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Know Your Rights
Source: RaceWire
Subject: TGNCIQ Justice
Type: Media Coverage

LGBTQ Groups of Color Work to Build Bridges

Tammy’s video is right on. One of the lessons we learned from the defeat of the No on 8 campaign is that we need to build strong, authentic relationships between LGBTQ organizations and POC organizations. As Mark Sawyer commented at the Facing Race Conference, one of the most important ways to build these alliances is to support the infrastructure of the many LGBTQ organizations that are led by and function in communities of color. These organizations are the natural bridge builders between issues, movements and leaders.

Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues has been addressing this question through our Racial Equity Grantmaking Initiative. In order to combat the widely held presumption that LGBTQ equals white and POC equals heterosexual, FLGI funded eight LGBTQ foundations with a matching grant specifically earmarked for LGBTQ POC organizations. Most of the foundations report that with this initiative, they are encountering and supporting many autonomous POC LGBTQ organizations that had not until then been on their radar.

There is much more to be done.

I believe that “LGBTQ issues” need to be defined in ways that are inclusive of the needs and demands of LGBTQ people of color. Research, both anecdotal and quantitative, put issues relating to community building, HIV/AIDS, health, human rights and civil rights high on list of needs for LGBTQ people of color. White-led LGBTQ organizations need to be active partners in these struggles with all people of color, both LGBTQ and straight.

And finally, I think that racial justice and other people of color organizations can do much better at incorporating LGBTQ experiences, issues and recommendations into their organizational analysis, political education and membership programs.

There are some examples of organizations both LGBTQ and not specifically LGBTQ who are working every day, in the most creative ways, to build the kind of alliances that Tammy describes. And they are doing this in the face of Right wing attacks and the strong pull of anti-LGBTQ religious leaders. Check out the work of Pineros y Campesino Unidos (PCUN) in Oregon, Make the Road New York’s GLOBE Project and Southerners on New Ground for inspiration and ideas.