While millions were marching on Saturday, including some CSE team members in Greenville, Asheville and Charlotte, a small cohort of us were at Philadelphia at Creating Change, engaged in lively discussion with folks from across the country about radical redistribution of resources in the South. Especially in the difficult times that lay ahead, it is our imperative to strategize how to best support and fund grassroots-led work.
The South is home to over ⅓ of the country’s LGBTQ population. LGTBQ people in the South are more likely to be poor, be people of color, and have fewer protections in employment and housing. Yet, the South receives only 8% of total national funding for LGBTQ issues, nearly 50% of LGBTQ groups operate with only one or no full-time staff, and 20% of groups operate with an annual budget of $10,000 or less.
When we zoom in on the 8%, we learn that most of the funding in the South is centralized in metropolitan areas, like Houston and Atlanta. And despite the South being home to 55% of black people in the US, and ⅓ of the country’s transgender population, only ⅓ of Southern LGBTQ groups reported incorporating a racial justice framework and only 36 of about 750 groups report working primarily with transgender and gender non-conforming communities.
At Creating Change, we looked closely at these disparities and envisioned possibilities for a more powerful LGBTQ movement, where the grassroots leaders, and especially those queer and trans leaders of color, have the resources and the support to transform the South.