ASHEVILLE, NC: For Allison Scott, a North Carolina native who serves as director of impact and innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality, recent legislation in the South concerning transgender rights “has been incredibly painful,” she said.
Scott, who is a transgender woman, said that “as a child and as a young adult, the normal things of feeling like you don't have a voice all apply, and then there's this whole other pressure and burden when you're LGBTQ and trans or non-binary, and that's really painful, and when I see what’s happening to these kids, with these very directed attacks, it just hurts me.”
Amidst legislative efforts to end transgender youth participation in sports and the ability to seek medical care for gender transitions, among other issues, the Campaign for Southern Equality is working to make entering the school year easier for LGBTQ+ youth.
The nonprofit and The Ally Coalition, another organization dedicated to LGBTQ equality, are offering $45,000 in grants to help organizations or projects in the South that support LGBTQ+ youth. Each grantee can receive up to $2,000.
“We want to make sure students in multiple states in the South, which is where a lot of these bills would affect, know they are loved and supported, even if the legislatures in their states are not actually saying that,” said Scott.
Youth in 13 states are eligible, and they do not have to be with a registered nonprofit or have a fiscal sponsor but must adhere to IRS requirements, according to the campaign, which is based in Asheville, North Carolina.
In addition to the grant funding, the organization has published a guide, “Supportive Schools for LGBTQ+ Students: A Guide to Policies and Best Practices,” which includes information on the Biden administration’s proposed changes to the Title IX law to protect the rights of transgender students.
That guide is part of 300 back-to-school care packages that feature essential school supplies, including pairs of socks, and messages of solidarity from the campaign community, according to the organization.
The organization opened grant applications last week and could begin distributing the funding within a week, Scott said.