Supporting Southern LGBTQ+ Communities Through Affordable Broadband
The last year has been difficult for the LGBTQ+ community in the US. Since 2022, there have been over 500+ anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed all across the country. These bills touch on nearly every aspect of daily life including healthcare, education, and human rights. While nearly all regions of the United States have seen proposals for this type of legislation over the last year, states in the South have been especially impacted by the recent onslaught of anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Throughout the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion in the US, Queer and Trans communities and organizations in the South have always played a major role in advancing liberation and justice for the LGBTQ+ rights movement. While some recent studies have shown that there has been a significant number of LGBTQ+ families that have started migrating out of Southern states due to the impacts of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, moving is not an option that is accessible to everyone. There are millions of LGBTQ+ people that continue to live all throughout the South, and it is increasingly important to listen to and help support them.
Right now, there are dozens of transformative LGBTQ+ organizations across the South that are working tirelessly to support their communities. Many of these organizations use the internet as a primary way to share resources and connect with their communities. Being able to share important information in real time on important topics related to healthcare, laws, housing, community, advocacy, and more is critically important for organizations that serve the communities that are some of the most impacted by anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Equally important is that members of the community can access these resources online, but for millions of people in the US right now, there may be significant financial barriers that have made it difficult or impossible to have affordable and consistent broadband internet access. Through our Digital Navigator Program, LGBT Tech aims to aid these organizations in getting their communities connected to free or reduced-price internet through the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
The ACP is a federal benefit available to millions of eligible households that can provide free or reduced-cost broadband for home or mobile internet service. The Digital Navigator Program spreads awareness and resources to equip LGBTQ+ centers and organizations with all the information and tools they need to help members of their communities access this important federal benefit.
In an effort to help prioritize the needs of the LGBTQ+ communities across the South, LGBT Tech’s Digital Navigator Program will be hosting a series of regional virtual ACP trainings for organizations and individuals that serve the LGBTQ+ community in those areas. These trainings are free to attend and will provide an overview of the ACP including eligibility, the application process, and helpful tips. We will also offer resources and insight that will help those that serve the LGBTQ+ community to be well equipped to help get community members access to free or reduced cost internet.
These training sessions are separated into three regional groups. We will launch these sessions starting with the West South Central region, focusing on the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. In these four states alone, we estimate that over half a million LGBTQ+ households may be eligible to receive free or reduced internet service through ACP.
We are inviting all staff and volunteers for organizations that serve LGBTQ+ communities in AK, LA, OK, and TX to join us for this first regional training on Thursday, Nov 16th at 2pm CST. Register for the event here.
We hope this training session will provide those serving LGBTQ+ communities in the South with everything they need to help get millions more LGBTQ+ households connected to the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Questions about LGBT Tech’s Digital Navigator Program? E-mail GetOnline@lgbttech.org