BOSTON, Mass. – Yesterday, a lively group of costumed fundraisers braved the 4 foot snow banks and plunged into the icy cold waters of Boston Harbor in order to raise funds for the GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project (GLBTQ DVP). Costumes ranged from drag queens to super heroes.
This community event is not only a fundraising opportunity for the organization, it also raises awareness about domestic violence in gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) communities. “It’s a learning process for everyone involved,” says Curt Rogers, the Executive Director. “As plungers spend weeks raising money for the organization they are also starting conversations with their friends, families, and coworkers about the prevalence of domestic violence and barriers GLBTQ people face in accessing services.” [pullquote]A 2013 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual experience domestic violence at equal or greater rates than their heterosexual counterparts.[/pullquote]
A 2013 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual experience domestic violence at equal or greater rates than their heterosexual counterparts. Unfortunately, there is a lack of research about the experience of domestic violence for people who identity as transgender and queer; however, initial data reveals that transgender people experience domestic violence at significantly greater rates. People who identify as GLBTQ also face unique barriers to accessing services, including a lack of available services, service denial based on gender identity/expression and sexual orientation, difficulty identifying one’s own experience as domestic violence, a lack of screening from service providers, and the fear of having one’s GLBTQ identity “outed.”
At the event, supporters watched their friends run into the freezing water accompanied by the Extraordinary Rendition HONK! Band from Rhode Island. “It’s wonderful to take part in an event that is both fun and gets the word out about resources for LGBTQ survivors,” says Noah Augustine, Administrative Coordinator for the GLBTQ DVP (and second year plunger!).
This year the winter plunge raised over $17,000 that will go toward supporting GLBTQ DVP’s work within GLBTQ communities. After raising more than $3,500, Kevin Kealing received the annual Royal Plunger Award for raising the most money.
“GLBTQ DVP provides critical services in our communities,” says Kealing. “Although the landscape for GLBTQ victims and survivors who are seeking services has changed within the last ten years there is still a lot of work to be done. Continual support for services for victims and survivors, as well as education/outreach about GLBTQ domestic violence is critical.”
About GLBTQDVP: The organization, founded in 1994 by a gay male survivor, provides support and services to victims and survivors of domestic violence who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ). For individuals who are seeking services, the organization has a 24-hour hotline, provides ongoing case management, emotional support, a safe home, medical and legal help, and police and court accompaniment. If you are interested in learning more or looking for volunteer opportunities please call 617-354-6056 or email [email protected].
[From a News Release]