Supported communities: Primary- Gays, Male sex workers, Queers, Non-Binary folx. Secondary- Lesbians, Trans/female sex workers, Transpersons.
Persons fundraising: Sadam: an LGBTQI activist in Manipur but coordinating for all North-Eastern states, Esthappen: a queer playwright in Bengaluru, Daniel: a theatre professor in Mumbai, Kelvin: a banking professional in Mumbai, Vidur: a performance artist in Delhi, Hitha: an educationalist in Bengaluru.
Why: Livelihood and income loss due to the covid pandemic.
How do we support: Bank/google pay/paytm transfers. In one of the cases, we sent cash using swiggy delivery because the person did not have a bank account/google pay etc.
Where will we help people: Primary- North eastern states, Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi. Secondary- Other states.
A bunch of us changed our profile names on dating apps like tinder and grindr to 'need food etc. please write to us' and started supporting people who wrote in with small donations ranging from Rs. 500-1000. The policy was 'support without questioning their need' because we find ourselves in no position to judge whether the people who ask for help 'really need it'. The process was simple. We asked people who wrote to us on grindr/tinder for their bank account details/google pay numbers and made money transfers without enquiring too much about their lives.
Among the people who approached us were male sex workers, young queer folx who had suffered livelihood loss due to the covid crisis. These persons were left out from government schemes, organized efforts by LGBTQI NGOs due to lack of access, official papers, information and the fact that 'they preferred to keep their identities/profession/situation/suffering private'. However, when they saw that support was available easily on grindr/tinder (a platform familiar to them and by just sending one message), they wrote in with their needs. A lot of them had not been able to buy food and essential supplies ever since the lockdown was enforced while many others required money to pay rents, PG accommodation fee etc.
Soon, we ran out of funds but the requests keep pouring in.
So now we are conducting this fundraiser requesting persons from the communities and allies to donate to our fundraiser and support the vulnerable people who write to us.
Our relief distribution mechanism will remain the same. We are using dating apps to reach out to people who are left out from other organized efforts. We do not ask people why they need the money. We trust them when they say they do.
We will, however, provide a screenshot of all the transfers made without revealing the identities of the persons we support through this fundraiser. Persons donating can look us up on Facebook/Instagram to assess whether 'we the people raising funds' are genuine or not.
For any queries, please email email@example.com or write to me on facebook/instagram: @esthappen90s
Note: We do not discriminate among people who ask us for support. And while the fundraiser doesn't focus on transpersons and female/trans sex workers (because there are other better organized efforts being carried out for them), if they approach us for support, we will honour the request as we would in other cases.