Current funding for LGBTI individual activists and organizations in developing economies is insufficient to achieve their goals of social justice, rights, and access to health and security for all people. While several public and private foundations have been providing financial support in this sector for decades, increased direct investment is needed, especially opportunities for US-based individuals and foundations to support LGBTI grassroots activists directly.
The current moment represents a critical window for LGBTI movements for a number of reasons. Both mass and social media report and spread information concerning LGBTI rights more quickly than ever before, allowing progressive individuals based in the US to see–and feel connected to–issues that are happening in settings far away. There also has been a rise in US-based anti-LGBTI activism making rapid gains to quash LGBTI rights in places as disparate as Uganda and Russia. As people–especially in the US–work powerfully to export anti-LGBTI ideology and policies, there is also a need to expand countervailing means to support pro-LGBTI activism and movements in effective, sustainable ways.
Even if Americans can support global LGBTI activism, these are not the best placed people to know what strategies and approaches are likely to change the hearts and minds of disparate places. That knowledge sits with the activists, organizers, and movements operating to confront the denial of LGBTI rights in low-and-middle income countries. While momentum might be global, action will necessarily need to happen as close to the ground as possible. LGBTI and other human rights defenders in countries around the world already have the capacity, the know-how, and passion to fight for their rights; what they too often lack is the financial support to initiate and to sustain human rights activism and service delivery to LGBTI people.