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  • The transgender pride flag flown in the Castro District of San Francisco, U.S, 2012.

    The transgender pride flag flown in the Castro District of San Francisco, U.S, 2012. | Photo: Archive

Published 8 December 2015
Opinion

Western LGBT groups have often been criticized for being vehicles of imperial foreign policies and cultural imposition.

A new philanthropic initiative will invest US$20 million into the transgender justice movement in the U.S. and abroad amid what has been called a state of emergency for trans people, funders announced Tuesday.

The Arcus Foundation and the Novo Foundation, dedicated to LGBT and gender rights respectively, launched the “Global Trans Initiative” to support transgender activists and groups in their struggle for social acceptance and economic security.

“The Global Trans Initiative is a coordinated response to the alarming and pervasive range of disparities found within transgender communities,” said Kevin Jennings, Arcus’ Executive Director, in a press release.

“Together with our partners, we are committed to delivering increased and necessary resources to those in the field working tirelessly to end the violence and discrimination facing transgender people around the world.”

The initiative has been two years in the making together with front-line transgender activists and other funders in what will be a five-year funding plan, organizers said.

The project aims to curb the rampant transgender homicide rate, as well as high poverty and homelessness rates among trans and gender nonconforming people globally.

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Funding for transgender issues continues to be very limited, with transgender causes receiving less than one penny for every US$100 awarded by foundations, according to a study produced by Funders for LGBTQ Issues.

While it has not been disclosed which organizations in the Global South will be financed under the new initiative, western LGBTQ groups have often been criticized for being vehicles of imperial foreign policies and imposing culture-specific understandings of “equality” onto low-income countries.

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