Crossroads: the future of the LGBT movement

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The results of a new survey suggest that LGBT rights organizations should more strongly consider their alliances—by lending support to more causes.

The study, released in June, was done by the Building Movement Project, which focuses on developing partnership opportunities, training materials, and research tools for non-profit organizations. It was conducted by sending out surveys to advocacy groups in the United States, then analyzing the results from the thirty-six that responded.

According to the study, titled “At the Crossroads: The Future of the LGBT Movement,” it’s time for organizations to not only begin looking at expanding their goals, but creating new alliances to continue making progress. The battle for marriage equality is far from over, but it isn’t the only civil rights issue out there, nor should the LGBT community consider issues that only some of its members are affected by.

A co-author of the study, Frances Kunreuther, suggested that for example, focusing on combating discrimination of all kinds would allow the formation of alliances with other groups interested in social justice. “At a time when the Voting Rights Act was just gutted, we should be fighting discrimination against immigrants and people of color,” she told the Windy City Times. “Reproductive rights for women would be another focus. We could build momentum and expand that base.

“I thought it was great that, when the Voting Rights Act was put down, so many LGBT groups came out for so many of their brothers and sisters who had lost tremendous tools for equal rights. We need to do much, much more of that,” she added.

The authors of the study also state that having dedicated organizations and activists across the nation is “vital.” Though there are considerable numbers of both on the East and West Coasts, much of the rest of the country is largely left out. Additionally, lack of funding often leads to high turnover regarding both organization employees and volunteers, which hurts their ability to make long-lasting connections with allies.

Kunreuther also pointed out that marriage equality, while important, is not as potentially inclusive as other issues, such as LGBT poverty, which could easily be linked to other advocacy groups for added strength.

She added, “We have had some sharp focus on marriage—that was the right strategy at the time—but to make the gains we need to expand the vision. We will have more allies and people on the ground to make things happen; we can’t do that alone.”

Additional information about the study can be found at the Building Movement Project.

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