my own home, I will need a new bed anyway as we only had one bed. Note that his big brother got his drivers license this week – yay – and has a truck so he can haul the mattress from this room to my sleeping space at my home. So this is a win/win.

Starting next week, I’m going to need to pay car fare to friends who help with my million appointments or for ride shares. Right now, I’m not able to get into a car with a stranger because I’m having flashbacks to the 302 experience of being handcuffed and secured inside a police car. It is a new layer of trauma that taps into some deep core trauma experiences in my childhood of being restrained by my abuser in a medical sort of setting, a memory that has always been fresh in my mind without any context. Its really fresh now.

That segue ways into another expense – my therapist has opted to see me three times weekly for the rest of the year so we can continue managing the current situation, but have time for the trauma processing work we do to address all of these new trauma experiences So that’s $33 a week in copays. My psychiatrist is seeing me weekly right now to manage my recovery from the negligent medical management that made me so sick and ensure my overall medication regimen reflects my new reality. That’s a $10-20 copay per visit.

I also have to go to PT for my back and that will require copays.

But in spite of all of that, the deep gnawing feeling of dread and fear about being able to survive, much less thrive, is a little less intense. I’m still scared as fuck, but just with less fuck I guess?

They are coming for me and you and everyone else. Right now. They came for Roe v Wade. They are coming for school curricula, healthcare, sports. They are taking our books but bringing more guns. They want to take down NYT v Sullivan and take down all the independent media sources calling them out.

They are coming for all of us and will gleefully trample trans neighbors, especially children, first because they understand how this toxic anti-trans violence works.

And that brings me to the blog. I decided to bring it back online. The tremendous response to my plea for help shows that you value this blog and you value me. I am at my best when I am blogging so I’m going to jump gently ease myself back into the swing of this.

I was quite serious about selling the blog (and the content and links) to finance my legal needs. I can’t let my rights be violated without standing up for myself, I can’t just curl up and die. I deserve the same support and encouragement I have offered other people over these 18+ years. And my blog is my sole asset as of now. Being on SSDI, it is unlikely I’ll own anything. No one is going to just give me a car or a stock portfolio.

The Other Legal Challenge I’m Facing From Anti-Trans Foes

Something I haven’t really delved into here is another legal matter – the neighbor whose anti-trans yard sign inspired the Protect Trans Kids projects has started a legal action accusing me, my blog, the City Paper, and four others of defamation. That was in June. I spent a lot of time on the phone talking with advocacy lawyers from national groups to local groups to understand defamation law – it is its own beast. Forget everything you thought you knew – even the lawyers in my life who were not specialists in defamation were surprised by some of the legal realities.

So I had to hire a defamation lawyer to represent me and my blog, make sure other private citizens in the case had representation, and plot out how we were going to pay for it. We will not use PTK donations, especially since Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities is not a defendant. It was going to require a private crowdfund much like the one my friend Melissa just organized. But that hasn’t happened yet.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to come up with a retainer. But if it proceeds, it won’t be cheap. A similaresque defamation suit targeting the Erie alt-paper has cost the defendants nearly $30k to do the things to request the case be thrown out. I met with one of the defendants when we were in Erie last month. He was honest and it wasn’t good.

The right wing hops on these small lawsuits that have any chance of silencing small media or independent voices. Anti-trans groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom would love to see this blog and this blogger rendered mute. Others want to see the 1964 NYT v Sullivan decision overthrown and will jump into any legal action that could possibly move that bar accomplish that goal.

So that has been weighing heavily on my mind since June, especially feeling responsible for making sure everyone had good representation for what is and remains a looming threat. If the goal was to erode my peace of mind, it worked. That’s why I went to my MH provider and asked for a bump in my anxiety meds to help me cope with all this entailed. And that led to the negligent medical management and so forth.

Between all of this, my Wikipedia page entry was hijacked, I have been targeted by vicious online attacks across social media impugning my character and motivations, I was tormented by equally vicious personal attacks on my identify, my mental health, and my history as a survivor of childhood abuse. Someone set up a Twitter account to harass me around the crowdfund. Even extended family members have disparaged and spread misinformation about me. And these people are not, to my knowledge, connected to one another, just united in their desire to shut me up and shut the blog down, I guess.

I’ve been through most of this before, you don’t blog for 18 years on a nationally prominent level without expecting the resistance. But it is a lot to happen all at once while I’m already struggling. Kicking anyone when they are down is not a good look.

Onee person whom I unfriended on social media and real life because of their transphobia thinks all of these bad things happening to me as ‘karma’ practically salivating at the prospect of my trauma.

So there’s this entire threat to my blog as a defendant in what could be a long, drawn-out lawsuit. Then these threats to my personage that impacts my blogging. Never did I expect to be involved in multiple lawsuits with multiple lawyers representing me. I’ve only hired two attorneys in my life, one to negotiate separation from an employer and to prepare basic life documents. Oh, I was in a personal injury case a long time ago. But none of these required retainers and multiple actions and this entire new level of engagement.

They Are Coming For All of Us Right Now

That’s a lot of stress to carry and now even worse to carry alone without family. One of my second cousins made a donation and sent me a note. I appreciate that.

And it is ample evidence of the corrosive and destructive effect of anti-trans politics in our entire society. The violence is like a poison moving through our society, reminiscent of the famous 1946 poem “First they came for …” as a reflection on personal responsibility and complicity. But it is also much deeper.

They are coming for me and you and everyone else. Right now. They came for Roe v Wade. They are coming for school curricula, healthcare, sports. They are taking our books but bringing more guns. They want to take down NYT v Sullivan and take down all the independent media sources calling them out.

They are coming for all of us and will gleefully trample trans neighbors, especially children, first because they understand how this toxic anti-trans violence works.

As a woman, a disabled person, a lesbian, a poor person … my ability to respond to the anti-trans attacks is also about my survival and beyond. It is not the same at all as a trans person experiences it – no one should every say that. And I know my detractors will leap on this to condemn me for ‘comparing’ my trauma to the trauma trans people experience. If they actually read this post and read my blog archive, they will realize that’s not the case. But I expect it nonetheless.

My story is an example of how standing with trans neighbors can lead to utter devastation. The solution is more people standing with trans neighbors, right?

I hope you’ll help me do that and/or feel good about the help you’ve already offered. My plan is to focus on taking care of myself – thus, more therapy and attention to my physical health, sleep, eating, socializing, and getting myself safely to myhome as soon as possible.

Note – donations to this crowdfund is financing my legal defense and getting reestablished expenses. It will keep my blog going, it will keep me going. This is not a charitable donation, it is a compassion donation to a private individual. And I hope it will not stop you from actively supporting trans organizations. We can all do both. We must do both.

How to Help Now

I’ve interviewed hundreds of elected officials and candidates, hundreds more artists and performers and creators, in addition to hundreds of LGBTQ people directly. If 10% of them donated, that would be fantastic. If even just one of the influencer level people shared, it would have an impact. A huge impact. A humbling impact.

It will ensure that there will be someone left to speak for all of us.

You can donate via GoFundMe


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