… an initiative by the LGBTIQ working group of NNIRR.
Gay. Loca. Schwul. Bakla. Tongzhi (同志, tóngzhì). These are words used throughout the world to describe the shared experience of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirit, and gender non-conforming.
As a direct reflection of the National Network’s intersectional approach to immigrant right’s work, we launched the LGBTIQ Outreach and Leadership Development Project in 2009, prompted by members who met at our 2008 national conference in Houston. With initial support from the Arcus and Astraea foundations, NNIRR began to develop and lay plans around the initial goals urged by caucus members:
- To develop the leadership of LGBTIQ members in the immigrant rights movement;
- To provide tools, training and resource sharing among groups; and
- To facilitate deeper discussions in local immigrant communities to create more openness and understanding of the LGBTIQ immigrant experience.
Our program was shaped by Roberto Tijerina, a queer organizer from an immigrant family. He helped to develop a work plan informed by and useful to our LGBTIQ immigrant communities, and reached out to member organizations that have expressed an interest in this work. He coordinated a historic series of regional meetings in September-October 2011 in the Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest, involving some 60 participants from more than 20 organizations.
NNIRR, working with member organizations and members of the LGBTIQ project, has worked as a national partner in the Uniting Communities project, initiated by the Western States Center. Uniting Communities provides a tool kit and curricula for engaging discussions of LGBT rights with communities of color. NNIRR supports the exciting initiatives of Uniting Communities, working in diverse immigrant communities around the country to help raise awareness of LGBT rights, issues and concerns, and to strengthen support for LGBT members of our communities.
For more information about Uniting Communities, visit the project website: http://www.westernstatescenter.org/our-work/uniting_communities
Members of the Audre Lorde Project helped to conduct education on the intersections of workers-immigrant-LGBT rights for May Day 2012 in New York. The lively and diverse contingent for the May Day march reflected shared values and demands for justice! (Photo below by Syd London)