For lesbian, bisexual, and queer women and non-binary people, marginalization comes from many sides. LBQ people confront routine misogyny, homophobia, and heteronormativity–a belief that being straight is the preferred sexual orientation. They often live in hostile environments and have limited access to basic needs, such as education, health care, housing, and employment. They also face workplace discrimination and are subjected to grave harms including conversion practices and targeted sexual assault. Even within LGBTIQ or women’s rights movements, they are often silenced or stigmatized.
The issues facing LBQ women are systematically unseen and are, therefore, under-resourced. According to a recent report by Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, only 5% of global LGBTIQ funding is directed to LBQ issues.
Despite these challenges, LBQ activists are doing extraordinary work in LGBTIQ and social justice movements globally. This is why Outright launched the LBQ Connect program in 2022: to strengthen LBQ advocacy, change mindsets, build networks, boost LBQ visibility and narrow existing gaps.
Demonstrating Impact A Year Later
Quote from An activist from a West African country
“In my community where I work, my attention is either focused on my work or being self-conscious about my safety and security due to the hostility of people in the society towards LGBTIQ persons. But after a few months of the mentorship program, I now make time to reflect and care for myself."
Quote from An activist from a Southeast Asian country
“As an LBQ activist working for the grassroots women in my community, it gave me joy to learn more from what other activists were also doing in their respective communities."
Quote from An activist from a South American country
“My self confidence has increased greatly and I now have the ability to share ideas comfortably in meetings. I am able to stand up for myself in challenging situations and appreciative and constructive feedback from my mentor gives me strength. This has greatly impacted my organizational and strategic skills at the workplace.”
LBQ Connect is a multilingual initiative has an innovative format with four components:
- Learning and Mentorship: LBQ Connect participants are supported and advised by mentors. This approach builds solidarity amongst LBQ women of different generations, regions and approaches to activism, creating a strong ecosystem.
- Grant Program: The grants provide annual financial support for LBQ-focused projects and are run and operated by the participants, their organizations, and affiliates.
- Research: Through research grants to participants as well as LBQ-focused research led by Outright staff and consultants, LBQ Connect aims to collect evidence to better understand the journeys and struggles of LBQ women.
- Advocacy: Data provided by research and through ongoing engagement with participants informs Outright on how to adequately respond to the needs of global LBQ communities.
LBQ Connect is Inclusive and Participatory
The program's primary target are lesbian, bisexual, and queer women– including cisgender, trans and intersex –and non-binary people on the gender spectrum who relate to an LBQ identity. It is a feminist program, inspired by empathy, mutual support, inclusion, trust and transparency. The program applies the principles of participatory grant-making, meaning community members help design and drive the program and the attribution of grants is coordinated in cooperation with LBQ activists.
Here are some facts and figures from LBQ Connect’s inaugural year:
- 50 LBQ participants from 37 countries
- 50 LBQ mentors
More than 30 percent of participants and mentors identified as trans and non-binary. The majority of participants are from the Global South.
- Learning modules are in English, French, and Spanish.
- The learning program has featured 50 speakers.
- Outright distributed 31 grants for LBQ-focused projects among LBQ Connect participants.
- In the coming months 20 research papers on LBQ issues will be produced.
- LBQ Connect will be launching its next cycle in March of 2023.
For more information on LBQ Connect, email us.