New Democracy Maps

Issues of Racial Justice & Inclusion: A Primer for LGBT Movement Funders

The Bottom Line

MAP's Primer: Issues of Racial Justice and Inclusion serves as a starting point, rather than a definitive analysis, that can inform efforts to work on racial justice and inclusion within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement. Drawing from secondary research and a small number of interviews, it is designed to provide an overview of general issues of race and ethnicity in American society and to motivate LGBT funders to work on issues of racial justice and inclusion.

  • Racial Justice & Inclusion: A Primer for LGBT Movement Funders Download


By 2050, more than half of Americans will be people of color – and today, nearly every indicator of well-being shows disturbing disparities according to race. Yet the LGBT movement’s lack of substantive work on issues most relevant to people of color leaves the movement vulnerable to irrelevance and division—and leaves fully one-third of the members of the LGBT community underserved.

This primer aims to inform and motivate LGBT-movement funders to work explicitly on issues of racial justice and inclusion. The primer illuminates general issues of race and ethnicity in American society, discusses why funders aiming for LGBT equality should work explicitly on matters of race, offers recommended philanthropic approaches to racial justice and inclusion (including language recommendations from the Aspen Institute and a model organizational self-assessment from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Race Matters Toolkit), and provides recommendations specific to LGBT movement work on racial equity and inclusion.

Also included in the primer’s appendix is information on nearly 50 nonprofit and philanthropic organizations working on race, which can serve as a starting point for learning more about existing resources related to this work. Note that this report does not reflect original research into LGBT-specific racial matters. Sources were limited to secondary research and a small number of interviews.


  • Movement Advancement Project

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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