On Building Queer Community Amid a Housing Crisis
Housing should be considered a human right
2022 marks my 30th year as a being drag queen; a philanthropist;a civil rights activist; a community leader; and a mom to many in San Francisco (and elsewhere in the country). Each of these roles I take seriously—all of which is made easier because of my undeniable beauty.
To date, my community of friends, family, and supporters has helped me raise over $1 million for local charities by supporting events that I have organized over the years. (Among them have been GBLT Historical Society & Archives, Our Trans Youth, Queer LifeSpace, Transgender Law Center, and more.) It’s a feeling of gratitude
Each year in June, I plan my annual Pride Party and choose a local nonprofit organization as its beneficiary. This year I’ve named Q Foundation — they are a San Francisco-based nonprofit that’s building a community where all people have a safe place to live.
Over the past 18 years, Q Foundation has had some amazing accomplishments for our community including:
- co-founding the first LGBTQ+-focused adult shelter, Jazzie’s Place, which was named after Jazzie Collins — a Tenderloin-based African-American Transgender housing advocate,
- spearheading the creation of Marty’s Place — the only tenant housing co-op run by and for people with HIV/AIDS,
- catalyzed the creation of the LGBQI+ and Transcultural districts in the Tenderloin, SOMA, and Castro,
- And becoming the primary rental subsidy provider for the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.
One of the most exciting moments I’ve seen happen in recent memory is when they persuaded the owner of 324 Larkin Street to restore the name of the building to the Gilbert Baker Rainbow Flag Apartments and to start flying the rainbow flag there again — 10 years after it was taken down by a previous owner. Sometimes symbolic victories have meaning. The visible claiming of the Tenderloin as queer space has been so important for me over the past three decades.
With the donations raised through this year’s Juanita MORE! Pride 2022 party, Q Foundation will use those contributions to continue their important work throughout San Francisco and spearhead the following new initiatives:
JUANITA ARMS APARTMENTS
- Q Foundation has gone through the internal process to position itself to start acquiring residential real estate this year and has over $1M for the down payment. Their attorneys are creating a socially responsible real estate investment fund to work in tandem with their affordable efforts. This is one of the most logical ways to secure stable housing in cities where gentrification tends to proliferate.
MORE! HOUSING APP
- Q Foundation is building the Grindr of finding roommates inspired by my groundbreaking Facebook group Juanita’s List. In addition to finding roommates, there will be a focus on reducing one of the main points of friction between roommates: paying the bills. A main point of distinction will be their ability to include novel ways to access rent help when a roommate is short on the rent.
Across the United States, people still dream of leaving home to follow the rainbow that glows over San Francisco. However, the cost of living is so high that it’s becoming more and more difficult to survive here without community support. People flee rejection from their families, unsupportive schools, and communities due to homophobia and transphobia. Many of them are arriving here without employment, housing, and/or a support network. They also face incredible hardship finding affordable housing, culminating in the city’s homelessness crisis but with your help, we can begin to end this cycle.
Please join me in supporting Q Foundation’s amazing work throughout our beloved city. I look forward to all we can accomplish with this year’s Pride Party — which remains one of the largest non-profit events hosted on Pride weekend that supports some of San Francisco’s most impactful organizations.
Please contact me directly at email@example.com if you would like to become a sponsor.