Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people are all kinds of people. So as we discern what last night’s events mean for our community, it is important to be clear that LGBTQI people span across every race, class, political persuasion and place in the world.
Today, we see and understand the fear and sadness that LGBTQI People of Color, LGBTQI Muslims, LGBTQI people who are Undocumented, LGBTQI women, Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Americans are expressing. I have already heard LGBTQI folks expressing fears about how to legally protect their families. This is an uncertain time.
The fact is, the new vice president-elect was the architect of vehement anti-LGBTQ sentiment and legislation in Indiana. The fact is, the party platform decided upon by the new majority party included a clear call for the repeal of marriage equality, and when referring to access to bathrooms for Transgender individuals stated, “They are determined to reshape our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions.” It is too soon to know what will happen next. Threats of mass deportations, dehumanizing behavior towards women and the blatant disregard of the practice of religious freedom are traumatic, causing tens of thousands of people living in the U.S. to feel less safe.
At PFund Foundation we talk a lot about health. That’s because the mental, physical and emotional health of LGBTQI people are at near constant risk. Homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism and xenophobia impact all our abilities to live life as full, authentic members of our community – violence, suicide and markedly lower health outcomes are the direct results. Defunding of critical financial safety nets for our seniors, defunding of critically important sexual and reproductive health care, and defunding of clinics and clinicians who are working to support people living with HIV and AIDS would all, very much, have an immediate and devastating impact on LGBTQI people.
LGBTQI people are familiar with what it feels like to be loathed – we have been the objects of fear-mongering, we have been made caricatures, we have been told we are not fully human beings. I say this because we have a unique capacity for empathy on days like today – sitting with our friends and neighbors, listening as they share why they feel afraid, angry, and deeply disappointed.
Solidarity. Love. Resilience. Commitment. Joy. We are capable of all these things.
We are your community foundation. Our job is to think, plan and organize every day to fight for funding needed to ensure that LGBTQI people and communities have what they need to thrive. A lot of questions are ahead of us.
Today, on behalf of PFund Foundation, I want to name that we know who we are, we know what we value, and from our intersection — operating at the nexus of LGBTQI identities and philanthropy — we will be your fierce advocates. Making our case became more urgent last night. Since 1987, we have believed in the power of collective action, pooling together resources both large and small from people like you who care about the LGBTQI community. We know that people are looking for a way to help. One of the ways you can help is to give. We are proud of who we are and who we love. And always will be.
To our straight allies, thank you for your commitment to protecting us, loving us, and standing up for us. We are going to need you.
Trina C. Olson
P.S. Stay tuned in future days for opportunities to come together, be together, and strategize for our futures.