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Ops & Asks

The Musings Of A Houston Fundraiser

  • Writer's pictureJuliana M. Weissbein CFRE

Don't Just Slap A Flag On It And Call It Inclusive:

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Understanding Your Queer Donors and Community

Happy Pride everyone! Last week I had the pleasure of hosting the webinar "Don't Just Slap A Flag On It And Call It Inclusive: Understanding Your LGBTQIA+ Donors And Community" alongside the incomparable Jonathan Meagher-Zayas and T. Clay Buck. We covered a topic near to my heart as a Queer Femme who has dedicated my career to working at progressive causes which directly impact my communities. We discussed the ways that fundraisers can avoid the pitfalls of performative allyship, or when organizations and their staff offer surface-level support to marginalized communities for the sake of their brand image, without taking any steps to affect real change.


The fight for queer and trans equality is far from over. Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage, there are still numerous legal loopholes and gaps in protection for queer and trans individuals. While some states have enacted anti-discrimination laws, there is no comprehensive federal legislation in place to safeguard against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity nationwide. This leaves many queer and trans individuals vulnerable to discriminatory practices in areas such as employment, housing, and public accommodations. Transgender rights also continue to be a significant battleground in the fight for equality. Transgender individuals, especially trans women of color, face alarming rates of violence, discrimination, and lack of access to healthcare. The legal recognition of gender identity, including the ability to update identification documents, remains a challenge in many jurisdictions. There is a pressing need to address these issues and ensure that queer and transgender individuals are fully included in the fight for equality. I will not stop fighting.



I opened our session with this quote from Barbara Gittings. For those who don't know, Barbara Gittings is best known for being an American activist fighting on behalf of the queer population. In her most well-known fight, she took on a Goliath: the United States government. She picketed to stop them from barring queer applicants from employment. However, as she states in the quote above, her greatest wish was not for laws to pass, but for true acceptance and equality. While our presentation focused on the ways the fundraising sector can best cultivate our queer supporters, or win the hearts and minds of the community, I encouraged attendees to keep our conversation in context about the real harm that is impacting queer folks right now as I write. I encourage you to do so as well.


I will be blunt. We are in the midst of an attack on queer freedom. As of June 1st, The ACLU is tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills in the U.S. - nearly half of which target transgender and nonbinary people specifically. Where I am writing from, Texas, there are 53 Bills alone. I for one, am not willing to sit on the sidelines as politicians attempt to erase our community, threaten our youth, our access to health care, and our rights to self-expression. Let me be clear. Queer people are not the threat. Poverty, lack of access to a good education, inadequate health care, white nationalism- this is the threat to focus on. Not drag queens and trans athletes. What is happening to the queer community right now should be a jolting wake-up call to our sector. And it is important to name it. While our presentation did not focus heavily on the current state of our country, this cannot be ignored. Afterall, everything is intersectional.


"What is happening to the queer community right now should be a jolting wake-up call to our sector."

These attacks are also coming at a time when a new report (LGBTQ Index put out by The Equitable Giving Lab) proved that the queer movement is deeply underfunded. The Index found that from 2015-2019, queer organizations received just 0.13 percent of overall philanthropic support. This is deplorable.


Before we could dive into the ways our organizations can be allies to our queer supporters, we needed to contextualize the moment we are in. This is not a hypothetical. We need to do more than just performative allyship. We need to make sure our supporters, board, staff and communities we serve know that our missions are pro-queer, pro-trans, pro-human. Don’t just say it, but examine the ways you are and the areas you may need to improve. Remember, telling our stories and representing queer joy is a revolutionary act. Which side are you on?


If you would like to watch this webinar, please click here.



Happy Pride To My Resilient, Beautiful, And Perseverant Queer Family!


 

Juliana M. Weissbein, CFRE is a respected leader and decision influencer in regard to fundraising operations best practices. With over a decade of experience, Juliana thrives on professional growth, team success, measurable results, and inspiring fundraisers to utilize data-based strategies. Juliana currently serves as the Associate Director of Development Operations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She is an AFP Global Board Member, AFP Global's 2019 Outstanding Young Professional Fundraiser, and is a member of the AFP Global Women's Impact Initiative. Juliana is immediate past chair of the AFP New York City chapter’s Emerging Leaders Committee and currently serves on the chapter’s board chairing their mentorship program. She resides in Houston, TX, and never turns down a good kombucha.


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