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Pittsburgh Covid-19 LGBTQIA Emergency Relief Fund

Tax deductible
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the particular vulnerability of our LGBTQIA+ people, especially those of color. Due to our community disproportionately experiencing a lifelong arc of violence and discrimination, many of our community members are impoverished and housing unstable.

Many folks in our community are self-employed or in the service economy, living with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and/or compromised immune systems. 

Realizing a need for mutual aid for our communities at this time, and inspired by Ijeoma Oluo's efforts to support her community of fellow artists in Seattle &  Amita Swadhin organizer of CVOID-19 Relief Fund For LGBTQI+ BIPOC, Sisters PGH launched this fund on March 18th, 2020 and has since invited our trusted comrades Ciora Thomas,  Aiden James Nevils, Aude Giglietti, Virginia Beck, Christina Acuna Castillo, to help manage the financial records and design and manage the process of fund distribution. We are all also open to other partnerships and relationships that would help this fund reach as many LGBTQIA people and organizations in Allegheny County as possible!!

We are prioritizing displaced LGBTQIA+ people because we have historically and currently faced increased barriers - including fewer ties to familial support networks, being simultaneously underserved and over-surveilled by welfare state systems, our needs have been surplus to mainstream political formations, and we tend to work in the gig economy (making us ineligible to even receive unemployment.). 

We recognize that the nation-state does not provide a safety net for so many people and that the United States government’s response to COVID-19 has only deepened pre-existing hierarchies that make specific communities more vulnerable to premature death. We hope for a world in which universal basic income, universal health care, and other functioning social systems exist. We know that what we are doing is an imperfect solution to a very large problem, but we are trying anyway.

We talked with other mutual aid funds about how they decided to distribute the money they raised and decided that we wanted to absolutely avoid parsing through people’s narratives and deciding whose needs were more important than others. We agree with Adrienne Maree Brown who quotes Lao Tzu (author of Tao Te Ching) in Emergent Strategy: “If you do not trust the people, they will become untrustworthy.”

We are choosing to trust the people. We are not social workers and we refuse to replicate that position and dynamic. Most of the pool of people who have requested funds thus far are not employed full time, have a chronic illness or disability, and were already struggling prior to COVID-19 closures. Now our community is facing an even more urgent need, and we ask our community to respond.

The application to receive funds will go LIVE March 20th, 2020 and will stay open for as long as we are able to distribute funds to our communities, meaning, we will need as much support as possible to continue supporting our LGBTQIA communities of Allegheny County.

We will continue to update here and within the campaign of our progress as we move along.

Thank you for your support!

More information about sisTers PGH: SisTers PGH is a transLED, transgender community center, that provides supportive services, shelter and housing for the trans and non binary communities of Pittsburgh, PA. SisTers PGH, also offers outreach, trans inclusion training, advocacy, and People's Pride PGH while offering opportunities for our trans communities too thrive instead of survive.

A primary function of SisTers PGH is to amplify the voices of trans people within conversations around housing access, art, city/state leadership, mental health support, medical care, employment opportunities, and education..

We have learned via lived experience, that transgender leadership amplifies our ability to serve our communities in capacities that are truly effective and influential. In the words of Tarana Burke “Victims know what they need; give them the resources to do it.” Having Trans leaders provides a voice that can garner the creation of inclusionary change within cisgender dominant spaces.

SisTers Community Center functions as a safe and brave space for our trans and nonbinary community members of Pittsburgh. Those seeking daytime respite from homelessness and/or needing supportive services like food, clothing, toiletries, tutoring/GED Prep, Name Change services, employment, medical or mental health referrals, case management, housing, and rent/utility support.

Bimonthly Groups will also be held for the trans communities with topics that vary into mental health, safety, gender, sexual health, drug addiction, leadership, race, housing, and healing, just to name a few.


Here is how it will work:

SisTers is considering emergency fund applications of up to $400 per individual. Please consider the amount of your request so that funds can be dispersed fairly to others. Please specify the amount of request and what needs it will cover.

In “Round 1,” we will prioritize fund distribution to LGBTQIA applicants who are (in no particular order):

Sex Workers
Disabled/Chronically Ill
Transgender or non-binary
Not enrolled in or employed full-time at well-resourced educational institutions
Not eligible for paid sick leave through any organization
On the cusp of losing housing
Food insecure

We will move folks who live at the intersections of these identities or experiences to the front of the line.

In “Round 2,” we will redistribute $50 to every person who is LGBTQIA+, who is self-employed or working in the service economy (even if they asked for less).

Funds will be distributed via Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal payments.

Round 1 is from March 20th, 2020 - April 1st 2020 11:59 pm
Funds will be distributed on April 2nd, 2020
Round 2 April 1st, 2020 - April 15th, 2020
Funds will be distributed on April 16th, 2020

After Round 2 is complete and if funds are still available we will start Round 1 again on April 16th, 2020 to be followed by another set of Round 2 on May 1st, 2020 and will continue as long as funds are available.


Click here to fill out the survey and apply for financial support.

We would like to thank all of the wonderful folks who have responded immediately to our call for mutual aid.

We will continue to raise funds for as long as needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are also distributing a list of various local mutual aid funds and mutual aid processes to every person who applied, and we are sharing our applications with several mutual aid funds.

We also hope that you will join us in calling for rent and mortgage moratoriums, universal healthcare, free childcare and the abolition of the fear programming that tells us that we cannot collectively take care of one another and create a world in which we all live in abundance!--

Pittsburgh COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund is a less restrictive grant opportunity for those within our LGBTQIA communities of Allegheny County. The relief fund will have several Sectors of funds to pull from.

With this we will offer:

Rent Support - For those facing eviction due to COVID-19
Utility Support - For those Facing Shut off’s due to Covid-19
Toiletries & Groceries - For those with limited access to food and toiletries due to COVID-19
Personal - For LGBTQIA individuals that are affected by Covid-19


  • Anonymous
    • $300 
    • 4 yrs

Fundraising team: PGH LGBTQIA Covid-19 Responders (3)

SisTers PGH
Pittsburgh, PA
sisTers PGH
Ginny Beck
Team member
Alliance for Police Accountability
Team member

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