This op-ed is a guest post written by Katie Hultquist, Director of Leadership Giving at OutRight Action International. Founded in 1990, OutRight Action International is a leading global human rights organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people around the world. You can follow Katie on Twitter at @kghultquist.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) communities are among the most marginalized globally and face persecution, discrimination and violence around the world. Sixty-seven countries still criminalize same sex relations, 50 countries criminalize trans people explicitly or implicitly, and only seven countries ban harmful conversion practices. Yet—despite these challenges and being massively under-resourced—our global movement for the human rights of LGBTIQ people has made tremendous progress in the last few decades. In fact, there are now organizations fighting for LGBTIQ equality in the majority of the countries on the planet.
A year ago, during Pride month, OutRight Action International began accepting donations of cryptocurrency through The Giving Block. Why? Because we believe we have a tremendous opportunity to radically accelerate social and legal change for LGBTIQ people around the world and ensure that the progress we’ve made is not lost. However, to keep advancing equality everywhere, we need more allies to join us. Just $0.28 of every $100 given by foundations in the US target LGBTIQ groups and issues. And globally, less than half the total funding for LGBTIQ issues goes to programs outside the US and Canada. So OutRight is dedicated to searching for new and innovative ways to uplift and support the global LGBTIQ community, including partnerships in the web3 space.
Since OutRight started working with The Giving Block and accepting donations of crypto, the amount of support we’ve received has been phenomenal. We have truly been inspired by the many artists, creators, collectors, donors and investors who’ve supported and contributed to our mission.
For example, several generative NFT projects have selected OutRight as a charity partner. Our largest donation through The Giving Block to date came from Not Your Bro, a project which centers on the empowerment and celebration of all Womxn and LGBTQIA+ people and dedicated 2.5% of their initial mint sales to OutRight. Natalie, the artist behind the project said: “As proud members of the LGBTQIA+ community, we know first-hand the daily struggles of living your truth. As founders and gay women ourselves it would be an honour to support OutRight.”
Another success has been connecting with 1/1 NFT artists and collectors who care about LGBTIQ rights. One of our most loyal supporters has been Lori Grace Bailey, a photographer, curator and host in the web3 space who has already auctioned three of her photographs to raise funds for OutRight. Lori shared: “Having donated close to 3 ETH over the last several months to OutRight has meant the world to me, and that’s why I keep coming back. Even a little NFT artist like myself can make impactful change, you just have to believe that you matter and so do those you’re helping.”
Most recently, the web3 community has stepped up to support OutRight’s Ukraine Fund, which provides humanitarian relief to LGBTIQ people in Ukraine and neighboring countries impacted by the war. We are proud to be a part of The Giving Block’s Ukraine Emergency Response Fund, and grateful to be a beneficiary of RELI3F, an initiative with renowned artists and collectors dedicated to Ukraine relief.
We’ve also received many smaller, and equally important, donations from individual donors in a variety of cryptocurrencies. As with any effective fundraising strategy, it takes time and effort to build awareness and nurture these relationships. Nonetheless, early ROI has proven that working with The Giving Block is helping OutRight reach new global, young, tech-savvy, creative audiences who share our values and care deeply about social change and equality for all people.
Looking ahead, OutRight and our community are excited to celebrate #PrideWithAPurpose throughout June—Pride month—with several partners in the web3 space, including MetaPride Land, Power of Women, Hackatao, ConsenSys, HUG, Not Your Bro, Avius Animae, and others.
We are extremely grateful for the incredible support we’ve received from donors leveraging NFTs and crypto, and from the team at The Giving Block, who have been very helpful and supportive at every turn. Crypto Philanthropy is having a significant impact on OutRight’s work, allowing us to pioneer groundbreaking research about our community, provide tangible, vital support to grassroots LGBTIQ activists and organizations around the world, and advocate for LGBTIQ human rights at United Nations headquarters and beyond. We are looking forward to continuing to work with web3 partners and donors to radically accelerate human rights and equality for all LGBTIQ+ people, everywhere.
Learn more about how cryptocurrency donations are aiding OutRight Action International’s quest for global human rights by reading the organization’s case study.