How Philanthropy Can Make Sure Trans People Are Not Erased

How Philanthropy Can Make Sure Trans People Are Not Erased

By: Andrew Wallace on October 22, 2018

As more than 1.4 million transgender Americans are threatened with being written out of federal recognition by the Trump Administration, Funders for LGBTQ Issues wants to reassure trans people in philanthropy and across the country that no administration has the power to make them disappear. Moreover we will push back against this administration and we will always support transgender communities whenever, wherever, and however we can. We invite our members and philanthropic partners to join us in denouncing this dangerous plan devised by the Trump Administration.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Trump Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services is preparing new rules to narrow the legal definition of sex to “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born.” The rules addressed in the memo are critical to transgender people, providing nondiscrimination protections in healthcare and education. These rules would not change nearly two decades of legal precedent that affirm and support the identity and rights of transgender people. Yet the stigma of being erased by your own government, paired with affirmative knowledge that the government will not enforce existing protections, causes indelible harm to transgender, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary people in our community.

News of this proposed memo comes in the wake of a host of other actions from the administration designed to limit the rights of transgender and LGBTQ people more broadly. These attacks include the banning of transgender people from service in the military and increased efforts to give businesses and individuals a right to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of religious freedom.

“This memo just confirms what we’ve known all along about this administration–that it poses an existential threat to trans, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary people across the country,” said Alexander Lee, Project Director of Grantmakers United for Trans Communities initiative. “The philanthropic sector can powerfully demonstrate its solidarity with trans communities by engaging in serious conversation and action that drive long-term investments in the trans communities. Now more than ever, we need philanthropy to be a partner as we fight for our lives.

As noted in the recently released report, The Philanthropic Closet: LGBTQ People in Philanthropy, transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people account for two percent of the staff and board of all foundations participating in the Diversity Among Philanthropic Professionals Survey. Grantmakers United for Trans Communities (GUTC), an initiative of Funders for LGBTQ Issues, aims to inspire a philanthropic culture that is inclusive and supportive of trans people through grantmaking and decision-making.

“This latest proposed action would only exacerbate the well-documented disparities faced by trans communities,” noted Ben Francisco Maulbeck, President of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. “Trans people–especially trans women of color–face higher rates of poverty, unemployment, HIV, and violence. But trans communities are also resilient, working to fight back against these disparities, whether through innovative service models or inspiring grassroots campaigns to reform the criminal justice system. Across all grantmaking priorities, now is the time for funders to support the life-changing and life-saving work that trans communities are doing.

For more information on the current trends, gaps, and opportunities related to trans funding, see our GUTC Infographic: Foundation Funding for U.S. Trans Communities. As always, Funders for LGBTQ Issues and its GUTC Initiative are committed to being a resource for grantmakers seeking to advance equality and justice for trans communities.

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