Hello, Bet Power here. Thank you so much to everyone who donated to the first GoFundMe campaign to Save the Archives House! We reached our goal of $10,000 in just 28 days! People have touched me, encouraged me, and given me hope that we can do this! We can Save the SMA. Together, let's continue raising the funds needed to purchase the home of the Sexual Minorities Archives (SMA). This will be a LGBTQ and allies community victory!
The Sexual Minorities Archives, a national collection of LGBTQ literature, history, and art, is also my home. The SMA, now in its 40th year, is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ archives in the United States. This house, where I and the SMA have lived for 31 years, is now up for sale and I cannot myself afford to buy it. The Archives House is home to nearly 10,000 books, over 900 periodicals sets, comprehensive subject file materials on LGBTQ life, multi-media, art works, and rare LGBTQ historic materials. Each year, 300 to 500 people visit the SMA to browse, conduct research, volunteer their time, work as student interns, or attend support group meetings.
The SMA is a LGBTQ community-built, community-directed, and community-managed archive. I am reaching out to the community to help me purchase the Archives House for us all.
I am a 64-year old, disabled, transgender man; a queer historian and an activist archivist. As far as I know, I am the only trans man who is curating and directing a U.S. national queer archive.
For all of my adult life, I worked full-time as a marketing communications executive. I did this – commuting 100 miles to Boston and back every day – to bring my paycheck home to support the SMA.
But seven years ago, I became medically disabled with a rare, life-threatening vasculitis disease called Granulomatosis With Poly Angiitis (GPA). There is no known cause and no known cure, only chemotherapy every 4 months and surgery every 6 months, indefinitely, to keep my lungs functioning and my airway open. The disease dangerously narrowed my trachea and I lost hearing in my left ear entirely. Recently, treatment began to work and the disease is in remission. However, the onset of the illness and its numerous medical appointments, hospitalizations, and demanding treatment, ended my career of 30 years. Today, I survive on SSDI as my only source of income.
It’s not a lot of money each month, and that is an understatement.
I am working with an economic justice organization to get a mortgage, which I otherwise could not get, as someone who survives on Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). The Neighborhood Association Corporation of America (NACA) is a HUD-backed, in-the-streets and in-the-suites activist organization that is advocating with a lender for me to get a mortgage. For 25 years, NACA has stood up to the big banks, protested against their lucrative sub-prime mortgage schemes, resisted evictions of working-class people of color and poor whites, and won the right to buy a home and stay in our homes for countless people. Check them out at www.naca.com.
I have qualified for a NACA Mortgage; however, I need to reach my second campaign's goal of $20,000 to make sure that I can buy a new home for the SMA and to help with my legal expenses.
That is because, after 31 years of being a model tenant who pays rent on time every month while also paying for repairs to the house myself, on October 30 I was served a no-fault eviction notice. In the face of an eviction, I am fighting for both time and money from the landlord so that the Sexual Minorities Archives will be able to relocate to a new house and continue to be open and its collections accessible to the public!
For full information, please read my statement, "Bet Power and the Sexual Minorities Archives Face Eviction," dated November 6 in its entirety, posted elsewhere on this site.
Please help me to save the SMA and LGBT History! This is my life’s work. Please help me secure the location for this important national LGBTQ archives and for our community. I do it all for you!
Please give, and spread the word to everyone you know! We can do this. We can save the SMA and LGBT History!
Thank you so much.
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