9 Best Charities for LGBTQ+ Rights (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities for LGBTQ+ Rights (Complete 2022 List)

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Olivia Lopez

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Everyone should be able to express themselves without discrimination. However, many people face backlash because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And with so many charities advocating for LGBTQ+ equality, we had to ask: What are the best charities for LGBTQ+ rights?

The best charities for LGBTQ+ rights are the Trevor Project, PFLAG, and the American Civil Liberties Union. These charities support the LGBTQ+ community by defending their social and legal rights. They also promote LGBTQ+ equality through public campaigns, advocacy programs, and activism. 

Whether you want to volunteer with an LGBTQ+ organization, raise awareness on an issue, or participate in your local Pride event, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for LGBTQ+ rights are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for LGBTQ+ Rights Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their dedication to LGBTQ+ rights, their impact on achieving LGBTQ+ equality, and their transparency ratings. These charities promote LGBTQ+ rights through comprehensive advocacy work, and public awareness campaigns that promote social change. 

These charities encourage more inclusion by working to eliminate discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. They also provide support and resources to vulnerable individuals and communities, and aim to make the world a safer place for all people. And they all share the same goal of defending LGBTQ+ rights.

These Are the 9 Best Charities for LGBTQ+ Rights

Below are our favorite charities for LGBTQ+ rights:

  • Trevor Project
  • PFLAG
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • True Colors United
  • OutRight International
  • Lambda Legal
  • GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • It Gets Better Project

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

The Trevor Project: Providing Crisis Intervention for LGBTQ+ Youth

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 by Hollywood executives Peggy Rajski, Randy Stone, and Celeste Lecesne, to provide 24-hour crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ+ youth. The organization was established in California and was inspired by a film the executives produced together, detailing the story of an LGBTQ+ boy named Trevor. When the Trevor Project was formalized, it became the first national crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ+ youth in the U.S.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Trevor Project has an outstanding 4-star rating and an Accountability and Transparency score of 100 out of 100, both from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar – the highest rank possible. 

To end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer – and questioning young people.

The Trevor Project

What they do: The Trevor Project serves as an international crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ+ youth. The organization trains volunteers to operate its crisis lifelines and respond to at-risk youth needing immediate assistance. The organization also performs groundbreaking research on the struggles of LGBTQ+ youth, and advocates for policy reforms to protect LGBTQ+ communities. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its inception, the Trevor Project has reached more than 300,000 people in over 100 countries with its TrevorSpace platform, a social media platform for LGBTQ+ youth to connect and communicate. For example, in 2020, the organization reached over 150,000 people through its crisis lifelines and services. In the same year, the Trevor Project also trained more than 780 volunteers to provide assistance to the LGBTQ+ youth contacting the crisis hotlines. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Trevor Project by donating directly through the organization’s website. You can also support the organization by volunteering to help LGBTQ+ youth during times of crisis. In conjunction, the Trevor Project has a great online shop, where you can buy branded gear from its partners to show your support for the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ youth.

PFLAG: Uplifting LGBTQ+ Communities and Their Families

PFLAG was founded in 1972 by Jeanne Manford, an LGBTQ+ rights activist, as a support group for LGBTQ+ people and their families. The organization was initially founded in New York after Manford participated in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March. The charity has since shortened its official name from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to PFLAG, to make its mission more inclusive. Today, PFLAG’s headquarters is based in Washington, D.C.

Their impact and transparency ratings: PFLAG has an incredible Accountability and Transparency score of 100 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. Similarly, PFLAG’s dedication to diversity and inclusion is showcased internally, as nearly 56% of its staff identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. 

To educate ourselves and our communities to speak up as advocates until all hearts and minds respect, value and affirm LGBTQ people.”

PFLAG

What they do: PFLAG protects LGBTQ+ rights through advocacy work and community-building programs. The organization aids the friends and families of LGBTQ+ people with supportive connections and resources through its localized chapters. It also provides resources and assistance to LGBTQ+ youth, enabling them to reach their fullest potential. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, PFLAG has acquired more than 250,000 members and supporters across over 400 chapters in the US. Internationally, the organization has affiliates in more than 10 countries, including Jamaica, Vietnam, and Spain. PFLAG also offers thousands of dollars worth of academic scholarships to LGBTQ+ youth and allies that participate in their communities and raise awareness for LGBTQ+ rights. Its scholarship program distributes financial aid and resources to students in more than 15 U.S. states

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to PFLAG by donating through the organization’s website. 

