Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Teach Your Children Well

Here's a letter from S. Bear Bergman, an award-winning performance artist, writer, and activist who travels around the country teaching about GLBTQ issues. (That's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer.) I respect Bear's work very highly, and this work is essential education for both straight and GLBTQ youth. It can help promote healing and self-acceptance and even prevent violence against those of us who are not exactly Ozzie and Harriet.

Bear says:

Often, the colleges and universities that don't allocate money for GLBTQ programming are those that need it the most. When queer and trans education or programs aren't a priority of the institution, it is a good indicator of a less-than-safe environment for queer and trans students. I had to decline seventeen requests last year from schools which had /no/ money to bring me in. I am happy to donate my time and do stuff for free, but I couldn't afford to travel at my own expense.

Here's where you come in.

I know you don't have wads of cash laying around, just waiting for something to do with it. But I am hoping that many of you have a little bit - in this case? $5 a month. That's all. My sponsoring non-profit** will let you set up, online, a donation which will automatically charge you five bucks, once a month, without you even having to think about it.

That money will then be available for me to travel to some of those underfunded schools and do queer and trans education on the ground, which I think will benefit *all* of us in the long run, even if it happens in Iowa, or North Dakota. I'm asking you to join me in an initiative to make this world a safer place for all of us, whatever our gender or sexual orientation. To send me places where I can help queer and trans youth feel less alone, and less afraid. To help make less hate, and more understanding.

Want to? Here's how:

Step 1: Go to my profile page.

Step 2: Click on the button that says "Support This Artist's Work"

Step 3: Click on the yellow "Donate Now!" button.

Step 4: Fill in the form. They key parts are:
- type in $5 (or more, if you like) for Donation Amount,
- click the button for monthly,
- and you *MUST* earmark it for me, by typing 'Bear' in the earmark box, or the money goes to the general fund.

And you're done. No muss, no fuss, no nasty aftertaste, just piping-hot queer and tranny educational goodness at a low, low price!

Got questions? Email me, and ask.

Want to forward this to people you think will help out? Go nuts.

Seriously? Thanks. If you're reading this, it means you're part of, or an ally to, my community. Even if you don't give a nickel in financial contribution, I'm really glad you exist.

Best regards-

* I tour around the country, performing (this) and lecturing about queer and trans issues. I talk to students, staff, and faculty all over the country - visiting classes, holding workshops, and giving performances - to help them understand queer and trans folks a little better, and make their schools safer for us. I really do believe that knowledge is the antidote to hate, and that has largely proved correct - the students at the schools I have visited overwhelmingly reported feeling safer, and better understood, after I went.

**I have just been granted artist support by the Fund For Women Artists, a national organization which sponsors artists whose work they feel has particular merit and will make a substantive contribution toward feminist causes, including anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia work.

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