‘Take Me There’ Release Party: Toni Amato Fundraiser
The Boston area release of Tristan Taoromino’s transgender and genderqueer erotic anthology Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica (Cleis Presss) took place at Unity Church on October 20th and was co-sponsored by MadFemme Pride and the New England Leather Alliance. The evening was a fundraiser for celebrated Boston local author and queer writing coach Toni Amato who co-edited the Lambda Literary Award Finalist anthology Pinned Down By Pronouns (2004), has contributed to numerous anthologies and founded and runs Write Here, Write Now where he provides writing coaching and mentoring.
The release of Take Me There featured readings from Boston locals including Alicia Goranson, Rachel K. Zall, Anna Watson, and Toni Amato. Connected to the event, Tristan created a scholarship fund specifically for low income transgender and genderqueer identified writers to attend workshops and receive coaching services with Toni at Write Here, Write Now. The event was well attended by the community and an incredible fundraising success, raising $625 – almost enough to sponsor a writer for an entire year of workshop participation.
For the last two years Toni has been battling severe health conditions that began with a serious bout of Meningitis in March 2010, a broken knee last winter, a full dental extraction at the beginning of 2011, all of this on top of his long term heart condition. In the past few months Toni’s medical conditions intensified, and in order to focus on healing, recuperation and the sustainability of his ministry with queer writers in the boston area and around the country he needed to take a medical sabbatical. As a self employed writing coach and LGBTQI community activist, Toni has no employer benefits to help him through this short term leave nor financial resources to support his continued recovery.
The fundraising for Toni and his work continues online through the Build Right Here, Right Now website organized by committed friends and clients of Toni’s. The goal is to raise three months of living and medical expenses so that he is able to continue his medical sabbatical through the rest of 2011. A group of anonymous donors have pledged $3,000 and to date an additional $2609 has already been pledged through the website which features video and written testimonials from Toni’s clients and community . The testimonials speak to the power, influence and blessing of work on the lives and creative work of some of the most marginalized of queer writers. Money raised above that needed for Toni’s sabbatical will be utilized for ongoing sustainability of his work and ministry, more information about that continued fundraising will be forthcoming on the website.
Photo of Toni Amato by Syd London