LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A British charity on Thursday launched the world’s first fund to support LGBT+ people whose vulnerability to climate change is worsened by poverty and discrimination.
The LGBTQI Climate Fund will give up to 5,000 pounds ($6,987) to campaigners advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in climate-related emergencies, said GiveOut, which gives grants to LGBT+ organisations globally.
“LGBTQI people face disproportionate economic hardship (due to climate change),” Lee Dibben, a spokesperson at GiveOut, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“They’re not sat at the table and are being excluded from government decision-making.”
Extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts and hurricanes, are becoming increasingly common with climate change forcing people from their homes, disrupting services and stoking conflict over resources.
LGBT+ people often face heightened risks from such disasters because they find it hard to secure well-paid jobs, safe housing and government services in developing countries where gay sex is a crime and discrimination against trans people widespread.
During Hurricane Katrina in 2005 - when some 1.2 million people were evacuated in the worst disaster in U.S. history - trans people faced discrimination in emergency shelters in New Orleans, with some even being turned away, local media reported.
Similarly, Dibben said LGBT+ people reported feeling unwelcome in shelters run by religious organisations during the cyclone season in the Pacific island nation of Tonga.
One of GiveOut’s grantees, the Tonga Leitis Association, has been training those in charge of emergency shelters to accommodate LGBT+ people, and is campaigning for their inclusion in consultations on climate change measures.
In its first year, the LGBTQI Climate Fund aims to raise 15,000 to 30,000 pounds for smaller LGBT+ groups around the world.
Dibben said GiveOut hoped to encourage more corporate sponsors to join electric vehicle start-up ev.energy in supporting the fund to help finance research, local initiatives and enable activists to attend climate change conferences.
Leaders in developing countries and the United Nations chief Antonio Guterres last year called on rich countries to give more financial support to cut emissions and protect people in poorer countries from extreme weather and rising seas.
($1 = 0.7157 pounds)
Reporting by Hugo Greenhalgh @hugo_greenhalgh; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit news.trust.org
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