The holiday season is upon us, which means that, at last, this year is almost over. As you contemplate which sweater to buy your sister who probably doesn't need more sweaters and if it's okay to give your dad slippers two years in a row, it feels nice to take a moment to think about more broadly impactful forms of generosity, too.
The LGBTQ community has always been based in resilience, but this year, like many before it, hasn't been easy for those who aren't cisgender and straight: Legally, the government has made it easier for both businesses and health providers to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on religious or moral ground. After we lost at least 22 transgender Americans to murder, violence against trans women remains a staggering epidemic. Protections for sexual assault survivors were rolled back, disproportionally harming transgender people and bisexual women.
If you feel inclined to direct some of your holiday-season away from the mall and into the pockets of a community that could certainly use it, consider donating to these incredible causes and organizations below helping LGBTQ people.
According to their website, the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) is a "grassroots-funded global initiative created to offer opportunities for trans people of color, our families, and our comrades to engage in healing, foster kinship, and build community." TWOCC, which was created because of a lack of trans women of color–led initiatives, aims to educate, strategize with, encourage self-care for, and celebrate community among trans women of color throughout the US through organizing and advocacy. You can donate to TWOCC here.
Black and Pink is a network of incarcerated LGBTQ people and allies across the country who support one another through a pen-pal program and advocacy work centered on prison abolition. "We are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing," reads their website. Black and Pink also elevates the art of incarcerated LGBTQ people, conducts surveys about their prison experiences, and publishes a monthly newspaper including work by LGBTQ people currently in prison. You can donate to Black and Pink here.
The Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) is an NYC-based "leading professional provider of social support and programming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) youth." HMI uses a package of direct services and referrals surrounding culture, health, counseling, education, and more that has supported and uplifted over 2,000 LGBTQ youth to date. You can donate to the Hetrick-Martin Institute and find other ways to aid in their efforts here.
Southerners on New Ground (SONG), an organization made up of "people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, [and] LGBTQ people in the South," works to foster change and acceptance of LGBTQ people in the southern United States. SONG describes itself as a "queer liberation organization" focused on grassroots activism and leadership development: "We build, sustain, and connect a southern regional base of LBGTQ people in order to transform the region through strategic projects and campaigns developed in response to the current conditions in our communities," reads their mission statement. You can donate to Southerners on New Ground here.
The first Black- and trans-led LGBTQ Center in the South Side of Chicago, Brave Space Alliance (BSA) is dedicated to affirming and providing resources for Chicago's LGBTQ community. BSA's goal is to help LGBTQ Chicagoans with improving their health and wellness, leadership development, and visibility. BSA frequently organizes local events in support of LGBTQ people, particularly those of color, as well: In October, BSA helped lead a rally calling upon Chicago police to devote more resources to investigating the deaths of De'janay Stanton and Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, two Black trans women killed in Chicago this year. You can donate to Brave Space Alliance here.
The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) "works to support, empower and connect LGBTQ Muslims [and] challenge root causes of oppression, including misogyny and xenophobia." Since 2013, MASGD has been working to expand the acceptance of LGBTQ Muslims within Muslim communities and increase awareness about progressive Islam in the LGBTQ community and beyond. Among MASGD's work is a project sharing the stories of LGBTQ Muslims, a yearly retreat for LGBTQ Muslims and their partners, and providing mental health resources to their community. You can donate to MASGD here.
InterACT focuses on legal advocacy for young people who are intersex and raising awareness about what it means to be intersex through media, community work, and human rights initiatives. InterACT fights against medical intervention on children "in an attempt to make their bodies conform to typical binary notions of male and female" before they're old enough to provide consent. Their advisory board—consisting of doctors, lawyers, and mental health experts—advises law agencies and international organizations like the World Health Organization and Human Rights Watch on how best to protect the rights of those born with intersex traits. You can donate to InterACT here.
While we still have a long way to go before all LGBTQ people in the US are treated fairly by both society and the law, it's important to recognize the struggles of LGBTQ people globally. Uganda, which is the home of an incredibly high number of LGBTQ refugees per year, is one of the toughest countries in the world to live as an LGBTQ person. Because of thriving right-wing American missionary programs pushing anti-gay agendas and high rates of hate crimes against LGBTQ people, it remains illegal for Ugandans to engage in same-sex sexual activities. Sexual Minorities Uganda works to protect and support Uganda's vulnerable LGBTQ population. You can donate to them here.
AVEN was founded in 2001 with the goal of "creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community," according to the organization's website. Each year, AVEN conducts a census on the asexual community and those with related identities (demisexual, gray-asexual, etc...), contributing to the scarce research on asexual people. They also run forums through their site where people can ask questions about their own sexuality and connect with other asexual people. You can donate to AVEN here.