One year ago today, our nation was rocked by the horrific attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. In a message expressing our solidarity with those affected by the attack, we noted that it was particularly tragic because this event occurred at a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) nightclub during the very month that many across the nation were celebrating LGBTQ pride.
Today and throughout the month of June, we remember and honor those affected by the tragedy in Orlando. We lift up those who have worked to recover, aided by the many who have contributed funds, time, and energy to the communities that were impacted. We also celebrate the many achievements of the LGBTQ community and the advancements made toward LGBTQ equality. Nearly four years ago, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Exactly two years later, the Court issued a ruling making marriage equality the law in all 50 states. These two acts were considered extremely significant steps toward full equality with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.
This month, in cities across the country, people will march in Pride parades to celebrate the LGBTQ community. Members of the community will march in the parades, along with their allies in a demonstration of unity and affirmation. Washington DC’s Capital Pride Parade took place this past weekend, and once again, my wife and I marched in the parade with our son and daughter. We connected with other families there—parents of transgender children and same-sex couples who have given birth to, or adopted, kids of their own. It was not lost on us that for our children, having friends with two moms or two dads will be more of a norm than it was for us. We recognize that for our children, the reference to “gender non-binary” will, at some point, likely be replaced by “my friend Ellie.”
Of course, not everyone will be celebrating LGBTQ Pride this month. The current political landscape has given some reason to pause. This month, in cities around the world, people will march in an Equality March for Unity & Pride . These marches stem from a grassroots movement designed to mobilize LGBTQ communities and peacefully address concerns about the current political landscape and how it is contributing to the persecution and discrimination of LGBTQ individuals.
Within the philanthropic sector, there is both a cause for celebration and a reason to be concerned. According to Funders for LGBTQ Issues , grantmaking for LGBTQ causes reached a new record of $160.7 million in 2015, up from around $100 million in 2010. And while more funders are contributing to LGBTQ issues than ever before, Funders for LGBTQ Issues reports that growth in this number fell from a 20 percent increase in 2014 to just 5 percent in 2015.
During the month of June, take a moment to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month, the many achievements made within the LGBTQ community, and the record amount of grantmaking toward LGBTQ causes. At the same time, remember the many pioneers and activists who paved the way for much of what we celebrate today and continue the push for full equality across the LGBTQ community.