December 11, 2020 at 12:43 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
HRC launches small grants initiative for global LGBTQ groups
Alba Lucía Reyes Arenas in Bogotá, Colombia, on Sept. 24, 2018. Her group, Fundación Sergio Urrego, named in honor of her son, Sergio Urrego, who died by suicide in 2014, has received a grant under the Human Rights Campaign’s new Global Small Grants Program. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Human Rights Campaign on Thursday unveiled a new initiative that will provide LGBTQ rights groups in 17 countries with small grants to further bolster their advocacy efforts.

A press release notes the Global Small Grants Program recipients will receive up to $5,000 to “fund programs that will either foster virtual programming in a COVID-19 environment; or boost initiatives on building allies among communities of faith or in business.”

Track-T, a transgender rights group in Pakistan, is among the grant recipients. Other organizations include African Women for Sexual Health and Gender Justice (AWOSHe) in Botswana, Fundación Sergio Urrego in Colombia, the Taiwan Equality Campaign, the Háttér Society in Hungary and SHE (Sexuality, Health and Empowerment) in Barbados.

Alba Lucía Reyes Arenas created Fundación Sergio Urrego after her son died by suicide in 2014 after the administrators of his Catholic high school in the Colombian capital of Bogotá bullied him after a teacher saw a picture of him kissing his boyfriend on his cell phone. The foundation on Thursday in a tweet said the HRC grant will allow it to continue its work in support of “equitable access to mental health in Colombia.”

HRC in April laid off 22 employees because of the coronavirus pandemic. HRC President Alphonso David and other members of HRC’s executive and senior leadership teams cut their own salaries.

The press release notes the Open Society, Fred P. Hochberg, Heyday and Metlife Foundations and the Walt Disney Corporation continue to support the HRC Foundation’s work around the world.

David signs open letter in support of Nigeria protesters

HRC announced the grant initiative on International Human Rights Day, which commemorates the U.N. General Assembly’s ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 1948. The announcement also coincided with Bhutanese lawmakers’ vote to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations in their country.

David on Thursday also signed an open letter to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the New York Times in which he and other signatories expressed their support for the protest movement against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria Police Force known by the acronym SARS that is responsible for widespread human rights abuses in the country. Matthew Blaise, a non-binary queer activist in the Nigerian commercial capital of Lagos with whom the Washington Blade in October, is among those who have participated in the anti-SARS protests.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael //

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