Help Queer Newlyweds Escape Ohio & Start Fresh

Hi there, I’m Kat. I’ve started this fundraiser on behalf of myself and my wife, Blue; we are a disabled, queer couple currently living in Columbus, Ohio. We recently married in a small ceremony on November 12th, 2022 — one of the happiest days of both our lives. We’ve both had a lot of struggles and setbacks thus far in our journeys, but now that we’ve found each other, we are seeking the support of our communities in starting fresh. Thank you for taking the time to read our story.

Both of us have a long history of financial difficulties. Personally, I’ve spent most of my working life earning significantly less than $16/hour—which isn’t even a living wage. And since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 17, much of my late teens and 20s has been spent suffering through debilitating flares, which have caused multiple lesions on my brain and spinal cord, and severely affected my sense of balance as well as the functioning of my right arm and hand. The treatments are expensive, and it took me nearly 8 years to find a medication that would successfully stop the flares. There is no doubt in my mind that I would be in a better place in my career—and my education—if it weren’t for MS.

As for Blue, they fled their abusive home while still in high school. As a vulnerable young person, they found themself in multiple consecutive abusive relationships, some of which lasted years. During this period of their life, they were earning significantly less than $16/hour. When they finally escaped their abusers, they went deep into debt in order to survive. In their mid-20s, Blue was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain, and autoimmune hypothyroidism, which affects nearly every part of the body, and causes extreme fatigue. Despite all this, Blue has continued to work to support themself, and in 2021, they became their younger sibling’s sole financial supporter as well.

In March 2020, Blue’s adult sibling, Divi, was infected with covid, and since then the symptoms they have been experiencing have robbed them of their ability to work for a living. Before catching covid, Divi was very independent; they worked in a veterinary clinic, then at a domestic violence shelter, and they were able to do most things on their own. Now it takes nearly all their energy to do something like prepare a meal for themself. Before catching covid, Divi had dreams of getting their Bachelor's, maybe even their Master's, but due to their symptoms, they recently had to drop out of college. In addition to needing help with most daily household tasks, Divi relies on Blue for financial support until Divi is able to obtain federal assistance (a long and arduous process).

There is so much more I could say, but these are some of the big reasons why our financial situation is currently so desperate. For some reason the universe decided we needed to play life on hard mode! This is why we are asking our communities to help us start fresh—to be able to start our new life together in a much better place than we otherwise would have.

Blue and I met online in the early days of 2021, when the very first covid vaccines were about to be made accessible to the public. As such our first dates were virtual; some even took place on our Animal Crossing islands. Falling in love with each other was natural and easy, and we made our relationship official in November 2021. Over the course of the next year, we discussed the future a lot, and we eventually realized that we wanted the same things. We announced our engagement on August 2nd, 2022, and by November 12th we were married.

We feel so privileged to have found each other in this luck-of-the-draw world—knowing and loving each other has brought us so much joy. But for a newly-married queer couple, the reality of living in America is scary, and it’s only getting scarier. This is why, after lots of research and discussion, we have decided to move from Ohio to Illinois, for our and Divi’s safety. This relocation is an integral part of our ‘fresh start.’ (For more details on how Illinois is safer for us than Ohio, please scroll down to the footnotes.)

But starting fresh will take more than a move. We have thought long and hard about which expenses have/will set us back the most—which ones we need communal help overcoming. We’ve made a list of the costs which, if they were covered, would really help us turn over a new leaf. These costs are broken down in detail below.

