The organisation Black Lives Matter is about protecting black people from police brutality, or that is their stated goal on the surface. Due to the media coverage of the death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, BLM raised a large amount of money in 2020.
An account on Twitter drew my attention to the BLM 2020 Impact Report, about how they used the money that they raised.
It turns out that the majority of organisations that they support are LGBTQ* organisations, which means, in reality, that they are about trans identified males.
The Organisations That BLM Support
In this article, I have examined the organisations listed in the Black Lives Matter Impact Report for 2020. The report states that 6 figure grants were given to all of the organisations listed, so we are not talking about a trivial amount of money. In total, $21.7m was distributed, though some of that went to local BLM chapters.
I have cross referenced the list given on the BLM website with the list of organisations funded by the Arcus Foundation. This list was compiled by @StillTish at the Gender Critical Woman website. She has done excellent work in compiling this list and uploading an Excel spreadsheet for everyone to view.
What is the relevance of the Arcus Foundation? Why examine these two aspects together? The Arcus Foundation was created in 2000 by gay Big Pharma billionaire Jon Stryker. This organisation is one of the billionaire promoters of gender identity ideology. Billionaires (particularly Big Pharma billionaires) have a large interest in promoting this ideology, as the more people take hormones, puberty blockers and have transgender surgery, the more money goes into Big Pharma’s pockets (see also Big Pharma is no different from any other Capitalist Corporation).
As far as I can tell, four of the organisations on the BLM list are directly funded by the Arcus Foundation.
These four organisations are:
The Audre Lorde Project – Trans Justice: two $75,000 donations in 2016 and 2018, respectively. This website will not load for me but being as it’s called ‘Trans Justice’ I am going to assume it is a trans organisation or that the money is going specifically towards a trans cause.
BreakOUT: $150,000 from Arcus in 2017. The website states that it is a LGBTQ* org, but their vision clearly prioritises transgender without mentioning gay and lesbian people: “BreakOUT! envisions a city where transgender, gender non-conforming, and queer youth of color can live without fear of harassment and discrimination.” Only later on does it mention gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
BYP100: $200,000 from Arcus in 2017. Their about page initially focuses on anger about the death of Trayvon Martin. However then moves on to talking about a ‘Queer lens’. It doesn’t appear to be a 100% trans organisation but does have queer theory elements.
Arcus also funds the Transgender Law Center. Black Lives Matter funds the explicitly Black LGBTQIA* Migrant Project (listed as BLMP) which is part of this centre.
Four organisations may not seem like much in common, but the story does not end there. The Arcus Foundation also sends a large amount of money to Borealis Philanthropy. Borealis happens to donate money to many more of the organisations on the Black Lives Matter list:
Trans United (trans org)
Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (trans org)
Marsha P Johnson Institute (trans org)
Highlander Centre (from what I can see this one is not explicitly trans)
Black Trans Media (trans org)
House of Pentacles (trans org)
BraveSpace Alliance (explicitly states it is trans led)
Black Visions Collective (states trans led)
TAKE Birmingham (trans org)
Borealis also funds the BLMP & BYP100.
Borealis does not provide any information on how much money they send to each organisation on their website that I could find, but it does state in various blog posts that they have sent money to these various organisations.
Some of the money from Arcus is explicitly noted to go to the Borealis ‘Trans Generations Fund’ which then sends the money to trans organisations. While it is not explicitly stated on the Borealis website that the money went from Arcus through them to these other organisations, it is likely that this is the case.
Arcus/Borealis fund 13 of the organisations listed by BLM. BLM states that 23 of the organisations they funded are LGBTQ* led. If we exclude Highlander, as this one does not seem transgender focused, we have 12/23 organisations overlapping. If we exclude BYP100 as it is more ambiguous in its focus we have 11/23. Either way, half of the transgender organisations funded by BLM are also funded by Arcus/Borealis.
What’s the Problem?
Firstly, it is dishonesty. Black Lives Matter is an organisation that markets itself as working to end police brutality against black people in the US. Therefore, logically, their funds should go to activities that focus upon police brutality. No doubt most of the well-intentioned people who donated to BLM after the murder of George Floyd donated the money because they believed that it would go towards that cause. It is dishonest to raise money on the back of police brutality and then use the money to fund black trans people in the arts.
Secondly, the extent. The truth is that black trans identified males are a tiny minority of black people in the US. Yet most of the money that BLM granted to outside organisations went to trans identified male organisations. If BLM wants to focus on funding black organisations in general and not just organisations based around police brutality, then surely black woman led organisations that focus on women’s issues should receive some of the money given that women are half the population. However, women get nothing and trans identified males get most of the outside organisation funding. This we must ask critical questions about misogyny within this organisation.
Thirdly, the use of ‘LGBTQ*’ as a shield. Though the BLM organisation promotes these organisations in this way, in reality there is nothing specifically for black lesbians, gay men, or bisexuals of either sex. The term LGBTQ* is used as an attempt to make the funding look more diverse than it is. We also have to be asking questions about homophobia.
Finally, we have to ask the question “Why are a (supposed) grassroots organisation that grew up organically funding exactly the same organisations as the billionaire founded Arcus Foundation?”