Keystone Equality Values Framework
All LGBTQ Pennsylvanians have the right to live free from discrimination and violence. The safety and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Pennsylvanians are inextricably tied to the safety and well-being of all people in our broader communities.
Our communities cannot be truly safe unless everyone is safe and free from violence, discrimination, poverty, and is guaranteed access to high-quality education and healthcare. As long as any Pennsylvanian – including those marginalized by sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, immigration status, class, age, religion, or disability – face discrimination and violence, all Pennsylvanians are unsafe. We recognize that many of our community institutions exist within a larger social system and that racism, classism, and prejudice in our society affect how they are funded, organized, and operated. We also recognize that all kinds of oppression, including racism, homophobia, and transphobia, work together to create and maintain systems of oppression. We acknowledge that regardless of good intentions, we perpetuate racism, classism, and other forms of oppression unless we act intentionally to address these issues in our LGBTQ community work.
We recognize that LGBTQ people of color, transgender people, young people, elders, undocumented individuals, those living in poverty, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, people in marginalized faith communities, people with disabilities, people living in rural areas, and members of other marginalized communities, and the issues that concern them, have not historically been adequately included in the broader LGBTQ movement, and we are committed to making the movement relevant and welcoming to these important constituencies.
We recognize that many LGBTQ people experience other forms of oppression in addition to homophobia and transphobia. In order to make our community work relevant and welcoming to everyone, we must be responsive to all of these issues. We affirm our commitment to welcoming LGBTQ people of color, transgender people, young people, elders, undocumented individuals, rural and small town communities, those living in poverty, people of varying faiths, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities in all aspects of the movement, including strategy development, meaningful leadership positions, and decision-making.
We also commit to moving toward a deeper anti-racist, anti-ablest, youth and elder-affirming, income-accessible, geographically-accessible, and trans-inclusive framework in ongoing LGBTQ community efforts and toward an overall goal of creating a more just society and beloved communities.
Examples of how oppression affects our work include:
- Encouraging economic segregation of LGBTQA people by having events either for those with higher economic means and those with lower economic means while having no meaningful space for interaction and community building between different socio-economic groups.
- Supporting, directly or indirectly, criminalization and discipline policies that disproportionately affect people of color and people living in poverty. Supporting these policies perpetuates a system of punishment that harms people of color and those living and perpetuates racism and classism.
- Comparing racism and homophobia or transphobia by elevating one form of oppression over the other undermines work to address racism. For instance, saying that “if these were racial slurs, the schools would be doing something about it” implies that racism in our communities is adequately dealt with.
- Focusing only on increasing the numbers of people of color in our movement can be counterproductive. A truly diverse movement cannot be achieved or maintained unless we ensure that we are addressing the substantive issues relevant to people of color and are creating safe spaces for people of color (e.g. location, staff, willingness to confront oppression as it arises).
- Assuming that people of color will be less open to topics related to sexual orientation and gender. When we make these assumptions we risk excluding individuals as well as entire communities.
- Posting about on social media or otherwise recognizing exclusively Christian holidays, while not also wishing well those in your community who are Jewish, Muslim, or those of other faiths, regarding their holidays.
- Only holding events in large cities away from rural communities, or likewise only in places accessible by car without ways for those using other forms of transportation to get there.
- Supporting the nomination of a person of color or member of a marginalized identity to an organization’s board of directors simply because that person adds “diversity” to the group can be tokenizing. Diversity without intention does not adequately address and may perpetuate institutionalized racism or other forms of oppression. At the same time, fear of tokenism should not serve as a rationale for the failure to diversify decision-making bodies. Organizations must work consciously and conscientiously to integrate all board members, staff, and volunteers into their hiring, advancement, leadership, retention, and professional development practices.
Examples of how we can take steps to work toward a just and anti-racist, anti-ablest, youth and elder-affirming, income-accessible, geographically-accessible, and trans-inclusive movement and be welcoming to all in every aspect of LGBTQ community work, include:
- Ensuring that our meeting spaces are accessible and welcoming to people of color, transgender people, young people, elders, undocumented individuals, those living in poverty, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities.
- Ensuring that we advertise our events and meetings in ways likely to reach communities of color, transgender people, elders, undocumented individuals, those living in poverty, individuals with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities.
- Collaborating with organizations and groups that employ and work with marginalized communities, which is particularly important for organizations that are not themselves diverse.
- Openly supporting the work of groups working against racism, classism, ableism, ageism, sexism, and cissexism and/or on behalf of people of color, those living in poverty, people with disabilities, young people, elders, women, and transgender people (e.g., signing on to petitions, attending events, co-sponsoring programs).
- Recognizing many current LGBTQ support systems are designed and operated with urban communities centered, which often leave LGBTQ Pennsylvanians from rural regions and small towns without access to vital resources, healthcare, other services, and community, and so projects must intentionally be designed and operated to be inclusive of Pennsylvanians in rural regions and small towns.
- Including people of color, transgender people, young people, elders, undocumented individuals, those living in poverty, people of varying faiths, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and those from other marginalized identities, in all aspects of our work. • Actively valuing multiple perspectives in our discussions and decision-making.
- Educating ourselves and our colleagues about oppression and privilege in a systemic way through staff and volunteer development, and ongoing conversations.
- Reviewing our organizations’ mission and vision statements and goals to determine if there are ways that our organizations can more directly address racism, classism, ableism, ageism, adultism, sexism, and cissexism.
- Seeking input from groups focused on serving communities of color, transgender people, young people, elders, undocumented individuals, those living in poverty, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities on strategy development.
- Ensuring that we frame LGBTQ community work broadly enough that it embraces the efforts of the many groups that work against discrimination and on behalf of LGBTQ people. • Seeking and supporting the leadership of people of color, transgender people, young people, elders, undocumented individuals, those living in poverty, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities as staff and volunteers in your organization.
Statement of Organizing Values Framework
Keystone Equality and its participants who work toward the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians choose to adopt an anti-racist, anti-ablest, youth and elder-affirming, income-accessible, and trans-inclusive framework by:
- Acknowledging the ways racism, oppression, and privilege perpetuate homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in LGBTQ community work;
- Ensuring that the strategies, actions, and policies that we support and employ do not undermine efforts to combat racism, classism, ableism, ageism, adultism, sexism, cissexism, and other systems of oppression; • Organizing a movement that is mindful of how the issues of racism, classism, ableism, ageism, adultism, sexism, cissexism, and other systems of oppression affect the wellbeing for all in our local, regional, and statewide communities;
- Developing and implementing an anti-racist, anti-ablest, youth and elder-affirming, income-accessible, and trans-inclusive strategies that are specific to the LGBTQ community movement, including, without limitation:
- practicing and modeling respectful behavior,
- employing anti-racist and inclusive language and group dynamics,
- examining every situation to understand how the dynamics of racism and white privilege work in that situation;
- Challenging all aspects of white privilege and privilege in general—individual, cultural, political, and organizational—inherent in the LGBTQ community movement; and
- Engaging in ongoing self-assessment and recognizing that doing work with an anti-racist and anti-oppression lens is an ongoing process.
WORKING DEFINITIONS OF TERMS:
Oppression is systemic inequality that gives power and privilege to members of one group of people by disadvantaging and exploiting another group of people.
Racism is oppression that gives white people power and privilege by disadvantaging and exploiting people of color.
White Privilege is a system of exclusive advantages or benefits afforded to white people, based on their group identity or status, that are largely unearned and often invisible to the people enjoying them.
***Adapted from the National Safe Schools Roundtable Statement of Anti-Racist Framework***