“It takes no compromise to give people their rights … it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” – Harvey Milk, LGBTQ Activist, and Politician
In support of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) colleagues, family, and friends, let us take a minute to celebrate the importance of PRIDE month.
Earlier in June, the Biden Administration released “A Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, 2021” recognizing the contributions of and commitment to stand in solidarity with LBGTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice. This builds off of the previous executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identify or sexual orientation. While these are both important policies that influence and guide our work, the struggle for many that identify as LGBTQ+ remains in access to education, employment, housing, healthcare, and social services. Pride month is important to raise awareness about issues that disproportionately impact LGBTQ+ communities, as well as a time to celebrate the achievements made by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and other people of diverse sexualities and genders.
In our work at Cloudburst, we have had a history of focusing to ensure the needs of vulnerable LGBTQ+ populations are accounted for through our work with our clients. This includes:
- For the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, in support of the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, our teams work endlessly to help reinforce the important role that housing plays in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and more importantly, ensuring this housing is designed effectively with maximum impact for the residents.
- For the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, our teams helped to organize a national Fair Housing Forum on LGBTQ+: Fostering Understanding and Strengthening Fair Housing for All which focused on the systemic barriers and challenges facing the LGBTQ Community in the renting and home buying process, including for older LGBTQ+ populations. A wealth of resources and groundbreaking cases were reviewed that provided recommendations and challenged all fair housing providers to adopt new practice advancements to end discrimination against LGBTQ populations.
- As LGBTQ youth are disproportionately impacted by homelessness, with studies suggesting 20-30% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, Cloudburst has worked to improve strategies to identify homeless youth, define barriers to stable housing, and design programs to provide the resources they need. For more information True Colors United has amassed a variety of data and resources to help communities best prevent and end homelessness among this important population.
- In a recent assessment of the media sector conducted in Zimbabwe, it was found that youth and women should not be left behind in realizing a future digitified media state that supports the accurate dissemination of information to citizens and holds public and private figures and institutions accountable. It was also noted that USAID could do more to support their inclusion, as well as other marginalized groups in this effort—particularly LGBTQ groups and rural populations that are often cut off from Harare-based media.
As with many of our DEI reflections, PRIDE month is a time to proactively look back at how far we’ve come in our fight for equality and how far we have yet to go. Although the work we shared above offers a few examples of where our Mission-driven focus helps to advance impact for LGBTQ+ populations, the World Bank reported that more than 70 countries continue to criminalize homosexuality. While our USAID-funded work has begun to adopt renewed DEI strategies, global progress in advancing LGBTQ+ rights still lags far behind the US. Cloudburst seeks to continue to uplift the voices of LGBTQ+ communities and create an inclusive environment where all people can thrive, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
In the spirit of Pride Month and a celebration of the impact LGBTQ+ populations have had in the world, we encourage you to explore the resources below that illuminate the story of the fight for equality.
- Read about historical moments in the fight for LGBTQ rights.
- Familiarize yourself with key terms, gender pronouns, gender identity, bisexuality, and Sex and Gender Identity: What it Means to Be Intersex, Nonbinary.
- Storycorp has put together a wonderful compilation of LGBTQ Stories and Voices.
- The Human Rights Campaign has published a variety of resources and tools for equality and inclusion.
- Talk to your kids about Pride Month or watch videos on the Stonewall Uprising, the fight for transgender athletes, and more.
- Check out these responses to why “Why do you Celebrate Pride?
- Read more about 5 Trailblazers You Should Know in the African-American LGBTQ+ community