We are three friends with a passion for welcoming and honoring diversity in our communities, as well as fighting discrimination and inequality.
Through the difficulties of our good friend, Christopher Langsford, we have become aware that those who are victims of LGBT bullying and assault often lose many teeth, along with blood, dignity, and self-confidence. For Chris's personal story, please see this post on his blog, Choral Thread.
Dental restoration is costly, generally not covered by insurance, and at best, good for only a decade or two. Chris suffered several years of bullying and gay-bashing as a young man and is now faced with the progressive demise of his upper teeth. Following recent serious dental emergencies and several consultations and second opinions, he received a two-phase treatment plan with a total cost of $25,000. A professional singer and conductor, he is currently self-employed and clearly cannot afford this necessary treatment. (The less costly option of a full upper denture is not appropriate in his case due to the structures of his mouth and the limitations that a standard denture imposes on professional singers.) Furthermore, simply accepting and living with the loss of all his upper teeth would seriously impact his ability to earn a living wage.
At this point, we have already received the commitment of an anonymous donation of $5,000 if we are able to raise the remaining amount through crowd-funding.
With your help, we can restore Chris’s smiles that we miss seeing, as well as his speech and singing that we miss hearing. With your continued support, we can ensure that other victims of LGBT hate crimes need not see in the mirror a daily reminder of past dental trauma caused by hate.
What We Need & What You Get
Our campaign has three stages.
- Stage One. Raise $10,000 for the first phase of Chris’s prosthodontic treatment: the extraction of the remaining upper teeth, implantation of four posts, and attachment of a temporary full upper denture.
- Stage Two. Raise $10,000 for the second phase of Chris’s prosthodontic treatment: after a few months of healing and adjustment, the installation of a new, permanent denture attached to the posts.
- Stage three. Work with various organizations to raise awareness and set funding goals for a foundation that will assist other victims of LGBT bashing with traumatic dental injuries.
Every donor will receive our thanks and, at the very least, a virtual smile, as well as the satisfaction of contributing toward a worthy goal.
- Every donor of $10 or more will receive a virtual hug. Research indicates that hugging aids in healing illness, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Your donation has a similar effect!
Each donor of $25 or more will receive a digitally delivered, print-ready copy of a poem by a member or friend of our team or a page of relevant quotations.
- Each donor of $50 or more will receive a free digital download of an original song by indie/folk artist Cody Sanders.
Each donor of $100 or more will receive a free CD, Seasons of Comfort and Joy, by Melba J. Sutton, a blend of classical and new age piano music for the late fall and early winter season. NOTE: The last track on the album features a vocal/piano duo arranged and played by Ms. Sutton with Chris Langsford providing the vocals.
If the funding for both Stages One and Two is met during Stage One, we will skip Stage Two and go straight to work on Stage Three, the creation of a foundation. All of us would prefer to see only two stages in this campaign instead of three! Already we have begun research on various potential partner organizations for our foundation.
If, however, funding for Stage One is not successful, a larger percentage of each contribution will be deducted for Indiegogo fees. In a sense, this would be a double fail. Please make it possible for us to reach our first goal so that we can move on to the next.
Most contributors to this campaign will have some level of compassion for victims of LGBT bullying and assault. That sympathy can arise from having survived or witnessed harassment and abuse, from having a friend who has been a victim of a LGBT bullying or assault, or from guilt over being misguided about LGBT discrimination in the past, possibly even being guilty of mistreatment. For all of us, this is an opportunity to right a wrong, regardless of our level of responsibility.
We were inspired to begin this campaign by the recent success of a 15-year-old young man who raised three times his Indiegogo goal in just two months in order to help offset the medical expenses of his mother with advanced cancer.
The three of us are each at least three times his age. With your help, we can easily do as much -- or more -- for our friend and for others like him.
Risks & Challenges
By starting with the first-stage goal of helping one specific friend, we may not gain those potential contributors who would prefer a broader goal. Furthermore, we may lose potential contributors who believe that victims of LGBT discrimination are undeserving of any assistance.
We are confident, however, that with our three separate networks of friends, family, and acquaintances, we can build a community of contributors who do share our ideals.
Other Ways You Can Help
You know you want to help. Making a contribution is a very important way to do so. Maybe you can't make a contribution. Maybe you need to wait for Stage Two or Stage Three before you can support us financially.
But whether or not you can contribute at this time, please share our campaign with everyone you know, by email and through social media. Keep reminding them about our deadline. Ask them if they've contributed yet.
Lastly, be sure to use the Indiegogo share tools to spread the news. With your help we can grow a foundation.