NEW YORK — Today, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and Mama Cash released a new report highlighting the Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer ( LBQ ) movement and detailing the priorities and funding gaps for LBQ women and LBQ gender non-conforming people.
The LBQ Report, which can be accessed here, aims to grow both the amount and quality of funding available for LBQ communities. The report highlights what is necessary for LGB people to be truly free, including a future of self-determination, bodily autonomy, sex positivity, and freedom and safety from violence, racism, torture, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny.
"Why this focus now? We are witnessing a global pull-back on protection and liberation for all people, and an increase in violence, exploitation and oppression," said Happy Mwende Kinyili, Director of Programmes at Mama Cash. "Women and those people who reject or transgress accepted gender and sexuality roles are the most vulnerable. From our experience, we know that LBQ women and GNC people are also one of the most under resourced communities. We must increase support in this moment when they are most at risk."
As oppressive, hegemonic forces become ever-emboldened around the world, it is imperative that the voices and organizing of LBQ women and gender non-conforming people are elevated and centered in conversations of justice and equality. The LBQ report underscores why the lessons and principles of feminist LBQ organizing must be prioritized in order to produce long-term structural change: because, as the LBQ activists of the Combahee River Collective expressed over forty years ago, when the most oppressed among us are freed, we will all be free.
"LBQ women and GNC folks have long been at the frontlines of movements such as women's rights, LGBTQI rights, environmental justice and racial justice, among others," said Mariam Gagoshashvili, Senior Program Officer at Astraea. "Their work is deeply intersectional, and often brings to the table overlooked but transformational strategies like alliance-building and cultural change. The time has come for this community to allocate attention and resources to addressing its own needs and lived experiences, while continuing to fight for all these causes."
Through comprehensive dialogue and meetings between Astraea, Mama Cash, and LBQ activists from the Global South and East, key priorities for the movement emerged, including: the need for leadership training and skills building; LBQ-inclusive advocacy and education; mental health support services; youth engagement and leadership; collaborations within the Global South and East; legal advocacy; and more comprehensive research and data gathering.
The report also details the LBQ movement's needs in order to address these priorities, first and foremost including funding. LBQ activists also cited a need for more comprehensive cross-movement dialogues, "know your rights" trainings, and networking and information sharing between activists.
"There are so many possibilities if you have LGBT projects, if you have women's rights projects that have a wider scope," said Maya Tabidze, an activist with the Women's Initiatives Supporting Group ( WISG ). "But when it comes to LBQ women it's always limited."
The full report is available s3.amazonaws.com/astraea.production/app/asset/uploads/2017/10/MC_LBQ_report_ver2.pdf .
ABOUT THE ASTRAEA LESBIAN FOUNDATION FOR JUSTICE: Astraea is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. We support brilliant and brave grantee partners in the U.S and internationally who challenge oppression and seed change. We work for racial, economic, social, and gender justice, because we all deserve to live our lives freely, without fear, and with dignity.
ABOUT MAMA CASH: Mama Cash mobilises resources from individuals and institutions, makes grants to women's, girls' and trans people's human rights organisations, and helps to build the partnerships and networks needed to successfully defend and advance women's, girls' and trans people's human rights globally.