'Giving Circles' Fight LGBTQ+ Oppression with Generosity
Friday, April 15, 2022
In Texas, the latest state law targeting trans people directs the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate any surgical treatment of trans children as possible child abuse.
In response, a variety of groups are fund-raising to fight for the rights of transgender and nonbinary individuals, and communities of color, across the South.
One group benefiting from the investments is the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (Sojourn).
Wayne Green, executive director of the Jewish philanthropy network Honeycomb and founder of the Kavod Giving Circle, said its members are marching and donating funds.
"There are people, both in Texas and around the country, that care about the LGBTQ community," Green asserted. "And we are not going to step down, and we're going to stand up collectively in every way possible."
Green, who is Jewish, pointed out he has experienced discrimination himself, and is now helping other Jewish teens find their voices. Sojourn works with Jewish organizations on education programs, contacting legislators and being part of coalitions.
Rose Kantorczyk, communications associate for Sojourn, said her group is encouraging people to speak out against discrimination. And she has seen a positive reaction within the Jewish population of more than 100,000 in Texas.
She described Sojourn as a "safe place," committed to making sure children are able to participate in gender-neutral ways.
"Places where trans people who feel threatened by these laws can feel warmth and comfort and tradition shouldn't feel 'othered,' whether that's teaching complications about how to ask about people's pronouns within a service," Kantorczyk contended.
Historically, LGBTQ+ communities have received less than one-third of 1% of all foundation funding, but the giving circle is increasing its presence in Texas.
Kyson Bunthuwong, director of development for Philanthropy Together, said as more groups join the effort, a lot can be accomplished.
"Philanthropy in general has under-invested in, or disinvested in, LGBTQ causes," Bunthuwong remarked. "So, we really see the giving circle movement kind of taking up the mantle and finding ways to fund these great organizations."
Bunthuwong added with LGBTQ+ rights under threat, donations are even more urgent this year to help fight oppression with generosity.
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