Making significant changes to organizational policies and practices can be a challenge. Moving beyond our organizations to transform structural barriers, such as the biases of law enforcement, courts, child protective services, and hospitals, often feels outside of our purview. However, these are critical concerns for a victim service sector interested in genuinely improving responses to LGBTQ people who have experienced harm.
Community collaborations engage multiple organizations and groups to help build the momentum, visibility, and collective power needed to effect policy change and address structural barriers. This may involve bringing together a new alliance or raising the concerns of LGBTQ people in existing coalitions or network settings. In focusing a new effort on LGBTQ communities, providers should make intentional and thoughtful efforts to build relationships and work in partnership with pre-existing organizations rooted in diverse LGBTQ communities.
Efforts to increase LGBTQ access may support an organization in (re)connecting to broad-based movements for social and economic justice. Such connections may not only increase services providers’ awareness and skill around understanding barriers, but can create more engaged workplaces and help organizations to learn from and build trust with underserved communities more broadly.
The opportunities for creative and meaningful community collaborations are endless. Below are just a few examples from the LGBTQ Access Project in King County, Washington, including information about how each project was developed. If you have been involved with an exemplary community collaboration and would like to share your model, we’d look forward to hearing from you.