Thank You! You Gave $6,195!!

Faithify Funded noticeThe Guardian Group is very grateful to the many people who gave money to help LGBT refugees and asylum seekers settle in San Francisco.

You were very generous, and we promise to use the money wisely.

We set an ambitious goal of $5,000 at the urging of our Senior Minister, the Rev. John Buehrens. He said that members of our home Unitarian Universalist community, their friends, and other people of faith were sure to come through.

If we didn’t get $5,000 in pledges, we would get nothing.  That’s crazy, but we signed up for that!

And, you came through.  Thank you!

By the end of the campaign on the Fourth of July donors pledged $6,195. That’s 123.9% of our goal.

Thank you so much!

Why Say “Queer” ?

Mighty Queer T-shirt in HRC store windowWe received a polite question from a visitor asking why we used the term “queer” for the people we helped when historically that word has been used as a homophobic taunt.

We are not arbitrators of good taste or cultural terminology, but we’ve seen over the past years gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex… sexual minority… people have worked to reclaim the word “queer”. Younger people first started using it to describe their community, and it is preferred — or at least accepted — by most LGBTQI people now.

The danger in listing LGBT, LGBTI, LGBTQ, or whatever specific set of initials you choose is that you will inadvertently leave out a letter that someone will say is who they are. Using a generic term like “queer” finesses the problem of leaving someone out.

It’s likely that there are some LGBTIQ people from an older generation (like me) who still feel uncomfortable about the word “queer” because it was used against them. However, I hope that the general wide acceptance and the context we use the term in will make the most people possible feel included and respected.

I snapped this photo of the clothing for sale in the Castro Human Right’s Campaign window. They’re a pretty conservative LGBT rights organization, and even they are selling t-shirts for proud queers!

We Raise $5,000 or Get Nothing!

The Guardian Group has accepted a challenge to raise $5,000 by July 4th on the Unitarian Universalist crowdsourcing site, Faithify.

We need the money to continue to help LGBT refugees and asylum seekers settle in the San Francisco Bay Area.  When they first arrive we  buy our clients things like MUNI passes, cell service, and clothes for job interviews until they find a job and start supporting themselves. Refugees get $500/month for 8 months, but that does not cover their basic needs in high cost San Francisco

Asylum seekers are not allowed to work for six months, they get no government support, and cannot get routine medical care, unless they are San Francisco residents.

So the Guardian Group steps in and provides some basics when we can. Things like a bicycle helmet, emergency food money, and maybe a night at a hostel when a client’s boyfriend kicks him out without warning.

Recently we have been spending on average $4,500 for the client’s first year — that amount is more for asylum seekers and less for refugees.

We need help from beyond our mid-sized congregation if we are going to be able to continue to help newly arrived LGBT people in need.

To qualify for Faithify we have to agree that we either reach our goal, or our donors get their money back. So, it’s $5,000 or nothing!

Please help us help newcomers!  Click and Give on Faithify!

Thanks, Sisters

Pete and a Sister showing the donation check

Pete receives a big check from a Sister

 

The First Unitarian Universalist Society’s social justice volunteers who help LGBT refugees and asylum seekers settle in San Francisco were honored to receive a $1,000 check from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on Easter Sunday.

Thank you, Sisters.