Marching Orders For...
The nation's biggest LGBT civil rights and advocacy groups do a lot. They fight for your equality, they stand up against discrimination, they lobby politicians, they help just-out teens, and they raise enough money to make all this happen. But they need your help. Here are your marching orders from some of the groups fighting for your rights—from a trio of instant actions courtesy of Lambda Legal, to broader advice from the likes of the Human Rights Campaign. Don't just sit there, soldier. Get in the fight.
Grab a calculator. Add up the money you're spending this Pride weekend on the celebratory necessities: the clothes, the haircut, the cover charges, the drinks (be honest). Factor in lost wages if you're planning on calling out of work Monday.
Write down that amount.
Now close your eyes and focus on that one most painful memory of your adolescence. This is a young person's reality right now. One of our kids... part of the community you're getting busy being proud of.
So take out your checkbook. Fill in the amount you wrote down and make it out to Lambert House, or another local group that's helping our kids.
—National Youth Advocacy Coalition, www.nyacyouth.org
Talk to Five people about why marriage doesn't have to be defended from LGBT couples and their families. Promote a new understanding of "family values" in your community by truly valuing ALL families.
—COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere), www.colage.org
Every single gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender person needs to enlist one family member, one friend, and one co-worker in the fight for equality. These supporters should be encouraged to go beyond mere acceptance. While that kind of support is key, it's not enough. We need every ally to go beyond acceptance by using their voices and their votes to secure equal rights for all GLBT Americans.
—Joe Solmonese, President, Human Rights Campaign, www.hrc.org
Help Lambda Legal in Washington State:
• Sign on to Lambda Legal's action pledge card for marriage equality in Washington State. Get 12 other people you know who strongly support marriage equality to sign on too.
• Help Lambda Legal conduct door-to-door surveys in Eastside suburbs on marriage equality and other LGBT nondiscrimination issues on Saturday, July 30.
• Become a part of the movement to stop the right-wing takeover of courts. Join Lambda Legal's Courting Justice campaign.
Contact Sarah Luthens, Community Organizer for Washington, at 938-1056 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Lambda Legal, www.lambdalegal.org
Feeling oppressed these days? Perhaps your access to civil liberties is being denied? Then what better time to act?
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a nonpartisan organization devoted to electing qualified LGBT politicians, recently launched the Victory Horizon Campaign. This initiative seeks to build a network of supporters committed to electing qualified LGBT officials in 10 states across America that do not have a single openly gay member in their legislatures.
Log onto www.horizoncampaign.org. Invite 10 friends to do the same. Link to us from 10 web pages! Take 10 minutes, and educate yourself about LGBT issues!
Let's bring the day closer where all people experience equal rights and opportunities.
—The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, www.victoryfund.org
I want you to write a letter to every member of your family. I don't care if you haven't talked with them in 10 years. Tell them about your life and how important it is that they take a stand for equality. Tell them to stand up and ask all their friends to work against anti-LGBT measures anywhere they might live. I want you to put your privilege on the line, to put your status on the line, to have uncomfortable conversations, because it's about your liberty and an end to oppression.
—Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights, www.nclrights.org
Every day be grateful that you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and then do something to confront the injustices inflicted on our people.
—Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, www.thetaskforce.org
Stay informed, act when needed, and tell your friends. How? Join our e-mail list. We'll tell you the best possible moment to contact your state legislators on issues of importance like marriage equality and antidiscrimination laws. Act when we need you to—legislators respond to numbers of constituent calls, believe us!—and forward our messages out to friends and family throughout Washington, asking them to act as well. Getting others to act may be the most powerful tool our community has at our disposal (other than your cash—which we will also gladly accept!).
—Equal Rights Washington, www.equalrightswashington.org