The idea of the program is to foster LGBTQ inclusion and equity at YMCA (Y) locations across America.
The YMCA have announced that they have teamed up with the former Vice-President of the United States, Joe Biden, to create a new LGBTQ program.
The program was created because of the issues that the LGBTQ community face in the U.S. Although same-sex marriage was legalised nationwide, there are still no federal laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in areas such as employment or housing, and no such laws exist in 31 out of 50 states.
The first part of the program will only focus on certain Ys, as they try and find the best ways to become more LGBTQ-inclusive. Parts of this program could include further staff training, a member outreach and engagement program as well as community collaborations.
The ideas that work the best will then be spread out across the country to the other Ys. The program was only made possible due to funding from the Gill Foundation and the David Bohnett Foundation. However, the Biden Foundation and Y-USA will be providing technical support and strategic guidance to individuals Ys.
The Gill Foundation was set up in 1992 following an anti-LGBTQ measure introduced in Colorado. Since then, the organisation has gone on to become of the leading funders to LGBTQ equality projects in the U.S. The David Bohnett Foundation, on the other hand, seeks to improve society through social activism.
Louisa Terrell, the executive director of the Biden Foundation, said: “The Biden Foundation is committed to changing our culture so that everyone, including LGBTQ people, feel supported and affirmed.
“We could not ask for better partners in this work than YMCA of the USA, with its history, reach, and impact in communities across America.
“The Gill Foundation, which has supported innovative strategies to advance LGBTQ equal treatment for decades; and the David Bohnett Foundation, which has invested significant resources in supporting and empowering local LGBTQ communities are equally powerful partners in this work.”
Kevin Washington, the President and CEO of the YMCA in the U.S. said: “The Y is committed to addressing critical social issues and helping all people reach their full potential with dignity and respect.
“Our commitment is rooted in our inclusive mission and our belief that communities are stronger when everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Supporting the well-being and safety of LGBTQ youth and adults is an important need in our communities, and we are proud to partner with the Biden Foundation, Gill Foundation and David Bohnett Foundation to support it.”
He’s also called on President Trump to make Russians end the anti-gay purge in Chechnya. And he told a crowd of LGBTQ people to hold Trump accountable to his promise to be their “friend”, but sadly Trump’s administration has still passed a raft of anti-LGBTQ measures.