By: Funders for LGBTQ Issues Staff on March 7, 2022
UPDATE: When this post was originally published, Florida Senate Bill 1834 was not let passed into law. On March 28th Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill known as the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill into law. The law bans discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grades or where “not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students”– language so broad and vague that it effectively bans instruction on the LGBTQ community and history at early grade levels. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2022.
Funders for LGBTQ Issues is deeply concerned about Texas’ State Department of Family and Protective Services investigations into families who have provided care to their transgender children. These investigations are the result of Governor Abbot’s directive to state child welfare agencies to pursue child abuse investigations against families obtaining affirming medical care for their transgender and gender non-conforming children. The weaponization of child welfare to separate LGBTQ families is a brutal practice rooted in the oppression of Black, Brown, immigrant, and Indigenous communities. Whether we are talking about migrant families seeking sanctuary from climate change or state violence, or TGNC young people seeking medical care, we know too well how real the threat of family separation can be. These tactics demand an intersectional approach that recognizes whether fighting racist policies banning Critical Race Theory or legislation seeking to deny access to reproductive healthcare, our freedom is bound up in each other.
Republican state legislatures across the country, and especially in the US South, are appealing to their most conservative party members who have outsized power during the primaries in an election cycle riddled with disinformation campaigns and voter suppression. As I write this message, Florida’s Senate committee just passed the infamous “don’t say gay” bill which would ban teachers from speaking about certain LGBTQ topics to primary school students. Last year, Arkansas became the first state in the country to ban gender-affirming treatment for trans and gender nonconforming youth.
Movement organizations rooted in communities dealing with these legislative battles are organizing with deep rigor and intention to not only name the truths of our lives and the lives of our families, but celebrate them. They recognize that this is not the work of just one election cycle, but rather the work of generations.
Through our work with the Out in the South Initiative and Grantmakers United for Trans Communities, we know that many funders – both Southern and national – are partnering with movement organizations based in communities facing these battles. This moment offers an opportunity for philanthropic institutions across the country to expand their investment in intersectional movement building. Foundations must recognize that whether we are talking about transphobia, racism, xenophobia or climate change, the divisions we create in our funding do not always mirror the realities of our communities. As Audre Lorde said so many years ago, “there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives”.
Funders for LGBTQ Issues is calling on our membership to support TGNC youth in communities impacted by these harmful anti-trans policies. Institutions can support by:
As a network of funders committed to supporting LGBTQ movement work, we remain committed to responding to the needs of LGBTQ communities during these challenging times. We will continue to provide opportunities for funders to learn together and, most importantly, move resources in a way that supports the work we need right now. Stay tuned for more information from us about how to respond to these times and join us in May for Funding Forward where we will provide important context and strategies for grantmakers seeking to organize and build more expansive approaches to liberation.
President, Funders for LGBTQ Issues
image credit: iStock.com/Luis M