On June 28, 1969, a riot erupted at the Stonewall Inn, an LGBTQIA+ pub in New York City. This uprising was a response to frequent police raids on LGBTQIA+ spaces, as the community had reached its limit. The Stonewall Riots marked the birth of the pride movement, igniting a surge in LGBTQIA+ activism that continued to grow over the years. While we have made progress in achieving LGBTQIA+ rights, discrimination still persists, with issues like lack of recognition for intersex individuals, the rising anti-trans rhetoric and a movement to introduce capital punishment in certain countries.
Friends Provident Foundation is dedicated to fostering a fair economy, we recognise the importance of addressing the marginalisation experienced by LGBTQIA+ individuals in our sector. We value and appreciate the efforts and advocacy of initiatives such as #CharitySoStraight and #QueerTrustees, and we actively engage with their activism as we carry out our work. We also appreciate the constructive feedback from #CharitySoStraight and #QueerTrustees who challenge us to enhance the Foundation Practice Rating. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog where we delve into these discussions further.
Since 2009, when I arrived in York for university, I have been involved in LGBTQIA+ Activist. As a young LGBTQIA+ individual who faced bullying due to my sexuality and gender identity, I expected to find an LGBTQIA+ scene and groups to join in York. However, I encountered difficulties in doing so. I joined York St John University’s LGBTQ+ collective (which, at the time, could not be recognised as a society due to the Students’ Union’s constitution) and attended a few LGBTQ+ socials. Through my community placements, I discovered the LGBTQIA+ Youth Group, where I met the chair of the York LGBT Forum. He invited me to a meeting, which marked the beginning of my involvement in establishing and managing LGBTQIA+ charities in the local area.
In 2015, York LGBT Forum took a significant step forward by registering as a charity, and I am proud to have served as a founding trustee. Having been involved in LGBTQIA+ social change movements for many years, I am now directing my energy towards a new goal: enhancing LGBTQIA+ representation within the charitable foundation sector.
Recognising the importance of diverse perspectives and lived experiences, I firmly believe that inclusivity and representation are vital in shaping the direction and impact of philanthropic work. By increasing LGBTQIA+ representation within the foundation sector, we can ensure that the needs, concerns, and aspirations of LGBTQIA+ communities are heard, understood, and effectively addressed.
I am committed to advocating for greater LGBTQIA+ representation in foundation boards, decision-making processes, and leadership positions. This includes encouraging foundations to actively seek out and engage with LGBTQIA+ voices, perspectives, and expertise. By fostering an inclusive and supportive environment, we can create opportunities for LGBTQIA+ individuals to contribute their unique insights and champion issues that directly impact their communities.