By Cha-Cha Connor
The Transfabulous Brunch and Art Auction, a benefit for the Worcester Transgender Emergency Fund held Sunday January 25, was a huge success! Organizers want to thank everyone who attended, our contributing artists, and our hosts, 86 Winter American Bistro on Water Street.
According to founder Jesse Pack, Prevention and Education Director at AIDS Project Worcester, the fund “responds to the needs of transgender people living in Massachusetts by providing immediate, short-term financial assistance to help low-income transgender people with basic human needs.” The hope is that by providing immediate assistance, the fund can help people who are transgender and homeless, while at the same time preventing some transgender people in Central Massachusetts from becoming homeless in the first place.
Because there is no anti-discrimination protection for transgender people under federal or Massachusetts state law, transgender people who are homeless can be legally prevented from accessing gender-appropriate shelters or shelter services. In Worcester, there have been cases of shelters refusing to accept a transgender client.
The event organizers were very pleased with the turnout – almost 50 community members attended, and others donated their artwork to be part of the auction. Pack said that he was impressed with turnout and the support that the fund received, commenting that “the Worcester [LGBTQ] community definitely puts its money where its mouth is.” Members of the Worcester chapter of Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, the Worcester Pride Association, and community and neighborhood leaders attended in support of Worcester’s transgender community.
The Transgender Emergency Fund is fiscally sponsored by AIDS Project Worcester, a local HIV/AIDS community based organization. Fundraisers work on a volunteer basis and the fund has extremely low overhead costs, such that all money raised is able to go to help very low-income or homeless transgender people in need.