By Mrs. Gege
My name is Mrs. GeGe, and I am a transgender activist and advocate. I am also the founder of the L.I.G.H.T. Coalition in Partnership with Hearts on A Wire (Outside Collective) in Philadelphia. We are side-by-side organizations dedicated to transgender folks and allies, who are in prison in PA or at risk of incarceration. We have roughly 400 members in PA.
The reason I am writing to you today is because we are trying to expand our reach and capacity. We would like to create two projects to open a house of operations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. These houses will be used for our day-to-day and for temporary housing for Trans Folk coming home from prison. I know these are long term goals and are challenging to achieve, but let me give you a layout of how I/we see this to be a success and how to get there.
The first thing we will be doing is getting the funding under wraps. Currently we are fiscally sponsored. We have been sponsored for over five years; however, I am getting all the paperwork together to get 501(c)(3) non-profit status. This will allow us to get more funding but more importantly we will be able to apply for government grants and ask for housing grants, and employment grants (assistance).
Currently, our funding covers our “Homecoming Grants” (which gives $250 to trans folk returning to the world), our newsletters (Hearts on A Wire), our prison chapters (Inside Collective) and a few other things. We wish to be able to do more.
I know it takes time to formulate all of this and there is a possibility of failure, but I have faith that this will work out just like when I started Light by myself in the hole and now five years later ….
Now is the time to start the groundwork. We need volunteers and organizations that (in Pittsburgh) can help achieve this. Just being there Is the biggest contribution. We will eventually need help like spreading the word, and advocating, and helping with research, etc.
When the funding and grants come in, we will need people to, one, find good locations for our house of operations and, two, people who are trustworthy to take care of the day-to-day for this Pittsburgh Chapter.
Check out heartsonawire.org. Thank you.
Mrs. Gege is a transgender activist and advocate in PA.
NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 5. July/August, 2020. All rights reserved.