FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2020
LGBTQ community leaders are taking action to reduce the harm to some of the most financially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have created the SF Bay Area Queer Nightlife Fund designed to help those whose primary income is derived from Bay Area nightlife.
The recent closure of LGBTQ nightlife venues and community spaces in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has a major financial impact on LGBTQ servers, entertainers, artists, and contractors, many of whom are already struggling. Statistically speaking, the LGBTQ population faces a number of financial challenges.
One-in-five LGBTQ people in urban areas, like the San Francisco Bay Area, live in poverty, according to research by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. Trans people are 4x more likely to make less than $10,000 a year than the general population (15% vs. 4%), according to a study by the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Income inequality contributes to income & savings gaps for LGBTQ households. LGBTQ consumers are less likely to contribute to an emergency savings (49% vs. 55%), set savings goals (42% vs. 62%), or have a credit card (33% vs. 23%), according to polling data produced by Morning Consult and WNYC. Inability to afford medical bills and other unforeseen costs incurred during emergencies like this can contribute to cycles of poverty.
Leaders are taking action to protect economically vulnerable LGBTQ workers at this time of need.
Juanita More, a local community activist and leader, and member of the SF Bay Area Queer Nightlife Fund steering committee has issued a statement calling her community to action: “We need to band together as a community to help support our friends who work in nightlife, now more than ever. With COVID-19 just starting to affect our City, the newly instated quarantine is going to rapidly change the lives of those who help make the magic happen, night after night. The SF Queer Nightlife Fund will secure their stability now and until this pandemic is over.”
Race Bannon, author and leather-community icon, and SF QNF steering-committee member has said of the effort: “Queer nightlife is a renowned and integral aspect of San Francisco Bay Area culture. The people who produce and staff local queer nightlife have been financially devastated by the venue closures resulting from the coronavirus crisis. Funds raised by the San Francisco Bay Area Queer Nightlife Fund will help these people stay housed, eat and pay vital bills. The Bay Area is known worldwide as a center for amazing queer nightlife. Let’s keep that nightlife alive by lending a helping hand to those who need our help in these trying times.”
Cleve Jones, activist and author, said “All of us who still have jobs can support those who don’t. We must all support our friends and neighbors as we face this new challenge to our community and our nation. We’ve been to this rodeo before and we know what to do.”
San Francisco Bay Area Queer Nightlight Fund’s statement of purpose is as follows:
Nightlife is central to the Bay Area’s queer culture. Those whose primary source of income is in nightlife are currently experiencing economic insecurity as a result of bar closures and event cancellations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this fund is to provide financial relief to workers in the nightlife industry for as long as the current crisis continues.
Individual community members and companies with means to contribute can take action by donating to the fund at www.sfqueernightlifefund.org/donate.
Individuals seeking support may submit an application for a grant of funds from the SF Queer Nightlife Fund online at https://sfqueernightlifefund.org/sf-qnf-application/.
Organizations or large donors interested in giving a large gift of more than $2,000.00, to the San Francisco Queer Nightlife Fund can contact the SF Queer Nightlife Fund organizers at https://sfqueernightlifefund.org/philanthropic-corporate-gifts/.
The SF Bay Area Queer Nightlife fund is partnering with the Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research, a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, to collect, manage, and disburse donations.
The San Francisco Bay Area Queer Nightlife Fund Steering Committee Members include: Race Bannon, Writer/Activist; Angel Garfold, President, SF Bay Area Leather Alliance; Phil Hammack, Producer, Fog City Pack; Juanita More, Activist, juanitamore.com; Mark O’Brien, Producer, Polyglamorous; Just Shannon, Co-Owner, Jolene’s Bar; Spencer Watson, Executive Director, Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research; Joe Weidman, DJ, DAD | SF.