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.

$2,175 Raised in First Crowdfunding Campaign

Flowers in front of a Flaming Chalice with "$2,175! Thank You!" textThank you!

We are very grateful for people who clicked and donated yesterday to the Guardian Group’s first attempt to raise money through crowdfunding. Our GiveOUT page shows a total of $2,175 has been donated to help LGBT refugees, asylum seekers, and asylees.

We appreciate the Horizon Foundation’s offer to let us participate in the nationwide GiveOUT Day. During the 24 hours of this campaign our supporters shared our posts, retweeted, and donated.

The is the Guardian Group’s first experience asking for money through social media. It worked! We will be back… but, not too often. Our next fundraising will include online donations, but it will focus on people of faith and, specifically, Unitarian Universalists. Not so many general Tweets and Facebook posts!

The money raised will allow us to continue to help LGBT newcomers settle in the Bay Area. The funds will go to things like bicycle repairs, bus passes, cell phone service, and some emergency housing support.

San Francisco is very expensive. The money we received will help us help vulnerable people get a start creating a new, free life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!