Campaign for Southern Equality

The Campaign for Southern Equality is working to build a South where LGBTQ people are equal in every part of life. A South where your zipcode doesn’t determine your rights. Where all of us are free to be who we truly are and love who we truly love. Through our Legal Equality, Community Health, Southern Equality Fund and Southern Equality Studios programs, we are working toward a South where everyone thrives.


The South is changing due to the courage and strength of the LGBTQ community. We’re working to accelerate that change by:

  • Funding and training grassroots organizers and activists to support a new generation of LGBTQ leaders.
  • Providing easy access to resources and direct services for LGBTQ folks in the South.
  • Engaging in rapid response organizing in response to immediate political threats and building political power through through long-term strategies.

Our work is rooted in empathy and in commitments to equity in race, gender, and class.

Our current work includes:

Legal Equality Program: This program focuses on achieving legal equality by striking down anti-LGBTQ laws, passing pro-LGBTQ policies across the South, and building political voice and power for every community on the margins in the South. We advocate for racial equity, economic justice, health care for all and immigration reform. CSE does this work through litigation, public education, voter registration, community organizing and direct action.

Southern Equality Fund: Through the Southern Equality Fund (SEF), CSE empowers local LGBTQ leaders across the South to promote equality in their hometowns. We believe that the organizers on the front lines of the Southern LGBTQ movement can transform our region—but they need the funding and support to do so. Through the SEF, we provide grants, trainings and support. Starting in 2018, CSE will increase our grantmaking to 10 percent of our organizational budget, creating a practice of organizational tithing. We accept applications on a rolling basis and also offer rapid response grants in response to emerging issues.

Community Health Program: Here, we respond to the acute and widespread need for direct services and resources for LGBTQ Southerners. Current programs include our digital toolkit, which provides information about concrete ways LGBTQ Southerners can protect their rights and access support; free Pop-Up clinics that provide direct services and resources on topics such as name changes and family rights; our new Southern LGBTQ Health Initiative,  a partnership with Western NC Community Health Services to increase access to LGBTQ-friendly care at Southern Community Health Centers; publishing the Trans in the South Resource Guide, with annual updates; and providing training and funding to support front-line providers of culturally-competent direct services. Since launching, CSE has run more than 140 free LGBTQ legal and resource clinics across the South, serving more than 4,000 people.

Telling A New Story About the South:  We also focus on lifting up the voices and experiences of LGBTQ Southerners to tell a new story about LGBTQ life here. We do this through earned media, op-eds, and original content.


Service Areas: All / Not Applicable

Community Notes

Equity and Inclusion (Uncertified): >25% Employees LGBTQ, >40% Employees Women, >40% Employees Minority
BRPC Supporter: Festival Exhibitor, Welcoming WNC Procession Participant
Other: Spearheaded campaign to pass local Non-discrimination ordinance.

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