For startups, non-profits, and numerous socially driven initiatives, crowdfunding has shown itself to be an important mode of raising money. But does crowdfunding work equally across race and gender lines?
Taking up the issue of the lack of funding interest towards campaigns run by trans people of color, transgender activist Janet Mock writes on her blog, "I see numerous indiegogo campaigns from folks - operating in the world with varying levels of privileges - who raise money quickly and even have extra to throw a party.
The irony of the fact that those most in need in our community are least likely to ask for help and when they do they are met with silence is appalling.
We must all do better."
Indeed, we must ALL do better.
In an effort to bring recognition to important projects that will benefit the transgender community, here are four crowdfunding campaigns led by black trans activists that could use your support.
Artist and entrepreneur, KOKUMO, is raising $10,000 for the 2nd Annual T.G.I.F. rally, which is ia yearly gathering held to address the current state of affairs regarding the international TGI community. This years rally will address: "the blatant genocide of black transfeminine youth, and the intentional exclusion of the TGI agenda in the fight for 'Marriage Equality.' T.G.I.F. 2013 poses this question: Now that we are proud of who we are, how can we make it so that forthcoming TGI generations don't have to face what we do?" KOKUMO's indiegogo campaign can be found here: T.G.I.F Rally
Advocate and author, Ja'briel Walthour, is raising $50,000 for her gender affirming surgery as well as funding to complete a children's book and resource guide. Ja'briel was named one of the "Ten Leaders Building a New LGBT Politics in the South and Midwest", was included on the inaugural "Trans 100" list and will have work included in the upcoming transgender resource guide, "Trans Bodies, Trans Selves." Ms. Walthour's written work has also been featured on Ebony.com, Elixher.com, and GLAAD's blog. Her indiegogo campaign can be found here: A Journey with Ja'briel: Raising Funds for Transgender Surgery
Trans man poet, filmmaker and founder of the Philly Trans* March, Christian Axavier Lovehall, is raising $1,300 for his gender affirming surgery. According to Lovehall, the successful completion of his campaign will, "greatly improve my mental and emotional health and wellness. Most days, I find myself often drowning in depression, due to my gender dysphoria while being pre-op. This extremely impedes my everyday routine, even making it difficut to complete the most simple tasks like getting out of bed, showering comfortably, getting dressed, and making appointments on time." You can help make a radical change in Mr. Lovehall's life by checking out his campaign here: Free Christian!
Finally, I'd like to introduce you to my own campaign to host the first ever hackathon for transgender empowerment to be held in Oakland, Ca this September.
Research shows that transgender people are unemployed at 2x the national rate-4x for transgender people of color; have incomes of less than $10,00 a year; experience homelessness at 2x the rate of non-trans people; and suffer overwhelming discrimination when it comes to accessing adequate healthcare and legal services. This problem not only affects transgender adults but trans and gender nonconforming youth as well. A necessary step in addressing anti-transgender bias is to create technology that socially empowers transgender individuals. Imagine if there existed a mobile phone app that helps individuals find trans friendly doctors or an app that profiles safe space job opportunities for trans people across the country? Trans*H4CK is a space in which to turn these possibilities into reality. Check out the campaign here: Hackathon for Transgender Empowerment
Consider these campaigns and share them widely.
Black trans activists are doing the necessary work to make our community stronger, wiser, and healthier. Let's support them so they can continue to support us.