Up Front, Fall 2023

Messages of Queer Joy

For Pride Month 2023, we invited our LGBTQ+ family to reflect on their queer journeys. They shared their stories from a phone booth, which was located inside As You Are, a local D.C. queer bar, throughout June and July.

For these months, visitors left audio messages by dialing into the phone booth’s voicemail system, where they responded to the question, “What would you tell your younger queer self?”

These stories are filled with everything from joy and triumph to hardship and fear. Every story is a real experience lived by real people and this project aims to highlight our community’s experiences. Listen to their stories at hrc.im/phonebooth.

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Celebrating Changemakers

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An entrepreneur. A nonprofit co-founder. A chief operating officer. A social justice advocate. An executive director. A public health professional. They are all changemakers. They are all members of HRC Foundation’s ACTIVATE, ELEVATE, MOTIVATE and ELÉVATE programs. And they are all members of our transgender and gender non-conforming community.

Sharing their experiences and reading their stories helps us establish more positive representation, build our community and combat transphobia, stigma and anti-trans violence.

Read their incredible stories at hrc.im/transchangemakers.

Precursors to Homelessness

Parental rejection. Poverty. Risk of foreclosure and eviction. These are just a few of the determinants of homelessness for LGBTQ+ youth and adults, who are disproportionately more likely to experience homelessness and housing insecurity than their cisgender /heterosexual peers.

A new brief from the HRC Foundation, “Precursors to Homelessness: An Economic Analysis of Foreclosure and Eviction Risk Among LGBTQ+ People,” shows that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to be at risk of foreclosing on their home or being evicted. Every person deserves a roof over their head and a place to call home. It is the responsibility of advocates, policymakers and communities to tackle the root causes of homelessness. Read the brief and find action steps for what you can do to help at hrc.im/homelessnessreport.

3.4% OF LGBTQ+ YOUTH EXPERIENCE HOUSING INSTABILITY

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Extremist Backlash Against Drag

Threats against drag have reached an all-time high in 2023. In recent years, drag performances, including family-friendly “drag story hour” events at bookstores and libraries, have faced armed protests, threats and violent actions from right-wing hate groups. Several states have passed, or attempted to pass, legislation restricting where, when, how and to whom drag can be performed. Drag is important because it promotes visibility of LGBTQ+ people to wider audiences, which increases societal awareness.

Rooted in these legislative and violent attacks is a fundamental – if not intentionally willful – misunderstanding of what drag is. This fall, HRC released a new resource, “Understanding Drag,” which aims to correct these misunderstandings by introducing readers to the fundamentals of drag, in all its forms. Read the resource at hrc.org/resources/understanding-drag. Accompanying this resource, we also released a new article about extremist threats against drag, which can be found at hrc.org/magazine.


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Leaders in the Fight Against HIV Stigma

As part of its work to end the HIV epidemic, the HRC Foundation launched two critical programs to engage LGBTQ+ Black and Latine young people in the mission by providing mentorship, resources and education to help them become effective changemakers in their communities.

The GenHERate program is a leadership development cohort for Black women — cisgender and transgender inclusive — to partner with HRC to help end the HIV epidemic and health disparities facing Black women. The GENERAR program is the first Spanish language leadership development cohort dedicated to LGBTQ+ young people residing in Puerto Rico to learn how HIV and health inequities impact their communities. The programs are part of the “My Body, My Health” initiative, which works to break through the barriers and systemic injustice affecting the sexual health of our Black and Latiné LGBTQ+ communities.

Meet the GenHERate and GENERAR cohorts at hrc.im/genherate and hrc.im/generar.

Join the Ride

Transportation should never be a barrier in receiving life-saving care or access to life-changing opportunities, which is why HRC has partnered with Lyft to provide free rides. In partnership with Lyft and trans-focused community-based organizations, HRC is offering free Lyft rides in select cities for medical appointments, job interviews and more.

Through this program, we work to tackle the systemic racial barriers to care and prioritize trans communities of color. Since 2020, this partnership has provided nearly $100,000 in free Lyft rides to the trans and non-binary community.

See if you qualify, find local partners in your area, and take advantage. Learn more at hrc.im/freelyftrides.

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