Supporting LGBTQ+ Rights Through Giving Circles

Jul 17, 2023

“To me, Pride means crossing a threshold and letting it be known who you are and what you stand for, with joyful, fierce, unflinching belief in the potential of a better world for yourself and the collective.”

-Bridget Conway-Taylor, founder, Black Trans Lives Thrive

In June 1969, the queer uprising known as the Stonewall Riots ushered in the gay liberation movement, the fight for LGBTQ+ rights that continues today, and the month-long celebration in June of LGBTQ+ communities we now know as Pride. While Pride parades and parties are vehicles for queer visibility, resistance, and joy, many queer and trans people remain at risk due to the stigma they face and discriminatory laws being introduced that limit their rights of full expression.

Now that Pride month has passed, consider expanding your support of queer communities by making a resource commitment that extends year-round. One straightforward way to do that is by joining or starting a Giving Circle.

Some Giving Circles on Grapevine that support LGBTQ+ communities that you might consider joining are:

Black Trans Lives Thrive

Black Trans Lives Thrive is a giving circle founded in response to the question: how can I support Black Trans leaders who are working hard to build thriving communities?” says founder and activist Bridget Conway-Taylor. They came together in June 2020, inspired by the racial uprising of that season. The Giving Circle gives grants to organizations run by and for black trans people, with the aim of protecting, supporting, and celebrating the black trans community. In three years, they’ve raised close to $120,000 for black trans organizations focused on a range of issues.

This Giving Circle has raised over $10,000 for Black Trans Nation, a New York-based non-profit working to influence global policies that improve the lives of black trans people. They’ve supported organizations that provide physical space for retreat and respite to black trans women and girls; those that use a mutual aid model to provide material assistance for rent and medical services; and many more that work to uplift and empower black trans communities around the country.

“What started as a small effort among friends has grown into a nationwide network of queer people and allies supporting Black Trans-led organizations, every month,” says Conway-Taylor.

LBTQ Giving Council

Affiliated with the Chicago Foundation for Women, this Giving Circle mobilizes resources and support for Chicago-area organizations that benefit LBTQ and questioning women and girls in that region. The Giving Circle has raised over $200,000 since it started in 2004, with a specific focus on building access to healthcare, freedom from sexual violence, and economic security to the queer women’s community.

Since moving to Grapevine in 2022, the LBTQ Giving Council has raised almost $13,000 for their grantees. Giving Circle members make an annual commitment to the group, meet monthly and pledge an annual minimum donation of $100. Grantees are selected cooperatively among Giving Circle members and have included One Roof Chicago, a new initiative to build an intergenerational LGBTQ+ community space for queer elders and young people in need of affirming housing, community, and career development support.

According to Felicia Davis Blakely, President and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women, “CFW embraces Pride to celebrate the hard-won victories of the LGBTQIA+ community and to strengthen our commitment to grow the good by fighting for gender and social equity in Chicago and across the country.”

Pride 365

With just over 100 members, this new and growing Giving Circle is focused on supporting LGBTQ+ rights every day of the year. They’ve already raised over $6,000 for nonprofits that focus on eliminating discrimination, work toward equal rights, provide access to healthcare and protect basic rights for the LGBTQ+ community. Members commit to a quarterly donation, starting at $50. You can also search Grapevine’s Giving Circles Network to find more LGBTQ+ Giving Circles with different areas of focus and affiliation.

Queer communities have many reasons to celebrate, and they also face challenges year-round. Starting or joining a Giving Circle that expands support from Pride month to every month throughout the calendar year is a great way to protect, support, and celebrate the LGBTQ+ communities in our neighborhoods and beyond.