by Sean Thomas-Breitfeld
Originally published: July 17, 2017
This year’s Pride celebrations were marked by necessary debates on the purpose of Pride in this new era of political resistance and what it means to have full representation of the diversity of LGBTQ people within the movement. Under the current U.S. Administration, philanthropic organizations and the nonprofit sector are now, more than ever, carrying the mantle for social change—be it for LGBTQ rights specifically or the struggles for universal healthcare, quality public schools, criminal justice reform, or economic opportunity. But as mainstream LGBTQ advocacy organizations focus on responding to so-called “religious freedom” laws, “bathroom bills,” and instances of workplace discrimination, activists of color are simultaneously calling on the movement to recognize the particular impact race has on their lived experiences as LGBTQ individuals.
Such tensions around racial equity within the fight for LGBTQ rights and inclusion are reflective of the simultaneous struggles LGBTQ people of color experience in nonprofit workplaces, where both racism and anti-LGBTQ bias are far too common realities. My organization’s recent research report shows that racial discrimination is the primary barrier for LGBTQ people of color in nonprofits. Systemic racial bias is compounded by anti-LGBTQ bias and preventing qualified LGBTQ people of color from ascending to leadership positions in the sector.