a one-stop-shop for all things LGBTQ
By Brenda Matamoros-Beveridge
Pride Pocket was born two years ago, the brainchild of Rachel and Cortney Blank when they made the decision to marry and start a family. The couple’s initial perspective of the process was that it would be manageable. In reality, it was extremely difficult.
“We’re both pretty educated people, we live in the Bay area, we thought it’d be pretty easy to figure it out. As we started researching it, we’re like “Okay, this is really complicated. We can’t be the only people that are scratching our heads trying to figure out how to have a baby.”
The journey lead them to the idea of creating a family-planning app that gave LGBTQ people useful information about options like adoption, in vitro, surrogacy, and more, with a safe space for crowdfunding. The idea kept growing and morphed into a web-based resource center and crowdfunding platform encompassing all LGBTQ community issues.
Pride Pocket has two main goals as a queer-founded, queer-focused, and queer-run organization. First, there are many issues the LGBTQ community has to deal with that other communities do not. Pride Pocket gives factual information about scenarios or issues that occur frequently for LGBTQ people. The second part addresses the fact that a majority of these problems or situations require quite a bit of money; whether it’s transitioning; starting a family; legal issues…and insurance companies don’t pay for many things.
“Pride Pocket is a one-stop shop for anything you might need to improve your well-being as an LGBTQ person,” Blank said. “For instance, if you ask yourself, “I think I may be trans, now what?” Or “How do I get hormones?” Or “My partner and I would like to start a family. As two cisgender women, how do we do that? What does it cost? Where do I go?”
Privacy is another concern. There are a lot of public crowdfunding sites anyone can visit, type in the word ‘trans,’ or ‘top surgery’ and find sensitive information about individuals. According to Blank, this creates a lot of anxiety and fear amongst people that are not quite out yet or makes them targets for Internet trolls spewing hate or other inappropriate things.
“Another issue is the person that clearly needs to raise the money out of need. A lot of other platforms charge a platform fee. So, imagine that I’m 18, still in high school, I came out as gay and my parents kicked me out. What do I do? I raise $10,000 and the other platforms will take about 3-8% of that from ME. So our goal is to not charge a penny to the campaign host” Blank said. “The goal is, if you need money and you’re raising it on our platform, we will do absolutely everything in our power, to ensure that the needs are met of our users. There are no fees for campaign hosts, at all. The person donating will pay an unavoidable transaction fee to move the money and we ask for a small (optional) donation to Pride Pocket.
There is a cost to moving money—it is something outside of our control. By requring the donating party to pick up the cost of the the transaction fee, we can ensure that the person receiving the money is able to keep 100% of what was donated to their campaign. Our mission is to make sure that every campaign host gets to keep their money. “
In regards to Pride Pocket’s community resource center, Blank said “Our articles are not about what’s going on in the media or the news. They’re all about real situations that people may find themselves in because they are part of the LGBTQ community,” Blank said. “We will make sure all of our articles are up-to-date. We like to think of it almost like a Wikipedia of everything and anything related to the LGBTQ life cycle.”
Imagine an HIV-postive man attempting to take out life insurance to protect his husband and their children. Finding a company willing to offer him a policy is incredibly difficult. Or consider a trans individual that had a steady job, then decides to finally come out in the workplace as being trans. Immediately they are let go without cause and they don’t even know where to start in their legal battle: Pride Pocket works hard to get them the information and material support that they need.