We have entered a new chapter in the movement for LGBTQ equality – one where the far-right political movement feels more emboldened than ever to roll back fundamental American rights and freedoms. The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, invited challenges to landmark LGBTQ precedents, and emboldened lawmakers at every level of government to ramp up a new wave of anti-LGBTQ attacks.
At the same time, we’re seeing an unprecedented level of public support for LGBTQ equality in the South – and so many people ready to speak out and stand up for equality.
That’s why the Campaign for Southern Equality is asking you to join us in Meeting the Moment in the LGBTQ South to respond to new attacks of LGBTQ rights, continue to advance LGBTQ rights, help people protect their rights and access care, and ensure that LGBTQ Southerners feel connected, loved, and supported.
2023 Focus of Meeting the Moment: Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project
Health care is a human right and everyone should be able to access the healthcare that they need in their hometown. But right now, lawmakers all across the South are passing extreme legislation banning best-practice medical care for transgender youth. As a result, 75% of transgender youth in the South now live in a state where a ban on gender affirming care has passed.
In response, the Campaign for Southern Equality has launched the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project (STYEP), a new regional effort which provides rapid response support directly to the families of youth who are impacted by anti-transgender healthcare bans in the South. Please join us.
It’s time to mobilize supporters to take local, state, and federal actions through rapid response organizing, lobbying, public education, election engagement, and litigation to identify and defend attacks on rights and secure new protections. Here are ways you can plug in:
Codify It, Congress
LGBTQ+ Southerners require federal action from the United States Congress – we cannot risk this extreme Supreme Court revisiting important victories to further marginalize our community. We called on the U.S. Congress to take action – now – by codifying landmark Supreme Court victories. In December 2022, the Respect for Marriage Act passed with strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress, including support from Southern members of Congress.
Pride Vote ’22
One in five LGBTQ people are not registered to vote – but our numbers can help sway elections and ensure that opponents of LGBTQ equality cannot continue to discriminate against our community. In the fall of 2022 we called on LGBTQ+ Southern voters to use their voice as their vote.
Volunteer With Us
We’re reinvigorating the Campaign for Southern Equality Volunteer Program. Opportunities will include participating in donor engagement events, serving as peacekeepers/marshalls for in-person actions or events, registering voters, empowering people to contact their lawmakers through phone banks and lobby days, and more.
LGBTQ Southerners and allied communities are feeling the strain after so many attacks, underlining the need to care for and support each other.
“Meeting the Moment” Wellness Workshops
In the Fall of 2022, the Campaign for Southern Equality launched “Meeting the Moment Wellness Workshops,” a series of conversations geared toward shared community and collective resilience. These Healing & Resilience Community Workshops were hosted by Campaign for Southern Equality’s Director of Healing & Resilience Holiday Simmons, joined by special guests.
Special Back-to-School Grant Round for Youth-Serving Organizations in the South
In September we launched, Back-to-School Support for LGBTQ+ Youth in the South, a special grant round sponsored by the Campaign for Southern Equality and The Ally Coalition (TAC).
Back-to-School Support for LGBTQ Youth
In August, we launched a Back-to-School campaign supporting trans youth with care packages, messages of love and solidarity, and a robust new “Know Your Rights” guide for LGBTQ students. Join us in sending a message of support to young people here.
Take Steps to Prepare
LGBTQ Southerners and allies are also newly concerned about their rights and preparing for future attacks on LGBTQ equality. The Campaign for Southern Equality will provide direct services and digital resources to support LGBTQ Southerners in knowing their rights, protecting their rights, and accessing critical services.
Pop-Up Clinics, Resources and Workshops
In 2022 the Campaign for Southern Equality hosted pop-up clinics and other workshops to ensure that LGBTQ Southerners know their rights and are working to protect them. Trainings included:
- Asheville – July 26, 2022 – Community law workshop led by attorneys Dizy Walton and Meghann Burke
- South Carolina – August 3, 2022 – Community law workshop led by attorney Colleen Condon and National Center Lesbian Rights’ Asaf Orr
- Sylva Pride – September 10, 2022
- Blue Ridge Pride – September 24, 2022
‘Know Your Rights’ Guide for LGBTQ+ Students and Schools
In September we published Supportive Schools for LGBTQ+ Students: A Guide to Policies and Best Practices, which provides recommendations for schools that are seeking to create safe and supportive educational environments for all of their students, including students who identify as LGBTQ+. This guide is written for anyone who shapes or is affected by policy and practices at K-12 public, private, and charter schools in the United States, with a particular focus on schools in the Southeast. Administrators and school board members are encouraged to use it as a guide to crafting or revising school and district policies. Students, family members, teachers, and other school staff are encouraged to use it as a ‘know your rights’ resource and as a tool for advocacy with a school or district.
The Trans in the South Guide
Trans in the South: A Directory of Trans-Affirming Health & Legal Service Providers, is a directory of more than 400 Southern health service providers who are trans-affirming. You’ll find lists of trans-friendly mental health providers, primary care physicians, HIV care specialists, attorneys, endocrinologists, and more across 13 Southern states.