FFL receives grant to address LGBTQ issues

Lousiana’s

The Out in the South Fund has two main goals: 1) build up local LGBTQ funds as sustainable sources of locally rooted LGBTQ funding; and 2) strengthen the capacity of local community organizations making a positive impact on the lives of LGBTQ Southerners.

Foundation for Louisiana (FFL) has been awarded a planning grant of nearly $50,000 from the Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ Out in the South Fund. FFL will be hosting a Louisiana Statewide Summit in Baton Rouge on Oct. 13-14 to bring together community organizations working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities to discuss issues of concern within the state and to develop a common agenda to work on collectively in conjunction with other local foundations, FFL will also convene a group of funders to explore the development of a statewide pooled fund to support LGBTQ Initiatives in Louisiana.

The Out in the South Fund has two main goals: 1) build up local LGBTQ funds as sustainable sources of locally rooted LGBTQ funding; and 2) strengthen the capacity of local community organizations making a positive impact on the lives of LGBTQ Southerners.

According to The Williams Institute, there are “approximately 117,000 LGBT adults in Louisiana, including approximately 88,400 who are part of Louisiana’s workforce.” Until recently, only seven local municipalities protected LGBTQ people from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation through the use of local ordinances.

“Two of these localities, New Orleans and Shreveport, have broad ordinances, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in both public and private sector employment. The other five localities’ policies protect only local government employees,” The Williams Institute report explains.

On April 13, 2016, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, reversed the previous administration’s order and signed an anti-discrimination order on several grounds including sexual orientation, gender and gender identity. This is the first time that gender identity has been included in a Louisiana anti-discrimination policy. While this is a huge step, this bill only protects state employees from discrimination and does not affect the rest of the workers in the state. Previous Democratic governors had passed a similar order — for sexual orientation only — which is necessary because no state law protects LGBTQ people from employment discrimination.

“By bringing together community organizations and funders, we hope to create a common vision and agenda to move forward human rights for LGBTQ residents of Louisiana,” states Alfredo Cruz, FFL Vice President for Programs and Special Initiatives and a member of the Funders for LGBTQ Issues board of directors. “We also hope to leverage support from local, state and national funders as Southern states receive significantly less financial support for LGBTQ issues than most of the country..”

The priorities of the Out in the South Fund are informed by more than two years of research and planning conducted by Funders for LGBTQ Issues and many partners. The research highlighted the gap between over 700 LGBTQ organizations and groups based in the South and the drastic underfunding of Southern-based LGBTQ work. The Fund is launching at a critical time in the ongoing movement toward inclusion and justice for Southern LGBTQ communities and aims to support efforts that will result in LGBTQ people and their families living authentic lives as part of the fabric of communities throughout the South. Learn more at: www.outinthesouth.org.