Vaginal Discourse

A few weeks back, I had a great idea premised on my having tons of time and energy. Whoooops! Anyhow, I thought it would be instructive to dedicate a page to documenting any and all known fundraisers tied to medical expenses. You know, it’d be something relaxing for my days off.

Just to underscore the odds of my actually making that happen, I’ve been recently overwhelmed with the number of personal tragedies in my neighborhood, in my life, and on the Internet. With that in mind, I wanted to draw your attention to a pair of worthy causes that caught my attention this week:

The Aliza Brain Trust

On Monday, July 25, 2011, Aliza Shapiro, the big brains behind Truth Serum Productions, was admitted to the hospital and is being treated for a stroke caused by a cerebral hemorrhage.

As a self-employed event producer, artist, and activist in the Boston music and queer arts communities for over 15 years, Aliza has neither employer benefits nor deep resources to support her during this rehabilitation time. Aliza’s Brain Trust is a way to help support her by raising money for her treatment and expenses during her recovery, as well as fostering the amazing community connections Aliza has created and is a vital part of.

Help a Financially Screwed Woman of Color with Mental Illness Survive for a Bit, a benefit for Tasha Fierce

My name is Tasha Fierce, and I’m a writer/blogger who is also a queer woman of color and who has bipolar I disorder. Right now I’ve been officially unemployed since I got laid off in May 2009 and was not/am not able to find a job. I’ve done writing for money, and odd jobs but now I’m symptomatic again and I CAN’T write OR work so I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do because my insurance premium is so high I’m having to get help from my mother who doesn’t really have the money to begin with. I have to have insurance or the cost of my medication would be even higher. I have no regular income, and when I do it’s in the $50 range, to last me 3 weeks. Our house is being foreclosed on, so I need money to move, of which I clearly have none. So if I don’t have money to move, I’m on the street in a couple months.

Anyway, that’s my sob story. Basically, if you donate you’ll be doing these things:

* helping me buy food/groceries
* helping me pay for medication/doctor bills etc.
* helping me save up to have an apartment to go to when foreclosure is done
* helping me get out of this hole so I can write again
* helping me pay for utilities etc.
* helping me be less anxious/depressed about money so I can write again

There’s probably more, but I can’t think of them right now. My organizational thinking is kind of impaired.

Any amount helps, and if you can’t donate, please spread the link so hopefully people who can will. Thank you so much for even reading/caring.

<3 Tasha Fierce

As I’m writing this, my partner and daughter are visiting my in-laws. My brother-in-law is awaiting more operations to deal with an ongoing medical disaster. He can’t get around like he used to, so my sweetie drove down to help watch the kids for a few weeks.

Meanwhile, my mother-in-law is still recovering from a stroke that sounds eerily similar to what Aliza Shapiro experienced. If the past three years are a guide, Aliza definitely needs all the love and support the Internet can spare.

Speaking of fundraising, I lost a friend and teammate this Monday. A bunch of us got together last night to talk about ways to support the family (including a newborn child) that she left behind. Fuck that’s difficult. On the one hand, I know that our work is going to help us heal. On the other, like I suspect Aliza’s friends, we’re trying to process a very personal tragedy, and money worries are an unwelcome distraction.

This brings me to Tasha’s fundraiser. As hard as it is for me to solicit donations for friends, A Cunt of One’s Own has been harder for me than I expected. In my experience, putting your business out there and asking friends and strangers for help is tough. In a just world, Tasha wouldn’t be having some of the struggles that she’s experiencing, let alone be forced to ask for her own social safety net.

I can certainly draw a little bit of hope from the proliferation of benefits around me. People are helping each other out, much as they always have. We form communities, and we take care of our friends as best we can.

That said, one of the things I want to accomplish in this space is to point out the absurd violence that our increasingly hypothetical safety net involves. We needs to take care of each other. Societies need to value the self-employed. Societies need to value artists. Societies need to value queer people. If they don’t, I’m not sure they qualify as “societies” under any definition I favor.

It’s cruel to force people to fight for their own survival, or that of friends. I mean, I don’t want to descend into dime store socialism, but if everyone gave a shit about each other, maybe we’d be able to use our creativity on something more constructive that ad hoc fundraising. It’s just a thought.

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