Few images are more iconically Yuletide than a Salvation Army Santa ringing their bell on the street, collecting money for the homeless during the holiday season. But reports of the organization's alleged anti-LGBTQ policies have us feeling pretty Grinchy. Fox News reported that Salvation Army workers “have been told to stop posting their opinions about gay marriage, abortion, or anything political on social media because it might reflect poorly on the organization.”
A viral post also claimed that the Army continues to discriminate against LGBTQ folks, refusing to house gay homeless couples unless they separate, referring to queer people seeking aid to conversion therapy, and upholding a long-standing policy of not serving trans people in need.
Salvation Army has disavowed these claims as “patently false,” saying that they serve regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation." But whatever it’s current practices, the organization has a long history of shady attitudes towards LGBTQ folks. It’s almost enough to make us want to recreate the scene from Pose where Elektra and her daughters rob Santa to fund the house mother’s gender reassignment surgery. But the holiday season is about giving, so why not give your dollars to organizations that are founded on queer values and serve your own community? Here are some places you can start.
Not just the thrift store where you picked up that great vintage dress, Housing Works has tirelessly supported the homeless and those dealing with HIV/AIDS through advocacy since 1992. Their fundraising helps find stable housing, healthcare, job training, legal assistance, and much more for queer and trans people in need. Donate here.
The Ali Forney Center
Named for the legendary gender-nonconforming advocate for homeless youth, AFC is the largest agency serving homeless youth in the country. Their 24-hour Drop-In Center provides 70,000 meals annually, especially around the holidays, as well as medical and mental health services. Donate here.
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
SRLP provides legal services for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming folks, assisting them with everything from name changes, to immigrant justice, to helping incarcerated trans people access hormones. Donate here.
The Audre Lorde Project
Centered around queer people of color, this organization is primarily concerned with community building and organizing. Their programs aim to help Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color with issues around employment, immigration status, healthcare and justice. Donate here.
TGI Justice Project
A collective of trans, gender-expansive, and intersex folks from inside and outside the correctional system, TGI fights against police violence, incarceration, and humans rights abuses. Specifically tasked with assisting transgender women of color, TGI hopes to “a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom.” Donate here.
The Trevor Project
Founded by the creators of the Oscar-winning short film Trevor, this organization provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth especially for schools and colleges. Their services include 24/7 lifelines, on-campus training for faculty, and an advocacy network dedicated to fighting oppressive policies. Donate here.
Your Local LGBT Center
Local centers are safe spaces that provide resources and connections for LGBTQ people right where you live. Not only will you know that your money is going directly to people in your community, but if you’re unable to donate, you can also find volunteer programs to join that are just a few miles away. Find your local center here.