Reasons to support saving this blog
Political Q&A’s – for six years, I’ve interviewed a who’s who of regional politicos, from a US Senator to behind the scenes folx who make the campaign magic happen. I’ve brought to light countless out LGBTQ elected officials and asked tough, but fair questions.
Memorial Post for Trans Neighbors – In 2013, a friend in Cleveland asked me to write a ‘decent post’ about a trans woman who had been brutally murdered and then exploited in the media. I did and then kept going. I’ve written 280 memorials plus additional posts on other folx who have died but not necessarily due to violence. Recently, I’ve begun to write about LGBTQ folx whose remains are unclaimed.
Reviews – we review plays, musicals, movies, coffee machines, clothing, etc. We consider environmental impact, accessibility, parking, comfort of the seating, and much more you don’t get in a traditional review.
Our #AMPLIFY archive includes 318 first person narratives from LGBTQ folx with ties to Western Pennsylvania. This is a treasure trove stretching from someone’s dawning awareness of their sexual orientation during the Kennedy Administration to those who had recently turned 18 during the project years of 2015-2018. Many people who read it describe themselves falling into a rabbit hole, moving from one post to another.
Our focus on racial justice includes posts about direction actions and events, tributes to fallen neighbors, stories about billboards mainstream media didn’t touch, and first person guest posts on everything from queer history to the history of pandemics.
We’ve been regular critics of the media, a necessary check on an unruly fourth estate.
We regularly examine environmental issues from fracking to urban wildlife and even famous cousins.
Finally, there’s my annual write-up of Toys for Tots distributions in Western Pennsylvania. That’s a series I write because as a social worker, I know how hard it can be to get the information. I was often on the receiving end of desperate calls in early December, when typical people think about gifts but poverty programs have long since closed.
I have not monetized my blog. I do have some ads that generate about $25/month. I don’t accept paid posts. The foundation communities don’t prioritize random lesbian bloggers. I set up donation tools, but don’t do a great job promoting them.
But monetize I must. Recent events have made it clear that this blog is my only asset, it remains the one thing I could leverage for much needed revenue – and I’ve had to hire six lawyers since June. Two for defamation, one family lawyer, one civil rights lawyers, and two other lawyers. Lawyers I need. But the prospect of selling this blog is both personally wrenching and a loss to the community. 18 years of archives.
So there are two things to do.
First, we must stabilize the blog itself so it is preserved. I crunched the numbers and I spend about $2000 annually to develop and maintain the blog. Most of that comes out of my pocket. That’s the minimum needed to keep the blog adrift. To prepare it for formal archiving will require multiple elements – recoding the entire site (it is a hodgepodge of 18 years of assorted webmasters); updating all images with proper descriptions; revising the content categories and tags, and generally working with a queer archivist. That’s going to be in the range of $20-30k. One thing at a time.
Second, we must stabilize me. I need to secure donations to pay for the lawyers. It is a simple as that. I rely on SSDI for income, about $1200 a month. All of the work I do here and on my community projects is unpaid. I spend about 20 hours each week researching, writing, and sharing posts. A Q&A takes me 2-3 hours to compose and another hour to prepare for publication. The memorial posts are 4-5 hours to research and compose. Sometimes it can take hours to find a photo. Sometimes I spend an hour on the phone talking with the family and friends, connecting them to community groups. If I have a tip for cities like Chicago, New York City, or Los Angeles, I spent dozens of hours scouring newspapers for the simplest lead. It takes me a few hours each week to promote fresh and evergreen content.
I don’t know what is in store for me, but I am really counting on blogging to be part of that future. I can’t let myself think too far ahead right now. Right now, I need to focus on stabilizing.
How to #SaveTheBlog
For 18+ years, snowflakes, social justice warriors, and the politically correct have built this blog. Follow us on Twitter @Pghlesbian24
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