American Civil Liberties Union: Defending the Civil Liberties of the LGBTQ+ Community

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 by a group of civil rights activists including Helen Keller, Crystal Eastman, Albert DeSilver, Jane Addams, Felix Frankfurter, and Arthur Garfield Hayes, to defend the U.S. Constitution and civil liberties. The ACLU was founded in New York during a post-war era, when many people were wrongfully arrested, deported, and detained without rights, including LGBTQ+ people. By 1936, the ACLU became the legal defenders of LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S.

Their impact and transparency ratings: ACLU has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, and has an impressive Accountability and Transparency score of 96 out of 100, also from Charity Navigator. The organization holds a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, demonstrating its commitment to LGBTQ+ rights.

“To ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, & queer people belong everywhere and can live openly and authentically.”

American Civil Liberties Union

What they do: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defends LGBTQ+ rights through strategic litigation and public awareness campaigns. The organization advocates for equality by highlighting injustices against the LGBTQ+ community, and by challenging discriminatory legislation that hinders people from expressing themselves openly and fairly. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, the ACLU has garnered more than 1.7 million active members and supporters, and over 500 staff attorneys. Its widespread reach and legal influence enabled the organization to serve as counsel in 7 LGBTQ+ rights cases that have appeared before the Supreme Court. For example, in 2020, the organization filed another 6 legal actions calling for LGBTQ+ equality.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the American Civil Liberties Union by donating directly through their website. You can also give over the phone, or sign up for a monthly membership to make regular donations. 

True Colors United: Protecting LGBTQ+ Rights By Reducing Homelessness

True Colors United was founded in 2008 by Cindi Lauper, Lisa Barbaris, Johnny Podell, and Gregory Lewis, to combat homelessness amongst LGBTQ+ youth. The founders toured several homeless shelters and saw that many lacked resources and support services that catered to LGBTQ+ youth. Today, True Colors United’s main office is based in New York.

Their impact and transparency ratings: True Colors United holds an overall score of 94 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2019, the organization spent approximately 89% of its income on its advocacy programs and services. 

To ensure LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness have access to the inclusive and affirming services they need.

True Colors United

What they do: True Colors United works to eradicate homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth through advocacy campaigns. The organization also provides educational training to promote diversity, inclusion, and raise awareness on the issues LGBTQ+ youth face, especially homelessness and isolation. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its inception, True Colors United has reached more than 2,239 people with its educational training programs. The organization has also implemented community action plans to decrease LGBTQ+ youth homelessness in 4 US states, including Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. For example, in 2019, the organization supported LGBTQ+ cultural inclusivity workshops that reached nearly 300 people.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to True Colors United by donating directly through the charity’s website.

OutRight Action International: Advocating for Global LGBTQ+ Rights

OutRight Action International was founded in 1990 by Julie Dorf, an LGBTQ+ rights activist, to diminish discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ+ community. The organization was originally named the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and primarily focused on advocating for same-sex laws in Russia, but quickly branched out to serve LGBTQ+ communities around the globe. By 2005, the organization established its headquarters in New York and, in 2015, changed its name to OutRight Action International, to showcase its dedication to protecting LGBTQ+ rights worldwide.

Their impact and transparency ratings: OutRight Action International holds an Accountability and Transparency score of 97 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Ensuring human rights for LGBTIQ people everywhere.

OutRight Action International

What they do: OutRight Action International works worldwide to promote LGBTQ+ rights and equality through advocacy campaigns and legal support. The organization challenges discriminatory legislation on local and national levels, and assists grassroots organizations in serving as LGBTQ+ activists in their communities. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, OutRight Action International has spearheaded numerous LGBTQ+ rights and equality initiatives at an international level. For example, in 2008, the organization founded the U.N. LGBTI Core Group, a cohort of 33 member states dedicated to promoting LGBTQ+ equality. The organization has also helped establish more than 12 LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations across its target countries, including Iraq and Jamaica. In 2020, OutRight Action International brought together more than 1600 people from over 100 countries to discuss LGBTQ+ rights and equality.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to OutRight Action International by donating directly through the organization’s website. You can also show your support by signing up for its newsletter

Lambda Legal: Upholding Legal Protections for the LGBTQ+ Community

Lambda Legal was founded in 1973 by Bill Thom, a civil and gay rights activist. The organization originated intending to advocate civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community and was established in New York. However, since LGBTQ+ rights weren’t widely recognized at the time, the organization’s charity status was initially rejected by judges in New York, since they didn’t perceive Lambda Legal’s cause to be, “benevolent [or] charitable.” Thom was determined to appeal the decision and took the case to the state’s highest court, where the decision was later overturned. Today, Lambda Legal provides legal support to some of the country’s most vulnerable communities. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Lambda Legal currently maintains an Accountability and Transparency score of 97 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. It also holds a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

To achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV.

