What We're Reading: A Call to Action to Fund LGBTQ+ Issues, Movements, and Organizations

"For many in the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month is a month of celebration. It is a time to reflect on the history of the LGBTQ+ movement and to authentically celebrate queer lives," said Kelsey Andersen for PEAK Grantmaking. "It is a time of community, of belonging, of love, of joy—and unfortunately, it is also a month where queer celebrations and increased visibility can lead to more opportunities for violence."

"This is a crucial moment for philanthropy, and the lack of support for the LGBTQ+ community is deafening."

Draconian laws are on the rise all over the world, including the United States and East Africa, which are brutalizing LGBTQ+ communities. For the first time in its more than 40-year history, the Human Rights Campaign in June declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ persons in the United States. In April 2023, Equality Florida issued a travel advisory for those considering travel or moving to the state of Florida given the plethora of hateful anti-LGBTQ+ laws being passed. On May 28, 2023, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 into law, which calls for life imprisonment for consensual same-sex sexual acts, the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” up to 20 years imprisonment for the promotion of homosexuality, and imposes an obligation on Ugandan citizens to report anyone suspected of engaging in homosexuality. The law has inspired a similar bill in Kenya and a related discussion among Tanzanian parliamentarians.

Provide immediate general operating support funding. This is a humanitarian crisis. Activists are fighting against well-organized and well-funded enemies pouring their funding into lobbying efforts, and LGBTQ+ activists are facing violence at extreme levels. Funding is needed to help fund safety efforts, salaries, and lobbying. Public charities and private foundations face different funding barriers, but this support can be provided, and further discussions can and need to take place about general funding in the current context, both domestically and internationally.

Who are you funding, and do you know who they fund? Does your organization fund through intermediaries or fund organizations who both make grants and fundraise? Do the research to find out who these organizations give their money to. You may be surprised to see funding being given to groups in the anti-LGBTQ+ movement. If this is the case, hold them accountable by having a conversation. And if they’re unwilling to stop supporting hateful groups, stop funding them.

Add a wellness budget line into your program budget template. Now more than ever, activists (whether they are focused on LGBTQ+ activism or not) are facing extreme burnout. See them for the human beings that they are and support their well-being.

Support your LGBTQ+ colleagues. Your colleagues may or may not be out at work. Either way, they are experiencing high levels of anxiety and stress right now. Be understanding and supportive, which can show up in many ways. It can be as simple as asking “How are you feeling today?” or “I’ve been listening to the news, I’m here if you need a listening ear or someone to talk to.” If you’re in the office, you can offer a lunchtime walk. This offers both a wellness opportunity as well as creating a space for someone to open up outside of the office should they want to. And finally, be understanding if someone has an off day or doesn’t want to take you up on your offer for a walk or a chat. Some days are more emotionally and physically draining than others, but your colleague knowing they have your support is more helpful than you might realize.

Read the full call to action here.