ACTIF is an outcome of significant efforts made by Canadian civil society, coordinated by Dignity Network Canada (DNC), to advocate for greater Canadian support for advancing the human rights of LGBTQ2I people internationally. The launch of The Act Together for Inclusion Fund (ACTIF) therefore marks a highly anticipated and historic moment for Canadian funding for international LGBTQ2I initiatives. Funded by Global Affairs Canada and managed by Equitas in partnership with DNC, ACTIF aims to enhance the respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, two-spirit and intersex (LGBTQ2I) persons in countries in the Global South, and specifically those eligible for Official Development Assistance. ACTIF will strengthen a network of Canadian LGBTQ2I organizations and build solidarity with local LGBTQ2I CSOs by providing additional, or previously inaccessible, opportunities to implement programming in the Global South.
Equitas and DNC recognize how power and privilege are inherent to global grantmaking and the importance of destabilizing colonial funding dynamics. This is why we are strong proponents of feminist and participatory approaches that shift the power of decision making to communities themselves. With this in mind, Equitas and DNC established an ACTIF Advisory Committee and ACTIF Project Selection Committee. Visit Governance and Decision-Making for more information.
ACTIF recognizes that it is not only transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia that impact LGBTQ2I people. Rather, these systems of power intersect and compound with colonialism, racism, classism, patriarchy, ableism, and ageism, among others. These power systems exist both within and between LGBTQ2I communities, partners, and funders, as well as within society in general. The Fund and its projects aim to integrate an intersectional analysis and approach to addressing the human rights of LGBTQ2I persons.
Historical and current power dynamics and inequalities within LGBTQ2I communities require intentional measures to ensure marginalized groups inform, access, and benefit from the Fund. ACTIF maintains a commitment to deliberate practices of inclusion and power redistribution through its operations and in its portfolio. In particular, ACTIF prioritizes the leadership of two-spirit, trans, and intersex people, as well as bisexual, queer, and lesbian women from around the world in its governance and programming.
The Fund is guided by the principle of ‘do no harm’ in both partnerships and programming. ACTIF aims to challenge colonial funding dynamics, and work in solidarity with marginalized LGBTQ2I groups in both Canada and the Global South to minimize harm. ACTIF will also pay particular attention to the security and well-being of Canadian partners, Southern partners, and local communities to ensure that activities do not exacerbate risks of discrimination or violence. Information about project partners and individual activists will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.
ACTIF affirms the indivisibility of human rights. Civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are all human rights inherent to every person’s dignity, regardless of SOGIESC. These rights are equal in status, and one cannot be prioritized over another. Work to advance specific rights under ACTIF must not undermine other rights.
ACTIF partners will have the opportunity to participate in a number of capacity building and knowledge sharing activities and events. The Fund looks forward to sharing lessons learned, good practices as well as challenges back with LGBTQ2I communities and organizations in Canada and overseas. Activities will include a community of practice, round tables as well as strengthening the capacity of partner organizations in areas such as integrating a human rights-based approach (HRBA) into programming.
Adopting an intersectional and human rights-based approach in tandem with the application of gender-based analysis (GBA+) in all stages of fund development, governance, implementation and evaluation, will ensure that groups that experience the greatest marginalization within the broader LGBTQ2I community have access to the benefits of the Fund. Current evidence demonstrates that lesbian, bi-sexual, intersex, trans and 2-spirited people often have less well-structured organizations and therefore greater difficulty accessing funding. For this reason, special attention is paid to ensuring inclusive processes and mechanisms that guarantee equitable access to the benefits of the Fund and associated opportunities for capacity building and knowledge sharing.
1Limitations exist in using the terms lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit and intersex. There is a spectrum of gender identity and sexual diversity both in Canada and around the world and there are many other words in various languages to describe this diversity, reflecting the culturally and historically-specific ways in which sexual and gender identities are recognized and expressed. For example, in Canada, the term “two-spirit” is used by and within Indigenous communities, reflecting the history among some peoples of describing those who differed from gender norms and crossed gender boundaries as carrying both male and female spirits.