“Giving Out” to LGBT Organizations of Color

Corey Yarbrough, Hispanic Black Gay Colaition's Executive Director

Corey Yarbrough, Hispanic Black Gay Colaition’s Executive Director

By: Corey Yarbrough*

Five years ago, I was one of many Black gay men in Boston searching for community. Attending local lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender (LGBT) events often exacerbated feelings of isolation as most were overwhelmingly attended by faces that did not reflect mine and tackled issues that did not speak to my experience. As a result, it felt impossible for me to thrive as a newcomer to the city while being unapologetically Black and proudly same gender loving.

In 2009, Quincey J. Roberts and I decided to be the change we wished to see by creating the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC). Since its founding, HBGC has worked to inspire and empower Hispanic, Latina/o, and Black LGBT individuals to improve their livelihood through activism, education, outreach, and counseling.

Now five years later, HBGC represents what is possible when an underserved community can organize and pull together the resources of our community to meet the needs of our community. Once a void for Boston now exists an LGBT organization led by and for Black and Latina/o people. With the presence of HBGC, comes limitless potential for empowering new generations to challenge, and rise above, racism, homophobia, transphobia and the other social injustices that contribute to an overwhelming number of disparities robbing countless, undeserving lives from reaching their utmost potential. 

Give OUT Day, on May 15, 2014, is a unique opportunity to sustain and strengthen the power of organizations like HBGC and others that serve individuals in need of LGBT programs and services that are culturally grounded and inclusive. Give OUT Day is a national initiative that engages hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals on a single day to donate in support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender programs and services. 

Reflecting on my own experience and the impact of HBGC reminds me of the importance of investing in organizations serving individuals at the margins of society, including those ostracized because of their race in addition to their sexual orientation and gender identity.  We are the resilient individuals who reside in your neighborhoods, are a part of your community and families; yet often feel invisible and disempowered by a web of oppressions that devalue our unique identities.

Give OUT Day, on May 15, 2014, is a unique opportunity to sustain and strengthen the power of organizations like HBGC and others that serve individuals in need of LGBT programs and services that are culturally grounded and inclusive. Give OUT Day is a national initiative that engages hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals on a single day to donate in support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender programs and services.

In addition to the injustice directly experienced by LGBT people of color, LGBT organizations of color also face inequalities in funding and resources. According to Funders for LGBT Issues, the annual LGBT grant dollars per African American LGBT adult work out to $2.90. This is less than half the national annual average of $5.78 in LGBT grant dollars per LGBT adult for 2011-2012.

Give OUT Day is also your opportunity to make up for these harsh disparities in funding by exercising your power to invest in organizations that affirm and empower LGBT individuals of color—individuals who are a significant part of the LGBT community yet remain marginalized and most at risk for homelessness, HIV infection, violence, and substance abuse, among others.  

In addition to the injustice directly experienced by LGBT people of color, LGBT organizations of color also face inequalities in funding and resources. According to Funders for LGBT Issues, the annual LGBT grant dollars per African American LGBT adult work out to $2.90. This is less than half the national annual average of $5.78 in LGBT grant dollars per LGBT adult for 2011-2012 

While we advocate collectively to create a world where gaps in services and funding no longer exist, it will also take us financially investing in organizations of color to ensure they remain afloat, have a voice in the larger LGBT community and are at the forefront of the fight for full LGBT inclusion and empowerment.

To learn more about Give Out Day and learn more about participating organizations, visit giveoutday.org.  To make a contribution to the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition for Give OUT Day, visit hbgc-boston.org.

*Corey Yarbrough is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition. The Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) works to inspire and empower Hispanic, Latina/o, and Black LGBTQ individuals to improve their livelihood through activism, education, outreach and counseling.  Learn more at hbgc-boston.org.

 

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