Dear Out in the Open community,
We know you don’t need an email from us to tell you how hard things have been lately. We’re coping with life during a pandemic that hasn’t resolved. Many of us are struggling with isolation, the oppressions of white supremacy, systemic racism and State brutality, housing and food insecurity, trans-and homophobic social media messages, seemingly impossible parenting decisions, seasonal and hormonal challenges, and more.
While honoring the realness of the struggle, we want to take a moment to express deep gratitude for each of you, and for the strength, wisdom and generosity of our communities. As rural LGBTQ folks, we inherit a tradition of radical people making radical change. We continue honoring their legacies while building toward our collective liberation through this movement moment and beyond. As HB told us back in April, “The only way through this, is through this together.” We’ve been doing it, folks! And we’re not stopping now.
This month, we’re celebrating our community successes, expressing our love and appreciation, and inviting you to keep collaborating for all that's still on the horizon.
Mutual Aid Fund Success!Wow. Over the past two months, you donated, requested funds, boosted the signal and made it happen! Through our QTBIPOC/LGBTQ+ Mutual Aid Fund we have been able to redistribute $19,614 to our community members in so-called Southern Vermont, Southwestern NH, and rural New England. All of the money received from your donations to the Mutual Aid Fund were distributed to QTBIPOC/LGBTQ folks who were financially impacted by COVID-19. We have paused requests for funding for the time being while we replenish the fund and review our capacity to continue administering the Fund.
Our beloved monthly sustainers and Movement Building Fund supporters also contributed to this success -- your contributions allowed us to make up the difference- ensuring that everyone who requested funds received funds.
Here are some numbers (mostly because Ain was excited to make an infographic for you!):
We also know that what we do together can't be measured in numbers. It’s messy and powerful. It’s emotional, individual, and collective. It looks like a slow burn—maybe even invisible to those outside our communities—until it erupts into protests and policy changes, art and song, love affairs and revolution.
We see, appreciate, and rely on folks sharing financial resources to fund our work and survival needs. At the same time, our work together is about so much more than money. We are deeply grateful for all of the ways our wonderful LGBTQ community engages with this work.
More great ways to engage this month:
Sign up for the Rural QTBIPOC Binder Give-A-Way! We are partnering with our friends at Shapeshifters to give away custom binders for our rural QTBIPOC community members nationwide. Entries will be chosen at random through the rest of the year.
Request a “back-to-school” care-package! This next round of care-packages is for rural LGBTQ parents and parents of LGBTQ youth (items to be sent are for 2-16~ year olds). There are a limited number available. Please request one, and we’ll do our best to send you one!
Get involved with the Rural Queer Community Care Network!
--> Join the care-network phone-tree
--> Ask for and offer material supports for folks in Southern VT.
--> Donate to the Rural QTBIPOC/LGBTQ+ Mutual Aid Fund
Send your submissions to our We Feed Each Other: Rural LGBTQ Food Traditions Zine! Food supports and nourishes our movements for social change. Share your rural LGBTQ food stories, memories and recipes!
Attend a virtual group or drop-in space! We may be physically away from each other right now, but there are many ways to stay connected to rural LGBTQ community at this time. Full calendar of ongoing offerings here.
Even while physically apart, know that we are here appreciating and holding space for one another.
Let’s keep going in the spirit of mutual aid.
Ask for what you need.
Share what you have.
And keep organizing together for our collective liberation.
With solidarity and gratitude,
HB & Out in the Open