How Funders Can Respond to the Administration’s Latest Anti-LGBTQ Actions

Published: October 6, 2017

 

This week, the Department of Justice mounted another attack on LGBTQ communities, first reversing guidance issued under the Obama administration that had extended workplace protections to transgender people and today issuing sweeping guidance endorsing a broad license to discriminate under the guise of “protecting religious liberty.”

This administration is using “religious freedom” as a smokescreen to allow people (including government employees) and businesses to deny services to LGBTQ people and their families, people of color, women, and even people of diverse faiths. “There is a continued need for a bold philanthropic response to what can only be seen as a concerted effort to roll back our progress towards equality for LGBTQ people,” said Ben Francisco Maulbeck, President of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. “Unfortunately, the small community of LGBTQ grantmakers just doesn’t have the resources to respond to attacks of this scale on so many fronts. We need new funders and allies to join us in supporting the struggle for equality and justice.”

Funders for LGBTQ Issues is in conversation with movement leaders and funders to strategize an appropriate response to this latest attack and we will announce programming on these topics soon. In the meantime, our network of funders committed to LGBTQ issues has identified four critical areas foundations can invest in now:

  • Support the legal defense of LGBTQ people from discrimination. This will be critical as this broad interpretation of religious freedom is tested in the courts.
  • Support public education efforts to raise awareness of the millions of LGBTQ Americans who lack basic legal protections. Fifty percent of LGBT people live in states that do not prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Fund advocacy at a state and local level to enact policies that will protect LGBTQ people from discrimination and fight back against religious exemptions that erode those protections.
  • Support direct service organizations that are explicitly inclusive of LGBTQ people and families, so as to assure that LGBTQ people have full access to resources and services despite the incomplete protections these communities currently have.

We will continue to monitor the repercussions of this week’s announcements and work closely with our membership and partners to mobilize support for all communities impacted by these attempts to roll back progress toward full dignity and equality for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.