Hosted by GAY TIMES CEO, Tag Warner, with guest speakers Claire Tunnacliffe (GiveOut Grant-Making Officer) and Amir Ashour (IraQueer Founder and Executive Director), the evening was a GAYTIMES+ member’s exclusive, summarising the incredible work that has been done by GAY TIMES’ charity partners over the past 12 months, how the global pandemic has impacted these industries, and what the plans and aspirations are for the future.
Speaking about the work that GiveOut do, Claire explained to the audience that the vision that really drives and shapes GiveOut’s grant making is a world where the human rights of LGBTQ+ people are respected. “They’re free to be who they who they are and love who they love without the threat of discrimination, persecution, harassment or violence. And we specifically work to address the issue of underfunding in the movement by enabling individuals and businesses to give in one place before we distribute these donations as grants to activist-led organisations, therefore ensuring that they have more of the resources that they need to defend their communities and campaign for equality.”
GiveOut’s grant making is rooted in recommendations from a grant making advisory panel, with members ensuring that any processes and grants are grounded in the advice and expertise of those who are active in the global LGBTQ+ movement. “We primarily provide long term flexible core support with our grant partners, reflecting the diversity and complexity of the movement at the heart of our grant making. For us, it’s really essential that the agency of activists is integral by providing resources and not strategies and really focusing on amplifying their voices.”
The vision that really drives and shapes our grant making is a world where the human rights of LGBTQ+ people are respected.
Also speaking at the event was special guest, Amir Ashour, Founder and Executive Director of IraQueer – Iraq’s first and only LGBTQ+ charity.
Speaking to the experiences of LGBTQ+ people in Iraq, Amir discussed the media report released earlier this year by IraQueer, exploring how the mainstream media in Iraq serves as hate speech, informing anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in the country. The 14-page document recognised that the poor state of LGBTQ+ rights in Iraq is currently influenced by a number of factors, but biased media coverage of LGBTQ+ issues reinforces discrimination in wider society.
“When LGBTQ+ individuals feel disempowered and unsupported, LGBTQ+ civic organising and the equality movement will suffer too, as it will be unlikely for individuals to join when their lives could be at stake,” the report states. “Information shared by the media can limit and shape the behaviour of individuals who are central to wider social change.”
Amir described how “95% of the words that have been used to describe queer people have been negative words like sinners, mentally ill, abnormal, terrorists, dangerous – all kinds of things that are used to actively brainwash them, viewers, and that includes LGBTQ+ people.”
“80-90% of the LGBTQ+ people that we spoke to said that these TV programmes have negatively impacted their self perception”, demonstrating that the impact of Iraqi media is not only negatively impacting perceptions of our global community, but is also impacting the core movement as a whole, “because the movement is consistently of people. And if people do not believe in themselves, they’re not going to join movements, which means we’re not going to go anywhere.”
“Information shared by the media can limit and shape the behaviour of individuals who are central to wider social change.”