For a second year in a row, Pride season looks and feels very different. Nationwide, festivities have been cancelled or are being held in the virtual realm due to ongoing public health concerns.
As we begin to ease into a new normal and the pandemic begins to fade into the rearview mirror, it’s very likely that LGBTQ nonprofits and entrepreneurs will still be living with its economic consequences for some time. That’s why now and beyond Pride month, we must celebrate and uplift the LGBTQ community by putting our money where our mouth is.
Support LGBTQ Nonprofit Leaders
LGBTQ-serving nonprofit organizations, especially those led by queer women and people of color, were severely under-resourced even before the pandemic hit. Still, these vibrant organizations serve as a refuge for transgender and queer individuals. The critical role they play in local communities was underscored during the pandemic, especially for a community that faces many barriers to receiving adequate, gender-affirming healthcare.
When I think of the leaders who have gone above and beyond this past year, I think of people like Nicole Santamaria. She’s the executive director of El/La Para Trans Latinas, a nonprofit based in the San Francisco Bay Area that has served as an anchor organization for migrant and transgender Latinas in the region. Despite the challenges that come with working on a tight budget, Nicole and other leaders at El/La Para Trans Latinas helped the community access food and rental assistance, as well as health and job-related services to weather the pandemic.
Leaders like Nicole should not have to work with limited resources to execute life-saving work—we can show our Pride now and beyond June by donating to or volunteering with organizations led by transgender Latinx leaders.
Support LGBTQ Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
After a year of Zooms, Facebook Lives, and other digital events, I know many people are eager to get together with friends in person. That’s why when I learned that my favorite LGBTQ, Latino-owned small business in Los Angeles was on the brink of closure and fundraising on GoFundMe to pay the bills, I was disheartened, though I was not surprised.
Disheartened because now more than ever, queer and trans Latinos need fun, safe and affirming spaces to come together, to dance and rejoice after a year filled with so much loss and grief that disproportionately hit our communities. Not surprised because many small businesses have struggled to access relief dollars to keep the lights on during the pandemic, especially those small businesses owned by Latinos.
Now is the time think critically about where we shop, and how we can use the power of our wallets to patron LGBTQ and Latino small businesses and entrepreneurs, so that they can bounce back stronger than they were before.
Throughout the pandemic, it’s become clear just how essential our LGBTQ and Latino nonprofit and small busines leaders are to communities—let’s continue to support them.
Written by Eduardo García, Senior Policy Fellow at the Latino Community Foundation.