With a deep-rooted commitment to see “that of God in every person,” AFSC staff have worked to challenge homophobia, heterosexism, and transphobia in our organization and in our society. Beginning in the 1970s, we brought a unique intersectional approach to queer issues, highlighting how expressions of discrimination and oppression overlap in our society. We worked to amplify the least-heard LGBTQ voices: those of people of color, the poor, the homeless, the incarcerated, the disabled, youth, immigrants, and people who don’t conform to traditional gender definitions. 

LGBT initiatives from the Philadelphia office, as well as Seattle and Hawai’i programs, paved the way for The Bridges Project, the first national information clearinghouse for and about LGBTQ youth. It was followed by national and state-based, pro-LGBT school coalitions. Service Committee programs in Portland, Oregon, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, organized opposition to anti-LGBT initiatives, while emphasizing faith-based advocacy. 

Our provocative 2001 report, “In a Time of Broken Bones,” broke with convention to lift up a vision of healing justice for hate crimes. And after 9/11, we partnered with the Audre Lorde Project in New York City to help create a strong, queer anti-war voice led by people of color. 

AFSC continues to support LGBTQ struggles, especially as they intersect with movements for peace and justice throughout the world.

Learn More

  • Group of people stand and sit together in a field holding banners about LGBT rights and Quakers.
    Our support for the LGBT community has its roots in the most fundamental Quaker commitment to see “that of God in every person.”
  • Man in a suit and tie sits at a table, talking to another person.
    The road to inclusion was not without a struggle. In the 1950s, Bayard Rustin’s work with AFSC was interrupted by a public controversy over his homosexuality.
  • Woman looks on as a man speaks into a microphone at a podium.
    In 1986 in Seattle, AFSC launched our first regional LGBT program and helped create Lambert House, one of the nation's first drop-in centers for LGBTQ youth.
  • Two women speak into a microphone in front of a banner on the wall that reads "People of Color Against AIDS Network."
    The Seattle program also helped launch the People of Color Against AIDS Network, one of the early HIV/AIDS programs led by and created to serve people of color.
  • Image of the covers of a book in English and Spanish called "Bridges of Respect."
    “Bridges of Respect” was the first gay-affirming national resource guide for adults working with youth. AFSC published it in English in 1988 and in Spanish in 1989.
  • Cover of an executive summary called "In a Time of Broken Bones."
    With this report in 2001, AFSC was the first voice to propose healing justice—instead of increased policing and punishment—to prevent or deter hate violence.
  • Pamphlet titled "Surviving militarism, racism, and repression: an emergency preparedness kit for LGBT and queer youth."
    Our 2004 emergency-preparedness kit for queer youth, produced in partnership with the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, represents the first counter-recruitment publication for queer youth.
  • Group of young adults sit and stand near a table, sharing makeup.
    Today in Indonesia, we are working to support the rights and voices of marginalized communities, including LGBTQ youth and the “waria” transgender street performers.
  • Group of young women dance together in a line in front of an audience.
    “Waria” transgender dancers played a key role in the Balija dance and music performance that promoted cultural tolerance and understanding in Indonesia.