THIS IS MY CHILDHOOD in the Philippines! These kids are amazing and so cute.
My friends and I would hold beauty pageants like this too, rearranging our clothes to make strange shapes, and adorning ourselves with plants. I remember one time I picked a bunch of flowers and put them in a piece of cellophane I found in the trash and made a bouquet as a first prize for the winner.
Another time, we had a pageant by the river, and we were wearing makeshift swimsuits. Someone wore a plastic bag (literally - arms through the handles, 2 holes at the bottom for their legs). I was in the final 2, and the question was “Who would you marry? A rich man or someone who loves you?” My competitor chose the rich man, so they could have a better life (snap, snap, snap. that’s real). I chose someone who loves me because to when someone loves you, you always feel rich (damn, that’s real too). Of course, I won.
It’s strange how a video can transport you back 20 years as if it were last week. Had I seen this video a few years ago when I was still in the military and uncomfortable with my femininity, I would have felt weirdly embarrassed. But now, I’m cheering on these kids (WERQQQQ!) like they deserve to be cheered.
Who We Are!
Project Fierce Chicago is a grassroots group of youth service providers, housing advocates and radical social workers. Motivated by the need for additional housing resources available for LGBTQ young folks, we came together and decided that instead of waiting for institutional support from the city or state, we will work to address this issue ourselves through a community-driven project!
Our mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing affirming, no-cost transitional housing and support services to LGBTQ young adults. PFC also aims to encourage community-building and leadership development through collaborative living and civic engagement.
What’s Different About Us?
Project Fierce Chicago’s goal is secure a community home that will provide longer-term transitional housing for LGBTQ young people ages 18-24. In addition to living space, residents will have access to services that support a successful transition to independence such as case management, educational and vocational training, independent living skills training and individual and group therapy. These services will primarily be provided by dedicated volunteers & collective members.
PFC’s aims to become a largely self-sustaining community by using a collective funding model, growing food in a community garden and making our own daily living items such as soap, lotion and household cleaning products with natural ingredients.
A focus on self-sustainability fosters community, self-confidence and accountability, which supports young folks with their transition to independence while building partnerships, supporting local community members and businesses. Finally, this model also allows us greater independence from insitutional bodies that are not always able to respond effectively to our community’s needs.
We Need Your Help!
Now that you all have donated the funds to cover our 501(c)3 filing fees, we are starting to raise funds for a down payment on a home for LGBT young folks!
Our plan is to purchase a foreclosed, CTA-accesible space on the south or west side of Chicago. This community-home will be where Project Fierce youth will live and engage in programming to learn sustainable practices, employment skills, and much more.
By donating any amount of money, you’re becoming a part of this project and promoting the success of youth in our community! Stay in touch with us as the project grows via our newsletter!
Background: Queer Youth Homelessness in Chicago
There are an estimated 15,000 youth in Chicago who experience homelessness in the course of a year, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) and the Illinois Department of Human Services, and an estimated 32% - 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ (Gay & Lesbian Task Force, 2007). These young folks experience hunger, institutional and interpersonal violence, employment discrimination, and don’t have access to basic needs. Read more about youth homelessness in Chicago on our website.
Our community home would allow youth to feel more secure knowing that they have guaranteed housing every night. PFC’s supportive program would provide time and space for the young people to access important resources like employment, schooling, public benefits, etc, which can be insurmountably difficult to access without a home.
Other Ways You Can Help!
1. Consult or volunteer with PFC. We would be extremely grateful for help from people who have expertise in housing, finance and/or law. Please contact us if ou have a background and want to help: ProjectFierceChicago@gmail.com.
2. Host a fundraiser for PFC. We need a good deal of resources to maintain a space, and we need friends to throw parties or events that earn some green!
3. Spread the word!