(Listed in order of importance/priority)

Priority 1:
- $4400 to move our belongings via Mayzlin Out of State Movers (; we were able to reserve this ‘winter special’ price with a down payment of $1100.
- $1000 to pay off some of my debt in order to raise my credit enough to where we meet the minimum required credit to apply for good apartments in Illinois. Both mine and Blue’s credit are below 600 right now, but mine will be the easiest and fastest to raise.
- $300 for a trailer hitch + installation for my car. A lot of our items can’t be shipped freight, so we’ll have to put them in a trailer.
- $600 for miscellaneous or unforeseen moving expenses beyond what is already listed. The moving quote of $4400 was based on a volume of 712 cubic feet, roughly 4984lbs, so if our stuff ends up taking up more space than that, they may charge us for the extra. This cushion will also help afford the application fees while we are applying for apartments.
- $3000 to be used to purchase a new bed, a couch, and other household items. Right now, both myself and Blue have full-size beds, but they are old, and they are not designed for plus-sized bodies. Our goal is to get a king-sized bed from a brand (like Big Fig) that makes beds specially designed for plus-sized folks. This would be really beneficial for us.
- $5000 to help with cost of living during and after the move. I will have to find a new job once we get to Illinois, since my current job requires me to be a resident of Ohio. And Blue will be taking some unpaid time off during and after the move to make sure we all get settled, and at least somewhat unpacked.
- Priority 1 total: $14,300

Priority 2:
- $1400 to pay off my medical debt in collections. This is something that has haunted me for a long time, and it would be amazing to have it gone.
- $357 for my February MRI (the amount that wasn’t covered by insurance). It would be amazing to not have to worry about this!
- $410 to completely pay back what I still owe my roommate, who lent me money to help me move last summer.
- $462 for a belated honeymoon. We spent so little on both our engagement and our wedding—less than $1000 in total—because it was getting married that was important to us, not the production. But we haven’t had a honeymoon yet. This amount would cover a short escape to a modest Airbnb; it would mean so much to us.
- $1200 to repair the rear engine seal leak on Divi’s car, an ‘06 Honda Accord. This car has helped and will continue to help Divi get to and from medical appointments. This car is one of the only things Divi has that gives them a sense of independence. Quote is from Divi and Blue’s brother, who is a mechanic, and who will be doing the repair. (This repair requires specialized tools, and is labor-intensive.)
- $174 for a very big, tall cat tree for Blue’s cats, Iroh and Rishi. The cat tree they have right now was reclaimed from a dumpster, but it’s on its last leg. The cats deserve a new one to help them feel at home.
- Priority 2 total: $4,003

The total of the above costs comes to $18,303. Donations will be applied to costs in the order they are listed.

We know we are dreaming big here. But like I said, this is about being able to start fresh, and in many ways, it’s also about leaving the most painful parts of our pasts behind us. We are so, so privileged to have communities that we can appeal to for mutual aid, as Blue & Divi did in autumn of 2022, to escape a dangerous living situation. And even if we don’t fundraise the entire amount, every dollar donated will, without question, help us immensely.

Thank you for reading this far. Even if you can’t donate, even if you can only share, thank you. And of course, if you can donate, thank you. Please know that your empathy and support means everything to us. Our world is full of so much hate right now; you help us realize there is still love.

PS. If you can’t donate right now, don’t worry. The move to Illinois will take place in May at the earliest, so you have time!

PPS. "Jack Smith" is Blue's name on Facebook.

In 2022 alone, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in states across the country. Instead of focusing on real issues like economic relief, healthcare or infrastructure, Republicans are targeting LGBTQ+ people with legislation meant to limit our rights, and outlaw our identities.

In Ohio there has been a bill introduced modeled after Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, as well as a bill banning life-saving healthcare for transgender people, and a bill banning trans athletes from participating in sports. None of these have yet been passed, but they are being reintroduced by Republicans, and Republicans make up the supermajority in the House and the Senate. It’s likely to stay this way for quite some time.

In contrast, Democrats make up the supermajority in the Illinois House and Senate, and while Democrats are far from perfect, they are generally opposing this kind of hateful legislation. And according to multiple legislative researchers, including activist Erin Reed (@ErinInTheMorn), Illinois is likely to stay this way for some time.


Donations (151)

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  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 1 mo
  • Amy Bruton
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Judy Albers
    • $25 
    • 2 mos
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Fundraising team (3)

Jack Smith
Raised $2,540 from 20 donations
Columbus, OH
Kat O Heath
Team member
Raised $370 from 7 donations
Divi Dragon
Team member
Raised $50 from 1 donation
This team raised $6,858 from 123 other donations.

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