I started off this week with a conversation have from time to time, but never in a serious and professional context. I spoke with my supervisor about how their organization demonstrates openness and acceptance to families, or parent(s) more specifically, that identify themselves as LGBTQ+. There was no picture on their website of a ‘non-traditional’ family, or any resources linked specifically for LGBTQ+ communities.
In the emergency shelter context, many donations and/or volunteers come from faith-based organizations. Historically. many of these organizations do not donate to ones that support the LGBTQ+ community, leaving the entity receiving donations in a predicament. Do they not voice their acceptance of the community in fear of losing donations? Or do they voice their acceptance and lose, or risk losing, much needed monetary support? I naively didn’t realize the rocky territory that many non-profits walk on in terms of who they can/will openly support.
And how does this affect the LGBTQ+ community when accessing those resources? Do families walk into an emergency shelter and hope that it will be accepting of them? That they will not receive hate or intolerance from other guests? As I am not an individual who identifies, I cannot even begin to imagine the hesitance that saturates asking for help or finding resources in a time of need. Be honest with yourself; how terrible would you feel if you are in need and you are scared to ask for help because of who you are?
I do not have the answers to these questions. However, in my resilience work with Families Moving Forward, I am now aware and wanting to address these questions. Deeply embedded societal issues (race, sexual orientation, class, etc) affect who is comfortable in attaining available resources and who is not, starting from who is pictured on a website or what kind of resources and community partners an organization has. How can a community and its individuals be resilient if they do not feel welcomed, supported, secure, or safe?