LGBTQ movements grow across borders and issue areas

April 9, 2020

To build a world in which all LGBTQ people live with dignity, safety, and opportunity, activists and advocates are coming together across issues and borders.

Arcus’ latest Social Justice Program grants—which were prepared before the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) became a global pandemic in March—will provide support to organizations working within ever stronger and more interconnected movements that are changing perceptions, policies, and lives.

Arcus aims to enable these organizations to work on their long-term missions, in addition to being flexible about addressing emergencies being declared around the world.

The Spring 2020 docket includes grants to longtime partner Iranti for its work promoting LGBTQ rights in southern Africa, and to a pilot project to support LGBTQ migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as funding to strengthen movements in the Caribbean, the U.S. South, and other priority regions.

Supporting collaborative movements

Arcus renewed general operating support to Iranti, a locally led organization in Johannesburg, South Africa, that uses media and strategic dialogues with governments to challenge stereotypes, discrimination, and violence. Iranti will continue to engage the media to increase social acceptance of LGBTQI+ people, while strengthening regional movement networks and shaping policies that protect trans and intersex people in South Africa.

Another movement builder and long-term Arcus partner in southern Africa is The Other Foundation, which will re-grant funds to organizations that defend human rights and advance social inclusion of LGBTI people.

While the human rights crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border has been well publicized, the particular impacts on LGBTQ migrants have been less visible. Now, more than a dozen organizations are coming together as the LGBT Border Project to coordinate their support for queer migrants during and after detention, from providing immediate humanitarian services and legal advocacy to work to abolish immigrant detention in the United States. Arcus will support the pilot program through NEO Philanthropy’s Four Freedoms Fund.

The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund at Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice will use a grant to support organizations led by LGBTQ and gender nonconforming people of color in the U.S. South. Making the connections between criminalization and educational inequity, immigrant detention and mass incarceration, these organizations are building vital movements that link the fights for racial justice and LGBTQ justice.

A grant to OutRight Action International will support the United Caribbean Trans Network. The first regional Caribbean trans organization, UCTrans is advancing a movement to uplift trans people’s human rights to healthcare, employment, and freedom from violence. Stichting Hivos (Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries) will support the Mujeres Trans-formamos Centroamérica (Women Trans*forming Central America) project to increase the safety and security of trans women in Central America through regranting to trans groups in Guatemala and Honduras.

Changing narratives

The Proteus Fund’s Rights, Faith, and Democracy Collaborative engages faith communities to embrace values including the rights and dignity of women and LGBTQ people. A grant will support eight partners in Georgia and New Mexico who amplify progressive voices of faith and who are challenging harmful laws that allow religious organizations to exclude or discriminate against LGBTQI people.

Global Interfaith Network (GIN SSOGIE) will use its grant to increase the visibility of LGBTQI+ people of faith and to challenge conservative rhetoric that uses religion to deny LGBTQI+ rights.

Advancing LGBTQ rights in priority regions

In the U.S. South, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund works to end discrimination against trans people and provides pro bono legal name-change services to low-income trans and gender nonconforming people. A grant will bolster their efforts to improve access to legal services in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas, with a focus on people of color, poor people, and Spanish speakers.

Southern Vision Alliance received a grant for its work to join movements for racial justice, gender equity, and LGBTQ rights in North Carolina and across the U.S. South. Grants are also supporting Equality Florida Institute, Equality Foundation of Georgia, and Equality North Carolina Foundation for their state-level work, as well as Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network to provide youth development opportunities alongside health services including STI testing, HIV+ care coordination, and a range of support groups.

Also receiving support this Spring are East African Visual Artists for a documentary advocating inclusion of LGBTQ people in Uganda; Jinsiangu to increase safe spaces and wellbeing for intersex, transgender, and gender nonconforming people in Kenya; Western Cape Provincial Council of Churches’ LGBTI Gender Justice Project; and Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York for the participation of trans activists from the Global South in the 2020 and 2021 Human Rights Advocates Programs, which provide training to increase the local and international impact of grassroots leaders.

Central American groups receiving grants are Associación Salvadoreña de Derechos Humanos Entre Amigos for a project to develop inclusive faith practices; SOMOS CDC to help protect human rights defenders of LGBTI people in Costa Rica and Honduras; and Colectivo Amigos Contra El Sida for work to strengthen LGBTI civil society in Guatemala. And in the U.S., Justice Work, a project of National Center for Civic Innovation, will use support for community-based research that can be used for policymaking and organizing to counter misogyny, discrimination, and violence against LGBTQ+ women.

Included in this announcement are grants approved in December 2019 that were not listed in the fourth quarter grant announcement.