Homobiles: Designated Drivers for a More Tolerant Society

800px-55_Ford_Crown_VictoriaWhen LGBTQ commuters, sex workers, and women can routinely expect street harassment (and worse) as part of their daily lives, Homobiles is a godsend on wheels.

The service was founded in 2010 by queercore jack of all trades/activist Lynn Breedlove when he realized the need for a regular, safe means of transportation for trans performers, strippers, prostitutes, and other “gender outlaws” that were either invisible to cabbies or could expect harassment from passerby and taxi drivers: “All of a sudden the butches and trans guys who saw me wanted to drive, and all the babes and drag queens wanted rides, and then I realized that this was a serious need that had to be filled.”

As a nonprofit awaiting official status, Homobiles relies on public donations and volunteer drivers. (It’s notable that Homobiles offers its security and vehicular services to anyone, not just strictly LGBTQ clientele.)

Given that many of the passengers are relatively poor, Breedlove feels the future of Homobiles may have greater ramifications than safe rides for “alternative” San Franciscans: “You know how to keep artists in the city, and preserve San Francisco as a diverse and interesting place? Donate to nonprofits like Homobiles, queer youth organizations, free health clinics, and other arts organizations.”

In high-demand, densely populated cities like San Francisco and New York, rapid economic growth and gentrification seemingly exist at perfect odds with the goals of fostering creativity, accommodating a diverse population, and preserving the same cultural vibrancy that draws new residents and investors to a city’s promise in the first place. Breedlove’s mission is one small but valuable solution to bridge the gap.

You can follow Homobiles on Twitter or donate to them directly.

Image via Wikimedia.

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