Recent Comments

    Stronger Together

    By Roger Doughty

    It could hardly have been more ironic. When news broke only nine months ago—on Inauguration Day—that all mention of LGBTQ issues had vanished from the White House website, I stood in the middle of 3,000 LGBTQ activists at the annual Creating Change conference. Everyone knew it was “just” a website. But no one missed the implications.

    As we all know, it quickly went downhill from there. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, repeatedly sidestepped questions about LGBTQ rights. A tweet ordered a ban on transgender people serving in the military. Then there was the ending of DACA, the pandering to white nationalists, the declaration about building “the wall” (which history will number among America’s great shames), the barely-disguised racist rants directed towards the NFL, the crackdown on immigrants and refugees, and the Muslim travel ban. The list could go on.

    The ban on Muslims entering our country made me think immediately of Subi, the gay Syrian refugee whom Horizons had the privilege of honoring at our annual gala only a few short years ago. His story of persecution and courage was horrifying, but his resilience in the face of adversity was something that left everyone in that room speechless. For every Subi, I wonder how many others will now be left behind?

    But hope also exists. That first day of this new Administration, I was surrounded by a spectacular array of LGBTQ activists bent on resistance. At the conference, we heard a riveting call to solidarity and action from the Reverend William Barber, a potent national voice against injustice.

    Since then, our community has come together to join their voices in dissent, first at the magnificent Women’s March in Bay Area cities and around the country and, later, at other urgent marches like No Hate SF, Emergency Against DACA, and so many others. In response to seemingly unending attacks, we’ve produced, together, a tide of resistance. And the resistance is having impact, building solidarity across groups active in the fight for social justice and human rights.

    The resistance has shown that there is power in numbers and that, by working together, we are stronger. Horizons Foundation has always worked at the intersection of racial, social, and gender justice. We know that no one group can achieve equality and the equity they are seeking if other people are falling behind and don’t have it. It is this “intersectionality” that is bringing about change in our society and will continue to give power to our resistance. Because discrimination against Muslims is the same as discrimination against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Because Black lives matter. Because Trans lives matter. Because a woman’s right to choose matters. Because what matters for one of us, matters for all of us.

    As Dr. Barber so eloquently stated at the Creating Change conference, “America has a heart problem. There have always been forces that have wanted to harden—even stop—the heart of our democracy. But there have also always been people who stood together to stir what Dorothy Day said was a ‘revolution of the heart’ and what Dr. Martin Luther King called a ‘radical revolution of values.’” 

    Together, we can revive that heart of democracy—and our country.

    Roger Doughty is the President of Horizons Foundation (https://www.horizonsfoundation.org/).

     


    Horizons Honors

    Since 1980, Horizons Foundation has made more than $38 million in grants to the LGBTQ community. Historically, most of these grants have been to organizations in the 9-county Bay Area and to organizations that are on the frontlines of fighting for racial, gender, and economic equality.

    Horizons’ commitment has always been to strengthen every level and every part of the LGBTQ community, whether that is a larger better-known organization, smaller cutting-edge groups, or the ones almost no one has ever heard of—but that become the great strong organizations of the future.

    Horizons Foundation has played an active role at the birth of many organizations that are now pillars of our community. At the foundation’s annual gala, taking place on October 7, Horizons will be honoring Cleve Jones and Transgender Law Center. Both have had a profound effect, not only on our community, but also on our entire movement.

    Legendary activist Cleve Jones has been a leader for our movement since he was a young man doing a student internship in Harvey Milk’s office. Jones went on to be a founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and then conceived the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, one of the world’s largest community arts projects. A documentary about the first display of the complete (to date) Quilt at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, won the Academy Award for best documentary in 1989, and helped to bring national awareness to the AIDS epidemic.

    In 2016, Jones published When We Rise: My Life in the Movement, a portion of which was turned into an ABC mini-series written by Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning writer of Milk.

    Jones continues to fight for equality. Most recently, he was the driving force behind No Hate SF, a rally and fundraiser created in response to white nationalist demonstrations planned for Crissy Field and Berkeley. Jones was inspired by a small German town, Wunsiedel, which transformed an annual neo-Nazi march into an opportunity to raise funds for anti-racist organizations. Partnering with Horizons, the fund raised more than $116,000 in a few short weeks for organizations on the front lines of justice.

    In 2002, Horizons also helped to launch Transgender Law Center, which initially was a fiscally sponsored project of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. At a time when transgender issues are being played out in the national political arena, the Transgender Law Center works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or expression. TLC utilizes direct legal services, public policy advocacy, and educational opportunities to advance the rights and safety of diverse transgender communities.

    Recently, TLC has been a national leader in combatting hate and ignorance across the country. To ensure passage of legislation establishing a non-binary gender marker option on state identity documents, TLC diligently worked toward making California bill SB179 a reality. TLC’s work in this area helped to streamline the often-complicated gender marker change process. TLC has also led the way in the battle to stop transphobic “bathroom bills” that have become a focus in parts of the U.S., in addition to helping transgender immigrants and Dreamer populations understand and secure their rights in this country.

    For tickets and more information about the Horizons Foundation Annual Gala 2017 on October 17 at The Fairmont in San Francisco, please go to: http://www.horizonsfoundation.org/connect/annual-gala/