Since April 24th, activists Croix Hill (they/she), Grayson Swearingen (he/him), Vale Tesch (he/they), Saanvi Gambhira (she/they), Reagan Peters-Roussell (she/they), Jackson Downey (he/they/it), Blaise Singleton (he/they), Maddie/Maverick Isla (they/xe)and Keira Armstrong (they/them) have been raising money to provide free chest binders to the queer and trans students of Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, on May 13th, we are wrapping up our 2022 Binder Drive with nearly $1,000 in donations from our supporters, all in under 20 days!
Here are a few words from Croix Hill (they/she), Black/African Lives Representative and Binder Drive Project Manager:
Hi, I’m Croix and I am the Project Manager for the Better Future Program 2022 Binder Drive.
I first had the idea to do a binder drive for Benjamin Franklin students when I was thinking about how I myself wanted a binder, but there was really no way for me to get one discreetly. This also made me think about how many Franklin students cannot buy binders for themselves because they do not have supportive parents, they are not out, or they cannot afford them. As someone who experiences chest dysphoria I wanted to be able to make a difference in my community surrounding an issue that I, myself, have faced.
At first, I did not think the binder drive was going to be as big of an undertaking as it was, and I severely underestimated the amount of hard work the BFP Advocacy Committee would have to put into the project. Once the binder interest form started receiving submissions though, we realized we needed to advertise the GoFundMe more, both on social media and in school, to accommodate for the large amount of submissions we received. Eventually we reached a plateau of $666 on GoFundMe, so the rest of the team and I had to brainstorm other ways to raise money for the rest of the binders.
We came up with two very successful fundraising ideas to purchase the rest of the binders: a gift card raffle and a Krispy Kreme donut sale. We were fortunately able to partner with a local Black-, Queer-, and Pagan-owned tea shop called Queenly Conjure for the gift card raffle and were able to raise $108 in the span of a week. And last Friday, we sold 3 ½ dozen donuts before school and were able to raise $117.23 in about 30 minutes. In total, with funds from the GoFundMe, cash donations, the gift card raffle, and the Krispy Kreme donut sale we were able to raise nearly $1000 in under 3 weeks for the trans and queer youth at Benjamin Franklin. We were able to supply all 28 students who filled out the binder interest form! It was an amazing experience.
From left to right, top to bottom row: Pagan Lives Representative Grayson, Gender Equity Representative Vale, Black/African Lives Representative Croix, Topic Inspector Keira, South Asian Lives Representative Saanvi, and Founding Executive Director Reagan celebrate after raising nearly $1,000 to provide free chest binders to the queer and trans students of Benjamin Franklin High School. Photographer: Justine Allen