The Gay Alliance is an AWESOME organization. And I'm not just saying that because they were crazy enough to let me be Chair of the Board. I'm saying it because of things like this: the day after the election when people in our community were scared and hopeless, the Alliance had a community gathering to help people work through their grief. It was there as it had been for decades before and every day since for the people of our community. As we face nationwide uncertainty, the Alliance is creating safe places and fighting for equality -- for everyone. We speak out against all forms of prejudice including racism, sexism, Islamaphobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, anti-semitism, and anti-immigrant sentiments. If you would like to learn more about our work, please read on after seeing what I'm willing to do to raise funds or this incredible organization.
TELL ME ABOUT THE MAKE-UP
The theme this year is Beauty and the Beast. So, if (I mean when!!) I can raise $1,200, I will bike with full make-up on. You know, like Belle. This is a big deal, people. Do you know the last time I wore ANY make-up? No? Well. It was a very long time ago, but we will get to that in a second.
If I can raise $1,700, I will show up in a dress. Yes, a DRESS. You heard that, right. I won’t be able to ride in it, but I’ll take pictures. With you if you’re there! I’ll send them on to you in your “thank you” email. Seriously. And I’ll do the ride wearing some feminine article to accompany my make-up. Do you know the last time I wore a DRESS? No? Well. It was a very long time ago.
I bet you’d like to see that, huh? Me in a real dress, in public and real make-up that I did (poorly) myself. Well. If I raise $2,000, you’ll get to see it because I will send you a picture of THE LAST TIME I WORE A DRESS along with my “thank you” email. Seriously. YOU’LL GET TO SEE IT. And if I somehow get more than $4,000, I will post that pic on social media, along with the ones of me in make-up and a dress for the Ride. From where I’m sitting, this is literally your only chance to see me in make-up (etc.).
The Work of the Gay Alliance
Okay, so here’s some information about the incredible agency you’ll be donating to: At the outset, I want to let you know about the hard work that our education program (headed up by two of the most dynamic and life-changing LGBTQ educators in the country: Jeannie Gainsburg and Rowan Collins) does every day to create a safe places both in NYS and nationwide for LGBTQ folks. Just about every week Jeannie and/or Rowan is out of the office (and many times outside of the Rochester area) providing LGBTQ-inclusive training programs to businesses and colleges. These trainings ensure a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ workers and students across the U.S. In 2016 alone, the Gay Alliance provided 275 trainings with over 10,000 participants – and received evaluations indicating that a whopping 98% of participants rated the presenters and presentation “very good” to “excellent.”
The Gay Alliance provides services to LGBTQ people in every stage of their lives. There is youth programming with its annual premier event, the Big Queer Prom – a prom for youth and allies ages 13-20. For many LGBTQ youth, this is their only real chance to be their authentic selves at a dance. For college folks, the Gay Alliance funds two scholarships and collaborates on CampusOut, which brings together LGBTQ students from the area colleges to network and find ways to engage in the larger LGBTQ community. For seniors, the Gay Alliance hosts a senior center and offers extensive programming for SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) Rochester. There are luncheons, outings, chair yoga sessions, dances, cooking classes, and movie nights – to name a few of the many activities. For folks of all ages, the Gay Alliance hosts ROC Pride, our annual Pride Celebration; InQueery adult education classes covering a variety of interesting topics; and Gallery Q, which exhibits art and artists supportive of LGBTQ identities. Also, the Gay Alliance has Rochester’s LGBTQ Resource Center which includes a cyber-center and the largest LGBTQ library on the east coast.
Colleen “I never thought I’d wear make-up again” Raimond