Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Lean on Us

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Lean on Us

Article excerpt

In wake of the rash of devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires, people have been tirelessly donating to disaster relief for months--despite compassion fatigue. The problem? Many larger organizations aren't able to speak to the specific needs of LGBT and/or HIV-impacted communities. For example, when the last natural disaster hit Haiti, relief workers gave out food and water to women, knowing they'd feed their families. Unfortunately, gay and bi men living in homes without a woman were overlooked; in other areas, otherwise healthy HIV-positive people went without lifesaving medication, changing their long-term health outcomes within a few short weeks.

Now, two relief funds hope to solve this problem: Alturi (Alturi.org) was originally created to help improve the living conditions of LGBT people around the globe by educating and engaging individual and corporate supporters, fostering support, and encouraging allies to help. The organization has teamed up with the highly-esteemed Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition to establish a relief fund for LGBT people in the Caribbean recovering from the recent hurricanes.

"In many cases, traditional relief [or] disaster giving models totally ignore the LGBT community, either because they are faith based--'faith' meaning that LGBT people are not worthy of help--or because the people on the ground are transphobic or homophobic," says Charlie Rounds, Alturi's executive director. …

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