LGBT+ funding seen lagging as COVID-19 stokes aid needs

Thursday, 28 January 2021 14:30 GMT

Ugandan refugee Dennis Wasswa, a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, sits by the door of a shelter at the Kakuma refugee camp, in Turkana county, northwest of Nairobi, Kenya February 22, 2020. Picture taken February 22, 2020. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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Major donors set to boost support this year, but pandemic demands point to a shortfall, philanthropy experts say

By Hugo Greenhalgh

LONDON, Jan 28 (Openly) - Global funding for LGBT+ issues is expected to lag demand for support as the coronavirus pandemic exacerbates the hardships and discrimination faced by gay, bisexual and transgender people, philanthropy researchers said on Thursday.

Global Philanthropy Project (GPP) survey of 24 major donors showed their funding for LGBT+ causes would rise to $90 million this year, up 20% from 2018 but unlikely enough to meet increased need during the COVID-19 crisis.

"In terms of the human rights struggles and the new, significant demand of the humanitarian response – we don't see that will be met by the rate of growth that is anticipated," said Ezra Berkley Nepon, senior programme officer for knowledge and learning, at GPP.

"We need humanitarian aid agencies to address explicitly that LGBTI communities are among significantly impacted communities in the COVID humanitarian response," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The report tracked 24 of the world's largest LGBT+ funders, among them governments and multilateral donors whose combined budgets are responsible for almost half of all LGBT+ funding worldwide, excluding domestic U.S. grants.

A poll carried out last year by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, UNAIDS and the LGBT+ Foundation and other universities found that across 138 nations almost half the 20,000 LGBT+ respondents faced economic difficulty due to COVID-19.

A quarter said they were unable to meet basic food needs.

But securing funding is a long-standing problem for LGBT+ organisations.

A 2018 report from the ILGA-Europe advocacy group found "funding opportunities do not match (the) priorities" of the 287 LGBT+ organisations surveyed - three-fifths of which had no paid staff.

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(Reporting by Hugo Greenhalgh @hugo_greenhalgh; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit

Openly is an initiative of the Thomson Reuters Foundation dedicated to impartial coverage of LGBT+ issues from around the world.

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