Arcus’ Fall Grantees Work to Combat Global Anti-LGBT Discrimination

October 3, 2017

Creating a response to anti-LGBT violence and discrimination, particularly in the global south, is the shared goal of several grant recipients in the latest Arcus Foundation portfolio. Efforts to combat discrimination also continue in the United States, particularly given the growing number of political leaders and others who have questioned protections for marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Organizations such as the Astraea Foundation are working in the global south for policy change, social acceptance, and capacity-strengthening. In India, Astraea will work on trans protection at the local level, as well as increasing space within the LGBT movement for lesbian, trans, and Dalit people.  Meanwhile, in the Philippines, Thailand, and Morocco, the Fund for Global Human Rights will support country- and local-level policy and culture change. In Morocco, there is an opportunity to develop an LGBT rights advocacy strategy in partnership with local civil society organizations.

Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres is supporting local LGBT-led organizations in Central America to advocate for policy and culture change within their countries, including the introduction of a gender identity bill in El Salvador and the implementation of a non-discrimination law in Costa Rica. This grant is part of the larger international strategy to support national change in the Global South with intermediary partners. Elsewhere, Hivos (Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries) will work to reduce discrimination in Lebanon and Tunisia, as well as strengthen LGBT groups in those countries along with Syria. In Bulgaria, Ecuador, and Poland, Mama Cash will work with its partners to facilitate policy change. In Ecuador, for example, it will focus on the implementation of existing legislation in order to combat discrimination in practice.

In Africa, UHAI – The East African Sexual Health And Rights Initiative is reducing discrimination in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. In Kenya, the organization will work on strategic litigation to enhance legal protection for trans people and for increased access to sexual and mental healthcare, while in Rwanda, its focus will be on the expansion of safe spaces to reduce violence. In South Africa and the greater Southern Africa sub-region, Gender DynamiX is advancing the human rights of trans-diverse people.

Several organizations are bringing diverse communities together to end discrimination and increase safety for LGBTQ people pushed to the margins. The Black Youth Project 100 Education Fund, an activist-member based network, builds transformative leaders and engages in direct action organizing, advocacy and education using a Black queer feminist lens to bring about culture and policy change across the United States.  The National LGBTQ Task Force will bring together LGBTQ people and allies from across the world at Creating Change, the nation’s largest gathering of cross-sector LGBTQ activists. Our Fund will use its grant for the Contigo Fund, a community-driven philanthropic model born out of the June 2016 Pulse Nightclub tragedy in Orlando, FL. The fund supports LGBTQ equity and racial justice causes by resourcing organizations working to heal, educate and empower LGBTQ and Latinx individuals, immigrants and communities of color.

Through its LGBT initiative, California Rural Legal Assistance will advocate for improved school climate and policies in targeted, underserved California communities. Funding supports monitoring and enforcement of existing safe schools regulations to mitigate harassment of LGBT youth in communities that are largely rural, Latino and low-income. Fellow Arcus grant recipient, Dolores Huerta Foundation, partners with CRLA to advocate for increased LGBTQ youth protections  in Kern County, CA schools through strategic campaigns rooted in community organizing and mobilization on behalf of and in partnership with LGBTQ students.

Several grantees in this round will be bolstering protections for transgender people, including Borealis Philanthropy, which, through its Fund for Trans Generations (FTG), will support trans communities throughout the United States through direct grants, organizational development support, and peer learning. The Trans Justice Funding Project will support grassroots, trans-led, trans justice groups to affect change for their local communities. Outside of the United States, Transgender Europe will use its grant to increase awareness of the human rights situation of trans and gender-diverse people within international community frameworks and institutions.

Other grants in this funding cycle include Allied Rainbow Communities International, American Psychological Association, International Lesbian and Gay Association, Tides Foundation, Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights, Ghana, Community Partners for the Common Good, Global Interfaith Network (GIN SSOGIE), Interfaith Alliance Foundation, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Intersections International, Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (MANERELA+), Casa Ruby, Gender Diversity, Interfaith Working Group, Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project, and Trustees of Columbia University in the City Of New York.