Thursday, June 1, 2023

New Report Details LGBTQ Equality Successes In The South

The South is home to one in three LGBTQ people in the United States, and more than four in 10 LGBTQ people in the South are people of color. Contrary to stereotypes about the possibilities for political progress in the South, LGBTQ Southerners are often leading the way nationwide in innovative programming, organizing, and strategies to support their own communities and make meaningful change on their own terms.

What can we learn from LGBTQ Southerners on building coalitions & nurturing community?

The Movement Advancement Project’s (MAP) blog series on queer southern stories highlights the organizations featured in the organization’s report, Telling a New Southern Story: LGBTQ Resilience, Resistance, and Leadership, amplifying the vital work already being done by advocates, activists, and community organizers in the region.

Released in partnership with the Campaign for Southern Equality and The Equality Federation, this report examines the experiences and advocacy strategies of LGBTQ people in the U.S. South.

Despite the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming employment discrimination protections nationwide, 93% of LGBTQ Southerners live in a state with a low or negative LGBTQ equality score, reflecting laws which impact virtually every aspect of daily life. Additionally, key cornerstones of Southern culture—including religious conservatism, one-party control, and the legacy of slavery—make the South unlike any other region in the country.

The report outlines challenges that LGBTQ people in the South face, including economic insecurity, criminalization, violence and harassment, and disparities in health access and outcomes.
However, the work of LGBTQ advocates in the region demonstrates innovation and creativity in responding to these challenges. LGBTQ Southerners often work outside the state legislative context, focus on community building, and directly address the immediate needs of LGBTQ Southerners by providing housing, food, and healthcare access. Advocates are adept at seizing opportunities to educate and change hearts and minds.
Southern LGBTQ organizations spotlighted in report include Equality Florida, Gender Benders (South Carolina), Knights & Orchids Society (Alabama), Nationz Foundation (Virginia), Southerners on New Ground (North Carolina), STAY Project (Appalachia region), and Transform Houston.
A companion report, LGBTQ Policy Spotlight: Mapping LGBTQ Equality in the U.S. Southdetails the laws and policies impacting LGBTQ people in 14 Southern states.

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