Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of color organizations in the U.S. tend to be small; local; diverse across populations, issues and strategies; and operate with few to no staff members, according to a report recently released by Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues (FLGI), a national philanthropic group based in New York City.
Building Communities: Autonomous Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer People of Color Organizations in the U.S. represents the first-ever national study on this sector. The report was officially released this week at the Creating Change conference in Detroit, MI, sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Responses to this study came from 84 organizations across 20 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC.
Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues acknowledges that while this sample does not represent the universe of LGBTQ people of color groups., it serves as an insightful first glance into the sector.
“Understanding how our diverse communities have organized themselves to work on the many issues affecting their lives is a critical first step towards repairing racial inequities and creating a diverse, pluralistic society for all of us,” said Karen Zelermyer, executive director of FLGI.
Of the 84 organizations identified by the study, most focused on people of color in general, people of African descent and Latina/o people. Groups also reported working with multiracial/biracial people, Native American/Two Spirit people, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Arab and Iranian people, and South Asians.
“We found that LGBTQ people of color groups utilize a variety of strategies and work on a range of issues, including numerous concerns shaped by poverty and economic injustice,” said Robert Espinoza, author of the report and director of research and communications at FLGI.
The study also found that these groups tend to operate on funding from individuals and community events and are less likely to receive support from foundations, corporations and government sources.
“This research allows us to see how important it is for the philanthropic sector to support groups that are dealing directly with the racial, economic and gender barriers that splinter our society,” said Espinoza.
The full report is available at http://www.lgbtfunders.org/RacialEquity.