Crowdfunding for the Incarcerated LGBT Community
Social media does a great job of shining a spotlight on demographics that need support, but as trans 20-somethings Grace Dunham, Blaine O’Neill, and Rye Skelton discovered, a demographic has a human face and all too often, the criminal justice system discriminates against members of the trans community who end up in trouble. That’s when they came up with the idea of a crowdfunding campaign for Support.fm, which will serve as a secure and efficient tool for people from the LGBT community who need to raise money for bail, bond, or commissary.
How Crowdfunding Can Help the Incarcerated LGBT Community
Since the launch of the crowdfunding campaign, the trio has raised $7,000 toward their $50,000 goal. The funds raised will provide various levels of help for incarcerated transgender people by helping with legal fees and costs for any LGBT person who is engaged in a battle with criminalization.
By allying Support.fm with other U.S. organizations that are advocates against the criminalization of LGBT people of color, the campaign is part of a coalition of care for people who have long needed support. The funds raised by Support.fm will also be used to create the website for the cause. Blaine and Rye are both computer programmers and they realize that a goal of $50,000 is an extremely modest estimate of the amount of money that can be used to adequately compensate a team of developers to build the website in six months.
The Obstacles Faced by the Incarcerated LGBT Community
There’s no use in minimizing the obstacles faced by people who are trans, Grace acknowledges.
“Lack of access to housing, lack of access to employment, how to get money when you can’t get a job because of gender dysphoria and employment discrimination” are all issues they face. Because of her experience as a transgender advocate, Grace and her team recognized the urgent need to provide funding for the trans people who are stuck in the criminal justice system. Although statistics prove that the incarceration rate for poor people of color is disproportionate to the overall population, the failure of mainstream LGBT activism has shown that what advances have been made in terms of government protection, increased visibility, and greater inclusion have benefitted white people.
Grace recalls seeing countless examples of a campaign to get a person out of jail, provide help with legal costs, or bail someone out of detention, but then the campaign would shut down, and the money was gone. When she and her friends reached out to the activist network to find a secure crowdfunding platform for bail, they learned that what they suspected was true. There weren’t any.
The Purpose of the LGBT Crowdfunding Campaign
The project aims to introduce grassroots organizations to the people who have access to resources. Grace refers to an anonymous, high-profile donor who had never donated to a cause like this before, but made what she calls “an incredibly generous” contribution. She believes that there are other people who may never before have supported the efforts against anti-criminalization or prison abolition before, but are moved to do so now. Support.fm wants to build long-term relationships with its donors because the ultimate purpose is to create new channels for economic redistribution.
Other Advocates for the Incarcerated LGBT Community
Support.fm chose not to open to the public to launch individual campaigns. Instead, they’ll work with other groups to set up their own campaigns to which individuals can donate. The other groups include Familia PQLM, Trans Queer Pueblo, and Black and Pink, a support network for incarcerated LGBTQ people and people with AIDS. The launch of the campaign has been successful in attracting the attention of other organizations in the United States.
You may support this cause by visiting their crowdfunding campaign page now.