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Greetings from Seattle, WA, where I am busy working for OutRight and sheltering at home with my wife and 3 children. Like you, I am concerned about how much suffering COVID-19 is causing around the world and how it may change our lives. And like you, I’m looking for moments of connection and joy in my home, my neighborhood, and with my queer community and allies - including many of you!
I’m writing today with some good news. Four weeks ago, OutRight launched a COVID-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund to support grassroots LGBTIQ organizations who are on the frontlines of responding to the pandemic around the world. We’ve been joined by leading companies and foundations like Calvin Klein, Inc., the Dunn Family Charitable Foundation, Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Microsoft; and by 100+ individuals who have stepped up to help.
So far, we have raised more than $370,000 to ensure that the most marginalized in our global community have food, shelter, healthcare, and protection from violence during this time of crisis. I was honored to make a donation to the Fund and if you can, I hope you will join me so that we can support more vulnerable queer people around the world.
While I’m buoyed by so much generosity, the need is truly sobering. In the first ten days we received more than 1,000 requests for funding, mostly from small, grassroots LGBTIQ organizations. Their stories are harrowing:
- Many are providing food to the most isolated in our community, who are hungry and unable to work because of distancing mandates.
- They ask for help to access and deliver medicine to community members who are unable to get hormones, HIV medication, or treatment for COVID if they fall sick.
- Some are disseminating accurate public health information and cleaning supplies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before it ravages the LGBTIQ community.
- Local human rights groups are fighting the stigmatization and scapegoating of local LGBTIQ populations who are being blamed for COVID-19.
But the stories have also been incredibly uplifting because in every case, the local LGBTIQ community is stepping up to care for each other. This is what OutRight’s Emergency Fund can support. We want to raise more money - a lot more - so that we can provide grants to more LGBTIQ organizations and reach people who may not be helped by other government or relief efforts.
If like me, you are fortunate enough to be relatively stable and secure at this time, I hope you will join us by making a donation today. Even if you can’t give right now, you can still help by amplifying and sharing the Emergency Fund with your family, friends, and colleagues who may want to help.
We recently received this thoughtful message from Davis Mac-Iyalla, one of OutRight’s Religion Fellows and a LGBTIQ interfaith leader from Ghana:
I want to thank OutRight for the COVID 19 Emergency Fund. The situation in Ghana and West Africa is terrible for LGBTIQ people and the thought that someone cares to give emergency support when governments and some religious leaders are blaming COVID 19 on vulnerable sexual minorities is a huge relief. Thank you for giving hope during this time of crisis.
I want to echo Davis - thank you for caring enough to give, and for standing in solidarity with our LGBTIQ community around the world.
With tremendous gratitude, and best wishes for your continued health and safety.
OutRight West Coast Director
P.S. If you’d like to hear some inspiring and entertaining stories from OutRight staff, partners and friends around the world about how they are coping with COVID-19 and finding joy, check out our new OutRight TV video and podcast series!
Published on April 24, 2020 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization