One of the Northeast’s most-awarded blogs—and a trailblazer for transgender rights—is facing extinction and needs your help.
Local blog Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents entered its 19th year of publication in January. A fusion of social work with community journalism, PghLesbian has documented nearly two decades of history for the LGBTQ community, Pittsburgh, and the nation. It is one of the few, if not the only, media outlet to track trans homicides and deaths ands seek gender and racial justice, calling out police misgendering and other issues. It has been recognized twice by GLAAD for its efforts.
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents launched in an era when no openly LGBTQ official held office in Western Pennsylvania or on the Statewide level. The blog has documented the several dozen individuals who have won their office, running as openly LGBTQ individuals.
“It’s important to know Pennsylvania does not have any statewide legislative LGBTQ protections, that the State Legislature has left the so-called Defense of Marriage Act dormant but still on the books, and that same Legislature has failed to codify protections for second-parent adoptions. LGBTQ families of all types remain as vulnerable now as they did in 2005,” says Kerr, founder of the blog.
Among the blog’s accomplishments:
- First site to be named Best Local Blog by readers of Pittsburgh’s City Paper (2016, 2019)
- Two national GLAAD Media Awards (2019, 2022)
- Named one of a dozen people of the year by The Advocate Magazine in 2022
- Named a ‘Lesbian Icon’ by LGBTQ Nation in 2023
- Building the #AMPLIFY archive of more than 300 first person stories about the LGBTQ experience in Western PA
- Publishing more than 100 Q&A”s with politicians,elected officials, and activists, centering the political values of the LGBTQ community
- Appointed to the first Pittsburgh LGBTQIA+ Commission in 2021, voted as co-chair by the Commissioners for three consecutive terms
- Created the #ProtectTransKids project distributing 2,000 yard signs and 10,000 stickers throughout the region.
- A leading voice documenting the campaign of anti-trans terror in the US, mainly through memorializing victims of fatal violence since 2003. This database now includes 327 memorials. Kerr works with national leaders such as the Trans Doe Task Force and LAMMP- LGBT+ Accountability for Missing and Murdered Persons.
As the blog enters its 19th year, it faces unprecedented financial challenges. The blog’s operating costs average $300 each month, most of which comes out of the pocket of its editor-in-chief Sue Kerr who relies solely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to fund the endeavor. Advertising revenue is less than $50/month.
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents faced a daunting stumbling block earlier in 2023 when Kerr had to give serious consideration to selling the blog to finance unexpected legal battles around her civil rights. Supporters came to her rescue, but the blog’s longevity relies on future investors, as does the preservation of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents’ archives.
One way Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents is raising funds is through The Steel City Snowflakes fundraiser. The fundraiser gives donors the opportunity to include a name and message alongside their investment, “buying” a snowflake displayed on Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents website. “The concept rests on word play around the legacy of snow and social justice in Pittsburgh as well as the values of the blog,” explained Kerr. “We’ve had over 300 donations.”
“The future of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents requires financial security that can only come from community investment. Civil and human rights are under assault from every direction. We need independent voices to resist this onslaught.”
Donations can be made:
Ca$h App $Pghlesbian
And monthly sustaining donations can be made via Patreon.com/Pghlesbian