This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, and if you're planning on joining in the celebration, but looking for ways to offset your complicity in the corporate Pride machine, consider finding
LGBTQ+ organizations to donate to this Pride. (If you, like many of us, took the month of May off from drinking to prepare your body for the partying it's about to do, LGBTQ+ organizations are also a great place to funnel some of the money you saved!)
One of the cool things about LGBTQ+ organizing is that queer organizers are so often on the front lines of issues facing the entire population — they're simply focusing their efforts on the queer people impacted by those issues. This means that whatever justice work you're personally passionate about, whether it be accessible healthcare, prison abolition, or immigration reform, there's usually a queer-focused nonprofit group for that social issue which desperately needs your support. And if you prefer some more direct, impactful action, you can always search GoFundMe for queer campaigns looking to raise money for the cost of transition-related care, queer fertility care, or simply the cost of living as a person in a queer body, which is often astronomical.
Here are some organizations to jumpstart your search.
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center goes back as far as Pride itself. Founded in New York in 1969 as the St. Marks Clinic, Callen-Lorde combined forces with Gay Men’s Health Project in 1983 to become the Community Health Project. Eventually, it was renamed after singer and safer sex advocate Michael Callen and poet-activist Audre Lorde.
Callen-Lorde has been on the front lines of LGBTQ healthcare for the past five decades, pioneering HIV/AIDS treatment, transgender care, and LGBTQ health research that extends far past its home base in New York. Advocating for social change on behalf of queer people everywhere, Callen-Lorde also works to train the global medical community on how to better provide ethical, compassionate, and competent care for the LGBTQ community.
The health center celebrated its half-century milestone with
GLOW: 50 Years of Callen-Lorde, an anniversary party hosted by Drag Race alum (and newly minted Broadway star) Peppermint on May 31. You can donate to Callen-Lorde here.
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) has been working on behalf of low-income transgender and gender-nonconforming people of color on the ground level since 2002, the year its Stonewall veteran namesake died.
SRLP, according to its website, "works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence." It does this by acknowledging the intersection of racial, social, and economic injustice and advocating for the basic human safety rights of the most marginalized members of the LGBTQ community. This including improving access to social, health, and legal services. While some major national LGBTQ lobbying groups were fighting for gay marriage, essentially
working to protect the wealth and assets of the most privileged members of the LGBTQ community, SRLP was focused on helping meet the community's survival needs.
You can donate to SRLP
Among the most devastating crises still facing the queer population is the continued risk of homelessness for young people after coming out (or being outed) to their caregivers. The
Ali Forney Center (AFC) was established in 2002 and has since grown into the largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ youth homelessness in the country. According it its website, AFC assists "nearly 1,400 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 70,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered site housing program."
Headquartered in New York, AFC works to provide shelter, clothing, hygiene supplies, employment and education assistance, and healthcare to LGBTQ youth ages 16-24. In April, which was Child Abuse Awareness Month, AFC reported that
intake had increased by 20% in the last two years, and it's lost $300,000 in federal funding under the current administration. You can help offset that loss by donating here.
Black & Pink is a prison abolition organization founded in 2005 which aims "to abolish the criminal punishment system and to liberate LGBTQIA2S+ people/people living with HIV who are affected by that system, through advocacy, support, and organizing." In
2014, Black & Pink published a report on issues facing incarcerated LGBTQ individuals, including a survey of nearly 1200 incarcerated people, producing the largest known dataset on queer prisoners.
Among the report's key findings were that 85 percent of respondents had spent time in solitary confinement while serving their sentence, 65 percent identified as LGBTQ+ prior to their incarceration, and respondents were six times more likely to face sexual assault than the general prison population.
Black & Pink's programming includes
transitional and housing support, a reentry assistance program, and a youth program called The Marsha P. Johnson Youth Leadership Institute. A pen pal network between members and prisoners has been a cornerstone of the organization since its inception. You can donate to Black & Pink here. Immigration Equality is an LGBTQ immigrant rights organization which advocates for and represents LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants seeking safety, fair treatment, and freedom. Founded in 1994, Immigration Equality works on behalf of people living in the more than 80 countries where LGBTQ identity is criminalized or fundamentally unsafe, by offering direct legal services to LGBTQ asylum seekers, binational couples and families, detainees, and undocumented LGBTQ people.
By partnering with top law firms to secure pro-bono legal services, Immigration Equality has maintained a 99 percent win rate. It also works on policy reform by lobbying Congress to pass LGBTQ-inclusive immigration bills, fighting administrative discrimination against HIV-positive immigrants, and training asylum officers in LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigration law. You can donate to Immigration Equality
Audre Lorde Project (ALP), also named after the aforementioned poet and activist, is a community organizing center for LGBTQ+ people of color. The organization aims to cultivate community wellness by working closely with communities based on their individual needs, rather than trying to lobby the broken systems that frequently contribute to their severe marginalization in the first place.
The grassroots effort based in Brooklyn was founded in 1994, and its approach to justice work is unique; ALP actually teaches communities how to organize amongst themselves, in addition to staging its own programming. Leadership development is among its guiding strategies and ALP aims to instill the basic principals of organizing in communities "as a strategic process for building people’s collective power to achieve self-determination and justice." This means that ALP empowers LGBTQ POC communities to identify their own issues, to come up with community-based solutions based on collective and direct action, and to coalition-build. You can donate to the Audre Lorde Project