I first posted about Asher's quest to go to a Quaker boarding school in North Carolina on Saturday morning. Several people suggested that I had chosen a bad day and time...so I'm giving it another shot.
I'd like you to meet Asher. He's a 14 year-old transboy from Gainesville, FL.
The school I currently go to is not a great fit for me. I think they try to be good allies to me, but they don't know much about trans stuff, and I don't feel safe coming out as trans when most of the teachers and staff are not so prepared to support me. This makes it much harder for me to make good, trusting friendships with kids at school, so I wind up feeling pretty isolated, and this causes more stress and loneliness and frustration in my life. Its been a pretty depressing year so far.Asher wants to attend Arthur Morgan School, a small Quaker boarding school in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It's in the Celo Community, about an hour north of Asheville, which was founded by Quaker humanist Arthur Ernest Morgan.
Arthur's pitch and that of his community is on the other side of the cruller.
As I've been looking for a way to create a better future for myself, I found this place called Arthur Morgan, a small boarding school in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I got to go visit a couple months ago and it was everything I hoped for and more! Surrounded by beautiful mountains and woods, we sang songs every morning, there were cows and chickens and sheep, the other kids were super mature and fun, the classes were very small, and INTERESTING! They served great homemade snacks between classes. For PE, we hiked in the woods and played fun, athletic games. It felt really good to me there, surrounded by mountains, forests, and lots of animals. I applied and they accepted me... YAY! Although the school has never had an out trans student before, they're very excited about welcoming me to the community. The staff is doing workshops to learn how to be good allies for me, and any other trans kids they get in the future. I really feel like this sort of outdoor education within a small community will bring out the best in me, and help me build a solid foundation for the rest of my life.Arthur Morgan has given Asher a $7000 scholarship, and his mom has $5000 to contribute, but it will take more for him to attend. So he has set up a funding page at Indiegogo. Of the $13,000 balance he needs to raise, at the time of the first writing of this, he had $2946.
Since Friday, the amount donated has risen to $3766. So we may have had a hand in raising an additional $820. I'm hoping we can do a bit better.
Even if you can't afford to donate to my campaign, you can still help! You can SPREAD THE WORD by forwarding this to your friends, POSTING IT TO YOUR FB WALL, telling people you work with, announcing it at potlucks, and whatever else.I received an email via AERA-QUEER-STUDIES that contained a bit more:
Asher and I live in the same town - Gainesville, FL; he's indeed being raised by/amongst a super-fabulous group of queer people. He's amazing and a delight. We're all doing what we can for him, but he needs more support than what we can give.
He wrote about himself and the school he wants to go to, but let me tell you just a little bit about Gainesville's queer community: We're small, but intensely supportive. In the last six months alone we've raised money for one trans lady's transition, dental bridge work for a genderqueer person who's been having trouble finding a job with health insurance in this Deep South town, and for a computer and a projector for the trans awareness group I'm part of; we've started a queer reading group, monthly queer dance parties, and PFLAG. We have a few drag families, feminist poetry jams, a roller derby league, and a free university. There are several different groups that do awareness training for medical professionals, crisis counselors, educators, and private employers. This is a remarkably strong and resilient community, because being queer in Dixie is no joke, especially if you're gender non-conforming and don't have a lot of financial resources, which is true of almost all of us. All of this is happening in the face of a hostile city commission, police force, and university - not to mention being home to two of the most extreme right-wing fringe religious communities in the US (remember the guy who burned the Koran? That was here). So what I'm saying is this: It would mean so much to Asher to have your support, but it would also mean a lot to the family of queerdos here. We've been working hard to survive, and lately, to do more than that. Helping Asher would be helping all of us. We love him fiercely.