Beyond “Rainbow Capitalism”: Sustained Support Creates Real Change for the Trans Community

A Latine woman standing proudly in front of a large trans flag banner.

The Stonewall Uprising in New York City in the summer of 1969 marked a critical inflection point in the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement. Led by trans women of color, the uprising saw the queer community unite against homophobic state and police brutality. More than 50 years later, Pride has grown from its origins in protest to a monthlong celebration that takes many forms around the world.

A Latine woman standing proudly in front of a large trans flag banner.

Photo from All Out, Tides Foundation partner

For non-LGBTQ+ folk, the month of June brings opportunities to learn from and about — and advocate for — the community. For companies, Pride Month is a time to celebrate LGBTQ+ employees and demonstrate inclusive values. However, recent examples, like Target pulling inclusive clothing lines and Pride merchandise following fundamentalist backlash surface necessary debates about the potential for harm and cynicism of corporate Pride. “Rainbow capitalism,” where companies seek profit and goodwill from their public actions during Pride, without standing by and supporting the LGBTQ+ community year-round, is justifiably becoming part of the conversation about how companies should and should not consider their approaches.

We acknowledge that taking the month of June to recognize this community and celebrate Pride can be a good starting point. However, to effect real change and show up for marginalized communities, companies need to commit to sustained approaches from their internal policies and culture to their corporate investments and social impact work. At Tides, we seek to shift power to historically marginalized and excluded communities, which is why we encourage our partners to support grassroots organizations led by and for the communities they serve. We also push our partners to think about philanthropy in a less cyclical, more sustained way by considering multiyear commitments and general operating support to enable organizations to plan and determine how best to use their resources.

A group of multi-racial LGBTQ organizers having a meeting.

Photo from All Out, Tides Foundation partner

In 2023, the impetus of Stonewall to demand freedom and justice for LGBTQ+ people remains just as critical, particularly with the rise of anti-LGBTQ legislation. In fact, last week the largest national LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign, declared its first ever “state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ Americans, and the ACLU is tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills in US state legislatures, many of which target trans youth who represent some of the most vulnerable in our society. There is also a multimillion-dollar effort to suppress the rights of LGBTQ+ youth through “parents’ rights” bills.

In acknowledgment of the charitable giving Pride month can inspire, we shared the following list of organizations with our corporate partners to consider in their Pride grantmaking. Members of the trans community recommended these organizations and all are trusted Tides grantees. These organizations focus on youth and BIPOC members of the trans community, and many operate in parts of the United States where trans rights are most under attack. Several of our partners have already made donations to these organizations during Pride month, however, we are calling on more of our partners to step up during this critical time of backlash against the LGBTQ+ community. We encourage all donors to consider supporting organizations working to ensure that trans and queer people are able to live full, safe, and joyful lives today and far beyond the month of June.

Two protesters holding signs that read 'Aqui estamos y no nos vamos!' and 'LGBTQ+ and immigrants must stand together against oppression.'

Photo from Florida Immigrant Coalition, I-Belong Community of Practice Power Builder

  • Holler Health Justice: Organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice, Holler Health Justice builds power with Appalachian communities and individuals most disproportionately affected by health inequities, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color, those in rural areas, those with low income, and LGBTQIA+ folk.
  • For The Gworls!: For The Gworls! is a Black, trans-led collective that raises money to help Black transgender people pay for their rent, gender-affirming surgeries, smaller co-pays for medicines/doctor’s visits, and travel assistance. 
  • Transcending Adolescence: Through support, physical recreation, empowerment, advocacy, and reflection, Transcending Adolescence promotes forward movement to help transgender adolescents cope with the inevitable challenges they will face within society and within themselves. Transcending Adolescence has created a summer camp program for transgender youth to have a safe space to connect with each other and receive support from a staff of trained camp counselors in Central Florida.
  • Brave Space Alliance: Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ+ individuals on the South and West Sides of the city. They strive to empower, embolden, and educate each other through mutual aid, knowledge-sharing, and the creation of community-sourced resources as they build toward the liberation of all oppressed peoples.
  • Third Wave Fund: Third Wave Fund resources and supports youth-led, intersectional gender justice activism. They build on the brilliance of their communities using responsive and participatory grantmaking so they can sustain our movements and thrive — now and long term. ​Third Wave Fund’s grant-making advances the community power, well-being, and self-determination of young Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) most directly impacted by and best positioned to end gender oppression. 
  • Marsha P. Johnson Institute: The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI) protects and defends the human rights of Black transgender people. MPJI does this by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting collective power.
  • Solutions not Punishment Collaborative: Solutions not Punishment Collaborative (Snap Co.) is a Black trans- and queer-led organization that builds safety within our community, investing in our collective embodied leadership, and building political power. Snap Co. envisions a vibrant, radically inclusive metro Atlanta where all our people are safe and free, and have the opportunity to live and thrive as their authentic selves. 
  • Point of Pride: Point of Pride provides financial aid and direct support to trans folks in need of health and wellness care. Their programs include an annual transgender surgery fund, an HRT access fund, an electrolysis support fund, and free chest binders and femme shapewear.
  • Trans Justice Funding Project: The Trans Justice Funding Project (TJFP) is a community-run trust that funds trans-led grassroots organizations in the US and US territories who exist to serve and improve the lives of their local and national trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary communities. TJFP is staffed by all trans and non-binary individuals who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).


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