Advancing LGBTQ Equality and Social Justice Globally

October 15, 2021

Grantee partners awarded funding during the third quarter of 2021 in Arcus’ Social Justice Program are building a world where LGBTQ people can live with dignity, safety, and opportunity. Across the southern United States, and countries within East and Southern Africa, the Caribbean, South and Central America, and Mexico, these organizations are shaping strategies based on the needs of local communities while strengthening national, regional, and international movements.

Building and strengthening LGBTQ movements
Pan Africa ILGA, a network of more than 250 organizations, will continue expanding its membership and advocating at regional levels and at the United Nations for LGBTI rights and inclusion throughout Africa.

CAISO, a leading organizer of the LGBTIQ movement in Trinidad & Tobago, will use funding for policy and advocacy, arts and culture work, and expansion of access to justice, health, and human services for LGBTIQ+ people, including legal aid, crisis intervention, trainings to build cultural competency in justice and service systems, and neighborhood-level outreach.

FCAM (Asociación Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres) received support to strengthen Central American LBTIQ+ movements through grantmaking to frontline groups working to reduce discrimination, increase safety and protections, and advance human rights in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

In the United States, Mijente will continue organizing in Latinx and Chicanx communities to increase participation in movements for racial, economic, gender, and climate justice, including the campaign to end detention of trans immigrants. Borealis Philanthropy’s Fund for Trans Generations will continue serving as a critical incubator for small and emerging organizations in the U.S. trans movement through grants and technical assistance.

Equality Arizona Foundation received support for organizing communities to build a sustainable statewide LGBTQ movement. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights will make rapid-response grants for the security and well-being of women, LGBTQI, and gender-nonconforming activists in the southern United States.

Promoting rights, equality, and justice through the law
The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya will continue strategic litigation and legal assistance to people facing violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Funding supports the ongoing effort to decriminalize homosexuality in Kenya; mobile legal clinics; and training of criminal justice officials, paralegals, and first responders to better understand the realities of LGBTIQ+ experience. TEA (Transgender Education and Advocacy) will continue promoting and defending the human rights of transgender people in Kenya through strategic litigation, legal support, cultural competency training, research, and media campaigns.

Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) in Uganda will continue legal advocacy, aid, and strategic litigation serving LGBTIQ+ communities, as well as training community paralegals, police and healthcare workers, and prosecutors.

Data-driven human rights advocacy
Mexfam received support for the TRANSformándome project, which trains muxe (Indigenous gender variant) leaders in Oaxaca, Mexico, to document violence and discrimination, and work with local councils to advocate for change.  

Red Lésbica Cattrachas will document hate crimes and violence against LGBT people in Honduras, and address the violence through support of asylum claims, legal assistance, and strategic litigation to increase access to justice and reduce impunity.

COMCAVIS TRANS will finalize a report on violence and discrimination against LGBT people in detention in El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, and use the findings to advocate for the prevention of such violence in those countries and through the inter-American human rights system. The grant will also support institutional development of Corpora en Libertad, a network of Latin American groups advocating for the safety of LGBT people in detention, as well as the publication of annual reports on hate crimes against LGBT people in El Salvador. 

Synergía/Initiatives for Human Rights received a grant to support a coalition of Latin American and Caribbean LGBTIQ+ groups advocating for human rights at the Organization of American States, creating important links between local and regional efforts, including in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guyana.

Community solutions for safety in the southern United States
As activists in the U.S. South draw attention to the harms of the policing and prison systems, which disproportionately impact LGBTQ people of color, Arcus is supporting organizations that are building and bolstering non-carceral, community-driven solutions to safety.

The Black youth–led group BYP100 will continue organizing for justice and freedom for Black people through a queer Black feminist lens. The Durham, North Carolina, chapter is working to increase the safety of Black girls and transgender and gender-nonconforming students—who are among the most vulnerable to police misconduct in schools—through leadership development, political education, and more.

The Contigo Fund, born in the wake of the 2016 Pulse shooting to advocate for the Latinx LGBTQ and allied communities in Central Florida, will use funding to support community-driven solutions to violence and rights disparities.

The Third Wave Fund, fiscally sponsored by The Proteus Fund, will continue its grantmaking to youth-of-color-led organizations advancing gender justice in the South, including groups led by sex workers and trans women of color who are advocating for safety and legal protections in response to police violence and groups advancing community-led approaches to safety that do not involve police.

Against “anti-gender,” toward inclusive communities
The Global Philanthropy Project will support research and advocacy to increase funding for trans and intersex communities, and an initiative exploring how funders can most effectively support LGBTI-affirming faith communities in the face of the “anti-gender” ideology that is fueling homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia worldwide.

Church World Service received funding to expand its Safe Space program, which engages Christian and Muslim faith leaders in Kenya and South Africa to promote inclusion and acceptance of LGBTIQ+ forced migrants and refugees.

Also receiving grants this funding cycle were:

  • Campaign for Southern Equality to expand fundraising capacity to advance LGBTQ rights and equality in the U.S. South.
  • Equality Foundation of Georgia to develop a recurring donor recruitment drive at an organization advancing fairness, safety, and opportunity for LGBTQ people in the U.S. state of Georgia.
  • Gender DynamiX to strengthen fundraising strategy to continue advancing rights and inclusion for transgender and gender-nonconforming people in southern Africa.
  • interACT to increase fundraising capacity to advocate for intersex youth.
  • Iranti for fundraising training to support work to advance LGBTI+ rights in southern Africa.
  • Justice Work for outreach to ensure diverse participation in a national community survey of U.S. LBTQ+ women’s experiences.
  • Las Reinas Chulas Cabaret y Derechos Humanos to increase the online fundraising capacity of an organization of lesbian and bisexual feminist artists and activists in Mexico.
  • PEMA Kenya for fundraising software and strategic planning to advance the human rights of gender and sexual minorities in Kenya.
  • Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund for donor management software.
  • University of California, Los Angeles for a Williams Institute research project to better understand LGBT immigrants’ socioeconomic and health-related experiences.

Note: The acronym LGBTQI—referring to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex persons—appears in various forms and combinations throughout this announcement depending on its use by the organizations referenced.

Learn about all Arcus grants awarded since 2007.