NEW YORK, Feb. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) has been identified by Funders for LGBTQ Issues as the largest funder of programs for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals throughout the southern United States, according to their recent special report Out in the South.
"We are immensely proud to be recognized by Funders for LGBTQ Issues for our work in the southern United States," said EJAF founder Sir Elton John. "At the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we see the fight for equality of all LGBTQ people and the effort to achieve a world without AIDS as one and the same, because homophobia is a major driver of the epidemic. Clearly much work remains to be done to make the South a safer and more equitable place for the many LGBTQ Americans who call the region home."
HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of early death among gay men and transgendered individuals in the American South. Homophobia, especially in rural areas, remains a major obstacle to combatting the region's HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"The Elton John AIDS Foundation remains committed not only to improving access to care and treatment, but also to ending the stigma that continues to surround and perpetuate HIV/AIDS throughout the world," said chairman David Furnish.
According to the Funders report, despite being home to more LGBTQ adults than any other region in the country, the South receives only 3-4% of domestic funding for LGBTQ programs. Recent civil rights gains for LGBTQ people have not extended below the Mason-Dixon Line: none of the 14 southern states recognize same-sex marriages or have employment non-discrimination statutes in place. In addition, high rates of tobacco use, substance abuse, and depression among LGBTQ individuals—along with a shortage of non-discriminatory, quality healthcare—receive inadequate attention from the region's state health programs and healthcare providers.
As long as LGBTQ people in the South and throughout the United States are denied equal rights and access to quality health and social services, EJAF will continue to fund programs dedicated to securing the health and human rights of LGBTQ individuals. And the Foundation will continue to speak out on behalf of at-risk populations, urging leaders everywhere to join us in achieving an AIDS-free world.
At the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) we believe that AIDS can be beaten. We act on that belief by raising funds for effective programs and policies, and also by speaking out with honesty and compassion about the realities of people's lives. Sir Elton John created EJAF over twenty years ago, first in the United States in 1992 and then in the United Kingdom in 1993. Through hard work and with the help of our network of kind, amazing, creative, and generous friends and supporters, the two foundations together have raised more than $300 million over the past two decades to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS. The U.S. foundation focuses its efforts on programs in the United States, the Americas, and the Caribbean, while the U.K. foundation funds HIV-related work in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Join us in speaking out, taking action, and contributing to our efforts to achieve a world without AIDS. For more information, please visit www.ejaf.org. Follow EJAF on Facebook and Twitter.
American Airlines is the official sponsoring airline of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
About Funders for LGBTQ Issues
Funders for LGBTQ Issues seeks to mobilize philanthropic resources that enhance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities, promote equity, and advance racial, economic and gender justice. Working side-by-side with funders and our movement's organizations through three decades, Funders for LGBTQ Issues remains the sole organization dedicated exclusively to increasing institutional giving to LGBTQ communities.
SOURCE Elton John AIDS Foundation