Lambda Legal

What they do: Lambda Legal fights for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people by providing legal representation, research, and support to the community. The organization also conducts advocacy programs to raise awareness on the discriminatory treatment of the LGBTQ+ community, and those living with HIV. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, Lambda Legal has expanded across the U.S. with 6 offices in regional cities. The organization has won 9 landmark cases to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and has filed more than 46 federal lawsuits against the US government’s discriminatory policies towards LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV. For example, in 2020, Lambda Legal challenged more than 5 discriminatory laws and policies that unfairly targeted LGBTQ+ people or those living with HIV.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to Lambda Legal by donating directly through the organization’s website. You can also show your support by volunteering with the organization, attending one of its many events, or by participating in one of its many advocacy campaigns.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD): Legal Advocates for LGBTQ+ Rights

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) was founded in 1978 by John Ward, a lawyer and LGBTQ+ activist, to provide legal assistance to people targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The organization was established in Boston and has become a leading legal defense organization for LGBTQ+ people, and those living with HIV, in the US.

Their impact and transparency ratings: GLAD has an impressive 4-star rating and an Accountability and Transparency score of 97 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

To create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)

What they do: GLAD provides legal presentation and defense services to LGBTQ+ and HIV-positive people that are wrongfully targeted or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. The organization also challenges harmful legislation, and supports the LGBTQ+ community through legal advocacy.

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, GLAD has expanded to provide legal assistance and representation to LGBTQ+ people in 6 U.S. states, and has filed more than 9 federal cases defending LGBTQ+ rights. For example, in 2021, the organization won 3 cases, including one that would expand access to health care for HIV-positive people

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to GLAD by donating directly through their website. You can also sign up as a volunteer to support the GLAD Answers team.

Human Rights Campaign: Safeguarding LGBTQ+ Rights and Equality

The Human Rights Campaign was founded in 1980 by Steve Endean, an LGBTQ+ rights activist. Endean established the organization to support LGBTQ+ people elected into office, and ensure they received fair treatment in elections. Today, the organization works to defend civil rights for LGBTQ+ people across the U.S. and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Human Rights Campaign has an impressive Accountability and Transparency score of 93 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Financial score of 82 out of 100, also from Charity Navigator.

To end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Human Rights Campaign

What they do: The Human Rights Campaign tackles all forms of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people through advocacy, education, and activism programs. The organization promotes LGBTQ+ rights on national and international levels, and publicly challenges harmful laws and practices that hinder equal rights for LGBTQ+ people. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, the Human Rights Campaign has amassed more than 3 million members and supporters to fight for LGBTQ+ rights. For example, in 2018, the organization assisted more than 150 LGBTQ+ politicians during election periods. In the same year, the Human Rights Campaign registered more than 32,000 eligible voters across all US states, which helped increase the number of LGBTQ+ and allies voters to over 7 million.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Human Rights Campaign by donating directly through the organization’s website. You can also take action by volunteering with the charity, or signing up to a phone bank

It Gets Better Project: Empowering the LGBTQ+ Community Through Storytelling

The It Gets Better Project was founded in 2010 by Dan Savage, a journalist and LGBTQ+ rights activist, and his partner Terry Miller. They established the organization to provide guided support to LGBTQ+ youth. They also aimed to prevent crises and suicide among LGBTQ+ youth. Today, the organization operates as a digital charity, and promotes LGBTQ+ equality across social media platforms using digital campaigns. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The It Gets Better Project has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2019, the organization spent nearly 86% of its income on its LGBTQ+ empowerment programs and services.  

To uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth around the globe.

It Gets Better Project

What they do: The It Gets Better Project promotes the rights of LGBTQ+ people through advocacy and digital awareness-raising campaigns. The organization uses social media tools to share the stories of LGBTQ+ people, while also encouraging community support. It also offers educational training and assistance to grassroots organizations advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, the It Gets Better Project has reached over 1 million youth across more than 20 countries, including the US, Mexico, and India. For example, in 2019, the organization engaged more than 3,000 students worldwide in its educational programming. In the same year, the It Gets Better Project provided training to 750 educators on how they can uplift LGBTQ+ people and share LGBTQ+ stories for greater inclusiveness.  

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the It Gets Better Project by donating directly through the organization’s website. You can also show your support by purchasing some branded gear from the organization’s online shop. All proceeds go towards helping LGBTQ+ youth.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for LGBTQ+ rights. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is just up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Brittany



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Olivia Lopez

Olivia loves to research and write about all things related to social justice. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights and has worked and interned with a number of NGOs, including the UN. When she’s not writing, she likes to take her dog for walks, cook Mexican food, and learn new languages.

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