Systemic Change

“It’s time for politicians to understand that being an LGBTQ+ ally means fighting for the poor. Far too often, politicians ignore the challenges faced by LGBTQ people and families struggling to make ends meet. We are calling on elected officials — including the president — to understand and prioritize the needs of low-income LGBTQ+ folks. As proven to us by Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Barbara Smith, and Queers for Economic Justice, fighting for LGBTQ+ liberation means fighting for economic justice.”

—Tyrone Hanley, NCLR Sr. Policy Counsel

NCLR is not only pushing forward on issues impacting the lives of LGBTQ people, we are committed to bring others along with us. When we look at who is most harmed by inequity, we often see people who are least represented and already embroiled in harmful and discriminatory systems.

LGBTQ people are more likely to be represented in the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems and these systems are least able to respond adequately and appropriately to their needs. NCLR strives to not only change the functionality of these systems in support of our community, but to transform systems mired in structural racism, homophobia and transphobia.

NCLR is a co-founder of the LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Network, the first coalition of LGBTQ organizations to address issues of poverty in our community, and is engaged in some of the most groundbreaking efforts to work with legislation, policy and public education to transform the economic safety nets for LGBTQ people. These efforts represent a holistic approach to justice — access to Medicaid and federal support benefits — calling out the disproportionate representation of LGBTQ people among those living in poverty in the United States.

Nearly 700,000 people in the United States have experienced conversion therapy, with more than half of those occurring during their adolescence. A San Francisco State University study found that LGBTQ youth who are highly rejected by their parents or caregivers were eight times more likely to report having attempted suicide; six times more likely to report high levels of depression; 3.5 times more likely to use illegal drugs and to be at higher risk for contracting HIV.

Supporting youth has been a cornerstone of our work — as evidenced by NCLR’s transgender youth project, our Born Perfect campaign to end conversion therapy and Common Ground — our project working with NCAA religious colleges to create opportunities to be more inclusive and accepting of LGBTQ student athletes and litigation and policy efforts to address inequities in schools across the country. NCLR’s Youth Program has a long history of working on California juvenile justice and social welfare policy, working in coalition to prevent entry into public systems of care, and training, educating and partnering with state and local departments to ensure LGBTQ youth are safe, seen and cared for within these systems. In the wake of COVID, efforts to shut down juvenile detention centers have increased and we have played a key role in efforts to transform these systems mired in structural racism.

Public policy, education and advocacy are vehicles for change. Whether it’s protecting our right to reproductive freedom, decriminalizing sex work, securing economic safety nets, reimagining welfare and carceral systems or chipping away at conversion therapy laws state by state, NCLR is transforming the living landscape for LGBTQ people everywhere.

Join with us to create new solutions to pervasive problems. Together, we can reimagine a better future for the LGBTQ community.

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