(Bonus pic of a very adorable baby Lee)
After graduating from Mills College, Lee started their own carpentry business, which expanded into an all around handy-butch service called Queer Collar Carpentry. QCC offers services ranging from small home repairs to paint jobs and moving gigs, and from custom furniture to accessibility modifications, all at prices that our financially-strapped queer and trans community can afford. As challenging as it is to be self-employed, Lee has made it work with love, humor, and a healthy dose of manual labor.
But in spite of their positive outlook and drive to succeed as a small business owner, our friend Lee has not had an easy time.
Lee’s house burned to the ground in October of 2014, resulting in the loss of their pets and almost all of their worldly possessions, with the exception of their truck, Mimi, and a pair of black boots.
They picked up the pieces and started over in a sweet home in East Oakland. Lee fought to hold it together, but traumatized by the events that preceded their move and already coping with a history of mental illness, Lee began to rely on alcohol. Things spiraled out of control, and Lee’s relationship and housing situation came to an end. Lee went to rehab, took a long break to work on themself, found new housing, connected with an incredible network of tradeswomen, and once again picked up the pieces to start over, studying to be an electrician’s apprentice while working a trucking job in San Bruno, all the while doing projects for Queer Collar on the weekends.
Lee has started to feel safer and their health has begun to improve. But life, being the way it is, had more lemons to offer. Lee’s truck, a crucial piece of their small business and their last tie to their life before the fire, has taken a turn for the worst. The truck is salvageable, but it would cost over $10,000 to fix. After much discussion and strategizing, Lee has decided that a replacement truck would be a worthwhile investment.
We are seeking to raise $10,315. The cost breakdown is as follows:
$7,500 -- A used 2004 Chevrolet Silverado with only 52k miles on it (Aldandan Autos, Sacramento)
$982 -- taxes and CA registration fees
$1833 -- a year's insurance in case of accidents, more broken car mayhem, etc.
Perhaps you are asking yourself-- isn't that a steep goal? In a way, yes. If we can't make the $10,315 goal, we can still get at least halfway there ($5000), and buy Lee an older model truck with higher mileage. If we can get 75% of the way there ($7500) we can cover the car and Lee can strive to pay the remaining fees and insurance out of pocket.
But we should still dream big. With the strength of Lee's community and friends behind them, anything is possible.
In exchange for your generous donation, you may choose to accept a gift of Lee’s labor (must be local to the Bay Area.) The work IOUs will be tracked in a spreadsheet and be redeemable for up to a year from the close of this fundraiser. Anything raised over the requested amount of $10,315 will be used to pay GoFundMe's 5% fee, and anything above that will be donated to Lyon Martin Health Services, a community clinic for women (cisgender and transgender), trans men, and non-binary individuals in San Francisco.
In short, we have a chance to make a difference, to offer real, tangible support to a dear friend who struggles to ask for it. If you can’t donate, you can still help by sharing this fundraiser with your friends and loved ones. Thank you for your support!
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