Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haul, is Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.
by Sabrina Rich, Communications Team
This Bi Visibility Day, we are proud to celebrate vibrant and powerful bisexual communities around the world. Lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) women and non-binary people* are not only creating change in all aspects of their own lives, but are also building a new political reality that is inclusive, respectful, and safe for all communities. Alongside lesbian, trans, and queer people, bisexual women and non-binary people are activists, movement leaders, and advocates for their communities.
LGBTQI communities are beautiful and diverse. Treating a group of people who face vastly different experiences as a monolith is harmful for all members of the community. Bi Visibility Day is significant because it celebrates a group within the LGBTQI community that is often ignored. Bisexual people frequently experience homophobia, but they also face discrimination from their lesbian and gay peers. The notion that “bisexuality is not real” is common, and is regularly perpetuated by folks within and outside of the LGBTQI community. Bi Visibility Day is a necessary reminder that bisexual people are real, whole, complex human beings whose identities are deeply valid.
Acknowledging the unique realities of bisexual communities is important not only for combatting such discrimination, but also for providing tangible support to bisexual communities. The impacts of biphobia include discrimination in workplaces, housing, and healthcare. Celebrating Bi Visibility Day also means acknowledging these issues and working to support bisexual communities in their fight for justice.
Bisexual women and non-binary people, along with their lesbian and queer peers, face violence, discrimination, and exclusion everyday around the world. Earlier this year, Astraea released our report, Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: The State of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Movements. This report presents findings on the state of lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) movements around the world based on surveys conducted in 2018 with 378 LBQ groups from all regions of the world and 67 donors, including public and private foundations, as well as follow-up interviews resulting in four case studies of LBQ groups. Through our research, we found that:
- LBQ groups are young and quickly growing in numbers.
- LBQ groups work in intersectional ways.
- LBQ groups utilize multiple robust organizing strategies to achieve their aims.
LBQ groups are doing necessary, meaningful work to build powerful movements and create lasting change, but they lack the proper funding. Our research also found that:
- LBQ groups have extremely small budgets and very little access to external funding. 25% of groups reported having a non-existent or zero annual budget, and 40% of LBQ groups reported having a budget of less than $5,000
- LBQ groups receive insufficient support to fully implement their strategies. Fewer than one in four groups using advocacy, community and movement building, and capacity building — the three most common strategies — reported receiving sufficient funds for their planned activities.*
The lack of funding that LBQ groups receive speaks to the erasure of queer women and non-binary people from LGBTQI and women’s funding spaces. General LGBTQI and women’s funding often fail to reach LBQ women and non-binary people, who sit at the intersection of these identities.
Bisexual women and non-binary people are on the frontlines, fighting back against the various oppressions they face. Bisexual communities around the world are working to dismantle systems of homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism, and it is our responsibility to fuel these grassroots movements.
It is an unfortunate reality that data and research focusing specifically on bisexual women and non-binary people is rarely conducted and difficult to come by, despite these communities facing unique challenges. While our report includes useful findings and recommendations for funders looking to support LBQ movements generally, we have included some resources below that pertain more directly to understanding bisexual communities and their needs.
* Astraea focuses on bisexual women and non-binary people rather than men because we recognize that these groups face disproportionate discrimination globally, including exclusion, violence, lack of legal protections, and lack of access to health care, education, and employment, along with lesbian, queer, and trans women and non-binary people.
* For our full list of key findings and donor recommendations, visit FundLBQ.org
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