I’ll preface this with stating that I think Trans Lifeline is a good concept and hopefully a good organization which will save lives and I encourage you to take a look and consider donating to their cause, if any good does come from this open letter, it may be by getting more people aware of Trans Lifeline.
You can find out more here : Translifeline.org
READ THIS FIRST – ADDED 27TH APRIL : I successfully predicted the response to this, with hate attacks and vitriol directed at me. That’s fine, I’m not afraid to speak my mind, but before you go any further, read the facts so you don’t appear stupider than you are, when tweeting what a [fill in with expletives] I am.
- We didn’t want or ask for “shemale” to be posted on any Trans Lifeline site. They offered to list us (Grooby) as a corporate sponsor, which we would have had – or not.
- We did want to link Trans Lifeline from our websites, and it seems that it was this that they took exception about. By linking it, we could have shown it to people in need of their services as well as donors.
That’s it. You can mouth off about any other old gumph you want, but get the facts right.
I first became aware of Trans Lifeline when it started appearing on my Facebook with appeals for financial help. According to it’s website, “Trans Lifeline is a non-profit dedicated to the well being of transgender people”. Through running our company for almost 20 yrs, and having friends and colleagues who are active worldwide in social circles with trans persons, I’m more than aware of how many struggling transgender people take their own lives, so their ethos and aim I found very appealing, especially considering the tragedies we’ve seen in 2015 already, amongst young transgender people.
“This line is primarily for transgender people experiencing a crisis. This includes people who may be struggling with their gender identity and are not sure that they are transgender. While our goal is to prevent self harm, we welcome the call of any transgender person in need.”
Having made a small cash donation personally, I then asked Kristel Penn to reach out to the Trans Lifeline and see what else we could do to help. My idea was to include a voluntary “donate $1” button along with all our website memberships, which we would then match and give a monthly amount to the organization. I’d expect this would have covered many of their expenses & widen their reach. This would have been also supported by having their banners on our sites, like Grooby Girls, HungAngels, Grooby Girl and The Grooby Post, all sites in which many trans women follow, including girls we have lost over the years. Grooby has a phenomenal reach to both potential donors and transgender people who may be in need of the Trans Lifeline at some points in their life.
Trans Lifeline seemed very receptive to the idea (and knowing who our company was) asked if we’d be interested in donating “a cash component that’s in line with their other corporate donors … we’d be listed as a corporate donor on their site, plus there would be a joint press release put out by them). “ [paraphrased]. They stated they need $550 a month to run the phones, we offered them a guaranteed $400 a month direct from Grooby – as well as the other marketing/donations as above. This would ensure they could keep the Lifeline open more and hopefully, even be able to increase their awareness and reach, which they’re not able to do at this time (the Lifeline isn’t available after 9pm PST which would seem a key time when people needed help).
And then this arrived;
Thanks for your reply! Unfortunately, I have to be the bearer of some bad news. Our Executive Committee checked out your sites and some members raised a concern that “shemale” was fairly ubiquitous not just in the URLS, but in the content inside the pay wall.
Also, some members have expressed their unease about the ongoing—for want of a better term, I’ll call it a “lively discussion”–between Mr. Grooby and Ms. Chelsea Poe.
It would be presumptuous and, frankly, rude for us to tell you how to run your business and we recognize that you have an obligation to protect your firm’s commercial standing. However, the ExecComm and our leadership have an obligation to protect Trans Lifeline as well.
After multiple internal meetings and some very spirited argument on all sides, we have reached a decision that we will not be able to work together with you as a corporate sponsor at this time.
Accordingly we would respectfully request that you delete the banners sent to you. If the above issues are resolved down the road we may be able to revisit this discussion, but as of now we are not able to move forward with what was proposed.
Christina A. DiEdoardo, Esq.,
Chairwoman of the Board
General Counsel-Trans Lifeline
cc: Ms. Greta Martela, Ms. Nina Chaubal”
So here, is my open letter to Christina A. DiEdoardo, Esq., and the Members of the Board of Trans Lifeline.
Dear Ms. DiEdoardo,
Although I appreciate your metered response, I hope you will share this letter to the board to whom it is also directed.
Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you.
We run a legitimate business, which includes many transgender staff and work with many, many transgender models worldwide. Apart from a tiny minority of individuals, few have an issue of how we work within the transsexual erotica industry – and of those complainants, some are using the argument purely as a marketing tool to sell their own brand. I could understand it fully, if you did not wish to associate your organization with an adult company, which may give the wrong impression or outlet to transgender women seeking help – but your issue is not with that but over the usage of the word “shemale”, which is used on a number of our sites. This is an issue that I’ve covered before, and my statement has been republished, I’m not going to repeat the argument for again, as it’s moot to this conversation. Your assertion that I have any sort of ongoing “lively discussion” with Ms. Poe, is entirely in-correct, we have no ongoing discussion and she has no relation or impact to our business in any way, and I question why that would be of an issue at all?
From what I know about your organization, we would have been a perfect fit. We have a reach across many social networks to ensure that Trans Lifeline would have been viewed by many individuals who may have had the need to use your service and many more potential donors. We’ve made changes to our billing system to enable donations to be made, which we were to match and we’d guaranteed you $400 per month donation, directly from us, which would have gone a long way towards your operational costs. Your offer was to make us a corporate sponsor, which we would have taken seriously and engaged in getting the message out.
The fact that your board, doesn’t seem to have an issue with being sponsored by an adult company, but has an issue with being sponsored by specifically by our company, shows how myopic they must be. They are prepared to put their own personal morals and judgements, over the lives of others.
So how many more calls will be missed because you don’t have the funds to staff the phones? What happens when a trans person harms themselves because they couldn’t reach out and talk to someone? How will that fit into your moral high ground? How will you answer that when you had the option to do something?
Personally, I’m incensed that you would allow personal issues to get in the way of genuinely being able to help people.
Shame on you.
CEO & Founder.
Grooby, Los Angeles.
Postscript – earlier this we were in the process of working with the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco by giving them free sponsorship and publicity at The Transgender Erotica Awards this year, when they pulled out because some of our sponsors were “Shemale.com” and “Shemale Strokers”. We didn’t bother to post that at the time, and dismissed their organization but I believe the Trans Lifeline is a far more important and potentially life saving organization and it’s despicable that some members of the board, would risk lives.
It’s a dangerous game when people start to play politics with people’s lives. A few rather insignificant complaints about the Feminist Porn Awards, based on the the fact some sponsors (incl. Grooby) weren’t inline with the complainers ideals, were hypocritical and puerile, with one vitriol spewing individual happy to still accept the award (and market herself as the winner) and the other claiming that if she attended, that her life would be endanger as there were sponsors who used the “shemale word” on their sites – quite happy to have attended The TEA Show and publicize the fact! While we hear a lot marketing politics from these few people, which may account for a couple more dollars on their bottom line, what we don’t see is anything more then bile and tantrums coming from their mouths. If they don’t have the finances to put back into helping their society, then they certainly have plenty of time and instead of the continuous narcissistic appearances, perhaps they could consider staffing the Trans Lifeline’s phone lines?
I’m aware that charity should be given without expecting anything other than personal reward and there will be people reading this, who know that our company has given anonymously to both individuals and trans organizations, and will continue to do so. For this situation though, we were looking for the ability to really work with and help build, something which genuinely helps others and for that I continue to urge you to give money to Translifeline.org or possibly consider donating your time? It’s only a shame, that because of a few people more interested in themselves, that we’re unable to do more.
I was going to put a Trans Lifeline banner here … but we’ve been asked not to.