On January 15 Living Without Disguises officially became a nonprofit organization. It is a pivotal step in the future of the project, and one I know will allow me to accomplish many of the objectives I have set out over the last several months.
Some have asked: ‘Why become a nonprofit?’ Well, that isn’t an easy answer!
When I decided to create Living Without Disguises, I knew I wanted to develop something that would allow members of the LGBTQ+ community a safe place to share their stories. I wanted to see first-hand what is going on in the LGBTQ+ world, talk directly with members of my global community, and then merge those interviews and journey into a documentary film. I hoped that the website might be a place to connect and for those that don’t have the same opportunities or weren’t in a place where they could speak their truth. I wanted to consolidate this collection of inspirational journeys so that we could see that despite our differences, we are not alone.
I could have stayed the course and not deviated from my original vision, but as I dug deeper into conversations with individuals and leaders in the LGBTQ+ community, I realized there was so much more that could be done to help unite our community globally. Though I may not be able to define those specifics right now, so many of the people I have spoken to are teeming with ideas of how Living Without Disguises can be a launch pad for advocacy and change.
The fundamental objectives of the project will remain the same but how we achieve them will now depend on more than just me and a few volunteers. As a non-profit organization we are better equipped to envision, manifest and execute projects and initiatives.The board will now oversee the project mission and guide future initiatives, providing a much more formal structure. The LWD Projects mission and purpose will continue to integrate the personal interests of individuals associated with it, but with more clarity and efficiency.
I have always felt a great responsibility and accountability to the individuals sharing their stories and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole in the project mission. Accountability and transparency of the project and our objectives will become more important as we grow. We will not only have the responsibility to contributors but to our donors and how their donations are making a difference in our mission.
To date, the project has been completely self-funded. There had been offers of donations, but in the beginning, I decided that to control the project and not alienate certain individuals or groups, it would be best to decline such support. Now as an incorporated nonprofit we can choose how we fundraise and those activities will be completely transparent and publically available.
We will hold our first fundraiser on May 5th in Victoria BC, the proceeds raised will support the project’s vital activities including updating of the project website, copywriting, transcribing services, and hiring of interpreters for the documentary film. All travel expenses for the upcoming trip remain self-funded, and no money from the fundraising activities will go towards it.
I chose to officially register Living Without Disguises as a non-profit organization so that I could develop the project to its full potential. As exciting it has been to launch the project and be responsible for every aspect of the work , I quickly came to realize that I could not do it alone. And isn’t that why I started this in the first place – so that members of my LGBTQ+ community would be able to connect to others who could support them and their journeys? I realized that maybe I needed to take a dose of my own medicine, and collaborate with additional resources and talent who felt as passionately about this as I did; to call on others who could help me bring this project to a truly global scale.